RDX steals the show in the snow


Courtesy of Acura
The 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD can handle all variations in road surface and traction.

It was approximately 4 p.m. when the snow began falling in earnest as we drove on Interstate 5 north of Redding, climbing toward Mount Shasta City (elevation 3,600 feet). Within 20 minutes, we were restricted to driving in the right lane, where the trucks kept the snow from sticking; there were 4 inches of snow in the left lane.

We rarely get a chance to test cars in the extreme conditions for which they were designed, but in this case we were happy to be driving the all-new for 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec. We were about to find out if the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive could do what the brochure touted: automatically handle all variations in road surface and traction. Fortunately, we had read about the new features before starting the trip from Los Altos to Oregon, so we knew to switch the selectable traction mode to Snow and switch off the active cruise control.

The good and bad aspects of special-purpose bikeways


Chris Hoeber/Special to the Town Crier
The protected bike lane on Castro Street in Mountain View has its positives and negatives.

Last November I reviewed the concept of protected bikeways that embody a different philosophy from the guiding principle that the best way to achieve cycling safety is for bicyclists to behave like motorists and share the road. I have traveled in Northern Europe and seen the extensive network of protected bikeways, and it is hard to argue with success.

But the European bikeways are the product of years of evolution, and not every local attempt meets the same high standards. Using the protected lane on Castro Street in Mountain View as an example, following are some of the factors that must be considered when designing a bikeway.

Today's cars have tuned out the tune-up

I frequently get asked, “When’s my next tune-up?” I then have to ask the customer what kind of car they have, what year it is and how many miles. I need to know this because most modern cars do not require tune-ups.

New Toyota Sienna provides all-purpose family transportation


Courtesy of Toyota
The new Toyota Sienna packs nearly 300 horsepower.

For all-around practicality as transportation for a growing family, we don’t believe there is any better choice than a minivan, and among the best in terms of performance and trim is the 2019 Toyota Sienna.

What we drove: 2019 Toyota Sienna, five-door, seven-passenger minivan.

Small vehicles offer big thrills


Courtesy of Fiat
The new Fiat 500X Lounge comes with a 180-horsepower engine with 175 pound-feet of torque.

We recently drove two new vehicles that are practical and fun at the same time – the Volkswagen Golf GTI SE and Fiat 500X Lounge.

They are two examples of the several models in the ultracompetitive compact crossover category of automobiles. Spirited and peppy, in a size that’s easy to maneuver and reasonably economical to buy and own but configured to handle a reasonable amount of cargo, these vehicles are perfect for the young person in college or just starting a career.

Leading the charge on battery replacement

One of the maintenance activities handy people often still want to do on their own is change their car’s battery.

I have no problem with people trying do-it-yourself projects, but approximately a quarter of the time a new battery doesn’t actually fix the problem. In these circumstances, we usually end up discovering that a light was left on, a component is causing a draw or the car has some sort of parasitic draw.


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