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2019 Volkswagen Golf: Why I’d Buy It – Kelly Pleskot

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 4:00am

“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would online editor Kelly Pleskot drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.

The Volkswagen Golf isn’t on most people’s radar when shopping for a small car. When it won our 2015 Car of the Year award, I remember getting some puzzled looks. “Does anyone actually buy this car?” people would ask me about the seemingly obscure choice. It remains a small player in the compact segment, with 42,271 Golf family vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, including just 6,642 copies of the standard Golf hatch. But it’s a true hidden gem, and it’s the car I would pick if I were in the market.

The current-generation Golf is remarkably competent given its age, even my favorite version, the standard hatch. After five years on the market, it still holds its own with other compacts thanks to its stable ride, agile handling, confident braking, and smooth powertrain. Perhaps the most significant change the hatch has received in its current iteration is a 1.4-liter turbo-four making 147 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Although that doesn’t seem like much, the engine packs a strong punch while saving on gas. It nets 29/37 mpg city/highway no matter whether you pick the purist six-speed manual or the quick-shifting eight-speed automatic.

About Kelly: I’m an online editor at MotorTrend and enjoy hiking, rock climbing, traveling, and reading classic literature. 

It’s that kind of balanced performance I’m looking for in a car. I also enjoy the Golf’s easy maneuverability when I’m parking in tight spaces in my native Orange County or even tighter spots in my work home of Los Angeles. At the same time, I need plenty of cargo room for weekend luggage, athletic gear, grocery runs, and the semi-complete sweater collection I keep in my car so I’m ready for any weather on the go. The Golf more than fits the bill for my married, kid-free lifestyle. And call it vanity, but I can’t own a car that everybody else has. That means very solid competitors like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra are off my list. And I’m just not interested in a luxury car.

How I’d Spec My 2019 Volkswagen Golf

Sadly, VW may no longer offer the standard Golf and SportWagen in the U.S. as it moves into a new generation. As of May 2019, only the GTI and Golf R have been confirmed for North America. But for now, I would pick the standard hatch for its value proposition. Only two trim levels are available on the 2019 Volkswagen Golf: S ($22,740) and SE ($25,040). I would stick with the base model because it has all I need including a 6.5-inch touchscreen, cloth seats, automatic headlights, and the peace of mind that comes with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and other key safety features. The SE upgrades to an 8.0-inch touchscreen, leatherette seats with front seat heating, and a panoramic sunroof. If the regular Golf disappears, I could be strong-armed into a GTI, which benefits from a more powerful engine currently making 228 hp.

The eighth-generation Golf will be revealed at the end of this year, and we hope the standard hatch makes its way to the U.S. It’s expected to sit on a lighter version of the existing MQB platform, so it should feature even sharper driving dynamics.

Two other cars I would consider: Volkswagen Beetle, Subaru Impreza

The post 2019 Volkswagen Golf: Why I’d Buy It – Kelly Pleskot appeared first on MotorTrend.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Is More Truck for Less Money

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 7:21pm

Chevrolet has announced pricing for the 2020 Silverado HD, and despite offering greater capability and technology than the model it replaces, the heavy-duty pickup comes at a lower starting price.

Before we get into the numbers, let’s have a quick overview of the Silverado HD range. The heavy-duty truck is offered in strong 2500 or stronger 3500 guise, the latter of which is available as a dually. Trims, from entry-level to high-end, are Work Truck, Custom (exclusive to 2500), LT, LTZ, and High Country. All come standard with a 6.6-liter gasoline V-8 that makes 401 hp and 464 lb-ft backed by a six-speed transmission, but any can be had with a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 producing 445 hp and a mighty 910 lb-ft of twist through a 10-speed transmission.

Now, about money: The 2020 Silverado HD 2500 will start at $35,695, $300 less than the previous equivalent model. That’s for the entry-level Work Truck trim in regular cab/long bed, with the LT of the same configuration starting at $39,595.

Double cab/standard bed configuration is available for Work Truck at $38,095, Custom at $40,595, LT at $41,595, and LTZ at $50,295. Adding the long bed increases those prices by $200.

Crew cab/standard bed starts with Work Truck at $39,895, Custom at $42,395, LT at $43,395, LTZ at $52,095, and High Country at $62,695. Again, the long bed brings a $200 premium.

The 2020 Silverado HD 3500 brings different bed/cab combinations, and optional dually rear wheels add $1,200 over standard. Regular cab/long bed starts at $36,895, and LT at $40,795. Double cab/long bed Work Trucks go for $39,495, and LTs for $42,995.

Crew cab/standard bed Silverado 3500s in Work Truck trim start at $41,695, LT at $44,595, LTZ at $53,295, and High Country at $63,895. Like Silverado 2500s, the long bed costs an extra $200.

These trucks are built for work and have impressive towing and hauling capability. Gas-powered Silverado HDs are rated to carry a 7,466-pound payload and tow up to 17,400 pounds. Payload rating for diesel Silverado HDs isn’t yet available, but Chevrolet is proud of its 52-percent increase in towing capacity, now at 35,500 pounds.

Between the different cab, bed, rear axle, and engine combinations, 80 variants are available—and that’s before optional extras. With pricing now available, 2020 Silverado HD is making its way to dealer lots—and to our Truck of the Year contest in a few months.

Source: Chevrolet

The post 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Is More Truck for Less Money appeared first on MotorTrend.

Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Kia Telluride vs. Toyota Highlander

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 4:21pm

Kia finally entered the three-row SUV market when it introduced the Telluride this spring. One of its most formidable competitors will be the upcoming 2020 Toyota Highlander, which sheds its staid image thanks to a recent makeover. Does the Telluride’s quirky design compete with the newly elegant Highlander? Let’s examine the design differences between the two models before you make up your mind.

If you see the Telluride on the street, you’ll probably be able to tell it’s built from the company that makes the Soul. Like the small hatch, the 2020 Kia Telluride adopts an exceptionally boxy look. Up front, it features a squared-off face with rectangular headlights and a rectangular grille with a honeycomb pattern. You could say the Highlander adopts a softer look, with wedge-shaped headlights and rounded grille with a 3D-effect lattice design. A decorative wing element is attached to the Toyota badge for a little flair. Not content with a simple Kia logo, the Telluride sprawls its name out in silver letters across the hood.

The boxy theme continues when you look at the side profile of the Telluride. The Highlander gets a more car-like nose, and instead of sharp straight character lines on the Telluride, it features a fluid hip line. It also gets a floating roof design, and the window tapers off dramatically from the front to back, further contributing to its windswept look. The Telluride stands out for its extensive body cladding, giving it an off-road-ready look.

Both vehicles feature simple rear designs without too many embellishments. In the rear, the Telluride features its name in wide lettering once again, this time in between the taillights. The quote mark-shaped lights have vertical lines as lighting signatures. In contrast, the Highlander sports thin, wide taillights. The Telluride has a chunky bumper, complemented by a bold rear skid plate with integrated twin exhaust pipes.

Hop inside the Telluride, and you’ll find the cabin feels wide. It gets a stretched-out dash with a wide 10.25-inch touchscreen available, plus a row of buttons and vents all oriented in a straight horizontal line. The Highlander features a more cluttered array off buttons, and a more layered dash design. The dash is set off by ambient lighting in pockets under the screen and in the passenger side compartment. The Highlander offers a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen.

Which three-row SUV is the better looker: the 2020 Kia Telluride or Toyota Highlander? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.

The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Kia Telluride vs. Toyota Highlander appeared first on MotorTrend.

Best Father’s Day Gifts for Your Car-Loving Dad

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 1:45pm

My first memory behind the wheel is of steering my father’s 1998 Ford Taurus down our little dead end street and turning into our driveway. Notice I said steering, not driving. I was sitting on his lap. Many of us wouldn’t be anywhere near as enthusiastic about the automotive world without the presence of our car guy dads, so this Father’s Day, grab your rad dad some sweet car-related gifts he’ll never forget.

And if you’re more of a last-minute shopper, MotorTrend On Demand has quite the Father’s Day offer! Your choice of $2.99 for the first month or $29.99 for the first year will get Dad access to our entire collection of automotive programming, plus a bonus Father’s Day episode of Roadkill and a whole bonus season of Wheeler Dealers. This Roadkill episode should be a fun one; Freiburger and Finnegan are battling Ford vs. Chevy in a cheap beater battle. It’s full of V-8s and burnouts and drag races and all the vehicular madness you and your dad love. Plus, if he’s a racing fan, we’ll be streaming live from Le Mans all weekend.

We might be biased, but we think a MotorTrend On Demand subscription is your best bet. In case you want something to pair with it, here are some other Father’s Day gifts your dad will also love.

Autoart Scale Model

What would your dad enjoy more than looking at his car all weekend? Looking at a lovingly crafted 1:18 scale model of his car all day, every day because it’ll fit on his desk! Plus he won’t make you sleep in the backyard if you scratch the fender. The folks at Autoart make exactly what we look for in a scale model: millimetrically precise interior and exterior details that celebrate each and every tiny car they build.

Turo car for the weekend

A unique rental car is the perfect temporary vacation from your dad’s practical daily driver, and Turo is probably the best place to find one. Because Turo vehicles are owned by real drivers (not rental agencies), the rides available for booking are a lot more interesting and more varied than the sea of white Mitsubishi Mirages or similar at your average rental lot. Outdoorsy dads would love a weekend in a doorless Wrangler, sporty dads could live out their boy racer dreams in a Porsche 911—the possibilities are nearly endless. Want to get an idea of what’s available? Check out our article here.

Hot Wheels ID Smart Track Kit

Yes, this box of fun might be more targeted toward children than fathers, but hear me out: how many years has your dad been buying Hot Wheels for you? Isn’t it time to give back? Hot Wheels ID might be the biggest product launch for the Mattel-owned toy brand in the last 50 years. The new line of Hot Wheels cars and tracks incorporates the capability to track and log each individual car’s performance, and the new Smart Track has the most powerful booster Hot Wheels has ever made! Bonus point: the Hot Wheels ID line goes on sale June 14, so Dad will probably be the first kid on the block to have one.

Automotive Wall Art

Your car-guy dad needs more automotive art in his life—he’s just too busy wrenching and doing other car-guy things to buy some for himself. The folks at Blipshift seem to have a direct artery into what we love about cars and their always-changing collection of posters (and t-shirts!) would make great gifts for Dad.

Lego Speed Champions

Lego struck gold with the Speed Champions collection. It consists only of real licensed cars, rather than generic car-like figures in Lego sets of old. These sets start at only $14.99, but if you’ve got a little extra money to spend, check out one of their automotive pairings like the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and 1970 Dodge Charger R/T.

Linear Edge Track Sculpture

Is your dad a racing fan? A track nut? If he has a favorite track, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than a hanging sculpture from Linear Edge. Their built-to-scale wooden track sculptures are minimalist enough to pass as modern art, but you and dad will know the deal. Linear Edge has 100 different tracks to choose from, and if they don’t have the circuit you’re looking for (say Mario Kart 64’s Moo Moo Farm, a track I distinctly remember racing with my dad back in the day) they’ll custom build it for you at no extra cost. He’ll love it.

Autodromo Group B

Put ‘yer dang phone away! Your dad still remembers the days when a small clock on your wrist was still the easiest way to check the time, and he probably still wears one. Wristwatches and race cars have a long history and there are plenty of motorsport-inspired timepieces to choose from, but we’re recommending the Autodromo Group B Series 2. It’s a 1980s rally–inspired time-teller that will definitely look rad on Dad’s wrist, and the robust Miyota 9015 automatic movement will last a lot longer than ‘yer phone.

Xbox One X and Game Pass Ultimate

Racing games are a blast for any car fan, and the 4K-capable Xbox One X may be the best machine out there for taking a virtual drive. Spring for an Xbox Game Pass subscription for dad so he’ll have access to racers like Forza Horizon 4 and F1 2018. Is your dad a little too old to be proficient with a modern controller? Consider splurging for a simulation-grade wheel and pedal setup from Fanatec.

Detailing Equipment

If Dad’s got an old classic in the garage, chances are he likes to keep it clean. Get him a bucket of detailing products and microfiber towels from Meguiar’s Ultimate Line so he can toss the old t-shirt he’s been using to buff the hood. Maybe enough paint correction could get rid of that fender scratch he “isn’t” still mad about.

Coffee table book

Your dad isn’t just a gear head, he’s a brilliant intellectual thinker and he’s better than everyone else’s dad—and there’s no better way to let the world know than a serious flex of a coffee table book. Check out the Luftgekühlt Book, a three-part telling of the origins of the Luftgekühlt story. It’s perfect for any person who loves Porsche, and it would look fabulous on your dad’s coffee table.

The post Best Father’s Day Gifts for Your Car-Loving Dad appeared first on MotorTrend.

Hot Wheels ID Is the Classic Toy Reimagined for a Connected Age

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 9:00am

I can’t remember how I got it, but I can vividly recall my very first Hot Wheels. It was a red double-headed dragon on four chrome wheels. I remember how the contrast of smooth plastic and cold metal felt in my hands, and being certain it could roll forever if only my kitchen floor were bigger. That was over 30 years ago, and since then Hot Wheels has expanded to include many more designs and features, but the way you play with them hasn’t changed much. Not until today.

Hot Wheels ID is Mattel’s vision for the future of the die-cast toy line, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. A project three years in the making, the Hot Wheels ID series takes the classic 1:64-scale cars we all know and grants the ability to download digital versions of them into a mobile game (launching first on iOS). It’s a concept that’s been done before in the toy industry by the likes of Skylanders and Lego Dimensions, but because you play with Hot Wheels differently from either of those the experience is unique.

Like others in the toys-to-life genre, Hot Wheels ID cars use Near-Field Communication (NFC) to scan the toy and retrieve the information needed to create an avatar for it in the game. Each Hot Wheels ID car has a chip on the bottom, visible through a layer of clear plastic, that stores information specific to that toy. Like a virtual VIN, the data tells you what number your car is in the series. As with real cars, you can expect Hot Wheels with low sequence numbers to be prized. The chip also stores performance data and racing history (more on those later), which stay with the car its entire life. If you trade a car, its new owner can see everything it’s ever done once they scan it, at which point it will disappear from your virtual garage.

The scanning can happen one of two ways: by tapping the car to your iPhone (7 and up) or by passing it through a Hot Wheels Race Portal, which is sold separately. The portal runs on a rechargeable battery, and uses Bluetooth to relay info to your device. What’s cool about it is there’s a pair of infrared sensors that record speed and count laps. The game shows you scale speed, so you can achieve some ridiculous numbers (we saw up to 800 mph in a demo). You can attach the portal to any Hot Wheels track, but if you connect it to the Hot Wheels ID Smart Track, whatever you build in real life is mirrored in the game.

Your virtual track can be raced using cars you’ve scanned or digital-only cars you earn or buy in-game. In campaign mode, there are challenges that get harder as you progress, and each offers a chance to earn ID Coins to upgrade your car or purchase blueprints for digital cars. Mattel will hold live events where you can scan NFC tags for exclusive digital cars, and there will be global events in the game bringing new challenges periodically.

You can of course still play with the physical track and cars when you’re not on the app–and if you’re like us, you’ll have plenty of fun without the digital aspect. The Smart Track Kit includes Hot Wheels’ most powerful launcher ever, which is what enables the above mentioned ridiculous scale speeds and will send a car flying off the track if you overcharge it. Adding multiple cars increases the challenge and the fun. The data recorded by the portal will appear the next time you connect to the game.

At launch, the Hot Wheels ID line will have eight cars, the portal, and Smart Track available exclusively at select Apple Stores, with the game available for download on the App Store. The Android version will be released a month later on Amazon Prime Day, along with another eight cars. In total, 51 cars are planned for 2019, with 100 more on the way in 2020, including designs licensed by more than a dozen OEM brands. Hot Wheels ID lands at Target stores this October, just in time for the holidays.

The cars retail for $6.99 each—more than the $0.99 we’re used to paying for a regular Hot Wheels, but not outrageous considering production will be limited. The cars also get fancier packaging better suited for collectibles. But the other two products in the ID line are significantly pricier. The portal goes for $39.99 and the Smart Track Kit asks a whopping $179.99. Kids better be extra-good this holiday season if they put that on their list.

Mattel says today’s kids expect more from their toys, and Hot Wheels ID certainly delivers more. But crucially, the added features also don’t take much, if anything, away from the original toys. Kids can still create lasting memories like the ones I have, plus a few more. But if you get nostalgic for good, old-fashioned die-cast metal and plastic wheels, don’t worry. Traditional Hot Wheels cars aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The post Hot Wheels ID Is the Classic Toy Reimagined for a Connected Age appeared first on MotorTrend.

Here’s Every Tesla We’ve Tested So Far

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 4:00am

We can largely thank Tesla for making electric vehicles exciting. From the original Roadster to the more practical and mass-market Model 3, Tesla hasn’t missed a beat in creating vehicles that are quick, nimble, and technologically advanced. While other automakers will be flooding the market with high-performance EVs in the coming years, we’ll always appreciate Tesla for beginning the charge. And though there’s no shortage of turmoil at the company these days, Tesla remains committed to high performance, promising a host of new vehicles including the Model Y SUV and next-gen Roadster. To see how the carmaker has evolved over the last decade, keep reading for a list of all the Tesla vehicles we’ve ever tested.

 

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport


0-60: 3.7 seconds
¼ mile: 12.6 seconds at 102.6 mph
Figure eight: 24.6 seconds at 0.81 g (avg)
60-0: 113 feet

Tesla nailed it with its first product, the Roadster. In 2009, we clocked this sinewy sports car hitting 60 mph in an impressive 3.7 seconds. The Sport model we tested produced the same 288 hp as the standard Roadster but at 600 fewer revs (4,400 rpm) and 295 lb-ft of torque, up from 273 lb-ft. The feeling behind the wheel was almost otherworldly. “It’s such an unnatural thrust that it actually brings to mind that hokey Star Trek star-smear of warp-speed,” we wrote in a First Test. “The quick, linear accumulation of velocity makes you smile and hold on, shake your head, and eventually learn to carve unimaginable moves through traffic that’s populated by completely flat-footed internal-combustion cars.” Predictably, the performance came with a high price tag of $130,000.

We can’t wait to test the new 2020 Tesla Roadster, which the automaker claims will be able to hit 60 mph in 1.9 seconds.

 

2012 Tesla Model S P85


0-60: 3.9 seconds
¼ mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph
Figure eight: 25.3 seconds at 0.70 g (avg)
60-0: 105 feet

The next time we tested a Tesla, it was Elon Musk’s personal Model S. Tesla had just introduced the electric luxury sedan, and this performance version made 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Weighing almost 2,000 pounds more than the Roadster we tested, this car took 3.9 seconds to hit 60 mph. We managed to travel from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back on one charge, pushing the car’s 265-mile range to the limit.

 

2013 Tesla Model S P85

0-60: 4.0 seconds
¼ mile: 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph
Figure eight: 25.6 at 0.77 g (avg)
60-0: 113 feet

The Model S was a contender for MotorTrend’s Car of the Year award—and it won. Like our last Model S tester, this model had the performance bits that helped it make 416 hp.

The vote was unanimous among the 11 judges. “The mere fact the Tesla Model S exists at all is a testament to innovation and entrepreneurship, the very qualities that once made the American automobile industry the largest, richest, and most powerful in the world,” we wrote. “America can still make things. Great things.”

 

2013 Tesla Model S

0-60: 5.0 seconds
¼ mile: 13.2 seconds at 110.9 mph
Figure eight: 25.7 seconds at 0.76 g (avg)
60-0: 124 feet

During our Car of the Year evaluation, we also tested a less powerful version of the Model S. It still had the biggest 85-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery option, but output was limited to 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The sedan hit 60 mph in 5.0 seconds, making it a full second slower than the performance models we had tested.

 

2013 Tesla Model S P85+ Long Term


0-60: 4.0 seconds
¼ mile: 12.7 seconds at 107.8 mph
Figure eight: 25.3 seconds at 0.74 g (avg)
60-0: 108 feet

After the Model S won our Car of the Year award, we drove one for a more than a year to get a better idea of how it performs over the long run. We came away impressed, despite the model getting a new power unit when technicians noticed a clicking sound in the single-speed reduction gears—it proved an easy swap-out. Over the course of 38,000 miles, the car’s battery experienced little degradation.

 

2014 Tesla Model S P85+

0-60: 3.9 seconds
¼ mile: 12.5 seconds at 108.4 mph
Figure eight: 24.8 seconds at 0.80 g (avg)
60-0: 102 feet

 

In 2014, we pitted a Model S against the BMW i8 in a comparison test. Although the i8 proved more nimble, the Model S took the crown for its impressive power, everyday livability, and excellent efficiency.

 

2015 Tesla Model S P85D

0-60: 3.1 seconds
¼ mile: 11.6 seconds at 115.2 mph
Figure eight: 25.0 seconds at 0.77 g (avg)
60-0: 113 feet

By this point, Tesla had made significant updates to the Model S, including improved seats and upgraded powertrains. Thus, Tesla’s new P85D model boasted a significant power increase over previous Model S sedans. It had a new dual-motor setup—one motor at the front and one at the back—good for a combined 691 hp and 687 lb-ft of torque. We were pleased with the upgrades, noting in our First Test: “The torque impacts your body with the violence of facing the wrong way on the train tracks when the whistle blows.”

 

2015 Tesla Model S P85D

0-60: 3.2 seconds
¼ mile: 11.7 seconds at 113.7 mph
Figure eight: 25.2 seconds at 0.79 g (avg)
60-0: 104 feet

Later, we tested the model again, pitting it against a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Surprisingly, the Tesla was heavier (4,944 pounds versus the Hellcat’s 4,562 pounds).

 

2015 Tesla Model S P90D Ludicrous

0-60: 2.6 seconds
¼ mile: 10.9 seconds at 122.7 mph
Figure eight: 24.7 at 0.81 g (avg)
60-0: 109 feet

Now, Tesla was making a version of the Model S with an insane 762 hp and 713 lb-ft of torque. This combined output comes courtesy of a more potent version of the new all-wheel-drive, dual-motor setup. In our tests, the Model S with the Ludicrous update zipped to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, making it the quickest four-door on the market at the time. This time was even good enough to beat top sports cars. It was quicker to 60 mph than the Nissan GT-R, Lamborghini Aventador, and Bugatti Veyron, and it was tied with the McLaren P1.

 

2016 Tesla Model X P90D Ludicrous

0-60: 3.2 seconds
¼ mile: 11.7 seconds at 116.0 mph
Figure eight: 25.1 seconds at 0.78 g (avg)
60-0: 106 feet

Tesla took the Ludicrous magic of the top Model S and repackaged it in SUV form. The Model X, known for its falcon-wing doors, is ridiculously quick when equipped with a dual-motor powertrain making a total of 532 hp and 713 lb-ft of torque. Its 5,516-pound curb weight didn’t hinder its performance; the SUV cosseted drivers with excellent ride quality and cornering ability, plus very solid braking performance. It became the quickest SUV we had ever tested at the time, and it was even 0.2 second quicker than a Ferrari Enzo to 60 mph.

 

2016 Tesla Model X 75D

0-60: 5.5 seconds
¼ mile: 14.1 seconds at 100.6 mph
Figure eight: 26.7 seconds at 0.70 g (avg)
60-0: 113 feet

Without the dual-motor setup of our previous tester, this version of the Model X had more modest performance. The 328-hp SUV hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, putting it on par with the Jaguar F-Pace S AWD. In a review, we noted you get 90 percent of the adventure of the top P90D model for more than $40,000 less.

 

2016 Tesla Model S 60

0-60: 5.0 seconds
¼ mile: 13.6 seconds at 103.5 mph
Figure eight: 26.5 seconds at 0.70 g (avg)
60-0: 121 feet

Finally, it was time to test the “budget” version of the Model S sedan. Making 315 hp, this sedan managed to hit 60 mph in 5.0 seconds, which was still quick compared with many other EVs on the market. Range was limited to 200 miles, but buyers could pay for a software upgrade that unlocked an extra 40 miles of range. It had a bit more body roll than higher-trim Model S sedans equipped with stickier tires and an air suspension. But for less than $70,000 before tax credits, you were still getting a technological marvel with a solid ride and great steering.

 

2017 Tesla Model S P100D (Ludicrous+)

0-60: 2.3 seconds
¼ mile: 10.5 seconds at 125.0 mph
Figure eight: 24.6 seconds at 0.82 g (avg)
60-0: 109 feet

Tesla outdid itself again. The Tesla Model S P100D featured a new 100-kW-hr battery pack with enough juice to propel itself to 60 mph in 2.28 seconds. To this day, it remains the quickest production car MotorTrend has ever tested. P100D models could travel 315 miles on a single charge.

 

2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range

0-60: 4.8 seconds
¼ mile: 13.4 seconds at 104.9 mph
Figure eight: 25.7 seconds at 0.74 g (avg)
60-0: 119 feet

The Model 3 was “make it or break it” for the automaker. It was a test to see if Tesla could build affordable cars with enough range to serve as someone’s one and only vehicle. So far, it has been a big sales success. When it arrived on the scene, Tesla’s small sedan proved more capable in many ways than a segment favorite, the BMW 330i. For instance, with a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds, it was 0.7 second quicker to 60 mph. This rear-motor, rear-drive model made 271 hp and 307 lb-ft of torque.

 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Performance

0-60: 3.2 seconds
¼ mile: 11.8 seconds at 115.2 mph
Figure eight: 24.3 seconds at 0.84 g (avg)
60-0: 99 feet

This Model 3 variant is far from entry level. Packing 450 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque from a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain, this small sedan made it to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Just as notable, it managed to brake from 60 mph in 99 feet, putting it on par with the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Long Range


0-60: 4.0 seconds
¼ mile: 12.5 seconds 113.1 mph
Figure eight: 24.9 seconds at 0.78 g (avg)
60-0: 113 feet

This model combined the best from the two-motor Model 3 with the longer-range model. Most consumers will not be wanting for power. With a total of 346 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque from its two motors, this sedan hit 60 mph in 4 seconds flat. That time put it in good company with the Ford Mustang GT, Chevrolet Camaro SS, and Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats.

The post Here’s Every Tesla We’ve Tested So Far appeared first on MotorTrend.

2020 Mercedes GLB-Class: 5 Things You Should Know About the New Luxury Crossover

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 4:00am

At Mercedes-Benz’s press drive of its new 2020 GLS-Class (stay tuned for the review), the German brand used the opportunity to show U.S. journalists its newest crossover—the 2020 GLB-Class. With a boxier design, space for up to seven passengers, and the latest technology, the GLB will slot between the GLA and the GLC crossovers. We already covered a lot of ground in our 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class First Look, but here are a few things we found out after the compact crossover was presented in Park City, Utah.

EQB Coming in 2021

As Mercedes pushes to bring more electric vehicles to market, it will be producing new nameplates based on current internal combustion engine models. And the EQB will be no exception. The EQB will arrive to market in 2021 on the same platform as the GLB but with an electric powertrain. Details are scarce at the moment, but we just drove the first electric SUV from Mercedes—the EQC. Our impressions? We thought the steering didn’t offer good road feel, but we liked the interior finishes and user experience from the MBUX infotainment system. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for the EQB.

Built in Aguascalientes, Mexico

 

The GLB is the first Mercedes-Benz passenger car to be built in Mexico. The compact SUV will be produced in Aguascalientes, Mexico—in the same plant where the Infiniti QX50 is built, though the two SUVs won’t share a single part. The plant was part of an alliance between Daimler and Renault-Nissan to build Mercedes and Infiniti vehicles. China will also be producing the GLB for the Chinese market.

It’s just a bit shorter than the GLC

It might look much smaller in person, but the GLB is only a tad shorter than the GLC. The GLB has a 111.4-inch wheelbase (compared to the GLC’s 113.1 inches) and is 182.2 inches long (the GLC is 183.3). But in person, its boxiness gives it a more compact look, and it reminded me of the size of the first-gen Volkswagen Tiguan (now known as the Tiguan Limited in the U.S.).

The third row is for emergencies only

As a 5+2 vehicle, the GLB can carry seven passengers. But the optional third row is only good for young children. The very tight third row is difficult to get into, and if you do get in, your knees will be high, as legroom is pretty compromised. When I talked to designers about offering a third row, they said Chinese customers are always looking for a third row, so they decided to offer it in the U.S. in case there are any takers. But trust us: Only small children should sit back there. In contrast, the second row is pretty spacious and can comfortably seat three adults.

Pricing should start at about $38,500

It’s a big estimation, but the GLB’s price should be between that of the GLA and GLC, or somewhere between $34,945 and $41,545. Given that it’s closer to the GLC’s size, we expect the price to be closer to the GLC. We expect to have more information when the GLB makes its debut at the end of this year.

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Tested: Is the Genesis G70 Still a Driver’s Car With the 2.0T Engine?

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 4:00am

Here’s a story you’ve heard before: “[Upstart manufacturer] creates sports sedan to take on the BMW 3 Series.” It’s a tale as old as the 3 Series itself, with new chapters added every few years as ambitious brands take their turn at rivaling the German standard-setter. With the Genesis G70, 2019 marked the shortest time from brand establishment to Car of the Year win. The Genesis G70 win is especially impressive considering it’s the three-year-old brand’s first effort in the segment. Recently, we spent time in the base-engine G70 2.0T and wondered: Would the G70’s prowess as a driver’s car still shine through? And, crucially, could it hold its position against the 3 Series?

Our G70 2.0T tester’s 2.0-liter turbo-four produces 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, compared to 365 hp and 376 lb-ft from the 3.3T model’s 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6. Acceleration drops accordingly; its 0–60 time of 6.2 seconds is a second and a half behind the six-cylinder version of our Car of the Year champ. It’s also slower than all-wheel-drive Audi A4s we’ve tested; those cars hit 60 in 5.0–5.4 seconds despite having identical displacement and horsepower.

The four-cylinder G70 completed the quarter-mile sprint in 14.7 seconds at 93.9 mph, falling behind the Mercedes C 300’s 14.1 seconds at 99.9 mph. Supposedly the Genesis has launch control, but road test editor Chris Walton found it didn’t help—enabling it produced “a little chirp from the tires, then the engine bogs a bit. Trying various rpm brake releases produced nearly identical runs.”

Outside of a dragstrip, however, the 2.0T model doesn’t leave the driver wanting for acceleration. Clearly it’s turbocharged; there’s a bit of lag as power arrives a moment after the driver’s input. Keep it on boost, though, and it rushes toward its 6,200-rpm horsepower peak. Genesis attempts to amplify the experience by playing an artificial engine note inside the cabin, but its organic delivery had us wondering what effect it had.

In casual driving, the Genesis-designed eight-speed automatic transmission shifts with just enough feeling to let the driver know something’s happening. Hit the upshift paddle under generous throttle, and it responds with a satisfying kick into the next gear. However, the downshift paddle wasn’t so reactive. In real-world and track testing, multiple taps often wouldn’t engage a lower gear while braking.

Annoyingly, there’s no manual mode—the G70 returns to automatic shifting if you hold a gear too long, or whenever you come to a stop. For permanent manual mode, Genesis notably offers the G70 2.0T with a six-speed stick. The company knew the take rate for the manual would be low, and to date it’s only sold a handful of cars so equipped. Still, the automaker did it to capture the attention of enthusiasts, who would hopefully recognize the newcomer brand keeps their interests in mind.

The 2.0T drivetrain didn’t wow us like the 3.3T did, but the smaller engine cuts 119 pounds of mass over the front axle, yielding an improved 51/49 percent front/rear weight distribution. That seemed to parlay the balance we praised in our Car of the Year writeup. However, in figure-eight handling testing, testing director Kim Reynolds found where the G70 might concede to the 3 Series. Despite the Genesis weighing only 13 pounds more, its steering feels heavier and less natural than the BMW’s: “A bit wonky and more artificial, but I don’t want to be too critical—it’s fun,” he wrote.

That weighty steering complements the excellent chassis tuning, an element that’s continuously evident in the G70’s drive. The taut suspension and stiff body communicate what the tires are passing over, but the ride is supple, not harsh or crashy. We might not call it nimble, but it’s always poised. This isn’t a car you toss around, rather one in which you plot a flow down the road—equally enjoyable in highway cruising and backroad exploration. This is where the G70 earns its sport sedan credentials. The overall feeling it provides is one of connection, refinement, and solidity.

Those adjectives describe the interior, too. It looks and feels high quality, with hardly a surface that could be described as cheap. Our car’s lovely black-over-brown interior was a hit among testers and passengers. Quilted leather seats have bolstering that strikes harmony between sport and luxury. The door panel, center console lid, and transmission tunnel are comfortably padded where the driver might rest their extremities. Brightwork on trim, knobs, and buttons isn’t genuine metal but—like everything in the cabin—presents a substantial feel.

Genesis’ decision to forgo a dial or touchpad for infotainment control is appreciated. A fixed 8.0-inch screen centrally mounted on the dashboard responds quickly to touch inputs. Graphics aren’t among today’s best, but integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is fairly seamless. The screen’s positioning may be suboptimal for shorter drivers, but its location and function seems natural and sensible. Sensible, too, is how the instrument cluster display between the gauges works; toggles on the steering wheel let the driver access key functions on the move. All climate tasks can be controlled by physical dials and buttons on the center console.

A few quirks and confusions indicate this is a first-effort car. The navigation system SD card, which will almost never be accessed, is smack in the center of the dashboard, displacing more useful buttons next to it. Several times on our tester, switching drive modes while using Apple CarPlay garbled our music, requiring an on-off of the audio to fix. The head-up display spontaneously disappeared between drives. We eventually found it, positioned in a way that couldn’t be safely viewed while driving. It wouldn’t adjust back into sight, as if the projector shifted entirely. Adaptive cruise control cut out at the same time, and no number of vehicle restarts got it going again.

Although Genesis is a subbrand of Hyundai, little about the G70 indicates that it shares parts with a non-luxury brand. Yes, the lower door cards are plastic, and the infotainment is what you’d find in any Hyundai. But if Genesis saved development dollars there and spent more on improving the way the car drives, it’s a worthwhile trade-off. At $44,895, our fully loaded G70 2.0T Dynamic rings up many thousands of dollars less than similarly equipped competitors.

We summed up our 2019 Car of the Year report by praising Genesis for “accomplishing the near impossible: It built a better 3 Series.” Again, in a recent comparison, the G70 2.0T beat the 330i (but was bested by the Tesla Model 3), our testers saying the Korean car “represents the pinnacle of a segment.” To answer our earlier questions, yes, the G70 is still excellent even with the smaller engine. And yes, it still beats the 3 Series.

2019 Genesis G70 2.0T BASE PRICE $35,895 PRICE AS TESTED $44,895 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 2.0L/252-hp/260-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,659 lb (51/49%) WHEELBASE 111.6 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in 0-60 MPH 6.2 sec QUARTER MILE 14.7 sec @ 93.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 106 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.94 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.2 sec @ 0.72 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/30/25 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.78 lb/mile

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2019 Honda Accord Hybrid: Why I’d Buy It – Zach Gale

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 4:00am

“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would senior production editor Zach Gale drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.

When I turn the knob, I giggle. It’s stupid, I know, but turn a 2019 Honda Accord’s temperature dial, and watch as the accent lighting turns blue or red, depending on whether you made the air hotter or colder. Cool, right? If I were in the market for a new car, however, green is the most important color to me. Because I believe humans are doing serious damage to the planet, my new-car purchase would be limited to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and full EVs. But as I mentioned in my Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fantasy-SUV buying story, I’m cheap. So regardless of my personal budget, I’m not interested in cars that cost too much to begin with and then slap you with enormous maintenance bills down the road.

The smaller Insight hybrid sedan would probably meet my needs most of the time, but I prefer the Accord’s interior and higher seating position. Upgrading to a midsize sedan means more rear-seat space. And since I haven’t selected the gorgeous-for-a-midsize-sedan Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, my new car will actually come with a full-size trunk. That’s right, if you go for the hybrid version of the spacious Accord, trunk space goes from 16.7 cubic feet to … 16.7 cubic feet. The Ford’s many hybrid displays make commuting more fun, but the Fusions aren’t as roomy for people or cargo. So I’ll stick with Honda even though I’m tempted to snag a great deal on a Fusion before they disappear from dealer lots.

The Accord Hybrid has another advantage over the more attractive Ford: acceleration. The Honda hits 60 mph in a MotorTrend-tested 6.7 seconds, quicker than any hybridized Fusion. That’s also quicker than a base-engine Accord or Clarity plug-in, which is the other car I’d strongly consider. I remember being impressed by the Clarity’s ride, and its EV range is exceptional. The overstyled Clarity plug-in will get you 47 EPA-rated miles on EV power before the gas engine turns on to power you through another few hundred miles.

The truth is that I wavered between the Clarity plug-in and Accord hybrid while writing this story. The Clarity’s matte wood-like trim and suede-like trim feel upscale, but I prefer the Accord’s higher infotainment screen placement and volume knob for when my husband is serving as in-car DJ. Driven back to back on the world-class driving roads near me in Southern California, I bet the Accord—which is about 700 pounds lighter—will be more fun. With no stylistic middle ground between these two cars, I’ll drive the more subdued Accord even though I prefer the last-gen model’s wheel design to the current one.

The Clarity would be better for avoiding visits to the gas station, but as it is, the Accord Hybrid’s 48/48 mpg city/highway rating and 600-plus-mile driving range mean I won’t need to refuel often. I’ll take mine in Touring form (for the ventilated front seats), wearing Obsidian Blue Pearl paint and a black-chrome grille to avoid the Accord’s overchromed stock look.

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WATCH 24 Hours of Le Mans Flag-to-Flag Coverage HERE!

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 5:28pm

There’s nothing quite like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and now you can get live flag-to-flag coverage with MotorTrend! Starting at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT on Saturday June 15, catch the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans on the MotorTrend app, on MotorTrend TV, and right here.

And if you’re interested in catching coverage of live practice and qualifying sessions, we’ve got that, too.

So what are you waiting for? Check out our coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans here!

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15 Awesome Turo Cars for New College Graduates

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 3:00pm

Congratulations, college graduates! Receiving your diploma represents the culmination of a lifetime of work. Soon, you’ll realize you have another lifetime of work ahead and must learn to navigate the real-world challenges your professors never taught you about. But there’s a fleeting period in between that’s worthy of celebration—what better way to spend it than with an exciting drive?

Turo is a car-sharing marketplace where you can book other people’s cars. Focused less on basic transportation and more on enthusiast enjoyment, Turo has more than 350,000 vehicle listings divided among 850 makes and models that (almost) anyone over the age of 21 and with a valid driver’s license can book. Recent college grads seeking an unforgettable way to celebrate their accomplishment should check out Turo. Prices may vary depending on location or demand, but these examples give an idea of the awesome cars you can drive.

Audi RS 5

The Audi RS 5 combines the R8’s engine with a slinky 2+2 coupe body. That 4.2-liter V-8 channels 450 hp through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, while Quattro all-wheel drive provides traction and grip. The RS 5 has rear seats, so you can even squeeze friends in the back. This one on Turo is painted special-order Solar Orange, so it looks as quick as it goes.

Ford F-150 Raptor

Physics majors should avoid the Ford F-150 Raptor—its performance will defy everything you thought you knew. The Raptor has 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque on tap from its twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, enough to get the 5,500-plus-pound truck from 0 to 60 in just over 5 seconds. When the going gets rough, electronically controlled Fox shocks eat up any terrain. One Turo host calls his Raptor “Simply the king of trucks,” and we’re inclined to agree.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Some say a degree is the key to unlocking a successful career. Dodge says the red key will unlock the Challenger Hellcat’s full horsepower. That’s 707 to be exact, whereas the black key the car also comes with only allows a mere 500. This Hellcat—equipped with a six-speed manual transmission—offers the red key so you can experience the full effect of its now-legendary supercharged V-8.

Porsche 911 Cabriolet

You graduated from a prestigious institution—now step into another one. The Porsche 911 is an icon; the superlative sports car that’s been around longer than the mattress in your freshman dorm room. There’s a huge range of options available for the 911, exemplified by this Carrera Cabriolet—check out its captivating full red leather interior.

BMW M2

Didn’t party enough in college? Book yourself a BMW M2. Its short wheelbase and turbocharged inline-six engine make a car that’s ready to get rowdy. We’ve measured 0–60 times in the mid-4-second range, and the car’s configurable drive modes let the driver dial in the feeling they like the most. With bulging fenders and aerodynamic bumpers, the M2 looks ready for fun, too, especially when finished in Long Beach Blue.

Toyota 4Runner

The final weeks leading up to graduation are a grind, and after it all, you might just want to get out there and chill. Wherever out there may be, the Toyota 4Runner will get you there. It’s a legitimate adventure mobile, with body-on-frame construction, four-wheel drive, and big tires. Adding a pop-up tent to the roof provides a place to stay while on your vision quest.

Porsche Cayman S

A challenge of higher education is learning to balance focus and fun. When it comes to cars, a mid-engine layout provides that balance every time you drive. Mid-engine cars have an optimized weight distribution and center of mass, resulting in excellent handling and control. The Porsche Cayman is one of the best ways to experience that balance, and S models provide it with extra power.

Lotus Elise

Sparse and lean might be the best lifestyle to stretch a college budget, but applying those adjectives to sports cars increases enjoyment. History majors may recall Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s adage “simplify, then add lightness,” which aren’t necessarily words to live by, but are represented beautifully in the Elise. It weighs just over 2,000 pounds, and provides a visceral driving experience that cars more powerful or high-tech can’t match.

Jaguar F-Type S

The “things that will look good forever” list received another addition: the Jaguar F-Type. Its styling verges on simplistic, but in a way that exudes elegance and performance. Speaking of performance, the F-Type’s supercharged V-6 or V-8 provide plenty of it. Rolling up in an F-Type says you’ve made it—or in this case, you’ve made it through college.

Jeep Wrangler

A sad truth of graduating is that you and your best friends will go your separate ways. You’ll keep in touch, but the duties of work and life inevitably pull you in different directions. With four doors, four-wheel drive, and a big cargo area, the Jeep Wrangler is perfect for celebrating the good times together before reality kicks in. Take the roof off, pile in, and hit the open road.

Ford Focus RS

Maybe you’ve already got a job lined up post-graduation, and you need to get settled somewhere new—fast. The Ford Focus RS can help make that happen, with a spacious hatchback cargo area that can fit a bunch of your stuff inside. Plus, there’s the 350-hp turbocharged I-4 under the hood to hastily dispatch trips to the store for the things you inevitably forgot at home.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 S

We all knew that one guy in college who spent all his free time in the gym. He began freshman year as a skinny kid but by graduation had built himself into a beast. That’s much like the evolution from the regular C 300 to the C 63 S. It starts as soft and restrained and transforms into brawny and hard-edged. What better way to show off that power than by letting the top down?

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo is still finding its footing in the U.S. market, but the brand proudly displays its Italian heritage. That’s fully evident in the 4C, a miniature supercar with a carbon-fiber chassis, mid-mounted engine, and passionate styling. Driving it is certain to generate smiles, for those inside and outside the car.

BMW M3

The M3 seems to be built for those torn between two life stages: on one side a responsible adult who must tend to work or family, on the other a bright-eyed kid with verve and spirit for the future. In other words, it’s the perfect car for a recent college graduate. This one on Turo has 20-inch wheels and an upgraded cold-air intake.

Tesla Model 3

Today’s college graduates are entering an era of automotive electrification. Those soon-to-be professionals will continue to shape the car industry and may well guide us toward a fully electrified future. What better way to experience tomorrow, now, than in a Tesla Model 3?

Photos courtesy of Turo

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Classic Mustangs! See Vintage Pony Cars From the 55 Years of Mustang Show

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 3:00pm

Typically, most car shows are dominated by late-model cars, and that’s also true of Mustang events. The 55 Years of Mustang show at Charlotte Motor Speedway, however, was packed with the early model Mustangs that Mustang Monthly fans are fond of, and we tried to capture every single one of them here, so check out the gallery below. And if you attended the event, you should be able to find your car!

This article was originally featured on Mustang Monthly. For more stories like this, check out the Mustang 360 Network.

The event kicked off with the opening of the new Mustang Owner’s Museum (www.mustangownersmuseum.com) in Concord, North Carolina, just a stone’s throw from Charlotte Motor Speedway where the car show and open track portions of the event. Thursday saw a mostly filled infield car show, while Friday experienced heavy rain around noon, more of less washing out the show for the day. Saturday dawned cloudy but the rain stayed away, for the morning at least, and the soundtrack was once again filled with open track cars on Charlotte’s banked race track mixed with the murmur of the crowd of Mustang owners and spectators.

More on the Ford Mustang:

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Mid-Engine Corvette: Patent Hints at Potential Active Aero Bits

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 2:55pm

The countdown is underway–GM will debut the 2020 Corvette Corvette on July 18. Among the very few concrete details we have, it will bear a new logo and sport a mid-engine layout. Countless pieces of the puzzle remain up in the air, such as whether or not it will receive turbochargers and dual overhead cams. Adding more questions to the list, GM recently received a patent for an active aero system that we think could make its way to the new ‘Vette.

Issued on June 11, the patent details a system with “an air deflector moveably mounted to the vehicle body.” According to the document, sensors measure the distance to the ground, and this determines how the air deflectors are positioned. The system includes “a mechanism configured to selectively vary a height of the air deflector relative to the road surface and a position of the air deflector relative to the vehicle body to thereby control a movement of the ambient airflow relative the vehicle body.” The patent was uncovered earlier this week by MidEngineCorvetteForum.com, so head over there to check out the full document.

While the text doesn’t mention the Corvette specifically, sketches in the patent clearly show this sports car. Another aero bit that could make its way to the Corvette is an adjustable splitter system, of which one portion is fixed to the vehicle body and a second one moves to improve airflow. GM has filed for a separate patent related to this technology.

It’s likely the mid-engine Corvette will feature a dual-overhead-cam twin-turbo V-8 driving the rear wheels. We don’t know how much power the car will make, but it should offer 4.2-liter and 5.5-liter displacement versions. Earlier this year, we saw the interior of a Corvette prototype, sporting a new two-spoke steering wheel, a control knob for the infotainment screen, and a long row of climate controls on the right side of the center console. We’ll have to wait and see if all these details will make it to production.

Source: MidEngineCorvetteForum.com

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Five Cars, Three Lap Records, Go!

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 6:00am

None of it was planned. But somehow, on a Tuesday in late April on the big track at Willow Springs International Raceway, we found ourselves in possession of five vehicles capable of breaking three different lap records.

The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ would Challenge the Porsche GT2 RS for the overall production car lap record; both the Lambo Urus and Porsche Cayenne Turbo could vie for the BMW X6 M’s SUV lap record; and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Jaguar Project 8 each could grab the sedan record from the Cadillac CTS-V. Our resident pro racer, Randy “Father Lap Time” Pobst, was there. It all just sort of fell in our lap.

For months and months I’d been begging/bugging Lamborghini to let our test team have a crack at both the Urus and Aventador SVJ. I’d driven both, but with the exception of Scott Evans and a trip to Iceland with an Urus, no one else had touched either car. I wanted the rest of our team (plus, like, you know, the world) to know what crazed yet competent performance monsters Lambo had built. The trick is, when you strap on instruments to test Lamborghinis, the Italian automaker likes it if an engineer or two is present. That’s Lambo’s rule and there’s nothing we can do about it. Finally, the email showed up. Tuesday April 30 would be the day. Sweet.

As it turned out, two other things were happening that fateful week. For one, since we knew we’d have our greedy paws on the Urus, it was time to stage our now annual Best Driver’s SUV competition, the winner of which gets a ticket to play in the Best Driver’s Car festival this July.

Last year we chose the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio to represent the steroidal, yet nominally off-roadable machines. This year besides the Urus we had the Bentley Bentayga Speed, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Without boring you to tears, I spend a bizarre amount of time discussing racetracks with the fine people at Porsche. Meaning they knew we’d be lapping the Urus. Would we mind lapping their new uber-Cayenne while we were at it? Not at all!

The other happening was an episode of Head 2 Head, the car comparison show hosted by myself and Mr. Jethro Bovingdon, available on the MotorTrend app, which had to be filmed during the same time period. Hey, why not split costs between various departments and film the track portion of that episode the same day we lap the Lambos and the Porsche? No one could think of a reason not to. Right, on with it.

The current street-legal car lap record at Big Willow is held by the Porsche GT2 RS with Randy Pobst behind the wheel. In similar setup, it also has scorched Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, and most recently Road America. The car is a metronome. A very quick metronome.

When we first heard about the GT2 RS, it was under the guise of setting the production car lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of 6:47.25 with Lars Kern at the wheel, smashing the Lamborghini Huracan Performante’s previous record of 6:52.01. Almost a year later, the Aventador SVJ piloted by Marco Mapolli obliterated the GT2 RS’s record with an astonishingly quick lap of 6:44.97. Given that, could Randy and the Lambo SVJ beat the Porsche GT2 RS on our home track?

No, not even close. The best Pobst could muster was a 1:24.92 lap, good enough to put the SVJ in 13th place all time, but nowhere near the GT2 RS’s 1:21.08 record. Nearly 4 seconds off the pace is equal parts confusing, disappointing, and upsetting.

What happened? The Lambo’s brakes seemed to be the culprit. Randy despised them. “The effing thing won’t stop!” he hollered at me when he pulled in. And you can bet your racing suit he didn’t actually say, “effing.” I’d also bet that the SVJ’s magnetorheological dampers were freaked out by Big Willow’s notoriously awful (meaning rough and bumpy) surface. The Corvette Z06—which rides on nearly identical dampers—had a similar issue. The Corvette team spent two weeks on Big Willow coming up with a bumpy road setting that knocked nearly a second off the lap, 1:25.76 down to 1:25.00. Lamborghini didn’t take such measures at Willow when it developed the SVJ. Anyhow, Porsche’s record is not only safe for now, but Porsche thinks there’s another half a second in there somewhere.

On to the SUVs. We agree, SUV lap times are silly. But until you people stop buying them (I own a hatchback and a wagon) this is how it’s going to be. The BMW X6 M went around Big Willow in 1:32.36, quicker than any SUV we’ve ever tested, including the Jeep Trackhawk (1:34.54) and the hunchbacked Bimmer’s shameless clone, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe (1:36.00). Call us crazy, but the X6 M is quicker around Big Willow than a BMW M3 (1:32.51).

The Urus and the third-gen Cayenne Turbo had their work cut out for them. Porsche was up first, and as Porsches are wont to do, it beat the BMW by nearly a second, posting a 1:31.59. That new record stood for at least 20 minutes. Then, the Lamborghini Urus crushed it, popping off a 1:30.87. How quick is that? Nearly as fleet as a BMW M6 Gran Coupe (1:30.66). Not bad for an SUV that stands at nearly 5,000 pounds. Lambo was one for two, and so were we.

Next up, sedans. Before we get started, I should point out that this isn’t the cleanest record. Here’s why: the ludicrously named Porsche Panamera Turbo S e-Hybrid Sport Turismo went around Big Willow in 1:29.33. Thing is, that’s not a sedan, that’s technically a station wagon. So yes, if we were talking about four-door lap records, that 5,320-pound plug-in hybrid is quicker than the third-gen 2018 Cadillac CTS-V (1:29.69). However, it’s our pie and we’ll slice it however we like. Meaning that we should probably test the non-Sport Turismo version of the big Panamera. But, for purist reasons, the Caddy is the sedan lap record holder.

Er, was. The Alfa Romeo gave it a good go, but with “only” 505 horsepower (the weakest car we tested that day by a lot) it was no match for the 640-hp CTS-V. A 1:31.80 lap puts it ahead of the X6 M, but nearly 2 seconds off the Cadillac’s lap. The last chance belonged to Jaguar. Guess what? By the skin of its teeth, the $190K, AWD, 592-hp 2019 XE SV Project 8 put down a 1:29.59 lap, beating the CTS-V by 0.1 of one second. Boom, boom, boom. Out go the lights.

So there you have it. One day, five cars, three records, and two new benchmarks set. Really, three new records, though the poor Porsche’s only stood for the briefest of moments. The best part of all this, at least from my perspective? We’ll randomly do it all over again on some unknown, unspecified day in the future. Go serendipity, go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Car Should I Buy? MotorTrend Editors Pick Their Favorites

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 4:10am

In today’s SUV-saturated market, cars—that is, sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes—are increasingly rare. Even so, that doesn’t stop MotorTrend from driving and testing every one we can get the key to. With collective decades of experience in evaluating cars, we’ve formed opinions around the standouts we’d buy with our own money.

We already named the SUVs we’d buy, selecting favorites for practicality, luxury, or adventure-readiness. Now that it’s time to choose cars, our picks range from frugal to fun.

Be sure to return to this page as we update it with cars that best answer the question, “What car should I buy?”

The post What Car Should I Buy? MotorTrend Editors Pick Their Favorites appeared first on MotorTrend.

2019 Honda Insight: How Prius Performance Compares to Our Hybrid Honda

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 4:00am

Before we benchmark any long-term test vehicles, we like to put at least 1,000 miles on the odometer to break in various components and systems. The first road trip in our 2019 Insight EX easily accomplished this, so heading to the track and strapping in Vbox test gear for MT’s standard battery of instrumented tests was the next logical step.

At 7.3 seconds to 60 mph, the Insight’s accelleration is pretty good for a hybrid. It absolutely smokes a recent Toyota Prius we tested, which hit 60 mph in 9.8 seconds and took 17.4 seconds to run the quarter mile. Our Insight covered that distance in only 15.8 seconds at 84.6 mph. Road test editor Chris Walton notes that the Insight has a “slow launch, but then the engine ramps up quickly (and noisily) for impressive, linear acceleration.”

At the opposite end of the equation, our Insight needed 122 feet to stop from 60 mph. That’s a good deal better than the 131 feet required by the Prius but not as good as the 117-foot stop by a different Insight (Touring grade) we also tested. The difference? Better rubber. Walton’s notes reflect Honda’s no-surprises approach to deceleration: “Soft pedal, modest dive, but steady and straight. Typical Honda fade.”

On our figure-eight handling course, testing director Kim Reynolds knocked out a few invigorating laps in the Insight, recording a 27.5-second time around the course at average of 0.63 g. The kicker is that although the Insight beats the Prius in braking and handling, the latter gets around our course significantly quicker, taking just 26.3 seconds at 0.64 g (avg). The Prius also records a higher max lateral grip (0.90 g avg) than the Insight (0.87 g avg).

Reynolds describes the Insight’s handling as “surprisingly pleasant,” adding these details: “Its body motions are very well controlled but without any accompanying harshness. The Insight turns in very precisely and has good brake pedal feel, too, as you approach the corner. It seems to like a quick release-brake/turn-in as opposed to trail braking. It understeers but with some steering feel of the tires that offers some pleasantness.”

Next update: signs of wear creak in, rubbing us wrong …

Read more about our 2019 Honda Insight EX long-termer: 2019 Toyota Prius Hybrid Limited 2019 Honda Insight (EX) BASE PRICE $33,130 $23,850 PRICE AS TESTED $34,786 $25,390 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 1.8L/96-hp/105-lb-ft Atkinson cycleDOHC 16-valve I-4 1.5L DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4, 107-hp, plus 129 hp (elec); 152-hp (comb)/99-lb-ft plus plus 197 lb-ft (elec) TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto 1-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,101 lb (61/39%) 2,992 lb (61/39%) WHEELBASE 106.3 in 106.3 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 180.0 x 69.3 x 57.9 in 183.6 x 71.6 x 55.6 in 0-60 MPH 9.8 sec 7.3 sec QUARTER MILE 17.4 sec @ 79.8 mph 15.8 sec @ 84.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 131 ft 122 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.90 g (avg) 0.87 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.3 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 27.5 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 50.0/54.7/52.0 mpg 44.6/57.5/49.6 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 54/50/52 mpg 55/49/52 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 62/67 kW-hr/100 miles 61/69 kW-hr/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.37 lb/mile 0.37 lb/mile

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2019 Hyundai Kona Limited: Why I’d Buy It – Miguel Cortina

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 4:00am

“What SUV should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.

I moved to L.A. from Mexico City when I got my job at MotorTrend. I’m 30, single, and really enjoy living by the beach. I like to go surfing on the weekends, and whenever I get into a different car, I always make sure it has enough interior space for my 8-foot Wavestorm surfboard. That’s one of the reasons I chose the Hyundai Kona as the SUV that I’d buy today. It’s versatile enough to fit a surfboard, and its features and young looks resonate with me.

I don’t take a lot of road trips, and my family doesn’t live in California, so I rarely transport more than two people in the car. Leg- and headroom in the second row aren’t my primary concern—I’d rather drive something that looks cool than something that’s more comfortable for those in the back seat. And the Kona delivers on that. Its youthful design and cool color options bring a different vibe, and that’s what I’m looking for at this stage of my life.

I’d go for the Limited trim with a Thunder Gray exterior and a Black with Lime interior; the green trim inside adds to the fun factor. Getting the Limited means you get the punchy 1.6-liter turbo engine and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. I’ve driven it many times over the past year and have been happy with the powertrain’s performance. With 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, the engine makes the Kona fun. Because I live in L.A. and don’t drive to the mountains often, I’d skip all-wheel drive.

The Limited trim comes well equipped. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard through a 7.0-inch touchscreen. There are four USB ports in total, which is more than enough for me, and it comes with leather seats, a push-button start, and a proximity key. As far as safety, the Limited has pretty much every feature except adaptive cruise control; that would be nice to have, but I don’t really need it. (Adaptive cruise control isn’t offered on any Kona trim level.)

Because I live 7 miles away from the office, I would lease the Kona Limited. Thankfully, I have very good credit, so if I put $2,000 down, I’m looking at paying somewhere around $260 per month for 36 months. This includes 12,000 miles every year, which is more than enough for me. Insurance in Southern California would be about $130 per month for the Kona, so that would put me around the $400 per month price mark, which fits my budget. And the best thing is, three years later I can choose a different model if my needs change.

As far as other SUVs I’d consider—the Honda CR-V is on the list. After all, I spent a year driving the CR-V LX and really enjoyed it. I’d also consider the Subaru Crosstrek, which is affordable, has good features, and would fit my surfboard. But I’d rather go for something that looks fresh and is fun to drive.

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2019 Kia Stinger: Why I’d Buy It – Alex Leanse

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 4:00am

“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would associate online editor Alex Leanse drive? Keep reading for the answer, and stay tuned to see other editors’ picks, too.

I love hybrids. No, I don’t mean cars that combine gas and electric power. More like fruits that meld two sweet varietals for a unique taste. Like the half-tangerine, half-grapefruit tangelo, the Range Rover Evoque SUV convertible looked great in bright orange. Crossing the Braeburn and Gala apples produced the Envy, also an emotion generated by the limousine-luxurious and supercar-quick BMW M760i. But the car I’d buy combines a banana-esque curving hatchback roofline with a bit of jalapeño performance heat: the Kia Stinger.

The car is a breakout for Kia and a real step away from its economy car roots. With engineering overseen by a former BMW M boss, the Stinger is a great driver, even with the basic 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 I’d choose. That engine doesn’t have power like the optional 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6, but all Stingers share a rear- or all-wheel-drive chassis, which we said “feels lively and entertaining” no matter what’s under the hood. Handling is more important than power anyway—after all, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, and with a 6.6-second 0–60 time, the slow Stinger, well, isn’t.

Given those looks, too, I’d be happy to walk up to the Stinger every day. Penned by the mastermind behind classics including the Audi TT, the Stinger seems to execute the low-slung, four-door-coupe-type look the best. With its sloping hatchback profile, the Stinger isn’t a sedan-ified extension of a two-door or a wagon-ized version of a four-door. The design works well enough that even without the more aggressive fascia on six-cylinder Stingers, there’s no danger of blending in.

Let’s focus on the Stinger’s shape—that practical hatchback shape. Its short deck and big window open as one to reveal a roomy cargo area. It has 23.3 cubic feet as standard, but I’d most often have the second row folded to take advantage of 40.9 cubes. That capacity makes it eminently usable, great for hauling my bike to a trailhead, carrying new flat-pack furniture, or a camping trip along canyon roads. I’d proudly defy crossover drivers by cramming the back full of stuff then whizzing away with a chirp of the rear tires.

At $33,985, the basic 2.0-liter trim I’d choose doesn’t pack all the sport-focused accoutrements of V-6 models. Besides a 110-hp power deficit, it lacks the Brembo brakes, electronically controlled suspension, limited-slip differential, and upgraded tires available on its counterpart. Some of those would be attainable with aftermarket parts, but driving a stock Stinger would still be fun. With its unique blend of usability and performance, it’s the type of hybrid I’d be stoked to spend my dollars on.

Other cars I’d consider: Mazda3 Hatchback, Volkswagen Golf GTI

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GM Boosts Production of Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra HD Trucks

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 9:00pm

Last month, GM said it was investing $24 million at its Fort Wayne assembly plant in Indiana to increase production of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC 1500 pickups. Now, the automaker is anticipating high demand for its redesigned heavy-duty trucks, injecting $150 million into its Flint assembly plant in Michigan.

The Flint plant is shipping the first batch of redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty trucks to dealers this week. Shown earlier this year, these trucks promise 52 percent greater maximum towing capacity than previous versions for a total of 35,500 pounds. The models also boast powertrain upgrades including a new 10-speed Allison automatic transmission for the 6.6-liter diesel engine, as well as more advanced cabin technologies.

The automaker has invested more than $1.6 billion in the Flint plant since 2013. With this cash, GM has been able to increase capacity of its HD pickups by around 40,000 vehicles per year.

A thousand new jobs were created this year at the Flint plant. Now the plant employs more than 5,000 workers. By the first half of next year, GM will have modified the plant’s conveyors and upgraded tooling to support increased production capacity for the trucks.

It remains to be seen how GM’s heavy-duty trucks perform on the sales charts. GM experienced one major disappointment: Ram surpassed Chevrolet to become the second most popular full-size truck brand in the first quarter of the year. But if you add Sierra sales in with Silverado sales, GM still has a lead over Ram in the full-size pickup race.

Source: GM

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Ranger Fighter: Is This Ram’s Dakota Midsize Successor?

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 4:00pm

UPDATE: We may have jumped the gun with our Dodge Dakota successor theory, as previous spy shots of a similar prototype show what appears to be an independent rear suspension setup. It’s more likely a mule for the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which will be built at FCA’s Warren truck plant and is likely to share basic architecture with the Ram 1500. Still, a cool sight to see in our own neighborhood.

FCA can no longer ignore the booming global midsize truck market. It has the Jeep Gladiator now, but with its starting price of just over $35,000, that model isn’t an ideal competitor for mainstream variants of the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, and Ford Ranger—not to mention other small pickups sold around the world. In its five-year plan announced last year, FCA vowed to fill that gap with a midsize Ram truck, and we may have gotten our first look at it.

MotorTrend Group video production assistant Austin Cronkrite spotted this odd Ram 1500 wearing full camouflage in our backyard of Manhattan Beach, California, and had the good sense to snap a few pictures. We’re glad he did, because there’s definitely something going on with this mule. First, ignore those bed bars. They might be functional to some degree, but we think they’re just tacked on to throw us off the scent. What interests us most is what’s beneath the wheel wells.

From the profile view, it appears the rear wheel isn’t quite centered in the wheel well. The 2019 Ram 1500 Quad Cab has a wheelbase of 140.5 inches. The Jeep Gladiator, on the other hand, has a shorter 137.3-inch wheelbase. Could we be looking at a Ram 1500 body grafted to a Gladiator chassis? It’s possible, especially considering the Gladiator’s JT platform was co-developed by Ram. Further evidence that something’s up with this mule can be seen in the tailpipe, which is tucked beneath the bumper like the Gladiator (though the Jeep truck has its exhaust exiting on the driver’s side).

Though basing the Ram midsizer on a platform FCA already has seems like the easiest solution, there are some arguments against it. Recently, FCA CEO Mike Manley said the company is still deciding on a platform for the smaller Ram model. He said the automaker is looking to build the midsize Ram in a region with low production costs. Our intel suggests the JT platform could be too expensive for the rest of the world, and currently the Gladiator is built exclusively in the U.S. at Jeep’s plant in Toledo, Ohio. Still, it’s possible that building a JT-based Ram truck elsewhere in the world might net the cost savings needed for it to compete in other markets.

For now, all we know is there’s a weird Ram 1500 mule running around our neck of the woods. We’re very curious what it’s hiding, so you can bet we’ll be keeping an eye out for it in the future.

Scott Evans, Christian Seabaugh, and Alisa Priddle contributed to this post. 

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