• Last week, I spent the morning with Nissan to check out the redesigned Armada SUV, refreshed Pathfinder crossover, and the all-new Titan half-ton pickup. Nissan says this year is the year of the truck. Considering last year was the year of the sedan and the mixed reaction we had to it, we’re somewhat worried how this ‘year of the truck’ would land.
    A brief note before we dive into our impressions of the three vehicles. I only got about 30 minutes with each vehicle, so I can’t give you a definitive opinion. What I can do is give my first thoughts on them. Let’s dive in.
    2017 Nissan Pathfinder
    Nissan worked on making the 2017 Pathfinder look a bit more SUV-like. The front end gets a new hood and bumper to make it look somewhat wider. Around back, the tailgate and taillights have been reshaped. Here is the thing, you’ll have to look closely to spot the changes. If you were to park a 2016 and 2017 Pathfinder next to each other and ask someone to point out the differences, the only thing they would likely spot is the new grille. The Pathfinder’s interior hasn’t changed much and that isn’t a bad thing. Materials used in the Platinum are for the most part very good for the class. There is plenty of soft-touch materials on the door panels and console.  But Nissan loses some points for the materials used for the dashboard and the surround for center stack. It might look like something soft. But it is hard when pressed. This would be ok if it was the SL and lower trims, not in the top Platinum trim. The center stack is very easy to understand thanks to a simple layout and the use of buttons and knobs. Glad to see Nissan has added their latest version of NissanConnect to the Pathfinder. I really liked this system when I drove the Murano and Maxima last year with a modern interface and being very easy to use. Second-row seating is towards the top of the class with a large amount of head and legroom. Also, the second-row seat is very flexible. The seat can tip forward to allow for easy access to the third row. If you’re wondering, the third row is best reserved for small kids. The 3.5L V6 has been tweaked to produce 284 horsepower (up 24) and 259 pound-feet of torque (up 19). The improvements in power do make a big difference. Compared to the last Pathfinder I drove back in 2013, the updated V6 feels a bit more energetic to get up to speed. Although, the V6 does sound somewhat unrefined when you step on it. Nissan made some changes to the chassis to improve body control and ride. Such changes include revised spring rates, stiffer shocks, and improved steering system. The changes make the Pathfinder feel more stable on stable on the road, especially in corners. At the event, Nissan announced pricing for the 2017 Pathfinder. The base S two-wheel drive begins at $30,890 and climbs to $44,460 for the Platinum 4WD. (Prices include a $900 destination charge) Nissan has made some noticeable improvements for the Pathfinder. But even with these improvements, I can’t think of a reason of why I would pick the Pathfinder over the Kia Sorento, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, and Mazda CX-9. The Pathfinder is good, but competitors at the moment do it better. 2017 Nissan Armada
    There isn’t really much difference between the new Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80 aside from different front ends. Both are very polarizing in terms of their overall looks, but I would say the Armada is slightly more tasteful. The interior is a huge improvement over the old Armada. A new dashboard, noticeable improvements in terms of materials, and bits of style strewed about make for a pleasant experience. Yes, there are a fair amount of interior bits from the QX80 in the Armada’s interior, but it doesn’t feel out of place. Most Armadas will feature seating for eight people. The Platinum which was the model I drove features seating for seven (captain chairs in the second row). Sitting in the second row is quite comfortable with a large amount of head and legroom. The Platinum’s second row also features a removable center console that adds more storage. The third-row seat is best left for small kids. Adults will complain that they don’t have any legroom. The standard equipment list is quite generous with all models featuring push-button start, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and navigation.  Speaking about the navigation, I think Nissan made a massive oversight. Unlike the Pathfinder which boasts the latest generation of Nissan Connect, the Armada features a system from the late-oughts. The graphics look quite dated and it doesn’t feature any of Nissan’s latest technologies such as the NissanConnect telematic services. Power comes from a new 5.6L Endurance V8 with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The V8 has more than enough grunt to leave a stop light in decent time and makes a passing a breeze. It doesn’t hurt the V8 has a nice growl during acceleration. The automatic seems quite smart with shift points and gear changes are very smooth. One item we’ll be looking at closely whenever we get in an Armada for testing is fuel economy. The Armada Platinum AWD is rated at 13 City/18 Highway/15 Combined. The last Armada we drove in 2014 only got an average of 12 mpg. The ride is very pleasant with bumps being smothered. This is impressive when you consider the Platinum is riding on 20-inch wheels. Nissan also worked on the Armada very quiet. On the freeway, barely any wind noise came in. Some road noise made its way inside, but that is likely due to the large wheels. Somewhat surprising is how the Armada felt in the corners. There was little body roll which is impressive for a seven-seat SUV. Not so impressive is the steering; it feels quite light when turning and there isn’t any feel.  The Armada starts at $45,395 for the base SV 2WD and climbs to $60,985 for the Platinum AWD Think of the 2017 Nissan Armada as an Infiniti QX80 with a significant price cut. There are a lot of improvements for this SUV that might make it an interesting alternative to the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and Ford Expedition. 2017 Nissan Titan
    Finally! Nissan has brought out the half-ton Titan. There isn’t any difference in terms of looks between the standard Titan and the Titan XD. The only real difference comes in size: Titan is about 14.7 inches shorter in terms of overall length and its wheelbase is about a foot shorter. Still looks like an older F-150 to me in the front. Everywhere else, the Titan does have some unique touches such black and silver wheels for the Pro-4X, and a large chrome bar on the tailgate of the top Platinum Reserve. The Titan will be offered in regular and king (Nissan-speak for extended) cabs. Sadly, Nissan didn’t have a regular cab Titan to look at in person. The interior might not be anything special in terms of looks, but build and material quality are excellent. Dash layout is a bit button-heavy, but most controls are arranged in a logical fashion. All Titans feature a touchscreen infotainment system, either 5 or 7-inches. The trucks available for us to drive came with a larger 7-inch screen. I’m not a fan of the NissanConnect system used in the Titan and Titan XD for a number of reasons: the interface is looking somewhat old despite being one of the newer systems on the market and having issues with devices plugged in via USB. One area that the Titan shares with the XD is comfort. The front bucket seats provide excellent levels of comfort and support. The backseat is quite spacious with plenty of head and legroom for most passengers.  A storage bin under the back seats provides a handy space for storing tool and other random bits. A clever trick that the bins offer is the ability for the lid to flip out and provide a flat surface for carrying large items in the back. Powering the Titan for the time-being is a 5.6L Endurance V8 with 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A V6 is coming, but Nissan isn’t talking details about it at the moment. The V8 moves the Titan with authority, although it takes a moment for the throttle to realize that your foot is on the gas before anything happens. Provides a nice growl during acceleration and doesn’t show any signs of harshness. The seven-speed automatic provides smooth gear changes, although it does take its sweet time to downshift in certain maneuvers such as passing. During the short drive loop, the Titan provided a smooth and relaxing ride. One area that Nissan might want to do some more work is in noise isolation. I found a fair amount of road noise coming into the cabin. Handling is quite surprising for a truck. The Titan felt planted around corners and showed no sign of body roll. Steering is where the Titan really shined as it felt connected to the road and had the right amount of heft. This is due to Nissan using a rack-and-pinion setup, not a recirculating ball steering system in the XD. Pricing for the Titan starts at $35,975 for the base S 2WD Crew to $56,595 for the Platinum Reserve 4WD. Prices for the crew cabs are on the high side and that is making us wonder how much the regular and king cabs will start at. Nissan is making progress with the 2017 Titan in a number of key areas. But we have to wonder if the slow rollout that Nissan is doing with the Titan is actually hurting them. Consider that when other truck manufacturers launch a pickup, they have a number of cab and bed variants ready to go, along with a range of engines. The Titan only has one cab, bed, and engine at the moment. The regular cab goes on sale this fall, but the King Cab and V6 aren’t due till later. This could put Nissan and the Titan in a difficult spot. Author's Note: Cheers & Gears would like to thank Nissan for inviting us to this first drive event. 
    It slices! It dices! No, we're not trying to sell you a set of knives. This is the best way to describe Volkswagen's strategy for the U.S.; price cuts.
     
    Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen will be changing their strategy in the U.S. to become more mass-market in the U.S. This will mean a wider product range and lower prices. The hope is the strategy can reverse a downward spiral in U.S. sales that has been taking place before the diesel scandal broke.
