More stories

  • in

    2021 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport Goes to Extremes

    The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport isn’t just a slight variation of the regular Chiron. It’s the raw-nerve version of Bugatti’s 1479-hp ground-bound missile. It’s less isolated, more direct, more tightly wound, and more engaging than both the Chiron and Chiron Sport. It’s also slower. But it may be quicker.

    Tested: 2021 Bugatti Chiron Sport Shatters Records

    1500-HP Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport Is an Apex Hunter

    There are a few obvious, visible tweaks to the $3.6 million Pur Sport that separate it from lesser Chirons. There are larger air intakes and a differently shaped nose over an expanded front splitter. The horseshoe-shaped grille is a bit wider, too, and there are new air extractors built into the tops of the slightly reshaped front fenders. In back, a massive diffuser is there to intimidate whoever the Pur Sport has just passed, as well as an utterly spectacular titanium exhaust outlet that could stand as sculpture on its own. Finally, there’s the fixed rear wing atop the tail that replaces the motorized unit on lesser versions.
    Every Chiron makes a statement even when viewed from orbit. But some elements seem discordant in the Pur Sport. First is that rear wing, which seems like it belongs aboard a spacecraft in a Star Wars movie. Emphasizing the wing’s presence is the “BUGATTI” script that was painted atop it on the example we drove in California. Maybe that’s so there’s no confusion when the owner’s security detail is tracking the car from a helicopter. The second questionable design element is the number painted on the front grille—in the case of our example, 16, for the engine’s number of cylinders—which just seems unnecessary. Fortunately, a Bugatti’s appearance ultimately is at the whim of its buyer. Don’t want the lettering on the wing or the number in the grille? Just order it your way. This is a $3.6 million car of which only 60 will be built, and Bugatti wants you to be happy.

    View Photos


    Inside the Pur Sport, the relatively plush seats of the Sport are replaced by thinner thrones that may as well super glue your butt to their carbon-fiber shells. Alcantara covers the steering wheel, flat-black trim replaces machined aluminum bits on the center dial controls, and a slash of red leather on the dash adds a distracting reflection in the windshield. The decoration here is still mostly carbon fiber and leather so supple that it’s almost erotically satisfying to stroke. There’s still no touchscreen, the instrumentation maintains an analog appearance (although a third of the display turns into the rearview camera when reverse is engaged), and the seating position is all luxury bunker.
    While visibility out the front of the Pur Sport is fine, the rear wing virtually eliminates seeing out the back. The rearview mirror is more of a taunt than a useful device. Press the start button and the starter motor whirs in dramatic anticipation. Then the quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16 barks to life with an exhaust growl that’s deeper than before. It’s more engaging, vastly more mechanical, and highly involving. Even before the Pur Sport moves, its driver risks sensory overload.

    View Photos


    The Pur Sport’s removal of the regular car’s complex electro-hydraulic wing and some of its sound insulation, plus the fitment of thinner seats, knocks about 110 pounds off the Chiron’s curb weight. But that diet only goes so far when the Chiron Sport we previously tested weighed 4544 pounds. What the weight reduction really does is immerse the cockpit in a louder mechanical symphony. Turbos spool, intakes whoosh, and the exhaust roars. It’s a level of engagement some Chiron buyers will crave.
    The shifter is still a silly wand, but when the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission engages, the car’s whole structure seems to tense up and ready itself to pounce. Yet, when we toed into the throttle, the Pur Sport moved out into Santa Monica traffic like a friendly pussycat. For a car with so much performance potential and such an overwhelming amount of power, what’s most remarkable about the Pur Sport, as with other Chirons, is how tame it is when puttering around town. Luggage capacity remains limited, but this is a machine that can be used every day without any drama beyond its mere superstar presence.

    View Photos


    Diving down onto Pacific Coast Highway, the Pur Sport’s vast power comes into play as it merges into traffic. It’s such a regal machine that sharing the road with mere Lamborghinis and Ferraris feels shameful. It’s a car that deserves its own lane on whatever road it’s on.
    Bugatti claims the Pur Sport’s aero tweaks add significant downforce at speed. There also are some mechanical changes, including the adoption of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires on “carbon blade” magnesium wheels that are each about nine pounds lighter than the aluminum wheels they replace, plus a stiffer suspension with additional front wheel camber. The suspension is 65 percent firmer in front and 33 percent stiffer in back versus lesser Chirons. But the tires are the real stars. More aggressive and with a softer compound than the Sport Cup 2s fitted on the Chiron Sport, the 2 Rs provide even quicker responses to steering inputs.

    View Photos


    The tires’ louder tread roar may be distracting on a prolonged journey, but it’s just part of the show during shorter excursions. The Pur Sport’s slightly revised power steering brings an immediate and ultimately confidence-inspiring turn-in response. This all-wheel-drive car may weigh more than two tons, but it feels shockingly nimble and should build upon the 1.06 g of skidpad grip we recorded for the Chiron Sport.
    The other big change is the revision to the Pur Sport’s gear ratios; its overall spread is 15 percent closer together than in other Chirons. This alteration becomes obvious when accelerating, as shifts come slightly sooner, and the engine’s revs barely drop between them. It also means the Pur Sport’s top speed is rated at only 217 mph—insanely fast, yet down from the Sport model’s claimed 261 mph. Although the Pur Sport’s terminal velocity may be less than its lesser kin, its acceleration may be even quicker. The weight reduction combined with the new gearing may shave a tenth of a second or so from the incredible 2.4-second 60-mph dash that the Chiron Sport managed in our testing.

    View Photos


    Every Bugatti Chiron is ludicrously over the top, and the Pur Sport is even more so. As one of the few people on Earth who have driven both the Sport and Pur Sport, let me offer some cost-is-no-object advice in choosing the best Chiron configuration for you. First, go for the standard machine-finished dash controls. Second, skip the distracting contrasting-color element on the center console but opt for the Pur Sport’s punctured-leather dash covering. And demand the machined metal pedals, not the rubber-covered ones. Third, spring for the Pur Sport’s suspension and tires. At usable speeds on public roads, they make the car more fun and engaging, even if the resulting ride is louder and a bit firmer. As for the big wing, that’s up to you. If you can afford a Chiron, get the one you want.


    2021 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport
    VEHICLE TYPE mid-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe
    BASE PRICE $3,599,000
    ENGINE TYPE quad-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 64-valve W-16, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injectionDisplacement 488 in3, 7993 cm3Power 1479 hp @ 6700 rpmTorque 1180 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
    TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
    DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 106.7 inLength: 178.9 inWidth: 80.2 inHeight: 47.7 inPassenger volume: 54 ft3Trunk volume: 2 ft3Curb weight (C/D est): 4450 lb
    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 2.3 sec100 mph: 4.3 sec1/4-mile: 9.4 secTop speed: 217 mph
    EPA FUEL ECONOMY Combined/city/highway: 10/8/13 mpg

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More

  • in

    2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA250 Is a Half-Hearted EV

    What does an electric future look like? Driving the newest electric vehicles usually provides a picture of the latest and greatest in EV progress, but the Mercedes-Benz EQA is more like a snapshot of the recent past. Based on the internal-combustion GLA rather than a standalone platform, the EQA seems to hail from the first generation of EVs—slow, with limited range, trading more on perceived virtuosity than actual virtue. In terms of performance, it has a long way to go to catch a current Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt, let alone cars of a similar price range, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model 3.
    The EQA, which we drove on its home turf near Stuttgart, Germany, at least looks the part of a Mercedes. It’s entry-level opulence at its finest, especially when the Electric Art version is specified, with black and rose-gold seats, rose-gold air vents, and backlit decor strips on the dashboard. Our test car was thus equipped and also showcased the plethora of electronic gadgets that populate the compact Mercedes models.

    View Photos


    Outside, the EQA shares its sheetmetal with the GLA, but Gorden Wagener’s design team has uncluttered the front and rear ends to align this little electric crossover with the other offerings under the Mercedes EQ subbrand. The EQA-exclusive wheels look suitably futuristic and no doubt help reduce drag.

    2022 Mercedes EQA Has Clean Looks, Electric Power

    Mercedes Will Make AMG Versions of Its EQ EVs

    As in the gas-powered GLA, the EQA’s powerplant, in this case a 188-hp induction motor, is fitted under the hood and drives the front axle through a single-speed gear set. This means there is no space for a front trunk and the rear load floor is slightly raised to make room for the 66.5-kWh battery pack. The floor is also raised, which creates a less comfortable experience in the rear seat. There is plenty of space between the rear bench and the front seats, but the elevated floor forces the rear passengers into a slightly froglike position. The cabin is otherwise comfortable and well appointed, as it is in the GLA.
    In Europe the EQA250, the only currently available model, is priced slightly above the 221-hp GLA250, whose performance it fails to match (and by a considerable margin). The 188-hp motor, which produces 277 pound-feet of torque, is hampered by the EQA’s remarkable heft. It tips the scales at almost 4500 pounds. The immediate response of the motor makes this car fun to drive in the city, but Mercedes’s claimed zero-to-62-mph time of 8.9 seconds is far in arrears of either the GLA250 (zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds) or any EV that might remotely be considered a competitor. Beyond 60 mph, performance trails off, and the EQA250 is electronically limited to 99 mph. We feel it could do perhaps another 15 mph, which would help matters on the autobahn but likely put a major dent in the range.

    View Photos


    On the plus side, the powertrain is very quiet—even more so than many other EVs we have driven. And it’s fun to play with the configurable energy regeneration settings. We also noticed that even after repeated 60-to-99-mph runs, output was never dialed back. The performance, while modest, is at least consistent.
    In the current, almost comically optimistic European NEDC cycle, the EQA250 is rated at 302 miles of range. We got half of that, but admittedly we pushed the car to its modest limits. On the other hand, the weather was fair, and in other circumstances the range could drop even lower. Mercedes says you can help the EQA get the most out of its battery by informing the navigation system of your destination before you set off. That way, the car can adjust its powertrain strategies according to the topography to maximize range.
    Going forward, there will be both a range-optimized EQA and a more powerful version with 268 horsepower and all-wheel drive. The latter will offer improved straight-line performance, but since it will be even heavier than the EQA250, we doubt it will do much to win over driving enthusiasts.

    View Photos


    In fact, everything that Mercedes-Benz has achieved with the MFA platform over the past decade—precision, agility, lightness—is lost in the EV conversion. The EQA250 wallows around country roads with an abundance of squat, dive, and roll and a remarkable lack of excitement. Brake feel is particularly bad during enthusiastic driving, and during hard cornering the stability-control system reins in the car with a rude display of authority. It should be mentioned that our test car was shod with 215/60R-18 winter tires; performance should somewhat improve with the standard 235/55R-18 summer tires. Not that compact luxury crossovers see much off-road use, but the EQA even suffers in that hypothetical use case. Because of the huge battery pack, its breakover angle is less than that of the GLA.
    Mercedes-Benz has not decided yet whether the EQA will be offered in the United States market or whether the upcoming EQB, a derivative of the GLB, will make it across the Atlantic. Best kept in the city—or the suburbs, where people can charge it at home—the EQA250 serves as a stark reminder that EVs still come with sacrifices. This one more than most.
    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More

  • in

    Finding the Best Truck Wheels 2021

    If there’s one universal point of pride among truck owners, it’s owning a beautiful set of wheels. Whether you’re buying for looks, practicality, or performance, a fresh set of rims can be a huge upgrade. But since they’re made of a wide variety of materials and designs, and have different dimensions and sizes, the crowded marketplace requires some research if you’re looking to find the perfect wheels.

    Factors to Consider when Choosing Truck Wheels
    There are thousands and thousands of models of truck wheels on the market, which can occasionally make it difficult to narrow things down. Thankfully for buyers, however, most truck wheels can be accurately evaluated against each other using a standard set of specs that are universal across all manufacturers.
    Wheel Size
    While every truck has a recommended wheel size, truck drivers often change the wheel size to maximize certain characteristics of their vehicles. While the most common rim size in the past was 15 inches, that size has been more or less passed up by 17-inch options. You can also purchase 16- and 18-inch models, but they’re a bit less common.
    Wheel size affects wheel weight, a potential load rating, and brake clearance, so check out your owners manual. If you’re thinking about changing your wheel size, do your research and potentially even talk with your mechanic before making a purchase.
    Wheel Material
    Material has a lot to do with the structural properties of your truck wheels and also affects the weight of your wheels (and thus, the overall weight of your truck overall). Many wheel companies primarily use aluminum alloys, which are lightweight and attractive, while steel wheels offer increased durability for a lower price, at the cost of added weight and a more plain appearance.
    Bolt Pattern
    Bolts and the lug nuts that anchor them are how wheels attach to the truck itself. Almost all wheels are either attached with either five or six bolts. They’re set up in a circular pattern to even out the force against the wheel.
    You can determine this bolt pattern by two numbers: diameter and amount of bolts. All five-bolt wheels with the same bolt diameter will fit every car with those specs. Keep in mind, though, that if your wheels don’t come with their own lugs, so make sure that you’re purchasing the proper set of lugs for the wheels.
    If you don’t already have one, be sure to pick up a lug wrench and set of wheel chocks to make installation a breeze if you plan on doing it yourself.
    Rim Width
    Rim width is the rim-to-rim thickness of the outside of the wheel. It affects the size of the tire you can place on your wheel as well as, in some cases, the offset of the wheel. If you’re sticking with the same tire and change wheels, different rim widths can significantly affect your tire’s shape, stretching or even deforming the wheels. Do your best to keep the width of your new wheels identical.
    Offset is how far the exterior of the wheel is to the true center of the wheel. A wheel with negative offset will stick out further from the wheel well, and a wheel with positive offset will be closer to the sidewall of the car. You don’t want to change up offset by more than 5 millimeters, or you can run the risk of your wheel rubbing against some part of the trim of the car.
    Wheel Weight
    Wheel weight is simply but vitally important: advanced alloys, machined options, and aluminum wheels have the lightest weights. Slightly more durable options (steel alloy wheels) are the heaviest, while light wheels improve the acceleration and overall weight of your truck.
    No matter what you’re looking for or how much you’re looking to spend, there’s a set of truck wheels out there that can upgrade your truck’s looks, performance, and ride quality. Check out our favorites below.

    Top 10 Best Truck Wheels 2021
    1. Best Overall Truck Wheels: HELO HE835 Gloss Black Machined Wheel

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These good-looking wheels have a large variety of bolt patterns and a machined construction that makes them both versatile and good-looking.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 17 inch, 18 inch, 20 inch, and 22 inch
    Wheel Material: Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 5, 6, or 8 holes with 5.5 inch, 165.1 mm, or 170 mm pattern
    Offset: 0 or 18 Millimeters Offset
    Rim Width: 8 Inches
    Wheel Weight: 30 Pounds
    With steep competition and hundreds of options on the market, it’s impossible to pick out a single option that’s better than all others, but with this set of wheels, wheel manufacturer HELO gets close.
    While they don’t dominate all of the competition in all categories, the characteristic that these wheels have more than any other is versatility: they’re available in four sizes, each with different offsets and widths, multiple bolt patterns, all including a machined face and center cap (although they don’t include lug nuts—for a similar option that has everything you’ll need, check out the premium Mayhem Warrior).
    Great looks come via the machined metal and unique spoke pattern. But these wheels aren’t just impressive looking; they perform phenomenally as well. And while we’ll take a great-driving wheel over a great-looking one, we’re still not going to complain about the striking machined black and anodized geometric construction.
    That paint requires some care, and HELO shows their attention to detail with a one-year warranty against the paint on the wheels. That’s not part of the wheels’ structural warranty, which lasts a whole lifetime: an impressive stamp of authority on a product that’s bound to take some abuse.

    Versatile sizing options with many offsets, widths, and sizes
    Includes machined face and center cap
    Unique, attractive spoke pattern
    One year paint warranty with lifetime structural warranty

    Wheels don’t include lug nuts

    2. Best Looking Truck Wheels: RockTrix RT105 17-Inch Wheels

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These 17-inch wheels are made with looks in mind, using a minimal aluminum-cast design to maximize functionality and minimize weight.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 17 inch
    Wheel Material: Cast Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 5 x 5 / 127 MM
    Offset: -12 MM Offset
    Rim Width: 9 Inches
    Wheel Weight: 27.5 Lbs
    These attractive, modern-looking wheels are aesthetically designed to go with a Jeep Wrangler, although they’ll fit most Jeep models as well as other pickups with similar wheel requirements. With a common 17-inch size and 5 x 5 bolt pattern, they fit many recent-model-year trucks. Watch out for the offset, though, which might affect the brake calipers on some vehicles.
    Otherwise, the cast aluminum produces an about-average performance while probably focusing a little bit more on economy and looks than rigidity and other benchmark engineering statistics.
    While the price tag at first glance looks incredibly expensive compared with other wheels, keep in mind that you’re not getting just one wheel, you’re getting a full set. This brings the ‘per wheel’ cost to just a hair above $100, a pretty good deal for a set of aluminum cast wheels. Along with the matte finish that goes so well with aluminum wheels, they’re lightweight, coming in at 27.5 pounds per wheel, almost exactly the same as Jeep’s stock

    Per wheel cost is just above $100, an incredibly good deal
    Same weight as Jeep’s stock wheels
    Cast aluminum construction is lightweight and inexpensive

    Aluminum cast instruction is more for aesthetics and price than performance
    The wheels include an offset that makes them incompatible with some manufacturers

    3. Best Lightweight Truck Wheels: American Racing Custom Wheels Black Satin

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: With a black satin top coat, these ultra-light wheels are nearly as good looking as they are highly-performing.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 15 inch, 16 inch, and 17 inch
    Wheel Material: Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 5 x 139.7 mm, 6 x 139.7 mm, 5 x 140 mm
    Offset: 0 mm
    Rim Width: 8 inches
    Wheel Weight: 25 lbs
    While this lush black satin coat is really, really good looking, these aren’t wheels just meant for showing off. While their construction isn’t backed up by high-tech engineering like the Mayhem Warriors, their stats are actually quite impressive for a relatively inexpensive wheel option: they’re lightweight, weighing in at just over 25 pounds per wheel, they’ve got a 17 inch diameter that should help with conquering off road obstacles, and their aluminum construction maintains rigidity without sacrificing a large weight penalty.
    The company has a 60-year history, even participating in racing events like NASCAR to help develop their technological savvy. And the company produces products that will stand up to the test of time: a lifetime structural warranty means that you shouldn’t have issues with durability, and the wheels have a one-year warranty against that beautiful black paint, as the company promises to replace or repair should anything go wrong. All in all, it’s a good looking wheel set with great performance at a reasonable price.

    Lightweight wheelset at just around 25 pounds per wheel
    Manufacturer has participated in events like NASCAR
    Lifetime structural warranty protects you in case of damage
    Beautiful black satin coat has a one-year warranty

    Don’t have much technical backing

    4. Best Premium Truck Wheels: Mayhem Warrior Black Wheel with Milled Spokes

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These relatively expensive aluminum wheels back up their price with use of impressive machining tech and back the product up with a lifetime warranty.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 18 inches
    Wheel Material: Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 8 x 139.7 mm
    Offset: 18 mm
    Rim Width: 9 Width
    Wheel Weight: 28 Lbs
    These aluminum 18-inch wheels come in at a slightly premium price point, but compared with some other premium truck wheels that can run up to $1000, they’re actually relatively economical. They’re rated to hold up to 3640 pounds and can run tires up to 40 inches, so they’re large enough for big trucks while still working on more compact pickups.
    Keep in mind that unlike many inexpensive aftermarket options, these wheels are TPMS compatible, so you won’t have to deal with a persistent check engine light that won’t ever go away.
    Aluminum milled spokes reduce the weight fantastically, but structural rigidity is compromised slightly: when you make something thinner, you reduce its ability to hold up to impacts. That doesn’t mean you should be worried about a catastrophic product failure by any means, but a wheel that flexes (even slightly) is a wheel that will perform worse than a product that’s more rigid, like the steel Pro Comp 97. A lifetime structural warranty will replace wheels with any fundamental issue, no questions asked.

    Economical 18 inch wheelset
    Aluminum milled spokes help reuce weight
    Compatible with conventional Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
    Lifetime warranty for any structural issues

    Aluminum spokes yield compromised structural integrity
    Wheels aren’t rigid and can flex

    5. Best Budget Truck Wheels: Pro Comp Steel Wheels Series 97

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These inexpensive yet durable wheels actually perform fantastically for their low price, although they’re quite heavy.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 15, 16, and 17 Inches
    Wheel Material: Steel
    Bolt Pattern: 8 holes x 6.5 inches
    Offset: 0 mm
    Rim Width: 8 and 9 Inches
    Wheel Weight: 32 lbs
    At the intersection of budget and performance sit these wheels from company Pro Comp. They perform well for their low price, with great rigidity and strong structural integrity once they’re mounted and balanced (we’ll get into issues with balancing later).
    The zero-offset model is available in two widths, 8 and 9 inches, as well as the most common diameters of 15, 16, and 17 inches.
    The simple wheels have a gloss finish that in theory should look good, and out of the box, they’re very attractive. In reality, though, the paint job wears out after a couple months of use, the gloss chipping off and losing its luster quickly over time.
    There are another issue as well: balancing: the heavy wheels require an extensive (some would say unacceptable) amount of balancing by an auto shop before installation, which requires time and money.
    In our opinion, this effort might cancel out the low price of the wheels, but if you’re interested in taking on the project yourself, it could be a tempting option. Otherwise, you should spring for something a bit more expensive like these wheels from HELO, which just work out of the box.

