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    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Cadillac's Super Cruise system is getting a major upgrade just in time for the 2021 CT4 and CT5. The system will now be able to automatically change lanes whenever the driver taps or fully engages the turn signal stalk. The vehicle will signal and look for a safe gap before making the maneuver. Information as to which step the system is on is shown to driver in the instrument cluster.
      “This is our most extensive update we’ve made to Super Cruise since its debut. We have made a number of improvements to make Super Cruise more intuitive, better performing and more accessible for our customers. In addition to the automated lane change functionality, we’ve made improvements to the user interface and hands-free driving dynamics,”  said Mario Maiorana, Super Cruise chief engineer in a statement.
      This upgrade is due in part to GM's new digital vehicle platform that allows for more "electrical bandwidth and data processing power." Other improvements include better rear-facing sensors and updated software.
      Following the CT4 and CT5, the updated Super Cruise system will appear on the upcoming 2021 Escalade. That brings us to an interesting item caught by the folks at Roadshow. The picture Cadillac used in the press release has the rear end of the next-generation model expected to debut next month.

      Source: Cadillac, Roadshow
      Press Release is on Page 2

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Cadillac's Super Cruise system is getting a major upgrade just in time for the 2021 CT4 and CT5. The system will now be able to automatically change lanes whenever the driver taps or fully engages the turn signal stalk. The vehicle will signal and look for a safe gap before making the maneuver. Information as to which step the system is on is shown to driver in the instrument cluster.
      “This is our most extensive update we’ve made to Super Cruise since its debut. We have made a number of improvements to make Super Cruise more intuitive, better performing and more accessible for our customers. In addition to the automated lane change functionality, we’ve made improvements to the user interface and hands-free driving dynamics,”  said Mario Maiorana, Super Cruise chief engineer in a statement.
      This upgrade is due in part to GM's new digital vehicle platform that allows for more "electrical bandwidth and data processing power." Other improvements include better rear-facing sensors and updated software.
      Following the CT4 and CT5, the updated Super Cruise system will appear on the upcoming 2021 Escalade. That brings us to an interesting item caught by the folks at Roadshow. The picture Cadillac used in the press release has the rear end of the next-generation model expected to debut next month.

      Source: Cadillac, Roadshow
      Press Release is on Page 2
    • By Drew Dowdell
      QUARTER 4 (CALENDAR YEAR-TO-DATE) JANUARY - DECEMBER   2019 2018 %Change Volume   2019 2018 %Change Volume   Cascada 77 743 -89.6   2,535 4,136 -38.7   Enclave 10,143 14,420 -29.7   51,156 49,647 3.0   Encore 28,497 23,326 22.2   102,402 93,073 10.0   Envision 8,380 7,535 11.2   33,229 30,152 10.2   LaCrosse 463 2,118 -78.1   7,241 15,527 -53.4   Regal 1,514 3,110 -51.3   10,363 14,118 -26.6   Buick Total 49,074 51,257 -4.3   206,929 206,863 0.0   ATS 83 831 -90.0   1,134 10,859 -89.6   CT5 43 0 ***.*   43 0 ***.*   CT6 2,276 2,398 -5.1   7,951 9,668 -17.8   CTS 966 2,442 -60.4   6,965 11,219 -37.9   Escalade 8,889 9,573 -7.1   35,424 36,872 -3.9   XT4 8,895 7,573 17.5   31,987 7,785 310.9   XT5 11,168 13,582 -17.8   49,879 60,565 -17.6   XT6 7,169 0 ***.*   11,559 0 ***.*   XTS 1,062 5,063 -79.0   11,304 17,727 -36.2   Cadillac Total 40,551 41,462 -2.2   156,246 154,702 1.0   Blazer 23,008 27 ***.*   58,115 27 ***.*   Bolt EV 3,307 6,212 -46.8   16,418 18,019 -8.9   Camaro 11,474 11,135 3.0   48,265 50,963 -5.3   Colorado 25,484 30,004 -15.1   122,304 134,842 -9.3   Corvette 3,491 3,910 -10.7   17,988 18,791 -4.3   Cruze 2,699 32,955 -91.8   47,975 142,617 -66.4   Equinox 92,092 98,239 -6.3   346,048 332,618 4.0   Express 16,652 22,543 -26.1   77,457 81,239 -4.7   Impala 9,545 12,604 -24.3   44,978 56,556 -20.5   LCF 1,273 940 35.4   4,495 2,810 60.0   Malibu 34,314 37,084 -7.5   131,917 144,542 -8.7   Silverado HD 36,704 34,222 7.3   131,953 142,632 -7.5   Silverado LD 124,619 126,950 -1.8   438,686 442,943 -1.0   Silverado MD 2,018 6 ***.*   4,961 6 ***.*   Sonic 3,339 2,765 20.8   13,971 20,613 -32.2   Spark 11,016 5,174 112.9   31,281 23,602 32.5   Suburban 10,242 15,200 -32.6   51,928 60,633 -14.4   Tahoe 21,086 24,679 -14.6   101,189 104,153 -2.8   Traverse 33,631 39,536 -14.9   147,122 146,534 0.4   Trax 33,039 22,378 47.6   116,816 89,916 29.9   Volt 370 5,063 -92.7   4,910 18,306 -73.2   Chevrolet Total 499,404 531,985 -6.1   1,958,925 2,036,023 -3.8   Acadia 19,471 25,128 -22.5   99,429 88,621 12.2   Canyon 6,525 8,219 -20.6   32,825 33,492 -2.0   Savana 3,136 2,905 8.0   24,226 19,684 23.1   Sierra HD 18,228 16,550 10.1   59,871 60,389 -0.9   Sierra LD 50,494 50,762 -0.5   172,452 159,165 8.3   Terrain 28,060 31,595 -11.2   101,470 114,314 -11.2   Yukon 20,966 25,366 -17.3   74,673 80,784 -7.6   GMC Total 146,880 160,525 -8.5   564,946 556,449 1.5   GM Vehicle Total* 735,909 785,229 -6.3   2,887,046 2,954,037 -2.3                     78 selling days for the QUARTER 4 this year and 77 for same QUARTER last year.  
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