2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime - Driven
Any new version of the Toyota RAV4 is automatically a big deal. Aside from a few big pickup trucks, the RAV4 is America’s favorite vehicle. And it has also been a winner among eco-conscious buyers; not long after the gas/electric RAV4 Hybrid debuted in 2016, it became America’s favorite hybrid — even outselling Toyota’s iconic Prius.
So when Toyota announced the 2021 RAV4 Prime, it was a big deal. Forget about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a low-range plug-in hybrid version of a forgettable SUV. Forget about a planned Ford Escape plug-in hybrid, which doesn’t offer all-wheel-drive and whose on-sale date got bumped back a year over fire risks. Forget about various plug-in sedans and hatchbacks, and various expensive luxury plug-in hybrids that can barely crack 20 miles of low-speed all-electric use. And forget about the range anxiety that keeps many people away from fully electric vehicles. No, it’s the RAV4 Prime that promises to make Americans plug in their cars en masse.
We spent a week in the new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime to see how it bridges the gap between the gasoline and electric worlds. Here’s what we found.
2020 Buick Encore GX - Driven
The Buick Encore GX is marketed as a small luxury SUV and it lives up to its name. It comes with a lot of features in the base trim and offers two engine options and drive layouts for you to choose from. The SUV looks decent on the outside, is as spacious as its rivals on the inside, and generates enough grunt to keep you happy pottering around in the city. For tasks like carrying your grocery and taking your kid to school, this urban commuter does its job well. But, expecting anything beyond it is a cardinal sin. With a fairly low starting price and heavy discounts on offer, will you choose this over the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1?
The Kia Seltos is the newcomer to Kia’s lineup. It’s been in production since 2019, but 2021 marks the first year that it will be available on U.S. soil. It has just recently made it into dealerships as Kia begins to roll out its 2021 crop of vehicles, and it’s poised to make quite the disruption in the subcompact crossover market. Of course, let’s be clear, this still isn’t Kia’s smallest model – it’s the model designed to sit between the Soul and the Sportage. Highlights of the Seltos include better-than-expected cargo room, a Bose audio system, and the range-topping engine that’s good for 175 horsepower. What might be even more impressive, though, is the Seltos starting point of around $22,000.
Volkswagen Passat - Driven
Sometimes, a car needs a full redesign to address a fundamental flaw. Perhaps it’s too small, or too big. Maybe its styling is stale or unappealing. Or perhaps its platform can’t support modern needs.
The 2020 Passat has revised interior and exterior styling, more standard features, and an updated engine. That’s a cheaper set of changes than a full redesign, and Volkswagen is passing those savings on to the customer. Is that enough to excuse the Passat’s old bones? Or are you better off opting for a fresher competitor? Here’s what we learned from our time behind the wheel.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - Driven
The Range Rover Velar is a fairly new product in the company’s lineup, but an important one. It looks like the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport’s lovechild and even sits in between them in the lineup. There is a lot of part-sharing with the Jaguar F-Pace, but the Velar is more suited to folks who prefer an SUV with better off-road dynamics. In the top-spec, it is loaded with features and comes with a 5.0-liter V-8 that dishes out 500 ponies. The Velar starts around $55,000, but the mouth-watering top trim costs an eye-watering $90,000.
The 2020 Land Rover Range Velar recently arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters in the top-of-the-line SVAutobiography Dynamic trim, and here’s what we have to say about it.
When Chrysler introduced the Pacifica Hybrid, it rattled to ever-shrinking minivan segment to its core. Not necessarily because it offered some new, ground-breaking technology but because it’s quite literally the only hybrid minivan on the market – at least until the Toyota Sienna lineup goes hybrid for the 2021 model year. Until then, however, the Pacifica gets to wear the crown. We drove the Pacifica just a year ago and we had somewhat mixed opinions about it – has anything changed this time around? Let’s find out!
2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio - Driven
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio has been on the market just four short years, and the more aggressive Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a year less under its belt. We’ve already learned that the Stelvio can hold its own against everyday luxury SUVs, but halfway through its lifecycle can it still deliver the performance and comfort expected from something that carries an Alfa Romeo badge? Is the Quadrifoglio still worth the $80,500 entry level price in a luxury crossover market that grows, quite literally, by the day? Well, FCA stopped by TopSpeed headquarters with a Stelvio Quadrifoglio to let us find out for ourselves – this is what our week-long experience taught us.
We Drove 8 Electric Cars Over 1200 Miles in Real Conditions So You Don’t Have To
Electric cars are not absolute newcomers to the car industry anymore. Over the past five years or so, most carmakers have churned out at least one electric car with plans to release a handful of others over the coming decade or so. The charging infrastructure has grown, too.
While this is obviously good news, it also leaves us (and the customer) with quite a big pond of EVs to choose from. To add more to the confusion and indecision, electric cars come in all shapes and sizes, set in motion by just one electric motor, two, or even three, and, obviously, very different price tags. Long story short, picking your next electric car might leave you scratching the top of your head. We get it.
2020 Ford Expedition - Driven
In a world where large SUVs are becoming the norm, there’s no shortage of models to choose from. Having recently driven the Nissan Armada and knowing that the Ford Expedition is now two years old as of 2020, we figured it was time to see if Ford’s resident large SUV can hold its own in a highly competitive, constantly evolving segment. After spending a week with the Expedition Platinum, we discovered a lot that we liked and a few things we didn’t – this is our experience and what you need to know.
BMW’s New Kidney Grille Doesn’t Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought
The 2021 BMW M4 has arrived, and, as expected, it has brought BMW’s new — and controversial — kidney grille with it. But while most, us included, have been quick to lampoon the oversized grille, Bimmer has been hard at work trying to make it look presentable. Well, the new M4 is here, equally new kidney grille-included, and while it looks as polarizing as we expected it to be, it doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would be. It’s still going to take some getting used to, and we suspect it’ll take a long time for some people, but the good news is that the oversized kidney grille doesn’t ruin the overall visual integrity of the new M4 — and the new M3, for that matter. Bimmer’s new sports coupe still looks as ravishing as ever, and it helps, too, that every other aspect of the coupe remains true to its incomparable performance roots.
2020 Ford F-250 - Driven
The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for over four decades now, and this legacy seems sufficient to introduce it. The company has a range of pickup trucks, ranging from light-duty to heavy-duty and for varied purposes. The list is exhaustive, but the bottom line is that if you need a full-size pickup truck, no matter what the budget or usage pattern, Ford has an offering for you, right from F-150 to the F-750.
While the F-150 is the best-seller of the lot and suffices for most of the needs, people looking for a little heavy-duty work tend to hop on to the next available option – the F-250. The F-250 is the entry-level model pf the Super Duty series that also includes the F-350 and F-450. This isn’t outright expensive, comes with strong specs, and fits the bill for most people looking to use it as a work truck. It is offered even with premium features on the top trim.
Recently, the 2020 Ford F-250 arrived at the Top Speed headquarters in the mid-Lariat trim, and here are our impressions of this beast:
When it comes to buying a four-door BMW 2 Series, aka the 2 Series Gran Coupe, you don’t have a whole lot of options. You can either choose the base, 228i, or the current range-topper, the M235i. With a price difference of $7,800, it leaves one to wonder whether you might as well pony up a little extra to get something that looks, well, less bland, or if you should just get the base 2 Series GC and drive it for what it is. The extra $7,800 doe net you nearly 70 extra horsepower and a drastic improvement in acceleration, but is it enough? We just spent a week with the M235i, and our experience with it – and how it competes with the Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 – will enlighten you.
10 Things the Ferrari Purosangue Needs to Take on the Competition
Ferrari will build an SUV. I am not joking, the company made an announcement. It will be called the Ferrari Purosangue. That’s the official name of the Ferrari SUV. Ok, Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri implicitly said that he does not want to hear “that word” in the same sentence with the word Ferrari. “That word” being SUV. Ok, Camilleri, I will not do it. Ever. The new Ferrari... truck… will be the most amazing piece of technology ever attempted with the “that word” layout. Luckily, we do know a thing or two about the new Purosangue.
Digression: Is the word crossover any better? Maybe, but I feel it sounds too soft for the status of a Ferrari. The Honda CR-V is a crossover for crying out loud.
The new Purosangue may take a layout similar to what we have been accustomed to with the onslaught of performance SUVs, yet the Italians promised to make it a proper thoroughbred. Incidentally (not really), Purosangue translated from Italian actually means thoroughbred. Is it just me, or the name Ferrari Thoroughbred (in English) wouldn’t sound bad at all? We have a Superfast and we like it, don’t we? Enough with the strange ideas. Purosangue it is.
Christopher Smith of Motor1 explained how to pronounce it:
“PUR-o-SAN-gue. There are four syllables, with emphasis on PUR and SAN. Phonetically speaking, start with PUR, as in a cat purring. From there just say a soft O as in oh, then SAN with a long A sound like saahn, and finish with GUE, which sounds like way but starting with a g – gway. PURR - oh - SAAHN - gway. See? It’s totally easy.”
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo - Driven
The R35 Nissan GT-R has been on the market since 2009, so it’s getting pretty long in the tooth. Be that as it may, car enthusiasts everywhere paint it as one of the world’s best cars. It is, quite literally, one of the fastest point-to-point cars on the planet, something it can lay claim to thanks to its precisely tuned chassis, sophisticated AWD system, a monstrous twin-turbo V-6, and race-proven roots that cannot be denied. But, being more than a decade old, makes paying six figures a tough pill to swallow, so it begs the question, is the Nissan GT-R actually worth buying? Is it still one of the best-driving cars in the world, and does its performance hold a candle to the new sports cars on the market?
We set out to find answers to those questions and more, and Nissan was kind enough to lend us a 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo for an entire week to do with as we please. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun week and, despite the GT-R’s age, Nissan has done a fairly decent job of keeping things somewhat fresh and interesting. This is our story with the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster - Driven Review and Impressions
The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a real looker with its long nose and swooped back cabin. Just looking at it evokes all the feelings you’d expect from a precision-built, six-figure machine that bears both the AMG and Mercedes logo. It’s an impressive car, to say the least, but what happens when you get behind the wheel of one of the 750 GT R Roadsters that will be produced? Does it still evoke that same high-end sports car feeling? Does it still feel like it’s ready for the track from the moment you sit down in the seat? Does it drive any different compared to the coupe it is based on? Well, we spent a week with the AMG GT R, and we’ve set out to answer all those questions and more.
Here’s Why You Should and Shouldn’t Buy a Tesla
There’s no denying that Tesla has changed the face of the EV industry. The company has forced other automakers to take this segment seriously. However, Tesla has the most loyal and most critical followers when compared to other brands. On one hand, you have people praising the brand and putting it on the pedestal, on the other you have people criticizing it in the worst way possible. But whether you like it or hate it, you can’t ignore it.
Given all the stuff you hear about Tesla, you might be confused about whether to opt for one or not if you’re out there to buy a car or an SUV. Well, we’re giving you five reasons each on why you should buy a Tesla and why you shouldn’t.
2020 Acura NSX - Driven
Most supercars live a life of unexplored potential. In a world where a Toyota Camry can hit 60 mph in a once-shocking six seconds, and six-figure performance machines have to cut that time in half to be relevant, few cars can be pushed to their limits in legal conditions. And the higher the limits, the fewer the chances you have to approach them. That means most supercars spend their days flaunting their looks — along with the prestige associated with their extreme capabilities — between occasional bursts of all-out speed.
2020 Toyota Highlander - Driven
Last year, the Toyota Highlander was in its final model year of a generation that wasn’t great even when it was new. This three-row crossover lacked the spaciousness, slick driving manners, extra-easy ergonomics, modern infotainment, and upscale interior details of the latest competitors. Yet by a healthy margin, it outsold every other seven-seat vehicle in the country. Buyers were drawn to a trusted name, and even if the competition might have been more impressive, loyal customers didn’t find enough wrong with the Highlander to try their hand with, say, a Mazda CX-9 or Kia Telluride. Now, there’s a new Highlander, and it’s time to see where Toyota has made marked improvements.
6 Things Automakers Could Learn From the 2021 Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco just returned after 25 years and SUV enthusiasts are going crazy over it. The boxy hauler is heavily based on the original Bronco of the 1960s, it features a pair of powerful engines, and off-road tech that enables it to tackle the mighty Jeep Wrangler.
Ford apparently spent a few good years drawing a plan to dethrone the Wrangler and the 2021 Bronco is a project that many automakers could learn from. Here’s six things that will probably make the Bronco a highly successful SUV.
In recent decades, few Lincolns have been known for excellence. The company has largely settled for making marginally nicer Fords at marginally higher prices. That’s not a bad niche to occupy — for example, recent Lincolns like the MKZ sedan and Nautilus crossover provide comfortable interiors, rich leather, lots of features, and a quiet ride for less money than sportier, more opulent Mercedes-Benz or BMW competitors — but this approach did little for the brand’s prestige.
Now, Lincoln is undergoing a renaissance. New Lincolns do still borrow from Fords mechanically. But starting with the redesigned 2018 Navigator, the brand’s models have been packing a greater visual punch, differentiating themselves from their Ford cousins and from the competition. One of the latest beneficiaries is the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator, a luxury version of the Ford Explorer that Lincoln had last sold in 2005.
The new Aviator stands comfortably apart from the Explorer, sharing its family-friendly seven-seat layout and its new rear-wheel-drive-based platform, but with a unique and eye-catching exterior and interior design. From its striking looks to its standard 400-horsepower engine to a host of thoughtfully executed details, this isn’t a Lincoln that aims for being merely “acceptable” or “pretty good.” Some buyers might wish for sportier handling, a few details could be improved, and our test car’s $76,310 MSRP feels steep. But when you stay closer to the $51,100 base price, the new Aviator is a head-turning combination of performance, seven-passenger seating, and stunning design.
In 2019, we got the chance to spend a week with the Ford Mustang GT Convertible,, and it was an absolute blast to drive. In fact, we even described it as presenting a “few reasons why you still need a V-8.” Ever since then, we’ve been wondering about the four-cylinder Mustang, aka the Mustang EcoBoost. Can a Mustang with a four-cylinder engine really live up to the name of a thoroughbred muscle car? Well, after months of asking, a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible landed in the parking lot outside of TopSpeed HQ. That car was destined to spend the next week with us, and now we want to give you our impression of the beast with a little but dominating heart.
2020 Lexus LX 570 - Driven
From the company that invented the luxury crossover, the 2020 Lexus LX 570 is a decided throwback. This is a full-sized SUV that’s derived not from a car platform like you’d find in a Mercedes-Benz GLS or BMW X7, or even from the family-focused Toyota Sequoia.
Instead, it borrows its underpinnings from the Toyota Land Cruiser — one of the most capable SUVs you can buy. The LX 570 is no mere leather-lined cocoon, but also a boulder-climbing machine that employs a mix of electronic gizmos and burly suspension components to tackle challenging terrain.
2020 Chevrolet Bolt - Driven
Chevrolet Bolt has been around for less than four years, but it is one of the earliest mainstream EVs to have hit the market. The Bolt hasn’t taken the market by storm, but it is an important product for Chevrolet in the EV segment.
The automaker is constantly updating the little EV, and for the 2020 model, it comes with a few more miles in the battery pack. To put things into perspective, it is the best non-Tesla model on sale today in terms of range. The 2020 Chevy Bolt arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters recently, and here are our impressions about this urban commuter.