Riding in Style

When it comes to finding a new vehicle, the options are vast. We got behind the wheel to introduce you to three popular rides sure to get your motor running.

If you’re thinking of going big for Christmas, who wouldn’t love the gift of a new vehicle! Or perhaps you’re thinking of upgrading your own car, truck or SUV. Experts will tell you that December is one of the best months to get a good deal on a vehicle as dealerships are eager to make room for new inventory.

We recently checked out some of the most buzzed-about vehicles, including the Cadillac CT5 sedan, the Toyota Venza hybrid and the Dodge Ram 1500 Limited pickup.

“The Cadillac CT5 and the smaller CT4 are two of the very few American sedans on the market now,” offers Kevin Eller, the general manager at Sullivan Cadillac. “The CT5 is available as a luxury model, a premium model and the performance V model. Cadillac V division is the performance division of Cadillac. In fact, Cadillac has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the last three years.”

Many of today’s vehicles come loaded with the latest high-tech offerings. In some instances, the customer might ask for assistance in navigating the sometimes complex components. At DeLuca Toyota, Technology Specialist Chris Dehn has an essential role that is important to clients who purchase a vehicle loaded with new technology, like the Venza.

“I assist customers one-on-one to solve questions and make sure they understand the full uses of all features. If needed, we can set up a personal technology class. I have also been able to help socially distanced customers via emailed videos as well,” he notes. “My title at DeLuca is Dr. Bluetooth.”

For the many horsemen, ranchers and farmers in our area, Dale Coleman, the new car sales manager at Phillips Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, says the Ram 1500 truck line is ready for the road or the farm and for families.

“The truck is not only rugged and capable,” he explains, “it is exceptionally comfortable, ergonomic and user-friendly.”

We took these vehicles for a spin at the expansive and picturesque Winding Oaks Farm on southwest State Road 200 and here’s what we learned about them:

2021 Cadillac CT5-V

If you love the classic luxury of a Cadillac but want a bit more horsepower beneath the hood, then look no further than the sporty CT5-V, a new offering from this historic car maker’s high-performance division.

The sleek CT5-V offers a 3.0L twin turbo V-6 engine, electronic precision shift 10-speed automatic transmission, electronic limited slip differential, Brembo brakes and standard performance technologies such as magnetic ride control.

The CT5-V boasts an information/entertainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an easy to use navigation system. This is what is meant by “riding in style.”

J.D. Power, which analyzes vehicle owner levels of satisfaction, says what most attracts people to the CT5-V are exterior design, driver feel, safety technology and interior features.

The base cost ranges from $37,890 to $51,290.

So, settle into the comfy leather seats, call up some favorite tunes on the Bose premium audio system and ease out into traffic, where you can expect to get up to 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. And this beauty will turn heads.

2020 Dodge Ram 1500 Limited

This is a big truck made for big jobs, or for a very cool ride around town. The pickup offers a strong first impression when you open the driver’s door and the power running boards glide smoothly out to help you and your passengers step up and into the spacious cab.

Once inside, you can’t help but notice the finely detailed leather work on the seats and many other surfaces, and the enormous infotainment console.

But it’s when you start the engine, which is available in multiple configurations, such as a HEMI V8, that you know you have a powerful vehicle under your command. The Limited is as functional as it is beautiful. That means it is as well suited for slogging around a horse or cattle farm as it is for pulling up to a fancy soirée and letting the valet take over.

This powerhouse can handle a towing capacity of up to 12,750 pounds and the multifunction tailgate offers split, swing-away doors that can accommodate forklift loading and make it easier to step up, load bulky items, unload and wash out the bed.

This truck’s fuel economy ranges from 19 mpg in the city to 24 mpg on the highway. The base price is $57,215. Some of the key terms to describe this behemoth are “power” and “stability.”

Car & Driver notes: “The Ram 1500 delivers unrivaled levels of innovation, luxuriousness and refinement in a workhorse that does a good imitation of a luxury car.”

2021 Toyota Venza

If the future of automobiles is the hybrid model, then the Venza is ahead of its time. This high-tech, high-style car is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and three electric motors which together develop 219 horsepower. One of the motors powers the rear wheels while the gasoline engine and the other two motors spin the fronts.

Here’s some good news—Venza’s hybrid battery warranty lasts for 10 years from date of first use or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

And more good news—the fuel economy ranges from 37 mpg in the city to 40 mpg on the highway.

Toyota describes the Venza, which starts at $32,470, as blending the “styling and comfort of a passenger car with the flexibility of a sport utility vehicle.” The spacious cabin and back seats offer plenty of room to stretch out.

Dehn says the new Toyota Venza is similar in styling to the Lexus NX Hybrid regarding the body shell.

“After all, Lexus was evolved from Toyota,” he offers, as the Lexus brand is owned by Toyota.

And, he adds, “This vehicle has all the latest safety features. The newest thing related to the lane keep assist is that the steering wheel will vibrate if you are leaving the lane without using a directional. Normally it has been an audible tone. I personally like the wheel vibrating.”

Other safety features include a bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan, overhead 360-degree view in low-speed drive and reverse, and curb view. The pre-collision system with pedestrian detection integrated camera and radar system is designed to help reduce the likelihood of colliding with a car or pedestrian.

There are a lot of other high-tech components for the Venza and for those customers who want some extra help learning the details­—don’t forget, you can always call on Dr. Bluetooth.

“The Venza hits a sweet spot that should appeal to shoppers who want a thrifty, smartly packaged SUV but don’t want to pay a premium for a model from a luxury brand,” says Consumer Reports. “It is large enough to seat four comfortably and compact enough to negotiate city streets.”

We hope these reviews get your wheels turning and give you the inspiration you need to upgrade your ride. Because, it’s like they say…the road is waiting!

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