    Zero-offset model is available in a wide variety of widths and sizes
    Gloss finish looks good out of the box
    Strong structural integrity and good rigidity
    Good for an experienced home mechanic

    The wheels come out of balance and require significant effort to get into good shape
    Gloss paint wears out quickly

    6. Best 15-Inch Wheels: Pro Comp Rock Crawler Steel Wheels

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These 15-inch wheels are lightweight and inexpensive, although they require the separate purchase of center caps and lug nuts.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 15 inches
    Wheel Material: Steel
    Bolt Pattern: 5 x 4.75
    Offset: Zero-Offset
    Rim Width: 9 Inches
    Wheel Weight: 26 Lbs
    These wheels are quite light for being made of steel, weighing in at only about 26 pounds. That’s thanks to their 15-inch diameter, yielding much less material used. As 15-inch wheels, though, they’re meant for older trucks, as well as compact and subcompact pickups, and potentially other types of cars. Many truck owners actually prefer this wheel size, as they’re slightly more fuel-efficient and can yield a more comfortable ride.
    Keep in mind, however, that the center caps and lug nuts are sold separately, driving the effective price of these wheels up. While an initial look will lead you to think these wheels come in well below average, four center caps and a set of lug nuts cost around $100, definitely something to mull over if you’re price sensitive. The Pro Comp 97 also comes in a 17-inch size and is more affordable, though they’re heavier and take quite a bit more work to install.
    And while the design is simple at first glance, once mounted, they actually look really good on a truck, not too simple nor too gaudy. They’re a workhorse wheel for workhorse drivers.

    Look great without being over the top
    15-inch diameter helps maintain a light weight
    Good for older trucks and sub-compact pickups
    Simple design looks surprisingly good once mounted
    Workhouse wheel for workhorse drivers

    Lug nuts and center caps are sold separately

    7. Lightest Truck Wheels: Pro Comp Alloys 1069 Polished Wheels

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These incrediblly light 16-inch wheels are simple, economical, and contain a brilliantly polished chrome coating.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 16 inches
    Wheel Material: Polished aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 8 x 6.5 inches
    Offset: 2 mm
    Rim Width: 8 inches
    Wheel Weight: 20 lbs
    If you’re thinking about a middle ground option between small, commuter-friendly 15-inch wheels and a larger-format 17 inch model, the ticket could be these inexpensive polished aluminum rims from manufacturer Pro Comp. While they’re pretty basic, they’ll get the job done, and they’re one of the limited 16 inch diameter wheels on the market. They include a center cap, but you’ll have to pick up a new set of lug nuts, as OEM lug nuts can’t be used with these wheels.
    They’re the lightest wheels in our lineup at just a touch over 20 pounds, and although that may mean slightly reduced durability, a lifetime structural warranty covers you if anything should happen.
    Our biggest issue with these wheels, frankly, is the design. While the polished chrome finish might prove a clever disguise to the basic construction, we wish Pro Comp put a little more effort in. Looking for a pair of really good looking wheels? Consider checking out the HELO Triple Plated Chrome Wheels.

    Lightest wheels in our lineup thanks to aluminum construction
    A simple compromise between 15 inch and 17 inch wheels
    Lifetime structural warranty
    Included center cap

    Polished finish doesn’t cover up for the fact that they’re not great looking
    Structural integrity is compromised by light weight

    8. Best Wheels for Toyota Trucks: Toyota TD PRO Matte Black Wheels

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These Toyota wheels are built by the company’s in-house racing tech shop, yielding a product that’s meant to perform on the track, off-road, and on your commute.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 17 Inches
    Wheel Material: Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 6 holes x 139.7 mm
    Offset: 4 mm
    Rim Width: 7 inches
    Wheel Weight: 28 lbs
    These 17-inch wheels work fantastically with all of Toyota’s most common trucks, from 4Runners to Tacomas. The TRD label they’re branded with stands for Toyota Racing Development, Toyota’s advanced performance lab. Just because it’s got ‘racing’ in the title doesn’t mean you’ve got to hit the track to make these wheels worth it: they’re fine for daily drivers, but optimized for off road performance.
    Looks are pretty unimpressive in our opinion, but you’re probably not buying a Toyota for looks: you’re buying it for reliability and longevity. These wheels surely stand up to the test of time there. They count on Toyota warranty and customer support, which by itself is well worth a slight price premium.
    The four millimeter offset isn’t very common for trucks, nor is the seven inch rim width, but they’re both standard for Toyota trucks, so they’ll work with pretty much any Toyota model that’s come out within the last 10 years. The 28 pound weight is about typical for the type of wheel and material.
    Watch out, however, if you’ve got a non-Toyota truck or you’ve already modified or lifted your Toyota: the tolerances are quite tight, and you might have a tricky time if you haven’t triple-checked measurements.

    Fit all of Toyota’s most popular trucks
    Optimized for off road performance by Toyota’s performance lab
    Rely on Toyota’s warranty and customer support
    Reliable and long-lasting

    May not fit modified, non-Toyota, or lifted trucks
    Slight price premium over similar shoes
    Looks aren’t too impressive

    9. Best 20 Inch Wheels: OE Wheels Hollander

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These GM-specific 20-inch wheels, although expensive, are loaded up with warranties and maintain a light weight even with their large format.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 20 inches
    Wheel Material: Aluminum
    Bolt Pattern: 6 lugs
    Offset: 31 mm
    Rim Width: 8.5 inches
    Wheel Weight: 31 lbs
    These wheels were created as a replacement for large GMC and Chevrolet vehicles like the Silverado, Tahoe, Sierra, Yukon, and Escalade, but will fit other vehicles that have wheels with similar or identical specifications. Keep in mind that since these are specifically made for specific GM models, if you’ve got a modified truck (specifically suspension or braking), you might have trouble fitting these wheels. Double check before buying these 20-inch monsters.
    With wheels this big, you’re practically required to build them out of cast aluminum if you don’t want to end up with something that weighs a ridiculous amount, although even still they’re heavy-ish at 31 pounds.
    While the wallet hit is pretty extreme, keep in mind that you’re also paying for a one-year aesthetic warranty and a lifetime structural guarantee. That’s worth quite a bit against models like Pro Comp Rock Crawler Steel Wheels with lesser or nonexistent warranties.

    Created specifically to fit GMC models
    Cast aluminum construction
    Great warranty for aesthetics
    Structural lifetime guarantee

    Relatively heavy for aluminum at 31 pounds
    Might not fit cars with lifts or brake modifications

    10. Best Chrome Truck Wheels: Helo Triple Plated Chrome Wheel

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: These chrome-plated wheels look great on a dropped or lifted truck with a shiny, warrantied top coat.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Wheel Size: 17 inches
    Wheel Material: Alloy
    Bolt Pattern: 8 x 180 mm
    Offset: 0 mm
    Rim Width: 9 inches
    Wheel Weight: 36 lbs
    Look, we’ll be straight with you: these aren’t off-roading wheels, nor are they even really meant to be great performing wheels. If you’re throwing them on your pickup truck, they’re really only meant for one thing: looking really, really cool. Chromed-out rims are particularly popular with the low riding (or lifted, for that matter) crowds, with shine taking priority over form factor. And shine these wheels do, with a triple chrome-plated finish topped off by a triple chrome-plated center cap.
    Those aesthetics are even covered by the warranty, as the chrome coating has a one-year finish warranty against any aesthetic damage that happens; it comes with an impressive lifetime structural guarantee as well.
    At 36 pounds a pop, we’re not surprised that these alloy rims can take a beating. For costing over $200, we wouldn’t mind if these wheels came with some lug nuts, but who are we to complain—you’re paying for aesthetics, here. If you don’t care about looks, choose something simpler and more affordable like the HELO HE835.

    Chromed out rims look great on most trucks
    Triple chrome-plated finish and center cap
    One year finish warranty for aesthetics
    Lifetime structural guarantee

    Relatively expensive wheels
    High weight of 36 pounds per wheel
    No lug nuts included with purchase

