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Archive for the ‘suv’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV

The 2018 Detroit Auto Show is now officially hitting its stride, and amid a flurry of high-riding utility vehicle debuts, Acura is joining the fray with its brand-new third-generation RDX compact luxury SUV. The Japanese automaker is calling it the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade,” unveiling the five-passenger in “prototype” form, even though this thing looks pretty much good to go in terms of production status. Overall, the updates cater to American buyers in a big way, adding in extra inches for the size, as well as new technology like a True Touchpad Interface, and new styling to boot. Inspiration comes from Acura’s latest Precision Concepts in terms of exterior aesthetics and interior layout, which is sure to get the attention of stateside buyers, and Acura boasts the 2019 model year is the “quickest, best-handling RDX ever.” The updated RDX will hit dealers by mid-2018, but until then, read on for more info.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

What Does It Look Like?


Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV - image 758573
“The new RDX offers much more of that classic SUV character thanks to its bigger, bolder features, especially in the fascia”

With the continued growth and popularity of the SUV and crossover segment here in the States, it’s no surprise Acura has gone to such great lengths to keep the RDX feeling fresh, especially when you consider the solid sales numbers the nameplate has posted over the last five years or so.

So what makes the 2019 RDX standout in the segment? For starters, the styling just got a major improvement. This is the first model to “fully embody Acura’s new design language as envisioned in the Acura Precision Concept,” and overall, we think it offers much more of that classic SUV character thanks to its bigger, bolder features, especially in the fascia. Up front, we also find Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights and a diamond pentagon grille insert.

On the subject of looks, Acura is offering customers a new A-Spec trim level, and although it doesn’t actually affect, you know, performance, it does give the SUV extra regression in the styling department. Going forward, Acura says each of its core models will come with the option for A-Spec gear.

What’s Under The Skin?


Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV - image 758575
“The 2019 RDX comes packing with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which features a mono-scroll turbocharger, double overhead cams, and a VTEC variable valve system”

Behind the restyled grille, the 2019 RDX comes packing with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which features a mono-scroll turbocharger, double overhead cams, and a VTEC variable valve system. The ’four replaces the outgoing model’s SOHC 3.5-liter V-6, and despite its smaller displacement, it manages to create roughly 40 percent more low-end twist.

Once again, FWD is standard, while AWD is optional. Go for the extra grip, and you’ll also get a handling-enhancing torque vectoring system, complete with a new rear diff with a big upgrade in torque capacity. The gearbox is also new, with Acura replacing the older six-speed unit with a segment-first 10-speed automatic.

Complementing the oily bits is a lighter, stiffer body. The exterior dimensions have grown as well, measuring in with an extra 1.2 inches overall, 2.5 inches more wheelbase, and a shorter front overhang. Managing it all is a new, optional adaptive suspension system that takes cues from the Acura NSX with multiple drive modes, including several sport modes.

What’s It Like In The Cabin?


Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV - image 758705
“The big news inside the cabin is a fresh infotainment system Acura calls the True Touchpad Interface”

The big news inside the cabin is a fresh infotainment system Acura calls the True Touchpad Interface. Basically, this system mates touchscreen and remote interface elements into a single unit via a 10.2-inch high-definition display, a new operating system, sharper graphics, and a new voice recognition system as well. Look for the system to eventually find its way into the rest of the Acura stable.

More broadly speaking, the RDX’s interior was redesigned to reflect the Acura Precision Cockpit concept seen previously, and best characterized by the large, vertically oriented center console controls.

Up top, there’s a huge panoramic sliding moonroof as standard across the line, which Acura boasts as the biggest in its class. There’s also more space inside thanks to the longer wheelbase, while front-seated passengers get to enjoy heated and ventilated front seats and 16-way power adjustment. Finally, a host of premium materials solidify the RDX’s claims to opulence, and include Napa leather, brushed aluminum, and open-pore Olive Ash wood.

Clearly Aimed At The States


Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV - image 758579

With the popularity of the SUV and crossover segment continuing unabated here in the U.S., this extensive update for the 2019 RDX makes a lot of sense. Indeed, the automaker says it was “designed, developed and manufactured in America,” and it shows, touching each of the areas U.S. consumers care about the most.

All told, we’re predicting a good amount of success with this one.

References

Acura RDX


Acura Swings For The Fences With 2019 RDX – New Look, New Tech, Extra SUV - image 758577

Read our full review on the 2019 Acura RDX.


2017 Acura Precision Concept - image 686110

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura Precision Concept.


2016 Acura RDX - image 616649

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura RDX.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit!

Mercedes-Benz has finally debuted the all-new G-Class SUV at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. While Mercedes had already released the official information on the G-Class just prior to the show, this is our first time getting a hands-on look at the new icon.

The new G-Class is longer, wider, and of course, more luxurious than the outgoing model. The interior borrows some of the design and high-tech features from the E-Class and S-Class sedans, meaning the G will finally be worth its €107,040.50 ($131,470) asking price. Outside, the G-Class wears a familiar aesthetic that keeps the vehicle grounded in its heritage. It’s like the Jeep Wrangler – the designers couldn’t change it beyond recognition.

The G-Class also retains is amazing off-road capability. In fact, Mercedes even increased the G’s performance. A new “G-Mode” is like a silver bullet button that puts the SUV’s systems into the right settings for tackling treacherous terrain. The front, center, and rear locking differentials, combined with different settings for the traction control, throttle response, and ABS are all included.

Initially, power comes from a 4.0-liter V-8 making 422 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 4,750 rpm. More engines are expected in the future. A nine-speed automatic comes standard. Mercedes says the 2019 G-Class will achieve 21.2 mpg combined. And as mentioned, the price starts around $131,470 here in the U.S. and will go on sale starting in June in Europe with North America to follow.

For more on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, check out our coverage below.

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit! - image 758356

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes G-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 755440

Mercedes-Benz Previews New G-Class With Off-Road Specs


Mercedes-Benz Unveils 2019 G-Class Interior - image 752609

Mercedes-Benz Unveils 2019 G-Class Interior


Happy Thursday: Next-Gen Mercedes G-Class Leaks with No Camo - image 755524

Happy Thursday: Next-Gen Mercedes G-Class Leaks With No Camo


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683654

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Speculation


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon X-Tomi’s Rendering of a Three-Door Urus Proves Lamborghini Should Make One

We’re still coming to grips with the long-awaited arrival of the Lamborghini Urus, but that hasn’t stopped artist X-Tomi Design from making us crave once again for a Urus model that may not even come. Just as soon as Lamborghini unveiled the four-door Urus, the rendering genius decided to create a different version of the super SUV, one that has two doors instead of four. This is what a two-door Lamborghini Urus looks like, and it looks incredible.


X-Tomi's Rendering of a Three-Door Urus Proves Lamborghini Should Make One
- image 757973
“The coupe-SUV look of the two-door Urus actually fits more with Lamborghini’s own personality”

Before anybody gets their hopes up, a point of order is in order. Lamborghini has made no plans of developing a two-door version of the Urus. It’s not in the cards, at least as far as we know. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wish for one, especially after seeing X-Tomi Design’s rendering. The coupe-SUV look of the two-door Urus actually fits more with Lamborghini’s own personality. That’s not to say that the current four-door Urus looks bland and upright — it’s sexy in its own way — but the two-door version looks sleeker and sexier. In other words, it looks like a proper Lamborghini.

That said, going the route of a two-door setup does have its disadvantages, specifically when it comes to space. Part of what makes the current Urus special is that it has a luxurious interior that goes well with the aggressive exterior. A two-door version could still produce that luxury element, but it’s going to come at the cost of less space in the cabin, particularly in the rear section the high point of luxury is more prominently shown. Lamborghini would have to give up that aspect of the current Urus’ offering if it goes in the direction of a two-door version.


2013 Land Rover Evoque Black Design Pack - image 494974

Note: Land Rover Evoque Two-Doors pictured here.

In the event it does offer a two-door Urus in the future, it’s going to enter a market that isn’t as populated as the four-door segment. By and large, companies that have launched two-door SUVs have seen their models crash and burn. The two-door version of the Range Rover Evoque has managed to remain relevant, but the list of crossovers and SUVs that had a similar configuration reads like the obituary section of the Sunday newspaper. Very few models lasted the test of time because customers didn’t want them. A two-door Urus can be an exception because it’s a Lamborghini. Its reputation as a performance car brand allows it to circumvent the usual advantages associated with four-door SUVs, including cabin and cargo space. No one’s going to mistake the Urus for a people-carrier because it really isn’t one in the first place. It’s a high-riding supercar that’s packaged as a four-door SUV.

Know what could potentially be better than that? Get rid of the two rear doors and unleash the Urus as the 650-horsepower super SUV that it really is.

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2012 Lamborghini Urus - image 451044

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Urus Concept.


1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 - image 737272

Read our full review on the 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002.


maker logos - image 744261

Read more Lamborghini news.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Adds More Flavor To Its Lineup With A V-8 Bentayga

Lovers of the opulent, over-the-top Bentley Bentayga have reason to get excited, as the British automaker just announced it would expand the nameplate’s offerings with a new V-8 model. While slightly down on power compared to the previous 12-cylinder variant, the new Bentayga V8 still comes brimming with luxury, technology, and impressive speed.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


“The V-8 also manages up to 25 combined mpg thanks to start/stop tech and cylinder deactivation that turns the 'eight into a four-banger, a vast improvement compared to the W-12 model's 15 mpg combined.”

When Bentley initially announced its intentions to create its very first SUV, it hoped to do it right by offering customers the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive SUV in the world. The end result is a luxury box on wheels with a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine, 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, an eight-speed automatic transmission, AWD, advanced air suspension, a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 187 mph. Pricing starts at over $200,000.

All told, Bentley frames the Bentayga as “the ultimate Grand Touring experience unrestricted by landscape or conditions.” Impressive stuff, no doubt about it, but obviously any time you create the “ultimate” of anything, you leave the door open for the creation of something, well, slightly less ultimate.

Enter the V-8 model, which arrives with a VW-sourced 4.0-liter V-8 powerplant, once again packing in the air thanks to two turbochargers. Standout features include 32 valves and a hot-vee placement for the twin-scroll turbos. Peak output is rated at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, while the top speed clocks in at 180 mph and the 0-to-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds. The V-8 also manages up to 25 combined mpg thanks to start/stop tech and cylinder deactivation that turns the ’eight into a four-banger, a vast improvement compared to the W-12 model’s 15 mpg combined.


Bentley Adds More Flavor To Its Lineup With A V-8 Bentayga - image 757866
“Peak output is rated at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, while the top speed clocks in at 180 mph and the 0-to-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds.”

Bentley claims that this new V-8 model assumes the nameplate’s “most sporting guise to date,” but considering the numbers in play here, we can’t help but question that statement. After all, the V-8 isn’t as powerful and the model isn’t nearly as fast as the ’12, while the rest of the equipment looks more or less unchanged.

Drivetrain Specifications

Bentley Bentayga V-8 Bentley Bentayga W-12
Type 4.0-litre, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged V8 6-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI
Max Power 542 HP @ 6,000 RPM 600 HP @ 5,250-6,000 RPM
Max Torque 568 LB-FT @ 1,960-4,500 RPM 664 LB-FT @ 1,250-4,500 RPM
Transmission ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive with 40:60 front to rear torque split ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox
Top speed 180 mph / 290 km/h 187 mph / 301 km/h
0-60 mph 4.4 secs 4.0 secs
0-100 km/h 4.5 secs 4.1 secs

But maybe Bentley is referring to the brakes, as the V-8 Bentayga also comes with the option for carbon ceramic stoppers. This motorsport-inspired system is a first for the model, and Bentley brags its the largest front brake system available on any production car on the market, measuring in with
enormous 440 mm (17.3-inch) diameter discs and 10-pot calipers. Meanwhile, the rear gets 370 mm (14.6-inch) diameter brake discs.

Keeping it shiny side up is a multi-mode suspension system, with Bentley Drive Dynamics offering a variety of settings that adjust the SUV’s attitude to better suit either comfort or sportiness. The V-8 Bentayga also continues with standard off-roading settings for the Drive Dynamics system, and includes a variety of variable for the ride height.


Bentley Adds More Flavor To Its Lineup With A V-8 Bentayga - image 757870
“Bentley brags the optional carbon brakes are the largest front brakea available on any production car on the market, measuring in with enormous 440 mm (17.3-inch) diameter discs and 10-pot calipers.”

In terms of aesthetics, the V-8 Bentayga offers buyers 11 individual wheel design options, including a new 22-inch five-spoke design painted in polished black. Overall though, the V-8 model looks quite similar to the older W-12 model, with only minor visual cues added as indication of the new engine under the hood. That includes a black chrome grille up front and twin-quad exhaust tips in back.

Inside, the V-8 Bentayga continues the theme of superlative luxury, and now gets new wood trim and hide on the steering wheel, plus a new carbon fiber panel in high-gloss finish for extra sporting cred. A high-end stereo is also on the options list, offering 1,950 watts of power routed through 18 speakers. An 8-inch touchscreen takes its place in front, and there’s a removable 10.2-inch Android tablet in back, plus onboard WiFi support. Rounding out the tech suite is a variety of driver assists, such as adaptive cruise control, traffic assist, park assist, night vision, traffic sign recognition, and the like.


Bentley Adds More Flavor To Its Lineup With A V-8 Bentayga - image 757864
“Pricing for the V-8 Bentayga has not yet been announced, but we expect it to be well below that of the W-12 model.”

Pricing for the V-8 Bentayga has not yet been announced, but we expect it to be well below that of the W-12 model.

For reference, the new Bentayga will go up against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged.

The Merc is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making around 415 horsepower and comes packing with some very impressive off-roading chops, and the whole package is expected to see a solid upgrade with the up-and-coming 2019 model year. Pricing starts at $123,600.

Meanwhile, the Range Rover gets 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque thanks to a blown 5.0-liter V-8, and while it’s definitely designed primary for paved-road duty, it’s got the goods for a jaunt in the rough stuff as well. Pricing starts at $104,890.

References

Bentley Bentayga


2017 Bentley Bentayga - image 645139

Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Bentayga.


maker logos - image 744307

Read more Bentley news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Karma Just Kicked Elon Musk in the Nuts

Another day, another carrot. I just dropped by to tell you that I love karma. Nope, not the Fisker Karma. That karma. The principle that Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. It’s the concept that keeps all life in a perfect balance. And the same concept made Elon Musk look pretty dumb after Hyundai launched the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yup, gotta love karma!

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In case you haven’t been following the latest electric car market disputes, Elon Musk made a few smug comments in recent years. One was aimed at the Nissan Leaf when Musk said that the Model 3 will provide more range at a more affordable price. The compact sedan isn’t yet available, as Tesla is struggling with production issues, but we already know that it’s more efficient than the redesigned Leaf. However, it’s a bit more expensive in base trim and significantly pricier if you want the longer range option and some tech. Pricier as in you can buy a BMW instead.

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right

In early 2016, Musk made a public statement in which it called hydrogen cars “incredibly dumb” when compared to electric vehicle. Granted, he had a few valid reasons about the process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen and compressing the latter cars, but it was still pretty rude to just take a dump on all automakers working on fuel cell technology. Especially with so many engineers claiming that it’s a viable solution. Well, Hyundai just launched the hydrogen-powered Nexo SUV with a range of 370 miles, 75 more than the range-topping Tesla Model X. And karma entered the room to kick Elon in the nuts.

Sure, only time will tell if the Nexo is as good as Hyundai claims, but some were skeptical when the Toyota Mirai entered production, and the Japanese sedan has done pretty well until now. And, unlike Tesla, Hyundai has kept its promises recently and didn’t miss its production schedule due to rash decisions. Maybe Elon could take a break and take a few notes from the Koreans. Hydrogen might be worth something after all now that carbon tanks are becoming more affordable and hydrogen stations are becoming a thing. Let’s not forget that hybrid and all-electric drivetrains were considered ludicrous a few decades ago…

Karma wins. Every time.

References

Hyundai Nexo


2019 Hyundai Nexo - image 756408

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Nexo.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon We Already Know What it Looks Like, But Mercedes is Teasing the Next-Gen G-Class SUV Anyway

Give Mercedes-Benz credit for this: no amount of leaked images will spoil it by teasing the upcoming Mercedes G-Class. We’ve already seen the all-weather SUV running roughshod in a snowy landscape. Now, it’s taking its marauding madness to the sand dunes with a new teaser photo that shows next-to-nothing except for a peek at the front section of the SUV.

The lack of identifiable body bits doesn’t really matter anymore because the aforementioned leaked photos gave the jig up. We know that the new G-Class will keep its iconic look. With the exception of a few bits and pieces, the new G-Class will remain identifiable to anybody who sees it. That’s not to say that the SUV will be completely the same. Looks aside, this is a new model that’s packing plenty of new tech features and the latest in state-of-the-art technology. The interior, in particular, boasts a reconfigured layout and a new digital instrument cluster, among other niceties.

We’ll leave the technical details for Mercedes to reveal, but the new G-Class is shaping up to be another German masterclass in robust off-roading. The SUV is scheduled to make its debut at the North American Auto Show in Detroit next week. Before that, a third and final teaser will be unveiled on January 14. It doesn’t matter now since we already know what the G-Class looks like, but in keeping with the theme of the first two teaser photos, we’re guessing that this one takes place in a jungle. Perhaps even outer space? No, that’d be too much.

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683653

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


2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 722915

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.


2013 Mercedes G-Class - image 448949

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


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai’s Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla

Korean carmaker Hyundai has been developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles since the early 2000s, with the first test model launched in 2005. It was based on the first-generation ix35/Tucson. The crossover was updated in 2012 and went into production in 2013, becoming the first mass-produced SUV with hydrogen power. It’s been five years since then, and Hyundai is replacing the ix35/Tucson FCEV with the Nexo. Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, the Nexo is the brand’s first fuel cell vehicle built on a dedicated platform and boasts significant performance improvements in every department. And it offers better mileage than a Tesla!


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756395
“The Nexo sports a brand-new design that combines the company's familiar styling language with a few unique cues”

The Nexo sports a brand-new design that combines the company’s familiar styling language with a few unique cues. The front fascia is similar to the recently launched Kona, including the slender headlamps and large lights in the bumper, but it has a new grille with a wider top section and more rounded sides. The profile is rather sporty when compared to the Tucson thanks to the swoopy beltline, the coupe-like roof, and the sculpted side skirts. The rear section is pretty simple and very SUV-specific, but it somewhat unique in the Hyundai lineup. The headlamps have an interesting LED pattern, while the bumper includes a massive license plate recess that mimics the shape of the front grille.

The cabin layout is clean and simple. I can see a few Kona features on the dashboard, but the Nexo’s cabin is very original. The center console is taller than in most small SUVs and works its way up to the center stack. There’s a big infotainment display in the center, and the instrument cluster is digital. Both screens are placed under the same hood, which makes it seem as if a wide screen stretches across more than half the dashboard. The remaining controls are placed on the center console. If you ask me, the latter is a bit too cluttered with buttons and knobs, and the lower dash and door panels look a bit too cheap. Technology-wise, it comes with new Lane Following Assist, Blind-spot View Monitor, and Remote Smart Parking Assistant. The SUV is also supposed to power household applications, a feature that Hyundai wants to demo at CES.

Better Range than a Tesla


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756378

Unlike the Tucson, the Nexo rides on its own architecture. This is proof that Hyundai’s hydrogen program has finally matured and it is ready to become a mainstream thing. On top of the new platform, the Nexo sports a lighter, more compact hydrogen powertrain and a more powerful electric motor. The power density of the stack was increased by 50 percent, and system efficiency went up 5.1 percent compared to the Tucson FCEV. The motor is smaller and contains fewer moving parts for enhanced efficiency and reliability, while the hydrogen tanks are 36 pounds lighter than those in the Tucson FCEV.

The electric motor cranks out 120 kW (161 horsepower) and 291 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous 100-kW (134-horsepower) and 221-pound-foot rating. The new drivetrain needs 30 seconds to get going, a full 60 seconds less than the Tucson FCEV. The hydrogen tanks can also store more fuel. While the previous crossover had a capacity of 140 liters (37 gallons), the Nexo can carry 156 liters (42 gallons). Likewise, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph decreased from 12.5 to 9.9 seconds, while mileage increased from 295 miles to 370 miles. Hyundai claims in a real-world run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas; the Nexo returned a 360-mile range. Bye-bye range anxiety! Refueling the tanks takes only five minutes.

The 370-mile range makes the Nexo the most efficient production car that uses an electric motor on the market right. It even trumps the Tesla Model X by 75 miles. The all-electric SUV is good for 237 miles in base trim, while the most efficient version, the 100D, provides up to 295 miles on a single charge. A bit ironic given that Elon Musk said that hydrogen fuel cell technology is “incredibly dumb.”

The Nexo will be available in select markets later this year, but there’s no word on production output and pricing yet.

Hyundai Nexo Tesla Model X
Power 135 kW
Fuel Cell 95 kW
Battery 40 kW 75 kWh to 100 kWh
Motor 120 kW (161 HP) 417 – 518 HP
Torque 291 LB-FT 387 – 485 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 9.9 seconds 6 seconds
Range >370 miles estimated 237-295 miles (depending on trim)

References

Hyundai Nexo


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756408

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Nexo.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon CES 2018 – Byton Is Promising Technology That Brands Like BMW And Mercedes Can’t Move Past The Concept Stage

Byton, an international extension of the Chinese-based Future Mobility Corporation, just debuted its very first product, pulling the sheets in front of an eager crowd at CES 2018. Framed as a near-production-ready concept dripping with innovative technology, the SUV promises a lot – but can it deliver?

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


“The Byton Concept EV is the company's very first all-electric vehicle, with a sleek new design, luxurious interior, and solid range”

The Byton Concept EV is the company’s very first all-electric vehicle, with a sleek new design, luxurious interior, and solid range. Byton hopes it will successfully “replace horsepower with digital power,” making a splash in the SUV segment for about $45,000. At 191 inches in length, 76 inches in width, and 65 inches in height, it’s significantly smaller than competitors like the Tesla Model X, but it comes with some pretty impressive tech that will definitely steal some sales – if the start-up delivers on its promises, that is.

So then, what’s the tech in question?

For starters, there are facial recognition cameras mounted on the b-pillars for “user authentication” purposes and the specification of customized settings (seat position, etc.). There’s also smart exterior lighting that will help greet the user and relay important information, such as the current charging status.

Once inside, drivers are met with an enormous screen on the dash, measuring 49 inches in length and 10 inches in height. A touch screen was placed in the steering wheel as well. Rear-view cameras are used in lieu of physical side mirrors.


CES 2018 – Byton Is Promising Technology That Brands Like BMW And Mercedes Can't Move Past The Concept Stage - image 756193
“Once inside, drivers are met with an enormous screen on the dash, measuring 49 inches in length and 10 inches in height. Byton says the SUV will come with level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with promises of reaching level 4 capability by 2020.”

It gets better. The on-board AI uses various devices to monitor the driver’s health and provide “meaningful advice,” while a video chat feature helps you connect on the go. There are individual adjustments for the front and aft seats (no static rear bench here), while the front seats will also rotate around to enhance sociability inside the cabin. Amazon provides its Alexa voice control software, and there’s a simplified gesture command system as well. An intuitive navigation system helps you find the best route from A to B, and the high levels of connectivity come courtesy of several flat antennas integrated with the roof.

Finally, Byton says the SUV will come with level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with promises of reaching level 4 capability by 2020.

All impressive stuff, no doubt about it. But the question is this – is Byton biting off more than it can chew? The company is shooting for no less than “the most advanced EV in the market as of 2019,” which is no small feat these days.


CES 2018 – Byton Is Promising Technology That Brands Like BMW And Mercedes Can't Move Past The Concept Stage - image 756185
“All impressive stuff, no doubt about it. But the question is this – is Byton biting off more than it can chew?”

Still, the basics look pretty solid, with the base model providing 250 miles per charge and 272 horsepower from a 71-kWh battery, and the higher trim doing 325 miles per charge and 476 horsepower from a 350-kWh battery. There’s also a quick-charge feature that will juice the pack with 150 miles in 20 minutes, and an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.

We’re still a little over a year and a half before we’ll know for sure it Byton can pull this off, but if all the above-mentioned features are included when the final production version drops late 2019, it could spell success for the start-up.

References


CES 2018 – Byton Is Promising Technology That Brands Like BMW And Mercedes Can't Move Past The Concept Stage - image 756181

Read our full review on the 2019 Byton EV Concept.


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model X Pulls Stuck Volvo Semi Out Of The Snow: Video

In case you hadn’t noticed yet, the weather outside ain’t just frightful – it’s downright abysmal. Tons of frozen water is flying down from the sky, covering that tacky black stuff we all like to drive on, making us all nostalgic for better, warmer, traction-filled times. Some folks are handling it better than others, but sometimes, the inevitable happens, and without warningbam – you’re stuck. And that’s exactly what happened to the driver of this Volvo semi in Raleigh, North Carolina. Stranded on the side of the road, a passing SUV decided to give the struggle truck a hand, which normally would be an empty gesture – unless, of course, the SUV in question happened to have enough torque to shift the Earth’s orbit and the AWD grip to put it all down. As it happens, that’s exactly what you get in the Tesla Model X, and as such, this tale of the good all-electric Samaritan has a happy ending.

Recently posted on Facebook, the clip is just a minute in length, but heartwarming all the same. With the stuck semi hooked up to the Model X’s rear end, the driver of the Tesla puts the pedal down, spinning all four tires in a mad grab for traction. Eventually, it starts to hook up, and slowly but surely, the semi is freed from its wintry trap. Now we just want to see a Model X pull out one of those new Tesla Semis from a snow drift…

5,000 lb towing limit, lol. Ben #ModelX #Tesla #TeslaSemi #Snow #DualMotor

Posted by Kyle Conner on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

References

Tesla Model X


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.

PostHeaderIcon Byton EV

A Chinese electric car start-up called Future Mobility (FMC) is dipping its toes in the electric car market by launching car company Byton. The new automaker isn’t taking long to make its presence felt in the segment as it already has an electric mid-sized SUV that it plans to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Exterior


2019 Byton EV - image 755406
“Byton’s claim that the vehicle is roughly the same size as the Audi Q5”

We know very little about the exterior of the new Byton electric SUV other than these few teaser photos. The photos don’t reveal much, but we do see a few noteworthy elements, including what appears to be thin headlights that are made up of three large LEDs lined up horizontally. Just below them is another lighting fixture that looks to be more cosmetic than anything else. In my head, they resemble beams that extend in different directions, creating the kind of effect you normally see in a concert. A different teaser photo shows the lights emitting a green hue, but the similar treatment in the rear section of the SUV shows the lights emitting a red color. It’s unclear if this is part of Byton’s electric SUV package, but it does attract some attention.


The teaser photos don’t reveal any details on the side section of the SUV. For that, I checked out the teaser video to see what the silhouette looks like. The video shows a brief glimpse of the top section of the vehicle and the proportions suggest that there’s some legitimacy to Byton’s claim that the vehicle is roughly the same size as the Audi Q5.

Interior


2019 Byton EV - image 755405
“The most prominent element is that massive infotainment screen that stretches to an absurd length of 1,250 mm, or about 49 inches, and rises up to a height of 250 mm, or almost 10 inches”

As little as we know about the Byton SUV’s exterior, we already have a clear look at what the interior looks like. The cabin looks the part of what you’d expect from a concept vehicle. The most prominent element is that massive infotainment screen that stretches to an absurd length of 1,250 mm, or about 49 inches, and rises up to a height of 250 mm, or almost 10 inches! That’s a little over four feet of infotainment screen occupying the entire length of the floating dashboard. The automaker says that this approach makes it easy for both the driver and front passenger to use the screen comfortably. Hard to argue against that sentiment.

