2023 Genesis GV60 Review: Sprightly and Stately

The GV60’s look is youthful without being too over-the-top.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Hyundai Motor Group managed to strike gold three times in a row. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 are both brilliant midsize electric crossovers with unique styling and fun driving dynamics. Surely Korea can’t develop a third car on the same platform that stands out enough to warrant attention, right? Wrong. The 2023 Genesis GV60 is that third car, and it rocks.


  • Killer aesthetics inside and out

  • Drives wonderfully

  • Better-than-expected efficiency

Don’t like

  • Touchy brakes

  • Tires get overwhelmed easily

  • Small car, big price tag

The GV60 immediately pulls me in thanks to its styling. Smooth lines are the name of the game here, a contrast to its sharply angled siblings. My tester is clad in a $575 coat of white paint, which does make it look like an egg, but a cool egg. Genesis’ giant-ass maw is lower on the front fascia than on its gas cars, but it’s still there, and the dual-layer headlights and taillights also help keep the GV60’s looks within the family. There are a few crazy angles, but they’re used in limited amounts; the zag in the C-pillar looks pretty slick, and my tester’s 21-inch alloy wheels are among my favorites in the industry.

The GV60’s interior is even funkier. The Ioniq 5’s trick sliding center console may not be here, but you know what is? A metric boatload of blue Nappa leather and neon-green contrast stitching and piping. Most touch points are soft, or knurled, or otherwise visually interesting. The GV60 isn’t a car that takes itself too seriously, and I like that. And better yet, this stuff is all standard on the Performance trim, not an options package in sight.

There are some really neat elements inside the GV60, like the shift dial that flips over when the car is shut off, giving you an orb to ponder. The door handles are circular, but unlike a Mini’s, they’re ergonomic. The steering wheel has an enticing bright green “BOOST” button on it (more on that later). The rear seat cup holders are integrated cleanly into the doors’ armrests. The whole thing feels very well thought out.

Genesis and its parent company have long had one of the best in-car tech setups in the automotive industry, and the jump to electrification didn’t change that one bit. The GV60 comes standard with a pair of 12.3-inch screens. The left display is the digital gauge cluster, offering glances at pertinent information related to the car and its various safety systems. There’s a widget on the right side that lets me look at a few different things, whether it’s a map or vehicle info or whatever’s playing on the radio.

If you don’t like the way the menu is laid out from the factory, you can rearrange all these tiles so that your most used content is right in front of your face.

Andrew Krok/CNET

The right screen runs the latest iteration of Genesis’ infotainment system, which is a fancily reskinned version of what Hyundai and Kia offer. It’s responsive, intuitive, and I like that there’s a dial on the center console, in case you don’t want to gunk up the display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but it’s not wireless, although wireless device charging is standard on both trims, as are four USB-C ports split between both rows.

I saved the coolest bit of tech for last, though. When setting up a driver profile through the infotainment touchscreen, I have the option to include biometric information. A fingerprint reader inside and facial-recognition camera outside combine to provide a two-step authentication that allows the owner to operate the GV60 without a key or phone. It’s easy to use, it’s secure — in that the data never leaves the vehicle and cannot be accessed by anyone, even Genesis — and it frees up space in my pocket.

Whether or not a key is involved, the 2023 Genesis GV60 is a delight to drive. The GV60 is offered in two trims, both of which include two-motor all-wheel drive and a 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack. My tester is the sprightlier Performance trim, which puts out 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, numbers that generate some exciting action in a midsize crossover. Remember that green “BOOST” button on the steering wheel? Smash it, and the wick gets turned up to 483 horsepower for 10 seconds. Electric torque’s instantaneous delivery is fun in every car, but man, the GV60 really gets going in a hurry.

The GV60’s ride quality could benefit from some slightly thicker tire sidewalls, but it’s still quite plush overall.

Andrew Krok/CNET

The GV60 Performance is a hoot to throw around on back roads, thanks in part to trim-specific upgrades like a mechanical limited-slip differential and an electronically controlled suspension. Spin the steering wheel’s drive mode dial to Sport and the vehicle stiffens up while the throttle adds sensitivity. Body roll is negligible, only really showing up at the ragged edges of grip. Leave the GV60 in the default Comfort mode, and it’s still fun to chuck about, but the suspension adds some give (a necessity in Michigan) and the right pedal takes a much-needed chill pill. I prefer the GV60 in its more sedate settings, where you can really max out the luxury vibe, something Genesis has been nailing for years now.

It’s not all roses and daisies, though. The brake pedal is extremely touchy at all times, no matter if regeneration is at its strongest or weakest, so I advise keeping it in one-pedal-driving mode (which, annoyingly, I have to enable every time I get in the car). For a car with “performance” in its name, the tires are seriously lacking; I understand low rolling resistance improves range, but the Michelin Primacy Tour all-season tires roast themselves under moderate acceleration and spirited driving on curvy backroads. Slap some proper summer tires on the GV60, and while range may take a hit, it should feel much better to drive.

Then again, range is kind of important here, as the GV60’s battery isn’t exactly winning any trophies. The GV60 Performance is rated at 235 miles, which is only a little worse than the 248-mile range on the base Advanced trim. The EPA claims the Performance model’s economy is around 2.71 miles per kilowatt-hour, a figure I’m able to beat without trying too hard. Over a couple hundred miles, I’m seeing between 2.9 and 3.1 miles per kilowatt-hour.

When charging the GV60, the pondering orb will not flip over to display the gear selector, preventing owners from driving off with the charging cable attached.

Andrew Krok/CNET

When it comes time to charge, the GV60 uses an 800-volt architecture, which allows it to utilize more power at high-speed chargers than most other EVs. Granted, it’s still limited to about 225 kW, so I never get the full 350 kW advertised at the fastest charging stations, but 225 is more than enough. Going from 10% state of charge to 80% in just 18 minutes isn’t bad at all, but if you’re one of those owners with an open 240-volt outlet, letting the GV60 charge overnight should provide all the juice you’ll ever need. Also, neat fact: If you hop back into the car while it’s charging and power it on, the orb won’t flip over to show the rotary gear dial. A little idiot-proofing never hurts.

The Genesis GV60’s higher price tag shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve seen the mass-market EV6 and Ioniq 5, both of which can be kitted into the mid-$50,000 range. The GV60 picks up a little past that point, starting at $59,985, including $1,095 for destination. My tester’s Performance trim is a fair bit above that; including the sole available option ($595 for fancier white paint), this thing rings in at $69,560. That’s about as much as you’d spend on a fully loaded Polestar 2 or Tesla Model Y. Those two may feature more power, but neither feels as luxurious as the Genesis.

Genesis really found a good niche with its unique take on luxury. Its cars are interesting throughout, with more than enough capability for the average owner, and a lack of confusing packaging makes ordering a much simpler affair. It’s hard not to recommend any Genesis, and the 2023 GV60 is definitely an impressive step as the automaker pushes to electrify its lineup over the next three years.

2022 Mercedes-Benz S500 Review: 6-Cylinder Serenity

What a beautiful beast.

Daniel Golson/CNET

Luxury automakers are all about more is more, stuffing flagship vehicles with big power, high-end tech features and plenty of gimmicky options. The is no different, with the latest generation being the most extravagant and advanced yet. But I’ll let you in on a secret: The base S500 is where it’s at.


  • Fantastic in-line six engine

  • Supreme comfort

  • Great tech features

Don’t like

  • Misses out on a couple of cool features

The S500 shares its turbocharged, mild-hybrid 3.0-liter in-line six with a number of other Mercedes products. In the S500 it puts out 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, with the 48-volt integrated starter/generator system adding an extra boost of 21 hp and 184 lb.-ft. That’s 67 hp and 132 lb.-ft. less than the V8-powered S580, but the S500 feels plenty quick, hitting 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (only 0.4-second slower than the S580). The in-line six is ultra smooth and sounds great, and the nine-speed automatic is smooth. The S500 is efficient, too; I have no trouble matching the EPA’s 30-mpg highway rating and I’m doing a few mpg better than the 21-mpg city figure. Like the S580, Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard.

