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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD

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      So Close To Getting It Right, But Some Problems Prevent It

    The big thing for luxury automakers for the past ten to fifteen years has been the crossover. First was the midsize crossover. Then came the full-size. Now the latest craze is compact crossovers. Many luxury automakers have been introducing them within the past few years as a way to draw buyers in. The latest one is Lexus with the NX crossover. This small luxury crossover hopes to carve a nice slice of a growing market. We recently spent a week with the NX 300h to see if it has a chance of pulling this off.

     

    The NX’s overall shape looks to be a smaller version of the last-generation RX crossover mixed with some elements of Lexus’ L-Finesse design language. The front end boasts Lexus’ spindle grille paired with slim headlights. The side profile boasts a fair amount of sculpting on the fenders and on the lower door panels. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard, while our tester came equipped with the optional eighteen-inch wheels. Overall, the NX seems to work with the current design language without looking like a complete mess.

     


    2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD 12


    For the NX’s interior, Lexus made sure there was a fair amount of luxury appointments throughout. There is a fair amount of leather used on the dash, door panels, and center console. Many surfaces also feature stitching to increase the premium feeling. The front seats provided an excellent level of comfort thanks to the power adjustments and amount of padding used. Rear seat passengers will find a decent of legroom, but headroom is slightly tight.

     

    Where the NX falls flat is in cargo space. The NX 300h only offers 16.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 53.7 cubic feet with the seats down. Now some this can be attributed to the batteries used on the hybrid version. But the standard NX isn’t that much bigger (17.7 and 54.6 cubic feet respectively), mostly due to the sloping roofline.

     

    Like the RC 350 coupe we drove earlier, the NX 300h features the latest iteration of Lexus Remote Touch which swaps the joystick controller for a touchpad. We found the touchpad to be noticeably better than the joystick with moving around and choosing various functions. But we still had some issues with a slight delay of the cursor moving after moving our finger across the pad. We hope Lexus addresses this in a future update for the infotainment system.

     

    The NX 300h uses the same hybrid powertrain as seen on the ES 300h, a 2.5L inline-four paired with an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total output stands at 194 horsepower. This comes paired to a CVT to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models get an additional electric motor on the rear axle to provide the added traction. Lethargic is the best word to describe the NX 300h’s ability to get up to speed. The powertrain seems unwilling to get up to speed at a rate that would satisfy most drivers. You’ll end up having your foot almost planted to the floor to get the powertrain to move the vehicle at a somewhat decent clip. But this also brings a lot droning from the CVT.

     


    2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD 8


     

    The NX 300h does regain some points back in a couple of areas. One is the ability to run on electric power only at speeds below 25 MPH. This is perfect for driving in parking lots or in neighborhoods. The other is fuel economy. The EPA rates the NX 300h AWD at 33 City/30 Highway/32 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.6 MPG.

     

    As for driving, the NX 300h feels balanced. Over the potholed and rough roads of Detroit, the NX 300h felt composed. Bumps were largely isolated and the cabin was as quiet as a library. In the corners, the NX showed very little body roll and felt planted. We did wish the steering didn’t feel rubbery.

     

    The Lexus NX 300h is an odd species. On one hand, the NX is very well done for being Lexus’ first compact crossover. The model boasts distinctive exterior styling, well-appointed interior, and a balance between sport and comfort. But the NX 300h has a number of comprises as well. The most apparent is powertrain which feels and sounds quite underpowered. Not helping is a small cargo area and an expensive price tag. The NX 300h starts at $40,645 for the front-wheel drive version and $41,310 for the all-wheel drive version. This about $5,000 more than the NX 200t and we can’t think of any reason aside from the improved fuel economy that you should spend the extra money on the hybrid.

     

    You’re better off sticking with the regular NX 200t and having that extra $5,000 going towards some options.

