Author Archives: cantum

2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid First Test: Hat Trick

By | June 23, 2018

“What does the SH stand for?” a curious woman asked while loading groceries into her newish Explorer, referencing the “SHAWD” badging on my Acura’s tailgate. “Super handling,” I responded. After a pause and a slightly confused look on her face, she replied, “But it’s a big SUV, why would anyone want that? … And [is it] even worth the extra money?” she asked. Two fantastic questions about the 2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. After spending several days in the three-row premium hybrid crossover, I can tell you exactly why someone would opt for a big hybrid SUV with a so-called “super handling” all-wheel-drive system.

Powering the MDX Sport Hybrid is a powertrain consisting of a 3.0-liter V-6 producing 257 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque, a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission, and three electric motors powered by a 1.3 kWh battery pack. The largest of the three motors is housed in the transmission and makes 47 hp and the other two are located at the rear (where you would normally find the axles and differential on non-hybrid AWD models), each can power their own wheel separately. The system’s total power output comes to 321 hp and 289 lb-ft, topping the regular MDX’s rating of 290 hp and 267 lb-ft from its 3.5-liter V-6. A similar system—originally derived from the NSX hybrid supercar—can be found on the RLX Sport Hybrid sedan.

Where this particular Acura excels most is in around-town driving. The four-mode drive system, which is standard on the Sport Hybrid, is to thank for that. When cruising in traffic or in parking lots, Comfort mode provides all the ride comfort most need, and the hybrid system does a good job of using just the electric motors at slow speeds—as long as you don’t stab the throttle—and during steady highway cruising. With a mostly charged battery pack and feathering the throttle, I was able to get the MDX to 25 mph on all-electric power when driving through parking lots and streets with low speed limits. When the gasoline engine kicks in, the transition is sometimes not noticeable if the road is slightly rough.

Normal mode provides a good balance of ride comfort and handling by slightly stiffening the suspension and increasing steering weight and throttle response. Sport mode significantly stiffens the suspension, further increases throttle response, and makes the steering feel heavier. Sport+ mode entertainingly keeps the electric motors on, providing full power during takeoff. Sport+ mode also adjusts throttle response and transmission shifts for maximum performance, while the active suspension flattens the crossover during rapid steering changes and maneuvers. The SH-AWD’s torque vectoring capability is also maximized. We found most three-row crossover buyers would likely most  enjoy the crossover’s handling dynamics in Normal mode. Testing director Kim Reynolds wished the SH-AWD system would react sooner during hard cornering but still said, “This is fun and way better performing (subjectively) than the vast majority of SUVs.”




But most folks buy a hybrid for improved gas mileage, not sporty drive modes. So how much better is fuel economy with the MDX hybrid compared to the non-hybrid model with all-wheel drive? On the highway, the gasoline engine is running most of the time so EPA-rated fuel economy is only improved by 1 mpg to 27 mpg—carrying an extra 238 pounds doesn’t help the hybrid, either. City driving is where the difference is significant. The non-hybrid MDX AWD is rated between 18-19 mpg (depending on whether engine start/stop is equipped) but the Sport Hybrid takes that figure to 26 mpg, almost matching the highway rating. Because both MDX models use the same-size gas tank, the total driving range is also extended to 526 miles over the non-hybrid’s 410-429 miles (based on 45 percent highway and 55 percent city driving). Using that city/highway driving ratio and an expectation of 15,000 miles a year, the EPA says that MDX AWD drivers will spend $450 more on gasoline annually than MDX Sport Hybrid buyers (personalize those values for yourself at the EPA’s site here). Considering the $1,540 premium for the base Sport Hybrid Technology trim over the same trim in the all-wheel-drive non-hybrid MDX, that’s not a bad deal for buyers considering a $50,000+ premium crossover.

In comparison, the Lexus RX 450hL premium three-row rival edges the MDX with a 29/28 mpg rating, while the smaller and similarly priced Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid does 26/28 mpg when in hybrid mode and can run on all-electric power for up to 17 miles on a full battery.

Some buyers assume hybrids are slow and not fun to drive, but that is not the case with the MDX Sport Hybrid. The extra power from the hybrid powertrain is evident during acceleration. During Motor Trend instrumented testing, the hybrid performed slightly better than the regular MDX, hitting 60 mph in 6.0 seconds compared to the non-hybrid hitting the mark in 6.2 seconds (the two-row RX 450h took 7.0 seconds and the XC60 T8 took 5.4 seconds). In the quarter-mile, the hybrid took 14.6 seconds at 95.2 mph, just beating the non-hybrid’s run of 14.7 seconds at 94.6 mph. Test driver Chris Walton was surprised by the hybrid SUV’s quickness and described the upshifts as smooth. During normal driving, the hybrid system provides plenty of power whenever needed and the twin-clutch transmission is quick and smooth.

Our figure-eight handling course runs were almost identical; the non-hybrid’s 27.0-second run just beat the hybrid’s 27.2 seconds (both averaged 0.65 g). Both variants stopped from 60 mph in a respectable 121 feet but with the hybrid, Walton noted a “big delay between jumping on the pedal and actual slowing.” Additionally, as with most hybrids, the brakes feel a little mushy but still stop well.

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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo S60

By | June 22, 2018

The last-generation Volvo S60 has been around since the 2011 model year and was refreshed for 2014. In today’s market, that is a long time. But the Swedish automaker has been hard at work redesigning the rest of its lineup, saving the S60 for last. With the release of the V60 wagon, we had an idea of how the S60 would look, and like the rest of Volvo’s redesigned lineup, it’s a major improvement over the previous version. The redesigned S60 enters a highly competitive segment that includes premium rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4.

Looking at the front of the car, the new thinner and sharper-looking headlights with the ubiquitous Thor’s Hammer LED daytime running lights lend a much better look than the previous rounded headlights. The larger-looking grille with a chrome surround and sleeker front bumper are also improvements over the previous S60.




The new S60’s hood is longer, and the front overhang has been shortened. The trunk is also longer and with more rear overhang. All this creates a longer and sportier stance when compared to the outgoing model. The body lines are more defined, creating a sharper, less rounded look.




In the rear, the new S60 takes many cues from the S90, including the C-shaped taillights that look much more modern when compared to the former S60’s taillights. Make and model badging stays in the same area, the rear bumper and lower valance appear thinner, and the bright exhaust outlets now have a more rectangular shape. Overall, the rear end looks sportier and more premium.




It’s pretty remarkable how Volvo has transformed the S60’s interior from “Is that from 2006?” to one of the most impressive in the segment. The standard 8.0-inch digital cluster is crisp and can be upgraded to a larger 12.3-inch unit. The former instrument panel is partially digital and not nearly as good looking. The infotainment screen on the old S60 is small, recessed, and with a dated resolution, but the new S60 has a tablet-style 9.0-inch touchscreen with swipe and pinch-to-zoom capability. The A/C vents in the outgoing S60 are bland and not much to look at. Adopting air vents from other Volvo models, the new S60’s vents are simple yet stylish with a metallic center slit and knob that almost resembles the front of an airplane on its side. Thankfully, the center stack of the new S60 loses the myriad of buttons (including the old number pad) for the previously mentioned 9.0-inch touchscreen and a handful of buttons below it. The interior materials, as well as the overall design, are a huge step in the right direction for the new Volvo S60.




What do you think of the redesigned Volvo S60? Let us know on Facebook.
















The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo S60 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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11 Well-Equipped SUVs Under $25,000

By | June 20, 2018

Although the average vehicle transaction price these days is well above $30,000, there’s a silver lining for those who don’t want to pay a lot but still want a well-equipped crossover. This list features well-equipped automatic-transmission crossovers priced under $25,000. Keep reading to learn about these crossovers’ cool standard and optional features (plus accessories), crash safety scores, and cargo space capacities. Before you head to the dealership and crack open your wallet, check out the crossovers below to see what you can get for under $25,000, before factoring in regional incentives.


