Valerie Menard

Valerie Menard is a freelance writer and published author with 16 years of reporting about the auto industry for Latino publications.

Nov 232022
 

While Toyota excels at reliability, some say that accomplishment comes at the expense of an appealing design, but there’s at least one model in the lineup that represents the exception to that rule, the 2022 GR Supra. Latino Traffic Report recently drove the GR Supra 2.0 and it rumbles and speeds with the aplomb of a sports car, plus it looks good too.

To truly compete in the segment, a sports car needs to be fast. The Supra achieves this with a zero to 60 of 4.1 seconds. While the test model was powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo engine with 255 horsepower and a 295 lb.-ft. of torque matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a straight-six 3.0-litre engine with 335 hp/365 lb.-ft. of torque is available and new for 2023, so is a six-speed intelligent manual transmission, ramping up its sporty appeal.

Sports cars should also hug the road, especially on curves. The GR Supra did so on Austin’s famed FM 2222 assisted by a double joint type McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension.

If at all possible, sports cars should sound like they mean it. The as-tested Supra’s 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo engine had a very nice rumble. It also had an EPA estimated fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. It averaged 28.6 mpg on the test drive.

As a base model, the 2.0 is a bit challenged when it comes to standard safety features but it did include auto-leveling headlights and pre-collision and lane departure warning. More sophisticated technology like a blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and parking sensors came with the Safety and Technology package ($3,485). That’s a pricey investment and these features remain optional throughout the line-up, even on the top-of-the-line A9-CF with the manual transmission.

The interior included Alcantara seats with leather trim, a digital gauge cluster and 8.8-inch touchscreen display with a three-month subscription to XM satellite radio. It had knobs to making engaging the infotainment system easier but when programming preset channels, it was less than intuitive.

Don’t expect roominess or much storage capacity, that’s not where sports cars excel. But on the test drive, it seems a hand can get caught by the trunk lid. While it didn’t break any bones, it did bring up a daunting idea—there’s no exterior latch to release it so without the key fob in your pocket or a friend to release the trunk from the inside, a person could remain caught until he or she can flag down help. So be careful and don’t let your hand linger near the trunk.

Pricing for the 2022 GR-Supra starts at $43,645. The as-tested price came to $47,845.

Sí: The GR Supra perform as a sports car should and the combination of speed, performance, and rumble will put a smile on your face.

No: Be care of that trunk lid and safety features like the blind spot monitor should not be stuck in such a pricey optional package.

Hyundai Invests in Latino Community During Hispanic Heritage Month

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Oct 152022
 

(l to r) Brandon Ramirez, director, corporate social responsibility, Hyundai Motor America, Sandra Pisano, PsyD, Director, Behavioral Health, AltaMed, Fanny Oliveira, Sr. director of Development, AltaMed Foundation, in Los Angeles, Calif. on October 14, 2022. (Photo/Hyundai)

At the close of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) Latino Traffic Report has learned that Hyundai  honored the Hispanic and Latinx communities with a multifaceted program that included philanthropic and community-based support and sponsorships including:

  • Hyundai Hope donations to empower future generations through education
  • Community support from Hyundai’s employee resource group (ERG), Amigos Unidos
  • Partnership with the Latin American Museum in Long Beach (MOLAA)
  • Participation in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) leadership conference
  • Hyundai’s Hispanic marketing agency, Lopez Negrete Communications, FIFA campaign

“Hispanic and Latino Americans have long played a pivotal role enriching our culture and economy and serve as a key driving force of the automotive industry,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America. “America’s diversity has always been one of our greatest strengths as a nation and we are proud to support and spotlight the Hispanic community’s rich and diverse heritage, achievements and contributions that have made our country better and stronger.”

Members of Hyundai’s Employee Resource Group, Amigos Unidos, with Lourdes Ramos, PhD, president and CEO, MOLAA, Alison Heney, PhD, vice president of learning and public programs, MOLAA, in Long Beach, Calif., October 10, 2022. (Photo/Hyundai)

Philanthropic Commitments
Hyundai donated $25,000 to The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) College Success Program to increase the number of Hispanic and Latino first-generation students from underserved communities majoring in the fields of STEM and business.

Hyundai Hope contributed to the AltaMed Foundation to support programs and resources providing mental health services to underserved communities.

Amigos Unidos Community Work
Hyundai and its employee resource group (ERG), Amigos Unidos, hosted the Fifth Annual Hyundai Career Experience Virtual Program for first- and second-year college students to learn about automotive career opportunities.

For a second year in a row, Hyundai’s Amigos Unidos ERG members volunteered their time and provided financial assistance to community-based organization, Project Youth OCBF in Santa Ana to keep at-risk youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening.

Latin American Museum in Long Beach (MOLAA) Sponsorship
Hyundai donated $14,000 to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) Youth Art and Hispanic Heritage Programs and is sponsoring the Día de los Muertos community celebration and exhibit. For more information, please visit 2022 MOLAA Day of the Dead Festival.

Thought Leadership
Hyundai Motor North America’s Gil Castillo, senior group manager, product strategy and regulatory compliance, participated in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Leadership Conference “Building a Climate Resilient Nation: Green American Communities and Business” in Washington, D.C to discuss Hyundai’s electrification and carbon neutrality goals.

Hispanic Agency of Record and FIFA Content
Hyundai’s multicultural marketing group together with its newly selected U.S. Hispanic agency, Lopez Negrete Communications, unleashed the passion for soccer, starting with families, with original, culturally curated content awarding four Hispanic winners to attend the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Selected winners will be sharing their experience and journey of a lifetime during the live, global event that scores high among U.S. Hispanics.

Not all automakers make reaching out to the Latino community a priority. Bravo to Hyundai for its efforts.

LTR Annual Truck Guide

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Sep 262022
 

Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the auto industry have evolved from a fad to a trend that even includes the light duty pick-up segment. EV trucks, however, have just entered the market, and as such, Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has yet to get the chance to drive one but that doesn’t mean we will skip producing our annual truck guide. LTR tested the following models that many truck buyers might like to consider for their capability and strength.

Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax 4×4

Headlamp detail.

Redesigned for 2022, the Toyota Tundra (above) continues to establish itself within the formidable full-size truck segment. Toyota took this redesign seriously, starting with a new, aggressive exterior, then adding more competitive capability.

The V8 engine has been replaced by a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo, like the one on the test model, with 389 hp and 479 ft.–lb. of torque and a towing capacity of 12,000 pounds. With underseat storage in the back, maximum payload comes to 1,940 lbs.

Fuel economy has also improved to an EPA estimated 17 miles per gallon in the city (mpg) and 22 mpg on the highway. LTR averaged 16.7 mpg on the test drive. The hybrid version offers even more power and capability.

The test model or Tundra Limited CrewMax (four door), also included the available 14-inch touchscreen with the infotainment system that was very easy to program.

One of the most comfortable rides in the segment the Tundra now comes in a fully boxed frame that improves ride rigidity and capability.

Safety features on the test model included a blind spot monitor, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 with dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision and pedestrian detection, and a rear seat reminder.

The test model was not without premium features like heated/cooled quilted seating as well as a heated steering wheel and the TRD Off-road Package ($3,085).

Toyota’s Texas-built truck also earned recognition from the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) who named it the Truck of Texas at its 2021 Truck Rodeo. This recognition was a first for the Tundra. It even scored a thumbs up from some tall Texans, not with TAWA, who took the time to give it a once over during the test drive.

Pricing starts at $35,950. The as tested MSRP came to $60,318.

 

Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LTD LTZ 4WD

Redesigned in 2019, the Silverado gets significantly updated for 2022, offering more choices, technology and premium accents. LTR drove the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab (four door) LTD LTZ.

Powered by four available engines including an enhanced version of the 2.7-liter turbo high-output four-cylinder engine, the test model came with the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel inline six capable of 277 hp and 460 ft.–lb. of torque and matched to a ten-speed automatic transmission. This combination increases max towing by 4,000 lbs. to 13,300 lbs. plus it achieved an average fuel economy of 23.8 mpg on the test drive.

Adding to its capability, the Silverado has 89.1 cubic feet of standard cargo bed volume, 12 standard tie-downs, advanced trailering, plus the test model came with 120V power outlets in the bed and instrument panel. The test model also included the six-position Multi-Flex tailgate that configured into a step ladder for easier access to the bed. It took a little time to figure out, but once done it offered an essential leg-up, especially for the vertically challenged. The running boards were a plus too.

It came with the LTZ Texas Edition package ($3,160) that not only added Texas badging, a wise choice for selling a truck in Texas, but premium technology like wireless charging, adaptive cruise control, front pedestrian braking, and a safety seat that emitted a buzzing sensation under the thigh as a warning.

On the inside, the eight-inch-diagonal touchscreen (a 13.4-inch is available) engaged Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Heated and cooled leather front seats, a heated steering wheel, and Bose premium audio elevated the high-end feel on the test model. The oddest feature, however, was a full-time digital rearview mirror. Unlike a backup or sideview camera, the rearview camera stayed on throughout the drive, which proved a bit distracting. Luckily, it can be turned off to return to a traditional mirror.

Pricing starts at $36,795. The as-tested price came to $64,485.

 

 

 

Ford F-250 SRW 4×4 Crew Cab

While a redesign is rumored for 2023, the current model continues to set standards for capability in the segment. Known as heavy duties, Ford prefers to term its three-quarter and one-ton trucks “Super Duty.” Due to the rigors these big trucks face, the F-250 comes in six configurable trim levels for multiple applications. LTR drove the F-250 Lariat 4×4 Crew Cab (four door).

As mentioned, these are working trucks, although more and more are becoming family vehicles too, so capability is king. The F-450 is available with best-in-class maximum gooseneck towing of up to 37,000 pounds. The test model, however, had a max towing of 15,000 lbs. and payload of 3,550 lbs.

There are three available engines, a 6.2-liter V8, a 7.3-liter V8, and the as-tested third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 that delivers best-in-class 475 hp and 1,050 ft.–lbs. of torque. It was matched to an all-new 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission.

With a 21-inch drop from the front seat, running boards will be essential for low statured folks, which the testmodel did include, as well as adjustable pedals, the ladder in the tailgate as part of the Lariat Ultimate Package ($3,495), and a tailgate drop button for added convenience.

For added confidence when behind the wheel of such a massive vehicle, a blind spot monitor and reverse sensing with a reverse camera were included. The available Pro Trailer Backup Assist also came with the test model for an added $2,730.

The standard FordPass Connect comes with a 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to ten devices and charge up with wireless charging and USB-C ports.

As an added perk, the test model included an average fuel efficiency calculator, despite the fact that the EPA does not currently require city and highway fuel economy estimates on its Monroney. That rule may change in 2027. The test model averaged 18.6 mpg.

Pricing starts at $41,240. With $29,815 worth of optional features, including $10,495 for the diesel engine , the as-tested pricing came to $82,245.

Albaisa Named Designer of the Year

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Sep 052022
 

Senior Vice President for Global Design for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML)

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Nissan lead designer Alfonso Albaisa was recently recognized for his lifetime of work as Designer of the Year in Newsweek‘s inaugural World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors awards. From the Ariya to the Nissan Z and several new models in between, Albaisa has imprinted his vision on the brand in many ways since joining the company more than 30 years ago.

The Newsweek World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors awards highlight the best and brightest in the auto industry across six categories. Albaisa received the award amid the Nissan NEXT transformation, a four-year global initiative that kicked off in 2020, promising 12 new models including the all-new Nissan Ariya, Frontier, Pathfinder, Rogue, Nissan Z and others.

“Disruption is the job description, so I take great honor in this formal recognition of doing what my team and I were born to do day in and day out” said Albaisa, senior vice president for Global Design for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “It’s also incredibly humbling to receive acknowledgement alongside my incredibly talented industry peers for 34 years of wonderful collaborations at Nissan.”

Since joining Nissan in 1988, Albaisa has worked on many models and all brands under the Nissan Motor Corporation umbrella including Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. His recent notable vehicle designs for U.S. market vehicles include the Z Proto concept, Ariya, Frontier, Pathfinder, Rogue and Sentra for Nissan Brand and Infiniti QX60, QX55 for Infiniti. Albaisa’s designs were also recently recognized in the Newsweek Auto Awards “Best Car Lineup” for 2021.

In addition to overseeing vehicle design, Albaisa also provides direction for the company’s logos, display spaces, dealerships and even building architecture.

Albaisa received this award at the Newsweek offices in Manhattan on the eve of the 2022 New York International Auto Show.

Premium SUV Review: 2022 Buick Envision Avenir

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.