Tag Archives: luxury SUV

2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate: Bright Theme

Plug-in hybrid XC90 long on luxury, power, efficiency …

Apparently it’s time for me to adjust my thinking on where luxury SUV prices begin and end, especially end.

Volvo, long the bastion of safe, solid wagons has made the transition to SUVs easily as it already knew how to make big family-haulers and so a taller version with AWD wasn’t a huge stretch.

Lucky for our eyeballs, it also got away from its box-on-wheels styling to create handsome SUVs with some distinction to their nose and tail. Yes, the logo is large up front, but the grille not as retina crushing as most and its T-shaped headlight add some zest, likewise its tall vertical taillights.

Now it adds hybrid power to its large luxury SUV lineup, the XC90, everything from a mild-hybrid 48-volt system that aids in smoothing out the now requisite stop-start function to a plug-in hybrid. The tested XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate (almost top tier) Bright themed 7-seater was just that, a PHEV. That’s a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the non-initial literate.

The good news for any plug-in, excuse me, PHEV, is that the midsize SUV can run on electric power for the first 20-30 miles, or as a driver chooses. That means around town where the SUV is most likely to gulp high-octane petrol it can be both more fuel efficient and non-polluting.

A gorgeous dark metallic blue XC90 arrived in my drive with about 25 miles of electric range while 36 is the predicted maximum plug-in range when fully charged. Sadly, this one didn’t have an adapter that fit my garage’s ancient 110/120 volt outlet, so I couldn’t add to its range. Still, there was enough to learn that the power delivery is smooth and pretty seamless when it kicked over to the gas-powered unit.

In all XC90s that’s a turbocharged I4 linked to a silky 8-speed automatic. With electric power supplementing the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), that makes 455 horses with a torque rating of 523. On its own the ICE makes 312 horses and in mid-level B6 models that’s 295 horses. Entry-level B5 models boast 247 horses, still not shabby.

Watch Mark’s video: 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate review by Mark Savage and Paul Daniel – YouTube

So power is generous and will kick the XC90 to highway speeds in a hurry. A quick trip to the northern Chicago burbs and back was comfy and smooth. The interior is quiet, the ride mostly well-controlled now and handling predictable and easy. Cruising at 75 on the freeway is where the XC90 excels.

An optional $1,800 air suspension also improved ride quality quite a bit.

Another plus, AWD is standard, so when the highway got a bit slippery the Volvo remained sure-footed, like a soccer player shod in his or her grippiest sneakers.

The test XC90 was the Bright themed version, a Dark version is also available. That means this one had chrome exterior trim, including the grille, roof rails and window trim. Guess what the Dark edition features? Yes, blackened chrome grille, etc.

Inside, Volvo has mastered the look of luxury and elegant simplicity with a strong Swedish accent.

In this model fine gray wool blend seats were substituted for the usual leather. Sheer a sheep, don’t skin a bovine.

This looked and felt divine on a cold day as it wasn’t as chill as leather. Yet the seats and steering wheel where heated, although controlled through the info screen. Second row seats also are heated, but not the third, which is (like most third rows) tight for anyone older than 13, mainly short of knee room.

Volvo’s seats are well padded and shaped too, with excellent side bolsters and naturally a bevy of power adjustments for the driver including three areas, lumbar, back and leg cushions. You do this with a button on the seat’s side, but see the changes registered on the infotainment screen. There are three memory settings for the driver’s seat too.

Oddly this high-end Volvo still does not have a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, but it did have a monster panoramic sunroof. Manual sun shades grace the side windows.

Other niceties include lights over the rear doors and on exterior door handles. There’s also a mighty 1,400-watt Bower & Wilkins stereo with 19 speakers that will blast loud enough to wake the dead or any hungover New Year’s revelers. It runs $3,200.

Three rows of seats allow for large family hauling, or toting lots of gear!

Volvo also includes an SOS system among its bevy of electronic safety devices. Prime is Volvo’s Pilot Assist program that helps make this a semi-autonomous driver and includes the likes of lane departure warning with a tug to center the Volvo in its lane, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, cross-traffic alert that detects pedestrians, automatic braking for said obstacles and collision avoidance.

Volvo continues with its 9-inch vertical info screen, but adds a new 12-inch wide digital instrument panel that’s easy to read. The info screen is certainly readable too, but one must press the home button and then slide the screen about to find other functions a driver may want. It’s hard to use while driving, but not that tough to figure out when parked, so adjust it before you head out on the road.

Panoramic sunroofs let a lot of light into the Volvo XC90.

Other stylish trim inside includes black wood accents on the doors and dash with satin chrome door releases and shiny chrome around the screen that’s trimmed in gloss black. The console-mounted shifter also features an Orrefors crystal shift knob, something more high-end makes seem to be employing. There’s a spiffy elegance to it all.

In back under the power hatch is modest cargo space when the third-row seats are in place, but fold those down and storage room increases to 65.8 cubic feet, or lower rows 2 and 3 and that hits 85.7 cu.ft. Note too that the XC90 will tow up to 5,000 pounds, so a fishing boat and trailer or a couple trailered snowmobiles will be no problem.

When coupled with the plug-in electric power the Volvo is estimated to get 58 MPGe in the city and 55 highway, but once that is used up you’re back to the mid-20 mpg range. I got 27 mpg in about 70% highway driving, and that’s not bad for a 7-person AWD SUV or van. That’s also the EPA estimate for the XC90.

Pricing cuts a wide swath, starting at $57,000 for the base Core model with its lesser content, lower power, no leather interior and a 4,000-pound tow rating. A Recharge PHEV model starts at $73,000 and the tested Ultimate lists at $80,495, including delivery. With the added fancy stereo and air suspension this one hit $85,495.

One imagines a full-electric XC90 must be in the works now that the mild hybrid system is in place on lower levels and the PHEV is the top trim. For now, this will satisfy a family’s hybrid luxury SUV needs, while looking great inside, and handsome outside.

FAST STATS: 2023 Volvo XC90 Recharge AWD Ultimate: Bright theme

Hits: Good looks, excellent electric power, precise handling and full-time AWD. Big sunroof, heated wheel and front and second row 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.

Made in: Gothenburg, Sweden

Engine: 2.0-liter turbo I4 w/plug-in electric motor, 455 hp/523 torque

Transmission: 8-speed Geartronic, automatic

Weight: 5,194 lbs.

Wheelbase: 117.5 in.

Length: 195.0 in.

Range: 36 miles per plug-in

Cargo: 15.8/65.5/85.7cu.ft.

Tow: 5,000 lbs.

MPGe: 58/55

MPG: 27 (gas only)

Base Price: $80,495 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $80,261

Major Options:

4-corner air suspension, $1,800

Bowers & Wilkins premium sound, $3,200

Test vehicle: $85,495

Sources: Volvo, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Volvo

2023 Lexus RX 350 Limited

Restyled RX 350 still fills luxury SUV prescription, but …

Luxury and utility are ubiquitous with the Lexus RX 350, otherwise known as the unofficial soccer mom car of suburbia.

This SUV that started out more as a tall wagon when introduced in the U.S. market in 1998 has been the best-selling luxury vehicle here for the past 10 years. Here’s why.

It is Toyota reliable, offers AWD for safety in sloppy weather, has a taller stance for better outward visibility, isn’t too tall to make access a problem, is quiet inside with a leathery interior, holds five comfortably, plus kid cargo under the power hatch, and has good power and ride. Oh, and for a luxury crossover it was reasonably priced.

One can now argue that last point, as the base front-drive RX 350 now tips the financial scales at $48,550 and the AWD model at $50,150. But those other points remain the same. Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota, has not futzed with success much these past 25 years, other than the RX like an overwhelming majority of vehicles continues to grow larger. For 2023 the wheelbase stretches another 2.4 inches while for styling its tail overhang seems to have shrunk.

If anything, the styling might have stagnated a bit although the chrome roofline trim’s wave down toward the tail continues to add a bit of flair. The hood’s nose though now bulges more (Ram pickup inspiration?) as if its giant grille isn’t noticeable enough. Still, for practical purposes, the RX is just what the doctor ordered.

Handling is moderately easy and simple to control, the multi-link rear suspension provides a well-controlled ride and the new powerplant, a 2.4-liter I4 gives the crossover plenty of acceleration with 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The only downside to this new engine, which replaces the old reliable V6 that had powered the RX for ages, is its growly nature. Accelerate hard and the RX’s air of luxury dissipates in a grumble that sounds more mid-priced than $50+k. The V6 sounded smoother.

