Behind the Wheel

2020 Lamborghini Urus Review: It's a Lamborghini where it counts

The Lamborghini Urus will make the dreams of 10-year old boys come true ... in SUV form.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

When buying a supercar, personality matters. In the same way that the breed of dog you own reflects on the type of person you are, a supercar brand says a lot.

Buy a Ferrari and it's likely that you're a racing enthusiast and passionate about automotive history. A McLaren and you might be all about precision engineering. An Aston Martin might mean you want to be Sean Connery's 007.

But a Lamborghini is about flash. Scissor doors, loud colors, and louder exhausts — that's what Automobili Lamborghini is, and it's perhaps the best carmaker in the world when it comes to those things. It's a ten-year old boy's bedroom wall poster.

2020 Lamborghini Urus The Urus is a sight, taking the best lines of the typical Lamborghini car for a spin in the shape of an SUV.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

It's why when I picked up a friend's ten-year old niece from school in the Lamborghini Urus — a $270,034 SUV based on the Audi Q7 — a ten-year old boy on the playground yelled "LOOK A LAMBORGHINI!" That one outburst captures everything that matters about this car.

It's loud and brash and has the largest brakes ever fitted to a road-going car, and it's everything you could possibly want it to be. If you're the type to buy a Lamborghini, at least.

Here's a dirty secret about supercars: they suck to drive. They're about as comfortable to sit in as a dentist chair. They're finicky and have terrible turning radii, and you're constantly terrified of scraping the ridiculously low nose on every speed bump and driveway. And they're utterly unusable as cars, because there's no place to put people and stuff and you can't fit groceries in their tiny trunks and they're just utterly pointless for anything but going on a racetrack which most supercar buyers will never, ever do.

2020 Lamborghini Urus Just because it's an SUV, that doesn't mean that Lamborghini has lost touch with its design and engineering hallmarks.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

But the Lamborghini Urus gets you 95 percent of the way there, which means it's the best Lamborghini you can buy. It gets ten-year olds to yell and point, while simultaneously giving you a thrill every time you turn it on because Lamborghini has put the engine start/stop switch under a red button to make it feel like you're launching a missile. And to put it in drive, you need to pull on the giant flappy paddle instead of hitting a button because buttons are just so pedestrian.

And you put it in reverse by pulling on a giant handle in the middle of the center console, and then you change between drive modes with a switch that feels like you're putting on the afterburners on a fighter jet. Everything about the Urus is an event, which makes sense because that whole control scheme is pulled straight from the Huracan supercar — only you're in a big, comfortable SUV that you can fill with luggage and four humans and that can get over speed bumps without issue.

The exhaust is loud if you want it to be and quiet (or relatively so) when you don't. It has 360-degree cameras, which means it's easy-ish to park even though the rear visibility is truly terrible for an SUV. That's another reminder that you're driving a Lamborghini, because who cares what's behind you?

2020 Lamborghini Urus The interior of the car shares many components with the Huracan.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

I took the Urus to the South Orange County Cars and Coffee, and it drew as many admiring glances as all the zillion-dollar supercars parked around it. It's an attention-getter, which is, after all, what a Lamborghini is all about. And you can take it to Whole Foods and it won't give you a backache if you take it to Vegas for the weekend.

People on the street were coming up to me the entire time I had it. I got constant thumbs up in traffic or folks taking selfies with it when it was parked. It has all the appeal of a Lamborghini sports car with none of the drawbacks.

A lot of people made jokes about it being a fancy Audi Q7 because that's what it is, somewhere underneath. But then Lamborghini equipped it with staggeringly beautiful 22-inch rims ($4,420) and an outrageous amount of exterior carbon fiber trim ($22,177) and a Bang & Olufsen stereo ($6,313) that only really shines when you've cranked the volume higher than is probably safe for your hearing.

2020 Lamborghini Urus The Urus is as functional for families as the average SUV Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

It might be a boring Audi somewhere underneath, but the Urus is a Lamborghini where it counts: in your heart. There's no logical reason to spend $270,034 on a car. But that doesn't matter, because inside every Lamborghini buyer is a ten-year old boy with a bedroom wall that needs adornment. If you buy this car, you'll be making that boy's dreams come true — and making dreams come true is what supercars are all about.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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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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