Tag Archives: EV

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

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 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

2022 Tesla Model S Long Range

All the hype is real from a performance standpoint, but …

Finally, I have driven the future, a Tesla.

No, this wasn’t my usual one-week test drive of a manufacturer’s new vehicle. Tesla didn’t provide me the bright Pearl White Model S Long Range, a private owner did.

Tesla, you see, is the Apple of automakers where its own early-adopter cultish clan that by scarcity, word of mouth, and superiority of intellect choose its future customers. Ferrari understands.

But marketing aside, the trendy Tesla was at my disposal for a couple days in stinking hot Las Vegas, where I estimate a good 10% of cars are now Teslas. Makes sense as Teslas are made just over the border in Freemont, California. Plus gas prices have forever been crazy high on the West Coast, and pollution is a big concern there too. So going electric holds much appeal.

It really should, from a performance standpoint at least, to many of us.

If muscle cars or exotics with neck-stretching acceleration are your obsession, well, electrics should be your new best friend. All are fast because electrics deliver instant torque via direct drive electric motors and single-speed fixed gear transmissions. No lag, no waiting for a turbo to kick in. Like your electric razor or hair dryer, the electrons flow instantly. Boom, there it is!

I have driven other electrics, so that part wasn’t new. It was the whole Tesla experience that was different. And, let’s get this out of the way now. Whether you like Elon Musk or not, Tesla is the top-selling electric car maker.

So how’s a Tesla drive? What are its advantages? And …what are the Model S’s drawbacks?

Let’s take a look, and be forewarned this is not exactly like most of my test drives as it was such a short duration.

First, the S is a sport luxury sedan in all the ways you picture one in your mind’s eye.

It’s sleek, including door handles that fold into the body panels’ sides and pop out when it’s time to open a door. Oh, and it’s really a hatchback as the back window and trunk open as one. That surprised me, but I love it.

Power and handling are pure sports sedan. How so?

Well, the dual AC electric motors, one powering the front wheels, one the rear, create (and I’m not making this up) 825 horsepower along with 960 pound-feet of torque. Is that a lot? You bet. Consider that a new rear-engine Chevy Corvette makes 495 horsepower with 470 pound-feet of torque and will do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 184 mph, says Car and Driver. That’s a two-seat sports car, but still.

No engine here! There’s a frunk in front, great for storing charging cables, etc.

The Tesla Model S gets all that power from a 100 kWh lithium ion battery pack, which due to its substantial weight also gives the Tesla a low center of gravity that makes it handle like, well, a sports luxury sedan. The car feels well planted, handles turns with a precision you’d expect and its AWD means that even if you were running it in soggy weather or on slipper streets it’ll perform with gusto and confidence.

Ride, due to that weight (the car weighs more than 4,500 pounds) and a long wheelbase is excellent too. Smooth and silky it’s what I’d call a Buick or Lexus ride, but with a more performance-oriented stiffness to make the car feel connected to the road. I must say though that Las Vegas roads are generally so smooth that it’s not like testing a car in the frost-heave capital, Wisconsin.

Safety is copiously covered. All the usual blind-spot, lane-keeping and parking sensors are here, and ready to beep.

Yours truly at the wheel, er, yoke! I miss that steering wheel top!

Luxury? Well, this Model S starts at roughly $96,000 and most are selling for more like $105,000 and there’s a waiting list that can stretch many months.

So you’d expect luxury, and Tesla delivers. The body on the test car was spotless and seams were straight and equal. So reports of poor build quality didn’t show here.

Inside, the black leather seating was excellent too and the seats well-formed. They also were heated up front, but cooled would make sense for 110-degree Vegas. My advice, don’t wear shorts if you’re driving one in Vegas, Phoenix, the Southwest, etc.

A lot of leather here, plus a giant screen and a yoke for steering.

Of course what everyone talks about in Tesla’s interior is its aircraft-style yoke that replaces the age-old steering wheel, oh, and a gargantuan info screen. It’s overwhelming.

