Displaying items by tag: Test

Tuesday, 23 January 2024 05:13

25 car models to avoid

As much as there has been a high degree of standardization in the automotive industry, there are still models that have "nothing wrong" for years, while others hang out with the masters every now and then.

What Car? the publication helped us to see which 25 car models should be avoided, because they are already problematic within the first three years of ownership.

What Car? applied a proven formula in which over 14,000 car owners were surveyed regarding reliability over the past 12 months. A third of those surveyed confirmed that their pet "reported" at least one mistake.

To categorize defects and rank them in order of abundance, owners were asked to select an area within which the problem occurred. There were 14 such groups in total: battery, body, brakes, engine, electrical system (engine-related), exhaust system, exterior lights, fuel system, transmission/clutch, interior trim, electrical system (not related to engine), steering system , suspension and others.

Also, the editors created a questionnaire in which the owners reported how much time the car spent in the workshop to fix the problems and how much the repairs cost. That information was used to create a unique ranking system, which penalizes models that have had expensive and time-consuming repairs while rewarding those that have proven to be reliable.

The research covered 169 models from 33 different brands. Let's see who these "rascals" are:

25. Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)

Result: 58.8%

Just over 20 percent of the owners of the previous generation Polo reported errors on their cars, and the most common was related to the electrical system (not related to the engine) - 15 percent, with even half of the problems related to the air conditioner. Other problems include the start-stop system, the rear camera and the screen of the infotainment system.

24. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Result 58.6%

GLA owners reported a fault with 42 percent of the cars. However, the majority (35 percent) were not so significant and did not prevent the car from being driven. All issues were resolved at no cost in less than a week.

23. Mazda3 (2009 - 2013)

Result: 58.4%

Overall, 28 percent of previous-generation Mazda3s had some kind of problem. Models powered by gasoline engines were more problematic than their diesel counterparts. The suspension, steering system and engine electrics were the areas where the problems were most serious in the petrol models. Not all cars were repaired under warranty, and more than half spent more than a day in the service station.

22. Volkswagen CC diesel (2012 – 2016)

Score: 58.0%

40 percent of CC owners reported some problem with their vehicles. Many of them were related to the electrical system, but not the one related to the engine. Some repairs were not covered under warranty, and some of the cars were out of service for more than a week.

21. Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso

Result: 56.8%

Electrical problems have greatly affected the (dis)satisfaction of C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso owners. Namely, 37 percent of the cars had certain problems. Of these, 22 percent were related to electricity unrelated to the engine, and the problem air conditioner stood out in that. A good proportion of the problems were suspension-related (15 per cent), with a smaller percentage of repairs costing more than £1,500.

20. Seat Ateca

Result: 56.2%

Like previous models, the Ateca also suffers from electrical system problems unrelated to the engine. As many as 43 percent of owners reported problems, and 29 percent related to the specified area. The rear camera and automatic opening of the rear doors also caused headaches for owners. However, most of the cars were in roadworthy condition and almost all were repaired at no additional cost.

19. Range Rover diesel

Result: 55.8%

Although more durable than the smaller models in the luxury British brand's range, as many as a third of Range owners have reported some problem with their pet. The faults were mainly related to the electrics, but most of the problems were related to the bodywork and interior trim. Most of the vehicles were in drivable condition, and there were no additional costs for repairs.

18. Volvo V40

Score: 55.5%

Although the proverbially reliable brand, Volvo also found itself on the "rogue" list. Almost half of the V40 had some problem. Most often, they were related to the engine and exhaust system. Most of the repairs did not bring additional costs to the owners, while the stay in the service center was generally longer than one day.

17. Nissan Juke petrol

Result: 55.2%

A third of the Jukes had some kind of problem, at least that's what the owners say. The faults were mainly in the engine and the electrics of the engine (15 percent of the problems were related to these areas). Most of the cars remained in drivable condition, and the vast majority were also repaired without hitting the owners' pockets.

16. Land Rover Discovery diesel (2004-2017)

Result: 54.2%

Although robust in appearance, the previous one 

generation Discovery is anything but reliable. Half of the owners reported various problems, and like the Range Rover, the majority (22 percent) related to the bodywork. The electrics of the engine were problematic in 17 percent of the examples. Fortunately, most were drivable and repaired under warranty.


15. Mazda2

Result: 52.7%

Obviously, Mazdas and Nissans are not as reliable as other "Japanese". Although this Japanese brand often ranks well on the reliability charts, owners of the "two" reported a lot of problems related to the air conditioning, and more than 10 percent had problems with the fuel supply system.

14. Tesla Model S

Result: 52.4%

Here is another frequent "customer" on the lists of unreliable cars. Nearly 38 percent of Model S owners reported faults, which were mostly split equally between body quality, interior trim and electric motor. Owners have also reported brittle exterior door handles, as well as problems with headlights. Although all cars were repaired under warranty, some were being repaired for more than a week.

13. Range Rover Evoque

Score: 52.0%

Owners of this model concluded that 34 percent of Evoques have some problem. 8 percent refers to the electrical system unrelated to the engine, 7 percent to the transmission/clutch, and there were also problems with the quality of the body and interior trim. Most vehicles are repaired within the warranty period, at no additional cost to owners.

12. Nissan Note

Result: 48.6 percent

Almost 36 percent of the Note has some kind of error. The engine and electrical system of the engine are problematic on 10 percent of gasoline versions, and overall, almost 18 percent of all Note had problems with the electrical system, and more than 14 percent with the suspension.

11. Nissan Pulsar

Result: 48.3%

Are Nissan and Land Rover in a "dead race" when it comes to lack of quality? The Pulsar is affected by a high percentage of problems with the electrical system, and the Yogun air conditioner stands out the most. Most of the problematic examples spent more than a day in the workshop, but all repairs were carried out under warranty.

10. Mercedes-Benz B class

Result: 46.1%

Just over 35 percent of owners of this model reported errors. These include fairly serious areas such as the engine, engine electrical system and transmission/clutch. It is quite clear that this required a considerable amount of time spent in master workshops, which means that the repair took more than a week on average.

9. Mercedes-Benz E class

Result: 46.1%

The new E-Class doesn't cost a lot, so it's not a very pleasant feeling when the new "three-pointed star" doesn't show itself perfectly. The results are similar to the last generation, so it seems that they did not draw adequate conclusions in Stuttgart. In total, 24 percent of the cars were problematic. Interior trim, problems with the electrical system, both motor and general, were the most common causes of headaches. Although all examples were repaired under warranty, a certain percentage had to spend more than a week in the workshop.

8. Nissan Qashqai diesel

Result: 44.2%

Another Nissan... Almost half (49%) of Qashqai diesels suffer from some problem. The most frequently reported errors are related to the electrical system (24 percent), which includes navigation, infotainment system and air conditioning. An additional 19 percent of vehicles had problematic batteries. Most of the vehicles were drivable, and most were repaired at no additional cost to the owners.

7. Land Rover Discovery Sport diesel

Result: 43.8%

We just thought that Nissan would "dominate", but Land Rover "doesn't give in". More than 40 percent of Discovery Sports had reported faults, most of which related to the quality of the body and interior trim. Also, there were problems with electricity, both motorized and non-motorized. All vehicles were repaired at no cost to the owners, and most were out of service in less than a week.

6. Jeep Renegade

Result: 42.1%

Jeep is also another frequent "customer" on the lists of the most unreliable cars. The compact Renegade may look rugged, but the fact is that nearly 43 percent of the cars ended up with owner complaints, and those related to serious problems. The faults were mostly related to the engine, engine electrical system and brakes. Some of the cars spent more than a week being repaired.

5. Jaguar XE

Result: 36.7%

We kind of feel sorry for JLR. We have not seen this kind of "occupation" of the list of unreliable vehicles for a long time. Jaguar's full-size diesel engine is problematic in as many as 44 percent of cases. The problems are mostly related to the electrics, but as with the Land/Range Rover cousins, the problematic body was not bypassed either. Faults were also reported in the engine, fuel injection system, steering and suspension. However, what "pleases" is that all repairs were completed within a week.

4. Fiat 500X

Result: 32.3%

Given the "success" of the Renegade, it was expected that a "twin" model would appear on the list. Owners have reported more than a third of the problematic Fiat 500X. The problems are equally 

divided into bodywork and electrics (both engine-related and general). Although all were repaired under warranty, most had to spend more than a day in the service station.

3. Nissan Qashqai gasoline

Result: 28.9%

We don't know if Nissan fans are "pulling their hair out", but this Japanese brand definitely has a quality problem. Gasoline Qashqai models have a fault in as many as 56 percent of cases. Accumulators, bodywork and electrics (motor and non-motor) are the main problem areas. However, not everything is so black, all were repaired at no additional cost to the owners, and most spent less than a week in the service.

2. Volvo XC90

Result: 22.6%

Do we hear that murmur in the audience? Shocking or not, the fact is that 53 percent of XC90 owners have reported various problems with their (expensive) pets. Many are related to the electrical system and software, and it is indicative that the repairs of these things were often not successfully carried out on the first visit to the service center. However, everything was done under warranty.

Range Rover Sport diesel

Score: 14.5%

JLR is definitely the "champion", and the "champion" model is the Range Rover Sport in the diesel version. As many as 60% of diesel Range Rover Sport had problems of some kind. They covered a wide range of areas, with the most serious faults being related to the gearbox, drivetrain, engine and suspension. Not all cars were repaired under warranty, and some took more than a week to be repaired.

Source: What Car?

Published in Blog/News


What's a Polestar? That was the follow-up question from a curious couple who asked us to identify the 2022 Polestar 2 we were driving in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. To paraphrase, we explained that Polestar is an all-electric subsidiary of Volvo, and the squat Scandinavian-designed vehicle in question is currently the sole mass-produced model in its portfolio. Only the Volvo reference appeared to register, so we skipped the stuff about the Polestar 2 being the company's first EV, being built in China, and being sold directly to customers via the internet.

For 2022, new configuration choices and other notable improvements make the Polestar 2 more competitive in the premium-EV space, particularly versus the popular Tesla Model 3. Previously, the Polestar 2 was offered only as a feature-laden Launch Edition with dual motors and a $61,200 starting price. Now that many previously standard features are instead divided between the new $4000 Plus and $3200 Pilot packages, the starting point of the dual-motor powertrain configuration is $10,000 less. Making the '22 Polestar 2 even more accessible is the new single-motor, front-wheel-drive variant that went on sale in January. It starts at $47,200 (an amount that drops below $40K when you consider the available $7500 federal tax credit).

Since we've already tested a dual-motor 2 with the $5000 Performance package and Polestar says the 2022 alterations don't affect its driving behavior, we focused on the single-motor example. Its driving experience is less satisfying from an enthusiast perspective, but the differences are likely inconsequential to most shoppers. The single motor delivers 231 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, producing the immediate thrust characteristic of electric vehicles. The sensation is available on demand from a dead stop or when passing on the interstate. The effect is simply amplified when two motors make a combined 408 ponies and 487 pound-feet, sending our dual-motor tester to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. The single-motor model weighs 254 pounds less and is notably slower, taking 6.8 ticks to reach 60 mph. That 2.7-second delta is almost identical to the difference between the two powertrains at the drag strip, where the standard car completed the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds at 93 mph versus the dual-motor's 12.7 seconds at 109 mph. The front-drive model's top speed is electronically limited to 101 mph; the extra electric motor feeding the rear axle ups that threshold to 125 mph.

The front-drive Polestar 2 also lacks the point-and-shoot dynamics that make its all-wheel-drive counterpart feel more playful. With the stability-control system set to ESC Sport, you can coax the AWD model's tail to step out in a controlled manner for maximum fun. For those less interested in such juvenile antics, the FWD version still feels athletic and refined. Even on the standard 19-inch wheels, it's remarkably planted and sure-footed, thanks in part to its standard summer tires—Michelin Primacy 4s, in the case of our test car. Skidpad grip amounts to 0.88 g, and stops from 70 mph happen in 161 feet, results that trail the dual-motor version's by a mere 0.02 g and four feet, respectively. The worst road imperfections are more pronounced on models with the optional 20-inch wheel-and-tire combo, but the cabin is impressively isolated from the outside world. The accurate steering includes three adjustable levels of effort—light, standard, and firm—but none generate any actual feedback. The most aggressive regenerative-braking setting provides 0.3 g of deceleration and enables true one-pedal driving. The brake pedal's firm action and short travel also feel more assuring than that of many other EVs.

Regardless of motor count, every Polestar 2 features a 75.0-kWh battery pack. While that net capacity is unchanged for 2022, Polestar credits increased range to "controller software and vehicle efficiency improvements." The EPA estimates that the single-motor model has a driving range of 270 miles per charge, which is only 21 miles more than the dual-motor's 249-mile rating (16 more than before)­. Plus, thanks to the magic of over-the-air updates, 2021 models can unlock that extra range too. The same applies to the car's maximum DC fast-charging speed, which rises from 150 to 155 kW (we saw a 154-kW peak at an Electrify America unit). Polestar says charging the battery from 10 to 80 percent at a 150-kW unit should take 33 minutes. In our 10 to 90 percent charge test, getting to 80 percent took slightly longer than claimed, at 39 minutes. And the charging rate drops off substantially above 80 percent; getting to 90 percent took 56 minutes, for an average rate of 75 kW, which is at the slow end of today's EVs.

The single-motor example we drove in New Mexico began the day with close to a full charge, and after two trips cruising back roads and highways between Santa Fe and Los Alamos (approximately 180 miles total), our battery's charge stood at about one-third. Back home on our 75-mph-range route, our front-drive test car traveled 220 miles on a full charge and averaged 89 MPGe. For comparison, the dual-motor Polestar 2 went 200 miles and averaged 84 MPGe in the same test.

Racking up those miles in the Polestar 2 is enjoyable thanks to an elevated seating position and a tall greenhouse with good forward visibility. The back seat is comfortable enough for two adults, and there's lots of cargo space between the rear hatch and a smaller underhood compartment. The 2's interior looks minimalistic, but the space has distinctive finishes and sturdy panel fitment. It feels like sitting in a Scandinavian coffeehouse­–except there's only one easily accessible cupholder between the front seats; a second is hidden under the center-console lid. The centerpiece of the cockpit is the vertically mounted 11.2-inch touchscreen, which features an innovative Google-developed OS infotainment system meant to replicate the feel of a smartphone or a tablet.

While that's familiar to most folks, the Polestar brand and this high-riding hatchback aren't so much. Polestar acknowledges its lack of brand awareness and says increasing it was a top priority this year. After what can be considered a soft launch of the Polestar 2 more than a year ago, the company says it ramped up marketing in 2021. Likewise, it has been expanding its North American network of Polestar Spaces (a.k.a. dealer showrooms) from three in 2020 to around 30 today. The effort isn't expected to make Polestar the next Tesla, but it should improve sales and drum up interest for future models such as the forthcoming Polestar 3 SUV. Then maybe Polestar 2 early adopters won't have to answer so many questions.

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a37522506/2022-polestar-2-drive/

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under

It uses the same platform and engine as its predecessor, but the new Pathfinder looks like the brawny SUVs of old.

We already put the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder three-row SUV with all-wheel-drive through its instrumented paces. Now it's time to get the front-wheel-drive version of Nissan's latest Pathfinder in the hands of MotorTrend's test team so consumers know what to expect from the rest of the lineup.

The Pathfinder has had an interesting history and is unique in its path to reinvention, having flipped from body-on-frame to unibody repeatedly during its lifecycle. It started as a two-door SUV in 1986 on Nissan's compact truck body-on-frame platform and added a four-door in 1989, discontinuing the two-door a year later in North America. The second-gen Pathfinder went on sale in 1995 with unibody construction. Then the third-generation SUV made a surprising return to body-on-frame in 2004 for the '05 model year, only to pivot back to unibody for the fourth-generation Pathfinder in 2012, sharing a platform with the Nissan Altima, Maxima, and Murano, among others.

For this fifth generation, the Pathfinder actually stays unibody on the same platform, but it drops the milquetoast design in a return to the squared-off, brawny looks we've come to associate with this SUV, regardless of its underpinnings. The styling changes inside and out are in keeping with a resurgence in design among new Nissan offerings of late.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 11

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Competitively Priced

The two-wheel-drive Pathfinder starts at $47,340, and at $49,865, our test model didn't ring in much higher. That price reflects the addition of $730 running boards, a $745 two-tone premium paint scheme, a $795 lighting package with illuminated kick plates and welcome lighting, and $255 carpeted floormats. A comparable 2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum trim FWD starts slightly higher at $48,755, and a 2022 Honda Pilot Elite costs about $2,000 more but only comes in AWD.

Nissan also carried over the previous Pathfinder's 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which generates 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, but the previous model's CVT has been replaced with a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a meaty shifter. It can tow 6,000 pounds and comes with a tow hitch and harness as standard equipment.

