Subscribe:
Chilton’s Repair:
Sponsored Ads:
Car Charger:
Sponsored Ads:
AutoBarn.com:
Auto Europe:
SuperTune Auto Parts:
Fitting Adapter NPT 1/8" Female Metric M12X1.5 Male Replace auto meter 2277 _5P
$8.98
End Date: Thursday Dec-7-2017 9:46:15 PST
Buy It Now for only: $8.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

MOTORCYCLE AND AUTO VALVE LAPPING COMPOUND 600 GRIT
$8.95
End Date: Thursday Dec-7-2017 10:07:05 PST
Buy It Now for only: $8.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Auto Meter Pro control Vertex mag magneto rev limiter Dragster Funny Car enderle
$115.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Nov-25-2017 10:44:43 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Pyrotect Pro Airflow Duckbill Auto Racing Helmet Snell SA2015 - Rebel Graphic
$499.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-2-2017 12:05:22 PST
Buy It Now for only: $499.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Oakley - Race Mid FR Auto Racing Shoes - SFI/FIA - SFI-5 Rated Boot Black - Shoe
$169.95
End Date: Monday Dec-18-2017 7:02:27 PST
Buy It Now for only: $169.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Royal Purple 01320 Max ATF Synthetic Auto Transmission Fluid 1 Quart
$17.74
End Date: Monday Dec-18-2017 21:18:29 PST
Buy It Now for only: $17.74
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Auto Meter 6187 Gauge Shift Light, Level 1 Blue indicators
$215.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-5-2017 9:18:06 PST
Buy It Now for only: $215.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

ZAMP - FSA-3 SA2015 Auto Racing Helmet - HANS Ready - Snell Rated - Full Face +
$175.00
End Date: Sunday Dec-17-2017 15:38:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $175.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Bell HP7 Carbon Duckbill Auto Racing Helmet - Snell SA2015 & FIA8860 (Free Bag)
$3,399.95
End Date: Friday Dec-8-2017 5:03:21 PST
Buy It Now for only: $3,399.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alpinestars Auto Racing Shoe Tech 1-R Size 10.0 Black NEW
$129.95
End Date: Saturday Dec-16-2017 14:34:04 PST
Buy It Now for only: $129.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Archive for the ‘suv’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Infiniti QX80

2018 Infiniti QX80

The Infiniti QX80 is getting a slight refresh for the 2018 model year. This comes after the SUV debuted in 2013 and is welcomed since the SUV segment is so hot these days. The grille, headlights, and hood receive the biggest updates, while new LED taillights, wheel designs, and color options round out the refresh. Even milder changes happen inside, though potential customers wanting the latest and greatest will find the larger rear-seat entertainment screens, revised leather-wrapped steering wheel, and larger storage compartments a welcomed addition.

The QX80 is somewhat of a niche vehicle. Infiniti says it sold 14,085 QX80s in the U.S. within the last calendar year, which is an 8.3-percent increase over the prior year. Compare that to the Chevrolet Tahoe’s 2016 sales of 103,306 in the U.S. Even the Cadillac Escalade outpaced the QX80 in 2016 with 23,604 examples sold in America. Still, Infiniti says its research shows the QX80 averages the youngest buyer in the full-size SUV segment, with a high percentage being females. The brand also labels the QX80 buyer as “affluent, high-achieving entrepreneurs and business leaders, often with families, who demand space and utility, hand-crafted quality and modern design, and effortless on-road performance” – whatever that means. Basically, the QX80 is a three-row, full-size SUV for those who want to stand out. The changes for 2018 won’t magically boost QX80 sales toward the Tahoe, but Infiniti can surely expect to see growth in the segment.

Let’s see exactly what’s changed for 2018.

Exterior

  • Grille more upright
  • Longer and taller hood
  • Revised lower fascia
  • New LED taillights
  • Wider side steps
left
right
“The grille is more upright than before, and the hood is now longer.”

You’ll have to look closely to spot the differences between the 2017 and 2018 QX80s. Nevertheless, the changes do impart a bolder stance that wasn’t present before. The grille is more upright than before, and the hood is now longer. In fact, the grille moves 3.5 inches more forward, and the hood is raised by 0.79 inches. The new LED headlights are moved further up the front fascia. They also have a more aggressive, more modern canter. Infiniti calls them “human-eye” headlights. They’re said to have a triple light guide that passes through multiple lenses to better disperse the light across the road. Down low, the LED fog lights and the surrounding bodywork have been revised for a sharper look. The front fender vents even have a sharpened shape.

Overall, the new front is more aggressive and squarish, which matches the roofline and crisp lines of the D-pillar. The bodywork helps harden the QX80, giving it a more macho stance. That’s something the previous bubbly front design lacked.


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744916
“Three new exterior colors are added.”

Elsewhere on the outside, the QX80 retains most of its previous sheet metal. That’s fine, though, since the 2018 changes are only a mid-cycle refresh. The rounded wheel openings, the blacked-out roof pillars (minus the stylish D-pillar), and the integrated running boards all remain familiar elements. Infiniti did make those running boards 0.79 inches wider for easier footing. The taillights are new, though. As mentioned, they are now LED units and are far less bubbly. The chrome trim above the license plate now extends into the red lenses, while different section within the taillights have different shades of red.
The lower bumper is crisper, as well. New horizontal reflectors help bring definition and better frame the trailer hitch cover.

The 2018 QX80 rides on 20- and 22-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The 20s have a six-spoke design, while the 22s have an 18-spoke design. Both wheels are wrapped in wide, 275-series all-season tires. Three new colors are added to the options list – Moonstone White, Mineral Black, and Champagne Quartz – making nine choices in all with solid, metallic and pearl finishes scattered among the hues.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 121.1
Overall length (Inches) 208.9
Overall width (Inches) 79.9
Overall height w/ roof rack (Inches) 75.8
Front track width (Inches) 67.5
Rear track width (Inches) 67.9
Angle of approach (degrees) 20.9
Angle of departure (degrees) 22.3
Ramp angle (degrees) 20.7

Interior

  • Two available grades of leather
  • Three Interior color options
  • Updated center stack and controls
  • Updated steering wheel
  • New shift lever
  • Larger rear-seat entertainment screens

2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744887
“As for the seating, three color choices and two leather grades are now offered.”

Changes to the 2018 QX80’s interior are minimal yet important. A revised steering wheel and gear shifter not only look better but should feel better to the touch. New leather options are added, and the second-row entertainment system moves from 7.0- to 8.0-inch screens and better resolution at 900 x 540 pixels. The hard-key buttons controlling the infotainment system and radio have been reorganized for easier use.

As for the seating, three color choices and two leather grades are now offered. There are the standard leather and the optional semi-aniline leather with color-contrasting piping. Colors for both leather options include Saddle Brown, Wheat, and Graphite. Regardless of color, the leather comes with a handsome and plush quilted pattern that really looks high-class. Real wood trim lines the center console, dash, and other areas of the interior. Best of all, Infiniti now uses a new micro-coating on the leather that is resistant to stains and denim dye transfer.


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744889
“Infiniti now uses a new micro-coating on the leather that is resistant to stains and denim dye transfer.”

The QX80 continues to offer seating for eight people with the second-row bench or seven people with the second-row captain’s chairs. With those captain’s chairs comes a large center console for storage and cup holders. USB and charge ports are placed on the console between the front seats. Second-row passengers can adjust HVAC settings for rear passengers from here, as well. The outboard seats in the second row are heated. The same is true for the front seats, which also have ventilation.

Drivers will appreciate Infiniti finally adding a smart key that automatically adjusts over 200 settings saved to that key fob. For example, dad’s key will have his seat setting, radio presets, and navigation preferences saved, while mom’s key will have all of her stuff. Depending on which key is used depends on what settings are activated upon start-up.


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744890
“With both rear rows folded, the QX80 swallows 95.1 cubic feet of cargo.”

Smaller yet thoughtful updates include a larger cell phone storage bin that accommodates devices up to 2.9 inches wide. The USB port has been moved to a more accessible spot. The front cup holders now hold two 44-ounce cups for us thirsty Americans. The QX80 adopts Nissan’s Smart Rear View Mirror system for improved rearward visibility. Push a button, and the rear view mirror shows a camera view from the tailgate. This is extremely handy when carrying tall passengers or large cargo.

The QX80 remains massively spacious inside. The cargo area has 16.6 cubic feet of room behind the third row and 49.6 cubic feet with the third-row folded flat. With both rear rows folded, the QX80 swallows 95.1 cubic feet of cargo. Front occupants enjoy 39.6 inches of legroom and 39.9 inches of headroom. Second-row passengers get 41 inches of legroom and 40 inches of headroom. Naturally, the third row is more cramped, yet it still offers 28.8 inches of legroom and 36.8 inches of headroom.

Interior Dimension

Head room with sunroof front/middle/rear (Inches) 39.9/40/36.8
Shoulder room front/middle/rear (Inches) 63.8/63.5/605.
Hip room front/middle/rear (Inches) 59.2/58.4/48.8
Leg room front/middle/rear (Inches) 39.6/41.0/28.8

Drivetrain

  • 5.6-liter V-8
  • 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque
  • Seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Available full-time 4WD
  • 14 mpg city / 20 mpg highway / 16 mpg combined on RWD models
  • 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds
  • Top Speed of 130 mph
  • 8,500-pound towing capacity

2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744912
“The 5.6-liter V-8 remains and still produces a very respectable 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque.”

No changes happen under the 2018 QX80’s hood. The 5.6-liter V-8 remains and still produces a very respectable 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. The seven-speed automatic returns, as does the standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive system.

Those getting the 4WD system will enjoy the Auto mode. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it system that only sends power to the front wheels when the rear wheels lose traction. The 4WD system is also a part-time system, allowing the driver to select 4WD High range and 4WD Low range. High range locks in the front axles and splits power delivery evenly between the front and rear. 4WD Low range does the same but uses shorter gearing to multiply torque for better low-end grunt, which is perfect for hill climbs, churning through deep mud or sand, or recovering a stuck vehicle. The 4WD system also boasts a Snow mode.

Though the QX80 does not have locking differentials, it uses its brakes to redirect power to the tires with traction. Infiniti calls it the four-wheel Active Brake Limited Slip system.


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744873
“The four-wheel independent suspension uses new dampers with a 30-percent reduction in damping force for a smoother ride over rough pavement”

The four-wheel independent suspension uses new dampers with a 30-percent reduction in damping force for a smoother ride over rough pavement. Keeping the QX80 from feeling sloppy is the optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, or HBMC. It uses high-pressure hydraulics linked between the shock absorbers to limit the amount of body roll during turns. Coming standard is the automatic rear leveling system, which keeps the tail from sagging when loaded down. This also helps with the QX80’s 8,500-pound tow rating. And if you haven’t guessed by now, the QX80 rides on a ladder frame shared with the Nissan Armada and its global variant, the Patrol.

Fuel economy isn’t the best, though that’s not a surprise to someone dropping big money on a big SUV. It’s also not too far off what other full-size, three-row SUVs achieve during EPA testing. The QX80 in RWD form will get 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined. 4WD models get 13mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined. And yes, the direct-injected V-8 drinks premium fuel.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine V-8
Displacement 5.6 liters (5,552 cc)
Horsepower 400 HP @ 5,800 RPM
Torque 413 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission Automatic; 7-speed with manual shift mode, Adaptive Shift Control, Downshift Rev Matching (DRM)

Pricing


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744881

Infiniti is adding $900 to the QX80’s base price. That means the RWD model now starts at $65,745 and the 4WD model starts at $68,845. Three trim levels are offered: the standard QX80, the Signature Edition, and the Limited. The Limited starts around $90,000 and will come with just about every optional feature as standard equipment.

2018 Infiniti QX80 $64,750
2018 Infiniti QX80 4WD $67,850
Options
Theater Package $2,450
Split Bench Seat Package $250
Deluxe Technology Package $5,700
22″ Tire & Wheel Package $2,800
Driver Assistance Package $2,900
Premium Paint $500

Competition

Cadillac Escalade


2015 Cadillac Escalade - image 527586

The venerable Cadillac Escalade has been the choice of automotive extravagance since 1999. Over the years, its luxury levels have risen, further separating it from its Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban cousins. The current ‘Slade debuted for 2015 and remains a fresh and solid choice in this category. It can be had in two wheelbase lengths, but both offer three rows with seating for seven.

Power comes from General Motors’ 6.2-liter, LT1-derived V-8. It has direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation and manages an impressive 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission does the shifting and the rear wheels receive power. A full-time 4WD system is optional. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined on 2WD models. Getting 4WD only alters the highway economy, dropping it to 20 mph.

Cadillac keeps the Escalade riding smoothly with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control. The system’s shock absorbers have magnetic particles suspended in the fluid that vary the ride depending on how much electricity they receive. GM says the shocks can adapt to changing road conditions several hundred times a second. The Escalade still uses a solid rear axle but has an independent front suspension.

Pricing for the 2017 Escalade starts at $72,090 for the short-wheelbase model. Checking all the option boxes puts the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV Platinum at $99,390. Adding other options adds even more to the price.

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac Escalade.

Lexus LX570


2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640375

Like the Tahoe-based Escalade and Armada-based QX80, the Lexus LX570 is a dolled-up Toyota Land Cruiser. That’s a great thing for those fond of Toyota’s go-anywhere LC and the heritage that comes with it. Unlike Land Cruiser owners who love flying under the radar, the LX570 shouts its prestige from the rooftops. The large Spindle grille and fishhook headlights draw attention while its interior is more techie and plushy than what’s found inside the Yota.

Under the hood is the same thing, however. Toyota’s aging 5.7-liter V-8. Here it makes 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, and full-time 4WD with low range is standard. The Lexus also boasts advanced electronics that aid in off-road driving. There’s the CRAWL Control and Multi-Terrain Select systems, three drive modes, a locking center differential, and even a turn assist feature that locks the inside rear wheel to shrink the LX’s turn radius while off-road. The adaptive suspension also offers various ride height settings, along with variable stiffness during on-road drives.

Pricing is steep with the LX570. The SUV starts at $89,980. There are no trim levels, so the price all depends on how many options and packages are added. Check all the boxes, and the 2018 LX570 will total $98,610.

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus LX570

Conclusion


2018 Infiniti QX80 - image 744925

The changes Infiniti has given the 2018 QX80 help it look better, ride better, and offer more luxury to its seven or eight passengers. There’s no denying this mid-cycle refresh is a success. We’re always happy to see improvements. There’s also no doubt Infiniti is hoping the updated help QX80 sales, too. There is certainly room to improve on 15,000 examples sold annually. Then again, Infiniti can be thankful the QX80 far outsells the Lexus LX570’s abysmal figures; only 5,707 were sold in 2016 – and that’s an improvement of nearly 2,000 vehicles over 2015. Ouch. Still, it has a ways to go before catching up to the Escalade’s annual sales. Caddy moved 23,604 in the U.S. in 2016 – and that doesn’t even count the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV.

Sales figures aside, the updated 2018 Infiniti QX80 is a solid choice in the exclusive class of luxury body-on-frame three-row SUVs.

  • Leave it
    • Thirsty for premium fuel
    • Expensive with options

References

Infiniti QX80


2015 Infiniti QX80 - image 549643

Read our full review on the previous 2017 Infiniti QX80.



Read more Infiniti news.

PostHeaderIcon Dashboard of Next-Gen Mercedes G-Class Spied

Interior images of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming 2019 G-Class have just leaked online thanks to Dutch Autoweek. The photos show a mockup of the dashboard, complete with its massive infotainment screen, swanky air vents, and modern design. Of course, the dash isn’t the only new part of the 2019 G-Class – rather, the entire body-on-frame SUV will be brand new. That’s something that hasn’t happened in several decades.

The more upscale dash matches what we know the new G-Wagen. It will be wider, longer, and have better on-road refinement thanks to an independent front suspension system and adaptive dampers. Basically, Mercedes is taking its high-class Jeep Wrangler and making it much more refined. The G-Wagen will still be insanely capable off-road, though, thanks to a full-time 4WD system and locking differentials front, center, and rear. Those diff lock controls are positioned prominently between the center air vents, suggesting the G-Wagen will still be marketed as a go-anywhere SUV.

Other visible details include controls styled after the S-Class sedan, a bank of toggle switches, and an analog clock. The gauge cluster is also analog, but we’re betting the S-Class’ full digital cockpit will be available. We can’t wait to see the rest of the interior, and thankfully, that likely won’t be long. Rumors suggest Mercedes will debut the 2019 G-Class at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show in January. For more spy shots and speculation, read out speculative review of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class here.

Interior Of the 2019 G-Class vs. the interior of the 2017 G-Class

left
right

References

Mercedes G-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683652

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


2013 Mercedes G-Class - image 448960

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes AMG G65 to bring down the curtains with Final Edition model

Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition

Mercedes-AMG has decided to pull the plug on its iconic G series SUV’s with the Final Edition model before it stops the production. The company will manufacture 65 units which will be sold worldwide.

The G65 Final Edition will feature 21-inch alloys finished in matte bronze with silver brake calipers. The mirrors, bumpers, and spare-tire cover get the bronze treatment as well. The running board and exhaust get matte black elements, tying the whole package together.


Mercedes AMG G65 to bring down the curtains with Final Edition model - image 740073
“Mercedes-AMG G65 Final Edition comes packed with Carbon-fiber bits all around the cabin”

On the inside, Mercedes-AMG G65 Final Edition comes packed with Carbon-fiber bits all around the cabin. Floor mats and grab handles feature the words “Final Edition” on them. The brown stitching complements the black Nappa leather upholstery well.

Under the hood is the famous, 6.0-liter V12 engine that produces a mammoth 621 horsepower. This astonishing figure is enough to pull this 6000-pound beast from standstill to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds! It is mated to an AMG 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission.

30 of these units will be available for the US market, and Mercedes will carefully handpick the dealers to whom the G65’s will be allotted. The order book will open soon, and the car is priced at an “affordable” $252,690. The car will be manufactured at Mercedes’ plant in Graz, Austria.

Author’s Take


Mercedes AMG G65 to bring down the curtains with Final Edition model - image 740072
“The G65 Special Edition has been priced at a premium of $29,000 over its standard counterpart.”

The Mercedes AMG G65 Final Edition marks the end of an era. The G-class has been the company’s longest-running production car, spanning a life of almost 40 years. The G65 Special Edition has been priced at a premium of $29,000 over its standard counterpart. Although the G65 is being laid to rest, an all-new camouflaged Mercedes G-wagon had been spotted last year. It is just a matter of time that the heavily re-worked model hits the floor, thus resurrecting the legend.

Given the enviable clientele of G-series, it is not “how” the car will be sold with sky-high price, but “how quick” all 65 units hit the road.

References

Mercedes G-Class


Mercedes AMG G65 to bring down the curtains with Final Edition model - image 739733

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition.


2013 Mercedes G65 AMG - image 450391

Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-AMG G 65.


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683652

Read our full speculative review for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 729331

Read our full speculative review for the 2018 Mercedes-AMG G63.

PostHeaderIcon BMW X2 M

BMW X2 M - rendering by http://xtomi.blogspot.com

Rumored since 2011, the BMW X2 crossover was officially confirmed in 2016, when the German firm unveiled a concept car at the Paris Motor Show. One year later and the production model was revealed, joining the X1 in the company’s compact crossover lineup. With the X2 now official and on its way to dealerships, the question on everyone’s lips is will BMW create an M version of the mini SUV? There’s no official confirmation at this point, but there’s solid indication that the X1 will get its first M variant pretty soon. And with the X2 built on the same underpinnings, there’s a good chance that an X2 M will also follow.

Although the new niche the X2 was designed for includes just another model, the Audi Q2, as of this writing, the market is likely to expand in the near future. And as it’s almost always the case, on top of other carmakers joining in, we’ll also see higher-performance versions in dealerships soon. BMW is already a bit late to the party compared to Audi, so it wouldn’t hurt for the X2 M to arrive before the RS Q2 and grab an important share of the market. We’ll probably find out more about this in 2018, but until that happens, the speculative review below will give you an idea of what to expect from this model. We also have a rendering created by X-Tomi Design to go with the info.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW X2 M.

Exterior

  • M-specific features over X2’s unique design
  • Aggressive bumper design
  • Unique wheels
  • Sporty rear diffuser

2020 BMW X2 M - image 741407
“Design upgrades are pretty obvious up front, where the X2 will get a more aggressive bumper with larger vents”

With no prototypes on the road, the X2 M seems to be a mystery as of this writing, but with the standard X2 already in the open and based on M features seen on other SUVs, it’s pretty easy to imagine how the X2 M will look like. And X-Tomi’s rendering is pretty spot on given the circumstances. Design upgrades are pretty obvious up front, where the X2 will get a more aggressive bumper with larger vents onto the sides. The center intake should grow in size too, while all grilles will be replaced with fined honeycomb meshes.

The big question here is whether the X2 M will ditch the standard triangular side vents, which are unique to this model, in favor of the more conventional intakes seen in the rendering, but that’s something we won’t find out more about until the first test cars hit public roads. An “X2 M” emblem will also find its way on the big kidney grille, which should also get optional black trim.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740795

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“Around back, look for a slightly larger roof spoiler and a bigger diffuser-like element”

The X2’s profile will change only slightly with the M package. The side skirts will get extensions, the window trim will switch from chrome to black, while the standard wheels will be replaced by larger, sportier units. BMW will also drop the ride height by a half-inch.

Rear fascia changes are also very predictable. Look for a slightly larger roof spoiler, a bigger diffuser-like element, and a quad-exhaust pipe layout. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body elements are also likely, but it remains to be seen whether they will be offered as standard. BMW needs to keep the crossover’s pricing well below that of the upcoming X3 M so carbon-fiber might be limited to only a few items, like a front splitter and rear bumper trim.

Interior

  • Leather and Alcantara upholstery
  • Sporty seats
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Custom instrument cluster and iDrive display
  • Contrast stitching

2018 BMW X2 - image 740816

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“The crossover should get new, more upscale upholstery, most likely in the form of Merino leather with Alcantara inserts”

Much like any M vehicle out there, the X2 M will get a few sporty upgrades over the usual features found in the standard model. Since the X2 is based on the X1, it’s safe to say that the X2 M will be based on the X1 M. However, since the latter has yet to be unveiled, we don’t have a specific model to look into for accurate hints. But we can look at other M vehicles to get an approximate idea of what we should find in the X2 M. The crossover should get new, more upscale upholstery, most likely in the form of Merino leather with Alcantara inserts.

The interior should be mostly black in standard form, but brighter leather should be available through the Individual program. Contrast stitching will highlight the dashboard, center console, and the door panels. Aluminum trim on the dash and an M-specific instrument cluster with new dials and custom setting will be included as standard too. A sportier steering wheel, sportier seats, new pedals, and a host of M badges will round off the design update. Some extra convenience features are also on the table, including automatic climate control and a Harman Kardon surround sound system.

“A sportier steering wheel, sportier seats, new pedals, and a host of M badges will round off the design update”

Everything else will remain unchanged from the standard X2. So look for the same horizontal layout that makes the cabin seem spacious, large door pockets, optional voice control, and a 8.8-inch display for the iDrive infotainment system. Trunk space should remain the same at 16.6 cubic feet, more than two cubic feet more than the X2’s biggest rival, the Audi Q2. With the rear seats folded flat, trunk capacity should increase to at least 35 cubic feet.

Options will include the full-color Head-Up Display, and a Drive Pack that adds Driving Assistant with adds Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. A Traffic Jam Assistant system will take over both proximity control and lane-keeping tasks from the driver at speeds of up to 37 mph.

Drivetrain

  • At least 300 horsepower
  • Likely a 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • M2 engine likely too
  • Custom suspension setup
  • Performance braking system

2018 BMW X2 - image 740832

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with more than 300 horsepower is very likely”

There’s no word as to what engine will motivate the X2, but it’s safe to assume it will be a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The standard model already uses one in X2 sDrive20i trim, which is rated at 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of twist. Needless to say, the X2 M will be significantly more powerful than that, but it remains to be seen by how much.

The Mercedes-AMG GLA45, for instance, comes with 355 horsepower on tap. This means that its direct competitor, the upcoming X1 M, will have a similar amount. And since the X1 and X2 are basically identical save for the outer skin, the X2 M should get an identical engine and power rating. As of this writing, the most capable 2.0-liter engine cranks out 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in the 3 Series, but it’s definitely capable of more than that with new turbochargers and upgraded internals.

“The extra oomph will be backed by a custom suspension setup and a beefed-up braking system”

The 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine in the M2, which generates 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet, seems perfect for the job, but BMW probably aims to keep six-cylinder units away from these small crossover. If anything, this 3.0-liter mill will find its way into the bigger, upcoming X3 M. Either way, X2 M will have at least 300 horsepower at its disposal. Both a manual and automatic transmission should be offered, but U.S.-spec models won’t get a shifter and clutch pedal. The extra oomph will be backed by a custom suspension setup and a beefed-up braking system.

Prices

U.S. pricing information for the standard X2 is not yet available, but it should retail from around $29,000 in base trim. Given that other M-badged SUVs are around 76-percent more expensive their standard counterparts, it’s safe to assume that the X2 M will retail from around $51,000. That’s a lot of dough considering that the much bigger X5 starts from $56,950, but on par with similar offerings from other makers, such as the Mercedes-AMG GLA45, which costs $50,600 before options.

Competition

Audi RS Q2


2017 Audi Q2 - image 667707

Note: Standard Audi Q2 pictured here.

The X2 competes in a brand-new niche that started life when Audi launched the Q2 in 2016. As a result, the first competitor for the X2 M will come from the same automaker in the form of the RS Q2. And I say “will” because so far Audi has yet to confirm that such a model is underway. But knowing how German automakers expand with performance-oriented and high-performance versions over a couple of years (sometimes even less), both S and RS variants of the Q2 are set to follow. The SQ2 will be the first to arrive, likely with around 300 horsepower, but the RS Q2 will probably hit the market with the old-school, 2.5-liter five-cylinder under the hood. This engine generates a whopping 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque in the latest RS3, and although it might not be this powerful in the RS Q2, it will certainly send at least 350 horses to all four wheels. But it would be out of this world for the beefed-up Q2 to arrive with 400 horsepower, a scenario that would put the X2 M at a big disadvantage performance-wise. Pricing should be similar, around the $50,000 mark before options.

Mercedes-AMG GLA45


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA - image 700285

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is actually a competitor for the BMW X1, but since the X1 and X2 are very closely related under the skin, the comparison is more than fine. And the somewhat sleek appearing of the GLA and the absence of a proper quarter window actually makes it a proper competitor to the X2 design-wise. And unlike the X2, the GLA-Class has already received its performance upgrade. Sold as the AMG GLA45, the souped-up mini SUV sports all the familiar AMG add-on, including larger front bumper vents, unique wheels, and a more aggressive rear bumper. The interior boasts sports seats with heavy bolstering, a flat-bottom steering wheel, bespoke upholstery, and even carbon-fiber trim. Power comes from the same unit in the AMG A45 hatchback, a twin-turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist. The mill mates to an AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic and enables the crossover to hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. The big advantage here is that you can already find it in U.S. dealerships, so unless you’re willing to wait a couple of years for the X2 M, the AMG GLA45 retails from $50,600 before options.

Read our full story on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA45.

Conclusion


2020 BMW X2 M - image 741407

The X2 M might not seem like a necessity for BMW right now with the X2 competing in a brand-new niche, but the German firm has the chance to be one step ahead of the competition with this performance mini SUV. The RS Q2 may actually arrive first, but until other brands join this segment, BMW can set up a solid lineup and establish itself as a powerful force here. Granted, the fact that the Mercedes GLA is very close in terms of size and performance makes things a bit more difficult, but the X2’s unique looks – unlike the GLA, which is a perched-up A-Class – could be more appealing to customers looking for something different. With some 350 horsepower at its disposal and a host of M upgrades, the X2 M could become the dominant force in this niche.

  • Leave it
    • Audi RS Q2 may arrive first
    • Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is a solid proposition

References

BMW X2


BMW X2 Arrives In Paris In Concept Form - image 690239

Read our full review of the 2016 BMW X2 Concept.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740796

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW X2.

BMW X1


2016 BMW X1 - image 632512

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1.


2017 BMW X1 M - image 632752

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1 M.

PostHeaderIcon BMW X2 M

BMW X2 M - rendering by http://xtomi.blogspot.com

Rumored since 2011, the BMW X2 crossover was officially confirmed in 2016, when the German firm unveiled a concept car at the Paris Motor Show. One year later and the production model was revealed, joining the X1 in the company’s compact crossover lineup. With the X2 now official and on its way to dealerships, the question on everyone’s lips is will BMW create an M version of the mini SUV? There’s no official confirmation at this point, but there’s solid indication that the X1 will get its first M variant pretty soon. And with the X2 built on the same underpinnings, there’s a good chance that an X2 M will also follow.

Although the new niche the X2 was designed for includes just another model, the Audi Q2, as of this writing, the market is likely to expand in the near future. And as it’s almost always the case, on top of other carmakers joining in, we’ll also see higher-performance versions in dealerships soon. BMW is already a bit late to the party compared to Audi, so it wouldn’t hurt for the X2 M to arrive before the RS Q2 and grab an important share of the market. We’ll probably find out more about this in 2018, but until that happens, the speculative review below will give you an idea of what to expect from this model. We also have a rendering created by X-Tomi Design to go with the info.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW X2 M.

Exterior

  • M-specific features over X2’s unique design
  • Aggressive bumper design
  • Unique wheels
  • Sporty rear diffuser

2020 BMW X2 M - image 741407
“Design upgrades are pretty obvious up front, where the X2 will get a more aggressive bumper with larger vents”

With no prototypes on the road, the X2 M seems to be a mystery as of this writing, but with the standard X2 already in the open and based on M features seen on other SUVs, it’s pretty easy to imagine how the X2 M will look like. And X-Tomi’s rendering is pretty spot on given the circumstances. Design upgrades are pretty obvious up front, where the X2 will get a more aggressive bumper with larger vents onto the sides. The center intake should grow in size too, while all grilles will be replaced with fined honeycomb meshes.

The big question here is whether the X2 M will ditch the standard triangular side vents, which are unique to this model, in favor of the more conventional intakes seen in the rendering, but that’s something we won’t find out more about until the first test cars hit public roads. An “X2 M” emblem will also find its way on the big kidney grille, which should also get optional black trim.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740795

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“Around back, look for a slightly larger roof spoiler and a bigger diffuser-like element”

The X2’s profile will change only slightly with the M package. The side skirts will get extensions, the window trim will switch from chrome to black, while the standard wheels will be replaced by larger, sportier units. BMW will also drop the ride height by a half-inch.

Rear fascia changes are also very predictable. Look for a slightly larger roof spoiler, a bigger diffuser-like element, and a quad-exhaust pipe layout. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body elements are also likely, but it remains to be seen whether they will be offered as standard. BMW needs to keep the crossover’s pricing well below that of the upcoming X3 M so carbon-fiber might be limited to only a few items, like a front splitter and rear bumper trim.

Interior

  • Leather and Alcantara upholstery
  • Sporty seats
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Custom instrument cluster and iDrive display
  • Contrast stitching

2018 BMW X2 - image 740816

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“The crossover should get new, more upscale upholstery, most likely in the form of Merino leather with Alcantara inserts”

Much like any M vehicle out there, the X2 M will get a few sporty upgrades over the usual features found in the standard model. Since the X2 is based on the X1, it’s safe to say that the X2 M will be based on the X1 M. However, since the latter has yet to be unveiled, we don’t have a specific model to look into for accurate hints. But we can look at other M vehicles to get an approximate idea of what we should find in the X2 M. The crossover should get new, more upscale upholstery, most likely in the form of Merino leather with Alcantara inserts.

The interior should be mostly black in standard form, but brighter leather should be available through the Individual program. Contrast stitching will highlight the dashboard, center console, and the door panels. Aluminum trim on the dash and an M-specific instrument cluster with new dials and custom setting will be included as standard too. A sportier steering wheel, sportier seats, new pedals, and a host of M badges will round off the design update. Some extra convenience features are also on the table, including automatic climate control and a Harman Kardon surround sound system.

“A sportier steering wheel, sportier seats, new pedals, and a host of M badges will round off the design update”

Everything else will remain unchanged from the standard X2. So look for the same horizontal layout that makes the cabin seem spacious, large door pockets, optional voice control, and a 8.8-inch display for the iDrive infotainment system. Trunk space should remain the same at 16.6 cubic feet, more than two cubic feet more than the X2’s biggest rival, the Audi Q2. With the rear seats folded flat, trunk capacity should increase to at least 35 cubic feet.

Options will include the full-color Head-Up Display, and a Drive Pack that adds Driving Assistant with adds Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. A Traffic Jam Assistant system will take over both proximity control and lane-keeping tasks from the driver at speeds of up to 37 mph.

Drivetrain

  • At least 300 horsepower
  • Likely a 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • M2 engine likely too
  • Custom suspension setup
  • Performance braking system

2018 BMW X2 - image 740832

Note: Standard BMW X2 pictured here.

“A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with more than 300 horsepower is very likely”

There’s no word as to what engine will motivate the X2, but it’s safe to assume it will be a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The standard model already uses one in X2 sDrive20i trim, which is rated at 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of twist. Needless to say, the X2 M will be significantly more powerful than that, but it remains to be seen by how much.

The Mercedes-AMG GLA45, for instance, comes with 355 horsepower on tap. This means that its direct competitor, the upcoming X1 M, will have a similar amount. And since the X1 and X2 are basically identical save for the outer skin, the X2 M should get an identical engine and power rating. As of this writing, the most capable 2.0-liter engine cranks out 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in the 3 Series, but it’s definitely capable of more than that with new turbochargers and upgraded internals.

“The extra oomph will be backed by a custom suspension setup and a beefed-up braking system”

The 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine in the M2, which generates 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet, seems perfect for the job, but BMW probably aims to keep six-cylinder units away from these small crossover. If anything, this 3.0-liter mill will find its way into the bigger, upcoming X3 M. Either way, X2 M will have at least 300 horsepower at its disposal. Both a manual and automatic transmission should be offered, but U.S.-spec models won’t get a shifter and clutch pedal. The extra oomph will be backed by a custom suspension setup and a beefed-up braking system.

Prices

U.S. pricing information for the standard X2 is not yet available, but it should retail from around $29,000 in base trim. Given that other M-badged SUVs are around 76-percent more expensive their standard counterparts, it’s safe to assume that the X2 M will retail from around $51,000. That’s a lot of dough considering that the much bigger X5 starts from $56,950, but on par with similar offerings from other makers, such as the Mercedes-AMG GLA45, which costs $50,600 before options.

Competition

Audi RS Q2


2017 Audi Q2 - image 667707

Note: Standard Audi Q2 pictured here.

The X2 competes in a brand-new niche that started life when Audi launched the Q2 in 2016. As a result, the first competitor for the X2 M will come from the same automaker in the form of the RS Q2. And I say “will” because so far Audi has yet to confirm that such a model is underway. But knowing how German automakers expand with performance-oriented and high-performance versions over a couple of years (sometimes even less), both S and RS variants of the Q2 are set to follow. The SQ2 will be the first to arrive, likely with around 300 horsepower, but the RS Q2 will probably hit the market with the old-school, 2.5-liter five-cylinder under the hood. This engine generates a whopping 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque in the latest RS3, and although it might not be this powerful in the RS Q2, it will certainly send at least 350 horses to all four wheels. But it would be out of this world for the beefed-up Q2 to arrive with 400 horsepower, a scenario that would put the X2 M at a big disadvantage performance-wise. Pricing should be similar, around the $50,000 mark before options.

Mercedes-AMG GLA45


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA - image 700285

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is actually a competitor for the BMW X1, but since the X1 and X2 are very closely related under the skin, the comparison is more than fine. And the somewhat sleek appearing of the GLA and the absence of a proper quarter window actually makes it a proper competitor to the X2 design-wise. And unlike the X2, the GLA-Class has already received its performance upgrade. Sold as the AMG GLA45, the souped-up mini SUV sports all the familiar AMG add-on, including larger front bumper vents, unique wheels, and a more aggressive rear bumper. The interior boasts sports seats with heavy bolstering, a flat-bottom steering wheel, bespoke upholstery, and even carbon-fiber trim. Power comes from the same unit in the AMG A45 hatchback, a twin-turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist. The mill mates to an AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic and enables the crossover to hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. The big advantage here is that you can already find it in U.S. dealerships, so unless you’re willing to wait a couple of years for the X2 M, the AMG GLA45 retails from $50,600 before options.

Read our full story on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA45.

Conclusion


2020 BMW X2 M - image 741407

The X2 M might not seem like a necessity for BMW right now with the X2 competing in a brand-new niche, but the German firm has the chance to be one step ahead of the competition with this performance mini SUV. The RS Q2 may actually arrive first, but until other brands join this segment, BMW can set up a solid lineup and establish itself as a powerful force here. Granted, the fact that the Mercedes GLA is very close in terms of size and performance makes things a bit more difficult, but the X2’s unique looks – unlike the GLA, which is a perched-up A-Class – could be more appealing to customers looking for something different. With some 350 horsepower at its disposal and a host of M upgrades, the X2 M could become the dominant force in this niche.

  • Leave it
    • Audi RS Q2 may arrive first
    • Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is a solid proposition

References

BMW X2


BMW X2 Arrives In Paris In Concept Form - image 690239

Read our full review of the 2016 BMW X2 Concept.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740796

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW X2.

BMW X1


2016 BMW X1 - image 632512

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1.


2017 BMW X1 M - image 632752

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1 M.

PostHeaderIcon The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac

The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac

Forget your grandfather’s 1985 Cadillac DeVille and even your neighbor’s 2011 DTS; the 2017 XT5 is the best iteration of the Cadillac spirit since the big fins and acres of chrome on the 1959 Eldorado. Sitting inside is where that feeling originates. The materials, the fit and finish, the in-dash technology, and the overall appearance impart a sense of luxury not found in prior generations.

The XT5 is completely new for 2017. Its clean-sheet architecture gave engineers the ability to bake in added comforts and features not seen Caddy’s previous crossovers. There’s an honestly new 3.6-liter V-6, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the techie part-time AWD system. But beyond the mechanics and greasy bits, the XT5’s interior simply feels a cut above. I recently spent time in a 2017 CTS-V – the 640-horsepower monster with the bones of Chevy Camaro ZL1. While it was insanely powerful, it can’t match the XT5 for luxury. Granted, the CTS-V’s aim isn’t to coddle, so I’ll give it a partial pass. Still, the XT5 just feels incredibly plush.

Continue reading for more opinions on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.

  • The XT5 shares interior themes with the CT6 sedan
  • Improved controls with CUE system
  • Classy materials add a rich feel
  • 8.0-inch Infotainment screen
  • 4.2-inch Driver Information Display
  • Color head-up display
  • Reclining rear seats
  • Heated and vented front seats
  • Adjustable aluminum cargo partition
  • The XT5 is based on GM’s C1XX artchitecture
  • All-new 3.6-liter V-6
  • 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Part-time AWD system
  • 18 mpg city / 26 mpg hwy / 21 mpg combined
  • 5-Star NHTSA overall crash rating
  • Pricing from $39,395 to $70,000+

A New Time For Cadillac


The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac - image 743978
“Luxury can be defined by the utter usefulness and convenience something offers, not just how high-tech it is.”

The XT5 does share many of its internal materials with other Cadillacs and General Motors products, but a few key differences set it apart. The CUE system has been reworked to make its operation simpler. Toggle switches now control the main HVAC functions and only one “slider,” for the radio volume, remains. Even it feels easier to use than the CTS-V’s. See, luxury can be defined by the utter usefulness and convenience something offers, not just how high-tech it is or what material it’s made from. Simple is better, at least when it comes to a user interface.

Thankfully, the XT5 isn’t alone in this. The CT6 sedan, which debuted for the 2016 model year, also shares much of the XT5’s interior, including the new CUE system. I’m hoping to see Cadillac adopt this system (or something even better) on future vehicles.

As for the materials, things are impressive inside the XT5 Platinum, the range-topping trim offered on this crossover. It features suede on the headliner, on the dash, and on the door panels. The rest of the dash is covered in real leather, wood, and metal. Panel fitment is well done. Gaps are tight and annoying noises are completely absent. The heated and vented front seats provide hours of happy riding and the power-tilt and telescope steering column makes it easy to find the perfect driving position.


The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac - image 743999
“The heated and vented front seats provide hours of happy riding.”

I do have a couple complaints, though. The cream-colored leather dash does create a pretty annoying glare on the windshield during the mid-day and the electronic gear shifter doesn’t provide the most intuitive or enjoyable user experience. I also wish the cubby hole below the HVAC controls was about two inches deeper to accommodate larger cell phones. Lastly, I’m not the biggest fan of the XT5’s exterior. Its proportions feel bloated. I think it boils down to the front fascia’s low-hanging chin. The XT5’s front third just looks overweight. That’s a complete departure from the CT6 sedan, which is one of the sexiest sedans on the road today thanks to its low hood and angular lines that borrow from no one. But that’s another topic.


The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac - image 743991
“The cream-colored leather dash does create a pretty annoying glare on the windshield during the mid-day.”

When it comes to sitting in the back, Cadillac doesn’t treat you as second-class passengers. There is generous leg and headroom. The seats are well padded and can be reclined. Separate HVAC controls reside between the front seats and separate air vents make controlling airflow a breeze.

The XT5 is good at hauling cargo, too. My tester has the adjustable cargo bar that slides along the integrated floor rails. Moving it is simple and keeps your golf equipment from clubbing your groceries. A power liftgate makes for easy access, too. The rear seats are actually split 40/20/40 style, allowing each of the three seats to fold individually. That’s not a common feature these days, even in crossovers.

All told, the XT5 (along with the CT6) is a vast step forward for Cadillac’s interior quality and mind for luxury. It certainly feels worthy of the $67,155 MSRP attached to my tester.

What do you think? Do you like the Cadillac XT5? Would you buy this over the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, or even the Jaguar F-Pace? Let me know in the comments.

References


How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5's AWD System - image 743169

How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5’s AWD System


Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5 - image 742588

Cadillac Fixed CUE for the XT5

Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 645340

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Niro EV

2019 Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro EV has finally been spotted in the wild for the first time, and it was testing with its slightly smaller cousin, the Hyundai Kona EV. Based on its hybrid twin, the Niro Hybrid, the EV will ride on the same dedicated platform but is expected to deliver somewhere around 200 to 250 miles per charge. Then again, the Hyundai Kona is expected to offer up somewhere around 310 miles with its largest battery option, and both brands will use the same equipment, so the Niro could deliver closer to 300. But we’ll talk more about that a little later. With that said, not a lot has changed from the hybrid version of the Niro, but Kia has made a few changes that we can talk about.

Before we dive too deep into the details, let’s just point out that it’s not likely Kia will disappoint with the Niro EV. The Niro started life as the 2014 Kia KX3, which was already near-production ready. A couple of years passed before we saw the production model, but Kia didn’t disappoint and, if anything, it actually improved on its conceptual design for the Niro. The Niro is still relatively new on the market, making its initial push for the 2017 model year but it has taken the subcompact crossover market by storm. Kia promised us the EV by 2018 and, so far, it looks like Kia is about to hit yet another home run as this EV looks like it’s ready to bring the bacon to the table. Let’s take a good look at it before Kia beats us to the punch.

Kia Niro EV Exterior

  • Revised front fascia
  • Fog lights moved to the flanks
  • Could have a different grille
  • Side profile remains unchanged but could get lighter wheels
  • Rear end will see a revised lower fascia and new badges

2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742858
“The Niro EV won’t change all that much from the hybrid model it is based on”

As is the usual case with cars-turned-electric, the Niro EV won’t change all that much from the hybrid model it is based on. It will, however, take on a few changes and, despite all of the camo and padding, we can already make out a pretty decent idea of what we can expect. First off, the main shell of the car we go on unchanged from the basic hybrid model, as well most of the body panels, including the front fenders, front hood, and rear hatch – aside from different badges, of course. What will change outside, however, is the front fascia and maybe even the rear fascia to a very small extent. As best we can tell, the fog lights will be moved to the sides and site directly below the headlamps, which is completely different compared to the hybrid.

Those corner vents on the hybrid are also left aside for a different look that will include triangular units that are much smaller and feature horizontal louvers. I suspect the air dam will also be smaller as there is little need for cooling outside of the battery packs and a little airflow for the electric motor. The real question is whether or not Kia will do something different with the grille. Since this is an EV, there’s no need for a radiator, and the grille is, therefore, rendered redundant. Kia may elect to carry it over from the hybrid for the purposes of brand identification, or it could offer up a slightly different approach – like a backlit mesh, for instance – while still keeping the same size and shape; again, to preserve brand identity.


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742863
“The side profile and roof will remain untouched in comparison to the standard hybrid model, as will the rear hatch and taillights”

The side profile and roof will remain untouched in comparison to the standard hybrid model, as will the rear hatch and taillights. As I mentioned earlier, the rear fascia may change just a little bit, but for the most part, it will remain the same, evidenced by the stout body lines that we can see on the corners below the taillights. What we can point out is that there are some horizontal louvers in the lower corners of the rear fascia that aren’t present on the hybrid model, and this is where the minor differences lie. With so much camo and padding, there’s no telling what is really going on here, but it can’t be too different, as the same license plate recess in the center of the lower fascia is in place as it should be.

Again, not a lot to separate the EV from the hybrid, but there’s enough to make it known to those who have a keen eye for spotting the little things. Are there any other little differences I missed? If you see anything, let me know in the comments at the bottom of the article. If not, let’s talk a little about the interior.

Kia Niro EV Interior

  • Interior will be near identical
  • Will get an all-digital instrument cluster
  • Infotainment display may be revised
  • No need for a gear shifter

2017 Kia Niro - image 665044
Interior from 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid shown here.
“The interior will be nearly indistinguishable from any other non-EV Niro you find on the road”

If you like the interior you see here, then you’ll be happy to know that the EV badging outside and the lithium-ion bits under the metal won’t bring a lot of change to the interior. You can expect the same exact layout – seating for five, comfortable but not-so-supportive seats up front, pleasant-looking dash, and dual-zone climate control. Truth be told, the interior will be nearly indistinguishable from any other non-EV Niro you find on the road. There should be a few changes, however. First off, all interior lighting is all but guaranteed to be LED in nature – this will help preserve that precious go juice from the battery. To add to this, there will likely be a different shifter as the EV will be void of a typical transmission, and the infotainment system could be up for a change as well. Not necessarily a different look, but there could be different software involved; more specifically, software that is designed to account for various bits of data like state of charge, battery health, etc.

What you can be sure to see is a new instrument cluster ahead of the steering wheel. As is the usual case with all-electric cars, the analog or semi-digital instrument clusters go bye-bye while all-digital units become the only choice. This is to help preserve power as it’s much more efficient to have an all-digital screen than a motor-actuated needle. Plus, there’s no need for a tachometer on an electric car, either. So, the instrument cluster should be home to a few new meters that include a battery meter, state of charge, range indicator, and it may even supplement the navigation system by pointing you to the nearest public charging stations. After all, there’s a big plug next to the grille up front for a reason – this thing doesn’t run on dreams and unicorn farts, that’s for sure.

Kia Niro EV Drivetrain

  • Could be AWD with two or four electric motors
  • With four motors it could torque distribution on demand
  • Could also be front-wheel drive
  • Range will vary from around 150 miles to 310 miles depending on battery size
  • 140 to 200 horsepower can be expected
  • Charging time will fall under six hours for a full charge

2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742865
“The chances are that the Niro EV will be all-wheel drive with two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear”

Unfortunately, what’s lurks below the metal as the main form of motivation has been rather elusive up to this point. We know very little about what’s going on or about what we can expect from the Niro EV, but word has it that it will benefit from Hyundai’s selection of batteries that include 39.2 kWh and 64.2 kWh units, both of which will be offered in the Hyundai Kona EV as well. Hyundai says the larger battery will be good for around 500 km or about 310 miles. We’re guessing that the smaller battery will probably be good for around 130 miles of range, at best.

The chances are that the Niro EV will be all-wheel drive with two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear. It’s possible Kia could go with four smaller motors, one at each wheel, but I really wouldn’t hold my breath for that. Kia could also make the Niro front-wheel-drive only to save weight and battery power, or design it so that its AWD on demand, with power being sent to the rear wheels only when needed. After looking at models like the Hyundai Ioniq EV and the Kia Soul EV, we’re guessing that power output will sit somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 to 140 horsepower. It’s a fairly small vehicle, and it won’t really need a whole lot of grunt. Then again, Kia could up the ante a bit and let it deliver around 200 horsepower, at least giving it the ability to tow small things or carry a full load of cargo in the boot without struggling like a hooker walking into church after a busy Saturday night.
Keep in mind, however, that even the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell boasts just 134 horsepower, so I really wouldn’t hold my breath for much more than that – this thing needs to offer up decent range too.

Kia Niro EV Pricing

Pricing should range from $35,000 to about $43,000


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742866

The Niro Hybrid currently tips the pricing scale at $23,240 for an entry-level model. Meanwhile, the range-topping Touring trim level is currently going for around $31,900. With that in mind, you can expect the EV to start out at no less than $35,000 because, for lack of a better reason, it’s an EV. It’s naturally more expensive to have such a large battery, and it’s possible that there’s an extra motor in there as well. With various trim levels eventually coming to the surface, the Niro EV could command anywhere between $35,000 and $43,000 in range-topping form. Seems like a lot for a subcompact crossover, but it’s an EV, and that’s the way the market trends right now for prices on these things – even the little ones.

Kia Niro EV Competition

At this point, there isn’t really anything on the market for the Niro EV to compete with, so you could even start hoping for Kia to be the first to put its subcompact SUV on the market – it’s certainly coming soon, right? All told, there’s nothing for it to compete with now, but there are a bunch of models on their way, and the Niro EV will find itself fight among some pretty serious models that are all hoping to reign supreme in what will be an epic EV showdown. So let’s take a quick look at all of the upcoming competitors.

Jaguar I-Pace


2019 Jaguar I-Pace - image 722486

The Jaguar I-Pace will likely fall a little a little higher on the pricing scale than the Niro EV since it is a premium vehicle and all, but it should be one of the first compact models to actually hit the market – most likely around the same time as the Niro or 2019 at the latest. It’s got more of a car look to it than the official “crossover” or “SUV” look but to each their own in that regard. It should sit in the same general size niche and should be able to cover about 300 miles on a single charge. Naturally, the materials and fit and finish will probably be a little more upscale, but Kia is slowly becoming a luxury brand itself – think about the Kia Stinger… — so I wouldn’t be so quick to say it won’t be able to hold its own against the Jag.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.

Mercedes Electric EV – Mercedes EQ


2020 Mercedes-Benz All-Electric SUV - image 697079

Mercedes’ first electric SUV is expected to debut for the 2020 model year, so Kia will probably beat it out of the gate, but what will be unique about this SUV is that it will be quite powerful in comparison. If the SUV is, indeed, based on the Mercedes EQ Concept, it should have some 400 horsepower on tap and be good for a range of about 300 miles. The Niro EV will keep up in range, no doubt, but that power on the other hand? I’m quite doubtful, but a man can still hope, right? In the end, the Mercedes EQ SUV in production form should come in at around $40,000 in base form which will be a little more expensive than the entry-level Niro EV but still with the realm of competition.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Mercedes Electric SUV.

Hyundai Kona EV


2018 Hyundai Kona - image 720693

Note: Standard Hyundai Kona pictured here.

It seems a little redundant to mention the Kona EV here considering Hyundai is practically the same company once the two Korean carmakers merged into a single automotive group. Be that as it may, it’s still going to take up a place in the same niche, and that means the Niro EV will have to compete with it, even if profits from both models line the pockets of the same wealthy executive. It will actually be a little smaller than the Niro and as such may even come in a few grand cheaper but it should offer up the same range, power, and typical amenities inside and out. On the plus side, Hyundai’s current design language does have a slightly more attractive front end, so it may be advisable to go with the Kona EV. Plus, the ICE-powered Kona is already hitting dealers in the very near future so it’ll at least have an established following when the EV makes its debut. Pricing should start out around $33,000 and climb to as much as $40,000 at launch.

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.

Tesla Model Y


2020 Tesla Model Y - image 722132

It’s a shame but I almost wrote up this whole article without thinking about Tesla once, but as I came to the end, I decided I might as well throw it a bone considering it’s having a pretty rough year. The brand has been hit with various lawsuits for harassment, racism, discrimination, etc., and it posted a serious loss for the last quarter. Then you add in the fact that production of the Model 3 has become about as troublesome as trying to get through a dry county in Georgia without getting caught with that booze in your trunk. Either way, at some point Tesla will be debuting a smaller version of the Model X that will aptly be called Model Y, and effectively complete the SEXY lineup. It should fall in line with the Model 3 so expect to see a rather bland interior with a single screen for all pertinent driving information (no instrument cluster, either,) and it will likely be the least-attractive model of any that we’ve discussed in this speculative review. With that Said, the Model Y will likely come in at around $40,000 to $45,000 before tax incentives, which may be something to pay attention to considering President Trump is thinking of taking those away.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Tesla Model Y.

Conclusion


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742867

So, at this point, the only question you should really have about the Niro EV is when it’s going to hit dealers. Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell you that as it’s still a bit too early. But, when you consider the fact that there isn’t a lot left for Kia to do outside of extensive testing of the drivetrain, it could happen in the very near future. It’s supposed to take shape and make its debut in 2018, so if it happens in the first quarter, we could very well see this thing rolling into dealers, pigtail hanging, by mid-July and go on sale as a 2019 model. This could, as a matter of fact, happen before most of the other competitors make it to market, but we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, that’s all there is to the story, but stay tuned for future updates and let us know what you think about the Niro EV in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • Competition could be tough
    • Could be a little too expensive
    • Competition may have more grunt for the $

PostHeaderIcon Kia Niro EV

2019 Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro EV has finally been spotted in the wild for the first time, and it was testing with its slightly smaller cousin, the Hyundai Kona EV. Based on its hybrid twin, the Niro Hybrid, the EV will ride on the same dedicated platform but is expected to deliver somewhere around 200 to 250 miles per charge. Then again, the Hyundai Kona is expected to offer up somewhere around 310 miles with its largest battery option, and both brands will use the same equipment, so the Niro could deliver closer to 300. But we’ll talk more about that a little later. With that said, not a lot has changed from the hybrid version of the Niro, but Kia has made a few changes that we can talk about.

Before we dive too deep into the details, let’s just point out that it’s not likely Kia will disappoint with the Niro EV. The Niro started life as the 2014 Kia KX3, which was already near-production ready. A couple of years passed before we saw the production model, but Kia didn’t disappoint and, if anything, it actually improved on its conceptual design for the Niro. The Niro is still relatively new on the market, making its initial push for the 2017 model year but it has taken the subcompact crossover market by storm. Kia promised us the EV by 2018 and, so far, it looks like Kia is about to hit yet another home run as this EV looks like it’s ready to bring the bacon to the table. Let’s take a good look at it before Kia beats us to the punch.

Kia Niro EV Exterior

  • Revised front fascia
  • Fog lights moved to the flanks
  • Could have a different grille
  • Side profile remains unchanged but could get lighter wheels
  • Rear end will see a revised lower fascia and new badges

2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742858
“The Niro EV won’t change all that much from the hybrid model it is based on”

As is the usual case with cars-turned-electric, the Niro EV won’t change all that much from the hybrid model it is based on. It will, however, take on a few changes and, despite all of the camo and padding, we can already make out a pretty decent idea of what we can expect. First off, the main shell of the car we go on unchanged from the basic hybrid model, as well most of the body panels, including the front fenders, front hood, and rear hatch – aside from different badges, of course. What will change outside, however, is the front fascia and maybe even the rear fascia to a very small extent. As best we can tell, the fog lights will be moved to the sides and site directly below the headlamps, which is completely different compared to the hybrid.

Those corner vents on the hybrid are also left aside for a different look that will include triangular units that are much smaller and feature horizontal louvers. I suspect the air dam will also be smaller as there is little need for cooling outside of the battery packs and a little airflow for the electric motor. The real question is whether or not Kia will do something different with the grille. Since this is an EV, there’s no need for a radiator, and the grille is, therefore, rendered redundant. Kia may elect to carry it over from the hybrid for the purposes of brand identification, or it could offer up a slightly different approach – like a backlit mesh, for instance – while still keeping the same size and shape; again, to preserve brand identity.


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742863
“The side profile and roof will remain untouched in comparison to the standard hybrid model, as will the rear hatch and taillights”

The side profile and roof will remain untouched in comparison to the standard hybrid model, as will the rear hatch and taillights. As I mentioned earlier, the rear fascia may change just a little bit, but for the most part, it will remain the same, evidenced by the stout body lines that we can see on the corners below the taillights. What we can point out is that there are some horizontal louvers in the lower corners of the rear fascia that aren’t present on the hybrid model, and this is where the minor differences lie. With so much camo and padding, there’s no telling what is really going on here, but it can’t be too different, as the same license plate recess in the center of the lower fascia is in place as it should be.

Again, not a lot to separate the EV from the hybrid, but there’s enough to make it known to those who have a keen eye for spotting the little things. Are there any other little differences I missed? If you see anything, let me know in the comments at the bottom of the article. If not, let’s talk a little about the interior.

Kia Niro EV Interior

  • Interior will be near identical
  • Will get an all-digital instrument cluster
  • Infotainment display may be revised
  • No need for a gear shifter

2017 Kia Niro - image 665044
Interior from 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid shown here.
“The interior will be nearly indistinguishable from any other non-EV Niro you find on the road”

If you like the interior you see here, then you’ll be happy to know that the EV badging outside and the lithium-ion bits under the metal won’t bring a lot of change to the interior. You can expect the same exact layout – seating for five, comfortable but not-so-supportive seats up front, pleasant-looking dash, and dual-zone climate control. Truth be told, the interior will be nearly indistinguishable from any other non-EV Niro you find on the road. There should be a few changes, however. First off, all interior lighting is all but guaranteed to be LED in nature – this will help preserve that precious go juice from the battery. To add to this, there will likely be a different shifter as the EV will be void of a typical transmission, and the infotainment system could be up for a change as well. Not necessarily a different look, but there could be different software involved; more specifically, software that is designed to account for various bits of data like state of charge, battery health, etc.

What you can be sure to see is a new instrument cluster ahead of the steering wheel. As is the usual case with all-electric cars, the analog or semi-digital instrument clusters go bye-bye while all-digital units become the only choice. This is to help preserve power as it’s much more efficient to have an all-digital screen than a motor-actuated needle. Plus, there’s no need for a tachometer on an electric car, either. So, the instrument cluster should be home to a few new meters that include a battery meter, state of charge, range indicator, and it may even supplement the navigation system by pointing you to the nearest public charging stations. After all, there’s a big plug next to the grille up front for a reason – this thing doesn’t run on dreams and unicorn farts, that’s for sure.

Kia Niro EV Drivetrain

  • Could be AWD with two or four electric motors
  • With four motors it could torque distribution on demand
  • Could also be front-wheel drive
  • Range will vary from around 150 miles to 310 miles depending on battery size
  • 140 to 200 horsepower can be expected
  • Charging time will fall under six hours for a full charge

2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742865
“The chances are that the Niro EV will be all-wheel drive with two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear”

Unfortunately, what’s lurks below the metal as the main form of motivation has been rather elusive up to this point. We know very little about what’s going on or about what we can expect from the Niro EV, but word has it that it will benefit from Hyundai’s selection of batteries that include 39.2 kWh and 64.2 kWh units, both of which will be offered in the Hyundai Kona EV as well. Hyundai says the larger battery will be good for around 500 km or about 310 miles. We’re guessing that the smaller battery will probably be good for around 130 miles of range, at best.

The chances are that the Niro EV will be all-wheel drive with two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear. It’s possible Kia could go with four smaller motors, one at each wheel, but I really wouldn’t hold my breath for that. Kia could also make the Niro front-wheel-drive only to save weight and battery power, or design it so that its AWD on demand, with power being sent to the rear wheels only when needed. After looking at models like the Hyundai Ioniq EV and the Kia Soul EV, we’re guessing that power output will sit somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 to 140 horsepower. It’s a fairly small vehicle, and it won’t really need a whole lot of grunt. Then again, Kia could up the ante a bit and let it deliver around 200 horsepower, at least giving it the ability to tow small things or carry a full load of cargo in the boot without struggling like a hooker walking into church after a busy Saturday night.
Keep in mind, however, that even the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell boasts just 134 horsepower, so I really wouldn’t hold my breath for much more than that – this thing needs to offer up decent range too.

Kia Niro EV Pricing

Pricing should range from $35,000 to about $43,000


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742866

The Niro Hybrid currently tips the pricing scale at $23,240 for an entry-level model. Meanwhile, the range-topping Touring trim level is currently going for around $31,900. With that in mind, you can expect the EV to start out at no less than $35,000 because, for lack of a better reason, it’s an EV. It’s naturally more expensive to have such a large battery, and it’s possible that there’s an extra motor in there as well. With various trim levels eventually coming to the surface, the Niro EV could command anywhere between $35,000 and $43,000 in range-topping form. Seems like a lot for a subcompact crossover, but it’s an EV, and that’s the way the market trends right now for prices on these things – even the little ones.

Kia Niro EV Competition

At this point, there isn’t really anything on the market for the Niro EV to compete with, so you could even start hoping for Kia to be the first to put its subcompact SUV on the market – it’s certainly coming soon, right? All told, there’s nothing for it to compete with now, but there are a bunch of models on their way, and the Niro EV will find itself fight among some pretty serious models that are all hoping to reign supreme in what will be an epic EV showdown. So let’s take a quick look at all of the upcoming competitors.

Jaguar I-Pace


2019 Jaguar I-Pace - image 722486

The Jaguar I-Pace will likely fall a little a little higher on the pricing scale than the Niro EV since it is a premium vehicle and all, but it should be one of the first compact models to actually hit the market – most likely around the same time as the Niro or 2019 at the latest. It’s got more of a car look to it than the official “crossover” or “SUV” look but to each their own in that regard. It should sit in the same general size niche and should be able to cover about 300 miles on a single charge. Naturally, the materials and fit and finish will probably be a little more upscale, but Kia is slowly becoming a luxury brand itself – think about the Kia Stinger… — so I wouldn’t be so quick to say it won’t be able to hold its own against the Jag.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.

Mercedes Electric EV – Mercedes EQ


2020 Mercedes-Benz All-Electric SUV - image 697079

Mercedes’ first electric SUV is expected to debut for the 2020 model year, so Kia will probably beat it out of the gate, but what will be unique about this SUV is that it will be quite powerful in comparison. If the SUV is, indeed, based on the Mercedes EQ Concept, it should have some 400 horsepower on tap and be good for a range of about 300 miles. The Niro EV will keep up in range, no doubt, but that power on the other hand? I’m quite doubtful, but a man can still hope, right? In the end, the Mercedes EQ SUV in production form should come in at around $40,000 in base form which will be a little more expensive than the entry-level Niro EV but still with the realm of competition.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Mercedes Electric SUV.

Hyundai Kona EV


2018 Hyundai Kona - image 720693

Note: Standard Hyundai Kona pictured here.

It seems a little redundant to mention the Kona EV here considering Hyundai is practically the same company once the two Korean carmakers merged into a single automotive group. Be that as it may, it’s still going to take up a place in the same niche, and that means the Niro EV will have to compete with it, even if profits from both models line the pockets of the same wealthy executive. It will actually be a little smaller than the Niro and as such may even come in a few grand cheaper but it should offer up the same range, power, and typical amenities inside and out. On the plus side, Hyundai’s current design language does have a slightly more attractive front end, so it may be advisable to go with the Kona EV. Plus, the ICE-powered Kona is already hitting dealers in the very near future so it’ll at least have an established following when the EV makes its debut. Pricing should start out around $33,000 and climb to as much as $40,000 at launch.

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.

Tesla Model Y


2020 Tesla Model Y - image 722132

It’s a shame but I almost wrote up this whole article without thinking about Tesla once, but as I came to the end, I decided I might as well throw it a bone considering it’s having a pretty rough year. The brand has been hit with various lawsuits for harassment, racism, discrimination, etc., and it posted a serious loss for the last quarter. Then you add in the fact that production of the Model 3 has become about as troublesome as trying to get through a dry county in Georgia without getting caught with that booze in your trunk. Either way, at some point Tesla will be debuting a smaller version of the Model X that will aptly be called Model Y, and effectively complete the SEXY lineup. It should fall in line with the Model 3 so expect to see a rather bland interior with a single screen for all pertinent driving information (no instrument cluster, either,) and it will likely be the least-attractive model of any that we’ve discussed in this speculative review. With that Said, the Model Y will likely come in at around $40,000 to $45,000 before tax incentives, which may be something to pay attention to considering President Trump is thinking of taking those away.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Tesla Model Y.

Conclusion


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742867

So, at this point, the only question you should really have about the Niro EV is when it’s going to hit dealers. Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell you that as it’s still a bit too early. But, when you consider the fact that there isn’t a lot left for Kia to do outside of extensive testing of the drivetrain, it could happen in the very near future. It’s supposed to take shape and make its debut in 2018, so if it happens in the first quarter, we could very well see this thing rolling into dealers, pigtail hanging, by mid-July and go on sale as a 2019 model. This could, as a matter of fact, happen before most of the other competitors make it to market, but we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, that’s all there is to the story, but stay tuned for future updates and let us know what you think about the Niro EV in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • Competition could be tough
    • Could be a little too expensive
    • Competition may have more grunt for the $

PostHeaderIcon Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Tackle Rocks in New Zealand!

There’s currently a press junket for high-end members of the automotive media taking place in New Zealand, and video is starting to come in. This particular one shows a white, two-door Wrangler Rubicon clawing its way up slick rocks in some far-flung valley on the other side of the globe. It’s clear the Wrangler hasn’t lost any of its grit and capability.

We can see new Wrangler Rubicon has dumped the old BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM tires for BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. The tires are light-years ahead of the Mud-Terrains in terms of tire technology and grip in all but the thickest of mud. What’s more, the KO2s will definitely improve the Rubicon’s on-road driving dynamics. The tires are mounted on Rubicon-specific, 17-inch wheels. The sharp design has painted spokes and a bright ring around the edge.

The two clips within the video also show the different configurations of the new soft top. At first, the windows are installed, then towards the end, we can see the windows removed and the roof still in place.

As for the engine, the second clip has some telling engine noises. Though we can’t be completely sure, it sounds like a four-cylinder. If true, it would be the Wrangler’s new 2.0-liter turbo-four with the iconic Hurricane name.

Jeep is set to officially debut the 2018 Wrangler on November 29 at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741967

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.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior

Jeep is slowly debuting the all-new 2018 Wrangler bit by bit before its official debut at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 29. The latest piece is a pair of photos showing the Wrangler’s brand new interior – and boy; the improvements are awesome. Not one screw or plastic bit carries over from the outgoing Wrangler JK. That’s definitely a good thing. The new Wrangler JL is vastly more technologically advanced and fitted with way more creature comforts.

Though we’ve seen teases of the new interior before, this is the first time Jeep has shown the full monty. Both shots are of the same loaded-out Rubicon model, which gives us the complete scope of what’s available. The model features the latest Uconnect system, a large driver information screen with digital auxiliary gauges, dual-zone climate control, the standard assortment of steering wheel controls, dash-mounted window switches, a bank of four auxiliary switches for aftermarket components, and a toggle switch to control the Rubicon’s front and rear locking differentials. A separate button controls the disconnecting from sway bar.

There is plenty more to look at, so keep reading for more information.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL’s interior.

Looking Deeper


Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior - image 743496
“The driver information screen offers a configurable display”

This Rubicon model is fitted with the six-speed manual transmission and the two-speed transfer case. Jeep will offer a 4WD system with an auto mode in addition to the standard 2WD, 4WD high, neutral, and 4WD low positions. Jeep hasn’t said if this 4WD Auto system is available on the Rubicon, but it’s clear it does not come standard.

Looking at the gauge cluster, we see the driver information screen offers a configurable display which includes roll and pitch diagrams, digital gauges for the fuel level and coolant temperature, a digital speedometer, a comprehensive trip computer, and a digital readout for the transfer case gear position. That last item gets its own display nestled within the tachometer. Other handy features include a 12-volt power plug and several USB ports and an AUX input jack under the “media” cover.

The photo also shows the Rubicon model will come with Automatic Start/Stop on its engine. Again, Jeep hasn’t specified what engine(s) will be offered in this hard-core, off-road trim level, or whether the Star/Stop system will be standard across the engine lineup. As a refresher, the Wrangler will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. Transmission choices include the six-speed manual and the ZF eight-speed automatic.


Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior - image 743497
“Fit and finish are vastly improved, not that it was hard to improve over the outgoing Wrangler JK”

On the cosmetic front, it appears the colored dash accent will match the body color, however, we’ve seen photos surfacing showing that’s not always the case. It seems Jeep will let you customize the color scheme nearly any way you’d want. Fit and finish are vastly improved, not that it was hard to improve over the outgoing Wrangler JK. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and accented with contrast stitching and satin chrome. The contrast stitching continues onto the dash, center console, shifter boots, and seats. And those shift knobs look milled from a solid piece of billet aluminum and capped with leather. That’s probably not the case, but the look sure is impressive.

The front passenger gets a grab handle with WRANGLER spelled out. There is a small storage shelf on the top-center section of the dash. Other leaked images we’ve seen around the web show the Wrangler unlimited will have HVAC vents for its rear passengers.

“And like on later models of the Wrangler JK, Jeep should include all the necessary tools needed to remove the doors, windshield, and tops.”

Other notable “Jeep” features include that easy-fold windshield and stationary A-pillars with grab handles. The doors are also easily removable, just as before. An interesting Easter egg can be seen on the door hinge. It says “T-50” with an arrow pointing at the Torx-head bolt that secures the door pin to the body-mounted hinges. And like on later models of the Wrangler JK, Jeep should include all the necessary tools needed to remove the doors, windshield, and tops.

Needless to say, we’re excited to finally see the 2018 Wrangler’s dash. It’s been a long time coming and yet there’s still information we’re waiting on. Thankfully, Jeep should release all the nitty-gritty details on November 29 at the L.A. Auto Show, so stick around for that.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741967

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.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5’s AWD System

The 2017 XT5 is Cadillac’s clean-sheet crossover designed to compete against some stiff competition that includes the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLE. Part of its secret sauce is its fancy all-wheel-drive system. Unlike most AWD systems, the XT5’s is actually a part-time system, meaning the driver can turn the system off manually. A Simple button near the gear shifter toggles through three modes – Tour, AWD, and Sport. In Tour, only the front wheels get power. The biggest advantage is fuel economy, of course, but I’ve found the FWD mode also heightens the liveliness of the 3.6-liter V-6 thanks to less parasitic loss in the driveline.

Being able to turn the AWD system on and off is a big deal, but it’s not the system’s crowning achievement. Rather, it’s the true torque vectoring abilities that help in vehicle control, both on slippery and dry surfaces. This isn’t some brake-activated cheater system, either. It uses a twin-clutch pack to progressively and precisely dial in the amount of power each axle gets. It’s pretty impressive, so let’s dive in.

Continue reading for more on the 2017 Cadillac XT5’s AWD system.

AWD With A PhD


How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5's AWD System - image 743167
“Cadillac gets its AWD system from GKN, a third-party supplier known for its driveline components”

Cadillac gets its AWD system from GKN, a third-party supplier known for its driveline components. Within GKN, the XT5’s AWD system, specifically the rear differential unit, is known as the Twinster due to its twin-clutch design. The Twinster system is also used in some other highbrow applications, too, including the Range Rover Evoque and Ford Focus RS. Yep, the same Focus RS with its crazy drift mode and outlandish grip uses nearly the same rear drive system as the XT5.

But back to the Caddy.

Let’s start from the top. Powering the 2017 XT5 is Cadillac’s new 3.6-liter V-6 also found in the ATS and CTS sedans. The all-new V-6 uses cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing on it dual overhead cams, direct fuel injection, and automatic start/stop. The engine makes 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. Backing the V-6 is GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The XT5 uses a transverse powertrain layout, meaning the front wheels are the default recipients of power.


How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5's AWD System - image 743166
“The all-new V-6 uses cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing on it dual overhead cams, direct fuel injection, and automatic start/stop”

The XT5 AWD is optional on the Luxury and Premium Luxury trims, standard on the range-topping Platinum, and not available on the base XT5. When optional, the AWD system adds $2,500 to the MSRP.

The AWD system originates at the transmission’s PTO, or power take-off. This coupling is where the magic happens with turning the AWD system on and off. When the driver toggles through the drive modes, the coupler will either connect or disconnect the rear driveshaft from the transmission. That means when in FWD mode, none of the rear drivetrain components are spinning. This improves fuel economy by reducing the parasitic losses within the drivetrain. FWD mode is also exclusively FWD, meaning even if the front tires lose grip, the rear tires won’t kick in.

By activating the AWD system, the rear driveshaft sends power to the GKN Twinster differential unit. The differential is electronically controlled and uses a high-pressure hydraulic pump to actuate the twin clutches. The system receives input from the XT5’s stability management and traction control systems in order to dial out the right amount of torque to each axle.


How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5's AWD System - image 743169
“The rear drive system is capable of getting 100 percent of the engine’s power and delivering up to 100 percent of torque to one wheel.”

The rear drive system is capable of getting 100 percent of the engine’s power and delivering up to 100 percent of torque to one wheel. What that means in slippery conditions like rain, snow, mud, or even ice is the tire with the most grip will be the most power. Even laterally between tires – say if the XT5 is parked on a soft shoulder with its right tires on slippery grass and the left tires are on the road. The system will detect the wheel slip, adjust the clutches, and send power to the tire with the most grip, all nearly instantly and without the driver having to do anything more than just having the system turned on.


How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5's AWD System - image 743168
“The rear drive unit will send more power to the outside wheel, which creates a yaw effect on the XT5, essentially giving the vehicle a push around the turn.”

The AWD system also has benefits in the dry. That torque vectoring aspect comes into play when turning. The rear drive unit will send more power to the outside wheel, which creates a yaw effect on the XT5, essentially giving the vehicle a push around the turn. This makes for spectacular handling, even despite the XT5’s tall stance and 4,350-pound curb weight.

As for the noticeable driving characteristics, I can definitely feel when the AWD is engaged. The V-6 feels just slightly more taxed, and it doesn’t rev quite as quickly. The normal person who isn’t paying attention won’t feel a thing while appreciating the added stability and traction. Throw on a set of good winter tires, and I’d bet the XT5 would scamper through the worst conditions imaginable.

Check back with TopSpeed for more info and the full review of the 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum.

References


Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5 - image 742588

Cadillac Fixed CUE for the XT5

Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 645340

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.

PostHeaderIcon Lotus SUV

2020 Lotus SUV

The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus CEO Jean-Mark Gales has already revealed that the automaker is developing a compact crossover, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web recently provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a new rendering of the vehicle.

So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. “The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else. We’re working on it. The new board needs to pass it, but the future is very bright,” Giles told Autocar in October 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about Lotus’ future SUV.

Exterior

  • Patent images confirm Exige-inspired design
  • Sporty design
  • Coupe-style roof
  • Motorsport-inspired gas cap
  • Big rear diffuser

2020 Lotus SUV - image 743192
“The patent images confirm what we already knew: that its design will share many design cues with existing Lotus cars”

The patent images confirm what we knew from the day that the first rumor of a Lotus SUV surfaced the Interwebz: that its design will share many design cues with existing sports cars. Up front, we can see a pair of sleek, swept-back headlamps and a big center grille flanked by large outlets at each corner. These features remind of both the Elise and Exige, but the latter appears to have had a bigger role in inspiring the SUV’s design.

Naturally, being an SUV, this Lotus will have a taller front section and a more massive bumper. The engine hood also has a simpler design, devoid of the vents and bulges usually found on sports cars.


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743190
“Being an SUV, this Lotus will have a taller front section and a more massive front bumper”

The design changes radically onto the sides compared to other Lotus cars, which makes sense given that this is the company’s first crossover. But despite having a really tall beltline, four doors, and a long roof, it retains the sporty features that Lotus cars are known for. First up, notice how the beltline goes upward as it moves from the front fenders toward the rear fascia. It’s quite similar to the Exige, although the really wide C-pillar and the absence of a proper deck lid minimizes the effect. The side skirts are sporty too, with a deep crease on the lower areas of the doors. A particularly interesting feature is the gas cap mounted high on the C-pillar, a race-inspired detail that you don’t get to see on many crossovers.


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743189
“The roof splits into some sort of flying buttress toward the back, yet another unique design element”

The roof splits into some sort of flying buttress toward the back, yet another unique design element. Too bad it’s only visible if you look at the vehicle from above. Around back, we can see more Lotus sports car-inspired features, starting with the large, round taillights and the big diffuser in the bumper. The latter sports three vertical fins in the middle and wide exhaust pipes at the corners.

All told, even though it’s a brand-new vehicle layout for the British brand, the crossover remains recognizable among other Lotus sports car. At least based on these patent images.

Rendering Comparison


2020 Lotus SUV - image 629759

2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

Our renderings are a few years apart, which explains the big design differences between them. The first rendering we made was created from a clean sheet, with no hints as to what Lotus may go for in terms of styling. Thinking into the future, we went for an evolution of the current design with slimmer headlamps and a more massive grille that went all the way to the ground. For the sides, we adopted a more conventional crossover styling with simple body panels and windows. As it turns out, we weren’t exactly close to Lotus’ vision for its first SUV. But needless to say, the real thing looks much more appealing.

Interior

  • Sporty features
  • Lightweight design
  • Seating for five people
  • Biggest Lotus trunk ever
  • Cramped space for rear-seat passengers

2017 Lotus Evora GT430 - image 724309

Note: 2017 Lotus Evora GT430 pictured here.

“It's safe to assume that the cabin will focus on the driver and front passenger”

The patent images don’t include information about the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the cabin will focus on the driver and front passenger. It may be an SUV, but Lotus probably wants to keep some of the motorsport-inspired layout seen in its sports cars. Of course, there will be a focus on comfort too, as in this will be the company’s most comfortable interior yet, but don’t expect it to be as fancy as a Bentley Bentayga. Sports seats will likely be included in the standard package, but Lotus should also offer race-inspired unit optionally.

The crossover’s main feat will be the ability to provide seating for up to five people. A never-before-seen feature in a Lotus, it will make the SUV appealing to drivers looking for a compromise between performance and utility or even people in need of a daily driver that’s also suitable for a long vacation. On the other hand, given the size of the vehicle, rear space might be a bit cramped for tall passengers. The coupe-style roof doesn’t seem to leave room for too much headroom, while legroom won’t be as vast as in the front. The trunk doesn’t seem to be huge either, but it will be a massive upgrade compared to any other Lotus out there. A couple of suitcases and a big list of groceries shouldn’t be an issue for this crossover.

Drivetrain

  • Same Toyota-sourced engines?
  • At least two performance trims
  • Best power-to-weight ratio on the market?
  • Diesel and hybrid likely

2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 743193

Note: Lotus Evora 410 engine pictured here.

“This is the area that will make or break the Lotus crossover, so expect Lotus to go all-out in developing the drivetrain and chassis”

This is the area that will make or break the Lotus crossover, so expect Lotus to go all-out in developing the drivetrain and chassis. Powering the crossover, Lotus could still use one or both of the Toyota-sourced powerplants used in other Lotus cars, like the 1.6-liter four-cylinder or the 3.5-liter V-6, both available with or without superchargers. Sticking with the tried-and-true design of its current model lineup, rather than giving the crossover a high-powered engine, Lotus will focus on a high power-to-weight ratio by making this one of the lightest crossovers in its segment, weighing about 440 pounds (200 kg) less than its rivals.

“After its initial Chinese debut, a diesel engine could also be included for the European market”

The SUV could arrive in several trims, starting with a base model rated at a little more than 100 horsepower and a more performance-oriented version with at least 200 horses.

After its initial Chinese debut, a diesel engine could also be included for the European market, but the big performance advantage could be an optional hybrid-based four-wheel drive that uses the engine to power the front wheels and motors to drive the rear. At this point, every scenario is possible since Lotus is looking to expand in every direction it can in order to get back in the game.

Prices


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743191

It’s obviously too early to estimate pricing for the upcoming SUV, but I would be smart for Lotus to price this vehicle very close to the competition. The British firm will likely develop the crossover as a competitor for the Porsche Macan, which retails from around €56,300 in most European markest and from £45,915 in the United Kingdom. Not much is know about the company’s production output for the SUV, but it’s safe to assume that Lotus won’t be able to compete with Porsche in this department, at least not in the first couple of years. A lower production run usually means higher prices too, so be prepared to pay at least €60,000 and £50,000 before options. Should it come to the U.S., the Lotus SUV could retail from around $52,000.

Competition

Porsche Macan


2020 Lotus SUV - image 533189

The Porsche Macan isn’t the only option on the compact crossover market, but it’s arguably the best suited to go against the upcoming Lotus SUV in terms of looks and performance. Essentially a shrunken Cayenne, the Macan borrows many styling cues from the iconic 911, which makes it one of the sportiest looking options in this niche. Drivetrain-wise, it comes in many forms, starting with a base model that uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The Macan S uses a 3.0-liter V-6 that delivers 340 horses and 339 pound-feet, while the Macan GTS gets its juice from the same engine, but rated at 360 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. The latter is probably the best option against the Lotus, as the extra oomph is backed by a new aerodynamic package and several weight-saving measures. Finally, there’s the Macan Turbo, which uses a twin-turbo, 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers an amazing 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet. Opt for the Performance Package and the output increases to 440 horses and 443 pound-feet. A diesel version is also offered in certain markets, with either 211 or 258 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of twist. U.S. pricing starts from $47,800 and goes up to $77,200 for the Turbo version.

Read our full story on the 2017 Porsche Macan.

Audi RS Q3


2020 Lotus SUV - image 576596

While BMW has yet to offer an M version of the X1, Audi is selling an RS variant of the Q3 since 2015. While the Q3 is not the sportiest SUV you can buy, the RS package adds a few interesting features, such as aluminum-look trim in the front bumper, which also has bigger vents, a roof spoiler, and a diffuser-like element with a larger exhaust pipe. The interior is wrapped almost entirely in black, which may be a tad too boring for some, but the RS bundle also brings sports seats either Alcantara/leather or Nappa leather, a bespoke instrument cluster, and new pedals. Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that sends 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. Audi also offers a Performance model, which comes with 367 horses and 343 pound-feet of twist on tap.

Read our full review of the 2017 Audi RS Q3.

Conclusion


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

Crossovers and SUVs might be a soul-crushing proposition to the enthusiasts of any high-performance brand, but they are crucial to improving sales in global markets that crave space and utility. Just ask BMW and Porsche. Now with Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce getting in on the SUV/CUV market, this is a perfect opportunity for Lotus to step in with small CUV that exhibits the same lightweight characteristics and excellent handling capabilities of its past and present offerings. It’s also a great opportunity for the British firm to return to profitability after many difficult years.

  • Leave it
    • Might not be available in the U.S.
    • Likely to stir up controversy among Lotus purists

References

Lotus Evora


2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 667209

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410.



Read more Lotus news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is the hottest SUV right now. It’s not often Jeep reworks its most popular model, after all. Much of the buzz centers on the Wrangler’s new powertrain choices, which include the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder “Hurricane” and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, along with a revised version of the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Jeep fans and journalists alike are praising FCA for adding a fuel-sipping four-cylinder and the torquey yet efficient EcoDiesel, but there’s still something missing – a V-8.

Raise an eyebrow if you want, but Jeep actually has a rich history of offering V-8s in the Wrangler’s predecessor, the CJ. It started back in 1972 with the CJ-5. See, American Motors Corporation had bought Kaiser Jeep in 1970 and soon replaced Kaiser’s engines with its own, including the 3.8-liter and 4.2-liter straight-sixes. There was also a four-cylinder that carried the Hurricane name, which is directly referenced in the 2018 Wrangler JL’s new 2.0-liter turbo-four. But, the most desirable engine was the AMC 304 cubic-inch V-8. This 5.0-liter produced 150 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. While those aren’t big numbers by today’s standards, that was impressive power amid the Arab Oil Embargo and tightening government fuel economy and emissions regulations. The power was especially robust in a short-wheelbase SUV.

The 304 V-8 made the jump to the longer CJ-7 when it debuted in 1976. Sadly, the V-8 was phased out during the 1981 model year, leaving the 4.2-liter inline-six as the largest and most powerful engine option.

But, modern times are different. Dodge builds an 840-horsepower Challenger, Jeep has a 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee, and the Wrangler is ripe for getting a mild V-8 behind its seven-slotted grille. Keep reading for my thoughts on the matter.

Continue reading for more information.

Should Jeep Build a V-8-Powered Wrangler?


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option - image 743162
“Jeep could very easily offer a V-8 Wrangler, call it the Golden Eagle like V-8 CJs of yesteryear, and people would eat it up.”

Heck yes, Jeep should! Besides the typical American response of pleasure to excess and approval of power, a V-8-powered Wrangler has two things going for it – history and customer desire.

History is playing an ever more important role in how automakers operate. Retro styling is still in vogue and tying modern vehicles to those in the past in meaningful ways is the new thing. Jeep could very easily offer a V-8 Wrangler, call it the Golden Eagle like V-8 CJs of yesteryear, and people would eat it up. Throw on some retro graphics – you know, like that awesome golden eagle “screaming chicken” on the hood or maybe just a smaller logo on the fender, and boom – instant classic and assured sales success.


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option - image 743161
“Jeep could very easily offer a V-8 Wrangler, call it the Golden Eagle like V-8 CJs of yesteryear, and people would eat it up”

As for customer desire, Jeepers want a V-8 Wrangler, and it shows in the aftermarket. A number of companies provide swap kits for LS and Hemi conversions, and companies like American Expedition Vehicles will happily do the work and warranty the craftsmanship. Those LS and Hemi swaps usually consist of 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter, and 6.0-liter small-block Chevy engines of the LS series and the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 found in several FCA products. Both the LS and Hemi are also available as a brand-new crate engine. Regardless of brand, it’s clear Wrangler owners want a V-8.

What Engine Should Jeep Use?


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option - image 741967
“Jeep wouldn’t have a V-8 Wrangler ready until 2019, if not after.”

Well, the most obvious answer would be the omnipresent 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 found in everything from the Dodge Challenger to the Ram pickup from 2003 on. The engine makes anywhere from 357 to 395 horsepower and 389 to 410 pound-feet of torque, depending on application and model year. The Hemi obviously fits in the outgoing Wrangler JK’s engine bay, and it’s doubtful Jeep make the area smaller, so the Hemi should have no problem fitting in the Wrangler JL.

There’s just one problem.

Rumors are swirling the 5.7-liter Hemi will cease production after 2019. That would be a problem since Jeep wouldn’t have a V-8 Wrangler ready until 2019, if not after. It makes sense why FCA is looking to kill the 5.7-liter; its basic design will be 17 years old. It needs an update, which consequently, might see its displacement drop from 5.7 liters to 5.0 liters – a 304-cubic-inch displacement.

This new V-8 will surely come with direct fuel injection and turbocharging, along with the current fuel-saving tricks like cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing. Of course, this is pure speculation, but the Mopar-obsessed folks over at Allpar.com seem to think a smaller-displacement Hemi V-8 is in the works, too.

Dropping back to a 5.0-liter would not only accomplish the smaller displacement needed to improve fuel economy but would also tie in perfectly to Chrysler’s past. Plenty of AMC and Jeep vehicles came with the venerable 304 V-8, though Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth products used completely different V-8s. Still, the connection is there. Then again, FCA could use the 340, 318, or 273 cubic-inch displacement sizes (5.6, 5.2, and 4.5 liters, respectively) or could introduce something without a retro spin. But what fun is that?


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option - image 741968
“A V-8 would likely improve the Wrangler Unlimited’s somewhat limited towing capability.”

On a more practical side of customer wants, a V-8 would likely improve the Wrangler Unlimited’s somewhat limited towing capability of 3,500 pounds. Perhaps we’ll see improvements with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, as well. Towing will be an even bigger factor with the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup, the Scrambler. A leaked spec sheet shows the Scrambler is rated to tow 6,500 pounds with both the 3.6-liter Pentastar and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. The 2.0-liter apparently won’t be offered. Adding a V-8 might just boost the Scrambler’s towing beyond the 7,700 pounds available with the Chevrolet Colorado diesel.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of displacement, the Wrangler deserves a V-8. Not only would it recall Jeeps of old, but it would also boost the Wrangler’s appeal. The V-8 model would be the perfect platform for adding larger axles, massive tires, and all the heavy-duty equipment that tends to accompany a rock crawler. That, and imagine the V-8 mated to a six-speed manual and fitted with a throaty aftermarket exhaust. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, you’re probably reading the wrong website.

References

Jeep Wrangler


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Needs A V-8 Option - image 741967

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.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Can The Toyota R-Tuned C-HR Beat The Honda Civic Type R’s FWD Lap Record At The Nurburgring?

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Concept

When you build a custom version of an SUV and later on claim it to be the “fastest of its kind,” the rationale after that is to go to a race track and validate your boasts. To his credit, that’s what Dan Gardner of Dan Gardner Spec wants to do with the race-spec, 600-horsepower Toyota C-HR, provided that Toyota allows him to do it.

At the moment, Gardner says that the Japanese automaker has no plans for the R-Tuned C-HR past its SEMA showcase so it’s anybody’s guess where the power-packed SUV will show up next. That said, if Gardner had his way, it’d be at the Nurburgring where it can properly stretch its legs and make a run at the current FWD lap record of the Honda Civic Type R that the Honda hot hatch set in April 2017 with a time of 7:43.8. Not only does Gardner believe that the R-Tuned C-HR can beat the Civic Type R’s lap time, but he actually has “no doubt” that it can do it if given the opportunity to do so. That’s not to say that it can take the record away from the Civic Type R. The R-Tuned C-HR isn’t a production car so it wouldn’t be eligible for the record to begin with. But Gardner still wants to do it, if only to let the world know that there’s truth to his “fastest SUV” claims. Considering what amount of aftermarket tuning the C-HR was subjected to, I’m prepared to believe him regardless of whether or not the SUV does hit the ‘Ring.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The R-Tuned C-HR is not a car you’d want to mess with


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741807

On the surface, the Toyota R-Tuned C-HR has a chance to not only break the Honda Civic Type R’s record but to smash it completely to smithereens. It certainly doesn’t look like a standard C-HR anymore. It’s dripping from head to toe with aerodynamic bits. It’s been stripped down so that non-essential items don’t add unnecessary weight. It’s even been tuned to produce 600 horsepower, all thanks to the addition of a DG-Spec Garrett turbo compressor that’s responsible for breathing an extra 23 psi into the cylinders. The result is an SUV that packs more power than a Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Speaking of the Porsche 911, the R-Tuned C-HR proved its prowess during a recent run at Willow Springs, where it posted a lap time of 1:25.22. That’s a faster time around the track than the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Lamborghini Aventador.

Clearly, Gardner and his crew at Dan Gardner Spec built a powerhouse in the R-Tuned C-HR. It’s even more impressive when you consider just how much work the tuning house put into turning it into what Gardner refers to as a “supercar killer.” More than just the significant increase in power, Dan Gardner Spec also worked on the SUV’s handling characteristics, which is arguably one of its most weakest points. All told, the tuning shop spent close to 10,000 hours to complete the transformation and, for what it’s worth, the result validated all those hours spent turning the otherwise mundane C-HR into a legitimate powerhouse on wheels.

Can it beat the Honda Civic Type R’s record lap time in the ‘Ring?


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741806

I firmly believe that it can, but that’s just my opinion of it. And, I’m certainly not dismissing the Civic Type R either. The hot hatch doesn’t just own the Nurburgring lap time record for a FWD car. It also holds that same title in some of the world’s most notable race tracks, including Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Estoril, and the Hungaroring.

Gardner’s firm started the build late last year, and he estimated that it took a total of around 10,000 hours. Although there are no plans for the C-HR R-Tuned after SEMA, Gardner said he would love to take the car to the Nordschleife for a lap record bid there.

But, I’m taking Dan Gardner’s side on this one. I think the R-Tuned C-HR has the mechanical and technical chops to post a faster lap time than the Civic Type R. I don’t have any facts to back up my position, just a strong belief that an SUV that’s as stripped down as the Toyota with close to double the power output will be able to lap the Nurburgring quicker than the Civic Type R’s record lap for an FWD machine.

Here’s to hoping that Toyota gives it the green light to make the trip to the ‘Ring. I’d love to be proven right – or wrong.

References

Toyota C-HR


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741805

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned.

Honda Civic


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719374

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA

Information surrounding the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler keeps pouring out of Auburn Hills, but the latest news from D.C. The EPA has published the fuel economy stats for the 2018 Wrangler Unlimited with the updated 3.6-liter V-6. Both the six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmission are included. The new Wrangler JL shows a marked improvement over the outgoing Wrangler JK, though we expect an even bigger increase with the 2.0-liter turbo-four and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The 2018 Wrangler Unlimited JL with the six-speed manual is EPA-estimated to get 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Opting for the eight-speed automatic bumps the numbers to 18 mpg city and 20 mpg combined, with the highway number staying at 23 mpg.

Both fuel economy estimates are big improvements over the previous Jeep. The 2017 Wrangler JK with the six-speed manual could only muster 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. That means the new six-speed JL improves by two mpg on the highway and one mpg combined. The old JK with its outdated five-speed automatic actually scored the exact same as its manual counterpart, meaning the new eight-speed-equipped JL improves by one mpg city, two mpg highway, and two mpg combined.

Continue reading for more information.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 3.6-liter V-6 EPA Fuel Economy


2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA - image 742823

The outgoing Wrangler JK will continue into the 2018 model year. This is its EPA-estimated fuel economy.


2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA - image 742824

The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL sees fuel economy improved by as much as two mpg over its predecessor.

The Other Two Engines


2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA - image 741967
“For 2018, the Wrangler will have three engine choices”

For the first time in more than a decade, Jeep is offering engine options in the Wrangler. The last time customers had a choice; it was with the 1997–2006 Wrangler TJ. It offered a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (and after 2002, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder) and the venerable 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder.

Now for 2018, the Wrangler will have three engine choices: the aforementioned 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder known as the Hurricane, and the familiar 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 currently found in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The EPA has yet to release fuel economy estimates for the 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter, but we strongly suspect both with have improved economy over the already improved 3.6-liter V-6. The 2.0-liter turbo-four could achieve something around 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined, while the V-6 turbodiesel will be the fuel-sipping champ. It could achieve something like 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

Final Thoughts


2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA - image 741968
“Regardless of engine choice with the all-new 2018 Wrangler, fuel economy numbers are up”

Regardless of engine choice with the all-new 2018 Wrangler, fuel economy numbers are up. Sure, we don’t know exactly what the 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter will score, but both will surely outperform the 3.6-liter V-6. That’s great news for Jeep in light of the CAFÉ standards and Wrangler owners who can save money at the pump. Of course, we’re still waiting for Jeep to mention the hybrid powertrain that’s rumored to be paired with the 2.0-liter. That’s still a few years off, though, so don’t expect word anytime soon.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler V-6 Fuel Economy Published By EPA - image 741967

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.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5

The Cadillac User Experience, or CUE system, has been dragged through the dirt for not being easy to use. Specifically, it’s the touch-sensitive radio and HVAC controls that leave critics in a bad mood. Cadillac models like the ATS, CTS, and even the Escalade all have nearly identical CUE systems that require sliding a finger across gloss-black plastic to adjust the radio volume and pressing on invisible buttons marked only with labels. Well, apparently Cadillac heard the complaints and decided to address the issue.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover I’m driving this week has an updated version of the CUE system – with actual buttons! In fact, the center stack is far simpler in design and feels less cluttered. The XT5’s HVAC system has chrome toggle switches that control fan speed and temperatures for the dual zones. Yes, other features like the heated and vented seats, defrost, and recirculation functions still rely on the invisible buttons, but their operation seems improved. The same is true with the radio slider. Yeah, it’s still there, but it somehow isn’t as frustrating to use as the one in the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V I tested a few weeks back.

Continue reading for more information.

Impressive Infotainment


Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5 - image 742589
“The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs similar software to the Chevrolet MyLink and GMC IntelliLink system”

Despite gripes about the CUE system’s touch-sensitive buttons on other models, the infotainment portion of the Cadillac User Experience is absolutely fantastic. The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs similar software to the Chevrolet MyLink and GMC IntelliLink system. All three are incredibly easy to use and have intuitive menus and features. The home screen icons can be moved around, and things like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the weather, live traffic, SMS texting, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi all make the experience a memorable one.

And besides the XT5 crossover, Cadillac’s updated CUE system can be found in the CT6 sedan. You can read my review on that car here.

References

Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 645340

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.

PostHeaderIcon East Coast Defender “Project Beast”

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast”

The name “Defender” carries some serious weight in the world of off-roading. With a long history of military service and simply unflappable talent off-road, this iconic model from Land Rover serves as the bones for myriad capability-focused vehicles. Florida-based auto shop East Coast Defenders knows this well, making its name building custom versions of the British model for enhanced style, greater interior comfort, and even greater agility while traversing the great outdoors. Now, ECD is invading the sands of Vegas with its latest custom build, dropping the sheets at the 2017 SEMA show. The project was a collaboration with Warn Industries, a manufacturer that specializes in vehicle recovery equipment, and is based on a Defender 110 model from 1985. Created by hand and equipped with a litany of custom parts, ECD appropriately calls this build “Project Beast.”

Framed as an “elite off-road SUV,” Project Beast was actually completed in 2016, built in ECD’s “Rover Dome” in Kissimmee, Florida. All told, it’s got the right stuff for attracting attention at SEMA. Read on for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the East Coast Defender.

Exterior

  • Classic Defender shape, enhanced
  • Kahn wide body kit
  • External roll cage
  • LED light bar on the roof
  • Custom wheels

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741535
“ECD outfitted Project Beast to play the part of a hardcore rough-stuff killer”

From the off, it’s pretty obvious this is no ordinary Land Rover Defender. ECD outfitted Project Beast to play the part of a hardcore rough-stuff killer, giving it the look of an unstoppable black cube that merges British engineering with American know-how.

The classic four-door exterior styling remains, including the extended rear cargo area and a multitude of broad, flat body panels. However, to this classic shape, ECD added a variety of enhancements.


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741530
“The most eye-grabbing feature is the Kahn wide body kit, which adds some serious girth to the exterior dimensions”

The most eye-grabbing feature is the Kahn wide body kit, which adds some serious girth to the exterior dimensions. Then there’s the external roll cage, which sweeps up from the A-pillar and into the roof, then down again into the rear fenders, adding impressive protection in the event you accidentally tip this thing over. Illuminating the view forward is a large LED light bar, which finds its home just above the windshield.

The front fascia appears to be freshened with a new grille insert, while the new fender flares add extra chunkiness. Filling to extra space are custom wheels, matched in back by a spare of the same design. Finally, the whole thing was slathered in flat-black paint, lending it even more attitude.

Interior

  • Keeps the standard Defender layout
  • Lots of high-end upholstery
  • New seats

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741522
“Inside, you’ll find modern Defender mixed with luxury, with ample coverings of sumptuous hide and stitching.”

Step into the cabin of this thing, and you’ll find a very nice place to be. While the floor gets tough rubber to help rebuff whatever muddy mess you bring with you, the rest of it is modern Defender mixed with luxury, with ample coverings of sumptuous hide and stitching. Indeed, everywhere you look, there is some kind of quilted leather, from the seats, to the door panels, to the center console, to even the dash.

Behind a three-spoke steering wheel from Momo, ECD included the standard three-pod gauge layout, albeit modified to include additional readouts and data, not to mention the requisite ECD plaque below.


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741525
“The seats themselves are elaborate buckets that should do well to hold passengers in place”

The seats themselves are elaborate buckets that should do well to hold passengers in place, while seating for three additional passengers can be found on the second-row bench. Meanwhile, copious space in the cargo area means you’ll be hauling whatever you need to bring with you, whether its gear, supplies, or even more passengers on the fold-out seats.

Drivetrain

  • Chevy LS3 V-8 powerplant
  • Automatic transmission
  • 4X4 traction

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741543
“Output is rated at a healthy 430 horsepower, which is pretty much standard for the powerplant”

As you might imagine, East Coast Defender wasn’t content to keep their build stock as a rock under the hood, so instead, this burly trail buster comes equipped with a brand-new Chevy LS3 small-block V-8, the same engine you’ll find driving the rear wheels in the Camaro SS and the Corvette. Output is rated at a healthy 430 horsepower, which is pretty much standard for the powerplant. However, ECD does say it incorporated a good deal of custom work to make the engine function properly in the Defender platform.

The rest of it includes an automatic transmission routing power to the ground by way of a robust 4X4 drivetrain. And just in case you still can’t find the traction from those big tires, there’s a winch from Warn on the nose to help pull you free.

Conclusion


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741533

“What we’ve created with our custom Defender and Range Rover Classics, fits into a highly niche market. We strip each vehicle down to its frame and complete it according to our client’s exact specifications,” says ECD co-owner Elliot Humble.

That’s exactly the right approach for a SEMA build. The further away from factory you can get, the better. Of course, ECD took care to keep the Land Rover’s inherent off-road worthiness intact, adding to it with the right components, rather than detracting from it with superfluous accouterments.

Kudos.

  • Leave it
    • Custom build = expensive
    • More extreme off-roader builds out there

References

Land Rover Defender


2013 Land Rover Defender - image 471001

Read our full review on the 2017 Land Rover Defender.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Mopar Floods SEMA With 200+ Parts For The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

Anybody not living under a rock knows Jeep Wrangler owners love customizing their rigs. The aftermarket industry for the Jeep has exploded in the last decade and Jeep has made moves to finally get into the action. But now Jeep is getting ahead of the curve with its new 2018 Wrangler JL by offering more than 200 parts and accessories right from the start, long before third-party aftermarket companies can even begin developing items for the all-new off-roader. Under the Mopar brand, Jeep and its Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) division have teased these accessories at the 2017 SEMA Show.

Of course, SEMA is the natural place to debut parts and accessories. But, in order to debut these new Mopar and JPP parts, Jeep needed to show the actual 2018 Wrangler. That’s why Jeep did a soft launch on Halloween with only three photos of its new model. As for the parts and accessories, they range from graphics to lift kits and everything in between. And, because of the 2018 Wrangler’s new roll bar design, Jeep can now offer a range of roof racks. The list also includes off-roading items like a Warn recovery winch, rock sliders, and beadlock wheels. There is plenty of others, so keep reading for everything Jeep has announced so far.

Continue reading for more information.

Mopar & Jeep Performance Parts

“The parts have been developed by Jeep engineers to work with the 2018 Wrangler and have undergone countless hours of testing.”

Besides being available before anything from aftermarket companies, the biggest advantage to Mopar and JPP parts is the connection to Jeep. The parts are not only warrantied and installed by Jeep dealerships, but they also do not void the Wrangler’s new-vehicle warranty. In line with that, the parts have been developed by Jeep engineers to work with the 2018 Wrangler and have undergone countless hours of testing.

Since the 2018 Wrangler shares almost zero parts with the outgoing 2017 Wrangler JK, these Mopar and JPP parts are technically all new. However, most are just modernized to fit the new Wrangler. A few, on the other hand, really are completely new to the Mopar and JPP portfolio. That roof rack previously mentioned is one, as it fits the Wrangler’s new roll bars. Jeep hasn’t been able to offer a roof rack on Wranglers in the past. Another new part is a screen protector for the 7.0- and 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system. It’s a first for Mopar, likely because no other FCA vehicle really needs a screen protector for its infotainment system. Well, maybe the Ram pickups…

Off-Road Parts


Mopar Floods SEMA With 200+ Parts For The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - image 742112
  • JPP is offering LED off-road light bars. There’s a five-inch bar with 4,080 lumens and a seven-inch bar with an impressive 8,000 lumens.
  • JPP also includes the brackets needed to mount them. JPP also has an auxiliary switch bank for controlling these lights and other accessories.
  • For those wanting a taller ride height for bigger tires, JPP has a 2.0-inch lift kit.
  • JPP rock rails are made from heavy-gauge steel and are coated with bedliner. They protect the rocker panels from trail damage and give a step for getting into the Jeep.
  • JPP’s beadlock-capable wheel is 17 inches in diameter and can be upgraded with the optional beadlock ring for holding the tire to the rim when ran at low pressures during off-roading. The wheels have a 12-mm backspacing and come in silver and black.
  • Mopar will happily sell you a Warn recovery winch at a markup over what you’d pay directly at Warn. Still, the dealership will install it for you, making the upgrade as simple as sliding the credit card or rolling it into the vehicle’s financing.

Other Add-ons

  • Those Uconnect screen protectors are designed to perfectly fit the 7.0- and 8.4-inch Uconnect system and keep scratches off the sensitive screen.
  • A molded cargo tray fits within the cargo area for organized storage of all the random items that tend to accumulate within a vehicle
  • Grab handles have a new design and are hard-mounted onto the roll bar unlike the Velcro-secured grab handles for the Wrangler JK.
  • Fuel Door covers can be had in brushed aluminum and satin black
  • All-Weather Floor mats help protect the carpet from rain, snow, sand, and mud. They are molded to fit perfectly within the footwells, too.
  • Mopar graphics add flare to the Wrangler. Available on the Sport trim is a 1941 graphic and an American flag-themed design for the hood. Another graphic for the Wrangler’s sides are available for all three trim levels and have a 1941 stripe and a silhouette themed after off-roading at Moab.
  • Tire covers allow for more expression on the Wrangler but still allow for the spare-mounted backup camera with a hole stitched in the center of the cover.

Of course, these are just some of what Mopar and JPP offer and we expect more accessories to be added as the months roll on. The parts and accessories are available at any Jeep dealership and on Mopar.com/jpp.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741966

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 Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK

Jeep Wrangler JK vs JL

The wait is finally over! Jeep has released photos of the next-generation Wrangler. Unfortunately, Jeep only dropped three photos with zero information, but the soft debut confirms much of the speculation, rumors, and spy shots we’ve been pouring over the last year. Yes, the 2018 Wrangler JL’s windshield folds down. Yes, the doors come off. And Yes, the top is removable. Yet beyond these carryover features that have come to define the Wrangler, this new Jeep is heavily updated in all the right ways.
Check out our visual comparison below to learn all about the new Wrangler JL


Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK - image 742106

Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK - image 742108

Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK - image 742107

Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK - image 742109

Visual Comparison: Jeep Wrangler JL vs JK - image 742105

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741966

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 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Concept

SEMA is a place where the imagination reigns supreme, an event that celebrates the weird, the wild, and the most extreme that the automotive industry can muster. Case in point – this performance version of Toyota’s funky C-HR (Coupe High-Rider) compact utility vehicle. Believe it or not, this thing is so performance-oriented Toyota is claiming it as the “world’s quickest CUV.” Backing that boast is a lap time of 1 minute, 25.22 seconds at the Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California. Quoting figures plucked from fastestlaps.com, Toyota says that time makes the CH-R R-Tuned quicker than such incredible sports machines like the Nissan GT-R Nismo, McLaren 650 S Spyder, and Porsche 911 GT3. That’s some rather heavy-hitting company for a humble subcompact crossover, but it’s got the R-Tuned has the upgrades to match. Long story short, this thing is stripped and race-ready, rocking 600 turbocharged ponies, exotic suspension components, and very effective aero.

Offered as a follow-up to the Sienna R-Tuned build that Toyota brought to SEMA back in 2015, the C-HR R-Tuned was created by Southern California speed specialists Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec for short), the same folks who turned wrenches on the hot-to-trot Sienna R-Tuned. This latest creation is even more over the top, and clear evidence that with enough dedication, you can make anything blisteringly quick – exactly the approach we want to see at SEMA.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned.

What Makes The Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Special

  • 300 pounds of downforce at speed
  • Carbon fiber bits shave weight
  • Several hundred pounds lighter than stock
  • Turbocharged 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder
  • 23 psi of boost
  • 600 horsepower
  • Still FWD
  • Triple adjustable dampers
  • Extensive on-track development

That’s One Mean-Looking CUV!


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741806
“This isn’t just some glossy show queen built to look the part of a racer”

We wholeheartedly agree. This isn’t just some glossy show queen built to look the part of a racer – it’s really got the good stuff to make it a true terror on the track. To help it stick, DG-Spec added a variety of new aerodynamic components to the exterior. These include a new front air dam, side air dams, a new front splitter (complete with adjustable downforce levels), and a large rear wing with a gurney flap.

We think the components look great, adding even more zeal to the already aggressive looking CH-R’s stock styling. Even more impressive is how effective the components are at pushing the CUV into the pavement, producing upwards of 300 pounds of downforce when traveling over 100 mph.

Sounds Like Race Car Stuff…


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741812
“The Toyota CH-R R-Tuned is a hardcore lap killer, stripped of all comforts that might hamper it in its quest for speed”

That’s because it is. The Toyota CH-R R-Tuned is a hardcore lap killer, stripped of all comforts that might hamper it in its quest for speed.

As such, the interior was totally stripped behind the front seats, with bare blue metal seen as the prevailing material. That made it easier to install the extensive roll cage, Corbeau race bucket seats, and fire suppression system, while also adding some much-needed lightness.

Speaking of weight, DG-Spec also swapped in a good deal of carbon fiber for the build, including a new vented hood from Kaminari. All told, the R-Tuned sheds several hundred pounds over its stock siblings.

But What About The Power?


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741810
“Under the hood you’ll find a new 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE engine, which comes stuffed with forged internals from Dezod”

Oh, it’s got power and plenty of it. Take a peek under the hood, and you’ll find a new 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE engine, which comes stuffed with forged internals from Dezod to keep it sturdy, as well as a titanium and Inconel valvetrain to help it spin to new heights.

That enormous compressor you see mounted front and center is a custom DG-Spec snail from Garrett, breathing an extra 23 psi into the cylinders. It’s enough to raise peak power to an astounding 600 ponies, besting the stock C-HR’s 2.0-liter by more than 450 horsepower. Oh yeah, baby.

A five-speed Toyota E-Series manual gearbox was installed for cog-swap duties, replacing the stock CVT unit as the obvious choice for the application. Incredibly, this thing is still FWD, and it makes the most of the available grip with an OS Giken limited-slip differential.

That’s A Lot Of Output…


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741807
“The Toyota C-HR R-Tuned has what it needs to turn it all into speed”

Indeed it is, but the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned has what it needs to turn it all into speed. The suspension upgrades are as stout as you’ll find on the engine, mounting triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control dampers with remote reservoirs in the corners, which come complete with a full complement of supporting mods.

The lightweight 18-inch wheels are wrapped in Toyo Proxes RR tires, sized at 275/35. Under the rollers, you’ll find the Brembo logo for the big brakes, throwing in 14-inch rotors in front clamped by 4-pot calipers with monobloc billet aluminum construction.

So You’re Saying It’s Quick?


2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned - image 741811
“The Toyota C-HR saw extensive development at Willow Springs, and that’s refreshing to see at SEMA.”

Very quick. The Toyota C-HR saw extensive development at Willow Springs, with tons of performance data accumulated over the course of 10 test sessions. And that’s refreshing to see at SEMA, where we often see builds that are no more than a rough assemblage of parts thrown together with an eye for looking good, rather than performance potential. A show queen, this is not.

“The C-HR R-Tuned has been to the track every month since we started the project late last year. It’s probably been subjected to more real-world tests than just about any car built for SEMA,” says DG-Spec’s owner, Dan Gardner. We believe him.

“It’s not just a show concept but a track-worthy performance vehicle,” he adds, “and I can’t wait to see what people at SEMA and beyond think!”

We approve.

References

Toyota CH-R


2018 Toyota C-HR - image 696121

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota CH-R.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

TiresDirect
SuperTune Kit:
Auto Auctions:
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS 6-SPD CLIMATE LEATHER NAV HUD 10K #105858 Texas Direct
$10,100.00 (39 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Nov-25-2017 12:00:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $39,980.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CORVETTE Z06 1LZ Z07 S/C 7-SPD NAV HUD 3K MI #607562 Texas Direct
$63,100.00 (39 Bids)
End Date: Monday Nov-20-2017 15:00:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $66,980.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2014 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG 5.0 GT PREMIUM AUTO LEATHER NAV 17K #306107 Texas Direct Auto
$18,600.00 (57 Bids)
End Date: Monday Nov-20-2017 14:45:39 PST
Buy It Now for only: $26,230.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2017 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 6-SPEED RECARO NAV 2K MI #520888 Texas Direct
$35,100.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 15:19:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $56,250.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible 2-Door 2015 FORD MUSTANG 5.0 GT PREMIUM CONVERTIBLE NAV 18K MI #369098 Texas Direct
$10,400.00 (18 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Nov-23-2017 16:15:55 PST
Buy It Now for only: $29,230.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO ZL1 6-SPEED 650HP KRYPTON GREEN 1K MI #203550 Texas Direct
$61,230.00
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 18:04:28 PST
Buy It Now for only: $61,230.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1969 Chevrolet Camaro 1969 Chevy Camaro RS Yenko 427 12 Bolt Posi PS PDB Disc Brakes Replica
$20,400.00 (8 Bids)
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 13:09:03 PST
Buy It Now for only: $59,995.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS RS AUTO LEATHER NAV HUD 20'S 27K #280186 Texas Direct Auto
$10,188.00 (27 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Nov-23-2017 16:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $26,230.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CAMARO SS RS AUTOMATIC 20" WHEELS 20K MILES #105619 Texas Direct Auto
$26,530.00
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 15:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $26,530.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO ZL1 S/C AUTO LEATHER NAV HUD 20'S 29K #800633 Texas Direct
$37,480.00
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 18:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $37,480.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1952 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1952 Chevy Pickup Truck
$14,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:13:36 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 2016 Chevy Camaro 2SS "Chicago Blackhawks Edition"
$49,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Nov-21-2017 13:34:35 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Chevrolet Corvette 3LZ 2015 Corvette Z06 (Z07 package)
$60,300.00 (33 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 10:43:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $68,500.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

1951 Chevrolet Other Pickups Deluxe 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup truck, Patina Deluxe Cab Original Survivor
$10,300.00 (28 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 9:19:33 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Convertible 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY Z51 CONVERTIBLE AUTO 8K MI #119209 Texas Direct
$44,230.00
End Date: Saturday Nov-25-2017 12:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $44,230.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 6 speed FAST AND FURIOUS,no reserve
$22,600.00 (37 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 18:46:57 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE GRAND SPORT 2LT RED LEATHER NAV 1K #101720 Texas Direct Auto
$43,100.00 (111 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 14:32:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $64,880.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Ford Mustang Premium GT 2015 ford mustang gt premium BY OWNER
$27,900.00
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 11:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $27,900.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1967 Chevrolet C-10 HORT BOX RESTORED V8 MANUAL PS PB DISC HOT ROD 71 72 stepside STREET ROD 69
$5,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:02:01 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2016 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 5.2L 6-SPEED TECH NAV 2K #522266 Texas Direct
$5,400.00 (4 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 12:14:27 PST
Buy It Now for only: $52,230.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list

2004 Chevrolet Other Pickups 2004 Chevy Colorado truck 5 speed manual transmission
$1,900.00
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 13:58:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $1,900.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1957 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1957 Chevy 3100 Chevy 4X4 Pickup Restomod Short bed
$14,201.01 (13 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 19:29:41 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

1991 Ford Mustang GT 1991 Mustang 5.0 GT
$8,500.00
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 17:11:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $8,500.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Like New 2015 Mustang GT Premium *2100 Miles, Recaro Seats, Loaded!
$34,500.00
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 15:35:40 PST
Buy It Now for only: $34,500.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 1967 Marina Blue 427 Convertible
$50,100.67 (5 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 18:43:21 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1969 Camaro RS SS 396 4-Speed Black Frame-Off Restored
$27,600.00 (23 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Nov-28-2017 14:30:00 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 20800 Miles Black 2D Coupe 5.0L V8 Ti-VCT 6-Speed A
$18,998.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:14:19 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2SS RS NAV Extras SLP TVS2300 Supercharger
$29,995.00
End Date: Thursday Dec-7-2017 13:58:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $29,995.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2014 Chevrolet Corvette 3 LT 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible, Z51, 3 LT, Nightrace Blue with Blue Top
$25,200.00 (9 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 17:48:00 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

1968 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 1968 Ford Mustang Factory GT Coupe 302 J-code w/ Powersteering
$9,230.00 (32 Bids)
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 19:02:35 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Dietrich Web Consulting