Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"All we are saying is give wagons a chance"

Crossovers are red hot and every automaker has at least one or more of them in their line-up. You can choose from a compact, mid-sized and large crossovers. There are seven-seat options and even a convertible option from Land Rover. We wish that we could go back to the days when wagons were popular. Crossovers maybe cool but it is not as cool as the mighty wagon and we've decided to compose a list of wagons that we wish were sold here in the U.S. (Part one) 

Ford Fusion Estate (or Ford Mondeo Estate)
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What is it? A wagon version of the Fusion sedan.
Europe gets a wagon version of the Fusion sedan that wears its portions well. We love the way it looks on the outside and the fact that it has an enormous boot to match. The Fusion Estate would be a option for those who don't want a crossover. Ford could offer this with the 1.5 and 2-liter ecoboost engines here and offer all-wheel-drive standard to appeal to buyers looking at Subaru and even Volkswagen. Ford has a great wagon on its hands in Europe and well with the lack of wagons sold here (mostly due to slow sales) Ford could spark interest back into the wagon segment. We'd even be happy with a Subaru Outback fighter if that's the only way we could get a Fusion Estate on our shores.

Audi A4 Avant, Audi A6 Avant, Audi A6 All-road
What is it? The wagon version of the Audi A4 and A6 sedan.
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Audi calls their wagons avant and well they are some of the most stylish wagons on-sale. We would love to see the Audi A4 Avant sold here to compete with the BMW 3-series touring. It may not sell in large numbers that Audi would like but it would provide some stiff competition against the Volvo V60 and of course the BMW 3-series Touring. The 2-liter turbo engine used the A4 would be perfect in the A4 Avant. Audi could also consider the A6 Avant here as a special order wagon, seeing that you can buy a Volvo V90 Wagon here on special order. The A6 All-road would be the  perfect Volvo V90 CC (Cross-country) fighter as the Audi A6 All-road is stylish and quite elegant on the inside. These raised wagons are getting popular so Audi could offer something a bit bigger and roomier than the A4 based All-road currently on sale now.

What is it? Well we all know what it is. BMW once sold this here but discontinued it.
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BMW should give the 5-series touring another shot here in the U.S. Especially with Volvo offering the V90 here as special order. We would love to see the 5-series Touring here with the new turbocharged six-cylinder engine that it used to offer when it was sold here. Jaguar is bringing the XF Sportbrake here so why not offer the 5-series Touring with M-sport package standard and that excellent turbocharged six-cylinder engine? It may not sell in high numbers like the X-range does but it will certainly provide a great number of options for those who don't want to settle with a crossover.

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Subaru Levorg
What is it? A wagon version of the Subaru Impreza
Subaru sells more of the Impreza hatchback than sedans. The Levorg could be the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen fighter Subaru needs to really steal away sales from Volkswagen. Subaru has better reliability and build quality. Subaru is known for being utlitarian vehicles, so why not offer this handsome wagon here in the U.S.? It would certainly grab more people who want a proper wagon with standard all-wheel-drive. It would be nice if Subaru used the Legacy standard 2.5 engine and the WRX turbo engine as an option for the sportier trim.

Toyota Auris Touirng
What is it? A wagon version of the Toyota IM
Image result for 2017 toyota auris wagon no copyright imageThis could be the redesigned Prius V or maybe just a wagon on hand for those who don't want a crossover. It would be a welcome surprise if Toyota brought this wagon over even if it were just a hybrid option or maybe a nifty Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen fighter. Toyota has legendary build quality and would be on the shortlist for those who want a reliable vehicle and not have to pay the premium from its German Rivals to get a proper wagon. We know that it wouldn't be the most exciting option out there but it wouldn't hurt to have at least one wagon that could be used as a work horse.

Mazda 6 wagon
What is it? The wagon version of the Mazda 6 sedan.
Image result for 2017 mazda 6 wagon no copyright imageWe once had the Mazda 6 wagon here and it was one of the best wagons you could buy. It offered both four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines with a roomy boot to match. The new Mazda 6 is roomier and much more stylish than the outgoing wagon. We wish that Mazda sold this wagon here because it would provide another reason to not have to buy a crossover. If Mazda sold there here and priced it at the same price as the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, Mazda would have a real winner on its hands. We would even be happy if Mazda sold a lifted version of the Mazda 6 wagon here. We just want the wagon!

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Mercedes C-class Estate
What is it? A wagon version of the C-class sedan.
The E-class Estate soldiers on by itself here in the U.S. But it would be great if Mercedes spiced things up and offered a proper rival against the BMW 3-series touring and Volvo V60. The 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sold in the C-class would  be great here in the C-class touring with standard 4-matic all-wheel-drive. We love how elegant the C-class Estate looks compared to the sedan and well if Mercedes ever does bring back the CDI diesel engine, this would be a great start. The only other diesel wagon you can option for is a 3-series Touring an well those aren't exactly easy to find.

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Kia Optima Wagon
What is it? A wagon version of the Kia Optima.
This is one stylish wagon that we would love to see here in the U.S. It would be awesome if Kia made a Subaru Outback fighter version of this with the 1.6 turbo and 2-liter turbo offered and all-wheel-drive optional. We would even be happy with the wagon itself here period with a $30k price tag and all the bells and whistles of the EX standard. It's a niche market here in the U.S. for wagons but we want to see them make a comeback if sedans are slowly disappearing.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Devon test drives an all-electric Mitsubishi

2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (GA MY10) hatchback (2015-11-11) 01.jpg

Electric cars are the future of green car technology. The whole concept of electric cars may not be new, but they are certainly packing new ways to extend range and make them more practical for everyday driving. With the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Mitsuhishi is trying to reach out to the buyers who are more budget minded. With the low starting price of the i-MiEV can Mitsubishi justify a reason to buy electric?

Performance: The i-MiEV's electric motor produces 66hp with 145lb-ft of pull, which means its really smooth around town. If you find yourself in stop and go traffic, or feel that you want to boost your range. There's an eco-button which reduces the power of the electric motor and helps extend the range of the battery. The i-MiEV has a top speed of 81mph, so highway driving isn't a 'no-go' for this car.

Ride & Handling: The i-MiEV is best left for urban use, where you can benefit from its tiny dimensions and tight turning circle. However, the steering can be quite heavy at parking speeds and the ride is never settled. Leave the city streets and the car is easily upset by crosswinds. The narrow front tires provide very limited grip and makes highway driving a pain.

Refinement: i-MiEV has a boat load of wind and road noise which makes you wonder if electric cars are as quiet as they say they are. You can hear small amounts of whirr from the electric motor at town speeds, on the highway the whirr turns into an irritating whine.

Behind the wheel: Getting comfortable behind the driver's seat is a rather mixed note. The driver's seat adjusts for height, but the steering wheel is fixed which means it will be difficult for some to get comfortable. The instrumental panel controls are rather fiddly and you'll have to stretch to reach them.

Space & Practicality: The i-MiEV is a strict four-seat vehicle, but it depends on who the four are. Headroom isn't a problem, legroom is the bigger problem if you want to squeeze two adults in the rear seat. Their knees will be in the backs of the front passengers due to the thinly padded seats. With four passengers aboard, the boot is very small.

Equipment: The base trim adds 120V portable charging cable, CD-playe with MP3 compatibility, air-con and regenerative braking system. Top of the range adds alloy-wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, power windows and an upgraded sound system.

Buying & Owning: The benefits of having an electric car is not having to pay for fuel. Instead you'll be paying very little on your electric bill. The only trade-off is that your range is very limited and the actual use of the i-MiEV is limited unlike the Nissan Leaf.
Buying a i-MiEV isn't a cheap proposition either. A $7,500 tax credit does help take the sting out of the purchase price.

Quality & Reliability: The build quality seems solid enough, some of the materials in the interior feel rather cheap but have a sturdy feel. Mitsubishi has enjoyed average reliability, with the i-MiEV however it is still unknown.

Safety & Security: The i-MiEV comes with front and side airbags with a roof mounted airbag to protect drivers in the event of a rollover. Stability control and traction control are standared to help aid traction due to the narrow front tires. There is a vehicle security system and immobilizer system to help keep theft at bay.

The i-MiEV is fun to drive around town. There's enough space for four passengers and running costs are very low. However, the downsides outweigh the positives. The ride comfort and handling outside of city limits is poor. The front tires are narrow and the range of the battery limits the practicality of the vehicle. Even with the tax credit, the i-MiEV is expensive and way too impractical for what it is. A more conventional hybrid offers better range while a smiliar sized gasoline counterpart offers a lower purchasing price. If a electric car is what you want and you won't have any need to venture outside of the city or drive further than the battery range. The i-MiEV is worth a look.

Devon's Pick: The ES makes the most sense because it's the cheapest. We'd wait for the technology to get cheaper or more sophisticated. 

Likes: Most affordable electric car compared to others. Compact size and abundance of torque means its a breeze to drive around town. There's enough room for four and running costs of course are low.

Dislikes: Expensive to buy. Some of the cabin materials feel cheap. Steering wheel offers no adjustments, ride and handling is awful. The 'can't-go' far battery range limits practicality.

Devon M

Jaguar XF 20d AWD

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You've suddenly outgrown your BMW 3-series and well the next step logically would be to climb into the 5-series. However, what if the new promotion allows you to sort of treat yourself to something even nicer. You'd think a nice 7-series would tickle your fancy?
How about a Jaguar XF? You won't regret it one bit.

20d trim comes with or without all-wheel-drive and a decent four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. 180Hp for many many not sound like much but it is enough for most buyers who desire luxury and also somewhat respectable running costs. The new 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 247hp is a sweet spot in the range. It has plenty of torque at low revs and feels so much more flexible when you want it the most. What's a Jag without the option of a six-cylinder engine? Well you get two of them to choose from, both 3-liter supercharged with 340hp and 380hp. Our tester car wasn't any of the gasoline engines, we had the diesel engine with all-wheel-drive and a R-Sport package. Exterior styling is great and well the larger alloys seem to compliment the XF style more. Driving the diesel engine in the XF isn't like what you'd expect because we surely expected a smoother engine. It's not all bad just not as smooth as it should be, but at relaxed speeds it's fine. Besides, most people aren't going to flat out flog it at every given opportunity and with the low running costs you get with this car it's a home run. Diesel fueling stations are hard to come by but if you find one and you desire this particular XF we'd say go for it. You won't find a Mercedes E-class diesel until 2018 and you also won't find a 5-series diesel anywhere either. Jaguar pretty much owns this segment.

Long gone are the days when you'd say Jags are for those who are more into luxury and very little sport. The new XF has steering feedback that was sent from the gods and the chassis can pretty much handle every twist and turn tossed at it. You'll appreciate that the diesel engine doesn't have much horsepower because you can really see what the car is capable of achieving without feeling like you're going to overpower each turn and flog it when it isn't needed. 319Lb-ft torque at only 1750rpm is a lot. Road noise is decently suppressed as well as wind noise. The engine does have more clatter than we'd like, but we still would choose this happily over the 2-liter turbo four.

The interior has a minimalistic feel to it. Most would feel there should be buttons where there are none at all and well we are fine with that. It makes you appreciate the space that you have around you and the attention to details is stellar. We just wish that it had a bit more spice to it, more refinement in certain areas where you'll be greeted with cheap plastics. They do feel sturdy and long lasting but for the price that our tester car had we were expecting a bit more. The front seats do offer decent comfort but some may find the seats are a bit narrow and the cabin is also feels narrower than a 5-series. The rear seat can seat four comfortably but a fifth person will find themselves straddling the center transmission hump and sharing out the foot space.

Out tester car came kitted with every single option that you could possibly ask for. Adaptive Xenon-headlamps, lane keep assist, 825 watt sound system and 20-inch alloy wheels. You'll have to pay extra for ventilated leather front seats, upgraded infotainment screen and 360 view camera. These features all came with our tester car and yes while it is nice, many of them we hadn't had the chance to try them due to time. One feature that our tester car didn't come kitted with was the Adaptive Dynamics Package which we did find a bit strange.

The Jaguar XF is a great sedan that you should short list if you aren't impressed with the latest Audi, BMW and Mercedes offerings. Driving dynamics are spot on excellent and you won't regret the diesel engine for it's low running costs. Everyone else will find the 2-liter turbo four offers good flexibility. Power hungry will be very satisfied with the supercharged six-cylinders offered. The only letdown that Jaguar still needs to work on is reliability.

Likes: The XF was sent from the gods. It's dynamically the best sedan we've ever driven. Classic British luxury inside out. Diesel engine has low running costs. There's an XF for everyone.

Dislikes: Jaguar isn't known for having reliable products. Resale value is a bit scary. Be careful with the options as it may induce sticker shock, our tester car certainly did.

20d AWD *** (We were finally able to test drive the XF with the 2-liter turbo-diesel engine option. While it was met with divided opinions, the XF 20d AWD certainly isn't a bad option for those who do worry about running costs, or do tons of highway miles. It's not the quickest diesel engine you'll encounter, but it does make a lot of financial sense for us if we were to option for this Jag. It has plenty of torque at low revs which helps it feel light on its toes, and while you'll wake up everyone in your neighborhood just turning on the thing. We love the charm that this car has that other German Rivals seem to lack.) 

Pathological test drives a small Chevy Crossover

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The Chevy Trax has a lot to prove with heavy hitters like the Honda CR-V and Subaru XV.

The sole engine option is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 138hp. You’d think that with the turbo that there is a bit more flexibility thanks to the high torque at low revs, but it still feels sluggish. Our guess is that our tester car came equipped with all-wheel-drive and that may have hampered acceleration slightly, we haven’t had the opportunity to test drive a front-wheel-drive version. The engine isn’t all bad though, running costs are low which does help make it appealing; while driving around town at normal speeds really does show how smooth and relaxed the engine can be when not rushed in the way we drove down the expressway. There’s something about a turbo engine car that we have to flat out flog it at least once to see what it can really do. It’s not a bad engine but just a little short on puff where some will find it a deal breaker and others won’t care at all.

Driving the Trax around town is actually fairly easy. Steering is light and offers decent feedback where it matters most when just darting through traffic or squeezing in and out of tight parking spaces. We just wish that the steering offered more feedback when on faster paced roads because it does feel a little disconnected at times. The ride comfort in our tester car was a little more on the firm side which is partially due to the 18-inch alloys that it came equipped with and well that didn’t translate well in road noise either because it did feel a little bit noisier than we’d like. Driving on the highway is also comfortable at relaxed speeds, we do feel that the tall and narrow body gets blown about a bit more than some of its rivals but it’s not a deal breaker in our books.

The infotainment screen is fairly easy to navigate, even though we do find that many of the menus can be distracting while on the go. The front seats offer plenty of adjustment and support while those in the rear may feel a little short changed on the space, it’s not bad but it’s not particularly roomy as well. The boot space is a little disappointing; some rivals of similar size have way more space to spare. Visibility is good all round.

Standard LS trim comes with rearview parking camera, remote keyless entry, auto headlights and Bluetooth audio streaming for your mobile device. LT trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lamps, integrated roof rails and remote start. Top of the range Premier trim (our tester car) came equipped with leatherette seating, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bose premium audio system and keyless entry and push button start.

The Chevy Trax is an okay option among the crowded compact crossover options. It’s not as versatile as the Honda HR-V and it certainly isn’t as fun to drive as a Nissan Juke. We do wish that Chevy used the turbo engine from the Cruze and we also wish that Chevy could’ve put alloy wheels on the standard LS trim because steel capped wheels on a car $20k or higher is just unacceptable in our books.

Likes: Low running costs. Exterior and interior looks have been improved. It’s quite easy to navigate around town and headroom is actually quite good.

Dislikes: The turbo engine is not as flexible as we’d like. The interior feels narrow and the boot space is disappointingly small.

Our pick: We’d go right for LT trim which adds alloy wheels, remote start and LED tail lamps. It may not have the fancy gadgets of the Premier trim but it’s cheaper and makes the most sense.

Devon test drives a Mercedes C-class coupe (Used)

The Mercedes C-class coupe pins itself against the Audi A5 and BMW 4-series. In coupe form the C-class looks sleeker and much more aggressive. But does it have what it takes to compete with two very competitive keen rivals?

Performance: The standard 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder producing 201hp will satisfy most buyers. But those who really want that six-cylinder experience will be much more satisfied with the 3.5-liter six-cylinder which pumps out 302hp. Top of the range AMG has a 451hp 6.3-liter eight-cylinder which is wicked fast. Pick of the range is the standard C250 which is all you’ll ever really need. Running costs are decent and the starting price is decent as well.
On the road: The C-class comes standard with a sports suspension. With the 17-inch alloy wheels on the C250 things are somewhat bearable. However things are a lot worst if you get the 18-inch alloy wheels or choose the higher trims with larger alloys. The ride is just too firm and is fidgety over anything but the smoothest of surfaces. Handling however is the tradeoff. It’s pretty good with decent body control. The steering lacks the sharpness the 4-series has. Interior quality doesn’t even feel up to par with its rivals. There’s just too much wind and road noise that enters the cabin. This is disappointing because the C-class has such a prestigious badge.
Behind the wheel: Just like the C-class sedan the C-class coupe inherits several of its annoyances. There are too many menus to scroll through with the infotainment system which can become distracting if you want to use it while on the go. Entry into the rear is easy thanks to the front seat which automatically moves forward which helps get in out the back more dignified. The slopping roofline however does hinder rearward visibility and headroom. But the boot is a decent size.
Equipment: Dual zone climate control, Attention assist, LED daytime running lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels come standard. You’ll have to step up to C350 to get 18-inch alloy wheels, eco start/stop system and heated front seats. Top of the AMG trim adds get body-kit, sports suspension with bi-xenon headlamps.
Buying & owning: The C-class is priced about average with its keen rivals from Audi and BMW. The badge really does help save resale value. Running costs will be okay if you stick with the four-cylinder or six-cylinder. The AMG trim pushes running cost and purchase price very high.
Quality & Safety: Much of the materials used in the C-class just don’t feel as classy as in the A5 or 4-series. The design is rather bland. But it does feel sturdy and long lasting. Plus on the upside many C-class owners haven’t really complained too much about it in terms of reliability. Stability control with pre-crash bracing system is standard. There’s also a special system which warns driver of fatigue. Plus there’s lane departure warning which prevents you from wandering out of your lane on the highway.
Overall: The C-class coupe is a great alternate to the Audi A5 and BMW 4-series. However don’t expect too much of a discount and you’ll have to pay for some options that you’ll find standard on the 4-series. Also the quality isn’t even up to par with Mercedes standards. Picking a C-class is clearly for those who want the Mercedes Badge. However those who know Mercedes quality will be disappointed.
Likes: C-class AMG body-kit and alloys really do make it look classy. AMG is wicked fast.

Dislikes: The C-class with AMG package may look good but isn’t great to drive and is punishing to live with. Quality isn’t up to the typical Mercedes standards.

Devon’s Choice: The C250 is the only one that makes the most sense if you are trying to walk away with the most reasonably priced C-class coupe. The C350 has more oomph while the C63 AMG is wicket fast. However both are fitted with 18-inch alloys and sport suspension combination. This makes the ride comfort punishing to live with and makes it hard for us to recommend them.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Devon test drives a Volvo S80 (Used)

You’ll be surprised that there are buyers who don’t want an Audi A6, BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class. For those buyers the Volvo S80, even though it will eventually get replaced by the S90, still is a good option for anyone that wants Scandinavian Luxury at an even more discounted price.

The sole engine option for the S80 is a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 240hp. It’s one of the smoothest turbocharged four-cylinders we have ever tested and it feels just enough for the S80. The engine never feels short on puff around town and on the highway. You can only have the S80 with front-wheel-drive and with this engine that’s enough. Anything more than that to the front wheels is just down right insane.

The Volvo S80 isn’t even close to be as sharp to drive as a BMW 5-series, but most buyers of the S80 aren’t picking it because of that. They want a smooth and comfortable ride and that’s what they are going to get here. Steering feedback is numb at best and the overall handling is more like ‘safe’ if anything. It doesn’t encourage you to push it hard through corners and bends because well let’s face the facts here. This platform is nearly twelve years old. But not everyone wants a rock hard suspension, and for those you either choose the Mercedes E-class or this.

There really isn’t much wind or road noise to complain of. The turbo engine sounds rather course under heavy acceleration but it is far from a deal breaker. There is no manual gearbox option, but most buyers in this segment don’t really care for one either.

Volvo has always been a paradigm of clarity when it comes to their dashboard layouts; all the controls are within easy reach of the driver’s hand. The seats are all day comfy and offer plenty of support. Rear passengers will find comfort as well. Plus the S80 is one of the few sedans in this segment to have split folding rear seats standard and a boot that’s generous on space.  

All S80s come standard with keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seats and rain sensing windshield wipers. You’ll have to step up to the Platinum trim to get Xenon headlamps with auto high beam control, collision warning with full auto brake and adaptive cruise control with lane departure warning. We think that it’s best to just spring the extra money for this package because it has many of the modern safety technology and yet still manages to be cheaper than all three German Rivals.

The S80 maybe on its way out the door but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up one with a deep discount. This maybe one of the few reasons people will still flock to dealers to buy one. However, in our opinion this is the most understated Volvo ever, and for those few individuals that do buy one this is a real gem.

Wait for the S90 if you desire all-wheel-drive or more powerful engine option.

Likes: Most understated Volvo ever. Turbocharged engine offers good flexibility and decent running costs. Comfortable front seats and ride comfort.

Dislikes: Starting to show its age.

