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About Cherise Threewitt

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So far Cherise Threewitt has created 28 blog entries.

First Impressions: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential

2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential This luxury crossover plays it pretty safe... until it comes to pricing. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Infiniti QX50, a compact crossover, disappeared from the market after 2017. Now it’s back with a full redesign and an interesting new engine. We had the chance to check out a loaded Infiniti QX50 at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally in early October. Here are our first impressions.  The QX50 looks good inside and out, and it’s comfortable to drive. The seats are comfortable and easy to adjust. The display is in a nice spot on the dash, which makes it easy to see the navigation system because it’s in the shade. The downside of that is that the infotainment screen is uncomfortably low (below the navigation display) and it sometimes feels like you’re looking too far off the road. Our test vehicle featured a two-tone interior with an unusual color combination of cream and an odd grayish-brown — not our favorite, but easy enough to change. Overall, visibility is good, but the QX50 has a sculpted hood that creeps up into view and can be kind of distracting. Probably something you’d get used to over time, or find a different seating position to compensate. Infiniti powers the QX50 with an all-new engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with variable compression, paired with a [...]

2018-10-29T06:52:31-04:00 Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum

2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum How big of an SUV do you need, really? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place in October at the Autobahn Country Club southwest of Chicago, gave car-ED the opportunity to check out a bunch of vehicles we might not have otherwise seen. The 2018 Ford Expedition Max Platinum caught our attention — how could it not? The largest version of this large SUV dominated the vehicle parking area. It’s understandable that this Expedition wasn’t allowed out on the track, so we hopped in and headed out to the country roads that surround the country club. Based on that brief drive, here are our thoughts on this super-sized version of the Expedition. The Ford Expedition, the brand’s large, traditional SUV, is available in three trim levels, all of which can be upgraded to the extended-wheelbase Max. Thus, the Max Platinum is the top-tier Expedition with extra passenger room and an additional 15 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s huge, yet comfortable and surprisingly easy to handle. The overall vibe of the Expedition’s cabin is rather masculine, thanks to black leather upholstery, dark trim, and a beefy steering wheel. The seats are extremely comfortable, which is nice, and there are some touches that help lighten everything up, such as a massive panoramic moonroof and a stylish [...]

2018-10-29T06:53:00-04:00 Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

2018 Ford Mustang GT This member of the stable brings distinctive personality. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, which took place at Autobahn Country Club in Illinois in early October, featured some interesting and attention-getting vehicles from Ford. Among them were the Ford Mustang GT and Mustang Bullitt. Ford representatives on hand at the event assured us that the two cars feel very different, despite the fact that they share a powertrain. We thought we’d start with just one and see how the day progressed. Here are our first impressions of the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, based on a few lead-follow laps of the Autobahn Country Club track. The Mustang GT ranks about mid-pack in the complicated Mustang hierarchy. It’s at the top of the “mainstream” Mustang trim levels and below the high-performance Shelby models. From there, you can further drill down to Fastback (the model provided at the MAMA event), Premium Fastback, and Premium Convertible models. In practical terms? That means the Mustang GT comes with a bunch of standard features, though we didn’t have much time to play around with them as we queued up for the track. The Recaro seats were very nice and supportive, for example, but the adjustments felt a little finicky. The cabin of the Mustang GT has a lot going on, it must be said, [...]

2018-10-29T06:53:39-04:00 Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

2019 Toyota Avalon Touring Style and sophistication, but at what price? By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 The Toyota Avalon, the brand’s large sedan, gets a full redesign for 2019. We had an opportunity to see the all-new Avalon in top-tier Touring trim at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally in October and came away impressed… with one major caveat. It’s a well-rounded car and it wears its new styling well. Here are our impressions of the Avalon based on a short drive around the Autobahn Country Club grounds in Joliet, Illinois. Unfortunately, this Toyota was allowed on the street course only, no track, but we got a good sense of the car during that time. The Avalon’s cabin is nice without being ostentatious. The seats, trimmed in synthetic leather, offer lots of adjustments, and the perforated steering wheel feels good in the hands. The center console is high and comes up to meet a high armrest, which creates a strong division of space between driver and passenger and makes the car feel nice and roomy. We didn’t have much time to play with the infotainment system, but, like other current Toyota models, it seems nice and straightforward. Unfortunately, the whole cabin feels a little too angular — almost like the designers were trying to remind us of the front grille. The dash line is really swoopy with a [...]

2018-10-29T06:54:08-04:00 Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD

2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD This family SUV does most things well. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018 What is this vehicle? The Honda Pilot is a family-friendly three-row SUV. The Pilot is known for above-average reliability, for spacious passenger seating and cargo areas, and for affordable convenience and driver assistance features. This is also one of the more comfortable, easy to drive vehicles in the segment. Unlike some of its competitors, the Pilot avoids falling into the trap of trying to be sporty, which is a wise decision on Honda’s part. The Honda Pilot was last redesigned in 2016 and gets some minor updates to the features menu this year. Who is this vehicle for? Looking for an affordable midsize SUV that can seat up to eight passengers, and is spacious enough for adults to find a comfortable spot in the back row? You really only have a few choices, and the Pilot is one of them. Of course, if you’re willing to compromise rear space and just leave the third row for the kids, you’ll have more options, but the Pilot doesn’t ask you to make that compromise. In short, the Pilot is a very good vehicle for a family, especially when you take a look at its safety and convenience features. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? The Pilot was already a pretty [...]

