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It might seem that "luxury" is an overused term to describe the new cars that are being introduced this year, but then you look more closely at each model and it is hard to come up with a better word. Consumers expect so many amenities in new cars that automakers are putting more and more effort into coming up with newer, better interior and safety features to set themselves apart from each other: navigation systems with more options and bigger screens, cup holders where you least expect them, voice-command sound systems that make you think you are inside a recording studio, automated lane centering and cruise control that decides when you are following too close or driving too fast.
Is this all just preparation for our driverless car future, when a car's occupants' comfort and amusement will be all that matter? Maybe. In the meantime, we can all do what we are supposed to do with luxury: Bask in it.
Madison's No. 1 for a reason
Any all-new Corvette is a big deal for people who pay attention to cars, but the 2020 C8 might be the most anticipated Corvette since its launch in 1953. This is the first-ever Corvette that is "mid-engined," meaning its engine is located behind the passengers, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. It is also available only with an automatic transmission.
"The big news is of the redesigned, 2020 mid-engine Corvette that has been stacking up orders from the day it was announced," says Tom Ferry, the general manager of Bergstrom Cadillac of Madison and Bergstrom Chevrolet of Madison and Middleton.
But the eighth generation of the iconic sports car is not the only new and exciting thing happening at Chevy these days. There is a new Blazer and a new, redesigned Silverado with more room, better fuel economy, and many trim options and engine options.
"Chevrolet is the number one selling brand in Madison and Wisconsin," Ferry says. "Chevy has stuck to its core in offering quality and power in the lineup and based on customer feedback now offers several smaller engine options to give better fuel economy."
The name of the all-new Lincoln Corsair is derived from the Latin word for "journey," and as Lincoln's first small SUV it represents another journey for the venerable luxury auto brand.
The Lincoln Navigator launched 21 years ago, and since then Lincoln has been building small to large SUVs. The Corsair is a true luxury compact SUV with all the technological and safety features today's educated luxury car buyer wants. "I'm amazed from the accidents people have today and are able to walk away from them with little or no injuries," says Tim Welch, the general manager of Lidtke Motors in Beaver Dam. "A lot of things today are consumer driven, such as safety features like lane keeping, adaptive cruise, active breaking, lane centering — the car sees and reacts to all these things before you do."
Welch says the Lincoln Nautilus and Lincoln Aviator are also selling very well, with orders for them coming from all over the state before buyers have had a chance to drive or even see one in person.
"People call us and say, ‘Just order me one,' before they even have had a chance to drive one." Welch says.
The Hyundai Palisade Launches
The three-row, eight-passenger Palisade is brand new for 2020 and has already caused a stir.
Its instant popularity has meant Zimbrick Hyundai West usually has few in stock. Some of the amenities attracting car buyers to the Palisade, sight unseen, include its nappa leather interior, Surround View monitor, heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a 10 1/4-inch touchscreen navigation system with a full-color heads-up display."The exterior design is bold and modern, to match the quiet smooth ride and available premium options inside," Zimbrick Hyundai West sales representative Dave Han says.
The interior features USB ports and cup holders for all passengers, and a one-touch second row to easily gain access to the third row. There are also advanced safety features such as forward collision-avoidance assistance with pedestrian detection and "driver attention warning."
"Whether you are looking for a capable family vehicle or a premium luxury SUV, the Palisade is a great option," Han says. "Stop in for a test drive and see our brand new building."
More than 20 years in the making, Infiniti's groundbreaking new VC-Turbo is the world's first production variable compression ratio engine. The VC-Turbo is capable of physically transforming on demand, delivering the efficiency of four cylinders alongside the performance of a much larger engine.
"It's one of the most technologically advanced internal combustion engines ever created," says Zimbrick Infiniti sales and leasing professional Gregg Butler.QX50 owners benefit from a cabin-forward design and class-leading interior offerings and materials. Pro Pilot is a hands-on driving assistant designed to help drivers on long highway trips and in stop-and-go traffic. Also, Infiniti's "advanced drivers assistance" technology keeps the QX50 in the center of its lane by correcting over- and under-steering by following the lines and markers on the roadways. Pro Pilot reduces driver fatigue and ensures an enjoyable commute.
Along with the cutting-edge technology and safety, the QX50 is just fun to drive.
"Infiniti's newest crossover has been very well received," Butler says. "I lease a 2019 QX50 Essential myself."
Genesis G70 Comes on Strong
Don't look for comparisons to previous years' Genesis G70, because the 2019 G70 is Genesis' first luxury, small sedan.
"The Genesis G70 seamlessly combines quality, luxury, performance and innovation," Zimbrick Genesis experience manager Chris Gehrke says. "Genesis is not satisfied creating a competitive vehicle or something that is merely adequate. Genesis has surpassed the competition in the luxury small car segment."
That's high praise, but the bevy of awards the G70 has won seems to back it up, including 2019 North American Car of the Year, 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year, 2019 10 Best Cars by Car and Driver, 2019 Driver's Choice – Best Luxury Car by Motor Week, Overall Best of 2019 by Cars.com and 2019 Car of the Year by Auto Guide. Genesis also ranks highest in overall initial quality by J.D. Power."Being the best in the class means the driving dynamics are smooth, quiet, nimble, quick and responsive," Gehrke says. "The aggressive styling matches the exhilarating performance available. The G70 combines advanced safety, innovative design and the latest technology."
See for yourself by test driving the G70 at Zimbrick Genesis of Madison, located in the new Zimbrick Hyundai West building off Fish Hatchery Road.
Porsche Macan: Sporty and Practical
Why choose? The Porsche Macan gives the driver all the comfort of a top-end sport utility vehicle and still manages to offer the responsive sport feel we expect from a Porsche.
"This year's model refines the things everyone already loves about the Macan," says Zimbrick Porsche sales manager David Mueller.The front and rear ends of the car have been tweaked to give the Macan a more aggressive profile. Also, improvements to the online navigation systems give the drive the best versions of Google Earth, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay inside the vehicle.
Mueller says there is a lot of interest in the new Macan from customers who know Porsches and sport utility vehicles. He says interest would be even greater if people knew how affordable the Macan can be.
"I love it," Mueller says. "It's sleek, an absolute blast to drive, and has plenty of room for my kids — and my golf clubs."
UW Credit Union Reins in the Internet With Carvana
UW Credit Union has been helping its members buy cars since 1931, offering financing through auto dealer partnerships that allow the credit union to approve car loan applications on the spot. More recently, UW Credit Union has offered an interactive online tool to research cars, search available models, secure financing and order the vehicle, all in one place online.
Its new partnership with Carvana continues this tradition of innovation for the sake of giving UW Credit Union members the best possible car-buying experience."Members are enjoying the convenience of the online process that they can complete on their own time when their schedule allows," says Tyler Mann, UW Credit Union's director of consumer lending operations. "Carvana offers transparency on all of the newer used vehicle conditions, which our members appreciate so they can decide which car is right for their needs."
With thousands of vehicles to choose from, Carvana offers "no haggle" pricing, 360-degree photo technology, vehicle delivery and a seven-day money-back warranty.
"With the partnership UWCU has with Carvana, members get the best of both worlds," Mann says. "They receive world-class service from our expert lenders in addition to buying a car simply online. UW Credit Union helps members through the education process of buying a car, while Carvana takes care of peace of mind."
Cadillac Lets the Whole Lineup Play
It is customary for automakers, when introducing a new model, to give one of their other models a year off.
Cadillac isn't doing that.
"The second year of the XT4 is now in full swing," says Tom Ferry, general manager of Bergstrom Cadillac of Madison and Bergstrom Chevrolet of Madison and Middleton. "The 2020 XT5, which has been one of the bestsellers in our lineup, got a refresh: different look, different engine options and interior options along with the introduction of the sport trim level. And the most exciting event is the introduction of the first-ever XT6."
The XT6 is a three-row luxury SUV, the XT5 is a two-row crossover SUV and the XT4 is a compact SUV. Meanwhile, Cadillac continues to manufacture the large, luxury Escalade and even larger Escalade ESV.
"I have driven these vehicles and I highly recommend them," Ferry says. "You should come out and give them all a try, too."The Defender is Back
To call the 2020 Land Rover Defender "much anticipated" would be a vast understatement.
Last sold in the United States in 1997, the Land Rover Defender now has cult status among
4x4 enthusiasts. Because it was sold in very limited numbers even when
it was available in the U.S., used Defenders often sell for several times their original value.
Michael Baldwin, the general sales manager at Fields Auto Group in Madison, says he has never seen this much excitement for the arrival of new car.
"The Defender was the car that put Land Rover on the map," Baldwin says."I had customers putting deposits down on them two years ago. The hype has just been massive."
Baldwin says the new Defender will have the same "boxiness and ruggedness" that Defender fans love, with a plush interior and "all the latest gizmos" inside. Land Rover's promotional materials say the new Defender will add "evolutionary design and the latest technologies to its list of attributes." •