Sunday, July 31, 2022





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 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has not changed all that much since the redesign of the QX56 in 2011, which makes it subject to criticism of being “outdated” in some corners, but there is an air of sophistication about it.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



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 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 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.





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.

Saturday, July 9, 2022




Hyundai added the performance-oriented N Line trim to its Sonata portfolio last year, giving it a full range of standard features that makes it one of the more interesting buys in the mid-size sedan segment.

One had to hope that a full-fledge N model would be coming for the 2022 Hyundai Sonata as with the Elantra compact, but, alas, that is not the case. Considering that the South Korean automaker is dropping the N and other versions of its Veloster hatchback for 2023, we may not ever see a Sonata N.

This is only disappointing because, going by the Elantra, an N would kick up the performance of the Sonata to even higher levels than the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line does. Think of how AMG works with Mercedes’ models and M tweaking does with BMW, but at bargain prices.

Quick to say here I’m not putting the Sonata up there with the German luxury cars, but you’re on a tighter budget the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line is an intriguing option in what is usually a mild-manner segment.

The 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line is outfitted with a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that sends 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque to its front wheels via an 8-speed dual clutch transmission. That combination shaves more than two seconds off zero-to-60 mph times for other Sonata trims, yet fuel efficiency remains a commendable 23 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway, and 27 combined.

Hyundai included a long list of standard features when it introduced the 2021 Sonata N line and the only add to the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line is a special Night Edition package that includes unique badging, wheels, spoiler, and other design tweaks that give it an aggressive look.

The 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line for my week came in a more traditional quartz white exterior color that added $400 to the bottom line. That and $195 for carpeted floor mats plus the standard $1,045 freight charge were the only extra costs.

Included in the starting MSRP of $33,600 were such items as N-unique 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, N-unique front and rear fascia with dual exhausts, heated Sport front seats with N designs, Bose premium sound system with 12 speakers, dual climate control, a rear center armrest with cupholders, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and 3-year complimentary Hyundai Blue Link services.

Safety technology includes blind-spot warning and lane-following and lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, and LED daytime running lights.

All that technology is jammed into a rather spacious interior that has a premium feel while offering a generous 46.1 inches of legroom.  The backseat can big a big snug with less than 35 inches of legroom, but the trunk is a generous 16 cubic feet.

The final bottom line for my test 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line came to $35.240, which makes it a bargain among performance sedans.

What I liked about the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line:
The infotainment features are plentiful and, with one exception (see below) very user friendly. The Sonata’s interior is comfortable and roomy and has a high-class look. The power upgrade you get from the N Line is worth the cost over the lower trims and is actually a bit less than the top-of-the-line Limited trim that operates with a much-milder 1.6L turbo-4 engine.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line: I miss a knob to change radio stations. Holding down a button on the touchscreen doesn’t do it Too bad it doesn’t offer a 6-speed manual transmission.

Would I buy the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line? The N Line version doesn’t offer quite as much in the way of driving thrills you get from the N version of  Hyundai Elantra, but it is higher up the food chain than the smaller Elantra. It is well worth a look if you’re shopping for a sharp-looking, nicely appointed sedan with a bit more pop than the average offerings in the non-luxury class.

Friday, July 1, 2022

2022 BMW M440i COUPE


OF M440i COUPE FOR 2022

Introduced as a 2014 model to replace the coupes and convertibles of the popular 3-Series, the BMW 4-Series carries within it the soul of a sports car that is best exemplified by those models getting the company’s famed “M” performance upgrades.

With a turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine, the M440i and M440i xDrive models ratchet up horsepower and torque to 382 horsepower and 369 over the 255/295, respectively you get from the turbo-4s in the 430i and 430i xdrive trims.

This review is based on the 2022 BMW M440i Coupe with rear-wheel drive, which was not available in the refreshing given the lineup for 2021. (The 2021 M440i came only as the M440i xDrive which featured the company’s all-wheel-drive xDrive package.)

The engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters and three drive modes (Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport) to suit your style. I searched for a zero-to-clock clocking for the RWD model with no luck but the website lists a 3.9-second clocking for the AWD M440i xDrive.

As noted, the 2021 4-Series went through a complete redesign that featured a new, bolder front grille that not every Bimmer aficionado is going to appreciate. It is a very prominent feature on the 2022 BMW M440i’s exterior.

Further enhancements for 2022 (including the rear-wheel drive configuration) include the addition of a Gran Coupe body style that comes with four doors along with  updates to standard equipment that include a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.35-inch touchscreen. blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist, and Harman Kardon surround sound.

The 2022 BMW M440i comes with a long list of standard features that include various M Performance packages and items like LED headlights and tail lamps, a power moonroof, multi-zone climate control, frontal collision warning,

Also included in the $56,700 MSRP for my test 2022 BMW M440i were niceties like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that can boost performance during hard acceleration by reducing the load on electronic systems, sport brakes, park distance control, and auto-dimming mirrors.

Extras? Of course there are extras to add on to the MSRP. Heading the list on my vehicle for the week were a Carbon Exterior package ($2,900), Cooling and High Performance Tire package ($2,500), Driver’s Assistance Pro package that adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with crash avoidance, and front cross-traffic alert ($1,700) and a Premium Package that adds a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, head-up display, and gesture control ($1,600).

Along with $995 for destination and delivery and $550 for the spectacular San Remo Green exterior,, that ran the final bottom line to $67,320, which seems kind of light for a vehicle of this caliber.

What I liked about the 2022 BMW M440i Coupe
The 2-door configuration gives it a sleek profile. The smorgasbord of tech functions is not that difficult to figure out and made easier by the use of a rotary dial on the console to spin through the options. Performance is what you expect from BMW, and you get a very powerful and more fuel efficient drive that you would ordinarily expect (25 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined). There is a bit more legroom in the back than you find in the M240i, and getting to the rear is made easier by the sliding front seats. You also get more trunk space (12.0 cubic feet to 10.0) than the M240i offers.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 BMW M440i Coupe: A manual transmission would add to the fun of driving. Despite the extra rear legroom, I would not want to spend much time back there. It is rather snug overall. The large front grille is very much “in-your-face” and may upset BMW traditionalists.

Would I buy the 2022 BMW M440i Coupe? The M430i is a tempting option but if you can work out the $11,000 increase in MSRP, the M440i is the way to go.