Toyota RAV4 25th Anniversary Overview

Toyota Celebrates 25 Years of the RAV4 in North America; introduces New SE Hybrid model for 2022

Table of Contents

RAV4 History
RAV4 By Generations
The Current Generation RAV4
What’s New for 2022?
Specifications

A 2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

For 2022, Toyota has freshened the RAV4 lineup with some exterior and interior updates and a new, less-expensive SE Hybrid model. (Photos courtesy of Toyota)

BY MARK MAYNARD

The 25th anniversary of the Toyota RAV4 is a coming-of-age story in North America. The small SUV crossover debuted in 1996 when midsize and large SUVs were the dominant herd on American highways.

Small vehicles were suspect, particularly in the U.S., for their safety structure as drivers navigated among the greater truck-based vehicles. The market segment for small SUVs had barely formed in 1996. And most of these were quirky import transplants with few changes for the preferences of North American drivers.

Among the early small SUV choices were the 1988 Daihatsu Rocky, the 1989 Geo Tracker (aka Suzuki Sidekick and Chevrolet Tracker), and the 1990 Isuzu Amigo. The offerings grew in 1996 with the diminutive two-door, two-seat 1996 Suzuki X-90 and the Kia Sportage (which brought the industry’s first knee air bag).

Today, there are around 20 small SUVs in the small SUV segment, and most manufacturers now offer one or two choices.

The driver area of a new RAV4

The RAV4 has reasonably tall front headroom of 37.7 inches, with a moonroof.

Toyota RAV4 History

The first Toyota RAV4 was available as five-door and three-door models. However, the four-door version dominated sales in the U.S. It was the only body style to return with the second-generation RAV4 in 2000.

Toyota refers to the RAV4 as the original small SUV. Now in its fifth generation, the RAV4 has become the best-selling Toyota model in the country. And in its 25-year history, it is on track for 5 million sales this fall.

RAV4 By Generations

  • The First RAV4, 1996-2000
  • Second Generation: 2000-2005
  • Third Generation: 2006-2012
  • Fourth Generation: 2013-2018
  • Fifth and Current Generation: 2019-
A view of the RAV4 front seats from the passenger side

Standard features include fabric-trimmed seats and a 7-inch touchscreen with a six-speaker audio system.

The Current Generation RAV4

The fifth-generation RAV4, introduced for 2019, offers the model’s widest selection to date. Model choices include:

  • The first RAV4 TRD Off-Road.
  • Gasoline-electric RAV4 Hybrid.
  • Flagship RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The RAV4 Prime has an EPA-estimated rating of 42 miles on battery power alone.
A gauge display of the RAV4 Hybrid

The 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has mileage ratings of 41/38/40 mpg city/hwy/combined on the recommended 87 octane.

RAV4 Powertrains

In gas-engine models, the 203-horsepower Dynamic Force 2.5-liter four-cylinder is paired with an eight-speed Direct-Shift, continuously variable automatic transmission. This powertrain has an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, 35 highway, and 30 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive LE model — the best ever for a gas RAV4, Toyota says.

RAV4 Hybrid models have a 40-mpg combined EPA-estimated rating, which is nearly a 30-percent improvement over the previous hybrid. Likewise, the hybrid’s e-AWD improves over the previous system. Its new independent rear motor operates proactively to maintain traction even before front-tire slippage is detected.

At the top of the model line, the RAV4 Prime PHEV (plug-in hybrid) is both the performance and efficiency leader. Available in SE and XSE trim levels with standard e-AWD, the RAV4 Prime has an EPA-estimated 94 MPGe rating. And it has an all-electric driving range of 42 miles on a single charge. When driven in hybrid mode, the RAV4 Prime powertrain can generate a combined 302 hp and is capable of 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. That acceleration makes it the second quickest Toyota in the lineup behind Supra.

The 18-inch tire and wheel of a RAV4

The RAV4 received a few new wheel colors and designs. All RAV4 models have standard aluminum wheels and 17- or 18-inch tires.

What’s New for 2022?

For 2022, the RAV4 will be available in a new SE Hybrid grade, and all RAV4 trim levels have been given some exterior and interior updates.

The 2022 RAV4 SE Hybrid model pares back some of the features built into the topline SLE model. For example, the SE Hybrid will be offered in a monotone paint scheme, fabric-trimmed seats, a six-speaker audio system, and a 7-inch touch screen.

Available options for the SE Hybrid include the weather package, which adds a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and rain-sensing windshield wipers with a de-icer function.

The convenience package includes a moonroof, height-adjustable power liftgate, and Audio Plus with a 9-inch touchscreen.

Super sleek headlights on the topline RAV4

RAV4 headlights were updated for style and capability. And the XSE Hybrid gets the super sleek vertical lights that debuted on the XSE Prime in 2021.

Exterior Updates

Calvary Blue with a black roof (shown in the exterior photos) is a new paint-scheme choice for select RAV4 models, including the new SE Hybrid and TRD Off-Road.

There are a few new wheel colors and designs, and the headlights were updated for style and capability. New LED fog lamps are optional for XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road.

The XSE Hybrid also gets sleek vertical lights that debuted on the XSE Prime in 2021.

Interior updates are also found across the model line:

• All models now have a locking glove box and LED interior lights;

• XLE and above get illuminated interior switches;

• Limited grade gets an eight-way power passenger seat.

The RAV4 back seat

Back-seat legroom is midsize for a compact SUV at 37.8 inches.

RAV4 Pricing

The 2022 RAV4 Hybrid goes on this December. Toyota will release pricing and more details on the 2022 RAV4 in mid-December.

For comparison, the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid is sold with standard all-wheel drive in trim levels of LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE Premium, and Limited. Starting MSRPs range from $28,800 to $37,330, not including the $995 freight charge from Georgetown, Ky.

Pricing for the RAV4 Prime PHEV, sold in trims of SE and XSE, has starting prices of $38,250 and $41,575.

The price-step between 2021 RAV4 Hybrid models is about $2,000. If carried through for the 2022 RAV4 SE Hybrid, its starting price could be close to $26,800.

Check current Toyota-model pricing and incentives here.

A rear view of the 2022 RAV4

Calvary Blue with a black roof is a new paint-scheme choice for select RAV4 models, including the new SE Hybrid and TRD Off-Road.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 5-door small SUV with e-AWD

Engine: 176-hp, 2.5-liter direct-injected Dynamic Force 4-cylinder with 16-valves, dual overhead camshafts, intelligent variable valve timing by an electric motor on the intake and exhaust camshafts

Electric motor: Permanent magnet synchronous

Combined power: 219-hp

Battery pack: Lithium-ion with 244.8-volts and a maximum of 650V

Transmission: electronically controlled CVT with sequential shift mode and electronic on-demand AWD

Fuel economy: 41/38/40 mpg city/hwy/combined on the recommended 87 octane;

Braking: Power-assisted, 12-inch front ventilated discs; solid 11.1-inch rear discs; electronic parking brake

Max towing capacity: 1,750 lbs.

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 14.5 gallons

Cargo space: 37.6 to 69.8 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 37.7*/41 in. *with moonroof

Rear head/leg room: 39.5/37.8 in.

Length/wheelbase: 180.9/105.9 in.

Curb weights: 3,690 to 3,780 lbs.

Turning circle: 36.1 ft.

Where assembled: Georgetown, Ky.

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2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Reveal

Race-bred 2023 Corvette Z06 will be the most capable ever, powered by a new 670-hp LT6 V-8

An exterior-rear view of the 2023 Z06

Chevrolet says it is putting the world on notice with its 2023 Corvette Z06, a global supercar made in America. (Photography courtesy of Chevrolet)

BY MARK MAYNARD

Chevrolet has just shown the 2023 Corvette Z06 with its new 5.5-liter LT6 naturally-aspirated V-8. The 670-horsepower engine is “the highest horsepower, naturally-aspirated V-8 to hit the market in any production car, ever,” Chevrolet said in a statement.

The engineers spent two years crafting a distinctive, rich exhaust tone unlike anything ever heard from a Corvette.

The Z06 chassis has underpinned Corvette Racing’s C8.R since it began competing in 2020. Using a shared chassis, similar engine architecture, and exterior proportions, the C8.R has been referred to internally as the Z06 hiding in plain sight, Chevrolet said in a statement.

