Jump to content
  • Los Angeles Auto Show

    Sign in to follow this  
    William Maley

    Honda's crossover lineup grows to four

    The Passport is making a return to Honda, minus the help from Isuzu. Today at an event before the LA Auto Show, Honda unveiled the 2019 Passport which will slot between CR-V and Pilot in their crossover lineup.
    The Pilot DNA's is clearly evident in the Passport's design as the two have the same profile and design cues such as the front grille and sculpted sides. The Passport uses the same platform and 111-inch wheelbase as the Pilot, but is 6.5-inches shorter in overall length. Step inside and you might think that you're in either the Pilot or Ridgeline. The dashboard and center stack design in the Passport is the same as in those two models. One item we're happy to see is a volume knob for the 8-inch infotainment system.
    Power comes from the 3.5L V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is teamed with a nine-speed automatic and the choice of front or Honda's  i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system. Along with a one-inch increase in ground-clearance, Honda claims that the Passport will be very capable off-road (we shall see).
    As for towing, the Passport is rated at 3,500 pounds for FWD and 5,000 for AWD.
    Honda isn't saying on pricing, but we would expect it to be slightly less than the $31,450 for the base Pilot LX. Sales are expected to begin early next year.
    Gallery: 2019 Honda Passport

    Source: Honda


    2019 Honda Passport Makes World Debut: Adventure-Ready All-New 5-passenger SUV on Display at 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show
    Nov 27, 2018 - LOS ANGELES
    Passport provides a unique blend of on- and off-road prowess with exceptional occupant and cargo hauling capability 280-horsepower V6 and available sophisticated all-wheel drive system give Passport robust towing and off-road capabilities Standard Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive tech on all trims Multiple accessory options to personalize Passport ownership The all-new 2019 Honda Passport 5-passenger V6-powered SUV made its world debut today. Going on sale early next year, Passport provides a unique combination of on-road driving refinement and off-road adventure capability along with best-in-class interior space.
    The all-new Honda Passport will slot between the compact CR-V and three-row Pilot in Honda's award-winning SUV lineup. The model's reinforced unibody frame, powerful direct-injected i-VTEC® V6 engine, fully independent suspension and nimble steering make it an ideal choice for driving long distances or around town. In addition, the robust off-road capability offered by the available Honda i-VTM4™ torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and its four-mode Intelligent Traction Management system means Passport can tackle the kind of tough terrain normally reserved for less refined body-on-frame or off-road focused SUVs.
    "The all-new 2019 Honda Passport provides the on-road comfort and nimble handling buyers will appreciate on their daily commute with the robust off-road and all-weather capability that make for a great weekend adventure vehicle," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and general manager, Honda Division. "We saw an opportunity to deliver something that Honda is uniquely capable of making and the new Passport is in a great position to capture buyers looking for a more personal, powerful and capable Honda SUV."
    Designed and developed exclusively by Honda's North America R&D teams in Torrance, California, and Raymond, Ohio, the Passport and its V6 engine will be manufactured at the company's Lincoln, Alabama plant.
    Additional key product highlights include:
    Standard 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 engine with i-VTEC® valvetrain mated to latest-generation 9-speed automatic transmission Available Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4™) torque-vectoring all-wheel drive enhances on- and off-road performance Intelligent Traction Management system with available Snow, Sand and Mud modes help optimize performance for varying surface conditions Standard Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technology Standard 20-inch alloy wheels and tires on all trims Best-in-class underfloor cargo storage Wide range of Honda accessories for active lifestyles, including Adventure and Urban accessory packages The all-new 2019 Honda Passport's rugged exterior design and stance is highlighted by standard 20-inch wheels, a matte-black grille, floating roof design, aggressive wheel arches, increased ride height and a tailgate design that emphasizes width. 
    Inside, Passport offers best-in-class passenger space (115.9 cu.-ft.) and total interior volume (157.1 cu.-ft.) for carrying family, friends and weekend adventure gear. Passport features a large (best-in-class 2.5 cu.-ft.) segmented underfloor cargo compartment for carrying dirty gear or keeping valuables out of sight.
    Passport will be offered in four trims: the well-appointed Sport, upgraded EX-L, high-tech Touring, and the fully equipped Elite. All models except the line-topping Elite can be configured with 2- or all-wheel drive – all Elite trims come standard with all-wheel drive. All trims will feature 20-inch alloy wheels and tires, the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technology, LED headlights, fog lights, taillights and DRLs, Smart Start and Smart Entry and three-zone automatic climate control. EX-L and higher trims utilize Honda's latest Display Audio interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, a physical volume knob and Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration. 
    Additional exterior upgrades, depending on trim, include a power tailgate with available hands-free operation, a one-touch tilt/slide moonroof and heated auto-dimming and power folding side mirrors. Furthermore, the blind spot information system, rear cross traffic monitor, and front and rear parking sensors are available driver assistive technologies. Available premium features include second-row sunshades, wireless phone charging, embedded Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi, premium audio, and HondaLink® cloud-based services, including remote unlocking, concierge services, stolen vehicle tracking and more. 
    Powertrain
    All 2019 Honda Passport trims are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 280 peak horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque (SAE net), placing Passport in the top of its class for standard horsepower in a segment where some competitors offer less powerful 4-cylinder engines as standard equipment. The Honda i-VTEC® V6 is mated to the latest-generation of Honda's 9-speed automatic transmission (9AT) that is among the most advanced in the class, offering smooth and responsive power delivery.
    At the heart of the robust all-weather and off-road driving capabilities is Honda's available i-VTM4™ all-wheel drive system. Unlike most competing systems, i-VTM4™ uses active torque vectoring to send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 100 percent of that torque to either the left or right rear wheels. This capability gives Passport excellent handling in all conditions, such as rain-slicked or snowy roads or sandy trails, while also contributing to more responsive performance by overdriving the outside rear wheel in turns. In addition, the Intelligent Traction Management (ITM) is standard on both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive Passport. In all-wheel drive applications, the four-mode ITM systems works in conjunction with i-VTM4™, allowing drivers to customize powertrain performance for different weather and terrain, including sand, snow and mud. In front-wheel drive models, the system has two modes for normal and snow conditions.
    Tested in the world's harshest environments, including the sands of Dubai, muddy country roads of Russia, and snowbound trails in Minnesota, the combination of i-VTM4™ and Intelligent Traction Management make Passport more capable off road than many unibody SUVs, giving drivers the confidence to tackle not just wet or rainy conditions, but a variety of harsh off-road terrains.
    Passport is well equipped for towing, with 3,500-pound capacity on front-wheel drive models and 5,000 pounds on all-wheel drive models when both are equipped with the optional towing package. Passport is the gateway to adventure being able to tow camping trailers, boats, or "toy" haulers, over more rugged terrain. The standard multi-view rear-view camera makes connecting to a trailer easier than ever with its "overhead" option giving the driver a bird's eye view of the hitch and trailer.
    Exterior Design and Platform
    Honda's most rugged light truck yet, Passport's expressive design leaves no doubt of its adventure-seeking mission and is highlighted by its higher ride height, standard 20-inch wheels, 245/50R all-weather tires and sporty styling cues, including a matte black grille and bumper, blackout headlights and black wheels. LED headlight accents, gloss black trim, a "floating" C-pillar, and chrome exhaust finishers hint at Passport's around-town sophistication. Trim-exclusive wheel designs are available across the lineup, and Touring and Elite trims offer upsized 265/45R20 tires as standard equipment.
    Beyond good looks, Passport's design offers superior functionality as well. Ground clearance is up 0.5 inches on front-wheel drive models and 1.1 inches on all-wheel drive models compared to Passport's three-row sibling, Pilot, while its shorter overall length and shortened rear overhang offer improved approach, departure and breakover angles, suitable for more rugged terrain.
    Passport's wider wheels and tires complement its athletic and sporty stance and support both responsive around-town handling and increased grip off-road. A ruggedly styled front end stands out on the road with its scratch-resistant matte finish grill suited to the off-road adventures Passport is designed for.
    Passport is based on Honda's Global Light Truck platform and shares much of its underlying structure with the three-row Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup, including its highly rigid unibody construction. This platform has a fully boxed floor that is sophisticated yet strong with a four-wheel independent suspension, with MacPherson struts in front and a multilink independent rear. The latest generation of Honda's proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, provides outstanding frontal collision protection and collision compatibility with larger and smaller vehicles.
    Interior Design and Packaging
    Passport's modern and sophisticated interior design offers ample space for five people and provides class-leading passenger volume of 115.9 cu.-ft. and best-in-class total interior volume of 157.1 cu.-ft. From Sport to Elite trims, Passport features high-quality interior appointments including attractive and durable cloth on Sport or perforated leather on EX-L, Touring and Elite trims, a blackout headliner, and generous use of soft-touch surfaces on the dash and doors.
    Passport's interior also offers class-leading utility. Behind the second row of seats is a cargo area generously sized for weekend camping trips or excursions to the home improvement store, with 41.2 cu. ft. of space, expandable to 77.9 cu. ft. with the second row folded flat, which is more than enough to accommodate mountain bikes or a week's worth of camping gear. From the cargo area, the second-row seatbacks fold with the push of a button, and Passport's main cargo floor is reversible between carpeted and easy-to-clean hard plastic surfaces. Passport features class-leading underfloor storage, with 2.5 cu. ft. of easily accessible compartmented storage, which can be accessorized with removable washable bins, including a custom bin for storing the available accessory trailer hitch receiver.
    There's also plenty of space for small stuff. Passport offers generous storage space for front seat passengers, including a huge center console bin between the front seats with a rolling cover that serves as a tray when closed. Additional storage is found in the doors and ahead of the push-button gear selector.
    Technology
    Packed with available modern amenities such as an audio and connectivity system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration and a digital driver's meter, Passport delivers all the modern technology that today's SUV buyers demand.
    Passport Sport trim comes standard with a 215-watt audio system with a 5-inch display monitor and 6 speakers, plus a subwoofer. Passport EX-L, Touring and Elite trims feature Honda's 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone integration and manual power/volume knob. The Display Audio system uses gestures common to smartphones and tablets, such as swipe, tap and pinch, to control the vehicle's audio system, display settings and other advanced features. Intuitive and easy to use, with a simplified menu structure, it also offers customizable shortcuts for commonly used features and customizable app locations. Passport Touring and Elite trims come with a 590-watt 10-speaker premium audio system.
    Passport's instrument cluster uses a 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) screen with a wide range of information content. In addition to displaying typical vehicle functions such as vehicle speed and RPM, the full-color digital meter includes a Multi-Information Display (MID) with customizable features, such as audio system information, a detailed trip computer, phone information, and turn-by-turn route guidance on Passport models equipped with navigation. Drivers navigate the new TFT using steering wheel controls designed for intuitive operation, such as Bluetooth® phone buttons that are more easily distinguished by touch.
    Touring and Elite trims of Passport provide 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi TCU that can supporting up to seven devices and a free 90-day/3GB trial period AT&T data plan. The TCU is key to Passport's support of numerous HondaLink® cloud-based services. Using an app, owners can keep track of maintenance and even book appointments, remember their Passport's location and numerous other functions.
    Safety and Driver Assistance Technology
    The Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies is standard on all 2019 Passport trims. Honda Sensing® helps provide greater awareness of driving conditions around the vehicle, in some cases helps drivers maintain lane position and, under certain conditions slowing or even stopping the vehicle if it detects a potential front collision. Honda Sensing® includes Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) featuring Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) including Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assistance System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). The new Passport was designed to provide a high level of active and passive safety performance and targets an NCAP 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score safety rating and an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK rating. All tested 2019 model-year Honda vehicles achieve an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score safety rating.
    All Passport trims come equipped with a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with overhead "bird's eye" view, ideal for trailer hookups. Additional available driver-assistive technologies include dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, blind spot Information system (EX-L, Touring and Elite) with Rear Cross-Traffic Detection, and front and rear parking sensors (Touring and Elite).
    Accessories
    A wide variety of Honda Genuine Accessories are designed for Passport, including roof boxes of various sizes, a roof basket, and roof-mounted bike, kayak and ski or snowboard racks. Inside, Passport owners can weatherproof their cargo area with hard plastic covers for the floor, sides, and seatbacks. The underfloor storage can be divided with separate, removable and washable bins.
    For those seeking a more sophisticated urban look, a variety of cosmetic exterior items are available, such as a colored graphics package, undercarriage welcome lights, and lighted door sills. From the outset, Passport will be available with two accessory packages. The Adventure Package adds running boards, a trailer hitch, fender flares and more for outdoor weekend getaways. The Urban Package adds front and rear underbody spoilers, unique 20-inch wheels, cargo storage bins and roof rails and crossbars for a sophisticated in-town look.

    William Maley

    Surprise! Rivian has another vehicle up its sleeve.

    A day after electric-car startup Rivian revealed the R1T truck, the company has rolled out their second model that will be arriving in 2021.
    The R1S SUV utilizes the same skateboard platform as we detailed on the R1T with the battery pack, electric motors, brakes, suspension, and advanced thermal-management system. Battery size and power output are the same as the R1T, but the R1S gains about 10 miles in overall range.
    105-kWh: 402 horsepower, and 413 lb-ft of torque, range of 240+ miles 135-kWh: 754 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 310+ miles 180-kWh: 700 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 410+ miles For those interested in towing, the R1S is rated at a max 7,716 pounds.
    It is impossible to tell the difference of the R1T and R1S in terms of the design when looking at the front. Both have a wide uni-brow light that acts as a charging meter when plugged, and oval-shaped headlights. Move to the side and difference between the two become quite clear. Rivian was clearly going for something with some off-road flavor. There's a boxy profile, body cladding running around the underside of the vehicle, and a set of skid plates. Compared to the truck, the R1S is about 15-inches shorter in overall length and wheelbase. The interior is the same as the R1T's with large screens and a modern design. There's seating for up to seven people.
    Rivian isn't proving any information on pricing for the R1S, but we're expecting it to be slightly more expensive than the R1T. Production is expected to begin in 2021.
    Gallery: Rivian R1S SUV
    Source: Rivian


    RIVIAN LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC ADVENTURE VEHICLES

    Los Angeles, CA, November 27, 2018 – Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, unveiled its highly anticipated Electric Adventure Vehicles™ — the R1T, an all-electric pickup and the R1S, an all-electric SUV — at events surrounding the LA Auto Show this week.
    The R1T™, a 5-passenger pickup truck, debuted at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Nov. 26, and the R1S™, a 7-passenger SUV, was revealed at the automaker’s press conference at Automobility on Nov. 27. With up to 400+ miles in electric range, a wading depth of 1 meter, lockable storage bins that can fit the bulkiest of gear, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD, Rivian vehicles have been developed to help customers get out and explore the world. Both vehicles will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing facility in Normal IL.
    “We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.”
    Skateboard Platform
    The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.
    Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension – allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.
    Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling. With 3,500 Nm of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 Nm of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T and R1S can both reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.
    “The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power; this architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on- and off-road,” said Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels.
    Design
    Exterior
    The R1T and R1S designs communicate strength and refinement while still inviting customers to get the vehicles dirty. Strong proportions and clean, continuous bodylines help achieve a modern, inviting stance while acknowledging the performance and level of technology integrated into the vehicles.
    The main bodyline of the R1T, which wraps up and around the cab and gives the vehicle a distinctive silhouette, while highlighting the Gear Tunnel™ cutline and accentuating the rear fender flares. The R1S shares much of its appearance with the R1T but in the rear highlights a function-driven design expressing capability and utility with plenty of space for occupants and gear. Both vehicles feature short overhangs, high ground clearance and aggressive approach and departure angles for a confident and rugged stance, all enabled by Rivian’s unique skateboard platform. A Rivian will be quickly recognized, with its iconic, signature “stadium” headlights and a daytime running light that extends the entire width of the vehicle.
    Interior
    In harmony with the exterior, the interior of Rivian’s vehicles welcomes occupants into a premium environment that conveys craftsmanship yet invites rugged, daily use. Color and materials play an important role in differentiating Rivian vehicles. Sustainably sourced wood is used throughout the interior and its natural finish contributes to a warm and inviting feel. The most striking use of wood is as a structural element that integrates the main center display and driver cluster, integrating form and function beautifully. In the high-wear areas of the interior, the materials take inspiration from sportswear and active gear, combining durable and innovative materials that can easily be cleaned.
    “Although the exterior of the vehicle is what first attracts you, the interior is where you spend the most of your time, so we really focused on creating a transformational space inside our vehicles,” said VP of Vehicle Design Jeff Hammoud. “The biggest challenge was creating an interior design that delivered a premium experience, while still being comfortable as a space that is heavily used. To do this, we looked outside the automotive industry and took inspiration from contemporary furniture, as well as hiking and outdoor gear, to drive the design.”
    Utility
    The R1S and R1T leverage the vehicle architecture to deliver more lockable storage than any other vehicle in their respective segments. The 330-liter front trunk on the R1T and R1S is easily accessed for daily use with the hood fully powered for opening and closing.
    The R1T’s lockable Gear Tunnel aft of the cab extends across the vehicle and provides more than 350 liters of space for hauling oversized gear, such as snowboards, golf bags or strollers. The Gear Tunnel doors also act as steps for loading items into the bed or onto the roof, as well as a seat for such as lacing up hiking boots. The R1T has a watertight, integrated tonneau cover for the bed and beneath the bed floor is a 200-liter sealed bin that can also be used to store a full-size spare tire. The bed features three 110-volt outlets and integrated compressed air.
    As part of a Gear GuardTM feature, the bed also has two integrated locking cables to safely secure bicycle frames and other gear to the bed. Any gear stored in the bed is monitored by a bed camera and alerts owners should the bed or contents be tampered with.
    The rear of the R1S features a liftgate and small tailgate, with the tailgate providing an area to sit and prep for activities such as gearing up for a mountain climb to tightening skis. The second and third row seats fold flat to provide room for any gear required.
    Rivian has developed a racking system that utilizes telescoping racks with easy-to-use mounts that quickly attach to the roof of either the R1T or R1S, as well as the bed rails and bed floor of the R1T. The racks integrate with a range of accessories including tents, travel containers and bike/ski racks. When not in use, the racks can be easily stored in the front trunk.
    Battery System
    Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind — incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature. Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability. Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.
    The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.
    Connectivity and Digital Experience
    Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security. This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services. The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen. Understanding its customers desire for connected adventure, Rivian developed maps, music, navigation and other adventure-focused features to complete the digital experience. The digital user interface strongly reflects adventure, outdoors and exploration – the experience is immersive and natural whether it’s being used in a connected urban setting or well off the beaten path.
    Self-Driving
    The R1T and R1S will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.
    Safety
    Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.
    Vehicle Specifications


    William Maley

    Look, racing van!

    Volkswagen will be trotting out the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept at this week's L.A. Auto Show with a bit of a twist. The concept already made its debut at commercial vehicle show in Germany earlier in the year. But Volkswagen has given the concept a fresh coat of paint and outfitted it to be a support vehicle for VW's I.D. R Pikes Peak electric race car.
    The cargo variant of the Buzz is about four inches longer in overall length when compared to the standard Buzz, allowing for more space to store stuff. The exterior is quite flashy with racing numbers, graphics, and a track outline of the Pikes Peak course. The interior has been fitted with a full set of shelves to store parts and tools; pop-out workbench, and a 230-volt outlet to plug in power tools. Volkswagen swaps out the captain chairs for a bench seat to boost seat capacity to three.
    Power comes from a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle with 201 horsepower. Volkswagen says the production model could be offered with two batteries, either a 48-kWh version for urban deliveries or a 111-kWh version delivering a range of 340 miles on the WLTP cycle.
    Volkswagen says the cargo version of the I.D. Buzz could arrive in Europe in 2022. No word on if it could arrive in the U.S.
    Gallery: Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept
    Source: Volkswagen
    VOLKSWAGEN I.D. BUZZ CARGO CONCEPT MAKES AUTO SHOW DEBUT AT 2018 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW
    Spacious electric panel van concept is based on the MEB toolkit Innovative zero-emissions panel van could be launched as early as 2022 340 miles of range on the WLTP cycle with the largest battery available "I.D. Pilot" mode allows full autonomous driving Unique features include: digital cargo system, 230V socket to provide power for workers' tools, and solar roof that can extend the daily range by up to 9.3 miles Vehicle is reimagined in LA as a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder Los Angeles (November 27, 2018) – The original Volkswagen Transporter is the most recognizable light commercial vehicle of all time. With the auto show premiere of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is showing how an electrically powered and completely redeveloped Transporter might change the world of LCVs. Based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), and a sibling to the I.D. BUZZ concept first shown in Detroit last year, the CARGO could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022.
    Such a vehicle has the potential to revolutionize parcel delivery. Between 2005 and 2015, the global number of parcels delivered grew by 128 percent, due in large part to the revolution in e-commerce and home delivery. In the U.S., delivery trucks account for 7 percent of urban traffic and 17 percent of congestion costs due to wasted hours and fuel. The use of autonomous electric delivery vans has the potential to lower the CO2 footprint of these vehicles, lower operating costs to delivery services (and thus, potentially, to customers), and make the whole process more efficient.
    As the newest member of the I.D. Family—a new generation of fully-connected electric vehicles—CARGO features long range driving capability. Depending on the size of the battery pack, CARGO can achieve ranges between about 200 and 340 miles on the WLTP cycle. If the vehicle covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis, a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 48 kWh is recommended. If greater range is needed, the energy capacity can be increased up to 111 kWh.
    Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has combined the battery in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO with a 201-horsepower (150 kW) electric motor, a single-speed transmission, and rear-wheel drive. However, an all-wheel drive system, like the one implemented in the I.D. BUZZ, is possible in the future simply by adding a motor at the front of the vehicle. The flow of high-voltage energy between the motor and the battery is controlled by the power electronics. Direct current (DC) stored in the battery is converted into alternating current (AC). A DC/DC converter supplies the on-board electronics with 12 volts. The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.
    The 111kWh battery in the CARGO can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes with a 150 kW DC fastcharger. The battery system has also been prepared for inductive charging. To charge, the van is positioned over a charging platewhile parking. As soon as the control unit of the charging plate in the pavement has set up a communications channel with the vehicle, contactless energy can be transferred through an electromagnetic field generated between two coils (one in the floor of the parking space and one in the vehicle).
    Exterior 
    The design of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is defined by the interplay of familiar elements of the original Transporter’s DNAwith futuristic elements. The front end, in particular, with a characteristic "V" and a typically friendly "face" clearly reflects the old car, yetis a completely new interpretation. Instead of the round headlights of the original model, the CARGO has interactive LED systems which not only illuminate the road, but also communicate interactively with pedestrians. Another defining feature of the design is the short front overhang. The transporter is 198.7 in long, 77.8 in wide and 77.3 in tall, with a wheelbase of 129.9 inches. Since the rear overhang was extended by about 4 inches, the cargo version of the I.D. BUZZ is significantly longer than the vehicle shown in Detroit. The CARGO concept has a payload (maximum load) of 1,760 pounds.
    Outside, the CARGO concept is differentiated from the I.D. BUZZ by a new solar roof, wide-opening rear doors and a new rear bumper. The solar roof features a photovoltaic system that generates so much energy that it is able to extend the range of the vehicle by up to 9.3 miles a day. With a view towards optimizing cargo space via a shelving system, there is no sliding door on the driver’s side, typical of LCVs. The front doors and sliding door open electrically. Unlocking the vehicle from the outside is activated via a sensor. The CARGO recognizes authorized persons via a digital key which is sent to the van from a smartphone. Instead of the 22-inch wheels of the Detroit concept vehicle, new 20-inch wheels are used with 235/55 tires.
    The I.D. BUZZ CARGO shown in Los Angeles has been reimagined from the version first shown in Hannover earlier this year. As a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder, its livery mimics the R’s colors and the design includes the course map for the prestigious race.
    Interior 
    Like all members of the I.D. Family, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is characterized by an exceptionally large interior, thanks to the packaging advantages brought by the MEB architecture. The battery is integrated into the vehicle floor, lowering the vehicle's center of gravity and improving handling significantly. The transporter's axles have been shifted outwards, because no space is required for a combustion engine at the front, and the compact electric motor is mounted on the rear axle, creating up to 7 cubic feet of extra space in the front of the vehicle.
    The interior has been tailored for commercial use, down to the smallest detail. Instead of two single seats in the front, the concept vehicle is equipped with a driver's seat and a double bench-seat on the front passenger side. The middle seat can be folded down to open up a workspacewhere the driver can use an integrated laptop. In the automated "I.D. Pilot" mode,this can even be done on the move. The driver activates the autonomous mode by simply pushing on the steering wheel for a few seconds, which then retracts into the instrument panel. Then the driver's seat can be turned 15 degrees to the right, enabling the on-board computer to be operated from the ideal ergonomic position.
    In driving mode, the main controls are located on the steering wheel and key information is projected in 3D via an Augmented Reality (AR) head-up display. Rear view mirrors become a thing of the past, with cameras projecting images onto small screens in the cab, and other information such as infotainment and climate control functions is displayed on a tablet.
    The cargo compartment begins behind the first seat row and a bulkhead. In cooperation with the German equipment specialist Sortimo, a shelving system with sensors has been developed for the cargo area. This shelving system is connected to the vehicle via a customer-specific function control unit and a CAN interface. The data is transferred by WLAN to tablets in the cargo space and cockpit. By means of a mobile radio network, the functional control unit might communicate with a company’s job or order-management system, theoretically making it possible to track all articles on the shelves. This enables precise online management of the type and quantity of freight and equipment in this futuristic Transporter. Further data is provided by the ConnectedVan fleet management system. In its LA role as a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak, the vehicle is outfitted with a workbench and parts for the I.D. R.
    During autonomous driving it is possible to accept, schedule, and process orders from the driver's workplace. Thanks to the connected shelving system's data it is also possible to perform order-related stock checks while on the move. It is also possible to perform optimum, flexible route planning,taking customer appointments into account. Thanks to the Safety Check function, any unsecured tools or missing parts are indicated before the start of the journey. Any components taken out get automatically registered, working times recorded and invoices issued. An 8.6-square-footlight integrated in the roof makes access to the items even easier and quicker.
    Driving up to loading ramps is made easier by the wide-opening, symmetrical rear doors. When they are opened, a workbench can be folded out. Even high-performance work tools can be supplied with power there from 230V electrical sockets (16A) via the battery. This has been implemented to ensure that the I.D.BUZZ CARGO is not just a means of transportation, but also a standalone mobile workshop.

    William Maley

    For those who want speed and comfort with the top down

    For those wondering when Bentley was planning to introduce a drop-top version of the second-generation Continental GT, wonder no more. This week, Bentley has revealed the 2019 Continental GT Convertible.
    There isn't any significant design changes aside from the roof being lopped off. The new power-folding soft top opens and closes in 19 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Bentley is offering a tweed option for the roof. The interior is lavishly appointed with impressive materials and a new neckwarmer system to keep warm when the top is down.
    Power comes from a 6.0L twin-turbo W12 producing 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. 0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds - just a tenth slower than the coupe. Not bad since the convertible comes in a hefty 5,322 pounds.
    Bentley hasn't announced a launch timeframe or price for the Continental GT Convertible.
    Gallery: 2019 Bentley Continental GT Convertible
    Source: Bentley


    ALL-NEW BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT CONVERTIBLE: THE PINNACLE OPEN-TOP GRAND TOURER
    Third generation model represents all Bentley knows about creating the world’s definitive Grand Tourers Beautiful, roof up or down, GT Convertible’s flowing, elegant exterior styling is accented with muscular, sculptural lines Finest handcrafted materials and in-car technologies harmonise to create a connected, personalised cabin Bentley Rotating Display offers customers option of a digital detox Elegantly tailored convertible roof sweeps open in 19 seconds to reveal exquisite, luxurious handcrafted interior Contemporary tweed Convertible roof available for the first time Serenity and style: unique Z-fold roof offers sportier appearance and three-decibel noise reduction New Convertible GT cabin as quiet as previous generation Coupe model All-season open-top Grand Touring enabled thanks to sophisticated luxury features Powerful and responsive driving experience from 635 PS W12 engine, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and latest chassis technologies Convertible body-in-white now 20 per cent lighter, five per cent stiffer 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds); top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph) (Crewe, 26 November 2018) Bentley is introducing the all-new Continental GT Convertible. Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain – and representing all Bentley knows about creating the world’s most stylish and elegant Grand Tourers – the GT Convertible is the very essence of the luxury brand.
    Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors, said: “Elegant understatement that forces you to look; engineering excellence you’ll take for granted – the extraordinary breadth of capabilities offered by the new Continental GT Convertible is unique and can only be offered by our noble British brand.
    We have been building luxury Grand Tourers since the company was founded in 1919 and, as we approach our centenary year, the Continental GT Convertible joins a highly acclaimed range – arguably the strongest and most technologically advanced portfolio of products the world has ever seen in one luxury brand.”
    Elegant and sculptural exterior styling harmonises perfectly with an exquisite handcrafted cabin, featuring the highest quality leathers and sustainably sourced veneers.
    The tailored convertible roof can be deployed or stowed in just 19 seconds, with the car travelling at speeds of up to 30 mph (50 km/h). This transforms the Continental GT Convertible from a luxurious coupe into an open-top Grand Tourer at the touch of a button. Seven different fabric hood colours are available, including an authentic tweed finish for the first time.
    A newly designed neckwarmer (which is both warmer and quieter than in the previous generation model), is seamlessly integrated into the heated Comfort Seats, optimising efficiency and airflow around the electrically adjustable headrests. The styling highlight of the new neckwarmer is a chrome centre vane that stretches the full width of the duct, echoing Bentley’s famous ‘bullseye’ vents. Combined with a heated steering wheel, seat heaters and new heated armrests, these sophisticated comfort features create a luxurious driving experience in all environments.
    The all-new Continental GT Convertible heightens the sensory experience of open-air motoring with exhilarating performance. A powerful 6.0-litre Bentley W12 engine is mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. [WLTP drive cycle: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) - Combined 20.2 (14.0). Combined CO₂- 317g/km. NEDC drive cycle equivalent: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) – Combined 22.8 (12.4). Combined CO₂ - 284g/km.]
    The new powertrain uses the latest engine management technology to produce 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).
    The new Continental GT Convertible also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display for the driver are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves from pure veneer to reveal either a touchscreen or three elegant analogue dials – offering customers the option of a digital detox when desired.
    Elegant, sophisticated and refined, the all-new Continental GT Convertible is the pinnacle of open-top luxury Grand Touring.
    Effortless Elegance Meets Power and Style
    Unmistakably a Bentley – the third generation Continental GT Convertible retains the elegance and style of its forebears. More sculpted and sharply defined, the all-new body and materials combine to create a truly beautiful car – roof up or down.
    The Convertible’s profile is longer and lower than its forebear due to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward. This has allowed the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. The key signature power lines of its coupe sibling still dominate, flowing back towards the muscular rear haunches.
    The lighting on the Continental GT Convertible uses the latest LED Matrix technology, but it is the design of the headlamps that truly sets them apart. Inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses, the internal surfaces are transparent with sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond.
    The result is similar to that of an illuminated gem – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional depth of the optics.
    The all-new Continental GT Convertible has 21” Five Tri-Spoke wheels as standard, with the option of 10-Spoke and 22” Five Open-Spoke wheels. These three wheel designs are offered in a selection of ten polished and painted finishes.
    Convertible customers can choose from the palette of 17 colours, including Beluga, Onyx and Portofino. An optional extended range of colours is also available – as well as the option of full bespoke colour-matching for Bentley customers. These can be coordinated with seven exterior roof colours.
    A Handcrafted Luxurious Cabin
    The exquisite interior of the all-new Continental GT Convertible is a showcase for Bentley’s unrivalled expertise in the use of natural materials, fully revealed to the world when the elegant roof is lowered.
    From the highest-quality leathers, to rare, sustainably sourced veneers, such as Koa and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus, the cabin is a triumph for craftsmanship and artisanal skill. Unique dual-veneer is offered, with over 10 square metres of wood used in every car. Customers have the choice of a polished wooden steering wheel too.
    The dashboard is styled and sculpted by long, flowing wings that mirror the shape of the Bentley badge. Continental GT Convertible customers can choose from eight interior hood lining colours, including Red, Blue and Magnolia.
    The centre console is finished to match the lower fascia, but can be specified in a new technical finish that is inspired by the delicate mechanical surfacing inside the finest mechanical Swiss watches, known as Côtes de Genève. This surface is machined onto 0.6 mm-thick aluminium and is created by machining from side to side to create a linear pattern. Each row is 5 mm wide and machined at an angle to give a truly three-dimensional finish, with each pass of the machine making a minute step of 0.5 mm.
    New types of luxurious haptic finishes adorn the interior of the Continental GT Convertible for greater sensory, as well as visual, enjoyment. In some areas, pillow knurling replaces the traditional mechanical knurling, for a softer, more refined feel on switches and controls, while diamond knurling adds a luxurious touch using a detailed three-dimensional faceted surface.
    The 20-way adjustable Comfort Seats set new industry standards in comfort and refinement. Smooth centre panels allow maximum efficiency for the ventilation, heating and massage functions, while the adjustable bolsters retain the signature Bentley quilting. There is also the option of Hand Cross Stitch finishing.
    A choice of three audio systems is offered in the new Continental GT Convertible. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is available, benefiting from the first automotive application of the BeoSonic system – a new way for tone setting with a simple, intuitive one-touch user interface.
    A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for the true audiophile.
    Behind the wheel, the technological advancements in the new Continental GT Convertible continue. The driver-orientated instrument panel is fully digital and can be personalised by the driver.
    The Bentley Rotating Display offers the choice between a digital or analogue journey. At first glance there appears to be no screen in the centre of the dashboard. Instead, the veneer flows uninterrupted across the dashboard, while a thin chrome bezel behind the steering wheel surrounds a digital instrument display.
    When the engine start button is pressed, however, the veneer in the middle of the dashboard glides silently forward and rotates to reveal Bentley’s largest-ever touchscreen, a 12.3” high-definition-quality digital MMI display, elegantly designed by Bentley with a customer-configurable home screen with three windows able to display the driver’s preferred functions, for example, navigation, media and telephone. The user interface is designed to be akin to a modern mobile phone and menus are structured to be instantly intuitive.
    The third side on the Bentley Rotating Display reveals three elegant analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass and chronometer. Such an innovative use of traditional elements underscores Bentley’s unique commitment to the past and the future, and offers customers the choice of digital or analogue display or clean, calm cabin.
    The new Continental benefits from features designed to keep both driver and passengers connected at all times. Apple CarPlay, the smartest and quickest way to integrate the functionality of Apple devices in a car is connected via a USB port.
    Customer journeys are streamlined with features designed to improve navigation. Online search, powered by Google makes finding destinations simple, while real-time traffic information keeps the driver informed of current length or changes in congestion. In emergency situations, Private eCall provides instant access to emergency services for ultimate peace of mind when travelling.
    Exceptional Optionality including a Tweed Convertible Roof
    The all-new Continental GT Convertible redefines personalisation with paint, leather, veneer and lifestyle options that are virtually unlimited and tailored to the individual.
    The standard palette alone comprises 17 exterior paint colours, with up to 70 hues available in the extended range. There are also 15 luxurious carpet options, eight different handcrafted veneers (with a further four dual veneer options) and 15 choices of interior trim hide, which means that customers are able to specify their own choice of luxury finish.
    Seven exterior roof colours are available, including for the first time a contemporary interpretation of traditional British tweed. Black, Blue, Claret and Grey are among the other options. Furthermore, eight interior roof liner finishes are offered, ranging from New Red to Magnolia.
    The unique Z-fold convertible roof system represents a major improvement both in terms of refinement and packaging. The roof, with its sealing system improvements and acoustic treatments, contributes to a three-decibel reduction in overall noise levels compared to its predecessor at typical cruising speeds.
    An entirely new combination of roof insulating materials and operating mechanism, combined with sealing system improvements and acoustic treatments, have created a Convertible Grand Tourer that is as quiet as the previous generation Continental GT Coupe.
    Two technology option packs are offered at launch: City Specification for urban journeys and the Touring Specification for long-distance driving, both curated to optimise the customer experience.
    City Specification includes hands-free boot opening, pedestrian warning, traffic-sign recognition and city braking systems as well as a top-view camera. The Touring Specification pack, meanwhile, offers adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist, active lane assist, a heads-up display, night vision with an infrared camera, and pre-sense braking.
    The Mulliner Driving Specification adds a more sporting look to the car with 22” lightweight forged alloy wheels, unique ‘diamond in diamond’ quilting, embroidered Bentley emblems, additional veneer options, a jewelled-finish fuel filler, sports pedals and indented leather headliner. Customers can also choose personalised stitching in the front and rear of the car and personalised treadplates.
    As with all Bentleys, the Continental GT Convertible can also be handed over to the highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople at Mulliner, Bentley’s personal commissioning division, who will respond to bespoke customer requirements.
    Sublime Power: The Beating Heart of Bentley
    The all-new Continental GT Convertible is offered at launch with Bentley’s 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine. Designed, developed and handbuilt in Crewe, it is the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world.
    The new powertrain uses the very latest engine management technology, with 300 million software calculations per second. It produces 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, accelerating the Convertible to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).
    The W12 TSI combines high-pressure direct fuel injection with low-pressure injection. The combination of these two systems maximises refinement, lowers particulate emissions and optimises power and torque delivery. [WLTP drive cycle: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) - Combined 20.2 (14.0). Combined CO₂- 317g/km. NEDC drive cycle equivalent: fuel consumption, mpg (l/100km) – Combined 22.8 (12.4). Combined CO₂ - 284g/km.]
    The new engine utilises Start-Stop technology and, in Bentley’s advanced application, coasting is also made possible. The engine rests not only when the vehicle is stationary but also at near-to-stop speeds.
    Bentley’s Variable Displacement system shuts down half of the engine under defined conditions. Intake and exhaust valves, fuel injection and ignition are all shut down on defined cylinders, with the engine running as a six-cylinder for improved efficiency.
    Significantly, a new dual-mass flywheel replaces the torque converter, to dampen out the oscillations of the driveline and provide a fittingly smooth power delivery for luxury touring.
    The dual-clutch eight-speed transmission provides smooth acceleration and impressively quick gearshifts, hallmarks of the Continental GT character, as well as combined fuel economy of 22.8 mpg (UK) or 12.4 L/100 km (NEDC combined).
    A new Active All-Wheel-Drive System replaces the traditional 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels respectively, instead varying the front-to-rear torque split dependent upon the driving situation.
    Unrivalled Grand Touring Ride and Handling
    The third generation of Continental GT Convertible features Bentley Dynamic Ride, an advanced 48-volt roll control system for unrivalled car control. The system controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle and so improves handling and ride comfort, as well as making the car feel lighter and more precise.
    This system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre-to-road contact to deliver class-leading ride comfort and exceptional handling.
    While conventional anti-roll bars present a compromise between body control and ride comfort, Bentley’s active system provides variable torsional resistance, allowing the Continental GT Convertible to be both dynamically capable and comfortable for all occupants at all times. The use of a 48-volt system results in silent, instantaneous responses and sufficient power on hand to deal with all road surfaces.
    Through Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control different modes can be selected: Comfort mode, Bentley mode or Sport mode; the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected drive mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings.
    The air suspension on the new Continental GT Convertible uses three-chamber air springs which give the car 60 per cent more air volume in the softest setting than the previous model. This allowed Bentley’s engineers more scope for tuning the suspension to improve the ride comfort and dynamic character of the car. The system offers the scope to vary from sporting spring stiffness to luxury limousine refinement depending upon which mode the driver has selected.
    As a foundation for this impressive handling, the Continental GT Convertible boasts a body-in-white structure that manages to be both stiffer and lighter than its predecessor. This five per cent improvement in torsional rigidity and 20 per cent reduction in structural weight are achievable thanks to the intelligent utilisation of aluminium and high-tensile steel in the platform.
    Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS) is also featured on the Continental GT Convertible. The new system improves feedback to the driver, while providing isolation from unwanted road disturbances. The steering system features a variable rack ratio, allowing increased response with higher steering angles to aid manoeuvrability whilst maintaining excellent stability at high speeds.
    Another key feature is the latest-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC), which constantly adjusts the damper forces to optimise comfort. The system continually measures the velocity and distance between the wheels and the body at each corner and also adjusts the air volume in the springs if necessary to ensure the optimum balance of comfort and handling. Both front and rear axles are of a lightweight aluminium construction, with multilink design at the front and rear.
    The braking system is the most powerful iron system ever fitted to a Bentley, with a total of 28 pistons. Front brake discs measuring 420 mm are a two-piece construction utilising a cast-iron friction ring and aluminium mounting bell. Front calipers feature ten pistons each, while rear calipers contain four pistons each that clamp 380 mm single-piece discs. Brakes of this scale provide the reliable, repeatable stopping performance inherently important to a 200+ mph sporting Grand Tourer.
    Bentley has worked together with Pirelli to create bespoke tyres for the new Continental GT Convertible right from the very beginning of the design phase. The car runs exclusively on Pirelli P Zero tyres, using a different tyre size between front and rear axles for the first time, to enhance dynamic ability. During the development process, Pirelli’s engineers sat alongside their counterparts from Bentley, driving and refining the car-tyre package until the perfect balance was reached between performance and comfort.
    The latest material compounds help the tyre respond more directly to driver inputs, ensuring a dynamic experience that is balanced and communicative.
    The P Zero tyre fitted to the Bentley also has Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System which reduces road noise coming into the cabin. At the same time, rolling resistance is also improved on the latest P Zero tyres, creating less friction against the road without compromising grip. As a result, both wet and dry grip represent a step forward, with a noticeably reduced risk of aquaplaning.

    William Maley

    Can hit 60 mph in three seconds

    Stop me if you have heard this before; Rivian, a start-up electric automaker is planning to reinvent the various vehicle segments it plans to enter. But unlike most start-ups, Rivian hasn't dropped any sort of vaporware in the form of concepts or teasers. Instead, the company has been quietly working on a production-ready model that will be debuting later this week at the LA Auto Show.
    This is the R1T, a futuristic-looking electric pickup truck. The front end features a unibrow-like central light bar (acts a charging meter by changing green when the truck is plugged) and a set of oval headlights. The back also uses a unibrow-like light bar that wraps around the tailgate. At least the side profile is similar to other pickup designs. Overall dimensions of 215.6 inches for length, 79.3 inches for width, and a 135.8-inch wheelbase place the R1T right in the middle of midsize and full-size pickups. The interior looks futuristic with large screens handling the instrument cluster and infotainment system, and minimal switchgear. But there is also some interesting choices for materials with real wood and cleanable activewear-style fabrics.
    What makes the R1T unique is its skateboard platform. Similar to the skateboard platform GM showed with a fuel-cell concept in 2002, Rivian's platform is made out of aluminum and high-strength steels. It includes the battery pack, electric motors, brakes, suspension, and advanced thermal-management system.
    Rivian will offer three battery packs for the R1T:
    105-kWh: 402 horsepower, and 413 lb-ft of torque, range of 230+ miles 135-kWh: 754 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 300+ miles 180-kWh: 700 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 400+ miles Rivian claims the R1T will get 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes when using a DC fast charger and a full charge in eight hours using a Level 2 charger.
    No matter which battery pack you decide on, the R1T's capability is the same - maximum payload of 1764 pounds and max towing of 11,000 pounds.
    For the suspension, the R1T is fitted with an unequal-length double-wishbone suspension setup in the front and a multilink setup in the rear. This will help if you decide to take the truck off-road. Also part of the suspension package is adaptive dampers and adjustable air suspension.
    Like most start-up automakers, Rivian is promising the R1T will have Level 3 autonomous technology as standard.
    Rivian says the R1T will begin at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit - likely putting the base at just under $70,000. Production is expected to begin in late 2020 at a plant in Normal, Illinois - the former Mitsubishi plant. We'll be watching to see if Rivian can pull it off.
    Gallery: Rivian R1T Pickup
    Source: Rivian


    RIVIAN LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC ADVENTURE VEHICLES WITH DEBUT OF R1T PICKUP
    Los Angeles, CA, November 26, 2018 – Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, has released information about the first of its two Electric Adventure Vehicles™ the R1T™, an all-electric, 5-passenger pickup. The automaker will introduce its fully electric SUV – the R1S™ along with the R1T to the public on Nov. 27, at AutoMobility LA.
    The highly anticipated truck features a range of up to 400+ miles, a wading depth of 1 meter, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD and has been developed to help customers get out and explore the world. The R1T and R1S will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal Il, from late 2020.
    “We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.”
    Skateboard Platform
    The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.
    Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension – allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.
    Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling. With 3,500 Nm of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 Nm of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T can reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.
    “The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power; this architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on- and off-road,” said Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels.
    Design
    Exterior
    Rivian’s vehicles have been designed to communicate strength and refinement while still inviting customers to get them dirty. Strong proportions and clean, continuous bodylines help the vehicles achieve a modern, inviting stance while acknowledging the performance and level of technology integrated into the vehicle.
    The main bodyline of the R1T wraps up and around the cab and gives the vehicle a distinctive silhouette, while highlighting the Gear Tunnel™ cutline and accentuating the rear fender flares. The R1T features short overhangs, high ground clearance and aggressive approach and departure angles for a confident and rugged stance, all enabled by Rivian’s unique skateboard platform. A Rivian will be quickly recognized, with its iconic, signature “stadium” headlights and a daytime running light that extends the entire width of the vehicle.
    Interior 
    In harmony with the exterior, the interior of Rivian’s vehicles welcomes occupants into a premium environment that conveys craftsmanship yet invites rugged, daily use. Color and materials play an important role in differentiating Rivian vehicles. Sustainably sourced wood is used throughout the interior and its natural finish contributes to a warm and inviting feel. The most striking use of wood is as a structural element in the dash that integrates the main center display and driver cluster, integrating form and function beautifully. In the high-wear areas of the interior, the materials take inspiration from sportswear and active gear, combining durable and innovative materials that can easily be cleaned.
    “Although the exterior of the vehicle is what first attracts you, the interior is where you spend the most of your time, so we really focused on creating a transformational space,” said VP of Vehicle Design Jeff Hammoud. “The biggest challenge was creating an interior design that delivered a premium experience, while still being comfortable as a space that is heavily used. To do this, we looked outside the automotive industry and took inspiration from contemporary furniture, as well as hiking and outdoor gear, to drive the design.”

    Vehicle Specifications*
    Utility
    The R1T leverages the vehicle architecture to deliver more lockable storage than any other pickup in the world. The 330-liter front trunk is easily accessed for daily use with the hood fully powered for opening and closing.
    The R1T’s lockable Gear Tunnel sits below the cab, and extends across the width of the vehicle, providing more than 350 liters of space for hauling oversized gear, such as snowboards, golf bags or strollers. The Gear Tunnel doors also act as steps for loading items into the bed or onto the roof, as well as a seat and a convenience platform for such as lacing up hiking boots. The R1T has a watertight, integrated tonneau cover and beneath the bed floor is a 200-liter sealed bin that can also be used to store a full-size spare tire. The bed features three 110-volt outlets and integrated compressed air.
    As part of a Gear Guard™ feature, the bed also has two integrated locking cables to safely secure bicycle frames and other gear to the bed. Any gear stored in the bed is monitored by a bed camera and the system alerts owners should the bed or contents be tampered with.
    Rivian has developed a telescoping racking system with easy-to-use mounts that quickly attach to the roof as well as the bed rails and bed floor. The racks integrate with a range of accessories including tents, travel containers and bike/ski racks. When not in use, the racks can be easily stored in the front trunk.
    Battery System
    Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind — incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature. Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability. Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.
    The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.
    Connectivity and Digital Experience
    Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security. This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services. The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen. Understanding its customers desire for connected adventure, Rivian developed maps, music, navigation and other adventure-focused features to complete the digital experience. The digital user interface strongly reflects adventure, outdoors and exploration – the experience is immersive and natural whether it’s being used in a connected urban setting or well off the beaten path.
    Self-Driving
    The R1T will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.
    Safety
    Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.
    About Rivian
    Rivian is developing vehicles, technology and services that inspire people to get out and explore the world. Whether it’s a family camping trip or a weekend away, Rivian is focused on providing the ultimate platform for experiencing life’s adventures. Rivian has development centers in Plymouth, MI, San Jose, CA, Irvine, CA, and the UK. The company will produce vehicles at its modern, 2.6 million square foot manufacturing plant in Normal, IL. Core to delivering Rivian’s vision is a team of 600 passionate people working in close collaboration to deliver a set of products that electrify adventure.
    Pricing for the R1T starts at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit. Deliveries will begin in late 2020. Fully-equipped vehicles with the highest performance level and largest battery pack will enter production first. The 180 kWh pack (400+ miles range) and 135 kWh pack will be available at launch, with the base variant (250+ miles range) to follow within 12 months of the start of production.
    Rivian is now accepting preorders for a refundable deposit of $1,000. More information is available at www.rivian.com.

    Drew Dowdell

    New 1.3 liter turbo produces 177 hp and best-in-class torque of 210 lb-ft.

    Fiat released details this morning of the 2019 Fiat 500x due to be shown at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show this week.  The primary upgrade is an all-new 1.3 liter turbo-charged 4-cylinder which produces 178 horsepower and a class-leading 210 lb-ft of torque.   This new standard engine comes with engine stop-start (ESS) and Fiat's MultiAir III valve action. All-Wheel drive now comes standard.
    Additional upgrades on the 2019 Fiat 500X include:
    New front and rear fascia LED Daytime running lights Three new wheel options and three new exterior paint colors (Italia Blue, Vibrante Green, and Milano Ivory) Adaptive cruise control and front park assist available Uconnect 4 with 7-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto The 2019 Fiat 500 starts at $25,785 MSRP and will arrive in dealerships in Spring 2019.
     
     

    William Maley

    Where are the vehicles Volvo?!

