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Archive for the ‘auto shows’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Outback 50th Anniversary Edition

The Subaru Outback isn’t making many headlines today, especially when compared to other wagons on the market, but it’s getting pretty good reviews. Sure, it’s not as fancy as the Volvo V90 Cross Country or the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain, but it offers a spacious cabin, solid off-road ability, and a decent equipment package. And it’s more affordable than the aforementioned models too. Introduced in 2014, the latest model is still pretty fresh, but Subaru is giving it the limited-edition treatment for 2018 with the 50th Anniversary Edition.

No, the Outback nameplate isn’t 50 years old yet. It’s barely on its way to its 25th anniversary. Of all the existing model, the Legacy is the oldest, and it dates back to 1989. This limited-edition model was actually launched to celebrate half a century since Subaru of America was established. The Outback is only one of seven vehicles to get this treatment, as the celebrations include all nameplates offered in the U.S. (sans the upcoming Ascent). What does it have to offer on top of the regular model? Let’s find out below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru Outback 50th Anniversary Edition.

What makes the Subaru Outback 50th Anniversary Edition special?

  • Heritage Blue paint
  • Satin chrome trim
  • Chrome mirror caps
  • Unique wheel design
  • Black upholstery with silver stitching
  • Silver seatbelts
  • Special logos on seats and floor mats
  • Extra standard features
  • Standard drivetrains

2018 Subaru Outback 50th Anniversary Edition - image 767862
“On the outside, the Outback sports a brand-new, light blue color that's called Heritage Blue”

While it has a couple of features to set it apart from the regular Outback, this crossover shares most of its special features with the rest of the 50th Anniversary Edition lineup. So it’s far from unique. On the outside, the Outback sports a brand-new, light blue color that’s called Heritage Blue. The new hue is complemented by satin chrome trim for the windows, matching badges, and similar mirror caps. Subaru did add a set of exclusive wheels, but that’s it. All the other features remain unchanged.

Inside the cabin, there’s black upholstery highlighted by silver stitching, silver seatbelts, and “50th Anniversary” logos on embroidered on the front seat headrests and the carpeted floor mats. Standard features vary depending on trim, as this limited-edition model can be had in either 2.5i Limited or 3.6R Limited guise. For instance, both get standard power-adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, and woodgrain-patterned, matte-finish accent trim.


2018 Subaru Outback 50th Anniversary Edition - image 767871
“Pricing for each model is set at $35,080 and $37,280, respectively.”

Engine options are standard. Go with the 2.5i Limited, and you get the 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit rated at 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. If you need more oomph, the 3.6-liter six-cylinder cranks out 256 horses and 247 pound-feet of twist.

Pricing for each model is set at $35,080 and $37,280, respectively. That’s only a tad higher than the models they are based on. But unlike the regular model, production is limited to only 800 units for the 2.5i Limited and 250 examples for the 3.6R Limited.

References

Subaru Outback


2015 - 2017 Subaru Outback - image 549739

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Outback.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741040

Read more Subaru news.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Shows off the All-New Kia Ceed Prior to its Geneva Debut

Kia is set to pull the covers off of the Ceed hatch at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. There are a lot of new details about the hatchback, but none is more important than Kia’s decision to spell the Ceed’s name the way it’s supposed to in the first place. Bye bye, apostrophe. We’re glad you’re gone.


Kia Shows off the All-New Kia Ceed Prior to its Geneva Debut - image 768724
“The good news is that a lot about the Ceed has changed for the better with the arrival of the new model”

I don’t recall a car whose name is as talked about as the Ceed. The decision to drop the pointless apostrophe opened the door for Kia to instead promote the car’s equally perplexing acronym. Apparently, “Ceed” stands for “Community of Europe, with European Design.” If that was the acronym all along, shouldn’t Kia have used a comma instead of an apostrophe?

Ok, mindless rant over.

Ultimately, the name is irrelevant compared to what the hatchback has to offer. The good news is that a lot about the Ceed has changed for the better with the arrival of the new model. The bodyshell and structure are largely new, though the suspension and a few of the engine options are carried over from the previous model.

Kia’s signature Tiger Nose grille remains as the centerpiece of the car’s front section. There are also hints of the Stinger scattered around the car’s design, particularly the arrangement of the lights and the aforementioned grille. Speaking of the lights, all versions of the new Ceed get those “ice cube” daytime running lights as standard. If you want to spice it up, LED headlamps are also available as options. Move to the rear, and you’ll see the Ceed sport more distinctive taillights than its predecessor.


Kia Shows off the All-New Kia Ceed Prior to its Geneva Debut - image 768696
“The floating digital clock on the dashboard has gone by the wayside in favor of a more traditional — and cleaner-looking — dash”

There are a number of things in the interior that’s also worth mentioning. Some of the controls remain the same, but the layout of the center console has changed. The most prominent of these changes is the position of the seven-inch display. Whereas it used to occupy the space below the A/C vents and was surrounded by toggles and buttons, the new display is now level with and flanked by the vents. The floating digital clock on the dashboard has gone by the wayside in favor of a more traditional — and cleaner-looking — dash. Prospective owners also get a range of options depending on the trim. Items like faux-leather, aluminum, glossy plastics, and real leather are all available as standard equipment on the right trim.


Kia Shows off the All-New Kia Ceed Prior to its Geneva Debut - image 768679
“There’s also a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine that can produce 99 horsepower and a range-topping 1.4-liter unit that has 138 horses at its disposal”

Power comes in the form of various engine options, including a 1.6-liter diesel that produces either 113 horsepower or 134 horsepower depending on the state of tune. A 1.0-liter gas unit is also available. That’s good for 118 ponies. There’s also a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine that can produce 99 horsepower and a range-topping 1.4-liter unit that has 138 horses at its disposal. All units come with a six-speed manual transmission, though there is an option to get a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox if you get either the 1.4-liter gas mill or its 1.6-liter diesel counterpart.

References


maker logos - image 745757

Read more Kia news.


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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Edge Titanium Elite

Introduced in 2014, the Ford Edge, one of the company’s key vehicles, gained a significant update for the 2019 model. Alongside the revised exterior, high-tech interior, and upgraded turbo engine, Ford also updated the model lineup with an ST model. Replacing the old Sport, the new Edge ST brings the performance-oriented “ST” badge into the SUV market for the first time. At the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, Ford unveiled a second new trim. It’s called the Titanium Elite and slots right between the Titanium and the ST.

Ford’s choice for a new trim seems rather awkward at first glance. Unlike other models, the Edge doesn’t have the luxury-oriented Platinum trim. The latter seemed to be the next logical step after the ST, but Ford chose to introduce a slight upgrade to the Titanium model. The Titanium Elite would make more sense if the Titanium were to be discontinued soon, but as things stand, I can’t really understand where Ford is going with this. But let’s have a closer look at what we already know about this new trim.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Edge Titanium Elite.

What makes the Ford Edge Titanium Elite special

  • Unique 20-inch wheels
  • Body-colored trim
  • Upgraded rear bumper skid plate
  • Standard features from Titanium model
  • EcoBoost four-cylinder engine
  • 250 horsepower
  • 275 pound-feet of torque
“The "Elite" badge adds a new set of 20-inch wheels, body-colored trim, and a "premium" skid plate”

Ford has yet to release the full details on this model, but we can see that the “Elite” badge adds a new set of 20-inch wheels. Unique to this model, they feature a twin five-spoke design and a two-tone finish. It also has various body-colored trim elements instead of the usual black, while the rear bumper sports a “premium” skid plate. Yeah, the latter sounds a bit ridiculous, but hey, I’m sure that the marketing people at Ford had their reasons.

No word on interior upgrades yet, but the Titanium Elite should get everything you can find in the regular Titanium model. So expect standard features like dual-zone climate control, a particulate air filter, leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power windows, garage door opener, carpeted floor mats, and a cargo management system. It comes with SYNC 3 infotainment, two 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster, and a 12-speaker audio system from Sony.

“The EcoBoost engine delivers 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque”

The Titanium Elite will use the 2019 Edge’s updated powertrain, which includes the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and new eight-speed automatic transmission. The EcoBoost received a five-horsepower gain, so now it delivers 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD remains an option.

Ford has yet to announce pricing, but with the 2018 Sport, which the ST replaces, starting at $41,670, and the Titanium priced from $36,925, the Titanium Elite is likely to retail from around $38,000.

References

Ford Edge


2019 Ford Edge - image 762315

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge.


2019 Ford Edge ST - image 757605

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge ST.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Will Debut an All-New Altima at the 2018 New York Auto Show

In case you didn’t know, Nissan is bringing a new Altima sedan to the 2018 New York Auto Show. The automaker made that abundantly clear when it released a new teaser video featuring the Empire State Building. So that’s happening. What’s less certain is our expectation of what the new Altima is going to be. Either way, save the date for March 28. The new Nissan Altima is on its way.


“The teaser video didn’t reveal much, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking out of the new Altima.”

Sedan’s might be on the decline in the U.S., but they still pull in heavy sales. The Altima, for example, sold 254,996 units in 2017. That’s a big total, even if it was down from its record sales year in 2014 when Nissan moved 335,644 units. Nissan still has big plans for its mid-size sedan, and we’re going to see the sixth-generation model when it hits the Big Apple in a little over a month’s time.

The teaser video didn’t reveal much, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking out of the new Altima. It should still receive a four-cylinder engine as a base powertrain. The likely candidate would be the same 2.5-liter four-banger that was used in the last model. Don’t be surprised, though, if Nissan opts to switch things up for the sixth-gen model. A 3.5-liter V-6 unit is also likely given the fact that the Altima has always had a version of that engine. Likewise, a hybrid version should also be in the cards. The sedan will also sport a front-wheel drive setup, but rumors have circulated that an all-wheel-drive system could be thrown into the mix as an option.


Nissan Will Debut an All-New Altima at the 2018 New York Auto Show - image 700596
“The new Altima will adopt styling cues from the Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept that the automaker unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show”

The design of the sixth-generation Altima is open to interpretation. We’ve seen prototype versions go on test runs in the past few months, but there’s growing belief that the new Altima will adopt styling cues from the Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept that the automaker unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last month. It’s not likely to be as dramatic as the concept, but the Vmotion 2.0 is a good peg for the Altima if it’s really going to make a statement in its super competitive segment.

More details should arrive as we draw closer to the New York Auto Show. For now, check out the Vmotion 2.0 Concept and imagine how it’s going to look like as the sixth-generation Altima. Intriguing, right?

References

Nissan Altima


2016 - 2017 Nissan Altima - image 647604

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Altima.


Nissan Will Debut an All-New Altima at the 2018 New York Auto Show - image 700594

Read our full review on the
2017 Nissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept


maker logos - image 744955

Read more Nissan news.


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Read more New York Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition

Unveiled for the 2017 model year, the current-generation Subaru Impreza received a significant makeover inside and out compared to the previous model, but old engine was carried over with mild revisions. Despite not being that much more powerful, the sedan gets a lot of praise for its comfortable and roomy cabin, the standard all-wheel-drive system, and the available safety features. For 2018, the Impreza continues without any changes — which isn’t surprising given that it’s still relatively new — but Subaru is offering a limited-edition, 50th Anniversary package.

The bundle is part of Subaru’s celebration of its 50th anniversary in the United States. Established in 1953, the Japanese firm crossed the pond to the U.S. in 1968, when Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm founded Subaru of America in Philadelphia and began selling the tiny 360 model. This limited-edition Impreza is part of a larger scale 50th Anniversary offensive that includes the entire U.S. lineup, minus the yet-to-be-available Ascent. Yes, you can have the package on the Legacy, Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, BRZ, and WRX too, but we’re going to focus on the Impreza in this article.

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition.

What makes the Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition special?

  • Heritage Blue exterior
  • Satin chrome trim
  • Special badges
  • Unique wheels
  • Black interior
  • Silver stitching
  • Anniversary logos
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Standard AWD

2018 Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition - image 767826
“The Impreza also gets satin chrome mirror caps, a feature that's not available on some models included in this run”

Just like the rest of this anniversary lineup, the Impreza comes wrapped in an exclusive color. It’s called Heritage Blue and its similar to the brighter blue seen on the World Rally Championship cars and the WRX models. The hue is available for the 50th Anniversary model only, so you won’t be able to order it with any of the regular cars and SUVs. At least not for a while. Subaru also replaced the usual chrome trim on the windows and badges with a satin finish and added unique alloy wheels with a five-spoke design. The Impreza also gets satin chrome mirror caps, a feature that’s not available on the BRZ, WRX, and STI models included in this run.

The upholstery inside the cabin is all-black, which isn’t very exciting, but at least it has silver stitching and silver seatbelts. New “50th Anniversary” logos are embroidered on the front seats and the carpeted floor mats for a more exclusive look. Each commemorative model is based on a high-level trim, so they come with extra features compared to the base model. The Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition is based on the range-topping 2.0i Limited model, so it gets all the fancy features. Extra standard equipment inside the cabin includes a power driver’s seat, leather upholstery, paddle shifters for the CTV gearbox, folding rear seat armrest with dual cupholders, and automatic climate control, among others.


2018 Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition - image 767830
“The 50th Anniversary Edition is available for both sedan and hatchback versions of the Impreza”

Power is provided by the same 2.0-liter boxer-four engine available across the entire Impreza lineup. Output is rated at 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, and travels to the wheels through a Lineartronic CTV transmission and the company’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is available for both sedan and hatchback versions of the Impreza. The four-door costs $28,340 before taxes and delivery, a $4,145 premium over the base 2.0i Limited trim it is based on. The gap is similar between the hatchback models, with the 50th Anniversary Edition five-door priced from $28,840. The sedan is limited to 500 units, while the hatchback is limited to 550 examples.

References

Subaru Impreza


2017 Subaru Impreza - image 670269

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Impreza.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741040

Read more Subaru news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW X4

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – people love their SUVs. It seems like every year, the segment gets bigger and more diverse, with a seemingly never-ending parade of tall-riding, off-road-styled, utility-oriented models filling every niche possible. One of the fresher entries in this space is the BMW X4, which hit the scene as recently as 2014 as the Bavarian’s take on compact/mid-size crossover luxury in a sporty, coupe-like package. Making its initial debut at the New York International Auto Show, the first-gen X4 has performed quite well for the brand in terms of sales, moving some 200,000 units since its introduction, nearly 10 percent of which went to the U.S. market. Now, just four years after its release, the X4 is gaining a second generation. Framed as a sporty, yet practical, yet off-road capable evolution of the Bavarian’s upscale SAC (BMW doesn’t like to call it an SUV, instead preferring the “Sports Activity Coupe” nomenclature), the 2019 BMW X4 offers consumers a surprising number of “sporty” updates, including a wider track, new suspension settings, more aggressive proportions, a lower center of gravity, and a more aerodynamic exterior.

