Life in an Enclave

The new 2018 Buick Enclave is a fun and comfortable driving machine.

High technology abounds in the Enclave, as this General Motors 7-seater sports a host of cool family car features. Take for example, the rolling wi-fi hotspot that the Enclave offers, capable of handling up to 7 devices, one for the driver’s console, and six more for all the passengers who can fit in the SUV to enjoy independent web streaming, online gaming, or emailing.

A second-row moon roof, power rear seats and 8-inch infotainment screen are just some of the added tech and comfort items in the luxurious Enclave.


The Premium edition of the 2018 Buick Enclave also features an optional, very-neat birds’-eye 360-degree view of the area around the vehicle, providing a point-of-view high above of curbs and low-laying hazards.

How they manage that view is still a mystery to us.



March 18, 2018 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Celebrating One Million Video Views and Cruising Top-down in a Yellow VW Beetle

We’re celebrating thefamilycar reaching one million video views, a milestone! As such, some shopping in a VW Beetle convertible with the top down seemed just the thing!

Radiant yellow outside, inside, the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune edition’s passenger compartment is surprisingly wind free.

This V-dub is okay for two tall folks in front, as long as there are just two small folks in back. Four tall adults need to negotiate knee room carefully. Same as it ever was, with all Beetles, of any vintage.

This pretty Dune edition of the 2017 bug will free you of $30,465, about a grand over MSRP. And though it has a cleaner burning, and powerful, turbo-charged engine, it has rather uninspiring fuel economy, 27 MPG combined.

Lastly, TheFamilyCar co-editor, Wayback, aka Dean Adams Curtis, long drove a 1974 gold VW Super Beetle with sunroof, until it wouldn’t go anywhere anymore.  A flash of sun off the chrome of the yellow bug reminds him of those days, his way of celebrating our one million views!

Returning from his revelry, Wayback gives a high five to Volkswagen for continuing their classic model line with the fun looking 2017 VW Beetle Dune.

March 8, 2018 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

Safety features make the 2017 Dodge Durango almost driverless

It will keep getting safer for us all out on the roadways. Here’s one example of the way things are headed, embedded within a new edition of an old family-friendly vehicle, the Durango.

The 2017 Dodge Durango features a host of active safety features that fit into the semi-autonomous level of self-driving cars.

Adaptive Cruise Control with stop capability keeps a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, slowing down to a complete stop when necessary.

Lane keeping assist automatically sees when your vehicle is drifting out of the lane and gently guides the Durango back into the center of the lane.

The Durango’s available all-wheel drive system kicks in to keep the tires in contact with the road even when the driving surface is wet or slippery.



February 22, 2018 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk hits the road

We took the 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk edition onto the wild streets of suburban Sacramento to check out all the cool features of this rugged and very colorful Jeep.

We loved the heated seats and steering wheel.

And what’s not to love about the MySky roof system, which can be totally removed to give front and backseat passengers a view of the trees.

MSRP base price of $26,895

Our tested model topped out at $33,185.

Also, see our vehicle reviews at

February 14, 2018 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

Detroit, Detroit: Motor City Auto Show 2018 Reveals

It took them a while getting around to it, but Nissan’s dancers finally revealed the maker’s future SUV crossover concept, the Xmotion (pronounced “cross motion”) which has no street date.

Nissan’s reveal was one of the few concept cars in Motown when we visited to get a glimpse of the automotive future at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.

Staying with vehicles whose names begin with X for a moment, BMW showed off its upcoming X2, an SUV crossover, a limited number of which will begin becoming available on the automaker’s lots this Spring.


This year’s NAIAS simplified:

2018 featured auto makers pushing the newest flavors of their existing, or retro vehicles.

VW widened its Jetta.

Kia redesigned its Forte.

Ford resurrected its Ranger.

Ford has also brought out a new Mustang inspired by the classic mid-60’s design seen in the movie Bullitt.

Certainly there was a sprinkling of new electric and electrified vehicle, largely from international makers, such as Mercedes’ C350e plug-in hybrid.

Honda’s prototype for a new Insight, a bigger version of the world’s first hybrid car, was a welcome sight.

And from GM’s Super Cruise, to small start-up autonomous player May Mobility EV, the future self-driving vehicle was peeking into our era from the wings, revealing what is ahead.

NAIAS in short. A holding pattern. Cool muscle vehicles. Minuscule forward momentum.


The interior of Nissan’s future SUV crossover concept, the Xmotion revealed recently at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

February 6, 2018 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Pile in for a quick ride…


Read a book while driving? Sure, Cadillac’s hands-free driving system “Super Cruise” is already in cars on our highways. Just look up often while using it, because the system is watching you, and it will warn you if you don’t. Your steering wheel will flash.

Where are we going? Just around our block. In our time neighborhood. Talk about cars today. Right, what’s going on? We’ve been to LA. Seen the show. Shot the video. See it below. (The video’s just 4:40 in length, not 9:12. New editing program error.)

Gems from the auto industry? Here’s a handful, the sustainable options from Hyundai, including hydrogen and plug-in hybrid versions of their Ioniq and Santa Fe models.

New choices in family cars abound — with the newest kids on the block Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Kona — targeting young buyers.

Tons of PHEV, right? Right, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles abounded. And just over the holidays we test drove a fun one, the PHEV Mini Countryman that drives up to 28 miles in electric-only mode.

The Mini full electric version is also available, and the word from corporate is that all the BMW and Mini vehicles will be electric within seven years.

The Renault Mitsubishi Infiniti alliance will have 12 all electric vehicles within five years.

Volvo has committed to all electric vehicle power trains within a similar time frame.

What, we’re done with the LA show already? Yep, time flies in autonomous vehicles. It’ll be cold when you get out. We’ve arrived in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.

Cool. So cool its freezing. There’s that. And there’s the fantastic cars to come.


January 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Designed for Adventure

All-new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 

By Keith Turner

We trekked down and up California, from Sacramento to Venice and back, to test out the all-new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek in real-life active family situations, like taking our bikes to the beach.

We discovered that the Crosstrek, which is built on Subaru’s all-new global platform, offers plenty of room for passengers and cargo with seats for five that fold flat, yet rides quick and smooth like a sedan.

Subaru’s famous all-wheel drive and vehicle stability control make this small SUV a champ in sand or snow and the electric power-assist steering keeps the wheels on track in tight turns.

Negotiating the freeways of Southern California was made easier with the help of the EyeSight Driver Assist technology that keeps the Crosstrek at a safe (adjustable) distance behind the vehicle in front of you. The lane-keeping assist nudges the Crosstrek back into its lane, if it senses you drifting into a neighboring lane.

Combined, these additional safety technologies provided us with the feeling we were in a near self-driving experience.

Fuel mileage is a reasonable 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, and the base MSRP of $26,295 makes this new Subaru a bargain to own.

November 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

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