2017 Bentley Bentayga
We’re not sure which is harder to take; the fact that Bentley is actually selling an SUV, or the fact that it will have tremendous impact on the brand. That has clearly been the case with other luxury makes, where what first appears to be a niche, quickly turns into their best-selling model. So, let’s check out Bentley’s new star, the Bentayga.
The 2017 Bentley Bentayga is certainly one of the most exclusive SUVs money can buy for now; and arrived with perfect timing, with the economy pointing up and luxury consumers once again over- consuming.
But, Bentley did have some help in this momentous effort. The Bentayga’s basic architecture is parent Volkswagen’s MLB platform, which also carries Porsche’s Panamera and Audi’s Q7. However, the Bentayga is more massive than both, at almost 17-feet long.
With that, traditional Bentley lines abound, and seem to translate much better in person, than with any of the prototypes seen on auto show floors.
Both the structure and body panels are mostly aluminum, with steel used only where necessary for crash protection.
On road, that translates to a big SUV that feels thankfully like a much smaller one, as the Bentayga does an amazing job of keeping its composure no matter the speeds or curve radius. All the serenity of prior Bentleys remains fully intact, with perhaps only some minor wind noise a reminder that you’re now in a much squarer box.
A 48-volt electrical system was needed for the Bentley Dynamic Ride electronically controlled, continuously damped, self-leveling air suspension with active anti-roll bars. Set the drive mode to “Bentley” to experience how Bentley engineers would have set up the ride back in the days when only speedy posh was required. Simply dial in Comfort or Sport for its full range of capabilities. Or, come up with your own custom setting. As with all Bentleys, the options are limitless.
Standard is an all-new 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that not only has the increased output of 600-horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque, but it weighs significantly less than the previous 6.0-liter. And after spending some wide open throttle time behind the wheel, it’s even smoother and quieter than before.
All-wheel-drive is another standard, as is the expected ZF 8-speed automatic; towing capacity is 7,700-lbs.
And to round out the impressive facts and figures, we hit 60 in 4.0-seconds flat and cleared the ¼-mile in 12.3 at 116 miles-per-hour.
It pulls like an EV off the line, with a gentlemanly showing of great power and abundant traction; making for the smoothest 12-second trip we’ve ever taken down the strip.
Whether you’re dodging commoners or simply darting through cones as we were, you’ll find steering is a little slow, and this truck’s weight really becomes evident here; but the suspension tightens up nicely, and there’s a solid amount of grip.
Inside, as you might expect, Bentayga’s gorgeous cabin defines extreme comfort, luxury, style, and craftsmanship, notably the extremely precise and exquisite wood work that abounds.
There are of course many other traditional trinkets to impress, like organ stops for the circular vents, and posh, quilted seats that you comfortably sit on top of, not sink down in.
Rear seat room is very comfy and spacious as well, along with a reasonable 17.1 cubic feet of custom luggage space behind it.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 12-City, 19-Highway, and 15-Combined. Our average came in better than expected at 18.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Put there’s still a very poor Energy Impact Score of 22.0-barrels of yearly oil use with C02 emissions of 9.9-tons.
Of course, you can expect a hefty price tag as well for this heavy hauler; and if you guessed $235,525, you it hit exactly. Is it worth $150,000 over a Q7 or a Cayenne? Well, if you’ve got the spare cash, why not?
Bentley initially resisted the SUV urge. Now that they’re all in, the 2017 Bentley Bentayga may just be the most prestigious rolling status symbol in recent memory. And due to early orders, Bentley has already upgraded their projected sales figures. Best news of all, it’s very well done, and has ushered in a whole new era for Bentley and for luxury SUVs.
- Engine: 6.0 liter
- Horsepower: 600
- Torque: 664 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.3 seconds @ 116 mph
- EPA: 12 mpg city / 19 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 22.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 9.9 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined