Introducing "Gretel"

In my last post I stated that I was pondering whether or not to trade in my 2007 VW Eos. It was time for a change. I needed trunk space. I just needed space period. I was over the hardtop convertible scene. What I still needed was some decent off-the-line speed despite wanting a four door sedan. Can't I have both? I also wanted as many bells and whistles I could afford. So I caved (with great hesitation) and sent the Eos off to the land of wholesalers.

Introducing Gretel. She's a 2013 deep black pearl metallic Jetta GLI Autobahn edition (the sportiest of Jettas). I love her. She has both inner and outer beauty. Better yet, I love to drive her. As I enter the vehicle, she reminds me to breathe a sigh of relief and embrace my inner zen. "Namaste", I say to myself.

Although I was never a fan of black on black, especially in an area that gets close to 300 days of sun, I didn't have much of a choice with this particular edition. The plus side is the black seats have red stitching, a very nice and sporty touch. But, am I going to burn the heck out of my legs after a one hour shopping spree? Nah, I make it a point to park in a shaded area and she's garage kept. Problem solved.


Heated seats - while living in Southern California, this feature will probably never get used unless I move back to Chicago

Voice Activated/touch-screen infotainment system with Navigation - used daily, user friendly. How did I ever live without this?

Power Sunroof - used daily, although I'd prefer a push button (as in the Eos), this one is a dial. Not a fan.

6-way Power Driver Seat - wouldn't buy a car without it

Fender Premium Audio System - I like my music loud and crisp. Great sound. Good job VW.

Push-button start - don't most new vehicles have this? Note to self: press the brake pedal first.

Enormous back seat - haven't owned a vehicle with this in years. My 5'10" hubby says there's plenty of room. Was he hinting at something?

Bi-xenon headlamps with Audi-esque LED accents and Adaptive Front Lighting system - one of my favorite features. Gretel looks sexy and mysterious at night. She sure knows how to light up my life.

Red brake calipers - I love brake calipers with color. For someone who sometimes gets a little too matchy matchy with her clothing ensembles (per my fashionista daughter Sammi), this feature is another one of my favorites. They match the red stitching in the seats.

Rearview camera - a must in EVERY vehicle. nuff said.

Leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel with shifter paddles - no, she's not a Porsche or a Lambo, but those paddles sure are fun.

Brushed Aluminum Pedal Covers - just like in "real" sports carz!


18" Alloy wheels

2.0 L/210hp/207-lb-ft @ 1700 rpm/Turbo/ DOHC 16-valve/ I-4

6-speed DSG (direct shift gearbox), autotrans with Tiptronic & Sportmode (love the Sportmode)

Front wheel drive

Average fuel economy: 27.3 mpg (a little less than I got with the Eos)

Only the GLI badge is slapped on the rear. VW withheld the Jetta badge.


IIHS Best Pick for 2013


Greta doesn't disappoint. She does the opposite. She's fun and spunky. I love her smooth ride, responsive steering and excellent handling. There's a very slight turbo lag but I noticed it more in the Eos so I'll overlook it. She's quick and flexible like my niece Molly, the cross country runner and gymnast. The seats are cushy and I love the chunky, racecar-shaped steering wheel (the bottom part is straight across). It's another solid build and finish from VW. But no surprise there.

Like the old VW ad slogan (as seen below on my t-shirt), I'm experiencing Fahrvergnugen, the joy of driving.

Danke Schoen VW!


Letter To My Eos

My Dear Eos (The Goddess of Dawn),

It has been almost six years and 42,000 miles. I remember the day I brought you home. It was as if I was bringing home a baby from the hospital. All the oohs and aahs from the neighbors and co-workers. "It's like a transformer" said my boss Michael. "That is so cool, I've never seen anything like that" said my friend and co-worker Heide (who, less than a year later, also bought an Eos). Even my husband was in awe of you and still is to this day.

Unlike all other cars I've purchased or leased, you're the one I feel the most comfortable in. I just knew we were meant to be together. I fit so snuggly inside your seats and I'm attracted to your sunny disposition.

You aren't my first hard top convertible, but you are the first with a built in panoramic sunroof. Oh the many times I've taken your top down (in 25 seconds) to feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. It's just you, me and nature at its' finest.

I love your confidence, comfort, handling, steering and the way you keep me safe. You never cease to amaze me. The zippiness of your 4 cylinder turbo charged engine (sans the occasional lag) is a turn on. I adore your fuel efficient ways that prevent me from visiting the gas station. It's always high octane for you, my swift little nugget.

I appreciate your rain sensitive windshield wipers and heated front seats. You really know how to spoil me. You may not have a lot of storage, but I don't have a lot of stuff. You may have faux leather seats, but no one, including me, can tell the difference. I'm glad we spared the cow anyway.

Although some say you're not as sexy as a Goddess should be, I say your looks are perfect to me. And isn't that what counts anyway? You're like me, you don't care what anyone else thinks - you're secure in your own skin and I can leave the house without makeup.

I apologize for all the little dings, dents and scratches. I can assure you they were not caused by me. I would never cause you such harm. I cannot control the disrespect others show when they open their car doors onto your smooth, grey body.

But now there's something you need to know. It has been gnawing at me for several months. Lately I've been having thoughts about trading you in and I can't help it. God knows I love you to the core. People change. Carz change. What's a girl to do? I sense your retractable hardtop is getting somewhat arthritic. Your tire pressure monitoring system is getting a little schizophrenic just to name a few. I'm getting older and arthritic too - see, we are alike in that respect, only I'm not schizophrenic or maybe I am!

I think I miss the roominess of a sedan. That's right. I said it. A sedan. A four-door sedan. And besides, you're two years over the basic warranty and one year over the drivetrain warranty. This is when repairs start to add up. You get the picture, right? Can you blame me? An infotainment/navi system would be nice too.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate all that you've provided me and I am forever grateful. You've been the constant in my ever so hectic life. It's just that I think a change is in order. I'm not 100% sure, that's why I used the word "think" twice.

If there is a positive here my dear, sweet Eos, it's that I'm considering your larger VW relatives. Oh don't be jealous. The carz I'm pondering won't be as fast as you and won't bring me in touch with nature. My next car will never and could never compare to you.

Affectionately yours,


2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, 2.0T

Last year I had the pleasure of renting a 2012 Hyundai Genesis (4-door sedan) during my visit to Chicago. It wasn't the car I requested, it was an upgrade. I had never before set foot inside any Hyundai so I was pleasantly surprised by all the bells and whistles. More importantly I was impressed with its' handling and smooth ride.

Because I enjoyed driving the sedan and had a new-found respect for Hyundai, I decided to check out the 2013 Genesis Coupe (2-door), 2.0 Turbo (entry level). I'd read about all the cosmetic and power changes and had to find out what all the buzz was about.


The Genesis has been around since 2010 but Hyundai decided to give the coupe a facelift for 2013. At first glance, I wasn't completely taken in, but after a few minutes it grew on me. The coupe doesn't even come close to looking like its' sedan sibling, nor does it resemble the first generation.  For starters, the faux hood vents look like a set of eyebrows. The front end has a very large grille: a big schnoz with an opened mouth design. The angled headlights and the addition of fog lights add to the overall aggressive look.

Although first generation coupe owners don't care for the new design, I, along with the majority of automotive reviewers think it's a sharp looking vehicle. Here's an example of what one Genesis Coupe forum participant said, "The vents go with the redesigned front end...some don't like it but for me it's what separates this car from the pack. The earlier models look boring just like the G37 (Infinity). The new look and performance upgrades are why I'm buying the car. If I wanted clean lines and no balls I would have gotten the G37. But I decided I wanted a man car!"


The Genesis coupe cabin has a nice design with faux stitching, but I wasn't overly impressed. It just didn't have that "wow" factor. As with most vehicles in this price range, there's somewhat of a plastic-y feel to the interior. But then again, the Camaro and the Mustang both have that same feel (i suppose the manufacturers gotta cut costs somewhere). The dash is soft and curvaceous making it pleasing to the eye. One thing for sure, I didn't feel cramped. The cloth seats are perfectly shaped and quite comfy. I could easily take this baby on a long road trip. 

