Monday, May 30, 2022



Typically, an “X” in BMW’s branding designates an SUV in the German automaker’s luxury fleet, but not, apparently, when it comes to the new X4 M.

The company refers to the 2022 BMW X4 M as a “Sports Activity Coupe,” which conflicts the way many auto enthusiasts, even those the the reviewing business, look at the coupe.

No. 1, it has a four doors while most consider coupes two-door vehicles. In my memory, only two manufacturers, BMW and its Teutonic colleague Mercedes-Benz, currently have endorsed the concept of a four-door coupe.

No. 2, though no specs really defines a coupe’s size, the 2022 BMW X4 M is pretty hefty for what we usually think of for a coupe. It seats five passengers and is 187.6 inches long, 75.5 inches wide, and 63.8 inches tall. The BMW 3-Series sedan is about 2 inches shorter in length and 7 shorter in height.

No. 3, the 2022 BMW X4 M also comes with a tailgate that lifts to provide access to a spacious cargo area much like a hatchback or crossovcr SUV.

All that said, however, since they are paying the bill I guess BMW can call it whatever it wants, though you are usually going to find it thrown in with luxury SUVs when doing an Internet search.

All quibbling aside, what there is no doubt about is that the 2022 BMW X4 M is one hot vehicle, especially when equipped with the $7,000 Competition package such as the vehicle this review is based on came with.

The 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine iin the 2022 BMW X4 M is rated at 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque while the X4 M Competition model ups that to a whopping 503 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft., moving it from zero-to-60 mph in a lightning quick 3.3 seconds.

An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, and you can program it in a coupe of different modes to suit your driving style via red buttons marked M1 and M2 on the crossbar of the steering wheel.

While the performance is remarkable, the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition does have its downsides. Fuel consumption is at the rate of 15 miles-per-gallon city, 20 highway, and 17 combined and uses approximately 5.9 gallons of premium fuel per 100 miles.

The emphasis on performance also is reflected it handling for the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition. Its firm suspension can make for a stiffer a ride which helps in cornering but at the sacrifice of some passenger comfort despite the luxurious surroundings.

Standard features on the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition “coupe” include a Harmon Karden premium surround sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, full LED lights, keyless entry and push-button start, 3-spoke leather-wrapped M Sport steering wheel, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with navigation, multi-zone climate control, heated power front seats, and active driving assist safety features like frontal collision warning as well as front and rear parking assist.

As noted, the Competition Package adds $7,000 to the starting MSRP of $73,400, but included in the starting MSRP on my test vehicle were such items as carbon-fiber trim, a wi-fi hotspot, and Connected iDrive services, wireless charging, and roof rails (making it even more SUV-like; just saying).

An Executive Package (heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, head-up display, M Competition package (M Sport Exhaust, M Seat Belts and M Seats, and 21-inch wheels), and M Driver’s Package (which includes a day on the company’s performance driving course) ran the final bottom line to $86,145 including the $995 destination and delivery fee.

What I liked about the 2022 BMW X4  M:
The performance is exhilarating. The cabin is very plush as you might expect from BMW. The sport front seats are supportive and comfortable. Several infotainment features work off of hard buttons, which is good. While the overall system is not overly complicated, performing some functions via the touchscreen can be take some work.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 BMW X4 M COMPETITION: The ride is on the harsh side and the slanting profile intrudes on rear head space for taller riders. You also lose considerable vertical cargo space from the that  slanting roofline and even more when the security cover is in place. The term “fuel economy” is an oxymoron when it comes to the 2022 BMW X4 M Competition model.

Would I buy the 2022 BMW X4 M COMPETITION? Certainly not in this greenish yellow color. (Sorry, BMW. You may definite as a shade of yellow, but many others call it “green.”) I’m not into getting cheap thrills by blowing away unsuspecting performance cars at intersections, but if that is your thing, this is the vehicle for it. You have to be serious about taking this vehicle on track to spend $7,000 on the Competition package, however.

Monday, May 23, 2022



The Santa Fe has been a staple in the Hyundai lineup for just over two decades, but this is just the second year that the Calligraphy has served as the top-of-the-line trim for non-hybrid/plugin models.

Though a bit larger than the Tucson, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe offers seating for only five occupants in a spacious and upscale cabin that has a spacious storage area (36.4 cubic feet) behind the second row of seats.

In addition to the Calligraphy, a new trim debuts for 2022 with the XRT slotted in between the SEL and Limited editions. The SE continues to serve as the base model with a starting price of $27,700 of including destination and delivery. 

