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



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

2021 Volvo XC90

Recharge. That’s the new name for the Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid model we drove last year. Otherwise, the 2021 XC90 Inscription stays mostly as is with some add-ons to standard features such as adaptive headlamps, front parking sensors and slight interior modifications. Nevertheless, it is an incredible ride for a potential six- or seven-passenger luxury SUV buyer.

Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged and supercharged engine, which cranks out an enormous 400 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 472 pounds-feet of torque @ 5400 rpm. A rear electric motor and a center-mounted 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery can take the midsize luxury crossover SUV nearly 18 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. The 8-speed auto gearbox in our all-wheel-drive vehicle is sprightly in any untoward situation. And the start-stop feature (auto engine stop when the vehicle halts) ensures substantial savings in fuel and weight.

The stunning crossover shows off bright chromed bars in the grille with the familiar Volvo iron mark, flanked by LED headlights and Thor’s hammer-like daytime running lights. The substantial cabin conveys an upscale aura with a 12.3-inch instrument panel decked in shimmer graphite aluminum inlays. Adult passengers have ample space for leg and shoulder room in the two rear seats. Volvo Sensus infotainment, with a distinct vertical 9-inch display touch screen, is essentially made up of four tiles: navigation, media, phone and user-defined. Activate one and watch it expand while keeping the other tiles visible for future use. The tailored wool blend upholstery is a nice touch from the typical leather in most luxury vehicles. Standard amenities include two-zone auto a/c, 10-way power front seats, leather tilt/telescopic steering wheel, panoramic moon roof, aluminum cargo scuff plate and hands-free power tail gate.

The Chinese-owned but Swedish-made car company is renowned for safety. Continuing the tradition, the XC60 gets dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, lane departure/keep aid, blind spot information, cross traffic alert, rear park assist and sensors, adaptive cruise control, four-wheel antilock brakes, three-point seatbelts for all, side impact protection, dynamic stability and traction control, City Safety (brakes automatically to help prevent a rear-end collision) also gets steer assist, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

The nearly 5,000-pound XC90 is amazingly quick off the mark, supple in traffic and a dream to drive whether you are off-road or on bustling city streets. Truly, it is a remarkable mix of style and performance.



2021 LEXUS ES300h42.2 mpg. Those were our average figures for combined driving (EPA estimates are 43 mpg city, 44 highway). So, we aren’t complaining. After all, the Lexus ES300h has brought smiles to numerous owners while filling ’er up at the gas station over the years. Who wouldn’t be happy going over 500 miles before having to make a pit stop?

While maintaining its status quo for 2021, the midsize luxury sedan is once again outfitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that cranks out 176 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 163 pounds-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm. The battery-powered electric motor ups the total to 215 hp. It is mated to an ordinary continuous variable transmission. But drivers can pick the following modes: normal, eco, sport and EV. In the latter, the car can coast for half a mile at 25 mph on solely electric power. During deceleration and braking, the vehicle uses regenerative braking to apply much of the wasted energy toward recharging the hybrid battery.

The familiar Lexus spindle grille with stylish satin chrome trim is flanked by bi-LED headlights, while the blue tint in the emblem and the penciled hybrid on the rear doors are a giveaway. Step into the well-lit and airy cabin and you will quickly get cozy and comfy in the plush semi-aniline leather seats. A mouse-like, easy-to-use Remote Touch enables the driver to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls on the 12.3-inch touch screen. Also standard are dual auto a/c, driver information center, 14-way power driver and 10-way front-passenger heated/cooled seats, power moon roof, piano-black trim interior, 10-speaker Pioneer sound system and power rear sunshade with manual rear-door sunshades. The previous nickel-metal hybrid battery in the trunk has been replaced with lithium-ion and relocated to under the back seat, freeing up cargo capacity. That’s now 16.7 cubic feet of space.

Safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, rearview camera, vehicle stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, front/rear seatbelt pretensioners and crumple zones, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lights. These are complemented by a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians and bicyclists, lane center and departure assist and dynamic cruise control, all part of the no-cost Lexus Safety Sense+.

Positioned between the entry-level IS and the larger GS, the ES300h is a fun ride, responding with agility while saving you plenty of moolah at the pump. Zero to 60 is just 8.1 seconds with top speed at 112 mph. So, it’s no slogger. Indeed, it is one of the smartest choices for any prospective midsize luxury sedan buyer.



2021 GV80 (PRESTIGE)There’s just no stopping Genesis. Ever since Hyundai launched the offshoot in 2015, enthusiastic reviews have followed. The G70, G80 and G90 sedans in the Genesis stable have been joined by the hot-selling luxury label’s first SUV, the GV80. It provides more proof that quality, styling, design, and ease of use have been trademarks of Korean car builder’s upmarket offshoot from Day One.

For our test drive, the all-wheel-drive GV80 was equipped with a beefy 3.5.-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine cranking out 375 horsepower @ 5800 rpm, and 391 pounds-feet of torque @ 5800 rpm. A seamless 8-speed automatic transmission offers Comfort, Eco, Sport and Custom Drive modes. Its electronically controlled multilink suspension handles the bumps and thumps of realtime roads with little sacrifice. The motor-driven power steering is perfectly weighted and provides ample feedback.

Up front, the long hood of the handsome SUV meets all comers with a bold and mammoth crest grille topped by the winged emblem, and flanked by quad LED headlights.

Step inside and you’ll discover a large 14.5-inch split-screen HD display for phone, nav and audio that can be controlled via a knob. Need to shift into park? The rotary dial selector is a handy touch.

To be sure, Genesis coddles the occupants with tri-zone auto a/c, 12-way front heated/cooled leather seats, along with and power tilt/telescopic steering column and tilt-and-slide sunroof, and a suede headliner. A 12.3-inch digital cluster helps the driver monitor systems. Matte-finished wood adds luxury to the center console, dash, and doors. A Lexicon sound system with 21 speakers tune out outdoor noise. Power rear window sunshades further add to the restful environment.

Safety is paramount for Genesis.

Four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist provide sure stop along with electronic stability and traction control system, front/rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, rearview camera, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning/lane keep and forward collision avoid assists, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

Further wrapping the GV80’s occupants in safety are a front center airbag — located between the driver’s seat and center console, a first in its segment, dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

The extravagant GV80 is fitted out with a forceful power train, well-appointed and classy cabin, and numerous safety features. Hats off to Genesis for a job well done.

Listen up, European competitors (Audi, BMW, Benz!): You have been put on notice.


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