2018 Hyundai Kona
It would appear as though Hyundai has decided to take on the popular Nissan Juke with a stylish sub-compact crossover all its own. The unnamed future model was recently spied by the carparazzi undergoing road tests in Germany in full camouflage, leading to speculation over what lies beneath the covers. If rumors are to be believed, the upcoming Juke fighter from Hyundai will pull from the i20 and i30 parts bins, boast a good deal of youth-oriented exterior styling, and most likely come equipped with the latest interior gadgets.
Backing the rumors are statements made in August of 2014 by Hyundai’s American CEO Dave Zuchowski, who suggested in an interview with Edmunds that the South Korean brand might be interested in a sub-compact SUV that would slot under the Tucson. Such a vehicle “would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time buyers,” Zuchowski said, later adding, “Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dramatic styling.”
It’s not a lot to go on, but we’ve done more with less. Read on for our speculative review.
Updated 04/07/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Hyundai Kona out for a new testing session. According to Hyundai, the name "Kona" is derived from the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii, reflecting the island’s energetic image and unique lifestyle
Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Hyundai Kona.
Chevy Brings the Heat with Performance-Minded Tahoe
Chevrolet is finally adding the Corvette-derived 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 to the Tahoe. For the 2018 model year, Tahoe customers will be able to order the 420-horsepower V-8, paired with several performance parts as Chevy’s new Rally Sport Truck Package, or RST. Included is GM’s new 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed with Ford and found in the Camaro ZL1 and F-150 Raptor. Larger brakes, a free-flowing Borla exhaust, 22-inch wheels, and a monochromatic appearance package round out the RST option. The Chevy Suburban is also getting the RST, but sadly without the larger V-8.
This is a big deal for several reasons.
First and most obvious, this marks the first time the Tahoe is available with the 6.2-liter. Second, this is the first street-performance package ever offered on the large SUV. And unlike most other “special edition” packages offered by Chevy, this one actually improves performance.
Beyond the powertrain upgrades, the Tahoe RST gets Magnetic Ride Control with a performance calibration; larger, 16.1-inch Duralife front brake rotors squeezed by six-piston Brembo performance brakes; and a Borla dual exhaust system Chevy says adds 10 horsepower at the wheels thanks to a 28-percent improvement in flow. These speed parts, along with the powertrain upgrades, are part of the RST’s optional Performance Package. The Tahoe RST is rated to tow 8,400 pounds and is expected to hit 60 mph in less than six seconds.
Sadly, Chevy is not offering the 6.2-liter, 10-speed auto, or Magnetic Ride on the Suburban. RST-equipped Suburbans will only receive the monochromatic cosmetic upgrades and have the option of upgrading the brakes and exhaust.
The Tahoe and Suburban RST will arrive in Chevy showrooms beginning this fall. Pricing has not been announced, but we’ll speculate on that down below. Be sure to click below to continue this story, along with leaving your comments.
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2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 And GLC 63 Coupe Arrive With Healthy Turbo V-8 Power
Mercedes-AMG just dropped cover on the newGLC 63 and GLC 63 Coupe about a week before both vehicles were scheduled to appear in the metal at the New York International Auto Show. The mid-size SUV can be had in two separate flavors, including the 476-horsepower base model, or the 510-horsepower S model, both of which employ a double dose of turbo’d induction to make the go. Torque is rated at 479 pound-feet and 516 pound-feet, respectively.
Keeping it tight in the bends is a three-chamber air suspension system with adaptive components, including a four-link set-up in front and a multi-link set-up in the rear. Turns come courtesy of speed-sensitive steering.
Outside, you’ll find standard 19-inch wheels in a titanium grey finish, plus a new fascia with a grille AMG has dubbed Panamericana as a nod to the brand’s sports cars.
Inside, the pumped-up GLC’s get sport seating and leatherette upholstery, plus AMG-specific touches like badges and a performance gauge cluster.
Handling the cog swaps is an AMG Speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission, which feeds a rear-biased 4Matic+ high-performance AWD system. Big upgraded brakes are in place to make it stop.
Drivers will enjoy multiple drive modes, which affect numerous vehicle characteristics, including the sound it makes thanks to an active flap in the exhaust. Turn it up to enhance the aural enjoyment, or turn it down for a more appropriate note for whatever the situation may be.
Look for the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 Coupe to premier next week in the Big Apple. Sales are scheduled for June, with a market launch in September.
Land Rover Teases New Velar SUV; Fresh Tech Incoming?
Land Rover just dropped an above-and-behind teaser image of its new Velar SUV, saying it will fill the gap between the smaller Range Rover Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport. The Velar supposedly uses the same platform as the Jaguar F-Pace, and is expected to take on rivals like the BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe, and Porsche Macan, with four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and possibly even hybrid powerplants offered under the hood.
Land Rover has yet to divulge many details, but did say the Velar will offer “elegant simplicity, a visually reductive approach and all-new consumer technologies,” so we’re guessing a coupe-like, streamlined, and somewhat minimalist exterior, a good dose of interior opulence, and a suite of semi-autonomous driving tech.
Studying the provided press pic, we can also see a large moonroof and a decently sized touchscreen in the dash. Land Rover added that it used “sustainable materials” in the vehicle’s construction.
“We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover,” says Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer, in the attached press release. “It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything.”
While likely not much more than PR bluster, we’re excited to see if the Velar can truly bring something new and exciting to the segment. The name, after all, harkens back to the first Range Rover prototype from 1969, so maybe there’s something up Land Rover’s sleeve.
Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to find out the truth. The Range Rover Velar is slated to see a full reveal on March 1st, with an in-the-metal debut in the U.S. at this year’s New York International Auto Show in April.
2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works Unveiled
Mini just revealed the new Countryman John Cooper Works, which means the compact crossover now gets more space, more style, and more importantly, more speed. Now in its second generation, the Countryman JCW is the largest and most powerful Mini yet.
In case you were unaware, John Cooper Works is Mini’s performance badge, homage to the famous sports car designer of the same name. Any modern Mini with an inkling of sporting intent carries the JCW designation, and as such, the Countryman JCW gets upgrades to the engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension, aero, and interior design.
Let’s get down to the specifics then, shall we? Mounted behind the grille is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which was turbocharged to 228 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 258 pound-feat of torque between 1,450 and 4,500 rpm. And if you’re keeping score, that’s 20 ponies more than the outgoing Countryman.
Features include direct fuel injection, plus variable valve control and variable camshaft control (a.k.a. BMW’s Double Vanos system). Specific to the JCW model are new pistons, a new intercooler, and an additional radiator. There’s also a sport exhaust with a controllable flap and dual chrome tips.
Incredibly, Mini says the turbo pumps out an eye-popping 2.2 bar of boost (31.9 psi), but that’s gotta be a typo – we think 1.2 bar (17.4 psi) is closer to the truth!
Performance figures look like 6.2 seconds to 60 mph, while top speed is capped at 145 mph.
Cog swaps come courtesy of a standard six-speed manual, while an eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic is optional. Further JCW touches include a sportier suspension, 18-inch alloy rollers, and a Brembo brake package.
Outside, you’ll find more aerodynamic touches, plus larger intakes up front. The headlights get LEDs as standard. The body also gains 6.7 inches in length, 1.3 inches in width, and an extra 2.9 inches in the wheelbase.
Inside is seating for five, plus JCW-specific sports seats. Pilots can select from multiple driving modes, and should enjoy the 6.5-inch infotainment screen and various Connected features.
The 2018 Mini Countryman JCW will make its worldwide debut this coming April at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show. Look for it in U.S. dealerships around that time.
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Coupe
Our spy photographers just captured a rather odd-looking SUV tracking around the Nürburgring. Turns out, this heavily camouflaged test mule is the beginnings of a SUV Coupe from Range Rover. Yep, more than eight years after BMW debuted the X6 and a year after Mercedes-Benz released the GLE Coupe, Range Rover is hopping into the ring.
Range Rover’s high-riding coupe appears to share its chassis with the Range Rover Sport. We’d expect the two SUVs to share the same wheelbase and suspensions systems, although the coupe will undoubtedly have a unique outward appearance. Inside, the new Rover coupe will carry the current JLR design language, but could depart slightly from the status quo with a sportier appearance.
So will the Range Rover coupe do well in the market? Well, it’s hard to say, but BMW has been selling between 3,000 to 6,000 X6s in the U.S. since 2008, but with a sharp uptick to nearly 8,000 units in 2015. The X6’s European sales are more respectable, with the SUV selling 14,158 examples in 2015.
The GLE Coupe’s U.S. sales are lumped in with the GLE SUV, so it’s hard to say how well the new coupe is doing. In Europe, however, Mercedes sold 4,324 examples in 2015. That’s not terrible considering the GLE Coupe debuted as a 2016 model and was only available in dealerships for part of the year. Nevertheless, we’d bet Mercedes has a hit on its hands.
Range Rover would be wise to offer something slightly different – something slightly more SUV-ish – to lure buyers away from the competition. After all, BMW and Mercedes has the sporty theme covered, why not jump on the sporty/off-road idea? So will the Range Rover Coupe be a success? Only time will tell. In the mean time, let’s dive into these spy photos. Keep reading for the run-down.
Update 12/29/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Range Rover Sport Coupe out for a new testing session, this time during cold weather conditions in Sweden. As you can see from the photos the prototype looks pretty much identical to the previous ones, meaning that the car is still under intense testing.
Continue reading to learn more about the Land Rover Range Rover Sport Coupe.
Ford Idling F-150, Transit Assembly Plant for One Week
Ford Motor Company is planning to idle F-150 and Transit van production for one week during January at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri. The time will be used primarily to help reduce Ford’s supply of the trucks and vans as consumer demand wanes. Facility maintenance will also be performed during the down time, scheduled for January 2 through 9.
Production of the F-150 will continue uninterrupted at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant.
Ford says it has a 108-day supply of Transit vans, up from an 83-day supply at this time last year. The F-Series pickups currently have an 85-day supply, which is actually down from an 87-day supply last year.
The Kansas City Assembly Plant employs roughly 7,400 workers and runs three shifts around the clock. Employees will be retained for the week-long stint. This marks the second time in four months Ford has idled the Kansas City Plant. Back in October of 2016, the plant, along with four other Ford manufacturing facilities, halted production for a week.
Other automakers are doing the same. General Motors is having to go a step further come 2017. The automaker is planning to idle a number of its small car assembly plants in order to realign its output supply the slowing customer demand for compact and mid-size cars. Come January, GM will begin laying off nearly 3,300 workers as it cuts production shifts in three of its assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio.
Continue reading for more information.
2017 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V hit the global market back in 1995 and has sold fairly well since its introduction. The CR-V entered the most recent generation back in 2012, but it went through a pretty significant update for 2015 that included an improved safety structure to help bring the little crossover up to par in IIHS crash testing. At the time, the CR-V also received a new, direct-injected engine, new CVT transmission, and some additional chassis work to help improve its overall ride. For the 2017 model year, Honda is ushering in the fifth-gen model that brings even more significant change, including additional interior space and a new, turbocharged engine for the upper trim levels – marking the first time the CR-V has been offered with forced induction of any kind from the factory.
Despite the fact that Honda is boasting an all-new body and chassis design, you’re not going to see a whole lot of significant change on the outside. The car has been reworked to some extent, but it’s more in line with what you might see on a facelift as opposed to a generational redesign. There are some fresh goodies to talk about inside, and there is that new, turbocharged engine that promises the best fuel economy in the compact SUV class. So, without spilling the beans too much here, let’s dive on in and take a good look at the 2017 Honda CR-V.
Updated 12/21/2016: Honda announced prices for the 2017 CR-V which is now on sale at dealers nationwide. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Honda CR-V.
Ram Reportedly Delaying Updated 2500/3500 HD Pickups
The Ram 2500- and 3500-series trucks are staying around a bit longer, according to a report. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had originally planned an all-new version for the 2018 model year in line with similar changes taking place with the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup that same year. Now it seems FCA will only move forward with the Ram 1500’s extensive update, while only bringing a mild refresh for the heavy duty models.
The report comes from Automotive News, which cites sources close to the Ram HD’s development. It’s said Ram will only update the current, DS-based Ram HD’s exterior and interior, rather than giving it a complete refresh from the ground up. The 2018 model year will see such extensive improvements with the DT-based Ram 1500, however.
Reasons behind the delay include FCA’s current lack of expendable cash for R&D and retooling for the Ram HD’s Saltillo, Mexico assembly plant. FCA is already spending billions in revamping its Sterling Heights and Warren Truck Assembly Plants to accommodate the upcoming influx of new SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. Adding Saltillo and the Ram HD to the list simply isn’t feasible – at least according to the report.
This comes days after FCA’s Jeep division postponed development and production of its Grand Wagoneer – a high-class luxury SUV that competes with Range Rover and wears a $130,000 price tag.
Hopefully FCA will experience a boom in SUV and crossover sales to account for its vast investments. That influx in cash would certainly help fund future developments at the Ram and Jeep divisions.
Continue reading for more information.
2020 Nikola One
Nikola Motors has been in the news lately over its innovative yet seemingly troubled turbine hybrid electric turned hydrogen electric Class 8 semi truck concept. Well, the startup automaker has defied naysayers by actually producing a working prototype and meeting its December 2, 2016 debut deadline. Company founder and CEO Trevor Milton hosted the debut event near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah to a crowd of people from around the globe.
If you recall, the Nikola One was initially designed to be a fully electric truck with a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine acting as a range extender. Only a few months after the Nikola’s announcement of the semi truck in May 2016, the company shifted gears, concentrating on a custom-built hydrogen fuel cell-powered range extender. The change in plans planted seeds of doubt in hopeful onlookers, but Nikola Motors has seemingly made the truck a reality.
The truck is said to be 100-percent zero emissions with an 800 to 1,200-mile cruising range when fully loaded with 65,000 pounds thanks to its 320 kWh battery that generates 2,000 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque via six electric-drive motors. Nikola Motors is backing its truck with a million miles of free hydrogen fuel. Part of Nikola Motors’ business model is building a network of hydrogen stations. The initial phase has 56 stations planned, with the eventual number growing to 364 across the U.S. and south Canada. Construction is set to begin in January 2018 with an opening date in late 2019. Non-Nikola owners will be able to avail themselves of the hydrogen, but at a cost of $3.50 per kilogram.
The Nikola One is still in the development stage, but production is set to begin in 2019, with units hitting the road in 2020. The truck will be built by a third party manufacturer and will be serviced by Ryder, a current giant in the trucking industry.
CEO Trevor Milton shared a barrage of information at the One’s debut. We’ve compiled the high points in our review below, so keep reading for more. You can also watch the entire 42-minute keynote speech.
Continue reading for more information.
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM’s 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
General Motors has a long history with making innovative strides in engine development. The Chevrolet small-block V-8, for example, began life in the 1950s and soon became the standard for high horsepower in a small package – a legacy that continues into today’s fifth-generation GM V-8s. Even GM’s lineup of V-6 engines are impressive, ranging from the 60-degree V-6 that powered nearly every GM car from 1980 through 2010, up to the twin-turbocharged V-6 powering the Cadillac ATS-V. However, GM has a lesser-known engine family that deserves admiration for its outside-the-box thinking and outstanding technological advancements: the Atlas inline family.
That Atlas family had three main members, the front-running 4.2-liter inline-six, the 3.5-liter five-cylinder, and the 2.8-liter four-cylinder. All three shared the same basic architecture and a wide range of parts, though it was the 4.2-liter that led the Atlas program.
The 4.2-liter called the GMT360 platform home. This included the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. Each of these mid-sized SUVs shared the same architecture, including the industry’s first fully hydroformed frame in a mid-size SUV. Introduced for the 2002 model year, the GMT360 platform sold couple million examples worldwide before ending production after 2009.
The 4.2-liter Atlas LL8, otherwise called the Vortec 4200, was a groundbreaking engine for GM. It featured an all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams with variable valve timing on the exhaust side, four valves per cylinder, a coil-on-plug ignition system, a high compression ratio of 10:1, and its cylinder heads featured GM’s then-prevalent “Vortec” engineering designed to maximize airflow.
This combination allowed for the production of 1.06 horsepower per cubic inch – a total of 270 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Torque was rated at 275 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm, but 90 percent of peak torque was available between 1,600 and 5,600 rpm. These stats far exceeded every comparable V-6 on the market at the time, including GM’s own 4.3-liter Vortec V-6.
We decided to take a closer look at the Vortec 4200 and its forward-thinking design. We reached out to GM and found Tom Sutter, the Assistant Chief Engineer for the Atlas engine family. Sutter has been involved with engine programs for the last 30 years, ranging from Oldsmobile’s Quad Four to Cadillac’s current V-Series mills. Sutter was able to give us a deeper insight into the Atlas program, so keep reading for more.
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Self-Driving Semi-Truck Takes 120 Miles Trip, Delivers Beer
Surely you’ve seen the iconic 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit wherein The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and The Snow Man (Jerry Reed) dodge the hard-nosed Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) over hundreds of miles as the boys drive to Texarkana from Atlanta to bring back a load of beer in Snow Man’s 18-wheeler. If not, stop what you’re doing and watch it.
Anyway, the boys would be jealous if they saw this self-driving semi take a load of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs – all without someone behind the wheel.
The 120-mile journey took place this week thanks to the partnership between Otto and Anheuser-Busch. Otto is a self-driving truck startup founded by ex Google employees and now owned by Uber. Anheuser-Busch, of course, is the long-established brewer of Budweiser beer.
"The initial appeal for us was to see how we could meet the needs of a company like Anheuser-Busch," Otto co-founder Lior Ron told USA Today. "But now after this successful test, we’re eager to see how it will handle other roads and other weather."
James Sembrot, senior director of logistics and safety for Anheuser-Busch, says the company wanted to "see if we could help pioneer technology that will make the jobs of those shipping product easier and safer." Sembrot continued, saying, "We liked the prospect of those folks traveling safer in trucks that help improve environmental impact. There’s no question in our mind that transportation companies will want to make these improvements."
Safety is always a priority and rested drivers are generally better, safer drivers. Secondly, the environmental impact would be the decrease in fuel consumption thanks to the self-driving truck’s smooth operation.
The Otto system isn’t fully autonomous. It does require a driver for city streets and urban areas. On the highway, however, the system can be activated, allowing the truck to pilot itself while the driver can relax or sleep.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 Ram 1200 Truck
Ram has launched a new metric-ton pickup slotted for sales in the Middle East market. It’s called the Ram 1200 and its debut took place in Dubai among an audience of fleet buyers, distributors, and regional media members. This mid-size pickup joins the full-size Ram 1500 to round out the brand’s presence in the region.
Ram was fairly quiet on the details, but we do know several key points. The truck will be offered in three trim level, in regular and crew cab versions, powered a gasoline or turbodiesel option, with the choice of RWD or 4WD, and the option of a manual or automatic transmission. Ram never mentioned, however, the pickup is basically a re-badged Mitsubishi Triton L200.
This isn’t the fist badge-engineered L200 we’ve seen come from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The Fiat Fullback currently on sale in Europe is a direct clone of the Mitsu. Unlike the Ram 1200, the Fullback is aimed at a more domesticated buying audience. The Ram is built for fleet and commercial work.
Despite not having the full information, we’d bet big money Ram will never bring the 1200 to the U.S. It simply isn’t built to pass U.S. crash testing and emissions regulations, let alone designed to compete in the increasingly competitive mid-size truck segment. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the Ram 1200.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ram 1200 Truck.
First Impressions: 2017 Ford Super Duty
The 2017 Super Duty is an important vehicle for Ford. It, along with the F-150, makes up Ford’s best-selling lineup – the F-Series. Two years after Ford introduced the all-new, aluminum-bodied F-150 for 2015, the 2017 model year sees a complete overhaul of the Super Duty truck. These changes pushed the Super Duty past the competition at the Texas Auto Writers Association’s 2016 Truck Rodeo where the truck won the top honor of the Truck of Texas. We participated in the Rodeo and had our first experience behind the wheel of Ford’s new heavy hauler.
Several Super Duty trims and weight classes were present, so we got a great sampling of the lineup. The range included an F-250 Crew Cab in Lariat trim up to an F-450 King Ranch. An F-350 Platinum, Ford’s range-topping trim level, was also present and competed in the Luxury Pickup segment. Sadly, that F-450 was only set up for demonstrating Ford’s extensive camera system.
Regardless of trim or class, the Super Duties were all powered by the revised 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel with the six-speed automatic transmission and were fitted with 4WD.
So what’s it like behind the wheel? Keep reading to find out.
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2017 Ssangyong Musso
Musso means “rhinoceros” in Korean, which makes sense when you consider the word’s usage in SsangYong’s model lineup. Previously used for the automaker’s mid-size, five-door SUV, the original Musso was produced between 1993 and 2005. The first Musso was sold in markets across the world, including China, Europe, Iran, and Russia, but now, the nameplate is being resurrected to replace SsangYong’s Korando Sports pick-up truck. Recently announced as the automaker’s revised one-tonne pick-up offering (a tonne is equal to 1,000 kg, or approximately 2,205 pounds), the new Musso promises big work-truck capability, a new diesel engine, an affordable price tag, and surprisingly, a family-friendly interior as well.
SsangYong is Korea’s oldest automobile producer, originally ramping up production in 1954. It’s also the nation’s only specialist producer of 4x4s and SUVs, and it sends several of its exports westward towards the U.K.
Previously, SsangYong offered British buyers the Korando Sports pick-up, but now, a name change is needed to prevent confusion with the Korando SUV.
“Our commercial vehicles represent an intrinsic part of the SsangYong range, and we decided to reintroduce the Musso name to differentiate this superb utility truck from our passenger cars,” said Paul Williams, CEO at SsangYong Motor U.K., in a press release.
Long story short, the new Musso is more than an updated Korando Sports with a different name. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the SsangYong Musso.
Chevy Sets Guinness Record with Patriotism
The heavily updated 6.6-liter Duramax has barely had its stats made public knowledge and Chevy is already setting records with it. Chevy set a Guinness World Record for the “world’s largest flag pulled by a moving vehicle” on the eve of the 2016 Texas State Fair. The American flag, measuring roughly 40 by 80 feet and with an area measuring 3,186 square feet, was pulled behind the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD using a custom-built rigging system.
Chevy only needed to pull the flag 328 feet without it touching the ground to set the record. The Silverado HD blew right past that distance, however, going a full four laps around the Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval track. The six-mile trek was hardly work for the new Duramax though. The updates for 2017 Duramax include a 19 percent boost in torque, giving the turbodiesel a full 910 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower is also up, rated at 445 horses. Those are impressive gains over the outgoing Duramax diesel.
Most of the Duramax’s stats have already been revealed, but Chevy used this event to release some limited performance data as well. The Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab with 4WD is said to hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds – a seven-tenths improvement over the time from a comparable 2016 Silverado 2500 HD. The sprint from 50 mph to 70 mph in a Silverado 2500 HD regular cab 4WD with a 10,000-pound trailer attached happens 1.5 seconds quicker than before, too, needing just 10.6 seconds to accelerate. Lastly, the Silverado 3500 HD Crew Cab 2WD with dual rear wheels can ascend the Davis Dam grade 40 seconds quicker than before while towing 23,000 pounds, despite outside temperatures hovering at 110 degrees.
The American flag wasn’t the only flag used either. Chevy then strapped up a Texas state flag with the same 40 by 80-foot dimensions. A group of 20 people assisted in launching and retrieving the flags, ensuring neither touched the ground. Both the American flag and Texas state flag will be on display at the 2016 Texas State Fair until October 23.
The 2017 Silverado HDs will be hitting showrooms in the early months of 2017.
Continue reading for more information.
Ford’s Medium Duty Truck Sales Up 59 Percent, Best Year Since 1997
Ford is experiencing a major success with its new 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium duty trucks. Since their launch in August of 2015, the trucks have sold 10,160 units, representing a 59-percent increase in year-over-year sales. It was 1997 when Ford last had this much gain in its medium duty segment.
“We’re seeing growing interest in the new tractor from beverage and hauling fleets,” says Kevin Koester, Ford medium-duty truck and Super Duty fleet marketing manager. “Giving our customers the choice of two exclusive powertrains, available across all body styles and designed specifically for the unique needs of the vocational truck market, has really helped drive sales of our new trucks.”
Ford credits its sales growth to big improvements with the F-650 and F-750. They include a quieter, more insulated cabin, multiple frame designs and wheelbase choices to suit a wide variety of customers, and powertrain improvements that include both gasoline and diesel engines backed by Ford’s heavy-duty automatic transmission.
The F-650 and F-750 remain the only medium-duty trucks to offer a gasoline engine, the 6.8-liter V-10. Added to that is the option for a CNG fuel system, giving customers the choice between running standard gasoline or Compressed Natural Gas. The diesel engine is familiar to Super Duty customers – the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel. Ford offers the engine in three stages of tune. The base tune makes 270 horsepower and 675 pound-feet of torque. The mid-rage tune boosts power to 300 horses and 700 pound-feet of torque. Those doing extremely heavy lifting will want the 300-horse, 725 pound-feet version. Fleet bosses also love Ford’s five-year/250,000-mile warranty on the Power Stroke.
“Towing and rental customers have embraced the gas engine, and others are looking at this powertrain for more severe service applications,” Koester says. “Our diesel customers are praising the quietness of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. Not only is it up to 45 percent quieter in the cabin at idle than the outgoing model, it’s so quiet that customers have told us that there have been times when they’ve approached the truck in front of the grille and didn’t even realize it was running.”
While NVH levels aren’t generally selling points for commercial trucks, the quite operation certainly isn’t a detractor.
Ford also builds the F-650 and F-750 at its Ohio Assembly Plant near Cleveland, having moved production from Mexico in late 2015. The automaker invested some $168 million in the Ohio plant before beginning work on the F-650 and F-750.
Continue reading for more information.
Watch the 2017 Nissan Armada Tackle the Trails: Video
The Nissan Armada is all-new for the 2017 model year, dumping the old, first-generation Titan-based platform for something new. Yep, the Armada is based on the highly regarded Nissan Patrol, an old-school, body-on-frame SUV Nissan sells just about everywhere but North America. Nevertheless, the U.S. is now blessed with the second-generation Armada, filled with new tech, a plushy new interior, all wrapped in good looks.
The Armada shares the same 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 with the 2017 Titan pickup. It now comes with direct injection, an improved variable valvetrain system, and a new seven-speed automatic transmission. The double overhead cam V-8 kicks out 390 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque to either the rear wheels, or to all four when the part-time 4WD option is ordered.
The Armada has all the right ingredients to a solid off-road machine – four-wheel independent suspension, a fully boxed steel ladder frame, and a two-speed transfer case with low range gears. The Nissan also boasts 9.1 inches of ground clearance. And though it doesn’t have mechanically locking differentials, its electronic traction control can modulate braking independently to send power to wheels with the most traction.
Now all of this does come at a price. The base Armada carries a sticker of $44,400. The one our friends over at TFL Truck tested came in at $61,435. That’s not all that cheap. Nevertheless, the Armada does seat seven or eight (depending on seating options chosen) in cushy comfort with all the modern technology and safety features.
So how does the Armada handle a moderately challenging mountain trail? You’ll have to watch TFL Truck’s video to find out.
Kid Turns His Ratty Jeep CJ3A into Willys MB: Video
The Jeep brand got its start at the outbreak of WWII when the U.S. Government sought a small, go-anywhere utility vehicle that could effectively replace the horse for mass use by troops. Well, Willys Overland answered the call and the MB began rolling off assembly lines in 1941. And while more than 630,000 examples were built, relatively few original MBs survive today.
But thanks to one teenager, there’s one more MB floating around – or at lease a look-alike. He decided to restore his dilapidated post-war-built CJ3A into a replica wartime Willys. This 38-minute video shows highlights of the transformation process, including a healthy amount of off-road thrashing, both before and after the restoration. One thing is for sure – this kid understands the Willys were designed to handle abuse.
I’ll admit, the video is a bit on the dull side. But if you fancy yourself a Jeep guy, you’ll love watching the real-time and time-lapse sequences. You’ll also love seeing the Jeep disassembled into its various pieces, all while being reminded of just how simple these machines were designed to be.
And while this CJ turned MB might be a replica and hardly underwent a Concours-style restoration, the end result is no less impressive. From the white lettering across the hood and the hand tools strapped to the side to the canvas top and Jerry cans, this Jeep looks and performs like the real deal.
2017 Nissan Rogue Unveiled
Now in its second generation, the Nissan Rogue has been doing remarkably well lately, with sales looking to dethrone the Altima in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. Now, Nissan is giving the Rogue a facelift, adding new styling, new technology, and most excitingly, a new hybrid powertrain option.
Let’s talk about the hybrid first. This is the first time the Rogue has received battery-powered assistance, pairing a lithium-ion juice-maker with a single 30-kW electric motor and 2.0-liter internal combustion engine. An Xtronic automatic transmission routes the output. Paired with FWD, the Rogue Hybrid manages an estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined.
If you prefer to go gas-only, you still get 170 horsepower from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Both the Hybrid and ICE-only variant are offered with either AWD or FWD.
Outside, you’ll find new styling, with plenty of tweaks to the front fascia. Customers get nine different paint choices, while 18-inch alloy wheels are offered as an available option.
There’s new styling inside as well, plus new materials throughout the three-row, seven-passenger cabin. Techy bits include navigation, Mobile Apps support, a 7.0-inch touch screen display, voice recognition, and Around View monitor. There are also available heated front seats.
Safety wise, the Rogue gets stuff like Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Departure Prevention, as well as available Forward Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, and Intelligent Cruise Control.
Non-hybrid variants are offered in three trim levels (S, SV, and SL), while the Hybrid gets two trim levels (SV and SL).
Look for the refreshed Rogue to make its big public debut at the Miami International Auto Show.
2016 Mercedes Vision Van
In the future, everything will be faster, more efficient, and more intelligent – even when it comes to delivering that pair of cat socks you ordered off the Internet. Mercedes just announced something called adVANce, a “future initiative” looking to invest 500 million euros over the next five years in the realms of “digitalization, automation and robotics.” Where’s all that tech going? Why, to vans, obviously. You see, Mercedes is imagining new ways of bringing the goods transportation industry into the 21st century, and the amorphous four-wheeled contraption you see here is the automaker’s first step in that direction. It’s hugely automated, all-electric, and there’s a squadron of drones parked on the roof. Sounds like sci-fi, but something like this concept might be closer than you think.
Mercedes says it’s already got 200 employees hammering away on ideas similar to the Vision Van, with folks stationed in Berlin, Stuttgart, and (of course) Silicon Valley. The automaker is also working with tech startups to infuse the timeworn parcel delivery model with fresh ideas and new perspectives.
So what are some of the cool ideas we can expect to see in the near future of delivery? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes Vision Van.
Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has official begun selling the U.S.-built Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee to the Indian market. It’s part of FCA’s push to make Jeep a stronger global brand, with a concentration in China and now India. Both products compete with high-end vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Audi, while wearing a price tag nearly three times larger than U.S. pricing.
The Wrangler Unlimited, for example, will cost the equivalent of roughly $107,000, while the EcoDiesel-powered Grand Cherokee Limited will cost around $140,000. The range topping Grand Cherokee SRT commands a whopping $167,000.
This comes after Jeep squared away a $280 million partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s parent company, the India-based Tata, to build an assembly plant in Ranjangaon, India for the construction of the Compass, Renegade, and upcoming compact A-segment Jeep. These smaller, lest costly Jeeps will still bring a premium when they begin selling next year.
With over 1.2 billion people in India, the market represents a huge potential selling ground. It, along with China, will go far in helping Jeep achieve its goal of 2 million annual worldwide sales by the end of 2018. Combined, China and India will account for roughly 500,000 of those sales. The remaining sales will come from Jeep’s traditional markets like the U.S. and Europe.
“The heart of that market is still very, very low-priced, dominated by local manufacturers,” Manley told Automotive News. “Even when global manufacturers break into that marketplace, it is with their lowest-cost platforms. All the signs are that, at some stage, India is going to develop and develop strongly, which is why we need to be there.”
Despite most Indian buyers purchasing low-cost vehicle options, there are the plenty of high-earners wanting luxury vehicles. And while Americans might not consider the Wrangler particularly luxurious, Land Rover Defenders were sold at a high premium on U.S. soul – showing the relationship can flow both ways.
Continue reading for more information.
2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe Unveiled
Mercedes-AMG just dropped official details on the GLC43 Coupe, which seeks to combine supreme AMG-derived sportiness, with all the traditional benefits of a tall-bodied SUV.
Making the go is a 3.0-liter V-6 boosted by two turbos and AMG’s go-faster know-how, creating 362 horsepower with a firm push of the right pedal. Peak torque is rated at 384 pound-feet between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. Peak boost is rated at 16 psi.
The all-important 0-to-60 mph run takes 4.8 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited at 130 mph.
Harnessing the power is an AMG-tuned 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission, which offers quicker shifts. This gearbox feeds all four wheels through Merc’s patented 4Matic AWD system, which is rear-biased, of course, with 69 percent of the torque heading to the tail. The transmission takes commands from steering wheel-mounted shift paddles as standard.
Keeping the heft in check is an AMG Sport Suspension using multi-chamber “Air Body Control,” offering adaptive damping. If you feel like playing off the pavement, you can raise the ride height with the push of a button.
More handling prowess is offered by way of speed-sensitive steering, while the brakes receive four-piston calipers in front, and single-piston calipers in the rear.
The whole shebang can be customized via a slew of driving modes.
Then there’s the coupe-like design, which is marked with all the requisite aggression you’d expect from an AMG product. The wheels are 20 inches in diameter, but 21-inch rollers are available. Pop the hood, and you’ll find the signature red aluminum engine cover.
Inside, you’ll find black upholstery with red contrast stitching, plus a 5.5-inch multifunction display to monitor vitals. There’s even a “Race Timer,” if you’re feeling frisky.
Look for the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 Coupe to make its official public debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 28th. U.S. availability is slated for the first quarter of next year.