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Archive for the ‘Detroit Auto Show’ Category

PostHeaderIcon 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Revealed In Social Media Post

If you love a thumping big V-8, tire-shredding RWD power, and all the attitude that goes with it, you’re spoiled for choice. Indeed, there’s no shortage of badass muscle cars out there these days, and now, it looks like Ford is getting in on the fun with a new Mustang Shelby GT500, as revealed in a recent Instagram post by user sinister_lifestyle.

PostHeaderIcon 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Revealed In Social Media Post

If you love a thumping big V-8, tire-shredding RWD power, and all the attitude that goes with it, you’re spoiled for choice. Indeed, there’s no shortage of badass muscle cars out there these days, and now, it looks like Ford is getting in on the fun with a new Mustang Shelby GT500, as revealed in a recent Instagram post by user sinister_lifestyle.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Toyota Supra Confirmed for Detroit Debut

Toyota Supra fans, rejoice! The new Toyota Supra A90 will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2019. As one of the most expected cars in the past couple of years, the Toyota Supra has been under development for more than four years. Thanks to our thorough research and all the details we could pick up at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and during the BMW Z4 unveil (on whose architecture the Supra is based), we know quite a bit about the car. The confirmation for the Toyota Supra unveiling in Detroit came from the Toyota Germany. It was actually announced at the official Facebook page.

PostHeaderIcon The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI may Debut at the Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen recently unveiled the 2019 Jetta, and the itch to see the sportier version is getting worse day by day. Guess our prayers just got answered. Speaking to Autoblog, Volkswagen Brazil’s Head of Design, José Carlos Pavone, hinted that the Jetta GLI might be coming soon. And, by coming soon, he means the upcoming Detroit Motor Show in January.

PostHeaderIcon The Kia Telluride Debuts Looking More Like a Concept Than a Production Model

Kia finally pulled the covers off of the Telluride, giving us our first look at the automaker’s full-sized SUV. The debut took place at fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s event during New York Fashion Week. In keeping with Maxwell’s Texas-themed Spring Summer 2019 collection, the Telluride was dressed up in rough, off-road specification, complete with custom bumpers, skid plates, and an aluminum and wood roof rack.

PostHeaderIcon The Detroit Auto Show is Moving to June, but What Does it Mean?

Rumors about the Detroit Auto Show being moved from January to June have been going around for quite some time. And it finally happened. The organizers just announced that the car show will take place in June starting 2020.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association quoted a few reasons for changing the date. First up is that Detroit wants to embrace the changes that the auto industry is going through. Vehicle unveilings have become more dynamic in recent years, and the fact that the show was organized in January restricted Detroit to indoor events due to the cold weather.

By moving it to June, automakers can design more dynamic debuts, offer rides, and even showcase autonomous driving systems around the Cobo Center. Truck manufacturers can also host off-road challenges, and Detroit organizers are also thinking about including some of the city’s highlights, like Hart Plaza, the RiverWalk, and Woodward Avenue in the event.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Detroit Auto Show Organizers Finally Move Show To June, Change of Schedule To Begin in 2020

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association has decided to move the Detroit Auto Show away from the frigid cold of January to the warmer and more welcoming month of June. The decision was made for a number of reasons, but in the end, the organizer has confirmed that beginning in 2020, the Detroit Auto Show, or the North American International Auto Show as it’s formally known, will take place in June.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Joins BMW and Mercedes by Skipping the Detroit Auto Show – Do the German’s Hate America or Just Detroit?

In the grand scheme of things, the ink hasn’t even dried on the announcements from BMW and Mercedes to skip the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. And, yet, here we are looking at an announcement from Audi saying it, too, will skip the 2019 North American International Auto Show. According to automakers, it has come too expensive and, with venues like CES drawing larger crowds and largely overshadowing the Detroit Auto Show, it only makes sense to skip the show. In the meantime, Detroit organizers have been looking to move the official date of the show, but that won’t happen until at least 2020. But, are automakers pulling out because of the associated cost and lack of crowd, or do they just hate America and Detroit?

PostHeaderIcon Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

PostHeaderIcon Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic

Merc has been making the CLS-Class since the early 2000’s, dropping the first-gen with a debut at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. Framed as a sleek sedan packing top-shelf luxury, a sporty exterior, and no shortage of power under the hood, Merc quickly ushered in the go-faster AMG iteration at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. The second-generation CLS arrived in 2011, with a hot-to-trot AMG 63 hot on its heels. Now, there’s a third-gen model on the table, with the latest CLS dropping at the 2017 Los Angeles Show. As is tradition, Mercedes brought along a new AMG iteration as well, introducing the new 53-Series model alongside two other high-powered luxury rides from the boffins at AMG, including the 53-Series AMG E-Class Coupe and the
E-Class Cabriolet, all of which arrived in style at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. All told, the latest AMG CLS 53 4Matic comes packing with superlative Mercedes-Benz styling, the latest technology in the cabin, a high-performance attitude, and all the requisite power to back it.

The new four-door coupe also comes a supplementary electric system that adds a good deal of low-end torque on demand, a feature that makes the heavy-hitting luxury cruiser even more frisky when you dig into the skinny pedal. “With the new 53-series models we are extending our portfolio in a first step towards a hybridised future with a leading-edge combination of sporty design, performance and efficiency,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management at Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Sounds good. But how good is it, really? Read on for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC.

Exterior

  • Looks elegant and refined, yet aggressive
  • Four-door coupe body style
  • Wide and low stance
  • Graceful roof line
  • Pumped-up AMG cues front to back
  • Tweaked styling in the nose
  • Extended and rounded rear end
  • Polished metal and carbon fiber trim
  • Subtle yet effective rear trunk spoiler
  • Standard 19-inch wheels
  • Optional 20-inch wheels

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761041
“When it comes to the underlying philosophy driving the CLS-Series, there seems to be two main schools of thought – elegance and power.”

When it comes to the underlying philosophy driving the CLS-Series, there seems to be two main schools of thought – the first is elegance and refinement, which is to be expected considering the three-pointed star badge fixed to the nose. The other half of the equation is power and performance, both traits that get triple underlined when dealing with something from AMG.

As such, the AMG CLS 53 4Matic looks like a powerful, low-swept grand touring machine. The wheelbase is long, as is the hood line, while the stance is wide and close to the ground. The headlight housings pull back into the fenders with a triangular shape and check-mark daytime running lights, while the roof line is rounded, falling back into an equally rounded rear end with a graceful, unbroken arc. The tail section is square in its proportions and rounded at the edges, enhancing the car’s visual length with an extended overhang.

Updated features for the latest 2018 model year are numerous. Let’s start in front, where we find a twin-blade radiator grille, a design once relegated exclusively for the V-8 models (this one’s got a ’six under the hood, by the way). The main intake is complemented by black mesh insert, as is the lower horizontal intake. A dividing middle character bar stretches from side to side and comes finished in shiny metal. There’s also an A-wing front apron that incorporates black flics, while a front splitter juts out from the lower bumper section and comes finished with chrome detailing. Further horizontal elements in the outer intakes also add to the car’s visual width, while additional air curtains specific to the model help to reduce drag.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761043
“The AMG CLS 53 4Matic looks like a powerful, low-swept grand touring machine. The wheelbase is long, as is the hood line, while the stance is wide and close to the ground. New features include a restyled grille and extra aero efficiency.”

Moving over to the car’s profile, we find AMG-specific side sills that bring the car just a little closer to the ground. Higher up, there’s a set of side-view mirrors that are positioned further back on the body in a manner that’s reminiscent of the AMG GT sports car. We also love how that roof line naturally draws the eye rearwards into the well-proportioned rear end.

Speaking of the rear, the tail of the machine sports mud flaps that were redesigned to be more aerodynamically efficient, moving air around the wheel arches. The rear apron comes with a diffuser insert that completes the car’s squarish rear profile, plus there’s a quartet of round exhaust tips finished in a high-gloss chrome that do well to enhance the car’s sporting demeanor. Up top is a body-colored trunk lid spoiler, a feature that’s also offered in an optional carbon-fiber finish. At the sides are two-section taillights, which Mercedes says allow for a bigger trunk opening. Their shape also gives the car a wide and low stance that looks great with its wider track.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761051

Finally, the AMG CLS 53 4Matic comes standard with 19-inch wheels made with an alloy construction, but buyers can also get theirs with the optional 20-inch wheels if preferred.

Interior

  • Horizontal layout dripping with opulence
  • Large infotainment screen connects with the driver’s screen
  • Several options for upholstery materials and colors
  • Multiple display modes for the screens
  • Carbon fiber trim material dominates throughout
  • Sport seats keep limbs in place
  • Brushed metal adds extra bling
  • Voice control and touch pad for inputs
  • Energizing comfort control provides synergy
  • Latest safety tech included

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761073
“Horizontal cues appear to be the predominant style here, with a broad, sweeping dash that wraps its way fully around the cabin in an almost unbroken slab.”

Like its exterior appearance, the interior of the AMG CLS 53 4Matic looks to combine elegance with sportiness. However, this go-faster four-door definitely leans heavily towards the sporting side of things thanks to its copious AMG-specific equipment and trim bits.

But before we get into all that, though, let’s first examine the layout and design. Horizontal cues appear to be the predominant style here, with a broad, sweeping dash that wraps its way fully around the cabin in an almost unbroken slab. Air vents are placed in the corners, while a quartet of vents are mounted in the middle, all coming with a rounded shape and exaggerated rifling inserts. The center console is equally large and wide, as is the infotainment and gauge cluster screens (more on those in a little bit).

In back, we find a wave design seating arrangement, which Mercedes says was tweaked this time around to provide more comfort. There’s a new shape, new colors, and
new materials, with an overarching focus on providing the utmost in comfort, ergonomics, sportiness, and safety. There’s also an adjustable head rest height. There’s seating for three in the rear, which in addition to the two up front, brings passenger capacity to five. Additional practicality is offered with the 40:20:40 split in the bench, making the most of the available space in the trunk.

Now let’s talk about all that AMG gear, shall we? The CLS 53 comes standard with an AMG steering wheel wrapped in nappa leather, offering a flat bottom, four spokes, red contrast stitching, and a red top center mark. The wheel is also optional with wood inserts in piano lacquer, or a Dinamica microfiber, if preferred. There’s highly bolstered sport seats up front as well, with an AMG-specific upholstery appointment, plus more of that red contrast stitching. AMG badges are added in numerous places, and there are red seat belts to keep you in place. Carbon fiber trim is the dominant material of choice, but you can also get it with glass fiber in matte silver. Brushed metal and aluminum add extra bling.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761070
“The CLS 53 comes standard with an AMG steering wheel wrapped in nappa leather, highly bolstered sport seats, AMG-specific upholstery appointment, AMG badges, and red seat belts to keep you in place. Carbon fiber trim dominates.”

The top-shelf materials don’t stop there. Options include Artico leatherette and Dinamicra microfiber, nappa leather, and designo interior gear. Meanwhile, the color combos include macchiato beige with magma grey, black with bengal red, and espresso brown with magma grey. Several colors are also added to the rim of the steering wheel and the rear seating.

High-end materials and slick upholstery appointment are great, but no modern luxury mobile worth its animal hide would be complete without a modern infotainment system to keep passengers entertained and properly informed. As such, the AMG CLS 53 gets a new “control and display concept,” plus an optional 12.3-inch diagonal screen. This unit combines to create a Widescreen Cockpit view, stretching across the dash to join up with the digital gauges behind the wheel. Users can adjust this to suit their taste using a lineup of display styles, which include “Classic,” “Sporty,” and “Progressive.” It’s also configurable to view parameters such as the engine oil temperature, the transmission oil temperature, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, engine output, torque levels, boost pressure, tire temperatures, tire pressure, and other info, plus the current vehicle system settings (and yeah, there’s a lot of them).

User inputs are made via touch-sensitive buttons placed on the steering wheel, enabling swiping motions akin to what you’d use on a smartphone or mobile device. There’s also a touch pad controller in the center console, and a new Linguatronic voice control system, the latter of which can be used for additional functions and features, such as the air conditioning, seat heat and ventilation, interior lights, and the optional heads-up display.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761022
“One of the more interesting features is the optional “Energizing comfort control,” which connects a variety of different systems for a holistic cabin experience.”

One of the more interesting features is the optional “Energizing comfort control,” which connects a variety of different systems (air conditioning, seat heating/ventilation/massage, surface heating, steering wheel heating, lighting, and “music moods”). With all these systems properly connected, the comfort control will generate “a special wellness set-up to enhance well-being and performance,” depending on the driver’s moods and requirements. While the description is a little vague, we see it as a bit like a holistic climate control, encompassing more than just the temperature of the air coming through the vents to more accurately fulfill the needs of the passenger.

The AMG CLS 53 4Matic also pulls tech from the Mercedes S-Class for the safety gear. Standard spec throws in features like Active Braking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, Speed Limit Assist, and the Pre-Safe system, while the optional gear includes Active Distance Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Braking Assist (plus Cross-Traffic Function), Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Pre-Safe Plus. Making it all work is the onboard camera and radar systems, which also throw in navigation data “to calculate vehicle behavior.”

Drivetrain

  • 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine
  • Twin turbochargers pump up the output
  • EQ Boost adds electric efficiency and low-end shove
  • Peak output rated at 435 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
  • 0-to-62 mph done in 4.5 seconds
  • Top speed rated at 168 mph with optional Driver’s package
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic AWD
  • Multiple drive modes

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761056
“The big news in this department is the new EQ Boost starter-alternator, which can “momentarily” provide another 21.5 horsepower and a remarkable 184.4 pound-feet of torque.”

Pop the hood on this four-door, and you’ll first find a big plastic engine cover, as is tradition these days. However, under all that plastic, Mercedes is hiding an electrified 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, which gets pumped up by a twin-turbo set-up that includes one turbo spun by exhaust gases and a second turbo spun by an electric auxiliary compressor.

Of course, the big news in this department is the new EQ Boost starter-alternator, which can “momentarily” provide another 16 kW (21.5 horsepower) and a remarkable 250 Nm (184.4 pound-feet) of torque. The added muscle is great, but in addition to the extra go, the EQ Boost will also provide juice to the 48-volt onboard electrics.

This feature manages to combine a starter and alternator into a single electric motor, which Merc then mounted between the engine and transmission. According to the automaker, “This innovation as well as the intelligent charging via an electric auxiliary compressor and an exhaust gas turbocharger all have the same goal: to enhance the hallmark AMG performance and driving dynamics, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions.” We’re all for that first bit, but if Merc can one-up the output while also decreasing the fuel consumption, we’re all for it.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761025
“A system like this should provide a really solid whomp way down low in the rpm range, and once the engine is spinning fast enough, the gas-driven turbo will kick in for even more peak power.”

Indeed, a system like this should provide a really solid whomp way down low in the rpm range, and once the engine is spinning fast enough, the gas-driven turbo will kick in for even more peak power. That means that despite the high-boost applications, there’s no turbo lag, thus offering more refinement (less turbo thrash) and a super-sharp throttle response as well. Very nice.

All told, look out for this system to make into future hybrid applications from AMG. Even with a shift in priorities to higher efficiency, systems like this will keep the brand in the high-performance game. “Thanks to the 48 V battery, the overall battery capacity in the vehicle is increased, enabling more electrical energy to be made available – and therefore also allowing innovative functions to be introduced, for example,” Mercedes says. “The 48 V on-board electrical system is therefore paving the way for further hybridisation.”

While we’re on the subject, we might as well mention the fuel and energy savings that come with the 2018 model year. These include the previously mentioned 48-volt electric system, an energy recuperation system, and an engine start/stop system now offering smoother transitions between engine on and engine off. There’s also a glide mode that’ll let you coast when most appropriate. With all those systems combined, the AMG CLS 53 4Matic manages 8.4 liters per 100 km (28 mpg), as well as 200 grams per km in CO2 emissions.

More importantly, though, is output, which is rated at 435 horsepower and 520 Nm (384 pound-feet) of torque. All that muscle makes it quick, with the 0-to-100 km/h (62 mph) test done in only 4.5 seconds – solid sports car territory. Toss in the Driver’s package, and top speed looks like 270 km/h (168 mph), also impressive for such a large luxury four-door.

It’s also worth mentioning that the engine is shorter this time around, as Mercedes deleted the ancillary component belt drive. As a result, Merc was able to install the exhaust gas after-treatment system closer to the engine, yielding even higher levels of efficiency.


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761032
“Output is rated at 435 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. All that muscle makes it quick, with the 0-to-62 mph test done in only 4.5 seconds – solid sports car territory.”

Making the connection with the engine is an AMG Speedshift 9G automatic transmission. Merc prides itself on the nine-speed’s short shift times, and the quick-response you get from the shift paddles behind the steering wheel. Stand out features for the transmission include a double-declutching function, plus the ability to execute multiple downshifts at a time. Sport+ is the mode of choice for the most crispiest shifts possible, while the box also offers a fully manual mode for a more hands-on approach to the cog swaps.

After the transmission, power is fed into a fully variable all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4Matic+ system as standard. This comes with an electro-mechanically controlled clutch, as well as variable torque transfer between the front and rear axles. That means it can go full RWD when needed. Of course, we wouldn’t expect Mercedes to offer a “drift” button to smoke the rear meats on demand – it’s more about optimal grip, rather than burnouts. Pity.

Finally, there are multiple drive modes offered, which can be selected via the Dynamic Select knob in the cabin. The drive modes include names like Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual, and the modes affect a variety of systems, branching out into the engine, the transmission, the suspension, and the steering.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 3.0-litre 6-cylinder in-line engine with exhaust gas turbocharger and electric auxiliary compressor
Displacement 2,999 cc
Output 435 HP @ 6,100 RPM
Add. output with EQ Boost 22 HP
Peak torque 384 LB-FT @ 1,800-5,800 RPM
Add. torque with EQ Boost 184 LB-FT
Drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G
Fuel consumption – combined 8.5 l/100 km
CO2 emissions – combined 201 g/km
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 4.5 s
Top speed 250 km/h (155 mph)

Chassis And Handling

  • Independent air ride suspension components
  • Continuously variable dampers
  • Enormous brakes as standard
  • Self-leveling ride height
  • One-touch nose raise for steeply angled drives
  • Variable-ratio steering

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761055
“The AMG CLS 53 4Matic uses an advanced AMG Ride Control+ system, which offers multi-chamber air dampers to keep it all shiny side up. The damping is adjusted by way of two separate valves for the rebound and compression, and AMG matched it with spring tuning that keeps it feeling appropriately sporty.”

To keep this heavy luxury barge feeling as sprightly as physically possible, Mercedes utilizes a fully independent suspension layout with a multi-link set-up in the rear. The headline in this area is the advanced AMG Ride Control+ equipment, which offers multi-chamber air dampers to keep it all shiny side up. The damping is adjusted by way of two separate valves for the rebound and compression, and AMG matched it with spring tuning that keeps it feeling appropriately sporty. It’s also continuously adjustable for the damping, offering harder settings while cruising through the corners to help reduce the car’s inherent body roll.

The air suspension also offers a self-leveling feature for a consistent ride height “regardless of vehicle load.” Another perk is that the driver can raise the front end on demand to help maneuver up highly angled driveways or whatever else might be in the way. Just hit it with one button touch, and you’ll be good to go. The car will then automatically lower back to the normal ride height as you drive along.

Merc also mentions that there are special steering knuckles in front and new load-bearing joints as well, while extra negative camber was added this time around for crisper turn-in characteristics. Speaking of
turning, there’s an AMG speed-sensitive steering on board as well, offering a variable steering rack ratio and more feedback with the sportier drive modes.

Finally, the brakes are appropriately large for the application, measuring in with 370 mm (14.6-inch) by 36 mm (1.4-inch) discs in front, clamped by four-pot calipers. In back, there are 360 mm (14.2-inch) by 26 mm (1-inch) discs, clamped by single-pot calipers.

Prices


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761047

Official pricing was not announced as of this writing, but it’s probably safe to assume it’ll be around the $80,000 mark, considering the current V-8 powered 550 4Matic starts at $77,650 and the fire-breathing CLS 63 S starts at $108,900.

If so inclined, buyers can act early and get into the Exclusive Edition 1 version. The big ticket item here is the Copper Art interior, which adds the color to various interior bits, with copper-colored contrast stitching for the black nappa leather, plus more added to the instrument panel, armrests, center console, door panels, and floor mats. The center console is also done up with carbon fiber, while a Performance steering wheel, a number of “Edition” badges, 64-color ambient lighting, the Memory and Mirror package, and an IWC analogue clock round it out.

Competition

Audi S7


2015 Audi S7 - image 553149

Truth be told, Mercedes isn’t alone in offering four-door sports machines with coupe-like roof lines. Audi’s take on the formula is the S7, which comes with a handsome exterior that’s rather understated considering what it’s got in store under the hood – namely a 450-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, which sends power to the ground by way of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and permanent all-wheel drive system. Properly motivated, the S7 can hit 60 mph in a scant 4.5 seconds, all while coddling passengers in the utmost luxury. Pricing starts at $81,200.

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi S7.

Porsche Panamera


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681041

Despite a rather questionable take on the four-door coupe styling aesthetic, the Porsche Panamera has plenty in reserve when it comes to performance. Buyers get a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 sending power exclusively to the rear axle in the base model, but theAWD and twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 in the mid-range model would be a better fit for the AMG CLS. There’s even a hybrid model, if you’re so inclined. If performance and speed are at the top of your priority list, then the Panamera is likely the better buy.

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic - image 761052

The latest Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic is a great example of one of those niche vehicle segments that’s so popular these days. It’s elegant and luxurious, with four doors to get in and out and a well-appointed interior dripping with premium touches. At the same time, it’s sporty and performance-oriented, with loads of go available with every stab of the right pedal and a svelte coupe roof line to boot.

Now, it looks like Merc is stepping down a third path with the model, one that leads towards extra efficiency. Posting a 28-mpg fuel return figure for a machine like this is impressive, and we have no doubt the German brand will look to expand that number in the future.

All told, the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic is a great choice for those looking for something that can do it all. If the price is right, it’s definitely worth a drive.

  • Leave it
    • * Faster options already on the table
    • * More comfortable options already on the table
    • * No V-8 grumble from the exhaust pipes

References

Mercedes-Benz CLS


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 748196

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Xmotion Concept

Nissan didn’t have as big of a presence as other automakers at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. But that doesn’t matter. What it lacked in volume, Nissan made up for with the debut of the Xmotion, a concept SUV that’s meant to showcase what a future Nissan SUV could look like. The Xmotion generated a lot of reaction, though not all of them were of the positive nature.


Exterior


2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept - image 762639
“The exterior of the Nissan Xmotion Concept is a contrast in stylistic approach, something that Nissan intended to do from the beginning”

The exterior of the Nissan Xmotion Concept is a contrast in stylistic approach, something that Nissan
intended to do from the beginning. According to the automaker, the concept “fuses Japanese culture and traditional craftsmanship with American-style utility.” In some ways, Nissan is right to give that description because the Xmotion does draw heavily from the two design languages. The result, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

I’m confused with the XMotion Concept, not because it’s ugly — it’s not — but because it didn’t accomplish what it intended to by combining Western and Eastern design philosophies. In a word, the concept’s extra is confusing. The front section suffers from this design approach because it looks bulky from some angles and edgy on others. The U-shaped headlights are a nice design touch, but its appeal is swallowed up the massive V-motion grille that dominates the conversation. The front bumper looks brash and the under-body guards are too big for the concept.


2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept - image 762652
“The U-shaped headlights are a nice design touch, but its appeal is swallowed up the massive V-motion grille that dominates the conversation”

It’s the same story with those wheels. Nissan describes them as 21-inch “mechanical tool-inspired” aluminum alloy wheels. The tires themselves don’t come separate to the wheels; they’re actually “laminated” over the wheels. It’s certainly a novel approach on how the industry can integrate wheels and tires in the future, but I’m not a fan of the finished product.

There are some good spots in the exterior of the Xmotion.The side and rear profiles of the concept are easier on the eyes. The retractable roof box also has a nice design touch, and the tail light design is something I’d want to see in a future production Nissan. But for the most part, the Xmotion is provocative, though not in the way Nissan intended.

Interior

“As polarizing as the exterior of the Xmotion is, the interior looks very promising.”

As polarizing as the exterior of the Xmotion is, the interior looks very promising. Maybe it’s because Nissan opted to just use Japanese design themes as inspiration. The result is a more natural concept interpretation that I can fully get on-board with. There are some aspects that hilariously venture a little too far into a world of pure imagination. The seven digital screen portions are excessive, and the Japanese wood dashboard that was created using the kanawa tsugi wood joinery technique is unrealistic on a production level. Other than these two touches, the interior features elements that are intriguing.

The 4+2 passenger layout is interesting, and the ability to control the display and infotainment system with eye movements and gestures is promising from the standpoint of potential future integration.

Drivetrain


2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept - image 762650
“Nissan didn’t specify the kind of powertrain the Xmotion has.”

Nissan didn’t specify the kind of powertrain the Xmotion has. That’s probably because it doesn’t have any. The model is still a concept so certain liberties can be taken to stretch our imaginations.

It’s a different story if Nissan decides to build a production model. Should that happen, I think Nissan’s going to opt for either a hybrid or electric technology.
My first inclination is a powertrain similar to the one the IMx crossover reportedly has, specifically two “high-output” motors, one for each axle, that produce 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque combined. The powertrain also has a high-capacity battery that’s supposed to return a driving range of more than 372 miles per charge.

Conclusion


2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept - image 762626

I appreciate the boldness of the Nissan Xmotion. All concepts should carry a little bit of this approach because the very essence of concepts is to capture our imaginations. I’m not a fan of how the exterior turned out, but the interior looks like a promising look into the world of Nissan’s interior. I can’t speak for the engine and performance work of the concept because it doesn’t have any. All told, the Xmotion is an intriguing concept that did its job. It started discussions that turned into heated debates along the way. Like it or not, that’s the kind of reaction concepts should generate, to begin with.

  • Leave it
    • * Exterior looks confusing
    • * Those wheels are too radical
    • * No powertrain

References


New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas - image 758691

New Nissan Xmotion Concept Is A Mess Of Different Ideas


maker logos - image 744955

Read more Nissan news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus LF-1 Limitless

Back in 2014, Toyota got us excited with the FT-1 concept, an aggressive-looking sports car that many believed it previewed the next-generation Supra. The spy shots suggest that the production model won’t get that many styling cues from the radical concept, but the FT-1 remains the company’s greatest flagship car to date. Four years have passed, and Lexus is using a similar nameplate, now revised to LF-1, to showcase its own future flagship vehicle. But unlike its parent company, Lexus wants its range-topping luxury model to be a crossover. Meet the LF-1 Limitless, Lexus’ idea for a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover.

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the LF-1 Limitless preview a brand-new niche in the premium market. Or at least that’s what Lexus claims. Just like it established the luxury crossover segment with the RX 300 some two decades ago, the Japanese firm thinks it could invent a new class with the LF-1, the flagship crossover. Yes, it sounds a bit confusing, mainly because “flagship” is usually associated with the largest vehicle in a lineup, so the LF-1 would make more sense as a model placed above the LX, but hey, it’s the 21st century and rules have changed. Actually, the current automotive market no longer works by the book, so it’s not as awkward as it seems at first glance.

