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Archive for the ‘fullsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon WalMart’s Pre-Order Of 15 Tesla Semi Trucks Is A Sign Of Faith

Consumes less than 2.0 kW per mile driving fully loaded

Tesla’s quest to become a player in the commercial truck segment is off to a good start. It’s barely been a week since the electric automaker’s new semi trucks were unveiled and the company already has a pre-order of 15 units from Walmart. The world’s biggest retailer is no stranger to commercial trucks with around 6,000 units at its disposal. The new Tesla trucks, though, could be a game-changer for a company as big as Walmart that relies heavily on long-haul deliveries of all of its merchandise. Of the 15 pre-ordered trucks, five will be used for the company’s business in the U.S. while the other ten will be used up in Canada.

Vindication for Tesla?


2019 Tesla Semi - image 746090
“As for the battery, it’s said that it has enough charge to drive up to 500 miles at the legal load limit of 80,000 pounds.”

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Elon Musk announced Tesla’s plan to develop electric semi trucks. That’s nothing new for the electric automaker, but still, the thought of the company developing semi-trucks running on electric power wasn’t easy to digest. Tesla’s come a long way since then, and Walmart’s interest in testing out the new product and technology is a big boost of confidence for the carmaker.

The early returns on the truck’s capabilities are also promising. The company hasn’t announced the full details regarding the size and output of the trucks’ battery pack, but it did say that the electric motors the trucks will be using are derived from the ones that are used on Model 3. As for the battery, it’s said that it has enough charge to drive up to 500 miles at the legal load limit of 80,000 pounds. On the performance front, the trucks are capable of hitting 60 mph in just five seconds without a trailer and close to 20 seconds when it’s loaded up to its weight capacity. The latter is a remarkable number compared to conventional semi trucks, which takes close to 60 seconds to hit 60 mph with 80,000 pounds in tow. Outside of its battery and electric motors, the semis also use regenerative braking that’s capable of recovering 98 percent of kinetic energy, which it then turns to electric energy that can be used to recharge the battery.

Tesla Semi Trucks Fast Facts


2019 Tesla Semi - image 746085
  • Sleek Design For Improved Visibility And Aerodynamics
  • Drag Coefficient Of 0.36
  • High And Low Roof Versions
  • 360-Degree Camera System
  • Hooks To Any Conventional 18-Wheeler Trailer
  • Center-Mounted Driver’s Seat
  • Touchscreen Display And Control All Vehicle Systems
  • Sleeper Cab Includes Living Accommodations
  • Autopilot And Active Safety Systems
  • Low-Mounted Battery
  • 500-Mile Range Towing 80,000 Pounds
  • Consumes Less Than 2.0 Kw Per Mile Driving Fully Loaded
  • Regenerative Braking
  • Megacharger Adds 400 Miles Of Charge In 30 Minutes
  • 0 To 60 Mph In 5.0 Seconds When Unloaded
  • 0 To 60 Mph In 20 Seconds When Fully Loaded

Good for Walmart too


Tesla Debuts New Semi Truck - image 745865
“Each truck travels around the Equator by an average of 12 times per year.”

Walmart says on its website that its truck drivers travel an average distance of about 700 million miles per year. That’s a staggering number in it of itself. Break that down using a little mathematics and you’re looking at Walmart truck drivers driving the equivalent of going around Earth’s equator 88,412 times! Now divide that by the number of semi trucks Walmart has in its fleet, and the answer means that each truck travels around the Equator by an average of 12 times per year. That equates to each truck traveling around 116,670 miles per year.

Those figures become more staggering when you consider the amount of fuel these trucks consume on their yearly travels. Now imagine the kind of impact an electric semi truck can have in this business. Companies like Walmart will not have to worry about spending millions of dollars on fuel and maintenance of its fleet of trucks. Money aside, zero-emissions semi trucks also help assuage industrial concerns and their perceived effect on the environment.

On the other hand, Tesla’s new electric semi trucks still have a lot of questions to answer itself, including per-mile costs, maintenance issues, and EV charging infrastructure. These semi trucks, after all, require a completely different level of maintenance compared to Tesla’s commercial car lineup. A company like Walmart needs to ensure itself that the products it will use for delivery are up-to-its standards. That’s a big reason why it has preordered 15 of these new semi trucks to test out and see if they can perform up to their potential.

“We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” the company said in a statement. “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”

References

Tesla Semi


2019 Tesla Semi - image 746088

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.



Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes X-Class AMG

2020 Mercedes-AMG X-Class

First confirmed in 2015, the X-Class was unveiled in 2017 as a production model and became the company’s first mass-produced pickup truck. Produced by Nissan Motor Iberica, the X-Class isn’t an original Mercedes-Benz design, as it borrowed its chassis and many body panels from the Nissan Navara. However, it employs many Mercedes-specific styling cues on the outside and new technologies inside the cabin. In addition, it features a more premium interior, at least in the more expensive trim. Similarly, most engines available come from Nissan, but the range-topping model uses Mercedes’ V-6 diesel mill. With the X-Class on its way to showrooms, is the German company finally planning to roll out an AMG model?

So far, there aren’t any signs that Stuttgart wants such a model. What’s more, Tobias Moers, the man in charge of AMG, said that there are no plans for a beefed-up X-Class, adding that he doesn’t see a market for it. This was in late 2016. In 2017, the AMG was again dismissed by Mercedes-Benz Vans boss Volker Mornhinweg, who said that the truck “is not right for a V-8.” However, the AMG-badged X-Class is still “something that we will listen and look carefully,” so there is still hope of a production model. Actually, I’m positive that Mercedes-Benz will eventually make one, as both the Middle East and the U.S. markets will be more than happy to get it. We’ve already made a rendering of the truck, and we’re going to discuss what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG X63.

Exterior

  • AMG-specific features
  • Aggressive front bumper
  • Unique wheels
  • Performance tires
  • Tinted lights
  • Matte black detailing

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 723972

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“Don't expect it to be as aggressive as the sedans or coupes”

The design of the X-Class shouldn’t change much with the AMG package. While it will receive many of the unique features that come with other AMG vehicles, don’t expect it to be as aggressive as the sedans or coupes. Up front, it should stand out by means of a new bumper. The massive, black-painted plastic piece will be replaced by an AMG bumper grille with honeycomb mesh. As a result, the vents will grow larger, which will improve drivetrain and brake cooling. This new feature will also give the truck a sportier look. The main grille will also get thinner horizontal slats, while the chrome around the Mercedes star will turn black. The same will happen to headlamps for a more menacing look.

Onto the sides, we should find black mirror caps (maybe with a carbon-fiber option), revised side steps, and multi-spoke, AMG wheels wrapped in performance tires. Being a truck, the X-Class could also get a rock climbing version with off-road tires. The rear section shouldn’t change much either. Highlights could include a matte black bumper, a large skid plate, tinted taillights, and an AMG badge. Large AMG graphics on the tailgate would be cool too! Mercedes could also introduce a couple of extra paints for the AMG version.

Interior

  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Exclusive instrument cluster
  • Unique start-up screen
  • Extra standard features

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 723977

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“Upgrades should be similar to those seen in the Mercedes-AMG GLE63”

The amount of new features we will find inside the cabin depends on how far Mercedes-Benz wants to go with this truck. If it’s planning to launch a full-fledged AMG model, like an X63, upgrades should be similar to those seen in the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. They should include a leather-wrapped dashboard, aluminum trim, and a flat-bottom steering wheels as standard. The regular seats should be replaced by bolstered units with perforated Nappa leather.

Also look for a slightly revised instrument cluster with sportier dials, carbon-fiber inserts, and AMG-specific lettering. The 8.4-inch infotainment screen, which is optional in the base X-Class, should be standard in the AMG model. And it should also get a distinctive design for the start-up screen. Some carbon-fiber trim on the dash would be nice too, but the clean and simple design of the X-Class’ interior doesn’t leave much room for that. However, the A/C bezels, the lower dashboard area, and the center console look like they could use a bit of carbon, at least through the options list.

In case Mercedes decides to keep the X-Class on the milder side of the AMG pond, an X43 model won’t include as many features as the 63-spec vehicles. The flat-bottom steering wheel should remain in place, but don’t look for any carbon-fiber trim. You shouldn’t get your hopes up on the heavily bolstered seats either, while the Nappa leather upgrade will be gone too. But it will still have a few extra niceties, so expect it to have a sportier, more premium feel when compared to the non-AMG version.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter V-8 engine
  • Or 3.0-liter V-6
  • More than 400 horsepower with the V-8
  • Quick-shifting transmission
  • Retuned AWD system
  • No manual gearbox

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 724005

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“The X63 wouldn't be overly powerful at 469 horsepower”

If you look closely at our rendering, you’ll notice the “biturbo V8” badge on the front fender. It’s there because we designed the truck as an AMG X63 version with the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood.

The standard X-Class already benefits from three drivetrains, but there’s only one gasoline options, a turbo four-cylinder that cranks out 164 horsepower. The other two options are diesels. There’s the Nissan-sourced 2.3-liter four-pot rated at either 161 horsepower and 297 pound-feet or 188 horses and 332 pound-feet. Finally, Merc’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel delivers a solid 255 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of twist. So Mercedes has no choice but to use a different engine in the AMG model, be it a V-8-powered X63 or a V-6-motivated X43.


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 746647
“Expect the X43 version to use a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated at more than 300 horsepower”

Atlhough Volker Mornhinweg said that the truck is not right for a V-8 engine, AMG shouldn’t find it very hard to modify the front section for the 4.0-liter. The twin-turbo unit is already a familiar presence in AMG cars. First introduced with the AMG GT sports car in 2014, it also found its way into AMG versions of the C-Class, E-Class, and GLC, just to name a few. The engine is usually offered in two versions. The 63 models usually get 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet, while the 63 S variants come with 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet on tap. An S version seems unlikely, but the X63 wouldn’t be overly powerful at 469 horses. Of course, there’s also the possibility that AMG detuned the V-8 to a little less than 400 horsepower.

Should Mercedes decided that an X43 version is enough for performance truck fains, expect it to use the 3.0-liter V-6 that motivates the C43 sedan and the GLC43 crossover. Also twin-turbocharged, this unit cranks out 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough to make the X-Class the most powerful truck in its segment.

AMG will also meddle with the transmission and the four-wheel-drive system. Both will be modified to handle the extra performance. The automatic transmission will shift quicker for enhanced 0-to-60 mph sprints. Don’t expect to get a manual gearbox with the AMG-prepped truck.

Prices


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 746646

Pricing for this truck will depend on what model Mercedes will decide to make. Obviously, the X63 will be more expensive than the X43. The base model retails from €37,000 (around $43,350 as of November 2017) and this means that the X63 could cost in excess of €60,000 (about $70,300). On the other hand, if AMG goes with the X43 model, it should retail from around €48,000 (around $56,240).

U.S. pricing for the X-Class is not yet available and we still don’t know whether Mercedes is planning to bring it to the U.S.. But I will update this section as soon as we get more information.

Competition

Setting up a competitor section of this truck is somewhat tricky. For starters, none of its European rivals, like the Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok, and Ford Ranger, don’t come with performance packages. The Chevrolet Colorado gets pretty close in Z71 trim (and ZR2 upgrade), but this truck is only available in the United States. So unless it comes to the U.S., this AMG-tuned pickup will compete in a segment of its own until some proper competition is offered.

Chevrolet Colorado


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695947

Unlike Mercedes-Benz, Chevy has been making pickup trucks for decades. The Colorado is its smallest offering, and it has been around since 2003, when it replaced the iconic S-10. The Colorado was discontinued in the U.S. in 2012, becoming an Asia and South America vechile, but returned to North America for the 2015 model year. It’s most potent engine, the 3.6-liter V-6, was upgraded for 2017, now being capable of 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Granted, that’s nowhere near as powerful as the AMG, but it’s the closest you can get in the United States. This engine comes standard with the top-of-the-line Z71 trim, which adds off-road suspension, an automatic locking rear differential, and unique 17-inch wheels (among others) to the LT model. You can further upgrade the truck with the ZR2 bundle, which makes the Colorado even more capable on the unbeaten path on top of making it seem more aggressive design-wise. It also increases ground clearance and track width, so even though it’s not as powerful as an AMG truck, it can climb rocks with ease. The Z71 trim with the ZR2 package will set you back $41,355 before options, but you’d still save a lot of dough compared to what an AMG X-Class would retail for in the U.S.

Read our full review of the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

Ford Ranger Raptor


2019 Ford Ranger Raptor - image 722439

The Ranger Raptor is just speculation as of November 2017, and the Ranger has yet to return to the U.S. Just like the Colorado, the U.S.-spec Ranger was discontinued in 2011, when American customers lost interest in compact trucks. The Ranger is now being sold in other markets, including Europe, but Ford said it’s planning to bring it back to the U.S. for the 2019 model year. With the truck now set to make a comeback, word has it that a high-performance version is also in the works. Likely to wear the “Raptor” badge, it should sport upgrades similar to the infamous F-150 Raptor. Design-wise, it will be decidedly more aggressive than the X-Class AMG, but the cabin could be just as fancy, with sports seats combined with plenty of leather, carbon-fiber, and Ford’s latest technology. Under the hood, it should get a version of the company’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, rated at some 450 horsepower. The output would trump the AMG X43, but it will also be able to compete against a more powerful AMG X63. Finally, if the F-150 Raport is any indication, the Ranger Raptor should be a better truck for off-roading and desert running. Pricing-wise, the Ranger Raptor should cost significantly less than the F-150 Raptor, so expect a sticker of around $42,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Conclusion


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 725086

Many enthusiasts were disappointed by the X-Class being just a slightly revised Nissan Navara, even though Mercedes wants to position its truck higher in the market with a more premium interior and better tech. It remains to be seen whether this will help the X-Class’ case or not, but an AMG version would be the smart thing to do. An AMG badge and a powerful V-8 would make the X-Class unique on the market in Europe and Asia and would give Mercedes a solid competitor for the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and the Ford Raptor Ranger in the United States. A V-6-powered X43 version wouldn’t hurt either, especially if it comes with more than 300 horsepower on tap. On the flipside, the AMG will be significantly more expensive than the competition, and that’s not good for business, even if your name is Mercedes-Benz.

  • Leave it
    • Likely very expensive
    • Not as off-road capable as the Colorado ZR2

PostHeaderIcon Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension

Ford brought more than 50 vehicles to the 2017 SEMA Show, ranging from factory fresh models and high-horsepower Mustangs to SUVs and lifted trucks. That last one is exactly what we’ve got here – a massive F-250 Super Duty that’s been re-engineered to handle any off-road situation. Ford partnered with BDS Suspension in building what’s been dubbed “Project SD126: No Mission Is Impossible.

The truck started life as a 2017 F-250 Super Duty XLT with a regular cab and long bed powered by the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel and backed by the six-speed automatic transmission and stock 4WD system. BDS broke out the Sawzall and cut the long bed down. The wheelbase went from 142 inches to 126 inches, hints the SD126 name. From there came the suspension parts, new body panels, and reworked interior. Nearly every inch of the truck has been touched. Check out the details below.

Continue reading for more on the SD126 Super Duty.

Exterior

  • Shortend wheelbase
  • Custom fiberglass fenders & hood
  • Smokes lens covers on lights
  • Off-road bumpers
  • Warn winch
  • Power steps
  • LED off-road lights

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741441
“The bright orange paint, massive 42-inch tires, and bulging fenders do a good job at hogging attention.”

Though the BDS F-250 might have a shorter wheelbase, it’s hardly the first thing anyone will notice. The bright orange paint, massive 42-inch tires, and bulging fenders do a good job at hogging attention.

The truck features steel bumpers from Rogue Racing. The front bumper hides a 12,000-pound Warn Zeon winch, a 40-inch LED light bar, and four LED light pods. The factory tow hooks stick out of the body-colored bumper, too. The blacked-out grille is flanked by smoked headlights and capped by a ram air hood from RK Sport. Out back, the rear bumper also has LED light pods and offers more protection from trail damage.

Other outside adds-ons include AMP Research power steps, smoked cab lights and third brake light, and orange Ford badges. There’s also a full-size spare tire mounted in the bed.

Interior

  • Racing seats
  • Five-point harnesses
  • Kicker stereo sound system
  • Off-road GPS system

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741448
“BDS carries the orange theme inside the truck with orange accents on the HVAC vents and controls, radio knobs, and door panels”

BDS carries the orange theme inside the truck with orange accents on the HVAC vents and controls, radio knobs, and door panels. The stock seats are replaced by reclining race seats from PRP and includes five-point harness. The custom center console has cup holders and a big 12-inch subwoofer that’s attached to the Kicker sound system. An inch and three-quarter roll bar was added inside the cab for added safety and a Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GSP system keeps tabs on navigation when off road.

Drivetrain

  • 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 Turbodiesel
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • 4WD
  • Cold-air intake
  • ECU programmer
  • Upgraded exhuast system

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741450
“BDS added a cold-air intake from S&B, an EZ-LYNK programmer, and a Diamond Eye exhaust system”

BDS didn’t have to do much to the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel. In stock form, it makes 440 horsepower and 925 pound-feet of torque. Then again, this is SEMA, so BDS added a cold-air intake from S&B, an EZ-LYNK programmer, and a Diamond Eye exhaust system. There’s no official word on power improvements, but we’d bet this oil-burner is squeezing out nearly 1,000 pound-feet of torque.

The real changes come with the suspension, axle, and tire upgrades.

Suspension

  • Shortend wheelbase
  • 42-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR tire
  • BDS suspension
  • Fox 2.5 coilover shocks
  • Fox 3.0 external bypass shocks
  • Fox 2.0 bump stops
  • Upgraded solid Axles from F-450
  • 14 inches of travel

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741444
“The front has a four-link setup with huge coilover springs on 2.5-inch Fox Racing shocks with a secondary, 3.0-inch Fox Racing external bypass shocks mounted nearby”

The stock Ford F-250 solid axles were ditched for the beefier ones found under the F-450 Super Duty. The front axle is Dana 60 while the rear is a M300. Both are 10-lug design, are stuffed with 4.30:1 gears, and have BDS trusses for added rigidity.

Holding the axles in place, naturally, is a BDS suspension system. The front has a four-link setup with huge coilover springs on 2.5-inch Fox Racing shocks with a secondary, 3.0-inch Fox Racing external bypass shocks mounted nearby. Fox 2.0 bump stops provide a soft landing should the suspension bottom out after a hard jump or large bump. A Pac Racing monster sway bar keeps the F-250 from tipping over and extra strong steering gear keeps both tires pointed in the same direction. Out back, the rear leaf spring suspension is swapped for a trailing arm with the same 2.5-inch Fox coilover shocks and 3.0-inch external bypass shocks.
All told, the suspension has an impressive 14 inches of travel.

The truck rides on Stazworks Cheyenne 8 wheels wrapped in 42-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR tires.

Conclusion


2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741439

The BDS Suspension 2017 Ford F250 Project SD126: No Mission Is Impossible truck is a helluva build. It takes a full-size three-quarter ton truck and turns it into a go-anywhere monster with all the torque in the world. Its shortened, 126-inch wheelbase, 42-inch tall tires, solid axles, BDS suspension, and Fox shocks allow it to go where regular Super Duties can’t.

The SEMA Show is full of custom vehicles like this, but it seems BDS and Ford have pulled off one of the cleanest and most interesting builds of the year.

