The 2018 Honda Odyssey is the best minivan you can buy. It’s full of technology features that will make life in a minivan easier and it’s designed to handle the needs of busy parents. This minivan will keep your kids safe, entertained and keep their devices charged.
Completely new for 2018, the Honda Odyssey delivers better acceleration, great looks, a built-in vacuum, magic seats that reconfigure as you need them and loads of awesome features. If you love tech, and you want an awesome ride to haul your family, this is the minivan for you.
The 2018 Honda Odyssey starts at $29,990 for the LX and is available in five trim levels up to the Odyssey Elite that starts at $46.770. We tested the 2018 Honda Odyssey Elite, which comes very well equipped with the must-have car features we expect at this price. Most buyers will want to at least opt for the Odyssey EX, which adds the Magic Slide 2nd Row seats that we love, Honda Sensing and Blind Spot Monitoring for $33,860.
Is the 2018 Honda Odyssey Worth Buying?
“Should I buy the 2018 Honda Odyssey?” That’s the question I heard all week while driving this fun (yes, I said fun) minivan around town. The answer is a simple yes. Honda delivers an awesome minivan that is perfect for hauling kids, friends and cargo around town.
This minivan is packed full of cool tech like wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Cabin Talk, a camera to see the back seats, easy seat reconfiguring and a small Shop Vac in the back.
Even though it’s a large vehicle, the acceleration and safety features makes driving it very easy. While the Chrylser Pacifica is impressive, the 2018 Odyssey wins out.
What’s It Like to Drive the 2018 Honda Odyssey?
Even though the new Odyssey is a large and heavy vehicle, you wouldn’t know this while driving it. The upgraded acceleration is more than quick enough to move this van around swiftly. Getting on the highway or simply into traffic is a breeze.
Honda switches from a shifter that normally sticks out of the center console, or off the steering column, to buttons to switch between drive, neutral and reverse. This makes way more sense than a dial to shift and you’ll pick up on the new controls by the second time you drive the minivan.
Steering is responsive for a minivan and the myriad of safety features, including Blind Spot Monitoring, mean you can drive with more confidence. It’s great to see this included on all but the lowest trim level.
Shifting is smooth and so is the ride. There are paddle shifters on the Odyssey Elite if you want to shift on your own. The Odyssey is only available in front wheel drive. The Toyota Sienna is available in AWD if that’s a must-have feature for you.
The 2018 Odyssey is good with gas, delivering 22MPG combined. Expect 28MPG on the highway and about 19MPG in the city.
2018 Honda Odyssey Design & Features
The 2018 Odyssey comes with a new look that’s modern and just sporty enough, without trying to go too far for a minivan.
Power sliding doors are easy to open from the key fob, driver seat or just by grabbing the handle. There’s no exposed track for the sliding doors like on older minivans, providing a pleasing, streamlined look.
You can open the rear liftgate without touching it and choose the height it opens to. With the key fob in your pocket, grab a door handle to unlock the car. With Walk Away Auto Lock the van automatically locks when you walk eight feet away with the key.
The front seats are comfortable and you’ll find heated seats on most trim levels and ventilated seats on the Elite. It’s easy to reach the on-dash controls, many of which also have steering wheel control options. The instrument cluster looks futuristic and is easy to read.
Magic Slide seats aren’t a gimmick. You can slide the captain chairs in the second row to a variety of positions. There’s plenty of room in the second and even the third row.
Magic Slide seats make getting into the back seat easier and it helps put kids where you need them in the second row. It’s very easy to move the seats, but one catch is the seats don’t fold down if you need the whole van for cargo.
You can fold down the third row and you can remove the center seats to open up a lot of cargo room. Honda says you can put a 4 foot by 8 foot plywood sheet flat on the floor of your Odyssey.
You can control the temperature in three zones, to keep picky passengers happy in all kinds of weather. Second and third row sunshades help block out bright sun and the second row windows go down like a standard car window, which is a huge plus.
The HondaVAC in the rear is a small Shop Vac that lets you clean the Odyssey in minutes, without pulling a vacuum out of the garage or making a special stop.
2018 Honda Odyssey Tech
New for 2018, the Odyssey includes support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in addition to a very useful in-car infotainment system. With this new feature, you can plug your phone in and you’ll get access to a familiar interface including apps, maps, voice controls and more. This is just the start of the technology in the 2018 Odyssey.
The screen in the Odyssey is easily one of the best I’ve ever used. It’s easy to see even in bright light and touch is responsive. A small button to the side changes the brightness to fit the time of day. It’s great to see a hardware volume control on the dash and a variety of hardware climate control options.
Honda offers a 4G LTE hotspot from AT&T to connect devices to the car and to the Internet. With this you can get a device like the Nintendo Switch, a laptop or a tablet online while you are on the go. You can also use this to connect to the car to create a shared playlist with other riders and to control the climate in the van from your phone. With HondaLink you can remote start, unlock or lock the doors and check your fuel range right from your phone.
You can wirelessly charge your phone by placing it on a mat on the center console of the front two seats and there are tons of USB ports to charge up gadgets throughout the minivan.
With CabinWatch, you can see the back seats by looking at the screen on the dash instead of swiveling your head around. You can then tap on CabinTalk to talk to your kids in the back over the rear speakers and even over the headphones if they are using the rear infotainment system.
This rear entertainment system includes Blu-Ray, but that’s not all. The 10.2 inch display can stream music and videos from an array of apps that connect to the Internet through the van’s hotspot. Apps include I Heart Radio, Spotify, PBS Kids Video, EPIX, Happy Kids TV and TG. You can also set up a route progress so kids can see how close you are to the destination on road trips without screaming, “Are we there yet?”
The 2018 Odyssey is packed full of useful tech that you will use almost every time you get in the van.
2018 Honda Odyssey Safety
With Honda Sensing you have a whole complement of safety features and there are must have features like smart cruise control and blind spot monitoring.
The base LX does not include many of the safety and convenience features. We highly recommend upgrading to the 2018 Honda Odyssey EX for $3,870 more so that you get Honda Sensing, Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart Entry and the Magic Slide 2nd row seats.
Blind Spot Monitoring uses sensors to let you know if someone is in your blind spot and shows a small indicator near the mirror. We like this system much better than the one in the Honda Civic. LED headlights are standard on the Touring and Elite, and offer good visibility at night.
Honda Sensing includes four safety features that we appreciate. These include:
- Lane Keeping Assist System – If you start to veer from your lane, the Odyssey will help steer you back into your lane.
- Adaptive Cruise Control – Set your speed and follow distance and forget fiddling with cruise control.
- Collision Mitigation Braking System – Helps brake when the vehicle senses a collision.
- Road Departure Mitigation System – If the minivan senses you are about to leave the road, it will help steer you back onto the road.
All of these Odyssey safety features help make you safer. The front crash prevention earned a Superior from the IIHS at both low and high speeds.
2020 Genesis G70 RWD 3.3T Sport Review
The 2020 Genesis G70 is a special combination of luxury, performance, and driving dynamics that are sure to bring a smile to your face. The Genesis G70 is a luxury sports sedan that punches up to the C-Class and 3-Series, with the ability to deliver fun and great engine noise at a more affordable price.
There is a lot to like about the 2020 G70 RWD 3.3T Sport, but you do need to accept a smaller back seat and an infotainment system that could use an upscale user interface. Thankfully the system does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is where many drivers will spend their time. Available in 2.0T, 2.0T Sport, and the 3.3T trims. I tested the Sport Trim with Rear Wheel Drive.
Driving the 2020 Genesis G70 RWD 3.3T Sport
The G70 is an absolute blast to drive. The rider is great, and even in sport mode it still feels very controlled. The expertise that went into fine-tuning the handling and performance shines through when it delivers a smile on twisty roads. Even when pushed, the car feels under control and the behavior is predictable and repeatable, which leads to a fun, yet safe experience. A low center of gravity and the electronically controlled suspension play together nicely, resulting in an excellent rider quality.
You can dial up Eco, Smart, Comfort, Custom, and Sport driving modes. Eco is optimized for fuel economy, Comfort for a smooth comfortable ride, and Smart adapts to your driving style. Sport mode optimizes for a more engaging driving experience, but it is still comfortable if you want to use this mode on longer highway trips. Custom lets you mix different options to match your preferred settings.
The twin-turbo 3.3L V6 provides plenty of power and the engine sounds excellent. The power and the exhaust note offer a compelling combination to the luxurious interior and refined looks. The G70 3.3T Sport is quick, with a 0-60 time under 5 seconds. The adjustable suspension lets you control how much feedback you feel, but even without adjustments, you get a lot of feedback from the road.
You can expect around 20 mpg combined with 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Genesis G70 Interior
The 2020 Genesis G70 interior is positively luxurious. The materials are top-notch and I loved the quilted seats and armrest area. In addition to looking great, the seats are very comfortable. I cruised all over Northwest Ohio to check in on some friend’s kid’s baseball games, watching from a distance, and even after a long day of driving, I felt fresh. The layout of the cabin is good with a nice amount of center console storage and wireless charging when I wasn’t using CarPlay.
One small feature I loved was the adjustable bolsters on the seats, which lets you adjust for a tighter fit during aggressive driving, and a looser more comfortable grip during normal driving. These are easy to adjust using the controls on the side of the seat. You can also adjust some of the motion of the passenger seat using controls on the driver’s side. This is handy if you are helping someone get in upfront, or if you need to make room for an adult or kid in the backseat. The seats are heated on all models and on the Elite and higher they are also ventilated, which is a must-have upgrade in the middle of hot summer.
Rear seat legroom is a bit cramped, but it is good enough for kids, and an adult on a sort ride can be comfortable. If you plan to cruise with adults, look at the more spacious G80 or G90.
The trunk handled my collection of gear for road trips, hiking, and helping with a home renovation. It’s large enough to handle a handful of suitcases and other items that you will need on your road trips. On the Prestige and higher packages, you get a Power Trunk.
Infotainment & Safety
The Genesis infotainment system is good, but it looks like it was pulled right out of a Hyundai. It’s easy to use and the system works, but it doesn’t match the interior of the G70 as well as it could. The good news is that the system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You need to plug in to use these options, but with a cord, you get the best access to your messages, music, audiobooks, maps, and calls. You can also use Bluetooth to connect to the car for calls and music. The Lexicon 15 speaker stereo system is good, allowing me to find sanctuary on the road. Call quality over Bluetooth and CarPlay was good. There are three USB ports, two up front and one in the rear.
There is a lot of great safety technology and driver convenience features. The adaptive cruise control worked nicely, keeping me in pace with traffic as I cruised along the interstate. Standard safety and convenience features include;
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Automatic high beam headlights
With the Elite Package, you get Low Beam Assist, which steers the headlights with the wheel, to light up the direction you are turning as you drive. This dramatically improves nighttime visibility.
5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car
It’s important to keep your dog or puppy safe while traveling in the car. This year there is a huge rise in the number of road trips and in new pet ownership. If you are planning to take your new best friend on vacation or just around the block, it is important to do it safely.
Sitting your best friend on your lap or in the passenger seat is tempting, and it’s something we’ve all done. According to AAA, 84% of Americans have driven with their pet in the car, but only 16% use a restraint; and one in six put their dog on their lap.
We spoke with Nissan to learn more about the safe ways to transport your dog to the park, to the vet, on vacation or anywhere you are going. These dog car safety tips aren’t exclusive to Nissan vehicles, so you can use them in whatever you are driving right now, though we will share a few cool features on the 2021 Nissan Rogue, including a Nissan Concierge to help you find dog-friendly restaurants. The goal is to keep you and your dog safe.
“Often drivers may hit the road and just have their pet jump in the back seat for the ride. For a small investment and an extra minute or two, you can take steps to help ensure your pet is secured in the car,” said Brandon Sanders, product safety expert, Nissan North America. “An unrestrained pet can be a distraction and also poses a greater risk of injury to human occupants.”
Buckle up Your Pup
It is important to secure your dog to the car using a seat belt with a chest style harness. Make sure you follow the directions on the chest harness and get one that is designed for vehicle use. This is an especially nice option for medium to large size dogs.
Tether Your Dog
Another option is to use a pet seat belt, which is a pet restraint tether. This is a quick option that is relatively affordable. You can secure your pet to the seat belt or to the child seat anchors. This helps keep your dog secure so that they don’t distract you and can help keep them safer if there is an accident.
Crates and Carriers Secured to Car
Small portable carriers are useful, but many of these are not crash tested. You can get bigger carriers and crash-tested carriers. With smaller carriers, it is a good idea to use pillows to keep it in place and a seat belt. You can also place this on the floor behind a front seat. If you place this carrier on a seat, move the front seat back top limit the distance the carrier can move. Medium to large pets should be in a sturdier kennel that is secured in the cargo area of an SUV if possible.
