Kia Sportage Hybrid Review

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid emphasizes the human in the interface between driver and machine

An exterior view of a Vesta Blue 2023 Kia Sportage

The 2023 Kia Sportage is now in its fifth generation, and completely redesigned and re-engineered. (Photos courtesy of Kia Motors)

Table of Contents

Overview
Pricing
5 Cool Things
Powertrains and Fuel Economy
Kia Sportage Hybrid Performance
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

The Kia Sportage could have been put out of its misery after its 1995 debut in the U.S. This little SUV was the second model in the Kia lineup after the born-to-be-a-beater Sephia small sedan.

From my first test drive of the inaugural five-door Sportage, I remember the paint drips, the spongy seats, and the flimsy construction. But it was cheap to buy, its utility was family-friendly, and it had a can-do driving personality. It even had a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which at the time went beyond the coverage of most other brands.

The mid-1990s was the frontier for new small SUVs. The Kia Sportage was up against the already popular Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Yet, the Korean upstart endured and has taught some tricks to its competitors.

Today, more than 30 subcompact and compact SUVs are for sale in the U.S. And the 2023 Kia Sportage is now in its fifth generation, completely redesigned and re-engineered.

Since launching the first Sportage, Kia now sports five SUVs ranging from subcompact to large and battery electric (EV6). There are 12 models in the Kia lineup, of which seven are electrified or battery electric.

Among the competitors of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid are the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

An interior view of the Sportage front seats

Front headroom is reasonably tall at 37.8 inches with the panoramic sunroof.

2023 Kia Sportage Overview

The Sportage has gone from one of the smallest SUVs in its class to one of the largest, Kia says. Its overall length is 7.1 inches longer than the previous generation, with a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase.

The new Sportage is a half-inch taller and wider. Kia says the Sportage has class-leading rear legroom of 41.3 inches and best-in-class rear cargo capacity of 39.5 cubic feet when factoring in the dual-level cargo floor.

Kia moved the new Sportage chassis to the latest third generation “N3” platform of the Sorento midsize SUV. Building this compact SUV on a midsize foundation creates a rigid base and better driving dynamics, Kia says.

Using more “hot-stamped parts” and ultra-high-strength steel increased tensile strength and torsional stiffness. The result minimizes road, wind, and engine noise. And for a more traffic-calmed cabin, more sound-absorbing and insulating materials were added.

The larger Sportage is a market separator from Kia’s smaller SUVs, the Seltos and Niro.

White SynTex leatherette upholstery

SynTex leatherette upholstery is relaxed to the touch but feels durable.

2023 Kia Sportage Pricing

America loves a choice for just about any product and the 2023 Kia Sportage choices. It is available in seven trim levels with gasoline, hybrid, and (soon) plug-in hybrid powertrains. New for 2023 are two new “adventure-ready” X-Pro trim levels.

With standard all-wheel drive, the Sportage X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige have a 1.5-inch boost in ground clearance. X-Line models also have unique body and interior trims and options for new 19-inch all-terrain tires and the multi-terrain mode AWD system.

Sportage starting prices range from $27,285 for the LX front-wheel-drive model to $38,085 for the AWD X-Pro Prestige model.

The Sportage Hybrid has three trim levels of LX, EX, and SX-Prestige. Base pricing ranges from $28,585 for the LX FWD to $37,485 for the SX-Prestige AWD.

Today’s 2023 Sportage EX AWD tester came to $33,940 with options for the EX Premium package ($1,500) and carpet floor mats ($500).

The EX Premium package adds:

  • Panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.
  • Smart power tailgate;
  • LED interior lighting;
  • Dual illuminated sun visor vanity mirrors

Vehicle MSRPs include the $1,295 freight charge. Gasoline models are built at West Point, Ga.; electrified models are built in Gwangju, Korea.

Find current Kia Sportage pricing and incentives here.

The digital driver area of the Kia Sportage Hybrid.

The digital driver area of the Kia Sportage Hybrid.

5 Cool Things About Sportage

Driving range of more than 500 miles for the Sportage Hybrid.

Coat hanger re-imagined. A molded coat hanger behind the front headrests has a quasi-valet function. The plastic molded hangers give good collar support, but Kia also added a hook for a shopping bag or for organizing charging cables just below on the seatback. The robust coat hanger is a natural grip for back-seat occupants to use for a bit of leverage on exit.

8 standard Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Included are the newly available 360-degree Surround View Monitor with 3D View and live feed Blind-Spot View Monitor in the instrument cluster.

Leading Vehicle Departure Alert. For those too busy answering texts at the stoplight, the Sportage gives a chime to notify that the vehicle ahead is pulling away.

Dual level cargo floor. It adds 5 cubic feet in the low position and drops the floor about 3 1/2 inches. Floor-to-headliner height grows from 29 inches to 32 ½.

The very useful molded coat hanger on the front seatbacks.

The plastic molded coat hanger.

he seatback USB port and hook for a grocery bag or the organize a charging cable.

And the seatback USB port and bag hook.

Design Styles

Kia’s “Opposites United” exterior design “philosophy” applies smooth, soft surfaces offset by rugged, sheer forms. The treatment combines off-road confidence with cutting-edge modern cues, Kia says.

Design identifiers include Kia’s Tiger nose grille that spans the entire width of the front fascia. “Boomerang” daytime running lights push the uniquely shaped headlights to the outer corners. And angular fenders imply a sharp and strong presence, Kia says. The futuristic “notch-shaped” taillights connect by a thin black graphic across the tailgate.

Big sky views with the panoramic sunroof, in the EX premium package.

Big sky views with the panoramic sunroof, in the EX premium package.

2023 Kia Sportage Powertrains

The base, nonturbocharged, direct-injection 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine replaces the outgoing 181-hp, 2.4-liter engine with direct injection. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces a six-speed automatic. Fuel economy ratings on the recommended 87 octane are 25/32/28 mpg city/highway/combined for front-wheel drive and 23/28/25 mpg AWD. (The 2.4-liter had fuel economy ratings of 23/30/26 mpg FWD and 21/25/23/ AWD.)

The 2023 Sportage Hybrid has a combined 227-hp from the turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder and front and rear permanent magnet synchronous hybrid motors. The lithium pouch-style battery pack has 270 volts and 1.49kWh of energy.

The six-speed automatic transmission helps provide AWD fuel-economy ratings of 38/38/38 mpg on the recommended 87 octane. Front-drive hybrid Hybrid models have mileage ratings of 42/44/43 mpg city/highway/combined.

Around-town driving in my test week, returned mileage in the mid-20s to the mid-40s. My highway mileage ratings were 36 to 41 mpg on average. The 13.7 gallon fuel tank will provide a generous cruising range of 500 to 520 miles.

The soon-to-be-released 2023 Sportage PHEV builds on the hybrid model’s powertrain. Its 177-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is supplemented by a 66.9kW electric motor and 13.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery. It has a targeted battery-electric driving range of 32 miles. Sales are expected to begin in July 2022 with pricing expected to start at around $35,000.

The 227-hp Sportage Hybrid powertrain has highway mileage ratings of 38 mpg with AWD or 44 mpg with front-drive.

The 227-hp Sportage Hybrid powertrain has highway mileage ratings of 38 mpg with AWD or 44 mpg with front drive. (Mark Maynard)

Kia Sportage Hybrid Performance

The roll-on of hybrid power is linear and forceful. There are driver-selectable drive modes of Eco, Sport, Smart, and Snow (AWD only). The system defaults to Eco mode on start up, but I got the best fuel economy in Smart mode, which monitors driving style for the most efficient performance.

While paddle shifters are standard on the Sportage Hybrid, I did not feel the need to use them. There is an element of deceleration braking, which is useful to reduce on-and-off throttle use. The engineering of throttle uptake, braking engagement, and steering response is balanced and reassuring to the driver.

Low-rolling resistance Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires on the Sportage Hybrid

Low-rolling resistance Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires, 235/60 18-inch.

 Sportage AWD Ride and Handling

The Sportage suspension is tuned for comfort, not sportiness — and that is an asset for this glorified family wagon. The independent suspension uses front MacPherson struts and a rear multilink setup with gas-pressurized shock absorbers front and rear. The ride can feel bouncy over city street transitions and lumpy sections of road, but it is never sloppy.

The ride quality is cushioned by the robust sidewall of the 235/60 18-inch Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires. These are all-season low-rolling-resistance tires to aid fuel economy, and they are not hard-rolling or squirmy in emergency maneuvers. (17-inch tires and wheels are standard on front-drive models.)

The active on-demand all-wheel-drive system, with terrain modes, is fully automatic with no driver engagement. The system routes power between the front and rear wheels depending on road and driving conditions.

Braking force is absolute from the 12.6-inch front rotors and 11.9-inch rear rotors. And the regenerative action of the braking is not noticeable.

The Sportage gearshift dial

The shifter console has tool-box function.

Driver Assist Technologies

All models of the 2023 Sportage have a suite of driver-assist technologies. Among them:

  • Forward Collision Avoidance-Assist with Car, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection;
  • Blind Spot Detection;
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist;
  • Lane Keeping and Following;
  • Driver Attention Warning with Leading Vehicle Departure Alert;
  • Rear Parking Sensors;
  • High Beam Assist.

For more semi-autonomous driving (two hands on the steering wheel), the EX model includes Blind Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance-Assist.

The e-bin with wireless charging.

The e-bin with wireless charging.

Kia Sportage Interior Function

The Sportage interior reflects the design of high-end outdoor products, furniture, and modern architecture, Kia says. The treatment is intended to transform the cabin into a pleasant living space, complete with near-luxury, thoughtful features.

And it is a pleasant space, very well soundproofed, and with many details to emphasize the human in the machine interface. The most noticeable noise is the HVAC fan.

But it also is a highly digital space. Some functions of the infotainment screen require a two-finger tap that can take eyes away from the road.

The upper trim levels of the Sportage have a panoramic curved display that connects two 12.3-inch screens. One is the driver’s digital instrument cluster; the other is for infotainment and cabin controls, top center in the instrument panel.

Front headroom is reasonably tall at 37.8 inches with the panoramic sunroof (in the EX Premium package) or 39.6 inches without the sunroof.

“Boomerang” style running lights of the Sportage

“Boomerang” style running lights.

Asymmetrical Shift Console

The shift console has tool-box function to smartly arrange all the little things American drivers use every day:

  • Engine start button
  • Self-parking camera
  • Wireless charging
  • 2 USB charging ports (including one C-type
  • Seat heaters

A pair of deep cup holders can be segmented by a nifty spring-activated grip for smaller cups or cans or leave the space open to secure a tablet.

The gear selector is a low and broad dial, but it will take some initial focus to rotate the dial. The lower trim levels have a traditional shift lever.

The EX cabin is well dressed in quality trim materials. SynTex leatherette (“animal-free”) upholstery is relaxed to the touch but feels durable. Perforated centers take the sweat from summer, but the Sportage EX does not have ventilated front seats.

The driver seat is 10-way power adjustable with lumbar support. But the front passenger has only a four-way manually adjusted seat.

From my testing of other higher trim level Kia models, I missed having a front power passenger seat, a front parking sensor, and the blind-spot view monitor. The blind-spot views activate in the gauge array, either left or right when the turn signals are used. And for the tester’s almost $34,000 price, it would not have been excessive to expect a cargo area roller cover, which is “available” for $150.

To get a front (eight-way) power passenger seat and front AND rear parking sensors requires moving up a trim level to the SX Prestige. It starts at $37,485, but floor mats and a roller cargo cover are still optional.

The Sportage back seats have long legroom of 41.3 inches

Back seat space is relaxed with long legroom and a reclining seatback.

Back Seat and Cargo Space

The back seat legroom in the Sportage is some of the longest in a passenger vehicle at 41.3 inches. Even with tall occupants in the front seats, there is adult leg space and footroom.

But three across on the 60/40 folding rear bench makes the space feel more subcompact than compact. And like nearly every rear bench seat, the center position is best as a short-run position or for the neighbor kid on a summer evening ice cream run. A low hump to the transmission-exhaust tunnel helps center seat footroom, but it is still a narrow, no-elbow-room position. The window seats are the best, separated by the cushy fold-down armrest with can holders.

There is an easy-fold function to the seatbacks. The seat-base handle, rather than a release tab at the top of the seatback, is for handier for an occupant to ease back the seat a few inches, or fold the seatback completely for cargo.

Cargo space is broad and tall, with an assist from the dual-level floor. The opening is 45 inches wide by 29 inches tall for 34.5 cubic feet behind the back seat. And the dual-level floor adds about 3 ½ inches more height in the low position. Fold the 60/40 seatback for 6 feet in length.

Cargo space is flexible with the dual-level floor.

Cargo space is flexible with the dual-level floor.

Why Buy the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid?

The 2023 Kia Sportage has evolved to the top tier of family-life small SUVs. Its fuel economy will be a top attention-getter for motorists in the market. And the EX tester is a defining statement of “premium” materials, durable construction, and smart engineering. There are less expensive small SUVs, but few that compare to the Sportage Hybrid’s interior appearance and easy drivability.

Sportage owners considering the 2023 model will immediately appreciate the languid stretch of cabin space. It is a more horizontal environment rather than the vertical cabin orientation before. The tailgate glass is taller for better views, and the ride quality is far smoother, too.

The design is a study in providing special small features and details that make this small SUV a keeper. But there were a couple of missing details on the Sportage EX tester that prevented it from being a keeper for me (and her).

The girlfriend-wife did not like the “sitting in a bucket” front passenger seat. And a front parking sensor would take the creep out of edging closer to our garage door — and an inadvertent “Oops, too far.”

There is a $3,000 price difference between EX versions of the gas and hybrid models. But the value difference between the two powertrains is the enjoyable performance of the Sportage Hybrid with its much better fuel economy.

It might be worth considering the Sportage SX Prestige for those who plan to keep their new Sportage for the life of the powertrain and hybrid battery warranties: 10-years/100,000-miles.

A rear view of the 2023 Sportage

The 2023 Sportage shares the midsize chassis of the Kia Sorento SUV.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 5-door SUV

Engine: 177-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter 4-cylinder; 195 lb.-ft. torque from 1,500-4,500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Fuel economy: 38/38/38 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane or higher

Motor: 44kW permanent magnet synchronous; 59.3 hp from 1,600-2,000 rpm, 195 lb.-ft. torque from 0-2,100 rpm

Battery: 1.49kWh lithium-ion (pouch type); 5.5Ah, 270-volt;

Total system power: 227-hp, 258 lb.-ft. torque

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 13.7 gallons

Cargo space: 34.5-65.4 cubic feet; cargo floor in low position, 39.5-73.7

Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds with trailer brakes; 1,653 w/unbraked trailer

Front head/leg room: 37.8*/41.4 inches *39.6 inches without sunroof

Rear head/leg room: 37.8*/41.3 inches *39.1 inches without sunroof

Length/wheelbase: 183.5/108.5 inches

Curb weight: 3,896 pounds

Turning circle: 38.6 feet

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Smart key locking with push-button ignition and remote start, 12.2-inch driver instrument display, 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display with navigation and Kia Connect, wireless phone charger, power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, SynTex seat upholstery, heated front seats, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, front and rear USB-C charging ports, electronic parking brake with auto-hold, 18-inch alloy wheels and temporary spare, heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and taillights

Safety features include: 6 air bags, electronic stability and traction controls, downhill brake control, and hill-start assist

PRICING

Sportage EX base price: $32,285, including $1,295 freight charge; price as tested $33,940

Options on test vehicle: EX premium package $1,500; carpeted floor mats $155

Where assembled: Gwangju, Korea

Warranties: 5-years/60,000-miles bumper to bumper basic coverage with roadside assistance; 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain; 10-years/100,000-miles hybrid battery

Read more

Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar First Look

Project GTP Hypercar previews design of 2023 IMSA and WEC race car

An on-track view of the Project GTP

Cadillac Racing’s Project GTP Hypercar is set to debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Cadillac)

BY MARK MAYNARD

Race car merges with show car in the just-revealed Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar.  The Project GTP Hypercar previews the third-generation prototype race car from the American luxury brand. In 2023, Cadillac will contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“By competing in both the 2023 IMSA and WEC championships, Cadillac Racing has the opportunity to demonstrate its capability, craftsmanship and technology,” Global Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey said in a release.