Byton’s exuberance in using digital displays can also be found on the steering wheel where a smaller display is located right in the middle of it. We’ve seen this done in the tuning world with iPads in the middle of the wheel, but Bytone is taking it to another level. Apparently, the company thinks that the more displays in the car, the better it is for all of its occupants.


2019 Byton EV - image 755407

Another teaser photo shows a large amount of interior surface dressed up in brown leather. I had my reservations when I first saw it, but I started warming up to it once I got a long look at the dashboard when it’s dressed in the good stuff. It actually looks nice. You’ll notice too that both front seats come with large armrests. I’m a fan of armrests for a number of reasons so I’m digging this small design detail. It gives the two front seats the feel of comfortable lounge chairs. At the very least, they should pass off as lounge chairs because the driver will probably have to ride in a high seating position to see over that absurdly large infotainment screen.

Drivetrain


2019 Byton EV - image 755409
“The SUV will also feature accelerated charging capability, including the ability to charge 76 miles (120 km) of battery range in just 10 minutes of charging.”

From what we know at this point, the Byton electric SUV will be powered by electric motors. According to FMC president, Daniel Kirchert, the SUV will have a range of 217 miles (350 km) in standard form. There are also plans to develop a more premium variant that comes with a range of 311 miles (500 km). The SUV will also feature accelerated charging capability, including the ability to charge 76 miles (120 km) of battery range in just 10 minutes of charging.

On the side of autonomy, Byton plans to install hardware inside its electric SUV that would someday allow it to achieve Level 5 autonomy. That isn’t expected to happen when the car is launched, so expect a version similar to Tesla’s over-the-air updates to be a big part of Byton’s ability to boost the SUV’s tech abilities while it’s on-the-go.

More details about the drivetrain, including the SUV’s power output, should be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Conclusion


2019 Byton EV - image 755412

I’ve come this far resisting the urge to bring up Faraday Future and its FF91 SUV, but I can’t keep it in anymore. The similarities are uncanny between the two companies, right down to choosing CES as the event to debut a ground-breaking, all-electric, self-driving-capable SUV. Remember, Faraday debuted the FF91 at CES two years ago and it promised a lot of the same things that we’re hearing from Byton. That’s not to say that the new start-up is going to suffer through the problems that Faraday has had since, but I can’t help but think that Byton may be trying to bite the same tree here.

That said, I will give the company some leeway to show what it’s capable of doing moving forward. That’s the only fair thing to do at this point. The concept looks promising and the ambition is there to really make a mark in a segment that’s continuing to grow by the year.

But those days of blindly championing start-up electric car markers are long gone. Now, I’m adopting a wait-and-see approach. I hope there’s something to Byton’s electric SUV because I want the company to succeed. But if it doesn’t, don’t count on me being surprised.

  • Leave it
    • * We’ve seen this song-and-dance before
    • * Exterior is still a question mark
    • * No drivetrain details

References


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.

PostHeaderIcon Byton Concept EV

A Chinese electric car start-up called Future Mobility (FMC) is dipping its toes in the electric car market by launching car company Byton. The new automaker isn’t taking long to make its presence felt in the segment as it already has an electric mid-sized SUV that it plans to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Exterior


2019 Byton Concept EV - image 755406
“Byton’s claim that the vehicle is roughly the same size as the Audi Q5”

We know very little about the exterior of the new Byton electric SUV other than these few teaser photos. The photos don’t reveal much, but we do see a few noteworthy elements, including what appears to be thin headlights that are made up of three large LEDs lined up horizontally. Just below them is another lighting fixture that looks to be more cosmetic than anything else. In my head, they resemble beams that extend in different directions, creating the kind of effect you normally see in a concert. A different teaser photo shows the lights emitting a green hue, but the similar treatment in the rear section of the SUV shows the lights emitting a red color. It’s unclear if this is part of Byton’s electric SUV package, but it does attract some attention.


The teaser photos don’t reveal any details on the side section of the SUV. For that, I checked out the teaser video to see what the silhouette looks like. The video shows a brief glimpse of the top section of the vehicle and the proportions suggest that there’s some legitimacy to Byton’s claim that the vehicle is roughly the same size as the Audi Q5.

Interior


2019 Byton Concept EV - image 755405
“The most prominent element is that massive infotainment screen that stretches to an absurd length of 1,250 mm, or about 49 inches, and rises up to a height of 250 mm, or almost 10 inches”

As little as we know about the Byton SUV’s exterior, we already have a clear look at what the interior looks like. The cabin looks the part of what you’d expect from a concept vehicle. The most prominent element is that massive infotainment screen that stretches to an absurd length of 1,250 mm, or about 49 inches, and rises up to a height of 250 mm, or almost 10 inches! That’s a little over four feet of infotainment screen occupying the entire length of the floating dashboard. The automaker says that this approach makes it easy for both the driver and front passenger to use the screen comfortably. Hard to argue against that sentiment.

Byton’s exuberance in using digital displays can also be found on the steering wheel where a smaller display is located right in the middle of it. We’ve seen this done in the tuning world with iPads in the middle of the wheel, but Bytone is taking it to another level. Apparently, the company thinks that the more displays in the car, the better it is for all of its occupants.


2019 Byton Concept EV - image 755407

Another teaser photo shows a large amount of interior surface dressed up in brown leather. I had my reservations when I first saw it, but I started warming up to it once I got a long look at the dashboard when it’s dressed in the good stuff. It actually looks nice. You’ll notice too that both front seats come with large armrests. I’m a fan of armrests for a number of reasons so I’m digging this small design detail. It gives the two front seats the feel of comfortable lounge chairs. At the very least, they should pass off as lounge chairs because the driver will probably have to ride in a high seating position to see over that absurdly large infotainment screen.

Drivetrain


2019 Byton Concept EV - image 755409
“The SUV will also feature accelerated charging capability, including the ability to charge 76 miles (120 km) of battery range in just 10 minutes of charging.”

From what we know at this point, the Byton electric SUV will be powered by electric motors. According to FMC president, Daniel Kirchert, the SUV will have a range of 217 miles (350 km) in standard form. There are also plans to develop a more premium variant that comes with a range of 311 miles (500 km). The SUV will also feature accelerated charging capability, including the ability to charge 76 miles (120 km) of battery range in just 10 minutes of charging.

On the side of autonomy, Byton plans to install hardware inside its electric SUV that would someday allow it to achieve Level 5 autonomy. That isn’t expected to happen when the car is launched, so expect a version similar to Tesla’s over-the-air updates to be a big part of Byton’s ability to boost the SUV’s tech abilities while it’s on-the-go.

More details about the drivetrain, including the SUV’s power output, should be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Conclusion


2019 Byton Concept EV - image 755412

I’ve come this far resisting the urge to bring up Faraday Future and its FF91 SUV, but I can’t keep it in anymore. The similarities are uncanny between the two companies, right down to choosing CES as the event to debut a ground-breaking, all-electric, self-driving-capable SUV. Remember, Faraday debuted the FF91 at CES two years ago and it promised a lot of the same things that we’re hearing from Byton. That’s not to say that the new start-up is going to suffer through the problems that Faraday has had since, but I can’t help but think that Byton may be trying to bite the same tree here.

That said, I will give the company some leeway to show what it’s capable of doing moving forward. That’s the only fair thing to do at this point. The concept looks promising and the ambition is there to really make a mark in a segment that’s continuing to grow by the year.

But those days of blindly championing start-up electric car markers are long gone. Now, I’m adopting a wait-and-see approach. I hope there’s something to Byton’s electric SUV because I want the company to succeed. But if it doesn’t, don’t count on me being surprised.

  • Leave it
    • * We’ve seen this song-and-dance before
    • * Exterior is still a question mark
    • * No drivetrain details

References


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Niro EV Concept

Launched for the 2017 model year, the Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover positioned below the popular Sportage. Previewed by a concept vehicle introduced in 2013, the Niro is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, and it’s available with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor combo, in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. A gasoline-only version isn’t on a drawing table yet, but a fully electric model is definitely underway. Already spotted testing on public roads in 2017, the Niro EV is coming to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in concept form.

Heavily based on the production model, the electric concept is more than just a Niro with an electric motor and a battery. Kia also meddled with the exterior design and created a new lighting system for the show car. Inside the cabin, we will see a “never-seen-before human-machine interface (HMI),” which could preview an upcoming infotainment system. Most details are still under wraps, so make sure you stay tuned for an update from the Consumer Electronics Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Niro EV concept.

Exterior

  • Redesigned headlamps
  • New daytine running lights
  • Revised taillights
  • New rear bumper with LED lights
  • New side skirts
  • New wheel design
  • “Motion graphic” lighting system

2018 Kia Niro EV Concept - image 755518
“The concept comes with an "advanced new ‘motion graphic’ lighting system"”

Although the photos of the concept car are quite dark, we can spot a few essential details. For starters, it’s pretty obvious that the show car is a modified Niro. All the familiar features are there, including the headlamps and taillights, the “Tigernose” grille, and traditional crossover shape. But unlike the production model, the concept comes with an “advanced new ‘motion graphic’ lighting system.” Kia had nothing to say about it yet, but was careful enough to highlight it in the photos.

A quick glance at the headlamps reveals a new LED pattern with thin stripes around the lens and new detailing around the main bulb. The daytime running lights in the bumper are also new, now formed of a thin hockey stick-like element and a diagonal bar toward the bottom. The traditional grille was also replaced with what appears to be a display with LED dots. It’s unclear whether the graphics are customizable here but it could change depending on the drive mode selected.


2018 Kia Niro EV Concept - image 755522
“The license place recess is much wider now and looks like a sporty diffuser”

Things become a lot more interesting around back, where Kia replaced the Niro’s usual taillights with slimmer units. On top of being thinner, which gives the crossover a more aggressive stance, they also feature a new LED pattern with thin stripes around the lens and vertical bars, similar to those seen up front. The red lights in the bumper also mimic the shape of the daytime running lights. The license place recess is much wider now and looks like a sporty diffuser. Inside, there’s “Niro EV” lettering in white LED lights.

The SUV’s profile appears to be the same, but I can see a new side skirt design, new wheels, and a slightly lowered ride height.

Kia says that the “motion graphic” lighting system previews the potential for such a technologies “for market introduction in coming years.” I’ll be honest here, I can’t wait to find out what this thing is all about.

Interior

  • Likely based on production model
  • Extra apps and features
  • new human-machine interface

2017 Kia Niro - image 665043
“The concept also features a "never-seen-before" human-machine interface (HMI)”

Kia had absolutely nothing to say about the concept car’s interior, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t stray too far from the production model’s layout. Sure, Kia may add a few new features, like a custom instrument cluster with information about the electric drivetrain and additional apps for the infotainment system, but the general cabin design should remain unchanged. It could showcase new visuals like a flashy two-tone upholstery, new contrast stitching, and new materials but don’t expect anything wild.

New technology is also on the table, but don’t get your hopes up for something revolutionary. With the Niro EV already under development and testing on public roads, the concept is probably an almost production-ready vehicle. Kia did say that the concept also features a never-seen-before human-machine interface but it remains to be seen if the Korean brand will introduce something entirely new. I’ve read way too much fancy PR talk lately so I’m tempted to believe it’s something we’ve already seen in other concept car but packaged in a different way.

Drivetrain

  • Electric motor from Hyundai Ioniq
  • 28-kWh battery
  • 155-mile range
  • 118 horsepower
  • 217 pound-feet of torque

2018 Kia Niro EV Concept - image 755519
“The Niro EV could use the same drivetrain as the Hyundai Ioniq”

Kia has yet to release drivetrain information on the Niro EV concept, but it did say that it features a “highly efficient battery-electric powertrain.” However, we already know that the Niro is based on the Hyundai Ioniq, which already has an electric version, so it’s safe to assume that the Niro EV could use the same drivetrain.

Introduced in 2017, the Ioniq Electric has a single electric motor that generates 118 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed reducer transmission that’s capable of pushing the car to a top speed of 102 mph. The juice is stored in a 28-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that promises an estimated range of 155 miles. Charging the battery to 80 percent only takes 24 minutes using a 100-kW fast charger, and an integrated in-cable control box (ICCB) allows the vehicle to charge using a standard 120-volt wall socket. These specs should be similar for the production version of the Niro EV.

Of course, the concept car could have additional output and features, but we won’t know for sure until the vehicle breaks cover at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Conclusion


2018 Kia Niro EV Concept - image 755520

The Niro EV may be just a concept car for now, but it’s pretty clear that it will become a production model soon. The vehicle was already spotted tested on public roads and it will most likely arrive by the end of 2018. With the Niro already available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, the full electric version will round out the nameplate and give Kia a solid competitor for all markets.

  • Leave it
    • * Details still under wraps

References

Kia Niro


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742858

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Kia Niro EV.


2017 Kia Niro - image 665038

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro.


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.


maker logos - image 745757

Read more Kia news.

PostHeaderIcon Looking Forward: Five SUVs That Will Hit the Streets This Year

With 2018 now officially upon us, it’s a great time to look ahead in anticipation of all the great rides set to make their way onto public roads for the very first time. As such, we put together a quick list of five SUVs to look out for in the new year.

Continue reading for our list of five SUVs that will hit the streets this year.

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741966

With its recent debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new-gen JL-series Jeep Wrangler heads to dealers a little later this month, which means we’ll soon see this refreshed off-roading legend prowling the streets. We like the new Wrangler so much, we gave it a spot on our Best Vehicles of the Year list, and we think buyers will agree – with new powertrain options, the latest tech in the cabin, and every bit of the older model’s capability in the rough stuff, this one is shaping up to be a quite the tempting buy.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749815

In a big break from tradition, Lambo is applying its go-fast knowledge and outlandish design chops to the SUV segment, giving us this – the new Urus (yeah, we know all about the LM002, but it was neither quick nor did it look like a proper Lambo). The Urus definitely has the sharp lines and geometric shapes we’d expect from the Italian Raging Bull, while under the hood, the SUV gets a 4.0-liter V-8 stuffed with boost by a pair of turbochargers. Top speed is rated 190 mph and the 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in about 3.5 seconds.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan


2018 Rolls-Royce Cullinan - image 621476

As another newcomer to the SUV segment, Rolls-Royce’s approach differs from Lamborghini’s, focusing on lavishness and opulence as opposed to flat-out speed. Inside, we’re expecting a layout similar to such outstanding luxury barges as the Phantom, plus there should be V-12 power for motivation. Pricing will be deep in the six-figure range – we’re guessing a figure around $350,000.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Audi Q3


2019 Audi Q3 - image 675226

Full details are still forthcoming, but so far, the new Q3 is looking like it’ll be quite a solid crossover for the latest model year. Expect updated MQB underpinnings under the skin, as well as tweaked exterior styling and a full line of diesel and gasoline engine options to complement, not to mention the latest and greatest safety tech.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Audi Q3.

Volvo XC40


2018 Volvo XC40 - image 733015

The Swedes have really been on a roll lately, and the XC40 looks to continue that momentum with an entry-level compact offering oodles of style and comfort. Look for handsome design for the techno-infused soft-touch interior, while the engine selection will include a turbocharged four-cylinder in a variety of tunes.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC40.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Previews New G-Class With Off-Road Specs

Although a full reveal isn’t expected to drop until later this month at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz is previewing the upcoming 2019 G-Class with a rundown on its off-road specs. The German automaker is also offering up a few shots of the camo’d luxury box bashing around in the rough stuff as visual proof of its prowess.

Continue reading to learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

The Full Story


Mercedes-Benz Previews New G-Class With Off-Road Specs - image 755440

We just got a look at the new G-Class’ revamped interior last month,which assured us that yes – this thing is still very much a five-star luxury hotel on wheels. Now we’re getting a few tidbits on the other side of the equation – that is, what it can do off the paved stuff.

“The primary goal of development was to make the new G-Class even more effective off-road,” Mercedes sates in the press release. Apparently, the automaker put the new G-Class to the test at a place called Schockl, which is a 1,445-meter (4,741-foot) mountain in Austria. Snaking its way towards the top of the mountain is a road about 5.6 km (roughly 3.5 miles) long, offering challenges like gradients up to 60 percent and lateral inclinations up to 40 percent. Here, Merc made sure the G-Class had the right stuff by clocking some 2,000 km (1,243 miles) along the difficult route.

To help it feel at home up there on the Austrian mountain, the G-Class keeps its ladder-frame construction, while in the corners you’ll find double wishbones for the front mated directly to the ladder-frame, sans a subframe. In back is a rigid rear axle that utilizes a quartet of longitudinal control arms per side, plus a Panhard rod. AMG provided input on the suspension set-up, maximizing capability and ground clearance, while keeping it somewhat civil on flatter, more even surfaces.


Mercedes-Benz Previews New G-Class With Off-Road Specs - image 755441
“Updates for the latest model year include extra ground clearance, a deeper fording depth, higher driving stability angles, a higher approach angle, and finally, a higher breakover angle.”

Updates for the latest model year include an additional 6 mm (0.24 inches) of ground clearance between the axles, an additional 10 cm (3.9 inches) for the fording depth (up to 70 cm, or 27.6 inches, total), an extra 7 degrees for the driving stability angle (up to 35 degrees), one more degree for the approach angle (up to 31 degrees), and finally, one more degree for the breakover angle (up to 26 degrees).

On the traction front, the G-Class gets three differential locks, plus a Low-Range off-road ratio. Routing the power is a new nine-speed automatic transmission, which Mercedes says was adapted to suit the needs of an off-roader thanks to shorter, crisper shift tuning. Torque is split 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear. 18-inch all-terrain tires are an available option.

There’s also a new G-Mode that sets the mood with all the proper settings for off-roading. G-Mode is activated automatically when engaging the diff locks or Low Range Mode, and affects the steering, dampers, and throttle response.


Mercedes-Benz Previews New G-Class With Off-Road Specs - image 755442
“There's also a new G-Mode that sets the mood with all the proper settings for off-roading.”

A bird’s eye 360-degree camera, reversing camera, and three additional cameras provide extra visibility when searching for the right line. The infotainment assists include data like height, gradient, steering angle, diff status, and even a compass for extra explorer style points.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed, as we’ll be bringing you all the information on the new G-Class when it drops later this month in Detroit.

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683653

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


2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 722915

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.


2013 Mercedes G-Class - image 448949

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

PostHeaderIcon Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

Mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel

This coming January, lovers of dirt-flavored racing will once again turn their attention to the Southern Hemisphere as the infamous Dakar Rally hits South America for the tenth year running. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, once again promising a grueling 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of racing over some of the most difficult terrain Mother Nature can produce. The outlined route will lead teams through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, challenging competitors with steep sand dunes, craggy boulder fields, twisting tarmac, and impossibly high mountain passes. This is one of the ultimate tests of man and machine, but Peugeot looks ready for anything. The French automaker took top honors in the Dakar earlier last year, giving it back-to-back victories between 2016 and 2017. Now, the French automaker is looking for a three-peat with this – the updated 3008 DKR Maxi. The “brand-new racing lion” might carry the same name as the road-going Peugeot 3008, but it’s far removed from what you get in dealers, bringing the heat thanks to a host of impressive motorsport cues courtesy of Peugeot Sport, all aimed at ultimate victory over terra firma.

The Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi has undergone extensive testing in Morocco, Portugal, and France to prepare for the 2018 Dakar event, logging more than 18,000 test km (11,185 miles) over the past year. What’s more, Team Peugeot Total has once again assembled a dream team of talent for the driver’s roster, including names like Peterhansel, Loeb, Sainz, and Despres. Still – the Dakar is unpredictable at best. Will the new 3008 DKR once again have what it takes to snag another win?

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Exterior

  • Bespoke performance design
  • Massive underbody protection
  • Carbon composite exterior panels
  • Magnesium single-piece wheels
  • Plenty of vents and cooling pieces

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 755418

No doubt about it, the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi is a beastly machine. Really the only similarities we see between this pure-bred off-road monster and the compact crossover that gave it its name is the headlight design. The rest of it is unadulterated performance.

Up front, we find a fascia that’s slim and wide, stretched from corner to corner to accommodate an extremely wide track and cut high to allow the vehicle to smash up and down steep inclines without a moment’s hesitation. The underbody protection is massive, with thick metal plates installed to ward off any persistent chunks of nature and keep vital mechanical bits intact. Prominent vents in the nose aid in airflow, while the sizable fender flares are done in bare carbon fiber.


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“The majority of the 3008 DKR's exterior is made from carbon and composites, keeping it as lightweight as possible despite the burly protective metal plating, huge suspension, and meaty tire and wheel package.”

Indeed, the majority of the 3008 DKR’s exterior is made from carbon and composites, keeping it as lightweight as possible despite the burly protective metal plating, huge suspension, and meaty tire and wheel package. Speaking of the rollers, the knobby rubber you see in the corners is attached to wheels carved from a single piece of magnesium, with the final sizing measured at 8.5 inches for the width and 17 inches for the diameter. When viewed in profile, we see the 3008 DKR’s Red Bull livery in its full glory, complemented by a highly raked windshield, a slim intake on the roof, and large intakes just above and ahead of the rear fenders. The overall body shape appears squat and flat, with broad body panels encompassing a plumped-up rear end. The stance is tall, very tall in fact, but the impressive track width keeps it looking stable, even when flying sideways at maximum attack. The cabin and engine compartment are also centrally placed, helping to give this racer its optimum weight distribution.

In back, the Peugeot 3008 DKR is all fins, with row upon row of louvers in place to help dispel hot air from the mid-mounted powerplant. This view also gives us a decent look at the rear diff and suspension components, which are laid bare under thin strips of carbon body components. From this angle, the 3008 DKR’s shell-like exterior is plain to see.

Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi Exterior Dimensions

Height 1,799 mm (70.8 inches)
Length 4,312 mm (169.8 inches)
Width 2,400 mm (94.5 inches)
Front Overhang 623 mm (24.5 inches)
Rear Overhang 689 mm (27.1 inches)
Wheelbase 3,000 mm (118.1 inches)

Interior

  • Carbon cockpit
  • Digital readouts everywhere
  • Tons of buttons, knobs, and switches
  • Fixed-back carbon seats for driver and co-driver
  • Netting on the door panels for quick storage
  • Alcantara for the steering wheel
  • Spare parts and tools to keep it in the running

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699981
“Step inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR, and you'll find yourself stuffed into carbon cockpit laden with switches, knobs, buttons, and digital readouts”

Step inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR, and you’ll find yourself stuffed into carbon cockpit laden with switches, knobs, buttons, and digital readouts. As you can probably imagine, this thing is stripped down to the absolute bare-bones essentials, but when it comes to a race as demanding as the Dakar, that actually includes quite a lot. For example, a few spare tires and a decent toolset are included to keep the machine running should something break while traversing the wilds.

Drivers sit in the left-hand position, gripping an Alcantara-clad steering wheel with a quick-release hub and yellow top-center mark. Behind the wheel is a small screen to display the current selected gear and basics like road speed. Complementary screens are located the the left of the wheel and to the right in the center console. Bare carbon is used for just about everything here, including the seats, which are fixed-back buckets mounted low in the cabin. Netting was added to the inside of the doors to give the driver and co-driver a quick and easy storage spot, while two tall levers for the gear shift and handbrake are within easy reach from the driver’s seat.


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699971
“The control scheme is complicated, looking more like what you get in a jet aircraft than a car.”

The control scheme is complicated, looking more like what you get in a jet aircraft than a car. All of it’s necessary though, because when you’re charging through the stages (some of which are several hundreds of miles in length, by the way), you’ll need quick access to any and all systems to tweak and tune for top performance potential.

Drivetrain

  • RWD rather than AWD
  • Mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel
  • 340 horsepower
  • 590 pound-feet of torque
  • 124- mph top speed
  • Six-speed sequential gearbox
  • Almost 106 gallons of fuel on board

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699999
“In the middle of the machine, the 3008 DKR gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine for motivation.”

Considering this is a bad ass off-roader we’re talking about, it may come as a surprise that the Peugeot 3008 DKR isn’t 4WD, but rather RWD. Yep, just two driven wheels here, which actually comes with its own advantages in the Dakar rulebook, including a smaller number for the all-important minimum weight requirements (two-wheel drive cars can be lighter due to their reduced traction capabilities).

In the middle of the machine, the 3008 DKR gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine for motivation. The cylinders are set at a 60-degree angle, while the engine is mounted longitudinally. Standout features include four valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams, and direct fuel injection, as well as a tiny 38 mm (1.5-inch) restrictor plate to keep power levels in check.


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699963
“Peak output is rated at 340 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.”

Put it all together, and peak output is rated at 340 horsepower and 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) of torque, calculating out to roughly 114 horsepower per liter. Redline is set at 5,000 rpm. All that go is sent to the rear axle by way of a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Top speed for the Peugeot 3008 DKR is rated at 200 kph, or 124 mph, which might not seem all that fast. Still, that’s 200 kph over just about any kind of terrain imaginable, so yeah – it’s quick.

In preparation for the 2018 event, the 3008 DKR comes with new front and rear track rods, as well as new driveshafts, both of which help to accommodate the new vehicle’s wider track.

Finally, there’s a mammoth 400-liter (105.7-gallon) fuel tank to supply the oil burner with go juice.

Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi Engine, Drivetrain, And Performance Specs

Engine twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel
Drivetrain Layout mid-mounted, RWD
Horsepower 340 hp
Torque 590 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed sequential
Redline 5,000 rpm
Top Speed 124 mph

Chassis And Handling

  • Custom tubular space frame chassis
  • 20 mm wider track for straight-line stability
  • Wishbone suspension front and back
  • Over 18 inches of suspension travel
  • 14-inch brake discs

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699979
“With the wider track, the 3008 DKR's suspension was enhanced to help make the most of the more planted stance. It also offers an incredible 18.1 inches of suspension travel.”

Underneath all those burly-looking composite body panels, the Peugeot 3008 DKR uses a custom tubular space frame chassis made from steel for superlative strength. As previously mentioned, the racer’s track was widened this year, with an extra 10 cm added to both the left and right for an extra 20 mm total. The end result is more confidence when traveling at high speeds, although the tradeoff can be felt with muddier low-speed maneuvers. Team driver Sebastien Loeb had this to say –

“I think the car is much more stable now that it is wider, and so it feels a bit different to drive. In the very narrow and technical parts that does mean it’s more cumbersome of course, but in terms of stability and driving it’s definitely a step forward. The car has less of a tendency to roll its suspension now, so that gives you more confidence to attack and get it sideways. I’d say the strongest point of the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi is the off-road ability it has. With its wide track and wheels, it can go more or less anywhere. It’s maybe not so agile on stage-type roads: that’s more the territory of four-wheel drive cars. But the advantage of our car is the fact that it can tackle anything, especially in the dunes.”


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699973

With the wider track, the 3008 DKR’s suspension was enhanced to help make the most of the more planted stance. That includes new upper and lower wishbones both front and back. Both ends also
come with coil springs, twin dampers, and anti-roll bars. What’s more, the 3008 DKR offers an incredible 460 mm (18.1 inches) of suspension travel.

A hydraulic power steering system helps it all turn, while the brakes are ventilated discs with a 355 mm
(14-inch) diameter at both ends, plus sizable four-piston calipers. Finally, the tires are measured at a substantial 37 inches by 12.5 inches and come courtesy of by BF Goodrich.

Competition

Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747080

Prior to Peugeot’s success between 2016 and 2017, Mini was on a roll at the Dakar, collecting a series back-to-back wins between 2012 and 2015. Now, Mini is once again in the hunt for victory, and it’s bringing an updated iteration of its championship-winning AWD Mini John Cooper Works Rally to the fight. In addition, Mini is looking to beat Peugeot at its own game with the new RWD Mini JCW Buggy. Indeed, the British brand isn’t messing around, committing a full seven vehicles to the 2018 effort. But will it be enough to halt the momentum of the 3008 DKR?

Read our full review on the 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy.

Conclusion


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699976
“All told, Peugeot has a lot going for it, but still – the Dakar is no ordinary race.”

Peugeot has already announced that 2018 will be the final year it participates in the Dakar Rally, citing a dispute over recent rule changes as motivation for the exit. However, it’s more than obvious the automaker wants to go out on a high note, as a third back-to-back win would help cement its position as one of the Dakar’s most dominant brands.

To help it secure that coveted top podium spot, the team roster in 2018 goes unchanged, including last year’s winner Stephane Peterhansel with co-driver Jean Paul Cottret. Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb will also rejoin the effort alongside co-driver Daniel Elena, as will two-time WRC champion and previous Dakar winner Carlos Sainz with co-driver Lucas Cruz. Rounding it out will be five-time Dakar Motorbike champion Cyril Despres and co-driver David Castera.

With a lineup like that, the Peugeot crews boast 19 individual Dakar victories and 148 stage wins (when taking into account both four- and two-wheeled entries). As a brand, Peugeot has six Dakar Rally titles to its name, the first of which it snagged in 1987 thanks to the 205 T16 Grand Raid, and a win in 2018 would do well to pad its motorsport resume even further.

All told, Peugeot has a lot going for it, but still – the Dakar is no ordinary race.

“The modifications we have made resulting in the 3008 DKR Maxi have proved to be effective up to now, but the Dakar remains a question mark, thanks to the sheer variety of terrain and challenges to overcome, while the recent Rallye du Maroc reminded us once again that our rivals are extremely strong,” said Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin.

Indeed – weather, variable terrain, even an errant rock chip could spell DNF for any one of Peugeot’s entries. That said, the brand is giving its team every possible advantage, and we’ll just have to wait and see if it pays off.

The 40th Dakar Rally will take place between January 6th and 20th. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for more.

  • Leave it
    • * Strong competition from every side, especially from Mini
    • * Unpredictable racing conditions
    • * One of the toughest events in the world
    • * RWD might prove a hindrance on certain stages

References

Peugeot 3008


2017 Peugeot 3008 - image 676814

Read our full review on the 2017 Peugeot 3008.


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Read more Peugeot news.

PostHeaderIcon Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV?

We already know that the Audi Q2 is here because it was launched in 2017. We also know that a long-wheelbase version of the Q2, dubbed the Q2 L, will go on sale in China in 2019. Now it seems that the small crossover family is getting another member in the form of an all-electric Q2 L that’s tipped to make its debut in the next few years.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667679
“The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.”

Word of the all-electric Q2 L’s existence comes by way of Indian Autos Blog, which claims that the pure electric variant of the Q2 carries the internal codename “Audi X55 BEV,” a nod to the Q2’s own “X55” codename. Details are scarce at this point, but the report indicated that the model will use the same MQB platform that currently underpins a number of Audi models, including the Q2. The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.

Beyond these details, there’s very little information to go by as far as the all-electric Q2 L is concerned. While there is a distinct possibility that it could arrive, it’s hard to assume that’s going to happen when non-electric Q2 hasn’t even arrived yet. From what we know, the Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model. That much was revealed through images from an Audi product planning presentation that the German automaker had in China last year. There have also been reports that the Q2 L will go to India, though that’s also contingent on how much Audi plans to spend to develop an RHD variant of the Q2 L.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667723
“The Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model”

An all-electric Audi Q2 L sounds good on paper, but there are plenty of reasonable questions to ask regarding the feasibility of the variant, including the kind of weight it’s carrying and how that translates to its efficiency. The setup of the chassis and suspension will also have to be reconfigured to fit electric motors instead of a traditional engine.

Given the world we live in, it’s possible that Audi does have an all-electric Q2 L on the table. But, until more details are revealed, we’re taking this report with a handful of salt.

References

Audi Q2


2017 Audi Q2 - image 667707

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q2.


maker logos - image 744956

Read more Audi news.

PostHeaderIcon Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler!

The venerable Jeep Wrangler is no stranger to engine swaps. Folks have been shoving bigger engines behind its grille ever since the U.S. Military defeated the Axis powers in 1945. The small-block Chevrolet V-8 is the standard go-to engine, but small block Fords and even other Mopar engines are a common sight. But, it’s a certifiable rarity to see a Wrangler with the 8.3-liter V-10 from the Viper and 2004 – 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT10.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what’s for sale right now on eBay.

The project started with a low-mileage 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. That generation is known as the TJ, but since it’s a long-wheelbase Unlimited version, it’s called the LJ. So, this LJ with 22,500 miles had its 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder, four-speed automatic transmission, and two-speed transfer case removed and replaced with, well, “beefier” components. The transmission is now a 48RE automatic from a Ram heavy-duty and the T-case is a modified RockTrac unit from a Wrangler Rubicon. The front axle is a good ole Ford nine-inch, while the rear axle is a stout Dana 60. Both have 35-spline axle shafts.

The suspension is a long-arm kit from Superlift that accompanies by a one-inch body lift that helps with clearance of the big V-10 under the hood. A set of 20-inch six-spoke, Pro Comp wheels and 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ all-terrain tires hide Viper-sized front brakes and upgraded rear disc brakes.

Continue reading for more information on this Jeep Wrangler.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755342
“The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque”

Inside the Jeep, the stock seats were replaced with two-tone suede sport seats and the plastic center console swapped for a lockable, metal unit. Naturally, the stock radio is swapped for an aftermarket head unit. In back, the cargo area features a large steel drawl that is also lockable. A premium soft top is augmented by a full-length roof rack that’s removable. The steel bumpers are from Warn, as are the rock sliders below the doors. Finally, LED taillights finish off the exterior upgrades.

Of course, the big news is under the hood. The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. That was enough to accelerate the 5,130-pound regular cab Dodge Ram SRT 10 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. With a lower curb weight, the LJ should finish the run in less time – perhaps around 4.5 seconds.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755351
“The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago”

While this SRT10 Wrangler might outrun ever LJ, it won’t pass every gas station. The EPA estimated the Ram SRT10 to get 9.0 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.

The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago. That’s a lot of scratch for a 13-year-old Jeep, but it’s not every day when such a clean V-10-powered Wrangler comes up for sale. The 8.3-liter V-10 might not be the most economical or power-dense engine swap ever seen in a Wrangler, but it’s certainly outside conventionality. Let’s just say this Jeep would attract quite a crowd at the local Cars & Coffee or Jeep meet. For some, that might be worth the buy-in price.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - image 52466

Read our full review on the 2007 Jeep Wrangler.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Teases New G-Wagen Ahead of January 15 Debut

Mercedes-Benz is on the cusp of debuting its all-new 2019 G-Wagen. In fact, the reveal party is set for January 15, 2018, at the Detroit Auto Show. Ahead of Detroit, though, Mercedes has released a teaser commercial for the next-gen G-Class, and boy, it seems to reference Jurassic Park pretty hard.

Remember the scene from the original movie from 1993 where dinosaurs were brought back to life using DNA extracted from a mosquito that had survived centuries encased in amber? Well, it seems Mercedes is doing the same with the new G-Wagen – bringing it back to life by using DNA from the 1979 G-Wagen. The teaser commercial shows the 1979 model, which was the first year of the long-running previous generation, encased in a block of amber like it’s been preserved for centuries. In truth, it’s been Mercedes that has kept the G-Wagen so well preserved, having given it minimal updates through the decades.

Of course, that’s changing for the 2019 model year. The new G-Class is wider, longer, and more luxurious, while still capable off the beaten path. Mercedes has already shown the G-Wagen’s swanky new interior. It includes inspiration from the S-Class sedan and offers 5.9 inches of additional legroom for rear passengers. Modern safety and connectivity features will be present, too, along with new drivetrain options.

TopSpeed will have the full details on January 15, but until then, have a look at this fun, 53-second video. And don’t be surprised is Mercedes continues its association with the Jurassic Park movie fancies in any future films. It’s easy to imagine Chris Pratt outrunning a T-Rex in a modified G-Wagen.

Continue reading for more on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


History of Mercedes and Jurassic Park

Mercedes’ Connection to Jurassic Park


Mercedes ML-Class in Jurassic Park Lost World


References

Mercedes G-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 683653

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


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Best New SUVs That Debuted in 2017

2017 has been an amazing year for the automobile. Sales have increased across the board, high-performance models are quicker and faster than ever, off-roaders are more capable than before, and a slew of new models have hit the streets. That’s what we’re looking at here: the all-new vehicles the debuted in 2017. But more specifically, we’re looking at the crossovers and SUVs that made their initial splash into the fastest-growing segment in the industry.

Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that practically dozens of SUVs and crossovers were revamped in 2017. Models like the Jeep Wrangler JL, Chevrolet Traverse, Mazda CX-3, and plenty more were made new again. But these are familiar nameplates. This go-round, we’re focusing on completely new models.

Continue reading for more information.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio


2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio - image 716833
“Alfa didn’t built some clunky knock-off of a Wrangler or Defender, but rather, a smooth and powerful machine with looks that kill”

Alfa Romeo is making its comeback – both in the U.S. and around the world – an much of it hinges on the Stelvio crossover. Naturally, with crossovers being all the rage these days, Alfa couldn’t ignore the segment despite never having a historical tie with any high-riding, four-wheel-drives. Thankfully, Alfa didn’t built some clunky knock-off of a Wrangler or Defender, but rather, a smooth and powerful machine with looks that kill and an available Quadrifoglio drivetrain with its Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6, eight-speed automatic, full-time AWD, and 505 horsepower. Even in its “base” form, the Stelvio’s 2.0-liter turbo-four has enough power launch the 4,000-pound vehicle to 60 mph in roughly 5.5 seconds.

Prices start around $43,000 and crest around $48,000. The Quadrifoglio model hasn’t been prices at this time, but we’re expecting this monster to start somewhere around $75,000. And then there’s the name… Stelvio – it’s just so fun to say. Add Quadrifoglio to that, and the name alone is worth the asking price.

Read our full review on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Bentley Bentayga


2017 Bentley Bentayga - image 645143
“The Bentley Bentayga is redefining the boundaries of high-end automakers building luxury SUVs.”

We’re having to stretch the terms of our timeline here, as the Bentayga began production in 2016, but the SUV’s importance can’t be understated. The Bentayga is Bentley’s first foray into the SUV realm. It marks a huge departure form the sedans, coupes, and convertibles the über-luxury brand is known for. Yet that luxury transcends the SUV title, making the Bentayga one of the most well-appointed three-row behemoths in the business.

It rides on the same MLB architecture underpinning the Audi Q7, but comes powered by a massive 6.0-liter W-12 making 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. As anybody could guess, an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD are standard. The outrageous powertrain is able to defy physics when hauling this 6,000-pound SUV to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds an onto the segment’s highest top speed of 187 mph.

The Bentley Bentayga is redefining the boundaries of high-end automakers building luxury SUVs. We’ve already heard of promising future rivals; Mercedes-Maybach, Roll-Royce, and Aston Martin will soon join the segment, too. Of course, it takes Wall Street money to play in this elite crew. The Bentayga starts at $235,500 and can quickly cost nearly $300,000 with a few options selected.

Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Bentayga.

Ford EcoSport


2018 Ford EcoSport - image 695400
“The EcoSport represents a good value to folks needing basic transportation but wanting to ride in style”

As Ford considers killing off the Fusion, new entries to the crossover and SUV segments are popping up. The iconic Bronco nameplate is scheduled to return for 2020, and the ever-popular Expedition just got a refresh for 2018. But those vehicles are and will be expensive. Ford’s answer to the budget-constrained crossover lovers out there is the EcoSport – a tiny high-riding hatchback with a swinging rear tailgate and three- and four-cylinder engines. In truth, the EcoSport has been around for more than a decade in countries around the globe. It’s just now that Ford has decided to bring the EcoSport to the U.S. – from India, no less.

Still, the EcoSport represents a good value to folks needing basic transportation but wanting to ride in style. As mentioned, power comes from small engines. The base mill is a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder making 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated engine makes 167 horses and 149 pound-feet. A six-speed auto and front-wheel drive come standard, while AWD is optional with the 2.0-liter.

The EcoSport’s best selling point is its price: it starts at just $19,995 for the S trim. SE, Titanium, and SES trims progressively add more content. The SES tops the range and offers a sportier flare for $26,740. Besides the price, the EcoSport’s small footprint makes it a decent choice for inner-city living.

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford EcoSport.

Jaguar E-Pace


2018 Jaguar E-Pace - image 723750
“The E-Pace is designed as Jaguar’s entry-level vehicle thanks to its size and a starting price around $38,600.”

The Jaguar E-Pace is like the F-Pace’s little brother whose name confuses everyone not close to the family. No, the E-Pace isn’t a hybrid electric or some fancy fuel cell. Rather E comes before F alphabetically and is therefore “smaller” than F – or so Jaguar’s marketing and product planning teams thought. The E-Pace rides on Jaguar Land Rover’s D8 platform, which also underpins the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. It’s designed as Jaguar’s entry-level vehicle thanks to its size and a starting price around $38,600.

The E-Pace uses the same 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder in all trim levels, though Jaguar bumps the power to 296 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque if you pay the extra $8,600 for the R-Dynamic trim. A nine-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard. AWD comes standard with the R-Dynamic trim.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace.

Lamborghini Urus


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“While the Urus might not be Rambo’s “First Blood,” it’s undeniably a better performaner while adimately following Lambo’s modern design flare and brand ethos.”

Who would have ever guessed Lamborghini would ever build an SUV? Well, it’s happened – again. It’s easy to forget the LM002 Lambo built as a military vehicle but soon became a civilian model best known by its nickname, the Rambo Lambo. So, while the Urus might not be Rambo’s “First Blood,” it’s undeniably a better performaner while adimately following Lambo’s modern design flare and brand ethos.

Rambo’s new Lambo is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 packed behind its headlights that makes an impressive 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. An intelligent AWD system is designed to work in both off-road and high-performance situations, while its massive 285-series front and 325-series rear tires fight for grip. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 3.5 seconds and will hit 190 mph.

The world didn’t need a Lamborghini SUV, but we’d argue we’re better off for it. We all know the Urus will quickly become Lambo’s best seller, which will generate profits for even more ludicrous exotics and hypercars. The Urus will start around $200,000, which is a good discount over is corporate cousin, the Bentley Bentayga. Yep; the two share the same MLB underpinnings, though the similarities stop quickly after that.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.

Range Rover Velar


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“The new Range Rover Velar is one sultry machine”

The new Range Rover Velar is one sultry machine. Though it looks much larger, the mid-size crossover actually slots between the smaller Range Rover Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport. The Velar shares its architecture with the Jaguar F-Pace, but separates itself with sleeker looks, impressive off-road chops, and that Range Rover brand cache.

The Velar impresses with a swanky, screen-filled interior with multi-use knobs that control more than one thing, but in an intuitive way. It offers seating for five in two rows of seating and three engine options to choose from. The standard is a 2.0-liter turbo-four running on gas. A second 2.0-liter turbo runs on diesel. Those fond of horsepower will enjoy the 380-horse 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. All engines are paired with the ever-present eight-speed automatic. Naturally, Land Rover’s full-time 4WD comes standard, too.

Pricing for this classy crossover begins just shy of $50,000. Those wanting the turbodiesel will have to upgrade to the mid-grade S trim and pay $56,000. The luxury-minded will find the SE model more befitting. That model starts at $67,400.

Read our full review on the 2018 Range Rover Velar.

Volkswagen Atlas


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“The Atlas’ square jaw and slab slides do their best John Wayne impression while a well designed and plushy interior offer Martha Stewart levels of hominess and comfort”

Volkswagen is still wiping soot off its face from the #dieselgate debacle, but the Atlas should be the soapy shower the automaker needs. This three-row crossover was designed specifically for Americans and is built by Americans in VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The Atlas’ square jaw and slab slides do their best John Wayne impression while a well designed and plushy interior offer Martha Stewart levels of hominess and comfort. Volkswagen offers several trim levels to choose from, meaning there’s an Atlas for most every middle-class family. Prices start at $30,500 and range up to $49,000.

VW also gives families the choice between a 2.0-liter turbo-four or a 3.6-liter V-6, along with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Options include things like tri-zone climate controls, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic moonroof, and navigation.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.

Volvo XC40


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“The XC40 retains that modern Volvo design flare, but compresses everything into a neat little package”

The XC40 is Volvo’s answer to youthful yet sophisticated families and empty nesters wanting to be youthful yet sophisticated. This compact crossover slots under the XC60 and way below in the wonderful XC90 in terms of size and price. The XC40 retains that modern Volvo design flare, but compresses everything into a neat little package. There is room for five inside, but four will be more comfortable. There’s cargo space with the rear seat folded down and the dash has plenty of impressive technology.

A single 2.0-liter turbo-four is offered, but it comes in two output levels: 184 horsepower in the T4 model and 248 horsepower with the T5. The difference is a larger turbo on the T5. The T5 also comes standard with AWD, whereas the T4 only comes in FWD.

The XC40 in Momentum trim starts at $35,200 and the R-Design trim starts at $37,700. Volvo is also offering its new Car By Volvo ownership option, where customers can pay a flat rate to basically rent the vehicle. Things like maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance, and other hassles are all included. That’s pretty convenient for those youthful yet sophisticated folks, regardless of their age.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC40.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Lincoln Navigator Ad Has a Silent Matthew McConaughey and a Hidden Message

So, with all of the past Lincoln\McConaughey commercials and all of the weirdness that ensues, it’s pretty easy to feel disappointed here.
McConaughey is silent and does nothing more than drum on the steering wheel of his new Navigator as he waits for a train to pass. Once the train passes, he presses the button for “D” or drive, casts his typical smile, and drives off; not a word said. Now, everyone seems to be ragging on Lincoln and McConaughey for such a boring commercial. But, what everyone has seemed to miss is that the cabin of that Navigator is so quiet that you can hear McConaughey drumming on his steering wheel.

There’s nothing more to it really, and nothing less – either. Just a guy enjoying his day, drumming on his steering while as he waits for a train to pass. The point is that the cabin is quiet, so check out the advertisement for yourself and let us know what you think!


References

Lincoln Navigator


The New Lincoln Navigator is Here, and You're Going to Want One - image 712890

Read our full review on the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

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