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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”.       

2022 Toyota TRD Pro 4 x 4 Double Cab

Pirate Radio DJ George “Elvis” Gray assisted in analyzing the wildly popular Toyota Tacoma pickup:

Electric Lime metallic paint – heated leather black interior – 5 passenger seating, navigation system with 8” touchscreen and radar dynamic cruise control, payload of 990 lbs. and ability to tow a 6,400 lb. trailer – 60.5” bed length, JBL AM/FM/MP3/CD/Satellite stereo with six speakers, 4,405 lb. weight – 127.4” wheelbase, 212.3” overall length like a GMC Terrain, pushbutton/remote start and backup camera, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, 278 horsepower V-6 – 3.5 liter with 265 lb. ft. of torque and six-speed automatic transmission, 16” Black aluminum wheels and P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler All-terrain Adventure with Kevlar tires, $50,733.00 window sticker   22 mpg highway gas mileage, 18 mpg city gas mileage       20 mpg combined gas mileage, 21.1 gallon tank for 464 miles of range                

2022 Toyota RAV-4 XSE Prime AWD

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio gave me an assist in analyzing the Toyota RAV-4:

Blueprint blue metallic paint with black Softex upholstered interior for five, 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 with paddle shifters, 19” bright 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, $50,731 M.S.R.P.,  built in Obu, Aichi, Japan

2022 Mazda CX-5 2.5 Turbo Signature AWD

George Gray of Pirate Radio helped analyze the Mazda CX-5 at the Pirate Studios:Deep crystal blue mica metallic paint with Caturra brown Nappa  leather seating for 5 – heated and air conditioned buckets plus heated second row seating, weighs 3,760  lbs., 180.1” long and has 106.2” wheelbase – 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind second row seating, double that with seats folded down, 19” 5-split spoke polished alloy wheels and 235/55R19 Bridgestone all season radials, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, navigation, heated steering wheel, high definition rear, side and frontal view camera system,  10” infotainment screen, flatbed smartphone charger, panoramic moon roof, power lift gate and 10 speaker Bose AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, 227 horsepower 2.5 liter 4 cylinder turbo engine with 6 speed automatic transmission (total torque is 310) – all wheel drive, $39,875.00  list price    built in Hiroshima, fuel economy 27 mpg on highway, 22 city, 24 combined mpg – 15.3 gallon tank goes 413 mi. on a full tank of gasoline

2022 Toyota Sienna XSE Hybrid Minivan

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 FM gave me an assist in analyzing the Toyota Sienna XSE:

Ruby flare red metallic paint with black Softex seating for 7 – four heated and air conditioned captain’s chairs with ample slide capability plus third row seating, weighs 4,610  lbs., 204.1” long and has 120.5” wheelbase – 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind third row seating, 18” 5-split spoke polished alloy wheels and 235/50R18 Bridgestone all season radials, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, navigation, heated steering wheel, high definition rear view camera system,  9” infotainment screen, flatbed smartphone charger, 11.6” rear entertainment system, panoramic moon roof, power lift gate and 12 speaker JBL AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, 245 combined horsepower 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine with CVT automatic transmission (total torque is 176) – all wheel drive, $47,215.00  list price    built in Princeton, Indiana, fuel economy 36 mpg on highway, 35 city, 35 combined mpg – 18 gallon tank goes 648 mi. on a full tank of gasoline   

2022 BMW X3 xDrive 3.0i

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 joined me in an analysis of the BMW X3:

Tanzanite blue paint with Canberra beige perforated leather seating for 5 – heated driver and front passenger seats, weighs 4,149  lbs., 185.1” long and has 112.8” wheelbase – 28.7 cubic feet of cargo space with seats erect – 62.7 when flat, 19” alloy wheels and 245/50R19 Pirelli Cinturato all season radials, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, navigation, high definition rear view camera system,  12.3” infotainment screen, moon roof, USB phone charger, and 10 speaker AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, 248  horsepower 2.0 liter turbo four with eight speed automatic transmission (total torque is 258) – all wheel drive – 130 mph top speed, $51,390.00  list price    built in Spartanburg, S. Carolina, fuel economy 28 mpg on highway, 21 city – 17.2 gallon tank goes 500 mi. on a full tank of gasoline

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro 4×4

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

 Lime Rush green metallic paint with black SofTex seating for 5 – heated driver and front passenger seats – zero to 60 in 10.5 seconds, weighs 4,765  lbs., 191.3” long and has 109.8” wheelbase – 88.8 cubic feet of cargo space with rears seats folded down, 17” black finish alloy wheels and 265/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler mud and snow radials, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, navigation, high definition multi view camera system,  8” infotainment screen, moon roof, wireless phone charger, power sliding rear glass, and 15 speaker JBL AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, 270  horsepower 4.0 liter V-6 with Five speed automatic transmission with console shifter, (total torque is 278) – 4 wheel drive, $53,435.00  list price – built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan, fuel economy 19 mpg on highway, 16 in city, 23 gallon tank goes 437 mi. on a full tank of gasoline   

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 assisted in an analysis of the electric VeeDub:

Dusk blue metallic paint with black painted roof, lunar gray leatherette seating for 5 – heated driver and front pass. seats and panoramic fixed glass moon roof with sunshade, weighs 4,782 lbs., 180.5” long and has 108.9” wheelbase – 30 cubic ft. of cargo capacity behind rear seat and 60 cubic ft. with second row seating folded down, 20” Polished alloy wheels and 235/50R20 Bridgestone all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, digital dash including one mounted to steering column, rear vision camera, 12” infotainment screen, 10 speaker  AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and blind spot monitor, 107 horsepower front electric motor and 201 horsepower rear electric motor (295 hp total) with single speed automatic transmission with dash mounted shifter, (total torque is 339) 4 driving modes and all wheel drive, $50,870.00  list price built in Mosel, Germany, fuel economy 88 mpg on highway, 98 in city, 93 overall – goes 240 mi. on a full charge

 

 

2022 Volkswagen Taos 1.5T SE w/4Motion

Pirate Radio DJ George “Elvis” Gray helped analyze the brand new Volkswagen Taos: Cornflower Blue metallic paint with black premium CloudTex and cloth seating for 5 – heated driver and front passenger seat, weighs 3,430 lbs., 175.8” long and has 105.9” wheelbase – 24.9 cubic ft. of cargo capacity (60) in luggage compartment18” Black alloy wheels and 225/50R18 Pirelli all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision camera, 8” infotainment screen, oversized moon roof and 6 speaker AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and blind spot monitor, 1.5 liter, 158 horsepower turbo four with a 7 speed automatic transmission, 4 driving modes and all wheel drive, $32,380.00  list price, fuel economy 32 mpg on highway, 25 in city, 28 overall – 14.5 gallon tank  – goes 464 mi. on a full tank of gasoline

2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE Sedan

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio helped analyze the Corolla at the studio parking lot:

Celestite Gray metallic paint with black premium Softex seating for 5 – heated driver and front pass. seat, weighs 2,850 lbs., 182.3” long and has 106.3” wheelbase – 13.1 cubic ft. of cargo capacity in trunk, 15” Alloy wheels (with covers) and 195/65R15 Michelin all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward and rear collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision camera, 8” infotainment screen, and 6 speaker AM/FM/satellite premium stereo sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and blind spot monitor, 1.8 liter, 121 horsepower hybrid four with a CVT automatic transmission, three driving modes, and front wheel drive, $27,191.00  list price – built in Toyota, Aichi, Japan, fuel economy 52 mpg on highway, 53 in city, 52 overall – 13.2 gallon tank  – goes 686 mi. on a full tank of gasoline