Although the pleasant-sounding V-6 feels more powerful and the new transmission snappier at propelling the lighter FWD model, the test numbers don't bear out our seat-of-the-pants observations. The front-drive Pathfinder required 7.1 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and 15.5 seconds to do the quarter mile. The Pathfinder with AWD was a shade quicker at 7.0 seconds to 60 mph, making it a strong performer in the segment. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 (293 hp/260 lb-ft) and AWD needed 7.3 seconds and 15.5 seconds, respectively.

Road test editor Erick Ayapana found the Pathfinder FWD "super-tricky to launch" because the engine easily overwhelms the tires. "With traction on, it'll cut power to reduce wheelspin. With traction off, any hint of wheelspin results in a 1-2 upshift. Manual mode isn't much of a manual mode because it'll upshift to second automatically. So getting the launch right is pretty much a guessing game."

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 20

Behind The Wheel

Ironically, the lighter, front-drive Pathfinder felt heavier to drive at times on our winding test track, and the stability control can often be too aggressive. However, tire squeal and head toss were kept to a minimum, even during hard cornering. The suspension provides a smooth ride over rough surfaces, and there is little body motion over bumps.

Out on the figure-eight course, the Pathfinder completed the loop in 28.4 seconds at an average of 0.59 g, performing better than road test editor Chris Walton expected, though he did find its steering to be unnecessarily heavy during his looping. "The chassis is quite good, but you can't go to the power early because the front-wheel-drive system doesn't have any sort of limited slip other than traction control, which kills the exit," Walton noted. The all-wheel-drive Pathfinder rounded the course a full second quicker at 27.4 seconds, and the Grand Cherokee L (also with AWD) essentially split the difference at 27.9 seconds. When it comes to stopping power, the FWD Pathfinder needed 130 feet to haul itself down from 60 mph to 0. That's slightly longer than the Grand Cherokee L at 127 feet but a ways off of the AWD Pathfinder's impressive 114 feet, which is difficult to explain with both Pathfinders using the same tires. Ayapana found the Pathfinder's brakes to have "adequate bite and good body control." Walton said the medium-firm brake pedal offers "good feel and easy modulation."

As far as fuel efficiency goes, the 2022 Pathfinder adds stop-start, which helps improve its EPA numbers slightly to 21/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The heavier Grand Cherokee L is predictably thirstier at  19/26/21 with RWD.

Nissan's ProPilot Assist (adaptive cruise, steering assist, traffic sign recognition) provides excellent lane-centering steering assist. Once adaptive cruise is engaged, simply press the ProPilot button for full capability. Rest your fingers lightly on the steering wheel and feel it make minor adjustments as you're speeding down the highway. With Navi-Link, the vehicle slows for freeway curves and exit ramps, and the system alerts the driver to changes in the speed limit. It's without question one of the best driver assist systems on the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 29

More Upscale Interior

The 2022 Pathfinder's cabin feels premium for a vehicle that costs less than $50,000 and comes with a dose of industrial toughness: Everything is big and square and blocky. Our test model had  great-looking saddle-brown seats and accents on the door and dashtop, which contrast well with the black interior; white and gold stitching help complete the upscale look. The Platinum trim comes with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a motion-activated power tailgate, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Open the wider-opening rear doors and climb into the heated second-row captain's chairs fitted to this model (making it a seven-passenger family vehicle instead of eight), and you'll find them comfortable with ample thigh support. To get to the third row, there are buttons on the base of the second-row seat and the seat back. Press one, and the seat tilts and then flies forward—even with an empty car seat installed. It's easy enough for kids to use, but make sure they stand back while it performs its spring-loaded gymnastics. It creates a large opening for easy access to the third row, which now seats three. Space is decent in the third row, and the passengers have access to air vents and USB charging ports.

The third-row seats also fold completely flat, and the cargo area is augmented by a deep well under the floor. The rear cargo space also comes with tie-downs, bag hooks, and a 12-volt socket.

The Pathfinder faces a lot of competition, with stalwarts such as the Highlander, Pilot, and Ford Explorer, not to mention relative newcomers, including the Hyundai Palisade, the 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year Kia Telluride, and the newest entrant, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. Nissan has reinvented the Pathfinder many times over the years in order to assert leadership in the segment. This time around Nissan kept the Pathfinder's carlike platform but returned it to a truckier look in an attempt to remix the best of its past efforts. The result, as summarized by Walton: "Not bad for a grocery getter and better than it probably needed to be."

Looks good! More details?
2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum Specifications  
BASE PRICE $47,340
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.5L direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V-6
POWER (SAE NET) 284 hp @ 6,400 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 259 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,536 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE 114.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 197.7 x 77.9 x 69.7 in
0-60 MPH 7.1 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.5 sec @ 92.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 130 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.4 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)


Published in Nissan

Hyundai's new Santa Cruz compact truck attempts to skirt the rules for traditional pickups.

Breaking into the lucrative truck market isn't for the faint of heart. Subaru's Baja lasted four short years, Honda had to butch up the looks of its Ridgeline to secure a seat at the table, and even Toyota's T100 stumbled until it became the V-8-powered Tundra. And who can forget the Ford Explorer Sport Trac? It would seem that to succeed in this segment, your truck had better look and perform like, well, a truck.

In what may be an attempt to manage expectations, Hyundai isn't using the "t" word to describe its new entry, instead referring to it as a "Sport Adventure Vehicle." Hyundai even goes so far as to claim the Santa Cruz wasn't designed as a mid-size truck competitor, but one look at the package and it's hard to classify it as anything else.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Drive it and you're not so quick to use the "t" word. The Santa Cruz rides on an extended version of the Tucson crossover's platform, with struts up front and a multilink suspension with self-leveling dampers out back. Its 118.3-inch wheelbase (nearly 10 inches longer than the Tucson) contributes to a calm and composed ride, with none of the rear-end skittishness sometimes present in a full-size pickup with an empty bed. Maneuverability around town is carlike. At 195.7 inches long and 75.0 inches wide, the Santa Cruz easily slots into parking spots. Driven with haste along two-lane back roads, the Santa Cruz is agile, remaining relatively flat through the corners.
2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Lesser Santa Cruz models ditch the turbo and the dual-clutch for a 191-hp 2.5-liter and a conventional eight-speed automatic. The base 2.5-liter musters just 181 pound-feet of torque and is something we'd skip. We haven't tested that version yet, but in an all-wheel-drive Tucson, the nonturbo 2.5-liter results in a sluggish 8.8-second time to 60 mph. Front-wheel drive is standard here, with all-wheel drive a $1500 option. There's no hybrid variant, but since the Tucson features both hybrid and plug-in versions, we predict the closely related Santa Cruz will follow suit in the future. In terms of fuel economy, the standard 2.5-liter four holds a slight advantage: an EPA combined estimate of 23 mpg versus the turbo model's 22, although our test car did average 30 mpg on our 75-mph highway test, bettering its highway estimate by 3 mpg.

Despite its Tucson underpinnings, the Santa Cruz is capable of trucklike activities. Turbo all-wheel-drive models are rated to tow 5000 pounds, and even the base front-drive setup can tow 3500 pounds. Trailer sway control, a function of the stability-control system, helps mitigate untoward trailer motions and comes standard on all models. Off-road excursions are also possible, as 8.6 inches of ground clearance is enough to get you into the rough stuff. A decent 23.2-degree departure angle will ensure you'll get out of most moderately difficult situations without leaving the rear bumper on the trail. The journey itself might not be entirely smooth, as we found that the stickiness of the Santa Cruz's floor-mounted throttle pedal can make it difficult to maintain a smooth crawling speed.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Duality of purpose notwithstanding, the true make-or-break feature here lies out back. Where most truck beds are a blank canvas, this is more of an artist's toolkit. As the Santa Cruz is designed exclusively for the North American market, the development team worked to bake in the kind of usability and versatility that would appeal to the outdoor-adventure set marketers love to target. Key to this mission is a dent-resistant molded composite bed (as opposed to stamped steel), which allowed the team to utilize every square inch of the space—whether it's in, under, or atop the bed.

Packed with cubbies and hidden compartments, the Santa Cruz's plastic bed is more intricate than a puzzle box. Just as in the Honda Ridgeline, there's a lockable underfloor storage space located close enough to the tailgate that it's easy to retrieve items without straining yourself. Drain plugs make it a perfect place to keep drinks on ice. More storage can be found on the sides of the bed behind the wheel wells, along with an AC power outlet with enough current to run a small refrigerator. There are tie-downs throughout, as well as an adjustable cleat system. The space above the wheel wells is wide enough to accommodate four-foot-wide sheets of plywood.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Hyundai also went bonkers on the accessories. Whatever item your hobby requires, the Santa Cruz can likely secure, store, and transport it. With the tailgate down, it can accommodate a couple of dirt bikes or kayaks. A factory tonneau cover retracts to the front of the bed and is a lot easier to use than the folding jobs seen on some pickups. Precut tabs on the top of the bed rails can be punched out to add a canopy system. And when was the last time you saw a truck with roof-mounted crossbars?

Climb in and you'll discover a refined interior largely shared with the Tucson. A reasonably hushed 67 decibels of noise creep into the cabin at 70 mph, with full-throttle pulls registering only 72 decibels on our sound meter. The instrument panel and infotainment screen are neatly tucked into the dash, rather than being mounted on top. The result is a clean, low-profile dashtop, which allows for excellent forward visibility. The Santa Cruz accommodates tall passengers in both rows, with plenty of headroom and decent legroom in the rear. Like many pickups with small sliding rear windows, objects that pass through are limited to things the size of soccer balls and six-packs.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
The center stack features all of Hyundai's latest tech. Most models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. Exclusive to the Limited trim is a 10.3-inch screen with navigation. As with the Tucson, the system with the larger screen can't do wireless phone mirroring; you'll have to plug in your phone like it's 2018. Most controls surrounding the system are of the capacitive-touch variety; they look sleek but attract their fair share of fingerprints and aren't as user-friendly as the physical buttons found in other Hyundai models. In what's a first for the brand, a tiny little Santa Cruz emblem adorns the controls for air recirculation and hill-descent control. The Santa Cruz's interior and exterior is peppered with other Easter eggs.

Despite what Hyundai claims, those little illustrations indeed resemble the shape of a truck because the Santa Cruz's silhouette says truck. But the exterior lacks the upright and squared-off look that characterizes traditional pickups. The styling is a muscular and bulked-up take on Hyundai's latest design language, and the big, bold grille full of brightwork is handsome. But the Santa Cruz looks like a crossover-turned-pickup. It makes no attempt to hide its roots.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Arguing how truckish it is or isn't might be fun for internet arguments (Please comment below—Ed.), but the biggest obstacle for the Santa Cruz could be its price. Base SE versions begin at $25,215 and include a good amount of standard equipment, but opting for the turbo requires an additional $10K. Top-spec Limited models begin at a steep $40,945. This pricing becomes an issue when you consider a world where the similarly sized Ford Maverick exists. A Maverick starts at just a hair over $20,000 and features a standard hybrid powertrain that's good for a 37-mpg combined EPA fuel-economy rating; more powerful turbocharged versions top out at a still-frugal 26 mpg combined. The Maverick also features more conventional truck styling, which might make it more attractive to more conventional truck buyers. But Hyundai is taking another tack—it remains to be seen if its gamble will pay off. So perhaps the question becomes: Do you want a truck, or do you want a Santa Cruz?
Published in Hyundai

Has a class leader gotten even stronger?

