The Sorento is one of Kia’s best-selling nameplates. It arrived in 2002 and has since grown into a 3-row segment heavy hitter, battling the likes of the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder. But with this all-new 4th generation model, Kia is giving the Sorento a fresh perspective. The V6 is gone, a pair of hybrids is in and this hero model takes the Sorento in a more premium yet rugged direction.
This X-Line SX-Prestige gets the “off-road look” with exclusive bumpers, unique 20” wheels and a bridge-type roof rack. There’s also a 1” increase in ride height, standard all-wheel drive with a center locking differential and hill decent control. So this is the Sorento you want if you have a more adventurous family.
This is the highest non-full M model; the M440i with xDrive as standard. MSRP starts at just under $60,000. It’s a luxury performance car that delivers high levels of both attributes; it’s fast and fun while at the same time comfortable and techy. Its heart continues to beat with a 3.0-liter turbo-6 but one that yields significantly more; 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, allowing it put away 60mph 3/10ths of a second faster, now clocking an eye-opening 4.3 seconds assisted by launch control. With an additional 48-volt battery providing mild hybrid technology, this car’s mixed metal makeup tallies an extra 150 pounds versus the previous model but it feels even more athletic. With the benefit of extras such as the Adaptive M Suspension and High Performance Tire Pack, the M440i is a blast to drive with supreme road holding confidence, a cabin-infused with delightful sounds and the ability to rocket out of corners thanks to the M Sport Differential. A double push of the Sport button takes you to into Plus and it’s this setting where the car truly earns its moniker “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” The 8-speed auto is incredibly smart so using the paddle shifters isn’t even necessary to keep the gearbox in the sweet spot. The steering is quick and nicely weighted and the engine is extremely responsive, backed by some convincing sounds in the cabin and a chassis that’s willing to dance. The windshield is squinty but the leather sport buckets with adjustable side bolsters allow you to find an agreeable seating position that sits you low, closer to the car’s center of gravity for a feeling of greater connectedness. And there’s a head-up display to keep you focused on the road ahead. As for the ride quality? It’s exceptional no matter what mode you’re in. Combined with a quiet cabin and a long list of modern comfort features, the 4 can happily play serene and composed. Despite the additional power, the stellar gas mileage holds the line thanks to the mild-hybrid setup, earning 25mpg in mixed driving. If you’re down with the new styling, rest assured the rest of the 440i is going to make you very happy.
Before SUVs dominated the automotive landscape, executive sedans like the 5 Series were the chariots of choice for white collar workers climbing the ladder of success. And even though they’re not as popular as they once were, this new 540i serves as a reminder that the segment is still alive and well.
The 5 Series is a technological tour de force, as long as you go all in on the option packages. And this one has some really great cutting edge features including some new stuff that even I haven’t seen before, most of it related to driving assistance. Like the graphical depiction of surrounding vehicles while driving on the highway to help with lane changes. Speaking of which, this one can do that for you while using adaptive cruise control by simply tapping the turn signal…hands free. And the extended traffic jam assistant can even do the mundane stop and go driving for you during your commute without constantly needing to grab the steering wheel. And I also love how the head-up display integrates your smartphone’s mapping directions so no matter which navigation system you’re using the 540i has got you covered.
2020 MERCEDES AMG CLA45 TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. One of the most affordable AMG models has just been redesigned and it’s a live wire with tons of boost and a youthful spirit. This is the CLA 45
Here’s what you need to know. The CLA is all about big turbo punch and road feel. This is one of, if not the, stiffest rides you can buy regardless of drive mode. It’s going to shove you into your seat and take off like a rocket but in a very controlled way. But you’ve got to love the turbo life and not be offended by a nearly brittle ride and lots of tire noise. If you’re ok with that the CLA is going to deliver on fun. Whatever you do though don’t pass on these Recaro seats; they are perfect.
2020 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. When you’re really passionate about something you dive deep into your desires. If you’re an audiophile you’ll pick up on every nuance of the speakers, or if you’re a watch collector you’ll have intimate knowledge of its inner workings. And that’s what buying a Porsche is like; it’s a car for the driver who appreciates exactness and demands the best no matter the cost.
The priciest options on this tester are the Black/Bordeaux Red leather interior, the Adaptive Sport Seats with memory, the Sport Package which includes the exhaust, the front axle lift system to keep that chin off the ground, the rear axle steering and the Bose sound system. As-tested, this car comes in at $137,570 and features new easier to control touchscreen infotainment with wireless CarPlay and other innovative features.
At face value you could say it’s just another Silver 911…but its added muscularity and new lighting design give it the subtle newness you’re looking for while retaining its unmistakable silhouette.