    Volkswagen for many hasn't been able to crack the U.S. market. Despite becoming the world's largest automaker in terms of sales this year and making up 10 percent of total automobile sales in Europe, Volkswagen has been a blip in the U.S. In the past ten years, Volkswagen has never gotten up to 5 percent of U.S. (At the moment, Volkswagen only makes up 1.7 percent of total U.S. auto sales). The German automaker has tried making the Jetta cheaper and making a Passat for the U.S., which hasn't gotten them anywhere. It doesn't help that Volkswagen has missed the boat with growing demand for crossovers in the U.S.
    “Volkswagen is facing an uphill battle to revive the brand in the U.S. Volkswagen is struggling with the loser image of the past, and now in the present the brand is burned. They need a good story that assures people it’s really a new start. Just adding another SUV won’t do it,”  said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
    We don't think going for a mass-market plan is a good idea either at the moment. But who knows, it could be the thing that saves VW.
    Source: Bloomberg
    The Tesla Model S is becoming a problem for the German luxury automakers as its stealing away customers from their flagship sedans. Audi is hoping to turn the tide as they have approved a flagship electric luxury sedan to take on the Model S.
    Autocar reports that the German automaker has given the go-ahead on a new electric sedan. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler describes the sedan “as high up as possible, in the A8 segment”. This model will likely be part of three new EVs joining the Audi lineup by 2020.
    Autocar believes the model will be named the A9 e-tron and utilize the powertrain from the upcoming Q6 e-tron. This means one electric motor for the front axle and two on the rear. A 95 kWh liquid-cooled battery is expected to provide a total range of over 300 miles. One key item that the A9 e-tron will feature is Audi's answer to Tesla's Autopilot system. Audi's system will be classified as 'level four' (vehicle will perform all critical driving functions and monitor the road during a trip).
    Source: Autocar
    There is a running joke in the automotive world that the perfect vehicle for an enthusiast is a rear-drive station wagon with a diesel engine and manual transmission. The closest we ever got to this ’nirvana’ was the Volkswagen Jetta and Golf SportWagen. While not rear-wheel drive, the Jetta and Golf wagons did offer a diesel and manual transmission combination. Not only did they become one of the darlings of the automotive press, but consumers would soon jump on the diesel wagon bandwagon thanks to Volkswagen’s ‘clean diesel’ ad campaign. 
    But we would learn this ‘clean diesel’ campaign was a fallacy as Volkswagen was found to be using illegal software that allowed their diesel vehicles to cheat emission tests. One of the key selling points for the Golf SportWagen was taken off the table and Volkswagen’s reputation would take a nose dive. This brings up an interesting question, is there more to the Golf SportWagen than the availability of a diesel engine? 
    Describing the design of the Golf SportWagen is quite simple - take a standard Golf and add a foot to the overall length. Otherwise, the clean design of the Golf is still here with a narrow front grille and smooth side profile. Some will complain that the SportWagen is a bit boring to look at. We can’t disagree with this as it kind of exists with no real standout design trait.
    The interior follows the same ideals as the exterior with a plain jane look. The choice of black and sliver for the interior trim only reinforces this thought. But Volkswagen should be given some credit as the design does allow for a simple layout of controls and are within easy reach for driver and passenger. Also, a lot of the materials used throughout the interior are soft-touch and make the SportWagen feel quite premium.
    Finding a seating position in the SportWagen is simple thanks to the combination of manual and power adjustments for the front seats and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The seats earn top marks for comfort and support for long trips. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom for most folks. This is impressive when you take into account our SE tester comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard. As for cargo space, the SportWagen offers 30.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats (7.6 cubic feet larger than the standard Golf) and 66.5 cubic feet when folded (13 cubic feet larger than the Golf). To give you some idea of the space on offer, I was able to fit a desk from Ikea that measured 53.5 inches long with no issues.
    On the technology front, all Golf SportWagens feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system. This is one of our favorite systems thanks to an easy to understand interface, buttons around the screen to take you to the various parts, and fast performance. The only item we would like to see Volkswagen address is the screen. The matte finish on it sucks some of the color and brightness. Any 2016 Volkswagen fitted with the Car-Net infotainment system will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Being an iPhone person, I tried out the CarPlay integration and find it to be one of the best implementations. It only takes a few seconds for the system to detect the phone before bringing up the CarPlay interface. Apps launched quickly and showed no signs of slowdown or crashing.
    At the present moment, the Golf SportWagen is only available with a turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a five-speed manual (only available on the S) or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. The 2.0L TDI four-cylinder is currently on probation due to the diesel emission scandal. The 1.8T is one our favorite engines as you never feel wanting for power. Torque arrives at low 1,600 rpm which allows the Golf SportWagen to leap away from a stop. More impressive is engine responding with power in an instant if you need to make a pass or merge onto the freeway. We wish we could say the same of the DSG transmission. As we noted in our quick drive of the Passat V6, the DSG doesn’t like low-speed maneuvers as it exhibits signs of hesitation and lurching. At higher speeds, the transmission is lightning fast with shifts.
    EPA fuel economy figures for the Golf SportWagen stand at 25 City/35 Highway/29 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 28 mpg.
    Ride and handling characteristics for the Golf SportWagen can be described as balanced. The suspension provides a well-damped ride over rough roads. In the corners, body motions are kept in check and the wagon feels very agile. The steering provides a decent amount of weight and feel that will please most drivers. One area where the Golf SportWagen truly shines is in noise isolation. Barely any wind and road noise makes inside the cabin, making it a perfect long-distance companion. 
    The 2016 Golf SportWagen kicks off at $21,625 for the base S. Our midlevel SE tester starts at $27,025 and comes with keyless entry, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, Fender audio system, and 17-inch alloy wheels. We had the optional driver assistance (adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, park distance control, and park assist) and lighting (bi-xenon headlights that can swivel when the steering wheel is turned and LED daytime running lights) packages that brings our as-tested price to $30,335. We think the SE with the driver assistance package is the sweet spot for Golf SportWagen as you get most everything you need.
    The dark cloud of the diesel emission scandal still lingers over Volkswagen. Whether or not the company can turn back their fortunes in the U.S. remains to be seen. But if I was Volkswagen, I would be putting the likes of the Golf SportWagen in the spotlight. Yes, it is one of the vehicles affected in the diesel emission mess. But take the diesel out of the equation for a moment and you still have a strong vehicle. From increased practicality for both passengers and cargo to the right balance of comfort and support in the ride, the Golf SportWagen is an interesting alternative to growing segment of compact crossovers. 
    Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf SportWagen, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2016
    Make: Volkswagen
    Model: Golf SportWagen
    Trim: SE
    Engine: Turbocharged 1.8L TSI DOHC Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
    Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
    Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/29
    Curb Weight: 3,120 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
    Base Price: $27,025
    As Tested Price: $30,335 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
    Options:
    Driver Assistance Package - $1,495.00
    Lighting Package - $995.00
    Last week, we brought you the details of the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado and its new 3.6L V6 and eight-speed automatic. As we noted in our story, a similar announcement for the GMC Canyon was likely incoming. That day has come.
    Today, GMC has announced the 2017 Canyon would be getting the updated 3.6L V6 and eight-speed automatic. If you want more details on the updated powertrain, we highly recommend checking out our Colorado story. If you want the TL;DR version,
    308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque (up 3 horsepower and 6 pound-feet) Engine boasts a revised direct injection system, updated variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation Eight-speed automatic (only on the V6) features a higher first-gear and lower rear-axle ratios Unlike the Colorado, the 2017 Canyon does come with a few more updates. First is a new All Terrain X model. Following in the footsteps of the Sierra All Terrain X, the Canyon variant gets a set of Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 255/65R17 all-terrain tires, distinctive 17-inch wheels, an off-road suspension, hill descent control, and a few other goodies. 2017 will also GMC launch the Canyon Denali which brings a number of luxury appointments such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, Bose sound system, and a set of 20-inch wheels.
    The 2017 GMC Canyon arrives at dealers late this year.
