Thursday, September 16, 2021

2021 FORD MUSTANG MACH-E



FORD FINDS REMEDY FOR RANGE ANXIETY WITH ITS FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC VEHICLE


Putting aside the fact that it looks about as much like a Mustang as the late Ford C-Max Hybrid, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E stands tall on its own as the company’s first all-electric vehicle.

It really doesn’t need whatever tenuous boost in prestige it might get from association with the company’s iconic Pony Car. The Mach-E, which strikes me as the name Ford could easily have labeled it, isn’t a coupe or convertible, doesn’t have the sweet tunes of even the 4-cylinder Mustang emerging from the exhaust pipes (of course, it doesn’t even have exhaust pipes to begin with), and it has two more doors than the Mustang.

It does share some styling cues, most notably the “pony” image up front and on the rear deck lid, and the swept roofline hints at the fastback profile while not intruding on rear headroom.

The 2021 Mustang Mach-E comes in six trim levels starting with the base Select and continuing with the Premium, California Route 1, First Edition, GT, and GT Performance Edition. This review is based on the First Edition trim, which already is sold out, by the way.

Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive is available, and range extends from 230 miles for the RWD Select all the way up to 305 miles for the RWD California Route 1. The Premium model comes with either a Standard Range (230 miles with RWD, 211 AWD) or Extended 
Range (300 RWD, 270 AWD) battery.



Ford estimates range for the First Edition and GT trims at 270 miles and the GT Performance at 260 miles.

Finally, an electric vehicle with reasonable ranges, though charging times do detract from that advantage.

One way in which the Mach-E earns its Mustang stripes is when it comes to performance. Select and Premium trims are rated at 266 horsepower with peak torque of 317 pound-feet with RWD and 428 lb.-ft. with AWD. The Extended Range setup on the Premium boosts those numbers to 290 RWD and 346 AWD. The First Edition model (AWD only) checks in at 346 hp, and California Route 1 (RWD only) at 290 hp.



GT and GT Performance models up those numbers to 480 horsepower and torque of 600 and 634 lb.-ft., respectively.

What those numbers mean is that you are not going to be lagging behind at the intersection when the light changes.
Zero-to-60 mph times, Ford says, range from 4.8 seconds to 6.1 for Select, Premium, First Edition,, and California Route 1 models and very quick 3.8 and 3.5 seconds for GT and GT Performance, respectively.

That should clear out any misconception that an all-electric vehicle can’t pack a punch.



The Mustang Mach-E also is a very functional vehicle. It is essentially a hatchback offering 29.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 59.7 cubic feet with those seats folded. There’s also a smaller area in the front  where the engine would usually be with 4.7 cubic feet of space.

Passengers don’t get cheated either. Legroom in back is 38.1 inches. Front riders get 43.5 inches.

The cabin is impressive with high quality materials giving it a premium feel. Seats have synthetic leather surfaces, and heated front seats are available.

Distinguishing features for the cabin include a panoramic fixed-glass roof and a huge touchscreen to operate features on Ford’s Sync4-A infotainment. You also use the screen for such functions as selecting the driving mode.

The instrument panel provides at a quick glance the driver with his driving range (both in miles and percentage of battery available), an image of any potential obstacles surrounding the vehicle, and the car’s speed in big, digital numbers.

When it comes to drive modes, Ford eschews traditional terms such as Comfort, Eco, and Sport with settings marked Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. With such a smooth throttle response, I really didn’t notice a huge difference in any of the settings and ended up spending most of my time in Whisper (i.e., comfort). The single-speed transmission provides seamless, quick acceleration in any setting. Engage and Unbridled add some artificial sound effects.

There also is the one-pedal operation as often come with electric vehicles. Press the accelerator and you, well, accelerate. Ease off and and the car will brake, not coast, so it takes some getting used to avoid undesired full stops.

Other standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start, navigation system, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision mitigation, blind-spot warning with rear-cross traffic alert, and lane-center system.

The 2021 Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895 (before destination and delivery charges), which translates to the mid-$30,000 range if you qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

MSRP for the Premium starts at $47,600, for the California Route 1 $50,400, and $59,900 for the GT. As noted earlier, the First Edition is sold out. 

What I liked about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: This is the first all-electric/plugin hybrid exclusive car I have come across with an interior worthy of the price tag. It goes far enough on a full charge to alleviate the usual range anxiety for all-electric vehicles. It is quick no matter what driving mode you select. Cargo space is good.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Charging times are slow. You definitely need a high voltage, in-home charging outlet because using a traditional household outlet takes forever. Fast-charging outlets at malls, businesses, or other locations are options, of course. Operation of the Sync4-A infotainment system takes some getting used to. Some functions (cancel navigation for one) are not where you might logically expect them to be.

Would I buy the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E? This is the first all-electric vehicle I have experienced that I would consider buying. It has excellent range and is fun to drive. You have the feeling of gliding along in a rather responsive vehicle.



Friday, September 10, 2021

2021 AMG GLE 63 S COUPE



lF YOU THINK A COUPE HAS ONLY TWO DOORS, MERCEDES MIGHT LIKE A WORD WITH YOU


When it comes to distinguishing a car as a sedan or a coupe, most people simply count the doors. Four doors, it’s a sedan. Two it’s a coupe.

But it wasn’t always that way. You go back far enough in history and you likely can find references to a “two-door sedan” and a “four-door coupe,” especially when watching old crime movies — and by that I mean from the 1940s and ’50s or earlier, not the Clint Eastwood era.



More often that not, the movies back then used those generic terms rather than specific brand names when it came to broadcasting BOLO (Be On the Look Out) bulletins for police to run down suspects.

But beginning in the 1960s it became the custom to identify a passenger car with two doors as a “coupe” and with four as a “sedan.”


Coupes also were slightly smaller and sportier looking than your typical family sedan, but the two doors made things simple, clear, clean cut. No need to eye-ball interior volume or check for missing B-pillars.

At least it was easy until the early 2000s when Mercedes-Benz muddied the waters by marking its new CLS Class as a “four-door” coupe.



And thus even though such authoritative automotive sources as Edmunds.com declared "the four-door coupe category doesn't really exist,” that has not stopped Mercedes.

While it goes with two doors for its E Class and C Class coupes, the German automaker still refers to the CLS and CLA Class models as “coupes” despite their four doors. But it doesn’t stop there.


After a year’s production hiatus, the company has now brought back the GLE Coupe and given it — need you risk a guess here? — four doors. Which doesn’t exist, remember? It kind of makes you wonder how the Germans feel about unicorns.

The GLE Coupe s available in two forms, both getting AMG upgrades. The 2021 AMG GLE 63 S Coupe, which this review is based on, comes with a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that revs up 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. The  6-cylinder version, the AMG GLE 53 S, is rated at 429 hp and 384 lb.ft. — a relative lightweight.

The V8’s power figures don’t do much for gas mileage (15 miles-per-gallon, 19 highway, and 16 combined, says the government) but they will scoot you from zero-to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, according to Mercedes clockers.

In addition to the extra doors, the 2021 AMG GLE 63 S also has other features that distinguish it from your typical coupe, its size for one thing. It is 195.3 inches long with a wheel base of 115.6 inches and height of 67.6 inches. The 2021 AMG GLE 63 S has a curb weight of 5,633 pounds and rides on 22-inch wheels.

Storage capacity is 27.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 63.2 with them folded. That’s pretty much SUV-like, which is appropriate since the “GLE” nomenclature follows the company’s protocol for its SUV fleet since “GL” replaced the “M-Class” designation.

Yes, of course, the GLE is available in SUV configuration, which is probably more common than the GLE Coupe. To me, the GLE 63 S Coupe is a hatchback.

As it moves into its second generation, the 2021 AMG GLE 63 S Coupe features a laundry list of AMG upgrades like a Speedshift 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, AMG Performance all-wheel drive, and AMG Active Ride Control.

Navigation is standard, and the 12.3-inch touchscreen display provides a nice, clear map for the driver to get a clean picture at a glance.

Infotainment functions are numerous, as one might expect, and the MBUX system operates off either the touchscreen or touchpad on the console, You scroll though the display much like on a laptop computer, which would seem to be instinctive for today’s computer-savvy user but can be a bit distractive when trying to keep your eyes on the road.
 
ECO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes offer you choices to adjust to your driving mood at the time.

Among other standard features are Apple Carplay and Android Auto, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and safety features like blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, and a clear surround-view camera system.

Those features and more are included in the $116,000 starting MSRP (not including $1,100 for destination and delivery). Options and packages that include AMG cross-spoke alloy wheels, a driver’s assistance package (active steering assist, active brake assist, and much more), and a comfort package (massage function for front seats) ran the final total of my test vehicle to $128,500.

I guess if you can pay that, you also have the right to call it a coupe!

What I liked about the 2021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe:
As with any AMG model, performance is the big thing. By “performance,” I mean get-up-and-go, certainly not fuel efficiency. The ride is comfortable and quiet, and the interior is very high class.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: The Germans apparently are sold on the touchscreen/touchpad operation for the infotainment system, but it is very distracting to operate. Brushing the touchpad on the console can accidentally change a setting such as a radio station. You lose headroom in the back because of the slanted roofline.

Would I buy the 23021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe? It’s a really great performer and has a high class interior, but I just don’t like the way it looks. To me, styling-wise, it works much better as an SUV. If you are OK with the appearance, however have at it! 



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

2021 HYUNDAI SANTA FE CALLIGRAPHY



NEW CALLIGRAPHY TRIM GIVES PREMIUM FEEL TO HYUNDAI’S LONGEST-RUNNING SUV

With a history that dates back two decades, the Hyundai Santa Fe was the South Korean automaker's first venture into the SUV segment with the debut of the 2001 model. My oh my how it has grown up over the years.

The early Santa Fe was very capable vehicle but featured styling quirks that either turned on buyers or made them immediately head for the staid safety of a Toyota showroom. 

With the advent of the 2009 Santa Fe, Hyundai took the spunky little scrapper up in class with a redesign that gave it the look and feel of a luxury crossover SUV at a competitive price. The latest Santa Fe continues that trend, providing loads of creature comforts and conveniences in a classy cabin.



The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in four trim levels starting with the base SE and continuing with the SEL, Limited, and new top-of-the-line Calligraphy with a jew XRT trim coming for 2022. The Calligraphy trim, which this review is based on, takes the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe just over the $40,000 threshold with a starting MSRP of $43,275 (including the $1,175 destination and delivery fee).

Mitigating that cost, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy comes with a long list of standard features that make adding expensive optional packages unnecessary.



Included among those features are heated and ventilated front seats, premium Nappa leather seating surfaces, dual auto climate control, power release second-seats, proximity key and push-button start, power lift gate, tilt-and-telescoping steering column with perforated leather steering wheel and paddle shifters, 10.25-inch navigation screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Harmon-Kardon premium sound system, Hyundai Blue Link services, heated steering wheel and second-row seats, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, roof side rails, and an exclusive Calligraphy headliner.


Safety systems include forward collision avoidance, blind-spot and high beam assist, lane-keeping assist, driver alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-following assist, surround-view monitor, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy rides on 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels and features a premium accent front grille and privacy rear glass. LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights also are included.

While SE and SEL trims get a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (191 horsepower, 181 pound-feet of torque) mated to an 8-speed automatic, Limited and Calligraphy models come with a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-banger that puts out 277 horsepower and 311 pound-feet and paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic.



SE, SEL, and Limited trims are front-wheel drive with all-wheel optional. AWD is standard on the Calligraphy earning EPA ratings of 21 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 24 combined using regular fuel.

As mentioned earlier, there is no need for options so the only extra on my test vehicle was carpeted floor mats for $155. That brought the total to $43,430.  

What I liked about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy:
The Calligraphy offers a long list of standard features to justify the plus $40,000 price tag. The cabin has a premium feel about it, and operation of the numerous infotainment features is very intuitive.  The touchscreen is of a good size, and driving in Sport mode gives the turbo-4 a very satisfactory get-away punch. And it's not that thirsty when it comes to gas mileage. 

What I didn't like about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy: I found the ride a little bit too cushy for my taste. Getting in an out up front takes a bit of care as you can easily bump your head on the A pillar.

Would I buy the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy? Based on my experience with a Santa Fe purchased several years ago, I'd have to give this a definite yes. The upgrades over they years have given the Santa Fe more of a premium feel than earlier models, and the improvement is very welcome. Styling also is more mainstream (though not boring) than those earlier somewhat funky Santa Fes.



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

2020 SHELBY GT350R



LOOK QUICKLY; SHELBY GT350R MAKING ONE LAST HURRAH ON MUSCLE CAR SCENE


We are way past the midpoint of the year, football season is rapidly approaching, and any day now Christmas decorations are going to be showing up at Walmart, yet my review subject for today is a vehicle from 2020, the Ford Mustang GT350R.

Two reasons for that.

No. 1 is that the 2020 Shelby GT350R version of the versatile Ford Mustang is one of the most respected performance coupes ever and worth this late look.

No. 2 is that despite its iconic Muscle Car status, there is no 2021 version. Sadly, Ford has discontinued production of the Shelby GT350 and GT350R supposedly to put more emphasis on its bigger brother, the Shelby GT500. So it’s review the 2020 GT350R now or forget about it, and nobody should forget about the 2020 Shelby GT350R.



Make that three reasons. The 2020 Shelby GT350R also was the vehicle that recently showed up in my driveway!

With a lineage that goes back to the mid-1960s when Ford turned to the legendary Carroll Shelby to boost performance of its wildly popular Mustang, the Shelby GT350 has an interesting though somewhat spotty production history.



They quit making the original Shelby Mustangs after 1969, though leftovers from that year carried 1970 badging. Ford and Shelby didn’t get back together until over 35 years later when their collaboration produced the 2007 Shelby GT and Shelby GT500. The GT350 came a few years later but was around only for 2011 and 2012, before going only on a brief hiatus. The GT350 and GT350R returned as a 2016 models.

The Shelby GT350R, which this review is based on, is the race-specced version of the GT350. Among other refinements, the GT350R gets 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels and the suspension is stiffer to accommodate track demands.



The carbon-fiber wheels give the GT350R about a 60-pound weight advantage over the GT350’s aluminum wheels, about half of the 130-pound overall difference between the two. The GT350R weighs in at 3,662 pounds, the GT350 at 3,760, according to specs available at cjponyparts.com. The site also reports a zero-to-60 mph clocking of 3.9 seconds for the GT350R to 4.1 for the GT350.

The nice thing is that Shelby GT350R is as comfortable on city streets and expressways as it is in competition. It is a kick to drive even if you don’t take it out the track.



Both the Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R get a 5.2-liter V8 engine that is tuned for 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. That power gets to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual, the only transmission offered.

EPA figures, if you care, are 14 miles-per-gallon of 91 octane fuel in the city, 21 highway, and 16 combined, though in my brief sojourn of both city and highway driving the computer showed by best at a ticker under 16 mpg, which earns it a $1,300 gas guzzler tax.

The Shelby GT350R is remarkably civilized when it comes to creature comforts.

Standard equipment includes a synthetic Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, dual zone electronic climate control (there are also buttons to adjust the blower and temperature), suede Recaro sport front seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry with push-button start, Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system, projection headlamps, a quad-tip dual exhaust that will blow your ears off, dual vanity mirrors, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. 
Design touches include a cobra image in the steering wheel hub, a bow to Shelby’s classic Cobra heritage.

With the backseats out, passenger capacity is listed as only two, though that space probably could accommodate a rider in a pinch, even if a bit uncomfortable. The cabin’s rear space also can be used as extra stowage, though at 13.5 cubic feet the trunk is fairly spacious as well for a coupe.

Starting MSRP for the 2020 Shelby GT350R was listed at $59,140. Options that included packages for voice activated navigation, a 12-speaker sound system, and blind-spot cross-traffic alert ran the total for my test GT350R to $78,990 with the $1,195 destination and delivery included.

A cursory check at Carfax.com showed prices to still be running closed to that, which is evidence even more of the Shelby GT350R’s enduring appeal and popularity. You’re not just buying transportation. You’re purchasing a legend.

What I liked about the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R:
The performance, obviously, is the biggest thing the GT350R has going for it, but it’s not the only thing. Unlike some models built for the track, it is equally at home on city streets. It’s not quiet — far from it — but it has a comfortable, sure-footed ride. The Recaro sport seats give good support (though my usual companion found the passenger side a bit restrictive). The Sync3 system for infotainment functions is user-friendly, and the 8-inch touchscreen is a good size. 

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R: Not surprisingly it is very thirsty for every day commutes. But you are going to make your co-workers extremely envious when you show up with this!

Would I buy the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R? My budget won’t allow for a car like this that really needs to be taken out on the track to be appreciated. But if yours does, by all means it should be at the top of your list.



Thursday, August 12, 2021

2021 HYUNDAI VENUE SEL

 


HYUNDAI KICKS SUBCOMPACT VENUE SUV 

UP A NOTCH WITH UPGRADES FOR 2021 


After loading up the initial version with a pretty long list of standard features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking, Hyundai took its subcompact Venue SUV up another notch for 2021.

The engine for all trims — SE, SEL, and Denim — remains a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (121 horsepower, 113 pound-feet of torque), but the 6-speed manual transmission that was standard on the base SE has been junked and all trims now come with what the South Koreans call an “Intelligent” (i.e., Continuously) Variable Transmission.



There are simulated stops that allow you to manually select gear ratios, which you accomplished via the shift leaver on the console.

It’s not a particularly athletic setup, though driving in Sport mode adds some life. EPA fuel economy figures are a solid 30 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway and 31 combined — good for the class.



The modest performance numbers make the Venue ideal for younger, inexperienced drivers though they may be looking for something with a little more in the way of distinctive styling touches. It does have spiffy wheels!

The 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL got most of the attention for upgrades. Contents in 2020’s optional Convenience Package are now standard, and the SEL, like the Denim, rides on new 17-inch alloy wheels that feature a distinctive spoke design. The SE gets 15-inch alloy wheels for 2021 versus last year’s 15-inch steel wheels.



The SEL Convenience Package offered for 2020 included a sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. That’s all included for 2021 in the starting MSRP of $20,975 (including destination and delivery).

Other standard features on the SEL trim include roof rails, projector headlights that adjust when cornering, a 6-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, 6-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, leather covered steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth hands-free phone with voice recognition, and an 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions.



An optional Premium Package adds $2,350 to the bottom line, but includes several features that really take the SEL to a new level. Among the upgrades are heated front seats and side-view mirror; LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights; proximity key with push-button start, Sirius-XM satellite radio, and Hyundai’s Blue Link services.

The Premium Package and carpeted floor mats ran the total for my test vehicle to $23,480, a competitive number for the class. The base Venue SE starts at $19,425 including destination and delivery and the top-of-the-line Venue Denim starts at $23,225. 

All things considered the SEL with the Premium Package is the preferred way to go.

What I liked about the 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL:
It is packed with lots of easy-to-use technological features, including standard safety systems like blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist. Rear cross-traffic alert and collision warning also are standard. Seats are comfortable. The 8-inch touchscreen for the available navigation system is clear and easy to operate. There are knobs to adjust the climate control as well as surf the radio dial.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL: I’m not a big fan of CVTs (ContinuouslyVariable Transmissions), though running the Venue in Sport mode helps liven up the performance. Unfortunately, the 6-speed manual transmission is no longer available. Adaptive cruise control is not offered on the Venue. Rear legroom can get tight depending on where the front-seat riders set their seats.

Would I buy the 2021 Hyundai Venue SEL? Yes. There’s a lot of bang for the buck here. It’s ideal for empty-nesters who spend a lot of item in urban environments as well as young, inexperienced teen drivers. 



Thursday, August 5, 2021

2021 BMW X5 xDRIVE45e



BMW OFFERS UPGRADED HYBRID VERSION FOR ITS X5 SPORTS ‘ACTIVITY’ VEHICLE


The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e represents the company’s second go at a plugin hybrid-powered SUV and offers up more power and a longer range for all-electric mod than its predecessor, the xDrive40e that debuted for 2016.

But that isn’t to say you are going to be going for long, quiet cruises and snubbing gas stations for the rest of your life. The key phrase here is “longer range,” not “long range.”


The older X5 xDrive40e has an all-electric range of about 14 miles. The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e bumps that up to about 31 miles, give or take on your driving style.

The Germans claim that is enough range to cover most daily commutes. If you grew up in a small town as I did where two miles in about any direction would put you in the middle of a cornfield or watermelon patch, that most certainly is true.



But after seeing typical traffic jams during rush hours where I currently live, the 31-mile limit may be pushing it.

Not that that will created any particular problems on getting to work or back home that night. When the battery is down, the gasoline engine simply takes over the rest of the way.



The 3.0-liter inline-6 engine is a beast with a horsepower boost to 389 (81 more than its predecessor) and torque increase to 443 pound-feet, a whopping 111 more than in the older xDrive40e.

That results in a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds and towing capacity of 7,200 pounds, according to the company’s figures. BMW also claims an increase in top speed from 75 mph to 84 mph when driving in electric only range.



Both models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. As indicated by the xDrive designation, it is all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy figures for the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e are 50 mpge but only 20 mpg when the power runs out and you’re driving in electric mode. Obviously, you’re going to want to keep it fully charged, but that may not be possible on a long family vacation trip so be prepared for multiple fuel stops. The gasoline powered BMW X5 xDrive40i with its turbo-6 gets 22 mpg combined.

BMW says the the X5 xDrive45e can be set in three drive modes, but that is actually more like five. Sport mode can be adjusted to Standard or configured to your taste, and Hybrid, the default setting at startup, can be tuned to Standard or Eco Pro.

The other setting is Electric (for all-electric driving when the battery is charged),  and there is also a button for Adaptive, which as the label might suggest adapts to particular driving situations.

Inside, the cabin is impeccable with numerous technological features that can take a bit of learning but are not as complicated as in past BMW models.

Standard features include 19-inch V-Spoke alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires, power adjustable steering column with Sport leather steering wheel, two 12.3-inch digital displays with iDrive7, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a one-year subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, keyless entry and push-button start (annoyingly, the button is on the console, not the face of the dash), rearview camera, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, front and rear heated seats,  LED head and fog lights, Harmon Kardon surround sound, and park distance control.

Safety features like blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning are included in the starting MSRP of $66,395 (including destination and delivery).

Extras like an M Sport package and Executive Package (4-zone climate control, head-up display, gesture control, and wireless charging with wifi hotspot) and 21-inch wheels) ran the final bottom line to $81,695 for my test vehicle.

What I liked about the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e:
The interior is very high class, and the technology, while not the most intuitive to operate, is plentiful. Performance also is impressive, and the ride is quiet and smooth. The size hits a sweet spot for me — not too big, but big enough to meet the core mission of an SUV. Or, as BMW likes to call the X5, a Sports Activity Vehicle.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e: The charging cord is a bit short, and you might have issues getting hooked up at home for recharging if you don’t have a dedicated charting outlet. If you don’t keep the battery charged, the turbo-6 is on the thirsty side when driving in gasoline-only mode.

Would I buy the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e? Probably not but for admittedly selfish reasons. I’m not a big fan of plugins to begin with, and if I I hook up with one, I would like a bit more range than the X5 xDrive45e delivers. If  you don’t have recharging issues, however, and are serious about a luxury plugin SUV, the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e needs to be on your list. The starting MSRP isn’t cheap but competitive for what you get.