All posts by Mark Savage

Mark Savage is a writer and editor. He wrote a car review column, Savage on Wheels, for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1989 through 2019 and was a business news reporter there for 16 years. He now writes car reviews for WUWM (NPR-Milwaukee) and for his own site. He also has served as editor and publisher of several hobby magazines and a snowmobile title, all the while writing about diecast cars and for various hobby magazines. He is an avid Indy 500 fan, attending races since 1962, and an IndyCar enthusiast, and Formula Ford race school graduate.

2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD

EV6 a great-looking, performing Electric car …

Superlatives sometimes ring hollow, and years of writing car reviews has proven to me it’s a lot harder to go gaga over a new vehicle and not sound like I’m on the car company payroll than it is to whine and moan about a vehicle that falls flat.

But here goes anyway.

Kia’s EV6 GT-Line AWD gets nearly everything right to entice buyers who may be leaning toward an EV, as in electric vehicle. The EV6 looks fabulous with its slim lights and sleek nose, handsome sporty profile and muscular haunches that could, at a younger age, stir frisky thoughts.

While many electrics look like overstuffed perogi, the EV6 looks trim and sporty, even more so than its cousin, the nearly as fantabulous Hyundai Ioniq 5 tested last week, or the lovely Genesis GV60 tested earlier this summer, all electrics

Thankfully Kia starts with bold futuristic styling, but on the more practical side, the interior is well thought out and beautifully executed, fast charging is possible, the drive is spirited and range is the best of the electrics I’ve tested this fall.

Kia’s EV6 GT-Line AWD could be the best electric car I’ve driven yet as it scores on the main points, looks, power, drivability, range and charging efficiency. I’ve already drooled over the looks, but power?

Yes, like all EVs the acceleration from its torquey twin electric motors (one front, one rear) is impressive. The AWD model boasts 320 horsepower and a torque rating of 446 delivered via three drive modes that allow a driver to go with Eco to save juice, Normal for peppy takeoffs, and Sport for kicking the booty of most non-Porsches. Remember too, it’s AWD, so traction is good in the wet and winter slop.

EV6 drops its battery packs between the front and rear wheels just below the vehicle’s floor so the center of gravity is low and well spread out. Cornering is sporty although steering feedback could be more precise. Sport mode helps that some yet there is some push in high-speed turns due to that battery weight. After a few days behind the wheel that becomes less noticeable.

Ride is firmer than in the longer-wheelbase Ioniq 5, so can become a bit thumpy on really rough roads. But control is good so in normal or highway drives it’s pleasant enough, certainly better than any SUV or large crossover.

Inside, this brilliant Runway Red (bright metallic red) Kia delivers a clean yet stylish dash and seating. A highlight is the twin 12.3-inch screens that are linked as one, so visually pristine. Functionality is good too, swipe the screen for a full menu of options.

Seats are a black suede-like material trimmed in white vegan leather. In fact, the seat material is made of recycled plastic, but one would never know it to see it as the material feels like suede. The black door panels include white armrests and satin chrome door releases, again fresh and modern. That satin chrome is used elsewhere for trim too, including the flat-bottomed steering wheel’s hub and lower section.

The dash is enlivened by a gray textured trim that insinuates modernity and then there’s the huge flat console that sticks up from between the seats like an aircraft carrier deck, yet not connecting to the dash. Under it is a large cubby perfect for a purse and there are plastic side hooks there to snag small plastic grocery bags. Smart interior design.

Atop the black gloss console is a rotating satin chrome gear shift dial (I’d prefer a lever, but I’m getting old), plus at the front edge buttons for the standard heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel. Excellent, no screen tapping and sliding to search for these basic functions!

A wireless charger is embedded atop the console too, along with dual cup holders and a small covered storage box. Extra plugs are on the floor up near the firewall and each seat back includes a plug for rear-seat gamery.

Rear outer seats are heated and all seats are comfy with good hip and lower back support. The driver’s seat is powered, naturally.

Overhead EV6 features a small sunroof that powers open and includes a shade, plus the GT-Line adds a Meridian surround sound system with 14 speakers. Nice.

A minor interior complaint, the steering wheel (for me) partially blocks the speedometer located on the far left of the digital instrument screen. However, the GT-Line comes with a heads-up display, which cures that. It may remain a problem in the lower Light and Wind trims.

In back is a power hatch and oodles of cargo space, although a touch less than the Ioniq 5 had when the rear seats are lowered.

What about the electrics, the charging and battery range?

Oh that!

It’s excellent too in that the 77.4 kWh lithium ion battery pack accepts fast charging at 800 volts, so a 10% to 80% charge can happen in about 18 minutes. That’s great when traveling, plus the range is rated at 274 miles, but my full charge registered 278. Kia seems to underestimate ranges so you’re pleasantly surprised by the real deal.

This IS the real deal because I just have a 120Vt outlet in my garage and still got about a 20% charge overnight. For practical purposes that meant I could run errands around town, about 30 miles, then plug in before dinner and was back to a full charge in the morning. The Ioniq 5 would not do that, despite being able, like the Kia, to do a quick charge from a high-volt charger. Not clear on why the Ioniq was so resistant to a 120V charge.

Currently (get it?), Kia also supplies buyers with a card for 1000 kWh of free charging over three years at Electrify America outlets across the country. That’s said to be worth about $3,000, so free juice for a road trip, if you can find an Electrify America charging station en route. There’s but one in our area, in West Allis.

Naturally EV6 is chock full of safety equipment such as smart cruise control, forward collision avoidance, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic, lane-keeping, parking sensors and such. Most of these not only warn you, but help maneuver the car to avoid accidents. Oh, and there’s a 360-degree camera.

Cost remains a concern, at least for the top-shelf GT-Line. List price is $57,115 with delivery. Just the suede seats were added here for $295 to bring the total to $57,410. Note that 2023 models run about $1,000 more.

If economy is more your style, for 2023 the entry-level EV6 is the Wind trim, starting at $49,795 for front-wheel-drive and $53,695 for AWD. The lower cost Light trim was dropped for 2023. The rear-drive Wind trim features a single electric motor creating 225 horsepower, but with a range is 310 miles, so roughly that of a Tesla Model Y.

Wind also adds gloss-black lower front fascia, the power hatch, vegan leather seat trim, cooled front seats and the Meridian sound system. Another plus, for campers, there is a vehicle-to-load (V2L) external power port so a person can charge another electric device, or run a lamp or computer at a remote camping site, etc.

GT-Line basically loads everything aboard. Its second motor delivers that extra 362 hp, plus there are automatic pop-out door handles, body colored wheel arches, the sunroof, flat-bottomed wheel, suede and vegan leather seat trim, rear parking sensors, Highway Driving Assist 2 (a partially autonomous driving system with automatic lane changing), HUD, 360-degree camera, an enhanced version of the forward-collision avoidance system, and deluxe scuff plates.

Other stuff you might care to know:

  • EV6 offers Smartwatch connectivity so you can start it and more from your watch.
  • A heat pump uses waste heat from the coolant system to keep the battery warm in cold weather, like in Wisconsin. That avoids the cold sucking down your battery power in winter. Kia claims at 20 degrees the battery is at 80% of what it would be in mid-70 degree summer weather. Bingo!
  • Paddle shifters on the steering wheel provide four levels of regenerative braking to let you drive with one pedal, the accelerator. I liked the most severe level in that it slows the vehicle quickly and regenerates battery power best. After a day of driving, you find you’re rarely using your brake pedal, except in an emergency.
  • The AWD model weighs about 250 pounds more than the RWD models.
  • Yes, there’s a tiny frunk in front, so you can hide valuables, etc.
  • The digital screens are glare resistant, a major positive.
  • Last amazing fact, the 114.2-inch wheelbase is the same as for Kia’s Telluride mid-size SUV, which explains why there’s so much room and why ride quality is as good as it is.

This is the top performing electric of the year, and there’s not much year left. Plus, while some electrics aren’t sold in Wisconsin, the EV6 is.

Note too that some electrics are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and some states also offer incentives. Wisconsin does not. However, Wisconsin adds a surcharge of $75 for hybrids and $100 for EVs to make up for lost gas tax revenue from electrics.

FAST STATS: 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD

Hits: Refined futuristic styling inside and out, excellent acceleration + 3 drive modes, easy handling, and AWD. Clean stylish dash, big dual screens, heated/cooled supportive front seats, heated outside rear seats, flat-bottom wheel, HUD, opening sunroof, solid safety systems, Meridian stereo w/14 speakers, wireless phone charger, power hatch. Fast charging and sufficient overnight charge on 120 outlet, nearly 280-mile range.

