Monday, 08 August 2022
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In today’s automotive world, a vehicle like the Toyota Land Cruiser truly stands out, as it’s among the last of a dying breed, and that breed is high-priced, extra large body-on-frame SUVs.

The Land Cruiser has been around for seven full decades, starting in 1951 as Toyota’s version of a Jeep-style, off-road vehicle. Over the years it has retained that off-road ability while evolving into perhaps the classiest vehicle offered by Toyota.

What’s unique about the Land Cruiser is Toyota finds itself competing against both non-luxury vehicles (Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Nissan Armada, and Toyota’s own Sequoia), as well as luxury vehicles such as the Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80 and Cadillac Escalade.

After some time spent behind the wheel of a 2020 Land Cruiser (which is essentially identical to the 2021 version), I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser  
  • Price as tested $89,239 (starts at $85,415)  
  • Best feature Off-road prowess, high-end and spacious interior  
  • Rating 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Those seeking an exclusive off-road ready SUV and are willing to pay a premium  
Posted On Sunday, 20 December 2020 04:57 Written by
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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.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2021 Mazda CX-5
  • Price as tested $39,225 (starts around $26K)
  • Best feature Sporty ride, sharp design, safety features
  • Rating 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle? SUV drivers looking for a classy, sporty ride aimed at those who love to drive
Posted On Sunday, 13 December 2020 05:19 Written by
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If you want to get people’s attention in the automotive world, there’s a couple routes you can take. You can aim at putting out the best product that outshines what is currently on the market. Or you can aim for a more affordable product to draw in car buyers looking to save.

Rarely are both achievable at the same time, but Lexus has come close to achieving that rare feat with its 2020 Lexus UX 250h, a hybrid SUV which delivers best-in-class fuel mileage and offers a beautifully designed vehicle inside and out.

LOOKS

Lexus’ UX, a subcompact SUV, slots in just below the Lexus NX in the automaker’s SUV lineup. It’s also one of the few vehicles in this class to offer a hybrid variant, giving it a leg up on the competition.

The exterior design features the usual sharp Lexus look, with a bold-looking grille and smooth angles and curves. Go inside the UX, and you'll find a luxurious look and feel, and some of the most comfortable seats in the business.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2020 Lexus UX 250h 
  • Price as tested $43,625 (Starts around $35K) 
  • Best feature Fuel mileage, attractive exterior design, luxurious interior
  • Rating 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle? Hybrid buyers who want a smaller, more affordable luxury model
Posted On Sunday, 15 November 2020 23:55 Written by
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With a multi-year run as one of the best-selling SUVs, it would have been tempting for Toyota to not tinker with the RAV4 lineup. But with competitors always stepping up their game, so must Toyota.

One new angle they introduced for the 2020 model year is the TRD Off-Road trim level. At first it’s a shock to hear the words “TRD” and “Off-Road” associated with the traditionally more mundane SUV segment, but it’s a wise move by Toyota to grow the vehicle’s brand with a new option aimed at more adventurous types.

I recently spent some time in a 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road, and I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road   
  • Price as tested $41,418 (TRD Off Road starts at $36K; base RAV4 starts at $26K)
  • Best feature Off-road friendly features, Toyota reliability and safety features  
  • Rating 3.5 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Toyota fans who want an SUV with basic off-road abilities
Posted On Sunday, 15 November 2020 04:04 Written by
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Too often drivers must choose between having a reliable, family-oriented vehicle, and having a car they can enjoy driving. This is especially the case with SUVs of the three-row variety.

Thankfully, the Mazda CX-9 does not fit that mold, as you can actually fulfill both desires. I recently tested the 2021 Mazda CX-9, which receives some upgrades in its design and technology setup, and I’m back with a full report.

LOOKS

The exterior design of the CX-9 remains sharp on the 2021 model, with a familiar overhang in the front that distinguishes Mazda, and an overall svelte shape for a three-row SUV. 

The vehicle I tested featured a Soul Red Crystal metallic paint job, a very sharp-looking red color associated with Mazda that lets you instantly identify the vehicle.

Mazda continues to be one of the very best of the nonluxury brands in terms of overall interior quality. The look and feel of all the materials used in the CX-9 is near-luxury level. My test vehicle featured seating for six passengers, 2 in each row, but there are versions with a bench seat in
the middle that will seat 7 people.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2021 Mazda CX-9  
  • Price as tested $48,300 (starts at $34K)   
  • Best feature A truly fun-to-drive SUV; attractive design, near-luxury level interior   
  • Rating 4.5 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? Families looking for style and a smooth yet powerful 3-row SUV
Posted On Sunday, 25 October 2020 07:19 Written by
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