Mercedes Maybach GLS 600

In a word, this vehicle can be summarized as quality. The perfect vehicle for the discerning lady or gentleman who prefers to prioritize refinement over flash, the Mercedes Maybach GLS 600 is without par in terms of luxury driving. Extremely well engineered, this vehicle is designed for comfort but can be an athlete when called upon. It is truly impressive how this behemoth of a vehicle handles; cruising with buttery smooth 4 liters of V8, and pumping out 550 horsepower, it is faster at 0-60mph than a Ford Mustang in spite of its hefty size and weight. The Maybach GLS 600 also has advanced air suspension, so when put into “curve mode,” it will tilt itself into a corner to improve handling and make for an even more seamless ride inside. Considering its size and heft, you’d never anticipate it would be so quick to turn a corner like a motorcycle. It is also worth noting that with features like Stop and Go Assist, the Maybach GLS 600 can basically drive itself in rush hour traffic. It won’t navigate, but it will stay in the lanes and follow the vehicle in front without driver involvement when in bumper to bumper traffic. 

The Maybach GLS 600’s closest competitors are the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan. When compared with the Bentley, the Mercedes has around the same price point but features better technology, and delivers a smoother ride. It is also more understated, which is a positive if you’re just trying to cruise around town in comfort and not attempting to be a show off. I also thought the interior was much nicer, with less plastic and more leather, wood, and aluminum. 

When compared with the Rolls Royce Cullinan, the interior is about 90% as luxurious, but again the Mercedes has better tech and is also half the price: $160,000 versus $400,000. The vehicle glides over bumps like a Rolls Royce, making it as smooth and supple of a ride as this leading competitor. I would honestly profess that the only big difference between the two is that the Mercedes lacks the pomp and circumstance associated with the Rolls Royce, so again, if you’re just looking for a quality vehicle and not interested in the flash, the more cost-efficient Mercedes might be the vehicle for you. 

When compared to the more traditional Maybach Sedan, I would say this is definitely more of a driver’s vehicle as opposed to feeling akin to a vehicle oriented towards chauffeuring. You feel like you are driving a normal ultra-luxury vehicle versus a limo. Speaking of chauffeuring, I have to mention the very luxurious backseat complete with a champagne chiller and space for two flutes. The backseat also comes outfitted with luxurious massage chairs and convenient work trays so your passengers can be productive or enjoy an adult beverage while on the go. While drinking in the vehicle can only truly be enjoyed when the vehicle is being driven by a commercially licensed driver, the vehicle can also be ordered with a 3 row bench instead at no cost; with this edition the seats are collapsible providing more versatility of use as well. I also really enjoyed the interior lights as well as the heads up display with 3 individual screens. 

While definitely designed to be a street vehicle, no SUV would be complete without off-road capabilities, and the Maybach GLS 600 is no exception. The vehicle comes standard with an off-road recovery, (bounce mode), system designed to get you out of sticky off-road situations. The system uses the vehicle’s air suspension system to quickly raise and lower the vehicle, hence, “bounce mode.” My coworkers and I enjoyed cruising around with it so much this past week, it earned the nickname “baller bounce.” Another great feature of this vehicle, which makes it perfect for gals in heels or small kids, was the retractable step that extends and retracts when entering/exiting the vehicle. 

Overall this is a great vehicle for those who prioritize ride quality over flash. If you’re considering an ultra-luxury SUV, I would highly recommend looking at the Maybach GLS 600! 

Ford Maverick

First things first: this car is a bonkers great deal. Starting at just 20k, it is easily the cheapest pickup truck on the market in the USA, and a great value for the price. With the plethora of modern features, such as automatic rollup windows, a backup camera, a remote control key, and working AC, it is nicer than a 50k luxury pickup from 20 years ago and will be in better condition to boot. The lane change alert is a nice modern safety feature as well. 

Speaking on modern features, the touchscreen digital display with Apple Car Play and Android Auto are convenient for use, and a nice touch to the no-frills interior, which has a modern design and is surprisingly luxurious for the simple plastic and cloth from which it is made. The inside was also surprisingly spacious for a pickup truck; one of my coworkers hitched a ride in the backseat and commented on the relatively ample legroom and roomy seating. 

The truck is on the smaller side for pickups, which is limiting for utility, but makes driving and parking significantly easier. It drives like a small SUV, feeling planted on the ground even at highway speeds. 

This truck also comes with a variety of engines, including hybrid, though all get great fuel economy. It is by no stretch of the imagination a luxury vehicle, however, for a basic utility vehicle it is perfect for cruising around town or as a secondary vehicle for hauling.  

Subaru Forester Wilderness

Created to be Subaru’s off-road division, and aimed at giving thrill-seekers more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, the Subaru wilderness badge implicates a set of features uniquely designed with the adventurer in mind. The Subaru Forester Wilderness in particular includes upgraded ground clearance of an additional 9.2 inches, which is perfect for driving on bumpy or uneven terrain, and includes revised gear ratios for improved low-speed approach; it also comes with Subaru’s standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, however over the standard Subaru Forrester, the Subaru Forester Wilderness will tackle even tougher terrain and help you go even farther on your adventure. 

The exterior is also more rugged and chiseled, giving it a look like it is on par with its namesake and is ready to conquer the wilderness – or any environment. The interior is also of a more durable caliber; made with water-resistant upholstery, it is easy to clean and so perfect for any adventure, no matter how muddy. I also appreciated the embossed headrests and special decals, which further enhanced the brawny look, which corresponded well to the rugged exterior. 

The closest competitor to this car is likely the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, which is a little on the cheaper end, and at 271, has a higher horse power than the 182 of the Subaru Forester Wilderness. So, if you’re on the market for an adventure vehicle, I’d recommend checking out both before making any decisions. 

Hyundai Kona Electric

Usually when writing these reviews I save the price point for the end, but for the Hyundai Kona Electric I have to start by saying how impressed I am that for about the price of a new Camry you can get an electric vehicle. Coming it at $34k, plus an optional federal tax credit of $7500, the ride makes purchase of an electric vehicle within the realm of the possible even for budget buyers and is, in my opinion, one of the best bargains on the market. 

Perfect for drivers converting from a gas-powered to electric vehicle, this car drives with a similar gait to a gas-powered car; oftentimes I even forgot I was driving an electric car, which I have often noticed to have more quirks that require adjusting to if you’re not used to driving electric. The automatic cruise control was another great driving feature that allowed for an effortless ride. 

The regenerative breaking feature converts breaking energy into electric power, which is great for recharging the vehicle – especially while driving in the city where breaking frequently is a standard. The car boasts an average of 258 mile range, however while driving on the highway I noticed I was getting closer to an average of a 200 mile range. With a respectable horse power of 201, the car was fast enough, though not faster than a Tesla; although, speaking on Tesla comparisons, I will say the Hyundai Kona Electric is a better value and has a better build quality overall. 

Some notable interior features include the heated steering wheel, and heated and cooling seats, which make for comfortable driving in any temperatures. I also appreciated the large digital displays of the entertainment screen and instrument cluster, which felt very high-tech. The car is also notably compact, making for easy maneuvering, but didn’t sacrifice spaciousness on the inside. It also featured a rear hatch with folding seats, making it great for hauling larger items. 

Overall this car is a great ride for the value, and the perfect pick for those transitioning from gas-powered to electric. If you’re considering going electric, consider the Hyundai Kona Electric.

BMW X4

As with the recent trends, SUVs and crossovers are becoming sleek coups on stilts, and the BMW X4 is no exception. While it sports a very modern, stylish visual, the BMW X4 is still reminiscent of the classic BMW look and high-performance feel that BMW drivers have come to expect. Borrowing styling cues from its big brother, the 473 horse power X4 M, the BMW X4 that I tested featured the M sport package, giving it that quintessential BMW character and drive. 