Misses: Heavy feel in turns, firm ride, rotating shift dial, steering wheel partially blocks speedometer portion of screen, GT-Line is costly.

Made in: Hwasung, So. Korea (builds starting in 2025 in new Georgia plant)

Power: 2 168kW electric motors w/77.4 kWh battery, 320 hp/446 torque

Transmission: 1-speed reduction gear

Weight: 4,500 lbs. (est.)

Wheelbase: 114.2 in.

Length: 184.8 in.

Cargo: 27.7-53.5 cu.ft.

Tow: 2,300 lbs.

MPGe: 116/94

Range: 274 mi/278 observed

Base Price: $57,115 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $56,637

Major Options:

GT-Line suede seats, $295

Test vehicle: $57,410

Sources: Kia, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Kia

#EV

2005 Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster

Eyeballing a rare molto bello Italian supercar …

Why should Paul have all the fun? Hey, I spot cars too, like this 2005 Lambo Murcielago Roadster I spied at the Chicago Mecum Auction in October.

This Italian hot rod was parked out back of the exhibition and auction hall where various employees could keep an eye on it in case car nuts like me were wandering about wanting to crawl inside. It was locked, naturally.

It’s so rare to see a Lambo in the Midwest, unless you’re in Chicago where the big money lives. But what makes this so special is the convertible top. The Murcielago had been out several years when it was redesigned to go topless.

Here’s how Motortrend magazine described it back in the day. The Lamborghini has “a body that magnetizes eyeballs like Heidi Klum in a Saran Wrap leotard.”

The sticker on this baby, when new, was $320,000 and for that you got a throbbing 6.2-liter V12, AWD supercar with scissor doors. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to flip these up for a photo, something about “Don’t Touch.”

Power is 575 horses, which may not seem so crazy powerful now that electric cars are touting that, and more, with twin electric motors in some makes. But the Lambo would scoot, doing 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds and top speed was 205 mph.

Yet Lambo advised against driving more than 100 mph with the convertible top in place, as it might lift off and fly into Never Never Land! This thing is all metal tubes and cloth and the fit never was great, one supposes Lambo designers thinking most drivers would be removing the top before racing about.

A few other interesting points with the Murcielago? Well, the engine hatch is hinged at the rear to expose the V12, a design first used on the iconic Lamborghini Miura in even earlier days. The front brakes have 8-piston calipers as you’ll likely need to stop this in a hurry, and this windshield angle is incredibly low, driving home the car’s devilish wedge shape.

Just 4,099 Murcielagos were built, the last in late 2010. Just 899 were convertibles, er, excuse me, roadsters.

If only I hadn’t left the checkbook at home!

#Lamborghini

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD

First Hyundai electric is charged with looks, performance ….

Rarely does someone follow me into a parking lot to ask about the vehicle I’m test driving, but electric cars are different.

Still new in the public’s consciousness, some are simply so visually striking that they raise even more questions than range, charge time, and cost.

“What IS that car?” asked the smiling woman leaning out of her mid-size SUV’s window.

The high-tech looker in question was Hyundai’s new Ioniq5, what looks to be the love child of a Back To The Future DeLorean and a Volkswagen Golf. This techy two-tone metallic matte gray and silver car is both sleek and boxy with a smooth angular nose and boxy fancy taillights, something Hyundai calls parametric pixel LED lighting. Say that five times fast!

One nationally noted auto writer called this Minecraft design. It’s apt.

This is Hyundai’s first mainstream electric model and it’s a winner in looks, form and function. For the record, its kissin’ cousin, the Kia EV6, will be tested next week and its high-class cousin, the Genesis GV60 was tested this summer.

Watch the Genesis GV60 video: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=yfp-t&ei=UTF-8&p=you+tube+savageonwheels+genesis#id=3&vid=35dd5871182584b96eb2712233f0c19e&action=click

The Ioniq5 in this color scheme, called Shooting Star, costs $1,000 extra and is a mix of family hatchback, crossover and sports sedan. How so?

It features a power hatch, AWD, plus it’ll kick bootie when accelerating from a stoplight.

Power comes from two 165 kW electric motors, one each to drive the front and rear axles so there’s plenty of AWD grip, plus a heaping helping of power, a hefty 320 horsepower and 446 prodigious pound-feet of torque to be exact. It’ll rock, although not quite so much as the 429- to 483-horse Genesis GV60. But then it costs considerably more.

Sleek nose, not the blunt looks of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volvo C40, or VW iD.4.

Highway entry ramps are Ionic 5’s playground, although truth be told, most EVs are neck stretchers. Car and Driver magazine says this Hyundai will do 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Some sources claim even less. Power is a devil in tails.

Three drive modes help too and are engaged smartly via a button on the steering wheel hub. Convenient! Eco will help extend battery range, as will turning off the climate controls. Normal is plenty quick and Sport turns the Iconiq 5 into a hushed racer.

Drivability beyond neck flexing?

This tail with its sort of pixel-like taillights seems to get a lot of attention.

The Hyundai feels pretty heavy, but at 4,663 pounds actually weighs less than a new gas-powered Ford Mustang. Still, that heavy after-a-meal feeling is due to Ioniq 5’s low center of gravity that makes the car feel electromagnetically stuck to the road. It’s not, but that’s probably coming.

There is push in turns due to that weight, but the Ioniq5 is stable and easy to control and tame a lane. Ride is fabulous because the mid-size car actually has a stretched 118.1-inch wheelbase, a full 4 inches longer than its big SUV cousin, the Palisade. Longer is better as it smooths the ride to luxury levels.

Plus there’s that AWD for winter traction.

Watch Mark’s review video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XZZLnY6Ges&feature=youtu.be

If you’re just beginning to wrap your head around electron-pumping power plants you likely have two or three current (sorry) questions, like range, charging time, and price?

First know this, it all depends.

I had the Ioniq 5 just before chilly fall weather set it. Cold or heat can adversely affect lithium-ion battery range.

The EPA says to expect 258 miles of range, but when I used the sole Electrify America chargers in Milwaukee (West Allis really) a 100% charge left me with 278 miles, better than expected.

I needed a 48% charge at that point to hit a full 100% and it took me 48 minutes, so a minute a percent. However, only a 150kW charger (350kW is best) was available and functioning. If I had been able to use the 350kW charger it likely would have taken 10-12 minutes to top off my charge. For my 48 minutes of battery charge I paid $15, so probably about half what I would have spent for most of a week’s worth of gas as I hadn’t driven my usual 200+ miles yet.

Consider this too, the Hyundai system is designed to optimize ultra-fast charging. So a 350kW/800V charge is preferred and Hyundai says moving the needle from 10% to 80% on such a charger will take just 18 minutes. That’s competitive with the fastest charging competitors.

However, I have just a standard 120V outlet in my garage and the Ioniq 5 barely added 3-4% on that in an overnight charge. Spending upward of $1,000 on installing a 240V line and charging station would enhance that, as one evening I plugged in the car at 60% and its screen said it would be 40 hours to a full charge. Not cool!

Some electrics take to the 120V and 240V charges better. For instance, I charged a Volvo C40 overnight just a few weeks earlier in my garage and got about 20% charge. So, if an electric gets say 2.5 miles per kWh, then that would get net about 50 miles, plenty for a day’s city driving and it allows a driver to mostly top-off the charge each night.

Folks were wild about the Ioniq 5’s wheel design!

That said, the Ioniq 5 got about 3 miles per kWh on average and as high as 4.5 at times.

Enough on range and charging, what’s an Ioniq 5 cost?

It depends, ranging from $41,245 to about $57,000. The base SE Standard Range with two-wheel-drive, one 225-horse electric motor and boasting an even more generous 303-mile range is at the low end, while the tested top-flight Limited with AWD starts at $55,725, including delivery. The test car cost $56,920.

Remember, some electrics will be eligible for federal tax credits up to $7,500, but that gets tricky and needs clarification from the government and dealer before you commit to a purchase. More on that in future stories as the credit fog lifts.

Some government rebates/credits depend on where the vehicle is made. This early-build Ioniq 5 was assembled in South Korea, but Hyundai may begin building them in the States sooner than later.

Yes, there’s a flat-bottom wheel and cool dark red piping on the seats.

