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    Drew Dowdell

    ...the midsize sedan is not dead yet...

    The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.
    The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 
     Inside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 
    At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.
    Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.
     


    Drew Dowdell

    ...Cadillac takes a middle road...

    The Cadillac ATS and CTS didn't sell well.  They had great handling and a large selection of engines, but they were hampered by interiors that were cramped for the class and infotainment systems that could confound people.  Sedans are dying, Cadillac gets that too. That's why they are consolidating the ATS and CTS onto a single car called the CT5, released last week at the New York International Auto Show. Rumors have it that the CT5 will start in the mid-30s and Cadillac is insisting that, despite its size, the CT5 is aligned against the 3-series and C-Class. But in doing so, where does that leave the car? Could Cadillac be realigning their cars so they become the largest cars in a particular price class?  It would be a very traditionally Cadillac thing to do. There was a time when Cadillac would brag about having the longest production cars in its class. Even the original CTS was sized like a 5-series but priced like a 3-series.  More on that later. 
    I'm a lifelong fan of Cadillac.  I want to be excited about the CT5. While I do think the car looks handsome, it doesn't excite me like the CT6 does.  There is no one thing I can put my finger on, not even the black plastic triangle playing the part of a third window.  The car just doesn't command a presence as the CT6 does. And though the overall look of the front is handsome, I get flashbacks of Impala from certain angles. It does look far better in person than Cadillac's or my own photography show.
    Inside, Cadillac has upped their game on the quality of the materials, but they phoned the styling in. As some readers have pointed out, it even appears as if some trim pieces have been repurposed from the CTS. There is a large tablet stuck to the dash for the infotainment system, which is thankfully no longer the old CUE system. It looks to be similar in function and layout to those found in GMC's trucks. I have found that system to work well, so I don't see any problem there. A large dial in the center console can control the unit as well, useful if you're wearing gloves.  Capacitive touch buttons have been replaced by real physical buttons. They are well weighted and feel substantial, indeed even Mercedes-like for the HVAC controls.    Cadillac took to heart all of the criticism over their gauges in the previous cars and produced a good looking set of round dials for tach and speedometer with a driver information screen between.  The seats are firm and supportive, getting into position is quick and easy, but they don't match the 24+ way seats that Lincoln is offering these days.  Rear seat room has improved dramatically over the ATS, though feels about the same as a CTS.  Cadillac's Precision Control Shift is there.  I've found it annoying to use, but it has a similar operation to the BMW gear control that many people like, so maybe it is just me.  I think Cadillac (and everyone else) should chuck the shifter knob on their cars and go to something more digital.  One piece of technology in the CT5 that I really love is Cadillac's SuperCruise.  I've used SuperCruise to drive from Pittsburgh to New York, roughly 350 miles, and I was only actively piloting the car for about 10% of the time. 
    Engines in the CT5 seem to be introductory offers, but there is also room to grow. The base engine is a 2.0 liter twin-scroll turbo producing 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That's a bit light for the class.  The optional engine is a 3.0 liter twin-turbo making 335 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.  Both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic with all-wheel drive optional. Both engines also have displacement on demand and can shut down cylinders to conserve fuel in light-load situations.  Cadillac has plenty of room to maneuver here with engines though. For future versions like V-Sport and V-Series, they have the 400hp version of the 3.0TT, or the 420hp 3.6TT, or the new 4.2 liter Blackwing when more performance is called for.  
    Overall, this could be a very compelling car starting at $34,995 and being as long as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That's where the size issue comes in. Cadillac would have a hard time moving this CT5 if they price it alongside the same size German models. If this is going to be Cadillac's strategy, offer the biggest car for the price, then they need to drum that mindset into the heads of consumers. That takes advertising dollars.  Otherwise, they are just going to be repeatedly compared to vehicles outside of their price class and lose in every comparison test.  The CT6 being priced just $1,000 more than an E-Class leads me to believe this is what they are intending to do.   
    Read other First Impressions from the New York International Auto Show below:
    First Impressions: 2020 Hyundai Venue
    First Impressions: 2020 Lincoln Corsair
    First Impressions: 2020 Ford Escape

     
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ... pint-sized perky little truckster...

    Arguably, one of the most important reveals at the New York Auto Show is the Hyundai Venue. The Venue is Hyundai’s smallest crossover slotting in just below the Kona.  With a price starting somewhere in the $17k - $18k range, it will also likely be the most prolific of the cars unveiled this week.   The Venue’s main competition is the Nissan Kicks, Kia Soul, Jeep Renegade, and Ford EcoSport.
    Outside, the Venue sits perky and upright, it will be the shortest length crossover on the market when it goes on sale in the fall.  In spite of its diminutive size, it manages to look more premium than it is. It’s about 5 inches shorter than the Hyundai Kona which sits just above it in Hyundai’s lineup.
    It has a deep set grill with a complex crosshatch pattern that gives an expensive look. The split light clusters add visual height to the front, making it look more truck-like.  There are a contrasting color roof and mirror covers. I like the looks of the alloy wheels too. In back, a good size hatch opens to 19 cubic feet of cargo room that expands to 32 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.  Hyundai even put some work into making the tail lamps display a unique Z pattern.
    Inside, the Venue really shines. The upright dash is covered in a soft rubberized material. The seats have a denim-like look to them and they offer a good seating position for the driver. There are options on the upper trim to have the front and rear seats heated.  Front legroom seemed a little tight, and I would need to move the seat back far enough that an adult probably couldn’t sit behind me.  Rear seat legroom is tight, and I struggled slightly to get in and out.  The rear seat is rather flat and park-bench-like. It is unlikely that if you are any taller than my 5’10” that you will be comfortable with the headroom.
    All of the controls are in easy reach. The primary HVAC controls are three large simple round dials. An 8-inch touch screen sits high on the center stack and only pops up about an inch over the dash.  My experience with Hyundai’s infotainment systems has been mixed, but the car was off when I visited, so I didn’t get the chance to try it. Either way, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard, so as long as you’re happy with those, it should just work.
    Hyundai is offering the Venue in just two trims, SE and SEL, and a single engine option, a 1.6 liter 4-cylinder. This engine will produce an estimated 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque. Like the Soul and Kicks, there is no all-wheel-drive option offered.  Power is sent to the front wheels either via a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission.  Hyundai is hoping to get an EPA combined rating of 33 mpg. 
    Tiny crossovers have become the 1990's hatchback of the twenty-teens. The Venue, Kicks, Soul, Renegade, and others offer crossover versatility in a city-sized package. Unlike those old hatchbacks which could be penalty boxes, my overall impression is that the Venue isn’t a car you buy just because it is cheap, but because you actually like it. It is a handsome, perky little package that looks more premium than it really is and offers a host of standard and optional safety features that some lack in the segment. Given that the Venue is likely to take the title of the most affordable crossover and do it while looking this good puts Hyundai in a great position.
    Read our other First Impressions from the New York International Auto Show below:
    First Impressions: 2020 Lincoln Corsair
    First Impressions: 2020 Ford Escape
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ... this one's gonna be good...

    One of the most anticipated releases of the New York International Auto Show was the 2020 Lincoln Corsair.  The Corsair is the replacement for the Lincoln MKC, and with that, Lincoln has only two MK vehicles left in production, the MKT which is surprisingly still in production, and the MKZ which may go away once the Ford Fusion dies out.  Lincoln upgraded the MKX to Nautilus for 2019. That same year, the MKC got a refresh to look more like the rest of the Lincoln lineup for the 2019 model year only and that was an evolutionary step to the Corsair we see today.
    To say that the Corsair is a step up from the MKC is probably an understatement. Though similar in exterior form, the Corsair wears its styling in a much more confident fashion.  It is more upright and assertive a look than the outgoing MKC. While the Corsair shares a platform with the 2020 Ford Escape (My first impressions of the 2020 Escape here), this isn’t a simple badge job as all the sheet metal is different, and though they share the same wheelbase, the Lincoln is longer and wider than the Ford.  While originally derided as derivative, the big Lincoln grille is really coming into its own as a signature look. I’m glad that Lincoln has kept at it and not listened to critics of the look. The full-width tail lamps also are a continued improvement, this time reminding me of the Lincoln Continental.  The overall look is a much more cohesive design than the MKC which could look like a design compromise from some angles.
    The Corsair deserves the award for “Most Improved Interior”.  While the MKC was never a bad design, it hasn't aged well and still had some recession-era components. This new interior looks well above its class.  While I detected some areas of cost-cutting on door panels and lower trim, nothing seemed out of line for the class and the excellence of the styling will let most people overlook it.  I am a big fan of Lincoln’s interior styling direction and they are greatly outpacing crosstown rival Cadillac in that department. There is the “stuck on iPad” look of the infotainment system, but such is life in most vehicles these days. The infotainment system runs Sync3 which I’ve had good experiences with in the past. Lincoln’s toggle button shift control and the pod of buttons that reaches out from the dash feels almost like a 1950’s steampunk spaceship (that is a compliment).  Front seating position seems just right and the leg room in the 2nd row is what I would expect from this class. It’s adjustable too, as the second row can slide 6 inches fore and aft to give more cargo room or more legroom as needed. I clock in at 5’10” and found there to be more than enough headroom.  Lincoln’s 24-way adjustable seats take a while to get set up, but once you do, they feel great.
    Both the 2.0T and 2.3T from the MKC carry over, though the 2.3 has been tweaked slightly to add a bit more torque (Now 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque) and both come with an 8-speed automatic. Neither engine is a bad choice and should move the Corsair along with zest. A plug-in hybrid variant is coming. All-Wheel drive is optional on the 2.0 and standard on the 2.3.  The AWD system is able to decouple the rear axle in order to save fuel and recouple it when traction is needed. Up to 100% of the torque can be directed to the rear. Hopefully, the 8-speed automatic and decoupling AWD will improve the only average fuel economy of 20/27 city/highway that the MKC gets, but if not, at least there will be better performance.
    Corsair will likely start around $35,000, which makes it a better value than the smaller and less powerful Cadillac XT4 that starts around the same price. It will also likely be a better value than anything coming from Europe.  The most direct competition, in both size and price, will come from the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX. I expect the Corsair to do well against them.
    The Corsair will be in dealerships by the Fall.  
    The Lincoln Corsair Gallery has been updated with shots from the show floor.
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Don't get your hopes up...

    Ford unveiled the 2020 Escape ahead of the New York International Auto Show and yesterday I finally got my chance to check it out. 
    The Escape’s overall shape has lost some of its edge. It is now more rounded and car-like born out by the fact that it is longer, lower, and wider than the current model.  From certain angles in the front, it almost looks to be a Tesla, an association I’m sure Ford won’t mind me making. In back, it has lost almost all of its character. Scrape the badges off and I couldn't tell you what manufacturer this car came from.
    Inside is a mixed bag. The dash is laid out in a simple organized fashion and I like how it no longer juts out at you as the outgoing model does.  The screen is well placed and easy to reach. My experiences with Sync3 in the past have been good, so I expect that will carry over into this Escape. The rear seat room is good for the class, though the rear seats do sit lower than I would like.
    Where I’m let down is in the quality of materials. Everything seems to be made of hard plastic. The door panels in the rear were especially tupperware feeling. One strange item is the unusual placement of the engine start/stop button, down and behind the steering wheel almost as if they were intentionally making it hard to reach. I did back to back comparisons with Ford’s competition at the show and I would put the new Escape near the bottom of the list on interior quality. It is even a step backward from the current Escape.
    The Escape will have four powertrain choices, a 1.5-liter turbo, a 2-liter turbo carried over from the previous generation, and making a return is the hybrid version, powered by a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder. A plug-in hybrid will also be available, but only in front-wheel drive form.  The most interesting of these engines is the 1.5 liter. It is a 3 cylinder EcoBoost producing 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. It is capable of running on just 2 cylinders during times of light load. I liked the 1-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost in the Ford Fiesta, and if this new 1.5 liter runs the same, that would be a good thing. Driving impressions will have to wait till later this year when the Escape goes into production.
    Overall I think this Ford could and should do better on the interior quality. A 3-cylinder turbo may be a hard sell no matter how good the mileage is and Ford will have an interesting time convincing customers of that. 
    You can read more about the 2020 Ford Escape from the release article below.
     

    William Maley

    ...If Mazda finally brings out a diesel CX-5 after years of delays, does anyone care?..

    It seems like forever since Mazda announced plans to introduce a diesel engine for the U.S. market. You need to go all the way back to 2010 when the Japanese automaker first announced its intentions, with the ambitious goal of meeting stringent emissions standards without a costly exhaust aftertreatment system. Ambitious and one that would end up going nowhere.
    After almost a decade of various delays, changing plans, and the elephant in the room that is the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, Mazda has finally announced that they will begin selling a CX-5 turbodiesel beginning this year. No launch window was given, but the company has announced they are beginning to take pre-orders.
    Time to get excited right? Well, no. On paper, the CX-5 Diesel is quite disappointing. The diesel engine in question is a 2.2L Skyactiv-D four-cylinder producing 168 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque  (slightly lower from the 170 and 310 figures we have been reporting previously). That's less than the 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque for the optional turbocharged 2.5L. Fuel economy isn't a bright spot either. EPA figures for the 2.2 are 27 city, 30 highway and 28 combined - not major improvements over the standard 2.5 four-cylinder of 24/30/26. We should note that Mazda is only planning on offering diesel with all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive variant we reported on last August doesn't seem to exist at the moment.
    But the final nail in the coffin is the price tag. Mazda is only offering the diesel on the top Signature trim for a base price of $42,045, including $1,045 destination charge. This is a sizeable jump from the Signature with the 2.5T at $38,235.
    It's evident that Mazda is trying to leverage the diesel engine as part of its premium ambitions. But we can't but wonder if Mazda ultimately stuck with this project just to show they could do it. With all of the delays, so-so fuel economy, and high price tag, it will be a hard sell to consumers.
    Source: Mazda 
    2019 MAZDA CX-5 SIGNATURE DIESEL ARRIVES AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
    MAZDA’S PATH TO PREMIUM CONTINUES WITH THE ADDITION OF SKYACTIV-D 2.2 TO U.S. ENGINE LINEUP NEW YORK (April 17, 2019) – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) announced today at the 2019 New York International Auto Show the arrival of the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD featuring the Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine with pre-sales beginning immediately. The show is open to the public from April 19-28.
    In his speech today, Chairman and CEO of MNAO, Masahiro Moro shared updates on Mazda’s journey to Japanese premium along with the ground breaking of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (MTMUS) and the recent leadership enhancements. He introduced Jeffrey Guyton as the new President of MNAO, who brings over 20 years of executive experience from Mazda Motor Europe (MME), as well as vast knowledge related to Mazda’s biggest announcement of the day – the long-awaited arrival of Mazda’s diesel engine to the U.S.
    As Mazda continues toward premium, Guyton and Moro welcomed the addition of the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine in the U.S. with the expansion of the powertrain lineup in the CX-5, the brand’s best-selling vehicle in the region. Skyactiv-D 2.2 provides Mazda fans another option to enjoy the popular compact crossover SUV and addresses the strong demand for a diesel engine in the U.S. that offers a premium driving experience.
    “As Mazda continues our climb toward premium, we will offer more powertrain choices that premium customers expect,” said Guyton. “I am happy to share that Mazda’s Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine is joining the U.S. powertrain lineup with our debut model, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D.”
    The 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2 provides a high torque driving experience and revs freely at high rpms. The Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine is estimated to deliver 168 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 290 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm with an EPA estimated 27 mpg on city, 30 mpg on highway and 28 mpg overall. A sequential twin turbocharger realizes smooth and linear response from low to high engine speeds, and greatly increases low- and high-end torque (up to the 5,500 rpm rev limit).
    Mazda worked closely with all proper federal and state agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to ensure that the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine meets the required emission standards and passes all appropriate regulations. With an MSRP[1]of $41,000, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2 is available in four color options: Jet Black or premium paint colors; Snowflake White Pearl, Soul Red Crystal and Machine Gray Metallic.
    Pre-sale for the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine is available now. For more information about the engine and how to sign up, please visit: https://www.MazdaUSA.com/NYIAS

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Safest, most capable Outback ever...

    New XT models with 260-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine Debut of Onyx Edition XT trim level with unique exterior and interior Tablet-style high-definition SUBARU STARLINK 11.6-inch touchscreen New Hands-Free Power Gate Available segment-exclusive DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System Standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology with Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control and new Lane Centering   The 2020 Outback delivers the optimal blend of SUV capability and car-like ride and handling with standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Active Torque Vectoring, Vehicle Dynamics Control and X-MODE with Hill Descent Control. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance for all Outback models is greater than that in many SUVs, yet the Outback maintains a comfortably low step-in height for both front and rear passenger entry.

    For the first time since 2009, the Outback lineup offers a turbocharged engine. Standard on XT models, the 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine delivers robust all-around performance with 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. Meanwhile, the standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter BOXER, with direct injection and nearly 90 percent of its parts new, delivers 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm.

    All 2020 Outback models are paired with a CVT featuring an 8-speed manual mode function with steering wheel paddle shifters. The 2.4-liter turbo delivers a 3,500-lb. towing capacity, the most of any Outback in history, while the 2.5-liter provides more than a 600-mile range on a single tank. Manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy is 26/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.5-liter and 23/30 mpg city/highway for the turbo.   The 2020 Outback offers a peaceful cabin that is almost 3 dB quieter at highway speeds. Subaru engineers worked extensively to find ways to reduce unwanted noise coming into the cabin, fitting the Outback with new door weather strips that feature a baffle in the mid-section and dual lips on the roof side for improved quietness. Sound-insulated glass, which uses a sound-insulating inner film for the windshield and front-door glass, has been adopted, while glass thickness all around has been increased for quietness   SUBARU STARLINK In-Vehicle Technology offers an integrated cockpit experience by allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings through a large touchscreen display.   Pricing for the 2020 Outback will be announced closer to this fall’s on-sale date.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...a sensuous entry to the mid-size market..

    The all-new Sonata embodies Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language with a sophisticated four-door-coupe look
    Hyundai’s third-generation vehicle platform enables improvements in design, safety, efficiency and driving performance Hyundai First: Sonata’s Digital Key allows the vehicle to be unlocked, started and driven without a physical key, via a smartphone Hyundai First: Hidden Lighting Lamps turn chrome when off and lit when on Hyundai today introduced its all-new 2020 Sonata at the New York International Auto Show, marking the North American debut of Hyundai’s longest-standing and most successful model. The eighth-generation Sonata is unlike any of its predecessors, showcasing Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design philosophy, an all-new Smartstream G2.5 GDI engine and segment-first technology that can be personalized. Production of the 2020 Sonata starts in September at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and retail sales begin in October.
    Customers can choose between two Smartstream gasoline powertrains: a 2.5 GDI and a 1.6 T-GDI engine, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The new Smartstream G2.5 GDI engine, with high-efficiency combustion, cooled EGR and an optimized ITMS cooling system, boasts a generous 191 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 181 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm, plus an expected combined EPA estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg. Meanwhile, the new Smartstream G1.6 T-GDI has 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500–4,500 rpm and is expected to achieve an EPA estimated 31 mpg combined, thanks to its world-first Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) system.
    Production of the 2020 Sonata starts in September 2019.
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Hyundai adds a 7th crossover to their lineup...

    Hyundai brought out its newest entry to their burgeoning SUV lineup today at the New York International Auto Show.  They Hyundai Venue will take a place alongside the Hyundai Kona as a small SUV.   Unlike the Kona, the Venue sits more upright in a traditional 2-box design. 
    Venue conveys a fun, yet functional design in a versatile and modern compact package. For those constantly on-the-go, Venue offers adaptability to the urban entrepreneur lifestyle many consumers experience in today’s fast-paced environment. From everyday workplace activities to weekend fun, Venue is a great fit in accommodating busy lifestyles with an abundance of playful and practical features including seamless safety, versatility and connectivity.
    The design of the new Venue exhibits small but confident body forms, delivering a new interpretation of Hyundai’s signature design language. The vehicle side profile showcases a solid and full volume wheel arch and strong character line, while the front cascading grille includes the new Hyundai signature face that’s found on both Kona and NEXO, including composite LED lights and cube shape headlamps. This unique character line continues through the tail lamps. Venue is available with striking 17-inch alloy wheels along with the 15-inch standard wheels.
    “The Hyundai SUV lineup can be compared with the pieces on a chess board,” said SangYup Lee, executive vice president of design, Hyundai Motor Group. “Our new Palisade is the King, but we are missing the smaller piece. And that’s where Venue comes in. It may be small, but its unique and bold design sets it apart from the rest of the pack,” he explained. “We can see the Hyundai look in Venue but there is a unique quality that will appeal to individual customer’s tastes and preferences in a way that sets it apart from the other SUVs in our lineup.”
    Advanced Safety Technologies
    Venue offers a suite of advanced safety technologies evoking a strong sense of protection in an entry level vehicle.
    Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) uses the car’s front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings automatically steering the car if necessary. Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) helps detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue or careless Rear Collision Cross-Traffic Warning (RCCW) helps detect when a vehicle may have entered a car’s rearward path providing a driver Drive Modes includes a snow mode for improved FWD road Each of these advanced systems provides a relaxing experience during urban driving adventures.
    Efficient Powertrain
    Fuel economy is an important consideration for customers who purchase an entry-level vehicle. Venue won’t disappoint thanks to Hyundai’s Smartstream Gamma 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The Dual Port Fuel Injection (DPFI) engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) automatic. Based on internal estimates, Venue is estimated to deliver up to 33 miles per gallon (City/Highway combined).
    Numerous design changes were made to the Smartstream Gamma 1.6 engine to realize fuel economy improvements while maintaining power and torque. To improve fuel economy, Venue incorporates a number of design changes including:
    High Tumble Combustion System by optimizing the port and valve shapes Maximized Thermal Efficiency by reducing the surface-to-volume ratio Cooling System Optimization incorporating a cross-flow configuration and narrow water jacket core to speed up cabin warming Dual Port Fuel Injection with improved injectors and optimized spray targeting with a sophisticated injection strategy Integrated Thermal Management System (ITMS) featuring a 2-way rotary control valve, distributing engine coolant to the radiator, transmission warmer and heater core module along with a 6-phase control strategy to prioritize coolant and heat flow for passenger comfort in cold weather and temperature management in hot weather High Ignition Energy EGR system with an external EGR cooler to expand the EGR-operated region for improved fuel economy Hyundai’s first and internally developed proprietary IVT offers a shift control strategy which enhances shift response through a continuous range of effective gear ratios. The ability to match a gear ratio with engine operating conditions provides a number of benefits including smooth transition of engine operating speeds and improved fuel efficiency.
    SUV Utility
    The SUV’s appealing interior space and comfortable cabin provide adequate space for the versatile urban commuter. Venue comes standard with a 60/40 split flat folding backseat to maximize utility for those trips to the farmer’s market or transporting musical instruments. With Venue’s SUV styling cues and utility, it is the ideal alternative to a subcompact car. 
    Venue offers comfort and convenience features. The cargo space features a rear covering shelf for added privacy and can be conveniently stowed along the rear seatback when not being used. While, the dual level cargo floor feature provides flexibility to have the floor of the cargo area in either the top position - level with the seats when folded down, or at a lower position to accommodate taller cargo. Consumers will appreciate available convenience features such as Dual USBs, 3.5” TFT instrument cluster display to illustrate useful information, rearview camera and Bluetooth® hands-free phone. The leather-wrapped steering wheel provides daily comfort for the driver.
    Fun, Youthful Colors
    To complement the dramatic design, Venue is available with fun, youthful colors. A total of eight exterior colors are available, including Ceramic White, Black Noir, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be coupled with denim cloth and leatherette interior with a white contrasting roof. Venue offers a choice of gray or black cloth interiors. An all-new two-tone roof, power sunroof and privacy glass contribute further to the head-turning style options.
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ... A familiar update for the big Benz SUV....

