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Peter Couture, Times/tbt* Staff Writer

Peter Couture

Peter Couture grew up in St. Petersburg and is a graduate of the University of South Florida. He has worked for the Tampa Bay Times full-time since graduating from USF in 1989. He was a member of the startup team for the daily edition of tbt*, where he is the editor of the weekly Rides, Office and Cuisine sections. He also edits the daily SportsTalk page. He co-writes the weekly auto review column, the Daily Drivers.

Phone: (727) 892-2938


  1. SportsTalk: The Lightning players' off-ice rituals


    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. DIRK SHADD/tbt*
  2. SportsTalk: Transgender hockey player hears his 'name said right'

    Human Interest



    Up until the season-opening game Friday of the National Women's Hockey League's second season, the 23-year-old who teammates call "Brownie" went by the name Hailey Browne. That changed when the rising star for the Buffalo Beauts went public in announcing that he identifies as male, becoming the first openly transgender player in U.S. pro team sports. "My family is starting to come to grips with it," Browne told ESPN. "Now it's my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right when I get a point, or see my name on a website." Browne didn't have to wait long: He scored in his team's first game and got to hear "Harrison Browne" announced over the PA system. "It was unreal," he said. Commissioner Dani Rylan said the league is now working on a policy that will include transgender athletes and the NWHL fully supports Browne. "It felt like the stars were aligning for Harrison," Rylan said after seeing him score — on a short-handed breakaway, no less. "I don't know if it would've been as easy for him five years ago."...

    Josh McCown tweeted this photo of his daughter, Bridget, and her friends wearing jerseys from some of the teams Dad has played for since 2002. COURTESY OF @JoshMcCown12.
  3. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Audi R8 Coupe


    We often get asked a variation on this question: If you won the lottery, what car would you buy? For Peter, the answer is easy: Audi's R8. Lyra wouldn't mind one either. With a starting price of $162,900, we'd need that winning ticket to afford the supercar. (Still, the R8 is a bargain compared with its corporate cousin, the Lamborghini Huracán, which starts at $237K.) So why all the R8 love?...

    [LYRA SOLOCHEK   |   Times]
  4. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Touring


    You have to applaud Honda: The carmaker still believes that some drivers prefer two doors to four — hence the coupe versions of the popular Accord and compact Civic. Following its redesigned sedan, Honda rolled out a new coupe for 2016 with an edgier design, bolder face and an available turbo 4.

    Appearance: Our Civic Coupe Touring's design was overshadowed by its color — Energy Green Pearl, which looks and sounds like a new Mountain Dew flavor. (Someone asked if it was a performance model based on its color. No, it just looks loud.) Once you get past the Day-Glo paint, the Civic Coupe features an aggressive and chrome-heavy grille that extends between and over slender, jewellike headlights. Sharp creases sculpted the hood and run the length of the body, swooping up over the rear wheels. Those wheels are pushed out to the corners with minimal overhang, resulting in a wider stance. In the rear, the LED taillights extend across the deck-lid spoiler in what Peter called a "futuristic, Honda Insight (RIP) style." It's an attention-getter, especially at night. The two doors open wide and make entrance easy, even for backseat passengers. The 17-inch alloy wheels are sharp....

    The infotainment system has a 7-inch electrostatic touchscreen display. [LYRA SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  5. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet


    Is there an enduring automotive design more iconic than the rear-engined Porsche 911 Carrera? You don't have to be an auto enthusiast to recognize the distinctive shape and know: "That's a Porsche." For 2017, the 911 — across its dozen-and-a-half models — is sleeker, more powerful and yet more efficient.

    Appearance: Our 911 Carrera S Cabriolet (convertible) was the embodiment of elegance and sportiness in crisp white with a bright red drop-top and 20-inch Carrera alloy wheels with red brake calipers. Even Peter's wife conceded: "That's a beautiful car." The soft top, which folds flat and out of the way, preserves the car's iconic profile. Elsewhere, the car gets slight cosmetic updates front and rear — headlights, grille, taillights, vents. ...

