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By William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

February 7, 2013

Looking for coverage about the vehicle appearing at the Chicago Auto Show? Look no further. Cheers & Gears will be providing coverage of the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Redline

Ford Fiesta ST Global RallyCross Car and Focus TrackSTer

Kia Cross GT Concept

2014 Kia Forte 5-Door

Mopar 13' Dart

Nissan's Peformance Trio: 2013 Juke NISMO, 2014 370Z NISMO, 2014 GT-R Track Edition

2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo Van

2014 Ram ProMaster

2014 Toyota Tundra

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR

2013 Volkswagen GTI Special Editions and Beetle R-Line Convertible

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    • By William Maley
      A moment of silence for the 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder that powered the Fiat 500 since its launch 2012 as it will not be appearing in the 2018 model. Instead, Fiat has slipped in the turbocharged variant of the 1.4 into all 500s (aside from the Abarth). This boosts power from 101 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque to 135 and 150 respectively. A five-speed manual and six-speed automatic are the transmission choices. Other mechanical changes include upgraded brakes and a sportier suspension tune.
      Pop and Lounge models become slightly aggressive outside with a new body kit, 16-inch wheels, fog lights, and 'Turbo' badge on the rear. The other key change is a backup camera being added to all 500s.
      No word on pricing, but Fiat will open the order books this month with deliveries taking place in the second quarter.
      Source: Fiat
      Press Release is on Page 2


      FIAT Brand Introduces All-turbo 500 Lineup for 2018
      All 2018 Fiat 500 models now come standard with 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and 33 percent more horsepower than last year’s model 2018 Fiat 500 Pop and Lounge offer standard performance braking system and suspension, ParkView rear backup camera, sport spoiler and additional exterior upgrades High-performance, track-ready 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth models deliver up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Dealers can order 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter 2018 FIAT product lineup also includes the fully electric 500e, functional 500L, all-wheel-drive small crossover 500X and the 124 Spider roadster February 8, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Fiat 500 lineup goes all-turbo for 2018, with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and a sportier appearance now standard on all models.
       
      “With an all-turbo lineup, the iconic Fiat 500 now offers an even more dynamic driving experience and more standard horsepower than any of its competitors,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. “In fact, the entire FIAT brand lineup now comes standard with turbocharged power, adding to our roster of fun-to-drive, Italian-designed vehicles.”
       
      The 2018 Fiat 500 lineup is available in three models: Pop, Lounge and the high-performance Abarth. Pop and Lounge models now come standard with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, which features a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and a sport-tuned exhaust, and delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque – 34 more standard horsepower than last year’s model. The MultiAir Turbo engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and is available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
       
      Pop and Lounge models are also updated with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and ParkView rear backup camera. Exterior updates include body-color front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a sport spoiler, fog lamps and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate.
       
      On the Fiat 500 Abarth models, the track-tested 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque; while Abarth-tuned hardware offers a world-class ride and track-ready durability.
       
      Other unique Abarth features include a performance suspension; three-mode electronic stability control with an innovative torque transfer control (TTC) system that maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering; 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels; and Pirelli tires with red brake calipers. An Abarth-designed concentric “double-tip” dual-exhaust system delivers a high-performance look with menacing Abarth-tuned sound.
       
      Inside, distinctive Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, a racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags. Below the instrument panel, Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero (black) rubber trim for a decidedly racing look.
       
      Should the driver choose to switch to Sport mode in a Fiat 500 Abarth, the turbo-boost gauge, mounted left of the instrument cluster, illuminates “Sport” and an up-shift light integrated in the cluster alerts the driver when engine speed is approaching the redline, giving the immediate feedback needed on the track or during high-performance driving.
       
      Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
       
      The 500 lineup also features three new colors for 2018 (late availability) – Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl – for a total of 11 exterior paint color choices. Any 2018 Fiat 500 model is also available as a Cabrio, delivering open-air freedom across the 500 lineup. 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles are available to order this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter of this year.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      A moment of silence for the 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder that powered the Fiat 500 since its launch 2012 as it will not be appearing in the 2018 model. Instead, Fiat has slipped in the turbocharged variant of the 1.4 into all 500s (aside from the Abarth). This boosts power from 101 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque to 135 and 150 respectively. A five-speed manual and six-speed automatic are the transmission choices. Other mechanical changes include upgraded brakes and a sportier suspension tune.
      Pop and Lounge models become slightly aggressive outside with a new body kit, 16-inch wheels, fog lights, and 'Turbo' badge on the rear. The other key change is a backup camera being added to all 500s.
      No word on pricing, but Fiat will open the order books this month with deliveries taking place in the second quarter.
      Source: Fiat
      Press Release is on Page 2


      FIAT Brand Introduces All-turbo 500 Lineup for 2018
      All 2018 Fiat 500 models now come standard with 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and 33 percent more horsepower than last year’s model 2018 Fiat 500 Pop and Lounge offer standard performance braking system and suspension, ParkView rear backup camera, sport spoiler and additional exterior upgrades High-performance, track-ready 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth models deliver up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Dealers can order 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter 2018 FIAT product lineup also includes the fully electric 500e, functional 500L, all-wheel-drive small crossover 500X and the 124 Spider roadster February 8, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Fiat 500 lineup goes all-turbo for 2018, with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and a sportier appearance now standard on all models.
       
      “With an all-turbo lineup, the iconic Fiat 500 now offers an even more dynamic driving experience and more standard horsepower than any of its competitors,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. “In fact, the entire FIAT brand lineup now comes standard with turbocharged power, adding to our roster of fun-to-drive, Italian-designed vehicles.”
       
      The 2018 Fiat 500 lineup is available in three models: Pop, Lounge and the high-performance Abarth. Pop and Lounge models now come standard with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, which features a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and a sport-tuned exhaust, and delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque – 34 more standard horsepower than last year’s model. The MultiAir Turbo engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and is available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
       
      Pop and Lounge models are also updated with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and ParkView rear backup camera. Exterior updates include body-color front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a sport spoiler, fog lamps and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate.
       
      On the Fiat 500 Abarth models, the track-tested 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque; while Abarth-tuned hardware offers a world-class ride and track-ready durability.
       
      Other unique Abarth features include a performance suspension; three-mode electronic stability control with an innovative torque transfer control (TTC) system that maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering; 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels; and Pirelli tires with red brake calipers. An Abarth-designed concentric “double-tip” dual-exhaust system delivers a high-performance look with menacing Abarth-tuned sound.
       
      Inside, distinctive Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, a racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags. Below the instrument panel, Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero (black) rubber trim for a decidedly racing look.
       
      Should the driver choose to switch to Sport mode in a Fiat 500 Abarth, the turbo-boost gauge, mounted left of the instrument cluster, illuminates “Sport” and an up-shift light integrated in the cluster alerts the driver when engine speed is approaching the redline, giving the immediate feedback needed on the track or during high-performance driving.
       
      Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
       
      The 500 lineup also features three new colors for 2018 (late availability) – Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl – for a total of 11 exterior paint color choices. Any 2018 Fiat 500 model is also available as a Cabrio, delivering open-air freedom across the 500 lineup. 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles are available to order this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter of this year.
    • By William Maley
      Following a few months after the debut of the refreshed Sonata, Hyundai used the Chicago Auto Show to debut the 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid.
      Like the gas counterpart, the hybrid models feature new front and rear end styling, revised wheel designs (16 and 17-inches), and LED headlights. The interior is mostly the same as the standard model aside from a different instrument cluster and additional screens pertaining to hybrid system for the infotainment system. Qi wireless charging for smartphones is available as an option. 
      Under the hoods of the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid is a 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder producing 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. This is matched with an electric motor in the six-speed automatic transmission - 35kW for the hybrid and 50 kW for the plug-in. Total output stands at 193 horsepower for the hybrid and 202 hp for the plug-in. The Hybrid features a 1.76 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, while the Plug-In boasts a larger 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
      Hyundai says the Sonata Hybrid SE is estimated to return 39 City/45 Highway/42 Combined and have a total range of more than 650 miles - about the length from Detroit to Chicago and back. The Plug-In has an estimated electric-only range of 27 miles and is able to be recharged in less than 3 hours when plugged into a level 2 charger.
      The Sonata Hybrid arrives sometime in the first quarter and the Plug-In will follow in the second quarter.
      Source: Hyundai
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Hyundai Reveals 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Models at Chicago Auto Show
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models receive extensive exterior redesign New instrument panel center stack, steering and infotainment features
      wheel New available safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist Steering and suspension refined for improved ride and handling CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2018 – Hyundai today unveiled its redesigned 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models at the Chicago Auto Show, the largest in the U.S.
      2018 Sonata Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid Highlights
      New front/rear fascia design, grille, hood, front fenders, rear deck lid, headlights/taillights New 16-inch and 17-inch eco-spoke wheel designs New LED headlights with cornering Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) function New instrument panel center stack, steering wheel and available heated steering wheel New, stiffer front anti-roll bar and recalibrated steering assistance feel New, more rigid rear-trailing-arm design with retuned bushings for responsiveness Standard Blind-spot detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist Newly available Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist New, upgraded audio/video navigation system with new Bird’s Eye View map perspective New HERE HD Traffic (Real-time Traffic Service – non-paid subscription) Qi wireless phone charging on navigation-equipped models New rear USB charging port New three-year complimentary Blue Link Connected Car, Remote and Guidance on Blue Link-equipped models (Guidance requires navigation) Repackaged standard and available content for outstanding customer value The new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a comprehensive exterior and interior redesign, safety, suspension and new and improved infotainment and connectivity features. The 2018 Hybrid and Plug-in will be produced in Asan, Korea, with Hybrid availability in the first quarter of 2018 and Plug-in availability in the second quarter of 2018.
      “Our new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in models add appeal in every area, from exterior to interior design, handling, steering, ride comfort, safety and infotainment,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in are sure to attract even more eco-focused buyers.”
      The new Sonata exterior design conveys a new appearance from every vantage point, including new wheel designs. On the inside, a new instrument panel center stack, steering wheel, available audio/video navigation system, wireless phone charging and rear USB charge port further enhance the interior experience.
      HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      The heart of the 2018 Sonata Hybrid is a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics Sonata owners expect while improving fuel economy through the use of a larger electric motor.
      This innovative transmission uses an electric oil pump, which helps improve efficiency. It is possible for Sonata Hybrid to operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the drivetrain.
      Sonata Hybrid’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Sonata Hybrid SE has preliminary internal estimates of 39 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined. The Sonata Hybrid’s total range is estimated at more than 650 miles under typical driving conditions.
      The lithium-ion polymer battery pack capacity is 1.76 kWh and the battery pack fits under the trunk floor, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats. Sonata Hybrid offers 13.3 cu. ft. of cargo volume, thanks to the compact battery pack dimensions and efficient design. Locating the battery pack beneath the trunk floor helps improve cargo volume and total interior volume with 106.1 cu. ft., the most in its segment.
      PLUG-IN HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      Although the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is very technologically advanced, it drives similarly to the regular Sonata Hybrid, but with the additional benefit of extended all-electric range. A 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, more than five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, gives the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid an EPA-estimated all-electric range of up to 27 miles, and it can recharge in less than three hours with a level-two charger. It offers the best of both worlds by providing the power delivery of a hybrid gasoline engine, perfect for long trips, with the additional benefit of environmentally-friendly all-electric range for commuting. As a result, many consumers will be able to complete their daily commute without using a single drop of fuel, and total estimated range is an impressive 590 miles.
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used in Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher engine load and speed. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. The Sonata Plug-in Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.
      SAFETY FEATURES
      2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in come standard with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display and a rearview camera are also standard. LED headlamps are optional and LED taillights and DRLs are standard.
      Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies, such as Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard. Available advanced safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Automatic High Beam Assist.
      The Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Keep Assist uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning on the instrument cluster illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.
      Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another standard feature that uses advanced technologies from the Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers benefit from active safety technologies.
      CONVENIENCE FEATURES
      The Sonata Hybrid delivers the convenience technology one would expect in a luxury vehicle in an incredibly efficient mid-size hybrid sedan. Hyundai’s Hands-free Smart Trunk is available as well as an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, an Integrated Memory System for driver’s seat and side mirrors, segment-exclusive rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats, power front seats with adjustable driver lumbar support and Smart Cruise Control featuring stop/start capability.
      MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in offer an eight-inch color touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® smartphone integration, iPod®/USB and auxiliary inputs, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and external Infinity® amplifier.
      The available eight-inch navigation system offers a map and music split-screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets one to six. For 2018, this navigation system also adds Bird’s Eye View map perspective capability. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer; simply rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on sports broadcasts. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times.

