Mark McNabb

Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray. He could even be found working on tractors or hay bailers while on vacation at his uncle’s farm. Mark’s spare time was heavily consumed by reading automotive magazines and wondering how in the heck people could land a job testing cars all day. He eventually figured it out.

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2019 Chevrolet Silverado

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

More technology, less weight, and a new turbodiesel

Chevrolet has pulled the covers off its all-new, 2019 Silverado 1500 half-ton pickup truck. While Chevy teased the truck back in December at the Texas Motor Speedway at Chevy’s centennial celebration, the full details only became available at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Chevy also made sure everyone knew the 2018 Detroit show marked 100 years since the brand launched its first pickup.

The 2019 Silverado is completely new and shares almost zero parts from the outgoing truck. Even the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s are revised for increased efficiency. The truck’s fully boxed frame is now 88 pounds lighter but has 10 percent more torsional rigidity, and the truck’s overall weight has dropped 450 pounds when comparing crew cab V-8 models from 2018 and 2019. Chevy did this by using aluminum. Yes, after years of dogging Ford for building its trucks from recycled beer cans, Chevy has made the switch, too. But not every body panel made the transition – only the parts that swing, which includes the hood, doors, and tailgate. The rest is steel. This includes the bed floor, which Chevy says is made from higher-strength, roll-formed steel than before.

Of course, the interior has been completely revamped, too. You’ll find those details, along with so much more, down below.

Updated 06/29/2018: Chevrolet announced prices for the 2019 Silverado. Check out the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

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2019 Lexus UX

2019 Lexus UX

Lexus’ entry-level crossover with aggressive styling

Lexus has finally introduced its first compact crossover, and it is the first Lexus model to feature the brand’s new GA-C platform. In the looks department, it looks like a slightly blown up but more proportional LC500 with a family-oriented look too it. Meanwhile, the interior is very German-like in design, to a point, and yet ergonomic and stylish at the same time. Instead of shifting around engines from other models to piece together it’s new crossover, Lexus put together an all-new four-banger for the entry-level UX 200 model while a different but new gas engine and a fourth-gen hybrid system found their way into the UX 250h.

Want to know more? Check out our in-depth review below!

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2019 Buick Envision

2019 Buick Envision

Fresh styling and updated tech at a lower starting price

Only three years after its introduction, Buick is giving the Envision crossover a mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year. According to Buick, the changes come as a direct response to customer feedback. These include heated seats that work more quickly, a defeat button for the auto stop/start system and updated wireless charging for devices like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Other changes, however, are typical of a refresh, like the reworked exterior styling and upgraded powertrain.

Best of all, Buick is dropping the price on all five trim levels by roughly $1,000.

“The Envision brings a tremendous growth opportunity for the Buick brand,” said Sam Russell, Buick marketing director. “The new pricing strategy not only puts the Envision in the heart of the industry’s largest segment but also better positions it in relation to Encore, our top-selling nameplate.”

Buick has already seen impressive sales from the Envision. It sold over 55,000 examples for the 2017 model year in the U.S. alone. Canada adds another 4,000. Those figures pale in comparison to China’s sales figures, where the Envision sold more than 236,000 examples in 2017 and 275,000 in 2016. That makes sense considering Buick designed the Envision for the Chinese market and assembles the crossover in GM’s Shandong assembly plant. Yes, even U.S.-spec Envisions are built in China.

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GMC Teases the 2019 GMC Sierra Taillights and Side Profile

GMC Teases the 2019 GMC Sierra Taillights and Side Profile

A closer look just one day ahead of its debut

GMC has given one last tease before officially debuting its all-new 2019 Sierra 1500 pickup on March 1. The darkened images show the headlight and taillight profiles, with not much else to see. GMC was smart enough to thwart efforts in Photoshop to lighten the images; there’s just no data in the shadows.

Nevertheless, we can see the taillights have a modern appearance, yet one familiar to GMC. The C-shaped LED lights appear to be housed in clear lenses, similar to the taillights found on the current Sierra, Canyon, and Yukon models.

Aside from the taillights, we know the GMC Sierra will share the same underpinning, drivetrain components, and interior design as its corporate twin, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The truck will have a stronger frame, updated suspension parts, and use GM’s new high-tech Dynamic Fuel Management technology. DFM allows both the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s to individually control cylinder firing operations depending on engine loads. During light loads like coasting down a hill, the engine is capable of running on a single cylinder. When power is needed, the DFM system provides fuel and spark to all eight cylinders. GM’s new 10-speed automatic transmission will be present, too.

GMC will likely debut the Sierra’s entire lineup, from the bare-bones WT to the range-topping Denali trim. The Denali has been a veritable gold mine for GMC over the last 10 years, so we fully expect much hubbub to be made over the trim line.

After its March 1 debut, the 2019 Sierra will go on sale toward the end of summer in 2018. Expect pricing to increase slightly over the current model.

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2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

Two new engines, updated appearances, and updated safety tech for 2019

Kia Motors Europe is giving the Optima and Optima Sportswagon a mild mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year. The cars will go on display at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show March 6 and will go on sale in Europe starting in the third quarter of 2018.

While the visual modifications are light, the 2019 Optima Sportswagon adds two new engines to its current lineup. These are designed to expand the Optima’s range and appeal, on top of the current plug-in hybrid powertrain and the sporty GT variant.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon.

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Kia Gives the Optima Sportswagon a Revitalizing New Look and Fresh Power for the Geneva Motor Show

Kia Gives the Optima Sportswagon a Revitalizing New Look and Fresh Power for the Geneva Motor Show

More efficient, cleaner, and better looking equals a successful sales recipe

Kia Motors of Europe is giving the Kia Optima sedan and Sportswagon a healthy mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year. The South Korean automaker is hoping to play off its successes in 2017 with an Optima that’s even more focused on customer demands.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, said in Kia’s official release that “The Optima enjoyed a record year of sales in Europe in 2017, with sales growing from 9,600 to more than 16,800 units last year. It is a key contributor to Kia’s sustainable growth in Europe, and the Optima’s sales momentum has been maintained through the introduction of new variants in 2017. These include Sportswagon and high-performance GT variants, and an ultra-low emissions Plug-in Hybrid powertrain.

Headlining the changes are two new engines: a new “U3” 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. They join the two existing 2.0-liter gasoline engines and Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The entire range now comes with drive modes, allowing customization of the driving experience.

Outwardly, the new Kia Optima Sportswagon boasts a slightly revised exterior that’s more upscale. The grille, lower fascia, headlights, and fog lights are all mildly different. Around back, new LED taillights shine with an updated pattern. New wheels also accompany the changes. The sporty GT trim gets further changes, including specific 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and gloss black trim on the mirror caps, side sills, and grille. The rear bumper features dual exhaust, as well.

Inside, the Optima’s cabin remains mostly unchanged. A new steering wheel, stain chrome trim, and a new ambient lighting package are the biggest updates. Two-tone leather seats are now optional, including black leather with red contrast stitching.

On GT models, the interior gets the GT insignia embroidered on the seatbacks in either black or gray contrast stitching, depending on the choice of leather seating color.

The 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon gets a handful of active safety technology, too. This includes Kia’s new Driver Attention Warning system, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with pedestrian recognition, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and Dynamic Bending Light (headlights that follow the steering wheel) with the LED headlights. A 360-degree camera system is also new for 2019.

Last but not least, the 2019 Optima comes with Kia’s most up-to-date infotainment software on both the standard 7.0-inch and optional 8.0-inch touchscreens. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation from TomTom are all included.

Kia has not announced pricing at this point, but that will become available closer to the 2019 Optima and Optima Sportswaon’s on-sale date in Europe during the third quarter of 2018.

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Report: FCA to Kill Off Diesels Over the Next 5 Years

Report: FCA to Kill Off Diesels Over the Next 5 Years

What this means for Ram & Jeep

In a recent report from Financial Times who spoke with informants close to the situation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is allegedly looking to phase out diesel engines by 2022. This comes as a response to decreasing consumer demand for diesels following the continuous scrutiny of diesel emissions and the numerous scandals surrounding Volkswagen and other automakers. Even FCA has had run-ins with government organizations over the issue.

FCA’s official plan will reportedly be announced June 1, 2018, in FCA’s next five-year master plan. Globally, FCA uses diesel engines in most of its Fiat and Alfa Romeo models. However, diesel sales in Europe fell eight percent in 2017, moving diesel’s market share to 43.8 percent, according to a study by Jato Dynamics. Despite this slump, FCA’s diesel sales actually grew slightly.

While this spells bad news for diesel fans in Europe, fans in North America will likely dodge the bullet. FCA’s only diesel offered stateside is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, and the 6.7-liter inline-six turbodiesel is sources from Cummins. The EcoDiesel is found in the Ram 1500, ProMaster van, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and is soon expected in the Jeep Wrangler JL. The 6.7-liter Cummins is only used in Ram’s Heavy Duty lineup.

The EcoDiesel recently rearmed the EPA’s approval after a stop-sale order for nearly a year. The EPA reports it found an emissions cheating device similar to those found in Volkswagen TDI engines. FCA is still facing a $4.6 billion fine for the issue and is currently recalling more than 104,000 vehicles for a reprogram of their engine control modules.

The mighty Cummins turbodiesel is exempt from most of the EPA’s emissions regulations since it’s only available in vehicles above a specified weight limit.

So, as FCA begins slowly phasing out diesels in Europe and other markets around the globe, customers in Canada and the U.S. can expect to keep their turbodiesel options. Nevertheless, we’ll have to see what FCA’s upcoming master plan has in store come June 1. Stay tuned to TopSpeed.com for developing information.

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Lexus Previews UX Crossover Ahead of Geneva

Lexus Previews UX Crossover Ahead of Geneva

Familiar design is shrinkwrapped into urban crawler

Lexus has finally given an unobstructed view of its upcoming 2019 UX crossover ahead of its official debut on March 6 at the 2018 Geneva International Motor show. A single photo and a short teaser video are all Lexus gave out, yet we’ve now got a solid idea of the UX’s aesthetics.

The compact crossover will be Lexus’ smallest and least expensive model, undercutting the already small NX crossover. The UX, which stands for Urban Crossover, shares its architecture with the Toyota C-HR and its design language with the NX and popular RX crossovers. Oddly enough, Lexus calls the UX the “first urban crossover,” which is about as baseless as a statement about crossovers can get. Still, the automaker promises the platform is “exceptionally rigid with a low center of gravity for exceptional handling.”

The interior is barely seen in the teaser video, but we can see several important details. The UX borrows from the Lexus LC500’s interior with the trapezoidal binnacle with drive mode knobs protruding from the sides. Digital gauges fill the cluster. The Enform infotainment system takes on a wide, landscape design similar to the RX. Push-button starting and toggle switches for the HVAC controls are present, too. Missing is the flashy satin chrome that Lexus loves using in its interiors. The UX has a more muted tone with what looks like a leather-wrapped portion of the dash.

Engine specs are still out, but we know the UX will be offered as a 250h, meaning a hybrid powertrain is happening. We’re guessing the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX will be standard. In the NX, the engine makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque while backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. We’d bet Lexus will add more gears, if not a Continuously Variable Transmission. Front-wheel drive will be standard, and AWD will likely be an option.

As we reasoned in our 2019 Lexus UX speculative review, the 250h will probably come with Lexus’ 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a hybrid system and CVT.

Thankfully, speculation will come to an end on March 6 at 10 a.m. local time at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. We’ll update our review with all the nitty-gritty details then, so stick around to TopSpeed.com.

