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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.

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“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.  

 

 

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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 Lexus UX-250h Luxury Hybrid AWD

The Lexus was driven to Pirate Radio for a review with the help of George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Nori green pearl paint with black Nuluxe seating for 5 – heated and ventilated front buckets, weighs 3,605 lbs. and is 177” long – 21.7 cubic ft. cargo room – zero to 60 in 8.6 seconds, 18” – two toned finish ten spoke aluminum wheels and 225/50R18 Bridgestone run flat radials, pushbutton/remote start, navigation, dual power seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel and moon roof, wireless phone charger, head up display, and Android / Apple integration, 10.3” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 6 speaker Lexus XM/AM/FM premium sound system, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.0 liter hybrid four with 181 horsepower – CVT 10 speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $43,875.00.00  list price  – built in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan, fuel economy (38 mpg highway, 41 mpg city, 39 mpg combined)  10.6 gallon tank with 434 mi.range

                                                          

 

2021 Cadillac CT-4 V-Series RWD Sedan

The Pirate Radio crew of George Gray and Matt Arguello helped me review the Cadillac CT-4 from California by phone:Shadow metallic paint, Sangria and black leather interior that seats 5, 2.7 liter four cylinder, 325 horsepower turbo engine (very fast, very suitable for hills in Napa valley),  zero to 60 in 4.8 seconds, V-series model, driver awareness plus package of technology items, lumbar massage driver seat, heated steering wheel (I actually used in one morning in CA), following distance indicator, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, Bose 14 speaker stereo, magnetic ride control (this was awesome on CA highways), rear wheel drive, ten speed automatic, navigation system, pearl nickel finished mags, rain sensing wipers and aero ground effects/trunk spoiler.  Gets 29 highway miles per gallon and is built in Lansing, MI.  M.S.R.P. is $50,015.00.

2021 Volkswagen Cross Sport V-6 SEL Premium R-Line

The Atlas was driven to Pirate Radio for a review with George Gray and Matt Arguello:

 Pure gray paint with dark burgundy and black leather seating for 5 – heated and ventilated front buckets, weighs 4,098 lbs. and is 195.5” long – 40.3 cubic ft. cargo room, 21” – two toned finish ten spoke aluminum wheels and 265/45R21 Pirelli radials, pushbutton/remote start, navigation, dual power seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel and big moon roof, wireless phone charger, head up display, dressy R-Line package and Android / Apple integration, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 12 speaker Fender XM/AM/FM premium sound system, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 3.6 liter turbo V-6 with 276 horsepower – Eight speed automatic Tiptronic transmission and 4Motion all wheel drive, $51,615.00.00  list price  – built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, fuel economy (23 mpg highway, 17 mpg city, 19 mpg combined)  19.5 gallon tank with 449 mi.range

                            

 

2021 Ford F-150 4×4 “Limited” Hybrid Pickup

 The F-150 was reviewed at Pirate Radio with the help of George Gray and Matt Arguello:Antimatter Blue metallic paint with Admiral Blue and Gray diamond tufted leather interior for five – heated  and ventilated buckets, weighs 5,341 lbs. and is 231.7“ long – 5.5’ truck bed, 22” polished alloy wheels with  P275/50R22 mud and snow radials leather wrapped heated steering wheel and panoramic moon roof,12” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio/Bang and Olufson stereo, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera and navigation, zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds, 3.5 liter “powerboost” twin turbo hybrid V-6 with 430 horsepower at 6.000 rpm and ten speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, fuel economy is 24 on the highway, fuel tank holds 30.6 gallons of premium fuel and car can go 734 miles on a full tank, list price is $80,000.00 and truck is built in Dearborn, Michigan

2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo AWD

Radio review at The Pirate, FM-104.7, featuring George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Machine gray paint with “greige” leather seating for 5, heated front buckets, weighs 3,318 lbs. and is 183.5” long, 18” black finished aluminum wheels and 215/45R18 Bridgestone radials, pushbutton/remote start, navigation, dual power seats, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, trunk spoiler and moon roof, wireless phone charger, head up display and Android / Apple integration, 8” multimedia infotainment screen with backup camera and 12 speaker Bose XM/AM/FM premium sound system, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.5 liter turbo four with 250 horsepower, six speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $34,015.00.00  list price, built in Hofu, Japan, fuel economy (32 mpg highway, 23 mpg city, 27 mpg combined), 13.2 gallon tank with 422 mi.range 

2021 BMW 330e Plug-in RWD Hybrid

Pirate Radio review featuring DJ’s George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Alpine white metallic paint with Cognac Vemasca 5 pass. leather upholstered interior – heated front buckets, 2 liter twin power turbo 4 with 255 horsepower zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds – 185.7” long, 112.2” wheelbase, 4,038# weight, 10″ touchscreen infotainment with head up display, 13.2 cubic ft. cargo capacity trunk, navigation system, radar cruise control, moon roof, and premium 205 watt stereo with 10 speakers. gas mileage ratings is 28-combined – 10.6 gallon tank  Electric range is 22 miles – 35,000 chargers nationwide, floor mounted electronic gear shift – Eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, lane change alert, blind spot monitor and cross traffic alert, 19” black and silver ten spoke wheels with 225/40R19 all-season Bridgestone Turanza radials, $59,645.00 M.S.R.P. – $5,836.00 Federal tax credit – Car is built in Munich, Germany

2021 GMC Canyon 4WD AT4 Crew Cab

Radio review down at Pirate Radio studios with George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Summit white paint with Jet black leather seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 4,118 lbs. and is 212.5” long – 5.1 ft. bed, 17” – Black finished aluminum wheels and 265/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all season radial tires – 31” tall, pushbutton/remote start, dual power seats, LED fog lamps, red tow hooks, cornerstep rear bumper, leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, off road rocker protection, and navigation, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera and 9 speaker Bose XM/AM/FM premium sound system, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 3.6 liter V-6 with 308 horsepower – eight speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive (2 speed transfer case), $45,780.00.00  list price  – built in Wentzville, Missouri, fuel economy (24 mpg highway, 17 mpg city, 19 mpg combined)  21 gallon tank with 504 mi.range

2020 Toyota Camry XSE AWD

Radio review at Pirate radio with George Gray and Matt Arguello:

 Blue Streak metallic paint with Midnight black metallic painted top and black five passenger leather upholstered interior – heated front buckets, 192.7” long, 111.2” wheelbase, 3,395# weight, 10 “touchscreen infotainment with head up display, 15.1 cubic ft. cargo capacity trunk, navigation system, radar cruise control and moon roof, JBL premium stereo with 9 speakers, gas mileage ratings are 34-hwy./25-city/28-combined, range is 537 miles with 15.8 gallon tank, floor mounted gear shift, eight speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, lane change alert, blind spot monitor and cross traffic alert, 17” black five spoke wheels with 235/40R19 all-season radials, 205 horsepower 4 cylinder 2.5 liter engine, $39,635.00 M.S.R.P., built in Georgetown, Kentucky

2021 Buick Envision Essence FWD

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

Cinnabar red metallic paint with ebony leather seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 3,759 lbs. and is 182.5” long, 52.7 cubic ft. of cargo space with the back seat folded down, 17” – Black finished aluminum wheels and 245/45R17 all season radial tires, pushbutton/remote start, power memory seats, leather wrapped  and heated steering wheel, head up display, wireless phone charger and navigation, 10” multimedia infotainment screen, backup camera and 9 speaker Bose XM/AM/FM premium sound system, electronic radar cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2 liter turbocharged four with 228 horsepower, nine speed automatic transmission and front wheel drive, $41,315.00.00  list price  – built in Yantai, Etdz, P. R. – China, fuel economy (31 mpg highway, 24 mpg city, 26 mpg combined)  15.9 gallon tank with 492 mi.range