Well-rounded Honda Pilot a stellar SUV …
Not that long ago Honda’s Pilot was a boxy ol’ thing that frankly was as stylish as a shoe box jacked up on 20-inch wheels.
But like its chief rival, Toyota, Honda seems to have suddenly gotten the word that blah styling doesn’t help you stand out in a crowded market. Brilliant! Continue reading 2019 Honda Pilot AWD Elite
Buick Enclave among elite luxury crossovers, really …
There’s no foolin’ around here, the Buick Enclave has been remade for 2018 and it’s among the best luxury crossovers/sport-utes out there. It was good before. It’s better now.
First, it’s restyled so it looks more sleek and modern outside. But the wheelbase has been stretched to 120.9 inches, up 2 from the previous model that debuted 10 years ago. That stretch creates a roomy interior and creates 10 cubic feet of additional cargo space. Continue reading 2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD
New Santa Fe seats 7, looks better, roomier
Hyundai developed its Santa Fe into two vehicles a couple of years ago, the Sport which has a midsize 106-inch wheelbase and the straight-up Santa Fe that’ll seat seven with its longer 110.2-inch wheelbase and more interior room.
The 2017 Santa Fe looks even better than its predecessor and now adds more features to make it even more attractive and a strong competitor with the likes of Honda’s popular Pilot. But it has the misfortune of also going up against the brand new Mazda CX-9 reviewed last week and the new segment leader.
That’s not to say the tested big Santa Fe is a slouch in any way.
Its power is first-rate with a 3.3-liter V6 that creates 290 horsepower with 252 lb.-ft. of torque. The Hyundai also offers drive select mode to emphasize power or economy. In Normal mode the Santa Fe has good power that is well used by its six-speed automatic. There is some lag to the acceleration, but the crossover gets up to highway speeds easily.
Naturally Eco saves gas, but Sport delivers the most oomph when it comes to acceleration. In Sport mode the Santa Fe feels much livelier than most large crossovers. Continue reading 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD
Sporty looks, but handling falls short
I’ve always liked Mazda vehicles because they look and drive a little sportier than most brands that us average middle class folks can afford.
That’s why I’m disappointed with the new Mazda CX-9, the large sport-utility/crossover I just tested. It only delivers on half the equation. It still looks a bit sportier than its competition, models like the boxy Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, but handling wasn’t up to Mazda standards.
My dark metallic gray CX-9 did have a new grille, less smiley and cartoonish than the previous model, but with a nose that still looks sleeker in profile than most large crossovers, sort of a tall sport wagon look. And its interior feels high-brow and is well finished. Plus this was the Grand Touring with all-wheel-drive, so it was loaded with electronic goodies.
But here’s the deal. I expect more responsive steering from a Mazda and, sorry to say, this just felt like other large sport-utes or crossovers. Steering is extremely light, but not as responsive as I felt in the last CX-9 I drove. It feels a bit vague with more wheel play than I had expected from past experience. That leads to a bit of lane wander on the highway. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD