2022 Ford Bronco: Raptor vs Everglades

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor and Everglades Series

We compare the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor and Everglades series.

 

The good folks at Ford Motor Company gave me 14 days behind two 2022 Ford Broncos. This was not the first time I was handed the keys to the new Bronco. In the Spring, I took an Outer Banks series to the beach, which was tons of fun and was turning heads. This month, I started my first seven days behind the Everglades series, followed by a Raptor series. Both vehicles offered a completely different riding experience.

Exterior

Looking at both Bronco, they are night and day. The Everglades series is in Desert Sand and has some fun and serious accessories for extreme offroading. Right off the bat, you notice the WARN® Bronco Winch Kit and Snorkel system, which both come factory installed. The snorkel allows for the submersion of up to 36.4 inches of water. When you add the Sasquatch package, you get 17-inch Carbonized Gray-painted alloy wheels with 35-inch Mud-Terrain tires. I needed the side steps on this model for easy entry, but if you plan to offroad your Bronco, it’s best not to have any.

The Raptor series is in Velocity Blue and looks like a life-size Hot Wheel. You first notice the Unique Raptor Hood and Grille with black “FORD” lettering, followed by the massively wide fender flares that lay over the 37 inches all-terrain tires. This variation came equipped with Removeable Running Board which was much needed, as it is taller than the Everglades series. Additionally, there are heavy-duty bash plates and modular front bumper with Rigid LED fog and off-road lamps.

Exterior Winner: Everglades Series

The Everglades exterior color is impressive in person, and the offroad accessories give it a more visually pleasing stance in contrast to the overly aggressive and toy-ish Raptor series seen in the same blue offered on the F-150 Raptors.

Interior

Both interiors are very similar. They both have Marine Grade Vinyl, Heated Front Seats, SYNC 4 – 12″ inch infotainment display, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and push-button start. The Everglades’ has an onyx interior, whereas the Raptor has an onyx and blue combination with suede. Even the Raptor’s steering wheel is the iconic style seen in the Raptor trucks, with a single red stripe at 12 o’clock. The Raptor series also had powered seats which the Everglades did not, and I was surprised that none of the Broncos I drove had cooling seats, a must-have in Texas, regardless of the season.

Interior Winner: Raptor Series

The two-tone color really pops, especially with the suede inserts and red stitching all around, adding more value and style to the overall interior.

Performance

These two Broncos had two different powertrains. The Everglades series was equipped with a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 Engine, giving us that sweet turbo tone. It is matched with a 10-Speed Automatic Transmission pushing out 300 horsepower and 326 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. On the streets, we were averaging 17.5 MPG. Additionally, it is equipped with electronic-locking front and rear axles, a 4.7 final drive ratio, high-clearance suspension, position-sensitive Bilstein shock absorbers, and high-clearance fender flares. Despite being heavier and slower, it is made for fearless offroading.

On the other hand, the Raptor is a real mean street machine with a 3.0L EcoBoost V6 Engine that sounds so good ripping down the streets in sport mode. Keeping our foot light on the pedal was hard, but we averaged 13 MPG. Matched with a 10-Speed Automatic Transmission, this beefy Bronco pushes out 418 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. It is capable of 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

Performance Winner: Raptor Series

2022 Ford Bronco Final Thoughts

Ford offers dozens of different variations of the new Bronco. You can easily find the one that fits you. The Raptor is a more fun series to drive with its larger engine, more excellent interior, and throaty exhaust. I would love to mash up the Everglades exterior color and accessories, such as the Snorkel and Winch, to this Raptor edition, making it the ultimate Bronco. The MSRP for the Everglades series tested is $56,535.00, and the MSRP for the Raptor series tested is $76,620.00. Please do not pay over MSRP if you are in the market for one. Ford has already disapproved of this new dishonest practice by dealers.

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Jeep Grand Wagoneer (Series II Obsidian) – 2022 Test Drive Review

The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer makes road trips effortless.

The good folks at Stellantis once again got me behind the wheel of their impressive Jeep Grand Wagoneer. This time it was Series II Obsidian model. I have been around this car a dozen times, which still amazes me. The Grand Wagoneer was my mode of transportation from Houston to Austin, where I covered the Fantastic Flim festival for my site Nerdtropolis. I knew this luxury SUV would provide an excellent and comfortable experience for my weekend journey.

