The new 2020 Expedition Max in its King Ranch edition is a big, beautiful, powerful ride. Kristin takes a five minute review in this SUV, showing us the good and the bad and giving a hint as to what this utility is all about. Check it out.
In this video, Kristin talks about the beautiful Alfa Romeo Stelvio and why an Alfa SUV is definitely a win. From the beautiful red leather interior to the excellent drive quality, she covers this beautiful Italian machine inside and out.
The Cadillac XT6 is the 3-row crossover from Caddy, with all the family friendliness that implies. It’s big, it’s luxurious, and it’s beautifully comfortable. Kristin walks us through the big crossover and talks about its features, it’s good points, a few low points, and her overall impressions of this lux vehicle.
It’s been a while, Supra.
In January of 2019, Akio Toyoda stood on the stage in Detroit. The throngs of media packed into the room knew what was coming and there was heavy anticipation. The Supra was back.
“They say all good things come to those who wait, even a really long time,” he said. “And now, finally, the next chapter in the story can begin!”
The Supra was officially launched in the US on the first day of 1979. With a 110-hp 2.6L six-cylinder engine, this offshoot of the popular Celica started at just over $10K. Five inches longer than the Celica, the Supra also included air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, and the option to add a sunroof and cruise control.
Alas, Toyota ceased production of the Supra in 2002, as demand waned; they had put the kibosh on exporting this sleek sports car.
Fun Fact: In 2001, Paul Walker drove a 1993 Supra stunt car in the first “The Fast and the Furious movie”. The characters worked it over and tweaked it until it was so fast that it beat a Ferrari on the street. It later sold for $185,000 at auction.
A race car for every day
“I’m sure for each of you there’s been at least one car in your life that you have a particular attachment to, one car that holds a special place in your heart and for me, the Supra is it,” Toyoda told the crowd in Detroit last year. “Back in the day my old Supra and I spent countless hours together as I learned to become a master driver. But you can imagine the teasing and stares that I got from all the other manufacturers at Nürburgring, who were driving their beautiful new prototypes while I’m out there driving what felt like an automotive version of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I mean it was a great car but you know, a guy can only take so much!”
Toyoda told the crowd that the brand had no plans to make a new Supra, but diehard Supra fans around the world clamored for its return.
Why choose a Supra?
After taking it on an extended test drive three and a half hours across the state of Texas, I get it. The Supra is highly addicting and it’s plush inside, sharing some DNA and a platform with the BMW Z4. As F1 driver Fernando Alonso says, it’s like a race car you can drive comfortably every day.
It’s wonderfully loud, so don’t think you’re going to sneak up on anyone in a Supra. It’s not afraid to burst into the space with flair and attitude. That means there is some road noise inside, but it’s not terrible. Storage space is surprisingly ample for such a small car, and the designers found ways to make every inch count.
What you need to know
- The Supra is a two-seater; leave the kids at home and take this one out on date nights or commute the office
- Turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine (335 horsepower, 365 lb-ft of torque)
- RWD and automatic are the only options
- Standard features include 19-inch wheels, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather and simulated suede seats and upholstery, power front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a 10-speaker audio system
- Standard safety features: auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, and auto high beams
- Highly recommended: upgrade to the Navigation + JBL package for an upgraded 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, along with Apple CarPlay and a 12-speaker JBL audio system
The first cassette I ever played in a car while I was driving was Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. It felt so empowering to drive my own car and pressure from my right foot found the top range of the accelerator more often than I care to admit. As I was driving the Supra, this is the song that ran through my head:
The CT4 may be tamer than the CTS-V, but that’s not necessarily bad.
When the Cadillac CT4 showed up in my driveway, it evoked fond memories. Last year, I had a CTS-V in my possession for one glorious week. I took my mom on a three-hour drive north to Dallas for the day, and every time I revved the engine, she giggled. Every time the seat belt hugged us in for a tighter fit after we fastened it, she said “ooh!” The sedan topped out over $100K, but I can’t say it isn’t worth it: with 640 hp and a supercharged 6.2L engine, this was not your granddad’s Cadillac. It’s more of a luxury car with the heart of a muscle car, and it was awesome to drive.
Overall, the CT4 is a tamed steed versus a wild stallion. It’s smaller and lighter with half the horsepower. What you need to know, however, is that sometimes having a broken-in horse is the better choice – depending on what you need, of course.
Two engine choices
The CT4 is an all-new sedan replacing the Cadillac ATS It’s part of the first generation of the sedan introduced for model year 2020. Compared frequently to a similarly-sized Audi A3 or a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CT4 can hold its own for fans of the brand.
The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is available in four trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport and the top-of-the-line V-Series. The one I drove this week was the Premium Luxury, which means it includes all the features of the ground-floor Luxury and is available with either the 237-hp 2.0L engine or an optional turbocharged 310-hp, 2.7L four-cylinder matched to a 10-speed automatic.
Engine choice alone is enough to choose the mid-range trim. Other features include auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, handsome 18-inch wheels, and forward collision alert (which flashes a big red box on the instrument cluster and emits a loud alarm if danger is imminent).
In the Sport trim, the CT4 comes with the same 2.0L engine as the Luxury model. The sport also adds meaty Brembo brakes and shift paddles along with a more athletic profile. Honestly, I’m perplexed by this combination of the smaller engine and bigger brakes on the Sport. It makes more sense that the next trim up (the CT4-V) comes standard with a tweaked version of the 2.7L turbocharged engine that generates 325 hp, and the Brembos.
If fuel economy is important to you, note that the epa-estimated mpg is 20 city/ 30 highway for the CT4. The CT4-V requires premium gasoline and costs about $6K more than the Sport trim.
CT4 or CT5? That is the question.
The CT4 is a smaller, more compact sedan. It’s nearly six inches shorter than the CT5 but interestingly, the headroom in front is only less than an inch taller in the CT5. If you regularly ferry tall teens from place to place, the CT5 offers four inches more legroom, which will make a difference for them.
In terms of engine size, the base model of the CT4 and CT5 both come standard with the 237-hp 2.0L.
Base model pricing:
|CT4 Luxury (2.0T engine)||$33,990||$36,590|
|CT5 Luxury (2.0T engine)||$37,890||$40,490|
If a luxury sedan is on your mind, the CT4 checks all of the boxes. The drive was incredibly smooth and the seats supremely supple and comfortable. As an audiophile, I was a little disappointed in the sound quality of the Bose audio system and felt it might need some retooling of the locations of the speakers. On the other hand, I appreciated all of the options to change the station without looking down; there are three places to turn the volume up or down and two knobs to scroll through the channels. It all works together very well.
Is the CT4 worth it? I say yes. It’s fairly priced and it’s a great choice for the luxury set.
This Missy Elliott song matches our theme well:
The 2021 Nissan TITAN is on sale now at U.S. Nissan dealers with a starting MSRP of $36,550 (slightly up from $36,190 for model year 2020) for the TITAN King Cab 4×2 S model.
Equipped with a standard 5.6L V8 with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, standard Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology and a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, Nissan says the 2021 TITAN offers the most standard power, safety and technology features in its class. Safety Shield 360 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and class-exclusive standard rear automatic braking. I always applaud automakers for standard safety features, and this a solid set from Nissan.
Always wanted a personal assistant?
The available Nissan Concierge provides owners 24-hour access to a live assistant at the push of a button. With Nissan Concierge, which is available through NissanConnect Services, assistants can help with a range of tasks like restaurant reservations, appointment scheduling, wake up calls and even personal shopping for event tickets or a special gift. The gift shopping alone is a boon to busy people everywhere.