The No. 9 sidelight recalls the 1950 “Le Monstre” graphic for Briggs Cunningham’s brace of Cadillac’s he took to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Project GTP Hypercar was codeveloped by Cadillac Design, Cadillac Racing, and Dallara, the Italian race car builder. The dramatic styling incorporates key brand design elements, such as vertical lighting and floating blades.

Styling of Project GTP connects the hypercar to the future of Cadillac, according to Chris Mikalauskas, Cadillac’s lead exterior creative designer.

“The Project GTP Hypercar is a unique convergence of form and function and showcases Cadillac’s future performance aesthetic,” Mikalauskas said. “We have plenty more to come, from the upcoming race car to amazing production vehicles.”

The integrated spoiler brake light.

The integrated spoiler brake light.

Sports Car Racing Return

Since 2017, Cadillac has been competing at the forefront of American sports car racing in the IMSA manufacturers championship achieving numerous wins, podiums, and championships in the Cadillac DPi-V.R.

“Competing for the overall win at Le Mans with an iconic American brand like Cadillac is an honor,” said Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM sports car racing program manager. “The entire team is excited to continue building Cadillac’s racing legacy by competing against the very best internationally and in the world’s toughest race.”

An overhead view of the Cadillc GTP Project

The overhead view of the Cadillac Project GTP Hypercar

The new race car will be powered by an all-new 5.5-liter DOHC V-8 that will be paired to the LMDh common hybrid system (Le Mans Daytona hybrid).

Cadillac is recommitting to performance with an expanding V-Series lineup, including the CT4-V and CT5-V sport sedans, the 2023 Escalade-V SUV, which goes on sale in late summer, as well as the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing engineered specifically for racetracks.

A rear side view of the Cadillac Project GTP

Project GTP will be powered by a new 5.5-liter DOHC V-8 that will be paired to the Le Mans Daytona hybrid system.

Cadillac says its commitment to performance is embodied in the V-Series lineup. Its recent expansion includes the CT4-V and CT5-V sport sedans, Escalade-V, and the track-capable CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing.

The race car will begin on-track testing this summer for its first race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2023.

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Audi e-tron Sportback quattro Review

Hallmarks of the 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback design are its vault-like cabin quiet and the svelte action of the adaptive air suspension

An exterior view of an e-tron sportback at a charging terminal. blue e-tron

The 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback has an EPA-estimated battery-electric driving range of 222 miles. (Photos courtesy of Audi USA)

Table of Contents

Pricing and Incentives
6 Cool Things
Powertrain and Charging
Performance
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Back Seat and Cargo Space
2023 e-tron updates
Why Buy the Audi e-tron Sportback?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

In just three years, Audi has grown its all-wheel-drive e-tron battery-electric family to three distinct vehicles in five body styles in three class segments. And more Audi EVs are on the way.

The midsize e-tron SUV debuted in 2019 and is followed by the e-tron Sportback “coupe SUV.” And then, Audi added higher-performance S models to each of those body styles. Last year brought the compact-class Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. The lightning rods of the family are the e-tron G.T. and R.S. e-tron G.T. supersedans. They share an architecture with the Porsche Taycan.

Today’s tester is a 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback quattro with the top-line Prestige package. It has an EPA-estimated battery-electric driving range of 222 miles. However, that range becomes closer to 195 miles with the recommended charging to 88 percent to help preserve battery life. Charging to 100 percent is recommended for distance travel.

In either body style, the founding-father e-tron seems to have been tailored for the existing Audi owner. Much of the luxurious elements of the interior and the driving action are very Audi-like. But most of the new and competing electric SUVs strive for an out-there presence to make an EV statement, which often presents longer learning curves of the features. That’s not so with the Audi-familiar cockpits in the e-trons.

Hallmarks of the Audi e-tron Sportback design are its vault-like cabin quiet on the highway and the svelte action of the adaptive air suspension.

the e-tron Sportback front seats in gray leather

Eight-way power front seats are heated, ventilated and massaging.

Audi e-tron Pricing and Incentives

The 2022 Audi e-tron quattro SUV starts at $67,095, which is $3,200 less than the 2022 e-tron Sportback. As with other models in the lineup, the 2022 e-tron Sportback is sold in three trim levels of Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The Prestige tester came to $92,140 with options and the $1,195 freight charge. The e-trons are built in a new battery-electric factory in Brussels, Belgium.

See the full list of the tester’s standard and Prestige equipment in the specs box at the end of the review.

Of the eight paint colors, only black is a no-cost choice; the others are $595 each. And there is a range of bespoke colors for $3,200 each.

The Black Optic package on the tester, $2,500, added 21-inch five-spoke turbine-design wheels with 265/45 Continental CrossContact all-season tires. The exterior kit included a black singleframe grille, window surrounds, and front and rear bumpers.

Here are starting prices for the rest of the Audi e-tron lineup, including the freight charge:

e-tron S, $85,995;

e-tron S Sportback, $88,595;

Q4 e-tron, $51,095;

Q4 Sportback e-tron, $53,895;

e-tron GT, $103,895, including a $1,495 freight charge.

The e-tron driver area

The e-tron cabin is highly digital but not alienating to the uninitiated.

Incentives and Rebates

In California and some other states, the 2022 Audi e-tron Sportback qualifies for up to $10,250 in federal and state rebates or incentives.

Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit: $7,500. Find IRS tax forms here.

California Clean Fuel Reward: $750. Available toward the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle with a battery capacity greater than 5kWh. The customer must register the vehicle in California and reside in California.

California Clean Vehicle Rebate: $2,000.  Participants are eligible based on gross annual income, as stated on their federal tax return.

Find federal and state laws or incentives here.

And the e-tron models qualify for High-Occupancy-Vehicle freeway access, $22, with the green DMV decal.

A closeup view of the Valcona leather upholstery

Valcona full leather in the Prestige has a delicious scent.

 6 Cool Things About e-tron

Dual charging ports. Premium-plus and Prestige models add a second charging port on the right front fender. (The standard placement is on the right front fender.) And what a smart idea it is to be able to nose into a public charging stall (or the home garage) and not have to wrestle the charging cable to reach.

Onboard power generator, known as Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) functionality. The e-tron is equipped with a charger cable that can be used as a power source at home or on the road. It has two possible plug options to allow for either 110- or 220-volt power outlets. The system does not allow for vehicle-to-grid inverse power.

Digital Matrix LED headlights. With 1.3 million micromirrors per headlight, the DML array creates a “light carpet” 164 feet wide (50 meters). The array keeps light within the driver’s lane and extends the carpet left or right when changing lanes. The electrostatically controlled micromirrors can adjust light-beam pixels up to 5,000 times per second.

Integrated Toll Module. Commuters can put that clunky toll transponder in the glove box. Audi’s ITM tech is a built-in transponder to collect toll fees. With a subscription, the ITM system allows drivers to use touchless transactions along compatible toll roads in the U.S.

Route planner. The e-tron system calculates the fastest route, considers traffic and road data, includes the driver’s driving style, calculates the duration of the charging stops, and incorporates them in planning the total travel time. Drivers receive information about the charging capacity or charging connections and plug types for the relevant charging stations. The system also identifies whether charging stations are vacant or occupied.

1,000kW hours of free charging. Audi’s partnership with Electrify America provides new buyers with about 2,000 miles of range.

Digital Matrix headlights

Digital Matrix headlights, a $3,000 upgrade.

e-tron Powertrain and Charging

The e-tron Sportback shares the e-tron driveline of front and rear asynchronous motors, single-speed reduction gear transmission (one per axle), and a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The net energy of the battery pack is 86.5 kWh, or about 88 percent of its capacity.

Under the hood at the front motor is a large storage box to carry the Level 2 charging cable.

The EPA-estimated driving range of 222 miles seems reserved when some luxury battery electrics boast a range of 300 to 600 miles. Audi says the e-tron battery is engineered to preserve performance and peak charging power during the charge cycle. It is also of interest that the Audi-developed battery modules can be replaced if needed, rather than replacing the entire battery pack.

The e-tron charge door connected to a charging handle.

The e-tron Prestige and Premium Plus trim levels add a second charging port on the right front fender.

e-tron Charging Times (estimated)

150kW (400V) rapid DC: Under ideal conditions, charging from 5 to 80 percent of the battery’s capacity takes about 30 minutes. Or 10 minutes for 54 miles;

250kW (800V) rapid DC: 18 minutes to 100 percent charge;

Level 2 240-volt: about 10 hours;

Onboard charger: 9.6kw; can be used with a home Level 2 (240 volt) charger or a 120-volt household outlet.

The e-tron front motor area and storage box

Under the hood at the front motor is a large storage box to carry the cables for Level 2 charging and onboard power generation.

e-tron Sportback Performance

As a five-seat midsize SUV, the e-tron Sportback has a hefty curb weight of 5,800 pounds or nearly 3 tons with a driver. The battery alone weighs 1,540 pounds.

Base horsepower of 355 hp has an adequate response for most daily driving. Acceleration of the e-tron Sportback is not quick off the line, but power will build rapidly with a harder press of the accelerator.

For more thrilling displays or passing power, a boost mode raises peak horsepower to 402 and max torque of 490 foot-pounds. When driving in Dynamic Sport mode, boost mode gives about an 8-second jolt of power for 8 seconds. Audi cites 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 5.5 seconds with boost and a top speed of 124 mph.

The high turbine whine of the motors makes an enjoyable statement.

The force of braking regeneration can be adjusted, but there is no actual one-pedal driving by using the accelerator. The so-called e-pedal function integrates regenerative braking and electric motors. By lifting the gas pedal, the driver can slow the car to a stop without using the brake pedal. It can even hold the vehicle on an incline. Some carmakers say one-pedal driving takes away driver focus. But I become more focused while using it as an efficiency device.

A robust and wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials.

A robust and wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials.

e-tron Sportback Ride and Handling

Audi’s engineering is masterful for the five-link suspension with adaptive air suspension. The front and rear system is self-leveling with automatic control logic for vehicle speed and driving style.

There are five driver-selectable ride height levels after the standard ride height. (A 26mm lift equals 1.02 inches):

Offroad, adds 35mm from standard;

Lift, plus 50mm;

Allroad, plus 17mm;

Dynamic, plus 13mm;

Efficiency, plus 26mm.

Handling

Some heavier midsize SUVs with an air suspension struggle to balance the weight. The ride can feel busy as the four-wheel sensors constantly adjust to road conditions. But not this Audi. The e-tron ride quality is organically lush with instantaneous adjustments. Head toss is so well controlled that the ride wouldn’t slosh a fishbowl.

In most driving situations, the Audi e-tron Sportback is rear-wheel drive (rear motor). When needed, the quattro system engages the front motor.

With a max towing weight of 4,000 pounds, the e-tron Sportback models have braking to handle the load. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes have 14.8-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rear rotors.

The Sportback’s long wheelbase (115 inches), wide stance (76.2 inches), and 21-inch tires help stretch the turning circle to a broad 40 feet. But the 360-degree camera with a top view is the great equalizer in cramped parking.

The 21-inch tires and orange brake caliper

The Black Optic package adds 21-inch five-spoke turbine-design wheels (and 22-inchers for 2023) with 265/45 Continental CrossContact all-season tires.

e-tron Interior Function

The e-tron cabin is very Audi-like and not like an alt subbrand electrified cousin. Assembly of materials and panels is precise and of high quality. And, oh, that heady scent of the Valcona leather in the Prestige package. Dual-pane acoustic glass amplifies the quiet but also adds curb weight.

As a midsize car, there is ample shoulder room and a broad instrument panel to place controls and switches ergonomically. It is a highly digital cabin space but not alienating to the uninitiated.

Sightlines over the hood and at the side mirrors are uncompromised.

A wide shifter console neatly packages the essentials. The center bin packages the side-mount wireless charging pad, a pair of cup holders, two USBs, and a 12-volt plug. A sliding rolltop cover allows secure space to drop a modest purse or to-go food.

The gearshift bar falls comfortably to the right hand for simple push engagements. The start button and an audio-volume control knob are just ahead of the shifter.

Moving up the center stack are a pair of digital screens. The lower 8.8-inch-wide screen for climate controls has large color graphics and text that are easy to aim for when driving.

The upper 10.1-inch-wide screen for Audi’s Multi Media Interface is low enough to avoid glare and at the correct angle for eyes-on-the-road selection. The MMI groups controls for radio and media, phone, navigation, phone apps, and preferred vehicle settings.

Cabin heating is by a heat pump to help preserve battery range, rather than traditional radiant heating; a heat pump is optional on many less-expensive E.V.s.

The e-tron’s 12.3-inch-wide Virtual Cockpit digital gauge array

Audi’s 12.3-inch-wide Virtual Cockpit digital gauge array

Headroom and Sightlines

Front headroom of 38 inches with the standard power sunroof and legroom of 40.8 inches might not be a roomy fit for the very tall driver. Seat comfort and fit are exceptional. The eight-way power front seats are heated, ventilated, and massaging with adjustable lumbar support.

The Sportback’s narrow back glass and sloped rear deck might appear as sightline problems, but it was no issue while driving. The 3D 360-degree camera system empowers visibility in tight parking situations with a top view. Front and rear parking sensors are standard.

An interior front door panel

Assembly of materials and panels are Audi precise and high quality.

Back Seat and Cargo Space

Passengers in the second row will appreciate an inch more headroom than those in front, and legroom is adult-class at 39.1 inches. The flat floor eases three-across seating, but feet will straddle the base of the front console. There is no seatback recline, but the angle is relaxed.

A small electronic screen in the console allows full vent directional controls (feet, head, or body) with fan speed and seat heaters. And two more USBs. Dual B-pillar vents give refreshing airflow to those prone to motion upset.

Other back-seat details include a broad fold-down armrest with covered but slim storage and a pair of can holders. And there is large-bottle storage in the doors.

Cargo capacity has significant cubic footage — 28.5 behind the back seat and 56.4 cu. ft. with 40/20/40 seatback folded. However, the slant of the liftgate crops space for big-box items but fold the seatback for 6-feet-plus in length.

The two-piece, hard package shelf is cleverly designed. One removable portion is positioned at the seatback and the second is affixed to the liftgate. Together, the pieces form a solid block of what might be in the bay.

Cargo area extras include dual side lights, usable underfloor storage, and a 12-volt plug.

The back seat has adult-class legroom of 39.1 inches.

The back seat has adult-class legroom of 39.1 inches.

e-tron Updates for 2023

There are no significant changes from 2022, but there are several new trim enhancements, and most are for the 2023 e-tron Sportback Prestige.

  • The optional black headliner has now been made standard for the 2023 e-tron Sportback.
  • Now standard are 22-inch five-spoke-turbine design bi-color wheels, orange front and rear brake calipers, rear side air bags with illuminated safety belt buckles, and Digital Matrix-design headlights.
  • The Black optic exterior package is now standard for Prestige.
  • e-tron S and e-tron S Sportback are updated with carbon inlays, and the LED interior lighting-plus package is standard.
  • Also, for the 2023 model year, the potential federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is still expected to be available for both models.
The e-tron cargo area

Cargo space is wide at 42 inches. Fold the seatback for 6-feet-plus in length.

Why Buy the Audi e-tron Sportback?

Audi engineering instills a sense of maturity and substance in the e-tron Sportback. The car is rich in luxurious details, which are reflected in the tester’s $90K price.

No carmaker makes a “sportback” design more compelling than Audi. The coupelike stance seems more sport sedan than family SUV, but I prefer the sturdy stance of the e-tron SUV and its more functional cargo space.

The 222-mile driving range will be a nonissue for owners who, in this pricing demographic, will have a Level 2 charger at home.

But the availability of Audi e-trons will be limited. As Audi posts on its consumer site: “Due to ongoing parts shortage issues impacting global production, the availability of some equipment, options or features may be limited.”

And be sure to verify the vehicle you purchase includes all expected features and equipment.

A rear view of the 2022 e-tron sportback

Audi’s partnership with Electrify America provides new buyers with 1,000kW hours of free charging, which is about 2,000 miles of range.

Audi e-tron Sportback Specifications

Body style: midsize, 5-seat, 5-door coupe SUV with standard quattro all-wheel drive

Motors: Front and rear asynchronous

Horsepower: 355 hp, or a max of 402 with boost; maximum torque 414/490 lb.-ft., w/boost

Battery: 95 kWh lithium-ion; net energy of 86.5 kWh; 36 cell modules with 12 60-amp pouch cells

Transmission: Single-speed reduction gear (one per axle)

EPA-estimated driving range: 222 miles

Fuel economy equivalent: 76/78/77 mpg-e city/highway/combined

Top speed: 124 mph

0-60 mph acceleration: 5.5 seconds, with boost

Towing capacity: 4,000 pounds w/braked trailer

CHARGING TIMES

Rapid DC 150kW (400V): charging from 5 to 80 percent takes about 30 minutes. Or 10 minutes for 54 miles.

Rapid DC 250kW (800V): 18 minutes to 100 percent charge

Level 2 240-volt: about 10 hours

Onboard charger: 9.6kw; with home Level 2 (240 volts) or household 120-volt capability

BY THE NUMBERS

Cargo space: 28.5/56.4 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 38/40.8 inches

Rear head/leg room: 39/39.1 inches

Length/wheelbase: 193/115.3 inches

Curb weight: 5,787 pounds

Turning circle: 40 feet

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Smartkey locking and push-button start, leather-trimmed upholstery, power sunroof with electric sunshade, Audi virtual cockpit-plus (12.3-inch LCD fully digital instrument cluster with visual modes of Classic, Sport, and e-tron, navigation-plus with natural voice control system, MMI infotainment touch response, 4-zone automatic climate control with heat pump and preconditioning, heated 8-way power front seats with 4-way power lumbar adjustment, illuminated aluminum front and rear door-sill inlays, power tilt and telescoping steering column with memory, LED headlights with high-beam assist, LED turn signals, manual rear side window sunshades, power-folding and heated side mirrors, S line full paint finish with aluminum window surrounds, illuminated aluminum S line door sills front and rear, side windows and tailgate privacy glass, white LED interior lighting, cabin comfort pre-conditioning, in-vehicle trip planner

Prestige package ($13,200) features include: Valcona full leather package (upper part of the dashboard, door armrest and lower center console in artificial leather to match the color of the interior trim); 18-way heated and ventilated individual contour comfort front seats with power lumbar adjustment, massaging and seat memory; top view camera system with Virtual 360 view; air quality ionizer and aromatization (summer and winter); matrix-design headlights with high-beam assist; full LED taillights with dynamic indicators with sequential illumination; multi-color LED interior ambient and contour lighting; power soft-door closers; heated rear seats; 705-watt 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 15-channel amplifier; head-up display with navigation and assistance systems information

Safety features include: 8 air bags, forward collision warning and avoidance assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, parking system-plus with front and rear acoustic sensors; optional rear side thorax air bags with illuminated seat-belt buckles

PRICING

Base e-tron Sportback: $70,295, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $92,140

Options on test vehicle: Navarra Blue metallic paint $595; Prestige package $13,200; Digital Matrix headlights $3,000; Black Optic package $2,500; trailer hitch and 7-pin connector; rear side air bags $400

Where assembled: Brussels, Belgium

Warranties: 8-year/100,000-mile high-voltage battery (10-years/150,000-miles in California); 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper with roadside assistance.

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Buick Wildcat EV Concept Reveal

Wildcat EV styling will influence Buick production models for the foreseeable future

An exterior view of the Buick Wildcat EV concept

The Buick Wildcat EV styling will influence Buick production models for the foreseeable future. (Photos courtesy of Buick)

BY MARK MAYNARD

The Wildcat styling will influence Buick production models for the foreseeable future, Sharon Gauci, executive director, Global Buick and GMC Design, said in a release.

She said that Buick’s new tri-shield logo symbolizes the design transformation, and new production models will wear it starting next year.

Buick's new tri-shield logo

Buick’s new tri-shield logo will be mounted onto the front fascia of Buick products starting in 2023.

“The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand,” Gauci said.

The Wildcat 2+2 coupe has a laid-back proportion with a low, wide stance. The windshield wraps around and flows into the side glass, which tapers dramatically with the fast roofline to accentuate the aggressive profile.

The swing style doors on the concept EV

Semi-swing doors for easy entry and exit.

Exterior design highlights include:

  • Semi-swing doors for easy entry and exit.
  • Micro-LED lighting and thin-beam projector lenses for the front lighting.
  • Blade-style taillights embedded in the roof’s sail panels and check-mark-style horizontal lamps.
  • An external “state of charge” indicator visible in the exterior hatchback glass.

“The more you look at the Wildcat EV concept, the more the details reveal themselves,” said Bob Boniface, director, Global Buick Design.

The concept's front seat area

Interior design elements include cockpit-style seats with cantilevered headrests and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

Interior

The cabin of the Wildcat EV concept has a prominent console that extends from the base of the instrument panel to the rear seating area. The design uses unique graphic and color contrasts to create the perception of visually floating elements. The design is intended to accentuate the cabin’s lightweight feel and spaciousness.

Legato Green flows through the cabin and is accented with brushed or polished aluminum trim. Orange elements, including the seat belts, also add visual distinction.

Additional interior design elements include cockpit-style seats with cantilevered headrests and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

A flat-bottom steering wheel

A prominent console extends from the base of the instrument panel to the back seats.

Technologies

The Buick Wildcat EV concept is built to be a platform for futuristic features such as artificial intelligence, biometrics, and aromatherapy. The vehicle is designed to detect an elevation in driver heart rate and automatically adjust vehicle settings to be more calming. For example, Zen Mode will dim the cabin lights, disperse calming aromatherapy scents, and activate massaging seats.

Everything about the concept is intended to convey what’s possible — in design, technology, and the transformative experience of EV mobility.

“We are on the cusp of true change, and this concept is a tangible vision of it,” said Gauci.

The rear end with new logo and nameplate

Blade-style taillights and check-mark-style horizontal lamps.

See the design video here.

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GMC Sierra AT4X Review

Don’t get stupid with it and the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X will get you there and back in secure comfort

A front view pf the AT4X in devil's Drop off

The 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X meets Diablo Drop Off in the craggy desert of Anza Borrego State Park. (Photos courtesy of GMC)

Table of Contents

5 Cool Things
Overview
Pricing
New for 2022
Powertrain
Ride and Handling
Interior
Why Buy the GMC Sierra AT4X?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

It was 109 degrees when I nudged the 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X into the churned-up chute of the Diablo Drop Off in the craggy desert of Anza Borrego State Park.

The tire-rutted drop-off is just a few dozen yards long and is not extreme for skilled off-roaders. But what might be extreme is guiding this brawny crew-cab pickup — 8-feet wide and more than 19 feet long — along trails more commonly used by Jeepers and compact desert runners.

I consider myself a seasoned off-road driver, but it seemed indulgent to ramble along sand trails in an $80,000, 420-horsepower pickup with ventilated seats and a soundproofed and leather-lined cab. My drive partner and I were part of an extensive media drive of the new, more capable 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X.

This is the hauler to get your toy-hauler travel trailer to the desert or the mountains. Don’t get stupid with it, and the Sierra AT4X will get you there and back in secure comfort.

A trail-side view of the GMC Sierra AT4X

The 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X is a one-package offering of a crew-cab body style, 6.2-liter EcoTec V-8, 10-speed automatic transmission, and an arsenal of electronic traction controls. Pricing starts at $78,195.

5 Cool Things About AT4X

  1. Front and rear e-lockers.
  2. Multimatic DSSV shocks and dampers.
  3. 16-way power heated and ventilated front seats with massage.
  4. Terrain Mode for off-road crawling.
  5. Trail Cam.
A front view of the forward-facing trail camf the AT4X

A forward trail-cam view mode to the camera system.

GMC Sierra 1500 Overview

Today, every pickup truck brand has an ultimate version with sophisticated off-roading technologies — at the ultimate price.

GMC added its AT4 sub-brand in 2019, which is now offered across its line of SUVs and pickups, including the HD versions.

All-Terrain4 is a premium treatment, GMC says, and not necessarily a contender to take a beating at the notorious King of the Hammers off-road racing event  .

The GMC Sierra AT4 models have a 2-inch factory lift, skid plates, and Rancho monotube shocks. There are powertrain choices of a 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel inline-six engine or a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8. Starting prices for the diesel are about $64,000 or about $65,000 for the V-8.

GMC says its AT4 line is bringing in more affluent customers and younger customers who are new to GMC. According to GMC market research of its truck owners:

22 percent desire a rugged or off-road vehicle.

19 percent use their truck off-road.

67 percent say everyday convenience and on-road comfort are important for their vehicle.

And GMC truck owners are 3.5-times more likely to actively use their vehicle for camping and carrying outdoor sports gear.

A view of the loaded Sierra AT4X cargo box

AT4X payload is 1,420 pounds. The 6-way MultiPro tailgate is standard.

AT4X Pinnacle In Price and Ability

The 2022 GMC Sierra AT4X is the new pinnacle for GMC off-roaders. The AT4X builds on the AT4 foundation to emphasize the “X” in the nameplate — all-terrain four-wheel-drive extreme.

The AT4X is a one-package offering of a crew-cab body style, 6.2-liter EcoTec V-8, 10-speed automatic transmission, Multimatic DSSV shocks and dampers, and an arsenal of electronic traction and safety controls.

Also standard is the six-function MultiPro tailgate. It features flip-and-fold panels for load stops, a center section drop-down for an easier reach into the bed, and a full-width step that folds down with a grab-bar arm that can be pulled out of the bed corner.

GMC Sierra AT4X Pricing

AT4X Crew Cab pricing starts at $78,195, including the $1,695 freight charge from Silao, Mexico. Options on the test truck were Desert Sand metallic paint $495 and rocker guards, $1,150. The as-tested price came to $78,940.

The interior color scheme is Obsidian Rush (black) with full-grain leather front seat upholstery.

Of the seven paint colors, only white is no cost. The others are $495 each except Cayenne Red Tintcoat, $645.

And there are easily 100 accessories for trailering, cargo systems, hard and soft bed tonneau covers, lighting, and exhaust upgrades.

Get current pricing and incentives here.

The view out the windshield of the AT4X

New interior design includes a cockpit-oriented instrument panel and a larger 13.4-inch color touch screen.

New for 2022 GMC Sierra

GMC updated its 2022-23 AT4 pickups with three new grille designs, a more in-your-face front fascia, and dual-projector LED headlights integrated with the grille. The so-called “split C” running lights half-circle the headlights that frame the grille. The AT4X grille has horizontal dark-nickel-colored bars centered by a big GMC badge.

New interior design includes a cockpit-oriented instrument panel and a larger 13.4-inch-diagonal color touchscreen with Google built in.

There is a new 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 15-inch multicolor head-up display. GMC boasts that the more than 40 diagonal inches of digital displays are the most in its class.

Massaging heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats are standard on AT4X.

Massaging heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats are standard on AT4X.

Premium AT4X features include:

  • Heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats with massage.
  • Full-grain leather interior with white stitching and white piping on the seats.
  • Authentic dark vanta ash wood adds texture to the shades of black in the cabin. (I’ve never heard of vanta ash, but its graining is handsome in the AT4X.)
  • Microsuede headliner.
  • 12-speaker Bose Premium audio with Centerpoint surround sound.

Sierra AT4X Powertrain

There is no substitute for displacement when moving a curb weight of 5,640 pounds; the AT4X is the heaviest pickup in the Sierra 1500 line. Add people and gear, and the weight rises to 3 tons and more.

With a towing capacity of 8,900 pounds, the 420-hp 6.2-liter overhead-valve V-8 is an obvious choice for the AT4X. But so would the diesel, which is not available for the AT4X. The 10-speed rolls out easy shifts and holds a steady pace without seeking gears on the highway.

Fuel economy, however, is about what might be expected. The EPA estimated fuel economy ratings are 14 mpg city, 18 highway and 16 mpg combined. And this engine has GM’s Dynamic Skip Fire, which shuts off half of the cylinders when cruising.

On the nearly 3-hour one-way run to the desert and back to the base hotel in Encinitas, Calif., we clocked a 15.1 mpg (not including the off-road driving). And we were pushing 65 to 70 mph when possible.

Rather than adding turbochargers or multi-valve cylinder heads to increase power, GM says it chooses to preserve power and save fuel by switching off half of the cylinders when they aren’t needed.

Premium fuel is recommended for peak power but not required, and filling the gas tank of 24 gallons will be painful.

Sierra AT4X Ride and Handling

It is an eighth-marvel of automotive engineering to build a towering pickup truck with a blunt front end that rides as quietly as a luxury sedan. The GMC Sierra AT4X is remarkably soundproofed and smooth-rolling along the highway. Tire noise is minimal, and the long wheelbase gives an unperturbed ride quality even along choppy road surfaces.

The magic is in the new Multimatic DSSV shocks and dampers https://www.multimatic.com/manufacturing/suspension/damping-technology/

Based in Ottawa, Canada, Multimatic has supplied suspensions to race cars, Aston Martins, and also the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Camaro ZL1 1LE, and Colorado ZR2.

Its Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers have three separate spool valves to control damping. The AT4X also has off-road calibrated springs that stretch maximum suspension travel by almost 2 inches (50mm) at the front and an inch (25mm) at the rear.

AT4X Off Road

Despite the heat and 20 mph winds, my drive partner and I were belted in with AC flowing and the climate system set to recirculation to filter the desert’s talcum-fine sand. The 18-inch black wheels with 32-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud-Terrain tires were aired down to 15 pounds to fatten the footprint for toeholds.

The two-speed four-wheel-drive Autotrac transfer case has selectable modes for different trail conditions. Electronic front and rear locking differentials are engaged by a dashboard switch, with no need to unspool from low range.

For the rocks and ruts we were in, the traction control was set for Terrain Mode, allowing one-pedal rock crawling. It might as well be called Tractor Mode.

Nosing into the chute, I used the accelerator to apply power gently, and to lift off the pedal for braking. But the Level 1 of Terrain Mode was slower than a granny gear and almost suspended us in the seatbelts on the steep dip. But it takes just a flick of the paddle shifter to upshift to Level 2 or Level 3.

The graunch of steel on sandstone sent a shiver, but the skid plates (steel transfer case skid) and the rock rails ($1,150) bore the brunt.

The weight and crew-cab body style help keep the AT4X planted to hook-up traction. And despite the outside elements, the engine temp did not move a notch from normal.

A rear view of the GMC Sierra AT4X on the desert trail

Standard Multimatic shocks and dampers and longer wheel travel keep the AT4X moving through rough terrain.

Braking and Steering

On road or off, the four-wheel discs engaged without grab and have surprising force in emergency braking. The brake system has electro-hydraulic power assist for the 13-inch vented front rotors and rear 13.6-inch Duralife rotors.

Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is well-boosted for in-town comfort. But it also is firm enough off road to make minuscule adjustments when steering between rock outcrops.

But the turning circle of 47.5 feet is wide for making U-turns on the trail.

AT4X Interior Function

The spaciousness of the Sierra cabin is the American dream for comfort and openness. But there were some issues with some plastic trim pieces not fitting securely, and the passenger-side seatbelt anchor in our test truck was stuck at the upper position.

Front headroom of 43 inches and long legroom of 44.5 inches cannot be duplicated in a sedan or most SUVs. There are acres of storage, including dual glove compartments (the larger of which is lockable) and a deep and spacious center armrest box. Large visors extend and have wide, lighted mirrors. Five USB ports include the standard 2.0 and the new USB-C connectors.

While there are a lot of electronic controls, the display screens are not prone to glare and a simple enough to use.

Back-seat headroom is also tall at 40.1 inches, with a large headliner inset for heads with hats. The 43.4 inches of legroom is a country mile, even with a tall driver ahead. The rear bench is a little short on thigh support, and there are no heat, fan, or AC controls, but there are sturdy grab handles, seat heaters, two USBs, and a 12-volt plug.

Standard GMC Sierra safety technologies include:

  • 6 air bags;
  • Forward Collision Alert and Front Pedestrian Braking;
  • Following Distance Indicator;
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning;
  • Automatic Emergency Braking.

Why Buy the GMC Sierra AT4X?

The AT4X is a showpiece of technological prowess. The mountain-climbing tech is not entirely necessary for the skilled driver, but it is an impressive array of capabilities.

Off-road enthusiasts can spend $80,000 on upgrades and modifications over the life of their vehicle. The GMC Sierra AT4X is a shortcut to completion. And when the AT4X is the daily driver during the workweek, it is always calling for the next weekend adventure.

 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X Specifications

Body style: half-ton 4-door 5-seat crew cab with a 5.8-foot-long box

Engine: 420-hp, direct-injection 6.2-liter overhead-valve V-8 with variable valve timing and Dynamic Fuel Management; 460 lb.-ft. torque at 4,100 rpm

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic; AutoTrac automatic transfer case with high- and low-range 4WD

Fuel economy: 14/18/16 mg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel recommended, not required

Front suspension: Independent coil-over-shock with twin-tube shock absorbers; Multimatic DSSV dampers;

Rear suspension: Solid axle with semi-elliptic, variable-rate, two-stage multileaf springs and Multimatic DSSV dampers

Braking: 4-wheel discs with electro-hydraulic power assist and ABS; 13-inch vented front rotors and rear 13.6-inch Duralife rotors

Tires and wheels: 18-inch aluminum wheels; LT265/70R18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Mud-Terrain

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 24 gallons

Payload: 1,420 pounds

Trailering: 8,900 pounds

Front head/leg room: 43/44.5 inches

Rear head/leg room: 40.1/43.4 inches

Length/wheelbase: 232.9/147.4 inches

Width/height: 97.6*/75.4 inches *81.2 in. without mirrors

Ground clearance: 10.9 inches

Approach angle: 25.5 degrees

Departure angle: 23 degrees

Breakover angle: 20.9 degrees

Curb weight: 5,640 pounds

Turning circle: 47.5 feet

SAFETY FEATURES

Standard AT4X safety features include: 6 air bags; Forward Collision Alert and Front Pedestrian Braking; Following Distance Indicator; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning; Automatic Emergency Braking

PRICING

AT4X Crew Cab base price: $77,395, including the $1,695 freight charge. Price as tested $78,940

Options on the test truck: Desert Sand metallic paint $495; rocker guards $1,150

Where assembled: Silao, Mexico

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Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review

The Corvette Stingray is a track weapon, a daily driver, and a grand tourer

A horizontal view of the Corvette Stingray at the harbor

The 2022 Corvette Stingray is sold in three trim levels with starting prices of $62,295 to $74,245. (Photography by Mark Maynard)

Table of Contents

Pricing
5 Cool Things
Powertrain and Transmission
Ride and Handling
Interior Function
Electrified Corvettes
70th Anniversary Edition Corvette
New for 2023
Why Buy the Corvette Stingray
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

The Corvette Stingray is waaay too easy to drive way too fast. I’m not complaining, however, this modern flying shingle is not always easy to live with.

The Corvette will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2023. Now in its eighth generation, this American icon of a car has the longest-running nameplate on the road today, Chevrolet says. And it will celebrate the occasion with 70th Anniversary Edition models, but more on that below.

Now in its eighth generation, the Corvette Stingray is a complete re-engineering that swapped the traditional front-engine format for a midengine layout. The Stingray continues as rear-wheel drive, but Chevrolet just announced plans for electrified and electric versions. And more on that below, too.

“In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but it drives better than any in Corvette history,” General Motors President Mark Reuss said in a statement.

Compared to the Gen-7 Corvette, the new Stingray is 2.5 inches longer on a half-inch longer wheelbase (107.2 inches). It is 2.2 inches wider (76.1 inches) with a roofline lowered by 0.2 inch. The turning circle grew slightly to 38 feet, but the FE4 option for Magnetic Ride Control will trim the arc to 36.4 feet. (And you will want the MR control, $1,895.)

The Stingray driver seat in red leather

Headroom of 37.9 inches will accommodate 6-feet-plus drivers.

2022 Corvette Stingray Pricing

The 2022 Corvette Stingray is sold in trim levels of LT1, LT2, and LT3.

The LT1 is the garden-variety Corvette Stingray. It has the genuine powertrain but with fewer convenience features and access to options. Stingray LT1 pricing starts at $62,295, including the $1,395 freight charge from Bowling Green, Ky.

LT2 is the sweet spot for standard features and access to desirable extras. Pricing starts at $69,595.

LT3 is the loaded choice, starting at $74,245.

Today’s LT2 tester was $78,425 with options that most’ Vette enthusiasts would want. (Standard and optional features for the test car are in the specs box at the end of the story.)

The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with 8-inch HD color touch screen

The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with 8-inch HD color touch screen for navigation and the rearview camera with a front curb view.

5 Cool Things About Stingray

Hydraulic lift system. Allows the driver to raise the chin by 2 inches for driveway and speed-bump transitions. The system is GPS-enabled and can remember 1,000 locations to automatically raise. It lifts almost as quickly as the Stingray can launch to 60 mph, in 2.8 seconds.

Two trunks. The 12.6-cubic-foot rear trunk has space for two medium-size golf bags or an airline-spec carry-on and a laptop bag. A “frunk,” front trunk, adds a couple of cubic feet.

Carbon fiber rear bumper beam. An industry first in a production car to save weight, Chevrolet says. The Stingray has a curb weight of 3,535 to 3,637 pounds, depending on trim level.

2 HD front cameras as parking aids to avoid curb rash.

A lightweight glass panel on the rear hatch shows off the 6.2-liter V-8.

The glass liftgate shows off the engine

A lightweight glass panel on the rear hatch shows off the LT2. An open slot at the base of the glass and side vents evacuates heat.

Stingray Powertrain

The re-engineered and naturally aspirated V-8, known as the LT2, has 490 horsepower and 465 foot-pounds of torque at 5,150 rpm. Opt for the performance exhaust ($1,195) and get 495-hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. And that would be a well-spent $1,195.

Every part under the hood, including the exhaust system’s wires, tubes, routing fasteners, coolant hoses, exhaust manifold, and even the bolts and fasteners, was built with appearance in mind, said Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter in a statement. Even the heat shields are textured. And the lightweight glass panel on the rear hatch allows owners to show off the engine.

The LT2 V-8 has two overhead valves per cylinder and direct injection. Active Fuel Management shuts off a bank of cylinders when the engine is not under acceleration, such as when cruising on the highway.

Fuel economy ratings are 16 mpg city, 24 highway, and 19 mpg combined on the recommended 87 octane. It is not uncommon to see 24 to 28 mpg on the highway or 9 to 12 mpg around town.

Stingray 6.2 liter V8

The 495-hp ‘redhead,’ with the carbon trim package.

DCT Transmission

There is no choice for a manual transmission. And for the first time, there is an eight-speed dual-clutch (automated manual) automatic with six drive modes. A button on the shift console allows manual shifting.

The six drive modes are Weather, Tour, Sport, Track, MyMode (configurable to the driver), and Z mode. The “Z” is for Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of Corvette, and also the Z06, ZR1, and Z51 Corvette performance packages.

Z mode is activated by a metallic “Z” button on the steering wheel. This mode builds on the MyMode configurations and includes a powertrain setting that controls the gas pedal, transmission, and engine response.

Engineers calibrated the DCT with a low first gear to quickly get the car off the line. The close-ratio, two-through-six gears keep the engine near the power peak on track, Juechter said. Tall seventh and eighth gears make for fuel-efficient long-distance cruising with low mechanical stress.

“The performance shift algorithms are so driver-focused, they can sense when you’re doing spirited driving — regardless of driving mode — and will hold lower gears longer for more throttle response,” Juechter said.

The midengine layout allows the car to “rotate around you in a turn,” he said. “The very short, straight (electric) steering system gives an instant response.”

And the Stingray has better weight distribution.

“The driving dynamics are better than we thought they’d be,” Juechter said.

He calls the new Corvette a track weapon, a daily driver, and a grand tourer.

The multifunction steering wheel

The flat top and bottom steering wheel helps visibility and thigh room.

Stingray Ride and Handling

Once the driver is belted into position, the Corvette Stingray experience is supercar sublime. It’s the crackle and hack of the 495-hp V-8 as it clears its throat on start-up. And then the siren song of the pipes blaring at 3,000 rpm in third gear.

The optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control ($1,895) is the secret sauce to the suspension. It has a remarkable range to be so effective from touring to track modes. Ride comfort in Touring mode soaks up more road harshness than a typical family car. Track mode is hard but not hostile.

Suspension engineering, braking, and wide rubber form a united front of car control.

Tires on the Stingray are of staggered sizes front to rear: 245/35ZR 19 inches front and 305/30ZR 20 inches rear. Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 performance run-flat tires provide supple grip when pushed to the edge, without the hardness of some zero-pressure tires.

Front and rear Brembo disc brakes have four-piston two-piece front calipers and four-piston monobloc rear calipers — 12.6 inches front, 13.3 inches rear.

And oh, how fine it feels when downshifting and tucking into a corner — it’s the promise of a good time. The sensation recalls how much fun driving once was.

The Trident 19-inch front wheel

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 performance run-flat tires and optional Trident wheels, $1,495.

Interior Function

The supercar cabin is as functional as it can be. There is wide hip and shoulder room of 52/54.4 inches, but the side bucket-seat bolsters might feel narrow for some.

The cockpit interior is a driver-focused command center. A ridge of cabin controls sweeps downward from the instrument panel to the armrest console. The design looks cool (if a little gimmicky) to select temperature controls, fan, and the heated and ventilated seats. But the design also creates a mono-posto effect that isolates the passenger from the experience, with not much of an “oh-shit” grab bar for support.

A low open-door view of the Stingray cockpit

GT1 bucket seats in the Adrenaline Red and Mulan leather.

Electrified Corvettes

General Motors President Mark Reuss announced via LinkedIn.com that there would be news of electrified Corvettes soon.

“Yes, in addition to the amazing new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and other gas-powered variants coming, we will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future. In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year. Details and names to come at a later date.”

70th Anniversary Edition Corvette

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of Corvette. In tribute, there will be special 70th Anniversary Edition packages for the 2023 model year Corvette Stingray and Corvette Z06.

70th Anniversary Edition Corvettes will be built in one of two exterior colors unique to this package: White Pearl Metallic Tri-coat or Carbon Flash Metallic. Stripes will be available in colors of Satin Gray with the White Pearl Metallic Tri-coat and Satin Black with the Carbon Flash Metallic.

Corvette 70th crossflags

70th Anniversary Corvette crossflags.

Special 70th Anniversary Edition features include distinct wheels with commemorative wheel center caps. While Stingray and Z06 have different wheel designs, the wheels share a similar dark finish and Edge Red stripe.

Inside the cockpit are Ceramic leather GT2 or Competition Sport seats, red stitching throughout, red seatbelts, and suede-like microfiber seat inserts and steering wheel.

Additional 70th Anniversary Edition content includes:

  • Exterior badging, including special Corvette crossflags;
  • Edge Red brake calipers;
  • Logo on seats, steering wheel, and sill plates;
  • Rear bumper protector and trunk cover;
  • Custom luggage set with red stitching and 70th Anniversary Edition logo;
  • Edge Red engine cover for the coupes.

The 70th Anniversary Edition package will be available when production starts later this year on 2023 Corvette Stingray 3LT and Z06 3LZ
coupe and convertible models. Pricing had not been announced at the time of posting this story. Car and Driver speculates the 2023 Z06 will start at around $90,000.

Get the details at the 2023 Corvette Z06 visualizer on Chevrolet.com. It also includes details on the 70th Anniversary Edition package.

And here is the link to my first look at the 2023 Corvette Z06.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 70th Anniversary Edition in White Pearl Metallic Tri-coat.

The 2023 Corvette Z06 70th Anniversary Edition in White Pearl Metallic. (Chevrolet)

Also New for the 2023 Corvette

All 2023 Corvettes, including those not equipped with the 70th Anniversary Edition package, will feature a commemorative 70th anniversary interior plaque on the center speaker grille and a graphic imprinted on the lower rear window.

And there are two new paint colors, raising the choices to 14, with eight interior colors.

Why Buy the Corvette Stingray?

The Stingray LT2 is the sweet spot of the Corvette trim levels. The LT1 has limitations for personalization; the LT3 can be too intense for the enthusiastic fan flirting with Corvette ownership. And the LT2 has supercar potential with open arms for any level of driver.

The tester in Hypersonic Gray Metallic paint and the Trident silver-painted aluminum wheels gave the Stingray a sophisticated presence. Not all Corvettes have to be red.

If you knew the previous Corvette, elements of the new Stingray would be familiar:

• The distinct interior smell of the composite fiberglass and plastic body panels.

• The V-8 still sounds like a Corvette. And the push of rear-wheel drive is smile-generating.

• Seat height and the wide view over the hood and at the side windows.

But no matter how glorious it can be to drive, it also is self-limiting to buyers:

• The wide and low body is a workout when trying to park in a small shopping strip;

• Low seat drop-in height, and the oomph-boost when exiting the cabin;

• Long doors create a door-ding squeeze for entry in tight parking situations.

The Corvette Enigma

The Chevrolet Corvette is an enigma, an icon, an American all-star, and a hometown hero.

I’ve been testing Corvettes since the fourth generation, or C4, which ran from 1984 to 1996. The public reaction to seeing a Corvette is unlike any other high-performance sports car I’ve tested.

The Corvette generates friendly encounters with fans and the fascinated. Passers-by go out of their way to share their Corvette stories. I’ve been waved through several times at four-way stop signs before it was my turn. That has never happened in a Porsche.

And rather than hot-shoes looking to challenge the big-bad Corvette, I get a thumbs-up.

Perhaps it is respect and honor for the badge.

A three-quarter rear view

The tester in Hypersonic Gray Metallic paint had a sticker of $78,425.

2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe 2LT Specifications

Body style: 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe with a liftoff roof panel and composite body

Engine: 490-hp, direct-injection, OHV 6.2-liter LT2 V-8; 465 lb.-ft. torque at 5,150 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch with manual and automatic modes

0-60 mph acceleration: 3 seconds; quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 123 mph

Fuel economy: 16/24/19 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons

Trunk space: 12.6 cubic feet

Head/leg room: 37.9/42.8 inches

Length/wheelbase: 182.3/107.2 inches

Width/height: 76.1/48.6 inches

Track, front/rear: 64.9/62.4 inches

Curb weight: 3,535 pounds

Turning circle: 38 feet (or 36.4 feet with the FE4 option for Magnetic Ride Control)

FEATURES

LT2 standard equipment includes: Keyless open and push-button ignition with remote start; leather-trimmed upholstery; 12-inch color driver gauge display; HD front and rear cameras; wireless Apple CarPlay/Wireless Android Auto capability; wireless charging; 8-way power GT1 bucket seats with lumbar and bolster adjustment; performance data and video recorder; memory seat presets for driver and passenger; leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping; rear camera mirror; Bose Performance Series 14-speaker audio system; head-up display; Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with navigation and 8-inch HD color touch screen; carpeted floor mats and cargo nets; floor console with covered storage; vehicle health management

LT2 Exterior features: Removable roof panel; Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 performance run-flat tires (245/35ZR19 front and 305/30ZR20 rear); 19-inch front and 20-inch rear 5-open-spoke Bright Silver-painted aluminum wheels; Solar-Ray light-tinted glass; limited-slip rear differential; body-color heated, driver-side auto-dimming power-folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators; body-color roof panel; Carbon Flash exterior badge and trim package; LED headlights;

Safety features include: 4 air bags, traction and stability controls, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, side blind zone alert; inclination (theft) sensor

PRICING

Base price: $62,295, including $1,395 freight charge; price as tested $78,425

Options on test vehicle:

  • Front adjustable height lift, with GPS memory, $2,260;
  • Magnetic Selective Ride Control, $1,895.
  • 19-inch front and 20-inch rear Trident wheels, $1,495.
  • Performance exhaust, $1,195.
  • Engine appearance package, $995 (Carbon pieces)
  • Low rear spoiler and front splitter, $595.
  • Torch Red seat belts, $395

Where assembled: Bowling Green, Ky.

Warranty: 3-years/36,000-miles bumper to bumper; 5-years/60,000-miles powertrain with roadside assistance; free first maintenance

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