There are standard hybrid and plugin hybrid Santa Fe models, but this review is based on the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy AWD gas-fueled model. It carries a hefty starting price of $43,885 with freight charges included, but the list of included equipment is so long as to make expensive options unnecessary. The only things added to my test vehicle were the calypso red paint ($400) and carpeted floor mats ($195) bringing the total to $44,480.

Among comfort and convenience features included were Nappa leather seating surfaces, a perforated leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel, exclusive Calligraphy headliner, 8-way driver and 6-way adjustable power passenger seats, dual climate control with rear air vents, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, proximity key with push-button start, hands-free Smart liftgate, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Harman Kardon Premium Sound, and 3-year complimentary Hyundai Blue Link connected services.

Safety features include a surround-view camera system, blind-spot warning, forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, lane-following and highway driving assist, and navigation-bases Smart cruise control. The latter is also standard on Limited trim.

LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, privacy rear glass, front and rear parking sensors, and roof rails also are included. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy rides on 20-inch wheels.

A 2.5-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine is standard on the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy and is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are included for manual gear selection  SE, SEL, and new XRT Santa Fes get naturally aspirated 2.5L 4-cylinder.

The turbo is rated at a max 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque, a significant jump over the 191/181 from the naturally aspirated 2.5L on the lower trims 

Fuel figures for the turbo 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy with front-wheel drive are 22 miles-per gallon city, 28 highway, and 25 combined while optional all-wheel propulsion, available on all trims, knocks the numbers down to 21/28/24.

Regular octane fuel is recommended.

It’s easy to see why the Santa Fe has been a consistent seller since its introduction as the company’s first SUV in 2001. It hit six figures in sales for the first time in 2014 and reached its all-time high of 133,171 three years later, according to figures from

In the Covid year of 2020 sales dipped to 101,513 but bounced back to 112,705 in 2021. Through April of this year Hyundai reports sales at 36,656, a slight drop from the the 39,040 from the same period the year before. Some of that likely can be attributed to the bump in sales for the redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson.

What I liked about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy:
The interior is roomy and upscale. Infotainment features are plentiful and also user-friendly. The turbo-charged version is very peppy. There is generous legroom front (44.1 inches) and back (41.1) and well as plenty of stowage space in the rear.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy: There’s not really much of anything not to like about the Santa Fe. It’s not a high-performance SUV such as some of the luxury models coming from Europe but you’re not going to be embarrassed pulling away from an intersection either.

Would I buy the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy? Definitely. This is a very good-looking SUV that also is very functional. If you don’t need 3-row seating it is ideal. (If you do need 3-row seating, check out the Hyundai Palisade or the Sorento from its South Korean colleague Kia.) The SEL trim, however, offers a better bargain than the Calligraphy with a starting price of $29,450 for FWD models but gets the less powerful engine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022



Mercedes may be late to the party, but it makes a grand entrance to the all-electric vehicle market with the 2022 EQS 580 4MATIC sedan.

Spectacular is a word that just doesn’t do it justice. It’s not just a luxurious electric vehicle, it is luxurious vehicle period with a prominent profile and opulent interior. You can even get pillows for the  headrests!

Equivalent to the gas-powered S-Class flagship sedan, the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC is rife with technological features. In fact, I recommend that you get at least a 3-year lease so you have a chance at learning how to learn them all before you turn it back in. Either that or take computer science lessons. 

It is available in three trim levels with the well-equipped Premium carrying a starting MSRP of $119,110 (not including a $1,050 destination and delivery charge). With it you get heated and ventilated front seats, a power panoramic sunroof, Bermester Premium Sound, and leather upholstery throughout for a start.

Exclusive trim for the 2022 Mercedes EQS 4MATIC adds a massage function to the front seats, head-up display, and four-zone climate control and is tagged with a starting MSRP of $122,510.

The top-of-the-folio Pinnacle carries a starting price of $125,310 and adds power rear seats that are heated and ventilated, comfort rear headrests, and additional rear USB ports as standard features.

The most distinguishing feature of the interior is the 56-inch  curved glass panel that runs across the entire front and houses what are traditionally separate screens for the instrument gauge cluster and infotainment systems. There are not only no knobs to interfere with the smooth look. There aren’t any buttons either. Everything is done either by touch or “Hey, Mercedes, voice command.”

Mercedes calls it a “Hyperscreen” and it provides a clean, flat look to the front dash area. Well, clean is a relative term here since it collects fingerprints when touch functions are used to operate the MBUX system (what Mercedes calls the “brains” of the car.