The model line once again includes two equipment levels, starting with the xDrive30i, which replaces the outgoing xDrive28i, and ending with the more aggressive M40i, a carryover from the previous model year. Overall, the updates seem to double down on what the X4 does best, and will surely tempt buyers looking for something that can “do it all.” Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW X4.

2019 BMW X4 – Exterior

  • Slight revisions to exterior styling
  • Reshaped headlights and taillights
  • LED lighting front to back
  • Wheel sizing between 19 and 21 inches in diameter
  • Silver trim bits
  • Bigger exterior dimensions
  • Slightly shorter than before
  • More efficient aerodynamics
  • Performance cues specific to M40i model

2019 BMW X4 - image 768446
“In front we find a new look for the kidney grille intake in the nose and smoother headlight housings.”

The overall look of the second-generation X4 doesn’t differ all that much from the first-gen model, although it does appear to take cues from the latest BMW X3. That said, it’s still big and beefy, with a menacing appearance on the road that seems to dominate with a broad fascia, pumped-up features, short overhangs, and a low roof line. However, BMW does point out the X4 gets refreshed proportions aimed at giving it a “sportier” and more exciting aesthetic.

To begin, let’s take a look at the front, where we find a new, more three-dimensional look for the classic BMW kidney grille intake in the nose. The headlight housings are also reshaped into a smoother design, while the twin headlight projectors get a few hard angles that lend them a geometric vibe. Further down the fascia, you’ll find horizontal fog lamps, which integrate with the outer-edge air intakes in a single cohesive shape. It’s also worth mentioning that every one of the lighting features on the X4 utilize LED elements as standard.

Moving around to the rear, we find a few side character lines and faux vents that help to chop up the solid body-panel faces. The canopy falls quickly into the rear, emphasizing the coupe part of the “Sports Activity Coupe” design concept, while the roofline seems to hug the body, creating an odd tension against the Bimmer’s otherwise tall stance. Hexagonal wheel arches are in the rear. The X4 also comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels across the model line, although the wheel designs are specific to the trim level picked. There’s also optional designs in the 19-inch, 20-inch, and 21-inch sizing range. Additionally, BMW offers something called the xLine design, which, according to the manufacturer, “combines bespoke front and rear underguard elements and side skirts in Glacier Silver metallic with side window surrounds and styling accents in a satin Aluminum finish.”


2019 BMW X4 - image 768401
“The canopy falls quickly into the rear, emphasizing the coupe part of the “Sports Activity Coupe” design concept.”

Moving to the rear, we find the LED taillights take on a fresh 3D shape as well, with a slim design and shape that adds even more of a horizontal emphasis to the already flat-brimmed tail section. Twin exhaust pipes can be found lurking in the rear bumper’s lower corners regardless of the engine configuration in the nose.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the 2019 BMW X4 now sports a wider track front and back, which should help it grip the road with a bit more tenacity. It’s also bigger thanks to an increase to the overall length, which gets an extra 3 inches and now measures in at 187.5 inches total. BMW also added an extra 2.1 inches
to the wheelbase, bringing it to 112.7 inches total, while the width was increased by 1.4 inches to 75 inches total. The height, however, gets a drop of 0.1 inches to 63.8 inches total.

The new look is also more aero-efficient than before, with aerodynamic drag reduced by about 10 percent thanks to a more streamlined design, active air flaps, redesigned Air Curtains in front, and more effective underbody components. All told, the 2019 X4’s Cd is now rated at 0.30, which isn’t amazing, but not terrible either, especially considering the SUV’s hulking shape in front.

To help it stand out from the crowd, the M40i performance model gets a few details meant to underline the sporting intent of the model, starting with aero-optimized front and rear aprons and side skirts, as well as high-gloss black accents. The wheels on the M40i use a double-spoke M twinspoke design, and can be upgraded to two different 20-inch designs, or a 21-inch M Double-spoke design finished in Cerium Gray. Further M Performance touches include Cerium Gray finishers for the side-view mirrors and the front intake trim pieces, while the standard M Sport exhaust gets trapezoidal exhaust tips in a black chrome finish.

Finally, both X4 model lines can be optioned with the unique BMW Individual paint finish Sunstone metallic.

2019 BMW X4 Exterior Dimensions

Length 187.5 inches (+ 3 inches)
Wheelbase 112.7 inches (+ 2.1 inches)
Width 75 inches (+ 1.4 inches)
Height 63.8 inches (- 0.1 inches)

2019 BMW X4 – Interior

  • Extra space inside thanks to larger exterior
  • Extra inch of rear legroom
  • High-end materials used throughout
  • Larger panoramic sunroof
  • Trim includes Dark Oak Wood, Pearl-effect Chrome, and Glossy Black
  • Optional Merino leather upholstery in several different finishes
  • Standard 10.25-inch display in the dash
  • Loads of M-branded gear throughout
  • Larger optional heads-up display
  • Long list of tech features
  • Up to 50.5 square feet of rear cargo room
  • Several autonomous and semi-autonomous safety features

2019 BMW X4 - image 768408
“The look and layout inside underlines the model's premium approach to SUV transportation.”

Thanks in part to its larger exterior dimensions, the 2019 BMW X4 now offers passengers extra space inside the cabin as well. The look and layout are more or less the same as the outgoing model, with Bimmer once again underlining the model’s premium approach to SUV transportation by the inclusion of high-end materials and a sleek appearance. Standout features include a driver-oriented control scheme mounted low on the center console, a tall seating position, and an instrument panel that melds together with the door paneling to create a singular, cohesive look that enhances the car’s horizontal proportions and grants it an increase in spacious feel.

Adding to this is a new, larger panoramic roof, which comes as standard equipment across the line and features a two-section glass construction. Measurements for this come to 36.4 inches in length and 35 inches in width. The latest 2019 model year also introduces extra ambient lighting sources, which were added to the center console, the instrument panel, the door paneling, and the foot wells. Further features include an electrically operated sun blind, optional electrically adjustable heated and ventilated seats, optional three-zone climate control with separate controls for the rear, and an optional Wi-Fi hotspot with the capacity to serve up to 10 devices. There’s also the standard X logos embossed into the electroplated front and rear door kick plates.

Customers get a roster of six interior colors to choose from. The X4 also gets standard Dark Oak Wood trim, and accent strips in Pearl-effect Chrome in the xDrive30i model. Pearl-effect Chrome with glossy black highlights are used for the audio and A/C controls.


2019 BMW X4 - image 768410
“Customers get a roster of six interior colors to choose from, plus Dark Oak Wood trim and Pearl-effect Chrome.”

Go for the xDrive30i and you’ll get a Sensatec-covered instrument panel and door shoulder with the option for Vernasca leather upholstery. This is exclusively available to the X4 and comes in a Tacora Red finish, or you can get it in black with either blue or red contrast stitching. The options list also throws in extended Merino leather upholstery with finishes that include Ivory White on Black, Fiona Red on Black, or Tartufo on Black.

Then you’ve got the M40i model, which gets a slew of options from the BMW Individual portfolio, as well as new M-specific sport seats with solid side bolsters meant to provide support “even in extreme handling situations.” Drivers get to grips with a sport leather steering wheel, while a standard anthracite headliner is above and trim strips in Aluminum Rhombicle with accents in Pearl-effect Chrome are scattered hear and there. The X40i also comes standard with Sensatec covers for the instrument panels, door shoulders, sport seats, instrument panel, and instrument display. Performance-flavored gear like M-branded pedals and an M-branded driver’s footrest can be found in the foot well.


2019 BMW X4 - image 768411
“Navigation is standard, as is the 10.25-inch display main display mounted in a freestanding fashion on the dash.”

As you might expect, the list of infotainment gear is extensive. It all starts with the iDrive infotainment platform, with inputs made through the onboard iTouch controller, or the intelligent voice control with cloud-based support. Navigation is standard, as is the 10.25-inch display main display mounted in a freestanding fashion on the dash. The screen utilizes a familiar smartphone-esque tile-style layout for the UI, while the standard voice control will recognize commands as simple as “I’m hungry” to execute the proper action (in this case, finding a nearby restaurant). There’s also gesture control as an available option, plus a heads-up display. Go for the HUD, and you’ll find it offers a 75-percent larger projection area, with full color and a resolution of 400 by 800 pixels, which is quite useful when displaying navigation directions and other important driving info. The 2019 BMW X4 is also optionally available with a Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster, which offers a selection of display modes customized to match the current driving mode selected.

Another useful feature is the the ParkNow service and On-Street Parking Information. First offered on the 5 Series, ParkNow enables the user to find an empty spot, book it, and pay for it, all right through the service. There’s also Apple CarPlay capability with a complimentary 1-year trial subscription and a wireless smartphone connection. Added user friendliness comes courtesy of the Top View, Panorama View, and 3D View functionality that allows you to digitally scope out the scene all around the large SUV, as well as call up the images on your smartphone if desired. Added connectivity comes courtesy of Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, which you can use to check specs like the fuel level, remotely lock and unlock the doors, activate the ventilation system, and more.


2019 BMW X4 - image 768416
“Even though BMW insists on calling the X4 a “Sports Activity Coupe,” we all know it's really an SUV, and as such, it needs to offer some degree of utility.”

And even though BMW insists on calling the X4 a “Sports Activity Coupe,” we all know it’s really an SUV, and as such, it needs to offer some degree of utility. To that end, the X4’s practicality is enhanced thanks to a bevy of storage trays, door pockets, and cup holders. There’s also three seats in the rear bench that offer an extra inch of rear legroom compared to the outgoing model. Continue to the rear, and the trunk offers up 18.5 cubic feet of cargo room, which expands to 50.5 square feet when you fold down the bench. That’s more or less in line with the rest of the X4’s competitors, and in all honesty, if cargo room is a big ticket item on your priority list, there’s all kinds of alternatives out there that offer a lot more (blame the X4’s small cargo room on that low roof line). Regardless, there’s a 40/20/40 split for the rear bench to make the most of what’s there. The bench can also be folded from the trunk for easier operation, with adjustments made to each of the individual fold-down sections. The 2019 model year also comes with additional storage compartments, USB ports, 12-volt sockets, and multi-function hooks with lashing rails.

Per usual, the X4 gets outfitted with a slew of new standard safety features, starting with Active Protection, which will “initiate protective measures when an accident situation is imminent such as belt tensioning and the closing of windows and moon roof to a small gap.” The standard spec also includes Active Guard, which tosses in features such as Frontal Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation with Braking, Pedestrian Braking with City Braking, and Speed Limit Information.

Further driver assists and semi-automated driving can be had with the optional Driving Assistance Package, which includes features like Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Frontal Crash Warning with City Collision Mitigation, and Cross Traffic Alert for the rear. Finally, the Driving Assistant Plus Package adds Active Cruise Control with a stop and go functionality, Active Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance, Traffic Jam Assistant, and Evasion Aid with Cross Traffic alert for the front and back.

2019 BMW X4 – Drivetrain

  • Either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder under the hood
  • Both engines are turbocharged
  • 248 horsepower, up to 355 horsepower
  • 0 to 60 mph for the M40i
  • Standard AWD
  • Standard eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-biased torque split
  • Throatier M Sport exhaust for the top trim
  • Multiple drive modes

2019 BMW X4 - image 768454
“Properly motivated, the xDrive30i will do the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in 6 seconds. Meanwhile, the M40i can do the same in 4.6 seconds”

The biggest difference between the two model lines for the 2019 BMW X4 is what they got going on behind that kidney grille in the nose. The powertrain specs make a huge difference in the “Sport” part of the equation, so let’s dive right in, starting with the base-model xDrive30i. Pop the hood, and you’ll find a boosted inline four-cylinder engine that makes a maximum of 248 horsepower, as well as 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,450 rpm and 4,800 rpm. Standout features include a TwinPower turbocharger (basically just a twin-scroll snail), High Precision Injection for the fuel, Valvetronic
fully variable valve timing, and Double-Vanos variable cams. Properly motivated, the xDrive30i will do the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in 6 seconds.

Meanwhile, the M40i replaces the turbo ’four with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, making upwards of 355 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque when you put your foot to the floor. The extra power makes the M40i quite a bit quicker, and BMW says that it can complete the 0-to-60 mph run in 4.6 seconds – not bad for such an enormous, heavy machine. It should also sound as good as its able to go, as the X40i comes with an M sports exhaust system with flap-controlled aural feedback.

Both the ’four and the ’six mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive AWD system as standard, with manual gear selections made via steering wheel-mounted paddles. The eight-speed even offers a launch control feature because, you know, “Sport” and all that. Speaking of which, there’s also multiple drive modes, including Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro, as well as Sport+.

Finally, BMW says the newest version of its xDrive AWD system is both lighter and more efficient than before, and it comes with an electronically controlled torque split that naturally biases output to the rear axle for a more performance-oriented handling experience.

Chassis And Handling

  • Suspension includes double-joint spring struts in front and five-link in the rear
  • 50:50 weight distribution
  • Reduced unsprung weight
  • Claimed “tremendous off-road capabilities”
  • Beefier brakes and M Sport differential in the M40i
  • Optional adaptive suspension components
  • Speed-sensitive sport steering system
  • All-season or performance tires offered

2019 BMW X4 - image 768461
“The SUV now uses more aluminum, as well as higher quantities of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel.”

With this latest generational changeover, the 2019 BMW X4 now offers a few well-placed suspension updates to help it feel sportier, and Bimmer promises a more engaging experience behind the wheel overall. The standard layout includes double-joint spring strut in front and a five-link set-up in the rear. What’s more, the Bavarians claim a “nearly perfectly balanced 50:50 distribution of weight between the front and rear axle,” and a lower curb weight with a lower center of gravity to boot.

To help it achieve the weight loss and those sports aspirations, the X4 focused on new materials in the construction. First and foremost, the SUV now uses more aluminum, as well as higher quantities of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel. There are aluminum swivel bearings, tubular anti-roll bars, and new wheel location components in front, all of which help to reduce the SUV’s overall unsprung weight.

Of course, this is still a massive SUV we’re talking about, so we have to question how it’ll hang in the corners, even with all the gear and engineering that went into its creation. You can only cheat physics so much.


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“In addition to the corner carving claims, BMW also says the X4 offers “tremendous off-road capabilities””

In addition to the corner carving claims, BMW also says the X4 offers “tremendous off-road capabilities,” and that it can handle everything “from crests and bumps in the road to gravel tracks, icy roads and steep slopes.” To back the claim, the 2019 X4 comes with a bevy of off-roading specs – for example, the ground clearance is set at a decent 8 inches, which isn’t as impressive as more dedicated off-roading models like the Land Rover Range Rover Sport (11.3 inches), but it’s not terrible either. The X4 also offers a fording depth of 19.6 inches, a break over angle of 19.4 degrees, a 25.7-degree angle of approach, and a 22.6-degree angle of departure.

Still, will anyone really ever take this thing off-roading? Most likely not.

Much more useful is the standard lineup of electronic handling features, which include stuff like Dynamic Stability Control, an Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Traction Control, an Automatic Differential Brake, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Start-Off Assistant, and Hill Descent Control.

The standard spec for the xDrive30i tosses in M Sport suspension and variable sport steering with electric assistance and a speed-sensitive ratio. Meanwhile, the X4 M40i also gets standard M Sport brakes with plus-sized discs and blue calipers, as well as an extra large master cylinder for better pedal feel. M40i buyers can also get theirs with the optional Adaptive M Suspension, which offers electronically controlled dampers and an expanded variety of driving modes for either spirited cornering or relaxed cruising, all of which can be adjusted via the Driving Experience Control switch in the cabin. The M40i also includes an M Sport differential, and firmer suspension settings overall, plus variable Sport Steering.

Finally, the standard 19-inch wheels come wrapped in either all-season run-flat tires or performance run-flats.

Prices


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The second-generation 2019 BMW X4 will head to dealers as soon as July of 2018. Pricing starts at $50,450 for the base model xDrive30i model, and $60,450 for the M40i. That’s an increase of $2,850 and $1,200 respectively.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe - image 670310

When it comes to performance-flavored luxury SUVs with a low-sloping roof line, the BMW X4 is certainly not alone. Say hello to Mercedes’ take on the formula, dubbed the GLC Coupe. Power is derived from a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which produces upwards of 241 horsepower. Routed through its nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD system, the GLC Coupe manages a run to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Alternatively, you could spring for the much-faster AMG GLC 43 model, which replaces the single-turbo four-cylinder with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, pumping output up to 362 horsepower and cutting the 0-to-60 mpg time to just 4.8 seconds.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.

Porsche Macan


2015 - 2017 Porsche Macan - image 533189

If it’s SUV performance that you’re most concerned about, then the Porsche is what you really want. Not only does it look the part of a Stuttgart speed star, but its got the gear to match. Under the hood is a wide variety of engine choices, starting with a 3.0-liter V-6 making 340 horsepower in the S model, and 360 horsepower in the GTS model. At the top of the heap is the 400-horsepower Macan Turbo, which blitzes the competition in the 0-to-60 mph test with a time of just 4.4 seconds when equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package. All-wheel drive is included across the line. The interior is also pretty nice, sporting Alcantara for the upholstery on the highly bolstered sport seats, and carbon fiber for the driver-focused dash.

Read our full review on the 2015 – 2017 Porsche Macan.

Conclusion


2019 BMW X4 - image 768445
“At the end of the day, what you're left with is a well-equipped high-riding SUV with a good dose of power under the hood, and for the vast majority of buyers out there, that's more than enough.”

These days, new car buyers are frequently looking for something that can do it all, and the BMW X4 seemingly ticks all the boxes. It’s quick, it’s got loads of go-fast gear, and its got that high-riding off-road attitude that’s so common in the segment. The interior is also quite pleasing, and extra tech can be had at just about every turn.

Inevitably, though, we have to question this machine’s usability. While adding oodles of power can make anything quick in a straight line, the X4 is still quite heavy, and no amount of fancy suspension tuning can change that. Add in the reduced practicality of the coupe roof line, and the questionable off-roading chops, and we can’t but help but wonder if the X4 is more poseur than superstar.

Nevertheless, that’s the sort of problem you’ll find just about everywhere in this segment. Put it all to one side, and what you’re left with is a well-equipped high-riding SUV with a good dose of power under the hood, and for the vast majority of buyers out there, that’s more than enough.

  • Leave it
    • * The “Sports Activity Coupe” look isn’t for everyone
    • * Not really all that practical for such a large vehicle
    • * How sporty is it really in terms of tackling corners?
    • * Will any owner really ever take it off-roading?

References

BMW X4


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BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV


2015 BMW X4 - image 545240

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X4.


2015 BMW X4 Concept - image 502533

Read our full review on the 2015 BMW X4 Concept.


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Read more BMW news.


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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Update History

Updated 05/29/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X4 out for a new testing session on the streets of Munich. The X4 is expected to be unveiled in September at the 2017 Frankfurt Car Show.

Spy Shots

8/28/2017 – The X4 Settles in for a long trip to an undisclosed location


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2019 BMW X4 - image 728494

The last time we saw the X4 laying some rubber in Munich, it was still heavily camouflaged and sporting some non-production styling cues that dulled it down quite a bit compared to the official production model. This is the first time we’re getting to see the X4 in its entirety with everything in place, and it’s quite stunning.
Up front, you’ll notice that the lower lip on the fascia seen in the prototypes is gone, and replaced with more aggressive undercuts in the corners and a center portion that wraps around to the undercarriage. The corner vents are also larger than expected thanks to the design of the fascia around them, and there’s a nice grey insert that matches the trim around the kidney grilles. The air dam is much larger than what was spotted on previous prototypes, but this model is also not rocking a front plate, so there is a thick horizontal louver/overhang above the air dam that is garnished with chrome in the corners.

We’re also getting a first full look at the headlights which are a bit sleeker than the outgoing models and forgo the angular LEDs seen on cars like the M2 in favor of circular lights around the projectors in the headlight unit. On the sides, we can make out three distinct body lines below the waistline, one of which is in line with the door handles and another that’s part of the side skirts and the lower portion of the doors. A fender vent marks the starting point for the center body line, which actually wraps around the vent before heading back toward the rear doors. Around back things are even more interesting where we finally get to see the production taillights that are integrated into the rear quarters and rear deck so well that they just blend in and almost look flush with the body. BMW even went so far as to design the interior matrix of the lens to carry on the small body line from the rear quarter. The rear deck sits quite high and is slightly curved while down below we finally get to see what kind of insert will adorn the rear fascia. It’s pretty uneventful, to be honest, but it does sport rectangular exhaust outlets in the corners and recessed reflectors. To be honest, the X4 looks a little weird from the rear end, but that’s the nature of cars in this niche, so what can you do?

What are your thoughts so far? Is the new X4 absolutely hideous or are you going to rush to your local Bimmer dealership to order one as soon as you can? Let us know in the comments section below.

BMW X4 caught testing on the streets of Munich


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PostHeaderIcon Shots of the Volvo V60 Have Leaked Ahead of Geneva Debut

Unless someone had far too much time on his hands and decided to go on a Photoshop binge, what you’re looking at here appears to be the new Volvo V60. The Swedish automaker’s next-generation wagon is scheduled to hit the auto show scene in Geneva next month, but if these photos are accurate, we’re getting a good look at the wagon’s side and rear sections. Color me impressed. The new V60 looks like the kind of wagon you’d want people to see you driving.


Shots of the Volvo V60 Have Leaked Ahead of Geneva Debut - image 768822
“The combination of the long hood, the sliding roof, and the angular rear create a sporty and aggressive profile that belies its wagon status”

Because of their unusual appearance, it’s hard for wagons to really make a lasting stylistic impression in the eyes of customers. But there’s something different about the new Volvo V60. It doesn’t just dump that perception; it throws it in the trash with the ferocity of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick.

A big part of the V60’s appeal is its profile. It’s not as big as the V90, but the combination of the long hood, the sliding roof, and the angular rear create a sporty and aggressive profile that belies its wagon status. The body lines are also perfectly placed, ultimately making V60 look more muscular than it probably is. It’s not a surprise that a lot of the V90’s design cues seem to have found their way into the V60. It worked on the bigger wagon. Now it looks it’s going to do the same for its younger brother.

The shot of the rear also shows how creased those body lines are. The short line just above the rear tires transition into the wagon’s taillights. The rear’s configuration is also similar to the V90, which we’re not really complaining about. The roof rack on top is a solid addition, though that’s probably going to come as an option for those who want to get one.

On the performance end, the new V60 should make use of the engine lineup Volvo has for its crossover equivalent, the XC60. That could include a T5 trim with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder that has 250 horsepower on tap and a T6 trim with a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-four that produces 316 horsepower. The range-topping T8 hybrid trim should also be on the menu with an electric motor joining the same T6 engine to produce a combined output of 400 horses.

The all-new Volvo V60 will make its official debut on Wednesday, February 21, before making the trip to the Geneva Motor Show in early March.

References

Volvo V60


2015 Volvo V60 - image 540428

Read our full review on the 2015 Volvo V60.


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Read more Volvo news.


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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Ram 1500 By Mopar

It’s been just a month since Ram debuted the brand-new 1500 pickup truck at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, and FCA is already offering a wide range of aftermarket parts and accessories. Showcased on a concept truck at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, these new accessories cover everything from the exterior and interior to the drivetrain and the chassis. Most of them will become available in a few months, so you can start planning a Moparized model if you’re not happy with the standard and optional Ram features.

Described as an “outdoor, sport-themed truck,” this Mopar-specced vehicle sports a unique, slightly more aggressive exterior, a more upscale interior, and lift kit that turns it into a more capable off-road explorer. The parts and accessories are taken from a list of around 200 items that can be purchased from Mopar via FCA dealerships. That’s quite a big selection, unlike anything you get from the competition. Let’s have a closer look at some of these features in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ram 1500 by Mopar.

What makes the Ram 1500 By Mopar special

  • Flame Red exterior
  • Two-inch lift kit
  • 18-inch wheels
  • 35-inch off-road tires
  • Black stripes
  • Blacked-out badges
  • Ram Rack in the bed
  • Black Katzkin leather
  • Rebel Red stitching
  • Brushed aluminum door sills
  • Mopar Ram Airflow intake
  • Performance exhaust
  • Five-inch exhaust pipes

2019 Ram 1500 By Mopar - image 767473
“The biggest change lies below the bodywork, in the form of 18-inch wheels wrapped in massive, 35-inch tires”

The new Ram 1500 looks surprisingly boxy. At least compared to the outgoing model. Not that I have a problem with that, but it feels as if the new 1500 blends in with the other trucks easier than before, and I used to Ram being a bit unique. The good news is that the new Mopar parts work great with the truck’s new design. Based on the Big Horn Sport model, the show car is finished in Flame Red, a color that already gives it a sporty look. Granted, the biggest change lies below the bodywork, in the form of 18-inch wheels wrapped in massive, 35-inch tires.

The red paint is combined with black accents here and there. There are black stripes on the engine hood, blacked-out emblems and badges all over the place, and black wheelarch trim. The truck is also equipped with body-length Mopar off-road cast aluminum running boards, which add both visual appeal and functionality. A skid-resistant stepping surface offers better grip in muddy or wet conditions.


2019 Ram 1500 By Mopar - image 769373
“The front and rear seats are wrapped in black Katzkin leather, and feature Rebel Red stitching”

Finally, the concept features the unique Ram Rack first showcased as prototype part on the Ram Macho Power Wagon at the 2016 SEMA. Set to become available this year, the rack is adjustable, can slide all the way up to the front section, and mounts to the available production bed rails. A Mopar bed step makes loading stuff easier.

The interior standard out by means of added premium features and a color layout that matches the exterior. The front and rear seats are wrapped in black Katzkin leather, and feature Rebel Red stitching and logos on their seatbacks. The same stitching adds a splash of color to the door panels and center console. The new all-weather floor mats with Ram’s head logo have deeper channels and higher, more rigid side walls to contain water and debris. Now that’s one feature that helps keep the cabin clean. Finally, the doors sill guards are now made from brushed aluminum and have “RAM” lettering.


2019 Ram 1500 By Mopar - image 767471
“The Mopar Ram Airflow cold-air intake system feeds a steady flow of air into the engine”

The Mopar package doesn’t alter the engine. In this case, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 remains standard and generates the same 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. The only improvements here are the Mopar Ram Airflow cold-air intake system that feeds a steady flow of air into the engine and the performance cat-back exhaust. The latter is made from stainless steel and have bigger, five-inch tips for an aggressive look.

The truck benefits from a two-inch lift kit for additional off-road clearance. The lift also enables the 1500 to accommodate the oversized tires and six-lug rims. The black wheel flares provide additional protection against trail hazards.

Most of these parts and accessories will become available to customers in the coming months.

References

Ram 1500


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758490

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


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Read more Ram news.


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Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

Exterior

  • Rugged new roof rack
  • Red accent on front skid plate
  • Continued TRD Pro appearance from before
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • All-Terrain Tires

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768248
“The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack”

Visually, the 2019 updates for the 4Runner TRD Pro are minor. The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack. Its thick black bars look extremely rugged and fitting for such a capable SUV. Toyota says it added the rack to increase the 4Runner’s cargo space, especially for dirty items like camping gear.

The other visual change is the new LED fog lights. Like the 2016 and later Tacoma TRD Pro, these come from Rigid Industries, a purveyor of LED off-road lighting. While road-legal and not some crazy bright spotlights, the LEDs should be more effective than the previous halogen bulbs.

The last aesthetic update happens with the front skid plate. While technically the same as before, the skid plate’s stamped TRD logo is now painted red. It doesn’t really help anything, but it sure looks good.

The 4Runner TRD Pro retains its same wheel and tire package from before, meaning it rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels finished in matte black wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires sized in 265/70R.

Spotting the 4Runner TRD Pro is easy compared to other 4Runner trims thanks to the large, blacked out grille with the TOYOTA block logo and the TRD Pro badges on the C-pillars. For 2019, it gets even easier thanks to the big roof rack.

Interior

  • Updated Entune infotainment system
  • Updated JBL Audio sound system
  • Black cloth seats with red contrast stitching
  • TRD logos on headrests, floor mats, & shift knob

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768629
“The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite”

Minor changes happen inside, too, but are not restricted to the TRD Pro grade. The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite. Sadly, it still doesn’t include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

As for the TRD Pro upgrades, the seats are wrapped in Softex and accented with red contrast stitching and TRD logos on the headrests. More TRD logos appear on the floor mats and on the shift knob.

The 4Runner offers seating for five with 47.2 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row. With the rear seats folded flat, the cargo volume jumps to 89.7 cubic feet. Of course, the new roof rack offers even more storage than previous 4Runners.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter V-6
  • 270 horsepower at 5,600 RPM
  • 278 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 RPM
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Two-speed 4WD transfer case w/ manual operation
  • Multi-Terrain Select
  • Crawl Control

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768262
“Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm.”

The 4Runner still relies on Toyota’s old 4.0-liter V-6 for power. It does have variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams, but that’s about as advanced as it gets. Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm. The engine is paired with an outdated five-speed automatic transmission.

As such, the EPA-estimated fuel economy isn’t too impressive. The 2018 4Runner TRD Pro is rated at 17 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Those numbers aren’t expected to change for 2019.

Of course, the engine and transmission are only a small part of the 4Runner TRD Pro’s drivetrain.

A part-time 4WD system is used here, with a good ole-fashioned manual shift lever. 4WD high range can be engaged on the move, while low range does require a full stop and the transmission placed into neutral. Once engaged in either 4WD range, the engine torque is split 50/50 between the front and rear axles. The 4Runner also boasts an electronic locking rear differential, too. The transfer case does need to be in 4WD low range, but the E-locker engages quickly and keeps the rear tires turning at the same speed, regardless of traction.


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768253
“Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system”

Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system. Using two knobs above the rearview mirror, the driver can choose different drive modes like mud, snow, and rocks. It adjusts things like throttle response, ABS, and traction control to best suit the terrain.

The 4Runner TRD Pro also includes Crawl Control, a kind of low-speed cruise control. The driver can engage the system, pick a speed, and concentrate on steering rather than throttle and brake inputs. It works best on slow, technical trails like rock crawling. The system also directs power to the wheels with the most traction.

Suspension

  • New Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners
  • 2.5-inch diameter shock bodies
  • Rear shocks have 2.0-inch diameter remote reservoirs
  • 17-inch wheels give extra inch in track width

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768270
“Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade”

Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade. Gone are the TRD-branded Bilstein shocks – replaced with 2.5-inch diameter Fox Racing Shocks with beefy 46mm-thick pistons. The rear shocks even have 2.0-inch remote reservoirs that hold more fluid that helps with temperature control during periods of extended extreme use.

Up front, the Fox shocks have seven bypass zones. Of them, four of the zones are for the compression stroke and three are for the rebound stroke. Each zone gets progressively stiffer during the piston’s travel, allowing the shock to have a variable damping rate. In other words, the shock offers a smooth ride around town but provides the proper damping in high-speed off-roading so the 4Runner isn’t slamming into its bump stops. The rear shocks have 11 bypass zone, with seven being for compression and four for rebound.

The front suspension uses the typical coil-over shock, MacPherson struck configuration, while the 4Runner’s rear suspension uses a multi-link coil spring arrangement mounted on a solid axle.

Compared to the standard 4Runner’s suspension, the TRD Pro enjoy an extra inch of lift, along with another inch of wheel travel. The 17-inch wheels add an inch to the SUV’s overall track width.

Pricing


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Toyota has not announced pricing for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro, however, we don’t expect a massive change compared to the 2018 model. Price for 2018 start at $42,875 and hardly increase since there are no big option packages. The only add-on costs are the $350 sliding rear cargo deck and a slew of dealer add-on options that range from all-weather floor mats to first-aid kits.

The Competition

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 749430

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited dressed out in the mighty Rubicon trim is about the closest competitor to the 4Runner TRD Pro. While the Toyota is built to handle both low- and high-speed off-roading, the Wrangler specializes in low-speed, technical driving. New for 2018, the Wrangler JL offers a modern take on a classic design, while the interior is far more welcoming and technologically advanced. An available 8.4-inch Uconnect system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with an Off-Road Page that shows stats like wheel articulation, body roll, and pitch.

Power currently comes from two engine choices: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is the standard engine and makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. it can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a ZF eight-speed automatic. The optional engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Called the Hurricane after a classic four-cylinder from Jeep’s past, the new engine gets a mild-hybrid system that assists with low-speed starts and works to make the Auto Stop/Start system work smoothly. In the near future, the Wrangler will also have the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The Wrangler rides on solid axles front and rear, held in place with multi-link track bars and coil springs. The Rubicon boasts front and rear locking differentials and a two-speed transfer case. The front sway bar can be electronically disconnected for even more wheel articulation.

Pricing for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon starts at $40,495 while a fully loaded Rubicon will sticker at nearly $56,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

Conclusion


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The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro might have aging bones with its 4.0-liter V-6, five-speed automatic transmission, and old-school interior, but that’s arguably what makes it so endearing. Of course, the biggest attraction is its high-performance suspension system and impressive Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control systems.

While we love the new shocks and appreciate the new roof rack and LED fog lights, the changes seem like too little too late in making the 4Runner a highly competitive SUV. Then again, Toyota sells more than enough to justify the “don’t mess with success” attitude.

  • Leave it
    • * Outdated engine & transmision
    • * Interior feels dated
    • * Where’s the generational update following the Tacoma?

References


2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven - image 719848

Read our full review on the 2015 – 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro


2014 Toyota 4Runner - image 503880

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota 4Runner.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

Exterior

  • Rugged new roof rack
  • Red accent on front skid plate
  • Continued TRD Pro appearance from before
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • All-Terrain Tires

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768248
“The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack”

Visually, the 2019 updates for the 4Runner TRD Pro are minor. The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack. Its thick black bars look extremely rugged and fitting for such a capable SUV. Toyota says it added the rack to increase the 4Runner’s cargo space, especially for dirty items like camping gear.

The other visual change is the new LED fog lights. Like the 2016 and later Tacoma TRD Pro, these come from Rigid Industries, a purveyor of LED off-road lighting. While road-legal and not some crazy bright spotlights, the LEDs should be more effective than the previous halogen bulbs.

The last aesthetic update happens with the front skid plate. While technically the same as before, the skid plate’s stamped TRD logo is now painted red. It doesn’t really help anything, but it sure looks good.

The 4Runner TRD Pro retains its same wheel and tire package from before, meaning it rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels finished in matte black wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires sized in 265/70R.

Spotting the 4Runner TRD Pro is easy compared to other 4Runner trims thanks to the large, blacked out grille with the TOYOTA block logo and the TRD Pro badges on the C-pillars. For 2019, it gets even easier thanks to the big roof rack.

Interior

  • Updated Entune infotainment system
  • Updated JBL Audio sound system
  • Black cloth seats with red contrast stitching
  • TRD logos on headrests, floor mats, & shift knob

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768629
“The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite”

Minor changes happen inside, too, but are not restricted to the TRD Pro grade. The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite. Sadly, it still doesn’t include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

As for the TRD Pro upgrades, the seats are wrapped in Softex and accented with red contrast stitching and TRD logos on the headrests. More TRD logos appear on the floor mats and on the shift knob.

The 4Runner offers seating for five with 47.2 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row. With the rear seats folded flat, the cargo volume jumps to 89.7 cubic feet. Of course, the new roof rack offers even more storage than previous 4Runners.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter V-6
  • 270 horsepower at 5,600 RPM
  • 278 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 RPM
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Two-speed 4WD transfer case w/ manual operation
  • Multi-Terrain Select
  • Crawl Control

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768262
“Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm.”

The 4Runner still relies on Toyota’s old 4.0-liter V-6 for power. It does have variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams, but that’s about as advanced as it gets. Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm. The engine is paired with an outdated five-speed automatic transmission.

As such, the EPA-estimated fuel economy isn’t too impressive. The 2018 4Runner TRD Pro is rated at 17 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Those numbers aren’t expected to change for 2019.

Of course, the engine and transmission are only a small part of the 4Runner TRD Pro’s drivetrain.

A part-time 4WD system is used here, with a good ole-fashioned manual shift lever. 4WD high range can be engaged on the move, while low range does require a full stop and the transmission placed into neutral. Once engaged in either 4WD range, the engine torque is split 50/50 between the front and rear axles. The 4Runner also boasts an electronic locking rear differential, too. The transfer case does need to be in 4WD low range, but the E-locker engages quickly and keeps the rear tires turning at the same speed, regardless of traction.


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768253
“Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system”

Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system. Using two knobs above the rearview mirror, the driver can choose different drive modes like mud, snow, and rocks. It adjusts things like throttle response, ABS, and traction control to best suit the terrain.

The 4Runner TRD Pro also includes Crawl Control, a kind of low-speed cruise control. The driver can engage the system, pick a speed, and concentrate on steering rather than throttle and brake inputs. It works best on slow, technical trails like rock crawling. The system also directs power to the wheels with the most traction.

Suspension

  • New Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners
  • 2.5-inch diameter shock bodies
  • Rear shocks have 2.0-inch diameter remote reservoirs
  • 17-inch wheels give extra inch in track width

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768270
“Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade”

Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade. Gone are the TRD-branded Bilstein shocks – replaced with 2.5-inch diameter Fox Racing Shocks with beefy 46mm-thick pistons. The rear shocks even have 2.0-inch remote reservoirs that hold more fluid that helps with temperature control during periods of extended extreme use.

Up front, the Fox shocks have seven bypass zones. Of them, four of the zones are for the compression stroke and three are for the rebound stroke. Each zone gets progressively stiffer during the piston’s travel, allowing the shock to have a variable damping rate. In other words, the shock offers a smooth ride around town but provides the proper damping in high-speed off-roading so the 4Runner isn’t slamming into its bump stops. The rear shocks have 11 bypass zone, with seven being for compression and four for rebound.

The front suspension uses the typical coil-over shock, MacPherson struck configuration, while the 4Runner’s rear suspension uses a multi-link coil spring arrangement mounted on a solid axle.

Compared to the standard 4Runner’s suspension, the TRD Pro enjoy an extra inch of lift, along with another inch of wheel travel. The 17-inch wheels add an inch to the SUV’s overall track width.

Pricing


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768269

Toyota has not announced pricing for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro, however, we don’t expect a massive change compared to the 2018 model. Price for 2018 start at $42,875 and hardly increase since there are no big option packages. The only add-on costs are the $350 sliding rear cargo deck and a slew of dealer add-on options that range from all-weather floor mats to first-aid kits.

The Competition

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 749430

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited dressed out in the mighty Rubicon trim is about the closest competitor to the 4Runner TRD Pro. While the Toyota is built to handle both low- and high-speed off-roading, the Wrangler specializes in low-speed, technical driving. New for 2018, the Wrangler JL offers a modern take on a classic design, while the interior is far more welcoming and technologically advanced. An available 8.4-inch Uconnect system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with an Off-Road Page that shows stats like wheel articulation, body roll, and pitch.

Power currently comes from two engine choices: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is the standard engine and makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. it can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a ZF eight-speed automatic. The optional engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Called the Hurricane after a classic four-cylinder from Jeep’s past, the new engine gets a mild-hybrid system that assists with low-speed starts and works to make the Auto Stop/Start system work smoothly. In the near future, the Wrangler will also have the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The Wrangler rides on solid axles front and rear, held in place with multi-link track bars and coil springs. The Rubicon boasts front and rear locking differentials and a two-speed transfer case. The front sway bar can be electronically disconnected for even more wheel articulation.

Pricing for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon starts at $40,495 while a fully loaded Rubicon will sticker at nearly $56,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

Conclusion


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - image 768254

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro might have aging bones with its 4.0-liter V-6, five-speed automatic transmission, and old-school interior, but that’s arguably what makes it so endearing. Of course, the biggest attraction is its high-performance suspension system and impressive Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control systems.

While we love the new shocks and appreciate the new roof rack and LED fog lights, the changes seem like too little too late in making the 4Runner a highly competitive SUV. Then again, Toyota sells more than enough to justify the “don’t mess with success” attitude.

  • Leave it
    • * Outdated engine & transmision
    • * Interior feels dated
    • * Where’s the generational update following the Tacoma?

References


2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven - image 719848

Read our full review on the 2015 – 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro


2014 Toyota 4Runner - image 503880

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota 4Runner.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Teases the Viziv Tourer Prior to its Debut at the Geneva Auto Show

Subaru’s Viziv concept game has been on point since the automaker introduced the first concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Since then, we’ve seen crossovers, SUVs, hatchbacks, and even a virtual Vision GT concept all sport the Viziv moniker. All told, Subaru has released five Viziv concepts since 2013. As we prepare for the 2018 edition of the Geneva Motor Show, we’re going to see the sixth version in the form of the Viziv Tourer Concept.


Subaru Teases the Viziv Tourer Prior to its Debut at the Geneva Auto Show - image 768469
“We still don’t know a lot about the Viziv Concept Tourer, but generous as it is, Subaru released a teaser image of the show car, revealing a section of the rear”

If you’ve been following Subaru’s rollout of Viziv concepts in the past, you’ll notice a trend among them. Outside of the Vision Gran Turismo concept, the past few showers served as previews of the next-generation WRX and STI models. Now that the Viziv Concept Tourer is on its way, all signs point to the concept acting as a preview of a WRX estate, a model that Subaru is set to launch alongside the WRX sedan.

We still don’t know a lot about the Viziv Concept Tourer, but generous as it is, Subaru released a teaser image of the show car, revealing a section of the rear. The image itself doesn’t show much, but we can make out those C-shaped taillights pretty clearly. The prominent styling lines also peek out from the image and the rakish styling is evident by the endless amount of layers in the car’s design. There are no photos of the front end, but if form holds, don’t expect it to change dramatically from past Viziv concepts. If anything, it could be identical to what we’ve seen in the past, especially if Subaru pushes through with its plan of using the concept as a foretelling of a future production model. That’s been the trend with these Viziv concepts anyway. It’s unlikely that it’s going to change this time.

What we can tell at this point is that all future Subarus will sit on the automaker’s new Global Platform. That would include the production version of the Viziv Concept. Keep in mind too that Subaru has kept technical details of all previous Viziv concepts under wraps. Outside of the Vision Gran Turismo Concept, technical details of all other Viziv show cars have been hard to come by. Don’t be surprised if we get a similar treatment with the Viziv Concept Tourer. It probably doesn’t matter if we’re getting production models anyway, but it would at least be helpful to know the numbers behind it.

References


2013 Subaru Viziv Concept - image 696102

Read our full review on the 2013 Subaru Viziv Concept.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740448

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance concept.


maker logos - image 741040

Read more Subaru news.


maker logos - image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Teases the Viziv Tourer Prior to its Debut at the Geneva Auto Show

Subaru’s Viziv concept game has been on point since the automaker introduced the first concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Since then, we’ve seen crossovers, SUVs, hatchbacks, and even a virtual Vision GT concept all sport the Viziv moniker. All told, Subaru has released five Viziv concepts since 2013. As we prepare for the 2018 edition of the Geneva Motor Show, we’re going to see the sixth version in the form of the Viziv Tourer Concept.


Subaru Teases the Viziv Tourer Prior to its Debut at the Geneva Auto Show - image 768469
“We still don’t know a lot about the Viziv Concept Tourer, but generous as it is, Subaru released a teaser image of the show car, revealing a section of the rear”

If you’ve been following Subaru’s rollout of Viziv concepts in the past, you’ll notice a trend among them. Outside of the Vision Gran Turismo concept, the past few showers served as previews of the next-generation WRX and STI models. Now that the Viziv Concept Tourer is on its way, all signs point to the concept acting as a preview of a WRX estate, a model that Subaru is set to launch alongside the WRX sedan.

We still don’t know a lot about the Viziv Concept Tourer, but generous as it is, Subaru released a teaser image of the show car, revealing a section of the rear. The image itself doesn’t show much, but we can make out those C-shaped taillights pretty clearly. The prominent styling lines also peek out from the image and the rakish styling is evident by the endless amount of layers in the car’s design. There are no photos of the front end, but if form holds, don’t expect it to change dramatically from past Viziv concepts. If anything, it could be identical to what we’ve seen in the past, especially if Subaru pushes through with its plan of using the concept as a foretelling of a future production model. That’s been the trend with these Viziv concepts anyway. It’s unlikely that it’s going to change this time.

What we can tell at this point is that all future Subarus will sit on the automaker’s new Global Platform. That would include the production version of the Viziv Concept. Keep in mind too that Subaru has kept technical details of all previous Viziv concepts under wraps. Outside of the Vision Gran Turismo Concept, technical details of all other Viziv show cars have been hard to come by. Don’t be surprised if we get a similar treatment with the Viziv Concept Tourer. It probably doesn’t matter if we’re getting production models anyway, but it would at least be helpful to know the numbers behind it.

References


2013 Subaru Viziv Concept - image 696102

Read our full review on the 2013 Subaru Viziv Concept.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740448

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance concept.


maker logos - image 741040

Read more Subaru news.


maker logos - image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.

It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

Exterior

  • New TRD Pro grille
  • New hood scoop
  • New LED fog lights from Rigid
  • New 18-inch wheels
  • New headlight design shared with 2018 TRD Sport
  • New Black coating on dual exhaust tips
  • 1/4-inch thick front sid plate with red TRD lettering

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768219
“The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro makes use of the new headlights and integrates the forward-facing radar sensor into a restyled and less bulky TRD Pro grille.”

The current Tundra’s design has been around since 2014 with a very mild update for 2018. The recent change brought reshaped headlights with smoked lenses for certain Tundra models, new grille designs, and Toyota Safety Sense-P for all trims. The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro makes use of the new headlights and integrates the forward-facing radar sensor into a restyled and less bulky TRD Pro grille.

Another big difference is the hood scoop. The Tundra already has that long slot in the hood above the grille, but the new 2019 TRD Pro trim adds a secondary scoop further back. Some might say it looks like an afterthought. Thinking positively, we say it makes the 2019 model easier to spot. It’s worth noting the scoop was first seen on the 2018 Tundra TRD Sport and that it’s not functional.

On a more functional note, the Tundra’s halogen fog lights are swapped out for LED off-road lights from Rigid Industries – the same company that makes the Tacoma TRD Pro’s fog lights and a purveyor of all things LED in the aftermarket.

Combining cosmetic and functional, the Tundra TRD Pro’s front skid plate now has red lettering inside the stamped TRD logo. The aluminum skid plate still measures 1/4-inch thick as before, helping to keep vital powertrain components safe from trail damage. Exposed front tow hooks make vehicle recovery an easier task.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768224
“They are 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels with an all-new design, five spokes, and a 3.35-pound reduction of mass over the outgoing wheels”

Last but certainly not least, Toyota gave the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro some new shoes. They are 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels with an all-new design, five spokes, and a 3.35-pound reduction of mass over the outgoing wheels. In total, the new wheels cut 13.4 pounds of unsprung weight from the truck.

Interior

  • Retains updated gauges from 2018 Tundra
  • Black leather seats and dash with red contrast stitching
  • TRD Pro emblems on seatbacks and center armrest
  • TRD Pro floor mats
  • TRD shift knob

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768629
“The minor updates from 2018 carry over, including the revised gauge cluster and all the Toyota Safety Sense-P equipment”

Toyota didn’t do much with the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro’s interior. The minor updates from 2018 carry over, including the revised gauge cluster and all the Toyota Safety Sense-P equipment, but otherwise, the differences are nil.

As with previous Tundra TRD Pros, the 2019 version comes with black leather seats with red contrast stitching and the TRD Pro logo embroidered into the seatback. Another logo adorns the center armrest while a TRD-branded shift knob rises from the console. The dash is covered in black leather, too, along with the same red contrast stitching. TRD Pro floor mats finish off the look.

The Tundra TRD Pro offers seating for five in both the Double Cab and Crew Max modes, with the Crew Max boasting limo-like legroom and a nearly flat load floor.

Drivetrain

  • 5.7-liter V-8
  • 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm
  • 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Part-time 4WD

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768242
“The big V-8 kicks out 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm.”

The Tundra soldiers on with its venerable but aging 5.7-liter iForce V-8. The all-aluminum, DOHC engine uses port fuel injection and variable valve timing but lacks modern tech like cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection. Still, the big V-8 kicks out 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm.

The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels. Like other 4WD Tundras, the TRD Pro uses a part-time 4WD system with a two-speed, electronically controlled transfer case. 4WD high range can be selected on the fly and 4WD low range, while requiring a full stop and the transmission to be in neutral, multiplies the engine’s torque for even more low-end power.

The Tundra TRD Pro does not benefit from a traditional locking differential in either the front or rear, but Toyota does include its A-TRAC system. Pressing the traction control button activates the system; individual brake applications keep any one wheel from spinning freely without traction. This causes power to transfer to the opposite horizontal wheel, allowing the truck to continue forward progress.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768228
“Toyota does make the awesome TRD cat-back dual exhaust a standard feature on the TRD Pro”

Toyota does make the awesome TRD cat-back dual exhaust a standard feature on the TRD Pro. This system makes the V-8’s bellows a wonderfully audible tone, giving the truck a more masculine growl. The exhaust system should help improve horsepower and torque figures, too, though Toyota does not have an official statement on the matter. In our experience, however, the TRD exhaust is one of the most lovable features available on a Tundra.

Fuel economy is a downside here, with the 5.7-liter V-8 only achieving an EPA-estimated 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway on the 2018 Tundra 4WD Crew Max. We don’t expect those numbers to change for the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro.

Suspension

  • New 2.5-inch Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners
  • 1.5-inches more wheel travel up front
  • More than 2.0 inches more rear wheel travel
  • Rear Fox shocks have remote reservoirs

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768628
“The biggest updates on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro happen in the suspension department.”

The biggest updates on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro happen in the suspension department. Gone are the TRD-branded Bilstein shocks, replaced with Fox Racing Shocks. The new Fox dampers are 2.5 inches in diameter and boas 46mm-thick pistons. The front shocks have 11 bypass zones while the rear shocks have 12 zones. Wheel travel is increased by 1.5 inches up front and more than two inches out back.

As for those bypass zones, they control the damping rate. On the front shocks’ 11 zones, seven of them are dedicated for the compression stroke and four for the rebound. During compression (when the wheel is traveling upwards into the fender) each bypass zone provides progressively more damping. In other words, the deeper into the shocks’ travel, the stiffer it becomes.

In practice, this allows for a smooth, comfortable ride on regular roads where the shocks aren’t working hard. On rough terrain and at high speeds where more of the shocks’ travel is utilized, the stiffer they become. This is in an effort to keep the truck off its bump stops, which makes for a hard landing. The same is true for the rear shocks and its 12 bypass zones, with eight being for compressions and four for rebound. The rears also have a 2.5-inch diameter piggyback reservoir for each shock. This holds more oil, which helps keep shock temperatures down during extended off-road driving.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768632
“Like before, the Tundra’s suspension setup is very similar to the standard TRD Off-Road model”

Like before, the Tundra’s suspension setup is very similar to the standard TRD Off-Road model. The front suspension uses double A-arms with the shock and coil spring combined in a MacPherson strut setup. The rear uses traditional leaf springs on a solid axle with the shocks mounted outboard of the leaf springs.

The truck continues to use Michelin LTX A/T2 tires sized in P275/65R18. The tires offer a good balance between on-road comfort and off-road capabilities, though folks who regularly drive in the dirt might find a more aggressive tire advantageous.

Pricing


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768238

Toyota has not released the pricing for its 2019 Tundra TRD Pro. We’re betting pricing won’t increase too much past the outgoing model. Expect a starting price of around $44,000 for the Double Cab and around $47,000 for the Crew Max.

Toyota will have the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro in showrooms by the end of 2018, so more information will be known then.

The Competition

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel


2019 Ram 1500 - image 760707

Ram has given its 1500-series pickup a complete generational change for 2019, including all the special trim levels like the Rebel. Built to be a hard-core appearance package that backs up its looks with actual performance increases, the Ram Rebel uses 33-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires, boasts an electronic locking rear differential, and is available with Ram’s four-corner air suspension. Those with the standard coil spring suspension can opt for the Mopar 2.0-inch suspension lift kit.

As for its appearance, the Rebel comes with a unique front bumper, grille, hood, and wheels. Inside, red anodized aluminum accents the black interior while the leather-trimmed seats have a tire tread pattern form the Goodyear DuraTracs in their cloth center section.

Power comes from either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with Rams new eTorque system or the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 available with or without the eTorque system. The V-6 offers up 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, while the Hemi kicks out 395 horses and 401 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic powers the rear wheels. Interestingly, 4WD is optional on the Rebel.

Prices for the 2019 Ram 1500 haven’t been announced as of this writing, but like the Tundra TRD Pro, expect them to remain competitive.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel.

Ford F-150 Raptor


2017 Ford F-150 Raptor - image 610255

The Ford F-150 Raptor is what started the current trend of high-speed off-roading trucks when it launched back in 2010. Now in its second generation, the Raptor enjoys immense popularity and impressive off-road capabilities. The truck uses 3.0-inch diameter Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners with beefy control arms up front and leaf springs out back.

Power comes from Ford’s high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. The little engine kicks out an impressive 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque through a 10-speed automatic transmission. The transfer case is technically a part-time system that can pull full-time 4WD duties when controlled via Ford’s smart Terrain Management software. The driver simply selects the right mode for the terrain at hand and the truck will do the rest.

All this tech is expensive, however, with the 2018 Raptor starting at $50,020 for the SuperCab truck with no options. The SuperCrew model starts at $53,005 and will crest over $73,000 with all the option boxes checked. Ouch!

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

Conclusion


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768226

The improvements made to the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro give it more capability off-road while not changing much of its on-road persona. Aside from the minor appearance modifications, the truck generally looks the same. The interior shows no signs of upgrades, either. Still, the truck makes for a great daily driver and weekend toy. Only time will tell if Toyota can keep up with the new 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel in both sales and in the dirt. Our bet is Toyota will have a challenging fight on its hands.

The 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will arrive in showrooms toward the end of 2018. More information will become available then, so stick around to TopSpeed.com as that happens.

  • Leave it
    • * Visual changes rather minor
    • * No interior updates
    • * Aging bones

References


The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019 - image 766262

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019


2014 Toyota Tundra - image 491988

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Tundra.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.

It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

Exterior

  • New TRD Pro grille
  • New hood scoop
  • New LED fog lights from Rigid
  • New 18-inch wheels
  • New headlight design shared with 2018 TRD Sport
  • New Black coating on dual exhaust tips
  • 1/4-inch thick front sid plate with red TRD lettering

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768219
“The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro makes use of the new headlights and integrates the forward-facing radar sensor into a restyled and less bulky TRD Pro grille.”

The current Tundra’s design has been around since 2014 with a very mild update for 2018. The recent change brought reshaped headlights with smoked lenses for certain Tundra models, new grille designs, and Toyota Safety Sense-P for all trims. The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro makes use of the new headlights and integrates the forward-facing radar sensor into a restyled and less bulky TRD Pro grille.

Another big difference is the hood scoop. The Tundra already has that long slot in the hood above the grille, but the new 2019 TRD Pro trim adds a secondary scoop further back. Some might say it looks like an afterthought. Thinking positively, we say it makes the 2019 model easier to spot. It’s worth noting the scoop was first seen on the 2018 Tundra TRD Sport and that it’s not functional.

On a more functional note, the Tundra’s halogen fog lights are swapped out for LED off-road lights from Rigid Industries – the same company that makes the Tacoma TRD Pro’s fog lights and a purveyor of all things LED in the aftermarket.

Combining cosmetic and functional, the Tundra TRD Pro’s front skid plate now has red lettering inside the stamped TRD logo. The aluminum skid plate still measures 1/4-inch thick as before, helping to keep vital powertrain components safe from trail damage. Exposed front tow hooks make vehicle recovery an easier task.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768224
“They are 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels with an all-new design, five spokes, and a 3.35-pound reduction of mass over the outgoing wheels”

Last but certainly not least, Toyota gave the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro some new shoes. They are 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels with an all-new design, five spokes, and a 3.35-pound reduction of mass over the outgoing wheels. In total, the new wheels cut 13.4 pounds of unsprung weight from the truck.

Interior

  • Retains updated gauges from 2018 Tundra
  • Black leather seats and dash with red contrast stitching
  • TRD Pro emblems on seatbacks and center armrest
  • TRD Pro floor mats
  • TRD shift knob

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768629
“The minor updates from 2018 carry over, including the revised gauge cluster and all the Toyota Safety Sense-P equipment”

Toyota didn’t do much with the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro’s interior. The minor updates from 2018 carry over, including the revised gauge cluster and all the Toyota Safety Sense-P equipment, but otherwise, the differences are nil.

As with previous Tundra TRD Pros, the 2019 version comes with black leather seats with red contrast stitching and the TRD Pro logo embroidered into the seatback. Another logo adorns the center armrest while a TRD-branded shift knob rises from the console. The dash is covered in black leather, too, along with the same red contrast stitching. TRD Pro floor mats finish off the look.

The Tundra TRD Pro offers seating for five in both the Double Cab and Crew Max modes, with the Crew Max boasting limo-like legroom and a nearly flat load floor.

Drivetrain

  • 5.7-liter V-8
  • 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm
  • 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Part-time 4WD

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768242
“The big V-8 kicks out 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm.”

The Tundra soldiers on with its venerable but aging 5.7-liter iForce V-8. The all-aluminum, DOHC engine uses port fuel injection and variable valve timing but lacks modern tech like cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection. Still, the big V-8 kicks out 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm.

The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels. Like other 4WD Tundras, the TRD Pro uses a part-time 4WD system with a two-speed, electronically controlled transfer case. 4WD high range can be selected on the fly and 4WD low range, while requiring a full stop and the transmission to be in neutral, multiplies the engine’s torque for even more low-end power.

The Tundra TRD Pro does not benefit from a traditional locking differential in either the front or rear, but Toyota does include its A-TRAC system. Pressing the traction control button activates the system; individual brake applications keep any one wheel from spinning freely without traction. This causes power to transfer to the opposite horizontal wheel, allowing the truck to continue forward progress.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768228
“Toyota does make the awesome TRD cat-back dual exhaust a standard feature on the TRD Pro”

Toyota does make the awesome TRD cat-back dual exhaust a standard feature on the TRD Pro. This system makes the V-8’s bellows a wonderfully audible tone, giving the truck a more masculine growl. The exhaust system should help improve horsepower and torque figures, too, though Toyota does not have an official statement on the matter. In our experience, however, the TRD exhaust is one of the most lovable features available on a Tundra.

Fuel economy is a downside here, with the 5.7-liter V-8 only achieving an EPA-estimated 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway on the 2018 Tundra 4WD Crew Max. We don’t expect those numbers to change for the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro.

Suspension

  • New 2.5-inch Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners
  • 1.5-inches more wheel travel up front
  • More than 2.0 inches more rear wheel travel
  • Rear Fox shocks have remote reservoirs

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768628
“The biggest updates on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro happen in the suspension department.”

The biggest updates on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro happen in the suspension department. Gone are the TRD-branded Bilstein shocks, replaced with Fox Racing Shocks. The new Fox dampers are 2.5 inches in diameter and boas 46mm-thick pistons. The front shocks have 11 bypass zones while the rear shocks have 12 zones. Wheel travel is increased by 1.5 inches up front and more than two inches out back.

As for those bypass zones, they control the damping rate. On the front shocks’ 11 zones, seven of them are dedicated for the compression stroke and four for the rebound. During compression (when the wheel is traveling upwards into the fender) each bypass zone provides progressively more damping. In other words, the deeper into the shocks’ travel, the stiffer it becomes.

In practice, this allows for a smooth, comfortable ride on regular roads where the shocks aren’t working hard. On rough terrain and at high speeds where more of the shocks’ travel is utilized, the stiffer they become. This is in an effort to keep the truck off its bump stops, which makes for a hard landing. The same is true for the rear shocks and its 12 bypass zones, with eight being for compressions and four for rebound. The rears also have a 2.5-inch diameter piggyback reservoir for each shock. This holds more oil, which helps keep shock temperatures down during extended off-road driving.


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768632
“Like before, the Tundra’s suspension setup is very similar to the standard TRD Off-Road model”

Like before, the Tundra’s suspension setup is very similar to the standard TRD Off-Road model. The front suspension uses double A-arms with the shock and coil spring combined in a MacPherson strut setup. The rear uses traditional leaf springs on a solid axle with the shocks mounted outboard of the leaf springs.

The truck continues to use Michelin LTX A/T2 tires sized in P275/65R18. The tires offer a good balance between on-road comfort and off-road capabilities, though folks who regularly drive in the dirt might find a more aggressive tire advantageous.

Pricing


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768238

Toyota has not released the pricing for its 2019 Tundra TRD Pro. We’re betting pricing won’t increase too much past the outgoing model. Expect a starting price of around $44,000 for the Double Cab and around $47,000 for the Crew Max.

Toyota will have the 2019 Tundra TRD Pro in showrooms by the end of 2018, so more information will be known then.

The Competition

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel


2019 Ram 1500 - image 760707

Ram has given its 1500-series pickup a complete generational change for 2019, including all the special trim levels like the Rebel. Built to be a hard-core appearance package that backs up its looks with actual performance increases, the Ram Rebel uses 33-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires, boasts an electronic locking rear differential, and is available with Ram’s four-corner air suspension. Those with the standard coil spring suspension can opt for the Mopar 2.0-inch suspension lift kit.

As for its appearance, the Rebel comes with a unique front bumper, grille, hood, and wheels. Inside, red anodized aluminum accents the black interior while the leather-trimmed seats have a tire tread pattern form the Goodyear DuraTracs in their cloth center section.

Power comes from either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with Rams new eTorque system or the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 available with or without the eTorque system. The V-6 offers up 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, while the Hemi kicks out 395 horses and 401 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic powers the rear wheels. Interestingly, 4WD is optional on the Rebel.

Prices for the 2019 Ram 1500 haven’t been announced as of this writing, but like the Tundra TRD Pro, expect them to remain competitive.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel.

Ford F-150 Raptor


2017 Ford F-150 Raptor - image 610255

The Ford F-150 Raptor is what started the current trend of high-speed off-roading trucks when it launched back in 2010. Now in its second generation, the Raptor enjoys immense popularity and impressive off-road capabilities. The truck uses 3.0-inch diameter Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners with beefy control arms up front and leaf springs out back.

Power comes from Ford’s high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. The little engine kicks out an impressive 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque through a 10-speed automatic transmission. The transfer case is technically a part-time system that can pull full-time 4WD duties when controlled via Ford’s smart Terrain Management software. The driver simply selects the right mode for the terrain at hand and the truck will do the rest.

All this tech is expensive, however, with the 2018 Raptor starting at $50,020 for the SuperCab truck with no options. The SuperCrew model starts at $53,005 and will crest over $73,000 with all the option boxes checked. Ouch!

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

Conclusion


2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - image 768226

The improvements made to the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro give it more capability off-road while not changing much of its on-road persona. Aside from the minor appearance modifications, the truck generally looks the same. The interior shows no signs of upgrades, either. Still, the truck makes for a great daily driver and weekend toy. Only time will tell if Toyota can keep up with the new 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel in both sales and in the dirt. Our bet is Toyota will have a challenging fight on its hands.

The 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will arrive in showrooms toward the end of 2018. More information will become available then, so stick around to TopSpeed.com as that happens.

  • Leave it
    • * Visual changes rather minor
    • * No interior updates
    • * Aging bones

References


The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019 - image 766262

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019


2014 Toyota Tundra - image 491988

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Tundra.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Sonata is one of those nameplates that just seems to stick around no matter what. First introduced in 1985 as a replacement for the Hyundai Stellar, the first generation only lasted two years before it got the axe. However, the second generation, which was introduced in 1988, fared far better, finding success in a variety of export markets, including North America and Australia. A third generation arrived in 1993, followed by the fourth in 1999, the fifth in 2004, and the sixth in 2010. The latest seventh generation arrived in New York just last year for the 2018 model year, but the hybridized variant was left conspicuously out of the lineup. Now, the new seventh-gen hybrid has arrived following a debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. While still framed as Hyundai’s near-premium mid-size four-door, this latest generational update brings improvements in the chassis and handling department, plus new exterior and interior bits, new safety features, and new features for connectivity and infotainment. All told, Hyundai is looking to take a more premium approach with the Sonata Hybrid, enhancing it with an upscale appearance, a nicer ride, and better equipment throughout.

Of course, with demand shifted primarily towards the crossover and SUV segment, competition among the sedans is ruthless right now, especially in the near-premium slot. The question is – where will the Sonata excel? Well, the hybrid gear is certainly a tempting proposition, but how good is it really? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Exterior

  • New styling looks great
  • Germanic vibes throughout
  • LED lighting elements with optional high-tech headlights
  • New “eco-spoke” wheels, 16 to 17 inches
  • Reduced Cd improves efficiency

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767546
“The seventh-gen Sonata hybrid brings with it a new exterior styling that definitely sets it apart from the outgoing model. The latest aesthetic is more rounded and sleek than before, almost gaining an Audi-esque vibe overall.”

As you might expect with any major generational changeover, the seventh-gen Sonata hybrid brings with it a new exterior styling that definitely sets it apart from the outgoing model. The latest aesthetic is more rounded and sleek than before, almost gaining an Audi-esque vibe overall. Not that it’s a ripoff of the German make by any means – rather, the new Sonata looks as though it has its own take on an aesthetic we’ve seen elsewhere, namely the German-sourced premium sedans.

Contributing to the cause is a new fascia in front, where the hood, the grille, the fenders, and the headlights are all redesigned for 2018. The hood gains numerous muscle lines that lead the eye rearward, adding a sort of streamlined look to the front end. The reshaped grille is the bit that reminds us the most of an Audi, although on the South Korean vehicle, it’s a whole lot smaller. The trapezoidal shape, though, is unmistakable.

left
right

Note: 2018 Hyundai Sonata pictured on the left, Audi’s Singleframe grille pictured on the right.

The front fenders also get an update, although the character line started in the headlight housings is retained, stretching back into the car’s flanks to become part of the window surround. Speaking of the headlights, the housings are now slimmer in their appearance, ditching the older blocky, almost Mercedes-esque housings of the outgoing model and adopting a drawn-back appearance that reminds us a bit of one of the Sonata’s competitors, the Ford Fusion.

The headlights are clever too, and offer extra tech like a Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) feature when going for the optional LED lighting elements. DBL will actively turn the headlights as go through a bend, illuminating the road ahead in the process. Meanwhile, the LED taillights and LED daytime running lights come as standard.

In the sides, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gets some handsome proportions, with a longer hood line, a short rear end, and a gently curving roofline that emphasizes the four-door’s almost coupe-like profile. Here we again find lots of high-end trim bits, including shiny polished trim around the windows and a complimentary character line closer to the ground as well. The door handles also get a brushed metal look to them. New for 2018 are the wheel designs, which get an “eco-spoke” layout that looks to reduce turbulence thanks to wider slabs of alloy. Wheel sizing ranges between 16 and 17 inches in diameter.


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767557
“Step around the rear of the vehicle, and you'll find a new rear fascia and a new rear deck. The tail is rounded in its appearance, while the trailing edge of the trunk is turned upwards in a flick to help it appear a bit sportier.”

Step around the rear of the vehicle, and you’ll find a new rear fascia and a new rear deck. The tail is rounded in its appearance, while the trailing edge of the trunk is turned upwards in a flick to help it appear a bit sportier. A glossy black insert near the pavement visually tightens the rear end, while the taillights wrap around from the rear fenders, looking fancy with their clear inserts offsetting the LED lighting elements.

While the new look is definitely an improvement over the old, it’s surprisingly functional as well. All told, Hyundai managed to reduce the coefficient of drag down to 0.24, which is actually better than the 0.25 Cd you get in the Toyota Prius, all of which should do well the maximize the car’s overall efficiency – definitely the sort of thing you want in a hybrid.

Interior

  • New design for the center stack
  • More traditional three-spoke steering wheel design
  • Optional 8.0-inch color screen
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth connectivity, Qi wireless phone charging
  • Rear sunshade feature
  • Substantial amount of cargo room
  • Loads of advanced safety technology features

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767539
“To coincide with the fresh exterior updates, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid also gets a slew of updates to the interior spec and layout as well”

To coincide with the fresh exterior updates, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid also gets a slew of updates to the interior spec and layout as well. These include a new instrument panel center stack design, and although the previous model’s three-tier approach is retained (HVAC inputs on the bottom, infotainment buttons in the middle, and infotainment screen above between two air vents), the surrounds and trim bits are updated in a meaningful way. The same is true for the steering wheel, which now gets a more traditional three-spoke layout for the 2018 model year. The steering wheel is also offered with an available heating feature, if desired.

Moving past the layout updates, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes with a solid selection of infotainment features, both new and updated. For example, the audio and navigation system now include a Bird’s Eye View map perspective, and buyers can get theirs with an optional 8.0-inch color touchscreen. As a compliment to the navigation system, the Sonata comes with loads of modern smartphone support, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as auxiliary inputs for your iPod and USB connected devices.

There’s also SiriusXM satellite radio for extra entertainment, and Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition and phone book transfer for added utility. If you decide to get the navigation-equipped 8.0-inch screen, it’ll come with a split-screen operation feature that’ll keep both the map and the music on screen at once – great for multitasking, if you’re a passenger. It’ll also let you record and rewind up to 22 minutes of a given broadcast, just in case you want to relive an important sportscast moment or catch some important news. Or if you just want to hear that one song again.

Further infotainment features include SiriusXM Travel Link, which provides traffic info, sports news, weather forecasts, and fuel prices, among other things. The Sonata is also optionally available with a nine-speaker stereo from Infinity, which includes an external amp and a sub-woofer to really bump the tunes.


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767574
“The Sonata is also optionally available with a nine-speaker stereo from Infinity, which includes an external amp and a sub-woofer to really bump the tunes.”

Speaking of traffic, the Sonata also gets the HERE HD Traffic feature with real-time updates as part of a no-pay subscription service. There’s also a three-year complimentary subscription to Blue Link, which offers a variety of Connected Car features for both remote control and extra guidance. A list of the services includes Remote Start with climate control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. The app can be accessed from your smartphone or your smartwatch.

A Qi wireless phone charging system comes with models equipped with navigation. There’s also now an extra USB charge port in the rear. An electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold comes as part of the package, and there’s an Integrated Memory System for the driver’s seat and side mirrors. The rear windows get a sunshade feature, and the front seats are ventilated, complemented by power adjusting settings that include electric settings for the lumbar support.

Hyundai also says the hybrid model’s battery is mounted under the trunk floor, which provides a flat trunk floor as a result. That means the Sonata Hybrid still has a good amount of utility, and you can still load up and unload without too much trouble. Space in the rear is rated at 13.3 cubic feet of cargo room, while the whole package gets a segment-best total interior volume of 106.1 cubic feet. To enhance the car’s interior space, the rear bench gets a 60/40 split, and there’s an available Hands-free Smart Trunk feature as well.


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767571
“The Sonata Hybrid has a good amount of utility, and the flat load floor means you can carry lots of stuff without too much trouble.”

In terms of safety and convenience, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts with a standard rear-view camera, as well as a standard blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert and Lane Change Assist. That’s all important stuff too, as technology and equipment in this segment can often determine the front-runners from the back markers.

The blind-spot monitor uses warning lights in the side-view mirrors to indicate a possible hazard. The system can also determine the closing speed of traffic coming up in an adjacent lane, and if a speeding car is detected, it issues an auditory warning. The lane-change assist uses forward-facing camera to do its duties. According to Hyundai, “If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning on the instrument cluster illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.”

“Space in the rear is rated at 13.3 cubic feet of cargo room, while the whole package gets a segment-best total interior volume of 106.1 cubic feet.”

There’s also an optional Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist system, and an automatic high-beam assist as well. A Smart Cruise Control with start/stop feature keeps it all as efficient as possible, all of which is well appreciated in the segment. Finally, as a means of rounding out the safety gear, the Sonata gets seven standard airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS, and a TPMS. All pretty standard stuff, really.

Drivetrain

  • Both standard Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models available
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder ICE burns the gas
  • Electric motor is mounted inside the six-speed automatic transmission
  • Upwards of 202 horsepower in net output
  • Plug-in offers 27 miles of all-electric range
  • Standard Hybrid offers 650 miles of range (including gas)
  • Not exactly fast, but still provides solid low-speed shove

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767536
“Of course, while sleek exterior styling and a healthy amount of tech in the cabin are all well and good, the thing that really set the Sonata Hybrid apart it what it's got going on under the hood.”

Of course, while sleek exterior styling and a healthy amount of tech in the cabin are all well and good, the thing that really set the Sonata Hybrid apart it what it’s got going on under the hood. This include the option between both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Let’s start with the hybrid, which burns the dino juice through a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine. Mated to the ’four is a six-speed automatic transmission, but this isn’t just any normal slush box. Mounted inside the gearbox is a 38-kW electric motor and clutch rather than a traditional torque converter. Hyundai calls this the Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device, or TMED, and it’s intended to provide crisp power delivery, as well as lots of mpg at the pump. The transmission also uses an electric oil pump for even better efficiency. Put it into all-electric mode, and the Sonata Hybrid will decouple the gas engine from the drivetrain, enabling it to go as fast as 75 mph on electrons alone.

Specs include 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque for the Nu four-cylinder’s output levels, while the electric motor makes 38 kW, 51 horsepower, and 151 pound-feet of torque all by itself. Total output for the entire hybrid system comes to 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Hyundai also estimates it’ll return as much as 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, which comes to 42 mpg combined – not too shabby, if you ask us. Providing the all-electric juice is a lithium-ion battery pack rated at 1.76 kWh. With a primed battery pack and a topped-off gas tank, the Sonata will go 650 miles before requiring a refill.


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767582
“Hyundai estimates the Hybrid will return as much as 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, which comes to 42 mpg combined – not too shabby, if you ask us.”

Now lets check out the plug-in hybrid model, which offers more all-electric range than the standard Hybrid model. Hyundai says the Plug-in will provide upwards of 27 miles in local emissions-free driving on a full battery, which, again, is pretty solid, and could definitely fulfill the daily commute needs of many a buyer. Helping it accomplish that EV range is a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which happens to be five times larger than the battery in the non-plug-in Sonata Hybrid.

When plugging the Sonata into a level-two charging point, the sedan can top off its battery in just three hours. Hyundai says “It offers the best of both worlds by providing the power delivery of a hybrid gasoline engine, perfect for long trips, with the additional benefit of environmentally-friendly all-electric range for commuting.”

We agree. Total range for the plug-in, which includes burning of the fossil fuels comes to 590 miles. The discrepancy here between the Plug-in and standard Hybrid is most likely due to the Plug’s smaller fuel tank, which sees a downsizing to make up for the extra space taken up by the larger battery pack. For reference, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in gets a 14.5-gallon tank, while the standard Hybrid model gets a 15.9-gallon tank.


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767576
“Like the standard Hybrid, the Plug-in also uses a six-speed automatic transmission, which once again comes equipped with that previously mentioned TMED device for electric motivation.”

Like the standard Hybrid, the Plug-in also uses a six-speed automatic transmission, which once again comes equipped with that previously mentioned TMED device for electric motivation. This time around, though, the plug-in’s electric motor is rated at 50 kW and offers 32 percent more power than the standard Hybrid model, which “allows EV operation at higher engine load and speed.” On the internal combustion side of the equation is a 2.0-liter Nu gas burning engine, which produces 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Total system output is rated at 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, which is a modest increase over the standard Hybrid. However, we’re willing to bet the larger battery pack and more powerful motor will help the plug-in feel much more powerful thanks to oodles of low-end shove.

Chassis And Handling

  • Stiffer rear components improve the ride quality
  • Better steering feel livens up the experience a bit

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767584

When it comes to premium appearances, the way a sedan rides is crucial. To that end, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata gets a few tweaks to the suspension to give it that smooth sailing feel on the road. This includes a stiffer front anti-roll bar and a more rigid rear trailing arm design. The bushings were also tuned for better response and the steering assistance was re-calibrated for more feel. And although the Sonata isn’t exactly our first choice when it comes to any activity one could consider “sporty,” these enhancements should do well to make the Sonata slightly more interesting to drive.

Of course, it bears mentioning that if extra performance is what you really want from your Sonata, Hyundai is offering a sport-tuned suspension on the ICE-only, 245-horsepower Sport and Limited trim levels. Just sayin’.

Prices


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767565

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata will roll off the production line in Asan, South Korea. The hybrid will be available by the first quarter of 2018, followed by the plug-in hybrid in the second quarter of 2018.

Exact pricing is not yet available, but expect figures close to those seen with the outgoing model. For reference, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid goes for $26,000, while the Plug-in is priced at a much more expensive $34,600.

Competition

Ford Fusion Hybrid


2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid - image 512557

Right off the bat, the Ford Fusion Hybrid looks to be a solid competitor for the Sonata, down to the exterior aesthetic similarities. The same goes for the equipment, with LEDs used for the Fusion’s exterior lighting bits, plus optional equipment that includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the dash, leather upholstery, and a few safety techs that come as standard on the Sonata (lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, etc.). Power is derived from a 2.0-liter four-banger making 141 horses and an electric motor making 118 horses. Pricing starts at $25,295.

Read our full review on the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Toyota Camry Hybrid


2018 Toyota Camry - image 700682

If Hyundai is gonna do well in this segment, it’s gonna need to take on one of the best-selling cars of all time – the Camry. Toyota sells these things in droves, and its even got a hybrid iteration to boot. While we think the Hyundai looks better than the grille-tastic Toyota, the Camry still gets loads of equipment, a nice interior, and 208 horsepower from a hybrid 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder powerplant. A continuously variable transmission ekes out every last mpg. Pricing starts at $27,800.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Conclusion


2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - image 767553
“This is one Hyundai that's definitely worth checking out.”

Overall, this latest from Hyundai looks to be quite the nice package. We like the new styling, and feel it strikes a balance between unique aesthetic and crowd-pleasing generalities. The tweaks inside are also well-appreciated, and the equipment line-up is generous for the segment. Throw in the very usable storage space and solid engine line-up, and this is one Hyundai that’s definitely worth checking out.

Of course, rival products from Ford and Toyota are also strong contenders, offering their own benefits and advantages over the Sonata. That said, we feel the Hyundai is focused on all the right areas, and it’s a good bargain, which is important in the growing hybrid segment. The plug-in might be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s right in line with what we expect to pay to eke out extra miles. Overall, the Sonata Hybrid feels and acts like a normal sedan, even with the extra tech on board, and that makes it quite attractive.

  • Leave it
    • * Plug-in model is just a little pricey
    • * Strong rivals from other major makes
    • * Sedans not as popular these days

References

Hyundai Sonata


2018 Hyundai Sonata - image 720512

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.


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Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar

SUV fans have been clamoring for a beefed-up version of the Durango SRT ever since Dodge launched the Challenger Hellcat. But it has yet to happen as of 2018. And I really don’t think that it will change anytime soon. Jeep is already offering the Cherokee Trackhawk above the SRT model, and I’m pretty sure FCA doesn’t want a re-bodied version of this model with a Dodge badge. But, if you’re not a Cherokee fan and you want a Durango SRT with a few special features, you’re going to have to settle for the Mopar upgrade that was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

Mopar-made bundles for the Dodge Durango is nothing new; we’ve seen them in the past. But these new packages are a bit more comprehensive and include updates for both the exterior and interior, as well as the drivetrain. There’s no extra power to talk about, and this might be disappointing for some, but the performance exhaust and suspension are just enough to set Durango SRT apart from its standard siblings. And the body stripes and carbon-fiber trim add a certain degree of sportiness you don’t get in many SUVs.

Continue reading for the full story.

What makes the Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar special


2018 Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar - image 767447
“The dual-center stripes remind me of high-performance Mopars from the golden era of muscle cars”

These new Mopar features don’t turn the Durango into a more aggressive SUV, but they add a sportier twist to the already beefed-up SRT. Visually, it’s the “go-fast” stripes that catch the eye. Running across the entire length of the vehicle, but around the big NACA duct vent on the hood, the dual-center stripes remind me of high-performance Mopars from the golden era of muscle cars. It’s safe to say that this is what Dodge was aiming for all along. Five color options are available, including Bright Blue, Flame Red, Gunmetal Low Gloss (metallic), Low Gloss Black, Sterling Silver (metallic). The black stripes seem to have a carbon-fiber-like pattern, which is really cool.

Interior upgrades aren’t extensive either. Mopar only offers a new SRT Interior Appearance Group, which features a premium-wrapped instrument panel, Dinamica soft-touch headliner, and accent paint on speaker trim rings. The bundle also adds authentic carbon-fiber trim on the dashboard and the door panels. Far from impressive, but at least the SRT already comes with a wide range of exclusive features.


2018 Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar - image 767438
“The Durango SRT can be fitted with a new performance lowering spring kit enhances high-speed cornering”

Under the hood, the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine remains unaltered at 475 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, but it gets a performance exhaust system for improved flow and a more aggressive sound. Made from chromium stainless steel for improved corrosion resistance, it also uses stainless steel band-style clamps for tight seals, and welded and polished four-inch tips for sportier performance. Dodge doesn’t say whether the new exhaust actually improved horsepower figures, but it will definitely make your Durango sound meaner.

Finally, the Durango SRT can be fitted with a new performance lowering spring kit enhances high-speed cornering stability and consistency. The new springs lower the SUV by an average of 15 mm (0.6 inches) closer to the road, which improves handling. Performance gains include less rear-end squat during acceleration, less nose-dive under braking, and reduced body roll while cornering.

So how much do these updates cost? The stripes will set you back $1,195, while the interior upgrade fetches $2,495. The performance exhaust comes in at $1,850, while lowering spring kit is very affordable at $325. Overall, it will cost you $5,865 to Moparize your Durango SRT. This converts to a final sticker of $68,860 for the SUV.

References

Dodge Durango


2018 Dodge Durango SRT - image 704492

Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT.


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Read more Dodge news.


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Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV

It’s been only four years since BMW introduced the X4 and the coupe-style SUV was redesigned from the ground up. Unveiled without much fuss today, it will make its public debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March.

So what’s with the rush? It might seem awkward at first glance, but it probably has to do with the fact that the previous X4 was released three years after the X3 which it was based on arrived. With a brand-new X3 launched in 2017, BMW probably wants the X4 to be on par with its sibling. On the other hand, it’s really awkward that BMW kept these plans hidden and unveiled the X4 without the usual teasers and marketing campaign.

Be that as it may, let’s have a closer look at the changes.

Continue reading for the full story.

What’s New on the Outside?

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right
“The X4 borrows more than 90 percent of its features from the X3”

Not surprisingly, the X4 borrows more than 90 percent of its features from the X3. The front fascia is actually identical so you won’t be able to set it apart until you look at the profile. This is good news though, as the latest X3 looks fresh and sporty thanks to the larger, more stylish grille, the organic-looking headlamps, and the aggressive bumper with large vents. The X4 begins to stand out once you move onto the sides. It’s here where it retains the styling of the first-generation model, itself based on the larger X6. Specifically, it’s again similar to the X3 from the nose to the B-pillars, but the glasshouse and the roof changes toward the back.

Much like the old model, the sloping roof and the short decklid place the X4 between a raised coupe and fastback styling-wise. But the new model feels sportier, whereas the first-gen X4 had a slightly boxier look. The rear fascia is tall as usual, but the bigger spoiler and the slimmer taillights give it a more modern look. Below, we can see a more aggressive diffuser-like element with big exhaust pipes on the M Sport model. The standard version has a milder appearance, but it’s still significantly more appealing that the outgoing X4.

What about the Interior?


BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV - image 768408
“The new X4 is identical to the X3 inside the cabin. Down to every little detail”

We’ve seen this before, right? Yes, the new X4 is identical to the X3 inside the cabin. Down to every little detail, except for limited rearward visibility and the coupe roofline that decreases headroom for rear-seat passengers. Just like the X3, it comes with various trims that include different equipment lines, with the M Sport X or M Sport models getting more leather and fancier materials. A panoramic glass roof is finally available in the X4, alongside heated and cooled seats, and a three-zone climate control system.

It also gets the latest iDrive system, which includes a free-standing 6.5-inch display on top of the dashboard. You can upgrade to the Professional system, which brings a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and order gesture control from the options list. The ConnectedDrive services allow the car to work with Apple and Android smartphones, the Amazon Alexa, and Google Home personal assistants. Rear legroom has grown by 27 mm (1.06 inches), while the trunk now offers 525 liters (18.5 cubic feet), 25 more than the outgoing model. Fold the seats and the trunk can take up to 1,430 liters (50.5 cubic feet) of luggage, 30 more than the old X4. However, that’s 200 liters (seven cubic feet) less than he X3.

Engines?


BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV - image 768396
“North American variants should include the X4 xDrive30i and the X4 M40i”

Yes, the drivetrain range is also similar to the X3. U.S. data is not yet available, but the Euro-spec model will get xDrive20d, xDrive30d, xDrive20i, and xDrive30i versions. North American variants should include the X4 xDrive30i and the X4 M40i. The former will get its juice from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Expect this model to hit 60 mph in six seconds. The M-inspired model will use a 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit that generates 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist. In this configuration, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph will be achieved in 4.6 seconds. Both models will use an eight-speed automatic transmission.

References

BMW X4


BMW Quietly Releases the New X4 SUV - image 768443

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X4.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.


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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Buckle Up Folks: The New Toyota Supra Is Coming to Geneva, And It’s Hot!

It’s been just a few days since a forum leak gave us new information about the upcoming Toyota Supra, and the Japanese firm released the first official teaser picture of the car. And although it doesn’t unveil too many details, the photo suggests that the next-gen Supra will be a hot coupe. Also, it turns out that the recent spy shots are pretty accurate, as the vehicle features a double bubble roof, a sloping rear window, a swept-up trunk lid, and a massive wing an top. And just look at those rear haunches. Now that’s one sexy coupe!


2019 Toyota Supra - image 740251
“Toyota has yet to confirm the Supra name, so it's possible that this coupe will sport a different nameplate.”

We know quite a few things about the new Supra, including that it will share underpinnings and even drivetrains with the upcoming BMW Z4. The engine lineup will include both four- and six-cylinder engines, with the range-topping model to deliver 335 horsepower. The car was developed with help from Toyota’s motorsport division, Gazoo Racing, and word has it the trim levels will include the initials “G” and “R.” For example, the base model will be called the GR, while the range-topping model will have the “GRMN” badge, like the latest Yaris.

On the other hand, Toyota has yet to confirm the Supra name, so it’s possible that this coupe will sport a different nameplate. It would be a shame to not take advantage of this iconic badge, but we have to wait for information on that. The car will make its debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next month so make sure you stick around for updates. More teasers and leaked details are likely underway.

References

Toyota Supra


2019 Toyota Supra - image 689149

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Toyota Supra.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.


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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Chicago Auto Show – Worst In Show

Truth be told, this year’s Chicago Auto Show brought out a lot of good stuff. We even cataloged the best of the best right here in a convenient list format, just in case you wanted to see what we’re on about. But, given CAS’s positioning between the Detroit Auto Show and Geneva Motor Show, events considered to be two of the most important auto shows in the domestic and international markets respectively, there’s always bound to be a few throwaway debuts in Chi Town. And that’s exactly what we saw in 2018, where the big makes brought out disappointments that included an update which was basically a rehash, plus a pair of yawn-worthy new crossover trim levels. Hell, there was even an entire booth that had us scratching our heads as to why it was there. So put on your troll face and click on as we explore the worst in show at CAS 2018.

Continue reading for the full story.

The “New” Fiat 500


Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show - image 766486

There’s a lot to like about the Fiat 500. It’s small and stylish, with just the right measurements and aesthetic to tackle the rigors of urban driving. So when Fiat announced it was bringing the turbo 1.4-liter MultiAir engine to the entire 500 line, our first reaction was a positive one. Because of course, who wouldn’t want forced induction motivation on a platform like this, right? After all, it works so well for the Abarth…

“As it turns out, the turbo four-banger in question is actually four years old, first dropping on the 500 Turbo model back in 2013.”

Not so fast. As it turns out, the turbo four-banger in question is actually four years old, first dropping on the 500 Turbo model back in 2013. Output is more or less identical to what we saw back then, topping out at 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Granted, that’s a massive 34 ponies and 52 pound-feet over the naturally aspirated powerplant it replaces, but it leaves us asking why Fiat didn’t just keep the turbo ’four as standard from the start.

To compound the issue, Fiat says the new 500 arrives with a “sportier appearance,” but we’re struggling to see it. Sure, there’s a few tweaks to the front and rear fascias, new fog lamps, and a subtle roof spoiler, but to our eyes, it’s pretty much the same Italian sub-compact we’ve seen in the past.

At least it still sounds great, right?

Read our full story on the turbo 2018 Fiat 500C.

Chevrolet Traverse RS


Chevy Traverse RS Looks Like The Better Daily Driver In Chicago - image 766314

Over the course of the past few years, Chicago has established itself as a popular venue to debut both new trim levels and new crossovers. With the Chevy Traverse RS, we got both.

This latest RS kicks off with the traditional round of black trim upgrades, including dark finishes for the grille, window surrounds, and roof rails. In the corners, you’ll find 20-inch wheels in a Dark Android gun metal finish. All told, the aesthetic changes improve the look, although we’re struggling to figure out why Chevy didn’t offer it like this from the factory. Strike one.

While the new trim bits are to be expected, Chevy also felt the need to introduce a new turbocharged engine spec with the model. Mounted under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, with output routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission, all of which hits the ground through the front wheels exclusively. Compared to the 3.6-liter V-6 option, that’s a gain of 29 pound-feet, but a loss of a whopping 53 ponies. Strike two.

“Compared to the 3.6-liter V-6 option, that's a gain of 29 pound-feet, but a loss of a whopping 53 ponies.”

In our opinion, the new engine definitely makes the Traverse RS a better daily driver, but at the end of the day, there’s really nothing sporty at all about this mid-size SUV. In reality, it just feels like Chevy is changing up the configuration and adding performance cues to see if it can squeeze out a few more sales, and that’s a strike three. Instead, we think the Bow Tie should reserve the RS “Rally Sport” connotation for its more exciting models. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again – adding black trim does not make something a sports car!

Read our full story on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS.

Ford Edge Titanium Elite


The 2019 Ford Edge Gets Gussied-Up Titanium Elite Trim in Chicago - image 766219

Following the reveal of the performance-minded Edge ST in Detroit, Ford brought out a new trim level for the popular crossover in Chicago, introducing a prim and proper luxury version dubbed the Titanium Elite. Updates include further body-colored trim pieces, a “premium” skid plate, and unique 20-inch wheels. There’s also a few bits and bobs in the interior as well. The rest of the mechanical spec goes unchanged.

It definitely makes sense. After all, Ford has seen an uptick in top-trim level sales as of late, so why not just add another option for consumers to pick through? Thing is, we’re not really digging the Titanium Elite. The upgrades are just so, well, lame – I mean, a premium skid plate? Seriously? We all knew the vast majority of off-roader design cues on modern SUVs and crossovers were nothing more than aesthetics, but this is getting out of hand, don’tcha think?

Read our full story on 2018 Ford Edge Titanium Elite.

The Entire Maserati Booth


Maserati's Chicago Booth Is as Boring as it Gets - image 766545

Auto shows are expensive, but if it means getting a ton of eyeballs on a new product, the high costs might be worth it. Unfortunately for Maserati, the Italian brand really hasn’t had anything new to offer since it revealed the Levante SUV at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2016. Regardless, Maserati still felt it was necessary to attend Chicago with its full lineup.

Seriously, why even bother to show up, Maserati? We’ve already see all these things before, and the updates you’re touting as model refreshes are so small, we can barely even notice them. To be honest, you’re copping this haughty, Ferrari-esque attitude, which would be fine if, you know, you were actually Ferrari.

Read the full story here.

References


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!

Mercedes has just unveiled the long-awaited 2019 AMG G63 – the go-fast version of its all-new 2019 G-Class, which is still hot off the auto show stage. Its official name is the Mercedes-AMG G63, and it’s better in every measurable way over the outgoing model. Not only does the G63 benefit from the G-Class’ new appearance, swanky interior, wider stance, and updated suspension system, it also boasts a slew of AMG parts that push this SUV into sports car territory.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.

A New G-Wagen For a New Age


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767688
“Mercedes finally decided to ditch the G’s military-spec underpinnings and revamp its halo SUV”

The previous G-Wagen was extremely impressive, but its 40-year old bones were holding it back. Mercedes finally decided to ditch the G’s military-spec underpinnings and revamp its halo SUV.
Not surprisingly, the G is so much better for it.

Of course, with this being the AMG model, the headlining feature is the engine. Mercedes didn’t disappoint thanks to a hand-built 4.0-liter, biturbo, V-8 making an impressive 577 horsepower and a stump-pulling 627 pound-feet of torque.

Like other AMG engines, the 4.0-liter uses a hot-V design, mounting its twin turbos in the valley between the cylinder heads. The engine uses a reverse-flow intake and exhaust system with clean air coming from the outside of the cylinder heads and exiting into the twin-scroll turbos perched atop the engine. The result is nearly instant boost.


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767704
“Despite its weight, the burly SUV will hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and reach 137 mph.”

Power is sent through AMG’s SpeedShift nine-speed automatic transmission and through the G-Class’ new full-time 4WD system with its rear-biased 40/60 torque split. Despite its weight, the burly SUV will hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and reach 137 mph. Pay extra for the AMG Driver’s Package and the top speed is adjusted to 149 mph.

Naturally, the AMG G63 will sound amazing during its acceleration run thanks to AMG-tuned dual exhaust with the variable exhaust flap. Simply press a button on the center console and flaps inside the pipes open to allow more V-8 rumble, blats, and crackles past the mufflers. And in traditional AMG G-Class style, the G63 has dual exhaust tips under the rear doors on each side.

Mercedes made sure to retain the AMG G-Class’ duality, too. Not only is it a horsepower monster, but it will settle down into a relaxing family hauler. Five on-road drive modes change the G63’s character at the push of a button. The modes include Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. That last mode is customizable by the driver to suit his or her wants. They can choose a sporty throttle response with a soft ride and firm steering.


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767691
“The body-on-frame SUV boasts 9.5 inches of ground clearance and four-wheel independent suspension with adaptive dampers”

Mercedes didn’t abandon the G-Wagon’s off-road capabilities, either. The body-on-frame SUV boasts 9.5 inches of ground clearance and four-wheel independent suspension with adaptive dampers. And in addition to the five on-road driving modes, Mercedes includes three off-road modes – Sand, Trail, and Rock.

Much of the G-Wagen’s off-road prowess comes from its full-time 4WD system and locking differentials. While the outgoing G-Wagen had a 50/50 torque split, the updated transfer case provides that 40/60 torque split for a rear-drive bias during on-road driving. When it comes to off-roading, the transfer case uses a multi-plate clutch to enter a 50/50 torque split with a 100-percent lockup.

Impressively, Mercedes designed the transfer case to enter its low-range gearing at speeds up to 25 mph. Most 4WD systems require the vehicle be fully stopped with the transmission in neutral. What’s more, the switch from low range back to high range can happen at speeds up to 44 mph. That’s made all the more impressive considering Mercedes lowered the crawl ratio from 2.1:1 to 2.93:1.


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767721
“With the center transfer case locked in a 50/50 split, the electromechanically controlled rear differential can be locked”

With the center transfer case locked in a 50/50 split, the electromechanically controlled rear differential can be locked. Doing so provides equal torque distribution between the two rear wheels. In extreme off-road situations where traction is at a minimum, the front differential can be locked. Using the same electromechanically connection, the driver simply presses a button on the dash. At this point, all four wheels spin at the same speed – both front to back and side to side. That means if one wheel loses traction, it will continue to spin at the same speed rather than power being diverted toward the path of least resistance. That’s what happens without differential locks. Unfortunately for those lesser vehicles, it means getting stuck.

Visual Cues


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767710
“AMG added a new, more aggressive front grille and bumper, along with flared wheel arches”

Of course, Mercedes-AMG wasn’t about to let the G63’s visual appeal go unchanged. AMG added a new, more aggressive front grille and bumper, along with flared wheel arches. The protective side strips are high-gloss black with a silver AMG emblem. The spare tire gets a stainless steel cover with a 3D Mercedes star. Other badging includes a “V8 BITURBO” emblem on the front fenders and an AMG G63 logo on the rear door.

The trim work around the front air inlets are painted in matte iridium silver and the massive brake calipers are painted red. The G63 comes standard with 21-inch wheels, but 22s can be ordered.


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767695
“Mercedes-AMG will bring the 2019 G63 to the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show on March 6”

There’s also an optional appearance package called the AMG Night Package. It adds smoked glass over the exterior lighting and deeply tented windows. Furthermore, the side mirrors are painted in Obsidian Black to contrast the body color. The ring around the spare tire cover and the trim on the bumpers get the same blacked-out look.

Mercedes-AMG will bring the 2019 G63 to the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show on March 6. It will arrive in showrooms closer toward 2019. Pricing has not been announced, and we don’t expect to hear anything until closer to its on-sale date.

As for what the future holds, we also expect Mercedes-AMG to launch an even more powerful AMG G-Class model. We reported on Mercedes trademarking the G73 nameplate, so that’s what we’re expecting. As for the powertrain, we’ve heard rumors of the same 4.0-liter, Biturbo, V-8 but paired with a powerful hybrid electric system for a combined horsepower close to 800.

We’ll keep you up to date here at TopSpeed.com, so stay tuned to more.

References

Mercedes G-Class


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760954

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!
- image 767710

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.


2013 Mercedes G63 AMG - image 450414

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG G63.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.


maker logos - image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

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1972 Chevrolet Other Pickups Custom 1972 Chevrolet Pickup Truck
$5,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 18:48:56 PST
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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS RS AUTO SUNROOF NAV HUD 20'S 30K #306963 Texas Direct Auto
$13,100.00 (13 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 19:04:20 PST
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2007 Chevrolet Corvette Base Coupe 2-Door 2007 6L V8 16V Automatic RWD Premium
$2,025.00 (4 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 12:28:12 PST
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