Learn more at the Chevrolet website. And watch the release video narrated by Justin Bell.

A static engine display of the Z06 V-8.

The 2023 Corvette Z06 is powered by the 5.5-liter LT6 V-8. The engine makes 670 hp at 8,400 rpm with 460 foot-pounds of torque at 6,300 rpm.

Corvette Z06 Development

The Corvette Z06 was born in 1963 as an optional Special Equipment Package intended for racers. It included a stiffer suspension, heavy-duty brakes, a thicker front stabilizer bar, and a large, 36-gallon fuel tank that reduced the number of necessary pit stops in longer races. A fuel-injected 5.4-liter engine (327 cubic inches) and a close-ratio four-speed manual transmission were required with the package.

“Racing was the reason the Z06 was developed in 1963, and it continues to support the development of the road models that make them better on the street and the track,” said Tadge Juechter, chief executive engineer, Corvette. “It also means we’ve tested the Z06 on the best tracks around the world, from Circuit of the Americas here in the United States, to the Nürburgring in Germany.”

According to Chevrolet testing, the LT6 has 670 hp at 8,400 rpm and 460 foot-pounds of torque at 6,300 rpm. And the tachometer is set at a lofty 8,600 rpm. Chevrolet cites

The quad outlet of center exhaust tips on the Z06

The rear fascia houses centered floating exhaust bezels.

The LT6 is hand-assembled at the Performance Build Center in Kentucky’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant. Each engine features a plaque on the intake manifold with the technician’s signature, who crafted it from start to finish.

The new Z06 will be available in hardtop and convertible body styles in left- and right-hand drive. Production is set to begin in summer 2022.

The cockpit of the 2023 Z06 with a lot of carbon-fiber trim

The cockpit has been “elevated,” Chevrolet says, with rich materials and textures, including more carbon fiber trim.

Highlights of the 2023 Corvette Z06

  • A stance 3.6 inches wider than the Stingray, which gives room for its massive 345-series rear tires and more airflow through side air vents;
  • Unique front and rear fascias, a first for Z06. The front fascia is designed to optimize engine cooling. Special features include channeling air to a center heat exchanger, which is one of five for maximum cooling performance;
  • The reconfigurable rear spoiler, unique to Z06, has height-adjustable “wickerbill” elements. Subtle adjustments can improve high-speed stability and cornering capability on a racetrack;
    The rear spoiler on the Z06

    The reconfigurable rear spoiler, unique to Z06, has height-adjustable “wickerbill” elements.

     

  • Standard 20-inch front and 21-inch rear forged aluminum “spider” wheels — the largest wheels ever available on a production Corvette. There also are optional carbon fiber wheels (shown in the photo) that provide a 41-pound reduction in unsprung mass;
  • Specific suspension tuning includes Magnetic Ride Control 4.0. And the six-piston front disc brakes are larger than on the Stingray.
  • Brembo brake rotors are 14.6 inches in diameter at the front with six-piston calipers (compared to four-piston on the Stingray). Rear discs are 15 inches.
    The optional carbon fiber wheels on the Z06

    Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP tires are standard, with Sport Cup 2 R ZP tires included with the available Z07 package.

     

  • Eight-speed dual-clutch transmission has a “shorter” 5.56 final drive ratio compared to the Corvette Stingray, which boosts acceleration performance’
  • The driver area has been “elevated” with “rich materials and textures, including more carbon fiber trim and new options”;
  • Unique rear fascia houses centered floating exhaust bezels.
A closeup of the Z06 gauge array showing an 8,600 rpm redline.

The tachometer redlines at 8,600 rpm, 2,000 rpm more than the Stingray.

Z07 Performance Package

The optional Z07 performance package provides 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph, more than any Corvette ever. The package includes a carbon fiber high rear wing and ground effects, specific chassis tuning, specific Magnetic Ride Control calibration, and unique Michelin Cup 2 R ZP tires, along with Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and optional carbon fiber wheels.

2023 Z06 convertible and hardtop

The Corvette Z06 is set to begin production next summer 2022. As for all Corvettes, the Z06 will be built at the Bowling Green Assembly in left- and right-hand drive.

“Virtually every component that distinguishes the Z06 was developed to support or enhance its capability,” said Juechter. “By leveraging the mid-engine architecture’s inherent advantages, we are able to achieve 6 percent more downforce than a seventh-gen ZR1 at 8 percent lower drag.”

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Toyota GR Supra 2.0 Review

The turbocharged, four-cylinder 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is a genuine sports car with a German pedigree, high-quality engineering, and robust construction

The exterior view of a Nitro Yellow GR Supra

The turbocharged, four-cylinder Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is new for 2021. Pricing starts at $44,215. (Photography courtesy of Toyota)

Table of Contents

Supra History
GR Supra Sport Top
What’s New for 2021-22?
Pricing
GR Supra A91-CF Edition
GR Supra GT4 Race Car
GR Supra 2.0 Performance
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Why Buy the Toyota GR Supra 2.0?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

The return of the fifth-generation 2020 Toyota Supra was an act of blasphemy some enthusiasts shouted. The objection was the joint venture between BMW and Toyota. It was an arranged marriage for the diverse qualities of future development and shared costs.

BMW would benefit from Toyota’s long-term work on alternative-fuel propulsion systems, including a fuel cell. Toyota would reap the rewards of the German carmaker’s expertise in lightweight technologies. And the face of the deal would be represented by the joint development of a sports “vehicle,” which became the 2020 GR Supra.

The howls of discontent were heard before most enthusiasts even sat in the reborn Japanese two-seater.

Joint ventures are becoming common in the auto industry. For example, Toyota also partners with Subaru for its BRZ and Toyota GR86. And there also is the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat 124 Spider.

It is a matter of cost-sharing, but is the BMW-Toyota arrangement a collaboration or a compromise?

The front-seat view from inside the GR Supra

Eight-way manually adjusted seats save weight in the GR Supra 2.0.

Toyota Supra History

The fifth generation of the brought-back Supra nameplate dates to the lineup from 1978 to 2002. But Toyota also credits the 1967 2000GT with its double-bubble roof and inline six-cylinder engine, two hallmarks applied to the 2020 Supra.

While the first four generations of Supra shared a foundation with Toyota’s sporty Celica,

 

 

 

 

the current model shares a foundation with the BMW Z4. For now, BMW keeps the Z4 convertible and Toyota builds a hardtop version with performance engineering from its Gazoo Racing team (GR).

The Z4 is an excellent beginning for a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports car. Toyota’s follow-through for the hardtop design provides an ideal 50:50 weight balance. Engineering calibrations for the engine, suspension, and exhaust provide excellent road adhesion. Ride quality has steely determination without battering the occupants.

Automotive News reports that the Toyota GR Supra is due for a “freshening” in 2023.

black Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery

Black Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery

GR Supra Sport Top

Perhaps the 2023 “freshening” could bring a convertible GR Supra?

Toyota showed the GR Supra Sport Top at this year’s Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA). The roof design has two composite panels that were 3D printed. And the roof panels are contoured to the body lines and the design retains the windshield header.

To maintain structural integrity, the roof’s outer body structures were reinforced. And there is added reinforcement under the engine bay and rearward.

The SEMA  show will run from Nov. 2-5 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The GR Supra Sport Top concept for a convertible model

The GR Supra Sport Top concept.

What’s New for 2021-22?

A year after its world debut, Toyota has grown the GR Supra family at both ends: an entry-level turbocharged four-cylinder model and a high-performance halo model.

For the first time in the U.S., Toyota has been able to add the 255-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, formerly only available in the BMW Z4.

At the top end is the shut-up sauce for GR Supra complainers: the GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition, $64,305. This 2022 model includes a carbon fiber aerodynamics kit, 382-hp 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, and a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association with high-performance driving instruction.

Limited to just 600 vehicles, the GR Supra A91-CF is well equipped with just one factory option for the Driver Assist Package, $1,195.

And in between the price range are two six-cylinder models. This year the GR Supra 3.0 and 3.0 Premium were granted horsepower to match the 382-hp in the Z4 M40i. Previously, the six-cylinder models were throttled back to 335 horsepower from 5,000-6,500 rpm with peak torque of 365 foot-pounds at 1,600 rpm. Now, peak horsepower ranges from 5,800-6,500 rpm and peak torque is 368 lb.-ft. from 1,800-5,000 rpm.

A rear angle view of the 2021 Supra

The “S” in the Supra logo was inspired by the Nürburgring “S” curve.

GR Supra Pricing

The fifth-generation 2021 GR (Gazoo Racing) Supra is offered in two turbocharged powertrains: a 255-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 382-hp, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. Both versions have an eight-speed ZF-8 automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Current GR Supra pricing ranges from $44,215 for the entry 2.0-liter to $64,305 for the A91-CF Edition. Pricing includes the $1,025 freight charge from Graz, Austria. The Supra is built at the Magna Steyr plant, which also builds the BMW Z4 among other specialty vehicles.

Today’s GR Supra 2.0 tester was $47,845, including a carpeted cargo mat for $80, wheel locks for $65, and the Safety & Technology Package for $3,485. (Package details are in the specifications chart at the end of this review.)

BMW sells just two versions of the Z4 roadster. The Z4 sDrive30i with the 2.0 turbo four-cylinder starts at $50,895. And the Z4 M40i, with 382-hp 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder starts at $64,695. (But Toyota includes more standard equipment for the GR Supra.)

Check current Toyota GR Supra pricing and incentives here.

The double-bubble roof

The double-bubble roof design bumps headroom to 38.3 inches.

Toyota GR Supra A91-CF Edition

Limited to just 600 cars, the GR Supra A91-CF Edition is the most exclusive Mark V Supra to date, Toyota says, and it’s only for North America.

The 2022 GR Supra A91-CF features a carbon fiber front splitter and larger canards (winglet-like add-ons). In addition, carbon fiber side rockers define the lower edge along the sides. And around the back, there is more carbon fiber in the duckbill spoiler and lower canards.

This aero kit isn’t just for looks, Toyota says. The design improves downforce and stability, whether scooting through the daily commute or hot-lapping the autocross.

Other special features include matte-black textured 19-inch wheels — chosen to set off the optional new paint color of matte-gray Phantom. Absolute Zero White and Nitro Yellow are the other color choices for the GR Supra A91-CF.

GR Supra A91 A91-CF Edition has a red-and-black interior theme throughout its Alcantara-and-leather-trimmed cabin. Details include red stitching on the 14-way power-adjustable and heated sport seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, and sport pedals.

A range of standard intelligent safety features includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning with steering assist.

And every new owner is given a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association with high-performance driving instruction.

The Limited to just 600 cars, the GR Supra A91-CF Edition is the most exclusive Mark V Supra to date and only for North America.

Limited to just 600 cars, the GR Supra A91-CF Edition is the most exclusive Mark V Supra to date and only for North America.

The 430-hp GR Supra GT4

There also is a race-prepped GR Supra GT4 for customer teams. It is based on the six-cylinder GR Supra and is developed and produced by Toyota Motorsport GmbH.

The GR Supra GT4 is powered by a 430-hp variant of the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with a single twin-scroll turbocharger. A seven-speed sports automatic transmission has paddle shifters and a mechanical limited-slip differential. An Akrapovič exhaust system is standard, and Ravenol provides first-fill lubricants.

The front splitter and rear wing are made of natural fiber composite, contributing to an overall weight of 2,976 pounds, which is 424 pounds less than a stock GR Supra 3.0. As is used for the GR Supra road car, the front suspension has MacPherson struts, and the rear multilink suspension uses KW dampers at the front and rear.

An enhanced braking system uses six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear, with tires by Pirelli.

Safety features include a high-strength roll cage on the lightweight steel body and an FIA-standard racing seat with a six-point harness.

The interior has a carbon-fiber instrument panel with a display and a steering wheel designed for GT4 competition.

Pricing starts at around $200,000. Contact TRD at trdusa.gt4@toyota.com  to get more information on the GR Supra GT4.

The GR Supra GT4 race car.

The GR Supra GT4 is powered by a 430-hp, 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine.

GR Supra 2.0 Performance

At 3,181 pounds, the Supra 2.0 is more than 200 pounds lighter than the six-cylinder Supra 3.0. And that weight difference significantly changes the driving attitude of the car, in a positive way. The six-cylinder models are ate-up with power, which sometimes blows past the pleasure of feeling a German-engineered suspension make its graceful transitions.

With less weight over the front end, the Supra 2.0 feels nimble and quick. Throttle uptake is immediate without time lost to turbo spooling. And the engine tone and exhaust note are genuine for a performance car. There is not the high-speed drone of artificially generated engine “sound” that switches on and off.

In standard performance mode, the eight-speed automatic rolls through gears giving eager support to the driver. In Sport mode, the transmission has mind-reading precision, holding shifts for maximum enjoyment and giving heady downshifts.

Various sources cite 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.7 seconds for the GR Supra 2.0. And that compares to 4.4 seconds to reach 60 mph in the Supra 3.0 models. If valid, that 0.3 advantage for the 3.0 models comes at a cost difference of $8,350.

Fuel economy ratings are 25 mpg city, 32 highway and 28 mpg combined on the recommended premium fuel. (Those ratings compare to the six-cylinder model at 22/30/25 mpg.) My driving with liberal use of Sport mode worked up to 27.5 mpg, but I was focused more on fun than fuel economy.

Supra taillights

Rear combination lamps feature the turn, tail, and stop functions integrated into a ring shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride and Handling

The GR Supra is surprisingly uncomplicated to enjoy. It is an excuse to take the long way to work or to head out for weekend exploring. But it would not be my choice for a long road trip. It has a tight cockpit and the outside noise can be wearisome. However, the sport seats would remain comfortable for the range of the 13.7-gallon fuel tank.

After a few miles behind the wheel, the driver will warm up to the balance of the GR Supra 2.0. It is a rewarding engineering asset. The articulation of the suspension is a delicious experience as it stealthily makes weight transitions. Both powertrains have the same four-wheel-independent suspension with front MacPherson struts and a five-link rear setup. Stabilizer bars are the same gauge all around: 23.5 mm front and 18 mm rear.

Brush the brake pedal when barreling into a corner and the transmission flashes a downshift. Press harder on the pedal and downshifts fire off sequentially.

It is an active and engaging experience for the driver who will quickly forgive and forget that no manual gearbox is offered.

The electric power steering is keenly calibrated for an organic feel and smooth roll of the steering wheel. It takes just a twitch of the wheel to make a lane change, which brings yet another smile.

Despite the low front end, careful steering can avoid the occasional grind (and wince) of chin scraping.

Tires and Brakes

All Supra models get Michelin Pilot Super Sport staggered-size, ultra-high-performance tires. The Supra 2.0 has 18-inch alloy wheels with 255/40 front and 275/40 rear tires. And the Supra 3.0 has 19-inch forged aluminum wheels and slightly wider tires of 255/35 front and 275/35 rear.

Braking is by a matched set of 13-inch vented discs front and rear with a single-piston aluminum floating caliper. Six-cylinder models get 13.7-inch ventilated front discs with a four-piston fixed Brembo caliper; rear ventilated discs are 13.6 or 13 inches, depending on which model.

A tire and wheel on the Supra 3.0

Braking is by 13-inch vented discs front and rear. Six-cylinder models get 13.7-inch vented front discs and a four-piston Brembo caliper.

Interior Function

For such a high-performing car, it is accommodating as a daily driver. The shrink-wrapped body with a double-bubble roof allows headroom of 38.3 inches. With 42.2 inches of legroom and the eight-way manually adjusted seats, there should be room for those 6-feet-plus, but maybe not while wearing a helmet.

The seat-belt anchors are low and can be a struggle to click into position, competing for space with the bolstered seatback. Those of large girth will grumble about the extra effort to secure the belt, but the low anchor position actually improves the safety response.

Standard safety features include eight air bags, a precollision system with pedestrian alert and lane-departure warning with steering assist. Other safety elements are in the specs chart at the end of the story.

A door panel in the Supra

Interior assembly and materials are worthy of a $50,000 sports car.

Entry and Exit

The car is low with a wide sill that creates a duck-and-drop entry exercise. And those coupe doors are about 54 inches long, which is not an asset for access in tight parking situations. Finally, because the point of the spear is about 9 feet from the driver’s seat, I wished for a front camera (as in the Corvette) — in addition to the front and rear parking tones (with braking).

Sightlines out the front are good but compact out the small rear glass. Over-the-shoulder glances are blocked and damning at night. The rearview camera is small but helpful.

Cabin design is smartly organized with several areas for small-item storage, including a lockable glove box. The shift console is somewhat unique for its knee-bolstering brace on the driver’s right, and the left side is an open sweep that creates a sense of involvement for the passenger.

A bold and uncluttered gauge array has a dominant dial for RPMs and a digital speedo.

The 10.2 cubic feet of trunk space is adequate for weekend-getaway luggage.

Why Buy the Toyota GR Supra?

When you give an enthusiast a choice of more power or less, most will choose “more.” But the GR Supra 2.0 is not a cheapened model for a more appealing advertising price point.

The GR Supra 2.0 is a genuine sports car with a German pedigree, high-quality engineering, and robust construction.

Working with BMW is a blue-chip opportunity. The Z4 is a Thoroughbred in critical areas where some brands cheap out.

Toyota took the opportunity and built a family of GR Supras. The compromise might be for BMW, which has just the two Z4 roadster models.

Sales on average for the BMW Z4 convertible run about 280 a month, or 833 for the third quarter ending in September.

Supra sales in September were 436 (but down from 489 in Sept. 2020). But year to date Supra sales were 5,825 vs. 3,798 for 2020.

Maybe BMW will see Toyota’s positive business plan and be granted a hardtop Z4.

A yellow supra cornering on a racetrack

Automotive News reports that the Toyota GR Supra is due for a “freshening” in 2023.

Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Specifications

Body style: subcompact, rear-wheel-drive, 2-seat sports car

Engine: 255-hp, twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injected 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder; 295 lb.-ft. from 1,550-4,400 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and launch control; active rear differential

0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds, Car and Driver magazine

Fuel economy: 25/32/28 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel recommended

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 13.7 gallons

Trunk space: 10.2 cubic feet

Head/leg room: 38.3/42.2 in.

Length/wheelbase: 172.5/97.2 in.

Curb weight: 3,181 lbs.

Turning circle: 34.1 ft.

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Smart key entry with push-button ignition, electric parking brake, rearview camera with guidance lines, 8.8-inch full digital gauge cluster, 8-way manual seats with 4-way lumbar, black Alcantara with leather sport seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters, lined and locking glove box, 12-volt charging socket and 1.5-amp USB port, 4 speaker audio system with an 8.8-inch display screen with Supra Command and USB/Bluetooth connectivity

Exterior: 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport staggered size ultra-high-performance tires (255/40 front and 275/40 rear), gloss-black auto-folding heated side mirrors, LED front turn signal indicator and daytime running lights, 6-lens auto-leveling LED headlights (3 low beam, 3 high beam), LED tail lights and brake lights, aerodynamic underbody panel, dual rear exhaust outlets with polished stainless-steel tips

Safety features include: 8 air bags, precollision system with pedestrian alert, lane-departure warning with steering assist, auto high-beam headlight dimming, hill-start assist, brake assist, stability and traction controls

PRICING

Base price: $44,215, including $1,025 freight charge; price as tested $47,845

Options on test vehicle: Carpeted cargo mat $80 and wheel locks $65;

Safety & Technology Package, $3,485, include: Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (full speed), blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors with emergency braking function;

Technologies included in the package: 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation, 12 Speaker 500-watt JBL audio system with amplifier, touchpad rotary controller, wireless Apple CarPlay compatible (iOS only), speed limit information;

Supra Connected Services with up to 4-year trial: Included are remote services, remote maintenance, automatic emergency call, real-time traffic information, concierge, stolen vehicle recovery, map updates

Where assembled: Graz, Austria

Warranties: 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain; ToyotaCare complimentary maintenance for 2 years/25,000-miles, includes all standard factory scheduled service and 24/7 roadside assistance

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2022 VW Tiguan Review

Redesign of the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan sharpens exterior styling and adds standard heated seats, safety technologies, and seats for 7

The redesigned Tiguan for 2022

The 2022 VW Tiguan’s front-end styling was sharpened to make it look more like the larger VW Atlas SUV. (Photography by Mark Maynard)

Table of Contents

Tiguan Overview
What’s New For 2022
Better Than Base Standard Features
Pricing
Performance and Fuel Economy
Ride and Handling
Safety Features
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the VW Tiguan?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

I don’t often get to test an entry-level new car or truck. But a week in a base 2022 VW Tiguan was proof of the good bones that underpin this small SUV.

From the first drive-away, the Tiguan telegraphs the German engineering of a car to be enjoyed for its drivability. It is felt in the smooth roll of the steering and the quiet function of the compliant suspension. The cabin is well sound-isolated from road harshness or wind noise at speed, yet there was no significant effort for weighty soundproofing materials or laminated glass.

Tiguan driver's area

The driver’s position is secure with unhindered sightlines.

Manufacturers typically provide a well-equipped vehicle for media evaluations to showcase technologies and refining features. Generally, a base model has a reasonable amount of features, but limitations of technologies, option packages, and paint colors will cramp personal style. And the interior can be a plastic hell to meet a low price point for advertising.

Volkswagen, too, keeps the formula simple for the entry Tiguan S with limited options and paint colors. But so much is built into the Tiguan that the term “base” does not translate as cheap.

A wide angle view of the front seat area

There is a quality appearance to interior plastics and other materials.

VW Tiguan Overview

The VW Tiguan is part of a long line of VW Group vehicles, including the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan. And like those luxury-class SUVs, the Tiguan embodies that shared German ethos for keen drivability.

The Tiguan nameplate is a mashup of German words for Tiger and Leguan (iguana). Volkswagen says Tiguan is its best-selling model in the U.S. and worldwide.

The second-generation Tiguan debuted in 2018, which makes the 2022 model a midcycle update. Sold globally, the U.S. model is the long-wheelbase version, which provides seating for seven. For the U.S., the Tiguan is built in Puebla, Mexico.

The Tiguan slots in the VW lineup as a compact-class SUV. But because of its long wheelbase, the cabin is more of a super-compact, even midsize by some measurements. The Tiguan is also somewhat unique among its competitors for a pair of standard third-row seats on front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel-drive models only have seats for five.

There are four trim levels of Tiguan, all powered by a 184-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is standard and 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on the first three trims, while the top-of-range model includes AWD. All Tiguan models have an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Competing small SUVs include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.

What’s New On the 2022 Tiguan?

For 2022, the Tiguan’s front-end styling was sharpened a bit to make it look more like the larger VW Atlas SUV. LED daytime running lights are new and complement LED lighting front and rear. In addition, there are four new wheel designs for the standard 17-inch aluminum alloys to 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheels.

There are two new paint colors of Kings Red Metallic and Oryx White, both $395 each but not available on the base model. And for upper-trim models, there are two new interior colors of Cinnamon leatherette and Noisette (hazelnut color) leather.

Options include an illuminated line of lighting that flanks the VW logo. And there are updated R-Line design elements.

Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster is now standard with an 8-inch display (or an optional 10-inch Digital Cockpit Pro).

Also standard is the Volkswagen Car-Net infotainment system (for apps). There is Wi-Fi but only with a data-plan subscription. From the second trim level, MIB3 infotainment is standard, along with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices.

Heated front seats are now standard, with a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats as options.

The third row of seats in the Tiguan

The third row is for kids only, but it will be handy for the school carpool.

Optional Tiguan Upgrades

Models from the second trim level up include a power tailgate and a next-generation Climatronic Touch interface for climate control.

R-Line models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch “islands” and sliders.

Additional options include leatherette or leather seating surfaces, power driver and passenger seats, panoramic sunroof, Fender Premium Audio, and 15-color ambient lighting.

New interior colors include Cinnamon leatherette and Noisette leather.

Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster is now standard and has an 8-inch display (or optional 10-inch Digital Cockpit Pro).

From the second trim in the revised lineup, MIB3 infotainment is standard, along with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices.

Heated front seats are now standard, with options for a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Additional options include leatherette or leather seating surfaces, power driver and passenger seats, panoramic sunroof, Fender Premium Audio, and 15-color ambient lighting.

