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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Cadillac CTS VSport

      Cadillac To Other Automakers: You've Been Put On Notice

    Cadillac has changed a lot during the past decade and a half. Once considered the brand that old folks would buy for their comfort and plushness, Cadillac has grown into a real competitor for the Germans. To see how the brand became a threat, all you need to do look at the CTS. The first and second-generation CTS models showed real promise as Cadillac got the handling and design characteristics right. But there was always something lacking that kept it a few rungs down, whether it be the interior, drivetrain, or something else. Enter the third-generation CTS and Cadillac appears to have taken the lessons it learned from past models, along with a lot of development work to get to this point. Is it a real threat? We spent some time in the CTS VSport model to find out.

     

    In terms of design, the current CTS is toned-down when compared to the last-generation model. There is a fair amount of sharp lines and angles throughout the body, but it doesn’t quite have that shock and awe look that the previous CTS had. Instead, the current CTS’ design is much more fluid and complete. Every panel and line seems to flow and makes the model seem like it was sculpted from a block of steel, not bits and pieces. The only downside to CTS’ design is the rear end as it looks like it was done at the last minute and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the vehicle.

     

    Cadillac has also gotten the details right with the CTS. Little things such as LED lighting, headlights that extend into the front fenders, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust ports. A set of nineteen-inch wheels adds some aggression for the VSport.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 9


    Step inside the CTS’ interior and it's clear to see that Cadillac finally understands how to craft a luxury interior. The last-generation model featured a modern-looking interior, but it was let down by questionable material choices. Cadillac finally has both in the CTS. The interior is meant to be an intimate experience with the dashboard flowing into the door panels and high window sills. Swaths of leather are paired with real aluminum and wood trim. This might be one of the best interiors in the midsize luxury sedan class.

     

    The CTS VSport gets a set of leather seats with extra bolstering to keep you in place when you decide to play. Whenever you decide to stop playing around, you’ll find the seats provide excellent support and comfort for long distances. The back seat may seem small when compared to competitors, but it’s a different story when you sit back there. Even for taller passengers, the rear seat provides more than enough head and legroom.

     

    Infotainment duties are handled by CUE (Cadillac User Experience) and it sadly hasn’t gotten any better. The capacitive touch buttons still don’t always recognize a finger press and you’ll need to hit them a few times for a response. The system is slow to respond to simple tasks such as changing a station or bringing up the navigation. I know criticizing CUE is now at the ‘kicking the dead horse level’, but this is a key part of the vehicle. If it doesn’t work smoothly, you’re going to lose people who are interested in the car.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 7


     

    For power, the CTS VSport employs a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is quite a revelation when you first take it out. It feels more like a V8 in how eager the engine is to get up to speed. Cadillac says 90 percent of the torque is available between 2,500 to 5,500 rpm, giving the engine strong power in most driving conditions. It shows as the CTS VSport was eager to get up to speed at a rapid rate. Also, the engine had a lot of power in reserve for times when it was called on. The eight-speed automatic performed fast gear changes.

     

    Fuel economy for the CTS VSport is rated at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. I saw an average of 20.1 MPG in mostly city driving.

     

    Aside from the twin-turbo engine, the VSport boasts some other goodies. There is a sports-tuned suspension with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system, electronic limited-slip differential, and a set of performance tires. This combination makes the CTS VSport one of, if not the best handling sedan in the class. Put the vehicle into Sport and it hunkers down onto the road. Body motions are nonexistent when cornering and the steering provides excellent feel and weight. When you’re not horsing around and just doing the daily grind, the CTS is a pleasant and comfortable place. Put the CTS VSport into Comfort and suspension will soften to glide over most bumps. Road and wind noise are kept to levels that are considered to be silent.

     

    Cadillac has a real world-beater on their hands with the CTS. In VSport form, the CTS gives all of the midsize luxury sedans a real run for their money in terms of handling and power. The CTS also boasts one of the nicest interiors and unique exteriors in the class. CUE is still a problem for the CTS and Cadillac need to address this system ASAP.

     

    But there are still some issues for Cadillac as a whole. Perceptions of the brand still linger and the dealership experience still doesn’t quite match what you might find other luxury automakers.

     

    So while the CTS is now at a point where it can be considered best-in-class, the rest of Cadillac needs to catch up.

     

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the CTS VSport, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: CTS
    Trim: VSport
    Engine: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,750
    Torque @ RPM: 430 @ 3,500 - 4,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/18
    Curb Weight: 3,952 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
    Base Price: $59,340
    As Tested Price: $60,435 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Performance Brake Linings - $100.00

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    Awesome right up, I agree with everything you have posted about the CTS. They have a world class car, now the dealerships need to step up to make the rest of the experience world class leading.

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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

    Edited by cp-the-nerd
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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

     

    That what something I was going to address in the review, but I thought it would be better as an Afterthoughts piece since I go in a bit deeper. I agree, Cadillac needs to rethink the pricing structure to give the CTS some breathing space.

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    Question William. Was this CTS using the updated CUE system that was supposed to be much more responsive and snappy?

     

    That's tough to say. It didn't feel more responsive to me during the week I had it.

     

    Maybe it's for the 2016 models. It's bummer if they don't have that worked out yet otherwise. Of course, the more sensible solution is physical buttons. All that touchscreen non sense would drive me bonkers.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    The XTS is on the way out, hence the existence of the CT6 that replaces it. Now, the only pricing gripe I have is with the CT6 2.0L being only $2K cheaper than the 3.6L. Personally I would just dump the 2.0L because I can't fathom anyone choosing a 4 banger when the V6 is only $2K more. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    But the XTS is still here like 3 more model years.  So there is still an overlap problem for a while, and the XTS has a base V6, the other 2 do not.  It is just weird how they planned their sedans.  

     

    But at any rate, a challenge for Cadillac (and other luxury makers) is to get people to buy sedans.  Cadillac makes a good handling, fun to drive sedan, yet no one buys it.  And GM, Ford Toyota, etc are selling $40-50,000 crossovers and SUVs.  The average new car price is like $34k.  So people are out there spending money on vehicles, Cadillac has to convince more people to look at and ATS, or CTS.  I don't think it is as simple as try to steal sales from the German sedan buyers, I think they have to get people to think why pay $45k on some Ford or Chevy crossover when they can get a Cadillac instead.  Some how they need to make sedans cool again, because the crossover is killing the sedan.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

     

    Thanks for the pointers, sadly they do not offer any 2008 Trailblazer nav upgrades. Will have to see what Car Toys has or keep looking around.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

     

    BMW and Mercedes don't put 3 sedans in the same segment.  There is overlap with the 6-series gran coupe and 7-series, but the closest Mercedes comes is E-class and CLS, but one is a sedan, one is coupe-look, and the CLS was V8 only until a couple years ago.  BMW has too many 4-door coupe and SUV coupes that aren't really any different than the main product, but that is like having an ATS sedan, coupe, wagon, convertible.  It is multiple body styles of one product which makes sense. 

     

    The German way is take one platform and build several models on it.  Cadillac has Alpha, Epsilon, and Omega sedans all in the $50-60k segment and 1 crossover on a different chassis.    They are sedan heavy in a crossover market, and they don't have convertibles, or sports cars or the low volume halo models that most luxury brands have.  Hard to build an imagine without the hottest body style or an attention grabber product.  If not for the Escalade Cadillac would be dead right now, and luckily for them gas prices are the lowest since 2007 right now, so they can still sell those.  

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    This model CTS is a lickable car. Lick the headlights.. I reccommend it highly, as uhh well let's just say it's an informed opinion.

     

    I mean, the cars in this segment, for the most part are pretty even on specs and stuffs.

     

    I mean in MT's Head2Head with the GS F Sport, they gave the GS credit for feeling just as nimble and they liked the interior a bit more, even though it was massively down on power...but similar in price. Chalk it up to the CTS being a base V Sport versus a loaded GS F.

     

    Anyways, I drool over this car, and even better I have a mental model of a poster of it in the back of my head and my desktop wallpaper every so often changes to a very pretty pic of this car.

     

    When I decide to finally splurge against my own self-imposed poverty thug life, this is a car that I would love to own.

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    All that refinement and power, yet CUE's still worse than a $35 Wal*Mart tablet.

    YOU NAILED IT GM!

    Well it's no worse than some recently launched Ford/Lincoln models not being upgrade-able to Sync 3.

    I don't doubt it. But Cadillac's a few tiers above either brand.

    CUE was supposed to be a breath of fresh air, better than all the other horrid systems, yet it's become an all-encompassing punchline for horrid systems everywhere.

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    Yeah, CUE still needs to improvement, but Cadillac has everything else pretty much on point.

     

    Now just get the pricing in line and make good on promise of more VSports and iterative improvements to interior trims choices, and they'll be more reasons than ever to get a Cadillac.

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    I thought the new system for Android and apple phones would replace CUE next year. So is this the 2017 models sold in 2016 or what?

     

    Apply Car Play and Android Auto do not replace the infotainment system, they are add-ons for it. All Cadillacs with NewCUE have both.

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    • 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
    • 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

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    • By William Maley
      After months of rumors and spy photos, Cadillac finally spilled the beans on their new high-performance CT4 and CT5 Blackwing. These new models are planned to give German rivals a bruising when they start arriving at dealers later this summer. Here is what we know.
      CT4 Blackwing
      The smaller of the two Blackwing models starts with a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 engine with 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. To achieve this power, Cadillac upgraded the various internals with titanium connecting rods and a revised crankshaft. Power is routed to the rear-wheels by either a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. Performance figures are impressive with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) and a top speed of 189 mph.
      In terms of handling, the CT4 Blackwing features an electronic limited-slip rear differential and latest version of Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 - Cadillac claims the latter is the quickest-reacting suspension in the world. A set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires keep the vehicle glued to the road, while optional optional carbon ceramic brakes bring it to a quick stop.
      Visually, the CT4 Blackwing uses a new grille with larger openings to gobble up more air; functional fender vents, front splitter, and a rear spoiler. A carbon fiber package that claims to reduce aerodynamic lift by 214 percent is an option.
      CT5 Blackwing
      For those who want something a bit more mad can direct their attention to the CT5 Blackwing. Under its hood lies a massaged 6.2L supercharged V8 engine with 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. Again, power is routed to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. 0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) and can cruise towards 200-plus mph. 
      What does this massaged V8 engine have? For starters. there's a larger supercharger (1.7-liters), aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, and improved airflow. 
      Like the CT4, the CT5 Blackwing gets Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and electronic limited-slip rear differential. A set of forged 19-inch wheels exclusive to the Blackwing come wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. 
      Outside, a new grille with larger openings to allow for more air, front splitter, and rear spoiler are the key changes to note. A carbon fiber package is optional.
      How Much?
      The CT4 Blackwing will set you back $59,990, and the larger CT5 Blackwing will cost $84,990. Both prices include a $995 destination charge. You can head down to your nearest Cadillac dealer to place a pre-order for either model right now.
      Source: Cadillac
      V-Series Blackwing: Ultimate Track Capability, Zero Compromise
      The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, two of the most powerful Cadillacs ever, raise the bar on performance The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing represent the pinnacle of Cadillac performance and craftsmanship, leveraging championship-winning racing heritage to create the most track-capable Cadillacs ever, while continuing to set new standards for luxury and comfort.
      Leveraging a Cadillac racing history that began in 1949 and has seen sustained success over the last two decades, the V-Series Blackwing models were developed with driver engagement and performance at the top of mind.
      “V-Series Blackwing stands for the very highest level of execution from Cadillac and offers a distinctly American vision of performance: incredible power and luxurious craftsmanship, with absolutely zero compromise,” said Brandon Vivian, executive chief engineer, Cadillac. “We looked to our championship-winning racing heritage and brought an uncompromising eye for detail to create two cars that elevate the V-Series experience.”
      V-Series Blackwing vehicles build on the already excellent performance dynamics of the CT5-V and CT4-V to create the top tier of the Cadillac sedan lineup.
      Highlights include:
      Evolutions of the track-ready Cadillac 6.2L Supercharged V8 in the CT5-V Blackwing and 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 in the CT4-V Blackwing Upgraded TREMEC six-speed manual transmission standard Available 10-speed automatic transmission Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential enhanced to reduce mass and improve on-track reliability Advanced suspension refinements providing greater body control and a more agile feel Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, the world’s fastest reacting suspension technology, sharpening the balance between daily-driving comfort and high-performance track capability Unique structural enhancements improving steering response and handling on the track Cadillac’s largest ever factory-installed brakes, available on the CT5-V Blackwing Extensive validation including 12-hour and 24-hour track testing Customizable integrated digital gauge cluster with Custom Launch Control and Performance Traction Management settings Liberating performance
      The CT5-V Blackwing uses an upgraded 6.2L supercharged V8 that, thanks to a higher flow air-intake and revised exhaust system, is rated at 668 horsepower (498 kW) and 659 lb-ft of torque (893 Nm), making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Each engine is hand-built at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky and features a signed engine builder’s plate.
      The CT4-V Blackwing sports an evolution of the Cadillac 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 that features revised control system software and an improved air intake system to create 472 horsepower (352 kW) and 445 lb-ft of torque (603 Nm). The turbos’ low-inertia (titanium-aluminide) turbine wheels enable more precise and responsive application of torque throughout the rev range.
      Highlighted features and output:
      CT5-V Blackwing: 6.2L Supercharged V8 - 668 hp, 659 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top track speed: over 200 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful Cadillac ever Air intake airflow is improved by 46 percent vs. the CTS-V Compact, high-output 1.7L four-lobe Eaton supercharger with small-diameter rotors that enable boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band for instantaneous response Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum-alloy heads Lightweight titanium intake valves Track-capable wet-sump oiling and vent system with external oil separator and drainback CT4-V Blackwing: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 - 472 hp, 445 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top speed: 189 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful and fastest Cadillac in the subcompact class Air intake restriction is improved by 39 percent vs. the ATS-V Turbocharger compressors matched for peak efficiency at peak power for optimal track performance Titanium connecting rods (manual transmission only) and revised crankshaft counterweights reduce main/rod bearing reciprocating loads Re-targeted piston oil squirters, which direct engine oil at the bottoms of the pistons, for improved temperature control The manifold-integrated water-to-air charge cooling system contributes to more immediate torque response Airflow routing volume is reduced by 60 percent when compared to a conventional design that features a remotely mounted heat exchanger Track-capable braking systems
      Both V-Series Blackwing models feature advanced high-performance braking systems that have been extensively track and road-tested. The exclusive V-Series Blackwing wheel designs enable an even larger rotor over the previous CTS-V, making the CT5-V Blackwing braking system the largest factory-installed brakes in Cadillac history. Additionally, an available carbon-ceramic brake package for the CT5-V Blackwing, featuring cross-drilled rotors, deliver several benefits including weight savings, durability and heat management.
      Highlighted features:
      CT4-V Blackwing: 14.96 x 1.34-inch (380 X 34 mm) front rotors and 13.4 x 1.1-inch (340.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors CT5-V Blackwing: 15.67 x 1.42-inch (398 X 36 mm) front rotors and 14.7 x 1.1-inch (373.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors Staggered Brembo® six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers Available on the CT5-V Blackwing, the lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package significantly improves heat management, as well as greater resistance to wear under extreme conditions on the racetrack, while also reducing unsprung mass and rotating mass: 53-pound (24 kg) reduction in unsprung weight 62-pound (28 kg) reduction in rotating mass High-performance copper-free brake linings comply with California law and deliver superior fade resistance with an excellent pedal feel on and off the track Brake systems are integrated to each vehicles’ selectable drive modes, including brake pedal feel. Brake pedal feel can also be assigned within My-Mode and V-Mode Manual transmission is standard
      Rare for sport sedans today, a six-speed TREMEC manual transmission is standard on both vehicles. It has been optimized for each V-Series Blackwing vehicle to provide an engaging experience on the track or on the road. Details include:
      LuK twin-disc clutch for high torque capacity and great pedal feel Active Rev Matching accessible via a console mounted toggle switch to automatically adjust engine speed to match anticipated downshifts No-Lift Shift allowing the driver to shift gears without letting off the gas pedal. In the case of the CT4-V Blackwing, it allows the turbos to remain spooled, resulting in faster lap times Transmission and rear differential cooling – the manual and automatic transmissions use the same track-performance cooling system for greater track performance Clutch and brake pedals positioned for optimal driver ergonomics A physical barrier stop for the clutch pedal rather than a hydraulic master cylinder stop provides greater driver feedback during clutch operation A shorter shifter ratio than previous generations for more precise shifts Ten-speed automatic transmission
      The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing are available with a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It is tuned to complement the dual-personality experience of each respective model.
      Highlighted features:
