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.
With styling cues that pay homage to the very first performance crossover, the QX55 is a showstopper in the modern crossover/suv world. The vehicle is structurally very similar to the QX50, but the QX55 is sleeker and more modern. It is essentially the “sport coupe” version of the QX50. The vehicle looks like a proper Infiniti with bold line, enhanced by chrome trim and LED lights in the front and rear. Specifically the piano key tail lights.
The interior elements of the Infiniti QX55 compliments the striking exterior lines. My favorite color combination is black on red, because it exemplifies the sporty look of the vehicle. The modern elegance of the QX55 was bolstered by aluminum trim details and soft touch plastics instead of old-school wood trim. There is also 3 digital displays to showcase navigation, audio, and climate control all at once. Most people work using multiple monitors, so it is fitting to have multiple display at your finger tips inside the vehicle.
While the Infiniti QX55 is one of the most beautiful crossovers on the market, the looks don’t match the driving dynamics. It feels planted on the road and it is no slouch, but the 268 horsepower turbo-charged 4-cylinder motor was underwhelming for such a sporty looking vehicle. To make matters worse, the QX55 uses a CVT transmissions which offers a smooth power delivery, but lacks the drama of a traditional automatic or dual-clutch transmission. Also the steering felt a little numb. However, if you don’t care about 0 to 60 mph times, then the QX55 is winner.
The cherry on top of the Infiniti QX55 is its standard equipment and price point. For less than $50,000, every QX55 comes standard with a leatherette interior and 20” wheels. For reference, 20” wheels are a $4,000 option on the Porsche Macan. The QX55 also comes standard with all-wheel drive and an assortment of technology and safety upgrades that are often times options for other vehicles. Notable upgrades include leather seats and a 16-speaker BOSE sounds system.
For luxury buyers that want to challenge the norm, while being on the forefront of style and technology, the Infiniti QX55 is a solid choice.
My one week with the new Land Rover Defender was nothing short of fantastic. That is because the new Defender does everything really, really well. Typically with factory built extreme off-roaders, manufacturers have to have compromises. The iconic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for instance can conquer any terrain, but it doesn’t feel planted like car at excess highway speeds.
What you drive says a lot about you, especially in a white collar professional setting. Getting out of an F150 Raptor in a suit and tie, looks weird. It is like guys wearing dark denim shorts. So if you are dressing for success, your vehicle should too. With all of its British charm, I was able to easily rock a blazer with the Land Rover Defender everyday and not be embarrassed in the parking lot or around clients. The Defender’s unique exterior style looks sophisticated with a hint of sport. It is stylish, even amongst rows of $100,000 SUVs from BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, and Bentley.
The interior of the new Land Rover Defender is brilliantly designed with a modern look and sporty accents, such as exposed bolts and body color trim. The build quality of the interior felt solid, with each piece held firmly in place and minimal gaps. All of the materials felt like they were made with high-quality properties. Even the doors has a nice solid feel with you closed them. The only thing I didn’t like is Land Rover’s use of synthetic materials for the seats, dash, and doors on the Defender. I would have expected a $70k+ vehicle to be equipped with at least leather seats. My co-workers and other occupants didn’t mind. In fact they quite enjoyed how spacious and airy the backseat felt.
My test vehicle was equipped with an inline 6-cylinder motor that pumps out nearly 400 horsepower and over 400 pounds of torque. And with a 0 to 60 time of 5.8 seconds, this means the Land Rover Defender is almost as fun on-road as it is off-road. The Defender felt peppy despite its curb weight exceeding 5,000 pounds. It was fun zipping around town in a perfectly sized SUV; small and agile enough to navigate congested city streets, but big enough to feel safe. The ride quality was suburb at any speed thanks to its adjustable suspension. Even at excess speeds on the highway, the Defender feels incredibly planted and comfortable, like it is designed for a 1,000 mile road trip. With a first and second row seating only configuration, the Defender has enough cargo space for a month long vacation.
The Land Rover Defender actually walks the walk and talks the talk. It is not just post SUV pretending to be an off-road *cough Bentley Bentayga cough.* The Defenders proper off-road pedigree shines through with an adjustable ride-height of 11.5” and 38 degree approach angle. It also has locking differentials and a low-speed transfer case. Plus its rugged construction, makes it better suited than anything else on the market, including its posh big brother, the Range Rover. The only thing that comes close is the Wrangler, but the Defender won’t beat you up on the trails. For novice off-roaders, Land Rover’s terrain response system will automatically adjust the cars settings based upon sensor readings. The Land Rover Defender can even go through 34” of water with ease. So next time you have to cross a shallow river, choose the new Defender over a boat.
This vehicle is so good, the new Land Rover Defender might just find a permeant home in my driveway.
Follow Jonathan on Instagram to see what he is driving next @JonathanReviews
This is the vehicle to get when your family is growing, but you don’t want something quite as expensive as a $50k+ Tahoe. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse deliverers a large presence and 3 rows of seating at a price tag starting at $29,000. This means that little Timmy and his 6 friends will get to soccer practice and get pizza afterwards. Also, 27mpg means that road trips to grandma’s house in the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse won’t brake the bank either. The Traverse drives nicely and is comfortable for its class of vehicle.
There was a time in America where families pilled into a station wagon for their annual family road trip. It was big, comfortable, and fuel efficient. Memories were created at each stop, and each mile offered a relaxing way to come together as a family. There was also plenty of room for luggage and the family dog. Outside of road trips, Moms could use the family wagon to take the kids to soccer practice, and Dads could use the family wagon for home improvement projects. All of this was later replaced with minivans and then by SUVs. While both of these modes of transportation are great from a utility standpoint, nothing compares to the drivability, fuel economy, and comfort of a station wagon.
For a week, I got to experience the forgotten love of a station wagon in the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon. Because of its low riding architecture, the E450 Wagaon drives a sedan. It is quite and superiorly stable at high speeds. 100 mile commutes are no more fatiguing than a short trip to the grocery store. The vehicle glides with ease under the power of a 362 horsepower inline-6 cylinder. It is by no means a sports car, but it is peppy. And around corners, there is no fear of rolling over.
I rarely fall in love with 4-door vehicles, but I absolutely smitten with the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon’s interior. The designo package with quilted stitched seats and nappa leather on the dash delivers an S-Class quality interior with utility of a 3-row wagon. It also rides like a buttery smooth S-Class, with adaptive air suspension. Its load-leveling and adjustable ride height ensure the drive and passengers a leisurely drive no matter what you are hauling. My test vehicle also had optional massaging seats, like on the S-Class. Which means after a long day of sitting at the office, you can refresh yourself while waiting in the carpool line at your child’s school.
The E450 Wagon’s only real competition comes in the form of the Audi A6 allroad and Porsche Panamera Sport Turisumo. Both are fantastic vehicles, but the Audi misses the mark in terms of stateliness, and the $98,000 Porsche is more of a sports cars than a luxury vehicle. If I were a Dad, the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon would be the vehicle I would buy.