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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”.       

2023 Lexus ES-350 FWD Sedan with F Sport Package

The Lexus was presented at Pirate Radio studios for a review with the help of George Gray:Ultrasonic blue mica paint with jet black leather seating for 5 – heated  and cooled front buckets and and 17 cubic ft. of cargo space in the trunk, weighs 3,776 lbs., has a 113” wheelbase and is 196” long, 19” – Carbon black finished aluminum spoke wheels and 235/40R19 Michelin Primacy all season radials, 12.3” multimedia infotainment screen, 10.2” head up display in windshield, panoramic multi-view surround camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, heated F Sport steering wheel, dual pane moonroof, pushbutton starter, navigation, power tilt and telescope steering column, 10 speaker Lexus premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo, power trunk lid with kick sensor,  Android / Apple integration, radar cruise control, lane change alert/tracing assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, 3.5 liter V-6 engine with 302 horsepower, 284 ft. lb. of torque, 8 speed automatic transmission, dual exhausts, zero to 60 in 6.1 seconds – front wheel drive, $53,775.00  list price –  built in Georgetown, Kentucky – fuel economy (31 highway 25 combined 22 city),  16 gallon tank with 520 mi. range                                                                     

 

2022 Honda Passport AWD TrailSport Edition

The new Honda Passport was reviewed at Pirate Studios (104.7FM) with the help of station manager George “Elvis” Gray:Platinum white paint with black leather seating for 5 – heated  front buckets and pushbutton transmission shifter, Trailsport stitching in headrests, weighs 4,236 lbs., has a 111” wheelbase and is 189.1” long, 41.2 cubic ft. cargo space in trunk – double that with second row flat, 18” – Gray and polished finish aluminum spoke wheels and 245/60R18 all season radials, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – multi-view rear vision camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, moonroof, pushbutton and remote starter, rear window shades, tilt and telescope steering column, 7 speaker Honda premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo, tailgate mounted rear spoiler – Android / Apple integration, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 3.5 liter V-6 engine with 280 total horsepower, 262 ft. lb. of torque, 9 speed automatic transmission, dual giant exhausts, zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds – all wheel drive, $44,660.00  list price –  built in Lincoln, Alabama, fuel economy (24 highway 21 combined 19 city),  19.5 gallon tank with 468 mi. range                                                                    

 

2022 Toyota GR-86 Premium 2+2 Coupe

The Toyota was analyzed with the assistance of George Gray with Pirate Radio 104.7FM;Track bRed paint with black and gray leather seating for 4 – heated suede front buckets and console mounted transmission stick shifter, Weighs 2,868 lbs., has a 101” wheelbase and is 170” long, 6.26 cubic ft. cargo space in trunk, 18” – Matte black finished aluminum spoke wheels and 215/40R18 Michelin Pilot Sport radials, 8” multimedia infotainment screen – rear vision camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, pushbutton starter, tilt and telescope steering column, 8 speaker Toyota premium FM/AM-Satellite stereo, duckbill rear spoiler – Android / Apple integration, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.4 liter four cylinder boxer engine with 228 total horsepower, 184 ft. lb. of torque, 6 speed manual transmission, dual exhausts, limited slip differential, zero to 60 in 6.1 seconds, 134 mph top speed and rear wheel drive, $32,658.00  list price –  built in Ota, Gunma, Japan, fuel economy (27 highway 22 combined),  13.2 gallon tank with 356 mi. range

                                                                         

 

2023 Honda HR-V AWD CUV w/ EX-L Trim

George Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7FM helped me review the Honda HR-V:

Nordic Forest metallic paint with gray leather seating for 5 – console mounted transmission shifter, weighs 3,162 lbs., has a 104” wheelbase and is 179.8” long, 24.4 cubic ft. cargo area (55.1 with back seat folded flat), 17” – Two toned bright finished aluminum spoke wheels and 215/60R17 Pirelli all season radials, 9” multimedia infotainment screen – rear vision camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, tilt and telescope steering column, panoramic moon roof and 8 speaker Honda FM/AM-Satellite stereo – Android / Apple integration, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 2.0 liter four cylinder engine with 158 total horsepower, 138 ft. lb. of torque, CVT automatic transmission, 3 driving modes, and all wheel drive, $30,590.00  list price –  built in Gelaya Guanajuato, Mexico, fuel economy (30 highway 27 combined),  14 gallon tank with 420plus mi. range                                                             

