Thursday, 08 December 2022

 

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

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

The compact SUV class is one with limitless options for car buyers, but one key element that is usually missing from these vehicles is power. Many of them are well-designed but lack oomph when you’re behind the wheel.

But one brand that has never lacked oomph is Mazda, and they offer several options in the compact SUV class — including the CX-5, CX-30 and CX-50.

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is essentially a lifted version of the Mazda 3 hatchback. Slight changes have been made to the model lineup for 2022 (including a new Carbon Edition trim level), and all-wheel-drive is now standard on all CX-30 trims.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus edition, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up vs. the competition. 

Published in SUV / TRUCK REVIEWS

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
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