Displaying items by tag: SUV

Sunday, 09 January 2022 16:28

BMW iX review (2021)


  • State of the art purpose-built electric car from BMW
  • Impressive to drive with outstanding comfort and refinement
  • Eye-catching interior, packed with user-friendly technology


  • Exterior design takes some getting used to
  • Not all of the driver assistance tech works flawlessly
  • Cheaper, more conventional BMW electric cars on the way

The BMW iX is a new purpose-built luxury electric car, and the flagship for BMW’s latest electric vehicle technology. It combines controversial exterior looks with a plush, ‘lounge-style’ interior and a seriously impressive driving experience – as well as offering a large number of modern safety and driving aids.

Rivals include the Audi E-Tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model X.

Is the BMW iX any good?

If you’re in the market for a premium electric car and like to make a striking impression, BMW has definitely got you covered. Although you will also need to spend quite a lot of money. Two versions are available to buy now – iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive 50 – with an M-performance model badged xDrive M60 to follow in summer 2022.

At this stage, we’ve only driven the xDrive50 model, which commands an eye-watering £93,905 asking price in more basic Sport specification, rising to £96,905 for the fancier M Sport variant.

For that you get BMW Gen5 – fifth generation – electric motor and battery technology, and an ‘intelligent material mix’ structure that incorporates carbonfibre, aluminium and high-strength steel. For the xDrive 50, this results in the fairly spectacular combination of 523hp and 765Nm with a claimed WLTP driving range of 380 miles per charge.

BMW iX review (2021) profile view, driving

Living up to this promise, the iX is fast, comfortable, refined and outstandingly nimble for something that weighs over 2.5 tonnes and is similarly proportioned to a BMW X5 SUV. It also seems well able to deliver the on-paper driving range – though this will depend considerably on how much use you make of the available performance.

Other attention-grabbing features include a new generation of iDrive infotainment system (BMW Operating System 8) and a set of driver assistance features that include augmented-reality navigation, customisable digital and head-up displays, and adaptive brake recuperation that works superbly.

What about the way it looks?

BMW has never been a brand for building particularly beautiful cars, but there are some truly unusual angles and surfaces here. However, we would argue that it looks better in real life than it does in the pictures.

What’s more, not only is it unlikely to be mistaken for anything else – probably important for the kind of buyer who’s happy to drop nearly £100k on a BMW electric car – the design has been massaged to provide excellent aerodynamics.

This helps the iX drive faster and further, by allowing it to cut through the air more cleanly.

BMW iX review (2021) exterior view, grille

What’s it like inside?

The interior of the iX is just as unusual as the exterior – though not in such a controversial way. Here you’ll find the modern beauty of a contemporary luxury hotel room, rather than the edgy confrontation of modern art.

That’s not to say it will appeal to everyone. The slice of curving screen across the dashboard – actually two screens combined – is much as we’re coming to expect from EV interior design, while the latest iDrive software gives you comprehensive control in a reasonably instinctive manner. But the big, quilted seats are dramatic, the abrupt transition between surfaces and materials even more so, and the use of faceted crystal for some of the controls bordering on the gauche. The hexagonal steering wheel isn’t as odd to use as you might think, though.

Once again, this all helps the iX stand out against its rivals. It’s also very roomy inside, with lots of head and leg room front and rear. While there is a large battery pack under your feet, the floor doesn’t feel unnecessarily high.

BMW iX review (2021) interior view

What’s it like to drive?

BMW has a reputation to uphold for exceptional driving dynamics as we move further and further into the age of electric cars, and the iX certainly isn’t going to do that reputation any damage.

Built around BMW’s first bespoke electric vehicle platform since the i3 city car, it has a very stiff bodyshell, which is then further reinforced by the large battery pack bolted to the underside. Being so stiff is a real benefit to every area of the car, as it allows the suspension to work more effectively.

The battery pack is heavy. In the xDrive50 model it contains an enormous 111.5kWh of electricity storage and weighs around 650kg. Because this weight is concentrated so low in the chassis, it not only gives the iX lots of extra strength, it also lowers the centre of gravity – which is further good news for stability when driving round corners.

Adding another touch of luxury class, the iX uses variable air suspension rather than steel springs.

BMW iX review (2021) exterior view, cornering

Combine all of the above, and you get a large car that manages to pull off the magic trick of riding bumpy surfaces brilliantly – despite 21-inch alloy wheels as standard – while also cornering with agility and precision on the twistiest of mountain roads. It leans a bit when really pressing on, but this only seems to highlight the depths of talent to the chassis tuning, allowing you to enjoy the process of handling it more.

Grip, meanwhile, isn’t an issue. The iX has two electric motors – one on each axle, making this the first BMW with electric all-wheel drive – and new control components mean that power can be measured out between them with exceptional speed. If one end of the car loses traction, the other compensates so swiftly the process is practically imperceptible.

Outright performance is mighty. The benchmark 0-62mph takes 4.6 seconds, but more significantly, BMW has engineered the electric motors to maintain their maximum power and torque at higher rpm. Overtaking punch is really impressive and the xDrive will hit and maintain its electronically limited 124mph top speed with ease (on derestricted autobahns in Germany).

What many owners will perhaps appreciate more, however, is the refinement. This is a very quiet car inside, even when travelling very quickly. BMW has taken the trouble to commission Oscar-winning movie composer Hans Zimmer to provide an electronic soundtrack that syncs beautifully with the way the car is being driven – but with this switched off, something that’s easily done via the infotainment system, the iX just whispers its way through the air.

What driver aids are available?

The iX is available with more driver assistance systems than BMW has ever offered before. Many of these will be familiar from other modern vehicles, but of particular interest are the elements that best show off the way the iX is properly aware of its surroundings.

For instance, it will monitor traffic lights to prompt you when they turn green. The head-up display will warn you if there are ‘dangerous’ bends ahead. The sat-nav can overlay direction information on a camera feed from the front of the car.

Our favourite example, however, is the ‘adaptive’ brake recuperation. This uses navigation and sensor data to vary the amount of braking effect you get from the motors whenever you release the accelerator – which sounds unnerving and complicated yet works remarkably intuitively. It will even allow the iX to coast at high speeds if that’s most efficient.

BMW iX review (2021) interior view, transmission selector

Engage the full B-mode, and you can drive almost exclusively without touching the brake pedal, as the motors will do the braking for you in all but extreme circumstances. And in exemplary fashion.

Better still, because of another integrated control unit balancing the effort between motor and traditional friction braking, when you do use the brake pedal, the feel and performance remains consistent at all times. Something that few other electric vehicles manage to pull off.

How long does it take to charge?

With 195kW fast-charging capability, the xDrive50 can be topped up with 93 miles of additional range in 10 minutes – or go from 10% to 80% in 35 minutes.

But this relies on very fast and comparatively expensive DC public chargers – the vast capacity of the battery pack means that you’ll need to allow 16 hours for 100% on a single-phase 7kW AC wallbox of the type most commonly found at UK homes and offices.

What different models and trims are available?

The iX is currently available in two versions: the xDrive40 priced from £69,905 and the xDrive50 priced from £93,905.

We’ve covered the stats of the xDrive50 in detail above. The xDrive40 produces 326hp and 630Nm of torque, does 0-62mph in 6.1sec, and has the same 124mph top speed; WLTP driving range is 257 miles.

Both versions are available in Sport and M Sport trim levels.

Standard equipment highlights for the iX Sport include an 18-speaker harmon/kardon hi-fi system, 21-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, four-zone climate control and a substantial number of driver assistance systems.

The upgrade to iX M Sport – which costs an extra £3,000 – adds a styling package, bigger brakes, dark headlight glass and anthracite roof lining.

A car like this never has a short options list, and among the add-ons for the standard models are massaging front seats, heated steering wheel and other cabin surfaces, Bowers and Wilkins hi-fi upgrade, ‘Skylounge’ panoramic roof, Laserlight headlights, and an interior camera that can be used for security and fun.

High-performance BMW iX M60 on sale in summer 2022 

In summer 2022 an M-performance model called the iX xDrive M60 joins the range. Power output for this is now confirmed at a staggering 619hp combined with a huge 1,100Nm peak torque, delivering 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and an electronically limited 155mph top speed.

BMW iX M60, front view, grey

Maximum claimed WLTP driving range is equally impressive at 357 miles per charge, though it needs to impress, given pricing starts at £111,905.

For the money you also get bespoke BMW M suspension tuning, 22-inch alloy wheels, soft-close doors, powerful BMW Laserlights instead of regular LED headlights, and a technology suite that includes an interior camera, Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi, massaging front seats, heated everything, and BMW Parking Assistant Professional.

What else should I know?

The built-in connectivity means BMW will offer new features and allow customers to pay for upgrades to their iX via over-the-air updates. Among the things coming this way are an automated parking system that allows the car to learn and self-drive certain short-distance manoeuvres, which you’ll then be able to control from outside the car using your phone.

A heated element in the front grille area ensures all of the cameras and sensors built into the nose will still work when it’s snowing. BMW has put a lot of thought into this car.

BMW iX review (2021) rear view
Should you buy one?

If you want a stand-out, high-price, high-quality electric car, close to the cutting edge of the current state of battery electric vehicle technology then the BMW iX could well be for you. The look of the thing is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows, but as a statement-maker that may be exactly what you’re looking for anyway.

Regardless, the interior is inviting, and the impressive blend of performance and serenity achieved by the driving experience means that even the most doubtful potential customer should at least take an iX for a test drive.

What we like

We can think of few other cars that are capable of providing such comprehensive ride comfort in combination with such cornering athleticism. The iX is at once a limousine and a creditable substitute for a sportscar – all while producing zero emissions in motion, thanks to its electric drive system.

That electric drive not only gives awesome performance, but also does things an ordinary combustion car can’t – most notably the adaptive recuperation that practically makes the brake pedal a thing of the past. Traction is mega as well, thanks to the twin-motor setup.

The technology used throughout – from the materials it’s built from to the latest iDrive – matches the iX’s price tag, while the refinement and the luxury interior put some proper icing on what is a pretty fancy automotive cake.

What we don’t like

Looks are subjective, so we’ll pass over that.

More of a concern is that not all of the driver assistance systems work consistently. With everything switched on, the iX can theoretically accelerate up to speed limits automatically as well as slow down for hazards and ‘assist’ through turns (though this relies on you touching the steering wheel – it is not a fully autonomous car). However, we found many of these facilities unreliable in action, and certainly would caution against relying on them too heavily.

Beyond this, most of the issues with the iX are the same you’ll face with any electric car – the classic being the way charging it up takes longer than filling a fuel tank. But as we all know there are means of coping with these things, and it’s getting easier and easier to live with an EV all the time.


Published in BMW

We started our 15 months with our long-term Mazda CX-30 Premium AWD wondering if the handsome new subcompact SUV could convince us Mazda is truly on the march upmarket to become a luxury automaker. Now 19,163 miles later and with our CX-30 departing the MotorTrend garage, we feel safe saying although Mazda has made serious strides in some areas, the overall CX-30 experience left us cold—a new feeling for us, considering how much we loved our old CX-5, CX-9, 3, and 6 long-term cars.

The CX-30 has had an admittedly weird stay in our long-term fleet, with more than half of a year overlapping with safer-at-home orders. But despite sticking close to home base in Los Angeles for the first six months or so of its loan, our CX-30 got some meaningful road trip time in, including long stretches up to northern Oregon and shorter stints to San Francisco and out to the Mojave Desert in support of our Of The Year programs. Over that time, we got to know the CX-30 quite well. We really appreciated our CX-30's premium styling. Although the swooshy waveform on its flanks is controversial among staff (some think the reflections make it look like the SUV was sideswiped), the CX-30 has a distinctive and unmistakably Mazda look. The interior styling won high praise, too, outdoing segment rivals such as the Buick Encore GX and Lexus UX in design and material choice. We were also charmed by our long-termer's engaging steering feel, which is usually something of an afterthought in the subcompact SUV segment.

2020 Mazda CX-30 36

But despite the bright spots, the CX-30 wore on us over the months. Its styling promises luxury, but the drive experience doesn't deliver. We grew tired of apologizing to passengers for the buzz-prone powertrain, the transmission's sloppy shifts, and inconsistent stops due to a mushy brake pedal. The standard 186-hp, 186-lb-ft 2.5-liter I-4 also felt a bit underpowered when loaded with four people—an impression that the hunt-happy six-speed automatic didn't help. Mazda now offers a 250-hp turbocharged I-4 on the CX-30, but it's still saddled with the increasingly dated six-speed auto.

The CX-30's cabin also wasn't as nice a place to spend time as it first appeared to be; passengers frequently complained that the tight cabin was claustrophobic, due to the stylish high beltline. (The driver's seat is thankfully height-adjustable.) We've also found Mazda's infotainment system difficult to use while driving, requiring far too much time looking at screens and twiddling a knob than is safe to do while on the road

Although our CX-30 has been mechanically trouble-free over its time with us, its cabin is showing signs of early wear and tear. The white leather seats have started to stain from sliding across them in jeans, and the bolsters have been marred from rubbing up against the SUV's B-pillar. We were also disappointed to see the CX-30's faux carbon-fiber plastic trim quickly became an ugly rainbow of scratches, especially in high touchpoint areas around the shifter and cupholders. We had identical issues with our 2020 Mazda 3 long-termer.

Mazda's failure to improve materials quality is disappointing. However, we continue to be pleased with the dealer experience. For a mainstream automaker on the march upmarket, Mazda's dealership fell squarely on the luxury side of the spectrum, impressing us with the swiftness of its service and the attention to detail. Granted, we didn't spend much time at the dealership during our loan. Our two visits to the dealer were for routine service (an oil and filter change, tire rotation, and inspection) and recall work (one for a Bose audio system glitch, the other to improve the spotty adaptive cruise control).

We spent about $375.00 maintaining our Mazda (we say "about," because a careless former employee neglected to file the paper work for our CX-30's second service). That's significantly more than we spent on our long-term 2020 Kia Soul ($198.19 for two services) and 2018 Subaru Crosstrek ($281.85 for three services). It's also about $100 more than what we spent maintaining the 2020 Mazda 3. All of these vehicles covered about 20,000 miles.

2020 Mazda CX 30 Premium AWD 58

The EPA rates the CX-30 AWD at 25/32/27 mpg city/highway/combined, and in our time with it, which heavily skewed toward urban driving, we netted 25.8 mpg. Unsurprisingly, that's worse than our Mazda 3 hatchback (28.8 mpg), but it's about dead even with our old Crosstrek, which achieved 25.9 mpg in our hands.

Overall, Mazda has made notable strides with both design and the dealership experience. But if we're looking at it as a luxury SUV, its lack of polish and drivetrain refinement seriously detract from the ownership experience. At the same time, the compromises resulting from Mazda's move upmarket make the CX-30 less enjoyable to drive day to day. As a result, this is probably the least engaging Mazda we've experienced in a decade; improvements in design and dealerships don't outweigh that.

Ultimately, the CX-30 is less a jack-of-all-trades vehicle than a master of none. We won't miss this Mazda, but there's always the next one.

Published in Mazda
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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

The X3’s midcycle update brings good tech upgrades and better looks.

The last time we drove the third-gen BMW X3, we were a bit disappointed with its cabin design, technology, and overall position in the segment. The 2022 BMW X3 is trying to change that with its midcycle update, which involves a moderate improvement to its interior and exterior design, plus the addition of more up-to-date technology. Are these changes enough to impact its impression among our staff?

What Changed?

If you place a 2018 and 2022 X3 side by side, the differences are quite noticeable. Up front, the grille, headlights, and fascia are new, with the air vents getting bigger and bolder, particularly on versions with the M Sport design package. The iconic double kidney grille is a bit bigger on the newer model, and it seems like the two kidneys sit closer to each other, while the headlights adopt a modern design and feature new daytime running lights. Walk to the back, and the squared taillights stand out, while the rear fascia and tailpipes are similarly more squared than before.

The exterior upgrade is well received, making the 2022 BMW X3 look younger, fresher, and sportier. It's not that the 2018 model looks old, but in a segment that's quickly evolving—and where there's stiff competition—last year's X3 seemed to be stuck in time.

2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i 39

The changes inside are also welcomed. Gone is the old CD player layout, which is replaced by a redesigned center console with updated, metallic switchgear that gives the interior a fresh feeling. Although the center console didn't change much, the updated design is nicer and more contemporary, with a new display for the climate control. Also new are the shifter and all the real estate around it, which now includes a push-start button next to the shifter (instead of next to the air vents) and new iDrive controls. But the most important upgrades are the bigger 12.3-inch touchscreen atop the dashboard and the 12.3-inch display that replaces the analog instrument cluster. The touchscreen adds the new iDrive infotainment system, which now supports Android Auto—a first in the X3. Wireless Apple CarPlay is now standard across the board.

These changes are not only noticeable but appreciated. The graphics in the new instrument cluster aren't as eye-popping as the 3-D graphics in the Genesis GV70, but we're glad to see a more modern interior in the Bimmer. iDrive 7 is easier to use than the outgoing version, with updated maps and more modern graphics.

The Drive

Under the X3's hood, things remain mostly unchanged. The X3 xDrive30i's turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine again delivers 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends that power to all four wheels, though when the conditions are optimal it sends most of the power to the rear wheels.

2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i 40

This formula plays out well on the road. Although the X3 xDrive30i isn't a dynamic SUV (that task is meant for the more powerful, six-cylinder M40i), it delivers a comfortable yet sporty ride. The base engine is punchy enough to power the X3 through twisty uphill roads without hesitation, with the transmission quickly downshifting when needed to deliver more torque. Paddle shifters are included in case you want to manually select your own gears, but we found the transmission quick on its own.

A Sport Individual driving mode allows the driver to customize the driving experience for the engine, transmission, and steering, but we didn't feel much difference compared to Normal mode. In any case, the chassis tuning stands out on the twisty roads, where the X3 feels planted and exhibits low body roll, while the suspension manages to absorb pavement imperfections in a good manner.

Objectively, the X3 xDrive30i's numbers aren't eye-popping. Going 0 zero to 60 mph takes 6.4 seconds, a so-so figure compared to other entry-level German SUVs. The 2021 Audi Q5 Quattro we tested earlier this year got to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, and a 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 did so in 5.4 seconds—a full second ahead of the Bimmer.  Expand that list to include the 2020 Acura RDX and 2022 Lexus NX, and the X3 stands in a better position. The RDX reached 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, and the NX with its new turbo 2.4-liter engine did so in 7.3 seconds.

The story is mostly the same with the quarter-mile and figure-eight tests. The X3 crosses the quarter-mile mark in 15.0 seconds at 92.5 mph, a number that's slower than the Audi (14.4 seconds) and Mercedes (14.1 seconds), but faster than the Acura (15.2 seconds) and Lexus (15.5 seconds).

Braking, however, is a strong characteristic of the X3; it stopped from 60 mph in 109 feet—an impressive number considering its size and weight.

The Final Word

2022 BMW X3 xDrive30i 12

The X3 xDrive30i starts at $46,695, though prices quickly rise depending on the equipment. The good news is that the cost stayed relatively the same compared to the pre-refreshed model; the bad news is that the model we tested was $57,590. Our X3 was well equipped, but that's a hefty price tag, and one that could easily be beaten by non-German entries in this segment.

However, the changes made to the X3 make it younger and fresher—both inside and out. Is the X3 a better competitor because of these changes? Partially. The technology inside is newer and better, and we like the fact that prices didn't escalate much with the new equipment. Still, that doesn't completely fix everything with the X3. Its performance isn't up to par with the other Germans, making it mid-pack at best in the segment.

We welcome the refreshed X3, but we hope the next generation is stronger.

BASE PRICE $46,695
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4
POWER (SAE NET) 248 hp @ 5,200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 258 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,214 lb (50/50%)
WHEELBASE 112.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 185.9 x 74.4 x 66 in
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.0 sec @ 92.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 109 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.9 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)
Published in BMW

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV70 is a joy to drive, and it mimics its luxury competitors both in its ability to provide high style and in its occasional highly questionable design choices.

Versus the competition: Still perhaps a notch below its German rivals, the GV70 is Genesis’ best attempt yet to establish the South Korean brand’s credibility as a luxury marque.

As Genesis fills out its lineup, the latest vehicle to join the South Korean brand’s assault on established luxury rivals is the 2022 GV70 compact SUV. Hyundai’s luxury division, Genesis became a separate brand for the 2015 model year, and we’ve long been fans: We named the 2019 G70 sedan our Best of 2019 winner, and the pre-brand-spinoff Hyundai Genesis sedan was our first ever Best Of winner back in 2009.


With the GV70, Genesis has set its sights squarely on the lucrative luxury compact SUV class, including competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC (plus a whole host of others from brands not based in Deutschland). Can the GV70 compete in such a loaded field?

