Hyundai’s new, space-age electric SUV has a vital feature most cars lack: a dedicated place for your bag

Hyundai Ioniq 5._13
The interior of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.

  • The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV debuted this week with striking looks and an airy cabin.
  • There’s even a space between the front seats for a purse or bag.
  • Many cars today lack that feature, so it’s great to see an automaker implement it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

News of the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 all-electric SUV on Tuesday was exciting for many reasons, but chief among those reasons was that it has a place to put your freaking purse!

As I scrolled through photos of the airy-looking interior, I came across this one and stopped. Owing to the Ioniq 5’s batteries-along-the-floor design, its passengers can enjoy a far more spacious interior cabin – especially in the footwell. 

See that space between the front seats? Behind the upholders? That’s primo purse real estate right there.

Hyundai Ioniq 5._12
I want to live here.

I can’t tell you what a drag it’s been all these years, getting into cars and having nowhere to put my purse. Usually what happens is the bag goes in the back seat for longer trips (bad, out of reach) or dumped in my boyfriend’s lap (also bad, because it’s rude).

It’s all been suboptimal, is what I’m saying.

1998056_2003_Lexus RX_300_01
Here’s a good car: the 2000 Lexus RX 300.

There have been a few attempts to correct this in the past, including in my mom’s old 2000 Lexus RX 300. The car was already great, but what made it a true triumph in automotive design was the little dedicated space between the front seats for bags. There was even a plastic tray to set your things down on.

Subsequent generations of the Lexus RX models did away with that space, and it was a move for the worse.

2002_Lexus RX_300_08
Someone was clearly thinking smart 21 years ago.

And then there have been more blatant attempts at marketing cars toward people who carry purses – ones that make a big deal about who certain features are for, all for the sake of advertising.

There have been “cars for women,” which are “soft,” “gentle,” and can have “children in the back.” There was once, back in the not-so-faraway land of 2016, even a car “for women” with eyeliner-shaped headlights, jeweled wheels, and an atmosphere designed for “impromptu karaoke performances, last-minute wardrobe changes, dramatic gossip sessions and emergency lunch-hour kips.”

All of this slides into the neighborhood of being patronizing, stereotypical, dumb, and bad. It’s a rough neighborhood and you don’t want to be seen there.

Hyundai Ioniq 5._10
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.

But here, in all-new, space-age electric Hyundai, you get all of the usability and none of the patronization. You can drop your purse right in between the front seats, which will keep your bag upright so it won’t spill over. The bag itself remains close by, never out of reach. Your phone, wallet, sunglasses, and lip balm are all conveniently right there.

Hyundai hints at that utility rather than screaming it by featuring a photo of a person literally in the act of putting their purse in that little cubby. 

Hyundai Ioniq 5._5
This could be you!

Hyundai’s own press release explains it plainly: “The ‘Living Space’ theme runs throughout the interior, most notably embodied by the Universal Island, a moveable center console that can slide back as much as 140 mm. Universal Island, along with the flat floor where the batteries are stored, allows more freedom of movement inside the vehicle.”

This, my friends, is how you market to purse-carrying people. If you want to put thoughtful features in your car that you think women or purse-carrying people will enjoy, then just do it. Present the information in an informative manner, give us some photos of people using it. Move on without any gendered stereotypes.

Hyundai Ioniq 5._4
Here’s me napping after reading about all the bad “cars for women.”

If you have a genuinely good feature – such as a place for purses – congratulations! You thought outside of the box. Let everyone know it’s there. 

After that, we can figure the rest out. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

This Rolls-Royce features a starry ceiling display of the sky on the night its owner was born – see inside

Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.
Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

  • The Rolls-Royce Koa Wood Phantom Extended is a highly customized car built for a single collector.
  • Inside, it’s inspired by a beloved koa wood rocking chair and has a display depicting the night sky on the day its owner was born.
  • It took the Rolls-Royce Wood Specialist three years to find the perfect koa log to use.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Rolls-Royce is a company that continually reminds me the sky’s the limit as long as you’ve got the money.

I’ve seen the automaker customize cars with contemporary African art and literal bird feathers. What I haven’t seen is a Rolls-Royce that was inspired by a rocking chair. 

Until now.

This is the Rolls-Royce Koa Wood Phantom Extended – a custom Phantom created for one Jack Boyd Smith Jr. and inspired by a koa-wood rocking chair that’s been in the family for years, according to a company press release.

As this was a purely custom job, Rolls-Royce did not reveal how much the Koa Wood Phantom cost. But a regular Phantom starts at $463,350, if that’s any indication. Inside, there’s actual koa-wood veneer, which was very rare and difficult to come by. It also features a light display showing the night sky on the day Smith was born, because loving yourself is important. Even if sometimes you love yourself a little too much.

Read on to see more.

This is the Rolls-Royce Koa Wood Phantom Extended.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

From the outside, it looks like a dark blue Phantom.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

But it is a meticulously customized one-off for a client named Jack Boyd Smith Jr.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

His initials are visible on the driver’s door.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

His wife Laura’s initials can be found on the passenger door.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Phantom wears a coat of “Packard Blue” exterior paint.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

It was color-matched the 1934 Packard Twelve Coupe from Smith’s personal collection.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

But the Koa Phantom is named as such because it was inspired by a beloved koa-wood rocking chair that the Smiths have had in their home for many years.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

This is that chair.

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A koa-wood rocking chair.

The Smiths have always been very taken with koa wood, since they’ve spent so much time in Maui, Hawaii.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

Koa trees only grow in Hawaii. They are protected on a state and national level.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The only way to get it is by harvesting it from private growers.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Smiths waited three years for the Rolls-Royce Wood Specialist to find the perfect log of koa wood.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The specialist “negotiated with a supplier for a highly prized log from his own, personal collection.”

