2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Episode 3649
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Ever since Ford’s Raptor burst onto the truck scene; we, as well as the Chevy truck faithful, have been waiting for a bowtie response.  Well, we’ve finally got one, but it’s not the full-size Silverado that we expected. so, let’s find out if the mid-size Colorado ZR2 is able to do more with a smaller footprint.

For 2017, Chevrolet does indeed have something aimed directly at insatiable off roaders, the Colorado ZR2.  We’ve seen the ZR2 badge before of course; on S-10 pickups and Blazers, and even on the ahem… Chevrolet Tracker in the 1990’s.  But it now seems to have much more meaning adorning this purpose-built rig. 

Standard powertrain is a 308-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with 275 lb-ft. of torque coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission.  The Colorado’s base 2.5-liter I4 is not available, but the 2.8-liter Duramax I4 turbo-diesel is; outputting 186-horsepower and a stout 369 lb-ft. of torque. It comes with a 6-speed automatic.  4-wheel-drive is, of course, is standard on all.  

We spent some time burning and breathing both gasoline and diesel fumes out in the dirt near Grand Junction, Colorado. We had plenty of fun with both, but wouldn’t complain if GM snuck some more power into future versions of the ZR2; along with quicker responsive from the transmission. 

The list of included off-road goodies is a long one, including electronic locking diffs front and rear, rocker protection, upgraded control arms, Autotrac transfer case, 3.42 rear axle, off-road programming for Stabilitrak, and 17-inch aluminum wheels with 31-inch Good Year Wrangler DuraTrac All-Terrains. 

Suspension gets a modest 2.0-inch lift; but the biggest deal here is the Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers, which are similar to those found in the Camaro Z/28.  Chevrolet says this is the first such technology in an off road truck. 

And we can attest it allows the ZR2 to literally glide over obstacles both big and small, as well as land softly after getting big air like a Trophy truck; all while you feel totally in control.

There’s nothing else quiet like it; sure you could throw Toyota’s full TRD catalog at a Tacoma and get close, but you’d pay a lot more and the ride quality would be a deal breaker.

Chevrolet went the sedate route as far as styling the exterior, no flashy brotastic graphics like the original Raptor; just minimal ZR2 lettering on the bed.  But it’s certainly more than your typical Colorado. There’s the distinctive power dome hood, and both front and rear are redone to handle steep terrain.

The stance is noticeable wider too, with plenty of skid plate protection added underneath.  Both crew and extended cabs are available, as are both short and long beds; a spray-in bedliner is standard. 

A trailering package with integrated brake controller is also included, though due to all of the off-road upgrades, towing capacity is limited to 5,000-lbs.

Not much visual change inside, which is a good thing if, like us, you appreciate the Colorado’s upscale, highly functional and quiet space; a bad thing if you’re looking for something a little flashier to show off to your friends or bare-bones rugged. 

Much like the latest Raptor, the on road experience is surprisingly pleasant.  The ZR2 is not floaty at all; as those high-dollar dampers allow for quick turn-ins and keep cornering relatively flat.  Road noise from the tires is fairly subdued too. 

While not exactly a direct competitor to the Raptor; as far as the total package goes, the ZR2’s “just right” size makes it a much more satisfying option for daily use, as well as easier to navigate in tight trails, though it certainly doesn’t have the Raptor’s monster motor under the hood. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 18-Highway, 17-Combined for gas, and 19-City, 22-Highway, 20-Combined for the Diesel  which has the better Energy Impact Score at 19.1-barrels of annual oil consumption, with 8.4 tons of CO2 emissions. 

Pricing starts at $40,995 for Extended Cab and $42,620 for Crew Cab; add another $3,500 for the diesel.  You could spend much less on a Colorado 4X4, but why would you? This beast of a bargain is now our top Colorado choice, at least until the price goes up!

The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is truly a do-anything truck; from rock crawling, to bombing across desert 2-track, to hauling your toys, taking the family on adventures, and even getting you to work on time every day in comfort; all while feeling like some crazy off-road Camaro. Well, done GM. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.8-liter Duramax I4 turbo-diesel
  • Horsepower: 186
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 19 mpg city / 22 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 19.1 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.4 tons/yr
2024 Genesis G70

2024 Genesis G70

New Standard Engine For The G70 Means More Power And More Performance

Episode 4345
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It was 5 years ago, at a time when sedan sales were rapidly declining, that Genesis decided to unveil an all-new four-door, the G70. And just to make things more difficult, it was designed to compete directly against the best European compact sport sedans, which it did impressively well. So yes, the G70 is still hanging around; and what’s more, it’s gotten even better!

