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Driver’s Notebook:


Article by Dennis Malcolm Byron

Photography by Automakers

With the hundreds of new vehicles hitting the market this year, let’s keep it going with this next installment of standouts to help narrow down the choices for 2021.

2021 Chevy Tahoe 4WD RST

The Tahoe line has always been popular due to its rugged-meets-hip persona in the auto industry. In 2021, the RST version comes well equipped with generous standards such as the remote vehicle start, wireless charging, LED lighting combinations, hands-free power liftgate, and 9-speaker Bose sound system. Three more game-changing packages—Luxury (HD Surround Vision, numerous seating enhancements, driver alerts); Rear Media and Nav Package (Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium with navigation, 10.2-inch HD color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, high-tech rear seat media system including dual 12.6-inch HD screens); and Max Trailering Package featuring the handy transfer case 2-speed and fascinating Hitch Guidance with “hitch view” for phenomenal rear visibility when carrying big loads complete this fine automobile. Dressed in Cherry Red Tintcoat coupled with 22-inch black wheels brandishing the respected RST designation, this SUV turned more heads than a lot of the exotic sports cars populating the road in the past year. Packing the powerful 5.3-liter ECOTEC3 V8 pushing 355 horses, 10-speed auto transmission, and all-wheel drive mobility, virtually any task will be a fun one. Equally important, you will look good doing it.

Fuel Economy: 16 city/20 highway/18 combined

Price: $68,135 (Including the three packages totaling $6,740)

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2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature

For such a gorgeous, well-equipped, three-row SUV to start at $34,160, the Mazda CX-9 line is one of the best values to pamper up to seven passengers. Coming in multiple trims, the Signature edition is the most luxurious. This brand continues to ascend when it comes to quality, reasonable price points, consistent 5-star safety ratings, and captivating style. With seating coming Nappa leather-trimmed, the second-row the captain’s chairs have a center console a 10.3-inch display. Other standouts include the titanium metallic front grille and the 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 Surround Sound System with AudioPilot 2. The heart of this vehicle—the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Dynamic Pressure Turbo boasting 250 horsepower—certainly does not disappoint either. Simply loaded and not breaking the bank, driving the family around is cool again; this is especially true in the reviewed “Machine Gray Metallic” exterior.

Fuel Economy: 20 city/26 highway/23 combined

Price: $46,605 (Signature price)

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2021 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan

If you are looking for a high-end sedan that provides both luxury, comfort and performance, then the new BMW M550I xDrive is for you. Brandishing the “M” designation, this BMW flexes serious muscle with its 4.4-liter BMW twin power Turbo V-8 engine kicking out 523 horsepower and reaches 60 mph in a stunning 3.6 seconds. The M Sport Differential and Adaptive M Suspension adds to the welcomed hair-raising driving experience. Inside, drivers can enjoy the keyless entry, remote engine start and heated steering wheel, while the passengers are welcome to indulge in front and rear-heated seats, Apple CarPlay, and a theater-esque Harman Kardon Surround Sound Audio System with HD radio. Staying with the posh interior, the cabin is highlighted with ambient lighting, a leather dashboard and numerous high-tech amenities. Complete with a curvaceous exterior dressed in the aventurine red metallic (as reviewed), this machine not only stands out on the road, but also successfully maintains the “ultimate” insignia BMW is world renowned for.

Fuel Economy: 17 city/25 highway/20 combined

Price: $93,735 (Signature price)

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