Jeep continues to expand the Wrangler’s portfolio by adding a plug-in hybrid for the 2021 model year. The 4-door Wrangler 4xe adds yet another powertrain choice to the various gas and diesel offerings.
And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain. Recharge the 400-volt battery pack situated below the rear seats and the 4Xe provides up to 25 miles of pure electric driving. Want to preserve that quiet, zero-emission propulsion for the trail? Select the E-Save drive mode and bottle it up for later use. Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor. Jeep estimates that the 4xe’s gas mileage will be the same as that of a Toyota Prius. The full-time 4-wheel drive transfer case provides all of the options you want; including 2WD and automatic 4-wheel drive settings to compliment the usual 4H and 4L modes. And if you think this is a fragile Jeep you can’t take deep into enemy territory, think again. All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproof so it can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance. Base 4xe and Sahara models are also offered and we’ll know more about pricing as the 4xe’s December on-sale date grows closer.
2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. Volvo’s smallest and most affordable wagon has recently received the brand’s Cross Country treatment, meaning it rides higher, is driven by all 4 wheels and possesses a look that takes it into crossover territory. Volvo’s styling game is completely on point, particularly with their car lineup and this is one sharp-looking wagon, accentuated by metallic Crystal White paint and optional 19” wheels. It looks like nothing else on the road and that’s not an easy claim these days.
2020 LEXUS RC 350 F SPORT AWD REVIEW BY TESTDRIVENOW CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. The RC possesses that unique blend of Lexus luxury in its ride quality with a spirited character that’ll have you seeking the long way home. Coupe owners, obviously, crave fun and driving precision and the RC provides that without any white knuckle drama as it sticks to the road with all-wheel drive grip and the benefit of the F SPORT-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension. Dial into the highest Sport S + drive mode and gear shifts happen faster, the steering is firmer, and the suspension less yielding. But to get the most out of the experience, use the paddle shifters otherwise the 6-speed can feel tardy. And even though from out here the RC doesn’t sound like much, Lexus has created a convincing soundtrack for those inside…it really works quite well. All-season tires make sense on this trim I suppose, but a more aggressive set of rubber would help scrub out some of this understeer as you attack a corner.
2020 AUDI Q7 55 REVIEW BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. It’s no surprise; Audi sells far more SUVs these days than cars. And its largest has just been updated with modern tech and a new engine. This is the family-friendly, 3-row Audi Q7.
With a starting price of $55,795, admittedly the family has to have some money in the bank, but that being said this is the only Audi with seating for up to 7, standard all-wheel drive and 7,700 pounds max towing. Mine is the top-of-the-line Q7 Prestige, certainly well-equipped but not fully loaded, with an as-tested price of $76,040.
2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes.
Though it left the Hyundai nest 4 years ago, the Genesis brand and its wing-type emblem are still a bit of an enigma. I can tell from the stares that people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking at. And with a thoroughly reworked body and head-turning wheels, the refreshed G90 is a curiosity worthy of attention.
Loaded with modern safety tech with some brief hands-off driving capability, everything on this Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium is standard with a very becoming MSRP of $75,695, especially when you consider the no-cost valet services and Genesis’s 4th consecutive 1st place finish in JD Power’s Initial Quality Study. If you’re not a slave to the badge, the G90 is a smart alternative to the expensive stalwarts.