Monday, November 21, 2022

2022 MERCEDES-BENZ EQB350



EQB SUBCOMPACT SUV LATEST ENTRANT 

IN MERCEDES-BENZ ALL-ELECTRIC FLEET


Mercedes-Benz keeps expanding its all-electric fleet with a new introductory sub-compact model based on the gas-powered GLB SUV as the latest newcomer.

It comes in two versions, the EQB300 and the EQB350, the former providing a bit more in the way of range and the latter more in the way of power and performance. Both come with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system as standard. This review is based on the EQB350.

As you might expect from the German automaker, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 features premium materials throughout the cabin, though standard features fall short of those on SUVs higher on the German automaker’s food chain.



Standard features include the usual luxury niceties like dual zone automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights and tail lamps, lumbar support for the power driver’s seat, sensors to aid in parking, a panoramic sunroof, and power rear liftgate.

What’s kind of interesting (in a negative kind of way) is that though push-button start is included, a proximity key that allows you to open the doors when approaching the vehicle while in possession of the key fob is not. You have to push a button on the fob to unlock the doors.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but kind of puzzling.



Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are among included tech systems, and the “Hey, Mercedes” voice command system makes for easier operation considering what a pain it is to use the touchpad on the console to perforrm a simple task like changing a radio station when driving alone. It’s a bit on the sensitive side and you may get a query asking for what function you desire when you haven’t asked for anything, but you can cancel it by voice as well. (Note to self: “eff off” doesn’t work.)

Standard safety features start with the usual blind-spot and lane-keeping systems as well as the company’s Driver Attention Assist system that detects when fatigue might be setting in.



A surround-view camera would be a nice addition instead of only a graphic diagram that shows where obstacles might be lurking on the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle, but the 2022 Mercedes EQB350 is not a particularly large SUV and visibility around it is good, so it’s not a huge omission.

Five-passenger capacity is standard, though an optional third row expands capacity to seven. Mercedes, however, notes that the far back row is limited to people less than 5 feet, 4 inches tall. A third row also will infringe over the generous 23.5 cubic feet of cargo space on 2-row models.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 offers driving range of up to 260 miles on a full charge, and to ease fears of running out of juice prematurely the navigation systems provides maps to the closest charging outlets.

Mercedes claims that a fast-charging outlet will give the EQB250 up to 80 percent capacity in about half-an-hour. That’s about twice as long as filling up at your standard corner gas station usually takes, but should get you out for less than $20.

Starting MSRP for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 is $58,050. Destination and delivery and options (heated front seats and speed limit assist) ran the bottom line on my test EQB350 to $60,100.

What I liked about the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 4MATIC: Performance is a big selling point with 384 pound-feet of torque, nearly 100 lb.-ft. more than the EQB300. Range is good as well, but it seems to come down at an alarming pace even in Eco mode. The premium interior is roomy and comfortable.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 4MATIC:
 There is no AM radio as components on some EVs, apparently like those from Mercedes, interfere with reception on the AM band. The infotainment system overall is on the fussy side, mostly because of the “touchpad” operation. It’s very easy to accidentally change radio stations when reaching across the center console to make an adjustment. It may be an electric vehicle but it’s not a quiet one on the highway as road noise from the tires seemed excessive. Having to reset to your desired driving mode (Comfort, Sport, Eco) when you re-start the vehicle is kind of a pain. Why not pick up at the previous setting?

Would I buy the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB350 4MATIC? If you have read any of my earlier reviews on EVs (bless you!), you already know the answer to this. No, I wouldn’t. That’s not because of the vehicle but because of the lack of infrastructure to charge the battery. We are getting more charging stations every day, it seems, but upkeep seems to be lacking. Nothing more frustrating than to pull up at one and find out it isn’t working. (Or even to three and find two out of order.)



