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2021 Audi Q5 First Test: The Popular Kid Gets a Fresh Wardrobe

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Audi Q5 Full Overview

Just before 2020 ended, we had the chance to drive the 2021 Audi SQ5, the sportier variant of the Q5 powered by a punchy V-6 engine. Like we noted back then, the SQ5 delivers the best of both worlds. It’s a comfortable SUV that’s great for everyday driving, but also more dynamic when the road turns twisty. Now, we’ve driven and tested the 2021 Audi Q5, the toned-down normal version that competes in the compact-luxury-SUV segment, one of today’s most popular. As you’d expect, then, the Q5 is indeed Audi’s most popular model, making up 25 percent of the brand’s sales, with the conventionally powered, non-S version responsible for most of that chunk (the balance includes not just SQ5s, but also Q5 PHEVs).

In order to be a popular player in one of the toughest segments, the Q5 has to bring plenty of goodness to the table, no? It combines attractive styling with a well-appointed cabin, all while keeping its prices competitive—something hard to find these days in the luxury game. For the 2021 model year, the Q5 received a midcycle refresh inside and out to bring more glamour and a bit more tech.

2021 Audi Q5: More Soft Than Sporty

As one would expect, the regular Q5 is toned down compared to the S variant, and that was notable during our time with this SUV. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 with 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the Q5 employs a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s Quattro system. The engine is mated to a 12-volt mild hybrid system that’s new for 2021, and which adds a combined 13 hp over the 2020 model.

That combination makes the Q5 a decent SUV on the road. The engine is lively, and while it lacks the push of a V-6, it feels completely adequate for an SUV this size. The one complaint we have is with the transmission taking too long to downshift, which we experienced mostly when trying to pass on the freeway. The engine also has a bit of turbo lag, which combines with the transmission issue to compound the sensation that it’s weaker than reality when trying to pile on speed or pass another vehicle at freeway velocities. When reaching a cruising speed, though, the Q5 is in its element.

Drivers can choose between five driving modes—Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. We spent most of the time driving in Auto, but even when we turned on Dynamic mode, the Q5 had the same laggy feel as in Auto or Comfort. Even so, at the test track, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana was able to go from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is a strong number. Pedal overlap causes the transmission controller to launch at about 3,000 rpm, after which gearshifts are much more immediate and aggressive, according to Ayapana. That may be the trick to get an eager start, but it’s not how you drive every day. Compared to a 2018 model, the 2021 Q5 was faster to 60 mph by 0.2 second, perhaps thanks to the mild hybrid system.

Overall, the ride is settled and comfortable. Whether you drive over harsh pavement or ruts, the suspension does a good job absorbing those imperfections before they get into the cabin. Even on twisty roads, the body is well controlled with little noticeable roll, but chief tester Chris Walton had mixed feelings during our figure-eight test, noting poor body control under braking and cornering. “The transmission, even in dynamic mode with S Drive, was not intelligent enough to hold second gear on the skidpad,” Walton added.

Besides increasing power output and (potentially) lowering the Q5’s acceleration time, the mild hybrid system also helps with fuel economy. For 2021, the Q5 delivers 23/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined, an increase of 1 mpg in city and combined ratings over last year.

2021 Audi Q5: Comfortable and Elegant

Inside, the Q5 blends a mix of premium quality and high tech. While it doesn’t have the same avant-garde interior aesthetic as do the Q7 or the Q8 (these have a two-screen infotainment/HVAC setup on the center console), the Q5 features a 10.1-inch touchscreen atop the dash. It displays Audi’s newest infotainment system—MIB 3—which is easy to use and fast to respond. The graphics are top notch, and the way everything is organized makes it easy to get around without having to dig through menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless, and you can use voice commands to do unusual things like change the temperature or other settings in the car.

Our Prestige model—the Prestige trim costs $10,700 over a base Q5—checked pretty much every available box, which included everything from the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with 3D sound to Audi’s “virtual cockpit,” whereby a 12.3-inch display serves as the instrument panel and can show real-time Google Maps graphics. Our model also came with other goodies like a head-up display, a 360-degree bird’s eye view camera system, and a panoramic sunroof.

To maximize comfort, Audi also offers heated and cooled front cupholders, heated rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The second-row seats fold almost flat in a 40/20/40 configuration, making it ideal to fit long items between the seats while maximizing passenger space.

And you’ll want to maximize the room, as interior space is one of the areas where the Q5 needs to improve. Second-row legroom is a tad tight for adults with long legs. At six feet tall, this author’s legs touched the back of the front seat with the driver’s seat set to his driving position. Though there weren’t any problems with headroom, the noticeable drivetrain hump also interferes with foot room whenever you have three passengers in the rear.

2021 Audi Q5: Safety Tech

Like some other luxury brands these days, the Q5 brings some standard safety systems but charges extra for others. Blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and parking sensors are standard across the lineup, but adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist is only available with the Premium Plus and Prestige packages—the two (out of three) highest trims.

These safety systems work well enough on the highway, keeping the Q5 centered in its lane even when lane markings weren’t totally clear. We’d like to compare the Audi’s systems to those from BMW and Acura, which are among the tops in the segment, to see which truly stands out.

Is the 2021 Audi Q5 Worth It?

Our Audi Q5 Prestige checked out at $56,840, a pricey ask no matter how you look at it. That’s several thousand dollars more than a loaded Acura RDX or Lexus NX, but is in line with its loaded German counterparts. Should you have a tighter budget, the Q5 starts at $44,395, with the middle-tier Premium Plus package adding $4,800.

Despite the somewhat lazy-feeling powertrain, it’s easy to see why the Q5 is Audi’s most popular model. After all, most folks won’t stand on it like we do during our holistiic evaluations, and this compact luxury SUV serves up tons of amenities, a well-appointed cabin, and fresh styling that should continue to resonate with a lot of customers. The Q5 is far from perfect, but it does a lot of things well and we can’t see this newer version giving up much ground to BMW, Mercedes, Acura, and friends.

Looks good! More details?

2021 Audi Q5 Quattro Specifications
BASE PRICE $44,395
PRICE AS TESTED $56,840
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/261-hp/273-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,184 lb (53/47%)
WHEELBASE 111.0 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 184.3 x 74.5 x 65.5 in
0-60 MPH 5.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.4 sec @ 95.0 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 115 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.86 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.5 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 23/28/25 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 147/120 kWh/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.78 lb/mile

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2021 Toyota Highlander XLE vs. Highlander XSE: The Battle for the High Land

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  6. 2021 Toyota Highlander XLE vs. Highlander XSE: The Battle for the High Land

Is the XSE really that sporty? We drove both back-to-back.

Toyota Highlander Full Overview

The Toyota Highlander is known for being a reliable, good-looking three-row SUV, but among the list of adjectives used to describe it, sporty is not on our list. New for 2021 is the Highlander XSE, which swaps its elegant lines for a more dynamic appearance. With a unique grille, fascia, lower spoiler, wheels, and blackened details like the mirror caps and fake air vents, the XSE distinguishes itself from the rest of the Highlander lineup. But the XSE is more than a badge and an appearance package—Toyota engineers made changes under the skin to deliver a more connected driving experience. Among those trades are stiffer spring rates, a thicker anti-roll bar, and retuned shock absorbers, while the steering feel is more pronounced.

Earlier this year we tested a 2021 Highlander XSE but couldn’t notice any major differences between the regular three-row SUV and the new trim. To get a better perspective, we asked Toyota to lend us the XSE back along with an XLE—the most popular Highlander trim—for a back-to-back comparison.

How Sporty is Sporty?

Usually, we associate the word sporty with extra power and dynamic handling, but that’s not the case here. All Highlanders—regardless of the trim—are powered by a 295-hp, 263 lb-ft 3.5-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed transmission. Our XSE and XLE both came with the optional all-wheel drive system, which can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels. Besides the suspension and steering settings, the XSE comes with stickier tires and 20-inch wheels (instead of 18s).

Driving the Highlanders back-to-back exposed the difference we didn’t see earlier in the year. Compared to the XLE, the XSE’s steering felt a bit more weighted, but short of what we’d describe as sporty. The difference was like turning Sport mode on—the XSE felt more alert while the XLE seemed to be in comfort mode all the time. The response was a bit sharper and better balanced and provided a tad more feedback than the XLE. Still, it wasn’t a night and day difference, as the XSE’s steering is still tuned to on the comfort side of the spectrum.

The case is the same with the ride. On our test loop that mingles through curvy roads, broken pavement and highway portions, the Highlander XSE’s body felt a bit more controlled than the XLE. On the broken pavement, the XSE’s suspension felt like it was tuned to work in a one-and-done fashion versus trying to dissipate the vibrations in the cabin in a cushier way, like we felt in the XLE. On twisty roads, the XSE felt sharper, more controlled and a tad grippier—the latter mostly because of the Goodyear Eagle Touring tires compared to the XLE’s Michelin Premier LTX. Ride quality wasn’t impacted by the XSE’s bigger wheels.

At our track in Fontana, California, the pair felt pretty close to each other in our acceleration and handling tests. In the 0-60 mph run and the quarter mile, the XLE was 0.1 second faster, but on our braking test the XSE’s tires showed off, stopping in 116 ft compared to 122 ft for the XLE. “Similar feel to the XLE: Lots of front dive, softly sprung front suspension,” said associate road test editor Erick Ayapana after driving them back-to-back.

Things were minimally different on the skid pad as well, where road test editor Chris Walton managed to shave 0.2 second in the XSE for a time of 26.5-seconds at 0.65 g (the XLE took 26.7 seconds at 0.64 g). “Lots of body roll in the corners, and the steering seems heavy for heavy’s sake. The transmission wasn’t very intelligent on the skid pad, so I had to downshift manually,” said Walton on the XLE. His feelings were almost replicated in the XSE, noting the same foibles as in the XLE but less so. “There’s still quite a lot of dive and roll, but not as severe. The transmission behaves the same, and perhaps the tires are a little sportier, so it was easier to brake in the same spot consistently,” he added.

So, how sporty is sporty? The Highlander XSE falls short of what we’d call sporty or spirited. But like Walton said after driving the XSE on the skid pad, “this is how the regular Highlander should be.” The stiffer springs and weighted steering help it keep its body under control when driving aggressively, and still have that level of comfort that the three-row Toyota is known for.

Are the Interiors Different?

Similar to the exterior, the cabins are a bit different. The biggest change is the red leatherette in the XSE, which you can choose at no cost. (On a side note, the red leatherette only covers the first and second rows; the third row gets black seats.) If you prefer something more traditional, black leatherette seats are also standard, which is how our model came equipped. Faux carbon-fiber trim can be seen across the dashboard. The XLE, on the other hand, trades the red leatherette for a premium appeal, especially with the Harvest Beige interior, which combines beige and brown materials. And instead of getting the fake carbon-fiber, the XLE gets a shiny gray plastic.

The other minor difference inside is the design of the Multi-Terrain selector, which is controlled by a knob in the XSE instead of buttons like in the XLE. Both SUVs have the same three modes—Mud & Sand, Normal, and Rock & Dirt—only the way to select them is different.

Opting for the XLE allows you to choose between a seven- or eight-passenger interior at no cost; the XSE arrives with seven seats only.

Everything else is the same across the board. Both SUVs come with five USB ports (three in the front row, two in the second row) and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The XSE is available with navigation and a JBL premium audio system (a $1,680 option), while the XLE offers navigation and a premium audio option (no JBL speakers) for $1,040. Both systems sounded good; we didn’t notice any major difference between them.

Interior space is the same in both Highlanders, with the third row feeling cramped for adults. Recently, Toyota trademarked the “Grand Highlander” name, which means we might see a bigger three-row SUV soon, which could amplify interior space.

Which Highlander Should I Buy?

The XSE is positioned between the XLE and Limited grades, which means it starts at $42,680 while the XLE is priced at $41,085. All-wheel drive is an extra $1,950 for either model. Our XLE, which only added the navigation and audio package, crossed the checkout counter at $43,625. Our XSE added the JBL package and other accessories like the cargo cross bars on the roof, all-weather floor mats, and illuminated door sills (among others) that increased its price to $47,451.

In the end, it all comes down to the looks and practicality. If you think the Highlander’s design is boring, the XSE definitely brings more emotion. But if your budget is tighter, the XLE is a good option. The stiffer suspension and steering settings likely won’t affect your decision, as the experience behind the wheel is virtually the same when either Highlander is not pushed to its limits, something the vast majority of owners will stay away from.

If it were our money, we’d probably go with the XSE, as we prefer its handling on the road and its stickier tires. We’d rather have the XLE’s exterior design, but we’d get the red leatherette seats if we were buying the XSE. We can’t have the best of both worlds here, but we’re glad Toyota is giving customers more options to choose from.