But it’s all PR talk so far, as Lexus hasn’t confirmed actual production plans for the LF-1. But this crossover looks gorgeous, and it’s packed with the company’s latest technology. Let’s have a closer look below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus LF-1 Limitless.

Exterior

  • Massive “spindle” grille
  • Coupe-like roof
  • 22-inch wheels
  • Sporty diffuser
  • Split rear spoiler
  • LED lights
  • Glass roof

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761554
“It’s athletic and muscular, it has a powerful appearance no matter the angle, and it blends performance and practicality”

“Like molten metal being forged into a fine Japanese sword, the lines of the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept have the potential to shape the future of a flagship luxury crossover for Lexus,” that’s how the Japanese carmaker described the crossover. Quite fancy, huh? Well, I’m not a big fan of fancy PR talk, but I’m so impressed with the LF-1’s design that I’m going to let Lexus get away with this one.

Just look at it. It has the ride height of an SUV, the width of race car, the roof of a coupe, and the overall stance of a full-fledged sports car. It’s athletic and muscular, it has a powerful appearance no matter the angle, and it blends performance and practicality. If this is the future of luxury SUVs, sign me up!


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761555
“It’s the LED lighting around the grille that sets it apart!”

The front fascia is somewhat familiar, with the “spindle” grille being the core element of the front end design, just like on all production Lexus models. But the grille is far from regular. Featuring a three-dimensional design with colors developed in-house by CALTY, its ridges are radiating away from the central emblem, suggesting magnetism guiding metal filings into shape. Interestingly enough, there’s not an inch of chrome on the mesh of the frame, but the grille still looks as imposing as they get. It’s the LED lighting around the grille that sets it apart! It lights up to greet the driver on arrival, and it’s a feature we might see on production models soon.


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761547
“The rear features a split spoiler and a glass section that extends above the rear seats”

The headlamps are thin and sharp, with two separate LED stripes extending toward the fender and into the bumper, respectively. The muscular hood rounds off the powerful appearance. The profile is a mix of clean and sculpted surfaces. While the front fender line extends from the hood all the way to the bottom of the C pillar without changing direction, the side skirts and the rear fenders have a more organic look with deep creases and sharp lines.

Around back, the thin taillights that seem to float over the rear fenders meet in a slender stripe that runs across the tailgate. The latter includes a split spoiler and a glass section that extends above the rear seats. Below we can see a big diffuser with a Formula One-style red light in the middle and big vents at the corners. Shaped like large exhaust pipes, these vents are actually functional, channeling the air coming past the rear wheels. That’s a big deal now with all production models featuring fake vents in the rear bumper.

Interior

  • Clean layout
  • Top-notch craftsmanship
  • Clutter-free center stack
  • Big display on the dash
  • Sporty steering wheel
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Metallic trim
  • Cocoa Brown leather
  • Chiffon White perforated leather seats
  • Rear seat entertainment
  • Chauffeur mode
  • 4D navigation

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761648
“Much like the exterior, the interior is a work of art”

Much like the exterior, the interior is a work of art. The layout is clean and simple, but the craftsmanship is top notch. The detailing is tasteful, and everything seems to be in the right place.

The dashboard sports a multi-tier design. There’s a main element covered in white leather, a big screen in the background, shiny trim on the center stack, and a black lower section. The instrument cluster sits high behind the steering wheel, just like in a race car. The cockpit was designed to allow the driver to concentrate on driving the car, so all analog knobs and buttons seen in regular cars have been removed in favor of motion-activated controls. An additional touchscreen is placed in the center stack, but the infotainment display was moved in front of the windshield, just like a head-up display.


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761680
“The center stack and center console wrap around the driver seat”

The center stack and center console wrap around the driver seat, with the champagne-colored trim emphasizing that effect. The steering wheel has controls on all three spokes, enabling the driver to use all features without having to look at the dashboard. The “park” and “reverse” functions can also be activated from here.

The metallic trim matches the exterior color and adds a pleasant contrast to the dark Cocoa Bean leather on the center console and door panels and the Chiffon White perforated leather on the seats. The individual seats in the rear are identical to those in the front for similar comfort and enhanced legroom. Rear-seat passengers have access to an individual display screen for adjusting climate control and entertainment options.


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761662
“The LF-1 is also equipped with Chauffeur mode, which allows for hands-free operation”

The LF-1 is also equipped with Chauffeur mode, which allows for hands-free operation thanks to the vehicle’s by-wire steering, braking, acceleration, lights and signals. Yes, it’s similar to Tesla’s Autopilot system and not yet available in production models.

The tech package also includes a four-dimensional navigation system which adds the element of time. It acts as a concierge for the occupants by anticipating the needs of the driver and passengers based on the progress, traffic and road conditions along the programmed trip, suggesting fuel stops, rest breaks and restaurants. It can even make hotel reservations. Navigation and route information can be displayed on passenger tablets and smartphones using the car’s wireless system.

Well, it’s a concept car, so I’m not surprised that Lexus debuted so many new technologies with it.

Drivetrain

  • Rear-wheel drive architecture
  • Could use hydrogen or electric drivetrain
  • Gasoline and hybrid also possible

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761674
“It could use fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or all-electric drivetrains”

Lexus left the drivetrain section open for the guessing game, saying that the possibilities are limitless and could include “fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric” drivetrain. A V-8 engine in this crossover would be great news for the gearhead in me, but I’m well aware that this won’t be an option when this vehicle goes into production. Lexus is already dropping V-8 engines in favor of smaller, twin-turbo V-6 powerplants and it’s already a fact that by around 2025, every Lexus model will be available either as an electrified model or will have a hybrid option.

But this isn’t necessarily bad news. Electric motor and battery technologies have come a long way, and they can now deliver solid performance. So an all-electric or hybrid LF-1 could be just as good as a V-8 model. Heck, Tesla also delivers incredible performance with the Model X, and I don’t see why Lexus won’t be able to do the same five years from now. The really big news here is that the concept crossover rides on a rear-wheel drive chassis. AWD would be nice as an option, but I’d take RWD over it any day of the week.

Conclusion


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761547

The LF-1 Limited was my favorite concept vehicle from the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. And I have to point out that I’m not a big fan of crossovers. This vehicle just seems perfect. It has the sporty design of a fastback sedan, the increased ride height of an SUV, and all the technology you could want in a modern vehicle. Sure, it doesn’t have a specific drivetrain, and it won’t go into production in this form anytime soon (or never?), but it previews a bright future for Lexus. And while it may seem a bit wild design-wise, the gap between the LF-1 concept and Lexus’ current production models isn’t that big. It’s actually very doable a couple of years from now. It just needs a cool interior and a powerful drivetrain, be it hybrid of fully electric. Okay, Lexus, where and when can I sign up for the LF-1?

  • Leave it
    • * Just a concept model for now
    • * Do we need a new crossover niche?

References


2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless - image 761625

There’s Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup


The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Is the Ultimate Luxury Crossover - image 758451

The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Is the Ultimate Luxury Crossover


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Edge

The Ford Edge has been around since 2007 and its current generation debuted in 2015. But the second-generation Edge was getting a little, well, dull, so Ford has given the mid-size crossover a sharpening. This mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year brings revamped aesthetics, few minor changes to the interior, and a slew of active safety equipment. In fact, Ford is claiming the 2019 Edge comes with more standard driver assist features than any of its competition.

So what makes the Edge so technologically adept? Well, the standard safety features list is long. It includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist. Basically, the 2019 Edge comes with all the latest (almost autonomous) driver aids without having to order an expensive option package. Here’s how the 2019 Ford Edge shapes up.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge.


Exterior

  • Restyled front fascia
  • Restyled rear fascia
  • LED headlights come standard
  • Available LED fog and accent lighting
  • Redesigned rear LED taillights
  • Four new wheel options
  • Four new color choices

2019 Ford Edge - image 762316
“Up front, the 2019 Edge gets a new, more upright grille, reshaped headlights, larger fog light openings, a restyled chin, and a new hood”

The pun about Ford sharpening the Edge for 2019 actually holds truth. The new model has a more angular design with crisper lines and harder edges. Like most mid-cycle refreshes, the majority of changes happen to the front and back.

Up front, the 2019 Edge gets a new, more upright grille, reshaped headlights, larger fog light openings, a restyled chin, and a new hood. The changes are subtle but help lend a more modern appeal to the crossover. The headlights are now also LED high and low beams as standard. The optional fog lights and accent lighting are LED, as well.

That same level of updates happen out back, too. The biggest change is the license plate relief; it’s larger now with the handle for the power-lift tailgate positioned closer to the bumper. It seems to give the Edge a taller, statelier appearance. The taillights are another big change. They move from having small internal details to larger, bolder sections behind the reshaped clear lens. Like before, they are LED.


2019 Ford Edge - image 762312
“The lower apron is restyled with a more pronounced (yet still fake) skid plate and dual exhaust tips”

The rear bumper didn’t escape the designers’ touch. The lower apron is restyled with a more pronounced (yet still fake) skid plate and dual exhaust tips. The bumper’s sides now have a faux exhaust vent cut vertically into the quarter panel. Beyond the modified bodywork, four new wheels and four new color choices span the options list.

Interior

  • Updated center console
  • New rotary shift knob
  • New wireless phone charger
  • Updated SYNC 3 with FordPass
  • New Ford+Alexa app

2019 Ford Edge - image 762333
“Ford didn’t reinvent the Edge’s interior for 2019 but certainly gave it a few welcomed updates”

Ford didn’t reinvent the Edge’s interior for 2019 but certainly gave it a few welcomed updates. In fact, all the changes take place in the center console. The shift lever has been replaced with a rotary shift knob similar to the 2018 Ford Expedition. As such, the knob frees up extra space in the console, allowing for vertically mounted cup holders along the right side and a coin tray along the bottom. Buttons for the automatic start/stop system and parking aids are located below the shifter, along with the electronic parking brake.

Inside the hidden storage compartment under the HVAC controls lies a wireless phone charger and two USB ports. The new physical smartphone integration goes along with the new FordPass system. It is Ford’s Wi-Fi hotspot with bandwidth for 10 devices. FordPass also allows the owner to access the vehicle via their smartphone. Services include operating door locks, locating the vehicle, and even starting it up.

Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system now comes with Amazon Alexa integration. Called Ford+Alexa, the software works like a standard Alexa personal assistant, letting users voice-control various things like calendar entries, navigation controls, smart home features, and several in-vehicle things like radio settings and media content. This all takes place within the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen display.


2019 Ford Edge - image 762334
“The shift lever has been replaced with a rotary shift knob similar to the 2018 Ford Expedition”

Speaking of the radio, the 2019 Edge offers an optional 12-speaker B&O PLAY sound system from Harman. SiriusXM and HD Radio are integrated as standard.

The 2019 Ford Edge continues with the same passenger and cargo space as before. The rear cargo space offers 39.2 cubic feet of room, but with the 60/40-split second row folded flat, the room expands to 73.4 cubic feet. Legroom is generous, too, with front occupants getting 42.6 inches and rear passengers getting 40.6 inches. Headroom is also respectable with both rows getting no less than 40.2 inches.

Drivetrain

  • Updated 2.0-liter EcoBoost adds five horsepower
  • 250 horsepower & 275 pound-feet of torque
  • New eight-speed automatic transmission
  • FWD standard; AWD optional
  • 3.5-liter V-6 no longer offered

2019 Ford Edge - image 762317
“Ford has also made some significant changes behind the 2019 Edge’s new grille”

Ford has also made some significant changes behind the 2019 Edge’s new grille. Gone is the 3.5-liter V-6 option. The sole powerplant is the carry-over 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, well, save for the new Edge ST’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost making 355 horsepower.

But for those not getting the sporty Edge ST, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost should prove just fine. Ford updated the engine with five more horsepower over last year, bringing the total to 250, while torque remains unchanged at 275 pound-feet. Ford also promises the new 2.0-liter will be more fuel efficient than before.

Much of the efficiency improvements likely come from the Edge’s new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces last year’s six-speed auto. The new gearbox should help the Edge realize a few more ticks on the highway fuel economy rating. A new automatic start/stop system is also added. The outdoing 2018 Edge with the 2.0-liter and FWD is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. Count on the 2019 Edge breaking the 30 mpg highway barrier.

As before, AWD is optional.

Safety Technology

  • Every 2019 Edge comes standard with active safety tech
  • New Evasive Steering Assist actively steers away from danger

2019 Ford Edge - image 762319
“A big selling point for the 2019 Edge is the long list of standard safety features at no extra charge”

A big selling point for the 2019 Edge is the long list of standard safety features at no extra charge. On the active front, the Edge includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-Keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist.

Optional active safety equipment includes a few newcomers to the Edge’s toolbox includes Post-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-And-Go and Lane Centering. There is also something called Evasive Steering Assist. It works by helping the driver steering around stopped or slower moving vehicles by adding steering input if the driver doesn’t quite provide enough action.

On the passive side, the Edge comes with the typical stuff like traction control, roll stability control, Ford’s Curve Control, and a 911 Assist feature. Dual front airbags, side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags are also in the mix.

Pricing


2019 Ford Edge - image 762320

Ford has not released pricing for the 2019 Edge at the time of this writing, but we expect that information sometime before the Edge reaches dealerships in the summer of 2018.

The current 2018 Ford Edge carries a starting price of $23,850 for the base S trim. The more middle-America SE trim starts at $25,605 while the mid-range SLE starts at $28,005. The range-topping Titanium trim starts at $32,045. We expect these prices to have a $200 to $500 increase on each trim level.