First that yoke. It takes some getting used to, but is easy to master especially for highway driving. Where I noticed it feeling particularly odd was during parking maneuvers or turning a tight corner where one would naturally grab the top of a steering wheel to turn it sharply. Not possible here, so spin that power steering yoke with your hand on one side of the yoke, or a finger under one of the spokes. That maneuver reminds of early 1960s cars with over-boosted power steering that could be spun with a finger.

A close-up of the yoke and digital driver’s screen.

Ironically the steering wheel was heated, totally unneeded in much of the South and Southwest.

Touchscreen? OK, it’s way too much and of course controls virtually every function known to mankind short of rocket launching, but since this is Tesla, that’s likely to come.

The navigation system makes you feel like you’re looking at an entire city map, so a driver will always want to pinch it to visually zoom in on where they were driving.

Can a touchscreen be too big? Yes it can!

Also, you can open garage doors, call up radio stations ad nauseam, use voice command to find apps, ask it for directions, order lunch, etc. Naturally there’s a screen for setting up or observing battery charging (done through the driver’s side taillight). Ironically there is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay here though.

And get this, you engage the single-speed fixed gear automatic transmission via the screen too. Slide your finger UP along its left edge and the car moves forward. Slide your finger down the screen’s left edge and the car moves backward. Weird, but I suppose one would get used to it. One also supposes this will soon be the norm for electrics.

The soft leather rear seats are roomy and comfortable, with a console for controls.

Of course there’s a 360-degree camera that looks amazing on the screen and the Tesla stereo is a high-quality number that makes you feel you’re in a concert hall. Heck, it’s so quiet in here that it feels like symphony hall.

Overhead is a giant tinted panoramic sunroof, which looks super, but really needs a sun shade. Why? Well, even though tinted and supposedly deflecting the sun’s rays, the roof gets incredibly hot … at least in Vegas. How hot? You do NOT want to touch it. It’s painful to touch.

Other interior bugaboos include an extremely wide console that feels somewhat intrusive and sounds hollow if you tap it, plus shoulder belts that cannot be adjusted for driver height. That seemed particularly odd as nearly all cars, crossovers and SUVs now allow the shoulder harness to be moved up or down a few inches. This one was too high for me, so crossed the left edge of my neck. Not comfy.

It’s possible you didn’t know the Model S was a hatchback, but it is.

In back the hatch’s cargo area is generous and easily accessed. It’s rated at 25 cubic feet and don’t forget there’s a 3.1 cu.ft. frunk (front trunk). Might wanna keep your charging cable there though.

Speaking of electricity, a Tesla supercharger will give the vehicle a 200-miles boost in 15 minutes of charging. But most folks will overnight charge at home and that can take most of the night. For efficiency you’ll want a 240-volt garage charger. That ran $500 in Vegas and installation was another $600 or so, varying by electrician.

But a nearly full charge (Tesla recommends 90% to preserve battery life) will get a Model S roughly 400 miles of range, plenty for a week’s commute to most downtowns and one of Tesla’s key selling points as it leads the industry in charge range.

Fancy wheels, big brake rotors too, and low-pro tires.

Extras are rare. A full self-driving feature (and we’ve all heard the sad tales) costs $10,000 extra, while stylish Arachnid wheels add $4,500. They look cool, but cut your driving range by 9%, according to reports.

Folks needing more power can move up to the Model S Plaid for $131,900. It has three electric motors making a mere 1,006 hp. That may be a bit of overkill even for folks with self-confidence issues. Probably not!

FAST STATS: 2022 Tesla Model S Long Range

Hits: Sleek looks, excellent electric power, precise handling, smooth ride, plus full-time AWD. Big sunroof, 360-degree camera, heated wheel and front seats, big touchscreen, quality stereo, a stylish quiet and comfy interior, plus a full bevy of safety equipment. Roomy cargo area inside rear hatch.

Misses: Touchscreen overwhelmingly large, no shade on sunroof that becomes extremely hot to the touch, extremely wide console, shoulder belts height is not adjustable, no cooled seats, odd steering yoke and odd touch and slide transmission engagement on screen.

