The Hyundai Ioniq 5 Has the Perfect Ultra-Luxury Feel Wrapped in a High-Tech Package!

The Ioniq 5, the sleek, new EV compact SUV from Hyundai, takes a departure from the company’s design conventions to deliver a truly unique, futuristic, almost cyberpunk-like design. The team at Behind the Wheel unanimously loved every line, and every angle; a design that brilliantly challenges standard designs, while also maintaining a polished and “finished” look absent from some daring automotive designs.

The Ioniq 5 backs up its stunning presence with hot hatchback performance offering up to 320 horsepower converted to blistering off-the-line performance courtesy of EV’s instant torque. While a lot of EVs lack the analog, responsive feel of fuel-powered sports cars, we found the Ioniq 5 to be surprisingly fun and nimble on a spirited drive. For those who just don’t want the driving pleasure to end, up to 303 miles of range are nicely comparable with full tank ranges of comparable gas-powered vehicles. With ample seating space for 5 people, the Ioniq 5 also has plenty of cargo room by folding the rear seats down, making it the perfect choice for families, or for transporting the odd piece of furniture.

The interior design matches up brilliantly with the daring exterior to deliver a modern, sleek and futuristic feel, while remaining intuitive and easy-to-use. There are two large digital displays that control almost vehicle function. Fans of analog switches wouldn’t be left behind either; Hyundai left a few tactile feedback buttons for easy access without getting lost in multiple steps of a digital menu. Our test vehicle also featured premium materials throughout the cabin, which made for a very luxurious and refined interior experience. The large, panoramic sunroof also gives a very spacious feeling and allows in plenty of natural light while on the road.

In addition to not having to listen to the drone of a gasoline-powered powerplant, the Ioniq 5 is very well-insulated, offering an almost stealth-like silence, cocooning the driver and passengers away from the outside world. Our staff quickly dubbed the “ninja car” due to its noiseless driving experience.

The charging experience, a pain-point that typically makes or breaks a decision to go EV, was also pleasantly convenient, with charging capabilities allowing the battery to go from 10% to 80% in under 20 minutes.

This compact SUV also features regenerative breaking, which helps recuperate lost power while the brakes are applied, adding to the longevity of the battery charge. The Ioniq 5 is available with 120-volt home charging outlets, which means you can use the car as a battery to power devices on the go, during a camping trip, or in case inclement weather causes a power outage in your area.

The Ioniq 5 also comes with suite of appropriately-high-tech driving features, including lane change assist and lane keep assist, which, combined with smart cruise control and forward collision avoidance assist, help keep you on the road with semi-autonomous driving.

The strange backwards-turning gear lever took some getting used to, but any Ioniq 5 owner will easily adjust and find it intuitive after some practice.

In a head-to-head against its biggest segment competitors, the Ford Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID4, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 stood out to us for carrying more standard equipment, and just generally being better equipped than it’s American and German rivals, all at a lower base MSRP. Overall. this is a great vehicle for anyone on the market for a cool, sporty, and spacious

electric vehicle that has great features, offers excellent utility, top value, and… who can possibly forget the gorgeous looks?

The 2022 Ford Expedition is a Massive SUV that is a Massive Value!

The 2022 Ford Expedition could make a quarry dump truck feel self-conscious about its size. It’s easy to feel large and in charge behind the wheel of this behemoth, but despite of its size, this Ford is surprisingly easy to drive. It has great visibility, and its surround camera system makes parking a breeze.

As you’d expect from a full-size SUV like this one, the 3-row seating fits 7 adults very comfortably, with plenty of room left over for cargo. If you are planning on towing a trailer, a boat, or an aircraft carrier, the 3.5-Liter EcoBoost 6-cylinder paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission delivers a very muscular 470 lb-ft of torque. For two or more aircraft carriers, there is an optional high-output engine that would deliver up to 510 lb-ft of torque, giving you a maximum towing capacity of close to 10,000 pounds.

While previous Ford Expeditions were impressive, the 2022 is a serious upgrade. It drives better than previous generations, and the exterior is more refined. Additionally, the interior feels much more high-tech, featuring a gigantic touch-screen display on the dashboard which controls entertainment, navigation, and climate control.

We would recommend this car for families because it can haul everyone and all their toys with ease due to its massive size, though the second set of captain’s chairs make it great for entertaining friends as well. 

This Ford Expedition is also amongst the best value for large, full-sized SUVs since it starts around $53,000. Overall, we’d say this is a great vehicle for anyone who enjoys a lot of space but still wants a capable and easy-to-drive vehicle.

BMW M440i Coupe: the Perfect Sports Coupe Under $100,000!

BMW’s 3 series (now 4 series for coupes) carries a multi-decade legacy of excellent, fun, sporty luxury vehicles. Although the 3/4 series has grown in heft over the years, the technology and horsepower has kept up well to deliver a smile from ear to ear on a spirited drive. We loved the sporty ride that felt athletic yet comfortable for daily commutes or road trips.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin turbo inline 6, with plenty of displacement to produce low-end torque, while the twin scrolls help at the top range to pump out a healthy 382 horsepower. For this BMW, a small, 48-volt electric hybrid to give the vehicle even more torque at low RPM, and effectively reducing any noticeable turbo lag.

Weekend track enthusiasts might prefer the 473-horsepower engine, beefier suspension, and more powerful brakes of the 4 series flagship BMW M4, however, the M440i is more street-focused, which makes for a smoother daily driver. In addition to retaining the sporty feel, the M440i feels designed with comfort in mind, making it a great choice for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road. While a bunch of track junkies like our Behind the Wheel team may still prefer lean towards the M4, the merits of the M440i are plentiful, especially considering the price point. Fully loaded at around $67,000, the M440i is significantly less than the M4, and still comes decked out with many of the same goodies.

Our test car dazzled with beautiful metallic green paint paired with cognac brown seats and accented with especially carbon fiber trim pieces, which gave it a very unique European look. We enjoyed driving it around town, and even got to experience it on a short road trip; it delivered on comfort the whole way and still had more to give as soon as we eyed a windy road.

The throaty purr of the engine was music to our ears as we cruised around town, while the surprisingly-ample rear seat legroom, typically pitiful in driver-centric coupes in this class, was more than enough for 6-foot+ editor to comfortably enjoy not calling “shotgun” on time. The pain at the pump is minimal for the M440i, at 34 miles to the gallon. 

Rear seat latch anchor points in the backseats were a great touch for our most junior editors, and a welcome addition for the two track dads on our team.

Overall, the M440i a great option for car enthusiast commuters due to its exceptional comfort, and a fun sporty ride for anyone in the market for a luxury coupe.

The Mercedes E Class is Where Timeless Design Meets Modern Luxury

The most iconic executive car in the world, the Mercedes E Class, is a lesson in refinement. This gorgeous road star pulls up with all the presence of an ultra-luxury cruiser, and the interior is sure to inspire feelings of power and control with its high-tech elements and stunning design. Featuring a sophisticated build, and the most current technology available, this car was definitely designed with the boss in mind.

One of our favorite things about this car was the large display panels and futuristic steering wheel. You’re also able to talk to the car just by saying: “Hey, Mercedes,” just like you would with Siri on your iPhone, you can adjust the climate control, radio, navigation, or even turn on your massaging seats.

While the E Class’s bigger brother, the S Class, is the ultimate flagship symbol of the executive class car, we liked the E Class for its more compact size and ease of drive when compared with the S Class, which we all agreed would be more fun with a chauffeur. You can also get almost everything the S Class features on a fully-loaded E, so in addition to being smaller and more driver-centric, it is equipped with all the goodies you’d otherwise miss.

The backseat is nice, and our team members who rode in it were plenty comfortable, however everyone agreed that the spot to be in was the driver’s seat. With its buttery-smooth ride, and driver-first features, the Mercedes E Class was an absolute pleasure to drive.

The Mercedes E Class will fit any executive budget, ranging from $53,000 up to well over $100,000 based on different horsepower variants and ticked boxes on options sheets. Obviously the higher-end models come with more horsepower, more technology, and more luxuries, but even the base model E Class will deliver a smooth ride with a grandiose presence.

Overall, the Mercedes E class is probably our favorite Mercedes sedan, and is hands-down the best daily driver at this price point. 10/10 would recommend!

The Hyundai Sonata N-Line is a Sporty Sedan that Will Put a Smile on Your Face Without Breaking the Bank!

When the first N-badged offering from Hyundai was announced, it was a great day for the automotive world, including our Behind the Wheel team. The N High Performance division, akin to BMW’s M and Cadillac’s V, has been active since, delivering sporty, performance-oriented versions of Hyundai’s lineup, while maintaining Hyundai’s trademark value. N stands for Namyang and Nürburgring, the former being Hyundai’s birthplace, and the latter being one of the most famous race and test tracks in the world. N’s performance goodies trickled down to the subject of this review, the 2022 Hyundai Sonata N-Line. In this sedan, the comfort and style combine effortlessly with a robust 290 horsepower, 2.5-liter turbo, a 110 hp increase from the base 1.6L Sonata engine, to produce driving thrills while maintaining a wallet-sparing diet of 38 miles per gallon on the highway via a brilliant 8-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

Our test car featured a sporty, race-inspired trim package with heated and cooled perforated leather and microsuede sport seats, well-bolstered for spirited cornering, as well as aluminum pedals and 19-inch alloy wheels. In addition to the more muscular engine and sport-inspired interior, the N-Line Sonata also receives a more aggressive front fascia with a black mesh grill and larger air intakes. The N-line bodywork continues in the back with a lip spoiler, a rear diffuser and a throaty quad exhaust. 

Choices of exterior colors include an array of whites, blacks and grays, a dark blue, and a red option. Unfortunately, since this is not a full N but just an N-Line car, the eye-catching N-exclusive Performance Blue is not available as an option on this Sonata. Interior color choices follow the Buick Grand National mantra: you can have any color you want, as long as it’s black. 

Building a Sonata N-Line via the Hyundai website, it’s pleasantly refreshing that this trim comes well-equipped as is, without forcing the buyer to contend with endless choices and options that drive up the base price tag. Hyundai is brilliant at offering excellent value to its customers, and this Sonata N-Line is no exception.

With attractive styling, sporty feel, almost twice the horsepower of the standard Sonata without demanding twice the price tag, the Hyundai Sonata N-Line became an instant team favorite in this segment. Topping out at around $35,000, this sporty sedan is truly an excellent choice. 

The Mitsubishi Outlander is a Capable, Roomy and Unique SUV for $30k!

With Korean Hyundai and Kia aggressively gobbling up the market from Japanese giants Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda, some of the lesser-known Japanese brands may get forgotten by the average consumer. With Suzuki and Isuzu having long ago departed US shores, Mitsubishi is has remained, offering some hidden gems in the automotive segment. With the SUV segment being hotter than the sun right now, the Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi’s long-time SUV staple, is a very strong offering. The first things we will say about this car are that it drives really well for the price point, and has good visibility for a safe drive. Busy parents with safety on their minds who are wanting to get from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible will find charm in this cool but collected ride. Speaking on safety, this car does also have 11 standard airbags so in the unfortunate case of an accident, you’ll be about as shrouded in safety as possible for any car on the road.  

Also offering a stylish interior and exterior with 3 rows of seating for a total of 7 passengers,  including a stylish touch with diamond quilted stitched seating;  a very up-market, impressive look for an SUV that tops out well below $40,000 with every option box ticked. The Outlander comes with a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which covers engine, transmission, and differential: a great backing for Mitsubishi’s rally-developed 2.5L 4 cylinder.  

Starting at $26k, this vehicle is an excellent value SUV, that looks and feels excellent for the price point. The 181hp engine will not win many drag races, but the power is plenty for daily runabouts, while the 31 miles per gallon on the highway is great for a vehicle of this size.
If you’re on the market for an affordable, 7 passenger SUV that’s also stylish, well-made and rare enough so that you are not likely to sit next to an identical one at every other light, the Outlander is a great choice over the big-name competitors from Japan and Korea.

Range Rover: The Ultra-Luxury SUV King is Back!

Land Rover has been in the SUV game longer than anyone. Yes, some would argue about the Wagoneer, but really, when you think of an off-road, capable, rugged truck with seats in the back, and some luxurious features to boot, the folks from England have it down, pat. So, when we say this Land Rover Range Rover is an incredible machine all around, we truly mean it. Today, the SUV game is stronger than ever, with just about every auto manufacturer offering at least one. Even in the ultra-luxury SUV game, high-end marques from Germany and Italy have challenged Land Rover for the title; yet even when compared to the Mercedes GLS Maybach, the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls Royce Cullinan, and the Maserati Levante, the Range Rover is by far our favorite SUV in this ever-growing segment. 
The freshly-redesigned, all-new Range Rover we received ticks all the boxes when it comes to an ultra-luxury SUV, both for drive yourself, or to be driven in by a chauffeur. In the age of gaping grills, unnecessary vents and aggressive bodywork, this understated, smooth and clean design and is a work of art on par with the Michelangelo David sculpture. Its stately appearance commands the road and offers a unique blend of a modern look and quintessential British luxury. Compared to the outgoing Range Rover, the updated model went for a more sculpted and polished look, and we have to say, it works VERY well! 

Inside, the interior is fit for a queen; this is a literal statement because Queen Elizabeth herself has one; it’s one of the few vehicles she actually drives herself. The interior is stunning, with a very minimalistic design and supple leather from top to bottom. You can easily melt into the heated/cooled leather seats, and on our test car, both front seats and the two rear seats offer a hot stone massage feature. 

To also make your short and long commutes more enjoyable, our test car was equipped with integrated refrigerator. We found this extremely useful while attending an all-day sporting event because we were able to keep 4 bottles of water chilled the entire time, even when the car was off. Our Range Rover was also equipped with the executive package, including a powered fold-down rear center console with multiple controls and features, and a push-button executive mode, which folds away the front passenger seat and extends the legroom for the main executive rear seat. 

What made us fall in love the most with this Range Rover is that it is not only a true ultra-luxury SUV, but one where the driver doesn’t feel like a chauffeur. In pretty much all the other SUVs in this segment along with sedans like the S-class Mercedes and 7-series BMW, the front seating positions makes it feel like the luxury focus is in the back, whereas in the Range Rover, we didn’t have the awkward feeling like we were hired help; the luxury is centered on the driver when it is in the 5 seat mode, and on the passenger when in executive mode. 

The ride quality was positively elegant, and with Land Rover’s legendary air suspension devouring every inconsistency and pothole in the road with unprecedented ease. Despite its gigantic size, the vehicle was super easy to drive and park thanks to 4-wheel steering, which enhanced the vehicle’s turning radius. This full-sized range rover was easier to park than most SUVs half its size.

While we did not take this Range Rover off-road, this one, like all others from the Land Rover brand, is highly capable off the payment. So, if you are so inclined, you can take this Range Rover to a black-tie event, then cut across a muddy, rocky field to your next destination.   

2022 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid: The Best of EV & Gas Efficiency in One Crossover

The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid is an affordable electric car for the masses. It’s an amazing value, starting at just over $29,000, but for a limited time, you may be able to get nearly $5,000 in federal tax credits and other state incentives. Delivering even more bang for your buck, the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid also comes with Kia’s famous 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The Niro can run as a fully-electric vehicle for 26 miles, so theoretically, you can completely forego the gas station and use this Hybrid as a fully-electric small SUV for around-town motoring. However, when you have to drive further for road trips, or if you forget to charge it overnight, you can also drive it on good-ole dinosaur power up to 560 miles. This Kia truly is the best of both worlds.

Rated at a light 139hp combined between the 1.5 liter gasoline engine and plug-in hybrid drive, this Niro is not exactly a growling, gas-splitting muscle car. However, the combination feels plenty sufficient for brisk city and highway driving, with the electric motor providing an entertaining kick of instant, silent torque.

The price point of this plug-in electric vehicle is what made us take notice. However, it was the interior quality, especially at this price point, that commanded our attention. The interior of the Niro is truly a great place to be, nicely-styled and loaded with available driver assist technology such as forward collision avoidance systems, blind spot monitors, and navigation-based smart cruise control, as well as standard goodies such as an 8 inch touch screen with Kia Connect, wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple Car Play.

All in all, we were impressed with this vehicle, both in terms of quality and affordability. We would recommend it for any budget-conscious driver seeking the convenience of an EV while retaining the accessibility of gasoline-powered propulsion.

