2021 Audi A4 review: No-nonsense, entry-level luxury

The A4 is a bit of a looker, especially with the sportier S Line accommodations seen here.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

When a buyer first dips their toes into luxury sedans, they tend to start small. As a result, the compact-lux segment requires automakers to put forth a solid effort in order to keep those first-time buyers coming back for more. To that end, the 2021 Audi A4 brings a ton of kit to the table in an effort to stand out from the crowd.

Like

  • Comfortable and fun to drive
  • Solid consumer tech

Don’t Like

  • Limited storage in both cabin and trunk
  • Negligible fuel-economy change over 2020 model

The most notable update for the 2021 Audi A4 is the addition of a 12-volt mild-hybrid system, as well as replacing the base front-wheel-drive setup in favor of AWD across the board. Both the base 40 and the higher-output 45 variants receive this upgrade, as well as a small power bump — not that either version necessarily needed it. My tester packs the beefier version of Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, which now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

The A4 45 might not be a proper sports sedan like the

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2021 Dodge Charger Redeye review: When in doubt, power out

That color? It’s called Hellraisin.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

At this point, Dodge could sell the current Charger for another decade and I don’t think anyone would mind. The company honed a simple but effective strategy of incrementally improving its hella-old full-size sedan with cool styling updates and the one thing everybody loves: more power. Like, a lot more power.

Like

  • 797 horsepower
  • 797 horsepower
  • Did I mention it has 797 horsepower?

Don’t Like

  • Outdated interior bits
  • I hope you like gas stations

You’ve already read the headlines: The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye hits the road with a frankly silly 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque. It’s absurd. It’s awesome. And with its standard launch control, it’s seriously quick. The Charger Redeye can accelerate to 60 mph in right around 3 seconds and it’ll top out at a supercar-beating 203 mph. It’s so dumb and I love it.

Dodge’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 is the star of the show, nestled under a redesigned hood that has a larger cold air scoop and two heat extractor vents. The Redeye upgrade comes with Dodge’s Power Reserve feature, which pre-pressurizes the intake manifold for better throttle response, as well as the Power

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2021 Kia K5 review: The one to beat

The K5 is one snazzy-lookin’ sedan.


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The Kia K5 — formerly known as the Optima — arrives on the scene with a new name, a new look and new powertrain options. All of these work to not only differentiate it from its predecessor, but help it stand out in the crowded crop of competing midsize sedans.

Like

  • Lively 1.6-liter turbo motor is now standard
  • Nimble, easy-to-drive performance
  • Solid standard cabin and safety tech suite

Don’t Like

  • Only the smaller screen offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic lighting is a touch too sensitive

The aesthetic is mostly new, but the K5’s proportions aren’t too far off those of the previous Optima. Overall, the sedan is about 2 inches longer with a 1.8-inch longer wheelbase. Cargo and passenger volume are within a few cubic inches of last year’s numbers, too. The roofline is about an inch lower, which accentuates the more “Stinger-like” fastback profile. Along with the increased length, this gives the K5 a much more planted and menacing look than the Optima it replaces. However, unlike the Stinger, the K5 is not a liftback, retaining a trunk separated from the cabin. A chrome accent

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2021 Cadillac XT5 review: Ordinary but agreeable

The Cadillac XT5 is attractive… at least from this angle.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

The XT5 is Cadillac’s midsize luxury utility vehicle, a versatile and cushy hauler that competes with rivals like the Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln Nautilus. To keep pace with these foes, and others, the XT5 was mildly enhanced last year, gaining a new turbocharged base engine, some updated tech and mildly tweaked styling, changes that continue forward for 2021. But while the XT5 is pleasant enough to drive and has a neatly trimmed cabin, the whole package feels a bit middle of the road in a segment where excellence is expected.

Like

  • Excellent infotainment system
  • Over-the-road refinement
  • Upscale interior

Don’t Like

  • Real-world fuel economy could be better
  • Sluggish climate controls
  • Frumpy proportions

This Sport-trim model features a fetching five-sided grille outlined in satin chrome and filled in with a black mesh texture. This prominent opening is flanked by LED headlamps, which are standard across the XT5 range. When viewed head-on, this vehicle is elegant, though, regrettably, the rest of its body is less attractive. If the XT5’s styling were one of the seven dwarves in Snow White, it’d be Dopey. The proportions seem off, which makes the

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2021 Honda Accord review: As good as it’s ever been

You can (and should) get the Accord in Sonic Gray.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Honda Accord gets a few little improvements this year, none of which should hamper the perennial success of this easy-to-like family sedan. That’s more important now than ever, too, as the 2021 Accord faces against increasingly stiff competition. In addition to the Honda’s longstanding archrival, the Toyota Camry, companies like Hyundai, Kia and Nissan are offering better midsize options than ever before. Thankfully, the 10th-generation Accord was a winner from the get-go.

Like

  • Smooth, strong turbo power
  • Spacious, comfortable, quiet interior
  • Engaging and refined to drive
  • Lots of standard driver-assistance tech

Don’t Like

  • No all-wheel drive option
  • Not as efficient as some competitors
  • Infotainment tech could use a refresh

In fact, this Accord was so good out of the gates that its mid-cycle refresh is limited to just a few styling tweaks, minor cabin tech upgrades and some model positioning/packaging changes. Honestly, the biggest news for the 2021 Accord is an improved hybrid drivetrain, which my buddy Andrew Krok talks about in detail in a separate review.

Visually, the slimmer LED headlights and wider grille of my Sport tester don’t really move the needle

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2021 Ford Escape review: A sensible choice


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

There are so many exciting things happening at Ford right now. The rough and tumble Bronco arrives this year, following the launch of the tiny-tough Bronco Sport. There’s now an electric Mustang SUV. Heck, the F-150 is a dang hybrid with an inverter so beefy that it can power an entire house. So where does that leave other products, like the Escape?

Like

  • Strong acceleration from 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine
  • Sync 3 has excellent voice command and smartphone connectivity
  • Top notch driver-assistance and parking tech

Don’t Like

  • Interior feels a touch cheap
  • Odd ergonomics

The 2021 Ford Escape is not a particularly exciting ride, even loaded up in Titanium trim with its most potent EcoBoost turbocharged engine. It’s just a fine and comfortable commuter with broad appeal. Unable to get by on playing to emotions and hype, the humble Escape is faced with, in many ways, a much harder task than its more spectacular stablemates: to sell itself on practicality and value alone.

I suppose you’d get used to it, but finding the Escape’s tucked away Start button was my first challenge.


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

EcoBoost with AWD

The first thing I notice about the Escape? The oddly

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