Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Long a favorite of off-roaders who prefer rugged vehicles and sticking with the traditional, truck-based, body-on-frame style of SUV, the Toyota 4Runner is back again for 2022.

With its last major refresh over a decade ago, the 2022 version of the 4Runner is likely the last hurrah for this rendition before a new version is unveiled for 2023.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport, a new trim level added to the 4Runner lineup this year, and I’m back with a full report on how it looks, drives and performs.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

 

 

I’ve long been a fan of the Nissan Pathfinder, a three-row SUV that has been around for nearly four decades and has often been ahead of the curve in terms of capability, design and technology. I have driven them on long road trips in the past and found them to be very comfortable and among the strongest 3-row SUVs for families traveling near or far.

But with its latest major updates coming in 2016, it was about time for a redesign. With an endless assault from rival SUVs unveiling their latest and greatest, you can’t stay stagnant that long in this business. So the 2022 model year brings us a brand new Pathfinder model — completely redesigned inside and out — that is more in tune with the current state of SUVs.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of this new Pathfinder, and I’m back with a full report. WIll this new version live up to its past, and does it measure up to the seemingly endless competition in the segment?

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

If there’s one thing Chevy does not lack for, it’s SUVs.

From the tiny Trax to the massive Suburban, there’s a grand total of seven offerings in their SUV range, so they have something at literally every size and capability level.

One of the newer entries in that list brings the return of a familiar nameplate — the Trailblazer.

No, it’s not the same as the old TrailBlazer, which was a larger SUV from 2001 through 2008, which eventually morphed into the Traverse model.

More than a decade later, the name is back (minus the capital “B”), but this time as another compact SUV option. It slots in between the smaller Trax and larger Equinox in the Chevy lineup, and I recently got the chance to spend some time in a Trailblazer to see how it stands up in today’s crowded vehicle marketplace.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Finding an SUV that offers a truly enjoyable driving experience is harder than you might think. Too often, in the process of improving other areas of the vehicle, the drive quality becomes a neglected area on many of the top-selling SUVs.

The good news is that some companies, such as Mazda, don’t go that route. They recognize that people want to enjoy their drive time and offer a vehicle that allows people to do so.

For 2021, the CX-5 retains this feature, which separates it from the competition in the compact SUV category, while also improving its technology offerings by adding a new standard 10.25-inch center display as part of Mazda’s infotainment system.

I recently tested a 2021 CX-5 and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

To say there’s a wide variety of midsize crossover SUVs available to today’s car buyers would be the understatement of the year.

And with so many options, even in years without a complete redesign, automakers must step up their offerings to remain competitive in the segment.

Such is the case with the 2020 GMC Acadia, which remains unchanged in many ways, but still offers some bold upgrades in styling, powerplant and technology. I recently spent time in a 2020 Acadia (AT4 trim level) and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up in the segment.

LOOKS

Let’s start with the interior design on the Acadia, which I found to have a very high quality design compared to many of its competitors. Depending on the trim level you choose, quality will vary some, but higher trims are approaching a true luxury level, especially if you opt for the Denali.

In addition to an attractive look and comfort, you also have roominess in the Acadia, especially in the front two rows. Driver and passengers will never feel cramped. 

Depending how you equip your Acadia, you can comfortably seat 5, 6 or 7 people in the vehicle. Be aware though that there are some crossovers in the segment that edge out the Acadia in terms of cargo space.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

 

Volvo’s entry in the compact luxury SUV category, the XC60, is battling for buyers among the giants of the luxury world — from Acura and Audi to Benz and BMW — so the task it faces in finding an audience can be daunting.

The 2020 model maintains the look from the 2018 redesign, but the good news is this is still among the best-looking and top-performing vehicles in the class. 

Read on for my full take on how it measures up in the segment.

LOOKS
The 2020 Volvo XC60 features a unique and well-designed exterior for a luxury SUV, especially in the rear of the vehicle. Volvo doesn’t blend in with the crowd like so many competitors do.

Inside, the XC60 is extra comfy and well put-together. The brand isn’t the first nameplate most people think of when the term luxury is mentioned, but anyone who has sat in a Volvo in recent years knows that it should be top of mind.

Attractive driftwood touches highlight the front dashboard, and extremely cozy and warm Nappa Leather seating will support you even on longer rides. The XC60 makes you feel at home, like a luxury model should.

Second row seating is roomy compared to other options in the segment, and the driver and front passenger will be very comfortable.

Quality features available on the XC60 include a Panoramic Moonroof w/Power Sunshade, Keyless Entry w/ Hands Free Tailgate Opening, Rear Park Assist Camera, 4-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Heated Wiper blades with Integrated Washers, and heated rear and front seats.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

If we’re talking about Hyundai SUVs, most of the focus in recent months is on the Palisade, Hyundai’s new full-size three-row model that was a finalist for the NACTOY Utility of the Year. But the good news for Hyundai, and the SUV-buying public, is that even if the Palisade isn’t the best fit for all consumers, there’s plenty of strength throughout Hyundai’s SUV lineup.

Once such example is the midsize Santa Fe, which got a full redesign in 2019 and sees minor changes for 2020. I recently spent some time in a Santa Fe, and I’m back with a full report on how it compares in this highly competitive segment.

LOOKS

The exterior design of the Santa Fe is svelte and elegant, yet still a bit imposing at the same time.

I was impressed with the quality of the materials used on the interior, which was approaching near-luxury territory on the Limited trim level that I tested. Highlights included a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel and extremely comfortable leather seating. You also get heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, push-button start, manual rear sunshades, and a long and attractive panoramic sunroof

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

In the U.S., the vehicle trend in recent years has been “bigger is better”. Sedans are disappearing every year, and large SUVs appear to be growing on trees.

Even companies that had traditionally were not focused on the larger SUV category are now dipping their toes in the water. Once such company is Hyundai, which debuted its 2020 Hyundai Palisade three-row SUV during 2019.

LOOKS

The Palisade is the largest SUV ever offered by Hyundai, jumping to the top of their lineup above the Santa Fe, Kona and Tucson. And it’s an impressive debut, to say the least.

A corporate cousin to the Kia Telluride (another impressive debut for the 2020 model year in this segment), the Palisade offers an attractive design, both on the exterior and the roomy interior setup.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

Some vehicles look great, but suffer when it comes to performance.

Others drive great, but their design looks like the back side of a dog.

The best vehicles do both things just right.

One of that rare group is the redesigned 2019 Mazda CX-5, a vehicle which I recently spent some time in. Read on for a full rundown of how it compares to the sea of SUVs on the market.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

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