2021 SUBARU CROSSTREK SPORT TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. For my money, this is the best Subaru you can buy. And I’ve held that opinion since it was first called the XV Crosstrek back in 2013. You can think of it as a bite-sized Outback. And now you can have one in Sport trim with a more powerful engine.
Hyundai has announced that the 2021 Sonata N Line adds N Brand design elements, chassis upgrades, and an exclusive Smartstream 2.5-liter turbocharged engine mated to a new N Eight-Speed Wet Dual-Clutch Transmission (N DCT) to a SEL Plus trim Sonata. “N” signifies high performance at Hyundai, and our latest creation is the 290-horsepower Sonata N Line sedan. Available at most dealerships in November, the Sonata N Line will be priced at $33,200.
2021 DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT FIRST LOOK BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
The 2021 model year will see Dodge’s lineup reduced to 3 models; a coupe, a sedan and an SUV. But for the first time – and perhaps the last – each one can be ordered as a Hellcat. Though a Journey Hellcat would have been fun, the Durango is the next in line to receive the brand’s outrageous supercharged HEMI V8. As one of the few remaining sanctuaries for 8-cylinder muscle, when Dodge refreshes one of their core models you can bet there’re going to be bigger engines and more horsepower on the menu. So to accompany the more aggressive styling and updated cockpit every Durango receives this year, there’s a new king of the hill model that reaches beyond the already potent SRT 392. This Hellcat, which produces 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque from its 6.2-liter engine, puts down a 0-to-60mph time of 3.5 seconds via Launch Control and Launch Assist. That’s faster than a BWM X6 M! Its quarter-mile time is an equally crazy 11.5 seconds. And how about a top speed of 180 mph while still capable of towing 8,700 pounds? It sticks to the road with more downforce thanks in part to its new rear spoiler and has greater stability turning into corners afforded by the Hellcat-tuned suspension. Reservations open in November with pricing set at $82,490 including destination.
2020 LAND ROVER DEFENDER TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. Spurred by low gas prices, choking traffic and an insatiable appetite for SUVs, the off-road vehicle movement has never been riper. I’m talking about real capability that can get you away from all the craziness; from trucks to sport utilities there have never been so many competent choices. Enter the new Defender – a modern interpretation of the iconic original. The days of needing body-on-frame construction and solid axles to prove your off-road mettle are passé. This Defender is modern, smart and everyday luxurious while being respectful to its past. It’s purpose-built for off-roading but that’s not its only personality trait. Made from an all-new aluminum unibody Land Rover says is the stiffest platform they’ve ever created underpinned by a fully independent air suspension that bests a Wrangler Rubicon in ground clearance and hangs with it in other critical off-road geometry. It pairs a full-time 4-wheel drive system with a sophisticated Terrain Response System replete with automatic center and rear lockers making off-roading an absolute breeze. The electronics are amazing and configurable beyond the numerous pre-programmed surface types; I just wish the Terrain Response controls weren’t shared with the climate buttons and knobs over here at a decent reach from the driver. You can view the selections on the center screen or right here depending upon how you’ve configured the display. With these optional new Goodyear Wrangler Adventure tires, this Defender makes mud, ruts and rocks seem like a mere inconvenience.
When the Defender’s 67 year production run ended in 2016, it had already been nearly 2 decades since one could be found in a U.S. Land Rover dealership. The 1997 Defender 90 with its 4.0-liter V8, 4-speed auto and 13mpg was a British-born Jeep rival. But since, Land Rover’s SUV lineup has trended more towards afternoon tea and less to morning fox hunts. The Defender’s much anticipated return is finally here to recapture some of the original’s raw ruggedness with modern day accoutrements.
MSRP as-tested: $73,043
2020 CADILLAC CT5 V TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. Cadillac’s car lineup has been reduced to 2 all-new models, the compact-sized CT4 and this; the midsize CT5, both available in mid-performance models Cadillac refers to as V-Series.
With a twin-turbo V6, MagneRide suspension, Brembo front brakes, an electronic limited slip differential, V Drive Mode, Launch Control and Performance Traction Management, this V-Series injects enough raciness into the CT5 to satisfy all but the most demanding drivers. And for them, the Blackwing variant arrives next summer.