Better Than Base Features

The number of standard details is almost untouchable by competing entry-level offerings.

  • New standard tech includes the Digital Cockpit configurable gauge array and keyless entry with push-button ignition.
  • Automatic up and down lifts for all windows, not just the driver’s. Some brands seem to dole out the auto-for-all function as if it were gold.
  • Grab handles above all doors. Some makers save a few dollars and leave out the driver’s handle.
  • VW interiors are almost spartan for their disdain of flash-bang gimmicks. The interior design is reserved, but the Tiguan plastics have a premium appearance and graining. A few brushed-aluminum accents add contemporary style along the face of the instrument panel, door panels, and switchgear.
  • Door panel storage is flocked for sound-dampening.
  • I also like the dual overhead reading lights in the second row. And the separate jacket hooks at the B-pillars are often a budget-killing feature on other SUVs.
  • The second row reclines or folds flat.
A view of the fabric front seats.

Fabric seats in the Tiguan S are durable, supportive, and heated.

VW Tiguan Pricing

The front-wheel-drive Tiguan is sold in four trim levels, all with the same powertrain. 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on the first three trims and standard on the top model.

Tiguan starting prices range from $27,190 to $37,790 for the top-line SEL R-Line with AWD. Otherwise, add $1,500 for all-wheel drive. A sunroof would add $1,200.

The Tiguan S tester was $28,085 with one option for the combined IQ.DRIVE Package and S Convenience Package, $895. The IQ.DRIVE package adds adaptive cruise control for hands-on semi-autonomous driving, with Travel Assist, Lane Assist, and Emergency Assist. Among the convenience elements are a leatherette-wrapped and stitched multi-function steering wheel. Also included are an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

See the complete Tiguan S standard equipment list in the specifications list at the end of this review.

Find current pricing and incentives here.

 VW Tiguan S Performance

While the engine is the same as before, VW tinkered with the peak horsepower and torque power ratings. And because of its long wheelbase and third row, the Tiguan is heavier than most competitors by about 200 to 400 pounds. As a result, the curb weight of 3,765 pounds is reflected in the Tiguan’s performance and fuel economy.

Horsepower now peaks at 6,000 rpm, up from 4,360 rpm last year. And peak torque of 221 lb.-ft. at 1,900 rpm is now substantially higher than the previous peak at 1,600 rpm.

The re-calibrations might have been aimed at fuel economy, which is 1 mpg improved in the highway and combined ratings. But the 2022 ratings of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, and 26 mpg combined were unachievable in the front-drive tester. My driving averaged 14-15 mpg around town, and I was able to work up to just 24 mpg combined on highway driving. Longer daily commutes likely would stretch the mileage.

There’s not much compromise to fuel economy from front- to all-wheel drive. The 4Motion is rated 22/29/25 mpg, and mileage for the Tiguan R-Line drops to 21/28/24 mpg.

The engine runs on 87 octane for all models, and there’s a 15.3-gallon tank for front-drive models and a 15.9-gallon tank for AWD models.

In daily driving, there is a slight delay in acceleration until the turbo is fully charged. At times, pulling away from the light can bring a squeal of the front tires. And sometimes, the acceleration requires a heavier foot. On the highway at 70-75 mph there is strong pull for passing or emergency maneuvers.

Sport mode sharpens the response, but it can feel unsteady and with some abrupt gear changes.

The Tiguan's turbocharged four-cylinder engine

The 184-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Tiguan S Ride and Handling

The simplicity of the Tiguan suspension has secret-sauce engineering that is true to the Volkswagen DNA for driving. There are no hydraulics or electronics, just front struts with lower control arms, steel coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The rear multilink also has coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar.

The ride is uncommonly supple for an SUV of any size. The ride quality is firm but never harsh, and the cabin is remarkably quiet at highway speeds. Tiguan can handle enthusiastic cornering without falling all over itself.

Braking has a reassuring and flat grip from power-assisted, 13.4-inch vented front discs and 11.8-inch solid rear discs.

17-inch alloy wheels on the entry level Tiguann

17-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Tiguan S.

VW Tiguan Safety Features

All Tiguan models have such safety features as six air bags, automatic post-collision braking, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, and rear traffic alert.

New this year is standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking. The system will apply the brakes in certain crash types when the air-bag sensors detect a primary collision. Automatic braking is intended to reduce the chance of additional damage.

Tiguan also includes the Intelligent Crash Response System. The feature shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in a severe collision.

 VW Tiguan Interior Function

The Tiguan S tester had a basic black interior with durable and attractive fabric upholstery. Cabin décor is contemporary with reserved use of satin aluminum accents. There is much black plastic, but it has a premium appearance and all panels were well aligned. However, the loud ping-pong tone of the turn signal could be toned down.

The doors open wide for easy entry and exit, which shows more engineering attention to finesse another degree or two on opening. The driver’s position is secure, with clear sightlines over the front fenders and over the shoulder. Headroom is tall at 39.6 inches with shoulder room. And there is a robust driver’s footrest.

The digital gauge array.

The digital gauge array. (VW)

I like the configurable gauge array to highlight a “classic” view or to add such categories as “gear and speed,” fuel economy, and range.

The front seats have manual height adjustment and are firmly stuffed for support on long drives. However, I would have liked some seat-cushion tilt and adjustable lower-back support (lumbar), which is not available on the Tiguan S. Door-side armrests and the steering wheel are neatly stitched as part of the IQ Drive package.

The standard 6.5-inch color display touch screen seems small, particularly when viewing the rearview camera. Upper trim models have an 8-inch display.

There are large and convenient storage areas, including a small box on driver’s left on the lower instrument panel. Bottle holders in the door panels have large capacity. Even the hood release lever is of stout design.

There is a charging area on the shift console with two USB-C ports and space to lay a large phone.

A front inside door panel with a large bottle holder

The door panel has large bottle storage and a neatly stitched armrest.

Tiguan Back Seats and Cargo Space

The second row is road-trip relaxed with 36.5 inches of maximum legroom with good footroom, even with Big Daddy in the front seat.

The bench seat has a 40-20-40 split with reclining seatbacks. The seats have fore-aft travel and tip-and-slide for access to the third row, but the manual function is stiff to use and could be refined for easier operation.

Second-row bench in the Tiguan

The second row has long legroom of 36.5 inches.

Amenities include airplane-style lights in the headliner, a fold-down center armrest, grab handles and four coat hooks.

Third-row space is best for a pair of youngsters. Headroom is 5.3 inches lower than in the second row (33.8 inches) and legroom is short at 27.9 inches. But the pair of seats are handy just in case, and the seats lie flat when folded.

Cargo space in the Tiguan

The Tiguan cargo space is flexible, with 12 cubic feet behind the third row.

Cargo space behind the third row is great for corralling grocery bags in the 12-cubic-foot space.

With the third row folded, there is 33 cubic feet of capacity, stacked to the headliner. Fold both rows or one section of the second row, and there is about 6 feet of length. The entry is wide at 45 inches.

There is underfloor storage for the roller-cover when the seats are in use. Other extras include a 12-volt plug and second-row seatback release levers.

Underfloor storage in the Tiguan cargo floor

The cargo roller cover can be stored in underfloor storage.

Why Buy the 2022 VW Tiguan?

So much is built into the 2022 VW Tiguan that the term “base” does not translate as cheap.

Seldom is a base model from any maker an acceptable purchase without a couple of option packages, at least. The entry Tiguan S is an exception. But even the test car had one package for $895, which added safety in its semi-autonomous driving elements and a couple of welcome convenience features.

At $28,085, the tester is fully priced, but it made for a value-plus purchase as a very enjoyable vehicle.

I am enthusiastic about the qualities of the Tiguan S, but it has limits for personalization. The S model has just four choices of paint colors: Platinum Gray Metallic, Pyrite Silver Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, and Pure White.

Moving up to the SE, $30,690, adds color choices of red (a $395 cost) or blue metallic, and pearlescent black or white.

And the SE also adds an eight-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, adaptive cruise control, Travel Assist, Lane Assist, Emergency Assist, wireless phone charging, Bluetooth phone connection, and audio streaming, and 18-inch wheels.

Depending on the purchaser, spending another $2,605 for the SE might build a better family SUV.

