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.
Jeep continues to expand the Wrangler’s portfolio by adding a plug-in hybrid for the 2021 model year. The 4-door Wrangler 4xe adds yet another powertrain choice to the various gas and diesel offerings.
And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain. Recharge the 400-volt battery pack situated below the rear seats and the 4Xe provides up to 25 miles of pure electric driving. Want to preserve that quiet, zero-emission propulsion for the trail? Select the E-Save drive mode and bottle it up for later use. Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor. Jeep estimates that the 4xe’s gas mileage will be the same as that of a Toyota Prius. The full-time 4-wheel drive transfer case provides all of the options you want; including 2WD and automatic 4-wheel drive settings to compliment the usual 4H and 4L modes. And if you think this is a fragile Jeep you can’t take deep into enemy territory, think again. All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproof so it can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance. Base 4xe and Sahara models are also offered and we’ll know more about pricing as the 4xe’s December on-sale date grows closer.
2021 Ford F150 Review By TestDriveNow Car Critic Steve Hammes. The all-new F-150 arrives this fall and here’s your first look at Ford’s most important model. Though it doesn’t look radically different, Ford says every body panel has been redesigned. There’s a wider stance and 11 – yes 11 – different grille options. And to save fuel through improved aerodynamics, there are active grill shutters and an automatic deploying air dam. But the sexy news surrounds the new optional, range –topping powertrain – a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 boosted by 47 horsepower electric motor making it full hybrid. Integrated into the 10-speed automatic transmission, Ford is targeting a 700 mile driving range and 12,000 pounds max towing. The battery is packaged underneath the truck so passenger and cargo volume is unencumbered. Ford refers to it as PowerBoost and it’s available on every trim level from XL to Limited. And the electrifying news doesn’t stop there. A new feature Ford calls Pro Power Onboard turns gas and hybrid F-150s into a portable generator capable of powering 28 refrigerators or running an entire job site worth of tools. We’ve all been there…the truck as an office. Ford’s solution? The optional Interior Work Surface creates a an ideal space for signing documents or eating takeout. And if your lunch break isn’t over yet, the Max Recline Seats become a sweet place to grab a couple of ZZZs. The tailgate wars continue with Ford’s Tailagte Work Surface which includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder and more. On the tech side, the all-new F-150 is North America’s first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates. These updates are bumper-to-bumper, and can include all-new functions and additional features throughout the life of the truck. And then there’s SYNC4 with twice the computing power of the previous gen system. And that includes wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto. And some real semi-autonomous driving is coming, too. Active Drive Assist is a hands-free experience that works on divided highways much like Caddy’s Super Cruise. It’ll be late availability but customers can add it later via an over the air update and pay for it then. With 3 V6s, a V8, a diesel and a Hybrid, 3 cab styles and 3 bed lengths, Ford’s F-150 looks to be a ground breaker. Look for it this fall with specs and pricing to be released closer to launch.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave FIRST LOOK By Auto Critic Steve Hammes.
If you’re into 4-wheeling, then you know that not all off-roading is the same. So while the Trail-Rated badge graces Jeep 4X4s after they’ve proven themselves in 5 critical categories, this first-ever Desert Rated Jeep operates under a different set of criteria. The 2020 Gladiator Mojave is designed for a high-speed, sandy environment so it’s not as concerned with water fording and articulation as it is ride control and stability and desert prowess.
2021 Toyota Trail Editions
When you’ve got the oldest truck lineup in the industry you turn to special editions to move the metal. Toyota is introducing Trail Special Editions to the 2021 Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner that put an emphasis on extra storage and convenience, unique styling and exclusive content. Toyota says their truck buyers love the great outdoors more than any other, so the Trail models come with standard fixings such as all-weather floor liners, lockable bed storage on the Tacoma and Tundra and a rooftop cargo basket with 40-quart cooler on the 4Runner. The Tacoma and 4Runner also receive TRD Off-Road wheels while the Tundra wears the top-trim 1794 Edition grille. All 3 Trail models are based upon the lower-end, less expensive SR5 grades and are offered in in 2- or 4-wheel drive. The Tacoma is a Double Cab and the Tundra a Crew Max with Upgrade Package. Army Green, Cement, Midnight Black and Super White comprise the color palette. Toyota is planning to equip 7,000 Tacomas, 5,000 Tundras and 4,000 4Runners as Trail Editions when they hit showrooms this summer.