2023 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer L First Drive – Spacing It Out

We heard them before we saw them.

Our merry band of journalists and PR folks were walking to dinner in Bozeman, Montana on the second night of the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer L press launch when we crossed paths with a bunch of college-aged folks who were walking the opposite way shouting “hi-ho, hi-ho, fossil fuels have got to go!”

If only they could lay eyes on this particular Jeep, which caused one colleague to tweet out a reference to The Simpsons' Canyonero.

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2023 Nissan Z First Drive - Old Dog, New Tricks

Meet the new Nissan Z. Same as the old Z.

Well, sort of.

Nissan has worked hard to hype the new Z – yet it’s an open secret that the new car shares some of its bones with the previous-generation car.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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2023 Kia Sportage First Drive - Looking for Attention

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.

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2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe First Drive - What's Green Worth to You?

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.

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2022 Hyundai Elantra N First Drive - Aiming for the Sweet Spot

The “hot compact” segment has its players, and they all seem to have a defined role.

This is especially true when we’re talking about compacts with more than two doors, especially if they offer a three-pedal option and are priced under $40K.

The Subaru WRX is the all-wheel-drive one. The Honda Civic Si is the bargain one. The Volkswagen GTI is the balanced hatchback one. The Hyundai Veloster N is the quirky three-door one. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the refined one.

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2023 Mazda CX-50 First Drive - Treading New Ground

There’s an argument to be made Mazda is the little car company that could. Representing a sliver of the American market compared to its larger competitors, the Hiroshima-made vehicles are typically infused with the type of driving fun that’s seemingly been surgically removed from the vehicles with which it competes.

Actually, the term ‘Hiroshima-made’ is no longer totally correct. With the introduction of the 2023 CX-50 crossover you see on these digital pages, Mazda now has a manufacturing footprint in this country to the annual tune of 150,000 vehicles. It’s only fitting they’d deploy this new capability for the type of rig most Americans prefer: An all-wheel-drive crossover with an off-road attitude.

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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 First Drive — The EV Revolution Might Not Suck

Ostensibly, I was at a private racetrack north of Atlanta to test out some new compact sedan hotness — the 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. But when an opportunity to do a mini-test of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq5 EV presented itself, I jumped. Figuratively speaking.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ and 580 4MATIC First Drives - Tesla Beaters
The Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC is the three-pointed star’s first real attempt at an all-electric flagship in its 100-plus year history, and its importance to the brand cannot be overstated. Simply put, Tesla is already beating Mercedes-Benz, and the upstart, 500-mile range Lucid Air isn’t going to pull any punches, either. The EQS must come out swinging, then, and it absolutely cannot fail to deliver on the promise of that “S”.I recently had a chance to take an extended test drive in both the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ and 580 4MATIC models at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, and the experience was – let’s say “not what I expected”.
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2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee First Drive - Keeping the Flame

Jeep has one of the tougher challenges in the business, especially when it comes to its longest-running nameplates, such as Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

That challenge is this – how to keep models that are based on an old-school formula, one that heavily involves off-road chops and, in this case, an optional V8 engine, modern.

Jeep has been up to the task so far with the Wrangler, even introducing a hybrid to the line. Now it’s the Grand Cherokee’s turn.

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2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI - Still Jekyll and Hyde, and That's Good

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be changed, but its character remains the same.

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.

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2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI First Drive - Don't Fix What Ain't Broken

If you’re a Volkswagen Golf GTI fan, you were probably worried that Volkswagen would screw it up as they refreshed it for 2022.

Here’s the good news – the company (mostly) didn’t do that. Especially when it comes to the most important part of GTI ownership – on-road driving performance.

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2022 Volkswagen Golf R First Drive - Track-Focused Toy For The Grown-Up

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R remains a potent backroad weapon – almost too potent.

I came to this conclusion while driving part of North Carolina’s famed Rattler highway. The Golf R, one of the hottest of hot hatches, was making me feel a bit like a superhero thanks to stout brakes, the ability to shorten straightaways, and firm and accurate steering that allowed me to place the wheels exactly where I wanted/needed them to be.