Monday, November 14, 2022

2023 CADILLAC XT6

 


AVAILABLE SUPER CRUISE PROVIDES HANDS-FREE DRIVING EXPERIENCE TO XT6 SUV


Since joining the fleet of Cadillac’s fleet of XT-designated SUVs for 2020, the XT6 has picked up a couple of extra features in ensuing years as it fights on in the large and very challenging midsize luxury SUV segment.

Over the past couple years, Cadillac has introduced a turbo 4-cylinder engine  model to go with the V6 that debuted in the XT6, added a new trim level to serve as the base, made wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto part of its tech systems, made blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert standard features, and updated the top-of-the-line Sport trim with Brembo Performance Brakes.

New this year, buyers of the 2023 Cadillac XT6 have the option of adding Cadillac’s Super Cruise system that provides a hands-free driving experience on more than 400,000 miles of compatible roads and highways.



The 2023 Cadillac XT6 comes in three trim levels starting with the 4-cylinder Luxury trim that was introduced for 2021 and followed by the V6 Premium Luxury and Sport models. This review is based on the Sport trim that carries a starting MSRP of $61,490 including the $1,395 destination and delivery charge. The base Luxury trim starts at under $50,000.

The 2023 Cadillac XT6 Sport comes with all-wheel-drive, though you must remember to select AWD among drive options to take advantage of it. AWD is an option on FWD Luxury and Premium Luxury models.



The 3.6-liter V6 engine in the XT6 Sport is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear selection. It is delivers 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque and has fuel economy ratings of 18 miles-per-gallon, 25 highway, and 21 combined using premium fuel.

The 2023 XT6 does have a distinctive Cadillac appearance with the bold front fascia featuring the familiar brand logo prominently in the new bold front grille. LED headlamps are standard.



At 198.5 inches long, the 2023 Cadillac XT6 is big enough to accommodate three rows of seating, though choosing available captain’s chairs for the second row reduces capacity from seven to six passengers.

The interior features lots of leather, heated and ventilated seats for the front row and heated seats for the second, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, heated steering wheel, a sunroof with a power shade, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, and the company’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system for operation of tech features that include navigation.



You don’t have to touch the touchscreen to operate many of the tech features and systems like climate control as Cadillac has put a dial on the console to let you spin through the options on the screen. There are also hard buttons to perform many functions as well.

In addition to blind spot and cross-traffic alert mentioned earlier, standard safety systems on the 2023 Cadillac XT6 include lane change alert, forward collision alert, and a following distance indicator.

Options on my test 2023 Cadillac XT6 Sport included a Platinum package (upgraded leather seating, a Modena leather-wrapped steering wheel with a French-stitched leather-wrapped horn pad cover, and premium floor mats), a Technology package (HD surround vision, automatic parking assist with braking, head-up display, rear camera mirror, rear pedestrian alert), and a Driver Assist package (reverse automatic braking, enhanced emergency braking, auto seat-belt tightening.

Among stand-alone extras were the Super Cruise hands-free driving system, and a cargo security shade. It has an initial cost of $2,500 and a subscription service is required after three years.

All that ran the final bottom line to $75,515, which is competitive in its segment and less than many similarly equipped rivals.

What I liked about the 2023 Cadillac XT6 Sport: It has plenty of passenger room with good legroom in the first two rows, though, as with many three-row SUVs, I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time in the far back. Fuel economy is decent for the class. The 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder in the Luxury trim likely could use more punch but the 3.6L turbo V6 in Sport and Premium Luxury trim delivers adequate acceleration There are lots of standard features that are fairly intuitive to operate. The power folding third row comes with buttons at both the rear cargo area and just inside the doors to the second row.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Cadillac XT6 Sport:
As with many three-row SUVs, storage space behind the third row when the seats are in place is limited. The 8-inch display for the navigation map has a dated appearance. You pay extra for many desirable features like adaptive cruise control and a rear camera mirror that can boost the final price by around 25 percent.

Would I buy the 2023 Cadillac XT6 Sport? If you are a Cadillac fan, need a three-row SUV,  and want to avoid the splashy Escalade, the XT6 is a good option. Otherwise, I would go f or the XT5 or even the XT4.