Category Archives: Build & Price Reviews

Detailed Review of the 2021 Tesla Model S

The 2021 Tesla Model S is an electrified sedan with blistering acceleration and autonomous driving technology. The Model S debuted in 2012 and just got its first real update. The new Model S has a simplified interior, some minor exterior alterations, and an available powertrain that’s even faster than the previous generation.

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What Are the Different Models for the 2021 Tesla Model S?

There are 3 model variants available for the 2021 Model S from Tesla. The base model is dubbed “Long Range” and it has an MSRP of $79,990. It has a driving range of 412 miles and a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

The new powertrain Model S option is called “Plaid” and has an MSRP of $119,000. That’s a big leap in price from the base model, but it only has a driving range of 390 miles. The hike in price is most likely attributed to the performance boost that the Plaid Model S receives. There is a third model called “Plaid Plus” and this is the real long-range model because it can go 520 miles before recharging. However, the price tag soars to $139,000. That’s the version that can go zero to 60 in under 2 seconds and run a 9.23-second quarter-mile, which begs the question – How fast is too fast?

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Exterior Style of the 2021 Tesla Model S

The 2021 Tesla Model S has a sleek sedan body style that reflects high attention to aerodynamic detail. The Model S sits low with a wide stance. It has an overall teardrop shape with door handles that fit flush against the paneling. All these features are meant to decrease the drag coefficient and boost the performance output of its electric powertrain. As Nissan engineer Hiroshi Tamura once said, “The body is technology.”

The 2021 Model S from Tesla now comes standard with a full glass panoramic rooftop. The Model S comes with either 19 or 21-inch wheels but looks amazing with either option. Color palettes are a bit limited, but the Model S doesn’t disappoint in black, white, blue, or red. There aren’t many build options that buyers can select at the time of purchase. A few different grille designs would have been a new direction for Tesla, but you have to accept what you get.

Performance Capabilities of the New Model S from Tesla

The new Model S electric powertrain can go from zero to 60 in just under 2 seconds. Both Plaid models can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. That would make the new Model S the fastest electric vehicle on the market and maybe even the fastest accelerating vehicle period. Time will tell if those numbers bear out in real tests by real drivers.

The 2021 Model S with an updated powertrain can travel 520 miles before it needs to be recharged. By utilizing Tesla’s range of 20,000 supercharging stations nationwide, drivers can use fast charging to recoup up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes.

The Model S Long Range model has all-wheel drive and two electric motors. The Plaid models come with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and three electric motors. Otherwise, Tesla is rather tight-lipped about the underpinnings of the new Tesla Model S.

Is the 2021 Tesla Model S a Safe Car to Drive?

The 2021 Model S has a floor-mounted battery bank that spans almost the entire length of the vehicle. This gives it a low center of gravity and increased protection against rollovers. Automatic emergency braking comes standard on all models.

The Model S has a high-tech system of cameras and radar devices. There are cameras that cover the front, rear, and sides providing 360 degrees of visibility. The front-facing radar has a range of 160 meters and 12 additional ultrasonic sensors that help to prevent collisions.

Self-Driving Features of the 2021 Tesla Model S

The cameras and sensors on the Model S enhance the vehicle’s safety but also assist with the AutoPilot functions of the electric sedan. In certain circumstances, the 2021 Tesla Model S can brake, steer, and accelerate without driver input.

The Model S can parallel park and park perpendicularly by itself. You can also use the key to summon your Model S. The vehicle will activate itself and drive toward you. While on the highway, the Tesla Model S can change lanes and use offramps, as well.

With that being said, there are bound to be some safety-related issues when it comes to all that technology doing the heavy lifting. For example, there’s no gear shifter on the 2021 Model S. Instead of manually choosing a direction, the Model S has an onboard AI that extrapolates the driver’s intentions from a complex algorithm of choices. The vehicle selects a gear for you.

That could become problematic when you’re stuck in an odd traffic situation that the AI can’t make heads or tails of. You can override this system by manually deactivating it through the touchscreen. However, that involves scrolling and tapping your way through a menu of subsystems just to get this electric sedan moving. Not to mention, if there was a software or electrical problem involved, the driver would essentially be useless in operating the vehicle.

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New Interior of the Tesla Model S

In keeping with the design language of other Tesla vehicles, the 2021 Model S now sports a minimalist interior. Tesla engineers are so adept at reducing clutter inside the cabin that it has become a sort of philosophy for them. The steering wheel has been chopped in half. It now has a U-shaped design with no stalks for turn signaling or activating wipers. This is bound to play tricks on drivers’ muscle memory as they instinctively flick their fingers to indicate a change of lanes. This also takes out a simple and straightforward mechanical process for signaling a lane change.

Steering Wheel

The new Model S just has illuminated arrows on one side of the flat steering surface. Pudgy fingers beware. The U-shaped steering wheel is most often seen on drag racing cars that don’t need to ever turn. However, the 2021 Model S will require a nimbler steering column and it will be interesting to see actual reviews from drivers in the near future. Tesla’s website promotes the new steering wheel design as a way to focus on driving. Yet, removing features that have been on steering wheels for decades hardly seems like the ideal way to keep drivers focused on the road ahead.

Dashboard

As you pan your vision to the right, you’ll notice that the dashboard has been stripped of adornments. The only thing left is the touchscreen interface and a digital instrument cluster.  The interior has a 17-inch cinematic display that boasts a 2200×1300 screen resolution. It tilts left and right to favor either the driver or passenger. Previous Model S electric sedans had a touchscreen display with a vertical orientation, but the new Model S has turned the screen on its side.

Back Seat

The rear bench has a screen where older model sedans used to house their air conditioning vents, down low in the center stack. Thankfully, there are still a few cupholders. The rear bench has wireless device charging, as well. The front row can charge 2 devices via Bluetooth, wireless, or USB-C chargers. You can even fast-charge a laptop or tablet at the expense of your vehicle’s overall electric power output.

Technology

The 2021 Model S comes with a 960-watt sound system. It has noise-canceling technology that provides high-quality audio through its 22 speakers. There have always been minor updates and improvements to the software of the Tesla Model S, but the 2021 Model S finally has a full overhaul. It has updated software for the touchscreen. It’s a bit more powerful than the previous generation. It has a wireless controller for video games and a faster processing speed for the graphics card. It can now support 10 teraflops of data. That’s a trillion floating-point operations per second. This will put the Model S on par with the PlayStation 5 and the cabin can now double as a gaming lounge for both the front and rear passengers.

Cargo Space

Cargo space is a big plus for the 2021 Tesla Model S. Since it does not have an internal combustion engine (ICE) you can use the front and rear of the vehicle for storage. The rear bench folds flat to open up the cabin for 28 cubic feet of cargo space.

Final Thoughts on the 2021 Tesla Model S

Just when competing automakers were starting to catch up to the wave of performance electric vehicles, Tesla set the bar even higher with the new Model S. It’s set to be the fastest sedan on the market with speeds that seem to warp reality. Its 520-mile driving range will also set the record for electric range.

Interestingly, the name “Plaid” is a reference to the 1987 comedy Spaceballs. In the movie, Darth Helmet’s spaceship went so fast that the color streaks went plaid. As you may recall, Tesla also has a Ludicrous mode which is another reference to “ludicrous speed” from that same Spaceballs movie.

Speed comes at a price though. The top of the range 2021 Model S Plaid + will cost more than some supercars. With a stripped-down interior, you’re not paying for plush creature comforts. Part of the price is raked across Tesla’s brand popularity and high-tech amenities like console gaming and autonomous driving.

Just like the Cybertruck, people will either love or hate the u-shaped steering wheel. Once again, Tesla engineers seek to jar the automotive industry out of well-established conventions just to prove a point. The flat-bottomed steering column seems ripped right out of a sci-fi movie or an 80s video game arcade. Will drivers lament over the absence of their beloved turn signal or will they be going too fast to even notice?

Real Review of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a high-selling crossover that hardly ever needs refueling. It comes with plenty of standard tech features and safety equipment, but its budget-minded interior will leave some occupants feeling a bit cramped. Overall, it strikes a chord when it comes to balancing economy and style.

The hybrid version of the 2021 RAV4 crossover comes in 5 different model trims. There’s the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, and Limited. The LE model is tempting with its standard roof rails, dual chrome-tipped exhaust, and remote keyless entry. The XLE and XLE Premium both have some upgraded features, but for just a small hop in the price, the XLE Premium is the better bargain. It comes with a power moonroof, power liftgate, and leather-trimmed interior.

The XSE Hybrid is all about style with its sporty wheels, custom front grille, and two-tone exterior paint. The Limited model for the RAV4 Hybrid aims at sophistication with a dark brown interior, but there’s very little else on the Limited that can’t be equipped with a package on other trims. So, Toyota might have missed the mark there.

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Exterior Style of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Style comes first for the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid. This compact crossover has the looks of a genuine off-roader with chunky paneling, roof rails, and aggressive grille, but there is a catch. Don’t be fooled; the RAV4 Hybrid is a paper tiger.

The profile of the new RAV4 is remarkable. It has cuts and undulations in the paneling that inspire images of a fighter jet cutting through the wind. This style is becoming a sort of trope for the crossover segment, but it’s an attractive shape. You can see a similar design on the 2021 Chevy Blazer, but Toyota handles it with a bit more grace.

The XSE RAV4 model comes with black-painted 18-inch wheels and a black roof. You can pair that two-tone combination with four different colors, but the Blueprint Blue fits the color scheme quite nicely. If you get larger aftermarket chrome exhaust tips, mudguards, and brushed aluminum runner boards, then the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has an even more aggressive look.

Interior Amenities and Tech

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid loses some points in the interior department. Thankfully, it has so much to offer that it can spare a few demerits. The interior is awash in a mismatch of plastic surfaces and synthetic fibers. That’s alright for a bargain crossover, but buyers are looking for more refinement these days, even at the budget level.

There are 98.9 cubic feet of passenger volume in the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid. The Ford Escape has 104 cu. Ft. of passenger space. The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe goes even further with 111.5. So, the Toyota RAV4 hybrid has some serious competition for interior space.

That’s due primarily to the low roofline and battery bank design. It makes for a handsome exterior, but the passengers suffer in terms of headroom and hip comfort. The RAV4 Hybrids above the XLE trim get a power-sliding and tilting moonroof. Additionally, a panoramic glass roof is available for an additional cost.

Build and Price Pro Tip: If you’re a taller person and want more headroom from the RAV4 Hybrid, don’t opt for the panoramic glass roof. It takes away even more headroom and the RAV4 has precious little to spare.

Here’s where the 2021 RAV4 interior does well. There are 69.8 cubic feet of cargo volume in the new RAV4. For a point of comparison, the Chevy Blazer comes up short with 64.2 cu. Ft. The RAV4 actually beats the 2021 Nissan Murano, as well. The 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has 60/40 spilt folding rear seats and convenient storage space scattered around the cabin. It’s ideal for families with bags galore or people who just like to stash items to get them out of their way.

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Performance Capabilities

The 2021 RAV4 hybrid has a 2.5 Liter, four-cylinder engine that makes about 219 horsepower. It’s partnered with a pair of electric motors, one for each axle. An electronic all-wheel-drive system comes standard and really helps to provide driver confidence in difficult weather conditions. Yet, this isn’t really an off-roading vehicle. Fuel economy is a big selling point for the 2021 RAV4 hybrid crossover. On the highway, it gets 38 miles per gallon and 41 MPG in urban settings.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a lackluster towing ability for a crossover SUV of its size. It can tow 1,750 pounds on a 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain. It also comes with all-season mud and snow rated radial tires. That beats out the Nissan Murano…again. However, the hybrid Ford Escape does 3,500 lbs. and the Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid has a towing capacity of 1,650. That’s without its optional trailer brakes.

Related: To see more info about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, just CLICK HERE.

Safety Gear from Toyota

All 2021 RAV4 Hybrids come with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety features. This is a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. You get pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, automatic high beams, radar cruise control and road sign recognition. In certain circumstances, the RAV4 Hybrid can override the steering and pull you back into your lane if your attention wanders.

The RAV4 Hybrid comes with a back-up camera, but there is an optional package that includes a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera system. That same option package includes automatic braking, parking assist, and blind-spot monitoring.

Build and Price Pro Tip: The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has wide rear pillars that compromise visibility. Potential buyers would be well-advised to opt for the blind spot monitoring feature to help offset those chunky roof pillars.

At the Finish Line

The RAV4 hasn’t been put out to pasture just yet. It ages well for a compact crossover and has plenty of curb appeal. It’s sporty, adventurous exterior might be just for show, but the RAV4 Hybrid wasn’t meant to rival a Jeep. The hybrid version gets 40 miles per gallon but doesn’t suffer much in acceleration. That’s the big takeaway here.

The interior of the RAV4 Hybrid won’t win any awards. Admittedly, there are nicer cabins on other hybrid crossovers. However, the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid has more cargo space than other comparable crossovers. The XLE Premium is new for 2021 and it’s the model trim with the best value. It carries an MSRP of $35,485 when properly outfitted. The base model RAV4 Hybrid costs $28,650. Go in with value on your mind and you’ll drive away with the right RAV4 Hybrid for your budget.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

Hyundai might not be the first brand name that comes to mind when it comes to luxury SUVs and crossovers. However, that might start to change when more people take notice of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy model. The Calligraphy trim is a new addition for 2021. It’s got all the sophistication of a premium SUV without the six-figure price tag.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has some tough competition in the mid-sized SUV segment. There’s the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Grand Cherokee just to name a few. Luckily, the Calligraphy model trim offers true luxury amenities and features at a competitive price point.

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Style Elements of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

The new Santa Fe SUV has been updated for 2021. The front end has a unique LED headlight design with two narrow daytime running lights that come together and trail down the front fascia. The grille is wide and has a cascading pattern.

From the profile, the Santa Fe has large, rounded wheel wells and creases in the side paneling that travel from front to rear. The recessed wheel well trim might not be the Santa Fe’s best stylistic feature. It looks as if something fell off the vehicle. Hyundai designers could have easily slapped on a bit of body paneling to flush out the profile.

The rear of the vehicle has narrow, tapered taillights to follow the design elements of the front. It’s a smart rear end that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel of SUV design. The liftgate in the back opens automatically and there’s a rear skid plate underneath.

Interior Amenities of the Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

The 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy model has a spacious interior with luxury features in all the right places. The interior has quilted Nappa leather seating, an electronic gearshift knob, and ambient lighting. You’d have to remind yourself that this is still a Hyundai and not a flashy Genesis G80.

The center console slides all the interface surfaces down the dashboard. The 10-inch touchscreen navigation sits high over the dash. There are air-con vents in the center and the radio, climate controls, parking brake and gear shifter are beneath it. Admittedly, this is probably the worst feature of the Santa Fe’s interior because there are so many tactile buttons and knobs. It could take the driver’s attention away from the road.

The Calligraphy model provides plenty of space for all the occupants. Five passengers can fit, but four would ride more comfortably. There are 44 inches of legroom and 57.5 inches of hip room up front for the driver and passenger. That’s more wiggle room than the Kia Sorento and the Nissan Murano. All told, there are 115.5 cubic feet of passenger volume in the new Santa Fe SUV and 72.1 cu. Ft. of cargo space.

The Calligraphy model comes with a panoramic sunroof and a Harmon Kardon premium sound system. These are features from the premium package, but the top-level Calligraphy model bundles all the best features from all the available packages into the final build. That includes heated front and rear seats, wireless device charging, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

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Performance of the Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

For a mid-sized SUV, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets above-average gas mileage in Calligraphy form. Drivers can expect to travel 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 miles per gallon in the city when equipped with all-wheel drive. Those numbers change ever so slightly with front-wheel drive, granting drivers of the Santa Fe SUV 22 MPG in the city and 25 MPG combined.

The Calligraphy model of the Santa Fe comes equipped with Hyundai’s 2.5 Liter turbo inline 4. This powertrain efficiently motivates the mid-sized SUV with 277 horsepower and 311-pound feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all interested shoppers should opt for the HTRAC all-wheel drive in their final build-out. The Calligraphy model has an updated transmission. It’s an 8-speed wet dual-clutch with SHIFTRONIC technology. There’s a multi-link suspension in the rear and MacPherson struts on the front. Both axles benefit from gas shock dampers and stabilizer bars.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe can’t match the towing capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but still puts on decent numbers when outfitted with trailer brakes and trailer sway control. The Calligraphy model can tow 3,500 pounds, but without the right towing package those numbers fall to just 1,500 lbs.

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Top Safety Equipment for the Calligraphy Model

One of the strong suits of the Calligraphy model is that it comes with all the best safety equipment that Hyundai has to offer. For other Santa Fe models, these features are optional, but the Calligraphy puts it all in the build-out.

The automatic emergency braking has been improved over the previous year’s Santa Fe SUV. Now, it can detect vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. The safety system can automatically bring the vehicle to a direct halt to avoid a collision.

The Calligraphy model comes with some autonomous driving features that you won’t find on the Honda Passport or the Nisan Murano. The 2021 Santa Fe has Remote Smart Parking Assist which can basically park the vehicle by remote. This is especially helpful if you’re stuck in a tight space with vehicles all around your SUV. You can stand outside and watch as the 2021 Santa Fe exits the parking space by itself.

Another class-exclusive safety feature for the Calligraphy model is the advanced monitoring system. You can use the onboard cameras and radar array to get surround views of the vehicle and even a live feed of your blind side. Partner that with a heads-up display and you’ve got peace of mind behind the wheel.

Final Build Notes for the 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

There are two versions of the Calligraphy trim available from Hyundai. The one with 19-inch wheels has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $42,100. The Calligraphy model with 20-inch alloy wheels has an MSRP of $42,300. At that price, the Calligraphy model can rival any premium SUV or crossover on the market.

The Calligraphy model gets a grab bag of luxurious amenities and top-level safety features. It has a 10-inch navigation screen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a heads-up display for the windshield. That’s totally Audi Q5 territory and the 2021 Santa Fe has all the other automakers nervous. You can’t find that much technology on display with the Ford, Nissan, and Honda budget SUVs.

One of the main reasons that the 2021 Santa Fe is a gamechanger is that Hyundai has arguably the best warranty in the automotive industry. Not only do buyers get the best Hyundai features for the Calligraphy model, but they also get 3 years of hassle-free maintenance, a 10-year powertrain warranty, a 5-year new vehicle warranty, and 5 years of roadside assistance. It’s hard to beat that level of consumer confidence.

If you’re like the style and features of the 2021 Santa Fe from Hyundai, then you should take a second look at the Calligraphy model. It comes fully loaded with all-wheel drive, semi-autonomous safety features, and stylish 20-inch wheels. It doesn’t take an automotive expert to tell that this is a smart buy that can last for a few hundred thousand miles or more.

Comparison: The 2021 Audi A7, S7, and RS7

With a gorgeous shape and stunning performance, it’s hard to find fault with the 2021 Audi A7. That is until you realize that there is an even faster S7 and RS7 parked right next to it.

Vehicle Comparisons: The 2021 Audi A7, S7, and RS7

These sporty hatchback coupes can achieve the nearly impossible. The 2021 Audi A7, S7, and RS7 provide the exhilaration of a racing coupe and the sophistication of a luxury sedan. Where other automakers have failed to thread the needle, Audi makes it look effortless.

The 2021 Audi A7 is equipped with one of the most intuitive tech interfaces on the market and a powertrain that dares supercars to jump. Thanks to adaptive steering and Quattro all-wheel drive, the A7, S7, and especially the RS7 can carve up corners like a hatchback on steroids.

There are 3 model trims for the 2021 Audi A7. There’s a Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige model. There are 2 model trims for the 2021 Audi S7 – the Premium Plus and Prestige. The 2021 Audi RS7 luxury Sportback does away with model trims all together.

Let’s take a look at the A7 and S7 vehicles first.

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Performance Capabilities of the A7 and S7

2021 Audi A7 Sportback

The 2021 Audi A7 has a 3.0 Liter twin-turbo V6 engine that’s mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It’s capable of achieving 335 horsepower and 369-pound feet of torque. The A7 travels from zero to 60 MPH in about 5.2 seconds.

There’s also a hybrid powertrain available for the 2021 Audi A7. It’s an e-plug-in hybrid that uses a 2.0 Liter four-cylinder turbo engine that’s partnered with an electric battery. If fuel economy is a concern, then this is the powertrain to choose. The Audi A7 doesn’t get stellar gas mileage otherwise. The hybrid gets 24 miles per gallon and boasts a maximum driving range of 440 miles. Yet it still produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb. ft. of torque. So, there’s no need to compromise performance for fuel economy with the hybrid powertrain.

The 2021 Audi S7 tunes up the performance of the twin-turbo V6 to reach 444 horsepower and 443 lb. ft. of torque. That takes the 2021 S7 from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The S7 shares the same transmission as the 2021 Audi RS7 – the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. Smooth shifts and low RPM power are on command with the Tiptronic.

The S Sport package equips the S7 with dynamic all-wheel steering, Quattro sport rear differential, and sport exhaust. These are some of the standard features on the RS7. The Quattro sport rear differential distributes torque across the rear wheels to give the S7 superior cornering and steering capabilities. It carries an added charge of $4,000. That’s a bit of a bargain when you compare it to the cost of the RS7. You can also equip the S7 with adaptive steel suspension. These are important upgrades to make the 2021 Audi S7 luxury Sportback realize its full Quattro performance potential.

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Performance of the 2021 Audi RS7

2021 Audi RS7 Engine

Now, let’s talk about the RS7. The Audi RS7 is in its second generation. Some of the visual departures from the A7 and S7 are the flared-out wheel wells and lower ground clearance. Many of the performance add-ons from the Audi S7 come standard on the RS7, as mentioned earlier.

Under the hood, the 2021 Audi RS7 has a 4.0 Liter, twin-turbo V8 engine. It produces 591 horsepower and 590-pound feet of torque. For the sake of comparison, the Aston Martin DB11 produces 503 horsepower with its V8 engine and travels from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. The 2021 Audi RS7 goes from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

The 2021 Audi RS7 is a super-fast luxury vehicle that shares a powertrain with the Porsche Panamera. Of course, the Porsche has the fastest shifting transmission, (probably the best gearbox on any vehicle), but the RS7 comes close with its 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. It has launch control like a true supercar and fine-tuned shift times that are optimized for delivering maximum power to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Quattro sport differential

The 2021 RS7 comes with a Quattro sport differential, all-wheel-drive steering, and adaptive airbag suspension. The air suspension in the RS7 is slightly different from the A7 and S7 upgrades. In the RS7, the suspension can be adjusted across 3 different driving modes. You can also adjust the driving dynamics with 6 additional presets. It has auto, comfort, dynamic, and efficiency modes. Plus, there’s the customizable RS1 and RS2 modes which can be activated from the steering wheel controls.

Roland Waschkau is the sport differential specialist at Audi Sport GmbH, and he elaborates on the RS7’s equipment in an Audi press release. “For customers looking for dynamic driving on dry roads, we offer our sport differential, the Quattro sport, for the rear axle. This makes the car agile by actively shifting the drive torque between the rear wheels as required. Race tracks and high coefficients of friction also play an important role in tuning, particularly for the RS models. Unlike the traditional center differential, the sport differential is an electronically controlled system. It consists of two clutches and a superimposed transmission, while the software is specially adjusted and finetuned for each vehicle.”

Ceramic Brakes

If you’re a true speed demon, then you’d most likely want to upgrade the RS7 to include ceramic brakes. The large, lightweight calipers help the 2021 RS7 reach a maximum track speed of 190 miles per hour. No Audi RS7 would be complete without the sport exhaust package either. Why not let it rumble?

The Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH summed up the 2021 RS7 quite nicely in a company statement. “RS vehicles have a strong and unique character: spontaneous maximum performance wherever and whenever desired, and effortless performance on long journeys,” said Oliver Hoffman.

“An RS is a true Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. It is important for every kilometer, no matter how it is driven, to be an experience. This is achieved thanks to the breathtaking design, high-end look and feel, and outstanding quality,” says Oliver Hoffmann, who is also responsible for Technical Development at the Neckarsulm RS vehicle test site.

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Exterior Design Elements of the A7, S7, and RS7

2021 Audi S7 Exterior

The 2020 version of the A7 and S7 already got a few upgrades to the exterior. So, this 2021 model isn’t due for a refresh anytime soon. The 2021 Audi A7, S7, and RS7 have a five-door coupe design with a Sportback exterior.

The 2021 A7 comes with 20-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof top that streams down toward the rear hatch. That sloping fastback roof design has been copied by lots of different automakers, but Audi still rises above the competition with the A7 and S7. The front has a clamshell hood, wide grille, and LED headlights.

The 2021 Audi S7 comes with 21-inch alloy wheels, S model front, and rear bumpers, as well as S model badges. The choices for exterior paint are a bit brighter, a bit bolder than the A7. There’s also a black optic package available for the S7 that upgrades the exterior with a blacked-out body kit and special wheel design.

When it comes to the 2021 RS7, only the hood, roof, front doors, and tailgate are the same as the A7 and S7. Otherwise, the 2021 Audi RS7 strikes its own pose. It has 21-inch wheels, signature RS bumpers, mesh front grille, RS exhaust ports, and gloss black rear diffuser.

The 2021 RS7 takes a wide and low, aggressive stance. If you include the carbon fiber package, the RS7 equips carbon fiber inserts for the front and rear air diffusers. Those large wheel wells also get filled out with 22-inch rims with a polished anthracite finish.

Audi S7 2021 – Build & Price Review

Audi Tech and Interior Amenities

2021 Audi RS7 interior

The 2021 Audi A7 and S7 models might have a five-door coupe exterior, but the interior is 100% luxury sedan. It has a cascading dashboard resplendent with ash or dark wood trim, leather upholstery, and large digital screens.

The 2021 Audi A7 might not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when you think of family haulers. It’s a performance luxury sedan, but there are some features that a growing family would appreciate. For example, there are 24.9 cubic feet of cargo space and an available wireless charger.

The intuitive tech interface inside the 2021 A7 and S7 simply stands out as one of the best in the automotive world. The base model A7 comes with two touchscreen displays. There’s an 8-inch screen on the upper deck of the center console and another 8-inch touchscreen beneath it. You can upgrade the top deck with a 10-inch navigation system. When you include the 12.3-inch instrument display, the 2021 A7 and S7 have about 30 inches of screen.

The 2021 Audi S7 comes with a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and heated front seats with S model quilts and stitching. The woodgrain of the A7 is replaced by brushed aluminum or carbon fiber inserts. The S7 has a sporty interior, but it’s no less refined.

For the most part, the 2021 Audi RS7 follows the interior layout of the S7. Of course, there are RS badges and accents in place of the S badges and more color choices with the upholstery, but there isn’t much difference. There is one special touch though – the available black Alcantara headliner in the RS7.

Additional luxury features from Audi come with packages. There’s plenty of upscale amenities available for the right price. You can add ambient lighting, heated rear seats, premium leather on the dashboard and doors, heated steering wheel, and Audi cockpit. The choices go on from there, but you’d have to wade through a number of packages to find the right blend of features for your specific tastes.

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Safety Gear from Audi

The 2021 A7 platform was awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and automatic emergency braking comes standard on all models. Otherwise, you’ll need to jump up to the Premium Plus model on the A7 or add a package for driver-assisted safety features on other models.

The Driver Assistance package has traffic sign recognition, intersection assist, lane assist, and Audi Pre Sense technology for the rear of the vehicle. You can go a step further and add the Audi Side Assist package which throws in a pedestrian warning and Audi Pre Sense for the side of the vehicle, as well. All told, these packages together cost an extra $2,750. That’s not bad for one of the best safety suites on the automotive market.

At the Finish Line

One of the most obvious differences in these Audi Sportback models is the price. The 2021 Audi A7 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $69,200. The 2021 Audi S7 has an MSRP of $84,400. Finally, the 2021 Audi RS7 costs around $114,000.

Those price points are only the beginning. When you equip packages, trims, and options, the price of each one of these vehicles can go up considerably. A maxed-out 2021 Audi RS7 can cost upward of $150,000.

If a six-figure MRSP doesn’t hurt your eyes, then the 2021 RS7 is a supercar in luxury guise. It has the sophistication of a luxury sedan and the athleticism of a racecar. The RS7 is on par with Porsches and has the longevity to stay viable over years of enjoyable use and lots of turns of the odometer.

For the best bargain, the 2021 Audi S7 with additional safety gear and the S Sport package really stretch the value. You get some of the best performance equipment from the RS7, some top safety technology, and the iconic styling of the A7 platform. Sometimes, the middle car takes the trophy.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon: A Detailed Review

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon is an impressive premium sedan…when equipped with all the best options. 4Motion all-wheel drive, a panoramic roof, and advanced safety gear are all on the options list, but for a heftier price. Volkswagen is betting that you’ll be distracted by the handsome style of the Arteon. It’s certainly one of the most stylish vehicles to wear the VW badge and a turbo engine with great gas mileage sweetens the pot.

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon has an MSRP of $35,995. There are four model trims available for the new Arteon. The base model is called SE and comes with blind-spot monitoring and LED headlights. The next tier is the SEL. It comes with a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.

Then, there are R Line versions of the SE and SEL. The R Line SEL Premium model comes with all-wheel drive, a premium sound system, and all the best features from the other models. The 2020 R Line trim adds additional style points to an already upscale sedan. It comes with R Line badges, 20-inch alloy wheels, and special edition bumpers. On the interior, the R Line model gets faux aluminum pedals, a black headliner, and sporty accents around the cabin.

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For more info on the R Line model, check out this amazing video walkthrough of its features

Progressive Good Looks of the 2020 Arteon

Volkswagen is world-renowned for its tame styling. Just look at the VW Jetta and Golf models; they’ve changed very little in recent years and they easily blend into the parking lot. The Arteon is a refreshing departure from the vanilla exterior wraps that Volkswagen has produced before.

It has a well-sculpted exterior that starts with a wide grille in the front fascia. The horizontal lines of the grille lead right into narrow LED headlights. The clamshell hood has athletic lines sweeping up toward the windshield.

From the profile, viewers might have trouble naming this vehicle. That’s because it cuts similar lines as Chevrolet, Nissan, and Honda sedans, which is a good thing for Volkswagen. The wheel wells can accommodate 20-inch wheels and just beg for an aftermarket ground effects kit.

The roofline rides low on the VW Arteon and then slopes down gracefully to merge with the trunk. The Arteon has an available hands-free powerlifting hatch in the back. You just wave your foot under the rear fender and the trunk pops up. That’s an interesting feature on a sedan. Usually, you see this on crossovers, SUVs, and minivans.

Performance Capabilities

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon has a 2.0 Liter TSI turbo engine that produces 268 horsepower and 258-pound feet of torque. It’s managed by an 8-speed automatic gearbox. For an internal combustion (ICE) vehicle, the Arteon gets remarkable gas mileage. The 2020 Arteon gets 22 MPG in urban settings and 29 MPG on the highway.

The 2020 Arteon excels at carving corners. You can adjust the ride quality through the dashboard controls and make the handling a bit sportier. It has a progressive steering system, adaptive chassis dampers, a cross differential system, and available all-wheel drive. Otherwise, the base model just gets a front-wheel-drive setup as standard.

Safety Gear from Volkswagen

The 2020 Arteon from VW comes with some advanced standard safety features. The base model gets outfitted with a rearview camera, pedestrian monitoring, frontal assist braking, and blind-spot warnings. The SEL Premium adds adaptive cruise control to the equipment list.

It’s important to note that most Volkswagen vehicles also come with great warranty and maintenance coverage. The Arteon gets 2 years of cost-free maintenance and 3 years of roadside assistance. You might not need to rely on these services that often because the 2020 VW Arteon received good crash scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Interior Amenities of the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon

The Arteon has an exceptional, sophisticated interior with plenty of technology and creature comforts. It manages to match the futuristic aesthetics of luxury sedans without the price hike that usually comes with it. The trick here is the lack of upscale materials.

The 2020 VW Arteon isn’t outfitted with all the luxurious largess that you’d normally see inside a luxury sedan. For example, the Arteon might not be able to match the 64 color ambient lighting choices of Mercedes-Benz, but Volkswagen equips the Arteon with 3 colors that you can adjust to create different moods.

The rear bench isn’t all that spacious, but you can pack in more cargo than passengers. The trunk of the Arteon has a removable deck cover and the rear seats are 60/40 folding. There are 55 cubic feet of cargo space to play with back there.

The Takeaway

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon has an enticing list of optional features. If you don’t watch your wallet, you’ll leave the dealer paying way more than the sticker price. For example, the front seats can come ventilated with driver massage. The steering wheel can be swapped out for a heated one. The available panoramic sunroof should have come standard, but this sought-after feature went straight to the higher model trims.

After choosing the best options for the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon, the MSRP climbs up considerably. The R Line SEL model equips the Arteon with the best performance, safety, and tech equipment. The adjusted MSRP sits around $48,715.

The hands-free trunk is a statement about the target audience of the Arteon. Sedans aren’t as popular as crossovers, so Volkswagen has placed several crossover features on the Arteon. It’s a smart move. The VW Arteon can easily attract buyers with growing families who need to pile on the mileage.

VW touts the Arteon as a premium sedan, but there’s a glaring lack of luxury trappings inside the cabin. There’s no wood and leather upholstery is reserved for the highest trim level. The center console screen is just average-sized. In truth, the Arteon would make a better bargain family hauler if all the options come standard. For the price, the Arteon will have stiff competition. Regardless, it sets a precedent for Volkswagen and highlights a willingness to think outside the box.

2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Review

The 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan enters the game of luxury SUVs with the trophy already in the bag. It has the off-roading capabilities of a Land Rover but really departs the field with endless levels of customization. Here’s a closer look at the Rolls-Royce of SUVs – the Cullinan.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The Cullinan is the first SUV from Rolls-Royce and establishes the very pinnacle of refinement. It’s a luxury off-road vehicle built from the inside out. It first debuted in 2018, but it’s still building a fanbase. Auto enthusiasts have been whispering about the prospect of a Cullinan for more than five years, aided by perfectly planned sneak peeks being leaked by RR every year.

In a company press release, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös had this to say:

“The super-luxury lifestyle is evolving, and Rolls-Royce is in the lead. Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more it is about embracing and experiencing the wider world. Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury, effortlessly, and without compromise, conquering the most challenging terrain to enjoy life’s most enriching experiences, wherever they may be. For this reason, they have asked us to create a Rolls-Royce that offers uncompromised luxury wherever they dare to venture. Cullinan is that car. It is Effortless, Everywhere.”

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Distinctive Style of the Cullinan

The first take of the Cullinan’s exterior might draw one to believe that it’s slow or bulky. It has a powerful stance and flat front fascia. It certainly doesn’t look nimble. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan weighs in at an astonishing 6,069 pounds.

The Cullinan has an upright, boxy exterior that looks a bit like the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon or the Land Rover platforms. The Cullinan is 210.3 inches long and 72.3 inches in height. That makes the Cullinan slightly shorter and slightly longer than a Land Rover Defender.

The Cullinan’s appearance provides a blank canvas for a bespoke design. Customers can choose nearly any wheel style, paint job, or exterior feature. So, the Cullinan base model is more like an unmolded block of expensive clay.

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Performance of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The Cullinan is motivated by a 6.8 Liter, V12 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 627-pound feet of torque. The engine in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the same powertrain from the Phantom and it’s managed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s fast enough to travel from zero to 60 in about 5 seconds with a top speed of 151 MPH. It certainly moves its weight well, but the Cullinan SUV gets roughly 18 miles per gallon.

The Cullinan’s driving dynamics hinge largely upon the torque and suspension. All that torque gets shunted to the rear wheels most of the time, but the Cullinan is classed as an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It doesn’t use torque vectoring as one would suspect but instead relies on its own advanced form of all-wheel drive management.

Off-Road Capabilities

The Cullinan can go into an off-road mode with a press of a button. Then, there are six different driving modes to control the vehicle’s traction response. There’s mud, gravel, sand, snow, wet grass, and rough trails. Its air suspension works in concert with adaptive dampers, double-wishbone suspension up front, and a multi-link suspension in the rear.

The airbag suspension works best to control the ride quality, not to challenge it. This is also part of the design philosophy behind the Cullinan – to be impervious to environmental conditions, whatever they may be.

Although Rolls-Royce was very public about its off-road testing, the Cullinan uses regular old hill descent electronic controls and anti-lock braking to handle slopes. The Cullinan can rise to a maximum ground clearance of 7.3 inches and it can ford 12 inches of water.

To showcase the offroad prowess of the RR Cullinan, it was sent around the world with National Geographic. The Cullinan tackled extreme landscapes from sand dunes and rock-encrusted mountains to stony rivers and snow-packed plains. In keeping with brand ethos, the Cullinan appeared to master all of the terrain types in the final challenge effortlessly.

Luxurious Interior of the New Cullinan

Getting inside the Cullinan is a treat as the ride height is lowered to allow for easy access to the interior. Once you get inside, the doors are power closing. The doors open “suicide style” with the rear doors opening from the center of the Cullinan outward on rear hinges. This opens up the entire cabin-like double doors to a luxury penthouse suite.

The Cullinan has a panoramic glass roof that retracts and tilts at the press of a button. Super soft headliner and carpeted floors make shoes optional. The interior of the Cullinan comes with certain luxury trappings like leather upholstery and premium wood trim, but these are just placeholders. Customers are paired with designers from Rolls-Royce to create their own amenities. The options list is extensive.

The rear of the Cullinan is the place to tune out the cold, cruel world. Seating in the rear of the Cullinan can be outfitted with two heated, massaging captain’s chairs or a rear bench that seats three occupants. The rear seats recline with a footrest, retractable worktables, and touchscreens.

The rear cargo compartment can accommodate 68 cubic feet of storage in total. The Cullinan has a glass partition to exclude the cargo compartment and acoustic glass on all the windows. You don’t have to know what your luggage is doing; that’s the driver’s job. The rear hatch has two opening liftgate panels, one above and one below. However, the rear seats fold down to allow occupants to access the trunk for spare blankets, a pair of skis, or to put more golf clubs inside.

Safety Gear of the Cullinan

It’s refreshing to see that the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is outfitted with some of the latest safety technology. Unlike other luxury SUVs that value performance over safety, the Cullinan leaves no stone unturned. It comes with forward-collision warnings, a surround-view camera system, automatic emergency braking, and driver attention alerts. There’s a heads-up display for the driver and lane departure warnings, too.

Options Galore

There are 44,000 different paint combinations you can choose for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and many other ways to customize the vehicle. The super-luxury automaker specializes in producing truly bespoke vehicles. Customers can manage nearly every aspect of the build-out, even designing the sound system to create their own personal level of audio enjoyment.

The Cullinan is available as part of the Black Badge series, too. It joins the Ghost and Wraith in getting the all-black treatment from Rolls-Royce. There is a bespoke wheel design available as well as yellow leather upholstery with carbon inlays. It’s not all cosmetic. The Cullinan Black Badge edition has increased horsepower and torque. It also gets updates to the drivetrain and chassis for better handling and performance.

Summing it Up

The name Cullinan comes from a 3,000-carat diamond worth $2 billion dollars that was gifted to the British during their colonization of South Africa. It seems that every aspect of the Cullinan SUV is a statement piece, even the name.

The 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the most expensive SUV on the mainstream market. Before any sort of customization, the Cullinan comes in at $325,000. Even with such a large price tag, the Cullinan presents a daunting challenge for producers of the Range Rover, the DBX, and other luxury SUVs. For the super-wealthy, the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is unparalleled and exists in its own stratosphere. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan presents owners with an unprecedented challenge – drive or ride. Surely, it will be a pleasure to do both.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Aston Martin DBX

The 2021 Aston Martin DBX dances on the brink between a luxury SUV and a high-revving sports car. The exhaust note is throaty and rumbling, not at all what you’d expect from a luxury SUV, but everything you’d expect from an Aston Martin.

Detailed Review of the Aston Martin DBX

The DBX is the first SUV produced by the British automaker Aston Martin. It’s been teased for a few years now, but the production of the DBX finally began earlier in 2020. The DBX comes at a pivotal moment for Aston Martin, given an abysmal year in sales. The company needed more than half a billion dollars in bailout cash just to stay afloat. Now, the former head of Mercedes-Benz AMG is helming things at Aston Martin, bringing with him design logic from AMG and a fresh set of eyes.

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Sophisticated Style of the DBX

The body of the DBX is composed of bonded and composite aluminum. It’s both lightweight and durable. The front of the DBX features Aston Martin’s trademark six slatted grille with two chrome-tipped airports in the lower paneling. It shares this look with the other Aston Martin DB vehicles.

The DBX has an attractive profile that really sprawls out thanks to its long wheelbase. The roofline floats overhead and tapers at a rear diffuser that creates the illusion of even more length. The DBX profile is dominated by the 22-inch alloy wheels that come standard with Pirelli P Zero tires.

The door handles fit flush against the paneling. The doors themselves are also frameless and feature hidden seals. It has a clamshell hood with two vents running up the length and the rear has two circular exhaust ports. Up top, the DBX has a panoramic sunroof that has a retractable shade on the inside.

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How Fast is the 2021 Aston Martin DBX?

Under the hood, it looks like the DBX’s engine is wearing one of Iron Man’s spare body armor suits. Almost all of the motor is covered, but there’s lots of power underneath. The Aston Martin DBX has a 4.0 Liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 542 horsepower and 516-pound feet of torque. It’s a powertrain lifted straight from the AMG lineup at Mercedes-Benz. It’s managed by a 9-speed automatic transmission that pushes all four wheels.

Is the Aston Martin DBX fast? Well, it travels from zero to 60 in just 4.3 seconds and maxes out at 181 miles per hour. There are six driving modes for the DBX. Drivers can toggle between individual (a custom setting), sport, GT, sport+, and two off-road managers.

The GT mode is for normal cruising and it makes the DBX as tame as a lioness on a leash. Sport+ mode tightens up the steering and throttle response and you’re reminded that this powertrain comes from AMG.

The transmission is based on an electronic shift-by-wire system. There’s a rear electronic rear limited-slip differential and electronic active center transfer case. The DBX has multi-link suspension in the rear and independent double-wishbone fixtures upfront. The DBX also has adaptive air suspension and the ride height can be raised or lowered by about 45 mm. That might not seem like much, but it could matter most for off-road enthusiasts who want to test the DBX’s ruggedness at the expense of its paint job.

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Luxury Interior of the 2021 Aston Martin DBX

The 2021 Aston Martin DBX wouldn’t be a true Aston if the interior didn’t drop your jaw. At first glance, you might notice the plush Alcantara headliner or the copious amounts of leather upholstery that’s been wrapped around nearly every surface. From the speakers to the glovebox, the perforated and stitched leather is everywhere. Aside from the leather, there’s contrasting piano black wood and satin chrome trim.

The steering wheel has a sporty design to match the brushed, satin chrome floor pedals. There are steering wheel-mounted controls, as well. When you compare the DBX with other luxury vehicles from BMW, Tesla, or Jaguar, there does seem to be a superfluousness of buttons and a lack of a screen.