And all this while I was driving relatively conservatively because I was on a public road. Imagine this car unleashed on a track.

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2022 Toyota Tundra SR5 First Drive: Best & Brightest Spec

In the beginning, someone created the buggy. Now the buggy was primitive and lacked more than a couple of horsepower, and darkness was over the surface of the automotive world because this buggy had leaf springs.

And some engineer said, “Let there be a functional suspension,” and there was a coil spring – and, if you liked Mopars, maybe a torsion bar. And this engineer called the coil spring good and the leaf spring crap. And so, there was day and night, buggy suspensions and a reasonable ride, and the engineer created cars in his own image, and old trucks were the serpent.

And so, trucks from time immemorial have been infested by poor-riding leaf springs because they could handle great loads. But these trucks, they did handle like the Leviathan, so some have moved to the proper coil spring, good and true, to hold up their cargo. The 2022 Toyota Tundra has been so blessed with coil springs, among many other improvements. But is it good?

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT First Drive - What's Wrong With a Four-Door Muscle Car?

Remember that scene in the famed 1968 shoot-em-up Bullitt where Lieutenant Bullitt, after surviving a harrowing car chase up and down the streets of San Francisco, a chase that ended in the fiery deaths of some black-suited bad guys in a Dodge, went and picked up his Saint Bernards from the dog groomer and then took his daughter and her boyfriend to lacrosse practice in his four-door Mustang GT crossover electric vehicle?

You don’t remember it (unless you regularly attend Phish concerts) because Ford has never built a four-door ‘Stang before the Mach-E, and it certainly has never built an all-wheel drive pony car, and for the love of Pete, ‘ol Henry’s namesake most certainly has never built such a thing with the “GT” moniker, the label it reserves for its most throaty, hairy-chested, terrifying torque-monster of a street ‘n strip muscle car.

Until now of course. I submit the Mustang Mach-E GT, pumping out a gajillion horsepower and a bazillion lb-ft. o’ torque, and what has two giant thumbs and got to drive such a device on his favorite Northern California backroads? This guy.

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2022 Ford Maverick First Drive - Return of the True Small Truck

There are currently two small trucks on sale – the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2022 Ford Maverick. Only one really looks the part.

That would be the latter. And thankfully for Ford and its buyers, the Maverick more than acts the part, too.

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  • MaintenanceCosts This used to be my favorite class of car but at some point they just became too much. The V6 S6 is more than fast enough and will have a more comfortable ride, and I can't see what the extra $45k or so for the RS6 gets me except a V8 engine note.
  • Mike Beranek If any one of these jokers tries hacking into my vehicle, they'd better bring a lot of hacksaw blades, cuz they aren't getting in any other way.
  • Brn "Curry and his band of hackers took what they learned to SiriusXM, which issued an immediate fix. "Good for them, both Yuga and Sirrius.
  • Luke42 I see a lot of EVs on the road in my small city in Central Illinois.What most observers who don't live here don't realize is that "blue states" and "red states" still have a highly polarized urban/rural divide. I live in a small city, and we have a globally connected tech economy here.If I drive ten miles out of town, though, the necks are just as red as they are in Texas. Those folks do things the country way.American-city-culture loves EVs. The cars are an improvement in every way over, say, a Honda Civic used for commuting.Many American-country-culture icons assert that EVs must be the worst thing ever because city-people like them. It's self defeating for the country-people to think that way, of course, because the cars are good and electricity is cheaper (and, therefore, more plentiful) than gasoline. But there is a kernel of truth to their skepticism in that some use-cases aren't easily filled by EVs just yet -- but they would rather complain about the fact that EVs exist than to objectively pick the right tool for the right job.Long distance commuters (usually rural people who work in the city) have the most to gain from commuting via EV.EVs are pretty popular in small cities in flyover country, assuming the city is prosperous enough for its residents to afford new cars at all.
  • FreedMike The FJ Kult is even cultier than the Tacoma Kult…and that’s saying something.