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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

Email: pcouture@tampabay.com

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  1. The Daily Drivers: A look at a range of Rovers

    Autos

    It doesn't seem like that long ago that Land Rovers were primarily viewed as sturdy off-roaders. How times have changed. Now, the company's vehicles are symbols of aspirational luxury where the "S" in SUV may as well stand for "status." But despite being well-mannered family haulers on the road, Rovers are still at home off the pavement, as well. The best of both worlds? Yes. Here are three Range Rovers along with the more rugged Land Rover LR4. They all are equipped with four-wheel drive and Terrain Response System for adjusting the ride to surface conditions. ...

     Photo by Lyra Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
  2. The Daily Drivers: 2015 GMC Canyon 4WD SLT

    Autos

    The choices for midsize trucks have dwindled in the past few years as domestic carmakers focused more on full-size pickups. But now General Motors has decided to jump back into the segment with the almost-identical cousins GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado. They come in extended- and crew-cab models. Our Canyon tester was the crew cab with a short box (bed) and four-wheel drive.

    Appearance: It resembles a smaller-scale version of GMC's full-size Sierra. But that doesn't mean it's like the compact pickups some of us remember. Lyra parked the 4WD Canyon next to her husband's 2012 F-150 and its hood sat as high as that of the full-size Ford pickup. Our Canyon had the standard rear built-in corner bumper steps for easy bed access. Our tester, the top SLT trim, had the optional sprayed-on bed liner ($475) and vinyl tonneau cover ($615). Best of all, our tester wore the premium Emerald Green Metallic ($495), which was set off by 18-inch polished cast-aluminum wheels....

    In the crew cab configuration with four doors, access to the rear seats are easy, especially with the steps.
  3. The Daily Drivers: 2015 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Luxury

    Autos

    With its edgy design, the Cadillac CTS cuts an impressive figure in the luxury midsize class, which is dominated by the heavyweights from Germany and Japan. We drove the sedan in its base trim and came away thinking that Cadillac is on the right road to attracting new buyers.

    Appearance: First thing we noticed is that the beautiful Black Diamond Tricoat ($995) shimmers in the sun. It makes the car look more expensive than its price. Cadillac seeks to shed its image as granddad's luxury car and its new design vocabulary bears it out: It's long, lean and angular. The creases in the sloping hood flow down into its large chrome-trimmed grille. That grille, wide and almost minimalist, has been redesigned, as has its Cadillac emblem; gone is the traditional "wreath and crest." The most distinctive feature of the CTS is its high-intensity headlights that sweep back to a sharp point, and vertical LED running lights that extend down to the front air intakes. A striking package. ...

    The cabin has high quality materials, including exotic wood trim.
  4. Byron Buxton, us and the . . .PARADOX OF POTENTIAL

    I came to this spot with honest intentions of writing solely about a 21-year-old baseball phenom, but it's clear I'm instead in one of those dangerous places — fueled by pleasure reading, that rarest of things these days — where larger thoughts are intersecting with smaller ones.

    If you came here looking for a dissection of a swing, a talk about OPS or even just a fawning hero's welcome ... sorry, this is not that place....

    The Minnesota Twins called up speedy Byron Buxton, 21, on Sunday. The centerfielder has been called a “triple machine” and was the majors’ top prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus. On Monday night, Buxton got his first big-league hit — a triple.
  5. TO MOVE MOUNTAINS

    In this photo taken Friday, June 5, 2015, Iranian motocross rider Behnaz Shafiei takes a break during a training session at a racetrack near the village of Baraghan, some 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of the capital Tehran, Iran. "When two days pass and I do not ride my motorcycle, I get really ill. Even the thought of not having a motorcycle some day gives me an awful feeling," Shafiei said. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) VAH310
  6. GOOD? BAD? A REPORT CARD

    Tony Romo — Tough Guy

    For those with long memories, it's not exactly Joe Namath taking on Pete Rozelle and retiring rather than being forced to sell his interest in a New York nightclub. But Romo had some strong words for the league for the first time ever after the NFL threw the brakes on his fantasy football convention in Las Vegas. It's an interesting cause for Romo to adopt, given that he has been a strong fantasy quarterback longer than he has been a truly successful one. But maybe he just understands the NFL doesn't want to suspend both quarterbacks for a Patriots-Cowboys game Oct. 11.

