Mustang coupe makes for throaty ride, loaded with standard features
There is little to compare to the power, ride, and throaty exhaust of the Ford Mustang; it’s what this Pony car is all about. Our recent test of the 2018 GT Coupe Premium was a testament to what we like in a performance sports car.
The sixth of nine model offerings (including convertibles and two Shelby units), this Fastback is powered by a 5.0-L Ti-VCT V-8 engine that provides up to 460 HP and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s powerful, reactive, and our unit was coupled with a delightful 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with optimized gear spacing (a $1,595 option), there is plentiful performance during acceleration. A six-speed manual is standard.
That deep and throaty quad tip dual exhaust comes naturally, though our tester had an $895 optional Active Valve Performance Exhaust system that simply accentuated the magical rumble and sound.
Our standard equipment likes on the GT included LED exterior lighting (head and tail lights plus fog lamps), heated outside mirrors, 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster, leather trimmed seats, limited slip rear axle, reverse sensing system, and the very cool Pony projection lamps (a Mustang horse lights up on the ground when the doors open).
Optional likes included the Shaker Pro 12-speaker audio system (part of a package), the GT Performance Package that features Michelin’s new Pilot Sport tires ($3,995), and the new MagneRide Damping System ($1,695) with magnetically controlled active dampers that provide excellent handling characteristics.
Loaded with both standard and optional tech and safety features, our Mustang GT Premium had a MSRP of $39,095 (base model starts at $25,680), but with several options the final price was $51,365.
Camry hybrid sedan a winner for ride and stylish cabin
The redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan (top of three hybrid offerings) provided us a remarkable driving experience based on its increase in power and fuel economy, vastly upgraded interior and exterior styling, and additional safety features.
Power derives from a 2.5-L Dynamic Force DOHC four-cylinder engine with a sealed nickel-metal hydride battery that are mated to an eight-speed electronically controlled CVT with sequential shift mode. Fuel economy is rated at 46 MPG overall (44/city and 47/highway) and we experienced just under 47 MPG for a weeklong drive.
Exterior lighting is fully LED and our unit had 18-inch all-season tires mounted to chrome machine-finish alloy wheels.
Typical of Toyotas, safety features are abundant and include the Star Safety System (with enhanced stability control), the Toyota Safety Sense P, blind spot monitoring, 10 airbags, and much more allowing for a 5-Star Safety Rating.
With an independent MacPherson front and double wishbone rear suspension, the ride and handling in the Camry is smooth and reactive in city or on the highway.
Plenty of tech features, along with an Entune 3.0 audio system with connected navigation and app suite (an $1,800 option), and comfortable seating make the interior of the Camry a pleasant experience.
Our tested unit had a MSRP of $32,250 and with options the cost was $36,360.
Titan pickup has much to offer from style to comfort
Nissan offers a variety of models of its full-size pickup, including the 2018 Titan PRO-4X unit we tested. Ours was powered by a brawny 5.6-L Endurance V-8 engine that created 390 HP and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission and shift-on-the fly 4WD system are combined with a two-speed transfer case. Plenty of power and smooth operation on- and off-road.
The ride on the Titan PRO-4X is much improved with its addition of Bilstein off-road performance shocks coupled with a double wishbone front suspension, and multi-leaf with solid axle rear suspension, both with stabilizer bars. Tires are 18-inch all-terrain on alloy wheels.
We liked most everything about the Titan because this model offered what we like in a truck from comfortable Captain’s chairs in the front to multiple power outlets to dual-zone climate control to multiple skid plates. We also enjoyed the NissanConnect system with navigation and mobile apps along with a plethora of other tech and safety features.
The Nissan Intelligent Mobility system is genuinely usable as it provides a 360-degree Intelligent Around View Monitor, blind spot warning, front and rear sonar, rear cross traffic alert, and more.
Our tester was loaded with everything from fog lamps to an integrated trailer hitch to a removable locking tailgate. But we did have three extensive PRO-X and Premium packages with more than two-dozen features that added $6,185 to the $45,670 base price.