Of course the point is to cut vehicle weight with a 4-cylinder vs. the V6 and with an 8-speed automatic to help gas mileage. To that point, the EPA rates the RX 350 at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Sadly in 30-degree weather I managed just 20.0 mpg in about 60% city driving.

But I did have the AWD available for when things got a little slick. Soccer moms and dads appreciate that too.

Watch Mark’s review: 2023 Lexus RX 350 review by Mark Savage – YouTube

Naturally Lexus loads the RX with all the relevant safety equipment one expects today, known here as Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. That includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, intersection support (arrows flash on the screen to show vehicles approaching from either side), motorcycle detection, smart cruise control with curve speed management, and lane departure alert and steering assist.

That raised bulge in the nose and hood seems a bit much to me.

Other techy items include a digital key, intuitive parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert with auto braking, a head-up display, advanced parking which is an automatic parallel parking system, and Traffic Jam Assist, sort of an autonomous driving mode to help a driver in slow stop-and-go situations where the car can creep along and stay in the lane by itself. Nice for commuters or folks who regularly drive on congested highways.

In theory it frees a little time for a parent to scold a child or work an app or two on a cell phone.

Inside, the driver and occupants will feel sufficiently coddled as the gorgeous dark metallic blue test SUV scored dark gray and brown leather and suede seats with black upper door and dash surfaces. There’s even some suede trim in the door panels. Trim is a satin chrome and the info screen and air vent trim is a gloss black, while the console top is flat black. Overall there’s a hushed tone to the interior.

The test SUV also included handsome Mark Levinson stereo speakers in the doors. That stereo happens to add $1,160 to the price tag, but then you do get 21 speakers and excellent sound quality.

Wisely too Lexus has abandoned that touchy and inconvenient touchpad on the console that was used for tuning the radio and other info screen functions. Now there’s a ginormous 14-inch touchscreen mid-dash to find nearly all driver-selected functions, plus the radio tuning. It works much better than that pad.

A big info screen has been added and the touchy console touchpad eliminated.

The screen seems overly large, yet for us oldsters, it may be just the ticket.

Seats are typical finely contoured Lexus models with power up front and heated/cooled front and rear seats too, plus a heated wheel, a must here among the frozen tundra. There’s also a wireless phone charger and oodles of USB plugs front and rear.

Rear seats get heating and cooling controls.

Those rear seats also will power down to boost cargo space, already a generous 29.6 cubic feet behind row two. The second row seats also can be powered to a slightly reclined angle. Head and legroom are spacious in row two, another reason this is a primo family hauler.

I like that the RX steering wheel is powered too, so it’s simple to tilt or telescope for driver comfort and there are three seat memory buttons on the dash’s left. The driver’s seat and steering wheel also power back and up for easier entry and access once the ignition is off.

A panoramic sunroof is standard and manual sun shades grace the rear side windows, all completing the inner bling for RX 350.

One glitch on this tested pre-production RX 350, an annoying false driver attention warning beep. This happened a LOT, often when I was turning the steering wheel and my arm would cross in front of the driver’s instrument pod, I suppose breaking the electronic beam that was watching my eyes. One hopes that will be less touchy on production models.

Rear seats are roomy and panoramic sunroofs let in oodles of light.

I also am not a fan of the heated and cooled seat controls being located on the digital touchscreen. I feel they belong on the console for easy access whereas the RX used that spot for the auto stop/start button, a hill descent feature, a parking brake, and another off-roading button. Those will rarely be used. In the screen’s defense, the heated/cooled seats and heated wheel controls have an automatic feature so one could set them and forget them, although I found that leading to an over-warm derriere and palm on occasion.

One other design concern as more vehicles move to push-button door releases, copying Tesla. That push button confuses a fair amount of passengers who are looking for a lever. Even after they push the button they’re not sure if the door is to open by itself (it does on the Genesis G90), or if they should push it, pull up on the button area or what. This style change is a solution in search of a problem.

Lots of room for kid gear under the power hatch!

All of which returns us to pricing. I mentioned the basics earlier, but the tested RX 350 Luxury AWD model starts at an even more robust $58,150, including delivery. Adding just the stereo brings it to $59,310 and there are certainly more options that could push it to $65k.

There are a variety of trims for the RX 350 including hybrid models for most, including the Luxury edition. All those hybrids get better gas mileage as regenerative braking and the hybrid system provides modest electric power for early acceleration. I’d opt for a hybrid even though their power is slightly less at 246 horses. Its mpg ratings are 37/34, so quite the bump over gas-only.

A top-line RX 450h F Sport also is available starting at $62,750 and touts 366 horses and a 406 torque rating. Ironically the more powerful 450h gets better fuel economy at 27/28 compared with the tested gas-only Luxury edition, again thanks to hybrid help.

No doubt the RX 350 is still a sound choice for a family luxury SUV that even Goldilocks would consider Just Right!

FAST STATS: 2023 Lexus RX 350 Limited

Hits: Quiet and attractive luxury interior, AWD, controlled ride, fine safety equipment. Huge touchscreen replaces awkward console touchpad, comfy seats are heated/cooled front and rear, heated wheel, panoramic sunroof, power tilt/telescope wheel, wireless charger, power down rear seats, good cargo space.

Misses: Annoying false driver attention warning beeps, growly engine on heavy acceleration, heated seats/wheel controlled on screen, too many functions on screen, less used functions are buttons on console, push-button door release confuses riders. Modest MPG.

I like the chrome trim’s swoosh style to the hatch.

Made in: Cambridge, Ontario

Engine: 2.4-liter turbo I4, 275 hp/317 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 4,155+ lbs.

Wheelbase: 112.2 in.

Length: 192.5 in.

Cargo: 29.6 – 46.2 cu.ft.

Tow: 3,500 lbs.

MPG: 21/28

MPG: 20.0 (tested)

Base Price: $58,150 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $54,445

Major Options:

Mark Levinson PurePlay Surround Sound w/21 speakers, $1,160

Test vehicle: $59,310

Sources: Lexus, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#lexus

2022 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

Expedition proves big is in for size, and price …

Remember when buying a large SUV didn’t cost as much as your first or second house?

Then again, your house didn’t have smart cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera, or even a fancy Bang & Olufsen stereo with 22 speakers. Heck, most of us used to be happy with a couple big boxy speakers and a receiver with bass and treble controls.

Well, times are changing fast and big is definitely viewed as both better and necessary by many vehicle buyers today, despite the increased cost of gasoline. To meet that demand Ford has refurbished its large Expedition SUV and like every other maker has slathered on so much luxury that it rides like a living room atop velvet wheels.

The tested Expedition Limited 4×4 added a whopping $13,960 worth of options to the full-size off-roader already gussied up in its mid-level trim that starts at $69,040, including delivery. So this handsome blue-gray, Blue Tinted Clearcoat ($395 extra), hit $83,000 on the nose. My second home was only slightly more and did come with a ½-acre lot. Hey, it was a few decades ago!

Beyond the size and cost, and note there are three trims costing more, plus an Expedition Max that’s nearly a foot longer, the Expedition is a pleasant highway cruiser. That’s because it’s loaded with luxury and seven drive modes allowing a driver to take it off road or at least splash through mud and slush with the ultimate authority.

I enjoyed the body-on-frame truck, and you would too on a long highway jaunt as the interior is quiet, the leather seats well cushioned and shaped, plus the handling easy, if vague. In fact, there’s barely any road feedback yet still the big brawler is easy to corral in a lane.

Oh, there’s body lean in a tight turn, but there’s no Sport in this Sport-Utility truck, outside of the Sport drive mode you can dial in to firm the wheel, but still it only feels heavier, not sportier or more responsive. Other modes include Normal, Eco, Mud/Rut, Sand, Slippery, and Tow/Haul. There’s also a Pro Trailer setting for easier backing up with a trailer, presumably hauling a high-powered cigarette boat.

Power is not a concern, despite the disappearance of Ford V8s. No, the twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine normally creates 325 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. But the test unit added the $9,880 option package that includes both a huge panoramic power sunroof and to the power point, an upgraded 440-horse version of the same engine. It also included a sport-tuned suspension, black painted aluminum wheels and a bunch more (see the stat box).

