Lexus is no stranger to innovation. Why, just one look at the brand’s robust line-up of hybrid vehicles is enough to prove that Lexus is an automaker that prefers to lead rather than follow. Innovators rarely stand still, though, and Lexus is busy paving new roads with a whole new spin on the test drive experience.
To give customers an opportunity behind the wheel of the not-yet-available 2015 RC F, Lexus created a driving simulator that utilizes technology based around the Oculus Rift, a Facebook-owned virtual reality videogame platform that’s currently in development.
Rather than storm a virtual castle or swim with schools of fish under the ocean, Lexus’ simulator gives drivers a real taste of what the RC F’s 5.0-liter engine can do. Boasting a powerful V8 that creates 450 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, the RC F was built to exhilarate and RC F simulator captures this with alarming accuracy.
So how does it work? Drivers strap the virtual reality headset on and sit in a purpose-built booth, complete with steering wheel and pedals. The RC F simulator imparts the sensation of barreling down a racetrack in a 2015 Lexus RC F, with drivers getting a full 360-degree view of the car and their surroundings.
The RC F simulator is truly one of a kind and could very well hint at how virtual reality could augment the test drive experience in the future. Of course, we’ll always prefer the real thing, but getting a chance to “drive” a model down a famous racetrack and possibly even tour its exterior/interior all in virtual reality sounds pretty darn cool to us!
The RC F Rift simulator is currently travelling to auto shows around the country, beginning at the Orange County Auto Show in October and making its way to the LA Auto Show in November.
For more information, or to learn more about the upcoming RC F and other exciting Lexus models, be sure to stop by or contact our dealership today! Also, check out the above video for a look at the RC F simulator in action.
No matter how much horsepower your engine is capable of cranking out, your car would be useless without a functioning steering, suspension, and alignment system. Power steering, suspension, and wheel alignment team up to help you harness your engine power and handle your vehicle safely, especially if you're expecting to face severe weather this fall and winter. Here’s a breakdown of these systems and the proper maintenance required to maintain control on the road.
Steering your car might not be quite as simple a process as you might imagine. When you turn, the front wheels will actually point in slightly different directions to provide optimum turning performance. There are also two different forms of steering employed in modern cars. Rack and pinion steering converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into a linear motion, often a choice for high-performance vehicles. It also provides a gear reduction, which makes the wheels easier to turn. Re-circulating ball steering is more commonly used on trucks and SUVs, as the system improves the efficiency of the gearbox on larger vehicles, which may be required for off-road driving.
Proper maintenance for your steering system includes regular flushing and replacement of power steering fluid every 15,000-30,000 miles, depending on your car’s make and model. Our certified technicians will take a look and make sure your fluid is uncontaminated, which will extend the life of your power steering system and avoid costly repair costs due to damaging particles in your fluid.
Your car's suspension carries out a number of important roles. It minimizes the effects of road imperfections and bumps, which in turn keeps the vehicle's tires in constant contact with the road, leading to a comfortable ride and higher performance. This ensures that the steering is as stable as possible, which makes sure the car handles well. Your car's suspension also transfers the weight of the car when cornering to maintain stability. The suspension system is part of the car's chassis and works in tandem with the steering to carry out its job.
Suspension systems are prone to damage, particularly on roads that are damaged or where the surface condition is poor. Symptoms of problems with the suspension can be varied. The car may bounce or sway excessively, even at low speeds. You may find that the car does not sit level, either when stationary or when driven. Problems with the handling may also point to a problem with the suspension, and you may hear knocking or other unusual noises. When taking your car in for an alignment and steering check, our technicians will take a look at your vehicle’s suspension as well to make sure all parts are working properly.
Wheel alignment is also a critical part of maintaining your car's performance. Alignment is a process by which the angles of the wheels are adjusted so that they are perpendicular to the ground. This improves handling by ensuring the car drives perfectly on a straight, level road. This also maintains the life of the tires by preventing uneven wear.
A problem with your wheel alignment can also cause problems if not set correctly. If you notice your car tends to drift in a particular direction, or your control seems to be wavering, consider taking your vehicle in for an alignment check. It’s better to be safe, than to lose control and panic when you’re driving on the highway.
Our qualified technicians at Lexus of Greenville will run a series of diagnostic tests to analyze the root cause of any problems with your steering, suspension, or alignment. Schedule an appointment or come by our service department with any questions. With steering, suspension, and alignment repair, we’ll ease your worries and help you stay in control in the driver’s seat.
Introducing a sporty new CUV designed for young luxury drivers
Always thinking outside of the box, Lexus has decided to introduce two new entry vehicles starting this fall: the NX 200t and the NX 300h. At Lexus of Greenville, we can’t wait to see what these hip and surprisingly affordable new models will have to offer.
The new NX lineup is designed to be the entry-level luxury crossover from Lexus. Though it may look similar to the RAV4, the NX models are luxury vehicles, top to bottom. Starting with the 200t, this model is available in AWD and offers extremely fast and responsive steering that handles well through turns and highways. Its powerful 2.0L inline-four-cylinder engine comes with a unique twin-scroll turbocharger. The results speak for themselves with 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at the disposal of drivers. Despite being speedy and agile, the new NX 200t is expected to receive an estimated 28 mpg highway.* The NX 300h’s hybrid powertrain system offers an improved fuel economy and 194 horsepower to drivers.
Inside these new models is a beautiful interior complete with all the latest technology. The cabin looks sporty, and simultaneously gives off a high-class feel. The new NX models will boast the same high-standard luxury of all Lexus models, with a lower starting price. New interior amenities will also make your ride easier. These include a touchscreen with more convenient features and accessibility, a wireless phone charger and many others.
The NX 200t and 300h are set to go on sale November of 2014, so do yourself a favor and don’t wait to contact us at Lexus of Greenville and reserve a test drive. We will be more than happy to give you more information about the upcoming NX models and other exciting new Lexus vehicles.
*EPA estimated value. Actual mileage may vary. See dealership for details.
New for 2015
The Lexus IS sedan was completely redesigned for the 2014 model year, so changes for 2015 are relatively minor. They include standard LED fog lamps, new trim options, grid lines for the backup camera, and other small updates.
This IS the One
The entry-level luxury sedan crowd is a competitive one, with many fine choice available. With the 2015 IS, Lexus encourages buyers to look beyond the obvious with extroverted styling, a modern interior, and a different take on performance. The 2015 Lexus IS is a car for people who want to stand out from the crowd.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Lexus IS comes in two flavors, depending on your preferred blend of performance, efficiency, and smoothness.
The IS 250 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine that produces 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
While most rivals are moving to small turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the six-cylinder, naturally-aspirated IS 250 provides smoother power delivery. It can also get up and go, hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 7.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 140 mph with rear-wheel drive or 8.3 seconds and 131 mph with all-wheel drive.
Yet it’s also quite efficient, achieving 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway) with rear-wheel drive,* and 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive.*
For a bit more power, Lexus also offers the IS 350, with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive models get an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive models get a six-speed auto.
That extra power pushes the IS 350 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph with rear-wheel drive and 5.7 seconds and 131 mph with all-wheel drive.
EPA fuel-economy ratings of 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway) for rear-wheel drive,* and 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive* mean that performance won’t have too much of an impact on your wallet.
Features and Trims
No matter which engine is under the hood, the 2015 Lexus IS will cosset its occupants with an array of features worthy of the italicized “L” Lexus badge. The IS is available solely in four-door, five-seat sedan form, and starts at $36,550.**
Standard features include a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, seven-inch display screen, audio system equipped for HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice recognition (including Siri Eyes Free for compatible Apple devices), and a heated steering wheel and front seats for all-wheel drive models.
Each IS model can also be specified with an F Sport performance package, which adds unique wheels and tires, sportier chassis settings, and a TFT binnacle adapted from the Lexus LFA supercar.
For those that that value tech over lateral g-forces, the optional navigation system adds a backup camera with dynamic gridlines, the Lexus Enform App Suite with Bing, Yelp, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, among others, and the Lexus Enform Remote app (for iOS and Android), which allows owners to remotely lock and unlock the car, pre-set the climate control, and monitor different vehicle parameters.
There’s also a Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound system with 15 speakers, 835 watts, and Clari-Fi technology. Other notable factory options include twin-projector LED headlights, variable gear ratio steering, and rain-sensing wipers.
While most luxury sedans have staid and restrained styling, the 2015 Lexus IS bucks that trend. Rather than simply build a four-door box, Lexus designed a dramatic sculpture decorated with LED slashes, organic curves, and the brand’s signature “spindle” grille, which gives the IS an aggressive presence on the road.
Sitting on 17-inch (or optional 18-inch) alloy wheels, the IS has an athletic stance, with a stretched wheelbase created by a sharp curve that extends from the rear door to the taillight. Polished exhaust outlets poke out of the back, while a shark-fin antenna literally tops it all off.
The interior features an equally modern design theme, with a stepped center console that makes the many buttons and touch points easier to reach. However, the clock is analog.
The upgraded infotainment systems also feature Lexus’ Remote Touch controller, a mouse-like device for scrolling and clicking, while the Mark Levinson® audio system has lovely metal knobs that add a quality touch.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Lexus IS includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems, driver and passenger front, knee, and aide airbags, as well as front and rear side-curtain airbags.
In addition, the IS is available with blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and radar-guided adaptive cruise control with pre-collision system.
The 2015 Lexus IS is an atypical entry in a very well-defined segment. You may think you know what a luxury sports sedan should be, until you lay eyes on this Lexus’ strikingly-folded sheet metal.
For more information, or to schedule a test drive, be sure to contact our dealership.
*2015 EPA-estimated ratings. Actual mileage will vary.
**MSRP does not include delivery, processing and handling fee of $925. Excludes taxes, title, license and optional equipment. Dealer price will vary. Does not include accessory
Image: Lexus (Vehicle shown with optional equipment)
The harsh weather of winter can seriously take its toll on your car's exterior. Freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and cold winds can all damage your car, so it pays to take precautions. Before the winter sets in, learn how to protect your car's exterior from the worst extremes of nature.
Your paint work is extremely vulnerable from the cold weather, so the best way to protect it is to apply an appropriate wax. Traditional car waxes based on carnauba and other materials are unlikely to be able to withstand the excesses of winter. Opt instead for a synthetic wax or sealant to protect your car's paint work. Products based on an acrylic resin will help seal against the salt and grit of winter roads. For more advice on the products that are suitable for your vehicle’s paint work, consult the service department at your local dealership.
If you wait too long, it can be very difficult to get the right finish on your wax. The low temperatures make it very hard to get the correct consistency. If you have a heated garage, however, it might be possible to top up your wax. You can also buy specialist sprays which will provide a quick top-up and basic protection to see you through until you can re-apply the wax.
Other exterior parts are vulnerable in the winter as well. Bumpers, trim, and rubber door seals are also affected. Extreme temperatures can stress and/or crack certain materials. The sun's ultraviolet radiation can also be a problem. During the winter months, the sun can be surprisingly fierce, especially when reflected by snow or ice. Ultraviolet radiation can fade these materials, or cause them to harden and crack. You can buy specialist products to treat these parts of the car, too, offering additional protection when the temperature drops. Rubber seals around the doors, hood, or trunk should also be treated with a special rubber spray to maintain their shape and elasticity.
Make sure that you wash your car frequently during the winter months. Salt spray from the road can quickly damage paint work, which could lead to costly repair work when the summer weather returns. Try to carefully flush the underside of your car with a high-pressure hose to remove accumulated dirt, debris, and salt deposits.
Wheel wax should be used on your alloy wheels throughout the year to protect them from brake dust. During the winter, a good wax or sealant will offer additional protection against salty deposits and spray from the road. Don't forget your tires, either. You can buy specialist products to seal and protect your tires against the harsh road conditions, which will help maintain performance. Like other parts of the car, your tires are susceptible to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, so ensure that they are fully protected on both sides.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes a roasted turkey, bread stuffing, a myriad of potato dishes, and side dishes ranging from bean casserole to cranberry sauce. The luscious and bountiful feast is followed by dessert, most notably pumpkin pie. Such a feast exemplifies the fall harvest, the bounty grown in and raised on the Earth's soil. This year, you might want to keep to the spirit of this bounty by making your Thanksgiving dinner a more organic meal.
Farmed turkeys, raised for food, may be given food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These foods are designed to influence certain aspects of growth in the animal, such as larger breasts, and to increase the animal's resistance to disease. Such animal feed is not certified as organic.
An organically certified turkey is raised on organic feed, free of antibiotics, and contains no artificial ingredients, such as flavorings or colorings.
If you want an organic turkey for your table, read the label. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic certification and works with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate labeling. Look for organic certification, and absent that, at least turkeys free of antibiotics and artificial ingredients.
Cooking from Scratch
For a more organic Thanksgiving feast, forego boxed or instant mashed potatoes, stuffing from a box, canned vegetables, gravy from a jar or packet, and pre-made pies. Start with fresh ingredients and cook everything from scratch, using only those foods grown organically.
If the idea of cooking every side dish from scratch, including the spicy filling for your pumpkin pies, overwhelms you, minimize the tasks using foods grown organically and minimally processed.
Many canned foods, such as pie filling, don't require preservatives; the canning process serves as a natural preservative. Look for canned or frozen vegetables that are organically grown and processed without added preservatives, and use fresh ingredients wherever possible.
Your feast is filled with natural foods grown organically and free of preservatives. It's only right that such a meal is paired with beverages of equally high standards.
Growing grapes for wine or grains for beer isn't much different than other types of farming. The growers deal with pests and diseases that may negatively affect their yields. They opt to use either chemicals or organic methods for controlling pests and disease.
The labels for beer and wine tell you what ingredients are used to produce the final product, and if the USDA recognizes the product as organic. You may have to search for organic beverages, but if you're serving organic foods, you’ll want the drinks to be free of chemicals as well.
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Are you looking to broaden your horizons this holiday season with a truly memorable winter vacation? Whether you’re looking for a holiday vacation during Christmas or New Year’s week, there are some fabulous destinations where you and your family can have fun and create lasting memories.
Here some of the best destination getaways for the holiday season:
Walt Disney World
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and the gang really know how to celebrate the holidays. In November and December, the events calendar at Walt Disney World in Orlando is packed with a variety of special events that appeal to young and old. Heading the list is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which has faux “snow” falling on Main Street, complimentary Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, a Santa appearance, Christmas carols, and a fireworks display. Other events include the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, Holiday Sleigh Ride, Candlelight Processional, and Hollywood Holly-Day Parade.
With the smell of gingerbread wafting through the air and delicious treats like bratwurst, roasted chicken, and Gluhwein (wine served warm with cinnamon and other seasonings), German Christmas markets are one of the best ways in the world to get you in a holiday mood. If you yearn for a real traditional Christmas market atmosphere, Germany is the place to find it. Better still, you can purchase handmade Christmas gifts such as woodcarvings, candles, and toys. Some of the biggest and best Christmas markets are in Berlin, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, and Nuremburg.
New York City
Few places in the world put you in the holiday mood like New York City and its plethora of holiday events, performances, decorations, and shopping options. From ice-skating at Rockefeller Center to window-shopping at world-renowned department stores, New York City offers non-stop fun and excitement from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. Among the more popular events are the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show featuring the Rockettes, the Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet, Handel’s Messiah performed by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center.
Sun Valley, Idaho
A ski resort town in the central part of Idaho favored by celebrities like Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, and Jamie Lee Curtis, Sun Valley celebrates the holidays with parties, ski races, tree lighting, and caroling. Every year in early December, there’s a free lighting and caroling party at the Ketchum Town Plaza in Ketchum with free ice skating, hot chocolate, cookies, and an appearance by Santa, who arrives on a fire engine. For outdoor recreation fun, the Sun Valley Resort offers ice-skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. The Nutcracker on Ice, a world-class skating show, has a performance at the resort’s on-site rink.
New Hampshire Polar Express
The beautiful White Mountains in New Hampshire are the setting for the Polar Express Train Ride, which departs each December from two locations. The evening train ride, based on the The Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg, includes elves and Santa Claus. The trains depart from the villages of Lincoln and North Conway. An extremely popular attraction, it’s wise to inquire as early as September for tickets.
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