2018 Subaru Crosstrek Premium 2.0i AWD: $24,854

With Subaru’s raised-hatchback-like crossover, opt for the mid-level Premium trim to get 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, roof rails, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with orange stitching, automatic headlights, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. All-wheel drive is standard, but the Premium trim also comes with an off-road mode and hill-descent control for light off-road excursions. Even with all that, there’s still room left in the budget for optional accessories: a rubber rear seatback protector, a rear bumper cover, and all-weather floor and cargo mats. Additionally, the Crosstrek delivers 27/33 mpg city/highway, can carry up to 55.3 cubic feet of cargo, and has a five-star NHTSA overall crash rating, the highest rating available.

You’ll Like: Lots of cargo room, impressive off-road capability, good crash safety scores, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard

You Won’t Like: The EyeSight driver-assist package and a proximity key with push-start ignition can’t be optioned at this price point

Motor Trend’s Take: We commended the Crosstrek for its comfortable ride and impressive handling skills during a First Test review. The raised hatchback also offers lots of interior room, good value, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Although we wish the Subaru had more power and a better-performing lane keep assist system. We concluded our review by saying, “The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited is capable and dependable, ready to go wherever you want to go, to enable you to do whatever you want to do—your BFF on wheels. It’s an endearing little crossover that’s just a few lb-ft away from greatness.”





2018 Honda HR-V EX AWD: $24,915

Honda’s smallest crossover can be purchased for under $25,000 in the mid-level EX trim with all-wheel drive. The EX trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, a proximity key with push-start ignition, LaneWatch (a rear-facing camera mounted on the passenger side-view mirror), a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and Pandora compatibility. Honda’s versatile second-row Magic Seats come standard on the EX, but roof rails don’t. The EX trim doesn’t offer any packages, and optional accessories will break the price cap. The HR-V AWD comes with a 27/31 mpg EPA rating (28/34 mpg with front-wheel drive), a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, and it offers 55.9 cubic feet of maximum cargo room.

You’ll Like: Loads of cargo room, versatile second-row Magic Seats, good crash safety scores, heated seats and moonroof are standard on the EX

You Won’t Like: The 2018 model doesn’t offer automatic emergency braking, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto, roof rails available only on the EX-L Navi trim

Motor Trend’s Take: The HR-V’s interior offers lots of versatility thanks to the Magic Seat feature and plenty of cargo room considering its small footprint. However, in a First Test review, we didn’t like the subcompact’s acceleration, engine sound, and the location of the USB and 12-volt ports. “For those who put a priority on packaging and reliability over performance, the Honda HR-V is a compelling entrant in the growing subcompact crossover segment,” we concluded.





2018 Nissan Kicks SR FWD: $24,630

Nissan’s new subcompact crossover is packed with value thanks to its low starting price, but all-wheel drive is not available. Staying below the $25,000 price cap, the Kicks can be ordered in the top SR trim that comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, roof rails, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, a proximity key with push-start ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert are also standard, and not usually found at this price.

Load up the 2018 Kicks SR with the Premium package, which includes heated front seats, faux-leather seating with orange stitching, and an eight-speaker Bose Personal Plus audio system. Most buyers would be happy with all those features, but you can keep it under $25,000 and still add various packages including Exterior (crossbars and rear bumper protector), Exterior Electronics (puddle lighting and rear parking sensors), Interior Electronics (ambient lighting with 20 available colors and auto-dimming rearview mirror), and Wi-Fi and Apps. For kicks (pun intended), throw in the illuminated door sill plates and carpeted floor and cargo mats, as well. The lightweight Kicks comes with a 31/36 mpg rating and can haul 32.3 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats folded (though Nissan says there’s an extra 21.8 cubic feet of space in the rear cargo area).

You’ll Like: The lengthy standard features list, automatic emergency braking is standard, high fuel economy rating, optional Wi-Fi capability

You Won’t Like: All-wheel drive is not available

Motor Trend’s Take: The Kicks offers lots of standard features at a low starting price,

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Update 2: Crosstrek Track Day

By | May 31, 2018

One of the most common complaints journalists make about the Crosstrek is its poor acceleration, but is it really that bad? In the Crosstrek’s segment, acceleration isn’t high on the list of priorities and likely falls below several other factors. Regardless, it’s always nice to have a peppy engine for those times you need to pass a vehicle or merge onto a highway. So how does the Crosstrek perform at the track?

Like every long-term vehicle we receive, we put the Subaru through a battery of tests. At the drag strip, the 152-hp, 145-lb-ft crossover hit 60 mph in 9.0 seconds. That’s not a quick run, but it’s quicker than many of the Crosstrek’s rivals including the Nissan Rogue Sport AWD (9.8 seconds), Honda HR-V AWD (9.5 seconds), and Jeep Compass 4×4 (10.4 seconds); it tied the Jeep Renegade 4×4. It’s a similar situation in the quarter mile: The Crosstrek’s time of 16.9 seconds at 83.4 mph is quicker than the above vehicles with the exception of the Renegade’s almost identical 16.8 seconds. This little raised hatchback is no missile, but its acceleration is on par with the rest of the segment.

Around town, the Subie is adequately powered. The responsive CVT makes good use of the engine’s power, and the all-wheel-drive traction rarely leaves your tires searching for grip. On rare occasions, such as passing a vehicle going uphill or switching lanes with a car approaching very rapidly, the Crosstrek can feel underpowered.




Our figure-eight handling course measures how well a vehicle accelerates, brakes, and handles. The Subaru’s time of 27.3 seconds at an average of 0.62 g is good for the segment, topping all of the above competitors with the exception of the HR-V’s identical average g. I’m not surprised. The times I pushed the raised hatchback through twisty canyon roads, it had little body roll and was very stable, making it fun to drive. Adding to the fun is the just-adequate amount of torque that allows you to floor it in the middle of a corner without much worry. The all-season tires are not noisy, only squealing when pushed harder than most drivers do during normal driving.

The Crosstrek also brakes well, stopping from 60 mph in a respectable 120 feet. Braking power is strong and the feel is solid and predictable, not mushy or touchy.

Sometimes I wish the Crosstrek had a bit more power, but the existing car’s non-turbo 2.0-liter gets the job done.

Read more about our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek:

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
BASE PRICE $23,510
PRICE AS TESTED $26,899
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/152-hp/145-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,225 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 104.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.8 x 71.0 x 62.6 in
0-60 MPH 9.0 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.9 sec @ 83.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.81 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.3 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 24.5/35.1/28.3 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 27/33/29 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125/102 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.66 lb/mile
































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SUVs and Crossovers That Tow at Least 7,500 Pounds

By | May 26, 2018

If you regularly tow heavy items such as ATVs, jet skis, RVs, or boats and prefer the fully enclosed cargo area of an SUV instead of the bed of a pickup truck, you’ve come to the right place. Large SUVs and crossovers offer plenty of room for passengers and cargo, and some can tow as much as trucks when properly equipped. Below is a list of the top 15 towing SUVs and crossovers, arranged by ascending towing capacity, from 7,500 pounds to almost 5 tons. To give you some reference, a fully loaded Honda CR-V weighs about 3,500 pounds. So uncover that big motorboat, and get your gear ready for the water.

Read our Big SUV comparison right here!


Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: 7,500 Pounds

Mercedes’ largest SUV is rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds with any engine option, including the standard 362-hp twin-turbo V-6, the optional 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8, or the 577-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the high-performance AMG GLS 63—the GLS 63 can hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. A Class IV trailer hitch is optional.


Audi Q7: 7,700 Pounds

The 7,700-pound towing capacity is basically the same as the Q7’s platform partner, the Bentley Bentayga. However, the Q7 meets this capacity using a much smaller engine, a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that produces 333 hp and 325 lb-ft.


Porsche Cayenne: 7,716 Pounds

The Cayenne is powered by one of four engines: a 335-hp turbocharged V-6, a 434-hp twin-turbo V-6, a 541-hp twin-turbo V-8, or a 455-hp hybrid powertrain. Regardless of the engine, the Cayenne’s towing capacity sits at 7,716 pounds.









Land Rover Range Rover: 7,716 Pounds

It doesn’t matter if it’s the 254-hp turbodiesel V-6, the 340 to 380-hp supercharged V-6, or the 518- to 557-hp supercharged V-8, Land Rover claims the maximum towing capacity for the Range Rover is 7,716 pounds. A towing hitch is included, but an available towing package includes a hitch receiver and a towing assist feature.





Bentley Bentayga: 7,716 Pounds

One of the most expensive SUVs on the market has a maximum towing capacity of 7,716 pounds. The exclusive SUV is powered by a W-12 engine that creates 600 hp and 664 lb-ft—read about the new 542-hp V-8 model here. In some markets, the Bentayga offers an electronically retracting tow bar, and a plug-in turbo-six-powered hybrid is on the way.





Toyota Land Cruiser: 8,100 Pounds

Toyota’s luxurious off-roader maxes out at 8,100 pounds with its full-time four-wheel-drive system. The Land Cruiser’s 5.7-liter V-8 cranks out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft, and a towing hitch is standard.


Land Rover Discovery: 8,201 Pounds

You might assume that the Discovery’s turbodiesel V-6 would be the top engine for towing, but it’s actually the gasoline engine. The 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 produces 340 hp and 332 lb-ft and can tow an impressive 8,201 pounds. When equipped with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, maximum towing drops to 7,716 pounds. A towing hitch is included.









Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV: 8,300 Pounds

Cadillac’s Escalade comes with a maximum towing rating of 8,300 pounds (8,100 with four-wheel drive) thanks in part to the 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. The longer ESV model is rated at 8,100 pounds (7,900 with four-wheel drive).


Nissan Armada: 8,500 Pounds

With an 8,500-pound towing capacity, the full-size body-on-frame Armada comes in just ahead of the Escalade. A 5.6-liter V-8 that churns out 390 hp and 394 lb-ft does the pulling, and that rating applies to rear- and four-wheel-drive models. A Class IV trailer hitch is included.





Infiniti QX80: 8,500 Pounds

Rated at 400 hp and 413 lb-ft from the same 5.6-liter V-8 as the Armada, the Infiniti QX80 has the same 8,500-pound maximum rating. Like the Armada, the QX80 comes with a Class IV trailer hitch.





GMC Yukon/Yukon XL: 8,500 Pounds

The lighter Yukon edges out the heavier Yukon XL: 8,500 pounds over the XL’s 8,300-pound towing capacity. To get the maximum rating, you’ll need the 355-hp, 383-lb-ft 5.3-liter V-8 with rear-wheel drive and the Trailering package.

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2019 Toyota Avalon Touring First Test: Are You Looking At Me Now?

By | May 15, 2018

Long relegated to status as a floaty barge for end-stage buyers, the 2019 Toyota Avalon—specifically the sporty Touring trim—has become a proper flagship with actual driving prowess. The term “vanilla” and Avalon once went hand-in-hand because the conservatively styled sedan provided a comfortable ride with the absence of driving excitement (perfect for Aunt Trudie down in New Port Richey). But the Avalon’s 2019 redesign sheds the stigma by offering a driving experience that borders on exhilarating.

An Updated Powertrain

Powering the Avalon is an updated 3.5-liter V-6 that now develops 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. That is a 33 hp and 19 lb-ft improvement over the last V-6 thanks in part to direct port injection technology. With an EPA-rated 22/31 mpg city/highway (22/32 mpg for the XLE trim), the 2019 Avalon with a V-6 is the nameplate’s most powerful and most efficient non-hybrid model ever. In real-world testing from the EQUA Real MPG team, the 2019 Avalon Touring earned a rating of 21.8/33.4 mpg. The car’s 22/31-32 mpg rating puts it above the six-cylinder models of the Nissan Maxima (21/30 mpg), the Chevrolet Impala (18-19/28 mpg), the Chrysler 300 (19/30 mpg), and the Buick LaCrosse (21/30 mpg).

Backing the V-6 is a crisp-shifting eight-speed automatic that rarely fumbles, almost always finding the right gear. The eight-speed is very responsive, even in Normal mode, making this big sedan feel quicker than it is. When cruising, there’s no need to dig into the gas pedal to get a downshift; small applications will get you one or more kickdowns. This makes highway passing not only easy but fun, especially in the Sport+ mode that’s unique to the Touring model.

The paddle shifters respond quickly when flicked, unless of course you are going too fast for the gear you want. When engine braking, not much happens until you downshift into second and first gears.

A Surprising Driving Experience

After I adjusted the steering wheel and seat, I find myself in a rather low driving position – comfortable for a fit Millennial, but perhaps not be the best location for older drivers to access. The naturally aspirated V-6 responds immediately to throttle applications with almost no lag, followed by an engine note that one passenger described as “sexy”—probably a first for the Avalon. Stomp on the right pedal, and a burst of boisterous engine noise fills the cabin until you lift off.

An Intake Sound Generator amplifies the sound of the air rushing through the intake system while unique baffling shoots out an exhaust sound with a mean tone. Engine sound at start-up, idle, and during acceleration is enhanced via the audio speakers thanks to the Engine Sound Enhancement feature. Some might call that gimmicky, or “fake noise,” but I think it sounds great and enriches the driving experience.

Another feature you wouldn’t expect in an Avalon is an adaptive variable suspension. The feature is usually found on higher-dollar sports cars but is standard on the Touring trim. The system provides real-time damping based on information received from front and rear g sensors, and an ECU determines how much damping should be applied, making adjustments within 20 milliseconds. The four drive modes—Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport+—don’t merely adjust the already strong throttle response, they work with the adaptive suspension by adjusting damping force depending on drive mode. Normal mode is comfort-oriented with soft suspension damping and light steering. Sport mode slightly stiffens the ride and steering weight, and Sport+ should be called “is this really an Avalon?” mode. Sport+ tightens the suspension, significantly increases steering weight, and boosts the Engine Sound Enhancement feature. The Touring’s capable and predictable handling is reminiscent of a big European sport sedan. Yes, we’re drinking the Toyota Kool-Aid here, but trust us on this one.

Toyota’s new TNGA platform underpins the 2019 Avalon, resulting in a longer, wider, and lower sedan. The Avalon is front drive, which can kill some fun when throttling through corners, but don’t overlook the Avalon’s minimal body roll, robust chassis, and precise steering. The full-size sedan’s as-tested 3,723-pound mass can rear its ugly head when pushed hard, but the strong brakes do a great job of bringing you to a confident stop. Regardless, I was impressed with how the Avalon flew through tight or long sweeping corners with the assurance of a smaller sedan. The new multi-link rear suspension and thicker anti-rollbars play a part in all this, too.

At the Track

I’ve spoken highly of the Avalon Touring’s powertrain, handling, and driving experience. But do our test drivers agree? On the drag strip, the Avalon propelled itself to 60 mph in a quick 6.0 seconds on the way to a 14.6-second quarter-mile time at 98.5 mph. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana described the engine note as “giving me some Lexus GS F vibes.” He got his best acceleration run in the Sport+ mode with a little brake overlap and described the shifts as “snappy.” Those runs put it ahead of the Impala (6.3 seconds, 14.9 at 95.9 mph), a front-drive 2017 LaCrosse (6.3, 14.7 at 97.7 mph), and a last-gen 268-hp Avalon (6.4, 14.8 at 96.7 mph). The Maxima clocked a 5.8-second 0-60 run and hit the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds at 99.5 mph.




Stopping power is good, coming to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, tying the Maxima and beating the Impala (118 feet) and the LaCrosse (126 feet). Ayapana described the brakes as “solid” with “good bite and very minimal dive.” It took 122 feet for the 2018 Avalon to stop from 60 mph. Testing director Kim Reynolds found the brakes “clear and predictable.”

Around our figure-eight handling course,

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2018 Honda Fit Sport First Test Review: Where Practicality and Fun Meet

By | May 2, 2018

It’s late at night, and I’m sitting at a stop sign in Honda’s latest hot hatch. There isn’t another car in sight. I shove the shifter into first gear, stomp on the gas, and drop the clutch. The tach needle swings to the 6,800-rpm redline. I throw the transmission into second; the engine speed lands at peak torque as I floor it again. And a big smile appears on my face. No, this is not the Honda Civic Type R. It’s the 2018 Honda Fit Sport with a six-speed manual. And although it might not quite be the Type R of tall practical hatchbacks, this smile-making machine fits the bill as a good foundation for such a car.

The Honda Fit has been a marvel of a car since it first went on sale in 2007. Few vehicles leave such a small footprint yet offer the passenger and cargo room of a larger car. The Fit is also known for good interior fit and finish, and it’s a blast to drive, compared to the mostly dour entries in the segment. Designing a small car with lots of room, good handling, and a nice interior is difficult, but Honda has it down with the Fit. We track-tested this gem of a small car for the 2018 model and took a closer look at how Honda updated its subcompact hatch.

The interior’s versatility can be explained in two words: Magic Seat. The second-row seats fold down like in most vehicles; the seat bottoms can be folded up like the rear seats in some pickups, leaving a commodious amount of room for tall objects. The seats came in handy when transporting a large mirror. The front passenger seat also folds flat, allowing you to fit long objects like a surfboard or ladder. If you need to take a nap, sit in the passenger-side rear seat and prop your legs up on the front passenger seat, which can also recline all the way back. There are many ways to haul stuff—or to relax—in the Fit’s large cabin.

With the Magic Seat folded down, owners can stuff 52.7 cubic feet of cargo into the Fit, much more than its biggest rival, the Nissan Versa Note (38.3 cubic feet), and more than many subcompact crossovers, including the Chevrolet Trax, the Mazda CX-3, the Jeep Renegade, and the Toyota C-R. With its taller roofline, the platform-sharing Honda HR-V crossover offers a little more space, between 55.9 and 58.8 cubic feet of cargo. Still, with the exception of the HR-V, none of the above vehicles offer anything like the very useful second-row Magic Seat.




The Honda Fit demonstrates that you don’t need lots of horsepower to have fun on the road. Yes, quick acceleration is fun but so is flooring a low-horsepower car on a long sweeper, confidently carrying more speed than anticipated. Once the tall body rolls its weight to the outside wheels, the Fit is stable in corners, and the steering is quick, precise, and nicely weighted. The tires do not squeal early like in many economy cars, which allows the driver to push the hatchback harder. On a few occasions, I entered long, sweeping turns too slow, thinking that the little Fit couldn’t handle it. With a quick downshift and a stomp of the gas pedal, the Fit hunkers down and charges through with ease, up until the screaming tires force you to slow down. This Fit is proof that it can be more fun to drive a slow car fast. The tradeoff: The ride gets busy and a little noisy over rough roads—as you would expect from an econobox.

The fun factor can be improved with the optional Honda Factory Performance package, which includes a rear spoiler, HFP sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch black alloy wheels with orange graphics, HFP badging, sport pedals, and a titanium shift knob.

The Fit’s 1.5-liter I-4 produces 130 hp at 6,600 rpm and 114 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm (or 128 hp and 113 lb-ft for the CVT). That might not seem like a lot, but with our Sport-trimmed car’s as-tested curb weight of only 2,555 pounds and a six-speed manual, the power is adequate. If you need to accelerate quickly, make sure to redline the little four-banger so that when you upshift, you land in the powerband.

For all its fun factor, the Fit’s actual performance numbers aren’t overwhelming. At the track, the Fit hit 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.3 seconds at 84.2 mph, on par with your average compact crossover with a larger engine. The Fit is quicker than the econobox competitive set: The Nissan Versa’s 0–60 time was 10.3 seconds, the Hyundai Accent clocked a 9.7, a stick-shift Toyota Yaris managed 9.1, while an automatic Kia Rio came close at 8.7 seconds. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana got his best time by revving the engine to 4,000 rpm and rolling into the throttle. Braking distance is a little long, stopping from 60 mph in 126 feet, bested by the Versa Note’s 122 feet. Brake feel is OK; the pedal feels mushy and has lots of travel. Fuel economy is good, rated at 29/36 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 33/40 mpg with the CVT in LX form or 31/36 mpg in other CVT trims (the CVT-only Versa Note is rated at 31/39 mpg).

The Honda Fit for the 2019 model year adds auto high-beams on models with Honda Sensing – get 2019 Fit pricing here.








On the safety side,

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From Past to Present: The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

By | April 26, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is the fastest production Corvette ever, hitting a top track speed of 212 mph. This is a remarkable feat by GM, but this isn’t the first time the automaker has wowed us with the ZR1 badge. First appearing almost 50 years ago, the limited-production Corvette has graced us with its performance for the fourth time. In this article, we look back at all of the Corvette ZR1s that the Bow Tie brand has developed over the years. Which is your favorite?


1970-72 Corvette (C3) ZR1 and ZR2

 

The first ZR1 was a special performance package that was added to third-generation Corvettes equipped with the optional 5.7-liter LT-1 small-block V-8. The ZR1 package added a heavy-duty four-speed manual transmission, more powerful brakes, an aluminum radiator, and upgraded suspension with improved springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars for $1,010.50. The race-spec ZR1 could not be ordered with power windows, power steering, A/C, a radio, or a rear window defogger. With less than 60 ever built, the C3 ZR1 is now a rare bird. The even rarer ZR2 was an identical package but only offered on the more powerful LS6 V-8 big block.


1990-1995 Corvette (C4) ZR-1

The ZR-1 (now with a hyphen) returned in 1990 with the fourth-generation Corvette. Now its own model, the C4 ZR-1 was powered by a Lotus-designed 5.7-liter DOHC V-8 producing 375 hp (increased to 405 hp in 1993). This was a huge increase over the 5.7-liter OHV V-8 that produced 250 hp in the standard C4 Corvette in 1990. Lotus also helped GM develop the standard adjustable active suspension and the upgraded braking and steering systems. The ZR-1’s 180-plus-mph top speed and 0-60 time of about 4.5 seconds were impressive for the time, but the super Corvette carried a high price tag. The C4 ZR-1 lasted until 1995 and almost 7,000 units were produced.


2009-2013 Corvette (C6) ZR1

Model year 2009 saw the return of the ZR1 (now without the hyphen) badge on the C6 Corvette. This time, Chevrolet strapped a supercharger on a 6.2-liter V-8 producing a whopping 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. The roof, hood, front splitter, fenders, and rocker panels were all made of carbon fiber. Magnetic dampers, Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, and the largest wheels ever placed on a production Corvette (at the time) were all standard equipment. When Motor Trend tested the 2009 ZR1, we were impressed with the supercharged Corvette’s 3.3-second 0-60 time, 11.2-second quarter-mile time (at 130.5 mph), and 97-foot stopping distance from 60 mph—still very impressive numbers today. The 2009 ZR1 was so good it beat the Ferrari 599 GTB in a comparison test. Watch us test the C6 ZR1 here.


2019 Corvette (C7) ZR1

The new C7 ZR1 is the most powerful production Corvette ever thanks to the 755-hp, 715-lb-ft supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 under the hood. Based on the already powerful Z06, the ZR1 adds a larger supercharger, larger front wheels, additional cooling, and more aero including an optional large rear spoiler that produces an estimated 950 pounds of downforce. The 3,600-pound super Corvette is offered with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. We have yet to test the 2019 ZR1, but we estimate a 0-60 time between 2.8 and 3.0 seconds and a quarter-mile time south of 11 seconds. The $2,995 ZTK package adds stickier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, increased spring rates, and more aero. The ZR1 coupe starts at $122,095, while the convertible starts at $126,095.














































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Jaguar XJ50 Celebrates 50 Years of XJ Glory

By | April 26, 2018

The original Jaguar XJ Series first graced the automotive market in 1968 with the straight-six powered Series 1 luxury sedan. In honor of the flagship’s 50th anniversary, Jaguar released a limited-edition model called the XJ50.

Available exclusively in long-wheelbase form, the XJ50 is powered by a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 or a 470-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. The V-6 is offered in all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, but the V-8 only sends power to the rear wheels.




The XJ50 features unique front and rear bumpers, 20-inch wheels with a gloss black diamond turned finish, a gloss black front grille, and unique badging on the rear and side vents. Fuji White, Santorini Black, Loire Blue, and Rosello Red are the available exterior colors.




Inside the XJ50, the premium sedan features diamond-quilted seats with an embossed Jaguar on the headrests and an XJ50 logo on the center armrest. The paddle shifters are made of aluminum and complement the bright metal pedals. The interior also sports XJ50-badged door sills that illuminate as well as unique intaglio (engraved) branding.

“Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design.

The current XJ is in its eighth generation and should be replaced by a redesigned model soon, possibly by 2019. The first-generation 1972 XJ12 was the only mass-produced 12-cylinder (5.3-liter V-12) four-door car at the time of its release and had a top speed of about 140 mph, making it the fastest four-seater at the time.

Check out Jaguar’s timeline below for a closer look at the history of the XJ.






The post Jaguar XJ50 Celebrates 50 Years of XJ Glory appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Jaguar XJ50 Celebrates 50 Years of XJ Glory

By | April 25, 2018

The original Jaguar XJ Series first graced the automotive market in 1968 with the straight-six powered Series 1 luxury sedan. In honor of the flagship’s 50th anniversary, Jaguar released a limited-edition model called the XJ50.

Available exclusively in long-wheelbase form, the XJ50 is powered by a 340-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 or a 470-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. The V-6 is offered in all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, but the V-8 only sends power to the rear wheels.




The XJ50 features unique front and rear bumpers, 20-inch wheels with a gloss black diamond turned finish, a gloss black front grille, and unique badging on the rear and side vents. Fuji White, Santorini Black, Loire Blue, and Rosello Red are the available exterior colors.




Inside the XJ50, the premium sedan features diamond-quilted seats with an embossed Jaguar on the headrests and an XJ50 logo on the center armrest. The paddle shifters are made of aluminum and complement the bright metal pedals. The interior also sports XJ50-badged door sills that illuminate as well as unique intaglio (engraved) branding.

“Spanning half a century, the Jaguar XJ remains true to its heritage with a wonderful balance of beautiful design, intelligent performance and indulgent luxury that ensures it stands out from the crowd,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design.

The current XJ is in its eighth generation and should be replaced by a redesigned model soon, possibly by 2019. The first-generation 1972 XJ12 was the only mass-produced 12-cylinder (5.3-liter V-12) four-door car at the time of its release and had a top speed of about 140 mph, making it the fastest four-seater at the time.

Check out Jaguar’s timeline below for a closer look at the history of the XJ.

Source: Jaguar






The post Jaguar XJ50 Celebrates 50 Years of XJ Glory appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2020 Mustang Hybrid: What to Expect From Ford’s First Hybrid Pony Car

By | April 24, 2018

It’s official. The Ford Mustang Hybrid will make its debut in 2020. The electrified pony car will likely be the first of its kind: an American rear-drive coupe with a hybrid powertrain. Hybrids have come a long way; supercars including the Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1 take advantage of the additional power of electric motors to achieve optimal performance, and this will only become more common as electrified powertrains spread across the industry. Although Ford is still developing the Mustang Hybrid, here’s our best guess on what to expect from the new muscle car variant.

Current Mustangs are pictured below


The Electrified Powertrain

The Mustang Hybrid’s powertrain will be more efficient than a V-8 but—Ford claims—will deliver V-8 power and “even more low-end torque.” To make this possible, the Blue Oval will likely use a traditional hybrid system consisting of an electric motor sandwiched between the gasoline engine and the transmission. The EcoBoost 2.3-liter turbo-four will likely be the gasoline engine of choice and could be tuned to produce more than the 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque it currently makes. The current 10-speed automatic could back the hybrid powertrain instead of a CVT, which is what you find in many hybrids.

There is another plausible but less likely hybrid powertrain option. If the upcoming Focus RS does use a 2.3-liter turbo-four (transverse-mounted) with a mild hybrid system, that same system could be strapped on the Mustang’s longitudinal-mounted 2.3-liter turbo-four. However, the smaller electric motor would not produce as much power as a full-hybrid system.

Although it’s possible the Mustang could be a plug-in hybrid, we expect the Ford will be a regular hybrid with all-electric driving available when cruising at low speeds. The upcoming F-150 Hybrid—due for release by 2020—could share a similar powertrain with the Mustang Hybrid because both rear-drive vehicles use the same 10-speed automatic and have longitudinal-mounted engines.


Power and Performance

With the additional power from the electric motor and a potential power bump to the 2.3 EcoBoost engine, the Mustang Hybrid could potentially produce about 400 hp and well over 400 lb-ft. That is not far off from the Mustang GT’s 460-hp, 420-lb-ft 5.0-liter V-8. Although down on horsepower, the electric powertrain should not only produce more torque than the V-8, but it will also hit much earlier in the powerband thanks to the instant—and significant—torque from the electric motor and turbocharged engine.

The current EcoBoost Mustang with the 10-speed auto hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 97.2 mph during Motor Trend testing. With additional power and more low-end torque, the Mustang Hybrid could knock off about half a second from the above 0–60 and quarter-mile times, but Ford won’t let the Mustang Hybrid be quicker than its V-8-powered GT.

With efficiency not the main priority for this hybrid powertrain (as it is for a Prius or Ioniq), expect better fuel economy than the EcoBoost Mustang’s 25 mpg combined driving rating (21/32 mpg city/highway) but nothing drastic. Still, that’s much better than the GT’s fuel economy rating of 19 mpg combined (16/25 mpg city/highway).


Hybrid Tech

Like any modern hybrid, the Mustang Hybrid will use regenerative braking to slow the pony car down and recharge the battery pack. For those who want to get the most efficiency out of the hybrid powertrain, Ford should offer an Eco mode that can reduce power but improve fuel economy. As with other Ford hybrids, an instrument panel display could communicate real-time efficiency, the battery’s power level, and whether the battery is charging or generating power.


Hybrid Styling

When it makes its debut in 2020, the Mustang Hybrid will probably look like the regular Mustang but with subtle hybrid badging and unique exterior details that set it apart from the rest of the gas-only lineup. Inside, expect unique hybrid-only accents and stitching (possibly in green).


Driving Modes

The Mustang Hybrid will probably have Normal and Power/Sport driving modes (in addition to an Eco mode). In Normal mode, the Mustang will probably act like a normal hybrid car with the electric motor acting alone during gentle initial takeoffs from a stop, at slow parking lot speeds, and intermittently during highway cruising. In Power/Sport mode, the electric motor and gas engine can always work together to give the driver maximum power output.


Driver Assist Safety

Ford’s new suite of driver-assist technologies, dubbed Ford Co-Pilot360, will likely be standard on the Mustang by 2020, including the upcoming hybrid model. The package of active safety tech includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, a lane keeping system, automatic high-beams, and a rearview camera. An adaptive cruise control system and reverse automatic braking will likely be available.


Possible V-8 Hybrid?

If Ford is producing a Mustang Hybrid that with V-8 power, why not make an eight-cylinder Mustang Hybrid delivering supercar power? Adding the power of an electric motor to the 5.0 or the outrageous 5.2-liter V-8 in the GT350 will significantly increase power output and performance potential. That is basically what Porsche does to the lineup of the Panamera, which offers six- and eight-cylinder E-Hybrid models. Will Ford adopt a similar strategy with the Mustang?

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Update 1: The Subaru Comfortable

By | April 22, 2018

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is appealing for a number of readily apparent reasons, ranging from its handsome and rugged looks to its competitive pricing and ample cargo and passenger room. However, what many won’t know without driving it is the amount of ride comfort the Crosstrek provides. This was a nice surprise—and one of my favorite qualities—because compact vehicles are not always known for ride quality. The Crosstrek’s is one of the best I have felt.

The raised hatchback does a superb job of ironing out rough patches of road and excels at not transmitting much vibration or noise into the cabin.

I recently drove our long-term Audi A4 Quattro for a few days, a Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring that I reviewed, and a Volvo XC60 T5 for a three-day weekend of SoCal cruising. The Crosstrek’s ride quality is on par with those three larger and more expensive vehicles, and surprisingly it also mutes out and absorbs much of the sound and juddering that accompanies road imperfections better than the above vehicles. It’s worth noting that those vehicles ride on lower-profile tires, but I would still expect the ride quality to be better than my $26,899 Crosstrek.

I am not the first editor to feel this way about Subaru’s latest compact. “The ride quality is downright plush with luxury car levels of suspension compliance and rally car–rivaling suspension travel,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said during a three-way comparison against the Jeep Compass and Nissan Rogue Sport, which the Subie won.




International bureau chief Angus MacKenzie summed it up best during his First Test review of the Crosstrek. “The little Subaru rolls down the road with the quiet comfort and dignified composure of a mini luxury car,” he said. “The ride is exceptional for a vehicle this size, the long-travel suspension calmly damping body motions while ably suppressing impact harshness where the rubber meets the road.”

So if you are considering a Subaru Crosstrek, add “premium ride quality” to the list of pros. It’s among the best in class.

Read More About Our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek:
































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2018 Ford Expedition Max Limited Interior Review

By | April 11, 2018

So far, the redesigned 2018 Ford Expedition has impressed us in many ways. In a five-way full-size SUV comparison, the Expedition walked away with the victory. “Spacious, smart, comfortable, quick, and efficient, the Expedition does it all well,” we concluded. “On-road, off-road, towing, you name it—this is the best in class.” We were just as pleased with the Expedition during its First Test review. “The 2018 Ford Expedition’s blend of performance (both on- and off-road), comfort, utility, and tech easily make it the new benchmark for the full-size SUV class,” we said. Let’s now do a detailed dive into the SUV’s interior on the larger Max variant. How much tech, utility, and versatility does the Max offer?


The Max Difference

The Expedition Max is called that for a reason. The wheelbase is stretched by 9.1 inches, and it’s 11.9 inches longer than the regular Expedition. All this extra length only affects the cargo area and not rear-seat legroom. Behind the third row, the Max can carry 36.0 cubic feet of cargo, 15.1 more than the regular Expedition. If you fold the third row down, the Max can hold 73.3 cubic feet, and it jumps to a cavernous 121.5 cubic feet with both rows down, 16.9 more than the regular Expedition. So if you plan to use all three rows and still need plenty of cargo space (or need all that 121.5 cubic feet), you better opt for the Max.

When compared to its biggest rival, the Chevrolet Suburban, the Max falls just short. The Suburban offers slightly more with 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 76.7 cubic feet behind the second row, and a total of 121.7 (only 0.2 larger) with both rows folded down.


First-Row Luxuries

Ford has made the front seats in the Limited model a nice place to be. Finding a comfortable seating position is easy thanks to the 10-way power-adjustable front seats, power-adjustable steering wheel, and power-adjustable pedals. The comfortable heated and ventilated leather-trimmed seats, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a seven-color ambient lighting system should offer plenty of comfort for the driver and front passenger. Large A-pillar grab handles make assessing the front row easier, and the dual glove box, large center console, and many storage areas make finding places to put your stuff easy.


Second-Row Versatility

In a three-row SUV, the second row is important, not only is it the preferred row for your rear passengers, but those relegated to the way back have to squeeze through it to access the third row. There are two ways to access the third row in our seven-seat tester: by walking between the second-row bucket seats or by pressing a button—located on the C-pillar—that triggers the tip-and-slide seat feature, allowing passengers to squeeze between the seat and door frame. There is also a lever that can be used instead of the button if you are sitting in the third row. The second-row seats can manually fold flat via a lever located on the side of the seat or electrically with a push of a button located in the cargo area. The second-row headrests fold down via a button located on the side of the headrest.

Our Limited trim tester’s second row came with heated leather-trimmed seats that slide and recline, radio and A/C controls, two USB ports, a 110-volt power outlet, four cupholders, and a large optional panoramic sunroof. However, one thing appears to be missing (actually two): Neither chair has a seat-mounted armrest, leaving just the door-panel armrest for one of your passenger’s arms.


Third-Row Surprises

Ford didn’t forget about the last row. Getting my 6-foot self into the third row after stepping on the power-deployable side steps was easy by either walking in between the bucket seats or hitting the tip-and-slide button. For smaller passengers, a conveniently placed C-pillar-mounted grab handle should help enter the third row. Once there, I had enough leg- and headroom to keep me comfortable for a long ride, and the power recline seat feature is a nice touch. A USB port is located in the small side storage cubby on each side of the third row, next to the cupholders and power-recline buttons. If you need more cargo room, the power-folding buttons are located in the cargo area. If you need more rear visibility while driving, the power-folding headrest button is located by the driver.


Tech, Tech, Tech

Ford’s Sync 3 multimedia system came standard on our Max Limited tester and includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM satellite radio, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot for up 10 devices. It’s displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Apple iPhone users can take advantage of Siri voice commands, and Ford+Alexa brings Amazon Alexa services and skills into your Expedition. The available voice-activated navigation system’s 3-D map is one of the best looking that I have seen. The system is easy to use, has pinch-to-zoom functionality, and uses SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, which is complimentary for five years. The standard audio system on the Limited trim is a 12-speaker B&O unit that delivers good sound quality. Keeping devices charged was no sweat thanks to the six USB ports, a wireless charging pad in the center console, and a 110-volt power outlet in the second row.


Assisting in Safety

The Expedition Max is a lengthy 18.5 feet long and 7.7 feet wide,

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2019 Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Trucks Flaunt Flowties

By | April 6, 2018

GM recently released its medium-duty Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD chassis cab trucks after an absence of nearly 10 years. One feature that many probably didn’t notice is the big flowtie right in the middle of the grille.

First introduced a few years ago on the Camaro Z/28, the flowtie was created out of necessity. Engineers wanted more airflow to the engine bay, so they removed the traditional bow tie’s gold fill (just leaving a chrome outline), resulting in lower engine coolant and oil temperatures during extended track usage. Currently, the Camaro ZL1 comes equipped with the flowtie.

During Camaro Z/28 testing, engineers noticed that the traditional bow tie would deflect air away from the radiator, potentially reducing the amount of engine cooling during extreme driving.

The medium-duty chassis cab trucks are powered by a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 pumping out 350 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque, and like most turbodiesel engines, these units produce lots of heat. In order to provide the maximum amount of airflow and cooling, designers dove into the Camaro’s parts bin and utilized its famed flowtie.

“The flowtie is an elegant solution. And it’s going to work on the Silverado exactly the way it does on Camaro,” stated Design Manager Kevin O’Donnell, in a release.

Besides the flowtie, GM’s medium-duty trucks also get features found in the new 2019 Silverado 1500 including wireless cell phone charging, Bluetooth, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, OnStar, Commercial Link, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

GM will begin production late this year and pricing will be available this summer.

The post 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Trucks Flaunt Flowties appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Here’s Why Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Trucks Get the Camaro’s Flowtie

By | April 5, 2018

GM recently released its medium-duty Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD chassis cab trucks after an absence of nearly 10 years. One feature that many probably didn’t notice is the big flowtie right in the middle of the grille.

First introduced a few years ago on the Camaro Z/28, the flowtie was created out of necessity. Engineers wanted more airflow to the engine bay, so they removed the traditional bowtie’s gold fill (just leaving a chrome outline), resulting in lower engine coolant and oil temperatures during extended track usage. Currently, the Camaro ZL1 comes equipped with the flowtie.

During Camaro Z/28 testing, engineers noticed that the traditional bowtie would deflect air away from the radiator, potentially reducing the amount of engine cooling during extreme driving.

The medium-duty chassis cab trucks are powered by a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 pumping out 350 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque, and like most turbodiesel engines, these units produce lots of heat. In order to provide the maximum amount of airflow and cooling, designers dove into the Camaro’s parts bin and utilized its famed flowtie.

“The flowtie is an elegant solution. And it’s going to work on the Silverado exactly the way it does on Camaro,” stated Design Manager Kevin O’Donnell, in a release.

Besides the flowtie, GM’s medium-duty trucks also get features found in the new 2019 Silverado 1500 including wireless cell phone charging, Bluetooth, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, OnStar, Commercial Link, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

GM will begin production late this year and pricing will be available this summer.

Source: GM

The post Here’s Why Chevrolet Silverado Medium-Duty Trucks Get the Camaro’s Flowtie appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label Interior Review: Forgetting the Old Navigator

By | April 5, 2018

The outgoing Navigator and its less luxurious Expedition twin were surviving on midcycle refreshes for far too long, resulting in a very dated look and feel. Additionally, the Navigator felt like a dressed up Expedition in many ways. This is not the case with the redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator. The interior has evolved to first-class quality, and it separates itself from the Expedition with unique styling, trims, accents, and more. Read below to see what the range-topping Black Label’s luxurious interior offers in Lincoln’s largest SUV, and check out our 2018 Navigator First Test right here.


The Black Label

Opting for the range-topping Black Label adds notable interior features: an adaptive cruise control with stop/go capability, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, a self-parking system, a head-up display, a driver impairment monitor, a CD player in the center console, the top 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system, a trailer back up assist system, Black Label floormats, and one of three packaged themes: Chalet, Destination, and Yacht Club.

Our Navigator came in the Chalet theme, designed to resemble snowy mountains. It has an Alpine and Espresso leather-trimmed interior, Silverwood appliques, an Alpine Dinamica headliner, and Espresso floor mats with Dinamica accents. The seats feature soft Venetian leather with Lincoln-Star perforation. The Black Label’s Destination theme includes a Mahogany Red leather-trimmed interior, Khaya appliques, and a Mahogany Red Dinamica headliner and floormats with Dinamica accents. The Yacht Club theme includes a Blue Bay and Alpine leather-trimmed interior, whitewashed Teak appliques, a Sand Dinamica headliner, and Blue Bay floormats with Dinamica accents.


A Front Seat to Remember

Unlike conventional one-piece seats, the Navigator’s Perfect Position seats have the padding mounted on a plastic frame, allowing for 30-way adjustability: six to the track, two to recline, four to the headrest, four to the cushion extension, four to the thigh support, four to the lumbar support, two to the back bolster, two to the cushion bolster, and two to the upper back bolster support. The comfortable front seats also offer massaging, heating, and cooling functionality and can be upholstered in a selection of premium leathers.


Superb Audio

The Navigator offers a 14-speaker Revel audio system, but if you’re an audiophile, you better opt for the top 20-speaker Revel Ultima surround-sound system. The audio system was designed for the Navigator Black Label trim and features the largest subwoofer ever mounted in a Lincoln vehicle. The Revel Ultima offers three listening modes: the standard Stereo mode, a surround-sound Audience mode, and an Onstage mode, which arranges individual instruments and sounds throughout the cabin. QuantumLogic surround-sound technology and Harman’s Clari-Fi music restoration technology provide optimal sound.


Rear Seats That Awe

The Black Label trim and the optional rear-seat entertainment system combine to create quite a nice environment for rear passengers. The heated, leather-trimmed second-row captain’s chairs in seven-passenger configurations have power-folding functionality. The optional second-row center console includes cupholders, radio controls, a 4.0-inch LCD screen, and storage cubbies. (Forgoing the option allows for either a pass-through opening or an eighth seat that slides.) The second-row seats also feature a one-touch tilt-and-slide function, which makes it easier for passengers to enter or exit the third row.

The available rear entertainment system consists of two 10.0-inch adjustable screens (not touchscreen) mounted on the back of the front seats. Each screen has its own remote and can play media via SD card, HDMI input, or one of the USB ports. Slingbox users can even play TV channels or on-demand services through the monitors. The second-row seats manually recline, but third-row passengers get power-reclining seats. The large panoramic sunroof makes the spacious cabin feel even larger.


A Driver’s Display All Should Have

A vehicle’s instrument provides crucial information and gives you an idea of the type of vehicle you’re driving. Premium automakers are slowly phasing out traditional analog gauges in favor of digital ones, and the Navigator is no exception. Drivers will notice the large and crisp 12.0-inch digital instrument panel. Unlike some premium automakers that have partial digital clusters (BMW), the Navigator’s is all-digital. Pictures don’t do it justice—it’s quite an appealing instrument panel in person.

A really neat but small feature that more than one staffer commented on is how the needle tips of the gauges light up as they move. The animated drive mode illustrations that appear in the digital display when a drive mode is selected also stand out. The colorful animations are so neat that you might find yourself scrolling through the six drive modes—Normal, Excite (Sport), Slippery, Conserve, Deep Conditions, and Slow Climb—for fun.







It’s the Little Lights That Count

The Navigator’s interior ambient lighting is a nice touch. In addition to aesthetics, it tells passengers when a door is open by turning the open door’s ambient lighting red. The premium SUV also features little red LEDs where pop-up door locks usually are; these illuminate when the door is locked and turn off when unlocked. Buckling a seat belt is easy enough, but Lincoln makes things easier—and much cooler looking—by adding a small white LED that illuminates the buckle. The LED dome and reading lights are nice and bright and complement the rest of the interior’s lighting.


Charge-up and Connect

The outgoing Navigator lacked technology and connectivity,

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Spied! Huge Kidney Grilles Spread to the Next-Gen BMW X5 M

By | April 4, 2018

Our spy photographer just snapped the upcoming BMW X5 M up close at a red light in BMW’s home country of Germany. The current BMW X5 will be replaced by the soon-to-be-released 2019 X5 that our photographer also recently caught testing.

The 2010 BMW X5 M was the first X5 M making an impressive 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque from a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. For 2015, BMW released the second-generation X5 M packing a different version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 pumping out 567 hp and 553 lb-ft. Once released, the third-generation X5 M will likely utilize yet another version of BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, making about 600 hp just like the redesigned 2018 BMW M5.

When we took the 2015 BMW X5 M to the track, the SUV hit 60 mph in a very impressive 3.7 seconds, on its way to a quarter mile time of 12.2 seconds at 112.8 mph. The upcoming X5 will be built on the lighter CLAR platform shared with the new 5 Series and 7 Series, so we can expect quicker acceleration, possibly exceeding the 3.5- and 12.0-second marks, respectively.

As we have seen before when BMW redesigns a vehicle, not a whole lot changes on the outside. This seems to be the case with the X5 M. Right away we notice the much larger kidney grille that we first saw on the BMW X7 iPerformance Concept, and the quad-tip tailpipes that have been pushed out closer to the sides of the rear bumper. The headlights and taillights appear to have been redesigned and we can see a front camera and radar for driver-assist safety technologies. Peeking through the mismatched black wheels shod in Michelin winter tires are big blue M brakes, with what looks like six-piston calipers up front clamping down on drilled rotors.

The regular X5 will likely be released later this year with the X5 M following soon after.

Photo source: CarPix








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8 Performance Cars From the 2018 New York Auto Show

By | March 30, 2018

People like powerful cars, and the 2018 New York auto show delivered a good selection of high-end performance models sure to spark any car lover’s need for speed. Not only did sedans, coupes, and convertibles make the list, but two potent European SUVs debuted as well. With the current SUV and crossover craze, expect more performance variants of these vehicles to debut at future auto shows. Keep reading to learn about the performance cars debuting at the New York auto show.