What do you think? Do you like this build? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Only room for two people
    • Would be expensive to replicate

References

Ford F-Series


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648383

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Spied: 2019 Ram Getting Massive Vertical Screen

Ram’s next-generation 1500 pickup is on the verge of debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show ahead of its arrival in showrooms for the 2019 model year, but we’re getting a sneak peak thanks to a spy photographer who captured a detailed look at the 2019 Ram’s interior. The truck features a massive vertically oriented infotainment screen that dominates the center stack. It’s a vastly different design than anything currently seen in the pickup category. In fact, only Tesla and Volvo models have such large screens, followed closely by the Toyota Prius Prime.

Thankfully, it seems Ram engineers have thoughtfully retained hard buttons for the most common controls. These include the radio volume and tuning knobs, buttons for the HVAC fan speed and dual-zone temperatures, and the secondary HVAC system like defrost and recirculation. A bank of toggle switches line the bottom of the screen, controlling features like the optional air ride suspension, traction control, and parking sensors. As for the software, it’s clear Ram is continuing to use the well-loved Uconnect system. Icons along the bottom of the screen offer quick access to menus like the radio, HVAC, apps, navigation, phone, and system settings.

There’s more to see in the photos, so keep reading for more analysis.

Continue reading for more information.

Inside The 2019 Ram 1500


Spied: 2019 Ram Getting Massive Vertical Screen - image 742287
“The gauge cluster is new with a larger TFT driver information screen, there’s a new steering wheel, and the center console is updated”

The spied 2019 Ram 1500 is certainly a high-ranking trim level with all the bells and whistles. Lower spec trucks are likely to have a smaller screen and a separate HVAC control system.

Beyond the big screen, we can see the Ram’s dash has a completely new appearance. The gauge cluster is new with a larger TFT driver information screen, there’s a new steering wheel, and the center console is updated. Even the grab handle on the A-pillar is new. Wood trim tops the center stack, visible with chrome trim around the HVAC vents. The rotary shift knob makes its return, though with an updated knob and further separated from the center stack. We’re betting the push-button start is located just to the left of the gear knob. In fact, we can see the key fob sitting in the center console behind the drinks. It has buttons that look to control the tailgate, meaning it’s got an electronic release for hands-free operation.

“We expect this massive screen to begin making its way into other Fiat Chrysler products”

Naturally, we expect this massive screen to begin making its way into other Fiat Chrysler products as each go under mid-cycle refreshes or generational changes. This is an exciting change since the Uconnect system is generally regarded as one of the leading infotainment software in the industry, getting praise for its ease-of-use and snappy reaction to inputs. And we’re very happy to see actual buttons remain for the radio and HVAC controls, even though the Uconnect system is a breeze to quickly navigate through. Real buttons just make the experience simpler.

So, what’s your opinion? Do you like the large Uconnect screen? Will other automakers begin adopting this design? Will it appeal to pickup buyers? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.



Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon The Handiest Feature on the 2017 Chevy Silverado

Pickup trucks have gotten bigger and taller over the years, and an unfortunate side effect is the height of the cargo bed. For anyone less fit than a teenager or Olympic gymnast, climbing into the bed can be difficult. Automakers have combated this with various step designs like Ford’s fold-out tailgate step and Nissan’s adoption of aftermarket-style pop-out steps that hide under the fenders. But it’s Chevrolet that wins the simple-is-better prize with its integrated bumper steps.

I recently spent a week with the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition and found the steps to be an essential tool for using the cargo bed. My week included hauling coolers, folding lawn chairs, and Lacrosse equipment. Thanks to the Chevy’s nose-heavy rake, everything tended to gather around the bulkhead, making getting into the bed to retrieve things a necessity. The bumper steps proved absolutely invaluable.

Now, I’ve used Ford’s fold-out tailgate step plenty of times on several different F-Series trucks, and though it works, it’s just not as effective as Chevy’s bumper step. Ford’s obvious downfall is its step requires action to use it. I have to stop what I’m doing, empty my hands, and lower the step. It’s just not as slick, though, in Ford’s defense, I can climb up its step without using my hands – something I can’t say about the Chevy’s bumper step and stake pocket hand-grab.

Still, the Chevy’s bumper step takes the cake for the simplest design and one that isn’t going to break. The bumper step is also seen on General Motors’ other pickups, including the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Sierra and Canyon. GM fans will remember the bumper step making its debut with the 2001 Chevrolet Avalanche.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739276

Read more about the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 in our previous overview.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 648477

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition - image 612398

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

PostHeaderIcon The Handiest Feature on the 2017 Chevy Silverado

Pickup trucks have gotten bigger and taller over the years, and an unfortunate side effect is the height of the cargo bed. For anyone less fit than a teenager or Olympic gymnast, climbing into the bed can be difficult. Automakers have combated this with various step designs like Ford’s fold-out tailgate step and Nissan’s adoption of aftermarket-style pop-out steps that hide under the fenders. But it’s Chevrolet that wins the simple-is-better prize with its integrated bumper steps.

I recently spent a week with the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition and found the steps to be an essential tool for using the cargo bed. My week included hauling coolers, folding lawn chairs, and Lacrosse equipment. Thanks to the Chevy’s nose-heavy rake, everything tended to gather around the bulkhead, making getting into the bed to retrieve things a necessity. The bumper steps proved absolutely invaluable.

Now, I’ve used Ford’s fold-out tailgate step plenty of times on several different F-Series trucks, and though it works, it’s just not as effective as Chevy’s bumper step. Ford’s obvious downfall is its step requires action to use it. I have to stop what I’m doing, empty my hands, and lower the step. It’s just not as slick, though, in Ford’s defense, I can climb up its step without using my hands – something I can’t say about the Chevy’s bumper step and stake pocket hand-grab.

Still, the Chevy’s bumper step takes the cake for the simplest design and one that isn’t going to break. The bumper step is also seen on General Motors’ other pickups, including the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Sierra and Canyon. GM fans will remember the bumper step making its debut with the 2001 Chevrolet Avalanche.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739276

Read more about the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 in our previous overview.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 648477

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition - image 612398

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing

The Ford F-150’s skin might be made from recycled beer cans, but the full-size pickup scored very well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s barrage of testing. Since it debuted in 2015, the current F-150 has scored a “Good” in all crash tests. But, things aren’t all rainbows and butterflies for the half-ton pickup. The 2018 F-150 is too short-sighted to earn the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+. The reason: it can’t see well in the dark.

The IIHS rates the F-150’s headlights as “Poor” in all five of its tests.

Both the base halogen headlights in the lower-trimmed F-150 and the LED headlights in the more expensive models scored a “Poor” in visibility testing. The halogen lights’ low and high beams fall short in straightaway visibility on the left and right sides of the road. The low beams only give 149 feet of visibility on the right, and 89 feet on the left and the high beams only shine 412 feet and 317, respectively. In curves, the headlights perform even worse, providing an average of only 102 feet of visibility with the low beams and 148 feet with the high beams in the four different curve tests done by the IIHS.

Jumping up to the LED headlights don’t help the situation, though they perform a tab bit better. The low beams shine 323 feet on the right and 168 feet on the left, while the high beams shine 544 feet on the right and 428 feet on the left. In turns, the LED low beams illuminate an average of 135 feet ahead, and the high beams shine an average of 163 feet ahead. The unfortunate trade-off for the better performance is excessive glare for oncoming traffic with the low beams. They exceed the IIHS’ glare threshold between 94.8 and 187.9 percent. That’s not good.

There’s more to this story below.

Safety Ratings Are Big For Customers


The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing - image 740101

It’s odd why Ford didn’t do any better. The IIHS has been testing headlights since 2016, and the F-150’s new-for-2018 front-end styling should have accounted for the evaluation. Of course, Ford isn’t the only automaker scoring low on this new test, but Ford certainly had the chance to make it right with the F-150’s 2018 refresh.

Sadly, the headlights have cost the 2018 F-150 the IIHS’ coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. The F-150 would have earned this rating for 2018 thanks to its new Front Crash Prevention technology. The optional Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go scored a “Superior” in the IIHS’ testing. The truck automatically and completely avoided rear-end crashes at 12 mph and 25 mph.

Still, the 2018 Ford F-150 earns the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award, which is one level down from the Top Safety Pick+ award. And, aside from the headlights, the only other test criteria that didn’t meet a perfect score of “Good” was the ease-of-use of the rear-seat LATCH system, which earned a “Marginal.”

Headlights


The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing - image 740111
Trim level(s) XL trim
XLT trim
Lariat trim
Low-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
High-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? No
Overall rating P
Trim level(s) Lariat trim equipped with 502A package
Raptor trim equipped with Raptor Technology package
King Ranch trim
Platinum trim
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? Yes
Overall rating P
Trim level(s) Raptor trim
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? No
Overall rating P

2015 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Small Overlap Crash Test

2015 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Side Impact Crash Test

References

Ford F-150


2018 Ford F-150 - image 700449

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

Ford F-Series


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648458

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan’s New 2018 Titan Commercial Is Hilariously Catchy

Nissan is fighting tooth and nail to gain ground in the highly competitive half-ton pickup market. Sales have been slower than expected, but that might change with this commercial. It’s about the funniest truck commercial we’ve seen in a while – mostly because truck ads usually take a more serious approach. It’s called No Lazy Horses and it’s Super Bowl-quality funny thanks to a catchy song, a memorably pudgy main character, and some antagonizing lazy “horses” that are impossible to unsee.

Besides being funny, the one-minute, 30-second commercial takes a hard swing at the Ford F-150. Of course, the truck’s badges are removed, but anybody with any sense knows the white, Crew Cab truck is a Ford. Truck fans will easily place it as the previous-generation, steel-bodied F-150.

As the story goes, the F-150 gets stuck in the mud and its driver, Clark, must coax the truck’s “horses” to perform by doing an embarrassing song and dance routine. Pretty pretty ponies, pretty pretty please, I’m a dancing ponyboy, begging pretty please Well, unfortunately for Clark’s pride, the hero pulls up to witness the scene in his shiny new, 2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab 4×4. The hero, Clark’s payload of pipes, and what’s left of Clark’s dignity ride off into the sunset, abandoning the F-150 to rot away.

Despite horsepower not having anything to do with a 2WD truck being buried axle-deep in mud, the commercial is incredibly memorable and should even resonate with people who know nothing about truck, payload, or lazy horses. That stupid song is a verifiable earworm, and those trashy, basement-dwelling horses are the stuff of Internet legends.

Nicely done, Nissan. Thanks for the laugh.

References

Nissan Titan


2017 Nissan Titan - image 665129

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan.


2016 Nissan Titan XD - image 610121

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Titan XD.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name

Vehicle names can get incredibly long and confusing, especially when adding option packages or special edition trims. A perfect example is the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition. Yeah, that’s a long name for a pickup truck. Since I’m driving this truck for the week, I wanted to break down the name. Each piece means something and is essentially the DNA that determines the truck’s existence. This is especially important for a prospective owner trying to decipher Chevy’s convoluted naming system.

Let’s start at the top. Of course, this is the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado. It’s one year past a mid-cycle refresh that’s brought a new grille and… not much else. Still, the Silverado is aging well. The 1500 part is Chevy’s way of calling this a half-ton truck. It competes with things like the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150. Of course, there’s also 2500 and 3500 versions of the Silverado. Basically, it boils down to the truck’s weight class and how much it can tow and haul.

Now to the fun stuff – splitting out the LTZ from the Z71 and decoding what’s in a Midnight Edition. Keep reading for that.

LTZ


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739894
“The LTZ is the second-highest trim offered on the Silverado, making it rather packed with features”

So, the LTZ is a trim package for the Silverado. Chevy offers a ton of other choices here, including the base WT, the LS, the Custom, the LT, the LT Z71, the LTZ, the LTZ Z71, and the High Country. In other words, the LTZ is the second-highest trim offered on the Silverado, making it rather packed with features. It can be had with or without the Z71 package, but more on that in a second.

Now, the LTZ package brings upgrades to both the outside and inside of the truck. You get all the goodies found in the lower LT trim, plus upgraded 18-inch wheels, chrome on the door handles, the mirror caps, the side moldings, the lower bumper, and chrome mesh in the grille. Basically, it takes a ho-hum-looking Silverado and gives it class.

You also get full LED projector-beam headlights and fog lights and the trailering package, which includes the hitch and wiring connectors, and automatic locking rear differential.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739881

Inside, the lovely 8.0-inch MyLink system comes standard, along with satellite and HD radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The nice 4.2-inch driver information screen in the gauge cluster is present, too. Comfort features include leather seats that are heated up front with a 10-way powered driver’s seat and a dual-zone climate system. Remote starting is standard, as well. Optionally, the LTZ offers the updated to front bucket seats with the super nice console that has tons of power ports and room for hanging file folders.

Z71


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739893
“The name “Z71” is simply the RPO option code, or regular production option designator”

Okay, so the Z71 name has been around since 1988 when Chevy launched it as an off-road suspension package for its K1500 pickup. The name “Z71” is simply the RPO option code, or regular production option designator, used internally to label the package. Of course, General Motors has a long history of using RPO codes as marketing tools, tool. Think Z28, ZL1, Z06, ZR1, and ZR2.

As in the past, the Z71 package includes upgraded shock absorbers tuned for off-road use, skid plates, recovery hooks, a locking rear differential, and more aggressive tires. Specific to the 2017 Silverado 1500 Z71, the truck gets Rancho monotube shocks, a high-capacity air clearer, hill descent control, a spray-on bedliner, and the Z71 appearance package. The appearance package visually separates the Z71 apart by adding the body-colored grille with horizontal bars, body-colored bumpers, Z71-branded sill plates in the doors, and a Z71-branded gauge cluster.

Midnight Edition


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739905
“The Z71 package might add some cool upgrades to the Silverado’s exterior, but the Midnight Edition makes the truck look sinister”

The Z71 package might add some cool upgrades to the Silverado’s exterior, but the Midnight Edition makes the truck look sinister. The special edition package adds black door trim, a black front skid plate, black Chevy bowties, and the big chrome Z71 badge on the door. Also included is the Front and Rear Park Assist feature with sonar sensors. Best of all, you get the black, five-spoke, 18-inch wheels and the aggressive Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires sized in 265/65. They are a good split between on-road comfort and off-road traction, plus they have the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake, meaning they are rated for winter driving. They have a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty in this size and are listed at $220 a piece on Goodyear’s website.

That price brings up a really good point; Chevy charges $1,050 for the Midnight Edition package. Of that cost, the tires along take up $880, meaning the black wheels, front and rear park assist, and all the black trim accounts for only $170. Of course, Chevy doesn’t pay retail prices for the Goodyears, and you can bet it’s making a healthy profit off the package, but for consumers, the Midnight Edition makes descent financial sense. That’s especially true if they plan on swapping on more aggressive tires anyway.

Conclusion


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739864
“The hefty price is comparable to similar builds from Ford and Ram, so Chevy isn’t pricing itself too high.”

So, that’s what this Silverado’s full name means. Each little part plays a significant role in how this truck looks, drives, and costs. You might have guessed the price would be high, and you’d be right. A 2017 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V-8 and 4WD with the LTZ Z71 package lists for $48,890.

My tester then adds $5,415 worth of options, which includes the LTZ Plus Package for $770; the power sunroof for $995; the Enhanced Driver Alert Package for $945; heated and vented front seats for $650; front bucket seats with the full center console for $510, the navigation upgrade to the 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system for $495; and the Midnight Edition for $1,050. Tack on the $1,295 destination charge, and this truck sits at $55,600. Still, the hefty price is comparable to similar builds from Ford and Ram, so Chevy isn’t pricing itself too high.

Be sure to stick around to TopSpeed as I’ll be having a ton more information on this truck in the coming days.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739276

Read more about the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 in our previous overview.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition - image 612398

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac CTS-V – Driven

This isn’t your grandfather’s Cadillac. Nope, this is the third-generation CTS-V – a 640-horsepower, rear-wheel drive sports sedan with cutting-edge technology under the skin and looks to kill. Oh, and it also hits 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and goes 200 mph. It rivals the best Germany has to offer, such as the Audi RS7, Mercedes-AMG E63 S, and Porsche Panamera Turbo. This Caddy might not match the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for horsepower, but it definitely has more class.

I recently spent a week living with the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V, doing everything from grocery store runs and idling in the parent pickup line at the kiddo’s school to launching the blacked-out sedan down open blacktop as the 1.7-liter roots-type supercharger screamed atop its 6.2-liter small block V-8. There’s no doubt the CTS-V is a riot when it comes to performance, but just how good is it at being a Cadillac?

Continue reading for the full review of the Cadillac CTS-V.

Exterior


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737437
“Dark, menacing with only a few touches of chrome define this CTS-V’s theme”

Dark, menacing with only a few touches of chrome define this CTS-V’s theme. Yeah, Cadillac offers several other color options, but the black-on-black look suits it well. Much of the blackness is credited to the Carbon Black Package, a $6,950 option that brings 19-inch “Midnight Dark” alloy wheels, the black chrome-accented grille, and a slew of carbon fiber both inside and out. Outside, this includes the carbon fiber hood vent, carbon fiber front splitter, and the carbon fiber rear diffuser, and the tall, carbon fiber rear spoiler.

About the only bright trim on this CTS-V is the Cadillac badge, the headlights, the V-Series badge on the front fender, the door handles, the trim around the windows, and the bar atop the license plate.


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737435
“The CTS-V has some serious aerodynamics improvement over the standard CTS”

Aside from its color, the CTS-V has some serious aerodynamics improvement over the standard CTS. The front splitter, the larger grille, the heat extractors, the underbody panels, and the rear diffuser all help manager airflow to achieve that 200-mph V-max. And yes, everything is functional. That’s especially true up front where seven heat exchangers hid behind the bumper and grille. Each has something it cools, from the main radiator for the V-8 and the intercooler for the supercharger to the rear differential and transmission. Functionality is a big part of the CTS-V’s design.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 114.6
Length (Inches) 197.6
Height (Inches) 57.2
Width (Inches) 72.2
Track front/rear (Inches) 62.1/61.2

Interior


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737415
“The outside might be functional, but the interior is slightly less so”

The outside might be functional, but the interior is slightly less so. I found the CUE infotainment system frustrating to use. The 8.0-inch display is slower to respond to fingertip touches than other GM 8.0-inch systems, and the HVAC and radio controls are just overly complex and solve a problem that didn’t exist. A set of classy yet traditionally functional controls would go a long way to making the CVT-V (and even the standard CTS) a more livable luxury sedan.

Besides the finicky controls, the CTS-V lives up to its hype. It has room for five people and a sizable trunk. The back seats are large enough for adults to get comfy and the secondary HVAC controls and air vents let rear passengers set their own temperature and fan speed. The system can also be controlled from up front so parents can manage the kid’s cooling.


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737420
“The seats are impressively adjustable, offering control over the thigh and back bolsters, lumbar, height, and rake”

My tester came with the optional $2,300 Recaro front bucket seats with suede microfiber inserts. The seats are impressively adjustable, offering control over the thigh and back bolsters, lumbar, height, and rake. They would be perfect for the track thanks to their grippy surface. On the daily, though, I found the suede inserts and thick bolster do a better job at trapping heat. Sadly, the Recaros don’t offer ventilation, only heating. The wife says that function works wonderfully.

The CTS-V also boasts a swanky digital gauge cluster that is configurable with three main themes and more than a two dozen combinations of ancillary gauges and vehicle parameters. Being a proper GM track monster, it has a G meter, a lap timing, and the Performance Data Recorder with the HD camera mounted just ahead of the rearview mirror. Slide in a memory card and the PRD will record your driving and overlay information like speed, rpm, g-forces, and lap times.

Interior Dimensions

Legroom front/rear (Inches) 45.7/35.4
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 40.4/37.5
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 56.9/54.8
Hip room
front/rear (Inches)
53.8/53.3

Drivetrain


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737423
“The all-aluminum small-block boasts 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 630 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm”

The heart of the Cadillac CTS-V is its engine. This is GM’s LT4 V-8 and is the same supercharged, 6.2-liter engine found in the Corvette Z06 and Camaro ZL1. Unfortunately, Cadillac falls below Corvette and Camaro in GM’s pecking order, so its LT4 is 10 horsepower and 20 pound-feet short of the Chevys. Regardless, that still leaves the Cadillac with world-class power.

The all-aluminum small-block boasts 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 630 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. And just like every small-block Chevy since 1955, it uses a single camshaft located inside the block and uses pushrods to operate the two valves over each cylinder. Of course, the LT4 is a member of GM’s fifth-generation small-block, meaning it has direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. These features certainly contribute to the Cadillac CTS-V having an EPA-estimated highway mileage of 21 mpg. That is very respectable for a V-8 with more than 600 horsepower.


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737424
“This 4,129-pound car will hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, rip through the quarter-mile in only 11.8 seconds at 124 mph, and continue pulling until it hits 200 mph”

GM’s 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission also helps in fuel conservation, while also keeping the V-8 spinning in its power band during spirited driving. The transmission can also be controlled manually via paddle shifters. Power is sent rearward to an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The smart diff manages the twist well, alternating power between the tires to maintain traction down to the millisecond. The eLSD works in conjunction with the traction control and drive modes to provide the best power-to-the ground possible. Disable the traction control, though, and you’ll instantly morph the massive Michelins into puffy clouds of expensive smoke.

The drivetrain isn’t the only tech keeping the CTS-V running right. The sedan has GM’s Magnetic Ride Control – those fluid-filled dampers that constantly adapt to changing road conditions and offer a range of ride stiffness that correlates to the drive modes. Just as in the Corvette and Camaro, the MRC works incredibly well, though I do wish Cadillac would make Comfort Mode a bit less firm. The same goes for the transmission’s shifts; the car remains too high-strung and acts like a Greyhound yanking at its leash even around town.

Small critiques aside, the nitty-gritty numbers don’t lie when it comes to the CTS-V’s performance. Provided it’s launched well and the 295-series Michelin Pilot Super Sport rear tires hook up, this 4,129-pound car will hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, rip through the quarter-mile in only 11.8 seconds at 124 mph, and continue pulling until it hits 200 mph. Road-holding is equally good, with a 1.0-g held on the skidpad and braking from 60 mph in an eye-popping 99 feet. These are supercar numbers from a four-door Cadillac!

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 6.2L supercharged V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc) 376 / 6,162
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Horsepower 640 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 630 LB-FT @ 3,600 RPM
Transmission 8L90 eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 200 mph

Behind the Wheel


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737419
“The CTS-V is an absolute blast to drive fast”

The CTS-V is an absolute blast to drive fast. Its supercharged V-8 never runs out of steam on any road short of a drag strip. Its steering is quick and precise. It’s Brembo brakes (six-piston up front, four out back) do an amazing job stopping the car, regardless of speed. Even outward visibility is good, lending to a good sense of control from behind the suede-wrapped wheel.

But not everything is perfect with the CTS-V. Like I mentioned the car doesn’t feel satisfied tooling around town. It wants to move. It wants to dance. The rumble of the exhaust and whine of the supercharger are constant reminders of the 640 horses living under that carbon fiber hood. Worse still, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this…) the CTS-V is just too powerful to enjoy on public roads. That sweet V-8 wants to rev, but anything past half throttle either has the tires spinning or speed limits getting completely blown away. It’s like having bulldozer and only using it to build sandcastles. I guess that’s why they say, “it’s more fun to drive a slow car quickly than a quick car slowly.” But don’t let my personal temptations bar you from wanting this car. I just need to scratch the itch on a proper racetrack.


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737421
“The suspension is a bit too firm, and the transmission’s shifts are far too harsh”

The only (slightly more) objective criticism is the CTS-V’s Comfort Mode. I alluded to it before, but the car still feels hyped up even when this drive mode is selected. The suspension is a bit too firm, and the transmission’s shifts are far too harsh. In Sport Mode, it’s great, but sometimes I like to enjoy a peaceful drive with the wife without getting kicked in the pants by a tranny.

Nevertheless, the CTS-V is definitely on my short-list of most fun car I’ve driven and I’d buy one in a heartbeat if I had money to blow. Speaking of that…

Pricing


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737430

Without all the fancy stuff, the 2017 Cadillac CTS has a base price of $46,990. That’s not bad considering it’s rivals. Caddy will happily sell you a soft, luxury-lined model with all the bells and whistles without any of the sporty stuff starting at $60,190 for the Premium Luxury trim. There’s also the V-Sport model with a 420-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 for $61,690 or $71,790 with the Premium Luxury package added. But none of these compare to the CTS-V for raw power and sinister looks.

The 2017 CTS-V starts at $86,990. For that, you get the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, eight-speed auto, magnetic ride control, limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, all the functional aero bits, the digital gauge cluster, CUE, and full leather seats with heating and venting up front. My tester was filled to the brim with options, though, including the $6,950 Carbon Black Package. That brings the exterior carbon fiber pieces, the interior carbon fiber trim, suede steering wheel and shifter, and black wheels.


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737432

The $2,075 Luxury Package adds the Rear Camera Mirror, tri-zone climate controls, split rear seat with armrest and heated outboard seats, the power rear sunshade and manual side window shades, and a 110-volt power outlet. Then there’s the $2,300 Recaro front buckets, $1,600 Performance Data Recorder, and $1,450 panoramic moonroof. Last but not least is the Dark Gold paint on the Brembo calipers for $595.

Tack on the $1,000 gas-guzzler tax and $995 destination charges, and my tester totals out to $103,260

Competition

2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S


2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 693198

The AMG E63 S is just as beastly as the Cadillac, though it goes about life a bit differently. As a whole, the car is more luxury-minded thanks to an absolutely gorgeous interior that easily outdoes the CTS-V’s and an exterior that’s a bit more reserved.

Power comes from a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 603 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 627 pound-feet of torque at only 2,500 rpm. It might be slightly down on power compared to the CTS-V, but thanks to 4Matic AWD, the E63 S puts the power down more predictably. A nine-speed automatic mediates relations between the all-aluminum, direct-injected V-8 and the stick rubber. Performance numbers are impressive, with 60 mph coming in only 3.2 seconds and the quarter-mile happening in 11.5 seconds. Interestingly, the Merc’s top speed, when not governed at 155 mph, is “only” 186 mph. Perhaps the CTS-V’s extra bodywork really does pay off.

The Mercedes-AMG E63 S makes the Cadillac CTS-V seem like a bargain when it comes to pricing, though. The Merc starts at $104,400 and will quickly soar when extra options.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S.

2018 BMW M5


2018 BMW M5 - image 727588

The M5 is a staple in the performance luxury segment and has been for decades. Now for 2018, the M5 has a fresh face, an updated interior, a more powerful engine, the addition of AWD, and the subtraction of a manual transmission. While those last two items might make purists sad, the Bavaria’s latest is no slouch or ho-hum sedan.

The familiar 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 returns but makes 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Though lower than the others, the torque peaks at only 1,800 rpm and stays strong till 5.700 rpm where horsepower immediately takes over and lasts till 6,600 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission does the shifting and a part-time (no, not a type-o) AWD system. Yes, you can turn the AWD system off should you decided to drift the M5 with its Drift Mode setting on. Normal operation has the AWD system constantly engaged. BMW says the 2018 M5 will hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 189 mph. Looks like the Caddy is still the fastest of the bunch.

As of this writing, BMW hasn’t released the price for the 2018 M5, but we expect it to start around $100,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.

Conclusion


2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven - image 737398

The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is a helluva car. With a good ole fashioned Chevy small-block V-8 under the hood making a class-leading 640 horsepower thanks to a supercharger, this American monster is able to truly fight off its global rivals. Its armor is made of carbon fiber and is lined with microfiber suede. It’s surname has history and it’s battling to clear the Cadillac crest of past sins. There’s no doubt Cadillac has come a long way in recent years, but there is still more work to be done. Nevertheless, Caddy is on the right track. Now, if people would just start buying them.

  • Leave it
    • Transmision isn’t the smoothest
    • Recaro seats make me hot
    • Expensive options

References

Cadillac CTS


2017 Cadillac CTS - image 703853

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.


2016 Cadillac CTS-V - image 599734

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig’ Design

The next-generation Ram 1500 has been spotted by spy photographers and boy; the differences are huge! Scheduled for the 2019 model year, this half-ton truck departs from the classic Ram “big rig” design that dates back to the second-generation Dodge Ram that debuted for 1994. Gone are the crosshair grille and the big step between the hood and headlights. Ram has also moved the model and engine badge to the hood, leaving the doors free of clutter. But the front isn’t the only change.

The spy photos show a completely revised pickup with new metal from bumper to bumper. Even the cab section looks new. The doors certainly have new skin, and the weather stripping around the windows seems thicker, likely to help reduce wind noise. The Ram’s rear features new taillights, a new tailgate skin, and an interesting bumper with a full-length step that should make getting into the bed a bit easier. The bumper-integrated dual exhaust does make the generational jump.

Naturally, Ram hasn’t said a word on its new pickup, but the updates are expected to be more than just skin deep. Expect a strengthened frame, updated suspension components, and maybe even some aluminum body panels to decrease weight in key areas. The RamBox bed should return, along with the multi-link rear suspension an air-ride option.

