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William Maley

Audi News: Audi Previews Their All-Electric Crossover Concept

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Audi has revealed some teaser images for an electric crossover concept that will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Called the e-tron Quattro, the images show a vehicle having an upright grille, paired with sloping roofline and a tapering rear end. The overall shape of the concept has drag rating of 0.25 cd, the same rating as a Toyota Prius.

 

Power will come from three electric motors - one on the front axle and two on the rear axles. A lithium-ion battery pack sits underneath the passenger compartment. Audi isn't saying how much power the electric motors produce but did say overall range will be over 310 miles.

 

Now this concept is a preview to a production model that will compete with the Tesla Model X when it is launched in 2018.

 

 

Source: Audi

 

Press Release is on Page 2


 


Outlook on series production – the Audi e-tronquattro concept at the IAA 2015

 

August 19, 2015 | INGOLSTADT/FRANKFURT am MAIN, Germany

  • The latest battery technology and top aerodynamics ensure a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles)
  • Sporty SUV with all-electric drive in series production from 2018
  • Designed from the ground up as an electric car


Electric driving at Audi is a pleasure, not a compromise. The brand is demonstrating this with the Audi e-tron quattro concept at the International Motor Show (IAA) 2015 in Frankfurt. The sporty SUV provides an outlook on the brand’s first large-series electric car.
The Audi e-tron quattro concept is designed from the ground up as an electric car and proves to be pioneering in its segment at the very first glance. It follows the Audi “Aerosthetics” concept, combining technical measures for reducing aerodynamic drag with creative design solutions. Movable aerodynamic elements at the front, on the sides and at the rear improve the air flow around the car. The aerodynamically optimized underbody is completely closed. With a cd value of 0.25, the car sets a new record in the SUV segment. This contributes considerably to the long range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).
The study is based on the second-generation modular longitudinal platform, which provides considerable scope for the drive system and package. Its length is between that of the Audi Q5 and the Q7. Its typical SUV body and flat, coupe-like cabin give the Audi e-tron quattro concept a very dynamic appearance. The spacious interior offers room for four people.
The large lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment. This installation position provides for a low center of gravity and a balanced axle load distribution. And that gives the car better driving dynamics and driving safety than other vehicles in the segment.
Audi uses its experience with the electrically driven Audi R8 e-tron sports car for the drive system. Three electric motors – one on the front axle and two on the rear axle – drive the Audi e-tron quattro concept. And that makes it an electrified quattro, the e-tron quattro –efficient and dynamic at the same time.


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SWEET! :metal: I like this as a solid competitor to the Tesla X. I hope Cadillac does not wait to build one as they will need this to compete.

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    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      Today, Audi unveiled an all-new Q3 that should help it in what is becoming a very competitive class.
      The most apparent change is on the outside. Audi didn't go as subtile in the design as they have with previous models. The Q3 actually has some character with an edgier body, a large eight-bar grille from the Q8 crossover, and more pronounced fender flares. It is also slightly bigger than the outgoing Q3 - 3.8-inches longer, 0.7-inches wider, and rides on a 3.1-inch longer wheelbase. Step inside and you'll find a two-level dash design and the choice of either an 8.8-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen, The driver faces a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, while a 12.3-inch display with Audi's Virtual Cockpit is optional.
      For the time being, Audi is detailing powertrains for the European model. There will be four engines - three gas and one diesel. All engines will be turbocharged inline-fours. There will be a six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch available, along with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive.
      European markets will begin seeing the 2019 Q3 at dealers in November. Those in the U.S. will need to wait until next year to find out when it will go on sale and specs.
      Source: Audi


