The Ford Bronco Sport is the tamer brother in the “Bronco Family” of vehicles (that can be a good thing). By the way, yes the Bronco name plate is no longer just a model, but also sub-brand of purpose built off-road vehicles from Ford. Similar to Mustang being the on-road performance brand.
While the new regular Ford Bronco is designed to be an extreme and versatile off-road vehicle like the Jeep Wrangler, the Bronco Sport is designed to be a little more civilized. It is akin to the Jeep Cherokee. Both of these SUV’s will get you out of the mud and sand, or through a snow storm using 4X4 drive modes and locking rear differentials. However I would leave rock crawling to their muscular brothers. By default, the Bronco Sport is front wheel drive. The rear wheels only engage when the vehicle’s computer detects a loss of traction. Even when you press the 4X4 “lock button,” the Bronco Sport is front wheel bias. This is likely due to the fact that the Bronco Sport shares many of its drivetrain components with the Ford Escape.
The Bronco Sport has dynamite exterior look. One that makes you feel adventurous, like you can conquer any mountain. But what is great is that it can also comfortably fit a family of four with luggage. Its off-road manners are equally as good as its on-road manners. Think of it as the perfect car to take on a Boy Scout camping trip to another state. You will look like a cool Dad and keep up on the trails without having to sacrifice comfort or interior space.
My pre-production test vehicle was quite bare, but nothing felt cheap on the vehicle. All of the materials were high quality, even the cloth seats and use of interior plastics. All of the controls are intuitive, and the on screen visuals of the instrument cluster and central infotainment system cool. Occupants get a nice little animation of a Bronco every time you start the vehicle – it makes the Bronco badge feel all the more special.
The Bronco Sport starts at around $27,000. So if you are in the market for an everyday off-road vehicle, suitable for both weekend adventures and commutes to soccer practice, the Bronco Sport is definitely worth a test drive.
The future is electric vehicles, there is no doubt about that. Certain parts of the European Union, as well as California have gone on record banning the sales of gasoline powered vehicles at a future date. Electric vehicle are great when it comes to saving the planet and lowering your cost per mile, but they are terrible for road (or off-road) trips. If you are in the middle of nowhere, an electrical outlet is hard to come by. Also, electric vehicles take forever to charge. This is why I am a fan of electric plugin hybrid vehicles. It gives you the freedom to use both gasoline or electric depending on your needs.
Luckily, Jeep has recognized the dual-purpose practicality of the Wrangler and has given us a vehicle that an act as an electric car around town, and act as a gasoline vehicle when in the middle of nowhere. To test how well it works, Jeep sent me the Wrangler Rubicon 4XE. The “E” stands for electric, because you can drive this Jeep at highway speeds for up to 20 miles without a single ounce of pollution. Past the 20 mile mark, a powerful, but fuel efficient gasoline motor picks up the pace by both driving the wheels and charging the batteries. The batteries are also able to charge using regenerative braking. The system worked flawlessly for me, with smooth transitions for both braking and power types (gasoline vs electric). I frequently forgot that I was driving on electric. In Hybrid Mode with a fully battery, the Jeep Wrangle Rubicon 4XE will intelligently switch between electric and gasoline drivetrains based upon maximizing fuel economy. When aggressive on the throttle, electric motors act as turbo chargers to give you that extra bit of pep.
To highlight the specialness of the Wrangle Rubicon 4XE, Jeep gave this vehicle cool blue touches on both the interior exterior: special decals, blue outlines on the lettering, blue tow hooks, and thick blue stitching on the interior. This Jeep feels extra uniquely special, which is refreshing because most hybrid versions just “borify” a vehicle. The only downside of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4XE is the cost. My test vehicle was priced at just over $61,000, which is super reasonable for a sporty plug-in hybrid, but really expensive for a Wrangler that is going to traverse through mud and go rock crawling in the desert.
In all honesty, the 2021 Subaru Legacy is not the best looking car in this segment. It is not bad, but it isn’t the best. For instance, the exterior lines are nice, but boring. And the cabin has been drastically improved over previous versions, but it doesn’t hit the mark when compared to KIA’s jaw dropping interior design.