Towing? Yes, it’ll pull 9,300 pounds.

Shifting comes from a silky smooth 10-speed automatic and despite the sport suspension the Expedition’s ride is boulevard premium. Think old Caddy, Lincoln, or Buick sedan in their hay day.

Inside the Expedition is lined with black leather featuring red stitching, part of the Stealth package, and includes a flat black textured trim on the dash and console that is particularly snazzy and avoids nasty glare that gloss black trim often reflects. Trim around the trim is a chrome look.

No way to avoid the gargantuan 15.5-inch info screen mid-dash. It’s a $795 option here, replacing a 12-inch screen, which likely would be sufficient. No problem seeing this as it’ll overwhelm your eyeballs. Several friends told me it would be way too much for them to constantly look at, and I agreed in that it’s so big you struggle to find some of the touchscreen icons, such as those for heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. Those need to be buttons that are easy to find on the console.

Most of the info screen’s functioning was good, and there’s a large volume knob embedded in the screen, a nice touch. But you must wait a minute for the screen to reboot every time you start the truck. Bigger isn’t always better!

Expedition is a three-row vehicle and roomy for up to eight passengers if you go with the standard second row bench seat. This one had captain’s chairs in row two (both heated), so would only accommodate seven. Cargo room is modest behind that third row, but large once it’s lowered and huge with both rear rows down. Remember there’s a Max version with another foot of cargo room in back.

This is a big beast with a roomy cabin and third-row seat, powered of course!

Ford puts power buttons inside the power hatch for lowering both the second and third row split seats, which makes it flexible for hauling long items, but still packing four or five passengers aboard.

Speaking of power, there are power-adjustable pedals and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel too, and a wireless charger in the console. Power running boards also deploy whenever the vehicle is unlocked or a door opened, and then re-fold after all doors have been shut for several seconds, or the ignition is turned on. I still worry about how these will survive Wisconsin winters, but I’m assured they will.

Not a huge fan of the rotary shifter, but one gets used to it.

Ford makes sure all the usual safety equipment is here, from smart cruise to lane control devices. All work fine.

A few odds and ends. Ford continues with its rotary gear shift knob on the console, which I still find a bit awkward, but I’m sure it’s here to stay.

That Stealth package also adds black accents in addition to the wheels, the badging is black as are the mirror caps and the tires are giant 22-inchers, meaning they’ll cost a fortune to replace, but then this is an $83k vehicle, so one assumes cost is a minor concern to the buyer.

Running boards are powered to aid in climbing aboard, and the sunroof is huge!

Likewise, gas mileage is nothing special. I got 17.8 mpg and the EPA rates this at 16 mpg city and 22 highway. Currently no hybrid Expedition is offered.

A base Expedition XL with rear-wheel-drive lists at $51,080 with delivery and one can add 4WD for about $2,000. That’s not inexpensive, but IS roughly $30 grand less than the tested Limited.

If you want or need more fancy features there’s the King Ranch and Platinum versions, the Platinum listing at $77 grand and easily exceeding $87,000 with options. A new more off-road worthy Timberline edition with additional ground clearance, bigger tires and underbody protection also was new for 2022.

One could imagine Expedition feeling overpriced, but consider the Chevrolet and GMC competitors, the Tahoe/Yukon and Suburban are equally pricy and the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer can hit $100,000 or more. Less pricey models are the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia, depending on trims.

FAST STATS: 2022 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

Hits: Handsome truck with oodles of power and room. Good ride, big towing capacity, off-road capable, seats 7 or 8, comfy seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated second row, heated wheel, good safety equipment, panoramic sunroof, power running boards, 7 drive modes, wireless charger, power pedals, power tilt/telescope wheel, pro trailer feature.

Misses: Vague steering, feels huge, monster info screen feels overwhelming, heated seats and wheel handled via screen, rotary shift knob takes getting used to.

Stylish headlights here!

Made in: Louisville, Ky.

Engine: 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, 375 hp/470 torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 5,837 lbs.

Wheelbase: 122.5 in.

Length: 210 in.

Cargo: 20.9-104.6 cu.ft.

Tow: 9,300 lbs.

MPG: 16/22

MPG: 17.8 (tested)

Base Price: $69,040 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $67,356

Major Options: Blue-tinted clearcoat, $395

Group 304A (panoramic roof, 3.73 Axle Ratio, black exterior badging, reverse brake assist, red brake calipers, 360-degree split view camera w/F&R washer, dual exhaust, floor mats w/logo, Ford Co-Pilot360 assist 2.0, black mirror caps, P285/45R22 tires, active 2.0 park assist, 22 speakers, engine sound enhancement radio equipment, enhanced active noise control radio equipment, Bang & Olufsen audio, black roof rails, power running boards, Stealth Performance Edition pkg. including red stitching, sport-tuned suspension & black painted aluminum wheels and 440-hp engine upgrade), $9,880

Heavy-duty trailer tow pkg., $795

CCD w/sport-tuned suspension, $995

ControlTrac w/3.73 EDLS, $1,100

15.5-in. info screen, $795

Test vehicle: $83,000

Sources: Ford, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe

Electric hybrid adds cost, but boosts fuel efficiency, smooths power …

When Jeep launched the Grand Cherokee 30 years ago it was among the first luxury sport-utility vehicles on the market that still was affordable (not a Rover) and capable of off-roading.

Jeep continues to make its Grand Cherokee as off-road worthy as anything, including its more rugged looking Wrangler, but the price now peaks at Range Rover levels.

Yet kudos to Jeep for adding hybrid power to its latest Grand Cherokee even though that’s what nudges the price up. This plug-in hybrid, the 4xe, is exactly what makes sense as the go-between from gas to electric power.

Here’s the deal.

On this mid-size SUV Jeep couples a hybrid system with a small 2.0-liter turbo I4 so that an overnight charge on a normal home 120V power line nets 25 to 27 miles of electrical juice. That means that an average user who drives to and from work, or to run necessary daily errands, can run on electricity most of the time. By the way, the power is awesome smooth in the Jeep and when was the last time someone called a Jeep smooth?

In a 230-mile week of driving I evenly split my electric vs. gas powered driving, recharging with the driver’s side front quarter panel plug-in, each evening.

That meant each morning I had a 100% charge and most days I didn’t need more than that. Two trips to the other side of town during the week meant half of each trip was on the juice, while the other half was gas-powered. The results? My combined average was 37.1 mpg, while gas alone (sadly Premium is recommended) averaged just 18.2 mpg, showing the difference hybrid electric power can make. The vehicle also senses when 4WD is not needed and turns it off when not needed.

Cool too that Jeep allows the driver to select (via dash buttons) hybrid power, electric only, or save-E, which mostly runs the Grand Cherokee on gas, saving the electric charge for when you most need it, say in town, or when slopping around field or forest.

See Mark’s video: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe review by Mark Savage – YouTube

Yes, there are still plenty of off-roading choices here, five to be exact. A console toggle allows the driver to select Rock, Sand/Mud, Snow, Auto, or Sport drive modes. Sport seems silly to me on an SUV and here it firms up the steering something fierce, not pleasant at all.

The others will engage the proper 4-wheeling system for the circumstances and if you’re rock-crawling becomes a habit there’s a button to unhook the front sway bar to create more wheel articulation. Note too, the Grand Cherokee has a maximum ground clearance of 10.9 inches, which is a lot. Plus, another toggle on the console allows the driver to hike up the haunches and lift the Jeep to its maximum height, or lower it for easy exits. This Jeep also will ford two feet of water safely.

There’s ample power here as the turbo I4 and hybrid electric motor provide a combined 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque so there’s a tow rating of 6,000 pounds. All is smooth and silky when electric is the power source, but when the Jeep switches to the gas engine, which is seamless, well, the little turbo groans considerably as it seems to be trying to bench press the vehicle’s full 5,500 lbs. Acceleration can be noisy with the tiny turbo.

Folks wanting constant smooth power application probably should opt for one of the gas-only powered Grand Cherokees that feature a V6 or V8. You’ll also save money up front, but more on that in a sec.

A blue tow hook, 4xe logo and jeep logo add color to the tail.

Handling is typical of a mid-size SUV, easy steering with modest feedback and a little body lean in tight turns. It’s all quite controllable and easy to maintain within a lane. Of course there’s all the usual safety equipment such as lane departure, blind-spot warning and parking sensors.

