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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    President Trump Announces EPA Will Reopen Reivew of 2025 Fuel Economy Rules

      Back to the review desk

    In a not surprising move, President Donald Trump announced today that his administration will reopen a review into the 2025 fuel economy standards set by the EPA before the end of President Barack Obama's term. 

    “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again. There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car,” said Trump at an event in the former Willow Run bomber factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan - soon to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles.

    "These standards are costly for automakers and the American people. We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic. This thorough review will help ensure that this national program is good for consumers and good for the environment," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

    In the closing days of President Obama's second term, the EPA announced that it would keep the strict standards that will require automakers to raise their fleetwide fuel economy average to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Automakers cried foul, saying the upcoming standards are costly and out of touch with the current market (i.e. low gas prices and people gobbling up crossovers, pickups, and SUVs). 

    It is expected that the 54.5 mpg average will drop, but no one is sure how much it would drop.

    Reaction to this announcement has been mixed. Automakers and lobby groups approve of this move as it allows them to focus on building vehicles people want, instead of being pushed into building vehicles that will not sell.

    "The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," said Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the AutoAlliance, an industry lobby group that represents a number of automakers including Ford and GM.

    Other groups are not so pleased with this move.

    "Today's announcement of backtracking on vehicle standards for model years 2022-2025 puts at risk tens of billions of dollars of fuel savings for consumers and big reductions in tailpipe emissions," said Therese Langer, transportation program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, in a statement.

    "Any delay in settling efficiency standards introduces uncertainty that will disrupt manufacturers' product planning. What is certain is that technological stagnation is not a recipe for continuing the remarkable success our domestic manufacturers have achieved in recent years."

    Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts tells Reuters this move could actually hurt consumers.

    "Filling up their cars and trucks is the energy bill Americans pay most often, but President Trump's roll-back of fuel economy emissions standards means families will end up paying more at the pump," said Markey

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters, Roadshow

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    FINALLY.  This needs to happen quickly so the car companies know what to plan for and spend on.  This will be a boon to the auto companies and consumers who are being autonomously steered toward something they do not want... simply put.

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    6 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    Well... what is the take rate for Ecodiesel v. hemi?  There is a tipping point I would say.  Ram is the easiest example.

     

    That's because the expdeisel costs more to buy but maybe I'm just using common sense math here lol. 

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    8 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    Well... what is the take rate for Ecodiesel v. hemi?  There is a tipping point I would say.  Ram is the easiest example.

     

    EcoDiesel is currently not for sale, when sold is sold in limited quantities, and is never offered at discount or special pricing like the hemi is. GM is selling every diesel Canyonado they can build, even at the substantial price increase over the V6.

     

    How about another comparison.... 2.7 EB or 3.5 EB verse 5.0 in an F150? Ford is selling the crap out of the Ecoboost trucks with the promise of better fuel economy (even if I personally find the validity of the claim to be dubious)

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    19 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    What consumers don't want better fuel economy?  Even truck buyers want to squeeze an extra mpg out of their vehicles when they can.

    Consumers want to flap their arms and fly too but that is not going to happen. 

    Here is the deal. Yes everyone wants more MPG but the reality of technology and physic are creating cars people really don't want or like. 

    The demise of the large RWD sedan just increased sales of large trucks and suv models.  If asked or given the choice of more MPG in a Smart car or a vehicle like a truck most buyers would chose the truck or suv. 

    Automaker are just to the point where they are struggling to sell cars and larger CUV and Suv models are ruling. Many people want power but you have to temper it with for MPG. They want MPG but to make it lighter cost more money. 

    The bottom line is there is no silver bullet here. Electric is still a life style changer or many  to drive and also an even higher priced option. 

    This is a situation that needs to be reviewed every year and engineers not politicians need to access just what the market can or can not do. Also some marketing people need to be involved to gauge what people will put up with. 

    I do not know anyone who wants dirty air or lower MPG but just how much are they willing to pay and just how much are they willing to give up in vehicle size. 

    This needs to be balanced and accessed each year to gain the most MPG we can but not at a risk of jobs and or economic damage to the automakers. Too often the laws like from the last administration had little to no consideration for the Automaker health. They hate Co operations and if they die they are happy. What they forget are the millions that work for them or depend on them to make a living and feed their families. 

    This is something both sides need to work on together and not get any far out wacko ideas. Keep it real and advance it yearly but realistically. 

    54 MPG just was not obtainable unless more advances are made to make electric cars cheaper and faster to charge. We will get there but there is still so much work to do. 

     

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    The crossover replaced the uncool wagon and minivan... That's all.   People want the ability to haul all the their crap. In 1977, you got a Colony Park. In 1987, you got a Mercury Sable Wagon while the Missus got a Town and Country. In 1997, you got a Mercury Mountaineer and the Mrs got an Windstar. In 2007, you're in a pair of Explorers. In 2017, you're in a crossover explorer and she in an edge.

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    I can see this getting pushed out but many states have adopted CA carb standard and that will continue to force the auto companies to build auto's with better MPG.

    Trump needs to put his own cash where his idiot mouth is. Talks about American Auto's and yet drives a Rolls.

    TrumpAuto.jpg

    I only own American and I support everywhere I can American business first and then move outside the company for items that are not built here.

    If you care about making sure your neighbor has a job by buying American made products first, we would be better off.

    Trump and his SPAWN buy foreign, make the crap they pirate from others in China and try to preach his America Great again.

    Double Standard Idiot!!!

    Back up your words with proof and put your cash into manufacturing and business here rather than say one thing and do another.

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    9 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I can see this getting pushed out but many states have adopted CA carb standard and that will continue to force the auto companies to build auto's with better MPG.

    Trump needs to put his own cash where his idiot mouth is. Talks about American Auto's and yet drives a Rolls.

    TrumpAuto.jpg

    I only own American and I support everywhere I can American business first and then move outside the company for items that are not built here.

    If you care about making sure your neighbor has a job by buying American made products first, we would be better off.

    Trump and his SPAWN buy foreign, make the crap they pirate from others in China and try to preach his America Great again.

    Double Standard Idiot!!!

    Back up your words with proof and put your cash into manufacturing and business here rather than say one thing and do another.

    What else do you expect from the hypocrite in charge. Do as he says, not how he does. BUY MURICAN!

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    About President Trump driving a Rolls-Royce, what do you expect from a billionaire?  People like him are their primary target market.

    As for wanting to reduce the mileage standards, I will believe it when an actual BILL is passed and Trump signs it.  CAFE was a bad idea in 1975 and it is a bad idea now.  If Trump and the GOP were smart, they would simply abolish CAFE for good.

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    Would be cool to see vehicles imported from California hit with a yuge tariff some day.  I am so done with them.

    6 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    EcoDiesel is currently not for sale, when sold is sold in limited quantities, and is never offered at discount or special pricing like the hemi is. GM is selling every diesel Canyonado they can build, even at the substantial price increase over the V6.

     

    How about another comparison.... 2.7 EB or 3.5 EB verse 5.0 in an F150? Ford is selling the crap out of the Ecoboost trucks with the promise of better fuel economy (even if I personally find the validity of the claim to be dubious)

    Lately I've made it a point to look for Ford trucks WITHOUT an Ecoboost badge.  Those are guys I would more likely befriend than those nincompoops with their Rube Goldberg turbo sixes.

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    4 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Would be cool to see vehicles imported from California hit with a yuge tariff some day.  I am so done with them.

    Lately I've made it a point to look for Ford trucks WITHOUT an Ecoboost badge.  Those are guys I would more likely befriend than those nincompoops with their Rube Goldberg turbo sixes.

    I also prefer the V8 myself and am still not a fan of the EB 3.5 after a 1000 mile trip in an Expedition EL last week.... however, the point was that people still want better fuel economy even from their trucks and are willing to take a swing with new technology to get it. 

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    @ocnblu How about rather than being a negative number troll, if you are gonna give a guy a negative down vote for what they post also post a counter argument for why you disagree. 

    If not then you are doing what many here do not like and that is trolling just to troll.

    I know you are better than that Mr. Blu and I look forward to your counterpoint to my post.

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    5 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    @ocnblu How about rather than being a negative number troll, if you are gonna give a guy a negative down vote for what they post also post a counter argument for why you disagree. 

    If not then you are doing what many here do not like and that is trolling just to troll.

    I know you are better than that Mr. Blu and I look forward to your counterpoint to my post.

    It is pretty petty but some people hate facts. My question would be how the hell is he able to give two negative votes at once where everyone else gets one every 24 hours? 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    Quote

     

    Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

    "What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

    "Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

    "Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

    — Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record.

     

     
     
    Trump is tilting at windmills. Just because the EPA standards are relaxed doesn't mean automakers can start putting V8s in everything again.  They still have to build vehicles for a global market. Manufacturers would rather not build multiple variations of the same car. The engines in the meat of the market are going to be the same.  So the same 4-cylinder that powers an ATS in the US is going to power an ATS in Europe and an ATS in China. 
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    And while ocnblu wants to poopoo the Trump stance, he should understand that this whole deal reeks of cronimism and corporate back scratching (on top of the hypocrisy), courtesy of having a man in charge of the EPA who was in the middle of suing said department prior to his appointment and having an OIL TYCOON as our Secretary of State to help broker these new deals. If you don't see the obvious problem there, then there is no helping you.

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    I agree that cronyism and hypocrisy is strong in this administration.  That is why Trump's stance seems so weird.  Automation will eventually end employment in building cars one day. 

    What Trump NEEDS to do is get Congress to do its job and dump CAFE entirely.  Yes, 4cyl and 6cyl will be the rule because of China and Europe.  Also CARB (which is tougher and worse than CAFE) still exists but California has two good reasons for that: Los Angeles SMOG (which is what inspired CARB in the first place) and high gas prices.  Admittedly, the smog problem is not as severe as it was during the 1970s but I doubt anyone wants to go back to multiple smog advisories throughout the year.  CA gas prices are also much higher than most of the continental United States, despite the fact that a lot of oil is pumped out of CA (not like Texas, but still) mostly because of higher gas taxes.

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    I really thought that the politics were to stay in that forum. While I understand overlap in auto's and government this thread is rife with it. Let's think of a balanced approach to our thoughts maybe in the model of riviera74 I understand his politics and I see some points that I can agree with instead of just muck raking. I've been around for quite a while seen em come and go miss quite a few but never those flamers. I often wonder how many left so as not to get worked up instead of reading auto news and learning from your friends, and most here I have grown to think of as a friend. I miss the soapbox and 2 cent emojis, too lazy to go to the puter. ;-)

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    I don't see much change at all coming to the standards.  Consumers still want better fuel economy.  And large cars don't sell, even midsize cars like Camry and Accord are getting replaced by RAV4's and CRV's that get about the same mileage.  So as people tend to downsize, it helps get the average up.

    The other thing to consider is not just CA CARB, but China.  China has displacement taxes and are putting in tougher emissions regulations and all these car makers are global.  GM or Ford or Toyota isn't going to make an engine for the USA, an engine for Europe and an engine for China.  It is cheaper to just make the same 1.5 liter turbo 4 that sips gas and meets emission requirements in all 3 markets.

    And lastly when you get more electrification in, then fuel economy soars.  Look at a 90s cell phone battery compared to now.  In 20 years (granted well past 2025) a car like a Tesla Model S might go 800 miles on a single charge and cost $50,000.  Just think of this, in 2005 YouTube and smart phones didn't exist.  In another 10 years time, there may be electrified cars that we can't even think of now.

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    22 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    FINALLY.  This needs to happen quickly so the car companies know what to plan for and spend on.  This will be a boon to the auto companies and consumers who are being autonomously steered toward something they do not want... simply put.

    right, and then something better than a no power 1500 cc engine that requires reprogramming so it doesn't implode, and ends up losing 15% of its advertised mpg. (refer to me for more)

    21 hours ago, hyperv6 said:

    Consumers want to flap their arms and fly too but that is not going to happen. 

    Here is the deal. Yes everyone wants more MPG but the reality of technology and physic are creating cars people really don't want or like. 

    The demise of the large RWD sedan just increased sales of large trucks and suv models.  If asked or given the choice of more MPG in a Smart car or a vehicle like a truck most buyers would chose the truck or suv. 

    Automaker are just to the point where they are struggling to sell cars and larger CUV and Suv models are ruling. Many people want power but you have to temper it with for MPG. They want MPG but to make it lighter cost more money. 

    The bottom line is there is no silver bullet here. Electric is still a life style changer or many  to drive and also an even higher priced option. 

    This is a situation that needs to be reviewed every year and engineers not politicians need to access just what the market can or can not do. Also some marketing people need to be involved to gauge what people will put up with. 

    I do not know anyone who wants dirty air or lower MPG but just how much are they willing to pay and just how much are they willing to give up in vehicle size. 

    This needs to be balanced and accessed each year to gain the most MPG we can but not at a risk of jobs and or economic damage to the automakers. Too often the laws like from the last administration had little to no consideration for the Automaker health. They hate Co operations and if they die they are happy. What they forget are the millions that work for them or depend on them to make a living and feed their families. 

    This is something both sides need to work on together and not get any far out wacko ideas. Keep it real and advance it yearly but realistically. 

    54 MPG just was not obtainable unless more advances are made to make electric cars cheaper and faster to charge. We will get there but there is still so much work to do. 

     

    every day now wishing i would have went for power and not mpg.  there is a middle ground, time to start bringing the optionla higher power motors back and charing less for their options.

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    There is too much latitude given to leftists on this site who want to spout their bs... any possible chance to inject their warped politics into a thread, and it is left unchecked.  Not what I signed up for fifteen or so years ago when I first started posting here.  I am answering a-hole posts with a-hole posts.

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    25 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    There is too much latitude given to leftists on this site who want to spout their bs... any possible chance to inject their warped politics into a thread, and it is left unchecked.  Not what I signed up for fifteen or so years ago when I first started posting here.  I am answering a-hole posts with a-hole posts.

    Some people would say the feeling is mutual. I wouldn't know though because I'm not a leftist. 

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    29 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    There is too much latitude given to leftists on this site who want to spout their bs... any possible chance to inject their warped politics into a thread, and it is left unchecked.  Not what I signed up for fifteen or so years ago when I first started posting here.  I am answering a-hole posts with a-hole posts.

    There is nothing left or right about pointing out the hypocrisy of a man who tells people to "Buy American" but doesn't buy American himself.  It's not even political.  Romney told people to buy American and he would roll around in Yukon Denalis and DTSes....  McCain had a CTS.... Obama had a 300 and an Escape Hybrid prior to becoming President.  Four Presidential candidates there, across the political spectrum... only one can be called a hypocrite about his automotive purchases against the backdrop of his rhetoric. 

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      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
      If you're worried that the polarizing ideas from the exterior make their way inside, don't. The interior is surprisingly sedate with clean lines and a simple design. Hyundai should be commended for using a lot of soft-touch plastics and leather on various surfaces. It makes the Sonata look and feel more premium than its price tag may suggest.

      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Do you need a V8 engine in your flagship luxury sedan? That's a question I posed myself when a Genesis G90 equipped with a 5.0L V8 engine was dropped off for a week. The standard G90 with the twin-turbo V6 offers an impressive amount of performance and refinement. But the V8 offers much more power, along with some extra goodies you cannot get with the V6. 
      Since our last visit with the G90, Genesis has given a bit of a facelift. The front end prominently features a new diamond-shape. I found myself growing to like it, even if I thought it was a tad too large. But I can see this becoming a point of contention. Other changes include new wheels and a restyled rear end that makes the G90 look a bit cleaner. No changes of note for the interior. It still is very luxurious to sit in and the controls are logically laid out. The only item I'm sad not to see is the new 12.3-inch digital cluster that is found in the all-new G80 and GV80. Opting for the Ultimate means back seat passengers get their own screens mounted behind the front seats. This allows you to tap into the G90's infotainment system to play audio, check various information, and look at the navigation system. Ultimate models come with the larger 5.0L V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The V8 is a bit of a tough sell when compared to the twin-turbo 3.3L V6 as it slower off the line and not as flexible whenever you need to accelerate quickly. Both engines also are similar in terms of refinement, offer a muted engine note. The only place I found the V8 to be slightly better than the V6 was in my average fuel economy. The V8 returned 24.7 mpg, while the V6 only got 20.3 mpg. A combination of the V8 G90 being rear-wheel and not all-wheel, along with more miles being done on the highway likely contributed to the better fuel economy figures. Ride quality is still on the hallmarks of the G90. With the adaptive suspension in either SMART or Comfort, the G90 glides along any road surface with nary a bump or pothole coming inside.  Around bends, the G90 doesn't feel at home with a fair amount of body roll. There is a Sport model to help reduce this, along with adding more weight to the steering. For the as-tested price of $76,695, you are getting quite a lot of equipment. There are LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, power sunshades, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, memory settings for seats, and much more. The only way I could recommend the G90 Ultimate is either if you're operating a livery service or just want a V8 engine no matter what. Otherwise, you'll be happy with the G90 Premium and its twin-turbo V6. That said, the current G90 is starting to show its age, especially when compared to some of the new Genesis models such as the G80 and GV80. A new model is coming down the pipeline and if the recent models are any indication, the G90 has a real shot of becoming one of the best luxury sedans. Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G90, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Genesis
      Model: G90
      Trim: 5.0 Ultimate
      Engine: 5.0L GDI V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 4,817 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
      Base Price: $75,700
      As Tested Price: $76,695 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
  • Posts

    • On a side note, all of my closest friends recently bought bikes either this year or last year and it REALLY has given me the itch. I just don't have a garage for one yet and couldn't justify spending the money when we have a home to finish and garage to build.. Two of them have some Harley of sorts and two of them have Indians, none of them are my style or anywhere near what I would want to ride. I'm a HUGE fan of the naked sporty bikes.  Something like a Monster 796,  Triumph Street Triple 675, Yamaha MT-09, would be perfect for me
    • ^ Not sure it's that specific; on the Silverado/Sierra, the active safety features package is optional, and costs $890. I do think electronics in general are responsible for most of the recent price escalations. I can easily see calling claims of 'BE's are going to cost the same or less than ICs' as "misinformation".   
    • Yeah, that's probably true for most vehicles.  The big GM (and probably Ford and Chrysler) V8s are probably the exceptions as they just loaf along at 1500 RPM at 65 and dropping below that would lug them.  This BMW doesn't mind being lugged... just twist and go. 
    • I'm a very easy driving person so I have thought every vehicle I've ever driven could use a little taller top gear... If I'm just cruising, I don't need many RPM. I'll downshift(or it'll do it for me) to pass if I really need to. 
    • I'm still being very gentle on it as I'm getting comfortable with it, but yeah, it's just like that.  I've read reviews where the reviewer wishes 6th gear was a bit taller, but I haven't been at 6th gear speed long enough to comment on that yet.  I'm just doing all back roads to work and back, and haven't gotten it over 60mph yet. Still pretty nervous. 
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