Being a segment leader is hard work, especially in a segment as hot as subcompact SUVs, which continues to grow rapidly. Subaru already has a solid foundation to stay on top, and now, the Forester's 2.5-liter flat-four engine is finding its way under the Crosstrek's hood in Sport and Limited trims. Will a more powerful engine be enough to keep this crossover relevant and fend off new rivals? We got a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport in to find out.

Does The Subaru Crosstrek Drive Better With More Power?

We've been begging Subaru for a more powerful Crosstrek since it made its debut as a 2013 model. Seven years later, the automaker finally obliged. So does the 2.5-liter's 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque make a noticeable difference over the base 2.0-liter's 152 hp and 145 lb-ft? Oh yeah. Passing, merging, and climbing steep inclines are a cinch; the Crosstrek moves promptly thanks to the bigger engine. In comparison, models with the 2.0-liter feel excruciatingly sluggish, especially on the freeway. Put your foot down at highway speeds, and the CVT immediately puts the engine in the sweet spot. However, from a standstill or at parking lot speeds, the transmission gets jumpy when you ease into the throttle, causing some head toss.

At the track, the Crosstrek Sport hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.0 seconds at 87.7 mph. Our departed long-term Crosstrek 2.0i Premium took 1.2 seconds longer to reach 60 mph before finishing the quarter mile 0.9 second slower at 83.4 mph. Road test editor Chris Walton noted linear power delivery in Sport mode when launched with pedal overlap. If you just mash the accelerator, the CVT simulates shifts, resulting in slower acceleration. The Mazda CX-30 offers similar straight-line performance to the Crosstrek Sport. Turbocharged versions of the Kia Seltos are quicker, hitting 60 mph in 7.3 to 7.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.7 to 15.9 seconds.

As with most subcompact SUVs, the Crosstrek prioritizes daily usability over outright performance. When driven sanely, this lifted hatchback possesses good high-speed stability and stable handling. Ride comfort remains a highlight thanks to the suspension's ability to absorb road imperfections and harsh impacts without getting floaty. Accurate steering, which testing director Kim Reynolds appreciated, makes the Crosstrek easy to maneuver through corners and tight spaces. Body roll, while well-controlled, is noticeable because of the car's comfort-minded tuning.

On the skidpad, the Crosstrek Sport generated 0.79 g of lateral acceleration and finished the figure-eight course in 27.9 seconds with a 0.60 g average, which is in the same ballpark as the Mazda CX-30 and Kia Seltos. Surprisingly, our old long-term Crosstrek 2.0i Premium was quicker through the figure eight (27.3 seconds) but provided similar road-holding capabilities as our Sport trim test car. Even more surprising: The plug-in Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid lapped the figure eight in 27.3 seconds at 0.62 g average. Reynolds noted excessive understeer at the limit along with a noticeable lack of grip. Blame the latter on the standard all-season tires, which give up before the chassis does. Stopping from 60 mph took 124 feet, which is on par with most subcompact SUVs. Walton observed good initial bite but found that the Crosstrek dives a lot and the rear gets light during hard braking.

What's The Subaru Crosstrek Like To Live With?

Despite its small exterior footprint, the Crosstrek is supremely practical. Four adults fit comfortably, and the cargo area easily swallows bulky items, especially with the rear seats folded. Big windows provide an airy atmosphere and excellent visibility. The Crosstrek's solid materials will easily handle daily commuting and hauling your outdoorsy gear. It could use more sound insulation, though, because there's an excessive amount of engine and tire noise entering the cabin. Mazda's CX-30 has a quieter, more premium-feeling interior, but you sacrifice practicality and space as a trade-off.

The Crosstrek uses a version of Subaru's infotainment system that doesn't include the 11.6-inch display found in the Legacy and Outback. Our test car had the optional 8.0-inch touchscreen (a 6.5-inch unit is standard) complemented by physical shortcut buttons and knobs. This means you'll figure out how to use the interface in seconds, not hours like the new setup in other Subarus. You won't be digging through submenus in this iteration because most of the frequently used apps and features are one or two inputs away.

EyeSight, Subaru's active safety suite, remains one of the more accurate systems. Lane keep assist does a great job maintaining the center of the lane, gently nudging you over when you get close to the dividers. Adaptive cruise control accelerates and brakes naturally, and the distancing isn't so conservative that another vehicle can cut you off. If only the system would stop making so much noise. EyeSight beeps to let you know when the lane keeping system's steering assistance component turns off and when the two stereo cameras don't see the lane lines. Yeah, it gets irritating quickly.

Is The Subaru Crosstrek Still One Of The Best?

The Subaru Crosstrek's multitalented nature has helped it become a best-seller in the subcompact SUV class. With more power available on the Sport and Limited trims, you get to have your cake and eat it too. No, this doesn't turn the Crosstrek into a lifted hot hatch. Instead, think of this as a drivability enhancement that makes the car even more compelling despite the arrival of new competition. Comfortable, practical, easy to drive, and efficient (EPA-rated at 26/34 mpg city/highway with the 2.5-liter), this little rig is a well-rounded package. We hope that the next-generation Crosstrek builds on this formula, and maybe—just maybe—a subcompact SUV will finally nab the Golden Calipers.

Source: motortrend.com

Published in Subaru

Lexus's updated IS350 F Sport has the looks to kill but it doesn't deliver sufficient thrills.

Sedans are dead, at least that's the conventional wisdom. The trend toward crossovers has seemingly placed four-door cars on death row, but while they're down, they're not out of appeals. New sports sedans are still being introduced. Lexus's updated 2021 IS350 F Sport is just such a sedan, but is it good enough to find enough buyers to save itself from the gallows?