    Source: GMC
    Press Release is on Page 2
    GMC Canyon Extends Momentum with Broader 2017 Lineup
    New Canyon Denali, All Terrain X expand choices, offer new propulsion system DETROIT – Building on the momentum of an 18-percent sales increase so far this year, GMC today announced a broader 2017 GMC Canyon lineup led by the new, range-topping Canyon Denali and new, off-road-inspired All Terrain X.
    Like all GMC Denali models, the new Canyon Denali is distinguished by chrome exterior details and unique wheels, along with exclusive interior trim and content. It also features a new 3.6L V-6 engine that’s paired with a segment-first eight-speed automatic transmission.
    This new propulsion system is offered across the 2017 Canyon lineup, including the new All Terrain X package, which takes the popular All Terrain model farther down the trail, with Goodyear DuraTrac all-terrain tires, all-weather floor liners and more. 
    “Canyon continues to carve out its own niche as the only premium truck in the midsize segment,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “With a broader 2017 Canyon lineup and the redesigned Acadia, GMC is offering more choices for finding the premium truck or SUV that matches customers’ design preferences and capability needs.”
    Additional new and revised features for the 2017 Canyon lineup include:
    New IntelliLink radio with 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen Standard Teen Driver Mode through IntelliLink Available heated steering wheel Exterior colors Dark Slate Metallic, Mineral Metallic and Red Quartz Metallic Canyon Denali
    In addition to its Denali-signature chrome grille, the 2017 Canyon Denali features specific wheels — 20-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum with painted accents — along with tubular chrome assist steps, polished exhaust tip (V-6 only) and spray-on bedliner.
    Inside, a Jet Black interior features unique leather-appointed, heated and ventilated front seats — exclusive content in the Canyon lineup — along with unique instrument panel and console trim and Denali-logo sill plates and floor mats. Additional standard features include:
    Heated steering wheel GMC IntelliLink with Navigation and an 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen 4G Wi-Fi hotspot Automatic climate control Full-color driver information center Remote start Bose® premium seven-speaker audio system Two USB charging ports on the rear of the center console and another inside the console Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning
    All Terrain X
    This special version of the popular All Terrain package offered on the SLE model is the most off-road-capable Canyon for those who travel beyond the paved path. The X adds Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac P255/65R17 all-terrain tires and all-weather floor liners to All Terrain content, which includes:
    Off-road suspension and transfer case shield Body-color grille surround and rear step bumper Unique interior with red stitching and heated front seats Hill Descent Control Unique 17-inch aluminum wheels 3-inch-diameter round step bars Spray-on bedliner Remote start Automatic climate control and sliding rear window
    The All Terrain model requires the new 3.6L V-6/eight-speed automatic propulsion system. The 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine is available.
    3.6L V-6 and eight-speed automatic
    The new 3.6L/eight-speed propulsion system offers stronger, more confident acceleration and smoother shift performance than the Canyon’s previous V-6/six-speed combination. This new combination focuses on refining everyday driving performance, including accelerating from a stop, passing on the highway and cruising at a constant speed.
    The 3.6L leverages technologies such as continuously variable valve timing, direct injection and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) to balance performance and efficiency. It is rated at an SAE-certified 308 hp (230 kW) and 275 lb-ft of torque (373 Nm).
    Canyon’s new Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic complements the 3.6L with a technologically advanced design and control system that supports smoother, more refined performance. Smaller “steps” between the gears as the vehicle accelerates allow the transmission to shift quicker, with almost imperceptible upshifts.
    The 8L45 eight-speed also has a wider 7.0 gear ratio that enables a numerically higher first gear ratio — helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering — and numerically lower overdrive ratios that reduce engine rpm on the highway. A lower engine speed has two benefits: It can reduce fuel consumption to enhance efficiency and it reduces engine noise for a quieter cabin.
    The new powertrain supports a 7,000-pound max trailering rating that is second in the segment only to the Canyon’s available 2.8L Duramax diesel, which is rated at 7,700 pounds.
    The 2017 model year updates, including the new V-6 and eight-speed combination, will arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year. 
    Sales of new cars have been reaching all-time highs and part of the reason comes down leases. The Detroit News reports that nearly one in three vehicles built for the U.S. is leased. Data from Edmunds shows 2.2 million vehicles were leased in the first half of 2016. Not only is this up 13 percent from the same time year, it is double the volume from 2011. Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association tells the Detroit News there is plenty of space for more leases.
    “I think this could easily be 40 percent of the market,” said Sazkaly.
    Why have leases become popular? It comes down to the monthly payment. Compared with payments for auto loans, lease payments are on average 23 percent less. Leasing is also a popular option for younger folks. Jessica Caldwell, analyst for Edmunds says the reason is leasing is like a cell phone contract; low monthly payments and knowing that you can get into a new car in a few years.
    But while leasing is helping new car sales, some analysts are worried this could cause used car prices to go down. Why? A glut of turned in leased vehicles will flood the used car market, causing prices to be slashed to move metal.
    “They’ll swamp the market, they’ll force residuals down,” said Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research.
    The increase in leasing is already having an effect on used car values. Tom Webb, chief economist for Cox Automotive Inc., said 2.55 million vehicles came off lease last year. That number will increase to 3.1 million this year. Automakers are now figuring out ways to sell this glut of vehicles while keeping values up.
    Source: The Detroit News
    In light of fresh competition in the form of the refreshed Toyota Tacoma and new Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet has announced some updates for the 2017 Colorado.
    First is a new 3.6L V6 producing 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque (up 3 horsepower and 6 pound-feet). Changes to the engine include a revised direct injection system, updated variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. We can't help but wonder if this is the same engine that resides in a number of Cadillac models. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is hooked up to the V6. The transmission features a higher first gear (helps with towing or hauling a heavy load) and lower rear axle ratios will improve fuel economy.
    At the moment, we don't have EPA numbers for the V6 or pricing details. We do know the 2017 Colorado will go on sale later this year. Expect a similar announcement for the GMC Canyon in the near future.
    Source: Chevrolet
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Chevrolet Colorado Resets the Bar for Midsize Segment
    2017 model updated with all-new V-6 and class-exclusive eight-speed automatic DETROIT – For 2017, the Chevrolet Colorado offers an all-new V-6 engine and class-exclusive eight-speed automatic. It is the latest major update for Colorado, which entered the market for model year 2015. Chevrolet is on track to sell more than 160,000 Colorados in the first 24 months on the market, reigniting the midsize segment.
    “Customers made the Colorado an overnight success and it remains one of the industry’s hottest-selling products,” said Anita Burke, Colorado chief engineer. “That fast success has justified our continued investment in midsize pickups, introducing new features for our customers such as the class-exclusive diesel engine, advanced technologies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and now a class-leading V-6 and eight-speed automatic powertrain combination.”
    Class-exclusive powertrain combination 
    The most significant update for the 2017 Colorado is an all-new V-6 engine and eight-speed transmission, creating a combination that’s unmatched in the midsize segment.
    According to Stan Ludlow, chief engineer for the 2017 Colorado, the engine and transmission were calibrated to emphasize performance and refinement while optimizing fuel economy: “The Colorado is currently the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America, with an EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway when equipped with the diesel engine. As such, for the new V-6 and eight-speed combination we focused on improving everyday driving performance. Drivers will immediately notice that it pulls harder when accelerating from a stop or passing on the highway; it is more confident pulling a trailer up a steep grade and it is more refined cruising at a constant highway speed.”
    This second generation of Chevrolet’s double-overhead-cam engine architecture retains the same 3.6L displacement as before, with an updated suite of advanced engine technologies. This includes improved variable valve timing for intake and exhaust, improved direct injection and for the first time, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which disables two cylinders under light throttle applications. Horsepower and torque increase to an SAE-certified 308 hp (230 kW) at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft (373 nM) at 4,000 rpm.
    The engine is mated to the class-exclusive eight-speed automatic. The GM-developed Hydra-Matic 8L45 is roughly the same size and weight as the 6L80 six-speed automatic it replaces. However, the eight-speed automatic offers a wider 7.0 overall gear ratio spread than the 6L80 transmission’s 6.0 ratio. This results in a numerically higher first gear ratio, helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering, and numerically lower rear axle ratios that reduce engine rpm on the highway for improved efficiency.
    Extensive use of aluminum and magnesium, combined with similar packaging to the outgoing 6L80 transmission, equates to no increase in overall weight for Colorado models equipped with the new 8L45 transmission.
