Saturday, August 13, 2022

2023 CHEVROLET SILVERADO



CHEVY PLAYS KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES WITH MID-CYCLE REFRESHING OF SILVERADO


Though Chevrolet has a history with pickup trucks that goes back over a century, its most popular vehicle, the Silverado, dates back only a little over two decades. It debuted as a 1999 model replacing the long-running Chevrolet C/K pickup.

Even though it moved into its fourth generation with the redesign of 2019, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado gets significant updates both inside and out as it battles Ram for the No. 2 spot in full-size pickup sales behind perennial segment leader Ford F-150.

Styling touches inside and out, new technology features that include a hands-free driving Super Cruise system and a new 13.4-inch touchscreen for infotainment features, and a new ZR1 trim with more off-road capability are among significant changes.



With the 6-cylinder gas engine discontinued, a new turbocharged 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine that Chevy says offers more torque (430 pound-feet) than any other base engine in its class takes over for some trims.

It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission while models with either the 5.3-liter V8, 6.2-liter V8, or the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder diesel powertrain get a 10-speed automatic.



With the addition of the ZR1, up to nine different trims are available on the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado. It also can be had in various combinations for both the passengers (regular cab, double cab, or crew cab) and payload (bed sizes of 8 feet, 6.5 feet, or 5 feet, 8 inches).

This review is based on the High Country with crew cab and all-wheel drive. It is the most luxurious of all the other trims and is the only one offering the Super Cruise system as an option.



My test model also had the larger of the two V8s. The 6.2L is rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, a significant jump over the 355 hp and 382 lb.-ft. produced by the 5.3-L V8.

Included among standard features in the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country are such items as Bose Premium sound, dual-zone climate control, leather front seats that are heated and ventilated, an under-seat storage area in the second row, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and push-button start, a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo bed, wireless and USB charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay,  Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with navigation, a cornerstep rear bumper, 12 cargo tie-downs, spray-in bedliner, LED lighting in the cargo area, and LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights.


Safety items included a HD surround and bed view system that, considering the overall size of my test truck, was a very welcome addition. Like its competitors, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado is so large it’s like they’re being designed by the same people who make shopping carts for Costco.

Before options, MSRP for the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country AWD is $61,995 including destination and delivery. 

Extras on my test Silverado like the 6.2L V8 engine, the Premium Package (power sunroof, all-weather carpets, 22-inch painted aluminum wheels with chrome inserts, Technology Package (rear-camera mirror, adaptive cruise control, and head-up display), and the new Super Cruise system. The multi-flex tailgate that includes an area to use as a workspace for computers or spreading out paper work and plans is among stand-alone options.

All that is not cheap. The final bottom line for my test 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country was $72,879, which is over twice what the base Work Truck trim with a Regular Cab will set you back.

What I liked about the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country:
The cabin is roomy and nicely appointed with lots of storage areas, including room underneath the backseat. Tech features are fairly intuitive to operate. The redesigned interior is nicely done. (Note to Chevy: Have the designers have a stab at the interior for the new Equinox RS SUV.) The 6.2-liter V8 is a beast.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country: Super Cruise adds over $2,000 to the MSRP, then requires a subscription plan, and works only on certain roadways (though the number of miles on the network is being doubled to 400,000). 

Would I buy the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country? I’m just not in the market for a full-size pickup. If you need the room, though, the new Silverado is nice and offers lots of various combinations to create your own personal truck.



Friday, August 5, 2022

2023 KIA SPORTAGE



STYLISH SPORTAGE SUV LEADS THE WAY 

FOR KIA’S SURGE IN U.S. MARKET


After “earning” a reputation as a producer of cheap economy cars of say we say questionable quality after its arrival in the U.S in the early 1990s, Kia has established itself in the 21st Century as the manufacturer of top quality products

New vehicles such as the Telluride full-size SUV, playful Soul, and performance-driven  Stinger sedan are responsible for some of that growth.

But bold new models aren’t the only reason for the success — some might say “survival” —of  the South Korean automaker in the U.S.



