2017 Buick Envision

2017 Buick Envision

Episode 3624
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Premium and luxury marks like all brands have seen sedan sales fall as crossovers and SUV’s gobble up more and more market share. What to do?  Well, by all means, give the people what they want. Thus, one century old car brand has added yet another crossover to their line-up. Only this one comes with a trans-pacific twist.

The 2017 Buick Envision adds a 3rd arrow to Buick’s crossover quiver, fitting neatly between the much smaller Encore and the much larger Enclave. This middle-child takes aim at the likes of Acura RDX and Lincoln MKC, with plenty of room for adults in all five seating positions. 

Addressing the “Made in China” elephant in the room, we saw nothing to give consumers concern. If you’re a rival brand however, you might be a little worried with what Buick has been able to pull off.  Is quality on par with Lexus? Well not quite, but darn close, and all design and development work took place here in the U.S.

On the road it feels competent enough, better than expected really; and while there aren’t any actual bells or whistles inside, there are more than enough up-to-date features. 

Feel and placement of controls is more Euro-inspired than domestic, there’s a very comprehensive instrument panel with configurable TFT screen, and full connectivity from Buick’s IntelliLink. 

The dash is dressed in lots of faux-wood, but it looks good and is well-integrated. Certainly better than some of the bland treatments we’ve seen lately. 

Available safety features include GM’s Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, and Front Automatic Braking which we found to work perfectly every time, always braking late and hard just shy of our barrier.    

Even lesser trims are very well equipped with 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated seats, and a programmable-height power lift gate. 

While smooth, ride quality is more Chevrolet-firm than Lexus-plush; and the seats are a little harder than we’d like, but are adequate for the long haul. 

As for hauling, rear seats fold almost fully flat with just the pull of the cargo area-mounted levers. Everything seemed a little stiff in operation, but we weren’t sure if that was a build quality issue, or things just needing to get broken in a little.

Max cargo is 57.3 cubic-ft.; and there’s a very good 26.9 with the rear seats up. 

The only noise and vibration issue we’ll note is that this particular Envision allowed a little more noise and wind rustle into the cabin than others we’ve driven.

Standard engine is a 197-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 in front-wheel-drive models. The upgrade is a 2.0-liter turbo I4 that makes 252-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque and comes with all-wheel-drive. Both work through a 6-speed automatic. 

Both engines also offer adequate power and operate quietly; but the 2.0-liter is especially peppy, and was our choice for track work. 

There, it felt very strong off the line, feeling like all torque is available right from the get-go. A slight bit of tire chirp and we were off to a quick 0-60 of 7.0-seconds flat. 

Progressing down the track, automatic shifts were very smooth, but also slow; making our ¼-mile time 15.3-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour.

We battled typical understeer through our cone course; and when pushed too hard, onboard computers launched a fun-killing jab of the brakes to reel you in. 

Kept just shy of its limits however, the Envision feels very composed and easy to place where you want it. Steering was actually heavier than expected, with better feel than most in this class. Body roll was present, but far from excessive. 

Braking was quite good too. 110-feet was our short stopping distance from 60, with above average stability, and an easy to modulate pedal. 

Exterior design is frankly rather beautiful, with a smooth shape and hefty proportions; while body lines are very pronounced. Standard wheels are 18s, though most trims ride on 19s. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined. For an Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels on yearly oil consumption with 6.6-tons of CO2 emissions. 

Base, Preferred, and Essence trims come with the 2.5-liter, starting at $34,990, to which you can add all-wheel-drive. Premium trims, with the 2.0-liter are all-wheel-drive only, and start at $43,245.  

While we were clearly impressed with the Envision, it’s actually hard to imagine any luxurious crossover not being a hit at this point and time. And, Buick has already been successful with the Encore and Enclave crossovers. So, we think the 2017 Buick Envision will be as well. After all, it is the very definition of giving the people exactly what they want.  

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0 liter turbo I4
  • Horsepower: 252
  • Torque: 260 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.3 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway,
  • Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.6 tons/yr
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles
2024 Toyota 4Runner 3/4 Front

2024 Toyota 4Runner

Aimed to Please for Another 15 Years

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You know, a lot has changed over the four decades that the Toyota 4Runner has been backwoods exploring and pavement prowling. Most notably, the rise of car-based crossover utilities and the word “softroader” somehow becoming a thing. Well, the 4Runner is still all truck and definitely not soft, but you don’t have to be an off-road pro to enjoy it!

You may find it odd that we’re talking about the fifth-gen 2024 Toyota 4Runner, as we’ve already given you an early look at the upcoming sixth-gen model. And yes, we too have been eagerly awaiting a new 4Runner for some time, considering this outgoing model has stuck around for the last 15 years. But there’s still a lot to love here, so consider this test as one last ride in a fan-favorite utility that’s sure to do well in the second-hand market for years to come.