The 4,600-plus-pound S500 has precise, satisfying steering and surefooted handling characteristics, though there’s a good amount of body roll as well. (Luxurious body roll.) An air suspension with adaptive dampers is standard, and it provides a superb ride despite this S500’s 21-inch wheels (a $1,950 option) that wear Pirelli P Zero summer tires. You can get Mercedes’ road-scanning E-Active Body Control system for $6,500, and while it’s mega impressive, it’s honestly not necessary. My test car is fitted with 4.5-degree rear-wheel steering, a $1,300 option that’s hugely helpful for maneuvering this 17-foot-long sedan around the city. Sadly, the S500 isn’t available with the even crazier 10-degree setup that’s offered on the S580 and EQS, but the 4.5-degree steering is still a boon.

More luxury cars should be green.

Daniel Golson/CNET

The only styling differences between the S500 and S580 are the badges. This S500’s combination of the $4,300 AMG Line styling package, Emerald Green metallic paint and silver multispoke wheels is fantastic, and I appreciate that it’s got all of the standard chrome trim instead of the gloss black parts that the $400 Night package would bring. This S500 isn’t a huge design revolution compared to the old S-Class, or the electric EQS, but even with the AMG Line’s larger intakes, this sedan is beautiful and classy. The pop-out door handles and intricate LED taillights are my favorite design touches.

My S500 has lovely Sienna Brown Nappa leather with diamond-patterned stitching on the seats and door panels, a $2,290 option that looks excellent paired with the $1,300 Flowing Lines piano-black trim. The S-Class is bank-vault quiet as well, thanks to double-pane glass and lots of sound deadening. Its tech-forward interior is off-putting for some, but I’m a big fan. Sure, the touchscreen and shiny surfaces will get covered in fingerprints, but just keep a cleaning cloth in the glovebox. Most metal touchpoints in the S-Class have knurled finishes, like the seat controls and steering wheel stalks, and nothing feels cheap. Mercedes’ animated multicolor ambient lighting remains the most impressive in the biz, too, especially in the super colorful nightclub-like modes.

I love the S-Class’ tech-filled cabin.

Daniel Golson/CNET

The standard Burmester 3D surround-sound system in my test car is fantastic, but the S500 is available with Mercedes’ $6,730 30-speaker Burmester 4D setup that includes subwoofers integrated into the seats. Another must-have option in my eyes — literally — is the $3,000 3D Technology Package that gives you facial recognition tech, a cool 3D gauge cluster and an incredible augmented-reality head-up display, which is one of my favorite pieces of tech available in any car today. It makes Mercedes’ MBUX navigation system even better, and it has mind-blowing graphics for the driver-assist functions like projecting illuminated underlines for cars in your line of sight.

There is one aspect of the S500 that can seriously fall short of the S580, and that’s the backseat. Rear-seat passengers do have tons of head- and legroom and powered sunshades, and an optional $3,800 Warmth & Comfort package adds heating and ventilation to the rear seats. But exclusive to the S580 is the Executive Line trim level, which gives backseat riders an almost Maybach-like experience. That package adds four-zone climate control, reclining and massaging rear seats with a powered footrest for the right seat, a tablet in the fold-down center armrest, more ambient lighting, a wireless charging pad and additional airbags.

Including a $1,050 destination charge, the S500 starts at $111,100, and my well spec’d example comes in at $127,330. The S580 is just $7,650 more than an S500 to start, but a fully loaded version easily crests $150,000. Unless you desperately want a V8 engine or would be regularly chauffeuring fancy people around in your S-Class (or being chauffeured yourself), save your money and buy the lovely S500 instead.

2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed Review: Excessive, Unnecessary Excellence

The fanciest lizard in the desert.

Ben Davis/CNET

There’s something eerie yet serene about driving through Joshua Tree National Park in the desert a few hours east of Los Angeles. It’s vast and quiet, and apart from the occasional work truck or tourist-driven crossover, the stunning roads are typically empty and provide some of the best views in the country. It’s a mix of mountains and valleys, sand and weird greenery, all with a layer of heat shimmer added on top. As I quietly cruise past rows of beautiful cacti with my friends in the car and the windows down, it’s easy to forget that I’m in a $346,260
with 650 horsepower.


  • Everything

  • No seriously, everything

  • This car is incredible

Don’t like

To simply evaluate the 2022 Continental GT Speed, I could’ve just stuck to its natural habitat of swanky Beverly Hills just a few miles from my apartment — but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun. This car which lays claim to being Bentley’s fastest and more luxurious car ever, at least until the Speed-based Mulliner W12 comes out, and it deserves to be taken seriously. Beyond just the scenery being incredible, the desert roads around Joshua Tree are spectacular, too, perfectly smooth with a mix of meandering sweepers, long straights and tight corners. My weekend trip turns out to be the perfect adventure with the Speed, which — surprise, surprise — is phenomenal.

The Speed’s twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine has been boosted by 24 hp compared to the normal W12-powered Continental, while torque remains the same at 664 pound-feet. Not too shabby. Bentley also gave the Speed’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission quicker shifts, the engine and transmission have new calibration for a broader powerband, and the exhaust system is louder on startup and more characterful when downshifting.

The desert is spooky at night.

Maxx Shostak/CNET

The Continental shares its launch-control system with
, which is one of the easiest to use and one of the most intense to experience. Hold the brake with your left foot and stomp the gas with your right foot, and the Speed revs to 5,500 rpm. Press your head and body against the seat — you don’t want to get whiplash — release the brake, and the car leaps forward with ferocity. There’s barely a chirp from the tires as the Bentley reaches 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds, and it will do it over and over and over. Absurd acceleration is available in every gear and at any speed, just tap the throttle and suddenly you’re the king of the passing lane. Speed is an apt descriptor for this car, especially as it’ll hit a v-max of 208 mph, but its actual sense of speed is a bit off. The Continental is so cosseting and easy to drive fast that I’m constantly checking my speedometer to make sure I’m not deep in triple digits.

The Speed moniker describes far more than just straight-line performance. Despite weighing more than 5,000 pounds, this Continental absolutely hustles through corners thanks to a number of Speed-specific upgrades. New for the Speed are an electronic limited-slip differential, rear-wheel steering that turns the back wheels up to 4 degrees and a tweaked all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 93% of torque to just the rear wheels. The Speed also comes standard with Bentley’s three-chamber air suspension, adaptive dampers and 48-volt active anti-roll system. The suspension has a max ride height mode that’s equally as good for getting into steep driveways as it is for navigating remote dirt roads when you take a couple wrong turns. Ask me how I know.

The Continental GT Speed pulls like a freight train.

Matthew Groner/CNET

Further helping the Speed disguise its weight are available 22-inch wheels wearing Pirelli P Zero summer tires, sized 275/35 up front and 315/30 in back. My test car also has the optional carbon-ceramic brake setup, which are the largest brakes on sale. The 17.3-inch front discs are clamped by 10-piston calipers, while the rear discs measure 16.1 inches and have four-piston calipers. Bentley says the ceramics save 73 pounds compared with the standard brakes, and there’s none of the squeaking normally associated with carbon-ceramic brakes on road cars, but the brakes can be a bit hard to modulate smoothly.

All of this adds up to create a truly astonishing performer. The Speed’s steering is light and sharper than a normal Continental’s, there’s virtually no body roll or dive under braking and those huge tires provide seemingly endless grip. Linking tight, complex corners together is effortless, and the Speed never loses its composure. That doesn’t mean this big coupe can’t be playful, though. In Sport mode the Speed’s retuned stability control allows for increased amounts of slip, and you can turn it all the way off if you dare. It’s easy to achieve controlled slides in the Speed, and this big coupe is seriously satisfying to throw into a corner.

Normally I go with pink ambient lighting, but…

Ryan Greger/CNET

Only the true Bentley heads out there will notice the Speed’s styling differences compared to a normal , and my car’s spec is about as subtle as a Bentley can get. The Speed has turbine-like wheel designs, darker grille finishes, new side skirts and some Speed badges — and that’s it. My test car adds on a $12,245 carbon-fiber styling package with additional splitter and diffuser elements, but with the blacked-out trim and deep Midnight Emerald paint, this Speed flies under the radar. Personally, I’d go for a bright purple color with chrome grille mesh, a red interior and knurled aluminum trim, but I like to stand out.

At least this Continental has an interesting matching interior. The Speed is offered with a multitude of three-tone color schemes that mix diamond-quilted leather and luxe Alcantara, and this one has Cumbrian green and Portland grey upholstery accented by cream stripes and trim. The standard piano black dashboard finish is pretty tame, but there’s more than enough brightwork and ambient lighting to keep the cabin interesting. The Continental’s highly adjustable seats have massage functions and are supremely comfortable, and the back seat is spacious enough that my friends didn’t complain a single time. That air suspension soaks up any road imperfections, and the only audible perturbances that reach the cabin is a bit of noise from the tires. It’s an experience worthy of the pricetag, apart from the Porsche-derived infotainment tech that’s now a couple generations old.

By the time my weekend in the desert is over and I’ve luxuriously wafted back to LA, the Speed has averaged 18 mpg over nearly 600 miles, 3 mpg better than the EPA’s combined figure — and that includes many full-throttle launches and, ahem, speed. It’ll easily beat the 20-mpg highway estimate, too, thanks to a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down half the engine. Sure, the Continental’s huge tank and California’s always absurd gas prices lead to big winces from my face and my wallet every time I fill up, but it’s still much more efficient and useable as a road-trip car than I expected.

The ingredients to a perfect weekend.

Matthew Groner/CNET

There are a couple things that throw a bit of a wrench in the Speed’s appeal: Namely, other Continental GT models. The new Continental GT S comes with the Speed’s wonderful suspension setup (though it misses out on the Speed’s other performance bits), and its 542-hp twin-turbo V8 engine is more satisfying to wring out and sounds even better than the Speed’s W12. Even a base V8 Continental is nearly as good to drive as this Speed, and it costs almost $100K less than the Speed’s $280,225 starting price. No one is really corner carving in a Continental GT anyway even though it’s fun as hell to do so, and the Speed’s straight-line performance is only half a second quicker than the V8’s, which is not enough to be that noticeable.

But at the end of the day, I still really want the Speed. It’s a lesson in making excess work even when it’s unnecessary. The Speed-specific chassis upgrades really do make a difference — its performance is mind-boggling no matter what type of driving you’re doing, yet the Speed is equally good at being calm and comfortable around town or on a long drive. I can’t think of another high-end car on sale that has the same breadth of ability, apart from Bentley’s own sedan. When you’re playing in the realm of $200,000 cars, people want the best of the best, and the Bentley Continental GT Speed is just that.

My biggest takeaway from this Joshua Tree getaway is that superluxury grand touring cars like the Bentley Continental GT Speed are some of the most compelling candidates for going fully electric. As much as I would miss the W12’s drama and engineering, a similarly powerful EV powertrain would improve the Bentley’s driving experience in basically every way. Noise aside, the W12’s power delivery is so smooth and effortless that it already feels akin to an EV, and going electric would make the Continental even quieter and comfier. Bentley’s first production EV will be out by the end of the decade, and I say bring it on.

This Green 2022 Bentley Continental GT Speed Is Queen of the Desert

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(If you enjoyed the wonderful photos in this story, please check out my friends Ben, Matt, Maxx, Nathan and Ryan.)

2022 Nissan Rogue Review: Little Engine Makes a Big Difference

The two-tone orange/black paint job is a $745 option.

Steven Ewing/CNET

The gets a major improvement this year, but it’s not something you’ll notice right away. Peep under the hood and you’ll find a brand-new 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 engine — a small but mighty powerplant that gives
best-selling SUV a nice bump in power while also returning better fuel economy.


  • Excellent turbo engine

  • Solid fuel economy

  • Comfortable interior

  • Good list of standard driving aids

Don’t like

  • No hybrid or plug-in option

  • Outdated infotainment tech

This new triple uses the same variable compression technology as Nissan’s larger 2.0-liter turbo I4, an engine that’s optional in the sedan and standard in the and QX55 crossovers. Basically, varying the compression ratio allows the 1.5T to deliver more power at low revs and operate more efficiently while cruising. It’s a trick bit of win-win tech.

The specs back up these merits: The 1.5-liter I3 is rated at 201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque, increases of 20 hp and 44 lb-ft over the 2021 Rogue’s 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I4. Meanwhile, fuel economy sees a 3-mpg improvement on the combined cycle, with a base, front-wheel-drive Rogue estimated to return 30 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. A loaded, all-wheel-drive Platinum model like my tester drops those figures to 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined, but that’s still better than top-spec versions of the and .

Nissan reworked the Rogue’s continuously variable transmission to complement the turbo engine, and while the changes aren’t radical, the CVT is both smoother and quieter than before. The Rogue has steering wheel-mounted paddles so you can fake shift through your fake gears if you feel like it, but leave the transmission alone and it’ll do its thing without any fuss. (Those paddles are best left untouched.)

The 2022 Rogue isn’t what I’d call quick, but it certainly accelerates with more authority than the 2021 model. In fact, the throttle might be a little too sensitive, delivering a quick jolt of power while pulling away from stops before mellowing out. Midrange thrust is acceptable — certainly better than the old 2.5-liter engine, at any rate. But the best thing about the 1.5T is that it doesn’t have the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo’s weird power peaks and valleys; the torque delivery is nice and linear aside from that initial jump. Plus, unlike other small-displacement I3s, the Rogue’s engine isn’t prone to harsh noises or unwanted vibrations, both at speed and while idling.

Around town, the Rogue is pleasant to drive. The suspension strikes a nice balance of city comfort without freeway floatiness, and the steering is appropriately tuned — nicely weighted but lacking feedback, not that 99.9% of Rogue buyers will actually care. Instead, these customers will appreciate the Rogue’s long list of standard driver-assistance tech, including forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and more. All Rogues except the base S come with Nissan’s excellent ProPilot Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control with active lane-keeping tech.

Three mighty cylinders.

Steven Ewing/CNET

The Rogue’s multimedia setup is unchanged, meaning there’s a standard 8-inch touchscreen running Nissan’s sorta-outdated infotainment suite, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in. A larger 9-inch screen is optional on SL and standard on Platinum trims, though the software within isn’t any better. CarPlay does connect wirelessly with the 9-inch screen, however, and the Platinum has a spiffy 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, plus an optional head-up display.

Obviously my Platinum test car has all the bells and whistles, like quilted leather upholstery wrapping Nissan’s comfy-cushy Zero Gravity seats, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats and a heated steering wheel. But the Rogue’s interior is super nice overall. I love how the rear doors open a full 90 degrees, which is super helpful for people, but also great when I want to put bulky items on the back bench. The relatively boxy shape helps with overall cargo capacity, too, though the Rogue’s 74.1-cubic-foot measurement splits the difference between the smaller RAV4 and larger CR-V.

The interior is nicely appointed and quite spacious.

Steven Ewing/CNET

All 2022 Rogue models are slightly more expensive than before, with a base model coming in at $28,445 (including $1,295 for destination). All-wheel drive is a $1,500 upcharge on all trim levels, and a top-of-the-line Platinum AWD like the one pictured here starts at $39,725. Add $745 for the fetching two-tone orange and black paint job, plus $400 for the head-up display and the Rogue tops out at $40,870. Midgrade SV and SL trims are available in the low-to-mid-$30,000 range, so those will be the ones you’ll see most often.

The third-generation Nissan Rogue is a pretty straightforward SUV. It’s not the best looking, most luxurious or most fun-to-drive crossover in the compact class, and unlike many competitors, there are no hybrid or plug-in hybrid options available. Even so, the Rogue is a solid all-around product that doesn’t really do anything poorly. That’ll likely keep it Nissan’s top-selling product, and the new turbo engine only enhances this SUV’s appeal.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid Review: Grow Up, Glow Up

I especially dig the Sportage’s new boomerang-shaped LED light signature.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The latest iteration of the  gets a major glow-up. Kia has been aggressively pushing the design of its vehicles to the point that this muscular 2023 Sportage Hybrid SX Prestige looks of a completely different lineage to the cute, small SUV it replaces. (Heck, it’s barely recognizable as a
.) And behind that wild styling is a sweet new hybrid powertrain, vastly improved cabin tech and the automaker’s latest driver-assistance technology.


