2022 NISSAN FRONTIER TEST DRIVE
The last time Nissan redesigned the Frontier YouTube was just getting ready to launch and the first iPhone was still 2 years away. That’s the type of product cadence that would make even Toyota jealous. I’ve always been a fan of this truck so I’m very curious to see what Nissan has been cooking up over the past 2 decades. So no surprise, here in the new Frontier; the cabin’s design and tech level have been significantly enhanced and the new powertrain – which in an peculiar move was actually introduced on the old Frontier for the 2020 model year – adds a 9-speed auto in addition to a more efficient, smaller displacement V6 that makes more horsepower. Stick shifts and 4-cylinders are gone but just about everything else concerning the Frontier’s resume looks very familiar. There’s still the King Cab model with the small rear doors and a 6’ bed or the full 4-door Crew Cab with the 5’ bed or optional 6’ bed on midlevel SV trims. And this PRO-4X remains the top dog Frontier but this time around you can get it without the 4 – in other words it’s now also available in 2-wheel drive. The wheelbase is the same, towing capacity of 6,270 pounds is about the same and max payload of 1,230 pounds has increased by 4 bags of Quikrete. It is 5” longer, 2” wider and 1” shorter in height, the bed is deeper, there are now 2 front two hooks, and 18” wheels have been shelved in favor of 16” and 17” sizes exclusively. In Baja Storm with red accents it looks great – like a baby Titan. The PRO-4X is the most aggressively styled model and is the most capable in terms of off-road adventures with all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential for times when you get stuck and 3 steel skid plates to protect the family jewels. And then on the comfort and convenience front the 2 available PRO packages add in such niceties as a bass-rich, Fender premium audio system, a moonroof, heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, an around view monitor, wireless charger, remote start, a spray-on bedliner, 4 tie-down cleats, and LED bed lighting. On the tech front, another optional package sprinkles in high beam assist, blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and other assistance features leading to an as-tested price of $44,710. For a fun comparison, that’s $15,000 more than the last Frontier SV I tested about a decade ago. https://testdrivenow.com/2022-nissan-frontier/
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.
Chances are you don’t know where your nearest Genesis dealer is and if you’re a casual car shopper you may not even know what Genesis is. Think of them as the best kept secret in the luxury car segment and this GV70 SUV is the epitome of why. So stop the excuses because if you don’t you’ll miss out on one of their buried treasures like this new GV70; an SUV that checks all of the boxes other than high price. The base 2.5T model starts at $42,000 while this more powerful 3.5T begins at about $54,000. That scores you a 375 horsepower twin-turbo V6 and plenty of additional goodies. Mine is fully loaded with the Sport Advanced and Sport Prestige packages totaling nearly $10,000 in optional equipment. Highlights include these Nappa leather seats with suede inserts in this stunning Ultramarine Blue, crazy-looking 21” wheels wearing Michelin all-seasons, carbon fiber trim, a digital gauge cluster with a 3D appearance, a brilliant head-up display, and Remote Smart Parking Assist – a nice get for those of us with tight garages. This GV70 is beyond loaded; you name it and it’s in here with the only glaring omission being the absence of wireless phone projection…a company problem. So whether you’re the driver, riding shotgun or being chauffeured in the rear, your comfort and convenience is completely covered. And though this is considered a small SUV, the sizing feels perfect…not too big, not too small with cargo and passenger dimensions right in the sweet spot. The GV70 is Genesis landing their strongest punch to date, practically daring you to ignore them. 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige
A truck/SUV crossover with decidedly car-like cabin, similar in length to Hyundai’s Palisade 3-row SUV and it’s a curiosity worth exploring.
I’ve always been supportive of car companies who dare to do something different. And when I think back to some of the most memorable cars I’ve tested names like Baja and Avalanche come to mind. Which leads me to this new pickup truck/SUV called the Santa Cruz. I fell in love with it when I first saw it in concept form years ago but unlike most automakers who keep their experiments in the design lab Hyundai has the guts to actually bring this one to market. And it’s a curiosity worth exploring.
The Santa Cruz drives like a car. It’s nimble, peppy, quiet, comfortable – an anti-truck, if you will. The turbo is really strong; it rides very comfortably and drives with an unexpected purpose. And with 8.6” of ground clearance, solid Michelin light truck tires and a switch to lock in the traction of all 4 wheels, the Santa Cruz has the advantage of a full-time all-wheel drive system and not part time like some other small trucks. I’m just surprised Hyundai didn’t include an off-road mode in addition to the snow setting.
The 2018 model year was significant for VW here in the States. That’s when they introduced the 1-2 punch of Atlas and this next-generation Tiguan that have quickly become the brand’s best-sellers with each of them individually outselling all of VW’s cars combined. And now for the 2022 model year, the Tiguan has been refreshed with updated styling and broader availability of tech and safety features.
You know what you don’t see much of in this small SUV segment? A 3rd row of seating. And you won’t find one in my Tiguan either…VW reserves it for the front-wheel drive model. But here I have the top trim SEL R-Line which comes standard with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, priced at $37,790. It’s incredibly easy to build this one as there are virtually no options and only 4 paint choices: white, black, blue and this charismatic gray. If this lavishly equipped Tiguan is too rich for your blood, the base S trim starts at $10k less. And this R-Line looks sharp, sporting a new front end with redesigned LEDs and this cool light line that runs through the grille. Out back, the Tiguan name now lives more prominently below the VW logo. And then you get the R-Line badges, specific bumpers, body-color side sills and newly designed 20” wheels. It just goes to show that a little nip and tuck can work wonders in freshening one’s appearance.
And then inside, this noisette leather looks very Audi-like – and by the way I had to look it up; noisette means a small piece of lean meat. New for 2022 are these touch-sensitive controls in the center stack which can also be summoned by voice commands triggered by simply saying “Hello Volkswagen” and then saying things such as I’m hot or my feet are cold. There are also steering wheel touch controls, 15 colors of ambient light choices and this redesigned navigation system which can be updated automatically with a paid subscription. Combined with this upsized Digital Cockpit Pro with 3 views, the Audi vibes are palpable …just don’t look for the satellite mapping here.
VW’s have their own distinctive driving persona and the Tiguan is no exception with great forward visibility including adaptive front lighting, a comfortable but Euro-tuned suspension with handling agility and an all-around driver connectedness. And IQ.DRIVE is VW’s name for their driver-assistance systems which include Park Assist, Road Sign Display, auto high beams and this overhead view camera which displays sideways…that I don’t care for and I can’t figure out how to change it. But the Adaptive Cruise Control system with Stop & Go and Lane Assist is not one of the better semi-autonomous setups on the market, reacting a little slowly, clumsy in its steering and offering very little hands-off time.
But I like this…VW has kept it fresh and feeling like the German-chic, sportier small SUV choice with bountiful spaciousness to boot.