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Archive for the ‘fullsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Word Has it the Tesla Semi Performance Specs are the Real McCoy

Gets Tesla Autopilot and all autonomous features

Are Tesla’s electric semi trucks really capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just five seconds on their own and 20 seconds with a full load behind them? Better yet, can these trucks really hit a top speed of 65 mph while going up a five-percent grade? Since we’re already asking these questions, do these trucks really have the range to travel up to 500 miles? All these numbers were presented by Tesla during the electric truck’s unveiling last month. Almost all of them are mind-blowing by industry standards so, naturally, the specs came with plenty of skepticism. Are these specs real or fabricated? Well, according to Electrek, a transporter that participated in the Tesla Semi test program confirmed that the specs are, in fact, real — or at least most of them are.


Word Has it the Tesla Semi Performance Specs are the Real McCoy - image 745865
“When it comes to vehicles as important as Tesla’s all-electric semi-truck, there’s bound to be a lot of discussion surrounding its capabilities”

When it comes to vehicles as important as Tesla’s all-electric semi-truck, there’s bound to be a lot of discussion surrounding its capabilities. That’s completely understandable, and it’s also to be expected. What gets lost in all the hype is the veracity of Tesla’s claims. Well, it’s not as concrete an answer as we’re expecting, but Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas claims to have spoken with XPO Logistics, a company that helped Tesla test its prototypes, and it revealed that there’s a lot of truth to Tesla’s claims.

“The Tesla Semi has already received important validation from some customers,” Jonas wrote in his note clients. “We spoke with mgmt. at XPO Logistics, one of the largest logistics companies in the country, that has been talking to Tesla on their EV semi for the past 18 months, including testing live prototypes. XPO mgmt. confirmed that in their testing, the features and capabilities of the truck mostly lived up to Tesla’s claims at the launch event, including the performance vs. diesel trucks up a 5% grade (55 mph vs 45 mph), recharging time, safety/anti jackknifing features and payload (similar to a typical diesel truck, as confirmed by Tesla).”


Word Has it the Tesla Semi Performance Specs are the Real McCoy - image 746090
“The range of miles on a single charge with a full load will largely decide how successful these all-electric semi trucks are.”

These are incredible revelations, for sure, but there was no mention on whether the electric semis are capable of the 500-mile range that the company promised. As impressive as these performance numbers are, the range of miles on a single charge with a full load will largely decide how successful these all-electric semi trucks are. Granted, XPO Logistics may not have been able to test that one completely, so it’s still too early to assume the real range these all-electric semis have.

But as far as Tesla’s other performance claims go, they look to be legitimate. Incredible, right?

References

Tesla Semi


Word Has it the Tesla Semi Performance Specs are the Real McCoy - image 746089

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.


maker logos - image 746180

Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevrolet’s soft debut of the 2019 Silverado 1500 Trailboss foregoes the big, juicy details, but gives us a great first glimpse at the all-new, next-generation pickup. About the only official specs include the higher strength steel bed floor, a substantial reduction in overall weight, and the presence of that new Trailboss trim. Chevy is withholding the rest until the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in mid-January.

Nevertheless, we’re going over what we know so far and taking a close look at the differences between the outgoing 2014-2018 Silverado and the 2019 model. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

What We Know

“The 2019 Silverado is completely new – that much we fully expect”

The 2019 Silverado is completely new – that much we fully expect. A new frame made from stronger and lighter steel, updated suspension parts, and lighter body panels are all highly probable. Chevy did say the 2019 Silverado will be substantially lighter than before while its capability will be greater. New engine and transmission combinations are officially happening, though Chevy was mum on the details.
Expect updates to the 4.3-liter V-6 and 5.3- and 6.2-liter V-8s. Chevy will certainly include its new 10-speed automatic transmission in the Silverado, too. A possibility of a forced-induction engine – like a turbocharged V-6 – could be happening, as well.

As for the added lightness, Chevy only revealed details of its new cargo bed. The floor is made from a roll-formed, higher-grade steel alloy. Chevy says it’s stronger yet lighter. The rest of the Silverado will use “mixed materials and advanced manufacturing, “ though no word on what that actually means. Rumors suggest the bed could be made of carbon fiber. Since the floor is known to be steel, perhaps it’s the bed walls that get the high-tech material.

More Off-Road Tech


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753284
“The Z71 package includes a two-inch suspension lift and Goodyear DuraTrac tires”

The truck Chevy used to debut the 2019 Silverado is the Trailboss trim – an upgraded Z71 package that includes a two-inch suspension lift and Goodyear DuraTrac tires. Chevy says it’s one of eight trim levels available, which falls in line with the trims currently available on the 2018 Silverado. These include the WT, LS, LT, LT Z71, LTZ, LTZ Z71, and High Country. The Trailboss will be available in the LT trim and likely the LTZ trim. The red one seen here is the LT trim.

It’s clear the Silverado Trailboss isn’t a Ford F-150 Raptor fighter. Rather, this will go head-to-head with the Ram Rebel and Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Technically, the Ford F-150 FX4 package should be included in the fight, as well, though it’s not as dedicated as the others.

A Visual Comparison

left
right
“It’s clear from the images the 2019 Silverado shares no exterior parts with the outgoing pickup”

It’s clear from the images the 2019 Silverado shares no exterior parts with the outgoing pickup. Even the A-pillars, roof, and doors are new, confirming the 2019 Silverado’s complete revamp. The windshield is more raked for better aerodynamics and the side mirrors are now perched on the doors rather than mounted by the windows. This will help both reduce wind noise and aerodynamic efficiency.

Up front, the grille is still upright but shares no cues or design features with the outgoing style. Projector beam headlights are stacked atop the amber parking lights with the fender cutting into the grille and housing the LED daytime running lights. The bumper has a familiar design with the fog lights and tow hooks mounted together, a design cue seen on older Silverados. Red tow hooks apparently come on the Trailboss trim, too. Noticeably missing is a big, ugly front air dam, though we expect non-Trailboss models will have one.

Fender Vents


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753325
“Perhaps the most interesting feature of the 2019 Silverado’s front end is the fender vents”

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the 2019 Silverado’s front end is the fender vents. The vertical vents are located between the front bumper and fender. The fender bulges outward, leaving space between itself and the amber parking light and bumper. How this plays into aerodynamics or drivetrain cooling is yet unknown. This feature could also be unique to the Trailboss trim, too. That seems especially plausible considering the body seam between the vent and front fender.

Around the Sides


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753330
“The 2019 Silverado is far more sculpted and swoopy verses the previous Silverado”

The 2019 Silverado is far more sculpted and swoopy verses the previous Silverado. Gone are the squared-off fenders, replaced with rounded wheel wells for the first time since the second-generation C/K generation ended in 1972. A strong character line runs from the headlights through the front fender and then dives sharply under the side mirror. The line then runs across the doors and then dissipates within the rear fender bulge. A second character line runs just above the door handles and into the rear taillights before continuing onto the tailgate. A detail worth pointing out is the keyless entry button on all four door handles.

The Silverado Trailboss comes with some handsome and blacked out, double five-spoke wheels. They come wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. It is interesting that no side steps or rock sliders come with the Trailboss package, especially considering its off-roading intentions.

Out Back


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753283
“New for 2019 are the chrome-tipped dual exhaust pipes integrated into the bumper’s lower half”

The 2019 Silverado’s business end is highly stylized yet ready for work. The tailgate features a retro-style CHEVROLET embossing right into the metal, while the Silverado and trim level badges are chrome lettering. The step bumper returns with larger steps for easier access into the bed. The trailer hitch receiver and trailer wiring connection remain almost unchanged, as does the access hole for the hand-crank winch that lowers the spare tire from under the bed. New for 2019 are the chrome-tipped dual exhaust pipes integrated into the bumper’s lower half. This looks similar to the Ram 1500’s dual exhaust treatment, but doesn’t blatantly copy the design detail.

Looking closely, more aerodynamic features are seen back here, too. The trailing edge of the cab has a spoiler integrated into its design. The third brake light seamlessly follows the spoiler and even appears to incorporate a camera for viewing the bed. The tailgate has a slight spoiler, as well, with a thick lip along the top. These two features should help the 2019 Silverado slip through the air more efficiently.

Badge Locations


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753328

General Motors’ pickups have had numerous locations for badging over the years. The outgoing Silverado has its main badges on the front doors, while the GMC Sierra places the high on the font fenders. It seems Chevy will follow GMC’s lead for 2019; the Z71 badge seen on the new Silverado is placed predominately ahead of the side mirrors. At face values, this serves two purposes. One, it puts the badge at eye level, making the truck’s trim level easy to spot, and two, it frees up the door space for company logos.

Around back, the Silverado badge and trim level continue to reside on the tailgate, though the embossed CHEVROLET logo hasn’t been seen in several generations. Most recently, the embossed logo was seen on the ill-fated Pro-Tec composite bed offered on the 2001-2003 Silverado.

What We Expect Next


New vs. Old: Exterior Updates to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado - image 753332
“Chevy will divulge all the details at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show come mid-January”

Chevy will divulge all the details at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show come mid-January. Until then, we can only speculate. We expect the interior to have improved fit and better materials, more storage space, and hopefully a completely flat rear load floor in extended and crew cab models. Updated in-dash tech will also be included, along with a 360-degree camera system should be present.

As for powertrains, expect to see the venerable 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s return, but perhaps with updates for more power and increased fuel economy. The 4.3-liter should be present, too, but perhaps with a turbocharger or two for increased power with added fuel economy. Chevy’s 10-speed automatic transmission is expected on all but the WT trims, which will likely get the existing six-speed or even the eight-speed automatic. The base trucks will likely continue using a manual transfer case, while upper trims will get a push-button system with an Auto mode.

The 2019 Chevy Silverado will make its appearance in dealership showrooms sometime in the third quarter of 2018. Pricing hasn’t been revealed, of course, but expect a slight increase over the outgoing Silverado.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition: Dissecting The Name - image 739865

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 712066

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Chevy Traverse Has Plenty of Storage Spots

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is all new, and while most reports focus on its longer wheelbase, the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the RS trim, the new nine-speed automatic transmission, and the crossover’s new design, the Traverse’s number of storage options shouldn’t be overlooked.

I took the new Traverse on a 1,600-mile road trip over the recent Thanksgiving holidays. All three rows were packed with people, luggage, and the random junk that tends to accumulate on a long drive. Cups, napkins, phones, charging cables, sunglasses, iPads, and even Lacrosse sticks were all present by end of our 12-hour travel day. But thanks to the 2018 Traverse’s wildly functional interior, everything had its own place.

There are no less than eight cup holders, eight USB ports, and three separate compartments in each door panel. The rear doors have five compartments. Pockets in the seatbacks of the front seats make a great iPad hiding spot, and the hidden storage compartment behind the 8.0-inch MyLink touchscreen is a smart place to store valuables. It’s even lockable with a four-digit pin.

As for larger items like those Lacrosse sticks, they fit perfectly in the under-floor compartment behind the third row. The area still had plenty of room for other items, too. We ended up putting an entire soft-sided duffle bag in there. If it came to hauling more cargo than people, the Traverse’s rear two rows fold flat for 98 cubic feet of storage volume. Even with the third row in place, the Traverse still boasts 23 cubic feet of room.

All told, the 2018 Traverse proved its worth at catching all the crap that tends to accumulate during a trip. It also proved easy to clean with a simple damp cloth over the plastic and leather bits and a vacuum over the black carpet. Storage and cleanability – two very important aspects of any family vehicle and something the 2018 Chevy Traverse has in spades.

Read more of my thoughts and experiences on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse below.

References


2018 Chevrolet Traverse – Driven - image 752360

Chevrolet Traverse

Road Trippin’ in The 2018 Chevy Traverse


2018 Chevrolet Traverse – Driven - image 752361

Read our full driven review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


2018 Chevrolet Traverse - image 700701

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


maker logos - image 743598

Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon PepsiCo Orders Up 100 Semi Trucks from Tesla

Gets Tesla Autopilot and all autonomous features

Add PepsiCo to the growing number of companies that are buying in on Tesla’s new electric truck. The food and beverage giant has reserved 100 units of the electric semis, joining the likes of Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch, and Sysco as the first wave of companies that are buying into what the electric car maker is selling. The electric trucks are seen as affordable alternatives to diesel trucks with the range and cargo capacity to compete with its traditional counterparts.


PepsiCo Orders Up 100 Semi Trucks from Tesla - image 745865
“PepsiCo’s order of 100 trucks is the biggest one to date for Tesla”

PepsiCo’s order of 100 trucks is the biggest one to date for Tesla. It’s a big deal for the EV company to have a company as big as PepsiCo step in and show some confidence in its product. Other companies like Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch have placed orders. Fleet operator J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc and foodservice distribution company Sysco Corp. have done the same too. According to Reuters’ tally, the total number of reservations to date sits at 267 trucks. But that number could also be the tip of the iceberg. It’s possible that Tesla has also taken reservations from other companies and smaller truck operators without publicly announcing it. Other reports even suggest that Tesla has actually taken around 1,200 reservations for its trucks. Regardless of the number, the interest in the product is a good thing for Tesla.

In PepsiCo’s case, the F&B giant indicated that its order of 100 trucks is intended for shipments between manufacturing and distribution facilities and to retailers within the 500-mile range that Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised. There’s a possibility that PepsiCo orders more trucks in the future, but that’s contingent on how successful its trial runs are.


PepsiCo Orders Up 100 Semi Trucks from Tesla - image 745888
“PepsiCo and all the other companies that placed orders for the trucks still have some waiting to do before taking delivery of the haulers”

For now, PepsiCo and all the other companies that placed orders for the trucks still have some waiting to do before taking delivery of the haulers. Tesla doesn’t expect the electric big rigs to hit production until 2019, and that’s assuming that there are no delays on that front. That, in itself, is a tough ask from Tesla, a company that’s known for production delays.

Still, expect more companies to get in on Tesla’s new semi trucks. Demand is strong at this point, and if the trucks live up to the hype, they can be industry-changing. Reuters is even reporting that after initially asking $5,000 per truck for pre-orders, Tesla has bumped that figure up to around $20,000. That’s a sign that there’s a lot of activity happening on that front.

References

Tesla Semi


PepsiCo Orders Up 100 Semi Trucks from Tesla - image 746089

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.


maker logos - image 746180

Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Road Trippin’ in The 2018 Chevy Traverse

Thanksgiving tops the list of holidays most traveled for, and like I always do, I joined the fray of people flocking back home for some turkey and homemade desserts. My destination was the family farm, nestled just south of Knoxville in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. Joining me was the wife and kid, along with my wife’s sister. With three girls packing for a weeklong trip, I knew I needed tons of luggage space, so I reached out to Chevrolet. They were kind enough to let me rack up miles on a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse decked out in the Premier trim.

The Traverse has been Chevy’s three-row crossover since it debuted for the 2009 model year and a slight refresh in 2013 kept it from getting stale. But Chevy pulled out all the stops for 2018, giving the Traverse an entirely new architecture, a new design, a longer wheelbase, and a swankier interior filled with Chevy’s latest tech. And not only does the new Traverse look much more upscale, its spacious interior proved well suited for two, 12-hour driving days. And anyone with kids knows entertainment options are a must; the Traverse’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi was invaluable.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse - image 752369
“The in-dash entertainment came courtesy of Chevy’s MyLink system with the 8.0-inch touchscreen”

The in-dash entertainment came courtesy of Chevy’s MyLink system with the 8.0-inch touchscreen. Its logical interface is reminiscent of an iPad. Icons open apps and multi-gesture controls allow for pinch, swipes, and drags. You can even rearrange the icons to your liking. I put the Surround Vision 360-degree camera icon at the bottom left of the screen for an easy reach, for example. My tester’s MyLink system also came with the navigation upgrade, offering turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates. Behind the MyLink screen is a hidden compartment that’s lockable with a pin code. A USB port makes charging a stored device a snap and a light keeps things in view.

On top of the tech, the interior’s roomy dimensions meant the family could spread out. Much of the drive was made with my daughter in the third row and the seat ahead of her folded flat and used like a table for her iPad stand. The sister-in-law enjoyed the other second-row bucket seat. She had it slid rearward and the seatback reclined, affording her plenty of legroom and a relaxed position. Everyone had their own USB port and choice of several cup holders, while I used the wireless charger for my iPhone 8 Plus. My wife did DJ duties with her phone via both Apple CarPlay and the MyLink’s USB phone connection – depending on whether she initiated CarPlay that particular time or not.


Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse - image 752362
“When the roads grew dark after the sun fell behind the mountains, the Traverse’s D-Optic headlights did a great job at lighting the road”

The Skyscape sunroof proved its worth as we drove through winding roads lined with fall foliage surrounding Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Between that and the tall side windows, the Traverse allowed a very immersive experience without having to brave the chilly weather. I do wish the cloth sunshades were easier to unlatch, though.

When the roads grew dark after the sun fell behind the mountains, the Traverse’s D-Optic headlights did a great job at lighting the road. The low beams provide plenty of white light without a dramatic drop-off. The incandescent fog lights helped with viewing things just beyond the hood and the high beams simply turn night into day. The IntelliBeam automatic high beam system meant I didn’t have to worry about blinding an oncoming car.


Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse - image 752354
“My tester’s front-wheel-drive layout meant the front tires received all 266 pound-feet of torque from the V-6”

The 2018 Traverse’s four-corner independent suspension did an impressive job at quelling bumpy roads while not feeling floaty. Body roll is kept to a minimum, too, which is surprising considering the Traverse’s size. My tester’s front-wheel-drive layout meant the front tires received all 266 pound-feet of torque from the V-6. Torque steer is present, but only slightly and when burying the throttle into a turn from a stop. In other words, unless you’re driving like a madman, you won’t feel it.

And speaking of keeping the inner madman contained, the V-6 FWD Traverse will return respectable fuel economy when driven nicely. The EPA estimates it will average 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Over my 1,592-mile trip, I averaged a commendable 23.4 mpg. Thankfully, regular 89-octane is all that’s required.

Final Thoughts


Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse - image 752355

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse honestly impressed me over the 1,600 miles I drove it – and I say that as objectively as I can. It’s not perfect, but this three-row crossover feels extremely well conceived and impressively executed. About my only complaints were the glare something shining off the chrome bits on the dash and the lack of an off button for the engine’s automatic start/stop system.

The crossover market is inundated with contenders, but Chevy has done a good job making the 2018 Traverse stand out. It makes a great alternative for a minivan and the customer who wants something smaller and more budget-friendly than a full-size Tahoe or Suburban.

References

Chevrolet Traverse


Road Trippin' in The 2018 Chevy Traverse - image 752361

Read our full driven review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


2018 Chevrolet Traverse - image 700701

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


maker logos - image 743598

Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Budweiser Deliveries Get Electrified: Anheuser-Busch orders 40 Tesla Semis

2019 Tesla Semi

Tesla has been racking up pre-orders for its all-electric Semi truck since its debut in mid-November, with Anheuser-Busch being one of the latest corporations and the first brewer to join the fray. Anheuser-Busch has reportedly ordered 40 Tesla Semis, making the second-largest order in the truck’s short history. Food giant Sysco announced its pre-order of 50 Semis shortly after AB.

Further Reading


Budweiser Deliveries Get Electrified: Anheuser-Busch orders 40 Tesla Semis - image 745865
“Anheuser-Busch will use the Tesla Semis to deliver Budweiser beer from its brewery locations to wholesalers within a 150- to 200-mile range”

James Sembrot, AB’s senior director of logistics, is quoted on insideevs.com as saying, “At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative. This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”

Anheuser-Busch will use the Tesla Semis to deliver Budweiser beer from its brewery locations to wholesalers within a 150- to 200-mile range, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Teslas will join AB’s fleet of roughly 750 trucks nationwide, which are owned and operated by third-party companies. It’s unknown whether AB will lease the Tesla Semis, outright buy them, or have its third-party companies purchase the trucks.