    LeBron haters: You're wasting your time...

    OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks to the media after thier 95 to 93 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 7, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
  7. The Daily Drivers: 2015 Audi RS7

    Autos

    Pity the person who has to classify Audi's A7 and its performance variants — in this case, the RS7. The sedan's fluid design resembles a coupe. Then there's the fact that it's also a hatchback and a performance car. We call it awesome.

    Appearance: A sedan never looked so good, with a coupe-like raked roof that culminates in a rear hatch. In the past, Audi has called its design a "fastback." The single-frame of the RS models carries a honeycomb mesh grille. Our tester had the optional Dynamic Edition package that included carbon-fiber accents (mirrors, splitter, diffuser) and 21-inch five-blade-design wheels with Tornado Red brake calipers and sport exhaust with black finishers. Our RS7 also came in nardo gray, which is a clear-coated matte the color of concrete. As Lyra rightly says: "Not every car would look good in this color, but the RS7 owns it." Indeed. The RS7 oozes attitude....

    The Extended Carbon Package adds carbon fiber to the exterior mirrors.
  8. Confessions ofa LeBron hater ...

    After LeBron James dragged the Cavaliers to another NBA Finals win with another outlandish performance Tuesday night, plenty of people were inquiring about the LeBron James haters. What would the haters say now, his supporters asked? Why were they so quiet? Surely they would at last admit defeat?

    But here's the thing: There are at least two kinds of LeBron James "haters." There are those who "hate" in the modern, Internetty sense, which is to say they are critics more than haters. They criticize James for not being Michael Jordan, for not being clutch enough, for taking too many shots, for not hitting enough game-winning baskets, for not winning enough Finals. I suppose these are the "haters" everyone was wondering about Tuesday night, and yeah, it wasn't a great night for them, what with James going for 40 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks in another win....

    LeBron James took over in Tuesday night’s 96-91 Cavs win in Game 3.
  9. The Daily Drivers: 2015 Lexus NX 300h

    Autos

    When we drove the new Lexus NX 200t compact SUV, we fell in love with its aggressive look in the F Sport trim. The NX carried the automaker's first turbocharged engine and was one of our favorites of 2014. Now, we've driven the hybrid version, the NX 300h, which is not quite as sexy but has the same edgy design. And the mileage? Pretty good.

    Appearance: It carries the Lexus chrome-trimmed spindle grille, which has horizontal slats instead of the sharper-looking black mesh of the F Sport trim. The grille is flanked by upswept angular headlights underscored by bold LED check-mark running lights. The NX's high belt line, chiseled angles and bold sheet-metal flourishes make it a head-turner, although some have called it too sci-fi. (We obviously disagree.) The fender flares are trimmed with black cladding, which is the only visual blemish. Our tester's paint was Obsidian, a rich look that contrasted nicely with the chrome trim and optional 18-inch double-spoke wheels....

    Rear view of the 2015 Lexus NX 300h. [LYRA SOLOCHEK   |   Times]
  10. JALEN DREAMS OF RIO

    Get Florida State star Jalen Ramsey talking about his other sport, the one he squeezes in between football and does about as well as anybody in the country, and it's apparent that the long jump isn't just a way for the defensive back to stay in shape.

    Ramsey started as a freshman for a national championship football team, and he was the best defensive player on a playoff team as a sophomore last season. He is a future high NFL draft pick with All-Pro potential, but before he gets there he wants to compete in the Rio Olympics. ...

    Ramsey: “I have football dreams (and) I have track dreams.”
  11. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Nissan GT-R Premium

    Autos

    We've had the opportunity to drive Nissan's GT-R a handful of times since its introduction, and Nissan's supercar has always been a singular experience for us. The 2016 GT-R Premium we drove only confirms our feelings about the car. Fans looking for wholesale updates of "Godzilla" will have to wait a few years.

    Appearance: One thing is for certain: The GT-R will never be mistaken for an Italian exotic; its lines are mostly hard angles that Peter once called "Transformers-ish." (Nissan says the body creases help create downforce.) Either way, the car is basically unchanged for '16, with the exception of new 20-spoke, 20-inch wheels. Flared front fenders accommodate the rubber, and behind them are "gills" to help the air move around the wheels. In the front is a black grille with sleek triangular headlights sweeping up to near the apex of the fenders. In the rear, a simple spoiler wing sits on the deck lid....

    The front fenders are designed for good air flow around the wheels.
  12. What is BASE jumping and wingsuiting, and do these extreme athletes have a death wish?

    The video shows a tiny, dark figure leaning off the side of Idaho's Perrine Bridge. The Snake River rumbles some 500 feet below. The figure, 73-year-old BASE jumper James E. Hickey, leaps from the bridge and his parachute bursts into flame.

    "What the hell?" a spectator behind the camera says, half shocked, half chuckling. But as the fireball plummets toward the river, it's clear something isn't right. The laughter dies....

    This 2013 photo shows the late Hungarian Victor Kovats jumping in China. His parachute failed to deploy. AFP/Getty Images
  13. The Daily Drivers: a second look at Highlander Hybrid, Toyota Tundra

    Autos

    2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

    The Highlander was redesigned for 2014, making the reliable family hauler look sharper than ever. We recently drove the hybrid model, which gets an estimated MPG of 27 city and 28 highway. That's not bad for a large SUV that can haul seven passengers. But as with many hybrids, the bottom line is price. In the case of the Highlander, the hybrid — there's only one model and it's the top Limited trim — is pushing $50,000. Compare that with the nonhybrid base model that sells for less than $30,000. The Highlander has shed its boxy past and now looks more athletic despite its minivan proportions. It now carries the distinctive gaping grille of other Toyota models and has handsome accents that include bright 19-inch Chromtec alloy wheels. ...

    2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum 4x4 Crewmax
  14. Alex Morgan, U.S. soccer star and media presence

    Soccer

    Alex Morgan was a bright-eyed University of California graduate for her first World Cup back in 2011 and instantly became a star. Now she's a savvy vet, handling her fame with aplomb as she prepares for her World Cup sequel.

    Morgan's star rose quickly following her performance in Germany four years ago. As the youngest player on the U.S. World Cup team she became a super sub with a goal and an assist in the final against Japan. ...

    Morgan is sitting out exhibitions this month because of a lingering bone bruise in her left knee.
  15. The Daily Drivers: 2015 Audi RS 5 Cabriolet

    Autos

    We recently drove Audi's RS 5 Cabriolet, which shares the somewhat conservative looks of the model its based on, the A5 coupe. But don't let the looks fool you. This is no top-down luxury cruiser. For all intents and purposes, the RS 5 is a German muscle car.

    Appearance: The RS 5 does get some slight exterior tweaks from its A5 and S5 siblings that include the front end and fascia, as well as a "wide-body design." The RS also has a single-frame grille with honeycomb mesh insert. Large air intakes with horizontal slats sit beneath the grille, which also is flanked by adaptive xenon-plus headlights with LED daytime running lights. In the rear, it sports LED taillights, RS oval exhaust outlets and a spoiler lip on the trunk lid. When the top is down, it tucks behind the rear seats. Our tester's Daytona Gray Pearl paint was set off by optional five-arm rotor-design wheels (titanium finish) that show this car means business. Peeking out from those 20-inch wheels: bright-red brake calipers....

    The rear seats for two are slightly contoured, but there’s no legroom with the front seats all the way back.