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    Ford Mustang Mach-E Leaks Out Ahead of LA Auto Show

    ...You're not supposed to see this yet, but....

    Leaks of privileged information happen.  In this case, Ford pushed these images and pages to their consumer website in a way which was easy for the folks at MachEForum to find. 
    Here are the basics, the best of each spec, the 2021 Ford Mach-E will have up to 300 miles of driving range, run 0-60 in mid-three second range, and have optional all-wheel drive.  You're going to prioritize those specs though because you won't be able to get them all in the same car.
    All models of Mach-E will be able to recharge 47 miles in 10 minute of DC fast charging in a 150-kw charger
    The base model is called Select and starts at $43,895. It is powered by a 255 horsepower, 306 lb.-ft of torque motor in the rear.  You can opt for all-wheel drive which increases torque to 429lb.ft. This model gets an EPA estimated range of 230 miles and a 0 to 60 sprint of mid 5-seconds. If you qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, the price can be as low as $36,395. It's equipped with 18-inch wheels
    Next up is the Premium trim, starting at $50,600. This comes with 19-inch wheels and again in RWD or AWD configurations. EPA estimated range is 300 miles on the RWD model and 0 to 6- remains mid 5-seconds. 
    There will be a trim called California Route 1 which is an extended range rear-wheel drive model. It has an EPA range of 300 miles and a mid 6-second range sitting on 18-inch wheels.
    Then there is the top of the line GT, starting at $60,500. EPA range is estimated at 235 miles and a mid 3-second range. It comes standard with all-wheel drive. 
    For early adopters, there is a Mach-E First Edition. It offers three exterior colors, including and exclusive "Grabber Blue Metallic", interior contrast stitching, First Edition scuff plates, brushed aluminum pedals, and red brake calipers. This model seems to be a happy medium on range and performance with a 270 mile EPA estimated range, mid 5-second 0-60, AWD, and 19-inch wheels. 
    Inside the Mach-E is a large Telsa-like center screen though with a single physical dial at the bottom. A simple dash and slim gauge cluster sit behind a 3-spoke wheel badged with the Mustang logo. 
    Ford will officially share more information on Sunday night, and the specs listed above are subject to change. We'll keep you updated as more information comes out. In the meantime, scroll down to see all of the information grabbed in the screenshots.


    Volkswagen Expanding Chattanooga

    ...All to build more EVs...

    Volkswagen has broken ground on an $800 million expansion of their plant in Chattanooga, TN.  The expansion is for additional capacity to build electric vehicles for North America. The body shop will increase by 564,000 square feet and a new 198,000 square foot battery assembly center will be constructed. Overall the expansion will add about 1,000 permanent jobs. Production of a long range vehicle, the ID. Crozz / ID. 4 is expected to begin in the expanded plant in 2022.
    Chattanooga currently builds the Passat, Atlas, and Atlas Cross Sport. 

    Mustang Mach E Is The Name For the New Ford EV

    ....A Mustang SUV you say?...

    Ford has announced the name of their upcoming Mustang inspired electric crossover.  It will be called the Mustang Mach E.  The official debut happens on November 17th, after which reservations for the car will be opened for customers wishing to make a deposit.  Deposits are $500 to hold your place in line and later, customization of the vehicle will open closer to delivery time. 
    We've seen from previews of the Mustang Mach E that it will be a rather swoopy crossover with a coupe like roofline. Current rumors put the estimated range at around 370 miles on the WTLP cycle, but EPA cycle will likely be lower. Ford also recently announced the creation of the FordPass Charging network, a way to take the worry out of range anxiety.  We expect we'll hear even more about FordPass Charging Network at the November 17th presentation. 

    Fiat 500X Sport Coming to America

    ...Could this be the last new Fiat for North America?...

    Fiat's future is uncertain in North America as the brand struggles to find sales.  Already, the Fiat 500 has been dropped from the lineup in North America, and that was one of the better sellers.  The Fiat 500X is more of a crossover hatchback. It shares its platform with the fantastically more popular Jeep Renegade.  Still, even in spite of its sales troubles, Fiat is releasing a refresh of the 500X Sport for 2020.
    The new 500x Sport gets new front and rear fascia designs, a black roof option, dark finished headliner and pillars, new sport seating, an updated version of uConnect with a 7-inch display including navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. A new exterior color "Rovente Red" is being added. 
    The 500X Sport is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged MultiAir III engine. The engine produces 177 horsepower and an impressive 210 lb.-ft of torque while also delivering 30 mpg highway.  Fiat points out that this is the only car in the class to have AWD standard and also get 30 mpg highway.
    The 2020 Fiat 500X Sport starts at $26,895 before destination charges and will be available in the first quarter of 2020. 

    Toyota Introduces Camry and Avalon with All-Wheel Drive

    ...get a grip...

    Toyota announced today that the Toyota Avalon and Camry would be getting an all-wheel drive option. It's the first time the Camry has offered all-wheel drive since 1991 and the first ever for Avalon.  AWD will be available as a standalone option on Camry LE, XLE, SE, and XSE trims and on the Avalon XLE and Limited trims.
    In both models, the car is powered by a 202 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and an 8-speed automatic. Camry XSE AWD and both Avalon AWD trims get 205hp with their dual exhaust. 
    The AWD system is borrowed from the Toyota RAV-4 and is called Dynamic Torque Control AWD. It is designed to help with traction in slippery weather but not drag down fuel economy when the weather is clear. The AWD system can direct up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels.  When AWD isn't needed, the system can disengage the drive shaft from the differential to lessen the drag on fuel efficiency. 
    Neither of these cars was originally planned to have AWD, but given the flexibility of the TNGA architecture they and the RAV4 all ride on, Toyota's R&D department in Saline Michigan was able to modify the cars for this new option.  The body of the Camry and Avalon was combined with the drivetrain of the RAV-4. Floor structure modifications were required, plus the use of an electronic parking brake.  The gas tank was modified, and despite of the addition of a rear differential, the trunk floor height remains the same.  The addition of AWD adds 165lbs to the Camry while the Avalon's weight remains the about the same as the FWD V6 model. 
    Camry AWD will be arriving for model year 2020, while Avalon AWD arrives in 2021. 

    Hyundai Develops Road Noise Active Noise Control

    ...the sound of silence...

    Hyundai has announced that is has developed the world's first road noise countering active noise control system.  While active noise control is available in many makes and models, it is limited to when the noise is constant and predictable. 
    Hyundai's new system is able to analyze noise at a much faster pace. The digital sound processor can respond to a noise in 0.002 seconds. Cabin microphones constantly monitor road noise and then the speaker system emits sound waves that cancel out drone or engine roughness.  Hyundai says they are able to decrease cabin noise by up to 3dB. That means that noise is cut nearly in half as compared to running without RANC. In EVs that can make the ride almost completely silent.  
    The first application of this will be applied to an upcoming Genesis model, likely the Genesis SUV.

    Kia K5 Previews US 2021 Optima

    ...This is probably the next Optima...

    After a fairly clear teaser image last month, the South Korean market Kia K5 has been unveiled. Kia hopes to make the same splash that Hyundai did with the mechanically similar 2020 Sonata.  While this K5 is in Korean domestic market spec, we're fairly certain that the North American Optima will look virtually identical to this K5.
    The K5 may look like a hatchback similar to the Volkswagen Arteon or Buick Regal, but it is still in fact a sedan, the swoopiness of the car accentuated by the frameless windows.  The new K5 is bigger than the outgoing Kia Optima by about 2 inches in length, and widened nearly an inch.   Wheelbase has also been lengthened about 1.8 inches. 
    In Korean spec, the base model will come with 16-inch wheels while 17, 18, and 19-inch upgrades are available. The interior hasn't been revealed yet, but a concept sketch shows a more upmarket interior with large LCD screens. 
    Powertrains for the U.S. will likely mirror those of the Hyundai Sonata with a 191 horsepower 2.5 liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder or an upgrade to a 1.6-liter turbo-direct-injection with 180 horsepower and a wide torque band maxing out at 195 lb.-ft. 
    The K5 goes on sale in the Korean market in December.

    New Passat Comes In Cheaper Than Outgoing Model

    ...Now a more affordable People's Car...

    Volkswagen has release the pricing on the redesigned 2020 Passat and now it is roughly $2300 cheaper than the 2019 model.  It also becomes one of the least expensive midsize sedans you can buy, clocking in just $250 more expensive than the least expensive 2020 Subaru Legacy. 
    Some of that cost savings comes from carrying over a bunch of the bones of the car from 2019.  The platform is the same, not updated to the new MQB platform like China is getting with their version.  The 2.0-liter Turbo carries over as well, albeit with some improvement to the torque. Horsepower remains the same at 174 hp, while torque jumps 22 lb.-ft to 206.  The transmission remains a 6-speed automatic driving only the front wheels. 
    The 2020 Passat gets and exterior and interior refresh with new materials in the cabin and an updated instrument cluster. 
    The trims will be S, SE, R-Line, and SEL.  The cheapest S model still comes with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The SE, which starts at $26,765, gets additional chrome trim, keyless entry, push-button ignition, leather wrapped steering wheel, leatherette over the headed front seats, dual zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise, and lane keep assist.  The R-Line, which starts at $29,565, comes with all of the above, plus a standard sunroof, alarm, 19-inch alloy wheels, a body kit, and paddle shifter.  The top of the line SEL, at $32,015, comes with high beam assist, leather seats, heated rear seats, navigation, parking sensors, and a Fender audio system. 
    The 2020 Passat will continue to be manufactured in Chattanooga, TN and arrives in dealers in the next few weeks. 

    PSA CEO says No Brands Let Go

    ...plans to keep them all going...

    PSA CEO Carlos Tavares said on the BFM Business radio station none of the brands would be let go after the merger of PSA and FCA is complete.  He said it will be a challenge to manage all of the brands to cover the market, but that he sees "that all these brands, without exception, have one thing in common: they have a fabulous history."
    While acknowledging that the combined companies would have a significant number of brands, it would still be lower than the number Volkswagen manages. 
    The combined companies would field Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, and Lancia. 
    Both companies will aim for efficiencies of scale and are are willing to make concessions to the European Union in order to get the okay to merge. 

    G-Class to get Electric Model

    ...Likely sold under the EQ range...

    Daimler CEO Källenius announced on Twitter yesterday that there would be a zero-emission EV version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class on the way. He continued, "In the past there were discussions whether we should eliminate the model, the way I see things now I'd say the last Mercedes to be built will be a G-Class".
    The G-Class is already one of the most expensive models sold under the Mercedes-Benz brand. The EV version of the G-Class will likely be sold under the EQ brand. 
    An electric G-Class already exists though as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kreisel Electric have already converted a G-Class to an EV.  It packs dual battery packs for 80-kWh of capacity good for a range of about 186 miles.
    No further details have been released as to when the EV G-Class would be launched. 

    Rumorpile: Hyundai Sonata N in the Cards?

    ...How does 300 hp sound?...

    The Hyundai Sonata is likely to make a big splash with its good looks when it hits dealers in a few weeks. One thing that was missing from the original release of the Sonata was an up-level engine option. To review, the Sonata can be optioned with a 191 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 180 horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with a wide peak torque band and 195 lb.-ft.   Gone is the 245 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo.
    Back in April, Hyundai confirmed that it would produce an N-Line version of the car with 275 horsepower.  That car is likely to be debuting at the LA Auto Show later this month. The kicker is the N-line is not the full performance edition like a Sonata N would be. 
    Now, rumors out of Korea via Korean Car Blog say that the full N will be coming late next year. Powering the Sonata N would be a 2.5-liter turbocharge direct injected engine producing at least 300 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft of torque. Power would be fed through an 8-speed wet dual-clutch transmission. This powertrain has already been shown at a 2019 Hyundai Kia Motors Powertrain Conference, so we know they'll be building this engine for something.
    Of course, Hyundai has not commented on any of these rumors, so take a Sonata N with a grain of salt.  Still, a performance tuned Sonata could make an exciting addition to the otherwise stale and fading mid-size car market.

    Lordstown Sold to Lordstown Motors Corp

    ...Soon to build Workhorse Endurance truck...

    GM's Lordstown facility has been sold to startup Lordstown Motors.  Lordstown Motors will produce the Workhorse Endurance pickup truck, an all-electric truck, at the site. 
    The Endurance has all-wheel drive via 4 motors, one for each wheel.  It also has outlets to allow for the use of power tools. Workhorse is also in the bidding to make plug-in mail trucks for the U.S. Postal Service.  Workhorse has 6,000 orders for a truck based on the W-15 Prototype, and those orders would be moved to Lordstown for production. Workhorse is targeting fleet buyers. With fewer moving parts and lower fuel costs, it could translate to lower cost-to-own for fleet operators. 
    Lordstown Motors still needs to go through several more rounds of fund raising in order to continue development, conduct safety testing, and retool the plant for production. 

    Quick Drive: 2019 Kia Optima SX

    ...despite getting up there in age, this midsize sedan can still challenge all...

