Category: The Right Spec

By on March 29, 2022

Choosing the right spec of a pickup is fraught with danger since it is unlikely any two truck customers have the same needs. Jim might need a base two-wheel-drive regular cab for chores on the farm while Bill could be after a Crew Cab monster to tow the family camper.

Nevertheless, we shall try. Consider the following as a selection of F-150 which is likely to be pressed into runs to the hockey rink and the scattered bit of towing on the weekends, mixed with a decent amount of useful new tech. In other words, the one this author would buy.

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By on February 22, 2022

This 2022 model year marks the introduction of a fifth-generation WRX – that all-wheel-drive hooligan that some of us first discovered on the screens of a PlayStation. The car has gone through several permutations over the years, including some ill-advised styling choices, but has never left the psyche of most gearheads as one of the preferred turbocharged tools for sliding around a dirt-covered back road.

For 2022, the WRX adds a new top-of-the-line GT trim, featuring electronically controlled dampers that can tailor the dynamic performance to the driver’s preferences. But – hang on a minute; according to the bumf, that trim is only available with a CVT!

The humanity.

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By on February 11, 2022

Some of us who are rapidly approaching a certain age will clearly recall when Lexus (and Infiniti, to a lesser extent) first showed up on the luxury car scene and promptly took the establishment to school. Fast forward 30+ years and we find an upstart Korean brand attempting the same thing – and being largely successful.

The GV70 plugged an important hole in the Genesis lineup, given the perpetual thirst of Americans for crossovers and SUVs. Its unique lighting treatments might be a love-it-or-leave-it affair, but there’s no denying this thing brings the goods to a cutthroat segment.

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By on January 24, 2022

Viewed in a vacuum, especially through the filtered lens of an online picture, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 might appear to be a hatchback roughly the size of a VW Golf. In reality, it’s a lot more crossover-like inside and out, with the added bonus of seating flexibility that eliminates a space-hogging center console which creates a spiritual successor to the old-school bench seat.

There is a quartet of trims offered in our market, starting with the $39,700 SE Standard Range with its single motor and rear-wheel drive.

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By on January 13, 2022

Sketches of the next bite-sized Honda surfaced this morning, showing a vehicle with an admittedly big gob but wearing proportions that are a smidgen less awkward than the machine which has been around now for very nearly a decade in some markets. If this were pre-pandemic times, we’d be bleating that a Right Spec would help buyers select the best of what’s being cleared out of dealer lots in favor of the new rig. That’s hardly the case these days.

Nevertheless, it’s entertaining to learn where the different trims land in terms of desirability. Let’s find out what’s on tap for the final model year of this HR-V generation

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By on December 14, 2021

2022 Mazda 3

Believe it or not, people do still actually buy small cars in this country. Yes, there’s a continuing mass exodus for SUVs and crossover-type vehicles but a few level-headed souls remain who choose to open their wallets for an affordable compact machine.

This migration of buyers has pushed several major automakers to put their efforts into this segment In The Bin which, fortunately for us, means the remaining competitors are some good’uns. One of the best? The little Mazda 3.

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By on December 1, 2021

2022 Toyota Tundra

Thanks to Toyota’s glacier-like design cycle, a new Tundra is something most of us will experience only a few times in our adult lives. How long was the last generation around? Well, George W. Bush still had nearly three more years in the White House when the XK50 Tundra was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006. Yeah, it’s been a minute.

All that changed when the curtain dropped on the ’22 Tundra earlier this year. While the mighty and burly TRD Pro has gotten a lot of the press (and most of the promotional photos), there are actually about half a dozen trims on offer, some of which can be layered with options and packages.

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By on November 10, 2021

All-new 2022 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

Our fancy-pants Managing Ed. is currently enjoying the sunny and rocky environs of Moab, sampling different variants of the new-for-’22 Jeep Grand Cherokee. His impressions will appear on these digital pages in due time but, until then, let’s examine what might just be The Right Spec of this popular SUV.

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By on November 4, 2021

22 Kia K5 front

While hammering away at his keyboard in preparation for publishing this post, it dawned upon your author that The Right Spec for any new vehicle these days is – thanks to the chip shortage and a myriad of other supply problems – whatever resides on the lot. Or at least doesn’t have an exorbitant markup placed on its sticker.

Why are we profiling a family sedan this week? Because there are still swaths of Americans, believe it or not, who’d rather have this type of machine in their driveway than yet another SUV to add to the line of vehicles in the school pick-up line. And as for why the K5, in particular, was selected – well, let’s just say we hope to start an argument in the comments.

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By on October 29, 2021

22 Chevy Colorado ZR2

GM’s mid-sizer showed up as a contestant in the Ace of Base series a couple of years ago, back when the four-banger could be paired with a manual transmission. Chevy has since quietly removed that option from its order sheet, leaving cheapskates frugal shoppers with a fistful of automatic transmission.

An advantage of these Right Spec posts? The ability to venture beyond the bargain basement. Despite its second-rung status in the Chevy Truck pecking order in terms of size, there’s no shortage of trim configurations for this bowtie pickup. Throw in a trio of body styles plus a few engine choices, and the decision tree grows quite a number of branches.

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By on October 20, 2021

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback

We’ve covered the Civic sedan on these digital pages in the past, noting improvements in several areas over its predecessor save for one detail – a manual transmission. Honda gets it right with the ’22 hatch variant, offering a six-speed stick in this body style.

Sure, the build-n-price tool isn’t officially live on Honda’s site as of this writing but there’s no lack of information about this model on their media site. Which is the best bang for your Honda hatchback buck?

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By on October 8, 2021

2022 4Runner front

With every mainstream automaker on the planet seeking to pad their bottom line with tasty SUV profits, the number of jacked-up wagons on offer is truly dizzying. Most of them are car-based, of course, including several in Toyota’s own wheelhouse – witness the mystifying Corolla Cross introduced this year.

This makes the 4Runner something of a glorious throwback. Perched on its toes and looking out into traffic with a lantern jaw, this SUV may be old as the hills but is enjoying some of its most robust sales to date.

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By on September 24, 2021

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe

In terms of sales, the Tahoe/Yukon and its larger cousins are the beyond-dominant leaders in the full-size SUV category. Blame (or thank) a robust fleet program that places these brutes in the hands of most security forces across our nation. If you spy a black Tahoe or Suburban parked outside your home … well .. you’ve seen the movies.

This is, in this author’s opinion, part of the cosplay when private individuals buy them for schlepping their family back and forth to school or the soccer game. For the 2021 model year, GM imbued these machines with a dose of new style and more efficient packaging; for 2022, they’ve upped the availability of certain powertrain combinations. It’s the latter that has made Tahoe a great candidate for today’s post.

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By on September 17, 2021

2022 Subaru BRZ

Yes, I know – we covered the Toyota GR 86, this car’s fraternal twin, just two weeks ago. But with both companies making a play for enthusiast dollars, it’s smart to see if the same conclusions we drew for the Big T also apply to the Exploding Galaxy.

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By on September 9, 2021

2022 Infiniti QX60

Fresh off the line for this model year, the new QX60 turns Infiniti’s offering in the brutally competitive luxury crossover segment from a long-in-the-tooth ride to a modern new whip with screens and tech galore. Snicker if you will at my choice of mentioning those two features off the top, but customers spending in excess of 50 large on a rig like this tend to be entranced by those items.

There is a quartet of trims on tap for the 2022 QX60, all of which are propelled by the same engine and transmission combo. Our man Tim had the chance to sample a top-shelf trim in the tony environs of Napa Valley, but is that the one to get? Let’s break down the options and find out.

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