Reviews – Autonoid The automobile magazine Tue, 24 Nov 2020 07:04:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reviews – Autonoid 32 32 What’s Included With Your Alfa Romeo Warranty [2020 Guide] Tue, 24 Nov 2020 07:04:23 +0000 What’s Included With Your Alfa Romeo Warranty [2020 Guide]
What’s Included With Your Alfa Romeo Warranty [2020 Guide]

Continue reading What’s Included With Your Alfa Romeo Warranty [2020 Guide] at Autonoid.

What’s Included With Your Alfa Romeo Warranty [2020 Guide]

When you purchase a new or certified pre-owned Alfa Romeo, your vehicle is guaranteed by the manufacturer to be defect-free. If you experience an unexpected breakdown, repairs to most parts and components will be covered under your Alfa Romeo warranty.

In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the factory warranty from Alfa Romeo, including what’s covered and how long coverage lasts. We’ll also help you decide whether getting extra coverage from one of the best extended car warranty companies would be worth it for Alfa Romeo vehicles. You can see more on our top-rated warranty providers below.

Need more coverage?

 Motor1 has reviewed over a dozen auto warranty companies

See Our Top Picks >



In this article:

Alfa Romeo Warranty Overview

The cornerstone of Alfa Romeo warranty coverage is a 4-year/50,000-mile basic limited bumper-to-bumper warranty that offers coverage for the majority of vehicle components. It includes protection for everything from the engine to the navigation system. 

Alfa Romeo is an Italian auto manufacturer that was founded in 1910. In 1986 it was acquired by Fiat, and in 2014 Fiat merged with Chrysler. Today, the brand is owned by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) corporation, but Alfa Romeo warranty coverage is specific to Alfa Romeo vehicles. It consists of the following protections:

  • 4-year/50,000-mile basic limited warranty
  • 1-year/10,000-mile complimentary first service
  • 5-year/unlimited-mile anti-corrosion perforation warranty
  • 4-year/unlimited-mile towing and roadside assistance

Alfa Romeo warranty exclusions are typical for any warranty and include:

  • Damage resulting from abuse, negligence, misuse
  • Damage resulting from racing
  • Maintenance costs like lubrication and tune-ups
  • Damage resulting from an accident

Compared to other manufacturer warranties, Alfa Romeo warranty coverage is standard. Most automakers offer separate bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties. However, most high-performance vehicles come with one bumper-to-bumper warranty that typically lasts for four years.



Certified Pre-Owned Alfa Romeo Warranty

Alfa Romeo vehicles that are less than 5 years old and that have less than 50,000 miles on the odometer are eligible for certified pre-owned (CPO) status. A CPO Alfa Romeo must pass a 175-point inspection before it is sold, but to give you added peace of mind, all vehicles come with a CPO Alfa Romeo warranty that lasts 5 years/100,000 miles from the car’s original in-service date. 

This coverage offered by the CPO Alfa Romeo warranty is similar to the manufacturer’s new vehicle limited warranty. It’s also transferable to a subsequent vehicle owner if you pay a $150 transfer fee.



Do You Need Extended Warranty Coverage?

If your Alfa Romeo is less than 4 years old and has less than 50,000 miles on the odometer, it is still covered by the factory warranty. If you’re unsure about your car’s warranty eligibility, you can call any Alfa Romeo dealership to ask. Providing your vehicle identification number (VIN) should allow any dealership to search your vehicle in their database and tell you the status of your Alfa Romeo warranty.

As your factory warranty nears the expiration date (or if it has already passed), you might consider an extended auto warranty. An extended warranty can help guard against the cost of unexpected repairs and help you plan for long-term maintenance costs.

When trying to determine if an extended warranty is worth it, consider your vehicle’s reliability. Especially reliable vehicles are less likely to break down and may not benefit as much from extended warranty coverage. So how reliable are Alfa Romeo vehicles?

Typically, our team turns to RepairPal for vehicle reliability data. The site uses driver-reported data to estimate things like average annual repair costs, frequency of repairs, and the probability of needing a major repair. However, because Alfa Romeo is such a small-scale manufacturer, RepairPal does not have enough information about the Alfa Romeo brand to make these estimations.

Most sports cars have expensive maintenance costs, as they tend to break down more often. Repairs can also be more costly, especially because of the high-quality replacement parts and specialized mechanics needed to perform them. 

Alfa Romeo vehicles seem to have had some issues in the past, as 11 technical service bulletins (TSBs) have been released regarding the Alfa Romeo Giulia. A TSB is issued by the manufacturer when there are recurring reports of a similar problem for the same model vehicle. TSBs about the Alfa Romeo Giulia regarded issues with the:

  • Steering
  • Heating
  • Brakes
  • Coolant hose retainer
  • Electrical systems

It is important to note that many extended warranty providers specifically exclude any issues that are mentioned in TSBs. However, your manufacturer should cover any TSB issues for the duration of your car’s life.



What Does An Alfa Romeo Extended Warranty Cover?

All FCA-brand vehicles can be covered by an extended warranty through Mopar®. Mopar is the parts manufacturer for FCA brands and offers two extended service contracts for Alfa Romeos: Maximum Care and Added Care Plus. 

Contract terms such as length, deductible, and final cost may vary by dealership and can be negotiable. The longest coverage terms last up to 8 years and 150,000 miles.

The Maximum Care plan covers over 5,000 named components, such as the:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Driveline
  • Steering
  • Air conditioning
  • Engine cooling system
  • Fuel system
  • Electrical components
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Brakes
  • Instrumentation
  • Power components
  • Luxury components
  • Body mechanisms
  • Manual interior mechanisms
  • Safety and security systems

The Added Care Plus coverage is less extensive and includes only the most important systems, such as the:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Front- and rear-wheel drive
  • Steering
  • Air conditioning
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Electrical components

Mopar’s Alfa Romeo extended warranty plans are comprehensive, but like all vehicle service contracts, there are a number of exclusions. Alfa Romeo extended warranties will not cover: 

  • Regular maintenance services
  • Catalytic converter
  • Cosmetic items like glass, paint, dents, and upholstery
  • Snowplows, winches, and trailers
  • Wear items such as tires, the manual clutch assembly, brake pads, shoes, rotors, drums, belts, and wipers

These exclusions are common among extended warranties.



Other Choices For Alfa Romeo Coverage

As a luxury brand, not all extended warranty providers cover Alfa Romeos. Out of our three top-rated providers, neither Endurance nor Carchex offers warranty contracts for Alfa Romeo vehicles. CarShield, however, covers certain Alfa Romeo models.

Third-party extended warranty providers like CarShield offer some advantages over the warranty you might find with your dealership. For example, CarShield can offer: 

  • Coverage for older vehicles
  • More coverage options
  • A greater network of repair shops
  • Less-expensive coverage than a dealership extended warranty

If you want to see how much a CarShield extended warranty would cost for your Alfa Romeo, click below for a free quote.

Yes, Alfa Romeo’s warranty is transferable.

New Alfa Romeo vehicles come with 1 year/10,000 miles of free maintenance service.

Alfa Romeo is not made by Ferrari. However, when Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, it was an Alfa Romeo racing team. The team didn’t become independent until 1939.



]]> 0
42 MPH Has Never Felt So Fast Mon, 23 Nov 2020 23:02:52 +0000 42 MPH Has Never Felt So Fast
42 MPH Has Never Felt So Fast

Continue reading 42 MPH Has Never Felt So Fast at Autonoid.

42 MPH Has Never Felt So Fast

Racking up more than a thousand victories during its time in motorsport, the Bugatti Type 35 is probably the most successful racing car in history. Introduced in 1924 with a revised version of the 2.0-liter straight-eight engine that motivated the Type 29, the Type 35 was a masterpiece that soon became a formidable presence in endurance racing, winning the Targa Florio in 1925 and taking home the Grand Prix championship the following season.

Understandably proud of its creation, company founder Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean Bugatti decided to build a scaled-down Type 35 for Ettore’s youngest son, Roland, for his fourth birthday. Although originally intended as a one-off creation, feedback from customers who visited the automaker’s headquarters in Molsheim, France, was so positive the Bugatti “Baby” went into production.

2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II

The production version of the Baby (also known as the Type 52) was larger and a bit more fleshed-out than the kart Bugatti created for Roland. Roughly half-scale versus the Type 35, the Baby used a single 12-volt electric motor and boasted mechanical brakes and a semi-elliptical spring suspension. Bugatti built 500 examples of the original Baby between 1927 and 1936.

Over the years the original Baby has become a sought-after commodity for well-heeled Bugatti enthusiasts, but with roughly 150 examples still around today, only a select few can get their hands on one. In celebration of the company’s 110th birthday, Bugatti decided to put another 500 into production with a modernized spin. Dubbed the Baby II, the new car embodies the look and feel of the original Type 52, but in a larger and faster package. How much faster, you ask? Fast enough to briefly get it up on two wheels while hustling around the Streets of Willow road course in Rosamond, California, as it turns out.

2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II

Remastering The Baby

At 75 percent scale versus the Type 35, the Baby II is large enough that most adult-sized enthusiasts can take part in the fun now. Even your author shoehorned his 6-foot-3 frame into the cockpit, albeit with the quick-release steering wheel removed for ingress and egress and the adjustable pedal box (which has pedals machined from billet aluminum, naturally) extended out as far as it would go.

While the technology underpinning the Baby II has grown up, significant engineering effort went into maintaining some of the vibe of Type 35. To provide an authentic representation of the original race car’s handling characteristics, Bugatti 3D-scanned an original Lyon GP car in order to replicate its suspension geometry. The inclusion of adjustable dampers here, which Bugatti says is its only concession to modernity in the suspension system, provides a level of tunability that Ettore could only have dreamed of back in 1924.

Available in three different iterations – Base, Vitesse, and Pur Sang – the open-wheel throwback has a limited slip differential, hydraulic brakes, and selectable drive modes.

