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    William Maley

    Interactive Review: 2020 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar

      A mad Swedish Wagon arrives for a week-long review

    Taking the place of the Genesis G70 this week in the C&G Detroit Bureau is the 2020 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar. Aside from the long name, this Volvo gives us our first chance to check out the T8 powertrain. In Volvo terms, this is a 2.0L four-cylinder that comes super and turbocharged, and boasts two electric motors. This gives a total of 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque. It also gives the wagon an electric only range of 22 miles - something I'll be checking out once I get the battery fully charged.

    Pricing on this wagon comes in at an as-tested price of $68,940.

    Some first impressions below,

    • This powertrain pulls the V60 along like a train.
    • Being a Polestar Engineered model, the V60 comes with adjustable Ohlins Dampers and a stiffer front strut bar. I can't comfirm its handling characteristics yet, but can say ride quality is a bit on the rough side.
    • Gold seatbelts.

    I'll have a bit more to talk about as the week goes on with the V60 Polestar, so stay tuned. Also, drop a question or two on this speedy Swede.

    2020 Volvo V60 Polestar 3.jpg2020 Volvo V60 Polestar 2.jpgYV1BK0EP9L1354276.png

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    I honestly have to say this looks good, but complicated from a power train standpoint.

    Questions:

    1. Is this just a less luxury version of the V90?
    2. How does it compare room wise to the XC version inside?
    3. Other than a lower AWD auto, a comparison to the XC60 and how it compares to the 90 series would be great.
    4. Does it feel like your sitting in a hole when you get in?
    5. How does the Greenhouse feel over all from the inside? Bunker like?
    6. Is there any noticeable transition between ICE and EV?
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    1 hour ago, balthazar said:

    $69 grand for a volvo? 🥴

    You haven't seen anything yet, an XC90 can reach $100k.

    2 hours ago, David said:

    I honestly have to say this looks good, but complicated from a power train standpoint.

    Questions:

    1. Is this just a less luxury version of the V90?
    2. How does it compare room wise to the XC version inside?
    3. Other than a lower AWD auto, a comparison to the XC60 and how it compares to the 90 series would be great.
    4. Does it feel like your sitting in a hole when you get in?
    5. How does the Greenhouse feel over all from the inside? Bunker like?
    6. Is there any noticeable transition between ICE and EV?
    1. Not really, I would say the V60 and V90 are similar in terms of features and packages.
    2. No real change in terms of seating space when compared to the V60 Cross Country I drove earlier in the year. You will notice a shortage of storage space due to the battery.
    3. Will revisit later in the week as I need more driving time before comparing it to a S90. No experience with the XC60.
    4. Not really.
    5. Surprisingly airy.
    6. Not that I have come across yet. Will revisit after I have more time.
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    A wagon is going to be a non-seller.  I don't think $69k is a bad price for that level of performance and the fuel economy and electric range.  I think if this was a little cheaper it would be more compelling, also if it was rear wheel drive based.  On power they top the CT4/CT5-V and Genesis G70 and Acura TLX Type-S which is about $55k.  

    I assume this is available in sedan version or will be, I think the current Volvos look good on the inside and out, but I'd question the performance of the front wheel drive chassis compared to all the rear drive cars in the $60-70k range.  At $40k, it doesn't matter, you aren't getting big performance at that price.

     

    Question is he is how is handling and performance compared to the cheaper G70, because Volvo is pushing this as a performance car and nearing some AMG and M pricing.

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    A wagon is going to be a non-seller.  I don't think $69k is a bad price for that level of performance and the fuel economy and electric range.  I think if this was a little cheaper it would be more compelling, also if it was rear wheel drive based.  On power they top the CT4/CT5-V and Genesis G70 and Acura TLX Type-S which is about $55k.  

    I assume this is available in sedan version or will be, I think the current Volvos look good on the inside and out, but I'd question the performance of the front wheel drive chassis compared to all the rear drive cars in the $60-70k range.  At $40k, it doesn't matter, you aren't getting big performance at that price.

     

    Question is he is how is handling and performance compared to the cheaper G70, because Volvo is pushing this as a performance car and nearing some AMG and M pricing.

    Your FWD assertions are irrelevant since this an AWD only model. The Mercedes CLA 45 AMG doesn’t seems to face the same scrutiny despite its FWD roots though. I wonder why?

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    7 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    Your FWD assertions are irrelevant since this an AWD only model. The Mercedes CLA 45 AMG doesn’t seems to face the same scrutiny despite its FWD roots though. I wonder why?

    I’d gladly match up the CLA45’s performance against the V60 Polestar.  The CLA45 is 700 lbs lighter, that’s a lot less weight to haul around.  
     

    Also Volvo S60/V60 are sized and priced more like a C-class.  The problem with these Polestar Volvos, or any Volvo, is they don’t have better performance than an AMG or M or Tesla, don’t have a better interior than an Audi or Mercedes, aren’t priced better than a Genesis.   So the brand is kind of lost.

     

    And does this performance Volvo have a top speed of 112 mph because of safety restrictions?

     

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    I’d gladly match up the CLA45’s performance against the V60 Polestar.  The CLA45 is 700 lbs lighter, that’s a lot less weight to haul around.  
     

    Also Volvo S60/V60 are sized and priced more like a C-class.  The problem with these Polestar Volvos, or any Volvo, is they don’t have better performance than an AMG or M or Tesla, don’t have a better interior than an Audi or Mercedes, aren’t priced better than a Genesis.   So the brand is kind of lost.

     

    And does this performance Volvo have a top speed of 112 mph because of safety restrictions?

     

    Missed the point by a country mile. We will skip the part where, duh, yes the CLA is lighter. That’s because it’s a smaller car and add to the fact that the Volvo is a hybrid. It does not change my point or statement whatsoever. The time you spend tearing down anything without that precious tri-Star on the hood is simply baffling. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    2 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    Missed the point by a country mile. We will skip the part where, duh, yes the CLA is lighter. That’s because it’s a smaller car and add to the fact that the Volvo is a hybrid. It does not change my point or statement whatsoever. The time you spend tearing down anything without that precious tri-Star on the hood is simply baffling. 

    I didn't tear it down, I said it isn't a bad price for the combo of performance and fuel economy.  But wagons are non-sellers in general.  And this new era of Volvo is much better than it was in the Ford ownership days, but I don't think a single product they make is considered near the top in their segment and a 2 liter 4 cylinder is the biggest engine the brand has.  That's a fine engine for small sedans and crossovers but can you imagine Cadillac saying the biggest engine they will offer is a 2 liter 4 cylinder?  Or that the CT5-V will have a top speed of 112 mph?

    And the CLA45 has great performance for front wheel drive, but it is doesn't have the performance of a C63 or GLC63 that send power to the rear wheels.  I am not anti front wheel drive, I am anti-front wheel drive for $70,000 when there are significantly better performing rear wheel drive cars at that price.  

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    9 hours ago, regfootball said:

    Good thing that this one at that price, the final assembly at least in Sweden.  not say, China.

    Some V60s are built in Belgium...the S60 sedan is assembled in S. Carolina.

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    On 8/22/2020 at 12:36 PM, smk4565 said:

    I didn't tear it down, I said it isn't a bad price for the combo of performance and fuel economy.  But wagons are non-sellers in general.  And this new era of Volvo is much better than it was in the Ford ownership days, but I don't think a single product they make is considered near the top in their segment and a 2 liter 4 cylinder is the biggest engine the brand has.  That's a fine engine for small sedans and crossovers but can you imagine Cadillac saying the biggest engine they will offer is a 2 liter 4 cylinder?  Or that the CT5-V will have a top speed of 112 mph?

    And the CLA45 has great performance for front wheel drive, but it is doesn't have the performance of a C63 or GLC63 that send power to the rear wheels.  I am not anti front wheel drive, I am anti-front wheel drive for $70,000 when there are significantly better performing rear wheel drive cars at that price.  