As for engines, the prototype truck is clearly wearing a badge for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We fully expect the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to return – likely unchanged – along with an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The ZF eight-speed automatic will likely be standard equipment across the board. The other badge, though covered by tape, will likely be the R-A-M lettering within the horizontal bar in the new grille.

This is an unprecedented look at the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500, however, we see something missing. Keep reading to find out what.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Spied


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739564
“The new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes”

Thanks to a loose tarp, a windy day, and Dodge Forum, we’re getting a very good look at Ram’s new truck. Of course, it’s still a prototype, so anything could change before Ram pulls the covers off the truck. That’s expected to happen at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2018.

As for its appearance, the new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes. The move away from the “big rig” styling might prove a mistake, though Ram has certainly ridden that design theme for quite a while – 24 years, to be exact. Still, some folks might argue the 2019 Ram looks too similar to the 2018 Ford F-150.

Subjective takes on its appearance aside; the Ram does seem to be missing one feature we were really excited about. This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on. The design allows for the conventional use of the tailgate, letting it drop down in the typical fashion, but a split in the middle will also allow the tailgate to open like a double door. Though it would add complexity and cost, the double door-style opening would give amazing access to the cargo bed.


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739563
“This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on”

Then again, all hope on the tailgate isn’t lost. Back to that rear bumper – its full-length step would be perfect for getting into the bed and could provide a place to locate hidden handles to open the tailgate’s two sides. In fact, the Honda Ridgeline uses a very similar step bumper design and handle location. And since the double door tailgate would surely be an optional extra, perhaps this test mule simply didn’t have it. After all, we have seen previous Ram 1500 test mules running around with big, padded camouflage covering the tailgate area. Imagine how handy the cargo bed would be with the multi-use tailgate paired with the RamBox system. How cool would that be?!

So, what do you think? Do you like the 2019 Ram 1500’s design? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

Hat tip to Automotive News, Allpar, and Dodge Forum

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


Ram Adds Two Special Editions To Its Already-Jumbled Trim Line - image 734828

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig’ Design

The next-generation Ram 1500 has been spotted by spy photographers and boy; the differences are huge! Scheduled for the 2019 model year, this half-ton truck departs from the classic Ram “big rig” design that dates back to the second-generation Dodge Ram that debuted for 1994. Gone are the crosshair grille and the big step between the hood and headlights. Ram has also moved the model and engine badge to the hood, leaving the doors free of clutter. But the front isn’t the only change.

The spy photos show a completely revised pickup with new metal from bumper to bumper. Even the cab section looks new. The doors certainly have new skin, and the weather stripping around the windows seems thicker, likely to help reduce wind noise. The Ram’s rear features new taillights, a new tailgate skin, and an interesting bumper with a full-length step that should make getting into the bed a bit easier. The bumper-integrated dual exhaust does make the generational jump.

Naturally, Ram hasn’t said a word on its new pickup, but the updates are expected to be more than just skin deep. Expect a strengthened frame, updated suspension components, and maybe even some aluminum body panels to decrease weight in key areas. The RamBox bed should return, along with the multi-link rear suspension an air-ride option.

As for engines, the prototype truck is clearly wearing a badge for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We fully expect the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to return – likely unchanged – along with an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The ZF eight-speed automatic will likely be standard equipment across the board. The other badge, though covered by tape, will likely be the R-A-M lettering within the horizontal bar in the new grille.

This is an unprecedented look at the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500, however, we see something missing. Keep reading to find out what.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Spied


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739564
“The new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes”

Thanks to a loose tarp, a windy day, and Dodge Forum, we’re getting a very good look at Ram’s new truck. Of course, it’s still a prototype, so anything could change before Ram pulls the covers off the truck. That’s expected to happen at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2018.

As for its appearance, the new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes. The move away from the “big rig” styling might prove a mistake, though Ram has certainly ridden that design theme for quite a while – 24 years, to be exact. Still, some folks might argue the 2019 Ram looks too similar to the 2018 Ford F-150.

Subjective takes on its appearance aside; the Ram does seem to be missing one feature we were really excited about. This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on. The design allows for the conventional use of the tailgate, letting it drop down in the typical fashion, but a split in the middle will also allow the tailgate to open like a double door. Though it would add complexity and cost, the double door-style opening would give amazing access to the cargo bed.


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739563
“This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on”

Then again, all hope on the tailgate isn’t lost. Back to that rear bumper – its full-length step would be perfect for getting into the bed and could provide a place to locate hidden handles to open the tailgate’s two sides. In fact, the Honda Ridgeline uses a very similar step bumper design and handle location. And since the double door tailgate would surely be an optional extra, perhaps this test mule simply didn’t have it. After all, we have seen previous Ram 1500 test mules running around with big, padded camouflage covering the tailgate area. Imagine how handy the cargo bed would be with the multi-use tailgate paired with the RamBox system. How cool would that be?!

So, what do you think? Do you like the 2019 Ram 1500’s design? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

Hat tip to Automotive News, Allpar, and Dodge Forum

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


Ram Adds Two Special Editions To Its Already-Jumbled Trim Line - image 734828

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview

My driveway this week holds something sinister – something dark and powerful – the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition. This blacked-out pickup is also fitted with the LTZ trim package, which is the highest trim available with the Z71 Off-Road Package. Only the High Country trim outranks the LTZ. Don’t count the LTZ out though; it comes with just about every imaginable feature Chevy has available.

Pickup trucks might be workhorses, but modern examples have become thoroughbreds of luxury and creature comforts. My Silverado includes heated and vented front seats and leather over all five seating positions, memory settings for the driver’s seat, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone and automatic climate controls, and room enough for four of the largest NFL linebackers and a scrawny waterboy in the middle seat in back. And let’s not forget handy features like four USB ports, three 12-volt chargers, a 110-volt household outlet, a center console designed for hanging file folders, and more cubbyholes and storage spots than most minivans.
Sure, tree huggers can argue against pickups since most people don’t use them for towing or hauling, but dadgummit, the Silverado is insanely practical.

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I do have a bone to pick with Chevy. Keep reading for that.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2017 Chevy Silverado LTZ Z71

“The Z71 package includes skid plates and recovery hooks for extra piece of mind.”

So, what’s my beef? Chevy apparently doesn’t think rear passengers need air vents. That might not be a big deal in Detroit, but in my home state of hot-as-heck Florida, anybody without direct airflow is sweating in the summer heat. Adding insult to injury, the Silverado (and its corporate twin, the GMC Sierra) is the only full-size pickup to not have rear air vents. Yep, the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, and even the decade-old Toyota Tundra all keep their rear passengers comfortable.

Rants aside, the rest of the Silverado provides plenty to like. Its cargo bed is extremely easy to use thanks to those handy bumper steps and stake pocket hand-grabs. It has provisions for towing. The Z71 package includes skid plates and recovery hooks for extra piece of mind. Oh, and then there’s the engine.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739275
“It boasts 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm.”

The Silverado is available with three engine choices: the 4.3-liter V-6, the 5.3-liter V-8, and the mighty 6.2-liter V-8. All belong to the EcoTec3 family, which represents the fifth-generation of small-block Chevy V-8s. (The 4.3-liter V-6 is essentially a 5.3-liter V-8 with two cylinders lobbed off.) The engines include variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and cylinder deactivation. My tester came with the 5.3-liter, Chevy’s volume engine by far. It boasts 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Somehow, the engine feels stouter than that, especially considering it’s moving 5,300 pounds around.
The sprint to 60 mph only takes 7.2 seconds. Sadly, Chevy limits the Silverado’s top speed to a measly 99 mph. Then again, the truck isn’t designed to bomb the Autobahn.

These days, the V-8 is mated with GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission. It shifts fine enough and is mostly invisible in the general driving experience. The extra gears certainly help with fuel economy, though. The EPA rates my 4WD tester at 20 mpg on the highway. Of course, in-city and mixed driving results in lower numbers – 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined, to be exact. Still, that’s not bad for such an all-steel pickup with a fully boxed frame and a 9,100-pound tow rating. The truck can also lug 1,760 pounds in its bed.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739276

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739279
“My tester has a starting price of $48,890 then adds $5,415 worth of options and another $1,295 in delivery fees.”

If things turn sour during a drive, the Silverado has a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It scored five stars in all but the rollover risk assessment, where it still earns a respectable four stars.

Of course, a loaded-out Silverado doesn’t come cheap. Sure, Chevy will sell you a base Silverado regular cab with zero options for $28,085, but unless you’re a fleet manager with a bottom line to meet, nobody buys a truck like that. My tester has a starting price of $48,890 then adds $5,415 worth of options and another $1,295 in delivery fees. The grand total comes to $55,600. While that is pricey, it’s in line with what the competition is charging for a comparable truck.

Anyway, this is just a quick look at the 2017 Chevy Silverado LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition that’s in my driveway this week. I’ll have a ton more in the coming days. Leave a comment if you have a question or want to see something specific.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition - image 612398

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Says 2011-2017 Explorers Are Safe, But Will Fix Them Anyway

The Ford Explorer recently made headlines due to exhaust fumes entering the cabin and making people nauseous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received more than 2,400 reports on the issue, with at least 41 citing injuries and three reporting crashes due to the ill effects of the carbon monoxide fumes on the 2011 through 2017 Explorer. However, investigations by the NHTSA and Ford turned up no significant changes in CO levels in the cabin. Well, except for Police Interceptor models. Ford says the issue stems from aftermarket up-fit companies leaving unsealed holes from the installation of police equipment. Still, Ford says it will fix any of the 1.3 million affected Explorers at the owner’s request, despite Ford calling the vehicles safe.