The driver’s instrument panel has a 12-inch display. The center screen is 10.25-inches. The dashboard of the DBX doesn’t have a super large touchscreen display. Instead, it has an oval-shaped central control hub that houses controls for infotainment, navigation, and climate. Beneath the central hub, there’s a second control station. This is also where you find the rotary dial gear shifter.

Unlike most SUVs, the front seats in the Aston Martin DBX have thick bolsters, more like a sports car. Both front and rear seats are heated, but the rear seats have more plush cushioning than the front. There are even fold-out footrests back there.

There are 64 colors of ambient lighting to fit any mood in the DBX. There’s an 800 watt, premium audio system in the DBX with 14 speakers covertly stashed around the cabin. There are 4 USB ports and 3 12v power sockets. Apple CarPlay comes standard, but the DBX doesn’t have Amazon Alexa or Android Auto connectivity.

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Safety Technology from Aston Martin

This isn’t a budget family hauler that comes with loads of built-in safety features. The DBX has a 360 camera that deploys from the vehicle’s rear paneling and parking sensors, but otherwise, there aren’t many advanced safety features. So, forget about lane departure warnings and blind-spot monitoring. You’ve got to use your own wits to drive the DBX.

Options Galore

If you want to customize the DBX, there are several options. You can even test some of them out on the Aston Martin’s website configuring page. The exterior can be outfitted with different wheels and tires. You can paint the brake calipers for added accents and wade through a ton of premium paint colors for the body.

The interior can be customized with three different types of upholstery, one of which features woven wool. If piano black wood trim isn’t your thing, you can choose between seven other veneers including carbon fiber.

There are other functional options that you can add to the DBX. Some of these should have probably come standard, but Aston Martin has placed them aside for a la carte selection. Customers can include a garage door opener, power tailgate with gesture control, a touchpad controller, tow bar, and a park assist system. These tech upgrades would have really sweetened the deal for the DBX, and it’s likely that future versions of the DBX will trickle them out as standard features over time.

Some of the options are downright extravagant. Would you like a leather key holder, leather umbrella sleeve or blanket holder? Or how about a custom dog bed in the back? All of these accessories can be added to the DBX’s build to augment your adventurous lifestyle.

Summing it Up

Aston Martin has managed to make a large SUV that drives like a sports car. That is the true test of the DBX – to fit in with its smaller, nimbler stablemates. It has an MSRP of $179,986 and has an awesome powertrain courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Steering is largely dependent on which driving mode you choose, and novice drivers might have a bit of a learning curve with the DBX. Fuel economy is usually an afterthought with sports cars, and that’s a good thing for Aston Martin. The DBX is a large, thirsty vehicle with a combined rating of 19 MPG.

The DBX is a functional sport utility vehicle that can tow up to 5,940 pounds and handle a wading depth of 500 mm. It has a ground clearance of 190 mm, but that can be raised to a maximum ride height of 235 mm. Between the variable torque distribution of the all-wheel-drive system and the air suspension, the DBX is more than capable of getting to and from the campsite.

The DBX lacks a lot of advanced safety gear and technology. It doesn’t come with Android Auto connectivity, an intuitive touchscreen interface, or blind spot warnings. For the price, luxury sports car customers might find those features with competitors. Given that, the 2021 Aston Martin DBX will undoubtedly become the AM flagship and get upgrades over the years. It’s built to last and Aston Martin needs it to do just that.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R is a hatchback that’s built for racing. It has a zippy, turbocharged engine and plenty of aerodynamic enhancements. Critics will balk at its garish Fast and Furious appeal, but only a fool would easily pass up so many standard safety and tech features. You don’t have to build this Honda race car in your garage to get 300 horsepower.

Have you ever stopped at a traffic light and heard a droning four-cylinder engine revving that can only be an old modified Honda Civic? It’s got an aftermarket turbo, VTEC controller, and body kit crawling up to the line next to you. Then, you look over to see a teenager in a ball cap giving you a head nod and yet another annoying rev of his barely legal powertrain.

Well, the 2021 Honda Civic Type R is the grown-up version of that image. It’s a sporty little race car for people who don’t have time to build one in their garage. This year, the Honda Civic Type R sheds some of its juvenile appeal for a more advanced list of features like driver-assisted safety, a Limited Edition model, and high-performance tires and brakes.

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Here’s a more detailed review of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R

High-Performance Honda Civic

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R has two model trims – the base model and a Limited Edition. Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox that puts the fun of driving fully in your capable hands. You’ve got a 2.0 Liter turbocharged and an intercooled VTEC engine at your disposal. That’s right. It’s already been modified by Honda engineers so that you don’t have to do it yourself. The 2021 Honda Civic Type R delivers 295-pound feet of torque and produces 306 horsepower straight off the lot.

Just in case you didn’t know, Honda is famous for its VTEC engines. VTEC stands for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. VTEC systems put out high performance in the high RPM range and let you conserve fuel at low RPMs. Some Honda enthusiasts equip their vehicles with aftermarket VTEC controllers to boost their efficiency, but with the 2021 Honda Civic Type R that’s totally unnecessary.

Brembo Brakes

The Civic Type R has Brembo aluminum front brake calipers and improved power-assisted rear brakes. The chassis is made of lightweight steel and the Type R’s hood is made of aluminum. So, it skips across the road to boost its speed and if you want further weight reduction, just look to the Limited Edition model. It’s managed to shave 46 pounds off the body.

Limited Edition

The Limited Edition goes even further to boost performance by incorporating Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and BBS aluminum wheels. The Limited Edition also has enhanced dampers and sport-tuned steering. It might save a few seconds on your lap time, but it doesn’t upgrade the powertrain or transmission.

It’s just built for weekend jaunts on a curvy racetrack or detours on a long, winding road. It’s a fully functional racecar. The Type R comes with a data-tracking app called Honda LogR that you access from the center console display. You have access to your racing data in real-time with the app.

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Driving Modes

There are 3 driving modes. You can toggle between normal, comfort, and +R Mode. This automatically tightens the steering response, reprograms the throttle, and optimizes your suspension for peak performance. Just be advised that +R mode will tax your fuel economy. Speaking of fuel economy, it’s surprisingly decent for a sports car. The 2021 Civic Type R gets 28 miles per gallon in the city and 22 MPG on the highway.

Civic Type R Exterior Styles

At first glance, you might look at the Civic Type R’s body design and think that it’s all for style points. After all, it’s got three exhaust ports. Well, you couldn’t be further from the truth; it’s really all about aerodynamics and performance.

In the rear, the Type R Civic has a high wing spoiler and an air diffuser over the hatch. These create downforce and help the Civic maintain control at high speeds. The roof has finlike attachments called vortex generators that help to funnel air toward the rear diffuser and wing. Toward the front of the Civic, there are underbelly spoilers, a hood scoop, and front fender air vents for engine cooling.

Interior Options for the 2021 Civic Type R

Technology isn’t the strong suit of the Civic Type R, but it’s not a weakness either. There’s a single 12V outlet in the front of the interior and 2 USB ports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard features for the 2021 Civic Type R. However, accessing those apps are frustrating on the 7-inch touchscreen display. One of the most impressive tech features for the interior is the standard navigation system with voice controls. Sometimes that might cost you extra, and it’s a nice touch to have satellite-linked navigation without ordering an additional package.

Interior Space

Four people can fit comfortably in the new Civic. There are 97 total cubic feet of passenger volume. It has high bolstered sport seats in the front, but only in one style. It’s red on black for everyone. People riding in the front seats get 42.3 inches of legroom. Fold the rear seats down and you’ve got 46.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

Steering Wheel

The steering wheel is wrapped in Alcantara. That’s the same material that Aston Martin uses as a headliner for their swanky DBX crossover. The steering wheel has illuminated controls, so you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel as much. Sport pedals match the aluminum shifting knob. Just be careful when parking out in the sun, because you might come back to a blazing hot ball of metal in your center console.

Instrument Cluster

If you love modified Civics, then you’ll love the instrument panel of the 2021 Type R. It has a G-force gauge, compass, boost gauge, lap timer, digital speedometer, and other vital stats for your car. You can also customize certain aspects of the display so that you see only what you want to see.

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How Safe is the New Civic Type R?

As mentioned earlier, the 2021 Honda Civic Type R prioritized driver-assisted technology this time around. It comes with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and auto high-beam headlights. It also has road departure mitigation and collision mitigation braking. It will be interesting to see how many racers try to disengage these safety features for better performance.

In addition to the Honda Sensing Suite, the 2021 Type R also has enhanced traction control, a full complement of advanced airbags, and a rearview camera. You don’t need to pay extra for these safety features and that is a huge plus for this vehicle. Just jump the lot to Acura and you’ll find these same safety features bundled into a package deal that adds thousands to your initial cost.

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At the Finish Line

The 2021 Honda Civic has a surprisingly comprehensive list of safety gear and it all comes standard. You get passive, active and driver assistance features without the pricey add-on packages. The Limited Edition gets a bright yellow color swap and even better handling but doesn’t improve overall power. For nearly 10 grand more, it hardly seems worth it.

Technology

When it comes to technology that doesn’t relate to performance, the 2021 Civic Type R loses power, too. It has a 7-inch screen and lacks any options to upgrade tech amenities. Thankfully, it does have a premium audio system and standard navigation.

Options

That lack of options is echoed at nearly every level with the Type R. You get exclusively designed sport seats, a single body kit design, and a suped-up powertrain. Basically, they’ve kitted out a Honda Civic for you and that’s that. This could frustrate some auto enthusiasts who like the idea of modifying nearly every aspect of their Honda Civic. However, Honda automakers don’t hide this fact. It’s like there’s a sign posted at the entry that says – this vehicle is ready already and there’s no need to tweak it further. If you accept that fact, then you’re sure to have a lot of fun in the 2021 Honda Civic Type R.

Price

The 2021 Honda Civic Type R has an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $37,495. That’s not bad considering that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on aftermarket parts. Otherwise, the pricey Limited Edition is skippable. You’re in good hands with the base model and all its amazing standard features. This is the perfect sports car for people who enjoy the thrill of racing but never quite figured out what all that stuff is under the hood.

2020 Porsche Panamera Features Review: Driveline and Chassis

The 2020 Porsche Panamera features three distinct body styles. The normal Panamera includes a long, tapered rear cargo hatch, while the Sport Turismo includes a more vertical rear hatch like a station wagon. The Executive sticks with the normal Panamera hatch but increases in length between the front and rear axles (commonly called the extended wheelbase) to provide more space to rear-seat passengers.

The 2020 Porsche Panamera features several configuration trim levels, but not in each body design: the base model Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera 4S, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Panamera GTS, Panamera Turbo, and Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. These versions distinguish themselves with unique engines and features. There’s also a 10 Years Edition which celebrates a decade of Panamera production.

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2020 Porsche Panamera Features

Interior

The Porsche Panamera is a good-looking automobile. The interior is extremely sleek. It includes a central hub that divides the driver’s side from the passenger side. This central hub holds the gear lever in addition to additional well-arranged controls and dials. This layout is simple and sporty, built for luxury and relaxation.

The Panamera is available in three body styles: Hatchback, Executive, and Sport Turismo. The hatchback and longer Executive versions have four seats, while the wagonlike Sport Turismo configuration has five seats. No matter configuration, the Panamera’s front seats are comfortable and highly adjustable, and there is ample head- and legroom, even for taller occupants.

Leather upholstery and heated front seats are standard. Upgrades include heated rear seats, ventilated and massaging front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rear sunshades. The Panamera has two full sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

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2020 Panamera Engines

The 2020 Porsche Panamera spoils you with engine choices. The base model is powered with a 3.0-liter turbo V6 producing 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. The S versions include a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 that increases horsepower to 440hp. The 4 E-Hybrid pairs this engine with an electric motor to produce 457 horsepower.

The GTS models have a twin-turbo 4.0 V8 with 453 horsepower. The Panamera Turbo adds more horsepower from that same 4.0-liter V8 engine that pumps out 550 horsepower and 567 lb-ft of torque.

Each engine is paired with Porsche’s terrific eight-speed PDK, which is a dual-clutch automatic transmission. The gear changes are smooth and well-timed. Drivers may also change gears manually via the steering wheel’s shift paddles. The entry-level model version Panamera is outfitted with rear-wheel drive. The other versions are equipped with AWD.

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Porsche Traction Management (PTM)

All 2020 Porsche Panamera versions are equipped with Porsche Traction Management (PTM). This active AWD features a digital and map-controlled multi-plate clutch that provides the optimum distribution of drive force whatever the driving scenario — for exceptional acceleration capability on long straights, through tight corners, and road surfaces with varying traction.

The multi-plate clutch modulates the supply of power between the rear axle and front axle. Driving conditions are continuously monitored, allowing the system to respond to a number of situations. Sensors check, among other factors, the rotation rates of all four wheels and tires, the longitudinal and lateral acceleration of the car, and the steering wheel angle. If the rear wheels and tires threaten to spin under acceleration, a larger percentage of drive force is distributed to the front with a powerful engagement of this multi-plate clutch.

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Chassis

The chassis of the 2020 Porsche Panamera performs this balancing act between sport and comfort effortlessly — and in the most masterful way possible: with further-developed, optional chassis technologies. Examples include the adaptive air suspension with three-chamber technology boasting a 60 percent greater air capacity than that of the predecessor, recent Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), and rear-axle steering.

What is new is the integrated Porsche 4D Chassis Control system, which centrally analyses the driving situation in all three spatial dimensions, e.g. pitch, roll, and yaw computes optimum driving conditions from such data and synchronizes all chassis systems in real-time: the fourth dimension. The purpose is to maximize overall performance and also to make the middle ground between sporty driving and relaxation as expansive as possible.

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Rear-Axle Steering

Available for all 2020 Porsche Panamera’s for the first time: optional rear-axle steering. It improves real-world performance and everyday driveability in proportionate measure.

During low-speed movement, the system steers the rear wheels and tires in the reverse direction to that of the front wheels and tires. This has the basic effect of shortening the wheelbase. The turning circle is shortened, sharpness is raised and parking gets considerably easier to handle.

During high-speed movement, the system steers the rear wheels and tires in exactly the exact same way as that of the front wheels and tires. This fundamental extension of the wheelbase improves driving steadiness.

Rear-axle steering makes it very clear that there isn’t any contradiction between stableness and sharpness or functionality and everyday driveability. The consequence: higher maneuverability and driving security in regular use — and a substantial increase in maximum driving performance.

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Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM)

PASM is a computerized damping control system. It actively and constantly adjusts the damping force on each wheel, based on current road conditions and driving style. The result is to cut down vehicle body motion and thereby increase comfort for all passengers.

Three modes are accessible: Normal, SPORT, and SPORT PLUS. Sensors record the body movements as they happen amid strong acceleration, braking, speedy cornering, or on uneven road surfaces. From these data, the management unit of the Porsche 4D Chassis Control system determines the impact on the driving state of the automobile and changes the damping force on each of the wheels and tires in line with the chosen mode. The outcome is tangible: improved driving steadiness, enhanced comfort, and improved performance.

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Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus

New Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) is an active roll stabilization system with an ultra sporty installation. It arouses the lateral inclination of the body induced by cornering from the very beginning and acts to contain it. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport also lowers the lateral instability of the vehicle on uneven ground.

In conjunction with PDCC Sport, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus boosts driving dynamics and balance. As a function of steering angle and steering rate, accelerator pedal position, yaw rate, and vehicle speed, it increases steering response and precision by tactical braking of the left or right rear wheel. At high speeds and when accelerating out of corners, the electronically controlled rear differential lock with fully variable torque distribution also functions to provide higher driving balance and traction.

Wheels and SPORT Mode

Wheels

The 2020 Porsche Panamera features wider wheels and an increased contact surface — for better performance under braking and acceleration. As of this writing, optional sizes up to 21 inches are usable from a range of wheel designs, assuring you of a grand look. The Panamera versions are equipped as standard with 19-inch wheels and tires, the Panamera Turbo 20-inch wheels and tires. A selection of additional 19-, 20- and 21-inch wheels and tires are available.

SPORT mode

With SPORT mode, you can swap from a comfort-oriented tuning into a sporty setup. The computerized engine management system demands a sharper response. Engine dynamics become more direct. In SPORT mode, PDK upshifts quicker and downshifts earlier. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) and rear-axle steering also change to SPORT mode, providing harder damping and more direct turn-in — and much-increased dexterity through corners.

Sport Chrono Package including mode switch

The Sport Chrono Package provides an even sportier tuning of the Porsche Panamera chassis, engine, and transmission. The package contains a digital and analog stopwatch, a visual in the instrument cluster showing longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and a performance screen for examining lap times in the Porsche Communication Management (PCM).

What is brand-new is the SPORT Response button on the steering wheel, derived from the 918 Spyder. Four driving modes are available: Normal, SPORT, SPORT PLUS, and Individual — for a much more lively driving character.

In SPORT mode, the 2020 Porsche Panamera features enhanced dynamics and much more direct handling. In SPORT PLUS, the motor gets even more responsive. The rev-limiter is corrected to a more challenging setting. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) are retuned for stiffer damping and more direct turn-in. The adaptive air suspension falls into a very low-Level setting and tightens the spring rate. Another feature included in the package is Launch Control — for optimal acceleration from a standing start.

The stopwatch mounted on the dashboard screen logs driving time or may be utilized as a traditional clock. Porsche Communication Management (PCM) is updated to include a performance screen, allowing you to view, save, and evaluate laps or other driving times.

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SPORT Response

Pressing the button at the middle of the mode switch primes the motor and transmission for the speediest possible unleashing of performance and ability (e.g. for overtaking). To put it differently, the most responsiveness — for a period of about 20 seconds.

PSM Sport

Together with the Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Stability Management (PSM) is supplemented with a ‘Sport’ mode. It helps a more sporty driving style, with PSM staying busy in the background. For a further improvement to your driving experience.

Final Thoughts

The 2020 Porsche Panamera features a diverse lineup, with three body styles and seven spec levels to pick from. Prices are all over the board, with a top-level Turbo S E-Hybrid costing twice as much as an entry-level model Panamera. Performance between these versions understandably boosts with the cost too. Whichever model you’ve got an eye on, rest assured that you will be getting one of the best luxury sedans with the type of sporty performance that justifies the Porsche badge.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Ford Bronco

The 2021 Ford Bronco is a throwback SUV with updated features and performance capabilities. It has best-in-class torque and best-in-class six-cylinder gas power. The 2021 Bronco borrows the engines from Ford’s pick-up trucks to create an off-roading compact crossover that is sure to make Jeep Wrangler enthusiast think twice.

The Ford Bronco is a classic compact crossover with cultish fan appeal, but is it ready for the big stage in 2021? Well, it has the off-roading chops of a Ford Raptor truck and the DNA of its namesake for good luck. Ford automakers have been accused before of trying to boost auto sales with reboot gimmicks like the Ford Mustang Mach-e, but the Bronco appears to be the real McCoy.

The Bronco comes with advances in technology that make it a contender for best 4×4 of the year. It has best-in-class ground clearance, best-in-class torque, and six-cylinder gas power. It has a new terrain management system and has an amazing trail navigation app that allows drivers to get their kicks on off-road trails without getting lost in the process.

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Model Trims for the 2021 Ford Bronco

There isn’t just one type of Bronco. Ford offers 7 different configurations, and each one is unique. The base model Bronco packs essential gear for off-roading and some standard tech features. The Big Bend model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated seats, and other creature comforts.

Black Diamond and Outer Banks

Black Diamond and Outer Banks are the mid-level Broncos. If you are interested in off-roading first and foremost, then this is most likely where you’ll start your search. The Black Diamond Bronco introduces Ford’s G.O.A.T. abilities. These are a set of performance enhancements that allow the 2021 Bronco to go over any type of terrain. The Outer Banks Bronco allows drivers to off-road in style by including signature lights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Badlands and Wildtrak

Next, Ford offers the Badlands and Wildtrak Broncos. These crossover models focus more on performance. The 2021 Badlands Bronco puts the very best off-roading amenities on the table. It has a disconnecting stabilizer bar, rear and front locking differentials, and performance monotube shocks.

Wildtrak builds on the Badlands model with extra equipment that maximizes the Bronco’s speed. The powertrain gets swapped out for a turbocharged V6 engine. The feet get replaced with 35-inch high-performance tires.

Ford Bronco First Edition

The seventh model trim is the 2021 Ford Bronco First Edition. It’ll be hard to get your hands on one of these models because only 3,500 units went into production. Auto enthusiasts will undoubtedly hold onto these because the First Edition models get a grab bag of all the best Bronco features, all on one platform. These Broncos will have the best resale value down the road.

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Definitive Style of the Ford Bronco

One of the first things you’ll notice about the new Bronco crossover is the exterior colors. There’s the unmissable Cyber Orange and Rapid Red. Other colors like Area 51, Antimatter Blue, and Cactus Grey give the Bronco a more urban look.

The new Bronco looks very familiar because it has the same proportions as the original. There’s a 2-door and a 4-door version of the Bronco. It sits with a wide stance and has short overhangs. The profile is uncluttered by unnecessary style lines and contours. The flared-out wheel wells can accommodate 35-inch tires. The rear has a modern, streamlined appearance with a spare tire attached to the rear hatch.

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Performance of the 2021 Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco crossover shares its powerplant with other Ford vehicles. The base model borrows an engine from the Ford Ranger, but you can get an upgraded version, the same one that’s featured in the Ford F-150. Ford engineers have done a great job of making the 2021 Ford Bronco accessible to all skill levels of driving.

Engines

Outfitting the Bronco is like deciding whether you want to play a video game on the easy or advanced setting. The base model comes with a 2.3 Liter Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. It puts out 270 horsepower and 310-pound feet of torque. The second option is the 2.7 Liter V6 engine that has 310 horsepower and 400 lb. ft. of torque.

Transmissions

There are two transmission options, as well. A 10-speed automatic is ideal for those drivers on the beginner track. Savvy auto enthusiasts will cheer for the available 7-speed manual gearbox. There aren’t many new vehicles that allow you to manually shift gears anymore.

Off-Road

Now it’s time to talk about off-roading. There are 2 options for 4×4 capabilities in the new Bronco. You can choose the part-time all-wheel drive. It has a 2-speed transfer case and provides an entry-level experience in off-roading. Toggle between 4H, 4L or neutral in this electronic shift on-demand system.

Then, there’s the electromechanical transfer case of the advanced 4×4 system. This is where you find the G.O.A.T. functions of the terrain management system. It stands for Go Over Any Type of Terrain. There are seven in total – mud/rut, slippery/sandy, Baja, rock crawl, normal, eco, and sport.

You can tackle these terrain types on your own or engage Trail Control and allow the automated 4×4 system to automatically adjust torque, braking, and throttle while you control the steering. The new Bronco has independent suspension both front and rear. You can even hitch up to 3,500 pounds worth of towing.

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What’s the Interior of the Bronco Like?

The 2021 Ford Bronco is all about body style and performance. So, don’t expect much from the interior. It’s small and built for the task of conquering the terrain. The soft top 4-door Bronco has 108.2 cubic feet of passenger space. The 2-door model only accommodates 99 cu. ft. When it comes to toting cargo, you can look to the roof attachments for creating more space.

Carpeted floors are to be avoided, especially if you’re interested in taking advantage of the Ford Bronco’s off-road resources. Opt for the rubberized flooring with removable drain plugs and you’ll extend the quality of your interior for years to come.

Just because the new Bronco skimps on creature comforts, that doesn’t mean the interior is empty. The dashboard controls are efficiently laid out and you can equip the Bronco with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. What the Bronco lacks in luxury, it makes up for in technology.

A Bronco with Technology

The 2021 Ford Bronco crossover has two 12V power outlets, 2 USB chargers, and an available wireless charging pad. There’s a 360-degree camera and push-button ignition. The center console can be outfitted with either an 8-inch or 12-inch touchscreen display. In every category, the 2021 Bronco stays true to its nature. The trail mapping feature is like a video game for off-roaders. It syncs up with the onboard navigation and you can use it when you’re online or offline.

Basically, the trail mapping technology gives you access to hundreds of curated trail maps of popular destinations. You can follow a trail to new adventures and have the assurance that this is a well-marked out journey. Then, you can share your experiences online. It’s like the Peloton bike app, but for your Bronco.

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When it comes to safety, it all starts with the “Built Ford Tough” logic. The 2021 Bronco uses high strength steel in the vehicle’s construction with additional steel plates placed in high-stress areas. The Bronco has steel plating to protect the fuel tank, engine, and transmission.

The 2021 Ford Bronco has some tough competition. It’s going up against the Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender. So, it’s important that the Bronco undergo rigorous safety testing in the harshest conditions. Ford safety engineers put the new Bronco on some of the most brutal trails they could find, including the same trails used in the King of the Hammers off-road racing competition.

Most consumers want advanced safety gear though. Sadly, the 2021 Ford Bronco remains fixed to the old school approach. It does have automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, cross-traffic alerts, and some pre-collision assistance. That’s about it.

Ford is banking on the fact that someone interested in the Bronco will buy into the tactile, hands-on approach to vehicular safety. It’s a gamble, but some people want less driver assistance and more control. For the Bronco driver, safety and security is largely in your own hands.

Is the 2021 Ford Bronco Worth the Money?

The 2021 Ford Bronco is priced according to the model trim and the number of doors. The 2-door model has an MSRP of $28,500. The 4-door version of the Bronco comes in at an MSRP of $33,200. When you factor in the options, packages, and custom kit add-ons, you can expect to spend way more than the sticker price alone.

Making a Bronco that matches your style and personality is part of the allure though. It’s not a toy, for sure. However, the 2021 Bronco crossover provides the off-road adventure that you’ve always imagined in your head. It can ford rivers and climb rocks so that you can confidently tame the small-batch experiences that you’ll most likely put the Bronco on.

The appeal of the 2021 Bronco goes beyond the trail riding. It’s easy to imagine urban drivers being attracted to the sheer coolness of this crossover. It’s attractive and reasonably priced. The new Bronco might pull some people away from Jeep, too. Most auto enthusiasts will agree that the Bronco is certainly cool enough to get people interested in buying new vehicles again.