    Guide to Buying the Best Truck Wheels for 2021
    Truck owners are quite selective about what they’re looking for in a set of wheels: between looks, performance, weight, tire compatibility, and warranty considerations, there’s a lot that goes into the selection process.
    Below we’ll outline some of the details related to your purchase and also outline some points that you might not have considered in your preliminary product research. A little reading and investigation will help you loads in the long term.
    How Wheels Affect Your Truck’s Mechanics
    You can’t slap a pair of wheels on and not expect the change to affect your truck’s mechanics and performance, especially if you’re changing the size of the wheel. Make sure you are paying attention to your manufacturer’s guidelines and be aware of the potential downsides of a wheel change.
    Suspension Considerations
    Suspension systems are designed around a specific wheel size, sometimes even a specific wheel model, and placing a different wheel can change how your suspension behaves and performs. If your truck is lifted or you’re planning to lift your truck as you change your wheels, that can affect your suspension system as well.
    Large wheels typically mean a stretched out tire, which can affect the comfort and noise level inside your truck. It can also make wheels and tires more susceptible to damage. If you replace your tires, this solves some of the problems, but it can change the readings from your speedometer and tire-pressure sensor. While it’s done frequently enough so that it usually doesn’t cause issues, be aware that it could require some troubleshooting to tune up.
    Drivetrain Considerations
    There’s no two ways about it: increasing wheel size changes your effective gear ratio. When you purchase a larger rim, the effective diameter of your wheel grows (it’s the same way if you simply purchase a larger tire), and this means acceleration takes more power.
    Depending on how your transmission is set up and how low your lowest gear is, this can considerably affect your drivetrain system. This change also can affect fuel economy. The secret is to make changes incrementally, and not to rock the boat too much. Our top overall pick is available in a range of large sizes, making it a great option to find the perfect size.
    If you’re dead set on moving to a bigger wheel, use this tire size calculator alongside your owner’s manual to make sure your change won’t drastically alter your truck’s performance.
    The Most Common Wheel Sizes
    Different trucks have different recommended wheel sizes, but there’s a bit of room within a couple of inches on both sides. While 15 inch wheels have been incredibly popular in the past, now, more than ever, 17 inch wheels and less common 16 inch and 18 inch models have come more to the forefront, although they’re still relatively uncommon.
    15 inches
    15 inch wheels used to be the standard truck wheel size, although now they’re gradually being phased out of use with trucks as 17 inch models gain market share and popularity. Many drivers still prefer 15 inches for performance, although 17 inch wheels have their use case as well.
    A 15 inch wheel is proven to deliver a more comfortable ride, and some data shows that gas mileage can be better on smaller wheels when other variables are controlled. Be aware, though, that most of the latest research and development technology goes towards 17 inch tires, so you might not get the latest and greatest truck tech when shopping for new rubber.
    Not all wheels come in 15-inch sizes, but those who need these small wheels should check out the American Racing Custom Wheels Black Satin.
    17 inches
    There’s one case where we’ll always recommend 17-inch wheels: offroading. There are some undeniable truths when offroading, disregarding personal opinion. A bigger wheel can roll over bigger objects as well as add some marginal benefits on low-friction surfaces like sand and mud.
    Other Sizes
    While 15 inch wheels and 17 inch wheels are easily the most popular wheels on the market, there are plenty of other wheels produced in size of anywhere from 14 to 22 inches for trucks.
    You can check this guide on rim size from auto magazine Car and Driver to learn a bit more about the subject, but our recommendation is to stick with the same size rims that came on your car in the first place.
    Selecting a Tire for Your Truck Wheels
    Selecting a tire for your truck wheels is one of the most contentious subjects for anyone who’s serious about their truck. You’d think picking out a truck wheel would have more to do with purpose, function, and price than personal opinion, but that’s not necessarily the case.
    Off Road Tires
    Among the ‘serious trucking’ crowd, there’s only one type of tires: off road tires. Not only are they good for the dirt, grass, mud, gravel, and grass of off road trails and rock gardens, they also perform better than fuel-efficient road tires in the snow and the rain. Plus, they look the best of all other tires, with aggressive widths and tread patterns. They’re also good for towing and help with weight capacity. Unfortunately, they decrease fuel efficiency horribly, they’re expensive, and their soft rubber compounds wear out quickly.
    Road Tires
    Road tires and all season tires are designed for use on asphalt in both dry and wet conditions. While they’re probably the best option for most truck drivers, pickup owners generally prefer something a bit more aggressive looking. We’ve got no such prejudices and therefore recommend road tires unless you’re driving more off road than on.
    Winter Tires
    Winter tires are great for their designed use case (snow) and better than alternatives in adverse cold-weather conditions (ice), but they’re nowhere near to performing as well as a road tire in optimal conditions. Most trucks are already four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, so a pickup will already be your first choice in wintery conditions. And the price of winter tires has gone down in recent years, so picking up a set can definitely be worth a look.
    Wheel Balancing
    All new aftermarket wheels will have something in common: when purchased, they come out of balance. The construction process simply isn’t perfect, and when you mount up a tire, the wheel will be significantly out of alignment. At higher speeds, this can be dangerous as wheels wobble back and forth, affecting not only comfort, but stability.
    We strongly recommend that you head to your local auto shop to get your wheels balanced, but if you’ve got experience, you can take a crack at it yourself. The most important thing is that at least someone takes a look at your wheels before installation: if you just throw your wheels on without a second thought, you could end up in a wobbly or even dangerous situation.
    Truck Wheel FAQ
    What is the Best Truck Wheel Size?
    There’s no best wheel size, only a manufacturer-suggested size and optimal sizes for different tasks. Larger wheels are typically better for larger trucks and can improve offroad performance as well, but reduce fuel efficiency and cause stress on tires.
    Most people don’t ‘downsize’ to smaller truck wheels, but if you choose to stick with the same size, enjoy better highway performance but decreased offroad traction and towing capacity.
    Can I Put Wider Tires on Truck Rims?
    This is really two questions in one, the first one addressing the differences between truck and car rims, and the second one addressing the efficacy of putting a wider-than-standard tire on a truck rim.
    We’ll answer the first question first: are truck rims better at holding a non-standard tire than a car rim? Generally, yes. A larger lip means that the tolerances are a bit higher, and you’re less likely to encounter problems when mounting a different tire/rim combo.
    Efficacy is a different story: a stretched tire goes on a bigger wheel, which typically means the driver is targeting better offroad or towing performance. In this case, more stress can mean a higher probability of a flat.
    If you’re going to be sizing up for better high-stress performance, grab a new pair of tires to make sure you won’t flat in a dangerous situation.
    Should I Use a Truck Tire or a Car Tire?
    When you drive a consumer pickup truck, you’re faced with a decision: do you use a burly car tire, that’ll typically be quicker, more economical, and more fuel-efficient? Or should you use a burlier light truck tire (labeled LT) for more impressive durability, better off road traction, and a tougher-looking stance?
    It’s up to you, and plenty has to do with personal preferences and aesthetics, but we’ll give you a rough idea: if your truck has a ¾ to ½-ton bed capacity, do yourself a favor and pick up a light-truck tire.
    If you’re planning on doing some towing, a light truck tire is a good idea as well. Just heading around town and using your bed only for lightweight hauls? A standard car tire should be more than sufficient.
    Take the Open Road
    Maybe you’ve damaged a wheel and you’re using it as an opportunity to upgrade your whole set, or perhaps you’re thinking about buying a differently-sized wheel set to pump up performance off-road or improve towing ability.
    No matter the reason for your purchase, the advent of online wheel sales has created tremendous benefits for consumers, with options for all types and classes of pickup drivers. Do your research, make sure you’ve got your specs right, and you’ll be good to go to drive off into the sunset. More

  • in

    Best Folding Tonneau Covers 2021 – Protect Your Cargo

    Pickup trucks have remarkable cargo capacity but, unlike cars, they don’t have any protection for your load, leaving them exposed to the elements. While the fact that a pickup bed is open means you can have a lot of cargo, putting some type of cover over the bed can protect and secure whatever you’re hauling.
    While this protection can be accomplished with a soft cover, a rolling tonneau cover, a truck topper, or even a tarp, one of the most effective, simple, and affordable options is a hard tonneau cover. Unlike toppers, they don’t require tools and they’re easy to remove, although they can be placed permanently if you like. All in all, they’re one of our favorite upgrades for pickup trucks.

    Choosing a Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
    While tonneau covers, especially hard-top tonneau covers can be expensive, they’re worth it for many for the security and the weather protection they provide. What a tonneau cover really does is protect the bed of your pickup truck, converting it into a hybrid between a traditional automobile trunk and a standard pickup bed. But they’re not all built equally, so there are some factors you’ll need to keep in mind.
    Vehicle Compatibility
    Unfortunately, most tonneau covers are only compatible with a specific truck model or series of models from a specific manufacturer. While it is inconvenient that you can’t swap a tonneau cover from one truck to another, it does mean that most covers fit nearly perfectly, creating a weatherproof seal around the bed and adding an additional layer of security to your truck.
    Ease of Use
    Many tonneau covers don’t require any tools for installation, making them convenient for owners. They accomplish this by being designed for only a single, specific model.
    Be aware of bed length as well, as manufacturers make different covers that are designed to work with short beds or standard beds, never both.
    One of the main purposes of a tonneau cover is to keep your cargo secure. While pickups can hold a mountain of whatever you’re hauling, they’re not closed by design, so you can’t keep them under lock and key as you could with a car or SUV. A tonneau cover can be closed and locked down, covering the cargo area and adding a layer of security to whatever’s in your truck bed.
    We also consider weather resistance a part of security: if you’re hauling timber, or groceries for that matter, and they arrive wet even when you’re using a tonneau cover, is it even worth it to have one on your truck? In our opinion, probably not.
    Especially with hard tonneau covers (as opposed to soft ones), security and weather-resistance is a huge part of a purchase. A cover that doesn’t protect your cargo isn’t even worth it.
    With all of that in mind, let’s get to our picks for the best hard folding tonneau covers on the market today.

    Top 10 Best Folding Tonneau Covers 2021
    1. Best Overall Cover: Tonno Pro Hard Fold Bed Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This hard bed cover is a bit heavier-duty than average thanks to its marine vinyl, aircraft-grade aluminum frame, and an impressive tailgate locking system.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado
    This hard tonneau cover is meant for GM trucks from model years 2014 to 2018, with this particular version fitting standard and extended cab trucks with a standard bed. From the top, it looks like a single sheet of nylon, creating a sleek look over the back of your truck. On the other side, though, it’s a completely different story, hiding three framed panels that contribute to the product’s high weight of about 70 pounds.
    That weight comes with a benefit, thankfully: the cover can hold an evenly distributed load of about 350 pounds, no small feat. But, if you’re looking for a lighter cover, the Xcover Low Profile Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover fits the same vehicles and is much easier to maneuver, but it’s also a bit flimsier.
    It also comes with an easy to use hybrid security-clamping system. Thanks to a clever design, if the tailgate is locked, the tonneau cover is locked as well. It’s also easy to set up, as it comes pre-assembled and doesn’t require tools.
    The cover has got three length options, one for crew cab models, one for standard beds, and one for extended bed versions. The company also produces some soft covers and a roll-up version, but their most critically acclaimed version is by far this one.
    It’s a bit pricey compared to soft tonneau covers at around $500, but compared with other high quality, secure products, it’s competitively priced.

    Comes with a hybrid security-clamping system
    Fits both standard and extended cab trucks
    Three framed panels can hold up to 350 pounds
    Fits GM trucks from 2014 to 2018
    If the tailgate is locked, the tonneau cover automatically locks as well

    High price compared to soft tonneau covers
    The comparatively high weight of about 70 pounds

    2. Best Budget Cover: DNA Monitoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: At a low price and with a considerable weight capacity, this cover isn’t just impressive in terms of structure, but has a series of great features as well.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Ram 1500 – 3500 / 6.5 foot bed.
    While folding tonneau covers are incredibly effective for protection, fuel efficiency, and more, there are also some drawbacks. Along with limiting cargo space, a tonneau cover also restricts your freedom with your cargo space, especially for rigid cover that can’t really be stored or set aside easily.
    Although it is incredibly structurally sound and rigid, this cover doesn’t break down at all, making it hard to store. If you’re carrying it, it’ll have to go on or in the bed of your truck, unlike the Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover.
    This specific model fits Ram trucks, specifically Ram 1500s, 2500s, and 3500s. Thankfully, they also make models that can cover Chevrolet Sierras and Silverados, along with models that are compatible with the hyper-popular Ford F150 series. (There are a couple more niche models available as well.) We love the look across the product range, with matte paneling and black powder-coated aluminum structure. Tension is adjustable across the cover so that a perfect fit is always easy to achieve.

    Good for protection and fuel efficiency
    Structurally sound and rigid
    Black powder-coated frame and matte black structure
    Has models in the series compatible with Ford F150s, Chevrolets, and more

    Restricts your cargo space
    Doesn’t break down, making it hard to store
    Will have to be transported in the bed of your truck

    3. Best Waterproof Cover: Xcover Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This low-profile tonneau cover seals flush against the bed rails, locks automatically, and is completely waterproof.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 / 5.6 foot bed
    While this Xcover bed cover isn’t as expensive as the highest-end, thousand-dollar models like the Bak BakFlip MX4, at over $500, it still comes in at a slightly premium price point. And it backs up that price with a host of features that less expensive covers don’t offer. It’s weatherproof and durable, designed to be UV-resistant and protect cargo from all precipitation. A high-quality seal even prevents dust and dirt from entering.
    While an automatically locking latch makes sure your cargo always stays locked up, it’s frankly a bit inconvenient when you close your tailgate without realizing it as there’s no way to unlock it via the tonneau cover itself. That does improve security, though, and might be a plus if you’re a bit forgetful. And that ‘low-profile’ designation isn’t just for show: this tonneau cover lies completely flat against the rails of the bed, making it sleek and improving the seal.

    Not as expensive as the highest-end models
    Weatherproof and durable with UV-resistant coating
    Protects cargo from all types of precipitation
    Tonneau cover lies completely flat, yielding a good seal

    Tonneau cover inconveniently automatically locks up

    4. Best Premium Cover: Bak BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This folding cover is incredibly pricey, but it’s impermeable by weather and thieves alike thanks to aircraft-grade paneling.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: 2015 – 2020 Ford F150 Short Bed
    Let’s get one thing out of the way first: this pickup bed cover costs about twice as much as versions from other competitors. So how does this F150 short bed cover justify its high price?
    First of all, it’s both durable and weight resistant: while some other tonneau covers can barely hold a two-by-four without caving in, this cover, equipped with aircraft-grade aluminum panels can hold a good couple hundred pounds without so much as a squeak.
    It’s still not as structurally rigid as a body panel, especially considering that it attaches to the bed with no drilling, creating a durable seal that’s both impermeable and impermanent. That means it keeps out rain, sun, snow, extreme weather, and thieves.
    At a total weight of 71 pounds, it won’t affect the handling or performance of your vehicle. It can be closed with the tailgate up or down, meaning you can carry oversized lumber and still keep it covered. If you’re hauling something a bit taller, the cover can be folded against the back of the cab, obstructing your rear view a bit but giving you full access to your bed (rolling tonneau covers can’t do this).
    It’s held upright with durable prop rods that don’t give out over rough terrain. All of these great features, however, reflect back on the insane price point, which is worth it for some, but completely out of reach for others. If you’re not concerned with getting the best of the best, the DNA Monitoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover functions nearly as well for a much lower price.

    Can hold several hundred pounds on top without complaint
    Total weight of 71 pounds is light for a tri-fold cover
    Keeps out rain, sun, snow, extreme weather, and thieves
    Can be folded up against the cab to give access to your bed
    Held in place by durable prop rods

    Price is about five times as much as competitors
    Cover can marginally obstruct your view

    5. Best American-Made Cover: Rough Country Low Profile Hard Tri-Fold Folding Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This American-made tonneau cover sits at a mid-range price point; it’s also easy to use, secure, and has a lifetime guarantee.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2015-2020 / 5.5 foot bed
    Not the most expensive tonneau cover and certainly not the cheapest, this model from truck outfitter Rough Country is durable, strong, and easy to use and install. Each of the three panels on this tri-fold cover is constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum, although the textured black design on the panels makes them appear more like carbon fiber than anything else.
    It’s really easy to use compared to other covers that require some serious elbow grease to get moving. With a series of sturdy latches, an articulated design, and even a system for partial opening, it’s a piece of cake to use.
    Security is great as well, as the aluminum panels are hard to bust through and the cover secures with a We’re partial to American-made products, and this cover is certified made-in-the-USA. But that’s not the only guarantee Rough Country provides, as they also include a lifetime warranty with their product: not too shabby!
    That provides some significant value over other covers that aren’t guaranteed and will last around two to three years. Just watch out for installation, as it can be a bit tricky to line up properly. If you don’t want to fuss with tricky setup, you might want to consider the Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover instead.

    Durable cover is made with aircraft aluminum
    Textured black design looks great with a carbon fiber-like coating
    Has a system for partial opening
    Lifetime warranty

    Installation can be a little tricky

    6. Easiest Cover to Use: Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This cover from Gator is a bit less sturdy than a hard tonneau cover, but less pricey and easier to install as well.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2015 – 2020 / 5’7 bed
    At 24 pounds, it’s much lighter than other hard-shell products like the Bak BakFlip MX4, but it’s not as structurally rigid either.
    While the advanced alloy materials in heavier folding tonneau covers have no problem holding weights of around 150 pounds, you probably shouldn’t set anything on this tonneau cover over 50 pounds. It’s still more rigid than soft covers, but doesn’t have their same flexibility regarding storage.
    Installation is simple as well: manufacturer Gator claims that it can be installed in about 10 minutes, quick enough that you can take it off and put it back on at your convenience, similar to a soft-top tonneau cover. It accomplishes this by clamping onto the existing rails without the use of any tools.
    While it’s convenient that you can do everything by hand, the hardware is a bit cheap feeling, and you should be careful about stripping the aluminum fittings or breaking plastic pieces. If you want durability and protection over ease of use, you’d probably be better served by the Tonno Pro Hard Fold Bed Tonneau Cover.

    Light weight of 24 pounds
    Installation is impermanent and simple
    Can be stowed easily in your truck cab or pickup bed
    Installation timeline of just about 10 minutes

    Aluminum and plastic fittings are cheap feeling and are easy to break
    Won’t support weights of over 150 pounds

    7. Best Long Bed Cover: Lund Hard Tri-Fold Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This rigid truck cover solves the problem of creating a structurally strong bed cover for a long truck bed
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2004-2008 / 8-foot bed
    Creating a tonneau cover for a long-bed pickup is an interesting manufacturing challenge, as the structural rigidity decreases with the weight of added material and the lack of support. This tri-fold cover solves the issue with aluminum panels coated with marine grade vinyl, all supported by a rigid but folding internal structure.
    That all yields a product that can withstand 350 pounds of weight across the cover, no small feat: on top of that, it is incredibly convenient compared to soft tonneau covers that won’t support more than 15-20 pounds without caving in.
    The manufacturers promise a five minute install time; back up their weather seal with a quality promise, and have a simple locking system that gets you on the road quickly. These same features also extend to their model for a 6’7 bed as well as their short-bed 5-foot version. That’s a great thing in our book, as we’ll always take some additional security and rigidity for our covers.
    Our only complaint is that the manufacturer doesn’t cut MSRP on their standard-length models, which feels a little unfair—if you don’t have a long-bed pickup, there’s really no reason not to select a more affordable and equally good option.

    Rigid tonneau cover for a longer bed pickup truck
    Five minute install time
    Weather sealing tech comes with a quality assurance from the manufacturer
    Cover can support up to 350 pounds of evenly distributed weight
    Simple locking system for sealing up your cargo

    Five-foot version isn’t any cheaper than long-bed varieties

    8. Most Durable Cover: Proven Ground EZ Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This tri-fold cover with an aircraft-grade aluminum frame will be good to go for whatever you throw at it.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2000, 2019-2020
    With a tri-fold panel design, an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, and a marine-grade vinyl to cover everything up, this cover from Proven Ground holds up fantastically well to years of hard use and hard weather. It’s a tri-fold design, proven to be effective when designing tonneau covers, constructed with hard panels coated with black epoxy for rigidity and UV protection.
    It does fall prey to a flaw of many modern trucks, a lack of compatibility. It’s only compatible with two specific models of Chevrolet trucks, and those two only in two specific model years. It’s not the end of the world, as most people aren’t frequently buying and selling trucks, but if you’re buying covers for fleet vehicles, or you’re planning on an upgrade, consider the fact that it won’t be compatible with anything made after 2021.
    Thankfully, though, with a hard-panel tri-fold design and that aircraft-grade aluminum we touched on, it should be good to take many years of whatever you can throw at it.

    Aircraft-grade aluminum frame for structure
    Uses a black epoxy coating for rigidity and UV protection
    Marine-grade nylon vinyl for cover
    Holds up well to hard use and weather

    Not compatible with truck models after 2021

    9. Xcover Low Profile Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This mid-range tri-fold cover has silicon seals to keep out the weather, although it’s still easy to remove and reinstall.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: 2007 – 2013 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado
    This user-friendly, mid-range tri-fold cover has a slick look and a weatherproof seal. Once clamped on, the silicon seals align perfectly with the rails of the bed to keep weather out. Unlike with some tonneau covers that can be pretty tricky to uninstall thanks to tight and nearly-permanent attachment systems, this cover is designed to be secure but simultaneously easy to use.
    While it’s semi-permanently attached with the tool-less installation method, it’s got a one-finger guarantee: once you’ve unlocked it, the whole thing can be opened up with a single digit. But that semi-permanent installation feels a bit more flimsy than with other models, as the hardware isn’t as impressive as other models and doesn’t have the rubber covers to protect your truck bed rails from scratches and minor aesthetic damage.
    But more than anything, we value the phenomenal warranty that this hard tri-fold cover includes. It’s got five years of coverage against all of the materials and workmanship. While that’s not the no-questions-asked, lifetime warranty that the Rough Country Tonneau Cover has, it will cover you in pretty much all cases of damage or wear.

    Slick look with a weatherproof seal
    Secure but easy to attach with a tool-less installation method
    Five years of warranty coverage against materials and workmanship
    One-finger guarantee promises easy operation

    Hardware is cheap feeling and may not last long
    Clamps and bolts don’t have rubber covers to protect from wear and tear

    10. Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Tonneau Cover

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: While it’s technically a soft tonneau cover, the inclusion of a dual-coated marine-grade vinyl makes this phenomenal for those looking for a bit more flexibility.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Vehicle Compatibility: 1988-2007 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra
    With no metal paneling placed throughout the cover itself, this is technically a soft tonneau cover, although a metal aircraft-aluminum frame paired with dual-coated marine-grade vinyl is good enough for us to give it a chance on our list.
    While that makes it slightly less secure (and less heavy) than options with metal paneling, it’s still equally structurally rigid when weight is placed on top, although it is more susceptible to punctures. If you plan on doing that regularly, try a harder cover like the DNA Monitoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover.
    It attaches to the bed with stainless steel clamps that are corrosion resistant: this means a long lifetime and no drilling (or tools at all) required for installation. There’s one exception for that tool-less install, however: if you’ve got a bed liner that extends over the rail of your pickup bed, you’ll have to cut some holes to properly fit the tonneau cover. Any other bedliner, though, and you’ll be good to go.
    Like most tonneau covers, it comes in one color: black, which is a plus in our book. While the company that produces this cover has a limited lifetime warranty to back up their product, make sure you’re properly measuring your product before a purchase: you’ll have to pay for oversized shipping if you end up purchasing the wrong product for your truck.

    Equally structurally rigid as metal truck covers
    Uses lightweight dual-coated marine-grade vinyl
    Stainless steel clamps don’t require drilling and are corrosion resistant
    No tools needed for installation

    No returns if you pick the wrong size
    No metal paneling for security and protection
    Vinyl cover is more susceptible to punctures

    Buying the Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers
    Protecting your pickup bed has tremendous benefits, and not just for your cargo. A tonneau cover doesn’t just protect your load, but also protects the pickup bed itself and increases fuel efficiency. Finally, it increases the value of your truck and presents a positive signal to potential buyers that it’s a vehicle that has been taken care of.
    Tonneau Cover, Truck Topper, or Something Else Entirely?
    As there are tons of many types of truck owners, all with different needs, there are also many tools used to cover up a truck bed: are you just looking for weather protection, do you need security, or are you primarily thinking about aerodynamics and aesthetics: keep in mind that there’s no wrong answer, just a solution for your specific needs.
    We’ll help you out by describing four drivers, each with a different need and ideal solution.
    Driver 1: Hard Tonneau Cover: A truck owner with a hard tonneau cover is an urban or suburban driver that sometimes uses his pickup for big hauls, but mostly uses it for commuting and occasional smaller trips.
    A hard tonneau cover is one of the most popular truck cover options, probably thanks to the fact that it’s a middle ground option. It’s impermanent; you can remove it in just a few minutes, but it’s secure and can be securely locked.
    Driver 2: Soft Tonneau Cover: A truck with a soft tonneau cover has broad use cases. Some drivers use them permanently, others tuck them away in the cab and pull one out whenever necessary. They’re waterproof and some can even lock up, but they can be cut open without too much trouble.
    Driver 3: Truck Topper: Truck toppers are rigid, semi-permanent, and secure with a lock. You’ll have a tough time purchasing one online, though, as they’re big and don’t fold down. While they can store more cargo than a pickup bed with a tonneau cover, for example, you’ll still have a tough time fitting the biggest cargo in. Truck toppers are a bit heavy but great for fuel-efficiency. Like tonneau covers, they can range in price broadly.
    Driver 4: Tarp: Our fourth driver stores a tarp in his truck with some tie-downs or bungee cord, only bringing it out when hauling cargo in inclement weather. A tarp won’t produce a tight seal, nor does it protect your cargo, but it should be fine to keep most of the water of your lumber or construction materials. It won’t help with fuel efficiency.
    If none of these options sounds appealing to you, well, you should probably think about an SUV!
    A Primer on Tonneau Cover Materials
    Tonneau covers, as with many car-related products, love to use technical materials to distinguish themselves from other manufacturers. Below, we give you a breakdown of the most popular materials used in tonneau covers and break down the facts from the marketing hype.
    Aircraft-Grade Aluminum: Tonneau covers like the Bak BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover love to advertise that they have frames made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It sounds impressive because it is: it’s both stronger, lighter, and more impact resistant than standard aluminum.
    Standard Vinyl: Standard vinyl is a type of plastic that can be made into leather-like plastic sheets. The world’s third most popular plastic, it’s impermeable by water, durable, and inexpensive, which makes it popular for inexpensive tonneau covers.
    Marine-Grade Vinyl: Marine-grade vinyl is a step up from standard vinyl, coated with a compound that protects it from sunlight, moisture, and abrasion. It’s UV ray, bacteria, and mildew resistant. It’s preferable for tonneau covers, but a bit more expensive, although Lund Hard Tri-Fold Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover covers made of marine-grade vinyl are not any more puncture resistant or structurally sound than typical vinyl.
    Tips for Using a Tonneau Cover
    As with any truck or car aftermarket part, proper use and installation affect utility in a big way. A poorly installed or constructed cover won’t protect your cover from much. Proper product selection, use, and installation help make sure you maximize the value of whatever product you purchase.
    Installing a Tonneau Cover
    Installing a tonneau cover is really typically quite easy compared to other car modifications and repairs: some covers don’t even require tools for installation. Follow the steps below to install your cover with minimal trouble and for a good fit, although the process can vary a little bit depending on what type of tonneau cover you purchase.
    Fit Your Cover
    Tonneau covers require precision, which means you’re out of luck in the unfortunate case you’ve purchased the wrong product. This doesn’t just mean to buy a tonneau cover based on your truck model: take into account the dimensions of the bed (short bed, long bed, or standard bed) and even the model year of your car. Most covers are simply not compatible.
    Install Rails
    Tonneau cover rails are the metal components that the cover actually slides into. They’re clamped onto the edges of the bed and stay installed even when you take off the cover itself to haul bigger cargo.
    Install Rubber Seals
    The rubber seals attach to the rail and create a waterproof layer between the metal rails and the cover itself. Make sure these seals are installed flush and properly positioned if you don’t want to end up with wet cargo.
    Install Cover
    It’s finally time to install the cover itself. Depending on if you have a folding or rolling cover, slide the product into the rails so that it is flush with both the attachment mechanism and the rubber seals.
    Install Finishes and Fittings
    Your work isn’t over yet: you’ve got to make sure your cover stays in place. Screw in the anchor screws (preferably with a torque wrench) to lock things down, then attach trim pieces and seals. After that, you’re good to go!
    Using a Tonneau Cover to Maximize Aerodynamics
    A tonneau cover doesn’t just cover up the cargo in your pickup bed—it encloses the bed itself, helping to eliminate the aerodynamic effect that happens as turbulent air gets stuck in the bed. A cover accomplishes this by smoothing the airflow that rolls over the back of the truck, pushing off the back.
    All in all, a tonneau cover improves aerodynamics by approximately 10% to 15%, which over time can save you thousands of dollars: less expensive tonneau covers can probably pay for themselves with gas savings alone in under a year.
    Locking Up Your Tonneau Cover
    While many soft tonneau covers don’t have the option to be locked, many hardtop versions lock with an internal lock or have a keyed/combination U-lock. This lock is typically placed close to the liftgate of the truck, and although it’s more secure than a soft cover or an option without a lock, it’s definitely not as secure as your truck cabin. Still, out of sight means out of mind, and that goes a long way with opportunistic thieves.
    Tonneau Cover Maintenance
    First of all, hard tonneau covers last longer than soft ones, so you should get somewhere between three and five years of use out of your cover, depending on how hard you are on your cover.
    The cover itself typically isn’t what fails first, unless you get in the bad habit of placing heavy objects on top of it. It’s the plastic trim that decays first, and you can’t do much about that aside from using a plastic/rubber conditioner like this one every couple of months.
    Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make your tonneau cover last even longer. It’s not water and snow that wear out the cover, but dirt, dust, and road salt that slowly wear out your cover. Sun can be problematic as well, so if you can park your truck in the shade, you can extend your tonneau cover’s lifespan significantly.
    Routine Maintenance
    We recommend performing routine maintenance once every several months if you don’t drive much or once every oil change if you do a lot of highway driving. It doesn’t have to be too involved, but takes a little bit of time and effort. Make sure you’re not treating your tonneau cover with the same materials as the rest of your vehicle paneling and trim.
    Start by rinsing down the surface, then pat the surface down. Use a spray nylon cleaner like the Tyger Tonneau Cover Cleaner, then agitate the solution with a brush, cloth, or sponge. If there’s a stain, you can let the product sit for a few minutes. Afterward, rinse clean and let it air dry. Once every other cleaning you can apply a rubber conditioner. This 30-minute process can lengthen the life of your cover by upwards of a year if done frequently and correctly.
    Tonneau Cover FAQ
    How Much Does a Hard Tonneau Cover Cost?
    Tonneau covers range wildly in price. While you can typically pick up a soft tonneau cover for around $100, hard tonneau covers start out at around $200 at the low end and can cost well over $1000 for versions made with exotic, lightweight, and thus expensive materials. These more expensive covers are typically longer-lasting, produce a stronger seal, and have a higher resistance to weight.
    What’s Better, a Hard or Soft Folding Tonneau Cover?
    Looking at price, a hard folding tonneau cover is definitely more expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for all users. While hard tonneau covers are certainly more durable and longer-lasting, soft-folding tonneau covers are easier to put on and remove, which has its advantages.
    As they take up less space, you can store a soft folding cover for occasional use when the weather turns somewhere in your cabin. If you want a permanent solution, however, and you’ve got a larger budget, a hard cover will typically serve you better and protect your cargo.
    What’s Better, a Roll-up Cover or a Folding Cover?
    As far as folding hard covers go, there are different types for different users. If you’re looking to minimize price and weight, think about a roll-up cover that uses synthetic compounds as opposed to metals to maintain rigidity. Tri-fold and bi-fold covers are better at maintaining rigidity and can hold more weight but they’re generally a bit more expensive, they’re harder to maneuver, and they are almost always heavier.
    Where Does the Word “Tonneau” Come From?
    Tonneau is a technical term for any open cargo compartment of a truck or car. It comes from the French word that means ‘cask’ or ‘barrel.’ Any pickup bed or open truck bed can be referred to as a tonneau, thus, any covering for that cargo compartment can be called a tonneau cover.
    Keep Your Cargo Safe
    As a truck driver, there are few things more important than the cargo you haul in your pickup bed. So it’s important to keep that cargo protected, and while there are many ways to do that, one of the most effective protection methods is a hard tonneau cover.
    Hard tonneau covers attach semi-permanently to the rails of your pickup bed, providing a lockable yet removable method to secure and protect the contents of your bed. While they’re a little bit pricey, they can pay for themselves over time by protecting your valuables and even making your truck more aerodynamic. More

  • in

    2021 Honda Ridgeline Gets Slightly More Trucklike

    Honda’s Ridgeline has always worked well as a truck. Its towing and payload abilities fulfill most typical hauling needs, and its unibody construction and independent rear suspension deliver the best on-pavement ride and handling in the business. But the Ridgeline doesn’t look enough like other trucks. It rides too low, the nose is too stubby, and the bed comes in only one length, which aligns with other mid-size pickups’ short option. Trucks from Ram, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, and General Motors all cast similarly shaped shadows. The Honda? Nope. It looks like a crossover that’s halfway done morphing into a truck, and that screws with people’s minds and expectations. For 2021, with the second-generation Ridgeline in its fourth year, Honda has decided to butch it up. Make it more trucky. More rugged. Tougher.
    The leading edge of Honda’s mucho-macho offensive is the new HPD package. HPD stands for Honda Performance Development, and it’s part of Honda’s push to create cachet (and profits) in the vein of what Toyota’s done with the TRD brand. While Toyota’s off-road heritage evokes jungle treks, African safaris, and United Nations disaster relief, Honda’s history in the dirt is intertwined with motocross bikes, Trail 70s, and ATVs. Honda has campaigned a Ridgeline race truck in Baja, but they’ve still got work to do translating their powersports off-road cred to the automotive side.

    View Photos


    Ford Ranger vs. Gladiator, Colorado, Ridgeline

    Tested: 2017 Honda Ridgeline AWD

    All the 2021 Ridgelines get new, taller sheetmetal forward of the A-pillar, with new headlights and a blunter grille. As with most other trucks, that big grille is heavy-hauler cosplay, hinting at massive cooling and air-intake needs. Most of it, however, maybe two thirds of the surface area, is actually blocked off. Only the bottom part is open and allows air to flow through it; much of the air passing into the engine bay actually enters from beneath the bumper.
    Functionally, all Ridgelines now get standard all-wheel drive and new 18-inch wheels that increase the track width by 0.8 inch. Inside there’s now a volume knob planted at a corner of the high-mounted center touchscreen. We’re at a strange place when we herald the addition of a volume knob as an important ergonomic innovation, but companies need positive reinforcement when they take this seemingly obvious step. So, good job on that, Honda!

    View Photos


    For $2800, the HPD package includes black fender flares, its own unique grille, specific bronze-colored wheels, and HPD graphics. If the HPD package looks like a bolt-on accessory kit—the driver’s side rear fender flare has a cutout for the gas-cap door—that’s because it is. It’s one of four new post-production packages that mostly include the usual truck accoutrements—running boards, a hard cover for the bed, roof rails, and crossbars. Notably, the HPD package doesn’t bring any suspension or powertrain changes. It exists to help address the Ridgeline’s biggest challenge: its image.
    The HPD treatment is available on all Ridgeline trim levels from the base Sport, which starts at $37,665, up through the $43,595 RTL-E. It’s even offered on the $45,095 Black Edition that orbits atop the line, but that seems like overkill. The Sport, with its cloth upholstery and unpretentious decoration, meshes well with the HPD stuff and at $40,465 total, represents good value in comparison with the competition.

    View Photos


    The Ridgeline continues to be, by far, the most comfortable mid-size truck for on-road use. The all-independent suspension bolted to its unibody structure is supple, confident, and easygoing. Road divots that can upset a stiff rock crawler like the Tacoma TRD Pro are easily digested and overcome by the Ridgeline. The bouncy tail happiness of some leaf-sprung pickups is completely absent from this Honda.
    The Ridgeline continues to include a clever trunk hidden beneath the trailing edge of the tough composite bed. It’s not just storage for Costco purchases—with a drain at the bottom, it’s a built-in cooler. And with a two-way tailgate that swings down or sideways (the 1966 Ford Country Squire’s great innovation, the Magic Doorgate), the Ridgeline is optimized for stadium-parking-lot dining. This assumes, of course, that someday tailgating will return to stadium lots after the last of us get our drive-through vaccination shots there. Besides the trunk and the trick tailgate, the Ridgeline also offers a truck-bed audio system, in which the bed itself is enlisted as a giant speaker. GMC offers speakers in the tailgate, but Honda is the only one to use the bed itself to pump your jams.

    View Photos


    Honda was eager to show off how capable the Ridgeline is off-road and brought a select group of journalists who would show up to its desert proving grounds to do that. Of course, the Ridgeline will handle virtually any situation most drivers will ever find themselves in. There’s enough ground clearance and suspension articulation to handle surprisingly desperate situations. The three off-road drive modes—Snow, Mud, and Sand—optimize the throttle response, transmission, and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system for particular conditions. Despite the Ridgeline’s front-drive origins, it can send 70 percent of its torque to the rear end, and then 100 percent of that to either the right or left rear wheel. But there’s no low range for crawling over boulders, mucking through deep sludge, or grinding across ridiculous dunes. Those are the exceptionally rare situations in which the body-on frame trucks have an advantage.
    The Ridgeline’s engine remains the same transversely mounted 3.5-liter V-6 that Honda also plops into the truck’s brothers, the Pilot and Passport crossovers and Odyssey minivan. It’s rated at 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4700 rpm. It’s a pleasant enough engine and does a good job propelling a vehicle that weighs in at just under 4450 pounds in its lightest guise. More low-end torque would be appreciated, but the 3.5 V-6 is adequately adequate. A nine-speed automatic transmission operates mostly in the background and responds quickly when you opt to use the column-mounted paddles behind the steering wheel.

    View Photos


    We’ve tested a handful of second-gen Ridgelines—such as in this 2019 comparison test, where the Honda finished second—and expect similar results for the 2021 model. Figure on a 60-mph time of 6.4 seconds and a quarter-mile in 15.0 seconds flat, although the nine-speed automatic, which was a change for 2020 (earlier Ridgelines had a six-speed), might be worth a couple tenths.
    The Ridgeline is at its best when it’s tasked with the boring chores most of us do most of the time. Yes, it can haul more than 1500 pounds in its bed and tow 5000 pounds. Great. But usually, our trucks are tasked with far less than full loads and maxed-out trailers. And that’s where the Ridgeline shines. It’s a great daily companion and weekend lifestyle warrior.

    View Photos


    Lately, buyers have been going for trucks that are literally too much for what they need. Ford F-150 Raptors, Ram 1500 TRXs, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pros are all loads of fun within the context of serious off-roading. But they can be a chore doing daily duty. The Ridgeline is the opposite of that.
    Still, it’s about proportions, and the revised styling can’t disguise the Ridgeline’s transverse-engine overhang and a dash-to-axle ratio that evokes the Baja—the Subaru not the race. And until Honda changes the Ridgeline’s silhouette so that it more closely resembles what buyers expect of a truck, it’s likely not going to be accepted by traditional truck buyers. That’s their loss.


    2021 Honda Ridgeline
    VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
    BASE PRICE Sport, $37,665; RTL, $40,645; RTL-E, $43,595; Black Edition, $45,095
    ENGINE TYPE SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injectionDisplacement 212 in3, 3471 cm3Power 280 hp @ 6000 rpmTorque 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
    TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
    DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 125.2 inLength: 210.2 inWidth: 78.6 inHeight: 70.8 inPassenger volume: 109–110 ft3Trunk volume: 34 ft3Curb weight (C/D est): 4450–4550 lb
    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 6.4 sec1/4 mile: 15.0 secTop speed: 112 mph
    EPA FUEL ECONOMY Combined/city/highway: 21/18/24 mpg

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More

  • in

    2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR Is New, Fast, and Doomed

    The auto industry never stops moving forward, and any new model faces a finite lifespan. Yet the revised F-Pace SVR is staring at an unusually premeditated demise, arriving just after Jaguar announced its plan to transition to an all-electric lineup by 2025. In the midst of life, we are in death.
    The demise of the F-type SVR means the F-Pace is now the only available Jaguar that was created by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division. (Yes, the SVR comes from SVO. Naturally.) As with lesser versions of the F-Pace, changes are relatively modest, but they combine to sharpen the SVR’s case against its elite rivals. Before getting into the differences, however, we should first celebrate the SVR’s least changed feature and the continued star of the show—the supercharged V-8.

    2021 Jaguar F-Pace Advances with Inline-Six Power

    2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR Boasts More Torque

    This is the 5.0-liter unit that JLR introduced in 2009, a development of the Ford-engineered AJ-V8 that made its debut in 1996. Given that the Ford factory in Wales that built it closed last year, we were expecting the engine to also die, but JLR instead opted to move production in-house to keep the venerable engine going for a few more years. It was recently confirmed that it will be fitted to the Defender, but this seems likely to be the last time it appears in a new Jaguar.

    View Photos


    While the SVR’s 550-hp output remains unchanged, it has been given a modest increase in peak torque to 516 pound-feet (up from 502). The standard eight-speed automatic transmission also gets updated software, which helps the revised SVR trim a claimed 0.3 second from the 2020 model’s zero-to-60-mph time, dropping that number to an estimated 3.8 seconds, despite gaining 140 pounds by Jag’s own measure. Somewhat ludicrously, that still doesn’t put it at the sharp end of this ridiculously rapid segment, where faster rivals are nearer three seconds than four.
    The Jaguar also wins out on charisma, the supercharged V-8 combining strong performance with a bristly soundtrack that surpasses the (mostly) six-cylinder competition on musicality and delivers its eight-cylinder top-end snarl without any digital augmentation. (The SVR’s cabin even does without active noise cancellation to keep the aural experience unfiltered.) The new SVR has lost the firecracker pops and bangs the pre-facelift version would deliver when the throttle was lifted suddenly under load, and it always defaults to starting in the quieter of its two switchable exhaust modes, which should help improve relations with the neighbors.

    View Photos


    The revised gearbox delivers impressively rapid shifts, especially under the direction of the satisfyingly weighty metal steering-wheel paddles, and it changes gears unobtrusively and intelligently in Drive. The transmission’s Sport mode felt more aggressive than before, downshifting and holding low gears with minimal provocation and delivering an abrupt step-off when leaving the line. Unfortunately, Jaguar’s new miniature gear selector lacks physically defined selections, springing back to a central position after drive or reverse is selected and thereby denying a sense of which (if any) gear is engaged.
    Beneath the surface, SVO’s engineering team gave the SVR a thorough makeover. We’re told that every control module in the car is new, and that every dynamic setting has been revised. But these tweaks have done nothing to alter the fundamental appeal of the car’s relaxed athleticism. The SVR feels more compliant than the segment norm, especially over rough United Kingdom roads. Many fast SUVs try to replicate the behavior of lower, sleeker performance cars with firmed-up settings, but the F-Pace uses its suspension more intelligently to fill dips and absorb bumps, while still resisting roll and pitch impressively well. The development team says particular attention was paid to improving the SVR’s ride over high-frequency bumps, although at lower speeds and over large-amplitude undulations the ride did feel firm. After all, 22-inch forged-aluminum wheels do not allow for much tire sidewall.

    View Photos


    Riding on Pirelli P Zero summer tires, the SVR delivered both impressive grip and respectable-for-2021 levels of steering feel. The torque distribution of the all-wheel-drive system remains rear biased in all except the Ice and Snow mode, which defaults to a 50:50 split. In the most aggressive Dynamic mode, the SVR is essentially rear-wheel drive, with torque only diverted forward when the rear tires run short on grip. Pushed hard, the SVR feels playful but never wayward, with an electronically controlled differential at the back sharpening responses and optimizing traction. It is also now possible to individualize many of the settings in Dynamic mode, which is represented by a race helmet on the central touchscreen. Drivers can choose between Comfort or Dynamic settings for the engine map, steering, dampers, and transmission, while keeping the rear-bias torque split.
    A less welcome innovation is the arrival of electrically boosted brakes. We had no complaints with the huge stopping power generated by the six-pot front calipers, but the new system minimizes pedal movement and felt harder to modulate at lower speeds—although we had mostly acclimatized after three hours in the car.

    View Photos


    Other changes are more welcome. Exterior bodywork gains a little more visual aggression over the comparatively subdued pre-facelift model, with larger vents at the front and sleeker all-LED headlights. SVO says that revised aerodynamics reduce lift by a third and are responsible for the 3 mph increase in top speed (to 178 mph.) The cabin benefits from a smart new dashboard, higher quality trim and a redesigned center console that substitutes upmarket rotary heating controls for the old car’s blue backlit plastic switchgear. The 11.4-inch curved-glass touchscreen is the centerpiece of JLR’s smart new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which both looks and works far better than the old InControl Touch Pro setup.
    The F-Pace SVR remains a car that scores better on intangibles than measurable metrics. It’s not the fastest or quickest ute in its segment, nor does it have the most finely tuned dynamics. But of all the muscled-up crossovers, it would be one of the easiest to actually live with. Jaguar won’t be making vehicles like this for much longer. We will miss them when they are gone.


    2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR
    VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
    BASE PRICE $85,950 
    ENGINE TYPE supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injectionDisplacement 305 in3, 5000 cm3Power 550 hp @ 6500 rpmTorque 516 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
    TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
    DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 113.1 inLength: 187.5 inWidth: 81.5 inHeight: 65.7 inPassenger volume: 96 ft3Cargo volume: 32 ft3Curb weight (C/D est): 4800 lb
    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 3.8 sec100 mph: 9.1 sec1/4 mile: 12.2 secTop speed: 178 mph
    EPA FUEL ECONOMY Combined/city/highway: 18/15/22 mpg

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More

  • in

    2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Offers More for Less

    It was inevitable that the Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback would eventually spawn a more SUV-like variant such as the 2022 Bolt EUV (that’s short for electric utility vehicle). The regular Bolt model, which also refreshed for 2022, is a proven small, affordable EV with competitive range. The Bolt’s tall-hatch design already gave off faint whiffs of the utilitarian vibe that today’s consumers gravitate to, but the EUV version takes it a step further with a larger footprint and more SUV-like styling.
    To be clear: The EUV isn’t drastically different from the regular Bolt. Both ride on the Bolt’s BEV2 platform and have an electric motor powering the front wheels. Think Bolt plus as the EUV still seems a bit small and narrow for a compact crossover. Six inches are added to the standard Bolt’s overall length and about three inches to its wheelbase, which can be seen in the length of the rear doors and the increased rear-seat legroom. The rear seat is now accommodating enough to be useful for adults on a regular basis, even if they still won’t be able can’t cross their legs and may complain about the lack of air vents. Overall width, height, and track also are up a smidge, although the EUV’s 16 cubic feet of cargo space is strangely less than the Bolt EV’s 17.

    View Photos


    2022 Chevy Bolt EUV Crossover Starts at $33,995

    Can the Chevy Bolt EV Conquer Death Valley?

    2020 Chevy Bolt Prioritizes Range Over Style

    The EUV’s styling is inoffensive and borrows heavily from the Bolt and Chevy’s larger Blazer and Trailblazer. What truly separates the EUV from the Bolt (and its non-Tesla competitors) is the available hands-free Super Cruise driver-assistance package—General Motors’s first EV and the first non-Cadillac vehicle to offer the system. Aside from a handful of fully loaded Launch Edition models, the feature is limited to the EUV’s top Premier trim as a $2200 option and includes three years of OnStar service. OnStar is required for the system to operate, so after three years you’d be paying for a monthly subscription if you want to keep Super Cruising.
    Chevy structured our short, mostly highway drive to showcase the Super Cruise system, which remains impressive in its ability to stay in its lane and to cover long stretches of divided highway with no driver input, provided the driver-facing camera and infrared sensors determine you’re paying attention to the road. Look away for too long and the system starts beeping, the lights in the top of the steering wheel rim begin to flash, and with the help of OnStar telematics, the car will eventually activate its hazard lights and pull to a stop. Due to the Bolt’s older electrical architecture versus GM’s more advanced EVs, such as the upcoming GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, the EUV’s Super Cruise setup doesn’t support automatic, one-touch lane changes. But we imagine the capability of the basic system will be a draw for many potential EUV buyers.

    View Photos


    We’ve yet to drive the 2022 Bolt EV, so we can’t say how differently the EUV goes down the road, if at all. Its brake pedal is pleasantly firm, the action of its steering is linear if devoid of feel, and its relatively low center of gravity lends it a secure, planted feel around corners. Motivation comes from a familiar electric motor rated for 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque that is fed electricity from a 65.0-kWh battery pack. Weighing about 100 pounds more than the standard Bolt, we estimate the 3700-pound EUV should get to 60 mph in about 7.0 seconds. The electric motor’s low-end pull is strong, which allows it to surge away from stoplights and overtake slower traffic on the highway with more verve than its 200 horses suggest. We particularly like the EUV’s regenerative-braking setup, which allows its driver to choose between very little regen by default, an on-demand paddle on the steering wheel that can bring the car to a stop, or full one-pedal operation via a button on the center console that remains active between startup cycles.
    The Bolt EUV’s cabin is easy to see out of and fairly quiet at speed. We could feel and hear impacts from suburban Detroit’s larger frost heaves and pavement seams, but overall ride comfort is good. Poke around the new-if-somewhat-sober interior and you’ll notice that Chevy has replaced the previous Bolt’s funky electronic joystick shifter with a row of simpler shift buttons. There’s also a new 8.0-inch information display in the gauge cluster and a central 10.2-inch touchscreen, both of which are nicely rendered and intuitive to navigate.
    Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are standard, as is an inductive-charging pad that’s optional on the regular Bolt. But you’ll have to pay extra for heated and ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats, which is something you want considering how much electricity turning on the heat requires. Active-safety-wise, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning and assist all are included. Rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control are available, depending on the model.

    View Photos


    GM estimates the Bolt EUV’s range at 250 miles, which is nine miles short of the distance it quotes for the smaller hatchback. We have found that the Bolt’s EPA range is quite accurate. Plugged into a 240-volt outlet, the battery is said to take seven hours to fully recharge from a fully discharged state. Both ’22 Bolt models feature standard DC fast-charging capability, with the 55-kW maximum charge rate able to replenish the EUV with up to 95 miles of range in 30 minutes. For comparison, both the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV can recoup electrons at a faster rate (up to 100 kW), but they also cost considerably more than the EUV’s base price of $33,995. The EUV’s price is some $3500 less than the $37,495 starting price of the 2020 Bolt hatchback. The 2022 Bolt’s price is down to $32,990.
    In addition to its recent tie-up with EVgo to expand the nation’s public charging network, GM is hoping to entice more buyers into the EV fold by offering to cover some of the initial installation costs of installing a Level 2 connection in the home for eligible buyers of either 2022 Chevy Bolt model. Which seems like a worthwhile benefit considering a Super Cruise-equipped EUV will top $40,000. The Bolt EUV may not be the crab-walking, 1000-hp Hummer EV that many are excited for GM to deliver, but it brings the Bolt closer to having mainstream appeal.


    2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
    VEHICLE TYPE front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
    BASE PRICE $33,995
    MOTORS permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 200 hp, 266 lb-ft; 65.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
    TRANSMISSION direct drive
    DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 105.3 inLength: 169.5 inWidth: 69.7 inHeight: 63.6 inPassenger volume: 99–100 ft3Cargo volume: 16 ft3Curb weight (C/D est): 3700 lb
    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST) 60 mph: 7.0 sec1/4 mile: 15.5 secTop speed: 95 mph
    EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST) Combined/city/highway: 113/122/104 MPGRange: 250 miles

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More

  • in

    2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo: A More Versatile Rocket

    This is a story about a hole, specifically the one concealed by the rear hatch of the new 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. We point this out because the rest of the car is largely the same Tesla-fighting high-performance electric four-door platform that bowed for the 2020 model year.
    For several years now, Porsche has applied its Sport Turismo wagon treatment to versions of the Panamera four-door. A similar formula applies to the Cross Turismo variant of the recently introduced Taycan: new rear fenders, a longer roof, and, in the case of the Taycan, a new rear hatch in place of a trunk. Porsche has yet to release full details of the car, but it also features subtle moldings around its wheel arches and the standard air springs will likely provide a bit more ground clearance than the Taycan sedan. We’ve yet to drive a production model, but we did get a brief stint in a European-spec prototype, which was in California for photography ahead of its on-sale date this summer.

    Porsche Taycan vs. Tesla Model S: The Test

    Tested: 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Is for Drivers

    Porsche Confirms Taycan Cross Turismo Wagon

    One of the legendary slices of road in Southern California is a chunk of Sunset Boulevard that runs from the 405 freeway east through Beverly Hills, alongside Bel Air, and down to the pink glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s approximately the same route used to film the notorious Ferrari versus Porsche race in the 1984 film Against All Odds. And with traffic lightened by COVID-19 lockdowns, it was a good afternoon to be on that stretch of pavement.

    View Photos


    Sunset Boulevard dips, banks, and generally feels perfect for the Taycan Turbo S. The car deftly manages its tonnage through sweeping corners. It squirts through traffic with instant electric torque, and the Taycan dominates the West Los Angeles zeitgeist by being both a badass Porsche and a virtuous electric. The addition of a fifth door does nothing to affect the Taycan Turbo S’s performance credentials. While the Turbo S’s drivetrain is just as quiet in the Cross Turismo as it is in the sedan, the open cargo area does seem to make the noise from the tires slightly more audible. But it will also offer far more space than the sedan’s 16-cubic-foot trunk.
    We expect the Cross Turismo model to weigh just slightly more than the over-5000-pound Turbo S sedan. But any difference between how the two body types handle was undetectable on our short drive. The Taycan, unlike many other electrics, isn’t imbued with the type of strong regenerative braking when lifting off the throttle that allows for one-pedal operation. Porsche wanted the Taycan to feel much like its other models, which means using the brake pedal to engage the regen function and the very capable friction brakes.
    The substance of the Turbo S model’s awesomeness centers on its two electric motors—one at the front axle and one just behind the rear axle. Filling the space between them is a tray holding 396 battery cells delivering electric current at 800 volts. In normal operation, that’s good for 616 horsepower, but activate the overboost feature with launch control engaged and the output briefly jumps to 750 horses. Torque is simply astonishing, with 774 pound-feet present in overboost from the moment the motors start turning. From our previous testing experience, the Taycan Turbo S sedan warps to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and obliterates the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph. A small reduction to the Turbo S sedan’s 192-mile EPA-rated range is expected.

    View Photos


    Let us acknowledge here that there is no actual boost involved in any electric car, and that the Taycan’s Turbo S modifier stems from Porsche’s glorious internal-combustion past (and present). There are no turbochargers in the Taycan Turbo S. If that bothers you terribly, but you still want a low-slung Porsche with an adult-habitable back seat, migrate across the showroom to the Panamera lineup. Those come with actual turbos.
    The catch with the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo has nothing to do with its substance and everything to do with its price. To take this brilliant machine home will surely require spending even more than the Turbo S sedan’s $186,350 entry fee. Plan on $200K or so if you indulge in Porsche’s seemingly endless list of options. That may not make the Taycan Turbo S a value proposition, but it is the best driving electric four-door you can currently buy. The big hole in the back of the Cross Turismo just makes it a little more versatile.
    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at More