Displaying items by tag: SUV

Versus the competition: There are more exciting competitors, better performing ones, some with nicer interiors, those with better ergonomics and ones with better multimedia systems — but the Corolla Cross’ combination of basic safety, value pricing and reputation for reliability will immediately make it a strong contender.

Until now, if you wanted a small SUV and you went to your local Toyota showroom, your choices were twofold: the RAV4 compact, which has grown to nearly mid-size proportions over the years, or the cramped and quirky C-HR, which features neither significant room inside nor optional all-wheel drive. Nothing hit that “sweet spot” between the two, nothing sized “just right” for people on a budget who still wanted the high seating, additional cargo space and all-weather capability of an SUV.

Well, Toyota has rectified that gap in its lineup with this, the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. It uses the Corolla name because it uses a lot of Corolla parts: It sits on the same platform as the compact sedan, uses the same engine and transmission, and shares a lot of common interior bits. And while it’s easy to take shots at the Corolla sedan (its reputation is not one of excitement), that car is known instead as a safe, steady, reliable choice. Owning one won’t light your heart on fire, but it may set your mind at ease knowing that your car is very unlikely to ever let you down, drain your wallet or leave you stranded. Toyota is hoping that this same sentiment will transfer over to this new subcompact SUV — and there’s every reason to think that they’re right.

It’s Certainly Toyota-Shaped

From the outside, it’s not difficult to imagine the new Corolla Cross fitting into the Toyota lineup. The family resemblance is strong, with a front and rear end that look like a three-quarter-scale Highlander right down to the horseshoe grille and separated horizontal taillights. The only distinctive feature might be the more sculpted fenders along the sides, but Toyota’s efforts to make the Corolla Cross more mainstream-appealing than the quirky C-HR are clearly the styling priority. A high point: LED headlights are standard across the range of trim levels, something that’s starting to become more common. Overall, however, the styling previews the experience you’re going to have with a Corolla Cross: It’s safe and anonymous, none too exciting but pleasant enough.

Stepping into the Corolla Cross’ cabin puts you in an immediately familiar environment — the Corolla compact is the bestselling vehicle in the world, with Toyota announcing recently that 50 million of them have been sold over the decades. So the look of the dash, gauges, controls, electronics — all of the bits and pieces of the Corolla Cross — look similar to the successful design of the Corolla. Again, Toyota’s not breaking any new ground with this interior, but it’s not trying to, either — it’s trying to build on the successful formula that’s made the Corolla a global hit. It’s easy to look at, relatively simple to use and uncomplicated in what it provides.

The seats are comfortable front and rear, and there’s sufficient legroom in any position for four people, though five might be tight with three across in the backseat. There’s plenty of headroom for all occupants even with an optional moonroof, and outward visibility is top-notch, with no significant blind spots. It feels like sitting in a new Corolla sedan, only taller, with a more upright seating position and a better view over surrounding traffic. That boost in interior volume is notable, creating something more than simply a Corolla wagon — the cargo space is significantly more usable than a C-HR’s, and every Corolla Cross comes with a standard 60/40-split, folding backseat to boost capacity even more when necessary. Given the popularity of SUVs versus their mainstream sedan counterparts these days, it’s not hard to imagine the Corolla Cross becoming a more popular variant than the sedan or hatchback with the boost to user-friendly passenger and cargo flexibility.

The standard gauges are analog dials with a small digital display, or you can spec a larger digital display in the XLE trim that looks snazzy if a bit busy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but you’ll have to plug your phone in — despite the top XLE getting Qi wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available on any trim.

 

Definitely Not Built to Thrill

Toyota’s marketing strategy for the Corolla Cross portrays it as “just right,” with just the right amount of space, comfort, tech and efficiency. It’s hard to argue that point; it does have plenty of all the above. What it doesn’t offer the right amount of is grunt: Using the powertrain from the Corolla sedan, the Corolla Cross comes saddled with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder non-turbocharged engine making a tepid 169 horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that features an actual 1st gear before the pulleys take over, but it doesn’t help much. The transmission does an admirable job of keeping the engine in its power band, it’s just that there isn’t much power there to be had.

