January 2022

Telluride SUV another example of Kia doing it right

By Paul Borden

(January 28, 2022) Several years ago I heard a Kia exec explain that the company entered the U.S. with cheaper entry-level vehicles in the early 1990s in order to get a foothold on the market. But with sales lagging in the latter years of the decade to barely half what they once were, mostly because of quality issues, the company was forced to either leave the U.S. market or upgrade its product.

Battery-powered EV sales set record in fourth quarter

(January 28, 2022) IRVINE, Calif. —  Despite industry-wide inventory constraints and overall slow new-car sales growth throughout the year, sales of battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) surged to hit a new record with a strong year-end finish in Q4 2021, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. In the fourth quarter, EV sales jumped 72% year-over-year to a record 147,799 units. EV market share in Q4 was 4.5%, also a record high for the segment. 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz — Blending a crossover with the bed of a pickup

By Jim Prueter

(January 26, 2022) Nissan, Toyota, Chevrolet, GMC, Honda all have one. Ford has two and Dodge had one and got rid of it and now wishes it had it back. I’m talking about a small pickup truck. Hyundai, the Korean automaker that just keeps the hits coming has teased about the possibility of a small pickup truck for years, all the way back to the Chicago Auto Show what seems like a decade ago, showing a concept pickup called the Santa Cruz.

Gas prices creep higher as global oil supplies remain tight

(January 25, 2022) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite typical low seasonal demand for gasoline, pump prices are clawing their way higher. The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.33, two cents more than a week ago. The culprit is the rising price for oil, which is now bobbing around $85 per barrel, nearly $20 more than in November. Last week, both OPEC and U.S. energy officials said the COVID-19 omicron variant is no longer expected to slow the continued recovery of petroleum demand in 2022.

New hybrid drivetrain delivers extra pop for Hyundai Tucson

By Paul Borden

(January 20, 2022) In addition to giving the Tucson’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine a slight power boost for this year, Hyundai also is out with hybrid versions that further up the performance of the South Korean automaker’s top-selling The powertrain in the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid mates a 180-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder gas engine with a 44.2 kilowatt electric motor for a combined 226 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, a boost of 39 hp and 83 lb.-ft. over the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in gas-fueled Tucsons.

There's less demand, but prices are higher to pump gas

(January 19, 2022) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Gasoline prices rose a penny last week, driven primarily by the cost of crude oil, which has vaulted above $80 a barrel. The primary reason for the rise in oil prices is the perception that the COVID-19 omicron variant may ebb, allowing the world’s economic engines to kick into high gear. The potential increase in oil demand, coupled with lagging crude production, will only increase prices.

Winners of the 'Latin Flavor Cars of the Year'

(January 16, 2022) MIAMI — This 2022 will be a year of great changes in the automotive industry. Automotive companies with smart executives know that before them is a market of powerful Hispanics, which has the highest purchasing power in Latin America.

'E' is for excellence or maybe elegance in the Mercedes E-Class

By Paul Borden

(January 15, 2022) I’m not sure if he was the first to say it but astronomer/scientist/author/etc. Carl Sagan once observed that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but I have two incidents that would challenge that notion. One was several years ago when a friend of mine was interviewing golfer Orville Moody for a story he was doing about a local tournament. Naturally, the subject of Moody’s victory in the 1969 U.S.Open came up and at a pause in the conversation, my friend blurted out, “Was that your biggest win?”

Average new-vehicle price reaches $47,077 at end of 2021

(January 12, 2022) IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle average transaction prices (ATPs) increased further into record territory in December 2021 to reach $47,077, according to new data released today by Kelley Blue Book. Prices are sharply elevated from last year, up nearly 14% ($5,742) from December 2020 and up 1.7% ($808) month over month. New-vehicle inventory levels remain tight, and with sufficient consumer demand, dealers continue to hold prices at or above the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport — Charmingly past its freshness date

By Jim Prueter

(January 11, 2022) It’s been a couple of years since we last drove and reviewed the Toyota 4Runner. After spending a week with the new 2022 4Runner 4x4 TRD Sport recently, it’s abundantly clear that a lot remains wrong with this dinosaur of a vehicle. Still, there’s something about it that gets you hooked and becomes addictive. That might explain why there are so many on the road, and it’s been a Toyota mainstay for nearly 40 years.