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    William Maley

    2020 Jeep Gladiator Finally Arrives

      Jeep gets back in the pickup game


    It has been a long time coming but Jeep has finally brought out the model that many have been clamoring for, a Wrangler pickup.

    This is the 2020 Gladiator and describing this a four-door Wangler with a bed is doing it a bit of disservice. Compared to the Wrangler, the Gladiator rides on a wheelbase that 19.4-inches longer and the frame has been extended by 31-inches. This increase in size does hurt off-road capability as the Gladiator has a lower breakover and departure angle when compared to the Wrangler. But that's the tradeoff you make for more utility.

    The bed comes in at five feet and is comprised of steel with an aluminum tailgate. Features for the bed include tie-down points, LED bed lighting, and power outlets. The rest of the Gladiator's design is the same as the Wrangler, down to the doors being removable and the choice of either a soft or hard-top.

    For the interior, Jeep has added a clever party trick. The rear bench seat can be folded flat to make for flat space for cargo. The seats can also be folded up 'stadium style' to reveal a set of pockets. Otherwise, the Gladiator's interior is the same as the Wrangler with a well laid out dash and the choice of either a 7 or 8.4-inch infotainment system.

    At launch, the Gladiator will come with 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. If you want some stump-pulling power, you need to wait until 2020 for a redesigned 3.0L turbodiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. This will be paired with an eight-speed automatic only. No mention of fuel economy figures for either engine.

    The Gladiator promises to be quite capable, offering a max payload of 1,600 pounds and max towing of 7,650 pounds. For off-road adventures, the truck comes equipped with either a Command-Trac (two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and a set of heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio) or Rock-Trac 4x4 system (two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio and a electronic sway-bar disconnect).

    Jeep will begin producing the Gladiator in the first-half of next year at their Toledo, Ohio plant. Expect pricing to come out sometime before production kicks off.

    Gallery: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

    Source: Jeep


    All-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator: The Most Capable Midsize Truck Ever

    • Legendary 4x4 Capability, Authentic Design Builds on Rich Jeep Truck Heritage, Best-in-class Towing and 4x4 Payload, Clever Functionality and Versatility, Advanced Fuel-efficient Powertrains, Open-air Freedom, and Loaded with Safety Features and Intuitive Technology
    • Unmatched capability with Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires 
      • Unmatched crawl ratios
      • Up to 30 inches of water fording
    • Best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload:
      • Up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity
      • Up to 1,600 pounds of payload capacity
    • Crew cab configuration features a durable five-foot steel bed with covered external power source and strong integrated tie-downs, providing versatility for flexible cargo options
    • Modern, authentic design instantly recognizable as a Jeep®:
      • Iconic keystone-shaped grille, round headlamps and square tail lamps
      • Rugged-yet-distinguished design bolsters aerodynamics
      • Convenient fold-down windshield for off-road purists
      • The only true open-air 4x4 pickup truck with easy-to-use premium soft top and two hardtops
      • Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations
    • Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame and tailgate help curtail weight and boost fuel economy
    • Suspension tuned to optimize on-road handling and ride comfort without sacrificing off-road capability, payload or towing capability
    • Advanced fuel-efficient powertrains:
      • 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS)
        • Eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission
      • 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS and an eight-speed automatic transmission available in 2020
    • Fourth-generation Uconnect system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the choice of 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability
      • Forward-facing off-road camera available on Rubicon allows obstructions on the trail to be easily seen
    • Packed with more than 80 available advanced safety and security features

    November 28, 2018 , Los Angeles - The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator – the most capable midsize truck ever – builds on a rich heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks with an unmatched combination of rugged utility, authentic Jeep design, open-air freedom, clever functionality and versatility, best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, superior on- and off-road dynamics and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology features.

    “Unquestionably a truck and instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the all-new 2020 Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand - North America. “There is tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere. Born from a rich and proud heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks, Gladiator combines rugged utility, versatility and functionality resulting in the most capable midsize truck ever.”

    The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator delivers unmatched capability with best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity, composed on-road driving dynamics and passenger safety. Legendary off-road capability comes courtesy of the Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires.

    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available in these different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon.

    Built in Toledo, Ohio, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

    Modern take on authentic Jeep design
    The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator boasts a rugged, distinguished design aesthetic that is immediately recognizable with traditional Jeep design cues.  