Simply put, acceleration is dog slow. Foot to the floor at a stoplight with just one person in the car elicits more noise than movement, and the Corolla Cross’ performance on the highway on-ramps and steeper hills around Austin, Texas, proved that it truly could use either a turbocharger to wring some more useful low-end torque out of the engine or a larger engine entirely. The Corolla Cross comes with a 1,500-pound tow rating, but I can’t imagine towing anything with this — even the idea of putting five people and luggage in the thing would make me question the safety of its underpowered engine.

toyota-corolla-cross-xle-2022-08-angle-exterior-gray-rear2022 Toyota 

Thankfully, the rest of the Corolla Cross’ dynamic behavior makes up somewhat for that lack of guts. Handling is neutral, the ride is well damped for a vehicle with such a short wheelbase, and body motions are controlled and taut. The brakes are strong, firm and confidence-inspiring, and while there is a bit of road noise depending on pavement conditions, the overall experience is one of a calm and quiet cruiser. How well the Corolla Cross works with a full load of occupants and gear onboard, however, remains to be seen.

Add Price to the List of “Pros”

So the latest crossover from Toyota is nicely sized, handles well, is comfortable and features a good deal of standard safety equipment. It might not be able to get out of its own way if you give it some gas, and we’ve yet to see how a full load of people affects its drivability. It can be accused of being underpowered, but it won’t be accused of being overpriced. The new 2022 Corolla Cross FWD starts at $23,410 (all prices include destination) for an entry-level L trim, climbs to $25,760 for an LE and $27,540 for a top XLE trim. Adding AWD will tack on another $1,300 regardless of trim level. A fully loaded XLE AWD won’t top $30,000, making it quite a nice package given its considerable equipment.

It stacks up well against a number of competitors, too, being larger than a Honda HR-V, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona. A Chevrolet Trailblazer would be an excellent choice to stack up against the Corolla Cross, featuring a choice of turbocharged engines, more engaging handling and a very similar pricing structure. There’s no shortage of small SUVs in the $20,000 range for the Toyota Corolla Cross to go up against, but it would seem that Toyota has done its homework in crafting something that’s likely to steal some sales from all of them.

(cars.com)

Published in Toyota

Today, the Romanian brand unveiled its brand new model called the Jogger. It is a family car of the C-segment, which is a mix of SUV and station wagon. It is also the longest Dacia, and can accommodate seven passengers. It has been announced that it will cost less than 15,000 euros.


After the electric electric model Spring, then the popular hatchback Sandero, the Logan sedan and the Duster SUV, Dacia has now decided to offer a seven-seater to the market. Jogger is practically the successor of the MPV model Lodgy, and is created on Renault's CMF-B platform (Renault Clio, Captur, Nissan Juke…)
According to the company, the Jogger has the length of a caravan, the spaciousness of an MPV and the robust look of an SUV.


Upon appearance, it will be offered with a TCe 110 petrol engine (3 cylinders, 1.0 l, 190 Nm) paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, as well as an ECO-G 100 engine that has factory-installed auto-gas.

And, in two years, the first hybrid of the Romanian brand will arrive, which they say will be the cheapest seven-seater with a hybrid drive on the market. It will use a 1.6-liter gasoline engine in combination with two electric motors.


The Jogger is 4.5 meters long and is currently the longest Dacia on offer, and has as much as 2.9 meters of wheelbase, which clearly shows how much space there is in the cabin.


The front received LED lights in Y shape known from other new models from Romania, while from the side it is clear that it is a robust model, so it has protective plastics on the edges around the wheels, while the distance from the ground is as much as 200 mm.


At the rear are upright lights, which visually add to the width of the vehicle. The luggage space can vary depending on the configuration, so when 5 seats are used, the capacity is 708 liters, and with 7 it is 160 liters. The largest trunk volume is 1,819 liters.

The cabin is modern and practical, already known from other new Dacia models, so there are soft materials on the dashboard and doors, at the top of the console is a multimedia system, and below are the air conditioning controls. The cabin has a total volume of 24 liters in storage for small items.


The jogger also comes with an automatic braking system, offers blind spot warning, parking assistant, uphill assistance, etc.

Published in World car Blog
Tagged under
Thursday, 02 September 2021 07:26

2022 Porsche Macan Does More with Less

Even in its base four-cylinder form, Porsche's updated compact SUV is a joy to drive.

There is plenty to love about the starter Macan, and we're not alone in thinking so. Most Macans you'll see on the road will be this four-cylinder model. Porsche says the proportion of customers choosing the base model over the more powerful S and GTS (and previous Turbo) has been about 60 percent, and the automaker expects that trend to continue. While the performance models offer more power, plus a few cosmetic changes not available on the base version, you'll get the same wide-hipped, athletic stance no matter which Macan you pick—and if our parking-lot admirer was any indication, all of them are head turners.

It impresses on the road too. Backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and standard all-wheel drive, the entry-level turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 261 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, increases of 13 horses and 22 lb-ft over the 2021 model. Porsche made a lot of engine changes to free up those ponies. The new mill is fed air by a larger turbo and a redesigned intake designed to diminish turbo lag. It also has a higher-pressure fuel-injection setup, a new timing chain, and different pistons and rings. Reduced internal engine friction may not be your usual topic of conversation with the other parents in the school parking lot, but now it could be. Leave the bragging about acceleration times to the folks with the V-6 models, though. Even with its baker's dozen of extra horses, the four-cylinder Macan should reach 60 mph in a relatively tame 5.5 seconds, and that's with the optional performance boost of launch control from the $1220 Sport Chrono package. That was about the only option our test car didn't have, so we avoided late-night street races in favor of sunrise in the hills above Malibu, California. It may not be a straight-line rocket, but the Macan is delightful when lines on the map get squiggly.

2022 porsche macan base
On the two-page options list for our example, one item we would spring for is the adaptive air springs, a $2750 add-on that includes Porsche's PASM adaptive dampers. Various suspension and drive modes are expected in many vehicles these days, yet often they don't seem to do much other than satisfy a desire to click buttons. But the Macan's settings result in noticeable changes to its character on the road. The standard damper setting is soft enough to allow some wallowing around turns and absorb every bump like ciabatta soaking up olive oil. Click over to Sport Plus, and the Macan straightens up like a slouching schoolboy whacked with a nun's ruler. Now it's paying close attention, and all the sponginess is gone. Rough spots of pavement make their way through the steering wheel with soft thumps, enough to communicate a sense of the road but nothing that would turn your cream to butter on the way home from the grocery store. A lot of cars claim to deliver both comfort and handling. The Macan makes good on that promise, and it comes to a stop with the same smooth confidence with which it turns. The base model features conventional cast-iron rotors clamped by four-piston calipers in front and single-piston floaters at the rear, but the S model's upgraded tungsten-carbide-coated brakes are an option for those who are fond of white calipers and minimal brake dust.
 
2022 porsche macan base
Inside the cabin, away from dust of any kind, the Macan employs Porsche's minimalist interior decor with mixed results. What works in the smaller cockpit of a 911 feels sparse in the larger space of an SUV. Even with $3880 worth of extra red and black leather on the doors and dash, the interior feels underdone, with an odd jumble of touch-sensitive controls on the console and a slimmed-down but somewhat old-fashioned shifter jutting up by the cupholder. The gauges and infotainment screen were similarly split in design focus. The gauge cluster, with its sweeping physical needles, was refreshing, but the 10.9-inch center touchscreen was so small that Apple CarPlay may show up larger on your iPhone. And Android Auto? Still not supported. Storage compartments, usually the shining glory of an SUV, are as scaled down as the center display.

The Macan's back seats provide ample legroom, but the gently sloping roofline limits headroom. This also necessitates a deeper reach to help small children in and out of the back, but the seats themselves—heated on our car, via the $2240 Premium package—are comfortable and feature a fold-down armrest, cupholders, and USB ports. While the tallest adults might not want to spend much time back there, most family-oriented buyers should be adequately pleased. As expected from a compact crossover, the Macan's 17-cubic-foot cargo area isn't move-a-couch large, but who wants to move a couch? Groceries, coolers, suitcases, pool floaties—the Macan can easily carry any combination of them, and it offers several handy tie-downs and an underfloor storage compartment.