The rear angle of the Tiguan

VW Tiguan S pricing starts at $27,190. AWD adds $1,500

 2022 VW Tiguan S Specifications

Body style: compact, 7-seat, 5-door compact-class SUV in front- or optional all-wheel drive

Engine: 184-hp, turbocharged and intercooled direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with auto stop-start at idle; 221 lb.-ft. peak torque at 1,900 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with sport and manual modes

Fuel economy: 23/30/26 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane recommended

Towing capacity: 1,500 lbs., braked

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 15.3 gallons

Cargo space: 12 to 33 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 39.6/40.2 in.

2nd-row head/leg room: 39.1/36.6 in.

3rd-row head/leg room: 33.8/27.9 in.

Length/wheelbase: 186.4/109.9 in.

Curb weight: 3,765 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.7 ft.

FEATURES

  • Standard Tiguan S equipment includes: Keyless entry and locking with push-button ignition, rearview camera, electric parking brake, digital cockpit gauge array with 8-inch display, cloth seating, heated front seats, multi-function steering wheel, 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, two USB-C ports, LED headlights and taillights (with LED Daytime Running Lights), black roof rails, body-colored heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, Car-Net infotainment and apps with 6.5-inch touch screen and six-speaker sound system, Wi-Fi capability with subscription, sliding and folding 40-20-40 second-row seat, third-row 50/50 seating, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Safety features include: 6 air bags, automatic post-collision braking, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert

PRICING

Tiguan S Base price: $27,190, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $28,085

Options on test vehicle: IQ.DRIVE Package & S Convenience Package, $895, includes adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, leatherette-wrapped, multi-function leatherette steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, travel assist, lane assist, emergency assist

Where assembled: Puebla, Mexico

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper, transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of coverage; 3-years/36,000-miles roadside assistance; free scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 20,000 miles

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Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Review

The almost-palatial 2021-22 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy SUV is elegantly spacious with luxurious accommodations, smart technologies, and unexpected but appreciated amenities

An exterior view of the 2022 Hyundai Palisade

For family trips or towing, the Palisade is generously sized and powered with a 291-horsepower V-6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. (Photos courtesy of Hyundai)

Table of Contents

Overview
Palisade Updates for 2021
Pricing
Warranties
Safety Features
Palisade Performance
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the Hyundai Palisade?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a big easy of SUVs. It is friendly to drive with its nimble turning circle of 38.7 feet. Its 291-hp V-6 engine has strong power and mindful fuel economy from the eight-speed automatic transmission. And the pricing will convince skeptics to take a closer look.

The Hyundai Palisade compares with the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, three-row 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, VW Atlas, and platform partner Kia Telluride.

Hyundai Palisade Overview

The Hyundai Palisade debuted in 2019 as the brand’s new flagship SUV. The nameplate is a reference to the coastal cliffs of the Pacific Palisades neighborhood in Los Angeles.

As the Santa Fe XL replacement, Palisade was built on a new SUV chassis with three rows of seating for seven or eight occupants. The large-midsize SUV crossover has standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.

Among Hyundai’s five SUV models, the Palisade ranked third for sales in September 2021. With 7,961 sales, the Palisade followed the compact Tucson at 9,896 sales, the midsize Santa Fe at 6,573, the subcompact Venue at 2,877, and the subcompact Kona 5,774.

While some of the SUV sales were down in September, the Venue was up 88 percent over September 2020, and the Palisade was up by 3 percent over September 2020.

The Calligraphy interior

Special Calligraphy features include Nappa leather upholstery, quilted leather door panels, and a microfiber-suede headliner.

Palisade Updates for 2021

The only change for the 2021 model year is the addition of the Calligraphy, the new top-of-the-line trim level.

Other changes for the 2021 Palisade include content repackaging to add comfort and convenience to all trim levels.

LED headlamps are now standard, while sunroof and LED map-interior lights have been added to the SEL model and above.

Palisade trailer pre-wiring connectors were upgraded from a four-pin connector to an enhanced seven-pin connector.

The 2022 Palisade is now on sale with no physical or content changes, but pricing was increased by $475 to $490 across the lineup.

Palisade driver area

The driver area is an accommodating command center with at-a-glance access to all controls.

Hyundai Palisade Pricing

Palisade is sold in four trim levels of SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy. Starting prices range from $33,860 to $47,900 for the Calligraphy AWD; pricing includes the $1,185 freight charge from Ulsan, Korea.

The front-drive Palisade Calligraphy tester was $47,600 with one option for three rows of carpeted floor mats, $215.

Special Calligraphy features include:

  • Quilted-leather door panels
  • Microfiber-suede headliner
  • Premium cargo sill protection plate
  • Perforated-leather steering wheel

A longer list of standard equipment is in the specifications chart at the end of this review.

Find current pricing and inventive offers here.

A dual pane sunroof

The front sunroof tilts and slides and the rear pane is fixed with a shade.

Hyundai Warranties

All Hyundai vehicles have extensive warranty coverage. The basic coverage is for 5 years or 60,000 miles bumper to bumper. The limited powertrain warranty is for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

New this year is free scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. The maintenance program includes oil and filter changes and tire rotation.

Hyundai Palisade Safety Features

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade SUV received a 2020 Top Safety Pick-Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition, the government’s National Highway Safety Administration awarded the Palisade the top five-star ratings for overall protection, frontal and side crashes, and four stars for rollover.

Palisade’s standard safety features include:

  • 7 air bags,
  • Lane-following assist and lane-keeping assist,
  • Blind-spot collision-avoidance assist,
  • Forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection,
  • Highway Drive Assist, and
  • Rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.
The 20-inch tires and special wheel design

The Calligraphy has a special wheel design with 20-inch Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 all-season tires.

Hyundai Palisade Performance

The 2021 Palisade is sold in front- or all-wheel drive (HTRAC) models. All have a 291-hp 3.8-liter, Atkinson-cycle, direct-injection V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission.

EPA fuel-economy ratings for front-drive models are 19 mpg city, 26 highway and 22 mpg combined or 19/24/21 mpg with HTRAC.

While testing the 4,231-pound Palisade Calligraphy, I drove the majority of the week in Eco mode. I was surprised by the performance because that fuel-saving mode for engine and transmission performance usually has a maddeningly spongy throttle response.

For those who keep an eye on the fuel gauge, the Palisade’s Eco calibration is actually usable for most driving. Immediate launch power is somewhat reserved, as is close-the-gap acceleration on the highway. Still, in between, it worked to convince me I was saving fuel and emissions in a 16.3-foot-long family vehicle.

In the front-drive tester, my driving averaged 17 to 21 mpg around town, and I worked up to 22.5 mpg combined with highway driving. The highway mileage likely would have risen with more time using cruise control at the speed limit.

The Palisade V6 engine

All Palisade trim levels have the 291-hp V-6 and 8-speed automatic.

Ride and Handling

Palisade’s ride quality is comfortable but not soft. It is well-supported with a rigid chassis for vibration-free driving. The cabin is quiet, and the rear auto-leveling suspension nearly eliminates “head toss” at driveways and speed bumps.

The HTRAC all-wheel-drive system has six traction modes for Eco, Sport, Comfort, Snow, Smart (which adapts to your driving style) and AWD lock. Snow mode has more predictive calibrations, Hyundai says, to prevent loss of traction.

The transmission rolls through the gears so smoothly that you might not notice the transitions. Tire sizes are 18 inches standard or 20 inches on the Calligraphy with a unique wheel pattern.

The tester’s 20-inch all-season tires, Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2, are generously sized (245/50) and roll smoothly and without road harshness.

Four-wheel disc braking is confident with no grab from 13.9-inch ventilated front rotors and rear 12-inch solid rotors.

A rear angle of the SUV

The Calligraphy has rear auto-leveling suspension that nearly eliminates ‘head toss’ at driveways and speed bumps.

Highway Drive Assist

Hyundai’s Highway Drive Assist allows Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. The assist system uses a forward-facing radar unit and camera and GPS technology through the navigation system’s map database.

The suite of driver-assist technologies includes smart cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-following assist and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.

The HDA steering calibrations are more refined than some systems I’ve tested. It seems the camera might look farther ahead to make less-jerky steering movements in cornering.