Made in: Fremont, Calif.

Engine: Dual AC electric motors w/100 kWh lithium ion battery, 825 hp/960 torque

Transmission: Single-speed fixed gear automatic

Weight: 4,561 lbs.

Wheelbase: 116.5 in.

Length: 196.0 in.

Cargo: 25.0/3.1 cu.ft. (trunk/frunk)

MPGe: 124/115

Base Price: $96,190 (includes delivery)

Invoice: N.A.

Major Option: Garage charger, $500

Test vehicle: $96,690

Sources: Tesla, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Tesla

#Model S

#electric cars

#EV

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Nimble, powerful XC40 Recharge a bit shy on range …

Electric power is coming, and quickly, to some car makes, Volvo being a prime example.

Its compact SUV, the XC40, debuted just a couple years back, but now is available with full electric power from twin electric motors, one front, one rear. This version is known as the XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate, one up from the base Plus model.

Price is appropriately luxury-based and today’s auto buyer must be prepared for some sticker shock for most electrics, but more on that in a few nanos.

From the performance standpoint, the nimble XC40 Recharge is packed with electrons and rated at 402 horsepower with a torque rating of 486. Like most electrics the acceleration is both smooth and instantaneous, easily capable of triple digit speeds within the confines of a highway entry ramp.

Also, like its gas-powered version, this XC40 handles well with a sporty flair. Steering is quick and precise, but with a heavier feel than the gas-only model. Ride, as in the earlier test drive is fairly well controlled, but still a bit chattery over crumbling Midwest roads. A longer wheelbase would help smooth that some as witnessed in some competing models.

Those are the basics, so let’s charge right into the electrics of this Volvo.

There are twin electric motors driving the front and rear wheels as the XC40 has full-time AWD. That’s great for Wisconsin and upper Midwest winters. But … the range is just 223 miles on a full charge. Laudably that’s up 15 miles from last year’s model, but still well short of some competitors. Think Tesla, VW’s ID.4, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, some of which even cost less.

The plug-in here is on the driver’s side rear quarter panel, much like a gas filler cap. Many electrics have the power in the nose or front driver’s side quarter panel. Wish the industry could agree where this should go. In my garage the front plug-ins are easier.

As with other electrics there’s a frunk, a small trunk up front that allows Volvo to put the charging cable up there. That’s fine, but with the outlet in the rear, storing it under the cargo floor might be preferable.

Watch Mark’s video: 22 Volvo Recharge Review – YouTube

Note too that charging is slow for most of us with 120-volt outlets. I got about 1% of charge per hour of charge, the equivalent of 2 miles of power. So, a 12-hour overnight charge netted about a 13 percentage point increase or 26 miles. I stopped at a ChargePoint (240-volt) charger (first ones I visited at the website’s suggestion were for a company’s employees, not the public), and it netted a 2% charge every 15 minutes, so 8% an hour, or 16 miles. Cost is roughly $1 an hour.

Still, unless you’re leaving the vehicle to charge overnight you’re not filling it up.

For the record, the EPA rates the Volvo at 92 mpge city and 79 highway as you use the charge faster at higher speeds and when the vehicle is under more stress, such as going up hills.

My experience is you’d be wise to top-off every night or two if commuting around town. I blew through about 25% of the charge running to the other side of town and to a friend’s house in a nearby suburb. Oh, and most electrics, including this Volvo, suggest only a 90% charge to preserve battery life, but cutting daily range.

Volvo’s shift-by-wire single-speed automatic tranny is fine and uses the power effectively. Plus there’s one-pedal driving as with other electrics, meaning you simply use the accelerator, rarely the brake.

Thor’s Hammer headlights are still a Volvo thing!

That’s 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 any coasting or braking helps recharge the batteries some, so in stop-and-go city driving you use less power as you’re constantly regenerating power, and there’s a gauge on the dash to show you that.

Beyond the power source, the XC40 is a fine luxury SUV with crisp good looks and an attractive interior.

This medium gray model, with a hint of sparkle, runs $695 extra. Gray is hot right now and most colors, even gray, cost extra on luxury makes.

Meanwhile, the interior is a soft gunmetal gray leather known as NuBuck. I thought it was fake leather originally, but a little research tells me it’s made from the top grain of the cowhide, said to be tougher so it’ll wear longer. Its surface is sanded to give it a consistent appearance that also feels a lot like suede.

That gave the XC40 interior a luxury feel and the leather seats and shifter both feature white stitching that add depth and definition. A silver and black patterned metal trim on the dash and doors adds a jeweled look, while the console top is mostly gloss piano black, which reflects some on sunny days. Then there’s an odd bit of gunmetal gray felt-like material that lines the console’s sides and inside door panels. It felt and looked more downscale than the rest of the interior.

Mid dash is a 9-inch touchscreen. This is the same as Volvo has been offering for several years that requires touching one of four menu choices to find the radio, navigation, etc. Then there are various screens beyond that, obtained by sliding the others. All that is too squirrely to deal with while driving once beyond the main screen.

There’s also a screen that tells you the current charge level and estimated miles of range you have. A button there will allow a driver to maximize the charge as it slightly decreases the SUV’s climate system (fan speed and temp). You’ll barely notice, but it did extend my range on one drive.

Volvo includes a fine Harmon Kardon stereo and a wireless phone charger in the console. Overhead is the requisite giant sunroof, but it can be a bit tricky to operate as you can tap or barely touch the overhead button or use a slide action that will either open, tilt or slide the sunshield back. Getting that right took several tries each time as it often wanted to open the entire roof when I just wanted the inner shield retracted.

Unsure of your range? Check the big info screen.

Seats are relatively comfy up front and roomy in back. The front seats are heated as was the steering wheel here, a $150 option that’s worth it for our clime. Oddly the seats weren’t cooled, something I’d expect at this price point. There also was no power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The XC40 easily carries four adults and five can sneak in on a short ride. Plus there is generous cargo space under the power hatch. Volvo claims you could tow 2,000 pounds of trailer, but remember that will suck down your battery power more quickly and reduce range.

Pricing is at the upper end of this segment, especially considering range.

The base XC40 Recharge Plus starts at $56,495 with delivery while the tested Ultimate lists at $59,245. With just two options this one costs $60,090.

Competitors include the Mach-E, id.4, Tesla Y and the new Genesis GV60 that I hope to review this summer.

Here’s the frunk with the Volvo charging cord neatly wrapped inside.

If you prefer gas power, the XC40 touts a 2.0-liter I4 turbo with 248 horsepower that goes rocket fast in Dynamic mode and runs about $46,000 well equipped.

FAST STATS: 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Ultimate

Hits: Good looks, excellent electric power, precise handling and full-time AWD. Big sunroof, heated wheel and front seats, big touchscreen, quality stereo, a stylish luxury interior, plus a full bevy of safety equipment.

Misses: Touchscreen (beyond main screen) is distracting to use while driving and no power tilt/telescope steering wheel or cooled seats in front. Chattery ride on rough roads and the electric charge range is limited to 223 miles.

A stylish tail on Volvos features vertical lights.

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: 4,763 lbs.

Wheelbase: 106.4 in.

Length: 174.8 in.

Cargo: 57.5 cu.ft. (rear seats down)

Tow: 2,000 lbs.

MPGe: 92/79

Base Price: $59,245 (includes delivery)

Invoice: N.A.

Major Options:

Metallic gray paint, $695

Heated steering wheel, $150

Test vehicle: $60,090

Sources: Volvo, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium

Kia’s electric crossover looks good, drives well …

Our electric car future receives another jolt of energy with the arrival of Kia’s Niro EV.

If you believe electrics are a fad or experiment and that internal combustion is the only way to go, well you’re in for a shock, ultimately. Because all the carmakers are rushing to get full electric cars and crossovers onto the highways as quickly as they can. Short-term the hybrids and plug-in hybrids are the way to go, but with mainstream cars like the Niro being electrified, it’s only a matter of time until one is in your driveway. Continue reading 2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium