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2020 FORD SUPER DUTY FIRST LOOK

2020 FORD SUPER DUTY FIRST LOOK BY AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. Serious work trucks are judged on 2 main criteria; towing and payload.

So Ford is ratcheting up both in their all-new 2020 Super Duty.  Shipping to dealers this fall, the Super Duty lineup which includes the F-250, F-350 and F-450 is powered by a 6.2-liter gas V8 as standard or customers can upgrade to the next generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 making more horsepower and torque or opt for a new entry; a 7.3-liter gas V8. 

Though numbers have not been released, Ford says they expect the 7.3 to be the most powerful gas V8 in its class.  All 3 engines will use a new Ford-developed 10-speed automatic transmission designed for the harshest towing conditions. 

Without citing specifics, Ford says this Super Duty offers its highest-ever conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing and payload ratings.  Optimized cooling across the range is courtesy of a new front-end design that also enhances the performance of the LED headlamps. 

Ford says the improved front bumper also makes using the utility hooks easier.  The cabin has been completely refreshed, crafted with the use of even more luxurious materials on the Limited model and modern touches such as wireless charging, Wi-Fi, and Pro Trailer Backup Assist add technology, connectivity and convenience. 

Though pricing has yet to be released, the current Super Duty lineup starts at under $35,000 while an F-450 Limited can cross $90,000.

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2019 HYUNDAI SANTA FE REVIEW

This all-new Santa Fe showcases Hyundai’s bolder and bigger design language and really reignites the brand’s mojo which has been slipping in recent years. This 2019 model is the most complete, family-oriented SUV in its segment.  It’s that good.  Now, if you’re on a tight budget there’s the front-drive Santa Fe SE for under $25,000.  But 6 trim levels up is this range-topping Ultimate 2.0T AWD for $39,970 before any available incentives.  And that includes everything the Santa Fe offers as standard. It’s incredibly well-stocked, drives with a reassuring polish and pays special attention to cabin aesthetics and ergonomics.  It recaptures the MO from Hyundai’s maturation process; providing a generous, modern package at a price that undercuts the competition.

At 235 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, the 2.0-liter turbo’s output doesn’t wow on paper but it never feels inadequate, producing strong low-end acceleration, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t interfere with the fluid driving experience. I also like having this Smart drive mode in addition to the Comfort and Sport settings that automatically selects the proper steering effort, engine and transmission control logic based on the driver’s habits.  It works really well and helps save a little gas and that’s a good thing, because at 21mpg the Santa Fe trails the more powerful Ford Edge by 2mpg in mixed driving and 4mpg on the highway.

The interior dimensions of the Santa Fe have grown to give 2nd row passengers more space.  And, there’s more cargo room behind these seats.  All told it’s a great place to spend time with this beautiful panoramic sunroof, 2 USB ports, slide and recline heated seats, and window sunshades.

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2019 TOYOTA TACOMA VIDEO REVIEW

The smaller, midsize truck segment as it is now called is red hot again with a trio of new entries about to shake things up. But no matter what the competition throws at it the Tacoma is the mainstay best-seller.

In full disclosure, I own a Tacoma; a 2001 Prerunner that’s been in my family ever since I reviewed it for the show 18 years ago and then bought it out of the press fleet. So I have particularly high standards for this truck.  It has been the segment’s sales leader for 12 years running so I can’t really blame Toyota for their if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach.  But…

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2019 MASERATI LEVANTE VIDEO REVIEW

2019 MASERATI LEVANTE VIDEO REVIEW BY AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. Urus, Cullinan, Bentayga; SUVs have never been more in fashion and brands you thought would never go there are cashing-in with 6-figure price tags. Even Ferrari is readying their first in what they’re calling an FUV.  If you want one of these luxe utility vehicles but need the price to come down just a bit, Maserati offers up this; its first-ever SUV, the Levante.

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2019 Volvo V60 Review

2019 Volvo V60 Review By TestDriveNow Auto Critic Steve Hammes.
Joining the impressive flagship V90 is this all-new V60; a smaller, sportier take on what Volvo does best.
Several years back it appeared as though Volvo had all but given up on their wagon endeavors. But then the all-new V90 arrived to restore the faith and now the rebirth of one of Volvo’s oldest cars, the V60, keeps the line moving.  The new 60 Series models mirror everything the Swedes have been up to since the current generation XC90 debuted 3 years ago.  The harder edged exterior styling is a resounding success across the board.  But Volvo’s Scandinavian-styled, beautiful yet simplistic cabins are all so similar to one another that it’s difficult to tell them apart, making it easy for the Volvo faithful to transition from one model to another but inducing a serious case of Deja vu  for the rest of us.  At least here in this entry-level Momentum trim you can specify these fashionable City Weave Textile seats which provide some distinction and always start a conversation.  Personally, I love them.  And these seats don’t just look cool; they’re super comfortable with a perfect blend of softness and support.

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