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Rep. Wilson’s former intern caught on Grindr using racist epithets

Incident highlights issue of racism in gay sex apps

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A former campaign intern for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) was caught using racist epithets on Grindr. (Photo public domain)

At a time of growing concern about racism in gay social media apps, a former campaign intern for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) was recently caught using racist epithets on Grindr while on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Wilson was widely criticized in 2009 for shouting “You lie!” at former President Obama during the 2009 State of the Union Address.

The Grindr user messaged D.C. resident Rashad Humphries, who’s black, on Nov. 9 from a profile named “TGIF” with the words “sup nigga” and two photos of a youthful, white male — one near a river apparently with a male friend, the other with two females at a graduation ceremony. The user followed up with another message, “Fuck me nigga.”

Humphries did not express interest in the request for sexual intercourse.

“Bro you think using nigga in any context would make a black person want to fuck you?” Humphries responded. “Get the fuck outta here with that racist shit.”

The Grindr user responded, “Nigger.”

Humphries, a 27-year-old former Marine who’s now an administrative specialist for the U.S. government, told the Washington Blade the exchange was an “unfortunate situation” and he wanted to make it public because it was “the last straw” in being subjected to racism in the LGBT community.

“I became upset, more so annoyed,” Humphries said. “I wanted to find out who he was because the communication between me and him was obviously negative at best.”

A Grindr screenshot reveals “TGIF” messaged Humphries from less than 500 feet away, which indicates the user was in the Capitol Hill area where Humphries lives.

After the exchange, Humphries alerted his boyfriend, Joel Garcia, and his friend, Matt Curtis. Garcia, a 27-year-old teacher, said he had a different reaction than Humphries over the exchange and was more “upset and like ticked off” than his boyfriend.

“It becomes personal and I don’t experience that that often, so just seeing that from an outsider’s perspective really hit a chord with me,” Garcia said.

Both Garcia and Curtis took it upon themselves to uncover the identity of “TGIF.” Under the false pretense of arranging sexual encounters, Garcia, who’s Latino, and Curtis, who’s white, both exchanged messages with “TGIF” on the same day. The two obtained different photos than Humphries and had exchanges that were markedly dissimilar from their friend’s.

Curtis, a 39-year-old information technology official for the Defense Department, said he was “livid” when he found out about the exchange, but cooled down to win the user over in his messaging, bringing up topics like sports.

“I reached out to him and basically…pretended to be like someone who wanted to meet up and hook up with him,” Curtis said. “My sole motive was try to find out who this person is. That person had a totally opposite conversation with me. It was very nice.”

In a screenshot of one of the exchanges, “TGIF” asserted he came to D.C. from California for a “job offer bro,” prompting Curtis to comment, “That’s one good thing about D.C.” The user replied, “Yeah, Ha ha.”

Curtis said “TGIF” initially identified himself with the name “Alex,” but later said that name wasn’t right and provided a different name. Curtis persuaded “TGIF” to send his cell phone number and a friend request via Facebook in anticipation of a sexual encounter.

A screenshot of the Facebook profile viewed by the Blade shows pictures that were consistent with Curtis’ exchange on Grindr and subsequent name “TGIF” offered. The profile, Curtis said, also revealed “TGIF” is a Republican and a Trump supporter.

Instead of proceeding to meet for the sexual encounter, Curtis immediately sent the photos and identity to Humphries, who posted the information on Facebook alerting others to the exchange of hate speech on Grindr and the identity of “TGIF.”

It appears “TGIF” has undertaken racist exchanges before. After Humphries made his Facebook post, he said a fellow gay veteran told him he received a similar message from the same user. That gay veteran, Humphries said, doesn’t have evidence of the exchange because “TGIF” blocked him shortly afterward.

“Keep in mind I never messaged him, he messaged me directly first,” Humphries said. “It seems as though the reason why he used these fake pictures, fake profile, totally different information [is] either he gets a kick out of it, he thinks it’s funny, or I don’t know what his motive is.”

Humphries said “TGIF” was alerted to the Facebook post when someone he knew tagged him in it. The Grindr user sent text messages to Curtis, which were shown to the Blade. Curtis also said “TGIF” attempted to call about 10 times.

In apparent alarm, “TGIF” urged that the post be deleted because he wasn’t open about his sexual orientation.

“Look man, I truly apologize,” the Grindr user writes in one text. “I truly apologize. I’m just now coming to terms with who I am.”

In a subsequent text, “TGIF” says, “I’m fucking crying.” And in a subsequent text, he writes, “Please tell him to delete the post.”

Although “TGIF” blocked Curtis’ number, Curtis said he was able to continue texting him through an app that hid his phone number.

“He immediately responded back, was like, ‘Who is this?’ ‘Tell him I’m sorry.’ Tell him to take the post down. I’m conservative. I grew up in a conservative environment. He shouldn’t be posting stuff like that.”

Curtis said he hopes the fallout of making the exchange public will make people “start to think before they send these messages.”

“He kind of felt that Grindr was protecting him and he could act a certain way anonymously and not be held accountable…a total disregard for the other person’s feelings on the side of it,” Curtis said. “And all because of someone’s skin tone. To me, that is absolutely wrong and I feel like people shouldn’t be able to get away with that. It’s 2017.”

It’s unclear whether “TGIF” is in fact closeted about his sexual orientation. The Blade has more information about his identity — including his name and photos — but has decided to withhold that information from this article.

Humphries said the racist epithets to which he was subjected aren’t unusual. Since he left the Marine Corps, Humphries said he “encountered more moments of racism than I ever did in the military.”

“Specifically in the Marine Corps, they always teach you, no matter what your race…in the Marine Corps, everyone’s green essentially,” Humphries said. “We’re all fighting on the same team, on the same mission. Race should never be an issue.”

Humphries said he’s been subjected to less overt racism at other times within the LGBT community, but acknowledged the exchange on Grindr was more direct.

“It’s usually the idea that, ‘I don’t talk to black guys’,” Humphries said. “People who don’t talk to black guys because they’re scared or they just don’t hang out with black people…even within the gay community in which we shouldn’t have that issue since we’re already marginalized as it is.”

That was the end of the exchange between the individuals and “TGIF,” who appears to have deleted his Facebook page.

But something remains online that sheds additional light on him: A Google search reveals a now deleted LinkedIn profile of someone with the same name who had an internship with Rep. Wilson, one of the most anti-LGBT lawmakers in Congress. The entry for the now deleted page indicates “TGIF” has been an intern for Wilson for more than a year.

A Wilson staffer reached by phone this week confirmed someone by the Grindr user’s name worked as an intern on Wilson’s 2016 reelection campaign, but said he had no role as a staff member or intern in Wilson’s congressional office. It’s unclear what role, if any, “TGIF” now has on Capitol Hill even though the Grindr messages from his profile were sent from that location.

The Human Rights Campaign has consistently awarded Wilson a score of “0” in its congressional scorecard assessing lawmakers’ positions on LGBT issues. Among the nine-term member’s votes were in favor of denying transition-related heath care for transgender service members as well as votes against hate crimes legislation, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

As a high-ranking member of the House Armed Service Committee, Wilson was a major opponent of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and convened a congressional hearing in 2011 to assess whether the implementation of openly gay service was happening too quickly in the U.S. military. (Pentagon officials testified the change would happen by the middle of summer. It ended up being at the end of the year.)

The South Carolina lawmaker is better known for shouting “You lie!” at Obama during his first State of the Union address in 2009, which many observers, including former President Jimmy Carter, said amounted to racism.

A Wilson spokesperson didn’t respond to repeated requests from the Blade to comment on whether the lawmaker would repudiate the use of racist epithets used by “TGIF.”

The Blade has also tried to reach “TGIF” through the number he provided to Curtis, but he didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Humphries said Wilson’s apparent employment of “TGIF” is significant because it reflects the “political climate that we’re in today.”

“I can say I was here during Obama’s term, and I never had to deal with situations like that,” Humphries said. “I think not only the political climate today not only invites that kind of rhetoric, and it’s unfortunate.”

Garcia said the incident was a “microcosm” of the experience of people of color on gay social media apps and represents a “much larger issue.”

“How he acted when he thought we didn’t know who he was, those are kind of his true colors,” Garcia said. “And I think it happens generally. I come from a very conservative area in Maryland, and I think that that happens more often that people realize, especially in cities.”

Humphries said he “wrestled” with going public with the incident because he said the Grindr user “is young, and young people made bad decisions,” but nonetheless thought it was important to make a point.

“You’re actively going around calling — not just me, but other black gay men — through social media and fake profiles a nigger,” Humphries said. “So I think the reason why I wanted to go through with this is based on there has to be some consequences for people’s actions regardless of what sphere it’s in.”

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. The Truth Hurts

    November 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    The biggest homophobes are the ones that are so deep in the closet that
    they’re in Narnia..

  2. Mark Hatchett

    November 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Chris do you know what the words “former” and “intern” even mean?

    • Ronald Reagan is Dead!

      November 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Mark are you a RWNJ?

      • Mark Hatchett

        November 17, 2017 at 7:52 pm

        So I must assume you don’t know what “former” and “intern” mean either! Sad.

        • The Truth Hurts

          November 18, 2017 at 9:40 am

          So I must assume you are a RWNJ. Sad.

          • Mark Hatchett

            November 18, 2017 at 9:46 am

            No doubt you are perfectly fine with Al Franken’s former intern who violently raped a woman! I just love all you LWNJ’s. Funny!

          • The Truth Hurts

            November 18, 2017 at 9:48 am

            Oh really? Al Franken’s former intern violently raped a woman.Somehow that makes Democrats guilty of rape? But YOU are ok with Roy Moore’s pedophilia and banning from the Gadsden mall for stalking underage girls. And ok with the long list of Republican pedos.

            https://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.php?thread=946300&boardid=2

            Good Old Pedos.

          • Mark Hatchett

            November 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

            This good enough for you? https://nypost.com/2017/11/17/rape-survivor-dumps-franken-as-sponsor-of-her-bill-to-help-victims-of-sex-assault/ And you really need to stop spreading lies about Judge Moore. The mall manager says it never happened. Then there is Bill Clinton spending so much time on Pedo Orgy Island!

          • The Truth Hurts

            November 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

            Stop spreading lies? Ok, Let’s ignore the 8 accusers now, the 30+ corroborating witnesses. Go urinate on else’s shoe, conservatard. Your blind worship and lies are not accepted. Stick to MeatFart where the IQ level makes you look smart.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b04109efca67e5758d3957233d6018db53e7a477535ccc8c8f89d3b417ad226a.jpg

          • Bruce P. Majors

            November 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm

            Always begging for someone to pee on you. The Blade likes to keep that in the back section.

          • lnm3921

            November 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm

            Your mouth is a latrine!

          • John Richter

            November 18, 2017 at 10:24 am

            You do know Trump was good friends with both Clinton and Epstein, right? And that he himself went to his little get togethers too? And that Trump praised Epstein, saying he had good taste in women, such as himself, and that many of them are quite young?

          • Mark Hatchett

            November 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

            So you were there and a witness to all that? I was not. But I did hear Joe Wilson call Barack Obama a liar…truer words were never spoken! How’s Obamacare working out for you?

          • lnm3921

            November 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm

            You obviously think you were there concerning Roy Moore since you say the accusations against him are lies! Obamacare works well for those who need it!

            Hoe’s Trump’s failure to repeal it working for you?

          • Bruce P. Majors

            November 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm

            Yes Trump was a Democrat. So was Roy Moore.

          • lnm3921

            November 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

            Moore thinks you’re a p-vert you moron and would condemn you for being gay stupid!! Yet you defend him!

            Prove he didn’t attack those women! You’d support a murderer if he promoted your sick ideology!

          • Bruce P. Majors

            November 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm

            That. And Kennedy. And Menendez. And Clinton. And John Wayne Gacy. And Gerry Studs.

          • The Truth Hurts

            November 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm

            Ahh a MeatFarter, the braindead worshipper of a dead man and shovelfed filth called “news.”

          • lnm3921

            November 18, 2017 at 4:39 pm

            Jeffrey dahmer would have been a trump supporter no doubt!

            The fake potus likes to grab women by the Pootang!

  3. lnm3921

    November 17, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Sadly racism within the community is nothing new. Cliques at bars for example are typically divided along racial lines. I recall going to an all white gay party in DC many years ago with someone at a private home. Everyone was white and you had a white blond blue eyed man in the center of the room telling racist jokes about Latinos while everyone in the room laughed. I was the only one that didn’t think it was funny and I kept glaring at the guy until he finally STFU!

    Was the guy telling the jokes the problem or the all white male group of men laughing at what he was saying instead of showing outrage and telling him to leave?

    • Bruce P. Majors

      November 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Bet they were all DC Democrats.

      • lnm3921

        November 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

        Likely they would be trump supporters today and LCR doormats!

        • BEARY FLINTSTONE

          November 20, 2017 at 2:49 am

          Why argue with him?

  4. Bruce P. Majors

    November 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I do not think the person who looks the worst in this story is who you think it is. I see people of all races on line fetishizing race and asking to be called names. I’d be curious to know if the offending intern thought he was addressing someone he’d had exchanges with before. Instead of finding out, the Blade simply wants to smear a Congressman who presciently opposed the Obama policy disaster.

    • BEARY FLINTSTONE

      November 20, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Dude you really have issues.

  5. ivyleaguer

    November 19, 2017 at 3:30 am

    long article about a grindr exchange.

  6. Look_A_Squirrel

    November 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I stubbed my toe once and a gay person laughed at me. Should I sue?

  7. Bob Vance

    November 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

    What? Gay people aren’t allowed to be racist? That’s stupid. Who do you think beats up more gay people, Whites or Blacks?
    Think again, genius. Wake up.

    • lnm3921

      November 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      I recall it’s historically been white people! Most of the people i’ve Seen have the most issue with someone being gay have been white in America. I’ve experienced homophobia first hand and witnessed it. The bashers that used to drive by gay bars or wait outside to intimidate us were 99% of the time white men. I had slurs from women too.

      But all races and cultures have had issue with it. I’ve experienced it there too!

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Miscellaneous

The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished

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From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Miscellaneous

D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory

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housing market, gay news, Washington Blade

With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.

 

Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected] or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at glassshousere.com.

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Miscellaneous

Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms

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crossovers, gay news, Washington Blade

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT
$81,000
Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER X
$85,000
Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

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