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2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Long-Term Verdict: Award Worthiness Confirmed

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 4:00am

Thirteen months ago, I plugged-in our long-term 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV for the first time—filling it not only with electrons but expectations.

It had been named our 2017 Car of the Year, I wrote, because it wasn’t just a good EV, or the first affordable EV to eliminate “range anxiety,” but because it was both of those things and (perhaps most importantly) a good car regardless. More than a year and nearly 17,000 miles later, our Bolt has maintained its worthiness of our early praise.

Everyone who drove Chevy’s EV came to a familiar conclusion: The Bolt is a solid hatchback which happens to be battery powered. Whether providing ample room to take my in-laws out to dinner, hauling four half-barrel planters and four bags of potting soil home from the store in one trip, taking me on an 800-mile road trip, or saving me from setting foot in a gas station for the past year, the Bolt made few demands and never let me down.

It wasn’t perfect, though. The big infotainment screen developed a tendency to freeze (or not boot-up at all) if I shifted to reverse too soon after starting the car, but it was cured by a software update. On three occasions, the power steering failed to boot-up, but could be fixed by cycling the car off and on a few times. This, too, was cured by software updates. While the Bolt was at the dealer for that fix, the shifter was replaced under recall. None of these fixes cost us a dime. Total maintenance and repair costs: $0.

Indeed, the Bolt was very inexpensive to run. We charged it 154 times total; 69 times at the office, 47 times at public chargers, and 27 times at home. Altogether, driving 16,730 miles cost us $630.58. Public charging was by far the most expensive at $0.27/kW-hr average ($362.97 total), compared to $0.17/kW-hr ($131.04) at home and $0.07/kW-hr at the office ($136.58). For the sake of comparison the EPA estimates it will cost $550 to drive 15,000 miles in a Bolt (ours had cost us $540.99 at that mark). A Toyota Prius will cost you $800 to go the same distance and a gas-powered Kia Soul of similar size, shape, and mission will cost $1,450-$1,550.

Along the way, we learned a lot about the particulars of EV driving. In collecting an exhaustive amount of data, we learned that despite numerous staffers driving the Bolt in different environments and weather conditions, our behavior behind the wheel was remarkably consistent. The average distance driven between charging stayed right around 95 miles. We typically plugged it in when the battery dipped under 50 percent and generally removed the charger at around 90 percent. The average cost to charge at home, in public, or at the office varied less than $2 each no matter how many times we charged in each location.

Interestingly, the average amount of electricity consumed during charging actually rose by 2 kilowatt-hours, despite the average distance between charges remaining consistent. Possible explanations for this could include the growing sample size and increased variety of charging types (i.e. using more DC Fast chargers), or battery degradation. Similarly, the car’s predicted range before and after charging fell by 10 to 15 miles, which may simply be the car learning our typical driving style and adjusting its predictions.

Like many EV early adopters, we had the option of charging at the office (dirt cheap), at home (pretty cheap), or in public (comparably expensive), so we took advantage of the convenience and cost savings charging at work and at home. With a commute of less than 20 miles roundtrip, I ended up plugging in the car once every five days on average. I could have gone longer if I felt like running the battery below 50 percent. But when charging is as easy as plugging in before I walk into the house or office, why wouldn’t I top-off?

In between the regular commutes, we performed a number of special tests. We found the steering-wheel paddle to engage regenerative braking can seriously reduce braking distance compared to L mode. As a result, we made “one-pedal driving” an everyday habit. We learned summer performance tires make a big difference in handling and stopping, at the cost of about 30 miles of range and worse ride quality and interior noise. We discovered its real-world range is six miles farther than the EPA estimates at 244 miles. And it’s possible to do an 800-mile road trip using public DC Fast chargers, though it’ll take nearly twice as long as doing it with gasoline. We even decided it’s nearly as good as our tested $60,000 Tesla Model 3, while costing $15,000 less. And you can buy a Bolt on Chevy dealer lots, right now. Great deals. No lines.

But we also found a few things we’d change. The front seats are too narrow and can be uncomfortable. The back-up camera is disappointingly low-res, and the electronic shifter is needlessly frustrating to use. A navigation option with public charging locations would be appreciated, as would the ability to secure cargo to the roof rails without having to buy the $549 cross bars.

In making the Bolt our second-ever electric Car of the Year—and the only one so far you can buy for under $40,000—we put a lot on its little shoulders. A few easily resolved teething issues aside, the Bolt proved itself the everyday replacement for a gasoline-powered compact car we predicted it would be. If you’re ready to make the switch to electric, it’s the best EV for the money you can buy today.

Read more about our 2017 Chevrolet Bolt:Our Car SERVICE LIFE 14 mo / 16,260 mi BASE PRICE* $41,780 OPTIONS DC Fast Charging pkg ($750); Driver Confidence II pkg ($495: forward-collision alert, emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams); Infotainment pkg ($485: Bose system, 6-speakers, wireless charging, 2 USB charging ports); Cajun Red metallic paint ($395) PRICE AS TESTED* $43,905 AVG ECON/CO2 121 mpg-e / 0.00 lb/mi (at vehicle) PROBLEM AREAS Intermittent power steering failure, infotainment screen failure MAINTENANCE COST $0 NORMAL-WEAR COST $0 3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE** $21,900 RECALLS None *Before applicable tax rebates **IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD MOTOR TYPE Permanent magnet AC synchronous electric BATTERY TYPE Lithium-ion POWER (SAE NET) 200 hp TORQUE (SAE NET) 266 lb-ft @ 0,000 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 17.8 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 7.05:1/7.05:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs STEERING RATIO 16.8:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.9 BRAKES, F; R 10.9-in vented disc; 10.4-in disc, ABS WHEELS 6.5 x 17-in cast aluminum TIRES 215/50R17 91H (M+S) Michelin Energy Saver A/S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 102.4 TRACK, F/R 59.1/59.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 164.0 x 69.5 x 62.8 in TURNING CIRCLE 35.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,555 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 56/44% SEATING CAPACITY 5 HEADROOM, F/R 39.7/37.9 in LEGROOM, F/R 41.6/36.5 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 54.6/52.8 in CARGO VOLUME BEHIND F/R 56.6/16.9 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.6 sec 0-40 3.6 0-50 4.8 0-60 6.3 0-70 8.1 0-80 10.3 0-90 13.0 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.0 QUARTER MILE 14.9 sec @ 92.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 128 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.78 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 5,800 rpm CONSUMER INFO STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles BATTERY CAPACITY 60 kWh REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 28.6/26.3/27.8 kW-hrs/100 miles EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 128/110/119 mpg-e ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 26/31 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.00 lb/mile (at vehicle) RECOMMENDED FUEL 110-volt, 220-volt electricity

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Chevrolet Korea Sales Decrease 57 Percent To 5,369 Units In April 2018

GM Authority News - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 12:42am

Chevrolet sales in South Korea decreased 57 percent to 5,369 units in April 2018. At the beginning of May, General Motors announced a massive restructuring of its beleaguered South Korea business unit. Prior to that, rumors ran[...]

Spy Pictures Show Mid-Engine Corvette Will Feature Removable Roof Panel

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 8:03pm

Tell-tale cutlines on the roof serve as proof of the feature.

Jaguar Hints at Expanded Line of Future Sports Cars

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:53pm

As crossovers take over the market, Jaguar has prepared an appropriate offensive with the F-Pace, E-Pace, and the all-electric I-Pace. But that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten about sports cars. Speaking with Autocar, Jaguar’s product strategy boss suggested the brand is keen on new entries in this category.

“The F-Type has been a huge success,” Hanno Kirner said. “We love sports cars – and I use the plural quite deliberately. Whether that is delivered by a body variant or something else remains to be seen, but for now, let’s just say that the body type is very important for us.”

Considering the F-Type model line debuted for the 2014 model year, it would make sense the car is due for a replacement relatively soon. When it arrives, it’s expected to use a development of the current platform, which was heavily modified from the platform on the old XK. According to Autocar, the F-Type’s revised platform should be flexible enough to use on a 2+2 car. “I love the idea of a flexible architecture that can give us anything,” said Kirner.

Last year, design chief Ian Callum hinted at Jaguar’s future regarding sports cars. “I want a two-seater and a 2+2. We’re working on something now,” he said. “There’s nothing approved, but we instigate in design. That’s what we do.”

Jaguar will offer an electrified powertrain on every model line starting from 2020, and sports cars will be no exception. But Jaguar also seems to be aware that pure electric cars aren’t the answer for everyone. “A lot of people like the sound of an engine,” Kirner said. “That’s a fact, and it is a defining part of a sports car. I absolutely believe that there will be electric sports cars one day, but I also believe there may be a different step of combining the battery and an engine.”

Source: Autocar

The post Jaguar Hints at Expanded Line of Future Sports Cars appeared first on Motor Trend.

NCM Registration Open For ‘Museum In Motion’ National Parks Tour

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:44pm

Drive your Corvette and see America's best natural treasures.

Balance of Performance (BoP) Released for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:16pm

Photo Credit: Richard Prince for Chevy Racing The first Balance of Performance (BoP) tables for next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans has been set with all GTE-Pro class contenders receiving their weight and power adjustments. For the WEC contenders, it was the first BoP update since the FIA World Endurance Championship season opener at […]

The post Balance of Performance (BoP) Released for the 24 Hours of Le Mans appeared first on Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Corvettes for Sale: Roll With Your Peeps in this 2000 Corvette Coupe

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 2:08pm

Always looking at Corvettes for sale, I sometimes come across the off-beat custom Corvette that I think others would like to check out. There may be no interest in buying, but it can be fun to see a different interpretation of a custom Corvette than what you are used too. I have always believed that […]

The post Corvettes for Sale: Roll With Your Peeps in this 2000 Corvette Coupe appeared first on Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Sedan Packs a 429-HP Inline-Six

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 1:45pm

For the past few years, the Mercedes-AMG E 43 has been the car you buy when the regular E 300 won’t do and the E 63 S is a little too much. With a twin-turbo V-6 cranking out 396 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, and a quick-shifting nine-speed transmission, the E 43 offered more performance than most people would use, as well as surprisingly agile handling. But soon, the E 43 will be phased out in favor of a new model: the Mercedes-AMG E 53.

Mercedes already showed off the E 53 Coupe and Cabriolet at the Detroit auto show, but now it’s giving the sedan the same AMG-lite treatment. Inside, it’s still your typical E-Class cabin, but Mercedes did update some of the E 53’s exterior styling. The hood, for example, gets two power bulges, and around back, the bumper and diffuser have been restyled.

As the name suggests, the biggest changes are under the hood. Like the CLS 53, the E 53’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six is good for 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. A 48-volt mild-hybrid system can supplement the engine’s power thanks to an electric motor that makes 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes also added an electric auxiliary compressor that works with the exhaust-driven turbocharger to minimize turbo lag.

A nine-speed AMG transmission still sends power to all four wheels, and according to Mercedes’ estimates, the E 53 sedan hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. That’s only slightly quicker than the current E 43, although fuel economy should also improve. Mercedes expects the coupe version to hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, with the cabriolet matching the sedan’s time. All three top out at an electronically limited 130 mph. Optional 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels are available, with 14.2-inch brake discs included on all four corners.

Pricing isn’t available at the moment, but Mercedes says the E 53 sedan will go on sale in the U.S. toward the end of this year.

Source: Mercedes

The post The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Sedan Packs a 429-HP Inline-Six appeared first on Motor Trend.

This ’59 Corvette Blends The Style Of The Era With Today’s Technology

Corvettes Online News Feed - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 1:12pm
Restraint can be the most important tool to use in the garage and Paul Wolf's 1959 Corvette shows how great something can be when seasoned properly with it.

Report: Ford Mach 1 Crossover to Sit on Focus Platform

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 12:45pm

By now, you’ve probably heard Ford is axing most of its cars here in the U.S. in favor of SUVs and trucks. Ford will offer a Focus Activ crossover hatchback, but the Mustang is the only true traditional car that will survive. Now the automaker is focused on capitalizing on the Mustang’s brand value by introducing an electric SUV that will borrow styling cues from the pony car. And while Ford hasn’t released many details on this vehicle, Autocar may have unearthed a few nuggets of information about the model’s underpinnings.

According to Autocar, the crossover will sit on Ford’s C2 platform that underpins the new Focus. Because it’s based on the front-wheel-drive C2 platform, it’s likely the new model will be hatchback-like with a slightly raised driving position, the U.K. publication says. Autocar does not cite sources for its info, so take this report with a grain of salt.

It’s unclear exactly what Ford will call this new model, but it teased the name Mach 1 at the Detroit auto show back in January. For now, its codename is CX430 and it is a globally engineered model. The crossover will debut next year, Autocar says. Ford hasn’t announced powertrain specs, but the model is being dubbed a performance SUV. Expect range to exceed 300 miles on a single charge.

The new vehicle is part of Ford’s plan to introduce 16 battery-electric vehicles by 2022. Eventually, Ford will have hybrids or plug-in versions of just about every vehicle in its lineup. By 2021, Ford hopes to be the number one producer of hybrids.

Source: Autocar

The post Report: Ford Mach 1 Crossover to Sit on Focus Platform appeared first on Motor Trend.

Vettes 4 Vettes Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Laps at Talladega Superspeedway

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:11am

Photo Credit: Firefly Productions Vettes 4 Vets is celebrating its 10th anniversary of helping our nation’s veterans. Corvette owners started the event in 2008 to help veterans in a variety of ways, and since then, Vettes 4 Vets has raised more than $300,000 for the cause, including $37,000 in 2017. This year’s event, set for […]

The post Vettes 4 Vettes Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Laps at Talladega Superspeedway appeared first on Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Who Is Cadillac Citing In This Escalade Ad?

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:52am

The quick spot cites a Twitter or Instagram user, but we can't find them.

Automakers Tell Trump White House: Climate Change Is Real

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:28am

GM, Ford and nine other automakers submitted new comments on fuel economy standards.

2019 C7 Corvette ZR1 Pop Into Jay Leno’s Garage: Video

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 9:55am

Leno is mighty impressed with the Corvette ZR1.

China, Not The US, Is Shaping Future Product Decisions On Electric Cars

GM Authority News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 9:20am

China will be the world's largest market for battery-electric cars.

A Glimpse Into the Post-Marchionne FCA Product Plan Coming June 1

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 7:00am

We love FCA’s five-year plans. The automaker does not adhere strictly to them, but they provide a detailed snapshot of what the company sees as possible and which brands and vehicles are part of the vision.

CEO Sergio Marchionne will present his third product and business plan on June 1. The first one was back in November of 2009 after he assumed leadership of the new entity known as FCA, a merging of Chrysler and Fiat that was a prerequisite of government loans for Chrysler to emerge from bankruptcy.

The first plan outlined financial targets and a product rollout for each brand for the period from 2010 to 2014. It was followed up by another five-year plan through 2018.

In Balocco, Italy, on June 1, the FCA maestro will oversee his final planning document but Marchionne will not be the one to see it through—he is retiring next year. His successor, who will not be named at the June 1 investor gathering, is part of the current leadership team and has helped craft the new plan he will be expected to execute.

Here are some things we want to know.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

Just how far can Jeep go?

Jeep has firmly established itself as the SUV brand and received a lot of resources under Marchionne to make it more global and expand the bandwidth of the portfolio. The lineup grew to include the subcompact Renegade at one end but we still await the addition of the Grand Wagoneer at the top end. The premium three-row SUV was originally due in 2018 and has been pushed back to 2020. Also on tap is the Wrangler pickup due in late 2019. It would be nice if the plan did some name dropping so we know what to call it.

There should be further confirmation of timelines for these vehicles and there could be more Jeeps in the pipeline as well as dates for next-generation models. At least one plug-in hybrid is expected after 2020 and we expect many more hybrids to dot the lineup.

2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo

Expanding Alfa Romeo and Maserati

A lot of capital has been invested in the premium Italian brands that have not met expectations. New products were delayed and sales have been disappointing. Marchionne recently singled out the poor launch of the Maserati Levante and replaced brand chief Reid Bigland with Tim Kuniskis, a man who showed his marketing chops at Dodge when he generated huge buzz around the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Demon. Marchionne needs Kuniskis to ignite the same flames under Alfa and Maserati.

The portfolios need to expand. Maserati is expected to add a smaller SUV and future Maseratis will have electric motors. Alfa Romeo is adding a larger three-row crossover on the Giorgio platform as a big brother to the Stelvio and we expect the plan to also include a Giulia coupe. Both are expected to be mild hybrids.