First introduced for the 2014 model year, the third-generation Lexus IS has been reformed by a second mid-cycle refresh in an attempt to keep up with newer offerings like the BMW 3-series, Cadillac CT4-V, Genesis G70, and the still lovely Mercedes-Benz C-class. Designers went to work on the sheetmetal with a smoothed-out profile, squinty headlights, and following the trend, an even larger grille. It's a killer-looking sedan, especially when dressed in the IS350's standard F Sport garb and blacked-out trim.

HIGHS: Stunning curb appeal, tasteful interior, comfortable seats.

While the IS's looks will please your optic nerve, the segment is one that emphasizes performance. Beneath the hood of the rear-wheel-drive IS350 F Sport is Lexus's familiar 3.5-liter V-6 producing a naturally aspirated 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Against turbocharged fours and sixes, the V-6 seems a step behind the times. The engine lacks the low-rpm shove that comes from most turbocharged mills, and the eight-speed automatic delivers lackadaisical shifts. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 5.6 seconds, and the quarter-mile is gone in 14.2 seconds at 100 mph. While those numbers would have been good a decade ago, today the IS350 F Sport finds itself competitive with the base turbocharged inline-fours offered in its class. For a sedan with such seductive looks, it deserves an updated V-6 with more power.

In an effort to improve handling, Lexus has also retuned the chassis. There are additional welds in the unibody to strengthen the structure, aluminum control arms replace steel ones, springs and anti-roll bars have been lightened, and a switch to lug bolts instead of nuts saves two pounds. Our test car arrived with the $4200 Dynamic Handling package that includes lightweight 19-inch BBS wheels that shave a claimed 16 pounds, adaptive dampers, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential.

LOWS: A naturally aspirated V-6 in a world gone turbo, chassis shows promise but is held back by an overly vigilant stability control system.

All of the changes sound great on paper, but on the street there's still some structural flimsiness and the steering isn't as precise as the CT4-V's or the G70's. Lexus fits Bridgestone Potenza S001L summer rubber that seems tuned more for comfort than all-out grip. There's also the matter of a stability-control system that reactivates itself above 30 mph. This car's 0.89 g of stick on the skidpad is far from noteworthy. A Camry TRD outgrips the IS350 on the skidpad. Standing on the left pedal at 70 mph stops the IS350 in a competitive 155 feet, but the force of the stop seemed to trigger a low-oil pressure alert. This isn't something we've experienced with this engine before, so it may be a pre-production bug.

We found few problems with the tastefully appointed cabin. Supple leather and wood trim dress up the revised dashboard. The seating position and comfort of the bucket seats is spot on, but our enthusiasm wanes when we start using the infotainment system's touchpad. Though Lexus remains dedicated to fitting the haptic pad to operate the infotainment system, it's easily avoided by using the standard 8.0-inch or optional 10.3-inch touchscreen. Mounted nearly six inches closer than before, they're an easy tap away. Technophiles will find solace now that Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard.

The good news for IS350 buyers, is that its $43,925 starting price is $2475 less than last year's IS350 F Sport. A looker inside and out, the low-stress V-6 could definitely use more muscle and the handling could be more engaging and fun. Add in our car's as-tested $55,200 price, and we were in a less forgiving mood. A new engine would go a long way toward helping the IS sedan stay off death row.

Source: caranddriver.com

Published in Lexus

Not the fastest or most efficient, but its cost could pencil out.

Usually when you face a choice between a conventional gas or plug-in hybrid SUV or car, the PHEV struggles to save enough fuel to offset the cost of the battery, motor, and all that extra copper. For some drivers, the BMW X3 xDrive30e might just pencil out. But will it kill your soul while doing so?

How The BMW X3 XDrive30e Plug-In Hybrid SUV Can Pay For Itself

Changing the "i" at the end of that model designation to an "e" costs $4,600. For that, you get a 107-hp/77-lb-ft electric motor sandwiched between your engine and transmission, which boosts the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine's output to 288 hp and 310 lb-ft. (In the xDrive30i it makes 248 hp and 258 lb-ft.) You also get a hefty 12-kWh battery pack capable of propelling the X3 on battery power alone for an EPA-rated 17 miles. When driving in that mode, the EPA rates it at an impressive 59/61/60 mpg-e on its city/highway/combined cycles, but the added weight of all this equipment (782 pounds on our scales) means that when that battery gets depleted, it gets the same fuel economy as the six-cylinder X3 M40i (21/27/24 mpg).

Here's how you can make the X3 xDrive30e pencil out in terms of fuel costs alone, using the five-year, 15,000-miles-per-year (41 per day) ownership model our partners at IntelliChoice developed. First, you need to plug in every night and drive at least 17 electric miles every day. Doing that, using national average costs for electricity and premium fuel of 13.19 cents/kWh and $3.08/gallon, the 17 daily miles add up to $2,292 over five years, and the remaining 24 miles/day will cost $5,808, for a total of $8,100—$783 less than IntelliChoice's $8,883 fuel cost for the X3 xDrive30i, and nowhere near our $4,600 target. But suppose you commute 17 miles each way to a generous, planet-loving employer offering free EV charging*? Now 34 miles per weekday (plus 17 daily miles on the weekends) costs your household that same $2,292, while the remaining 4,392 miles are gas only, costing $2,900, for a total of $5,192—a fuel savings of $3,691 relative to the xDrive30i. That's 80 percent of the cost difference. Drive it another year or two and you're there—less, if IntelliChoice finds the depreciation to be less for the PHEV model (full cost of ownership data is incomplete for this model).

This electrified SUV is "massive," but it's a low, road-hugging, rear-biased (43/57 front/rear percent) mass. The added electrification nearly maintains the xDrive30i's weight-to-power ratio (17.4 lb/hp versus the gasser's 17.1), but because of the electric motor's strong low-end torque (its peak lasts from 0-3,170 rpm), it accelerates considerably quicker. The 60-mph dash takes just 5.4 seconds en route to a 14.5-second, 98.1-mph quarter mile. That roughly lands the xDrive30e neatly between the non-electrified four and six-cylinder X3s. The xDrive30i's stats are 6.3 seconds and 14.8 at 92.6; the M40i's are 4.8 and 13.4 at 103.7. This result is particularly remarkable given that the hybrid's GA8P75HZ transmission features unique gearing that pencils out slightly taller (more efficiency minded) than the shared gearing of the gas models.

As with most BMWs, fiddling with the drive modes alters the mood of the vehicle substantially. Naturally, there's a fully electric mode that allows fuel-free motoring up to 84 mph; a hybrid mode can remain fully electric to 68 mph, while the EcoPro, adaptive, and sport modes ratchet up the driving fun as in the X3's sisterships.

Is The X3 XDrive30e Any Fun To Drive?

Our test sample was kitted out for peak driving fun, with the M Sport 2 and Dynamic Handling packages and shod in 20-inch Pirelli P Zero summer run-flat tires. As such, it smokes the braking and lateral-g performance of our last X3 xDrive30i (on 19-inch Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport all-season tires). It out-brakes our long-term M40i, doing 60­­-0 mph in 110 versus 112 feet, and even manages a bit more max-lateral grip (0.89 to 0.84 g), and that one wore 21-inch Bridgestone Alenza summer tires. Had we been able to perform our figure-eight test in Michigan, it surely would have logged a low-26-second lap. So yes, there is typical car enthusiast fun to be had at the helm. There's also geek-fun to be had paging through the many performance- and economy-oriented screens and displays available in the cluster, the central screen, and the head-up display.

How Does The BMW X3 XDrive30e Compare With Its Rivals?

Sadly, we have no official experience with this X3's obvious plug-in competitors—the similarly sized Audi Q5 55 TFSI e and the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e—so we're ill-equipped to compare them. The Audi and BMW are rated to tow 4,400 pounds, and the Mercedes can only manage 3,600 if that helps in the elimination process. Otherwise, on paper these two competitors cost more to start with—$52,995 for the Audi and $52,895 for the Benz compared to $49,545 for this X3—but their extra cost buys extra output and economy. Their electrified 2.0-liter drivetrains make more power and torque—362 hp/369 lb-ft for the Audi and 320 hp and 413 lb-ft for the Mercedes—so odds are they'll be quicker. They also get higher EPA ratings: 64/66/65 mpg-e (25/29/27 mpg on gas only) for the Audi and 67/70/68 mpg-e (23/28/25 mpg, gas) for the Mercedes. Those cars boast 2-4 additional miles of electric range, too. Of course, the premium you pay for the PHEV hardware is also steeper, so making the saved fuel costs pay off the premium might require an unreasonable amount of mooched electricity.

Source: motortrend.com

Published in BMW
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With striking style and an upscale interior, Kia's new mid-size sedan is some chassis refinement away from rivaling the leaders in its class.

Children don't sketch SUVs in study hall and car designers don't spend years in school working their way up to ­studio boss to figure out how to draw a grille and headlights on a potato. The designers we know dream of penning performance cars, and while the 2021 Kia K5 isn't exactly that, it definitely looks like one.

"Longer and lower with a wider track" sounds like a Chevy ad from the '50s, but those descriptors belong to Kia's mid-size sedan, too. Compared with the Optima it replaces, the K5 measures two inches longer and nearly an inch lower and has an extra 0.8 inch between the tires. The proportions and design yield a striking car that belies its front-drive layout, the $24,455 starting price. We drove a GT-Line model with an asking price of $27,955, but a mechanically identical EX went to the test track and that's where the numbers came from. Aesthetes who find the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry too common might not turn their noses up at the K5.

While the styling pleases eyes, the K5 is satisfying in many other ways. The base engine is a 180-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four shared with the Sonata, and it's paired to an eight-speed automatic—no rubber-band CVT here. Shifts are smooth and quick, and the right gears are called up without any fuss. Low-end torque feels more abundant than its peak of 195 pound-feet at 1500 rpm indicates, and the turbo makes itself felt right away. Stomp it and the K5 gets to 60 in 7.0 seconds.

Venture beyond 5000 rpm and the engine moans, something you won't hear in an Accord. Driven more sedately, the K5 hums 67 decibels of sound into the cabin at 70 mph. All GT-Line and EX models have the same suspension tuning as the base K5, but they use 18-inch wheels with wider Pirelli all-season tires than the entry trim's 16s. Sharp impacts expose a lack of isolation. While not a deal breaker, it's worth noting that an Accord sops up the same hits with less coarseness. It's likely the shorter sidewalls of the 18-inch wheels and the one-size-fits-all tuning are to blame. The steering is both unerringly stable at highway speeds and deft and responsive when you're sawing through a canyon road or interesting on-ramp.

A radically angled windshield lends a sports-car mood to the driving experience, and the seating position is excellent. Rear-seat space is generous and comfortable. A 10.3-inch touchscreen is available on some trim levels, but the GT-Line comes with an 8.0-inch screen. Both sprout out of the dash and are flanked by physical buttons that make switching between functions easy. The instrument panel has a BMW-ness to it, and material quality throughout the cabin is good. Apple and Android phone mirroring is wireless on all models with the stand­ard 8.0-inch infotainment screen, but strangely, you'll need a cable if you upgrade to the 10.3-incher.

The K5 inches closer to the Accord's ability to deliver everyday joy. A bit of suspension tuning to increase isolation and refinement would give it the manners to match its designer looks.

Source: caranddriver.com

Published in KIA
Tagged under

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