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Video of the Day: Watch This Cadillac Escalade Outrun a Camaro ZL1 1LE

Video of the Day: Watch This Cadillac Escalade Outrun a Camaro ZL1 1LE

Hennessey gives this ‘Slade a new heart with outlandish power

Hennessey Performance is known for building over-the-top power upgrades for already quick performance vehicles. The company’s latest project is no different – an 800-horsepower Cadillac Escalade with its HPE800 package

Oh, and it’ll outrun a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on an unprepped drag strip.

The video shows the run from multiple angles as the 5,700-pound, three-row SUV hooks up off the starting line and outguns the Camaro. The Caddy’s advantage is its hand-built, stroked 6.8-liter V-8 stacked with a supercharger. Matching its 805 horsepower at 5,500 rpm is an equally impressive 812 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Traction isn’t an issue thanks to its full-time 4WD system that provides a spin-free launch.

Here, in this one run, the Escalade pulls several car lengths on the Camaro. Now, it’s clear the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 1LE didn’t get a clean start off the line. The driver compensated for wheel spin at the line with less throttle, thereby not letting the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 give its full muscle. The Caddy just walked on by.

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2018 Subaru Legacy 50th Anniversary Edition

2018 Subaru Legacy 50th Anniversary Edition

A Legacy built to honor Subaru’s legacy

Subaru celebrates 50 years of selling vehicles in America with an appropriately named 50th Anniversary Edition lineup, including the Legacy sedan. Each model receives similar treatments of Heritage Blue paint, satin chrome accents, and an embroidered interior with the unique 50th Anniversary logo.

Subaru is producing a limited number of each anniversary edition model, with the Legacy limited to 1,050. Of those, 800 will be the 2.5i Limited trim, while the other 250 are the 3.6R Limited. Subaru chose to base the 50th Anniversary Edition on the Legacy’s range-topping trim, the Limited, so each example will pack tons of standard equipment and features. Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist package is included, meaning active safety features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist are present. EyeSight also includes the 8.0-inch Starlink infotainment system with navigation, high-beam assist, and LED headlights with steering responsive turning.

Now let’s jump into what makes the 2018 Subaru Legacy 50th Anniversary Edition special.

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GMC Teases the 2019 GMC Sierra; Debut Imminent!

GMC Teases the 2019 GMC Sierra; Debut Imminent!

GMC set to differentiate itself from Chevy sibling

General Motors is on the cusp of debuting its all-new 2019 GMC Sierra half-ton pickup. The automaker tweeted a darkened teaser photo on Monday, February 26 – just days ahead of the March 1 debut.

The image shows the emboldened red GMC logo flanked by C-shaped LED daytime running lights that encapsulate the truck’s LED headlights. Beyond that, it’s impossible to tell what GMC has up its sleeve – that is, until its twin brother is taken into consideration, the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

Still, the new generation of GM trucks will look much less identical than in years past. Spy shots have shown the fenders and taillights are unique to each truck, though the dashboards and interior layout won’t have such separation. Aside from trim pieces, badges, and GMC’s IntelliLink rather than Chevy’s MyLink infotainment systems, the two trucks will have nearly identical cabins. GMC will likely have the swankier range-topping version, though, thanks to the ever-popular Denali trim.

Powertrain options will be the same, including heavily updated versions of the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s, along with GM’s new 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel. The 10-speed automatic is expected to be standard across the board. GM is apparently dropping the 4.3-liter V-6.

While pricing is still a highly guarded secret among GMC’s bean counters, tradition says the Sierra will be slightly more expensive than the Silverado. GMC has always been marketed as a slightly more upscale version of the Chevy.

GMC will be broadcasting the debut live at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, 2018. We’ve got the link below so you can watch the event unfold live.

Continue reading for more information.

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Nissan Officially Teases Terra SUV Ahead of Beijing Debut

Nissan Officially Teases Terra SUV Ahead of Beijing Debut

This Navara-based SUV will arrive in China first

Nissan is expanding its lineup of body-on-frame vehicles as part of its “M.O.V.E to 2022” initiative to increase its frame-based sales by 40 percent by 2022. A major cog in the overall plan is this, the Nissan Terra. It’s a seven-passenger SUV based on the Navara pickup truck. In fact, the Terra is expected to share almost all its components from the Navara, including its frame and drivetrain. It is already clear the cabin and overall design theme is mirrored between the truck and SUV.

The 2018 Terra will make its official debut at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show in April, along with most of its details. Expect price and fuel economy to come later. Sales will begin in China this spring, with other Asian markets following soon after, including Australia.

Continue reading for more information.

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The Brabus Shadow 800 is the Sports Sedan of the Open Sea

The Brabus Shadow 800 is the Sports Sedan of the Open Sea

A 37-foot yacht tender with the style of your Brabus Mercedes

Brabus has made a big name for itself transforming ordinary Mercedes and AMG vehicles into extraordinary works with high-end materials and meticulous craftsmanship. Well, the German tuning company has turned its attention to the high seas with its latest partnership. Axopar is a quickly growing boat builder from Finland that creates custom-built center console yachts ranging from 24 to 37 feet long and with various cabin options.

The result is this – the Brabus Shadow 800.

It’s an ultra-modern take on Axopar’s 37-foot Sun Top yacht with a gunmetal gray, black, and red color scheme with a carbon fiber helm, marine-grade leather seats, and twin Mercury Verado 400R outboards kicking out 400 horsepower each.

Continue reading for more on the Brabus Shadow 800.

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There's an Outrageous 800-HP Chevy Silverado Package Available Through Dealerships!

There’s an Outrageous 800-HP Chevy Silverado Package Available Through Dealerships!

Extensive mods make this pickup a sports car killer

Think about the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and its 808-horsepower it achieves on pump gas. Now put that horsepower into a short-bed, single-cab pickup truck. Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re talking about.

This is the 2018 Yenko/SC Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and it’s built in New Jersey by a company called Specialty Vehicle Engineering. Though the original Yenko brand of dealership upgrades is long gone, SVE keeps the image alive through its upgrade kits offered for several General Motors vehicles.

For the 2018 Yenko/SC Silverado, SVE takes a regular Silverado 1500 Z71 and shoehorns a custom-built 6.8-liter supercharged V-8 under the hood with nearly every performance part imaginable. The result is an 800-horsepower truck with 4WD able to outgun most sports cars on the road. Best of all, anyone can order the truck through their

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2018 Subaru Forester 50th Anniversary Edition

2018 Subaru Forester 50th Anniversary Edition

Celebrating five decades in America

Subaru used the 2018 Chicago Auto Show to launch special 50th Anniversary Edition models for each of its vehicles as a celebration of the five decades the Japanese automaker has been selling inside the U.S. While no mechanical upgrades are made, there are several visual changes that help distinguish the 50th Anniversary Editions from their standard counterparts.

These 50th Anniversary Editions are based on upper trim levels. For the 2018 Forrester, that means the Touring model – including both the 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder and the turbocharged 2.0-liter Boxer-four engine options. The Continuously Variable Transmission comes standard on the Touring trims, as does Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system with X-Mode and Hill Descent Control.

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek 50th Anniversary Edition

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 50th Anniversary Edition

Limited edition celebrates Subi’s time in America

Subaru is launching a 50th Anniversary Edition for each of its 2018 models, including the Crosstrek. No mechanical changes are included on the Anniversary Editions, but there are several key visual changes making the package worthwhile. Subaru is also limiting availability of the special edition.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is based on upper trim levels, which for the Crosstrek, means the 2.0i Limited. That means leather seats, the CVT, and Eyesight safety system comes standard. Like all 2018 Crosstreks, this model comes with Subaru’s 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder making 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Symmetrical AWD is standard, too, of course, and includes X-Mode and Hill Descent Control. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with regular 87 octane gasoline.

For everything that’s special about the Crosstrek 50th Anniversary Edition, keep reading.

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EV Demand is Forcing Companies Like Apple to Source Battery Supplies Directly from Mining Companies

EV Demand is Forcing Companies Like Apple to Source Battery Supplies Directly from Mining Companies

Cobalt supplies are getting more valuable by the day

The explosion in electric vehicles with even more demand in the near future is putting cobalt supplies at its max. Cobalt, an important metal ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, has tech companies scrambling to secure large, multi-year contracts directly with cobalt mining companies, skipping the traditional route of a middleman company brokering the deal. Apple is one such high-profile company pulling up a chair at the negotiation table to secure its future access to battery supplies.

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2018 Subaru WRX 50th Anniversary Edition

2018 Subaru WRX 50th Anniversary Edition

Celebrating 50 years on America’s shores

Subaru is celebrating its 50th anniversary of selling vehicles in America by offering a special 50th Anniversary Edition on all its models, including the 2018 WRX. There are no mechanical updates, so don’t expect any horsepower or handling improvements. This special edition is for appearances only. However, Subaru is only building 600 WRX 50th Anniversary Editions, so rarity is a big attraction factor.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is based on the WRX’s highest trim, the Limited, as to include all the desirable features. Items include the StarLink infotainment system, keyless access and push-button starting, LED steering responsive headlights, 10-way power driver’s seat, and the EyeSight safety system.

As for what sets the 50th Anniversary Edition apart, the details are all listed below.

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2018 Tata 45X Sedan

2018 Tata 45X Sedan

Previewing a premium sedan launching in India for 2019

Tata Motors, a prominent Indian automaker and parent company to Jaguar Land Rover, is set to debut a sedan concept based on its 45X Hatchback Concept launched at India’s 2018 Auto Expo. The new model will supposedly be called the 45X Sedan. Its debut will happen at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, which kicks off March 6.

The 45X Sedan will share the same underpinnings as the 45X Hatchback – Tata’s futuristic AMP platform. The architecture is designed to accommodate both left- and right-hand driving position, along with complying with future crash testing regulations.

Tata is expected to release production versions of both the 45X Hatchback and Sedan, with both targeting the premium side of their respective markets. The hatch is due first with an expected on-sale date of 2019 in India. Tata will likely announce its plans for the 45X Sedan at the Geneva show.

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Ford Lets You Customize the Mustang's Emblem Through Facebook

Ford Lets You Customize the Mustang’s Emblem Through Facebook

1,000 participants get their design embossed on a 2015+ grille badge for their Mustang

The Ford Mustang is about as iconic as a car can get – and its galloping steed badge embodies the car’s persona. We’ll Ford is letting Facebook users customize their own Mustang badge with colors, shapes, and any combination of therein on the automaker’s Mustang Facebook fan page.

For most people, the experience is a creative one that ends in a sharable design that will undoubtedly spur grass-roots marketing through social media shares. But for a select 1,000 participants, Ford will transform their design into an actual Mustang emblem that they can then install on their 2015 or newer Ford Mustang.

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Nissan Wants to take on the Ranger Raptor with a Meaner Navara

Nissan Wants to take on the Ranger Raptor with a Meaner Navara

Nissan Studying opportunity to capitalize on Raptor craze

Nissan might begin studying an opportunity to build a high-performance off-road version of its Navara pickup to compete against the new Ford Ranger Raptor. The news comes from Australia’s Motoring, who spoke with Renault-Nissan’s global light commercial vehicle boss, Ashwani Gupta, as he traveled Down Under for the launch of Nissan’s updated Navara pickup with more driver safety features.

Gupta was apparently petitioned by Nissan Australia’s Managing Director, Stephen Lester, who said the high-performance truck is what Australians want.

“If you would had asked me this question yesterday [about a Raptor rival] I would have said this is not in our priority list,” Gupta told Motoring. “But if you are asking this question today then I am saying this is an opportunity we would like to study.”

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2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Powertrain updates make this crossover more palatable

Less than four months after the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arrived on U.S. shores in December 2017, Mitsubishi is launching an updated version at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland this March. The updates focus on increased efficiency from this plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, but visual updates and interior improvements are also made.

Mitsubishi will announce the full details on March 6, but we already have a good understanding of the changes coming for 2019. The U.S. is expected to get this new model, too, though it might not happen until 2020.

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Scandal Watch: Raj Nair Leaving Ford over "Inappropriate Behavior"

Scandal Watch: Raj Nair Leaving Ford over "Inappropriate Behavior"

Nair oversaw high-profile vehicles like the GT, Mustang, & F-150

Raj Nair, executive vice president and president of Ford North America, as been fired over allegations of “inappropriate behavior,” Ford said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

An internal investigation found that “certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”

Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO, said, “We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”

Nair’s actions or the nature of the inappropriate behavior was not released. His termination was effective Wednesday, February 22, 2018.

In an official statement published by Ford, Nair said, “I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused. I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”

Ford has yet to name Nair’s successor, though the wait isn’t expected to be long.

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Tesla Woes: Model S and X Orders Delayed Again, This time Due to "Backlog"

Tesla Woes: Model S and X Orders Delayed Again, This time Due to "Backlog"

Wait times are expected at 4 to 5 months

The Tesla Model 3 might be sealing headlines these days, but the Model S sedan and Model X SUV are still as popular as ever. That seems to be causing issues with Tesla’s order books and production process.

Tesla announced this week that both The Model S and X are backlogged and new orders will take between four and five months to fulfill. That’s a huge increase over the standard one-month wait time Tesla customers have recently grown accustomed to.

These wait time are apparently only for U.S. customers, however. Tesla’s California assembly plant is responsible for producing the world’s supply of Model S, X, and 3s. One theory proposed by electrek.com suggests Tesla is taking this time fulfill a backlog of orders from its global markets.

On the flip side, Tesla says current Tesla owners inside the U.S. can expect to receive their pre-ordered Model 3 within three weeks, skipping the long line of Model 3 pre-orders from would-be first-time Tesla owners.

However, things get worse when considering the U.S. government’s sun-setting of the $7,500 tax credit on EV vehicles slated for the next few months. That translates into the loss of Uncle Sam’s $7,500 tax rebate credit and a $7,500 more expensive EV.

While that might not be a big deal to those shelling out $100,000 for a loaded Model S or X, $7,500 is a decent percentage of the Model 3’s $35,000 starting price.

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2018 Giugiaro EV Saloon

2018 Giugiaro EV Saloon

Famed auto designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s 80th birthday present to himself

Giorgetto Giugiaro, along with his son, Fabrizio Giugiaro, is debuting an all-new, fully electric luxury sedan at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show on March 6. The yet-named concept car will hail from GFG Style – a family company named after the father and son duo – and will showcase the marriage of beauty and technology.

The four-seater was jointly developed with Envision; a Chinese energy management company focused on cutting-edge technology. Together, the pair designed the car to operate autonomously using the Internet of Things, while also offering a fun driving experience when the driver wants to take the wheel.

In a statement about the car, Giorgetto Giugiaro said, “As my 80th birthday gets closer, I’m preparing a car to commemorate it. The prototype is a full four-seater electric salon, combining luxury, sportiness, space, and dynamism, along with a steering wheel, as I could not bring myself to eliminate it.”

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2018 Smart EQ ForTwo

2018 Smart EQ ForTwo

Mercedes’ first production EQ model is a rebadged Smart ForTwo

Mercedes-Benz’s eye toward the future boldly saw a fully electric, fully autonomous concept car debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. Hailing from its Smart division, the concept took cues from the production ForTwo and injected predictions of what the future might hold. Less than a year later, the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show was the launch pad for a production version of the car, the company’s first ever EQ product. Unfortunately, the EQ ForTwo is far from futuristic and shares as many features with the concept vehicle as the standard ForTwo. Yes, Mercedes’ first EQ car is nothing more than a rebadged Smart ForTwo.

A bit disappointing if you got all excited about Merc’s first production EQ, but it’s not completely shocking that the Vision EQ ForTwo concept didn’t go into production. While the EQ division is set to showcase some cool technology, its design isn’t supposed to be groundbreaking. We’ve already seen camouflaged versions of the upcoming SUV and it’s pretty obvious that it will look a lot like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, so it’s not out of this world that the EQ ForTwo is pretty much the ForTwo Electric Drive with a few extra features. What sets them apart? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Smart EQ ForTwo.

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Video of the Day: Hennessey's 2017 Camaro ZL1 Exorcist Tops Out at 217 MPH

Video of the Day: Hennessey’s 2017 Camaro ZL1 Exorcist Tops Out at 217 MPH

1,000 horsepower gets this 4,100-pound car moving fast!

It’s been almost a year since Hennessey Performance debuted its Exorcist package for the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Originally billed as the ultimate competitor to the then-new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Exorcist was designed to out-power the 840-horse monster of a Mopar.

While the pair hasn’t officially met on the drag strip yet, Hennessey has just proved the Exorcist’s top speed on the mile-long straight at Continental Tire’s Uvalde Proving Grounds. Turns out, the extra 350 horsepower delivers more top-end speed. Who knew?

Continue reading for more information on the Camaro ZL1.

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Ram Recalling 228,508 Trucks For Brake-Shifter Interlock Failure

Ram Recalling 228,508 Trucks For Brake-Shifter Interlock Failure

Safety device keeps transmission in park until the brake is applied

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is voluntarily recalling roughly 228,508 Ram 1500 and Heavy Duty pickups due to an issue with the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock on trucks with a column-mounted shifter. The system keeps the shift level from leaving Park without the vehicle’s key in the ignition and the brake pedal depressed.

The problem occurs when the BTSI system overheats, potentially occurring when the brake pedal is held for an extended time while the transmission is in Park. Once overheated, the BTSI system fails to keep the shift lever in Park without the brake depressed and ignition on. This means the at even without the key inserted, the truck could be shifted into gear or neutral, causing an unintentional roll-away.

Continue reading for more information.

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The 2019 Chevy Camaro Won't get a Seven-Speed Manual; Will Be Offered with 10-Speed Auto

The 2019 Chevy Camaro Won’t get a Seven-Speed Manual; Will Be Offered with 10-Speed Auto

Its six-speed manual will happily solider on, too

Chevrolet is preparing a mid-cycle refresh for its sixth-generation Camaro for 2019, but there appears to be confusion regarding its transmission options. In January 2018, a California Air Resource Board document was discovered by Auto Guide showing the presence of M6, M7, and SA8 transmission codes available for the upcoming Camaro. That indicated both a six-speed and seven-speed manual transmission as being offered, along with the familiar eight-speed automatic.

However, Chevrolet apparently rescinded the document in recent days and filed new paperwork that dropped the M7 code and added the SA10 designation.

That means Chevy is apparently foregoing the seven-speed manual for its new 10-speed automatic already used in the Camaro ZL1. That means a few things: One, this concerns only the Camaro SS, V-6, and turbo-four; two, that the six-speed manual will remain as the only manual gearbox option; and three, that Chevy is dropping the idea of the seven-speed manual for Camaro use.

Of course, we already had our doubts about the seven-speed working with the Camaro. See, Chevy’s seven-speed manual is exclusively used in the C7 Corvette Stingray – a vehicle that uses a torque tube and a rear-mounted transaxle. That means the Corvette’s transmission doesn’t bolt to the engine, but rather sits nearly between the rear tires and connects to the rear differential. Corvette does this for improved weight distribution. The Camaro, on the other hand, uses a more traditional driveline configuration with the gearbox mounted to the engine block. Reconfiguring the M7 for Camaro duty would involve extra engineering hours.

The 10-speed automatic, however, is already used on the Camaro and would easily work with the Camaro SS’ naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT1 V-8, along with the 3.6-liter V-6 and 2.0-liter turbo-four, as well.

So, while there was a glimmer of possibility for the Corvette’s seven-speed manual transmission in the 2019 Camaro, that hope is now gone. Its replacement, though, is far better. The 10-speed auto is a far smoother transmission than the eight-speed currently used in the Camaro. Combine that with the current six-speed manual that comes standard, and the 2019 Camaro will have two solid transmission choices that everyone should be happy with.

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Keeping up with the Jones': Nissan to Increase its Interior Design Budget

Keeping up with the Jones’: Nissan to Increase its Interior Design Budget

Nissan looks ahead to autonomous driving and innovative interiors

Nissan is preparing a new wave of high-end, high-tech interiors for is future autonomous vehicles due out by 2020. With customers spending less time driving, they’ll have more time to notice the design details and quality of their vehicle. They’ll also expect more entertainment options to consume their commute time.

In an interview with Auto Express, Nissan of Europe’s design center’s new boss, Mamoru Aoki, said, “From 2020 it will be the real autonomous and electric vehicle era, so at that time I think we will not continue the current [interior] design direction.” He continued by saying, “Before, EV competition was small, but now it is much greater, so appearance is more important. Tesla is here already, so we have to compete.”

Continue reading for more information.

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How We'd Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500

How We’d Spec It: 2019 Ram 1500

Our idea of a feature-rich, budget-minded build

Ram has made a massive splash in the half-ton pickup segment with its all-new 2019 Ram 1500. It debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January and is expected to arrive in showrooms by the end of the first quarter. That’s an impressively quick turn-around time as this processes normally takes six months to a year with most vehicles. Nevertheless, we’re restless to get our hands on the pickup.

In the meantime, we’re left dreaming of the ideal build configuration for an average American. Modern pickups offer literally thousands of possible cab, bed, engine, and trim combinations. Here, we’re shooting for that middle-class family who might tow a small boat to the lake on the weekends, haul sports equipment in the bed, and carry those 2.5 kids to their various extracurricular actives – all while staying within a reasonable budget.

Continue reading for more information.

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Believe it or Not, Ford Considered a 13-Speed Automatic Transmission for the Ranger Raptor

Believe it or Not, Ford Considered a 13-Speed Automatic Transmission for the Ranger Raptor

What’s the cut-off for this gear growth?

Ford Australia’s new 2019 Ranger Raptor has made a splash over the last week with its debut in Thailand for the Asia Pacific market. It packs a 2.0-liter turbodiesel and Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission it co-developed with General Motors. Just a few years ago, the industry thought eight-speed automatics were revolutionary. But according to John Fallu, the transmission and driveline engineering manager for Ford Asia Pacific, his team explored the possibility of 12- and 13- speed automatic gearboxes.

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A Ford Everest Raptor is in the Works; Could Lead to a Bronco Raptor

A Ford Everest Raptor is in the Works; Could Lead to a Bronco Raptor

Will the “Raptor-ization” continue?

First, there was the Ford F-150 Raptor, then came the Ranger Raptor, but if Australia’s Drive.com is to be believed, Ford might have an Everest Raptor in the works. The Everest, the three-row SUV version of the Ranger, would theoretically be easy to give the Raptor treatment. Both the Ranger and Everest share similar frames and suspensions, along with the forward second of the cab.

So, what spurred this theory? No less than Ford Performance’s head engineer, Jamal Hameedi, in fact. He told Drive, “There’s no reason [we wouldn’t do an Everest Raptor],” he said.

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Lincoln Partners with Serena Williams in 2018 Navigator's New Ad Campaign

Lincoln Partners with Serena Williams in 2018 Navigator’s New Ad Campaign

Lincoln doubles down on advertising despite selling every Navigator they make

Lincoln is partnering with tennis ledged Serena Williams in its newest ad campaign that kicked off February 15. Williams will act as a brand ambassador on social media as she drives her 2018 Navigator to tournaments and while chauffeuring her family around town.

But this isn’t her first time in a Navigator. In fact, her first car was a first-generation Lincoln Navigator she purchased during her successful early years and named it “Ginger.” The SUV lasted her eight years’ worth of tennis practices and matches before she gifted it to her niece. “I’ve always had a connection to the Navigator,” she said. “When the opportunity came to work with the Lincoln Navigator today, I was really excited because it brought me back to all of those moments I had in my first vehicle. For me, partnering with a brand like Navigator comes from a genuine place.”