    The 20-inch alloy wheels have a simple design, but they show off the big drilled rotors and bright-red calipers.  [LYRA SOLOCHEK   |   Times]


    Greg Walker encountered the tallest man in Iran in the dining hall of a hotel in rural China. Walking with crutches, the man, Morteza Mehrzad, ducked beneath a towering archway. Once through, he straightened his back, unfolding his 8-foot-1-inch frame.

    Walker's first thought: Wow.

    His second thought: Oh, this is bad.

    Walker, who was at a tournament as the coach of the United States men's sitting volleyball team, realized that Iran had intensified the competition to find tall players leading up to the Paralympics....

    Morteza Mehrzad during a sitting volleyball match against China at the Paralympics in Rio on Saturday. With Mehrzad’s entrance into the competition, the coaches of other nations must rethink their strategy — or get taller players.
  7. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Volkswagen Golf R


    Lyra almost bought a Volkswagen GTI a few years ago — black with a sunroof. The combination of sporty performance and versatility of a four-door hatchback was a big draw, but she ended up with an SUV instead. If VW only had the Golf R back then, her choice would have been much different.

    Appearance: Nothing screams performance when you see the Golf R. It shares characteristics of the regular and somewhat boxy hatchback Golf. But if you look closely, you'll notice the subtle "R" badge, sporty exterior trim, quad exhaust tips in chrome, rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels that set it apart. The Lapiz Blue Metallic paint is a classy hue. Seems Volkswagen decided less is more, and it works. ...

     Select from one of three driving modes.
  8. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport


    When is a crossover not a hatchback? When is an Infiniti not a Mercedes? Welcome to the conundrum that is the brand-new Infiniti QX30. Parent company, Nissan, calls it a "premium active crossover" for a "new breed of driver." Obviously, that driver is one who wouldn't deign to be seen behind the wheel of a hatchback. And what of Mercedes? The QX30 has the same DNA as the GLA — the result of a joint venture between Mercedes and Nissan. Our QX30 was the Sport. Other models include base, Luxury and Premium....

     Like a Mercedes, the seat controls are on the door panel.
  9. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Mazda3 Grand Touring


    For those who view compact sedans as the most efficient way to move four people from Point A to Point B, let's consider the Mazda3. The 3, which comes in four- and five-door (hatchback) models, makes the journey between those points more fun than you would expect from a small sedan, especially when outfitted with Mazda's slick manual transmission.

    Appearance: The 3 wears Mazda's design philosophy well for a small sedan. The lines flow from its longish hood and over the fenders before swooping down through the door, giving the car the illusion of motion. Only when you get to the rear, which seems somewhat truncated, is the elegant look interrupted. Our 3 came in Blue Reflex Mica paint, which Lyra described as a "bright and cheerful" color. A rear deck-top lip and 16-inch alloy wheels provide finishing touches....

    2016 Mazda3 Grand Touring
  10. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT


    We've driven the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT a few times since its current generation rolled out in 2011 and have always enjoyed Chrysler's "ultimate performance" luxury SUV for its sheer HEMI audacity.

    Appearance: As you might expect from the SRT division, it's aggressive, with a wide stance that signals this is not your ordinary SUV. The Jeep's signature seven-slot grille gets a black screen insert, which is now flanked by more slender bi-xenon headlamps that also feature black backgrounds. Standard five-spoke wheels are sharp 20-inchers; ours were Black Chrome. The raised hood has two functional exhausters sculpted into it to help feed air to the big HEMI lurking underneath....

    The tach is featured in the center of the driver’s gauge display.
  11. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature


    With Lyra on vacation, I recently had the all-new CX-9, Mazda's three-row crossover, all to myself for a rainy week that went by all too fast. Mazda may not have invented the crossover, but it has done something close to reinventing it with the CX-9.

    Appearance: Mazda completely redesigned the CX-9 for its second generation, giving the seven-seater a sleek look that is more like a car than SUV, which is appropriate since it shares its platform with the Mazda6 midsize sedan. The low stance, wide wheelbase and long hood give it a sport wagon appearance while incorporating Mazda's KODO, or "soul of motion," aesthetic. (That's design-speak, I think, for making cars appear to be moving even while standing still. Or simpler yet: not boring.) Especially in the crossover's upper trims, like the signature model I drove, Mazda makes judicious use of chrome trim to highlight the tasteful curves of the CX-9, whose boldest design feature is the large grille that — especially in profile — protrudes from the long hood. It's a look some may find ungainly, but I found distinctive. My CX-9 came in Mazda's new signature hue — Machine Gray, which is a $300 upgrade — and was set off by 20-inch alloy wheels....

    PETER COUTURE   |   Times
  12. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Ultimate


    Appearance: The Santa Fe Sport is a handsome SUV that doesn't take any design detours — call it buttoned-down style. The refresh gives it a new three-louvered grille with a large Hyundai badge and wraparound headlights. We especially like the bold character lines that flare at the top of the quarter panels and extend over the wraparound taillights. Our Sport came in Hyundai's new Nightfall Blue and was set off by 19-inch wheels whose smoky finish would probably look better with a lighter paint color. So here's our quandary: As much as we like the looks of the Santa Fe Sport, it leaves us with the impression that Hyundai's recent redesigns are tending toward the generic (hello, Sonata, Elantra). You could be forgiven, for example, if in a crowded parking lot, you mistook the Santa Fe Sport for another brand....

    The dash has an elegant curved design with faux wood trim.
  13. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Lexus GS F


    Let's try to imagine the thinking that led to the development of the new Lexus GS F sedan. You can almost hear some rebellious executive: "Hey, a lot of consumers still think we're a stodgy luxury brand — let's show them. We'll produce a V-8-powered thrill ride and we won't even use a turbocharger."

    Appearance: The GS F is based on the existing GS 350 sedan and is four-door sibling to the RC F coupe. It doesn't wear the huge spindle grille as well as the sleek coupe, which may put off some buyers, but then this car is not for everyone. Why else would it come in a color called Molten Pearl, a shimmering orange bound to attract attention. The other clues that this is no ordinary sedan can be seen in bodywork that includes large front-fender vents, carbon-fiber trunk-lid spoiler and 19-inch forged aluminum (with matching orange brake calipers) and quad exhaust tips....

     2016 Lexus GS F Photo by Lyra Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
  14. U.S. Olympians are getting older — and better


    Some days, when Meb Keflezighi hits the road, his legs just don't want to move.

    That is what happens to a marathoner when he reaches the comparatively ancient age of 41.

    "You can't run like you're 25 anymore," he said. "You're going to have bad days."

    The fact that Keflezighi has qualified for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio — where he will become the oldest American Olympic marathoner — astonishes some of his younger teammates....

    Getty Images
  15. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited


    Remember the Pacifica? It was the crossover that minivan pioneer Chrysler positioned as, well, an upscale alternative to the minivan. It wasn't a success, but the name lives on in Chrysler's new minivan. Cue the irony. The Pacifica replaces the Town & Country, and Chrysler views it as the future of the minivan.

    Appearance: It's sleek for a minivan, with few hard lines and plenty of curves. The short creased hood — an homage to its crossover namesake? — drops down to a swoopy front fascia with a small curvy grille and chrome-accented headlights with LED borders. If this is the new face of the minivan, it's an attractive one (especially in the upper trim levels). One thing you won't see: those unsightly minivan sliding-door track lines. In the Pacifica, they're integrated into the rear window trim. ...

    After pushing a button to move the front seats all the way forward, the second row can fold down into the floor.