2020 GMC Yukon XL 4WD Denali SUV

I drove the GMC to Pirate Radio for an analysis by the three DJ’s, George Gray, Matt Arguello, and Bob Bernd:

Quicksilver metallic paint with black leather seating for 7 and heated front and second row buckets (a/c for front buckets) – Weighs 5,848 lbs. – 224.4” long   holds 121.7 cubic ft. of cargo space with folded rear seats – 22” bright finish spoke wheels and 285/45R22 Bridgestone Dueler all season radial tires   Pushbutton/remote start, heated steering wheel, moon roof, power seats, adjustable pedals, rear entertainment system, wireless phone charging, power side steps and color head up display – 8” infotainment screen and navigation system – backup camera and XM/AM/FM premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers – Radar cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android auto capability, lane tracking assist, and blind spot warning – 6.2 liter, 420 horsepower V-8 engine with ten speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive   $83,465.00  list price           Built in Arlington, TX – Fuel economy Highway 20/City 14/Combined 16 – (31 gallon tank with 620 mi.range)

2018 Lexus GX-460 Luxury SUV


The Lexus was brought to the studios of Pirate Radio FM104.7 for an analysis by George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Full time four wheel drive – Fire Agate Pearl paint – Sepia leather seating and mahogany trim – 7 passenger w/ 4 captains chairs – 109.8” wheelbase – 192.1” long – Weighs 5,130 lbs. and tows 6,500 lbs. – 18”, Gunmetal silver painted twelve-spoke aluminum alloy wheels – LED daytime running lights and 8” infotainment center – Backup camera, Lexus navigation, adaptive cruise control, tilt wheel, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Bluetooth capability   Moonroof and rear dual screen entertainment system – P265/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler mud and snow rated tires – XM/AM/FM Mark Levinson premium surround sound 11 speaker stereo – 4.6 liter, 301 horsepower 8 cylinder engine with six speed automatic transmission – zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds – $72,485.00  list price           Built in Toyota, Aichi, Japan – 414 miles of range, 18 mpg highway/15 mpg city/16 mpg combined – 23 gallon tank

2019 Toyota Sequoia 4 x 4 TRD Sport

The DJ’s at Pirate Radio 104.7 FM, George “Elvis” Gray and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Arguello, took at look at the Seqouia in the studio parking lot:

Four wheel drive with limited slip differential – Magnetic gray metallic paint with black leather seating – 7 passenger – 122” wheelbase – 205” long   Weighs 5,985 lbs. 20”, TRD Sport black painted twelve spoke aluminum alloy wheels   LED daytime running lights and heated front and rear seats – Backup camera, navigation, blind spot monitor, cruise control, lane departure warning, and rear park assist/cross traffic alert, Bluetooth capability – Power sliding moon roof – XM/AM/FM Entune/JBL premium stereo – 6.1” touchscreen    5.7 liter 381 horsepower V-8 engine with six speed automatic – zero to 60 in 6.6 seconds – $59,745.00  list price           Built in Princeton, Indiana – 449 miles of range, 17 mpg highway/13 mpg city/14 combined – 26.4 gallon tank

2018 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 TRD Off-Road Premium


Four wheel drive – Barcelona Red metallic paint – Jet black SofTex trim with red stitching – 5 passenger – 191” long like a Ford Explorer – Heated front bucket seats – Weighs 4,750 lbs. – Slide-out cargo organizer behind back seat   power rear glass backup camera, navigation, blind spot warning, and cruise control – XM/AM/FM Entune stereo – 8 speakers – 8” touchscreen – 4 liter V-6 engine with 270 horsepower – 46 Cubic ft. of cargo volume behind back seat – Five speed automatic transmission – 17”  spoke alloy wheels  265/55HR17 Bridgestone all season radials – $42,690.00  list price        Built in Tahara, Aichi, Japan – 460 miles of range, 18 mpg combined, 17 mpg city, and 20 mpg highway – 23 gallon tank


2018 GMC Terrain AWD Denali

The Denali was driven to Pirate Radio for an analysis by the DJ’s, George Gray and Matt Arguello.  Listen in:

Four wheel drive system – Graphite gray metallic paint – Jet black leather interior – 8” touchscreen and navigation – 5 passenger – 182.3” long like a Chevy Equinox/Subaru Forester – Heated front and rear bucket seats and heated steering wheel – Weighs 3,635 lbs. – Panoramic sunroof, forward collision warning and backup camera – Bose XM/AM/FM radio with CD player and 7 speakers – 2 liter turbo 4 cylinder with 252 horsepower (260 lb.ft. of torque) – Zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds – 9 Speed automatic transmission with pull tab controls – 19”  Ultra-bright alloy wheels/235/50R19 all-season radials  $44,370.00  list price – 23 MPG combined mpg, 21 city and 26 highway 13.2 gallon tank – Built in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD Limited

Jeep’s Grand Cherokee was introduced as a premium mid-sized SUV in 1993, with its first introduction at the N. American International Auto Show at Cobo arena in Detroit.  It is currently in its fourth generation configuration and has always featured unibody construction.

The car is on a hot streak, being named a Consumer Digest “best buy” for the seventh consecutive year.  Since 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee annual sales have topped 200,000 on seven different occasions, including last year.  And the 2017 4×4 Grand Cherokee such as I recently tested has been awarded a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

My Grand Cherokee test vehicle for June was a Velvet Red Pearl Limited 4×4 that carried an M.S.R.P. of $46,680.00.  I’m partial to red equipment and with the 18″ double ten-spoke gray wheels the Jeep was quite attractive.  A black leather interior was on hand including heat in front and rear seats, 506-watt XM stereo, 8.4″ touchscreen display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, navigation system, blind spot detection, power-tilt steering column, and 9 speakers with a subwoofer.

The Grand Cherokee is a mid-sized SUV and seats five with cargo room in the rear of 36.3 cubic feet.  If the second row seating is folded flat that number increases to 68.3 cubic feet.  The Jeep wheelbase is 114.8″, length is 189.8″, and the weight is 4,677 lbs.  The ride, interior noise suppression, handling and guidance on the highway are all on target and visibility is good, as well.

When driving my test Jeep with Ruth, my wife, I often requested that she handle the gear shift when getting underway.  At first I am sure she thought I was nuts, but what I wanted her to experience was the deluxe “feel” associated with the transmission control.  It seems that the Jeep is definitely a “high touch”, and a “high utility” luxury SUV.

I mentioned the wheels, and can add that tires mounted on them were Michelin Premier LTX 265/60R18 all-season radials.  Of course the Jeep is a 4×4 with Quadra-Trac active on-demand system and electronic limited-slip differential.  Select-Track options while driving include Track, Sport, Auto, Snow and Tow modes.  Additionally, the Jeep had a trailer tow group of options with receiver hitch, wiring harness, etc.

Power for the Grand Cherokee Limited is supplied by a 3.6 liter (220 c.i.d.) Pentastar 24-valve V-6 with 295 horsepower, 260 lb. ft. or torque, and stop-start technology.  It is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission with, as Jeep describes it, a “Classic style” shifter.  Economy ratings are 25 mpg-highway, 18 mpg-city, and 21 mpg-combined, and my observance was at 21.4 mpg during my time with the Jeep.

It’s evident to me why the venerable Grand Cherokee has had such staying power for almost a quarter-century.

2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD

20170226_172717_burst29A review of the Armada was conducted at Pirate Radio 104.7 by George Gray and Matt Arguello:

Hermosa Blue metallic

Almond leather buckets – heated – 7 passenger  – Technology Package with Navigation system with 7” touchscreen plus rear entertainment system – blind spot monitor, land keep assist – Radar cruise control – Power moonroof – LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights – Bose 13 speaker centerpoint surround sound stereo – Backup camera and navigation – 390 horsepower 5.6 liter V-8 (394) – 7 Speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive – $61,585.00 – 5,963 lbs. – 18 MPG on the highway, 13 MPG city – 26 gallon tanksam_0866


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 Toyota Land Cruiser 4WD


George Gray, DJ at Pirate Radio 104.7, recently was able to join me in an analysis of the Toyota Land Cruiser outside the studios at KELS FM:


Blue Onyx Pearl paint – 8 passenger – Power heated and a/c bucket seats – 9” touchscreen – Full time 4WD – LED running lights – XM radio and  premium 14 speaker stereo plus rear DVD player with dual 11” screens – Keyless entry – power windows and locks – pushbutton start – 5.7 liter V-8 with 381 horsepower – 8 Speed automatic transmission – Backup camera and navigation – $84,820.00  list price –  18 MPG Highway – 5,815 lb. curb weight – 16.1 cubic foot cargo space behind third row seats