Exterior

Many have argued that the Grand Wagoner has a lackluster exterior design. I beg to differ, as this SUV has distinct styling cues and is filled with brilliant easter eggs if you look closely enough. The Obsidian appearance package is my favorite color combo on the Grand Wagoneer. It provides a Bight White exterior color matched with Piano Black accents all over the SUV, from the wheels to the seven-slot grille to the window trim and roof.

Exterior Rating: 8/10

Interior

Many interior elements pay tribute to the Grand Wagoneer’s long history and feature high-end craftsmanship and added upscale materials. The interior design is elegant and modern, from the door panels to the dash and center console. Seating 7, every passenger will be pampered with comfort, tech, and entertainment. The front passenger gets their own screen, and two more touchscreens are mounted onto the headrests for your rear passengers. One of my favorite features is the McIntosh Entertainment System, which provides crisp and excellent sound. Additionally, the center console mini fridge is a great and convenient addition. To top off, the luxury experience is the massaging seats with over a dozen settings.

Interior Rating: 10/10

Performance

The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has a standard 6.4-liter V8 delivering 471 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque with the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite weighing over 6,300 pounds, the SUV can move quickly, especially when you need to pass on the highways. This SUV has an exceptionally smooth ride and offers excellent handling despite its extra large size. Navigating this yacht on wheels is a breeze, especially on the highway. Just recently, Jeep introduced the successor to this engine for 2023. It is a 510-hp twin-turbocharged inline-six called the Hurricane engine, and I have heard great things about it already. One is better MPG, as I was getting 14 miles per gallon on my trip, and this engine needed premium gas which can make a dent in your wallet.

This SUV has a 10,000-pound maximum towing capacity, three available four-wheel-drive systems, and a Quadra-Lift air suspension. The air suspension has multiple ride heights, allowing easy access into the SUV by lowering it by a half-inch and making it over obstacles with its 10 inches of ground clearance after raising the ride height to 3.6 inches. The Grand Wagoneer has safety features such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Active Lane Management, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear park assist sensors, Rear Cross Path detection, Active Driving Assist, and Night Vision.

Performance Rating: 9/10

2022 Grand Wagoneer Verdict

The Grand Wagoneer aims to compete against premium and luxury full-size SUVs like the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade. It is the ultimate ultra-luxury SUV for large families that like to travel short and long distances. The Grand Wagoneer offers best-in-class overall passenger volume, best-in-class third-row head and legroom, and the most cargo volume behind the third row. The MSRP for the model tested above is $112,475.

I look forward to the future Grand Wagoneers, such as the newly introduced L, providing more cargo space.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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Ford F-150 Lightning – 2022 Test Drive Review

The 2022 Ford Lightning is an excellent start for EV Trucks.

Ford Lightning Angle Shot

The good folks at Ford Motor Company brought me the brand new F-150 Lightning to drive for seven days. Naturally, I was excited to experience the thrilling electrified power of the Ford Lightning, the fastest-accelerating F-150 to date. I tested the Lariat Lightning with a Dual Motor, Standard Range Battery, and Max Trailer Tow Package.

Exterior

Looking at the truck, you could not tell if it was a standard gas-powered F-150 or the electrified Lightning. Besides the side rear Lighting badge and unique lit-up grille, everything else screams just a typical F-150. Would the Lightning have benefited from a more radical and exciting design? Probably, but this truck is aimed at current F-150 owners and early EV adopters. Even where the engine would have sat, a normal-looking hood with a grille still exists. When you open it, you find a large frunk that offers additional cargo of up to 400 pounds.

Ford Lightning Frunk

Out of the colors I have seen, this Smoked Quartz exterior has to be my favorite. With its metallic paint, it goes from a deep blue to an onyx. The headlight and taillight designs are the most radical features of the truck. The wheels have been a polarizing styling choice among the audience, with many calling them straight-up ugly, but they have grown on me, and I am certain its design is based on functionality over appearance.

Exterior Rating: 7.5/10

Ford Lightning Interior

Interior

I do like the interior of the F-150s. Previously I had an F-150 King Ranch Hybrid, which blew my mind inside and out. I even stated that the hybrid variation is more practical than the lighting. The interior of the Ford Lightning is no different than a Gas powered F-150. It is just as complimentary and roomy, giving your rear passengers plenty of legroom. The materials used are quality, and nothing feels out of place. Your truck’s command center is the extra-large infotainment tablet full of settings and features. The fold-out workstation is also a must-have for anyone that does office work on the go.

Interior Rating: 8/10

Ford Lightning Sean Tajipour

Performance

The Ford Lightning lives up to its name when it comes to performance. It comes standard with dual motors and all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, our truck was the standard battery version, giving us less range and power. The Electric motors provide 452 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. A 0-60 mph in the mid-4-second range is possible when equipped with an extended-range battery. Normal and Sport mode full throttle is a lot of fun and an experience I have never felt in a truck below. The immediate power from the electric motors is such a thrill and makes such a heavy vehicle feel light and nimble. The truck’s lower center of gravity offered impressive handling I have never experienced in a truck before. No other truck compares when turning. It has a maximum payload capacity of 2,235 pounds in the standard-range model with 18-inch wheels and a maximum of 10,000 pounds of available towing capacity on XLT and Lariat trucks with the extended-range battery and Max Trailer Tow Package. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to test its towing capability and how much of a strain it puts on the battery, but I would refer to my friends at Pickup Truck + SUV Talk.

Performance Rating: 9/10

2022 Ford Lightning Verdict

The Ford Lighting is the first mainstream electric truck to hit the streets finally, but many parts of the country may not be ready for fully electric work and recreational trucks. Even though it lives up to its name with its performance, the charging infrastructure is still the problem. For at-home charging, your options are using 110 and 220-volt outlets. If you charge at home with a 110, expect about 14% of charge in 24 hours. Out in the wild, you will have to find a charging station capable of charging quickly. Ford advertises 15% to 80% of battery capacity in 44 minutes, but I did not experience that. The closest and faster-charging station for me was an EVgo at HEB, where I charged $18 per hour, and it took me two hours to go from 33% to 90%. The MSRP of the truck tested is $81,099.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Grand Wagoneer Review

 

Lexus LS 500 F Sport – 2022 Test Drive Review

The 2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport is a VIP sedan.

The 2022 LS 500 F Sport is a true executive sedan. It balances comfort, luxury, and sport performance. The model we tested was a rear-wheel drive variation but is also offered with AWD and a hybrid drivetrain. The LS 500 starts at $77,075, and the model seen below has a total MSRP of $98,255.

Exterior

The LS 500 has an elegant yet sporty profile. In Matador Red Mica, though, the car takes two steps back in appearance. This color did not do it for me, and it would look best in the offered greys, black, white, and even dark blue. This Red exterior has to be the least favorable color. The LS 500 has a unique front bumper and grille, 20-inch Dark Vapor Chrome alloy wheels, a rear diffuser, lower door trim, and a panoramic glass roof with the F Sport package.

Exterior Rating: 8/10

Interior

The interior is very spacious. At 6’1, there was plenty of room in the driver seat and the lounge-style rear passenger setup. The design is sleek, modern, and stylish with many great features but does not carry the wow factor compared to other luxury sedans in its class, especially pushing $100K. However, that does not mean it does not boast a brilliant interior. It features real wood interior trim, heated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a heads-up display, a Mark Levinson 23-speaker audio system, and one of the crispest and clear digital mirrors I have ever seen due to the larger high-resolution display allowing for improved visibility. Passengers in the rear can experience extraordinary comfort and features to ensure a luxurious ride. There are 4 zone ventilation and a center console that controls ventilated seats and massage.

Interior Rating: 8/10

Performance

The 2022 LS 500 F Sport has a 3.5L V6 twin-turbo engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. It pushes out 416 horsepower, 62 more horsepower than its hybrid counterpart. It sounds good and feels good with a V6 under the hood, but I would like to see a V8 variant offering more raw and unhinged power to the wheels. The 0-60 time is an impressive 4.6 seconds, and you can tailor the powertrain response and feel by choosing from Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sport S, or Sport S+ modes. It has a fuel economy combined rating of 22MPG, and with my heavy foot, I managed to stay at around 21 MPG. This model I was testing had Adaptive Variable Air Suspension, which offered adjustable ride height and a smooth and graceful driving experience like you were driving on clouds.

