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Month: March 2019

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe debuts with more power, tech, and updated looks

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The updated 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe bowed Monday ahead of its formal unveiling at the 2019 New York International Auto Show in April. Like the standard 2020 GLC-Class that debuted earlier this year, the GLC Coupe features refreshed styling with a new infotainment system and a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine underhood. It goes on sale late this year first as a GLC 300 4MATIC, with higher-power versions likely to follow later.

The GLC Coupe is the latest Mercedes to get the automaker’s new infotainment software, which features a 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment that can be optionally teamed with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The new infotainment software features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a touchpad, and voice recognition that can search the internet to answer questions such as “Where’s the closest hardware store?” or “Will it be sunny in San Francisco today?”

MORE: Read our 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class preview

With 255 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-4, the 2020 GLC 300 has 14 hp more than last year’s model. A 9-speed automatic transmission shuttles power to all four wheels as standard equipment.

For the new year, the GLC comes standard with automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor. The optional adaptive cruise control can now automatically adjust the GLC’s speed to the posted limit and change lanes automatically at a tap of the turn signal if it senses an opening in traffic.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe

New styling touches include slimmer headlights, revised bumpers, and new grille details. 

What’s unchanged is the crossover SUV’s profile, which features a rakish roofline that dives toward the rear bumper behind the back seat. The 2020 GLC Coupe’s styling comes at the expense of practicality. The German automaker has not released detailed specifications for the GLC Coupe, but the crossover SUV’s cargo volume is unlikely to change much from the 49.4 cubic feet of last year’s model with the rear seats folded down. The standard GLC has about 7 more cubes with its rear seats folded. 

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2020 Cadillac CT5 Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos

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Cadillac has a long history with sedans—although sometimes it helps to have a short memory.

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 is a mid-size sedan that’s smaller than its predecessor, but right-sized for car buyers around the globe—not just folks in the U.S.

Dimensionally, the 2020 CT5 fits between the outgoing compact ATS and mid-size CTS. A smaller CT4 sedan is due later to complement the CT5.

Review continues below

With the CT5, Cadillac has a competitor for a bevy of luxury competitors from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. Ultimately, a performance version of the CT5 may arrive later to take on high-powered versions of those cars, something Cadillac has done very well in the past.

Style and performance

The CT5 bears some resemblance to the company’s outgoing full-size sedan, the CT6, and borrows inspiration from the 2016 Escala concept.

The new sedan sports a more upright nose, wider grille, vertical headlights, and chiseled looks. The hood and body sides are deeply creased and skip the Art & Science jaggedness for a blockier, but ultimately more contemporary look.

The CT5’s rear roof pillar may be the most recognizable shape compared to the outgoing sedans; it kicks up quickly toward a high tail and black plastic mimics the look of a rear quarter-window and meets a plunging roof at the rear end.

Under the metal, the CT5 is distantly related to the Chevrolet Camaro—a relationship that has served other Cadillac sedans well in the past.

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 initially will be available with a choice between two turbocharged engines, a 2.0-liter inline-4 or a 3.0-liter V-6. Cadillac didn’t say how powerful either engine would be, although it’s likely that both engines are related to similar units found in the CT6 that make 265 and 404 horsepower, respectively.

The engines will pair exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission and drive the rear or all four wheels. All-wheel drive will be available with either engine.

Initial performance figures weren’t immediately available, although V-6 versions should sprint to 60 mph in around five seconds and Cadillac says that the CT5 would use “unique sound calibrations” for both models.

Safety and features

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 will be available in Sport and Luxury trim levels when it goes on sale later this year. Like other Cadillacs, the two trim levels are separated by small styling differences outside, and equipment differences inside and under the hood. Cadillac hasn’t yet said how much the sedan will cost.

The CT5 will come equipped with Cadillac’s latest and greatest for infotainment and convenience, including available SuperCruise driver-assistance tech that can reduce fatigue on long trips.

The CT5 will use Cadillac’s latest infotainment system that offers a touchscreen and clickwheel controller, likely with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Cadillac also has promised premium sound from Bose in the CT5.

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2019 Chevrolet Blazer vs. 2019 Honda Passport: Compare Cars

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2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

We’ll spare you the frosted-tipped, rap-rock, slap-bracelet nostalgia from the 1990s. We’ve all seen the pictures.

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and 2019 Honda Passport are two names from near-history that expired, revived for 2019 and reapplied to new SUVs.

This time, both names apply to somewhat less rugged and less boxy vehicles than their forebears, but perform similar functions: they’re tall-riding vehicles, fit for five, and loosely related to other vehicles in their respective showrooms.

The Honda Passport is a close cousin to the family-friendly Pilot, but with less room in the back and no third row. The Chevy Blazer shares its bones with other crossovers in Chevrolet and GMC showrooms, most closely to the Equinox.

We rated the 2019 Chevy Blazer at 6.2 and the 2019 Honda Passport at 5.8, a win for the Chevy. That gap may close once safety scores are figured in—federal and independent testers haven’t yet crashed either but only the Passport is equipped with automatic emergency braking on every trim level, which our ratings favor.

On paper, the race between the Passport and Blazer parts down the middle like a bad haircut. (We’ll stop now.)

DON’T MISS: Read our 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and 2019 Honda Passport full reviews

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

On looks alone, the Blazer wins our showdown. Applying the Camaro’s sleek shapes to a crossover body worked well for us, the swoopy shapes and thin LEDs on top of a tie-fighter nose. The taillights are cribbed from a Camaro, too, but leave open too much space for body stamping and lines to dilute a style that we otherwise favor.

The Passport commits no sins, but doesn’t commit itself to much either. There are a handful of touches to separate from the Pilot—unpainted bumpers and an optional roof rack, notably.

Inside, we didn’t see much separation between the two related Hondas; if you’ve been in a Passport, you’ve been in a Pilot.

The Blazer, by contrast, takes some risks inside that mostly work aside from ergonomic quibbles. The gimballed air vents double as temperature controls, which is a win. Broad swathes of look-at-me red plastic? We’re mixed.

The Blazer impresses more in performance, too. The optional, 308-horsepower V-6 is a stout performer in the Blazer and briskly shuttles the two-ton SUV down roads with more fury than sound. It’s teamed to a 9-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive—the latter uses one of two systems, depending on trim level.

A base inline-4 in the Blazer makes 193 hp and is also mated to a 9-speed automatic but is front-wheel drive only. It’s competent, especially in lower gears designed for better takeoff, but runs out of ideas at highway speeds.

2019 Honda Passport

2019 Honda Passport

2019 Honda Passport

2019 Honda Passport

2019 Honda Passport, 2018 LA Auto Show

2019 Honda Passport, 2018 LA Auto Show

The Passport is equipped only with a 280-horsepower V-6 and 9-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is an option, but the Passport won’t travel too far off pavement.

Its V-6 is a willing performer, but we’ve found that it’s somewhat confused. The Passport’s better gift is its ride, which wasn’t a surprise: the Pilot excelled at a creamy family ride, anyway.

It shouldn’t be a surprise then that we prefer the Passport’s space for passengers. Five fit easily within the big Passport, there are 41 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row. Every seating position is high and gifted with good outward vision, leftovers from the Pilot’s mission as a family hauler.

The Blazer’s seats, by contrast, aren’t as comfortable as the Honda’s, although there’s plenty of room for adults. The bottom cushions are a little short, and while the rear seats slide for more room, we’re still looking for more comfort. Behind the second row, the Blazer offers more than 30 cubes of cargo room, which is more than enough but not cavernous like the Passport.

The two crossovers are sized within an inch of each other, bumper to bumper. The Blazer is less than an inch longer (191.4 inches vs. 190.3 inches), but the Passport is roughly two inches wider. The Blazer has nearly two more inches between its wheels, but the Honda seems smarter about its space.

Neither crossover has been crashed by federal or independent testers, so it’s a draw there until we get more data. The Honda has three trump cards to play: automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control are standard on all trims.

The Blazer offers those features, but with its hands out. Chevy makes those features available on RS and Premier trim levels, which are already more expensive, and then asks for more money.

And for features, that starts the Blazer off on the wrong foot.

Base Blazers with a inline-4 and front-wheel drive cost about $30,000 and offer an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels, an in-car wireless hotspot (data sold separately) and four USB ports.

The starter Passport Sport costs about $33,000 with front-wheel drive, but includes active safety features, 20-inch wheels, power-adjustable driver’s seat, two USB ports, but only a 5.0-inch display for audio without smartphone compatibility. That’s not exactly thrilling, but it is safer.

Our sweet spot for both lands closer to $40,000: a Blazer RS and Passport EX-L. Both feature active safety features (optional on the Blazer, still), an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone features, 20-inch wheels, a power tailgate, and upgraded upholstery compared to base models.

The EPA’s calculators don’t help our indecision: both crossovers, when equipped with a V-6, rate 22 mpg combined with front-wheel drive or 21 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. Only the base Blazer’s inline-4 is relatively frugal: the EPA gives it a 25-mpg rating.

In the end, it’s the Blazer’s styling that pushes our buttons for now. We say it’d look better with active safety features, but GM hasn’t yet read our letters.

The Passport pays lip service to some modicum of off-roadability, but standard 20-inch wheels say otherwise to us. The Honda excels at comfort and space for adults, which speaks probably more to its mission in life anyway.

Both crossovers rate better than average on our scale, and offer crossover buyers more options for the cars they prefer, and we—want it that way.

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