Putting the Toyota CH-R R-Tuned to the Test at Willow Springs Raceway

When I got the invitation from Toyota to drive the C-HR and its raced-out R-Tuned sibling on track at Willow Springs Raceway, I couldn’t help but jump on the offer, even if it meant getting up well before dawn to make the drive from BMW Test Fest in Palm Springs.

Before we could get into the hot 600-hp racing-spec C-HR, we first eased into our day at the track wheeling the pedestrian CH-R XLE and XLE Premium around Streets of Willow. It made for a great learner vehicle—the 144-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes peak power deep in the powerband at 6,100 rpm. We were able to get the small crossover up to a decent chuff but still have enough time between turns to take instruction from Toyota’s racing drivers.

The road-going Toyota C-HR was the slowest car our friends at Motor Trend tested in 2017, taking an agonizing 10.8 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph—and I had already experienced the compact crossover’s glacial pace firsthand a few months ago. However, I found the C-HR made up for it lack of pace with great chassis control and steering feel—for a crossover.

When it comes time to take a turn, the C-HR handles with remarkable poise. There’s little perceptible lean in the corner and chassis remains easy to control even as the skinnier tires neared their limit. It wasn’t hard to keep the engine humming in its sweet spot as I kept the momentum up through the track. Read more »

Beef and pork meatballs

 

Meatballs will be more juicy, if you add a bowl of green onions.

Ingredients
beef pulp – 200 g
Pork pulp – 300 g

Beef and pork meatballs

wheat bread – 2 slices
garlic – 1 clove
green onions – 50 g Read more »

Quick Take: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC

What was it that prompted me to request the keys to the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport? Was it my inner contrarian challenging my employer’s “No Boring Cars” mantra? Was it my life-long habit of rooting for the underdog? Was it mere morbid curiosity? We may never know, but when I volunteered to write up Mitsu’s best-selling SUV, the looks of smoldering jealousy from coworkers who wished they had put their hand up first were conspicuously absent. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard a snicker or two.

First introduced in 2011, the Outlander Sport was one of the first entrants in the burgeoning subcompact SUV segment, though whether it is properly classified as a compact or a subcompact remains open to debate. Size-wise, it’s kind of a tweener. At the time of introduction, it shared much with the Lancer sedan, including its platform, rakish nose, and cheap, plasticky interior.

A styling refresh in 2016 eliminated the handsome Lancer-like schnozz of which I was so fond, though the short rear overhang and jaunty angle of the rear hatch—my other favorite styling features—remained. For 2018, the Outlander Sport gets reshaped bumpers and an updated interior, with a new center console and touch-screen stereo to complement the nicer steering wheel that came with the 2016 facelift. All the new bits are made of high quality materials, and they stand in bold (and rather unfortunate) contrast to the horrible chintzy plastic that covers the dash and door panels.

Our test car was a top-of-the-line SEL AWC model, which meant it had the 168-horsepower 2.4-liter I-4 engine coupled to a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel-drive. The 2.4-liter makes the Outlander significantly scootier than your average subcompact SUV, though its EPA combined fuel economy estimate is an unbecoming 25 mpg. Compare that to the Honda HR-V’s 29 MPG rating, though to be fair, the HR-V is nowhere near as quick. The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter I-4 in lower-spec Outlander Sports is more frugal—27 MPG—but our colleagues down the hall at Motor Trend likened it to driving with the handbrake on.

I’m one of the few automotive writers who isn’t bothered by CVTs; I like the smooth, shift-free flow of power. That said, there were a couple of occasions I asked the Outlander Sport for a smidge of acceleration and was left empty handed, the transmission refusing to raise the revs until I prodded the gas more deliberately. Senior digital editor Kirill Ougarov, who is more critical of CVTs than I, drove the Outlander Sport as well (because why should I suffer alone?) and said he was impressed with the way it emulated a stepped transmission when he gave it the beans.

Read more »

Muffins with movies – original snack

The recipe for an original snack

For 4 servings:

Ingredients
movies – 190 g
peeled walnuts – 50 g

Muffins with movies – original snack

corn croup – 160 g
corn flour – 30 g
baking powder – 1 tsp. Read more »

Monthly Update for March 2018 – 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test

 

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