    While pictures of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS leaked out a few days ago, Mercedes officially pulled the wraps off the big SUV today at the New York International Auto Show.
    The GLS is Mercedes' largest and most luxurious SUV, and in this new iteration it is even larger than before in most dimensions, but probably most importantly is the 2.4 inch longer wheelbase. That allows for more seating space. Three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk space, while the seats in the second row fold flat.
    The GLS debuts a new engine with the GLS 580 4Matic. It is an electrified V8 with a 48-volt and EQ Boost, an onboard electrical system and starter-generator.  The base engine will be a GLS450 4Matic, a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 and EQ Boost. 
    As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
    Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
    The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale by the end of the year. 
    Mercedes-Benz Press Release on Page 2


    The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is the largest and most luxurious SUV from Mercedes-Benz and, above all, offers more: more space, more comfort, more luxury. The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are larger than those of its predecessor. One of the benefits of the 2.4-inch (60 mm) longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk space, while the seats in the second row fold flat. Furthermore, a six-seater variant with two luxurious individual rear seat Captain's Chairs in the second row is available for the first time. Also celebrating its world premiere in the GLS is a new engine: the GLS 580 4MATIC will have an electrified V8 engine featuring EQ Boost - a 48-volt onboard electrical system with an integrated starter generator. The GLS 450 4MATIC will feature a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine with EQ Boost. The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLS will celebrate its World Premiere at the New York International Auto Show in April and will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.
    Also available on the new GLS, the sophisticated E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension paired with the 48-volt technology offers outstanding suspension comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability. Like the GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The new variable 4MATIC system ensures great agility on the road and strong performance off the beaten track. The new GLS has impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a global Cd figure of 0.32. It also has a new Carwash function, which enables the car to be prepared for entry into a carwash with a single press of a button.
    As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
    Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) "The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like almost no other vehicle," states Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for corporate research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development.
    "The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "Powerful highlights of the off-road design idiom combined with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS therefore offers the best of all these worlds."
    Since the M-Class was introduced in 1997, Mercedes-Benz has been building premium SUVs in the USA - the largest market for these vehicles worldwide. The full-size GL offering space for seven people was launched in 2006. In 2015, a facelift emphasized the luxurious character of this large SUV's second generation and also heralded the changing of the name to GLS. On top of that, the GLS is the market leader in its segment - just like the S-Class Sedan.
    At present, Mercedes-Benz offers seven models in the SUV segment (GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS and G-Class). The SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than five million customers worldwide have purchased a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
    The new Mercedes-Benz GLS, produced in the U.S. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will be presented to the public for the first time at the New York International Auto Show.
    Exterior design: powerful presence
    Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 205.2 in, width 77 in). The wheelbase of 123.4 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasized by the understated, elegant side design. The GLS follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favor of generously sculptured surfaces.
    The front section of the new GLS exudes a powerful presence: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated under guard in the front bumper with the bone- shaped air inlet grille, and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized day and night by the distinctive headlamp design. The GLS is equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 2,000 feet (650 meters). The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
    The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lamps, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two- piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-caliber, three- dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated under guard.
    Aerodynamics: exquisite fine-tuning
    The new GLS achieves global cd figures as low as 0.32 - a clear improvement compared with its predecessor (cd 0.35) and an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment. The excellent aerodynamics help to reduce fuel consumption and limit wind noise, one of the areas on which development work focused specifically.
    Special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flowing through the engine compartment because the hallmark SUV shape, with its upright front end and high ground clearance, makes these areas susceptible to low- frequency airflow noise. A host of details were optimized with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.
    Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive
    The interior of the new GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced immediately by the interior appointments that combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard's design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element extends to meet the doors.
    The prominently wide, raised center console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the center console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sun blinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
    The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver's seat. Very fine chiseling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces showcase the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sport steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV's interior.
    Interior: generous amount of space in the second and third seat row
    The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (123.4 in, an increase of 2.4 in). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can also be adjusted. Legroom here is increased by 3.4 inches when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle.
    As standard, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests. Alternatively, it is possible to order the two luxury individual rear seats with armrests, between which it is possible to access the rearmost seats with ease. This is particularly useful when child seats are fitted in the second seat row.
    All seats are electronically adjustable. The same applies to the EASY-ENTRY function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the two individual seats in the third row. For this, the seats in the second row move a long way forwards and fold forwards.
    The seats in the third row are fully-fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 6.4 feet (1.94 m) tall and are heated for the first time. There are also two additional USB charging ports here.
    The new GLS has several climate control options: three-zone, four-zone or five- zone. If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control (as is standard with the GLS 580), the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
    A push of a button is all that is required to stow away the comfortable seats and make full use of the trunk space in the GLS. The switches on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches on the front- passenger side in the C-pillar area allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. It is also possible to fold down all the seats simultaneously by pressing the "ALL" button. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the trunk sill by approximately 2 inches to make it easier to load heavy or bulky items.
    Even more comfort in the rear: MBUX served on a tablet
    Luxury in the new GLS is shared generously among all passengers, particularly if the Executive Rear Seat Package is ordered. It includes a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row's larger luxury center armrest. The tablet allows control of all MBUX comfort and entertainment functions (see next section) from the rear seat rows, such as access to the radio, media, phone and a web browser. It can also be used to control the Executive Rear Seat Package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can seamlessly assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time too.
    The center console also offers a wireless charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further still thanks to luxury headrests with additional cushions and the rearward- extended center console between the front seats with cup holders.
    It is even possible to order rear seats with a lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus in the second row.
    MBUX with Interior Assistant
    The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its debut, include two large 12.3-inch screens as standard. The information on the digital instrument cluster and central media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. The presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
    The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver's and front passenger's hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the center console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver's hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
    In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favorite functions such as "navigate home" or "call office."
    A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next. For instance, anyone who often calls their mother on Tuesdays during their drive home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
    Also available is a next-generation full-color Head-up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.
    Powertrain: all engines have an EQ Boost integrated starter generator
    The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are also clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious vehicle.
    The introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC will mark the world premiere of a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter generator. It has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated starter generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
    ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design of the in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for close-coupled exhaust after treatment. The 48 V on-board electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air- conditioning compressor, but also the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.
    The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC is also available with a six-cylinder in- line engine electrified with 48-volt technology. This sophisticated engine produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods.
    4MATIC variable all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off- road
    In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears from one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is also fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
    Also new, and available as an option on the GLS 580, is a transfer case specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics. In addition to the controlled multi-plate clutch with torque-on-demand function, it also features a reduction gear for off-road driving.
    When driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque-on-demand function allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.
    Driver assistance systems: even better support
    The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. These systems further enhance the level of active safety.
    When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is activated, the new GLS is able to recognize and respond to traffic jams or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from LiveTraffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. For example, when a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 62 mph (100 km/h) as a precaution.
    A new feature of the Driver Assistance package: when actually driving in a traffic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping the vehicle in the lane and maintaining a safe distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 37 mph (60 km/h). In addition, restarting can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop. Once the traffic jam clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation. If traffic signs differ from this, the sign posted speed limit is automatically given priority.
    Suspension: AIRMATIC air suspension as standard
    The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
    Carwash function: ready for cleaning
    One new standard feature is the Carwash function - which comes in handy, especially for a large vehicle like the GLS. When this function is selected, the suspension moves to the highest position, which reduces the track widths due to the axle geometry. This makes it easier to drive into a carwash as well as remove any dirt remaining in the wheel arches from the last off-road trip. The Carwash function also:
    Folds in the exterior mirrors. Closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof. Suppresses the rain sensor information so that the windshield wipers remain switched off in the carwash. Switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode and, after eight seconds, activates the 360° camera's front image to assist the driver when driving into the carwash Deactivates these settings automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 12 mph. Outstandingly intelligent suspension: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
    Even better ride comfort and agility plus new functions such as recovery mode are provided by the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is combined with the newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension. This is currently the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the curve inclination function CURVE, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL makes an exceptional level of comfort possible, and supports the claim of Mercedes- Benz to build the world's most intelligent SUV suspension.
    E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL operates with a voltage of 48 V. On poor road surfaces the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
    The off-road functions include rocking mode. For example, if the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, this can help to free the vehicle more easily in many such situations. If possible, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction and allows the GLS to rock itself free. Individual wheel actuation is another function for off-road driving. This allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle's alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel.
    E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLS also has the curve inclination function CURVE: like a motorcycle, the GLS leans into bends and thereby allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. If the GLS is equipped with a stereo multi-purpose camera, ROAD SURFACE SCAN becomes possible: the camera continuously scans the road surface, while the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them and largely compensates for them. In this way, the GLS improves the perceived road quality.
    The new Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Fourth generation of the popular crossover...

    Toyota took the wraps off the all-new Toyota Highlander at the New York International Auto Show today.  This new fourth generation Highlander rides on Toyota's new TNGA-K platform.   
    Powering the Highlander will be a choice of a V6 with 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque with both direct and port injection, or a hybrid that is 17% more efficient than the outgoing model. The hybrid is a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder combined with two electric motors for a total system rating of 240 horsepower.  Preliminary estimates put the Highlander hybrid at 34 mpg combined fuel efficiency.   The new hybrid setup is lighter and more compact than before while the battery pack has been reduced in physical size and now sits below the rear seats so as not to reduce cargo room. 
    On the safety front, Toyota loaded the Highlander up.  Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard.  This includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard on LE grade and above. Rear Cross Traffic Braking is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above.
     
    The standard backup camera features projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, available on Limited and standard on Platinum, provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle.
     
    The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control , Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution , Brake Assist , Anti-lock Braking System , and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
     
    More from Toyota on the Press Release on Page 2 
    World Premiere of All-New 2020 Highlander at New York International Auto Show
    Toyota’s Fourth Generation SUV Redesigned from the Ground Up;
    Offers Best-in-Class MPG for Hybrid
      17 Percent Fuel Economy Improvement Over Current Gen Hybrid with Estimated 34 MPG Combined Bold, Chiseled New Design New TNGA-K Platform Enhances Driving Refinement Standard Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, SiriusXM®, Waze and Amazon Alexa Compatibility Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 Standard (TSS 2.0) Available with 7- or 8-Passenger Seating Choice of V6 or New-Generation Hybrid Powertrain New Available Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Driveline Disconnect and Multi Terrain Select Largest in segment 12.3” multimedia display April 17, 2019 NEW YORK (April 17, 2019) – Toyota is on a major roll with new SUVs, especially the next-generation three-row 2020 Highlander debuting at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in Toyota dealerships in winter, the Highlander Gas model will arrive in December 2019 and the Highlander Hybrid will make its way to customers in February 2020.
     
    Just as the first RAV4 launched the compact crossover SUV segment 22 years ago, the original Highlander redefined the midsize family SUV when it arrived in 2001. At a time when most midsize SUVs were truck-based, the Highlander’s unibody structure with four-wheel independent suspension quickly became the template for a new segment of more comfortable and family-friendly SUVs. After adding a third row, the Highlander not only grew in size, but is also now the best-selling retail model in the segment since 2016.
     
    Now, the fourth-generation of this benchmark SUV brings a new level of bold, distinctive design to a foundation built on safety, comfort, quality, durability and reliability set by predecessors. The 2020 Highlander amplifies all qualities while taking on a dramatic new design direction that combines a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing.
     
    The 2020 Highlander’s new sophisticated look, covers a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K). This robust new foundation, shared with other Toyota models, enables even greater capability, comfort and safety than before.
     
    The fourth-generation Highlander offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering a manufacturer-estimated 22 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering an manufacturer-estimated 34 MPG combined fuel economy.
     
    Whether they’re young families or empty nesters exploring a new chapter in life, safety remains the top priority for Highlander customers.  Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard in all models in the 2020 Highlander. This comprehensive active safety system includes:
      Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Automatic High Beam (AHB) (New) Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) (New) Road Sign Assist (RSA) Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection offers automatic braking capability under certain circumstances should the driver not react in time in a system-detected emergency situation. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Parking Support Braking and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) are available depending on the model grade.
     
    The 2020 Highlander delivers renowned Toyota value in a choice of five grades, starting with a new L grade, then layering amenities and technology in LE, XLE, Limited and the top-of line Platinum. (The Hybrid is offered on all but the L grade.)
     
