Wednesday, 06 December 2023
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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 00:34 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 Wednesday, 23 March 2022 22:23 Written by
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Hyundai’s been on a roll lately with some strong additions to its SUV lineup, and now they have turned their eyes to their existing SUVs that were due for a refresh to match their modernized design standards.

Among the latest vehicles to get a brand new look is the compact Hyundai Tucson SUV, and as an added bonus a sharp new trim level has been added called the N Line.

Competing in a segment packed with strong vehicles, from Ford’s Bronco Sport to Asian rivals Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4, Hyundai has to come out strong to compete in this popular class of SUVs.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 Tucson N Line model, and I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 Hyundai Tucson
  • Price as tested $33,670 (Starts at $25,500)
  • Best feature Bold redesign, tech and safety features
  • Rating 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle? SUV buyers looking for a fully updated, high-tech vehicle with a sharp look
Posted On Thursday, 17 March 2022 01:46 Written by
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As the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote many moons ago, the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. Which is why it’s always good to have a strong backup plan in place. 

In the case of the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck, a fully refreshed model had been teased for release early in 2022 — featuring exterior and interior styling upgrades, updated infotainment system, among other changes. 

But due to production delays caused by ongoing supply chain issues, the arrival of these new Sierras has been delayed until later in 2022. So Plan B — continuing to offer a GMC Sierra 1500 Limited model carried over from the 2021 version — has become the reality for the short-term.

I recently drove the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited, specifically one equipped with the AT4 off-road package, and I’m back with a full report on what it offers to buyers who aren’t willing to wait for the new version of the Sierra. 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited AT4
  • Price as tested $64,715 (Price starts around $33K) 
  • Best feature Ability to perform well both on-road and off-road
  • Rating 4 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle? Buyers who want a strong truck now and can’t wait for the fully updated 2022 Sierra to be available
Posted On Wednesday, 09 March 2022 03:10 Written by
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Among automakers, it’s a bit of a race right now to see who can be the one to adapt to the electric vehicle future better than the rest.

Ford is starting to step up in this fight, as it recently announced that it will invest $22 billion in electric vehicles (and $7 billion in autonomous vehicles) through 2025. And it’s already selling new EV offerings such as the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning.

One step short of a full EV is a plug-in hybrid (or PHEV), and I recently had the chance to test a Ford offering in this realm: The Ford Escape PHEV. This type of vehicle is a good step for people who aren’t quite ready to rely on a fully electric vehicle, but want something other than a traditional ICE ride — either for environmental reasons, or just to get a break from the yo-yo gas prices we so often see.

I tested a 2021 Escape PHEV, but it carries over to the 2022 model year pretty much as-is, other than some new paint options.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle Ford Escape PHEV (plug-in hybrid) 
  • Price as tested $40,130 (starts around $34,000) 
  • Best feature Fuel economy, green credentials; smooth ride, sharp design    
  • Rating 4 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle? SUV buyers looking for a well-designed and comfortable ride that will keep them away from the gas pumps
Posted On Wednesday, 02 March 2022 02:21 Written by
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