     

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the NX 300h, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Lexus
    Model: NX
    Trim: 300h AWD
    Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Dual VVT-i Antkinson Cycle Inline-Four, 650V AC Electric Motor
    Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 154 @ 5,700 (Gas), 141 @ 0 (Electric), 194 (Total Output)
    Torque @ RPM: 152 @ 4,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 33/30/32
    Curb Weight: 4,189 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
    Base Price: $41,310
    As Tested Price: $52,013 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Luxury Package - $4,465.00
    Navigation Package - $2,140.00
    Pre-Collison System w/All-Speed Cruise Control - $900.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Outer Mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Tilt, Heated, Memory - $660.00
    Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00
    60/40 Power Folding Rear Seats - $400.00
    Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger - $220.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Rear View Mirror and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener - $125.00
    Cargo Mat - $99.00
    Cargo Net - $69.00

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    I have a really hard time with that interior 1) In a Lexus and 2) for $52k

     

    It looks like an economy car interior with select pieces wrapped in leatherette.

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    I have a really hard time with that interior 1) In a Lexus and 2) for $52k

     

    It looks like an economy car interior with select pieces wrapped in leatherette.

    Well, it is their entry level CUV...below the RX.   I guess the luxury package and the hybrid spec drives the price so high..

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    There's really no compact luxury SUV that really has an interior to match that of its larger siblings. Maybe the GLC. Maybe the ambitiously priced MKC Black Label (in terms of materials only)...

     

    It really does look like Corolla Interior with more vinyl.

     

    If I were to get a Lexus, it'd probably be the GS. It's the only one that I think the new grille works well with.

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      2019                        2018        DSR %
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      TOTAL TOYOTA
      214,947
      222,787
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      7,710
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      2,312
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      3,884
      5,283
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      271
      61.5
      55.7
      963
      618
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      11,390
      9,263
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      754
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      955
      1,763
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      LS
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      1,008
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      1,673
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      LC
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      218
      -32.9
      -35.3
      320
      522
      -37.9
      -38.7
      LFA
      0
      0
      0
      0
      3
      1
      204
      200
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      18,919
      19,127
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      78,884
      91,097
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      206,936
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      7,559
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      10.5
      18,616
      23,619
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      5,253
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      13,619
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      34,937
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      -5.1
      83,820
      91,461
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      FJ CRUISER
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      0
      0
      0
      0
      1
      -100
      -100
      VENZA
      1
      0
      0
      0
      1
      0
      0
      0
      HIGHLANDER
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      21,438
      0.7
      -2.9
      52,621
      52,882
      0.8
      -0.5
      4RUNNER
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      11,761
      10.3
      6.4
      32,829
      31,550
      5.4
      4.1
      SEQUOIA
      843
      1,006
      -13.1
      -16.2
      2,410
      2,828
      -13.7
      -14.8
      LAND CRUISER
      324
      267
      25.8
      21.3
      807
      764
      7.0
      5.6
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      73,344
      74,662
      1.9
      -1.8
      187,009
      193,105
      -1.9
      -3.2
      TACOMA
      22,798
      20,250
      16.8
      12.6
      58,183
      53,779
      9.6
      8.2
      TUNDRA
      10,351
      10,697
      0.3
      -3.2
      25,100
      26,318
      -3.4
      -4.6
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      33,149
      30,947
      11.1
      7.1
      83,283
      80,097
      5.3
      4.0
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      114,844
      113,168
      5.2
      1.5
      288,908
      296,821
      -1.4
      -2.7
      UX
      1,776
      0
      0.0
      0.0
      3,925
      0
      0.0
      0.0
      NX
      5,633
      5,859
      -0.3
      -3.9
      13,775
      14,327
      -2.6
      -3.9
      RX
      10,967
      9,819
      15.8
      11.7
      23,529
      23,795
      0.2
      -1.1
       
      2,291
      2,329
      2.0
      -1.6
      5,429
      5,691
      -3.3
      -4.6
      552
      528
      8.4
      4.5
      1,214
      1,277
      -3.7
      -4.9
      21,219
      18,535
      18.7
      14.5
      47,872
      45,090
      7.6
      6.2
      136,063
      131,703
      7.1
      3.3
      336,780
      341,911
      -0.2
      -1.5
      27
      28
       
       
      76
      77
       
       
       
      TOYOTA U.S. SALES SUMMARY
        March 2019
       
      -- CURRENT MONTH --
      2019                          2018       DSR %
      VOL %
      -- CALENDAR YEAR TO DATE --
      2019               2018      DSR %
      VOL %
      COROLLA
      20,388
      29,245
      -27.7
      -30.3
      71,381
      72,791
      -0.6
      -1.9
      CAMRY
      33,519
      33,235
      4.6
      0.9
      81,283
      82,164
      0.2
      -1.1
      AVALON
      2,855
      4,068
      -27.2
      -29.8
      6,619
      10,576
      -36.6
      -37.4
      YARIS SD (INCL YARIS IA)
      3,947
      2,918
      40.3
      35.3
      7,710
      7,506
      4.1
      2.7
      RAV4
      12,631
      14,622
      -10.4
      -13.6
      29,472
      41,184
      -27.5
      -28.4
      VENZA
      1
      0
      0.0
      0.0
      1
      0
      0.0
      0.0
      HIGHLANDER
      20,824
      21,438
      0.7
      -2.9
      52,620
      52,882
      0.8
      -0.5
      SIENNA
      8,351
      7,559
      14.6
      10.5
      18,616
      23,619
      -20.1
      -21.2
      SEQUOIA
      843
      1,006
      -13.1
      -16.2
      2,410
      2,828
      -13.7
      -14.8
      TACOMA
      22,798
      20,250
      16.8
      12.6
      58,183
      53,779
      9.6
      8.2
      TUNDRA
      10,351
      10,697
      0.3
      -3.2
      25,100
      26,318
      -3.4
      -4.6
      ES
      3,882
      3,507
      14.8
      10.7
      8,844
      8,282
      8.2
      6.8
      RX
      9,227
      8,203
      16.6
      12.5
      19,013
      21,009
      -8.3
      -9.5
      TOTAL
      149,617
      156,748
      -1.0
      -4.5
      381,252
      402,938
      -4.1
      -5.4
      N.A VEHICLES % OF TOTAL
      69.6%
      70.4%
       
       
      70.1%
      70.4%
       
       
      TOYOTA DIV. IMPORT CAR
      10,143
      13,116
      -19.8
      -22.7
      21,022
      37,966
      -43.9
      -44.6
      LEXUS IMPORT CAR
      4,148
      4,995
      -13.9
      -17.0
      10,075
      10,845
      -5.9
      -7.1
      TOYOTA DIV NA BUILT CARS
      60,709
      69,466
      -9.4
      -12.6
      166,993
      173,037
      -2.2
      -3.5
      LEXUS NA BUILT CARS
      3,882
      3,507
      14.8
      10.7
      8,844
      8,282
      8.2
      6.8
      TOTAL TOYOTA CARS
      78,882
      91,084
      -10.2
      -13.4
      206,934
      230,130
      -8.9
      -10.1
      TOYOTA DIV. IMPORT TRUCK
      39,045
      37,596
      7.7
      3.9
      102,506
      96,211
      7.9
      6.5
      LEXUS IMPORT TRUCK
      11,992
      10,332
      20.4
      16.1
      28,859
      24,081
      21.4
      19.8
      TOYOTA DIV NA BUILT TRUCK
      75,799
      75,572
      4.0
      0.3
      186,402
      200,610
      -5.9
      -7.1
      LEXUS NA BUILT TRUCK
      9,227
      8,203
      16.6
      12.5
      19,013
      21,009
      -8.3
      -9.5
      TOTAL TOYOTA TRUCK
      136,063
      131,703
      7.1
      3.3
      336,780
      341,911
      -0.2
      -1.5
      Selling Days
      27
      28
       
       
      76
      77
       
       
         
       
        TOYOTA U.S. HYBRID SALES SUMMARY March 2019
      -- CURRENT MONTH --                                          -- CALENDAR YEAR TO DATE --
      2019             2018        DSR %                               2019                2018 DSR %
      TOYOTA PRIUS HYBRID
      5,410
      8,222
      -31.8%
      12,058
      22,235
      -45.1%
      TOYOTA COROLLA HYBRID
      743
      0
      0.0%
      753
      0
      0.0%
      TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID
      2,606
      2,125
      27.2%
      6,366
      5,303
      21.6%
      TOYOTA AVALON HYBRID
      734
      828
      -8.1%
      1,793
      1,818
      -0.1%
      TOYOTA MIRAI
      176
      83
      119.9%
      347
      462
      -23.9%
      TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID
      1,252
      1,401
      -7.3%
      3,404
      3,471
      -0.6%
      TOYOTA RAV4 HYBRID
      892
      4,128
      -77.6%
      2,829
      11,289
      -74.6%
      LEXUS ES HYBRID
      844
      388
      125.6%
      1,890
      865
      121.4%
      LEXUS GS HYBRID
      0
      2
      -100.0%
      4
      10
      -60%
      LEXUS UX HYBRID
      889
      0
      0.0%
      1,983
      0
      0
      LEXUS NX HYBRID
      891
      735
      25.70%
      2,301
      1711
      36.30%
      LEXUS RX HYBRID
      1,522
      965
      63.60%
      3,441
      2216
      57.30%
      LEXUS LS HYBRID
      15
      41
      -62.10%
      33
      68
      -50.80%
      LEXUS LC HYBRID
      4
      13
      -68%
      7
      30
      -76.40%
      LEXUS CT HYBRID
      0
      1
      -100%
      0
      4
      -100.0%
      TOTAL TMNA HYBRID
      15,978
      18,932
      -12.50%
      37,209
      49,482
      -23.80%
      TOTAL TOYOTA HYBRID
      11,813
      16,787
      -27.00%
      27,550
      44,578
      -37.40%
      TOTAL LEXUS HYBRID
      4,165
      2,145
      101.40%
      9,659
      4,904
      99.60%
       
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Toyota Motor North America Reports February 2019 Sales
      Tacoma sales increased 10.2 percent; up for the 16th consecutive month Highlander sales up 8.9 percent; a best-ever February Lexus RXh sales up 52.5 percent; a best-ever February Lexus Luxury SUV sales up 7.0 percent; a best-ever February March 01, 2019 February 2019 Sales Chart

      PLANO, Texas (March 1, 2019) – Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) today reported February 2019 sales of 172,748 vehicles, a decrease of 5.2 percent from February 2018 on a volume and daily selling rate (DSR) basis.
       
      Toyota division posted February sales of 152,626 units, down 6.3 percent on a volume and DSR basis.
       
      Lexus posted February sales of 20,122 vehicles, up 4.4 percent on a volume and a DSR basis.
       
      February 2019 Highlights   Corolla sales up 16.0 percent Highlander sales increased 8.9 percent; a best-ever February C-HR sales increased 7.3 percent; a best-ever February Tacoma up 10.2 percent; a best-ever February Land Cruiser sales increased 52.5 percent LX sales up 6.8 percent ES sales increased by 23.8 percent in February RC sales up 50.0 percent NXh sales up 39.8 percent; a best-ever February RXh sales up 52.5 percent Lexus Hybrid sales up 112.3 percent Lexus Luxury SUV sales up 7.0 percent; a best-ever February  
      *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume.
      Toyota_Motor_North_America_Reports_February_2019_Sales_Chart_Final.pdf
    • By William Maley
      The Kia Stinger has been one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles in recent years. Here was a model that promised to rival models from luxury brands in terms styling, performance, and handling at a lower price. It felt like Kia was bitting off more they could chew, but I was willing to give it a chance. After spending a week in a Stinger GT1, I have to say it delivers on most of those promises.
      Depending on where you look at the Stinger, the impression will range from something quite beautiful to a bit of a mess. Straight on the front, the Stinger looks like something from an Italian or German automaker with a narrow front grille, distinctive cuts on for the bumper, and a slightly contoured hood. The back is neatly shaped with a rounded tailgate, taillights that run the length of the rear end, and quad exhaust pipes. But the Stinger’s design begins to lose some elegance when looked at from an angle. Take the rear as an example. The way Kia tries to bring the coupe-like roofline, bulging rear fenders, 19-inch wheels, and taillights that extend into the fenders ends up looking somewhat awkward.
      Color also plays a big role in making or breaking the Stinger’s look. In the case of my tester, the white does help minimize some of the polarizing parts of the vehicle. Going with red only emphasizes them and that will turn off some folks.
      Compared to the outgoing and expressive look of the exterior, the Stinger’s interior is quite disappointing. The minimalist approach Kia employs in the Stinger with minimal brightwork and narrow center stack doesn’t fully fit the exclusive image being presented outside. Not helping are some of the materials used in the Stinger. Considering that Kia is pitting this model against the likes of Audi and BMW, some of the plastics don’t match up to the image being portrayed. 
      The front seats in the Stinger GT offer excellent back support, along with numerous power adjustments including side bolstering. I did wish the bottom cushion was slightly longer to allow for better thigh support. Those sitting in the back will find adequate legroom, but headroom is tight due to the sloping roofline. It was a bit disappointing that Kia doesn’t offer seat heaters for the rear, considering some of their other models like the Optima offer it. One place that the Stinger excels at is cargo space. Open the rear hatch and you’ll find 23.3 cubic feet of space. This expands to 40.9 when the rear seats are folded. Only the Buick Regal Sportback and BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe offer more space.
      The Stinger GT uses an 8-inch touchscreen featuring Kia’s UVO infotainment system. We have heaped much praise on UVO on the system being simple to use and offering a number of features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I don’t like the placement of touchscreen on top of the dash as it makes hard to reach. Kia should consider adding some sort of control knob on the center console to improve overall usability.
      GT models get a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Our tester came with the optional all-wheel drive system. I have experienced this engine in Genesis G80 Sport and G90, and have raved about how it delivers ample power no matter the driving situation, along with minimal turbo lag. Those same traits continue in the Stinger GT as the engine moves the vehicle at a surprising rate. The eight-speed automatic transmission delivers rapid and smooth shifts.
      The big downside the twin-turbo V6 is fuel economy. EPA rates the Stinger GT at 19 City/25 Highway/21 Combined for both rear and all-wheel drive. My average for the week landed around 18.2 mpg partly due to me dipping a bit too much into the boost.
      Kia has been making a big deal about how the Stinger GT can rival competitors from other brands in terms of handling. They bring up how Albert Biermann, the former head at BMW’s M performance division, helped in the development of the chassis. Seems like a lot of talk, but the good news is that Kia has delivered. Down a winding road, the Stinger GT exhibits qualities seen on such vehicles like the Cadillac ATS and Lexus IS 350 F-Sport with excellent body control and a willingness to quickly transition from one corner to another. Steering is where Kia could do some more work as it doesn’t quite have the same feel or weight as those models mentioned above.
      Ride quality is another area where Stinger GT is surprising. Despite the 19-inch wheels and sporty suspension setup, the Stinger GT provides a compliant ride with only large bumps making their way inside. Road noise is noticeable, due mostly to the summer tire and wheel setup on the vehicle. Wind noise was kept to very acceptable levels.
      The Kia Stinger seems to be similar in the overall idea as the K900 in serving as an attainable halo vehicle. While the K900 aimed at those wanting something along the lines of an S-Class or 7-Series, the Stinger GT serves those who something that can rival the likes the BMW 3/4-Series, Audi A4/A5, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class not only in terms of performance, but also in luxury. The end result is mixed. Kia has nailed down the performance and exterior styling, but the interior doesn’t fully match the ambitions being presented. Fuel economy could be slightly better.
      But the biggest problem for the Stinger GT is convincing buyers to spend almost $50,000 on a Kia. My GT1 AWD tester with a few options came to an as-tested price of $48,350. Telling someone you spent that much for a Kia sedan will raise some eyebrows. Despite how good the Stinger GT is to look at or drive, the Kia badge on the front will ultimately push most people away. 
      If you’re part of a small group who could care less about what badge is fitted onto a vehicle, then you’ll find the Stinger GT is a very impressive package.
      Gallery: 2018 Kia Stinger GT1 AWD
      Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Stinger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Kia
      Model: Stinger
      Trim: GT1 AWD
      Engine: 3.3L Twin-Turbo V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 365 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 376 @ 1,300-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,023 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Sohari, South Korea
      Base Price: $45,450
      As Tested Price: $48,350 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Driver Assistance Package - $2,000

      View full article
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