Ford Explorer Platinum Gains RWD Variant For 2021, Also Goes Green With Hybrid Model

With the 2021 Enthusiast ST stealing the show in regards to the Explorer’s 2021 updates, Ford wanted to ensure that no stone was left unturned and has revealed that the range-topping Explorer Platinum will also receive some new additions for 2021 with the trim now adding a rear-wheel-drive option and even a hybrid flavored model for fuel-conscious buyers.   Rear Wheel Drive For The Jet Set Sets Explorer Platinum Apart In its base form, the $54,480 Explorer Platinum is a very potent statement of luxury with perforated leather seats, warm wood accents, and standard all-wheel-drive to buyers looking to have …

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2021 Toyota Venza Limited Review by Ben Lewis

Toyota likes to offer something for just about everybody. That’s what makes them consistently in the top two (sometimes 1st, sometimes 2nd to VW) manufacturers in the world. So, let’s say you have your heart set on a new SUV. Perhaps the RAV4 feels too small, and the Highlander too large. No worries! Introducing the all-new 2021 Toyota Venza, as they say in the three bears…this one’s just right. Sleek and Sophisticated One look and you know this isn’t your Auntie’s Venza! (That model went away in 2015). While the Venza shares a chassis with the RAV4, it looks entirely …

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2021 BMW X5 X Drive 45e by Ben Lewis

Amazing how quickly time and technology change things. It used to be an EV was a golf cart, and a hybrid was one of the agrarian looking Toyota Prius models. The good thing is, there are a lot of talented engineers that work for the automakers, and the vehicles we get today are exciting and fun – no matter what may be under the hood. And a perfect example of today’s performance hybrid is the 2021 BMW X5 with the all-new 45e plug-in hybrid system. If you were expecting something for the Birkenstock and Bean Sprout crowd, the X5 will …

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Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid – Does Luxury and Green Driving Mix?

The RAV4 has emerged as one of the most versatile SUVs in Toyota‘s vehicle arsenal. The RAV4 has a foundation that can be suited for a wide variety of uses including camping as we proved in a prior RAV4 related test and even in the plug-in realm with the recently launched RAV4 Prime. But what if your a buyer that’s looking for something that can sip fuel instead and also deliver decent amounts of comfort for the money? Toyota may have just the solution for you with the RAV4 Hybrid Limited. But does this particular flavor of RAV4 go far …

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Lexus swings for the fences with the 2020 Lexus UX 250h hybrid, comes up short

It’s no secret that Lexus practically invented the luxury SUV category when it first debuted the RX a few decades ago. The RX was a hit and it rode a proverbial sales rocket towards the top of the segment. Despite some recent challenges by a few rivals, Lexus is clearly trying to replicate the success of that model. It’s doing so by introducing a diverse range of smaller crossover models but can models like the 2020 UX 250h hybrid bring some much needed to the lineup? Or is it a noteworthy dead end? Controversial styling reigns supreme on UX The …

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2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE AWD

If I say name the fastest 4-door Toyota right now, with over 300 hp and 0-60 under 6 seconds what would you say? Camry TRD? Avalon? Nope. It’s the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Wait a sec. The friendly and familiar RAV4 SUV? A performance vehicle? Yep, and then some. Toyota has been on a roll lately, and they’ve making fun to drive a big part of their new direction as a brand. Camry, Corolla, Supra, heck, even the Highlander is a lot more fun than it used to be. And where hybrids used to be just for super-efficiency, Toyota is showing …

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2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum L4 AWD by Ben Lewis

The Toyota Highlander has always been a solid choice in the mid-size SUV segment. By solid, we mean, well-built, good value, Toyota reliability. But ahem, nothing to get excited about. Well, until now. For 2020, there’s an all-new Highlander, and while it hasn’t lost any of the things that make a Highlander a stress-free choice, this one’s notably more passionate, from style, to driving, to features. You can now lust after a Highlander and not be locked up in the automotive looney bin. Big and Bold The first thing that hits you is the Highlander’s take-no-prisoners design. It looks bigger, …

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2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2020 Kia Sportage, and noted that Kia in a very Porsche-like manner, continuously tweaks and updates as it goes along, and like the Sportage, we find the same is true for Niro hybrid model. Since the Niro is one our favorite Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and EV models, that’s all good news for us. Let’s take a look at the changes. Updated Looks On the outside, the Niro has received some updates to keep it looking fresh. Up front, there are new projector-type headlights and fogs, dual chevron-style LED daytime running lights, and a new diamond-pattern grille. …

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2020 Lexus NX 300h by Ben Lewis

We always hear about “Best in Class”, “Class-Leading” or “Class Standard”, but what happens when you’re the only one in your class? And that’s what we have here, in its segment ,the Lexus NX 300h is the only regular hybrid in its class. Well, some manufacturers might take that as an opportunity to set the bar low – where else you going to go? – but not Lexus. Like all their products, they hold everything to a higher standard. But is it worth going to a hybrid, when there a lot of other interesting choices, including a non-hybrid Lexus NX?  …

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Road Test Review – 2020 Toyota Highlander: Platinum Hybrid

It seems that there is no shortage of capable three row SUVs to choose from these days. With the segment currently going through a massive boom time, manufacturers big and small have unleashed a whole swath of models to try and cash in on the pent up demand. The Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade and the Honda Pilot are just some of the popular marques out in the market place today. However, the Volkswagen Atlas Mazda CX-9 and the Subaru Ascent are eager to disrupt the established pecking order. One of the veteran offerings is the Toyota Highlander which underwent a …

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2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring by Ben Lewis

Honda is often times a technology leader, but in the case of the Hybrid SUV’s, it’s been a bit slow. But good news is here for those who love the CR-V and want all the goodness a Hybrid can bring – for 2020 we have the all-new CR-V Hybrid. And with Toyota turning up the heat in the segment with the excellent RAV4 Hybrid, it’s perfect timing. CR-V Hybrid Exterior – The Best Looking CR-V Ever! For 2020, all CR-V models get a makeover, including bolder front and rear styling and redesigned wheels. And like the Civic Coupe we recently …

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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid Review by Ben Lewis

Subaru loves to go their own way. That’s one of the things we love about them. We recently tested the WRX – a powerful sports sedan with rally-car DNA. The new Forester, a crossover with that same feel of something a little different from the mainstream. Need a 3-row SUV? You can get the Ascent, and enjoy that Subaru goodness in a larger package. It takes real engineering talent to stay true to your school (cue Beach Boys), and still meet, compete, and beat other vehicles in your segment. So, now we have the all-new Crosstrek Hybrid – the company’s …

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