Continue reading for more on Serena Williams and the 2018 Navigator.

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2019 Ram 1500 Sport

2019 Ram 1500 Sport

A sporty edition exclusive to Canada

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 hasn’t even hit showrooms yet, and Ram is already rolling out the special editions. Just this week saw the new iteration of the Texas-inspired Lone Star edition. But now, it’s Canada’s turn. Ram is launching a Canada-only trim called the Sport.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport.

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2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

More spicy sauce for the Taco Supreme

Toyota’s 2019 updates to its trio of TRD Pro models brings some impressive upgrades to the Tacoma. Headlining the features is the new Desert Air Intake, a high-rise snorkel that not only looks awesome but sucks in cleaner air from higher above trail. The suspension is also updated Fox Racing Shocks and a handful of cosmetic changes keep the truck fresh.

The Tacoma TRD Pro has been around since 2015 and jumped to the third-generation Tacoma for 2017 after skipping the 2016 model year. Now for 2019, the truck’s updates work to better align the Tacoma TRD Pro with the new and highly impressive Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor. While the Tacoma enjoys a fat sales margin over the Colorado, its lead has been dwindling. Once Ford’s new Ranger his the streets for 2019, Toyota will have a real fight on its hands. Read on to see how the 2019 updates prepare the Tacoma for a tough battle.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

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2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Minor upgrades keep the 4Runner competitive

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

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2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Minor improvements prevent the Tundra TRD Pro from getting cold

Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.

It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

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2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven

Lexus’ halo coupe is a grand touring marvel

It was in 2012 when Lexus pulled the covers off its LF-LC concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept boasted curvy lines, massive rear haunches, a big Spindle Grille, those signature fishhook LED daytime running lights, and a nose almost as long as Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. Somehow Lexus managed to keep the concept’s sultry lines almost completely intact for production. The final result is this, the 2018 Lexus LC500.

I spent a week behind its wheel, doing everything from blasting down the Interstate to picking up the kiddos in the carpool line. It fetched groceries and drew crowds in nearly equal amounts. It also fostered a love/hate relationship in my view. I’ll explain below.

Continue reading for more information.

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What It's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500

What It’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500

A grand tourer that’s fine with commuting… mostly

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a stunningly beautiful coupe that looks more like a concept car than a production model. That visual appeal, combined with its sultry interior and angry V-8, solidly confirm its place as an aspirational vehicle. It would be right at home on a bedroom poster next to high-end sports cars from Ferrari or Lamborghini. Yet this 2+2 coupe isn’t a true sports car, but a grand tourer with comfort and luxury as its main objective with a go-fast nature coming in second.

It’s this aim at luxury that makes the LC500 a pleasure to daily drive. Of course, the 471-horsepower V-8, 10-speed automatic, and rear-wheel drive that turn the pleasure into outright giddy fun.

Continue reading for driving impressions of the Lexus LC500.

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Why The Lexus LC500 Isn't Perfect

Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect

The misunderstood labeling that’s hurting the LC’s image

Read nearly any online review of the 2018 Lexus LC500 and you’ll be left thinking the car is too heavy, too underpowered, and too expensive. And in defense of my fellow automotive journalists out there, they mean well but miss the LC’s essence – its thesis statement. Compared to many 2+2 luxury coupes with V-8 power and rear-wheel drive, the LC simply falls short in the performance category. Unfortunately, this narrow-angle view entirely misses the point of the LC’s existence.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Perfect Ride for a Valentine's Day Date

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Perfect Ride for a Valentine’s Day Date

A hot ride for a hot date

It’s Valentine’s Day, and so long as you’re not celebrating Single’s Awareness Day, you’ve probably got a romantic date planned for tonight. While most people will ride to the restaurant in their Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Tahoe, they’re dreaming of arriving at the valet booth with something a bit more… upscale.

It seems the 2018 Lexus LC500 fits the bill rather perfectly. Let me explain.

Continue reading for more on the Lexus LC500.

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Geely Invests in Bob Lutz's VIA Motors and its Electric Truck Technology

Geely Invests in Bob Lutz’s VIA Motors and its Electric Truck Technology

Volvo owner backs ex-GM executive’s retirement project

Remember Bob Lutz? He’s been almost everywhere in the auto industry, spending time at BMW, Ford, and most notably, General Motors, where he spent from 2001 to 2010 in high-end management. Unfortunately for Lutz (or maybe because of), those were some tumultuous times at the General. Now post “retirement,” he’s been creating his own ventures with VLF Automotive and VIA Motors. With the latter, Lutz is acting as the chairman and helps guide the company in its mission of turning stock light- and heavy-duty vehicles into range-extended and all-electric vehicles.

As it turns out, Lutz and VIA made an impression on Geely, the Chinese automaker responsible for Volvo’s illustrious rebound into the luxury market.

Geely and VIA have agreed to co-develop a medium-duty extended range truck by using VIA’s “industry-leading proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology” while Geely offers up its Drive-e hybrid powertrain technology already in use within Volvo. The companies ambitiously suggest the range-extended truck would be available by 2019 in the U.S., Latin America, and China.

Nathan Yu Ning, Geely’s vice president of international business and executive advisor to the board, said in a company statement, “I believe that range-extended hybrid drive systems are a leading technology for the next 5-10 years and the co-developed truck will utilize proven technology such as a Volvo engine for the range extender.”

The immediate goal is for VIA to provide Geely with technological and engineering support in order to push the automaker into becoming a leader in range-extended vehicles by putting Geely trucks on North and South American roads.

So, if all goes according to plan, Americans might have an electric medium-duty commercial vehicle with a Geely, VIA, or even Volvo badge roaming around.

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The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer

Luxury combines with power to make driving an enriched experience

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is impossible to miss. Drive it anywhere and people will point, take pictures, and ask questions – both about the car and your best investment advice. The LC500 imparts an air of luxury and sophistication that not many vehicles can match. That’s especially true when, like my tester, the 2+2 coupe is draped in Liquid Platinum paint, fitted with the upgraded 21-inch wheels, and shows hints of its red interior through the windows. The LC simply looks like money.

And given its price tag, looking the part is the least it should do.

Lexus charges a whopping $92,000 for a “base” model LC500. Adding options makes the price rise quicker than Diet Coke out of a Mentos-filled bottle. My tester stickered for $100,920. That’s some serious coin for a vehicle some bill as a “personal luxury coupe.” But is it worth it? And more importantly, what is the LC500?

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500's Hood

What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood

Hint: It makes the best noises of every Lexus short of the LFA

The 2018 Lexus LC500 has the pedigree of a proper sports car, though it’s far better at being a fantastic grand touring coupe. Still, it packs a wallop behind that Spindle Grille and it hides plenty of high-tech gadgetry under its carbon fiber reinforced plastic body panels.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500.

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Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!

Mercedes-AMG Debuts 2019 G63 With 577 horsepower!

Quicker and more refined yet just as rugged as ever

Mercedes has just unveiled the long-awaited 2019 AMG G63 – the go-fast version of its all-new 2019 G-Class, which is still hot off the auto show stage. Its official name is the Mercedes-AMG G63, and it’s better in every measurable way over the outgoing model. Not only does the G63 benefit from the G-Class’ new appearance, swanky interior, wider stance, and updated suspension system, it also boasts a slew of AMG parts that push this SUV into sports car territory.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.

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The Lexus LC500's Interior is Breathtaking

The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking

Function takes a back seat to form’s overtly striking appeal

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is a beautiful car to behold. Just look at it – everything from those exterior lines and Coke bottle haunches to the interior’s deep bucket seats and intricate dashboard. The dash pulls cues and inspiration from the famed Lexus LFA while combining new elements and Lexus’ most modern take on the Enform infotainment system.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Lexus LC500’s interior.

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2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Third-Generation Sprinter is more connected, includes electric version

Mercedes-Benz has debuted its third-generation Sprinter van in Duisburg, Germany, appropriately at a portside warehouse. This marks the first all-new Sprinter since 2006 and represents a huge leap forward for the utility vehicle. The van sports a new exterior design, a classy interior with touches from the E-Class, and Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system that recently debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics show. What’s more, the Sprinter is going electric with the eSprinter variant. Preliminary specs say it uses a 41.4 kWh battery pack with a range of roughly 100 miles.

The Sprinter has enjoyed a very successful run since its introduction in 1995. The van is currently sold in 130 markets and has a lifetime sales figure exceeding 3.4 million. Just last year, Mercedes sold 200,500 Sprinters globally. The new 2019 model replaces the aging second-generation Sprinter, which has been around since 2006. Unfortunately for the U.S., the new Sprinter won’t arrive until late 2019, likely making it a 2020 model.

Continue reading for more information.

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Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show

Tuscany Brings Two Modified Ford F-150s to 2018 Chicago Auto Show

Trucks include Shelby name with upgraded power

Ford didn’t limit itself to regular production vehicles at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. Rather, it invited Tuscany to participate in the fun. Tuscany is an independent aftermarket coachbuilder that contracts with Ford to upgrade trucks with special packages and performance modifications before selling them at Ford dealerships and covered under Ford’s new-vehicle warranty.

Well, Tuscany brought two Shelby-branded trucks to the show – both of which are lifted 4WD modes, but with very different personalities.

Continue reading for more on the trucks.

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4 Things to Know About Mopar's Improvements to the 2018 Dodge Durango

4 Things to Know About Mopar’s Improvements to the 2018 Dodge Durango

Upgrades galore for your local Dodge dealership

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is ramping up its parts division to provide customers with tons of vehicle accessory choices. We’ve seen it with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL, but now at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, both the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup and 2018 Dodge Durango are getting “Moparized.”

Mopar, the iconic parts and accessories division of Chrysler, is doing big things these days. For the 2018 Dodge Durango, Mopar has developed parts for four areas of the three-row SUV. Some are cosmetic while other add performance. So, here’s what you need to know about Mopar’s available upgrades for the 2018 Dodge Durango R/T and SRT trims.

Continue reading for the full list.

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FCA Showcase Mopar Accessories for 2019 Ram 1500 in Chicago

FCA Showcase Mopar Accessories for 2019 Ram 1500 in Chicago

More than 200 dealer-installed parts are offered

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup hasn’t been debuted more than a month but Mopar already has accessories ready for the truck’s launch into showrooms. The long list includes wheels, tires, side steps, bed-mounted storage racks, and even performance accessories.

Mopar, Chrysler’s famed parts and accessories division that dates back to the 1920s, worked in-house with Ram’s engineers and designers to develop the accessories to work with the truck. Customers can buy the parts alongside their pickup at any Ram dealership and have them installed before final delivery with the price rolled into the vehicle financing. Best of all, the parts and accessories are covered under the Ram’s warranty. And since accessories like the high-flow air intake and cat-back exhaust are designed and installed by Ram, they do not void the truck’s warranty.

Of course, we’ve seen Mopar do this before. The most recent example is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Mopar showcased over 200 parts at the 2017 SEMA show weeks before Jeep officially debut the Wrangler JL.

Continue reading for info on the Ram’s Mopar accessories.

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The 2019 Ford Edge Gets Gussied-Up Titanium Elite Trim in Chicago

The 2019 Ford Edge Gets Gussied-Up Titanium Elite Trim in Chicago

New trim responds to higher demand for luxury crossovers

Ford has seen a healthy eight-percent increase in sales of the Edge crossover with higher trims over the last four years. As a response, the 2019 Edge is getting a new luxury-minded trim package that should help boost consumer interest in the two-row crossover. It’s the Titanium Elite and it slots between the current Titanium and the new performance-oriented Edge ST.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite.

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Nissan Debuts Suspension Lift Kit for Titan & Titan XD

Nissan Debuts Suspension Lift Kit for Titan & Titan XD

Kit developed by ICON and won’t void warranty

Jeep isn’t the only automaker now offering factory-backed lift kits. That’s right Nissan is launching a suspension lift for the Titan and Titan XD pickups. The hardware comes from ICON Vehicle Dynamics, a well-respected company that designs and builds suspension lifts and other off-road gear for trucks and SUVs. The lift kit will give Titans up to three inches of additional height while not voiding the truck’s factory warranty.

Continue reading for more information.

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The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Gets Updated for 2019

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Gets Updated for 2019

More capability to Toyota’s more iconic off-road SUV

Toyota has given its TRD Pro lineup a welcomed update for 2019. That includes the Tundra, Tacoma, and this, the iconic 4Runner. While the changes are relatively small, they contribute to a more capable and more enjoyable off-road experience. From updated Fox Racing Shocks to a new roof rack, the updates keep the 4Runner from gong completely stale.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

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The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Gets More Capable for 2019

Upgrades shocks, more wheel travel, and Exterior mods take center stage

The biggest member of Toyota’s TRD Pro trio, the Tundra TRD Pro, is getting similar updates as the Tacoma and 4Runner TRD Pros for 2019. This includes updated Fox Racing Shocks and a few cosmetic changes to keep things fresh. The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro can easily be picked out thanks to its new secondary hood scoop and new 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels.

As with its TRD Pro stablemates, the Tundra TRD Pro will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2018. Toyota hasn’t released pricing yet, but here at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, we’re getting our first look at the truck. Keep reading for the details.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

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Toyota Ups the Ante With 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro

Toyota Ups the Ante With 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro

New TRD Desert Air Intake joins the options list

Toyota is giving its TRD Pro trio – Tundra, Tacoma, and 4Runner. – a mild update for the 2019 model year. The changes are mostly minor but help keep the already capable vehicles fresh in customers’ minds. That’s definitely needed considering how hot the off-road pickup segment is getting.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

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FCA Facing Big Fines Over Diesel Emissions Cheating

FCA Facing Big Fines Over Diesel Emissions Cheating

Ram and Jeep’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel is back on trial

A new stage has been reached with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ legal troubles over alleged cheating diesels. The U.S. Department of Justice has offered to settle its lawsuit against the automaker if FCA recalls 104,000 Jeep and Ram vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 for a software upgrade and to pay a “very substantial” fine that, according to the DOJ, “adequately reflects the seriousness of the conduct that led to the violations.”

While the fine amount has not been disclosed, it will likely be far less than Volkswagen’s massive $30 billion fine over its emission test-dodging diesels fitted in 580,000 vehicles in the U.S. Globally, Volkswagen’s turbodiesel issue affected some 11 million vehicles. Estimates made last year by Barclays Plc, Mediobanca SpA and Evercore ISI say FCA could be liable for between $460 million and more than $1 billion.

Unlike Volkswagen, FCA has denied any wrongdoing or conscious effort to cheat on emissions testing with its EcoDiesel V-6. The EPA is also not requesting FCA conduct a buy-back of the vehicles. The diesels in question were sold in 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 pickups. The EPA denied FCA permission to sell 2017 model year vehicles with the EcoDiesel.

The EcoDiesel’s still has a future, though. FCA says its updated EcoDiesel will make more power and be available in future vehicles. The new engine is said to have increased horsepower from 240 to 260 and torque from 420 to 442 pound-feet. The engine will return to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, debut in the new Jeep Wrangler JL, and be available in the new 2019 Ram 1500.

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The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago

The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago

RS combines turbo power with blacked-out styling

Chevrolet pulled the covers off the all-new second-generation 2018 Traverse crossover at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Now, a year later, Chevy is finally making the Traverse RS available to customers. The news happens as Chevy officially pulls the covers off the sporterized SUV at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

The Traverse RS takes cues off other Chevy RS models by adding blacked-out styling cues, larger 20-inch gray wheels, and those red RS badges. The Traverse RS even gets blacked-out Chevy bowties. The overall look isn’t terribly different than the Traverse’s other trim levels, but it’s just enough to justify the special badging.

But the outward appearance is only half the story. The big news is what’s under the RS’ hood.

Chevy has dropped in its familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This marks the first time the Traverse has used forced induction since its introduction in 2009. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to deliver 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, 90 percent of which is available at only 2,100 rpm. The engine pairs exclusively with GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. Unlike the V-6 Traverse, AWD is not available.

Continue reading for more information on the 2018 Chevy Traverse RS.

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What's Under the Skin of the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor?

What’s Under the Skin of the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor?

Highlights include beefy shocks, aluminum control arms, and a Watt’s Link

The 2019 Ranger Raptor is making headlines as it finally debuted in Bangkok, Thailand. As expected, the truck takes the same approach to high-speed off-roading as its big brother, the Ford F-150 Raptor. There are a few major differences, however, not the least of which is the Ranger Raptor’s suspension.

The mid-size truck does use Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners, an independent front suspension, and a solid rear axle. However, the similarities stop there. All four of the Ranger Raptor’s Fox shocks measure 46.6mm in diameter for improved off-road refinement on high-speed bumps compared to the standard Ranger. Fox uses Position Sensitive Damping technology to give the shocks variable rates. With mild bumps, the shocks provide a soft ride thanks to lower damping forces. Driven hard over rough terrain, the Fox shocks provide higher damping deeper into the shocks’ travel. This keeps the truck from hitting its bump stops while still providing a tailored ride in a variety of situations.

Continue reading for the full story.

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The 2019 Ranger Raptor is the Diesel-Drinking Off-Road Beast We've Been Needing

The 2019 Ranger Raptor is the Diesel-Drinking Off-Road Beast We’ve Been Needing

A look at Ford’s new 2.0-liter I-4 turbodiesel

Ford’s new 2019 Ranger Raptor is making big waves as its debut in Thailand reaches America’s shores. Anticipation for the truck garnered nearly limitless speculation from industry analysts and journalists. Everyone basically knew the Ranger Raptor would be wider, taller, have a dolled-up interior, and ride on Fox Racing Shocks. Those were easy guesses. But one thing nobody saw coming was Ford’s new twin-turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel under the hood.

The new engine was designed to offer more power and better fuel economy, but with less weight than traditional turbodiesels. Ford’s engine testing included running the engine wide open nonstop for 200 hours with both turbos glowing red hot. The engine was then subjected to countless miles of off-road driving and other extreme regimens. The result, hopefully, is an engine that will last the life of the truck without major mechanical issues.

Speaking of the turbos, Ford is using the age-old trick of compounding the turbos. Rather than having two identical turbos, they are different sizes. The smaller, high-pressure turbo works to combat turbo lag since its smaller size allows it to spool more quickly. This turbo then feeds the larger one, which runs at a lower pressure but with much more air volume. Combined – or compounded – the two turbos work to quickly spool at lower engine revs but deliver big boost pressures at higher engine speeds.

Ford’s result is this: 210 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The longitudinally mounted engine mates exclusively with Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission, which it co-developed with General Motors. Both the engine and transmission are specifically tuned for the Ranger Raptor, including for severe off-road duty.

Despite the Ranger Raptor’s soft, off-road-oriented suspension, it’s rated to tow 5,511 pounds on its standard two-inch receiver hitch. That’s 511 pounds more than the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duramax is rated to pull. As for power, the Ranger Raptor boasts 29 horsepower more and the same torque figure. Add to that the Ranger Raptor’s four additional gears in its transmission.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed.com as we continue our coverage of the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.

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This Is It! Meet the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor!

This Is It! Meet the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor!

It debuted for Asian markets, but don’t worry, it’s coming here

Ford has finally pulled the covers off its much-anticipated 2019 Ranger Raptor. This is the hard-core off-road version the world has waited for. It boasts many similar attributes to its big brother, the Ford F-150 Raptor, but benefits from a smaller size, a Watt’s link and coil spring rear suspension, and a twin-turbodiesel powerplant. The debut event took place in Bangkok, Thailand, where pickups are extremely popular. And while Ford hasn’t admitted it yet, the Ranger Raptor will arrive in the U.S. Keep reading to learn all about it.

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Toyota Teases TRD Pro Lineup Ahead of Big Debut at Chicago Auto Show

Toyota Teases TRD Pro Lineup Ahead of Big Debut at Chicago Auto Show

2019 models will have even more off-road equipment

Toyota has just dropped a massive teaser of the 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro in anticipation for its big debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. There, Toyota will be announcing updates to the entire TRD Pro lineup, which includes the Tundra, Tacoma, and 4Runner.

Currently, the only solid lead we have is the dusty image Toyota released of the 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro. The glaringly obvious change is the snorkel mounted along the passenger-side A-pillar. It’s a big deal as it makes Toyota the only automaker to make a snorkel part of a production vehicle in the U.S. While we don’t know if the raised air intake will be an option or actually standard equipment, we’re definitely leaning toward the former. It’s worth noting, however, that Mopar does offer a snorkel kit for the Jeep Wrangler that can be installed by a Jeep dealership.

Technicalities aside, the snorkel will likely give the Tacoma TRD Pro a deeper water fording depth and should help to keep the air filter cleaner thanks to its higher, more dust-free location. Of course, Tacoma owners will have other components to worry about getting wet. Generally, things like computers, electrical connections, and interior bits don’t like getting wet.

Other updates to the TRD Pro lineup could include improved suspension systems, new wheel and tire combinations, updated traction management systems, and even new interior accents. Currently, TRD Pro models receive interior changes like TRD-branded shift knobs, floor mats, embroidered headrests, and other small niceties.

We will know way more come this Thursday, February 8. Toyota will have its press conference at 9 a.m. CST.

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2020 RAM Ramcharger

2020 RAM Ramcharger

What if Ram built a three-row SUV?

Many in the industry basically begged Dodge to build a three-row SUV based on the then-new 1994 Ram 1500 pickup. Those requests went ignored for three generations of pickups, even as the Ram Trucks brand spun off onto its own from Dodge. But it seems the stars have aligned yet again; Ram has an all-new 1500-series pickup for 2019, SUVs are enjoying a healthy uptick in popularity, fuel are holding steady at a reasonable price, and Fiat Chrysler is basically abandoning domestic sedan productions to make room for more crossovers and SUVs.

So, that begs the question – will Ram build a competitor to the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and Ford Expedition?

Sadly, we haven’t heard any official rumors or seen any appropriately shaped and camouflaged test mules running around Detroit, so it’s almost impossible to speculate with any certainty. However, the timing has never seemed more right. As such, we decided to compile what we imagined a new Ram SUV might look like. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Continue reading for more information.

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Elon Musk is Launching His 2008 Tesla Roadster into Space Today

Elon Musk is Launching His 2008 Tesla Roadster into Space Today

SpaceX’s first launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket puts the Tesla in Mars orbit

What does a CEO of both an automaker and a rocketmaker do to cross-promote? Why launch a sports car into space. That’s exactly what Elon Musk is doing with his personal 2008 Tesla Roadster during today’s first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

The rocket will launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, February 6 with its flight computer programmed for Mars. “[It’s a] red car for a red planet,” Musk tweeted back in December. The module atop the Falcon Heavy will then enter a hyperbolic orbit between Mars and the Sun, which it could theoretically maintain for a billion years. Better yet, the car’s radio will be playing Zarathustra, the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A mannequin affectionately named “Starman” will also be behind the wheel a wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is a huge milestone for SpaceX. While the Tesla Roadster is more of a silly payload, this trial launch will prove SpaceX has its math right. The Falcon Heavy is currently the largest and most powerful rocket in operation and is second only to NASA’s mighty Saturn V rocket used during the Apollo series in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Falcon Heavy is said to have a payload capacity of 70 tons – roughly 2.6 times that of NASA’s shuttle orbiter.

