The all-new Hyundai Elantra is a beautiful little sedan. One of the best designs we’ve seen in any category. Beyond that, the Elantra adds a lot of usefulness and brings a great daily drive dynamic to the table. Is it perfect? No. But it might be getting close.
In this quick review, Aaron looks at the new 2021 Envision from Buick. This little crossover has a lot of hits, a few misses, and sums itself up with “Tiny Goodness.” Check it out.
In this episode, Kristin asks Aaron about the all-new, fully redesigned Rogue and what he thinks of it. Aaron talks about the Nissan Rogue and how it changed the game before and continues to change things for the better now. This is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle and they definitely had to bring an A-game to it.
Watch for Aaron’s full review of the Rogue coming soon.
A luxury SUV with plug-in hybrid efficiency
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is an all-new SUV with seating for up to seven passengers in a lush and elegant cabin. This is a true luxury car and it feels like one. It also looks like one with a bold exterior design that includes a massive grille that demands your attention. This helps the Lincoln Aviator stand out amid the growing number of large SUVs on the road.
It’s available in a range of four trims, including the exclusive Black Label and the plug-in hybrid Grand Touring. We spent our drive time with the Grand Touring Black Label, which combines the efficiency of the plug-in hybrid with the luxury of the Black Label at a price of $87,800.
Hybrids are nothing new and you’ll find plenty of them in the grocery store parking lot. They’re a part of the automotive landscape in such a way that they no longer stand out or draw attention as something unique. Plug-in hybrids, however, are a different story.
Embrace the plug-in life
These aren’t as popular as their non-plug counterparts. That doesn’t mean they’re lesser, just that the public hasn’t been as willing to buy into the idea of plugging in a car at night. The same is true for pure electrics. It’s still a little weird to plug in your car when you get home.
If you can shake off that weirdness, then you get the benefit of paying less to fuel your car. The overall cost of charging a plug-in hybrid or electric is less than relying on a gas-only engine. There are also tax breaks for buying one depending on where you live. Finally, there’s the added benefit of reducing your impact on the environment especially in areas where power is generated by more environmentally friendly methods.
Unlike an electric which must be plugged in to charge because it only has battery power, this is optional on a plug-in hybrid. You can run it on gas if that’s what you prefer of if plugging in isn’t convenient.
Running it purely on that gas engine, the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined. Plug in to charge and that number jumps to 56 MPGe. It’s your call, but embracing the plug-in life will save you some cash.
A powerful and responsive engine
Honestly, though, if you’re looking at a vehicle like this, then you’re probably not on a tight budget. This is a luxury SUV so there are far cheaper options you can choose. The whole reason to pay extra for the Aviator is for that distinctive luxury-car vibe that can’t be had at bargain basement prices.
Power comes from a direct injection twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor for 494 system horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. This is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Aviator is a big vehicle, but those numbers make it surprisingly peppy. Press the accelerator and you won’t find power lacking.
While it has plenty of power, handling is a little soft. It’s more luxury family hauler than sports car. You will feel the bulk of the Aviator as you change lanes and it’s not exactly the kind of thing you want to push hard through the corners, but that’s okay. The Aviator is all about a luxury experience for passengers and on that front it delivers.
Luxury car comfort at its peak
The Grand Touring Black Label includes leather seats that are 30-way adjustable, heated, and ventilated for the driver and front passenger, leather-wrapped steering wheel, quad-zone climate control, and ambient lighting. The second-row captain’s chairs are just as roomy and comfortable, so families won’t be fighting to see who gets to sit up front.
The Aviator looks like a luxury car and it feels like one. It has the elegant design, high-quality materials, and spacious, comfortable interior you’d expect in a luxury SUV. The Aviator also offers the opportunity to be different.
It’s not the same as every other three-row out there. It’s not the most popular choice and you probably won’t pass a heck of a lot of them on the highway. It’s a luxury SUV that gives you the chance to stand out from the crowd in the most elegant way possible. And as a plug-in hybrid, it lets you be environmentally conscious and save a few bucks at the same time.
Wagons aren’t dead. At least, not in the luxury realms. The 2020 Volvo V60 is a beautiful, classy, and very well done station wagon (excuse me, “Estate”) that offers a lot of goodness in its shapely form. Got a soft spot for wagons? This one’s for you.
The Subaru family wagon gets an upgrade
The 2020 Subaru Outback is all new this year marking the sixth generation of this popular family wagon. A lot has changed over the years with updated styling and new technologies, but some things are still the same. It’s still a workhouse of a wagon with room for the family, ample cargo space to carry their stuff, and more capability than the average wagon.
There’s room for five passengers in a comfortable and durable interior. Even in top trims of the Outback that have richer materials and extra amenities, it never feels delicate. You won’t worry if the kids manage to get their snowy winter boots on the seats or the dog leaps through the car with muddy paws. This is a car that can stand up to real life rather than needing to be coddled.
When it’s time for cargo, the Outback holds 32.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 72.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. It also has a long load floor so it can manage objects up to 75 inches long. If whatever you have is still too big, then take advantage of its ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
The return of the turbocharged engine
There’s a choice of two engines starting with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. For the first time since 2009, there’s also a turbocharged option. This more powerful engine boasts 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Both are paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission.
While either does the job of getting the Subaru Outback up to highway speeds, the turbocharged engine is the more fun of the two. It’s responsive when you press the accelerator and removes the anxiety of trying to merge with heavy highway traffic. It also gets great fuel economy. The base engine gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined with those numbers dropping by just 3 mpg across the board for the turbocharged engine.
Subarus are capable things, so you’ll find 8.7 inches of ground clearance along with standard all-wheel drive with X-Mode. It makes short work of snowy, rutted roads and just as easily tackles more rugged off-road adventures where the average wagon wouldn’t stand a chance.
Plenty of tech upgrades
The Outback shows off updated tech this year with standard EyeSight driver assist technologies. This gives you pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist with sway warning even on the base trim. A 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2020 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety further enhance the Outback’s safety appeal.
Another nice tech upgrade is the Subaru Outback’s massive 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen for the infotainment system. This is standard on all but the base trim, which has dual 7-inch touchscreens. The larger screen makes it easy to follow navigation and easy to swipe between menus to find what you need quickly. It can also be customized so you can put the things you use most front and center.
The 2020 Subaru Outback is available in a range of seven trims so you’ll be able to find one that works for your needs and your budget. Pricing runs from $26,645 to $39,695.
The 2020 Ford Expedition is a big, well-made sport utility that straddles a line between being a traditional body-on-frame SUV and a more car-like crossover. With tons of interior room and excellent capability, it’s a solid choice in family hauling. In the FX4 off-road package, it’s also a great weekend getaway to wherever machine.