Tag Archives: turbocharged I4

2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential FWD

QX50 a crossover that nearly drives itself … 2019 Infiniti QX50

Got a bad case of the wants for a mid-size crossover that is both peppy and fun to drive, but also will do some of the driving for you? Infiniti’s all-new QX50 Essential model should be on your most-wanted list.

Nearly identical in size and intent as last week’s Ford Edge, the QX50 is a technology tour de force, but also a pleasure to drive, when you choose to. Continue reading 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential FWD

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2018 Volkeswagen Atlas V6 SEL w/4Motion

VW goes big into the SUV market with Atlas …2018 Volkwagen Atlas

There are no awards for being late to the party, but VW is hoping sales are its consolation prize for finally creating a large SUV, the Atlas.

It won’t win any styling awards (can you say big and boxy?), but it’s certainly stout and a bargain!

While every major automaker, including the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, have created a large SUV, it took VW until late this summer to release its Atlas, a 2018 model that is very nearly the same dimensionally as the Dodge Durango I tested a couple weeks back. Both are a pleasure to drive.

What the Atlas has going for it is nimble handling, good acceleration and a ride to match, but it’s also modestly priced. How modest?2018 Volkwagen Atlas

The base S model starts at $31,425 including delivery and touts a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that makes 235 horsepower. That’s with front-wheel drive, naturally, but even the tested SEL model with V6 and 4Motion (AWD) was just $42,690. No options were added either and with a $925 delivery fee the dark Platinum Gray Metallic test ute went for $43,615.

While that still won’t fit into everyone’s household budget, compare that with the tested Durango’s $49,360 price tag. In fact, most large utes roll out of the showroom at roughly $50 grand. Chief competitors are the Honda Pilot, Chevy Tahoe, Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander. Continue reading 2018 Volkeswagen Atlas V6 SEL w/4Motion

2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic

Volvo S60 OK, but doesn’t distinguish itself …2017 Volvo S60

Volvo’s S60 is a fine, but underwhelming, compact, entry-level luxury car.

The S60 is nice looking and has all-wheel-drive, which will make it more useful to drivers in northern climes. It performs well, although its ride is rough, yet nothing really stands out.

Some will argue that its safety features stand out. That’s what Volvo, now owned by Geely, a Chinese firm, has hung its woolen winter cap on for years. Certainly the S60 T5 AWD Dynamic (quite a mouthful) that I tested had safety equipment, about what you’d expect on any car or crossover costing north of $40 grand.

For instance, there’s lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection also with auto braking, plus distance alert. All those are swell, but are not standard. They’re part of an optional $1,500 tech package. It also adds active high beams, rain-sensing wipers and the ability for the car to read road signs so you’ll always know what speed you should be going.

I’m not pooh-poohing these devices, but nearly all car makes have these now.2017 Volvo S60

The test car also added an optional $1,950 vision package too that added a blind-spot information system (BLIS), plus rear park assist, cross-traffic alert, rearview camera, and a few other features. Again, others have these systems too, some come standard on other luxury, and non-luxury, lines. Continue reading 2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic

2016 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

Lexus NX proves looks still matter …Lexus NX 200t F Sport

Looks matter in much of life, sometimes fairly, sometimes not. But good looks are so rare in small crossovers and sport-utes that when one has them, it deserves more than a passing glance.

Lexus’ NX is a looker. I’ve said it before, as I’ve tested this vehicle a couple times, and I’ll keep saying it until some other car company out-designs the NX. Its taillights look three dimensional even from a distance and the front lights are big checkmarks laid sideways. Its interior is angular and attractive too, the test unit featuring dark red leather seats with black trim — this is not your German cousin’s luxury crossover!

My test vehicle was the NX 200t F Sport with all-wheel-drive and decked out in a bright sparkling white paint job. Finally, a car that isn’t gray! The white accentuated its spiffy styling, and as in past drives, outside of a stiff ride and horribly clunky radio/navigation tuning system, the NX is a delight.

The 200t features a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with variable valve timing. It creates 235 horses and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s plenty of power for a small crossover. The turbo does exhibit some lag under normal acceleration, but flip the dial on the console to the Sport setting and boom, the power is stronger and more instantaneous. I drove it in Sport most of the week, although it resets to the Normal setting every time the vehicle is turned off.Lexus NX 200t

Lexus’ NX 300h that I tested earlier had a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with hybrid system to create 194 horses, but it is down on torque and seemed lackadaisical on acceleration. Gas mileage was better in the hybrid, at 29.9 miles per gallon as opposed to 24.5 mpg this time. The EPA rates the 200t at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Your call, but I prefer the turbo’s power. Continue reading 2016 Lexus NX 200t F Sport

2017 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo’s new XC60 sporty, powerful2017 Volvo XC60

Hey, this newfound idea of putting some sport into small sport-utility vehicles, or crossovers, is getting to be a trend.

Now Volvo joins the sportster market with its 2017 XC60, a compact ute crossover that handles like a sports sedan and kicks some booty with 302 horsepower. And get this, that boost of power hits quickly, no long lag as so many turbo I4s exhibit, even when they’re trying to be sporty.

First, the XC60 is crisply styled so it looks elegant, with tall Volvo taillights to distinguish its looks. But the combo supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 gets your attention in a hurry. Linked up with an 8-speed automatic, it gives the Volvo instant power when you want it. I admit it was a happy surprise.

But equally surprising was how well the XC60 handled. I know this has 20-inch tires, but I fully expected some squish in the steering wheel feel and typical lazy crossover handling.

No siree! The Volvo delivers good feedback via the power-assisted rack and pinion steering and with a  precise feel and handling. Put the XC60 into a turn at speed and there’s no ute-like lean. Cornering is like a sport sedan and feels much the same on winding roads.2017 Volvo XC60

Continue reading 2017 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Inscription

2016 Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line

VW’s CC a fine handling sedan with a stick! …2016 Volkswagen CC

Why Volkswagen doesn’t advertise its CC sedan is beyond me. This sporty family sedan has been on the market seven years and is nearly invisible in the marketplace. I’ve never seen a magazine or TV ad for it.

That’s particularly weird at this time when VW is looking for good news to wash the bad taste of diesel from its corporate mouth. The CC is a performance gem. I tested one, the R-Line model, on a roundtrip to Louisville, Ky., and the sedan was a delight on the highway, and around town.2016 Volkswagen CC

First, it looks good with a sleek profile and low rounded roofline that puts most other family sedans to shame from a styling perspective. The only drawbacks are somewhat limited headroom in back, although a 6-footer rode in the car and fit, but admitted he’d like a tad more air over his noggin. The other is a slim trunk opening, yet the CC has a deep trunk overall and yes, the rear seats split and fold down to create additional storage.

But it’s the CC’s performance that puts it cams and pistons ahead of most sedans. The CC is light, just 3,358 lbs., and its eager 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 generates a healthy 200 horsepower and slightly more torque. The result is a car that feels fast getting onto a freeway and nimble overall. Continue reading 2016 Volkswagen CC 2.0T R-Line