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Archive for the ‘midsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition

Chevrolet is now offering two new special editions for the high-performance off-road Colorado ZR2 mid-size pickup. The Midnight Edition brings an all-black theme with tons of dark accents and a ZR2-branded sports bar with LED off-road lights. The Dusk Edition brings all the same black accents and the sports bar but allows customers to choose any of the eight other paint colors available on the standard Colorado ZR2. Both the Midnight and Dusk Editions come with new five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels painted in black.

The Colorado ZR2 is one of the hottest trucks on the market right now, and Chevy is hoping the added special editions will pour gasoline on the ZR2 fire. Obviously, special edition models tend to sell roughly twice as quickly as standard pickups, so it’s no doubt why Chevys bean counters are happy to offer the blacked-out packages.

According to Jim Campbell, Chevy’s U.S. VP of truck strategy, performance vehicles, and motorsports, “The Colorado ZR2 Midnight and Dusk Edition models offer customers even more personalization choices from the only company with three distinct trucks: midsize, full-size and full-size heavy-duty. Chevrolet offers more choices because the truck market is too diverse for a ‘one size fits most’ strategy.” Basically, it boils down to customers feeling exclusive when they buy and drive a special edition truck.

So what makes these special editions so… special? Keep reading for the details.

Continue reading for more on the Colorado ZR2 special editions.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739209
“The Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition is exactly what we’ve come to expect from something called the “midnight edition.””

The Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition is exactly what we’ve come to expect from something called the “midnight edition.” Both Chevy and Nissan have midnight editions, and several other automakers have a play on the blacked-out theme. For the 2018 ZR2, it means black paint, black bowtie badges, those black 17-inch wheels (including the spare), and the bed-mounted sports bar with the ZR2-branded sail panels and LED off-road lights. Beyond that, honestly, there’s not much to speak of. Chevy makes no mention of interior changes.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739207
“What separates the Dusk from the Midnight is the availability of the standard Colorado ZR2’s eight other body color options other than black.”

Do you like the Midnight Edition but think black paint is hard to keep clean? You’re in luck because the Dusk Edition is dark, but not as dark as midnight. See what Chevy did there? (Hardy har har… ) What separates the Dusk from the Midnight is the availability of the standard Colorado ZR2’s eight other body color options other than black.
These include Deepwood Green, Graphite, Red Hot, Satin Steel, Silver Ice, Summit White, Kinetic Blue, and Cajun Red. Those wanting Kinetic Blue or Cajun Red will have to shell out $395 or $495, respectively. The other colors are no-cost options.

Besides the body color options, the Dusk Edition comes with the same equipment as the Midnight Edition. This includes the black bowtie badges, the black wheels, and the sports bar with the ZR2 logo and LED off-road lights.

More on the Special Editions


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739206
“Chevy is using the Midnight and Dusk Editions to help celebrate its 100th-anniversary of building trucks”

Chevy is using the Midnight and Dusk Editions to help celebrate its 100th-anniversary of building trucks. You’ll probably remember reading about the 2018 Chevy Silverado and Colorado Centennial Edition. If not, check those out here. The special editions also give Chevy more things to showcase at this year’s SEMA show. The Colorado ZR2 special edition with be on display at the Los Vegas Convention Center from October 31 through November 3, 2017, along with roughly 20 other Chevy entries.

Chevrolet didn’t announce pricing or availability of the 2018 Colorado ZR2 special editions, but we expect them to arrive in showrooms sometime in December or early in 2018. Pricing will likely be steep, ranging between $1,200 and $2,000. And aside from what comes with these special edition packages, all other options will be available on the ZR2, including both engine choices.

More on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695642

The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is a no-holds-barred attempt at a high-performance off-road pickup. While Ford has seen fantastic success with the full-size F-150 Raptor, Chevy is taking a different route by using the Colorado in the mid-size category. The smaller truck is arguably better since its smaller dimensions make it easier to drive on tight trails.

What separates the ZR2 from a run-of-the-mill Colorado Z71 is its wider stance, special shock absorbers, locking differentials, high-clearance bumpers, wide fenders, and grippy Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires on ZR2-specific wheels.

Let’s break things down.

The ZR2 is 3.5-inches wider than a standard Colorado, giving it a more planted foundation. The suspension is also two inches higher than stock, giving it more ground clearance and wheel travel. The underbody is protected from damage via an upgraded aluminum skid plate under the radiator and engine oil pan. The skid plate also adds to the macho appearance of the truck. There is also a skid plate protecting the transfer case, too.


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695945
“With the two-speed 4WD transfer case locked into 4WD High or Low range, the ZR2 sends equal power to all four wheel no matter what”

The Colorado ZR2 features front and rear locking differentials. These electronically actuate and keep both left and right tires on an axle turning at the same speed, regardless of wheel slip. With the two-speed 4WD transfer case locked into 4WD High or Low range, the ZR2 sends equal power to all four wheel no matter what – an extremely handy feature when traversing loose terrain or slick rocks. The rear axle is also unique to the ZR2 and runs a stout 3.42:1 gear ratio.

The ZR2 also boats an off-road drive mode than reworks programming for the traction controls, ABS, stability control, transmission shift patterns, and throttle response.

However, the biggest performance upgrade on the ZR2 is its DSSV Spool Valve dampers from Multimatic. This is the first off-road application of spool valve shocks, which have a rich yet relatively short history in F1 race cars, supercars, and high-end track-day brawlers. Chevy has experience with spool valve shocks, though, as the fifth-generation Chevy Camaro Z/28 used them. In the ZR2’s application, the spool valves are designed to give highly controlled rates of drop and compression throughout its travel, all while staying cool no matter the ambient temperature, how rugged the terrain, or how fast the truck is traveling. In short, they are the ZR2’s magic bullet. They also give the truck instant street cred among sports car and racing enthusiasts.


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695643
“The Colorado ZR2 can be had with either the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel”

And as mentioned the Colorado ZR2 can be had with either the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. The V-6 offers 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbodiesel is the extra-cost option and comes with 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm, and more importantly, 369 pound-feet of torque at only 2,000 rpm. A six-speed automatic comes with the baby D-Max. For those torn between which engine is right, the V-6 is best for high-speed running where big revs are needed. The turbodiesel is best for those situations where low-end torque is king – situations like rock crawling, towing, vehicle recovery, and of course, getting decent fuel economy.

As for pricing of the current 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 without any special edition package adding cost, the MSRP starts at $41,550 for the Extended Cab and V-6 configuration. Those needing four real doors will want the $43,175 Crew Cab. Adding the turbodiesel to the Extended Cab pushes the price to $44,655 and $46,280 for the Crew Cab. Those aren’t cheap prices, but they do undercut the Ford F-150 Raptor’s base sticker price of $49,785 for the SuperCab model. Option for the bigger SuperCrew costs even more at $52,770. Check every option box, and the Raptor will quickly sail towards $70,000. That makes the Colorado ZR2 look like a bargain, doesn’t it?

References

Chevrolet Colorado


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695944

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.


2015 Chevrolet Colorado - image 532914

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition

Chevrolet is now offering two new special editions for the high-performance off-road Colorado ZR2 mid-size pickup. The Midnight Edition brings an all-black theme with tons of dark accents and a ZR2-branded sports bar with LED off-road lights. The Dusk Edition brings all the same black accents and the sports bar but allows customers to choose any of the eight other paint colors available on the standard Colorado ZR2. Both the Midnight and Dusk Editions come with new five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels painted in black.

The Colorado ZR2 is one of the hottest trucks on the market right now, and Chevy is hoping the added special editions will pour gasoline on the ZR2 fire. Obviously, special edition models tend to sell roughly twice as quickly as standard pickups, so it’s no doubt why Chevys bean counters are happy to offer the blacked-out packages.

According to Jim Campbell, Chevy’s U.S. VP of truck strategy, performance vehicles, and motorsports, “The Colorado ZR2 Midnight and Dusk Edition models offer customers even more personalization choices from the only company with three distinct trucks: midsize, full-size and full-size heavy-duty. Chevrolet offers more choices because the truck market is too diverse for a ‘one size fits most’ strategy.” Basically, it boils down to customers feeling exclusive when they buy and drive a special edition truck.

So what makes these special editions so… special? Keep reading for the details.

Continue reading for more on the Colorado ZR2 special editions.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739209
“The Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition is exactly what we’ve come to expect from something called the “midnight edition.””

The Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition is exactly what we’ve come to expect from something called the “midnight edition.” Both Chevy and Nissan have midnight editions, and several other automakers have a play on the blacked-out theme. For the 2018 ZR2, it means black paint, black bowtie badges, those black 17-inch wheels (including the spare), and the bed-mounted sports bar with the ZR2-branded sail panels and LED off-road lights. Beyond that, honestly, there’s not much to speak of. Chevy makes no mention of interior changes.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739207
“What separates the Dusk from the Midnight is the availability of the standard Colorado ZR2’s eight other body color options other than black.”

Do you like the Midnight Edition but think black paint is hard to keep clean? You’re in luck because the Dusk Edition is dark, but not as dark as midnight. See what Chevy did there? (Hardy har har… ) What separates the Dusk from the Midnight is the availability of the standard Colorado ZR2’s eight other body color options other than black.
These include Deepwood Green, Graphite, Red Hot, Satin Steel, Silver Ice, Summit White, Kinetic Blue, and Cajun Red. Those wanting Kinetic Blue or Cajun Red will have to shell out $395 or $495, respectively. The other colors are no-cost options.

Besides the body color options, the Dusk Edition comes with the same equipment as the Midnight Edition. This includes the black bowtie badges, the black wheels, and the sports bar with the ZR2 logo and LED off-road lights.

More on the Special Editions


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition and Dusk Edition - image 739206
“Chevy is using the Midnight and Dusk Editions to help celebrate its 100th-anniversary of building trucks”

Chevy is using the Midnight and Dusk Editions to help celebrate its 100th-anniversary of building trucks. You’ll probably remember reading about the 2018 Chevy Silverado and Colorado Centennial Edition. If not, check those out here. The special editions also give Chevy more things to showcase at this year’s SEMA show. The Colorado ZR2 special edition with be on display at the Los Vegas Convention Center from October 31 through November 3, 2017, along with roughly 20 other Chevy entries.

Chevrolet didn’t announce pricing or availability of the 2018 Colorado ZR2 special editions, but we expect them to arrive in showrooms sometime in December or early in 2018. Pricing will likely be steep, ranging between $1,200 and $2,000. And aside from what comes with these special edition packages, all other options will be available on the ZR2, including both engine choices.

