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The 276-HP Ford Focus ST Is Hot Hatch Forbidden Fruit

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 3:30pm

The Blue Oval will unleash an all-new Ford Focus ST this summer in Europe, and we get nothing. Why, Ford, why? Sure, we love our Mustangs and F-150s, but we also have a hankering for just about any hot hatch, and this one sounds extra-sweet, as it packs a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four making 276 horses and 310 lb-ft of torque.

That’s a decent power bump over the last version—and the first and last Focus ST to come to America—that produced 252 hp and 270 lb-ft from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four. In the new car, the engine spins a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional new seven-speed automatic transmission. The manual is our first choice, naturally, but we’d take an automatic if it meant the car could hit our shores. But with Ford cutting most of its car lines from its U.S. lineup, the prospects of any ST hatch here are bleak.

Europeans can also order the ST with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that delivers 187 horses and a meaty 295 lb-ft of torque, and either engine can be had in five-door hatchback or wagon body styles. The car is offered with a Performance package that brings an electronic limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers, launch control, and a rev-matching function on manual cars. Selectable chassis modes include Slippery/Wet, Normal, and Sport, plus Track mode for models with the Performance bundle.

Compared to the previous car, the fourth-generation ST receives a reshaped grille, a steeper rear roof spoiler, and a set of twin tailpipes (the center-exit exhaust is gone), while the Performance pack also adds red brake calipers. It rolls on 18- or optional 19-inch wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber and can be painted Ford Performance Blue, Orange Fury, Frozen White, Magnetic Gray, Race Red, Ruby Red, or Shadow Black. It looks fantastic, which makes the longing that much more intense.

The cabin has Recaro sport seats, power-assisted steering, an aluminum shift knob and trim, aluminum pedal caps, and a 4.2-inch screen. While the chances of getting one here are slim to none, we’re still going to try our best to drive the thing. In the meantime? Sigh.

Source: Ford

The post The 276-HP Ford Focus ST Is Hot Hatch Forbidden Fruit appeared first on Motortrend.

No Speed Limits? California Considering “Unlimited” Lanes on Two Highways

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 3:02pm

California state senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) has introduced a bill to that state’s legislature that would add lanes to both north- and southbound Interstate 5 and State Route 99 that would have no posted speed limit.

SB319 does not itself state the specific stretches of road where the lanes would be added, but local reports indicate the lanes would run from Stockton to Bakersfield, a distance of approximately 240 miles via I-5 or 230 miles via CA-99.

While some reports tout the lanes as unlimited, the bill would implement a functional limit of 100 mph, with a first violation for exceeding that speed resulting in a fine of $500. A second violation within three years would yield a fine of $750, and a third within five years a fine of $1,000 and the suspension of that driver’s license.

Rural highways in Texas have speed limits that can be as high as 80 mph, as well as one 41-mile section posted at 85 mph.

According to the bill, money for construction of the lanes would be drawn from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Moorlach doesn’t give an estimated cost for the project, but says the state already owns the right of way necessary for the lanes. The bill is being pitched as a way to cut idling in traffic and therefore reduce greenhouse gases, as well as a quicker and more easily implemented solution to easing gridlock than a high-speed rail line projected to be completed in 2033.

Moorlach also defends his proposal as safer. “If you look at what’s happening in Germany, the freeway accidents on the autobahn are a lot less than what’s happening on our roads.” Neither the bill nor Moorlach have so far addressed driver training that may be necessary for drivers unaccustomed to traveling at such speeds; Germany’s more rigorous driver-education system makes acquiring a license more difficult and costly than is typical in the United States. Additionally, it’s unclear whether there would be a minimum speed limit for the lanes or if they would be kept separate from other lanes where the speed limit would remain 65 mph. SB319 also contains a “stay right except to pass” lane-discipline clause, however.

The highest posted speed limit in the United States is currently 85 mph, on a 41-mile section of State Highway 130 in Texas. Montana had no daytime speed limit until 1974, when the federal 55-mph limit was passed, and again from that law’s repeal in December 1995 until the enactment of a 75-mph limit in May 1999.

The post No Speed Limits? California Considering “Unlimited” Lanes on Two Highways appeared first on Motortrend.

Corvettes on Craigslist: 1968 Corvette 427ci Barn Find

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 2:33pm

Patience is a virtue.

My father-in-law preached that mantra to his daughters back in the day, and still does.

In this particular case, his advice would have been especially well taken. This barn find 1968 Corvette convertible came out of apparent years of storage last year and was offered back then on craigslist for $24,000.

Continue reading Corvettes on Craigslist: 1968 Corvette 427ci Barn Find at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Here’s What Retirement Eligible GM Oshawa Workers Will Get

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 2:30pm

Just under 3,000 jobs will be lost as part of the GM Oshawa plant closure.

Land Rover Scraps Plans for 518-HP Discovery SVX

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 1:30pm

When Land Rover first announced the Discovery SVX back in 2017, we couldn’t help but get excited. It featured JLR’s 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 tuned to make 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, but it also had a lifted suspension, all-terrain tires, skid plates, and a roof-mounted light bar. This hardcore off-road Discovery with more than 500 hp was going to be awesome. With a big emphasis on the “was.”

Sadly, as AutoCar first reported, the Discovery SVX is dead. The SVX name will reportedly be used on future models, just not the Discovery. So if you’re interested in high-powered British off-roaders, that should at least be some sort of consolation.

When asked for a comment, a Land Rover spokesperson said, “Land Rover has taken the decision not to introduce a V8 powertrain to the Discovery product family. This means that the Discovery SVX Concept revealed in 2017 will not be going into production. However, we are investigating opportunities to bring Land Rover vehicles with enhanced all-terrain capability to market in [the] future.”

Interestingly, they also said that customers were told last year. So the fact that this news didn’t come out until February is a bit odd. It also means that the Discovery SVX’s cancellation probably wasn’t the direct result of the recently announced losses that led to Jaguar Land Rover cutting 4,500 jobs. Still, financial troubles certainly don’t help the case for limited-production runs of 500-hp off-roaders.

Source: AutoCar

The post Land Rover Scraps Plans for 518-HP Discovery SVX appeared first on Motortrend.

Honda May Add Civic Hatchback Production in North America

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 1:03pm

Honda announced it will close its Swindon, U.K., manufacturing plant in 2021 when production ends on the current-generation Civic. All Civic hatchbacks in the U.S., including the Civic Type R, are made at the Swindon factory. Once the Swindon plant closes, Honda may bring production of the Civic Hatchback to North America.

A Honda spokesman told MotorTrend, “We are considering adding production of the Civic Hatchback in North America, starting from the next generation model, to serve our customers in the North American market. Since we launched the stylish Civic Hatchback in the U.S. in 2016, the customer reaction has exceeded our expectations, representing nearly 20% of Civic sales volume and helping make Civic the #1 retail selling passenger car in America last year. So, this would support our efforts to make optimal use of our global production network to meet the needs of our customers.”

The decision comes as Honda evolves its EV strategy. “The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes,” Honda said in a statement.

Honda chief executive Takahiro Hachigo said the move was not related to Brexit. “We had to consider the rise of electrified vehicles, and the different speeds at which electric vehicles will be taken up in North America and Europe,” he told Reuters. “This decision was not informed by Brexit.”

As you may recall, Honda has big plans for electrification. Honda created an EV platform first seen on the Urban EV concept from 2017. Globally, two-thirds of the cars Honda sells will have electrified technology by 2030. That target is 2025 for Europe, Honda announced at the time.

The Swindon factory produces 150,000 cars per year and employs around 3,500 people. Honda made the announcement just a few weeks after Nissan reversed a decision to build the new X-Trail at its Sunderland, U.K., plant. Nissan said, “While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future.” Meanwhile, Panasonic and Sony have decided to move their headquarters from Britain into the EU.

The closing of the Swindon plant is part of a larger restructuring for Honda’s manufacturing network. The automaker said it will stop building Civic sedans in Turkey from 2021. The plant in Turkey currently makes 38,000 units per year.

Honda says its European headquarters will remain in the U.K.

Source: Honda, Reuters

The post Honda May Add Civic Hatchback Production in North America appeared first on Motortrend.