2018-10-09T14:21:56-04:00 Oct 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2018 Nissan Frontier Midnight

2018 Nissan Frontier Midnight This compact truck gets a little extra edge. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 Tucked among the hundred or so vehicles available to drive at the 2018 Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, the Nissan Frontier Midnight wasn’t hard to spot. It’s hard to picture a compact pickup truck compared to a full size pickup — or even a full size SUV — until they’re right there in front of you, but then it becomes clear: Yes, this truck really is small. However, the Midnight Edition package gives the Frontier a distinctive look and feel, particularly compared to the bright and bold colors on most other vehicles in attendance. Can this special edition help the Frontier truly stand out from the crowd? Since the Midnight Edition is mainly an appearance package, let’s start there. The package is available on three exterior colors: white, gray, and black. It adds exclusive 18-inch black alloy wheels, body color bumpers, and black front grille, step rails, side mirrors, door handles, and Midnight Edition badges. Since the Frontier is a pretty understated truck to begin with, the Midnight Edition elements add visual interest without overdoing it. Our driving impressions of the Frontier Midnight Edition were solid. It’s known for being one of the older trucks in the segment, but in some ways, that works in its favor. For example, the simplicity [...]

2018-10-09T13:43:24-04:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Kia Niro PHEV

2018 Kia Niro PHEV This subcompact crossover helps take plug-ins mainstream. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | August 2018 What is this vehicle? The Niro is a subcompact SUV that was added to the Kia lineup for 2017. The first Niro to roll out featured a super efficient hybrid powertrain, and this year, Kia added the PHEV plug-in hybrid model to the Niro family. There isn’t anything quite like the Niro PHEV on the market right now, but it’s fair to expect that rivals might follow suit in the near future as small crossovers continue to dominate the market and automakers invest more in electric and hybrid technology. The Niro is an affordable and practical path to better efficiency. Who is this vehicle for? Take a look at the Niro PHEV if you want a new, modern subcompact crossover with great technology features and excellent efficiency. The Niro does have some drawbacks, namely that it is not available with all-wheel drive and that it isn’t especially fun or interesting to drive. However, if those factors don’t matter to you, the Niro PHEV could be a very good choice for a subcompact SUV or crossover. Furthermore, not all potential buyers will necessarily see a benefit from the plug-in hybrid drivetrain, because the hybrid Niro is already super efficient. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? Plug-in hybrid vehicles are becoming [...]

2018-09-24T17:36:50-04:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

First Impressions: 2019 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX The fully redesigned RDX marks the start of the compact luxury SUV’s third generation. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 We got a sneak preview of the vehicle at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and were pretty impressed by the experience. Every RDX comes powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 272 horsepower, paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, though we suspect most buyers will upgrade to all-wheel drive, as is common with crossovers. The all-wheel drive system features torque vectoring, which means that the system can send extra power to the rear wheels, which helps with maneuvering. Our test course consisted of winding country roads around a sparkling lake on a gorgeous sunny day, and the RDX seemed eager to show off these capabilities. The system seems to be a good match for the peppy and enthusiastic engine. The centerpiece of the interior is a floating center console that arches up from the gearshift area and meets the dash, creating a storage nook. This idea isn’t entirely new (it reminded us of the Volvo C30) but it’s unlike anything else out there right now and has the visual effect of carving out separate nooks for driver and front passenger. The gear selector, by the way, consists of buttons rather than a physical shifter. The [...]

2018-09-04T22:42:06-04:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited One of the best values in the compact car segment. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018 What is this vehicle? The Hyundai Elantra is a well-equipped compact car that is available as a sedan and a hatchback. The Elantra is one of the least expensive vehicles in the segment, starting at just several hundred dollars more than the segment’s cheapest car, but bucks expectations by providing good value. According to J.D. Power and Associates, which tracks vehicle reliability, the Elantra is one of the most dependable models in this segment. Furthermore, Hyundai backs the Elantra with a class-leading warranty. These two factors should help you feel confident that the Elantra is a smart and responsible way to spend your money. Who is this vehicle for? The Hyundai Elantra is a good choice for savvy shoppers who like to get a lot for their money, especially those who are satisfied with a comfortable, but not especially sporty driving experience. The Elantra might not be as stylish or as fun to drive as some of its competitors in the compact car class, though it is generally pleasant to drive. Even then, there are few competitors that can provide a significantly more enjoyable driving experience while coming close to matching the Elantra’s reliability, practicality, efficiency, and long list of standard features. Why is this vehicle important to you, [...]

2018-09-04T22:39:29-04:00 Sep 2018|Car Reviews|

2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD Hyundai puts other small crossovers on notice. By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | August 2018 What is this vehicle? The Hyundai Kona is a new addition to the Hyundai lineup for 2018 and it quickly established itself as a leader in the subcompact SUV and crossover category. The Kona is available with a wide range of options, from reasonably affordable to relatively opulent, but at every step of the way, you get modern styling, a fun attitude, and Hyundai’s excellent warranty and reputation for reliability. The Kona succeeds in making a name for itself in the already hyper-competitive subcompact crossover market. Next year, Hyundai will introduce a fully electric version of the Kona. Who is this vehicle for? Take a look at the Kona if you’re shopping for an affordable small crossover, and even consider branching out if you are looking for a small car. The entry-level Kona great choice for buyers with tight budgets; though you’ll spend several thousand dollars more on a base Kona than you will on a bottom-of-the-barrel small car, Hyundai makes it worth your while by providing plenty of value. If you’re considering a mid-range or top-tier Kona trim, you’ll be right in line with its toughest competitors in the subcompact and compact SUV categories. Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer? Hyundai is a disruptor when it comes [...]

2018-09-24T17:33:16-04:00 Aug 2018|Car Reviews|
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