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Frank Washington



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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

We test drove the future recently; the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It is the electrified version of the fabled Mustang. This is not a concept car; it is on sale now. And it has a reasonable purchase price. The Mustang Mach-E has a sticker of $43,897. What’s more, government subsidies can shave up to $7,000 off that price. We would need more time with the car to find something we didn’t like about the Mustang Mach-E. Mechanically, as we’ve said, the Mustang Mach-E is an electric car. These are the core elements of the electric Mustang that undoubtedly will force manufacturers to speed development of their own electric offerings.

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2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

For us, the test-drive of the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, which was a plug-in hybrid, was the trifecta. We had driven the hybrid and the all-electric version, and the plug-in hybrid meant we have driven all the Ioniq models. The IONIQ Plug-in featured a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine that delivered 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission and it had paddle shifters that went unused. Our plug-in version of the Ioniq’s electric motor delivered 45 kW or 60 horsepower with maximum torque of 125 pound-feet, powered by an 8.9 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery. The total system output was 156 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. With a full charge, this combination delivered the equivalent of 119 mpge combined. Running on just the gasoline engine, the car got 52 mpg combined. In any mode, it was a gas sipper.

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2021 Toyota Corolla Apex

Toyota has been trying to change its staid image into something a tad funky. Thus, it has developed the 2021Corolla Apex SE CVT which was a spunky little sedan. It was more of an appearance package than a power package. But that was okay, it still had a little kick. The car was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that made 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It had a continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters.

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2021 Genesis GV80

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI – We came to this affluent suburb north of Detroit for a quick rinse test drive of the 2021 Genesis GV80. This was a regional affair with similar events scheduled for L.A. and New York, thanks to COVID-19. The point is Genesis is trying to adapt to the times. So, this is going to be a quick rinse review. Luxury manufacturers have always been known for their sedans and that is the way that Genesis started, introducing three well received sedans.

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2021 Volkswagen Arteon

It is easy to get lost in a market awash with crossovers. But that seems to be what happened to the Volkswagen Arteon, a very good midsize sedan when it was introduced as a 2020 model. The Arteon was low, wide and had the feel of a big sports car. It had a coupe-like silhouette with a sloping roof. Character lines flowed from the grille through the side panels to the rear end of the car. The grille emphasized the width of the car. The rear of the Arteon borrowed classic sports car styling with its high, broad shoulders, accented by standard LED taillights. Chrome details also flowed from front to back, with lower-door and trunk accents.

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2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line

We came here to test drive six years’ worth of development. That is how long it has taken Hyundai to start bringing this new generation of Elantra to market. There are four branches to the Elantra family tree. The normal front-wheel drive sedan, the performance line, and the hybrid. What’s more, there will soon be a version designed for the racetrack. The first of this new breed of Hyundai was the Veloster N. Now, two more are being introduced to market. There is the N Line and then there is the more powerful N. We’ll begin go see the former by the end of 2020 and the latter sometime in 2021. We test-drove the Elantra N Line. Like all N Line cars, it had a unique front fascia and grille and gloss black sideview mirrors. A unique rear fascia, dual exhaust, and sport seats were part of the package.

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2021 Ford F150 PowerBoost

We went out to the Ford Proving Ground about 50 miles north of here to get a look at and drive new the F150. All new is a term often misused but in this case it is accurate. Almost all the truck, 97 percent, is new. The new Ford F150 PowerBoost was recently named North American Truck of the Year. There has always been heaps of variants when it comes to pickup trucks and the F150 continued the tradition. We were told that the F Series had 11 different grilles and three sets of headlamps What ties them all together is C Clamp signature lights, or daytime running lights. Our guide pointed out an active air dam which lowered the truck when the speed reached 40 mph.

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2020 Cadillac CT5

At first glance, Cadillac’s CT5 looks just like the brand’s CT4. But on close inspection, it has a different front fascia, grille and it is a little bit bigger. It had a 3.0 twin scroll turbocharged direct injection V6 engine that made 335 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and it had paddle shifters.

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2021 Nissan Kicks

Nissan has redesigned its Kicks crossover and has given it a more conventional look. The gave it a bolder front end, the double V-motion grille was more pronounced, and it had a new headlamp design. They redid the rear end as well. It had LED taillamps, a new back door finisher, LED fog lamps and a roof mounted shark fin antenna.

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2021 Nissan Armada

There was a time not long ago that it was pretty much even money whether large body on frame sport utilities would last. But a funny thing happened on the way to the graveyard: no one saw the explosion in the popularity of utility vehicles, and no one saw the collapse of gas prices. In these parts the price of petrol is hovering around two bucks a gallon. So rather than consign their three-row body on frame sport utilities to the trash heap, manufacturers are restyling them and adding creature comforts to take advantage of the market. That’s what Nissan did to its full-size sport utility, the Armada. For 2021, the Armada had a 5.6-liter V8 engine that made 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. What they’ve managed to do is remove the truck DNA. In other words, the Armada was smooth, quiet, didn’t run or sound like a truck and was relatively nimble.

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