    Auto shows tend to be the place that the majority of consumers get to poke around a number of new vehicles. So it seems a bit odd that Volvo will not have any vehicles for their LA Auto Show exhibit. What gives?
    “By calling the trade show Automobility LA, the organisers have recognised the disruption affecting our industry. We want to demonstrate that we got the memo and start a conversation about the future of automobility. So instead of bringing a concept car, we talk about the concept of a car. We will not win the ‘car of the show’ award this year, but we are comfortable with that. Because this is not a car show.” said Mårten Levenstam, responsible for product strategy at Volvo Cars in a statement.
    Volvo will instead use their exhibit to showcase its various connected services and tech partnerships. There will be interactive displays for its various connected services, the next-generation Sensus infotainment system with Google Android as the backbone; in-car delivery function via Amazon, Care by Volvo subscription, and more.
    Source: Volvo


    Volvo Cars to show nothing at Automobility LA
    Volvo Cars comes to Automobility LA this year with a world-first: not a single car on the stand.
    Instead the company will demonstrate its vision, redefining what a car can be.
    Since motor shows were introduced, the car has always been a centrepiece, on a rotating stage or covered under a silk sheet. Yet cars are changing, the industry is changing and so are the expectations of people who use cars. Volvo at Automobility LA reflects these changes.
    How consumers experience a car brand is today more important than chrome, leather or horsepower. So on the Volvo stand, visitors will look to the central space where they would expect to find a car, and instead see a simple yet surprising statement: ‘This Is Not A Car’.
    “By calling the trade show Automobility LA, the organisers have recognised the disruption affecting our industry,” said Mårten Levenstam, responsible for product strategy at Volvo Cars. “We want to demonstrate that we got the memo and start a conversation about the future of automobility. So instead of bringing a concept car, we talk about the concept of a car. We will not win the ‘car of the show’ award this year, but we are comfortable with that. Because this is not a car show.”
    In addition to this powerful statement, Volvo Cars will show a number of interactive demonstrations of connectivity services, such as in-car delivery, car sharing, its vision for autonomous driving as displayed in the Volvo 360c concept and the car subscription service Care by Volvo.
    “Our industry is changing. Rather than just building and selling cars, we will really provide our customers with the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “We offer our customers access to a car, including new attractive services whenever and wherever they want it.”
    Volvo Cars really believes in the power of strategic partnerships. With established tech companies like Amazon, Google and Nvidia, as well as with technology startups like Luminar and Zenuity, Volvo demonstrates innovative interaction with new types of partners.
    With the new company purpose Freedom to Move in a personal, sustainable and safe way, Volvo sets the direction for the future. By the middle of next decade, half of the annual car volume will be fully electric, one-third will be autonomous and Volvo will establish over 5 million direct consumer relationships.

    William Maley

    17 Miles of Electric-Only Range is Disappointing

    Last week, we reported on a CARB document providing some details about the upcoming Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid. The document said the model would return "an electric range at 25.650 miles based on the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule - replicates city driving conditions." This is similar to the Toyota Prius Prime which lends its hybrid system to the Crosstrek. But we found ourselves a bit skeptical considering the Crosstrek is heavier and uses an all-wheel drive system - things that reduce range. Hopefully, Subaru would provide some details on it when it arrived at the LA Auto Show next week.
    But Subaru has decided to surprise us by unveiling the Crosstrek Hybrid today. Let's get to that all important question, how far will the model travel on electric power alone? According to Subaru, it is 17 miles on a full charge. Slightly disappointing to say in the least since we were kind of hoping for at least 20. It does slightly better when it comes to fuel economy figures: 90 MPGe combined with the battery charged up and 35 MPG on the combined cycle with the gas engine only.
    The Crosstrek Hybrid's powertrain is comprised of a retuned version of the 2.0L boxer-four engine (137 horsepower and 134 pound-feet), two electric motors, and an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is rated at 148 horsepower and 149 pound-feet. One interesting tidbit is Subaru keeps the single multi-plate transfer clutch at the transmission output to keep power flowing to all wheels - no matter whether it is gas or electric. Recharging takes about two hours on a 240-Volt charger and five hours on a 120-Volt charger.
    Exterior changes for the Crosstrek Hybrid include a charging port on the opposite side of the gas filler, silver accents, and two-tone 18-inch wheels.
    Going hybrid on the Crosstrek is expensive. When it arrives at dealers towards the end of the year, the Crosstrek Hybrid will begin at $35,970 (includes a $975 destination charge).
    Gallery: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
    Source: Subaru
    All-New Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid To Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show
    First-ever Subaru plug-in hybrid vehicle New Subaru StarDrive Technology Standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Up to 90 MPGe Full range of 480 miles when using both gas and electric power EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology standard November 19, 2018 , Los Angeles, CA - Subaru of America, Inc. today introduced its first-ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid. The highly anticipated SUV offers real all-wheel drive capability in a hybrid package. Arriving at Subaru retailers near the end of this year, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid will also feature unique exterior and interior styling and new in-vehicle technology. The new SUV also qualifies for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) permits in many states, including CA, MD and NY.
    The Crosstrek has become the brand’s third-best-selling model in America since its debut six years ago. Priced at $34,995 plus $975 for destination and delivery*, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is the most powerful and most efficient version of the versatile compact SUV ever.
    The Hybrid features the new Subaru StarDrive Technology that uniquely integrates electric motors, a 2.0-liter direct-injection SUBARU BOXER® engine, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and a new Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
    Subaru StarDrive Technology employs two electric motors. One motor functions as an engine starter. Conversely, it can be powered by the engine to function as a generator for the hybrid battery. The second motor powers the vehicle for hybrid and electric driving modes. It also charges the hybrid battery during regenerative braking.
    The Crosstrek Hybrid is capable of speeds up to 65 mph when in full electric mode and is a full second faster from 0 to 60 mph than the standard Crosstrek. The new powertrain not only yields quicker acceleration, but up to 90 MPGe with a total range of 480 miles.
    The high-capacity lithium-ion battery, mounted beneath the cargo area, enables the Hybrid to achieve an EV range of 17 miles, which covers a variety of trips.
    An electronically controlled brake system has been developed. Braking control has been optimized to distribute braking force between the regenerative brakes and mechanical brakes, thereby maximizing the amount of power regeneration to improve fuel efficiency and extended battery life.
    Like the Crosstrek, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is built around the Subaru Global Platform that was designed to accommodate hybrid and electric powertrains. The standard Linerartronic CVT features X-MODE and Hill Descent Control for enhanced performance in low-friction and off-road conditions. The Crosstrek Hybrid’s 8.7-inches of ground clearance and 1,000 lb. towing capacity provide versatility in both off-road and city driving. The 60/40-split fold-down rear seats offer up to 43.1 cu.ft of cargo space, enough space for camping gear or luggage. The standard SI-DRIVE is a powertrain performance management system that allows the driver to tailor the vehicle’s throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes. Standard Active Torque Vectoring, first introduced on the WRX model line, applies light brake pressure to the inside front wheel while cornering for improved control and handling.
    Exclusive to the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is a striking new exterior color, Lagoon Blue Pearl, one of four available hues. The SUV is further distinguished by blue headlight projector rings and unique silver metallic finish on the front grille, lower front bumper and body cladding, and fog light accents. The low-profile roof rails and spoiler in black finish, along with unique 18-inch wheels in black with machine finish, accentuate this model’s sleek styling. A “Plug-In Hybrid” badge adorns the rear gate and fenders, and “Plug-In” text is imprinted in the charge port door.
    The Hybrid’s interior features exclusive new high-contrast Gray and Navy-Blue leather seats, door panels and armrests. The cabin is complemented with blue stitching and accent panels throughout.
    The fun-to-drive Crosstrek Hybrid comes with an array of standard features including the 8.0-inch STARLINK Multimedia Plus system with Apple CarPlay™ and Android™ Auto; Keyless Access with Push-Button Start; Automatic Climate Control; Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display; power windows with auto-up/auto-down on both driver and passenger sides; power door locks and side mirrors; LED fog lights and dual rear USB ports. The standard All-Weather Package includes heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icer and heated exterior mirrors. The leather-wrapped steering wheel includes audio, Bluetooth® and SI-Drive control switches. For easy recognition while driving, the high-grade instrument panel includes a 4.2-inch color LCD as well as a power meter for real-time power output and regeneration. The high-grade multifunction display located above the center stack adds exclusive hybrid functions including driving and charging screens.
    With safety as a top priority, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with a suite of driver-assist and safety features. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology includes Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Departure and Sway Warning; and Lane Keep Assist. For the first time in a Subaru vehicle, a Driver Assist Indicator has been installed at the top of the combination meter to increase visibility of EyeSight status or other warnings. Standard Steering Responsive Headlights illuminate curves as the vehicle steers into them. Reverse Automatic Braking can apply the vehicle’s brakes if an obstacle is detected while reversing. LED High Beam Assist encourages the driver to maximize the use of high beams without worry of impairing oncoming traffic. Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Cross Traffic Alert is also standard. Further, the Hybrid features a Pedestrian Alert System that provides an audible warning to pedestrians within the proximity of the vehicle when it is traveling below 20 mph. Like all 2019 Crosstrek models, the Hybrid comes standard with seven airbags including driver and front passenger frontal airbags, side curtain airbags, side pelvis/torso airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.
    An option package priced at $2,500 offers a power moonroof, heated steering wheel and STARLINK 8.0-inch Multimedia Navigation system with voice activated navigation powered by TomTom. Also included with the package is a Harman Kardon 8-speaker system with 432-watt equivalent amplifier.
    SUBARU STARLINK In-Vehicle Technology provides hands-free connectivity and entertainment through the vehicle’s multimedia or navigation system. All STARLINK Multimedia systems offer a high-resolution touchscreen; smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Aha™, and Pandora®; Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming connectivity; AM/FM stereo; and Rear Vision Camera as standard. The 8.0-inch Multimedia Plus includes a single-disc CD player and voice activated controls for phone and Near Field Communication to the list of features. The top-of-the-line 8.0-inch Multimedia with Navigation adds navigation powered by TomTom, voice activated navigation and over-the-air updates.
    New features for SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services, exclusive to Crosstrek Hybrid, include Remote Climate Control and Remote Battery Charging Timer. The vehicle’s climate control can function without starting the engine, so it can warm up or cool down even when garaged. The Remote Battery Charging Timer allows a user to manage the vehicle charging schedule and monitor its status. The Hybrid comes with a 10-year complimentary subscription to SUBARU STARLINK Safety and Security Plus package, which includes Remote Climate Control and Remote Battery Charging Timer, SOS emergency assistance and automatic collision notification. It also features maintenance notifications, monthly vehicle health report and diagnostic alerts, stolen vehicle recovery service, vehicle security alarm notification, remote lock/unlock, remote horn and lights, and remote vehicle locator and parenting features including boundary, speed and curfew alerts. The STARLINK Concierge package is available and features in-vehicle assistance with restaurant and hotel reservations, purchasing tickets for sporting/theater events and scheduling service appointments.
    *Destination & Delivery is $975 and may vary in the following states: CT, HI, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI and VT. D&D is $1,125 for retailers in Alaska.

    Drew Dowdell

    First uncamoed pictures of Hyundai's new 8 passenger crossover

    Due to be fully revealed on November 28th, the first uncamouflaged pictures of the Hyundai Palisade have leaked out on a Russian website.  Positioned as Hyundai's flagship SUV, the Palisade is an 8-passenger crossover designed to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Dodge Durango.  We saw a preview of the Palisade in the Hyundai HDX-2 Grandmaster Concept. Power is expected to come from one of Hyundai's V6es.  
    The Palisade effectively replaces the Sante Fe XL and will share components with the upcoming Kia Telluride. 

    William Maley

    Both come equipped with "track-tuned" suspension and brakes

    Toyota has been doing their best to make the Camry and Avalon a bit more exciting to help shed their plain image. Their latest attempt involves Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to work their magic on these two sedans. The end result is the Camry and Avalon TRD which will be showing up at the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks.
    The changes begin under the skin as TRD fits new shock absorbers and springs that drops both models by 0.6-inches; thicker underbody braces, and larger brakes. Camry TRD models get thicker sway bars to improve overall handling, The Avalon TRD does without the sway bars as Toyota believes buyers of this model still want a little bit of comfort.
    Power comes from the 3.5L V6 found in the regular Camry and Avalon with 301 horsepower. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic. TRD fits their catback exhaust system that allows for more of a growl. 
    Both models wear a body kit that includes a front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and a decklid spoiler. Red accents on various trim pieces and 19-inch wheels finished in black complete the look.
    Toyota says both TRD models will be available next fall.
    Gallery: 2020 Toyota Avalon and Camry TRD
    Source: Toyota


    Toyota Racing Development Turns Up Heat for Camry and Avalon
    Toyota’s First-Ever Camry TRD and Avalon TRD Track-Tuned Chassis Upgrades Aggressive Cat-Back Dual Exhaust Exclusive Matte-Black 19-Inch Alloy Wheels Calty-Designed Aero kit Unique TRD Interior Trim Limited Availability PLANO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2018) – Toyota is once again bringing its racing pedigree to the road as it unveils the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, two sedans with an appetite for curves and a distinct exhaust note bristling with attitude. With aero-enhanced styling by Calty, Toyota’s U.S. design studio, and chassis performance fortified by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), these revved-up Camry and Avalon models are the track-tuned sedans that enthusiasts have been asking for.
     
    Many Toyota enthusiasts already know the equity behind the TRD badge seen on the brand’s hardcore, off-road-ready pickups and SUVs. Conquering the Baja, however, is just one of many feats won by TRD vehicles across the motorsports spectrum. Now, TRD brings its track tuning to sedans that blend greater agility, precision and body control with attention-grabbing design and everyday drivability.
     
    When Toyota introduced the new-generation 2018 Camry, sales of the sporty SE and XSE versions spiked. A year later, Toyota introduced the all-new 2019 Avalon, which came in an available XSE grade for the first time ever. These sedans are stylish and fun to drive. And Toyota is pushing the limit even further with Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, both with greater track-inspired handling performance and styling. These models include all standard content from the Camry SE grade and Avalon XSE grade, combined with exclusive TRD chassis enhancements and tuning.
     
    Camry TRD and Avalon TRD will both be model year 2020 vehicles and available in fall 2019.
    Roaring to Go
     
    The new Camry TRD and Avalon TRD embody TRD’s holistic approach to vehicle enhancement. Notably, both are powered by Toyota’s renowned 301 horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6 and 8AT with sport mode and paddle shifters. The V6 breathes easier with a specially-tuned cat-back dual exhaust, giving both models a throatier idle and acceleration sound.
     
    “Track-tuned” means exactly that. TRD engineers developed the dynamic characteristics through extensive testing at Toyota Arizona Proving Ground, TMC Higashi-Fuij Proving Ground (Japan), and MotorSport Ranch (Texas).   
     
    Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity and unique coil springs lower both vehicles by 0.6 inches for a reduced center of gravity. Specially tuned shock absorbers and 19 x 8.5 inch matte black alloy wheels complete a suspension package that improves body control, handling agility, and steering precision. The front brakes are larger with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers compared to 12.0-inch rotors and single piston calipers found on XSE grades. Brake performance was also tuned to provide more direct feedback, matching the sporty dynamics of the vehicle.
     
    Calty gave both models striking aero elements, taking advantage of the edgier designs of the new-generation Camry and Avalon and aggressive stance of the TRD-modified chassis. The aerodynamic body kit, which includes the front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler, and rear diffuser, blends a bold styling element and improves high speed vehicle stability to aid in driver confidence.  Add that with the red pinstriping, red painted brake calipers, and red TRD badging and both sedans have a road-hungry look.
     
    These TRD sedans will continue to deliver all the quality, dependability, and reliability that is synonymous with Toyota. Both models will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies, among these Pre-Collision Braking.
     
    Camry TRD
     
    Toyota’s commitment to enthusiast drivers is apparent in the level of detail that TRD and Calty poured into these models.
     
    On Camry TRD, the matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels are a half-inch wider, yet 3.1 pounds lighter (each) than the 19 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels on the XSE grade. Paired with standard Bridgestone Potenza 235/40R19 summer tires, this combination reduces unsprung mass, increases lateral grip, and quickens turn-in response.
     
    Camry’s chassis is further enhanced with stiffer coil springs and front/rear sway bars for increased roll stiffness of 44% in the front and 67% in the rear. To compliment spring changes, a unique set of TRD shock absorbers were developed to control vehicle vertical and roll movement while maintaining on-road TRD ride quality.
     
    In addition to the TRD aero body features, Camry TRD wears a unique gloss black front grille with sport mesh insert and black exterior badging. Available colors include the appropriately dramatic Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic -- all three of which are two-toned -- and Midnight Black Metallic. Polished stainless steel TRD exhaust tips on the catback exhaust complete the exterior makeover.
     
    Inside, the Camry TRD driver will be seeing red – in the trim, that is. The cabin is decked out with Black Sport SofTex®-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts, red accents and red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests. The leather-wrapped steering wheel also has red stitching, and even the seatbelts are red. A shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, along with unique TRD floor and trunk mats, and a TRD MID visual start up complete the cabin upgrades.
     
    Avalon TRD
     
    TRD’s modifications work the same magic on the Avalon as they do on the Camry. Avalon TRD gets Black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and red accents. It also gets red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, red seatbelts, a shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, and unique TRD floor and trunk mats.
     
    The matte-black 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels reduce 18 pounds of unsprung mass compared to the 19-inch wheels on the 2019 Avalon XSE. As on Camry TRD, the unbridled tone of the 301-hp V6 bellows through stainless steel TRD exhaust tips. The red pinstriping on the aero body elements, and the red seatbelts and accents complete Avalon TRD’s styling.
     
    Avalon TRD will be available in Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic.

    William Maley

    It also promises to be better to drive as well

    Toyota has been on a quest to shed its ho-hum image for the past few years. We found their efforts to be somewhat mixed in terms of the design and powertrains, but applaud them for trying. Their latest attempt is the 2020 Corolla sedan which debuted last night before heading off to the LA Auto Show in a couple of weeks.
    The basic shape of the Corolla isn't that much different from the outgoing model with slab sides and similar profile. The front and rear end varies on the trim. L, LE, and XLE feature a more conservative look with a larger lower grille for the front and clean styling for the rear. SE and XSE models get front end styling similar to the Kia Forte with a narrow top grille and fang-like headlights. Around back sits a faux rear diffuser and chrome-tip exhaust system. Compared to the hatchback, the Corolla sedan is about 2.4-inches longer.
    The interior appears to be the same as the Corolla hatchback with a modern dash design and better materials. A 7-inch touchscreen is standard on the L, while higher trims get an 8-inch screen. SE and XSE models get new front seats with slightly more bolstering.
    Two engines will be on offer for the Corolla. A revised version of the 1.8L four-cylinder used in the current Corolla will be used in the L, LE, and XLE. Toyota didn't provide any numbers, but did say the engine will provide "more horsepower and better fuel efficiency." SE and XSE get the 2.0L four used in the Corolla hatchback produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A hybrid variant will be coming in the future. 
    Most Corollas will come equipped with a CVT, while a six-speed manual is available on the SE.
    A key change we're happy to see is the Corolla sedan moving to Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). This means a wider track, multi-link setup for the rear, stiffer structure, and improved steering. These changes should result in a better to drive model.
    Toyota will be equipping the 2020 Corolla with a number of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist.
    No word on pricing, but the 2020 Corolla will arrive next spring.
    Gallery: 2020 Toyota Corolla
    Source: Toyota


    All-New 2020 Toyota Corolla Ready to Rock the Sedan World
    All-New Dynamic Design TNGA Platform for Outstanding Agility and Comfort New 169 Horsepower, 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Engine Available Dynamic-Shift CVT or Six-Speed Manual Transmission Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Standard Entune 3.0 Audio with Wi-Fi Connect, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay Compatibility CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2018) -- With more than 46 million Toyota Corollas sold globally since its introduction in 1966, it would be difficult to find a driver who did not recognize the name. Everyone, it seems, has a Corolla story. Many, though are going to be doing double takes when they see the re-imagined and reconfigured 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan. And that’s exactly the point.
    The 12th-generation Toyota Corolla made its arrival in two chapters: the all-new Corolla hatchback arrived earlier this year, and now comes the current best-selling Corolla body style, the sedan. Both are based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is far more than a new body structure, bringing together new approaches to engineering, design, assembly, and materials.
    TNGA transforms both Corolla styles into drivers’ delights while also bolstering the model’s renowned value and reliability. Both draw from the same DNA and share powertrains. It’s no surprise, then, that the 2020 Corolla sedan dramatically elevates this model’s focus on comfort and refinement while also infusing it with the Corolla hatchback’s feisty personality.
    The Corolla sedan’s bold new look is a perfect reflection of the bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation that has taken place. The TNGA platform means an available engine that produces more power than its predecessor yet delivers better fuel efficiency. TNGA imbues the Corolla sedan with greater agility, yet also with its smoothest, quietest ride. TNGA also means an elevated feeling of quality in every surface, switch and control the driver sees and touches. And, critically, TNGA delivers on Toyota’s commitment to driver and passenger safety with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems – standard on every Corolla sedan model.
    Design Transformation
    Toyota shook up the midsize sedan ranks with the new-generation Camry, and now the compact sedan segment is in for a jolt with the 2020 Corolla sedan. From every angle, the new Corolla sedan looks lower and leaner, tauter and tighter. Powerful fender flares and generously curved fender top surfaces accent its sculpted, athletic core.
    The design team called its working concept “shooting robust,” because they were shooting for a robust, confidence-inspiring stance. Yet, they had to maintain ample space for practical, real-world use. That’s why people buy sedans, after all.
    The 2020 Corolla sedan rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, like its predecessor, yet any commonality ends there. Corolla sedan’s dynamic performance and stance benefit greatly from wider front (+0.47 in.) and rear (+0.87 in.) track dimensions. The front overhang was shortened by 1.3 in., and the rear overhang extended by more than half an inch. Height was reduced 0.8 in., and the hood lowered 1.4 in. for better forward visibility, made possible by mounting the engine lower. Those changes, plus many others, reduce the center of gravity by 0.39 in. That’s just one part of the transformation that has turned the Corolla sedan into a highly nimble, engaging machine to drive.
    The bold front fascia details vary by model grade, with the SE and XSE putting on the sportiest face, including a body-color chin spoiler and aero stabilizing fins to emphasize the wide stance. The slim, J-shaped Bi-Beam LED headlamps wrap deeply into the front fenders and give the Corolla sedan a steely stare and a distinct nighttime signature. The sporty SE and XSE grades use triple J-shaped clearance lamps with LED light guides along with LED turn signals, creating a unique design signature.
    The available Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) provides a wider field of light and steers the low beam in the direction of the turn, based on steering angle and vehicle speed.
    The rear leaves a distinct lighting impression as well, with narrow combination lamps that wrap deeply into the fenders. All 2020 Corolla sedan models use LEDs, the type and style varying by model grade. The sporty grades feature smoked outer light lenses.
    What better way to showcase the Corolla sedan’s dramatic new sheet metal than with a dramatic new color? The new hue is a highly iridescent Celestite Grey Metallic. The rest of the palette includes Blizzard Pearl, Super White, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Barcelona Red, Blue Crush Metallic and Blueprint.
    Big Wheels Keep on Turning
    The Corolla sedan transformation continues where the rubber meets the road. For the first time, 18-inch wheels are on the menu, standard on the SE and XSE grades. These multi-spoke alloys get their great looks from a complex machining technique paired with deep surfacing and dark accents. The LE grade rides on 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The XLE grade gets new 16-inch alloy wheels with three-dimensional twisted spokes.
    Cabin Fever
    Simple. Warm. Inviting. Sensuous. These descriptors, seemingly from the luxury car realm, inspired designers’ efforts when visualizing Corolla sedan’s cabin. The result is called “sensuous minimalism.” It’s equal parts sporty and elegant, and, as always, Corolla-comfortable and durable.
    A neat instrument panel lends an open, harmonious feeling thanks to its slimmer upper surface, with character lines that interlock with the door trim to convey an airy atmosphere. At the center of the instrument panel, within easy view for the driver and front passenger, sits a high-resolution 8-inch multimedia touchscreen for the standard Entune 3.0 multimedia system on all grades except the L grade, which gets a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen.
    The center stack screen provides access to vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, and Entune 3.0 apps. Climate controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly visible digitized configuration. The center stack flows into a wider console, with an armrest that’s nearly 0.8-in. longer than in the previous model, for greater comfort.
    The cockpit provides an engaging interior space that surrounds the driver while offering a spacious environment for all passengers. Compared to the previous Corolla sedan, the instrument panel, cowl, hood and beltline height are all lowered to increase visibility and create the interior’s open feel.
    High-gloss materials are paired with matte elements – silver accents with piano black and available contrasting stitching – to accentuate a premium look and feel. Minimized gaps between buttons and switches, along with the elimination of unnecessary lettering on switchgear, adds to the high-class ambience. Consistency in all materials’ and elements’ shape, color, grain, and gloss maximize continuity and aesthetic quality.
    Available ambient lighting illuminates the front door trim, console tray and front cupholder. The tray can hold small items such as a smartphone or wallet, or, when so equipped, houses the optional Qi wireless device charging pad. Terraced cup holders adapt to various-sized beverage containers.
    Digital Tools
    The Corolla sedan comes standard with a 4.2-inch thin film transistor (TFT) Multi-Information Display (MID), with an available 7-inch MID located between the high-grade tachometer and speedometer. With the larger display, the driver can switch between analog and digital speedometer styles.
    Featuring rich graphics, the easy-to-read MID can be custom configured by the driver and offers intuitive operation to access information for the audio and multimedia systems, navigation system, vehicle information including fuel efficiency and tire pressure, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and other important parameters and system settings.
    Front Row Seating
    From behind the wheel, the 2020 Corolla sedan feels quite different than its predecessor. Positioning the driver’s hip point 0.98-in. lower and 1.57-in. further rearward yields an optimized driving position. The result not only improves comfort, but also helps to lower the vehicle’s center of gravity and improves front/rear weight distribution.
    These changes, along with the reconfigured lower beltline, slimmer instrument panel, slimmer A-pillars, and repositioned side view mirrors, result in more expansive outward visibility.
    The front seats of the XSE and SE grades debut a new design featuring a unique shape with a headrest that nestles into the shoulder area, while the XLE and LE grades offer a seatback with a new U-shaped pattern. This major departure from a conventional square seatback design creates a sense of youthful, sporty appeal while improving comfort. The SE and XSE grades’ front seats offer thin, yet broad shoulder supports, evocative of a competition bucket seat, which overlap solid and thick side bolsters to achieve enhanced holding performance.
    Seating materials include standard cloth or, in higher grades, SofTex. New interior color schemes include several striking two-tone accents. Choices include Blue/Black (black as the main color with blue highlights), Moonstone (light gray as the main color with dark gray highlights) and new Macadamia (a warm, inviting cream color).
    Lots of Room, Not Noise
    The Corolla sedan may break tradition in the styling department, but it keeps to Toyota tradition when it comes to passenger room and comfort. The rear seat area retains excellent headroom, despite the lower roofline. Legroom is also plentiful, fulfilling a basic mission of sedans.
    What you don’t get in the 2020 Corolla sedan is noise. Powertrain and road noise have been culled thanks to revised drivetrain efficiencies, plus the widespread implementation of sound-absorbing materials, including Thinsulate, sealants, foams, and silencers. The TNGA structure utilizes additional seals in its body panel gaps to insulate noise penetration and enhance air-sealing performance. As one example, the floor silencer pad is now one large piece, instead of many smaller elements. The inner and outer dash silencers are thicker. Combine all that with Corolla sedan’s quieter powertrain, and it’s one tranquil ride.
    Cooler Where It Counts
    Corolla sedan’s fully redesigned air conditioning system is more compact, more efficient and more effective. One example of the smarter climate control is the innovative twin-layer recirculation/fresh air induction unit: In cold climates, it will automatically send dehumidified fresh air to the upper cabin to reduce glass fogging while promoting recirculation of warm cabin air in lower areas.
    System controls, located below the multimedia portal, are fashioned in a bright, highly-visible digitized configuration. The climate control interface features a piano black background with satin and silver accents for a premium, high-quality look and feel.
    Multi-choice Multimedia
    The 2020 Corolla sedan comes ready to pair with the driver’s digital life. The standard Entune 3.0 Audio includes an available 8-in. touchscreen display; six speakers; Apple CarPlay compatibility; Amazon Alexa; Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect; Safety Connect; Wi-Fi Connect; Scout GPS Link Compatible; Siri Eyes Free; auxiliary audio jack and USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control; AM/FM; MP3/WMA playback capability; hands-free phone capability; voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth; customizable home screen; and weather/traffic info via Entune 3.0 App Suite.
    The LE and SE grades get Entune 3.0 Audio with an 8-inch touch screen and 2 USB ports.
    Entune 3.0 Audio Plus, standard on XSE, XLE and optional on SE CVT, adds an HD Radio and Weather/Traffic info; SiriusXM with Cache Radio; Entune 3.0 Connected Services; Service Connect, and Remote Connect.
    Also available on the SE CVT is Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with JBL.
    Topping the range is Entune 3.0 Audio Premium that’s optional on XSE and XLE. The package includes a JBL nine-speaker, 800-watt system with Clari-Fi; Dynamic Voice Recognition; Dynamic Navigation; Dynamic Points of Interest Search; and Destination Assist Connect.
    JBL Audio system highlights include:
    Next-Generation HID8 amplifier creates 800-watts of total power Free-standing horn tweeters located in the A-pillar at ear level for optimal high-frequency performance 6.7-inch door subwoofers for powerful deep-bass response Sealed inner door panels promote cleaner, more powerful bass Midrange speakers provide full-range sound for rear passengers Clari-Fi technology analyzes, rebuilds, and restores audio signals that were lost in the digital compression process Featured apps for Entune systems include:

    Safety Connect®
    In the event of an accident or other emergency, assistance can be dispatched directly to the vehicle’s GPS location. Other connected services available on the Corolla include airbag-linked Automatic Emergency Notification, Manual Emergency Notification (SOS button) and Stolen Vehicle Locator.
    Service Connect
    Provides updates on everything from fuel level and mileage to maintenance alerts and more via email or the mobile app.
    Remote Connect
    Can lock and unlock doors, start the engine, locate the vehicle in a parking lot and monitor guest drivers.
    Wi-Fi Connect – powered by Verizon
    Connects up to five devices using the in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
    Destination Assist Connect
    Directions and destinations delivered by a real person with 24-hour, en-route navigation assistance.
    Dynamic Navigation
    Provides the most up-to-date map data, routes and POI on its embedded system. (Available with Entune 3.0 Premium Audio.)
    Dynamic Force is with You 
    The 2020 Corolla sedan L, LE, and XLE grades will use the 1.8-liter engine (2ZR-FAE) found in the previous generation, yet with more horsepower and better fuel efficiency. The XSE and SE grades are powered by a completely-new 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine (M20A-FKS). This new engine delivers more performance while using less fuel. Remarkably, the new Corolla sedan engine is physically smaller and lighter, helping to lower the car’s center of gravity and improve its overall balance.
    Here are some of the tech bits on Corolla sedan’s new available engine:
    The new Dynamic Force engine gets it high power and efficiency from a combination of high compression ratio (13:1), Toyota D4-S fuel injection combining direct and secondary port injectors, high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side and VVT-i on the exhaust. VVT-iE uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control the variable valve timing.
    A two-discharge port oil pump and a variable cooling system with electric water pump help maximize engine performance and efficiency. The more efficient cooling system also ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the air conditioner is used.
    All of those technologies, along with ultra-low internal friction, yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, very high for a passenger vehicle engine. You can’t feel thermal efficiency, but you can feel the effects of 169 peak horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb.-ft peak torque at 4,800 rpm.
    Shifting Smarter 
    Sedan buyer trends are shifting, and the 2020 Corolla sedan is right there with them. The new Dynamic-Shift CVT (continuously variable transmission) combines the smooth, fuel-efficient performance of a CVT with a more direct driving feel of a traditional geared automatic. The key to its distinct performance feel is a physical first gear used for start-off acceleration, before handing off to the CVT’s pulley system.
    Because the launch gear is handling the higher input load at launch, the size of the CVT’s belt and pulley components could be reduced, yielding shifting speeds that are 20 percent faster than in a conventional CVT.
    High-speed, high-response gear-shifting technology, using a multiplate wet clutch, switches power from the gearset to the CVT’s belt and pulleys. The Direct Shift CVT has simulated 10-speed Sequential Shiftmatic steps along with Sport Mode. Synchronization of the increasing engine revs and vehicle speed gives a linear acceleration feel.
    For those who want to shift for themselves, the 2020 Corolla sedan offers an intriguing choice with the all-new 6-speed iMT (intelligent manual transmission). Like some premium sports cars, it features downshift rev-matching control, automatically detecting when the driver is shifting and quickly rev-matching to make any driver a stick-shift pro.
    New control logic improves acceleration feel when starting off, and improved shift feel makes this a stick shift you want to use. Increased use of micro polishing on gear teeth reduces cabin noise. Standard Hill-start Assist Control (also on the CVT models), helps prevent the dreaded roll-back when starting off on an incline.
    Platform: The Strong, Silent Type 
    A super-rigid structure, lower center of gravity and highly refined suspension tuning endow the Corolla sedan with exemplary handling agility and ride comfort, along with a distinctive driving personality. This high-strength platform is fortified through the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel as well as the application of new structural adhesive technology for enhanced body rigidity and occupant safety. Specifically, torsional rigidity is improved by 60 percent compared to its predecessor.
    The new body uses a totally new multi-load path front structure to absorb frontal collision impact forces and disperses collision energy to help prevent deformation of the occupant compartment. High-tensile steel in the rocker panel reinforcements and the upper kick panel; wider underbody side members; strengthened rear bumper reinforcements, and thicker dashboard panel, floor panels, and underbody tunnel all improve energy dispersion in the event of a collision.
    A squared figure-of-eight reinforced ring-shaped structure around the door openings, along with larger-diameter impact beams for the front and rear doors, are designed to help in the event of a side collision.
    Sport Sedan Handling, Sedan Comfort 
    The 2020 Corolla sedan looks the part of a fun-to-drive sport sedan, and the chassis delivers on the promise. The multi-link rear suspension is a major advance over the torsion beam setup used in the previous model, more adept at comfortably absorbing bumps while also ratcheting up agility.
    The MacPherson strut front suspension, totally revised for this platform, uses sophisticated techniques, including a strut bearing mounted coaxially with the kingpin axis. This feature allows smoother upward suspension travel, especially while traversing bumps, resulting in more comfortable steering feel.
    Overall, front and rear suspension friction has been reduced by 40 percent. Newly developed shock absorbers have been tuned to provide optimal damping force for dynamic handling and stability with exemplary ride comfort.
    Foundation for Safety
    The 2020 Corolla sedan features eight standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Corolla sedan models come equipped with a standard backup camera.
    Toyota Safety Sense 2.0
    Significantly, all 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan models are equipped standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, an advanced suite of integrated active and pre-collision safety features.
    PCS (Pre-Collision System): Uses both a millimeter wave radar sensor and a forward-facing camera sensor for highly accurate detection of objects such as a vehicle or pedestrian or bicyclist in front of the vehicle. If the PCS determines there is a high probability of a collision, or if it deems a collision is unavoidable, the system is designed to automatically activate the brakes to help avoid the collision entirely or mitigate the impact force.
    DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control): Designed for highway use, has a vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode that utilizes a millimeter wave radar sensor and camera sensor to maintain a pre-set follow distance from the preceding vehicle. The Full-speed DRCC version, standard on CVT models, is also capable of low-speed following, including stop-and-go traffic. The Corolla sedan is designed to stop when the vehicle ahead comes to a stop, maintaining an appropriate distance to it. The driver enjoys more relaxed driving in situations that can be annoying and fatiguing, while also gaining a measure of safety.
    LDA (Lane Departure Alert) with Steer Assist: Provides the driver with audible and visual warnings (vehicle positioning warning image shown in the Multi-Information Display) and, if necessary, is designed to provide steering assistance if it determines the possibility of deviation from the driving lane. It is also designed to detect vehicle sway (excess weaving within the driving lane) that might indicate driver distraction, inattention or drowsiness.
    LTA (Lane Tracing Assist): LTA, available on CVT-equipped models, is enabled when LDA and DRCC are both on and active. LTA employs a lane centering function that is designed to make constant steering inputs to help the driver keep the vehicle in the center of its lane. LTA is designed for uses on relatively straight highways to preemptively avoid unwanted lane departures and reduce driver fatigue.  
    AHB (Automatic High Beams): When enabled, the AHB system uses an in-vehicle camera to help detect the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles, then automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate.
    RSA (Road Sign Assist): Designed to recognize speed limit, Stop, Yield, and Do Not Enter signs and displays them on the vehicles MID to help assist the driver.
    Blind Spot Monitor is a standard or optional feature, depending on model grade. When an approaching vehicle is detected, the system is designed to alert the driver using indicators on the outside mirrors.  

    Brake Hold, when engaged, is a convenient technology that helps reduces driver workload while waiting at a traffic light or while driving in traffic. When the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, Brake Hold releases.
    The 2020 Corolla will be available at dealerships Spring 2019.

    William Maley

    Will get a better picture on Nov 27th.

    Honda creatively hid most of the Passport in a dust plume for one photo and zoomed out the vehicle in another. That said, we can make out that the Passport will share a number of design cues with the larger Pilot.  The automaker touts the model will be built at their Lincoln, Alabama plant - home to the Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline. This likely means the Passport will be sharing the platform underpinning the Pilot and Ridgeline.
    "The new Passport is a more personal, powerful and off-road-capable SUV that hits the sweet spot between daily driving comfort and weekend off-road, all-weather adventure capability," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. & General Manager, Honda Division.

     
    All-New 2019 Honda Passport Starts Adventure with Global Debut in Los Angeles
    Nov 15, 2018 - TORRANCE, Calif.
    Honda to expand light-truck lineup with new Passport, designed, developed and manufactured in America Passport positioned between CR-V and Pilot in Honda's light-truck line up Video teaser hints at Passport's on- and off-road capabilities With a video teasing its on- and off-road capabilities and adventuresome spirit, today Honda announced it will unveil the all-new 2019 Honda Passport on November 27, the day before making its auto show global debut the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The reveal will be livestreamed and available for viewing on Honda's YouTube channel (https://honda.us/PassportReveal) starting at 3:30 p.m. PST.
    The new Passport, launching early next year, expands on Honda's award-winning light-truck lineup, joining the HR-V, CR-V and Pilot as Honda's fourth SUV and its sixth light-truck model, including the Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup. Passport was designed and developed in the U.S. by Honda R&D Americas and will be manufactured at Honda's Lincoln, Alabama plant.
    "The new Passport is a more personal, powerful and off-road-capable SUV that hits the sweet spot between daily driving comfort and weekend off-road, all-weather adventure capability," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. & General Manager, Honda Division. "With customer demand for SUVs continuing to grow, the new adventure-ready Passport is going to further solidify our lineup, attracting new buyers and keeping existing customers in the Honda family."
    Honda brand light-truck sales are on track for a fourth-straight record year, on the way to top 700,000 units for the third year in a row and now accounting for more than half of the Honda brand's U.S. sales so far this year, with light-truck sales up 5.3 percent from year-ago results. Further strengthening its capacity to meet record demand for light trucks, in August Honda added production of the CR-V to a fourth North American plant, in Marysville, Ohio. The CR-V is now Honda's top-selling model and continues as the most popular SUV in America over the past 20 years. Earlier this year, Honda launched freshened versions of its Pilot and HR-V sport-utilities, with upgraded technology, expanded availability of Honda Sensing®, and more premium features. Strong demand for the Honda Pilot has sales up more than 41 percent for the first ten months of 2018.
    The Honda light truck lineup has been widely recognized for excellence in design, packaging, safety features and performance, with Honda named America's "Best SUV Brand" by U.S. News and World Report in 2018, for the second straight year. Reflecting Honda's commitment to local production, the Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline recently took three of the top 10 spots in Cars.com's 2018 American-Made Index.

    William Maley

    The name wasn't the only thing to be leaked out

    What you see before you is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup - at least we think it is. According to the Jeep Gladiator forum, a poster managed to grab these pictures and text from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' media site before being taken down. A lot of the information seems to fit in line with various rumors we have been reporting over the past year or two.
    Come standard with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 paired with either six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 will be available as an option Max payload comes in at 1,600 pounds, while max towing is rated at 7,650 pounds Two four-wheel drive systems (Command and Rock-Trac) will be available Beefy Dana 44 axles joined with electronic lockers front and rear should make for a very capable off-road machine Bed length comes in at five feet and will feature an external power source and integrated tie-downs Being a Wrangler, it will have the option of soft or hard top, and the ability to fold the windshield down. We'll find out if any this information is the real deal or not when the Jeep Gladiator debuts on November 28th.

    Drew Dowdell

    Hampsters take notice.

    Ahead of the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, Kia released a teaser shot of the 2020 Kia Soul due to be unveiled on November 28th.  In addition to the standard gasoline and gas-turbocharged models, an updated "gas-free" electric model with a larger 39kw battery borrowed from the Kia Niro and an estimated 140 mile range will be shown.  However, Kia states that the 2020 Soul EV, like the current model, will be limited to sale only in certain states. 
    We tested the 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim with the 1.6 liter turbo and found it to be a fun and capable little runabout.
    The all-new 2020 Kia Soul will go on sale next year. 


    William Maley

    Will set you back a cool $122,395 with destination

    BMW never offered a convertible version of the 8-Series during the nineties, but the automaker is looking to rectify that with the new model. Later this month, BMW will be rolling out the 2019 8-Series convertible at the L.A. Auto Show. Until then, BMW has decided to spill the beans on it.
    The 8-Series convertible sports a soft-top that can be raised or lowered in only 15 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. A standard wind deflector snaps in behind the rear seats to help reduce the wind in your hair. For those who are crazy enough to drop the top in cold weather, optional neck warmers that are integrated into front headrests will keep you toasty.
    At launch, BMW will only offer the turbocharged 4.4L V8 producing 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque for the U.S. This is teamed with an eight-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive. Compared to the coupe, the 8-Series convertible is 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph (3.8 vs. 3.6 seconds). Blame the extra 258 pounds that the convertible has to lug around. Still, it will hit a top speed of 155 mph - same as the coupe.
    Pricing for the 2019 BMW 8-Series convertible begins at $122,395 (includes a $995 destination fee). It arrives at dealers in March.
    Gallery: 2019 BMW 8-Series Convertible
    Source: BMW