Passenger comfort also is augmented by the smooth, quiet ride of the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580.

The dual electric motors are rated at 516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of instant torque that propel its considerable heft (5,888 pounds) from zero-to-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Just put it in Drive and it scoots.

Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is standard on all EQS 580 models with RWD available on 2022 EQS 450 models that feature only one electric motor.

Range for daily commutes is not a critical issue with the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC. Mercedes tags it at 340 miles on a full charge, though some sources have reported slightly longer results. The computer showed available mileage at 341 when my test vehicle arrived with a 91 percent charge.

Of course, that doesn’t address the issue of longer trips like say a jaunt of 400 miles. But I’m guessing here that if the budget for your automotive purchases is in the six-figure range you’e not likely making many 400-mile road trips, if any. You’ll simply fly to faraway vacation spots.

In addition to the standard comfort and convenience features, the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC also included are standard driver assistance features such as lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, active parking assist with a surround view camera (a godsend in tight parking lots), brake assist, and forward collision warning.

Extras on my test 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC included the diamond white exterior paint and black/gray Nappa leather interior,  black microfiber headliner, an upgraded MBUX system with head-up display, multicolor front seats with massage function, and 21-inch wheels over the standard 20-inchers

That ran the final bottom line to $133,670 including the $!,050 destination and delivery fee.

What I liked about the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 Sedan: “Extreme opulence” are the words that come to mind for the futuristic interior. The display for the navigation map is by far the largest I have ever seen. (Frankly, maybe too big.) The ride is smooth and, as with electric power, top torque is instantly available. Cargo space is a generous 22 cubic feet.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 Sedan: The glass Hyperscreen collects more fingerprints than a CSI technician on overtime. Technology is plentiful but fussy to operate, and if you like sports or talk radio you’re pretty much out of luck as there is no AM radio option. (Why? Electric motors can cause static on the AM band. And remember. The 2022 EQS 580 4MATCI has two electric motors to drive all four wheels. Range is good for daily/weekly use, but what if you want to take a 400-mile trip?

Would I buy the 2022 Mercedes E)QS 580 Sedan? Nope. Nothing against the car because it is a beautiful vehicle. I’m just not comfortable buying an all-electric vehicle until charging stations become as common as gas pumps across the U.S. 

Friday, May 13, 2022



One sentence you rarely, if ever, used to come across while reading a Cadillac review: “This is a fun car to drive.”

Luxurious? Yes. Comfortable?  That, too. Prestigious? Natch. Even “gold standard of domestic luxury” fit big, precocious Cadillac vehicles of the past like the DeVille,  Fleetwood, and Eldorado.

But fun to drive?

It wasn’t until the 21st Century that a reviewer could use those words without a note of sarcasm. That’s when Cadillac introduced its  high performance-oriented V-Series models to its lineup, the first being the 2004 CTS-V. It took dead aim at German rivals Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz among high-powered luxury sedans.

Cadillac ended the CTS’ run after 2019 with the CT5 replacing it for the 2020 model year. The CT5 kept the V-Series tradition with a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine bumping horsepower and torque up to 360/405, respectively, over the 4-cylinders’ 237/358 in other trims.

Good, but not great, steps up.

But things get more serious this year with the introduction of the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing sedan which company tub-thumpers call the “most powerful and fastest Cadillac in history.”

With a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood, the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is pegged at a max 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque that propels its two-ton heft from zero-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds.

Cadillac reports it as slightly quicker with the 10-speed automatic transmission (3.4 seconds) than with the 6-speed manual (3.6), but I would sacrifice the .2 seconds for the awesome driving experience you have with the standard manual.

Yes, a manual is standard. Mirza Grebovic, Cadillac performance variant manager, explains why.

“For nearly two decades, enthusiasts have told us how important it is to have the control of a manual gearbox in their performance sedan,” he is quoted in a news release. “The ability to choose the driving experience they want is a luxury in and of itself, allowing them to feel more connected with the vehicle.”

As you can imagine, fuel numbers are not all that impressive. At 13 miles-per-gallon city, 21 highway, and 15 combined (using recommend premium gasoline) it earns a hefty $2,100 gas guzzler tax, but that’s part of the cost of performance. You want to buy a car like this and then go cheap on the fuel bill? (I’ll answer that. No, you don’t.)

As a Cadillac, the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing is typically well stocked with standard convenience and safety features.

Among the former are the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system with a 10-inch display for navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless connectivity, OnStar services, a wifi hotspot, 18-way power adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support and massage, heated and ventilated front seats, power adjustable steering column and leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED headlights and tail lamps, LED ambient interior lighting, a 15-speaker premium audio system, keyless entry and push-button start, V-Series floor mats, a head-up display for the driver, wireless phone charger, and rain-sensing wipers.

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, frontal collision alert and front pedestrian warning, front and rear park assist, HD surround view camera, lane-keeping assist and departure warning, blind-spot alert, and an advanced safety package.

It is rear-wheel drive, of course, and rides on 19 x 10-inch forged aluminum or available magnesium wheels on the front and 19 x 11-inch wheels on the rear.

MSRP for the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing starts at $83,995. That’s a hefty increase over the $37,990 for the basic CT5 and even a good leap over the $48,790 starting MSRP for the CT5-V, and the company says a fully configured 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing can run up to $125,580 including $995 for destination and delivery.

My test 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing did not go that high but easily ran into six figures.

Starting with $9,430 for two carbon fiber trim packages, $9,000 for carbon ceramic brakes and $5,090 exterior accents and semi-aniline leather seats with custom quilting and carbon-fiber front seat backs, extras included a performance data and video recorder ($1,600), panoramic sunroof ($1,450), infrared red exterior ($1,225), and a parking package ($600) that ran the total to $114,300 (including the $995 destination and delivery fee).

With Cadillac according to reports planning for an all-electric fleet by the year 2030, which is sooner than parent company GM’s electrification goal of 2035, you’d best hurry up down to the showroom if you want — and can afford — the Blackwing!

What I liked about the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing: Besides the breathtaking performance and the manual transmission, which contributes to the ride factors, the CT5-V Blackwing is a great looking car. Infotainment features are plentiful and easy to operate. The CUE (Cadillac User Experience) for navigation, audio, etc., has been much improved since its introduction 9 years ago. The big brakes and safety systems are appreciated. Did I mention this is a fun car to drive?

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing: The side mirrors are on the small side, which further impedes visibility. For a sedan there isn’t much in the way of trunk space (11.9 cubic feet).

Would I buy the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing? Definitely. I could do without all the carbon fiber (you approach parking lots with trepidation,) but would definitely include the brake package among the options. The red is a beautiful color as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022




Talk about good timing. With gas prices hitting record levels, Kia is bringing the plug-in version of the Sorento to showrooms this year after introducing the standard gas-electric hybrid drivetrain on the Sorento last year.

The two hybrid models round out the portfolio for the company’s SUV that slots in between the smaller Sportage and slightly larger Telluride in the South Korean’s stable. Even though a bit more compact than the Telluride, the Sorento still offers 3-row seating.

This review is based on the EX version of the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid. Only one other trim is offered on the Hybrid, the base S that comes with a similar drivetrain, a 1,6-turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine and electric motor paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, but with fewer standard features.

Combined horsepower in gas-electric operation is a hefty 227 and combined torque 258 pound-feet, which results in a spirited drive while providing fuel efficiency numbers of 39 miles-per-gallon city, 35 highway, and 37 combined. Towing capacity is listed as 1,654 pounds.

The new plugin kicks the combined horsepower number up a notch to 261 and fuel ratings up to 79 MPGe, Torque in the plugin is identical to that for the standard Hybrid. The plugin, however, carries a price tag around $10,000 higher than the standard hybrid’s MSRP, which is a pretty steep premium for about 32 miles of all-electric driving.

Front-wheel strive is standard on the 2022 Kia Hybrid trims and all-wheel drive is available.

The 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX comes with a long list of standard features that add to the vehicle’s value. They include a new 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, automatic LED headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB chargers for all three rows, keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, and one-touch slide and fold second-row seats.

Also coming with no charge added to the $35,990 starting MSRP are adaptable cruise control, automatic stop/start function, LED fog lights, wireless phone charger, and a parking distance warning system.

Other safety features on the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX include Forward Collision Avoidance Alert with pedestrian and cyclist warning, blind-spot warning, lane-keeping and lane-following assist, and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist.

The government gave the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX an overall 4-star safety rating with 4 stars for frontal crash and rollover and 5 stars for side crash protection.

Leatherette seats are standard on both EX and S trims, and split-folding captain’s chairs are standard for the second row. Legroom in the front is a generous 41.4 inches and 40.7 in the second row. Third-row occupants get only 29.6 inches of legroom, limiting them to mostly children and perhaps very limber adults for short jaunts.

Cargo space behind the third row is12.6 cubic feet, which is not even a good sedan trunk, but fold up that back row and you get 38.5 to 45 cubic feet.

With so much included in the starting MSRP, the only extras on my test 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid were $445 for Runway Red paint and $210 for carpeted floor mats. Add in the $1,175 destination charge the final bottom line came to $37,820. Items like a panoramic sunroof and rear-season entertainment package can add another $2,800.

What I liked about the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX:
Infotainment features are plentiful and user friendly. The interior is nicely done and roomy. It has plenty of power and handles well. The ride is quiet. The rearview camera features dynamic guidelines, and the new 10.25-inch touchscreen includes navigation. Adaptive cruise control and parking assist are covered in the base MSRP.

What I didn’t like about the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX: Cargo space when the third-row seats are in place is limited to the size of an average sedan (or less). If you need the third row for trips, you likely are going to have to store baggage on the roof. Fortunately, roof rails are included in standard equipment.

Would I buy the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid? Yes. I have never been a big fan of hybrids but this one doesn’t drive like the usual gas-electric hybrid. I would go for it rather than pay the extra cost for the plug-in version.

Friday, May 6, 2022



If you’re looking for a vehicle that offers sports car-like performance and still has a practical side — and budget is not a factor — Mercedes-Benz may have the answer for you in the 2022 AMG GT 53.

Called a 4-door coupe, the 2022 AMG GT 53 has room for two in the back and gives them easy access without having to contort themselves you often must do in entering through the front doors.
It also has 12.7 cubic feet of trunk space to accommodate most of the stuff those passengers might bring along with them for a weekend trip, which is than you typically get in a two-passenger roadster.

As for performance, the “AMG” designation should be a tipoff. Acceleration is smooth and rapid, like a zero-to-60 mph clocking of an estimated 4.4 seconds.

The turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-6 engine is rated at 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque with a boost of 21 hp and 184 lb.-ft., respectively, from the Integrated Starter-Generator that provides a mild electric boost.

With the engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, fuel efficiency is rated at 19 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway, and 21 combined. Those are notnot the kind of numbers that will make greenies very happy, but does have the Eco start/stop system that saves fuel while you pause at inter sections waiting for the light to change.

The 2022 AMG GT 53 is, as is common with vehicles out of the German’s stable, filled with the usual collection of standard equipment common in the luxury segment, including the company’s MBUX infotainment features.

Alas, though many of the system’s functions are operable via voice command, the basic operating system works via a touch pad on the console similar to what you would find on a laptop computer. Can you say distracting?

New for 2022, Mercedes has made the surround-view camera part of standard equipment, which is a nice safety feature. Also, if you need room for an extra passenger in the back on a consistent basis, a second-row bench seat that accommodates three riders is available in the U.S. market. It also folds to give you extra storage room.

Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless start, and Bluetooth Communications are also standard in the starting price of $102,600.

The 2022 AMG GT 53 provided for my test also came with a long list of options to take the price up a notch starting with $3,250 for the exclusive saddle brown and black Nappa leather interior and $2,850 for carbon fiber interior trim.

Other options and packages included a Burmester premium sound system, a Driver Assistance Package (active lane-change and lane-keeping assist, active blind spot assist, rear-end collision protection, etc.), heated and ventilated front seats plus a warmth and comfort package (heated front armrests, heated steering wheel, rapid heating function for front seats), an acoustic-comfort package, multicolor front seats with massage function, AMG performance exhaust, 20-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels with black accents, and a cabin air fragrance and ionization system.

With the $1,050 destination and delivery charge added, the final bottom line came to $130,850.

Oh, yeah, An AMG performance steering wheel and glass sunroof came at no extra charge.

What I liked about the 2022 AMG GT 53:
Performance is top notch, qne i5 is impressive inside and out. The exterior is stunning, and the interior is filled with high quality, premium materials.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 AMG GT 53: The infotainment system itself is not all that complicated, but using the touchpad on the console can divert from the driver’s attention. You also likely will find yourself changing functions when you accidentally brush the touchpad surface. Extras quickly drive up the price.

Would I buy the 2022 AMG GT 53? I would have to win the lottery first, of course, but yes. The GT 53 offers the sleek coupe profile while also providing easy access to the backseat via rear doors. It would be hard to pass up on its performance. That there is room only for two passengers in the back can be a downer at times, but not often enough to really matter. And there is always the optional bench seat.