    The 2020 Highlander offers cutting-edge entertainment and connectivity for all ages through its intuitive and versatile multimedia system, including a new 12.3-inch touchscreen display on the Platinum grade and 8-inch on the other models. The available new JBL Premium Sound System delivers a whopping 1,200 watts of power to turn any music source into a mobile concert.
     
    The midsize SUV segment has become fiercely competitive, and the 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready to take on all.
     
    The Strong, Athletic Type
    A sculpted new shape with chiseled lines gives the 2020 Highlander a more powerful stance, yet with a modern, sophisticated attitude. The 2020 Highlander remains a family-friendly SUV, now with capability for bigger family adventures.
     
    Setting off the new design, the L, LE and XLE grades feature a black front grille with silver trim, while the Limited and Platinum grades are distinguished by a black grille with chrome trim and chrome-plated lower rear fascia, premium projector headlamps and the Highlander’s first-ever 20-inch alloy wheels. The Platinum stands apart with silver painted front bumper and rear fascia and a unique 20-inch wheel.
     
    Accentuating the 2020 Highlander’s bold lines, the exterior color palette carries over three colors from 2019 (Blizzard Pearl ($395 option), Celestial Silver Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic) while adding five new ones: Magnetic Gray Metallic, Moon Dust (a striking blue premium paint), Ruby Flare Pearl (a daring red premium paint), Blueprint and Opulent Amber (a deep, luxurious brown).
     
    While Highlander’s new design will turn heads everywhere it goes, it’s also highly functional. Greater aerodynamic efficiency reduces wind noise while enhancing vehicle stability, and even the taillights and side mirror designs lend a hand.
     
    The fourth-generation Highlander is 2.36 inches (60mm) longer than before, all in the cargo area to add even greater cargo volume than before. The second row can be slid an extra 1.2-in. further up to increase distance between the second and third rows.
     
    The TNGA-K platform, which makes extensive use of high-strength steel, gives the Highlander a stiffer unibody structure than the previous model. Its inherent strength allows tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility and a smaller turning circle while also providing a smoother and quieter ride than before.
     
     The presence of takumi is evident whenever the driver experiences the Highlander’s premium touch and feel in everyday driving. Throughout vehicle development, these highly trained master craftsmen focused on the finest technical details to ensure a higher level of operating smoothness in all driving conditions - especially at everyday speeds.
     
     
    Take It All with You
    Looking sporty does not come at the expense of practicality in the 2020 Highlander. The L and LE grades come standard with a second-row bench for seating for eight, while the XLE and Limited grades come standard with a Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven and the option of a second-row bench for seating for eight. Finally, the Platinum grade will come standard with a Captain’s Chair second row with seating for seven. Either way, the large rear doors provide easy access, while versatile seat folding features make it easy to enter the third row. And, passengers in the third row stay comfortable thanks to standard three-zone climate control that ensures ample flow of warmed or cooled air.
     
    With all seat rows in use, Highlander offers 16.1 cu. ft. of carrying space behind the third row. Folding the 60/40 split fold-flat third-row seatbacks opens the space to 40.6 cu. ft., and then folding the second row increases that to 73.3 cu. ft. The versatile cargo area makes the most of its additional length with side surfaces and pockets shaped for maximum space usage.

    Power, Performance and Panache … with Efficiency
    Power and efficiency are a whole lot sexier when wrapped in Highlander’s striking design. The 2020 Highlander offers a choice between two advanced powertrains, a gas V6 or a new version of the Toyota Hybrid System.

    The 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is the epitome of smoothness. Its Toyota-innovated D-4S Injection system combines direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors to optimize efficiency, power and emissions in all conditions. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) likewise ensures ideal response and efficiency at all engine speeds.

    That translates into 295 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, which further translates into exemplary everyday performance and generous towing capability. The Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission maximizes Highlander’s acceleration and highway merging capability while operating seamlessly and transparently.

    On V6 models, the available towing package enables a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The package includes a heavy-duty radiator with engine oil cooler and improved fan performance. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) uses the Vehicle Stability Control to help control unwanted trailer movement.
     
    Why use fuel when you don’t need to? The Highlander’s standard Stop and Start Engine System allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and then instantly restarts when the driver’s foot lifts from the brake pedal. This technology reduces fuel consumption and cuts emissions.


    Hybrid Aims Even Higher 
    Toyota made “hybrid” synonymous with high fuel efficiency more than 20 years ago. Later, Toyota introduced the first hybrid SUV in its class, the 2006 Highlander. Leave it to Toyota to again raise the bar for hybrid SUV functionality by making the 2020 model the most fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid ever.

    The new-generation Toyota Hybrid System in the 2020 Highlander Hybrid combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with two electric motors in a system that’s more compact, and more efficient than before. The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump further improve engine efficiency.

    The bottom line is an eye opener for the efficiency-minded: 240 total system horsepower and an EPA-estimated 34 combined MPG. The latter is a 17-percent improvement over the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid’s 28 combined MPG. Yet, Highlander Hybrid still delivers the everyday acceleration, power and responsiveness that family buyers expect. In another Highlander first, the hybrid is now available in either 2WD or AWD, further expanding hybrid technology to a new group of buyers.

    The transaxle mounts the electric motors (MG1 and MG2) coaxially rather than in-line, and the resulting smaller and lighter package reduces frictional losses. The gas engine and MG2 work in concert to deliver dynamic performance, while both MG1 and MG2 charge the hybrid battery.

    To reduce the transaxle’s size and weight, the reduction gear is now a parallel shaft gear, rather than a planetary, and a new multi-function gear integrates the power-split planetary ring gear, parking gear, and counter-drive gear. New computer integration and a smaller, lighter power stack installed directly above the transaxle reduce energy transmission losses.

    The battery pack is small enough to be installed under the rear seats, so it does not take up any cargo or passenger space.  

    Seamless Everyday Performance
    The Highlander Hybrid delivers its exemplary fuel economy and performance without calling attention to its high-tech powertrain operation. Quite the contrary, like all Toyota Hybrid vehicles, it simply goes about its business in a transparent way. For example, the new system optimizes the level of electric motor assistance and gas engine speed without the engine running at high revs. Engine speed is synchronized with vehicle speed, yielding effortless and quiet acceleration.

    As on many modern vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid offers selectable NORMAL, ECO and SPORT driving modes that let the driver choose the vehicle’s performance personality. The bonus is the EV mode, which allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.

    SPORT mode unlocks boost from the hybrid system for improved acceleration response. ECO mode gets maximum efficiency from the fuel and battery, while NORMAL mode is ideal for everyday driving.

    Special, easy-to-use hybrid tech adds an element of control and fun. Using a sequential shifting feature, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example.

    The 2020 Highlander Hybrid can also coach the driver to drive as economically as possible. For example, an accelerator guide function suggests an acceleration level to the driver according to the driving conditions, and a scoring function adds a measure of fun to eco driving.
     
    Features for More Efficiency
    Highlander Hybrid’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyzes the driver’s daily driving habits and upcoming road and traffic conditions to more efficiently charge and discharge the hybrid battery accordingly alongside actual driving.

    The more the vehicle is driven, the more data is accumulated, contributing to practical fuel efficiency. Many actual roads chosen to represent common usage scenarios, such as in urban congestion or on mountain roads, were driven on and analyzed to create control that feels natural to the driver when operating to enable more efficient driving.
     
    All-Wheel Drive Gets Smarter
    The 2020 Highlander gets a grip on any road with a choice of front-wheel drive or three different available all-wheel drive systems -- two for the V6 models and a unique AWD system for the Highlander Hybrid. For the Highlander Gas L, LE and XLE models, the optional AWD system can send up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels to counter wheel slip when necessary.
     
    Sounding like something from a high-end sports car, Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD with Drive Mode Select and Driveline Disconnect is available for the Highlander Limited and Platinum for even greater agility and capability. In addition to governing torque distribution between the front and rear wheels, this advanced system uses special couplings to actively manage torque distribution between the left and right rear wheels.
     
    Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD doesn’t need wheel slippage before springing into action. Rather, a sophisticated AWD Integrated Management (AIM) manages Electric Power Steering (EPS), throttle control, transmission shift control and drive torque distribution to continually optimize handling.
     
    Using the Multi-Terrain Select control dial on the console, the driver can maximize traction when driving through inclement weather or road conditions. Mud & Sand mode works well for beach driving, while Rock & Dirt mode optimizes AWD traction for trails. The driver can monitor, in real time, torque allocation and slip control on the Multi-Information Display (MID).

    In addition, Highlander models include the following features for optimal on-road and off-road performance and safety:
      Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) Trailer Sway Control (TSC) Downhill Assist Control (DAC)  
    All-wheel drive is a great traction partner, but it’s not needed all the time, such as during steady highway cruising. In such situations, Rear Driveline Disconnect automatically disengages drive to the rear wheels and stops the propeller shaft’s rotation. As one might guess, that reduces the energy needed to propel the vehicle and therefore reduces fuel consumption. When AWD is needed, the system instantly re-engages, without the driver even noticing.
     

    Hybrid AWD
    As with the AWD system in the previous Highlander Hybrid, the 2020 model’s AWD employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. Like the hybrid powertrain itself, the AWD works seamlessly and transparently.
     
    The rear electric motor operates independently, with no mechanical connection between the transmission and the rear wheels. Preemptively distributing more driving force to the rear wheels, such as when accelerating, helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. The system also enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer. And, when venturing onto a trail, the increased rear-wheel torque helps move the Highlander Hybrid confidently over rough or slippery surfaces.
     
    A New Level of Comfort
    From the L grade to the top-of-line Platinum, the 2020 Highlander offers its plushest accommodations ever. Designers took inspiration from luxury crafted interiors to create a more premium ambience. Details include softer padded surfaces and a more tailored look with stitching that continues from the door trim to the instrument panel. The dash integrates the multimedia and HVAC controls in an elegant and functional way.
     
    The 2020 Highlander cabin offers improved functionality throughout, from a center console that offers available Qi wireless charging to plenty of storage spaces and USB charging ports. On Limited and Platinum grades, new ambient LED lighting sets a relaxing mood. Inset steering wheel controls are a modern luxury touch on all grades.
     
    Highlanders have long been renowned for a quiet ride, and with the high-strength TNGA platform, Toyota pushes the bar even higher. Sound-damping and soundproofing materials have been optimized throughout the vehicle, with the takumi approach focusing particularly on minimizing noise in the frequencies that interfere with conversation.
     
    The seating color palette enhances the sense of luxury permeating the 2020 Highlander. The L and LE grades offer comfortable woven cloth in Graphite or Black; the XLE offers embossed Softex®artificial leather trim in Harvest Beige, Graphite or Black, while the Limited offers those colors in perforated leather trim. The top-of-line Platinum grade, the most luxurious Highlander ever offered, exclusively features embossed, perforated leather trim in those three colors plus Glazed Caramel, a luxuriously delicious new brown.


    Multitalented Multimedia 
    However passengers listen to music and connect with their worlds, the 2020 Highlander is ready with the latest multimedia systems.  All grades come standard with Apple Car Play®, Android Auto™, Alexa In-Car compatibility, Waze, SiriusXM®, and Wi-Fi connectivity through AT&T.
     
    All Highlander models come equipped with Toyota Safety Connect with a one-year trial subscription.
     
    LE and above grades offer Service and Remote Connectivity. A move up to XLE or Limited grade offers available Dynamic Navigation. A move up to Platinum grade offers standard Dynamic Navigation and the 12.3-inch screen.
     
    The JBL® Premium Audio System is standard for Limited and Platinum grades and rocks music of all genres with 1,200 watts of power playing through 11 speakers in nine locations. Clari-Fi®technology breathes new life into compressed digital music formats, with the result like a mobile concert. The system will not, however, settle arguments over which music to play.
     
    Exceptional Toyota Value, Naturally 
    Toyota’s typical outstanding value is clearly evident in the Highlander L grade, where the standard equipment list includes features that one might expect in an upgraded model:
     
    L: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 18-in. alloy wheels 3-zone automatic climate control 4.2-in. Multi-information Display (MID) in instrument panel 8-way power driver’s seat Auto up/down for all power windows Multimedia with 8-inch touchscreen display Front seat reading lights and cargo area light. LED headlamps and taillamps Privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows Smart Key entry on front doors and back door  
    LE adds over L: Power liftgate Blind Spot Monitor Additional multimedia capability LED fog lamps Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob  
    XLE adds over LE: 10-way power driver’s seat 2nd-row sun shades 4-way power front passenger seat 7-in. Multi-information display Auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener Auto LED headlamps with Auto High Beam Plated interior door handle Heated front seats LED fog lamps Machined-face alloy wheels Captain’s Chairs second row (standard) Power tilt and slide moon roof Roof rails SofTex®-trimmed seats and door trim  
    Limited adds over XLE: 120V 2nd-row power outlet 20-in. Limited style alloy wheels Ambient interior lighting Cargo area cover Driver’s seat memory Hands-free power liftgate Heated and ventilated front seats “Highlander” puddle lamp Perforated leather trimmed seats in Beige, Gray or Black Metal door scuff plates Projector beam headlamp with chrome bezels and separate, stylized DRLs Wood interior trim JBL® Audio System as standard Embedded navigation system  
    Platinum adds over Limited: 12.3-in. Multimedia head unit 20-in Platinum style wheels Adaptive, self-leveling headlamps Additional leather seating color choice: Glazed Caramel Digital display rear view mirror Embossed, perforated leather trimmed seats Head-up display Heated 2nd-row seats Illuminated door scuff plates Panoramic moonroof Rain-sensing windshield wipers Birds eye camera  
    Safety at Its Core
    The new TNGA-K platform forms the foundation for exemplary collision protection in the 2020 Toyota Highlander, while a suite of standard driver-assist technologies is designed to help prevent collisions, or to mitigate their impacts.
     
    The 2020 Highlander is equipped with the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0). Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are standard on LE grade and above. Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) is available with clearance sonar on Limited and above.
     
    The standard backup camera features projected path. A Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, available on Limited and standard on Platinum, provides a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle.
     
    The 2020 Highlander is equipped with eight airbags, including side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Toyota’s Star Safety System includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

    Drew Dowdell

    ... Latest entry to round out Lincoln's remade crossover lineup...

    At the New York International Auto Show today, Lincoln unveiled the 2020 Lincoln Corsair.  The Corsair is a small crossover that takes over for the MKC in Lincoln's lineup and joins the new Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln Nautilus, and Lincoln Navigator. 
    Lincoln says the Corsair has "Visually soothing design" and offers a sanctuary for drivers.  Effortless power comes standard.
    Customers can use their phone as a key to enter the cabin, and should their phone go dead, they can use the standard exterior keypad and then the interior touch screen to enter and start driving.  If the customers phone is lost or stolen, the digital key can easily be deleted.  The key saves a profile of up to 80 driver preferences to be automatically adjusted when a specific driver enters the vehicle. 
    Lincoln designers obsessed over interior quietness, providing things like a double wall dashboard to create extra space between the engine and driver.  This is further enhanced with standard Active Noise Cancellation.  Six unique symphonic chimes inform the driver of various status in and around the vehicle.  The chimes were recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  When you do want sound, there is a 14-speaker Revel sound system tuned specifically for the Corsair.
    Power for the Corsair comes in the form of either a 250 horsepower 2.0 Ecoboost with 275 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.3 liter Ecoboost with 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via a new 8-speed automatic to either the front or all wheels.
    Lincoln Co-Pilot360 is standard and comes with automatic emergency braking and Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Information System, a Lane-Keeping System, rear backup camera and auto high-beam lighting.  Co-Pilot360 Plus is an option that adds Adaptive cruise control, Evasive steer assist, Reverse brake assist, and Active Park Assist Plus. 
    The 2020 Lincoln Corsair will be built in Lincoln's Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, and will be arriving in dealerships this fall.
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Something Different This Way Comes...

    Genesis unveiled something very different at the New York International Auto Show this evening.  It's their take on an electrified luxury city car.
    The jellybean like shape is supposed to evoke classic proportions while having a modern minimalistic appearance. It is a 2-door, 2 passenger car that has access to the rear storage area via a pair of scissor doors. 
    Inside is similarly minimalistic and oblong. The dashboard is integrated directly into the steering wheel surrounded by 6 large control buttons. For those of you who miss having a bench seat, Genesis brings you hope. 
    The high density battery is capable of a 200-mile range and 350-kWh fast charging. 
    As this is a concept, don't expect it to go into production anytime soon, but Genesis is toying with electrification just like all the other brands and will likely be bringing an electric vehicle out soon. 
     
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Celebrating 50 years of performance heritage with special editions and more performance... 

    Nissan introduced three updates for the 2020 Nissan GT-R this evening in New York. 
    Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition
    The Special Edition car will come in three two-tone liveries, meant to represent cars from the Japanese GP series which the original GT-R was designed to dominate in. Retired since the GT-R "R34" model, Bayside (Wangan) Blue makes a return, complete with white racing stripes. A four-coat, double-heat treatment process ensures a vivid blue with striking highlights and deep shadows. Blue accents on the wheel spokes are among several fine touches made to celebrate the GT-R's milestone. Pearl White with red stripes and Super Silver with white stripes round out the 50th Anniversary liveries. The inside of the 50th Anniversary car is a special gray interior color scheme meant to give a sense of luxury. 
    It's not all stickers and paint. The engine has received upgraded turbo-chargers that provide faster response at low RPM and a 5% increase in efficiency. They are meant to provide a sharper response when accelerating out of corners. A new exhaust note is provided by a new titanium muffler, while the suspension has been re-tuned for better cornering ability and smoother ride. 
    A revised 2020 GT-R Track Edition
    For those inclined to take their GT-R to a race circuit, Nissan offers the revised and very potent 2020 Track Edition, which comes with an optional carbon fiber roof that sports a clean, tight weave made possible by a new construction process.
    The engine (for U.S. models) is borrowed from the famed GT-R NISMO, with newly redesigned turbochargers from the latest GT3 series GT-R race car. This results in a 20% increase in pedal-down acceleration reaction time and 600 horsepower.
    Optional on the Track Edition are special Brembo carbon ceramic rotors and calipers. Made of carbon and silica carbide, the rotors – 16.1 inches (410 mm) front and 15.3 inches (390 mm) rear – are nearly as hard as diamonds. Paired with the performance brake pads, they generate more friction, which translates into better feel and control in all types of braking situations.
    2020 GT-R specifications (U.S. spec)
     
    Premium
    Track Edition
    Engine
    VR38DETT, V6 Twin-Turbo charged DOHC
    Displacement
    3.8L
    Horsepower
    565 hp
    600 hp
    Torque
    467 lb-ft /3300-5800 rpm
    481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm
    Overall length
    185.4 in. / 4710 mm
    Overall width
    74.6 in. / 1895 mm
    Overall height
    53.9 in. / 1370 mm
    Wheelbase
    109.4 in. / 2780 mm
     
    2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO
    Few cars possess the GT-R's driving performance. For the 2020 model, the engineers sought to improve what was essentially already mechanical perfection, "making small tweaks to squeeze out as much as possible from the engine and chassis," according to Tamura.
    Nissan's 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine – each handcrafted by its own takumi technician – remains the heart of the GT-R's drivetrain. The GT-R NISMO features an exclusive turbocharger design – direct from the GT-R GT3 race car - with a modified turbine shape and fewer blades. This optimizes the flow rate and enhances the acceleration response by 20%, without a loss of horsepower.
    The car's revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission features a refined "R mode" that not only shifts faster but also optimizes gear selection, especially when exiting corners. This enhances the feeling of acceleration and deceleration on both road and track. The adaptive shift control has also been programmed to adapt shift schedules to the user's driving style. This makes it possible to drive in a law-abiding way on public roads and in a highly spirited fashion on a race track, without manually changing modes (in A mode / R mode).
    The car's exhaust note is the product of a revised titanium exhaust with handcrafted burnished blue tips.
    When it comes to handling, the 2020 GT-R NISMO has few equals. Its updated suspension tuning improves cornering stability, with enhanced yaw rate response and smoother ride quality. The steering features better linearity and precision than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 kph).
    The absolute performance theme is also fittingly reflected by the addition of a carbon ceramic brake system. The combination of the Brembo carbon ceramic rotors — enlarged to 16.1 inches (410 mm) up front and 15.3 (390 mm) at the rear — and Brembo calipers significantly improve reaction time, durability and overall stopping performance. At the same time, their lightweight nature decreases the unsprung weight on each wheel, allowing the car to trace the intended driving line in a highly precise manner. The carbon and silica carbide structure of the rotors is nearly as hard as diamonds. When paired with the new material of the brake pads, they generate more friction for an enhanced controlled feeling in all types of braking situations. The new materials also help decrease braking footwork by shortening the brake pedal stroke. The newly developed high-rigidity calipers are dipped in bright yellow paint that can resist temperatures of more than 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius).
    "We have built the 2020 GT-R NISMO for our customers to be the ultimate track and street vehicle," Tamura said. "It is about total balance management, not just chasing power figures. The new NISMO has been brought to a new level, with enhanced engine, handling, braking and aerodynamics."
    2020 GT-R NISMO specifications (U.S. spec)
    Engine
    VR38DETT, V6 twin-turbo charged DOHC
    Displacement
    3.8L
    Horsepower
    600 hp
    Torque
    481 lb-ft /3600-5600 rpm
    Overall length
    184.6 in. / 4690 mm
    Overall width
    74.6 in. / 1895 mm
    Overall height
    53.9 in. / 1370 mm
    Wheelbase
    109.4 in. / 2780 mm
     
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Mostly a sticker package, but a darn nice one...

    Nissan is celebrating 50 years of performance credentials with the 2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Special Edition.  While it is mostly a sticker and paint package, it will be available on the Base, Sport, Sport Touring, and NISMO models, so customers can pick their own level of performance.  It will come with special 19 inch alloy wheels with red accents. 
    Inside is a Special Edition Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, leather and suede seats, with unique graphics and stitching, and suede door panel inserts.  
    The rest of the 370Z carries over and with it, the history of Nissan performance. 
    We will have more pictures and updates from the New York International Auto Show on April 17th. 




    Drew Dowdell

    ...bound for production for South America...

    Volkswagen is introducing a concept that will see production for South America, but they brought the concept to New York to show it off alongside the Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Concept
    The Volkswagen Tarok is built on VW's MQB modular platform and along with the VW Atlas, is one of the largest MQB vehicles to date at 193.5 inches long. The Tarok features a Chevy Avalanche like bed with a mid-gate that allows the rear seats to be folded forward allowing cargo as long as 73.2 inches. The mechanism uses an electronic lock and sealing system to keep moisture out of the cabin.
    The Tarok Concept is powered by a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4Motion all-wheel drive.
    Volkswagen showed another truck concept at last year's NY Auto Show, the Atlas Tanoak Concept. VW says that while there are no plans for US production, the Tanok is being used to gauge US reaction to a pickup from Volkswagen. 




    Drew Dowdell

    ...recasts the American mid-sized luxury sedan...