Devon’s choice: Platinum package is the only way to go with the S80. It may costs more but it is worth it.

We find an 'Explorer' from Ford with no 'Expedition'

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America’s bestselling crossover certainly isn’t the Dodge Durango or Chevy Tahoe. It’s the Ford Explorer and well it’s both the best and worse choice. Here’s why:

The standard 3.5-liter six-cylinder will serve most buyers well. The engine itself isn’t a bad choice but wouldn’t be our first choice if we were considering an Explorer. We would choose one of the fantastic Ecoboost four-cylinder engines. You can choose between two of them, there’s a 2.3-liter turbo and a 3.5-liter turbo. The 2.3 turbo engine makes more sense because it has more torque at low revs and doesn’t feel like it is out of its depth when lugging the Explorer around town and on the highway. The top of the range 3.5 turbo certainly does the job well and is our favorite of the engine range. There’s plenty of torque at low revs and when you kick it into high gear it goes like stink. We had the opportunity to test drive the Explorer Sport which came with that 3.5 turbo engine so we decided to test the 2.3 Ecoboost four-cylinder in XLT trim.

Here’s the run down about this four-cylinder engine. We love how smooth and responsive it is when needed the most and it doesn’t leave you high and dry at higher revs, however what made us question the four-cylinder is the running costs. The 3.5 non-turbo has similar running costs and has 10hp more, but way less torque at low revs. Secondly, the fact that you’ll have to use premium fuel really does lose a lot of appeal with this engine because the only other engine that requires premium is the 3.5 turbo and that one is well justified. You could use regular fuel on this engine but you will hurt fuel economy and the engine won’t perform the way it should when using premium so we highly recommend sticking with premium to get the best out of this engine. It certainly is more refined that we anticipated, especially when driving on the highway at relaxed speeds or just scooting around town.  Steering feedback is where it should be; it’s not overly heavy and does leave a lot to be desired at higher speeds. The suspension does cope with bumps and rough surfaces well; however the only complaint is that at highway speeds you could see the hood shake slightly.

The interior of the Explorer is very roomy for seven people. We weren’t able to test out all three rows of seats but we did test them individually and found there is ample space across the board. Passengers in the third row may feel a little shortchanged on legroom and some headroom, but there are vents to help it feel less claustrophobic as well as large windows helps keep the cabin from feeling gloomy. The infotainment screen is downright tiny compared to the one that you can get with the more expensive trims and while it is pretty easy to navigate through, the button happy dashboard made things feel a little too distracting especially while on the go. We strongly suggest learning where everything as it gets simpler the more you fiddle around with it. The quality of the dash is iffy at best with some of the best touching materials left for the expensive trim levels and the iffy feeling plastics being used here. It does feel long lasting but for a car with a price tag near $40k we were expecting more. The boot space is decent with all three rows in place. You can fold all two rows down and have yourself a cargo van in space. The only other vehicle that can best the Explorer when it comes to an enormous boot is the Chevy Suburban which is alpha of cargo space.

Our tester car came fitted with LED headlights, push button ignition switch; reverse sensing system and Ford SYNC system with Bluetooth connectivity. Optional equipment included the 2.3 Ecoboost four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive. Our tester car didn’t have the optional leather seats, dual-zone climate control or power-folding exterior mirrors. So we were even more confused as to why a crossover with this price tag felt so sparsely equipped. We would’ve liked to see a power tailgate thrown in if you’re going to pay this kind of money for an Explorer.

The Explorer is a popular crossover for those who need seven-seats or just like the way it looks in general. It is a stylish crossover with a good range of engines to choose from, however what we loathe the most about the Explorer is the build quality in general is pretty iffy and well a car that’s near $40k has a tiny infotainment screen and felt very sparsely kitted. You can’t go wrong with this crossover but you can if you don’t pay the premium for one of the nicer ones.

Likes: The turbo engines and even non-turbo engine have strong pull to them and decent running costs. The interior is roomy for seven people and yet it is easy to live with.

Dislikes: The build quality in general is very iffy. The 2.3 Ecoboost engine sounds good on paper but in real life it has some short comings that makes the 3.5 non-turbo a better choice. The more expensive versions feel the most desirable.

Our pick: Go with the Explorer Sport. It feels like the better choice. We love the performance and the running costs aren’t wildly insane. If you can’t muster up the cash for the Sport, go for one of the XLT but skip the 2.3 Ecoboost engine option as it just doesn’t feel worth the premium unless you’re okay with using premium fuel.