The cockpit of the Baby II follows the overall theme of blending vintage aesthetic with a dose of contemporary tech. The aforementioned quick-release steering wheel follows the Type 35’s four-spoke design, as does the turned aluminum dashboard, but a battery gauge now resides where the fuel pressure gauge would be on the Type 35, and in an homage to the Veyron, a power gauge takes the place of the oil gauge. In a similar strategy, Bugatti meticulously reproduced the Type 35’s fuel pump handle for the Baby II – here it serves as the forward, neutral, and reverse selector.

Available in three different iterations – Base, Vitesse, and Pur Sang – the open-wheel throwback has a limited slip differential, hydraulic brakes, and selectable drive modes. The Base model ($36,600) comes strictly in French Racing Blue with black leather interior. It’s outfitted with a composite body and a 1.4-kWh battery pack, with a maximum speed of about 30 mph in Expert mode (Novice mode is for the youngsters and limits speed to 12 mph) and a range of about 15 miles.

2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II

We spent our seat time in a Vitesse example ($53,000), which scores lighter carbon fiber bodywork, a range of color options, and a 2.8 kWh battery pack that doubles the Baby II’s range while also allowing for performance beyond the Base car’s Expert mode. Like Bugatti’s modern hypercars, Vitesse and Pur Sang-spec Baby II models also have a second “speed key” which unlocks the system’s full 10-kW potential, raising the maximum velocity to about 42 mph.

Targeted at collectors, the Baby II Pur Sang sits at the top of the range, at $71,400. While it shares its mechanical setup with the Vitesse, Bugatti ditched the modern carbon fiber in favor of handmade aluminum bodywork. Formed using traditional coach-building techniques, the process of creating each body takes more than 200 hours to complete, according to Bugatti.

2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II
2021 Bugatti Baby II

Behind The Wheel

After a walk-around of the car, we settle in at the helm. It’s a tight squeeze, but manageable. A tilt steering column would do wonders here, but it wouldn’t fit with the mission of the Baby II. From the no-nonsense simplicity of the cockpit to the notably positive camber of the front wheels at rest, it’s clear that the primary mission here is to offer enthusiasts a chance to better understand what life was like for those racers piloting Type 35s nearly a century ago.

We started off in Expert mode for a sighting lap to re-acclimate with Streets of Willow. It’s a tight, technical road course that favors nimble handling over horsepower – a favorite for fans of cars like the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ. At this pace we have ample time to consider our lines, but the Baby II also is so small that we can more or less point it straight down the middle in Turns 5 and 6 as well as 11 and 12.

You can simply look down and see exactly which direction the tires are pointed and what the suspension is doing.

It also reminds us of the virtues of open wheel cars – you can simply look down and see exactly which direction the tires are pointed and what the suspension is doing, placing the car within inches of your intended target every single time. It also provided us with the opportunity to yell at some birds that seemed unconcerned about the EV barreling down on them as we approached Turn 1. You can do that kind of thing when most of your body is outside of the car.

There’s certainly fun to be had at thirty miles per hour, but we were quickly wishing for more, so we came back to the pits and kindly asked for the second key. “Let me know if you notice the change,” the rep said as she disabled the limiter. A 12-mph increase didn’t sound like much to us, so we tempered our expectations before laying into the accelerator, which promptly threw us back into the seat. Trust us, it makes a difference.

The Baby II has regenerative braking that, when in Expert mode, can slow the car down enough to make it a one-pedal operation around the entire course. It’s definitely not enough with the limiter disabled, though, and that alone makes it a far more involving experience. This pace requires you to actively manage the humble amount of grip offered by the tires and pay attention to weight balance when diving into a corner – get a little over-zealous and you may start to see daylight under the inside wheels as you hunt for an apex. Did we mention that there are no seat belts?

The car afforded us about half a dozen more hot laps before we started to notice the power trailing off and headed into the pits. Owners can replace the Baby II’s lithium-ion battery in a matter of seconds so the party can continue, but that’s assuming that you have a second battery that’s charged up and ready to go. We were anxious for more laps but the car’s handlers gently reminded us that other people also needed to drive the Baby II.

Suddenly we’re a little annoyed that we have to share. Talk about feeling like a kid again.



]]> 0
Best Car Insurance: Wisconsin [2020 Cost Data] Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:59:20 +0000 Best Car Insurance: Wisconsin [2020 Cost Data]
Best Car Insurance: Wisconsin [2020 Cost Data]

Continue reading Best Car Insurance: Wisconsin [2020 Cost Data] at Autonoid.

Best Car Insurance: Wisconsin [2020 Cost Data]



As with most states, auto insurance is required in Wisconsin. This article will tell you everything you need to know about car insurance in Wisconsin, including state minimum requirements, average premium rates, and the best insurers in the state.

Our review team has written about the best auto insurance companies in the nation, reviewing factors like cost, industry reputation, customer service, and more. In this review, we re-examine our top insurers for the state of Wisconsin, considering regional rates and customer satisfaction scores.

Of course, while rates vary by state, they also vary by individual. Our recommended providers have low average rates for the region, but the only way to find the lowest-cost insurer for you is to compare multiple car insurance quotes. Enter your zip code into the tool below or call 855-518-0148 to start getting free car insurance quotes.


In this article:

5 Best Car Insurance Companies In Wisconsin

The chart below outlines what we’ve determined are the top five providers of car insurance in Wisconsin. In formulating this list, we considered our independent rankings, average local rates, and local satisfaction scores. All of our recommended providers scored above the regional average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction StudySM for the North Central region (which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin).


*You may notice that some car insurance companies are listed above those with higher star ratings. This is because our star ratings take into account nationwide factors, while our ranking looks specifically at what insurance providers are best for car insurance in Wisconsin.



We rated Gieco as the best overall provider for any state, and it’s also our top choice for car insurance in Wisconsin. Geico has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best. In our Geico auto insurance review, we gave the company a 4.5 out of 5.0-star rating.

In regional surveys, Geico performs well. It ranked first in the J.D. Power Satisfaction Study for the North Central region, scoring 851 out of a possible 1,000 points.

In addition to the standard types of auto insurance like comprehensive and collision coverage, Geico also offers Wisconsin drivers valuable add-ons like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. As a Geico customer, you can also purchase coverage like homeowners insurance and renters insurance.

Bundling your auto insurance policy with another product, such as Geico motorcycle insurance, is one way to save money. The insurer also offers the following discounts on car insurance in Wisconsin:

  • Good student discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Defensive driver discount
  • Safety feature discount
  • Multiple vehicle discount
  • Military discount
  • Federal employee discount

Additionally, Wisconsin drivers are eligible to participate in Geico’s usage-based insurance program, called DriveEasy. DriveEasy tracks driving habits and offers insurance premium discounts for safe driving.

Geico Pros Geico Cons
A+ rating from the BBB and A++ financial strength rating
from AM Best
Average quotes experience
Many choices for coverage  
High level of customer satisfaction  



USAA Insurance logo

USAA is our highest-rated provider in the United States because of its positive customer service reviews and low-cost auto insurance policies. The only reason we do not recommend USAA as the best provider overall is that it is not available to all drivers. To be eligible for a policy with USAA, you must be a member of the military or have a parent or spouse who is a USAA member. For Wisconsin drivers who are able to sign up for USAA auto insurance, we highly recommend it.

In the J.D. Power Satisfaction Study for the North Central region, USAA scored the highest, with 897 points. This was well above the regional average of 830. However, USAA was not eligible for formal ranking because of its strict membership requirements.

In addition to excellent Wisconsin auto insurance coverage, USAA offers a number of other types of coverage and helpful services to its members, including homeowners insurance and banking services. USAA customers tend to be loyal and satisfied. The following BBB review sums up the experience of many USAA customers.

“I am amazed by the level of service I have received on my recent insurance claim. The process was so easy and quick… The settlement was fair. I can’t believe how painless the process was. This is a premium product with premium service. I will be with USAA for life.”

– Brittany H. via BBB

Learn more by reading our complete USAA auto insurance review.

Affordable rates and numerous discounts Only available for military and their families
Good option for military members and young drivers  
A++ financial rating from AM Best  



Country Financial Insurance logo

Country Financial is a regional provider with a good customer service reputation in Wisconsin. In our Country Financial review, we rated the provider 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

The insurer scored 840 points in the J.D. Power Satisfaction Study for the region. This put it in fifth place and above the regional average of 830. Country Financial also boasts an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from the BBB. 

In addition to offering satisfactory local service, Country Financial offers some of the lowest rates for car insurance in Wisconsin. You can save money on a Country Financial policy by taking advantage of discount offers such as:

  • Advance quote discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Simply Drive® discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Legacy discount
  • Defensive driver discount
  • Occupation discount (for teachers, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and paramedics)
  • Anti-theft device discount
  • Good student and college student discounts

Country Financial is available in 19 states across the South, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest. If you’re looking for a high-quality customer service experience, consider this provider for your Wisconsin car insurance needs. 

Country Financial Pros Country Financial Cons
Several coverage options and discounts Only available in 19 states
Positive customer service reviews  
A+ rating from the BBB  



Grange Insurance is available in 13 states, including Wisconsin. The provider ranked seventh in the J.D. Power Satisfaction Study for the region, with 832 points. It is rated A- for financial strength by AM Best and has an accredited A+ rating from the BBB. In our Grange insurance review, we rated the provider 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

In 2018, Grange Insurance wrote more than $574 million in premiums for private passenger automobiles. So while it is not the biggest car insurance company on this list, it does have the financials to meet customer claim obligations. 

Grange Insurance is a low-cost option for car insurance in Wisconsin. The insurer’s many discount offers include:

  • Advance purchase discount 
  • Multi-car discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Good student discount
  • Student away at school discount
  • Mature driver discount 
  • Defensive driving discount
  • Anti-theft device discount 
  • Good driver discount 
  • Electric or hybrid vehicle discount

Grange Insurance reviews indicate dedicated customer service agents and quality claims coverage. One customer commented the following on the BBB website:

“I have worked with [an agent] at Grange, and he has been very detailed, efficient, and professional. I had called on a Tuesday regarding a claim, and by Wednesday of the same week, it was resolved. I have Grange for my home and auto and would highly recommend them.”

– Kim via BBB

Grange Insurance Pros Grange Insurance Cons
A- financial strength rating from AM Best and A+ BBB rating No online quotes
Standard coverage with optional extras  
Variety of discounts  



Farmers Insurance logo

Farmers Insurance ranked lower in the J.D. Power Satisfaction Study for the North Central region than our other recommended companies for car insurance in Wisconsin. However, with 831 points, it still scored above the regional average and is a company customers can trust.

Farmers has strong fiscal stability, as indicated by its A rating for financial strength from AM Best. For some drivers, Farmers may offer cheap car insurance in Wisconsin, especially if you are eligible for any of Farmers’ many discounts, such as:

  • Good driver discount
  • Homeowner discount
  • Bundling discount
  • Safe driving discount
  • Good student discount
  • Occupational discounts (for doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and more)
  • Alternatively fueled vehicle discount
  • Safety feature discount
  • Multiple vehicle discount

Farmers Insurance also offers a senior defensive driving discount for people age 55 or older. After completing an online safety course provided by the AARP, older divers can save money on their car insurance in Wisconsin.

Learn more about this insurer by reading our full Farmers auto insurance review, in which we rate the company 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Farmers Pros Farmers Cons
Good selection of coverage add-ons Customer complaints about high premiums, roadside assistance availability, and rental car options
Discount opportunities for good drivers Average customer service
‘A’ financial strength rating by AM Best  
Highly rated mobile apps  



Wisconsin Car Insurance Requirements

Each state sets its own car insurance laws and limits, so the minimum required coverage and penalties vary by state. If you are getting car insurance in Wisconsin, you’ll need to ensure your policy includes at least the following state-required minimums coverage limits:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability

If you are caught driving without car insurance in Wisconsin, you could face fines up to $500. Even driving without carrying your proof of insurance can cost you, though minimally. If you are pulled over or are in an accident and fail to show proof of insurance, you could be fined up to $10. If you are caught offering fraudulent proof of insurance, you could be fined up to $5,000.



Cost Of Wisconsin Insurance

Car insurance in Wisconsin tends to be cheaper than it is in most other states. Compared to the rest of the U.S., it is the seventh cheapest state for auto insurance.

The chart below compares the average cost of Wisconsin car insurance with the national average. The information comes from data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). These numbers show average annual expenditures in 2017.

Type of Coverage Average Annual Expenditure in Wisconsin National Average Annual Expenditure
Liability coverage $412.46 $611.12
Collision coverage $243.52 $363.08
Comprehensive coverage $148.83 $159.72
Total cost* $731.20 $1,004.58

*Most drivers carry liability coverage but not necessarily other types of auto insurance. Total average annual expenditure measures what Wisconsin drivers actually spent on auto insurance in 2017.



What To Know About Driving In Wisconsin

Wisconsin drivers traveled an average of 15,364 miles per licensed driver in 2018, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That same year, there were 588 traffic deaths, which comes out to 10.1 deaths per 100,000 people. This is slightly lower than the national average of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

Wisconsin is known for its heavy annual snowfall. Driving in Wisconsin in the winter months can be especially dangerous, so be sure to take into account road conditions and drive accordingly. While winter conditions make driving more dangerous, most accidents in Wisconsin occur in the summer, and the leading cause of accidents is excessive speeding. Keep within the speed limits and always wear your seatbelt.



Final Thoughts

There are several strong options for car insurance in Wisconsin. We recommend Wisconsin drivers look into policies from Geico, USAA, Country Financial, Grange Insurance, and Farmers. Individual rates are likely to vary, so the only way to find the lowest premium cost for you is to compare multiple quotes. Enter your zip code into the tool below or call 855-518-0148 to start getting free car insurance quotes.



FAQ: Car Insurance In Wisconsin

Who has the cheapest car insurance in Wisconsin?

There is no single cheapest provider of car insurance in Wisconsin, as rates are determined on an individual basis. The cheapest provider for one driver may not be the cheapest provider for everyone. In general, Geico and USAA tend to offer the lowest rates for Wisconsin drivers and are a good place to start your search.

How much is car insurance in Wisconsin per month?

In 2017, the average driver spent $731.20 per year on car insurance in Wisconsin, which is about $61 per month. Of course, your own rates may vary and could be higher or lower than this, depending on factors like your age, driving record, deductible, coverage level, and more.

Can you drive without insurance in Wisconsin?

It is illegal to drive without car insurance in Wisconsin. If you are caught driving without insurance, you can face fines up to $500.




]]> 0
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye First Drive Review: Next Level Mon, 23 Nov 2020 06:56:32 +0000 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye First Drive Review: Next Level
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye First Drive Review: Next Level

Continue reading 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye First Drive Review: Next Level at Autonoid.

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye First Drive Review: Next Level

Dodge knows a thing or two about muscle cars. It’s been building brutish quarter-mile racers since the 1960s, and even under the looming pressure of autonomy and electrification, the company continues to do so today – and better than anyone else. But while quarter-miles times and stoplight sprints are still very much part of the equation (see: the new Super Stock), the 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye is a bit different.

Yes, with 797 horsepower, 707 pound-feet, and a top speed of 203 miles per hour, this car is fast as hell in a straight line. But engineers tweaked the Hellcat’s power steering and added a better adaptive suspension, which carries over to the new Redeye, in an effort to make the car more capable on the track. And guess what – it worked.

We made the trek to Charlotte, North Carolina, to see how the new Redeye feels firsthand, both on the road and on a closed course. And even in just a short time with the rocket-powered four-door on the track, it’s obvious the Redeye is a different animal entirely – and the most track-focused Charger we’ve ever driven.

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review

Best Gets Better

First thing’s first: How does one make the world’s fastest sedan even faster? In the case of the Charger Redeye, engineers swapped the standard Hellcat’s 2.4-liter supercharger for a larger 2.7-liter unit and bumped the boost from 11.6 psi to 14.5. They also gave it a higher redline – 6,500 rpm vs 6,200 rpm – and strengthened the axles and driveshaft, improving torque capacity by 20 and 15 percent respectively. And because that hugely powerful 6.2-liter engine does get hot, subtle tweaks to the front-end design almost double the cooling capacity.

The end result of all that tinkering is an insane 797 hp and 707 lb-ft, funneled to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic – an improvement of 80 horses and 57 lb-ft over the standard Hellcat model. Flat out, the Charger Redeye is about as quick to 60 miles per hour as its Charger Hellcat sibling, able to get there in 3.6 seconds. But it’s on the top end where the Charger Redeye shows its speed; this super sedan tops out at 203 miles per hour, making it the fastest four-door in the world.

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Interior
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Interior
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Interior

Road Warrior

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for the general public), the rural roads around Charlotte aren’t the best setting for putting those newfound figures to trial. Instead we keep it cool, puttering around the tight byways in Street and Sport drive modes for the most part, only occasionally hammering it on the straightest and emptiest pieces of pavement for a quick bit of deliverance. There would be plenty of time to wring out the Charger Redeye at our final destination: Carolina Motorsports Park.

But the two-plus-hour hike gives us a chance to see how this car is on the road. And like most Chargers, the Redeye is an exceptional daily driver. The big sedan is subdued when you want it to be and easy to drive at a moderate pace. This isn’t always some unforgivable, fire-breathing beast – when it’s time to take it easy, the Charger obliges.

Like most Chargers, the Redeye is an exceptional daily driver.

The Bilstein adaptive suspension is receptive and smooth in the two introductory drive modes: Street and Sport. The electronic power steering – standard on both the Hellcat and Redeye – is effortless. And when you don’t have your foot flat to the floor, the supercharged V8 feels like it’s using maybe half its available output, which is still more than enough.

The only thing that can be said against the Charger on-road is how extremely thicc this car is. Both the Redeye and Hellcat are widebody-only for 2021, which means the duo gains an extra 3.5 inches of girth over the traditional models. Visually, the wider hips look killer – and really, we wouldn’t want it any other way – but it does make navigating narrow streets and tight parking lots a bit sketchy.

The technology isn’t great, either. Yes, we’re nitpicking a 797-hp super sedan – but after testing Uconnect 5 in the updated Pacifica, it’s jarring to jump in the Charger with the old and now-outdated Uconnect 4. The navigation is clumsy, difficult to use, and led us in the wrong direction multiple times. The graphics aren’t as crisp either, and the whole setup now feels cluttered by comparison.

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review

Track Star

Finicky tech aside, the Charger Redeye does what it’s supposed to do very well: tear up the track. Our on-road drive led us to the Carolina Motorsports Park, a nice little course hidden deep in the pines, dotted with some moderate twists and a few long straights. It’s an ideal place to put a speed demon like the Charger Redeye through its paces.

First thing we did was tick all the drive mode settings from Street to Track (via the Performance Pages screen). That stiffens up the suspension, adds weight to the steering, and sharpens the throttle and gearbox response. Granted, a lot of modern performance cars have Track settings, but the Charger Redeye’s transition from Street to Track is jarring. The throttle is insanely touchy and the gearbox shifts with the intensity of a recoiling shotgun – on the road it makes the Redeye undrivable, but on the track it makes this car feel absolutely perfect.

If you thought the standard Hellcat was stupid fast, this car is stupider.

The quicker, borderline twitchy throttle means all that power is available the second you put your foot down; even the faintest poke at the gas pedal spools up the bigger supercharger. We gun it on the first moderate straight and get the Charger up to 115 miles per hour without even trying. If you thought the standard Hellcat was stupid fast, this car is stupider. Few vehicles in our experience – outside of some high-end supercars – put down power as effortlessly and as suddenly as the Charger Redeye does.

Save Thousands On A New Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger

MSRP $ 31,490

MSRP $ 31,490

Save on average over $3,400 off MSRP* with Car Buying Service

Massive six-piston Brembo stoppers brought the Redeye back down to speed easily, too. Under hard braking is where other Chargers might get squirrely on you, but the Redeye only wiggles its wider hips a touch, allowing for a smooth, seamless transition into the any turn.

The steering on the Charger Redeye is sublime. As we flung it into the corners, there was a tactile, weighty feel that yielded amazing feedback from the pavement to your fingertips. You know exactly what this car is doing at all times. And the body movements are uncharacteristically composed and flat for a Charger – other versions of this car feel too wafty. Much credit to the Bilstein adaptive suspension, wider body, and ultra-sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires (305/35ZR20); we’re confident saying the Redeye handles better than any other Charger before it.

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review
2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Review

However, we should note one thing: Dodge forced us to keep the traction control in Street mode the entire time as opposed to Sport or Track. It doesn’t dull the experience, per se, but you can tell that the electronic nannies were doing their damndest to keep the car from getting too loose, especially as we powered the vehicle out of tighter turns. Even our instructor admitted that the car will slide out from under you pretty easily with the traction control in Sport or Track modes. Point taken.

But that’s a small asterisk to the overall driving experience of the Dodge Charger Redeye. This car is an absolute monster – it’s absurdly fast, shockingly agile, and riotous at full-tilt. This is the Charger to get if you truly want to tear up your next track day.

Price Per Horsepower

As you’d expect, those 797 horses don’t come cheap. The starting price of the Dodge Charger Redeye is a hearty $78,595. But weigh that price against some of the comparable alternatives – of which there are very few – and it’s hard to argue the Charger Redeye isn’t the best overall bang for your buck. The BMW M5 costs $103,500, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S starts at $107,350, and the Audi RS7 starts at a whopping $114,000. And for the record, all of those options are still less powerful.

The title of “world’s fastest sedan” should immediately sell you on the Dodge Charger Redeye. And if that doesn’t work (for some reason), spend five minutes with this car on the track; the Redeye is sharper, quicker, and an all-around better performer than its Hellcat sibling. We can’t imagine a Charger better than this one, but then again, who knows what Dodge will do next.



]]> 0
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Prototype First Drive Review: Just Plain Good Fri, 20 Nov 2020 22:31:57 +0000 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Prototype First Drive Review: Just Plain Good
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Prototype First Drive Review: Just Plain Good

Continue reading 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Prototype First Drive Review: Just Plain Good at Autonoid.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Prototype First Drive Review: Just Plain Good

Two things bookended my brief test drive of a 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 prototype. As I was getting familiar with the car in the parking lot of a local dealer, which VW corporate had requisitioned for this test, a 20-something Honda Civic Coupe owner walked out of an adjacent dealership, saw the car, and shouted, “That’s the best-looking VW I’ve ever seen,” before asking a number of other questions.

After my test, a 50-something man in a suit, also at the adjacent dealer, met me at the car’s door to ask about the ID.4. I’ve been driving new Volkswagen products for 15 years and have never seen such a reaction, let alone twice in an hour, to one of the brand’s products. This is a vehicle quite unlike anything the German brand has done before.

Editor’s Note: Due to the prototype status of our test vehicle, Volkswagen requested that we not capture any exterior images. For that reason, the shots you’re seeing are from the ID.4’s debut.

That’s not because it’s particularly different, though. The ID.4 is your typical compact crossover, from its form factor to its innocuous demeanor. It innovates though, exploiting the advantages of an electric vehicle platform to offer a more spacious cabin and a more pleasant driving experience, while at the same time using clever aerodynamics to introduce more attractive exterior design. This feels like the first mainstream vehicle from a conventional automaker that treats its electrification as a benefit rather than a raison d’être, mainly because it doesn’t beat you over the head about being an EV.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior In Motion
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior In Motion
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior In Motion

Mainstream Appeal First

That’s not to say the ID.4 is short on EV quirkiness. The exterior design is clean and focused on slippery aerodynamics, with a low, two-tiered nose and prominent lower fascia designed to channel air around to the sides. In back, a full-width LED light bar ties the taillights together and mimics the shape of the headlights – look from front to back and the symmetry of the styling is hard to ignore. The ID.4 is, as our Civic Coupe–owning friend pointed out, pretty darn handsome.

On the surface, the cabin takes a similarly modern tack that feels a little derivative at times. The 5.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which like the center touchscreen – 10.0 inches standard, 12.0 optional – has the tablet look that’s all the rage. The cluster itself sits atop the steering column, like an early 2000s Mini. Attached to the right side of that display is a twist-knob gear selector, like a BMW i3.

The cabin is spacious and thanks to the standard glass roof of my 1st Edition prototype, the experience is airy and open, too.

Get over these details and their starkly beige finish and the benefits of the ID.4’s modular electric platform shine through. The floor is as flat as the day is long, with a low center console that hides significant amounts of reconfigurable storage, a wireless charge pad, and four USB-C ports (two for the folks in the back). The cabin is spacious and thanks to the standard glass roof of my 1st Edition prototype, the experience is airy and open, too.

The driver’s seat has a wide range of adjustability and massage functionality, in addition to heating. In the back, there’s adequate legroom, even with the front seats all the way back. With the front chairs in a position for my 6-foot-2 self, though, the cheap seats are borderline cavernous, with enough legroom for full-size adults to sit comfortably as the driver whittles away the ID.4’s 250-mile range. There’s suitable headroom, while the flat floor makes the middle seat tolerable over short stretches – if you routinely fill every seat in your crossover, the ID.4 likely represents an upgrade for the poor soul that’s stuck in the center.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior Seats
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior Seats
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior Steering Wheel

Everyday EV

The ID.4 feels like an upgrade on the road, too, despite similar power figures to gas-powered alternatives. The 82-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery energizes a 150-kilowatt (201-horsepower) electric motor, making the ID.4 slightly more powerful than the 184-hp Tiguan. Torque is almost equal between the two products, with 228 pound-feet in the ID.4 and 221 in the gas-powered CUV.

Despite the immediate torque delivery, the upgrade comes not from performance but the uninterrupted acceleration and the silence of the drivetrain. The ID.4 feels only marginally quicker than a comparable gas-powered car, but it’s immeasurably more pleasant and refined while accelerating. At the same time, the performance tapers off noticeably at around 50 miles per hour. Aside from at low speeds, the ID.4 performs more like a gas-powered vehicle when asked to go faster. That’s good news for first-time EV owners, who will feel right at home with the way the ID.4 accelerates.

The ID.4 feels only marginally quicker than a comparable gas-powered car, but it’s immeasurably more pleasant and refined while accelerating.

Volkswagen’s one polarizing decision in regards to the powertrain seems aimed at those same first-time EV owners. Twist the gear selector to D – it takes one detent – and the ID.4 coasts like an ICE-powered vehicle when the driver is off the throttle. Twist the selector again to B and there’s some regen, but the car doesn’t decelerate quickly enough for one-pedal driving. Moreover, this is the lone level of regeneration. That relatively fixed approach might appeal to folks unfamiliar with the on-off nature of some EVs, but it does leave me concerned about maximizing real-world range.

That figure currently sits at 250 miles on the EPA cycle for our rear-drive 1st Edition tester, although one of the Volkswagen folks that briefed me said he’d seen estimates as high as 297 from the car’s on-board computer. The weather blunted my experience, meanwhile, as high winds and the coldest temperatures of the season so far sapped electrons from my ID.4.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior Headlight
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior Taillights

I started the roughly 23-mile, highway/city test route with 222 miles of charge and returned with around 175. Considering the wind was gusting past 30 miles per hour, the temperature was around freezing, and I was cycling through the ID.4’s three drive modes while making sudden bursts of acceleration, the lost range feels reasonable. That said, I’m eager to give the ID.4 a real-world test in more agreeable conditions.

On such a short route, there was no need for charging during my test. But it’s worth noting the ID.4 accepts a 125-kilowatt rate at DC fast chargers (enough to take the battery from five to 80 percent in under 40 minutes) and comes with three years of free charging at the ever-growing Electrify America network. Along with the 250-mile range, I’d call the ID.4 suitable for occasional interstate journeys.

Save Thousands On A New Volkswagen Tiguan

Volkswagen Tiguan

MSRP $ 25,965

MSRP $ 25,965

Save on average over $3,400 off MSRP* with Car Buying Service

The short, frigid test route was a poor exercise of the ID.4’s range, but Michigan’s pockmarked roads proved a suitable challenge to the EV’s suspension. In short, the ID.4 feels comfortable and composed on rough roads, with its strut-type front/multi-link rear setup managing expansion joints, potholes, and other imperfections without disrupting the driver. There is some annoying road noise, though.

Handling is a tougher thing to judge on such a brief route, although like the car’s straight-line performance, outright agility doesn’t feel like a priority – in the few bends I encountered, the ID.4 rolled more than expected from a car with such a low center of gravity. Still, the stiff body and MEB architecture meant that these ample body motions felt controlled rather than sloppy. The ID.4 can’t outmaneuver a Mazda CX-5, but it’s acceptable for the segment.