  • Head-turning, spacious design

  • Smooth and efficient new hybrid system

  • Excellent mix of standard and optional safety tech

Don’t like

  • Upgraded tech loses wireless CarPlay, Android Auto

  • All-wheel drive efficiency penalty

  • Potentially better plug-in model is right around the corner

Head-turning new look

The new Sportage is larger than before at 183.5 inches from bumper to bumper — 7.1 inches longer than the outgoing model — and has an extra 3.4 inches between its axles, bringing the new wheelbase to 108.5 inches. Sharply creased shoulders, more muscular flanks and horizontal grille and rear bumper elements create the illusion of a much broader stance, despite the 73.4-inch wide SUV only being 0.4 inches wider than its forebear. Overall, the new look is more mature with a good balance of proportions familiar to modern
in this class with thoughtful and challenging design details that turn heads wherever the Sportage goes.

The growth spurt makes room for a more spacious interior. The Sportage Hybrid now boasts more legroom than the , particularly on the second row where it’s gained a 3.5-inch advantage (41.3 inches versus the 37.8 inches). And even with the battery pack costing a bit of cargo capacity versus the non-hybrid model, the 39.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the Sportage Hybrid’s optional hands-free liftgate (73.7 cubes with the seats folded flat) is still very generous for this class, beating the RAV4 Hybrid’s 37.5 cubic feet.

Despite being called Shadow Matte Gray, this example’s optional $595 exterior finish is more satin than true matte and, frankly, more premium-looking for it. The top SX Prestige spec feels like it was designed with this finish in mind, complementing the paint with satin chrome accents on the grille and window surrounds and contrasting with glossy black trim around the body and wheel arches. And while the LX and EX trim levels come with machine-finish 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, respectively, the SX Prestige features practically color-matched matte gray 18s with 235/60 all-season tires.

1.6-liter turbocharged hybrid

The Sportage Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 mated to a 44-kilowatt electric motor and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery. Together, they make a total of 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque which is routed through a 6-speed automatic transmission to either the front wheels or an optional all-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential for light off-road use. This is essentially the same hybrid powertrain from the outstanding Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, but with one more pony, so if you don’t love the Kia’s look, maybe the
will tickle your fancy.

User-selectable drive modes (Normal, Eco and Sport) allow broad customization of the Sportage Hybrid’s responsiveness. Meanwhile, standard paddle shifters grant more precise control over the transmission’s behavior, but I almost never need them given the hybrid SUV’s comfort-tuned suspension favoring a more relaxed driving style.

Front-wheel drive is more efficient, but EX and SX Prestige models come standard with all-wheel drive.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The hybrid is the most powerful Sportage variant (for now), being substantially more potent than the 187-hp 2.5-liter engine in the non-hybrid. I’m impressed with the smooth acceleration and solid passing power. The 1.6-liter engine doesn’t deliver the most pleasant wide-open-throttle auditory experience, but it is a lot less drone-y than most CVT-equipped
and, during light cruising and city driving, the Sportage Hybrid is satisfyingly quiet.

It’s also fuel-efficient. The front-drive Sportage Hybrid averages 42 mpg in the city, 48 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined according to the EPA’s estimates. Adding all-wheel drive knocks the numbers for my example down to a tidy 38 mpg across the board. Over a 149-mile mix of performance testing and relaxed cruising, I averaged 35.5 mpg — not too far off the mark.

Wait for the PHEV?

Of course, if you’re as impressed with the Sportage Hybrid’s performance as I am, it may be worth waiting for the upcoming plug-in hybrid model expected to launch later this year. The PHEV swaps in a bigger 7.2-kWh battery pack that can be recharged at an outlet or charging station for up to 32 miles of electric range before reverting to gasoline hybrid operation, which should boost overall efficiency. It should also be a touch more powerful thanks to its 67-kW electric motor.

However, there are potential trade-offs to consider: Making room for more battery will cost the PHEV 1.8 inches of rear legroom and 2.1 cubic feet of cargo space — though, it’ll still finish ahead of the RAV4 by both metrics. There’s also the higher expected price and potentially more limited availability to consider. Still, if it’s anywhere near as good as the Hyundai Tucson PHEV — which it almost certainly will be with the same powertrain and tech — the Sportage PHEV will be worth the wait.

The hybrid is great, but I reckon the plug-in version coming later this year will be worth waiting for.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Dual-screen cabin tech

The Sportage’s cockpit is home to Kia’s now-familiar dual-display infotainment system that bonds two screens to a single curved glass panel stretching halfway across the dashboard. This is essentially the same infotainment setup we’ve seen previously in the Kia EV6, but with the EV-specific menus swapped out for hybrid screens.

The left display is home to the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and information display. The right is where you’ll find the latest generation of Kia’s UVO touchscreen infotainment. The base LX trim features an 8-inch touchscreen, while EX and SX Prestige step up to a 12.3-inch display with navigation. I’m a fan of this system’s logical and familiar menu system, the user-customizable ‘star’ shortcut buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard and its unique, weird features like the ability to record audio memos or listen to nature sounds on the go. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard for all models with wireless connectivity on the base LX spec’s 8-inch system, but not the big-screen EX or SX Prestige models. This is an odd omission that makes the wireless phone charger added at these trim levels feel slightly less useful, but not quite a deal breaker.

Inside, you’ll find improved tech, but also much nicer cabin materials like the SX Prestige’s perforated and quilted SynTex seats.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Standard Drivewise driving aids

Regardless of trim, all 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrids come standard with the automaker’s Drivewise driver aid suite. This rolls in lane-keeping assist, forward-collision avoidance with braking assist, blind-spot monitoring, auto-braking rear cross-traffic alert and rear park distance sensors. Other optional safety features that come online with the SX Prestige trim include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, Kia’s blind spot view cameras and surround-view parking cameras, as well as 360-degree parking distance sensors with collision avoidance brake assist. 

The SX Prestige also adds Kia’s Remote Smart Parking, a feature that allows the driver to move the Sportage straight forward or in reverse while standing curbside. For safety, the system uses the distance sensors to prevent collisions with obstructions or pedestrians and only operates when the driver is close to the vehicle. It’s nowhere near as complex as, say,
Summon promises, but it’s also extremely simple to operate. Just line the car up with a narrow parking spot, hop out and hold a button on the key fob to guide the Sportage home. As a person living with a garage that mostly goes unused because most cars won’t fit while still being able to open their doors, I’d use this feature every day given the chance.

At the upper trim levels, opting for the hybrid system is almost a no-brainer.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The one to get

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid starts at $28,585 (including $1,295 destination) for the base Hybrid LX, a $1,300 premium over the same non-hybrid spec. Add $1,800 if you want all-wheel drive, but only if you think you’ll really need it for your climate; the base Sportage Hybrid is potentially much more cost and fuel efficient without it. EX and SX Prestige models roll all-wheel drive into their respective $32,285 and $37,485 price tags, simplifying packaging somewhat and reducing the hybrid tax to as low as $900 for the top SX spec — choosing the hybrid is almost a no-brainer at this grade.

Including paint and carpeted floor mats, my example comes in at $38,235 as tested — over $4,000 less than RAV4 Hybrid Limited when comparably equipped. So not only is the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid one of the top picks in its class with excellent performance and outstanding design inside and out, it’s one of the best values, too.

2022 Maserati MC20 Review: Visceral Excitement

That’s a $4,500 paint job.

Tyler Clemmensen/CNET

While mainstream products like the new Grecale SUV will ultimately be
bread and butter, what’s an Italian carmaker without an exotic flagship? The MC20 is an incredible return to form for a storied brand left to languish. And if this sort of visceral experience is what Maserati is capable of when it gives 110%, then we have a lot to look forward to in the future.


  • Looks like a proper exotic

  • Perfectly balanced chassis

  • Potent twin-turbo V6 engine

Don’t like

  • So many options should be standard

  • Cramped interior

  • V6 sounds bad

Literally everything about this supercar is new. The single-piece carbon-fiber chassis comes from race car maker Dallara, and combined with lightweight body panels and a polycarbonate engine cover, the MC20 hits the road with a curb weight of just 3,306 pounds. Mounted amidships, Maserati’s new Nettuno 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 cranks out 621 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 538 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm, and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is perfectly in sync with this dynamite powerplant.

What’s amazing is how little turbo lag there is, especially considering the 3,000-rpm torque peak. The transmission isn’t janky when pulling away from a stop, either; the MC20 just rockets forward with authority, and it’ll hit 60 mph before you can say “three Mississippi.” If there’s a single complaint to register about the engine it’s that there’s no masking the unpleasant sound of a V6, though the loud exhaust and metallic pop-suck-woosh-bang noises directly behind your ears certainly make up for a lot.

Maserati’s new Nettuno V6 is a champ.

Tyler Clemmensen/CNET

Oh, props to Maserati for fitting the MC20 with paddle shifters you’ll actually want to use. Not only are they mounted to the steering column (the correct way), the tactile click they offer is super-satisfying. There’s absolutely no lag between the movement of your fingers and the subsequent gear change, and whether driving at slow speeds or fast, the paddles really do add to the overall experience.

No surprise, the MC20 is an absolute firecracker when driven hard. It almost seems to shrink around you, like you forget that this car is as long and wide as it is when you’re just getting into the groove of driving. The most impressive thing is how light this coupe feels at high speeds, almost like the chassis is hollow or like it’s going to lift off the ground. Never fear, there’s a ton of downforce keeping the MC20 glued to the road at all times, and the 245/35 front and 305/30 rear tires have oodles of grip. Those forged 20-inch wheels are a $5,500 option, by the way.

Speaking of options, if you want an electronic limited-slip differential, that’ll be $2,300, and honestly, this should just be standard. You absolutely want this rear-axle torque distribution to make the most of the MC20’s grip while cornering, especially since this helps rein in any oversteer. The steering itself is great — light and quick with lots of sensations running through your hands — and the optional carbon-ceramic brakes offer immense stopping power without noticeable front-end dive or skittishness.

Tyler Clemmensen/CNET

All of the MC20’s individual performance aspects are great, but it’s the way everything works together that makes this Maserati so special. You feel like you’re part of the car, part of the road, part of the environment. While some supercars can feel clinical to the point of sterility, the MC20 feels alive and emotional. It’s way more than a numbers car designed to look good at Cars & Coffee.

On the other hand, the MC20 in its default GT mode and the ride is actually amicable to “normal car” driving. Keeping the standard sport seats is definitely recommended if you’ll routinely be traveling long distances in the MC20, but I suppose the $7,000 one-piece carbon buckets will give you more cool guy cred while showing off. The dihedral doors will definitely elicit some youthful oohs and aahs, but be careful: The lower sill just behind the door sticks way out. What I’m saying is, don’t immediately turn around after you get out or you’ll slam your foot into that painfully pointy piece of trim. (You bruised me, MC20!)

Living with the MC20 is exactly what you’d expect. There’s basically no storage space inside the cabin and the overall passenger accommodations are pretty tight. The rear window looks super-cool with the Trident logo cutout, but visibility out the back is utterly hopeless, so I’m glad Maserati fits a digital rearview mirror as standard. There’s a $4,000 electronic front suspension lift that you will absolutely need to use all of the time, and the combined frunk and trunk space is kind of weak, but I don’t imagine grocery runs are a regular use case for an MC20.

Such a pretty car.

Tyler Clemmensen/CNET

Cabin tech includes a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster that is easy to read and packed with information, and there’s a 10.3-inch central touchscreen that runs the finicky Maserati Intelligent Assist software. The icons are small and tough to accurately hit, and responses to inputs are often laggy. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, thankfully. Just use those.

The MC20 costs $212,000 to start, but good luck keeping your out-the-door price anywhere close to that. This test car has three-layer Blu Infinito paint ($4,500), a carbon fiber engine cover ($5,000), a black roof ($4,000 — seriously), upgraded leather and Alcantara ($1,000), heated seats ($500), a premium audio system ($4,000) and carbon ceramic brakes ($10,000) with red calipers ($1,200). Plus a few other odds and ends, the as-tested price is $256,050.

But who cares? Every other mid-engine supercar is going to cost just as much, and even more practical sports cars like a Porsche 911 Turbo S start above $200,000. Nobody is buying a Maserati MC20 because it’s a smart value. This is a purchase made out of pure emotion, and that’s what the MC20 is all about.

2023 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: Pleasing Performer, Vexing Design

I had a blast tooling around in BMW’s new iX, but I’m not sure I’d want to settle down with it just yet.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The 2023 iX xDrive50 is one of two new electric vehicles BMW launched this year, alongside the i4 sedan. Of the pair, the iX xDrive50 is the bolder play: a completely new vehicle from the ground up, rather than a battery-powered version of an existing model. It also takes much larger risks. Many of those risks pay off in the form of excellent driving dynamics, comfort and range, but some of them don’t. The electric SUV is plagued by some strange and interesting design decisions, and I’m not just talking about its polarizing exterior.


  • Powerful and responsive electric motors

  • IRL range easily meets EPA estimates

  • Gorgeous interior design

Don’t like

  • It’s kind of weird looking

  • Steep tech learning curve

  • One of the priciest in this class

xDrive50 electric powertrain

The iX comes standard with all-wheel drive, pairing a 190-kilowatt electric motor on the front axle with a more powerful 230-kW rear unit. Combined output peaks at 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, enough oomph to silently launch the iX from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The surge of g forces under hard acceleration is impressive, but the benefits of instant, precise electric torque can also be felt when merging on the highway or just casually pulling away from a traffic light. It’s a well-rounded, confidence-inspiring powertrain.

The xDrive50 feels more than potent enough for driving on public roads, but if you need more power (or just have money burning a hole in your pocket),
 added the 610-hp iX M60 to the lineup for the 2023 model year. That’ll pull off the 0-to-60 sprint in just 3.6 seconds — not quick enough to wipe the smirk off of a Tesla Model X Plaid, but it’ll run neck-and-neck with a Model Y Performance or a Mustang Mach-E GT

The driver has two tools to customize the iX’s performance to their liking: My Modes and regenerative braking. The three My Modes — Personal, Sport and Efficient — primarily control accelerator responsiveness (and by extension, how much energy is used), but they also affect the steering and other vehicle systems. For example, when equipped with the optional Dynamic Handling package, Sport mode can lower the suspension by 0.4 inches for, well, more dynamic handling.

The selected My Mode also affects the optional Iconic Sounds generated by the iX’s speakers. Designed by German film score composer Hans Zimmer, this artificial powertrain noise fills the cabin as the EV accelerates, making use of Shepard tones — an illusion of overlapping sound that seems to infinitely rise in pitch — to create a sci-fi feeling of increasing speed. Sport mode sounds a bit deeper and louder than the other two settings. Alternatively, Iconic Sounds can be disabled altogether for those who prefer silent cruising.

There are four regenerative braking levels with the default being what BMW calls Adaptive Recuperation. This mode uses navigation data, battery level and the distance to the car ahead to determine how much regeneration to apply when lifting off the accelerator. This should net you the most efficient energy recapture but, in practice, it just makes deceleration feel inconsistent, difficult to predict and, at times, jerky. I prefer to choose one of the more consistent static regen modes: low, medium or high. Also, tapping the transmission from D to B mode with high regen enables one-pedal driving, where the iX can slow to a stop without touching the brake pedal — my favorite EV braking method overall.

Sport is the only customizable My Mode — neither Efficient nor, ironically, Personal can be personalized.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Range and charging

The iX is powered by a 111.5-kilowatt-hour battery, of which a net 105.2 kWh is usable. Interestingly, the EPA breaks out separate range estimates based on the size of the wheels equipped. The smallest 20-inch wheels earn the best 324-mile rating. Range drops to 305 miles with the 21-inch wheels, but oddly climbs again to 315 miles for the larger 22s. My best guess as to why is the 275/40R22 tire’s stiffer sidewall reduces rolling resistance just enough to make up for the additional rim mass.

Starting with an 80% charge, I cruised for 209 miles before stopping to recharging with 17% remaining. That’s about 10 miles better than I should have based on the EPA’s numbers — still within the margin of error, but even more impressive given my testing including a good chunk of Sport mode driving up twisty mountain roads. Not too bad.

This is about as open as the iX’s hood gets unless you’re a BMW service technician.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

When it comes time to recharge, the iX pulls up to 195 kW at an appropriately powerful DC fast-charging station. That’s not as fast as a 250-kW Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the 270-kW Porsche Taycan, but it’s quick enough to add 90 miles of range with just a 10-minute session, or to go from a 10% to 80% state of charge in 40 minutes. BMW partnered with EVgo, providing buyers and lessees $100 of charging credit at its stations. 

The most cost effective place to charge is at home during off-peak evening hours. On a Level 2 plug, the iX can pull 11 kW, meaning it will charge from flat to full in around 11 hours.

