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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 IS-350 “F Sport” AWD Sedan

George Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 assisted in analyzing the Lexus sedan:

Sonic Chrome charcoal metallic paint with black NuLuxe seating for 5 – heated and ventilated front buckets, weighs 3,880 lbs., 185.4” long and has 110.2” wheelbase – 10.8 cubic ft. of cargo capacity in trunk, 19” Black aluminum wheels and 235/40R19 (265/35R19 on rear) Bridgestone all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision and overhead camera, 10.3” infotainment screen, navigation, power moon roof, carbon fiber rear spoiler, Lexus Enform 10 speaker AM/FM premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blackout front grill, badging for F-Sport model, color keyed door handles, and foldaway heated outside mirrors3.5 liter, 311 horsepower V-6 with 280 lb. ft. of torque and an eight speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive – zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds – top speed 143 mph, $56,790.00  list price – built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan, fuel economy 26 mpg on hwy, 19 in city – 17.4 gallon tank  – goes 452 mi. on a full tank

2022 Honda Civic 1.5T FWD Touring Sedan

Morning Mist metallic paint with black leather seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 3,077 lbs., 183.1” long and has 107.5” wheelbase – 14.4 cubic ft. of cargo capacity in trunk, 18” Two toned aluminum wheels and 235/40R18 Goodyear all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision camera, 9” infotainment screen, navigation, power moon roof, Bose 12 speaker AM/FM premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, color keyed door handles, and foldaway heated outside mirrors, 1.5 liter, 180 horsepower four with a CVT  automatic transmission (paddle shifters), remote starter and front wheel drive, $28,695.00  list price – built in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, fuel economy 38 mpg on highway, 31 in city, 34 overall – 12.4 gallon tank  – goes 471 mi. on a full tank

 

2022 MINI “John Cooper Works” 2-Door Hardtop

George Gray of Pirate 104.7 FM helped analyze the MINI at the studio parking lot:

Rebel green metallic paint with chili red roof, carbon black leather seating for 4 and heated front buckets, weighs 2,845 lbs., 152.8” long and has 98.2” wheelbase – 9 cubic ft. of cargo capacity – 34 with seats folded down, 18” Two toned aluminum wheels and 205/40R18 Pirelli P-zero summer  radial tires, Lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision camera, 8.8” infotainment screen, navigation, dual moon roof setup (one powered), six speaker AM/FM premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, color keyed door handles, and foldaway heated outside mirrors, 2.0 liter, 228 horsepower four with a 6 speed manual transmission  remote starter and front wheel drive – zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds, $40,850.00  list price – built in Oxford, United Kingdom, Fuel economy 31 mpg on highway, 22 in city, 25 overall – 11.6 gallon tank  – goes 360 mi. on a full tank

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SE R-Line “Black Edition” AWD

George Gray of Pirate 104.7 radio helped analyze the new 2022 Tiguan at the station parking lot:

Pyrite silver paint with black leatherette seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 3,757 lbs. and has 109.9” wheelbase – 73.4 cubic ft. of cargo capacity, 19” Two toned aluminum wheels and 225/45R19SL all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision camera, 8” infotainment screen, remote start, power moon roof and rear tailgate, VW 6 speaker AM/FM premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blackout front fascia, black badging for R-Line, color keyed door handles, and foldaway heated outside mirrors, 2.0 liter, 184 horsepower turbo four with 221 lb. ft. of torque and an eight speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $34,990.00  list price, fuel economy 28 mpg on hwy, 21 in city – 15.9 gallon tank for regular fuel – goes 445 mi. on a full tank

2021 Toyota C-HR “Nightshade Edition” FWD Crossover

George Gray, DJ at Pirate 104.7, assisted in reviewing the Toyota C-HR:Magnetic Gray metallic paint with black and gray sport cloth seating for 5, weighs 3,300 lbs. and has 103.9” wheelbase (172.6” long) – 37 cubic ft. of cargo capacity with all seats folded flat (19.1 with back seat erect), 18” Black aluminum wheels and 225/50R18 all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision, 8” infotainment screen, C-HR puddle lights, and Toyota 6 speaker AM/FM premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, black chin and tailgate spoiler, black roof, black door handles, black badging and foldaway outside mirrors, 2.0 liter, 144 horsepower four with CVT automatic transmission and front wheel drive, $25,240.00  list price – Built in Isawa, Iwate, Japan, fuel economy 31 mpg on hwy, 27 in city – 13.2 gallon tank for regular fuel – goes 409 on a full tank