      The all-new Audi Q3: Delivering striking design, seamless technology, and thoughtful functionality to the entry SUV segment
      Bigger dimensions, more comfort: compact SUV with outstanding everyday utility New operating concept: digital displays and MMI touch display Connected like the full-size segment: smart infotainment and clever assist systems INGOLSTADT, Germany, July 25, 2018 – The new Audi Q3 is a family SUV with great all-round talents. In the second generation it appears not only visually more self-confident, but also roomier and more versatile. Just like the Audi top-of-the-line models, it features a fully digital operating and display concept, extensive infotainment solutions and innovative assist systems. They enhance comfort, as does the further developed suspension. The new Audi Q3 will begin arriving at European dealerships in November 2018.
      Strength and presence: the exterior design
      The new Audi Q3 looks much sportier than its predecessor. Thanks to the striking Singleframe in octagon design, which is divided up by vertical bars, along with the large air inlets. They characterize the masculine front-end with its intensive play of light and shadow. The narrow headlights run inwards with their wedge shape. Audi supplies them in three versions through to Matrix LED technology whose adaptive high beam intelligently illuminates the road. The side view epitomizes the balance of the exterior design with the symmetrical lighting graphics of the headlights and rear lights. The shoulder line connects them from a styling perspective and provides an athletic overall impression with strong muscles over the wheel arches. The contours draw their inspiration from Audi’s quattro DNA and make the SUV seem even wider; the color-contrasting wheel arch trims emphasize the offroad look. Supported by a long roof edge spoiler, which also flanks the rear window at the side, the steeply raked D pillars of the body line also create an appearance of forward thrust.
      Driver-oriented and sporty: the interior
      Taut lines, three-dimensionally styled elements – the interior continues the design of the exterior and echoes in many ways the brand’s full-size models. The architecture harmonizes perfectly with the new operating concept. Its central element is the MMI touch display with its high-gloss black glass-look surround.
      Together with the air conditioning controls underneath, it is tilted ten degrees toward the driver. All displays, buttons and controls are located ergonomically. The comfortable seats provide a sporty position; the steering wheel is steeply angled accordingly.
      Generous and variable: the space concept
      Compared with its predecessor, the new Audi Q3 has grown in virtually all dimensions. It is 4,485 millimeters (14.7 ft) long, 1,856 millimeters (6.1 ft) wide and 1,585 millimeters (5.2 ft) high. Its wheelbase, which has been stretched by 77 millimeters (3.0 in), is spacious yet, at the same time, extremely versatile: The rear seats can be moved fore/aft by 150 millimeters 
      (5.9 in). Their three-way split backrests in the ratio 40:20:40 can be tilted in seven stages. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity is between 530 and 1,525 liters (18.7-53.9 cu ft). The loading floor can be adjusted in three levels and the parcel shelf can be stowed underneath the floor if not needed. An electric tailgate, which can also be opened and closed with a kicking motion, is also available as an option.
      Digital world: controls and displays
      The operating and display concept of the SUV has been overhauled from the ground up – Audi has done away with the analog instruments. Even the standard specification includes a digital instrument cluster with a 10.25 inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel. With the top-of-the-line equipment MMI navigation plus, the displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which offers many additional functions. There is also a 10.1-inch touch display. As an option, the driver can choose the larger Audi virtual cockpit plus with three different views, including a new, particularly sporty display. The intuitive operating concept with its flat menu structure is supplemented by natural-language voice control. It also understands freely structured wording. The ingenious dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices and defers to the speaker when interrupted.
      Intelligently connected: infotainment and Audi connect
      The top-of-the-line infotainment system in the Audi Q3 offers the same technical functions as in the higher segments. Its data transfer module supports the LTE Advanced standard with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers’ mobile devices. The navigation system recognizes the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys, allowing it to generate suitable route suggestions. The Audi connect portfolio ideally supplements navigation guidance with traffic information online, the point-of-interest search and information on parking spaces and filling stations appearing directly in the navigation map. The Audi Q3 utilizes the Audi fleet’s swarm intelligence to forecast the availability of roadside parking space, to provide information on hazardous spots and current speed limits. Other options include Google Earth and the hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB and the online stream to ensure optimum reception at all times. The voice control function accesses information stored in the vehicle as well as the detailed knowledge in the cloud to respond. The Audi Q3 is even more tightly integrated with the myAudi app. It seamlessly connects a smartphone to the car. The customer can, for instance, transfer navigation routes and the smartphone calendar to the MMI and locate where the Q3 is parked.
      A range of hardware modules supplement the infotainment portfolio, including the Audi phone box. It links the owner’s smartphone to the vehicle’s antenna and charges the phone inductively. The Audi smartphone interface links customers’ iOS and Android cell phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display. The Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual sound provides three-dimensional audio and drives a total of 15 loudspeakers.
      Convenience and safety: driver assistance systems
      The adaptive cruise assist is a highlight of the assist systems. It incorporates the functions of adaptive speed assist, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. In this way it assists the driver with longitudinal and lateral control – substantially enhancing comfort on long journeys in particular. The Audi Q3 makes maneuvering easier thanks to the four 360 degree cameras.
      They show on the large infotainment screen the SUV’s immediate surroundings. Here the driver can also follow the maneuvers completed by the park assist. The park assist steers the car automatically into and out of parking spaces. The driver only has to accelerate, brake and shift gears. If the driver wants to reverse out of a parallel parking space or a tight entrance, cross traffic assist is activated. The radar sensors, which the system uses to monitor the area behind the vehicle, also provide information to the standard-fit lane change warning. If the system detects a vehicle located in the blind spot or approaching quickly from the rear, a warning LED is lit in the relevant exterior mirror.
      Agility on- and offroad: engines and suspension
      As part of the sales launch, Audi is delivering the new Q3 with four engine versions, three gasoline and one diesel unit in combination with front-wheel or quattro drive. Their power outputs range from 110 kW (150 hp) to 169 kW (230 hp). All engines are four-cylinder direct injection units with turbocharging. They are powerful, refined and efficient. A six-speed manual transmission or a fast-shifting seven-speed S tronic is used to transmit the power. Offroad the permanent all-wheel drive delivers excellent driving pleasure with optimum traction and unshakable stability. Activated at the push of a button, the optional hill descent control maintains the preset speed on a steep downhill gradient. The driver can vary the characteristics of the Audi Q3 depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal needs using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system with six profiles – from markedly comfortable, highly efficient through to out-and-out sporty. The system also influences the optional suspension with damper control where sensors measure the movements of all four wheels as well as the vehicle’s lateral and longitudinal acceleration and adjust the dampers as required. This results in enhanced driving dynamics with even more comfort. Alternatively, there is the sport suspension – standard with the S line exterior package – with tauter spring/damper tuning and progressive steering. Its ratio becomes increasingly direct with increasing steering angle, adding substantially to the light-footed handling of the new Audi Q3.
      The equipment, data and prices specified in this release refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted. U.S. model specifications to follow closer to launch in 2019.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Today, Audi unveiled an all-new Q3 that should help it in what is becoming a very competitive class.
      The most apparent change is on the outside. Audi didn't go as subtile in the design as they have with previous models. The Q3 actually has some character with an edgier body, a large eight-bar grille from the Q8 crossover, and more pronounced fender flares. It is also slightly bigger than the outgoing Q3 - 3.8-inches longer, 0.7-inches wider, and rides on a 3.1-inch longer wheelbase. Step inside and you'll find a two-level dash design and the choice of either an 8.8-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen, The driver faces a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, while a 12.3-inch display with Audi's Virtual Cockpit is optional.
      For the time being, Audi is detailing powertrains for the European model. There will be four engines - three gas and one diesel. All engines will be turbocharged inline-fours. There will be a six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch available, along with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive.
      European markets will begin seeing the 2019 Q3 at dealers in November. Those in the U.S. will need to wait until next year to find out when it will go on sale and specs.
      Source: Audi


