Aug 082022
 

Like many General Motors brands, Buick got out of the car business (officially in 2020), and opted to fill its lineup exclusively with sport utility vehicles (SUVs). One of its premium nameplates, the Envision got a redesign in 2021 and Latino Traffic Report recently got to test drive the top-of-the-line 2022 Envision Avenir, an elegant and well-equipped option in its segment.

Each of the three available trims—Preferred, Essence, and Avenir—has specific design features. An exclusive mesh grille design with tinted chrome trim and 20-inch wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish distinguish the Avenir. All models have LED headlamps and taillamps and daytime running lights.

As a premium model, the Envision matches its streamlined exterior to a handsome interior design with quilted leather seating for five, and aluminum and wood accents. For added convenience, a 60/40-split second row folds flat to create 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first-row seats. The Avenir includes Buick’s first available 10.2-inch-diagonal touchscreen with 30 easy to program XM and radio presets. A heated steering wheel and an air ionizer, a first for Buick in the United States, are standard on the Avenir and Essence trims.

Hoping to improve performance as well as fuel economy, the new Envision is powered by a 2.0-liter Turbo I-4 engine with 228 horsepower and 258 lb.–ft of torque with direct injection and Stop/Start technology. It’s matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control. While all-wheel drive is available, the test model came with front-wheel-drive.

The EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model was 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 31 mpg. During the week-long test drive it averaged 25.6 mpg.

Chock full of safety features, all Envisions come with GM’s signature Rear Seat Reminder that chimes when the vehicle is turned off to remind folks to check for valuable cargo in the back seat. A seat buzzer, another excellent GM feature, sends a physical sensation to the driver to warn of an impending collision. The standard Driver Confidence package offers nine standard active safety features, including Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, and Automatic Emergency Braking. For added safety, a light “welcome/walkaway” illuminates the ground by the door when drivers engage the key fob while approaching.

The test model also included connectivity features like wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a remote vehicle starter, navigation, OnStar, and Bluetooth with voice recognition.

Semi-autonomous features like adaptive cruise control came at a high price on the test model as part of the Technology Package ($1,965) that also included enhanced auto parking assist. A driver seat massage function and blind spot monitor, however, were modestly priced additions as part of the Premium Seat ($350) and Safety ($200) packages, respectively. The test model also included the available panoramic moonroof ($1,450).

With a starting MSRP of $34,795 the as-tested pricing came to $45,010.

Sí: An elegant design and premium features plus decent fuel economy make the Envision a good value.

No: The Technology Package added good features but at a steep price point and the massage function in the seats was hard to find.

Acura Full Lineup Marks New Looks and Impressive Performance

 Launches  Comments Off on Acura Full Lineup Marks New Looks and Impressive Performance
Jul 132022
 

1991 Acura NSX

Celebrating a return to its roots and “precision crafted performance,” Acura recently hosted a full-line press drive in Atlanta, GA, led by high performance Type S models. While not technically a launch, the event did offer a chance for Latino Traffic Report (LTR) to drive certain Acura products for the first time, starting at the top of the lineup with its supercar, the 2022 NSX Type S (above) with a twin- turbocharged V6 and three-motor hybrid system that produces 600-horsepower and 492 lb.–ft. of torque and a Gotham Gray matte exterior, as well as the classic 1991 NSX model—rare opportunities indeed.

From the newly reintroduced fifth generation Integra to the six-figure NSX ($171,495), the driving experiences for all models stood out for their nimbleness, firm handling, and responsiveness.

2023 Acura Integra

Not only has the Integra returned to the lineup, so has a six-speed manual transmission for 2023. Powered by the first-ever factory turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with 200 hp and 192 lb.-ft. of torque, the manual version of the Integra sits at the top of the lineup. The drive experience did not disappoint but the standard model with the CVT transmission also produced a sporty response and a serious engine rumble. Pricing for the 2023 Integra starts at $31,895 with destination fees.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

Built on an exclusive platform for Type S performance, the TLX borrows some technology from its super sibling, like a double-wishbone front suspension, to enhance the ride and handling, and Brembo brakes. It’s powered by an all-new 3.0-liter V6 turbo engine inspired by the twin turbo V6 on the NSX. Pricing for the 2022 TLX starts at $39,995 and the Type S at $54,795.

2023 Acura MDX Type S

The MDX will be the first Acura sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a Type S badge. While the test model MDX Type S performed handily, powered by a V6 turbo with 355 hp and supported by an adaptive air suspension, the massage setting in the front seats with nine options, including Shiatsu, also made a big impression. Many premium models offer a massage function but it’s not always easy to find. The button on the MDX was located in the center stack next to buttons for heating and cooling the seats. Pricing for the 2022 MDX starts at $49,795 and the Type S at $67,895.

2022 Aura RDX A VD/Tech

Redesigned in 2019, the RDX was the first to debut Acura’s latest exterior DNA, featuring the new grille with a sunburst effect. At the event, the RDX showcased Acura’s ELS Studio premium sound system created exclusively for Acura by eight-time Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Elliot Scheiner and his team of experts. He explained that apparently, musicians will take to their cars after recording to hear how a track will sound. Scheiner and his team set about creating a studio sound experience for Acura, culminating in the top-of-the-line ELS Studio 3D Signature Edition featuring 25 speakers and 1000 watts of sound. Versions of the system, including the ELS Studio with 16 speakers, are available on certain Integra, TLX, RDX, and MDX models. Pricing for the 2022 RDX starts at $40,345.

John Paul Diaz

LTR readers will appreciate that Scheiner records at the Tree Sound Studios, co-owned by first generation Cuban-American John Paul Diaz and his father. Diaz joked that as a young man, he had hoped to tour with bands as a roadie but after witnessing the toll the road took on them, “I decided to be a sound engineer instead.” Diaz shared with LTR that he hopes to build stronger connections to Atlanta’s Latino community and to host more Latino artists and musicians at his studio.

(l to R) Jessica Fini and Meliza Humphrey

Also of note were two trailblazers for Acura, Jessica Fini, senior manager, Honda and Acura PR and Meliza Humphrey, senior manager, Acura Marketing. Fini is the first woman to be in this position for both Honda and Acura, and Humphrey, is the first Latina in this position. The timely introduction came on the heels of the Honda’s recently released diversity and inclusion report.

All in all, the lineup effectively represented Acura’s reputation for performance combined with premium features that set it apart in the segment.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art Opens in Riverside

 Destinations  Comments Off on Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art Opens in Riverside
Jul 102022
 

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, The Cheech, has officially opened at the Riverside Art Museum (RAM).

A public-private partnership between RAM, the City of Riverside, and comedian Cheech Marin—one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art—The Cheech will be the “center of Chicano art, not only for painting, but for sculpture, photography, and video arts.”

The 61,420-square-foot center will house hundreds of paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures by artists including Patssi Valdez, Sandy Rodriguez, Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero, Judithe Hernández, and Gilbert “Magú” Luján.

Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective (pictured at top) is the inaugural temporary exhibition at The Cheech, on display through January 22, 2023. The retrospective looks at the artistic and exploratory trajectory of Einar and Jamex de la Torre, the two siblings that comprise the artistic duo known as The de la Torre Brothers. Einar and Jamex were born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1963 and 1960, respectively.

“Together, we hope to bring every aspect of Chicano art to this region as well as the rest of the world,” said Marin.

LTR strongly encourages Latinos in Riverside or traveling to the area, to consider visiting The Cheech at the RAM,  located at 3581 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA, 92501.

Hyundai Manager Named Woman of the Year

 Noticias  Comments Off on Hyundai Manager Named Woman of the Year
Jul 092022
 

 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Kristin Gomez (above right), Hyundai senior group manager, regulatory compliance and eco-mobility, was named Woman of the Year by the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA) for her contribution to corporate responsibility. NHBWA annually recognizes three women for outstanding work in corporate responsibility, small business/entrepreneur and community service/nonprofit/education.

“NHBWA Woman of the Year is an incredible honor to recognize the impact that Kristin has not only in her environmental work but also in her passion and dedication to supporting her local community,” said Yuval Steiman, director, eco-compliance and research, Hyundai Motor North America. “From implementing eco-initiatives to advocating for youth programs, Kristin’s commitment to building a better tomorrow for future generations is an inspiration.”

Gomez is president of the associate board and a longtime volunteer at Project Youth Orange County Bar Foundation (OCBF), an Orange County-based nonprofit which helps at-risk youth in Santa Ana with education resources. She is an active member of Hyundai’s “Amigos Unidos” employee resource group, which is tasked with community engagement and raising cultural awareness at Hyundai.

Woman of the Year is awarded to women who are active in the community or with the NHBWA and have a history of business and entrepreneurial professional achievements.

Honda Issues First Ever Inclusion and Diversity Report

 Noticias  Comments Off on Honda Issues First Ever Inclusion and Diversity Report
May 282022
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that as part of Honda’s efforts to promote equality in its workforce and society, the company today released its inaugural Inclusion & Diversity Report: “Living Our Values.” The report outlines Honda’s commitments to advancing inclusion and diversity and shares recent actions the company has taken, including key initiatives within its workforce and the communities where its associates live and work. The report, which will be released annually, marks the first time the company has publicly shared comprehensive data on the diversity of its operations in the United States, including its workforce, dealers, suppliers, and corporate giving, demonstrating Honda’s focus on transparency and accountability. 

“We initiated this report to emphasize our commitment and share our progress in the areas of inclusion and diversity. The report is an important tool in holding ourselves accountable for continuous improvement,” said Yvette Hunsicker, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion and Diversity at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda was founded on a strong respect for people, and we are committed to living our values through actions that strengthen equality in our own workplace and in communities across America.”

The company claims that while it has always prioritized aligning its actions with its belief that inclusion and diversity make us stronger, the social awakening of 2020 led Honda to reexamine and renew its efforts in championing fairness, justice and equality. The company committed to several new actions to better reflect the demographic makeup of America within its operations and deepen its support of social justice. One of these actions was to be more transparent in sharing its commitments and beliefs, and the diversity of key stakeholder groups.

The report also outlines new actions Honda has taken over the past two years, including:

  • Improved processes for hiring and promotion by implementing diverse slates of candidates and diverse interview panels, and a more transparent job posting process
  • Revised the company’s social media policy to enable Honda to take action when anyone affiliated with the company posts racist or discriminatory content
  • Prepared Honda leaders throughout the company to hold meaningful discussions with associates about race, with organizational tools that included a leadership check-in conversation guide and manager resource guide to help facilitate candid conversations
  • Provided tools for associates to educate themselves on the topic of social justice
  • Introduced anti-racism and allyship training to leaders and associates to promote social justice and inclusion across Honda’s U.S. operations.

Honda has established specific partnerships with national Latino organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) Education Foundation (TEF), and since 2003, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help undergraduate Latino students achieve their dream of a college education. In 2021 42 percent of the participants in Honda’s Professional Automotive Career Training program were Latino but the report also reveals that Latinos made up only five percent of Honda’s workforce in 2021.

“We have more work to do, but this report shows that Honda is making progress and is deeply committed to creating the inclusion, diversity and equity that is rooted in our values and will make us stronger as a company,” said Hunsicker.

SUV Review: 2022 Acura RDX

 Acura, Reviews  Comments Off on SUV Review: 2022 Acura RDX
May 162022
 
2022 Acura RDX

By Andy Stonehouse

Properly equipped for the winter, which we have an abundance of in Colorado, even the fanciest import sports SUV or sedan makes sense. Smaller, stylish and still speedy, the five-passenger Acura RDX offers great looks and excellent performance.

That was the much happier experience I had with a 2022 edition of Acura’s RDX, a one-size-smaller rendition of the ever-popular MDX, which was delivered, in the winter, with a set of high-performance winter tires (amazingly, this is a rarity, even as my travels take me into a high-altitude climate where I have literally been on traction-challenged ski trips weekly between October and early May). I cannot stress how much that amplified the driving experience and the sense of security, especially as it was the fancier A-Spec Advance Package edition of the vehicle.

2022 Acura

After driving a reasonably similar 2022 Lexus NX and a larger RX sandwiched around the Acura, I feel confident in saying that it’s probably exactly the vehicle I might invest in, if my circumstances called for a flashy, rock-solid and speedy five-passenger SUV. It’s not so tall and gigantic that you can’t reach up to brush snow off the roof, it’s got tons of visual appeal and its 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo setup pretty much blew away the NX in every circumstance.

I also got to enjoy Acura’s “super-handling” all-wheel-drive system and its active torque vectoring during snowy outings and then again on a very busy trip to Loveland Ski Area, on the Continental Divide. Both circumstances showed the Ohio-assembled, $52,845 vehicle to be the right size and the right power for the job.

Your feelings on the Acura’s very quiet but hyperstyled cockpit and its overly busy center stack could be an issue, however. Things are still focused around a giant drive mode knob that either lightens the throttle for Snow or apparently throws you into hyperspace in Sport, plus still-curious vertical shift buttons and a broad display screen controlled by a wide, slightly weird touchpad. Unlike most other manufacturers, its traffic data was also 100 percent accurate between the tunnel and Idaho Springs.

2022 Acura RDX

The A-Spec rendition gets more dark trim around the starburst-styled grille, window frames and body panels, plus beautiful multi-spoke 20-inch wheels, and its seats are even sportier than the standard model, with suede inserts and pretty aggressive bolstering. In the back, slightly silly oversized chrome exhaust ports convey the RDX’s somewhat boisterous, sporty character; the seven-lens jewel eye LED headlamps are an equally pleasant (and bright) touch.

I mostly liked that fact that RDX’s mass was never overwhelming or made it feel cumbersome, either on icy surfaces or while running up that horsepower on dry roads. The 10-speed automatic transmission can be pretty actively engaged via paddle shifters, and steering feel and braking capabilities are both accurate and effective.

The 2022 model included the very tangible suspension and dynamics system upgrades, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and built-in Amazon Alexa.

Sí: RDX offers a right-sized mix of power, sportiness and versatility, without the mass and mess of large SUVs.

No: That center stack design is a whole lot to take in, for limited real-world usefulness. But if you like knobs, Acura’s knobs are as ornate as they come.

Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Lakewood, Colorado. All photos are stock, not as-tested.

Tesla Recalls 594,894 Models

 Recalls  Comments Off on Tesla Recalls 594,894 Models
Apr 272022
 
2022 Model X
2022 Model Y

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Tesla, Inc. (Tesla) is recalling certain 2020-2022 Model Y, Model X, Model S, and 2017-2022 Model 3 vehicles. The Boombox function allows sounds to be played through an external speaker while the vehicle is in motion, which may obscure the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) sounds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 141, “Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.” The recall should affect nearly 595,000 vehicles.

2022 Model S
2022 Model 3

Tesla will perform an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will disable the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral and Reverse modes, including Summon and Smart Summon, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 6, 2022. Owners may contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla’s number for this recall is SB-22-00-003. Note: This recall supersedes recall 22V-063. Vehicles configured with Summon or Smart Summon and already remedied under 22V-063 will need to have the new remedy software installed.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov.

Hispanic Motor Press Announces 2022 HMPA Winners

 Noticias  Comments Off on Hispanic Motor Press Announces 2022 HMPA Winners
Mar 102022
 
Luxury Vehicle of the Year: Genesis GV70

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that the Hispanic Motor Press recently announced the winners of the 2022 Hispanic Motor Press Awards (HMPA). The twelfth annual program recognizes the best new vehicles for Hispanic car buyers based on styling, driving satisfaction, technology, safety, environmental impact, mechanical reliability, and value.

Compact Vehicle of the Year: Honda Civic


“With overall manufacturer advancements in power train technology, safety features, infotainment, connectivity, and cleaner mobility, it is more important than ever to guide Hispanic car buyers who represent 30 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales,” says Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, founder and president of the Hispanic Motor Press. “The 2022 winners offer positive overall ownership experience and are considered significant automobiles in the market, as they meet the needs and desires of Hispanic consumers.”

Family Vehicle of the Year: Kia Carnival

The 2022 model year HMPA winners are:
Family Vehicle of the Year: Kia Carnival
Electric Vehicle (EV) of the Year: Hyundai IONIQ 5
Compact Vehicle of the Year: Honda Civic
Midsize Vehicle of the Year: Buick Enclave
Luxury Vehicle of the Year: Genesis GV70
Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) of the Year: Mitsubishi Outlander
Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) of the Year: Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Pick-Up Truck of the Year: Ford Maverick
Adventure Vehicle of the Year: Ford Bronco
Best Technology Vehicle of the Year: GMC Hummer

Pick-Up Truck of the Year: Ford Maverick


The 2022 HMPA jurors comprised of independent Hispanic automotive journalists, content creators and industry influencers, including LTR, was selected by the organization’s advisory board. The juror members evaluated over 100 new vehicles during 2021 and into 2022.
Auto manufacturers voluntarily submitted their entries, and the jury panel evaluated the vehicles on their features including overall design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, infotainment integration, interior design, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price.
The Hispanic Motor Press Awards is the premier independent Hispanic awards presented in the country for the Hispanic community to help, educate, and pre-select the best vehicle options in the market. It also offers scholarship programs for students in communications and journalism.
For more information, visit www.hispanicmotorpress.org. Follow Hispanic Motor Press on Twitter@HMotorPressOrg, Facebook@Hispanicmotorpress or Instagram@hispanicmotorpress

#hispanicmotorpress #hispanicmotorpressawards

Check Engine Light, Oh My!

 Used Car Diary  Comments Off on Check Engine Light, Oh My!
Feb 282022
 

It’s never a good thing when the Check Engine light starts to shine, but on a vehicle with over 200,000 miles, it could be time to panic.

She (my 2007 Toyota Yaris, aka “the Bunny”) had sat for a few weeks with occasional starts while I test drove a succession of vehicles. Check out my Reviews section.

I took it to O’Reilly Auto Parts to get an assessment—it took multiple tries since evening staff seemed less enthusiastic about having to go outside— and was told that three cylinders weren’t firing properly. Oddly, the Yaris seemed to run smoothly although she did lack a bit of pep. With an inspection on the horizon, I opted to take her to the nearest Charles Maund Toyota dealership for an assessment. I’ve done so before because they offer shuttles to and from the dealership and I deal with a specific associate, Walter Ortiz. This may not be the most affordable option but I give points for customer service.

After several days of testing, including a weekend, thankfully I had a test vehicle to drive, I was told that the problem was bad gas and that the fuel lines would need to be cleaned. Total cost was $750 but after a 15 percent discount it came to $634.12. Is that a lot? Most of the fee was for labor costs. It also included a tune-up and free car wash. According to my neighbor, Auto Zone or O’Reilly could have done it for much less.

Regardless, the Bunny’s running like a champ. Thanks to #charlesmaundtoyota and #oreilly.

Ramirez Advances at Hyundai

 Noticias  Comments Off on Ramirez Advances at Hyundai
Jan 302022
 

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that Hyundai Motor America (HMA) has promoted Brandon Ramirez to director of Corporate Social Responsibility and External Relations. In this role, Ramirez is responsible for the development and implementation of CSR programs and initiatives in the areas of sustainability, innovation and community engagement. Ramirez is also responsible for promoting Hyundai and Genesis leadership in technology democratization, eco-friendly mobility solutions and customer-centric experiences.

Brandon Ramirez

Ramirez is an old friend to LTR, which has followed his career advancement over the years. Previously, Ramirez was the senior group manager, product public relations at Hyundai Motor North America responsible for communicating the attributes of Hyundai’s entire product lineup to traditional and digital media throughout the country, including auto show strategy, new vehicle launches and ongoing content creation for Hyundai vehicles. Ramirez also spent 13 years leading product development, market launches and lifecycle management for Hyundai’s lineup of cars, CUVs and alternative-powered vehicles. He has extensive multicultural experience serving as the chair of Hyundai’s internal “Amigos Unidos” employee group, which is tasked with community engagement and raising culture awareness at Hyundai.

Congrats to Ramirez and kudos to Hyundai for its commitment to diversity.