2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Advance

George “Elvis” Gray of Pirate Radio 104.7 met me at the studio to help review the Acura MDX:

Phantom Violet Pearl metallic paint with black leather seating for 7, including heated and air conditioned front buckets, weighs 4,565 lbs. and is 113.8” wheelbase (198.4” long) – 95 cubic ft. of cargo capacity with all seats folded flat, 20” Bright machined flow-formed aluminum wheels and 255/50R18 Bridgestone all season radial tires, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, radar cruise control, rear vision, moon roof, surround view monitor, built in Alexa, second row sun shades, and power hands free tailgate, 12.3” infotainment screen – navigation, ambient door sill lighting, remote engine starter, and Acura ELS 12 speaker AM/FM premium studio sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger, head up display, console mounted track pad, heated leather steering wheel, 3.5 liter, 290 horsepower V-6 engine with ten speed automatic transmission, start stop technology and all wheel drive, $62,175  list price (base)  Built in East Liberty, Ohio, fuel economy 25 mpg on hwy., 19 in city – 18.5 gallon tank for premium fuel – goes 463 on a full tank

2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD

The CX-9 was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 so that George “Elvis” Gray could assist in reviewing the SUV:Machine Gray metallic paint with deep chestnut interior with Nappa leather trimmed seats – six passenger, weighs 4,364 lbs. and is 199.4“ long – 14 cubic ft. of cargo space behind third row seating, 20” alloy wheels with  P255/50R20 Falken all season radial tires, head up display, Premier trim, console mounted transmission shifter and flatbed phone charger, 10.25” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 12 speaker Bose studio stereo, power moon roof and leather wrapped and heated steering wheel, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup, backup camera,  moon roof, 360 degree overhead view monitor with navigation, 2.5 liter turbo 4 cylinder with 227 horsepower and six speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive – zero to 60 in 7 seconds – 132 mph top speed, fuel economy is 26 on the highway, 20 in town and 23 mpg overall rating.  Fuel tank holds 19 gallons and Mazda can go 494 miles on a full tank, list price is $48,200.00 and car is built in Hiroshima, Japan 

2021 Toyota 4Runner V-6 Trail 4×4

The 4Runner was driven to Pirate Radio 104.7 so that George “Elvis” Gray could help me review the vehicle:

Cement gray metallic paint with black fabric interior for five, weighs 4,400 lbs. and is 190.2“ long, 46.3 cubic ft. of cargo space and 9” of ground clearance, 17” ten spoke dark gray alloy wheels with  P265/70R17 mud and snow radial tires, Yakima Load Warrior cargo basket, leather wrapped steering wheel, 8” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, 8 speaker stereo, power rear glass, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 4.0 liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and five speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive, 40 quart removable cooler with tie down straps as well as sliding rear cargo tray that holds 440 pounds, fuel economy is 19 on the highway, 16 in town and 17 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 23 gallons and 4Runner can go 437miles on a full tank, list price is $42,778.00 and car is built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan 

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line

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

Platinum gray metallic paint with storm gray leather interior for five, weighs 3,757 lbs. and is 185.1“ long – 37.6 cubic ft. of cargo space, 20” ten spoke alloy wheels with  P255/40R20 Hankook all season radial tires, leather wrapped, heated steering wheel, 8” multimedia display with Sirius satellite radio, Fender stereo with subwoofer, radar cruise control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto setup and backup camera with navigation, 2.0 liter turbo four with 184 horsepower and eight speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive, panoramic moon roof and hands free power tailgate, fuel economy is 27 on the highway, 21 in town and 24 mpg overall rating, fuel tank holds 15.3 gallons and car can go 413 miles on a full tank, list price is $40,290.00 and car is built in Puebla, Mexico 

2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum AWD

The Highlander was taken over the the Pirate Radio studios for an analysis by the DJ’s, George “Elvis”Gray and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello:Ruby Flare pearl metallic paint – heated leather jet black interior – 7 passenger seating with 4 buckets – Navigation system with 12.3” touchscreen – Radar dynamic cruise control – Power sunroof and power rear tailgate  – JBL AM/FM/MP3/CD/Satellite stereo with eight speakers – Pushbutton start and backup camera – Blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist – 243 horsepower hybrid four – 2.5 liter with stop/start technology – CVT automatic transmission   All wheel drive – 20” polished aluminum wheels and P245/55R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 all season radials – $52,512.00 window sticker – 34 mpg highway gas mileage – 35 mpg city gas mileage – 35 mpg combined gas mileage   Made in Princeton, Indiana