Performance Rating: 8/10

2022 Lexus LS 500 F Sport Verdict

The LS 500 was comfortable and easy to drive. It is a great car to be chauffeured around. As 2023+ Lexus’ begin to get refreshed, I am looking forward to what the future of Lexus will bring to this popular platform. Wireless Carplay and losing the touchpad are imminent. Finally, my only negative experience with this sedan was the flat tire I got and realizing there was no spare due to the air compressor for the suspension.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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Lexus LC 500 Hybrid – 2022 Test Drive Review

LC 500h WHM Automotive Media

The 2022 Lexus LC 500 Hybrid is one good-looking sports car.

The 2022 LC 500 and LC 500h was released with the first-ever Bespoke Build service. This allows Lexus customers to configure their vehicles in numerous ways. Based on the Sport Package, the LC’s Bespoke Build includes Torsen limited-slip rear differential with Yamaha rear performance damper, high-performance brake pads from Mu, and Intuitive Parking Assist. In addition, you can customize the LC 500’s wheels, spoiler, roof, and exterior/interior trim and colors. For example, the carbon fiber roof and all-new Manhattanhenge interior color are exclusive to Bespoke Build.

Exterior

The LC 500 has one of the best designs and aesthetics of any car I have driven. The first time it was introduced to the LC 500, I was in love with all the lines, the stance, and the overall design. The carbon rear wing and carbon fiber wing paired with the high gloss rear valance and 21 wheels make this car stand out more than it already does. The Cadmium Orange exterior may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does give a more exotic look to the LC500. Depending on the light, the color changes from a Longhorn Orange to a deep copper.

Exterior Rating: 10/10

Interior

The Manhattanhenge interior may be an overload of orange for some, but I loved the in-your-face design complimented with black panels and silver accent pieces. If you are puzzled by the color name, it comes from a rare New York City occurrence. On two special days a year, the rising or setting sun aligns perfectly with the primary Manhattan street grid, creating a beautiful orange glow that illuminates the urban skyline. The driver seat is very cockpit-centric, similar to the Nissan Z. I am 6’1 and had no issues fitting comfortably. This car does have a back seat, but it is not functional or serves a valuable purpose as there is zero legroom.

Regarding the tech and features available, the infotainment system is outdated in the 2022 model. Lexus has upgraded for 2023+ Lexus vehicles and beyond, and I look forward to that. However, this car did not have wireless Carplay, still uses the trackback system that is no longer impressive, and a 360 camera seemed to be missing. I expected some fancy technology features and utilities unique to the 6-figure LC.

Interior Rating: 8/10

Performance

The 2022 LC 500h is equipped with a V6 hybrid system. It pushes out 354 horsepower compared to the 5.0 liter V8 delivering 471 horsepower. I would pick a V8 all day, especially when high performance and an exotic design go hand in hand. Still, the hybrid version is no slouch. Despite being heavier than the V8 variant is capable of 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. It carries a pair of electric motors and a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery that can provide pure electric driving under 35mph but only lasts 4 miles. The handling and the ride quality are excellent, considering the enormous 21-inch wheels, but I expect nothing less from a Lexus product.

Furthermore, my heavy foot was no match for the stated combined 29 mpg. I was only able to manage 21.5 with spirited driving. So I can only imagine I would only get 16 or less in the V8. I would love to see a fully electric version of the LC 500.

Performance Rating: 7/10

2022 Lexus LC500 Hybrid Verdict

I love the Lexus LC500, but I cannot get behind the hybrid version. The V8 is more to my taste. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful design, and I dig this color combination. Unfortunately, this vehicle’s tech and features are already outdated since 2023+ Lexus vehicles are getting refreshed with a new Infotainment system.
I look forward to the mild changes and updates they make to this platform, which is almost a home run. Finally, I would love to see a hardtop convertible version and one that is entirely electric. The model tested has an MSRP of $118,630.

Overall Rating: 8/10

LEXUS LS 500 F SPORT Review

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Nissan Z Performance – 2023 Test Drive Review

2023 Nissan Z RiceBox

2023 Nissan Z will be loved by 350Z and 370Z owners.

The 2023 Nissan Z is one of the most anticipated sports cars of the decade, and soon they will be hitting the streets. After being introduced to the Proto Z and re-introduced to the Z at the Houston Auto Show, I now have my hands on a pre-production Performance Edition of the header-turn 2-door coupe for seven days. Since day one, in my possession, the Z has received constant attention and praise. Then, jaws dropped, seeing it on the streets of Houston. Finally, owners and fans of the 350Z and 370Z will be satisfied with the redesigned coupe.

Exterior

The Z in a two-tone Passion Red and Super Black compliments the multi-generational design. The rear screams 300zx and the front is a futuristic extension of the 350Z/370Z. It is almost like a Frankenstein build sewn together cleanly. The rear, which has a low stance and great styling, is my favorite design aspect of the new Z, but the long front hood slowly grew on me as it does compliment the entire car’s silhouette. The black roof, wheels, rear valence, and trunk panel perfectly complete the Z’s two-tone appearance.

Exterior Rating: 8.5/10

Interior

The cockpit is nicely redesigned yet still very simple with updated materials. It has a 12.3-inch customizable racing-inspired TFT meter display, triple gauge pods like the previous generation, available leather-appointed sports seats, and an 8-speaker Bose Audio system. The only two features I wished for in the one I drove were cooling seats and a 360 camera. Yet, No bells and whistles are needed to please Z fans. For those familiar with the last generation, you will feel at home in this slightly updated interior. At 6’1, I felt like I was the max size that would be able to drive the Nissan Z and handle the driver-centric cockpit comfortably.

Interior Rating: 9.5/10

Performance

The 2023 Z’s 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine is plentiful and paired with an exhaust tone that can’t help but make you imagine that you are the star of Tokyo Drift. The engine pushes at 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque and delivers a smooth and perky response. 0-60 with the 9-speed automatic transmission with aluminum paddle shifters is 4.0 seconds. The Z grips well, and the only gripe I had was the loose steering which I expected to be stiffer and sportier. However, in the 400+ miles I drove, I averaged 21.6 MPG, mostly highway driving. In addition, a six-speed manual will be made available for those who want the purest connection between driver and machine.

Performance Rating: 9.5/10

2023 Nissan Z Verdict

At a total MSRP of $53,610, the 2023 Nissan Z Performance is worth every penny. The Z Sport 3.0-liter V6 is the lowest-priced version, with a starting MSRP of $39,990. In addition, a Z Proto Spec version will also be available, which is the highest trim at $52,990. Finally, they should be at Nissan dealers nationwide in late summer 2022.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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Nissan Kicks SR – 2022 Test Drive Review

The 2022 Nissan Kicks SR is a good vehicle for your high school or college student.

The Nissan Kicks in the two-tone Scarlet Ember Tintcoat/Super Black exterior is bold, stylish, and aimed at the youngest generation of drivers. It offers best-in-class fuel economy to help your teen save money at the gas pumps and ample space inside to haul friends.

ENGINE

The Nissan Kicks’ most disappointing feature is its lack of a decently powered engine. It has a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder that only pushes out 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. I find it unacceptable for this car to be so underpowered in our current times. It felt like I was driving the Flinstones car as I put my foot all the way down on the highway, and it was barely accelerating. This is due to the vehicle having CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission, which means it does not have gears that provide “steps” between low- and high-speed operation. This allows for the Kicks to be more fuel-efficient which it is. With my heavy foot, I averaged 32 MPG after driving 350 Miles. 31 City and 36 Highway MPG is what Nissan claims.

INTERIOR

The interior may not be as fancy or stylish as the exterior, but it is conservatively simple and sturdy. I am 6’1 and did not feel cramped in any of the seats. Instead, there was plenty of headroom and leg space to make you think you are driving something larger. The Kicks comes with standard tech features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a host of driver assists, such as automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Cargo space is the most impressive in the Kicks. The versatile cargo with a 60/40-split rear seat offers space up to 32.3 cubic feet.

The starting price of the 2022 Nissan Kicks is $19,900. The model seen here is priced at $25,980. This car is worth a look at if you are looking at a vehicle for your newly licensed teenager or recent high school grad headed to college.

Nissan Kicks Overall Rating: 7/10

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