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K1 - TR2 Triumph SFI-1 Auto Racing Suit - Driving Nomex Style Fire SFI 3.2A/1
$155.00
End Date: Wednesday Feb-28-2018 15:35:52 PST
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K1 - TR2 Triumph SFI-1 Auto Racing Suit - Driving Nomex Style Fire SFI 3.2A/1
$155.00
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K1 - TR2 Triumph SFI-1 Auto Racing Suit - Driving Nomex Style Fire SFI 3.2A/1
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ZAMP - FSA-3 SA2015 Auto Racing Helmet - HANS Ready - Snell Rated - Full Face +
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Archive for the ‘fullsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How We’d Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500

Ram has made a massive splash in the half-ton pickup segment with its all-new 2019 Ram 1500. It debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January and is expected to arrive in showrooms by the end of the first quarter. That’s an impressively quick turn-around time as this processes normally takes six months to a year with most vehicles. Nevertheless, we’re restless to get our hands on the pickup.

In the meantime, we’re left dreaming of the ideal build configuration for an average American. Modern pickups offer literally thousands of possible cab, bed, engine, and trim combinations. Here, we’re shooting for that middle-class family who might tow a small boat to the lake on the weekends, haul sports equipment in the bed, and carry those 2.5 kids to their various extracurricular actives – all while staying within a reasonable budget.

Continue reading for more information.

The Configuration


How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500 - image 769590
“Crew Cab pickups are extremely popular these days and for good reason”

Crew Cab pickups are extremely popular these days and for good reason. They offer room for five to six people, have rear seats that fold away for storage of larger items, and still have a large enough cargo bed for most users. As such, we’d definitely opt for the Crew Cab for this build.

As for trim level, we’d opt for the Laramie. It lands slightly above average in the scale of trims, offering more standard equipment than the Big Horn but less than the Western-themed Laramie Longhorn and the range-topping Platinum. For those with a slightly more conservative budget, the Big Horn would still work nicely.

And speaking of price, this comparison will unfortunately not include MSRPs or package pricing. That’s because Ram hasn’t released the numbers as of this writing. Nevertheless, we can guesstimate the final price based on the outgoing 2018 model.

Exterior

“In addition to the Crew Cab configuration and five-foot, seven-inch cargo bed, we’d also opt for the incredibly handy RamBox system”

In addition to the Crew Cab configuration and five-foot, seven-inch cargo bed, we’d also opt for the incredibly handy RamBox system. The integrated storage boxes are watertight, lockable in conjunction with the doors, illuminated inside, and have a drain plug for evacuating water after they’ve been used as a cooler.

The Laramie trim comes standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels, which are just fine. On top of that, we’d pick Blue Streak Pearl as the paint color, just as something a bit more exciting than gray, black, or white.

Interior


How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500 - image 769602
“Ram has two big option packages for the Laramie: the Level 1 and Level 2 Equipment Groups.”

The Laramie trim level comes standard with leather seats with a front bench seat. This means there is room for six people, which for some families, is a necessity. For those who would rather have the extra storage space, Ram has the front bucket option. The integrated center console that accompanied the bucket seats has space for hanging file folders, cup and coin holders, and even an optional wireless phone charger.

Ram has two big option packages for the Laramie: the Level 1 and Level 2 Equipment Groups. Level 1 adds things like automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a remote tailgate release, and a CD Player.

Level 2 adds even more goodies like a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, heated second-row seats, a rear under-seat storage compartment, the wireless phone charger, and the lovely 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with navigation. Naturally, Level 2 also includes all the features in the Level 1 package.

Drivetrain


How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500 - image 769591
“The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie will initially be available with only the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.”

The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie will initially be available with only the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. That’s fine with us since the engine kicks out an impressive 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. Better still, customers can also get the Hemi with Ram’s new eTorque system, the mild-hybrid addition that helps with low-end power while offering an improvement in fuel economy.

The standard transmission is the new, next-generation TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic. Customers do have a choice between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Since most people never venture off the pavement, we’d stick with rear-wheel drive and save on fuel economy and the initial purchase price.

Ram offers three rear axle ratios: the standard 3.21, a 3.55, and a 3.92. We’d stick with the 3.21 since towing and drag racing aren’t on the agenda. This ratio will also greatly help with fuel economy. We would, however, spend the extra money on the Anti-Spin differential. This will help with all-weather traction. Last but not least, we’d opt for the 33-gallon fuel tank, which gives the Ram an impressive cruising range.

To save on cost, we’d skip the four-corner air suspension option.

Pricing


How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500 - image 769603

Like we mentioned, Ram has not announced pricing for the 2019 model. So, in order to get an understanding of how much out specific configuration might cost, we’re looking at the outgoing model from 2018.

Configured with the same cab, bed, and drive type, the 2018 model starts at $42,095. Upgrading from the 3.6-liter V-6 to the 5.7-liter V-8 costs $1,450, though that cost might be baked into the 2019 model since the 3.6-liter doesn’t appear to be available. The Anti-Spin Differential is a $435 upgrade, the up-sized fuel tank costs $405, the Convenience Group adds $545, and the RamBox another $1,295.

On the inside, the removing the front bench seats for the buckets costs $695, while getting navigation programmed on the 8.4-inch Uconnect system costs another $795. Ram charges $345 for the CD player – something that comes included in the 2019’s Level 1 Equipment package.

The total price comes to $49,955, including the options and Ram’s $1,395 destination fee. Now, according to Ram’s Build And Price website, there is $7,500 in discounts on the 2018 model, which brings the price back down to $42,455. Of course, we don’t expect to see such hefty discounts in the first few years of the new Ram’s lifecycle, so the final price will likely be higher. Add to that the inevitable increase in price Ram will charge for the new truck.

Conclusion


How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500 - image 769600

While not cheap by any means, this configuration offers the best of both worlds – swanky tech, leather seats, a powerful V-8, and tons of interior space while not cresting beyond the $50,000 mark.

What do you think of this build? What would you do differently? Let us know in the comments.

References

Ram 1500


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon Visual Comparison: 2018 BMW X4 vs 2018 Mercedes GLC Coupe

BMW has high hopes for the X4 now that the new coupe-crossover has been unveiled. The new midsize model will now be tasked to compete against a bevy of rivals in its segment, none more important than the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe. An endless amount of debates should ensue now that both models are here. Which one performs better? Which one handles better? These questions are a few of the many that we can expect in the coming months. Those, and which of the two looks better. We’ll try to piece together what we can to answer that last question, though, off the bat, don’t blame us if we can’t arrive at a consensus. The BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe do look alike in a lot of ways.

External Measurements


Visual Comparison: 2018 BMW X4 vs 2018 Mercedes GLC Coupe - image 768633

Front

left
right

Now that we’ve gotten out of the way, it’s time to look at the front section of both coupe-crossovers. The first thing you’ll notice is that both models follow the design template of their respective brands. It is worth mentioning, though, that the X4’s front design is more balanced than the GLC Coupe. The front elements on the Merc look a little too compact as if Mercedes couldn’t find enough space to fit the headlights, grille, bumper, splitter, and intakes all together. The X4, on the other hand, has space for components to breathe. Look closer at the lines on the hood. The ones on X4 are more spaced out than the ones in the GLC. Maybe that helps with the illusion of balance in the BMW, but it works much better than it does on the Mercedes.

Side

left
right

This angle is where it becomes to difficult to tell the two models apart. Both the X4 and GLC Coupe were designed as hybrids between a coupe and a crossover, and you can see that with how long the roof swoops down to the rear in a coupe-like fashion. It’s remarkable to see how the angle of the roof is almost identical to one another. Even the shoulder lines are positioned almost in the same area. The Merc’s body line does streak from just under the door handles while the Bimmer’s appears to hit the front door handle before creating enough space at the back.

The GLC also benefits from having a more pronounced lower line and more prominent side skirts. On the other hand, the front fender on the X4 sticks out a little more, and I like the wheel design on the on the X4 more than the one on the GLC. The Bimmer also has its trademark shark fin sitting on the roof. But other than that, I can’t blame you if you end up confusing one for the other.

Rear

left
right

Even though both models still look similar in shape, there’s a lot of differentiation between the X4 and the G-Class Coupe in this section. The taillights are different, and while both models have a dual exhaust setup, the ones on the G-Class are bigger and sit further apart compared to the X4. Part of that is probably because the diffuser on the Bimmer is more pronounced compared to the one on the Mercedes.

In that vein, the X4 is also sportier in terms of design. Its rear lines are more aggressive, the spoiler is bigger, and the extra wing near the roof is a feature that the Merc doesn’t have.

The G-Class Coupe, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many body lines in the rear as the X4. There’s not a lot about its rear section that stands out when you line it up against the X4. The Mercedes G-Class looks decent in this section, but the X4 laps it with its own design. The latter is sportier and more aggressive to look at, which is exactly what coupe crossovers are supposed to look like.

References

BMW X4


2018 BMW X4 - image 768443

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X4.

Mercedes GLC


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe - image 670295

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


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Visual Comparison: 2018 BMW X4 vs 2018 Mercedes GLC Coupe

BMW has high hopes for the X4 now that the new coupe-crossover has been unveiled. The new midsize model will now be tasked to compete against a bevy of rivals in its segment, none more important than the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe. An endless amount of debates should ensue now that both models are here. Which one performs better? Which one handles better? These questions are a few of the many that we can expect in the coming months. Those, and which of the two looks better. We’ll try to piece together what we can to answer that last question, though, off the bat, don’t blame us if we can’t arrive at a consensus. The BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe do look alike in a lot of ways.

External Measurements


Visual Comparison: 2018 BMW X4 vs 2018 Mercedes GLC Coupe - image 768633

Front

left
right

Now that we’ve gotten out of the way, it’s time to look at the front section of both coupe-crossovers. The first thing you’ll notice is that both models follow the design template of their respective brands. It is worth mentioning, though, that the X4’s front design is more balanced than the GLC Coupe. The front elements on the Merc look a little too compact as if Mercedes couldn’t find enough space to fit the headlights, grille, bumper, splitter, and intakes all together. The X4, on the other hand, has space for components to breathe. Look closer at the lines on the hood. The ones on X4 are more spaced out than the ones in the GLC. Maybe that helps with the illusion of balance in the BMW, but it works much better than it does on the Mercedes.

Side

left
right

This angle is where it becomes to difficult to tell the two models apart. Both the X4 and GLC Coupe were designed as hybrids between a coupe and a crossover, and you can see that with how long the roof swoops down to the rear in a coupe-like fashion. It’s remarkable to see how the angle of the roof is almost identical to one another. Even the shoulder lines are positioned almost in the same area. The Merc’s body line does streak from just under the door handles while the Bimmer’s appears to hit the front door handle before creating enough space at the back.

The GLC also benefits from having a more pronounced lower line and more prominent side skirts. On the other hand, the front fender on the X4 sticks out a little more, and I like the wheel design on the on the X4 more than the one on the GLC. The Bimmer also has its trademark shark fin sitting on the roof. But other than that, I can’t blame you if you end up confusing one for the other.

Rear

left
right

Even though both models still look similar in shape, there’s a lot of differentiation between the X4 and the G-Class Coupe in this section. The taillights are different, and while both models have a dual exhaust setup, the ones on the G-Class are bigger and sit further apart compared to the X4. Part of that is probably because the diffuser on the Bimmer is more pronounced compared to the one on the Mercedes.

In that vein, the X4 is also sportier in terms of design. Its rear lines are more aggressive, the spoiler is bigger, and the extra wing near the roof is a feature that the Merc doesn’t have.

The G-Class Coupe, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many body lines in the rear as the X4. There’s not a lot about its rear section that stands out when you line it up against the X4. The Mercedes G-Class looks decent in this section, but the X4 laps it with its own design. The latter is sportier and more aggressive to look at, which is exactly what coupe crossovers are supposed to look like.

References

BMW X4


2018 BMW X4 - image 768443

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X4.

Mercedes GLC


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe - image 670295

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


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon The Range Rover Sport Seriously Climbed Heaven’s Gate

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport has already established itself as a do-it-all SUV that can tackle the roughest of terrains. Still, the folks over at Land Rover probably didn’t feel too confident about adding its ability to conquer China’s daunting Dragon Road in Tianmen Mountain in any one of the SUV’s brochures. Nobody’s done the challenge before because it’s thought to be impossible. The road itself is notorious for its 99 turns, but if that isn’t enough, it culminates with a 999-step, 45-degree angle concrete staircase that leads to the absolutely mesmerizing Heaven’s Gate rock formation. Eager to prove everyone wrong, Land Rover went to China to see if it could make history. Well, it was either that or disaster. Either way, it made for quite the stunt.


To achieve the impossible feat, Land Rover tapped Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung to sit behind the wheel of the Range Rover Sport and drive it up the perilous seven-mile Tianmen Mountain Road. The SUV was also outfitted with reinforced tires in order to withstand the punishment they were going to take, not only on the mountain road but also on that uphill ascent up the 999 steps that led to Heaven’s Gate. If the stunt itself wasn’t dangerous enough on the surface, Tung also had to deal with the distinction of being the first person to ever climb up the steps that led to Heaven’s Gate in a car. It certainly didn’t help that the steep incline meant that the smallest of errors would’ve sent Tung and the SUV crashing down the steps with a high probability that the SUV would turn into a heap of metal once it reached the base.


Then again, Land Rover wouldn’t perform this stunt if it didn’t think it would accomplish it. Against all odds, Tung managed to complete the mission, driving the car up the perilous mountain road and up the 999-step staircase in 20 minutes and 47 seconds. More importantly, it achieved the feat without any incident, turning it into a record run in the process because nobody’s ever done it before. It’s hard to imagine any automaker trying to make a run at Land Rover’s time given how dangerous the stunt was. If you don’t believe it, consider listening to Tung’s reaction when he completed the stunt. ”I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was, without doubt, one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced,” he said. Hard to argue with the man.

References

Land Rover Range Rover


The Range Rover Sport Seriously Climbed Heaven's Gate - image 768484

Read our full review on the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover.


maker logos - image 763222

Read more Land Rover news.


Video of the Day: Ford GT Meets the Arctic Circle - image 755824

Read more car video news.

PostHeaderIcon Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

What makes the Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar special


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

References

Dodge Durango


2018 Dodge Durango SRT - image 704492

Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT.


maker logos - image 744536

Read more Dodge news.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz has debuted its third-generation Sprinter van in Duisburg, Germany, appropriately at a portside warehouse. This marks the first all-new Sprinter since 2006 and represents a huge leap forward for the utility vehicle. The van sports a new exterior design, a classy interior with touches from the E-Class, and Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system that recently debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics show. What’s more, the Sprinter is going electric with the eSprinter variant. Preliminary specs say it uses a 41.4 kWh battery pack with a range of roughly 100 miles.

The Sprinter has enjoyed a very successful run since its introduction in 1995. The van is currently sold in 130 markets and has a lifetime sales figure exceeding 3.4 million. Just last year, Mercedes sold 200,500 Sprinters globally. The new 2019 model replaces the aging second-generation Sprinter, which has been around since 2006. Unfortunately for the U.S., the new Sprinter won’t arrive until late 2019, likely making it a 2020 model.

Continue reading for more information.


Exterior

– * New design

– * Upscale appearance

– * Double sliding doors on cargo models

– * Large barndoor-style rear doors


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765620
“The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a new face, along with several updated details”

The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a new face, along with several updated details. The new front end has a taller, more distinguished face. The bumper extends nearly halfway up the grille and the new headlights are more compact and carlike. Lower trim levels have a black plastic bumper, while upper models have a body-colored bumper. Upper trims also get swanky LED headlights with LED daytime running lights shaped after Mercedes’ typical “eyebrow” design. Fog lights are an option, too.

Thanks to the taller grille and more upright bumper, the hood is actually flatter than before. The new look is likely to help with crashworthiness. Nevertheless, the driver will have an unobstructed view forward through the massive windshield.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765632
“Around back, the rear doors are now very minimalists due to that missing character line from before”

Things don’t change much around the Sprinter’s sides. That’s actually by design, though. Mercedes wanted to keep the dimensions and overall shape the same so aftermarket upfit companies will need very little modifications to their equipment. Examples include wall-mounted shelving, dividers for the cab and cargo space, and other clever storage options. The stylized character line found on the outgoing Sprinter is gone, however. The van’s new sides look cleaner and less cluttered than before.

Around back, the rear doors are now very minimalists due to that missing character line from before. The Mercedes logo has also been moved; it’s now located below the windows rather than incorporated into them. New, more stylized taillights are more upscale than the segmented and blocky taillights on the outgoing model.

Interior

– * Upscale interior with E-Class cues

– * New MBUX infotainment system

– * Available wireless phone charging

– * Available 360-degree camera system

– * Up to 600 cubic feet of cargo space

– * Hauls up to 12,125 pounds of cargo


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765653
“While improved, the outside’s changes pale in comparison to the 2019 Sprinter’s new interior”

While improved, the outside’s changes pale in comparison to the 2019 Sprinter’s new interior. The new dash takes after the E-Class by using several of the same switches and controls, along with the turbine-style air vents. Even the power seat adjustment buttons look pulled from a premium luxury sedan – and even the passenger side gets memory settings on upper trims.

Aside from looking nice, the new van also includes some cutting edge technology. The optional infotainment system is the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, infotainment system. It has voice recognition like many modern smart devices. Simply say “Hey Mercedes” or just “Mercedes,” and the infotainment system will begin listening for commands. The 10.25-inch HD screen includes 3D mapping that’s aided by an Nvidia graphics chip.

The system also receives updates automatically and over the air. A 360-degree camera system can be had, too, making the large van much easier to drive in tight spots. Other optional safety equipment includes Blind Spot Assist, pedestrian detection, and Mercedes’ Crosswind Assist. Autonomous safety tech includes adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765650
“The 10.25-inch HD screen includes 3D mapping that’s aided by an Nvidia graphics chip.”

The driver gets to view a rather large, full-color information screen in the gauge cluster. it offers trip computer information, vehicle parameters, audio info, and turn-by-turn directions from the navigation system. Of course, the screen can be configured by the driver.

The steering wheel is also very “E-Classy” it features touch-sensitive controls that operate the driver information screen, along with other buttons that control the audio, phone connectivity, and cruise control. Push-button starting is standard.

Lower trims make use of a less glamours radio head. It only has a small LCD screen with radio information and a clock. Interestingly, Sprinters equipped with the manual transmission have the shifter placed on the center console in what is otherwise a storage compartment. It’s not too dissimilar from the outgoing Sprinter’s design.

In the business end of things, the Sprinter remains very similar to the outgoing model. As mentioned, that’s a great thing for aftermarket upfitter companies that sell custom-fit shelving and other equipment for the Sprinter. Cargo models offer dual sliding doors for nearly limitless access. Both sliding doors and the rear access are wide enough for a standard shipping pallet. The Sprinter has a maximum cargo volume of 17 cubic meters, or 600 cubic feet and will carry 5.5 metric tons, or 12,125 pounds. That’s impressive.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765647
“When it comes to hauling people rather than cargo, the Sprinter can be optioned with up to 18 seats in the rear, making for a total of 20 occupants.”

When it comes to hauling people rather than cargo, the Sprinter can be optioned with up to 18 seats in the rear, making for a total of 20 occupants.

More amazingly, the Sprinter is offered in more than 1,700 variants with different cab, body lengths, drivetrain options, payload capacities, roof heights, trim, and other options.

Powertrain

– * U.S.-spec Sprinter now offer four-cylinder gasoline engine

– * Four- & six-cylinder turbodiesel options

– * New eSprinter with 41.4 kWh battery & 100-mile range


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765639
“The big powertrain news is the new eSprinter version.”

Mercedes was pretty quiet on powertrain details at the launch. We do know both four- and six-cylinder turbodiesel options will be prevalent. Here in the U.S., the Sprinter will debut with a four-cylinder gasoline engine – a first for the U.S.-spec Sprinter. Those turbodiesel engine options will follow. Both automatic and manual transmission options will be available, too. Mercedes will also continue to sell the 4×4 version with its 4WD powertrain, lifted suspension, and off-road tires. The bulk of U.S. Sprinters will have rear-wheel drive.

The big powertrain news is the new eSprinter version. The van will use a 41.4 kWh battery pack that offers a range of roughly 100 miles. Mercedes says those figures are subject to change as the van is still in development. This isn’t Mercedes’ first all-electric van, though. The compact Vito van got an eVito version back in November of 2017. Mercedes is still taking orders for the eVito and will begin shipping them later this year. The eSprinter is expected several months after the standard 2019 Sprinter makes its European debut in showrooms.

Pricing


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765623

As with most new vehicle debuts, Mercedes did not discuss prices. However, Robert Veit, managing director for Mercedes-Benz USA, spoke with Trucks.com and said the new model will actually have a sharp decrease in pricing thanks to the newly available gasoline engine. According to Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for the AutoPacific consulting firm, told Truck.com that prices could drop by $3,000 to $4,000.

Aside from the decreased cost of manufacturing for a gasoline engine, the decrease in price will help the Mercedes better compete with the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. Both the Ford and Ram are priced below the current Sprinter’s base MSRP of around $34,000.

The Competition

Ford Transit


Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago - image 766081

The Ford Transit might be relatively new to U.S. shores, but Ford has sold the van globally for decades. Replacing the outdated Econoline van in 2014. Like other “Euro van” configurations, the Transit has a cab-forward design that allows for a short nose. This both allows for maximum use of the wheelbase for cargo room, but also makes for a high, commanding view of the road for the driver.

Here in the U.S., the Transit comes with three engine options. The base is Ford’s 3.7-liter V-6. The humble engine makes 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Those fond of gasoline but want something more powerful will like the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. That engine kicks out 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Diesel fans will like the 3.2-liter inline-five turbodiesel. It makes 185 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of engine, every Transit comes with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels.

Prices for the 2018 Ford Transits start at $32,285. Three wheelbases, three roof heights, three trim levels, and the choice between the cargo and passenger model make the Transit incredibly customizable. Not to mention, Ford offers a cut-away version, too.

Read more about the 2018 Ford Transit.

Ram ProMaster


2015 Ram ProMaster City - image 557867

Like the Mercedes and Ford, the Ram ProMaster is a globally available “Euro van” that offers maximum cargo space with a low load floor and a cab-over design. However, the Ram ProMaster name is an American thing. Before FCA was formed, the van was the Fiat Ducato. It still uses that name outside the U.S., though all but the badge is basically the same. Like the others, the ProMaster is available in a nearly limitless number of sizes and configurations.

Powering the U.S.-spec ProMaster is the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. In this application, it makes 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 was available until the EPA’s lawsuit with FCA over diesel emissions, however, it seems the EcoDiesel’s future is still bright.

Prices for the 2018 Ram ProMaster start at $29,995 for the cargo version and $34,345 for the passenger model.

Read more about the 2018 Ram ProMaster.

Conclusion


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765616

The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is a huge leap forward for Mercedes commercial vehicle division. The updates and innovative in-dash technology aren’t only new for the commercial van segment, but break ground for the entire auto industry. Count on seeing much more of the Mercedes MBUX system over the coming years, for sure.

While U.S. customers will have to wait until late 2019 for the updated van, the wait seems worthwhile. That’s especially true for the new eSprinter electric version. It marks the first full-size commercial van to make the leap to an electric drivetrain. Sadly, that model will require an even longer wait.

On a related note, we’re expected to see these changes reach the Freightliner Sprinter in the near future, too. Freightliner in under the Daimler umbrella and sells its rebadged version of the Sprinter van in the U.S.

  • Leave it
    • * Won’t arrive stateside until late 2019
    • * Base four-cylidner gasser probably weak

References


2015 Mercedes Sprinter - image 625763

Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show

Ford didn’t limit itself to regular production vehicles at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. Rather, it invited Tuscany to participate in the fun. Tuscany is an independent aftermarket coachbuilder that contracts with Ford to upgrade trucks with special packages and performance modifications before selling them at Ford dealerships and covered under Ford’s new-vehicle warranty.

Well, Tuscany brought two Shelby-branded trucks to the show – both of which are lifted 4WD modes, but with very different personalities.

Continue reading for more on the trucks.

2018 Ford F-150 Shelby by Tuscany


Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show - image 766918
“The biggest upgrade, however, is found under the hood”

This truck started life as a 2018 F-150 Super Crew with the Lariat trim package and 5.0-liter V-8. Tuscany then modified the brand new truck by adding a BDS suspension lift, 20-inch wheels wrapped in BFG All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, upgraded Fox Racing Shocks, and several unique pieces of bodywork that include a new wire-mesh grille, functional ram air hood scoop, fender flares, Shelby graphics, and a tonneau cover.

The biggest upgrade, however, is found under the hood. Tuscany added a Shelby supercharger and high-flow fuel injectors to the 5.0-liter V-8. It takes the relatively docile 395 horsepower and cranks it to 755 horsepower. Combined with the 10-speed automatic transmission and stout 3.73 final drive ratio, this truck can undoubtedly move.


Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show - image 766920
“This particular conversion costs $46,470 – and that’s on top of the F-150’s cost.”

While we’re not terribly big fans of the outlandish exterior upgrades, the extra horsepower is unquestionably a big plus, especially considering the upgrades don’t void the F-150’s warranty. For those who really like the truck, Tuscany sells its upgraded F-150s through local Ford dealerships. Be prepared to pony up some hefty cash, though. This particular conversion costs $46,470 – and that’s on top of the F-150’s cost. This particular truck originally cost $61,495 and now costs a whopping $107,965.

2018 Ford F-150 Shelby Baja Raptor by Tuscany


Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show - image 766922
“Tuscany had its way, however, and now the truck looks like a Hot Wheels model.”

Like the truck above, this truck started life as a convention 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor with nothing special about it. Tuscany had its way, however, and now the truck looks like a Hot Wheels model.

The truck rides on a Shelby suspension lift with 18-inch alloy wheel sand BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM tires. The Raptor’s front bumper is replaced with a Shelby steel bumper with LED off-road lights and shackle mounts. The hood also gets the Tuscany touch with the functional ram air hood scoop.

Tuscany added Shelby graphics to the rocker panels, along with Amp Research power running boards. The bed also got plenty of attention thanks to a sports bar with off-road lights and mounts for two spare tires. The rear bumper is also steel with LED lighting and shackle mounts for off-road recovery situations. Red and white Shelby decals adorn the windshield, rear fenders, and tailgate for that one-off look. Inside, the truck features embroidered leather seats with the Shelby Baja Raptor logo.


Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show - image 766924
“This particular conversion costs $49,295 on top of the truck’s original MSRP of $68,165”

Of course, Tuscany didn’t leave the Raptor’s 3.5-liter high-output EcoBoost V-6 alone. It took the twin-turbo V-6 from 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque to a whopping 525 horsepower and 610 pound-feet of torque.

Naturally, such modifications don’t come cheap. This particular conversion costs $49,295 on top of the truck’s original MSRP of $68,165. That brings the grand total to a spit-take worthy $117,460. Ouch!

References

Ford F-150


2018 Ford F-150 - image 700453

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


2017 Ford F-150 Raptor - image 610255

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


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Butthurt Alert: Ram Superbowl Commercial Sparks Outrage

As expected, Super Bowl LII had its fair share of commercials. There were some good ones, and there were some bad ones. None of them, though, were as controversial as the Ram commercial that used a portion of Martin Luther King Jr’s speech. To say that it wasn’t well-received would be an understatement. It was panned, criticized, and obliterated for using the speech as a means to sell Ram trucks, a clear misinterpretation of the actual message of King’s speech. But given what we’ve come to know since, was it really a case of insensitivity on Ram’s part or was it all a big misunderstanding of the ad’s real purpose?


I understand the initial negative response towards the commercial. I found it a little too self-serving myself, not because I thought Ram was intentionally using the message of King’s speech in a bad light, but because it was doing it — indirectly, at least — to peddle its products.

It’s come to light since the ad drew backlash that the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., through its manager, Eric D. Tidwell, made the decision to allow King’s sermon to be used in the ad. “When Ram approached the King Estate with the idea of featuring Dr. King’s voice in a new ‘Built To Serve’ commercial, we were pleasantly surprised at the existence of the Ram Nation volunteers and their efforts,” Tidwell said in a statement to The Washington Post.

“We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others,” Tidwell added.


Unfortunately, the King Center, which was founded by his wife, Coretta Scott, tweeted that center and its chief executive, Bernice King, the youngest of King’s children, did not approve the use of King’s speech in the commercial. “Neither @TheKingCenter nor @BerniceKing is the entity that approves the use of #MLK’s words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight’s @Dodge #SuperBowl commercial,” the tweet said.

Clearly, someone from King’s side dropped the ball there. If the estate gave the go-signal to use the speech, why wasn’t his family notified of the decision?

For its part, FCA defended the commercial, saying that it “worked closely with the representatives of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate to receive the necessary approvals and estate representatives were a very important part of the creative process every step of the way.”

Regardless of what you think, the commercial will live in infamy now, even if it probably wasn’t the intention.

References

Ram 1500


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.


maker logos - image 763851

Read more Super Bowl news.

PostHeaderIcon All-New Ram 1500 Gets the Full Mopar Treatment

It’s been a busy 2018 for the all-new Ram 1500, hasn’t it? In the six weeks that we’ve had of 2018, we’ve seen the Ram 1500 make its world debut at the Detroit Auto Show, star in the most controversial ad in Super Bowl LII, and get decked out in full Mopar garb. The last of these happenings took place at the Chicago Auto Show where Ram and Mopar showed off the many ways you can customize your Ram 1500. From expected accessories to those that aren’t available on the market yet, there are over 200 Mopar accessories available for the Ram’s new heavy-duty pickup.


All-New Ram 1500 Gets the Full Mopar Treatment - image 766759
“The most obvious place to begin is the two-inch lift kit. It’s a modest increase, but it does provide extra clearance for the pickup”

Where do I even start? The most obvious place to begin is the two-inch lift kit. It’s a modest increase, but it does provide extra clearance for the pickup. That clearance will be useful if you want to go big with those 35-inch tires. The rubbers are wrapped around 18-inch Mopar wheels that are beadlock-capable. This means that the tires stay attached to the rims like a clingy spouse even when they’re aired down to lower pressures. Mopar’s also giving the Ram 1500 fender flares and full-length off-road cast aluminum running boards to further showcase its rough and rugged appearance.

Open the doors to the pickup’s interior and you’ll be greeted by a cabin that’s dressed in premium black Katzkin leather seats with matching Rebel Red stitching on the seats, door trim, and center console. The same stitching is also used on the Ram head logo on the seatbacks. The cabin also claims brushed aluminum door sill guards and Mopar all-weather floormats with higher sidewalls and deeper channels as its own.


All-New Ram 1500 Gets the Full Mopar Treatment - image 766754
“Mopar’s also giving the Ram 1500 fender flares and full-length off-road cast aluminum running boards”

Move to the pickup’s bed and you’ll see an item that technically isn’t available yet. It’s a lifestyle Ram Rack that can be mounted to utility rails that are already in place in the bed. We first saw this equipment at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show and while it’s still not available today, the company said that it’s arriving in the “near future.” I suppose that estimate isn’t that long for a piece of equipment that will offer plenty of use to future owners.

Speaking of components that aren’t available yet, the new Ram Airflow cold-air intake is also coming in the “near future.” Unlike the Ram Rack, the new cold-air intake is all about working in concert with the pickup’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. The system is also versatile enough that it can work on any hood application, provided that the Hemi V-8 is sitting in the engine bay. It’s also designed to work seamlessly with a Mopar performance exhaust system. Ram didn’t say if the cold-air intake is capable of adding more power to the Hemi.


All-New Ram 1500 Gets the Full Mopar Treatment - image 766762

As extensive as the showcase upgrades are on the Flame Red 2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Sport 4×4 that’s sitting in Chicago, those components are just a handful of Mopar’s entire catalog for the all-new pickup. Makes you wonder then what the 1500 will look like if all available Mopar components are added to it. I don’t think it’s possible because there’s bound to be some overlap, but I’d like to see somebody give it a go.

References

Ram 1500


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon FCA Showcase Mopar Accessories for 2019 Ram 1500 in Chicago

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup hasn’t been debuted more than a month but Mopar already has accessories ready for the truck’s launch into showrooms. The long list includes wheels, tires, side steps, bed-mounted storage racks, and even performance accessories.

Mopar, Chrysler’s famed parts and accessories division that dates back to the 1920s, worked in-house with Ram’s engineers and designers to develop the accessories to work with the truck. Customers can buy the parts alongside their pickup at any Ram dealership and have them installed before final delivery with the price rolled into the vehicle financing. Best of all, the parts and accessories are covered under the Ram’s warranty. And since accessories like the high-flow air intake and cat-back exhaust are designed and installed by Ram, they do not void the truck’s warranty.

Of course, we’ve seen Mopar do this before. The most recent example is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Mopar showcased over 200 parts at the 2017 SEMA show weeks before Jeep officially debut the Wrangler JL.

Continue reading for info on the Ram’s Mopar accessories.

Mopar or No Car


FCA Showcase Mopar Accessories for 2019 Ram 1500 in Chicago - image 766584
“The truck was fitted with a two-inch suspension lift, 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires on 18-inch faux beadlock wheels”

Ram displayed several of Mopar’s 200-plus accessories on a Flame Red 1500-series Big Horn 4WD truck at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. The truck was fitted with a two-inch suspension lift, 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires on 18-inch faux beadlock wheels, black fender flares, and black aluminum running boards not too dissimilar from the Ford F-150 Raptor’s.

Adding to the functionality is the “Ram Rack” cargo system. The slidable hoops mount to the inside of the bed rails and will carry extra large items like kayaks and cargo baskets. Other exterior upgrades include a fold-out step under the rear bumper for easy access to the bed and racing stripes that accent the 2019 Ram’s new hood design.


FCA Showcase Mopar Accessories for 2019 Ram 1500 in Chicago - image 766582
“Performance wise, Mopar is offering a cold-air intake and stainless steel cat-back exhaust for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.”

Inside the truck, Mopar fitted the interior with Katskin leather with red contrast stitching and the Ram’s Head logo. All-weather rubber floor mats protect the carpet from getting soaked with wet shoes or stained from muddy boots.

Performance wise, Mopar is offering a cold-air intake and stainless steel cat-back exhaust for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. No performance gains were specified, but the extra airflow will certainly add to the Hemi’s 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. Interestingly, the cold-air intake shaped so it fits within the “power dome” of the Ram’s new hood. It looks really slick. The cat-back dual exhaust is also form-fitted to match the cutouts in the rear bumper.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is expected to arrive in showrooms by the end of Q1 2018, so we won’t have to wait long. Best of all, these Mopar accessories will be available on day one of sales.

References

Ram 1500


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago

Ford’s smallest van, the Transit Connect, has just received a facelift at the 2018 Chicago Motor Show. Exterior updates are mild and interior upgrades are mostly about new tech and options, but there’s big news under the skin, in the form of a brand-new diesel engine.

The outer shell of the van remained largely unchanged on the sides and around back, but the front fascia now sports the company’s latest corporate face. The large grille seen in the newer models found its way on the Transit Connect, as did slightly bigger headlamps, and a revised, sportier bumper. Inside the cabin, there’s a reshaped dashboard with a cleaner center stack, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen floating on top. The display is optional though. The instrument cluster now has a digital information center. Ford now offers wireless charging, with Waze compatibility to be introduced soon.

Moving over to tech, the Automatic Emergency Braking system comes standard with the segment-exclusive Pre-Collision Assist. The optional Adaptive Cruise Control system makes highway driving easier by automatically slowing the vehicle when radar detects traffic ahead. The available Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert rounds off the driver assist package. Continue reading to find out about the engine lineup.

Keep reading for the full story.

Class-Exclusive Diesel Option


Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago - image 766189
“The 1.5-liter EcoBlue engine is estimated to return at least 30 mpg on the highway”

The updated Transit Connect is actually available with two new engines, but the diesel is by far the more interesting choice. A class-exclusive feature, the oil burner displaces 1.5 liters and goes by the name EcoBlue. It pairs to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and it’s estimated to return at least 30 mpg on the highway. The engine is already available in the European version of the EcoSport crossover, so we already know from there that it has aluminum block and heads, water-to-air cooling, and a variable-geometry turbo. The unit is rated at 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.

The other mill is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline unit with direct injection and Auto Start-Stop as standard equipment. It too comes mated to the all-new eight-speed automatic, but other data is not available as of this writing. Ford says that the van will have a towing capability of 2,000 pounds when paired with the available trailer tow package.

References


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago

Ford’s smallest van, the Transit Connect, has just received a facelift at the 2018 Chicago Motor Show. Exterior updates are mild and interior upgrades are mostly about new tech and options, but there’s big news under the skin, in the form of a brand-new diesel engine.

The outer shell of the van remained largely unchanged on the sides and around back, but the front fascia now sports the company’s latest corporate face. The large grille seen in the newer models found its way on the Transit Connect, as did slightly bigger headlamps, and a revised, sportier bumper. Inside the cabin, there’s a reshaped dashboard with a cleaner center stack, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen floating on top. The display is optional though. The instrument cluster now has a digital information center. Ford now offers wireless charging, with Waze compatibility to be introduced soon.

Moving over to tech, the Automatic Emergency Braking system comes standard with the segment-exclusive Pre-Collision Assist. The optional Adaptive Cruise Control system makes highway driving easier by automatically slowing the vehicle when radar detects traffic ahead. The available Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert rounds off the driver assist package. Continue reading to find out about the engine lineup.

Keep reading for the full story.

Class-Exclusive Diesel Option


Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago - image 766189
“The 1.5-liter EcoBlue engine is estimated to return at least 30 mpg on the highway”

The updated Transit Connect is actually available with two new engines, but the diesel is by far the more interesting choice. A class-exclusive feature, the oil burner displaces 1.5 liters and goes by the name EcoBlue. It pairs to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and it’s estimated to return at least 30 mpg on the highway. The engine is already available in the European version of the EcoSport crossover, so we already know from there that it has aluminum block and heads, water-to-air cooling, and a variable-geometry turbo. The unit is rated at 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.

The other mill is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline unit with direct injection and Auto Start-Stop as standard equipment. It too comes mated to the all-new eight-speed automatic, but other data is not available as of this writing. Ford says that the van will have a towing capability of 2,000 pounds when paired with the available trailer tow package.

References


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon FCA Facing Big Fines Over Diesel Emissions Cheating

A new stage has been reached with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ legal troubles over alleged cheating diesels. The U.S. Department of Justice has offered to settle its lawsuit against the automaker if FCA recalls 104,000 Jeep and Ram vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 for a software upgrade and to pay a “very substantial” fine that, according to the DOJ, “adequately reflects the seriousness of the conduct that led to the violations.”

While the fine amount has not been disclosed, it will likely be far less than Volkswagen’s massive $30 billion fine over its emission test-dodging diesels fitted in 580,000 vehicles in the U.S. Globally, Volkswagen’s turbodiesel issue affected some 11 million vehicles. Estimates made last year by Barclays Plc, Mediobanca SpA and Evercore ISI say FCA could be liable for between $460 million and more than $1 billion.

Unlike Volkswagen, FCA has denied any wrongdoing or conscious effort to cheat on emissions testing with its EcoDiesel V-6. The EPA is also not requesting FCA conduct a buy-back of the vehicles. The diesels in question were sold in 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 pickups. The EPA denied FCA permission to sell 2017 model year vehicles with the EcoDiesel.

The EcoDiesel’s still has a future, though. FCA says its updated EcoDiesel will make more power and be available in future vehicles. The new engine is said to have increased horsepower from 240 to 260 and torque from 420 to 442 pound-feet. The engine will return to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, debut in the new Jeep Wrangler JL, and be available in the new 2019 Ram 1500.

References


maker logos - image 750373

Read more FCA news.

PostHeaderIcon FCA Facing Big Fines Over Diesel Emissions Cheating

A new stage has been reached with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ legal troubles over alleged cheating diesels. The U.S. Department of Justice has offered to settle its lawsuit against the automaker if FCA recalls 104,000 Jeep and Ram vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 for a software upgrade and to pay a “very substantial” fine that, according to the DOJ, “adequately reflects the seriousness of the conduct that led to the violations.”

While the fine amount has not been disclosed, it will likely be far less than Volkswagen’s massive $30 billion fine over its emission test-dodging diesels fitted in 580,000 vehicles in the U.S. Globally, Volkswagen’s turbodiesel issue affected some 11 million vehicles. Estimates made last year by Barclays Plc, Mediobanca SpA and Evercore ISI say FCA could be liable for between $460 million and more than $1 billion.

Unlike Volkswagen, FCA has denied any wrongdoing or conscious effort to cheat on emissions testing with its EcoDiesel V-6. The EPA is also not requesting FCA conduct a buy-back of the vehicles. The diesels in question were sold in 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 pickups. The EPA denied FCA permission to sell 2017 model year vehicles with the EcoDiesel.

The EcoDiesel’s still has a future, though. FCA says its updated EcoDiesel will make more power and be available in future vehicles. The new engine is said to have increased horsepower from 240 to 260 and torque from 420 to 442 pound-feet. The engine will return to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, debut in the new Jeep Wrangler JL, and be available in the new 2019 Ram 1500.

References


maker logos - image 750373

Read more FCA news.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans

Gets Tesla Autopilot and all autonomous features

Back in November, Tesla revealed its all-electric Semi, a product framed as nothing less than the catalyst to a battery-driven revolution in the freight industry. Now, the supporting infrastructure required to make the thing actually work in the real world is starting to come to light, as it was recently revealed that some of the companies that placed pre-orders for the Tesla Semi are assisting the California-based automaker in its effort to create a new “Mega Charger” network.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans - image 746092
“Solar power will be a major component of the Mega Charger network, with an array of panels installed at each location to buff up the flow of electrons.”

When Tesla unveiled the Semi last year, it dropped quite a few rather unbelievable specs along the way. Unfortunately, unlike the world of passenger cars, there’s very little room for interpretation here – either it works and the freight arrives on time, or it doesn’t work and you lose money.

As such, the infrastructure required to power the EV Tesla Semi is absolutely critical to its success. To better suit the tight schedules drivers face every day on the road, Tesla is planning something called the Mega Charger network. Similar to Tesla’s passenger-car focused Superchargers, a network composed of some 1,100 charge points scattered around the globe, the plan is to build big-and-burly Mega Chargers along routes heavily trafficked by freight movers, offering extra miles to help Semi drivers get the job done.

Solar power will be a major component of the Mega Charger network, with an array of panels installed at each location to buff up the flow of electrons. Tesla has guaranteed a 7-cent-per-kW cost rate for charging, which is below average compared to what you get from the grid and no doubt buoyed by the previously mentioned solar panels.

The Mega Chargers will also offer an impressive bump in charging rate over the standard Supercharger outlet, with Tesla boasting the potential for as much as 400 miles in just 30 minutes. Half an hour is also roughly the time it takes to unload and load freight, which would make the Mega Charger a solid solution for juicing up a fleet of trucks onsite at various distribution centers.


Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans - image 745851
“The Mega Chargers will offer an impressive 400 miles in just 30 minutes. Half an hour is also roughly the time it takes to unload and load freight, which would make the Mega Charger a solid solution for juicing up a fleet of trucks onsite at various distribution centers.”

It would appear as though several major freight-reliant firms would agree, as Reuters is reporting that Tesla is teaming up with the likes of Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, and United Parcel Service Inc. to build Mega Chargers at select company facilities. Between them, the three companies mentioned have over 250 Tesla Semis on pre-order.
In total, nine major firms have placed orders for the all-electric vehicle, with standouts including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sysco Corp., UPS, and the grocery chain Loblaw Companies Ltd.

For now, it looks as though the proposed routes each Semi would take would stay within their projected range per charge, which means the on-site Mega Chargers would be sufficient for operation. However, expansion is expected in the future.

PepsiCo, which has 100 Semis on reserve, chimed in. “We have a lot of in-house capability around energy and engineering… and certainly Tesla brings their expertise to the table on energy and charging,” said PepsiCo executive Mike O’Connell to Reuters.

The details of the partnership are still unknown, and it’s uncertain what sort of compensation (if any) Tesla will receive for its design and engineering work. Building costs are also up in the air. However, it’s believed that the various deals are still very much in a state of flux and could change in the future.

There’s also reports that firms are looking into creating new all-electric infrastructure of their own to help bolster the proposed Tesla network around the U.S.


Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans - image 746090
“It's uncertain how Tesla will meet its proposed timetable, especially when you consider its history of pushed deadlines and the fact it's still struggling to meet the marks for its other model lines, specifically the Model 3.”

However, it’s uncertain how Tesla will meet its proposed timetable, especially when you consider its history of pushed deadlines and the fact it’s still struggling to meet the marks for its other model lines, specifically the Model 3. And that’s particularly unsettling considering just how ambitious the Mega Charger plan is shaping up to be. Some analysts are saying Tesla won’t even be able to deliver on its target delivery date for production of the Semi, which at the moment is set at 2019, making the new infrastructure proposals even more questionable. Meanwhile, there are further doubts among the major trucking companies as to whether the Tesla Semi can even deliver on its specs as promised in the reveal.

But hey – Tesla relishes any opportunity to play the under dog, so that’s about par for the course.

As a reminder, Tesla says the Semi can achieve upwards of 500 miles per charge and hit 60 mph in just 5 seconds without a trailer. With a full 80,000-pound payload hitched up, Tesla says the Semi should be able to hit 60 mph in 20 seconds, as well as climb a 5-percent grade at 65 mph. Pricing is set between $150,000 and $200,000 depending on the range-per-charge option selected. CEO Elon Musk claims the cost of the Semi will be recouped in fuel savings alone over the course of a million-mile lifetime.

References

Tesla Semi


Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans - image 746089

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.

Tesla Model 3


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727971

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.


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Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Armada Snow Patrol

There must be something about the Chicago Auto Show that brings out Nissan’s creativity. Two years ago, the Japanese automaker unveiled the Winter Warrior Concepts, a collection of outrageously engineered Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue SUVs that featured snow tracks instead of actual wheels. This year, Nissan is returning to the Windy City with a pair of concepts that might as well be spiritual successors of the Winter Warriors. One of these concepts is a fresh take on the Nissan Armada, called the Snow Patrol. It’s not as outlandish as the Winter Warriors or its present counterpart, the Nissan 370Zki, but the Armada Snow Patrol is unique in its own right for a variety of reasons.

There’s no going around Nissan’s objective with the Armada Snow Patrol. Billy Hayes, the vice president of Nissan North America’s Commercial Vehicles and Trucks, called it a “return to roots” concept for the Armada model. “(The Armada) has a long off-road heritage as the Nissan Patrol, a global expedition vehicle,” he said. “As part of our celebration of winter at the Chicago Auto Show, we wanted to remind our growing family of Armada owners and enthusiasts that this full-size SUV stands ready to take you to the mountains, or at least safely through Chicago streets covered in lake effect snow.”

One look at the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol and you’ll see exactly what Hayes is talking about.

What makes the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol special


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765287
“The wheels and tires do come in different forms, specifically as a set of 20-inch Cognito Series 61 satin black wheels wrapped in Pro Comp MT2 off-road tires.”

Unlike the Nissan 370Zki, the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol retains most of its standard features. The wheels, for example, are still there. That said, the wheels and tires do come in different forms, specifically as a set of 20-inch Cognito Series 61 satin black wheels wrapped in Pro Comp MT2 off-road tires. This new wheel-and-tire combo is one of many changes fitted into the SUV.

Up front, the Armada’s standard bumper was also taken out and replaced by an off-road M1A2 bumper with a grille protector bar and a 12,000-pound winch. Five-inch LED fog lights and a double-row LED light bar are also welcome additions to the Armada Snow Patrol, supplied to Nissan by Pro Comp, the same company that provided the wheels, tires, and suspension kit for the Armada. The roof rack, side steps, and rock sliders are also new to the concept, all of which were sourced from supplier Smittybilt. Finishing off the exterior upgrades is a custom Geometric body wrap that comes courtesy of Icon Image Graphics.


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765284
“Move inside the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol, and the changes are minimal compared to what we expected”

Move inside the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol, and the changes are minimal compared to what we expected. The seats are now wrapped in premium leather that’s dressed in a fancy shade of Pearl to go along with not-so-fancy cement-colorer perforated inserts and cobalt contrast stitching. An Armada Snow Patrol logo — yes, this concept has a logo of its own — is stitched into the seatbacks. All-weather floor liners are the only other additions to the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol.

On the engine front, the Armada Snow Patrol is still powered by the 5.8-liter V-8 engine as the standard Armada. It’s still good for 390 horsepower and
394 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which, in turn, sends all the engine’s power to all four wheels. When properly equipped, Nissan says that the Armada Snow Patrol has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765280
“The automaker used a suspension lift kit to raise the SUV’s height by two inches in the front and one inch in the back”

The last and arguably most important modification given to the Armada Snow Patrol is in the suspension. In order for the SUV to turn the vehicle Nissan is presenting in Chicago, the automaker used a suspension lift kit to raise the SUV’s height by two inches in the front and one inch in the back. The result is an Armada that can justify its label as a true winter wonder ride.

References

Nissan Armada


2017 Nissan Armada Unveiled - image 664999

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Armada.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744955

Read more Nissan news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Armada Snow Patrol

There must be something about the Chicago Auto Show that brings out Nissan’s creativity. Two years ago, the Japanese automaker unveiled the Winter Warrior Concepts, a collection of outrageously engineered Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue SUVs that featured snow tracks instead of actual wheels. This year, Nissan is returning to the Windy City with a pair of concepts that might as well be spiritual successors of the Winter Warriors. One of these concepts is a fresh take on the Nissan Armada, called the Snow Patrol. It’s not as outlandish as the Winter Warriors or its present counterpart, the Nissan 370Zki, but the Armada Snow Patrol is unique in its own right for a variety of reasons.

There’s no going around Nissan’s objective with the Armada Snow Patrol. Billy Hayes, the vice president of Nissan North America’s Commercial Vehicles and Trucks, called it a “return to roots” concept for the Armada model. “(The Armada) has a long off-road heritage as the Nissan Patrol, a global expedition vehicle,” he said. “As part of our celebration of winter at the Chicago Auto Show, we wanted to remind our growing family of Armada owners and enthusiasts that this full-size SUV stands ready to take you to the mountains, or at least safely through Chicago streets covered in lake effect snow.”

One look at the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol and you’ll see exactly what Hayes is talking about.

What makes the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol special


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765287
“The wheels and tires do come in different forms, specifically as a set of 20-inch Cognito Series 61 satin black wheels wrapped in Pro Comp MT2 off-road tires.”

Unlike the Nissan 370Zki, the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol retains most of its standard features. The wheels, for example, are still there. That said, the wheels and tires do come in different forms, specifically as a set of 20-inch Cognito Series 61 satin black wheels wrapped in Pro Comp MT2 off-road tires. This new wheel-and-tire combo is one of many changes fitted into the SUV.

Up front, the Armada’s standard bumper was also taken out and replaced by an off-road M1A2 bumper with a grille protector bar and a 12,000-pound winch. Five-inch LED fog lights and a double-row LED light bar are also welcome additions to the Armada Snow Patrol, supplied to Nissan by Pro Comp, the same company that provided the wheels, tires, and suspension kit for the Armada. The roof rack, side steps, and rock sliders are also new to the concept, all of which were sourced from supplier Smittybilt. Finishing off the exterior upgrades is a custom Geometric body wrap that comes courtesy of Icon Image Graphics.


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765284
“Move inside the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol, and the changes are minimal compared to what we expected”

Move inside the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol, and the changes are minimal compared to what we expected. The seats are now wrapped in premium leather that’s dressed in a fancy shade of Pearl to go along with not-so-fancy cement-colorer perforated inserts and cobalt contrast stitching. An Armada Snow Patrol logo — yes, this concept has a logo of its own — is stitched into the seatbacks. All-weather floor liners are the only other additions to the interior of the Armada Snow Patrol.

On the engine front, the Armada Snow Patrol is still powered by the 5.8-liter V-8 engine as the standard Armada. It’s still good for 390 horsepower and
394 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which, in turn, sends all the engine’s power to all four wheels. When properly equipped, Nissan says that the Armada Snow Patrol has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.


2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol - image 765280
“The automaker used a suspension lift kit to raise the SUV’s height by two inches in the front and one inch in the back”

The last and arguably most important modification given to the Armada Snow Patrol is in the suspension. In order for the SUV to turn the vehicle Nissan is presenting in Chicago, the automaker used a suspension lift kit to raise the SUV’s height by two inches in the front and one inch in the back. The result is an Armada that can justify its label as a true winter wonder ride.

References

Nissan Armada


2017 Nissan Armada Unveiled - image 664999

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Armada.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744955

Read more Nissan news.

PostHeaderIcon Ram 1500 Super Bowl LII Ad Takes Subtle Shot at Minnesota Vikings

There’s something to be said for a commercial that nails it with the subtlest of hints. I’ll submit this ad for the new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup as a perfect example of that. The theme of the ad centers around a group of Icelandic Vikings who make the trip to Minnesota from Iceland to watch Super Bowl LII, presumably because they thought the Minnesota Vikings were actually playing in it. From there, hilarity — and a fitting closing tagline — ensues.


The ad itself has a lot of authenticity to it because it was shot in Iceland. The commercial starts off with a Viking driving the Ram 1500 and picking up his buddies for the long row from Iceland to Minneapolis. An uptempo cut of Queen’s song, “We Will Rock You” sets the stage for the commercial, which cuts to the Vikings in a longship, rowing to Minneapolis with the Ram 1500 in tow. Once they hit land, the rambunctious group make the drive to Minneapolis, only to find out through the radio that the Vikes of Minnesota aren’t playing in “tonight’s matchup.” (FYI, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC title game on their way to beating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII).

Dejected, the suddenly forlorn group of Vikings make a U-turn back to their longship where they once again sing their rousing rendition of Queen’s hit song. That’s when the voice-over comes in with a perfectly placed tagline, calling the Ram 1500 as a pickup that’s “built for the unexpected.”

It’s a tremendous exclamation point to a fantastic commercial from Ram.

References

Ram 1500


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.


maker logos - image 763851

Read more Super Bowl news.

PostHeaderIcon Flex Those Muscles: Ford F-150 is the Favorite Vehicle Among Members of the U.S. Military

Ford F-150

36 straight years. That’s how long the Ford F-150 has sat atop the best-selling truck list in the U.S. The F-150’s timeless popularity is unquestioned to the point that it’s not surprising to hear that the truck has also been named the best-selling vehicle among members of the U.S. military. A study conducted by the United Services Automobile Association’s car buying service revealed the status of the F-150 among all branches of the U.S. military in 2017. It’s the latest accolade given to a model that also earned the 2018 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award for the fourth year in a row.


Flex Those Muscles: Ford F-150 is the Favorite Vehicle Among Members of the U.S. Military - image 700452
“The F-150’s popularity keeps on soaring, as shown by the study done by USAA auto analyst Jimmy Spears.”

There’s no stopping the Ford F-150’s continued dominance in the U.S. market. That’s been the case since the model debut in the late 70’s. If anything, the F-150’s popularity keeps on soaring, as shown by the study done by USAA auto analyst Jimmy Spears.

The recognition wasn’t lost on the automaker, which has helped the military in a variety of roles and functions throughout the years. “We are proud and humbled that those who protect and defend our country choose (the) Ford F-Series,” Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, said in a statement. “(The) F-150’s high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body is designed to serve customers who are used to performing in the harshest of environments and who rely on the capability, durability, and functionality delivered consistently by Built Ford Tough.”

The F-150’s popularity is largely tied to Ford’s ability to keep reinventing and improving the model after all of its years in the market. For the 2018 model, the F-150 received a number of notable upgrades, specifically the addition of a new diesel variant that uses a 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo V-6 engine that has 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. The new diesel mill is the sixth engine in the F-150 lineup. Its inclusion coincides with other updates for the pickup, including an updated exterior, new technology, and more wheel choices.


Flex Those Muscles: Ford F-150 is the Favorite Vehicle Among Members of the U.S. Military - image 700450
“In 2017 alone, Ford’s F-Series sold a staggering 896,764 models in the U.S.”

The new updates should help the F-150
maintain its dominance in the pickup truck market. As well received as the new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 were when they debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, both models still have a long way to go to catch the F-150 in the sales charts. In 2017 alone, Ford’s F-Series sold a staggering 896,764 models in the U.S. By comparison, sales of the Chevrolet Silverado in the same year maxed out at 585,864 units while sales of Ram models “only” added up to 500,723 units.

Given the F-150’s place in the hearts and minds of Americans, including young and old military personnel, don’t expect to see any changes on that list. The F-150 is still the king of pickups in the U.S.

References

Ford F-150


Flex Those Muscles: Ford F-150 is the Favorite Vehicle Among Members of the U.S. Military - image 700453

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


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy’s Dream of Luxury Come True

After a long day of riding hawses on the range and ropin’ dogies, a cowboy likes to kick his boots off and sit a spell. Well, Ram now has a pretty good place to relax. The new 2019 Ram 1500 is completely new, and with it comes a revised and upgraded version of the Laramie Longhorn trim.


The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy's Dream of Luxury Come True - image 763507

The high-class Laramie Longhorn places second only to the Limited in Ram’s trim level lineup. The trim brings a two-tone paint scheme and 20-inch or optional 22-inch wheels to the outside and an interior filled with full-grain leather, real metal, and open-pore wood. Outside of a luxury sedan or SUV, the Ram’s new interior is about as swanky as it gets.

Interior equipment includes the new 12-inch Uconnect screen, an upgraded center console with covered storage bins, and seats that boast both heating and venting in all outboard positions. The 2019 Ram 1500 is the first pickup to offer vented rear seats. Ram’s rear seats also recline, too, for a completely relaxed ride. Legroom and headroom are nothing short of limousine level.

Smaller details include leather seatback pockets with metal buckles, brushed-nickel metal badges with the Laramie Longhorn logo, and a branded Laramie Longhorn logo seared into the passenger side’s wood dash trim. For the connected cowboys, the Ram has 4G LTE Wi-Fi, five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM radio. A 360-degree camera system is also present. Once the sun goes down, the cabin floods with ambient light.


The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy's Dream of Luxury Come True - image 763500
“The trim brings a two-tone paint scheme and 20-inch or optional 22-inch wheels to the outside and an interior filled with full-grain leather, real metal, and open-pore wood”

Like the other trim levels in the 2019 Ram 1500 lineup, the Laramie Longhorn’s available 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 can be had with the new mild hybrid system. The system replaces the alternator with a motor-generator and includes a 48-volt battery pack mounted to the cab’s rear bulkhead. During low-speed acceleration, the motor-generator helps turn the crankshaft via the accessory belt. Though it doesn’t help top-end power or torque, the system saves fuel at lower speeds and helps give the truck extra torque off the line. An upgraded eight-speed automatic comes standard and is controlled by an updated rotary shifter on the dash.

The 2019 Ram 1500 will go on sale by the end of Q1 2018. Prices have not been announced, but expect the Laramie Longhorn to increase in price over last years’ model, which held a base MSRP of $49,670.

References

Ram 1500


The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy's Dream of Luxury Come True - image 763506

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition.


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

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

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