2021 CHEVROLET TRAILBLAZER RS VIDEO REVIEW AND TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. It looks cool, comes stocked with premium features including wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and possesses a peppy engine that punches above its weight. It flaunts the brand’s new sporty crossover styling and can be equipped with enough bells and whistles to make it feel more substantive than its price would indicate. The Trailblazer will be a strong performer for Chevy but those who do their homework might find a better match.
2020 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY CONVERTIBLE TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES.
I haven’t had a car attract this much attention in forever. Car people, non-car people, doesn’t matter. Everyone knows this is something special. It looks like a race car and depending on the angle it could be a Corvette, a Ferrari, a Lambo or an NSX. But this baby bleeds red, white and Elkhart Lake Blue. And this isn’t just the all-new C8 Corvette, this is the Convertible with a power retractable hardtop so seamlessly integrated you wouldn’t know this isn’t the Coupe. Well, that is unless you go looking for the window to the engine…about the only sacrifice you’ll have to make for top-down driving.
2021 HONDA RIDGELINE FIRST LOOK BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
I’ve always wanted a Ridgeline; it’s a great lifestyles truck that’s as smart and versatile as they come, but like many of you, its soft, mini-van-like styling has kept me from pulling the trigger. Honda realizes that so to broaden its appeal they’ve toughened up its appearance. Going on sale early next year, the 2021 Ridgeline features all-new sheet metal from the A-pillars forward, with a power dome hood, more upright grille, brighter LED headlights and a prominent skid plate. Out back, the new bumper flaunts more aggressive exhaust outlets. And butching it up even more are rugged-looking 18” wheels and a wider stance. But if that’s still not enough testosterone for you the new Honda Performance Development package sports these bronze-colored wheels, unique grille, black fender flares and special graphics. And it’s available on all trims. Last year, the 9-speed auto became standard on all Ridgelines and is paired to a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with an available torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. A unibody truck with car-like ride and handling yet capable off-road, the 2021 Ridgeline’s pricing will be announced closer to launch.
2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Test Drive By Car Critic Steve Hammes.
Petite, powerful & pretty. The most lusted after car in its class.
So this Giulia is pretty much what you imagine a racy, Italian sedan to be: bold, boisterous and perhaps, a little high maintenance. New for 2020 there’s an improved touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and enhanced performance pages, a host of connectivity features including WiFi and a mobile app that allows you to control certain car functions, the addition of modern driver assistance features such as the semi-autonomous highway assist and traffic jam assist which do some of the driving for you in select situations, a center console with larger cupholders and increased storage, a wireless charge pad and an updated carbon fiber steering wheel design. It’s not a major update by any stretch but it does address the Giulia’s most pronounced shortcomings making it a more complete luxury sports car. You’re not getting the immersive, light, sound, smell and graphics show the Germans are flaunting these days but you are getting enough high-end convenience, comfort and safety features to make this much more of an attractive buy. Plus, this car drives like it was born to dominate. Close your eyes and listen to it go by and you might think it’s race day at the track.
2021 KIA SORENTO FIRST LOOK BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES. A 3-row family vehicle, the Sorento is offered with optional 2nd row captain’s chairs for either 6- or 7-passenger seating. Kia says the redesigned model provides more interior flexibility with improved legroom and cargo room. The platform it’s built upon is lighter and stronger, affording improved driving dynamics, including acceleration and ride and handling. An available full digital gauge cluster, Connected Routing for real-time navigation that can predict upcoming traffic, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, and enhanced voice controls highlight the tech improvements. A new feature called Last Mile Navigation even provides walking directions to the driver’s final destination if the vehicle is parked within a 1.2 mile radius and the Find My Car feature uses the Sorento’s cameras to capture pictures of the car and its surroundings which are then accessible via the UVO app. All very cool stuff. And the depth of new driver assistance features is off the charts…if you get into an accident with this Sorento you’ll have no one to blame but the man in the mirror.
About the powertrain options; it starts with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired to a traditional 8-speed automatic making 191 horsepower, then a turbocharged version of that motor hooked up to a 8-speed dual clutch transmission producing 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Moving up, there’s a front-wheel drive only, gas-electric hybrid rated at 37mpg in mixed driving and finally an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid with an estimated 30 mile all-electric range. Kia’s optional all-wheel drive system uses torque-vectoring and a center-locking differential to give added power to the rear wheels when needed.
The X-Line SX-Prestige gets the off-road look with exclusive bumpers, unique 20” wheels and bridge-type roof rack to complement its 1” increase in ride height, standard all-wheel drive and hill decent control. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date near the end of 2020.