I want to be perfectly honest with you guys — this is The Truth About Cars, after all — I didn’t like driving the 2022 Lexus RX450h AWD F Sport. It’s not that the Lexus is a bad car, it’s that it’s not the right fit for me … and I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lexus’ NX compact crossover. I’ve found it to be fairly sporty – in general, and not just by staid Lexus standards – and overall more engaging to drive than the larger (and highly popular) RX, but also a bit cramped inside. Not to mention that the NX, like most Toyota and Lexus products, just seemed a step behind when it came to infotainment.
Lexus addressed two of those criticisms with the current model and did so quite nicely.
One of the things this author has always appreciated about the Honda Ridgeline is its car-like qualities. More than once, the phrase “Accord on stilts” has escaped my lips when talking about the Ridgeline with fellow auto scribes, and I meant it as a compliment.
Imagine my dismay to find that the refreshed 2021 Honda Ridgeline felt jussssst a bit more “trucky” than before.
It’s a new week, and I’m back with another German car Rental Review for your enjoyment! Today’s rental is one of two American market entrants into the premium compact five-door liftback segment, and not a car one expects to find in an Enterprise lot. Presenting a 2020 Audi A5 Sportback, two years and 50,000 rental miles later.
As a fan of the midsize luxury sedan class, it’s sad to see how many manufacturers have given up on the segment. The German trio still has their stalwarts, but Japan gave up in 2020 (RIP Lexus GS), the only American still in the ring is the Cadillac CT5, and its outlier status is accompanied by newcomer Genesis with the G80.
It’s a dying class, which is why your author was especially pleased to spend the Memorial Day weekend with a longstanding headliner of the German luxury sedan genre: A 2021 BMW 5-Series.
I’ll admit it – I sometimes forget Kia’s Sportage exists.
That’s not because the current-generation Sportage is a bad vehicle. No, it’s because it competes in a crowded class and certain stalwarts and newcomers have commanded the market’s attention in recent years.
Enter the 2023 Kia Sportage. Thanks to a major redesign, this five-seat crossover is ready to ram its way back into the spotlight, for better or for worse.
Everybody’s going electric these days, it seems. Or at least, electrified. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is Jeep’s latest entry in the electrified-vehicle space (sorry for that bit of marketing speak, I must need more coffee), following, of course, the Wrangler 4xe.
Getting electrified might be good for the ‘ole CAFE standards – but is it worth the price premium? Will electrification change a vehicle’s character – and if so, for the better or for worse?
To find out, I headed deep to the heart of Texas last month.
The 2022 New York Auto Show isn’t the first major auto show to be held since COVID-19 shut the world down in March 2020 – Chicago had shows in 2021 and 2022, and Los Angeles was in its usual slot last year. And there was Motorbella in Detroit last summer.
Still, for whatever reason – the loosening of COVID restrictions, the fact it was the first New York show since COVID, the presence of NY-based journos who don’t deign to travel west of the Hudson for those other shows – there was a pre-show feeling that this was it. This would be the show that marked the return of normalcy. Not LA in 2021 or Chicago just a couple of months ago – no, it would be this one.
Hyundai’s Palisade separates itself from Kia’s Telluride, at least in terms of appearance, by being the more “urban”, stylistically speaking, of the two.
The former looks boxy and rugged, while the latter has curves that evoke urban luxury — at least to this author’s eye.*
Launching a new vehicle under embargo must be a stressful endeavor for all those who are involved on the OEM side.
Take the Toyota GR Corolla. The brand has been so careful to build up interest via teases, and has plans to take the wraps off tonight — and it all got spoiled by some careless management of the company’s consumer Web site.
There has been much speculation over the past week regarding General Motors’ trademark application for a new Buick logo. Likely related to a swath of new EVs on the horizon (but not yet confirmed), the news fired up the old Abandoned History thought box. Why not take a look at all of Buick’s past logos? We began yesterday in 1903, and pick up today in 1942.
According to a recently filed trademark application, Buick’s familiar tri-shield logo may be going the way of the dodo. It’s been suggested the potential logo change is in pursuit of a revised image, in preparation for the Brave New World of EVs that Buick will soon unleash upon millions of eager customers. However, given the company has been around for over 120 years this is far from the first time Buick has swapped its badge.
I was sitting in line for a car wash this morning, readying a test vehicle for photos, and since the line was long and moving slow, I started perusing Twitter on my iPhone while listening to the radio.
The same phone that was plugged into the Ford Maverick’s USB port so that I could run Apple CarPlay.
Not to be outdone by corporate siblings Hyundai and Genesis, which have announced plans to launch 17 electric, or at least electrified, vehicles combined by 2030, Kia has claimed it will have 14 EVs (or, again, vehicles that at least have some electrification) by 2027.
Including two pickup trucks.
You’ve probably seen them, especially if you live in a big city. Three-wheeled vehicles that straddle the line between car and motorcycle that often travel in packs, driven mostly by men in their 30s and 40s.
Adult toys of the non-sexual variety.
Can-Am Spyders. Morgan 3 Wheelers. And Polaris Slingshots. I was loaned one of the latter last year.
Let me start this by saying that I considered the previous Golf R to be the all-around best enthusiast vehicle available in its price range during its time on sale. That’s particularly high praise coming from someone whose performance tastes generally gravitate toward V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive coupes, but I think Volkswagen had achieved something remarkable with the Mk7. It was a car that had the dynamic chops to hang with some very serious hardware out in the canyons but didn’t need to shout about it from an aesthetic standpoint, and it also sacrificed very little in terms of daily drivability and practicality to get there.
Beyond the fundamentals, the Mk7 Golf R had other important elements sorted out too – solid interior materials in a well laid out and comfortable cabin, a class-leading infotainment system with a nice-sounding stereo – that sort of thing. Automakers can get away with phoning in some of that stuff when it comes to their top-tier performance cars because enthusiasts tend to have different priorities than mainstream buyers do, but Volkswagen didn’t half-ass it. This is all to say that the Mk7 Golf R set the bar pretty high.
America’s love affair with the pickup truck is long from being over, and for good reason.
Modern full-size pickup trucks are more capable, efficient, comfortable, and technologically advanced than ever before. They really have become the jack-of-all-trades choice amongst the automotive world. So when an all-new pick-up debuts, it’s a big deal.
Just like with the heavily updated Golf GTI, that’s cause for a sigh of relief.
Perhaps even more so, since the Jetta GLI doesn’t get the same high-falutin’ interior treatment. Thank God for keeping it old school.
Mazda has announced that the 2023 CX-50 will debut on November 15th, foreshadowing its production launch in January of 2022 at the Alabama plant it shares with Toyota. That means odds are good that the model will share more than a few components with the Toyota Corolla Cross. But Mazda has been adamant that CX-50 is a unique vehicle riding on its very own platform.
Unique is a relative term, however, when the upcoming model represents another “lifestyle vehicle” designed to convince consumers that a jack-of-all-trades crossover is ready and willing to drag them up the side of a mountain. Officially, Mazda is claiming this one caters to adults with particularly active lifestyles and has surrounded it with nature-themed marketing materials. That presumably has something to do with the CX-50 boasting “enhanced all-wheel-drive capabilities.”
Earlier this week, someone sent me an addendum sticker from Mercedes-Benz of Selma, in Texas. The addendum added two line items to the sticker price. The first line item was VIN etching, at $199. That’s controversial enough, since some people have said that VIN etching is the scam of the decade – but those people haven’t seen the second item: A “Market Adjustment” charge for $125,000.
You read that right. One-hundred and twenty-five thousand U.S. American dollars – and that’s on top of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG’s already steep $178,000 asking price. But, frankly, it’s not the 70 percent markup that’s the most offensive thing here, It’s not even the $199 charge for the VIN etching.
Frankly, the worst part of this is that MB of Selma will very likely get their markup. And, when they do, they will deserve every single penny.
It’s become something of a mantra for me, lately, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It goes like this: Electric cars aren’t coming, they’re already here. And, depending on who you ask, they’ve been here – they just haven’t quite made it into the mainstream, yet. With the dawn of the Rivian R1T ( which became the first full-size electric pickup to reach series production earlier this month), though, a lot of people would have you believe that’s set to change. I happen to be one of them.
Today’s Abandoned History story is one of targeted marketing. In the early 2000s, an amalgam of Japanese corporations combined efforts to reach out to younger consumers via unified branding. Cars, food, appliances – all across Japan new, youth-focused products all wore the same sub-brand: WiLL.
Collectively WiLL asked, “How do you do, fellow kids?”
The full-size truck race is competitive, and one can’t afford to fall too far behind.
After a few years of hearing criticisms concerning the Silverado, and how it’s not as stylish as the Ram 1500 or well-done as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet has unveiled an updated truck, with the intent of blunting those critiques and getting back in the game.
Volkswagen is in the midst of remaking its SUV lineup.
Just in the past few years the company has added a five-seat version of the Atlas – the Atlas Cross Sport – as well as adding the Taos small SUV and the ID.4 EV. Now the venerable Tiguan, which was the veteran of the group, has gone under the knife.
Software updates. Precisely when we had to start having a conversation about software updates – over the air or otherwise – in an automotive context isn’t something I can answer. We didn’t have them for about 100 years. Then, we did. What’s more, it seems like everyone is more or less OK with that, but should they be? Are these software updates really making your car better, or are they slowly throttling back your car’s performance and functionality in a bid to frustrate you into buying a new one?
Let’s take a few minutes to explore the possibilities.
There’s new hotness in the compact-car segment, especially among the sportier models.
Since Volkswagen has two compact models — the mainstream Jetta and the spiced-up Jetta GLI — it probably can’t sit idly by in a year in which Subaru drops a new WRX, the Honda Civic is all-new (with sporty versions coming soon), and Hyundai has taken the wraps off the Elantra N sport sedan. An Acura Integra is also on the way, and it might be priced in the same range.
That makes it time for a refresh.
Since last night’s unveiling of the 2023 Nissan Z, I’ve been chewing over my thoughts on the car. Is it good, or is it another misfire from a brand that’s struggling to recapture glory days?
After exerting far too much brainpower on the question — I’d rather ponder what’s for lunch — I’ve arrived at my answer.