More on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695642

The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is a no-holds-barred attempt at a high-performance off-road pickup. While Ford has seen fantastic success with the full-size F-150 Raptor, Chevy is taking a different route by using the Colorado in the mid-size category. The smaller truck is arguably better since its smaller dimensions make it easier to drive on tight trails.

What separates the ZR2 from a run-of-the-mill Colorado Z71 is its wider stance, special shock absorbers, locking differentials, high-clearance bumpers, wide fenders, and grippy Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires on ZR2-specific wheels.

Let’s break things down.

The ZR2 is 3.5-inches wider than a standard Colorado, giving it a more planted foundation. The suspension is also two inches higher than stock, giving it more ground clearance and wheel travel. The underbody is protected from damage via an upgraded aluminum skid plate under the radiator and engine oil pan. The skid plate also adds to the macho appearance of the truck. There is also a skid plate protecting the transfer case, too.


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695945
“With the two-speed 4WD transfer case locked into 4WD High or Low range, the ZR2 sends equal power to all four wheel no matter what”

The Colorado ZR2 features front and rear locking differentials. These electronically actuate and keep both left and right tires on an axle turning at the same speed, regardless of wheel slip. With the two-speed 4WD transfer case locked into 4WD High or Low range, the ZR2 sends equal power to all four wheel no matter what – an extremely handy feature when traversing loose terrain or slick rocks. The rear axle is also unique to the ZR2 and runs a stout 3.42:1 gear ratio.

The ZR2 also boats an off-road drive mode than reworks programming for the traction controls, ABS, stability control, transmission shift patterns, and throttle response.

However, the biggest performance upgrade on the ZR2 is its DSSV Spool Valve dampers from Multimatic. This is the first off-road application of spool valve shocks, which have a rich yet relatively short history in F1 race cars, supercars, and high-end track-day brawlers. Chevy has experience with spool valve shocks, though, as the fifth-generation Chevy Camaro Z/28 used them. In the ZR2’s application, the spool valves are designed to give highly controlled rates of drop and compression throughout its travel, all while staying cool no matter the ambient temperature, how rugged the terrain, or how fast the truck is traveling. In short, they are the ZR2’s magic bullet. They also give the truck instant street cred among sports car and racing enthusiasts.


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695643
“The Colorado ZR2 can be had with either the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel”

And as mentioned the Colorado ZR2 can be had with either the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. The V-6 offers 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbodiesel is the extra-cost option and comes with 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm, and more importantly, 369 pound-feet of torque at only 2,000 rpm. A six-speed automatic comes with the baby D-Max. For those torn between which engine is right, the V-6 is best for high-speed running where big revs are needed. The turbodiesel is best for those situations where low-end torque is king – situations like rock crawling, towing, vehicle recovery, and of course, getting decent fuel economy.

As for pricing of the current 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 without any special edition package adding cost, the MSRP starts at $41,550 for the Extended Cab and V-6 configuration. Those needing four real doors will want the $43,175 Crew Cab. Adding the turbodiesel to the Extended Cab pushes the price to $44,655 and $46,280 for the Crew Cab. Those aren’t cheap prices, but they do undercut the Ford F-150 Raptor’s base sticker price of $49,785 for the SuperCab model. Option for the bigger SuperCrew costs even more at $52,770. Check every option box, and the Raptor will quickly sail towards $70,000. That makes the Colorado ZR2 look like a bargain, doesn’t it?

References

Chevrolet Colorado


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695944

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.


2015 Chevrolet Colorado - image 532914

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Says “Nope” to 368-horse Wrangler JL

Just days ago a leaked document from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested the next-generation, 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL would have a 368-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The world gasped and Jeep fans melted at the thought of a Wrangler having more power than a Ford Focus RS. Sadly, it seems FCA either had a type-o or is now trying to cover up this leaked information. Those same documents regarding VIN identification have now been resubmitted with edited information. The 2.0-liter’s horsepower is now listed as “Not Rated.”

The way I see it, there are three possibilities. First, some engineer or clerical worker deep inside Chrysler’s headquarters didn’t have their morning cup of Joe and fudged the numbers. Perhaps it was an honest mistake and it was supposed to read 268 horsepower or something. That’s a likely scenario. Second, some engineer or clerical worker forgot to censor the horsepower specs for Jeep’s new 2.0-liter “Hurricane” four-cylinder and is now in hot water with Sergio Marchionne and Mike Manley. Oops. Third, FCA is playing us – and hard. It’s very possible Jeep is leaving clues for us to find just like Dodge did with the SRT Demon. And if the Hurricane truly makes 368 horsepower, who could blame them? That’s a massive amount of power from such a small engine. Only the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 and CLA45’s 2.0-liter turbo-four makes more horsepower (375) from the factory.

The good news is we won’t have to wait long. Jeep is scheduled to debut the new 2018 Wrangler JL at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show in late November with vehicles arriving in dealerships in December. The initial launch will consist only of the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, with the classic two-door Wrangler following in February of 2018.

What scenario do you think is going on? Did someone make a type-o? Was the info accidentally leaked? Is Jeep trolling us by teasing high-horsepower specs only to redact the information? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 734781

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Will Have 368-HP Four-Cylinder!

News of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler is still trickling in, but thanks to an official document sent by Fiat Chrysler to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we now know the horsepower rating for the new 2.0-liter “Hurricane” turbocharged four-cylinder. Turns out, the Hurricane isn’t some lowly four-banger nobody will want. Actually, the engine kicks out 368 horsepower, making it one of the most potent turbo-fours on the market.

That’s right; the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will have an optional 2.0-liter turbo-four with more horsepower than a Ford Focus RS and Porsche 718 Boxster S. In fact, only the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and GLA45’s 2.0-liter turbo-four with 375 horsepower is more powerful. Unfortunately, FCA’s document didn’t divulge the Hurricane’s torque figure, but we’d bet on at least 320 pound-feet. Also unfortunate, is the rumor suggesting the Hurricane will be limited to an automatic transmission, preventing Jeep folks who row their own from having high-horsepower fun. Then again, we’ve never had a complaint with FCA’s use and programming of the ZF eight-speed automatic, so even the automatic Wrangler JL should be fun to drive.

The other bit of powertrain news is the confirmed return of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 but slotted as the base engine. The same documents show the V-6 producing the same 285 horsepower. While that’s a bit disappointing, Jeep could be saving an update for the V-6 until after the current-generation Wrangler JK ends production sometime late in 2018. Jeep will keep the JK in production, likely named the Wrangler Classic or something, in order to supplement sales of the JL. At launch, the new JL will only be available in the four-door Unlimited trim, with two-door models coming in February of 2018. Retaining the current V-6 would be more cost-effective than updating the outgoing JK to use the updated V-6. Jeep could then position an updated V-6 as a mid-cycle perk sometime towards 2020. Of course, that’s just speculation.

What do you think? Would you buy a 368-horsepower Wrangler JL? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 669920

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 734784

Check out more renderings for the upcoming Jeep Wrangler.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler JK.

PostHeaderIcon Gensis G70 Sportwagon

Gensis G70 Sportwagon

Launched in 2015, Genesis is the newest luxury brand on the market and the first such company to come from South Korea. Established after Hyundai rolled out increasingly more premium versions of the Genesis and Equus sedans, Genesis has already introduced three products since 2016. It all started with the G90, a redesigned and more luxurious version of the Equus, which was followed by the G80, a better replacement for the Hyundai Genesis. The third sedan, the G70, was introduced in late 2017 as a competitor for the highly popular BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. Having already seen the G70 in all its glory, we began wondering what if Genesis decided to expand the lineup with a wagon?

Called the G70 Sportwagon by X-Tomi Designs, which provided the rendering of what could become Genesis first ever grocery getter, this luxury wagon would compete in a very small niche that no longer benefits from a global presence. While BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi continue to sell station wagon versions of their compact sedans in Europe, the United States only gets the 3 Series Sports Wagon. The G70 Sportwagon not only would add a bit of drama to this market, but it could also come to the U.S. to give BMW a bit of action and maybe even motivate Mercedes-Benz and Audi to bring their own grocery getters over the pond. But, until that happens, let’s have a closer look at what this wagon could bring to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis G70 Sportwagon.

Exterior


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731677

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“Expect it to have the same styling cues as the sedan from the nose to the C-pillars, but a longer roof and a redesigned rear fascia”

Much like any station wagon out there, the G70 Sportwagon will be heavily based on the recently unveiled G70 four-door. Specifically, expect it to have the same styling cues from the nose to the C-pillars, but a longer roof and a redesigned rear fascia. And this is great news, as the sedan is quite the looker, even when compared to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Up front, the wagon will showcase many of the already familiar Genesis features, starting with the crest-shaped grille with chrome horizontal bars. Should the Sportwagon also get a Sport version like the sedan, expect it to wear a honeycomb-like pattern. The G70’s sleek headlamps with angular edges will give the wagon an aggressive stance, as will the vertically oriented side vents and the complex layout of the center intake, which includes various thin elements that enhance aerodynamics.


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731675

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The Sportwagon should retain the sedan's athletic profile, despite the longer roof and the boxier rear end”

The Sportwagon should retain the sedan’s athletic profile, despite the longer roof and the boxier rear end. At the same, it should feel elegant as well, mostly due to the subtle beltline and character line just above the side skirts. The profile will change dramatically from the C-pillar to the rear. Not only the muscular rear haunches of the sedan will be gone, but the Sportwagon will get the wagon-specific third window and thick D-pillar. However, the sloping roofline and the angle rear glass will prevent the car from looking like a 1980s Volvo (read “hearse”),


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731668

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The rear end will be almost radically different than the sedan's, so forget about the nicely sculpted trunk lid”

The rear end will be almost radically different than the sedan’s, so forget about the nicely sculpted trunk lid, which will make way for a more utilitarian tailgate. It will be interesting to see what Genesis decided to do with the taillights. While the ones seen on the sedan are rather small for a wagon and placed outside the trunk lid, Genesis could opt for longer units that extend into the tailgate. This isn’t necessarily a rule for modern wagons, but it’s a common practice among other brand competing in this niche. I guess that if Genesis chooses to keep the sedans taillights, the Sportwagon will have one more reason to stand out.

The ten exterior colors that are available for the four-door G70 should make it on the wagon too. So expect the palette to include hues like Platinum Silver, Carbon Metal, Marble White, Titanium Black, Racing Gray, Graceful Gray, Lapis Blue, Royal Blue, Blazing Red, and Umber Brown.

Interior


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731670

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“Look for the same modern design with a clean and simple dashboard”

Naturally, the interior of the wagon will also mimic that of the sedan, except for the wagon-style trunk. Look for the same modern design with a clean and simple dashboard that’s slimmer than usual to provide better visibility up front and a sports car-like feeling.

As seen in the sedan, the front section will have a horizontal layout, which is rather common in today’s premium cars, while the wide and tall center console will be topped by a driver-oriented center stack. The latter will include only a handful of buttons placed under the A/C vents for that clean look most premium customers are looking for.


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731671

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The seats feature the company’s smart posture control system”

The seats, which have been positioned so that they lower the center of gravity of the car to maximize performance for the sedan, feature the company’s smart posture control system. Introduced in the range-topping G90, this system automatically adjusts the seat, steering wheel, outside mirror, and heads-up display to the optimal position based on the driver’s body information.

As far as materials go, we’ve already seen some premium appointments in the sedan. So the wagon should come with Nappa leather seats, quilted leather door panel inserts, and aluminum door handles and trim. Almost everything else is covered in soft-touch materials, just like in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Upholstery color options should include Obsidian Black, Sandstorm Gray, Velvet Burgundy, Tobacco Brown and Vanilla Beige.

“The Sportwagon will benefit from the larger trunk that all wagons get behind the second-row seat”

Passenger comfort will also be enhanced thanks to the lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness achieved through the use of sound absorption and isolation materials, revised suspension and body frame connection, and the design of the door sealing systems. In the convenience department, the eight-inch display will provide access to MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and server-based voice recognition technology via artificial intelligence platform Kakao I. A 15-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system will be available for audiophiles.

Of course, the Sportwagon will benefit from the larger trunk that all wagons get behind the second-row seat. In addition to that, it will also benefit from folding rear seats for that extra space that comes in handy when hauling long objects or when you’re simply moving into a new apartment, and you have a lot of stuff to carry.

But, in order to be competitive, the Sportwagon needs to come as close as possible to the rather high bar set by the competition. For instance, the BMW 3 Series Sports wagon can hold up to 27.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon isn’t quite as roomy, but it can still haul a lot of luggage at 17.3 and 53.3 cubic feet, respectively. The new Audi A4 Avant is similar to the Merc with 17.8 and 53.3 cubic feet ratings.

Drivetrain


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731669

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“A diesel version will also be offered, powered by a 2.2-liter four-banger rated at 199 horsepower and 325 pound-feet”

Once again, the Sportwagon will mimic the sedan version of the G70 under the hood. The four-door is offered with a drivetrain lineup consisting of three engines, starting with the familiar 2.0-liter GDI available in other Hyundai models. The turbocharged four-cylinder is rated at 252 PS and 353 Nm of torque (249 horsepower and 260 pound-feet), while opting for the Sports package increases the power rating slightly to 255 PS (252 horsepower). A diesel version is also available, powered by a 2.2-liter four-banger rated at 202 PS and 441 Nm of twist (199 horsepower and 325 pound-feet).

Performance ratings for these drivetrains aren’t yet available, but it’s safe to assume that the wagon versions will have slightly slower sprint times. Probably a tenth or two due to the extra weight and the different aerodynamics.

“G70 Sport, which will be the range-topping model, will hide a 3.3-liter Lambda V-6 under the hood”

Finally, G70 Sport, which is the range-topping model, hides a 3.3-liter Lambda V-6 under the hood. Also available in many Hyundai cars, this powerplant cranks out 370 PS and 510 Nm (365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet) of torque and enables the sedan to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 4.7 seconds. Interestingly enough, that’s two tenths quicker than the range-topping 3 Series model with RWD and as quick as the same model equipped with AWD. So I guess it’s safe to assume that the G70 Sportwagon will be competitive enough for its German rivals. Top speed is rated at 168 mph for the four-door, significantly higher from the 155-mph ratings that come with most compact BMW and Mercedes-Benz sedans, and this figure should remain unchanged with the wagon.

When equipped with the Sport package, the wagon should also get the variable-ratio steering and electronically controlled suspension offered as standard with the sedan. Another standard feature will be Launch Control and rack-mounted, motor-driven power steering and multi-link rear suspension, both designed to provide more precise handling and comfortable ride. Finally, the dynamic torque vectoring system will improve the wagon’s cornering control, while the mechanical limited slip differential will enhance handling in low friction road conditions such as rain, snow, and ice.

Prices

We still don’t have pricing information for the G70 sedan, which makes it difficult to estimate how much the wagon will cost, but Genesis needs to keep pricing close to the competition. For instance, the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon starts from $44,450 in the U.S. Of course, pricing will depend on which engines are offered, but being a new brand, Genesis may have to keep the sticker a bit lower in order to score some sales. Somewhere around $40,000 to $42,000 seems like a good guess.

Competition

BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon


2016 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon - image 629407

Should it come to the U.S., the Genesis G70 Sportwagon will have just one competitor. But it will have a hard time stealing customers from BMW, as the 3 Series Sports Wagon has been around for quite a while and built itself a solid reputation. Sure, it’s a few years old, and its popularity was enhanced by the fact that there aren’t any other options, but the sporty design, the well-appointed interior, and the powerful engine make it tough to beat.

Speaking of engines, there are two options to choose from. First up, there’s the 330i, which uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. The second option is the 328d, powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that’s good for 188 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of twist. It’s worth noting that the 3 Series Sports Wagon is the only Bimmer, alongside the X5, to get a diesel powerplant in the U.S. In Europe, the drivetrain lineup is much more diverse. Ranging from the entry-level 318i with 136 horsepower to the 340i M Sport with 326 horses, the 3 Series Touring meets every need performance-wise. On the diesel front, the range begins with the 316d rated at 116 horsepower and goes all the way up to the 335d xDrive M Sport with 313 horses. U.S. pricing starts from $44,450, while German prices start from €34,550.

Read our full review of the 2017 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon


2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon - image 552973

Unveiled in 2014 alongside the then-brand-new C-Class, this grocery getter has been one of the most celebrated compact premium wagons for decades now. And for good reason, as the longer, five-door version of the C-Class is just as classy and luxurious as its four-door sibling. The latest model is particularly appealing, as the C-Class’ design language, which is based on the larger S-Class, is both sporty and elegant. And despite having a wagon rear end instead of the sedan’s sleek, coupe-like roofline, the C-Class Wagon is as sexy as wagons get. Okay, so maybe it’s not as gorgeous as the CLS Shooting Brake, but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful wagons you can buy. The same description can be used for the interior, which blends sportiness and elegance under acres of leather and wood veneer.

The engine lineup isn’t as diverse as the sedan’s, but you get plenty of options ranging from the 154 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of the base C180 to the 362 horses and 384 pound-feet of the C450 AMG. Of course, proper AMG C63 and AMG C63 S variants are also offered. More importantly, Mercedes also launched a plug-in hybrid version, the C350, rated at 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. Diesel models range from the C220 BlueTEC with 168 horsepower and 295 pound-feet to the C300 BlueTEC Hybrid with 228 horses and 369 pound-feet. Unfortunately, none of them are available in the United States. German pricing starts from €33,534.

Read our full review of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon.

Audi A4 Avant


2016 - 2018 Audi A4 - image 635402

Introduced for the 2016 model year, the A4 Avant is the newest offering in this comparison. It’s also one of the most aggressive wagons you can buy thanks to Audi’s recent design language with more angular lines. The interior is also new and quite the significant departure from the previous design. While the outgoing model felt dated, the current-generation A4 has everything it takes to give its competitors a run for its money. And it’s pretty unique too with the classy air-vent strip that stretches across the dashboard. The German wagon is sold with four engines besides the performance-oriented S4 and RS4. The base 1.4-liter unit cranks out 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, while the 2.0-liter four-pot is available with either 190 horses and 236 pound-feet or 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. The range-topping model uses a 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. The diesel lineup includes various versions of the company’s 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter mills, ranging from the 2.0 TDI with 120 horsepower and 199 pound-feet to the 3.0 TDI V-6 with 272 horses and 443 pound-feet. Like the C-Class Wagon, the A4 Avant isn’t available in the U.S. However, you can buy the A4 Allroad, an Avant with SUV features and higher ground clearance. This model is priced from $44,500. In Germany, the standard A4 Avant retails from €33,700.

Read our full story of the 2017 Audi A4 Avant.

Conclusion


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The Genesis G70 Sportwagon is just a rendering as of this writing, and the Korean firm didn’t say whether such a model is under consideration or not. But it’s more than just a cool idea. With the luxury brand having rolled out three sedans so far, and with at least two SUVs underway, a wagon version of the G70 should be included in the company’s future plans. The G70 may be enough to grant the company access to the tough compact market that’s controlled by the 3 Series, C-Class, and A4, but Genesis needs more than just a sedan in order to survive. A coupe and a convertible should also be considered, but a station wagon sounds like a good first step in a niche that doesn’t have too many propositions on offer. And judging by the G70’s looks, lush interior, and solid drivetrain lineup, I think that a station wagon could make a significant impact.

  • Leave it
    • Genesis may never build it
    • Lacks the brand cachet of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi
    • Is the station wagon segment slowly dying?

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen GLI – Driven

The Volkswagen GLI is kind of like the Volkswagen GTI hot hatch — only, no hatch. Instead of throwing a lot of go-quick goodies into a Golf, the VW skunkworks had its way with a Jetta. The result is a seriously fun compact sedan that won’t break the bank.

Just a few weeks ago, I drove the more pedestrian Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.4T with a five-speed manual transmission. The GLI I drove for this review was unfortunately an automatic, but in all other ways was quicker and more engaging to drive than its easygoing sibling — which is not to say I found the regular Jetta boring to drive. I might go so far as to say I preferred the Jetta 1.4T over most compact, front-wheel drive cars I have reviewed in recent years.

Among compact sedans with hotted-up chassis and engine components, the GLI might just make it 2-for-2 for Volkswagen.

Design Notes


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Volkswagen has a history of trendsetting design. While some reviewers say the brand’s current lineup is too conservative or boring, I think time is going to be far kinder to VW’s current designs than those of some of its competitors. In other words, as I said in my review of the Jetta, I think VW has picked designs that will age gracefully.

“The GLI takes everything I liked about the Jetta and puts a little more attitude into it”

The GLI takes everything I liked about the Jetta and puts a little more attitude into it. Lower body moldings make the car appear lower and more aerodynamic. Tasteful red accents outside (GLI badges, grille opening, brake calipers) and inside (dashboard accent, steering wheel stitching, door trim pieces) make it clear to keen observers that this is no ordinary Jetta.