2020 Lexus RX-570 Five-Door SUV

Radio review broadcast:Satin Cashmere metallic paint with black leather seating for
5, including heated and ventilated front and rear buckets and panoramic moon roof – Weighs 6,000 lbs. and is 112.2” wheelbase – 9.1 cubic ft of cargo capacity with all seating for eight in upright position – 21” polished aluminum wheels and 255/55R21 Goodyear all weather radial tires – Lane keep assist, rear collision alert, radar cruise control, blind spot monitor and automatic emergency braking – 12.3” infotainment screen – backup camera, navigation, 19 speaker AM/FM Mark Levinson premium sound system – Dual screen rear DVD entertainment system
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger – 5.7 liter, 383 horsepower V-8 engine with 8 speed automatic transmission with paddles and full time four wheel drive – $101,248.00 list price – built in Toyota, Aichi, Japan – Fuel economy (Highway – 16 mpg) (City – 12 mpg) 24.6 gallon tank with 394 mi.range

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro V6 SUV

20161029_160204The Toyota 4Runner, brought out 32 years ago as basically a compact pickup/topper, is now in its fifth generation configuration and has morphed into a brawny mid-sized SUV.  This last week I was assigned to a 2016 4×4 TRD Pro V6 4Runner that arrived at my place sporting Quicksand (tan) paint with a black leatherette interior.

Toyota, U.S.A. was formed in our country on October 31st, 1957, and globally the company ranks 10th in the world in revenue.  Total global sales of their vehicles has tripled to 10.15 million since the 4Runner introduction in 1984, and the vehicle maintains its body-on-frame construction and will for the foreseeable future.  Such construction results in a quieter, heavier machine – traits that were evident to me during the week-long test.

The 4Runner M.S.R.P. totaled $42,800.00, including freight, and the only option  was a sliding rear cargo deck ($350.00).  The TRD Pro V6 4Runner was equipped with power windows/mirrors/windows/locks as well as keyless entry.  SofTex-trimmed seats existed throughout the five-passenger car and the front buckets were heated.  Of course the 40/20/40 back seat folds down, availing the two remaining occupants of the car almost 90 cubic feet of cargo space (47.2 cubic feet with the second row seating erect).  The rear tailgate needs handling by human hands, but the rear glass opens by electric motor.  Hence, the rear window wiper is concealed above the glass in the deflector.  I liked the arrangements at the rear of the 4Runner.

The stereo in the Toyota was a 8-speaker system, USB and Ipod connections were on hand, and a backup camera was installed.  The only gadgets that were missing were lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitor.  Ruth and I found the buckets to be supportive on our trip to Denver and the ride (coil springs at every corner) and guidance were suitable.

Horsepower of the 4Runner is rated at 270, and is supplied by a 4 liter V-6 with 278 lb.-ft. of torque.  The four-wheel drive vehicle has a five speed automatic transmission and performance was pleasing.  My fuel mileage ended up just over 21 miles-per-gallon, and EPA ratings were 17 city and 21 highway – 18 overall.  The fuel tank holds 23 gallons.SAM_4011

My family thought the 4Runner looked large, and as mentioned earlier the size has been increased over time.  Styling involves a bold design, and it grew on me as the week went by, presenting somewhat of a military look.  I also liked the way the lighting bulged from the corners.  Wheels were black alloys fitted with P265/70R17 all-season radials.

Personally, the week with the 4Runner resulted in a pleasant surprise, and I see no reason why an SUV shopper would avoid the Toyota dealer and the 4Runners located on their lot.

2016 Lexus GX460 Luxury SUV

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An elegant 2016 Lexus GX-460 Luxury edition was dropped off at my house last week, and I quickly jumped in to take it to the airport to pick up my family.  Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, and has been producing the GX series of SUV’s since 2002.  This one was painted Silver Lining metallic, a gorgeous finish.  Inside, it featured gray leather deluxe upholstery with comfortable buckets and seating for seven.  The family, consisting of the three girls just back from Disney World, oohed and ahhhd at the Lexus interior.

This GX is a big SUV, weighing 5,179 lbs. and extending out to 189.2 inches in overall length.  It’s 73.8” tall and 74.2” in width.  I mentioned the seven passenger capability, which requires a small double leather seat that folds down into the floor in the far back.  When these seats are up, there is a modest amount of luggage space, but when collapsed along with the middle row of seating, you can obtain 64.7 cubic feet of cargo space.  The back door swings out towards the curb and a hinged rear glass is incorporated into it.  All packaged up and out on the road, this vehicle rides great, and wind noise, guidance, and handling are all commensurate with a Lexus of this caliber.20160518_183452

My GX test car had a base M.S.R.P. of $61,515.00.  The entertainment system added $1,970.00, driver support package added $4,340.00, and the freight added $940.00, bringing total list price to $68,765.00.  Stereo equipment was Mark Levinson (including navigation system) with 7.1 Dolby surround sound and 17 speakers.  The GX had the blind spot monitor that I’ve grown so fond of, allowing Ruth and I to get on Highway 85 at Brighton and sale into Greeley from the south.

The 4.6 liter V-8 provided 301 horsepower (329 lb. ft. of torque) and was mated to a six speed automatic transmission with sport shift mode.  Acceleration is on target, with a zero to sixty timing that is reportedly a respectable 7.8 seconds.  Fuel economy ratings are 15/20 city-highway (17 combined), and I observed a little over 18 for the week spent with the GX.  It has full-time four-wheel drive with crawl control for four wheeling.  This car is a body-on-frame SUV with 8.1” of ground clearance, so can do more than just drive through snow.

Styling of the GX-460 has been changed since the second generation model was introduced in 2009, and personally I think they kept the styling pretty much in line with the prior series, with perhaps a little more aggressive attitude.  My GX had the roof rails, nice lighted steps on the side, ample chrome, and 18”, six-spoke Liquid Graphite alloy wheels.  The tires were Bridgestone Dueler H/T 840’s, P265/60R18 in size, with mud and snow capabilities.

Sleek, unibody “crossover” SUVs are currently the rage, and the GX460 is somewhat of a throwback.  But if the shopper wants to luxuriate with off-road and towing capabilities, the GX-460 Lexus provides an excellent option to consider.

 

 

 

2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4×4

20150921_183023Recently I was chosen to examine the 2015 Cherokee Latitude 4 x 4 by Rocky Mountain Redline of Dacono, CO.  They graciously brought the Jeep by my house and had a copy of the window sticker along – it was $33,825.00, including freight and several options.  I’ll get into that list later, but at first glance I was surprised to see all of the black chrome trim work on the Jeep, and as the test unfolded a lot of my friends made favorable comments about the look.  A gloss black appearance was featured on the grill, the window trim, roof rails, wheels, and the fascia application.  Along with the Granite Crystal metallic clear coat paint, the vehicle therefore presented an aggressive, business-like look.

The Ohio-built Jeep Cherokee is not to be confused with the Grand Cherokee – this is a mid-size crossover that was introduced for the 2014 model year and was co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat.  It is 182″ long, 73.2″ wide, 65.7″ high, is mounted on a 106.3″ wheelbase, and has ground clearance of 8″.  Weight of the model I drove was 4,044 lbs.  As of this writing, it should not be driven on the streets of South Carolina, because it can only wade through 19″ of water.  That’s actually pretty good, but the weather in SC is pretty bad.20150921_183352

I enjoyed testing the Jeep in Colorado, and was pleased about the extra punch provided by the 3.2 liter (197.7 c.i.d.) Pentastar V-6 with 271 horsepower at 6,500 rpm.  The torque rating is 239 lb. ft. at 4,400 rpm.  Smooth acceleration was effected through the single-speed Activ Drive I four-wheel drive system and the new 9-speed, Chrysler-built transmission that adds economy to the Jeep’s EPA ratings – they are 28-highway, 20-city, and 23-combined miles per gallon.  My reading came in as expected and just a little above the combined figure.  For the four-wheel drive system, a floor dial is on hand with up to five traction control settings.  They are auto, snow, sport, sand/mud, and rock, and the management system is referred to as Selec-Terrain.

The loaded Jeep Cherokee Latitude has as options the following items: customer preferred package ($600.00) – 18″ x 7″ gloss black five-spoke wheels, black trim work and P225/60R18 Continental ProContact steel radials; safety tech group ($1,045.00) – blind spot monitor, rear park assist and multi-function power mirrors; comfort/convenience group ($1,745.00) – remote starter, power lift gate, remote entry and go, power cloth buckets and XM satellite radio; V-6 engine ($1,745.00) –  includes start/stop feature for economy plus dual exhausts ; UConnect ($600.00) – 8.4 infotainment screen with navigation capability.  All the items were in addition to a base price of $27,095.00 and a freight charge of $995.00.

The total Jeep package was impressive, with V-6 power in an advanced power train, deluxe interior with room for five people plus 25 cubic feet of cargo, acceptable fuel economy and list price, and all the amenities except leather and moon roof.  In other words, everything that you expect in a Jeep, and have since 1941.