Under the hood, you’re working with 248 horse power, and 4 cylinder twin turbo, which is ample power for getting around town and beyond. With a smooth steering capacity, the car also feels very natural around corners; I really like how it handles. The ride quality was good even in stop-and-go traffic, as well as on the highway and around the city. While not aggressive, the steering wheel has solid feedback, making even jagged turns a breeze. 

Another great feature is the fully digital instrument cluster with customizable viewing modes. Additionally, the infotainment center offers touch screen display as well as a dial on the center console, which controls the radio navigation and Apple car play. I was a fan of the combination dial/touch screen because you can easily rest your hand while changing stations. Other details I appreciated about the BMW X4 were that it is available with colored break calipers, (which look really cool), and the interior trim options, which include red leather seats, and carbon fiber, and aluminum accents. 

Jaguar F Type Convertible

While I may be partial for my appreciation of Jaguars and their rich motorsports heritage, which includes seven 24 hours Le Mans race wins, I have to say this is easily one of the most underrated sports cars on the market. The Jaguar F Type combines a voguish, chiseled look with top-notch engine power for a ride that is up to the minute in appearance and drives like an earthbound fighter jet. The car comes standard with supercharged 5.0 liter V8, and 444 horse power, though I would recommend making the leap to the upgraded 575 horse power engine for a truly dynamite drive. Both engine types come with 8-speed automatic and optional all wheel drive for improved traction, and the acceleration on the base model is a respectable 4.4 seconds. The perfect car for grand touring, this ride is also an excellent daily driver. 

My test vehicle was the F type convertible, which features a motorized top that instantly goes up and down with just the push of a button. Driving with the top down was a trip; as with most convertibles the sound of the engine was enhanced by heightened senses, transforming the throaty hum to a rippling grr – not to mention there is nothing better than the wind in your hair on a warm sunshiny day. 

While the trunk space is admittedly limited, it still had a wide enough berth to fit a set of golf clubs or a full trip’s worth of groceries. The interior was also fantastic, featuring supple leather doors, dash, seats, and steering wheel, and the seats offer heat and cooling capabilities. 

At $71k, this car could easily go for an additional $30k to price match with its affluent interior and beefy V8. The convertible is roughly $3k more, which is also a bargain considering most roadsters have a $5-10k premium. 

The Lincoln Navigator is JetSet Luxury on Wheels

Just a heads up, this entire post might be about the stellar interior of this luxe automotive because W.O.W… Trimmed with real wood and outfitted in super soft authentic leather, the inside of this car fronts a decadence on par with a first class jet. Those who have aims at the “jet-set” lifestyle, but can’t bankroll a private aircraft of their own, (so, most of us…), can make believe they can fly in this earthbound stand in of paralleled opulence. 

In addition to having gorgeous accents of premium leather and wood, the car is super spacious; even the backseat supports total relaxation with a sumptuous stretch of first-class level legroom. The seats are also fully adjustable and truly customizable. Not just lumbar support, these bad boys are alterable from the bolsters to the shoulders, and the independent seat angle control for the seat bottom and back are perfect for even the pickiest riders. Those with long legs can also adjust the length of the bottom seat to ensure premium comfort while driving, and the massage feature allows for a relaxing rubdown on the way home from a stressful day at the office. 

As far as driving is concerned, this luxury SUV makes cruising around super easy with premium features such as adapted cruise control with automatic stop and go, and lane keep assist technology. It was an effortless driving experience; even in heavy traffic the car felt almost as though it was driving itself at certain points, and the smooth ride made me feel like I was floating. 

Other favorite features include the panoramic vista roof, which expands the feeling of space and has the added benefit making riders feel as though they are in an SUV luxury convertible. Most of the controls are also very intuitive, so maneuvering around apps and dials is a total breeze. 

All in all, while this car is probably sub-par to the enchantment of a Rolls Royce magic carpet ride, it is a close cousin so far as drive and comfort are concerned, and is definitely better for your budget, starting at below $100k. If you’re on the market for a luxury SUV, I would highly recommend the Lincoln Navigator. 

Ford Mustang 2021 Ecoboost Premium Convertible

With its needle sharp lines and totally bladed edges, this dapper automotive was a trip to take for a spin. Call me a sucker for a good-looking set of wheels, but there is something untouchable about cruising around in a rakish ride like that of the 2021 Ford Mustang. 

Looks aside, whether you’re coasting down the street with the top down or maxing out the speedometer on the race track, you’re sure to feel the power behind the compact 4 cylinder motor. While admittedly, revving the engine on this peppy little machine left me lingering for the throaty grrr of Ford’s entry level 6 cylinder engine from years past, the 2.3 liter, 4 cylinder motor can surprisingly pump over 310 horse power and has 350 pounds of torque behind the remarkably small engine. Additionally, the 4 cylinder is more fuel efficient, keeping you on the road longer with fewer stops by the pump. 

A few housekeeping items: while I didn’t ride in the back seat myself, I was informed the legroom there is almost nonexistent, so longer-legged friends might have to hop up front. On the bright side, the trunk space is ample for such a compact vehicle, so there’s plenty of room to stash your stuff. I’d also like to call out the remote start, which puts preemptive temperature adjustment in the realm of the possible, making a comfortable drive from start to finish as easy as pressing a button on even the hottest days or the coldest nights.

On a final note, I’d say if you’re stick-shift capable to spring for the 6-speed manual transmission over the 10-speed automatic, because in addition to being 20 pounds lighter, the manual transmission can be better for maneuvering, while I found the 10-speed automatic to be a little clunkier when shifting through gears. 

All in all this was a car with few complaints, though if we’re being honest it’s not my first choice when looking to buy a Mustang, for which I’d be more apt to spring for the Moch1 or the Shelby GT500 since they are faster and a better bang for your buck performance-wise. 

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer Lives Up To Its Name

Designed with the doer in mind, the Chevy Trailblazer combines off-road features with a compact design perfect for on-road maneuverability. The little brother to the Chevy Blazer, this car carries on the legacy as a more portable version of its more substantial relative, without sacrificing much in terms of features – or storage space for that matter. In addition to a 60/40 split second row folding seat, the cargo space also features a complete fold-flat front seat on the passenger side perfect for transporting anything from a kayak to a Christmas tree. 

Typically front-wheel drive, this car comes equipped with selectable all-wheel drive for instances of uneven or slippery terrain when you need to activate the system to get enhanced traction, and a nine speed automatic transmission combined with a four cylinder turbo charged engine team up to ensure economic fuel usage, often getting up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. 

From a safety standpoint, the car comes standard equipped with some excellent features including automatic emergency breaks and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. It is also outfitted with ten airbags and has a rear camera for easy reverse faced driving. 

Besides its notable storage space, compact size, off-road capabilities, and advanced safety features, this car is a stylish one, with the two-tone exterior adding a modern classic flair. All in all I would say this car lives up to its name in that it is suitable for the adventurer and the trailblazer in both its features and capacity, and at a price point starting around $21k, it won’t break the bank on its way out either. 

The Audi Q5 Sportback Is More Of A Good Thing

The trend now days to drive SUVs, but what do you get when you want to stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple, an Audi Q5 Sportback. It is nearly identical to the Q5, however the roof slopes more aggressively in the rear to give you coupe-like look. This small, but noticeable change makes the Q5 look very sexy.

Interior wise, it is still the same Q5 with standard leather seats, a high-tech looking instrument cluster, and intuitive controls. I really like Audi’s new design language, which I think will keep the Q5 looking modern for years to come.

Even with the structural change of having a sloped roof line, the Audi Q5 Sportback has just as good of visibility as the regular Q5. It is easy to navigate city streets, as well as park the vehicle. On two occasions, I had two full-size adults in the rear. Both passengers commented that they ample legroom and headroom, which is often times a major concern for couple-like SUVs. These same passengers commented on the lack of headroom in other press cars I recently drove.

There is a ~4,300 premium for the Audi Q5 Sportback, however you can’t put a price tag on style. It is also important to note that the Sportback comes with a number of optional features standard, so the price premium is negligible. Plus everything about this mid-size CUV/SUV feels extra special because of the roofline.