Saturday, October 29, 2022



Hyundai has embarked on an ambitious program with a goal of selling a million “electrified” models worldwide as soon as the year 2025 to fulfill the public’s growing demand for more eco-friendly vehicles.

Loren Wong, Assistant Manager for Product Planning for Hyundai North America, made that point last month in a visit Miami last month to talk about the South Korean automaker’s plans.

“Today’s consumer is lot more demanding and has many more transportation options to choose from,” he said. “State, city, and municipalities are making greater demands for more environmental friendly and economical transportation solutions.

“At Hyundai we ave embraced this challenge and are ready for the future.”

Cox Automotive, a global conglomerate that tracks industry trends, recenty reported that electrified vehicles, which includes standard gas-electric hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), or cars with all-electric drivetrains (EVs), are the fastest growing segment in automotive sales through the first half of this year.

That translates to a market share of about 12 percent, Wong said,  and that demand doesn’t figure to slacken.

“About one in three people,” he said. “are considering an electrified vehicle for their next vehicle purchase.”

At the heart of Hyundai’s electrified lineup is the all-electric 2022 Ioniq 5, a small hatchback the company began easing into U.S. markets late last year. It is offered in four trims with a range of over 300 miles in rear-wheel-drive configuration to ease fears of range anxiety, the No. 1 concern most people have when it comes to electric vehicles.

All-wheel-drive models don’t get quite that much on a full charge but still offer a respectable 256 miles of driving range.

Even with the reduced range, AWD models have been a popular choice for Ioniq 5 buyers.

“Surprisingly more than half of our Ioniq 5 sales have been for the all-wheel drive Ioniq 5s,” Wong said. “Range is a little less at little over 250 miles but a lot of customers like that tradeoff with increased driving performance for the all-wheel-drive model, which has 320 horsepower versus  225 for the rear-wheel-drive model. And you also get that peace of mind of all-wheel drive traction.”

This review is based on the top-of-the-line of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited trim with AWD which comes fully packed. It carries a base MSRP of $54,500, which is a pretty good hunk of change, but you can save nearly $4,000 by going with RWD. SEL trim, which also has an extensive list of standard equipment, starts at $49,750 with AWD and $46,250.with RWD.

SE models start at $44,000 for RWD models and $47,500 with AWD.  Also available is an SE Standard Range model that starts at just under $40,000 but doesn’t offered AWD and has a more modest driving range of 220 miles on a full charge.

Designers have given the 2022 Ioniq 5 somewhat of a futuristic look both inside and out, which some may not find to their tastes. It does stand out, and the Limited has lots of friendly features when it comes to comfort and convenience.

Handles remain flush to the sides both front and rear doors until activated by the approach of the key fob, making for a clean exterior side surface. With a wheelbase of 118.1 inches and 182.5-inch length, there is good passenger room.

Infotainment systems on the Limited trim work off a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation and Android Auto/Apple CarPlan connectivity. Smart cruise control with automatic stop/start technology, a Bose premium audio system, a head-up display, surround view camera, and leatherette trimmed heated and ventilated seats are among features that often are not offered or are available only as options on typical econo hatchbacks.

Push-button start is included, and the 2022 Ioniq 5 Limited rides on 20-inch alloy wheels with a very distinctive design.

In addition to the excellent maximum driving range that the larger battery pack provides for SE, SEL, and Limited models, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 also has the capability to shorten charging times, another common concern for potential EV buyers.

Built on the company’s E-GMP platform (Electrification Global Modular Platform), the Ioniq 5 can reach from 10 to 80 percent capacity in about 18 minutes when connected to a fast-charger, Hyundai’s Wong said.

Hyundai also has a partnership with Electrify America, which has charging stations throughout the country, that will provide Hyundai owners with two years of free 30-minute charging sessions.

“That 30 minutes should be sufficient for these customers to get where they need to go when connected to a DC fast-charger,” Wong said.

What I liked abou
t the 2022 Ioniq 5 Limited:
As is typical of EVs, the immediate torque response (446 pound-feet on AWD models, 256 lb.-ft. with RWD) makes driving a fun experience. The max driving range is over 300 miles on a full charge on RWD models. Tech features are easy enough to catch onto. I like the way the door handles pop out when you approach the car while with he key fob in your pocket or purse and then retract after you get in, leaving a clean exterior.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Ioniq 5 Limited:
 Both exterior and interior styling in general are be a bit too funky for me and possibly older buyers (a neighbor mocked its look), but that may be an age thing. Hatchbacks generally appeal more to younger consumers. It’s a minor thing but gears are selected by turning a knob that sticks out from the steering column and the gear sequece has D (drive) at the top spot where R (reverse) would instinctively be found. You’ll typically find reverse at the head of your console’s gear shift, for example.

Would I buy the 2022 Ioniq 5 Limited? Again, I’m waiting for the infrastructure to catch up to provide more options for faster charging before I buy an EV even though the Ioniq 5 does have faster charging capability than many other EVs. But the range is good, and you can use the money you save on buy $4 or more gas to rent a car for longer trips.

Friday, October 21, 2022



Just in its second model year, the 2023 Infiniti QX55 comes with more features as standard, which makes it an underrated but attractive alternative for shoppers in the compact luxury SUV segment.

It retains a more rakish profile than its stablemate QX50 with the sleeker styling giving it a coupe-like image. Like the QX50, the 2023 QX55 has a turbocharged 4-cylinder though Infiniti has tinkered with it a bit to make it more responsive, a tough challenge when the only transmission offered is a CVT.

All QX55s are all-wheel drive and seat five passengers. Fuel consumption is at a rate of 22 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 25 combined, which is about the same for AWD QX50 models.

As mentioned earlier, the 2023 Infiniti QX55 is loaded with lots of standard features. It is offered in only three trims with the Luxe model serving as the base and the Sensory topping the lineup. In between is the Essential, which this review is based on.

Standard equipment on the 2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential includes the usual luxury features like a power moonroof, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, leather seating, power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, intelligent key and push button start, rear power liftgate, Infiniti’s Intouch display system with dual screens, Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Navigation with premium traffic map.

In addition, the features that were in the optional ProAssist Package a year ago are now included in the starting MSRP of $54,250. They include Cube Design LED headlights, an adaptive front lighting system, intelligent cruise control, blind-spot intervention, and lane-departure prevention.

Additional safety systems include the company’s ProPilot Assist system, high beam assist, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and rear-cross traffic alert.

If all that is included on the Essential trim, you might logically wonder what extra features come with the Sensory models for an extra $3,000.

Glad you asked. The answer is maybe not enough to justify the extra cost. Upgraded brakes, a motion-activated liftgate, upgraded leather seating surfaces, 4-way power lumbar for the front passenger, heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, extended interior ambient lightning, black wood interior accents, and a head-up display for the driver are the edges for the Sensory over the Essential.

That doesn’t look worth $3,000 to me but perhaps your budget can take it.

The bottom line on my test 2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential came to $56,580 with destination and delivery charge ($1,195) and two stand-alone options (an illuminated kick plate for $485 and welcome lighting with the Infiniti logo for $650) included.

That’s a bit more than the 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sensory AWD will set you back, but is competitive in the segment.

What I liked about the 2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential: There is a long list of standard equipment that includes an around-view monitor. The user-friendly infotainment features include full navigation with traffic info. I like the dual screen operation that allows you to leave map for navigation on the upper screen  while you fiddle with other functions on the lower. It has plenty of punch for normal driving and cruises nicely. Cargo room is generous (26.9 cubic feet behind the second row, 54.2 with that row folded).

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential:
The navigation screen while not tiny is a on the small size especially when compared to some of the bigger screens in today’s luxury models. It gives off  a dated feel. It’s  a comfortable ride, but not a very quiet one. I would prefer a 10-speed transmission over the CVT.

Would I buy the 2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential? Yes. The CVT is not a deal breaker for me. There isn’t the usual groan as with older CVTs, and it has simulated shift points for manual-like operations via paddle shifters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


The Ford Bronco Raaptor, SAMA’s choice for “star” of the Miami Auto Show.
The 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor, SAMA’s pick for Star of the Miami Auto Show.


The Miami International Auto Show opened last weekend and continues through Sunday (Oct. 23) at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

As shows go, the Miami even has been ranked below the big guys (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit) and pretty much ahead of the rest of the shows. It is considered a consumer-driven show with no high-pressure sales tactics but few dramatic reveals of new models.

Such is the case this year. The lineup of vehicles is still without many of the European luxury brands that once again skipping the event, which is a shame because it seems like every other car you see on the road in the South Florida area is either a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW with an occasional Porsche thrown in.

The Germans apparently are looking at other avenues to garner exposure for their models as they are skipping other shows as well.

The Miami show does have kind of a neat attraction with indoor tracks to give the public rides in electric vehicles. Camp Jeep also is back to give riders a taste of an off-roading experience.

The show opened with a pretty slimmed down press day. Only a couple of model reveals were on the schedule. In that past, introductory press conferences used to run into the afternoon, but last Saturday’s wrapped up well before lunch.

Dodge and Nissan took advantage of the opening to showcase a one new model and a updated version of one of its traditional models.

For Dodge, it was the reveal of the 2023 Dodge Hornet, a performance-driven compact SUV that comes in two versions. The Dodge Hornet GT comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque resulting in a zero-to-60 in the mid-to-low six second level, said Fernando Fernandez, Dodge Hornet brand manager who made the presentation.

Going up the performance ladder, Fernandez said, is the Dodge Hornet R/T trim which features a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine to power the front wheels and a completely independent electric motor to power the rear wheels in the all-wheel-drive configuration.

Overall the package can deliver north of 285 horsepower with an even bigger jump in torque to 383 pound-feet, Fernandez said.

The 2023 Dodge Hornet GT will hit showrooms later this year while the R/T version will be available early next year. Pricing has yet to be firmed up but it is expected to be in the neighborhood of $30,000.

At the Nissan booth, the Japanese automaker unveiled the 2023 Nissan Versa for its first showing.

“The 2023 Versa is completely refreshed inside and out,” Bill Miller of Nissan’s marketing team said in his presentation. 

It starts with a new front fascia featuring a reimagined grille and continues with each trim level — S, SV and SR — getting distinctive upgrades and features. The SR gets a new 8-inch color touchscreen display on the interior, Miller said.

“We’re really happy to incorporate that into the SR trim on the Versa,” Miller said. “And then we have a number of items that were previously in a package on the SR that now come standard, like heated seats and intelligent cruise control.”

There’s  reason people really see value in a Versa, Miller said.
“We’re really proud of this vehicle,” he said, “and it’s a really important part of our lineup.”
Pricing has yet to be finalized, he said, “but I can guarantee that we will continue to deliver the best value in this segment.”

The Dodge and Nissan models aside, the official Show car of the 2022 Miami International Auto Show is the all-electric Ford F-150 pickup, and Star of the Show as selected by a panel of judges of the Southern Automotive Media Association is the Ford Bronco Raptor, a traditional gas-power SUV oriented toward off-roaders. SAMA has traditionally selected a Star of the Show since its founding in 2007.

This year it also singled out four vehicles for runner-up recognition starting with the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 as first runner-up, the Lightning for second runner-up, and the Cadillac Lyriq and Toyota GR Corolla to share third-runner up honors.

Friday, October 14, 2022




With updated exterior features, a plush roomy interior filled with user-friendly tech features, and a muscular, twin-turbocharged V6 to propel its hefty weight, the refreshed Lincoln Navigator sits at the top of the company’s all-SUV portfolio for 2022.

Available in three trim levels and in short or long wheelbase form, the 2022 Lincoln Navigator offers buyers an appealing choice for those shopping in the full-size luxury SUV segment.

The updates for 2022 place the Lincoln Navigator among the leaders of a select but competitive segment the features imports from Germany and Japan as well as fellow countrymen Cadillac and Jeep.

All trims of the 2022 Lincoln Navigator — Base, Reserve, and Black Label — are powered by a 3.5-liter, twin turbo V6 engine that is rated at 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque and mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

That’s enough power to move its nearly 6,000-pounds curb weight from zero-to-60 in 5.6 seconds while offering towing capacity of over 8,000 pounds for the 4x4 Black Label trim that this review is based on.

Fuel efficiency ratings are competitive as well — 17 city, 23 highway for 4X2 models, 16/22 for 4X4 using premium fuel. Keep in mind that these are not vehicles for the fuel-conscious.

Drivers have the choice of several different drive modes with adjustments for sportier performance (which Lincoln dubs Excite), better fuel economy (which Lincoln calls it Conserve), and hazardous conditions like snow, mud, or slick surfaces. 

While all that is impressive, the really “wow” factor emerges with the 2022 Lincoln Navigator’s interior. The Black Label comes in four design themes each featuring variants of the plush leather throughout the cabin.

The Chalet Theme of my test vehicle had alpine leather seats with Lincoln Star perforation, an alpine suede headliner, and a .two-tone back and white color scheme that was particularly eye-catching. Other themes are Central Park, Invitation, and Yacht Club, each with distinctive touches.

Standard equipment includes all the bells and whistles you expect (demand) of the luxury class. Special carpeting, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, tri-zone climate control, etc. are all included.

Tech features start with a 13.2-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash for operation of infotainment features in the Sync4 System, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and voice command recognition.

Safety features include the usual, like blind-spot warning, Intelligent Cruise Control with stop-and-go, lane-centering assist, and speed sign recognition, and a surround view camera — a must for a vehicle of this size.

Lincoln’s Active Glide hands-free driving system also makes it debut on the Navigator’s Reserve and Black Label trims, though you still need to pay attention to what is going on on the road ahead of you. It is activated via the Intelligent Cruise Control system by punching a button on the steering wheel.

One of the big attractions for the 2022 Lincoln Navigator is its size. With a length of 210 inches for the standard model and 221 for the Navigator L space is extensive in all three rows. Even the back row riders get a minimum of 36.1 inches of legroom that is extended to 40.9 inches with the second-row seats pulled forward.

But as the OCD-afflicted detective (well, ex-detective) Monk used to say in the old USA television series of that name, that size is a blessing — and a curse. Just search for a space in a crowd mall parking lot and you’ll see what I mean about a “curse.”

The 2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label edition carries a starting price of $108,330 before any extras are added on. The Reserve trim, which is probably the most popular, starts at $91,250. The Base, which is well equipped, starts at $79,330. Those price tags are pretty common in the segment.
What I liked about the 2022 Lincoln Navigator:
The cabin is spacious and filled with premium quality materials in an attractive two-tone color scheme. Lots of soft touch areas throughout. The grab handles and retractable running boards make getting in and out a snap. Rear storage is adequate for most tasks and extremely generous with the ateird-row seats folded flat. Tech features are easy to operate via the new 13.2-inch touchscreen or duplicate buttons for some functions.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Lincoln Navigator: Maneuverability in mall parking lots and high-rise parking facilities isn’t the easiest. A week of driving in both urban and rural environments produced fuel mileage numbers a bit shy of the 16/22 mpg advertised, but not by a significant margin.

Would I buy the 2022 Lincoln Navigator? I’m not personally in the market for a full-size SUV, even one as nicely done as the Navigator. But if you need an SUV of this size and shop in the luxury segment, you should add this to your list of “must-see” options.

Sunday, October 9, 2022



Ford has had the top-selling pickup on the market for over four decades with its F-Series, and now it has taken a big step to ensure it is in position to keep that title with the introduction of its all-electric Lightning F150.

Not the first EV truck on the market — that honor would go to the R1T from Rivian, a startup company founded in 2009 and headquartered in California — the 2022 Ford Lightning has the power of the F-150 reputation behind it and comes with a more appealing price tag than the handful of its present competitors.

That isn’t to say it’s cheap, because it’s not. The XLT model that is an upgrade from the base Pro trim and figures to be its best-seller starts at $59,474 before any fees like destination and delivery are added on.

That’s a pretty good jump from the starting MSRP for the Pro trim’s $46,974, and if you want the extended-range battery that increases driving range to 320 miles over the 240 miles of the standard-range battery, the starting point for the 2022 Ford Lightning XLT High/Extended Range model is $80,974.

In addition to the longer-lasting battery, XLT High/Extended Range models also get the XLT 312A High Package that includes such features as adaptive cruise control,, Intelligent Access, a heated steering wheel, a 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a power tailgate, 20-inch wheels, and the upgraded 9.6 kW Pro Power Onboard system that acts as mobile generator with 11 outlets (10 120V plus a 240V in the bed).

Other trims available on the 2022 Ford Lighting are Lariat, which this review is based on, and top of the line Platinum. The Lariat starts at $74,474 with the standard-range battery and $85,974 with the extended range. The extended-range battery is standard for the Platinum model that starts at $96,974.

Ford has stuck the formula that makes its F-Series so popular among buyers. with a couple of tweaks. Most obvious on the Lariat-trimmed Lightning is the 15-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash for operation of a plethora of tech features.

Those features include SYNC4A with enhanced voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wi-fi hotspot, navigation, a 360-degree camera, Bluetooth phone, and Bang&Olufsen premium sound system with 8 speakers. 

The 2022 Ford Lightning is available only with a four-door crew cab that is spacious and comfortable. I used to joke that if you have only enough money to buy a house or a car, buy the car because you can sleep in your car but you can’t drive your house. With rear legroom of 43.6 inches of legroom in the back, the Lightning is a vehicle that has plenty of space for that.

There also is a large storage compartment at the front where the engine sits in the gasoline-power F-150. It’s efficient use of what otherwise would be wasted space. It has a 5.5-foot cargo box.

The Lariat version of the 2022 Ford Lightning gets leather-trimmed heated and ventilated front seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat and power passenger seat with power lumbar, power tailgate with a retractable step, a max tow package that boosts towing capacity to 10,000 pounds, power adjustable steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and a storage bin that features a flat area to do paperwork

All that is nice, but, of course, what makes a Lightning a Lightning is the all-electric powertrain. With two electric motors driving the all-wheel-wheel system, the standard-range battery delivers 452 horsepower and peak torque of 770 pound-feet. The extended range battery ups those numbers to 580/775, respectively.

Max towing with the standard battery is 5,000 pounds without the Max Trailer Tow Package, 7,700 pounds with that Package. With the extended-range batter, the Lariat’s towing capacity is 7,000 pounds without the Trailer Tow Package, 10,000 with it. Ford lists a max of 8,500 pounds for the Platinum with the Tow Package.

One caveat here: the Lightning may be able to tow a significant load, but not very far without a recharge. range is sliced significantly when towing, as some Internet sites have demonstrated via videos.

Oh, yes. About charging times. Ford claims a 150kW Level 3 charger can provide from 15-to-80 percent power in 44 minutes with a standard battery while the extended range does it in 41 minutes. With a Ford Charge Station, times vary from 10 to 13 hours to get a standard battery to 100 percent and 8 to 19 hours for the extended range, depending on which of three versions is being used.
What I liked about the 2022 Ford Lightning: The Supercrew cabin is spacious and well-done. It’s also easy to get into thanks to the grab handles and running boards that are standard on all but the Pro trim. The instant torque response provides quick throttle response. The trunk space in the front. The numerous outlets would be very useful if the power at your home is down for an extended time. (Hello there, Ian.)

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Ford Lightning: Not surprisingly, Ford has filled up the Lightning with lots of tech features, but there is a bit of a steep learning curve to their operation. The large touchscreen can be overwhelming when searching to find the correct mode.

Would I buy the 2022 Ford Lighting? I’m still waiting to be able to charge an EV at the corner gas station and in the same time it takes to fill up the tank of my gas vehicle so probably not. Definitely would not if I had to tow a load a long distance. But if long-distance towing is not among your priorities, the Lightning has a lot going for it.