Wednesday, 25 May 2022
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The luxury SUV battlefield features some of the fiercest competition you’ll find in today’s automotive landscape. A luxury vehicle really needs to shine to stand out in a field that features Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and other well-respected brands.

But some brands can still take the heat. With its RDX model, Acura had pulled off what many thought they could not — continuing to sell at numbers that rival and even top some luxury competitors.

It’s not resting on its laurels either, as for 2022 RDX gets a sportier design, an upgraded and more insulated interior that all five passengers will enjoy, and an improved suspension and ride quality.

I recently got behind the wheel of the latest RDX, and I’m back with a full report on how it fares vs. the luxury competition.

LOOK

Eye-pleasing changes have been made to achieve a bold and sporty front end design of the 2022 RDX, from the grille to the lighting setup to adding larger air intakes. 

My test vehicle featured an attractive Apex Blue Pearl paint job, but a wide variety of colors from white to violet to black are also offered. The panoramic moonroof is a very nice feature that luxury buyers have come to expect, and the RDX features Jewel Eye LED headlights and LED tail lights. 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Acura RDX 
  • Price as tested $52,845 (starts around $41K) 
  • Best feature Sharp design, smooth ride, tech and safety features   
  • Rating 4 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle? Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers seeking a high-end yet affordable option  
Posted On Thursday, 12 May 2022 06:31 Written by
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There’s no shortage of luxury SUVs available today; in fact they seem to be growing in number.

But if you want one with a body-on-frame, trucklike construction that will let you get out of the city and into the great outdoors, the number of options is significantly smaller in the luxury realm.

One option that’s been around for many years is the Lexus GX 460, a 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger luxury SUV that aims to please both on-road and off-road.

It would seem to be a strike against the GX 460 that it hasn’t seen a full refresh since the 2010 model, literally an eternity in car years. Surprisingly though, it holds up quite well despite its old age — though some buyers may be swayed by more modern-looking competitors in the luxury realm.

One bright spot for 2022 is the new Black Line Special Edition — which brings a fresh new design approach to the GX lineup.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 GX 460, and I”m back with a full review.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Lexus GX 460  
  • Price as tested $70,345 (starts around $57K)
  • Best feature Spacious and high-end interior, bold yet classy design, off-road and towing ability  
  • Rating 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Luxury SUV buyers seeking a large vehicle that is comfortable both in the city and on less traveled roads  
Posted On Wednesday, 20 April 2022 03:18 Written by
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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.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Mazda CX-9 
  • Price as tested $48,830 (starts at $35,280)
  • Best feature Classy, upscale design; Mazda’s signature oomph 
  • Rating 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Three-row SUV buyers who prioritize the driving experience over vehicle size and cargo room 
Posted On Wednesday, 06 April 2022 04:30 Written by
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Big pickups have long dominated U.S. auto sales — from the Ford F-150 to the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado.

And while those types of vehicles will likely never stop being dominant, in recent years trucks have been trending smaller. First we got a large contingent of midsize trucks introduced over the past decade by multiple automakers, and now we’re getting something unimaginable a decade ago: The introduction of compact trucks that are quite popular.

Now, to be clear, Hyundai doesn’t call the Santa Cruz a compact truck. They call it a “Sport Adventure Vehicle” — painting it as a mix between an SUV and a pickup.

But let’s be honest, it fits most people’s definition of a truck simply by having an open bed in the back, so that’s how most of us will refer to it.

This smaller size is popular for many reasons. For one thing, it’s more maneuverable and easier to park than a larger truck. And it’s still useful despite the smaller size — I had people tell me they would have plenty of room to throw their bikes in the back of the truck and drive their family out to where they want to ride. (Trucks don’t only need to be about hauling rocks, dirt and gravel)

This vehicle recalls past attempts at this style of vehicle — such as the Subaru Baja and the Ford Explorer Sport Trac — but improves on those vehicles quite a bit.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz 
  • Price as tested $41,500 (starts around $25K) 
  • Best feature Unique compact truck design, powerful and smooth ride    
  • Rating 4.5 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle? Buyers looking for a unique truck alternative that is versatile and fun to drive
Posted On Thursday, 31 March 2022 04:34 Written by
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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.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Toyota 4Runner
  • Price as tested $48,631
  • Best feature Off-road ability, roomy interior, safety features
  • Rating 3.5 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Toyota fans who want a capable off-roading SUV  
Posted On Thursday, 24 March 2022 02:23 Written by
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