By Peter Perrotta
It’s getting to be that spring/summer driving season. You roll the windows down, turn up the music and start sneezing from the buckets of New Jersey pollen you just breathed in.
Hopefully, though, you took your allergy medication and you can somewhat control the pollutants.
On the plate this week are two crossover SUVs and a compact sporty coupe, the 2022 BMW 230i coupe.
The crossover SUVs I will examine are the 2022 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD and the 2022 GMC Terrain AT4 AWD.
Let’s start with the Infiniti QX50. This five-seat, mid-sized SUV is smooth, well refined and appointed – inside and out – and fun to drive.
It handles well in tight city driving and out on the open highway as well.
However, for a luxury brand vehicle, I found it a bit lacking in the power department.
Every QX50 is powered by a turbo charged 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine that uses variable compression – called VC turbo.
This engine puts out 268 horsepower at 280 pound feet of torque and is paired with a continuous variable automatic transmission (CVT).
I wasn’t crazy about this engine/transmission combination. The QX50 seems to accelerate fairly evenly and is quite stable at high speeds on the highway, but it’s a bit sluggish at times and the transmission whines a bit.
However, I’m being quite picky about mentioning those two items; it remains, overall, a fairly solid choice in this segment.
The Essential AWD Qx50 I test drove for one week carries a base sticker price of $48,950. The only added extra was $1,025 for destination and delivery charges. So, the bottom line sticker price came in at $49,975.
The EPA fuel consumption ratings are 25 miles per gallon overall, 22 in city driving and 28 on the highway.
The estimated annual fuel cost is $1,750 as it uses 4 gallons of gas per every 100 miles you drive.
This vehicle was not crash test rated by the government.
There are five trim levels to chose from, starting with the Pure – base price $40,175 – and moving all the way up to the Autograph – with a base price of $58,125.
2022 GMC Terrain AT4 AWD
The mid-sized SUV/crossover segment is certainly crowded these days. Just look around you on the road and you will see that the crossovers rule the day, with very little sedans left on the landscape.
The five-seat Terrain has a lot of stiff competition in its segment, like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CRV and the VW Tiguan.
Overall, this is a fairly pleasant crossover SUV to drive, it looks decent – inside and out – and is fuel efficient.
However, once again, we have a compact to mid-sized SUV that seems to feel a bit underpowered.
The Terrain comes standard with a turbo-charged 1.5 liter, four cylinder engine. My tester had AWD, but it also comes in front wheel drive.
This engine, combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission is a bit weak. I think GM should have put at least a 2.0 liter turbo engine under the hood.
However, like the QX50, the total package is decent, but nothing about it makes it outstanding.
The base price of the model I tested was $34,000. However, my tester carried a bottom line sticker price of $39,315 once you added the options and destination and delivery charges.
Options included a $1,180 infotainment package, $1,495 for a skyscape moonroof and $850 for a tech package.
The Terrain’s EPA fuel consumption ratings come in at 26 miles per gallon overall – 25 in city driving and 28 on the highway.
The EPA estimates you will spend about $1,350 per year in fuel costs as it uses about 3.8 gallons of gas per every 100 miles.
2022 BMW 230i Coupe
I’m usually a big BMW fan. Most are fun to drive and built solid as a rock.
As usual with the 230i coupe, it is also quick, athletic, fun to drive and solidly built.
However, if you are going to drive a BMW you have to like the feel of the road underneath you. It offers up anything but a soft and cushy drive.
I find when you get into the smaller BMWs, like this 2-series coupe, the feel of the road underneath you becomes even more pronounced because of the shorter wheelbase.
This 2-series coupe certainly lets you know the road is underneath you and in New Jersey when it pothole season that could be dangerous.
The 230i I tested for one week featured a 2.0 liter, four cylinder, twin turbo engine that puts out an impressive 255 horsepower.
This coupe can be driven confidently at high speeds and through any tight turn you can find, it performs extremely well under those conditions.
Moreover, it’s a good-looking car that exudes sportiness and luxury.
The base price is $36,350, but my tester was loaded with options and the bottom line sticker price came in at $46,570.
Some of the more expensive options included a $3,250 M Sport package, $2,650 for the premium package and $1,900 for a dynamic handling package.
The EPA fuel economy ratings come in at 29 miles per gallon overall – 26 in city driving and 35 around town.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week.
On The Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, NJ.