      AERODYNAMICS
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in use the same functional design cues to improve the drag coefficient to an industry-leading 0.24 Cd.

      NEXT-GENERATION BLUE LINK® CONNECTED CAR SYSTEM
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Blue Link-equipped models include three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice navigation services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the MyHyundai with Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon® Alexa Blue Link skill, and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear™ and Apple Watch™ smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
      Widgets for easy access to remote features
      Ability to send Point-of-Interest data to vehicle navigation system (if so equipped)
      Access to Blue Link notification settings
      More details on specific Blue Link-equipped vehicles available at www.hyundaibluelink.com.

      MYHYUNDAI with BLUE LINK® APP
      Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Sonata Plug-in and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Sonata Plug-in.
      For Sonata Plug-in owners who will charge at their residence, one of the most useful features of the app is the ability to manage their Plug-in charging schedule. Owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via their smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is plugged-in.
      A distinctive instrument cluster provides Sonata Plug-in Hybrid drivers with additional information about the vehicle’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.
      Individuals that have different electric rates at off-peak times may want to schedule the charge to reduce cost as well as reduce peak demand on the electricity grid. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date. For example, charging could be set to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis.

      Connected Car Services:
      Remote Start with Climate Control and defroster Remote Lock/Unlock Vehicle Diagnostics/status Stolen Vehicle Recovery Car Finder Connected Plug-in Hybrid Charge Management Services:
      Start or stop charging Set-up charging schedule with days of the week and time Current battery level with real-time electric and fuel range Real-time fuel range Plug status (in/out) Charge status Time left until fully charged SONATA PLUG-IN AVAILABILITY AND TAX CREDITS
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be distributed in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, but customers in any of the other states can custom order the vehicle at their local Hyundai dealer. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers are currently eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit. These tax credits reduce the amount of federal tax the purchaser is liable for, making them much more valuable+ than tax deductions. In addition, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is eligible for HOV-lane access in certain states.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Following a few months after the debut of the refreshed Sonata, Hyundai used the Chicago Auto Show to debut the 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid.
      Like the gas counterpart, the hybrid models feature new front and rear end styling, revised wheel designs (16 and 17-inches), and LED headlights. The interior is mostly the same as the standard model aside from a different instrument cluster and additional screens pertaining to hybrid system for the infotainment system. Qi wireless charging for smartphones is available as an option. 
      Under the hoods of the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid is a 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder producing 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. This is matched with an electric motor in the six-speed automatic transmission - 35kW for the hybrid and 50 kW for the plug-in. Total output stands at 193 horsepower for the hybrid and 202 hp for the plug-in. The Hybrid features a 1.76 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, while the Plug-In boasts a larger 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
      Hyundai says the Sonata Hybrid SE is estimated to return 39 City/45 Highway/42 Combined and have a total range of more than 650 miles - about the length from Detroit to Chicago and back. The Plug-In has an estimated electric-only range of 27 miles and is able to be recharged in less than 3 hours when plugged into a level 2 charger.
      The Sonata Hybrid arrives sometime in the first quarter and the Plug-In will follow in the second quarter.
      Source: Hyundai
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Hyundai Reveals 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Models at Chicago Auto Show
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models receive extensive exterior redesign New instrument panel center stack, steering and infotainment features
      wheel New available safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist Steering and suspension refined for improved ride and handling CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2018 – Hyundai today unveiled its redesigned 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models at the Chicago Auto Show, the largest in the U.S.
      2018 Sonata Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid Highlights
      New front/rear fascia design, grille, hood, front fenders, rear deck lid, headlights/taillights New 16-inch and 17-inch eco-spoke wheel designs New LED headlights with cornering Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) function New instrument panel center stack, steering wheel and available heated steering wheel New, stiffer front anti-roll bar and recalibrated steering assistance feel New, more rigid rear-trailing-arm design with retuned bushings for responsiveness Standard Blind-spot detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist Newly available Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist New, upgraded audio/video navigation system with new Bird’s Eye View map perspective New HERE HD Traffic (Real-time Traffic Service – non-paid subscription) Qi wireless phone charging on navigation-equipped models New rear USB charging port New three-year complimentary Blue Link Connected Car, Remote and Guidance on Blue Link-equipped models (Guidance requires navigation) Repackaged standard and available content for outstanding customer value The new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a comprehensive exterior and interior redesign, safety, suspension and new and improved infotainment and connectivity features. The 2018 Hybrid and Plug-in will be produced in Asan, Korea, with Hybrid availability in the first quarter of 2018 and Plug-in availability in the second quarter of 2018.
      “Our new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in models add appeal in every area, from exterior to interior design, handling, steering, ride comfort, safety and infotainment,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in are sure to attract even more eco-focused buyers.”
      The new Sonata exterior design conveys a new appearance from every vantage point, including new wheel designs. On the inside, a new instrument panel center stack, steering wheel, available audio/video navigation system, wireless phone charging and rear USB charge port further enhance the interior experience.
      HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      The heart of the 2018 Sonata Hybrid is a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics Sonata owners expect while improving fuel economy through the use of a larger electric motor.
      This innovative transmission uses an electric oil pump, which helps improve efficiency. It is possible for Sonata Hybrid to operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the drivetrain.
      Sonata Hybrid’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Sonata Hybrid SE has preliminary internal estimates of 39 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined. The Sonata Hybrid’s total range is estimated at more than 650 miles under typical driving conditions.
      The lithium-ion polymer battery pack capacity is 1.76 kWh and the battery pack fits under the trunk floor, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats. Sonata Hybrid offers 13.3 cu. ft. of cargo volume, thanks to the compact battery pack dimensions and efficient design. Locating the battery pack beneath the trunk floor helps improve cargo volume and total interior volume with 106.1 cu. ft., the most in its segment.
      PLUG-IN HYBRID POWERTRAIN
      Although the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is very technologically advanced, it drives similarly to the regular Sonata Hybrid, but with the additional benefit of extended all-electric range. A 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, more than five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, gives the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid an EPA-estimated all-electric range of up to 27 miles, and it can recharge in less than three hours with a level-two charger. It offers the best of both worlds by providing the power delivery of a hybrid gasoline engine, perfect for long trips, with the additional benefit of environmentally-friendly all-electric range for commuting. As a result, many consumers will be able to complete their daily commute without using a single drop of fuel, and total estimated range is an impressive 590 miles.
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used in Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher engine load and speed. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. The Sonata Plug-in Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.
      SAFETY FEATURES
      2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in come standard with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display and a rearview camera are also standard. LED headlamps are optional and LED taillights and DRLs are standard.
      Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies, such as Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard. Available advanced safety features include Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Automatic High Beam Assist.
      The Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Keep Assist uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning on the instrument cluster illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.
      Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another standard feature that uses advanced technologies from the Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers benefit from active safety technologies.
      CONVENIENCE FEATURES
      The Sonata Hybrid delivers the convenience technology one would expect in a luxury vehicle in an incredibly efficient mid-size hybrid sedan. Hyundai’s Hands-free Smart Trunk is available as well as an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, an Integrated Memory System for driver’s seat and side mirrors, segment-exclusive rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats, power front seats with adjustable driver lumbar support and Smart Cruise Control featuring stop/start capability.
      MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in offer an eight-inch color touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® smartphone integration, iPod®/USB and auxiliary inputs, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and external Infinity® amplifier.
      The available eight-inch navigation system offers a map and music split-screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets one to six. For 2018, this navigation system also adds Bird’s Eye View map perspective capability. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer; simply rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on sports broadcasts. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times.

      AERODYNAMICS
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in use the same functional design cues to improve the drag coefficient to an industry-leading 0.24 Cd.

      NEXT-GENERATION BLUE LINK® CONNECTED CAR SYSTEM
      Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Blue Link-equipped models include three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice navigation services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the MyHyundai with Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon® Alexa Blue Link skill, and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear™ and Apple Watch™ smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
      Widgets for easy access to remote features
      Ability to send Point-of-Interest data to vehicle navigation system (if so equipped)
      Access to Blue Link notification settings
      More details on specific Blue Link-equipped vehicles available at www.hyundaibluelink.com.

      MYHYUNDAI with BLUE LINK® APP
      Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Sonata Plug-in and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Sonata Plug-in.
      For Sonata Plug-in owners who will charge at their residence, one of the most useful features of the app is the ability to manage their Plug-in charging schedule. Owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via their smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is plugged-in.
      A distinctive instrument cluster provides Sonata Plug-in Hybrid drivers with additional information about the vehicle’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.
      Individuals that have different electric rates at off-peak times may want to schedule the charge to reduce cost as well as reduce peak demand on the electricity grid. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date. For example, charging could be set to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis.

      Connected Car Services:
      Remote Start with Climate Control and defroster Remote Lock/Unlock Vehicle Diagnostics/status Stolen Vehicle Recovery Car Finder Connected Plug-in Hybrid Charge Management Services:
      Start or stop charging Set-up charging schedule with days of the week and time Current battery level with real-time electric and fuel range Real-time fuel range Plug status (in/out) Charge status Time left until fully charged SONATA PLUG-IN AVAILABILITY AND TAX CREDITS
      The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be distributed in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, but customers in any of the other states can custom order the vehicle at their local Hyundai dealer. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers are currently eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit. These tax credits reduce the amount of federal tax the purchaser is liable for, making them much more valuable+ than tax deductions. In addition, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is eligible for HOV-lane access in certain states.
    • By William Maley
      It has been almost a decade since the Transit Connect made its way to North America and started a wave of small commercial vans arriving to the marketplace. For 2019, Ford is introducing a number of new updates to keep the Connect one step ahead of the competition.
      At the Chicago Auto Show, Ford will be showing the passenger van variant, known for 2019 as the Transit Connect Wagon. Ford is positioning this an alternative to minivans and as an option for active baby boomers.
      “Baby Boomers have always embraced life’s adventures and to them age is just another experience to master. From being easy to get in and out of, plus flexible seating and cargo space, Transit Connect Wagon makes it convenient for Boomers to keep enjoying family time or explore new hobbies and careers,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service in a statement.
      The changes begin outside where the Connect features new sheetmetal and grille design for the front. The interior comes with a revised instrument cluster, redesigned center stack that moves the infotainment system to the top, 4G LTE with Wi-Fi connectivity, and more padding for the seats. Ford will offer the Wagon in a standard-wheelbase that offers seating for five or a long-wheelbase that provides seating for seven.
      Under the hood, Ford is offering two new engines for the Connect. The most interesting of the two is a new 1.5L turbodiesel called EcoBlue. This engine recently made its debut in the European-spec EcoSport crossover. Power figures stand at 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque - peak torque arrives at 1,700 rpm. The other engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder featuring direct-injection and auto stop-start. No power figures were given for this engine. Both will come paired with an eight-speed automatic.
      For safety, the Transit Connect Wagon comes with automatic emergency braking as standard equipment. Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, HID headlights, and lane keep assist.
      The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon arrives at dealers this fall.
      Source: Ford
      Press Release is on Page 2


      LIFE’S STILL A TRIP: NEW TRANSIT CONNECT WAGON IS TODAY’S MAGIC BUS FOR ACTIVE BABY BOOMERS AND ENTREPRENEURS
      For Baby Boomers who need space, versatility and technology without the expensive minivan price tag, Ford introduces the new Transit Connect Wagon – affordable, flexible and smart With space for up to seven, 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon easily switches from work to play to accommodate entrepreneurial small business needs, hobbies and grandkids Transit Connect Wagon offers segment-exclusive diesel engine and new driver-assist technologies, including standard Automatic Emergency Braking CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2018 – Ford has reinvented the van for Baby Boomers whose idea of rocking doesn’t involve a chair.
      Today, Ford unveils the redesigned Transit Connect Wagon at the Chicago Auto Show.  The last Transit Connect Wagon won over Boomers-born from 1946 to 1964 that grew up driving vans-with its unique combination of affordable, fun and easy-to-use people mover attributes and cargo hauling capabilities. 
      At 111 million strong and holding 63 percent of American financial assets, the 50+ demographic is the number one consumer demographic in the United States - far exceeding Gen X’s 61 million and Millennials’ 75 million.  And one in three Boomers plans to purchase a car in the next three years, according to AARP.
      Surfer grandpa gets his van
      Kevin Brown, age 63, of Nassau Bay, Texas, is the kind of “active Boomer” who loves the Transit Connect Wagon.  Brown grew up driving vans in the 1970s and now, this Gulf Coast surfer and grandfather of nine drives a 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon for his work as an illustrator and custom T-shirt printer.  “If I’m not shuttling family to the beach, I’m working,” he said. “My Transit Connect lets me pull double duty.”
      With room for five to seven passengers and offering easy conversion to cargo duty, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon takes care of business with a versatility and maneuverability that make everyday adventures easy.
      The wagon features all-new gas and diesel engines and a suite of driver-assist technologies, including standard Automatic Emergency Braking. The feature is included with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection – a segment-exclusive.
      “Baby Boomers have always embraced life’s adventures and to them age is just another experience to master,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “From being easy to get in and out of, plus flexible seating and cargo space, Transit Connect Wagon makes it convenient for Boomers to keep enjoying family time or explore new hobbies and careers.”
      Packed with technology
      The new Transit Connect Wagon features new driver-assist features, including standard Automatic Emergency Braking. The feature is included with segment-exclusive Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection to help avoid collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians who might accidentally cross in front of the vehicle’s path. Adaptive Cruise Control is also available. The system makes highway driving easier by automatically slowing the vehicle when radar detects traffic slowing ahead.  Available Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert also uses radar to detect surrounding vehicles – providing alerts if vehicles approach unseen from either side.
      To help avoid lane drift while driving, available Lane Keeping System vibrates the steering wheel and can apply extra steering wheel torque to help you keep the vehicle centered on the road.
      Designed for life on the go
      Available in two wheelbases to accommodate five or seven passengers and in three trim levels, XL, XLT and Titanium, Transit Connect Wagon can be built to meet the needs of any customer. A spacious, flexible interior makes loading cargo a cinch. Dual sliding side doors provide added convenience, and available roof rails extend its versatility with any number of accessories that can be fitted to the roof to haul bikes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards or luggage.
      Transit Connect Wagon’s new instrument panel is centered on features that are both useful and straightforward – an available 6.5-inch floating touch screen, a digital driver information center in the cluster, and available wireless charging for your mobile device. Coming soon, Waze compatibility will help drivers steer clear of troublesome traffic spots. Staying connected is easy thanks to the standard embedded 4G LTE modem providing Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices and available SYNC® 3 with Ford+Alexa personal assistant functionality.
      All-new under the hood
      A new powertrain lineup provides greater customer choice with a class-exclusive diesel engine offering. The new 2019 Transit Connect with all-new 1.5-liter EcoBlue® diesel engine is targeted to return an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating* of at least 30 mpg highway. The diesel engine is paired with an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission.
      A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with direct injection comes with Auto Start-Stop as standard equipment. It too comes mated to the all-new 8-speed automatic.
      Affordable, flexible, smart
      The Transit Connect Wagon is expected to be one of the most affordable seven-passenger vehicles in the United States. The long-wheelbase model has more interior cargo volume behind the first row than the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe, making the task of getting oversized items home a snap. And with a turning radius of just 38.3 feet for the short-wheelbase van, getting around busy streets is easy.
      For those who need to tow a trailer, Transit Connect Wagon is expected to offer unsurpassed towing capability of 2,000 pounds when paired with the available trailer tow package. The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon goes on sale this fall.

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