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Letter from Europe: Back To California With Goodbye Lambo, Hello Nissan Rogue Sport, Lexus, Toyota Camry, BMW Driver Thoughts And Audi Driver Bashing


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By Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
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August 31, 2018; After various adventures with Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maserati's It was time to come back to Earth in sunny Belvedere.

Nissan’s 2018.5 Rogue Sport SV AWD was waiting outside the door with a welcome from the PR chief and two bottles of water. Nice touch. Must admit to having a very soft spot for the Rogue. Will never forget the Nissan folks in Hungary who let me have one for our trip to Austria and to Slovenia. It never missed a beat taking three people and all their luggage for thousands of miles.


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The latest Rouge coming in at 28 thousand dollars is a more powerful with a 2 litter DOHC 4 cylinders engine providing 141 horsepower. Felt a lot more to be honest.

Regular readers know by now that I make a point of improving on the official fuel consumption and sure enough this time-cruising at a steady 65miles per hour 32-33 mpg was the norm for me.


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It is a shortened restyled version of the highly popular Rogue crossover. The CVT driving in my case four wheels worked just fine and the 18.5 Rogue truly had all the latest gizmos from bluetooth connectivity to satellite radio plus the all important back-up camera. Without all the “techie” stuff it is a bargain at 25 thousand dollars and should be everyone shopping list looking for a small, well designed SUV.

The AWD is only necessary in places like Lake Tahoe in the Winter, otherwise the 2WD is perfectly adequate. With no disrespect to the Rogue even my good friends at Nissan will admit that it isn’t a supercar in the 200 miles per hour sense.

Must admit that August ’18 was crazy busy even by standards. Writing articles and also finishing my new book which will publish early October. 208 pages, all color I think it will be a success especially as it is limited to 499 copies. 120 have already been pre-sold so if you would like to secure a copy e-mail me at andrewfrankl@me.com. Price : 50 dollars.


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Moving swiftly on I had a great time at Pebble Beach. Luckily I was at the wheel of 2018 Lexus. Not only was it excellent it was also THE car to have at Pebble.For over 20 years Lexus have been the official of the Pebble Beach resort so getting it during this weekend was an absolute blessing.


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For the record cruising at a steady 70 miles at hour in ECO mode I got 29 miles per gallon. As you would expect from Lexus it has the highest Government 5-star rating for the all-important roll-over test. This is crucial, in fact for many years Volvo were the only car company able to claim this.

Now for something completely different. When you read it have a think.When did you last see a Lexus driver cutting in and driving in an aggressive manner? Chances are probably never. Somehow it goes with the territory. I know from bitter experience that rich school mums in particular drive their BMW SUVs like race cars in order to get little Jack and Jill to the school on time. Maybe they should leave a little bit earlier.

But they are angels compared to Audi drivers who are the worst. Not just here but in Europe as well.


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Now a twist to the story. After the Lexus I have received for test a 4 door Toyota Camry XSE V6 sedan. Apart from the chache of driving a Lexus and getting better treatment from valets the truth of the matter is that the Camry is better! For less money. Considerably so. I made a list of all the things that were wrong with the Lexus and hey presto these were all corrected in the Camry.


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The fiddly little pad to find a radio station-gone.The plug for the iPhone that was hidden in the depth of the glove box-gone. It is now within easy reach. The switch for the gas tank-where is should be as is the brake. Add to this the brilliant new screen and you are really in business. On top of everything else the brilliant red needles on the speedo and the fuel gauge-a massive welcome. I don’t have to take off my polarised sunglasses any longer.


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The one thing I am sure Toyota corporation is working on must be the engine. An official government rating for fuel economy of 5 out of 10 with the same for smog rating we all know the company can do better. It will be fascinating to see the developments concerning the company's 500 million dollar investment in Uber. With over 200 milliion cars on the road I am not quite sure how it will work any more than I have a clue as to what will happen to the 300 million cars but time will tell.


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The idea of a self-drive car turning up outside does have a certain appeal, let’s see how it will work in reality. Before I forget the XSE sells for 38 thousand dollars but I am certain with some negotiating skills you can probably get it for 35.

One thing is for sure-you will like it.