    The Jeep design team kept the legendary seven-slot grille seen on Wrangler, but widened the grille slots for additional air intake to assist with the increased towing capacity. The top of the keystone-shaped grille is gently swept back to enhance aerodynamics.
     
    Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models offer available LED headlamps and fog lamps that project crisp white lighting, adding to the truck’s modern look. Gladiator models equipped with LEDs feature daytime running lights, which form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights. Forward turn signals are positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares.

    From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature available LED lighting and give way to a wide tailgate opening for unobstructed loading of cargo into the bed. The tailgate is damped and capable of stopping in three positions, while cargo is easily secured with a power-locking tailgate.

    Clever functionality and versatility were the focus while designing the Gladiator’s durable bed to streamline usability. Under-rail bed lighting, an available covered external power source (400W 115-volt, three-prong) and strong integrated tie-downs, provide durability and versatility. The available Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo.

    The full-size spare tire and mount is located under the bed, behind the rear axle and capable of holding up to a 35-inch tire.
     
    An available spray-in bed liner, bed divider and tonneau cover provide even more options to keep cargo secure while helping with durability. Gladiator Rubicon models are equipped with protective cab and cargo bed rock rails.  
     
    A four-bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame allows for the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A header bar connects the A-pillars and stays in place even when the windshield is folded down. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded.
     
    Two-piece body-color fender flares with a black lower insert give a raised profile and are standard on Overland and available on Rubicon models. 

    Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors feature the Torx bit size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which size bit is needed to remove the doors. A tool kit with the necessary Torx bits to remove the doors and lower the windshield is provided as standard equipment.  
     
    All Gladiators feature body-color sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles for front occupants.
     
    A premium Sunrider soft top provides a segment-exclusive easy open-air option, which helps to quiet wind noise and allows for access to partial and full open top positions. The soft top features retainers that slide into a track for easy rear window removal.
     
    Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models share an available three-piece body-color hardtop option, offering a unique, premium appearance, while a black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving. The two Freedom panels and quick-release latches enable a fast removal and installation of the hardtop. All hardtops feature a manual rear-sliding window.
     
    Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities.

    Authentic interior design boasts premium features and technology
    The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s interior combines authentic styling, versatility, comfort and intuitive feature use. Precision craftsmanship and high-quality materials are found throughout the cabin.
     
    The heritage-inspired center stack features a clean, sculpted form that complements the horizontal dashboard design and sports a finish dictated by the model choice. A hand-wrapped instrument panel features a soft-touch surface with accent stitching on Gladiator Overland and available on Rubicon models. Functional features, including climate and volume control knobs, media charging and connectivity ports, and Engine Stop Start (ESS) control are all sculpted for quick recognition and are easily within reach of the front-seat occupants. Inboard and outboard circular HVAC vents are surrounded by a platinum chrome bezel for a precise and premium yet rugged appearance with full functionality.
     
    Jeep functionality and versatility are celebrated in the center console and distinguished with metal-plated accents. The center console houses gear shift selection, transfer case and parking brake. Real bolts featured on the shifter, grab handles and the infotainment screen’s frame highlight genuine construction methods.
     
    A push-button starter, featuring a weather-proof surround, is standard on the 2020 Gladiator and is easily located within the driver’s reach.
     
    Cloth or leather-contoured seats feature accent stitching and adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel.

    All-new rear seats feature high-quality premium materials giving the seats an athletic look that also delivers comfort and support. The rear seats, exclusive to Gladiator, feature segment-leading rear legroom and utilizes a unique design that can be locked in place to provide secure storage behind the seat back. The rear seats can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for larger items.
     
    With the rear seats folded flat, LED lights on the quarter trim panels illuminate the storage space behind the seats. Two storage nets on the cab-back wall provide even more secure storage.
     
    Clever storage solutions are found throughout the 2020 Gladiator, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas.
     
    The rear seat cushions can fold up into “stadium” position to reveal a standard open storage bin, which utilizes the space under the seat for stowing miscellaneous items. An optional lockable bin provides secure storage space when the top or doors are removed. The available lockable storage bin features two different size doors that correspond to the 60/40 split rear seat cushion. Removable dividers can provide up to five separate compartments and uses the same lock as the glove box and center console.
     
    A removable bolt bin fits in the under-seat storage space and makes it easy to secure bolts when the doors and top are removed, or the windshield is folded down. The bolt bin lid indicates the corresponding number of bolts and their location under the lid in Petroglyph style.
     
    The driver and front passenger vinyl-wrapped door-trim panels are soft to the touch. Lift-Assist handles under each door armrest feature an integrated pull-cup design that makes door removal quick and easy. Convenience features include passive entry with Keyless Go.
     
    The instrument cluster features a 3.5- or an available 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display. The 7-inch LED display allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways, including current media being played, tire pressure, tire-fill alert or digital speed readout. Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice and speed functions, allowing the driver to keep hands on the wheel at all times.
     
    A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker startup times and improved screen resolution. A 5.0-inch touchscreen is standard on Gladiator Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features, such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports.
     
    Exclusive to Gladiator Rubicon models, a forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen. The front camera sits behind the middle slot of Gladiator’s seven-slot grille and can be accessed through the available Off-road Pages.
     
    Two USB ports and a USB-C port up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media center. A 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics.

    Optional audio upgrades include a subwoofer and portable wireless speaker located behind the rear seat. LED lights on quarter-trim panels illuminate the storage space and the docking station for the wireless speaker. A net on the left side of the cab wall provides additional storage when equipped with the subwoofer and wireless speaker.

    Advanced fuel-efficient powertrains
    The all-new Jeep Gladiator offers the proven 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine at launch with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine being offered in 2020.  
     
    3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine
    The FCA US 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and features ESS as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading.
     
    A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.
     
    Known for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, the Company has produced more than 8.6 million 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engines since production began in 2010. The award-winning engine family is currently built at three plants – Trenton (Michigan) Engine Complex, Mack Avenue (Detroit) Engine and Saltillo (Mexico) South Engine.
     
    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer. 
     
    3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine
    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2020. Gladiator models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with ESS standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output.
     
    FCA US engineers adapted the engine – designed and manufactured by FCA EMEA – to meet the NAFTA region’s regulatory requirements.
     
    The EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements refined turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low-end and transient performance. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide an enhanced combustion system – injector nozzle, piston bowl and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion. Low Pressure Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) assists to combine with the high-pressure system to expand the range of EGR usage and to improve fuel economy.
     
    Eight-speed automatic transmission
    The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling the vehicle to optimize engine output while on the trails or enjoying smooth, efficient power delivery at highway speeds. The eight-speed automatic is available on all Jeep Gladiator models.
     
    Gladiator’s eight-speed automatic transmission offers a responsive driving experience. Whether commuting during the week or rock crawling or hauling cargo on the weekend, customers will enjoy a smooth, linear power delivery and improved fuel efficiency.
     
    A unique set of two overdrive ratios improve highway fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

    Uniquely suited to the requirements of the Gladiator Rubicon model, the eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. The towing and 4x4 performance benefits from a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive delivers unmatched capability.
     
    Six-speed manual transmission
    All-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator models are equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs optimized gear ratios for bolstered crawl ratio performance and is cable-operated, eliminating shifter vibration and bolstering sound isolation.
     
    The shift pattern features a comfortable shifting position and bolsters shift accuracy. A 4.41 ratio spread offers impressive fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality.

    Most capable midsize truck ever without compromise
    The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator delivers legendary off-road capability courtesy of two advanced 4x4 systems. The Command-Trac 4x4 system, standard on Sport and Overland, features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.
     
    On Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4x4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.
     
    Gladiator Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel with help from a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Gladiator Rubicon has an impressive crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which make scaling any obstacle on the trail easy.
     
    Both Command-Trac and Rock-Trac systems offer full-time torque management, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions.
     
    An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential on Sport and Overland provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice.
     
    Gladiator Sport, Overland and Rubicon models receive a Trail Rated badge thanks to legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, which includes features such as:

    • Command-Trac 4x4 system with 2.72:1 crawl ratio standard on Sport and Overland models
    • Rock-Trac 4x4 system with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1 and Tru-Lok locking differentials standard on Rubicon models
    • Skid plates and front and rear tow hooks
    • Standard on Rubicon rear steel heavy-duty off-road rear bumper and available front steel winch-ready bumper with removable end caps
    • Approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and ground clearance of 11.1 inches
    • Aggressive available 17-inch off-road wheels; Rubicon models get 33-inch tires standard
    • Up to 30 inches of water fording
    • Up to 7,650-lb. towing and 1,600-lb. 4x4 payload capacity

    Rugged body-on-frame design is the foundation for legendary Jeep truck utility and durability 
    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator utilizes a variety of ways to optimize ride, handling and sound characteristics while bolstering fuel economy even while towing and hauling. Utilizing a body-on-frame design and featuring a superbly engineered five-link suspension system, Gladiator delivers on capability, with composed on-road driving dynamics, passenger safety and best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity.
     
    Gladiator’s body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame. When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 31 inches longer while the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the proven body-on-frame design work with the most capable midsize truck ever. 
     
    A traditional steel bed utilizes four steel cross-members to reinforce the load floor while the aluminum tailgate is damped. Utility and versatility are maximized with strong integrated tie-downs, under-rail bed lighting and an optional covered external power source.
     
    To protect critical vehicle components while on the trail, including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan, Gladiator employs four skid plates and bars. Rubicon models benefit from the use of heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted while out on the trail. Rubicon models also feature segment-exclusive rock rails for the bed corners. 

    The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear.
     
    Gladiator utilizes the proven five-link coil suspension configuration with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel.
     
    The rear five-link coil suspension design, exclusive to Gladiator, features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral axle control. The control arms are located under of the frame rails while the rear shocks are forward facing to provide consistent damping for ride comfort and load management.
     
    The springs have been tuned for an optimum balance between on-road handling while providing a comfortable ride around town, with or without cargo in the bed, and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, handling, payload and towing capability is significantly enhanced with assistance from shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy.

    An approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches allows Gladiator to go anywhere.
     
    Gladiator also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording, up to 1,600 pounds of payload and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package.

    More than 80 available advanced safety and security features
    Safety and security were paramount in the development of the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, which offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.

    Fourth-generation Uconnect system delivers advanced technology
    The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers three Uconnect systems – Uconnect 5-inch, 7-inch and 8.4NAV, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation features drivers and passengers desire, including a full-color LED instrument cluster.

    The Uconnect system includes easy-to-use features, enhanced processing power, faster startup times and touchscreens that display high-resolution graphics.
     
    Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features
    The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available with the Uconnect 7.0 or 8.4NAV systems and includes the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
     
    Apple CarPlay
    Seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the vehicle’s built-in display and controls in addition to featuring Siri Voice control. iPhone-equipped drivers can make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, and receive voice-guided navigation optimized for traffic conditions and more, while staying focused on the road.
     
    Android Auto
    System shares useful information when driving and makes it easy to access the best of Google technology. Featuring Google Maps with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information and lane guidance, as well as on-demand access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music, the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping hands on the wheel and ask Google search any question, Android Auto makes it easy to access popular apps and content from the Uconnect system’s touchscreen.
     
    Drivers and passengers also have an abundance of infotainment features at their fingertips with SiriusXM Radio, Travel Link, Traffic and Connected Services that provide real-time information.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Ah; it's a Wrangler with a mini bed. As you guys would likely assume, I was picturing a modern take on the original; a uniquely styled true pick-up.

    Probably as good a spot as any to remind folk of the Mighty FC :

    Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 6.39.41 PM.png

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    LOL what is the point of all that capacity with NO ROOM IN THE BED to haul things?  The Mighty FC casts quite the blight on the Gladiator, which needs a shorter cab and at least 1.5' longer bed floor to be useful.

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    5ft bed is more than useful for most buyers, 6ft or 8ft is not needed by the bulk of buyers running to the nursery or Home Depot for weekend projects.

    Jeep has clearly judged their buyers right as weekend projects or off road play / camping.

    Commercial work of a 6 or 8 ft bed is covered just fine by GM, Ford and Ram.

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    But to clarify- this isn't a pickup, it's a Wrangler with a bed. Problem as I see it is, Jeep is rumored to be charging nearly $20,000 for that bed. Not sure who this is aimed at other than existing Jeep buyers.

