Lexus LC 500 Hybrid – 2022 Test Drive Review

LC 500h WHM Automotive Media

The 2022 Lexus LC 500h is one good-looking hybrid.

The 2022 LC 500 and LC 500h was released with the first-ever Bespoke Build service. This allows Lexus customers to configure their vehicle in numerous ways. Based on the Sport Package, the LC’s Bespoke Build includes Torsen limited-slip rear differential with Yamaha rear performance damper, high-performance brake pads from Mu, and Intuitive Parking Assist. In addition, you can customize the LC 500’s wheels, spoiler, roof, and exterior/interior trim and colors. For example, the carbon fiber roof and all-new Manhattanhenge interior color are exclusive to Bespoke Build.

Exterior

The LC 500 has one of the best designs and aesthetics of any car I have driven. The first time it was introduced to the LC 500, I was in love with all the lines, the stance, and the overall design. The carbon rear wing and carbon fiber wing paired with the high gloss rear valance and 21 wheels make this car stand out more than it already does. The Cadmium Orange exterior may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it does give a more exotic look to the LC500. Depending on the light, the color changes from a Longhorn Orange to a deep copper.

Exterior Rating: 10/10

Interior

The Manhattanhenge interior may be an overload of orange for some, but I loved the in-your-face design complimented with black panels and silver accent pieces. If you are puzzled by the color name, it comes from a rare New York City occurrence. On two special days a year, the rising or setting sun aligns perfectly with the primary Manhattan street grid, creating a beautiful orange glow that illuminates the urban skyline. The driver seat is very cockpit-centric, similar to the Nissan Z. I am 6’1 and had no issues fitting comfortably. This car does have a back seat, but it is not functional or serves a valid purpose as there is zero legroom.

Regarding the tech and features available, the infotainment system is outdated in the 2022 model. Lexus has upgraded for 2023+ Lexus vehicles and beyond, and I look forward to that. However, this car did not have wireless Carplay, still uses the trackback system that is no longer impressive, and a 360 camera seemed to be missing. I expected some fancy technology features and utilities unique to the 6-figure LC.

Interior Rating: 8/10

Performance

The 2022 LC 500h is equipped with a V6 hybrid system. It pushes out 354 horsepower compared to the 5.0 liter V8 delivering 471 horsepower. I would pick a V8 all day, especially when high performance and an exotic design go hand in hand. Still, the hybrid version is no slouch. Despite being heavier than the V8 variant is capable of 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. It carries a pair of electric motors and a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery that can provide pure electric driving under 35mph but only lasts 4 miles. The handling and the ride quality are excellent, considering the enormous 21-inch wheels, but I expect nothing less from a Lexus product.

Furthermore, my heavy foot was no match for the stated combined 29 mpg. I was only able to manage 21.5 with spirited driving. So I can only imagine I would only get 16 or less in the V8. I would love to see a fully electric version of the LC 500

Performance Rating: 7/10

2022 Lexus LC 500h Verdict

I love the Lexus LC500, but I cannot get behind the hybrid version. The V8 is more to my taste. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful design, and I dig this color combination. Unfortunately, this vehicle’s tech and features are already outdated since 2023+ Lexus vehicles are getting refreshed with a new Infotainment system.
I look forward to the mild changes and updates they make to this platform, which is almost a home run. Finally, I would love to see a hardtop convertible version and one that is entirely electric. The model tested has an MSRP of $118,630.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Nissan Z Performance – 2023 Test Drive Review

2023 Nissan Z RiceBox

2023 Nissan Z will be loved by 350Z and 370Z owners.

The 2023 Nissan Z is one of the most anticipated sports cars of the decade, and soon they will be hitting the streets. After being introduced to the Proto Z and re-introduced to the Z at the Houston Auto Show, I now have my hands on a pre-production Performance Edition of the header-turn 2-door coupe for seven days. Since day one, in my possession, the Z has received constant attention and praise. Then, jaws dropped, seeing it on the streets of Houston. Finally, owners and fans of the 350Z and 370Z will be satisfied with the redesigned coupe.