2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

A twin-turbo V-6 wasn’t enough for Cadillac’s flagship CT6 and its new range-topping model, the V-Sport. A new, small-displacement 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 backed by a 10-speed automatic powers the CT6 V-Sport sedan. The new mill will come in two states of tune: a 500-hp, 553-lb-ft of torque version and a top-of-the-line variant producing 550 hp and 627 lb-ft. The standard 20-inch V-Sport wheels are wrapped in summer tires exclusively developed for the CT6 V-Sport. A mechanical limited-slip differential, unique V-Sport suspension tuning, and a four-piston Brembo braking system in front should give the CT6 V-Sport a driving experience to match its newfound power. To better separate itself from other CT6s, the V-Sport’s steering, Magnetic Ride Control, all-wheel drive system, and exhaust were all recalibrated. Cadillac engineers also added a track-tuned Active Rear Steer system and track-focused stability controls.

















2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo

At 590 hp and 538-lb-ft, the engine in the 2019 Levante Trofeo is the most powerful ever placed in a Maserati. Hand-assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, Levante Trofeo 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 propels the to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and gets the SUV to a top speed of 187 mph. The Trofeo features a new Corsa mode that has launch control capability, lowers the Levante, and stiffens the shocks. A new Integrated Vehicle Control system comes equipped in the Levante—a first in a Maserati—and is programmed to react better to driver inputs for optimum stability.

Visually, the Trofeo differentiates itself from other Levantes with its piano black grille, unique hood with dual cooling vents, a front fascia with larger intakes, a different rear bumper, 22-inch forged aluminum wheels, and carbon-fiber exterior trim. The limited-run Launch Edition features a Grigio Lava matte paint, matte-finish wheels, red brake calipers, black chrome badging, seven other unique exterior colors, and exclusive black leather upholstery with blue or yellow contrast stitching. This is as close to a Ferrari SUV as you’ll get until the actual Ferrari SUV is released.


















2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Jaguar’s best-selling model gets the much anticipated SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) treatment. The 2019 F-Pace SVR rockets to 60 mph in a Jaguar-estimated 4.1 seconds with the help of a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that churns out 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. A new electronic rear differential is the highlight of the standard all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice. The SVR also sports unique front and rear fascias, stiffer adaptive suspension, larger brakes, a more rigid chassis, and a revised electric power steering system. Larger wheels are also on the list of upgrades with standard 21-inch wheels and optional 22-inchers. The wider tires should help with cornering grip or during a 176-mph top speed run.



2019 Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder

How do you make an already amazing exotic car more appealing? Take the top off and add “Spyder” to the name. That is exactly what Lamborghini did with the Huracan Performante Spyder. Nothing changes under the hood—the Spyder utilizes the Huracan coupe’s 5.2-liter V-10 good for 630 naturally aspirated ponies at a screaming 8,000 rpm. The claimed 3.1-second 0-60 mph time is 0.2 second slower—thanks to the extra 276-pound heft—than the coupe’s, but the 202 mph top speed is the same. The Italian automaker claims that the 3,300-pound Performante Spyder can brake from 62 mph in just 103 feet. The $35,000 premium over the coupe puts the Spyder’s starting price at a cool $308,859.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

The GT 4-Door Coupe is AMG’s new flagship sedan that made its North American debut at the New York auto show. The long, wide, and low Mercedes may look like the similarly swoopy CLS, but this car has a hatch for additional cargo room. Power is one of AMG’s fortes, and the performance automaker didn’t skimp on its flagship. There are three models, each with its own power level. The GT 53 utilizes a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with a mild hybrid system. This trim level produces 429 hp and can hit 60 mph in an estimated 4.4 seconds.

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Will the Hyundai Veloster N Get a Dual-Clutch Automatic?

By | March 21, 2018

Hyundai entered the competitive and smile-making world of hot hatches with the i30 N that is slated for other markets and the Veloster N that is coming to North America. Both vehicles—which share the same powertrain—come equipped with an enthusiast-preferred six-speed manual but a dual-clutch transmission could be offered later in production.

The i30 N will likely receive a dual-clutch option “late in 2019,” according to a report from CarAdvice. When speaking to Australian Hyundai executives, the “sales limitations” of offering a manual exclusively were mentioned as a contributing factor.

Although we aren’t getting the i30 N, we expect the Veloster N to follow suit and offer the automatic—probably an eight-speed unit that is currently in development—as well.

Sales might be one reason for offering a dual-clutch, but improved performance cannot be overlooked because these automatics tend to have quicker acceleration numbers than manual-equipped vehicles.

The redesigned 2019 Veloster offers a base 147-hp 2.0-liter I-4 engine and an optional 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four. The 2.0-liter can be paired to a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic and the 1.6-liter turbo-four is backed by either the six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The front-drive Veloster N packs a 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual offers downshift rev-matching and features carbon-coated synchros and reinforced gears.

Enthusiasts will probably knock on the blandness of a dual-clutch automatic, but adding this option should increase the appeal of the hot hatch to more drivers.

Source: CarAdvice (1,2)












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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Arrival: Hello Again Subaru

By | March 12, 2018

I’ve owned seven Subarus over my years of driving. That might sound like a lot, but I used to go through cars fast. Even though it’s been about three years since my last Subie, it felt natural that my first long-term tester would be one, too. And although this might be my first Crosstrek, I have owned first-, second-, and third-generation Imprezas—and the Crosstrek is basically a raised Impreza hatchback. This gives me a first-hand opportunity to see how Subaru has advanced its latest compact offering.

Already, the Crosstreks we have tested on a short-term basis have been warmly regarded by our staff. The Crosstrek won a three-way comparison that included the Jeep Compass Trailhawk and Nissan Rogue Sport AWD. Then, in one of the most competitive 2018 Motor Trend SUV of the Year fields to date, it was named a finalist, and even snared one first-place vote among our judges.

In the three-way test, we noted: “In a segment looking for the Goldilocks fit, the second-generation Subaru Crosstrek marries the off-road capability of the Jeep with the on-road ride quality of the Nissan while bringing an impressive level of refinement and value to this emerging segment.” As our long-termer rolled up to the Motor Trend garage, I knew I had been given a competent vehicle to chaperone.

The Crosstrek was developed to be a comfortable and economical urban vehicle offering plenty of technology and safety while having the capability to navigate through the roughest of weather and take you safely and confidently to your favorite trailheads, camping spots, and light-duty dirt trails. If you look at the success of the outgoing model, the 2018 Crosstrek has a good chance of delivering on its promises.




Our Crosstrek is the 2.0i Premium model (the midlevel trim) in a Cool Gray Khaki color, which looks more like a light blue matte. Regardless, it’s an attractive color. Standard features include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, foglights, roof rails, a 6.5-inch Starlink multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a USB port with smartphone connectivity, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, and a rearview camera. For an extra $800 our premium-grade trim level adds standard heated front seats, cloth upholstery with orange stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with orange stitching, remote keyless entry, automatic headlights, and the StarLink Safety system (SOS emergency assistance button, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery, etc.). Optional features include a package consisting of a power moonroof and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist for $1,400, the $1,000 continuously variable transmission (a six-speed manual is standard), , a $499 Rockford Fosgate audio system upgrade, a crossbar set, a rear bumper cover, a rubber seat back protector, and all-weather mats that added another $490.

For the next year we’ll see what it’s like living with the redesigned Crosstrek and how the little lifted Subaru braves L.A.’s infamous traffic and dated road and highway networks. With the beach, mountains, and desert nearby, we expect to assess how the Crosstrek handles the snow, sand, and off-road trails, utilizing its standard Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system, impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and optional off-road mode with hill-descent control. The Subaru’s slow acceleration was the biggest complaint by our editors, so I will evaluate how much of an issue that might be both on- and off-road.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i (Premium)
BASE PRICE $23,510
PRICE AS TESTED $26,899
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/152-hp/145-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto
WHEELBASE 104.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.8 x 71.0 x 62.6 in
0-60 MPH 9.0 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 27/33/29 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 125/102 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.66 lb/mile







































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