Saturday, 23 September 2023

 

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

As the appetite for large luxury vehicles continues to grow and options increase, competition has never been tougher.

One contender in this category that’s been around for many years is the Infiniti QX80, the flagship body-on-frame, V8-powered SUV from the luxury marque.

Ahead of an anticipated full redesign for 2024, I recently was able to test the 2023 Infiniti QX80, a truly classy ride which still manages to impress despite its longevity — even when it battles in a class that includes tough competitors such as the BMW X7, Cadillac Escalade, Audi Q8, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and more.

Read on for a full breakdown of the QX80’s design, drive quality, tech and more.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

 

As the appetite for SUVs continues to grow, lineups continue to expand. 

For Volkswagen, their latest entry slots in at the bottom of their lineup — a brand new subcompact SUV called the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.

It enters an expansive field of competitors including the Chevy Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, Toyota C-HR and more.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 VW Taos, and I”m back with a full report.

This two-row, 5-passenger SUV impresses by being roomier than many of its rivals in terms of rear seat comfort and overall cargo space, the inclusion of solid tech and safety innovations, and an enjoyable driving experience courtesy of its turbocharged power plant.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

Luxury SUV buyers have a bevy of strong options available today, but one name that’s always in the conversation is Audi.

For more than a century, the German automaker has delivered high-quality vehicles that can compete with the best that competitors such as BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo, Cadillac and others have to offer.

In the world of SUVs, Audi’s smallest offering is the compact Q3, which I recently had the opportunity to test.

With elegant styling, responsive handling and a tech-savvy setup, it stands out in this class in many ways. It offers luxury car buyers a chance to break into the class without spending the big bucks required to take home larger Audi SUV options, which can cost up to twice as much.

Read on to learn more about how it measures up in a segment where anything less than excellence won’t be accepted.

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS
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