    Cadillac fully unveiled the Cadillac CT5 sedan ahead of the New York International Auto Show today.   We had seen a preview of the CT5 a few weeks ago, but today, Cadillac gives us the full release.
    Laden with modern technology, Cadillac will be introducing their SuperCruise self-driving system to the segment. SuperCruise is the first truly hands-free system for limited-access highways. Safety features include Safety Alert Seat, Rear Camera Mirror with zoom and tilt adjustment, Forward Collision Alert, Low Speed Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, and Front Pedestrian Braking.  Available additional packages include Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Forward Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Parking Assist with Braking, HD Surround Vision with Recorder, Rear Pedestrian Detection and Alert, and Reverse Automatic Braking.
    The base engine is a twin-scroll 2.0T with 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque routed through a 10-speed automatic to the rear or all wheels.  Optional will be a 3.0 liter twin-turbo producing 335 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque from 2400-4400 RPM.  Both engines have active fuel management and automatic start-stop. 
    The CT5 uses a long 116 inch wheelbase and fastback roof line borrowed from the Escala concept car. All-LED exterior lighting is standard and includes signature vertical lighting on all four corners. 
    Inside, the infotainment system features a 1080p 10inch diagonal touch screen mounted high on the dash for better visibility. A driver-selectable mode allows the driver to change the vehicle dynamics depending on driving style and road conditions. 
    The Cadillac CT5 will be shown at the New York International Auto Show starting April 17th.  Stay tuned for our thoughts on the CT5 from the show floor.
    You can read the full Cadillac Press Release on Page 2


    Cadillac Introduces First-Ever CT5
    Global debut of new American luxury sedan advances brand’s legacy by offering Super Cruise1

     
    Cadillac recasts the concept of American Luxury with the global debut of the unrivaled 2020 CT5 sedan.
    This all-new compact sedan advances the brand’s award-winning legacy with a distinctive fusion of design, performance and comfort, supported by Cadillac’s latest technologies — including Super Cruise1, the world’s first true hands-free driver assistance feature for limited-access freeways.
    “The first-ever Cadillac CT5 showcases Cadillac’s unique expertise in crafting American luxury sedans,” said Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president. “Its details elevate every drive and reward the senses.”
    An all-new fastback design underscores the CT5’s refined ride, complemented with a driver-centric interior that blends high technology and high-touch elements. Luxury and Sport models allow customers to tailor the car to their style preferences with unique design and trim.
    “Cadillac is dedicated to building the world’s most exhilarating luxury sedans,” said Carlisle. “Every element of the CT5 is focused on delivering an unrivaled experience, from the 10-speed transmission to Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology. The expansion of Super Cruise to CT5 reinforces our commitment to bringing the most innovative technologies to our customers.”
    Cadillac CT5’s Super Cruise technology will be available in calendar year 2020 on select models.
    CT5 highlights:
    At launch, the model range will include Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport, with a Platinum package available on Premium Luxury and Sport models. A 2.0L Twin-Scroll Turbo engine is standard and Cadillac’s 3.0L Twin-Turbo V-6 is available on Premium Luxury and Sport models. Unique sound calibrations are tuned with the engines and each is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The driving dynamics build on Cadillac’s award-winning RWD architecture and include standard Driver Mode Control. AWD is available. The latest Cadillac user experience2 with a large 10-inch-diagonal screen, as well as intuitive controls, including a rotary controller. A host of comfort and convenience features such as standard Adaptive Remote Start, cabin air purification ionizer and available front-seat lumbar massage. Driver awareness technologies include standard Safety Alert Seat3 and Cadillac’s latest generation available Rear Camera Mirror with zoom and tilt adjustment. Standard driver assistance technologies include Forward Collision Alert3, Low Speed Forward Automatic Emergency Braking3 and Front Pedestrian Braking3. Available driver assistance technologies including Advanced3 Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Forward Automatic Emergency Braking3, Automatic Parking Assist with Braking3, HD Surround Vision with Recorder3, Rear Pedestrian Detection and Alert3, Reverse Automatic Braking3and more. A New Design Profile
    With a fastback profile inspired by the Escala concept, the first-ever CT5 charts a new direction for Cadillac sedan design that leverages the natural proportional advantage of the vehicle’s rear-drive platform to communicate power, presence and performance.
    “From every angle, the CT5 exudes athleticism, sophistication and confidence,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of global Cadillac design. “Cadillac’s signature hard-edge cues have evolved to a more sculptural and fluid expression of the brand’s design language.”
    A long, 116-inch wheelbase (2,947 mm) and lengthened side glass accentuate the car’s long, low proportion and sweeping fastback profile. Body sculpturing, including taut character lines, contributes to the car’s strong stance and speaks to Cadillac’s legacy of craftsmanship and technology.
    An all-LED exterior lighting strategy features signature vertical lights at all four corners of the vehicle.
    Bright exterior accents and unique grilles and fascias distinguish the CT5 Luxury and Premium Luxury models, while the Sport model is differentiated by darker accents and performance-inspired details, including unique grilles, fascias, rocker extensions, spoiler and standard 19-inch wheels4.
    High-Tech and High-Touch Interior
    CT5’s interior features elegant, wide surface lines and simple interfaces, focusing on quality, attention to detail, authenticity of materials and impeccable craftsmanship.
    Everything from the instrument panel to the center display is focused on the driver and essential touch points, emphasizing control. That includes a prominent, 1080dp high-definition full-color 10-inch-diagonal touchscreen mounted high within the instrument panel for visibility.
    FEATURE FOCUS: PLATINUM PACKAGE
    The Premium Luxury and Sport models are available with a Platinum Package featuring an exclusive Sedona/Jet Black motif with Opus semi-aniline leather seating surfaces in Sedona Sauvage. These surfaces are distinguished with a custom, layered fading perforation pattern, fine contrasting seat piping and decorative chevron accents. Both front, heated, ventilated and lumbar massage seats feature additional bolstering and 18-way adjustability. The package complements the seats with upgraded leather-trimmed armrests and center console, unique carbon fiber decorative trim and a thicker-rimmed steering wheel with authentic magnesium paddle shifters and alloy pedals.
    Intuitive Technology and Connectivity
    CT5 delivers thoughtful technology integration by offering an intuitive in-vehicle experience with a heightened sense of control. This is provided in everything from vehicle controls that conform to the driver’s driving style to the latest, more personal Cadillac user experience2, which provides more intuitive ways to interface with the system, including phone pairing via Near Field Communication and a new rotary controller.
    CT5 also features standard Adaptive Remote Start and an available hands-free power-release decklid to further customers’ convenience and comfort. Adaptive Remote Start automatically activates features such as the available adaptive heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and other climate systems, depending on the temperature. The hands-free decklid uses a motion sensor with Cadillac crest target projection that allows customers to activate the trunk release with their foot, supporting easy access.
    FEATURE FOCUS: SUPER CRUISE1
    Cadillac demonstrates its commitment to technology by bringing the Super Cruise driver assistance feature to the CT5. Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver assistance feature enables customers to drive hands-free on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada, using LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a state-of-the-art driver attention system and a network of camera and radar sensors. The driver attention system helps keep drivers engaged by detecting and signaling when drivers need to pay more attention to the road.
     
    Turbocharged Performance
    CT5 is powered by a 2.0L Twin-Scroll Turbo engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with Electronic Precision Shift. This standard propulsion combination offers responsive off-the-line performance with excellent low-end torque. The twin-scroll turbocharger and a unique three-step sliding camshaft help the engine optimize performance across the rpm band for a greater feeling of on-demand power at all speeds.
    Cadillac’s powerful 3.0L Twin Turbo V-6 is available on Premium Luxury and Sport models, rated at an estimated 335 hp (250 kw) and 400 lb-ft of torque (542 Nm)5. Low-inertia turbochargers and a manifold-integrated liquid-to-air intercooling system help the engine produce exceptional power with virtually no lag and sustain it across most of the rpm band. Like the 2.0L Turbo, it is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Electronic Precision Shift.
    Both engines employ technologies such as direct injection, camshaft phasing, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and automatic stop/start to balance performance, refinement and efficiency. Sound tuning via mechanical and electronic sources contributes to CT5’s optimized effect on the senses, with engine sounds tuned to augment the driving experience in a refined manner, while helping to minimize unwanted noise in the cabin.
    Evolved Driving Dynamics
    Building on the strengths of the superb RWD architecture that underpins Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel-drive sedans, the first-ever CT5 is designed to deliver an exhilarating driving experience while maintaining the brand’s signature blend of performance, comfort and refinement.
    Evolutionary enhancements of the front and rear suspensions, including Cadillac’s signature double-pivot MacPherson-type front suspension, are designed to improve road isolation and driver feedback. At the rear, a five-link independent suspension contributes to the car’s excellent feeling of control.
    Additional chassis and driving dynamics features:
    Standard Bosch premium electric, rack-mounted power steering system. Capable, confident and precise eBoost brakes. Brembo front brakes are standard on the Sport model. Standard ZF MVS passive dampers. All-wheel drive is available on all models. Standard customer-selectable drive modes allow CT5 to adapt even better to driver preferences and changing road conditions. The modes — Tour, Sport, Snow/Ice and new My Mode — can alter the calibrations for transmission shifting, steering and brake feel, front/rear torque split (with the available AWD system) and vehicle sound character to customize the driving experience.
    CT5 can handle a variety of road conditions no matter the climate, thanks to all-wheel drive available on every model along with a diverse range of tire choices, including 19-inch all-season run-flat tires and 18-inch Michelin self-seal tires. All tire options allow drivers to continue driving during most punctures that would sideline conventional tires, for immediate replacement/repair.
    Coming Soon
    The 2020 CT5 makes its public debut at the New York International Auto Show April 19-28 and will be available for ordering this fall. It will be manufactured at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, which previously received a $211 million investment to build the next-generation Cadillac sedans. Pricing and additional information will be announced closer to the start of production. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...An Atlas for those who go off the beaten trail... 

    Volkswagen is bringing a concept version of their Atlas SUV to the New York International Auto Show.  Called the Atlas Basecamp, it is a ruggedized version of their Atlas crossover. 
    Built on an SEL Premium trim with the 276hp V6 and 4Motion All-Wheel Drive, the concept includes a lift kit, custom body moldings, all-terrain tires, roof rack with lightbar, and some fifteen52 Traverse MX concept wheels that are expected to go into production.
    All of these parts signal an intent by Volkswagen to get more off-roady with the Atlas to more directly take on the Jeep Cherokee and other coming Jeep models. We think VW should built it. 
    We'll have more for you about the Atlas Basecamp from the New York Auto Show starting April 17th. 



    Drew Dowdell

    ... 330 horsepower and GT Hardware...

    Ford pulled the wraps off the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3 Performance Package Mustang today ahead of the New York International Auto Show.  As we reported previously, the Mustang will get an upgraded 2.3 liter Ecoboost Turbocharged 4-Cylinder heavily borrowed from the now dead to the U.S. Ford Focus RS.  The new motor will produce 330 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque when fed with 93 octane fuel. The engine will produce 90% of peak torque between 2,500 rpm and 5,300 rpm a 40% broader torque band than the standard Ecoboost 4-cylinder. That performance is achieved with a larger turbo and some additional cooling capacity from a larger radiator.  Customers will be able to choose between a 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed Getrag manual transmission. 
    The new setup will allow the Mustang 2.3 Performance Package to run to 60 in the mid-4 second range and have a top speed of 155 mph.  Weight distribution is a near perfect 53/47 front to rear.  Stopping distance is shortened with the help of new 4-piston calipers and 13.9 inch front rotors. The suspension hardware is beefed up as well.  There is an active exhaust package as well.
    An additional available package adds special semi-metallic brakes, specially calibrated MagneRide shocks, a limited slip rear differential and wider wheels with Perelli PZero Corsa4 tires. This handling package is only available on the fastback coupe. 
    We will have more for you on the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3 Performance Package from the New York Auto Show on April 17th.  It arrives in dealerships Fall of 2020.
    Ford Press Release on Page 2


    POWERED BY FORD PERFORMANCE: NEW HIGH PERFORMANCE PACKAGE FOR 2020 MUSTANG DELIVERS 330-HORSEPOWER AND GT HARDWARE
    2.3L High Performance Package provides entry-level Mustang buyers the first EcoBoost® engine powered by Ford Performance to deliver a projected 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque – the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker Poised to attack at autocross, 2.3L High Performance Package adds Mustang GT brakes and Mustang GT Performance Package aerodynamics and suspension components to make it the highest-performing production four-cylinder Mustang ever Initially a passion project that began with a Focus RS engine swap, the High Performance Package became a green-lit production program to strengthen Mustang’s entry-level performance offering in under 10 months – just in time for Mustang’s 55th anniversary  
    DEARBORN, Mich., April 15, 2019 – Strengthening Ford’s performance reach for 2020 and just in time for the pony car’s 55th anniversary, the new 2.3L High Performance Package for the entry-level Mustang EcoBoost® creates the most powerful four-cylinder sports car offered by an American automaker. This is the result of a unique EcoBoost engine powered by Ford Performance and upgraded handling components from the Mustang GT Performance Package.
    “The Ford Performance Focus RS 2.3-liter engine is a high-revving marvel, and anyone who’s driven this EcoBoost engine instantly loves how quickly it responds and delivers power,” said Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer. “When our team got the chance to try this specially built engine in a Mustang, we immediately agreed, ‘We have to do this.’”
    Reminiscent of development of the original Mustang in 1964, the car began as a five-person skunkworks project in the Ford Performance garage. Following an experiment with a Focus RS engine swap, the Mustang team leveraged Ford’s quickening product development times to accelerate and complete the design-to-approval process for the 2.3L High Performance Package in under 10 months.
    Available on the entry-level Mustang EcoBoost fastback coupe or convertible models this fall, the Mustang EcoBoost package was developed to feel at home both on thrilling mountain and coastal roads and even on the most precise autocross courses thanks to its Mustang GT brakes, performance tires, and chassis and aerodynamics hardware from the Mustang GT Performance Package.
     
    Most powerful EcoBoost engine yet in a Mustang
    To make their project a reality, members of the Mustang team traveled to Valencia, Spain, home of the Ford Performance-tuned 2.3-liter engine, to convince plant management to build a new variant of the turbocharged four-cylinder specifically for Mustang. Then, with the Ford Performance-designed engine as a starting point, they tuned the EcoBoost to more broadly and responsively deliver a projected 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque achieved with premium fuel (per the SAE J1349 standard).
    Having secured production of the die-cast alloy block and high-performance cylinder head, the engineering team specified a 5 percent larger 63-millimeter twin-scroll turbo compressor and a larger radiator, then calibrated the engine to run both Ford’s 10-speed SelectShift® automatic and 6-speed Getrag manual transmission.
    The 2020 Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package is designed to run 0-60 in the mid-four-second range on premium fuel, with top speed increasing to 155 mph, a 10 mph gain over the 2019 EcoBoost Performance Package and 34 mph faster than the base EcoBoost Mustang.
    “It’s not just the horsepower gains over the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost, it’s the broader torque curve that delivers 90 percent of peak torque between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, which is 40 percent wider than the base EcoBoost engine,” said Widmann. “Plus, horsepower holds stronger up to the 6,500-rpm redline – enabling more usable power and torque for enthusiasts and weekend autocrossers to enjoy.”
    Helping to deliver 143 horsepower per liter, the new 2.3L High Performance Package includes a fully active quad-tip exhaust system with a signature tuned sound.
     
    Packed with enthusiast hardware
    The new 2020 2.3L High Performance Package feels sharp and nimble, with an aggressive road-holding stance, near-balanced 53/47 weight distribution and fully independent suspension, plus chassis and aerodynamic upgrades from the Mustang GT and its Performance Package.
    For greater steering precision, the team added an alloy strut tower brace to stiffen the chassis at the front. To improve stopping power and fade resistance, the 2.3L High Performance Package adds larger four-piston fixed calipers with 13.9-inch front rotors from Mustang GT. It features a 32-millimeter sway bar up front and a tubular 21.7-millimeter bar at the rear.
    New performance calibration tuning is applied to the electronic-controlled power steering, antilock braking, stability control and five driver-selectable drive modes. For improved cornering, a 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle is included, plus package-specific 19x9-inch machined-face aluminum wheels and 255/40R summer tires.
    For an aggressive look, the new EcoBoost 2.3L High Performance Package includes a large black front splitter and belly pan, plus brake cooling ramps from the Mustang GT Performance Package – add-ons that also work to reduce front-end lift and improve brake cooling. A blacked-out grille with offset Mustang tri-bar pony emblem, 2.3L High Performance Package side badges and magnetic gray side mirrors and raised blade rear spoiler add to the performance look, while a unique metallic gray stripe crosses the hood.
    An engine-spun aluminum instrument panel with oil pressure and turbo boost gauges, plus a serialized dash plaque highlight the interior.
     
    New EcoBoost Handling Package
    Increasing lateral acceleration grip and stopping power, the available EcoBoost Handling Package includes semi-metallic brakes, specially calibrated MagneRide® dampers and a TORSEN® 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle. Wider 19x9.5-inch premium painted aluminum wheels with 265/40R Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa4 summer tires provide traction, while a 24-millimeter solid rear sway bar, up from 21.7 millimeters, improves handling balance.
    The new EcoBoost Handling Package is available exclusively on the 2020 Mustang EcoBoost fastback coupe with the 2.3L High Performance Package with either 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
     
    New smart technology, colors and more for 2020
    FordPass Connect™, now standard on Mustang for 2020, allows owners to interact with their vehicles via a smartphone. Using FordPass Connect’s phone application, owners can locate their parked car, lock and unlock it, and check vehicle status, such as fuel, oil levels and maintenance alerts. For automatic transmission-equipped Mustang models, the system has a remote start feature. The availability of these features varies by market.
    Available SYNC® 3 with AppLink™ adds enhanced voice recognition communications, 911 Assist and two smart-charging USB ports.
    Four new Mustang colors for 2020 include Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver, Red Hot Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Twister Orange. New 17-inch sparkle silver-painted aluminum wheels now come standard on the base 2020 Mustang EcoBoost.
    The 2020 Ford Mustang with 2.3L High Performance Package arrives at dealerships this fall.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Big Benz Leaks Big...

    With most of the releases of the New York International Auto Show officially out already, there is not much left to leak.  However, there was still the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS that was yet to be seen.  A trove of those pictures have leaked out tonight.
    We'll leave these here for you to peruse and comment on, but as this is an unofficial leak there is no technical information available yet. 

     
     
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Handbuilt in the same facility as the NSX..

    Acura is releasing the new Acura TLX PMC Edition at the New York International Auto Show next week.  The PMC Edition combines the sports prowess of the A-Spec line with the premium technical features of the Advance Package.   It will also share the super high-tech nano paint technology used on the NSX which takes a total time of 5 days in the paint shop.
    Built in Marysville Ohio, the TLX PMC Edition will be handcrafted by the same engineers who build the Acura NSX. Equipped with the direct injected V6 and SH-AWD, the limited production run cars will start around $50,000. 

    Some of the PMC exclusive features are:
    Valencia Red Pearl nano pigment paint Unique PMC Edition numbered serial plaque Gloss black 19-inch split-5-spoke wheels with black lug nuts Gloss black roof panel Gloss black door handles Gloss black diamond pentagon grille with body-colored grille surround Dual 4-inch black chrome exhaust finishers Premium black Milano leather seats with Alcantara™ inserts, black piping and red stitching Perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching and paddle shifters Red stitching on door panel, center console, and armrest Premium floormats with metal A-Spec badging The TLX PMC Edition goes on sale Summer 2019 with an MDX version to follow. We'll have more for you about the Acura TLX PMC Edition from the New York International Auto Show on April 17th. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...update to old faithful...

    Subaru will be bringing an all-new 2020 Subaru Outback wagon to the New York International Auto Show next week.  Like its predecessor, the Outback will continue to be based on the Legacy sedan.  Subaru debuted the all-new 2020 Legacy sedan at the Chicago Auto Show in February.
    We expect many of the updates to carry over from the Legacy. On the Legacy, the overall look doesn't change dramatically, however there is an all new modular platform under the skin with improved torsional rigidity and higher strength steel.   The buy-up H6 engine is dropped in favor of a turbo-charged 2.4 liter boxer four-cylinder that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.  The base engine is a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated boxer 4 with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque.   Both engines push their power through a CVT to Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive. 
    The interior gets a major update in both design and materials.  An optional 11.6-inch touch screen can be ordered, but otherwise a 7-inch version is standard. 
    You can read more about the 2020 Legacy at our article below. We'll have more for you when the 2020 Subaru Outback is shown on April 17th at 11:15 am eastern.
    Gallery:
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ... the sleeker version of the A 35 AMG Sedan...

    Mercedes took the wraps off the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 ahead of its debut at the New York International Auto Show next week.   The CLA 35 is the sleeker, more coupe-like version of the Mercedes-AMG A 35 Sedan that was unveiled two weeks ago. Much of the same hardware that goes into the A 35 is here in the CLA 35 as well.
    Power is rated for 302 hp at 5800 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm from the 2.0 liter twin scroll turbocharged engine. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard and can run in front-wheel drive mode or an even 50-50 split front to rear. 
    Like the A 35, the CLA also gets body reinforcements to help with torsional rigidity (which makes us wonder about the non-AMG cars - DD). The interior gets an update to the MBUX system that allows you to say "Hey Mercedes!" to control certain in-car functions.
    You can read more about the A 35 AMG  here.
    The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 will officially debut at the New York Auto Show on April 17th at 10:15 eastern.  Stay tuned for more coverage from the show.
    Mercedes press release on page 2


