Monday, October 11, 2021

Steer Me! Standouts For 2021!

Check out this 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4XE!

Regardless of a few challenges, 2021 has been an awesome year for automobiles. Let’s continue to spotlight those cars that deserve a little extra shine from various price brackets and styles. Lifestyle writer Andrea Janise is also contributing to this roundup of what’s impressive on the road. See some of these cars and other reviews on my Whips column for

Photography courtesy of the automakers

2021 Mustang Mach-E First Edition eAWD

Admittedly, a compact electric SUV is not super sexy when mentioned, but a five-passenger Mustang Mach-E surely is. This highly anticipated head turner raises the bar for this car segment and will surely bring conversation wherever its driven; this is especially true with its optimal handling, athletic frame, optional signature Rapid Red Metallic exterior, and 19-inch wheels adorned with black accents and red-painted calipers. Under the hood, there’s impressive power regardless of the Select, California Route 1, Premium and GT trims; specs start at 266 horsepower and 6.1 seconds from 0-60 miles per hour all the way to 480 horsepower and 0-60 at 3.8 seconds in the GT. Battery life also has options from 210 to 305 miles on one full charge. (The reviewed model included an 88-kWh extended-range battery and AWD for optimal handling.)
Note that besides charging stations throughout the US, you can power up the Mach-E with a standard 120-volt outlet, a 240-volt outlet, or an available Ford charging station for the home. Saving money on gas, eliminating emissions, and getting a tax credit up to $7500 while wowing onlookers certainly doesn’t hurt either.

The 2021 Mach-E starts at $42,895 (MSRP); reviewed with eAWD and Extended Battery is $58,300.
For more information, visit

2021 Toyota Prius Prime Limited

The Prius line has been one of the main components of the hybrid/electric car movement, justifying it as the world's bestseller. And with that, every year has showed progression with the brand; this is especially true with the top-of-the-line Prime Limited. With this model, safety evidently comes first with a long list of mind-assuring features coming standard largely due to the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Standouts include parallel park assist; front and rear parking sensors; rear cross traffic alert; head-up display; and blind spot monitoring to name a few. The engine is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder topping out at 121 horsepower, but the gas/electric mileage is the true stunner; fully charged and gassed up, it has a mind-blowing driving distance of 640 miles combined.
Sitting on 15-inch alloy wheels and a premium 10-speaker JBL sound system, going the hybrid route and getting 133 MPGe is even more rewarding.

The 2021 Prius Prime Limited MSRP is $34,000.
For more information, visit

2021 KIA K5 GT

Entering the market in grand fashion, the all-new K5 line has heads turning for numerous reasons. Shelving the Optima sedan, KIA flexes a lot more muscle with this more sleek, muscular and powerful four-door variation. This GT version reviewed comes stacked with a 2.5-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine topping out at 290 horsepower, an 8-speed dual clutch transmission, and a panoramic sunroof sitting on 19-inch sport alloy wheels. The special GT 1 Package adds 10.25-inch touchscreen, a BOSE premium sound system, LED projection headlights, the signature UVO link and numerous safety features ideal for this kind of car. Looking stunning especially in Sapphire Blue and incredibly value, KIA did a great job with this addition to the family.

The 2021 KIA K5 GT is $35,705 MSRP including the GT 1 package costing $4000
For more information, visit

2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4XE

Jeep carries a legion of loyalists for more than half a century and this top-of-the-line Rubicon got more looks than a supermodel. While maintaining the virtually limitless off-road capability this automaker is renowned for, Jeep gets environmentally responsible with this all-new, highly anticipated 4XE plug-in-hybrid version coming in three trims; it blesses drivers with an impressive, combined city/highway 49 miles per gallon-equivalent performance.
The soft top and doors are removeable after using its custom tool kit for those gorgeous days in the sun, plus a user-friendly infotainment system (Uconnect), spacious “Unlimited” four-door cabin with leather-trimmed seats, push-button start, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, two additional USB ports, an Alpine premium sound system with satellite radio on an 8.4-inch screen, and a plethora of safety features to name a few standouts. As for the heart, it’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (plus two electric motors) with an eight-speed automatic transmission yielding 375 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of torque, and a 370-mile driving range sitting on rugged 17-inch x 7.5-inch black-painted wheels. Already garnering environmental awards left and right, this Jeep is going to kill it in the second half of 2021 and beyond.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4XE starts at $51,695 (MSRP); reviewed with optional features in the Customer Preferred Package, it’s $62,660.
For more information, visit

2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

The 4Runner continues to look welcomely more rugged and muscular over time, but maybe consider taking it to the next level going the TRD Pro route.
While all 4Runner trims have the 4.0-liter, V6 engine pumping out 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque to provide ample power for towing up to 5,000 pounds and taking on challenging terrain, the TRD version—Toyota Racing Development—just looks more sinister in a complimentary way. Especially in the new Lunar Rock exterior with 17-inch Pro Flow-Form alloy wheels.
There are more reasons why the TRD PRO is the top-of-the-line version. Perfected for off-roading enthusiasts, accessories include customized front springs, shock absorbers, skid plates, roof rack, and multi-terrain select with low-speed crawl control to name a few. Along with all the safety features coming standard, there is a banging 15-speaker JBL sound system, moonroof, and “TRD” branding throughout the vehicle to remind owners what they are proudly flaunting.

The Toyota 4Runner comes in numerous trims, starting at $36,765 for the SR5 and ending with this reviewed TRD PRO at $50,470 MSRP.
For more information, visit

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD RS

This all-new SUV provides drivers with both style and durability in this head-turning vehicle. The 2021 version has upgraded its exterior from its previous Chevrolet model so the body is more attractively sculpted. The Trailblazer’s numerous amenities consist of keyless entry and start; 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity; 10-way power seat adjustment with lumbar control; roof rack and side rails for mounting bikes (or any personal outdoor equipment); Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability; wireless charging; and Bose Premium 7-speaker system. The Trailblazer does not disappoint when it comes to safety with the automatic emergency breaking, lane departure warning and forward collision alert coming standard in every vehicle. We also appreciated the combined 28 MPG for short and long trips. This value and style combined make the Trailblazer a great option for those wanting a vehicle that will fit a busy and ever-changing lifestyle.

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD RS is $30,580 MSRP as reviewed
For more information,

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

If you are looking for safety coupled with reliability and performance, the upgraded Subaru Crosstrek will fit certainly the bill. Consistently providing the dependability we have come to love from the Subaru name, the 2021 Sport model comes standard with the 2.5 liter 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine—making it the most powerful of the line—and a new exterior trim element giving it a more rugged look, while maintaining a combined 29 MPG. Standard features include keyless entry with push button start, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration and Bluetooth connectivity, a 6-speaker audio system, dual USB charging ports in both front and rear consoles, roof rails and a power moonroof. The adventurous motorists will appreciate the water-repellant StarTex upholstery beautified by yellow contrast stitching, and durable floormats made from recycled materials.
Regarding safety, the Crosstrek’s advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, tire pressure monitoring system with individual wheel display, blind spot detection and rear seat reminder will steadily give you peace of mind. Base prices starting as low as $22,245 MSRP, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek combines affordability and appeal for a truly multi-functional and worry-free vehicle.

The Subaru Crosstrek Sport is $26,495 MSRP as reviewed
For more information,

2021 Buick Envision Essence AWD

There are a good number of redesigned vehicles that hit the market this year, and the Buick Envision is one of the more welcomed alterations in 2021. The standout change is the muscle under hood; the engine is now a four-cylinder turbo version powered by 228 horses, while the ride remains smooth with AWD maneuverability. Justifying its luxury compact SUV designation, standards include 4G LTE WiFi; 18-inch aluminum wheels with a charcoal metallic finish; remote start; handsfree liftgate; dual-zone climate control; a user-friendly infotainment system with a 10-inch touch screen; various drive modes; numerous driver assistance features via the Buick Driver Confidence Plus (lane change alert, departure warning, rear parking assist, front pedestrian braking); plus the beloved OnStar service GM provides. The Technology Package is a highly recommended option thanks to the HD Surround Vision; a Bose nine-speaker premium audio system; wireless charging; wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; head-up display; and front park assist. Promising reliability and a competitive price tag compared to the Envision’s classmates also ease the mind when considering a long-term buy. Nice job, Buick!

The Buick Envision Essence AWD starts at $37,600 (MSRP); reviewed with optional features in the Technology Package, it’s $41,790.
For more information, visit

Future Shock!
Check out what the future has in store for us in 2022!

2021 Hyundai Veloster N + 2022 Veloster N M/T

Let’s be frank: Hyundai is killing it. One of the reasons for such a successful boom is their aggressive approach to design, quality upgrades and increased power allotment; the 2021 Veloster N is a perfect example coming in both automatic (8-speed Wet Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters) and the 2022 close-ratio 6-speed manual (M/T).
Hyundai is showing racing enthusiasts major love with its N series, named after the research and development center for high-performance automobiles based in Namyang, South Korea, and world-famous test track in Nürburgring, Germany. Racing means muscle, and the Veloster gets an aggressive jolt—a 2.0-liter turbo engine packing 275 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque—in both trims. The N Grin Control System provides five driving modes, plus electronic controlled suspension with 5 G-Force sensors, and sport exhaust for extra roar. This series also has its exclusive embellishments to please the eye from the glowing “N” on the racing seats, to the 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli tires, two-stage rear spoiler, custom “N” floor mats, glossy black side mirrors, and leather-wrapped steering wheel to help terrorize the roads. Coming with a plethora of standard safety features, high-tech amenities, and generous free maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles (whatever comes first), there is virtually nothing negative to say about the Veloster N and M/T. (See what I did there?)
Look for other models of the Hyundai legion to be presented in the N version soon as well.

The 2021 N is $34,745 (MSRP); The 2022 N M/T is $33,525.
For more information, visit




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