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

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

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

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

Among the sea of available compact SUVs, every entry has its strong points.
And when we’re talking about Jeep, one word comes to mind: Rugged.

I recently tested a 2020 Jeep Cherokee, a compact SUV that offers an edge in off-road capability over the competition — which includes the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and many more.

LOOKS
For 2020, there are few major changes, and much of the Cherokee design dates back several years. It’s still a sharp exterior look though, with an attractive side view and the usual seven-slot grille up front, complemented by nicely-shaped headlamps.

The interior is very welcoming and comfortable, and more upscale than you would expect from a Jeep. My test vehicle featured premium leather-trimmed bucket seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

Spacewise, keep in mind this is a compact SUV, so the rear will be a bit tight for passengers in terms of leg room. Front seats are very comfortable and you get good head space all around. Cargo space is decent but less than some competitors.

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

 

Electric vehicles will eventually be coming to a mass audience. 

It’s just a matter of how fast they get here. 

And while that timetable is debatable, what’s happening right now is automakers are each making their claim on this territory at the outset. Kia has jumped into the fray with the 2019 Kia Niro EV — a full-electric version of it’s Niro crossover, which is also offered as a hybrid.

How does the Niro EV compare to the growing field of EVs? Quite well actually, punctuated by a 239-mile range, roomy interior and high-tech offerings.

While other EVs may get more press, the Niro EV displays enough positive attributes to be a dark horse in the EV battlefield.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

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