2022 INFINITI QX55 FIRST LOOK BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES.
When it arrived 3 years ago, the QX50 small SUV was supposed to be the centerpiece of an Infiniti revival. Instead, sales have been extremely disappointing and now parent company Nissan is planning on steering the brand away from its luxury aspirations and more towards, what their COO has described, as a Nissan-plus brand. That brings us to the just revealed 2022 QX55 – a coupe-styled derivative of the QX50. The pair fleshes out the small end of Infiniti’s trifecta of SUVs and share much in common. The new 55 is powered by the brand’s innovative variable compression turbocharged 4-cylinder producing the same 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. And no surprise, the CVT remains as the only transmission. The biggest difference between the two is that this one comes with all-wheel drive and 20” wheels as standard. Bolder in its design, the QX55 is for the owner who is willing to sacrifice some cargo room for greater style. Other than a reduction in luggage volume, the 2 are nearly identical dimensionally. Available in Luxe, Essential, and Sensory trim levels, details regarding pricing and fuel economy will be announced closer to launch in the spring of 2021.
Honda CR-V 2020 QUICK TAKES
The refreshed 2020 Honda CR-V, an updated take on America’s most popular crossover, is in dealerships with a refreshed exterior design, new and upgraded features, and a new turbocharged powertrain for the popular LX trim, along with standard Honda Sensing® technologies on all grades. With cumulative U.S. sales now topping the 5-million-unit mark, the 2020 model looks to extend CR-V’s position as the best-selling crossover in America over the past 22 years.
The 2020 CR-V goes on sale with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price starting at $25,0501 (excluding destination and handling charges) for the front-wheel-drive LX model, an increase of just $600 despite the addition of Honda Sensing and a more powerful and efficient 1.5-liter turbocharged engine to the LX trim. An all-new, even more powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid-electric CR-V will join the lineup early next year.
All 2020 CR-Vs benefit from new front and rear exterior styling cues, including a redesigned front bumper and grille, and new headlight designs. EX and EX-L trims also get redesigned alloy wheels, while Touring grades get new 19-inch (+1 in.) wheels and tires. The 2020 model also debuts three new exterior colors: Radiant Red Metallic, Sonic Gray Pearl, and Aegean Blue Pearl.
Inside, CR-V’s spacious and tech-savvy cabin gets a redesigned center console with more conveniently located USB ports and more flexible storage space, while the line-topping CR-V Touring adds a heated steering wheel and wireless smartphone charging.
Mechanically, the biggest change to the 2020 CR-V is the addition of the 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected engine for the popular LX trim, which replaces a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine. For the LX, this means more power (+6 horsepower), a flatter torque curve (179 lb.-ft. @ 2000-5000 rpm vs. 180 lb.-ft. @ 3900 rpm) and a higher EPA fuel economy rating (+2 mpg city/highway/combined).
Importantly, the CR-V LX also gets Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, extending these popular features throughout the CR-V lineup.
2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review By Car Critic Steve Hammes. Volvo’s smallest and most affordable wagon has recently received the brand’s Cross Country treatment, meaning it rides higher, is driven by all 4 wheels and possesses a look that takes it into crossover territory. Volvo’s styling game is completely on point, particularly with their car lineup and this is one sharp-looking wagon, accentuated by metallic Crystal White paint and optional 19” wheels. It looks like nothing else on the road and that’s not an easy claim these days.
2020 Mazda CX30 Quick Takes. Mazda has always adopted a human-centric approach to building cars. With the U.S. debut of the all-new Mazda CX-30, the brand has taken this approach to another level. The CX-30 has a feeling of oneness that extends beyond the drive. It is a five-seat crossover made for a wide range of fans, especially young people who are approaching significant life transitions. Mazda wants the CX-30 to be able to help these fans enjoy those milestones to the fullest and become an essential partner in their daily lives.
CX-30 is the second model to adopt the latest evolution of Kodo design, a more mature interpretation of the striking design ethos. Based on sleek and bold styling, CX-30 is meant to evoke creativity in one’s life. Realizing two contrasting expressions, the compact crossover has the flowing beauty of a coupe and the bold proportions of an SUV. Mazda’s signature wing takes on a sharper and deeper form to achieve a strong, refined front end that is suggestive of forward motion. The diagonal angle of the rear window gives the vehicle a coupe-like silhouette while the narrowed arch shape of the liftgate makes the body look shorter and wider for a powerful stance. This allows for purposeful design of the trunk that maintains its usefulness without giving the CX-30 a box-like appearance. Offered in seven body colors, including Polymetal Gray, which was recently introduced for the 2019 Mazda3. Going beyond beauty, CX-30 is meant to look compact on the outside, but spacious on the inside.
The CX-30 is a new compact crossover that combines the bold proportions of an SUV with elegant styling that embodies Mazda‘s Kodo design language. The development team hoped to create a car that would enrich customers’ lives by helping them and their loved ones make new and stimulating discoveries within their daily lives.
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.