Driving Done Right

One of the things we love about the G70 sedan is how much fun it is to drive, and it’s no surprise that the GV70, which shares the same platform, retains some of that fun. Really, “some” is an understatement: The GV70 — at least the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 Sport Prestige version we tested — is a blast to drive. It’s not full-on bonkers like a BMW X3 M, Mercedes-AMG GLC63 or Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, but all three of those SUVs are at their best on a track. The GV70 Sport Prestige strikes a nice middle ground, more like a Mercedes-AMG GLC43, BMW X3 M40i or Audi SQ5.

The GV70’s 3.5-liter makes 375 horsepower and 391 pounds-feet of torque. Also available is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 300 hp and 311 pounds-feet that we haven’t yet driven. Both are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard on all GV70s.

Press the gas pedal and you’ll notice a bit of lag. Depending on your personal preference, you may find it annoying or you may enjoy the buildup before the GV70 takes off. Putting the driving mode into Sport or Sport Plus (the latter is only available on Sport models) seems to improve response time a bit. Either way, though, once you get going, the GV70’s twin-turbo V-6 pulls hard.

Ride and handling are also impressive. There was some impact harshness over bumps and imperfections, but I chalk that up mostly to the giant 21-inch wheels on our test vehicle. (The wheels can be as small as 18 inches, trim depending.) Otherwise, the adaptive suspension does a great job providing a cushy ride in its more comfortable settings, then firming up in Sport and Sport Plus. I was also impressed by how little body roll I felt during my time behind the wheel, though some of our editors felt more than I did.

GV70 Sport Prestige models add an electronically controlled limited-slip differential that aids in handling, and while it’s not quite up to par with the G70, the GV70 feels nimble, with decently communicative steering. More aggressive driving modes add a bit of extra weight to the steering feel, but they don’t do much to improve feedback or inspire confidence during more spirited driving.

My sole complaint about the driving experience lies with the GV70’s brakes: It takes a lot of effort to move the pedal, and the brakes themselves sometimes felt like they were being overworked trying to haul the GV70 to a stop. Something with more bite and easier, more linear pedal feel would do wonders for the GV70.

Interior Luxury Done Mostly Right

You’ll find some good and some bad inside the GV70. Genesis says its design approach was “inspired by the aerodynamic sections of aircraft wings”; as such, you’ll find elliptical shapes everywhere inside. It gives the GV70 a sort of retro-futuristic, Atomic Age vibe that I really enjoy.

Materials quality in the top GV70 trim stands out, with Nappa leather upholstery and suede inserts — and as you can see in the photos, it doesn’t have to be a boring color. I drove an Audi Q5 Sportback shortly after the GV70, and the Q5’s interior felt a bit more solidly put together than the Genesis’, but overall, the GV70’s interior is right up there with its peers.

Interior space, however, can feel a bit lacking. The front seating area is dominated by a large center console and might feel cramped to some, but I thought the snugness enhanced the GV70’s sporty feeling. The backseat offers decent amounts of head- and legroom, but at 6-foot-1, I found it difficult to sit comfortably behind my driver-seat position. Cargo space is also a bit tight. It felt adequate for daily errands, but our testing measured it at 16.15 cubic feet; that’s less than we measured in a Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe, which is the kind of SUV we always knock for sacrificing utility for style.

From a technological standpoint, the GV70’s 14.5-inch touchscreen display has crisp graphics and looks quite sharp. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but not wireless. The GV70 also offers driver profiles that are accessible via a variety of methods, including a fingerprint scanner mounted to the right of the steering wheel. It certainly feels futuristic, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t like the idea of your car having access to your fingerprints.

Cars these days can’t seem to be luxury cars without a few questionable design choices, and the GV70 has a few inside. First, that 14.5-inch touchscreen is placed so far away from the driver’s seat that even my arms and their 36-inch sleeve measurement couldn’t easily reach it. There’s a raised dial controller — though not the confusing, flush dial you’ll find in other Genesis models — to help alleviate that issue, but controllers are not the ideal way to navigate touchscreens, particularly when using features like CarPlay.

Speaking of dials, guess what else in the GV70 is a dial? The gear selector. Having two raised dials adjacent to each other in the center console was confusing, and I often found myself grabbing the gear selector instead of the multimedia controller. Fortunately, like coins, the two dials have different textures, but it’s still frustrating. Adding to my personal frustration was that unlike most vehicles with multimedia controllers, the GV70’s is positioned ahead of the gear selector instead of behind it, though buyers not used to that sort of setup probably won’t care.


The 2022 GV70 is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus for 2021 (model years and IIHS award years don’t always line up). The GV70 aced every test, but the front crash prevention vehicle-to-pedestrian test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had not yet tested the GV70 as of this writing, but when it does, you’ll find the results here. In our Car Seat Check, the GV70 received mixed scores.

Is Genesis Finally There?

We said once that the 2021 Genesis G80 sedan was “nipping at the Germans’ heels.” Well, the GV70 isn’t just nipping at the heels of German luxury compact SUVs, it’s taking full chomps.

With a starting price of just over $42,000, the GV70 undercuts the competition, though perhaps not as much as other Genesis models have in the past. Our test vehicle carried a sticker price of $65,045, which is more in line with performance-oriented — but not the highest-performance — versions of its competition. Once you start adding options to the German SUVs, however, the Genesis is likely to seem like an affordable option.

In terms of driving performance, the GV70 is certainly a luxury compact SUV, and the interior mimics the good (quality and style) and bad (questionable design and user interface choices) of many of its rivals. It should absolutely be on every luxury compact SUV shopper’s list, but whether it does enough to convince those who care what name is on their car remains to be seen.


Published in Genesis
Friday, 17 December 2021 07:20

2024 Toyota Compact Cruiser


Toyota has a history of capable off-road SUVs, from the FJ Cruiser to the 4Runner to the luxurious Land Cruiser. While the Land Cruiser is leaving the American market starting in 2022 and the FJ Cruiser hasn’t been sold here since 2014, Toyota is intent on staying competitive in the off-road space as the market transitions to electric vehicles, and will launch a tough compact electric SUV in the coming years. Previewed by the Compact Cruiser EV concept, the SUV will get boxy styling and rugged bumpers and body cladding. Very little is known about the electric powertrain, but the instant torque of electric motors should make it decently quick and adept at navigating rough terrain.

What's New for 2024?

The Compact Cruiser EV will be an all-new model for Toyota when it launches, and presumably will have a more creative name. We expect the electric off-roader to arrive for the 2024 model year. It will likely share some suspension and powertrain components with other upcoming electric Toyotas, but there is not much information yet on the mechanical components of the Compact Cruiser EV.

We estimate the price of the 2024 Compact Cruiser EV will start at around $35,000. We’ll know more about trim levels and pricing for the Compact Cruiser EV as the on-sale date nears.

As more information becomes available, we'll update this story with more details about:

  •  Engine, Transmission, and Performance
  •  Range, Charging, and Battery Life
  •  Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
  •  Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
  •  Infotainment and Connectivity
  •  Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
  •  Warranty and Maintenance Coverage


Published in Toyota
Monday, 13 December 2021 06:30

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQG



Over several decades the Mercedes-Benz G-class built a reputation as an all-conquering off-roader before becoming a six-figure status symbol for celebrities. Now, with the automotive landscape shifting away from gas-powered cars, the G-class is spawning the all-electric EQG. So far Mercedes has only shown the Concept EQG, which it refers to as a “near-production study.” The EQG retains the classic boxy styling of the G-class, and Mercedes says that the EQG will continue to be an extremely capable all-terrain vehicle. The 2024 Mercedes EQG is expected to have four electric motors, one per wheel, and will integrate its batteries into an old-school, robust ladder frame.

What's New for 2024?

The EQG will be an all-new model for the Mercedes brand when it launches. We expect it to arrive for the 2024 model year, meaning it could go on sale in late 2023. Although it will probably share a similar suspension and chassis with the gas-powered G-class, the batteries and electric motors will be new to the EQG.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

$150,000 (est)

We estimate that the price of the 2024 Mercedes EQG will be in the $150,000-range when it reaches dealerships. We’ll know more about the different EQG trims and their pricing closer to the electric off-roader’s on-sale date.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The EQG is expected to be powered by four electric motors, one near each wheel, that will be individually controllable, which should improve on- and off-road driving performance. If the concept is any indication, the EQG will also come with a shiftable 2-speed gearbox for traveling far off the beaten path. The EQG will use a similar chassis setup to the gas G-class, with a sophisticated independent front suspension, which should help with on-road driving, and a rigid rear axle.

2024 mercedes benz eqg side exterior

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Concept EQG is fitted with a lockable box in place of the traditional spare wheel housing, to store the charging cable and provide some additional storage but we still expect the EQG to offer a rear-mounted spare tire unlike the concept.


Published in Mercedes
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