BMW has a variety of popular models, but even for this sports-car focused brand, SUVs are increasingly stealing the spotlight.

Case in point: The BMW X3 — a compact luxury SUV offering — is now the brand’s best-selling model in the U.S. with over 75,000 vehicles sold in 2021.

That’s a tremendous success considering the strong competition in this sector from brands including Genesis, Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln and more.

I recently tested the 2022 BMW X3, which features design upgrades as well as tech improvements, and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

With SUVs now the dominant vehicle in the automotive landscape, and bigger is better being the motto for many buyers — especially those with larger families — it’s no surprise that 3-row SUVS that can seat larger numbers of people comfortably remain in high demand.

In this busy segment, each automaker has their own approach to reach their customer base. For Mazda, a small but formidable brand competing in the segment with their CX-9 model, the emphasis is no different than the rest of their lineup — power and drive quality.

Just like smaller Mazda rides, the level of get-up-and-go in the power plant here is more than you’ll find in most competitors. And that’s by design.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 Mazda CX-9, and I’m back with a full report on how it stacks up in a crowded SUV category loaded with very strong vehicle options.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Straddling the line between more modest SUVs and the luxury world, the Buick Envision finds itself in an interesting position in this vast SUV landscape.

For the 2021 model year, Buick has redesigned this midsize, five-passenger SUV, aiming at those who want something a bit fancier, but without going full luxury in terms of design and price tag — something between a Toyota RAV4 and a Audi Q5.

The Envision sits in the middle of the Buick SUV lineup, between the smaller Encore and larger Enclave. Among the highlights of the redesign are an improved infotainment system, a boost in the number of safety features included, and an updated engine.

I recently spent time in a 2021 Envision, and here is a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

The subcompact crossover market is quite saturated these days — which competitors including Honda’s HR-V, the Kia Seltos, Hyundai Venue, Mazda CX-30 and Jeep Renegade, among many others.

But Subaru, a brand that doesn’t top sales charts but has fiercely loyal followers, has perhaps the best offering in this segment — the Subaru Crosstrek, which gets a strong design upgrade, more powerful engine option and safety/tech upgrades for 2021. I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2021 Crosstrek Sport, and I’m back with a full report on a vehicle that spices up its segment.

LOOKS

The exterior of the redesigned 2021 Crosstrek stands out from the competition, both in terms of its sleek look and unique colors offered. Subaru has never gone the way every other automaker has with its designs, and this is no exception.

The vehicle features a redesigned front fascia that includes a new bumper cover and grille, new wheel design, and new color options such as Plasma Yellow Pearl and Horizon Blue Pearl. I had a test vehicle with the yellow pearl color and it looked very sharp and unique on the roadways.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Despite a healthy lineup of SUVs already in their arsenal, including the tiny but lauded Hyundai Kona, Hyundai decided that another, even smaller, subcompact was needed.

Aimed at city dwellers who need a compact ride for small parking spaces and strong fuel mileage, but want more than a subcompact sedan, the Hyundai Venue debuted for the 2020 model year.

I recently spent some time driving a 2020 Venue, and here’s a full report on my experience and where this vehicle fits in the growing SUV/crossover landscape.

LOOKS
Measuring several inches shorter than the already diminutive Kona, the Venue is not meant for people who regularly transport passengers who are not small children or tiny adults. It’s also not meant for road trips due to its lack of power and lack of storage space. It’s a commuter car through and through, so my advice is to use the rear seating as a storage area.

The exterior design of the Venue is one of the nicer-looking in the segment, combining the looks of a hatchback with crossover styling.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

It seems to be raining new small SUVs over the past few years, with almost every automaker unveiling new vehicles to add to the already large mix of options available to consumers seeking an entry-level SUV.

Kia, which already has a healthy list of quality SUVs to offer, saw an opening in its lineup and decided to fill it, debuting the brand new 2021 Kia Seltos, a vehicle that slides in between the Soul and the Sportage in Kia's lineup. The subcompact SUV is slightly longer than the popular Soul offering, but not as large as the Kia Sportage.

Seltos takes on tough competition — including the Mazda CX-30, Chevy Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Hyundai Venue — but delivers the unique feature of available All-Wheel Drive, which much of the competition does not offer in this segment.

I recently spent a week driving a 2021 Kia Seltos, and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up in the segment. 

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

Year two is an important one for brand new vehicles. They may get a pass in the debut year if sales underperform, but numbers need to start picking up if a vehicle is going to have a long future within a brand.

For example, the Subaru Ascent.

In 2019, Subaru moved beyond their familiar wagon territory to unveil the Ascent, a three-row SUV, and it returns with some minor upgrades for 2020, looking to grow its clout in the segment.

I recently spent some time in a 2020 Ascent, and I’m back with a full report on how it stacks up vs. heavyweights like the Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Honda PIlot and Toyota Highlander.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Move over, usual suspects.

Kia's bold U.S. strategy continues with the 2020 Telluride, its biggest SUV yet and one aimed squarely at families in the U.S. market, where bigger is often viewed as better by consumers.

And it’s already making waves, earning rave reviews and no doubt making the competition nervous, especially after taking home the NACTOY Utility of the Year award in January 2020.

Read on for a full report on how it stands up to the usual front-runners among three-row SUVs.

LOOKS

The Telluride is by all measures a well-designed vehicle, featuring a bold yet sleek-looking exterior, and a roomy and versatile interior.

The Kia front grille boasts one of the most attractive designs in the SUV landscape. 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, while higher trims feature 20-inch wheels.

Inside is where the Telluride shows its true colors and really earns its nearly universal praise, with the Kia model giving off true luxury vibes for a much-lower starting price.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

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