Some corners of the internet have grumbled over the ID.4’s rear drum brakes, but they’re irrelevant in everyday driving. The regenerative brakes handle stopping duties in most situations and they operate via a predictable, solid-feeling brake pedal – the brakes aren’t grabby or difficult in any way. As with so much else on this car, it feels like Volkswagen went out of the way to make the ID.4 as approachable as possible to first-time EV drivers.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior Wheel
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Exterior Roof Trim

ID, Please

That’s doubly true when discussing price (and ID.4 lease deals). The base ID.4 Pro with rear-wheel drive starts at $39,995, while the sold-out 1st Edition I tested rings in at $43,995. At some point in 2021, VW will add an all-wheel-drive variant that increases output to 302 ponies and price to $43,675. Those prices do not include a $7,500 federal income-tax credit.

Each variant is available with a pair of option packages – the $4,500 Statement pack adds worthwhile equipment like the 12.0-inch touchscreen, glass roof, and hands-free liftgate, while the $1,500 Gradient pack is mostly aesthetic – but the base ID.4 Pro packs plenty of stuff. Standard features include heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a wireless charge pad, the 10.0-inch touchscreen, a 30-color ambient lighting system, and most importantly, a full suite of active safety gear under the ID.Drive trademark.

A healthy roster of standard equipment, a comprehensive active safety suite, an attractive design, a spacious cabin, and a sub-$40,000 price tag is about all I ask of a modern crossover. The ID.4 offers all of that plus a 250-mile range, three years of free charging, and a more refined driving experience than any comparable combustion-powered car. In terms of potential, there are few products that I’m more excited to see hit the market than the new ID.4.



]]> 0
2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive | Driving impressions, features, pricing Fri, 20 Nov 2020 18:29:45 +0000 2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive | Driving impressions, features, pricing
2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive | Driving impressions, features, pricing

Continue reading 2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive | Driving impressions, features, pricing at Autonoid.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive | Driving impressions, features, pricing

After seven years and an entire generation, there is finally another turbocharged Mazda3. But Mazda will be the first to tell you that it’s not, by any means, a successor to the rambunctious Mazdaspeed3, hence the lack of the name. Having driven it, we’ll be the second to tell you the same: this is definitely not a Mazdaspeed3. It’s an altogether different beast, but it’s still a good drive, and helps make the 3 a credible, budget alternative to an entry-level Audi or Mercedes.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine is mostly the same one that Mazda has used in the CX-9 and turbocharged CX-5. It makes the same 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel (or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane), but it’s been tweaked to fit in the Mazda3’s smaller engine bay. The biggest change is the use of an air-to-water intercooler integrated with the intake manifold that reduces the amount of plumbing. As a bonus to helping the engine fit, Mazda notes that the overall intake piping length is shortened, which should improve responsiveness.

While we can’t speak to the improvement, the engine’s response and power delivery is incredibly smooth. It feels about as close as a turbo engine can get to being like a supercharged or naturally aspirated engine. It’s easy to dial in exactly how much power you want, and there’s never an unexpected rush of turbo boost. All that torque is available low in the rev band, too, so it provides effortless acceleration, especially considering how much less mass the 3 has compared with its turbocharged crossover siblings.

The smooth, relaxed acceleration is in keeping with the upmarket aim of the Mazda3 Turbo, and even compares favorably with powerplants from Audi and Mercedes. Those engines are similarly responsive, but deliver their torque in a fast rush, rather than the more gentle deployment of the Mazda.

The turbo engine doesn’t lose much in efficiency, either. Overall fuel economy drops by just 1 mpg from the naturally aspirated all-wheel-drive Mazda3s. The sedan gets 27 mpg overall and the hatchback gets 26. The engine’s only real downside is that it’s a little noisy under acceleration, emitting a low growl. Arguably the smooth power delivery takes away some excitement often associated with small, turbo cars, but as we said before, this isn’t meant to be a Mazdaspeed successor.

Like the engine, the drivetrain is closely related to other existing Mazdas. The standard six-speed automatic transmission is basically the same one used in the CX-9 and CX-5, but its casing was redesigned to fit the 3. It’s starting to show its age as shifts are relatively sluggish and its selection of six speeds stands in contrast to the eight that has become the more common minimum. This is especially the case when compared against the snappy-shifting seven- and eight-speed dual-clutch automatics found in the entry-level luxury cars Mazda is targeting. However, the 3’s strong fuel economy would indicate its efficiency isn’t suffering for its lack of cogs, and it remains an impressively responsive and smart transmission. It selects gears and downshifting promptly. It also adjusts the firmness of the shifts, choosing smoother, slower shifts when driving gently, and providing quicker, sharper shifts when driving hard. Sport mode also will hold gears longer. Neither Normal nor Sport mode does a great job of downshifting while decelerating, so you’ll want to go to manual shifting for the sportiest driving.

The all-wheel-drive system is similar to the one offered in the naturally aspirated Mazda3, but the rear differential mount has been reinforced to take the extra torque. The system has some interesting capabilities, too. It’s designed to measure the vertical load on all four wheels. If there’s more weight pressing down on a tire or tires, you have a larger contact patch, and more grip. And with more grip, you can handle more power. So the system keeps track of where the weight is and sends it to that end of the car. This means that under acceleration, more power is sent rearward where the weight loads up the tires. Mazda doesn’t say exactly how much torque can go to the back, but it is noticeable. When powering around a corner, you can feel the rear wheels pushing the car around, resulting in a more neutrally balanced feel that’s closer to something like a Subaru or even something rear-wheel-drive than, well, a regular Mazda3. It’s a fun feeling, and something that you’d typically associate with more expensive cars. Another all-wheel-drive perk is that it virtually eliminates torque steer in normal conditions (a spot of gravel or water can still cause a bit when the front wheels slip).

The chassis and suspension of the Mazda3 Turbo are nearly untouched. The front springs have a higher spring rate to accommodate the engine’s extra weight, but only for the purposes of matching the naturally aspirated model. Mazda also added a stiffer steering arm for better feel, but that change was applied to regular models, too. The G-Vectoring Control system, which very slightly reduces power at turn in to shift weight to the front/steering wheels, has been tweaked be more aggressive in Sport mode. Otherwise, the car is just like your regular Mazda3, all the way down to the torsion beam rear end.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo

It has a nice ride and handling balance that errs on the side of firm, though with a stiff chassis and very well-controlled body movements. It would be nice to have an adaptive suspension like some more expensive cars, just for the greater choice, but we’re happy to have one well-tuned ride and handling setting rather than two mediocre ones. The car is also generally quiet with just a bit of road noise. Through corners, there’s a bit of body roll, but it feels light and willing to corner. The back end feels a little nervous, though it isn’t upset over bumps. The steering is very smooth and precise, but feedback is limited. The steering weight is relatively light, and Sport mode adds a bit of heft that feels good when driving more aggressively. And while the G-Vectoring Control settings are more aggressive in Sport mode, it’s really difficult to detect.

As for the rest of the car, it’s basically unchanged regardless of the new, more powerful engine. The interior design is still elegantly beautiful. The switchgear feels good to press and turn. The materials include leatherette on the dash and seats on the base Turbo models, and upgraded real leather on the seats of the Premium Plus version. The driver position provides enough head- and leg room for most drivers to get comfortable, but the back seat remains cramped, especially in terms of the hatchback’s headroom. If anything, that’s one more reason, though not in a good way, that the Mazda3 is more like a Mercedes A-Class, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe or Audi A3 than something like a Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra.

Mazda3 Turbo models are reasonably well-equipped, too, with a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, 12-speaker Bose audio system, heads-up display, automatic high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. The Premium Plus model adds navigation, an auto-dimming driver mirror, parking sensors, 360-degree camera, rear automatic emergency braking, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo

The infotainment system is responsive and easy to navigate with clean, simple lettering and graphics. There’s no touch interface, leaving infotainment inputs to the control wheel and voice control. There is a lack of the flashiness and tech gizmos of cars from luxury automakers. There aren’t any ambient lighting flourishes, no augmented navigation, and a basic instrument panel screen that can display trip information, driver aid status and other related information in addition to the speed. You’re also restricted to a single instrument and infotainment design. On the flip side, the cabin is a more peaceful, relaxed place, particularly at night, compared with the relative disco parties of the luxury alternatives.

Speaking of those luxury alternatives, they’re all significantly more expensive than a Mazda3 Turbo. The Mazda starts at $30,845 for the sedan, and $31,845 for the hatchback. The Premium Plus package adds $2,550 to the sedan and $2,850 to the hatch. Its nearest premium competitors, the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class start a little over $3,000 more, but have less horsepower, no standard all-wheel drive, and no hatchback option. And to equip them more comparably, you’ll be spending around $6,000 more.

So, no, the Mazda3 Turbo is not the third coming of the Mazdaspeed3. But that’s alright. It’s still quite quick and is about the most entertaining Mazda3 you can get (an argument can still be made of the naturally aspirated manual Mazda3), while also remaining comfortable and refined enough to be a pleasant daily driver. It also happens to be an excellent value, offering much of the experience of luxury cars for thousands less. It’s a class act all around.

Related Video:



]]> 0
2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive Review: Power Without Punch Fri, 20 Nov 2020 14:28:40 +0000 2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive Review: Power Without Punch
2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive Review: Power Without Punch

Continue reading 2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive Review: Power Without Punch at Autonoid.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo First Drive Review: Power Without Punch

After driving the new 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo for the first time I had exactly one thought: Damn, I miss our long-term test car. The Mazda3 hatchback spent the first quarter of this year in our custody, racking up praise from our staff, with the noted caveat that it needed more power.

Mazda sought to quell our concerns and those of every enthusiast by finally adding a turbocharged engine to the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback. And I’m here to tell you that it worked. Mostly.

To understand what the Mazda3 Turbo is all about, let’s add some context. The step-up in power is not about going to battle with cars like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI or Honda Civic Si. Instead, Mazda thinks the Turbo is good enough to court buyers away from entry-level premium products like the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. The Mazdaspeed days are over, friends, and while that might make any Mazdaspeed3 owner reading this upset, it’s for the best.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive

Power-Up To Premium

I’m not going out on a limb to suggest any of this, either. Mazda spelled out its logic during a presentation filled with lots of charts and numbers. Customers are slowly recognizing Mazda as a near-premium brand, and these buyers want more horsepower. Adding A plus B should mean selling more Mazda3 sedans and hatchbacks.

