If you’ve driven past any car dealerships lately you’ve certainly noticed the empty lots.
In case you haven’t heard, due to the pandemic-driven work-stoppage-labor shortage-supply-chain-issues, there is an extreme scarcity of microchips used to operate the electronic systems of most modern vehicles, resulting in a nationwide dearth of new cars. Consumers in need of a new ride have two choices, fret about the situation, or take this time to do some research and get ready to buy that new car as soon as production is back online.
So, I put new tires and brakes on my 2005 Lexus RX 330 and I’m crossing my fingers it will last me another year or so while I plan out my next new car purchase. Here are a couple of top contenders for me along with the reasons why I think these vehicles are excellent options that I recently got to try out during a recent trip to Los Angeles.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend 4×4
The Ford Bronco Sport has a lot of appeal to an active mom with a teen son. There’s lots of cargo space for sports equipment gear, such as tubs full of dirt bike gear, and a slide-out table that can be used as a workbench is a unique addition.
As a sometimes late-night shopper, I also really liked the LED floodlights on the liftgate, for illuminating my cargo when I need to unload and for safety around me, as the lighting spread is up to about 130 feet.
Speaking of the liftgate, it reminds me of the traditional sport vehicle liftgates, which is a good thing, as because you don’t need to open the rear hatch just to toss something small inside.
The thoughtful touches and extras on this rugged small SUV made it perfect for our weekend campouts and beach days. The 400-watt inverter is great for powering up the air pump for the inflatable kayak, and the spacious cargo area fits a full-size bike without removing the wheel, along with all our sunshade tent, beach chairs, four backpacks, and more.
While we don’t go off-road much, if we needed it, we had Built Wild capability that Bronco is known for, i.e., G.O.A.T. – “goes over any type of terrain.”
Apart from the hardware comforts, the 8-inch SYNC infotainment system gives my teenage son all the tech that makes him happy, and the plentiful air vents are great for keeping everyone cool no matter where they are sitting.
Lastly, as I am used to driving an older car, I loved the safety features like the Co-Pilot360 Assist, with features like pre-collision assist, automatic emergency braking, and the warning assist system if you drift from your lane. This equipment is a definite must-have for my next vehicle. Pricing for the Big Bend Package with some nice options – $32,840.
2021 Lincoln AWD Reserve Nautilus
And now for something completely luxurious, the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus is my kind of spacious midsize SUV for cruising around Beverly Hills, Malibu and anywhere I want to ride in comfort and make an impression.
I admit I am drawn to the elegance and poshness of a luxury vehicle that is like a spa on wheels. They thought of everything to make you feel comfortable and pampered.
For starters, I love a quiet ride, and this ride exudes calm. Appropriately called Black Ebony, the classic upscale interior design inspires serenity and security. Not to mention you are surrounded by features catering to your every driving need. The 13.2-inch screen SYNC 4 system, with SiriusXM, features voice recognition with internet search, so I could get weather and other information without taking my eyes off the road using a regular speaking voice. I also enjoyed the “piano key” shifter, which made me actually look forward to putting the car into gear.
The front end is powerful yet refined. The profile looked perfectly at home parked in the valet lot alongside a Rolls Royce and a Bently at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
It is a beauty, but the pleasure of this SUV is not all about aesthetics. It performed as powerfully as it presented, with 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, which can be hard to experience driving in the city but was like letting the horse out of the barn with no traffic on PCH.
Safety is always top of mind for me, so I was thrilled with the Co-Pilot360, with its 360-degree camera and front sensing system, along with the Cruise Control with stop-and-go and lane-centered technology, and distance alert, distance indication and evasive steering assist systems. For tight parking, like in the small garage of my Airbnb rental, the Active Park Assist was incredibly helpful.
If you are looking for a driving sanctuary and appreciate attention to detail, the Nautilus lives up to its name of the intricate and meticulous mollusk.
Pricing with the Reserve equipment group 202A package, 2.7L V6 engine, Revel Audio System, 20” black aluminum wheels, monochromatic package, and Mini Space Saver, and 22-position driver seat – $68,340.