Friday, May 31, 2024




In racing, a “dark horse” is a long shot not expected to win a race but nevertheless retains some chance for success such as Mystik Dan, who went into this year’s Kentucky Derby saddled with 18-1 odds but nosed out the other 19 competitors at the wire.

When it comes to cars, however, there is nothing long shot about the Dark Horse edition of the 2024 Ford Mustang. It is a pure winner, a real thoroughbred among performance coupes.

With the 2024 model kicking off the Mustang’s seventh generation, the Dark House joins a list of special editions that include Shelby Mustangs, Boss Mustang, Mach 1, and the Eleanor Mustang from the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

More track-focused than other Mustang trims, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse is just as civilized cruising city streets thanks to the various options on the custom menu selected via the handy touchscreen.

The 5.0-liter V8 engine in the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Hours sends 500 horsepower and 418 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic gear box, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 Ford has ever built.

It propels the Dark Horse from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, according to the website

Ford has given the Dark Horse distinctive styling features and badging and a larger front grille to give it a somewhat menacing appearance that is backed up by a dual quad exhaust that sends off as many as four deep base tones.

The 4-cylinder Ecoboost and Ecoboost Premium trims and 480 hp V8 GT and GT Premium models are available as either a 4-passnenger coupe or convertible, but the Dark Horse, given its potential track use, is offered only as a coupe.

Standard features on the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse include LED headlights and taillights, Brembo brake calipers, push-button start, Ford’s CoPilot360 system (automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-centering, and traffic sign recognition, and on models with the automatic transmission, stop-and-go adaptive cruise).

FordPass Connect with 4G Wifi is included and safety standard features in addition to those in the Ford CoPilot360 package include the usual collection of seatbelts and airbags.

Selectable drive modes (accessed by pressing the “mustang” button at the bottom of the centerstack) allow you to customize your driving experience. You have choices of Drive modes (Normal, Sport, Track, Drag, Slippery) and can turn off traction control, set suspension and steering for the track, and tune your exhaust to Normal, Sport, Track, or Quiet mode, Quiet being a relative term here.

You can even select different color schemes for displays and choose from three different versions of the instrument cluster (Normal, Sport, Calm).

Carbon fiber wheels, a special Dark Horse Handling Package (wider wheels, manually adjustable suspension, larger rear spoiler), and a Dark Horse Appearance Package (blue interior accents, black painted roof, blue brake calipers, special hood graphic) are among options exclusive to the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.

The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse starts at $58,935 and the Dark Horse Premium at $62.930, which is a pretty good leap over the GT Premium ($48,980). Ecoboost models rest in the $30,000 range. Exact numbers were not available on my test 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Premium.

What I liked about the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse:
Acceleration is a major asset, of course, and you do so with a symphony of deep bass exhaust tones bathing you in sound. The interior if not of luxury standards is more sophisticated than the spartan cabin of past Mustangs. You can even set your own color scheme for the touchscreen and instrument panel. Infotainment functions are user-friendly, though I would like a knob to surf the radio dial. There is one for volume, however.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse: No AM radio. I realize that there are many other more popular options (FM, Sirius/XM, streaming) but AM often is used for emergency communications, and the AM band has extended range. (Which explains why that growing up Southern Indiana I could pick stations from Chicago and New Orleans when conditions were right.) Backseat riders of any size are going to have to contort themselves to get in and with only 29 inches of legroom won’t have much room when they do.

Would I buy the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse? If you don’t have an interest in taking it to the track, the GT or GT Premium Mustangs are good options. But if your budget can take it, the Dark Horse will give you the most fun driving experience whether you go racing or not.

Saturday, May 18, 2024



For a 10-year period that ended late last year, Chevrolet urged us to “Find New Roads” in its advertising.

Maybe they changed it because with vehicles like the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison pickup you don’t need to bother finding any roads, let alone new ones, to get where you want to go.

Introduced as a compact pickup a couple of decades ago, the Colorado has since grown a bit to move into the midsize truck segment and a collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles, a manufacturing company specializing in aftermarket parts and accessories to increase a vehicle’s off-roading capability, has made the Colorado’s ZR2 trim a got-to-have vehicle for trail-driving enthusiasts.

Chevy flatly calls it “America’s ultimate off-road beast.”

With the additions from AEV that include upgraded front and rear bumpers and skid plates, increased fender flares to accommodate 17-inch beadlock capable wheels shod with exclusive 35-inch mud/terrain tires, multimatic jounce control dampers, and a heavy duty winch-capable front bumper, the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is prepared for even more rugged terrain than little brother Trail Boss model.

The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison is not, however, a vehicle for everyone. With ground clearance increased to 12.2 inch (from 10.7 on the standard ZR2) and without convenient running boards, it is a bear to get in and out of. The placement of the spare tire in the bed smack dab against the rear of the Crew Cab cabin, cuts the view out the back dangerously by more than half. Digital rearview mirror, anyone?

But if you need a truck more for work than play, the 2024 Chevy Colorado also comes in more functional WT (for Work Truck), LT, and Z71 trims. They are available in either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive with a turbocharged,  2.7-liter 4-cylinder tuned to either 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque or 231 hp and 569 lb.ft.

All trims get an 8-speed automatic transmission, and all are Crew Cabs with a 5-foot bed.

The 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison, which this review is based on, gets the high-output power train that includes the 2-speed transfer case and 4-wheel drive.

Despite its rugged appeal, the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison comes with standard convenience features like an 11.3-inch touchscreen display that includes navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control.

LED headlights and fog lights are standard, and there are rocker panel protectors on each side. Remote and push-button start are included.

Safety features include forward collision alert, front pedestrian and cyclist warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist and departure warning, but blind zone and rear cross-traffic braking and rear parking assist come in an option Safety Package.

The base 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 carries a starting MSRP of $46,700 and the ZR2 Biston runs that up to $58,500 before extras and the $1,595 destination and delivery charge are added on. 

My test vehicle included an optional ZR2 Convenience Package (driver-seat memory settings, heated steering wheel, leather-appointed and ventilated front seats, and wireless charging) and other extras that included an underbody camera, adaptive cruise control, and premium sound that ran the final bottom line to $65,175.

The base Colorado starts at under $30,000 and the starting MSRP for LT and Trail Boss trims are under $40,000.

What I liked about the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Edition: The ride is composed and quiet, especially for a truck this size. o 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides good punch and excellent towing power, though the rating for Bison models are rated slightly less than the standard ZR2 (5,500 to 6,000 pounds). Tech features are plentiful and intuitive to operate.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Edition:
Getting in and out of the Crew Cabin is a nightmare, especially for those going to the back seat. Chevy has sacrificed a running board to increase ground clearance, but unless you are the size of an NBA power forward, you are going to tire quickly of climbing to get in and jumping down to get out. Putting the spare tire in the bed smack up against the rear of the cabin seriously intrudes on the rear view. The rear seat is ot very roomy with less than 35 inches of legroom. Getting into tight parking spaces is difficult. No diesel is offered.

Would I buy the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Edition? If you  are going to do a lot of off-roading, especially through challenging terrain, this is the truck for you. Less serious off-roaders can make do with the Trail Boss trim. If you do more hauling than trail-riding, you’ll want one of the other trims as payload for the Bison is slightly less. I don’t do either so I’m personally not looking in the segment.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024




The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 addresses at least two of the more-common concerns shoppers have when they are looking into buying an all-electric vehicle (EV), namely driving range and charging times.

Received with high praise in its debut 2022 model year, the South Korean’s compact SUV can be had in models that offer just over 300 miles of driving range between charges when equipped with the extended range battery. (Hyundai puts range for the standard range battery at 230 miles.)

That should ease range-anxiety fears somewhat.

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 also addresses the issue of charging times, claiming that fast charging outlets (really fast, like 350 kw) can boost the battery up from 20 percent to 80 percent in 18 minutes, which still is longer than the typical full-up time at a gas station but quicker than the hours that some EVs require.

An aside here: Why 80 percent? After all, you usually don’t stop filling up the tank of your gasoline-powered vehicle when it reaches just under three-quarters full. Well,  according to experts, keeping your EV charged between 20 and 80 percent helps extend battery life among other things. You also avoid the slow down that comes in getting the battery from 80 to 100 percent charge, which extends charging time.

But back to the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5.

My experience pretty much backed up Hyundai’s claim. My test Ioniq 5 went from under 40 percent charge to 84 percent in less than 20 minutes at a 150 kw connector, giving it a driving range of 217 miles in Normal mode, 211 in Sport, and 224 in Econ.

Turning off the A/C increased the computer readout to 231/224/237, respectively, but summer is coming (already here in South Florida) so probably not a good opportunity to shut down the A/C.

Hyundai offers the 2024 Ioniq 5 in rear- or all-wheel drive and in four trims. The RWD SE Standard Range carries a starting MSRP of $41,800 and serves as the base model. The RWD SE with a larger battery pack ups the ante to $45,850 and is followed by SEL and Limited trims, the latter topping out at $57,400 with AWD.

AWD models with the larger battery pack generate 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque while those with RWD check in at 225 and 258, respectively. The RWD Standard Range numbers are 168 hp and 258 lb.-ft. 

This review is based on the limited production 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 Platinum edition with AWD and the long-range battery.

Input from the Disney Company, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024 (Mickey Mouse a century old; my how time flies), is pretty much cosmetic. It features such design touches as a special exterior color called Gravity Gold (which can easily be confused as silver), special Disney 20-inch wheels, distinctive badging, Disney100 door trim, Disney100 logos throughout, including floor mats, and Disney theme music as a greeting at the start-up.

Among more automotive-related standard features on the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 Platinum Edition are LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights; proximity key with push-button start, hands-free power liftgate, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated leather-covered steering wheel, Smart (adaptive) cruise control, highway driving assist, 12.3-inch instrument cluster, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Bose Premium audio, wireless phone charger, Hundai’s Blue Link suite of connected services, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Safety systems include a surround-view monitor, forward collision avoidance assistance, parking distance warning and collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention alert, blind-spot monitor, and lane-keeping and lane-following assist. Using your turn signal activates the blind spot view monitor that shows vehicles 
approaching from behind at your left and right.

Cargo space is 27.2 cubic feet with all seats up, 59.3 with the back row folded. The “frunk,” or front storage space, is less than a cubic feet.

Starting MSRP for the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 Platinum Edition with AWD is $59,400. With the only option $1,000 for the Gravity Gold color, total MSRP ran to $61,775 including the $1,375 freight charge.

No, the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 Platinum Edition doesn’t address another common complaint the general public has about the EV segment, which is the initial cost. 

What I liked about the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 AWD Platinum Edition: It’s a fun car to drive with all that torque instantly kicking in at the touch of the throttle pedal. The extended range battery provides acceptable range and charging times at fast charge outlets. The cabin is roomy and the ride, as you might expect, is quiet.

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 AWD Platinum Edition:
The lane-keep system gives an odd feel in the steering system. Infotainment features are user-friendly enough though searching through the myriad of features for what you want can be confusing. A knob to surf the radio dial would be nice. Rear pillars obstruct the view out the back somewhat. The gear selector is kind of funky.

Would I buy the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Disney100 AWD Platinum Edition? Not now. The charging time is an improvement over some other EVs I have experienced but still not ready for prime time, especially if you are considering an extended trip.

Saturday, May 4, 2024



The 2024 Ford Maverick is pretty much the same compact pickup that Ford brought to market for 2022, but the company did make one somewhat unusual change.

The first two Mavericks were offered with a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain as standard and a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder as an option.

The 2024 Ford Maverick switches those, making the 2.0L Ecoboost the standard and the gas-electric hybrid an option.

If you want horsepower and torque, you go with the Ecoboost and its 250 hp and 270 pound-feet. If you are seeking fuel-saving, the hybrid with its EPA ratings of 42 miles-per-gallon city, 33 highway and 37 combined are your choice.

EPA figures for the front-wheel-drive 2.0L Ecoboost with its 8-speed automatic transmission are 23/30/26. All-wheel-drive models are reported at 22/29/25.

Either drivetrain is available on all three trims (XL, XLT, and Lariat, but all-wheel drive is offered only on the 2.5L  A Tremor package that enhances off-road capability is offered on XLT and Lariat models with the 2.0L and AWD.

The hybrid with its 2.5L 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and 2.0L turbo have the same 2,000-pound towing capacity and similar payloads of 1,500 pounds though when the Tremor package is added that is cut to 1,200 pounds.

The XL trim serves as the base model and probably is more appealing to those looking for a light-duty work truck. The XLT, which serves as the basis for this review, is more comfortably equipped while still ing the starting price tab below the $30,000 mark that the Lariat surpasses.

Standard features on my test 2024 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid included second-row under-seat storage, an 8-inch center stack screen, Apple CarPlay ad Android Auto, single-zone climate control with knobs to operate control temp and blower speed, cloth seats, an 8-inch center stack with touchscreen, electronic parking brake, a rotary gear shift dial, selectable drive modes (normal, Eco, sport, tow/haul, slippery), LED automatic headlamps, and a power tailgate lock.

All that and more is covered by the  suggested MSRP of $26,315.

The hybrid drivetrain added $1,500 to the starting price, and an XLT luxury package (8-way power driver and 6-way adjustable passenger seat, heated seats, LED box lighting, trailer hitch, and vinyl-wrapped steering wheel) added another $2,275. a black appearance package tacked on $1,545, and a couple of other options that included Ford’s Co-Pilot suite of safety systems like blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assist ran the final total to $34,115 including the $1,595 destination and delivery fee.

That approaches the Lariat’s starting MSRP of $34,855. The base XL Maverick starts at $23,815.

What I liked about the 2024 Ford Maverick Hybrid: You don’t have to plug it in to get the benefits of fuel-saving gas-electric drive. The size its a sweet spot between capability and maneuverability. It is big enough to do all but the largest kind of “truck stuff” while still at home in crowded parking lots. Infotainment features are user-friendly. Knobs are there to adjust volume and surf the radio dial. 

What I didn’t like about the 2024 Ford Maverick Hybrid: AWD not available on the hybrid, which also comes with a CVT. The spartan cabin could use some sprucing up.

Would I buy the 2024 Ford Maverick Hybrid? Not in the market for a truck, but if I were, this definitely would be high on my list to look at. It’s a good size and the hybrid drivetrain provides good fuel economy.