One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is faster, more comfortable than predecessor

The first review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is in.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

It's an icon and a supercar and it's been long-awaited. The eighth generation of this American thoroughbred, dubbed the "C8", has hit the streets for a fortunate few auto testers, however a huge host of passionate enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be on sale soon.

This Chevrolet Corvette has been radically reimagined for the 2020 model year with a new mid-engine platform, modernized fighter jet-inspired styling, and a collection of new technologies and features that make it not only faster, but more comfortable and fun to drive. Competitors include the Acura NSX, Audi R8, and Porsche 911.

General Motors' halo car boasts its own museum and will continue to attract its core fan base; many have owned several Corvettes and Chevrolet hopes to lure new performance-minded buyers seeking Corvette's pristine weight distribution and the type of agility typically reserved for six-figure supercars.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette The Corvette's looks are inspired by a fighter jet.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

It comes in 3 trims; 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. Savvy Corvette owners are already thinking about Grand Sport and ZR1 versions. A convertible version comes next year.

The newest model is lean, muscular, and athletic with canopy-forward exterior styling that adapts many quintessential Corvette design features. Longer, lower and wider, it wears an updated front end that hides a mini trunk for cargo. Side air intakes for engine cooling are the focal point of the profile, while dual LED taillights sport animated turn signals and sit above the quad tailpipes. The rear hatch glass cleverly showcases the engine.

Corvette's next-generation 6.2-liter V8 is the only naturally-aspirated engine in the mid-engine sports car segment. It produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque and moves the Stingray Z51 from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds with bigger brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential and performance suspension/traction management. A new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is backed by paddle shifters and can be motivated for six different driving parameters: weather, tour, sport and track, My Mode, and Z Mode.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette engine The Corvette Stingray is powered by a 6.2-liter V8.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The driver-focused upscale interior features a customizable digital instrument panel and slender vertical ventilation slots. Hand-wrapped leather, thick press stitching, real metal, and carbon fiber fill the interior, depending on trim.

There are three seat options, a Corvette-first. Standard are GT1s with eight-way power; GT2 brings heated/ventilated surfaces; Competition and Sport adds bolstering for aggressive motoring.

The 2LT trims get a front curb camera view, heated steering wheel, and available GT2 seats in Napa leather while 3LTs are adorned in a leather-wrapped interior, with 13 colors choices, suede trim and GT2 seats.

A new squared-off, two-spoke steering wheel allows for an unobstructed view of the 12-inch reconfigurable cluster display.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette interior The cabin of the Corvette has been the subject of much consternation.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A rear stowage area has been carved out to hold two sets of golf clubs.

Corvette's next-generation infotainment system is faster and simpler, with a higher resolution display. Chevy is offering one-touch Bluetooth pairing with Near Field Communication, wireless charging, and improved real-time traffic. Buyers get a choice of two new Bose audio systems: a standard 10-speaker premium system or a 14-speaker Bose Performance Series (2LTs and 3LTs).

The industry-pioneering Performance Data Recorder is an advanced driving analysis tool upgraded with a high-definition resolution camera that joins with the new, in-vehicle user interface to record circuit and point-to-point road courses.

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, side-impact airbags, and a security system with an ignition disable device that prevents the engine from starting without the original manufacturer key.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will be on sale in early 2020 and will start just under $60,000. Buyers who desire the more heightened-race-feel and engineering of the Z51 Performance Package will need to spend an additional $5,000, while enthusiasts that want added luxury appointments should look at top-end models; 3LTs start near $72,000.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is a fresh edition for the company's lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

One of Toyota's most efficient cars is getting the blackout treatment. Like other Nightshade editions Toyota puts out, the 2022 Prius Nightshade has all the requisite black accents while maintaining its heralded powertrain.

The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is available in front- and all-wheel drive. Buyers can add the treatment to Prius L Eco, LE, LE AWD-e, XLE, XLE AWD-e and Limited grades. It comes in the buyer's choice of Midnight Black Metallic, Super White, or Silver Metallic paint job. Front-wheel drive models ride on standard 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels while AWD-e cars get 15-inchers with black insert and lug nuts.

The exterior of the car also gets black headlight accents, mirror caps, door handles, color keyed rear deck spoiler and shark fin antenna.

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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Each of the models is powered by the Prius's 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, which is paired with two electric motors. A continuously variable transmission is standard. All-wheel drive models get an EPA-estimated 51 mpg in the city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 49 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive versions do a slightly better 54 mpg in the city, 50 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg combined.

Inside there are standard SofTex-trimmed trimmed, heated, power adjustable front seats and a SofTex-trimmed heated steering wheel and semi-gloss black center console. A 7-inch infotainment touch screen is standard, as is a six-speaker JBL sound system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa come on every model, as are an auxiliary jack, three USB ports, a wireless phone charger, and one 12-volt outlet.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard and includes a pre-collision system with low-light pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, bicyclist detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and road sign assist.

All Prius models come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Toyota's hybrid battery warranty is for 10 years or 150,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date, whichever occurs first. The hybrid system warranty is for eight years or 100,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date.

This latest member of the Nightshade family means that there are 11 Nightshade editions in Toyota's stable. The Prius is the first hybrid to get the treatment.

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