    Sporty, stylish, intelligent and dynamic: The new CLA 35 is the latest point of entry to the world of Mercedes-AMG. The four- door coupe shares the progressive technology with the A-Class, but is even bolder with its iconic design and the intelligent MBUX interior assistant. The high torque 2.0L Inline-4 turbo engine delivers 302 hp, distributed to all four wheels via the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and variable all- wheel drive. Sporty driving performance (acceleration from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds est.) is combined with a range of versatile driving experiences - from very sporty to refined and comfortable on long journeys.
    "With its iconic design and agile driving dynamics, the new CLA 35 is an attractive offer for a young, active and lifestyle-conscious target group. These customers define their requirements very clearly: They expect exciting design from their vehicle alongside superior performance and inspiring handling characteristics. The new CLA 35 embodies just this attitude to life – and  enables stepping in to the fascinating world of AMG Driving Performance in a particularly emotional way,"says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
    Icon with a sporty design: the exterior
    The unique design of the CLA Coupe is one of the new model's key purchase reasons. The AMG designers therefore aimed to maintain its basic form with wide wheel arches and a slim profile. The two power domes on the hood were also adopted as sporty details. The new radiator grille with classic twin louvers and an AMG front bumper with flics on the air inlets are distinctive features of the CLA 35. Other distinguishing characteristics include silver chrome trim elements in the outer air inlets. From a side view, the aerodynamically optimized 18-inch light-alloy wheels in twin-spoke design (19-inch wheels are optionally available) and the accentuated side sills catch the eye. The rear bumper with a new diffuser insert, the small spoiler lip on the trunk and the two round tailpipes on the left and right dominate the rear view. The two-piece, narrow tail lamps and the license plate housing placed low in the bumper add to the CLA's wide rear appearance.
    Sporty interior featuring MBUX infotainment system
    Frameless doors open to an interior with a high-tech ambience, where quality and elegance meet digital displays. The interior scene can be catered to specific tastes thanks to the standard 64 color ambient lighting. The distinctive interior design is evident with the available MB-Tex and microfiber DINAMICA in black with red contrasting stitching and red seat belts, as well as in the available combination of MB-Tex in black/digital grey. Red piping on the microfiber DINAMICA trim elements and ventilation outlets with a red ring are additional unique accents.
    The combination of a sporty design with sophisticated details is also evident in the MBUX infotainment system with its innovative operation and display. In the new CLA 35, MBUX replaces the previous COMAND systems and creates an even closer connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers.
    Appealing presentations underline the clear control structure and feature brilliant maximum-resolution 3D graphics. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit, and consequently emphasize the horizontal orientation of the interior design.
    With the newly available MBUX interior assistant, select infotainment functions can be operated without touch, along with switching the reading light on or off. The assistant differentiates between driver and passenger interaction and recognizes certain hand positions and movements. The interaction area for the MBUX interior assistant is in front of the media display up to the center console, including the touchpad between the driver and front-seat passenger.
    The MBUX interior assistant recognizes movement toward the various operating elements of the infotainment system. The operator's seat is enlarged on the media display if one's hand moves toward the touchscreen. The most suitable operating elements are automatically pre-selected. In the radio and media menu, the MBUX interior assistant reduces the number of operating steps. In the navigation menu, the system fades in the display as soon as the hand moves to operate the touchscreen or touchpad, so that a symbol is selected directly. When displaying the camera image, as soon as the hand moves toward the touchscreen the MBUX interior assistant enables the four camera operating symbols from the 360-degree camera to be faded in. This means that the front, rear, right or left camera view can be selected directly.
    The CLA 35 also comes with our new trailblazing voice control, activated with the words "Hey Mercedes". Thanks to artificial intelligence, MBUX recognizes and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and  vehicle operation, even if they are expressed indirectly.
    Fully digital instrument cluster with three AMG display styles
    Customers can choose between three AMG display styles for the instrument cluster: "Classic", "Sport"and "Supersport". The "Supersport"mode is particularly striking, with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right. Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special displays such as Warm-up, Set-up, G-Force and Engine Data.
    Touchscreen multimedia display and new center console
    The 10.25 inch touchscreen multimedia display also emphasizes the dynamic character with individual AMG displays, such as visualization of the driving programs, AMG TRACK PACE and telemetry data.
    The AMG-specific center console in piano black finish with standard touchpad has additional buttons that control the functions of ESP®, manual transmission mode and the Adaptive Damping System. When combined with the optional leather package, it also features a silver chrome surround.
    New AMG steering wheel generation with optional steering wheel buttons
    The next generation of AMG steering wheels provide the perfect link between the driver and the vehicle. The steering wheel rim with a flat-bottom, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. The galvanized steering wheel gearshift paddles allow an even sportier driving style with manual gear shifting.
    The built-in Touch Control buttons, familiar from some of our other models, are a new feature. The Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and cruise control can be adjusted on the control panels on the left. The control panels on the right activate the voice control and telephone, and regulate the sound volume, music selection and other functions of the infotainment system.
    The steering wheel with innovative AMG steering wheel buttons is available as an option. These consist of a round controller with an integrated display beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke, plus two vertically positioned color display buttons with switches beneath the left-hand steering-wheel spoke. The AMG drive programs are actuated directly via the controller. With the two configurable display buttons and the additional switches, further AMG functions can be controlled within easy reach directly on the steering wheel.
    Reinforced body-in-white with increased torsional rigidity
    Specific measures to strengthen the front section of the bodyshell help enable the precise turn-in ability and the toe and camber stability of the chassis, even when driving at speed. A "shear panel", a bolted aluminum plate under the engine, also increases the torsional stiffness of the front section of the CLA 35. Two additional diagonal braces at the front of the underbody also reduce torsion and increase rigidity.
    New four-cylinder turbo engine with 302 hp
    The 2.0L Inline-4 turbo engine is a new development and is based on the M260 four-cylinder engine in the new A-Class. The new drive boasts a quick response to accelerator pedal commands, high torque (295 lb-ft max. torque from 3,000 rpm), a lively response and an emotional engine sound. The crankcase made of high-strength, lightweight die-cast aluminum reduces the vehicle weight where it matters most for driving dynamics.
    The twin-scroll turbocharger combines optimum responsiveness at low engine speeds with a significant power increase at higher engine speeds. The housing of the twin-scroll turbocharger is divided into two parallel ducts. Together with two separate ducts in the exhaust manifold, this makes it possible to channel the exhaust gases separately on the turbine wheel.
    This results in a further advantage of twin-scroll technology -- minimization of the mutually adverse effects of the individual cylinders on the gas cycle. The exhaust gas backpressure is reduced and gas exchange and engine  efficiency are improved.
    Numerous engine measures increase efficiency
    The high technological standards of the new four-cylinder engine are also underscored by numerous efficiency-enhancing measures. These include CAMTRONIC variable valve control, intelligent thermal management for engine and oil, high-precision piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition. In production,  the patented CONICSHAPE® cylinder honing reduces internal engine friction and also increases efficiency.
    Agile gear ratios: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission
    The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission also contributes to the agile and dynamic character of the new CLA 35. The gear ratios are configured so that the driver experiences very responsive acceleration in all speed ranges, combined with fast shifting and optimum connections when upshifting.
    The standard RACE-START function allows maximum acceleration from a stationary position and is a high performance experience. The functions of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed transmission also include a temporary manual shift mode activated by operating the steering wheel shift paddles in any driving mode, and with the manual transmission mode "M"for manual gear changes with the shift paddles.
    AMG Performance 4MATIC variable all-wheel drive
    Dynamism, agility and performance – these three attributes characterize the standard all-wheel drive of the new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35. The variable AMG 4MATIC+ combines the best possible traction with driving pleasure. The torque distribution is variable to suit the dynamic handling requirements. The spectrum ranges from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles.
    A multi-disc clutch that is integrated in the  rear  axle  transmission is responsible for the variable torque distribution between the  front  and  rear axles. It is controlled electro-mechanically. The influencing factors for torque distribution are the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, and the difference in  rotational  speed  between  the individual wheels, the gear selected and the accelerator position.
    The main advantages of electro-mechanical control over an electro-hydraulic system relate to more refined driving dynamics – primarily due to the significantly faster response and speed-independent actuation of the discs over the entire adjustment range.
    As long as ESP® is activated, the 4MATIC+ system stays in "Comfort"mode. As soon as the driver presses the "ESP® SPORT Handling"or "ESP® OFF"button, the 4MATIC+ system switches to "Sport"mode – for even more agile handling and even higher stability limits.
    Five driving programs: vehicle characteristics with a wide spread
    The five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs "Slippery,""Comfort,""Sport,""Sport +"and "Individual"enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. They change relevant parameters, such as the responsiveness of the engine and transmission.
    The new "Slippery"drive program is optimized for low-grip, icy road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. Smooth gear changes and earlier upshifts support a more stable driving character.
    The "Comfort"program stands for comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, for example, thanks to early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort.
    "Sport"and "Sport+"place the focus on agility and driving pleasure with sporty engine and transmission tuning. The sound of the  turbo  engine  is  more striking. "Sport+"is particularly exciting with double-declutching during downshifts and partial cylinder cut-off via a brief and precisely defined retardation of ignition and injection at full load.
    The "Individual"drive program enables specific parameters to be selected and saved according to personal preferences. In addition, the gliding function is available in the "Reduced"and "Moderate"drive settings.
    AMG DYNAMICS: more agility with high stability
    As a new feature in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the new CLA 35 comes with AMG DYNAMICS. This integrated dynamic handling control system extends the stabilizing functions of ESP® with responsive interventions according to the driver's wishes. During dynamic cornering, imperceptible braking intervention on the rear inside wheel creates a defined yawing moment about the vertical axis. The effect: the CLA 35 steers quickly and very precisely.
    The different modes of AMG DYNAMICS are called "Basic"and "Advanced."When a drive program is selected on the multimedia display, the new AMG DYNAMICS symbol is displayed with the corresponding additional information.
    "Basic"is assigned to the "Slippery"and "Comfort"drive programs. In this case, the CLA 35 shows very stable handling with a high damping of the yaw rate. "Advanced"is activated in the programs "Sport"and "Sport+."The CLA 35 remains neutrally balanced. The lower yaw damping, lower steering angle requirement and enhanced agility support dynamic maneuvers, such as driving on winding country roads. In the "Individual"drive program the driver can set the AMG DYNAMICS levels individually.
    AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension
    The layout of the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension provides solid straight-line stability and highly dynamic cornering performance. The longitudinal and transverse dynamics are optimally coordinated.
    A McPherson strut construction is fitted on the front axle. The suspension is comprised of one wishbone below the wheel center, one spring strut and one tie rod. The special axle geometry reduces the influence of the drive on the steering – for high comfort and agile handling. The new wishbone in aluminum reduces unsprung mass, enabling a more sensitive response from the springs. The AMG-specific front steering knuckle has a radially bolted brake calliper – a technology originating from motorsport.
    The 4-link rear axle is connected with the body via a subframe. Three transverse arms and the trailing arm, the wheel carrier and the bearings from the proven A 45 are used on each rear wheel. This ensures maximum driving stability and agility.
    Adaptive damping system with three modes
    The optional Adaptive Damping System enables the driver to choose between three different suspension control modes. The spectrum ranges from comfort- focused to sporty. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. This happens within milliseconds and is infinitely variable, with a wide spread of damping characteristics. The result is that ride comfort and agility are both enhanced.
    Robust high-performance brake system
    The high-performance braking system enables fade-resistant deceleration and short braking distances. The front axle is fitted with new 4-piston monoblock fixed callipers and 13.8 inch brake discs, while the rear axle is equipped with 1-piston sliding callipers and 13.0 inch brake discs. The discs are ventilated   and perforated to dissipate heat and reduce brake fading, even with heavy use. The silver-painted brake callipers have black AMG lettering.
    Steering with special rack and variable ratio
    The speed-sensitive, electro-mechanical power steering supports a sporty driving style with its direct turn-in ability. It has a special rack with variable ratio and two characteristic curves: depending on the drive program the driver has selected, it provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback. The rigid mounting in the integral carrier connects the steering with the body and thus increases steering precision.
    AMG exhaust system with exhaust flap for sound modulation
    The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. Depending on the drive program selected, it modulates the sound from balanced to powerful.
    AMG TRACK PACE data log
    AMG TRACK PACE is also available as an option for the new CLA 35. The virtual race engineer is part of the MBUX infotainment system and permanently records more than 80 vehicle-specific data measures (e.g. speed, acceleration). On top of this, lap and sector times are displayed, as well as the respective difference to a reference time. Because specific display elements are shown in green or red, the driver is able to see at a glance without reading numbers whether they are currently faster or slower than the best time.
    After putting in some fast laps, the driver can use the data to analyze and, if necessary, improve their driving skills. In addition, acceleration and deceleration values (e.g. 0-60 mph, ¼ mile, 60-0 mph) can be measured and saved. Thanks to a newly developed algorithm which determines the vehicle position as precisely as possible, AMG TRACK PACE even detects when the track has been left or if it has been shortened. This is possible using GPS data as well as the sensors available in the vehicle (acceleration, gyroscope, steering angle, wheel speeds).
    The logged data is displayed on the multimedia display, in the instrument cluster and on the optional head-up display. Well-known racetracks like, for example, the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored.
    Furthermore, it is also possible to record one's own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and be updated online.
    The MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal line of a stored racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia display or on the optional head-up display, allowing the driver to improve lap times with a virtual instructor on board.
    World premiere and market launch
    The new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 celebrates its world premiere as part of the New York International Auto Show on April 16, 2019 and will be available in U.S. dealerships starting late 2019.
    Data at a glance
     
    2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35
    Engine
    2.0L Inline-4 turbo
    Displacement
    1991 cc
    Max. output
    302 hp at 5800 rpm
    Peak torque
    295 lb-ft at 3000-4000 rpm
    Drive system
    AMG 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive
    Transmission
    AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission
    Acceleration 0-60 mph
    4.6 s est
    Top speed
    TBA*
    * electronically limited

    Drew Dowdell

    ...some sketches released ahead of NYC...

    Hyundai released some sketches of their upcoming Venue due to debut at the New York International Auto Show next week.  
    The Hyundai Venue will be the smallest and least expensive crossover in the Hyundai lineup.  From the images, we can see what appears to be a 3 door crossover with a deep-set grille similar in shape and texture to the Hyundai Santa Fe. Deep creases run along the sides to pod like tail lamps. 
    The interior looks handsome and minimalist with a simple 3 dial HVAC control setup, a touchscreen center display and the same row of buttons found on other Hyundai vehicles. 
    It would be interesting if Hyundai does take the route of a 3 door crossover, it might make it a bit of a Hyundai Veloster with a lift kit.  If so, it would certainly be a welcome departure from the standard 4-door crossovers that everyone and their grandmother is producing today. 
    The Hyundai Venue will officially debut on April 17th at 10:45am eastern.  Stay tuned for this and other coverage of the New York International Auto Show.
     
    (Click images to enlarge)



     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...more boost for your bucks...

    Last month we reported that Ford was apparently working on another version of the Mustang with a more powerful Ecoboost 4-cylinder. Well apparently Ford is preparing to show that Mustang at an event during the New York International Auto Show. 
    The new Ecoboost Mustang could possibly wear an SVO badge, going back to the days when one of the hotter Mustangs was also powered by a Turbo-4.
    Ford is looking to fill a gap in the Mustang lineup. Currently, there is a 125 horsepower gap between the current Turbo-4 powered car and the V8 Powered GT.  Chevrolet fills that space with a 335 hp V6 in their Camaro, while Ford's base powerplant offers just 310 hp only when using 93 octane.  Over at the Focus desk, Ford has tuned the same 2.3 liter turbo to 350 hp, so we know the drivetrain can handle the extra boost. 
    We expect, if this SVO does come to pass, some suspension and chassis adjustments to handle the extra power. Possibly even an updated fascia like the original SVO had.  
    We'll find out on April 17th. 
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