2022 porsche macan base
While many SUVs are seemingly designed more for comfort and utility than driver entertainment, the Porsche Macan is still all about the view out the windshield, whether that's on an early-morning run up a winding road or a nimble dance through the moving chicanes of a strip-mall parking lot. Even in its most rudimentary form, Porsche's compact crossover is an enthusiastic partner through all the unexpected twists of a day on the go. Let buyers of other more capacious SUVs lumber through town in their big seats, staring at their expansive infotainment screens, sucking down to-go drinks from cupholders large enough to house a koi pond. We're going to weave through them until the scenery is open road. The base Macan proves that you don't need to have the most horsepower to have a great drive.
 
(caranddriver.com)
Published in Porsche
Tagged under
Monday, 30 August 2021 07:59

Range Rover Sport PHEV SUV review

“The Range Rover Sport PHEV could prove to be far cheaper to run than other models in the range, and it’s more luxurious, too”

 
 

Pros

  • 31-mile electric range
  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Reduced practicality
  • Thirsty once batteries run out
  • Less suited to high-mileage drivers

The Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid arrived as part of a range update, and brought with it an option in the luxury SUV’s range that will be of great interest to company car drivers. Tax rates and running costs will be significantly lower than for other versions of this big, heavy car, yet it offers an impressive level of comfort and luxury.

There are plenty of alternatives, including the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, Audi Q7 e-tron, BMW X5 xDrive40e and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid. The Range Rover Sport has only around 26 miles of all-electric range, so it falls behind some of these rivals when it comes to commuting on battery power alone.

The Sport features a 297bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 114bhp electric motor, so it can go from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds. It’s not just about the power, though, because the electric motor means low-speed driving is as quiet as it gets. Of course, this being a Range Rover the electric motor’s instant torque means it’s a superb off-roader as well – although most owners never go near so much as a muddy field.

The interior is as luxurious as you would expect given the brand’s credentials. Materials are high quality and there’s plenty of tech, including a dual-screen infotainment system with all the modern features you need. One area the PHEV model does lose out is with boot space, because of the space taken up by the hybrid batteries. There’s no seven-seat option here, either, and the plug-in model’s maximum towing weight is lower than for other versions.

From the outside, you might not think you are even looking at an electrified car. The only clues lie in the charging port on the front – and even this is hidden away most of the time – and the badges.

The Range Rover plug-in makes the most sense for those who don’t tend to do a lot of long trips but can’t quite make the jump to a fully electric car just yet. Yet the Range Rover Sport P400e is possibly the most luxurious model in the range to drive, because of the near-silent low-speed running when the engine is off. We’d still stick with a diesel model if you do a lot of motorway trips, though.

MPG, running costs & CO2

 If you regularly cover short distances, the Range Rover Sport P400e makes a lot of sense

The Range Rover Sport P400e might have a relatively thirsty 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but combining this with an electric motor and battery pack means running costs can be significantly reduced. As with all plug-in hybrids, this benefit diminishes the further you drive – and if you don’t have access to a charging point – so the P400e is best suited to motorists with a fairly short commute who can top up the batteries frequently.

Thanks to the 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Range Rover Sport can travel for up to 26 miles on electricity alone, boosting its official fuel economy figure to 88mpg – a huge improvement over the 27.4mpg of the equivalent petrol-only model. While this figure will obviously depend on how you drive the P400e, its 72g/km CO2 emissions figure is fixed, which means this is by far the cheapest Range Rover Sport for company car drivers. Its 18 per cent Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band compares with 37 per cent for the standard Si4 petrol.

 Compared with its closest rivals, the P400e betters the 25-mile range and 75g/km CO2 emissions of the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, while the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine manages just 59g/km of CO2 and 134.5mpg, and has a slightly lower, 25-mile range on battery power.

Road tax for the P400e costs the discounted VED (road tax) rate each year. However, there’s also the additional surcharge in years two to six owing to the fact the hybrid costs more than £40,000 to buy.

Charging the P400e at home takes around 7.5 hours using the standard 10-amp cable, but this can be sped up to under three hours using rapid charging with a dedicated wall box and 32-amp cable. The charging port is located in the front grille, making it easier to park facing public charging posts.

