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Archive for the ‘midsize cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Fastest Selling Car in History is…. the Lynk & Co 01

From a mysterious start-up a year ago to a record-breaking company today, Lynk & Co is living it up in the auto industry. The Geely-owned car brand that prides itself more on being a connected and sharable mobility brand than a traditional automaker has made headlines for receiving 6,000 orders for the 01 SUV, all in a span of 137 seconds. The record sales event occurred after Lynk & Co’s first online store started pre-selling the 01 SUV on November 17. What was supposed to be a three-day sales event took less than three minutes to complete, a startling pace for a company that only has one model in its portfolio, and is itself barely a year old.


Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01 - image 749062
“Lynk & Co has made headlines for receiving 6,000 orders for the 01 SUV, all in a span of 137 seconds”

You’re not alone if this development caught you by surprise. I had high hopes for Lynk & Co and its 01 SUV, but I didn’t think that the car’s pre-sale would go like this. Selling out 6,000 pre-orders of the SUV in under three minutes is remarkable no matter the process behind it. Not surprisingly, Lynk & Co is leveraging that publicity by opening sales of the car online and through 150 brick-and-mortar boutiques spread out all over China. The company has never been shy about offering a unique experience for its clients.

It’s offering the 01 in China for just under $24,000 for the base model and a little over $30,000 for the range-topping version. More importantly, the 01 can also be owned through a subscription platform that relies on a menu of connectivity options, including a dedicated app store for its cars, a personal cloud for the driver, and the distinction of having the “world’s first in-car share button.” According to the company, the in-car share button is a shareable digital key that lets owners share their vehicles with other people so they can borrow the car for their personal use.


Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01 - image 749067
“For now, the 01 SUV is only available in China with Volvo-sourced gas engines.”

For now, the 01 SUV is only available in China with Volvo-sourced gas engines. The automaker does have plans to bring the SUV to other markets where electric powertrains will come as standard features. Those models will also feature more tech and connectivity features, putting their expected prices at a higher plane compared to the first wave models that are already available in China.

The reliance on technology and connectivity sits at the crux of Lynk & Co’s whole existence. It’s a risky way to live by the proverbial sword of the industry, but it also has plenty of advantages, especially if the company is able to live up to the rising expectations people will inevitably have for it.

References



Read more Geely news.

PostHeaderIcon HondaLens Augmented Reality – The Future of the Dealership Experience

Honda has high hopes for the all-new 2018 Accord, so it’s taking the car’s dealership experience to a whole new level with a new feature called HondaLens. The augmented reality (AR) feature puts prospective customers in a unique position of seeing the Accord and its features in a whole new light, literally and figuratively. The proprietary system made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in grand fashion. Those in attendance were given an opportunity to peak into the history of one of Honda’s best-selling models before diving deep into the array of features that the tenth-generation Accord has at its disposal.


HondaLens Augmented Reality - The Future of the Dealership Experience - image 749044
“The HondaLens feature allows users to view six hidden stories about the car that they can discover by walking around the car”

This is something to look forward to. I’ve been exposed to augmented reality before, but not in this kind of presentation. It’s good that Honda is taking advantage of the budding technology to present a new way of dealership engagement for its customers. It’s one thing to get the usual schtick from sales agents; it’s another thing to wear Microsoft’s HoloLens reality smart glass and have the stories of the Honda Accord brought before your eyes in ways that we only used to see in Hollywood.

According to Honda, the HondaLens feature allows users to view six hidden stories about the car that they can discover by walking around the car. Way-finding arrows and voice-over instructions are included in the presentation to make it easier for a customer to engage himself into the augmented reality that’s flashing before his eyes. Ever seen a hologram version of the Accord’s new turbocharged engine floating out of the hood? HondaLens can do that. There’s even a feature that puts a customer in the driver’s seat, and he experiences simulated traffic scenarios that are projected through the windshield. Move to the passenger seat, and the AR presentation turns to the various tech features that the all-new Accord is carrying. Pretty cool, right?


HondaLens Augmented Reality - The Future of the Dealership Experience - image 749043
“What’s unclear at this point is Honda’s plans for HondaLens after the LA Auto Show.”

What’s unclear at this point is Honda’s plans for HondaLens after the LA Auto Show. It’d be cool to find this feature in its dealerships in the near future, but I won’t hang my hat on that happening anytime soon. I do hope it becomes available sooner than later. The quicker we get HondaLens into dealerships, the quicker it would be for us to appreciate the technology and what it’s all about.

References

Honda Accord


2018 Honda Accord - image 723397

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon A Quick Look at how the Mazda6 Has Changed for 2018

Sometimes, in the smallest of updates can make a big difference for a car. The new Mazda6 is proof of that. It still looks like the same attractive sedan, but take a closer look at it, and you’ll notice a few subtle tweaks that give the sedan a more refined appearance. Part of the changes is tied to Mazda’s “Mature Elegance” styling, a design language that the automaker first unveiled in its Vision Coupe concept. The new Mazda6 receives some hints of the new aesthetic architecture. That’s on top of the car also receiving a more powerful turbocharged engine. It’s a new day for the new-and-improved Mazda6.

New Year; New Looks

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Let’s start with the exterior of the new Mazda6. Most of the changes are in the front of the sedan. It’s in this section that we see Mazda adopt a bigger front grille that’s similar to the one found on Mercedes-AMG models. The added prominence of the grille extends all the way to the outer edges of the headlamps, far longer than it used to be on the previous version of the model. Just below that is a new layout to the front bumper. The lamps on the old model are now gone, replaced by aggressive chrome strips and a more stylized bumper. The result is a more refined look to a sedan that was already attractive in our eyes. Two new color options are also part of the updates. They’re called Soul Red Chrystal and Machine Gray Metallic. They join an impressive palette of paint options that are being carried over from the previous model.

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There are more significant changes in the interior of the Mazda6 compared to the exterior. Mazda even said that only two pieces from the outgoing model were carried over to the updated version. The steering wheel is one of them, while a few small trim pieces count as the other. Beyond these, the 6’s interior gets a healthy dose of improvements. The dashboard now looks more stretched out. The lower half of it, in particular, stretches from one side to the other with no disturbances to it. That new design also plays into a much clearer center console is a lot cleaner. The center tunnel also looks more refined, thanks to the thick leather trim surrounding it. Speaking of which, the new Mazda6 also gets a bigger inventory of premium materials, including Nappa leather, Sen wood, and UltraSuede NU. It’s hard to make out in the photos, but these items are found on the doors, seats, and dashboard of the Signature trim models.

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As notable as the exterior and interior changes are, the biggest update to the new Mazda6 is found under its hood, specifically the 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv engine that’s making its first appearance on the sedan’s engine lineup. This particular powertrain is notable because it’s the same engine that Mazda has in the CX-9 crossover. It produces 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque and features the SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission as the standard gearbox. A six-speed manual transmission is available as an option, but its availability is limited to lower-trim versions of the Mazda6 that don’t use the 2.5-liter turbo mil.

References

Mazda 6


A Quick Look at how the Mazda6 Has Changed for 2018
- image 748259

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda6.


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 578952

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda6.


2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Watch Nissan’s Door-Slamming Robot Torture a Pathfinder with 45,000 slams

Ever think about how many time your car door is opened and closed in its lifetime? Well, Nissan estimates a door will experience 45,000 closing shoved in only ten years. That’s a lot of abrupt stops for the sensitive components inside a door to withstand. To help with quality control, Nissan just installed a robot inside its technical center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. They even gave it a catchy name: Mrs. Doorboto. That’s a clear reference to the classic 1980s song by the Styx, “Mr. Roboto.” For short, though, Nissan folks just call it Rosie.

Rosie only needs three days to subject a car door to 45,000 repetitions of opening and closing. It cycles through every six seconds by using its aluminum “hand” to grab the door handle. Rosie swings the door through its full range before giving it a shove closed. Rinse and repeat… over and over again.

The process helps Nissan pinpoint any parts on or within the door that might prematurely fail. Remember, modern doors have backlit switches that control electric motors that operate a pane of glass raised and lowered by cables through a plastic track. There’s also sound system components like speakers and small plastic clips that hold everything together. It might be a boring three days for Rosie and turn a new Pathfinder into a used crossover, but it’s nice to know Nissan is looking out for long-term durability.

References

Nissan Pathfinder


2017 Nissan Pathfinder - image 681941

Read our full review on the 2017 NIssan Pathfinder.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Delivers Hybrid Police Car To The Boys In Blue

Ford just revealed its new Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan, framed as an efficient means of transport for “police and fire chiefs, detectives, and other non-pursuit law enforcement personnel.” It’s the first-ever plug-in hybrid police vehicle from the Blue Oval, and it comes with the gear to get the job done without burning too much of the dino juice.


Ford Delivers Hybrid Police Car To The Boys In Blue - image 746649
“The hybrid comes equipped with a plug-in 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, enabling a battery-only mode that’ll go 21 miles per charge on electron power alone”

Of course, Ford provides all kinds of models for use by government and law enforcement personnel, but as Ford police brand marketing manager Stephen Tyler points out, “This is the first Ford police vehicle that can potentially get through an entire shift using no gasoline whatsoever.”

Based on the Ford Fusion Energi four-door, the hybrid comes equipped with a plug-in 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, enabling a battery-only mode that’ll go 21 miles per charge on electron power alone. Top speed using just the batteries clocks in at 85 mph. Kick over the ICE, and the hybrid will offer over 500 miles of range. Keeping the pack topped off is a 3.3-kW charger, which manages a full charge in two-and-a-half hours when plugged into a 240-volt source, or 7 hours from a standard 120-volt source.

“The interior gets heavy-duty cloth and smaller side bolsters for rugged utility and increased comfort, respectively”

So then – what makes this thing uniquely equipped for police duty? For starters, the interior gets heavy-duty cloth and smaller side bolsters for rugged utility and increased comfort, respectively. The seats also include rear “anti-stab” plates for added security, plus an equipment-friendly reinforced top tray, a metal console mounting plate, red and white overhead lighting, an engine idle feature, unique wheels made from alloy, and an auxiliary power outlet in the trunk

Options include a driver spot lamp, a trunk storage vault, a trunk ventilation system, disabled rear-door controls feature, and a “dark-car” feature that kills all interior lighting for surveillance purposes. And of course, you can’t forget the requisite exterior emergency police lighting as well.

Order books open next month, with sales commencing next summer.

References

Ford Fusion


2017 Ford Fusion - image 710818

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi.

6sp701264.Ford $13.64 Billion

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RXL

The mid-size Lexus RX premium crossover has been around for almost two straight decades now, first hitting U.S. shores in the late ‘90s. Since its debut, Lexus has ushered in four generations, with the latest dropping in 2015. Now, it’s time for a refresh, and Lexus is providing just that with the latest 2018 model year. We’re still waiting for all the details, but the big news so far is the addition of third-row seating, bringing total passenger capacity to seven, a much-needed update for the top-selling model. Indeed, the Lexus RX is one of the segment’s most popular entries, and a seven-seater option has been expected for quite some time now. In addition to the added practicality, the RX will continue to offer efficient hybrid power and AWD grip, both features that should find their way to the new three-row model as well. The uniquely sharp exterior styling is expected to continue on more or less unchanged, as will the high-end luxury and technology inside the cabin.

Updating the RX with new seven-seat practicality is a good move for Lexus, giving customers a shot at greater seating capacity without stepping up to the larger V-8-powered Lexus LX and Lexus GX. We should get the full rundown on the 2018 Lexus RXL next week at the Los Angeles Show, but for now, read on for our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 RX 350L.

Exterior

  • Same sharp exterior styling
  • Bright LED headlights
  • Added length behind C-pillars
  • Same wheelbase as before

2016 Lexus RX - image 711912

Note: 2017 model year Lexus RX pictured here.

“Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot”

When Lexus debuted the fourth-gen RX in 2015 at the New York International Auto Show, the updated exterior styling was immediately polarizing. While some praised the hyper-aggressive frontend and large Spindle Grille, others derided it as too busy and angular. However, customers ate it up, and sales increased overall.

Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot. The headlights should still be sharp and narrow, while the front intake will dominate the crossover’s nose. Lower creases will broaden the chin’s visual width, while in the flanks, lower character lines will combine with a “floating roof design” to give the RXL the appearance of a sporty, forward-leaning rake. LED headlights will light the way forward. Alloy wheels measured at 18 inches in diameter will take up residence under the fenders, most likely with a selection of new designs to boot. 20-inch rollers will be an available option. Changes will most likely be minimal – reshaped corner intakes, new rear bumper trim, new exterior color options, and similar enhancements.

“Rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots.”

However, rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots. At the moment, the Lexus is sized at 4,890 mm (192.5 inches) in length, but reports indicate an increase to 5,050 mm (198.8 inches), which is an additional 160 mm (6.3 inches) total. If the RXL is a bit longer, that wouldn’t be a surprise at all – the rear end kinda needs extra metal to squeeze in those extra two seats, especially if the model hopes to offer any sort of rear cargo room as well.

The rest of the exterior dimensions should remain the same, including the wheelbase. To give you an idea what that means, we’ve included the current model’s exterior dimension below.

2017 Lexus RX Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2,789 mm (109.8 inches)
Length 4,890 mm (192.5 inches)
Width 1,895 mm (74.6 inches)
Height 1,720 mm (67.7 inches)

Interior

  • High-end materials like leather, brushed metal, and wood
  • Should include latest suite of safety technology
  • Rearmost headroom might be a bit cramped

2016 Lexus RX - image 624743

Note: 2017 Lexus RX interior pictured here.

“Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features.”

Like the exterior, we think the 2018 RXL’s cabin will be mostly a carryover from the 2017 Lexus RX. That means a broad horizontal layout with a prominent 12.3-inch multimedia screen mounted tall on the dash. An analog clock can be found below the screen, flanked on either side by square air vents. Hard buttons make up the center console, while the central tunnel gets the shifter, a duo of cup holders, and further controls for the infotainment system. A digital readout is found in the gauge cluster, while options include a full-color heads-up display to give it that extra high-tech vibe. There’s also an available rear entertainment package with dual digital screens mounted to the backs of the front seats. The Lexus Enform system offers further connectivity features.

Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features. As is, the Lexus RX offers a panoramic view monitor, parking assist, and blind spot monitor.

Interior materials will include all the usual good stuff, like leather upholstery, brushed metal for the surrounds, and lots of wood trim as well.

“In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department.”

In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department. Even with its extended length, the RX’s sloping roofline in the rear will inevitably impact comfort back there. What’s more, legroom for the middle passengers might get a little more cramped as well after adding an entire third row behind.

Note that the seven-seater incorporates two passengers in front, three in the middle, and two in the rear. To give you a better idea how this upgrade might work in the previous five-seater, we’ve listed the current RX’s interior dimensions below.

2017 Lexus RX Interior Dimensions

Headroom (front / rear) (Inches) 39.4/39.1
Legroom (front / rear) (Inches) 44.1/38
Shoulder room (front / rear) (Inches) 57.8/57.6
Hip room (front / rear) (Inches) 56.6/56.1

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets 3.5-liter V-6
  • Hybrid adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter V-6
  • Is a sport model in the cards?

2016 Lexus RX - image 746640

Note: 2017 Lexus RX engine pictured here.

“Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model”

Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model. Peak output is rated at 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque for the base model, with features like four camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and dual variable valve timing keeping it honest.

Routing the power to the front axle is an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling a run to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 124 mph. Mileage figures look like 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Extra outlay will get you AWD, which adds grip, but makes the crossover a bit slower to 60 mph (7.9 seconds) and a bit less efficient with the dino juice (19 mph city, 26 mpg highway, 22 mph combined).

“If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL.”

If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL. We think it’s unlikely, given the practicality focus of adding a third row, but you never know – folks love their sporty crossovers, these days.

“The hybrid model adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process.”

Next up, we have the hybrid model, which adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process. Routing the muscle is an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). Output comes to 308 horses, while mileage looks like 31 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. AWD comes as standard with the hybrid, with the run to 60 mph taking 7.9 seconds and top speed rated at 112 mph.

Look for all these numbers to carryover with the RXL, possibly with a few minor updates where appropriate (a few extra horsepower here, a few extra mpg there).

2017 Lexus RX Engine And Performance Specs

Engine configuration Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, hybrid 3.5-liter V-6
Drivetrain FWD, AWD
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, CVT
0-to-60 mph 7.7 seconds, 7.9 seconds
Top speed 124 mph, 112 mph
Mileage (mpg, city/highway/combined) 20/27/23, 31/28/30

Prices


2018 Lexus RXL - image 745296

While final pricing has yet to be announced, we aren’t expecting a huge jump for the extended third-row model – perhaps just a couple thousand more at most. As is, the Lexus RX starts at $43,220 for the FWD RX 350, while tossing in AWD bumps that up to $44,620. Go for the RX 350 Sport, and you’re looking at $49,120 for the FWD model and $50,520 for the AWD model. Finally, the hybrid will run ‘ya $53,035, while the hybrid sport is $56,495.

Competition


2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 585697

Audi Q7

Recently revised for the 2017 model year, the Q7 gets all the good stuff that Audi can stuff into its mid-size dimensions. Outside the styling is handsome, with simple design features that look on par with the Four Ring brand’s current crop of vehicles, including a large Singleframe grille in the nose and lots of squared shapes front to back. Inside, the cabin gets a fresh layout that looks equally appealing, arriving with lots of leather, aluminum, and wood. Several engine selections are on tap, including a 3.0-liter diesel, 3.0-liter gas, and 2.0-liter gas options. There’s also a hybrid option, if you’re so inclined.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q7.

Volvo XC90


2016 Volvo XC90 - image 565987

Long story short, the critics love the XC90. Not only does it look great outside, with its sleek front fascia, LED headlights, and powerful proportions, but it gets even better inside, where the Swedes bring the heat with elegance and refinement on par or exceeding that of its European rivals. The technology onboard is extensive and cutting-edge, with lots of features keeping it safe, while five individual powertrains are offered under the hood. Both diesels and gas options make the cut, but the most powerful of the bunch is the T8 hybrid, offering as much as 400 horsepower and 472-pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90

Conclusion


2016 Lexus RX - image 711913

Note: 2017 Lexus RX pictured here.

“This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL.”

Adding an extra row to the uber-popular Lexus RX is a natural evolution for the mid-size crossover. Not only will it expand the practicality and appeal of the model, but it will also do well to broaden the brand’s current crossover offerings overall. This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL. A hybrid option is definitely in the cards at this point, and who knows, maybe a sport version will drop as well.

The only potential drawback we could see is pricing, especially with so many competitors waiting in the wings to scoop up missed sales. That said, we don’t think Lexus will fumble on this one – it seems like a pretty straightforward upgrade to add that rear bench, so the price tag shouldn’t get too much of an increase. Stay tuned for an update after the LA Auto Show.

  • Leave it
    • Polarizing styling
    • Seemingly endless number of competitors
    • Might be a bit cramped on the rear bench

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 746641

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.



Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda6

The Mazda6 is the Japanese brand’s mid-size flagship sedan, offering customers premium appointment inside the cabin and a somewhat sporty driving experience behind the wheel. Originally offered in 2002 as a replacement for the 616 and 626, the Mazda6 is now well into its third generation, which dropped in August of 2012 at the Moscow International Motor Show. Now it’s time for a substantial mid-cycle refresh, and Mazda just provided a preview of things to come for the forthcoming 2018 model year. Working off the concept of “Mature Elegance,” the new Mazda6 adds premium interior and exterior features, plus new safety technology, all of which helps to elevate the four-door to a more upscale position. However, the biggest news here is the inclusion of a new-for-the-model turbocharged powerplant, which will definitely add a considerable amount of zoom-zoom to the package.

That’s great news for the Mazda faithful – this is, after all, the brand’s flagship sedan, and more power is a most welcome boost to the car’s fun factor. A full reveal is scheduled for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, but in the meantime, read on for what we know so far.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6.

Exterior

  • Reshaped front fascia
  • New 3D grille and insert
  • Extra chrome detailing
  • Looks similar to the new Mazda CX-5 crossover

2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design”

For the moment, all we’ve got is a single teaser image of the new Mazda6’s front end, but right away, there are a few minor styling changes we can pick out. For starters, the grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design. The headlights also look like they got a subtle reshape with slimmer housings, and now come underlined by chrome lines that start at the bottom lip of the grille.

The lower intake and fascia are also different, with a sharper shape for the former and fresh creases in the corner edges of the latter. The chrome detailing of the old model’s fog lights is now moved to the lower part of the bumper lip, which will most likely add some extra visual width to the vehicle.

Overall, the changes echo those seen in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, and we think they pretty good on the sedan as well:


2017 Mazda CX-5 - image 695608
“The new Mazda CX-5 gets similar styling updates as the Mazda6.”

Indeed, Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with concepts like the RX Vision, and more recently, the Kai.

And although we have yet to see the rear end, we’d expect the usual nip and tuck back there as well. Something like reshaped taillight housings and a shapely lower bumper should fit the bill nicely.

“Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with its concepts.”

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that that Mazda offers the 6 in a wagon bodystyle overseas. We don’t think we’re alone in saying we’d love it if Mazda decided to bring the wagon version stateside, but so far, the probability of that happening is pretty low.

Interior

  • More high-end materials than before
  • Small changes to overall layout
  • Premium Japanese Sen Wood as optional trim
  • Latest safety technology included
  • Adaptive cruise control and around-view monitor

2018 Mazda6 - image 745322
“The updates do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. One good example is the unique Japanese Sen Wood trim option.”

Like the exterior, the Mazda6’s interior gets a few tweaks here and there, but most of the layout is a carryover. Broad, horizontal surfaces dominate, with straight and smooth lines throughout.

Compared to the previous model, the new Mazda6 looks to get a new digital infotainment screen, which appears to stand taller and more upright than the previous screen. The midline and air vents were also changed, with a square shape for the vents and a solid unbroken form for the midline trimmed in shiny metal. Below the vents is another layer that looks to be covered in some kind of soft touch material, presumably Alcantara. The next level after that contains the HVAC controls, below which you’ll find the central tunnel, shifter, and a rotary knob.

We think it still looks good, and we’re glad Mazda didn’t change too much. However, the updates that are included do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. For example, there’s now unique Japanese Sen Wood as a trim option, which Mazda says is used in traditional Japanese instruments and furniture. Looking at the provided press shot, we think that midline on either side of the air vents looks like it gets the new wood treatment.

Further exclusive premium trim will likely include high-end leather, aluminum, and similar stuff.

However, these days, you can only go so far with just premium materials. To really get those luxury points, you’ll also need to toss in some of the latest technology to boot.


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684539

Note: 2017 Mazda6 pictured here.

“To really get those luxury points, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology.”

As such, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology. Chief among these is Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control, which tosses in stop-and-go traffic management that will bring the vehicle to halt if the car ahead is stopped, then set off again all on its own.

That’s a good start, but we’re hoping for a full range of features for the new Mazda6 – automatic high beams, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and all the other stuff that comes as standard on high-end sedans should be considered fair game.

Finally, Mazda says a 360-degree view monitor was added as well, which is especially helpful when maneuvering through tight spaces.

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Cylinder deactivation tech for the NA powerplant
  • 2.5-liter turbo now added to the lineup
  • Six-speed manual and automatic for gearbox options

2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684554

Note: 2017 Mazda6 engine pictured here.

Nestled into the nose of the 2018 Mazda6 is the same naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder as before. Peak output for the four is rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque in the previous model year, and the 2018 iteration is expected to match those figures going forward. The same goes for the gearbox lineup, which includes either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, both of which route output to the front axle exclusively. Put your foot down, and expect to see 60 mph in roughly 7.6 seconds with both transmission options.

Mileage figures for the previous model year’s NA four-cylinder is rated at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the manual, and 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for the automatic. However, Mazda says the 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad those figures substantially. We think more than 40 mpg on the highway for the auto gearbox is definitely within reach.

“The 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad mpg figures. However, if you prefer driving fun over efficiency, the new turbocharged four-cylinder should fit the bill.”

That’s great for the eco-conscious, but what if you’re looking for a little extra zoom-zoom instead of efficiency, then Mazda has you covered there as well. Joining the all-atmosphere four-cylinder is a Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine option, which means yes, the Mazda6 finally gets a turbocharger. Plucked out of the nose of the most recent Mazda CX-9 crossover, this boosted four-banger features direct injection, and according to the manufacturer, torque levels that are “on par” with a 4.0-liter V-8. While the brand declined to give us exact specs, we do know that the turbo four in the CX-9 makes a substantial 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, which is a huge improvement over the old NA four. If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.

“If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.”

The big question on the minds of enthusiasts is whether or not Mazda will offer a MazdaSpeed6 iteration, with a six-speed manual transmission, bigger brakes, more aggressive exterior styling, sharper suspension tuning, and possibly even AWD. We’d love something like that…

Prices


2018 Mazda6 - image 745754

As of this writing, Mazda has yet to reveal full pricing information for the 2018 Mazda6. However, we wouldn’t expect any big changes for the base model’s price tag, which currently starts at $21,945. Higher trim levels obviously throw in additional equipment and require extra outlay, with the current mid-grade Touring starting at $24,195 and the top-trim Grand Touring going for $30,695. We’re excited to see where the 2.5-liter turbo will slot into the mix.

Competition

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 700685

When it comes to Japanese commuter sedans, it doesn’t get much more ubiquitous than the Toyota Camry. Building on well-established reputation for offering great value and reliability, the Camry just saw a generational update for the 2018 model year, with big-time updates across the board. The exterior styling is far more interesting this time around, while the interior was equally redone with an attractive new design and tons of premium features. Engine options include a four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and even a hybrid.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Honda Accord


2018 Honda Accord - image 735545

The Honda Accord also just got a generational changeover, and now enters its tenth production cycle for the 2018 model year. To keep it fresh, the H Badge added new Jewel headlights and glossy black trim pieces to the front end, plus lots of heavy creases leading to the rear. The interior layout feels fresh too, and gets tons of technology to keep passengers entertained. Making the go is a selection of four-cylinder powerplants, as well as a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine.”

We’ll update this article when we get the full rundown of the 6’s specs, but so far, we like what we see. The exterior styling was already quite the head-turner, and this latest refresh looks to be the same. The interior also seems to be even more impressive, while the chassis and handling should remain surprisingly nimble for a mid-size four-door. But the real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine. We can’t wait to get our hands on the figures, and we’re expecting some impressive stuff from the front-wheel-driver. Nice work there, Mazda.

The only thing that has us worried is the car’s price. The top trim is already kinda pricey, and tossing in the 2.5T might bump the 6 a little too high in the food chain. Granted, the features and premium interior do well to justify the outlay, but can the Mazda badge back that asking price for consumers? We’ll have to wait and see. Look for full details later in the month.

  • Leave it
    • Some competitors offer more features
    • Will pricing be too high with the new turbo engine?

References

Mazda6


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 578922

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda6.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Ascent

Subaru is about to launch its all-new, three-row family crossover at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 28. Official specs have been kept quiet, but we know it will be larger than Subaru’s ill-fated Tribeca with more interior room. We also know its name: the Ascent. It’s clear Subaru wants a piece of the full-size crossover pie. The Forester is currently the automaker’s largest vehicle, but it only seats five and has a maximum cargo volume of 68.5 cubic feet – a far cry from what typical three-row crossovers offer.

The Ascent will ride on an expanded version of Subaru’s Global Platform. The new Impreza and Crosstrek already ride on this platform, and the rest of Subaru’s lineup will eventually follow. It’s no wonder since Subaru spent a whopping $1 Billion to develop the modular architecture. The SGP is also designed to surpass all current crash test standards by enduring stuff like a 2.7-ton SUV ramming head-on into its hood at 55 mph. Yeah. Families like safe vehicles, so the added protection will be a great selling point for the Ascent. Obviously, Subaru will appreciate the sales, especially since the Tribeca only sold 80,000 examples over its entire, decade-long life. With failure an actual possibility, Subaru is determined to get the Ascent right. Let’s see what we can expect from this upcoming crossover.

Update 11/21/2017: Subaru has released a teaser of the Subaru Ascent just days before its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check out the teaser section below to see it and learn more about it.

Subaru Ascent Teaser


2019 Subaru Ascent - image 746685

To date, two teasers have been released. The first was a shot of the badge on the rear hatch and the second is a near-full side view of the upcoming SUV. Based on the Subaru Ascent Concept that was shown off at the New York Auto Show, the production version will look nearly identical. However, based on this teaser, it looks like some of the sharp body lines may be toned down a bit. Besides that, the teaser shows off the same silhouette as the concept including the rear stationary glass and third row of seating. Some wonder why Subaru would bring a model like this to production while others can accept the fact that Subaru needs to get its peace of the seven-seater market. What do you think? Will the new Ascent be a success or is it just another turd in a very large and overpopulated toilet bowl?

Exterior

  • Larger dimensions means more interior room
  • Tallish ground clearance
  • Sculpted bodylines

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713486

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“We’re hoping the Ascent Concept’s handsome lines actually translate to the production version.”

Subaru has yet to release an overview image of the production-spec 2019 Ascent. All we’ve got is a single shot of the Ascent badge affixed to the crossover tailgate. That means we’ll have to reference the Ascent’s concept version, which debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show back in April. Thankfully, Subaru will debut the real deal at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 28.

The Ascent concept is a devilishly handsome SUV with tons of style baked into its large body. Subaru designers aren’t afraid of doing big things with concept vehicles, and that shows here. Just look at that swooping beltline over those arched fenders! Typical Subaru cues are seen, too, like the C-shaped LED daytime running lights, the six-sided grille, the A-pillar window, and the black molding along the body’s lower edges.

Sadly, Subaru’s designers are also too timid to are blocked by dull bean-counters from putting such aesthetically pleasing concepts directly into production. We’ve seen it time and time again where a sexy concept is neutered into a comparatively dull shell of its former self before arriving in showrooms. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen here, though we’re not holding our breath.

Interior

  • Seven-passenger seating
  • Three rows
  • More interior volume than the old Tribeca
  • Respectable in-dash technology

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713487

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“Subaru will surely tone down the high-tech vibe seen on the Ascent Concept.”

While 90 percent of the Ascent concept’s exterior could easily make production, the interior is another story. Subaru will surely tone down the high-tech vibe seen here. Don’t misread us –we’d love to see the massive touchscreen with integrated knobs remain in the center stack. We’d hope Subaru will keep the fully digital gauge cluster, especially since that’s the popular thing these days. And we’d love to see the highly sculpted, multi-tiered dash and door panels in our driveway sometime soon.

So what’s definitely not making production? Well, don’t count on seeing the digital window and door lock controls. That swanky gearshift probably won’t make the cut, either. And sadly, the Range Rover Velar-like display seems a bit too cool for Subaru to actually produce. (Prove us wrong, Subi!)

What will remain in the showroom version of the 2019 Ascent is seating for seven people over three rows. That’s a given. Subaru needs a full-size family crossover. Right now, only five people can fit in Subi’s largest model, meaning growing families are forced out of the brand and onto the competition. That’s not good for Subaru’s bottom line and plans for world domination (what major automaker doesn’t have that plan?).

Drivetrain

  • Possible turbocharged 2.0- or 2.4-liter flat-four
  • CVT is very likely
  • AWD will be standard
  • Respectable fuel economy expected

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 712990

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“Expect the Symmetrical AWD system to be included as standard equipment.”

Details of the Ascent’s greasy bits are still unknown at this point. Some reports suggest Subaru will use its 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four found in the Impreza, while others say an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four with upwards of 300 horsepower will be had. Either way, don’t count on a flat-six like the Tribeca had or anything in an inline or V configuration. This is Subaru, after all.

Regardless of engine, it’s a sure bet a CVT will be bolted to its backside. The continuously variable transmission has gotten better over the years. Our recent test of the 2018 Crosstrek proved the CVT is nearly free of rubberbanding and offers a smooth though somewhat uninspired driving experience. A full-size family crossover isn’t built for blasting down some dirt rally course, so the calm driving experience should be a welcomed trait.

Naturally being a Subaru, the automaker’s Symmetrical AWD system will be included as standard equipment. That means all four wheels receive power all the time, though at a 60/40 torque split front to rear under normal road conditions. Under low-traction situations or when the X-Mode button is pressed, the system will divide power evenly between the front and rear differentials.

Expect fuel economy to be pretty competitive in the mid- and full-size crossover segment. That means we can expect around 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Of course, these type of details should be announced at the Ascent’s debut later this month.

Pricing

Official pricing will come later, but we’d bet Subaru will start the Ascent’s MSRP around the $30,000 mark. That’s $5,000 more than the Outback and nearly $7,000 more than the Forester. Selecting premium features and options will inflate the price on higher-trimmed models, perhaps making the Ascent’s sticker price hit $45,000 when fully loaded. That would be pretty reasonable when compared to the segment.

Competition

Honda Pilot


2016 Honda Pilot - image 616641

The Pilot might be a few years old, but it’s one of the best-selling three-row crossovers in the business. It combines outright utility with comfort and style. Sprinkle on Honda’s brand image of reliability and available AWD and you’ve got family-hauling homerun.

The Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. As mentioned, FWD is standard and AWD is optional. With all four wheels turning, the Pilot can lug a 5,000-pound trailer and regardless of the drivetrain, it will carry up to eight people – seven with the optional second-row captain’s chairs. Lower trims come with a six-speed automatic and upper trims (Touring and Elite) come with a fuel-saving nine-speed automatic.

Pricing varies wildly depending on trim and options. The base LX starts at $30,745 while the range-topping Elite starts at $47,220. Getting the Elite means everything that is normally optional is now standard. That means $47,220 is about the highest price you can pay, barring you go crazy with dealership add-ons.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Pilot.

Volkswagen Atlas


2018 Volkswagen Atlas - image 693391

The Atlas should be pronounced “At last” since it’s taken Volkswagen so long to enter the three-row SUV game. Thankfully, the Atlas is well-baked with tons of well-conceived features, a roomy interior, seating for seven people, and a couple drivetrain options. The Atlas also rides on familiar bones; it’s the MQB platform that also underpins seemingly every modern VW and Audi product. Interior niceties include an available digital dash, VW’s latest infotainment system, and 97cubic-feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded.

Standard power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it’s relegated to lower trims with FWD. Most Atlas models come with a 3.6-liter V-6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels. VW’s 4Motion AWD system is optional.

Pricing starts at $30,500, but most will skip the 2.0-liter base S model. Other trims include the SE, SE with Technology, and SEL. Opting for the V-6 pushes the base price to $31,900. For 2018, VW is offering a V-6 Launch Edition. The S, SE, SE with 4Motion, SE with Technology, SE with Technology and 4Motion, SEL, SEL with 4Motion and SEL Premium with 4Motion are available. While a bit confusing at first, the trims do make sense. Expect to by $48,490 for the V-6 SEL Platinum with 4Motion before options.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Conclusion


2019 Subaru Ascent - image 745297

It’s been a long time coming for Subaru’s new three-row crossover. The absolute disaster that was the Tribeca understandably left Subaru weary of the large crossover market, though the updates accompanying the Ascent should make folks pay attention this time around. More people room, improved looks, modern in-dash technology, and class-leading safety features should have the Ascent climbing towards the peak of full-size family crossovers. Only time will tell, however, and there are still plenty of unanswered questions. The wait won’t be long, thankfully, since November 28 should bring all the juicy details. Check back to TopSpeed for that.

  • Leave it
    • Might be underpowered compared to the competition
    • CVT will limit towing
    • Will it overcome the Tribeca’s failure?

References


Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713494

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Ascent Concept.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Buick LaCrosse Avenir

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir

Launched in 2005 as a replacement for both the Buick Century and Lucerne, the LaCrosse was a big success in its first full year on the market, selling close to 100,000 units. Although sales dropped and the sedan rarely moved more than 50,000 examples per year since 2007, it’s still an important car for the GM-owned brand. Redesigned for 2017 with a more elegant design and a more upscale interior, the LaCrosse is now moving higher on the premium ladder with the Avenir model.

Although the Avenir name was launched with a concept car and gave us hope of a new, luxury-oriented sub-brand, it turned out to be just a trim level. This was confirmed when the Enclave Avenir was unveiled earlier in 2017 as the range-topping model of the company’s full-size crossover. Now, it’s the LaCrosse’s turn to get pampered in a move that’s supposed to satisfy market demand, according to Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick and GMC. “Nine out of ten LaCrosse buyers are choosing one of the top two trim levels — customers are signaling they want more from Buick,” he said. Let’s have a closer look at what the Avenir badge brings to the LaCrosse.

Continue reading to learn more about the Buick LaCrosse Avenir.

What makes the Buick LaCrosse Avenir special?

  • New grille with 3D honeycomb mesh
  • Redesigned bumper intake
  • Wider stance
  • More upscale look
  • Exclusive 19-inch wheels, 20-inch upgrade option
  • Chestnut upholstery
  • Optional Ebony interior
  • Embroidered headrests
  • Standard navigation and moonroof
  • Bose audio system
  • Avenir sill plates
  • Same 3.6-liter V-6 as standard model
  • Optional AWD system
left
right
“The Avenir package adds a three-dimensional grille mesh with a honeycomb design”

Just like on the Enclave SUV, the Avenir package replaces the vertical-slat, “waterfall” grille of the standard LaCrosse with a three-dimensional mesh with a honeycomb design. The same mesh was fitted in the bumper, replacing the horizontal bar seen on the regular sedan. At the same time, the lower grille is now a one-piece element with LED lights at the corners. This gives the car a wider stance, as well as a more upscale look.

Changes aren’t as significant onto the sides, but the sedan did get “Avenir” badges on the front doors and a set of exclusive, 19-inch Pearl Nickel wheels. Optionally, you can get larger, 20-inch rollers finished in Midnight Silver. Around back, the Avenir trim is identical to the regular model. Overall, Buick managed to maintain the LaCrosse’s classy and organic lines while adding subtle and tasteful details. It’s the right way to move a car up the premium ladder without overdoing it.


2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir - image 743451
“The interior gets subtle detailing and new upholstery”

As seen on the outside, the interior gets subtle detailing and new upholstery. The seats, lower dashboard, and parts of the door panels are now wrapped in Chestnut leather, a dark shade of brown that works well with the black upper dash and doors, giving the cabin a classy look. The contrasting stitching and piping seen in the Enclave didn’t make it inside the LaCrosse, but the front seats have embroidered headrests as an extra feature.

Speaking of which, the Avenir model comes standard with a navigation system and a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound premium audio, as well as a panoramic moonroof. These three features are optional on the regular sedan. The upscale interior is rounded off by Avenir sill plates. If you don’t like the Chestnut upholstery and prefer something a bit more sober, Buick has you covered with the optional Ebony interior.


2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir - image 743454
“Under the hood, the Avenir uses the same 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard LaCrosse”

Under the hood, the Avenir uses the same 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard LaCrosse. This isn’t surprising though, as it’s the only drivetrain option for the third-generation sedan. Although similar to the previous V-6, the unit is actually new, having been launched with the Cadillac XT5 crossover. The mill cranks out 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque, a mild increase over the outgoing unit, but the fact that the new LaCrosse is some 300 pounds lighter makes quite a difference in the performance and fuel economy departments.

The engine pairs to a nine-speed automatic transmission and uses Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and stop-start technology. The Intelligent Twin-Clutch AWD system is optional, as is the Dynamic Drive Package, which adds continuous variable real-time dampening control and a range of advanced safety features. The list of active safety systems includes Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Automatic Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Rear Vision Camera.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.6L V-6 DI VVT
Displacement (cu in / cc) 223 / 3649
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 3.74 x 3.37 / 95 x 85.8
Block material cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners
Cylinder head material cast aluminum
Valve train DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing; Active Fuel Management
Fuel delivery direct high-pressure fuel injection
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Horsepower 305 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Torque 268 LB-FT @ 5,200 RPM
Transmission eight-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch

Pricing information is not available as of November 13, 2017, but the Avenir should become the most expensive model in the range. With the range-topping LaCrosse Premium costing $41,900, the Avenir could fetch at least $46,000 before options. For reference, the base model retails from $32,990.

References

Buick LaCrosse


2017 Buick LaCrosse - image 656227

Read our full article on the 2017 Buick LaCrosse.



Read more Buick news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 GMC Terrain’s E-Shifter Isn’t That Bad

When the 2018 GMC Terrain debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the automotive press took a collective gasp at the push-button shifter design GMC tried selling as “intuitive.” I even wrote an op-ed titled “Really GMC? This Shifter Idea Is Lame!” Needless to say I wasn’t impressed. Well, this week has the all-new 2018 GMC Terrain in my driveway and I have to admit it – the E-shifter isn’t as terrible as I expected it to be.

The buttons are logically arranged in the familiar PRNDL order, so there is no guessing at gear locations. Park is by far the simplest to engage. Just push the large button. Reverse and Drive are selected by pulling the toggle switch with a curved finger. Neutral and Low (which should really be labeled M for manual) are activated by pushes, as well. In manual mode, the (-) and (+) buttons do the obvious to the nine-speed automatic transmission.

Keep reading for more on the 2018 GMC Terrain’s E-Shifter.

In Practice

“I’ve found the E-Shifter doesn’t require extra brainpower to operate, but does require my eyes”

I’ve found the E-Shifter doesn’t require extra brainpower to operate, but does require my eyes. That would change the more I get used to where the buttons are located. Admittedly, the E-Shifter also frees up significant room in the center console yet doesn’t resort to the old-school column shift lever.

Still, the E-Shifter has its faults. I’ve found that prematurely pressing park before I’m completely stopped (maybe 1 or 2 mph) will still activate Park. At least GMC saves its transmission by simultaneously slamming on the front brakes. A better solution would to completely lock out the button until the Terrain is completely stopped.


The 2018 GMC Terrain's E-Shifter Isn't That Bad - image 744352
“Trying to control the transmission manually via the tiny -/+ buttons is laughably dumb”

Worse yet, trying to control the transmission manually via the tiny -/+ buttons is laughably dumb. Don’t even think about being all Fast & Furious trying to hot-rod the transmission – though the nine-speed gearbox almost has enough gears to be in the movies. Lastly, I can’t imagine how grimy the crevices behind the Reverse and Drive buttons will be after 100,000 miles. Seems like it would be hard to clean, too.

Still, even with its flaws, the E-Shifter isn’t all that bad. That’s something I’m happy about since I really do like the rest of the 2018 Terrain. Stick around for more stories on focused topics on the GMC’s all-new crossover.

References

GMC Terrain


2018 GMC Terrain - image 700491

Read our full review on the 2018 GMC Terrain.



Read more GMC news.

PostHeaderIcon The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado

The current Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has been around since the 2014 model year and has only received a minor facelift in 2016. But, this truck won’t be around much longer. Chevy is bringing an all-new Silverado for the 2019 model year, and with it, some big changes. It’s hard to know for sure what Chevy has up its sleeve at this point, but rumor suggests the pickup’s body will be aluminum while its bed remains steel. The fame will be new, too, lending to better ride comfort and strength for doing truck stuff. The rest is still a mystery.

So, in the darkness of the unknown, we have four ways Chevrolet could make the 2019 Silverado a better truck. Ranging from minor to major, these updated would also help the Bowtie compete against Ford’s ever-hot F-150, which just went under the knife in 2018 for a mid-cycle refresh. Ram is also debuting its next-generation 1500 for 2019, so the competition is certainly getting tense. Let’s hope Chevy (along with GMC and its Sierra) make these and other much-needed updates. And don’t forget to leave your ideas for updates in the comments below.

Continue reading for the top four things Chevy needs to change about the 2019 Silverado

1. The Key


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 741112
“The current Chevy Silverado does not offer a proximity key or push-button starting”

The current Chevy Silverado does not offer a proximity key or push-button starting. Nope, even the $60,000+ High Country trim comes with an old-school key fob you’ve got to remove from your pocket and push the unlock button to get inside. Then you’ve got to turn the key in the ignition. Yeah, it sounds like we’re spoiled millennials with no concept of how hard things used to be, but seriously, proximity keys and push-button starting is easy to get used to.

Making it worse for Chevy, only the Toyota Tundra still uses a conventional key. The rest of the Silverado’s competition offers the keyless system. That means Ford, Ram, and even Nissan have all moved into the 21st century.

2. Second-Row HVAC


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739886
“The Chevy is the only full-size pickup to not have air vents for its second-row passengers”

While the Silverado has the Tundra keeping it company in the old-school key category, the Chevy is the only full-size pickup to not have air vents for its second-row passengers in its Crew Cab model with the first-row center console. Rather, Chevy just teases its sweaty or freezing second-class… err… second-row passengers with blank spots on the console. Chevy needs to give these rear passengers both air vents and their own HVAC controls, at least in high-trim models like the High Country.

3. A Flat Load Floor


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739902
“The Silverado has a mostly flat load floor that’s great for hauling stuff too fragile for the cargo bed”

Still harping on the back seats of the Crew Cab model, the Silverado has a mostly flat load floor that’s great for hauling stuff too fragile for the cargo bed. However, the space is hindered by the bumps and unevenness in the floor. By comparison, the Ford F-150 has a completely flat load floor with acres of dead-flat load space. Fold those seats up and boom, it’s like a cargo van. Even better, the F-150’s rear seats are mounted high enough there’s tons of room under them for storing lesser used items. Ford even sells a cargo organizer for this area. Yes, the Chevy does have a similar space and cargo organizer, but it’s just not as cavernous as the Ford’s.

Granted, the Chevy still outranks the Ram and Nissan Titan in rear floor flatness. Both still rely on a foldout load floor that doesn’t completely extend to the front seats.

4. Fuel Economy


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739892
“It’s rated at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined when fitted to a Crew Cab truck with 4WD”

Of course, nobody can expect Prius-like fuel economy in a full-size pickup designed to tow 10,000 pounds and go off-road, but improvements can still be made. The Silverado 1500’s most popular engine option is the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8. It’s rated at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined when fitted to a Crew Cab truck with 4WD. Granted, Chevy has worked some impressive tech into its classic small-block V-8 engine, including variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, and direct fuel injection. Added up, these three advancements (hints the Ecotec3 name) do help the Silverado get competitive fuel economy against Ford and Ram’s V-8s.

However, adding its new 10-speed automatic transmission should help boost those fuel economy numbers up, at least by one or two mpg. Currently, the Silverado caps out with an eight-speed automatic, but it’s heavier than the new 10-speed and obviously has few gears to keep engine revs low when not doing big work.

Better yet, Chevy could revive the 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel it nearly put into product in 2009. This engine was ready to go, but the economy recession killed it from seeing dealership showrooms. With a few updates to pass modern emissions regulations, the baby Duramax could be a great engine for the half-ton Silverado. It was designed to make 310 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque while getting better fuel economy than a similar-sized gasoline V-8. These numbers aren’t far off from the 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbodiesel in the Nissan Titan XD, but that isn’t a half-ton truck.


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739891
“Chevy could also make its eAssist mild-hybrid powertrain more robust and widespread through its Silverado lineup”

Ram already beat everyone to the half-ton diesel market with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 in the Ram 1500. It makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and is capable of getting 29 mpg on the highway. Ford hot on Ram’s heels with its new 3.0-liter Power Stroke V-6 turbodiesel. It’s basically the same engine found in Jaguar Land Rover products like the Range Rover. In that application, the oil-burner makes 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. Expect Ford to keep or slightly exceed those specs in the 2019 F-150 turbodiesel.

Chevy could also make its eAssist mild-hybrid powertrain more robust and widespread through its Silverado lineup, too. Currently, the Silverado eAssist is being produced in limited numbers and sold in limited areas, so not everybody can get one. The eAssist is combined with the 5.3-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic to add 13 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque via a 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor to help ease the burden on the V-8. The system is said to boost fuel economy by 13 percent, giving the 2WD Silverado 1500 eAssist an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. That’s not bad for a tiny hybrid system that only adds $500 to the Silverado’s price tag.

Conclusion


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739906

These are just a few things we’d love to see Chevy (and GMC) add to its pickup for 2019. We’re expecting big things since we’ve seen some pretty exciting spy shots in the recent months. Chevy is scheduled to debut the 2019 Silverado 1500 at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January. After that, we can expect the same updates for the 2020 Silverado 2500 and 3500 HD.

What do you think? What changes should Chevy make for the 2019 Silverado? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Chevrolet Silverado


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview - image 739276

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


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739904

Find our more about the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition name


The Top 4 Things Chevy Needs To Fix for the 2019 Silverado - image 739906

Learn more about the handiest feature on the 2017 Chevy Silverado.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado - image 648477

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

Subaru just revealed its latest ultra-sleek concept model at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Viziv Performance (Viziv is shorthand for “Vision for Innovation”), this Scooby is the latest in a series of concept cars to bear the Viziv name, rocking an aggressive exterior and tons of speedy visual cues. This is also the very first four-door sedan to come from the concept line, which can only mean one thing – this is what Subaru’s designers imagine for the next WRX. The emphasis is on driving fun and attention-grabbing details, both of which the Viziv Performance manages to accomplish, at least on paper. So then, what does it say about the brand’s favorite rally star? Read on for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Exterior

  • Design is all angles and chiseled geometry
  • Flared fenders and carbon bits
  • Longer, lower, and wider than a WRX

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740445
“It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package. ”

As is the case with most concept cars, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept’s greatest strength lies in its exterior design. It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package.

Subaru says the aesthetic uses the “Dynamic x Solid” design philosophy, with inspiration drawn from the brand’s most “iconic” models. These include the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX, symbolizing “superior Subaru driving performance.”

The look is mean and low and wide, with flared fenders adding a good deal of aggression to the whole package. As is expected of just about every performance model on the market these days, carbon fiber makes a cameo appearance, finding its way to the bumpers, fenders, and roof, which adds a tasty composite weave to offset the brighter silver body panels.

In back, the rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness. A large center stop lamp also enhances the performance cues, while the upper taillights stretch from fender to fender, adding to the car’s natural visual width. The rear diffuser also houses a quartet of rounded exhaust pipes, set at an angle that brings the car even closer to the ground visually.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442
“The rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness.”

In the nose, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept gets a six-sided, three-dimensional grille that looks similar in shape to the current WRX grille, albeit a bit larger and with a cool-looking lighting element along the surround. Below the central intake are aero elements finished in black, while “hawkeye” headlight housings take up positions on the periphery.

Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood, with the headlights giving a nod to the boxer engine design and the flared fenders added as a nod to the symmetrical AWD system.

“Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood.”

The requisite hood scoop finishes it, mounted towards the windshield and finished in black.

Interestingly, Subaru gave us a complete breakdown of the Viziv Performance Concept’s exterior dimensions, and naturally, we should compare them to the current WRX to see if we can glean any sizing changes planned for the upcoming WRX. You can check out the specifics below, but long story short, the Viziv is a bit longer, much wider, and a little lower – all to be expected from a showy concept car, but perhaps it’s telling of what’s to come for Suby’s most beloved performance model.

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept 2017 Subaru WRX
Length (Inches) 182.3 180.9
Width (Inches) 76.8 70.7
Height (Inches) 56.3 inches 58.1
Wheelbase (Inches) 107.5 104.3

Interior

  • Large touchscreen in the dash
  • Seats up to 5 passengers
  • Next-generation driver assist tech

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 700140
Interior from 2018 Subaru WRX shown here.
“If we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints as to the upcoming WRX’s cabin.”

While Subaru declined to provide tons of details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s interior layout design, the automaker did mention that seating capacity was capped at 5 passengers, much like the current-generation Impreza and WRX. What’s more, we can pick out what appears to be a large digital infotainment screen in the center console.

Sounds about right, but if we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints. Six-sided shapes for the cluster gauge and upper instrumentation readout echo the shape of the grille, while a three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel gets grippy hand bolsters and some nice contrast stitching. Further contrast stitching is added to the dash, while a large touchscreen takes up residence in the center console.

“we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features”

Not terribly exciting stuff, we know. That said, the Viziv does offer up some tasty tidbits on possible technology features Subaru has in the works. Basically, the automaker foresees ever-greater autonomous driving assist integration in the near future, and in response, the Viziv comes with the next-generation EyeSight system, the brand’s branded tech suite meant to enhance both driving enjoyment and peace of mind.

Incorporating both radar and GPS systems, we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features, all of which should make the next WRX both more efficient and safer. Look for Subaru to introduce this next-gen system into its production lineup sometime around 2020.

Drivetrain

  • Boxer engine configuration
  • Likely the same turbo 2.0-liter as the current WRX
  • Large 20-inch wheels

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 722070
2.5-liter from 2017 Subaru WRX shown here.

Once again, Subaru seems a bit cagey when it comes to revealing details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s engine configuration, but in all honesty, we can pretty much tell exactly what it’s got going under that hood scoop without any official confirmation.

For starters, Subaru admits to using the traditional boxer engine configuration, a platform the Six Star brand has “honed over more than five decades of development.” In the current WRX, this amounts to a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter flat-four powerplant, hewn from aluminum and able to produce upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Routing the power to the ground is a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the same standard symmetrical AWD system Subaru is famous for.

“Subaru says the Viziv Performance uses its traditional boxer engine configuration, which, in the current WRX, produces upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.”

All told, expect nearly identical performance numbers as before, with around 5 seconds required in the 0-to-60 mph sprint and a top speed of 144 mph.

Interestingly, Subaru says the concept’s tire size is measured at 245/40R20, a huge upgrade over the standard WRX’s 17-inch rollers. If carried into production, it would be the biggest wheels the WRX has ever got from the factory by a long shot.

Conclusion


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442

All told, the Viziv is an exciting look at one of our all-time favorite performance vehicles, the Subaru WRX. While we would have liked it if Subaru dropped us a few more hints on what to expect from the drivetrain and powertrain (odds are it’ll look more or less identical to the current model), we think the exterior styling is a solid step forward for the brand.

“Any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. ”

That said, any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. Take for example the Impreza 5-Door Concept that dropped in 2015 at the last Tokyo Motor Show. We loved it, as did most other enthusiasts, but in the end, the production version just didn’t have the same flair or snap to it. Or you could take the Impreza Sedan Concept from the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, or the XV Concept from the Geneva Motor Show in 2016… the list goes on and on.

Either way, we like the look. Just maybe put it to good use this time, eh Suby?

  • Leave it
    • Production version will likely look way different
    • No interior design details
    • No specs on the engine and drivetrain likely means carryovers for both

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700160

Read our full review of the 2018 Subaru WRX

Subaru



Read the latest Subaru news

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept

Subaru just revealed its latest ultra-sleek concept model at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Viziv Performance (Viziv is shorthand for “Vision for Innovation”), this Scooby is the latest in a series of concept cars to bear the Viziv name, rocking an aggressive exterior and tons of speedy visual cues. This is also the very first four-door sedan to come from the concept line, which can only mean one thing – this is what Subaru’s designers imagine for the next WRX. The emphasis is on driving fun and attention-grabbing details, both of which the Viziv Performance manages to accomplish, at least on paper. So then, what does it say about the brand’s favorite rally star? Read on for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

Exterior

  • Design is all angles and chiseled geometry
  • Flared fenders and carbon bits
  • Longer, lower, and wider than a WRX

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740445
“It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package. ”

As is the case with most concept cars, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept’s greatest strength lies in its exterior design. It’s all angles and chiseled geometry, an amalgamation of black and silver that manages to mate sportiness and futuristic vibes in a single, exciting package.

Subaru says the aesthetic uses the “Dynamic x Solid” design philosophy, with inspiration drawn from the brand’s most “iconic” models. These include the Legacy, Impreza, and WRX, symbolizing “superior Subaru driving performance.”

The look is mean and low and wide, with flared fenders adding a good deal of aggression to the whole package. As is expected of just about every performance model on the market these days, carbon fiber makes a cameo appearance, finding its way to the bumpers, fenders, and roof, which adds a tasty composite weave to offset the brighter silver body panels.

In back, the rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness. A large center stop lamp also enhances the performance cues, while the upper taillights stretch from fender to fender, adding to the car’s natural visual width. The rear diffuser also houses a quartet of rounded exhaust pipes, set at an angle that brings the car even closer to the ground visually.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442
“The rear diffuser seems to divide the tail in half, occupying the lower section of the car with even more angles and further motorsport-inspired goodness.”

In the nose, the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept gets a six-sided, three-dimensional grille that looks similar in shape to the current WRX grille, albeit a bit larger and with a cool-looking lighting element along the surround. Below the central intake are aero elements finished in black, while “hawkeye” headlight housings take up positions on the periphery.

Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood, with the headlights giving a nod to the boxer engine design and the flared fenders added as a nod to the symmetrical AWD system.

“Subaru says many of these visual cues are meant to mimic that ballsy powertrain and drivetrain under the hood.”

The requisite hood scoop finishes it, mounted towards the windshield and finished in black.

Interestingly, Subaru gave us a complete breakdown of the Viziv Performance Concept’s exterior dimensions, and naturally, we should compare them to the current WRX to see if we can glean any sizing changes planned for the upcoming WRX. You can check out the specifics below, but long story short, the Viziv is a bit longer, much wider, and a little lower – all to be expected from a showy concept car, but perhaps it’s telling of what’s to come for Suby’s most beloved performance model.

2017 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept 2017 Subaru WRX
Length (Inches) 182.3 180.9
Width (Inches) 76.8 70.7
Height (Inches) 56.3 inches 58.1
Wheelbase (Inches) 107.5 104.3

Interior

  • Large touchscreen in the dash
  • Seats up to 5 passengers
  • Next-generation driver assist tech

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 700140
Interior from 2018 Subaru WRX shown here.
“If we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints as to the upcoming WRX’s cabin.”

While Subaru declined to provide tons of details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s interior layout design, the automaker did mention that seating capacity was capped at 5 passengers, much like the current-generation Impreza and WRX. What’s more, we can pick out what appears to be a large digital infotainment screen in the center console.

Sounds about right, but if we were to venture a guess about the details, we’d argue the redesigned interior of the 2017 Subaru Impreza would probably provide a few hints. Six-sided shapes for the cluster gauge and upper instrumentation readout echo the shape of the grille, while a three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel gets grippy hand bolsters and some nice contrast stitching. Further contrast stitching is added to the dash, while a large touchscreen takes up residence in the center console.

“we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features”

Not terribly exciting stuff, we know. That said, the Viziv does offer up some tasty tidbits on possible technology features Subaru has in the works. Basically, the automaker foresees ever-greater autonomous driving assist integration in the near future, and in response, the Viziv comes with the next-generation EyeSight system, the brand’s branded tech suite meant to enhance both driving enjoyment and peace of mind.

Incorporating both radar and GPS systems, we can assume it’ll get stuff like advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, smart automatic transmission shifting, and similar features, all of which should make the next WRX both more efficient and safer. Look for Subaru to introduce this next-gen system into its production lineup sometime around 2020.

Drivetrain

  • Boxer engine configuration
  • Likely the same turbo 2.0-liter as the current WRX
  • Large 20-inch wheels

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 722070
2.5-liter from 2017 Subaru WRX shown here.

Once again, Subaru seems a bit cagey when it comes to revealing details on the Viziv Performance Concept’s engine configuration, but in all honesty, we can pretty much tell exactly what it’s got going under that hood scoop without any official confirmation.

For starters, Subaru admits to using the traditional boxer engine configuration, a platform the Six Star brand has “honed over more than five decades of development.” In the current WRX, this amounts to a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter flat-four powerplant, hewn from aluminum and able to produce upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Routing the power to the ground is a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the same standard symmetrical AWD system Subaru is famous for.

“Subaru says the Viziv Performance uses its traditional boxer engine configuration, which, in the current WRX, produces upwards of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.”

All told, expect nearly identical performance numbers as before, with around 5 seconds required in the 0-to-60 mph sprint and a top speed of 144 mph.

Interestingly, Subaru says the concept’s tire size is measured at 245/40R20, a huge upgrade over the standard WRX’s 17-inch rollers. If carried into production, it would be the biggest wheels the WRX has ever got from the factory by a long shot.

Conclusion


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740442

All told, the Viziv is an exciting look at one of our all-time favorite performance vehicles, the Subaru WRX. While we would have liked it if Subaru dropped us a few more hints on what to expect from the drivetrain and powertrain (odds are it’ll look more or less identical to the current model), we think the exterior styling is a solid step forward for the brand.

“Any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. ”

That said, any and all hope that the concept’s aesthetic might make it to production should be tempered with the fact that Subaru has a nasty habit of offering up gorgeous designs that never actually get put to use. Take for example the Impreza 5-Door Concept that dropped in 2015 at the last Tokyo Motor Show. We loved it, as did most other enthusiasts, but in the end, the production version just didn’t have the same flair or snap to it. Or you could take the Impreza Sedan Concept from the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, or the XV Concept from the Geneva Motor Show in 2016… the list goes on and on.

Either way, we like the look. Just maybe put it to good use this time, eh Suby?

  • Leave it
    • Production version will likely look way different
    • No interior design details
    • No specs on the engine and drivetrain likely means carryovers for both

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700160

Read our full review of the 2018 Subaru WRX

Subaru



Read the latest Subaru news

PostHeaderIcon Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables

Antique vehicle prices are a good indicator as to how popular and culturally esteemed a vehicle has become over the decades. While Ferraris, Porsches, and other exotics can pull seven-figure bids at auction, they’re old news. These days, classic pickup trucks and SUVs are exploding in value – especially those with exceptionally low miles and all its factory-supplied parts. A perfect example of this just rolled across the Barrett-Jackson stage in Vegas this past weekend. Check out this 1989 Ford Bronco.

This two-door SUV didn’t need a reserve to push its price skyward; it saw an organic auction end with the winning bid of $40,700. That’s a 146-percent increase over its original MSRP of $16,526! That same money would have bought 2.5 Broncos back in the day.

There are two factors for this Bronco’s high bid: one, yes, SUV and pickup prices are beginning to rise dramatically and two, this Bronco was practically perfect. It only has 1,606 actual miles, still rides on the original Goodyear Wrangler tires, has zero damage, and has tons of factory options. Making it even more special is its listing as a “promotional vehicle.” It was likely used by Ford for marketing purposes, perhaps at auto shows or advertising, and bought by a collected rather than being sold to the general public. We’ve got more information on this true survivor down below.

Continue reading for more information.

1989 Ford Bronco XLT


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740182
“This special Bronco is fitted with the XLT trim package, which in 1989 was a near-luxury trim”

This special Bronco is fitted with the XLT trim package, which in 1989 was a near-luxury trim. It has its original Raven Black paint and Dark Charcoal cloth interior. Outside, the Bronco has the wagon-wheel-style, 15-inch steel wheels wrapped in the original Goodyear Wrangler AT tires with outline white letters. It also has the removable fiberglass roof with privacy glass. The power-operated, tailgate-mounted rear glass is also tinted and has the optional defrost feature. The rear bumper has the center step with a ball mount for towing.

Inside, this Bronco has front bucket seats with the center console and rear bench seat. It’s got tilt steering, the factory tachometer, electric shift 4WD, cruise control, A/C, an AM/FM/cassette radio, power locks, and power windows.


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740183
“The Windsor V-8 was good for 185 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque”

Under the hood is Ford’s classic 5.0-liter V-8 with fuel injection. A four-speed automatic with overdrive sends power to the two-speed transfer case and then to the rear axle, which has a 3.55:1 gear ratio. The Bronco also came equipped with the heavy-duty battery and “super engine cooling” system. The Windsor V-8 was good for 185 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque back in 1989, which was pretty good for those days.

A Future Collectable Today


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740180
“Not too many folks were thinking SUVs and pickups had that same potential value”

It’s somewhat common for someone to store a Corvette, Camaro, or Porsche in a garage for 30 years hoping to get a big return on their investment. Not too many folks were thinking SUVs and pickups had that same potential value, so there are considerably less factory-fresh examples floating around. That, combined with the rise in popularity of the category, has antique examples in Concourse quality condition to go for top dollar.

Needleless to say, if an automotive investor is looking for something besides muscle cars, imports, or exotics, the American workhorse might be a great place to look.

References

Ford Bronco


2020 Ford Bronco - image 705394

Read our full speculative review for the 2020 Ford Bronco.


2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition - image 649848

Read more auction news.

PostHeaderIcon Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables

Antique vehicle prices are a good indicator as to how popular and culturally esteemed a vehicle has become over the decades. While Ferraris, Porsches, and other exotics can pull seven-figure bids at auction, they’re old news. These days, classic pickup trucks and SUVs are exploding in value – especially those with exceptionally low miles and all its factory-supplied parts. A perfect example of this just rolled across the Barrett-Jackson stage in Vegas this past weekend. Check out this 1989 Ford Bronco.

This two-door SUV didn’t need a reserve to push its price skyward; it saw an organic auction end with the winning bid of $40,700. That’s a 146-percent increase over its original MSRP of $16,526! That same money would have bought 2.5 Broncos back in the day.

There are two factors for this Bronco’s high bid: one, yes, SUV and pickup prices are beginning to rise dramatically and two, this Bronco was practically perfect. It only has 1,606 actual miles, still rides on the original Goodyear Wrangler tires, has zero damage, and has tons of factory options. Making it even more special is its listing as a “promotional vehicle.” It was likely used by Ford for marketing purposes, perhaps at auto shows or advertising, and bought by a collected rather than being sold to the general public. We’ve got more information on this true survivor down below.

Continue reading for more information.

1989 Ford Bronco XLT


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740182
“This special Bronco is fitted with the XLT trim package, which in 1989 was a near-luxury trim”

This special Bronco is fitted with the XLT trim package, which in 1989 was a near-luxury trim. It has its original Raven Black paint and Dark Charcoal cloth interior. Outside, the Bronco has the wagon-wheel-style, 15-inch steel wheels wrapped in the original Goodyear Wrangler AT tires with outline white letters. It also has the removable fiberglass roof with privacy glass. The power-operated, tailgate-mounted rear glass is also tinted and has the optional defrost feature. The rear bumper has the center step with a ball mount for towing.

Inside, this Bronco has front bucket seats with the center console and rear bench seat. It’s got tilt steering, the factory tachometer, electric shift 4WD, cruise control, A/C, an AM/FM/cassette radio, power locks, and power windows.


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740183
“The Windsor V-8 was good for 185 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque”

Under the hood is Ford’s classic 5.0-liter V-8 with fuel injection. A four-speed automatic with overdrive sends power to the two-speed transfer case and then to the rear axle, which has a 3.55:1 gear ratio. The Bronco also came equipped with the heavy-duty battery and “super engine cooling” system. The Windsor V-8 was good for 185 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque back in 1989, which was pretty good for those days.

A Future Collectable Today


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740180
“Not too many folks were thinking SUVs and pickups had that same potential value”

It’s somewhat common for someone to store a Corvette, Camaro, or Porsche in a garage for 30 years hoping to get a big return on their investment. Not too many folks were thinking SUVs and pickups had that same potential value, so there are considerably less factory-fresh examples floating around. That, combined with the rise in popularity of the category, has antique examples in Concourse quality condition to go for top dollar.

Needleless to say, if an automotive investor is looking for something besides muscle cars, imports, or exotics, the American workhorse might be a great place to look.

References

Ford Bronco


2020 Ford Bronco - image 705394

Read our full speculative review for the 2020 Ford Bronco.


2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition - image 649848

Read more auction news.

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


2019 Gensis G70 Sportwagon - image 734727

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?

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