AB declined to disclose the reservation price of each truck but admits it placed its order long before the Tesla Semi’s debut in November. At that time, deposits were $5,000. Tesla has since raised the price to $20,000 in a response to demand. The Semi’s full price is expected to range from $150,000 to $200,000 when it finally reaches the market in 2019. So far, Tesla has accumulated an estimated 200 pre-orders for the Semi. Naturally, that number is expected to grow as more companies jump on board.

References

Tesla Semi


Budweiser Deliveries Get Electrified: Anheuser-Busch orders 40 Tesla Semis - image 746089

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.



Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Torque Wars Continue as Ford Boosts Super Duty Power Stroke Torque to 935 Pound-Feet

Because pickup trucks usually carry heavy loads other than their bodies, acceleration is important in getting these vehicles to move. That’s why torque numbers are just as important, maybe even more, as horsepower in this segment. This explains why Ford and Ram have been engaged in a perpetual battle of “can-you-top-this?” with regards to the amount of torque their models can produce. Well, it’s Ford’s turn atop the mountain after the automaker announced that for 2018, the Super Duty line’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine packs 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque, edging out Ram’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel engine by five pound-feet of torque.


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648429
“The Super Duty line’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine packs 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque”

It’s an incremental gain, but don’t tell that to these two companies. In their minds, any number that puts either of them on top counts as a significant victory. This constant game of one-upmanship between Ford and Ram has been going on for the better part of two years. Remember back in 2015 when Ram’s Cummins engine came out with 865 pound-feet of torque to wrestle the crown away from Ford’s 860-pound-feet torque output? It didn’t take long for the Blue Oval to upgrade its Power Stroke to 925 pound-feet of torque. Ram quickly answered back by boosting the Cummins’ output to 930 pound-feet for its 2017 models. It’s been a year since any response has come from Ford, but now it’s back on top, taking the crown from Ram yet again by the slimmest of margins. All it took was a redesign of a cylinder head and changes in fuel and turbo boost calibration.

Now it’s Ram’s turn to come out with a response. I don’t know how long it’s going to take the Chrysler-owned company to return fire, but you can expect that it’s coming, regardless if it’s tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year. That’s life in the pickup segment for these two automakers. It’s not the flashiest of competitions, but it sure makes for good entertainment.

Now if only General Motors can catch up…

References

Ford Super Duty


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648383

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty.



Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Offers Helpful Hints for Transporting Your Christmas Tree

December has arrived, and that means many different things to different people. Those of us who celebrate Christmas will have to face an onslaught of visits to shopping malls or online stores. But before that, the first order of business is to buy a Christmas tree. For those who prefer to go all-natural with their Christmas trees, Chevrolet isn’t going to let you do it without sharing some tips on how to properly secure and transport your freshly cut trees from farm to home.


Chevy Offers Helpful Hints for Transporting Your Christmas Tree - image 748827
“According to the automaker, the first thing you need to do is to dress warmly, wear gloves, and bring a piece of cardboard that you can use to kneel on when you start cutting your tree down”

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently published a survey that said that in the past three years, 20 million Americans did not properly secure their new Christmas trees to their cars. That’s a revealing discovery that can be avoided if proper measures are taken. This is where Chevrolet comes into the picture. According to the automaker, the first thing you need to do is to dress warmly, wear gloves, and bring a piece of cardboard that you can use to kneel on when you start cutting your tree down. You’ll also need to bring a tarp to put inside the cabin if you’re transporting your tree inside your car. If you’re transporting the tree on top of your car, cross-rails are important so the tree doesn’t damage the paint on your car.

Once the tree has been cut, it’s critical to tie it with either a rope or netting. Lay the tree directly overtop the cross rails with the stump end facing toward the front of your car. Loop twine over and around it, repeat, and cinch it with a figure-eight motion to tightly secure the tree to the rails. According to Chevrolet, placing the stump end of the tree toward the front of the car helps reduce aerodynamic drag, ensuring a safer drive home.

When the tree is stowed and secured, try to use secondary roads on your way home. Avoid highways as much as you can. It also helps if you happen to have a car like the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Promoting the new SUV is actually the purpose of these tips. It’s a bit cheeky, but we’ll give points to Chevy for the creativity.

References

Chevrolet Traverse


2018 Chevrolet Traverse - image 700701

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.



Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Jeep Scrambler Spotted On The Road

It’s no secret Jeep is developing a pickup version of its next-generation Wrangler SUV. We’ve seen countless test mules and pre-production examples driving around, but this might be out best look yet. A YouTuber caught this one on video from mere feet as the pair was stuck in rain-soaked traffic.

The camouflage is almost not needed at this point, since Jeep has already released photos of the two- and four-door Wranglers. The only parts in question are behind the B-pillar. It’s unknown how Jeep has designed the transition between cab and bed, what the rear fenders will look like, or how the rear bumper lines up with the bodywork. On that note, this video shows the Scrambler’s rear bumper hanging well below the cargo bed. It actually looks like a Ram 1500’s bumper, but with D-ring shackles like on the Hummer H2. Jeep will have to rework this transition for the production version.

The Scrambler will share most its parts with the Wrangler Unlimited, including its four removable doors, powertrain options, solid axles, and overall design ahead of the cargo bed. The 2.0-liter turbo-four isn’t expected in the Scrambler, leaving the 3.6-liter V-6 and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 as the two choices. Jeep would be wise to offer the six-speed manual transmission with both engines, too. We know the eight-speed automatic will be offered, as well.

Differences from the Wrangler will include a unique hard top that is hopefully removable, a lengthened frame and wheelbase, and the obvious addition of the bed. We expect to see the Wrangler’s trim levels carry over to the Scrambler, too, including the Rubicon, but new trim lines might debut.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Scrambler - image 672705

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Scrambler.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Announces Pricing for the Semi; Raises Deposit to $20,000

500-mile range towing 80,000 pounds

Tesla has announced pricing for its new Semi truck and has increased the amount of the initial down payment as well. The down payment for a new truck is now $20,000, $15,000 more than Musk previously promised. And, that’s just for the base model, which has an “expected” price of $150,000 with 300 miles range per charge. Move up to the 500-mile-range model, and you’ll have to pony up an “expected” price of $180,000 with down payment of at least $20,000 if not more. Finally, the Founders Edition Semi will have an “estimated” price of $200,000 and requires a $200,000 deposit up front at the time of reservation. These prices are current as of November 22, 2017, but are for the U.S. market and will likely vary depending on the international market.

Along with the release of this information, Tesla as released some additional information about the Semi. Keep reading to find out more.

Tesla Semi Specifications


2019 Tesla Semi - image 746085
“According to Tesla, the new battery-powered Semi can manage to hit 60 mph in as little as 20 seconds while pulling an 80,000-pound load”

According to Tesla, the new battery-powered Semi can manage to hit 60 mph in as little as 20 seconds while pulling an 80,000-pound load behind it and can manage to chug up a five-percent grade at 65 mph. The Powertrain consists of four electric motors, two on each rear axle while energy consumption is less than 2 kWh per mile. That figure, according to Tesla, means the Semi will have a range of 300 miles in base form or 500 miles if you go with the upgraded model. The Founder’s Series model should carry the same range and energy consumption but should feature a couple of extras over the base model. Tesla claims a fuel savings of $200,000+, but that doesn’t account for the fact that there will be waiting in-between charges – charging time that has yet to be announced, by the way.

This sounds good and all, for a local or regional truck, anyway. For something that you’re planning to drive on the national level, however, it seems as if the Tesla Semi will be inadequate unless it can suck up a full charge in a matter of 30 minutes. Tesla could offer up a solution with a trailer that houses extra batteries, but with the Semi not likely to hit production until 2019, at the earliest, I wouldn’t expect to see that before 2023.

References

Tesla Semi


2019 Tesla Semi - image 746088

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Semi.



Read more Tesla news.

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.

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