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POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2021 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD 2021 Toyota Highlander XSE AWD
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 210.9 cu in/3,456 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 11.8:1
POWER (SAE NET) 295 hp @ 6,600 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
REDLINE 6,750 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 14.7 lb/hp 14.9 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.00:1/2.02:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 14.2:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.8
BRAKES, F; R 13.3-in vented disc; 13.3-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 8.0 x 18-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES 235/65R18 106V Michelin Premier LTX (M+S) 235/55R20 102V Goodyear Eagle Touring (M+S)
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 112.2 in
TRACK, F/R 65.3/65.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 194.9 x 76.0 x 68.1 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 8.0 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 17.9/23.0 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 37.4 ft
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,341 lb (56/44%) 4,394 lb (55/45%)
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb
SEATING CAPACITY 7 6
HEADROOM, F/M/R 38.4/39.4/36.1 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 40.4/41.0/27.7 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 59.0/58.7/55.0 in
CARGO VOLUME, BEH F/M/R 84.3/48.4/16.0 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.4 sec 2.4 sec
0-40 3.8 3.9
0-50 5.2 5.4
0-60 6.8 6.9
0-70 9.2 9.4
0-80 11.6 12.0
0-90 14.3 14.6
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.5 3.6
QUARTER MILE 15.3 sec @ 92.8 mph 15.4 sec @ 92.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 122 ft 116 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.82 g (avg) 0.86 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.7 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 26.5 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,500 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $42,860 $44,805
PRICE AS TESTED $43,900 $47,726
AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, driver knee, front-pass thigh, f/m/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 2 yrs/25,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 17.9 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 20/27/23 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 169/125 kWh/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.86 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular

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2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition First Test: Real Deal

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Honda Civic Type R Full Overview

When we first drove the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition, we reported that the seemingly small list of upgrades made a huge difference in how the car drove. Are the differences really big enough to quantify? We took the short-run special to the racetrack to find out, and the results speak for themselves.

Most of the Civic Type R LE’s upgrade list actually looks like an exclusion list. Reducing weight pays big dividends in acceleration, braking, and handling, and the Type R LE loses 50 pounds compared to a standard Type R. About half the weight loss comes from removing things like sound deadening material in the roof, rear hatch, dashboard, and front fenders, as well as dumping the rear wiper and the cargo cover. The rest comes from fitting a set of BBS forged aluminum wheels.

The only actual additions to the Type R LE are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and a new calibration for the active dampers to account for the weight loss and stickier rubber.

Fifty pounds’ worth of weight reduction on a car that normally weighs about 3,100 pounds isn’t much—literally a 1 percent reduction—so we weren’t surprised to see little difference in the instrumented test results. In fact, the Type R LE is actually slightly slower to 60 mph than the quickest Civic Type R we’ve tested, needing 5.3 seconds instead of 5.0. Although the Cup 2 tires didn’t launch as hard, the reduced weight, especially at the drive wheels, showed up in the quarter-mile result. The Type R Limited Edition needed 13.7 seconds, same as the “standard” Type R, but was traveling 1.9 mph quicker. More power went to accelerating the car, power that otherwise would’ve gone to spinning heavier wheels.

Going the other way, both the Civic Type R and the Type R LE needed a supercar-worthy 99 feet to stop from 60 mph.

As we expected, though, the real difference showed up in our handling tests. On the skidpad, the Cup 2 tires needed to be warmed up, but once they were, they provided an average of 1.04 g of lateral grip, up from a best of 1.01 g on the standard Type R. The extra grip translated directly to a faster lap time in the figure-eight test of 24.1 seconds at 0.81 average g, compared to 24.3 seconds at 0.79 average g for the regular car.

That’s a measurable improvement, sure, but it’s not huge. To really see if the Civic Type R Limited Edition delivers on its promises, we took it to the racetrack and called up our good buddy Randy Pobst. If the mods made a useful difference, he’d find it.

Find it he did. On a frigid Streets of Willow Springs racetrack that’d been rained on the night before (washing off all the helpful rubber from previous racers), Randy put down a 1:24.02 lap, nearly a full second quicker than a standard Type R tested on a much nicer day (1:25.07). Race teams would sell their souls to consistently take a second off their lap times.

Randy, ever the racer, wanted more. He cut his teeth racing front-wheel-drive cars, so he has some thoughts about how they ought to handle.

“That’s damn good for a front-drive,” he said, “but I’m not really a big fan of the handling because I can’t work the tail. Once the tires are warm, the tail doesn’t move, so it’s just levels of understeer. It has enough power to generate a real strong understeer, especially in second gear, and that just makes it want to go straight off the track. So I found I had to wait for a little bit, so I could take some steering out of it and accelerate that way.

“When the tires were cold, it oversteered a ton, and then when they got just a little bit of heat, there was beautiful balance. Once they got warmed up, it turned into more of an understeer and a typical front-drive experience of dealing with the front tires. Once they were all warm, I was really just controlling levels of understeer.”

This tracks with what we experienced driving the Type R and Type R Limited Edition back to back on the racetrack. The standard car is freer at the rear end and can be induced into a little bit of oversteer that helps point you out of the corner. The LE is just stuck, all the time. If Randy had his way, he’d add a bunch of negative camber at the front end to reduce the understeer and then dial in some toe out on the rear end to free it up. When you track your Type R LE, you can play with alignment to your heart’s content, just know that you’re starting with a car that’s already a second a lap quicker.

Don’t think you can just put stickier tires on your standard Type R and automatically get the same performance, either. We tried that with our long-term 2018 Civic Type R. On a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, that car did a 1:25.81 on Streets, and only 39 pounds lighter than the heaviest Type R we’ve ever weighed.

Here’s the big kicker, though: The Civic Type R LE isn’t actually 50 pounds lighter. According to our scales, it’s only 21 pounds lighter than the skinniest Type R we’ve weighed, the one that did the 1:25.07 lap.

Put all these instrumented results together, and a conclusion emerges. We already know losing weight and fitting sticky tires increases performance, but the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition isn’t just about bolt-on (or off) parts. It’s a complete package, and it works. What’s more, as we described in our First Drive review of the car, it absolutely feels quicker and nimbler than the standard car. All you need to decide is whether lap times, yellow paint, and an even better driving experience from what’s already the best-driving front-drive car on the market is worth the $6,500 upcharge to you. A quality set of lightweight wheels and Cup 2 tires will cost nearly as much, and we’ve established there’s more to it than that. Decide quickly, though, because Honda only imported 600 of them.

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SPECIFICATIONS 2021 Honda Civic Type R (Limited Edition)
BASE PRICE $44,990
PRICE AS TESTED $44,990
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE 2.0L/306-hp/295-lb-ft turbo  DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,075 lb (62/38%)
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.4 x 73.9 x 56.5 in
0-60 MPH 5.3 sec
QUARTER MILE 13.7 sec @ 107.8 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 99 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.04 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.1 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/28/25 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/120 kWh/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.80 lb/mile

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Rivian Warranty Overpowers Tesla with More Years, More Miles

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  3. Rivian Warranty Overpowers Tesla with More Years, More Miles

Not all EV warranties are created equally, and in this case, Tesla is not king.

There is a peace of mind knowing that a vehicle is covered by a good warranty. It’s not like owners expect anything to go wrong, but modern vehicles and their thousands of associated bits ‘n pieces are bound to be too dang expensive to cover out-of-pocket. Plus, vehicle fixes are increasingly electrical and decreasingly mechanical. As more and more long-range electric vehicles see real-world use and abuse—including those from Tesla, Rivian, and Lordstown—the substance of those warranties may become increasingly important. And so far, Rivian is just barely winning the warranty wars.

Basic Warranty: Lordstown vs. Tesla vs. Rivian

Lordstown claims a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty for its Endurance EV pickup, though warranty details seem scant at this point. Meanwhile, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty coverage for Tesla includes four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Rivian? The comprehensive warranty for Rivian tops that with a generous five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

While Rivian’s basic warranty is impressive, the mileage still falls short of Nissan’s five-year/100,000-mile offering for the Leaf EV (just to drop in some perspective). Tesla has one warranty, a Supplemental Restraint System Limited Warranty that covers seat belts or air bag systems, that’s good for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

How About That All-Important Battery Warranty?

Lordstown’s battery warranty is eight years, with no mileage listed at this point. The battery and drive unit warranty for Tesla vehicles offers coverage for eight years (with a minimum of 70 percent retention of battery capacity) or 100,000 miles (Model 3 Standard Range); 120,000 miles (Model 3 Long Range, Performance; Model Y Long Range, Performance); or 150,000 miles (Model S, X). Rivian’s battery pack and drivetrain components warranty matches the eight-year and 70-percent battery capacity of Tesla, but ups the mileage to 175,000 for both its R1S SUV and R1T truck.

Additionally, all of these vehicles are or are expected to be covered against rust perforation, the fancy way of saying that a vehicle won’t prematurely return to the earth due to manufacturer defect or poor workmanship. Tesla’s Body Rust Limited Warranty covers 12 years and unlimited miles, while Rivian covers 8 years with unlimited miles. This information wasn’t available for Lordstown yet, so consider the rust advantage Tesla’s for now.

Does a warranty matter? No one wants to find out the hard way, but as the years go by and mileage increases, the likelihood increases. Rivian and Lordstown do not actually have vehicles on the road like Tesla does (but Rivian is much closer than Lordstown). With no claims, warranty coverage does not truly matter—yet.

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