Wednesday, December 27, 2023



Introduced as a plug-in for the 2018 model year, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV moved into its second generation for 2023 and the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV grows a bit with a new upper level trim added. 

The Platinum edition joins ES, SE, and SEL Outlander PHEV models in the Japanese automaker’s lineup with SEs and SELs also available with special equipment packages to further expand the choices for this award winning vehicle. (Green Car Journal has named the Outlander PHEV its “Green Car of the Year” for the last two years.)

This review, however, is based on 2024 Mitsubishi PHEV SEL model with the Premium package and offers a wide variety of equipment at a slightly lower price than the Platinum.

The 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV shares a platform with the popular Nissan Rogue, but little else under an agreement with Nissan but little else.

The Rogue features a 1.4-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine producing 201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet while the Outlander PHEV pairs a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with two electric motors (one to work the front wheels, the other the rear). Combined, they put out 248 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.

All-wheel drive is standard on the Outlander PHEV, optional on the Rogue. One thing in common is a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL comes with a long list of standard features in an attractive package that gives off the aura of premium-class vehicles.

The roomy interior has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob as well as leather-seating surfaces, and front seats are heated. Also standard are a 12.3-inch driver display and 9-inch touchscreen for infotainment systems that include navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smart-phone charging, and tri-zone climate control.

Standard exterior features start with LED headlights, taillights, fog lights, and day-time running lights and also include rain-sensing wipers and a power lift gate.

Standard safety features on the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV include forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning with lane-change assist, and a driver alert assist.

A body-color spoiler and 20-inch two-tone alloy wheels also are standard on the SEL trim. The 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also gives you near “one-pedal” driving experience of a full-fledged EV. 

Starting MSRP for the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is listed as $46,295. That covered Mitsubishi Connect subscriptions and Mitsubishi Motors Confidence (10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-year roadside assistance, 3-year limited maintenance) on my test vehicle, but other options tacked on another $4,095.

Those options included the SEL Premium Package (panoramic sunroof, synthetic leather door inserts, upgraded semi-Aniline leather seating surfaces, Bose Premium sound, and a head-up display), the red dianond color exterior paint with black roof, and a tonneau cover.

Including the $1,145 destination charge the final total for the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV came to $51,835.
What I liked about the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL:
The interior has a premium feel about it with leather seats and soft leather surfaces throughout and is packed with lots of user-friendly tech features. The extra power from the hybrid drivetrain enhances throttle response despite the CVT. Handling also is excellent. Lots of safety features are included as standard.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL: Third-row seats are pretty useless. Legroom (and headroom) at the far back is compromised by the location for the battery pack. Fortunately, the seats do fold flat to open up more cargo room (over 30 cubic feet behind the second row). I would prefer a 10- or 8-speed automatic transmission over the CVT, but performance doesn’t seem to suffer much as older CVT versions.

Would I buy the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL? Yes. It’s an ideal size for someone wanting to move up from a sedan. If you don’t need the third row, you can simply keep it folded into the floor and not even realize it’s there. Plus the plug-in configuration relieves range anxiety concerns that typically come with full-on electric vehicles.

Friday, December 22, 2023




Debuting as a 2020 model, the CT4 sedan serves as an entry level vehicle to Cadillac’s luxury fleet, a role formerly played by the ATS sedan from 2012 through 2019.

But don’t make the mistake of conflating “entry level” with “humdrum driving experience.”

Even the base trims — Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport — have received praise for their athletic performance, but to expand its limits, Cadillac also offers a V-Series version that takes horspower and torque to further heights.

The base 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine puts out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and there is a 2.7-liter turbo-4 available as an option that ups those figures to 310/360, respectively.

But the 2.7L turbo-4 in the 2024 Cadillac CT4 V-Series is tuned to 325 hp and 380 lb.-ft., which gets zero-to-60 mph times down into the 4-second bracket.

A Blackwing trim for the 2024 Cadillac CT4-V takes that performance to the extreme with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 with horsepower at 472 and torque 445 pound-feet, but this review is based on the standard CT4 V-Series.