The Genesis G70 sedan has been on the road for half a decade now, and looks to have some real staying power, having outlasted its platform-mate, the Kia Stinger. But this 2024 Genesis G70 is not just surviving, but thriving, with a new standard powertrain, upgraded performance and an enhanced interior.

The standard engine in the G70 is now a 2.5-liter turbo I4 with 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s a 48-horsepower increase over last year’s 2.0-liter turbo-four. Genesis has also included a Brembo brake package as standard equipment. The 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 remains available and carries over unchanged at 365 horsepower; both engines powering the rear wheels as standard, with all-wheel-drive optional.

images: Array
(
    [0] => Array
        (
            [image] => 17435
        )

    [1] => Array
        (
            [image] => 17434
        )

)

The approach for the interior remains more of a sporty presentation instead of the outright luxury slant of larger Genesis sedans, and the main updates here include new touch-panel controls for climate and a frameless rear-view mirror. A reasonably priced Sport Prestige package adds leather seating, aluminum trim, a big sunroof and additional driver assistance features. Front seats are both sporty-feeling and comfortable, while things remain a little tight for adults in the rear seats.

No new sheet-metal for the outside, as that was freshened up for the ’22 model year; the design remains polished and smooth, void of garish details, but it does sport the new Genesis engraved emblem front and center above the grille.

Automatic shifts were very punchy, with a noticeable hit of power as each new gear was engaged.

We pointed that logo down our Mason Dixon Dragway test track to see what the new turbo-four engine is capable of. It felt plenty powerful off the line, even with a hint of turbo lag, and power delivery only became more aggressive from there. We hit 60 in 5.8 seconds, almost a half-second quicker than we saw with the 2.0-liter. That’s also with all-wheel-drive, which provided plenty of grip at takeoff, and good stability down the track, though spring track maintenance kept us from getting full quarter-mile times.

All G70s now work exclusively with a rev-matching eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and intelligent drive modes; the six-speed manual transmission has gone away with the 2.0-liter. Automatic shifts were very punchy, with a noticeable hit of power as each new gear was engaged. Engine noise is pleasant but relatively muted, with just a hint of exhaust noise seeping into the cabin.

2024 Genesis G70 3

While the G70 can feel like a big sedan in everyday driving, here in our handling course, it felt tidy, nimble and quite comfortable working through the cones. We felt very connected to it, with great feedback through the chassis and steering wheel. Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control is in play to tighten up turn-ins and provide steadiness, and it worked great allowing us to be very aggressive without stability control systems stepping in, even when it began to show a little bit of understeer as we pushed the envelope.

As for everyday driving, Government Fuel Economy Ratings with the new four-cylinder and all-wheel-drive are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined; we averaged a very good 27.8 mpg on Premium fuel. All for an average Energy Impact Score, using 12.4 barrels of oil annually with 6.2 tons of CO2 emissions.

The more powerful standard engine and interior upgrades add about two-grand to the G70’s new base price, which is now $42,750, $44,850 with all-wheel-drive; the twin-turbo V6 starts at $51,200.

These days, we’re just glad to see someone still making sporty 4-doors. So, when a brand puts the effort into making a good one even better, as Genesis has done with the 2024 G70, well that’s really a cause for celebration. The G70 may be a relative newcomer to the luxury sport sedan scene, but its comfort bang for the buck, along with its additional standard power and proven all-around performance, gives it the staying power it needs to succeed long term.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter turbo I4
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Horsepower: 300
  • Torque: 311 lb-ft
  • EPA: 21 City | 29 Highway | 24 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: N/A
  • 60-0 Braking: N/A
  • MW Fuel Economy: 27.8 mpg (Premium)
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
2024 Lexus GX550 3
2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front2024 Lexus GX550 32024 Lexus GX550 Profile2024 Lexus GX550 52024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel2024 Lexus GX550 Badge2024 Lexus GX550 Grille

Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Engine
2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk2024 Lexus GX550 Engine

Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs