2021 Kia K5 Review By TestDriveNow Car Critic Steve Hammes. Not long ago, the family sedan was the standard bearer of the auto industry. It’s where we Americans turned for our next ride and the competition was fierce. But as cars continue crossing over into SUVs the significance of the midsize sedan has been greatly diminished. Yet for those of you who have kept the candle burning, the choices have may have been reduced but the vehicles themselves are better than ever. Case in point; the car formerly known as the Optima – this is the all-new Kia K5.
So the K5 comes out of the gate with a new name, spunkier attitude and more polish. It’s said you never get a second chance to make a first impression and this one has been stellar. And that full-fledged GT model coming in November should be a real treat.
2020 Bentley Bentayga V8 Review By TestDriveNow Car Critic Steve Hammes. It’s hard to believe that the Bentayga’s been with us for 5 years already. And it’s certainly been a trailblazer. During that time Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and Aston Martin have also brought ultra-luxurious SUVs to market with more on the way. Available with 6-, 8- or 12–cylinder power including a plug-in hybrid, this is the Bentley Bentayga V8.
The Bentayga is a dream ride. The kind you could drive forever with no fatigue. It’s so isolating and comfortable and truly effortless in everything it does. This is my 7th and final day with it and I’ve learned that its price can be justified in that it’s an experience even the highest end SUVs from the mainstream automakers can’t touch.
MSRP as-tested: $228,845
2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. The venerable Escape has long since been a small SUV favorite but as you can see Ford has taken its styling in a decidedly car-like direction repositioning it in their reborn, utility-focused lineup.
The Escape is America’s small SUV. Having been on the road now for 20 years, it’s where we’ve turned when the patriotic pangs pull us away from the RAV4, CR-V and Rogue. And now that Ford is almost exclusively a truck and SUV brand they’ve seized the opportunity to morph the Escape into something a little more car-like so as not to alienate shoppers who aren’t SUV crazy. And yes, believe it or not, those people still exist. Lower, wider, longer and more aerodynamic, the new Escape resembles less the tough little SUV it once did and more the bastard child of a Porsche Cayenne and Tesla Model 3. Thankfully, this is the Escape’s worst crime as the rest of it is actually very good.
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport AWD Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. Curiosity for the performance minded or a serious luxury competitor? Now in its 3rd model year, the Stelvio receives a mild freshening for 2020 focusing improvements on the tech side. Though the Quadrofoglio is THE Stelvio to have, it’s understandably too much money for most but that’s OK because if you’re a road less traveled kind of person the mainstream Stelvio models still offer something pleasing and unique to drive. But the Stelvio remains more a curiosity for the performance minded than a serious luxury competitor.
2020 Buick Encore GX Essence Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. As Buick continues their transition away from cars to a premium SUV brand, they’ve got more slots to fill between Encore and Enclave and this new Encore GX takes up residence on the smaller side, capitalizing on their most popular nameplate. The Encore GX should do very well for Buick. Imported from Korea along with its Chevy Trailblazer counterpart, the GX is on sale now. MSRP as-tested: $33,465 https://testdrivenow.com/2020-buick-encore-gx-essence/