Fender audio – of course it’s good
I highly recommend the available Fender premium audio system, which includes 12 speakers with Crew Cab and 10 speakers on King Cab. The system’s 485-watt, nine-channel amplifier with Panasonic’s proprietary Acoustic Motion Control (which renders the realistic reverberation and ambience of original recordings) sounds incredible, even cranked up.
Zero Gravity seats are no gimmick
Every TITAN includes front and rear outboard Zero Gravity seats that help maximize posture positioning for enhanced comfort during long distance driving (believe me, they really make a difference on a long drive). Heating and cooling front seats are available. Heated front and rear seats are available in both cloth and leather-appointed trim levels.
For buyers looking for an even higher level of performance and capability, the TITAN XD fits the bill. Built on a unique frame and chassis, TITAN XD has an extended 151.6-inch wheelbase – about 15 inches longer than TITAN models (Crew Cab comparison) and 6.5-foot bed.
Every 2021 TITAN comes standard with bumper-to-bumper coverage of 5-years/100,000-miles, whichever comes first (includes basic and powertrain coverage).
“Obsessive” is not a bad word at Rolls-Royce
When reviewing client feedback from the first Goodwood Ghost, it became clear to Rolls-Royce that its cocooning, near-silent acoustic properties were of the utmost importance. Ghost owners value the sense of calm and wellness that their Rolls-Royce creates. Therefore, in creating new Ghost, the marque’s team of acoustic specialists were obsessively focused on this highly complicated engineering task.
To achieve a sense of absolute serenity, the acoustic team began by adapting the marque’s proprietary aluminum spaceframe architecture. A double-skinned bulkhead section was selected to insulate the cabin from the already near-silent 6.75L V12 engine, and space in the roof, trunk, and floor were created to fill with more than 100 kg of sound-absorbing materials. Additionally, the brand chose double-glazed windows with a clear composite center sheet as well as tires lined with lightweight acoustic insulation foam.
New Ghost Acoustic Engineering Lead Tom Davis-Reason says, “The extraordinary acoustic quality of new Ghost is the result of significant engineering developments and fastidious attention to detail, but it really is underpinned by the marque’s proprietary aluminum architecture. There is simply no way we could have created such an acoustically refined environment using a steel platform.”
Once the sound stage was created, every component was obsessively interrogated for its acoustic properties. Those that produced unacceptable levels of noise were discarded and completely redesigned at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex. Even the inside of the air conditioning ducts were smoothed to better insulate clients from intrusive noises.
Whisper-soft sound quality
Here’s the interesting part: upon early testing the acoustic team discovered that removing all noise was disorienting. Their solution was to create a ‘whisper’ – a soft undertone that clients experienced as a single, subtle note. To achieve this, each component had to be tuned to a specific resonant frequency. This task included the creation of acoustically tuned damping units for the seat frames, as well as a suite of ports between the cabin and the large 500-litre boot to ensure the low frequency it generated was consistent with new Ghost’s ‘note’.
The marque’s experts named this exhaustive process the Formula for Serenity. Following its creation, these specialists presented the acoustic advances they had made, showcasing how these developments would serve the demands of new Ghost clients. Rolls-Royce has elected to share elements of these internal briefings to demonstrate the engineering substance that underpins this extraordinary new motor car ahead of its official unveiling this year.
Kristin looks at the 2020 IS 350 in its F-Sport package and talks about likes and dislikes for this luxury sports sedan. This is a beautiful car with many things standard that might not be expected. Plus some downsides that might also be a little annoying. Find out what’s what with the IS 350 here.
Kristin gets into the 2020 Maxima and tests out Nissan’s assertion that this is a “four-door sports car.” The Maxima is still the flagship sedan in Nissan’s lineup. Let’s find out what she likes, what she doesn’t like as much, and what she thinks of this car overall.
In this walkaround and deep dive, Kristin looks at the 2020 Encore GX, the tiniest Buick crossover. What’s the three cylinder engine got? How great is the interior? Can it be this small and still be quiet on the highway? Kristin’s got answers to those questions and more.