2022 FORD MAVERICK TEST DRIVE

It wasn’t long ago that small trucks were dropping like flies as the bigger is better philosophy led to half-ton madness. But driving around an F-150 on a daily basis can get old – and expensive – pretty fast if you’re using it as a car replacement. Even the Ranger may be more truck than you need. So in comes the Maverick with its 4.5’ bed, car-like ride and a starting MSRP of $21,490. A 42mpg highway hybrid powertrain and 2-wheel drive are standard but the truck you’re looking at here has the gas-only 2.0-liter turbo and checks in at $35,320. That’s because this is the highest level Lariat trim with the Luxury Package. Alto Blue is an upcharge color, the black wheels are optional and the hard tri-fold tonneau cover is the most expensive one Ford offers. So while the base model is a best buy for the shopper interested in say a second vehicle for weekend errands this one with all of the creature comforts and driver assistance features is designed to be your only vehicle and driven every day. So if your ego is writing checks your budget can’t cash, maybe it’s time for a small truck.  And if so the Maverick is exceptionally well done.

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2022 BMW M5 CS TEST DRIVE

I’ve read some interesting takes lately posing the question, “have cars become too fast?” And while I think it’s a valid discussion it’s one for which BMW apparently has no appetite. Otherwise why would they take their fastest sedan and make it even more so? This is the outrageous, limited production BMW M5 CS.
You could go to a BMW dealership today and drive off in a 530i for $55 grand and be quite happy with your choice. Or, if you fancy yourself a real driver and have some coin there’s the $100,000 M5 waiting at the other end of the 5 Series rainbow. But maybe you’re the type who covets the crème de la crème; something few others can obtain. The kind who orders the Wagyu burger even though their palette would be satiated with a Whopper. And for you BMW is proud to present the M5 CS; the quickest and most powerful car they have ever produced, limited to one model year and sold mono spec other than the color and tire type. Assuming you could get a dealer to sell one at MSRP it costs $144,000 and for that you’ll be the proud owner of an M5 that’s .2 seconds quicker than the next highest performing Competition model clocking here a 0-to-60mph time under 3 seconds; 2.9 to be exact with launch control. Extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and superfluous stuff like sealing closed the center console contribute to a 230 pound weight reduction. Pirelli P Zero Corsa streetable track tires of staggered width are a no-cost option for the owner who plans on entering their cherished acquisition into competition. 627 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque and a top speed of 190 mph are just numbers on a sheet. More remarkable is how BMW reengineered an understated business sedan into one of the most impressive cars I’ve ever driven. This is fluid handling and blistering speed in a 4-door package that despite its significant capabilities could happily be driven every day if it wasn’t for these carbon bucket seats. I had my first go with these in the M3 Competition earlier this summer and though I understand their purpose – pulling you in like grandma’s hug – climbing over these high sides gets old really fast.

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2021 JEEP WRANGLER 4xe TEST DRIVE

Taking a drive out to nature should be a Zen-like experience. Now you can spec your Wrangler with a plug providing up to 25 miles of quiet 4X4 EV adventures. It’s kind of cool that the Wrangler would be the first Jeep offered in the states that can operate on electricity alone. The new 2021 4xe is exclusively available in the 4-door Unlimited bodystyle and comes in 3 trims with this Sahara being the entry-level model with a starting MSRP of $51,300 including destination but excluding the $7,500 federal income tax credit.
So here’s what I’ve gathered about the 4xe this week. When you’re on electric it’s really special but like all plug-ins, it’s appeal decreases once the 25 miles or so of electric is gone. After that it’s just another hybrid. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just my test car but the air conditioning has trouble keeping up when in EV mode, kind of like some mild hybrids when you’re waiting at a stoplight And as always, remember that in the cold winter months your EV range may drop by over 40%. But all told I really like the 4xe. It drives well, it brakes and transitions power sources without any hybrid shortcomings. It’s a worthy precursor to an anticipated fully-electric Wrangler that could arrive in 2022.

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TOYOTA AVALON TRD 2020 QUICK TAKES

TOYOTA AVALON TRD 2020 QUICK TAKES
The Avalon TRD model is designed to stand apart with striking aero elements, edgier design and aggressive stance. Red pinstriping, red-painted brake calipers, and red TRD badging complete the road-hungry look. The Avalon TRD is available in Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic. Its cabin features Black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and red accents. Every TRD edition vehicle is also committed to authentic performance improvement. Powered by Toyota’s renowned 301 horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6 engine teamed to an 8-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and paddle shifters. The V6 exhales through a specially tuned TRD cat-back dual exhaust, giving both models a throatier idle and acceleration sound. Now, TRD is challenging established sports sedans with the 2020 Camry and Avalon TRD models.

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2020 CADILLAC CT5 V TEST DRIVE

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.

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