    Trying to stay relevant in a class where various automakers have come out swinging is a difficult task. They boast more modern designs, improved performance, and more features. But in the case of the 2019 Kia Optima, this midsize still has a few tricks up its sleeve to keep it in contention.
    The Optima still makes its presence known thanks to an updated front end and the sloping roofline. One item that may cause some issues are the 18-inch wheels. The dual-spoke design and black painted inserts didn’t quite work the Optima’s design to my eyes. But others who saw the vehicle thought it made the sedan look sporty. Not much has changed inside since our last look back in 2017. It may lack the excitement and wow in terms of design that you’ll find in competitors, but Optima nails the ease of use with many of the controls laid out logically. Front seats provide excellent support and space for any trip length. Those in the back will find plenty of legroom, but headroom is at a premium due to the sloping roofline. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic. Lesser models get either a 2.4L four-cylinder (185 horsepower) or a 1.6L turbo-four (178 horsepower). The turbo 2.0L is still a fantastic engine thanks in part to its flat torque curve - 1,350 to 4,000 rpm. This not only minimizes turbo-lag but makes the sedan feel more spritely than what the figures suggest. The automatic may lack the extra gears found in competitors, but it still provides smooth and rapid shifts. Fuel economy is where the 2.0L comes up short. EPA figures are 21 City/30 Highway/24 Combined, trailing the Honda Accord with its turbo 2.0L - 22/32/26. My average for the week landed at 25 mpg. Handling has been one of the Optima’s strong traits, especially in SX and SXL guises. It shows off minimal body roll and quick reflexes. The Mazda6 does hold a slight edge over the Optima as it provides more heft when turning. The sport-tuned suspension under the SX does mean the ride isn’t as comfortable as you’ll find in competitors, but it will not cause you or your passengers to cry uncle when driving on a bumpy road. Wind and road noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Pricing is the Optima’s big draw with a base of $22,990 for the LX and that includes several active safety features such as blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and lane keep assist. The SX begins at $31,990 and comes loaded with items such as ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and navigation. Despite its age and new competition, the Optima is very much a contender. For the price, the sedan offers an abundance of features and surprising performance. The design hasn’t aged either which could make anyone think it just came from an auto show. But the Optima does falter in terms of fuel economy and rear headroom. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2019
    Make: Kia
    Model: Optima
    Trim: SX
    Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L GDI Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic
    Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/30/24
    Curb Weight: 3,558 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
    Base Price: $31,900
    As Tested Price: $33,315 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
    Snow White Pearl Paint - $495.00

    C8 Corvette Delayed Until February 2020

    ...blame the strike...

    People have been waiting decades for a mid-engine Corvette, now the wait just got a little longer; the C8 Corvette has been officially delayed.  You can blame the 40 day UAW strike and the fact that Chevrolet still has C7 Corvette orders to fulfill before Bowling Green can be switched over to build the new car. 
    Once the C7 orders have been filled, the plant will be shut down for an undetermined amount of time in order for new tooling to be brought in and training on the new car is completed.  As of now, the scheduled start of production is February 2020. 

    Peek Inside the Aston Martin DBX

    ...a preview of more to come...

    The Aston Martin DBX, the first SUV for the brand, will be debuting on November 20th in Beijing, China. However, some information and pictures have been released early. 
    The starting price of the DBX in the US will be $189,900.  A lot of money, but from the looks of the interior, it could be money well spent. The interior is draped in high quality leather, suede surfaces, and brushed metal trim.  AM says they spent 6-months just to determine the optimum seating position for 99th percentile male to the 5th percentile female.  This was done to make sure that all of the screens and even the hood are visible without restriction.  The center console is the floating bridge type that allows for storage underneath. 
    Order books for the  DBX open with the debut on the 20th of November. 

    Subaru and Toyota Teaming Up for Next WRX

    ...still several years away...

    Due to some stock dealings recently, Toyota now holds just over 20% of Subaru's stock. As the two companies grow closer together, we can expect more platform and engineering sharing to happen.  Case in point, the next WRX.
    The next WRX is still a few years away, however, Toyota and Subaru are already collaborating together on a shared platform the WRX would use. There is also a rumor that the pair are working on something new called "Super AWD", but it doesn't go into detail as to what the technology would be.  
    There is also the possibility of an AWD compact sports coupe that would have the same performance level as the WRX STI.   The current STI is fading out in Japan where production ends in December with the EJ20 Final Edition.  The WRX STI runs with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 304 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft of torque. 

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