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Cars for Latinas to Drive this Fall

By Sue Mead.

Fall is the perfect time to look at the stunning collection of cars for 2017. There are likely to be some better bargains before the 2018 models take over the landscape. We chose four that impress us for their capability and charm; one is a smart compact sedan that also comes as a hatch, and three are in the crossover/SUV utility class that give you a selection of different sizes, prices and powertrains. We put two hybrids in the mix for buyers who are looking for a more environmental-friendly model with increased fuel economy. We hope there is one that fits your needs or that reading about these will spur you on to find the right model to park at your home.

2017 Lexus RX450h

The fourth-generation Lexus RX450h hybrid luxury utility vehicle stands out in its competitive segment for its styling and technology. Outside, there is a dramatic and tasteful mix of sharp creases and curves that blend in an appealing manner; the elegant interior features satin brushed-aluminum and richly-finished wood trims, and form-fitting seats.

The front wears an emboldened version of the Lexus brand’s signature spindle grille, highlighted by a chrome-plated border and triple L-shaped-LED headlamps. Out back are L-shaped LED taillights and blacked-out C-pillars.

There are three new exterior colors — Caviar, Autumn Shimmer, and Nightfall Mica. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine that is paired with two high-torque electric motor-generators to produce 308 combined horsepower for powerful hybrid performance, plus an impressive 30 mpg combined fuel economy.

For 2017, the midsized five-passenger crossover receives a host of notable advancements; chief among those is standard blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and auto braking, as well as the Lexus Safety System+. In addition to its impressive safety equipment, the RX450h also features self-restoring body paint, which helps resist scratches, like fingernail marks around the door handles; The paint also possesses a high level of gloss retention to help enhance the initial gloss and color of the paint over a long period of time. MSRP starts at $53,035 (plus $995 delivery).

For more information visit: http://www.lexus.com/models/RX-hybrid

2017 Acura MDX

Acura pioneered the first crossover SUV to have third-row seating, and says its MDX is also the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time. Launched in 2001, the third-generation model gets restyled for 2017.

Outside, the MDX wears the new face of Acura starting with its bold diamond pentagon grille, refreshed “Jewel Eye” headlights, and contoured hood, fenders, and fascia up front, and revised rear bumper and chrome-trimmed twin exhaust pipes out back. Inside you’ll find standard leather seats and moonroof; access to the rear is made easier with one-touch smart sliding seats. Also standard is a multi-angle rearview camera, as well as the AcuraWatch suite of driver assistive technology, which features collision mitigation braking with forward collision warning, road departure mitigation with lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.

Connectivity is available via four 2.5-amp USB charging ports, the next-generation AcuraLink, Bluetooth Hands-free, Siri Eyes Free and SMS text messaging; infotainment is accessed via 8-inch color audio/information screen and 7-inch on-demand multi-use display.

The MDX has been given a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as a top safety pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It can be powered by your choice of a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 or 3.0-liter with three-motor hybrid system, the attractive model with fine handling characteristics is available in front-wheel-drive or with Acura’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive, MSRP for the MDX starts at $43,950 (plus $940 delivery).

For more information visit: https://www.acura.com

2017 Ford Focus

Ford introduced its compact Focus in Europe in 1998, and brought it to the United States in 2000. Now in its third generation, the popular Focus is available in your choice of hatchback or sedan body styles and with a variety of economical and sporty powertrains.

New for 2017 is an SEL package which includes 17-inch machined-aluminum wheels with black-painted pockets, fog lamps, black headlight bezels, and a power moon-roof. A rearview camera and Ford’s MyKey system (which can be used to set electronic and other driving parameters for secondary drivers, especially teens) are also standard.

Also new for 2017 is an elegant white gold paint color. Two standard smart-charging USB ports are great for families on the go with energy-hungry devices. Whether you choose the sedan or hatchback model, the five-passenger Focus is right-sized for city driving and parking, and provides spirited performance around town and on the highway.

Under the hood, the selection of powertrains range from a super-fuel-efficient 123-hp three-cylinder 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine to an enthusiastic 350-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost — capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph that comes on the Focus RS trim.

The Focus remains one of Ford’s best-selling vehicles, and competes in the highly-competitive compact segment against the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Sentra. Its starting MSRP is $18,175 for the sedan or $19,765 for the hatch (not including $875 destination and delivery charges).

For more information visit: https://www.ford.com/

2017 Nissan Armada

Designed for full-sized family adventures, the eight-passenger 2017 Nissan Armada is all-new and brings beautiful upgraded exterior and interior designs, along with enhanced performance from a new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8 engine and an updated seven-speed automatic transmission. It also has great cargo-carrying room.

The newest generation of Nissan’s flagship SUV is available in a range of three high-content grade levels – SV, SL, and Platinum – in both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations. As part of its adventure-ready spirit, the Armada offers standard towing capacity of 8,500 pounds for both 4WD and 2WD models (when properly equipped).

Class-exclusive available safety and security features include predictive forward collision warning, blind spot intervention, backup collision intervention, and around view monitor with moving object detection.

Outside, Armada’s redesigned body features an athletic, aggressive stance with bold V-motion front grille and standard LED low-beam headlights and signature LED daytime running lights and taillights.

Inside, the three-row model combines style, roominess, and premium interior comfort featuring Nissan Navigation with NavTraffic and NavWeather information (SiriusXM subscription required and sold separately) and 8.0-inch color display, heated front seats, and 13-speaker Bose audio system.

The lux-laden cockpit has been crafted with a special emphasis on “Library level” quietness and quick interior cooling and heating thanks to the use of acoustic glass on the windshield and the front side windows, as well as through expanded use of sound absorption materials, compared to the previous generation model. Pricing starts at $44,400 for the Armada SV two-wheel-drive model, not including $995 destination fee.

For more information visit: https://www.nissanusa.com/suvs/armada

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