The new car uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with – you guessed it – a turbocharger, for a total output of 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet on 93-octane fuel (91-octane fuel cuts output to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet). Those figures represent a healthy gain over the naturally aspirated Mazda3’s 186 hp and 186 lb-ft, and should help bring some Zoom-Zoom (remember that?) back into the mix.

Customers are slowly recognizing Mazda as a near-premium brand, and these buyers want more horsepower.

Mazda reworked some of the car’s hardware and software to match the added grunt. Now, there’s standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive that sends three times more power to the rear axle than before. Engineers also stiffened the front springs and dampers and reinforced the front knuckle for extra handling support. A revised Sport mode allows for quicker gearbox response time.

Having driven several thousand miles in the naturally aspirated Mazda3, I was eager to see how those changes impacted the overall performance. Rounding a corner onto my favorite highway onramp, I gave the Mazda a hearty right foot. In practice, the Turbo absolutely feels faster than the NA car, and it builds speed from a much lower point in the rev range thanks to the hearty torque figure. After a few moderate acceleration runs, the 2.5 felt less like an enthusiast engine and more like a helpful appliance. I was left shrugging my shoulders, like someone who won a few bucks on a scratch-off ticket – it’s not what I wanted, but I’ll take it.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive
2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive

I place most of the blame on the six-speed automatic, which lacks the vigor and responsiveness like you’d find in the GLI’s dual-clutch. Mazda said it stuck with a six-speed gearbox instead of the now-commonplace eight and nine-speed units because fewer gears means less time shifting, and that means higher driving engagement. However, the Mazda3’s unit doesn’t add to the overall experience in any positive way.

For all the flack I give the engine for its straight-line performance, the added power makes cornering more enjoyable. It’s easy to build more speed ahead of a turn, and when that happens the car is ready to play. Competitors could learn a thing or two from Mazda’s steering setup. It delivers precise feedback through the wheel, which skews toward heavy weighting. With its all-wheel drive setup, the Mazda3 offers surprising grip. Through a twisty road, the Turbo is happy as can be, showing off wonderful balance and an eagerness to keep attacking.

Competitors could learn a thing or two from Mazda’s steering setup.

Your reward for buying this powertrain doesn’t come in a straight line, it comes the very first time you time the accelerator just right exiting a corner. Chalk it up to the extra torque, or maybe the suspension and all-wheel revisions, but the Turbo handles curvy roads in a way the NA car just doesn’t match.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive
2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive

A Winning Design, Dialed Up

Mazda loves to stress the importance of its Kodo design philosophy, which emphasizes simple forms and minimal disruptions in shape. The 3 is unquestionably one of the best looking on the road today. The Turbo comes with a few tweaks, although most of them are specific to the hatchback.

The five-door features an optional aero kit ($1,075) that comes with a unique front air dam, spoiler, rear diffuser, and side sill extensions to add some aggression. Meanwhile, the sedan only gets a special front spoiler. Both models come standard with larger tailpipes and 18-inch black alloy wheels. Beautiful BBS forged rollers are optional but they cost a downright stupid $3,675.

Save Thousands On A New Mazda Mazda3

Mazda Mazda3

MSRP $ 22,445

MSRP $ 22,445

Save on average over $3,400 off MSRP* with Car Buying Service

Apart from the wheels, the sedan is hardly distinguishable from its NA counterpart. At least the hatch gets some extra attention, bringing it a bit closer to the Mazdaspeed3 we all keep dreaming about. If it’s any consolation, the interior is still a masterpiece. It remains the single best thing about the car and the most compelling reason to buy it – yes, even with the new engine.

2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive
2021 Mazda3 Turbo: First Drive

Horsepower Vs Dollars

It’s also worth mentioning the penalty that comes at the pump: 23 miles per gallon city, 32 highway, and 27 combined. The turboless model with all-wheel drive does 25 city, 33 highway, and 28 combined.

Prices for the Turbo start at $29,900 for the sedan, and $30,900 for the hatch. A fully kitted-out Mazda3 Turbo Hatchback is not a cheap proposition. An enthusiast-approved spec with the Premium Plus package, aero kit, BBS wheels, and Soul Red paint comes out to $39,095 (woah!).

Any premium rival from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes can easily run up the price beyond that, but Mazda doesn’t carry the same brand cachet. As great as the Turbo looks, and as great as it drives, it doesn’t justify spending almost $40,000 dollars. The company can definitely back the claim that it’s aiming at premium brands – especially with such fine interior quality – but it’s not quite there. After experiencing this car, I think value for money is an important piece of the puzzle that Mazda might be overlooking.

This brings me right back to where this started: our long-term, non-turbo Mazda3 Hatchback which carried a price tag of just over $30,000. For that money, the standard Mazda3 is a legit bargain, and still the one to have.



]]> 0
2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review | Photos, features, tech Fri, 20 Nov 2020 02:24:27 +0000 2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review | Photos, features, tech
2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review | Photos, features, tech

Continue reading 2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review | Photos, features, tech at Autonoid.

2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review | Photos, features, tech

Few automotive happenings are more business-critical than the launch of a redesigned Ford F-150. The Mustang Mach-E and Bronco may draw the eyes of enthusiasts, and are key parts of Ford’s future, but few vehicles have more significance to the U.S. auto industry than pickup trucks, and Ford’s F-Series is the reigning sales champion in this incredibly popular and profitable segment.

While this isn’t a full-blown, head-to-toe redesign, the 2021 F-150 received a comprehensive powertrain overhaul, a new interior and some new “hey, neat” type features that just might sway a buyer who otherwise believes just about any truck will do, so long as the price and capabilities check all the right boxes. You can get more in-depth details on the Ford F-150 in our launch day coverage, but we’ll hit the highlights here for your convenience.

While the 2021 F-150 was restyled, its looks aren’t a significant departure from the previous model’s. Changes are more noticeable inside, where a new steering wheel and a cleaner center stack highlight a host of other small tweaks. The obvious upgrade here is Ford’s fourth-generation Sync infotainment system, which received some serious hardware upgrades to improve its performance over Sync 3. Chief among these is a mammoth available 12-inch touchscreen, though our time with it prevented an in-depth review (well, apart from reporting that it’s a long reach from the driver seat to the screen’s right side)

Ford also threw in some cool new exterior treats, such as a redesigned tailgate that now boasts an available flat work surface with built-in clamp pockets and bottle openers. There’s also available outside zone lighting (allowing you to illuminate only the spaces in which you’re working – or playing) along with an in-bed power system that blows away anything else you’ve seen from a factory pickup.

The 2021 Ford F-150 is offered with six powertrains, but not the same six that were available on the 2020 model. Headlining these changes is the new F-150’s party piece: the PowerBoost hybrid. Based on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and a new modular hybrid 10-speed automatic transmission, this is the range-topping powertrain for the 2021 model, producing 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque.

Stepping down from that, the 5.0L “Coyote” V8 and 3.5L EcoBoost return, each producing 400 hp. The V8 produces 410 lb-ft of torque, while the EcoBoost V6 makes 500 lb-ft. This turbocharged V6 previously came in 375- and 450-horsepower variants, with the latter reserved for the Raptor and high-end Limited models. The existence of a new Raptor has been confirmed, but given the imminent arrival of the Hellcat-powered Ram TRX, we suspect Ford will take a new approach to its range-topping performance truck.

Below this, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel returns, making 250 hp and 440 lb-ft. The 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 is the next step down, and it produces the same 325 hp and 400 lb-ft it did in the outgoing truck. The naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V6 also returns as the base engine with 290 hp and 265 lb-ft — yet another carry-over figure.

The new F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 14,000 pounds, an increase of 800 over last year’s truck, besting the Silverado 1500 at 13,300 pounds and the Ram 1500 at 12,750. As for payload, the most the new F-150 can carry is 3,325 pounds, 55 more than previously. The Ram 1500 has the next best rating at 2,300, and the Silverado 1500 is close behind with 2,280 pounds. As always, though, payload is incredibly dependent on engine, cab and bed length.

Specifically, we’ll note that the PowerBoost is rated to haul as much as 2,120 pounds in the bed and tow as much as 12,700 pounds. Both of those figures best the Power Stroke diesel’s in equivalent SuperCrew configurations. And if you’re wondering about the hybrid’s weight (a key factor in towing capacity and payload), it’s only about 250 pounds more than the equivalent diesel and 350 more than a 3.5 EcoBoost. Not bad.

While we’re focusing on the F-150’s capabilities, we need to touch on one of the F-150’s more exciting new features. Pro Power On Board takes powering on-site accessories to the next level, converting the F-150’s bed into a mobile power station with a built-in generator. 

This system is not unique to the hybrid, but its utility is maximized with the electrified powertrain. While gasoline engine models equipped with it max out at just 2.0 kilowatts, the hybrid increases to 2.4kW with an optional upgrade to 7.2 kW. If you choose that upgrade, you get 30-amp, 240-volt service in the bed via a NEMA L14-30R hookup along with four 20-amp, 120V outlets. The 2.0 and 2.4 kW variants merely get 20-amp 120V outlets, but that’s still more than the competition offers. 

Besides the giant available touchscreen, interior updates include optional “Max Recline” front seats on the Platinum, King Ranch and Limited models. These seats fold almost completely flat, allowing for co-driver power naps or even rest-stop sleep breaks. A new table option, dubbed “Interior Work Surface,” deploys over the center console. The gear selector stows away, folding forward into a recess, allowing the table to be folded down and creating a workspace that can accommodate a binder or notepad, or even a small laptop.

