HER Certified Review: 2020 Cadillac XT4 FWD Sport

By Cathy Droz, HER Certified Auto Reviews

I have owned a Cadillac; bought it from my dad. It was a big ol’ car with flashy wheels and faux roof that looked like a convertible, but not really. It held three children comfortably as well as all the music and sports equipment we needed. The kids were a tad embarrassed when carpooling, as most of their friend’s families had Suburbans, station wagons or mini vans. Owning a Cadillac was not very prestigious in the 80s; to them is was their “grandfather’s car.”

However, in 1999 when the Cadillac Escalade was introduced, those kids were now of driving age and started adding the Escalade on to their car wish list. Cadillac finally had a luxury vehicle with some style and pizzazz. The grille and crest of the Cadillac were “in your face opulence.”

The introduction of the Cadillac SUV/Crossover series helped move the consumer buying age from 55 to 35 enabling the brand to compete in this marketplace with their sister GMC products. They could also finally compete price wise with Land Rover, Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes Benz GL Class, Lincoln Ford Navigator, and the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Well, it is now 2020 and for the last several years Cadillac has taken their Escalade model and sized it to fit the needs of many families and price range. The Cadillac XT4 FWD Sport (check out the video below) as you can see, is a small luxury SUV. However, it seats five, and offers a generous cargo area with a 60/40 rear seat split.

I like its short but athletic stance with its oversized large rear lights. This XT4 had four-wheel disc brakes, all leather interior, including the side doors, with 4-way power lumbar seat support for driver and passenger, and mirrors that fold in for tight spots (like my garage parking). Many of the vehicle’s performance information could be accessed via the steering wheel, i.e., tire pressure, engine temperature and mileage to empty. The audio and navigation system were quite easy to operate with icons allowing for immediate changes. The climate control buttons are a push up and down variety, which I found rather easy to manipulate. The backseat has good legroom and the pull-down center row cushion for drinks and armrest were very well done. The cargo area has ample space to hold all the music and athletic equipment that was talked about in Grandpa’s Cadillac.

I was fortunate to drive my favorite color called Red Horizon with Jet Black Interior. Living in Arizona, I would not choose black, as it really does retain the heat more than other color choices. When I was a kid Cadillac meant quality and luxury and many celebrities drove them. Today’s generation knows them as baby Escalades that are comfortable, luxurious, and prestigious. General Motors looks at the XT4 as an entry level Luxury SUV. I consider it to be the SUV I want at retirement so I can travel around the USA and Canada with style, reliability, and luxury. Full circle I would say.

For more information, go to cadillac.com and hercertified.com.

Owner Benefits:

  • 4 Year/50000 Mile B to B
  • 6 Year /70,000 Mile Powertrain Limited
  • 18” 10-spoke Alloy Wheels
  • Selective driving modes
  • AM/FM Stereo with 8’ diagonal display apple
  • Carplay capability and android auto capability
  • Lamps, Front Cornering
  • 8-Way and Pass 6-Way
  • Driver Memory Package
  • Adaptive Remote Start
  • Rear Seat, 60/40
  • Hands Free Liftgate
  • Rotary Infotainment Controller
  • Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Change Alert
  • Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • HD Rear Vision Camera
  • Forward Collision Alert

MSRP: $39,795
As Tested: $46,585
24 mpg City; 30 mpg Highway


Founder of HER. Certified and co-founder of Smart Women Series USA, Cathy Droz has test driven over 520 cars for manufacturers and reviewed them on her website, hercertified.com, radio, TV, YouTube and print.  She is a consumer advocate for women car buyers and training expert for the auto industry.  Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car with Confidence and Street Smarts — Don’t let these High Heels fool you, is an easy and informative guide to car buying. 

HER Certified Review: 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo AWD — See Ya in a KIA

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By Cathy Droz –

Several years ago, there was a KIA dealer in Phoenix who did his own radio and TV commercials. His voice was much like the character George Costanza in “Seinfeld” and he would end all his commercials (in a high-pitched voice) with “See Ya in a KIA.” It was so irritating, but it became an iconic phrase like “Where’s the Beef?” or “Just do it.” Folks would use that phrase to say goodbye after a lunch meeting or leaving the office. “See Ya in a KIA” … Talk about great marketing.

Well that was then, and this is now. The KIA brand, along with its model lineup, does not need a quirky saying or a hamster to get your attention.

KIA has brand recognition because they listen to their customer base, strive to be on every person’s shopping list and have created outstanding vehicles. Taking cues from other luxury and utilitarian vehicles, they have come up with some winners. The Sportage, Niro, Soul, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Optima, Stinger, K900, Sedona as well as the “impossible to keep in stock” Telluride and my test vehicle, the 2021 Seltos.

The Seltos is a very good-looking vehicle. My test vehicle was white with a black roof. It caught my attention immediately as it did other drivers on the road. I was stopped at a red light when a woman, lowering her window, asked me what kind of SUV I was driving. When I told her she yelled back, “How much?” And I said, “Under 30,” where she immediately gave me thumbs up.

The KIA warranty is one of the best in the mass market brand with 10-year/100,000 Mile limited Powertrain — 5-yr/60,000-Mile limited basic warranty and 5-yr/60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance.

You need to test drive the Seltos and see for yourself if it will meet your needs. My friends (empty nester golfers) took mine for a spin and then tried to get their golf bags in plus other accessories. The cargo area, when the back seats are down, is huge.

You have a choice of driving “feels.” The Drive Mode (DMS) made a difference in how the vehicle responded, once I changed from Eco to Normal, I felt the ride was smoother for me. The “golfers” went to my friend’s KIA dealership and wound up purchasing a Kia Sorento, finding the Seltos a tad small for their needs. I say test drive several! It is like Cinderella’s glass slipper… test drive until the right one fits.

In the case of my “golfer” friends, I suppose we could say “See Ya in a Kia” as they also own a Sportage.

For more information go to kia.com or for more reviews go to hercertified.com

Here are some of the outstanding features of the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD:

  • 6L Turbo 4-Cylinder Engine, 195 lb.- ft Torque, 175 Horsepower, 7-Speed Quick-Shift DCT Automatic Torque. All-Wheel Drive w/Center Lock Drive Mode Select (DMS)

KIA Drivewise Driver-Assist Technology

  • Forward Collision -Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist Rear
  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning Lane Keeping Assist, Lane departure warning, driver attention warning, high beam assist.

SAFETY

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Dual Front Seat Mounted Side and Full- Length Curtain Airbags
  • ESC and Downhill, Brake/Hill-start Assist Control

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS

  • 8” Touchscreen w/Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Rear Camera, USB Multimedia Port, heated front seats, 60/40 Split-Folding and reclining, dual level cargo floor.
  • 18” Alloy Wheels, roof rails, fog lamps, upgraded grille with integrated LED light bar, compact spare tire

SX Turbo AWD Features – All Included in price 24 items – Here are the Highlights

  • UVO Link w/Navigation, 10.25 Display, Bose Premium Audio, sound connected lighting, smart cruise control W/stop and go, highway driving assist, Sofino Seat Trim, 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, remote star (on Key fob), wireless phone charger, rear USB charge port, cargo cover

EXTRA
Clear White with Black Roof Paint: $345
Carpeted Floor Mats: $130
MSRP: $27,890
AS TESTED: $29,485
Fuel: 25 mpg City and 30 mpg Highway


Founder of H.E.R. Certified and co-founder of Smart Women Series USA, Cathy Droz has test driven over 520 cars for manufacturers and reviewed them on her website, hercertified.com, radio, TV, YouTube and print.  She is a consumer advocate for women car buyers and training expert for the auto industry.  Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car with Confidence and Street Smarts — Don’t let these High Heels fool you, is an easy and informative guide to car buying. 

HER Certified Review: 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe — Yellow is the new red

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By Cathy Droz –

Believe it or not, I like to stay behind the scenes, lie low, and not be the center of attention. Well that was hard to do when I was given a “Flare Yellow” Lexus LC 500 Coupe to test drive.

At first, I was a little embarrassed to drive it in my neighborhood no less take it out in public. As I try to be age appropriate with my attire, I try to do the same with my cars. However, I must say, the color of the car is beautiful and drives like a dream. The coupe is sexy, both masculine and feminine in design, and the exhaust tunes are music to my ears. Once I took it to the park, to watch my grandson play soccer, and got the approval of the local fire department, my shyness disappeared, and I declared that now yellow was the new red for me.

It doesn’t just look awesome; it is a beautifully and well-made vehicle with every luxury you could imagine. Here is a list of just some of its features. For more information go to www.lexus.com or to www.hercertified.com for more reviews.

MSRP: $92,950

AS TESTED: $106,348

FIRST RESPONDERS: Priceless

Features

  • 0 Liter V8 Engine With 471 HP
  • 10-speed Sport Direct Shift Automatic
  • Rear Wheel Drive /Active Sport Exhaust
  • Performance Brakes
  • All the Lexus Safety System
  • Pollen Filter with Dual Zone A/C
  • Glass Roof with sunshade
  • Apple Car Play – Voice Command
  • Lexus Navigation with 10.3 Display
  • Enform, Alexa, App Suite 2.0
  • 12-speaker Sound System
  • First Aid Kit /Carpet Floor Mats

Some of the Options Available

  • 21” Wheels
  • Head up display
  • Mark Levinson 13-Speaker
  • Intuitive Parking Assist
  • Premium Paint
  • Sport Package with Carbon Roof
  • Trunk Mat, Cargo Net, Wheel Locks and Key Gloves

Founder of H.E.R. Certified and co-founder of Smart Women Series USA, Cathy Droz has test driven over 520 cars for manufacturers and reviewed them on her website, www.hercertified.com, radio, TV, YouTube and print.  She is a consumer advocate for women car buyers and training expert for the auto industry.  Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car with Confidence and Street Smarts — Don’t let these High Heels fool you, is an easy and informative guide to car buying. 

HER Certified Auto Review: Hanging Out at the Hangar — 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD

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By Cathy Droz –

I fell in love with this vehicle the first time I drove it. There is something about the style, the grille, the serpent and cross emblem that makes you feel like you are driving through the Italian mountains of Lake Como.

To my surprise, while visiting North Scottsdale Alfa Romeo, I watched Alice Cooper sign over 100 Guitars for the dealership’s annual giveaway, buy a CAR get a GUITAR.  As if that wasn’t enough, I went on to visit Nelson and Mitch at their Helicopter Hangar to get a beautiful shot of the Stelvio.

It was a great week of test driving this sports car but the question most people asked was, “Why is there a four-leaf clover on an Italian car?” (Maybe it was why I had such a “lucky” week.) If you too were wondering here is the why.

When Alfa Romeo has a four-leaf clover on their cars, it’s on their Quadrifoglio (performance cars) and it has more meaning than a leprechaun might imagine.

The four-leaf clover logo denoting the Quadrifoglio designation was originally used by Ugo Sivocci, a friend of Enzo Ferrari, as a good luck charm. He painted it on the grille of his Alfa Romeo RL and won the 1923 Targa Florio. Alfa Romeo began using it on all its race cars after Sivocci died in a crash a few months later.

STANDARD FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode System with Race Mode
  • Engine Cover with “Quadrifolglio” Badge
  • Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Carbon Fiber Drive Shaft
  • Torque Vectoring Differential

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • 8.8-inch AM/FM/HD Radio with Navigation
  • Harman Kardon Premium Audio
  • Quadrifoglio Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Steering Column-Mounted Aluminum Paddle Shifters

EXTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Pirelli Brand Tires

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT:

  • Trofeo White Tri-Coat Exterior Paint
  • Driver Assistance Dynamic Package includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control, Infrared Windshield
  • Dynamic Dual Mode Exhaust
  • Colored Brake Calipers

For more information, visit www.alfaromeousa.com.

MPG: 17, City; 23, Highway

MSRP: Base Price for Vehicle, $80,245

Price of Vehicle Tested: $88,540


For additional HER Certified Auto Reviews, visit www.hercertified.com.


Photos courtesy of Alfa Romeo

HER Certified Auto Review: 2019 Camry TRD 4-Door V6 Sedan

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By Cathy Droz –

When your bestie turns 70, you take a girl’s weekend to celebrate.  We didn’t go very far, the Boulders resort in Carefree, but we needed a few drivers with cargo space or in my case, a cool car to drive around in.  You also offer to drive because everyone wanted to take a spin in my red Camry TRD, thanks to Toyota.

The Camry was introduced in 1982… and as we all said this weekend… This is not your “Mother’s Camry.” Still a leading model for the Toyota brand, this TRD was taken to a whole new level. In fact, I challenged one of the ladies to a short race against her Targa, Porsche. At one point she got behind the wheel so she could see and feel for herself the power and tenacity of the Camry.  She was impressed.

Maybe we’re turning 70 but we haven’t lost our love of cars, speed and luxury and of course the color red.  Check out the video to see just what went on that weekend.

Standard and Performance

  • 5L V6 Engine, 301 hp @6600 rpm/287 lb-ft @ 4700rpm
  • 8-speed transmission w/ paddle shifters
  • TRD tuned Front and Rear Suspension

Safety and Convenience

  • Pre collision w/pedestrian detection, lane departure alert
  • VSC, TRAC, ABS BA and SST
  • Backup Camera

Exterior and Interior

  • Audio – 7-inch Screen 6 speakers
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay Compatible
  • Display with TRD start up display
  • Aero Kit with Red Pin Striping, Red TRD Badge
  • Red Seatbelts
  • TRD Rear Spoiler
  • TRD Logo Headrest

For more go to www.toyota.com and www.hercertified.com for more Toyota reviews.

MSRP:  $31,040

As Tested: $32,920

The special color red is optional @ $425.00


For additional HER Certified Auto Reviews, visit www.hercertified.com.

HER Certified Auto Review: 2019 Acura ILX

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By Cathy Droz –

The 2019 Acura ILX has delivered a great deal of design and content changes. In the past, I’ve heard “enthusiasts” say that this ILX is just a Honda Civic on Steroids… Well I’m not sure what’s wrong with that.

The changes for 2019 both exterior and interior have made this sedan an under $35,000 contender.  In terms of the exterior, the most outstanding features include the addition of Acura’s signature Diamond Pentagon Grille and new 7-element Jewel Eye LED headlights, along with a new hood and front fascia. The rear sports a new deck lid, lower diffuser, exhaust outlet and LED taillights. New 17-inch wheel designs and color options. Normally a white car is too vanilla for me, but the red and black accent interior make this sharp, sexy and so HER Certified.

Interior changes include new front and rear sport seats, two-way power lumbar control on the driver’s seat, silver-finished dash trim with chrome insert, machine-finished ignition button, dual-screen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

For more about the Acura ILX go to www.acura.com to check out the tech package = A-Spec.

INTERIOR FEATURES:
Multi-View Rear camera
USB Audio Interface
Driver’s 10-way Power Seat
Heated front seats
Dual-Zone automatic Climate Control

EXTERIOR:
Power Moonroof with tilt feature
Heated Power Door Mirrors
Tire Sealant and Inflator Kit
Keyless Access with Smart Entry
MSRP: $31,550
As Tested: $32,545
24 MPG City, 34 MPG Highway
Color:  Platinum White
Interior: Red


For additional HER Certified Auto Reviews, visit www.hercertified.com.

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