The Sportage subcompact SUV, the second model Kia introduced to the U.S. following the 1994 Sephia sedan, not only is surviving but thriving as the company’s top seller for both the month of July and in year-to-date numbers.

Kia reported that the Sportage accounted for 11,985 in sales of the brand total of 62,449 for July, the fourth consecutive month the Sportage has topped the 10,000-mark.



For the year, the Sportage’s sales total is 64,341, meaning that about one of every six vehicles rolling out of a Kia showroom is a Sportage. That is out of over a dozen models.

It’s easy to see why. The Kia Sportage has grown up considerably as it enters its fifth generation as a 2023 model. The bold exterior stands out in a very competitive — and crowded — segment and the roomy interior is packed with all kinds of features sure to appeal to today’s tech-minded shoppers. Win-win all-around.



The 2023 Kia Sportage comes in seven trim levels with X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige new for this year for those and offering more off-roading capability. Returning trims are LX, EX, SX, SX Prestige, and X-Line.

Pricing ranges from $27,285 (including freight charges) for the base LX to $38,085 for the top-of-the-line X-Pro Prestige, which this review is based on.



A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission is the common powertrain for conventional Sportages. It gets a slight boost to 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, which are not neck-snapping numbers but provide fuel economy numbers of 23 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 25 combined.

Turbo hybrid and turbo plug-in hybrid versions also are available and boost power and fuel economy numbers, and an electric version is in the works for later this year.

The 2023 Kia Sportage boasts a best-in-class interior space of 168 cubic feet and best-in-class storage space of 39.5 cubic feet behind the second row. Second-row riders also get 41.3 inches of legroom, which is just a tick less than those up front.

All-wheel drive models also ride an inch higher than front wheel versions with a ground clearance of 8.3 inches, the better to accommodate off-pavement trails.

As the top trim, the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige comes with a long list of standard features. Among them are a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, hands-free power liftgate, automatic dual climate control, push-button start, wireless charger up front and USB ports in the rear, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and SynTex artificial leather seating surfaces. 

Safety systems include blind-spot collision avoidance assist, lane departure and keeping assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, smart cruise control, forward collision warning, and parking distance warning.

LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights are standard as well as LED fog lights. A panoramic sunroof with a power shade, roof rack, and rear spoiler also are standard.

Finally, included with no charge on my test 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige were a surround view monitor, ventilated front seats, and power front passenger seat.

The only extras were $395 for the jungle green exterior paint (an interesting shade) and $155 for the carpeted floor mats. That ran the final bottom line to $38,555.

What I liked about the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige AWD: The spacious cabin provides good room for both passengers and cargo. There is good legroom in the second row as well as good storage space in the back. The exterior design is eye-catching.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige AWD:
The wide-ranging infotainment system is pretty user-friendly overall but responses to touches are sometimes slow. It’s kind of odd that knobs to adjust climate control temps also share the function with the radio. The engine provides enough power for getting comfortably around town, but those wanting a sporty performance from their SUV will have to look elsewhere.
  
Would I buy the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige AWD? Yes. Everything you might want in a compact SUV is here in a very attractive package.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

2022 INFINITI QX80

 


NEW SCREEN, EXTRA FEATURES COME

WITH INFINITI’S QX80 FLAGSHIP SUV


As the biggest vehicle in the company’s fleet, the 2022 Infiniti QX80 serves as Infiniti’s flagship SUV and has done so since debuting as the QX56 in 2004.

The name change came for 2014 when Infiniti abandoned the practice of using the numbers in its alpha-numeric nomenclature to designate engine size. The QX56, for example, came with a 5.6-liter V8 engine. The new system instead reflected the vehicle’s place in Infiniti’s portfolio. The higher number, the higher the vehicle’s place in the hierarchy.



So, no, the QX80 does not cram an 8L V8 into its engine compartment but at 210.2 inches long and 75.8 tall, it is significantly bigger than the next 3-row SUV in Infiniti’s lineup, the QX60 at 198.2 and 69.7 inches, respectively. It’s also the most expensive of Infiniti’s products.

The 2022 Infiniti QX80 gets its mojo from a 5.8L V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 85 hp and 20 lb.ft. that the V8 in the 2004 QX56 produced.



It is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and provides a healthy 8,500-pound towing capacity in either 2-wheel or all-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case for off-road excursions.

Power is not the issue with the 2022 Infiniti QX80. AWD models zip from zero-to-60 mph in a tick under 6 seconds, according to zeroto60times.com. But fuel economy definitely is. The government reports figures of 13 miles-per-gallon city, 19 highway, and 15 combined for all-wheel drive models and 14/20/16 for those with rear-wheel drive.

And yes, that is using recommended premium fuel.



The 2022 Infiniti QX80 comes in three trims starting with the base Luxe that rides on 20-inch wheels. The upgraded Premium Select and the Sensory trim that this review is based on get 22-inch dark chrome wheels as standard.

The roomy interior has not changed all that much since the redesign of the QX56 in 2011, which makes it subject to criticism of being “outdated” in some corners, but there is an air of sophistication about it. Why change just for the sake of change?



One change in the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory, however, is a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation that replaces the former dual-screen setup in previous models. Wireless Smart Phone charging and Apple CarPlay USB-based Android Auto also are new standard features. 

Other standard items on the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded leather seat surfaces throughout, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row heated seats, an advanced automatic climate control system. power moonroof. and Bose premium sound system. 

The cabin overall is pretty spacious with front seats providing 39.6 inches of legroom and those in the second-row 41.0 inches The third row is tight with just 28.8 inches of legroom.

The second-row captain chairs do not slide forward to grant any more space but do flip forward to allow easy access to the the far back. You can get a bench seat for the second row if you prefer.

Driver assistance features for the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory include Driver Attention Alert, Hill Start Assist, Trailer Sway Control, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Backup Collision Intervention.

Blind Spot Warning and Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and an Around View Monitor are among standard safety features.

For the exterior, LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights are standard on every 2022 Infiniti QX80 as is a power liftgate and silver painted roof rails.

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti QX80 starts at a very competitive $71,395 for RWD Luxe trim, including $1,395 for destination and delivery. RWD Premium Select models start at $75,095, RWD Sensory trim at $83,630.

All-wheel drive adds $3,100 to each trim.

My test 2022 QX80 Sensory added a couple of options, including a rear-seat entertainment system, that ran the final bottom line to $87,985.

What I liked about  the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory: Premium touches give the roomy interior a sophisticated look. It cruises comfortably and quietly on the highway. The V8 engine packs enough punch to move its nearly three-ton heft comfortably.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory:
Some of the features in the updated infotainment system are fussy to get to. I miss the dual screen setup that separated functions like the navigation map and radio, allowing you to adjust one without affecting the other. Storage space behind the third row is severely compromised when the backseats are in place. Capacity behind the third row is 16.6 cubic feet, but much of that is vertical. It is 49.6 cubic feet with the far back seats folded. Finally, the QX80 is very thirsty even taking into consideration its class.

Would I buy the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory? As the top trim in the QX80 lineup, the Sensory comes with a significantly higher starting MSRP than base Luxe and Premium Select trims and the extra standard features in the Sensory may not be worth it. I personally have no need for a large SUV, but if that is your target vehicle, don’t skip past the QX80.



Friday, July 22, 2022

2022 HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC



YOU PAY FOR IT, BUT KONA ELECTRIC GIVES YOU SUBSTANTIAL ELECTRIC DRIVING RANGE


Hyundai introduced the gas-powered Kona for 2018 and quickly followed with an all-electric version of the subcompact SUV for the next year.


With a 201-horsepower electric motor replacing the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that serves as the base engine for gas-powered Konas, the 2022 Kona Electric offers up to 258 miles of all-electric driving range though at a significant increase in initial cost.

One of the more startling things about the spec sheet for the Limited version of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric was a final MSRP of $43,940 which included the destination and delivery charge and the only option carpeted floor mats for $195.



That’s a jump of over $12,500 from the listed starting price for the 2022 Kona Limited with the 1.4L turbo-4 engine before potential tax credits for going all-electric are figured in. The base gas-powered Kona SE starts at just over $21,000.

To be fair, however, those prices are competitive with other electric SUVs without venturing into the luxury class, and the 2022 Hyundai Kona’s SEL trim starts at $35,245 when freight charges are added in, making it one of the least-expensive on the market.



The SEL trim has a pretty impressive list of standard features and adding  an optional Convenience Package for $3,500 gets it even closer to the Limited. Both trims come with front-wheel drive only, unlike gas models that have available all-wheel drive.

Safety items on the SEL include blind-spot warning and forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection along with lane-keeping and lane-following assist. Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with push-button start, a 10.5-inch instrument cluster, single-zone temperature control, cloth seats, an 8-inch touchscreen audio display, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 



The 2022 Hyundai Kona Limited gets all that plus LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, Smart Cruise Control, Harman Kardon Premium sound system, reverse parking distance warning, leather-trimmed seats in place of the cloth, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, USB outlet in the second row and all the features in the SEL Convenience Package (sunroof, LED interior lights, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel).

That’s a lot of goodies for the 2022 Kona Electric in a very sporty package.



Speaking of sporty, I mentioned earlier the immediate throttle response that is typical of EVs. With 291 pound-feet of torque going to the front wheels, the Kona Electric zips from zero-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, though because of its small size (less than 166 inches long) it seems quicker. Handling and cornering is precise, and, with no engine noise, the ride is quiet.

Three driving modes — Comfort, Sport, and Eco — are available. Eco mode gives you one-pedal driving. One-pedal driving slows the vehicle as you ease off the accelerator, eventually comimg to a stop without you having to use the brake (if you time it right). One-pedal driving also gives the battery a power boost through regenerative braking.

It does take some getting used to. When you ease off the accelerator with a gas-engine car, you simply coast along. When driving in one-pedal mode, the car reacts as if you are putting pressure on the brakes without actually doing so. Eventually, you will come to a stop, though, obviously, it isn’t to be used for emergencies.
 
What I liked about the 2022 Kona Electric Limited: As typical of an EV, max torque is instantly available making the Kona Electric a fun vehicle to drive. At the top of the line in the portfolio, the Limited is well equipped and the infotainment system is very user friendly. At 258 miles, max range is very competitive.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Kona Electric Limited:
This is the epitome of a subcompact SUV with a snug backseat and small cargo area. Some reviewers note a significant drop in range in colder weather, which, this being July in South Florida, I had no way to confirm. Range indicator as indicated in the instrument cluster fluctuated quite a bit, however. 

Would I buy the 2022 Kona Electric Limited? Probably not. In addition to a robust starting MSRP, you’re going to want to install at least a level 2 charger because using your basic home outlet takes significant time. The website homeguide.com estimates the total cost of an installation at $750 to $2,600, though some of that (as with the MSRP) is written off in a tax credit. 



Friday, July 15, 2022

FORD LIGHTNING


FORD PREVIEWS ALL-ELECTRIC F-150 LIGHTNING TO SOUTH FLORIDA MEDIA


Ford was on hand this week (July 14) to give a handful of automotive media members an overview and brief look at its new all-electric version of its popular F-150 pickup truck.

With the latest in technology and powertrain the company promotes it as the “smartest, most innovative F-150 that Ford has ever built,” and the 30-plus media members would have to agree after a brief spin on Miami’s Rickenbacker Causeway.

The Lightning is the fastest F-150 ever built with the dual electric motors (one in front, one in the rear) giving it a zero-to-60 mph clocking in the mid 4-second range when equipped with an extended range battery. It simply ate up afternoon traffic that included a couple of electric passenger cars on the six-lane causeway.

It is available in four trim levels ranging in price from $40,000 to $90,000 according to veteran Ford engineer Dapo Adewusi, vehicle manager for the F-150 who connected with the South Florida media via Zoom. All feature a comfortable, crew cab that can easily accommodate five passengers.

The base Pro, XLT, and Lariat models all come with a 98-kWh battery pack  as standard with a larger 131-kWh available as an option and the top-of-the-line Platinum trim getting the larger pack. With the standard-range pack horsepower is rated at 452, the extended range pack 580. Both have a torque punch of 775 pound-feet.

The advantage with the extended range battery pack over the standard range is about 90 more miles of driving availability (up to 320 on a full charge) and increased towing capacity — 10,000 pounds with a towing package over 7,700 pounds for the standard range.

The extended range pack also comes with other advantages. The available Blue Cruise system (optional on Lariat models, standard on Platinum) provides a hands-free driving system that is based on charts of 130,000 miles of divided highways across the U.S. and Canada to adapt your driving experience to the routes you most commonly use. It adjusts your steering, acceleration, and braking to take the stress out of long hauls.

Two different Pro Power Onboard generator systems also are offered to exterior power for tools, systems, and appliances. The top-dog Lariat and Platinum trims get the larger 9.6 kW pack that has a 240V outlet in the bed a couple more 120-volt outlets than the 2.4 kW system found in Pro and XLT model. You can even use it to charge up other electric vehicles or for home appliances during power outages.

Adewusi said Ford already is in the process of shipping Lightning models to showrooms around the country.






  

2022 CHEVROLET EQUINOX

REFRESHED CHEVROLET EQUINOX

GETS NEW SPORTIER RS TRIM FOR 2022


After being fully redesigned a few years back, the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox gets a mid-cycle refreshing this year that includes new headlights, a new grille, updated bumpers and the addition of a new RS model that has some distinctive style features of its own.

One of the best sellers in the compact SUV segment through the first six months of this year, nosing out the Honda CR-V for the No. 2 spot in sales behind only Toyota’s RAV4, the 2022 Chevy Equinox has gone through some interesting changes since its introduction as a 2005 model.

The original Equinox shared its platform with the Saturn Vue and came with a V6 engine as standard. An early Sport model even was tuned to crank out 264 horsepower over the standard V6’s 185, but by the first redesign for 2010 the standard power source was a turbocharged 4-banger with the V6 as an option.


An optional, torque-heavy diesel was added to the base 15-liter 4-banger and upgraded 2-0L 4-cylinder as engine choices for 2018. The diesel was dropped for 2020 and the 2.0L was not offered for 2021.

The 2022 Chevy Equinox is available only with 1.5L turbo4 that puts out 170 horsepower and a top 203 pound-feet of torque and is mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The bow-tie people also say and all-electric version of the Equinox is on schedule for the fall of 2023.



Front-wheel drive is standard on the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox with all-wheel drive available.

In addition to the RS trim that this review is based on, the 2022 Chevy Equinox also is offered in LS, LT, and top-of-the-heap Premier versions. The RS is the sportiest of the bunch, the Premier the fanciest and most expensive (but not by much over the RS).



My test 2022 Chevy Equinox RS came with all-wheel drive (activated by a button on the console) and included as standard automatic dual zone climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, a height-adjustable power rear liftgate, remote vehicle start, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and LED headlights, taillamps, and daytime running lights.

Safety features included automatic emergency braking and frontal collision alert, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, front and rear parking assist, blind-spot assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.



The starting MSRP of $31,700 covered all that.

Among extras were an RS-leather package that included a Bose Premium Sound System to go with the RS-inspired jet-back interior, an infotainment package that added a heated steering wheel and USB and 120-volt power outlets, Cheevrolet’s 3-Plus infotainment package that included navigation (but with only an 8-inch screen), and adaptive cruise control.

The options and $1,295 destination and delivery charge ran the final bottom line to $36,515, which puts the 2022 Chevy Equinox RS among the higher price options in the compact SUV segment With the LS and LT models starting in the mid-$20,000 range, however, the Equinox is competitive when it comes to price.

What I liked about the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS: The infotainment features are friendly enough (except for one thing — see below), and the ride is comfortable, especially when cruising an expressway. It’s pretty roomy for a compact SUV, though cargo space when the second row is in place is limited compared to several segment rivals.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS:
The exterior got most of the attention when it came to updates. More attention should have been give to the interior. The cabin has the ambiance of a 15-year-old pickup. The 4-cylinder engine could use more pop. I would prefer a knob to surf the radio dial instead of having to push buttons. 

Would I buy the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS? Not likely. The interior just turns me off. It also seems bigger than a “small” SUV when it comes to maneuvering in a tight parking lot.