It’s a Jeep so above anything the brand has ever produced that it doesn’t even use the Jeep name. It simply goes by Grand Wagoneer and it’s the big, highly capable, opulent 3-row affluent Jeep owners have been waiting for. So watch out Escalade and Navigator; there’s a new 4X4 in town and it isn’t pulling any punches.
They’re both the same size – huge – but if you prefer your Wagoneer to be grand you’re going to need an extra $30,000 and an even more fervent desire for fossil fuels. Each premium fill up of its 26 gallon tank costs more than $100 in order to feed the 6.4-liter V8. Even with engineering tricks such as cylinder deactivation and a front-axle disconnect, consider yourself lucky if you get 15mpg. But the Grand Wagoneer’s story isn’t about fuel economy. It’s about oversized American opulence; a new choice for fat-cat families in the gigantic SUV segment. GM and Ford now have a new competitor to wrangle with and Jeep is coming in hot. But you can barely find the Jeep name on the Grand Wagoneer and if you go to Jeep’s retail site the Wagoneers receive their own special tab, so consider this a Jeep subbrand if you will.
This here is the penultimate Obsidian trim in the only monotone color choice; Diamond Black with a starting MSRP of just over $100,000. But despite the name, the Obsidian is also available in white, silver, red and blue. But even those colors receive 22” black wheels, black grille and badging, black interior accents and as a bonus a 23-speaker McIntosh audio system with a cool amp app to make you feel like you’re in a home theater. The sticker price of this one is $109,025 with the optional Rear-Seat Entertainment Group, Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package and Convenience Group. But if the blacked-out treatment just isn’t for you, the Grand Wagoneer Series III is basically the Obsidian with more shiny metal and standard equipment starting at $4,000 more.
Did you know that you can buy a brand new Jaguar SUV for as little as $42,000? I bet you didn’t. It’s this one here…the E-PACE. Based on its minuscule sales it’s been largely ignored with shoppers choosing the bigger and much more expensive F-PACE at a ratio of nearly 4 to 1. But it’s been refreshed this year and looks especially sharp as this Caldera Red E-PACE 300 Sport.
for what may be its final refresh the body receives a nip and tuck for a more assertive stance, the chassis has been updated, aiming to deliver enhanced dynamics and comfort, and the cabin gets an infusion of fresh tech and a more premium touch. Previously called the R-Dynamic this here is the range-topping 300 Sport model riding atop optional 21” gloss black wheels framing optional red brake calipers. With the black badges leaping off of the solid red paint, this little guy grabs its share of attention for sure. So what is the 300 Sport and why would you choose it over the lesser 2 trims? Well, mainly it comes down to the P300 engine which is a 296 horsepower mild-hybrid turbo-4 producing 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s 50 more horses, nearly a half second quicker to 60mph and 1mpg more fuel efficient in city driving than the P250 engine. And then equally as important are the Adaptive and Configurable Dynamics with Comfort and Dynamic settings that adjust the ride stiffness automatically or to suit your chosen preference. There’s also torque vectoring on the rear wheels so this all-wheel drive system works from front to back as well as side to side for more responsive handling. And then goodies like a head-up display, sport seats and soft leather touch-points make this the E-Pace to have. The starting MSRP is $51,000 with this fully stocked and accessorized tester checking in at nearly $60 grand. Is that a lot when compared to its competitors? Well, it depends on who you think they are. A similarly spec’d BMW X4 xDrive30i is almost identically priced with similar metrics though it’s rear-wheel based and considerably longer with more cargo volume. If you look at an X2 xDrive28i which is even larger inside, much more fuel efficient and not that much slower than the E-Pace, it’s about $15,000 less.