Ride and handling

Extensive use of lightweight materials — like the aluminum and carbon-fiber composite chassis (which are visible when you open the doors or rear hatch) and aluminum suspension components — help keep weight down. Still, the iX is a very heavy machine, tipping the scales at 5,769 pounds as optioned here. Fortunately, much of the weight is beneath the floor in the battery pack. This low center of mass helps the iX stay nice and flat around corners, which means BMW’s engineers could tune the double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension to be a bit softer for comfort. The SUV soaks up bumps well even on the optional 22s, and this is likely thanks to BMW’s lift-related dampers — hydraulic shock absorbers that progressively vary their damping force as the wheels travel up and down.

This example is equipped with the optional Dynamic Handling package, which adds an auto-leveling air suspension good for preventing sag when towing a braked trailer up to 5,500 pounds — though who knows what havoc that will wreak on your range. As mentioned before, the air suspension automatically lowers to improve stability at high speeds and in sport mode and can be manually raised for 0.8 inches of additional ground clearance at very low speeds. Additionally, this package adds rear-wheel steering that both helps with low-speed agility and highway stability.

The seats could use more lateral support, but the heated and ventilated buckets are quite comfortable for long hauls and commutes.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Polarizing design

I’m willing to concede that the eye of another beholder may find beauty somewhere in the iX’s tall wagon proportions, but I don’t find the design very cohesive. For example, the severe L-shaped trim on the front bumper doesn’t seem to line up with any other element of the fascia and feels tacked on in a way that annoys me even more than BMW’s new corporate grille. Most days, I simply don’t enjoy looking at the iX, but sometimes I catch an odd angle and it’s not so bad. (Some of my colleagues have more positive opinions about BMW’s styling.)

I do like that the buck-toothed grille hides a very cool technology: It’s made of a self-healing polymer. Pick up a rock chip or a scratch on its glossy finish and the surface will gradually work its way back to shiny and flush again. Heat accelerates the process, so on a hot summer day (or with some coaxing from a hair dryer), you can watch it heal before your eyes. The BMW roundel just above the grille pops open to reveal a hidden washer fluid reservoir, which would be neat if it weren’t necessary because the iX’s hood requires a service technician to open — a double bummer because it means there’s no frunk. Still, this a more elegant solution than
weird washer fluid fender slot on the EQS and EQE.

The iX’s cabin, on the contrary, is absolutely gorgeous. It makes great use of materials that look fantastic and are tactilely interesting to touch, from the crystal cut glass iDrive control knob and seat adjustment controls to the unique wood veneer capacitive buttons on the center console — all optional. The bucket seats are quite comfy with an upright position that offers great visibility in all directions around the airy greenhouse. Also optional is this model’s electrochromic glass roof that boosts the feeling of spaciousness and goes opaque at the touch of a button to keep the sun off of your head.

The iX’s cabin looks so good I’m willing to forgive the awkward exterior.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

But all is not well in this aesthetic paradise and a few ergonomic nitpicks stand out. There’s the electronic door release, which is positioned too far forward and high on the door to get good opening leverage. I had to elbow and shoulder the door open awkwardly to get out, while my smaller copilot needed to shove with both hands to muscle it open.

BMW also simplified the iX’s steering wheel controls significantly, using glossy capacitive touch pads surrounding a thumb wheel instead of discrete physical buttons for the cruise control, infotainment and whatnot. Additionally, there doesn’t appear to be a toggle to disable cruise control; the system is always armed and ready for one tap to set or resume your cruising speed. So far so good, but twice when chucking the iX around a corner, my palm contacted the pad while turning the steering wheel 90 degrees, causing the cruise control to unexpectedly resume mid-turn, lurching forward while I scrambled for the brakes. I was able to catch it both times, but it left a sketchy mark on an otherwise exemplary driving experience.

Aside from this ergonomic gripe, the rest of the iX’s optional and standard driver aid features work pretty well. Optional adaptive cruise works in stop-and-go traffic and integrates nicely with the lane-keeping steering assist and the hands-off Traffic Jam Steering Assist that works at speeds below 40 mph. Parking Assistant Professional is also available and can automatically guide the SUV into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the touch of a button. There’s standard forward-collision avoidance that can be upgraded to add optional side collision avoidance, too.

Keep scrolling; there are dozens more nigh-identical looking icons on just this menu screen.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

iDrive 8

The iDrive 8 multimedia software is a step forward from the previous generation, but also two steps backward. The system is still built around a pair of huge displays that now seem to float above the dashboard on struts. The left screen is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster while the right is a larger, 14.9-inch main touchscreen. iDrive 8 is a responsive system and, like the rest of the iX’s cabin, the high-resolution screens look fantastic and are customizable with themes featuring nature-inspired imagery.

Unfortunately, the menu is a mess of tiny icons. I counted nearly 30 of them on the main screen in no particular order and with extremely flat organization. Rather than, for example, combining FM and Sirius XM radio into one audio sources menu, they both have separate buttons on the home screen that must be found amongst dozens of others at highway speeds. My colleagues reminded me that I could organize the menu myself by dragging the icons around and eight shortcuts can be saved to a favorites menu for quick access, so most users will be able to customize their way around the problem with a bit of tinkering, but it’s a steep learning curve and I think the curated organization of iDrive 7 was a better out-of-the-box experience.

Back in the pros column, there’s standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with wireless connectivity for both. The iX even supports the latest quick pairing tech for either, so you don’t even need to fiddle with the menus to get paired up and running. There are also six USB type-C charging ports scattered around the cabin (two in the front and four for second-row passengers) and neat little slots perfectly sized to hold mobile phones on the center console and in the doors.

One of the iX’s coolest features is its self-healing grille. What? I didn’t say it was the best looking feature.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Price, competition and final thoughts

The 2023 BMW iX xDrive50 starts at $85,095 including the required $995 destination charge. This example rolled into my driveway wearing a $101,075 sticker thanks mostly to $3,500 worth of premium leather upholstery on $1,600 upgraded seats, plus $1,900 for the 22-inch wheels. I’ve also got the $7,700 Ultimate package that rolls nearly every bell and whistle left to get — including the Dynamic Handling upgrades, Iconic Sounds, the glass and wood interior trim, the iX’s complete driver aid suite and more — into one line item.

At that price range, the BMW iX skews more premium than most of its electric SUV competitors. The BMW is significantly more expensive than an Audi E-Tron SUV and Sportback, but it’s also more powerful with nearly 100 miles of additional range. The iX also slots somewhere between Tesla Models X and Y. 

Judged solely on the driving experience, range and handling, the all-new iX is a spectacular new entry in BMW’s electric car portfolio. However, BMW then went and made so many weird little design decisions — from the steering wheel controls to the weird door openers, the complicated menus and, yes, my aesthetic hang ups — that it doesn’t quite stick the landing as one of my favorites in this class.

Your mileage may vary.

2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Review: Your Mileage Will Vary

The Flying Spur Hybrid is very large and very much in charge.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Six-figure ultra-luxe sedans are usually perfect from top to bottom. Every detail is painstakingly pored over and the result is something that feels like it was born from a book of Victorian poetry. But when these pillars of perfection butt up against the specter of zero-emissions mandates and regulations, the result is something that feels like it’s still a few hours of climbing away from the top of the mountain. Such is the case with the 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid.


  • Exquisite attention to detail

  • Rides like a dream

  • Naim speakers can pump

Don’t like

  • Questionable hybrid execution

  • Annoying brakes

  • Bleh exhaust note

The great

First impressions always matter, and the Flying Spur Hybrid makes one hell of a splash. A sedan this large stands out everywhere, even in my tester’s normcore white paint. When the sun lands at the right angles, the brightwork in the grille and on the Flying B hood ornament can be seen from space, and that light also brings out the impressively strong body lines above both wheels. If you want something flashier, go for it — as my esteemed colleague notes in his first drive, there are 56 billion different ways to configure this car — but even a subtle spec like this one still leaves its mark.

By comparison, the Flying Spur Hybrid’s interior is anything but subtle. My tester includes the Odyssean Edition specification, a $50,050 (!!!) package that ramps up the visual drama with a leather headliner, diamond quilting on the seats, 3D diamond leather on the door panels and some outright stunning open-pore Hawaiian Koa wood trim.