2024 Toyota 4Runner Dead Front
2024 Toyota 4Runner 3/4 Front
2024 Toyota 4Runner Grill
2024 Toyota 4Runner Hood
2024 Toyota 4Runner Profile
2024 Toyota 4Runner Wheels
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Badge
2024 Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack
2024 Toyota 4Runner Dead Rear
2024 Toyota 4Runner 3/4 Rear
2024 Toyota 4Runner 1
2024 Toyota 4Runner Rear Glass Rolled Down
2024 Toyota 4Runner Dead Front2024 Toyota 4Runner 3/4 Front2024 Toyota 4Runner Grill2024 Toyota 4Runner Hood2024 Toyota 4Runner Profile2024 Toyota 4Runner Wheels2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Badge2024 Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack2024 Toyota 4Runner Dead Rear2024 Toyota 4Runner 3/4 Rear2024 Toyota 4Runner 12024 Toyota 4Runner Rear Glass Rolled Down

Our 2024 4Runner is equipped with the TRD Pro treatment, a premiere trim for off-roaders or those who want to look the part. No judgement here, as the TRD Pro grade does look tough with its more rugged attire. That’s especially noticeable upfront with the exposed skid plating and trim-specific grille donning the bold “TOYOTA” lettering. The side profile starts up top with a sizeable roof basket, working down low to the matte black 17-inch alloys wrapped by Nitto Terra Grappler tires. Ironically, “Terra” is also the name of this new paint color, a hit or miss with our crew, but certainly a standout from the typical white or black. By the way, the all-new 2025 4Runner doesn’t stray too far away, with fan-favorite features, like the power sliding rear glass, sticking around.

We found our current 4Runner TRD Pro didn’t shy away from trail work. Behind the wheels are TRD-tuned Fox shocks and springs, keeping that Nitto rubber planted to the earth. Deeper under its skin is the TRD Pro’s standard four-wheel drive system: Tried, true and very capable.

Deeper under its skin is the TRD Pro’s standard four-wheel drive system: Tried, true and very capable.

This 4Runner’s 15-year winning streak does become more apparent inside, though it’s tough and utilitarian design isn’t completely spartan. For example, the 8-inch touchscreen, while not the largest, does get the job done and features smartphone integration. The SoftTex-trimmed seats are comfortable and easy to clean should the outside come inside.

This is the swan song for 4Runner’s famed 4.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V6. The new 4Runner is all turbo 4’s with a performance hybrid. Our test V6 puts down an able 270 HP and 278 lb-ft to the standard rear-wheel drive or available four-wheel drive layout. The only transmission is a five-speed automatic.

2024 Toyota 4Runner Engine
2024 Toyota 4Runner Dashboard
2024 Toyota 4Runner Instrument Cluster
2024 Toyota 4Runner Central Display
2024 Toyota 4Runner Shifter
2024 Toyota 4Runner 4WD
2024 Toyota 4Runner Rear Glass Switch
2024 Toyota 4Runner Front Seat
2024 Toyota 4Runner Front Seat Detail
2024 Toyota 4Runner Rear Seat
2024 Toyota 4Runner Trunk
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This legendary V6 combination took its own sweet time at our Mason Dixon testing site, clocking a still acceptable 0-60 time of 7.7 seconds. These all-terrain tires meant less grip off the line, with a decent amount of squeal; but that grip is found in droves in the wilderness. Keeping the throttle pinned meant quarter-mile passes ended in 15.9 seconds at 88 mph.

Things were also mixed in our braking runs too, stopping from 60 in a fine 113 feet. But, the pedal felt soft until about a third of the way towards the firewall, then firmed up nicely. So, we expected and found lots of body roll through our cone course. The light steering isn’t quite in its element here, but does make for an easy drive under normal conditions.

Pricing for the outgoing, and still widely available 2024 Toyota 4Runner starts at $42,100. That’s for an entry-level SR5. A TRD Pro starts at $56,565.

We can’t wait to get some serious on and off-road time in the new sixth-gen 4Runner. But with so many fifth-gens out on the road and in the wild, we know we’ll be seeing plenty of them for quite a while longer. The 2024 Toyota 4Runner remains a formidable force in the SUV market, and should bring buyers plenty of joy for many miles to come.

Specifications

  • Engine: 4.0-liter NA V6
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 270
  • Torque: 278 lb-ft
  • EPA: 16 City | 19 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.9 seconds at 88 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 113 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 16.2 MPG (Regular)