2018 Volkswagen California 30 Years Special Edition
Volkswagen celebrates the 30th anniversary of its sun-chasing California campervan with a special edition model of which only 999 examples will be built with a choice of three engines. The 30th anniversary Californias will be priced at $83,570 in the U.K.
Originally, Westfalia was the company that converted a variety of Volkswagen vans for use as mobile campers - which were known as VW Californias. This tradition dates back to 1988, but it all ceased in 2001 when Westfalia was bought by Daimler-Chrysler. From that point on, Volkswagen manufactured their own campervans with help from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles arm.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is Here and It’s Still Ugly
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class is here. If nobody remembers the previous generation, that’s okay, because Mercedes has made their new compact minivan crossover taller, longer, and more in-line with the current Merc styling trends.
The new B-Class just dropped at the Paris Motor Show while everyone’s looking at the new EQC and the brash-looking A35 AMG. But the B-Class doesn’t deserve to be overlooked - within its tight minivan-crossover class niche, only BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer provides any real competition.
Some may argue that there isn’t much market left for these compact minivan crossovers, as people look towards SUVs of varying shapes and sizes as grocery-getters and family carriers. But Mercedes hopes there is. The problem with the B-Class is that it’s not particularly good looking - you can thank the headlights from the A-Class for that - but, at least, it looks better than the visual atrocity that is the 2-Series Active Tourer.
The 2019 Mercedes B-Class Might not be Pretty, but it has Some Awesome Technology and Drivetrain Options
Mercedes has unveiled an all-new B-Class practical family car, and no, this new model isn’t very pretty either, continuing in its predecessors’ tracks, but there are plenty of other reasons you may want to buy one. I’m pretty sure it was never really bought based on styling, so that takes a back seat to the features it does offer its occupants.
The 2019 Mercedes B-Class is Pulling into Paris for Tonights Debut but Here’s a Teaser to Hold You Over
Leave it to Mercedes to get a jump on teasing the all-new Mercedes-Benz B-Class days ahead of its unveiling at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The German automaker released a teaser video of the model, revealing a good amount of its exterior and interior designs. Major upgrades are in store for the next-generation B-Class as Mercedes works hard in shedding the model’s “ugly duckling” label.
Chrysler to Ax the 300 and Shift the Portal Electric Van into Production
The Chrysler Portal Concept was unveiled last year at the Consumer Electronics Show. The electric van received a lot of attention, and perhaps because of that interest, FCA has given the green signal to commence production. According to Automotive News, the van will hit the assembly line; however, it will come at the cost of the 300 sedan in the brand’s lineup.
2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo
Volkswagen is reviving the Type 2 Transporter Delivery Van of the ’60s with its new I.D. Cargo Buzz Concept which was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany. As a sibling to the I.D. Buzz it uses the same MEB platform and will come as early as 2021 with a variety of battery options to suit anyone and everyone’s needs.
Mercedes Previews Future City Driving with Vision URBANETIC Concept
Auto show season is creeping up, and that means the concepts are starting to roll on out. One of the first out the gates is this new all-electric, fully autonomous, highly customizable transportation bubble from Mercedes-Benz Vans, which offers highly intelligent conveyance for not only people, but goods and cargo as well.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes Vision Urbanetic Concept.
The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Goes Aggressive with a new S Appearance Package
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is getting a shot of personality courtesy of the new S Appearance Package that costs just $595. The new package adds plenty of new elements, giving the van a more aggressive appearance that should do the trick in shedding the physical stereotypes normally associated with minivans. The option will be made available in the fall when 2019 models go on sale.
Compare The Market Renders 7 Campervans From Luxury Car Brands
We’ll admit it - campervans aren’t exactly our thing over here at TopSpeed. We’re usually more concerned about horsepower and cornering grip than we are the number of beds you can find onboard. However, we like to keep an open mind, and who knows - maybe if Rolls Royce, or Tesla, or Ferrari made a campervan, it might grab our attention? Luckily, comparethemarket.comwent about rendering seven such creations, and we’ve got ‘em all right here for your reading and viewing enjoyment.
