Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Astrology Books Fashion Movies Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Content Find us on Facebook! Art



Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE –motoringtampabay.com

LEXUS LC500 Meet the 2022 MotorTrend SUV of the Year – GV70. Since Hyundai launched the offshoot Genesis in 2015, there has been no going back. In fact, the hot-selling luxury brand marches forward, solid and steady.

The G70, G80 and G90 sedans in the Genesis stable and the GV80 SUV have been joined by the compact luxury GV70. It provides more proof that quality, styling, design, and ease of use have been trademarks of Korean car builder’s upmarket offshoot from Day One.

The all-wheel-drive GV70 shares the same power train that is in its larger sibling. It is equipped with a 3.5.-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine cranking out 375 horsepower @ 5800 rpm, and 391 pounds-feet of torque @ 5800 rpm. A seamless 8-speed automatic transmission offers Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom Drive modes. Its electronically controlled multilink suspension handles the bumps and thumps of realtime roads with little sacrifice. The motor-driven power steering is perfectly weighted and provides ample feedback.

Up front, the long hood of the handsome SUV meets all comers with a bold and mammoth crest grille topped by the winged emblem, and bordered by quad LED headlights. Step inside and you’ll discover a large 14.5-inch split-screen HD display for phone, nav and audio that can be controlled via a knob. Need to shift into park? The rotary dial selector is a handy touch. To be sure, Genesis coddles the occupants with dual-zone auto a/c, 16-way power driver and 12-way front-passenger heated/cooled leather seats, along with and power tilt/telescopic steering column and tilt-and-slide sunroof, and a suede headliner (optional). A 12.3-inch digital cluster helps the driver monitor systems. Matte-finished wood adds luxury to the center console, dash, and doors.

Four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist provide sure stop along with electronic stability and traction control system, front/rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, rearview camera, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning/lane keep and forward collision avoid assists, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard safety features. And then there’s also a front center airbag — located between the driver’s seat and center console; dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

MotorTrend sums up the reason for its choice quite nicely, “More so even than Genesis' laudable previous efforts, this well-rounded SUV melds satisfying dynamics with huge value and a level of practicality rare among luxury vehicles. Among a segment already stuffed with intriguing options, the Genesis GV70 is nothing short of a revelation — and the only choice for the 2022 MotorTrend SUV of the Year honor.”



VW ID.4 PRO (RWD)It’s back! After a five-year hiatus, Toyota has re-introduced the Venza into the market solely as a hybrid version and standard all-wheel drive. This second-generation midsize SUV boasts a sleek appearance, opulent cabin features, and commendable gas-sipping figures that will attract streams of buyers as fuel prices continue to skyrocket.

Sharing the hybrid power train with RAV4, the 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder gas engine develops 176 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 163 pounds-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm. Three electric motors (two up front and one in the rear) boast hp up to 219 hp. A 252-volt lithium-ion battery, which is placed under the rear seat for space purposes, is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the electronically controlled continuous variable transmission-equipped sedan boasts a regenerative braking system.

An independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension with stabilizer bar does a particularly good job of soaking bumps and potholes with skill and sure-footedness in the front-wheel or all-wheel-drive ride. Also, the rack-and-pinion electric power steering makes it a breeze to pulling into a parking lot or step up to higher speed.

The Venza operates in four modes: EV, which is electric at lower speeds of up to 25 mph; ECO, an efficient mode where the driver can control the throttle opening; normal; and sport for some feisty driving. The rounded instrument display showing charge, power and eco readings will come in handy for drivers who like to eke out every gallon of fuel.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag and driver knee airbag are standard along with side-impact door beams, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic brake distribution and brake assist, vehicle stability and traction control, blind spot monitor with front/rear park assist, bird’s eye view camera and front and rear crumple zones. Also included at no cost is Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which fetches the owner a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure alert and lane trace assist, and dynamic cruise control.

Projector-beam LED headlights surround a dark gray front grille with chrome accent hosting a blue-tinted Toyota insignia. The lush cabin portrays a Lexus-like feel like opulent and tech backdrops. Atop the dashboard, the 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment controls is straightforward to operate. Rear-seat passengers should be satisfied to enjoy not just two hidden cup holders in the center console but also air vents in front. Fold the 60/40-split second row seat down and you get 55.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Storage areas are scattered throughout the cabin, including eight cup/bottle holders, four USB ports and overhead sunglass holder. Standard conveniences include eight-way power driver and four-way front-passenger heated/cooled seats, dual auto a/c, leather tilt/telescopic steering column and shifter, height-adjustable power lift gate and a 9-speaker JBL audio system.  

To repeat, it’s great to have the Venza make a comeback. Plentiful passenger/cargo room should entice interested folks to sign on the dotted line for this appealing SUV. Besides, who doesn’t want a gas sipper for a ride? (we earned up to 41.2 mpg).



2022 GENESIS G70Zero to 60 mph is possible in just 4.4 seconds. Top speed is set at 130 mph. Sure, these aren’t earth-shattering figures but hey, still quite extraordinary for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E53 Cabriolet! The responsibility lies under the hood with the 3.0-liter turbo engine that integrates an EQ starter-generator (located between engine and transmission), specially hand built by the AMG division in Affalterbach, Germany.

Step on the throttle of all-wheel-drive luxury convertible and the inline-6 engine blasts off 429 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 384 pounds-feet of torque at 5800 rpm. Mated to a slick and effective 9-speed automatic gearbox, the E53 is equipped with an electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering, which is razor sharp. Suspension is handled competently by an independent multi-link system. Both ends have gas shocks and coil springs to improve ride quality and comfort. Bringing the speed demon to a halt are 14.5-inch front and 14.2-inch rear caliper discs. To vary the driving experience, Mercedes comes in individual, comfort, sport, and sports+ modes. The soft power top opens or closes in 20 seconds. In fact, you can operate the top at up to a 31-mile speed.

Walk up to the E53 and the first element that will grab your attention is the AMG badge embossed in the arrow-shaped ‘twin-blade’ grille with the familiar three-pointed star, flanked by wraparound LED headlamps and daytime running lights. The cabin is lavish and elegant as is expected of any AMG-equipped Benz with dual auto a/c, 40/20/40 rear seat, Burmester sound system, panoramic sunroof, steering wheel-mounted shifters, open/close power trunk, and heated/cooled seats. The dash, doors and center console are covered in rich Nappa leather upholstery. A touchpad controls the audio, navigation and phone infotainment on the massive 12.3-inch display screen. AMG enthusiasts will quickly notice the emblem imprinted on the seatbacks. All the materials and craftsmanship are top-notch.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program, pre-safe (partial braking in an emergency), rearview camera, keyless go/start, active brake assist, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. Numerous packages are offered and we recommend going with driver assistance offer ($1,700), which will fetch you active distance, steering, lane-keep brake and blind spot assists, among others.

Base-priced at $84,350 and topping at $97,190 with options, the performance- and luxury-oriented E53 is indeed a speed demon. And if you have the cash, we can only encourage you to be a little grandiose. Besides, who says boasting is a no-no?



LEXUS NX 300h (AWD)With the soaring snow-capped Cascade Mountain, incredible picturesque backcountry and whitewater area, pristine wild lands and gleaming alpine lakes, Bend, Ore., and surrounding areas was the perfect setting for Subaru to introduce the 2022 Forester Wilderness.

Thanks to mechanical, design and practical improvements, the small SUV can navigate and dodge even the toughest of terrain, especially off-road. Ground clearance is 9.2 feet, up by ½ an inch over its predecessor. Modified transmission gear ratios and final drive can only boost the handling, balance and response. Partial credit, of course, goes to the standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and X-Mode with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud options.

The Forester Wilderness is equipped with a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder engine putting out 182 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 176 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. The continuous variable transmission with 8-speed manual-shift capabilities contributes to a compelling performance while ensuring gas savings. Tow capacity doubles to 3,000 pounds while the revised fixed roof ladder-type rack touts a dynamic load capacity of 220 pounds (vs. previous 176) and parked capacity at 800 (up by 100) pounds.

Oval-shaped LED headlights flank a bold hexagonal grille with new front bumper and front skid plate, bigger wheel arch cladding. Also noticeable are hexagonal-designed fog lamps and anti-glare hood decal in black-matte finish along with Wilderness emblems on front fenders and rear gate. Step into the roomy cabin and you can’t miss the Wilderness logo on the front headrests. Body copper-colored contrast stitching matches anodized copper-finish accents on shifter, gauge meter rings and the leather steering wheel. A twin cockpit with electroluminescent analog gauge displays for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature give the cabin a rich feel. An 8-inch touch screen to control navigation, audio and phone along with circular control knobs is easy to use. Cargo capacity is 26.9 with seats up and 69.1 cubic feet with seats down. Other comforts are auto a/c, brushed aluminum pedals, headliner in black finish, 60/40 fold rear seat, rear-seat a/c outlets, overhead sunglass holder and power moon roof.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, stability and traction system, rearview camera, blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights come at no extra cost. The standard Eyesight assist monitor, which features lane departure warning and active cruise control, ensures that the driver maintains a straight path while the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system sounds a warning if its camera and facial recognition software finds tiredness signs or driver diversion.

Available in six trims and base-priced at $32,820, the Forester Wilderness trim will be a huge attraction with off-road enthusiasts. Simultaneously, it will serve to cruise the highway or for daily driving. Plus, the nicely done and roomy cabin and numerous safety features makes the compact SUV an appealing overall ride.



2021 TOYOTA SUPRAIt is inarguably, in our eyes, the best minivan on the road. And with the addition of a standard hybrid version across all trims, the 2021 Sienna is an even more appealing option for families with the little ones.

The 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder gas engine puts out 189 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 176 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. Two electric motors boast hp up to 245 hp. A 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the electronically controlled continuous variable transmission-equipped sedan boasts a regenerative braking system. When the minivan is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motors functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the battery pack.

An independent MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension does a particularly good job of soaks bumps and potholes with skill and sure-footedness in this front-wheel or all-wheel-drive ride. Also, the steering power steering system makes it a breeze to handle the minivan at higher speeds or while pulling into a parking lot.

The Sienna operates in three modes: EV, which is electric at lower speeds of up to 25 mph; eco, an efficient mode where the driver can control the throttle opening; normal; and sport for some feisty driving.

Step inside and the four-zone climate control guarantees that all seven passengers stay cool in summer. So do the second- and third-row sun shades. The second-row captain’s chairs (think Ottomans!) with super-long slide of 25 inches fore/aft for easy ingress and egress to the third row, which can be stowed into the floor. Well-placed bins and cubbies abound in the Sienna, which offers a huge front center console, and 18 cup holders! A 9-inch touch display with easily reachable infotainment controls towers over the rest of the dashboard and console. The wood treatment for the cabin is an excellent touch. Standard goodies include dual power-sliding doors, 7-inch multi-information display with rearview camera, eight-way driver and four-way front-passenger power cooled/heated seats, power tilt/telescopic steering column and moon roof, and a conversation mirror.

Dual front airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction controls, blind spot and rear-cross traffic alerts, smart-stop technology, front/rear parking assists, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system come at no cost. The standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure alert with steer assist, road sign and lane trace assists, and dynamic cruise control.

Kudos to Toyota engineers and designers for overhauling the entire Sienna lineup. Adding hybrid as a standard option enhances the fuel-sipping capabilities of this now stylish and bold-appearing minivan with its genuine passenger- and cargo-hauling practicality.



2021 VW ARTEONThe 2021 Kia Sorento is offered in a wide range of trims and power trains, including hybrid. Our test of this fourth-gen SUV was the all-new and punchy X-Line AWD trim. It’s bigger in wheelbase by 1.4 inches and height by 1 inch. Also, overall cargo volume is up by 2.5 cubic feet from its predecessor.

Under the hood sits a 2.5-liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine putting out 281 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 311 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm. Seating six (seven is also offered in other trims), the midsize SUV is mated to a solid 8-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. Eco, smart, comfort, sport and snow drive modes are offered. Tow capacity is acceptable at 3,500 pounds.

The front shows off a dark hyper silver radiator “tiger nose” grille mesh flanked by LED headlights and daytime running lights. The bumper delivers a rough appearance thanks to molded-in skid plates. But it is the classy interior in the steel unibody SUV, packed with abundant creature/tech goodies, that wins hands down. The massive 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sports an analog speedometer and tachometer with fuel and engine temp readings. Space is plenty with a one-touch, slide-and-fold second-row Captain’s chairs and a 50/50 third-row seat. All in all, you get 75.5 cubic feet of space with both seats down. Other conveniences are 10-way power heated/cooled front seats,dual auto a/c, push-button start, satin-chrome door handles, robust leather shifter and tilt/telescopic steering column, 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, panoramic sun roof, power lift gate and nice-looking wood on doors and dashboard.

Dual front and side airbags, driver knee airbag, side curtain airbag for both rows, electronic stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, front active headrests, side impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, forward, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assists, smart cruise control, lane keep and follow assists, surround view monitor, rearview camera, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

Our hats go to Kia for installing the 2.5 turbo engine into the well-rounded Sorento lineup. By no means is the new power train insufficient to haul the nearly 4,000-pound SUV. This eminently practical package is a smart pick for the SUV buyer who at times likes to venture off the beaten path.


homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontent newseditor's notehealth
immigrationfinanceMINDBODY/NUTRITIONmoviesfashionbooks/getawaysIIFA 2014ART
astrologyyouthmotoringplaces of worshipclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK