2022 INFINITI QX60 TEST DRIVE

Once a rival to Lexus, Infiniti has been mired in old product and meandering business plans for years. The recently introduced QX50 didn’t set the world on fire as they had hoped so this new QX60 better click and it will. This is a solid evolution of what made the 1st one so popular; now smarter, more premium and better packaged for greater convenience. A base, front-drive QX60 Pure is priced at just under $48,000 and leases for $671 per month but we don’t do much base around here so my tester is an all-wheel drive QX60 Autograph; a metaphor referencing its personalized style. And this is a beautiful reimagining of the body with a judicious use of chrome and this gorgeous Moonbow Blue paint. It’s less curvy and more muscular now with a pronounced front end design proclaiming affluence. The footprint is nearly identical to before but this one is wider with a little more ground clearance though inside the 2nd and 3rd row legroom has decreased while cargo volume behind the 3rd row has increased by 2 cubic feet. There’s also a nifty underfloor storage box back here and of course, the tailgate can be foot activated. The 3rd row seats don’t power fold but they do get a power assist when raising them. And in general the configurable seat action is a QX60 strong suit. To access the 3rd row, just press this button at the base of the seat and the rest of the movement is done for you. And because the 2nd row captain’s chairs slide and recline and the 3rd row seats also recline, as long as everyone is courteous there’s enough room for 6 in here without any whining from the kids. And when it’s time to get out, there’s another one-touch button for that. So very family friendly though other than a couple of mixed-type USB ports there’s no entertainment features or screens back here…not even as an option.
Extremely limited in availability, the 2022 Infiniti QX60 can be ordered in Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph trims in either front- or all-wheel drive with up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity including trailer sway control and a transmission oil cooler. I’m not sure it’ll be the savior the brand needs but it’s certainly the best SUV Infiniti offers and will no doubt resume its reign as their sales leader.

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2022 BMW M240i TEST DRIVE

This here is a nearly $60,000 car; a small, all-wheel drive purple sports coupe just trying to make its way in an SUV-obsessed world. But, for those in the know – and you’re about to become one of them – this is the performance bargain of your sports car dreams. It’s the all-new BMW 2 Series and it’s beyond good…it’s addicting.
What was originally known as the 1 Series Coupe upon its arrival in 2008 became the 2 Series Coupe in 2014. And now for its second act, this 2022 redesign introduces sexy new styling, a dash of additional horsepower, stickier handling and a modern interior…oh, and this new color Thundernight Metallic…a $550 option that gets all the stares. This week, I’m skipping over the base 230i model and jumping right into the current top trim; the M240i xDrive. The former – a 4-cylinder rear-wheel setup – starts at under $40,000 making it the least expensive way to get into a BMW car while the latter- this all-wheel drive turbo-6 – starts at about $10 grand more. Now, my last spin in one of these came in 2017 in the small but mighty M2, a version expected to be reintroduced next year. As for this one, it’s quicker, significantly more fuel efficient and about the same price as that M2 so I can only imagine BMW has grand plans for its resurrection. Nevertheless this here is likely enough M for most. Though it’s 3.5” longer about 2.5” wider and a little over 200 pounds heavier than before, this is undoubtedly still a driver’s car with a low slung body, subcompact dimensions and a willingness to please as an Ultimate Driving Machine should. It’s arguably the purest form of BMW ethos in their lineup. Now, it is a shame you can’t currently get one like this without xDrive and with a stick shift but a rear-drive M240i will follow shortly. As for the manual it looks like you’ll have to wait for the M2 for that. As the 3 Series has matured beyond just a sports sedan the 2 Series has become the driver’s repository for attainable German driving enjoyment.

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2022 CHEVROLET TAHOE RST TEST DRIVE

Chevy has revived this new generation SUV reintroducing the big 6.2 V8. This is the 2022 Tahoe RST and the drive is phenomenal. If you want the 6.2 it’s optionally available on the 3 trims just below High Country; RST, Z71 and Premier leaving just the LS and LT out of the party. And it really makes the most sense here on the RST considering this is the sporty model with its numerous blackout treatments, 22” wheels and Victory Red accents on the Jet Black leather seats. A richer sounding cat-back upgrade is available as are Brembo front brakes but they’re not cheap…choosing those options add nearly $5,800 to the price. Chevy bundles the 6.2 V8, dual tip exhaust and Magnetic Ride Control in what they call the Sport Performance Package priced at $3,815. The MRC system reads the road every millisecond to deliver real-time damping and more precise body control – it’s an absolute must-have on any Tahoe, providing an exceptionally smooth and luxurious ride. Even without the air suspension on my last Tahoe High Country tester, this Magnetic Ride Control RST is off the charts good at graceful, big SUV motoring. It’s almost hard to believe how great this drives. Not only is the 6.2 powerful but it’s also refined and smooth…and thirsty, unfortunately. But the centerpiece of the RST’s luxury level drive is Magnetic Ride Control…holy smokes. Even on 22s the ride is buttery smooth and never sloppy or truck-like. Whether you’re taking a long trip with it…which I’ve done, or driving around town, this is very Range Rover-like in its vault-like quietness and supreme ride quality. Exceptional in every way.

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2022 SUBARU BRZ TEST DRIVE

The BRZ is a forthright, real-wheel drive sports car – the kind that’s pictured on the endangered species list, 6-speed manual and all. It sits knee-high to a grasshopper, weighs less than a battery from a Hummer EV and doesn’t require a trust fund to acquire. Priced from under $30,000 the BRZ is the kind of car every frugal-minded driving enthusiast would love to have in their stable. I’m not sure you’d want it as your only ride but for those special times when you’re driving not just to get somewhere but rather for the drive itself, the BRZ is a very satisfying choice. What you need to know is that this BRZ is a major step forward. The central tenets of the car are the same but this one’s just a lot better. How so? Unlike the previous BRZ, this one actually feels fast and that’s huge because the old car certainly did not. And then there’s the cabin – a complete afterthought before – this BRZ presents as uncomplicated but not bargain basement. For $30 grand this is as pure as driving excitement gets – the anti-crossover SUV if you will. Its purpose is still singular, just taken to the next level of appeal. Including destination the MSRP of this car is $31,455. It doesn’t look like much and that’s perhaps the BRZ’s biggest letdown – I could use some more visual pop for sure – but this is a darn good car for people who still care about driving.

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2022 VOLKSWAGEN TAOS TEST DRIVE

The Tiguan and Atlas now have a little brother. The 2022 Taos is a subcompact SUV though one that’s smartly packaged to maintain sizable interior proportions. Now, I’ve been running this little guy all over the place this week – through the mountains of New England, taking it on day trips, etc. and it’s clear: VW has yet another winner in their growing SUV stable.
The Taos is one of the most pleasant surprises to come across my test drive schedule this year. It performs far above its $33,000 as-tested price by exceeding expectations in nearly every area. The drive is spot-on VW with dynamic characteristics on par with the Golf. The Audi-like tech features have me double checking the sticker price and all of the intangibles just click; it looks good as you approach it, it’s accommodating to its passengers and the size is perfect for day trips and running errands. I’ve averaged over 32mpg on regular to boot though VW recommends using 91 octane to achieve the engine’s full power. If you don’t need the Tiguan’s bigger cargo area the Taos is a no-brainer. Even so, with the 2nd row seats folded flat and locked in place the Taos’ max cargo volume is nearly identical to that of the Tiguan’s. Where the Tiguan gains an advantage is cargo volume behind the 2nd row. And what if I told you this one actually has more rear seat legroom? I also love the shopping bag hooks back here which can each hold 5 pounds. Unlike in the Tiguan and Atlas there’s no R-Line available here so this SEL trim serves as the highest Taos example and everything you see here – other than the floor mats – comes standard for $33,185; that’s quite the attractive price when you consider all that the Taos is. The only notable option my tester doesn’t have is the $1,200 panoramic sunroof. And if you were thinking of adding a hitch the Taos is not designed for towing a trailer. But this SUV is a real delight. VW should sell a ton of these and it’s easy to see why.

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