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Dodge adds traction to its storied muscle car

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is a surprisingly roomy retro-styled sports coupe that’s priced from $28,640. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Dodge Challenger is a surprisingly roomy retro-styled sports coupe that’s priced from $28,640. COURTESY PHOTO  When you look at the Dodge Challenger, it’s unlikely that your first reaction will be “practical.”
This isn’t a sensible four-door family sedan. It’s not a minivan or an SUV.
It’s a sinister-looking, retro-styled muscle car, a two-door performance coupe that recalls the gas-guzzling hot rods of the early-1970s.
But since its reintroduction as a 2009 model, the Challenger has always been among the most-functional sports coupes. Compared to its chief rivals — the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang — the Challenger has a spacious, family-friendly interior. This coupe’s upright silhouette and full-size dimensions provide unusually generous rear-seat accommodations, enough to fit two adults or three children in relative comfort.
Now, the Challenger has yet another advantage over its Detroit rivals: an available all-wheel-drive system.

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Hybrid Volvos blend power, luxury and efficiency

The 2018 Volvo XC60 luxury crossover is available as a plug-in hybrid, which can travel up to 17 miles per electric charge. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Volvo XC60 luxury crossover is available as a plug-in hybrid, which can travel up to 17 miles per electric charge. COURTESY PHOTO  If you think of a hybrid car, you’re probably picturing a pokey little fuel-saver — a Toyota Prius, or something like it. A compact, affordable economy car that’s built to use as little gas as possible while you’re sitting in traffic or running errands.
But in the luxury market, many hybrids are a different beast. In addition to saving gas, many luxury hybrids use their electric motors to provide stronger acceleration. Electric motors make maximum torque right off the line, unlike gas engines that have to rev up to reach peak performance. So these two powertrains can work together to make a car fast under any condition.
Volvo is a market leader in these luxury performance hybrids. It offers plug-in hybrid variants of three popular models: the XC60 and XC90 crossovers and the S90 sedan. The trio shares a powertrain that Volvo calls the “T8,” a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a supercharger and a turbocharger, plus two electric motors. The total output rivals a sports car’s 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. That’s more torque than a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

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New Chevrolet hatchback offers refined versatility

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a refined compact sedan or hatchback that’s priced from $16,975. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a refined compact sedan or hatchback that’s priced from $16,975. COURTESY PHOTO  Why buy a big car?
There are many reasons, of course. Interior volume is often the leading factor — space and comfort for the driver and passengers, and enough room for their cargo.
But another reason many folks seek larger cars is that bigger, more-expensive models often deliver a higher grade of refinement. They’re quieter, and they ride more smoothly. They look more elegant or mature. They feel more confidently planted even at high speeds. They aren’t cheap, basic transportation — they’re a cut above.
But not every big car offers those qualities. Instead, you’ll regularly find one that’s just as underwhelming as an economy car, albeit with some extra leg room.
If you’re looking for a car that feels satisfyingly non-basic, and don’t need maximum interior volume, you’ll want to consider the Chevrolet Cruze. It’s a compact four-door sedan or five-door hatchback that’s more affordable and fuel-efficient than a larger class of vehicle, competing against such models as the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, and Hyundai Elantra.

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Mazda’s Miata is made for fun but not for snow

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a delightful two-seat roadster that’s priced from $26,185. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a delightful two-seat roadster that’s priced from $26,185. COURTESY PHOTO  A classic Buick slogan boasted, “When better automobiles are built, Buick will build them.”
But perhaps that sentiment is more appropriate to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a uniquely endearing two-seat roadster that’s been providing affordable grins for nearly three decades. The only way to get a better Miata is for Mazda to develop an improvement.
For 2018, Mazda made some modest updates to the Miata. It’s nothing that will likely make you rush out and buy one, but it continued to hone a package that’s already tremendously appealing to the right customer.

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A topical story, but not deeply “Felt”

  • Published in Film

Liam Neeson as Mark FeltLiam Neeson stars as FBI confidential source “Deep Throat” of Watergate scandal fame in the new biopic “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.”                    COURTESY PHOTO BY SONY PICTURES CLASSICSIn May of 2005, W. Mark Felt Sr. (1913-2008), the former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed himself as Deep Throat, the confidential source who provided crucial assistance to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during their landmark investigation of the Watergate break-in scandal.

Until now, the most iconic image of Deep Throat came from the 1976 thriller “All the President’s Men.” Hal Holbrook played the mysterious informant who lurked in the shadows of a Virginia parking garage to secretly meet with Bob Woodward, played by Robert Redford, and advised the reporter to “Follow the money.” (That classic line actually came from the mind of screenwriter William Goldman, and not a quote Woodward actually attributed to his source.) 

Since Felt’s revelation, numerous Hollywood figures have discussed the possibility of making a film focused on his life and career. At one point, Tom Hanks had been in talks to produce and star as Felt. 

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Coffee Republic offers top-notch beverages and decadent pastries

  • Published in Food

Looking for a new spot to get your morning pick-me-up but don’t want to have to wait in those obnoxious Starbucks lines? Well wait no longer because Coffee Republic , located in King Farm Village Center, might be just the place your caffeine addiction and morning routine have been looking for.

Opened in October of last year, this neighborhood coffee shop currently boasts a four-star Yelp rating, under the ownership of four business partners and fellow owners of Bean Good Coffee Co. in Arlington, according to the local blog Rockville View. These high reviews can be accredited to their top-notch espresso and coffee beverages, along with their decadent baked goods and cozy interior.

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Center Stage: Stuart Davis leaves lasting artistic impressions

stuart davisAn example of artwork created by modernist painter Stuart Davis, from the "Stuart Davis: In Full Swing" exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. COURTESY PHOTO  

WASHINGTON – An exhibit of the early 20th century American modernist painter Stuart Davis just opened to the public at the National Gallery of Art.

Entitled “In Full Swing”, this exhibit is a comprehensive examination of Davis’ career, including 5 rooms of his artwork and a short documentary created by the museum.

Davis, as described in the background summary adorning the entrance, was born to artists in New Jersey and dropped out of high school to study painting in Manhattan under Robert Henri.

Henri, among other things, encouraged his students to “find their own voices.”

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