Monday, March 16, 2020

Steer Me! Car Reviews Part 5: 2020 models making their presence

 Subaru, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz make sure this year is one of their best!

Photos courtesy of automakers

With 2020 reaching its, well, eventful first quarter, carmakers Subaru, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz show no signs of complacency with new additions to their already revered portfolio. You know my contributors and I do our best to let you know what the best new options are for the road while exploring the world on four wheels, so here we go:

Subaru

2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT

Besides Subaru’s noteworthy loyalty of their customer base, corporations have made especially the Outback model one of the short list of car options to use for work. Why? Along with the carmaker’s remarkable reputation for reliability over the years, the value, road adaptability, customer service, and practicality have always kept the brand in high regards. 

Well now, the sixth generation of the Outback SUV not only sports subtle physical changes sitting on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, but substantial upgrades in the technology department, including the STARLINK 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen; across-the-board smartphone integration; and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System to ensure eyes are kept where they’re supposed be and combat fatigue. We also love the leather-adorned interior; dual USB ports for the rear console; Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity; Lineartronic CVT; hands-free power rear gate; and All-Weather package to make sure we combat any inclement environs confidently. All in all, this midsize SUV is a winner with a very fair price tag around $38K. 

Keep the subcompact 2020 Crosstrek and Legacy sedan in mind as well. In an extremely popular segment, the Crosstrek model is one of the most comfortable, spacious, and generous cargo spaces when it comes to packing for long trips. An advanced, yet user-friendly infotainment system seals the deal to make it one of the most sound decisions when purchasing a new auto.


The top-of-the-line 2020 Legacy Limited XT also makes an impression, boasting not only the new, aforementioned STARLINK touchscreen and similar XT benefits, but also LED steering responsive headlights, increased passenger legroom, and a muscle-flexing 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER DOHC engine pumping out up to 260 horses. Even with the power boost, this sedan still averages 27 miles per gallon combined. Also note that Subaru proudly announces that their Legacy and Outback are built on the “Subaru Global Platform, which offers increased safety, dynamics and quietness as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness” for the win, according to their website.

For more information on Subaru’s game-changing 2020 models, visit Subaru.com.        


Hyundai

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, Venue SEL and Elantra GT

I continue to be impressed by the steady thrive of Hyundai’s products. This year’s line maintains that momentum with the Sonata Hybrid Limited, wallet-friendly Venue SEL and exhilarating Elantra GT N Line M/T.
The top-of-the-line Sonata Hybrid Limited stands out as one of the best in its segment. The Sonata’s sleek redesign was initially pleasing to the eye, followed by all the perks that came with it; I appreciated the spacious cabin for up to five passengers, its 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, 47 average miles per gallon, panoramic sunroof, Bose sound system, and simply fun driving experience backed by a 191-horsepower engine. Hyundai continues to be gracious with its tech amenities as well, including the Limited’s 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation; Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA); and mind-blowing Remote Smart Parking Assist. Controlling the climate, locks and even ignition from the owner’s phone thanks to the Blue Link Connected Car System further seals the deal at a very reasonable $35,300. The other trims include the SEL and SEL Plus for a few thousand less, but I’d go with this Limited for the full experience.

Taking a more practical approach in getting around, I also reviewed the all-new Venue in the SEL trim, where Hyundai did a fine job addressing the increasingly popular subcompact SUV market. This vehicle gets a thumbs up for its roominess, responsive steering, and aforementioned tech enhancements; I also applauded the option of manual transmission, although the continuously variable automatic (CVT) operated sufficiently. Starting at $19,150, this review model came with highly recommended Convenience (power sunroof, leather-wrapped fixtures, collision warnings) and Premium (heated seats, LED lighting, 17-inch wheels, push button start, 8-inch touchscreen with mobile-app connectivity, Blue Link) Packages totaling just over $23K. Summed up, the Venue is a fine addition to the Hyundai portfolio with especially budget-conscious consumer with families appreciating the option.

For personal preference, I’m all about aggressive driving and styling, so this hatchback Elantra had me happily intrigued. Dressed in a stunning “Intense Blue” and black interior, this edition of one of its most respected car variants boasted all the upgrades a racing enthusiast would yearn for. The N Line’s turbocharged 1.6-liter engine charged forward with 201 horses controlled by a responsive, six-speed manual (a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the other option), plus the continued Hyundai theme of cabin roominess, multi-link independent rear suspension, a spoiler, and 18-inch alloy wheels completed the sporty experience. Advanced safety technology embellishments coming standard boost a driver’s confidence, plus Android and Apple CarPlay connectivity; and leather appointments throughout the cabin collectively make the N Line’s $24,590 tag a sound purchase.
Ultimately, with Hyundai’s class-leading warranty packages, ingenuity, inventiveness and emphasis on value, this brand will maintain its brilliant luster for years to come.

For more information, visit Hyundaiusa.com.
- Dennis Malcolm Byron 


Mercedes-Benz



2020 Mercedes GLE350 4Matic SUV

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 4Matic SUV is as stunning on the road as it is on the showroom floor. This head turner garnered attention at stoplights and in parking lots throughout Atlanta as I drove the Brilliant Blue Metallic beauty through the streets. With 24-hour roadside assistance, advanced airbag protection system and the Pre-Safe Predictive Occupant Protection System, that prepares and protects the vehicle and passengers before an accident takes place. Using the sensors placed strategically throughout the vehicle, the system senses when an unavoidable collision is about to take place and will begin tightening seat belts, closing windows, and adjusting head restraints to protect passengers.
I felt very safe in this vehicle whether riding alone or with friends and family. With a 2.0 Inline turbo engine and 255 horsepower with 273 lbs. of torque, this car was just as dynamic under the hood as it is inside the vehicle. Further regarding the interior, Mercedes brings their traditional luxury standard with the soft black Nappa leather seats and a natural grain oak interior wood trim; 12.3 wide screen display; touchpad with Apple Car Play and Android Auto with full Bluetooth capabilities; heated and ventilated front seats; and heated steering wheel. Pampering optional features include the 20-inch, 5-spoke wheels with black accents; heated rear seats; surround sound and view system; four-zone automatic climate control; and soft-close doors. With a combined city and highway of 22 miles per gallon, this luxurious vehicle does not skimp on the amenities and ensures a great driving experience. But then again, that’s what Mercedes-Benz has provided us for decades.

For more information, visit Mbusa.com.
- Andrea Janise

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