The turbo-4 in the 2024 Cadillac CT4-V earns mileage ratings of 20 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway with all-wheel drive and 20/28 with standard rear-wheel, which are competitive numbers in the luxury small car segment.

The 2024 Cadillac CT4-V comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available as an option.

Brembo Brakes are standard (got to harness all that power), and Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system is available.

Standard equipment in the 2024 Cadillac CT4-V include a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped V-Series steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, heated outside mirrors, alloy driver pedals, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, and 16-way adjustable front seats with 4-way lumbar support and side bolsters.

Standard safety features include forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, front and rear parking assist, enhanced emergency braking, lane-change alert, blind-spot alert, and a buckle-to-drive system that requires the driver to buckle the seatbelt before you can shift from Park to Drive/Reverse.

My test vehicle included the Super Cruise 2 Package that in addition to the hands-free driving capability also gives you HD Surround Vision, Lighting and Technology Packages, navigation, and Bose Premium Sound.

Other options on my test Cadillac CT4-V were a jet-black interior with leather seating surfaces, sunroof, 18-inch silver metallic alloy wheels, and the all-wheel-drivetrain.

The 2024 Cadillac CT4-V carries a starting MSRP of $47,095. Adding the options and $1,395 destination charge ran the total on my test model to $60,865.

That’s stretching an entry-level designation, but the base CT4 starts at under $34,000, which is very competitive with its competition in the compact luxury class.

What I liked about the 2024 Cadillac CT4 V-Series:
The exterior has an impressive profile. Tech features are plentiful and user-friendly. Seats are comfortable, and the interior is quiet. The 2.7L 4-banger is a winner in the way of performance.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Cadillac CT4 V-Series: The backseat could use a little more room (only 33.4 inches for your legs). The trunk, too, is on the small side (10.7 cubic feet of cargo space). The interior could use a little more work and less in the way of hard plastics to keep up with its competitors in the luxury segment.

Would I buy the the 2024 Cadillac CT4 V-Series? With a starting price point under $50,000 the CT4 V-Series offers an appealing entry to the luxury class. It delivers more in the way of driving fun than the base CT4 but at a higher price.

Thursday, December 14, 2023




In a prior life, the Buick Envista that debuts as a 2024 model might have been dubbed a hatchback coupe. But in keeping with company’s vehicle E-style nomenclature Buick prefers to call it a crossover SUV, joining compacts Envision and Encore GX and the mid-size Enclave in the company’s North American portfolio.

Putting aside quibbling over what it is called, the 2024 Buick Evista provides a fairly affordable way for shoppers looking to step up a bit in class from Chevrolet offerings without going full-on luxury with a Cadillac.

The 2024 Buick Envista comes in three trim levels — Preferred, Sport Touring, and Avenir — all with front-wheel drive and featuring a turbocharged 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

As you might deduce, this is not a vehicle for those wanting to leave others in their dust getting away from a stop light. Horsepower is a meager 136 ponies. But the torque is a healthier 162 pound-feet kicking in at 2500 rpm so the driving experience is not as sluggish as you might think.

The payoff comes at the pump. The 3-cylinder 2024 Buick Envista earns fuel mileage figures of 28 miles-per-gallon city, 32 highway, and 30 combined using regular-grade fuel, making it one of the most fuel efficient in the luxury compact class and competitive with non-hybrid mainstream compacts.

Check that. The payoff also comes when negotiating at the dealership. The 2024 Buick Envista Preferred base trim carries a starting price under $25,000, and the top-of-the-line Avenir model that this review is based on starts at under $30,000.

The interior is roomy with legroom of 41.9 inches up front and 38.7 in the back. Even with a sloping roofline that gives the 2024 Buick Envista its coupe-like profile, rear headroom is still 37.3 inches.

Cargo space does take a bit of a hit. With the second-row seats in place cargo space of 20.7 cubic feet is more like a big sedan than a typical SUV, but those seats fold to increase the max to 42.0 cubic feet.

Standard features include push-button start, remote start, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support, (the passenger seat is 4-way manual), a rear folding seat, single-zone air-conditioning, auto dimming rear-view mirror, 19-inch premium Avenir wheels, LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights, and a rear power liftgate.

Tech features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming audio, a 6-speaker audio system, an 8-inch driver information system, and an 11-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions. 

Standard safety features include a following distance, forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking.

My test 2024 Buick Envista came with only one option, an Avenir Advance Safety Package for $795 that included adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, heated outside mirrors, lane-change alert with blind-size alert and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Add that and the $1,095 destination charge and the final bottom line still stayed well below the $31,000 threshold at $30,490.

What I liked about the 2024 Buick Envista: Styling, both inside and out, belies its price point. Its outer appearance is appealingly coupe-like. The interior is comfortable, quiet and quite roomy. Tech features are surprisingly plentiful though there is no built-in navigation. Horsepower (137) is meager, but 162 pound-feet of torque delivers a peppier performance than you might expect. Fuel mileage is excellent.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Buick Envista: All-wheel drive is not available so that could be an issue in northern climes with winter coming up. Even in South Florida, which can get some heavy rains, AWD is nice to have. There’s a knob to adjust audio volume but not to surf the radio dial. You can’t just hold down the button to advance to various stations, but must keep punching the arrow and go station-to-station. There is a bit of an overuse of chrome touches on the exterior.

Would I buy the 2024 Buick Envista? The Avenir is the most expensive trim of the least expensive Buick model and still has a starting price under $30,000. It is far from a typical econobox in the compact genre and well worth a look.

Thursday, December 7, 2023



If it seems like the Chevrolet Suburban has been around a long time, that’s because it has.

In fact, the beast of Chevy’s SUV fleet is the longest running automotive nameplate in the world, now into its 12th generation since its introduction as a 1935 model.

That beats out the Ford’s F-Series pickups by over a decade and Toyota’s Corolla, which has assumed the title of the world’s all-time best-selling vehicle, by over 30 years.

With the Volkswagen Beetle long out of production, no other nameplate comes close to the Suburban’s staying power. 

What’s remarkable about this longevity is that the Suburban barely makes the top 100 in overall vehicle sales and doesn’t even lead the full-size SUV segment, trailing among other competitors its Chevy Tahoe sibling.

Of course, pricing has a lot to do with that, along with the Suburban’s immense size. Most buyers are going to find Tahoe’s 25.2 cubic feet of cargo area behind its third row and 72.6 behind the second, compared to the Suburban’s 41.5 and 93.8, respectively, more than adequate, and the Tahoe starts at about $3,000 less for the base model than the Suburban’s base that opens with an MSRP of $59,095.

The 2023 Chevrolet Suburban is offered in six trim levels topped by the High Country, which this review is based on. LS trim serves as the base model with LT, RST, Z71, and Premier in between.

A 5.3-liter V8 engine is standard across the line with a 6.2L V8available. My test 2024 Chevy Suburban High Country features the optional 3.0L inline-6 turbo diesel that, while rated at only 255 horsepower, cranks out 460 pound-feet of torque to match the larger V8 gas engine in pulling power.

A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board, and each trim is available in 2-wheel or all-wheel drive except for the Z71, which is available only with 4-wheel owing to its off-road emphasis.

The turbo diesel with two-wheel drive is rated at 21 miles-per-gallon city, 27 highway, and 23 comb while four-wheel-drive models check in at 20/26/22.

The gas engines are a bit thirstier, of course, with the 5.3L V8 earning numbers of 15/20/17 (2WD) and 15/19/16 (4WD) and the larger 6.2L /V8 checking in at 14/20.16 (2WD) and 14/18/16 (4/WD).

As the top-of-the-portfolio model, the 2023 Chevrolet Suburban High County offers a long list of standard features. Some of the more distinctive ones include tech features like wireless charging for cell phones and other devices, Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen and built-in Google capability, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth streaming audio for most phones. 

With the size of the interior, you may find yourself stretching to get to some of the touch points, but the system overall is user-friendly.

Standard interior features on the 2024 Chevy Suburban High Country include tri-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats with leather seating surfaces, second-row heated bucket seats, and split-bench third row with power fold capability.

LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights and a hands-free liftgate also are standard.

Safety features include front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, auto high beam, HD surround vision, and rear pedestrian alert.

All that is included in the $80,400 starting price.

My test vehicle had options that, with the $1,895 destination and delivery charge, put the final total at $90,555. Those options started with the Advanced Tech Package ($2,700), a rear-seat entertainment system that includes two 12.6-inch HD screens ($1,995), power assist steps ($1,745), a power panoramic sunroof ($1,500), air-ride adaptive suspension ($1,000), adaptive cruise control ($500), and a trailering package ($415).

What I liked about the 2023 Chevrolet Suburban:
The huge interior has massive space for both passengers and cargo. Space behind the third row is plentiful. Tech features on the High Country trim include knobs for both tuning the radio and manually adjusting climate control. It’s a smooth cruiser out on the highway.  Chevy’s hands-free driving system Super Cruise is available on the High Country. HD Surround Visiton is standard and a huge help. Optional running boards make getting in and out a snap.

What I didn’t like about the 02X Chevrolet Suburban: The massive size is both a blessing and a curse. All that room is nice, but it’s a bear to maneuver through mall parking lots and not all that easy to find enough space to park it and still get out the doors. I would prefer a standard shifter instead of buttons to change gears.

Would I buy the 202X Chevrolet Suburban? Too big for me, but if you have to haul around kids’ sports teams around as part of your tasks, it’s ideal for hauling them and their gear, even bats and catcher’ equipment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023



Finally, a pickup truck that accommodates tight city streets and parking places.

If a full-size or even mid-size pickup is too big for your life-style and your budget, Hyundai has the truck for you with its compact Santa Cruz.

Sure, it’s not going to work for you if you’re running a construction business and do a lot of heavy duty hauling, but if you’re like most of us, what’s behind the cabin isn’t as important as what’s inside it.

And what’s inside the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a suite of features and conveniences that will make you forget you are actually behind the wheel of a truck, not a compact SUV or high class sedan.

The South Korean automaker ventured into the pickup truck segment by introducing the Santa Cruz as a 2022 model. It targeted buyers who traditionally shopped in the crossover SUV segment and are adventurous enough that they need the extra storage space an open bed would provide instead of the enclosed back of an SUV.

Even as a relatively newcomer, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz gets some tweaks and a new trim level with the XRT replacing what was formally dubbed SEL Premium. The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT, which this review is based on, and the Limited and Night models kind of separate themselves from the base SE and SEL trims with upgraded powertrains and higher starting prices.

The SE and SEL come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 181 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque while the XRT, Night, and Limited versions get a 2.5L turbocharged 4-banger that boosts those numbers to 281/311, respectively.

The turbo gets a dual clutch transmission with paddle shifters in place of the standard automatic.

That and the extra standard features results in a jump in starting MSRPs of below $31,000 for the SE and SEL trims to over $38,000 for the higher end models.

Every Santa Cruz comes with LED headlights with high beam assist and tail lamps, an LED cargo light and safety features like blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane-keeping and lane-following assist, and forward collision avoidance assist.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lockable bed storage compartment, a multi-functional tailgate with assisted open/close, rear bumper steps, power panoramic sunroof, front dual USB ports, rear-view camera, rear-seat heater ducts, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and Bluetooth connectivity also are all common features. 

With the XRT, you get Smart (adaptable) cruise control, dual climate control, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 3-month subscription to Sirius-XM satellite radio, Hyundai’s Blue Link-plus Connected Car System, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. 

All-wheel drive is standard on the Night, XRT, and Limited models and optional to replace front-wheel drive on the SE and SEL.

Starting MSRP for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT is $39,850. Adding the $1,335 freight charge and my test 2024 Hyundai Cruz XRT came in at $41,185.

What I liked about the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT:
The size is perfect for those wanting to get out of an SUV yet have a vehicle with some hauling capacity. Technology is plentiful. Its compact size makes it easy to handle, especially in an urban environment with cramped parking lots and narrow streets. The gear shifter is in the traditional spot on the console instead of a  button on the console/dash panel. The turbo engine on the XRT and Limited trims is worth stretching your budget for, not just for performance but for a higher towing capacity (5,000 pounds). Side steps make getting in and out a snap, though frankly the Santa Cruz isn’t all that high to begin with.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT: Overall, tech features are user friendly but I don’t understand why they eliminates a convenient knob to control audio volume. Finding the button to adjust the volume can detract from the driver’s attention. Voice guidance for navigation referred to little-used street names for Miami, where a street can have up to three or more names. Stick to numbers, Hyundai!

