Thursday, 08 December 2022
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

 
Electric cars are no longer the vehicles of the future. They are the vehicles of today, with seemingly every new vehicle announcement focusing on a new EV.

Volvo is one brand leading the charge in the EV landscape, having announced publicly a goal of selling only electric vehicles by the year 2030.

Volvo’s portfolio today includes the all-electric C40 Recharge – a compact crossover model that takes on competitors such as Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen’s ID.4, Audi’s Q4 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQA, and Tesla’s Model Y.

The C40 Recharge competes in a segment that focuses on offering extended range and luxury-light styling. Read on for a full breakdown of how it measures up.

 

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.

For the first time since June 2000, the ARCA Menards Series platform will race at the tight, banked quarter-mile Flat Rock Speedway when the ARCA Menards Series East takes to the track on May 20, 2023. 

The ARCA Menards Series raced at the track, affectionately known as The Level Pebble, 56 times from 1953 through 2000. The track’s first races were a pair of 250-lap events, run on the same day, both won by JulianPetty, his only two series victories. Other winners at Flat Rock Speedway over the years include Bob Hunter, Bill Lutz, Les Snow, Iggy Katona, Bobby Watson, Andy Hampton, Ramo Stott, Ron Hutcherson, A. Arnold, Moose Myers, Bill Green, Bill Kimmel, Jim Cushman, Marvin Smith, Bob Dotter, Lee Raymond, Bobby Jacks, Bill Venturini, Ed Hage, Bob Keselowski, Tracy Leslie, Dave Weltmeyer, Grant Adcox, Bobby Bowsher, Harold Fair, Jeremy Mayfield, Gary Bradberry, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Ruttman, Tim Steele, Frank Kimmel, and Bill Baird. Kimmel won the final race in 2000. 

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.

Brittany Force put a big Bowtie stamp on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season in the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Force, driving the Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet dragster, earned her second Top Fuel world championship in the season finale at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to become the fourth female in NHRA professional ranks to win multiple titles. 

"I want people to remember this day here in Pomona with this Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac team -- David Grubnic, Mac Savage, every single one of my guys," said Force, who also joined three-time champion Shirley Muldowney as the only female multiple titleholders in Top Fuel. "We have been working all season long, we never gave up, and then we struggled in the Countdown and we recovered when we needed to in Vegas and win it here today in Pomona.

“I have to thank every single one of my guys and our sponsors. We wouldn't be here without them today, and I'm just so proud of everybody. It just seems surreal right now. I can't believe it ended up this way.”

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.

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.

The wagon is a staple of American car culture.

And even if we don’t use the term much anymore in a world focused on SUVs and crossovers, the fact is they do still exist and are available from a small number of automakers in 2022.

The most obvious example of a wagon that people still take out on the roadways every day is the Subaru Outback, which has for years been the dominant vehicle in the segment — accounting for the vast majority of wagon sales in the U.S. each year..

This long, spacious ride might not look exactly like the wood-paneled vehicles of your childhood, but it serves the same purpose — hauling the family and a bunch of cargo with ease.

With its rugged looks and design, and the introduction of a more off-road friendly Wilderness model for 2022, the Outback continues to work on expanding its foothold in this segment. Combine all that with a truly versatile interior, and the Outback is a vehicle that probably should be even more popular than it is.

I recently spent some time in a 2022 Outback Wilderness, and I’m back with a full report.

 

Teammates help each other out. 

It’s part of racing, and always has been.

When Jeff Gordon was trying to wrap up his first title back in the 1990s, Rick Hendrick would enter an extra car in the race just so it could drop out and guarantee Gordon another spot. When stages are about to end, drivers often don’t lap their teammates even if they are able to do so, out of respect for their overall team goals. Every team on the grid, from Hendrick to Gibbs to SHR and beyond, has told its drivers to support their teammates in one way or another, often explicitly on the radio. 

So the decision to punish Cole Custer and the 41 team for alleged improper action to help teammate Chase Briscoe at the end of the Roval race is quite dishonest in my view. This wasn’t a Clint Bowyer itchy arm situation and there was no blatant manipulation. Briscoe was going to dive bomb into that corner regardless of what Custer did, and likely make the pass anyway, so overanalyzing the 41 car’s actions is unnecessary. 

What’s most bothersome is the inconsistency. In recent years, Chase Elliott did a playoff favor for Kyle Larson by holding up Kevin Harvick, and Erik Jones was told explicitly to not pass teammate Denny Hamlin. But nobody was punished in those instances.

Let’s not get into the habit of over-policing, which is the complete opposite of “boys, have at it” and not the direction we need to go in as a sport.

Competition is tough in the luxury sedan world these days — with stout offerings available from upstarts like Genesis as well as long-standing segment leaders such as Audi and BMW.

One brand that always puts up a good fight in this arena is Mercedes-Benz, and their midsize sedan offering, the E-class, should never be left out of the discussion of top luxury rides.

The E-class slots between Mercedes’ smaller C-class and larger S-class. WIth a history of offering sharp looks inside and out, a powerful and smooth ride, as well as leading tech and safety options, it has a strong past to live up to.

The 2022 E-class model sees some minor upgrades in terms of features offered, as well as some new paint schemes — but it’s core competencies remain strong. It’s a sporty ride masquerading as a family sedan, featuring exquisite design and powerful performance.

The 2022 E-class is available as a sedan, coupe, convertible or wagon. I recently spent some time behind the week of a 2022 Mercedes-Benz E450 sedan, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up vs. its luxury competition.

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