Just a bit more as you may be curious about the Ioniq 5’s interior.

It’s clean, modern and techy without being Tesla-ish. There’s a real steering wheel, for instance, and dual 12.3-inch screens surrounded in an iPad-like white trim, very clean. Most functions go through the info screen, including heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel along with all radio activity.

Wide, modern, clean, and low is the dash and gauge design.

The interior is two-tone gray, dark over light, with perforated plant-based leather-like seats with dark red piping as an accent. Seating is powered and nicely contoured with a power footrest for the driver so he/she can recline and relax while the car charges. Just sayin’!

Rear seats also partially recline in this roomy interior. That’s aided by the front seat backs being 30% thinner than most, creating more rear seat knee room. Truck space is generous.

Matte silver trim enlivens the dash and door handles and window controls and optically the door pull/armrests blend into the door panel. Clever!

The dual-screen is cleanly trimmed in white, much like an iPad.

Below the big digital screen are buttons for the radio, map, navigation, and such, yet no Home button. That’s found by pressing one of the other buttons and then tapping the Home icon on the screen. One screen tells you your estimated charge and mileage that remains.

Hyundai delivers a panoramic sunroof and power shade, but the roof is solid so won’t open, same as a Tesla. There’s a fine Bose sound system and wireless phone charger too and SmartSense, the Hyundai safety system with forward collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, etc. It covers the whole gamut including smart cruise control.

The panoramic sunroof really brightens the light-colored interior.

There’s push-button start and the shifting is controlled via a stalk to the wheel’s right. You rotate its end for Drive or Reverse, sort of like Volkswagen’s ID.4 system, but this is in a more intuitive location.

This Limited model also comes with a fancy HUD but I couldn’t figure out how to adjust its height, so as a short driver had to stretch a bit to see it at times. There is a white line atop the HUD display and occasionally when I turned a corner it looked like something was darting across the street, but it was just that line.

The Limited also includes a sliding console (universal island) that can move 5.5 inches for or aft, nice feature to make a driver comfy as to where the cup holders or tall armrest is located. Between those two is a big opening where a woman (or man) could lay a purse. That panoramic roof, a 360-degree camera, the Bose sound system and Remote Smart Parking also come standard on Limited.

The power hatch makes loading the cargo area easy.

There’s so much to mention with Ioniq 5 that I’m sure to have left a bit out. But one thing Hyundai likes to tout is the ability to plug accessories, such as a light/radio/TV/laptop, when camping. If the car has at least 15% charge you can run these extras to make an outdoor experience more indoorsy. Hmmm!

Bottom line, Ioniq 5 was Car and Driver’s electric vehicle of the year for 2022 and I agree, from styling to functionality it is tops, so far. Now we’re all just waiting for the nation’s infrastructure to catch up.

FAST STATS: 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited AWD

Hits: Techy styling inside and out, excellent acceleration + 3 drive modes, easy handling, comfy ride, and AWD. Clean stylish dash, big dual screens, heated/cooled and supportive front seats w/reclining feature, HUD, panoramic sunroof w/shade, solid safety systems, Bose stereo, wireless phone charger.

Misses: Range limited to 256 miles, heavy feel in turns, sunroof doesn’t open, charger plug-in is next to passenger’s side taillight, still costly.

Can’t get enough of this snazzy taillight design.

Made in: Ulsan, So. Korea (builds starting in 2025 in a new plant in Georgia)

Power: 2 165kW electric motors w/74 kWh battery, 320 hp/446 torque

Transmission: 1-speed reduction gear

Weight: 4,663 lbs.

Wheelbase: 118.1 in.

Length: 182.5 in.

Cargo: 27.2-59.3 cu.ft.

MPGe: 110/87

Range: 256 mi/278 observed

Base Price: $55,725 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $55,725

Major Options:

Shooting Star (2-tone silver) paint, $1,000

Carpeted floor mats, $195

Test vehicle: $56,920

Sources: Hyundai, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Hyundai

#Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewMax

Tip-top Tundra a giant luxury pickup with a touch of hybrid help …

By definition Toyota can’t top its latest Tundra, dubbed the Capstone CrewMax, and it certainly would be difficult.

First, Tundra Capstone simply can’t get any bigger like all full-size pickups. If it does it’ll likely require a commercial license and its own song about being part of a convoy.

This is basically a match for Ford’s market-leading F-150 hybrid as the Capstone also is a hybrid and touts nearly the same dimensions, meaning a 145.7-inch wheelbase and 233.6 inches in length. The Ford is just a smidgen shorter.

By comparison the Ford is lighter and more efficient, but the Tundra packs more power from its new iForce Max powertrain that adds a hybrid electric system featuring nickel-metal hydride batteries (most now use lithium-ion) to both boost power and improve gas mileage.

The hybrid system links seamlessly with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 to create an impressive 437 horsepower and a massive 583 pound-feet of torque. It’ll chirp the rear drive wheels if you so desire and hitting highway speeds is no problemo. That makes towing easy too as the four-wheel-drive Capstone is rated to pull 11,450 pounds.

As impressive as the Tundra figure sounds the hybrid F-150 will tow 12,700 pounds with its 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 325 horsepower. Numbers can be deceiving.

Odd too that it took Toyota this long to add a hybrid system to Tundra as it pioneered hybrids in its Prius more than 20 years ago. But maybe no one saw the need until now. Ford also just added the hybrid model for 2021.

Both trucks feature a 10-speed automatic transmission and shifts are smooth as is acceleration here. While gas-only Tundras are rated at 18 and 24 mpg, this hybrid has an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 22 highway, so slightly better around town. I made a roundtrip to Chicago area and the Tundra’s trip computer touted 21 mpg. After that and some city driving it dropped to 20.4 and my $80+ fill-up figures indicated 19.8 mpg. Note too that this has a 32.2-gallon tank, so $125 might fill it if nearly empty.

Pull a trailer and take out a second mortgage.

Watch Mark’s video: 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewMax Hybrid by Mark Savage – YouTube

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to not be comfy in the Capstone or enjoy the drive.

Handling is easy and you’d rarely need the lane-keeping electronics to keep the big beast betwixt the highway’s lines. Cruising a highway is relatively quiet and a pleasure, plus you feel like you’re tall enough to challenge even the dump trucks that barrel past you on the right at 20 over the speed limit. Don’t!

Ride though becomes choppy and bouncy as in most pickups once you head onto side streets and country roads with crumbling asphalt edges and tar strip seams. While Toyota upgraded the rear suspension here to coil springs from a live rear axle there were still abrupt jolts that jostled passengers and surprised my derriere.

There’s even an adaptive variable air suspension with load-leveling here, costing $1,045 extra. That might help with the trailering, but not normal drives on bumpy Midwest roads. Oh, and I set the drive mode to Comfort for most of the drive to help soften things up, to little avail.

Normal, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Custom are the other modes and basically tighten up the steering and change shift points in the sportier settings. Sport modes in a pickup? Seems a bit much in a luxury liner like this, but one needs to justify the pricing I suppose.

Tundra’s interior certainly helps on that front, looking and feeling as upscale as anything you’d find in a Lexus. It’s quiet too, except when you’re mashing the gas pedal.

A lot of leather and luxury inside the Capstone edition.

The test truck featured a black over white leather dash and black and white leather seats, giving the Capstone an ambiance worthy of its name. Plus Toyota trims the doors, dash and wide console with dark stained walnut and trims the door armrests with brushed aluminum. Air vents are a near matching silver plastic and the door pulls also are brushed aluminum. The console shifter is surrounded by gloss black plastic.

All the interior comfort and electronics you’d expect from a top trim level are here, an expansive 14-inch info screen, attractive color digital instrument screen, a 360-degree camera that’s absolutely needed for proper parking within a parking lot’s lines.

That’s a big info screen, but there are bigger ones yet. Nice wood trim look here too!

Seats are not only semi-aniline leather but powered with a lower driver’s cushion featuring a power extension to help make tall drivers’ legs happy. Front and rear seats also are both heated and cooled and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated. Seating is roomy enough for five adults with oodles of head and legroom.

The big info screen is simple to use and there are a ton of toggles and buttons (a bit overwhelming) below it for climate controls and those heated/cooled seats, Trailering aids are there too, including one that allows a driver to program in his or her trailer so the truck remembers its height for easier hook-ups.

Airy cockpit with a panoramic sunroof, roomy rear seat!

Overhead is a panoramic sunroof and sun shade. The rear side windows feature their own manual sunshades and there’s an SOS button overhead along with a button to power down the truck’s center rear window panel, nice if hauling something long that needs to extend into the cab.

That bed, if you care to dirty it, features a black liner, along with over-cab and side bed-mounted lights. Adjustable tie-downs are available too and when you fold down the easy-lower tailgate a step magically extends from beneath the driver’s side rear fender to aid in bed mounting. Even more magical, it retracts automatically once the tailgate has been raised again.

Cleverly a step folds out as the tailgate is lowered, making it easy to climb aboard.

Speaking of magical whiz-bangs, the running boards are powered to fold down once a door is opened and power back up once all doors are closed. Jeep’s Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer and Lincoln’s Navigator have similar systems. My concern is that if per chance this power system fails there’s a huge step-up into the vehicle in which a step-ladder might be called for.

Less whiz-bangy is the 4-wheel-drive system, engaged via a sliding lever on the console. Just 2WD, and 4WD high and low here. There’s no automatic 4WD mode that will engage whenever the truck could benefit from it. This is manually engaged while most 4WD trucks now have an automatic AWD mode.

On the brighter side, Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 is standard on Tundra meaning all the usual safety equipment is here including smart cruise control, blind-spot warning, parking and lane warnings, along with automatic braking, and a lot more.

Manual rear window sunshades are standard on Capstone.

One final functional aside. Toyota continues to use a gas cap on the fuel filler. While not unusual, Ford and others now offer capless fillers and it’s surprising that Toyota hasn’t simplified their system for consumers yet.

This test Tundra’s exterior was a beautiful sparkling pearl white, called Wind Chill Pearl, certainly fitting for Wisconsin, and a color similar to one popular on Lexus sedans. The pearl color costs $425 extra and oozes luxury.

That was just one of three options here, the main one being the air suspension, so the Tundra’s price didn’t climb much from its $75,225 start, including delivery. That’s right the Capstone is a high-end luxury truck so settled at $76,760. A lease or a 6-year purchase might be called for at that price, but it’s not out of line with the F-150 hybrid. My Ford test truck last year hit nearly $71,000 and while nice, the Capstone’s interior is superior.

No mistaking what this truck’s name is.

The Tundra hybrid comes in five trims, the base Limited (remember when this was the top level?) with 2-wheel drive lists at $54,695 and features a 5.5-foot bed, like the Capstone edition. Moving up to the 4WD Limited with a 6.5-foot bed boosts entry to $58,025. You can also find Platinum and 1794 editions and the TRD Pro, which caters to the off-roading crowd with thick wallets.

Your call Mr. Gates. If you can afford a luxury pickup, the Capstone is, well, atop the Toyota offerings and competitive with the market leader.

FAST STATS: 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone CrewMax (Hybrid)

Snazzy headlight styling on Tundra.

Hits: Massive truck with big interior, slightly better gas mileage with hybrid, excellent power with quiet luxury interior. Huge info screen and fine digital instrument panel, heated wheel and heat/cool front and rear seats, 360-degree camera, power running boards and automatic fold down tailgate step. Excellent towing power and acceleration, decent handling and good safety systems.

Misses: Bouncy truck ride, a lot of buttons in the cockpit, still has gas cap and if the power running boards ever fail you’ll need a stepladder to climb in.

Made in: San Antonio, Texas

Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6/hybrid, 437 hp/583 torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 5,710 lbs.

Wheelbase: 145.7 in.

Length: 233.6 in.

Cargo bed: 5 ½-foot

Tow: 11,450 lbs.

MPG: 19/22

MPG: 19.8 (tested)

Base Price: $75,225 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $70,357

Major Options:

Special paint color, $425

Adaptive variable suspension, load-leveling rear air suspension, $1,045

Ball mount, $50

Test vehicle: $76,760

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Toyota Tundra

#Tundra Capstone

#Toyota

2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 Convertible

Curvy F-Type’s V8 growls, but for a price, eh guv …

I’m not here to tell you how to spend your hard-earned bonuses or stock options but if you yearn for power, prestige, and eye-popping styling the folks at Jaguar have a V8 powered suggestion.

Its aging F-Type is a triple threat on the above and one look will tell you the eye doctor would prefer you put on blinders. The tested Caldera Red F-Type P450 Convertible displays sinuous lines and haunches that either remind you of its namesake or make you blush.

The P450 is new for 2022 as Jag, a longtime Brit-built performance prestige brand, decided to turn its tail on conventional wisdom and drop its turbocharged 4- and 6-cylinder engines.

Nope, just good ol’ throaty V8 power here to push the rear-drive sports car up to, and well beyond highway speeds. Car and Driver magazine says this model will clip off 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 177 mph. Pretty darned quick, eh guv?

And if you prefer more burble and pop when you tromp the accelerator or back off for a tight corner, there’s a button on the console to acoustically boost the exhaust note, or when off, slightly calm it. The neighbors agree that’s the setting they prefer.

The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with aluminum block and heads will create 444 horsepower and a 428 torque rating when fed premium petrol, accounting for its impressive acceleration via a fine 8-speed automatic. But, and you knew one was coming, you COULD get 575 horsepower and raise a royal ruckus by moving up to the top-level F-Type R model.

That requires selling a bit more stock though. The tested F-Type P450 lists at $74,150 while an AWD P450 Dynamic tips the scales at $84,275. The R? Well, in either coupe or convertible (both available in all trims) it begins just short of $110,000.

Being a short-wheelbase, rear-drive two-seater the F-Type handles well, with keen cornering and a sporty flair, but without full-on sports car steering feedback. The electric power steering assist seems to ease steering effort, yet it’s still fun to toss into tight turns and chop off the apexes along a winding country road. A Dynamic drive mode also firms steering effort and suspension feel.

Its racy 20-inch Pirelli P Zero performance tires add grip on warm days, but six of the seven test days I dealt with cool, wet, and windy conditions, even enjoying our first trace of snow one day. That’s not great for traction, so all-weather tires would help if driving in the northern climes after mid-October.

Watch Mark’s video: 2022 Jaguar F Type P450 Convertible review by Mark Savage – YouTube

The big tires and the sport suspension that Jaguar uses here with control arms up front and a multi-link in back deliver an overly firm ride, which is not bad on the freeway, where I spent much of my time. But around town, the expansion joints and pot holes shake the Jag a bit.

Braking is fine though and painting the calipers red only adds $550 to the bottom line.

Exterior styling speaks for itself and the interior is attractive, but feels cramped due to an extremely wide center console. Plus the F-Type, first introduced in 2013, hasn’t changed all that much in here beyond adding some additional electronics.

This tester wore black leather all around with red stitching in the seats, along the dash and in the door panels. Looks sharp and feels fine too, but that console pressed pretty tight to a driver’s right leg and could become a bother over a long haul.

Trim is a smoked chrome that somewhat resembles carbon fiber and the steering wheel hub, door control inserts and air vents are a satin chrome.

An overly tall instrument gauge binnacle feels like it limits the driver’s front view, at least for short drivers. Meanwhile the info screen mid-dash is wide enough, but narrow top to bottom, so seems smaller than it is. Functionality was ok for the touchscreen, but a few items, like the map, weren’t intuitive initially.

Seats are extremely supportive with aggressive side bolsters and were upgraded Windsor leather performance models, so added $1,650 to the cost. Making them 12-way power numbers that also were heated and cooled tacked on $1,800 more.

Not a fan of how one must press in the large temperature control knobs, which are great for temp control, but then must be adjusted for the heated and cooled seats with a further click or three. Additionally, the fan noise for heating and cooling the seats was overwrought, sort of like turning on a small food processor just behind your seat.

The info screen is wide, but narrow.

I should note too that this model already had added a $2,000 luxury package that upgraded leather once and included premium overhead lighting and illuminated the kick plates. The overhead lights above the mirrors needed just the slightest touch to turn on, much needed at night in a black cockpit.

Standard safety equipment is well represented, but does not include a blind-spot assist or rear traffic monitor. That costs $550 extra but seems it should be standard like the parking sensors, lane-keep assist, and emergency braking. Smart cruise control also wasn’t standard, which I found out abruptly on the freeway as I closed in quickly on slow moving trucks even though cruise was engaged.

The test car went with a tan cloth top. I think I’d prefer black.

Pluses included a wireless charger and power tilt/telescope steering wheel, although it was not a flat-bottom wheel which would have increased knee room and helped lighten up the closeness of the interior. Also the wheel isn’t heated, an oversight in our climate.

The tan cloth ($650 extra) power top functions well and is easily engaged via a console button. Note that there is a fair amount of noise that still infiltrates the top, whereas a hard-top convertible, such as with Mazda’s MX-5 (Miata), would normally be quieter. Road noise from the tires also was considerable, so a highway drive is not conducive to easy conversation with a significant other or friend.

A few drawbacks to consider. Naturally there’s little cargo room, this being a convertible and all. Just 7 cubic feet of trunk space and not all flat space either, so a couple small overnight backs or briefcases would fit, but certainly not golf clubs.

Sun visors are absolutely miniscule too and oddly the push-button entry and fob add $500, which seems petty when a car lists at $75 grand.

Gas mileage is respectable for a V8-powered sports car, the EPA rating it at 17 mpg city and 24 highway. But I managed 25.4 mpg in about 80% highway driving, and yes, this drinks premium. But premium gas prices are not a concern once you’ve liquidated your holdings.

A look at the stylish door trim as it blends to the dash.

With all the add-ons the test car revved up to $84,350, which puts this in a price class with such hot rods at Chevy’s new rear-engine Corvette and Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayenne sportsters. All of those have a lower entry fee. Heck, the Corvette could be loaded and pack more power for the Jag’s out-the-door price.

Penny or pound pinchers should note that at least two or three great options exist. The Toyota GR Supra and Nissan Z Performance that I’ve tested would suffice and save a buyer tens of thousands of dollars as they start in the low $40,000 range. You give up some power and prestige, but blimey, you save serious coin.

Quad pipes gives the V8 a throaty sound.

For even less Mazda’s Miata with a power hardtop convertible is a fun drive, just not as bleeping powerful.

Such choices mostly depend on whether you’re a king or a commoner.

FAST STATS: 2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 Convertible

Hits: Stylish 2-seat convertible w/power top, excellent power, balanced handling, good brakes, nice throaty V8 sound. Good supportive seats, heated/cooled seats, wireless charger, big temp dials, power tilt/telescope wheel, solid safety systems.

Misses: Over firm ride, tight cockpit due to wide console, considerable road noise, no heated steering wheel and no flat-bottom wheel, no smart cruise control, narrow info screen, heated/cooled seat fans quite noisy, little cargo room, miniscule sun visors, blind-spot warning system costs extra, and prefers premium fuel.

The leaping Jag logo jumps along the F-Type’s sides.

Made in: Castle Bromwich, U.K.

Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8, 444 hp/428 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 3,953 lbs.

Wheelbase: 103.2 in.

Length: 176 in.

Cargo: 7.0 cu.ft.

A snazzy Jag head graces the grille!

MPG: 17/24

MPG: 25.4 (tested)

Base Price: $74,150 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $69,895

Major Options:

Interior luxury package (leather upgrade, premium cabin lighting, illuminated kick plates), $2,000

Blind-spot assist/rear traffic monitor, $550

12-way power heat/cool seats, $1,800

Ebony Windsor leather performance seats, $1,650

Black exterior pack, $1,100

Meridian surround sound system w/770 watts, $900

Beige power top, $650

Red brake calipers, $550

Keyless entry, $500

Auto-dimming heated power door mirrors, $400

Air quality sensor, $100

Test vehicle: $84,350

Sources: Jaguar, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Jaguar

#Jaguar F-Type

1979 Dodge Warlock II D100 Utiline

Auto World’s latest Warlock not as spooky as its name …

Today it is hard to imagine any vehicle being named Warlock without an entire marketing department being fired and the automaker’s PR staff committed to a mental institution in the aftermath.

But Dodge played loosey-goosey with names and color descriptions throughout the 1970s. Remember Dodge’s purple being labeled Plum Crazy? So when Dodge decided to make factory-custom pickups beginning in late 1976 the Warlock name was chosen.

Auto World bravely jumped into the die-cast pickup market itself a couple years back and the 1977 Warlock was a hit, so now comes a 1:18 scale Warlock II, a 1979 model of the fancified D100 Utiline.

The History

Styling was tweaked for ’79 with a new nose and hood. And inside it was loaded with goodies not standard at the time, like air conditioning, cruise control, a radio and a clock. The Utiline bed with real oak sideboards was an option, as were the wide tires and custom wheels. This model has all of the above.

Originally Warlock was a limited release, sort of a test by Dodge to see if the factory-custom truck idea would fly. That original had gold wheels, gold pin-striping, bucket seats, wide Goodyear tires and oak sideboards and bed flooring.

By 1977 Dodge had moved the Warlock into full production and began offering it in more than just black. As in the earlier AW model, there was dark green now. Other colors were blue, red, and of course, black. All Warlock interiors were black, to keep costs down and builds as simple as possible.

For 1979 the standard engine was a 145-horsepower, two-barrel 318 cu.in. V8. Also available was a four-barrel 360 cu.in. V8 that that made 160 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. Warlock II was available in 2- or 4-wheel drive and sold through the end of the 1979 model year.

One could argue Dodge started fueling America’s love with fancy pickups, which the Ram continues today.

The Model

               What’s new and different on the 1979 model vs. the earlier 1977? All the changes are up front.

Here’s that new grille and single headlight look for 1979, plus a detailed V8.

By 1979 Dodge had moved to large single headlights and a more streamlined hood with its two panels slightly raised, and of course outlined on the Warlock II with gold pin striping and filigree, which also decorates the front fenders and cab, plus the cab’s roof and the big bulging rear fenders. Even the tailgate features the gold trim along with a gold and black Warlock II nameplate in the tailgate’s center.

Face it, Dodge had figured out how to customize its pickups at the factory and this model reflects that with the sparkling Canyon Red paint scheme that looks deep with a touch of cinnamon tossed it for a bronze tint to this metallic finish.

Yes, the tailgate lowers on the snazzy Auto World Warlock II.

               Warlock’s grille is a massive chrome number, beautifully recreated, plus chrome front and rear bumpers, large side mirrors, wipers, door handles and side steps on this Stepside model. The racy custom Mag wheels also are chromed and there’s a silver gas cap by the step on the driver’s side. A short chrome antenna protrudes from the top of the passenger’s side front fender.

               Just like the earlier 1977 model, this ’79 touts a blue block Mopar V8 under the huge hood that is supported by solid hinges so is easily posed open. There’s a black air filter cover along with big black hose running to the radiator. A white coolant container also is visible along with a white top just over the radiator and a power steering unit protrudes from the firewall.

As with the previous model the bed features textured wood-look plastic panels with red metal seams in the floor and the same wood-look railing on each side of the bed to mimic that of the original truck. This is a little lighter shade (a tinge of yellow) than I’d like, but still features a wood-grained texture. In back that tailgate also can be lowered.

Sharp looking cab here with reflective face gauges for added realism.

Inside, the cab is mostly black, but the door panels include more of that gold pin striping at the top to add some glam while also boxing out the lower portions of the doors to add color in what otherwise would be a dark interior. Just a bench seat as there was no Crew Cab at the time, and the dash looks great with a detailed instrument panel that includes reflective gauge faces to add realism. In addition, the steering wheel features three silver spokes while there are no seatbelts on those black seats.

Rubber tires are treaded and branded as Goodyears and freely roll, plus the front wheels are steerable for posing purposes. As with other AW models, the undercarriage is nicely detailed too, including a spare tire under the bed, a full exhaust system, differential, and detailed front suspension.

I really liked the 1977 Warlock, but this color is so striking and the single headlight grille seems a bit more handsome too. Hey, plus it’s a Warlock!

Vital Stats: 1979 Dodge Warlock II

Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: AW298
MSRP: $119.99

Link: Autoworldstore.com

#Dodge

#Dodge Warlock

#Auto World

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Fastback C40 puts a charge in electric SUV’s look …

Volvo’s swoopy-tailed C40 Recharge, a small SUV, is the epitome of form over function when it comes to styling.

Basically the C40 is identical mechanically with its XC40 Recharge, but instead of the traditional squared off crossover/SUV tail of the XC, the single C touts fastback styling resembling a coupe, thus the C designation. BMW pioneered this look a few years back, but to be honest, Volvo makes a better go of it visually.

This rear window slopes severely and there are two black vents of sorts above the window to give this a performance ambiance. Giant 20-inch wheels with fancy wide five-spoke wheels gives the C40 a Hot Wheels look that is aimed at turning the heads of younger buyers, which is also a strong demographic for electrics.

Cool taillights accent the slopped tail of the C40.

For visuals I gotta mention the cool jagged Z-shaped taillights too. They set the C40 apart like a red pocket square in a blah black suit jacket.

Before I go further, I must explain that any Volvo with Recharge in the name has a plug, so full electric, or plug-in hybrid.

Thus the C40 packs twin electric motors at each end to provide AWD traction and laudable power generated from a bevy of 78 kWh-lithium ion battery packs. Those also give C40 a low center of gravity, a consistent electric vehicle trait.

Power is absolutely phenomenal with a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, says Car and Driver. For the record, that’s coming from 402 horsepower with a neck-straining 486 pound-feet of torque. Press the acclerator and, wham, you’re off to the races.

 But I digress, what will turn heads is the looks of this AWD SUV/coupe (Scoupe?) and that form defeats a key function, outward visibility and judging where the bobtail ends when parallel parking.

That sloping rear window coupled with big headrests in the back seat allow for a miniscule rear view. That can hamper backing up, or avoiding a lane change as a fast-approaching car passing on either side while cruising the highway. I also found that backing into a curbside parking space was a bit of a challenge. Sure, there’s a 360-degree camera and alarms sound when the tail gets near another vehicle as you back into a spot.

But that alarm seemed premature, so when I got out of the car I found I had a good 4 feet of space left behind the stubby tail. I guess a driver will learn and adapt, but beeping alarms can dissuade from further backing when it’s actually clear. Just sayin!

Sometimes a vehicle’s tail can be more interesting than its nose.

Yet as I said in my earlier review of the XC40 Recharge, this is one fine-driving vehicle.

Read the XC40 (near twin) review: 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate | Savage On Wheels

The C40 Recharge handles with a sporty flair, like its square-back sibling. Steering is quick and precise, but with a heavier feel than the gas-only XC40, although there is a way to adjust the steering feel here, if you need. Ride, as in the earlier test drive is fairly well controlled, but still can get bumpy (sort of a rocking motion) on crumbling area roads so that there are mild, but annoying, jolts to the interior. A longer wheelbase is needed to smooth that.

Still, buying an electric SUV with sleeker looks is probably a more important consideration than ride, especially since this is livable.

Is it just me or does this nose look a lot like Ford’s Mustang Mach-E?

I whined about range in my earlier review and that remains a concern. Tops is about 230 miles of charge. The info screen said I had 220 miles of range at a 97% charge after a 14-hour charge on my garage’s 120-volt line. That was fine as I found each night the standard electric outlet was getting me roughly an additional 20% charge, or about 40 to 50 miles.

If you let your batteries get to near 0 charge, it’ll take several days of constant charging to get back to 100%, or visit an Electrify America fast-charging station as those are free to Volvo owners at the moment. Volvo says a fast charge will boost C40 from 0 to 80% in about 40 minutes. Or, if you buy, you may want to upgrade to a 240-volt line in your garage for quicker charging.

A few other electrics still have better range, including the Volkswagen ID.4 at 260 miles, the Hyundai Kona at 258 and Tesla Model Y rated at 244 miles. So, consider your own driving habits. An acquaintance tells me he stopped twice between Minnesota and the Milwaukee area to charge his C40. I hear Tomah is a good stopping spot.

While many electrics feature a front-fender or grille-mounted charging plug, Volvo puts its outlet on the rear driver’s side quarter panel, where one often finds a fuel-filler door. And there’s a 1 cubic foot frunk that will hold the charging cable.

One other practical note about electrics, most offer one-pedal driving. Naturally there’s a brake pedal (which was a little too close to the accelerator here), but just using the accelerator is the way to go, just takes a few days to perfect the feel.

These sporty wheels remind of a Hot Wheels toy car.

One-pedal works because the electric motors brake the car quite quickly once you let off the go-pedal. In fact, it can feel rather sudden, so you quickly learn to feather off accelerator pressure to slowly coast to a stop. The upside is that any coasting or braking helps recharge the batteries (regenerative braking), so in stop-and-go city driving you use less power as you’re constantly regenerating power. There’s a gauge that’s part of the four basic info screen menus that will update you on your current charge status.

My test C40 was a pleasant Fjord Blue Metallic ($695 extra), a reflective blue-gray that gets looks and cheery comments. Inside, it was black and blue with the dash and trim being black, and the door and carpeted floor mats being a blue gray that matched the exterior.

This is not real leather, but what some are calling vegan leather. It’s plant based.

C40 is Volvo’s first standard interior not using leather, although it’s optional. Plant-based and recycled plastic bottles are used to create the seats and felt-like door trim, which looks good but feels a bit like a fake material. Trim around the 9-inch touchscreen is gloss black with chrome trim and the door release handles are a brushed chrome along with the steering wheel’s 3-spoke hub. Sadly this is not a power tilt/telescope wheel, but one supposes that saves a few electrons by keeping it manual.

Volvo’s console is a gloss black and the seats a grayish black with the outer edges feeling like fake leather and the inner cushions feeling more like velour. Stitching on the seat’s trim is white to add contrast.

A big vertical screen dominates mid-dash.

The dash is fine with digital readouts in front of the driver, including charge level, and the large info screen, but beyond the main screen it gets a bit confusing, although I’ve finally learned how to access the radio stations I want, so I suspect it’s about time for Volvo to change its Android-based system. Oh, and you can ask Google to give you info via its voice-recognition system. The nav map is spectacular.

Note too that the car starts as soon as you are inside with the fob and sit in the driver’s seat. It knows you’re there due to the seat pressure and all electronics start immediately so you can quickly put the C40 in gear. Park is a push button. When leaving you simply open the door and depart. The car’s radio continues until you lift off the seat to leave and then it shuts down.

Here’s the driver’s view of the instrument panel and tall info screen.

One oddball thing, the Volvo requires you lift the exterior door handle twice to open it. Or so I thought. I’ve since been informed that the doors unlock when you are in the vicinity with the fob in your pocket. Apparently, I was grabbing the door handle too quickly, thus the confusion. I’d just as soon that the fob not think for me.

Pluses include a wireless phone charger at the console’s front edge, a heated steering wheel, and heated and cooled front seats along with heated rear seats. The front seat controls are embedded in the touchscreen and Volvo’s seats are mildly contoured and comfy with power buttons on the sides and a two-memory system on the door to remember the driver’s seat settings.

There’s also a quality Harmon Kardon stereo that can enliven this extremely quiet interior. While overhead is a massive panoramic sunroof that was fine, mostly as it was never too hot or sunny while I tested the SUV. In southern or southwester climes the roof can get hot though as there is no sunshade to cover the roof, although it is tinted.

This is the battery info screen, showing range and current charge usage, 3 kWh.

Volvo also provides a full complement of safety devices including smart cruise control, blind-spot warning and lane departure, plus automatic braking and sign recognition.

A power hatch opens to generous storage space, plus the rear seats split 1/3-2/3 to further boost that space. There’s even a little extra storage beneath the cargo floor.

Pricing starts at $56,395, including delivery, for the base Core model for 2023 as 2022 models are spoken for. The mid-level Plus lists at $57,945 and the tested Ultimate at $61,195 with delivery for a 2023.

Door panel inserts are attractive but feel like a felt trunk liner.

Reportedly this is the first and only Volvo you can only order online, but one would imagine your Volvo dealer could help you do that if you were to visit a dealership. That’s where the car will be delivered.

Electrics are coming fast and furious now and Volvo promises to offer only electrics by 2030. It appears to be well on its way to delivering on that promise.

FAST STATS: 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Hits: Good styling in profile and back (especially taillights), excellent acceleration, precise handling and full-time AWD. Big sunroof, heated wheel and comfy heated/cooled front seats, big touchscreen, quality stereo, a stylish luxury interior, wireless phone charger, plus a full bevy of safety equipment.

Misses: No shade on sunroof and very limited rearview through back window. Touchscreen (beyond main screen) distracting to use while driving, no power tilt/telescope steering wheel and double action door releases. Bumpy ride on rough roads and the electric charge range is just 230 miles.

I just can’t get enough of these dramatic taillights!

Made in: Ghent, Belgium

Engine: Twin electric motors w 78 kWh-lithium ion battery, 402 hp/486 torque

Transmission: Shift-by-wire single-speed automatic

Weight: 4,710 lbs.

