Sunday, April 20, 2014

Even with no flowers, Anza-Borrego’s desert inspires

By Michele Bigley A common theme in literature is the hero who goes on a search and returns with the gifts of the unexpected. It was March – typically the optimal time for wildflower shows in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — and California faced one of the direst droughts in recent history. Yet I was […]

Lexus LS keeps up tradition of excellence

The Lexus LS sedan was a game-changer when it first appeared more than 20 years ago. It was a sedan that competed directly with the big German giants at a much lower price. It was such a huge success that it forced the competition to re-engineer their cars and pricing. Today, the LS is still […]

Cadillac takes on Tesla with plug-in ELR

The Associated Press Finally, there’s an electric car that rivals Tesla’s eye-catching Model S. The sleek, new-for-2014 Cadillac ELR coupe is arguably as sexy looking as the sporty Model S, and like the Tesla, it’s a plug-in vehicle that’s capable of traveling for hours without stopping. 2014 Cadillac ELR Base price: $75,995 Price as tested: […]

New Hanlees shines bright light on Toyota

From humble beginnings — when the late Bob Alexander ran his car dealership from a Quonset hut on Olive Drive in the 1960s — Toyota has been a mainstay of the Davis automobile colony. Now, Hanlees Toyota looks to the future as its new, 45,000-square-foot facility at 4202 Chiles Road unveils an expanded service center, a […]

Water, water, everywhere: Features add a focal point to any lawn or garden

By Chelle Cordero Add an intriguing focal point to your lawn, garden, entryway or even a wall in your home with one of the many varieties of water features. Water features can be freestanding birdbaths, fountains, hanging wall fountains, cascading falls, koi ponds or even pools. Ideally, your water addition will have running water […]

Toyota’s Tundra pickup updated for 2014

The Associated Press In its first major update since 2007, the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck is redesigned with a bold, American-style exterior, a refined, quieter interior and standard backup camera and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. What’s not changed are the engines — a V-6 and pair of V-8s, all gasoline-powered — as well […]

’12 Days of Christmas’ items top $114K

By Kevin Begos The price of lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing has spiked this holiday season, but other items mentioned in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” still cost the same as they did last year. Buying one set of the gifts mentioned in each verse costs $27,393 in stores, or 7.7 percent more than […]

Mazda3 shines as a driver’s car

The Associated Press Since debuting as a new, third-generation model, the 2014 Mazda3 has been racking up the accolades — and with good reason. Mazda’s right-sized, five-seat sedan and hatchback are restyled to look more expensive than ever and even give Hyundai’s designers a run for the money. The Mazda3 cars get more power from […]

Nissan’s Versa Note: Versatile and thrifty

The Associated Press Nissan’s small Versa hatchback, renamed the Versa Note for 2014, is a low-priced, high-utility car with an attractive, fresh exterior, notable fuel economy and a surprisingly roomy back seat that accommodates even 6-foot adults. The five-seat Versa Note also offers high-tech features not found in other hatchbacks, such as an all-around-view camera […]

Chess, rubber duck inducted into Toy Hall of Fame

By Carolyn Thompson The rubber duck squeaked out a win for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the ancient game of chess in the 2013 class inducted Thursday. The pair beat out 10 other finalists: bubbles, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, […]