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    William Maley

    Chicago 2019: 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

      A new V8 engine takes the place of the V10


    With new versions of GM and Ram Trucks' heavy-duty pickups coming around the corner, it comes as no surprise that Ford has decided to update their F-Series Super Duty trucks. The big news is what resides under the hood.

    Taking the place of the 6.8L V10 engine is a new 7.3L V8 engine. Ford isn't detailing any specs on this engine, but is claiming that it will be the most powerful V8 in the class. The V10 produced 362 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, and could tow up to 33,000 pounds.

    The 6.7L PowerStroke turbodiesel V8 engine has been updated with a larger turbocharger, fuel injection system, and upgraded internals. Again, Ford is keeping mum on specs. The base 6.2L gas V8 engine remains unchanged.

    All engines come paired with a new ten-speed Torqueshift automatic transmission that slots in the same space as the previous six-speed automatic.

    The exterior gets new front end styling to improve cooling, along with new LED lighting. Other changes for the 2020 model include more active safety equipment, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging, and Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

    The 2020 F-Series Super Duty arrives at dealers this fall.

    Gallery: 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

    Source: Ford


    New Ford F-Series Super Duty Pickup Raises Bar Again With Next-Level Capability, Power And Technology

    • Next-level capability: New 2020 F-Series Super Duty will offer its highest-ever conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing and payload ratings
    • Next-level power: Most powerful Super Duty yet launches with two new engine offerings including all-new advanced 7.3-liter gasoline V8 and upgraded third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8; all-new heavy-duty 10-speed TorqShift® automatic transmission
    • Next-level technology: New F-Series Super Duty now offers class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist, while its Trailer Reverse Guidance is now compatible with fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers; standard FordPass Connect™ with 4G LTE modem and available wireless charging keep you connected; smart driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking are standard on XLT series and above

    DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 5, 2019 – Ford, America’s truck leader, introduces the next level of Built Ford Tough heavy-duty pickup truck capability, power and technology with the new 2020 F-Series Super Duty pickup.

    “Super Duty customers have demanding and diverse needs – from towing heavy trailers to repairing critical infrastructure,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America. “Productivity is their lifeblood and their truck is their biggest tool. Our new Super Duty has more power, more payload and towing capability and better technology than ever to help these customers build a better world.”

    F-Series Super Duty had the most market share in industries such as government with more than 60 percent share, petroleum with 50 percent share and utility services with more than 45 percent share, according to Ford analysis of IHS Markit TIPet U.S. registration data, January 2017 through November 2018. Assembled in the United States, Ford’s F-Series Super Duty is built with pride at both Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville and Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.

    New F-Series Super Duty improvements include new gas and diesel engines, an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission, chassis upgrades, exterior and interior design updates, and smart advanced technology that raises the bar again in towing, payload and connectivity.

    All-new powertrains for improved performance and capability

    An all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 7.3-liter V8 joins the standard 6.2-liter V8 in Super Duty’s gas engine stable. The Ford-designed and Ford-built third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8 is upgraded to deliver more power and torque. An all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift® automatic transmission is paired with the 7.3-liter V8 and third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8. Ford is the only manufacturer to design and build all of its heavy-duty engine and transmission combinations – ensuring the powertrain works seamlessly with all chassis components and vehicle calibrations.

    “With the addition of the 7.3-liter V8, upgrades to our 6.7-liter and the debut of an all-new 10-speed transmission, we are delivering the strongest, most capable Super Duty powertrain offerings yet,” said Mike Pruitt, Ford Super Duty chief engineer.

    The 7.3-liter gas V8 engine delivers high performance in a compact package. Based on decades of commercial engine experience, this 7.3-liter is expected to be the most powerful gas V8 in its class – providing durability, ease of maintenance, and the towing and payload capability customers want. It uses an all-new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft for maximum durability. Port injection with variable-valve timing optimizes the intake and exhaust to match performance with workloads. Oil jets cool the pistons under heavy loads.

    Super Duty’s third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke includes a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system with all-new injectors that precisely meter and spray up to eight times per stroke to control noise levels and optimize combustion. This innovative inboard exhaust diesel V8 features a redesigned electronic-actuated variable-geometry turbocharger that provides improved pumping efficiency and throttle response. Structural enhancements increase the strength of the cylinder head, block, connecting rods and bearings to handle higher cylinder pressure and increased output. New steel pistons provide higher firing pressure capability and less friction – meaning improved performance and more horsepower and torque than ever.

    The truck’s standard 6.2-liter gas V8 rounds out the three engine choices for Super Duty customers. This workhorse offers heavy-duty truck customers proven capability at an affordable price.

    Ford is making its all-new 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission available across all three Super Duty engine offerings for the new 2020 model. This TorqShift features a wider gear ratio span than the 6-speed and is designed for the harshest towing conditions. The heavy-duty transmission continues to offer class-exclusive live-drive power takeoff, which allows the operator to engage industrial equipment and accessories, such as snowplows, with the truck in motion.

    This electronically controlled transmission has selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. The entire unit is so cleverly engineered that – even with four extra gears – it fits in the same space as the 6-speed and weighs only 3.5 pounds more.

    Technology that assists and improves productivity

    For 2020, class-exclusive new Pro Trailer Backup Assist makes negotiating even the largest trailers into the tightest of spaces easier than ever before. With hands off the steering wheel, drivers use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist knob to easily steer the trailer via the reverse camera. The truck’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system shows trailer angle and direction, and provides steering suggestions to most efficiently direct a trailer backward. Both systems are built to accommodate all trailer styles, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.

    Because today’s work is a 24/7 proposition, staying connected is essential. Every new 2020 Super Duty includes FordPass Connect™ embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices, keeping crews in communication no matter where the job might take them.

    Available lane-keeping alert helps you stay between the lines on the road, while the Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage monitors for vehicles in your blind spots – even when towing. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection aids in avoiding or mitigating collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. These features are standard on XLT and above Super Duty models. Modern touches include the addition of wireless charging and USB-C ports to power your devices.

    Powerful upgrades inside and out

    Across the range, an enhanced front-end design allows for optimized cooling and lighting performance under heavy loads. For the first time, all dual-rear-wheel Super Duty trucks are fitted with a uniquely designed high-airflow grille optimized for maximum powertrain cooling.

    Super Duty’s LED headlamps have a new look with improved performance, while high series trucks feature continuous signature lighting. An improved front bumper and air dam optimize cooling and make using utility hooks easier. A freshened tailgate design, revised taillamps and new rear bumper convey bolder Built Ford Tough style.

    Decorative appliqués on the doors and media bin door have been updated on Lariat, while on Platinum edition trucks, these pieces have been updated to Onyx Argento wood. The interior of the Limited model is completely refreshed, with colors updated to Ebony and Highland Tan to provide a refined, modern feel. Limited features authentic materials like genuine leather, a coarse ash wood in black and modern brushed aluminum trim. Crafted details include decorative stitching on the leather-wrapped instrument panel topper, wrapped door armrests, seating and center console lid, and an embroidered Super Duty logo added to the floor mats. A soft headliner in Miko® suede is intended to give the cabin an expansive feel.

    Tested to Built Ford Tough standards

    The new F-Series Super Duty debuts as the most tested pickup in the company’s history. It endured more than 12 million miles of testing for the 2017 model year, which was increased by an additional 7 million miles for 2020 to ensure the new Super Duty can stand up to the rigors the most exacting truck customers demand of it. This torture includes running the truck around the clock under the most extreme loads and through all kinds of environmental conditions using dynos, test tracks and public roads. Because the testing surfaces and durability test tracks are so punishing, many of the miles are run using robot drivers that can handle the abuse better than humans to ensure every F-Series truck is Built Ford Tough.

    Ford’s new 2020 F-Series Super Duty will start shipping to dealers this fall.

    Edited by William Maley

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    From speculation in a couple articles, it sounds like that 7.3 V8 is going to be a new old-school pushrod V8.  "The motor uses a new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft.."

    Interesting retro move, compared to the OHC V8s they've been doing for over 20 years..

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    13 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    From speculation in a couple articles, it sounds like that 7.3 V8 is going to be a new old-school pushrod V8.  "The motor uses a new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft.."

    Interesting retro move, compared to the OHC V8s they've been doing for over 20 years..

    Good for toughness and more compact packaging. 

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    7 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    And low end torque, which is good for towing and Super Duty grunty stuff..

    This was my thinking. Smart move to utilize the torquey design. 

    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I didn't think we'd see over 7 liters in a production engine again ever.

    Aren't there still rumors of a 7 liter going into the Rams? 

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    Man, you really have to appreciate how competition improves the breed(s)!

    I would still opt for the rock solid reliability of the Cummins, but the 7.3 gasser in the Ford Super Duty would (if it is all that it should be) would make me choose the 7.3 over the Ram 6.4!

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    Yet if you need this type of a work truck and especially if you have a farm, you probably already have Diesel tractors, so why bother with the Gas Motor when I bet the Diesel is far more efficient. 🤔

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    2 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    This was my thinking. Smart move to utilize the torquey design. 

    Aren't there still rumors of a 7 liter going into the Rams? 

    On a side tangent, FCA needs to do an  'LA Rams' edition of the Ram in purple and yellow...

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    8 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I didn't think we'd see over 7 liters in a production engine again ever.

    Me either.  Why not just twin turbo the 5.0 V8 they already have?  I don’t get why they still isn’t an ecoboost V8.   And it can’t be fear of turbo in a pick up because the F150 is mostly turbo and the diesel in the heavy duty is turbo.

    I also thought that V10 died in 2010 that engine was old 10 years ago.

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    I get the feeling that the 7.3 liter V8 will put out about 50 more hp and torque than the 3.5 liter V6 in the Navigator.  I think it sad if any engine isn’t over 100 hp per liter so that V8 better make at least 730 hp and 730 lb-ft.

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    8 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    I get the feeling that the 7.3 liter V8 will put out about 50 more hp and torque than the 3.5 liter V6 in the Navigator.  I think it sad if any engine isn’t over 100 hp per liter so that V8 better make at least 730 hp and 730 lb-ft.

    You still fail to understand how horsepower works. This is going to be a relatively slow turning torque monster, not a high horsepower high revving engine.  Gotta have high revs for high horsepower and that just isn't a good recipe for a tow truck. 

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    53 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    I get the feeling that the 7.3 liter V8 will put out about 50 more hp and torque than the 3.5 liter V6 in the Navigator.  I think it sad if any engine isn’t over 100 hp per liter so that V8 better make at least 730 hp and 730 lb-ft.

    I don't think you understand the point of this engine. 

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    44 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    You still fail to understand how horsepower works. This is going to be a relatively slow turning torque monster, not a high horsepower high revving engine.  Gotta have high revs for high horsepower and that just isn't a good recipe for a tow truck. 

    Even a torque monster should put up big numbers.  The Mercedes V12 is a torque monster and that makes over 100 hp per liter and was doing that 10 years ago.  And a high rev engine should be more in the 200 hp per liter range.  I bet this engine also makes peak torque at 3400 rpm, too high for a puller.

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    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
      If you're worried that the polarizing ideas from the exterior make their way inside, don't. The interior is surprisingly sedate with clean lines and a simple design. Hyundai should be commended for using a lot of soft-touch plastics and leather on various surfaces. It makes the Sonata look and feel more premium than its price tag may suggest.

      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00

      View full article
    • By David
      Since Ford Motor Company reported a complete Q4 / 2020 fiscal year report with a loss of $2.8 Billion but a doubling of R&D on EVs to $22 Billion from $11 Billion and a $7 Billion for EV Autonomous driving, the auto reporters are asking this very question: Is this a Shot across gm's bow or is it targeted more broadly across the whole industry as everyone wants to take sales away or greatly slow down Tesla.
      Tesla's valuation appears to be based on investors putting money with new technology seems to be driving changes of the future. 
      gm has now committed to moving into the technology camp with a solid date of when new ICE auto's will no longer be produced as the whole portfolio will change over to EV's. Ford also is now committing to this same strategy. This now makes one wonder about the rest of the auto industry.
      Stellantis CEO did an interview with Forbes that has put cold water on Peugeot coming to the US in the near term future as he wants to invest in the existing US name brands and grow their 12.7% market share. He also said that Stellantis has the manufacturing power and EV technology, but getting it into the hands of everyone is the concern at reasonable prices. Stellantis CEO says this is in the hands of the various global governments as he wants cleaner air and believes diesel the dirtiest of fuels will die off before regular petrol and where dictated by governments such as China and Europe will see a faster change over than other countries. Yet with the change in administration in the US, he says this could move the Stellantis brands to move into the full EV camp at a future date.
      Then we have small countries that have decided to make a major change in moving the country into EVs way sooner than other places and killing ICE sales like Thailand. This will allow local Thai startups to compete for the first time with international companies that also do not have anything in the market yet. 
      With a large range of battery plants coming online over the next 18 months, the move to EVs could happen at a pace that took decades for ICE in the early 1900's.
      So this brings this back to the original question, Is Fords Doubling commitment to EV's and moving ICE into the last generation like GM a shot across GM's bow or a shot at the whole industry to say, look at us, we are moving into a Technology driven auto company and our stock should be much higher like Tesla's.
      Currently gm is valued at just under $80 Billion, Ford is valued at $40 Billion, Tesla is valued at $807 Billion, Toyota is valued at $155.5 Billion, Stellantis is valued at $50.5 Billion, Daimler is valued at $71 Billion, BMW valued at $46 and VW is valued at $90.7 Billion and while there are plenty of other auto companies, one has to wonder what Ford is focused on with the drastic change and speeding up of moving to EVs as a complete global portfolio.
      Sound off and discuss how, what, where and when you think this will have it's big affect.
      Charged EVs | Is Ford’s increase in EV investment a shot across GM’s bow? - Charged EVs
      Stellantis CEO Reveals Peugeot U.S. Fate, Job Security, EV Conflict (forbes.com)
      Future Toyotas, Stellantis, batteries and EVs - the week | Automotive Industry Comment | just-auto (just-auto.com)
  • Posts

