2017 Jaguar F-TYPE SVR

2017 Jaguar F-TYPE SVR

Episode 3627
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The Jaguar F-TYPE really kicked off the recent Jaguar renaissance in style, but, it hasn’t been sitting idle since, as Jaguar has been consistently adding more and more performance into the mix. This F-TYPE SVR is just the latest.  So we decided we’d better hurry up and enjoy it before Jaguar ups the ante even more. 

The Jaguar F-TYPE, the best muscle car built outside of America, gets the Special Vehicle Operations treatment for 2017, creating the even more muscular F-TYPE SVR. 

So, there’s a lot more here than just the typical sport package upgrade. Yes, more power, but also less weight; aero add-ons to increase downforce, and naturally a revised suspension to take advantage of all of the above. 

Venturing onto Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway in this animal is like cuddling with a pit-bull; things are warm and fuzzy at first, but you never should let your guard down, as it has the potential to go really wrong really quick. 

It also sounds truly beastly, one of the best automotive sounds to emerge in recent years; its popping and crackling seemingly echoing all around the track and deep within our souls. 

And boy is it fast, though also somewhat sketchy; with an undeniable pucker factor, which makes it as fun as you’re willing to push it. 

It’s incredibly responsive as well, whether you’re ready for it or not. This Coupe does feel more solid than the last F-TYPE Roadster we tested, and you can easily feel the extra grip and power provided by the SVR upgrades. 

But as gnarly as it can get, it’s also very easy to catch when things start to get away from you, thanks to steering that is super light, direct, and predictable. Torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive aids as well. It may be a Jaguar, but it feels nothing like your typical Euro sport coupe.

Around the track, its true 8-speed automatic transmission didn’t hamper it a bit. Though as great as things sound outside, the cockpit remains mostly Jaguar solemn, keeping us from easily hearing our shift points. 

The auto certainly helps with acceleration. Just start feeding in the power, and the Jag squats down and leaps off the line; hitting 60 in 3.3-seconds. It’s one of the easiest to launch big horsepower cars we’ve driven. 

We kept the throttle open, letting the transmission shift when it pleased, and the ¼-mile was over in 11.6-seconds at 123 miles-per-hour. 

And of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t get into what makes all of that happen. The F-TYPE’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is still here, but its managing software has been recalibrated; resulting in a 25–horsepower boost to 575. Torque climbs 14 to 516. 

The SVR’s exterior does indeed look more aggressive than before, though it remains very elegant, a gentlemen racer if you will. 

Those added aero treatments include a tweaked front fascia, diverters in the wheel arches to channel additional air out of the fender vents, and a big active rear wing. 

Many of those performance extras are carbon-fiber; to help your SVR stand out from common F-TYPE affair. You’ll see it on the roof, front chin spoiler, hood, side vents, and rear diffuser.

And of course the F-TYPE’s pop-out door handles still exude cool. Oh, and that titanium exhaust that sounds so great, it also shaves 35-lbs. of weight. 

Most notably, as great as this SVR feels on the track, it still feels even more fun in “relaxed and profile” mode. No harsh suspension here; you’ll enjoy every minute behind the wheel. 

Jaguar has also left plenty of luxury touches inside for you and your lucky passengers to enjoy and be coddled by. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 23-Highway, and 18–Combined. So there’s a poor Energy Impact Score thanks to use of 18.3-barrels of oil yearly and CO2 emissions of 8.3–tons.

This is a big boy toy, so of course it comes with a big boy price, $126,945. If that’s too much, there are a whole host of lesser F-TYPES available starting at $62,395.

Not too many years ago, it looked like motorized Jaguars were indeed an endangered species. But thanks to Jag re-introducing cars like the F-TYPE back into the environment, their population is resurging. The F-TYPE has been a true work in progress since it arrived, and not in a bad way. Rather, in a way that keeps us enjoying every one we drive, like this 2017 F-TYPE SVR; yet also looking forward to what they’ll come up with next. 


  • Engine: 5.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 575
  • Torque: 516 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 11.6 seconds @ 123 mph
  • EPA: 15 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 18.3 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.3 tons/yr
2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient

Episode 4313
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.

With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.

There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.

There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.

Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.

Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.

In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.

Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.

The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.

Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.

At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.

So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!

CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.

The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.

But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.

But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.

As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 196
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
  • MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: e-CVT
  • Torque: 139 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
  • EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined
2024 Lexus UX

2023 Lexus UX 250h

More Fun Than Premium, But That’s Just Fine With Us

Episode 4312
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Entry-level models are always tough for luxury brands to pull off well. You can’t deliver the full experience, but you have to give buyers enough of a taste so they’ll eventually trade up for more. Well one marque, Lexus, has been very successful at doing just that, and this week we look at their latest starter SUV, the UX.

This Lexus UX arrived for 2019 as the brand’s smallest SUV yet. Priced in the mid-30s, it delivered a heck of a lot of the Lexus experience for a modest amount of money. And with capable handling, easy maneuvering, and thoughtful features, it was an affordable entry-level luxury ute that was easy to love. For 2023, Lexus makes this little premium runabout even better.

For starters, the UX is strictly hybrid now as the previously standard naturally aspirated 2.0-liter is no more. And while the Hybrid used to be exclusively all-wheel-drive, Lexus has now made a front-drive version available with AWD an option.

Lexus Hybrid Drive pairs 2 electric motors to a 2.0-liter I4 for a total combined output of 181-horsepower. All-wheel-drive versions add an additional motor in back to drive the rear wheels.

Front-wheel-drive versions get an improved Government Fuel Economy Rating of 43-City, 41-Highway, and 42-Combined; all-wheel-drive versions remain 41-City, 38-Highway, and 39-Combined. We averaged 39.9 miles-per-gallon of Regular in our all-wheel-drive tester.

That’s a much better than average Energy Impact Score of 7.6-barrels of oil consumed yearly with 3.7-tons of CO2 emissions.

If there was any shortfall of the original UX, it was that it was a tad noisier, with perhaps not quite as refined a ride as what we were used to from Lexus. Well, for ’23, they have enhanced the body structure with more welds, and quieted down road noise with new tires. One thing that didn’t need changing is that its small size makes it a real joy to whip in and out of traffic…

…or the cones of our handling course at Mason Dixon Dragway, stopping just short of sport sedan territory with quick steering and excellent feedback.

Overall handling is very neutral, with minimal body roll, and it seems to know where you want to go before you move the steering wheel.

That’s courtesy of the F Sport Handling package which adds an Active Variable Suspension with performance dampers, as well as additional bracing for the steering system.

On the acceleration front, there’s a nice little jump off the line, but economy is definitely the priority, with a slow and steady trek to 60 of 8.1-seconds; though that is 2/10ths quicker than the Hybrid we tested in 20-19.

No fake CVT shifting, just consistent high-revving throughout the ¼-mile; though there are paddle shifters on the wheel to select through 10 simulated gears if you choose. Our best time was 16.2-seconds at 87 miles-per-hour.

A good firm pedal and ample feedback made panic braking above par for a luxury utility. Some nosedive, but stops of 115-feet from 60 miles-per-hour were stable and consistent.

Despite being the brand’s entry-level SUV, it doesn’t look much like a traditional utility vehicle, appearing more like a sleek overachieving hatchback, especially with F Sport Design upgrades.

Visibility is somewhat compromised by the minimal greenhouse, but that’s what we have cameras and sensors for these days.

With the F Sport Handling Package’s heavily bolstered sport seats, the front cabin experience is not quite the plush high-end Lexus we’re used to either. Still, we loved it.

Granted, rear seat room is really only adequate for pre-teens; but the total interior experience is well above typical entry-level expectations.

Thankfully, the UX joins the rest of the Lexus lineup in eliminating the frustrating Remote Touch Interface and upgrading to a touchscreen in standard 8 or optional 12.3-inch sizes.

Pricing starts at $36,490 and reaches $43,920 with F Sport Handling. All-wheel drive is now a $1,400 option with all trims.

While it’s an even better gateway into the Lexus SUV family than before, with its considerably handling performance and hatchback vibe, it does seem to be more of a global or urban effort than one designed for wide-open American highways. But that’s okay with us too. The Lexus UX is a fun little utility with great fuel economy, and just enough of the Lexus treatment to make you want to come back…and step up…for more.


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.0-liter I4
  • Horsepower: 181
  • 1/4 Mile: 16.2-seconds at 87 mph
  • EPA: 41 City / 38 Highway / 39 Combined
  • Transmission: CVT
  • 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 115 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 39.9 MPG (Regular)