Wednesday, August 24, 2022

2022 BMW X4



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

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

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

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

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

But enough about the X3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 13, 2022



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




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.