Friday, 19 April 2024
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt M. Myftiu

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

For the past several years, I’ve called the Genesis an upstart in the luxury vehicle category, as they continued to drop solid vehicle after solid vehicle to take on the luxury mainstays who had long dominated their segment.

At this point, I’m dropping the upstart label, and instead just telling it like it is — the Genesis brand is one of the best options in the luxury market right now, period, and will continue to be so for a long time.

The latest Genesis vehicle I had a chance to experience is the GV70, a powerful and sporty compact SUV that comes in both gas and EV versions (I tested the gas-powered GV70).

The GV70 has been a strong competitor in the segment since debuting in 2022, shining straight out of the gate; and it hasn’t lost its luster despite tough competition growing every year in the sector.

Specifically, I drove the 2024 GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige, a trimmed-out version at the top of the GV70’s lineup that delivers bold looks, lots of power and cutting-edge technology.

The GV70 has some tough competition — including Mercedes-Benz GLC, Acura RDX, Jaguar F-PACE, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Audi Q5, Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60 — so it’s got to come strong if it’s going to attract buyers.

The 2024 model year mostly carries over from the previous year’s GV70, but there are upgrades to the wheels and brakes, some upgraded safety features, and additional creature comforts on some models such as ventilated front seats. 

Read on for my take on the GV70 and how it holds up in the cut-throat world of luxury SUVs.

 

It’s an interesting time for the world of electric vehicles.

Story after story talks about how the EV revolution is falling short and demand isn’t living up to expectations.

But don’t tell that to Hyundai, who are rising to become perhaps the biggest star in the EV field behind Tesla, which had a bit of a head start on the legacy automakers.

The Ioniq 6 is one of Hyundai’s stronger EV offerings, and is the sedan version of their Ioniq 5 crossover. Its most direct competitor is the Tesla Model 3, but it is also high-end enough to take on upscale vehicles like the BMW i4 and the Polestar 2.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of an Ioniq 6, and I’m back with a full report on how it measures up in today’s EV landscape.

 

 

With SUVs being the go-to for most car buyers these days, a brand has to have every angle covered in their SUV lineup.

This remains true in the luxury space, and Lexus decided to fill out its lineup for the 2024 model year with a brand new offering — the Lexus TX.

One way to think of the TX, a three-row model, is that it's the luxury version of the similarly sized but less upscale Toyota Grand Highlander SUV.

Another way is to think of it as one step up from the long-popular Lexus RX, but using a crossover design instead of the large, truck-based GX and LX models — which are built less for comfort and more for utility and towing ability.

Any way you describe it, one thing’s for sure: This is a large, roomy, classy, tech-savvy three-row SUV option that will be appreciated by any families that decide to take one home.

Competition is fierce, with strong three-row crossovers available from Audi, Acura, LIncoln, Volvo and other luxury leaders, but it definitely holds its own even as a first-year model.

Multiple versions of the TX are offered, including a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. and I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2024 Lexus TX 500h F Sport.

The compact car segment continues to be a shrinking one, so it’s curious to watch the remaining competitors and see how they are adapting to remain competitive.

One brand that has remained steady in the segment is Mazda, which has offered its compact Mazda3 option for more than 20 years.

This fun little ride comes in both sedan and hatchback versions for 2024.

I tested the 2024 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Hatchback with all-wheel drive, and it is one of the most enjoyable options in the segment in terms of pure drive quality. It also offers a surprisingly upscale interior design that will make you question whether it’s competing with non-luxury compacts, or with more upscale luxury models.

One thing’s for sure: You won’t confuse the Mazda3 with a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, as it looks and drives like nothing else on the road.

Read on for a full report on how the 2024 Mazda3 holds up in the compact car segment.

In the compact crossover category, Mazda decided back in 2023 they liked it so much, they’d enter it twice.

On top of their long-running success with the CX-5 crossover, they launched the CX-50 model, which features new design language and offers a more rugged look and better off-road credentials than the CX-5 — while maintaining Mazda’s reputation as a brand for drivers who like some power and agility in their SUV.