    Well good thing its not FWD. It’s AWD and while you rag on the lack of cylinders, you skip the fact that it is over 400HP and pulls like a train and is faster off the line than the Benz E450 (with a price that is only slightly higher than the CLA45 AMG with its FOUR cylinders and less power). And where in the article does it mention a 112MPH limit (which doesn’t mean $h! anyway in the U.S. given that we have this little thing called “speed limits”)? Oh, thats right. It isn’t limited to 112. Here are the numbers from another source:


    TEST RESULTS
    Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
    60 mph: 4.4 sec
    100 mph: 10.9 sec
    130 mph: 21.7 sec
    Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
    Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
    Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.4 sec
    ¼-mile: 12.9 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 131 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.96 g

     

     

     

    If you’re going to slam a non-Mercedes car, make sure you slam it with actual facts.

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    Some quick updates on the V60 Polestar after a few days

    • On 120V, a full charge takes between 8-10 hours. I don't know if the charger can handle a 240V outlet, going to bring in the owners manual to find out.
    • Able to squeeze out around 24 miles on just electric power alone
    • Handling is pretty decent with minimal body roll and quick steering. But you can tell there is a lot of weight because of the battery pack and electric motor
    • Volvo Sensus has been actually behaving unlike in the previous S60/V60 I drove earlier in the year. Boots up slightly faster and hasn't run into performance bottlenecks.

     

    On 8/21/2020 at 10:55 PM, smk4565 said:

    Question is he is how is handling and performance compared to the cheaper G70, because Volvo is pushing this as a performance car and nearing some AMG and M pricing.

    I would say the G70 is better, mostly due to it being lighter than the V60 Polestar and having slightly better steering. 

    And yes, you can get the S60 in Polestar form.

    On 8/22/2020 at 8:10 AM, smk4565 said:

    And does this performance Volvo have a top speed of 112 mph because of safety restrictions?

    I don't believe so, but I can double check that shortly. I think that 112 mph limit is going to be on future models, and it is really non-issue unless you're driving on the Autobahn or arguing on a forum.

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    9 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    Well good thing its not FWD. It’s AWD and while you rag on the lack of cylinders, you skip the fact that it is over 400HP and pulls like a train and is faster off the line than the Benz E450 (with a price that is only slightly higher than the CLA45 AMG with its FOUR cylinders and less power). And where in the article does it mention a 112MPH limit (which doesn’t mean $h! anyway in the U.S. given that we have this little thing called “speed limits”)? Oh, thats right. It isn’t limited to 112. Here are the numbers from another source:


    TEST RESULTS
    Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
    60 mph: 4.4 sec
    100 mph: 10.9 sec
    130 mph: 21.7 sec
    Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
    Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
    Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.4 sec
    ¼-mile: 12.9 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 131 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.96 g

     

     

     

    If you’re going to slam a non-Mercedes car, make sure you slam it with actual facts.

    First off the E450 is a whole size class bigger than the V60, and the E-class interior blows away an S90, let alone the V60.  Secondly, the V60 has a transverse engine and transmission so all that weight sits over top of the front wheels.  The last V60 Polestar has a 60/40 weight split which is no bueno.  

    A more fair fight for the Volvo would be a a CLA45 shooting brake if they make another one, or even a GLB45 would be closer in size, price and performance.   The plus for Volvo is no direct competitor exists, this is like a luxury trim Subaru STi Wagon.  

    Although a Tesla Model Y Performance with Autopilot is $69k and is very close in size to a V60 Polestar, and the Tesla is more efficient and does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

    As far as top speed, Volvo said a year ago that they would start limiting all their products to 112 mph top speed.  

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    2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    First off the E450 is a whole size class bigger than the V60, and the E-class interior blows away an S90, let alone the V60.  Secondly, the V60 has a transverse engine and transmission so all that weight sits over top of the front wheels.  The last V60 Polestar has a 60/40 weight split which is no bueno.  

    A more fair fight for the Volvo would be a a CLA45 shooting brake if they make another one, or even a GLB45 would be closer in size, price and performance.   The plus for Volvo is no direct competitor exists, this is like a luxury trim Subaru STi Wagon.  

    Although a Tesla Model Y Performance with Autopilot is $69k and is very close in size to a V60 Polestar, and the Tesla is more efficient and does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

    As far as top speed, Volvo said a year ago that they would start limiting all their products to 112 mph top speed.  

    The CLA is as short compared to the V60 as the V60 is to the E Class and you totally missed the point of it any way. You were wrong on the speed limit (only took me thirty seconds to find the numbers posted above from another publication) and as William said, that limit doesn’t mean squat unless you live in Germany. The V60 weighs pretty much the same as an E Class wagon (depending on trims). Despite its much heavier weight and “only” a four banger under the hood, it moves pretty damn well and at a faster pace than that larger and equal weight E Class.

     

    BTW, the Tesla Y is twelve inches longer than the Volvo so if we can’t compare the Volvo to the E Class, then you can’t compare it to the Y. 
     

    And as unpredictable as a Volvo can be, in the reliability department, Tesla’s (on average) are even worse. 
     

    Edit: While starting in 2021, a Volvo’s will be speed limited to 112, this is a 2020 model which is not. Still a pointless argument unless the Autobahn is your main route to work everyday. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    6 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    The CLA is as short compared to the V60 as the V60 is to the E Class and you totally missed the point of it any way. You were wrong on the speed limit (only took me thirty seconds to find the numbers posted above from another publication) and as William said, that limit doesn’t mean squat unless you live in Germany. The V60 weighs pretty much the same as an E Class wagon (depending on trims). Despite its much heavier weight and “only” a four banger under the hood, it moves pretty damn well and at a faster pace than that larger and equal weight E Class.

    The V90 is their E450 wagon competitor.  

    The V60 Polestar has good performance, but there are better performance/luxury cars for $69k.  

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    10 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    The V90 is their E450 wagon competitor.  

    The V60 Polestar has good performance, but there are better performance/luxury cars for $69k.  

    Name ONE current wagon, in its class and price range, thats better.

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    On 8/21/2020 at 1:03 PM, David said:

    I honestly have to say this looks good, but complicated from a power train standpoint.

    Questions:

    1. Is this just a less luxury version of the V90?

    It's a different size class.  The V90 is E-Class sized. The V60 is C-Class sized.  Though those are external measurements.  Both are roomier than their Benz counterparts.

    On 8/21/2020 at 5:09 PM, balthazar said:

    Prolly why I never see any.

    Or maybe it’s ‘notice’.

    It's probably "notice".  The XC90 is one of their best sellers.  I see a bunch of them around. The $100k ones are rare though, but aside from fancier wheel's there is nothing externally that differentiates them from the $60k ones.

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    On 8/22/2020 at 8:10 AM, smk4565 said:

    I’d gladly match up the CLA45’s performance against the V60 Polestar.  The CLA45 is 700 lbs lighter, that’s a lot less weight to haul around.  
     

    Also Volvo S60/V60 are sized and priced more like a C-class.  The problem with these Polestar Volvos, or any Volvo, is they don’t have better performance than an AMG or M or Tesla, don’t have a better interior than an Audi or Mercedes, aren’t priced better than a Genesis.   So the brand is kind of lost.

     

    And does this performance Volvo have a top speed of 112 mph because of safety restrictions?

     

    The Volvo interiors are definitely on-par with Benz or Audi when comparably equipped. The Volvo design is just different compared to the highly technical look of the Germans (particularly the Audi). I really love the minimalist design of the Volvo interiors and their seats are The. Best. In. Comfort. Periodt.

    In the earlier versions of this platform, the infotainment system could be a bit laggy and frustrating, but they've increased the processor and ram on them and they operate well now.

    Due to a quirk in the trade in market right now, we may trade the Encore in on an S90 fairly soon.  Carvana is offering $10k for it and for a 7 year old, 100k mile car with a few dings, I'm thinking I should take it.  Other dealerships are only offering $7,200.

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    22 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    Well good thing its not FWD. It’s AWD and while you rag on the lack of cylinders, you skip the fact that it is over 400HP and pulls like a train and is faster off the line than the Benz E450 (with a price that is only slightly higher than the CLA45 AMG with its FOUR cylinders and less power). And where in the article does it mention a 112MPH limit (which doesn’t mean $h! anyway in the U.S. given that we have this little thing called “speed limits”)? Oh, thats right. It isn’t limited to 112. Here are the numbers from another source:


    TEST RESULTS
    Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
    60 mph: 4.4 sec
    100 mph: 10.9 sec
    130 mph: 21.7 sec
    Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.8 sec
    Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
    Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.4 sec
    ¼-mile: 12.9 sec @ 107 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 131 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.96 g

     

     

     

    If you’re going to slam a non-Mercedes car, make sure you slam it with actual facts.

     

    16 hours ago, William Maley said:

    Some quick updates on the V60 Polestar after a few days

    • On 120V, a full charge takes between 8-10 hours. I don't know if the charger can handle a 240V outlet, going to bring in the owners manual to find out.
    • Able to squeeze out around 24 miles on just electric power alone
    • Handling is pretty decent with minimal body roll and quick steering. But you can tell there is a lot of weight because of the battery pack and electric motor
    • Volvo Sensus has been actually behaving unlike in the previous S60/V60 I drove earlier in the year. Boots up slightly faster and hasn't run into performance bottlenecks.

     

    I would say the G70 is better, mostly due to it being lighter than the V60 Polestar and having slightly better steering. 

    And yes, you can get the S60 in Polestar form.

    I don't believe so, but I can double check that shortly. I think that 112 mph limit is going to be on future models, and it is really non-issue unless you're driving on the Autobahn or arguing on a forum.

    For clarity Volvo brand will have the top speed limit, but anything Polestar will negate that. Polestars won't be governed. 

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      Prius XLE AWD-e
      The Prius AWD-e powertrain is mostly the same as you'll find in the standard model - a 1.8L inline-four paired with an electric motor to provide an output of 121 horsepower. But, the e-AWD adds a second electric motor producing 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet onto the rear axle. This provides extra traction and helps with initial acceleration (up to 6 mph). The other change deals with the battery as Toyota swaps the lithium-ion pack for a nickel-metal hydride. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride chemistry has better resilience in extremely cold temperatures. Does the addition of a second electric motor make the Prius any faster? Not at all. It feels the same as the standard Prius; fine in stop-go driving, but struggling during hard acceleration such as merging onto a freeway. The AWD system is very unobtrusive, you don’t notice come on when one of the front wheels loses traction. There is an important caveat to note; this system only operates up to 43 mph. This is likely due to Toyota wanting to keep somewhat high fuel economy figures. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Prius AWD-e at 52 City/48 Highway/50 Combined - the lowest of any Prius model. My average for the week was a slightly disappointing 47 mpg. Handling characteristics are the same as the standard Prius. It's slightly fun to drive on winding roads with minimal body roll, but the steering is lackluster. Ride comfort is excellent with most bumps being ironed out. The AWD option does make the Prius a more appealing option for those living in the snow belt who still want excellent fuel economy. Corolla XSE Hatchback

      Toyota wants to make it clear the XSE is the sporting version of the Corolla Hatchback and it shows on the exterior. There is a distinct rear wing, 18-inch wheels with black inserts, and a body kit that makes the hatchback stand out from the plain-jane SE. Power comes from the same 2.0L inline-four found in the SE, producing 169 horsepower. In my tester, I had the standard six-speed manual. The CVT is an option. I was hoping for a slight improvement in overall performance with the manual, but it’s similar to the CVT. The engine feels more suited around town where it can get up to speed pretty quick. But it does show some signs of struggling when trying to reach higher speeds. The manual transmission is a mixed bag. The throws are a bit too long for any sort of enthusiastic driving and it is slightly difficult to slot into the next gear due to the vague feeling gate. But, the clutch is very easy to modulate. Despite having a sportier tune for the suspension, I couldn't tell any difference in the handling between this and the SE hatchback I drove in 2020. Both feel agile and composed when driven on a curvy stretch of pavement. I will say the SE does a better job of minimizing impacts from bumps and potholes with smaller wheels. The only reasons I see picking the XSE over the SE is for the more aggressive looks and additional standard equipment (dual-zone climate control, 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and power-adjustable driver seat). Otherwise, the SE offers the same driving dynamics, manual transmission, and a slightly better ride for less money. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius AWD-e
      Trim: XLE
      Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve VVT-i Four-Cylinder, AC Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: ECVT, All Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 96 @ 5,200 (Gas): 71 @ 0 (Electric Motor 1): 7 @ 0 (Electric Motor 2): 121 (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 3,600 (Gas): 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 52/48/50
      Curb Weight: 3,220 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $28,375
      As Tested Price: $31,757 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Technology Package - $800.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Corolla Hatchback
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.0 DOHC 15-Valve D-4S with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 168 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
      Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $23,240
      As Tested Price: $26,450 (Includes $955.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Black Roof, Spoiler, and Side Mirrors - $500.00
      Adaptive Headlights - $415.00
      Rear Window Spoiler - $375.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $249.00
      Door Sill Protectors - $165.00
      Black Emblem Overlays - $129.00
      Mudguards - $129.00
      Door Edge Guard - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
      TRD Air Filter - $79.00
    • By William Maley
      There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
      What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models. I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.  The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics. Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional. As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop. The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears. Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard. Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club. The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $31,670
      As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
      What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models. I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.  The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics. Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional. As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop. The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears. Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard. Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club. The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $31,670
      As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      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

      View full article
  • Posts

    • UPDATE : My brother has bowed out of the engine rebuild pecking order; he's way too busy with work & building a garage/apartment addition at his place, which means I'm up next. Going to try to hold the builder to the promised '3 month turnaround'. But now I have to shift into overdrive and get this out & prepped. 
    • What did one lung say to the other? we be-lung together!   What do you call a lung thief? breathtaking!    Thank-you. Thank-you very much! 
    • While Ford does not come out and say so, multiple news reports who have talked with Ford says it is built on the same platform and Power Train system as the Bronco Sport. Here are two of the multiple reports that state it is the same platform / powertrain as the Bronco Sport. The all-new 2022 Ford Maverick Might Just Change the Game | Edmunds 2022 Ford Maverick: What We Know So Far (caranddriver.com)
    • The question did not specify 4x8 material. There, you should have the tailgate UP and the load overhanging. I merely answered the question looking for a 'load extension'. >>"And the shortest F-150 is only 209”. So what?"<< Again; I was answering the attempted point that 'we haven't had a pickup under 200" ' 1. like that's any sort of criteria, and 2. the Maverick is no where near the stated 188" example S-10.  IMO, implying the Maverick at 200" satisfies an 'unmet market need' when there's a Ranger that's within 5% of the size of the Maverick is illogical.  Of course... the Maverick is within around 5% of an old S-10... 🤔 >>"You did see where I said load with common sense right?"<< Yup, but showing a stack of plywood/whatever 4x8 sheet goods loaded level with the tailgate mostly down and a single 1" strap across the rear of said load is NOT 'loaded using common sense'. The pic I posted with the blue Ranger where it's securely strapped would show 'above & beyond common sense' in securing the load, NOT what Ford showed (as I stated). Loading 8-ft material in a 4.5' bed in ANY scenario is a compromised one, and a less safe one. Can it be done? Yes. Is it advisable from an OEM-suggested POV? Not in my opinion, and I'll bet I have more pick-up loading years' experience than the copywriters who came up with the Maverick's press release. They are trying to be 'everything to everyone', and I understand why, but certain tools are better suited for certain jobs. No one is going to drywall an entire house driving screws with a 4-volt screwdriver. It's possible, but it's not common sensical.
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