- The ONLY Dog Transport Cage to Pass Front, Rear & Roll-Over Crash Tests
- Proven Performance in Europe for Nearly a Decade
- 14 Adjustable Sizes to Best Fit Most Cats, Dogs and Vehicles
- Locking Doors with Gas Hydraulic Motion Springs
- Emergency Escape Hatch for Added Safety
Use Boundaries for Safety
While the best option is to secure a kennel in the back, you may want to use a cargo area divider to keep dogs in the area you put them. You can use one to keep the dog in the cargo space, or one to keep them in a second or third row. Explore your options.
- Net Barrier Fits most cars/vans/trunks/SUV.
- Keep your pet at the back and make your drive safe. Durable see through mesh, pet's claws won't get caught.
- Many pets likes steps over it onto the console,with the car back seat barrier,keeps pets from launching into front seat.
- Durable and long lasting, strong hook in bungee cords is not easily deformed, protective cover designed won't hurt the dogs.
- Easy to Install and Remove: The net barrier is easy to Install and remove with hooks and adjustable strips. Can be attached either to the handles above the door or the front seat headrests.
Make Every Trip a Safe Trip
It can be very tempting to just toss your pup in the car for a trip to the dog park or to hold him while driving to the vet, but short trips are just as dangerous as long trips. It is best to treat every trip as a safe trip with your dog. While it can be a challenge the first few trips, most dogs will adjust to the new riding style with time. This isn’t about your driving ability, but about the concern for other drivers.
Nissan offers some 2021 Nissan Rogue features that make it a nice option for pet travel. These include;
- Near 90-degree rear-door openings that make loading and unloading bulky cargo, like a kennel, easier than ever.
- An updated Divide-N-Hide rear storage system offers options to securely store pet leashes, bowls, grooming tools, food, and more.
- Rear Door Alert (RDA) can provide drivers with an audio and visual reminder to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle. Interior car temperatures can rapidly increase to dangerous levels in certain climates.
- Available Tri-Zone Climate Control gives pet owners the flexibility to set rear seat temperatures to a comfortable level for pets, separate from the front driver and passenger temperature control.
- Available pull-up sunshades on both rear doors can be used to remove unwanted direct sunlight on pets secured in the rear seats.
- Available Nissan Concierge gives drivers access to a human assistant to help with tasks like finding pet-friendly restaurants, dog parks and more.
- A deep pocket behind the right wheel arch provides a smart storage solution for items like a gallon of water for rest stops.
You can see some of these features and the Nissan Rogue in the video above. We recently tested out the Nissan Concierge and loved it. If you are a busy person, it’s a really handy option.
Last update on 2020-09-18. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
13 Exciting 2021 Bronco Features
- You can reserve a 2021 Bronco today for $100
- Packed full of Off-Road features
- Ford Studied how people use the competition to solve common problems.
After years of waiting, the 2021 Ford Bronco reveal is here and we’ve been able to dive into the most amazing Ford Bronco features, which we’re highlighting for you in this detailed roundup. We’re focusing on the 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door and 4-door models. Check out our 2021 Ford Bronco off-road review ride for more on how it handles.
Ford officially announced the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport this evening with a base price starting at $29,995. You can reserve one starting tonight directly from Ford with a $100 refundable deposit. Every Bronco is equipped with four-wheel drive, removable doors and there are more than 200 factory-backed aftermarket accessories already. There are 11 Bronco colors, seven series to choose from including one special First Edition and an optional marine grade interior that’s ready to get wet.
The 2021 Bronco interior is packed with features that we can’t wait to try out. Some of these are thanks to the human-centric design that Ford used to build the Bronco from the ground up. One of the models was perched in an off-road stance to see the usability of things on the trail, which led to one of my personal favorite features.
2021 Ford Bronco Features
- Hood Trail Sights
- G.O.A.T. Modes
- Gear Management
- Removable Doors
- Sync 4 & Trail Apps
- Easy-Off Roof with a View
- Off-Road Chops
- 360 Camera View With Spotter View
- Steel Shields and Bash Plates
- Trail Tech
- Washable Floor with Drains
- Ford Co-Pilot 360 Available
- Accessory and Customization Ready
Below, we dive deeper into the 2021 Bronco features that stand out to us, and that we can’t wait to try out on the road and on the trail.
