Friday, 19 April 2024

For families shopping for an SUV that will serve their needs, the Toyota Highlander has long been on the list of vehicles to consider, in part because it can hold up to 8 passengers and lots of cargo.

This three-row midsize SUV isn’t the class-leader in all areas (some rivals are more luxurious, and have more third-row space, for example), but collectively it delivers an excellent experience that has led to it being a top seller in the segment for many years.

A full redesign of the Highlander hasn’t happened since 2020, but there was a change in the engine offerings starting with the 2023 model, which carried over to 2024. The new engine is a turbo 4-cylinder instead of the V6 offering that had been offered prior. And the new Highlander features an updated tech system that delivers an excellent user experience.

There are a ton of major vehicles in this segment — including Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and more. Read on to see how the Highlander holds up in this very popular and competitive category of three-row family haulers.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
Sunday, 11 February 2024 16:42

2024 Acura MDX: 5 Things To Know

In the midsize luxury SUV category, there are many strong choices that are worth considering, so each entry in this category must present its own unique character.

I recently tested one of those options, the 2024 Acura MDX, which has a lot to offer to the SUV buyer — even against strong competition from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Cadillac and other key luxury players.

Between its athletic drive quality, striking design and affordable nature compared to most luxury rivals, it’s an SUV that should strike a sweet spot for many car buyers.

Read on for 5 key things to know if you’re considering the 2024 Acura MDX for your next vehicle.

1. Unique, bold Acura design   

Though the look of the 2024 MDX carries over from the most recent redesign in 2022, it remains one of the standout exterior designs in the segment.

The front end features a muscular-looking grille and unique lighting design that won’t be confused with any of its luxury rivals, the rear features a dual exhaust setup, and the overall design is sleek and eye-catching.

19-inch wheels are standard, but you can upgrade to 21-inch wheels. You also get a panoramic sunroof and power liftgate.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – The first ever BMW XM Label—the company’s most powerful production vehicle to date with 738-horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque on tap—set a new record for hybrid electric SUVs at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on September 21, 2023, during an officially certified course run.

Following a previous attempt for the race day record in June during the 101st running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, BMW driver Matt Mullins returned to take on the course last month aboard the range-topping BMW XM Label with support from Rhys Millen Racing. Reaching the summit in 10:48:60, Mullins outpaced the previous race day record by nearly a second and a half.

To provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into preparing both man and machine for such an extreme challenge, BMW had a camera crew follow Mullins and team during each stage of the endeavor. The result is an emotional two-part short film that exposes the heartbreaking lows of a failed first fun, followed by the exhilarating highs of success atop the mountain. Both parts are available online at the @BMWUSA official YouTube channel.

Published in NEWS

 

Among the best trends of recent years has been the return of some automotive categories that had been long neglected.

One such category is smaller trucks, including the unibody design on vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which is reminiscent of vehicles of the past like the Subaru Baja.

Back for its second year in 2023, the Santa Cruz combines the abilities of SUVs and pickups in a way that few other vehicles can.

It has only one true competitor — the Ford Maverick — and a great opportunity to capture some market share in the truck market due to its sharp looks, strong drive quality and quality tech features.

Read on for a full breakdown of what the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz has to offer.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Going 14 years between redesigns is almost unheard of in today’s automotive landscape. In that time span, many models have come and gone, and those remaining have undergone a few major updates.

Suffice it to say that the arrival of a brand new 2023 Toyota Sequoia, last redesigned when President Barack Obama was just taking office, is a pretty big deal.

The Sequoia is Toyota’s largest vehicle sold in the U.S. and competes with other three-row heavies such as the Jeep Wagoneer, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and Ford Expedition.

Completely new looks inside and out, a bold new hybrid powertrain and a massive tech system featuring a 14-inch screen are among the highlights of the brand new Sequoia, whose large size and rugged capabilities set it apart in an industry heavily focused on smaller crossover vehicles.

I recently drove the 2023 Sequoia — which is based on the body-on-frame chassis used on the Toyota Tundra truck and Lexus LX SUV — and I’m back with a full report on whether the changes live up to the hype of such a lengthy wait.

 

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Three-row SUVs don’t have to be boring. And the Mazda CX-9 is Exhibit A in this argument.

I recently tested a 2023 Mazda CX-9, which faces a ton of solid competition including the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Ford Explorer. But I was pleased to find that the CX-9 holds up very well against all opponents.

Mazda recognizes how popular the midsize crossover has become, and has kept everything from styling to technology up to date so they don’t lose a step.

And at the heart of it all is what makes Mazda tick … that zoom zoom mentality that always keeps in mind the importance of a quality driving experience, even on its larger models like the CX-9.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
Wednesday, 05 April 2023 00:46

Mazda debuts new 2024 CX-90 three-row SUV

Mazda has announced the brand new 2024 Mazda CX-90, a three-row SUV built on Mazda's all-new large platform. The CX-90 represents the company's new flagship vehicle with wider, longer, and more aggressive proportions. Mazda CX-90 is available with all-new electrified powertrains, including an inline 6 turbo and a plug-in hybrid, that offer drivers enhanced performance and efficiency.
2024-Mazda-CX-90-Reveal

"At Mazda, our focus is to deliver an ownership experience that enriches the lives of our customers. With each new vehicle launch, we challenge ourselves to progress through our human-centric approach of design and engineering," said Jeff Guyton, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "CX-90 offers powerful and responsive performance, alluring design, and intuitive technology. We're very proud of our team's work on CX-90, which we know is a breakthrough vehicle in its segment."


As with all Mazda vehicles, CX-90 is designed with the driver in mind. With seating for up to eight passengers, CX-90 can accommodate families and friends in all three rows. Cabin space, cargo capacity, safety features, and many amenities are optimized for their needs.

Published in NEWS

In the stratosphere of the automotive world, you will find a small number of extra large land yachts also known as three-row luxury SUVs.

These flagship offerings from the biggest luxury names battle head-to-head to be chosen by elite buyers willing to shell out well into six figures for the latest and greatest luxury rides. In the Lexus lineup, the vehicle battling in this class is the LX 600, which was fully updated for the 2022 model year, then saw some minor changes for the 2023 model year.

Holding from four to seven passengers, depending on configuration, it battles heavy hitters in the segment including the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7, Range Rover, and Lincoln Navigator.

WIth a body-on-frame design that boosts its off-road prowess, sharp design inside and out, and much-improved tech offerings, the LX stands out as a leader in a segment where a vehicle must do everything right to be successful.

I recently tested a Lexus LX 600 F Sport, and I’m back with a full report on how well it competes.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

As the number of SUVs continues to expand in a seemingly exponential manner, it’s sometimes difficult to classify where certain vehicles compete.

One vehicle battling in a unique area that fends off competitors on multiple sides is the 2023 Buick Enclave, one of the most intriguing three-row midsize SUV offerings from the U.S. Big Three automakers.

An upscale offering from GM, the Enclave is high-brow enough to battle with names such as Volvo and Acura, but it’s simultaneously fending off competitors from brands like Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Ford, which are traditionally not viewed as luxury offerings.

It’s an introduction to the world of the more upscale SUV, without fully diving into the luxury lifestyle to keep pricing more realistic.

The 2023 Enclave sees little changes from the 2022 model, which underwent some major design and tech transformations that are carried over.

Buick’s goal with the Enclave is to deliver a strong overall vehicle — impressing through its design, tech, safety features and drive quality — that will pull potential buyers from either the lower-end or higher-end options into the seat of the Enclave.

With extensive cargo room, a smooth driving experience, and truly impressive technology offerings, it does that to a great extent.

Read on for a full breakdown on how the 2023 Enclave compares to its many competitors in this very popular vehicle segment.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Looking at the automotive sales charts, one thing becomes pretty clear — often the vehicles that sell the most are far from the most flashy. 

Such is the case with the 2023 Chevy Equinox, which is the second-best selling vehicle for Chevrolet behind only its Silverado pickup truck, and one of the top-selling small SUVs in the country.

Focused on a solid user experience, strong design and high-level tech features, the Equinox won’t be the fastest or the most head-turning model in the segment, but it’s clearly doing something right based on how the car-buying public is taking to it.

Changes to the Equinox for 2023 are minor, including a slight bump in horsepower, and updated paint scheme options.

I recently spent some time behind the week of a 2023 Chevy Equinox RS, and I’m back with a full report on how well it battles against a bevy of top competitors including Toyota’s RAV4, Honda’s CR-V and the Ford Escape.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
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