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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 RX450h AWD F Sport

Radio review at Pirate Radio studios featuring George Gray:

Atomic Silver metallic paint with black five passenger leather upholstered interior – heated front buckets, 192.5” long, 109.8” wheelbase, 4,740# weight, head up display in windshield and navigation in touchscreen, 16 cubic ft. cargo capacity behind rear seat , power tailgate and panoramic moon roof, Mark Levinson premium stereo with 15 speakers, gas mileage ratings are 28-hwy./31-city/30-combined, range is 482 miles with 17.2 gallon tank, floor mounted gear shift, CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters, lane change alert, blind spot monitor and cross traffic alert, 20” gray finish wheels five spoke wheels with 235/55R20 Yokohama Avid GT all season radial tires, 308 horsepower 6 cylinder 3.5 liter engine, $63,495.00 M.S.R.P. – built in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

2021 Chevrolet Silverado RST 4WD Crew Cab

Radio Review at Pirate 104.7 studios featuring George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Cherry red metallic paint with body color styling theme and black five passenger black leather upholstered interior, heated front buckets, rear window with power slide feature, head up display in windshield and navigation in touchscreen, soft drop tailgate and tonneau cover, Bose premium stereo with 11 speakers, diesel fuel mileage ratings are 26-hwy./22-city/24-combined, range is 624 miles, steering column mounted gear shift, ten speed automatic transmission, Z71 package to include badging, dual exhaust, lane change alert, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, 20” gray finish five spoke wheels with 235/55R19 Yokohama Avid GT all season radial tires, 277 horsepower 6 cylinder diesel engine with 460 lb.-ft. of torque and remote start,  $56,950.00 M.S.R.P., built in Roanoke, Indiana

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD

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

Supersonic red metallic paint with black roof and five passenger black Softex upholstered interior, heated and cooled front buckets – rear seats heated only, full panoramic moon roof with power tilt and slide feature, head up display in windshield and navigation in touchscreen, electric tailgate that can be foot operated, JBL stereo with 11 speakers, 42 miles of range on electric power, (I am getting 37.5 mpg on gas power), range is 550 miles, console mounted gear shift, continuously variable automatic transmission, 19” gray finish five spoke wheels with 235/55R19 Yokohama Avid GT all season radial tires, 302 horsepower 4 cylinder engine with plug-in hybrid system, 3.3 kw on board charger, $49,461 M.S.R.P.,  built in Obu, Aichi, Japan

2021 KIA Sorento EX Hybrid

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

Runway Red metallic paint, gray SynTex seating surfaces (feels like leather), panoramic moon roof, 7 passenger capacity, 189″ wheelbase (Explorer or Acadia size), four captain chairs, 1.6 liter turbo four with 227 horsepower hybrid drive train, front wheel drive, 6 speed automatic transmission with console dial (backup alarm like a dump truck – does not ride like one), 18.8 gallon tank, 39 mpg city rating providing over 600 miles range, 17″ alloys with Nexen 235/65R17 radials and remote start.

 

2021 Volkswagen FWD Jetta GLI Autobahn Sedan

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

Two liter turbo four with 228 horsepower, six speed manual transmission, 185″ overall length, four door/five passenger, 3,200# curb weight, 225/45R18 Hankook radials on aluminum rims, 33mpg/highway, 13.2 gallon tank, 14 cubic foot trunk, moon roof, Beats custom stereo with navigation, heated/air conditioned front leather buckets, made in Puebla, Mexico, $31,740.00 window sticker.

2021 Toyota Avalon AWD “Limited” Sedan

George Gray and Matt Arguello – Pirate Radio review:196″ length – BluePrint blue paint – All-wheel drive – 2.5 liter four with 205 horsepower – Eight speed automatic – JBL 14 speaker stereo – Cognac leather interior with seating for five (four heated seats) – 16 cubic ft. trunk – 14.4 gallon tank provides 490 miles of range with 34 MPG highway rating Moon roof – Head up display  –  $44,728.00 MSRP –  built in Georgetown, KY

2021 Honda Odyssey Elite FWD Minivan

Radio review by Pirate Radio DJ’s George Gray and Matt Arguello:Forest Mist paint and seven passenger beige leather seating – four buckets – navigation system – heated and cooled outboard seating with sunshades all around the rear – heated steering wheel – DVD rear entertainment package – power sliding side doors and power rear hands free tailgate – moon roof – 19” shark gray finished wheels with Hankook 235/55R19 all season radial tires – 3.5 liter V-6 and 10 speed automatic transmission – 19.5 gallon tank, 28 mpg highway rating, and 546 miles of range – 280 horsepower and 262 lb. ft. of torque – center console and push button dash mounted shifter – $49,335 .00 M.S.R.P. – built in Lincoln, AL