The driver-assist system is intended for use on a divided highway and it will not engage when not traveling on an approved road. The driver must keep both hands on the steering wheel, and Highway Driving Assist is available only at speeds under 95 mph.

In my experience, the system was mostly efficient at keeping the Palisade centered between the lines. Once or twice, however, the system allowed the SUV to drift wide in a sweeping corner and then fired off a sharp warning alert as if I were at fault.

Interior Function

The Calligraphy is a social lounge with a USB port for every seat and 16 cup holders.

Front headroom is tall at 39.3 inches with the dual-pane sunroof. And shoulder room is wide-body at 61.2 inches (and 60.8 inches in the second row.) The step-in height is low with no need for running boards, and the door skins extend below the sill to prevent dirt scuffs on legs and shoes.

The Palisade has USB ports in the seatback

Of the seven USB ports, two are cleverly placed in the seatbacks.

The driver area is an accommodating command center with a multilevel environment of storage areas, including below the center console, with open space for wireless phone charging and a deep armrest box.

There is at-a-glance access to all controls, and the 10.25-inch infotainment screen is not prone to glare in sunlight.

The seats are full-bodied with eight-way power adjustment for the driver and front passenger. Sightlines are no problem, especially with the multiview camera that also gives front and overhead views.

It is a quiet Calligraphy cabin, helped by an acoustic laminated windshield and front side glass.

Unique in this segment is Hyundai’s Blind View Monitors. The side mirrors have rearward-aimed cameras that switch on when using the turn signal. The behind-view video appears in the gauge array, in the corresponding left or right dials. These electronic eyes are instrumental in town when navigating the randomly weaving electric scooters, bikes, and pedestrians.

The roomy back seat area

No compromise to second-row seating with 42.7 inches of legroom.

A Driver Talk in-car intercom system allows communication with the second or third rows via a conversation mode in the audio system. A Rear Sleep Mode also cancels music from being transmitted to the second- and third-row speakers.

Back Seats and Cargo Area

The second row has a maximum of 42.4 inches of legroom, adjustable by the sliding captain’s chairs, which also recline. There is a separate climate control system for heat and AC, fan speed and temp — and heated and cooled seats. The large glass roof panel (with sunshade) is a big-sky treatment. And ceiling air vents help to fend off motion sickness.

The back seats have a one-handed tilt-and-slide action for third-row entry. In addition, the third-row bench has more support than some competitors in this group, and the Palisade seats have a fold-flat power recline.

The cargo area is big-box square with a usable 18 cubic feet of space behind the third row, with functional basement storage. There are switches for the power-folding and raising of the third-row seats and power releases to fold the second row.

The lift-in height is tall at 30 inches, but there is about 7 feet of length with both rows folded. The entry is 48 inches wide by 32 inches tall.

The cargo area in the Palisade

There are 18 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row or fold the second and third rows for about 7 feet of length.

Why Buy the Hyundai Palisade?

The Palisade is a little like moving the family to a new two-story home in a master-planned suburban community. The cabin is roomy with a long list of advanced technologies, premium-quality materials, and many unexpected but appreciated amenities.

Opting for the Calligraphy model provides an elevated luxury experience. And its presentation is without the glare of glitzy technology overload, so common in the Tier 1 luxury segment. It is an enjoyable learning curve to explore Hyundai’s technologies, which is not always so with some luxury brands.

Moving to the three-row suburbs isn’t for every family, but for less than $50,000, a palatial-feeling Palisade is move-in ready.

Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Specifications

Body style: large-midsize, 3-row 7- to 8-seat SUV in front- or all-wheel drive

Engine: 291-hp, Atkinson cycle, direct-injection 3.8-liter V-6 with idle stop-and-go; 262 lb.-ft. torque at 5,200 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with HTRAC AWD mode selector

Fuel economy: 19/26/22 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane

Tow capacity: 1,650 lbs. without trailer brakes; 5,000 lbs. with trailer brakes

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons

Cargo space: 18-45.8 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 39.3*/41. in. *w/sunroof

2nd row head/leg room: 38.8*/42.4 in.

3rd row head/leg room: 37.2*/31.4 in.

Length/wheelbase: 196.1/114.2 in.

Width/height: 77.8/68.9 in.

Curb weight: 4,231 lbs.

Turning circle: 38.7 ft.

FEATURES

Standard Calligraphy equipment includes: smart-key locking with push-button ignition, Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery, microsuede headliner, surround-view monitor, electric parking brake, blind-view monitor (turn-signal activated), 7 USBs, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, wireless phone charger, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch infotainment and navigation touch screen with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, Harman Kardon audio system, LED headlights-taillights-running lights, auto-leveling rear suspension, trailering package, dual sunroofs with sunshades, high-beam assist, back seat quiet mode, power-folding third row with power recline, hands-free liftgate

Safety features include: 7 air bags, intelligent cruise control with stop-and-go, lane following assist and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist park-distance warning, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, highway drive assist, downhill brake control, rear occupant alert, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist

PRICING

Base price: $47,385, including $1,185 freight charge; price as tested $47,600

Options on test vehicle: carpeted floor mats $160

Where assembled: Ulsan, Korea

Warranties: 5 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance; 3-years/36,000-miles free scheduled maintenance (of oil change and tire rotation); 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain

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Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic Review

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic spools up 302-hp from a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine

The exterior view of the Mercedes

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic compact sedan starts at $46,900. (Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

Table of Contents

AMG History
Pricing
Powertrain
Ride and Handling
AMG Reinforcements
Braking
Steering
Interior Function
Back Seats and Trunk Space
Why Buy the Mercedes-AMG A35?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

It was late September on a drizzly Sunday morning when I steered the Mercedes-AMG A35 toward the backcountry. It was a seasonally cool 70 degrees in San Diego, but in the foothills where I was headed the sun would be peeking out and the roads would be dry. The conditions were ideal to go out, get it and get home in this 302-horsepower AMG sly-scrapper of a small sedan.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 is a righteous upgrade of factory-finessed performance.

AMG History

The three letters that define AMG date to 1967. The abbreviation is associated with two former Mercedes-Benz engineers: Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. The G is for Großaspach, the German village where they set up shop as race-engine developers. Today, Mercedes-AMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.

Mercedes-AMG enhancements begin with a big boost to horsepower and high-speed control. The hardware improvements include the AMG Speedshift transmission, the AMG suspension, and the variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

There is an AMG model for nearly all M-B vehicles, whether for the big G63 SUV, the Mercedes-AMG ONE hypercar concept, and down to the A35.

Mercedes-AMG engines are the baseline to the AMG experience. Many of the engines are hand-built by meticulous technicians. Their names are engraved on a small plaque and affixed to the engine shroud.

The engine in the A35 is not hand-built to that degree, but it has all of the other AMG attributes.

The front seats in the Mercedes-AMG

Both front seats are power-adjustable with manual thigh extension.

From A220 to A35

The compact-class A35 is based on the Mercedes-Benz A 220. It is the brand’s smallest and most affordable sedan. The A-Class was completely redesigned for 2019 with handsome exterior styling, more back seat room and trunk space, and a more refined interior.

Pricing for the A220 starts at about $34,700. The A220 is sold with standard front-wheel drive or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive. The A220 powertrain is a 188-hp, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

From this foundation, Mercedes-AMG transforms an entry-level family sedan into an aspirational object of artful engineering. Compare the A35 with the Audi S3 and BMW 235i.

Driver area of the AMG A35

The driver faces a 10.25-inch-wide digital dashboard.

Mercedes-AMG A35 Pricing

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG A35 starts at $46,900, including the $1,050 freight charge from Rastatt, Germany. My tester was $56,875. The nearly $10,000 in options and accessories were primarily cosmetic. Most buyers would select the upgrades, which are highlighted in the specifications box at the end of this story.

But I would have added three more options, totaling $2,990:

  • Wireless phone charging, $200;
  • Driver Assistance Package, $1,700, adds the electronic elements for Level II assisted driving. Among those technologies are Active Distance Assist, Active Steering Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Lane Change Assist’
  • Parking Assistance Package, $1,090, is valuable for its surround-view camera system and Parktronic with Active Parking Assist. Park assist is especially helpful to protect the car’s low chin spoiler from being poked into a wall or other parked vehicle.

Build your Mercedes-AMG A35 here.

