Another one is in the book - 2019 Western Automotive Journalists Media Day
|Partial line up of victims, oops test cars.|
I've been attending Media Day (or Days as it has been a two day event in the past) since 1997. Back in those days the event was held at and around what was then known as Sears Point Raceway (now Sonoma Raceway). There was a two-year period when it was held at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, CA, and lastly at Laguna Seca Raceway when it was known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. But due to situations outside of my purview the track, now named WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was not available.
Maybe it was for the best that WAJ with a mixture of driving talent did not end up on a race course. At one time I was probably fair to middling but those days are behind me. And even when I was at my best, especially in the latter years when some cars became gawd-awful powerful, I was often over my head.
And outside of those powerful cars there really isn't much reason to flog an SUV or family sedan around a race course. I know when my mom was looking for a new car she never asked, "How fast can it lap Lime Rock?" (We lived in Connecticut.)
So with all that being said through Herculean efforts Media Day was pulled together and it was a success. Now let me get to the cars that were available and what I drove (in alphabetical order by manufacturer; the cars I drove are bolded):
JLR (Jaguar/Land Rover) - Range Rover Td6. It's been a long time since I've driven a Land Rover and I've never driven a diesel. The V6 diesel is the same basic engine as that used by Ford in the F-150. I drove the Range Rover on the "difficult" off-road course. It showcased the Range Rover's capabilities which are impressive. I'd estimate that close to no Range Rover owner would ever subject their vehicle to such terrain but if they do the vehicle is up to the job. Price - from $54,950
2020 Telluride. Look for my review in an upcoming Tracy Press edition.
2019 RAV4 Adventure AWD. Do you remember the original RAV4? I do. This isn't it. RAV has grown up. It's still relatively small but not tiny. The Adventure will go off-road; I drove it on the road. I'd say that although it is capable it is best suited for getting off the beaten path but not the Rubicon. Price - starting at $33,050.
We had a lunch time presentation by Byton. Byton is a Chinese electric vehicle co-founded by BMW and Nissan folks. Their proposed SUV looks promising.
Those are the vehicles. I have no favorites. They all were great. Now to the people that made the day possible.
First is WAJ Past President Brian Douglas. I'm not privy to the machinations that went into pulling this together but we were told Brian was the force. Maybe I'll just start calling him Brian the Force.
The whole WAJ Board - Charlie Vogelheim, Michael Coates, Anton Wahlman, Alex Dykes, Mike Hagerty, Gary Lieber, and Emme Hall.
A huge thank you to all the folks at Page One Automotive and DriveShop who made this work including all those behind the scenes who got the vehicles to Carmel and kept them looking brand new. You all worked so we could play. We are in your debt.
I can't forget the Baja Cantina for a great Mexican buffet. And the Quail Lodge & Golf Club for the beautiful setting. Thank you Genesis for breakfast, and for lunch thank you Alfa Romeo and Jeep.
And of course to the car companies that made their products available to us. You trusted your children to us and you sent spokespeople to answer our questions. I appreciate it. Thank you.
See you all next year!