Like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon Heavy’s main stage will launch its payload toward space before separating and landing itself back on earth. The second stage will continue to run as it escapes earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Of course, Musk isn’t planning to send a fleet of Tesla vehicles into space, but rather has plans for manned missions to the Moon and then onto Mars.

The launch is scheduled to happen between 1:30 and 4:30 pm EST from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, the same one used for Apollo and Shuttle launches.

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2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

An aging, lumbering beast that somehow wins hearts with its old-school vibes

The Toyota Sequoia is alive and kicking. You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten, even despite Toyota giving the full-size SUV a slight update for 2018. The Sequoia’s sales pale in comparison to its rivals, and as such, there are simply fewer on the road. But that doesn’t mean the Sequoia is a bad SUV, right? We decided to have a look.

Our tester came decked out with all the extra goodies thanks to the range-topping Platinum trim. Of course, it also carried all the update Toyota gave it for the 2018 model year, including a new nose, a revised gauge cluster, and the now-standard Toyota Safety Sense-P active safety system. Beyond that, however, the 2018 Sequoia looks and feels nearly identically to the 2008 version.

It’s hard to believe the Sequoia’s second-generation is now a decade old. It harks back to Toyota’s major revamp of the Tundra pickup. It changed to a full-size truck for the 2007 model year and the Sequoia followed suit the next year. The Sequoia shares plenty with the Tundra, including its drivetrain and interior. Toyota did cater the Sequoia towards family usage with an independent rear suspension with available air ride rather than the Tundra’s solid axle and leaf springs. Yet despite the differences, the Sequoia still felt like a truck. In practice though, many full-size SUV customers were into that sort of thing. It fosters a sense of invincibility and a go-anywhere attitude. Well, so long as there’s a gas station close by.

Continue reading for our full review.

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We Stopped by the 2018 Paris Concept Cars Show and Weren't Disappointed

We Stopped by the 2018 Paris Concept Cars Show and Weren’t Disappointed

It’s like a fashion show for automotive design concepts

Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world and that even extends into the automotive sector. Every year notable concept cars are brought together in a showcase of pure automotive beauty. The vehicles are displayed and judged purely on aesthetics – not horsepower, technological advancement, or even mass-market appeal. It all comes down to unadulterated beauty.

This year’s winner of the “most beautiful concept car” is the Mazda Concept Vision Coupe, a Mazda design study that debuted at last October’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in Japan. The sleek two-door coupe features a fastback roof, a short front overhang, a long rear overhang, and a hood that rival’s the Bat Mobile’s for length. Equally long is its massive wheelbase. The Concept Vision Coupe is also incredibly wide, accented by Mazda’s low-slung, six-sided grille and aggressive headlights.

The Paris Concept Car Show ran until Feb 4th, but we’ve got some cars from the show listed below.

Special shout out to Cyril for the trip and pictures.

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YASA Opens New Production Facility; Expands Electric Motor Production

YASA Opens New Production Facility; Expands Electric Motor Production

Growing demand for green vehicles leads to growing green businesses

YASA, a leading manufacturer of electric motors, has just opened a new factory in Oxford, England, giving the company a major boost in production levels. Previously capped at 2,000 units, the new facility will pump out 100,000 axial-flux electric motors per year. Nearly 80 percent of YASA’s production is exported to countries around the globe for use in both hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are two of YASA’s biggest customers, but automakers in China are also important customers of the British firm. YASA’s new factory comes as a result of a major £15 million ($21 million U.S. dollar) investment and supply agreements with several automakers.

Dr. Chris Harris, YASA’s CEO, said, “Our customers are looking to adopt innovative new technologies such as YASA’s axial-flux electric motors and controllers in order to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding hybrid and pure electric automotive market. This additional £15 million in growth funding will enable YASA to further invest in the volume production capacity necessary to meet our customers’ requirements, and to address markets beyond automotive including aerospace and marine.”

According to Harris’ comments, YASA isn’t limiting itself to just ground-based transportation. That could mean big business for the U.K. company as hybrid and electric drives become more and more common.

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What it's Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

What it’s Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

Piloting this lumbering giant through the urban jungle

Open the heavy door, use the running board to climb inside, sit atop a leather seat with a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel in hand, and gaze over the world like a king riding his chariot. That’s what it’s like getting into the driver’s seat of the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.

Despite its age, the Sequoia isn’t bad to drive. Its 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 offers plenty of pep, especially with its 401 pound-feet of torque and a 4.30 rear axle ratio. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 6.7 seconds and its top speed is capped at 115 mph. The Sequoia might share much of its architecture with the Tundra pickup, but Toyota ditched the solid rear axle and leaf springs in favor of an independent suspension with airbags. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts between the double wishbone control arms. The Platinum trim even comes with adaptive dampers with Sport, Normal, and Comfort modes.

Continue reading for more information.

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Honda Renews U.S. Patent for CDX Name

Honda Renews U.S. Patent for CDX Name

Could become a CR-V in Acura Guise to Fight the Lexus UX and Cadillac XT4

Acura has renewed its U.S. patent for the CDX name – one that belongs to a China-only crossover based on the Honda CR-V. While Acura has sold the compact CDX crossover in China since 2016, no official talk has emerged about Honda bringing the luxury-branded vehicle to the United States. Unfortunately, that remains the case despite the patent filing.

See, Honda originally patented the CDX name back in 2015 ahead of the crossover’s debut for the Chinese market. Since then, Acura’s U.S. branch has made do without an entry-level crossover below the RDX. In fact, the mid-size RDX and full-size MDX remain Acura’s only two crossovers. Now, especially more than ever, seems to be the right time for a third member in Acura’s crossover lineup.

The segment is getting increasingly more competitive with new entries and refreshed versions of existing vehicles. Both Lexus and Cadillac have new vehicles on the horizon for the segment with the UX and XT4, and vehicles like the Audi Q3, Volvo XC60, Jaguar E-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lincoln Nautilus, Range Rover Evoque, and even the Buick Encore all enjoy strong sales.

Continue reading for more information.

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FCA Has Filed a Patent for a Three-Screen Dashboard

FCA Has Filed a Patent for a Three-Screen Dashboard

Another innovative leap atop the 2019 Ram’s 12-inch screen

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ interior designers are apparently obsessed with screens. A patent filing was just made public of an innovative dashboard design with three individual screens – one for the gauge cluster, the middle for the infotainment, and the right presumably for co-driving information. This comes after FCA’s recent debut of the 2019 Ram 1500 and its 12-inch, portrait-oriented infotainment screen in higher-end trims. Unfortunately, the three-screen filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had very little description or information about the dash or its intended use.

Continue reading for more information.

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Porsche Says to Quit Complaining About Squeaky Brakes or Pay Us to Check Them for No Reason

Porsche Says to Quit Complaining About Squeaky Brakes or Pay Us to Check Them for No Reason

It’s what’s expected from high-performance brakes

Squeaky brakes are never fun to listen to, but apparently, Porsche is also tired of hearing its customers complain. Porsche produced a detailed, four-minute video explaining how and why brake squeal occurs in large-diameter, high-performance brakes. The German automaker goes on to assure its customers that the noise is completely normal and not an indication of malfunction. Of course, Porsche will gladly have technicians inspect the brakes at a customer’s request.

As the video describes, brake squeal happens as the brake rotor undergoes tiny but rapid vibrations under braking. The action makes the large rotor act like a speaker, amplifying the vibrations into an audible sound. Due to the minuscule inconsistencies with each braking application and the environment in which they occur brake noise isn’t something that is easily engineered away.

Vehicles with smaller, normal-performance rotors have a less likely chance of developing brake squeal under average conditions. Customers buying high-end sports cars with prices varying between $50,000 to $190,000 typically demand perfection. Hopefully, thanks to the video, Porsche customers will understand their squeaky brakes are working perfectly fine, even if they don’t sound so great.

Check out the video above for an in-depth, animated look into the science behind brake squeal.

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Mercedes Files Trademark for a New Naming Scheme

Mercedes Files Trademark for a New Naming Scheme

Here we go again…

Mercedes has filed trademarks in Canada and other counties for a new two-digit naming scheme for its vehicles. This comes after the automaker revamped its nomenclature just a few years ago. The proposed new system dumps the three-digit system that corresponded to non-AMG models. Now all Mercedes models will have a two-digit name. Mercedes will use numeric names ending in 0 as markers for standard vehicles, while Mercedes-AMG models will end in 3.

As an example, the CLA-Class would have the Mercedes-Benz CLA 40 and the Mercedes-AMG CLA 53. Making the new nomenclature more confusion is the fact the numeric identifiers don’t actually mean anything; they don’t correspond to engine displacement or horsepower.

Mercedes’ patent filing in Canada includes the A 40, CLA 40, SLC 40, SLC 50, and GLE 50 for the “standard models” and CLA 53, G73, and S73 for those high-performance models with an AMG badge. Perhaps even more important than the new nomenclature is that S73 name. The 73 is new and, according to Auto Guide, likely signals the rumored performance hybrid variant of the S-Class is happening. The super saloon is expected to boast 805 horsepower from a 4.0-liter V-8 backed by an electric motor.

Auto Guide continues to speculate about Mercedes’ last Canadian filing of “Turbo 48.” The website theorizes the new name is a drivetrain variant that will combine turbocharging with a 48-volt mild hybrid system and be available in a wide range of Mercedes models. Apparently, the Turbo 48 designation won’t be constrained to specific engines, but rather just signifies their forced induction and mild hybrid system.

As for the G73 model, that would be the Mercedes-AMG version of the new G-Class. Mercedes has promised a new AMG-ified G-Wagen would arrive for the 2019 model year, so the patent filing makes perfect sense. AG speculates Mercedes will debut the new high-performance SUV at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show come March.

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2018 Mercedes X-Class Camper Concept

2018 Mercedes X-Class Camper Concept

Making the most of Mercedes’ pickup

The new Mercedes X-Class is lustful looking machine with an upscale vibe typical of the three-pointed start mixed with rugged capability thanks to its body-on-frame architecture and beefy solid rear axle. And despite the X-Class still being extremely new, aftermarket companies are already building interesting products for the pickup. Perhaps the most interesting is this – a slide in camper build specifically to the X-Class’ bed dimensions.

The camper is designed and built by the coachbuilder Tischer and features a main sleeping area over the cab, a three-person seating area that converts into a sleeping area, a kitchen with a three-burner stove, and a bathroom with a swivel toilet, fold-away sink, and a shower.

Continue reading for more information.

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Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

An aging design get slight changes, remains massively roomy

Toyota’s truck-based, full-size SUV, the Sequoia, is big. Its exterior dimensions are imposing and its interior volume feels like the vastness of an airplane hanger. The three-row SUV boasts seating for up to eight people and has an impressive amount of cargo area. This week we’re testing the refreshed 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum optioned with the Red Rock interior color. Standard with the Platinum trim is the second-row captain’s chairs with the center console. That might reduce the Sequoia’s seating to seven, but it adds an air of luxury not had with the bench seat.

The Sequoia has a 2+2+3 seating arrangement. While three across in the third row spells disaster is most crossovers, the girthy Sequoia has room enough for actual people back here. There’s even an impressive amount of legroom thanks to the sliding second-row bucket seats.

There’s more to the Sequoia’s interior, so keep reading for our impressions.

Continue reading for more information.

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BMW to Launch an M2 Gran Coupe in 2019

BMW to Launch an M2 Gran Coupe in 2019

More models that defy BMW’s traditional nomenclature

A report is swirling around the Internet suggesting BMW is launching a new 2 Series Gran Coupe in 2019. The new sedan will also boast an M version, complete with the current M2’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six making 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque and will come with a six-speed manual and optional seven-speed dual-clutch.

For those not familiar, BMW’s “Gran Coupe” models are basically four-door sedans based on two-door coupes that have a hatchback rather than a trunk. For the 2 Series Gran Coupe, it will be an elongated 2 Series with four doors that is slightly smaller than the 3 Series sedan. BMW already does with the 4 Series and 6 Series. Making things even more confusing is BMW’s not-so-recent division of the 3 Series Coupe into its own model, the 4 Series. Then BMW gave the 4 Series (which is a coupe) a four-door version under the Gran Coupe guise. So in other words, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door hatchback version of a two-door coupe, which is a derivative of a four-door sedan. Yeah…

Continue reading for more on the rumored M2 Gran Coupe.

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2019 GMC Sierra Expected to Debut March 1 in Detroit

2019 GMC Sierra Expected to Debut March 1 in Detroit

GMC is skipping the Chicago Auto Show for an independent debut

General Motors is apparently skipping the 2018 Chicago Auto Show in favor of an independent debut for its all-new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500. The Chicago Auto Show is happening Thursday, February 8 and Friday, February 9, but the Sierra debut is rumored for March 1.

If true, the event will take place almost two months after Chevrolet debuted its 2019 Silverado 1500. Of course, both the Silverado and Sierra have historically shared a vast number of parts with styling being the major differentiator. That might change, however, as GMC aims to further separate itself from Chevy. Both trucks compete for basically the same customer, though the GMC’s target audience is slightly more upscale.

The 2019 Sierra’s March debut will include its full lineup of trim levels, including the swanky Denali trim. Also expected are the shared powertrains with the Chevy Silverado. These include updated 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s, along with the highly anticipated 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel. The 10-speed automatic transmission GM co-developed with Ford is expected in all but the base trim levels. GM has not announced whether the 4.3-liter V-6 will continue.

The GM twins have their work cut out as Ram also brings an all-new truck to market for 2019 and the Ford F-150 underwent a mid-cycle refresh for 2018. Together, the twins sold roughly 804,000 trucks in 2017, closely rivaling the Ford F-Series’ 2017 sales of 820,799 trucks, but blowing away Ram’s sales of only 489,418 trucks. Ram is expected to see a massive increase in sales thanks to its new 2019 truck, but so are Chevy and GMC. For the first time in 40 years, Ford might be dethroned as the pickup truck sales leader.

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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty

The ole 5.7-liter V-8 has a drinking problem

The Toyota Sequoia has undergone a mild refresh for 2018, bringing a slightly different front fascia, a slightly revised dash, and the Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment. But unfortunately, the rest of this full-size SUV dates back to 2008. Yep, that’s a full decade without change. That includes the 5.7-liter V-8, six-speed automatic transmission, and the optional part-time 4WD system.

Now, the 5.7-liter isn’t a bad engine. Its dual overhead camshafts use variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides to offer better low-speed efficiency with high-end power. The engine generates 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. And like all good V-8s, the engine makes plenty of torque down low; Toyota says the 5.7-liter makes 90 percent of peak torque at just 2,200 rpm. That certainly helps with off-the-line power and allowing the six-speed automatic to up-shift sooner and hold gears longer.

Nevertheless, the V-8 does not have modern features like cylinder deactivation or direct fuel injection. And these days, eight- and 10-speed automatic transmissions continue to squeeze more and more from a gallon of gas.

The Sequoia, on the other hand, is EPA-estimated to only achieve 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. Over the last few days of mixed driving, I’m only averaging 13.3 mpg. Ouch.

Continue reading for more information.

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The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool

The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool

A ladder frame, part-time 4WD, and a big V-8 add character

The Toyota Sequoia is far from the newest or most technologically advanced SUV on the road, even after its mild update for the 2018 model year. Rather, this three-row people mover is firmly planted in the past. It rides on a traditional ladder frame, uses a part-time 4WD system with low-range gears, and has a limited-slip center differential that can be completely locked on the fly.

While I have knocked the 2018 Sequoia for its very minor update and its poor fuel economy, the SUV remains impressive in the sense that it retains all the aspects of a traditional SUV. Yeah, it doesn’t have a solid rear axle and leaf springs, but it does have just about everything else that has made SUVs so utilitarian and lovable since the 1950s.

Let’s check out the Toyota Sequoia’s rugged underpinnings.

Continue reading for more information.

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The Tiny EcoSport Promises to Hack your Life

The Tiny EcoSport Promises to Hack your Life

It’s like totally #millennial and stuff

Ford is unabashedly targeting millennials who love a good #lifehack with its new EcoSport compact crossover. Not only does it have an affordable price tag, but Ford keeps lauding the five-seater’s modern connectivity features like 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and its new Ford+Alexa system. Well, Ford is now adding to the app-friendly EcoSport thanks to the integration of Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app.

Continue reading for more information.

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What's New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

What’s New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

Minor changes keep the Sequoia hanging on

Toyota has given the full-size Sequoia SUV a mild update for the 2018 model year. In fact, “mild” is putting it, well, mildly. Yet these changes are the biggest news for the Sequoia since its introduction in 2008 – a full decade ago. Needless to say, Toyota isn’t paying too much attention to the big brute. Its sales reflect this, too, with the Sequoia only moving 12,156 examples in 2017.

The most surprising thing is a rather steady rate of the Sequoia’s sales numbers. Toyota has sold between 11,806 and 13,848 Sequoias annually since 2010. Of course, that’s a far cry from the 70,187 Sequoias Toyota moved during the SUV’s first year in 2002. It also pales in comparison to its competition. The Chevrolet Tahoe found homes in 103,306 driveways in 2016 and the Ford Expedition sold 59,835 examples during the same time – and that wasn’t even the new aluminum-bodied model that’s new for 2018.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s updates for the 2018 Sequoia are likely to help attract customers. Just don’t expect a massive surge in people banging down Toyota’s door for the old-school, body-on-frame SUV.

We happen to be driving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia this week. Our tester is fitted in the range-topping Platinum trim, meaning it comes basically standard with all the optional extras Toyota has to offer. So, let’s check out what’s different about the 2018 model and see if it helps the ole Sequoia’s case.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.

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Demand Watch: F80-Gen BMW M3 to End Production Sooner than Expected; No Replacement Until 2020

Demand Watch: F80-Gen BMW M3 to End Production Sooner than Expected; No Replacement Until 2020

Get yours now before prices soar

BMW is having to end production of the mighty M3 performance sedan due to emissions regulations that take effect in June of 2018. The new regulations set forth by the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure, require a gasoline particulate filter be installed on all new vehicles after the June deadline. Unfortunately for the M3, its underbelly doesn’t have the room needed for the large device. Rather than spending the money to rework the M3’s floor pan, BMW is simply ending production of the 425-horsepower legend.

It’s not all bad news, however, the two-door coupe version of the M3, the M4 will continue production and come with the new particulate filter, officially known as the Otto Particulate Filter. Collateral changes to the M4 include the discontinuation of its lightweight carbon fiber driveshaft in favor of a steel driveshaft with a smaller diameter.

The M3’s discontinuation has several ramifications, of course, so let’s get into what’s going on.

Continue reading for more information.

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Chrysler to Send Thousands of Pacifica Minivans to Waymo

Chrysler to Send Thousands of Pacifica Minivans to Waymo

“Hey Google. Take me across town.”

Fiat Chrysler is supplying Google’s self-driving division, Waymo, with “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica minivans for testing on public roasts. Waymo already has a fleet of 600 FCA vehicles, which were supplied after the two companies formed a partnership in 2016. The fleet already includes vehicles capable of fully self-driving thanks to Waymo’s autonomous driving systems were installed.

John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, said, “With the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we’ve moved from research and development to operations and deployment. These additional vehicles will help us scale.”

Continue reading for more information.

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The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy's Dream of Luxury Come True

The new Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is a Cowboy’s Dream of Luxury Come True

More luxury than you can shake a stick at

After a long day of riding hawses on the range and ropin’ dogies, a cowboy likes to kick his boots off and sit a spell. Well, Ram now has a pretty good place to relax. The new 2019 Ram 1500 is completely new, and with it comes a revised and upgraded version of the Laramie Longhorn trim.

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Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front

Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front

The next engine milestone after Skyactiv-X

Mazda is diligently working to save the internal combustion engine from a slow death brought on by electric vehicles. The independent Japanese automaker has been perfecting the ICE for decades with its Skyactiv line, including the Skyactiv-G and new Skyactiv-X. The latter is particularly interesting as it combines the strong points of both a gasoline- and diesel-powered engine without either of their weak points. Skyactiv-X is set to arrive in showrooms sometime in the next year. Nevertheless, the automaker isn’t resting on its laurels.

Mazda is already looking at the next project – Skyactiv-3. It’s a new gasoline engine designed to increase thermal efficiency by roughly 27 percent, making the engine 57 percent thermally efficient. That’s far better than even the most effacement engines out there. By comparison, Toyota’s new 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder is said to have a thermal efficiency of 40 percent. Mazda says the Skyactive-3’s efficiency means it will achieve well-to-wheel emissions similar to an EV.

What’s well-to-wheel emissions? It’s the overall CO2 emissions emitted from the time oil leaves the well to the time it propels a vehicle. This includes the mining and processing of crude oil.

There is still much work to be done on the Skyactiv-3 powertrain, of course. Mazda is just now launching its gasoline compression-ignition engine, Skyactiv-X, to market, so it will be at least several years before the third-generation of Skyactiv engines are ready for the road.

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Anonymous Report: 400+ HP Ford Explorer ST in the Pipeline

Anonymous Report: 400+ HP Ford Explorer ST in the Pipeline

New generation will return to rear-wheel drive

An anonymous source within Ford in conjunction with confirmed speculation suggests the next-generation Ford Explorer will return to a rear-wheel-drive architecture and come with four new engine options, one of which will offer more than 400 horsepower in a sporterized ST variant.

The news comes from The Truth About Cars, which speculated about the rear-drive platform some time ago. TTACs insider source then revealed details about the next-generation Explorer’s powertrain options, along with the new ST trim. This follows Ford’s recent release of the Edge ST – a two-row crossover gussied up by Ford Performance with 335 horsepower and a stiff suspension. The same is expected with the Explorer ST, but with the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 currently used in the Lincoln Continental and MKZ. In the Lincolns, the engine makes an even 400 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. The insider source says power will likely increase since the V-6 will be longitudinally mounted in the new rear-drive Explorer.

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The Lister Thunder: A 660 Horsepower, 200+ MPH Jaguar F-Type That You Need in Your Life

The Lister Thunder: A 660 Horsepower, 200+ MPH Jaguar F-Type That You Need in Your Life

Lister’s rich racing heritage is imbedded in all 99 examples

The F-Type has cemented itself as one of Jaguar’s greatest, most successful models in the automaker’s long history. From the new turbo-four model to my personal favorite, the SVR, the F-Type is a true sports car worth of attention. But Lister Motor Company saw some ways of improving the beast. It’s called the Lister Thunder, and it rumbles our a sinister 666 brake horsepower (660 in U.S. terms) and 719 pound-feet of torque thanks to upgrades made to the F-Type’s 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. The namesake feature, of course, is the upgraded exhaust system that, quite literally, sounds like thunder.

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FCA Almost Debt Free; Aims to Overtake Ford in Earnings!

FCA Almost Debt Free; Aims to Overtake Ford in Earnings!

Marchionne dumps merger ideas as money pours in

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is having a record year. Lead by CEO Sergio Marchionne, the automaker is set to pay off all its debts and bank a projected $4.9 billion in cash by the end of 2018. The solid financial footing will put FCA in a stronger place to compete against General Motors and Ford, perhaps even surpassing them in earnings.

Marchionne told analysts in a recent earnings teleconference that, "There’s a very strong likelihood that we will outperform Ford in terms of operating earnings in 2018. That’s something that if I told any of us in the room here that would’ve been doable five years ago, nobody would have believed it."

FCA’s very positive standing is surprising considering Marchionne was practically begging General Motors for a merger, with CEO Mary Berra reportedly declining multiple offers. Now, Marchionne has completely dropped the idea, saying, "The necessity to find a partner, to try and guarantee our survival, going forward, is put to bed. I mean we’re done."

The automaker’s success is pinned on its truck and SUV sales lead by the Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler. Sales forecasts only show growth, too, thanks to an all-new Wrangler for 2018, an all-new Ram 1500 for 2019, a refreshed Jeep Cherokee for 2019, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s new halo model, the Hellcat-powered 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Add to that Jeep’s upcoming Scrambler pickup, three-row Jeep Wagoneer, and the luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer.

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Rumor: Production-Ready Lexus UX Could Debut in March 2018

Rumor: Production-Ready Lexus UX Could Debut in March 2018

Smaller than the Lexus NX but more aggressively styled

Lexus is turning its attention to crossovers and SUVs from sedans and coupes. Rumors are swirling the automaker will debut a production version of the UX concept as early as this March at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The UX will slot under the NX crossover to be Lexus’s entry-level model.

The UX crossover will join Lexus’ recently debuted three-row variant of the RX crossover and the new two-row (less expensive) version of the Lexus LX 570 SUV. Another crossover is also in the works based on the LF-1 Limitless Concept. That model would become Lexus’ flagship SUV, even ousting the $90,000 LX 570.

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2018 Toyota Hilux

2018 Toyota Hilux

More variants bring more choice to customers

The Toyota Hilux pickup receives several new trims for the 2018 model year. These include three new SR cab-chassis variants, a new WorkMate grade for the 4WD Double Cab-Chassis, and the Hi-Rider option on 2WD trucks is now offered on the WorkMate Double-Cab, SR Extra Cab, and the SR5 Double Cab. What’s more, the availability of an automatic transmission expands from 12 models to 17 models. In other words, there are now more choices for customers.

This is the first change Toyota has brought to the Hilux since the current generation’s introduction in 2016. It comes in part as a response to changing customer wants as the expectation for higher comfort levels increase, while the need for work-grade trims holds steady. In fact, Toyota saw more than 60 percent of new Hilux sales have automatic transmissions – a first for the rugged pickup.

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Jeep to Cease Wrangler JK Production Making Way for new JL Pickup

Jeep to Cease Wrangler JK Production Making Way for new JL Pickup

That means the pickup’s debut is getting closer

Jeep is scheduled to end production of the outgoing Wrangler JK on April 7, 2018. Both the JK and the all-new 2018 Wrangler JL have been built simultaneously since November, but on separate assembly lines on separate sides of the Jeep campus. However, the JK’s end marks the beginning of the Wrangler JL-based pickup truck, the Scrambler.

Moreover, that means the Scrambler’s official debut is quickly approaching. The 2018 Chicago Auto Show is likely the next-best opportunity. The show is slated for February 8 and 9, so we don’t have long to wait.

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Hyundai Drops a Pair of Teasers for the Next-Gen Santa Fe

Hyundai Drops a Pair of Teasers for the Next-Gen Santa Fe

Hyundai’s three-row crossover getting a highly stylized makeover

Hyundai’s next-generation Santa Fe crossover has just been officially teased. The automaker released two renderings showing the inspiration for the upcoming three-row crossover. Compared to the current Santa Fe, the design is far more aggressive and stylized, likely in a concerted effort to stand apart in the increasingly crowded crossover segment.

The new Santa Fe will likely debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show and arrive in showrooms for the 2019 model year. It will replace the current crossover, which has been on sale since the 2013 model year.

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Teaser of the Week: Ford Ranger Raptor Doing What it Does Best

Teaser of the Week: Ford Ranger Raptor Doing What it Does Best

And the February 7 reveal is fast approaching

Ford just released a third teaser video for its highly anticipated Ranger Raptor. The scripted text emblazed over the moving shots of a camouflaged test mule bombing over terrain say the Ranger Raptor is “Ready for… speed, water, sand, hills, mud, jumps, and anything,” The last phrase then says it’s ready for its reveal. That’s right; the time is growing short for Ford to officially unveil the Ranger Raptor in all its glory.

The event is taking place on February 7, 2018, at Bangkok Auto Show in Thailand. While Thailand might seem an odd choice rather than the U.S. or Australia, the country actually has quite the love for pickups and off-roading. No worries, though, both Americans and Australians will soon have Ranger Raptors arriving in their showrooms.

While Ford hasn’t even hinted at the powerplant under the Ranger Raptor’s hood, a report from Motoring suggests the truck is getting an all-new 2.0-liter high-output four-cylinder turbodiesel. The specific output wasn’t announced, but the new (Power Stroke?) turbodiesel would be more powerful than the current 3.2-liter inline-five turbodiesel, which makes 197 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. The report also says Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission will be the sole gearbox.

While the 10-speed auto is an obvious component, the small-displacement four-cylinder turbodiesel is a stretch – at least for U.S.-bound Ranger Raptors. Ford’s peppy 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 or even the standard-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 would be a more plausible engine for North America. It seems we’ll have to wait until February 7 to find out.

Expect the Ranger Raptor to arrive in U.S. showrooms as a 2019 model sometime in the first half of next year. Prices are expected to compete with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, which starts at $40,400 and increases with options. Perhaps Ford will also offer a turbodiesel and gasoline engine option, just like the Colorado ZR2, as well. Again, tune in to TopSpeed.com on February 7 for all the details.

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2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition

Ram ups its luxury truck game

Ram has introduced the Laramie Longhorn trim level on its all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup. Like on the outgoing truck, the Laramie Longhorn is western-themed luxury trim filled with high-end materials. However, thanks to the vast improvements made on the 2019 Ram 1500, the Laramie Longhorn trim sees equally impressive advancements.

Designed to compete against the Ford F-150’s King Ranch and the Chevrolet Silverado’s High Country trims, the Laramie Longhorn goes above and beyond with real barn wood accent trim, full leather seats with contrast piping, brushed-nickel badging and accent trim, and Ram’s new 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen engulfing the dashboard. There is even the Laramie Longhorn badge branded into the wood trim above the glovebox – branded, like with a hot iron. That attention to detail continues through the cabin and onto the exterior.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn.

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2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

2018 Lexus RX350 - Driven

The grandfather of luxury crossovers

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998 and basically invented the luxury crossover segment. It’s even appropriate to credit the RX with the boom in popularity for all crossover niches. But things have changed, of course, and the competition is fierce. Lexus brought its latest RX iteration to life for 2015, complete with the aggressive styling seen elsewhere in Lexus’ lineup.

Now as 2018 rolls on, the Lexus RX gets a new three-row version called the RX L. it’s available in the RX350 and RX450 configurations, meaning you can haul seven people with a standard V-6 or one connected to a hybrid system. If that’s not enough choice, Lexus will also let you have the F Sport package – and that’s all before getting into the optional features available within the cabin. Needleless to say, the RX offers customers plenty of choices.

But we’re testing the old standard – the RX350 in FWD without the appearance package or hybrid powertrain. This is the type of RX you’d find at any Lexus dealership without having to special order something. Let’s have a look.

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What it's Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350

What it’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus RX350

Smooth cruising for four adults

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX350 in FWD and without all the extra stuff like the F Sport package and hybrid drivetrain. This is the RX in its purest form. It’s also the least-expensive way to have an RX and a build configuration that you’ll likely find stacked like cordwood at the local Lexus dealer.

It probably comes as no surprise to hear the Lexus RX 350 rides like a cloud on stilts. Lexus has always done a fantastic job building smooth-riding suspension systems for its sedans. That expertise carries over into the RX, along with the 20 years of experience Lexus has with build the luxury crossover. It’s almost hard to believe the RX nameplate is 20 years old in 2018.

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Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition

Price Check: Lexus RX350 vs the Competition

How the Lexus RX 350 stacks the cash

Luxury SUVs are expensive and it takes a hefty bank account to afford one, but even wealthy folks love a good deal. After all, saving and spending wisely are critical parts of becoming wealthy, right?

We’re comparing the 2018 Lexus RX350 to a four of its main rivals. These are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, Lincoln MKX, and for a comparison to Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the Acura MDX.

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Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up

Cargo Space: This is how the Lexus RX350 Stacks Up

Turns out that sloping roofline has a downside

This week we’re evaluating the Lexus RX 350 luxury crossover. We’ve covered it Enform infotainment system, talked about its price verses it competition, and looked at how it drives. Now its time to compare the Lexus’ cargo-carrying abilities.

Four of the Lexus’ main competitors are the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5, and Lincoln MKX. These two-row crossovers represent some of the hottest-selling in the luxury crossover segment, which itself is one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in the entire automotive industry. We’re also including the three-row Acura MDX as a comparison against Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the RX L.

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A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350's Infotainment System

A Brief Look at the Lexus RX350’s Infotainment System

What’s to like and not like

The Lexus Enform system has been around a while, and unfortunately, its age is showing. While I can’t complain that it doesn’t work, the joystick-controlled system just isn’t the most pleasing to use or the most user-friendly. It takes a while to become comfortable with. Enform also lacks modern features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Still, for all its faults, it’s a decent system. It just goes about the whole user-input thing a bit differently than other systems on the market. It’s hard to criticize Lexus for trying something different, right? Maybe, but it seems Enform might be holding Lexus back. Let’s have a look.

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Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350

Quick Specs: 2017 Lexus RX350

Lexus’ comfy crossover examined

The Lexus RX has been around since 1998, but its most recent iteration came out for 2015. Traditionally a two-row crossover, the RX ventures into new territory for 2018 with a three-row version called the RX350 L. The two extra seats makes the RX L Lexus’ first three-row crossover. Of course, the LX SUV has boasted three rows for quite a while, but with a massive jump in price and less on-road refinement relative to the unibody-based RX.

This week we’re behind the wheel of the 2017 RX 350 in FWD. It’s technically the base model since it doesn’t have the F Sport package, AWD, or the hybrid drivetrain. That’s just fine, though, as Lexus sells a big number of FWD models without the sporty appearance package or expensive hybrid system.

We’re taking a look at the RX 350’s specs – from its 3.5-liter V-6 to its passenger volume. We’ll also be covering several other aspects of the RX, both objectively and subjectively, along with the full driven review. Stay tuned for that.

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Surprise: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Prices Announced

Surprise: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Prices Announced

Not Surprising: it’s more expensive

Jeep has announced the pricing for its refreshed 2019 Cherokee mid-size SUV. The reshaped Cherokee debuted earlier this month at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and wears a more traditional front end that is more likely to appeal to a wider audience. It also has slightly more cargo space and comes with Jeep’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in addition to its carryover 2.4-liter I-4 and 3.2-liter V-6 engines. Its nine-speed automatic and Active Drive 4WD system have been improved for efficiency, as well.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee’s base price actually drops $300 in the base Latitude trim to $25,190. Every other trim level, however, sees an increase in price. The Latitude Plus increases by $300 and the Limited trim increases by $680. The two range-topping trims, the off-road-ready Trailhawk and the luxurious Overland jump by $2,425 and $2,280, respectively. That puts the 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk starting at $34,515 and the Overland in FWD at $36,275.

Jeep has streamlined its 4WD costs, with Active Drive I costing $1,500 on all trims except for the Trailhawk, which has its 4WD price baked into its base MSRP. The Trailhawk gets Cherokee’s most advanced 4WD system, Active Drive Lock.

Further adding to a price increase, Jeep added an extra $100 to its destination charge, bringing it to $1,195 for all trim levels.

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