The Competition

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport


2017 Hyundai Santa Fe - image 665174

The Santa Fe Sport is like the Santa Fe, only without the third row and without any real sport. Get past the name and this of this as the Tahoe version of Chevy’s Suburban. Like the Ford Edge, the Santa Fe Sport is only a two-row crossover yet its larger size technically makes it a mid-size crossover. The same is true for the Nissan Murano below.
That the Hyundai offers is a great deal, a solid warranty, and an all-around great package for the price. Its exterior is decently handsome and its interior is well equipped (especially in upper trims).

The Santa Fe Sport does offer several active safety features, but you’ll pay to get them. Things like blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and adaptive low beams are all optional features. Count on Hyundai changing this in the years to come.

The 2018 Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making only 185 horsepower. Standard on all but the base trim is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making a more respectable 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox, but customers can choose between FWD and AWD. Fuel economy for the 2.0T in FWD is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Adding AWD drops the numbers to 19/26/22 respectively.

Prices for the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport start at $22,200 for the 2.4-liter version. Hop up to the 2.0T in the base trim, and the price jumps to $28,350. The Sport 2.0T Ultimate trim starts at $32,650.

Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

Nissan Murano


2016 Nissan Murano – Driven - image 687622

The Murano has been around since 2015, but Nissan has added several active safety features for 2018. Standard features include Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning on every trim, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard on SV trims, and adaptive cruise control as standard on the SL and Platinum trims. A new center console is said to be more user-friendly and the NissanConnect infotainment system with its 8.0-inch screen offers navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Power comes from a single engine – the ole 3.5-liter V-6. It makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque and continues to pair with a Continuously Variable Transmission. AWD can be had for $1,600 on any trim level. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. Impressively, AWD does not affect fuel economy.

Pricing for the 2018 Nissan Murano starts at $30,550. The mid-grade SV trim starts at $33,850 and the SL trim at $38,250. The decked-out Platinum trim carries a base price of $41,980 but includes just about every bell and whistle as standard.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Murano..

Conclusion


2019 Ford Edge - image 757857

The 2019 Ford Edge might not be completely new, but Ford has done a great job at revitalizing one of its key vehicles. The Edge competes in an extremely competitive segment these days, so Ford has to offer its A-game in order to succeed. With so many active safety features as standard – plus new exterior styling, a new tech-rich center console, and upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four – it seems Ford knows what customers are looking for.

We look forward to getting behind the wheel and experiencing these updates first-hand. Once that happens, we’ll bring you the in-depth coverage you’ve come to expect here at TopSpeed.com. In the meantime, check out our coverage on the 2019 Ford Edge ST below.

  • Leave it
    • * No more V-6 option
    • * Price increase

References

Ford Edge


Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm - image 759179

Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm


2019 Ford Edge ST - image 757605

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge ST.

Ford Edge


2015 Ford Edge - image 557596

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Edge.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Edge

The Ford Edge has been around since 2007 and its current generation debuted in 2015. But the second-generation Edge was getting a little, well, dull, so Ford has given the mid-size crossover a sharpening. This mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year brings revamped aesthetics, few minor changes to the interior, and a slew of active safety equipment. In fact, Ford is claiming the 2019 Edge comes with more standard driver assist features than any of its competition.

So what makes the Edge so technologically adept? Well, the standard safety features list is long. It includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist. Basically, the 2019 Edge comes with all the latest (almost autonomous) driver aids without having to order an expensive option package. Here’s how the 2019 Ford Edge shapes up.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge.


Exterior

  • Restyled front fascia
  • Restyled rear fascia
  • LED headlights come standard
  • Available LED fog and accent lighting
  • Redesigned rear LED taillights
  • Four new wheel options
  • Four new color choices

2019 Ford Edge - image 762316
“Up front, the 2019 Edge gets a new, more upright grille, reshaped headlights, larger fog light openings, a restyled chin, and a new hood”

The pun about Ford sharpening the Edge for 2019 actually holds truth. The new model has a more angular design with crisper lines and harder edges. Like most mid-cycle refreshes, the majority of changes happen to the front and back.

Up front, the 2019 Edge gets a new, more upright grille, reshaped headlights, larger fog light openings, a restyled chin, and a new hood. The changes are subtle but help lend a more modern appeal to the crossover. The headlights are now also LED high and low beams as standard. The optional fog lights and accent lighting are LED, as well.

That same level of updates happen out back, too. The biggest change is the license plate relief; it’s larger now with the handle for the power-lift tailgate positioned closer to the bumper. It seems to give the Edge a taller, statelier appearance. The taillights are another big change. They move from having small internal details to larger, bolder sections behind the reshaped clear lens. Like before, they are LED.


2019 Ford Edge - image 762312
“The lower apron is restyled with a more pronounced (yet still fake) skid plate and dual exhaust tips”

The rear bumper didn’t escape the designers’ touch. The lower apron is restyled with a more pronounced (yet still fake) skid plate and dual exhaust tips. The bumper’s sides now have a faux exhaust vent cut vertically into the quarter panel. Beyond the modified bodywork, four new wheels and four new color choices span the options list.

Interior

  • Updated center console
  • New rotary shift knob
  • New wireless phone charger
  • Updated SYNC 3 with FordPass
  • New Ford+Alexa app

2019 Ford Edge - image 762333
“Ford didn’t reinvent the Edge’s interior for 2019 but certainly gave it a few welcomed updates”

Ford didn’t reinvent the Edge’s interior for 2019 but certainly gave it a few welcomed updates. In fact, all the changes take place in the center console. The shift lever has been replaced with a rotary shift knob similar to the 2018 Ford Expedition. As such, the knob frees up extra space in the console, allowing for vertically mounted cup holders along the right side and a coin tray along the bottom. Buttons for the automatic start/stop system and parking aids are located below the shifter, along with the electronic parking brake.

Inside the hidden storage compartment under the HVAC controls lies a wireless phone charger and two USB ports. The new physical smartphone integration goes along with the new FordPass system. It is Ford’s Wi-Fi hotspot with bandwidth for 10 devices. FordPass also allows the owner to access the vehicle via their smartphone. Services include operating door locks, locating the vehicle, and even starting it up.

Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system now comes with Amazon Alexa integration. Called Ford+Alexa, the software works like a standard Alexa personal assistant, letting users voice-control various things like calendar entries, navigation controls, smart home features, and several in-vehicle things like radio settings and media content. This all takes place within the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen display.


2019 Ford Edge - image 762334
“The shift lever has been replaced with a rotary shift knob similar to the 2018 Ford Expedition”

Speaking of the radio, the 2019 Edge offers an optional 12-speaker B&O PLAY sound system from Harman. SiriusXM and HD Radio are integrated as standard.

The 2019 Ford Edge continues with the same passenger and cargo space as before. The rear cargo space offers 39.2 cubic feet of room, but with the 60/40-split second row folded flat, the room expands to 73.4 cubic feet. Legroom is generous, too, with front occupants getting 42.6 inches and rear passengers getting 40.6 inches. Headroom is also respectable with both rows getting no less than 40.2 inches.

Drivetrain

  • Updated 2.0-liter EcoBoost adds five horsepower
  • 250 horsepower & 275 pound-feet of torque
  • New eight-speed automatic transmission
  • FWD standard; AWD optional
  • 3.5-liter V-6 no longer offered

2019 Ford Edge - image 762317
“Ford has also made some significant changes behind the 2019 Edge’s new grille”

Ford has also made some significant changes behind the 2019 Edge’s new grille. Gone is the 3.5-liter V-6 option. The sole powerplant is the carry-over 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, well, save for the new Edge ST’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost making 355 horsepower.

But for those not getting the sporty Edge ST, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost should prove just fine. Ford updated the engine with five more horsepower over last year, bringing the total to 250, while torque remains unchanged at 275 pound-feet. Ford also promises the new 2.0-liter will be more fuel efficient than before.

Much of the efficiency improvements likely come from the Edge’s new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces last year’s six-speed auto. The new gearbox should help the Edge realize a few more ticks on the highway fuel economy rating. A new automatic start/stop system is also added. The outdoing 2018 Edge with the 2.0-liter and FWD is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. Count on the 2019 Edge breaking the 30 mpg highway barrier.

As before, AWD is optional.

Safety Technology

  • Every 2019 Edge comes standard with active safety tech
  • New Evasive Steering Assist actively steers away from danger

2019 Ford Edge - image 762319
“A big selling point for the 2019 Edge is the long list of standard safety features at no extra charge”

A big selling point for the 2019 Edge is the long list of standard safety features at no extra charge. On the active front, the Edge includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-Keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist.

Optional active safety equipment includes a few newcomers to the Edge’s toolbox includes Post-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-And-Go and Lane Centering. There is also something called Evasive Steering Assist. It works by helping the driver steering around stopped or slower moving vehicles by adding steering input if the driver doesn’t quite provide enough action.

On the passive side, the Edge comes with the typical stuff like traction control, roll stability control, Ford’s Curve Control, and a 911 Assist feature. Dual front airbags, side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags are also in the mix.

Pricing


2019 Ford Edge - image 762320

Ford has not released pricing for the 2019 Edge at the time of this writing, but we expect that information sometime before the Edge reaches dealerships in the summer of 2018.

The current 2018 Ford Edge carries a starting price of $23,850 for the base S trim. The more middle-America SE trim starts at $25,605 while the mid-range SLE starts at $28,005. The range-topping Titanium trim starts at $32,045. We expect these prices to have a $200 to $500 increase on each trim level.

The Competition

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport


2017 Hyundai Santa Fe - image 665174

The Santa Fe Sport is like the Santa Fe, only without the third row and without any real sport. Get past the name and this of this as the Tahoe version of Chevy’s Suburban. Like the Ford Edge, the Santa Fe Sport is only a two-row crossover yet its larger size technically makes it a mid-size crossover. The same is true for the Nissan Murano below.
That the Hyundai offers is a great deal, a solid warranty, and an all-around great package for the price. Its exterior is decently handsome and its interior is well equipped (especially in upper trims).

The Santa Fe Sport does offer several active safety features, but you’ll pay to get them. Things like blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and adaptive low beams are all optional features. Count on Hyundai changing this in the years to come.

The 2018 Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making only 185 horsepower. Standard on all but the base trim is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making a more respectable 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox, but customers can choose between FWD and AWD. Fuel economy for the 2.0T in FWD is EPA-estimated at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Adding AWD drops the numbers to 19/26/22 respectively.

Prices for the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport start at $22,200 for the 2.4-liter version. Hop up to the 2.0T in the base trim, and the price jumps to $28,350. The Sport 2.0T Ultimate trim starts at $32,650.

Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

Nissan Murano


2016 Nissan Murano – Driven - image 687622

The Murano has been around since 2015, but Nissan has added several active safety features for 2018. Standard features include Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning on every trim, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard on SV trims, and adaptive cruise control as standard on the SL and Platinum trims. A new center console is said to be more user-friendly and the NissanConnect infotainment system with its 8.0-inch screen offers navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Power comes from a single engine – the ole 3.5-liter V-6. It makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque and continues to pair with a Continuously Variable Transmission. AWD can be had for $1,600 on any trim level. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. Impressively, AWD does not affect fuel economy.

Pricing for the 2018 Nissan Murano starts at $30,550. The mid-grade SV trim starts at $33,850 and the SL trim at $38,250. The decked-out Platinum trim carries a base price of $41,980 but includes just about every bell and whistle as standard.

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Murano..

Conclusion


2019 Ford Edge - image 757857

The 2019 Ford Edge might not be completely new, but Ford has done a great job at revitalizing one of its key vehicles. The Edge competes in an extremely competitive segment these days, so Ford has to offer its A-game in order to succeed. With so many active safety features as standard – plus new exterior styling, a new tech-rich center console, and upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four – it seems Ford knows what customers are looking for.

We look forward to getting behind the wheel and experiencing these updates first-hand. Once that happens, we’ll bring you the in-depth coverage you’ve come to expect here at TopSpeed.com. In the meantime, check out our coverage on the 2019 Ford Edge ST below.

  • Leave it
    • * No more V-6 option
    • * Price increase

References

Ford Edge


Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm - image 759179

Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm


2019 Ford Edge ST - image 757605

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge ST.

Ford Edge


2015 Ford Edge - image 557596

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Edge.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Veloster

First introduced in 2011 at the Detroit Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster initially hit the scene as a replacement for the Hyundai Tiburon, the FWD 2+2 coupe built between 1996 and 2008. By contrast, the Veloster changed it up with a funky hatchback profile and 2+1 door layout (one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s side). In a segment filled to the brim with hard-hitting, well-established competition, the Veloster is a bit of an upstart, shaking things up with a unique attitude that still manages to make fun-behind-the-wheel a top priority. Throughout its life cycle, we’ve seen a wide variety of custom takes on the Veloster, but now, Hyundai is offering up a whole new second generation. Once again making its debuts at the Detroit Auto Show, the latest 2019 model year brings with it a variety of models and trim levels, including the base model, and the mid-grade Turbo and R-Spec models. There’s even a go-faster N version if that happens to be more your speed (check out our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N). Just as it was before, the new Veloster once again aims at catching the eye of enthusiasts, with a focus on making the whole package more engaging, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of the driving experience. The latest model year also comes with a good bit upgraded infotainment stuff as well.

But will the Veloster’s sophomore effort be enough to topple equally enticing offerings from the likes of Mazda, Honda, or Ford? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Hyundai Veloster.

Exterior

  • Sharper exterior styling
  • 2+1 body style
  • Functional air curtains and aero enhancements
  • LED lighting
  • 7 paint options
  • Available two-tone scheme with black roof

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761437
“Hyundai decided to pen up a new design, employing a joint effort between Hyundai's designers in Irvine, California, and its designers in Seoul, South Korea. The end result is more aggressive and head-turning than the first-gen model.”

While the 2019 Hyundai Veloster looks newer and sharper than the model that came before it, the styling basics are more or less unchanged. For example, it still offers an asymmetric two-door hatchback body style with a subtle third door added to the passenger’s side. Think of it kinda like a 2+1 body style, with a 2+2 interior.

However, to help it look and feel like the second generation that it is, Hyundai decided to pen up a new design, employing a joint effort between Hyundai’s designers in Irvine, California, and its designers in Seoul, South Korea. The end result is more aggressive and head-turning than the first-gen model, so let’s dive into the specifics.

Up front, we find a larger hexagonal grille, with sharper creases and an expanded upper section. The grille comes with a cool 3D aesthetic, and uses a black diamond-patterned insert to ward off any wayward pieces of the terrain. The lower bits incorporate functional air curtains, which not only help to increase the front-end aero efficiency, but also look great, with multiple layers stacked on one another in a manner that reminds us of a race-spec splitter. The lowest section is finished in a matte black color.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761449
“The lower bits incorporate functional air curtains, which not only help to increase the front-end aero efficiency, but also look great, with multiple layers stacked on one another in a manner that reminds us of a race-spec splitter.”

A little higher up we have the headlights, which get LEDs for the primary lighting element and the daytime running lights. The housings also look simpler in their shape, with down-turned creases rather than the check-mark shape of the older generation. The older fog lights are gone this time around, replaced with black block-off plates in the corners. Even the hood looks meaner, now arriving with a set of character lines that help increase the car’s sense of forward motion.

Moving around into the 2019 Veloster’s profile, and you’ll notice that the fender flares are now larger than before, with the increased dimensions adding a little extra visual beefiness to the car’s stance. The cowl point and A-pillar were also moved towards the rear, connecting with the hood line and belt line to create a more cohesive look. While subtle, those profile character lines look good on the hatch, especially with the lowered roof line. The side skirts lead the eye rearwards and into the rear fenders, enhancing the taut appearance even more. In the corners, customers can get theirs with optional 18-inch alloy wheels.

left
right
“The first-generation Hyundai Veloster (pictured on the left) is simpler and rounder in its design, where as the second-generation (pictured right) is more aggressive and sharper. And we like that – it's a move that works well for the segment.”

Step around to the rear of the Veloster, and you’ll find a more technical, detail-heavy design than the first generation. The
first thing that jumps out is the integrated diffuser, which sits prominently at the lower edge of the bumper, complementing the front bumper well. In the middle of the diffuser is the exhaust, with a single outlet used for the base model 2.0-liter and a dual set-up for the Turbo and R-Spec models. Chrome plating is used to add extra bling factor. The taillights wrap around from the rear fenders and get a sweeping set of Y-shaped graphics, plus the option for LED lighting.

Topping it off is a solid selection of exterior paint options, including Ultra Black, Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray, Sunset Orange, Racing Red, and Space Gray. You can also option in a black roof treatment for that two-tone appearance, if desired (we definitely recommend it!).

Interior

  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • Horizontal dash layout replaces older vertical set-up
  • Checkered background for the gauge cluster
  • Contrasting stitching elements in the upholstery
  • Cloth, cloth and leather, or all-leather options
  • Intake and exhaust sound enhancement feature

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761402
“With the exterior of the Veloster looking a good deal sharper this time around, the interior also gets a redesign that makes it a lot more desirable.”

With the exterior of the Veloster looking a good deal sharper this time around, the interior also gets a redesign that makes it a lot more desirable. While the older model’s 2+2 seating layout is retained, the dash now employs a complementary asymmetric design that emphasizes the driver’s position by placing additional buttons closer to that side of the cockpit. The steering wheel was updated, and now looks smaller and a bit oblong thanks to a much shorter center spoke and lower center line. There’s still nice hand bolsters at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, and the air vents are horizontal, rather than vertical like the first gen.

The center console is also more horizontal now, and no longer set in a “vee” shape like the outgoing model. There’s a two-tier button scheme, with the lower half employed for the climate control and upper portion used for infotainment. The infotainment screen is placed in an upright position on the top of the dash. The gauges look new as well, with a slick checkered background enhancing the car’s sporting intentions.

Go for the the Turbo Ultimate model, and you’ll get a contrasting color scheme that helps to isolate the driver’s position. Further unique colors, materials, and other interior features can be had depending on the trim level picked. In particular we like the red offset against the black in the Turbo model – definitely understated, but effective nonetheless.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761370
“All models also get Active Sound Design, which supposedly enhances intake and ehxust noises for a more engaging experience. It's a bit like cheating, but don't worry Hyundai – we won't tell anyone.”

Interior materials include either cloth, cloth and leather, or all leather, depending on the trim and options picked. All models also get Active Sound Design, which “enhances intake and exhaust powertrain sound character inside the cabin for a more visceral driving experience, especially during spirited driving.” It’s a bit like cheating, but don’t worry Hyundai – we won’t tell anyone.

Heading the list of updates for the 2019 model year is a wide selection of fresh infotainment and greater connectivity features. Standard spec tosses in the usual goodies, such as AM, FM, and MP3 support, plus a host of auxiliary inputs. Controlling it all is a standard 7.0-inch LCD infotainment screen, but buyers can opt into the 8.0-inch “floating screen” for a little extra outlay. These come with a multi-touch screen plus menu swipe function for easier operation, and offer a good deal of smartphone support as well. There’s Apple Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, plus the full Apple CarPlay system and Android Auto as well. SiriusXM radio and HD Radio are also part of the package, as is the next-gen Blue Link with LTE connectivity. This comes with three years of complimentary service, offering up features like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door lock and unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link also integrates with your smartwatch for those ultimate James Bond vibes.

The 2019 Veloster is also offered with an optional navigation screen and real-time traffic info, an optional Infinity audio system with eight speakers (including a subwoofer and Clari-Fi sound processing), and an optional Qi wireless charging. That last bit will even send you a notice when your phone is fully charged, plus it’ll remind you to grab it before exiting the vehicle.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761430
“One of the coolest extras has to be the optional heads-up display, which pops out of the dash as soon as you push a button next the steering wheel. The HUD displays the current road speed, navigation directions, assist system status, and audio system info.”

One of the coolest extras has to be the optional heads-up display, which
pops out of the dash as soon as you push a button next the steering wheel. The HUD displays the current road speed, navigation directions, assist system status (more on the assists in a second), and audio system info. It’ll also adapt to whatever your chosen drive mode may be, with Sport mode offering a focus on performance stuff like engine rpm, road speed, and current transmission gear. Once you’re done with the HUD, push a button, and it’ll recede back into the dash and out of view.

As is tradition for all new cars, the 2019 Veloster comes with a broad selection of safety systems, with features like standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which utilizes a forward-facing camera that can detect a collision before it happens and automatically apply the brakes to lessen the impact, or avoid the collision all together. The camera also provides the Veloster with features like lane-keep assist, high-beam assist, and driver attention warning.

Hyundai also equipped it with a radar system, which enables further safety and convenience features like a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Finally, all models get a standard rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, and a six-airbag protection system in case you really bin it.

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Higher trims get 201-horsepower turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • 1.6-liter comes with overboost function
  • Transmission options include six-speed manual, six-speed auto, and seven-speed DCT
  • Multiple drive modes

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761429
“Delve into the reshaped nose on the 2019 Veloster, and you'll find a few tweaked engine bits to help it perform, both in terms of speed and in terms of efficiency”

Delve into the reshaped nose on the 2019 Veloster, and you’ll find a few tweaked engine bits to help it perform, both in terms of speed and in terms of efficiency. The base model tosses the old model’s 1.6-liter four-banger with a new a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with Atkinson-cycle. Dubbed the Nu 2.0-liter, this unit produces a maximum of 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, besting the outgoing model’s rather paltry 132 ponies. Standout features for the Nu 2.0-liter include Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, an electronic throttle, variable induction, and a new anti-friction cylinder coating material. Go for this powerplant, and you can pair it with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.

If a little less than 150 horses just won’t cut the mustard for ya, you can option up to the much more exciting Gamma 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Thanks to direct injection and extra atmosphere stuffed into its cylinders, this zippy little ’four makes as much as 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (matching the old turbo’s peak power level) and 195 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. And despite its forced induction aspiration, it also takes regular fuel, prompting Hyundai to claim a best-in-class specific output (125.6 horsepower per liter). There’s even an overboost function that adds a smidgen of extra twist, pumping it up to 202 pound-feet. That’s not a lot, but hey – overboost is always a pretty cool function, don’tcha think?


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761369
“If less than 150 horses doesn't do it for ya, you can option up to the 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Thanks to direct injection and extra atmosphere stuffed into its cylinders, this zippy little 'four makes as much as 201 horsepower.”

If you decide to go for the turbo, the transmission options include either a six-speed manual with three pedals, or a seven-speed dual-clutch unit with steering wheel paddle shifters. It should be noted that the dual-clutch transmission option offers a “direct connection” for greater efficiency and “uninterrupted torque transfer” while upshifting, plus a Hillstart Assist Control for easier driving on steep inclines. No more handbrake trick for you.

To make the most of what its got, the Veloster offers pilots a variety of driving modes. These include such self-explanatory titles as Normal, Sport, and Smart, and the different software affects settings for the engine, transmission, and steering.

Finally, if you’re looking for the fastest Veloster on the block, you’ll wanna go with the 275-horsepower N model. Check out our full review here.

Chassis And Handling

  • Four-wheel independent suspension set-up
  • Torque Vector Control as standard
  • Manual transmission will get you 18-inch alloys wrapped in summer rubber
  • Motor-drive electric power steering
  • Quicker steering ratio higher in the line

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761448
“While having a solid amount of go under the hood is always welcome in a sporty little hatchback, it's far more important to have the proper suspension bits in the corners to make the most of it.”

While having a solid amount of go under the hood is always welcome in a sporty little hatchback, it’s far more important to have the proper suspension bits in the corners to make the most of it. To that end, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo model gets a MacPherson strut suspension in front, which includes coils springs, gas shocks, and a stabilizer bar sized at 24 mm. Meanwhile, the rear gets an independent multi-link with a 19 mm stabilizer bar, plus gas shocks.

All models get Torque Vectoring Control, which is an active electronic assistance program that detects wheel slippage via an array of individual wheel sensors. After slippage is detected, the system then applies braking force as needed to the inside front wheel, while also increasing power to the outside wheel, thus enhancing cornering prowess in the process.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761379
“Go for the Turbo model, and you'll get revised calibration and a faster ratio for extra response when wheeling around in the bends.”

Further turn assist is made by the motor-driven electric power steering system, which gets adjustable electric assist depending on the “driving conditions.” Go for the Turbo model, and you’ll get revised calibration and a faster ratio for extra response when wheeling around in the bends. Opt into the manual transmission, and Hyundai will mount 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires.

Rounding it off is the usual lineup of safety systems, such as Vehicle Stability Management and Electronic Stability Control. There’s also four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist, and electronic brake force distribution.

Prices


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761449

Production for the 2019 Hyundai Veloster kicks off in March of this year, with the latest models slated to roll off the line at Hyundai’s plant in Ulsan, South Korea. Look for availability in the U.S. market by the second quarter of 2018.

As for pricing, Hyundai has yet to divulge exact numbers, but we expect a starting figure a little under $20,000, given the current model starts at $18,100.

Competition

Honda Civic Coupe


2016 Honda Civic Coupe - image 655937

While slightly less aggressive than the race-tastic Hyundai Veloster, the Civic still manages to bring the goods in the fun department. The suspension tuning finds a sweet spot between comfort and corner-carving, while myriad engine choices offer up to 180 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque in the 1.5-liter Sport model. FWD is standard, while transmission options include both a manual and a CVT. You can also get yours in a variety of different body styles, including a coupe, sedan, or hatchback. Pricing starts at a Hyundai-matching $18,840.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Coupe.

Mazda3


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639255

Matching FWD agility with an affordable price tag and hatchback practicality is a specialty of the Mazda3, and it shows as soon as you start giving it a little extra gusto in the corners. It all starts with that zoom-zoom-style independent suspension, while engine options include 155 horses from a 2.0-liter ’four in the base model, or 184 horses from a 2.5-liter ’four in the higher trims. Outside is the head-turning good looks of Mazda’s Kodo design language, while the interior is composed of a variety of top-shelf materials. Pricing starts at $18,095.

Read our full review on the 2016-2018 Mazda3.

Conclusion


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761465

Truth be told, we here at TopSpeed love a good hot hatchback, and it would appear as though the 2019 Hyundai Veloster ticks all the important boxes in our list of requirements. We think the new design looks great, offering an aggressive, super-sharp style that’s just right for the segment. We also really like the three-door body style, and the large wheel options as well. The interior equipment is nice, and although the layout is a little too subtle and the 2+2 passenger seating is a bit cramped, it gets the job done all the same. Performance-wise, the Veloster makes it happen with solid suspension bits and the available 200-horsepower powertrain spec.

That said, there are more practical and more refined options on the table, and the Veloster still has some proving to do in the long-run. This is a segment filled with well-established nameplates, and up against the likes of Honda or Mazda, Hyundai is still cementing its position.

Not that it’s a bad choice – quite the opposite, actually. If you’re in the market for a fun, attractive, sporty hatchback, then this is definitely one worthy of checking out.

  • Leave it
    • * More refinement offered elsewhere in the segment
    • * Interior might get a bit cramped with more than 2 passengers
    • * Wouldn’t you rather spring for the go-faster N model?

References

Hyundai Veloster


2019 Hyundai Veloster N - image 761352

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N.


2016 Hyundai Veloster - image 755389

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Veloster.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Veloster

First introduced in 2011 at the Detroit Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster initially hit the scene as a replacement for the Hyundai Tiburon, the FWD 2+2 coupe built between 1996 and 2008. By contrast, the Veloster changed it up with a funky hatchback profile and 2+1 door layout (one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s side). In a segment filled to the brim with hard-hitting, well-established competition, the Veloster is a bit of an upstart, shaking things up with a unique attitude that still manages to make fun-behind-the-wheel a top priority. Throughout its life cycle, we’ve seen a wide variety of custom takes on the Veloster, but now, Hyundai is offering up a whole new second generation. Once again making its debuts at the Detroit Auto Show, the latest 2019 model year brings with it a variety of models and trim levels, including the base model, and the mid-grade Turbo and R-Spec models. There’s even a go-faster N version if that happens to be more your speed (check out our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N). Just as it was before, the new Veloster once again aims at catching the eye of enthusiasts, with a focus on making the whole package more engaging, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of the driving experience. The latest model year also comes with a good bit upgraded infotainment stuff as well.

But will the Veloster’s sophomore effort be enough to topple equally enticing offerings from the likes of Mazda, Honda, or Ford? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Hyundai Veloster.

Exterior

  • Sharper exterior styling
  • 2+1 body style
  • Functional air curtains and aero enhancements
  • LED lighting
  • 7 paint options
  • Available two-tone scheme with black roof

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761437
“Hyundai decided to pen up a new design, employing a joint effort between Hyundai's designers in Irvine, California, and its designers in Seoul, South Korea. The end result is more aggressive and head-turning than the first-gen model.”

While the 2019 Hyundai Veloster looks newer and sharper than the model that came before it, the styling basics are more or less unchanged. For example, it still offers an asymmetric two-door hatchback body style with a subtle third door added to the passenger’s side. Think of it kinda like a 2+1 body style, with a 2+2 interior.

However, to help it look and feel like the second generation that it is, Hyundai decided to pen up a new design, employing a joint effort between Hyundai’s designers in Irvine, California, and its designers in Seoul, South Korea. The end result is more aggressive and head-turning than the first-gen model, so let’s dive into the specifics.

Up front, we find a larger hexagonal grille, with sharper creases and an expanded upper section. The grille comes with a cool 3D aesthetic, and uses a black diamond-patterned insert to ward off any wayward pieces of the terrain. The lower bits incorporate functional air curtains, which not only help to increase the front-end aero efficiency, but also look great, with multiple layers stacked on one another in a manner that reminds us of a race-spec splitter. The lowest section is finished in a matte black color.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761449
“The lower bits incorporate functional air curtains, which not only help to increase the front-end aero efficiency, but also look great, with multiple layers stacked on one another in a manner that reminds us of a race-spec splitter.”

A little higher up we have the headlights, which get LEDs for the primary lighting element and the daytime running lights. The housings also look simpler in their shape, with down-turned creases rather than the check-mark shape of the older generation. The older fog lights are gone this time around, replaced with black block-off plates in the corners. Even the hood looks meaner, now arriving with a set of character lines that help increase the car’s sense of forward motion.

Moving around into the 2019 Veloster’s profile, and you’ll notice that the fender flares are now larger than before, with the increased dimensions adding a little extra visual beefiness to the car’s stance. The cowl point and A-pillar were also moved towards the rear, connecting with the hood line and belt line to create a more cohesive look. While subtle, those profile character lines look good on the hatch, especially with the lowered roof line. The side skirts lead the eye rearwards and into the rear fenders, enhancing the taut appearance even more. In the corners, customers can get theirs with optional 18-inch alloy wheels.

left
right
“The first-generation Hyundai Veloster (pictured on the left) is simpler and rounder in its design, where as the second-generation (pictured right) is more aggressive and sharper. And we like that – it's a move that works well for the segment.”

Step around to the rear of the Veloster, and you’ll find a more technical, detail-heavy design than the first generation. The
first thing that jumps out is the integrated diffuser, which sits prominently at the lower edge of the bumper, complementing the front bumper well. In the middle of the diffuser is the exhaust, with a single outlet used for the base model 2.0-liter and a dual set-up for the Turbo and R-Spec models. Chrome plating is used to add extra bling factor. The taillights wrap around from the rear fenders and get a sweeping set of Y-shaped graphics, plus the option for LED lighting.

Topping it off is a solid selection of exterior paint options, including Ultra Black, Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray, Sunset Orange, Racing Red, and Space Gray. You can also option in a black roof treatment for that two-tone appearance, if desired (we definitely recommend it!).

Interior

  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • Horizontal dash layout replaces older vertical set-up
  • Checkered background for the gauge cluster
  • Contrasting stitching elements in the upholstery
  • Cloth, cloth and leather, or all-leather options
  • Intake and exhaust sound enhancement feature

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761402
“With the exterior of the Veloster looking a good deal sharper this time around, the interior also gets a redesign that makes it a lot more desirable.”

With the exterior of the Veloster looking a good deal sharper this time around, the interior also gets a redesign that makes it a lot more desirable. While the older model’s 2+2 seating layout is retained, the dash now employs a complementary asymmetric design that emphasizes the driver’s position by placing additional buttons closer to that side of the cockpit. The steering wheel was updated, and now looks smaller and a bit oblong thanks to a much shorter center spoke and lower center line. There’s still nice hand bolsters at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, and the air vents are horizontal, rather than vertical like the first gen.

The center console is also more horizontal now, and no longer set in a “vee” shape like the outgoing model. There’s a two-tier button scheme, with the lower half employed for the climate control and upper portion used for infotainment. The infotainment screen is placed in an upright position on the top of the dash. The gauges look new as well, with a slick checkered background enhancing the car’s sporting intentions.

Go for the the Turbo Ultimate model, and you’ll get a contrasting color scheme that helps to isolate the driver’s position. Further unique colors, materials, and other interior features can be had depending on the trim level picked. In particular we like the red offset against the black in the Turbo model – definitely understated, but effective nonetheless.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761370
“All models also get Active Sound Design, which supposedly enhances intake and ehxust noises for a more engaging experience. It's a bit like cheating, but don't worry Hyundai – we won't tell anyone.”

Interior materials include either cloth, cloth and leather, or all leather, depending on the trim and options picked. All models also get Active Sound Design, which “enhances intake and exhaust powertrain sound character inside the cabin for a more visceral driving experience, especially during spirited driving.” It’s a bit like cheating, but don’t worry Hyundai – we won’t tell anyone.

Heading the list of updates for the 2019 model year is a wide selection of fresh infotainment and greater connectivity features. Standard spec tosses in the usual goodies, such as AM, FM, and MP3 support, plus a host of auxiliary inputs. Controlling it all is a standard 7.0-inch LCD infotainment screen, but buyers can opt into the 8.0-inch “floating screen” for a little extra outlay. These come with a multi-touch screen plus menu swipe function for easier operation, and offer a good deal of smartphone support as well. There’s Apple Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, plus the full Apple CarPlay system and Android Auto as well. SiriusXM radio and HD Radio are also part of the package, as is the next-gen Blue Link with LTE connectivity. This comes with three years of complimentary service, offering up features like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door lock and unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link also integrates with your smartwatch for those ultimate James Bond vibes.

The 2019 Veloster is also offered with an optional navigation screen and real-time traffic info, an optional Infinity audio system with eight speakers (including a subwoofer and Clari-Fi sound processing), and an optional Qi wireless charging. That last bit will even send you a notice when your phone is fully charged, plus it’ll remind you to grab it before exiting the vehicle.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761430
“One of the coolest extras has to be the optional heads-up display, which pops out of the dash as soon as you push a button next the steering wheel. The HUD displays the current road speed, navigation directions, assist system status, and audio system info.”

One of the coolest extras has to be the optional heads-up display, which
pops out of the dash as soon as you push a button next the steering wheel. The HUD displays the current road speed, navigation directions, assist system status (more on the assists in a second), and audio system info. It’ll also adapt to whatever your chosen drive mode may be, with Sport mode offering a focus on performance stuff like engine rpm, road speed, and current transmission gear. Once you’re done with the HUD, push a button, and it’ll recede back into the dash and out of view.

As is tradition for all new cars, the 2019 Veloster comes with a broad selection of safety systems, with features like standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which utilizes a forward-facing camera that can detect a collision before it happens and automatically apply the brakes to lessen the impact, or avoid the collision all together. The camera also provides the Veloster with features like lane-keep assist, high-beam assist, and driver attention warning.

Hyundai also equipped it with a radar system, which enables further safety and convenience features like a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Finally, all models get a standard rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, and a six-airbag protection system in case you really bin it.

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Higher trims get 201-horsepower turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • 1.6-liter comes with overboost function
  • Transmission options include six-speed manual, six-speed auto, and seven-speed DCT
  • Multiple drive modes

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761429
“Delve into the reshaped nose on the 2019 Veloster, and you'll find a few tweaked engine bits to help it perform, both in terms of speed and in terms of efficiency”

Delve into the reshaped nose on the 2019 Veloster, and you’ll find a few tweaked engine bits to help it perform, both in terms of speed and in terms of efficiency. The base model tosses the old model’s 1.6-liter four-banger with a new a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with Atkinson-cycle. Dubbed the Nu 2.0-liter, this unit produces a maximum of 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, besting the outgoing model’s rather paltry 132 ponies. Standout features for the Nu 2.0-liter include Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, an electronic throttle, variable induction, and a new anti-friction cylinder coating material. Go for this powerplant, and you can pair it with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.

If a little less than 150 horses just won’t cut the mustard for ya, you can option up to the much more exciting Gamma 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Thanks to direct injection and extra atmosphere stuffed into its cylinders, this zippy little ’four makes as much as 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (matching the old turbo’s peak power level) and 195 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. And despite its forced induction aspiration, it also takes regular fuel, prompting Hyundai to claim a best-in-class specific output (125.6 horsepower per liter). There’s even an overboost function that adds a smidgen of extra twist, pumping it up to 202 pound-feet. That’s not a lot, but hey – overboost is always a pretty cool function, don’tcha think?


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761369
“If less than 150 horses doesn't do it for ya, you can option up to the 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Thanks to direct injection and extra atmosphere stuffed into its cylinders, this zippy little 'four makes as much as 201 horsepower.”

If you decide to go for the turbo, the transmission options include either a six-speed manual with three pedals, or a seven-speed dual-clutch unit with steering wheel paddle shifters. It should be noted that the dual-clutch transmission option offers a “direct connection” for greater efficiency and “uninterrupted torque transfer” while upshifting, plus a Hillstart Assist Control for easier driving on steep inclines. No more handbrake trick for you.

To make the most of what its got, the Veloster offers pilots a variety of driving modes. These include such self-explanatory titles as Normal, Sport, and Smart, and the different software affects settings for the engine, transmission, and steering.

Finally, if you’re looking for the fastest Veloster on the block, you’ll wanna go with the 275-horsepower N model. Check out our full review here.

Chassis And Handling

  • Four-wheel independent suspension set-up
  • Torque Vector Control as standard
  • Manual transmission will get you 18-inch alloys wrapped in summer rubber
  • Motor-drive electric power steering
  • Quicker steering ratio higher in the line

2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761448
“While having a solid amount of go under the hood is always welcome in a sporty little hatchback, it's far more important to have the proper suspension bits in the corners to make the most of it.”

While having a solid amount of go under the hood is always welcome in a sporty little hatchback, it’s far more important to have the proper suspension bits in the corners to make the most of it. To that end, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo model gets a MacPherson strut suspension in front, which includes coils springs, gas shocks, and a stabilizer bar sized at 24 mm. Meanwhile, the rear gets an independent multi-link with a 19 mm stabilizer bar, plus gas shocks.

All models get Torque Vectoring Control, which is an active electronic assistance program that detects wheel slippage via an array of individual wheel sensors. After slippage is detected, the system then applies braking force as needed to the inside front wheel, while also increasing power to the outside wheel, thus enhancing cornering prowess in the process.


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761379
“Go for the Turbo model, and you'll get revised calibration and a faster ratio for extra response when wheeling around in the bends.”

Further turn assist is made by the motor-driven electric power steering system, which gets adjustable electric assist depending on the “driving conditions.” Go for the Turbo model, and you’ll get revised calibration and a faster ratio for extra response when wheeling around in the bends. Opt into the manual transmission, and Hyundai will mount 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires.

Rounding it off is the usual lineup of safety systems, such as Vehicle Stability Management and Electronic Stability Control. There’s also four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist, and electronic brake force distribution.

Prices


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761449

Production for the 2019 Hyundai Veloster kicks off in March of this year, with the latest models slated to roll off the line at Hyundai’s plant in Ulsan, South Korea. Look for availability in the U.S. market by the second quarter of 2018.

As for pricing, Hyundai has yet to divulge exact numbers, but we expect a starting figure a little under $20,000, given the current model starts at $18,100.

Competition

Honda Civic Coupe


2016 Honda Civic Coupe - image 655937

While slightly less aggressive than the race-tastic Hyundai Veloster, the Civic still manages to bring the goods in the fun department. The suspension tuning finds a sweet spot between comfort and corner-carving, while myriad engine choices offer up to 180 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque in the 1.5-liter Sport model. FWD is standard, while transmission options include both a manual and a CVT. You can also get yours in a variety of different body styles, including a coupe, sedan, or hatchback. Pricing starts at a Hyundai-matching $18,840.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Coupe.

Mazda3


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639255

Matching FWD agility with an affordable price tag and hatchback practicality is a specialty of the Mazda3, and it shows as soon as you start giving it a little extra gusto in the corners. It all starts with that zoom-zoom-style independent suspension, while engine options include 155 horses from a 2.0-liter ’four in the base model, or 184 horses from a 2.5-liter ’four in the higher trims. Outside is the head-turning good looks of Mazda’s Kodo design language, while the interior is composed of a variety of top-shelf materials. Pricing starts at $18,095.

Read our full review on the 2016-2018 Mazda3.

Conclusion


2019 Hyundai Veloster - image 761465

Truth be told, we here at TopSpeed love a good hot hatchback, and it would appear as though the 2019 Hyundai Veloster ticks all the important boxes in our list of requirements. We think the new design looks great, offering an aggressive, super-sharp style that’s just right for the segment. We also really like the three-door body style, and the large wheel options as well. The interior equipment is nice, and although the layout is a little too subtle and the 2+2 passenger seating is a bit cramped, it gets the job done all the same. Performance-wise, the Veloster makes it happen with solid suspension bits and the available 200-horsepower powertrain spec.

That said, there are more practical and more refined options on the table, and the Veloster still has some proving to do in the long-run. This is a segment filled with well-established nameplates, and up against the likes of Honda or Mazda, Hyundai is still cementing its position.

Not that it’s a bad choice – quite the opposite, actually. If you’re in the market for a fun, attractive, sporty hatchback, then this is definitely one worthy of checking out.

  • Leave it
    • * More refinement offered elsewhere in the segment
    • * Interior might get a bit cramped with more than 2 passengers
    • * Wouldn’t you rather spring for the go-faster N model?

References

Hyundai Veloster


2019 Hyundai Veloster N - image 761352

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N.


2016 Hyundai Veloster - image 755389

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Veloster.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon There’s Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup

The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept took the stage at the Detroit Auto Show, and it didn’t take long for the crossover concept to receive a groundswell of support from people who want to see it evolve into a full-fledged production model. Leading the charge was no less than Lexus’s general manager in the U.S., Jeff Bracken, who wasted little time championing for a production version of the LF-1 Concept minutes after taking the stage to unveil it.


There's Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup - image 761553
“A production version of the concept is realistic because it would fill a missing spot in Lexus’ current model lineup.”

Bracken’s enthusiasm for the LF-1 Limitless Concept clearly was on full display at the Detroit Auto Show. “We couldn’t be happier if we turned this into a production vehicle,” the Lexus U.S. general manager said. “It clearly is one of the most gorgeous concepts we’ve revealed.”

Beyond its aesthetics, which is admittedly incredible, the LF-1 Limitless Concept also has a few things going for it. According to Bracken, a production version of the concept is realistic because it would fill a missing spot in Lexus’ current model lineup. “We clearly have a gap at the high-end premium cross-utility segment,” he said. Should the LF-1 make it into production, it would slot in comfortably above the RX crossover, which sits as the automaker’s biggest crossover in the market today.

A new crossover that carries the concept DNA of the LF-1 could help round out Lexus’ entire crossover lineup, allowing it to have more models in the market that it can leverage to improve its sales volume in one of the most competitive segments in the U.S. The utility vehicle market continues to grow, so there’s enough potential for an LF-1 production model to become a practical offering for the company. Not only would it build Lexus’ crossover lineup, but it would also help create a good separation of identity between the company’s three crossovers. The NX would be the entry-level model, as it has always been since it arrived a few years ago. The RX would then take ownership of the mid-sized crossover segment, ceding the reins to the production LF-1, which will take over as the range-topping model of the lineup.


There's Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup - image 761547
“The utility vehicle market continues to grow, so there’s enough potential for an LF-1 production model to become a practical offering for the company”

It’s unclear if Toyota and Lexus bigwigs will sign off on a production model, but the growing support for the LF-1 Concept could force Lexus’ hand into signing off on the model. Not that it matters. Judging from the growing support behind a production model, Lexus will have no trouble giving the green light to the LF-1 Concept if it does go that route.

A lot of people we talked to in Detroit said they’d like to see it happen. Apparently, high-level Lexus executives like Jeff Bracken also what to see it happen. Now, we wait and see if the company’s ultimate decision-makers are also on board with the idea.

References


The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Is the Ultimate Luxury Crossover - image 758451

The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Is the Ultimate Luxury Crossover


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz G-Class

For the first time since its introduction 40 years ago, Mercedes has given the G-Class a complete makeover. But unlike other “makeovers” that plaster a new body onto an existing chassis, Mercedes went in the opposite direction.

The all-new 2019 G-Class retains its iconic looks while receiving a new, longer frame; independent front suspension; and an interior befitting the Mercedes S-Class sedan. And yet despite its modernization, the G stays true to its off-road roots. It comes with a full-time 4WD system, three locking differentials, skid plates, and proper ground clearance. Among the updates is a new G-Mode that further improves the SUV’s go-anywhere capability with electronic aids.

But let’s be honest – 99 percent of G-Class owners will never trek over anything more challenging than wet grass or a snowy road. That’s why Mercedes injected high levels of luxury into the new model. The wheelbase is two inches longer and 4.7 inches wider for a more planted on-road feel and more interior room. The G will undoubtedly be a smash hit around the world, even with its starting price of €107,040 in Germany – roughly $130,900 U.S. dollars.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


Exterior

  • New design stays true to heritage
  • Longer by 2.0 inches
  • Wider by 4.7 inches
  • Ground clearance of 10.6 inches
  • Improved approach, breakover, and departure angles

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760943
“Changes noticeable by the untrained eye are minimal for 2019”

The G-Class, otherwise known as the Geländewagen or G-Wagen, has been around for 40 years. It’s served in Germany’s military forces, traversed terrible terrain all across the world, and even conquered the sophisticated streets of Rodeo Drive in California. Yep, the G-Wagen has been everything from an army grunt’s get-around to the go-to vehicle of the rich and famous.

Mercedes has kept that status with the all-new G-Wagen thanks to an evolutionary design change rather than something revolutionary. It’s like the Jeep Wrangler; the round headlights, seven-slot grille, wide fenders, and overall shape have been around since 1941 (save for the 1986 – 1995 Wrangler YJ’s square headlights).

Changes noticeable by the untrained eye are minimal for 2019. Beside the length, the new G-Class drops the vents on the front fender, has new LED headlights, a restyled grille and front bumper, and the hood is slightly longer and more flat than before. Around back, new LED taillights and a restyled third brake light above the rear window are the biggest changes. Familiar elements include the tailgate-mounted spare tire, the rub rails along the body, and the push-button door handles that look almost identical to the outgoing version.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760944
“Overall ground clearance between the axles has improved a quarter-inch to 9.4 inches”

In keeping with the G’s functionality, the new body boasts improved clearances. Overall ground clearance between the axles has improved a quarter-inch to 9.4 inches; the approach and departure angle improve by one degree to 31 and 30, respectively; and the breakover angle improves by one degree to 26 degrees, despite the added length.

Interior

  • S-Class inspired interior
  • G-Class cues hint at its past
  • More legroom and elbowroom in both rows
  • Available Multicontour Seat Package with massaing

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760933
“Unlike the outside, Mercedes completely revamped the G-Wagen’s interior”

Unlike the outside, Mercedes completely revamped the G-Wagen’s interior. Gone is the 2000s-era dash with dozens of buttons. Mercedes’ new glass cockpit-style interior finds its way from the S-Class and E-Class and into the G-Class. Twin, 12.3-inch displays shows a digital gauge cluster for the driver and the standard barrage of navigation, vehicle settings, and menus on the center screen. The gauges can be configured into one of three styles at the driver’s whim. They include Classic, Sport, and Progressive.

Mercedes’ current infotainment controller resides on the center console and offers haptic feedback when selecting menu options. The rotary dial makes easy work of scrolling. Controls on the steering wheel allow for operating menu screen on the driver’s gauge cluster.

Like with other Mercedes vehicles, the HVAC system is logically controlled via the bank of toggle switches on the center stack. Dual zone climate comes standard, of course, and heated and vented front seats make for a comfortable trip. Speaking of the seats, Mercedes makes these thrones almost infinitely adjustable and accompanied by memory settings.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760969
“Controls on the steering wheel allow for operating menu screen on the driver’s gauge cluster.”

Optionally, Mercedes offers its Multicontour Seat Package in the new G-Class. It includes upgraded front seats with both heated and ventilation, massaging, and air-filled side bolsters that change firmness depending on the driving style. Apparently the seats are so comfortable and supportive, they are recommended by a German spinal health organization.

While the G-Wagen’s interior is completely new, it has subtle hints at its past. The passenger side grab handle has been a staple in the G and the center-mounted buttons for the locking differentials has been around for decades. It’s clear Mercedes didn’t just slap an S-Class dash in the new G.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 761007
“The front seats have an additional 1.5 inches and the rear seats get nearly six inches extra”

Legroom in both rows has increased thanks to the G-Wagen’s added length. The front seats have an additional 1.5 inches and the rear seats get nearly six inches extra. What’s more, elbowroom has improved 2.6 inches in front and 2.2 inches in the rear thanks to the G’s wider stance.

Description Difference (vs. previous gen)
Legroom in the front +1.5 in (38 mm)
Legroom in the rear +5.9 in (150 mm)
Shoulder room in front +1.5 in (38 mm)
Shoulder room in rear +1.1 in (27 mm)
Elbow room in front +2.7 in (68 mm)
Elbow room in rear +2.2 in (56 mm)

Drivetrain

  • G500 powered by 4.0-liter biturbo V-8
  • 422 horsepower
  • 450 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 4,750 rpm
  • Full-time 4WD
  • Front, center, and rear locking differentials
  • New G-Mode off-road setting
  • Adaptive suspension dampers
  • New independent front suspension
  • Revised solid rear axle and multi-link suspension

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760848
“Mercedes chose the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the debuting engine for the G-Class, though more are expected in the future”

Mercedes chose the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the debuting engine for the G-Class, though more are expected in the future. Named the G500, the V-8 kicks out a very respectable 422 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque that peaks at only 2,000 rpm and stays strong until 4,750 rpm.

A new nine-speed automatic transmission and its torque converter were unique tuned for the G500 to meet both on- and off-road driving situations. Mercedes says the gearbox has quicker shift times thanks to a dedicated software application. And thanks to the nine speeds and wide overall ratio of gears, the V-8 can move the G-Class down the highway at very low revs, which helps conserve fuel. Mercedes is estimating the G500 will achieve 21 mpg combined.

A big part of the G-Class’ story is its 4WD system. Like before, the G comes with a full-time 4WD system equipped with low-range gears and locking differential in both axles, as well as in the transfer case. New for 2019 is G-Mode. This drive mode engages when the low range is selected or one of the lockers is turned on. G-Mode adjusts the throttle response, holds gears longer, and softens the adaptive dampers within the suspension.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760938
“The Dynamic Select rocker switch allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual modes”

When it comes to on-road driving, the G-Class also has modes for that, too. The Dynamic Select rocker switch allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual modes. Things like transmission tuning, throttle response, suspension firmness, traction control, and stability control are all tailored to each mode. Like in other vehicles, Individual mode lets the driver customize the settings for each parameter and save the setting for quick selection.

A massive change for the 2019 G-Class also happens under body. The suspension has been completely redesigned to better handle the G’s wide range of driving. Gone is the solid front axle – replaced with an independent suspension system using a double wishbone design mounted right to the frame. A strut tower brace adds rigidity to the front suspension for better cornering. The rear axle remains the solid type, but is now held in place with a four-link setup with a panhard bar that controls lateral movement.


Pricing


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760961

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G500 starts at €107,040 in Germany. That converts to $130,900 U.S. dollars at current exchange rates and represents a roughly $8,000 increase over the outgoing model. Details on option pricing haven’t been announced, but should become available closer to the G-Class’s on-sale date later this year.

The Competition

Land Rover Range Rover


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737761

The Land Rover Range Rover is perhaps the best-known luxury off-roaders in the world. Its heritage stems back to Brittan’s Imperialistic days of exploration, forging paths though thick jungles and trekking across the wild planes of Africa. This modern, high-tech interpretation is far removed from the low-tech ‘Rovers of yesteryear. The current Range Rover rides on an aluminum monocoque structure with independent suspension fitted with air ride and powered by sophisticated engines like Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V-8.

That air suspension allows the Range Rover to tackle rough terrain one minute and hit triple digit speeds on the highway the next. This versatility is nearly unmatched in the industry.

Pricing reflects that functionality, however, with the “base” Range Rover starting at $84,940. Opt for the high-end SVAutobiography model with the extended wheelbase, and you’re looking at $200,000.

Read more about the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover.

Lexus LX570


2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640410

In relation to the G-Wagen and Range Rover, the LX570 seems downright humble. That’s far from the truth, however, as Lexus gave this SUV a full makeover for 2016. It shares the same underpinnings and powertrain as the highly respected Toyota Land Cruiser, which was also all-new for 2016. The Lexus obviously appeals to a wealthier subset, making it the proper choice in this competition.

Power comes form the venerable 5.7-liter V-8 making a meager 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. Like the Range Rover, it can tow 7,000 pounds. Its top speed is limited at 137 mph, down from the 155-mph governed speeds of the G-Wagen and Range Rover. The Lexus also features a full-time 4WD system with a Torsen limited-slip center differential that splits power between the front and rear axles.

Pricing for the 2018 Lexus LX570 is technically lower than in years past thanks to a new two-row version. By deleting the third row, customers save $5,000. The two-row LX starts at $84,980 and the three-row version starts at $89,980. Select all the options and the price jumps to roughly $99,000. That’s a bargain compared to the Merc and ‘Rover.

Read more about the 2018 Lexus LX570.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760960

Mercedes has clearly done its homework with the new 2019 G-Class. It retained the iconic, boxy design while vastly updating the G’s interior, underpinning, off-road capability, and on-road performance. That’s a tall order, but the German automaker pulled it off. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see these improvements first hand.

The new G-Class will definitely be a massive hit with wealthy elites looking to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Expect to see everybody from Russian oligarchs to Hollywood’s A-list crowd rocking the new G within a short time.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely too utilitarian for most
    • * Prices expected to rise

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit! - image 758373

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit!


2013 Mercedes G-Class - image 448949

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Avalon

First introduced in 1994, the Toyota Avalon is the Japanese brand’s full-size sedan offering, seeing sales in North America, Puerto Rico, and the Middle East. Since its debut at the Chicago Auto Show back in the ’90s, a total of four generations have come and gone, and now, there’s a brand-new fifth-gen heading for the dealer lots. First making the scene at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Avalon is framed as “attainable premium,” or “mid-premium,” and Toyota hopes it’ll entice customers with an upscale, comfortable four-door package that won’t break the bank. Truth be told, the sedan bodystyle (especially full-size sedans) can be a hard sell these days, as consumers usually fulfill their seating-for-five requirements with some kind of high-riding SUV or crossover. Despite this, Toyota is confident the 2019 Avalon will be an exception to the rule thanks to its extensive list of upgrades, which include a variety of luxurious touches and technology enhancements that almost lend it a feeling of “Germaness” on the surface. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll find the Avalon stays true to its Japanese roots, with unique charactersitics throughout, as well as a hybrid option for those looking for extra dollars saved at the pump.

The new Avalon will go on sale later this spring, but until then, read on for the details.

Continue reading for the full story.

Exterior

  • Larger front grille
  • Greater aero efficiency
  • LED lighting elements front to back
  • Wheel sizing between 17 and 19 inches
  • Extra paint options
  • Bigger exterior dimensions

2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761607
“In a bid to make the 2019 Avalon give off those upscale, premium vibes, Toyota started with the way it's styled”

In a bid to make the 2019 Avalon give off those upscale, premium vibes, Toyota started with the way it’s styled. Indeed, this new sedan looks quite a bit different than the four-door that came before, so let’s dive into the specifics.

The first thing to jump out can be found on the front end of the car, or rather, it’s the entire front end of the car. Of course, I’m talking about the grille, which sees a considerable size increase over the fourth-generation’s primary intake. And that’s saying something, because the old grille was already rather large. By contrast, the grille in the 2019 model year Avalon is downright astronomical in scope, dominating the entire nose of the car with a single unending black mesh insert.


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761236
“The grille in the 2019 model year Avalon is downright astronomical in scope, dominating the entire nose of the car with a single unending black mesh insert.”

Toyota says the front end prioritizes “aerodynamic efficiency, cooling, and pedestrian protection,” but we can’t see anything beyond that insanely big grille. Of course, styling is always a subjective thing, and we’ll take a striking, off-the-wall design over something boring any day of the week, so it’s really up to the individual to decide if it works or not.

Make it past the grille without accidentally falling in or getting lost, and you’ll find slim vertical side intakes in the corners of the bumper, features which Toyota assert are actually functional for aero efficiency purposes. The overhangs are now shorter as well, while the headlight housings are crisp and more geometric, offering three individual reflectors – one for the daytime running lights, one for the low beams, and the third for the high beams. There are also adaptive cornering lamps for better visibility around turns, and available LED elements for the main beams, plus dynamic turn signals for an extra splash of lighting coolness. Up top, an aluminum hood takes a little extra weight off the nose.

Moving to the car’s flanks, we find a dual set of character lines, on higher and one lower, both of which add to the car’s visual beefiness. Wheel sizing ranges between 17 and 19 inches, with a selection of interesting designs to choose from. In back, there’s an unbroken 3D “aero fin” style design for the taillights, once again employing LEDs for the lighting element. There’s also a subtle trailing trunk spoiler offered, depending on the trim level.


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761225
“All told, the updates make the Avalon appear fresh and upscale, doing away with the rounded look of the older model in favor of sharper edges that remind us of a Lexus.”

All told, the updates make the Avalon appear fresh and upscale, doing away with the rounded look of the older model in favor of sharper edges and elements that remind us a bit of what Toyota’s design team is doing in the Lexus camp. The updates make the Avalon more aero-efficient as well, reducing the coefficient of drag to 0.27 from the previous model’s 0.28. And that’s always a good thing, and should be expected coming from the same company that makes the highly aero-efficient Prius.

While most of the Avalon line looks pretty much identical, there are a few small coloring and styling differences that help to differentiate between the various trim levels. For example, with XLE and Touring models get gray and chrome for the grille, while the XSE and Touring get piano black. New exterior colors for the 2019 model year include Opulent Amber and Harbor Grey Metallic, while the rest of the paint options include Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, and Parisian Night Pearl. Toyota also added two new colors from outside the model line, offering up Wind Chill Pearl and Ruby Flare Pearl to round it off.

Finally, per tradition for a luxury-oriented model like the Avalon, the exterior dimensions are longer, wider, and lower this time around, measuring in at 113 inches for the wheelbase, 196 inches for the overall length, 72.8 inches for the overall width, and 56.5 inches for the overall height.


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761207

2019 Toyota Avalon Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 113 inches
Overall Length 196 inches
Overall Width 72.8 inches
Overall Height 56.5 inches

Interior

  • Rear cabin extended by 7 inches
  • Fresh interior layout
  • Much more premium feeling
  • Loads of soft-touch materials
  • WiFi hot spot and Qi wireless charging
  • Optional Yamaha wood and aluminum trim
  • 9-inch infotainment screen
  • Apple CarPlay as standard (finally!)
  • Engine Sound Enhancement pumped into the cabin
  • Toyota Safety Sense as standard

2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761569
“Of course, those bigger dimensions outside the car translate into larger dimensions inside as well”

Of course, those bigger dimensions outside the car translate into larger dimensions inside as well. Toyota says the rear cabin was extended by 7 inches, and that the Avalon now boasts a trio of segment-best interior measurements, including the most shoulder room (57.1 inches), the most legroom (up to 40.4 inches), and the most headroom (up to 37.5 inches).

The layout also changed, and now looks far more upscale than it did before. The center console is now a cohesive, single unit, sweeping upwards from the central tunnel and over the dash. Typically, we don’t like the look of a stand-up infotainment screen, as it usually looks tacked on (and tacky, too). This, however, is different. We like how the design leads the eye vertically into the central tunnel or up and into the windshield – nice choice there, Toyota.


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761179
“Typically, we don't like the look of a stand-up infotainment screen, as it usually looks tacked on (and tacky, too). This, however, is different.”

The 2019 Avalon’s quilted door trim also looks like it could have been made at Mercedes, and there was a redesign for the steering wheel as well, although the changes there are much more minor. Passengers might also notice that the side glass was lengthened, which should certainly help to expand the sense of spaciousness when sitting inside the cabin.

One of the best features of the Avalon is the plethora of soft-touch materials added throughout the passenger space. These include “Ultrasuede” and leather, and come complemented by trim made from brushed metal, piano black metal, and satin chrome. There’s also available Yamaha wood and aluminum, if you’re feeling saucy.

On the infotainment front, that large digital screen in the center of the dash measures in at 9 inches corner to corner, while a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster provides readouts on navigation info, safety system info, and the like. Higher trims get a 10-inch heads-up display and a high-end JBL stereo.

Standard spec throws in the Entune 3.0 infotainment platform, a WiFi hotspot, Qi wireless device charging, and Toyota remote connect for smartphone support, as well as Amazon Alexa connectivity and standard Apple CarPlay. That last bit is of particular importance, as Toyota has been reluctant to get on the Apple CarPlay bus for some time now, so we’re quite happy to see it listed as a feature on the latest Avalon.


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761564
“We're rather happy to see Apple CarPlay make it onboard, as Toyota has been reluctant to adopt the system for quite some time now. While minor, it's part of several improvements that make the Avalon that much better for 2019.”

There’s also digital Engine Sound Enhancement thanks to an Intake Sound Generator that gives the powertrain some interesting aural feedback when you put your foot down. And yeah, we’re gonna count that as an infotainment feature, because really, it’s just there to make you smile a little more when accelerating hard. A cheap thrill, maybe, but hey, who are we to judge?

Those seated in the back will enjoy the rear USB ports and optional rear seat warmers, not to mention the increased space already discussed above.

Finally, the 2019 Avalon comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of technology, which includes stuff like pre-collision warning and braking, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and a pedestrian detection system.

Drivetrain

  • 3.5-liter V-6 projected to make 300 horsepower
  • V-6 mates to new eight-speed automatic transmission
  • New hybrid set-up with 2.5-liter ’four and 650-volt electric motor
  • Hybrid mates to CVT with paddle shifters
  • FWD across the line

2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761234
“Making the go in the 2019 Toyota Avalon is once again a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, however, this time around the powerplant is “new,” making more power and returning better mpg”

Making the go in the 2019 Toyota Avalon is once again a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, however, this time around the powerplant is “new,” making more power and returning better mpg thanks to features such as the revamped D-4S direct injection fueling system, and an updated variable valve system. Exact output figures have yet to be released, but for now, we know the outgoing Avalon makes 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. That said, the new V-6 makes about 300 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque in the Camry, so expect figures somewhere in that ballpark. A new eight-speed transmission now routes the output to the front axle exclusively, replacing the older model’s six-speed unit.

Alternatively, buyers can get theirs with hybrid motivation. If you prefer this greener solution, you’ll find the V-6 ditched in favor of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 650-volt electric motor, all of which connects to a continuously variable transmission for motivation at the front axle. Toyota boasts the Avalon is the only “full hybrid” in the segment, and eco buyers will also enjoy the hybrid’s Sport mode, which adds a dose of extra electrified oomph to help you get that last parking spot at Whole Foods. There are even steering wheel-mounted paddles for a more hands-on approach to wrangling the CVT.

Chassis And Handling

  • New architecture underneath
  • Fully independent suspension
  • Optional adaptive components
  • Stiffer suspension tuning

2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761200
“The 2019 Avalon uses a multi-link set-up that allows for a wider track and a lower center of gravity”

In addition to the new look, new interior, new gear, and new engine lineup, the 2019 Toyota Avalon also comes with fresh underpinnings, or the TNGA-K (Toyota New Global Architecture K) platform to be exact. Created specifically to cater to the demands of sedans, TNGA K is used on the present-day Toyota Camry and Lexus ES. The Lexus RX SUV also uses the platform.

As for the suspension, the 2019 Avalon uses a multi-link set-up that allows for a wider track and a lower center of gravity. The fresh suspension also offers the option for adaptive variable components, which is a first for the brand. Finally, the tuning for the 2019 model year introduces stiffer settings all the way around, all in the name of making the Avalon more interesting to drive. Thing is, we’re not really looking to flog this large sedan in some mountain pass. This is a cruiser, no doubt about it, but either way, we appreciate Toyota looking into new ways of making it more exciting.

Prices


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761216

The 2019 Avalon
was designed in the U.S. and will be built here as well, with an on-sale date set for later this spring. Pricing is thus far unannounced, but with the current model starting at $33,500, we wouldn’t expect a huge jump in MSRP.

Customers will have four individual trim levels to choose from. These include the “sportier” XSE and Touring, as well as the more luxury-focused XLE and Limited. All four will get the previously mentioned V-6 powerplant, while the hybrid will only be offered on the XLE, Limited, and XSE trims.

Competition

Chrysler 300


2013 Chrysler 300 - image 517543

While far more understated than the grille-tastic Toyota Avalon, the Chrysler 300 still has all the essentials of a large, semi-luxurious sedan. The interior gets plenty of soft-touch materials and niceties, plus tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, while the engine options include the base model’s 3.6-liter V-6 making 292 horsepower, plus a top-trim 5.7-liter V-8 making 363 horsepower. RWD is standard, while AWD is optional. And with pricing starting at just $28,995, there’s plenty of leeway to dig into the options list, if you want.

Read our full review on the 2018 Chrysler 300.

Nissan Maxima


2016 - 2017 Nissan Maxima - image 625157

Of the three sedans listed here, we think the Nissan is the best-looking option of the bunch, grabbing eyeballs thanks to its attractive two-tier V-motion grille and sharp styling features front to back. Things look good inside as well, where NVH levels are low and soft-touch materials abound, plus Apple CarPlay comes as standard and there’s more than a few safety technologies as well. Providing the power is a 3.5-liter V-6, which produces as much as 300 horsepower and mates with a CVT connected to the front axle. Pricing starts at $33,270.

Read our full review of the 2017 Nissan Maxima.

Conclusion


2019 Toyota Avalon - image 761226

With terminally waning popularity and a variety of competitors to steal away sales, the new fifth-generation Avalon has its work cut out for it. However, all the upgrades make a ton of sense – the sharper styling reminds us of a Lexus, while the interior layout is a huge improvement over the outgoing model. Then we have the extra gear and more powerful engine, plus the addition of a hybrid model to the lineup, all of which will do well to expand the model’s desirability considerably.

Of the few remaining large sedans out there, we’d argue the Avalon is one of the better options. Whether or not it’s got what it takes to secure a buy in the face of overwhelming SUV and crossover popularity, well, that remains to be seen.

Now, about that front grille…

  • Leave it
    • * Holy front grille, Batman
    • * Sedans not as popular as they used to be
    • * Lots of competition

References

Toyota Avalon


2019 Toyota Avalon Gets More Aggressive, Boasts New Tech at Detroit - image 758791

2019 Toyota Avalon Gets More Aggressive, Boasts New Tech at Detroit


2016 Toyota Avalon - image 616782

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Avalon


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

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