Ford’s voluntary service is free to Explorer owners regardless of the warranty status or vehicle mileage. The fix includes reprogramming the air conditioner, replacing the liftgate drain valves, and inspecting the sealing of the rear of the vehicle. Ford dealerships will begin offering this service starting November 1, 2017, and will continue through December 31, 2018. Of the Explorers built in that 2011 through 2017 timeframe, roughly 1.3 million are in the U.S., 84,000 are in Canada, and 24,000 are in Mexico.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

It’s interesting that Ford is offering to inspect and replace parts on these 2011 through 2017 Explorers despite it claiming the vehicles are safe. Perhaps Ford is taking the high road and catering to its customers’ feelings of security and safety.
Or, Ford could know there is an issue and is trying to downplay the situation. Who knows? Speculation aside, it certainly is a sign of good faith for Ford to voluntarily inspect and replace items on every 2011 through 2017 Explorer in North America.

What do you think? Is Ford trying to scoot by or is the automaker making an honest attempt at consoling its customers’ fears of carbon monoxide poisoning? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Ford Explorer


2016 Ford Explorer - image 578432

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Explorer.


2017 Ford Explorer – Driven - image 728384

Read our full driven review on the 2017 Ford Explorer.

PostHeaderIcon Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package

There you are – sitting in the parent pick-up line at the kids’ elementary school. You’re looking at the never-ending row of gray and silver SUVs, crossovers, and sedans. You feel trapped – stuck in a rut of perpetual boredom fed by routines and complacency and made worse by cookie-cutter transportation. You need to escape this automotive purgatory. But you’re a good parent and know you can’t shuck the responsibilities of chauffeuring your brood to and from their various activities. What’s the solution? The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat or Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk? No, those are just horsepower overkill and underwhelming on people room. No, you need space. You need seven or eight seats. You also need vogue styling. You aren’t the average PTA parent, after all. Well, Chrysler has a solution. Meet the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica S and its murdered-out appearance package.

For the 2018 model year, the Pacifica can be had with the S Appearance Package for an extra $595. It’s available on the Touring Plus, Touring L, Touring L Plus, and the Limited model. It’s blacked-out appearance spans from its black paint and Gloss Black accents to its 18-inch wheels in a hue called Black Noise. Tim Kuniskis, head of Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat, said, “The Chrysler Pacifica definitely stands out in the school drop-off line, and its class-leading style has won over many new customers. The Pacifica’s S Appearance Package takes that style to the next level and offers our customers yet another unique personality that further differentiates Pacifica from the rest of the segment.” Kuniskis is right about that – no other minivan offers such a blacked-out appearance package.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package.

What makes the Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package special


2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package - image 737869
“The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica S offers a wholly sinister look to an otherwise unassuming minivan”

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica S offers a wholly sinister look to an otherwise unassuming minivan. The black paint is complemented by Gloss Black accents on the grille surround, headlight eyebrows, side window trim, available roof rack, door handles, and wheels. As mentioned, 18-inch wheels come standard, but 20-inch wheels in the Black Noise color are available for $995. Regardless of wheel size, the Pacifica S comes with Black Noise-colored exterior badges.

Inside, the Pacifica S comes with black leather seats with Light Diesel Gray accents. The seatbacks are embroidered with an “S,” which is outlined in that Light Diesel Gray accent color. Fiat Chrysler has made anodized aluminum its accent of choice, and the Pacifica S is no different. Here, the metal is colored in “Ice Cave,” a dark satin chrome color. These accents are found around the air vents, surrounding the gauge cluster, along the rim of the steering wheel, the door handles, and on the center console.


2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package - image 737870
“Inside, the Pacifica S comes with black leather seats with Light Diesel Gray accents.”

Chrysler says the S Appearance Package is available to order starting this week and deliveries will begin later in the fall.

What do you think? Do you like the murdered-out look of the Pacifica S or is it too much for a family-oriented minivan? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Chrysler Pacifica


2017 Chrysler Pacifica - image 661192

Read our full review on the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.


2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - image 662017

Read our full review on the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.


2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat - image 668902

Read our full review on the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat.

PostHeaderIcon Remember How The 1994 Dodge Ram “Broke The Rules?”

Pickups are an ever-present, widely accepted member of the American landscape. But it didn’t use to be that way. Even in the 1980s, pickups were considered tools, not family transportation. So what happened? The 1994 Dodge Ram. No, that’s no marketing baloney or brand loyalty soaking through my journalistic integrity. Dodge’s second-generation of Ram pickups is largely credited as the catalyst that transformed the American pickup from a utilitarian workhorse to a friendly companion that wasn’t out-of-place in the mall parking lot. Both Ford and General Motors soon followed Dodge’s lead in making pickups focused more on people than cargo and low costs. The most current culmination of this transformation is Ford’s new Platinum trim for the 2018 Super Duty. Dolled up with all the options, this truck flirts with a $100,000 price tag.

Most than two decades ago, Dodge designers decided to add more creature comforts and convenience features to its pickup. The interesting backstory, as told in this video, is that a designer at Chrysler’s brand new headquarters and technology center went to an area of the complex still under construction to take photos of the construction works’ pickups. The design team studied the photos (Polaroids, no less) to see how loose items were stored inside the cabs. The research resulted in innovative storage solutions considered commonplace in modern trucks. Ram was also the first to offer a four-door extended cab, offering easier entry to the rear bench. Before that, Ford and GM were only using one door on extended cabs.

Ram also introduced the first V-10 engine in a pickup with its new 1994 Ram heavy duty. The venerable Cummins inline-six turbodiesel carried over from the first-generation Ram HD. There was also a trio of engines for the Ram 1500, including the 3.9-liter V-6, the 5.2-liter V-8, and the 5.9-liter V-8. Both the V-8s had a long history with Chrysler, with older version being better known by their cubic-inch displacement of 318 and 360, respectively. Power ranged from 175 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque in the V-6 up to 230 horses and 330 pound-feet in the 5.9-liter. The big 8.0-liter V-10 offered an impressive 300 horses and a diesel-like 450 pound-feet of torque. In fact, the gasoline V-10 put down 30 pound-feet more torque than the 5.9-liter Cummins turbodiesel.

Pickups have come a long way since the early 1990s, and it’s easy to pinpoint where their transition started. The Ram’s “big-rig” styling separated it from everything on the road and continues to directly influence Ram’s design language nearly 25 years later. There’s certainly a lot to be said for that.

Continue reading for more videos of the second-generation Dodge Ram.

1994 Dodge Ram Truck commercials

1994 Dodge Magnum V-10 Ram Truck commercial

Dodge Ram Pick Up Trucks 1994 Commercial – The Rules Have Changed

1997 Dodge Ram Truck Commercial

1998 Dodge Ram Quad Cab Commercial

Dodge Ram Truck Commercial (1996) The Rules Have Changed Payments America’s Truck Stops

References

Dodge Ram


1994 - 2001 Dodge Ram - image 467211

Read our full review on the 1994 Dodge Ram.

PostHeaderIcon The World’s First All-Electric, Off-Road, SUV Already Has 10,000 Reservations

Ever heard of the name Bollinger? If you have, you’re probably familiar with its offering, the B1 SUV, and its status as the first all-electric, all-wheel drive, off-road sports utility vehicle. It’s a distinction that the company proudly wears like a badge. Now it appears that it has unlocked another new achievement, at least according to CEO Robert Bollinger. As it turns out, Bollinger is saying that it has secured a little over 10,000 reservations for the B1 SUV, a remarkable achievement for a car that was only unveiled in July 2017.

Bollinger didn’t divulge specific details on how the company was able to secure that many reservations in a span of two months, only saying that, among other things, it has received “thousands of emails from fans” about the all-electric SUV. If the total number of reservations is accurate, it paints Bollinger and the B1 very positive lights, something that the company should definitely be proud of. Then again, having that many reservations isn’t a guarantee that everyone who reserved a slot for the B1 will end up following through on their reservations. For one, the B1 reportedly costs around $60,000, which isn’t cheap any means. Then there’s the issue of timetable since according to Bollinger, deliveries of the all-electric SUV is scheduled to being sometime in the early part of 2019. There’s no guarantee that all those people who reserved one will be patient enough to wait for their models to arrive. Then again, it’s impossible not to give credit where it’s due, especially if Bollinger’s estimates are accurate. Securing 10,000 reservations for a car that’s still well over a year from getting released is impressive enough in its own right. Now let’s see if Bollinger can retain all those reservations when more details of the all-electric B1 SUV are revealed.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Good for Bollinger, but now the hard work begins


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 725123
“Securing 10,000 reservations for a car that’s still well over a year from getting released is impressive enough in its own right”

I don’t know if there’s complete and legitimate truth to Bollinger’s claim that it’s already secured 10,000 reservations for the all-electric SUV. I will take Robert Bollinger’s word for it, though, because I want to see his company succeed. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve gone on record countless times on this site saying that I’m rooting for each and every automotive startup to be successful in this business. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but I’m still of the belief that the business is better off by having upstarts like Bollinger thrive in it. It creates a healthy competition between these small ventures and their more established counterparts. Look at Tesla for example. There once was a time when nobody thought anything of Tesla. But now? It’s arguably one of the most prominent automakers in the world, in large part because it has led the electric revolution that a company like Bollinger is hitching its own wagon onto.


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 725130
“It’s a good amount of power that can help the SUV accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 127 mph.”

By all accounts, Bollinger also seems to have a product that’s worth looking into. The all-electric B1 isn’t the prettiest off-road SUV in the world – I don’t like it’s look, to be honest – but it does have capabilities that very few of its kind can boast of. One of these capabilities is its range of 200 miles, which is owed to the 100 kWh battery it’s carrying. The company is also throwing a lower-scale option on the table – a 60kWh battery with a 120-mile range – so this early, Bollinger already knows that variety is king in the business. That’s good for the company. It’s also done well for itself by offering the B1 with an electric motor that has 372 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque available to it. It’s a good amount of power that can help the SUV accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 127 mph.

A lot of the numbers are encouraging, but if there is one thing I’m a little concerned about, it’s that Bollinger is reportedly going to be priced at around $60,000. It’s not really about the price actually because a $60,000 all-electric SUV is just about right. It’s that it’s coming from a company that has yet to prove itself in this business. Maybe over time it can charge that much when it already has a name and a reputation to tout, but not at this point. Right now, the company has to establish itself and, if it’s successful, everything else will follow suit. I wish them luck in getting to where they want to go, but rest assured, they’re going to have to work really hard to get there.

References


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 725127

Read our full review on the 2019 Bollinger B1.


2020 BMW i3 M - image 733434

Read more electric cars news.

PostHeaderIcon Upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor Might Go Diesel

Rumors of Ford’s upcoming mid-size Ranger pickup are compiling. That’s especially true for the highly anticipated Ranger Raptor, the hard-core version built to hang with the Ford F-150 Raptor in high-speed off-roading. But of the rumors and insider information about the Ranger Raptor, none have seemed to nail down what will power this baby beast – until now. Australian automotive outlet The Motor Report is citing “sources familiar with the new model’s development” that Ford is developing a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel with at least as much power in the Ranger’s current 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel. The new 2.0-liter will be a member of Ford’s new EcoBlue turbodiesel family and will generate no less than 236 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque while getting better fuel economy and producing fewer emissions.

The EcoBlue engine family debuted in 2016 and is rolling out in markets across the world in the Transit van. Here in the U.S., the Ranger Raptor will likely be our first taste of the EcoBlue. Ford says durability is improved 20 percent over the EcoBlue’s predecessor, the 2.2-liter TDCi. It features a low-inertia turbocharger with cutting-edge alloy materials for better resistance against high temperatures, a new high-pressure fuel injection system that’s quieter and more responsive, and an offset crankshaft within the iron block that’s said to reduce side-load pressure on pistons against the cylinder walls. Interestingly, rather than a chain drive for the overhead camshafts and oil pump, the new EcoBlue uses a belt-in-oil design that’s engineered to be a maintenance-free item.

Continue reading for more on the Ranger Raptor’s rumored engine.

Ranger Raptor EcoBlue?


2019 Ford Ranger Raptor - image 730024

We’ve become spoiled with power thanks to the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor’s 3.5-liter HO EcoBoost V-6 making 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque. Those specs are definitely handy when bombing down a desert road in the full-size F-150. But with the Ranger being a smaller truck, its powerplant doesn’t need to be as powerful. The rumored 236 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque should be more than enough to get the baby Raptor moving at blinding speeds.

“The rumored 236 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque should be more than enough to get the baby Raptor moving at blinding speeds”

The Ranger Raptor EcoBlue’s main competition will be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 with its 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. By comparison, the Chevy seems underpowered in the horsepower department. It makes 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Granted, the Duramax has a bit more torque than the rumored EcoBlue, but the difference shouldn’t be substantially noticeable on the trail. Our bet is Ford will shoot to outgun the Duramax in both horsepower and torque measurements.

As of yet, there is no other word on what engine Ford might use in the Ranger Raptor. We’re still fairly sure a gasoline-drinking EcoBoost will be available, too. Still, there’s no sure answer at this point, so we’ll have to wait and see.

What do you think? Is the EcoBlue the right choice for the Ranger Raptor? Should Ford offer a gasoline engine as well? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Ford Ranger


2018 Ford Ranger - image 679140

Read our full speculative review on the upcoming 2018 Ford Ranger.


2019 Ford Ranger Raptor - image 722440

Read our full speculative review on the upcoming 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor.

PostHeaderIcon This Was America’s First Taste of Range Rover

It was 1987 when Range Rover first invaded America’s shores. But unlike any previous British invasion, this luxury SUV offered comfort and convenience for citizens brave enough to associate with anything related to The Crown. And brave they would have to be – the Range Rover cost $30,000 in 1987, a hefty sum back in those days. Range Rover didn’t expect to find many of these brave souls, either, as only 5,000 examples were initially allotted to the U.S. each model year. What’s more interesting is how novel the concept of a premium SUV was at the time. MotorWeek’s host, John Davis, opens this segment by saying, “It seems no one though a luxury 4×4 could succeed in the U.S.” Boy, how times have changed.

The times have also changed the definition of luxury. Compared to a modern Range Rover, or even the least-expensive compact car from 2017, this SUV is downright spartan. It has cloth seats, laughably basic gauges, and low-buck plastic panels covering nearly every inch of the interior. The “luxury” touch consisted of wood trim on the door panels. Despite the relativity of luxury, the Range Rover was far cushier than most SUVs of the 1980s. Only the Jeep Grand Wagoneer could really compete.

But like modern Range Rovers, the 1987 model was far more capable off-road than its competition. Coil-spring suspension and solid axles gave it good articulation while its full-time 4WD system with low range kept all four wheels turning. Power came from a Buick-derived, all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-8 with an electronic fuel injection system. The old V-8 made a then-respectable 150 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Of course, that’s nothing compared to Range Rover’s current 510-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. Power was routed through a four-speed automatic transmission.

Despite its flaws, the 1987 Range Rover started a trend that continues today. Luxury SUVs are definitely ingrained into modern car culture and won’t likely be going anywhere anytime soon.

References

Land Rover Range Rover


2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover - image 472205

Read our full review on the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions

Chevrolet marks its 100th year of building trucks in 2018, and as expected, the automaker will be throwing itself a celebration. To help commemorate building more than 85 million trucks over a century, Chevy is launching a special edition for the 2018 Silverado half-ton and Colorado mid-size pickups. Called the Centennial Edition, these one-year-only models come with several unique features that help Chevy express its accomplishment and its loyal customers show off their dedication to the blue-blooded American brand.

“The Chevy Trucks Centennial is a huge milestone for us, and is equally important to our customers,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Trucks Advertising and Marketing director. “That’s why we will be celebrating 100 years of Chevy Trucks over the course of the next 100 days. It’s important that we share this celebration with our loyal customers who have helped us achieve this accomplishment.” Mixed into Chevy’s celebration is the national launch of its Chevy Truck Legends program, which honors loyal customers. The iconic Chevy bowtie also gets a throwback makeover for 2018, recalling the first bowtie design introduced by Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant in late 1913. The bowtie wears a throwback color called Centennial Blue, which matches the paint color found on early Chevy trucks. The dark blue hue is the paint color used on the Silverado and Colorado Centennial Editions. Of course, there is more than the paint color and badging, so keep reading what the Centennial Editions include.

Continue reading for more information.

2018 Chevrolet Silverado Centennial Edition


2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734979
“The body will wear the special Centennial Blue paint and have chrome touches that include the side mirror caps, door moldings, door handles, tow hooks, grille inserts, and the center section of the bumper”

Chevrolet is limiting the Centennial Edition to the 2018 Silverado Crew Cab in the LTZ Z71 trim. That means it comes with four doors and room for five or six people, depending on the front seat configuration. The body will wear the special Centennial Blue paint and have chrome touches that include the side mirror caps, door moldings, door handles, tow hooks, grille inserts, and the center section of the bumper. The exclusive dark gray 22-inch wheels also have chrome inserts, on the center cap, and the five lug nuts. They come wrapped in all-terrain tires, too. Commemorative “100 Year” badges with the old-school bowtie accent the doors. The cargo bed even gets some love with the heritage bowtie imprinted on the bulkhead under the spray-on bed liner.


2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734978

2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734977

Inside, the Silverado gets a chrome heritage bowtie on the steering wheel and embedded onto the all-weather floor mats. The rest of the interior remains unchanged from the LTZ Z71 trim, meaning it comes with leather seats and accents of wood and aluminum. Chevy’s 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system is standard, as is dual-zone climate controls and the upgraded 4.2-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster.

“Chevy’s 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system is standard, as is dual-zone climate controls and the upgraded 4.2-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster.”

The Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 comes standard with 4WD and the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8. Customers can upgrade to the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8. Chevy hasn’t announced pricing for the 2018 Silverado Centennial Edition, but a standard 2018 Silverado configured identically starts at $50,485. Chevy dealerships will begin receiving Silverado Centennial Editions in October of 2017.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado Centennial Edition


2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734988
“Regardless of cab size, the Colorado Centennial Edition comes with that Centennial Blue exterior paint, a body-color rear bumper, and the heritage bowtie badges”

Chevy gives more cab options with the Colorado’s version of the Centennial Edition. Customs can order either the Extended Cab or Crew Cab. The Z71 trim is the starting point, meaning it’s the top trim of the Colorado, save for the hard-core off-roader Colorado ZR2.

Regardless of cab size, the Colorado Centennial Edition comes with that Centennial Blue exterior paint, a body-color rear bumper, and the heritage bowtie badges. The same is true for the “100 Years” emblem on the front doors. Similar chrome work accents the side mirror caps, door handles, lower window trim, and fog light surrounds. The heritage bowtie under the spray-on bed liner is seen here, too, tying the Colorado and Silverado together. Unique 18-inch, five-spoke wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires finish off the outside.


2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734973

2018 Chevrolet Silverado & Colorado Centennial Editions - image 734974

Inside, the Colorado Centennial Edition gets the all-weather floor mats with the heritage bowtie. Beyond that, the Colorado Z71’s interior remains unchanged with the two-tone leatherette seats, the 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

“The 2018 Colorado Centennial Edition will begin arriving at dealerships in November of 2017”

The 2018 Colorado Centennial Edition will begin arriving at dealerships in November of 2017, one month after the Silverado Centennial Edition. Again, pricing has not been announced, but the standard 2018 Colorado Z71 in the Extended Cab starts at $34,225. Opting for the Crew Cab pushes the price to $36,935. Customers who get the Crew Cab will also have the option of upgrading from the 3.6-liter V-6 to the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel for $3,585.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 648474

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado.

Chevrolet Colorado


2017 Chevrolet Colorado - image 686535

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.


2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - image 726586

Read more Chevrolet news.

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