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2017 Volkswagen GLI - Driven - image 735264

Up front, the GLI has some GTI styling cues. The fog lights are surrounded by aero strakes, and the grille openings are filled with honeycomb plastic instead of VW’s usual horizontal bar motif. From the side, the GLI has all of the elements that make the Jetta pleasing to the eye, with additional ground-effects that make it look more speedy. At the rear, a subtle trunk lip spoiler, dual exhaust tips, and a small GLI badge tip off educated viewers to its performance credentials.

Bridgestone Potenza 225/40R18 Y-rated directional performance tires might also communicate the GLI’s intentions, for folks who take notice of things like that.

Interior Notes


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The 2017 Volkswagen GLI takes everything I liked about the Jetta SE and dials it up with slightly nicer trim and finishes. There was soft-touch injection-molded plastic in several places where the cheaper Jetta SE had hard-touch, scratchy plastics. The V-Tex leatherette seats were accented with sporty red stitching. In some places where the Jetta SE had piano black plastic trim, the GLI had metal trim — most notably, the bottom spokes of the steering wheel, which itself was laced with red stitching.

“Controls are simple and purposeful, and the design of the interior doesn’t try to distract the driver”

Everything else is a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Jetta remains roomy inside, with 41 inches of legroom for front occupants and 38 inches for rear passengers. Controls are simple and purposeful, and the design of the interior doesn’t try to distract the driver — something that should be a priority for anyone claiming to build a “driver’s car.”


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2017 Volkswagen GLI - Driven - image 735254

If you’re like me, with two small kids to tote around in the back seat, you’ll appreciate the space the GLI offers for wee ones who are still traveling in car seats. Think of it as a GTI with more room in the back seat. The trunk is pretty huge too, at 15.7 cubic feet — plenty for toting travel supplies for the wee ones and a week’s worth of groceries at the same time.

Powertrain Notes


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Sporting the 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine from the GTI, the 2017 VW GLI is making about 60 more horses than that 1.4-liter turbo in the Jetta SE I tested earlier. Output is listed at 210 horsepower at 5,300 RPM (on premium fuel) and 207 pound-feet of torque at just 1,700 RPM.

“Shifts were crisp when accelerating briskly”

In my test car, this smooth, torque-happy engine was paired with VW’s six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Shifts were crisp when accelerating briskly — which I did, a lot. But the transmission also proved smooth as silk during run-of-the-mill commuting while hauling the kids to school or doing the weekly grocery run. Admirably, there was no noticeable shuddering or clutch-slip feeling at low speeds — a problem that affects some dual-clutch automatics, in my experience.

A six-speed manual transmission is available, and to be honest, I would have preferred that. A car with the great engine and chassis of the GLI begs for it. I’m not saying the DSG was bad. It’s just not got enough pedals for me.

“The car uses VW’s XDS brake-based system that will selectively apply a little brake pressure to the inside wheels in a turn as weight transfers off of them”

Volkswagen does not include a true limited-slip differential in the GLI, but the car uses VW’s XDS brake-based system that will selectively apply a little brake pressure to the inside wheels in a turn as weight transfers off of them. This feels a little like a limited-slip diff to those of us driving well below the chassis’ limits on public roads, but would probably show its shortcomings on a track when compared to a true limited-slip or locking differential, where you want to save your brakes for, you know, braking.

The Drive


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The Volkswagen GLI is a little heavier, with a little longer wheelbase than its GTI cousin, but the powertrain and VW’s excellent chassis tuning make it a lot of fun in the twisty stuff.

“The Volkswagen GLI is a little heavier, with a little longer wheelbase than its GTI cousin”

Steering feel is a notch above the already-excellent feel offered in the Jetta SE I drove previously, with a little more heft and feedback. However, the car will break traction a bit on the inside front wheel when cornering hard and hitting the gas with aggression. With traction control switched off, the steering wheel will fight you a little if you mat the skinny pedal. But for the majority of my spirited backroad driving, the GLI remained a courteous dance partner.

“Those 210 horses are ready to gallop at a moment’s notice”

When I had my wife and kids in the car, no one complained about a harsh ride or road noise. That can be a challenge for hotted-up family sedans, in my experience. It’s all the more laudable because of those 225/40R18 Bridgestone Potenzas.

Acceleration and braking were, of course, excellent. Those 210 horses are ready to gallop at a moment’s notice. They put a grin on my face a lot during the test week.

The Competition

Nissan Sentra NISMO


2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO - image 695518

2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO - image 695524

Nissan decided to get into the hot compact sedan game with two models in the last year: First, the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo, which gave the Sentra the 188-horsepower turbocharged heart of the Nissan Juke along with some suspension and chassis tweaks to stiffen the car. Then they tweaked the suspension tuning and chassis bracing a bit more to give us the Sentra NISMO.

The NISMO’s primary differentiating factor from its SR Turbo sister is its borderline tacky body trim. If the folks in Yokohama really wanted to compete with the GLI, they should have given the Juke engine the same 215-horsepower tune found in the Juke NISMO RS. As it is, the GLI is much, much more powerful both by the numbers and by the seat of your pants. Let’s not even talk about the Xtronic CVT in the Sentra NISMO. It can’t hold a candle to the driving feel offered by the DSG automatic in the GLI, for those who choose shiftlessness.

“If the folks in Yokohama really wanted to compete with the GLI, they should have given the Juke engine the same 215-horsepower tune found in the Juke NISMO RS”

There are good things to note about the Sentra NISMO. Alcantara NISMO sport seats are excellent, and Alcantara on the steering wheel feels great. Like the GLI, backseat legroom is prodigious, and the trunk is cavernous. It’s a good choice for those who have a family but don’t want to drive one of the many numb, uninspiring entries in the compact or midsize sedan segments.

The primary advantage the Sentra NISMO holds over the GLI may be real-world transaction prices. Nissan has always prided itself on offering a strong value quotient, and the Sentra NISMO is no exception. A base Sentra NISMO starts at $24,990, which undercuts the base GLI by nearly $3,000 before dealer discounts. Usually, it will be easier to get a Nissan dealer to discount the Sentra NISMO than it will be to get a VW dealer to discount the GLI.

It bears mentioning the GLI has more standard equipment, including Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility that is not available in the Sentra NISMO at any price.

Read our full review on the Nissan Sentra NISMO.

Hyundai Elantra Sport


2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport - image 682259

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport - image 682244

The Hyundai Elantra Sport is Korea’s take on a hot compact sedan. Its 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is plenty strong, but lacks the GLI’s refinement. The Hyundai’s engine sounds thrashy and unpleasant at higher revs.

“Where VW’s DSG is silky smooth at all speeds, the Elantra Sport’s transmission exhibits plenty of clutch-slip at low speeds”

Hyundai falls short on its dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, too. Where VW’s DSG is silky smooth at all speeds, the Elantra Sport’s transmission exhibits plenty of clutch-slip at low speeds. I noticed that a lot when parking or backing the Elantra Sport, making parking lots and parallel street-parking spaces a chore.

The Elantra Sport also tended to plow into turns more than the GLI, and its ride was harsher. All in all, it felt like a good effort, but lacked the polish of the VW GLI.

Where Hyundai beats VW is, of course, warranty. The Elantra Sport gets a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty just like all Hyundais. Hyundai also offers real leather, if VW’s V-Tex leatherette bothers you.

Hyundai also beats VW and even value-oriented Nissan on pricing, with Elantra Sport ringing in at $21,800 for a well-equipped base model. While it’s a little less rambunctious than either car, it’s also a lot cheaper.

Read our full review on the Hyundai Elantra Sport.

Ford Focus ST


2015 Ford Focus ST - image 696645

2015 Ford Focus ST - image 696626

The hottest competitor in this race may be Ford, whose Focus comes in both ST and RS flavors. The RS really is a trackable car, ready to take to the autocross or your local track day at the weekend. But the ST is the livable, street performance car — and it’s putting down a lot more power than the VW GLI, at 252 horses and 270 pound-feet of torque.

The caveat: Ford only offers the Focus ST in hatchback form, so it’s kind of the oddball in terms of styling, among this group. But in all other ways, it’s clearly aiming for the GLI and its cohort — right down to its starting price of $24,775.

“Its legroom is a far cry from the GLI, at just 33.2 inches in the rear seat.”

What may hurt the Focus is its tight interior confines. Its legroom is a far cry from the GLI, at just 33.2 inches in the rear seat. So if your passengers are on the taller side, your front-seat room may be compromised.

If passengers aren’t a priority, however, the Focus ST offers decent cargo space — with 23.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 43.9 cubic feet behind the first row with the back seats folded. It would be a fun way to get to band practice.

Read our full review on the Ford Focus ST.

Conclusion


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I’m the perfect candidate for these cars. I’m married, I’m past the age where insurance would kill me if I owned a “performance” car, and I have two fast-growing kids. But I don’t want to get a fun car only to have to feed it copious amounts of unleaded. These relatively fuel-efficient cars with warmed-up powertrains and nice handling offer a good combo of practicality and driving engagement that hits me right in the bullseye.

“The GLI made a strong play for my emotions”

The GLI made a strong play for my emotions. It returned just shy of 30 MPG even though I drove it pretty hard and did a lot of idling during photos. It made me happy just to drive my kids to school and do random errands for the family. Need milk? Sure! No problem! I’ll drive to the next town — it’s cheaper there!

I admit, I’m a Nissan fanboy, and the Sentra NISMO makes me swoon a little, even though I’m not crazy about the boy-racer body trim. But the fact that Nissan could have easily tuned the engine for GLI-competitive power frustrates me as an enthusiast.

I’ve also owned Fords, so I have a soft spot for the Focus ST. But There’s so much I don’t like about the Focus. I feel like it’s a compromised choice, for me. The interior feels too claustrophobic. I detest Ford’s distraction-filled interior design, too.

The Hyundai Elantra Sport doesn’t do much to stir my blood compared to the GLI, Sentra NISMO, and the Focus ST, but I admire its warranty and value.

“I place the GLI at the top of the segment”

I place the GLI at the top of the segment. Its combination of refinement and user-friendliness is unmatched, even if the Focus ST is faster, the Sentra NISMO is flashier to look at, and the Elantra Sport has a longer powertrain warranty and cheaper price.

Disclosure: Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of fuel for this review.

References

Volkswagen Jetta


2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE - Driven - image 729227

Read our full driven review on the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE 1.4T


2015 Volkswagen Jetta - image 548759

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Jetta.


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733568

Read more Volkswagen news.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven

Crossovers and SUVs might be the hot-ticket item these days, but sedans still hold an extremely important part in the automotive landscape. Mid-size sedans, especially, continue to post impressive sales numbers. Back for the 2011 model year, Volkswagen decided it needed a bigger slice of the American pie, so it introduced a version of its popular Passat build especially for the U.S. market. A refresh for 2016 brought sharpened body lines, a more chiseled face, and a slightly reworked interior. Now, a year later, the 2017 Passat soldiers on with nary a change. But, is this mid-size sedan got what it takes to rival the segment stalwarts, namely the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord?

To find out, I recently spent three weeks behind the wheel of a Passat R-Line. What’s the R-Line, you ask? It boils down to a dolled-up version of the base Passat. It comes with larger wheels, a more up-scale front fascia, and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Better yet, the swankier trim doesn’t come with a massive price tag. It’s only $1,535 more than the base Passat S and retails for $23,875. And thanks to its 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and FWD, it’s frugal at the pump, too, returning an EPA-estimated 34 mpg on the highway. Nevertheless, both the Camry and Accord are completely new for 2018 and will be stiff competition for this Tennessee-built car with German roots.

Continue reading for more on the Volkswagen Passat R-Line.

Video Review

Exterior


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733568
“The Passat is low-key without being low-buck.”

Volkswagen’s refresh of the Passat for 2016 brought some welcomed changes. First, the rounded edges seen in the front fascia and taillights have been completely eliminated. In their place are crisp lines and sharp angles complemented by a reserved use of chrome accents. The new look certainly gives the Passat a more upscale yet not over-hyped appearance. It’s low-key without being low-buck. Well, at least looking low-buck.

The Passat R-Line is technically a base-level Passat with some fancy design upgrades to make it more attractive. For $1,535, the R-Line brings some healthy additions, including the trim-specific bumpers, the 19-inch alloy wheels found on higher trim levels, and the VW Car-Net App-Connect within the infotainment system. Side by side, the Passat S looks like a fleet-based rental car, while the Passat R-Line looks like your bosses ride. That’s definitely worth the extra scratch to many folks.


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2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733550

Adding to the stately nature of the Passat R-Line’s aesthetics is the available Platinum Gray Metallic paint seen on my tester. The hue is almost matte, though it has a perfectly shiny clear-coat. It’s not a paint type seen many places in the automotive industry. That worth something. Five other colors are available on the R-Line and none of them are designed to call attention to the car – well, save for maybe Fortana Red Metallic, a deeper shade of red but that isn’t quite burgundy.

“About the only major option available on the Passat R-Line is the R-Line Lighting upgrade – $1,095 worth of LED headlights and daytime running lights”

About the only major option available on the Passat R-Line is the R-Line Lighting upgrade – $1,095 worth of LED headlights and daytime running lights mixed with a more modern appearance over the halogen-based headlights that come standard. My tester skipped this upgrade, but the halogen headlights did just fine, though the low-beams seem to be aimed a bit too close.


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Holistically, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line can be described as a self-respecting car that doesn’t need flashy curves or intricate designs that attract attention. No, if the Passat garners attention, its thanks to the minimalistic approach VW designers took to vehicle design.

Interior


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Volkswagen’s minimalistic theme carries into the Passat’s interior. Everything wears a reserved and non-offensive style that creates a feeling of usefulness without excess. There is no swoopy dashboard or outlandish contrast stitching. Chrome is kept to a minimum and creature comforts are restricted to what most people these days would consider basic. The R-Line comes with dual-zone climate controls, heated front seats, basic power adjustments in the driver’s seat, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. There’s only one USB port, there are no rear HVAC vents (but are included in higher trims), and the “leather” seats are actually leatherette, or in other words, a soft vinyl.

“The Passat R-Line feels handsome and not over-burdened with technology that could break in five years”

Yet because of this design approach, the Passat R-Line feels handsome and not over-burdened with technology that could break in five years. Better yet, it keeps the cost down. (We’ll get to more on pricing later.) What you get is a roomy four-door sedan with generous room for four regular-sized people or five should the three in the rear seat not mind getting closely acquainted. Let room is surprisingly abundant in all but that unloved rear-middle seat.


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The Passat offers versatility, too. The rear seatbacks split in a 60/40 style, allowing for larger cargo to be hauled. I dropped the seats to bring home a few eight-foot-long strips of wood from the home improvement store. The trunk is also huge at 15.9 cubic square feet. It boats a handy cubby for things like a gallon of milk, while smaller items like ice scrapers and gloves can be stored in the spare tire compartment. The only downside to the Passat’s trunk are its exposed trunk lid hinges. They present the risk of crushing luggage or groceries should the trunk be packed too full.

“The software just feels aged and its menus aren’t as friendly to navigate”

Behind the wheel, the driver enjoys a leather-wrapped, three-spoke wheel with multi-function controls and paddle shifters. Analog gauges display speed, engine revs, fuel level, and coolant temperature, while a digital driver information screen shows more detailed vehicle stats. It’s not the most modern of gauge clusters, but the classic style should stay looking undated for a while. The same can’t be said for the 6.3-inch infotainment system. The software just feels aged and its menus aren’t as friendly to navigate. But thanks to the Car-Net system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present. I found myself using CarPlay more often than no, despite its inherently finicky operation.


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733525

Overall, the Passat R-Line offers tons of space for passengers, plenty of legroom and headroom for taller folks, a generous amount of cargo space, and a design theme that most will find soothingly simple.

Drivetrain


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The 2017 Passat is available with two engines: the 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter VR6. Not surprisingly in these days, the V-6 is limited to the SE w/ Technology and SEL Premium trims and only if customers want it. The four-cylinder comes standard everywhere else.

The 1.8-liter uses an older iron-block design, but cuts some weight with aluminum cylinder heads. Dual overhead camshafts control 16 valves (four per cylinder) and direct fuel injection keeps fuel usage to a minimum. Interestingly, the TSI engine does not have variable valve timing.

“Horsepower is rated at 170 at 6,200 rpm and torque comes in at 184 pound-feet at only 1,500 rpm”

Horsepower is rated at 170 at 6,200 rpm and torque comes in at 184 pound-feet at only 1,500 rpm. And torque is what this engine loves to deliver. Just off idle lies a generous supply of twist, enough to move the Passat through city traffic with ease. Merging onto the Interstate takes a bit more planning, however. The 1.8-liter and its six-speed automatic transmission are programmed to keep the turbo away from boost unless absolutely needed. In fact, a detent at the far end of the accelerator’s travel must be passed in order to wring the most from the engine. The transmission does have a sport setting, though it doesn’t change the shifting characteristics as drastically as many sport modes do on modern vehicles. Of course, you can shift yourself with the paddles or slap-stick gearshifter, but plan on a one-second delay between the request and action.

Since Volkswagen clearly traded a sporty driving nature for a more fuel-frugal tune, the Passat 1.8 offers respectable fuel economy. The EPA estimates 23 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. Oddly, these numbers are less impressive than the 2016 Passat equipped identically. Last year, the 2016 Passat 1.8 was estimated to achieve 25 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.

“The EPA estimates 23 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined”

I averaged 27.9 mpg during my extended, three-week loan where I drove just over 1,000 miles in mixed conditions.

For customers wanting AWD or a hybrid powertrain, the Passat simply can’t deliver. It’s only available in FWD and with the two aforementioned gasoline engines. And of course, there isn’t a turbodiesel option either.

Behind The Wheel


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733545

Sliding into the driver’s seat, I quickly noticed a few negatives. First, the steering column doesn’t extend far enough toward the driver. It will push almost all the way towards the dash – you know – to accommodate grandma and her short legs. This made my reach to the steering wheel feel excessive and meant I had to roll my seat forward. However, by doing so, the majority of the center armrest resides behind the seatback. That meant I had very little armrest to use when properly arranged behind the wheel. What’s worse, the armrest’s leading edge is sloped and smooth. Wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt makes it darn near impossible to keep an elbow firmly planted on the armrest without it uncontrollably sliding off.

Those ergonomic complaints aside, the Volkswagen Passat offers a clean dashboard with logical placements of buttons and controls like the HVAC system. Large cup holders makes it easy to bring the Big Gulp and storage compartments ahead of the gearshifter and in the door pockets offer plenty of space for odds and ends. Naturally, there is also space under the center armrest. Volkswagen also puts a conveniently fold-out tray just under the headlight controls.

“The Volkswagen Passat offers a clean dashboard with logical placements of buttons and controls like the HVAC system”

Driving down the road, the Passat handles as well as a non-sport sedan can be expected to. Body motions are controlled over bumps and through turns. Road noise can get loud on rough pavement, but is otherwise not an issue. I did find the Passat to become a bit floaty at highway speeds when hitting undulating bumps and expansion joints. It’s not a big deal, but was a noticeable characterizes I don’t find in many of my test vehicles.

Nevertheless, I can’t complain too much about the VW Passat. It does its job of A-to-B transportation without issue and its German feel imparts a sense of luxury not found in other brands. It’s a comfortable cruiser and a practical grocery getter with plenty of room for families under five members

Pricing


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733561

Perhaps the Volkswagen Passat R-Line’s greatest attribute is its reasonable price tag. The 2017 model starts at $23,975, which is only $1,535 more than the base Passat S. The R-Line also undercuts the SE trim by $1,520, making a good middle-ground for price-conscious shoppers. Of course, if you’ve got money to burn, Volkswagen will happily sell you a Passat V-6 SLE Premium for $33,995. That trim brings a Fender audio system, lane departure warning, and leather seats, on top of the upgrades found in the SE w/ Technology trim. Those include the upgraded infotainment system with Discovery Media, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Park Distance Control.

My R-Line tester came with zero options, so the $820 destination fee is the only add-on cost. That brought the total price to $24,795.

The Competition

2018 Honda Accord


2018 Honda Accord - image 723400

2018 Honda Accord - image 723396

Honda has brought some major changes to the Accord for 2018. The family sedan moves into its 10th generation and wears all-new styling inside and out. The wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer and the body is constructed of more high-strength steel, contributing to a more taut chassis.

A pair of turbocharged four-cylinders are avaiable under the hood. The standard mill is a 1.5-liter unit with 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. Customers can opt for the 2.0-liter derived from the powerhouse used in the Civic Type R and delivers 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque in the Accord. Sadly, the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 is no longer an option. Honda offers three transmission choices. The 1.5-liter can be paired with a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. The 2.0-liter can get the manual, too, or as most buyers will choose, with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Regardless of engine, transmission, or trim level choice, the 2018 Accord has a two-setting drive mode selector. This offers Normal and Sport settings, with changes taking place within the steering feel, (automatic) transmission shift points, and throttle response. Active dampers are available on some trims, too, and change firmness between the driving modes. Those wanting a hybrid model will be happy to know Honda offers that trim for the 2018 Accord.

Pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord hasn’t been released as of this review, but I’m not expecting Honda to raise its prices too much. Expect the MSRP to begin around $23,000 and cap out around $36,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.

2018 Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 703838

2018 Toyota Camry - image 703839

Equally new for 2018 is the hot-selling Toyota Camry. Toyota has completely reworked this mid-size family hauler into a more athletic, fun-looking ride that is a drastic departure from the yawn-inducing Camrys of past generations. It’s also longer, wider, and its roofline has a more coupe-ish slope. A heavily updated interior includes Toyota’s latest 3.0 Entune system, though oddly it doesn’t include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The swoopy dash looks like it came from Lexus and the two-tone leather seats in the upper trims might make some believe Toyota actually borrowed from its luxury division’s parts bin.

Under the hood are three available powertrain options, all of which are new. The standard engine is a revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Optionally, a new 3.5-liter V-6 brings more power with 301 horses and 267 pound-feet of torque. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission designed for better fuel efficiency. If it’s maximum fuel-sipping you want, a hybrid powertrain delivers an impressive 51 mpg city and 53 mpg highway with the LE trim. All hybrid Camrys use the 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a CVT transmission.

Pricing for the 2018 Toyota Camry starts at $23,495 and can grow to around $35,000 when fully decked out in the XSE V6 trim.

Read our full review on the Toyota Camry.

Conclusion


2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line – Driven - image 733564

The Volkswagen brand has been about creating cars for everyday people for as long as it’s been around. Its name quite literally describes that. The Passat does a great job at embodying this philosophy by offering a sedan with plenty of room for four adults and their cargo, wrapped in an attractive yet not overstated package, all at a reasonable price. It’s hard to argue against the practicality of that.

While I did find the Passat’s telescoping steering column to lack enough adjustability which led to a somewhat uncomfortable diving position, it wasn’t enough to quench my respect for the car. Especially in the R-Line, the Passat just works as a no-nonsense machine with just the right amount of character. There is certainly a lot to be said about that.

  • Leave it
    • Odd relationship between steering column, driver seat, & center armrest
    • Drivetrain tuned for only comfort
    • Stiff competition

References

Volkswagen Passat


2016 Volkswagen Passat - image 647574

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Passat.

Volkswagen Passat 1.8T


2016 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T – Driven - image 697349

Read our full driven review on the Volkswagen Passat 1.8T.


2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI - image 731366

Read more Volkswagen news.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Odyssey Type R

There’s no harder transition in the world than for a car guy to move away from his prized bachelor car to daily drive a mom-mobile, aka the dreaded minivan. So, what happens when you want the best of both worlds? Well, you convince Honda to build you a Honda Odyssey Type R. Is it crazy? Sure. But are you going to tell me you would pass up an Odyssey Type R to drive a Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, or a Mercedes Metris? I doubt it, and you know why? Because this thing is intense in all the right ways. You get all of the Type R goodies, including things like the Championship White paint, Type R wheels and body kit, and even the classic Type R red accents inside. But, what will power a beast like this? Well, we’ll discuss that in a bit.

So here we are, talking about something as crazy as an Odyssey Type R. All the goodness of the ultimate people hauler paired with the aggressiveness, style, and clout of the Type R badge, plus more than enough power to keep you from sacrificing your manhood on days when you have to tote the family around. So with that said, let’s dive in and speculate a bit about the Honda Odyssey Type R and why Honda should greenlight a project like this. You know it will appeal to the tuner and gearhead in all of us.

Exterior


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733296

I was at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show when Honda pulled the covers off of the Honda Odyssey. It was literally a show stopper. Across the way was the new Chevy Traverse. It was a beautiful ride, and as a photographer, I had to get good shots of it. Of course, there was so much excitement around the Traverse that I had to circle around a few times before I got my chance to pull the trigger on my Camera. A few hours later, it was just about time for Honda to kick off the show and, while I expected it to be a busy debut, I didn’t expect it to be so outrageously popular. If I didn’t know better, I would say everyone at the show had to come over and check out the new Odyssey.

“Naturally, the Type R Odyssey has to rock out the same styling as the Civic Type R, and we’ve got it all”

Naturally, I did what I could to take pictures, but hours passed and I couldn’t even get close – even playing my usual photographer tricks to get up in there ahead of the crowd. Eventually, the day was over, and security was set to drag me out. So, I had to return to the show the next day to check out what all the hype was about. Well, I was nice and early, so I finally got a good look and man was I impressed. I knew right then that we needed to render up a Type R Odyssey, and here we are.


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733294

Naturally, the Type R Odyssey has to rock out the same styling as the Civic Type R, and we’ve got it all. We’ve got the gloss black grille up front, the red Honda emblem, the Type R emblem and those big vents in the corners that also serve as home to the big fog lamps because this is still a family car, right? To round off the front end, we threw in a scoop on the hood and the spoiler up front, complete with the red pinstripe. Moving to the sides, we’ve swapped out the standard mirrors for gloss black units to go along with the window trim. The fender vent is another nice touch that really stands out above those Type R wheels. New side skirts with a red stripe and black door handles round out the exterior package.

“The rear fascia gets a diffuser element that wraps around the edges to tie the sides to the rear, and twin, and a triple exhaust outlet screams Type R music on take off.”

Around back is where it really gets interesting, though. See, we’ve managed to modify the Civic Type R’s spoiler so that it can mount to the rear hatch, and it looks pretty mean. The rear fascia gets a diffuser element that wraps around the edges to tie the sides to the rear together and a triple exhaust outlet screams Type R music on take-off. Finally, we blacked out all of the rear windows and the moonroof to give it that midnight look, which somehow looks really good against that Champion White finish. And, don’t forget about the red calipers down below – you’ve got to have the red calipers!

Interior


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 708056
“On the inside, you know Honda would blend the perfect balance of family functionality and Type R goodness”

On the inside, you know Honda would blend the perfect balance of family functionality and Type R goodness. The first things to get swapped out are the front seats, the instrument cluster, and the infotainment display. All three from the Civic Type R carry right over, with some minor modification to the dash to support the different electronics. A new center console is thrown into place to allow for the six-speed gear shifter – that’s right, it’s not a Type R without a six-speed. The dash is adorned with black leather and Red piping, while the Type R steering wheel gets the traditional red emblem to go with the red inserts in the bottom half. Aluminum pedals are added to the floor – yes all three – and the Type R racing seats replace the standard seats up front. Thanks to Honda’s engineering genius, all of that family functionality carries over, including the rear cabin monitor, reverse camera, and DVD player. Type R floor mats round out the front of the cabin.


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 718504
Honda Odyssey – second row shot

Around back, all of the trim is replaced with higher quality materials so that this funky minivan carries the Type R legacy correctly. When the doors open automatically, a bright red ambient light illuminates the ground while displaying a Honda emblem and the Type R logo. The outboard seats in the second row look almost identical to the seats up front, including the excessive bolster support and holes for the five-point racing harnesses – that’s right, you can take the whole family down the strip in this bad boy. The center seat remains and is easily removable just as it is in the standard version. It carries over unchanged in design but gets the same red and black layout with Type R embroidery for consistency.


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 702281
Honda Odyssey – third row shot
“When the doors open automatically, a bright red ambient light illuminates the ground while displaying a Honda emblem and the Type R logo”

The third row carries over unchanged and features the same amount of support as seen in the standard model, but in this case, they are also wrapped in red and black and feature that Type R logo. The entertainment center in the rear has been replaced with a slightly larger screen that also has Type R graphics as expected and the trim panels by the third row get backlit Type R logos (red of course) from front to rear. A large Type R floor mat is placed ahead of the second and third rows while a special Type R cargo mat can be found in the rear cargo area. When the rear hatch opens, a red Honda logo is projected above the Type R lettering to complete the interior package. Tell me you wouldn’t feel at home in this thing. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Drivetrain


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719407

Now, this is where things really get interesting. If you know Honda, you’re probably thinking that this is where it will drop in that 2.0-liter from the Type R, right? 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque would be an improvement over the standard 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 ponies and 262 pound-feet, but it’s not quite good enough for a vehicle this heavy. After all, if it’s wearing that Type R badge, it needs to live up to a legacy and rewrite the definition of quick. As such, that 2.0-liter stays where it belongs in the smaller car, and instead, Honda is going to tap into its luxury arm, and take advantage of that 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the Acura NSX. Of course, it won’t deliver the full 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, but it will be detuned to deliver 445 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of twist – and the Odyssey Type R comes to life.

“Honda is going to tap into its luxury arm, and take advantage of that 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the Acura NSX”

Of course, this is a different setup, so it doesn’t get the AWD hybrid system, but a simple adapter plate allows for that six-speed trans to bolt right up, and with the right modification of the chassis the engine can be positioned far enough to one side so that it will fit under the hood – it’s just a very tight fit. But, hey, that’s okay when you’ve got a 445-horsepower Odyssey, right? Finally, the dual air intakes have been repositioned to suck air directly from the vents in the corners of the front fascia for a true, CAI system. The end result is a minivan that can make the 60-mph sprint in a matter of 4.1 seconds, while top speed sits at an insane 186 mph.


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733295

As far as suspension goes, the Odyssey Type R will get a standard MacPherson setup up front and a double-wishbone system out back with double lower control arms for better stability at high speeds. The suspension itself is dropped by just over an inch to provide better aerodynamics. Active traction control keeps the wheels from breaking loose on take-off while electromechanical brakes handle braking duties. Sounds pretty wild for a minivan huh? Well, here’s the cool part. Honda knows your wife doesn’t need to be doing a 180 mph to get little Tommy to his football practice or Molly to her band recital, so “Dad’s” key unlocks the Odyssey’s full potential, while ”Mom’s” key limits output to just 280 horsepower.

Pricing


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733293

As you’re well aware, that Type R badge comes at a price, and we’re not talking about a few extra bones here, either. The standard range-topping model. The “Elite” commands $46,670, so you can expect the Odyssey Type R to set you back by at least $56,000, but hey that’s okay – we’re talking about the most powerful type R in existence as of the time of this writing. Good luck getting the wife to approve, but we are talking about a family car here, so sweet talk her a little, will ya?

Competition

At this point, there’s nothing that would really compete with an Odyssey Type R, so it would sit in a niche all its own and would likely inspire a whole swath of high-performance minivans to come to light. Until then, your only option would be to go with the range-topping version of the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, or Kia Sedona, none of which offer up anywhere near as cool a setup as the Odyssey with Type R treatment. But, let’s look anyway…

Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat


2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat - image 668902

Of course, we once speculated that Chrysler would put together a Pacifica Hellcat, so that’s most definitely the No. 1 competitor for the Odyssey Type R. Featuring a more aggressive look on the outside it will also get the Hellcat independent rear suspension, and will, in fact, be all-wheel drive. This, of course, requires the removal of the stow-n-go seating to make way for the transmission tunnel, but hey, that’s a pretty fair trade-off, right? All seats will get Nappa leather and Alcantara trimmings to go with Hellcat embroidery, and you can bet it’ll come complete with the special crate in the rear as well.

Under the hood will sit the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 and is actually positioned in a front-mid-ship location to allow for an all-wheel-drive up front. All told, it will deliver 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet like a true Hellcat but will be able to hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Yikes – I guess that will top the Odyssey Type R, huh? Of course, it’ll also start out a bit higher at around $70,000, so you’ll be paying a little extra for the AWD and V-8 lineup.

Read our full speculative review on the Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat.

Toyota Sienna Limited


2018 Toyota Sienna - image 711005

2018 Toyota Sienna - image 711006

This is the range-topping trim of the Toyota Sienna. The Sienna doesn’t even compete in looks really as it’s got a fairly boring exterior look, but it does offer seating for eight, LED running lights, Blue Ray infotainment system, a JBL audio system with integrated navigation and app access, leather seating, and a smart key system. Under the hood, you find a 3.5-liter that’s good for 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, nowhere near what you get with an Odyssey Type R but not bad for your normal back and forth driving. An eight-speed auto controls shifting duties while AWD with active torque control makes driving in rough weather even easier. The range-topping model in this lineup, the Limited Premium AWD, starts out at $47,310, really putting it close to the theoretical price of the Odyssey Type R.

Read our full review on the Toyota Sienna Limited

Kia Sedona SXL


2015 Kia Sedona - image 548816

2015 Kia Sedona - image 548819

The Sedona is the only one of the three competing models that offers a truly similar look to the Odyssey, as it has that zig-zag waistline, too. The model you would need to shoot for to compete with an Odyssey Type R is the SXL trim, which resides at the top of the lineup. The cool thing about the SXL is that it rides separately in the looks department, thanks to a sportier front and rear fascia as well as sleeker fog lights too. It also stands out by means of larger and sportier wheels.

Inside it gets an eight-inch infotainment system with phone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to go with an eight-speaker audio system that features an external amp and eight-inch subwoofer – we’ll just call this the 888 package. Essentially a fully loaded model, the SXL includes all of Kia’s advanced safety systems, and can even be options with Nappa leather upholstery and first-class seating.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 3.3-liter V-6 that’s good for 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque and efficient enough to offer up 19 mpg combined. Pricing starts out at $41,900 but easily climbs closer to $50,000 with all the right options.

Read our full review on the Kia Sedona SXL.

Conclusion


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 732980

Let’s be honest, the chances of Honda actually coming out with an Odyssey are pretty damn slim, let alone one that totes around the NSX’s twin-turbo engine. Even if Honda moved forward with a Type R version of the Odyssey, it would get that same 2.0-liter found in the Civic Type R, but hey, this was about speculating and having fun, so I went all out. And, you have to admit that it would be awesome minivan to drive around if you had to drive a minivan right?

On a side note, we once speculated that Chrysler would come up with a Hellcat version of the Pacifica, and of course, that was shot down a long time ago. But, if Honda came out with a Type R, Chrysler wouldn’t have much of a choice, now would they? So, at the end of the day, we need to convince one brand to take a leap of faith so that the other will. Just imagine a time where you and the wife both daily drive minivans with extreme looks and power – now that would be kind of fun, don’t you think?

So, tell me what you think about the Odyssey Type R. How would you want Honda to configure it? More power, less power, or just as I’ve described? Would you want a true-to-life six-speed or would you prefer the dual-clutch automatic transmission with shift paddles from the NSX? Let us know in the comments section below!

  • Leave it
    • Will probably never happen
    • Chrysler would kill it with the Hellcat Pacifica
    • Even if it did happen, it would never get a true manual transmission

References

Honda Odyssey


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 718512

Read our full review on the Honda Odyssey.

Honda Civic Type R


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719420

Read our full review on the Honda Civic Type R.

Honda Accord Type R


2019 Honda Accord Type R - image 728542

Read our full speculative review on the Honda Accord Type R.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Rumored To Revive Blazer name on 2019 Crossover

Our friends over at Truck Trend say Chevrolet is preparing a mid-size, two-row crossover to compete against the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano for the 2019 model year. What will Chevy call it? Industry rumors say Blazer. Adding fuel to the (dumpster) fire are spy photos of such a vehicle trolling around public roads while covered in heavy camouflage. Naturally, the news comes as a huge disappointment – not because Chevy is developing a new crossover, but because it will carry the iconic Blazer name.

The resurrection of bygone vehicle names is in heavy swing these days. Ford is bringing back the Ranger pickup to the U.S. and dusting off the Bronco name for the first time since the mid-1990s. It’s almost common knowledge Ford’s upcoming Bronco will be based on the T6 Ranger pickup platform and use a ladder frame and a solid rear axle. It’s expected to offer an excellent compromise between on-road civility and off-road capability while honoring its nameplate that traces its roots to the 1960s when Ford needed an SUV to compete with the Jeep CJ. Yet here we are, with Chevy about to slap the equally iconic Blazer name onto an assumably forgettable family hauler that couldn’t wheel its way over a parking stop. Why, Chevy? Of course, we should take these rumors with a huge grain of salt. No sources were listed and not even the vehicle in the spy photos show any discernable Chevy characteristics. Still, it’s hard not to criticize GM for not directly competing against the Bronco with a Colorado-based SUV wearing a Blazer badge. Chevy already has such an SUV in markets around the world. It’s even called the Trailblazer.
Why not fight Ford at its own game? After all, SUV and pickup sales are booming thanks to cheap fuel and a growing economy.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Rumored To Revive Blazer name on 2019 Crossover

Our friends over at Truck Trend say Chevrolet is preparing a mid-size, two-row crossover to compete against the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano for the 2019 model year. What will Chevy call it? Industry rumors say Blazer. Adding fuel to the (dumpster) fire are spy photos of such a vehicle trolling around public roads while covered in heavy camouflage. Naturally, the news comes as a huge disappointment – not because Chevy is developing a new crossover, but because it will carry the iconic Blazer name.

The resurrection of bygone vehicle names is in heavy swing these days. Ford is bringing back the Ranger pickup to the U.S. and dusting off the Bronco name for the first time since the mid-1990s. It’s almost common knowledge Ford’s upcoming Bronco will be based on the T6 Ranger pickup platform and use a ladder frame and a solid rear axle. It’s expected to offer an excellent compromise between on-road civility and off-road capability while honoring its nameplate that traces its roots to the 1960s when Ford needed an SUV to compete with the Jeep CJ. Yet here we are, with Chevy about to slap the equally iconic Blazer name onto an assumably forgettable family hauler that couldn’t wheel its way over a parking stop. Why, Chevy? Of course, we should take these rumors with a huge grain of salt. No sources were listed and not even the vehicle in the spy photos show any discernable Chevy characteristics. Still, it’s hard not to criticize GM for not directly competing against the Bronco with a Colorado-based SUV wearing a Blazer badge. Chevy already has such an SUV in markets around the world. It’s even called the Trailblazer.
Why not fight Ford at its own game? After all, SUV and pickup sales are booming thanks to cheap fuel and a growing economy.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer

German automaker Opel first offered the Insignia in 2008, replacing the Vectra and Signum in its lineup. Also sold as a Vauxhall in Britain, a Holden Commodore in Australia, and the a Regal in China and the U.S., we’ve already seen a fastback iteration of the model offered on this side of the pond as the new 2018 Buick Regal GS. Now, Opel is offering up a hot-to-trot wagon version called the GSi Sports Tourer. The GSi nameplate was pulled from previous go-faster versions of Opel’s street cars, with previous examples including the Manta GSi and Kadett GSi from the mid-‘80s, as well as the Kadett 2.0 GSi 16V and Astra GSi and Corsa GSi. Now, followingw a full reveal at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, there’s a new one that the automaker says was designed to be both fun and practical. Outside, you’ll find long, lean, wide, and horizontal styling elements, while under the hood resides a potent turbo 2.0-liter engine, all of which combines with a substantial amount of space in back for people and things.

This is Opel’s new flagship station wagon, so it makes sense the Germans gave it the royal treatment. In fact, Opel is so certain it’ll bring the sporting goods, it included a picture of a racing suit, helmet, and gloves in the back of the trunk in the press shots. But is it really worthy of such connotations? Read on the find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer.

PostHeaderIcon Skoda Kodiaq Scout And Sportline Arrive in Frankfurt

The Skoda Kodiaq launched for 2016 and so far has been a runaway success. Based on the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan platform (VW’s MQB architecture), the Kodiaq offers room for five in the two-row model and seven with the third-row seats ordered. Now for 2017, the value-themed crossover gets more variety thanks to two new trims Skoda brought to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show – the Sportline and Scout.

Hinted by the names, the Sportline trim gives the Kodiaq a more street-wise appearance, while the Scout offers a more rugged, off-road theme. Both come with plenty of additional features, making them more than just an appearance package. In fact, the Scout comes with a raised ride height and underbody skid plates and the Sportline gets a sport-tuned suspension, a G-meter, and lap timer. Both models have adaptive dampers, too. Skoda isn’t changing the Kodiaq’s drivetrain options, however. Both the Sportline and Scout are available with choices of gasoline and diesel engine options. These include a 1.4-liter gasoline four-cylinder with 150 horsepower and range to a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 295 pound-feet of torque. Both models come standard with AWD.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO Unit Comes Through On Its Word With The Discovery SVX

Back at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations boss John Edwards hinted at the possibility of the Land Rover Discovery getting its own SVO treatment. He didn’t dive into any specifics, opting only to say that if SVO did create one, it would be somewhere in the middle “between Paris Dakar and Camel Trophy,” two famed off-road races. I can’t tell if just-unveiled Discovery SXV is capable of competing in both races, but give credit where it’s due: JLR’s SVO unit came through on its word.

The Land Rover Discovery SVX is the result of what happens when a goal is set and that goal is accomplished. On paper, it’s billed as the most powerful version of the Discovery ever created, and the numbers certainly speak for themselves as the Discovery SVX is capable of producing 525 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, thanks in large part to the SUV carrying a much bigger 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine compared to the smaller 3.0-liter V-6 mill that all other Land Rover Discovery SUVs come in. It’s not just about the engine either. SVO understood that for the Discovery SVX to reach its full off-road potential, it needed significant changes to its mechanical and handling faculties. The division did just that, and a whole lot more. Certainly, the results speak for themselves.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Losing Love For The Volkswagen Passat

A 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line finds itself in my driveway this week. This mid-size family hauler offers tons of interior room for four people, or five in a pinch. The trunk is massive, too, holding 15.9 cubic feet of cargo. Mix that with the handsomely minimalistic exterior, an as-tested price around $24,000, and 34 mpg on the highway from its 1.8-liter turbo-four, and the VW Passat makes a strong case for itself. I even sang high praises for the upper-trimmed Passat I drove at its launch event in Vermont and the last time a Passat spent time at my house. But somehow, this go-round has me falling out of love. It mostly centers on the Passat’s ergonomics behind the wheel and a brake feel that’s less than ideal.

Hoping in the driver’s seat for the first time in my tester quickly revealed the negatives. First, the tilting and telescoping steering column doesn’t extend far enough out. Adjusting the seat to where my feet and legs are properly positions on the pedals leaves my arms extended to reach the wheel. That means I have to scoot the seat closer to the dash, which decreases my leg room and moves the center armrest further away from my elbow. With a dress shirt on, my arm constantly slides off the armrests tapered front edge. And no, the armrest doesn’t extend forward. This basically leaves me in a less than comfortable seating position without a center armrest and reaching for the steering wheel like I’m too young to drive.

Adding to my frustration, the Passat’s brakes are annoyingly sensitive when coming to a stop. At highway speeds, it’s fine. Smoothly depressing the pedal results in a decent initial feel and stopping force, say when adjusting to traffic speeds. Trying to smoothly decrease braking pressure below 20 mph, however, is met with an inconsistent braking force and within roughly a half-inch of pedal travel. It’s near impossible to accomplish a smooth stop. Being stuck in stop and go traffic only made my frustration grow.

While the 2017 Volkswagen Passat R-Line does have its annoying qualities, it still represents a good value stuffed in a classy wrapper. Of course, I’ll have more to say about the Passat in my full driven review coming soon.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Jetta SE – Driven

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a little different from its competition. In America, the Jetta’s compact sedan segment is dominated by players from Japanese, Korean, and American makes: Cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Mazda3, Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Cruze sell well here and put up a good fight for a competitive portion of the market.

Compact sedans are popular with a wide cross-section of shoppers, and for good reason. They’re big enough nowadays that a young family can easily haul a couple of kids in the back seat. They have trunks large enough to accommodate an occasional run to Costco or Sam’s Club to buy a bulk load of peanut butter and breakfast cereal. They’re easy to own because they don’t drink a lot of fuel and they don’t have high maintenance requirements. Also, they’re easy to park.

The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is a very European take on the compact sedan. It hasn’t always fought for buyers by trying to match prices with the competition. Previous generations of the Jetta were marketed as kind of a near-premium alternative to the usual compact sedans here in the States. But when the latest generation of the Jetta (and its big sister, the Passat) debuted in America a few years ago, that changed. Now you can buy a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE like the one I tested for well under $20,000 at most VW dealers. It’s price-competitive with just about everything in the segment, when optional equipment is considered.

I hear long-time VW fans saying it now: “Yeah, but they gave up a lot to compete on price.” Sure, some things changed, mostly under the skin. My test car’s suspension wasn’t as swift as the independent-rear-suspension Jettas of yore. Its interior materials weren’t as nice as Jettas I remember from the 2000s. But there’s still enough Germanic charm in the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta SE – particularly in my five-speed manual transmission test car – to make it stand out from the pack.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Accord Type R

There’s no denying that Honda has been pretty stingy when it comes to the Type R badge and the U.S. Market. Over the years, U.K., Euro, and Japanese markets always seemed to get the best that Honda had to offer, with the Type R badge being applied to the first-generation Acura NSX, Acura Integra, the Honda Accord and, of course, the Honda Civic. Of all these, the only models we saw come to the U.S. were the NSX Type R and the Integra Type R, both sporting Acura Badges, and we finally got the Civic Type R for the 2017 model year. With that in mind, it’s been a while since the world got a Type R version of the Accord, so we decided to render up was a U.S.-Spec Accord Type R would look like. Highlights of the build would include more aggressive fascias out front with Type R specific styling to go with plenty of Type R goodness inside. There would, of course, be an improved output over the range-topping model’s 252 ponies, but how that power will come to be is another story. Other necessities include a stiffer suspension, manual transmission, tuned-out exhaust, and a lower ride height.

On the plus side, all of the necessary prerequisites are already in play. The new Accord is pretty sporty on its own, so a more aggressive look should be easily welcomed. But, with the range-topping models of the Accord already sporting the detuned version of the Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it won’t take much to get some extra power to the wheels. Even more intriguing is the fact that Accord Sport models with the 2.0-liter can be equipped with a six-speed manual if you check the right option box, so you’ll be able to forgo dealing with that new 10-speed auto gearbox. With all of that in mind, let’s talk a little about the Accord Type R’s history and then take a good look at our rendering. Are you excited? I sure am. Let’s get to it…

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Scrambler

The Jeep Wrangler Pickup has been confirmed for some time now, but Jeep has been quiet on the details. Between spy shots and insider information, we know the pickup will use the upcoming 2018 Wrangler JL’s frame, front styling, cab, interior, and powertrains. The mystery still remains as to what the cargo bed looks like and the materials its constructional from. What’s more, Jeep has yet to define the exact target audience for the Wrangler pickup, otherwise known as the JT. Will it offer class-leading payload and towing or will it be more focused on off-road performance? While we can’t say for sure, we’ve got some strong indications of Jeep’s intentions with its 2019-model-year pickup.

The Wrangler Pickup will ride on a lengthened version of the Wrangler Unlimited JL’s frame to accommodate the extra length needed for the bed. This means a longer, more stable Wrangler for on-road driving and trailer towing, but a slightly less maneuverable and (dare I say) capable Wrangler for off-roading adventures. It’s the break-over angle that will suffer the most, making the Wrangler pickup more vulnerable to high centering. Still, expect the JT to come standard with 4WD and Jeep’s Trail Rated rating.

Update 08/22/2017: A report from JeepScramblerForum.com shows confirmation the Jeep Wrangler pickup will be called the Jeep Scrambler, a name already associated with Jeep pickups of the 1980s. What’s more, CAD drawings show the extended frame and upgraded Dana axles. Also confirmed is the pickup’s use of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6.

PostHeaderIcon One Florida Couple and Their Kia Sorrento have had an Explosive Summer

It’s summer time, which means the weather is hot, the beer is cold, and the grille is a burnin’. Imagine an amazing weekend with the wife at the beach or park, cooking up your favorite grill food, and enjoying the nice August weather. Sounds amazing doesn’t it – maybe hide away the phone and laptop of a day, just enjoy each other’s company and the scenery around you. Eventually, all good things come to an end, though, so at some point, you have to pack up your car and head back to reality. There isn’t much worse than dreading going to work on Monday after having such a wonderful Sunday, but things can always be worse as one Florida couple found out when their trip home from such a day turned explosive.

Apparently, the couple packed all their belongings, including their grill, into their Kia Sorrento and embarked on their trip home. Well, as any smoker will tell you, it almost comes naturally to light up once you get in the car – assuming you smoke in your car, anyway. Well, this particular day, hubby had a brain fart and forgot to turn off the propane to the grill. As the couple started to pull away from wherever they were at, whoever was sitting in the passenger seat decided to say hello to Mr. Marlboro. Well, since someone neglected to turn off the propane, that quick hello to Mr. Marlboro got this couple close enough to God to shine his shoes. The spark from the lighter that was intended to light up that cowboy killer also ignited all of the gas that had expelled into the vehicle since the grill was loaded up. How the couple didn’t smell the propane is beyond any logic we can come up with.

Keep reading to hear a little more about the situation.

PostHeaderIcon Dodge Coronet Super Bee

The Dodge Coronet was first introduced in 1949 as one of the company’s first post-war body style. Production spanned over four generations until it was discontinued in 1959. The nameplate returned in 1965 on the B-body platform, shared with the Plymouth Belvedere and Road Runner and the Dodge Charger among other Mopar vehicles. The sixth and seventh generations followed in 1971 and 1975, but the Coronet was discontinued for good in 1976. Arguably the most iconic version of the Coronet was that produced between 1968 and 1970 when the nameplate was also involved in Detroit’s muscle car wars.

After three years on the market, the fifth-generation Coronet was redesigned in 1968, as was the Dodge Charger, which shared the B-body platform. The facelift brought a more aggressive design, new appearance packages, and upgraded engines. Dodge even introduced a station wagon version of the Coronet 500, but the star of the lineup was obviously the range-topping Super Bee trim. This version was produced from1968 through 1971 model years only and was Dodge’s version of the successful Plymouth Road Runner.

Continue reading to learn more about the Dodge Coronet Super Bee.

PostHeaderIcon The “Coolest” Feature of the 2018 BMW M550i

The 2018 BMW M550i is the quickest 5 Series currently offered thanks to its 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 making 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque – aided by both a smartly calibrated ZF eight-speed automatic and BMW’s xDrive AWD system. At full grunt, the prodigious power will launch the 4,300-pound M Performance sedan to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. But that’s not this Bimmer’s coolest feature. No, that goes to its HVAC system with dual fan speeds for the driver and front passenger.

Take it from me – a guy living in Florida testing a dark blue car with un-tinted windows in August – you’ll love having the extra control. That’s especially true if your wife is like mine. She’s the type who turns her seat heater on despite afternoon temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Her cold-natured skin simply doesn’t need the cooling my does. In most situations, this results in her turning her vents toward me or off completely, while my dual-zone temperature is set to “Low” with the fan cranked to “Max.”

Thankfully, the BMW M550i has a solution: dual fan speeds. Yes, the driver and front passenger can set their own A/C temperature and fan speed. Welcome to the future. This means we both can have our A/C set exactly how we’d like without disturbing each other. I can be cool and breezy while she’s happy with warm and toasty.
What’s more, we each can select our own blower location. That means she can warm her feet while I cool my body. Both sides also have a full Auto mode, too. It’s this level of individuality that truly ushers in luxury within a vehicle. The rear seat also has its own temperature control, though it’s set by a knob from cool to warm without displaying the actual temperature. Vent speed follows the front seats.

I know having dual fan speed capabilities must cost more, but would you like to see this feature on more vehicles? I know BMW’s 7 Series also has dual fan speeds, but that’s about it. Can you name any other vehicles with this feature? Let me know in the comments below.

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