      Tap Shift/Manual Mode allowing the driver to use integrated magnesium paddle shifters to select a gear and hold it until selecting the next gear, up or down Sport Mode providing real-time interpretation of driving conditions, adjusting the transmission to reduce shift busyness and improve performance, while retaining aggressive driving dynamics Twenty-four-hour track testing resulted in several improvements in response to the demands of a high-g track environment, including a unique oil pan design and priority valve changes Unique control systems with performance calibrations tailored for each model Ten forward gears offer the most available transmission speeds in each sedans’ respective segments, helping keep the engines within their optimal rpm bands, while also anticipating the next shifts Dynamic Performance Mode is calibrated specifically for V-Series Blackwing to deliver track focused shift patterns and automatically activates when high-g forces are experienced in Sport or Track mode An auxiliary pump primes the automatic transmission system from the time the vehicle door is opened for improved cold-shift performance. Both V-Series Blackwing models also feature an enhanced Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential. It weighs less and has been optimized for each driving mode and each Performance Traction Management setting.
      Highlighted features:
      More control of the rear differential compared to traditional open and mechanical limited-slip differentials Enhances road grip by automatically allocating torque to the rear wheel with the most traction during hard cornering — with the capability of sending up to 1,475 lb-ft (2,000 Nm) of locking torque across the axle High-performance differential cooler An aluminum housing replacing the previous generation cast iron housing, reducing mass by more than 22 pounds (10 kg) Exclusive integrated heat exchanger for enhanced cooling Advanced suspension systems and strengthened chassis
      V-Series Blackwing combines the fourth generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MR 4.0), with improvements to the front and rear suspension systems. Stiffer spring rates, unique hollow stabilizer bars, higher-rate bushings and more enable a driving experience that isolates the driver from road imperfections, while also providing a precise, engaging connection with the road.
      MR 4.0 highlights:
      Immense performance envelope that gave Cadillac engineers the freedom to optimize everyday driving and aggressive track performance New accelerometers and an inertial measurement unit that transmit and process changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous generation system Secondary temperature maps that enable engineers to compensate for changes in damper fluid temperature for more consistent performance, even during performance driving Inertial measurement unit that provides more precise measurements of body motion relative to the wheel for more accurate readings under heavy braking, hard cornering and other driving conditions Improved magnetic flux control that creates a more consistent and accurate transition between rebound and compression Improvements to transient body control that allow the vehicle to remain more level while transitioning between corners MacPherson strut front suspension:
      Ride link includes an all-new 100-percent elastomer bushing on the CT4-V Blackwing and a retuned hydro bushing on the CT5-V Blackwing, for improved ride response Handling link has cross-axis ball joints for improved lateral control and quicker steering response Five-link independent rear suspension:
      Lateral link features stiffer bushings for faster response and increased cornering agility Toe link has cross-axis ball joints for increased stability and driver confidence Rear knuckles have increased stiffness for improved braking and better control during cornering Rear cradle mounts have been stiffened for optimum balance between road comfort and track performance V-Series Blackwing models are built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel drive architecture and feature unique structural enhancements including shock tower braces, an underside shear plate and thicker rear cross members to improve chassis rigidity. Along with the unique suspension elements, the stiffer structure enhances steering response, handling and the everyday driving experience.
      All-day performance, on and off the track
      The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing build on Cadillac’s racing heritage and were developed to be track-capable straight from the factory. That includes an intensive validation program to ensure consistent performance during the most challenging track conditions.
      Validation for both models included:
      Twenty-four-hour continuous track testing with the available automatic transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Twelve-hour continuous track testing with the standard manual transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Functional aerodynamics, including an available carbon fiber aero package, contribute to the V-Series Blackwing models’ track prowess to support a variety of cooling needs for the cars’ respective engines, transmissions, axles and other supporting systems.
      Additionally, MICHELIN® Pilot Sport 4S tires developed exclusively for the V-Series Blackwing models contribute to their balance of track capability and road comfort. Highlights include:
      Unique, multiple-compound tread composition: Contact patch composed of three unique tread rubber compounds Racing “R compound” used for the majority of the tread Compounds optimized for wet traction, enhanced street and track durability, as well as rolling resistance The mold shape of the tire has been specifically engineered for Blackwing models to optimize contact with the road Tire sizes: CT5-V Blackwing tire size: 275/35ZR19 (front) and 305/30ZR19 (rear) CT4-V Blackwing tire size: 255/35ZR18 (front) and 275/35ZR18 (rear) Both V-Series Blackwing vehicles feature standard forged aluminum alloy wheels with staggered widths, front to rear. These forged wheels are stronger and lighter than conventional cast aluminum.
      Wheel sizes:
      CT5-V Blackwing: Front – 19 x 10 inches / Rear – 19 x 11 inches CT4-V Blackwing: Front – 18 x 9 inches / Rear – 18 x 9.5 inches Coming this summer
      Reservations for both vehicles open on Feb. 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Cadillac.com, with deliveries later this summer. Pricing begins at $59,9901 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $84,9901 for the CT5-V Blackwing.
  • Posts

    • Only have ridden it 3 times so far because of the weather here, but I'm getting more comfortable with it. The clutch is heavy, I'm going to need to do hand exercises or just ride it a heck of a lot more to work up the muscles in my left hand.  I brought it to work this morning so I can drop it off for state inspection. Thinking back, this is the biggest bike I think I've ridden, maybe not the heaviest, but certainly the largest engine and most powerful.  It's a lot of bike and I'm still getting used to it. One of the nicest things that makes me glad I bought it is that once I'm rolling, it doesn't really matter what gear I'm in, I can just roll on the throttle and go without having to downshift. Love the torque.
    • The only reason ICE vehicles considerably increased in costs is because now active safety systems became standards.  That alone increased costs of all vehicles by at least $3-5k.  Before active safety systems came into play the yearly increase in vehicle cost was only few hundreds at most to compensate for the inflation. The price disparity between comparable  ICE and BE vehicle is still significant and so far doesn't seem to decrease.  It might change in the future, but as of right now it is a valid argument.  It is dead horse argument already but so is getting daily bombarded about other side of the argument which you seems to ignore.  
    • I feel you are omitting the competition factor here. Plywood, I suppose, only competes with OSB, tho I imagine the same companies manufacture both. It's pricing is much more directly tied to supply & demand, having no 'MSRP'. BE's have to compete with IC directly, and built by a multitude of companies. Price is the primary factor for consumers. Look at it this way- if the Model 3 came out at $25K, where do you think it's sales (sans production limitations) would be?
    • And all of those models (with the exception of the TB due to it short time out) have gradually gone up in price with every passing year. Again, it should be stated that BEV cost savings have been mostly with batteries in mind. It does not take into consideration how those BEVs will be packaged or optioned before they are shipped off to dealerships. Same reason why ICEs engines have gone down in certain costs while the cars they go into have not. There is a clear distinction to made here if folks bothered to actually see it instead of the endless back and forth and dead horse beating about "Well, David said they'd be cheaper and they're not so lets continually attack him while not understanding the context of what he was saying in the first place". Apparently one week timeouts have not changed this habit for some. Actually the timber industry has had a history of promising lower prices on lumber while rarely delivering on it, going all the back to the early 1900s. They are still doing it despite the sharp increase in lumber prices over the last year. It's an easy search.
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