Hood Trail Sights
It’s a small feature, but one that stood out as soon as we saw the 2021 Bronco. The boxy and bold design includes a raised edge on the front of both sides of the hood. Thes trail sights rise off the front corners making it easier to see where the edge of your Bronco is on a trail. This can be especially helpful for shorter drivers, but as someone who’s driven a variety of vehicles off-road, this is something that really stood out to me. They also function as tie-down points with 150-pound capacity.
Ford includes G.O.A.T. modes in the 2021 Bronco that allow you to change the driving mode to match the terrain that you are on. G.O.A.T. stands for Goes Over Any Terrain. The driver can switch between version drive modes for assistance getting over obstacles and out of tough situations. These include Normal, Eco, Slippery, Mud, Sand, Baja, and Rock Crawl.
There is a small gear management rail that runs along the top of the dash. This rail allows you to bring your own devices and securely connect them to the Bronco while offroading and road-tripping. Easily mount a phone or your GoPro to record and share the trip without leaving suction cup prints on your windshield and constantly switching checking to see if it’s holding. Ford even includes charging ports up near this rail so you don’t end up with a mess of wires running up to the windshield.
While the Bronco is not the only off-road vehicle with removable doors, Ford is playing up the design. These frameless doors are reportedly easier to remove than those on competing models. On the four-door Bronco all four removable doors are storable in protective door bags in the back end. This allows you to leave the doors until you get to an off-road location and then you can take them with you instead of leaving them chained up at the parking lot. The mirrors are mounted on the cowl, so they stay on when the doors come off.
Sync 4 & Trail Apps
The 2021 Bronco includes Sync 4, which is the latest tech offering from Ford. It includes over the air updates, FordPass and you get a lot of cool off-road features on the Bronco. Sync 4 includes support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are great for keeping in touch as you head to your adventure. The Bronco exclusive off-road navigation feature allows you to better plan and share your off-road trips and fun. There are over 1,000 curated trail maps powered by NeoTreks’ AccuTerra Maps, Trails Offroad trail guide sand FunTreks trail guides. This lets you combine off-road trials in your overall navigation. These work on the standard 8-inch screen and the 12-inch screen.
Easy-Off Roof with a View
Both 2-door and 4-door Bronco models come with a removable roof and easy to remove rear quarter panel windows. Unlike the Wrangler, there is no bar running across the frame between the front and rear seats. This opens up the cabin even more and allows for a better view from the back seat. The roof is in three or four sections on the 2-door Bronco and four sections on the 4-door Bronco. Each section can be removed by one person, simplifying the open-air experience. On the 2-door model the first row panels store in the back, similar to how some Wrangler models handle the Freedom Tops. Modular hardtops all include removable rear quarter windows. A cloth soft top is standard on the 4-door model, but you can option with both hard and soft tops if you don’t want to choose.
Ford packs in a ton of great off-road tech, but there are also exciting specs in our feature roundup. Important 2021 Bronco specs include;
- 11.6-inch ground clearance
- maximum 29-degree breakover angle
- 37.2-degree departure angle
- 33.5-inch water fording
These are great on paper, and we are looking forward to testing them out on the trails. Ford plans to roll out Off-Rodeo courses that will let users experience and learn more about the Bronco’s off-road capabilities.
360 Camera View With Spotter View
Built into the infotainment system is a 360 camera view system so that you can see what is around you on the trail. This is especially handy when you are the most experienced driver or if you are off-roading alone. The off-road spotter view offers an even better way to see what is happening around you. These views are very handy if you are on a technical trail, but also reassuring for novice off-roaders.
Steel Shields and Bash Plates
Each Bronco includes steel shields to protect important under-body hardware. On higher-end models, you’ll find a front bash plate and shields for the engine, transmission, transfer case, and fuel tank. The optional side rock rails are strong enough to handle the weight of the Bronco on each side. These can all provide additional peace of mind when you hear a scrape or a bang while off-roading and increase the chances that you’ll be driving home after a tough outing.
The Bronco’s Trail Toolbox offers handy tech fro off-roading that simplifies some of the common activities so that you have more confidence and control.
- Trail Control – cruise-control at low speeds for off-roading.
- Trail Turn Assist – tightens off-road turning radius with torque vectoring.
- Trail One-Pedal Drive – use one pedal to control acceleration and braking for more precise control while rock crawling.
We’ve tested the Trail Control on the Ranger and it was very handy for clearing obstacles at a steady pace. We’ve enjoyed one-pedal driving on electric vehicles and can’t wait to test it out off-road on a Bronco.
Washable Floor with Drains
It’s easy to get wet and dirty when you’re having fun in the wilderness and the Bronco is ready for it. Select Bronco models include a rubberized floor with integrated drains so that you can wash out the dirt and adventure when you are done. You can also option marine-grade vinyl seating surfaces that resist mildew. You’ll also find wipeable surfaces and rubber switches, big grab handles, and easy clean options throughout the Bronco.
Ford Co-Pilot360 Available
The 2021 Bronco comes with Ford Co-Pilot360, which brings driver-assist features to your vehicle. While off-road prowess is great, these features help on the way to and from each adventure. While we don’t have the exact features on the Bronco, this typically includes blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, brake assist, automatic high beams, and other options. We do know that the Bronco includes AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control standard.
Accessory and Customization Ready
The 2021 Bronco arrives with more than 200 factory-backed aftermarket accessories that can add capability and style to the vehicle. This is likely just the start as third-party supplies will no-doubt fill in with additional features and options once they go hands-on with the new Bronco. Ford told us that you can take the Bronco down to almost the frame with a wrench and an hour, so expect to see a lot of cool accessories soon.
Last update on 2020-09-18. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
2020 Volvo XC40 Review
The 2020 Volvo XC40 is a great subcompact luxury SUV that combines a fun and playful look with some of the best Volvo features to deliver a perfectly sized Volvo for many buyers.
Volvo packs in a lot of technology, a funky orange interior option, loads of technology including a handy semi-autonomous driving mode if you opt for the Advanced package.
We’re seeing more and more small SUVs on the market, and the 2020 XC40 stands out thanks to the premium cabin materials and variety of options. While you will need to spend time learning how to use the infotainment system, the big screen makes it easy to see lots of important information at once. The cargo area is small, but ultimately it had enough room for my adventures.
You can buy the 2020 Volvo XC40 in three options; Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. I tested the T5 R-Design model that includes a more powerful engine, sportier appearance, navigation, and a panoramic moonroof.
2020 Volvo XC40 Tech & Driver Features
This little luxury SUV packs in a lot of great tech options and driver convenience features. While there are noticeable omissions from the larger Volvo SUVs, most of the things you’ll want are included or available.
There is a large 9-inch touch screen in the center of the dash. This is portrait orientation, which allows you to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the bottom and keep access to other car features and functions up top. The screen is bright and responds quickly to most taps. I mainly use Apple CarPlay while I am driving so that I have fast access to my messages, music, Audible, and my favorite map apps.
You can use some physical buttons for control, but most of your in-cabin controls are on the touch screen. The main menus are very easy to use, but it takes some time to learn the next tap. The system is a little slow when you first start the car, but once you are going it is quick. There are a range of included apps that you can use to pay for parking and more.
The XC40 works with Volvo On Call, which I wasn’t able to test, but the service lets you remote start from your watch, accept in-car deliveries with Key by Amazon and even share your car with friends and family through the app.
The in-car sound system is good, with a lot of control over the listening experience. I could sufficiently jam out when I needed and chill out to an audiobook when on a cruise. I definitely miss the full-scale Bowers & Wilkins sound system from the XC90, but the harmon/kardon premium audio is sufficient for the XC40.
Chargers are available in the front and back seat, plus there is a wireless charging pad to put your phone on when you don’t need CarPlay or Android Auto. There is also a 12V charging point in the cargo area.
From a driver standpoint, the XC40 packs in a lot of cool tricks. One of my favorites is the semi-autonomous driving mode called Pilot Assist. This builds on the adaptive cruise control that keeps you flowing with traffic and allows the car to speed up and slow down, or even stop and resume in traffic. Pilot Assist helps steer the XC40, keeping you in your lane, even around some curves. You still need to keep your hands on the wheel and drive, but with Pilot Assist you don’t need to make as many small corrections while driving. It performs well, and is smoother than the system I used in the Hyundai Sonata, but not as soon as the BMW system.
The 360 Birds Eye View lets you easily get in and out of parking places without worrying about tapping another car or scuffing your wheels. The Intelligent City Safety feature can help avoid collisions with cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and even large animals. Blind Spot Monitoring alerts you to cars in your blind spot, and Cros Trafic alerts you when backing up. Cross Traffic will apply brakes to prevent a collision and the Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist can help steer you back into your lane.
Our model also came equipped with a cool parking assist feature that helps you park in a tight spot automatically and then even helps you exit the parking spot.
2020 Volvo XC40 Interior & Style
This is a small SUV, but there is a good amount of room for people, and a usable amount of cargo space. I am a huge fan of the fun orange floor option, which fits in nicely with the overall style of the XC40. The T5 R-Design features larger 19″ wheels, black rearview mirror caps, and a two-tone finish option with R-Design Nubuck upholstery. The exterior is sporty and fits the size very well. It’s fun and a little funky. There is a small garbage container built into the center console and even a flip-out hook from the glove box to hold a bag. I’m not a fan of the cupholder design. If you put a taller water bottle in it, there is a good chance that it will roll out while driving, but most cups do stay in place.
Inside the orange floor option really amps up the style and it works very well with the premium materials throughout the cabin. I was able to get comfortable as the driver and there was also a decent amount of room in the back seat.
The cargo area isn’t very large, but it still feels very capable for the size. I like that there is a power outlet, an elastic strap to secure items, and a handy flip-up divider for keeping cargo secure or hiding small items that you need to keep handy. You can also use a kick under gesture to open the tailgate if your hands are full.
Driving the 2020 Volvo XC40
The power under the hood depends on if you opt for the T4 or the T5 option, which put out 184 and 248 horsepower respectively. I tested the T5 R Design with all-wheel drive, which is a nice option to have for slick surfaces and the option I would choose if I was buying this in the midwest.
Power is good, and it delivers zippy acc3erlation for a small SUV. It pairs up with the eight-speed transmission very well. Shifts are timely and smooth. The engine is a bit loud when you are accelerating, but while cruising it sounds more refined and is less noticeable. You can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the XC40.
It is a fun vehicle to drive, with good handling and a sporty fun feel for a small SUV. The R Design is equipped with a stiffer suspension and you can opt for an adjustable suspension. The ride quality is good and all around this is a nice small SUV on the road.
The 2020 Volvo XC40 is rated for a combined 25 mpg, 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Last update on 2020-09-18. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
2021 Ford Bronco Off-Road Review First Ride
The 2021 Ford Bronco looks cool, but how does it actually drive off-road? That’s a question I’ve been hearing since the reveal and now I can tell you how the 2-door Bronco handles off-road– at least from the passenger seat.
Ford recently let me take a ride in the 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door model through an off-road park in Michigan. This model was equipped with the seven-speed manual, which includes a Creeper Gear, and the turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost inline-four capable of 270-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque. You can also get the 2021 Ford Bronco with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
While I am eager to get into the driver seat, experiencing the 2021 Ford Bronco does offer insights into the capabilities and the ease of using the off-road features. My driver was very experienced with the manual transmission found on this model. From the passenger seat, the shifting looked smooth and the Creeper Gear was a very handy option allowing for more control and torque over obstacles.
Ultimately I want to experience driving the new Bronco through these obstacles, but the control, and ease with which the Bronco and the Bronco Sport tackled the obstacles reminded me of an off-road easy mode.
In the case of the Bronco, this comes from a variety of handy features. Halfway through the off-road experience, we paused on a series of hills meant to put articulation to the test. Reaching up and pressing the sway bar disconnect button that is on the top edge of the dash, we boosted the Bronco’s articulation, making it easier to crawl off without worrying about tipping.
This is a prime example of the ease of using the features on the Bronco. In our Bronco Features roundup, we focused on the amount of attention that Ford put into the usability and livability of their off-road machine, and after spending part of the afternoon actually going off-road in the Bronco it’s clear that this strategy paid off.
I came away impressed with the off-road capabilities and ride of the 2021 Bronco. It’s a different experience in the passenger seat, but it’s also a place I’ve spent many hours in the Jeep Wrangler, which the Bronco is going head to head with. The ride quality off-road felt good on the passenger side, comparable with my time in the Wrangler.
Overall the experience was confidence bolstering. Yes, this was a course that the driver had run multiple times and he had a lot of off-road experience, but it felt like there was a lot of capability left in the Bronco. That’s something we’re looking forward to testing for ourselves soon.
We weren’t able to try out a lot of the on-trail tech in the Bronco during this experience, but the huge screen with Sync 4 and over 1,000 trail maps hold a lot of promise. That’s something we’re waiting to take a deep dive into soon.
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