      The all-new Audi Q3: Delivering striking design, seamless technology, and thoughtful functionality to the entry SUV segment
      Bigger dimensions, more comfort: compact SUV with outstanding everyday utility New operating concept: digital displays and MMI touch display Connected like the full-size segment: smart infotainment and clever assist systems INGOLSTADT, Germany, July 25, 2018 – The new Audi Q3 is a family SUV with great all-round talents. In the second generation it appears not only visually more self-confident, but also roomier and more versatile. Just like the Audi top-of-the-line models, it features a fully digital operating and display concept, extensive infotainment solutions and innovative assist systems. They enhance comfort, as does the further developed suspension. The new Audi Q3 will begin arriving at European dealerships in November 2018.
      Strength and presence: the exterior design
      The new Audi Q3 looks much sportier than its predecessor. Thanks to the striking Singleframe in octagon design, which is divided up by vertical bars, along with the large air inlets. They characterize the masculine front-end with its intensive play of light and shadow. The narrow headlights run inwards with their wedge shape. Audi supplies them in three versions through to Matrix LED technology whose adaptive high beam intelligently illuminates the road. The side view epitomizes the balance of the exterior design with the symmetrical lighting graphics of the headlights and rear lights. The shoulder line connects them from a styling perspective and provides an athletic overall impression with strong muscles over the wheel arches. The contours draw their inspiration from Audi’s quattro DNA and make the SUV seem even wider; the color-contrasting wheel arch trims emphasize the offroad look. Supported by a long roof edge spoiler, which also flanks the rear window at the side, the steeply raked D pillars of the body line also create an appearance of forward thrust.
      Driver-oriented and sporty: the interior
      Taut lines, three-dimensionally styled elements – the interior continues the design of the exterior and echoes in many ways the brand’s full-size models. The architecture harmonizes perfectly with the new operating concept. Its central element is the MMI touch display with its high-gloss black glass-look surround.
      Together with the air conditioning controls underneath, it is tilted ten degrees toward the driver. All displays, buttons and controls are located ergonomically. The comfortable seats provide a sporty position; the steering wheel is steeply angled accordingly.
      Generous and variable: the space concept
      Compared with its predecessor, the new Audi Q3 has grown in virtually all dimensions. It is 4,485 millimeters (14.7 ft) long, 1,856 millimeters (6.1 ft) wide and 1,585 millimeters (5.2 ft) high. Its wheelbase, which has been stretched by 77 millimeters (3.0 in), is spacious yet, at the same time, extremely versatile: The rear seats can be moved fore/aft by 150 millimeters 
      (5.9 in). Their three-way split backrests in the ratio 40:20:40 can be tilted in seven stages. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity is between 530 and 1,525 liters (18.7-53.9 cu ft). The loading floor can be adjusted in three levels and the parcel shelf can be stowed underneath the floor if not needed. An electric tailgate, which can also be opened and closed with a kicking motion, is also available as an option.
      Digital world: controls and displays
      The operating and display concept of the SUV has been overhauled from the ground up – Audi has done away with the analog instruments. Even the standard specification includes a digital instrument cluster with a 10.25 inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel. With the top-of-the-line equipment MMI navigation plus, the displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which offers many additional functions. There is also a 10.1-inch touch display. As an option, the driver can choose the larger Audi virtual cockpit plus with three different views, including a new, particularly sporty display. The intuitive operating concept with its flat menu structure is supplemented by natural-language voice control. It also understands freely structured wording. The ingenious dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices and defers to the speaker when interrupted.
      Intelligently connected: infotainment and Audi connect