    The First-Ever 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible.
    BMW M850i xDrive launch model with 523 hp and 553 lb-ft torque. 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph. Market launch March 2019 M850i xDrive Convertible MSRP $121,400 plus $995 Destination. Woodcliff Lake, NJ – November 1, 2018 …Today, BMW introduced the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible, which joins the new BMW 8 Series Coupe in blending ultra-sporting driving dynamics with an emotional and elegant design. The soft-top, four-seat BMW M850i xDrive Convertible combines immense power and torque delivery from its updated 4.4L 8-cylinder turbocharged engine with tenacious grip and peerless poise from the advanced chassis, luxurious comfort and state-of-the-art innovations in technology, driver assistance and connectivity. The result, is a vehicle that delivers an impeccable four-season driving experience, with the charisma of a low-slung, aggressively styled open top sports convertible, inviting the warming rays of the sun and the wind flowing past the cockpit to be your constant driving companions.
    Exterior design: new design language gives sporting appeal a new face.
    The exterior design of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible exudes a very modern form of sporting appeal, beautifully blended, with an air of exclusiveness and sensual allure. Its unique character is the result of BMW’s new styling language focusing on modernity and emotional engagement.
    The car’s already low-slung and elongated silhouette is especially enhanced when the fabric-top is lowered. When raised, the compact fabric roof pulls taught over the interior, reducing wind noise and creating a stepped look, accentuating the deck-like rear visual of the new BMW 8 Series Convertible.
    Classic insulated fabric soft top and rollover protection system
    The fully-electric soft-top design incorporates multiple layers of fabric materials to not only insulate the occupants of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible from outside noise and elements but also helps reduce weight from the very top of the vehicle, thus lowering the center of gravity and improving handling and performance.
    When lowered, the fabric top is stowed under a sophisticated cover with a surface finish and stitching coordinated with those of the instrument panel and interior door and side panel trim. The subtle “double-bubble” contour of the cover behind the two rear seats mimics the design incorporated in the BMW 8 Series Convertible’s roofline.
    The roof can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph with the touch of the top control button located on the center console.
    A standard wind deflector can be positioned behind the front seats to further enhance the already serene passenger space. When not in use the wind deflector may be folded up and stored in the trunk.
    Optional neck warmers are available to extend the top down driving experience into cooler temperatures. Air outlets, integrated into front seat head restraints provide a pleasant warming effect. Air flow can be adjusted over three speed settings either manually, via the button on the center console or automatically, which adjusts air flow depending on vehicle speed.
    The BMW 8 Series Convertible features a standard automatically activated rollover protection system. The system activates the moment that data analysed by the central safety electronics indicate a risk of a roll-over. Two high-strength aluminum rollover bars, fitted behind the rear headrests, are extended by a pyrotechnic charge in a fraction of a second to form a survival space for the vehicle occupants in conjunction with the extremely rigid a-pillar windshield surround.
    Sculptured design with signature new headlights.
    The luxury-sport convertible’s promise of performance is visualized in dramatic effect by the prominent, jutting design of the front of the vehicle, with large air intakes creating an imposing appearance on the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible. The BMW kidney grill showcases its increased proportions and features a hexagonal outline that widens towards the bottom and a single-piece surround that encompasses its various elements. The first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible features standard Icon Adaptive LED Headlights with LaserLight technology that are the slimmest headlights of any BMW model to date. Both light tubes are used to generate the daytime driving lights as well as the low and high beam, thereby creating the signature brand look at all times.
    The rear end is composed of sculptured, emotive surfaces that emphasize the car’s width and low center of gravity. The slender all-LED rear light clusters extend deep into the flanks and add to the effect. The taillights illuminate uniformly in a distinctive ‘L’ shape. Twin, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes are positioned either side of the rear lower section.
    Precise details optimize aerodynamics and weight.
    An almost fully covered underbody, active air flap control with adjustable kidney grille slats and Air Curtains including Air Breathers help to reduce the aerodynamic drag of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible. Narrow exterior mirror bases, mounted directly on the side window weather strips help smooth the airflow.
    The optional M Carbon Exterior Package, consisting of air intake bars, exterior mirror caps, a and a rear diffuser insert, all made from CFRP, may be fitted to further enhance the already aggressive aura of the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible.
    Driver-focused interior
    The interior has been designed to help the driver focus on the road ahead and enjoy the experience of driving. The car’s wide center console rises up towards the instrument panel at the front, separating the driver and front passenger areas. This center space encompasses the audio control unit and its function buttons, the air conditioning control panel and air vents as well as the freestanding and frameless Control Display, all arranged above each other in a clear, horizontally partitioned structure.
    clear arrangement of the controls helps the driver to focus on what’s happening ahead. Apart from the gear selector and the iDrive Controller, the center console also accommodates the Driving Experience Control switch and the engine start/stop button, all arranged within a newly designed function cluster with active haptic feedback. The control unit for the light functions is new and now consists of buttons positioned at the bottom of the instrument panel between the steering wheel and the driver’s door. A leather M Sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles for manual gear selection is standard.
    Merino Individual Leather upholstery and folding rear seats as standard.
    The newly developed sports seats offer high levels of long-distance comfort and excellent lateral support. The headrests are integrated into the backrests and can be adjusted for both height and fore/aft position. A semi-electric folding function has been included for the front seat backrests, which is activated by using a high-quality leather strap located on each seatback to facilitate convenient entry and exit for the rear passengers.
    The sports seats are upholstered in standard premium Merino Individual leather with extended leather appointments. Decorative stitching in a contrasting color accentuates both the sporting contours and the rear seats’ styling as individual seats.
    There are large door pockets, a roomy glove compartment, two cup-holders under the center console’s trim finisher and a large storage compartment under the armrest’s longitudinally divided covers for stowing travel accessories, beverages and other items.
    The rear backrest in the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible has a 50:50 split design. The backrest sections can be folded down either individually or together to further increase cargo capacity. The folding mechanism is released by means of levers inside the cargo compartment. Automatic trunk lid operation is a standard feature on the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible, while the Comfort Access option permits hands-free opening and closing of the trunk lid.
    BMW M Performance model with exclusive features.
    The standard specification for the new BMW M850i xDrive Convertible contains exclusive design features and options to enhance the driving experience. In addition to multifunction seats and the M leather steering wheel, there are M pedals, M driver’s footrest and special floor mats to imbue the cabin with a distinctly sporty flair. The illuminated door sills and the display in the instrument cluster bear the BMW M Performance Automobile model badge or the M logo respectively.
    Premium options for enhanced luxury.
    The luxurious side of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible’s character is shown with the help of a wide array of distinctive optional extras. Newly designed climate seats for driver and front passenger are available as an upgrade to the standard heated seats. For the first time, the cooled air is drawn in from the interior then guided along the body to the seats’ built-in fans for particularly effective temperature control of the seat cushions and backrests.
    The standard ambient light feature emphasizes the forward-pointing lines inside the car to striking effect. Indirect illumination of the contour lines running along the center console and the door shoulders using precisely positioned LED optical fibers creates an exclusive mood. The color of the light can be changed via the iDrive menu. In addition to this, the Dynamic interior light function emits pulsating light signals in specific situations. These signals appear on the inner panelling of an open door when the engine is running and on the instrument panel in response to an incoming phone call.
    The standard Harman Kardon audio system comprises twelve speakers and a digital amplifier, while the pinnacle of the audio line-up is without doubt the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System. The unrivalled Diamond loudspeaker technology, fully active 12-channel amplifier with an output of 1,375 watts, dynamic equalizing and 12 partly illuminated speakers combine together to deliver a beautifully precise and multifaceted acoustic experience whose pristine quality can be enjoyed in equal measure from all seats in the new BMW 8 Series Convertible.
    The optional glass applications for selected controls add both visual and tactile highlights to the interior design. This exclusive design feature adorns the gear selector, the iDrive Controller, the start/stop button and the volume control for the audio system. An illuminated ‘8’ can be seen through the glass surface of the gear selector.
    Remote Start is available as part of the optional Comfort Seating Package, which also includes front ventilated seats and heated front seat armrests and steering wheel.
    The BMW M Performance model that will be available from launch provides a particularly impressive demonstration of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible’s sporting essence. Under the hood lies a 523 hp BMW TwinPower Turbo V8 engine that has undergone extensive upgrades and refinement. It serves up an intense form of the unmistakable power delivery and acoustics of eight-cylinder units and is every bit as captivating and emotionally thrilling as the car it powers.
    Power is transferred to the wheels via the latest-generation eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that boasts a wider gear ratio spread, even sportier gear shifts and can be operated by means of shift paddles on the steering wheel. Completing the all-round package for an engaging driving experience is the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which is fitted in a newly improved version that has been tuned for this specific model. The rear-wheel bias of the xDrive system and the rear differential lock fitted as standard on the first-ever BMW M850i xDrive Convertible ensure maximum agility and precision when the car’s sporting capabilities are being put to the test.
    Updated V8 engine with incredible power and acoustics.
    The launch of the first-ever BMW M850i xDrive Convertible also marks the premiere of a new BMW TwinPower Turbo V8 engine. The latest generation of the 4.4-liter eight-cylinder engine has been radically revised with numerous detailed improvements. Two twin-scroll turbochargers with charge air cooling located within the V-shaped space between the cylinder banks, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing all form part of the M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology, whose extensive overhaul has given a substantial boost to maximum power, torque and efficiency.
    The new V8 engine serves up an enthralling soundtrack, which is enhanced by the standard flap-controlled sports exhaust system. It boasts a wonderfully versatile character that can also adapt itself to effortlessly relaxed cruising. The Driving Experience Control switch can be used to activate both extremely sporty and distinctly comfort-oriented powertrain settings. In the SPORT and SPORT+ modes, accelerator response as well as the V8 engine’s power delivery and acoustics – which take on a particularly distinctive note in the SPORT+ setting – are all configured for an exhilarating driving experience.
    A new aluminium alloy has been used to increase the strength of the engine block. The wire-arc sprayed iron coating for the cylinder walls serves to reduce frictional losses. Reinforced, Grafal-coated pistons and optimized piston rings are designed to endure the stress on the crank drive that comes with the extra output and torque. To enhance engine smoothness, torsional vibration is minimized with the help of a viscous damper on the crankshaft.
    Optimized power delivery, efficiency and emissions performance.
    To achieve rapid combustion, the intake ports have been optimized for higher flow. The enlarged twin-scroll turbochargers and the variable valve and camshaft timing enable throttle losses during the gas-exchange cycle to be eliminated as far as possible and allow effective use of exhaust gas recirculation for lowering fuel consumption.
    Electrically-controlled wastegate actuators are used to ensure an extremely quick build-up of boost pressure, while electric blow-off valves are integrated into the compressor housing to enhance the turbocharger sound during boost pressure release while at the same time as keeping emissions as low as possible in all operating conditions. The air intake manifold has been redesigned and a connection between the air ducts for both cylinder banks ensures even pulsation during gas exchange, resulting in higher torque at lower engine speeds.
    The multi-hole fuel injectors are positioned centrally between the valves and spray fuel at a maximum pressure that has been increased from 2,900 psi to 5,076 psi. This optimizes both the metering of the fuel and the engine’s emissions performance. The BMW TwinPower Turbo V8 engine also takes advantage of a new ignition system and engine management.
    Thermal shielding and the cooling circulation system have both undergone extensive modification. An upstream coolant radiator helps meet the high demands on the engine’s temperature management during extremely spirited driving.
    The new BMW TwinPower Turbo V8 engine now generates 523 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque from 1,800 to 4,600 rpm.
    Eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with wider ratios and sportier shifts.
    The latest improved version of the Sport automatic transmission features a weight-reducing design, a newly developed controller and a wider gear ratio spread. As a result, it is possible to achieve efficiency gains with reduced engine speeds, particularly when driving in higher gears. At the same time, the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission now shifts gear more sharply courtesy of optimized hydraulics control. A new generation of torsion dampers that reduce rotational forces within the powertrain help improve both driving comfort and shift smoothness. Integral twin-damper systems for isolating vibrations reduce the degree of slip at the torque converter lock-up clutch.
    Shift paddles on the steering wheel are included as standard for manual gear selection, while a Launch Control function allows for accelerating from a standing start with maximum available traction.
    Intelligent networking increases performance and efficiency.
    The eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission’s controller is able to adapt the shift parameters to the current driving situation by means of intelligent networking with the standard Navigation system, enabling it to take the planned route into account. Navigation data is used to downshift early, for example, when approaching an intersection in order to use engine braking to slow the car down. Likewise, the intelligent controller is able to avoid unnecessary gear shifts between two corners that follow in quick succession, making it possible to drive through at a quicker pace.
    Intelligent networking increases the efficiency of the drive system in the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible by allowing Auto Start Stop operation to adapt to suit the specific situation based on data supplied by the navigation system as well as by the cameras and radar sensors of the optional driver assistance systems. In this way, inefficient engine shutdown – for example when stopping briefly at junctions with yield signs – can be prevented. The movement of vehicles ahead is registered in order to determine the ideal moment for stopping and starting the engine.
    Intelligent networking also boosts the efficiency-enhancing effect of the coasting function. When travelling at speeds between 9 – 99 mph, it ensures that the powertrain is decoupled as soon as the driver lifts off the accelerator. The vehicle can then simply coast along at idling speed and with minimized fuel consumption. This function is available with the Driving Experience Control switch set to ECO Pro mode. The switch to this “sail” mode only takes place in driving situations in which it appears worthwhile and which doesn’t compromise comfort or performance. If the accelerator is released very suddenly for instance, the powertrain stays connected in order to use the engine’s drag torque to decelerate.
    BMW xDrive with electronically controlled differential lock.
    The BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system has been improved for more efficient operation. With its rapid, precise and fully variable distribution of drive torque between the front and rear wheels, it maximizes traction and handling stability not just when driving in adverse road conditions, but in performance driving situations as well. Power is split in accordance with demands at all times using an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch that is networked with the powertrain and chassis systems. This results in extremely quick and exact response to any change in the driving situation.
    To increase the system’s efficiency, all of the drive torque is directed to the rear wheels in situations when all-wheel drive is not needed. The xDrive system’s rear-biased set-up guarantees a driving experience for which BMW sports cars are renowned. The fact that the all-wheel-drive system has been specifically designed for performance handling is especially noticeable in the SPORT and SPORT+ modes selected via the Driving Experience Control switch.
    Governed by the Driving Stability Control (DSC) system, the locking function for the standard electronically controlled rear differential improves traction and power transmission when driving on road surfaces offering differing levels of grip for the left and right rear wheels by preventing a wheel from spinning when traction is limited. The locking effect produced by the electric motor allows the drive torque to be redirected from the faster turning to the slower turning tire. This combines with the intelligent all-wheel drive and the standard Integral Active Steering to give the car all the right tools for excellent handling and remarkably agility in all driving situations.
    Suspension technology sharpened with racing know-how.
    The suspension technology developed for the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible consists of a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle as well as electromechanical steering and an exceptionally powerful braking system developed exclusively for this new model. The racing know-how of BMW M GmbH was used for detailed modifications and enhancements to the overall suspension set-up. Torsion struts on the front axle and a load-bearing strut incorporated on the rear axle optimize stiffness and the connection of suspension components to the chassis. Independent rubber bearings – which increase camber stiffness – and additional damping plates at the rear axle further enhance the suspension’s baseline set-up. Special wheel hubs and wishbones allow camber values on both axles to be raised as far as possible. This significantly increases the car’s ability to put down power through high-speed corners.
    The design principle of the double-wishbone front suspension makes it possible to separate steering and damper functions. As a result, high lateral acceleration forces are possible without compromising ride comfort. The car’s steering remains largely unaffected by disruptive forces caused by irregularities in the road surface. Thanks to bi-elastic bushings, the five-link rear axle guarantees precise wheel guidance and the highest degree of directional stability. In addition, effective isolation of the powertrain and suspension improves interior acoustic comfort.
    Adaptive M suspension and Integral Active Steering standard.
    Standard on the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible is Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers. Both compression and rebound are adjusted continuously and independently. This facilitates finely tuned spring and damping responses, providing the driver with only relevant information about the road surface. The extremely stiff suspension springs reduce roll tendency and allow the dampers to stabilize the wheels as much as possible, avoiding traction losses caused by bumps and ruts in the road surface. The electronically controlled dampers respond adaptively to road surface conditions and driving style in order to eliminate undesired vehicle movement. Minor road damage is comfortably filtered out and narrow bumps do not induce unwanted pitching movements.
    Damping characteristics can be adjusted via the Driving Experience Control switch. SPORT and SPORT+ modes activate optimal responses for maximum handling. This is noticeably different from the comfort-oriented damper setting in ECO Pro and COMFORT modes.
    The standard Integral Active Steering also reduces the car’s turning circle when maneuvering, increases agility at moderate speeds and optimizes stability when changing lanes and cornering at high speeds. The system combines the electromechanical steering of the front wheels (including Servotronic function for speed-sensitive power assistance) and the variable steering ratio in the rear axle steering.
    In order to achieve maximum precision during performance cornering, the steering of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible becomes more direct with speed. As a result, on winding roads the car feels particularly agile and easy to control. The variable steering ratio also provides additional comfort; allowing the driver to maneuver at low speeds with minimal steering wheel movement and without having to change their grip on the wheel. By contrast, at high speeds, the same steering wheel movement results in decreased steering response, optimizing turn-in precision.
    Active steering of the rear wheels by up to 2.5 degrees – thanks to Integral Active Steering – considerably enhances the cornering ability of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible. The rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds up to 45 mph. At higher speeds, the steering angle of the rear wheels matches that of the front wheels, ensuring the car adopts the course determined by the driver quicker and more accurately. At the car’s traction limit, it feeds in a stabilizing steering input to complement the triggered braking intervention.
    Activating SPORT or SPORT+ model via the Driving Experience Control switch gives a more direct steering response. At the same time, the maximum speed at which the rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction to the front wheels is increased to 55 mph.
    Active roll stabilization
    Active roll stabilization is optionally available for the first-ever BMW M850i xDrive Convertible and further enhances the car’s sporty handling characteristics. Electric swivel motors on the front and rear anti-roll bars ensure fast and precise compensation for lateral forces during dynamic driving maneuvers. The system is controlled through a constant analysis of vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering wheel position, wheel and body acceleration and variation in height levels. In BMW M Performance models, active roll stabilization has an exceptionally sporty set-up and responds adaptively to changing requirements. It optimizes agility and directional stability on turn-in and helps line the car up as neatly as possible for improved acceleration out of corners. The reduced body movement also means that fast evasive maneuvers can be executed with great assurance.
    At the opposite end of the spectrum, the system increases comfort when driving straight ahead by decoupling the permanent anti-roll bar connection between the wheels of an axle. By stabilizing the wheel that requires it, the system is extremely effective in counteracting disruptive forces resulting from road surface imperfections on one side of the car.
    M Sport braking systems, light-alloy wheels with high-performance tires.
    Powerful braking characteristics, high thermal stability, fast response and excellent feel characterize the braking system developed for the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible. Four-piston, fixed-calliper brakes at the front are complemented by single-piston, floating-calliper brakes at the rear. The electronic parking brake – operated by means of a button located on the center console – is integrated into the rear brake callipers. The integration of the braking system and DSC stability control guarantees precise braking response, braking control and brake boosting.
    Inner-vented brake discs and model-specific brake pads are featured both at the front and rear. Directional cooling air ducts help to reduce temperatures. The friction rings of each brake disc are riveted to an aluminum drum. Together with the use of aluminum brake callipers, this BMW-patented construction concept significantly reduces unsprung weight.
    The M Sport braking system is recognizable by blue callipers featuring the M logo.
    The suspension technology featured in the new BMW M850i xDrive Convertible is oriented towards maximum performance and rounded off by 20-inch M light-alloy wheels. The cast aluminum wheels are standard and come in the exclusive color Frozen Cerium Grey metallic with a high-gloss polished finish on the face. They are fitted with 245/35R20 tires at the front and 275/30R20 tires at the rear. The high-performance tires were developed by the manufacturer specifically for the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible.
    Ideal overall package for maximum performance.
    The suspension system for the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible has been tuned – down to the finest detail – to the powertrain technology. Moreover, all the vehicle dynamics-related systems have been linked up with one another via the high-speed data transfer system called FlexRay to create an overall package geared towards maximum performance.
    Constant measurement of the driving situation data by sensors forms the basis for coordinated system responses. Within a split second, the control unit integrated into the braking system and DSC is able to adapt the powertrain and suspension functions to changing situations, such as varying road surface conditions, sudden braking, spontaneous steering maneuvers and extreme acceleration. Here, the steering, four-wheel-drive system, electronically controlled differential lock and active roll stabilization are all employed to assist the stabilizing effect of brake intervention on individual wheels and adjustment of drive torque. A hierarchical control structure guarantees optimal control of the relevant actuators.
    For example, to optimize directional stability when braking heavily on road surfaces with varying grip levels under the right and left-hand wheels, a steering impulse can be transmitted to inform the driver of the necessity to adjust their line. With carefully judged steering inputs on the rear axle, it is possible to counteract a tendency to oversteer or understeer. Adjustments by the active roll stabilization system will assist in enhancing stability and agility. Precisely controlled anti-roll bar swivel motors can optimize traction in fast bends. Centrally evaluated data on the driving situation optimizes the efficiency of the BMW xDrive system’s responses.
    Optimized weight thanks to intelligent material use.
    BMW EfficientLightweight includes the use of an intelligent material mix to optimize both weight and body/suspension rigidity. In addition to the supporting structures at the front and rear of the car, other components such as the doors, hood and the front firewall of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible are made of aluminum. The bracing tube for the passenger compartment is made from magnesium and the center tunnel is made of CFRP. The front axle is made almost completely from aluminum. The rear axle features a combination of lightweight steel construction with wheel carriers and forged control arms in aluminum.
    BMW Personal Co-Pilot suite of Driver Assist systems
    A particularly wide variety of standard and optionally available driver assistance systems marks the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible as an extremely advanced model within its segment. The systems really come into their own when driving longer distances by relieving the strain on the driver in monotonous situations, such as traffic jams or slow-moving traffic. They enhance comfort and safety both in urban traffic and on longer trips by providing targeted assistance in complex traffic situations. The driver assistance systems process camera images as well as the data gathered by ultrasonic and radar sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, to warn of potential hazards and to minimise the risk of an accident with corrective braking or steering inputs. These integral features of the BMW Personal Co?Pilot represent the latest advances on the road to automated driving.
    The BMW 8 Series Convertible is equipped with standard Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, the latest version of which alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. Depending on the situation, the system can bring the vehicle to a halt to either avoid a collision or minimize its consequences.
    The optional Driving Assistant Professional offers comprehensive assistance for comfortable and safe driving. This package includes Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. It can be used at speeds up to 130 mph and maintains the desired speed while taking not only the traffic situation into account, but also the selected distance to vehicles in front. If required, the system is able to brake the car to a stop then pull away again automatically after being stationary for up to 30 seconds, meaning greater comfort in stop-start traffic. Camera images and data from a front radar system are used for distance control.
    In addition to Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, this complete package also includes the Steering and Lane Control assistant. To allow convenient activation of the two systems, the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible is fitted with a special button on the standard multifunction steering wheel for switching on the Active Cruise Control and Steering and lane control assistant simultaneously. A mode button can be pressed to switch to using Active Cruise Control on its own.
    Another component of the Driving Assistant Professional is the Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Protection. This is made up of the Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection systems, which are active from 44 – 130 mph and 12 mph up to top speed respectively and help the driver guide the vehicle back onto the correct path with an active turn of the steering. Besides emitting visual warning signals and causing the steering wheel to vibrate, active side collision protection also uses active steering intervention to help avoid a collision. The Driving Assistant Professional also includes the evasion aid, which now also reacts to pedestrians. The Crossing Traffic Warning – which reduces the danger of a collision when maneuvering forwards towards roads that are obstructed from the driver’s view – now also includes brake intervention.
    The latest-generation Head-Up Display.
    The BMW Head-Up Display, which comes as standard in the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible and projects relevant driving information onto the windscreen in the form of graphics, is another factor in the intensely focused driving experience. The latest generation of the system features a larger projection area, optimized graphics and additional content. The BMW Head-Up Display projects information directly into the driver’s field of vision where it can be assimilated without any need for them to divert their eyes from the road. This includes details of vehicle speed, speed limits and overtaking restrictions, Check Control messages, status indicators and warnings from the assistance systems, detailed route guidance and turn instructions, as well as telephone and entertainment lists. When driving with the Driving Experience Control switch in SPORT or SPORT+ mode, the Head-Up Display also indicates engine speed. Plus, there is a digital Optimum Shift Indicator as an aid for the sports-minded driver in the new BMW 8 Series Convertible.
    Another item on the list of optional extras is the BMW Night Vision system comprising pedestrian and animal detection as well as a marker light. It relays a real-time video image to the Control Display showing persons, larger animals and other heat-emitting objects. Any objects detected are additionally illuminated using the headlights’ marker light function.
    Easier parking with Back-Up Assistant
    Drivers of the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible receive effective assistance when parking and maneuvering. The standard Park Distance Control (PDC) with sensors at the front and rear is standard and provides visual and acoustic warnings to avoid colliding with obstacles at the sides or rear of the vehicle. The standard Parking Assistant is able to automatically select suitable parallel parking spaces and maneuver into them. The spaces are identified by ultrasonic sensors as the vehicle drives past. Once it has been activated by simply pressing and holding a button on the center console, the system takes care of controlling the accelerator, brakes and steering as well as changing gear.
    The Parking Assistant’s range of functions also includes the Back-Up Assistant, which helps the driver when exiting parking spaces and maneuvering within a confined space. The system assumes the task of steering when backing up by tracing the vehicle’s last forward movements in reverse. All the driver has to do is operate the accelerator and brake pedals and monitor the vehicle’s surroundings. A distance of up to 55 yards can be covered in this way at speeds of up to 6 mph. The system is deactivated if either of these values is exceeded.
    The included standard camera system is designed to afford drivers a clear all-round view through Rear, Top View, Panorama View and 3D View functions. A 360-degree image of the vehicle and its surroundings is shown on the Control Display from different perspectives. The Remote 3D View function additionally gives drivers the ability to call up a three-dimensional live image of their vehicle and its immediate vicinity on their smartphone.
    The first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible comes standard with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which combines a new display and control concept and maximum connectivity into a superb all-round package. The latest-generation display and control concept consists of a high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches and a 10.25?inch Control Display.
    Live Cockpit Professional: Seventh generation of BMW’s iDrive Operating System
    The BMW Live Cockpit Professional in the first-ever 2019 BMW 8 Series combines a new display and control concept and the ultimate in connectivity to create a superb all-round package. The latest-generation of the iDrive comprises a high-resolution digital 12.3” instrument cluster display behind the steering wheel and a 10.25” center display diagonally across.
    The system offers many hardware upgrades including new haptic controls on the iDrive controller, an advanced tablet-like touch interface, and stunning visualizations. This latest system perfectly blends the strengths of previous iDrive concepts with the modern ways in which people expect to interface with their popular electronic devices. The multi-modal approach of the iDrive touch controller, large touchscreen center display, cloud based voice control, and gesture control allow users to interact in the way of their choosing.
    The seventh incarnation of iDrive, which runs the latest BMW Operating System, has a cutting-edge, fully digital design and is geared even more closely to the driver’s needs by allowing him or her to customize the system to his or her own preference with customizable widgets of information. This new level of personalization is then stored in the BMW cloud and can follow the customer to other BMW vehicles. Various information from categories such as driving, entertainment, navigation, connectivity, and the vehicle info itself, can be selected in nearly any combination in any of four layouts on the Center Display. Multiple pages can be created and easily accessed with a simple swipe across the screen with your finger.
    To maximize the capabilities of the large 12.3” digital instrument cluster, the traditional circular gauges have been finessed into a new design pushing the speedometer and tachometer gauges to the outer edges of the display as geometric bands. This new design opens space in the middle for routing and navigation. Information from the center display can also be shown within the tachometer. Additionally, your driving mode will determine your visual display style.
    Other elements of the BMW Live Cockpit Professional are the Navigation Professional system, a hard-drive-based multimedia system with 20 GB of memory and two USB ports, plus Bluetooth interfaces. The driver can be automatically detected and personal settings activated either using the traditional vehicle key or by downloading the driver’s personal settings the BMW Cloud.
    Drivers can enjoy the full benefits of the car’s intelligent connectivity capabilities through vehicle apps such as news, weather, office and online search. Other capabilities include Intelligent Emergency Call – which automatically summons swift assistance in an emergency – and regular updates for the navigation system’s maps.
    For the first time, a selection of digital services will be bundled together and offered for the new BMW 8 Series under the guise of the Connected Package Professional. The Connected Package Professional includes Remote Services, Concierge Services, On-street Parking Information, and Real Time Traffic Information and is standard on the first-ever 8 Series for a duration of 4 years. Having this package on the vehicle will allow for easy integration and adaptation of new technology over time. Customers can continue to download various new digital services individually as they become available or renew existing services via the ConnectedDrive Store.
    BMW Connected: digital services for individual mobility.
    BMW Connected is the companion app for BMW drivers. Intelligent connectivity helps users to reach their destination easily and with minimal stress – and not only from within their car; BMW Connected is an all-embracing concept designed to seamlessly connect the driver and their smartphone with their vehicle.
    At the heart of it all is the Open Mobility Cloud, which allows the app to connect the car with the customer’s digital devices. These could include the iPhone and Apple Watch, smartphones and smartwatches running the Android operating system, Alexa-compatible smart devices and Google Home. For instance, the BMW Connected app can import appointments and addresses from the customer’s calendar entries straight into the navigation system to begin route guidance. The system calculates the optimum departure time based on real-time traffic information and notifies the driver with a message on their smartphone when it is time to leave. As the vehicle is linked up via the Open Mobility Cloud, it is able to access the calculated route directly when the navigation system starts up.
    Remote Software Upgrade Capable.
    The first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible is Remote Software Upgrade capable. This feature keeps the vehicle up to date with the latest software. All updates can be loaded over the air, similar to smartphones. The upgrades can be loaded onto a smartphone via the BMW Connected app when connected to a Wi-Fi network or imported directly via the BMW’s built-in SIM card. The timing and availability of updates will be determined at a future date.

    William Maley

    Expect More Details Next Month At LA

    Nissan will be using next month's LA Auto Show to unveil an updated version of their flagship Maxima sedan.
    At first glance, you might be wondering if there any changes - looks the same as the old one. But take a closer look and you notice the new headlights with certain models getting full-LED versions. The V-shaped grille looks be slightly larger and wider, and there are new small intake grilles.
    Nissan will also be offering their Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety features that include front and rear automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.
    Nissan says the Maxima will go sale in December.
    There's still a lot of things up in the air, such if there are any changes coming to the interior and powertrain. We'll have more details in a month's time.
    Source: Nissan


    Nissan Maxima to debut at upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nissan Maxima, which makes its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, receives a fresh new look for the 2019 model year. The new Maxima will also offer available Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology, a suite of six advanced safety and driver-assist technologies. The 2019 Maxima, the flagship of Nissan’s sedan lineup, goes on sale in December.

    Drew Dowdell

    Recapping the luxury crossovers and SUVs from the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show

    Luxury crossovers and SUVs were a dominant feature at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Here is a recap of the releases from the show.
    2018 Lexus RX-L

    The Details: Lexus has been the leader in the mid-size luxury crossover segment since it was birthed. Where Lexus missed was in offering a 3-row version of their hot seller.  Surprisingly belatedly, Lexus finally came through by extending the RX 4.3 inches and updating the roofline to stuff a 3rd row in the back.  Powertrain carries over from the standard RX with a 290 hp V6 standard for the RX 350L and the 308 hp Hybrid available only on the RX 450hL.
    Why it Matters: It is surprising that Lexus took this long to add a commonly sought after option in this segment.  Ten years ago, this would have been bigger news, but with the industry pivoting towards smaller crossovers, I expect response to be mutted.  The RX does two things, it gives Lexus an entry into the 3-row segment at minimal development and marketing costs, and it puts Lexus in the same league with BMW for absurd model trim names.  Click here for more information on the 2018 Lexus RX-L
    Competitors: Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX60, Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKX/Nautilus
    2018 Lexus LX 570 Two-Row

    The Details: The Lexus version of the Toyota Land Cruiser drops the third-row seats in favor of a larger cargo area. Two-row option only comes in a single trim level
    Why it Matters: It really doesn’t unless you’re a wealthy DINK with no friends.  As far as vehicle platforms go, the LX and Land Cruiser are ancient, debuting back in 2007. Already on its fourth remodel since arriving, we don’t see much life left.  Lexus only sells about 600 LXs per month.
    Competitors: Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX80 (all come with 3-rows)
    Up Next: Lincoln Nautilus and Lincoln MKC


    2019 Lincoln Nautilus

    The Details: The Nautilus is a refreshed Lincoln MKX, but the most refreshing part about it is the return to a real name.  Power changes include a switch to an all turbocharged engine lineup. Base engine is a 2.3 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 245 horsepower, optional is a 2.7 liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.  Both engines are coupled to a front-wheel drive 8-speed automatic with all-wheel drive standard. Automatic stop/start is standard.
    Why it Matters: The MKX was already an excellent entry in the segment. While overall dimensions are unchanged, the Nautilus looks longer and sleeker than its MKX predecessor. Bringing the MKX up to date with the new Lincoln look was essential, but going back to a real name shows that Lincoln is ready to carve out a firm identity for itself. Click Here for more information on the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
    Competitors: Lexus RX, Audi Q5, Cadillac XT5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Acura MDX
    2019 Lincoln MKC

    The Details: MKC moves to the new Lincoln look, but product planners didn’t come up with a name in time. Aside from that, the interior and mechanical features carry over.
    Why it Matters: This one is a head scratcher. I can only think that for some reason Lincoln didn’t think there were enough changes to the MKC to warrant a name change. People are inherently visual though, so even if there wasn’t an engine change under the hood, the visual change is distinctive enough that now is probably time to do a name change like the Lincoln Nautilus.  The MKC sells well, and with this handsome new update, I expect it to do even better. Click here for more information on the 2019 Lincoln MKC
    Next Up: Infiniti QX50 and QX80


     
    2019 Infiniti QX50

    The Details: Infiniti finally replaces the old G37 based QX50, but that necessitates a move to front-wheel drive. The QX50 is the launch platform for Infiniti’s revolutionary new engine that is capable of a variable compression ratio.  The new 2.0T with VC can change the compression ratio from 8:1 to 14:1.
    Why it Matters: I’ll be sad to see the old QX50 go. In spite of its aging platform and interior electronics, it had a butter smoothness and great handling. It never really got a foothold in the market. But auto enthusiast feelings aside, this new QX50 is likely to be the bread and butter of Infiniti’s lineup for the foreseeable future.  It hits right in the bullseye of the compact luxury crossover market and does so with a compelling performance argument and a fantastic looking interior. Click here for more information on the 2019 Infiniti QX50
    Competitors: Lincoln MKC, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Acura RDX, Lexus NX, Audi Q3, Land Rover Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace
    2018 Infiniti QX80

    The Details: QX80 gets an updated front clip and a massaged interior
    Why it Matters: Like the Lexus LX650, the QX80 rides on an older platform from a mass-market brand, in this case, the 2010 Nissan Patrol.  The 2017 Armada had a face only a mother could love, but with the update for 2018 it has grown substantially more handsome. The interior has been coiffed with attractive new quilted and stitched leather, though technology has not been updated to include the likes of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.  Mechanically, the QX80 still uses the old 5.6 liter V8 producing 400 horsepower / 417 lb-ft of torque routed through a 7-speed automatic.  Fuel economy is a 1997 like 15 mpg combined.
    Competitors: Lexus LX560, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Audi Q7
     
    Next Up: Volvo XC40 and Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography


    2018 Volvo XC40

    The Details: The XC40 is the first vehicle on Volvo’s new CMA platform.  It features a 248 hp 2 liter turbo four cylinder routing through an 8-speed automatic to all four wheels. People familiar with the controls from Volvo’s larger SPA platform vehicles like XC90 and S80 will feel right at home as most of touchy stuff is lifted straight from them. You will also be able to subscribe to the XC40 rather than buy or lease.  Basically a 15,000 mile a year lease that includes all maintenance and insurance.
    Why it Matters: Another entry straight at the heart of the compact luxury crossover market. The recent Volvos have been a hit and I expect this one to be as well. The floor display had a few questionable interior materials and some visible exterior manufacturing defects, so I hope those get sorted soon as these XC40s are rolling down the manufacturing line already. Volvo’s policy of electrifying every vehicle that make means that a plug-in hybrid version of the XC40 is coming, however the Volvo rep I spoke to refused to confirm.  Volvo’s subscription idea is intriguing and it will be interesting to see if it takes off. Click here for more information on the 2018 Volvo XC40
    2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography

    The Details: An Ultra-Luxury Range Rover
    Why it Matters:  Are you a Russian Oil Tycoon or an NBA star?  If so, then it matters.  If not, just look at it and dream from behind the velvet ropes while the booth attendants sneer at you. It has power close rear doors, executive seating, and a new infotainment system. There is a hidden refrigerator in between the rear seats that holds two wine bottles plus two glasses and opens with the touch of a button. The closest competitor I can think of isn't an SUV at all, but the S-Class Maybach.  This is Land Rover's interpretation of the segment. 
    Competitors: Mercedes Benz GLS550 Designo, Bentley Bentaga, S-Class Maybach
     

    Drew Dowdell

    The LA Auto Show has wrapped up, here is a look at what we saw.

    Previous Page Next Page As the 2017 Los Angeles auto show wraps up today, let's take a look back at the new vehicles we saw.  Part one, the largest grouping by far, the mainstream crossovers and SUVs.
    2018 Nissan Kicks

    The Details: The Kicks has been sold in the South American market for a few years.  It migrates north to replace the Nissan Juke.  It comes with a 1.6 liter engine and CVT routing all 125 stampeding horses and 115 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels.
    Why it Matters: A rolling mass-market crossover cliche;  Floating roof, genuine simulated contrast stitching, flat bottom steering wheel. Product planners pulled out all the stops when faced with trying to make a crossover that could only be had with front-wheel drive and a 125 hp 4-cylinder interesting and relevant. Expect performance to be sedentary and price to be cheap. The 2018 Kicks probably sell well for price alone, but the Kia Soul seems more interesting if AWD is not on the shopping list and Renegade or Ecosport if AWD is needed. Click here to read more about the 2018 Nissan Kicks.
    Competitors: Kia Soul, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Ford EcoSport, Mazda CX-3, Ambien, Tylenol PM
    2018 Jeep Wrangler

    The Details: New Turbo-4, updated V6, 8-speed auto or 6-speed manual, 3.0 liter diesel coming, plug-in hybrid coming. Lots more details at our 2018 Jeep Wrangler article.
    Why it Matters: The Wrangler was easily the most iconic vehicle shown at the 2017 LA Auto Show.  FCA finally modernized the Wrangler, a feat hard to do with tons of purists out there. I think they have managed to pull it off in such a way that brings the Wrangler up to date and will still satisfy all but the staunchest of luddites. The Wrangler has been a segment of one for years with the only close competitor being the Toyota 4Runner. Click here to read more about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler
    Competitors: Toyota 4Runner, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon with a 66% discount
     
    Next up: Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line
     
    2019 Subaru Ascent

    The Details: Subaru gets back into the mid-size crossover game with a conventional looking 3-row. Power only comes from an all new direct injected 260 hp, 277 lb-ft turbocharged boxer 4-cylinder. AWD and CVT are standard.
    Why it Matters: Subaru’s last attempt at a mid-size crossover bombed hard. It was odd looking, over priced, and had terrible fuel economy.  This time Subaru took the safe route, put their Forester on the copy machine and enlarged it 150%. Of the mass-market crossovers I visited during the show, the new Ascent had one of the nicest interiors I encountered. That said, it will need that asset because it is definitely on the smaller side of the segment.  People shopping the Chevrolet Traverse or Honda Pilot will probably find this Subaru to be too cramped. Subaru is one of the strongest growing brands in the US  and the new Ascent is going to add to that momentum. Click here to read more information about the 2019 Subaru Ascent
    Competitors: Every mainstream 3-row crossover made, but especially the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Kia Sorento, Volkswagen Atlas ,and Nissan Pathfinder
    2018 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

    The Details: A sport appearance package for your smallish-midsize Volkswagen crossover. 19” wheels for R-Line SEL trims and 20” wheels for R-Line SEL Premium trims. Sportier bumpers with ample gloss black applique, black headliner, R-Line logos plastered on everything.  Otherwise, it’s the same as any new Tiguan available at your local VW dealer since July. Click here to read more information about the Volkswagen Tiguan
    Why it matters: Audi tastes and Volkswagen budget? Say no more!
    Competitors: Every small crossover made, but especially Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue
     
    Next up: Hyundai Kona, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Kia Sorento
    2018 Hyundai Kona

    The Details: A funky new compact crossover from Hyundai that you’ll either love or hate the looks of.  All of the standard stuff is there, two choices of 4-cylinder, turbocharged and not, Front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, floating roof treatment.
    Why it matters: A Hyundai designer and Jeep designer snuck into a Citroen design studio one night and made a baby.  As crowded as the compact crossover segment is getting, there are a lot of forgettable entries. Hyundai made sure you won’t forget theirs. Click here to read more about the 2018 Hyundai Kona
    Competitors: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Trax, Ford Ecosport, used Pontiac Azteks
    2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

    The Details: A compact crossover with more of an emphasis on sport than most of its peers. A 1.5 liter turbo direct-injected 4-cylinder offers a compelling 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. Super All-Wheel Control, Mitsubishi’s selectable all-wheel drive system offers a bit more control over exactly what the wheels are up to.  The transmission is a CVT. All trims except the base model get Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
    Why it matters: I knew the Mitsubishi Eclipse.  The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a friend of mine.  You sir, are no Mitsubishi Eclipse. That said, Mitsubishi is clinging on for dear life in the US market at the moment, and sports hatchbacks are not where the money is at right now.  Name issues aside, the Eclipse Cross was one of the bigger surprises for me at the 2017 LA Auto Show.  It looks great in person, the interior is up-market for the segment, the powertrain sounds promising, and pricing is set to start at $23,295.  Mitsubishi could have a hit on their hands if they manage to get the word out. Click here to read more about the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
    Competitors: Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX3, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Ford Eco-Sport, Subaru CrossTrek
     
    2019 Kia Sorento

    The Details: The 2.0T is gone. The 2.4 4-cylinder and 3.3 V6 continue on, but now paired with a new Kia designed 8-speed automatic. Light interior and exterior refresh that won’t be noticeable to most people. Diesel option is on the way.
    Why it Matters: The Sorento is Kia’s 4th best selling models clocking in almost 92k units for 2017 so far. This incremental refresh keeps it up to date and relevant in a competitive market. The Sorento is Kia’s largest crossover, but like the Subaru Ascent, it is on the small side of the 3-row crossover segment. It’s most compelling feature being price and warranty. Click here to read more about the 2019 Kia Sorento
    Competitors: Subaru Ascent, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX9, Toyota Highlander, Mitsubishi Outlander
     
    Previous Page Next Page

    William Maley

    A diesel option you say

    Kia rolled out an updated 2019 Sorento today at the LA Auto Show. The exterior features revised fascias front and rear, new grille, LED headlights on higher trims, updated taillights, and new wheel choices. Move inside to see all trims get a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, along with three-row seating.
    The big change of note deals with the Sorento's Engine lineup. The turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that was launched with this current-generation Sorento has been dropped. As we found in our review back in 2016, the turbo engine had a fair amount of lag and fuel economy was worse than the V6 engine. The 2.4L four-cylinder and 3.3L V6 will continue on. 
    Kia mentioned that a diesel engine would be available for the Sorento in the future. No more details were given about it.
    Source: Kia
    Press Release is on Page 2


    2019 Kia Sorento Refreshed And Ready For Los Angeles Auto Show
    World-Class SUV Introduces Smart and Subtle Changes Sorento enjoys numerous exterior and interior enhancements to achieve a more refined and sophisticated look Utility’s performance elevated with available new 8-speed automatic transmission and revised 6-speed gearbox 7-passenger 3-row seating now standard on all trims Newly-added Driver Assistance Systems, Harman Kardon-audio with QuantumLogic™ and wireless charging expand Sorento’s tech roster LOS ANGELES, November 30, 2017 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the refreshed 2019 Sorento SUV at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.  Refined, rugged and roomy, the Sorento remains as capable as ever, but touts a number of visual and feature enhancements, inside and out.  Aside from new front and rear fascias, which help achieve a more sophisticated appearance, the cabin is now decidedly more upscale and integrates newly-added technology, including Driver Attention Warning,4 Lane Keep Assist1 and QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound. In addition, the Sorento now pairs its available 3.3-liter V6 with a new 8-speed automatic transmission for an even smoother and more seamless driving experience.
    “In the highly-competitive crossover category, the Sorento is a clear example of how world-class design and craftsmanship are executed,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA. “Our popular utility now ups its game even further with enhancements in styling, packaging and content, making it even more attractive to shoppers seeking a premium level 3-row SUV.”
    Standard luxury features and amenities continue to be available across five trim levels – L, LX, EX, SX and SXL.
    Eye-Catching Exterior
    Beautifully proportioned, the Sorento retains its refined and rugged exterior look, which was established when the vehicle underwent a complete redesign for the 2016 model year, and was in many ways inspired by the highly regarded Cross GT concept unveiled in 2013.  But a subtle facelift now gives Kia's popular crossover a tighter, sharper appearance.  The revised front-end is headlined by a more artfully detailed radiator grille flanked by a new headlamp configuration, which offers full-LED lighting on upper trims – SX and SXL.  The crossover's familiar ice cube-style foglamps have also been redesigned featuring projection bulbs for EX and SX trims while SXL enjoys the more distinctive LEDs.  The Sorento's front fascia wears a newly sculpted bumper design to achieve a more aggressive overall expression.
    The rear fascia of the crossover has also been enhanced with a new bumper design, sleeker taillamps (LED bulbs for EX trim and higher), revised liftgate and a sportier muffler tip.  And the Sorento's muscular body rides atop three newly designed wheels, ranging from 17 to 19 inches, depending on trim level.
    Enhanced Cabin
    Spacious and sophisticated, the Sorento's cabin maintains a premium look and feel thanks to an array of upgrades and enhancements, including a new, more tactile steering wheel, new shifter knob and a revised instrument cluster with improved graphics.  The makeover also includes alterations to the air vents and the center console design.  Although these are minor changes individually, the cumulative effect is a more attractive interior space to be seen, felt and experienced.
    In terms of versatility, Sorento offers standard 40/20/40 second-row folding seats and 50/50 third-row folding seats now comes standard on all trims, providing space for up to seven passengers.  The seating system is designed to offer optimum comfort and ideal seating positions to fulfill the needs of every occupant.  For added luxury, also available are heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 14-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats, driver's seat thigh extension and a 4-way headrest with one-button adjustment.  And for 2019, Sorento now offers 2-way powered lumbar support for the front passenger on SX and SXL trims.
    The Sorento interior also offers available dual-zone HVAC and panoramic sunroof, as well as available premium Nappa leather trim seating surfaces, similar to those found in Kia's exciting new sports sedan, the Stinger.  Newly available interior/seat colors are Mahogany and Terracotta for the SX and SXL trims, respectively.  And updated interior accent trims are standard visual enhancements across all trim levels. 
    Overall cargo volume accessed through the new rear liftgate is voluminous at 74 cu.-ft., providing an abundance of space for essentials and active-lifestyle equipment without sacrificing rear-passenger room.  In addition, an easy-folding lever allows various seating arrangements, flexible luggage space and greater overall versatility.
    Tech Savvy SUV
    The 2019 Kia Sorento is loaded with technology, including an upgraded AVN 5.0 navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered with higher level trims.  The base level L trim gets a standard 7-inch user interface, also equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.  And to eliminate the need for a charging cord, there's now an available wireless charging tray for compatible Android6 devices, as well as Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
    When it comes to audio technology, the available premium sound system is well suited to Sorento's upscale atmosphere.  The 630-watt, 10-speaker new Harman Kardon® branded stereo system with an 11-channel amplifier features Clari-Fi technology and newly integrated QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound technology.  Clari–Fi works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music, while QuantumLogic™ extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail.  Ultimately, the result is a more robust and enjoyable on-road listening experience.
    With the Kia App store, select apps can be downloaded from iTunes® or Google PlaySM.  The Kia App connector is available for partnership with the content community for downloading apps such as Yelp®, while Soundhound, Pandora® and iHeart® Radio come preloaded.
    On the Road
    The spirited front- or all-wheel drive experience is brought to life with a choice of two proven engines, including a 2.4-liter inline-4 GDI or a 3.3-liter V6 GDI.  For MY19, the 2.0-liter turbo I-4 will no longer be offered as part of Sorento's powertrain strategy. However, a new diesel engine with the latest emission controls is currently under development and more information is forthcoming.  
    The carryover 2.4-liter engine is mated to a revised and more efficient electronically controlled six-speed automatic gearbox featuring Sportmatic® shifting and delivers a capable 185 horsepower. The Sorento's familiar V6 brings with it a stampede of 290 horses while connecting to a new 8-speed automatic transmission shared with the brand's Cadenza premium sedan.  The result is a noticeably smoother and more seamless interaction between engine and transmission.  This pairing also maintains Sorento's towing capacity at 5,000 lbs when equipped with AWD. 
    To achieve a more intuitive driving experience, Sorento replaces the former Drive Mode Select setup with the new Smart Shift & Drive feature across all trim levels.  This enhancement automatically activates the optimum drive mode – Eco, Sport or Smart – based on driving style or may be set by driver preference.
    Kia's suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is now standard on Sorento EX trims and higher.  In addition to Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Surround View Monitor (SVM), Sorento now offers Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA). DAW is designed to detect when driver concentration has waned by monitoring vehicle and driving behavior and, then, if it detects driver fatigue or inattentive driving practices, issues visual and audible warnings, including a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster, to encourage the driver to take a break." LKA helps alerts the driver and can even steer the vehicle back to its original position should the system detect the vehicle drifting out of its lane. 
    In addition, all Sorento models continue to offer standard active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)15, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Antilock Braking System (ABS).  Additional technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation (ROM) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) on AWD models are standard equipment for improved dynamic control.
    The core of the 2019 Sorento remains its rigid structure, with 53 percent of the unit-body consisting of advanced high-strength steel.  Liberal application of industrial strength adhesives, the use of dual-seal lip joints as well as laser and large diameter welding techniques combine to make the Sorento solid and strong.
    The Sorento's well-proven suspension geometry and responsive steering system provide a quick and nimble behind-the-wheel feel.  Ride and handling are optimized with the application of an "H" shaped subframe, four-point bushing mountings, and Hydraulic Rebound Stopper-type shock absorbers.  And vertically mounted rear shocks contribute to a comfortable ride no matter what the driving conditions.  The available Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS) features direct mounting of the electric motor on the steering rack, enhancing steering response and improving handling.
    Sorento continues to offer an advanced AWD system designed to automatically route power to the wheel with the most traction.  When conditions call for more sure-footed capability, the 4WD Lock Mode splits engine power evenly between the front and rear drive shafts. The system also provides drivers the added stability of Torque Vector Cornering Control (TVCC). The TVCC system is activated when yaw and steering sensors detect unwanted understeer.

    William Maley

    Toyota: Let's Go On Adventures

    Toyota's recent run of concepts have been showing more adventurous side; the FT-4X in New York and the TJ Cruiser in Tokyo. This trend continues at LA with the introduction of the FT-AC.
    The Future Toyota Adventure Concept “is perfect for those outdoor enthusiasts who want to dial up the adventure on their weekend getaways.” It certainly looks the part with an aggressive front end featuring a chunky front bumper with tow hooks, sculpted grill surround, narrow headlights, and foglights that double as detachable portable lights. The side features a mostly clean profile. A set of black fender protectors have a set of chunky tires with 20-inch wheels. For the back, an integrated bike rack extends from the bumper.
    In terms of tech, the FT-AC comes with a set of infrared cameras on the side mirrors that you can record your various adventures. A dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot can upload clips to a cloud-based storage system where you can make various edits and put them on various social sites.
    Toyota doesn't provide many details on the FT-AC's powertrain, only stating that it could be powered by either a gas or hybrid powertrain. A torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system will provide the off-road traction.
    Source: Toyota
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC) Takes Outdoor Fun to New Levels at 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show
    FT-AC Has All the Ingredients for Your Next Adventure LOS ANGELES (Nov. 30, 2017) – Long live new adventures! With the Future Toyota Adventure Concept, or FT-AC, comes the ideal versatility for living an active lifestyle, allowing deeper exploration to take life’s journeys even further. FT-AC is a catalyst – it’s both the invitation and the medium for breaking day-to-day routines and embracing the unexpected.
     
    It’s no coincidence then that FT-AC makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, in a city where much of the population escapes to the hills, deserts, or beaches for their much-needed weekend recharges after a long week of work.
     
    “FT-AC is perfect for those outdoor enthusiasts who want to dial up the adventure on their weekend getaways,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager, Toyota division. “No matter the roads, the activities, or the people, FT-AC sparks authentic fun and conversation.”
     
    Representing the next level in Toyota’s adventure-loving lineup of concept vehicles, FT-AC provides the right instrument for a wide mix of excursions, be they on paved roads or not.
    Fun on the Journey
    FT-AC reminds adventurers of all skill levels how remarkable the trip – not just the destination – can be. Going for a paddle on the river. Climbing a favorite rock face. Hitting a trail on a mountain bike. FT-AC is experience-centric. It compels. Any wheel time in FT-AC brings genuine facetime with the friends aboard.
     
    It puts versatility at the forefront of its ethos and, in doing so, invites passengers to personalize - and accentuate - each trip. Acknowledging that adventures vary in scope and scale, FT-AC’s innate versatility is a strength that caters to various lifestyles, preferences, and even generations.
     
    One-of-a-Kind Adventure 
    At first glance, it is evident that FT-AC’s bold and daring design reflects the confident spirit of Toyota’s existing SUVs and trucks.
     
    The pronounced, wide, black, front grille is flanked with bright LED headlights. Fog lights brighten the road ahead during foul weather or poor conditions and can even be taken out from their pods and used as portable lights. The fog lights can be attached to a mountain bike for occasional night rides. Below, FT-AC has twin hooks for vehicle recovery. Skid plates help protect the short front and rear overhangs, so rocks, ruts, and just about anything else will have trouble slowing down the rig.
     
    FT-AC was designed around a long wheelbase and wide track to help emphasize its powerful stance. Extra wide fender flares provide body shielding and look as if they float above the 20-inch wheels and beefier all-terrain tires, both of which help accentuate its commanding look. Its impressive footwear and generous ground clearance provide drivers with more options as to where FT-AC can go and play.
     
    The safari-style cargo roof rack system can haul all types of adventure gear. LED marker lights at its front corners can provide ambient lighting around the vehicle, brighten the trail ahead or, if desired, act as a flash for the side mirrors’ embedded cameras.
     
    The infrared cameras on the side mirrors can record trail runs and, like the fog lights, can be removed and mounted off-vehicle so that no fun goes undocumented. An integrated Wi-Fi hotspot automatically uploads footage to cloud-based storage where real-time editing and posting can be accessed via mobile device. The Wi-Fi connectivity even gives adventure-goers the ability to livestream the fun to fans and followers.
     
    The roof rack’s rear-facing LED lights also aid nighttime visibility and can be controlled via mobile device as well. Also at the rear is an innovative integrated bike rack that retracts, making for a highly useful feature that can be securely hidden in only a few seconds. Lastly, drivers and passengers can utilize FT-AC’s geolocation capabilities for directions back to basecamp.
     
    FT-AC’s contrasting colors combine Prospect Green with Fortress Gray accents to highlight its go-anywhere brashness.
     
    Envisioned Capabilities 
    Although currently a design experiment, FT-AC has been imagined as a thoroughly capable gasoline-powered vehicle with an advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. This enables power to be routed, as needed, for excellent controllability and maximum traction. Variable terrain-response settings and 4-wheel lock functionality build on its capability by managing traction control and throttle response to maximize grip at each wheel for a more dynamic driving experience.
    And who says a hybrid vehicle can only play on pavement? FT-AC could offer a next-generation hybrid powertrain that blends fuel efficiency with rugged all-wheel-drive grunt, giving drivers better power, responsiveness, and impressive fuel economy – all without compromise.

    Drew Dowdell

    The visual updates are evolutionary, but it is heavy on hardware improvements

    At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show today Mazda fully unveiled the re-engineered Mazda 6 sedan.  Visually, the Mazda 6 is quite familiar to the current model, but Mazda was hard at work under the skin.
    The biggest news of course is the addition of the 2.5 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine sourced originally from the Mazda CX-9.  This engine, new to the 6, produces 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm and 250 horsepower when running 93 Octane fuel.  Horsepower is reduced to 227 on regular.   The base naturally aspirated 2.5 liter 4-cylinder has cylinder deactivation where the two outside cylinders shut down when the vehicle is operated at a steady speed between 25 mph and 50 mph.
    The Mazda 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual will carry over, however only the base engine will be available with the manual transmission.
    The chassis has been refined, stiffened, and solidified in a number of areas to improve handling response and NVH. The steering rack is now solid mounted to the chassis for more direct steering control. 
    The interior is all new with only the steering wheel and a few trim pieces carrying over from the previous car.  The result is a much more premium feeling space reflecting Mazda's march upscale. 
    The re-engineered Mazda 6 goes on sale Spring 2018
    Photos: Mazda USA
    Press Release on Page 2
    Cosmo. Luce. Millenia. CX-9 Signature. Mazda6. These are but a small sample of the Mazda vehicles from the past 50 years that have embodied “Mazda Premium,” a set of guiding principles that complements the automaker’s human-centric design and engineering. Mazda uses these principles to build cars and crossover SUVs that compete in a class above, at a price that is readily affordable, offering a depth of engagement with its owner that satisfies at every touch point. With vehicles like these, it is Mazda’s goal to enrich people’s lives through a car ownership experience that celebrates driving, and to become a brand with which customers feel a strong emotional connection. The re-engineered Mazda6 certainly delivers all of the above, elevating Mazda6 from its traditional competitive set into a higher class, with unparalleled craftsmanship, design and technologies for the driver who savors every moment behind the wheel. Yet, Mazda6 is also serene, thoroughly reworked underneath its sheet metal to deliver a refined experience befitting of a far more expensive car. A Signature Path Forward The 2016 Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover SUV was a remarkable step for Mazda. It once again elevated Mazda, showing if Mazda built an SUV with superior driving dynamics, class-above refinement, an abundance of amenities, technology and a strong engine, customers would come. After more than a year since going on sale, approximately 55 percent of all Mazda CX-9 crossover SUVs sold in the U.S. have been either high-level Grand Touring models or top-trim Signature models—an unusually high number. The Signature trim level has been well received, selling more than twice as well as expected, and attracting customers who are trading up from traditional luxury brands. It was natural, then, that Mazda would follow this plan with its flagship sedan. Mazda6 has received improvements every year it has been on sale. Updates for the previous model year added more sound insulation throughout its cabin and available Nappa leather interior appointments. Mazda6 also received standard G-Vectoring Control, a Mazda-exclusive technology that makes steering response more direct and linear by using a minute reduction of engine torque at turn-in to put extra weight on the front tires. But simply adding Nappa leather and some new technologies does not a Signature model make. Thus, Mazda6’s chassis has also been thoroughly revised to provide a more supple ride, greater agility and dramatically improved NVH. Mazda6’s Signature interior features authentic materials—brown Nappa leather whose color is inspired by the aged wood in ancient Japanese temples; UltraSuede® NU that is adorned with a subtle gold tint, using a similar technique to that which is used to make ornate kimonos; and Sen wood accents, a type of wood often used in taiko drums and Japanese furniture. Perhaps the greatest upgrade of Mazda6 Signature is its source of motivation. Mazda’s award-winning, SKYACTIV-G 2.5T gasoline turbo engine returns for its second application. The SKYACTIV-G 2.5T is an engine renowned for its nearly instantaneous, ample torque, courtesy of its Dynamic Pressure Turbo, which accelerates exhaust gasses through a tiny inlet to quickly spool up its turbocharger at low RPM before opening a larger secondary passage to use throughout the engine’s operational range. The engine produces torque on par with a 4.0-liter V-8 engine. Mazda6 was already a class favorite among discerning drivers. These latest upgrades will launch Mazda6 above the mainstream sedan fray, changing the idea of what an affordable midsize sedan can and should be. ‘Mature Elegance’: A Design Vision Mazda’s striking VISION COUPE concept that debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show portended a revitalized focus on elegance. Mazda6 carries a similar theme, called “Mature Elegance,” creating an added level of sophistication to Mazda’s KODO—Soul of Motion design language that complements its aspirational ambitions. Up front is Mazda6’s new grille, which accentuates a look of depth, with a strong framework, low center of gravity and wide stance. Its standard LED headlights integrate fog lamps and carry a crisp, wide lighting signature. Painted surfaces extend lower on the body, and new 17- and 19-inch wheel designs complement the upgraded appearance. Finally, Soul Red Crystal paint makes its debut on Mazda’s sedan, joining Machine Gray Metallic and a full palette of available paint colors. Inside, the interior is all-new, with only the steering wheel and small trim pieces carried over from its predecessor. Most noticeable is its horizontally stretched dashboard that accentuates Mazda6’s width and belies a sense of subtle sophistication. On Mazda6 Signature models, Sen wood, Nappa leather and UltraSuede® NU adorn the doors, seats and dashboard, providing an atmosphere that can coddle on Rodeo Drive just as easily as it can enliven spirited drives on Mulholland. Technology Aplenty Lest one thinks the new Mazda6 hasn’t received the technology to match its upscale interior, there’s more in store. Mazda6’s front seats have been fully redesigned. They are wider, with high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam that creates a firm, supportive seating surface. Yet, they’re supple enough to keep the driver and passengers comfortable for long trips. Introducing next-generation seat materials and concepts, first seen at August 2017’s Mazda Frankfurt Technology Forum, Mazda6’s seats are designed to help keep front passengers’ spines in the natural S-shape humans use when standing. Available ventilated front seats in Mazda6 are a first for the brand, and wick away warm air from the front passenger and driver’s backs to keep them cool. Rear seats have also been redesigned with highdensity urethane foam, enabling greater comfort. In addition to the seats, new technology comes by way of available features:  360⁰ View Monitor  A reconfigurable 7.0-inch TFT gauge display in higher-trim models  A new 8.0-inch MAZDA CONNECT infotainment display with sharper color contrast  Available full-speed Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go  Windshield wiper de-icer  Windshield-projected Active Driving Display head-up unit Engines to Suit Customers’ Tastes Mazda6 offers two powertrain options in the U.S., starting with the torquey, fuel-efficient SKYACTIV-G 2.5 naturally aspirated engine. Mazda6’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine comes with a host of upgrades to reduce internal friction and improve efficiency across all RPM, and it adds a greater level of refinement. A new technology that is unique to Mazda in North America is cylinder deactivation in a four-cylinder engine. The outside two cylinders can shut down when the vehicle is operated at steady speeds between 25 and 50 mph, but all four cylinders work instantaneously when needed for maximum performance. A centrifugal pendulum has been adopted in the torque converter of the six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, counterbalancing any vibration that might otherwise be felt when running on two cylinders. The result is an imperceptible switchover between two- and fourcylinder modes, yet with very tangible real-world efficiency benefits. Higher-grade models will also be available with Mazda’s award-winning turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine. First available in the current-generation Mazda CX-9 midsize crossover SUV, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T is a technological tour de force that produces 310 lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM and 250 horsepower on 93-octane fuel (227 horsepower with 87-octane gasoline). Mazda’s industry-first Dynamic Pressure Turbo builds boost nearly instantaneously by using a small inlet port to force air into its turbocharger, akin to how water velocity increases when one holds his or her thumb over a hose. From there, a secondary valve can open up at higher RPM for increased airflow and maximum horsepower. A pulse-scavenging 4-3-1 manifold that prevents exhaust backpressure and helps the engine breathe freely. Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is used to reduce combustion temperatures, preventing knocking and therefore reducing the need for fuel-enrichment (when extra fuel is dumped into the cylinders as a means to cool the engine). Many times when turbocharged engines fail to achieve EPA-estimated fuel efficiency numbers in the real world, it is because laboratory tests don’t replicate the higher-load driving styles that necessitate fuel-enrichment. In too many instances, turbocharged engines are mated to continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVT), operating in a narrow band of efficiency, sacrificing a connectedness between driver and car—a valued characteristic of all Mazda vehicles called Jinba Ittai. Mazda’s six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, paired as standard to the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine, keeps its torque converter locked through most of its operation, giving a more connected sense of controllability than many other automatic transmissions. Both engines complement Mazda6, with the naturally aspirated engine serving as an all-around efficient, responsive powertrain and its turbocharged sibling amplifying the driving performance for which Mazdas are known. Finally, as a champion of the manual transmission, Mazda6 will continue to offer the SKYACTIV-MT, paired with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 engine. But What’s an Engine without a Chassis? In this latest round of thoughtful improvements, engineers have revisited every aspect of Mazda6’s chassis, with its suspension offering a smoother, more linear ride quality and greater NVH refinement similar to the ultra-quiet CX-9. Its steering rack is now rigid-mounted to the chassis, offering greater steering response and feel, and its SKYACTIV-CHASSIS has been stiffened in complement with the revised suspension to offer both a smoother ride and to improve outright dynamic performance. Enabling this more comfortable ride without compromising the Mazda6’s handling, the suspension geometry has been revised, with roll-steer changes that promote more neutral handling. Additionally, body reinforcements, thicker sheet metal in the rear wheel-wells, reinforced chassis bracing and even thicker suspension trailing link mounts help improve interior conversation sound quality, putting Mazda6 into rarified air when it comes to quietness, refinement and capabilities. In Pursuit of Premium In pursuit of premium, an engine isn’t enough. A chassis isn’t enough. An elegant interior and worldrenowned design aren’t enough. Refinement and technology aren’t enough. But together, they complete what Mazda expects to be yet another step to elevate the brand beyond the realm of mainstream vehicles, offering a “Mazda Premium” experience that will delight customers. As with its predecessor, the new Mazda6 will land among the world’s best cars, for those who love to drive. But it will aim higher, moving Mazda’s consideration with customers to a new, class-above place, because Mazda never stops challenging. The re-engineered, refined Mazda6 is expected to go on sale in spring 2018.

    William Maley

    Kicking out the Juke

    The Nissan Juke was an interesting beast. The looks were not for everyone, but it was a fun vehicle to drive around. It was also one of the first subcompact crossovers. The time has come replace Juke and the vehicle Nissan has chosen is the Kicks sold in South America.
    Compared to Juke, the Kicks is somewhat normal looking. Nissan's V-Motion grille sits up front, along with some flared out fenders. A blacked-out C-Pillar gives the illusion of a floating roof. 16-inch steel wheels come on the base model, while 17-inch alloy wheels come on higher trims. The interior is traditional in terms of the design but looks to be slightly upmarket with a stitched dash. All models come with a 7-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
    A 1.6L four-cylinder providing 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque will be the sole engine. Power will be routed to the front-wheels only via a CVT. Nissan says the Kicks will get a combined 33 MPG rating from the EPA.
    Pricing for the 2018 Kicks will be announced sometime before its launch in the spring of 2018.
    Source: Nissan
    Press Release is on Page 2


    2018 Nissan Kicks compact utility vehicle makes North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show
    New Nissan Kicks features unique style, personal technology, intelligent safety, efficient powertrain and strong value positioning Embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility with standard Automatic Emergency Braking and available Intelligent Around View® Monitor First new Nissan nameplate launched in last eight years, Kicks joins best-selling Rogue and Rogue Sport CUVs in Nissan's U.S. showrooms in June 2018 LOS ANGELES – The all-new 2018 Nissan Kicks, the newest entry in the fast-growing affordable compact crossover market, made its North American debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The bold new Kicks becomes the sixth member of the Nissan crossover and SUV lineup – which has experienced record sales in recent years – when it hits Nissan U.S. dealerships in June 2018.
    "As the gateway to Nissan's adventure-ready sport-utility portfolio – joining Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada – Kicks is designed to fit the needs of singles or couples looking for expressive styling, personal technology, smart functionality and advanced safety features at an affordable price starting well under $19,000," said Dan Mohnke, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan Division U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. Mohnke unveiled the new Kicks during a media event at the show.
    The new 2018 Kicks combines emotion and practicality by blending bold wheel arch fenders and a high crossover stance with familiar Nissan design signatures, including a V-Motion grille, boomerang headlights and taillights, and a floating roof with a "wrap-around visor" look. Available exterior features include standard Intelligent Auto Headlights (I-AH) and available LED low beam headlights with LED signature accents.
    The 2018 Kicks will be offered in a range of seven exterior colors – plus five two-tone combinations. Three of the two-tone color schemes utilize a black roof and contrasting body colors (white, orange or red). Also available: an orange roof with a gray body, or a white roof with a blue body.
    "From a pure visual standpoint on the street, Kicks is a true head turner, especially in the bold two-tone color combinations," said Mohnke. "Kicks is clearly recognizable as part of the Nissan CUV family, but has a vibrancy and identity all its own."
    Inside, the Kicks story is one of quality and futuristic design in a cabin full of the innovative features expected by its tech-hungry target audience. The interior promises ample passenger space in the rear – despite the coupe-like roofline – as well as one of the largest load areas in its class.
    Kicks' simple "Gliding Wing" dashboard design is dominated by a centrally mounted 7.0-inch full color display housing a comprehensive infotainment system with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ smartphone connectivity. For the ultimate audio experience, the Kicks SR Premium Package includes the new class-exclusive2 Bose® Personal® Plus sound system with a pair of lightweight 2.5-inch Bose® UltraNearfield™ neodymium speakers located inside the Kicks' driver's seat headrest. Among the other on-board technology, Kicks features an available Intelligent Around View® Monitor (I-AVM).
    Every 2018 Kicks comes with a standard 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS). The engine is rated at 125 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque. Aided by a smooth and efficient Xtronic transmission, the Kicks is expected to have a fuel economy rating 33 mpg combined. Kicks is offered in front-wheel drive only.
    "With good ground clearance, a high eye point, electric power steering and small turning radius, Kicks is a great companion to navigate the city with," added Mohnke.
    Safety, security and driver convenience features are strong points for the Nissan Kicks. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is standard on all grade levels, along with seven air bags and RearView Monitor. Kicks SV and Kicks SR add Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
    The 2018 Nissan Kicks will be offered in three well-equipped models – Kicks S, Kicks SV and Kicks SR.  
    "Pricing for the 2018 Nissan Kicks will be announced closer to its on-sale date in spring 2018, but we are expecting to be among the most competitive in the segment," said Mohnke. "Kicks' unique combination of expressive design, excellent fuel economy, intelligent technology and advanced safety features adds up to one thing – exceptional value."

    Drew Dowdell

    Two-Row Luxury Crossover segment leader enters the Three-Row segment

    At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto show today, Lexus unveiled a three-row version of their popular RX luxury crossover.  The RX has been one of the best selling luxury vehicles since its introduction in 1997.
    To make the 6 and 7 passenger three-row version, Lexus stretched the vehicle 4.3 inches and used a steeper rear glass to improve headroom.  Overall, the key look remains largely the same with the partially blacked out C-pillar, a now widespread industry styling trend, being the main visual distinction for the 3-row models.
    Powertrain hardware is largely unchanged for the L models, available in the standard V6 front-wheel drive, V6 all-wheel drive, and V6 Hybrid all-wheel drive configurations. The V6 is a 290 horsepower / 263 lb-ft unit with an advanced combination of variable valve timing technologies that allowed the engine to shift between Otto Cycle or Atkinson Cycle for optimum power and efficiency.
    The Hybrid version uses a rear mounted electric motor instead of a drive shaft to power the rear wheels and is only used when the vehicle detects slippage of the front tires. Like other hybrids in the Toyota-Lexus stable, the hybrid system allows for complete EV operation at low speeds for short distances.
    The 2018 RX350 L and RX450h L go on sale in December.
    Photos: Lexus
    Press release on page two


    Lexus RX Drivers Now Have the Power of Three (Rows)
    New RX L provides luxury and logistical liberty  Choice of Six- or Seven-Passenger Models Available with V6 Gas or Hybrid Powertrains Power-Fold Third Row Seat Standard Leather Trimmed Seating on First Two Rows and Tri-Zone Climate Control Standard Optional Hands-Free Power Tailgate November 29, 2017 2018 RX L 350 Product Info Sheet
    2018 RX L 450h Product Info Sheet
    2018 Enform Remote RX L Infographic
    2018 RX L Press Release

    LOS ANGELES – Nov. 29, 2017 – Families will now be able to enjoy more space with their luxury utility vehicle thanks to the new three-row Lexus RX L models. The RX created the luxury crossover segment 20 years ago and has reigned supreme as the most popular luxury utility vehicle on the market. The 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL models retain their stylish figures, but now offer the choice of six or seven-passenger capability.
     
    Once in dealerships late this year, the RX 350L will have a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $47,670* (FWD) and $49,070* (AWD).
     
    Function and Fashion
     
    With the new RX L models, Lexus drivers will now have the option of a third row without compromising the sleek styling and easy maneuverability that they have long valued. With help through the mastery of vehicle packaging, Lexus extended the body length 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the rear and used a steeper tailgate window angle than on the two-row models – ensuring good headroom for third-row passengers.
     
    The standard seven-seat version uses a 40/20/40 split bench-type second row seat. Access to the third row is made easy with the touch of a lever that slides and folds the second seat forward. The available six-seat configuration features second-row captain’s chairs that make third-row ingress/egress easier with “walk-in” convenience.
     
    Lexus designed the third row of the RX L models to offer the same comfort and luxury as in the middle row. The positioning of the second row is slightly higher than the third row, creating more foot room for rear passengers. Standard leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the first and second rows, in the choice of Black, Stratus Gray, Parchment or Noble Brown. A tri-zone climate control system gives third-row passengers separate heating and air conditioning vents, and for convenience, a power-folding third-row seat and power tailgate are both standard on the RX L models.
     
    Details that enhance three-row versatility in the RX L models include a flat load floor behind the folded third-row, two third-row cupholders, an easily stowable tonneau and covered slide rails.
     
    Lexus Signature Design
     
    The 2018 RX L models offer the same award-winning safety, style, luxury and performance as the two-row versions. The LUV trend-setting combination of SUV versatility and luxury sedan-like comfort comes packaged in the brand’s dramatic mix of sharp creases and curves. The Lexus signature spindle grille, a focal point, is set off by an elegant chrome-plated surround and standard Bi-LED headlights. Available premium LED headlights use three unique L-shaped elements per side.
     
    The RX L models’ elegantly blacked-out C-pillars create a floating-roof effect. The spindle theme repeats at the rear, with L-shaped LED taillights enveloping the tailgate and wrapping into the rear fenders. Available 20-inch wheel designs enhance the powerful-looking stance. All ten RX L paint colors feature a scratch-resistant self-restoring coat, using a high-performance macromolecular polymer.
     
    Lexus Safety
     
    In the 2018 RX L models, the full-length side curtain airbags cover all three rows. The standard Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking are also available. Panoramic View Monitor is an optional feature.
     
    RX 350L: 290-Horsepower V6
     
    The 2018 Lexus RX 350L offers plenty of power to go with its six- or seven- passenger cabin and added cargo capacity. The 3.5-liter V6 employs the advanced D-4S fuel injection system, which combines direct and port fuel injection systems. To maximize efficiency, Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) is used on the intake camshaft, along with VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft, allowing the engine to switch between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles.
     
    The result is 290 hp and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, with performance and efficiency optimized by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Use of regular-grade gasoline is a boon to customer value. Using Drive Mode Select, the RX 350L driver can exert more control by choosing from among three driving modes. Normal provides an ideal everyday balance of performance and energy conservation, Sport puts an edge on powertrain responsiveness and Eco mode operates the powertrain at its most efficient level.
     
    As on the two-row RX 350, the RX 350L is available with front-wheel drive or available Dynamic Torque Control All Wheel Drive. Under normal cruising conditions, the system engages front-wheel drive to help reduce fuel consumption.
     
    Continuously taking input from various sensors (such as wheel speed, engine RPM, steering angle, throttle opening angle and yaw rate), Dynamic Torque Control AWD actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels using an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential. When the vehicle is accelerating, the system automatically shifts to AWD to help prevent front-wheel slippage. While cruising, the system reverts to FWD, and when sensors detect wheel slippage, it can vary front to rear torque distribution from 100:0 to 50:50. The 4.2” TFT multi-information display conveys torque-distribution status (front to rear, and side to side).
     
    RX 450hL Hybrid with AWD
     
    Luxury buyers seeking an eco-advanced family three-row vehicle will find the ideal travel mate in the 2018 Lexus RX 450hL. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system pairs the D4-S injection 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators, producing 308 combined system horsepower for strong acceleration and passing performance.
     
    The standard AWD system is unique. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels used on the RX 350 AWD models, an independent rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when needed to help maintain optimal traction.
     
    In the RX 450hL, the Drive Mode Select system adds a fourth mode, EV, that enables the vehicle to drive under electric power at lower speeds for short distances. It’s an excellent way to navigate a large parking lot or garage, or to run a local errand.
     
    Ride and Handling

    All onboard the 6- or 7-passenger 2018 Lexus RX L models will experience the same luxuriously smooth, quiet ride as the two-row models offer. Front strut and rear double-wishbone type suspension systems ensure agility and exemplary ride compliance over all types of surfaces. Electric Power Steering (EPS) yields a light and comfortable steering feel with excellent feedback.

    Impeccable Cabin Design and Luxury

    The RX L cabin is designed with impeccable details, including form-fitting seats, and the available richly finished wood trim (Premium and Luxury Packages) that curves gently up from the center console toward the glove box.

    Available interior ornamentation includes Matte Bamboo, Espresso Walnut, Matte Linear Dark Mocha Wood, Striated Black Trim (standard) and laser-etched Gray Sapele Wood with Aluminum. For the Striated Black Trim on the base model, a glossy black three-dimensional embossed pattern is applied to create a high-quality film design with a sense of depth.

    An available full-color Heads-Up Display (HUD) incorporated into the design of the instrument panel can project key information on the windshield to help the driver focus on the road.

    Multimedia Powerhouse 

    From powerful audio to cutting-edge displays, the multimedia choices available for the 2018 Lexus RX L models cover all needs. The standard Display Audio system includes an eight-inch screen, HD Radio™, Scout GPS Link, Bluetooth® audio, voice recognition, an AUX mini jack, two USB ports and nine speakers. The driver will find frequently used switches placed close at hand for convenience. Middle-row USB ports enable passengers to use and charge their own multimedia devices.
     
    The Navigation Package upgrades to a 12-speaker premium audio system. Also included, the 12.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display offers a full-screen navigation map or can provide simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems; as well as the mouse-like Remote Touch Interface.

    The 2018 RX L models offer audiophile-quality mobile sound with the available 835-watt, 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System in conjunction with the navigation system. Advanced Clari-Fi™ compressed music restoration technology instills new life into digital music files.
     
    The new three-row RX L models join the two-row, five-seat RX versions that continue for 2018. All RX models now offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. Both were previously offered with a one-year trial.
     
    With the new RX 450hL Hybrid, the most powerful and most fuel-efficient RX model,  owners will still reap the benefits of the two-row model, such as optional heated/ventilated front seats and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
     
    Additional photos and video available at pressroom.lexus.com.
     
    Vehicle Details

    Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance
     
    RX 350L: 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. 8-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). Available Active Torque Control AWD system uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. RX 450hL: Lexus Hybrid Drive with 3.5-liter V6 engine, Motor Generator 1, Motor Generator 2 and a planetary-type electronic continuously variable transmission. 308 total system horsepower. Standard AWD with independent rear electric motor-generator. 37 kW nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) hybrid battery.  
    Chassis/Body/Suspension/ Brakes/Tires A number of cutting-edge technologies enhance structural rigidity, including high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding; liberal use of high-tensile strength steel throughout the vehicle, and annular frame construction for strengthened frame sections around the front and rear doors. 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/65R18 tires. Two 20-inch wheel options: Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with Dark Silver and Machined Finish;  Split-Five-Spoke Alloy Wheels with SuperChrome and Machined Finish and Interchangeable Painted Inserts (requires Luxury Package). Safety/Security Lexus Safety System+ includes Pre-Collision System,  Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.   Available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Braking. For 2018, all RX and RX L models offer Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect complimentary for the first 10 years of vehicle ownership. 10 SRS airbags including dual-stage and dual-chamber driver’s and front passenger airbags; driver’s and front passenger knee airbags; front side airbags; rear side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags for all three seat rows. 4-sensor, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill-start Assist Control. Additionally, Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when there is simultaneous application of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal under certain conditions. Active front headrests help to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury in the event of certain types of lower speed rear collisions. Panoramic View Monitor (optional).
    Luxury/Comfort/Convenience (Highlights) 10-way power front leather seats with power lumbar adjustment. Memory settings standard (mirror, seat, steering wheel) Aluminum roof rails Power-folding autodimming mirrors with memory Rear armrest with storage box with two USB ports Acoustic glass windshield Customizable vehicle settings, including personal door-lock preferences, interior/exterior light adjustments, driver’s seat Easy Exit, and window-closure settings Tri-Zone automatic climate control with interior air filter Leather seating surfaces (first and second row) Leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls Lexus Display Audio with 8-inch color multimedia display and 9 speakers Power liftgate with optional hands-free operation Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop Subscription-free Traffic and Weather updates via HD Radio™ The RX 450hL enjoys the same standard equipment as the 350L, with the added feature of Captain’s Chairs as standard.
    Luxury Options (Highlights) Premium Package with moonroof and wood trim. Luxury Package includes contents of Premium Package plus 20-inch super chrome wheels, heated maple steering wheel, semi-aniline leather trimmed seating, manual rear door sun shades, LED ambient illumination, four-way power lumbar, cushion extender, laser-cut gray Sapele wood with aluminum and LED illuminated door sills. Navigation Package with 12.3-inch display, Remote Touch Interface, advanced voice control, Lexus Enform® App Suite, Lexus Enform® Destination Assist, HD Radio with iTunes®Tagging and more. 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system (with Navigation Package). Connected Technologies 
    The 2018 Lexus RX L offers five available Enform services for enhanced convenience:  Complimentary now for the first ten years, Lexus Enform Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, and Stolen Vehicle Notification.  The Lexus Enform response center operates 24/7/365. Lexus Enform Service Connect (complimentary 10-year subscription now included), enables the LS to send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer. With Lexus Enform Remote (one-year trial subscription included), the customer can remotely view and control certain aspects of the vehicle using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Once registered, the app can operate remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor, and more. The complimentary Lexus Enform App Suite app offer access to favorite mobile applications through the vehicle’s center console display, including Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Yelp (with Navigation Package).  Lexus Enform Destination Assist (complimentary for one year) acts as an in-car personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent (with Navigation Package). Warranty 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.  72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage. 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.  Hybrid System Warranty coverage is for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and covers the following components: hybrid control module, hybrid battery control module, hybrid battery and inverter with converter. *MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $995.   Lexus' passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 238 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With five models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers six F SPORT models and two F performance models. 

    William Maley

    Wait, is this the new CLS or old one?

    The Mercedes-Benz CLS is patient zero when it comes to the four-door coupe design. The first-generation model was a stunner and stood out from the other Plain Jane Mercedes models at the time. The second-generation model lost some of that distinctiveness but was still something a bit different from other sedans in Mercedes' lineup. Today at the LA Auto Show, Mercedes introduced the third-generation CLS.
    As we noted yesterday when pictures of the 2019 CLS leaked out, the new model is a bit stale in terms of the design. Mercedes says this is the evolution of their “sensual purity” design philosophy which appears to mean the various creases and bold lines are removed. The front end is similar to the CLA with a similar grille shape and wider headlights. The back features a trunk lid design similar to the C-Class and S-Class coupes.
    But the big news is what lies under the hood. When the CLS arrives in the U.S., it will only be available with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain also features a mild-hybrid system featuring a 48-volt electrical system and a combination starter and generator. It can provide an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for short bursts, along with improving fuel economy. This will come paired with a nine-speed automatic and choice of either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
    Mercedes-Benz will begin selling the 2019 CLS in the U.S. next fall.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz
    Press Release is on Page 2


    The new Mercedes-Benz CLS
    Third generation of the original Nov 29, 2017 – Stuttgart/Los Angeles: The new CLS pioneers the new design idiom of Mercedes-Benz, which is recognizable by its clear contours and reduced lines. Its character is marked by a grille contour that widens towards the base and a forward-slanting front section. Other features include wide, low-set headlights and two-section taillamps. At the same time the design reflects the timeless aura of the first CLS, which founded a new segment and quickly became a design icon. The CLS is equipped with a new inline six-cylinder engine and is the first vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz lineup with 48-volt technology with ISG that offers increased efficiency and comfort. Like its predecessors, the new CLS exudes self-assured sportiness in exemplary style: a highly emotional vehicle offering impressive long-distance and acoustic comfort coupled with thrilling, unrivalled technology. Additionally, the all-new four-door coupe seats 5 passengers for the first time. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS will have its World Premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and will go on sale in the U.S. by Fall 2018.
    In 2003, with the CLS, Mercedes-Benz created a new vehicle segment that combined the elegance and dynamic feel of a coupe with the comfort and functionality of a sedan for the first time. With the third generation of the CLS, Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model: the new model has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low greenhouse. At the same time it is another example of the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced. It blends seamlessly into the current Mercedes-Benz coupe family with numerous design features.
    The in-line six-cylinder engine in the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC is completely new, boasting 362 hp in addition to a 21 hp boost from the integrated starter- generator.
    The sporty CLS also has a comfortable side: AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, ENERGIZING Comfort and the very latest infotainment generation with Inductive Wireless Phone Charging with NFC pairing accentuate this.
    The standard appointments of the CLS are very extensive: highlights include AMG body styling, newly designed LED headlamps and taillamps, 19-inch light-alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch high-resolution COMAND® display, ambient lighting including illuminated air vents, Car-to-X Communication and Smartphone Integration.
    Exterior: Self-assured sportiness in the style of Mercedes-Benz coupes
    "The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupe. In line with our hot & cool design philosophy, we have reduced its DNA to an extremely puristic level while emotionally charging its beauty," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG.
    Striking front-end features include the diamond grille typical of Mercedes-Benz coupes, with a single louver. The silhouette of the radiator grille widens towards the base, resembling the contours of the grille on the Mercedes-AMG GT. The hood is completely surrounded by body surfaces. The very flat and wide headlamps with inward-slanting flanks dynamically follow the contour of the grille.
    The side design is characterized by the high, arching waistline and the sporty, low greenhouse with frameless side windows. The forward-slanting front end is reminiscent of a shark's nose, and appears longer thanks to the fully inset hood. The contours follow the design philosophy of sensual purity: lines and edges are greatly reduced, and the surfaces are generously arched.
    Also typical of the CLS is the muscular rear shoulder line which blends smoothly into the flat rear end. Characteristic coupe features include the two-section taillamps, reflectors positioned in the rear bumper, location of the license plate in the bumper and the Mercedes star at the center of the trunk lid.
    Like the headlamps, the LED taillamps have a crystalline appearance and create a three-dimensional effect. Their low positioning accentuates the width of the vehicle.
    Interior consistent color scheme, Widescreen Digital Instrument Cluster
    The luxurious interior of the CLS Coupe impresses with its clear basic lines, and echoes the sensual, flowing contours of the exterior. The high-grade choice of materials shows a very high level of finish.
    The sporty, width-accentuated cockpit and color combination creates an impression of particularly generous spaciousness. For a flowing overall impression, the wave-like course of the interior design extends from the front to the rear doors, opening up at the B-pillars. As a new highlight of the ambient lighting, the illuminated air vents are reminiscent of jet aircraft turbines. The sporty impression is also reinforced by the hand-finished appearance of the seats.
    The CLS450 is equipped with a high-resolution central display with a wide screen diagonal of 12.3 inches, and is optionally available with two 12.3-inch displays that merge to form a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared, continuous glass cover.
    The center console with open-pored or high-gloss wood appears to be free-floating thanks to its surface trim.
    In the fully digital cockpit, the driver is able to feely configure the information content according to need and the driving situation. Three different styles can be selected depending on preference, mood or to suit the interior appointments: Classic, Sport or Progressive.
    The ambient lighting is individually adjustable in 64 colors, and also includes the air vents. When the temperature setting of the air conditioning system is changed, it briefly changes color to show whether the temperature is being made warmer (red) or cooler (blue).
    The seats were also newly designed exclusively for this model series with high- quality piping. The outer seats in the rear have the same appearance as the front seats, creating a sporty single-seat impression, although the CLS Coupe is in fact a five-seater for the first time. When required the backrests can be folded down in a 40/20/40 ratio.
    Wellness on long-distance journeys: ENERGIZING Comfort
    ENERGIZING Comfort links various comfort systems in the vehicle. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage), the surface and steering wheel heating as well as lighting and musical atmospheres, and allows a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. As a result, well-being and performance levels are enhanced.
    These six programs can be selected:
    Refresh / Freshness Warmth Vitality Joy Comfort / Well-Being Training (three training modes – muscle relaxation, muscle activation and balance – each with several exercises). Intelligent Drive: Technology from the S-Class
    The new CLS generation has many things in common with the new S-Class, the automotive flagship of the entire industry. The CLS is equipped with the latest generation of driving assistance systems, with route-based speed adaptation and driver support provided by the Driver Assistance Package.
    The range of driver assistance and safety systems features a modular design and as standard includes Active Brake Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST and the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. Newly standard as well is PRE-SAFE® Sound (prepares human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there is a risk of a collision).
    The optional Driver Assistance Package consists of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, PRE-SAFE® PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions. Active Lane Change Assist has also been significantly improved.
    Thanks to improved camera and radar systems, the new CLS also has an even better view of the surrounding traffic. For the first time it also makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behavior.
    The "Assistance Graphics" menu of the instrument cluster shows the driver at a glance which assistance functions have been selected, and to what situations the systems are currently responding. Unmistakable icons provide the driver with information on-screen as well as in the head-up display. All functions are now controlled from the steering wheel.
    In stop & go traffic on motorways and similar roads, stops of up to 3 seconds are now possible, during which time the CLS starts moving again automatically and follows the traffic.
    The LED Intelligent Light System is now optionally available with advanced LED headlamps and Ultra Wide Beam high beams. The Ultra Wide Beams produce light at an increased width for maximum illumination of the road and surround area. For the driver, this means a clear improvement of the already great lighting performance of the LED Intelligent Light System. Adaptive Highbeam Assist is also part of the LED Intelligent Light System and allows drivers to drive with activated main beams without dazzling other road users. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front, the LEDs of the high beam modules are switched off. The other areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the mainbeam.
    Suspension
    The new CLS has a four-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. A dynamically set-up steel comfort suspension is standard equipment. The optionally available AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension has been improved, adjustable and adaptive damping system. The driver is able to choose vehicle characteristics from comfortable to sporty using the driving mode switch.
    New engine: with EQ Boost and 48 volt onboard electrical system
    The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS is powered by a completely new in- line six-cylinder engine.
    The new, systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder with EQ Boost (integrated starter/generator) and a 48 volt onboard electrical system powers the CLS450 and CLS450 4MATIC. Its performance data: 362 hp and 369 lb-ft plus a further 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated electric motor known as EQ Boost assists the combustion engine, for example when accelerating, makes driving without the combustion engine possible ("sailing") and supplies the battery with power by means of high-efficiency recuperation. By doing so it makes fuel savings possible that were previously the exclusive domain of high-voltage hybrid technology. All in all, the new in-line six-cylinder engine delivers the performance of an eight-cylinder engine with significantly lower consumption. The CLS450 is equipped with a particulate filter as standard.
    The new CLS450:
     
    CLS450 / CLS450 4MATIC
    Number of cylinders/ 
    arrangement
    6/in-line
    Displacement (cc)
    2,999
    Rated output (hp)
    362 hp @ 5,500 – 6,100 rpm
    Add. output from EQ Boost (hp)
    21 hp
    Rated torque (lb-ft)
    369 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,000 rpm
    Add. torque from EQ Boost (lb-ft)
    184 lb-ft
    Acceleration 0-60 mph (sec)
    TBA / TBA
    Edition 1: Particularly exclusive launch model
    The exclusivity of the CLS can be heightened even further with the Edition 1. Numerous standard luxurious features include the COPPER ART interior concept with seats in black pearl nappa leather with center sections in a diamond design and copper-colored accents, copper-colored contrasting topstitching on the center console, seats, armrests, dashboard and door linings, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins and louver with a copper-colored shimmer.
    The exterior is based on the AMG Line. Special features include the LED Intelligent Light headlamps as standard and 19-inch multi-spoke AMG light alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen rim flange. The special model is recognizable by the "Edition 1" lettering on the front fenders.
    Highlights of the interior include:
    Dashboard support lined in black nappa leather Center console and dashboard support trim in Natural grain black ash wood with matching center console IWC analogue clock with exclusive dial face Vehicle key in high-gloss black with high-sheen chrome surround Floor mats with "Edition 1" badge and copper-colored piping Chrome "Edition 1" lettering on the center console and "Edition 1" display on the welcome screen.

    William Maley

    The more things change, the more they stay the same

    The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has to be one of worst-kept secrets in new vehicle launches. Over the past months, we have learned numerous details about powertrains, the overall structure, features, and much more. Jeep finally spilled out the details about the 2018 Wrangler today the LA Auto Show.
    The basic shape of the exterior remains the same, but Jeep designers have a number of changes to freshen it up. The front end comes with a new grille design, reshaped headlights, LED daytime running lights and turn signals on the fenders, and a new front bumper. The front windshield is much easier to fold down as it only takes four bolts remove - the previous-generation required an owner to remove 28 bolts. Around the back is a new lip spoiler to help with aerodynamics, larger rear window, and reshaped taillights.
    Three tops will be available for the Wrangler,
    Hardtop comprised of lighter panels and simpler latches Softtop that uses latches instead of zippers and velcro to remove panels Powered softtop that is more like a giant sunroof The interior keeps many of the Wrangler's traits such as the body color dash panels and passenger grab handle. But the controls become easier thanks to a revised layout and larger knobs and buttons. A new instrument cluster design features a color screen for trip computer - similar to what you'll find on other Jeeps. Three versions of FCA's UConnect system (5 to 8.4-inches) will be available. The Wrangler's interior comes with more storage spaces such as larger mesh pockets on the doors and a 50-percent larger center console.
    There will be two engines on offer for the Wrangler at launch
    3.6L V6 - 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque Turbocharged 2.0L Inline-Four - 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque The V6 will offer the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The four-cylinder makes do with the automatic only. The four-cylinder also boasts a mild-hybrid system comprised of a 48-volt battery and belt starter-generator. Jeep says this setup improves low-speed acceleration and the stop-start system.
    A 3.0L turbodiesel V6 is expected to arrive sometime later. No power specs were given for the diesel engine. Jeep CEO Mike Manley announced at the press conference that a plug-in hybrid will be launched in 2020.
    The Wrangler will come in 2WD or 4WD. Opt for a 4WD and you'll have the choice of two systems; CommandTrac or RocTrac. Sahara models come with a special transfer case featuring a 4Auto mode for those who daily drive their Wrangler through the rain and snow. 
    The Wrangler off-road capabilities are impressive,
    Ford water up to 30 inches Approach angle of 44 degrees Departure angle of 37 degrees Breakover angle of 27.8 degrees Jeep engineers were able to cut about 200 pounds from the Wrangler. Part of the loss can be attributed to the new frame design that incorporates more high-strength steel. The other part comes from many of the body panels being made out of aluminum.
    The Wrangler hits dealerships in the first quarter of 2018.
    Source: Jeep
    Press Release is on Page 2
    All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler: The Most Capable SUV Ever
    Even More Legendary Jeep 4x4 Capability, a Modern Design That Stays True to the Original, Advanced Fuel-efficient Powertrains, More Open-air Options and Loaded With Safety Features and Advanced Technology Unmatched capability with Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, next-generation Dana axles, new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential and 33-inch off-road tires  Industry-leading ground clearance and approach, breakover and departure angles Unmatched crawl ratios Up to 30 inches of water fording A modern design that stays true to the original Instantly recognizable keystone-shaped grille pays homage to Jeep® CJ models Iconic round headlamps and square tail lamps provide distinctive Wrangler character Rugged-yet-distinguished design boasts improved aerodynamics Convenient fold-down windshield for off-road purists More open-air freedom for the only true open-air 4x4 SUV with new easy-to-use Sky One-Touch powertop, two hardtops and premium soft top Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame, and magnesium swing gate help reduce weight and boost fuel economy Suspension tuned to optimize on-road handling and ride comfort without sacrificing off-road capability Advanced fuel-efficient powertrain menu: All-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with efficient eTorque technology 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) Diesel power in response to overwhelming consumer demand: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS coming in 2019 Two transmission offerings: new eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual Fourth-generation Uconnect system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the choice of 5.0, 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability Packed with more than 75 available advanced safety and security features November 29, 2017 , Los Angeles - The all-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler – the most capable and recognized vehicle in the world – builds on its legendary history with an unmatched combination of off-road capability, authentic Jeep design, open-air freedom, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, superior on- and off-road dynamics, and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology features.
    “Jeep has always represented the ultimate in capability and open-air freedom, and our all-new 2018 Wrangler protects that important legacy and takes it into the future,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global.  “The all-new Wrangler is instantly recognizable as a Jeep, staying true to the original, yet it is better in every way – delivering even more rugged capability, more ride comfort, more fuel efficiency courtesy of several advanced powertrain options, more interior comfort, more safety and more technology.”
     
    The 2018 Jeep Wrangler 2-door model is available in three different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S and Rubicon. Wrangler 4-door models are available in four different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Sahara and Rubicon.

    Legendary go-anywhere 4x4 capability: Most capable SUV ever without compromise
    The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler delivers legendary off-road capability courtesy of two advanced 4x4 systems, and for the first time in Wrangler’s history, a two-speed transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio that is available on Sahara models. This new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case is intuitive and allows the driver to set it and forget it, while constantly sending power to the front and rear wheels.
     
    The Command-Trac 4x4 system features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and next-generation solid Dana front and rear axles with a 3.45 rear axle ratio.
     
    On Wrangler Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4x4 system features heavy duty next-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.
     
    Wrangler Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel versus the previous generation with help from an electronic sway-bar disconnect. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Wrangler Rubicon has an impressive and improved crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the new eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which makes 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 provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice.
     
    Every Wrangler model receives a Trail Rated badge thanks to legendary 4x4 capability that includes features such as:
    Command-Trac 4x4 system with 2.72:1 crawl ratio standard on Sport and Sahara 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 All-new front fascia and available front and rear steel heavy-duty off-road winch-ready bumpers with removable end caps Industry-leading approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees and ground clearance of 10.9 inches Aggressive available 17-inch off-road wheels; Rubicon models get 33-inch tires standard Up to 30 inches of water fording Up to 3,500-lb. towing capacity Modern take on authentic Jeep Wrangler design
    The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler builds on a sculptural design aesthetic that is immediately recognizable with its traditional Jeep design cues. Wrangler’s new exterior design is bold and rugged with a wide stance and lowered beltline with larger windows for better outward visibility, especially out on the trails.
    The Jeep design team gave the legendary seven-slot grille an updated look that now shows both of the outer grille slats intersecting with the headlights, paying homage to the Jeep CJ. The top of the keystone-shaped grille has been gently swept back for improved aerodynamics.
     
    On Sahara and Rubicon models, available LED headlamps and fog lamps offer crisp white lighting and add to the Wrangler’s distinctive look. These models feature daytime running lights that now form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights, and standard LED forward turn signals are positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares. From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature available LED lighting.
     
    Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities. A new half-door design will be available starting in 2019.
     
    The windshield’s rake has been optimized for improved aerodynamics and features a new four bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame to allow the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A new header bar now 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 Sahara and available on Rubicon models.
     
    New lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors now feature the Torx bit tool size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which tool size is needed to remove the doors.
     
    New for 2018, all Wranglers feature body-colored sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles.
     
    As the only true open-air 4x4 SUV on the market, an all-new easy-to-use Sky One-Touch powertop strengthens Wrangler’s promise of utility and adventure by allowing occupants to retract the full-length open canvas roof with a push of a button (available in the second quarter of 2018).
     
    An all-new premium Sunrider soft top provides another easy open-air option and has been improved by adding two additional bows to manage the fabric. This new design helps to quiet wind noise and allows for easier access to partial and full open top positions. New for 2018, the soft top features retainers that slide into a track for easier rear passenger window removal.
     
    Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon models share a body-color hardtop option (black on Sport and Sport S), offering a unique, premium appearance while a black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving. Lighter Freedom panels and improved latches enable a quicker removal and installation of the hardtop.
     
    Authentic interior design boasts premium features and technology
    The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler’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 Wrangler Sahara 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. A redesigned center console houses the gear shift selection, transfer case and parking brake. Real bolts featured on the shifter, grab handles and frame the infotainment screen highlight genuine construction methods.
     
    A push-button starter, featuring a weather-proof surround, makes its debut on the 2018 Wrangler and is easily located within the driver’s reach.
     
    Cloth or leather-contoured seats feature accent stitching, and now feature adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel.
     
    The driver and front passenger vinyl-wrapped door trim panels are soft to the touch, and the arm rests have been lengthened for better comfort. New Lift-Assist handles under each door armrest feature an integrated pull-cup design that makes door removal quicker and easier than ever. 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, or digital speed readout. Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice, and speed functions and allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
     
    A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen – the most advanced and largest display Uconnect system display ever offered on Wrangler – houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and now sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker start up times and improved screen resolution. A 5.0-inch touchscreen is standard on Wrangler Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports.
     
    Two USB ports up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media center. Standard 12-volt accessory outlets are located throughout the all-new Wrangler and a 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics.
     
    Clever storage solutions are found throughout the 2018 Wrangler, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas. 
     
    The available subwoofer is now located on the right side of the rear cargo area allowing for even more storage space. An under-floor storage area behind the rear seat provides room to secure small items out of sight. The glove box is now damped and like the center console, can be locked to safely secure valuables when the top is down. The available all-new Trail Rail cargo management system allows easy access to the contents in the cargo area and provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo.
     
    Proven body-on-frame design is the foundation for legendary Jeep capability
    The 2018 Jeep Wrangler receives a multitude of improvements to optimize ride, handling and sound characteristics, while reducing weight and improving fuel economy. Utilizing a body-on-frame design, and featuring a superbly engineered five-link suspension system, Wrangler delivers even more capability, with improved on-road driving dynamics and passenger safety.
     
    To protect critical vehicle components while on the trail – including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan – Wrangler 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.
     
    The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and magnesium swing gate, help reduce weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to reduce weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear, and a larger, lighter master cylinder.
     
    For 2018, Wrangler continues to utilize the proven five-link coil suspension configuration. Wrangler’s front suspension features 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 roll center height has been raised and the spring rates have been retuned to provide a comfortable ride when traveling around town.
     
    The five-link rear suspension 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 outside of the frame rails while the rear shocks are splayed (angled inboard at the top) to provide consistent damping.
     
    The shocks have been retuned and demonstrate optimum balance between on-road handling and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, and handling is significantly improved with new shock tuning, hard points, and body mount strategy.
     
    On Wrangler Rubicon models, an electronic front sway-bar disconnect is featured to provide additional wheel travel when the terrain calls for it.
     
    A best-in-class approach angle of 44 degrees, breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees and a ground clearance of 10.9 inches allows Wrangler to go anywhere.
     
    Wrangler also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording and up to 3,500-lb. towing capacity with the available towing package.
    Advanced fuel-efficient powertrains
    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 and all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engines join the Wrangler lineup, while the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is upgraded for 2018.
     
    2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine
    The all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with eTorque technology is rated a best-in-class 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder (I-4) engine’s torque output surpasses that of the V-6 engine offered in Wrangler. The all-new eTorque system improves fuel economy, launch performance, and driver comfort during start/stop operations.
     
    The eTorque system’s hybrid functions include auto stop/start, electric power assist, extended fuel shut-off, transmission shift management, intelligent battery charging and regenerative braking. Both the engine and fuel flow may be turned off during stops, coasting or when the engine is decelerating.
     
    The all-new 2.0-liter I-4 engine features a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger with an electronically actuated waste gate for exceptional responsiveness and performance, even while traversing over difficult terrain. The turbo is mounted directly to the cylinder head to improve durability. A dedicated cooling circuit lowers the temperature of the intake air, throttle body and turbocharger.
     
    Direct injection, coupled with turbocharging, enables more efficient combustion and increased performance. The 2.0-liter I-4 engine’s fuel pump supplies the engine’s 2,900-psi high-pressure common-rail injection system. These high pressures produce better fuel atomization and allow for more precise fuel delivery than port fuel-injection systems, which in turn improves both performance and efficiency.
     
    The 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine is part of the Global Medium Engine architecture family and features Double Overhead Camshafts (DOHC), dual independent camshaft timing, and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (C-EGR) system. This is the first time that the combined use of a twin-scroll turbocharger, C-EGR system, Central Direct Injection and the independent liquid cooling intake of air, throttle body and turbo have been employed together. This combination of technologies enables the high levels of performance and reduces fuel consumption.
     
    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 now features Engine Stop-Start (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.
     
    An all-new six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Wrangler models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and a new-to-Wrangler eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.
     
    Known for its refinement, power, efficiency, and adaptability, there are more than five million 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engines on the road today. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or whenever the conditions call for it. 
     
    3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine
    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2019. Wrangler 4-door models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) standard. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output.
     
    FCA US engineers adapted the engine – manufactured by FCA-owned V.M. Motori – to meet the NAFTA region’s regulatory requirements.
     
    Starting in 2019, the EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements new turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low end and transient performance. The upgraded EcoDiesel V-6 engine now also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide an enhanced combustion system – new injector nozzle, piston bowl, and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion.
     
    Class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission
    The new 2018 Jeep Wrangler 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 Wrangler models.
     
    Wrangler’s eight-speed automatic transmission offers a responsive driving experience. Whether commuting during the week or rock crawling 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 Wrangler Rubicon model, the eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. The improved 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 2018 Jeep Wrangler models are equipped with the new standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs new gear ratios for improved crawl ratio performance, a new gear pattern, and a cable-operated design, which eliminates shifter vibration and improves sound isolation.
     
    The revised shift pattern features improved shift accuracy, a more comfortable shifting position and 50-percent shorter shifter throws than that of the outgoing Wrangler model.
     
    A 4.41 ratio spread offers improved fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality.
    Fourth-generation Uconnect system delivers advanced technology
    The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler offers three new Uconnect systems - Uconnect 5-, 7- and 8.4NAV, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation features drivers and passengers desire, including a full-color LED instrument cluster. 2018 marks the first-time Wrangler offers the new, fourth-generation Uconnect systems.
    The new Uconnect system includes easy-to-use features, enhanced processing power, faster startup times, and touchscreens that display high-resolution graphics.
     
    New Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features
    The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler is equipped 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, lane guidance; on-demand access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music; plus 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 also 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 Guardian Connected Services that provide real-time information.
     
    More than 75 available advanced safety and security features
    Safety and security were paramount in the development of the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler, which offers more than 75 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include: Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation and four standard air bags.

    Sign in to follow this  


About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...