Rolls Royce Koa Phantom._1
Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

Source: Rolls-Royce

Smith really wanted to capture the warmth of koa-wood in his car.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The log that the specialist found had a particularly beautiful textural finish.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The dash-mounted clock is a staple in nearly all modern Rolls-Royces.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

Why, yes, there is a champagne fridge.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

Why, yes, it comes with a crystal decanter.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

And there is a pair of initialed champagne flutes.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The rest of the wood went toward creating this picnic hamper.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

It’s made from koa wood, saddle leather, and stainless steel.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The 12-piece stainless steel cutlery set was hand-made in England.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The set also includes hand-made wine glasses and decanters from the Hungarian Ajka Crystal factory.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

A personalized plate reminds you who this car was built for.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Smiths’ names can also be found in the personalized treadplates.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Starlight Headliner, with 1,420 fiber-optic lights, shows the constellation of the sky above Cleveland, Ohio, on the day Smith was born.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Koa Phantom marks the fifth Rolls-Royce to become part of The JBS Collection of Jack Boyd Smith Jr. in Elkhart, Indiana.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

The Koa Phantom was a custom job, so there was no pricing announcement.

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Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

A regular 2021 Phantom starts at $463,350, though, so expect the price to have only gone up from there.

Rolls Royce Koa Phantom._13
Rolls-Royce Koa Phantom.

Source: Car and Driver

Read the original article on Business Insider

The $120,000 Audi RS 6 Avant has some of the fanciest light features on the market – check them all out

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.KL_59
Let there be light.

  • The 2021 RS 6 Avant I tested recently did cool light tricks when you locked or unlocked it.
  • Inside, it even had futuristic, Tron-like cabin illumination.
  • The best part was that the seat belt buckles lit up so you never had to find them by touch alone.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

There’s always been something about Audis and LEDs.

Audi was among the first – if not the first – automakers to adopt light-emitting diode, or LED, daytime running lights. They debuted in 2004 on the Audi A8 W12 sedan as five LEDs in each headlight. 

The look quickly trickled through the rest of Audi’s lineup after that. Soon, everything from the cheaper A4s up had the scintillating detail – a sparkly, checkmark-shaped strip of LEDs flanking the signature four rings. Nothing like it had ever been seen before and, for a while, you could pick out an Audi heading toward you from afar just based on that pattern of LEDs.

In 2009, the Audi R8 V10 became the first car fitted exclusively with LEDs. Its headlights, turn signals, and daytime running lights all used the technology, which Audi claimed reduced CO2 emissions and was more efficient than the widely used halogen light bulbs. 

It’s now 2021 and nearly everything on the road uses LEDs of some kind, but Audi’s still found a way to distinguish itself. Recently, I tested out a 2021 RS 6 Avant – read the review here! – and stumbled across a neat little light show it puts on when you lock or unlock it. For your viewing pleasure and convenience, I have GIFed the experience below.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.
Look at this light show!

When you unlock the car, the front daytime running lights light up in sequence, almost like a welcome greeting. When you lock the car, the rear lights fade out in sequence, like a curtain closing after a show. 

As far as I can tell, this choice was purely an aesthetic one. It certainly doesn’t make the car drive any faster or better. It just gave me, the driver, some small delight in seeing it. There doesn’t seem to be any other reason to include such a feature. 

(And before you email me to yell at me that this is old news and I should get with the program: The internet isn’t all about you. Not everyone knows this about Audis.)

But that’s not all! I invite you to check out two more things.

First, the RS 6 Avant’s door sills light up in the dark and the car projects “Audi Sport” onto the ground, lest you forget what sort of vehicle you have.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.KL_95
Like a giant, light-up name tag.

Second, and more practically, the RS 6 Avant’s interior lighting includes seat-belt buckle illumination!

The wagon seats five, so five buckles are encased in a ring of light for you to locate more easily. Anyone who has felt around in the dark for their buckle no longer has to if they’re riding in one of these.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.
Strong Tron vibes here.

The rest of the cabin lighting gives off a very futuristic, Tron-like aesthetic. If you looked at the interior during the day, you’d see that the light fits perfectly with the minimalist design. 

But those seat-belt buckle indicator lights. That’s some real MVP stuff right there.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ferrari’s weirdest car, the 1962 Breadvan, now has a modern tribute with a bright blue interior – see inside

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._13
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

  • The 1962 one-off Breadvan was one of the most bizarre cars ever made by Ferrari.
  • The new Breadvan Hommage by Niels van Roij Design is a tribute to the original.
  • Only one Breadvan Hommage exists because it was specially commissioned by a customer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Without a doubt, the 1962 Ferrari Breadvan was the weirdest thing ever to come from the Italian automaker. Ferrari only ever made one of them. Most recently, though, Dutch car design company Niels van Roij Design created a one-off tribute to the Breadvan from a modern Ferrari.

Meet the Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage. Based on a Ferrari 550 Maranello donor car, van Roij gave it unique headlights and exhausts. The body was then hand-beaten and the interior was handmade.

Since the Breadvan Hommage was designed and built for a single customer, no price accompanied the emailed press release Niels van Roij Design provided. Read on to see the rest of the car.

The Breadvan Hommage is a one-off tribute by Dutch automotive design firm Niels van Roij Design to the 1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Ferrari only ever made one Breadvan and it was based on a 250 GT SWB.

1962 Ferrari Breadvan2
1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

The car was given a shooting brake rear design for improved aerodynamics in racing.

1962 Ferrari Breadvan1
1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

The Hommage version also has that familiar shooting-brake rear end.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

It uses a Ferrari 550 Maranello as a donor car.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Source: The Drive

And kept its awesome gated manual transmission shifter.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Niels van Roij Design gave the car custom exhausts.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._1
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The Breadvan Hommage started out as a series of ideation sketches.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage sketch
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage sketch.

Then the company rendered the final sketch.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage rendering
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage rendering.

That rendering was then turned into a clay model to further help with the visualization process.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._6
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The car’s body was hand-beaten by a coachbuilder named Bas van Roomen.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

He was also involved in the clay model process.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The suspension system was supplied by a performance suspension company called Koni.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The interior of the Breadvan Hommage is handmade and completely bespoke.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The interior is upholstered in blue Alcantara and quilted black leather.

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The clock reads “Che importa,” which is apparently Italian for “Who cares!”

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Niels van Roij, the Breadvan Hommage’s designer, calls it “a new original.”

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Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Van Roij is also the designer behind a few other projects.

Niels van Roij
Niels van Roij.

There’s the Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.

Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.
Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.

And you’ll remember the Model SB.

Niels van Roij Design Model SB.
Niels van Roij Design Model SB.

Source: Insider

As well as the Silver Spectre Shooting Brake.

Niels van Roij Design Silver Spectre Shooting Brake
Niels van Roij Design Silver Spectre Shooting Brake.

Source: Insider

No pricing was announced, as the Breadvan Hommage was designed and created for a single customer.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._12
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Review: Mazda’s $35,000 CX-30 Turbo is aimed directly at Mercedes and BMW subcompact SUVs

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_29
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

  • Just like the Mazda 3 before it, Mazda has given the CX-30 subcompact SUV a turbocharged engine.
  • The turbocharger makes the CX-30 Turbo a competitor against luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes.
  • The CX-30 Turbo starts at $30,050. My loaner had a $35,400 price tag.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Here’s what we already knew: The perennial Mazda 3, when given a turbocharger, becomes zippy and fun. Here’s what we just learned: When you give that same engine to the CX-30 subcompact SUV, it also becomes a joy.

Not that the CX-30 wasn’t already a joy, mind you. Clearly, Mazda did something right with it. After it was introduced in 2019, the little SUV rocketed to second-best on the automaker’s 2020 US sales charts. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_12
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Mazda managed to move 38,064 CX-30s last year. It was second only to the ever-popular CX-5, which sold 146,420 examples.

You can get a far cheaper version of the CX-30 if you forego the turbocharger – $22,050 versus the $30,050 starting price from this version. I have no idea if buyers will take the bait on a more powerful CX-30 Turbo, but if enjoyment behind the wheel is something you generally look for in a car, then you’ll find it here.

The 2021 CX-30 Turbo: A taller 3

As a subcompact SUV, the CX-30 slots between the CX-3 and the CX-5. And no, it’s not a CX-4, because that already exists in China. That would be nice, though, if not logical!

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_34
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

If it helps, think of it as a taller Mazda 3, as the two share the same platform. Mazda did with the CX-30 what it did for the Mazda 3 Turbo: gave it the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine from the CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda 6 in the hopes for a more premium and upmarket push. Save for a few visual cues, The CX-30 Turbo looks largely the same as the non-turbo version. 

The biggest difference surfaces when you drive it. 

Details and safety ratings: Turbo time

The Skyactiv-G turbocharged engine produces a claimed 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on 93-octane fuel. The power drops a bit to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on 87-octane fuel. In Turbo guise, the CX-30 is only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Note that the non-turbo versions of the CX-30 make 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. You can get them in either front- or all-wheel drive.

The car measures 14.4 feet long and stands 5.2 feet tall. Its maximum ground clearance comes to eight inches – a bit taller than the 3’s 5.5 inches. Cargo volume comes to 20.2 cubic feet, or about the same as what the 3 hatchback offers. The EPA estimates the CX-30 Turbo to return 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. 

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

The regular CX-30 earned five stars in its overall vehicle score when tested for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although it only got four stars for rollover risk. Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the subcompact SUV its highest award, the Top Safety Pick Plus.

What stands out: Delights in the act of driving

When building the CX-30, it’s clear Mazda didn’t set out to remake the idea of a car. Its goal was to merely build a car – and build it well – so that driving it would come easily and non-invasively to anyone.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_1
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

The interior only features stuff you’d actually need, like the climate controls, radio, and navigation. There’s a physical gear selector lever, not buttons with P, R, N, and D on them. The steering wheel has just a handful of controls on it. Only the driver’s seat is powered; the passenger seat is manually adjusted. Some might say this is because the car is affordable. I say it’s because most other cars have gotten far too complicated and expensive.

Once you do start driving, the steering is responsive and the brakes don’t grab hard when you first begin to press the pedal. The addition of the turbo engine gives the car great pickup and acceleration, propelling its egg-shaped body forward with the gumption of a much smaller car. There’s pep right off the line, lending a tangible eagerness to the CX-30 Turbo’s mood.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

I’ve found other cars in the CX-30’s class show their price when it comes to road noise, vibration, and harshness, but the Mazda impressed with its sound deadening and smooth ride. The only real exterior noise came from the wind washing over its body. 

Otherwise, highway cruising was just as polished as cars worth two or three times as much as the CX-30.

What falls short: It’s called subcompact for a reason

I don’t consider myself a large person, but even I thought the back seats in the CX-30 were tight. The trunk, likewise, was petite, and only would probably only fit one large suitcase plus maybe a large duffel bag. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_7
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

But as the car is classed as a subcompact, this is to be expected. Realistically, the CX-30 is for a two-person household that only sometimes needs to put friends or family in the back seat. A family with a small child or two could make it work, but they’d need to trade up for a bigger car as soon as those kids grew.

And while I appreciated the Mazda’s devotion to physical buttons, dials, and switches, scrolling through menus on the infotainment screen proved clunky and slow. The CX-30’s interface felt outdated when compared to the systems offered in competitor vehicles. This system, as The Drive pointed out, makes selecting music difficult. 

How the CX-30 Turbo compares to its competitors

A regular, 186-horsepower 2021 CX-30 starts at $22,050. With its 250 horsepower, the base price for the 2021 CX-30 Turbo jumps to $30,050. My loaner came in the top Premium Plus package and thus had a starting price of $33,900. After a few options and a destination charge, the final MSRP came to $35,400.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Price-wise, the CX-30 isn’t exactly within spitting distance of the Mini Clubman All4 John Cooper Works ($39,500), Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 ($47,550), or the BMW X2 M35i ($46,450). 

But in power, it is. In this sense, you’re getting quite a bit of engine for almost $10,000 less.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Buyers might balk at the premium price that the addition of the turbo engine commands, but it’s clear who Mazda is aiming for with this upmarket push. And while the interior of the CX-30 is nice, it’s still no Mercedes. 

The newly turbocharged CX-30 and 3 drive well, but they are still based on entry-level cars from what, for a very long time, has been an economically focused brand. Keep in mind that the non-turbo CX-30 competes with the Jeep Renegade, Kia Seltos, and Subaru Crosstrek. Among those “entry-level errand-runners” (Mazda’s words), it’s king. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_22
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

But against the existing luxury brands, ones whose lineups already include more powerful engines? Are consumers willing to shell out thousands more for what basically amounts to a turbocharged Mazda with all-wheel drive? Because it’s asking a lot.

That remains to be seen.

Our impressions: It’s fun!

Pleasant. 

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_15
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

That’s the word that thumped around in my head during the time I spent with the CX-30 Turbo. I haven’t driven many new cars I can confidently say feel like they have much of a personality, but the turbocharged CX-30’s playfulness is palpable. 

Its light-footedness and agility, paired with its eagerness off the line, make for an impish little SUV. With acute steering, good brakes, and torque on your side, you find yourself tucking around slower cars and tossing the CX-30 around corners with a bit more spunk than you would in something bigger and heavier. There’s no reason everyday driving has to be a snooze, and Mazda has proven that.

2021 Mazda CX 30 Turbo._KL_41
2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

As an added bonus, there’s even an off-road traction assist function that helps with any off-roading you might want to do. I’m not saying you should immediately take your CX-30 to the Baja 1000, but during low-traction situations such as over a blanket of hard-packed snow, the Mazda felt sure-footed. The 360-degree monitor, which remains active up to speeds of 9.3 mph, helped me see the terrain all around me.

Yes, the CX-30 is expensive and the room for rear passengers and cargo is a bit cramped. But it’s undoubtedly a fun car wrapped up in a very unassuming package. If you’re someone who wants something that will plant a smile on your face but also doesn’t scream for attention with brand snobbery, this is your friend.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Just be ready to pay for it.

♦♦♦

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

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2021 Mazda CX-30 Turbo.

Read the original article on Business Insider

This custom Rolls-Royce Phantom features 3,000 shimmering feathers and a mother-of-pearl clock – see inside

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_13
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

  • The Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence” uses natural materials to create an art piece.
  • Inside, you’ll find more than 3,000 sustainably sourced feathers and mother of pearl inlay.
  • The car is on display at Abu Dhabi Motors.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You read it and maybe stopped and thought, “3,000 iridescent tail feathers”? In a car? How? Why? Well, here’s your closer look at the Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The car was delivered to Abu Dhabi Motors on Monday. It is the production version of a 2017 design concept from Nature Squared, a Swiss company that incorporates natural materials into interior surfaces, according to a company press release. The buyer wasn’t named and neither was the price, but a regular Phantom starts at about $460,000.

The feathers were hand-sewn onto open-pore fabric. The dashboard clock is inlaid with mother of pearl. It is, frankly, quite stunning.

Keep scrolling to see more of the Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence” is a customized Phantom that was delivered to Abu Dhabi Motors on February 1.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_10
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The car’s exterior color is meant to match the brilliance of its interior materials.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_11
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

It’s unclear who the “Iridescent Opulence” was commissioned for, and Rolls-Royce didn’t mention a price. But a regular Phantom starts at about $460,000.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_13
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

In traditional Rolls-Royce fashion, the paint is two-tone.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_9
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The blue-green paint complements the silver.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_8
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The feather detailing on the coachline appears to be hand painted.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_7
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The car was designed by a Swiss company that incorporates natural elements into surfaces called Nature Squared.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_6
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

Inside, you get your Starlight headliner.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_4
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

But here on the dash, the team found a bird from which they could sustainably procure more than 3,000 tail feathers.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_3
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The feathers were hand-sewn into open pore fabric and designed to emulate a bird’s wing.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_1
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The dashboard clock is inlaid with mother of pearl.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_2
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

The Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence” is being shown at Abu Dhabi Motors. Drop by for a visit if you’re in town.

Rolls Royce Phantom "Iridescent Opulence."_12
Rolls-Royce Phantom “Iridescent Opulence.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cadillac’s taking on Mercedes and BMW with 2 hardcore new ‘Blackwing’ models starting at $60,000 – tour both

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing and CT5 V Blackwing._2
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing.

  • The 2022 CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing are the highest-performance Cadillacs there currently are.
  • Available with manual transmissions, they are aimed directly at competition from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW.
  • Prices start at $59,990 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $84,990 for the CT5-V Blackwing.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s a new year and it’s time for some new Cadillacs. These, officially, are the 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. 

As Blackwing models, these cars are the best of what Cadillac’s got to offer in terms of power and performance. With their angular and sharpened design language, as well as the availability of a manual transmission (!!!), the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing will hopefully inject some excitement back into the Cadillac brand.

With order books opening on February 1 and deliveries starting this summer, the CT4-V Blackwing starts at $59,990 and the CT5-V Blackwing starts at $84,990. 

Keep reading to see both.

The 2022 CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are the top-of-the-line Cadillac models, designed to compete with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing and CT5 V Blackwing._1
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing.

The CT4-V Blackwing is the spiritual replacement of the ATS-V.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._2
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

It has a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces a claimed 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._4
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

You can tell it’s coming for the BMW M3 and M4.

2021 BMW M3 and M4_1
2021 BMW M3 and M4.

Both cars will have GM’s high-performance Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 suspension system.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._1
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

Cadillac estimates the CT4-V Blackwing to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.8 seconds.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._3
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

Its top speed is an estimated 189 mph.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._5
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

Both cars offer a six-speed Tremec manual transmission as standard.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._6
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

There’s a big, carbon-fiber lip spoiler on the trunk lid.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._8
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

The cars come with forged aluminum-alloy wheels as standard.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._9
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

They’re staggered, which means they are wider in the back than they are in the front.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._10
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

As standard, the cars also have AKG sound systems.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._11
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

V badging can be found throughout the interior.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._12
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

The leather is quilted and ventilated.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._13
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

And there are red seat belts.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._14
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

The front seats are bolstered to hold you in place under hard cornering.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._15
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

A performance steering wheel, 14.5 inches in diameter, comes as standard with the mid-and upper-trim CT4-V Blackwing models.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing._16
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

The CT5-V Blackwing is the successor to the mighty CTS-V.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing._1
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 produces a claimed 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._2
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

This one’s after the BMW M5. But whereas no modern BMW M5 offers a manual transmission, the Cadillac does.

2022 BMW M5 CS sedan._4
2022 BMW M5 CS sedan.

Cadillac estimates its top speed to be over 200 mph.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._3
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Like any serious sports car, it has a big rear diffuser.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._4
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

An additional front splitter helps with front-end aerodynamics.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._5
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

The bigger front grille is designed to let more air in to help with cooling.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._6
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is the most powerful Cadillac ever made.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._8
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

It wears 15.67-inch front brake rotors, the biggest brakes that have ever been installed on a Cadillac from the factory.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._9
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

If a manual transmission isn’t your thing, then a 10-speed automatic is also available as an option on both cars.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._13
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Inside, there are bolstered seats as well.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._10
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

That 14.5-inch performance steering wheel is a standard feature on the CT5-V Blackwing.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._11
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

On the higher trims, you can get high-performance front seats.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._12
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Starting MSRP for the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing are $59,990 and $84,990, respectively.

2022 Cadillac CT4 V Blackwing and CT5 V Blackwing._2
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing.

Order books open on February 1 and first deliveries will start in the summer.

2022 Cadillac CT5 V Blackwing._7
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ferrari’s weirdest car, the 1962 Breadvan, now has a one-of-a-kind modern tribute – see the Breadvan Hommage

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._13
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

  • The 1962 one-off Breadvan was one of the most bizarre cars ever made by Ferrari.
  • The new Breadvan Hommage by Niels van Roij Design is a tribute to the original.
  • Only one Breadvan Hommage exists because it was specially commissioned by a customer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Without a doubt, the 1962 Ferrari Breadvan was the weirdest thing ever to come from the Italian automaker. Ferrari only ever made one of them. Most recently, though, Dutch car design company Niels van Roij Design created a one-off tribute to the Breadvan from a modern Ferrari.

Meet the Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage. Based on a Ferrari 550 Maranello donor car, van Roij gave it unique headlights and exhausts. The body was then hand-beaten and the interior was handmade.

Since the Breadvan Hommage was designed and built for a single customer, no price accompanied the emailed press release Niels van Roij Design provided on Wednesday. Read on to see the rest of the car.

The Breadvan Hommage is a one-off tribute by Dutch automotive design firm Niels van Roij Design to the 1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._2
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Ferrari only ever made one Breadvan and it was based on a 250 GT SWB.

1962 Ferrari Breadvan2
1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

The car was given a shooting brake rear design for improved aerodynamics in racing.

1962 Ferrari Breadvan1
1962 Ferrari Breadvan.

The Hommage version also has that familiar shooting-brake rear end.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._8
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

It uses a Ferrari 550 Maranello as a donor car.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._14
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Source: The Drive

And kept its awesome gated manual transmission shifter.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._10
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Niels van Roij Design gave the car custom exhausts.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._1
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The Breadvan Hommage started out as a series of ideation sketches.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage sketch
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage sketch.

Then the company rendered the final sketch.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage rendering
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage rendering.

That rendering was then turned into a clay model to further help with the visualization process.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._6
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The car’s body was hand-beaten by a coachbuilder named Bas van Roomen.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._4
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

He was also involved in the clay model process.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._7
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The suspension system was supplied by a performance suspension company called Koni.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._5
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The interior of the Breadvan Hommage is handmade and completely bespoke.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._3
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The interior is upholstered in blue Alcantara and quilted black leather.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._11
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

The clock reads “Che importa,” which is apparently Italian for “Who cares!”

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._9
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Niels van Roij, the Breadvan Hommage’s designer, calls it “a new original.”

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._13
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Van Roij is also the designer behind a few other projects.

Niels van Roij
Niels van Roij.

There’s the Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.

Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.
Niels van Roij Design Adventum Coupe.

And you’ll remember the Model SB.

Niels van Roij Design Model SB.
Niels van Roij Design Model SB.

Source: Insider

As well as the Silver Spectre Shooting Brake.

Niels van Roij Design Silver Spectre Shooting Brake
Niels van Roij Design Silver Spectre Shooting Brake.

Source: Insider

No pricing was announced, as the Breadvan Hommage was designed and created for a single customer.

Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage._12
Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage.

Read the original article on Business Insider

REVIEW: The $144,000 Taycan 4S is Porsche’s first EV that pairs cosmic speed with eerie electric silence

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_19
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

  • The Taycan is Porsche’s first EV and comes in four trims: the $79,900 base Taycan, $104,000 4S, $151,000 Turbo, and $185,000 Turbo S.
  • My 4S loaner came to $143,690 after options.
  • On paper, Porsche’s iconic gas-powered 911 Turbo S is faster. But in practice, the Taycan 4S feels like it has warp drive.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The luxury electric car space is saturated with the likes of Tesla, Lucid, Polestar, Audi, and Jaguar. But one of the biggest names to recently enter is the Taycan sport sedan, which is, quite literally, the Porsche of EVs. That alone is worth paying attention to.

I’m not typically one to doggedly heap praise on a brand, but I’m making a begrudging exception here. Porsche knows what it’s doing. The Porsche 911 is the 911, and the 718 models are modern automotive perfection. Even its compact SUV, the Macan, handles like a sports car way more than it has any right to. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_31
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

My point here is, this is a company that knows how to build a car, and build one well.

The Taycan is Porsche’s first attempt at making an EV – a first attempt with all the money and resources that the automotive giant Volkswagen Group can throw behind it. 

If that didn’t spoil the review verdict for you already, I will: It’s a damn fine first crack.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_14
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

From ‘Mission E’ to ‘soul of a spirited young horse’

The Porsche Taycan started life as a concept called the Mission E, which debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Mission E spent the next four years tooling around, sparking rumors and noiselessly touring places like Germany’s famed Nürburgring track

Finally, at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the production version of Porsche’s first EV appeared with a Turkish name that roughly translates to “soul of a spirited young horse.” Sure!

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_2
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

To be extra certain there would be no pronunciation mixups, Porsche even made a video telling us how to say the car’s name properly – just like the video it made telling us how to say “Porsche” correctly because certain clowns needed educating.

Currently, there are four versions of the Taycan available: the base-model Taycan, the 4S, the Turbo, and the range-topping Turbo S. Yes, I know neither of those cars are turbocharged. Words mean things until they don’t.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_7
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

The loaner that Porsche kicked me for a weekend was the 4S. For all intents and purposes, it is the base Taycan model – though from the way it’s priced, you wouldn’t think so.

It weighs, like, more than two tons

Like a Tesla, the Taycan uses a skateboard design: All of the batteries are located along the floor of the vehicle, which lowers the center of gravity and frees up space for two trunks. System voltage comes to 800 volts instead of the typical 400 volts, which Porsche says cuts charging time, decreases weight, and allows for high performance. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_54
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

The 4S is not the range-topping Taycan, but that’s no issue at all. The thing is plenty powerful and fast, with a claimed 562 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque from its optional Performance Battery Plus upgrade. Porsche estimates a 0-to-60-mph sprint to happen in 3.8 seconds with launch control, along with a 155-mph top speed. 

Charging claims are as follows: When plugged into an AC outlet with 9.6 kW, the 4S takes 9.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. A 50-kW DC charger takes 93 minutes from 5% to 80%. A fast-charging DC charger takes 22.5 minutes to charge the car from 5% to 80%.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_OEM_6
2020 Porsche Taycan.

Using the EVgo app one night, I found a nearby 50-kW CCS charger. After about 25 minutes of charging, the battery went from 54% to 71%. The whole thing cost me $8.96.

The EPA gives the Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus a range of 203 miles. The Taycan measures 16.3 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet tall. Its rear trunk has a cargo capacity of 14.3 cubic feet. Curb weight comes to 4,947 pounds.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_85
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

As of this writing, the Porsche Taycan has not yet been rated for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

What stands out: Warp drive

On paper, Porsche’s gas-powered 911 Turbo S has the Taycan 4S beat. The Turbo S has more horsepower, more torque, a quicker estimated 0-to-60 time. You know the Turbo S is faster. But when you floor the “go” pedal in the Taycan, all that knowledge flies out the window alongside your grasp on reality.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_8
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Maybe it’s because you have no audible warning that the car is doing what it’s about to do. Up until this point, I never realized how much I subconsciously relied on engine noise to brace for acceleration. In the Taycan, acceleration just happens. No warning. No tip-off. 

One second, you’re cruising along quietly and the next, you’re being shot forward through space-time, fired from what feels like the universe’s biggest bowstring. You’re warping forward so powerfully you’ve left your stomach in the previous galaxy. And you, the one with brake pedal access, are the one who controls when the passenger screaming stops. This is a good thing, by the way.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_68
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Does it ever get old? Probably! But as far as party tricks go, it’s a pretty neat one. 

If you do want some sound, putting the car in Sport Plus mode or activating the “engine” “noise” option will pipe in some artificial motor noise (it sounds like a musical generator). But it still doesn’t adequately prepare you for the instant torque. Nothing does until you’ve done it to yourself a few times.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_77
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Unlike in the Polestar 2, I never had complaints about too-light steering in the Taycan. It was always nice and heavy, the smallest of inputs translating to a subsequent wiggle in the nose. Paired with the low center of gravity and the futuristic whee of the motors, the Taycan slingshots in and out of corners with acute, alien-like precision and delight.

From the outside, the car is stunning. Sleek and purposeful, it doesn’t look that different from the Mission E concept we first saw five years ago. Mine wore a wonderful coat of Mamba Green Metallic Paint, 21-inch gold Mission E Design Wheels, and a set of carbon-ceramic brakes with yellow calipers. Life is too short for boring cars. Dress mine up like a mobster, please.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_78
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

And despite the sloping profile, the back seats offer decent headroom and legroom. My loaner came with only two rear seats, but a third one can be optioned in at an additional cost.

What falls short: Could use a hatch

Inside the Taycan, I could count the number of physical switchgears on one hand. Aside from what was on the steering wheel, the driver’s only physical touchpoints were the gear selector lever and the car’s on/off button. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_1
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

The Taycan’s user experience wasn’t as hateful as other all-touch setups. Its screens offered a degree of haptic feedback, so you knew if your fingers were actually selecting something without always looking down. 

But even things you expect to have some kind of hard switch do not. The headlight controls, for example, are operated via touchscreen off to the side of the driver information cluster.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_41
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

A defining driving characteristic of many EVs is their one-pedal driving capability. It’s a fun thing you can do with the accelerator where, after learning to modulate the car’s regenerative braking, you can control its forward driving without the use of the brake pedal.

Unfortunately, no Taycan will have one-pedal driving. All regenerative braking will be handled through the brake pedal, according to Autoweek. From what I understand, people have a love/hate relationship with one-pedal driving, so take this news as you will.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_82
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Rear visibility is also a bit challenging in the Taycan. The rear window is small, the roofline slopes downward, and the C-pillars are thick. They do not make for easy over-the-shoulder glances.

But I actually saw the Taycan’s biggest shortcoming when I parked it next to a Tesla Model S. We were loading up our cars with supplies, the Model S owner and I. The difference was that the Model S’s trunk is a hatch. The Taycan’s is not. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_36
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Anyone who’s used a hatch-style trunk knows that they make loading and unloading cargo much easier. It makes all of the trunk accessible, not just the half that’s closest to you. And there’s more usable vertical room! Hatch all of the sedans, I say.

Competitor comparison: $$$$

In terms of range, the Taycan, unfortunately, brings up the rear behind the Tesla Model S (402 miles estimated) and the upcoming Lucid Air (406 miles estimated for the base model).

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_22
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

And it is quite expensive. The Taycan 4S starts (starts!) at $103,800 and goes all the way up to $185,000 for the Turbo S model. In January, Porsche added a base-model Taycan to its lineup with a starting MSRP of $79,900. This still makes it about $10,000 more expensive than the Model S, however.

Then we get into the options, because it’s a Porsche and the options list is longer than a diner menu. Instead of waffles, corned beef hash, and club sandwiches, it’s multi-thousand-dollar brake kits and frivolous vanity features. Ready? 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_18
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

My loaner came with Mamba Green Metallic paint ($800), “Taycan 4S” rear logo in high-gloss black ($270), tire-sealing compound and electric air compressor ($70), carbon-ceramic brakes with yellow calipers ($9,080), wheels painted in Satin Aurum ($1,290), 21-inch Mission E Design wheels ($4,680) interior accents in neodyme ($650), the Performance Battery Plus ($6,580), mobile charger connect ($1,120), high-gloss black window trim ($400), the Performance Package ($6,430), and the Premium Package ($7,170).

All of that, plus the delivery/processing/handling fee, brought my loaner’s MSRP up to $143,690. It’s a very expensive car.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_56
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

But as is increasingly the case with EVs, the whole thing comes down to the user experience and brand preference. In the Taycan, you’re getting something that’s undeniably sporty and finished in that known Porsche way: tight, buttoned down, serious.

When taking my friend for a ride, he jokingly asked if the car had a whoopie cushion feature.

Of course not. This is a car built by adults. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_5
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Our impressions: Heavy but planted

Getting into any Porsche product expecting it to be bad is like thinking Lewis Hamilton will lose a race. Kind of like gravity or celestial movement, it’s just not something you bet against. The Taycan is no exception. 

There are, of course, a few things that feel a bit half-baked – the rear visibility, for one. Plus, the piped-in fake motor noise is rather gimmicky and at odds with what is otherwise a very serious car. But in terms of feeling quality and driving like a roller coaster, the Taycan absolutely nails it. 

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_70
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Is it worth six figures? I don’t know.

But I can tell you this. I liked the Taycan quite a bit. It’s not built on an internal-combustion engine platform that’s been repurposed for an EV, so there aren’t any glaringly obvious passenger or cargo room compromises. Sitting in the back does not give you the distinct feeling that you’re astride a battery pack.

The Taycan weighs more than two tons, but it conducts itself like a very planted sports car. The optional rear-axle steering helped with maneuverability in tight spaces. It cruised quietly and smoothly on the highway when it wasn’t gluing my passengers to their seatbacks.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_73
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

I understand that Porsche positions itself as a top-dollar brand, but I still did a double-take when the Taycan’s price was first announced. I might have even used an expletive that rhymes with “duck off.” If it’s one thing the EV space does not need, it’s another six-figure toy priced exclusively for the rich.

Perhaps, though, this is a similar method to Tesla’s: Launch the expensive, halo model first to get people excited about the idea and the brand, and then launch the cheaper volume seller.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_60
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

It would explain why the Taycan is a sedan rather than an SUV. Up next is most likely the electric Macan, believed to appear in 2022 or thereabouts. But if Taycan hardware makes it over to the Macan EV, then it’ll be a considerable package.

For now, though, those who want “the Porsche of EVs” now have one from the brand itself – and it’s a pretty good one, at that.

♦♦♦

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_83
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_38
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_84
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_17
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_75
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_27
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_53
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_28
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S_KL_72
2020 Porsche Taycan 4S.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Telluride SUV proves Hyundai and Kia are no longer underdogs in the US. But they still have work to do.

2020 Kia Telluride_19
2020 Kia Telluride.

  • The upscale Kia Telluride is evidence that Kia not only can, but will, build a good car that people actually want to buy.
  • Kia, along with Hyundai and Genesis, are offering stylish, sporty, quality cars at good prices. It’s a trend worth watching.
  • It’s also a trend the South Korean automakers need to stick with if they want to surpass industry giants like Honda and Toyota.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It wasn’t that long ago that cars from Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia had a reputation for being cheaply built and horribly unreliable. Buyers conflated their economy pricing with sub-par quality to the detriment of the automakers. But that is no more.

Within the last 15 years or so, Hyundai and Kia shed their crap-can reputations and instead focused on making cars that people actually wanted to buy – quality cars that looked good and were good to drive, too.

Perhaps the most shining example of that is the new Kia Telluride, a midsize three-row SUV named after a posh ski town in Colorado. Kia started selling it in the spring of 2019, and you people went nuts for it.

2020 Kia Telluride_13
2020 Kia Telluride.

SUVs in general have enjoyed strong sales here in the US for years. But when it came to the Telluride, things felt different. It felt lavish. Unlike its competitors. Like it belonged in at a higher price point than Kia gave it. The Telluride felt like a crowning moment of just how far Hyundai and Kia have come. 

It, plus the other offerings out of South Korea, hopefully symbolize a willingness to commit to what it takes to challenge current industry giants like Honda and Toyota – and if Hyundai and Kia do commit, those giants will be in for a fight.

Selling like hotcakes

Much of the Telluride’s initial coverage focused on how popular it was. It’s called the Kia “Sell-u-ride” internally, Automobile Magazine reported. Dealers couldn’t keep them on their lots because demand was so high, CNN said. Kia couldn’t build the Telluride fast enough to meet the need, The Car Connection wrote.

The best-selling Telluride, CarBuzz discovered, is the top-tier SX trim with the Premium Package. That one runs you at a starting MSRP of $46,390 – or a little more than a base Mercedes-Benz GLC.

2020 Kia Telluride_25
2020 Kia Telluride.

When the Telluride came out, I’d never seen such astonished headlines about one particular SUV before. There must have been something different about this Kia that was causing buyers to flock to it, so I went and reviewed one to see what all the fuss is about.

And you know what? I get it. 

The outside of the Telluride is striking. With its big, wide grille, its own name – T E L L U R I D E – stamped in silver lettering across its nose, its stacked headlights and square, orange daytime running lights, the Telluride’s face is not one that blends in with the rather bland SUVs it competes with. The perennially popular Toyota Highlander, conversely, is rolling anonymity. 

The Telluride is bold. It demands attention. And it doesn’t look like anything Kia has ever made or currently makes. If you covered up the badge, I probably wouldn’t have even thought it was a Kia at all. 

2020 kia telluride
2020 Kia Telluride.

Inside, it’s the same story. High-quality leathers, wood-appearing trim, simulated brushed metal switches and dials. Refinement, spaciousness. Upscale.

Rap on the dash with your knuckles and it doesn’t respond with that cheap, clacky, plasticky response. Toggle the air vents and they slide smoothly in their sockets. Close the doors and they return a satisfying thump. 

Fully loaded, my review Telluride came to just under $50,000. It was an incredible amount of car for the price, punching far above its weight and infringing dangerously close to luxury automaker territory.

Building the good cars

This upward trend with South Korean automakers started a few years ago and it might just give them a fighting chance against the Japanese ones – provided they keep investing the time, money, and resources required for maintaining that momentum. Because, so far, the cars have been good.

The new Genesis G70.
The new Genesis G70.

The Telluride’s biggest draw is that it offers an upmarket product that’s priced lower than many of its competitors.

There still might be a struggle with brand recognition issues over at Hyundai’s new luxury arm, Genesis, but the quality of its cars is undeniable. The G90 and G80 sedans are executive and just as comfortable to ride in as they are to drive. The G70 sport sedan is light-footed and fun, especially when paired with a manual transmission.

The Hyundai Sante Fe I tested in 2019 was tastefully upholstered inside. The new Tucson and Sonata are dazzling to look at. The Hyundai Veloster N remains one of the best and most fun cars I’ve ever driven, and it starts at about $30,000.

You know about the Kia Telluride. But before that, the Kia Stinger sport sedan came bursting out of the gates with a hatch-style trunk and sharp looks, winning Business Insider’s 2018 Car of the Year award. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster N.
2019 Hyundai Veloster N.

The new, 2022 Sedona’s redesign could very well make minivans cool again. And the new K5 sedan, which will replace the Optima, is a sporty and handsome thing that starts at $23,590.

These cars are proof that style doesn’t always have to command top dollar. In fact, it shouldn’t.

Humble beginnings

The ascent of South Korean automakers in the US public consciousness only started happening within the last 15 years or so.

A 2004 story in The New York Times reported that new-car buyers ranked Hyundai above any domestic or European automaker in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. It was the first time this had ever happened. 

The story quoted the agency’s then executive director of quality and customer satisfaction, Joe Ivers, as saying: “A decade ago, as Korean manufacturers struggled with a universally poor reputation for vehicle quality, no one would have predicted they could not only keep the pace, but actually pass domestics and other imports in terms of initial quality.”

Hyundai 39788 2020SonataSEL
Hyundai Sonata.

That wasn’t the whole story, though. The outlet pointed out that Kia continued to be a “subpar performer in the initial-quality rankings.”

“And in J.D. Power’s most recent study of long-term reliability, which many in the industry consider to be a more important barometer, the Hyundai brand ranks near the bottom of the industry and Kia is dead last,” The New York Times wrote. 

This is no longer the case.

Ascension

In 2018, the three highest-ranked brands on J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study were Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai. That same year, Consumer Reports named Genesis the top brand in the US. This past February, Genesis was ranked first on J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study.  

In a matter of a few years, the results have almost completely reversed themselves.

2022 Kia Sedona1
2022 Kia Sedona.

Gone are the days when you’d reject a Kia simply because it was a Korean car. Han’s casual dismissal of Hyundai in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” doesn’t hold the same type of punch-down humor it once did.

You do get the sense that Hyundai and Kia are still figuring out a cohesive design strategy – all BMWs look like BMWs, but not all Kias and Hyundais look like Kias and Hyundais yet – but as for what’s underneath? They’ve got that on lock. Based on what I’ve seen in just the past few years, what’s to come can only get better.

There’s still a long road ahead if the brands want to displace industry titans like Toyota and Honda – and even Nissan – of course. Hyundai and Kia account for just 8.1% of the market share in the US, The Korea Times reported in 2019. That was despite the greatly improved products. 

2021 Kia K5 GT.
2021 Kia K5 GT.

That modest market share is also comprised of weak segments – hatchbacks and compact sedans, as well as low-margin cars – so Kia and Hyundai must build up numbers there, too. Headline-grabbing Stingers and Tellurides can’t net all of the sales, after all. 

But it’s an optimistic spot to be in all the same. The crap-can reputation is a thing of the past, and that accounts very powerfully for public perception. With the Telluride especially, Kia has shown that it not only can, but will, build, execute, and sell a quality car that people actually want to buy.

The trick is to carry that same energy over to everything else.

Read the original article on Business Insider