Would I buy the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT? Yes. Unless you are doing big hauling jobs, the Santa Cruz has the capability most people are going to need when it comes to runs to Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023



It you have ever taken a moment to look around you when idling at a busy intersection, it should come as no surprise to you that pickup trucks rate among the most popular vehicles on the road today

In fact, putting together numbers supplied by Car & Driver magazine, the top three vehicles in sales last year were pickup trucks with the Ford F-Series leading the way and the Chevrolet Silverado reclaiming the No. 2 spot from Ram, which checked in at No. 3.

That trend also sees to be continuing this year with those three in the same order. Throw in the GMC Sierra at No 8 and it’s no wonder you are likely to find yourself staring up at a truck bed as you wait for the light to change. And that’s just dealing with the full-size models.

Analysts say that brand loyalty is a big factor when it comes to buyers’ decisions on which pickup to buy, much more for trucks than the companies’ other products. A study by S&P Global Mobility, which compiles data from the auto industry, revealed that more than half of Chevy buyers (56.3 percent) were repeat customers, but that figure dipped to 47.9 percent when the Silverado was taken out of the equation.

The company showed similar results when the F-Series was not included in the data for Ford.

That may not be the best news for Chevy and the Silverado to gain ground in its race with Ford’s F-Series, but No. 2 in this context is not bad.

The 2024 Chevy Silverado is a very versatile pickup offering four different engine options, including a diesel, and a collection of cabin configurations that make it equally at home as a workhorse or family vehicle.

It comes in nine different trims with two or four doors and various bed sizes ranging from 5 feet, 8 inches to 8-feet depending on the cab configuration. The options are Regular Cab, Double Cab, or Crew Cab.

In addition to the 3.0-liter inline turbo 6-cylinder diesel, two V-8s (5.3L and 6.2L) and a 2.7L inline-4 now dubbed TurboMax are offered.

Don’t be put off by 4-cylinder engine. The Turbomax puts out more torque (430 pound-feet) than the 5.3L V8 (383 lb.-ft.) and is competitive with the 6.2L V8 (460 lb.-ft.). Horsepower is a competitive 310 hp in the TurboMax.

Fuel economy for all-wheel versions with the Turbomax is 17 miles-per-gallon city, 19 highway and 18 combined which is more efficient than either of the V8 AWD models. 

The TurboMax is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V8s and diesel are paired with a 10-speed automatic.

My test vehicle for the week was the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss with the TurboMax engine and features from the LT trim.

Standard features include a slew of tech features from Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 system all operated on a 13.4-inch touchscreen. Yes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and the radio is satellite capable via subscription.

Keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, dual zone climate control, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 120-volt power outlet in the cargo area are standard. 

Features catering to off-roading adventures on the LT Trail Boss included the 271 off-road package with 2-inch lift, skid plates, monotube shocks, hill descent control, and a heavy duty air filter.

Starting MSRP for the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss is $58,000. The radiant red tintcoat was the only option that added to that for a final total of $60,340 including the $1,895 destination and delivery charge.

What I liked about the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss: The cabin is quiet, comfortable, and roomy. The size is a pain in urban driving but a plus on the highway. Infotainment functions are easily accessible via the touchscreen. The ride may seem firm on longer hauls.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss: It needs a running board. I understand if you are doing a lot or trail riding (which is why you bought the Trail Boss, right?) you want as much ground clearance as you can get. But getting in and out of the cabin without a running board is a chore. (They are standard on the top-of-the-line High Country trim.) The ride can seem a bit rough of times, but then it is a truck.

Would I buy the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss? I’m not in need of a full-size pickup and but if you are it’s likely to come down to the Silverado (or its GMC sibling Sierra), a Ford F-150, or a Ram 1500. Choosing among them may come down to what you have had in the past.