Wheelbase: 106.4 in.

Length: 174.8 in.

Cargo: 14.5 cu.ft.

Tow: 2,000 lbs.

MPGe: 94/80

Base Price: $60,845 (includes delivery)

Invoice: N.A.

Major Options:

Fjord blue metallic paint, $695

Test vehicle: $60,540

Sources: Volvo, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Volvo

#Volvo C40 Recharge

#Volvo electrics

Ford launches 2023 Escape, including hybrids, new ST-Line

ST-Line adds flare, hybrids stretch mileage, plus more electronics …

Available early 2023, the hybrid Escape (left) and new ST-Line Elite Escape.

Ford launched its refreshed Escape small SUV this morning touting new styling inside and out plus a sporty new ST-Line model and regular hybrid along with plug-in hybrid models.

Naturally there are a bunch of new electronics too, with improvements including;  

  • Cloud connectivity and a 13.2-inch screen
  • Enhanced suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology that includes a:
    • 360-degree camera
    • Alexa Built-In
    • Intersection Assist 2.0 to help drivers avoid collisions with pedestrians while turning
    • Blind Spot Assist, which can nudge the steering wheel as a caution against an unsafe action if a driver has missed system warnings 

Additionally, the Escape comes with a wide variety of powerplants including its EcoBoost, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains for efficiency, reduced operating costs and less emissions. Plus it continues to offer its efficient gas-powered EcoBoost system that uses a turbocharger to boost gas mileage and efficiency.

The 2023 Escape hybrid in Vapor Blue. This is a pre-production model.

Ford says it has targeted each model to have at least 400 miles of range no matter its power source and the full-hybrid is aimed at getting 550 miles of range.

Watch Mark’s review of the current plug-in hybrid Escape: https://savageonwheels.com/2022/06/08/2021-ford-escape-titanium-phev-fwd/

Outside there’s some refreshment of styling, but the bigger news is the snazzy ST-Line that features a more upscale interior look, a black mesh grille (super popular these days), a unique rear skid plate for off-roading, a large single-wing rear spoiler and available “coast to coast” LED light bar running from headlamp to headlamp

The tail ends of the hybrid Escape (left) and the new ST-Line Elite in Rapid Red.

Inside the ST-Line is an optional 13.2-inch screen with cloud-connected SYNC4 Technology and new advanced driver-assistance systems. Continuing popular features on the Escape include a sliding second row seat with more second-row legroom, says Ford, than a Toyota Sequoia. Can’t wait to test drive that with the family!

For the record, the ST-Line comes in three models, including the base with a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine making about 180 horsepower with front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive. The ST also can be had with a hybrid system with FWD. There’s also the ST-Line Select and ST-Line Elite, both offering an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine aimed at creating 250 hp and standard AWD and an available hybrid option.

 The ST-Line features an ebony interior with red stitching on the door panels, seat trim, center arm rest, floor mats and steering wheel. Also, a flat-bottom steering wheel (Yippee!). Outside the ST-Line touts 18-inch Rock Metallic painted aluminum wheels as standard. The ST-Line Select model offers optional 19-inch Machine-Faced Ebony Painted aluminum wheels that are standard on the ST-Line Elite model.

 In addition to the ST-Line, the Escape lineup includes Base, Escape Active, Platinum and Plug-in Hybrid models. Escape Base and Active models offer a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with FWD or optional AWD. The Platinum model offers a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with AWD and a hybrid powertrain option with FWD or AWD.

The restyled Ford Escape hybrid in Vapor Blue, available in early 2023.

 Pricing ranges from $28,995 to $39,995, including delivery. The lower level models are FWD while the ST-Line Select and Elite are AWD. Those are priced at $35,535 and $39,955, respectively. The plug-in hybrid also is $39,995.

All 2023 Escapes come standard with new LED reflector headlamps with signature lighting, and a rear seat that can slide nearly six inches to create either more legroom or cargo space.

 The plug-in hybrid model uses Ford’s advanced fourth-generation hybrid system, which includes a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The FWD plug-in hybrid is projected to produce a combined 210 hp and it aims to deliver 37 miles in electric-only mode. This model features a Level 1 / Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.

The Escape Plug-In Hybrid model also features four EV modes.

The new Escape is assembled at the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, and Ford notes that Escape was the world’s first hybrid SUV, launching in 2005.

#Ford

#Ford Escape hybrid

.

1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton

Auto World’s 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton

I’m no authority on pre-war classic cars, but most car crazies like me recognize the Cadillac V16 or Sixteen as it was often called.

This was Cadillac’s most powerful and expensive car to date when introduced at the New York Auto Show in January of 1930. Talk about bad timing, the Depression had just begun.

Yet the wealthy and famous still had cash and more than 2,000 V-16 models were ordered in the first six months of production with 2,500 selling that first year. That was an amazing number and even more so in that just 4,076 of the cars were ever made during an 11-year run from 1930 to 1940 when GM stopped production as it ramped up for World War II military production.

Auto World expands its 1:18 scale classic car lineup with a new dark green 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton and it’s an eye-pleaser.

The History

Just 300 of the 1932 models were made as sales began to rapidly fade. Cadillac made only 50 V-16 models a couple of years in the late 1930s.

Originally the bodies were made mostly by Fleetwood Metal Body, but by 1932 Fischer Body had taken over that function for the Harley J. Earl-designed Cadillacs. Earl would later become GM’s design chief and was known for his use of concept cars to introduce radical designs including tail fins. He also was involved in design of the original Corvette.

All orders were custom for the V16 and research says 70 styling codes were used during the car’s production life. The Sport Phaeton was one of those and its styling was sportier as it employed a longer hood and lower roofline, here with a tan top over the green body. Fenders also were more curved and the headlamp shells were streamlined too.

The Phaeton also used a second windshield just in front of the rear seats to distinguish it, this version being the fold-down style known as a dual-cowl design.

For the record, V16s were made in 2- and 4-door convertibles, 2-door coupes and 4-door sedans, town cars and even limousines. Power came from a narrow 45-degree V16 creating what now seems a paltry 165 horsepower, but reportedly the cars could hit at least 116 mph, incredibly fast at the time. Power was smooth from the V16 and said to run so quietly they were hard to hear.

These were massive cars, unsurprisingly, riding on 149 to 154-inch wheelbases, so a couple feet longer than today’s giant pickups and SUVs. Lead sleds too. They weighed between 5,300 and 6,600 pounds.

One 1930 Town Brougham model was listed at $9,200 new. That would be about $149,000 in today’s dollars, probably a bit much for the Depression era and before any silicon chip boom.

The Model

               A beautiful car beautifully reproduced with real rubber tires and a sharp-looking tan plastic roof that looks like canvas and easily snaps off to pose as a convertible.

Big folding hood, long V16 engine under the cowl.

               The body shape and functionality are excellent as always, with both front doors opening and the dual sided hood folding up independently. Under the hood the massive V16 fills the engine bay and features silver headers and exhaust pipes, plus V-shaped chrome bracing to stiffen the car’s front end. There’s also a fan behind the radiator, the front of which is chromed with a handsome V16 logo on its face.

Sharp heron hood ornament on the ’32 Caddy.

Atop the radiator is a chrome Cadillac heron hood ornament to class up the Caddy. That heron was swapped for a goddess style ornament the following year.

               Up front is a banded chrome bumper with two running lights atop that, then the streamlined sealed beam chrome headlights and horns atop the gently rounded front fenders. Turn signal lamps, also chromed rest atop each fender.

A large trunk rests on the luggage rack in back, while two silver exhausts exit below.

               Out back are dual slim but wide chrome exhausts, the chrome banded bumper and chrome trunk holder along with chrome taillights and a chrome trunk handle. A green trunk rests atop the chrome stand.

               A silver trim line runs from the nose around the top of the tail and then around to the other side’s nose and there are chrome door handles and windshield trim, on both shields. I like that the side vent windows move so you can pose them in or out and these too are trimmed in silver paint.

A long engine block and headers are visible beneath the hood.

               Need more flash? Well, there are tall white sidewall tires tucked into the fenders on each side, plus a chrome ring holding them each in place while chrome mirrors are molded into their tops.

               Along each side are black running boards trimmed in silver paint.

               Tires are wide white-sidewalls, treated but not branded and they wrap around spiffy chrome wire wheels with a red V16 logo at the center of each hub. Likewise, the spares showcase the same wire wheels.