    The 2017 model year updates, including the new V-6 and eight-speed combination, will arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year. 
    Previous Page Next Page GM's European division is giving electrics another try. Next month at the Paris Motor Show, Opel and Vauxhall will unveil the Ampera-e. Yes, this is a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. 
    Opel is keeping a lot of details close to their chest before Paris. But they did reveal some details about the Ampera-e's powertrain. The electric motor will produce 150 kW/201 horsepower. The top speed is around 150 km/h (about 93 mph). 
    “The Opel Ampera-e makes electromobility fully feasible for everyday use and ready for the future. The Ampera-e demonstrates impressively how well sustainability and driving pleasure can form a unity. And with its strong-as-an-ox electric motor, it delivers pure fun-to-drive,” said Opel CEO, Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement.
    Source: Opel
    Press Release is on Page 2
    “e” for Electrifying: Opel Ampera-e World Premiere in Paris
    e-Premiere: revolutionary electric car at Paris motor show e-fun to drive: acceleration and overtaking ability like a sportscar e-connectivity: always online with IntelliLink infotainment and Opel OnStar Rüsselsheim.  Opel will revolutionize electromobility at the up-coming “Mondial de l’Automobile” in Paris. From October 1-16 the Opel Ampera-e – an electric car that electrifies in every way – makes its world premiere (hall 5-2, booth 501). The car with the lightning flash logo combines pioneering battery technology and localized emissions-free operation with a fun-to-drive experience, as the maximum torque of 360 Nm provides impressive acceleration figures and overtaking ability.
    “The Opel Ampera-e makes electromobility fully feasible for everyday use and ready for the future” says Opel CEO, Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “The Ampera-e demonstrates impressively how well sustainability and driving pleasure can form a unity. And with its strong-as-an-ox electric motor, it delivers pure fun-to-drive.”
    The maximum torque of 360 Nm is responsible for the electrifying temperament of the new Opel. The power output of the electric motor is 150 kW/204 hp (PS). Standing starts at traffic lights and entering the motorway belong to the Opel Ampera-e’s favorite disciplines. The compact car sprints to 50 km/h in only 3.2 seconds, acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h for overtaking is accomplished in just 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). The Ampera-e thus performs at the same level as OPC models, the sporty spearheads of Opel.
    Fun-to-drive with the Opel Ampera-e also means swift cruising at up to 150 km/h. At the same time, the Ampera-e also offers a significantly longer range than most other electric cars. The unique, compact proportions of the Ampera-e are driven by the battery pack being mounted flat, under the vehicle floor. The efficient packaging of the battery also enables a roomy interior providing comfortable seating for five passengers and trunk space comparable with that of a car in the compact class.
    Best entertainment: download your favorite films and music
    Driving pleasure for the passengers over long distances is provided. In addition to the excellent feeling of roominess, there comes the best in digital connectivity, in typical Opel fashion. The Ampera-e has the newest generation of IntelliLink infotainment as well as Opel OnStar onboard. Subject to availability, the award-winning connectivity and service assistant simultaneously offers up to seven mobile devices access to its powerful Wi-Fi hotspot. The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible IntelliLink systems bring the world of smartphones into the Ampera-e, so that passengers have full access to their favorite music or can download at will their preferred films – just a few examples of the many functions of the multifaceted entertainment. 
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    Volkswagen and their U.S. dealers have had a tense relationship since the diesel emission scandal broke. From the departure of Michael Horn to dealer meetings where tough questions were being asked to Volkswagen executives. But it seems some progress is being made on repairing it. 
    In a statement released today, Volkswagen announced they have reached an “agreement in principle” with its dealers over compensation for losses due to the diesel emission scandal. According to Automotive News, the preliminary agreement will see dealers get a cash payout within 18 months from a settlement fund. The payout for each dealer will be determined by a formula that is currently being worked out. Volkswagen has also agreed to purchase "“unfixable, used” diesel vehicles from dealer inventory under the same terms as buyback offers for consumers".
    This settlement comes after a group of Volkswagen dealers filed a lawsuit against the German automaker back in April.