After a successful launch, the CX-50 is back in 2024 with minimal changes, and still sits in showrooms alongside the CX-5.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2024 Mazda CX-50 (Meridian trim), which delivers impressive performance from its turbo engine and sharp design quality. Read on to hear about how well it holds up in the extremely competitive compact SUV segment.

As we mark International Women’s Day this year on March 8, the theme for the 2024 global celebration is “Invest in Women; Accelerate Progress”. This theme represents the importance of companies shifting to a greener economic approach, while also recognizing that it’s critical to amplify the voices of women in these discussions.  

One woman who is very familiar with these themes is Carole Neyrinck, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for ARaymond, a global supplier of fastening systems for the automotive, energy, construction, agriculture, and healthcare industries. 

ARaymond is based in France but has a U.S. headquarters in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and a presence throughout the globe in more than two dozen countries. 

In this Q&A, Neyrinck shares her thoughts on her journey to her current leadership role at ARaymond, the overall state of women in the STEM industries, as well as how representation can be improved going forward:

Q: Tell us about your career journey, and how you got involved in sustainable development.

A: I spent three decades working as a biochemist engineer, after earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in this area. After a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, I joined ARaymond in my role as CSR manager starting in 2019. My job was always challenging, but I was able to raise my three children while working in production workshops and then implementing information systems. Soon after joining ARaymond to lead CSR, I began to focus on environmental goals, bringing clarity and structure in the approach so that the company acts in coordination for all projects in all departments. We work to limit our contributions to climate change, and with our partners to support them do the same. Some of them tried to push back, but I was strong and assertive, and trusted and encouraged by my management. I constantly develop my knowledge and skills, always learning and exploring new territories.

Q: Why is it important for companies to develop policies that recognize the impact of climate change?

A: When you think about climate change and the need to decarbonize, all companies are affected. We work to limit our contributions to climate change, and with our suppliers to help them do the same. Taking care of the environment consistently has become an increasingly strong emphasis each year, as it’s no longer an option to ignore it.

Q: As we mark International Women’s Day, how has being a woman impacted you in your career?

A:  I’m thankful that I was raised in a family with a mother who was very attentive to being independent, and not relying on anyone for your living condition. Having that as my background, I didn’t really feel different from a man in terms of my skills and competencies. I was raised with principles of equity and equality.

When I started working, in the team of my peers, I was the only woman. And my direct reports were only men. I was very young, only 25, and the men were sometimes 50 years old. Some of them tried to push back, but I was strong and assertive, and skilled and competent. For me, if you are competent and skilled, you will be recognized. I always tried to be as competent as possible, always learning. And now I’ve passed these important lessons from my mother onto my own children.

Q: What barriers or obstacles do women face in advancing their careers within the CSR field, and how can these challenges be addressed?

A: For women in industries where they are underrepresented, it's all about being confident in yourself. I’ve rarely felt differences between men and women in work, and in those rare cases, I would always stand up for myself when I felt disrespected. In those few instances, I would not let this pass, and was straightforward to tell the person not to do it again.

In terms of career advancement, mentoring is a key element that can help women advance in their careers, and can help build on the core skills you bring into a job. You must always be learning, and have programs in place to support that learning.

Having supportive bosses and mentoring programs — like I do in my current role at ARaymond — has been a key element of my ability to grow throughout my career, and I make sure we continue to offer that mentoring to young men and women today. A supportive male boss can help usher in a generation of confident new leaders that’s a strong mix of men and women. And in CSR, the number of women taking on key roles is quite encouraging.

A combination of solid roots, strong skills development and being in a group that empowers you will lead to the amplification of women’s voices in key roles both on the factory floor and in the boardroom.

Q: How important is it for companies in all industries to embrace CSR goals; and how important is it for women to have key roles in that implementation?

A: CSR goals are essential because the world is becoming more disrupted and complex, and our global success relies on diverse collaboration. We must anticipate risks and see opportunities to get better prepared, so we’ll be better positioned for sustainability. We recently joined a pact of 150 business leaders in France to commit to decarbonization, and our efforts in automotive, energy, construction, agriculture, and construction are all moving in an eco-friendly direction.

Women must be included in the conversations about this critical decarbonization planning. By nature, women are more focused on taking care of something for the long-term. Women are a key asset for CSR, and men are also needed there — a diversity of opinions is the key. Beyond gender diversity, we also need a mix of ages and cultures offering their input.

Q: As a female in a leadership role, what are the key changes you aspire to see for future generations? How can we attract more women to engineering and other STEM fields?

A: I see the role of the engineer developing to be more about the capacity to develop solutions that contribute to the common good, and not simply fulfilling customer expectation.

There is a role for women to play in that. Engineers need to develop solutions with a systemic approach, and consider the social implications of these solutions and how to make a positive contribution to the environment. The role of engineer is changing, and is more than just technical. People who can embrace this approach will succeed, including women from the current and future generations.

As people continue to flock to smaller SUVs and crossovers, refreshes continue to come to vehicles in this segment to maximize their appeal.

For Hyundai, that means a new version of the 2024 Kona has hit the showrooms, launching the second generation of this subcompact SUV.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2024 Hyundai Kona N Line, which offers a bold update on a strong competitor in this class that definitely makes it stand out. Upgrades were made inside and out, and the difference is very clear. 

It’s one of the better redesigns I have seen in a long time, but it still faces a lot of tough competition in the segment. Read on to see how it competes against other strong mini-ute competitors — including Chevy Trax, Mazda CX-30, Volkswagen Taos, Honda HR-V and more.

For families shopping for an SUV that will serve their needs, the Toyota Highlander has long been on the list of vehicles to consider, in part because it can hold up to 8 passengers and lots of cargo.

This three-row midsize SUV isn’t the class-leader in all areas (some rivals are more luxurious, and have more third-row space, for example), but collectively it delivers an excellent experience that has led to it being a top seller in the segment for many years.

A full redesign of the Highlander hasn’t happened since 2020, but there was a change in the engine offerings starting with the 2023 model, which carried over to 2024. The new engine is a turbo 4-cylinder instead of the V6 offering that had been offered prior. And the new Highlander features an updated tech system that delivers an excellent user experience.

There are a ton of major vehicles in this segment — including Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and more. Read on to see how the Highlander holds up in this very popular and competitive category of three-row family haulers.

The Genesis brand, which has made major moves in the luxury car world for the past half-decade or so, is making a heavy move toward EVs.

They see the future is electric, and already offer multiple EV options, both on the SUV and sedan side of the business.

When it comes to the Genesis sedan lineup, the vehicle that began this transition is the midsize G80 sedan. Genesis first launched an Electrified G80 variant for the 2023 model, which carries over to 2024. What’s interesting about this particular model is there isn’t some radical new design offered, instead they are keeping the standard G80’s looks essentially intact, and swapping in electric power. 

Read on for a breakdown of how well the Electrified G80 holds up in the growing luxury EV market.

When exploring the luxury car realm, the word hybrid is usually paired up with the adjective “plug-in”, as so many luxury brands focus on getting their brand to the next level with EVs, or the plug-in hybrid offerings which are a bridge to EVs.

But bucking that trend is the Lexus ES 300h, a midsize hybrid sedan with no plugging in required. As the automotive world rethinks requiring a plug for all green vehicles, the hybrid concept launched en masse years ago with the Toyota Prius continues to live on in models like the ES 300h.

I recently spent some time in a Lexus ES 300h F Sport. (Note: The F Sport model debuted in 2023 and carries over unchanged for 2024.)

Read on for a full report on how the ES hybrid holds up against rival luxury offerings — sacrificing some sportiness but delivering a whole lot of comfort and class.

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