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    7 hours ago, frogger said:

    I think the H3T had a similar size bed, no 6ft option.

    google sez 59", or 5-ft. I kinda forgot about the H3T, but the entire Hummer line always seemed like 'appearance package' trucks rather than actually being used as trucks (other than 4x4ing). I just think Jeep missed an opportunity to get in the pickup game by just stretching a Wrangler and calling it a day. Wranglers have their legion of fans, of course, but they are archaic and uncomfortable vehicles that people either are all in for, or have no interest in. I don't see a Wrangler pickup getting cross shopped with other small pickups at ALL.

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    I built mine:  $73,259.00 for a base Sport with stick.  No options.  Turns out, doors and roof are bundled in an "all-weather" option package that also includes automatic parking, lane departure, auto-pilot, Yosemite Sam mudflaps and a dash-mounted hula girl for an additional $11,500.  I could not see spending that much for a hula girl.

    Edited by ocnblu
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      “Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb maneuverability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.
      Why Santa Cruz?
      Santa Cruz was developed to be the ultimate Sport Adventure Vehicle, a moniker confirmed in Hyundai’s early consumer research. The research found consumers, often living in urban environments, whose lifestyles include the need to escape to weekend adventures of all kinds. Many of these customers carry various gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV bodystyle. These buyers want versatile transportation that is equally flexible for urban, adventure, occupational or even home improvement gear. Santa Cruz features a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories. At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and parking ease. Santa Cruz, with its unique, bold design, created an entirely new segment that meets these specific buyer needs like no vehicle before it.
      Everything about Santa Cruz reflects a duality of purpose in its design execution. This all-new category-bending vehicle holds a variety of imagery in balanced juxtaposition:
      Urban life connectivity with escape to outdoor adventure Work and play flexibility Tough yet alluring demeanor Roominess with maneuverability Open cargo area and secured, lockable storage Towing capability and fuel efficiency The forward view of Santa Cruz deploys a hidden lighting signature that becomes visible within the grille only when illuminated. The daytime running lamps (DRLs) present a parametric jewel design with high-tech precision detailing. A bold, cascading grille anchors the front view, supported by a skid plate element in the lower front fascia. Voluminous hood and fenders further communicate an imposing first impression.
      In profile, Santa Cruz signals a sporty yet capable spirit. The A- and C-pillars present faster forward and rearward rakes than typical open-bed utility vehicles. Large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design are surrounded by armor-like wheel arches, conveying both wheel-articulation potential and off-road capability. Powerful body side volumes contrast with precise triangular sheer-edged surfaces and tight radius character lines.
      From the rear, a horizontal “T” lighting signature adds visual width and distinguishes Santa Cruz from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, seamlessly integrated with the overall design. The rear tail lamps are embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.
      Interior Design
      The interior of the Santa Cruz expresses a sophisticated and refined appearance. The contrasting rugged yet refined motif matches the boldness of the exterior, boasting a technical ambience that appeals to those who appreciate cutting-edge technologies in their daily lives. It features an enveloping dual-cockpit design that encapsulates each passenger. Design teams focused on ease of ingress and egress and ergonomic comfort on long drives. The premium center stack display features an edgeless infotainment screen appearance, with an impressive 10 inches of visibility. The optional center digital cluster display also measures 10 inches. Under the rear seats is convenient, in-cabin storage. Completing the premium ambience is an available Bose® audio system.
      Powerful and Efficient Powertrains
      Santa Cruz offers two powerful, flexible and efficient powertrains. The standard powertrain is a 2.5L direct-injected in-line four-cylinder engine with an estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque. This engine couples to an eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmission for quick acceleration and superb efficiency. Santa Cruz also offers a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This DCT includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting control by the driver.
      Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
      The eight-speed transmission for the standard 2.5-liter engine provides quick and crisp shifts for an engaging and efficient driving experience. This automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient trip on the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize frictional losses.
      Advanced HTRAC® AWD and Towing Capability
      Both 2.5L four-cylinder and 2.5L four-cylinder turbo models offer HTRAC® all-wheel drive capability for complete confidence when pursuing adventures of all kinds or for that extra peace of mind when driving in an unexpected snowfall. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts. For those customers who like to tow their weekend gear with them, the 2.5L 4-cylinder is rated at 3,500 lbs. for towing and the 2.5L Turbo AWD model boasts a generous 5,000 lbs. of towing capability.
      Compact Dimensions Yield Superb Maneuverability
      Santa Cruz makes efficient use of its compact dimensions by offering high utility with excellent maneuverability. Its shorter wheelbase and smaller overall footprint make it a joy to maneuver and park in challenging urban parking, with an exceptional curb-to-curb turning radius of only 20.0 feet.
      Specification (in.)
      Santa Cruz
      Tacoma
      Ridgeline
      Frontier
      Length
      195.7
      212.2
      210.0
      205.5
      Width
      75.0
      75.2
      78.5
      72.8
      Height
      66.7
      70.7
      70.3
      70.1
      Wheelbase
      118.3
      127.4
      125.2
      126.0
      Bed Length
      Upper 48.4
      Lower 52.1
      60.4
      63.6
      59.4
      Footprint Area
      (sq. ft.)
      101.9
      109.7
      114.6
      103.9
                         
      Responsive and Refined Chassis Tuning
      Santa Cruz was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a wide variety of urban and off-road, multi-surface driving conditions. The shorter wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments. These specifications also provide confident agility when traversing off-road terrain. Available 20-inch alloy wheels with wide, all-season, all-terrain tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces. Available 18-inch wheels with more voluminous tire sidewalls for off-road adventures are also available.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It is surprising to think it has been over six years since Hyundai first showed the Santa Cruz pickup concept at the Detroit Auto Show. But today, Hyundai has unveiled the production version. The automaker isn't calling this a truck, instead using the term "Sport Adventure Vehicle". To us, it's a truck.
      We need to start with a bit of a reality check. The Santa Cruz is not a direct competitor to the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, or Toyota Tacoma in terms of measurements. Compared to those models, the Santa Cruz is around 10 to 17 inches shorter in length. Overall height is around 3 to 4 inches shorter. The bed measures 4.3 feet, which is about foot shorter than the Ranger. There is also an in-bed trunk like the Ridgeline.
      The model is based on the recently redesigned Tucson crossover, which explains why it shares the front end styling - complete with headlights in the massive grille. That also means it shares the same engines as the Tucson. Here's the lineup,
      2.5L four-cylinder:  estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque Turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder: estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque The N/A 2.5 comes with an eight-speed automatic, while the turbo makes do with an eight-speed dual-clutch. Front-wheel drive is standard, while HTRAC all-wheel drive is optional.
      The interior looks very modern and comes with an eight-inch touchscreen in the center stack. Optional features include a 10-inch touchscreen and TFT instrument display. 
      Hyundai is keeping mum on pricing until the Santa Cruz launches sometime this summer.
      BTW: If you're wondering why the Santa Cruz took so long to reach production, I recommend this piece from Autoblog which delves into this.
      Source: Hyundai
      Hyundai Unveils Segment-Shattering Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle
      Highly-anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle Shatters Both SUV and Truck Segments, Creating an Entirely New Vehicle Category Multi-utility, Secure Open Bed Provides Diverse Gear-Carrying Flexibility Powerful and Efficient 2.5L Turbo Powertrain with HTRAC® AWD Capability Available Cutting-edge Connectivity, Convenience and Active Safety Features Compact Footprint Provides Superior Maneuverability in an Open-bed Configuration Proudly Built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Apr. 15, 2021 – Hyundai today unveiled its highly anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle. The 2022 Santa Cruz breaks new ground within the SUV, Truck and Crossover segments by offering a true Sport Adventure Vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market. Santa Cruz boasts bold yet sophisticated design, powerful and efficient powertrain options, a flexible open bed for gear, cutting-edge connectivity and a highly maneuverable all-wheel drive platform that is equally at home in urban and adventure-focused environments. The Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle begins production in Montgomery, Alabama in June and will be available for sale in summer. The addition of Santa Cruz to HMMA production will add an estimated 1,200 jobs to the U.S. economy. Hyundai is also creating an early reservation system for the U.S.-market Santa Cruz in late April at https://www.hyundaiusa.com/.
      “Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb maneuverability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.
      Why Santa Cruz?
      Santa Cruz was developed to be the ultimate Sport Adventure Vehicle, a moniker confirmed in Hyundai’s early consumer research. The research found consumers, often living in urban environments, whose lifestyles include the need to escape to weekend adventures of all kinds. Many of these customers carry various gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV bodystyle. These buyers want versatile transportation that is equally flexible for urban, adventure, occupational or even home improvement gear. Santa Cruz features a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories. At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and parking ease. Santa Cruz, with its unique, bold design, created an entirely new segment that meets these specific buyer needs like no vehicle before it.
      Everything about Santa Cruz reflects a duality of purpose in its design execution. This all-new category-bending vehicle holds a variety of imagery in balanced juxtaposition:
