Friday, 19 April 2024

With the respect BMW has earned over nearly a century of making automobiles, it’s no surprise that many luxury buyers want to get behind the wheel of one of their current-day offerings.

But as a luxury ride, the price often presents a major barrier to access, leading potential buyers to explore some of BMW's smaller offerings as potential entryways into the brand.

One such vehicle is the BMW X1, the brand’s smallest crossover SUV offering, which got a full redesign for 2023 that carries over into the 2024 lineup.

This little ride packs a lot of features into a small package — including strong overall design, an upscale interior, a performance boost over past models, and updates to safety and tech features.

I recently tested a 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i model, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up in a crowded luxury crossover segment that features strong offerings such as the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40 and more.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Good things can come in small packages, and at the small end of Mazda’s SUV lineup is a vehicle that definitely fits that bill.

The 2023 Mazda CX-30 features a sharp design, high-quality interior, and a sporty turbo engine option. Its interior is especially impressive, giving off a nearly luxury-level vibe.

The CX-30 has many opponents to battle, as there are tons of competitors in the compact SUV segment — including the Volkswagen Taos, Chevy Trailblazer, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Buick Encore, Hyundai Venue, Honda HR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Read on to learn more about how the CX-30 compares to this bevy of mini-utes, and who will want to take one home.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Competing successfully in the compact SUV segment is arguably one of the most difficult things to do in today’s automotive world.

With so many vehicles that sell in large volumes every year as this category continues to grow in popularity — including Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Chevy Equinox and Hyundai Tucson — it’s tough to break through.

One model that was successful at doing so, and continues to fight for the top spots on the sales charts every single year, is the Nissan Rogue. Last redesigned in 2021, and seeing only minor changes for the 2023 model, Nissan’s entry in this category has been a pleasant surprise for the automaker — in fact, the Rogue is the brand’s best-selling vehicle in its entire lineup.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of the 2023 Nissan Rogue, and I’m back with a full report on how the latest version of the family-friendly Rogue measures up vs. stiff competition.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

As the reinvention of their SUV lineup continues, Mazda continues to introduce impressive new models.

The latest is the 2023 Mazda CX-50, a compact crossover that will battle with leading competitors in the segment including the Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape.

And just to clarify, the CX-50 is different from the already existing CX-5, another compact crossover currently in the Mazda lineup (which may or may not continue to coexist in coming years). The CX-50 shares a platform with the smaller CX-30, and upcoming models in the pipeline that are anticipated include the larger CX-70 and CX-90.

While the introduction of these new vehicles brings in some new designs, what doesn’t change is the quality of what’s under the hood, and that’s the excellent Mazda power plants that made this brand stand out in a bevy of SUV competitors, especially for driving enthusiasts who want to enjoy their daily drive.

I recently tested a 2023 Mazda CX-50, and I’m back with a full report on how the new offering measures up to Mazda’s lofty standards.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

If you’re looking for a compact SUV these days, there is no shortage of options to consider. So to stand out, automakers must take new approaches. 

On that note, let me introduce the 2022 Subaru Forester, and its new Wilderness edition — a vehicle that definitely stands out among its competitors.

This all-wheel drive, 5-passenger vehicle with impressive ground clearance can operate confidently on city streets, but also step up when some light off-roading or rough weather presents itself. For the outdoorsy type of person, it serves as a welcome alternative to the usual suburban family ride, while keeping many of the qualities from those vehicles such as strong tech and safety features.

The WIlderness trim, new for 2022, comes with a redesigned bumper, grille and headlights, plus roof rails that can support more weight.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, and I’m back with a full report.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Compact SUVs are one of the most reliably successful sellers in today’s automotive ecosystem, putting up some of the biggest overall numbers once you get past the top-selling trucks.

Chevy’s Equinox competes in this tough segment — battling a bevy of competitors including the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape.

For those buyers who remain loyal to the U.S. “Big Three” options, the Equinox emerges as one of the top competitors in the segment. While not completely redesigned, the 2022 Equinox does get some minor refreshes and offers a bold new RS trim level.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 Equinox RS, and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up in the segment.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Compact, nimble and affordable.

Those are the three words that best describe the 2021 Hyundai Venue, a relatively new subcompact SUV offering (it debuted in 2020) that’s a strong fit for city dwellers and those who don’t want or need a larger vehicle.

I recently spent time in a Venue and I’m back with a full report on how it stacks up to the growing number of mini-SUVs on the market right now.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Before we start, the question must be asked: What exactly is the Mazda CX-30 and why did Mazda add it to their lineup of crossovers in 2020?

Do not confuse it with Mazda’s CX-3, which is a different crossover offering from the automaker. The CX-30 is longer and more powerful than the CX-3, and it is ultimately a slightly raised version of the Mazda3 sedan/hatchback offering. On the grand scale of Mazda offerings, the CX-30 falls squarely between the smaller CX-3 and the larger CX-5.

While it may seem like overkill, automakers know that SUV buyers can be very particular, so having an option at every possible size offering is becoming the norm. (Though the naming of this model does admittedly create some confusion).

The CX-30, a very stylish vehicle, is one of those modern rides threading the needle between a car and an SUV, and hoping to provide you with the raised SUV look and versatility but smoother driving of a sedan. To entice buyers for the 2021 model, the CX-30 upgrades in its sophomore year include a new turbocharged engine option, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

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

With the tremendous success of Nissan’s Rogue crossover, which grew from an upstart to a contender for sales leader in its segment, it was only natural that a new version, the Rogue Sport, was introduced a few years back.

It continues to be a popular offering, and recently I had a chance to drive the 2020 Rogue Sport, which features strong technology and safety offerings, sharp looks, a roomy design and excellent value for the segment.

LOOKS

The Rogue Sport gets some updated, sporty styling for the 2020 model, particularly in the front and rear ends, and the results are pleasing to the eye. LED lights are featured, and you have options for unique metallic paint schemes including Nitro Lime and Monarch Orange.

Though the Rogue Sport is a bit smaller than the standard Rogue, it still offers an impressive amount of cargo space (among best numbers in class, at 61 cubic feet with rear seats down) and decent legroom and headroom both in front and back seats.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
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