However, if you are more concerned with overall quality than style, then the Subaru Legacy should be your #1 draft pick. The ride quality and comfort are second to none in this segment. Bumps in the road a mitigated and the seats are plush, yet supportive. I could drive all day long in this Subaru without getting tired. The Legacy also steers really well; it is responsive with the right amount of feedback. When going around corners, the vehicle feels well-balanced for non-sports sedan. Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system also helps keep you firmly planted on the road. Everything else about this vehicle is solid, from its accident avoidance system to it’s sound system. The build quality reminds me of a Lexus, yet you can get a Legacy for 1/2 the price.
I am not in the market for a economy sedan, but if I were, I would have already signed on dotted line for 2021 Subaru Legacy.
Product design, especially in the automotive world, is a tricky business. Drivers demand more features and better technology, but at the same time, they are price sensitive. KIA shines at delivering a great value proposition, and the 2021 Kia Sorento is no exception. This mid-size SUV delivers stunning looks, the latest technology, and 3-rows of seats for the entire family.
Visually, the interior makes you think you are in a first-class cabin. It is available with quilted stitching and faux wood trim. Plus large displays deliver that an air of high-tech. It is significantly bigger than the previous generation Sorento, with seemingly more headroom and legroom. Despite the spacious accommodations, I personally didn’t find the vehicle comfortable to drive long-distance. Maybe it was because I could never adjust the contour of the seat just right, but my back grew tires after about 30 minutes in the vehicle.
The 2021 Kia Sorento has a starting price point of $29,000 and tops out at around $42,000. No matter how you slice it, it is an incredible value. All this, backed by a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty.
I am normally not a fan of large SUVs. They are harder to park and you have be more careful when changing lanes on the highway. Plus, I love sports cars, and large SUVs are the exact opposite. However, the front seats on the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Black Label have stolen my heart. They are incredibly comfortable!
You have to get the Black Label or Black Label Grand Touring trim levels though, but the seats are different in the lower level models. The Lincoln Aviator Black Label’s seats are large and plush, but supportive, like you would find on a luxury private jet. Unlike most jets though, you can adjust the Aviator Black Label’s seats in 12 different ways. You can conform them to hug you or contort them give you the ideal support. I am convinced that my posture improved every time I drove the Aviator. With these seats, it is completely unnecessary, but their is an optional massaging feature. So after a long day at the office in an uncomfortable chair, you can release the stress of the day.
The rest of the vehicle exuberates luxury with definitive lines and a powerful stance. Despite its large size, the Lincoln Aviator is easier to drive than it looks. It offers great visibility, and with its 360 degree camera, it is easy to park.
I would say that the 2021 Lincoln Aviator Black Label is a must drive for anyone with a bad back or for drivers who sit in the car hours at a time.
I am not a fan of the name, but I love the exterior and interior styling on the Kia Seltos. This well priced ($22k to $26k) economy compact crossover looks it should be on display at the New York Auto Show instead of my driveway for a week. The wheels look absolutely amazing, with a great design and red center cap accents. They remind me of top-level race cars with center-locking wheels. The black a-pillar, b-pillar, and roof give the Kia Seltos a luxury look. It reminds me of a Range Rover.
The overall interior on the Kia Seltos is a bit more conservative, however it does use a range both low-end and premium materials. The higher-quality materials obviously dresses up the vehicle. The aggressive exterior design cues are extended into the cabin on the doors, which progressive door handles and a unique speaker cover design. The vehicle can comfortably fit four adults, however I felt a little cramped in the vehicle. My knees kept hitting the steering column when getting in and out.
The Kia Seltos drives well for the price point, and it looks stylish, so I would say it is good car for first-time new car buyers.
It is no CTS-V with a 650 horsepower super-charged 6.2L Corvette engine, but the 2021 Cadillac CT5-V was never meant to challenge it. The “V” does represent Cadillac’s performance / motorsport devision, however the V in this case really more of a performance package.
A 3.0L turbo-charged V6 engine is under the hood, pumping out 360 horsepower and 405 pounds of torque. It is a peppy machine, mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. When you smash on the accelerator is feels perfectly quick, almost as if the car was designed for this engine. Where as the base 2.0L 4-cylinder would feel slow and the CT5-V Blackwing’s turbo-charged V8 would be too much power.
Two other key differences between the standard CT5 and the CT5-V are magnetic ride control and an electronic limited-slip differential. These team enhancements improves driving dynamics at high speeds. Both will make a noticeable difference on the street, but you will feel significant different during track days. The CT5-V is balanced in the corners, with only slight natural understeer. You can easily get the rear end out in a controlled fashion with a blip of the throttle, however traction control and electronic stability are quick to catch you, even in sport mode.
The interior design language is a big step up from the old CTS. The look is polish and sporty, with ergonomic controls at your finger tips. The ultra-sensitive flat buttons have been replaced with tactile buttons and knobs, which are easily controlled without taking your eyes off the road. The fit and finish is better as well. Part gaps are kept to a minimum. All of the plastics are high-end, and the leather is soft to the touch. Key elements are dressed in real aluminum and carbon fiber.
With a price point starting at under $50,000, I am tempted to get one of these myself as a daily driver. It is a great value for a sporty luxury sedan.
P.S. Badge snobs will love the car, because it looks and sounds like a “V” car.
I was privileged to recently spend time with both the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 GMC Yukon. Most automotive journalists will point out that these vehicles are near identical, with the same platform, engine and transmission. While that is true, I think the nuances of each brand give both vehicles character.
The 2021 GMC Yukon is more athletic. It is seemingly more rugged, as if it was design to work on a job site or farm. This was highlighted with the Yukon’s deep tread tires, higher ride height, and stiffer suspension.
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe on the other hand is more refined. The exterior body panels are more sculpted, and you get a prettier grill. The suspension appears to be a little softer, and the tires are quieter, with less road noise coming into the cabin.
The interior on both the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 GMC Yukon deliver a premium feel, with leather on the seats, arm rests, and steering wheel. The dash is not leather, but its high quality material combined with contrast stitching on both vehicles offer a heightened sense of luxury.
Both vehicles are large, but they are easier to drive than they look. They offer great visibility from the windows and mirrors, plus there are cameras to help you navigate parking spots. You, along with the rest of your family will enjoy the SUVs’ size for road trips. Six large adults, plus the dog can easily spend hours on the road.
I would personally pick the GMC over the Chevy, because I like the GMC’s sport nature. However you can’t go wrong with either vehicle.
On May 23rd, the 26th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is taking place near Jacksonville, FL. 230+ vehicles from around globe are being ship to Florida to compete in arguably the top Concours d’Elegance in the world.
We covered the event a few years ago, where our team saw impressively rare one-off vehicles, LeMans winning race cars, and friendly A-list celebrities who were eager to share their passion. I remember seeing Steve McQueen’s old Jaguar D-Type, which was reportedly worth over $45 million casually sitting with no ropes (pictured below).
The event is the brainchild of Bill Warner, former Editor for Road & Track Magazine, race car driver, and a car collector. He is also one of the lucky few to have raced in the original Cannon Ball Run. His event is heaven for car nerds, but it also is a way for Bill’s organization to give back to the community. A reported $3.75 million in proceeds from the event has been donated to charity.
This year’s theme is Super Cars (my favorite type of cars), so I can’t wait to meet my childhood heroes again: Ferrari F40, Porsche 935, Mercedes CLK GTR, and of course the Lamborghini Countach. P.S. This year is the Countach’s 50th birthday!
Tickets are still on sale if you would like to join me at the show – click here
If you can’t make it, be sure to follow along on Instagram, my handle is @JonathanReviews. I will be posting the “best of” from the show.
I applaud Dodge for putting their 6.2L supercharged Hellcat engine into a 3-row SUV. By doing so, the SRT division turn an average family vehicle into a super SUV capable of 180 mph. It is a halo car for Durango Moms and Dads everywhere! While the standard issue Dodge Durango will go 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, the Durango SRT Hellcat will do it in 3.5 seconds. That is faster than most Porsche sports cars.
This blistering performance is thanks to the world famous SRT Hellcat motor. 710 horsepower makes this the most powerful SUV on the planet, beating out the V8 Lamborghini Urus and the W12 Bentley Bentega. To back it up, the Durango SRT Hellcat uses beefy brakes and a sports tuned suspension. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this largo SUV handles, and how composed it feels at high speeds.
Unfortunately this is a limited production car with only 2000 units being built. This exclusivity means that the Durango SRT Hellcat will be the first Durango to reach both cult-like status and collector car status. During my week with the vehicle, I got countless thumbs up and teenagers in muscle cars wanting to race me. It was crazy to see people get excited for a 6 passenger family SUV.
Thank you Dodge for doing the insane! You have proven that American moms and dads can have their cake and eat it too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Brownfield is an automotive journalist, motorsports enthusiast, and sponsored endurance racing driver. He has road tested over 300 cars from brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Porsche. Click here to follow him on Instagram.