      Urban life connectivity with escape to outdoor adventure Work and play flexibility Tough yet alluring demeanor Roominess with maneuverability Open cargo area and secured, lockable storage Towing capability and fuel efficiency The forward view of Santa Cruz deploys a hidden lighting signature that becomes visible within the grille only when illuminated. The daytime running lamps (DRLs) present a parametric jewel design with high-tech precision detailing. A bold, cascading grille anchors the front view, supported by a skid plate element in the lower front fascia. Voluminous hood and fenders further communicate an imposing first impression.
      In profile, Santa Cruz signals a sporty yet capable spirit. The A- and C-pillars present faster forward and rearward rakes than typical open-bed utility vehicles. Large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design are surrounded by armor-like wheel arches, conveying both wheel-articulation potential and off-road capability. Powerful body side volumes contrast with precise triangular sheer-edged surfaces and tight radius character lines.
      From the rear, a horizontal “T” lighting signature adds visual width and distinguishes Santa Cruz from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, seamlessly integrated with the overall design. The rear tail lamps are embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.
      Interior Design
      The interior of the Santa Cruz expresses a sophisticated and refined appearance. The contrasting rugged yet refined motif matches the boldness of the exterior, boasting a technical ambience that appeals to those who appreciate cutting-edge technologies in their daily lives. It features an enveloping dual-cockpit design that encapsulates each passenger. Design teams focused on ease of ingress and egress and ergonomic comfort on long drives. The premium center stack display features an edgeless infotainment screen appearance, with an impressive 10 inches of visibility. The optional center digital cluster display also measures 10 inches. Under the rear seats is convenient, in-cabin storage. Completing the premium ambience is an available Bose® audio system.
      Powerful and Efficient Powertrains
      Santa Cruz offers two powerful, flexible and efficient powertrains. The standard powertrain is a 2.5L direct-injected in-line four-cylinder engine with an estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque. This engine couples to an eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmission for quick acceleration and superb efficiency. Santa Cruz also offers a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This DCT includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting control by the driver.
      Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
      The eight-speed transmission for the standard 2.5-liter engine provides quick and crisp shifts for an engaging and efficient driving experience. This automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient trip on the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize frictional losses.
      Advanced HTRAC® AWD and Towing Capability
      Both 2.5L four-cylinder and 2.5L four-cylinder turbo models offer HTRAC® all-wheel drive capability for complete confidence when pursuing adventures of all kinds or for that extra peace of mind when driving in an unexpected snowfall. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts. For those customers who like to tow their weekend gear with them, the 2.5L 4-cylinder is rated at 3,500 lbs. for towing and the 2.5L Turbo AWD model boasts a generous 5,000 lbs. of towing capability.
      Compact Dimensions Yield Superb Maneuverability
      Santa Cruz makes efficient use of its compact dimensions by offering high utility with excellent maneuverability. Its shorter wheelbase and smaller overall footprint make it a joy to maneuver and park in challenging urban parking, with an exceptional curb-to-curb turning radius of only 20.0 feet.
      Specification (in.)
      Santa Cruz
      Tacoma
      Ridgeline
      Frontier
      Length
      195.7
      212.2
      210.0
      205.5
      Width
      75.0
      75.2
      78.5
      72.8
      Height
      66.7
      70.7
      70.3
      70.1
      Wheelbase
      118.3
      127.4
      125.2
      126.0
      Bed Length
      Upper 48.4
      Lower 52.1
      60.4
      63.6
      59.4
      Footprint Area
      (sq. ft.)
      101.9
      109.7
      114.6
      103.9
                         
      Responsive and Refined Chassis Tuning
      Santa Cruz was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a wide variety of urban and off-road, multi-surface driving conditions. The shorter wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments. These specifications also provide confident agility when traversing off-road terrain. Available 20-inch alloy wheels with wide, all-season, all-terrain tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces. Available 18-inch wheels with more voluminous tire sidewalls for off-road adventures are also available.
    • 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

      View full article
    • 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
  • Posts

    • • 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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