Off-Roading

Lexus and Blackberrry Mountain team up for new off-road adventure

Lexus GX SUVs take to the trails at Blackberry Mountain, a luxury resort in the Great Smokey Mountains.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Blackberry Mountain in Walland, Tennessee is the newest home of the Lexus Off-Road Adventure. The 5,200-acre Relais & Châteaux-designated resort will now offer the 90-minute program to guests.

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, the Lexus Off-Road Adventure at Blackberry Mountain puts guests behind the wheel of a Lexus GX on a course designed to hone their off-roading skills. Participants are offered instruction on six off-road challenges: Rock Crawl, Side Tilt, Hill Climb and Descent, Balance Beams, Log Crawl and Axle Twist.

In addition to the obstacles, the scenery of the resort envelops drivers as they're shown landmarks and waypoints of the mountains and Tennessee Valley.

"Lexus and Blackberry Mountain are a terrific fit as we're both passionate about delivering amazing experiences for our guests," said Lisa Materazzo, vice president of Lexus marketing. "Our GX 460 has off-road capabilities that few luxury SUVs can match, and there's no better way to experience them than a drive on this rugged and scenic trail."

Blackbery Mountain joins sister resort Blackberry Farm in offering the program, which also includes a complimentary two-hour test-drive of Lexus vehicles for all guests of the resort.

Each Lexus Off-Road Adventure has a maximum of three guests. Drivers must be 21 years old or older and passengers much be 10 years old or older.

To find out more about the program and to reserve your stay to take part in the Lexus Off-Road Adventure, contact Blackberry Mountain directly.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The ID.4 will ramp up production as the U.S. says goodbye to the Passat.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen Passat will end its run in 2023 at VW's U.S. manufacturing base in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But don't worry, Volkswagen has plans for what is next. In fact, they've already announced the products; they're just now getting around to specifying a timeline.

Currently, the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant is producing the Passat alongside the Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Sport. earlier this year, the plant celebrated the 1 millionth vehicle to roll off its assembly line - Aurora Red Metallic 2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line.

Before the Chattanooga plant opened, Volkswagen hadn't made a vehicle in the U.S. in 22 years following the closing of the Westmoreland facility in Pennsylvania.

1977 Volkswagen Dasher and 2020 Volkswagen Passat The Dasher was the predecessor to the modern Passat. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Passat got its start as a vehicle designed specifically for the North American market. Ground was broken on the Tennessee plant in 2009 and in 2011 it began producing the cars. It currently employees approximately 3,800 people. In the last nine years, the plant has produced more than 700,000 Passats and 100,000 Atlas SUVs. The new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport and the refreshed 2021 Atlas recently began production.

Volkswagen has announced that the plant will be the company's North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles including the ID.4, representing an approximately $800 million investment, starting in 2022. The expansion to enable U.S. production of long-range EVs began in November 2019.

The expansion includes a new Engineering and Planning Center (EPC) at the plant that will feature a unique, state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory that is designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs. These cells and packs are slated to be assembled in the U.S. before being inserted into vehicles.

Production of the ID.4 will ramp up starting 2022. It will reach full capacity by 2023, then the Passat will be shown the door. Before the U.S. production begins, Volkswagen will exclusively produce the ID.4 at its Zwickau plant in Germany.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 The Volkswagen ID.4 will be made in the U.S. starting in 2022.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Though the Passat is leaving the U.S. market, it will continue as a vehicle for international sale. Development of the ninth-generation version of the model is currently underway.

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Lexus has once again placed atop the U.S. News & World Report Best Certified Pre-Owned Program rankings.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The best certified pre-owned (CPO) programs offer a lengthy warranty, perks, and dependable used vehicles. Lexus offers all those things, helping it earn the U.S. News & World Report award for Best Certified Pre-Owned Program for 2021.

"Lexus has a well-deserved reputation for reliability that makes Lexus models appealing CPO cars," says Page Deaton. "On top of that record of dependability, Lexus offers used car buyers an excellent CPO warranty, as well as a long list of CPO program benefits, like free maintenance visits and a free loaner car."

2021 Lexus LS The Lexus LS is getting a revision for the 2021 model year. Photo courtesy of Lexus

As part of the Lexus CPO program, used car buyers get up to two years of warranty coverage, with no mileage limit nor deductible. They also include complementary roadside assistance, a loaner car, and four factory maintenance service visits in the first two years or 20,000 miles of ownership.

Lexus offers a full lineup of vehicles including the IS, ES, GS, LC, and LS cars and UX, NX, RX, GX, and LX SUVs. Lexus recently introduced the 2021 Lexus IS. The Lexus LS full-size flagship sedan is getting a makeover for the 2021 model year. The automaker also brought the new 2021 Lexus LC Convertible to market this year. Other revisions to the Lexus lineup are expected to be announced soon.

In addition to its Best Certified Pre-Owned Program award, U.S. News & World Report evaluates the Best Vehicle Brands, Best New and Used Cars for Teens, and Best New Cars for Families. This year Lexus did not place in the Best New and Used Cars for Teens rankings, but their mass market sister brand Toyota had several winners. The same is true for the Best New Cars for Families award winners.

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