Once a rival to Lexus, Infiniti has been mired in old product and meandering business plans for years. The recently introduced QX50 didn’t set the world on fire as they had hoped so this new QX60 better click and it will. This is a solid evolution of what made the 1st one so popular; now smarter, more premium and better packaged for greater convenience. A base, front-drive QX60 Pure is priced at just under $48,000 and leases for $671 per month but we don’t do much base around here so my tester is an all-wheel drive QX60 Autograph; a metaphor referencing its personalized style. And this is a beautiful reimagining of the body with a judicious use of chrome and this gorgeous Moonbow Blue paint. It’s less curvy and more muscular now with a pronounced front end design proclaiming affluence. The footprint is nearly identical to before but this one is wider with a little more ground clearance though inside the 2nd and 3rd row legroom has decreased while cargo volume behind the 3rd row has increased by 2 cubic feet. There’s also a nifty underfloor storage box back here and of course, the tailgate can be foot activated. The 3rd row seats don’t power fold but they do get a power assist when raising them. And in general the configurable seat action is a QX60 strong suit. To access the 3rd row, just press this button at the base of the seat and the rest of the movement is done for you. And because the 2nd row captain’s chairs slide and recline and the 3rd row seats also recline, as long as everyone is courteous there’s enough room for 6 in here without any whining from the kids. And when it’s time to get out, there’s another one-touch button for that. So very family friendly though other than a couple of mixed-type USB ports there’s no entertainment features or screens back here…not even as an option.
Extremely limited in availability, the 2022 Infiniti QX60 can be ordered in Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph trims in either front- or all-wheel drive with up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity including trailer sway control and a transmission oil cooler. I’m not sure it’ll be the savior the brand needs but it’s certainly the best SUV Infiniti offers and will no doubt resume its reign as their sales leader.
This here is a nearly $60,000 car; a small, all-wheel drive purple sports coupe just trying to make its way in an SUV-obsessed world. But, for those in the know – and you’re about to become one of them – this is the performance bargain of your sports car dreams. It’s the all-new BMW 2 Series and it’s beyond good…it’s addicting.
What was originally known as the 1 Series Coupe upon its arrival in 2008 became the 2 Series Coupe in 2014. And now for its second act, this 2022 redesign introduces sexy new styling, a dash of additional horsepower, stickier handling and a modern interior…oh, and this new color Thundernight Metallic…a $550 option that gets all the stares. This week, I’m skipping over the base 230i model and jumping right into the current top trim; the M240i xDrive. The former – a 4-cylinder rear-wheel setup – starts at under $40,000 making it the least expensive way to get into a BMW car while the latter- this all-wheel drive turbo-6 – starts at about $10 grand more. Now, my last spin in one of these came in 2017 in the small but mighty M2, a version expected to be reintroduced next year. As for this one, it’s quicker, significantly more fuel efficient and about the same price as that M2 so I can only imagine BMW has grand plans for its resurrection. Nevertheless this here is likely enough M for most. Though it’s 3.5” longer about 2.5” wider and a little over 200 pounds heavier than before, this is undoubtedly still a driver’s car with a low slung body, subcompact dimensions and a willingness to please as an Ultimate Driving Machine should. It’s arguably the purest form of BMW ethos in their lineup. Now, it is a shame you can’t currently get one like this without xDrive and with a stick shift but a rear-drive M240i will follow shortly. As for the manual it looks like you’ll have to wait for the M2 for that. As the 3 Series has matured beyond just a sports sedan the 2 Series has become the driver’s repository for attainable German driving enjoyment.
Chevy has revived this new generation SUV reintroducing the big 6.2 V8. This is the 2022 Tahoe RST and the drive is phenomenal. If you want the 6.2 it’s optionally available on the 3 trims just below High Country; RST, Z71 and Premier leaving just the LS and LT out of the party. And it really makes the most sense here on the RST considering this is the sporty model with its numerous blackout treatments, 22” wheels and Victory Red accents on the Jet Black leather seats. A richer sounding cat-back upgrade is available as are Brembo front brakes but they’re not cheap…choosing those options add nearly $5,800 to the price. Chevy bundles the 6.2 V8, dual tip exhaust and Magnetic Ride Control in what they call the Sport Performance Package priced at $3,815. The MRC system reads the road every millisecond to deliver real-time damping and more precise body control – it’s an absolute must-have on any Tahoe, providing an exceptionally smooth and luxurious ride. Even without the air suspension on my last Tahoe High Country tester, this Magnetic Ride Control RST is off the charts good at graceful, big SUV motoring. It’s almost hard to believe how great this drives. Not only is the 6.2 powerful but it’s also refined and smooth…and thirsty, unfortunately. But the centerpiece of the RST’s luxury level drive is Magnetic Ride Control…holy smokes. Even on 22s the ride is buttery smooth and never sloppy or truck-like. Whether you’re taking a long trip with it…which I’ve done, or driving around town, this is very Range Rover-like in its vault-like quietness and supreme ride quality. Exceptional in every way.