Continue reading for the full story.
Vauxhall Executes Zafira and Astra
The Crossover fever has spread all across the world, and it’s not just the sedans that are facing the brunt. According to Autocar, the Zafira Tourer and Astra GTC are the latest cars to get phased out. Although they are being discontinued in the U.K for now, we are sure it will be eliminated completely very soon.
Chrysler isn’t on the Chopping Block Yet; Fiat to Retreat, Become Euro-Only EV Brand
FCA’s investor meeting has taken place, and the official word is that Chrysler will carry on as a North-American.-only brand and Fiat will become a Euro-only EV brand. To take things even further, a company spokesperson has also said that Dodge won’t be killed off either. That’s a pretty bold move from FCA considering how unpopular Chrysler and Fiat have become here. What happens with these brands next, however, will determine whether or not they’ll continue to stick around long term.
Sergio Marchionne May Kill Off Chrysler, Remove Fiat from the U.S. Market
The Chrysler brand has had a good run with roots that trace all the way back to its formation in 1925. A rich and iconic history, however, isn’t enough to keep a brand going and it looks like the Chrysler nameplate may get killed off just a few years before it’s 100-year anniversary. That’s the word from an Automotive News report that Sergio Marchionne could kill off the brand at the June 1st investor’s meeting in Balocco, Italy.
The Mercedes V-Class Night Edition is the Worst Thing to Come Out of Mercedes-AMG in a Long Time
I love the goodness that is AMG as much as the next man. There’s no denying that AMG makes some of the finest engines and most aggressive looking vehicles you can buy today. Be that as it may, what Mercedes-AMG just did to the V-Class is worthy of crucifixion or, at the very least, burning someone at the stake. I introduce you to the V-Class Night Edition – a traditional Mercedes Minivan with lots of hope and absolutely NO go. Seriously, Mercedes gave this thing everything AMG from branded front fascias to wheels to goodness on the inside too.
2018 Renault EZ-GO
Renault has been big on the whole EV self-driver thing for the past few years now, pulling the sheets on several SYMBIOZ concepts back in 2017. The EZ-GO is the latest follow-up, offering the same drivetrain and autonomous tech as before, but with an extra dash of shared mobility services and connected features to boot. The result is a vision of the future of urban mobility, promising improvements to both energy efficiency and quality of life.
Continue reading to learn more about the Renault EZ-GO.
Teen Dies After Being Pinned by the Third Row Seat of a 2004 Honda Odyssey
A 16-year-old boy in Cincinnati, Ohio died after getting pinned behind the third-row seat of a 2004 Honda Odyssey. The young man, identified as Kyle Plush, died of asphyxia due to chest compression, even after calling 911 not once but twice. The death has been ruled accidental, but there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered behind the circumstances of his death, particularly the way responders handled his calls for help.
Honda Brings Nothing New to the Odyssey for 2019 Except Higher Pricing
The 2019 Honda Odyssey is now available, and it carries over from that year with next-to-nothing in the way of upgrades. The minivan looks the same, the engines remain the same, and the usual features remain the same. The new Odyssey does come with price hikes across its entire trim, ranging from $150 to $1,000, so that’s something that qualifies as a “change.”
Kia’s Updated Sedona is Pretty Much About Revised Options and a New Transmission
The Kia Sedona is a decent minivan – there’s no doubt about that. But, Kia’s idea of updating the Sedona is nothing short of laughable. First, Kia did update the front fascia to be more in line with its current lineup, but outside of that, the only good thing that comes outside aside from new wheels are redesigned exterior lights. If you want LED headlamps you need to pony up for the higher trim levels while you have to jump up to the EX if you want the new power sliding door button. Outside of a new instrument cluster inside, the interior only sees updates on the options list while under the metal there’s a new transmission that’s supposed to be more efficient.
Italian Design House Icona, the maker of show cars like the Fuselage, Vulcano, Neo, and the one-off Icona Vulcano Titanium, will make their first Geneva appearance with the Icona Nucleus – another self-driving car without a steering wheel and the desire to make trips from A to B relaxing. Unlike some of the recent concepts we’ve seen, this thing has level 5 autonomy (yeah, right!) and features a first-class-like cabin. As futuristic as they get, it also doesn’t have side glass, but instead a semi-transparent body panel that will allow you to see outside the vehicle while maintaining complete privacy.
The interior is lush and comfortable and can accommodate six people. Icona says the seats can be moved on demand and can even become a large couch. There are also electrical connections and even a table that will allow passengers to work in route, should they not be able to get away from work for a few minutes. There is no dash or steering wheel, which really isn’t that surprising.
All told, the only realistic thing about this concept is its overall size. It measures 5.25 meters (17.22 feet) in length, 2.12 meters (6.95 feet) wide, and 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) high. Oddly, it rides on 26-inch wheels while the crazy windscreen, wheel arch blades and underbody diffuser contribute to a CoD of just 0.25. While some of this sounds great and all, this thing is about 20 years or so ahead of its time. We would, however, like to take a seat inside the cabin. It looks quite comfy don’t you think?
2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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.
Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago
Ford’s smallest van, the Transit Connect, has just received a facelift at the 2018 Chicago Motor Show. Exterior updates are mild and interior upgrades are mostly about new tech and options, but there’s big news under the skin, in the form of a brand-new diesel engine.
The outer shell of the van remained largely unchanged on the sides and around back, but the front fascia now sports the company’s latest corporate face. The large grille seen in the newer models found its way on the Transit Connect, as did slightly bigger headlamps, and a revised, sportier bumper. Inside the cabin, there’s a reshaped dashboard with a cleaner center stack, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen floating on top. The display is optional though. The instrument cluster now has a digital information center. Ford now offers wireless charging, with Waze compatibility to be introduced soon.
Moving over to tech, the Automatic Emergency Braking system comes standard with the segment-exclusive Pre-Collision Assist. The optional Adaptive Cruise Control system makes highway driving easier by automatically slowing the vehicle when radar detects traffic ahead. The available Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert rounds off the driver assist package. Continue reading to find out about the engine lineup.
Keep reading for the full story.
Chrysler to Send Thousands of Pacifica Minivans to Waymo
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.
Toyota’s New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers
As part of its future autonomous mobility service, Toyota has introduced the e-Palette Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing concept vehicles, now’s the time to turn away because the e-Palette is anything but attractive. The concept is actually just a box on four wheels, albeit one that serves a lot of different purposes depending on who’s using it.
Though the badge says “Hybrid,” the important thing to know about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid right off the bat is this: It’s actually a PHEV. You plug it in, and it runs on electricity for the first several miles of your day.
As I found during a week at the wheel of the electrified minivan, if you have the right commuting or parking situation, you might find yourself using little or no gasoline.
It’s noteworthy Chrysler is the first automaker to put a PHEV minivan on sale in America. For a brand with only three models in its showroom nowadays, this was an even bigger home run than the non-hybrid Pacifica that birthed it. The hybrid takes a great, competitive minivan and makes it truly special — even buzzworthy.
Best of all, it’s the kind of plug-in vehicle that just makes sense for a huge number of families. It’s not much more expensive than any comparably equipped competitive minivan, yet it gets an EPA-estimated 84 MPGe. It’s remarkable because the Pacifica Hybrid squeezes that kind of efficiency out of a big, practically sized, attractive family hauler instead of a small, weirdly styled car wrought with compromises.
After spending a week with the Pacifica Hybrid, I find myself hoping I see a lot more of them on the roads — and hoping FCA has the good sense to adapt this powertrain to other vehicles we might not normally associate with hybrid efficiency. Chrysler 300? Ram 1500? Jeep Grand Cherokee? All have the potential to be transformed into segment-changing vehicles if they can incorporate the Pacifica’s hybrid system.