2021 Toyota Highlander “Limited” Hybrid SUV

DJ George “Elvis” Gray assisted in analyzing the Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Opulent Amber metallic paint with black leather seating for 8, including heated and air conditioned front buckets, weighs 4,595 lbs. and has 112.2” wheelbase (194.9” long), 84.3 cubic ft. of cargo capacity with all seats folded flat (48/16), 20” Bright machined flow-formed aluminum wheels and 235/55R20 Bridgestone Alenza all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision, panoramic moon roof, surround view monitor, and power hands free tailgate, 12.3” infotainment screen with navigation, ambient door sill lighting, puddle lights, and JBL 11 speaker AM/FM premium studio sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger in console, heated leather steering wheel, 2.5 liter, 243 horsepower hybrid four with CVT automatic transmission and all wheel drive, $50,557  list price, built in Princeton, Indiana, fuel economy 34 mpg on hwy, 35 in city, 17.1 gallon tank for regular fuel, goes 581 miles on a full tank

2020 KIA Sportage SX AWD Turbo

George “Elvis” Gray, DJ at Pirate Radio, helped me analyze the KIA at the Pirate studios:

Pacific Blue metallic paint with beige leather seating for 5 – heated and cooled front buckets with console and stick shifter, weighs 3,893 lbs. and has a 105.1” wheelbase and is 176.4” long – 60.1 of cargo space with rear seats flat, 19″ silver finishaluminum spoke wheels and 245/45R19 Michelin all season radials, Android / Apple integration, power moon roof, fold-away mirrors and pushbutton start, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, navigation, heated steering wheel and Harman/Kardon 8 speaker premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo. radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.0 liter four cylinder turbo with 237 (torque is 260) horsepower – Six speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive, 0-60 in 6.7 seconds, $37,290.00  list price  built in Gwangju, Korea, fuel economy (24 mpg highway, 19 mpg city, 21 mpg combined)  16.4 gallon tank with 394 mi.range 

2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring

George “Elvis” Gray, FM-104.7 DJ, assisted in conducting a review of the Mazda sports car:

Machine gray metallic paint with white leather seating for 2, heated front buckets with console and stick shift, weighs 2,593 lbs. and has a 91.7” wheelbase – 4.6 cubic ft. trunk space, 17” – Silver finish aluminum spoke wheels and 205/45R17 high performance radials, 17″ silver finish aluminum spoke wheels and 205/45R17 high performance radials, Android / Apple integration, power retractable hardtop painted black, and pushbutton start, 7” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, navigation, heated steering wheel and Bose 9 speaker premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.0 liter four cylinder with 181 (torque is 151) horsepower – Six speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, 0-60 in 5.7 seconds, $36,265.00  list price  built in Hiroshima, Japan, fuel economy (34 mpg highway, 26 mpg city, 29 mpg combined)  11.9 gallon tank with 405 mi.range

                         

 

2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE FWD

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 gave me an assist is reviewing the Toyota Camry Hybrid:

Silver metallic paint with black leather seating for 5, heated and air conditioned front buckets, weighs 3,580 lbs. and is 192.7” long – 15.1 cubic ft. cargo room in trunk, 19” matte black finish aluminum spoke wheels and 235/40R19 Michelin Primacy all season radials, Android / Apple integration, wireless phone charger, 9” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, surround view camera, navigation, heated steering wheel and Toyota Audio Plus premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo with JBL speakers, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.5 liter four cylinder with 208 horsepower – CVT automatic transmission, front wheel drive and start stop technology – zero to 60 in 7.5 seconds, $36,974.00  list price  – built in Georgetown, KY, fuel economy (47 mpg highway, 44 mpg city, 46 mpg combined)  13.2 gallon tank with 620 mi.range

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD Activ

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

Zeus bronze metallic paint with Summit white roof – black leather seating for 5 – heated front buckets, weighs 3,084 lbs. and is 173.7” long – 54.4 cubic ft. cargo room, 17” – Dark gray aluminum five spoke wheels and 225/60R17 Hankook mud and snow tires, Android / Apple integration and wireless phone charger, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, Bose premium 7 speaker FM/AM-Satellite stereo, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 1.3 liter three cylinder with 155 horsepower – Nine speed automatic transmission, all wheel drive and start stop technology – zero to 60 in 9.4 seconds, $32,155.00  list price  – built in Bupyeong Gu In, Korea, fuel economy (30 mpg highway, 26 mpg city, 28 mpg combined)  13.2 gallon tank with 396 mi.range