 

2022 Volkswagen FWD Jetta 1.5T Sport

George Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 assisted me in a review of the Volkswagen Jetta:

Platinum gray metallic paint with titan black cloth seating for 5 – heated front buckets with console mounted shifter, weighs 2,989 lbs. and has a 105.7” wheelbase and is 186.5” long – 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space in trunk,  17” – polished and painted aluminum spoke wheels and 205/60R17 total performance all season radials, 8.5” multimedia infotainment screen for driver  – backup camera,  navigation, wireless phone charger, and VW FM/AM-Satellite stereo – Android / Apple integration, cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 1.5 liter four cylinder turbo engine with 158 horsepower, 6-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, $23,215.00  list price, fuel economy (34 city/highway combined, 43 highway)  13 gallon tank with 559 mi.range                                                                          

  

2022 Honda Civic Si FWD Sports Sedan

A discussion with George Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7FM served as a review of the Honda Civic:

Blazing orange metallic paint with red and black fabric seating for 5 – console mounted manual transmission shifter, weighs 3,075 lbs., has a 108” wheelbase and is 183.3” long – 14.5 cubic ft. trunk, 18” Cement black finished aluminum spoke wheels and 235/40R18 Goodyear summer radials, 9” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, tilt and telescope steering column, moon roof, and 12 speaker Bose FM/AM-Satellite stereo – Android / Apple integration, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning, 1.5 liter hybrid engine with 200 total system horsepower, 192 ft. lb. of torque, dual exhausts, 6 speed manual transmission, rev matching, 3 driving modes, and front wheel drive, $28,910.00  list price –  built in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, fuel economy (27 city 37 highway 31 combined),  12 gallon tank with 444 mi.range  

                           

 

 

2022 Lexus NX-450h Plug-in Hybrid SUV

The Lexus was analyzed with the help of George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7FM :

Ultrasonic blue mica metallic paint with red and black perforated leather seating for 5 – heated and a/c front buckets, heated rear outboard bucket seats, and console mounted electronic shifter, weighs 4,475 lbs., has a 105.9” wheelbase and is 183.5” long, 20” polished black finished aluminum spoke wheels and 255/55R20 Bridgestone all season radials, 14” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, navigation, rearview mirror camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, remote start, heated steering wheel, head up display, power tilt and telescope steering column, dual moon roof and 14 speaker Lexus FM/AM-Satellite stereo – Android / Apple integration, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, power hands free tailgate, puddle lights and blind spot warning, 2.5 liter hybrid engine with 304 total system horsepower, 266 ft. lb. of torque and a CVT automatic transmission, paddle shifters on steering column, and all wheel drive, $61,790.00  list price –  built in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan

2022 Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4 x 4 Crew Cab

George Gray of Pirate Radio assisted in reviewing the 2022 Chevy Silverado:

Dark Ash metallic paint with black leather seating for 5 – heated front buckets with console mounted electronic shifter, weighs 4,950 lbs. and has a 126” wheelbase and is 242.4” long, short cargo box and dual under bumper chrome exhausts, 20” – Polished and painted aluminum spoke wheels and 275/60R20 Bridgestone Dueler all season radials, 13.4” multimedia infotainment screen – backup camera, rearview mirror camera, wireless flatbed phone charger, remote start, heated steering wheel, head up display, eye in the sky camera system, tilt and telescope steering column, and 14 speaker Bose Surround sound FM/AM-Satellite stereo – Android / Apple integration, radar cruise control, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, multipro tailgate, power rear window, and blind spot warning, 6.2 liter eight cylinder engine with 420 horsepower, 460 ft. lb. of torque and a ten speed automatic transmission, four wheel drive, $68,800.00  list price –  built in Silao, GJ, Mexico, fuel economy (17 city/highway combined, 15 city, 20 highway)  28 gallon tank with 560 mi.range