Featured

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE

Radio review at Pirate Radio featuring George Gray and Matt Arguello:

The Toyota Corolla XSE that I was recently able to test came in a pleasing Blueprint blue metallic paint scheme and featured black SofTex seating surfaces.  The Toyota Corolla, one of the best-selling nameplates of all time, has moved over 45 million cars onto driveways around the world (well, mostly driveways), and the car is in its twelfth generation configuration, having been around since 1966.

The 2021 front wheel drive Corolla sits on a 103.9” wheelbase, is 70.5” wide, 57.1” high, and weighs 3,060 lbs.  The way that Greeley and Ft. Collins have grown, it seems you are always poking around looking for parking space, so with a car that’s 172 inches long, it is not too difficult with Toyota’s Corolla.

Acceleration, handling, visibility and guidance were all acceptable for the Corolla.  The power was supplied by a 2 liter, 4 cylinder engine, putting out 168 horsepower through a continuously variable (CVT) transmission.  Silver and gray ten-spoke alloy wheels were fitted with P225/40R18 all-season radials on the car.

The 5 passenger interior of the Corolla was comfortable and the seating was supportive and looked good.  The car had a backup camera, 8″ touchscreen, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt/telescope steering column, and keyless entry.  M.S.R.P for my test Corolla came in at $29,289.00, including freight.  The biggest item added to its $25,725.00 base price was a premium audio/navigation package ($1,715.00) consisting of a JBL stereo and dynamic navigation.

The Corolla did a super job for me during the test in Northern Colorado.  The slick styling caught a lot of eyes, the car kept pace at the stoplights, and with the 38 mpg highway mileage rating, I spent a nominal amount of money on gas.  I’d say it is a good value.

Featured

“Everything that Glitters – ” 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo AWD

When the press fleet driver pulled up at my home with a new KIA, I immediately was pleased with the glittering gold paint job that I was seeing out the front door.  When I pulled the window sticker out of the glove box, I was surprised to find the name of the paint was “Starbright Yellow”.  It brought to mind for me the song by Dan Seals – “Everything that Glitters is Not Gold”, from 1986.

Dan Seals is one of my favorite all-time singers, and is often heard on K96.9 FM radio, including him performing the number one hit that he co-wrote.  “Everything that Glitters is Not Gold” involves the song’s narrator and an estranged female lover, now popular on the livestock rodeo circuit.  The rodeo star, with her flowing blond hair, is burnished in the singers’s brain and he struggles to deal with his little girl’s curiosity about the ex-lover riding on her horse “with the sunlight in her hair”.   

So it is that I had a yellow KIA to test, and along with the distinctive paint, it featured terrific styling.  KIA Motors, based in South Korea, is that country’s second largest auto manufacturer, trailing only Hyundai, its one-third owner.  As recently as 1986, KIA only produced 26 automobiles, but the total was 658,000 in America last year.

The 2021 Seltos that was brought to me was an SX turbo upgraded all-wheel drive model.  Total M.S.R.P. came to $29,485.00, including freight charges of $1,120.00. With the SX, a buyer gets heated front seats, cargo cover, heated outside mirrors, and a Bose stereo.  The seating was black leather with room for five and luggage space came to 26.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat.  Electronics included the navigation, backup camera, pushbutton starter, proximity keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, and power seats.

The 1.6 liter turbocharged gas engine produces 175 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque.  With its seven-speed automatic transmission the KIA reportedly accelerates from zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds.  Fuel economy ratings are 25-city and 30-highway with a 27 combined reading.  I averaged 28.8 mpg with the SX – the gas tank holds 16.4 gallons on this model.

The wheels were 18” ten spoke alloys with red center trim rings.  Tires were Kumho 245/45R18 all-season radials.  Dual exhausts peeked out from the rear of the SX,  and brushed nickel door handles and window trim was on the car.  Matching roof rails were on top and deep tint windows were all around the rear.

Ruth and I drove the SX to a Denver destination one afternoon; the KIA’s road manners were fine as were its guidance and road noise.  Turning diameter (34.8′) is minimal, reducing stress on the narrow streets in parts of the Mile High City.  And the perky turbo engine makes for a fast escape in city traffic after the visit.

The KIA test car turned out to be a bit of a favorite of mine with a generous amount of glitter and audacity.  

 

 

Featured

2020 Honda CR-V 1.5T AWD Touring

 Honda Motor Company started exporting motorcycles to America, from Japan, in the early 1960’s with a clever slogan, “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda”.  I became  an early customer when I purchased a new 1964 Honda while in high school in Grant,  Nebraska.  All three Wright brothers eventually bought Hondas, and of course mine was the smallest, the Honda 50, a little machine I rolled past the Perkins County fairgrounds on thinking I would impress those patrons inside with my little exhaust report.564569_4530557393104_1470037628_n

 It was later, in the 1970’s, that Honda started exporting automobiles to the U.S., and in 1997 they sent their first in-house designed sport utility vehicle, the CR-V to our shores.  The CR-V (compact recreational vehicle) is based on the Civic sedan and is currently in its fifth generation configuration.  Sales of the CR-V started off at 67,000 in the first year and they have swelled to over 300,000 per year for the last seven years.  

   Recently, a 2020 Honda CR-V 1.5T Touring edition was loaned to me out of the press fleet, and I drove it for a week.  The CR-V comes in a hybrid, LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring edition, which is the top model and the one I tested.  For $35,845.00, including freight, the Touring edition has a leather interior, navigation system with backup camera, adaptive radar cruise control, heated steering wheel, lane departure warning, moon roof, and dual heated power bucket seats.  

   The driving experience when behind the wheel of the CR-V is excellent, with a somewhat quieter environment than the unit I drove in 2018 but with similar guidance, handling, and ride; all good.  Visibility is top-notch, and real-world economy for this reviewer came in at 25.5 mpg, right on target with the EPA estimate.  

   The mid-sized Honda CR-V rolls on 19” ten spoke alloy wheels with Continental P235/55R19 Cross Contact all season radials.  All CR-V’s were refreshed for 2020, and the power train is now a turbocharged 190 horsepower four with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

   In high school I  fantasized about someday driving an automobile with the quality and innovation of my little Honda 50.  Never would I have imagined that sedans would become so unpopular (along with small motorcycles) and that “sport-utility” vehicles would basically take over the roads.  Nonetheless, someday arrived after a fashion a week ago when I tested the very capable, American made Honda CR-V.  And, I suspect, you still “Meet the Nicest People in a Honda”.       

2021 KIA Sorento X-Line AWD

DJ George Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 assisted in reviewing the Sorento:

Aruba green metallic paint with rust colored leather seating for 6, heated and air conditioned front buckets, weighs 4,120 lbs. and is 188.9” long, 6.6 cubic ft. cargo room, 20” matte finish aluminum ten spoke wheels and 255/45R20 Continental mud and snow tires, Android / Apple integration, panoramic moon roof, wireless phone charger, 12.3” multimedia infotainment screen, backup camera, surround view camera, navigation, heated steering wheel, Bose premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, 2.5 liter four cylinder with 281 horsepower,  eight speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, start stop technology, zero to 60 in 8.3 seconds, $44,285.00  list price, built in West Point, GA, fuel economy (28 mpg highway, 21 mpg city, 24 mpg combined)  17.7 gallon tank with 496 mi.range 

 

  

 

2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Advance

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 met me at the studio to help review the Acura MDX:

Phantom Violet Pearl metallic paint with black leather seating for 7, including heated and air conditioned front buckets, weighs 4,565 lbs. and is 113.8” wheelbase (198.4” long) – 95 cubic ft. of cargo capacity with all seats folded flat, 20” Bright machined flow-formed aluminum wheels and 255/50R18 Bridgestone all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision, moon roof, surround view monitor, built in Alexa, second row sun shades, and power hands free tailgate, 12.3” infotainment screen – navigation, ambient door sill lighting, remote engine starter, and Acura ELS 12 speaker AM/FM premium studio sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger, head up display, console mounted track pad, heated leather steering wheel, 3.5 liter, 290 horsepower V-6 engine with ten speed automatic transmission, start stop technology and all wheel drive, $62,175  list price (base)  Built in East Liberty, Ohio, fuel economy 25 mpg on hwy., 19 in city – 18.5 gallon tank for premium fuel – goes 463 on a full tank

2021 BMW 430i RWD Convertible

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 helped  me analyze the 430i at his studio parking lot: Portimao blue paint with black leather seating for 4, heated front buckets with neck warmers and blue stitching, weighs 3,780 lbs. and is 187.9” long, 7.8 cubic ft. cargo room in trunk, 19” aluminum wheels and 225/40R19 (F) and 255/35R19 (R) Michelin radials, pushbutton/remote start, rain sensing wipers, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charger, color head up display, Android / Apple integration, 8.3” multimedia infotainment screen, backup camera, surround vision, 10 speaker Harman and Kardon XM/AM/FM stereo, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, 2.0 liter turbo four with 255 horsepower, eight speed automatic transmission, paddle shifters, rear wheel drive (zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds and top speed of 155 mph) $67,220.00.00  list price, built in Dingolfing, Germany, fuel economy (33 mpg highway, 24 mpg city, 27 mpg combined) 15.5 gallon tank with 511 mi.range 

2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD

The CX-9 was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 so that George “Elvis” Gray could assist in reviewing the SUV:Machine Gray metallic paint with deep chestnut interior with Nappa leather trimmed seats – six passenger, weighs 4,364 lbs. and is 199.4“ long – 14 cubic ft. of cargo space behind third row seating, 20” alloy wheels with  P255/50R20 Falken all season radial tires, head up display, Premier trim, console mounted transmission shifter and flatbed phone charger, 10.25” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 12 speaker Bose studio stereo, power moon roof and leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup, backup camera,  moon roof, 360 degree overhead view monitor with navigation, 2.5 liter turbo 4 cylinder with 227 horsepower and six speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive – zero to 60 in 7 seconds – 132 mph top speed, fuel economy is 26 on the highway, 20 in town and 23 mpg overall rating.  Fuel tank holds 19 gallons and Mazda can go 494 miles on a full tank, list price is $48,200.00 and car is built in Hiroshima, Japan 

2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD Sedan (A-Spec equipped)

DJ George “Elvis” Gray assisted in reviewing the beautiful Acura sedan over at Pirate Radio studios:

Lunar Silver metallic paint with ebony and red leather interior with ultra suede inserts – seats five (heated and air conditioned front buckets) and has black headliner, weighs 3,990 lbs. and is 194.6“ long – 13.5 cubic ft. of cargo space in trunk, 19” dark vapor gray alloy wheels with  P255/40R19 Michelin all season radial tires, head up display, A-Spec trim, pushbutton transmission shifter, and flatbed phone charger, 10.2” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 17 speaker Acura/ELS studio stereo, power moon roof and flat bottomed steering wheel, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 2.0 liter turbo 4 cylinder with 272 horsepower and ten speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive – zero to 60 in 5.9 seconds – 130 mph top speed, fuel economy is 29 on the highway, 21 in town and 24 mpg overall rating.  Fuel tank holds 15.85 gallons and car can go 460 miles on a full tank, list price is $47,275.00 and car is built in Marysville, Ohio

2021 Lexus LS-500 F Sport AWD Sedan

The beautiful Lexus was driven to Pirate Radio (FM 104.7) for opinionated review help in the person of George “Elvis” Gray:   Matador red metallic paint with black leather quilted-stitch interior for five, weighs 4,960 lbs. and is 206.1“ long, 16.95 cubic ft. of cargo space in trunk, 20” dark vapor gray chrome wheels with  P245/45R20 front and P275/40R20 rear Bridgestone summer radial tires, 24” head up display, power rear window shade, ultra suede headliner, F Sport trim, 12.3” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 23 speaker Mark Levinson stereo, power panoramic tinted moon roof, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 3.5 liter twin turbo V-6 with 418 horsepower and ten speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive,  zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds,  136 mph top speed, fuel economy is 27 on the highway, 17 in town and 21 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 21.7 gallons and car can go 586 miles on a full tank, list price is $88,885.00 and car is built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan 

2021 Toyota 4Runner V-6 Trail 4×4

The 4Runner was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 so that George “Elvis” Gray could help me review the vehicle:

Cement gray metallic paint with black fabric interior for five, weighs 4,400 lbs. and is 190.2“ long, 46.3 cubic ft. of cargo space and 9” of ground clearance, 17” ten spoke dark gray alloy wheels with  P265/70R17 mud and snow radial tires, Yakima Load Warrior cargo basket, leather wrapped steering wheel, 8” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 8 speaker stereo, power rear glass, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 4.0 liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and five speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive, 40 quart removable cooler with tie down straps as well as sliding rear cargo tray that holds 440 pounds, fuel economy is 19 on the highway, 16 in town and 17 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 23 gallons and 4Runner can go 437miles on a full tank, list price is $42,778.00 and car is built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan 

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line

The Volkswagen was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 for a review with the help of DJ George “Elvis” Gray:

Platinum gray metallic paint with storm gray leather interior for five, weighs 3,757 lbs. and is 185.1“ long – 37.6 cubic ft. of cargo space, 20” ten spoke alloy wheels with  P255/40R20 Hankook all season radial tires, leather wrapped, heated steering wheel, 8” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, Fender stereo with subwoofer, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 2.0 liter turbo four with 184 horsepower and eight speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, panoramic moon roof and hands free power tailgate, fuel economy is 27 on the highway, 21 in town and 24 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 15.3 gallons and car can go 413 miles on a full tank, list price is $40,290.00 and car is built in Puebla, Mexico 

2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD Hybrid

The Prius was driven to Pirate Radio for a review with the help of DJ George Gray:

Electric Storm blue metallic paint with black Softex seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 3,220 lbs. and is 180” long – 27.4 cubic ft. cargo room in rear – 50.7 with seats flopped down, 15” – Aluminum wheels, two tone hub caps and 195/65R15  Dunlop radials, pushbutton/remote start, rain sensing wipers and leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charger, color head up display, and Android / Apple integration, 7” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 7 speaker XM/AM/FM stereo, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 1.8 liter hybrid four with 96 horsepower – CVT automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $31,629.00.00  list price  – built in Toyota, Aichi, Japan, fuel economy (47 mpg highway, 51 mpg city, 49 mpg combined)  10.6 gallon tank with 498 mi.range

                                                                                             

 

2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 Turbo

The Supra was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 where George Gray helped me review the automobile:

Turbulence gray metallic paint with black alcantara leather interior for two, weighs 3,181 lbs. and is 172.5“ long, 10.2 cubic ft. trunk, 18” ten spoke alloy wheels with  P255/40zr18 (F) and 275/40zr18 (R) Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires, leather wrapped wheel, 8.8” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio/JBL stereo with 12 speakers, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera and navigation, zero to 60 in 5 seconds, top speed 155 mph, 2.0 liter turbo four with 255 horsepower and eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, rear-wheel drive, fuel economy is 32 on the highway, fuel tank holds 13.7 gallons of premium fuel and car can go 438 miles on a full tank, list price is $47,815 and car is built in Graz, Austria