Steppin’ Out With the Nissan Murano

Summer road trips lead to many new experiences.  No matter the destination, the Nissan Murano arrives in style with performance and a spacious interior fit for all types of fun.

Cruising the streets of my town I found myself right at home, literally, in the Nissan Murano.  Seeing Muranos driving around western Kentucky, namely Paducah, I was curious what all the fuss was about.  My cousin owns a Murano and LOVES it.  So what makes it tick?

Nissan North America, Inc.’s headquarters being located in Franklin, TN brings the brand regional bragging rights.  Rogues, Rogue Sports, and Muranos dot the landscape like junebugs in June around these parts.  After driving the Nissan Murano, I now know why.

Assembled on the same line as the Nissan Frontier and Nissan TITAN trucks, the Murano hails from the Canton, MS plant.  Its design and “sculptural” body sides are trademark on the 2018. Details like the boomerang-style headlights and taillights make it easy to identify day or night. Its jet-inspired roof-line provides balance as one glances from the roof rack to the 18″ wheels.

Murano murals


Murano full front


Murano rear view


Murano tail and fin

All 2018 Muranos come with Nissan’s flagship technology package, NissanConnect.  Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and 8 inch color display anchor the dash.  Beef up the experience with options like an eleven speaker BOSE® audio system.

Murano full dash

Ample head, side and leg room for all five passengers allows everyone from babies to basketball stars comfort in the cabin. The large, sweeping windshield gives one the feeling of captain-of-the-seas as sight lines are clear.  Rear sight lines are less prominent with this cabin design.

Storage is a no-brainer with 67 cu. ft of cargo room with the second row seats flat.  32 cu. ft with them up and a 60/40 split configuration ready to be engaged.

Murano back seat


Murano full cargo


Murano 60_40 split

Four trims, S, SV, SL and Platinum allow for safety options through Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility system that mitigate the rear sight lines like Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and the Intelligent Around View® Monitor.   In addition, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (FEB) Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) balance the Murano’s size with information at the driver’s fingertips.  Cameras top off at four and radar sensors three for the complete safety trifecta.

The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine produces 260 horses and 240 lb-ft of torque. Its Advanced XTronic transmission senses situations and supplies the needed mechanical response to put drivers at ease whether the drive is around town or becomes a road trip.

21/28 mpg makes the Murano easy on the wallet.  After all, those babies and basketball stars need to be fed right?  I’d recommend Kirchoff’s Bakery and Deli  and The Mellow Mushroom if you’re in Paducah.

Murano balcony

The Nissan Murano begins and ends at $30,800 and $42,230 respectively, in FWD.

AWD brings price points of $32,200 to $43,830.

Options may be added, see Nissan’s website for more details on the Murano.

Next time you’re steppin’ out on the town, yours or mine, step into a Nissan Murano.

You’ll feel right at home.


All-New 2018 Chevy Traverse Joins the Pack

The full-size crossover SUV segment has a newly re-designed pack member in the Chevrolet Traverse.

With a starting price of less than $30,000 it is being noticed by those seeking roomy comfort for humans and all their “stuff”.  An overall five-star safety rating and seating for seven/eight via three rows anchors it as a strong competitor to the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and the Volkswagen Atlas.

Best-in-class maximum cargo space of 98.2 cu. ft. houses the “stuff”.  Chevrolet is first in the industry to install a front center air bag in the Traverse complimenting the noise-cancelling cabin with the safety consumers demand.

2018 Chevy Traverse front wheel

Photo by Jules Stayton

3.6L V6 power moves this contender down the street with a 9-speed automatic transmission producing 310 horsepower @6800 rpm with 266 lb. ft. of torque.  It’s not your grandma’s ride…it has a presence and power to back it up.

Seven trim levels: L, LS, LT, RS, Premier, Redline and High Country give enough variety for even the most discerning soccer Mom/Dad.  An 18/27 mpg fights well in the class for efficiency and adding the 2.0L Turbo in the RS trim bumps it to 20/26 mpg.

2018 Chevy Traverse interior 2

Photo by Jules Stayton

Every husky loves to romp in the snow and this pack member is no different.  4 x 4/snow, off-road available on AWD, and tow/haul with an optional trailering package makes bringing all the necessities a breeze.

2018 Chevy Traverse full Las Vegas


2018 Chevy Traverse AWD emblem rear

Photos by Jules Stayton

Additional options include Smart Slide® seating, hidden locked storage behind the Chevrolet MyLink touch screen, rear cross-traffic alert,  lane-change alert with side blind-zone alert and teen driver technology. Teens must buckle in before using the radio, all available safety features automatically engage, and an in-vehicle report card is recorded.  Parents access the pin-protected report at their leisure. The pups don’t have a chance…

Chevy Traverse with Jule

Tech options continue with Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, optional OnStar® 4G LTE Wi-Fi® for up to seven devices, myChevrolet Mobile App and Rear Seat Reminder round out reasons to consider the Traverse.

2018 Chevy Traverse interior

Photo by Jules Stayton

The pack takes care of itself, so does Chevy through Chevrolet Complete Care.  Standard on all 2018 models,  it includes maintenance visits, 5-year/60,000 mile warranty, 24-hour roadside assistance with courtesy transportation, 5 years of standard OnStar® Basic service, and a limited trial of OnStar® Guidance.

2018 Chevy Traverse interior 3

Photo by Jules Stayton

Impressed with the ease of handling and clear visibility all around from the alpha position, heading to the third-row seat is simple with captain’s chairs flanking the front seats.  Space for tall drivers, like myself, is ample.

Running with the pack requires loyalty and consistent contribution to advancing its agenda.

Bingo. Chevrolet Traverse does both nicely.

The Traverse is built in Lansing, Michigan.

$995 destination fee.



Field Trippin’ with the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

The end of the school year brings many rewards.  Field trips are one such luxury.

Volkswagen has scheduled their rewarding field trips via JETTAHAUS.  Hosting this weekend are Chicago and Miami.  Next week New York and Los Angeles get the nod.  No matter the venue, taking the All-New 2019 Jetta for a spin scores high on any test.

I had the honor of motoring in the Jetta during its Chicago event.  Holding an innovative release at the Zhou B Art Center was genius. Art and automobiles, what a combo!  

Jetta at Zhou B

Photo by Jules Stayton

Arriving, I was greeted by Mark Gilles, representative for Volkswagen. Salutations were exchanged as we waltzed toward the lineup of 2019 Jettas on hand.  It’s always important to know who’s the boss on a field trip. 

Standing in a straight line, like any good field trip attendee, the Jettas came in a rainbow of colors and trim packages. Mark and I agreed that the “classic line” of this re-design hit it out-of-the-ballpark in the crowded compact car segment.  

2019 Jetta lineup

Photo by Jules Stayton

The S model starts at a conservative $18,545 so I chose a beautiful Tornado Red to make my debut through the Chicago field trip route.  30 city/40 hwy mpg never looked so good. 

Red Jetta line

Photo by Jules Stayton

Options are added to round-out the SE, SEL, SEL Premium and R-Line trim levels. Larger tires, panoramic sunroof, leather, blind-spot monitor, Beats Audio® and the VW Digital Cockpit are just a few of the available luxuries that customize the Jetta to each customer’s vibe.  Click here for a full list of trims and options. 

Jetta SEL

R line with art 2019 Jetta

R line emblem 2019 Jetta

R line interior 2019 Jetta


Photos by Jules Stayton

The “People First” limited warranty draws consumers with a 6 Year/72,000 mile security blanket that is Bumper-to-Bumper and Transferable.

VW People First Warranty

Photo by Jules Stayton

Driving down Lake Shore Drive amidst the museums and sporting venues was a dream with the support of the 1.4 -liter turbocharged direct injection TSI™ four-cylinder engine.  It is designed to allow higher torque at lower RPMs that adds up to more power and leaner fuel consumption. 

The ride was smooth amidst the pot-holes left over from the recently shed Chicago winter. 148 hp was more than enough in the 8-speed automatic transmission of the Jetta in tow, also available in a 6-speed manual. 

The “driver focused” interior boasts 10 settings in the ambient light package for just the right mood.  Settings for up to 4 drivers can be stored.  8 and 10-inch navigation screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make each Jetta like home for its owner.

My first car was a Volkswagen.  Memories were recalled as I put the Jetta through its paces around the Shedd Aquarium, Benton Harbor, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum.


Photos by Jules Stayton

Like any good student, the Jetta was a winner and behaved beautifully under my tutelage.  It was responsive to demands and efficient in its handling and quickness in and out of parking areas.

A wonderful treat was where the JETTAHAUS event was held.  The Zhou B Art Center went all out with not only Jetta displays, but pinball machines, vintage video games, music, food and fun.  Sure to be a success, cars mingled with admirers young and old.

I’d like to say I’m somewhere in the middle…boy was it fun coloring on a car!


Go drive a Jetta for yourself this weekend in Chicago and Miami.  Next weekend jet to New York or Los Angeles for your fix. Details can be found at

Sign me up for a trip with the all new 2019 Jetta anytime, it was pure joy, even in the rain…unlike some end-of-the-year field trips.

Alfas Galore…and More

There’s no denying its prom season.  Limousines, tuxedos, beautiful dresses, flowers, dinners out and dancing ’til dawn.

Alfa Romeo displayed all its finery in prime prom style at the inaugural 2018 meeting of the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).  MAMA Secretary, Kelly Enright, outdid herself with beautiful tables and centerpieces complete with information about the Alfa Romeo “Prom King”, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

MAMA Alfa Romeo centerpiece

Photo by Jules Stayton

The venue was chosen carefully for this shindig, Collectors’ Car Garage in Chicago, IL. Preserve your treasured auto in a climate controlled, dustless environment.  Members enjoy social events, coordinated drives and breakfast events…sounds like prom!  Should your baby need detailing, an in-house staff is in place upon request. Locations in New York and Chicago provide patrons with shelter from those severe winters the Big Apple and Windy City are known for.

Alfa Romeo lineup

Photo by Jules Stayton

Pictures are a big prom deal.  The flashes were flying when classic Alfa Romeos were gracing the display area.  Appetites were whet with a 1969 Alfa Romeo GTV and 1986 Alfa Romeo Duetto present.  The bevy of historical Alfas brought realism to the fact that current day Alfa Romeo models are award-winning and as popular as their grandfathers were.

Photos by Jules Stayton – 1969 Alfa Romeo GTV

Photos by Jules Stayton – 1986 Alfa Romeo Duetto

Introduced by the MAMA principal/president herself, Jill Ciminillo, Ben Lyon, Head of Product Marketing for Alfa Romeo spoke highly of the “Prom King”.  The Stelvio was named after a twelve-mile pass in the Italian alps.  The fastest production luxury SUV around the Nurburgring is another jewel in the crown of the “King”.   A 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and 505 horsepower add to the sparkle and finish adorning the crown with all the other added amenities of the Quadrifoglio. The “Queen” was present, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, but bowed to the “King” at this meet-up.  She was glorious in white by the way…


Photo by Jules Stayton

Not to be left out, the luxury interior of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio…Alcantara 12-way front seats with thigh support and cockpit-like console and dash.

Photos by Jules Stayton – Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio interior

Signs of spring abound.

If you have an adolescent attending a prom, you know how important this rite of passage is in the life of a teenager.

The significant moments don’t end because of age.

Just ask those in attendance at the festivities in Chicago. Seeing fifty years of Alfas…that ranks right up there with prom.

The Stelvio is assembled at the FCA Cassino Plant, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy.

Stelvio pricing starts at $79,995.

The Quadrifoglio,  as pictured above, hovers near $93,000.

The Bullitt Goes to Washington

The original 1968 Bullitt Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the police drama “Bullitt” makes its way to Washington next week.

Much like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, Sean Kiernan’s treasure has the potential to bring people who wouldn’t normally be “car people” to their knees on the National Mall next week with an idealistic view of history as seen through the eyes of car lovers everywhere.

April 17-23 marks the calendar for east coast dreamers to see their dream car under Plexiglas along with four other iconic cars that have made their appearance at this years 2018 edition of Cars at the Capital display in the month of April.

A 1985 Modena Spyder California from the movie “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” kicked off the celebration.  You might remember it as I do as Cameron’s Dad’s car that was “borrowed” for the day to deliver three precocious teens to the City of Chicago for a day of playing hooky.  It was made for the movie modeling it after the Ferrari.

The fifteen-millionth Ford, a 1927 Model T shows a bit of history itself on the Mall with its hand-stamped 15000000.  As one of the last off the line, Edsel and Henry Ford drove it off to signal the end of production and celebrate its success.

So far, none of the above mentioned history-makers have I had the privilege of riding in or any like them…but this next one…sign me up!  The 1984 Plymouth Voyager minivan in all it’s wood-paneled glory graces the stage too.  Dodge Caravan joined the family as well.  It’s original 12,000 miles dating from the release in 1983 make this one unique Plymouth and very familiar to visitors.

Giving a nod to our military, a 1918 Cadillac Type 57 may help some hearken back to the days before the Jeep became the standard military vehicle.  As the only remaining Type 57 it is sure to thrill car enthusiasts at the end of April on the Mall as the last entry into “Cars at the Capital” for 2018.

For me, the Bullitt is the draw if I make my way to DC next week.  Ford has released a “new” 50th Anniversary Bullitt for 2019 pictured above as seen at the Chicago Auto Show in February.

The Kiernan Bullitt is estimated to be worth over 4 million dollars in its un-restored original condition with movie modifications and all.

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Limited-edition will be throwing back 480 horsepower when it is released later this summer.  The only wonder in this buy is whether to go with Highland Green or Shadow Black.  Its Shelby GT350 intake is a no-brainer and top speed of 163 mph cements the deal.





Photos by Jules Stayton

Clean lines and hardly a patch adorns the body, save the faux fuel tank cover.  The 2019 Bullitt makes its own “new” statement.  Power, performance and history rolled together to make the next generation of  Mustang lovers proud to drive an icon, be it fifty years old or current day.

Thank you Steve McQueen for making history with that memorable green monster.

An even bigger thanks to Sean Kiernan and his dad for preserving a legendary automobile that means so much to so many.

Go to Washington next week with the same eyes as Mr. Smith did…open and willing to see the best…this time in the shape of a Mustang…and the cherry blossoms aren’t bad either.


The Bullitt will sell for $46,595.  Destination and delivery – $900.



Access by BMW Launches in Nashville

Today BMW launched its automobile subscription service Access by BMW.

Nashville, TN is the headquarters for the pilot program that will include two levels to choose from that allows unlimited switching of vehicles during any given 32-day membership cycle.

A $575 joining fee applies unless you are one of the lucky 50 to sign-up for the service first.  Insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance are included in the membership fee that will be fulfilled by local dealerships.

The Legend tier chimes in at $2000/month and includes the following:

Sedans:  530e xDrive iPerformance and 540i xDrive 35i

SAVs:  X5 xDrive 35i

Coupes/Convertibles:  440i Coupe, M2 Coupe, 440i Covertible


$3700/month moves you up to the BMW M tier including:

Sedans:  M5

SAVs:  X5M, X6M

Coupes/Convertibles:  M4 Convertible

Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA and Region Americas (Photo courtesy of BMW)

Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA and Region Americas stated,  “As customers continue to explore the growing mobility market, service-related offerings are becoming more in demand. With Access by BMW, our members will enjoy the freedom of personal mobility with access across a broad range of our highly emotional vehicles” .

In addition he commented,  “Subscription-based services are of emerging interest for our customers, and we’re excited to be offering a mobility service to meet their individual and evolving needs.”

Find out more at:



Making Music With the Audi TT

Audi strikes a chord with fun-loving consumers via its symphony of speed in the Audi TT.

The four-ring symbol for Audi AG is an aria in itself that represents the 1932 merge of four manufacturers: Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer.  From the Type K to the TT the decades-old German manufacturer has been a leader in innovative ideas from left-hand drive to turbo-charged.

One such feature is the quattro® four-wheel drive system. Developed over thirty years ago for the racing branch of Audi, the quattro® has withstood the test of time and brings crisp handling and smooth performance to all Audi models.  Even sunny weather is a treat when the all-wheel-drive system is constantly updating.  Drive-selectable controls give an even more personalized experience.

Audi TT RS

Photo by Jules Stayton

The TT oozes racing as one takes the controls.  Firmly bolstered sport seats anchor and allow full performance driving for the conductor of this concert.  The focus is the road and what’s ahead.  What better place to be…

Speed courtesy of a four-cylinder TFSI®  (Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection) turbocharged 2.0 liter engine producing 220 horsepower with 258 lb-ft of torque drives the Audi TT.  Click the link above to see it in action via YouTube video. Developed in 2001, see the evolution of the TFSI® in this video from Audi.

A lean 26 mpg is music to the ears of potential drivers.  Whether around town or on the racetrack Audi brings a product worth consideration.

The base TT records a $43,950 price tag that includes an automatic transmission, LED tail lights, dual exhaust, adaptive rear spoiler and 18″ wheels.  Twelve-way adjustable seats with a three-spoke flat bottom sport-steering wheel and paddle shifters rounds out the cockpit.

Other trim levels include the TTS coupe $52,950, TT RS Coupe $64,900, and the TT Roadster $47,450. Add a $975 destination fee to each.

The RS Coupe is the most powerful TT with an all new five-cylinder engine producing 400 horsepower.  Joining Audi’s Sport model line, the 2.5-liter TFSI® delivers. 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph make it a challenging competitor to the 2019 Mercedes A-class just revealed in Amsterdam this spring.

Audi TT

Photo by Jules Stayton

The TT I drove on the closed course at the Autobahn CC just outside Chicago,  was an ultra-responsive speed machine that fulfilled the needs of the track at hand.  Littered with cones, the race was against the clock and the car’s capabilities to maneuver the staccato course before me.  Dismissing the brake and managing the surge of power revealed where  skill unfolded.  Of the ten participants, I managed to be in the top three…another great place to be.

Audi TT front

Photo by Jules Stayton

Audi TT fuel

Photo by Jules Stayton

Audi TT rear

Photo by Jules Stayton

The track, highway or open road is your oyster and can be directed by one of four driving modes:  comfort, auto, dynamic or individual.  Manual transmissions provide an even more personalized experience. MacPherson struts and an aluminum sub-frame paired with a four-link rear suspension equal a lighter and balanced drive.

All the bells and whistles you can imagine are available via Audi’s MMI® (Multi Media Interface).  The Audi Virtual cockpit’s digital instrument cluster displays squarely in front of the driver via a 12.3 inch high-resolution screen.

Audi TT RS interior

Photo by Jules Stayton

24 hours of Le Mans isn’t a race most of us will ever experience either in-person or on television but you can have a taste of Le Mans through the Audi TT and it’s TFSI® engine right out of your driveway…drift away with the sounds of performance…it will be music  to your ears.