BMW X4M Competition, A Track Car For School Bus Dads

Off to school or on the track, the 2022 BMW X4M Competition does it all! Behind the wheel of the new BMW X4M Competition, the driver truly embraces that track car feeling, with tight steering, stiff suspension, and great throttle response, even when in the sacrilegious Comfort Mode. This truly is the ultimate version of the ultimate version of a magnificent sport-focused SUV, or Sport Activity Coupe, as BMW calls it.

With around 70 more horsepower than its closest competitor from Zuffenhausen, the Porsche Macan GTS, this X4M Competition provides more bang for the buck than the flagship Macan both in terms of bang (503hp vs. 434hp) and buck, with a base price of $73,400 versus $79,900. With all that money saved, you can even make it to the bank half a second faster than the GTS with a 0-60 of 3.7 seconds. 

Although diehard BMW M Power fans might complain that this M-fied X4 doesn’t sport the big V8 of its bigger X siblings, BMW’s trademark straight-six gets the job done more than adequately. The M Competition model features adjustable dampeners and suspension to select the handling feel depending on your road conditions and driving style. The X4 we had was also equipped with optional 21″ forged wheels for improved handling and acceleration due to their lighter weight. Although we kept this X4 M Competition in Comfort Mode for the majority of our driving experience, as we believe this is the setting the majority of X4 M Competitions will spend their life in, we noticed very little body roll, even during spirited driving.

The driving experience is further bolstered by a comfortable interior highlighted by supportive, highly-adjustable sports seats, fantastic technology and an immersive audio experience courtesy of the Harman Kardon sound system. The vehicle also featured plenty of space for all the kids’ toys in the trunk, while our team’s “average-sized adults” easily fit in the backseat without any leg cramping or twisted necks from the sloping “coupe” roofline. Although rear passengers were quite comfortably at stoplights, our team did note an unusually-harsh ride quality for an SUV. This is after all, a focused, sports-oriented SUV, so as long as you know not to expect buttery-smooth transportation, and backseat passengers know to anticipate a sporty ride even in the most approachable Comfort setting, this BMW is, overall, an excellent compromise between a hardcore performance package and everyday family-friendly usability without the six-digit price tag usually associated with high-performance SUVs.

BMW I4 M50 is a Very Good Electric Sports Sedan

The BMW I4 M50 from the makers of the self-clamed Ultimate Driving Machines made us fans of electric vehicles. This EV, based on the 4 series Gran Coupe, has 4 doors, seats 5 passengers, and is equipped with a hatchback opening into the passenger compartment. But most importantly, this EV makes full use of the electric engine’s instant torque to propel this I4 from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. The I4 M50 is a great daily driver, with all the comforts and segment perks of the legendary 3&4 series BMWs spanning the last 4 decades. However, what we loved most about this EV is that it felt like a proper sports sedan. While behind the wheel, we often forgot that we were driving an electric vehicle. With nearly all the excitement of the gasoline-powered BMW M4, you never have to worry about waiting in line at a gas station: win-win!  

The car is set up for great handling, with Bavarian engineers imbuing this sports sedan with some voodoo and magic to make the extra heft of the hefty battery pack feel almost weightless; the car doesn’t feel heavy when hugging corners, and is not as prone to heavy understeer like most EVs. It is somewhat unusual to accelerate in silence as the whispering electric motor does its job, although when you’re ready to have some fun with it, the sport mode will pipe a whooshing sound through the speakers to make you feel like you are accelerating the Starship Enterprise. 

The home charger that comes with it is easy to use, and if your commute only involves short trips, you could probably get away with using just the home charger with a standard electric outlet, versus having to install the 240v fast charger. The car also features regenerative breaking, so you get to recoup some energy when stopping. 

While a comfortably docile vehicle for the everyday commute, be prepared to fight an uncontrollable urge to slap it into Sports Mode and go warp 10 at every stop light. This car begs to be driven fast, and rewards you with an interactive and encompassing driving experience complete with the sound and feel one expects of the best gasoline-powered sports sedans. Overall this was a fun, smooth ride, perfect for zooming down the highway, or just getting to work on your daily commute, and a great purchase for anyone interested in purchasing an electric vehicle without sacrificing sports and performance.