    • Spotted sort of deliberately, by going into the showroom while my car was being serviced. It's about the rear pillar area ... - - - - - NO This was on the new 2021 Buick Envision - - - - - POSSIBLY This was on a new 2021 Acadia - - - - - I liked the outgoing Envision more.  Regardless, I wouldn't want to be in crowded traffic conditions and with rowdy drivers in a place like Manhattan and be driving the uppermost of these 2 scenarios.
    • • IDK... my friend with the Infinity doesn't have to "hose out" or vacuum it whenever he hauls something around. Mulch is bagged at the HomeDepot, not loose- why are people vacuuming up after bagged items? A few pieces drop off, you shake off the blanket (or tip out the cargo liner), fold it up & you're done. It's not a major calamity. Same with the 'spilled fuel' (don't you have an electric snow thrower yet??  ) - how is that readily happening?  • Full-size SUV's (say; a Suburban) has the interior length, but there are a number of things I mentioned earlier that it's not well suited for. Loose material is one, dumped material is another, actual dirt (for the 'dirty' aspect), leaking/significantly odiferous material, and anything involving -say- demo'd building materials studded with nails or vastly-irregular pieces - these pose actual damage hazards to the interior, whereas a lined pick-up bed can carry extreme lengths, dirt, garbage, stone, 90 cubic feet of brush/grass clippings, mouse-contaminated goods, propane tanks, etc etc. I would not peg the capability of an enclosed SUV vs. a pickup at anywhere "98% overlap". Maybe 70%. SUVs do offer 2 considerable aspects over pickups: security and weather protection. But this discussion (full-size pickups vs. full-size SUVs) seems to be another discussion. • The whole pitch about leaving the tailgate open is a rubber crutch for a 4-ft bed, no two ways around it. "Ledges", please. If dropping the gate means a 4-ft bed is practically a 6-ft bed, then the 6-ft bed is now practically an 8-ft bed and the 2 no longer compete.
    • -So we are back to pick ups, not SUVs? I say that because you sure are not hauling 4x8 plywood in most if not any SUV. BTW, with the tail gate down, the Santa Cruz gains two more feet back there, putting it pretty close to a short bed full size pick up. From an article regarding the tailgate.   "The bed is also 4 feet wide, designed specifically to be wide enough to carry home sheets of plywood from the big box store. That plywood rests on molded-in ledges above the wheelwells, and the tailgate can be adjusted to a half-open position level with the ledges to support the end of the plywood hanging out the back." Making it pretty damn useful for 95% of the population.   -Oh sure. Take the plastic tarp in and out when ever you think you'll need it while still having to vacuum your SUV of the dirt that will still find its way to other parts of said car (to say NOTHING of the smell of said mulch). Now, I throw few hundred pounds in the back of the Santa Fe and all I have to do afterwards is hose it down. Sorry but you can't tout pick ups on one hand and then $h! on them with the other when bringing up SUVs.   -And you go right on ahead and lay that fridge down in any SUV and wait 24-48 hours before you can plug in said fridge because of the freon. Me? I prefer to bring it home and plug it right away. Again, you are picking and choosing between full size pick ups and SUVs whenever it suits your argument. To a point, a full size SUV can do 98% of the stuff your HD can do yet we are not on here touting it over the other because the HD suits YOUR needs. See the problem her yet? BTW, don't even have to fold the handles down on the lawn mower or the snow blower to get it in the car or SUV and I don't have to worry about fuel/fluid spillage INSIDE may car or SUV.   -And of course its not competing with mid-size pick ups because it is not one itself. Not sure what argument you're trying to make here.   One last thing. Two weeks ago, I picked up a used duo grill (gas and charcoal) that was fully put together. As such, it was not going to fit inside my Flex without damaging the inside walls of the car (even with a tarp). Instead, I had to borrow a trailer to haul it. Now, if I had the Hyundai, it would have fit perfectly in the back standing upright, no fuss and no trailer or tarp needed. You have to stop seeing it like there isn't a use for one of these just because you wouldn't have a use for one.
    • mid-'80s : I can remember one of these in my favorite junkyard haunt, esp that peaked center section of the decklid. It was a '67 Fury 4-dr, very dark blue, and someone had painted (very well) 'BUILT TO' and 'BOOGIE' in the large flats to either side of that peaked center.  It was at the end of one of the 2 rows the arrows point to, nose facing 'south'.  Now ask me what I had for dinner last night. 
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