In the case of the pickup truck, there are many opportunities to customize one to ratchet up the cool factor. Any truck with four-wheel-drive can get a lift or level of its suspension, knobbier tires with custom wheels, skid plates for the frame, accessories for the exterior and inside, and then some. Some have even tweaked the engine for more performance and swapped out the transfer case and differentials to match the increased performance from underneath the hood.
Consider what other vehicles were considered for this road trip story. Actually, I have forgotten most of the choices, except for a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited. It does have the same driveline as the ES 300h – the 2.5-liter gas-electric powerplant with a continuously variable transmission – but with the addition of all-wheel-drive. However, I thought about the impact on fuel economy, as SUVs and crossovers tend to yield less than their sedan counterparts.
This road trip had to be done. I missed the last opportunity because my body was healing from my illness since May. I was not going to miss this opportunity. My doctor did not clear me to do so, therefore we rescheduled everything. I found our next opportunity and gave myself more than enough time to be healthy enough to accomplish this story.
"Standard of the world" dictated a level of luxury one expects from the crest of the Cadillac family as applied to each automobile since 1903. Some would argue that its level of luxury would only be eclipsed by a chosen few – Rolls-Royce, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Marmon, to name some of the few. It had its contemporaries, such as Packard and Lincoln. Even Chrysler's Imperial would match Cadillac's level of luxury during its time as the top model in the company's lineup.
A couple of years ago, I had my first turn at the Ford F-150 Raptor. I likened the desert-running off-road icon to having an age reversal when one tries to drive one. The "Benjamin Button" factor immediately send us back to being a child again when you see a patch of land and want to send this 450-horsepower beast to destroy it further. I don't know – being child-like or childish. You pick which one you want to be when you drive a Raptor.
Once upon a time, General Motors dropped off a few Buicks across the Pacific in China. They loved them – a lot. Then, came the Japanese invading Manchuria, World War II, the push back of the Japanese invaders, and the rise of communism and Mao Zedong. Mao dies, China finds a way to have communism with capitalism, and Buick returns to become the biggest nameplate in the land.