There’s also a full-width rear under-seat storage solution that both locks and folds flat to make way for larger cargo. The door-to-door footprint makes it ideal for storing longer items, Ford says, such as outdoor equipment or even some firearms. 

Our time with the 2021 F-150 was brief, so we weren’t able to sample all of these new gadgets. We focused on getting as much time behind the wheel of the various powertrain offerings as we possibly could, starting with that monster new PowerBoost hybrid.

We won’t mince words: The 2021 F-150 PowerBoost is the most impressive everyday pickup we’ve sampled, perhaps ever (putting extreme Raptors and Power Wagons aside). Despite making use of what is now fairly proven and conventional hybrid technology, the PowerBoost doesn’t make its hybridness obvious. There’s no awkward braking transition between regenerative and hydraulic operation; no fussy CVT or planetary gearbox producing undesirable vibration or pegging the revs in the stratosphere under hard acceleration. It just drives like a truck – a powerful truck.

If anything, it’s a lot like piloting a half-ton pickup with a heavy-duty diesel powertrain, only without any of the nuisances associated with modern diesel ownership. And you get 24 mpg everywhere, as in both in the city and on the highway. That’s the same combined figure as the outgoing 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel, which produces just 250 horsepower. Sure, that light-duty diesel will net you better highway fuel economy, but unless you exclusive drive on I-45, the hybrid will match it in the long-term. Gasoline is also much cheaper than pump diesel in most states, so it’ll be cheaper to fill.  

By comparison, the 5.0-liter V8 feels like a dog. It’s far less responsive, to the point that it’s noticeable in around-town driving. Mash the accelerator and the Coyote will wake up, but it takes a lot more conscious prodding to get the 5.0 to behave anything like the hybrid, which requires no thought at all.

We also sampled the more volume-oriented six-cylinders, and while nothing about the the 3.3-liter nor the 2.7-liter turbo V6 is new, we have to acknowledge the latter’s excellent all-around performance. It offers plenty of grunt and feels great, especially in a short-wheelbase truck. We got to play around with one configured exactly that spec with 1,400 pounds of payload strapped to the bed, and found it to be supremely confidence-inspiring even through a relatively tight slalom on Ford’s skidpad. If you’re not in a position to spring for one of the F-150’s flagship powertrains, that 2.7L EcoBoost is the one to get.  

For all of the 2021 F-150’s many updates, there’s really only one story here: PowerBoost. It’ll set you back as much as $4,500, making it the second-most expensive of the F-150 SuperCrew’s available engines and trailing the Power Stroke by $500. We did not include a full pricing breakdown here because Ford’s provided window stickers were incomplete. Even between that and its slight hit to total capability, this is a stunningly impressive powertrain. Ford’s hybrid system doesn’t just make the F-150 a better truck, it makes it a better office, a better campsite, and a better workspace. And, in your author’s personal opinion, it makes its driver a better citizen, and that’s just a nice little bonus in what is already a sea of upsides.

Related Video:



]]> 0
AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator First Drive | Features, specs, photos Thu, 19 Nov 2020 18:22:48 +0000 AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator First Drive | Features, specs, photos
AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator First Drive | Features, specs, photos

Continue reading AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator First Drive | Features, specs, photos at Autonoid.

AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator First Drive | Features, specs, photos

AEV is an acronym that instantly sends our minds flashing to rock crawling, dune climbing and mudding. Those three letters demand a certain level of respect in the off-road community. You’ll find the American Expedition Vehicles name attached to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. The outfit has also swapped Hemi V8s into Jeep Wranglers in the past, and the company offers an extensive selection of aftermarket off-road parts.

The latest big deal from Jeep, of course, is the Gladiator. Jeep’s new pickup came out of the gates with a bang, aiming to be a do-it-all midsizer with the Rubicon-Trail-traversing ability Jeep owners expect. Enough is never really enough when it comes to Jeeps, though. Which brings us to the AEV JT370 Jeep Gladiator that we’re driving.

Those numbers and letters might sound confusing, but they do translate into meaningful things. JT is the Gladiator generational code (like JK or JL Wranglers) and the 370 tells us it has 37-inch tires — a JT350 is also available with 35-inch tires. As much as we were hoping this Gladiator had a big Hemi V8 under its hood, AEV is not in the business of Jeep engine swaps anymore. Instead, all of the focus is on making the truck go further into the wilderness and look meaner than it does from the factory.

To accomplish this goal, the JT370 model adds a long list of AEV’s parts for an extra $12,000. For added capability you get AEV’s DualSport RT suspension system with AEV springs and dampers developed in conjunction with Bilstein. This new suspension is combined with AEV wheels wrapped in either BFGoodrich all-terrain K02 or mud-terrain KM3 37-inch tires that together lift the truck by 2.5 inches. To restore the truck’s factory drivability, AEV switches to a 4.56 axle ratio and addresses lift-related suspension geometry issues with a correction kit. 

You also get an AEV steel stamped front bumper, front skid plate, LED off-road lights and a number of appearance items that help this truck stand out as the AEV Gladiator. These include a black graphics package (hood and tailgate decals), fender badging, AEV seats and an AEV instrument cluster. The specific example we drove had a number of additional options such as a snorkel kit, a Warn winch, front and rear differential skid plates, a bed-mounted full-size spare tire, an additional Baja light bar (under the bumper), the leather upholstery upgrade and some other small interior add-ons. In all, it totaled to approximately $19,000 of extra equipment. Combined with the new Gladiator Rubicon it came on, our tester was $74,000.

Crikey, that’s a lot of money, but AEV tells us that price is average for what its customers end up spending, all-in. So, is it worth it? 

AEV says the goal of this package is to enhance the Gladiator without ruining the excellent truck that Jeep delivers from the factory. The Bilstein dampers and big, pillowy tires result in a comfortable and forgiving on-road ride. Potholes appear extra small; curbs shrink to nothing, and you gain a new sense of undue invincibility way the hell up there. We didn’t have the chance to tow, but AEV says the Bilstein dampers and its suspension system make the Gladiator less jittery under the load of a trailer, making it a better tow vehicle than the stock version.

As for off-road capability, those couple extra inches of ground clearance will likely prove useful if you tackle extreme terrain, but the most we were able to put this truck through were some short, undulating one-track dirt trails — there are no all-inclusive trips to Moab trip during Covid-19 times. The Gladiator’s narrow footprint is a benefit on the trail, and wider tires don’t ruin it. The truck rides well through the forest, and the damping is perfect as we pound up and down through quick elevation changes, exercising the suspension.

Unfortunately, the big tires also enhance the Jeep’s inherent flaws. Constant steering adjustments are necessary, as the Gladiator is always nervously moving around on dips and dives. There’s an extra level of focus needed to keep the truck in its lane compared to other vehicles, but that comes with the Jeep territory. 

It’s not a total boat when we toss it into corners. The body rolls, but it takes a set nicely and never feels tippy or unsteady. That said, the big tires squeal in protest if you try to go around a corner with any amount of enthusiasm. In straight-line driving, the tires aren’t as loud as we were expecting, but some of the tire roar is drowned out by the engine, incessant wind noise and the body groaning/creaking. It’s like a really terrible musical where random people off the street were told to bring whatever they want and make as much noise as they can. But hey, it’s a Jeep thing.

When you roll down the windows, the snorkel shouts its intake wail into the cabin. It’s the only aspect of the powertrain experience that feels different from a standard Gladiator. AEV doesn’t touch the 3.6-liter V6 or eight-speed automatic transmission — there are no exhaust, engine-tune or other powertrain parts available from AEV.

The interior items are subtle enough that they’re hardly noticeable. Our tester’s specially painted dash panel and painted interior hardtop look like they could be factory options. The AEV instrument cluster similarly appears stock save for a small “AEV” logo in the tachometer. Most noticeable was the $2,400 AEV Premium Leather Upgrade, which adds nicer leather with stylish creased inserts. It’s comfortable, and the design spruces up the interior by a smidge. One option you should really spend a minute thinking about is the $599 bed-mounted spare tire. The giant 37-inch spare tire makes it impossible to see out the rear window, so you’re stuck using the truck’s side mirrors for all rearward vision.

Any Gladiator trim can be outfitted with the JT370 package, but if you don’t have a Rubicon, you’ll have to pay AEV to buy and install Rubicon fenders. That’s because the 37-inch tires don’t fit under the standard fenders, but if you go for the JT350, you won’t need them. Attaining one of these is easy enough, too. AEV partners with more than 100 Jeep dealerships throughout the country, so you can simply buy it through a dealer as you would any other Gladiator. If you already have a Gladiator, the AEV folks in Wixom, Mich., will be happy to modify it. All the AEV parts have a 12-month warranty, and the Jeep factory warranty is completely unaffected.

As for our verdict, the JT370 package is for the Gladiator owner or buyer who wants a turn-key off-road build. If you don’t want to or don’t have the patience to acquire and install an assortment of parts over time (the cheaper option) but still want a lightly modified truck, this is a good path. You can simply give it to AEV, and this package (perhaps with additional options) will be just what you want.

Related video:



]]> 0
2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review: Theory Of Evolution Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:18:13 +0000 2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review: Theory Of Evolution
2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review: Theory Of Evolution

Continue reading 2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review: Theory Of Evolution at Autonoid.

2021 Ford F-150 First Drive Review: Theory Of Evolution

Whenever an automaker redesigns a core model, it’s faced with a choice – significant changes or incremental fine-tuning. Ford used the first tactic when it introduced the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150, which implemented advanced materials and construction methods to cut a whopping 700 pounds of overall weight. But now, the Blue Oval is taking a more conservative approach with the 2021 F-150, giving it a comprehensive list of minor improvements.

Admittedly, the 2021 Ford F-150 does feature one massively noteworthy enhancement, the so-called PowerBoost hybrid powertrain. Although it’s not the first parallel-hybrid pickup – that honor goes to the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid – the PowerBoost F-150 should be a much more successful application of electrified technology. Ford modernized the hot-selling pickup in other ways, too: over-the-air software updates, an available 12.0-inch infotainment display, and an optional semi-autonomous system called Active Driving Assistant (coming in late-2021). So how’s it all work in the real world?

2021 Ford F-150 off-road profile

Hit The Road, Jack

While Ford says the 2021 F-150 is new from the ground up, we’re a bit suspicious that it’s actually a heavily revised version of the 2015–2020 F-Series. However, in our book, that’s a good thing. The outgoing F-150 features surprising nimbleness, excellent visibility, and good proportions that make it easy to place on the road, an attribute that doesn’t apply to the Ford’s competitors at General Motors and Toyota. We spent most of our time in a lavishly equipped F-150 Platinum PowerBoost, and we’re happy to report that the marriage of electrons and petroleum distillates is a happy one.

The hybrid gets a familiar, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 combined with an electric motor, for a total output of 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet – staggering numbers for a half-ton pickup. What’s more, if your right foot is gentle enough, the PowerBoost can run on electricity alone, even at freeway speeds. Part of that is due to the electric motor’s location, sandwiched between the gas engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. Surprisingly, the motor runs through the gears rather than direct-driving the wheels, helping the powertrain feel more conventional and natural than other hybrids.

2021 Ford F-150 off-road rear quarter
2021 Ford F-150 off-road nose on


A clutch decouples the transmission from the engine when running in pure EV mode, but when called upon, internal combustion power provides a relatively seamless transition into hybrid mode. Jabbing the throttle sharply can result in some shuddering as the engine tries to provide propulsion to match the driver’s input, a situation exacerbated by some unavoidable turbo lag. For the most part, however, the powertrain functions invisibly, with the electric motor’s instant torque output and the transmission’s logical gear selection providing a smooth experience.

Predictably, the PowerBoost system also reduces fuel consumption, thanks in part to very natural-feeling regenerative brakes. Rated at 24 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving, we saw an indicated 19 mpg in decidedly hilly, aggressive driving. The same route in an F-150 equipped with the 5.0-liter V8 yielded a readout of 17 mpg, so we think the EPA’s estimate might be a bit optimistic. Nevertheless, the hybrid should still excel in low-speed city driving, where the electric motor will be most effective.

2021 Ford F-150 passenger's side
2021 Ford F-150 infotainment

Keeping Its Composure

Out on the open road, the F-150 is smooth and polished, even the base-model XL we sampled briefly on the freeway. Seat comfort is first-rate, with plenty of space and an upright seating position that provides excellent outward visibility – some credit here goes to the F-150’s signature low beltline. Even the base F-150 gets a manual tilt and telescoping wheel, with power adjustability available on higher trims.

Every F-150 also gets Sync 4 infotainment, displayed on a standard 8.0-inch or available 12.0-inch touchscreen. The system is very easy to use, with included wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto making smartphone mirroring even easier and more convenient. Other technology features include an available 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster that features crisp, beautiful graphics and extensive information displays.

Save Thousands On A New Ford F-150

Ford F-150

MSRP $ 30,440

MSRP $ 30,440

Save on average over $3,400 off MSRP* with Car Buying Service

No one expects quick reflexes of a pickup, but the F-150 is a decent swashbuckler when the road gets twisty. The electrically assisted steering rack keeps the truck between the lines well enough, and there’s enough grip and composure to handle the winding, occasionally snow-covered roads we saw in our time with the truck. That’s in spite of an old-school live rear axle suspended by leaf springs – the Ram 1500 features a five-link design with coil springs – but Ford’s engineers did a good job quelling unwelcome body motions and harshness. The brakes are strong and sure, good for descending long grades with a trailer or some stuff in the bed.

2021 Ford F-150 off-road rear
2021 Ford F-150 off-road offset

Hauling The Mail (And More)

Speaking of towing, Ford loves to talk up the 2021 F-150’s best-in-class trailer rating of 14,000 pounds. Saddled with a three-axle trailer and a ski boat – total weight: more than 8,000 pounds – the F-150 felt unflappable, even when contending with heavy traffic up California’s legendarily steep Grapevine. We undertook the drive using the revised EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6, which now produces 400 hp and 500 lb-ft, and although the massive boat in tow blunted the F-150’s reflexes, the truck put power to the ground effectively and had little trouble merging into traffic.

When you’ve reached your towing destination, available Pro Trailer Backup Assist (which showed up on the 2016 F-150) makes reversing a trailer much easier. The driver turns a dial on the dashboard indicating which direction the trailer should go, and the F-150 takes over steering duties to make that happen, mitigating the left-is-right confusion (and resultant jack-knife) that sometimes happens when reversing with a trailer.

Saddled with a three-axle trailer and a ski boat – total weight: more than 8,000 pounds – the F-150 felt unflappable.

We must admit some trepidation, however, at the idea of towing near that 14,000-pound limit. Ford’s aggressive weight-loss regimen on the 2015–2020 F-150 resulted in a truck that felt nervous towing a trailer more than double its weight, and we’re not convinced the Blue Oval made enough changes to the 2021 F-150 to remedy that. Although it handled the 8,000-pound boat trailer with nothing but confidence, we’d still be inclined to consider a three-quarter-ton truck if we regularly needed to tow more than 10,000 pounds.

Of course, towing is only a small part of the F-150’s work resume. Since many of these trucks will get pressed into hard labor, the F-150 is rated for a maximum payload of 3,325 pounds, enough for about 1.5 yards of gravel or 2 yards of topsoil. We tried on the costume of a fleet manager with a base F-150 XL 4×2 powered by a 5.0-liter V8, producing 400 hp and 410 lb-ft (up 5 and 10, respectively, over the outgoing truck). Even loaded down with nearly 2,000 pounds of gardening equipment, the F-150 XL boasted more than enough power to keep up with freeway traffic, as well as stable handling and braking.

2021 Ford F-150 off-road front
2021 Ford F-150 off-road wide

A Little Mud On The Tires

Although Ford will leave the hardcore off-roading to the revised F-150 Raptor (which we’ve yet to see), the standard pickup will still enjoy the occasional rough-road playdate. While it won’t rival the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon when it comes to tight trails, the 2021 F-150 will still do a fine job getting its owners to the backcountry campsite or fishing hole. The Lariat SuperCrew we drove featured respective approach, departure, and breakover angles of 24.3, 25.3, and 20.0 degrees, with 9.4 inches of ground clearance to get over most light off-road obstacles.

What’s more, Ford will offer the PowerBoost hybrid system with four-wheel drive, a configuration we were eager to test. The company’s pre-planned off-road route included a man-made rock garden that put the PowerBoost’s prodigious output to the test, which it aced by providing the driver with smooth, consistent torque that was easy to modulate over each rock and obstacle.

There’s also a very particular satisfaction that comes with cruising down a somewhat rough dirt road in four-wheel drive with the gas engine completely shut off, allowing the electric motor to do the work. Although we spent most of the drive with the truck running in hybrid mode, there were a few stretches over which it turned into an EV, and the regenerative brakes helped keep downhill speed under control. Aiding matters further is hill descent control, which is included in the FX4 Off-Road package along with skid plates, specially tuned shock absorbers, a rock-crawl drive mode, and more.

2021 Ford F-150 work surface
2021 Ford F-150 propower

A Vehicular Multitool

Among the 2021 F-150’s more interesting enhancements is an available Pro Power Onboard generator system, which can produce 2.0 kilowatts of electricity on internal-combustion pickups and either 2.4 or 7.2 kilowatts on the hybrid. Even the smallest generator would make an excellent home improvement or tailgating companion, easily handling items like an electric air compressor, circular saw, margarita blender, or toaster oven. Meanwhile, the 7.2-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard system can run all the tools needed for a medium-size job site, and it includes a 220-volt outlet in the bed that’s perfect for welders and other big appliances.

Moving inside, Ford is justifiably proud of its Interior Work Surface, a deployable desk that extends out from either the center console on trucks with bucket seats or the folding center armrest on those with a front bench. The Interior Work Surface sits at the perfect level for a laptop or notepad, lending credence to Ford’s claim that many of its customers occasionally use their trucks as a mobile office. The large, flat tray table will make this much easier for those folks who need to occasionally pull into a rest area to get some work done.

The Max Recline Seats are far more comfortable for roadside naps than anything else on the market.

Speaking of rest areas, Ford also noticed that F-150 customers frequently took mid-day (or mid-drive) catnaps in their trucks, so the company used the 2021 model to introduce the Max Recline bucket seat (a late-availability item). With the rear bench folded up, the front seatbacks recline nearly 180 degrees while the seat bottom raises a few inches, creating a nearly flat space to saw a few logs. The feature is far more comfortable for those roadside naps than anything else on the market, although it’s only available on the luxurious King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trims.

In addition to those productivity and comfort features, Ford’s Active Driving Assistant will show up on the 2021 F-150 at some point, although it won’t be available at launch. Folks interested in the feature will need to option their trucks with the hardware, then download an over-the-air software update to activate the hands-free highway driving system when it becomes available.

2021 Ford F-150 interior work surface
2021 Ford F-150 seats

Strong Truck, Strong Sales

There’s no reason to expect anything other than segment-leading sales of the 2021 F-150, given the pickup family’s ongoing winning streak in the showroom – 43 years and counting of being America’s most popular vehicle. The new truck should only add to that popularity with modern features that don’t detract from capability or comfort.

It’s not quite the quantum leap that the 2015 pickup was, but the 2021 Ford F-150 boasts consistent refinements in drivability, comfort, technology, and efficiency that keep it current against the wonderful Ram 1500 and stable Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Not only is it all but guaranteed to keep its crown, but the F-150 might even convert some other brand loyalists to the Blue Oval.



]]> 0