Ride is mostly good too, especially on the highway, but as with most trucks/utes gets jiggly on bumpy city streets as pot holes and expansion joints create some rock and roll, but then it’s a Jeep, right?

That’s not to say it isn’t luxurious. The Diamond Black Crystal Pearl ($395 extra) test SUV looked upscale, the ride is mostly well controlled, and the interior leathery.

Check out the blue tow hooks, hood stripe and blue-outlined Jeep logo here.

I like the little blue styling cues on the exterior, to subtly insinuate this is a hybrid. Apparently bright green and blue do that these days on hybrids and electrics. This one slapped blue trim on all the Jeep logos, the front and rear tow hooks, the rear hatch’s Trailhawk logo and a blue Trailhawk adhesive stripe on the hood, which also featured a flat black hood sticker.

Inside, the Grand Cherokee looks fresh and modern, a big step up from its predecessor.

More blue trim inside with the seat piping and stitching on the console.

Enough black leather here to frighten any herd of cattle, but with a tasteful blue (again) stitching to spruce it up. Seat edges were leather but the main seat surfaces a suede material. Classy.

Shiny black fake wood trim accents the dash and doors and is trimmed in satin chrome. The look is keen, but the reflection off that and the gloss black console surface can be blinding on sunny days now that we’ve passed the equinox and the sun rides at lower angles.

Seats are powered plus heated and cooled in front, with the outer rear seats also heated. I found the butt pockets rather snug in the front seats, but the rears (seats that is) were better. The steering wheel also is heated. One odd problem I found when trying to buckle up each trip, and that’s the seatbelt is hard to pull between the seat and door, a bit of a tight squeeze.

No problem with the digital equipment here though, a big center info screen and digital driver instrument panel. Some numbers on the driver display were a bit small, but the info screen was great and easy to use, plus includes adjacent volume and tuning knobs for the radio, a fine Alpine sound system in the Trailhawk. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard too.

A few things you won’t find on the Trailhawk were surprising though. There’s no sunroof, no wireless phone charger and no running boards. At this top-end pricing I’d expect all three. In the Jeep’s defense, there are oodles of plug-ins available for charging.

There was no passenger-side info screen in the test vehicle, but that’s ok, it’s an option as on Jeep’s Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

The digital instrument panel gives you a lot of info, but numbers are small.

Tire noise is considerable with the beefy R18 All-Terrain tires, which would be good for off-roading, but hum like an annoying tone-deaf 5-year-old who loves Disney tunes, even at low speeds.

In back is a power hatch hiding a load of cargo space, so a family of five can vacation, camp, haul, etc. while taking along all the sundries needed for comfort. Second-row seats split and fold flat and the SUV’s plug-in charger can be stowed neatly in a bag under the cargo floor.

Did I mention this is pricey?

Yes, and that was a bit of a shock (sorry) for this hybrid electric model. A base 2023 model (now at dealers) lists at $60,260, while a Trailhawk version starts at $65,455. Move up to an Overland and it’s $69,225, a Summit goes for $72,990, and the premium of premiums, the Summit Reserve starts at $77,470. All prices including delivery. For the record, a $7,500 tax credit may apply to the hybrid models, but check it before you buy.

There’s a lot of space under that power hatch, but only two rows of seats.

The tested 2022 model listed at $64,280 and only added the special color to hit $64,675. By the way, white is the only paint color that doesn’t cost extra on the Grand Cherokee, although other colors are mostly $395, so not a huge add-on.

While I’m all in on plug-in hybrids until our electric infrastructure grows considerably, I should point out that Jeep really charges for the privilege. For instance, a base V6 powered Grand Cherokee, the Laredo, lists at $40,120, but of course has fewer standard features and no 4WD.

Move up to the equivalent Trailhawk gas-only model and the sticker is $56,030. Between are Altitude and Limited models in the mid-$40,000 range.

So choose wisely, especially if your budget already is being stretched. The good news for all 4xe plug-in hybrids, you’ll pay less to power them weekly, and they run as smooth as a luxury sedan, just taller and with way bigger tires!

FAST STATS: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe

Hits: Off-road capability, five drive modes, plug-in hybrid boosted gas mileage, and good looks. Roomy luxury interior, power hatch, heated/cooled front seats, heated outer rear seats, heated steering wheel, Alpine stereo, good safety equipment. Sway bar disconnect for off-roading and good ground clearance with toggle to raise truck.

Misses: Pricey, tire noise, groany underpowered gas engine, no sunroof, no running boards, no wireless charger, reflective trim, ride can get jiggly, tight seat butt pockets and front seat belts hard to pull through between door and seat.

Made in: Detroit, Mich.

Engine: 2.0-liter turbo I4, plug-in hybrid, 375 hp/470 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 5,521 lbs.

Wheelbase: 116.7 in.

Length: 193.5 in.

Cargo: 37.7-70.8 cu.ft.

Tow: 6,000 lbs.

MPG: 23/combo gas/electric

Fuel: Premium recommended

Electric range: 25 mph

MPG: 18.2 gas/37.1 combined (tested)

Base Price: $64,280 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $62,667

Major Options:

Diamond black crystal pearl paint, $395

Test vehicle: $64,675

Sources: Jeep, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

#Jeep

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 Land Rover Defender 90 V8

V8 makes luxurious Defender crazy fast, but for off-roading? …

If vehicles were to be judged strictly on how well they drive then Land Rover’s two-door Defender 90 V8 would be a champ, both on and off road.

You see, Defender is a short-wheelbase British designed Jeep, historically, and the entry step into Land Rover’s now ritzy luxury lineup of larger SUVs. Defender is meant to be taken off road, to bound over boulders, to slop in mud, to ford streams (it’ll wade in up to 35.4 inches of bubbling brook).

Yet it’s not a Jeep, it’s a luxury SUV all its own and this version packs an ego-pleasing 518-horsepower V8. That’s better for highway hot-rodding than off-roading, and the ride and handling here deliver a luxury feel that you won’t find in any Jeep Wrangler, even the 4-door Unlimited.

No, the Defender 90 V8 is a luxury two-door with all the fixins and a price tag of $105,550 that seems to discourage off-roading and the dents, scrapes and mud that come with it.

Still, it’s a land-based cruise missile with a top speed of 149 mph and a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.4 to 4.9 seconds, says Car and Driver magazine. Land Rover’s 8-speed automatic shifts smoothly and the pistol-grip shifter delivers a jet pilot’s control mindset.

Handling is light and easy and cornering a pleasure. Parking this big beauty is a breeze.

Top heavy? Sure, a little bit, but with 22-inch Continental tires underneath you feel pretty sure-footed and the air suspension soaks up the city street cracks and crevices with ease, mostly. That’s saying something for an SUV with just a 101.9-inch wheelbase. Normally something this short is akin to riding on a skateboard, sitting down.

See Mark’s video: Mark Savage reviews the 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 – YouTube

Check out Paul’s Car Spot on a vintage Rover too!

Around town Defender delivers a decidedly luxury ride, feel and handling. Put it off into the weeds and gravel and it’ll perform nicely too. Sadly Rover thinks everything should be controlled through its 11.4-inch touchscreen, which is plenty big and easy to see. Oh, but that size screen costs $140 extra. Really? Even bigger screens are standard on $40k vehicles.

And let’s admit this right here, touchscreens are fine for adjusting the radio and such, mostly while sitting at a traffic light or in your driveway, but when driving, a dedicated button often is the wiser choice. So to go several layers deep into the screen and try to find the one of 16 icons that takes you to 4WD, etc. Well, that’s not easy and can be frustrating. Decide on any off-road settings before you roll.

That touchscreen though is just the beginning of some questionable styling and functional attributes inside the Land Rover.

My tester was a deep color-shifting black, or Santorini Black, as Rover calls it. The interior was equally black, just not as shiny. Seats though were cloth with suede-like inserts, which were plenty comfy and power adjustable. But I’d expect soft high-end leather standard at the $100k price, plus wouldn’t leather be easier to clean if I did go off-roading and flipped some mud inside? I mean there are thick rubber floor mats all around so you won’t sludge up carpets.

The pistol-grip shifter, nice as it is to shift, is on the center stack, but juts out to block an easy reach to the climate control dials, which by the way include the heated and cooled seat functions. Those also can be found through the info screen.

Extending from the center stack back to between the front seats is a giant semi-open bin, cup holders and cooler/storage box just under the armrest. Nice again that the box cools so you could carry two cans of soda there on a trip, but that big bin under the stack is not real useful as the industrial looking supports all around it make it hard to retrieve anything dropped down in the bin. 

Door trim still features the bolt-on Rover look.

That leads to the oversized lid on the cooler/storage box that partially covers the wireless charging tray just in front of that box. Easy to slide the phone in for charging, but to retrieve it you’ll need to open the box’s lid. Awkward!

Likewise it’s awkward to climb in the Rover and especially so for rear seat riders. First problem, this is a two-door. Second problem it’s a huge step up (11.5 inches of ground clearance) to get inside, but there are plenty of grab handles on the dash and ceiling. Third, for the rear seat, which is fairly roomy, a person must press a button once to power the front seat forward, then flip a stiff lever atop the seat to flip the seatback forward. Once settled in back it’s easiest for your passenger-side front seat occupant to press, and hold, a power seat button to return the seat ever so slowly to its original setting. Again, really? I’ve been in $20k econo-coupes with one-lever manual seat access to the rear seat.

There’s a latch and two power buttons on the seat’s side.

Note too that if the rear seat is occupied there is precious little cargo room behind the seat, maybe one upright suitcase or several grocery bags. The rear seats do fold down to boost storage. But in practical terms the Defender is a two-person vehicle, while five could tolerate short hops around town.

One final clunker is that rear door in place of a hatch. I know Jeep-like vehicles have this feature and it does fit in well with the snazzy retro styling, including the mammoth 22-inch tire on the rear door. But that makes that door heavy and, again, awkward for loading in certain circumstances. Having the tire handy on the rear door though will be convenient when you blow a tire on a rocky outcropping when off-roading in your luxury ute.

Naturally there are good points too, like the styling, which received several compliments during my drive, and the side skylight windows just under the rear roofline.

Folks like the skylights above the large rear windows.

A panoramic sunroof is standard too and the seats are both heated and cooled, and incredibly comfortable. I like the radio volume roller on the steering wheel hub and the wheel itself is wrapped in the coziest suede covering I’ve experienced in a vehicle. I’d pay extra for that on any vehicle, along with the heated wheel, which is standard here.

The sound system is stellar too, a premium Meridian surround system with 700 watts of power. Boom!

Precious little storage behind the rear seat and the heavy rear door opens wide.

Gas mileage is mild to say the least, but then you had to have the V8, right? The EPA rates this at 15 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. I managed 16.9 mpg in a week’s mixed driving. Premium petrol is preferred, naturally. A 3.0-liter inline 6 mild hybrid also is available by the way.

Again, the starting price is $105,550 and with three small options this one drains an IRA account for $106,710. But honestly, I’m not sure anything should be optional at the starting price here for a small SUV, no matter how off-road worthy.

That said, there are eight trim levels for the Defender 90, and the base starts at $57,700 with delivery, so avoiding the higher trims and the V8 will put this into a whole other price category. And for folks wanting a more useful, but equally ornamental, version there’s the Defender 110 with a 17-inch longer wheelbase and four doors, so a family could properly use it.

The square taillights look great, but that monster spare tire weighs down the door.

That would compete well with Jeep’s new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

As it is, this one competes with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited (4 doors), and Grand Cherokee. Other possible capable off-roaders with luxury leanings include Toyota’s 4Runner or even its Highlander and of course Ford’s new Bronco, although its ride is not nearly so nice as the Rover’s. Most of these start in the upper-$40,000 range.

If you simply must spend more than $100 grand on a luxury off-road worthy SUV there’s also the Mercedes-Benz G Class, or G-Wagon as most folks call it. That starts about $141,000 and is even boxier. The Rover certainly wins that matchup on the styling front.

Fast Stats: 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 V8

Hits: Thrilling power, snazzy retro looks, off-roading ability in spades, easy handling, nice ride for short wheelbase. Panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled seats, radio volume roller on wheel, Meridian sound system, heated suede-wrapped steering wheel, easy to park and a lot of grab handles.

Misses: Rear hatch opens out like door, tire on door makes it heavy, gear shift lever in way of climate controls, difficult multi-layer touchscreen, awkward access to off-road settings and clunky access to rear seats. Big step-up height, wireless charger partially blocked by big armrest/storage box lid and little cargo room.

The V8 really fills the engine compartment here.

Made in: Nitra, Slovakia

Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 518 hp/461 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 5,334 lbs.

Wheelbase: 101.9 in.

Length: 180.4 in.

Cargo: 14-34 cu.ft.

Tow: 8,200 lbs.

MPG: 15/19

MPG: 16.9 (tested)

Base Price: $105,550 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $92,718

Major Options:

WiFi-enabled w/limited data plan, $360

Premium interior protection w/storage pack, $660

11.4-inch touchscreen, $140

Test vehicle: $106,710

Sources: Land Rover, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label

Navigator a big luxury liner with massaging seats, power & more ….

Lincoln’s long luxurious Navigator feels a lot like cruising a highway in your family room, if your family room is loaded with tech and massaging chairs.

If like mine, yours is not so equipped then for a wee bit more than I paid for my home 30 years ago, a Lincoln Navigator Black Label may be just what you need, especially if you regularly transport seven people.

Navigator is a high-end luxury land yacht along the lines of Jeep’s new Grand Wagoneer with a price to match and an equally quiet and plush interior. My, oh my, cattle must go into apoplexy when either passes their pasture.

The Lincoln touts a perforated Venetian leather interior, black here, with “Brandy” stitching on the seats, dash and steering wheel. I’d call the color brown and the piping around the seats’ edges matches. Navigator’s seats are wonderfully shaped, but if you need to adjust Any aspect, there’s a button for that. Plus both row one and two feature a massaging function that is quite nice.

First, a bevy of buttons on the door allow all seat features to be adjusted, including raising and lowering the headrest. There’s power lumbar, side bolsters, lower cushions and all just require a tap or two on the massive 12-inch info screen to adjust. Once that’s accomplished and saved for the driver and up to two others, you might as well click on the first of two long flat buttons on the door above those seat controls to set your masseuse in motion. Ahhh!)

There are five massaging patterns and four are equally impressive, including Circular, Relax, Recovery and Rolling. The Pulse function is just OK. All feature three strength levels so you can really ratchet them up to whatever level you need for comfort or to stay away on a long drive. I recommend Relax and Rolling as they work up and down your back and across your bottom in a pleasant motion.

Running boards are powered, so neatly fold up and down, allowing easy boarding.

Now if such luxury would happen to relax you too much, to the point of the driver dozing on a long highway jaunt, well ActiveGlide to the rescue. This is Lincoln’s new semi-autonomous driving mode that is activated like smart (or otherwise) cruise control. Once on, it will center the SUV in its highway lane and you can put your hands on your lap. Now most of these systems insist the driver keep a hand touching the wheel. Not this one, mostly.

I drove roughly 10 miles at times on a weekend outing to Green Bay without touching the wheel. ActiveGlide works on about 120,000 miles of well-marked highways, think mostly interstates. The catch is that occasionally, when highway side markings disappear or are obscured, the system clicks off and asks you to restore your hands to the wheel. You must stay alert.

The system also monitors your eyes as it drives via a camera behind the power tilt/telescope steering wheel. If you happen to enjoy talking to a front seat companion and turn your head for very long, or heaven forbid you do doze, the system will beep to alert you to again pay attention to the road.

Other than the occasional cutting out, the system worked well. Although it also beeped from time to time to tell me to put my hands on the wheel when they weren’t BOTH at the 10 and 2 positions.

Watch the video: Mark Savage reviews the behemoth class 2022 Lincoln Navigator – YouTube

There’s more tech to talk about, but let’s get to the ride and drive particulars.

Navigator is roughly the size of a Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon, and a bit shorter than the Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer.

Ride is similar to those in that this being a body-on-frame truck the ride is trucky. Oh, it’s pretty smooth mostly, but over uneven roads there’s bounce that you wouldn’t get in a car or crossover. Occasionally our washboard roads created a little rock and roll motion, not disturbing, but riders noticed.

Power is good from the refined twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 that makes an impressive 440 horsepower and delivers 510 pound-feet of torque. An Excite drive mode makes the truck jump away from a stop, but remember that’ll suck more precious gasoline. But enjoy a Bezos blastoff if you can afford it.

Other drive modes adjusted via the console knob include Normal, Normal 4×4, Slippery, Deep Conditions (snow and mud), and Conserve, the opposite of Excite.

The power is applied via a silky 10-speed automatic, and Navigator is happy to drink regular fuel. In fact, I was impressed to get 18.9 mpg in about 85% highway driving. It registered just 12 mpg or so in city trips. The EPA says to expect 16 mpg city and 22 highway.

Handling? Shoot, this is a big SUV, so steering is on the lazy side and there’s some body lean in turns. But the turn-in is decent for parking lot action, making Navigator easy to slip into a grocery lot parking stall.

Back to the quiet luxury interior, what really sets Navigator apart from much of the competition, save the new Grand Wagoneer.

Standard are three-level heated and cooled seats and real wood trim that is impressive looking and features a snazzy modern-looking pattern of squares that interconnect. The pattern is on both the dash and console top.

Again, that info screen is enormous and easy to use, being a touchscreen. No fumbling around here. Climate controls include temp toggles on the console and then there’s the push-button transmission buttons at the center stack’s lower edge. Easy to just punch these, so less confusing than the recently tested GMC Terrain where half the buttons were push and the others pull. I’d still prefer a shift knob or rotary dial, but at least this one makes sense and you’ll get used to it.

Overhead is a giant twin-pane sunroof and shade, plus rear seat passengers get buttons to open or shut the shade at their pleasure. Kids love this. Second row folks also get a giant console between the captain’s chairs for other controls, including the massage features. There are no side window sun shades though.

Climbing aboard is easy with automatic power deployed running boards and then big boarding handles at each entrance, naturally leather-wrapped and brandy stitched. The second row seats will fold flat and also have a power button on the door frame to release them and allow them to slide forward. The exiting passenger, or entering one can then push or pull the seats forward for easier access. However, these seats are heavy, so require some muscle to push back into place and latch.

Oodles of room when rows 2 and 3 are folded flat. Need to carry lumber?

Third row and second row seats can be powered down from inside the power hatch on the driver’s side, but only the third row can be powered back up. The third row seats also split 2/3 and 1/3, a benefit when traveling and carrying five people and luggage.

When both rows are folded down the Navigator offers a massive 103.3 cubic feet of cargo space. It also tows up to 8,300 pounds of trailer and boat, etc.

All the usual safety equipment is here and the Chrome Caviar (really?) Dark Gray Metallic test vehicle added two packages, one for $625 adds the massaging second row captain’s chairs and the other at $1,750 adds the metallic gray paint, suede-like headliner, the fancier Venetian leather seats and Active Glide.

Fancy wood trim and spiffy jewel like speaker covers here too!

There’s no getting around the price here, which starts at $104,775, including delivery, for this Black Label (Mabel, wasn’t that a beer?) edition. With options this hit $107,050. My house cost less and has three sinks and two toilets! Maybe in a future model!

Anyway, for the penny-pinching luxury large SUV buyers, a rear-drive Standard edition lists at $78,330, with AWD adding $3,000. A mid-level Reserve model is $94,155 for the AWD model.

What’s the monthly loan payment? If you have to ask, you can’t afford to navigate the deal. If you can, this is a top-shelf 3-row luxury liner any family could enjoy!

FAST STATS: 2022 Lincoln Navigator Black Label

Hits: Plush, huge 3-row SUV with good smooth power, mostly comfy ride and AWD. Plus, massaging seats rows 1 and 2, power retractable running boards, 12-inch info screen, giant sunroof, heat/cooled seats, power third row seats, power-down second row, wireless charger, power fold/slide second row, and quiet interior. Good safety gear.

Misses: Ride can be a bit bouncy, ActiveGlide semi-autonomous driving system cuts out occasionally and asks for hands on the wheel intermittently, second row seats quite heavy and difficult to push back into place after lowering.

Made in: Louisville, Ky.

Engine: 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, 440 hp/510 torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 5,884 lbs.

Wheelbase: 122.5 in.

Length: 210.0 in.

Cargo: 20.9-103.3 cu.ft.

Tow: 8,300 lbs.

MPG: 16/22

MPG: 18.9 (tested)

Base Price: $104,775 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $101,767

Major Options:

Equipment group 800A (black Venetian perforated leather seats w/Brandy stitching, suede-like headliner, carpet/suede floor mats, Co-Pilot 2.0, ActiveGlide, Chrome Caviar Gray paint), $1,750

Second row captain’s chairs w/massage, $625

Test vehicle: $107,050

Sources: Lincoln, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Obsidian 4×4

Grand is the key word in Jeep’s new full-size luxury SUV …

Jeep’s new Grand Wagoneer, its first GW since 1991 is simply too much, and that applies to price, screens, and luxury features.

Of course, that’s exactly the market Jeep is going after with the Grand, over-the-top high-end luxury.

So I’ll warn you right now, prepare to be amazed, both by what comes on this Grand Wagoneer Obsidian edition, and its sticker. We’ll start there because once you know it, that’s all you’re going to think about. It’s all people wanted to ask me about once they knew.

This model breaches the 6-digit mark.

That’s right, as equipped the test SUV listed at $109,025, including a $2,000 delivery fee, and it only ships here from Warren, Mich. OK, now that you have that $100+ grand figure firmly planted in your gray matter, I’ll try to explain at least the major add-ons and luxury features you get in the Obsidian model, the third of four trim levels.

First, know that obsidian (if you’re not a geologist) is a black glass-like rock formed by melting lava from a volcano. Here it signifies that both exterior and interior are blacked out in nearly every way imaginable, creating a giant blocky black behemoth look that conjures Darth Vader. Ironically light sabers are about the only option not offered.

Before going all Obsidian on us, a Grand Wagoneer first adds Jeep’s 6.4-liter HEMI V8 for power vs. the 5.7-liter V8 in the standard Wagoneer. That means you get 471 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque, up 79 horses and 51 lb.-ft. of torque from the smaller V8. It prefers premium petrol too, and naturally sucks fuel like a teenager crushing pizza at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I got just 12.5 miles per gallon in a fairly even mix of city and highway driving. The EPA rates the GW at 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. I had managed 15.3 mpg with the earlier Wagoneer and its “little” V8.

Watch Mark’s video: Mark Savage reviews the Grandest Wagoneer yet – YouTube

RELATED: See Paul’s car spot on the original Grand Wagoneer:
https://savageonwheels.com/2022/03/18/car-spot-it-set-the-bar-for-luxo-suv/

The other major performance upgrade is the addition of a Quadra-Lift air suspension system with semi-active damping and five ride-height settings controlled via a toggle on the massive console. This suspension also provides 3.6 inches of additional lift, so when you wish to go mudding with your $100 grand vehicle you’ll have 10 inches worth of ground clearance. Note too Jeep says this fords two feet of water, not surprising when you ride on 22-inch wheels.

A whole lotta leather in this richly appointed high-end interior!

Other upgrades include more supple leather, more screens, more chrome by the windows, real walnut interior trim and a black roof. But this being the Obsidian model much of that is pushed aside to black out the window trim and supplant the snazzy wood interior trim with a black vertically striped aluminum on the doors and dash and much of the console’s top. Piano black gloss trim atop the console too and the black (of course) soft leather seats feature gray stitching, as does the steering wheel’s leather cover and console’s leather sides. This looks sharp, but wood looks ritzier.

This also adds a 10-inch touchscreen in the passenger-side dash with a filter to avoid the driver being able to see it and get distracted. But a passenger can access the hundreds of functions hidden within the 12-inch touchscreen the driver Can see. Oh, and there’s a smaller one below that, which can be electrically folded back to reveal a wireless phone charger and numerous power outlets.

Two screens here, one for info and the other for massaging seats and other options.

All screens feature multiple functions and layers, too much to use easily while driving. I also couldn’t add favorite channels to the pre-sets, which was annoying. Another drawback that some other makes have conquered, is the touch points for heated seats and steering wheel all reset to off whenever the ignition is turned off, a concern when running errands and you’re in and out of the vehicle frequently.

Jeep proudly points out there are five screens here now with nearly 75 inches of screen width. This one also adds a rear-seat entertainment package for $1,995 that puts 10.1-inch screens on the back of the front seats for the row-two captain’s chair occupants to watch their favorite shows and movies. Amazon Fire TV is part of that package.

More screens in back, plus dual-panel panoramic sunroof.

In case one feels more entertainment is needed, the stereo in Obsidian is upgraded to a McIntosh premium audio system with 23 speakers. Overkill? Hard to argue with the symphony hall quality of the interior sound.

For penny pinchers the Obsidian package adds $5,000 to the overall price and includes all that black trim, inside and out, the fancy stereo, cooled second row seats, snazzy black accented 22-inch wheels, and a cooler between the seats inside the console. It was absolutely frigid, so nice for soft drinks, or sushi!

Roomy third-row seat in Grand Wagoneer.

Funny, the Diamond Black Crystal Pearl paint job is not part of the Obsidian package. That paint scheme costs $595.

Additional here was a $3,595 convenience group that includes an advanced security system (needed on a $100,000 vehicle), night vision to see people and animals, a rear seat camera monitor, semiautonomous driving system and intersection collision warning system. That “FamCam” is targeted at parents wanting to see what the rear seat occupants are doing, possibly a win on a long road trip. Also could discourage early teens from getting “too familiar” in the back seat.

A $995 heavy-duty trailering package that adds a bunch of trailering aids and heavy-duty engine cooling allows this model to tow up to 9,850 pounds of boat, camper or whatever.

Did we mention the cooler between the front seats?

Speaking of weight, the Grand Wagoneer Obsidian crosses the scales at a whopping 6,400 lbs. itself. Imagine gas mileage if a trailer were attached!

Mentioned the black leather interior a bit earlier, but I neglected to say the seats are nicely supportive and heated and cooled in the first two rows. But the front row also features massaging functions. Waterfall is my favorite massage pattern, but rock climb is good too. There are three others and three massage pressure levels for each too. Folks usually ooh and aah when they try these, but the message functions is mainly to stimulate a little blood flow to the extremities on a long drive. The message is not so relaxing as to make a driver drowsy. Controls for these are on the lower of the two center screens.

Seems I’ve barely touched on the driving characteristics, but they are the same as the Wagoneer reviewed a few months back. Power is strong and ride fairly smooth with a bit of a trucklike feel (this is based on the RAM pickup platform). But the revised independent rear suspension makes this comfy in most regards.

It’s big, but parking wasn’t a big issue and there’s a 360 camera to help too.

Handling? This is a big beast that holds the road well because it also has 4WD with five settings for mud, snow, etc. There is some body lean in tight turns and parking is a challenge just because of the truck’s size. Having said that, a longer L version is coming by this summer as a 2023 model, but the Grand Wagoneer is already roughly a foot longer than the Grand Cherokee L, Jeep’s other new 3-row ute.

Naturally this Jeep could go off road, ford streams and traverse deep snow, but let’s be realistic, at $100,000+ it likely won’t be put to such tests often.

Briefly, other things to know about the GW.

This one would seat 7 with captain’s chairs in row 2, plus a giant console with screen. If you order a bench seat for row 2, the vehicle could seat 8. A power hatch in back allows you to step under it and press power buttons to lower the third and second row seats.

Two screens for the driver and there’s a third screen right in front of the passenger.

Overhead is a giant two-panel sunroof, plus a smaller sunroof over the third row. There are power adjustable pedals below the dash and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel too.

In addition to the safety equipment in the option packages above, a full lineup of safety gear is here. And for ease of climbing aboard the Titanic, er, Grand Wagoneer, power retractable running boards fold down to aid short folks getting inside, then fold flush to the Jeep’s sides after doors are closed.

There’s more, but we’re pushing it now.

Part of the MORE is power fold-down running boards.

Just consider that a Series I GW starts at $90,440 with delivery, a Series II at $95,440 and this Obsidian at $101,845. A Series III pushes that to $104,845. For the record a less loaded base Wagoneer starts about $30,000 less, and well equipped can be had for about $15,000 less.

FAST STATS: 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Obsidian 4×4

Hits: Plush, huge Jeep with off-road capability, five drive modes, powerful V8 with major tow ability, will carry up to 8 passengers. Giant sunroof plus smaller one for row 3, power hatch, the usual safety equipment and 4WD. Quiet interior with oodles of upgraded leather, heated/cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled second row seats. Power adjustable pedals and steering wheel, comfy seats, giant touchscreen.  PLUS console cooler, massaging front seats, air suspension, 23-speaker stereo, giant touchscreen, screen for front passenger, entertainment screens for second row seats, and power retractable running boards.

Misses: So luxurious it likely will never be taken seriously off-road. Screen and electronic controls, such as heated seats, all reset after ignition is off. Hard to engage seat climate buttons when wearing gloves, or not. All screens too many layers to use easily while driving, horrible fuel economy and simply too overly complex in general.

Made in: Warren, Mich.

Engine: 6.4-liter HEMI V8, 471 hp/455 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 6,400 lbs.

Wheelbase: 123 in.

Length: 214.7 in.

Cargo: 27.4-70.9-94.2 cu.ft.

Tow: 9,850 lbs.

MPG: 13/18

MPG: 12.5 (tested)

Base Price: $96,845 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $97,333

Posh second row captain’s chairs, screens and sunroofs.

Major Options:

Diamond black crystal pearl paint, $595

Rear-seat entertainment group (10.1-inch rear entertainment screens, Amazon Fire TV), $1,995

Custom preferred package 23T (Obsidian appearance package, cooled rear seats, cargo cover, tinted glass, piano black exterior accents, adjustable roof rail crossbars, McIntosh audio system w/23 speakers, front passenger screen, 22-inch tinted polished wheels w/black inserts, front console cooler, black interior accents), $5,000

Convenience group (advanced security alert, night vision w/pedestrian & animal detection, rear seat monitoring camera, intersection collision assist, active driving assist), $3,595

Heavy-duty trailer tow package (trailer brake control, trailer hitch line-up assist, trailer hitch zoom, removable rear tow hook, black tow hooks, heavy-duty cooling), $995

Test vehicle: $109,025

Sources: Jeep, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

2022 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD

8 people can ride in style in this upscale Calligraphy model …

Think stylish vehicles and you’d be wise these days to first turn your attention to Hyundai or Kia. The two South Korean carmakers have been breaking the staid auto world’s styling molds for several years now.

Case in point, the tested Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy, an 8-person SUV and family hauler that looks and feels way ritzier than it is. The grille, the lights, the interior, all are standout lookers and clothed in a Sierra Burgundy (think dark metallic red wine) the test SUV looked out of place in my 1950s subdivision. Even its color was trendsetting, or make that trend breaking.

In a world of gray, white and black vehicles (those are the three top-selling “colors” now) the dark red Palisade looked special. People pointed at it like I was hauling a Kardashian to the Oscars for crying out loud.

Really there’s not a lot new to talk about here. I praised the original 2020 Palisade after taking a trip to Louisville and back in it. Comfort, quiet, the snazzy interior and solid power from its 3.8-liter V6 all impressed. Now it gains a bevy of safety equipment as standard and this Calligraphy model is the top trim, so loaded with oodles of whiz-bangs that might be optional on other makes at this price.

So there are the looks, maybe too bold for some, but they can have their gray blend-in mobiles. I like the grille and snazzy lights front and rear. Happy with that V6 too as it delivers a strong 291 horses and smoothly via an 8-speed automatic with Shiftronic, which allows a driver to override the automatic with manual shifts, no clutch of course.

Handling is fairly quick too, making it extremely easy to control on the highway and ride is composed without being plush or floaty. A long wheelbase helps that.

AWD is $1,700 extra on all trim levels, but certainly makes sense in our sloppy Wisconsin climate.

Watch Mark’s video: Mark Savage reviews the 2022 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD – YouTube

Note too there are five drive modes, Comfort, Eco, Sport, Snow and Smart, which is said to learn your driving style and adjust the shifts to fit your needs and wants. Sport does enliven the acceleration a bit and firms steering too. Yet Comfort was fine 95% of the time; I mostly engaged Sport when zipping onto a freeway.

Did a lot of freeway driving in this too, probably 70% which made the trip computer predict I was getting 20.2 mpg, while in reality it was 19.5. That’s in the Palisade’s wheelhouse of 19 mpg city and 24 highway for the AWD version. The front-drive model earns 26 mpg on the highway. That could be important as gas prices head to the stratosphere.

But for family hauling Palisade is certainly competitive with other large SUVs and minivans on the gas mileage front.

It also has an advantage on many because it will haul eight passengers if you opt for the center row bench seat, no extra charge. Go with the more comfy captain’s chairs and it’ll haul seven adults. That’s right, there’s plenty of legroom in the third row and the one-touch second row seats slide forward easily to let a grownup crawl aboard with minimal grunting and groaning. Second row seats can be positioned to create reasonable foot and legroom for both second and third-row occupants. Bonus!

The third row of seats has adequate room and the second and third row fold flat too.

Granted storage behind that third row is not spacious, but will hold eight bags of groceries. Smartly Hyundai offers power third-row and second-row fold downs via buttons inside the rear hatch. So if you’re loading a lot of goods it’s simple to press a couple buttons and lower the seats for cargo hauling.

This interior is stellar in nearly all ways, and certainly from a quietness and styling standpoint. The tester was decked out in light gray (nearly white) Nappa leather with a bit of quilting pattern on the seatbacks and a sophisticated light tan to gray fake wood trim on the doors and dash. The wood is in strips with satin chrome trim between each layer. Classy!

Overhead is a soft gray simulated suede headliner that helps soak up any excess noise that somehow manages to creep into the cockpit. Trim on the console is a satin chrome herringbone pattern while the dash’s top is black and overhead is a power sunroof up front and power sun shade over a larger stationary roof for the rear two rows of seats.

Standard here is a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and 360-degree backup camera along with wireless charger in the console and 10.25-inch infotainment screen that’s simple to use.

Fantastic dash design with large easy-to-use buttons and screen.

In fact, the Hyundai dash is so well designed it’s easy to figure out from the moment you sit in Palisade, no fumbling for knobs that aren’t there or hunting for vague icons that don’t let you know where to find the heat or radio. This is how interiors should function and Hyundai interior designers deserve a big pay increase.

Buttons are all large and logically laid out and the radio tuning is intuitive. No electrical engineering degree is required, a benefit for us less schooled, or old-school, drivers.

Need more? Well, the Calligraphy model comes with a snazzy Harmon Kardon stereo system including attractive satin chrome covered door speakers that look like a jeweler designed them. Sound is good and tuning is easy.

Beautiful design with wood grains atop the door and diamond-pattern leather too.

Flip a turn signal lever and cameras light up in round screens on the instrument panel, one for left turns, one for right, showing you the road and blind-spot behind you in that lane to avoid fender benders and curb scrapes.

Safety equipment is plentiful too, along with lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, driver attention warning, smart cruise control and such, Hyundai adds blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, turn signals in the side mirrors and safe exit assist. This later item is becoming a norm now and alerts a person when a door is unlatched but oncoming traffic could be a danger. Still best to look over your shoulder, but this may help avoid losing a door when the driver or passenger is distracted. Cool too that the lane departure system can be turned off to avoid unwanted beeps as you dodge construction and pot holes.

Also standard on Calligraphy is a perforated leather wrap on the steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, puddle lamps and that fancy satin chrome trim. Standard on most models too is a power hatch, along with remote start and the excellent one-touch second row seats that quickly fold and slide forward for third-row entry.

For techies, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are here, along with USB ports for the first two rows of seats.

Seats are quite comfy in most regards in all rows. The third row has a bit of a raised floor so that puts your legs at a slightly elevated angle. My only complaint is the power driver’s seat, which has a long lower cushion, meaning it hits the back of short driver’s knees and could be tiring on a long drive. Before buying, check that out if you’re 5-6, or shorter.

Finally let’s revisit Palisade’s value Palisade. First, a well-equipped minivan will cost you $50,000 these days, give or take a grand. Some SUVs will start there and work their way up to $60 grand or more.

This top-level test vehicle started at $49,615, including delivery, and added just floor mats (which should be standard on all vehicles now) for $215 to end up at $49,830.

If you’re budget is more mainstream and your doodad desires are in check, consider the base SE model at $34,575 with delivery and front-wheel drive. But the engine and mechanicals are the same as Calligraphy. An SEL model at $36,925 adds the captain’s chairs instead of 8-person seating, heated seats, power driver’s seat, remote start and three zone climate controls, so may be the best value.

The $46,815 Limited moves upscale with twin sunroofs, Nappa leather, an HUD and 360-camera, power-down third row seats, wireless charger, heated second row seats and the bigger info screen. Remember, adding AWD is an option for all trims, but so far no hybrid model is available.

Snazzy taillights on the Palisade.

Remember too that Kia’s Telluride is a kissin’ cousin to the Palisade and offers stunning styling too. Other competitors include Ford’s Explorer, Toyota’s Highlander, Honda’s Pilot, VW’s Atlas, and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L (that means Long).

Palisade will haul any family in style in that $35,000 to $40,000 range, and if you can manage the Limited or Calligraphy it’s a luxury ride to be sure.

FAST STATS: 2022 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD

Hits: Sharp looking SUV, good power, ride and handling, plus AWD and 5 drive modes. Loaded with Harmon Kardon stereo, super center stack/console design, big screen, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front seats, heated second row seats, turn-signal cameras, power hatch, useful third row seat, wireless charger, lane departure can be turned off.

Great looking headlight design too!

Misses: Driver’s lower seat cushion is long, hits back of short driver’s knees. No hybrid model yet.

Made in: Ulsan, So. Korea

Engine: 3.8-liter V6, 291hp/262 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/Shiftronic

Weight: 4,127 lbs.

Wheelbase: 114.2 in.

Length: 196.1 in.

Cargo: 18-86.4 cu.ft.

Tow: 5,000 lbs.

MPG: 19/24

MPG: 19.5 (tested)

Base Price: $49,615 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $47,319

Major Options: Carpeted floor mats, $215

Test vehicle: $49,830

Sources: Hyundai, www.kbb.com

Photos: Mark Savage

Car Spot: It set the bar for luxo SUV

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is still grand

I’m a huge Jeep guy. I’ve driven and/or owned them for over 30 years. My love affair began when I was fresh out of school TV news reporter in Cedar Rapids, IA and I drove was a 1977 Cherokee Chief (SJ). The other TV stations only had passenger cars so if there was any snow on the ground or any reason to go off-road (sometimes I made them up) they were left behind. My love affair was solidified because my dad worked for American Motors who bought Jeep in 1970 and besides Hornets, Javelins, Matadors, and Gremlins, there were Jeeps in the driveway. The one I remember most was a Grand Wagoneer similar to the one pictured below.

Photo: Jeep

AMC decided to take the Grand Waggy (as it’s affectionately known by fans) and open an entirely new market, luxury SUV’s. So they took this aging platform that had been around since the 60s and loaded it up. It was introduced in 1984. Most examples were powered by AMC’s 360 V-8 and later 401 a 5.9-liter V-8 good for 140 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, power everything including the rear tailgate window, leather all around, and carpeting you could bury your toes in. The asking price for all of this was just under $19,000. Just think what that buys you now. Pretty much a tin can with wheels. Nobody in the market had anything like this and its sales were solid but all this fun came to an end after Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987 and discontinued the Grand Waggy in 1991.

This 1987 lives at the Automobile Gallery in Green Bay, WI, and is run by friend Darrel Burnett. It was purchased by founder William “Red” Lewis. It is beyond mint-like most of the cars Red bought and are displayed in the museum. There is not a spot of rust on it and the interior looks just like the day Red took delivery.

Today, even with the intro of the new Grand Wagoneer, it remains in a class of one and is being rediscovered by a new generation of fans. You can find these all over places like BaT ranging in prices from the mid-20s to 50 ish. Some are commanding crazy six-figure pricing at the auctions.

RELATED VIDEO: See my first impression of the new Grand Wagoneer.

I got the bug after seeing this example. I tried to buy it off Darrel but Darrell politely declined. He told me others have asked too. I started doing some research and found that by buying an affordable one you can later sell it without losing money.

RELATED POST: See the other classic Jeep at the museum.

Ah but found it’s probably not a good daily driver. It gets crappy gas mpg, around 10, and the carbureted engine is sometimes finicky. Because of that many are converted to fuel injection. Still, with all of its quirkiness, I want one of these badly. Dealbreaker is my wife who won’t drive a car without all the safety stuff they have on vehicles now.

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer may have demonstrated the extreme profitability of the luxo-truck concept, but with a few exceptions, it remains in a class of one. Unduplicated even decades later, it is now being rediscovered by a new generation of fans seeking a classic respite from the same/same people movers sitting on dealer lots across the country.

Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots. Have a great weekend.