Engines, drive & performance

 The P400e is no slouch, but it’s less fun to drive when the batteries are depleted

The Range Rover Sport’s P400e badge signifies its power level, because its turbocharged 297bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor combined produce up to 399bhp. This PHEV certainly isn’t short of power, then, sprinting from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds, before hitting a maximum speed of 137mph. This is only four-tenths faster than the petrol model, but the P400e feels very different to drive, especially in town. Here, electric power allows the Sport to accelerate briskly from a standstill with little fuss or noise – attributes that suit its character. It's just a shame the P400e can hesitate when asked to accelerate from a rolling start at a junction or roundabout – a frustrating sensation.

 
Back on the road, it’s when the battery pack is depleted that the Sport P400e makes least sense. With a small engine and more weight to lug around, it needs working fairly hard and emits a vocal whine that’s at odds with the Range Rover’s luxurious character.

Tackle a winding road and the P400e does a better job of disguising its weight, serving up impressive agility and grip for a big SUV. It’s sharper than the XC90 that majors on comfort, while being slightly less driver focused than the Cayenne.

Interior & comfort

 The Sport is just as luxurious as ever, but now has more up-to-date technology

Inside, the Range Rover Sport is just as luxurious as ever, with swathes of leather covering virtually every surface and metal trim that’s cool to the touch. The PHEV features the brand’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, with two 10-inch displays stacked on top of each other. These are crystal clear and look great, with the top display taking care of sat-nav and media, while the bottom screen is used for vehicle settings. It largely works well, but smartphone integration still lags behind rivals such as the Audi Q7 – and it's a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

There are plenty of places to charge your smart devices, with up to 12 power points dotted around the interior, as well as two traditional power sockets to charge laptops and other devices that need more juice than a USB port can provide. You can essentially turn the Sport into an office away from home – or family entertainment centre – at the drop of a hat. The introduction of the Activity Key from the Jaguar F-Pace means you can also take a waterproof wristband on your outdoor adventures instead of the key and use it to unlock the car when you get back.

Practicality & boot space

 The battery pack reduces load space and towing ability slightly, but they’re still beyond what most families will need

It has a lower roofline and sleeker shape than the standard Range Rover, or a Volvo XC90 for that matter, but the Range Rover Sport is still a large SUV. It can carry five adults in comfort, with well shaped leather seats providing plenty of support.

 
However, there have been some compromises in practicality in order to fit the battery pack and electric motor. In the standard Sport, there’s up to 780 litre of luggage space, but this is reduced by up to 79 litres in the P400e, while the boot floor is also raised up by 46mm. Perhaps more significantly for families, there’s also no longer the option of the 5+2 seating layout that makes the Sport an occasional seven-seater, because there’s no room to stow the third row in the boot.
 
Towing has been made simpler, thanks to Advanced Tow Assist, a driving aid that allows you to guide a trailer into place using the reversing camera and turning the rotary controller to steer its path. The on-board computer then automatically works out the correct steering inputs required. It’s worth noting that the P400e can tow between 500-1,000kg less than other Sports, but its maximum trailer weight of 2,500kg is still more than enough to pull a large caravan.

Reliability & safety

 Land Rover doesn’t have the best reliability record, but the Sport is loaded with safety equipment

Land Rover doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability, and in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey it finished in 22nd place – although that’s actually an improvement over previous years.

While the Range Rover Sport hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, safety should be less of a worry. Both the fully fledged Range Rover and the Range Rover Velar managed a five-star result, so there’s little reason to think the Sport would do worse. It shares most of those models’ safety kit after all, including features such as autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and electronics designed to help prevent rollover accidents.

Price, value for money & options

 For the right type of driver, the Sport PHEV could bring real cost benefits

Depending on its specification, the 400bhp plug-in hybrid P400e costs around £4,000 more than a Range Rover Sport fitted with a 300bhp V6 diesel engine. Some will consider this a bargain, especially company car drivers considering the potential tax savings – although we’re talking about a car costing well over £70,000 here, so it’s all relative.

However, the savings only really make sense if you plan on driving on electric power a large proportion of the time. If you often drive more than 30 miles a day, or on long trips, a diesel will probably make more sense.

(https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/)

Published in Land Rover

Nearly as large as the compact Tiguan, the Taos is an attractive new entry point for VW's crossover lineup.

 

The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the product of a familiar pattern in the car business. As a particular vehicle segment grows in popularity (in this case, crossovers), manufacturers tend to enlarge and differentiate their entries to make room for new models that fill the newly created gaps in their lineup. With VW's range of SUVs in the United States swelling to include the compact Tiguan, mid-size Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, and the electric ID.4 (sort of an SUV, we guess), a vacancy opened up in the increasingly popular subcompact space, among the likes of the Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos, and Subaru Crosstrek. It also helps that VW won't be offering Americans a regular TSI version of its latest Golf hatchback, which we're still sore about. At least the Taos is a compelling little crossover on most fronts.

2022 volkswagen taos sel rear
 

"Little" is sort of misleading, though, as the Taos is one of the larger players in its class. Its MQB-based architecture rests atop a wheelbase of either 105.6 inches for the all-wheel-drive variant or 105.9 inches for the front-driver. It has a huge back seat for a subcompact SUV, and its capacious and easily accessible cargo hold can swallow 25 cubic feet of stuff behind the rear seats (28 cubes if you forgo all-wheel drive). On the road, if you don't know to look for its distinguishing design cues—a broad LED lightbar that connects the standard LED headlights plus chrome TAOS lettering on the rear liftgate—you can easily mistake it for a (slightly) larger Tiguan. VW says the name Taos refers to the rugged, picturesque town in New Mexico. We didn't go there for our drive, but we did traverse our local Michigan haunts in both of the vehicle's primary configurations.

2022 volkswagen taos sel interior

HIGHS: Cavernous interior for a small SUV, impressive fuel economy, attractive base price.

Powering the Taos is a new 1.5-liter version of the EA211 turbocharged inline-four—a 1.4-liter EA211 is found in the Jetta sedan. Aided by the boost of a variable-geometry turbocharger, the engine purrs willingly to its 6400-rpm redline and produces a respectable-if-not-quite-spirited 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the latter from just 1750 rpm. That's less grunt than you'll get from a top-spec 175-hp Seltos 1.6T or a 250-hp Mazda CX-30 Turbo, but it's perfectly adequate for casually merging onto highways. Standard front-wheel-drive models pair the turbo-four with a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive versions get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which VW calls a direct-shift gearbox (DSG). The company says this split allowed it to focus both on greater fuel efficiency with the eight-speed and a sportier driving character with the dual clutch.

2022 volkswagen taos sel
Our test car was a front-wheel-drive SEL model, which ambled to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds at 87 mph, making it slightly quicker than the latest Subaru Crosstrek with a 2.5-liter flat-four and significantly fleeter than a Jeep Compass. The more-powerful turbocharged Kia Seltos, however, is roughly a half-second quicker both to 60 and through the quarter-mile.

That said, the front-drive Taos is the fuel miser's choice, earning an EPA combined estimate of 31 mpg, versus 28 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. Our example fared well in the real world with a 30-mpg average, and it posted an impressive 40 mpg on our 75-mph highway test, beating its federal rating by 4 mpg. Both the aforementioned Subaru and Kia managed only 30 mpg on our highway run. But the all-wheel-drive model's DSG isn't as convincing in its role as a sporty transmission. While its shifts are generally quick and well-coordinated at speed, it lacks the eight-speed's unobtrusive smoothness, being relatively clumsy around town and under quick on-off-on throttle applications. Only all-wheel-drive variants get a drive-mode selector with Normal, Eco, Sport, and Individual settings, but even in its most aggressive mode the dual clutch hesitates between upshifts when accelerating briskly. There are no steering-wheel paddle shifters, so we mostly let the DSG pick its own gears rather than use the shifter's sluggish manual gate.

2022 volkswagen taos sel

LOWS: Modest performance, some cheap-looking interior plastics, clumsy optional dual-clutch transmission.

The other significant difference between the two drivelines is the rear suspension. The front-wheel-drive Taos features a torsion beam at the rear, while the all-wheel-drive model employs a multilink setup. This is why there are two wheelbase lengths. The multilink's greater composure and more substantial feel make the all-wheel-drive Taos our clear choice. Though the all-wheel-drive Taos adds a claimed 255 pounds of additional mass, its more sophisticated suspension fosters greater driver confidence by bringing better body control. We'll have to wait for a second test car to see if this more-refined character translates to better grip than the modest 0.83 g that the front-driver exhibited on the skidpad.

Braking ability is adequate and is controlled via an easy-to-modulate pedal, despite some mushiness in the first inch or so or travel. We recorded a so-so 176-foot stop from 70 mph. All of the examples we've driven have rolled on 18-inch wheels (17s are standard, 19s are optional), with our test car's wrapped with Bridgestone Turanza LS100 all-season tires. With decent ride comfort and reasonably low levels of interior noise—68 decibels at a 70-mph cruise; 73 at full throttle—road isolation is good for a vehicle that starts at $24,190. Just don't expect Golf levels of agility from the Taos's extra girth and higher center of gravity.

2022 volkswagen taos sel
From the low liftover height of its cargo floor to its rear climate-control vents to its ability to easily accommodate six-plus-footers front and rear, the Taos's interior is highlighted by its functionality. This subcompact feels solidly built, and material quality is mostly commensurate with its price, although the hard, shiny plastic dashtop panel looks chintzy, especially in the top-spec SEL models that go for more than $30,000. While not boldly inspired, the Tao's cabin does benefit from contoured trim pieces and contrasting colors that lend it some character. Soft-touch materials are soft enough and well placed, and there's VW's familiar and nicely thick-rimmed steering wheel. Seating choices include cloth upholstery for base models, leather at the top of the range, and a leatherette/cloth combo with grippy inserts for mid-level SE trims. All offer good comfort and excellent visibility.

At 72.5 inches, the Taos is actually a hair wider than the one-size-up Tiguan and feels similarly spacious in terms of elbow space. Unlike the Tiguan, there's no available third row of seats. Base models get an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster and a 6.5-inch center touchscreen, with the displays in higher trims increasing to 10.3 and 8.0 inches, respectively. We like that the Taos sticks with VW's more familiar infotainment system rather than adopting the newer, less-intuitive version in the ID.4 that we're still warming up to. Ambient lighting, automatic headlights, and VW's App Connect smartphone integration system all are standard.

 

2022 volkswagen taos sel
Additional microprocessors control the IQ.Drive bundle of active-safety features: stop-and-go adaptive cruise control with semi-automated assistance, active blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, automatic forward-collision warning, and emergency braking. IQ.Drive is a $895 to $995 option on lesser S and SE trims and standard on the top SEL. Notable extras include a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and a yet-to-be-released Basecamp appearance package that will add a touch of off-road flair.

Coincidentally, the starter S model's competitive $24,190 base price is the same as that of the outgoing Golf hatchback that the Taos more or less replaces. Budget $28,440 for the SE trim and a somewhat substantial $32,685 for an SEL model like our test car, plus another $1450 to $2045 if you want all-wheel drive. Depending on the configuration, those prices position the Taos awfully close to certain versions of the grander Tiguan, which starts at $26,440. Yet, considering the Taos's generous packaging and strong roster of equipment, potential Tiguan buyers won't have to sacrifice much if they step down to this new lower rung in the brand's model range. The Taos isn't the fun-to-drive substitute for the Golf that we'd prefer, but it does make a solid anchor for VW's SUV lineup.

(https://www.caranddriver.com)

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Although Mercedes is one of the smallest SUV models in terms of dimensions, the GLB brings convenience for the whole family. The version we tested with the 200d designation provides enviable comfort, decent performance and moderate consumption.

The Mercedes GLB, which is produced in Mexico, is mounted on the MFA2 platform that it shares with the A-Class, but which has been slightly extended to provide a greater wheelbase.

With a spacing of 2,829 mm between the two axles, it brings much more cabin space than the competition, including the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Although it has a length of 4,634 mm, which places it between the GLA and GLC models, the modern platform has enabled the engineers of the German company to install a third row of seats, which is available as an option.

Third row - only for children

Technically, an adult can be placed on the seat in the third row, but the approach itself is complicated, despite the fact that the second row can be moved by 14 cm. The shape of the body itself allows enough space for the head, even for adults of average height.

However, the position of the legs is quite unnatural, and when we take into account the fact that there is not much space for the knees, we come to the conclusion that the third row is designed primarily for children. As for the trunk, it is practically unusable when the third row of seats is in function, but when they fold, you get 565 liters of space.

G-Class in small

In terms of design, the Mercedes GLB is more about the past than the future, because its body shape resembles the legendary G-Class.

The robust shape along with the modern elements of the German company's design vocabulary make this model very attractive. Unlike most modern SUV models, it does not try to look sporty, but emphasizes practicality and usability.

Range of 1,000 km

Although it looks bulky, the Mercedes GLB 200d weighs only 1,600 kg, which in combination with the diesel engine makes it quite efficient in terms of consumption.

On the open road, we recorded a figure of about 5 liters, and if we take into account the fact that the volume of the tank is 52 liters, in principle, it is possible to cross 1,000 km without refueling. The eight-speed transmission allows similar consumption when driving at 130 km / h, while in urban conditions GLB consumed between 7 and 8 liters of diesel.

Premium interior quality

As might be expected from Mercedes, the GLB also got a modern MBUX multimedia system, with two 10-inch screens. As we are used to with other models of the German company, both screens are operated very simply, and the easiest way is through the touch buttons on the steering wheel.

The options of the MBUX system can also be controlled via the touch surface located between the seats, by voice, but also via the screen itself. As for the finishing, it is at the highest level. The upper part of the cabin is lined with quality materials, but there is still some harder plastic under the center console. The seats are very comfortable, hold the body well in curves and do not tire at all during longer trips.

Harmony of engine and transmission

The tested model marked GLB 200d was powered by a two-liter diesel engine with 150 hp and 320 Nm of maximum torque, which is available from 1,400 rpm.
This means that power is never lacking, and by depressing the accelerator pedal, the eight-speed automatic transmission finds the speed you need very quickly. From standstill to 100 km / h the Mercedes GLB 200d accelerates in about 9 seconds, while the top speed is 204 km / h. However, it should be noted that the transmission at lower speeds can be confused when changing gears.

Comfort ahead of dynamism

The diesel unit in the tested model transmitted power to the front axle, which will probably be the choice of most customers. Although the Mercedes GLB is robust in appearance, it is not designed to have the function of an off-road vehicle, but all-wheel drive is available as an option.
As a real family vehicle should be, it is very comfortable on the road, the suspension is a bit softer, so when driving dynamically around curves, the body tilts slightly.

Which version to choose?

For fans of sporty driving, the GLB 35 AMG is also available, which is more tuned, while the tested GLB 200d is still more intended for safe and comfortable transport from point A to point B. For those for whom 150 horsepower is not enough, there is a more powerful version of the same units with 40 hp more.

A 1.3-liter petrol engine is also available, coming with 136 hp and 163 hp. The starting price for the Mercedes GLB is 44,134 euros, while for the tested model with a slightly better equipment package, it is necessary to set aside 52,492 euros.

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Every car can be redesigned to run on electricity, even the legendary Lada Niva. The famous SUV has been sold since the first day with basically the same engine, which has been modernized several times. About 80 horses were pulled from the 1.7 liter volume and thus fully satisfies all aspects of off-road riding. Almost everything, because those who want to join the electrification trend are certainly not satisfied with this option. That is why the German company offered a version of the electric Niva, which is probably the cheapest electric model on the market.

Thus, after the diesel version, most often at home, the Lada Niva now got an electric variant. It is offered by the German start-up Schmid GmbH, and the electric package is named Elantria, writes Index.hr.

As you can see in the photos, the electric Niva differs visually from the standard only in that there are no pipes in the exhaust system. Under the hood is an electric motor that uses existing mechanics and drives all four wheels. It develops a minimum of more power than a regular Niva, or 88 hp.

The electric set also includes a LiFePO4 lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 30 kWh, which is positioned on the former location of the fuel tank. The range is, depending on the driving style, from 130 to 300 km. The manufacturer guarantees 80% of the battery capacity after 9,000 charge cycles or 450,000 km, which is significantly more than what the Nivas go through in practice.

Of the interesting details, we point out that the drive of this Niva can, if necessary, work as a power generator and drive other devices. It has a 220V socket and power up to 2 kW.

And finally the price. The set will cost you 2,800 euros, and there is also a new electric Niva on offer with a price of 19,900 euros.

If you take into account the price of fuel and consumption, and put it in relation to the cost of electric drive, this conversion literally pays off after a year and a half, or rather after less than 25,000 km. After all, if you take into account the price of a solid used copy and processing, you come to the amount that is by far the cheapest electric option on the market.

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