Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring All Wheel Drive, Titanium Flash Mica

2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring All Wheel Drive, Titanium Flash Mica

Model strengths:
Standout styling; feature-rich trims; advanced safety features; powerful turbocharged engine; fuel efficiency

Model changes:
The CX-9 rolls into 2018 with a few changes to the standard features including: Mazda's Smart City Brake Support, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Mazda's G-Vectoring Control, a new electronic system that the company says improves steering and stability in turns. A new Sport package for the Sport trim level includes active safety features such as automatic high-beams, lane-keeping assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers and adaptive cruise control. This package also adds heated front seats with power adjustment for the driver. The mid-level Touring trim sees enhancements to its power front-seat adjustments and now includes a tilt function for the driver's seat and height and lumbar support adjustments for the front passenger. Grand Touring models now feature heated second-row seats and a heated steering wheel. Lastly, a new color joins the palette: Soul Red Crystal.

Model value:
The CX-9 is Mazda's flagship vehicle. With seating for seven, it's the perfect way to carry friends and family wherever you need to go. Its fuel-efficient turbocharged engine and competent chassis allow for spirited driving, while available all-wheel drive lends an air of sure-footedness to the experience. With a price starting at $31,520, the CX-9 is competitive in this crowded segment against the likes of the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot. But the Mazda's superior driving experience is sure to tip the scales in the CX-9's favor.

Model overview:
The redesigned Mazda CX-9 employs the company-wide design philosophy known as KODO. The crossover weighs 250 pounds less thanks in no small part to replacing big 3.7L V6 with a 2.5L turbocharged four. The engine powers the full CX-9 range and produces 227 horsepower when using regular unleaded and 250 horsepower on 93 octane. The engine also makes an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque from just 2,000 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The CX-9 boasts three rows of seating with room for up to seven passengers, and it comes with standard front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is available. The CX-9 comes in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature. Even the base Sport is nicely equipped, with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, 3-zone automatic climate control, Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch color touchscreen, a rearview camera and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.

The Touring adds keyless entry and start, a power tailgate with programmable height adjustment, heated mirrors, leather seating with heated front seats and 8-way power adjustability for the driver and an 8-inch color touchscreen. Standard advanced safety features include a blind-spot warning system with rear cross traffic alert. An available Premium Package brings LED fog lights, Bose stereo, navigation, back-up sensors and more.

Stepping up to the Grand Touring affords 20-inch alloy wheels, a power glass moon roof and chrome exterior accents with aluminum roof rails. Inside there's a head-up display 12-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, aluminum inlays, driver's seat memory, and i-ACTIVESENSE advanced safety features such as adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and more.

Finally, the top-of-the-line, CX-9 Signature brings standard all-wheel drive in addition to LED accent lighting in the grille, LED interior ambient lighting, Napa leather seating and trim with rosewood inlays and a leather steering wheel.

Standard safety features on all CX-9s include dual front airbags, front side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, a rearview camera and a tire-pressure monitor.

2018 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring All Wheel Drive, Titanium Flash Mica

 

2016 Tesla X P90D All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Titanium Metallic

2016 Tesla X P90D All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Titanium Metallic

Model strengths:
All-electric drivetrain, potent acceleration, quiet motor, great handling for an SUV, trick doors.

Model changes:
The Model X is brand new for 2016 and is the third model to be sold by Tesla Motors. Like the Model S that preceded it, the Model X is a practical, everyday vehicle that runs exclusively on electricity. Unlike the Model S, the Model X is an all-wheel drive crossover SUV, which should do well in poor weather or in light off-roading situations. With no option for a hybrid drivetrain, owners will get the pleasure of knowing that their car produces zero air pollution on their way to and from work, or wherever the Model X might take them.

Model value:
The Model X is not a cheap car, with a base price of around $83,000. However that price is aided by federal tax credits designed to increase sales of alternative fuel vehicles, up to $7,500 in credit is available to buyers in the U.S., with some states even offer additional tax credits. For that price, owners get a luxurious and practical all-wheel drive vehicle that won't cost a penny at the fuel pump. Tesla estimates that buyers will save an average of about $7,400 over an equivalent gasoline powered vehicle, over their first five years of ownership.

Model overview:
The Model X comes in three basic trims, 75D, 90D and P90D. All three trims feature a pair of electric motors powering all four wheels. The 75D is the least powerful trim and while Tesla doesn't brag about a specific horsepower numbers, it does quote the 75D as being able to hit 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds. That's pretty fast for an SUV, but the 90D and the P90D both best it with a claimed 0-60 of 4.8 seconds for the 90D and 3.8 seconds for the P90D. Both of those figures are staggering, making even the mid-level 90D faster than just about any sports car on the road. A single speed transmission is all that's needed to transmit that power to the road, since unlike a traditional gasoline engine, electric motors make plenty of power from 0 rpm all the way up to the redline.

The two downsides for electric cars have classically been a lack of power and a laughably small range. As noted, there is no lack of power with any Model X. Range for the vehicle is a claimed 237 miles for the 75D. That should be enough to cover just about anyone's commute. The 90D has slightly more range, with a rating of 257 miles, while the more powerful P90D has a range of 250 miles. In any of these cases, the purchase of a Model X, gets owners access to Tesla's ever expanding network of "Supercharger" fast charging stations. With these stations placed conveniently across the United States, owners will be able to refuel the vehicles for free. Tesla claims that about 20 minutes at a supercharger station will charge the vehicle up about halfway.

Standard features on the Tesla Model X include most of the basic luxury SUV amenities, though several features stand out. The gullwing doors might be the most talked about feature on the Model X. The front doors open as any normal car door would, but the rear doors open up and out of the way, folding in the middle to avoid touching any adjacent cars (there are sensors in the door to keep this from happening automatically.) The advantage is a large hole in the side of the vehicle, making ingress and egress particularly easy with the door well out of the way. Another uniquely pleasing feature of the Model X is the panoramic glass roof. The windshield stretches back, curving above the driver's head before finally meeting the tops of the rear doors. There is no break in the glass before that point, meaning one piece of glass acts as both a windscreen and a moonroof. The rest of the roof has not been neglected either, with see-through glass creating the majority of the roof.

The Model X offers options that are similarly outlandish. The car has an optional "autopilot" feature that acts like an enhanced cruise control. Not only will the Model X keep pace with the other cars on the road, speeding up and slowing down with them, but it will also keep to its lane, even around gentle corners. A quick tap of the turn signal is all that's needed to change lanes while in autopilot mode. Autopilot mode also includes a self-parking system.

More traditional options on the Model X include a tow package, a 17-speaker premium sound system, an air suspension system, a premium package with things like cooled seats, as well as automatically opening front doors. A third row seat is also optional.

2016 Tesla X P90D All Wheel Drive 4-Door, Titanium Metallic

 

 

2018 Honda CR-V Touring 2-Wheel Drive, Sandstorm Metallic

2018 Honda CR-V Touring 2-Wheel Drive, Sandstorm Metallic

Model strengths:
Practical; attractive; well-equipped; available all-wheel-drive; fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.

Model changes:
After a full redesign last year, the 2018 CR-V returns with minimal changes.

Model value:
Honda has furthered its successful formula for the compact CR-V by wrapping it in an even more attractive skin and adding a 1.5L turbocharged engine that is both fuel efficient and powerful. Increased ground clearance, best-in-class interior space and rear legroom, and available all-wheel drive make the CR-V one of the most versatile machines in the segment.

Model overview:
Honda's fifth-generation CR-V is was completely redesigned for 2017 and it continues to be a top competitor in the compact SUV landscape. Outside, the CR-V benefits from styling that Honda describes as bold and sophisticated, with an aggressive, "windswept" front end and sculpted sides. Inside, the cabin yields more space than previous iterations, with 106 cubic feet of total passenger cabin volume, including 39.2 feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 75.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. Underpinning it all is a chassis that allows the CR-V to be agile in its handling capabilities while still offering a cushy ride, thanks to a suspension system comprised of MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link setup in the rear.

Honda's proven 2.4L 4-cylinder powers the base LX model, providing 185 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while returning an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, in front-wheel-drive models. Meanwhile, the CR-V EX, EX-L and Touring trims are powered by a 1.5L turbocharged four. This unit produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet and is EPA-rated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway on front-wheel-drive models. These figures for both engine options are only reduced by 1 mpg in the all-wheel-drive models. Both engines are mated to a continuously variable transmission.

Like much of Honda's lineup, the CR-V is offered in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. LX models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels and feature LED daytime running lights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights, as well as a tailgate spoiler. Standard features include automatic air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, a 160-watt, 4-speaker audio system with Pandora compatibility, active noise control and premium cloth seating, with a one-motion 60/40 split "dive-down" rear seat.

In addition to the 1.5L turbo, EX trims add 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic headlights with auto high beam and integrated turn signals in the mirrors. Inside, you'll find heated front seats with an 8-way powered driver's seat, a 6-speaker audio system with 7-inch color display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, a power moonroof and dual-zone automatic air conditioning. Standard safety technology on the EX includes blind spot information, a driver attention monitory, rear cross-traffic monitor and Honda SENSOR, a suite of technologies that feature collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning.

The EX-L trim adds luxury amenities like leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob, 4-way power passenger's seat, a power tailgate, auto-dimming mirror, an 8-speaker sound system and SiriusXM satellite radio. Navigation is available on the EX-L.

Finally, the CR-V Touring features exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust, LED headlights, roof rails, automatic wipers, a hands-free power tailgate and a 330-watt premium audio system with nine speakers.

2018 Honda CR-V Touring 2-Wheel Drive, Sandstorm Metallic