Friday, September 30, 2022

2023 HYUNDAI PALISADE



PALISADE MOVES TO TOP OF THE CLASS AFTER REFRESHING FOR 2023 MODELS


The Hyundai Palisade has been been around for only a short while but already the South Korean automaker’s largest SUV has made quite an impression.

Such respected publications as U.S. News & World Report has the 2023 Hyundai Palisade sharing the top spot with Kia’s award-winning Telluride in its rankings of midsize SUVs.

The Telluride debuted as a 2020 model as did the Palisade though to somewhat less praise, but the 2023 Hyundai Palisade has been given a major refreshing that evens the score with its corporate cousin.  (Hyundai has a third-share in Kia, down from 50 percent of the late 1990s merger.)



The two vehicles share a lot of common characteristics and your choice now may come down to which you like better: Hyundai’s slant H or Kia’s modernized logo in the center of the front grille.

Having dealt with the 2022 Kia Telluride to start the year, this review covers the 2023 Hyundai Palisade that comes with a new XRT model along with SE, SEL, Limited, and the top-of-the-line Calligraphy trim. This review is based on the Calligraphy.



In addition to the new XRT trim, the Palisade also gets new front and rear bumper fascias, a new grille, newly styled headlights, and new wheels. Updates to the interior include a new instrument panel and gauge cluster, new steering wheel design, heated third-row seats, and an angle adjuster for the second-row armrests.

Wireless charging for your devices has been enhanced from 5W to 15W, and the new 12-inch, 720p resolution touchscreen includes navigation. Among enhancements to the standard Blue Link connection it now allows control via smartphone or voice.



The new Last Mile Navigation feature allows you to continue the journey to your final destination after your car is parked. After you turn off the engine, a pop-up appears on the screen so you get the final details to your destination via the Blue Link smart phone app.

All trims get a 3.8-liter V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel or all-wheel drive  isoffered on all trims, and all trims share such standard features as LED daytime running and LED headlights (all but the SE also get LED tail lamps), automatic headlights with high-beam assist, heated seats, a trailering package, three-row seating, paddle shifters, push-button start, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connections, a WiFi hotspot, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.



Safety systems like blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, rear park assist, forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian/cyclist detection, and driver attention warning also are common throughout the lineup. 

In short, you don’t have to go all out to get a well-equipped 2023 Hyundai Palisade.

Still, with the Calligraphy, you get some nice bells and whistles that include features from thePremium Package that is optional on other trims. Standard equipment on the Calligraphy includes a hands-free power liftgate, surround-view camera, 20-inch exclusive wheels (18s are standard on SE and SEL trims), a head-up display and highway driving assist, Nappa leather seating surfaces, faux suede headliner, a dual-panel sunroof, second-row captain’s chairs, memory driver’s seat, ventilated front- and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a Harmon Kardon Premium audio system.

Pricing for the 2023 Hyundai Palisade with front-wheel drive starts at $36,545 for the base SE trim including the $1,295 destination and delivery charge.

MSRP for the SEL is just under the $40,000 mark at $39,544 while XRT and Limited trims are in the $40,000 bracket. The FWD 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy starts at $50,455. AWD adds $1,900 to each figure.

What I liked about the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy: The interior is roomy and packed with loads of user-friendly tech features. The V6 engine is very competent, and the various drive modes (Comfort, Sport, Smart, Eco, and Snow) are easily adjustable via a dial on the center console. The ride is smooth and quiet. The interior approaches luxury status, and the refreshed exterior is very appealing appearance with a new grille, bumper and headlights.. The second-row captain’s chairs smoothly slide forward to provide easy access to the third row.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy:
When upright, the third-row seats don’t leave much practical cargo room in the back as much of the 18 cubic feet is vertical space.

Would I buy the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy? I personally have no need for a 3-row SUV but if you do, it definitely should be on your list.



Monday, September 26, 2022

2022 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4XE



GRAND CHEROKEE GETS ELECTRIFIED 

WITH NEW PLUG-IN MODEL FOR 2022


Jeep kicks off the fifth generation of its flagship SUV by introducing its first electrified Grand Cherokee a ear after the debut of the 2021 plug-in Wrangler.

No, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is not a fully electric vehicle but a plug-in that includes a gasoline engine to allay any fears of running out of power while on an extended trip.

As opposed to an EV, the PHEV has limited battery range of 25 miles but with an EPA rating of 57 miles-per-gallon, the combined driving range of the two electric motors and 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine is a solid 440 miles.



The system is rated at a combined 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, which outranks the V8 Grand Cherokee as long as the batteries are charged. It includes an 8-speed automatic transmission and has 4X4 capability for off-road excursions. Listed towing capacity is 6,000 pounds..

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe comes as a base 4xe and upgraded Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve models, skipping over the lower Laredo and Altitude trims of gas models.



t seats five in two rows of comfortable seats but if you need/want three rows of seating you’ll have to get the Grand Cherokee L, which doesn’t have the electrified drivetrain.

Jeep likes to brag that
the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Trailhawk conquered the rugged Rubicon Trail using just electric drive mode, but this review is based on the Overland trim, a name that pays tribute to Jeep’s heritage.

Even base Grand Cherokee models have high quality interiors (we did mention this is the flagship SUV, right?), and the higher trims stack up well with luxury makes when it comes to comfort, quality, and convenience features.


Standard features on the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe include a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, perforated Nappa leather seats, 8-way power driver seat with memory and power front passenger with lumbar adjuster, heated and ventilated front and back seats, dual-zone front and single-zone rear climate control, (four-zone is available in an optional package), and UConnect Navigation with a 10.25-inch touchscreen.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay also are standard.

Safety features include active lane management, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake assist, blind-spot and lane-departure warning, full-speed collision warning with active braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, and a ParkView backup camera.


MSRP of the  Overland trim for the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at the high end of the Grand Cherokee portfolio with a starting price of $65,760 not including the $1,795 destination charge.


Extra features on my test 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe that included the Luxury Tech Support IV Package (4-zone air conditioning among other features), Advanced ProTech Group III (head-up display, night vision, rear backup camera washer, integrated off-road camera, and more), front passenger interactive display, and rear-seat video ran the final total to $75,035 including destination and delivery.

The base 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee starts at $57,700, the Trailhawk at $62,485, the Summit at $69,820, and the Summit Reserve at $75,300.

What I liked about the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe: It’s a good-looking SUV and the interior is roomy and well done. It’s a comfortable and quiet ride, and the infotainment system is easy enough to use. Cargo capacity (37.7 cubic feet behind the second row) matches up with most other two-row SUVs. If you need more, folding the second row boosts capacity to nearly 71 cubic feet.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe: The gas engine (270 hp, 295 lb.-ft. of torque) seems to groan at times when the electric motors are not engaged. Everybody seems to be going with push-button or rotary dials for selecting gears these days. The dial on the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is located right where one for operating tech features sits on many other makes. You’ll get used to it, of course, but it could be confusing if you allow others to drive or if your passenger goes to tune the screen from navigation to audio.

Would I buy the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe? Not sure I would go for a PHEV, but I would for the V6. The Grand Cherokee is well-positioned to challenge Land Rover as a luxury, off-road capable SUV.




Sunday, September 18, 2022

2022 iNFINITI QX60 SUV



INFINITI QX60 MOVES INTO SECOND GENERATION WITH REDESIGN FOR 2022


The big brother of the popular QX50 and newer QX55, the Infiniti QX60 is back for 2022 after sitting out a year for a redesign that moved it into its second generation.

It is a tad shorter but a bit taller and sleeker than its predecessor with a high-class, roomy, and quiet cabin packed with fairly intuitive tech features. Elegant describes the stylish interior.

Coming with standard front-wheel
or available all-wheel drive, the 2022 Infiniti QX60 comes in four trim levels with the new Sensory and Autograph joining Pure and Luxe models this year. This review is based on the top-of-the-line Autograph.

The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is an SUV that offers three rows of seating that accommodates seven passengers in all but the Autograph edition, which, with its second-row captain’s chairs, is limited seating to six.


The drivetrain is the same on all trims, a 3.5-liter V6 mated — thankfully — to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine is scored at 295 horsepower at 6400 rpm and torque at 270 pound-feet at 4800. The 9-speed replaces the CVT (continuously variable transmission) in the previous generation and adds to the driving experience.

EPA numbers are 21 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 23 combined with FWD with AWD clipping off just one mile from each. Premium fuel is recommended.



The drive is not overly sporty and aggressive, but is far from sluggish. Four drive modes — Sport, Standard, Eco, and Snow — are available, and you can determine your own settings via Personal mode.

All QX60s get LED headlights, daytime running lights, and tail lamps. Other common standard features include a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate , 8-way power front seats with the driver getting 4-way lumbar support, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a 13-inch touchscreen for operation of Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a WiFi hotspot also are standard throughout the lineup.



Standard features on the 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph build on those from other trims and add other systems that may be offered as options on other models.

The list includes a 10.8-inch head up display, adaptive headlights, upgraded premium leather seats (though the third row still gets leatherette upholstery), a motion-activated liftgate, black roof rails in place of silver, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a tri-zone climate control system that includes filtration, adaptable cruise control, and Infiniti’s ProPILOT Assist with navigation. 

The Bose premium sound system features 17 speakers and is one of the standard features picked up from the Sensory trim.

Safety systems include lane-departure warning and prevention, blind-spot warning, an around-view monitor, rear automatic breaking, and forward collision warning. Try to drive without your seatbelt fastened and you won’t get very far. Eventually, it locks your gear selector in place until you fasten your belt, which can be disconcerting if you simply are moving it from your garage to the driveway.


Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti QX60 starts in the mid-$40,000 range for the base Pure trim, but the Autograph demands a good chunk more at a starting MSRP of S$63,250.

My test 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph with AWD topped out at $65,545 when the Lighting Package (welcome lighting and illuminated cargo scuff plate),  premium paint (“warm titanium” with a black top), and $1,025 destination and delivery charges were added.

What I liked about the 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph:
The exterior with its black roof and black roof rails is very distinctive, and the spacious interior is very stylish and quite roomy. The Autograph trim offers a lot of standard features, including ventilated massaging front seats and an improved ProPilot Assist system for semi-autonomous driving. A 9-speed automatic transmission is a welcome change from the CVT of earlier models. At 14.5 cubic feet, cargo space behind the third row is adequate for most shopping trips without having to fold the third-row seats. That is easy to do but why bother if you don’t have to?

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph: It’s not overly complicated, but there are some fussy bits to deal when operating the infotainment system. The most annoying is the force you have to use when poking one of the buttons to make an adjustment for the radio and other functions.

Would I buy the 2022 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph? I’m not in the market for a 3-row SUV (though they do come in handy sometimes), but if I were I would have this one high on my list. I find it is a classy but very underrated vehicle.



Saturday, September 10, 2022




GMC GIVES SIERRA DENALI PICKUP 

ULTIMATE UPGRADE FOR THIS YEAR


By far the company’s most popular pickup, the GMC Sierra 1500 gets a new trim for 2022 that takes truck luxury to its highest level.

In fact, the company claims that the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate “is the most advanced and luxuriously appointed Denali ever offered,” which is quite a boast.

After all, the association between GMC and the name of the Alaskan mountain peak goes back over two decades when the company redesigned its Yukon SUV for 1999 and dubbed its most luxurious model “Denali.” Three years later, the name “Denali” was bestowed upon the highest trim for the Sierra.




Just to confuse things, the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 series still includes a Denali model along with the entry level Pro and SLE, Elevation, SLT,  AT4, and AT4X trims. Each offers various combinations of drivetrains, including 4-cylinder, V8, and diesel engines mated with 8-speed or 10-speed transmissions as well as the option of rear- and all-wheel drive, three different cabs (regular, double, and crew), four different wheel sizes (17, 18, 20, and 22) and short, standard, or long boxes.

We are dealing here only with the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate and will stick with its features and numbers.



A 6.2-liter V8 Ecotec engine is standard on the Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate with the diesel optional. The 6.2L is the larger of the two V8s offered in the Sierra series and puts out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and earns fuel mileage numbers of 15 miles-per-gallon city, 20 highway, and 17 combined.

All the standard and many of the optional features found throughout the Sierra lineup are offered on the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate. These include a spray-in bedliner; LED cargo area lighting; LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights; GMC’s six-way Multi-pro tail gate; Bose audio system; power tilt-and-telescoping steering column; heated second-row seats and ventilated front seats; and wireless charging pad.

In addition, standard features exclusive to the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate include 22-inch wheels, a sunroof, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and power running boards, and carbon-fiber composite short box bed.



It is the only Sierra model that offers GMC’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system. When you are on one of the 400,000 miles of compatible roads, first push the steering wheel button to activate the adaptive cruise control system, then push the button to activate Super Cruise. A green lights informs you when the system is fully activated and you can take your hands off the steering wheel.

The cabin is exquisite. Seats aren’t the only areas that get leather treatment. Door panels, console lid, and instrument panel also are trimmed in leather, and a premium microsuede headline tops off the crew cab’s interior.



A full suite of tech features that operate off a 13.4-inch touchscreen includes GMC’s Premium Infotainment System with navigation and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.

Comfort, convenience, capability — it’s all there in the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate.

MSRP for my test 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate was $78,700 with the titanium rush exterior and destination and delivery running the final total to $80,840. That is well over twice the $31,000-plus that the entry-level Pro trim Sierra demands.

Whoever said it only costs an extra 10 percent to go first class wasn’t very good at math.

What I liked about the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate:
Tech features are plentiful and user-friendly. Lots of legroom in both the front and back. Plentiful storage areas. The high-class cabin is very roomy. The 6.2L V8 packs plenty of punch. The standard surround view cameras are welcome. Retractible running boards and grab handles make for easy access.The multi-pro tailgate is really neat and functional if you are using your truck at a  site or just need a step up to get into the bed.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate: Parking is a bear, especially in tight strip mall parking lots. Super Cruise is included only on the Denali Ultimate trim and requires a $ubscription, so don’t let the TV ads promoting it lure you into thinking it’s completely free.

Would I buy the GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate? I’m never going to buy a full-size pickup but if you are, the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate certainly is a high-class option. You might want to see if its corporate cousin, the Chevy Silverado, fits your needs, however, and save a few bucks over the Sierra, especially on the higher trims.


 

Monday, September 5, 2022

2022 HYUNDAI KONA N

NEW N MODEL ADDS TO ‘FUN FACTOR

FOR HYUNDAI’S KONA SUBCOMPACT SUV  


The Hyundai Kona has been around only a handful of years but even in that short time the South Korean automaker has made a couple of additions that make the Kona a compelling competitor in the subcompact SUV segment.

In 2019 Hyundai introduced an all-electric version that was based on the debut 2018 Kona. It offered a driving range of 258 miles, a significant figure.

For this year, the performance-oriented version debuts with the unveiling of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

Don’t confuse this with the N Line trim, also new for 2022. While the N Line does give the Kona a beefier engine than the SL and SEL trims with a 195-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine replacing the 2.0 normally aspirated 4-banger in the base trims, most of the upgrades are cosmetic. The N Line has a sportier appearance than the Kona Limited and SE and SEL trims.



The 2022 Hyundai Kona N, however, is the real thing when it comes to “wow” performance.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 pumps out 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, giving the Kona N an advantage of 81 and 94, respectively, over the N Line.



Various sources have recorded a zero-to-60 time of a tick under 5 seconds for the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, a couple of seconds quicker than the N-Line or Limited models.

The engine is mated to an esclusive 8-speed  dual clutch automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters for manual gear selection. The 2022 Hyundai Kona N also features what the company calls “N Grin Shift.” Press a red button on the lower part of the steering wheel and you get a quick burst of an extra 10 horsepower for 20 seconds, sort of like when an Indy Car driver hits his “push to pass” button.

Depending on what gear your currently in and what speed you are going, the effect can be quite jarring (and fun) so be prepared when you check it out.

One pleasant surprise: though fuel economy numbers for the 2022 Hyundai Kona N are not impressive for the class (20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined compare to 30/35/32 for SE and SEL and 29/35/32 for the N Line and Limited), regular octane fuel, not premium, is recommended.


To borrow a time-worn cliche, it is kind of like having your cake and eating it, too.

Of course, in addition to the upgraded engine and transmission, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N also gets other significant performance features like upgraded brakes, dual sport exhausts (which can be adjusted to suit your taste), a larger rear spoiler, and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels.


Automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights also are standard.

The interior gets exclusive leather sport seats with suede inserts, an N exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Harman Kardon premium sound system, automatic temperature control, and keyless entry with push-button start.

Oh, yeah. For you techies, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and wireless charging also are included.

Safety systems covered by the MSRP of $33,695 (counting destination and delivery) include forward collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping and lane following assist, blind spot assist, and rear cross traffic collision avoidance.

One thing not available: a sunroof. I can live without it.

What I liked about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N:
It is a fun car to drive and well-equipped. It has an abundance of tech features that operate off a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation and are very user friendly. It even has a knob to surf that radio dial.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N: The backseat is snug and cargo area small behind the second row. Road noise is very noticeable. A manual transmission would add to the fun. All-wheel drive, offered on other trims, is not available on the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

Would I buy the 2022 Hyundai Kona N? Yes. If you’re looking for a subcompact SUV that rates high in performance and wow factor, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is tough to beat. No major changes are coming for 2023.



Wednesday, August 24, 2022

2022 BMW X4



BMW X4 MORE ABOUT APPEARANCE 

THAN PRACTICALITY OF TYPICAL SUV


Three years into its second generation, the BMW X4 is a sexier version of the  boxier BMW X3 compact SUV introduced back in 2004, though the X4’s sportier coupe-like profile does come with quirks that impede on the mission of your usual Sports Utility Vehicle.

In fact, the German automaker doesn’t label either model “SUV.” It refers to the 2022 BMW X4 as a “Sports Activity Coupe” and the X3 as a “Sports Activity Vehicle” in its releases, though the “X4” (and X3 for that matter) nomenclature fits comfortably into the more commonly called SUV segment.

Both the X3 and X4 offer the choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines mated to an 8-speed Steptronic transmission and delivering zero-to-60 mph times from 6.0 to 4.4 seconds, respectively, according to company clockers.


Both have two-row seating for five-passenger capacity, but the big difference is in the cargo capacity. The X4’s sloping roofline limits it to 23.7 cubic feet with second-row seats in place while the X3 offers up to 28.7 with all seats in place. 

Taller second-row occupants might also notice a skosh less headroom with 37.2 inches available in the X4 to 38.5 in the X3. The same goes for legroom in the second row with 35.5 in the X4 to 36.4 in the X3.


But enough about the X3.

The 2022 BMW X4 comes into two versions with both getting all-wheel-drive as standard. The 2022 BMW X4 xDrive 30i gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque while the 2022 BMX X xDrive M40i has a turbo 6-cylinder that reaches a healthier 382/369, respectively.



This review is based on the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive 30i, which offers fuel economy figures of 21miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 24 combined using recommend premium fuel. You can jack up performance as well by shifting into Sport mode or using the paddle shifters for manual gear selection.

If there is another disadvantage with the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive30i it is that the starting MSRP of $51,900 (before the $995 freight charge is added) is on the high side of the luxury SUV segment. The M40i starts at $62,400 (again, not including destination and delivery), and that’s before extras are added on.



By comparison, the rear-wheel-drive 2022 BMW X3 sDrive30i starts at $43,700 with xDrive30i with all-wheel drive checking in $45,700. 

Standard equipment on the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive30i includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a panoramic sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power front seats with settings for two drivers, multi-zone climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane-departure and frontal collision, warning, front and rear park distance control, and LED headlights.

Included in the base MSRP for my test 2022 BMW X4 xDrive30i were niceties that included blind-spot detection, but many other features came at an additional cost that ran the final bottom line to $58,740 including the destination charge.

They included a Dynamic Handling Package that added M Sport Brakes, an M Sport Package that added special design touches and 20-inch wheels over standard 19s, and a Premium Package that included a head-up display, heated front seats, lumbar support, and gesture control for infotainment features.

The dark graphic metallic exterior color, which, depending on the light, sometimes takes on a blue hue, also added $650, but navigation is among standard systems.

What I liked about the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive 30i: The coupe-like exterior styling is very appealing and the refreshed interior is roomy up front. Throttle response from the twin-turbo 4-cylinder makes for a very sporty drive. Technological features are plentiful and user-friendly. You have the option of using the touchscreen or hard buttons in many cases.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive 30i:
The sloping roofline intrudes on second-row headroom as well as cargo capacity, which is 10 cubic feet less than its X3 stablemate. You also have to take care not to bump your head when getting into the seats both front and back. Second-row legroom also is tight. MSRP is at the high end of the segment.

Would I buy the 2022 BMW X4 xDrive 30i? There are lots of good choices when it comes to compact luxury SUVs, and the X4 is among them, especially if you aren’t that concerned about serious hauling. The X3 is the better choice if you need more room to haul stuff and costs less, too.