[AMAZON] Save 20% on Chemical Guys Arsenal Builder Wash Kit with Foam Gun

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 1:01pm

The Chemical Guys Arsenal Builder Wash Kit with TORQ Blaster Foam Gun is the ultimate collection of car wash supplies and is the gift that keeps on giving for any car buff, truck enthusiast or classic car fan. It contains everything needed to clean and maintain a beautiful shine on any car or truck.

Continue reading [AMAZON] Save 20% on Chemical Guys Arsenal Builder Wash Kit with Foam Gun at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Chevrolet Trax Is South Korea’s Most Exported Vehicle

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:27pm

The third consecutive year that the small crossover has held the title.

Buick Envision Selling Poorly In A Wildly Popular Segment

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:07pm

The first Chinese-built vehicle to be sold in the US is not proving to be very popular.

Chevrolet Discounts Colorado By $3,000 In February 2019

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 11:30am

The attractive offer lowers the starting price of a 2019 Colorado Z71 model to well under the $30,000 mark.

2020 GMC Acadia: Hot or Not?

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:58am

A good update, or a swing and a miss?

Auto Industry Urges Trump Administration: No EU Tariffs

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 9:59am

The tariffs could be as much as 25 percent on European-built cars.

Holden Outright Denies Reports Of Import Takeover, Australian Exit

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 9:30am

It's the first time Holden has responded to the reports circulating.

C7 Corvette Inventory Swells To 232-Day Supply In January

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 9:10am

Cold weather months and the C8 Corvette's arrival likely have something to do with the slow sales.

2018 Ford F-150 Lariat FX4 Long-Term Update 4: Halfway Point

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 4:00am

I recently went in for my annual physical, with surprisingly good results considering all the Doritos and chocolate I consumed in 2018. It also happens to be the half-way mark of our F-150’s year-long stay with us. With close to 14,000 miles on the odometer, how is our truck doing?

Cosmetically it’s in great shape. The passenger side view mirror suffered minor damage when a staffer misjudged a concrete post in our garage, which is making me doubt my decision to order the large tow mirrors for a truck based in Los Angeles.

The interior is holding up well, including the light gray leather seats. The driver’s seat is slightly discolored from dirt, but it’s fairly easy to clean. Our photo team recently hauled a heavy-duty folding ladder in the rear passenger area (easy to load thanks to the rear-hinged back doors) and unfortunately it scratched off some of the metallic-like finish on a door trim. Yes, totally our fault, but it’d be nice if that trim piece were instead made of a durable material like rubber. We plan on getting an F-150 XL work truck in the office soon, so I’m eager to see how that interior differs from our fancy Lariat’s.

All the electronic stuff is functioning as intended, including the Sync 3 infotainment system. One staffer claimed he heard distortion from one of the rear speakers, but we later found it was due to either Android Auto or his phone (maybe get an iPhone?).

The F-150 made another dash for the snow, this time way up in Idaho where the all-season tires, four-wheel drive system, and “Snow” drive mode proved to more than sufficient in the white stuff. Some staffers have recently noted that the transmission seems to hesitate and stumble with upshifts, specifically between third, fourth, and fifth gear. I’m scheduling a trip to the dealership soon and hope it’s a relatively minor fix.

Read more about our 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat:

 

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2019 Kia Niro EV First Drive: Friendly Electro-Wagonoid

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 4:00am

Switching to an electric vehicle for the first time can be intimidating, and not just because of range anxiety. From the techy gauges to changing the way you operate a car, it can take time to learn how to drive an EV efficiently. Fortunately, Kia has made electric motoring more accessible with the 2019 Niro EV; with its conventional design and emphasis on user-friendliness, the latest electro-wagonoid from Korea minimizes the learning curve of going electric.

The 2019 Niro EV is like an old friend; step inside, and you’re greeted by a roomy cabin that seamlessly blends simplicity with modern technology. Kia’s UVO3 interface, even with its EV-specific menus, has no learning curve; the 8.0-inch touchscreen is responsive (a 7.0-inch unit is standard on the base EX grade), and there are shortcut buttons for every app. The optional eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is clear but has limited customizability. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto worked smoothly during our drive, easily operating alongside the native UI without a hitch.

Essentially a wagon masquerading as a subcompact crossover, the 2019 Kia Niro EV offers generous passenger and cargo space. With the 64-kW-hr lithium-ion battery placed under the passenger compartment, the rear seat floor is slightly raised, but overall interior space is similar to other Niro models, with plenty of head- and legroom even for tall passengers sitting in the back and a flexible cargo area that handily accommodates bulky items. The rotary shifter also adds more storage for your smartphones and small items.

With an EPA-rated 239-mile range on a full charge, the 2019 Kia Niro EV matches the Chevrolet Bolt EV and beats the Nissan Leaf. Only the Hyundai Kona EV has more range at 258 miles, but you lose out on interior space. An equivalent Tesla Model 3 midrange will run you closer to $50,000 similarly equipped. Tesla’s federal tax credits are also running out, whereas Kia has around five years until the $7,500 reimbursement gets halved.

With a Level 2 (7.2 kW) charger, it takes 9 hours and 35 minutes to fully charge the Niro EV’s battery. A Level 3 fast charger gets you to 80 percent in an hour on a 100-kW unit or an hour and 15 minutes on the 50-kW ones. An optional heat pump HVAC system is packaged together with a battery heating system to minimize range loses when you use the climate control.

Driving around scenic Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, we found the 2019 Kia Niro EV was surprisingly spunky. Transitions between regenerative and mechanical brakes are smooth and free of any grabbiness. The electric motor’s 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque gives you effortless power especially in Sport mode. However, in Eco, Eco+, and Normal modes, torque is limited from a standstill to minimize torque steer and wheel spin.

The 2019 Niro EV’s low center of gravity and independent suspension gives it a delightful ride and handling balance. When combined with its responsive steering and minimal body roll, the crossover inspired confidence when the pavement got twisty. Road and tire noise get excessive on uneven pavement due to the eco-minded Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires. One-pedal driving is a breeze with the four-level (0 to 3) regenerative braking. Hold the left paddle for additional regeneration, enough to bring the vehicle to nearly a full stop in the highest setting.

When it goes on sale in late February, the 2019 Kia Niro EV will be available in EX and EX Premium trims, both of which feature a long list of standard equipment. Kia’s Drive Wise suite of driver assistance tech is included on all models, bundling together adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, driver attention alert, lane following and keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. All of the assists work discreetly, but the standout is the lane following and keeping assists, which do a terrific job at centering the vehicle even through turns with adaptive cruise control active.

The 2019 Kia Niro EV completes the brand’s eco crossover range and is the best of the three variants. With satisfying road manners, generous range, and an easy user interface, the Niro EV is approachable. Combined with its conventional exterior, the Niro EV is far from a menacing space ship like some of its competitors, even with the funky sounds it makes. Unless you’re a one-car family with an affinity for road trips, the Niro EV is a great daily driver; the level of simplicity it brings helps the average consumer ease into all-electric motoring without getting overwhelmed in the process.

The post 2019 Kia Niro EV First Drive: Friendly Electro-Wagonoid appeared first on Motortrend.

New Cadillac XT6 Features SiriusXM 360L – Here’s What That Means

GM Authority News - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 1:03am

We dig into what SiriusXM 360L is and its benefits.

Hacking A Chevrolet Volt Can Add Cool Features: Video

GM Authority News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 9:04pm

The lengths some people will go for tactile HVAC controls.

[SPIED] California Dreaming as Two C8 Mid-Engine Corvette Prototypes are Spotted in San Diego

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 8:49pm

Photo Credit: Corvette_Nut / Corvette Forum

Here’s a sight that’s guaranteed to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. A pair of camo-clad C8 Mid-Engine Corvette Prototypes were spotted in San Diego today, which I think would probably qualify the drivers for the club award for most distance traveled from home.

Continue reading [SPIED] California Dreaming as Two C8 Mid-Engine Corvette Prototypes are Spotted in San Diego at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

BRAKING: Hawk’s New Brake Fluid Is Made For Performance Driving

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 8:11pm
Compatible with tons of vehicles, but specifically formulated for enthusiast applications, its a perfect option whether you're just looking to go from Point A to Point B or carve through some canyons.

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