Exterior

The Z in a two-tone Passion Red and Super Black compliments the multi-generational design. The rear screams 300zx and the front is a futuristic extension of the 350Z/370Z. It is almost like a Frankenstein build sewn together cleanly. The rear, which has a low stance and great styling, is my favorite design aspect of the new Z, but the long front hood slowly grew on me as it does compliment the entire car’s silhouette. The black roof, wheels, rear valence, and trunk panel perfectly complete the Z’s two-tone appearance.

Exterior Rating: 8.5/10

Interior

The cockpit is nicely redesigned yet still very simple with updated materials. It has a 12.3-inch customizable racing-inspired TFT meter display, triple gauge pods like the previous generation, available leather-appointed sports seats, and an 8-speaker Bose Audio system. The only two features I wished for in the one I drove were cooling seats and a 360 camera. Yet, No bells and whistles are needed to please Z fans. For those familiar with the last generation, you will feel at home in this slightly updated interior. At 6’1, I felt like I was the max size that would be able to drive the Nissan Z and handle the driver-centric cockpit comfortably.

Interior Rating: 9.5/10

Performance

The 2023 Z’s 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine is plentiful and paired with an exhaust tone that can’t help but make you imagine that you are the star of Tokyo Drift. The engine pushes at 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque and delivers a smooth and perky response. 0-60 with the 9-speed automatic transmission with aluminum paddle shifters is 4.0 seconds. The Z grips well, and the only gripe I had was the loose steering which I expected to be stiffer and sportier. However, in the 400+ miles I drove, I averaged 21.6 MPG, mostly highway driving. In addition, a six-speed manual will be made available for those who want the purest connection between driver and machine.

Performance Rating: 9.5/10

2023 Nissan Z Verdict

At a total MSRP of $53,610, the 2023 Nissan Z Performance is worth every penny. The Z Sport 3.0-liter V6 is the lowest-priced version, with a starting MSRP of $39,990. In addition, a Z Proto Spec version will also be available, which is the highest trim at $52,990. Finally, they should be at Nissan dealers nationwide in late summer 2022.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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Nissan Kicks SR – 2022 Test Drive Review

The 2022 Nissan Kicks SR is a good vehicle for your high school or college student.

The Nissan Kicks in the two-tone Scarlet Ember Tintcoat/Super Black exterior is bold, stylish, and aimed at the youngest generation of drivers. It offers best-in-class fuel economy to help your teen save money at the gas pumps and ample space inside to haul friends.

ENGINE

The Nissan Kicks’ most disappointing feature is its lack of a decently powered engine. It has a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder that only pushes out 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. I find it unacceptable for this car to be so underpowered in our current times. It felt like I was driving the Flinstones car as I put my foot all the way down on the highway, and it was barely accelerating. This is due to the vehicle having CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission, which means it does not have gears that provide “steps” between low- and high-speed operation. This allows for the Kicks to be more fuel-efficient which it is. With my heavy foot, I averaged 32 MPG after driving 350 Miles. 31 City and 36 Highway MPG is what Nissan claims.

INTERIOR

The interior may not be as fancy or stylish as the exterior, but it is conservatively simple and sturdy. I am 6’1 and did not feel cramped in any of the seats. Instead, there was plenty of headroom and leg space to make you think you are driving something larger. The Kicks comes with standard tech features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a host of driver assists, such as automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Cargo space is the most impressive in the Kicks. The versatile cargo with a 60/40-split rear seat offers space up to 32.3 cubic feet.

The starting price of the 2022 Nissan Kicks is $19,900. The model seen here is priced at $25,980. This car is worth a look at if you are looking at a vehicle for your newly licensed teenager or recent high school grad headed to college.

Nissan Kicks Overall Rating: 7/10

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