    The settlement is still being finalized and will need to get the approval of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco before anything else can happen. Volkswagen says they hope to have everything finalized by September.
    “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen in a statement.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Volkswagen
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Volkswagen and VW-Branded Franchise Dealers in the U.S. Reach Agreement in Principle to Resolve Diesel Litigation
    Herndon, VA - August 25, 2016 - Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (“Volkswagen”) today announced it has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the claims of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States relating to TDI vehicles affected by the diesel matter and other matters asserted concerning the value of the franchise. Volkswagen has agreed to make cash payments and provide additional benefits to the dealers to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value. Volkswagen and the dealers’ counsel will now work to finalize details of the proposed settlement, including how to apportion payments to dealers in the appropriate manner.
    Details of the agreement in principle are still under discussion and are expected to be finalized at the end of September. Any proposed agreement will become effective only after approval by the Court, and the parties have agreed to keep further terms confidential as they work to finalize the agreement. Under the agreement, Volkswagen will consent to the certification – for settlement purposes only – of a class of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States as of an agreed date. 
    “We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “Our dealers are our partners and we value their ongoing loyalty and passion for the Volkswagen brand. This agreement, when finalized, will strengthen the foundation for our future together and further emphasize our commitment both to our partners and the U.S. market.”
    Steve Berman, Managing Partner of the dealers’ counsel Hagens Berman, said, “Our clients recognized the best solution would be one that not only allows them to recoup lost franchise value and continue to employ thousands of American workers, but one that also charts a strong course for the recovery of the Volkswagen brand in the United States.”  Berman added, “Now that there is a path forward for dealers, they can continue to work proactively to take great care of their customers, who are also VW customers.”
    The plaintiffs filed the initial complaint against Volkswagen on April 6, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The litigation was subsequently transferred to the multidistrict proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
    We know a fair amount of Volkswagen's upcoming three-row crossover,
    It will be built in Chattanooga, TN Engines will include a 3.6L V6, 2.0L Turbo-four, and Hybrid. (No diesel) Using the MQB platform Possibly named Teramont  But we don't know much about how it looks. Yes, we have seen spy shots that tell us it will possibly look like the CrossBlue concept from a few years back. That doesn't mean there are still some surprises in store. We now have the full picture thanks to some leaked shots.
     
    Chinese outlet Auto Sina got their hands on photos showing Volkswagen's new crossover in an engineering garage. The production model matches up with the CrossBlue in terms of overall design. The front end features a large grille, LED headlights, and a chunky front bumper. The interior features a similar center stack design found in other Volkswagen models. 
    The crossover features a V6 badge, which most likely hints at a 3.6L V6. 
    Source: Auto Sina
    'Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) and the various names this system goes under have the same goal; to bring the vehicle to a stop if the driver doesn't fails to engage the brakes. But a new study done by AAA reveals not all systems are equal and a very worrying trend concerning a consumer's belief in the system.
    There are two types of emergency braking systems, ones that are designed to bring the vehicle to stop to avoid a crash and ones that reduce speed to limit the severity of a crash. Unsurprisingly, AAA's tests showed that systems designed to avoid a crash did a better job than systems designed to limit the crash damage. At speeds under 30 mph, systems designed to avoid crashes were successful about 60 percent of the time. Systems designed to limit damage had a success rate of 33 percent. Increase speed to 45 mph and the systems designed to avoid a crash had a success rate of 74 percent. The systems designed to limit damage were successful 9 percent of the time.
    AAA also surveyed Americans familiar with the technology and it revealed something very troubling. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe autonomous emergency braking systems will totally avoid a crash without driver intervention.
    “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a statement.
    This is important as 22 different automakers have agreed to make this technology standard on all of their models by 2022. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have this system as standard while more than 50 percent of new vehicles have it as an option. AAA recommends that if you're looking at a vehicle with an AEB system to make sure what system you'll have. It will make a difference when it comes to avoiding a crash.
    Source: AAA
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Hit The Brakes: Not All Self-Braking Cars Designed to Stop
    AAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel.
    “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.”
    In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal:
    In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction). With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios. Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios. When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced. When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall. “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.”
    In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal:
    Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle. Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent). Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work. Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent). “When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.”
    For its potential to reduce crash severity, 22 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.