19-inch tire and wheel

19-inch, twin-spoke light-alloy wheels and side sills of AMG design.

Mercedes-AMG A35 Powertrain

Mercedes-Benz engine development is masterful at providing gratuitous power with absolute accelerator response.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the A35 has a stunning 302-hp. The twin-scroll turbocharger catches its breath quickly with just a moment’s delay as the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission engages first gear. In Sport or Sport-plus, there is no hesitation to jump off the line.

Fuel economy ratings are forgiving at 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 mpg combined on the recommended premium fuel. My mileage in combined driving was a consistent 25 to 29 mpg. But hoonyism will drop the range precipitously.

If 302-hp seems outrageous for a four-cylinder, Mercedes-AMG also builds a 2.0-liter with 416-hp and peak torque of 369 lb.-ft. from 5,000-5,250 rpm. The company says this 2.0-liter M 139 engine is the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production.

The A35 engine

The twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will launch the A35 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

A35 Ride and Handling

The AMG A35 is very likable for its levels of drivability. The car is a study in higher power. Choose performance attitudes of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport-plus, or Individual to electronically set preferred qualities for steering response, suspension stiffness, and other fine tuning.

Comfort mode is reasonably assertive and boisterous when the gas pedal is floored, such as in an evasive maneuver. My preferences were Sport when making the commute or Sport-plus when headed out for a good time.

Like a steely street-fighter, the AMG35 punches above its weight. Its control fits in the hand like a roll of nickels (if anybody still rolls coin). The calibrations know to let the driver have that AMG experience when possible.

Flick off a double downshift and the engine blips and fires off a hearty report. The tone is sound-generated but rich and satisfying.

A steel-spring suspension with MacPherson front struts provides excellent road adhesion, at least in my less-than-blistering test. But even the Comfort setting is sports-car firm.

If that is not enough control, there is the optional AMG Ride Control suspension, $990. The adaptive adjustable damping allows the driver to switch between three stages of control.

All-Wheel Drive

The 4Matic all-wheel-drive in this car is more about performance adhesion than all-weather surefootedness.

The power split is front-drive biased, moving seamlessly to AWD as needed or when the computer sensors say it is necessary. The power delivery runs from front-drive only to a 50:50 percent split front to rear.

When committing to a corner at speed, the driver can push out the nose with the accelerator pedal or pull it back by a careful lift of the right foot.

Optional 19-inch, 235/35 Pirelli P Zero tires have a grippy (but low) treadwear rating of 280. That wear rating is expected of ultra-high-performance tires, but there was noticeable droning at highway speeds.

Tight parking situations are very manageable with a turning circle of 37.9 feet. But do be careful of that larger front splitter in the AMG Aerodynamics Package, $1,550. A driveway entry that looks harmless can inflict a painful scrape.

Mercedes A35 exhaust tips

The exhaust system has an automatically controlled exhaust flap.

A35 Body Reinforcements

To handle the stress of the AMG-enhanced powertrain, the front section of the bodyshell is reinforced. Turn-in precision was sharpened and the toe and camber alignment was modified a few degrees for handling dynamics, especially at speed. In addition, an aluminum “shearing plate” under the engine increases torsional rigidity at the front. And two other diagonal braces at the front also increase stiffness.

A35 Braking

The high-performance braking system brings the A35 sedan to an absolutely flat stop in an impressively short distance. The front axle is fitted with four-piston monoblock fixed calipers and 13.78-inch brake discs. At the rear is a single-piston caliper with 12.99-inch discs that are internally ventilated and perforated to dissipate heat and prevent brake fading. The silver-painted brake calipers have black AMG lettering.

A35 Steering

The speed-sensitive, electro-mechanical power steering has a unique rack with a variable transmission ratio and two characteristic curves. Depending on which drive program has been selected, the calibration provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.

AMG Track Pace

For those drivers who will run their A35 through a slalom, there is an optional data logger. The AMG Track Pace ($250) is a virtual race engineer that permanently records more than 80 vehicle-specific data. Among the displayed results are speed, acceleration, and lap times.

Specific display elements are shown in green or red. The color variations show at a glance whether the driver’s times are faster or slower than their best time.

Well-known race tracks, such as the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored. Furthermore, it is also possible to record your own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and can also be updated online.

The MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal driving line of a stored racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia display or optional head-up display. It is like having a virtual instructor in the passenger seat helping the driver to improve lap times.

Back seat legroom is snug for adults.

Back seat legroom of 33.9 inches is snug for adults.

A35 Interior Functionality

The A220 is one of the more convincing entry-level small sedans. Technically, the car’s footprint is subcompact, but the interior space is more compact-class in roominess.

Driver sightlines are unhindered over the shoulder or across the hood. Entry and exit are low but not a struggle for taller adults.

Front headroom with the sunroof is tall at almost 40 inches with long legroom of 41.8 inches.

The driver faces a digital dashboard with a 10.25-inch digital instrument array and a 10.25-inch touch screen display for infotainment and other cabin controls. The electronics are nonthreatening to use and there are alternate buttons for audio, fan speeds, and AC.

There are several spaces for small-item storage and door panels that will accommodate tall bottles.

Back Seats and Trunk Space

The back seat legroom of 33.9 inches is snug but with comfortable shoulder room for two adults. The space does not feel cramped.

Trunk space might seem small at just 8.6 cubic feet, but the space is wide and square with a wide entry of 37.4 inches. And the back seat has a 60/40 split and folds flat for longer items.

A side view of the A35

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was completely redesigned for 2019.

Why Buy the Mercedes-AMG A35?

AMG is the art of engineering. It is a stealth display of performance, which many owners prefer over the alternatives.

Building a model-line halo from a base model can have disappointing results. But the A220 now embodies the measures expected of a luxury car, even if it is the least expensive in the lineup.

The plastics have appealing texture and color. I saw no unfinished corners or misaligned panels in the test car. The trunk, too, had neatly installed carpeting, a pair of sturdy seatback-release handles, and even a red warning light, NOT just a reflector, when the trunk lid is raised.

The A35 starting price of $46,900 is a baseline of AMG credentials. From there, it will take driving enthusiasts another $10,000 to hand-pick their preferred conveniences or technologies.

From its economy-car foundation, the pleasure provided by a $57,000 A35 becomes a value statement.

Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 4-door sedan with AWD

Engine: 302-hp, AMG-enhanced twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder ; 295 lb.-ft. torque at 3,000 rpm

Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with manual mode and race-start function

0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds (est.); top speed, 155 mph

Fuel economy: 22/29/25 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel recommended for peak performance

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 13.5 gallons

Trunk space: 8.6 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 40.3/41.8 in.

Rear head/leg room: 37.2/33.9 in.

Length/wheelbase: 179.4/107.4 in.

Curb weight: 3,525 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.9 ft.

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Keyless locking and push-button ignition, panoramic sunroof, 10.25-inch touch screen display and 10.25-inch digital instrument array, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay (wired) or Android Auto infotainment apps, Bluetooth phone and streaming music, power (heated) front seats with lumbar support, LED headlights and taillights,

Safety features include: 7 air bags, active brake assist, blind-spot assist, crosswind assist and adaptive braking, Hill Start Assist and HOLD function

PRICING

Base price: $46,900, including $1,050 freight charge; price as tested $56,875

Options on test vehicle: Patagonia Red metallic paint $720; black leather upholstery $1,450; satellite radio $460; Burmester surround-sound audio system $850; heated front seats $500; USB-C adapter cable (in armrest console) $25;

Multimedia package, $1,295, includes navigation, map updates, MBUX augmented reality for navigation and traffic sign assist;

Premium package, $800, includes Keyless Go, hands-free trunk access, auto-dimming side and folding rearview mirrors;

AMG Features

  • Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather, $400;
  • 19-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels in matte black, $800;
  • AMG steering wheel buttons, $400;
  • AMG Ride Control Sport suspension, $990;

Night Package, $750, includes front splitter, grille trim and louvers in the side air intakes, AMG side panel inserts, gloss black beltline and window trim, black side mirror covers, and exhaust tips;

Aerodynamics Package, $1,550, includes larger front splitter and diffusers, larger rear spoiler lip, rear apron, and black diffuser blade

Where assembled: Rastatt, Germany

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles with roadside assistance

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