Like the V16 logo on the steering wheel hub, while the dash is simply presented.

               AW creates black textured seats to reflect a leathery look in both passenger compartments while the front door trim features the same look, plus chrome door releases.

               The dash is simple with seven round gauges printed on its black face, plus a series of buttons arranged vertically mid-dash. Pedals are far beneath the dash and a tall chrome shift lever rises to next of the gloss black steering wheel, which also features that red Caddy V16 logo.

Adjustable wing windows add a nice touch of detail.

               The undercarriage is complete too with black chassis, suspension parts and differential, plus dual silver exhaust systems.

               Cars were both simpler mechanically, yet more ornate in the 1930s, Depression or not. This 1:18 model is a sterling representation of that chrome-laden era and the elegance of its luxury cars.        

Vital Stats: 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton

Maker: Auto World
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: AW314
MSRP: $119.99

Link: Autoworldstore.com

#Cadillac

#Auto World

2023 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid

Camry Hybrid may just be the perfect family sedan …

This may surprise you, but it’s exceedingly rare that I long for a test car that has been returned, but this week even I was surprised at my disappointment when of all things a 2023 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid left the Savage abode.

You might suspect I’d have saved my tears for a Nissan Z, a Genesis GV60, or a new Corvette. Those too can tug at the tear ducts.

Several people even poo-pooed my fortunes for having to test the “dullest” car in America, but I quickly corrected them. Maybe they were thinking of the Prius.

There are reasons why Toyota’s Camry has been the top-selling sedan in the US market for roughly 20 years. It’s becoming the Ford F-150 of sedans via its longevity atop the market.

Camry is a champ and rocks on so many fronts I’ll try to be brief in my summary, but there’s a lot to unpack.

Start with looks, something I bet you’d never suspect I’d say. But a couple years back Toyota chose wisely and drank from the better styling cup. Ever since the once blah Camry has turned edgier with a sleek, beautiful nose that makes its Lexus luxury brand look downright gaudy. The headlights are slim and wonderfully blended with the grille and hood. The profile is slim and elegant, and the tail, well, just fine.

Bathe the handsome, sophisticated Camry in Supersonic Red (just $425 extra) and the sedan becomes Lady Gaga in a sequined gown.

Love engine choices? For internal combustion (gas) engine lovers there are two choices, including a powerful V6, but for families on a budget and with even a smidgen of social consciousness the Camry Hybrid is a rock star.

Camry’s 2.5-liter I4 combined with Toyota’s proven (20+ years) hybrid system nets a 44 mpg rating city and 47 mpg highway from the EPA, yet still delivers 208 horsepower. And get this, in about 80% highway driving I got a stellar 48.2 mpg. For more than 450 miles of driving I spent $25. Your weekly commute gas budget just giggled.

“Parental unit, can we stop for frozen custard on the way home from soccer practice?”

“Yes, my children.”

Watch Mark’s video: Mark Savage reviews the 2023 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid – YouTube

But if this were an econobox that was cramped and had no digital doodads or safety gear … Well, it’s not.

Camry is a mid-size sedan but rides on a 111.2-inch wheelbase to give it an excellent ride, coupled with good, easy, well-controlled handling. Comfort reigns, but is never grandma’s plastic-covered living room dowdy.

The power from the hybrid system that gets its electric charge from regenerative braking is quickly delivered, but acceleration is smooth, mild, but steady. An electronically adjusted CVT (continuously variable transmission) is partially responsible for that and for the excellent MPG.

There’s a Sport mode on the console to kick up the acceleration some, and is handy for highway entry. Still, this will not resemble a sport sedan’s quickness. Normal and Eco mode also are available. Normal is what you’ll stick with 90% of the time.

Finally, a good-sized touchscreen with buttons all around and is easy to use.

Interior comfort is guaranteed too with the XLE being Camry’s luxury-leaning trim level that provides 8-way power leather seats with the front ones being heated. Seats are mildly contoured so pleasant on a long drive and there is plenty of room in back for three adults. XLE also upgrades the standard 8-inch info screen to 9 inches.

But it’s the design of the touchscreen that impresses beyond its size. Instead of a silly knob on the console or a mix of onscreen and dash buttons, there are 8 key buttons around the screen (4 to a side) clearly labeled Home, Menu, Audio, Map, Seek, Track, Phone and Apps. Smartly there also are volume and tuning knobs.

All this makes the info screen and JBL sound system (standard on XLE) a breeze to engage while driving. Take that you tech-for-tech’s-sake luxury brands.

Camry delivers a good-looking interior with everything logically located.

Another plus, Camry’s interior is sharp looking in addition to being functional.

This bright red car’s leather was a cream color and the seats perforated for better airflow from its heated and cooled seats. Heat is standard while the cooling is part of a $1,430 package that includes a 10-inch color HUD, panoramic view monitor, front/rear parking assist with automatic braking.

Elegant streamlined designed, even in the door panels.

The dash and door tops are black to create a two-tone interior, pretty common these days among the sharper vehicles. Trim is a graphite gray around the air vents and other dash trim, plus the armrest trim by the power window controls and the console’s top. There is a bit of gloss black trim on the stack, but not enough to create reflection woes.

Overhead is a sunroof ($860 extra) and for a modest $150 the leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated, a Wisconsin necessity.

Standard features include a wireless phone charger under the center stack, smart cruise control and a bevy of other safety equipment, all part of Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5. That includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, a lane departure system with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist and road sign assist.

Toyota also allows a driver to override the lane departure system, so if you’re in a congested and construction-heavy city or highway driving situation you can punch a button and not have the system beeping or trying to keep you centered in your lane. Bravo. Having this choice often is a safety concern these days.

Assuming you have five adults on board, which again IS possible here without amputations or forcing anyone into a socially embarrassing position, there’s oodles of trunk space for luggage. At 15.1 cubic feet the deep trunk will hold luggage for the entire crew, even several sets of golf clubs.

The only thing I missed, the only negative here, is large map pockets in the doors. These were tiny and tight to get at, so of limited use.

Pricing is amazing, a bargain throughout the lineup and should push more dollar-conscious buyers toward a sedan and away from mid-size crossovers and gas gulping SUVs.

The base Camry Hybrid, the LE, starts at $29,105 including delivery. There are five trim levels with the XLE being mid-level luxury at $34,065 including delivery. The sportier XSE is just about $500 more. The SE and SE Nightshade (featuring blacks and dark blues) also are available in the hybrid model.

Adding 11 options pushed the test car to $40,232, still an average new car price, so certainly one could be had mid-$30k range. No AWD feature is available, same as its main competitor, Honda’s Accord.

Gas-powered Camrys are available in that same price range, topping out with the TRD model featuring the 308-horse V6.

Stylish lights and nose help keep Camry atop the sedan market.

But for families on a budget, yet not wanting to look like it, the Camry Hybrid in any form is a bargain to buy, and operate, but with a luxury look, feel and all the digital goodies one actually needs.

Camry remains king of the sedans.

FAST STATS: 2023 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid

Hits: Sharp styling, great mpg, excellent ride, good handling, decent power in comfy family sedan. Good rear seat and trunk room, sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front seats, super info screen and buttons, wireless charger, smart cruise control and on/off lane departure, plus 3 drive modes, JBL sound system, comfy power seats. Bargain pricing!

Misses: Small door map pockets

Made in: Georgetown, Ky.

Engine: 2.5-liter I4 hybrid, 208 hp/163 torque

Transmission: ECVT automatic

Weight: 3,565 lbs.

Wheelbase: 111.2 in.

Length: 192.1 in.

Cargo: 15.1 cu.ft.

MPG: 44/47

MPG: 48.2 (tested)

Base Price: $34,065 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $31,358

Major Options:

Driver assist pkg. (10-inch color HUD, panoramic view monitor, front/rear parking assist w/auto braking, multi-stage cooled front seats), $1,430

Heated steering wheel, $150

Adaptive headlights, $615

Nav pkg. (premium audio, 9-inch touchscreen w/nav, 9 JBL speaker w/subwoofer & amplifier, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay compatible, satellite radio for 3 months), $1,760

Power sunroof, $860

Supersonic Red paint, $425

Trunk LED bulb, $25

Mud guards, $129

Illuminated door sills, $345

Door edge guards, $129

Carpet floor mats/cargo mat, $299

Test vehicle: $40,232

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Toyota

#Toyota Camry hybrid