      The top-of-the-line infotainment system in the Audi Q3 offers the same technical functions as in the higher segments. Its data transfer module supports the LTE Advanced standard with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers’ mobile devices. The navigation system recognizes the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys, allowing it to generate suitable route suggestions. The Audi connect portfolio ideally supplements navigation guidance with traffic information online, the point-of-interest search and information on parking spaces and filling stations appearing directly in the navigation map. The Audi Q3 utilizes the Audi fleet’s swarm intelligence to forecast the availability of roadside parking space, to provide information on hazardous spots and current speed limits. Other options include Google Earth and the hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB and the online stream to ensure optimum reception at all times. The voice control function accesses information stored in the vehicle as well as the detailed knowledge in the cloud to respond. The Audi Q3 is even more tightly integrated with the myAudi app. It seamlessly connects a smartphone to the car. The customer can, for instance, transfer navigation routes and the smartphone calendar to the MMI and locate where the Q3 is parked.
      A range of hardware modules supplement the infotainment portfolio, including the Audi phone box. It links the owner’s smartphone to the vehicle’s antenna and charges the phone inductively. The Audi smartphone interface links customers’ iOS and Android cell phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display. The Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual sound provides three-dimensional audio and drives a total of 15 loudspeakers.
      Convenience and safety: driver assistance systems
      The adaptive cruise assist is a highlight of the assist systems. It incorporates the functions of adaptive speed assist, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. In this way it assists the driver with longitudinal and lateral control – substantially enhancing comfort on long journeys in particular. The Audi Q3 makes maneuvering easier thanks to the four 360 degree cameras.
      They show on the large infotainment screen the SUV’s immediate surroundings. Here the driver can also follow the maneuvers completed by the park assist. The park assist steers the car automatically into and out of parking spaces. The driver only has to accelerate, brake and shift gears. If the driver wants to reverse out of a parallel parking space or a tight entrance, cross traffic assist is activated. The radar sensors, which the system uses to monitor the area behind the vehicle, also provide information to the standard-fit lane change warning. If the system detects a vehicle located in the blind spot or approaching quickly from the rear, a warning LED is lit in the relevant exterior mirror.
      Agility on- and offroad: engines and suspension
      As part of the sales launch, Audi is delivering the new Q3 with four engine versions, three gasoline and one diesel unit in combination with front-wheel or quattro drive. Their power outputs range from 110 kW (150 hp) to 169 kW (230 hp). All engines are four-cylinder direct injection units with turbocharging. They are powerful, refined and efficient. A six-speed manual transmission or a fast-shifting seven-speed S tronic is used to transmit the power. Offroad the permanent all-wheel drive delivers excellent driving pleasure with optimum traction and unshakable stability. Activated at the push of a button, the optional hill descent control maintains the preset speed on a steep downhill gradient. The driver can vary the characteristics of the Audi Q3 depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal needs using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system with six profiles – from markedly comfortable, highly efficient through to out-and-out sporty. The system also influences the optional suspension with damper control where sensors measure the movements of all four wheels as well as the vehicle’s lateral and longitudinal acceleration and adjust the dampers as required. This results in enhanced driving dynamics with even more comfort. Alternatively, there is the sport suspension – standard with the S line exterior package – with tauter spring/damper tuning and progressive steering. Its ratio becomes increasingly direct with increasing steering angle, adding substantially to the light-footed handling of the new Audi Q3.
      The equipment, data and prices specified in this release refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted. U.S. model specifications to follow closer to launch in 2019.
    • By William Maley
      I need to get something out of the way before diving into the review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR. Originally the C-HR was to join Scion’s lineup, but the C-HR would become a Toyota as the Scion brand would shut its doors in late 2016. With this change of brands, does this leave the C-HR with an identity crisis?
      The C-HR is short for ‘Coupe High Roof’ and the design makes that very clear. Proportions are very similar to a coupe with a long front and stubby back. Other coupe details to be aware of are a set of wider fenders, a sloping roofline, and a rear spoiler. It makes for a very polarizing design that many will agree catches your eye for better or worse
      Toyota’s designers must have been infatuated with diamonds as you’ll notice this shape throughout the C-HR. Key examples include the pattern on the cloth seats and arrangement of buttons on the steering wheel. The center stack is slightly angled towards the driver to emphasize a sporty nature. Material quality is about average with a mix of soft-touch plastics on the dash, and hard plastics for the door panels and center console. The C-HR’s ergonomics are excellent as controls are laid out logically and easy to use.
      I found the front seats are lacking in lower-body support. I’m 5’9” and after driving the C-HR for an hour, I found my thighs and legs started to ache. This comes down to a short bottom cushion. Shorter drivers will likely not run into this issue. ‘Claustrophobic’ is the word to describe the C-HR’s back seat as the small rear windows make it feel small. Not helping is the limited amount of legroom as I found my knees touching the backside of the front seat. CH-R’s cargo space is in the middle of the class when the rear seats are up at 19 cubic feet. To give some perspective, the Mazda CX-3 is the smallest at 12.4 cubic feet, while the Honda HR-V has the largest at 24.3. Fold the rear seats and the C-HR is at the bottom of the class with 36.4 cubic feet. The Mazda CX-3 has 9.1 cubic feet more space when its rear seats are folded.
      All C-HRs come equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen radio with the basics; AM/FM, Bluetooth, and inputs for USB and aux cords. While I found the system to be intuitive to use with a simple menu structure and decent performance, I did find myself wishing Toyota had included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or the option of a larger system with navigation.
      Powering the C-HR is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is nowhere to be found despite the C-HR offering it in markets outside the U.S. Driving in town, the C-HR feels lively thanks to a responsive throttle. But above these speeds, the C-HR reveals a major weakness; put your foot down and the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed - taking over 11 seconds to hit 60 mph. This makes certain tasks such as passing a slower vehicle treacherous. Under hard acceleration, the CVT is quite loud. Toyota does offer other engines for the C-HR elsewhere, including a hybrid. Reading through various test drives, the hybrid is slightly quicker; recording a 0-60 time of 11 seconds.
      Fuel economy figures for the 2018 C-HR are 27 City/31 Highway/29 Combined. My average for the week landed at 28.1 mpg.
      Like most new and redesigned Toyota models, the C-HR rides on the modular TGNA platform. I have praised this platform on both the Prius and Prius Prime as it makes them feel playful on a winding road. This extends to the C-HR. Despite a higher ride height, body motions are kept in check when cornering. Steering feels precise and has ample weight when turning. Ride quality is on the firm side, but it will not beat up passengers. A fair amount of tire and wind noise comes inside when driving on the expressway.
      The Toyota C-HR is quite expensive for a subcompact crossovers. The base XLE begins at $22,500. My XLE Premium tester begins at $24,350 and with some added accessories, the final price was $25,633. That’s without leather seats, navigation, or a sunroof. Toyota is quick to point out that the C-HR does come equipped with a number of active safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard. That only helps the base XLE when it comes to arguing value. The XLE Premium has a tougher time since you can get into a well equipped Hyundai Kona Limited FWD with a sunroof, leather seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; and 18-inch alloy wheels for only $53 more. You do miss out on the active safety features since as you can only get those on the top-line Ultimate, but the Kona presents a better value than the C-HR when you compare features bit by bit.
      The Toyota C-HR left me very frustrated as the week came to a close. The crossover has some charm with sharp driving dynamics and a very willing chassis. But it is clear that the C-HR feels more like a Scion than a Toyota as it was built to be cost-effective as it doesn’t offer any options. What you see is what you get. The problem is that competitors offer more equipment for similar money. The C-HR also trails competitors in terms of cargo capacity and performance. I do believe there is a crossover that can stand out from the growing field of subcompact models, but Toyota needs to think of the C-HR as one of their own models, not as a Scion.
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the C-HR, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Toyota
      Model: C-HR
      Trim: XLE Premium
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with Valvematic
      Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 144 @ 6,100
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 3,900
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/31/29
      Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Arifiye, Sakarya, Turkey
      Base Price: $24,350
      As Tested Price: $25,633 (Includes $960.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floormats and Cargo Mat - $194.00
      Mudguards - $129.00

      View full article
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