Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept to Hit U.S. Market in 2020
Volkswagen has made several I.D. concept vehicles over the years, but it seems one is finally in the works. The automaker’s I.D. Crozz Concept made its U.S. debut at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show after its initial debut last April at the Frankfort Motor Show. VW says the I.D. Crozz Concept will birth a production version, which will be the first of VW’s new generation of electric vehicles. What’s more, VW is promising (again) that its iconic Bus will be reborn for 2022. While hippies and Baby Boomers will approve, this isn’t the first time VW has made such a promise. Still, the Crozz seems more probable since it falls into the red-hot crossover category. VW says a total of 15 new EV vehicles are planned.
Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says, “The I.D. CROZZ-based electric vehicle will be an affordable and stylish electric SUV.” It will be roughly the size of the 2018 Tiguan, but with a coupe-like shape. Power comes from an 83-kWh lithium-ion battery and is expected to have a 300-mile range. The part-time AWD crossover uses two electric motors – one on each axle – for a total output of 302 horsepower. VW says the Crozz will change to 80 percent in only 30 minutes using a 150-kWh DC charger. Self-driving technology is planned for 2025, too, so we could expect that to accompany the Crozz’s mid-cycle refresh. That’s just speculation, of course.
Continue reading for more on the 2020 Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept.
Fastest Selling Car in History is.... the Lynk & Co 01
From a mysterious start-up a year ago to a record-breaking company today, Lynk & Co is living it up in the auto industry. The Geely-owned car brand that prides itself more on being a connected and sharable mobility brand than a traditional automaker has made headlines for receiving 6,000 orders for the 01 SUV, all in a span of 137 seconds. The record sales event occurred after Lynk & Co’s first online store started pre-selling the 01 SUV on November 17. What was supposed to be a three-day sales event took less than three minutes to complete, a startling pace for a company that only has one model in its portfolio, and is itself barely a year old.
The Hyundai Kona Gets a Warm Welcome with U.S. Debut in Los Angeles
The 2017 L.A. Auto Show has seen an impressive number of debuts, from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to the new Jeep Wrangler. But perhaps one of the most consumer-focused vehicles is the new 2018 Hyundai Kona. This B-segment crossover offers room for five, nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo room, an available AWD system, two powertrain options, tons of in-dash tech and active safety equipment, and a funky design aimed at taming the urban jungles of Everytown, U.S.A.
The Kona isn’t the only compact crossover debuting at the 2017 L.A. Auto show, though. The Nissan Kicks is new and will be a major competitor for the Kona. Other rivals include the Jeep Renegade, Toyota CH-R, Honda HR-V, and Ford EcoSport. The Hyundai seems up to the challenge; it boasts a fun interior combined with an available 175-horsepower turbo-four backed by a dual-clutch automatic all riding on a new platform designed for responsiveness. Competitors with CVTs and less horsepower should be worried.
Continue reading for more on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Spied with $45,000 Base Price!
Everyone knew the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL would be more expensive than the outgoing, decade-old Wrangler JK. A $1,000 to $2,000 increase in price sounded reasonable for all the improvements made. Well, it seems FCA figures it can charge exorbitantly more for the new Wrangler - $10,000 more on the luxury-minded Sahara trim, to be exact.
The news comes from none other than JLWranglerforums.com, the seemingly official leaker of all things JL over the least two years. A user posted a spied Monroney window sticker showing a base price of $45,000 for an Unlimited Sahara equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and manual transmission.
Now, there are a few caveats to this information. The pricing might not be completely finalized, so there’s a chance the price is inaccurate. Also, the options list only shows Jeeps RPO codes with no breakdown in pricing for each item. There’s a chance the options’ pricing is somehow including in the “base price” of $45,000. If so, that would make the true, pre-options base price far less. Jeep is apparently keeping its $1,095 destination charge from before.
Of course, the base Sport trim will be significantly less expensive than the leather-lined Sahara, especially in two-door form, so modest Jeepers should still be able to find a good deal. The Rubicon, however, will be more expensive than the Sahara thanks to its extra off-road hardware. This tiered system has been around for a while, so that’s old news. What is news is Jeep’s potential of pricing itself out of the active lifestyle, off-roading, and consumer base that made the Wrangler JK so popular.
2018 Lexus LX Two-Row Only Available in One Trim; Limited Options
If you’ve ever shopped for a Toyota 86 or anything under the now-defunct Scion brand, you’ll know they only come in one trim level and options are very scarce. It’s Toyota’s way of simplifying the purchase experience while making production easier thanks to far fewer build combinations. Well, Lexus is at it again with the 2018 LX 570 Two-Row.
If you haven’t heard, Lexus is now offering its swanky LX 570 without the third-row seats at a $5,000 reduced price. The mono-spec trim accompanies the changes by including the four-zone climate control system normally included with the $1,190 Luxury Package. Unfortunately, it seems the optional heated and vented second-row seats are not available or is the dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.
Still, the 2018 Lexus LX 570 offers a laundry list of standard comfort and convenience items expected with an $85,000 price tag. Thankfully, the LX 570 Two-Row doesn’t lose any off-road prowess. It continues to come with the full-time 4WD system, locking center differential, CRAWL Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Turn Assist, and hill descent and hill start assist. The familiar 5.7-liter V-8 remains and continues to produce 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. Though it has an eight-speed automatic transmission, the LX 570 can only muster 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined on premium gas.
So what’s the big deal? Well, it provides shoppers with an easier time at dealerships since the only choices are interior and exterior color options. Unlike its competitors like the Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover, the LX might be a godsend for the indecisive.
The Toyota FT-AC Concept Can Record Every Second of Your Off-Road Journey
Toyota’s new FT-AC Concept crossover is an interesting rig. It’s an off-road-ready vehicle with all-terrain tires, skid plates, LED off-road lights, recovery hooks, and massive fender flares. Toyota says its rugged aesthetics are inspired by the Land Cruiser and 4Runner – Toyota’s leading off-road SUVs. But the FT-AC Concept is more than a brawny crossover with exaggerated features. It’s a mobile camera platform ready to capture, edit, upload, and share your next outdoor adventure with all your friends.
The FT-AC boasts two infrared cameras mounted to the side mirrors. They not only capture the trail ahead but can be removed for hand-held use. And if the infrared image isn’t bright enough for your selfie, the LED off-road lights will act as a flash. The raw video and photo content is uploaded to a cloud-based storage system via the FT-AC’s Wi-Fi hotspot where users can edit and share the content through their smartphone. Yes, this is the future of connected vehicles, according to Toyota. Or at least it’s a superfluous theory.
For better or worse, the FT-AC is only a concept, and it seems Toyota has no formal plans for production. While the cameras might be outlandish, there are some really innovative features, the best of which is the built-in bike rack integrated into the rear bumper. Simply pull the center section rearward, and the bike rack expands to fit a full-size road or mountain bike – all without having some shaky aftermarket rack scuffing up the paint or rattling on the receiver hitch.
What do you think about the FT-AC? Would you want your next crossover to have cameras for uploading video content? Let us know in the comments below.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Gets A Mopar Makeover at L.A. Auto Show
Everyone knows Jeep Wranglers are extremely customizable and a vast majority of Jeep owners have done at least one upgrade or added some type of aftermarket part to their Wrangler. Jeep knows this and has really ramped up its offerings for the all-new 2018 model. The parts are hosted under the relatively new Jeep Performance Parts and the iconic Mopar brands. They will be available directly through local Jeep dealerships once the 2018 Wrangler reaches showrooms.
In an effort to demonstrate the vastness of Mopar and JPP’s parts lineup, Jeep brought two highly customized 2018 Wranglers to the L.A. Auto Show, debuting along size the production Wrangler. The four-door model is an all-out off-roader based on the Rubicon, while the two-door is a bit milder and based on the Sport. Both show the range of possibilities owners will have.
Continue reading for a detailed look at both Mopar-modified Wranglers.
Updated Kia Sorento Unveiled in L.A. with New Features; Diesel Engine Confirmed
Introduced in 2014 with a brand-new design language and the company’s latest tech, the third-generation Kia Sorento posted solid sales in its first three years on the market, which more than 100,000 units delivered per year in the United States. But the SUV has yet to surpass second-gen model sales from 2011 and 2012, and Kia is trying to fix that with a comprehensive mid-cycle facelift. Unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the revised Sorento gained notable changes inside and out, as well as under the hood.
Design-wise, changes are subtle but significant for a facelift. The grille has a new mesh with larger, horizontal inserts, while the headlamps sport a new configuration with three separate lights and LED strips at the bottom. The fog lamps have also been revised for upper trims, while the lower intake is slightly wider. Around back we can find revised taillights and a new bumper with a fake vent and chrome trim for the side intakes.
There’s more to talk about inside the cabin, where Kia added a new steering wheel, new shifter knob, and revised air vents. The seven-inch infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is the seven-seat configuration. The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) package, which adds automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, driver inattention warning, and lane-keeping assist, is now standard on the EX, SX, and SX-L trims. The range-topping SX and SX-L models can be had with Mahogany and Terracotta Nappa leather. Kia also introduced optional wireless smartphone charging and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon with Clari-Fi.
Under the hood, the Sorento lost one of its three engines. Kia decided to discontinue the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mostly due to poor fuel economy figures compared to the V-6. The engine wasn’t powerful enough for the seven-seat configuration anyway. The remaining 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.3-liter V-6 carry over unchanged. However, while the four-banger uses the same six-speed automatic transmission, the V-6 gained a new eight-speed. The Korean brand confirmed that the Sorento will get a diesel mill, but decline to provide additional information.
The revised SUV goes on sale in 2018 for the 2019 model year.
The Jeep Wrangler JL to go Hybrid in 2020
Amid the excitement at Jeep’s debut of its all-new 2018 Wrangler, Jeep boss Mike Manley announced the SUV will come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2020. That’s huge news for the Wrangler – both because of the departure from rugged simplicity and the expected fuel economy improvements possible with PHEV powertrains. This could make the Wrangler actually economical to drive.
Manley and the Jeep team have been tight-lipped about details, so there’s no official estimated fuel economy numbers, price, or even what engine the hybrid components would be paired with. However, one possibility is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and plug-in equipment used in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Considering how FCA loves sharing components across its brands, this is a legitimate rumor. The Pacifica Hybrid boasts an impressive 84 MPGe combined fuel economy despite its 4,900-pound curb weight. The 2018 Wrangler could see even higher MPGe figures since it weighs several hundred pounds less. Jeep will likely work hard to eliminate parasitic losses in the 4WD drivetrain, as well.
Packaging of the hybrid battery pack will be the biggest challenge though. The Wrangler has very little extra space, so a smaller battery might be necessary. Jeep might have to constrict the PHEV model to the four-door Unlimited for this reason. Hopefully not, since a PHEV two-door Wrangler could achieve even better efficiency.
For those not wanting a plug-in hybrid Wrangler but like the idea of good fuel economy, Jeep will be launching the 2019 Wrangler Unlimited with the long-awaited 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6. The revised engine now boasts 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque and is expected to get 30 mpg highway.
Lexus Execs Aim to Bring Lexus UX Concept to Market
Like most automakers, Lexus is making money hand-over-fist in the U.S. with its crossover and SUV offerings. Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken even admitted that the crossovers and SUVs account for 60 percent of the company’s sales volume in the US. It’s no surprise then that when the discussion turned to a possible replacement for the departing CT200h, the Japanese automaker already has one model in mind: a production version of the UX subcompact crossover concept.
GMC Yukon Denali Gets More Premium Features with Ultimate Black Edition Pack
Introduced in 2014, the fourth-generation GMC Yukon Denali received favorable reviews so far, being praised for its spacious cabin, luxury features, and cutting-edge technology. The new Denali model also took a big bite into Cadillac sales, which speaks volumes about how close modern GMC’s are to Caddys in terms of premium features. But you can never have too much exclusivity, so GMC just rolled out a new limited-edition version of the Yukon Denali. Dubbed Ultimate Black Edition, it can be had with a black exterior only and with a few add-ons that enhance its premium looks.
More specifically, Onyx Black is the only exterior color available. Yup, it’s the old Ford Model T routine with any color as long as it’s black. The custom 22-inch wheels are also finished in black but also have chrome inserts. More chrome can be seen on the mirror caps and the polished exhaust pipe. Needless to say, the chrome features are a nice contrast to the glossy black paint. Inside the cabin, the only extra features are the premium, carpeted floor mats.
The Ultima Black Edition also includes the Open Road Package as standard. The bundle adds a nine-month trial of Sirius XM and NavTraffic, power sunroof, and rear-seat entertainment. It also includes the Power-Retractable Assist Steps, the Enhanced Security Package including door and liftgate lock shields, glass breakage sensors, interior motion detectors, and self-powered horn and vertical movement sensors. Finally, the limited-edition comes with Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Automatic Braking.
The 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivers the same 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque as in the regular model and mates to the 10-speed automatic that GMC introduced for the 2018 model year.