Every single millimeter of material is carefully executed, and the result is the best automotive interior I’ve ever experienced. Everything looks and feels top-notch, and I really dig the nautical blue/white/brown colorway throughout. It’s so nice, I’m constantly hiding the infotainment screen (thanks, Bentley Rotating Display) just to see more wood. If I had to find a complaint, it’s that all this real metal can introduce some gnarly sun reflections, but if you can afford this car, I assume you can also afford sunglasses.

Brand geeks might notice the Audi switchgear on the steering wheel, a hint that Bentley leaned on its VW Group parentage for the cabin tech. A 12.3-inch touchscreen runs a modified version of Porsche’s PCM software; it’s the last-gen stuff, though, so boot times are a little lazy, but the dock on the left side makes it easy to swap between the various menus when everything is up and running. Four USB-A ports are split evenly between the two rows, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. A tweaked version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit resides in the gauge display, so you can bounce between all sorts of things to display, but I prefer the classy old-school gauge cluster layout.

My tester’s interior color combo is basically yacht rock come to life. Somebody call Christopher Cross, stat.

Andrew Krok/CNET

If you don’t spec your Flying Spur Hybrid with Bentley’s $8,970 Naim audio upgrade, you’re a dum-dum. This 2,200-watt system absolutely bumps, providing brilliant audio clarity across a range of frequencies, so fans of either Bach or Death Grips will have an unparalleled listening experience.

Unsurprisingly, Bentley’s next high-water mark comes by way of the chassis. An air suspension with adaptive dampers provide one of the softest rides around. The Flying Spur is unbelievably cushy in Comfort mode, and it does stiffen up a smidge in Sport, but the best-of-both-worlds Bentley mode is where I prefer to keep it, since the ride remains almost illegally plush. I don’t find myself missing the active sway bars and rear-wheel steering found on non-PHEV models, but it is a bummer that they can’t be optioned on this variant. Then again, I can’t exactly say I’m in a hurry to hustle through the corners.

You’ll never guess what this B stands for.

Andrew Krok/CNET

The not-so-great

The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid combines a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, an 18.9-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor for a net 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. By itself, the e-motor puts out 134 hp and 295 lb-ft, and it’ll cruise for an EPA-estimated 21 miles on electrons alone.

In the default EV mode, this big-body boss baby carries me around in hushed brilliance, but once it runs out of juice, the 2.9-liter V6 elbows its way into the conversation with a harsh exhaust note that sounds fine in a Porsche — the original source for this powertrain — but awkward in a Bentley. It never gets too loud in the cabin, though, so a little extra speaker bumpage will thankfully silence that uncouth V6 yowl.

The V6 underhood sounds OK in other vehicles, but it doesn’t really scream “Bentley” under load.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Operating in its hybrid modes is where the Flying Spur Hybrid’s execution falls off a cliff. Full-fat acceleration requires electro-involvement, and if that half of the equation is run dry, this hefty hauler feels a little underpowered. Hybrid mode is fine, although the crossover to internal combustion can be jarring under heavier throttle applications.

Trying to keep some electrons in the Bentley’s battery is a surprisingly frustrating affair, too. Hold mode is perhaps the most vexing, because as far as I can tell, it doesn’t actually hold anything. Over the course of two days of driving exclusively in this mode, I watched the lithium-ion pack drop from 40% state of charge to just 10%. In heavy traffic, I never depress the gas enough to kick the V6 to life, so even with Hold activated, I get to sit there and watch my electrons disappear into the ether.

Pro tip: Keep the Flying Spur Hybrid in pure EV mode as often as possible. You won’t regret it.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Regenerative braking exists, but I cannot suss out its programming for the life of me. Whether or not the coasting feature is activated in the vehicle menu, the Flying Spur Hybrid loves to do nothing when I lift off the gas — but only sometimes. Other times, regen will kick in, but not at a level that feels like it’s really doing anything. This happens whether the battery is at a high or low state of charge, and it’s truly confounding. The brake-pedal feel also leaves a lot to be desired, with a very obvious crossover point between regeneration and friction. It is surprisingly hard to brake smoothly in this car, which is a little point-defeating, being a luxo-barge and all.

Most owners will likely have homes with charging solutions, and it only takes 2.5 hours to juice up to full with a standard Level 2 setup, so I recommend keeping that bad boy topped off as much as possible. Although the braking issue is present across all modes, operating on pure electricity is where the Flying Spur Hybrid truly shines, and it leaves me incredibly optimistic that the first battery-electric Bentley will slap harder than Will Smith.

No matter where you park it, expect to draw some serious attention.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Down to brass tacks

Is this PHEV expensive? You betcha. A base Flying Spur Hybrid will set you back $217,525, including $2,725 in mandatory destination fees. My tester’s Odyssean Edition spec brings the window sticker up to a spit-take-friendly $267,575, including destination. Go crazy on the custom touches, and it wouldn’t be hard to spend even more. The 2022 Bentley Flying Spur might be five times more expensive than the average new car in the US, but hey, it’s still $130,000 less expensive than the average home price, so there’s a feather for your cap.

There are so many things to like about the 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Sadly, the powertrain isn’t really one of them. But that’s an easy fix, because the available V8 and W12 engines are both fantastic and less complex from an end-user standpoint. If you really want an electric Bentley, and I think you might, you’re better off waiting for the real thing.

2023 Toyota Sequoia Review: Ups and Downs

The 2023 Sequoia picks up some bulky good looks.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Truck-based SUVs allow for far more capability when it comes to towing or traversing certain kinds of terrain, but their construction also introduces some detriments to ride quality, economy and other things. Hot on the heels of a new Tundra pickup, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia is a great reminder that life is full of tradeoffs, and it’s up to you to figure out whether the juice is worth the squeeze.


  • Surprisingly thrifty

  • Beefy new aesthetic

  • Plenty of V6 power

Don’t like

  • Mediocre ride quality

  • No fold-flat third row

  • Plastic-fantastic interior

The Sequoia was almost 10 years old when it was finally overhauled, and the quantum leap in styling certainly makes that known. Just like its Tundra sibling, the 2023 Sequoia carries some beefy new aesthetics that I really like. Interesting angles and curves abound, like the strong indentations at the fenders, or the cool shape of the headlights. It has a real presence — and not just because it completely fills every single parking spot it occupies.

The interior looks cool, too, but it’s far from perfect. While I understand the need for durable materials in something geared to be a little more rugged, I am surprised at the sheer amount of rock-hard plastic in my $70,000 Sequoia Platinum tester. Everything that looks like metal isn’t, although this trim’s extensive use of leather across the most common touch points does elevate things a bit. The third row’s smooth plastic surroundings can leave way-back passengers feeling more like suitcases than people.

Speaking of the third row, here’s where compromises really start to come into play. The Sequoia’s standard hybrid system lives under the way-back bench, pushing the seats close enough to the ceiling where grown occupants will constantly graze the headliner — and the second row isn’t much better, because the panoramic sunroof’s hardware creates a sizable bulge right where your head goes. The second row offers no fore-aft movement, but the third row slides to balance between cargo capacity and legroom; however, if you need to store both stuff and people, that legroom condenses down to a few barely usable inches. The rearmost bench also won’t fold flat into the floor, since that’s where all the high-voltage bits hang out.

Yet there are still plenty of good things about the Sequoia’s cabin. It is practical as heck, with a couple tiers of storage on the door panels, a massive front tray with a vertical wireless device charger and a positively honkin’ center armrest cubby with multiple moving trays and methods to access what’s inside. The rear cargo area offers some clever shelving to make up for its general lack of space, but it’s not going to swallow as much as, say, a Chevy Tahoe, no matter how hard you try.

Toyota’s latest infotainment system really zhushes up the joint, bringing capability and graphics quality well beyond its predecessor.

Andrew Krok/CNET

The Toyota Sequoia’s tech is pretty solid, as well. The latest version of Toyota’s infotainment system lives on a 14-inch touchscreen, and I really dig it. The interface is fresh, the embedded navigation relies on Google Maps data and looks far more modern than before, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be enjoyed wirelessly. Perhaps unsurprisingly for Toyota, its complement of active and passive safety systems is also great, with a bunch of standard kit including full-speed adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.

Every 2023 Toyota Sequoia is a hybrid, and a pretty stout one at that. A 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 mates to an electric motor to produce a net 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, and all that hooks up to a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. The fake V8 soundtrack piped through the speakers sounds pretty good as the Sequoia pushes off the line with potency, and all that motive force helps the SUV achieve a damn fine tow rating of 9,310 pounds. However, my tester isn’t the smoothest operator on the block, with more than a few shudders every time the engine cuts in or out. The tachometer needle also briefly disappears on the gauge cluster when the V6 deactivates, which is weird. The 10-speed’s upshifts are generally pretty invisible, but certain low-gear downshifts under braking are quite noticeable. The brakes themselves are strong and plenty easy to manipulate, though.

Toyota’s hybrid system produces some impressive fuel economy, but you’ll have to exchange that for a fold-flat third row (and any chance of fitting tall people back there).

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All that complex electro-trickery results in some surprising fuel economy for a vehicle of the Sequoia’s size. The feds rate 2WD models at 21 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Those numbers aren’t hard to achieve, either, and I’m regularly seeing 70-mph freeway cruising pushing toward the 30-mpg mark, an impressive feat for a Brooklyn studio apartment on wheels.

Sadly, the Sequoia’s coil-spring suspension and live rear axle put to rest any notion of smoothness extending to the ride quality. This SUV drives like an unladen truck, and that is not a compliment. Every minor pockmark on the road is sent through the suspension and into the cabin, resulting in way more shuddering and bobbing than I’d like in a family vehicle. Considering the Sequoia’s pricing can stretch from about $60,000 all the way up to almost $80,000, I’d really like to see some adaptive dampers or air suspension here, which would dramatically improve day-to-day use. Sure, the Sequoia is relatively smooth when the pavement is practically glass, but how many of you live in an area like that? Throw in some overly light steering and a body that’s nearly as wide as most lanes themselves, and the result is a bit of a hot handling mess.

The Sequoia’s meaty tires don’t do much to the SUV’s princess-and-the-pea suspension, where every small road imperfection seems magnified as it’s conveyed into the cabin.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Such is the nature of a compromise, though. The Sequoia will pull half the stuff you own without so much as breaking a sweat, but so can the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, although their economy can’t compete with Toyota’s. If you don’t actually need this sort of baked-in capability, you may want to consider cross-shopping with a car-based three-row SUV like the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride or Subaru Ascent, which are leagues better on the road — and given their dramatically lower starting prices, you can equip them to hell and back and still come out on top financially. Including the $1,595 destination charge, my 2023 Sequoia Platinum 4×2 asks a yowza-inducing $72,495.

Toyota die-hards and tow addicts will find plenty to enjoy in the 2023 Toyota Sequoia. It’s big, it’s sufficiently quiet, it’s capable and it’s loaded with plenty of modern tech. But if you don’t exactly need everything this three-row SUV offers, the competition will leave you feeling a bit more comfortable and composed.

2022 Ford Bronco Everglades Review: Form Begets Function

It’s all about that winch.

Andrew Krok/CNET

With just a few key changes, the 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades adds even more overlanding-ready capability than a standard Bronco. But these aren’t tweaks destined for mall crawling; this thing begs to be run muddy and put away wet, and you’ll be doing a disservice if you buy this trim and don’t do precisely that.


  • Will traverse nearly anything

  • Surprisingly comfortable on-road

Don’t like

  • Could use a front camera

  • Top rack impedes removable roof

The stock Bronco is no slouch off-road, but the Everglades model really leans into this prowess with a few key upgrades. The vent tubes for the transmission, transfer case and axles have all been raised between 2 and 3 inches, which improves the SUV’s wading depth to an impressive 36.4 inches of water, nearly 3 inches more than a Bronco Sasquatch. A new snorkel ensures that air is the only thing reaching the engine, and it has the pleasant side effect of adding some throaty intake noises. Throw in some beefy 315/70R17 Goodyear Territory mud-terrain tires wrapped around dark 17-inch wheels, an exclusive sandy shade of paint and some unique squared fender flares, and the Bronco Everglades looks ready for business.

But the real piece de resistance hangs out up front, protruding some 8 inches off the modular front bumper. This Warn winch carries a 100-foot synthetic line, is capable of pulling 10,000 pounds, and looks absolutely freakin’ awesome. It comes standard from the factory on the Everglades, which means it had to be crash tested, and I truly pity whatever dares smash into it. While I never got into enough trouble to need the winch, it pervades my every thought, turning every tall or heavy object into a game of, “Oh, I bet I could pull that down.” Ford doesn’t yet have a front camera solution for the Everglades, but it desperately needs one — not only for overlanding, but for parking, too. It’s easy to forget that winch is there.

The addition of the Warn winch compromises the Bronco’s approach angle, which is just 37.8 degrees here — not bad, but not as good as modular-bumper models without it. The breakover angle is 26.3 degrees, the same as any other thick-tired Bronco, while departure is a respectable 37.1 degrees. There’s 11.7 inches of ground clearance, and without any side steps, shorter folks will definitely need that dashboard-mounted grab handle to hop aboard.

If you do head off the beaten path — and honestly, how could you not? — the Bronco Everglades is ready for it. The vinyl flooring has drain plugs to keep any splashing waterways from giving passengers trench foot, and the marine-grade seat material is both comfortable and easy to clean, as is just about every bit of the plastic-heavy interior. If you prefer an open-air experience, the hardtop detaches in three pieces, and it stores easily enough in the cargo area, but the Everglades’ standard roof rack makes those panels surprisingly difficult to remove without some manhandling.

Even though the Bronco Everglades tips the scales at a chonky 5,212 pounds, the four-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood has no problems providing plenty of motive force. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 makes 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, and it’s sent to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Whether on the road or off, this is more than enough power to get the job done, enabling 3,500 pounds of towing, like most other non-Raptor Bronco variants. The 10-speed can occasionally take a spell to get to the right gear, but most of the time it stays out of its own way.

The cabin is full of tech and easy to clean.

Andrew Krok/CNET

The Bronco is not a fuel-efficient vehicle by any stretch, but the Everglades upgrades thankfully don’t make it worse. As with other Sasquatch-based models, the EPA rates this SUV at 18 mpg city, 17 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. A light foot shows me closer to 20 mpg on the highway, but don’t expect much more than that.

Despite the Everglades’ position as a proper overlanding model, most of its components are the same as what you’d find on other Broncos, which means it carries some surprisingly sedate on-road manners. An independent front suspension gives the Bronco solid handling characteristics, and while most bumps and humps do elicit traditional body-on-frame jitters, it never feels discombobulated. The standard mud tires don’t cause any tracking issues on the highway, and the slab-sided silhouette offers excellent visibility in all directions, although the two aforementioned qualities do generate a fair bit of wind and road noise at higher speeds.

Some off-road vehicles sacrifice creature comforts for… I don’t know — the appearance of ruggedness, I guess? But not the Bronco Everglades. As befitting a five-seat SUV that starts at nearly $55,000, the Everglades carries a good number of standard features, like heated seats, keyless entry and dual-zone climate control. It also picks up the largest possible infotainment screen, filling the dashboard with 12 inches of Sync 4 goodness. It’s a great system, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in addition to split-screen capability with embedded navigation. Charging is never an issue, thanks to a USB-A and USB-C port in each row, and the back row also gets a 110-volt plug.

If you buy this and don’t take it off-road, you’re doing it wrong.

Andrew Krok/CNET

Safety tech doesn’t take a backseat in the Bronco Everglades, either. Standard kit includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera with decent resolution. The Everglades can’t be equipped with Ford’s surround-view camera system or adaptive cruise control, however, which is a bit of a bummer.

The 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades is the second-most expensive variant behind the Raptor at $54,595, including $1,495 in destination charges. My tester rings in at $56,535, thanks to a few basic add-ons: Desert Sand paint is $295, connected navigation is $695, door bags add $350 and a slide-out tailgate tacks on another $600. It’s a pricey proposition, but considering the Warn winch sells on Ford’s website for $3,500 before installation, it’s not like you’re throwing all of that extra scratch straight into a volcano. While you can get a for less, the Bronco provides a better overall experience, and
doesn’t offer a factory-fitted winch anywhere in its lineup.

It’s that sort of baked-in capability that puts the Ford Bronco Everglades in a unique position. It is truly built for the rough stuff, yet it doesn’t make a driver suffer for choosing a little extra beefcake. The Everglades is yet another brilliant variant in an already impressive Bronco lineup.