The rear seats are crampy, to say the least. I can't imagine adults sitting back there for more than two minutes. There's plenty of room for the kids, but a family car it isn't.

The controls are perfectly placed, easy to read and user friendly. The three circular displays depict mpg, oil temp and boost pressure (turbo). Standard features include Bluetooth, USB/iPod interface and satellite radio. New for this year is Hyundai's BlueLink telematic system which includes voice text messaging, trip computer and monthly vehicle reporting. The six-speaker Infinity stereo with CD player also comes standard but the sound quality was a little too "tinny" for me.

Also new for this year is the telescoping/tilt steering wheel, which allowed me to get in optimal driving mode. I'm on the short side, so this feature is a must.

The trunk is 10 cubic feet, but the rear seats fold down for more room. Two nice size drink holders and a sunroof add to the many nice features the coupe offers.


On the road, I was impressed with the balanced handling and quick, tight steering. Corners were taken with ease. Kudos to the suspension engineers. Although I attempted to take a highway drive, the 5 freeway was bumper to bumper. I had no choice but to open her up on a long side street. I love the throaty and roaring sound of the engine with its' brisk acceleration. What I also commend Hyundai for is that I didn't experience any Turbo lag (like I do in my VW Eos 2.0T). Smoothness at its' finest.


Subcompact, 2-door, rear-wheel drive, 4 passenger
2.0L Turbo, Inline 4-cylinder
274-hp (30% increase over previous engine)
275 lb-ft torque
8-speed shiftronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters
sport-tuned suspension
weight: 3554 lbs
0-60: 5.3 seconds


Traction and stability control
Anti-lock disc brakes
Front-seat side airbags
Full length side curtain airbags
Active front head restraints
Option: reverse parking sensors
5 stars out of 5 stars for rollover test (by U.S. Govt.)
No crash test results by IIHS or NHTSA yet


CIty: 18-20 mpg
Highway: 28-31
Uses regular gas (turbos usually require premium)
Fuel tank size: 17.2 gallons


2.0T Base: $25,125
2.0T R-Spec: $27,375
2.0T Premium: $29,625
3.8 R Spec: 29,625  (3.8L, V-6)
3.8 Grand Touring: $32,875
3.8 Trac: $33,875

COMPARABLE TO: 2013 Scion FR-S Coupe


10 year/100K mile powertrain


Comes in 6 colors, all named after race tracks or parts of race tracks!
Monaco White
Becketts Black
Circuit Silver
Gran Premio Grey
Tsukuba Red
Shoreline Drive Blue


Edmunds: "many positive attributes and comes highly recommended"
Motor Authority: "looks to be a better performance bargain than ever"
Motor Trend: "Interior and drivetrain needs some fine-tuning"
Car and Driver: "not as nimble as Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S


Although the appeal is geared toward the GEN 'Y-ers', this middle-aged chick had fun driving the Genesis coupe. You get a lot of bang for your buck with plenty of nice features, a long warranty and decent gas mileage. This car deserves some serious respect. Hyundai is definitely in it to win it.



It was a cloudy, hazy morning yesterday at Oakley Headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA. My photographer/husband and I were one of the first to arrive at 7:30am (for the 8:00 start). Targa Trophy employees and the DJ were starting to set up. We wanted to be in perfect position for welcoming and photographing the most beautiful carz on the road.

                     Yours truly standing where the carz will be displayed.

We established our position at the check-in point and impatiently awaited the arrival of some of the most beautiful and sexiest carz of all time. One of the fun parts of waiting was listening to the sounds of the engines as the carz whipped around the bends and curves. I love to challenge myself  by matching the sound with the car before it appears. Kudos to me cuz I nailed it!

And here they come...

 A whole row of GTR's!

                                     The rare Qvale Mangusta.
                                     Interior of Qvale Mangusta.

After 3 hours of oohing and aahing it was time to grab a meal and make a grand exit in our non-exotic but ever-so-loved Arctic Edition Jeep Wrangler.