A teaser for the refreshed 2019 Dodge Challenger

Is there a future for the Chrysler and Dodge brands?

Getting out of small cars has had a huge impact on the Chrysler and Dodge brands which lost a chunk of their portfolios. Chrysler has been reduced to the Pacifica minivan, including a plug-in hybrid, and the 300 full-size sedan. A large three-row crossover sharing the Pacifica’s underpinnings will be built on the same assembly line. It has been repeatedly delayed but it is promised in the new plan and could be ready for the 2020 model year. It might dust off the retired Aspen name. The Chrysler Portal electric minivan concept could be under consideration for production.

The future of the 300 is shrouded in uncertainty. One consideration was moving the rear-wheel-drive car’s successor to the front-wheel-drive Pacifica platform. Then there was talk of hanging in until 2021 and migrating to the Alfa Romeo platform used for the Giulia. Now it appears more likely it could share underpinnings with the Maserati Ghibli or it gets discontinued altogether.

Dodge has been reduced to a handful of vehicles. There is the Journey crossover that could move to Alfa’s Giorgio platform for the next generation. There is the legacy Grand Caravan minivan that will be phased out soon. There are the Charger and Challenger muscle cars, including the Hellcat and Demon offspring. Like the Chrysler 300, they ride on old platforms and their only hope of survival is to move to another platform such as Ghibli. None of that bodes well for a Barracuda convertible. But there is talk of bringing back the Viper using an Alfa or even Ferrari platform.

2019 Ram 1500

Ram franchise

The idea of a midsize or compact pickup has been on and off again for years. And if FCA does want to venture back into the segment it abandoned when it stopped making the Dodge Dakota in 2010, will the replacement be body-on-frame again or switch to a car-based lifestyle truck? We suspect there won’t be a small truck in the plan but anything is possible. As for the full-size Rams, dates for next-generation models will prove helpful and we expect a wide assortment of powertrains, including hybrids.

Powertrain flavors

Marchionne was outspoken in the past about his dislike for hybrids and electric vehicles while embracing diesels. But he also changes his mind and his plans frequently, taking advantage of the nimbleness of a smaller company to do so. The future of diesels is dead; he is now all in on electrification and every brand, including Ferrari, will be rife with batteries and electric motors. Mild hybrid 48-volt systems will proliferate and the plug-in hybrid system in the Chrysler Pacifica will expand to more vehicles. Grand Wagoneer is a good candidate. Pure EVs will take longer.

2019 Ferrari 488 Pista prototype

What, no Ferrari?

Ferrari will have its own five-year plan. The high-value brand was spun off from FCA but when Marchionne retires from FCA next year, he will retain his role as CEO of Ferrari. Marchionne has confirmed development of a wagon-like, all-wheel-drive four-door crossover –he flat out calls it an SUV—that will be ready in late 2019 or early 2020. Future Ferraris will include hybrids and the CEO says the brand could make an all-electric performance car but has no plans to do so in the next five years.

Is Marchionne wearing a tie?

The Italian-Canadian is known for wearing the same black sweater for every occasion but he has promised to wear a tie to the June 1 event if he is successful in leaving the company debt-free for his successor. No other event has warranted the wardrobe upgrade, showing how important retiring net debt is to Marchionne’s legacy.

Does he still want to fill his dance card?

Marchionne says he updates his 2015 “Confessions of a Capital Junkie” treatise daily in the belief the high cost of pending technology, including autonomous driving, requires automotive partnerships and mergers to share the cost. Yes, General Motors and others have snubbed his advances, and he has made peace with it, but that does not mean he has a diminished view of its importance.

Stay tuned to Motor Trend on June 1 for the firehose of news the product plan is expected to unleash.

The post A Glimpse Into the Post-Marchionne FCA Product Plan Coming June 1 appeared first on Motor Trend.

2018 Ford F-150 XL Diesel Commercial Truck First Test

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 4:00am

The diesel variants of Ford’s F-150 XL and XLT are available only to commercial fleet buyers. Equipped with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel engine, these trims will not show up at a Ford dealer unless you have a Fleet Identification Number (FIN). You should also know that the diesel engine carries a $2,400 premium over the price of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the engine that’s closest to the diesel’s towing numbers. That’s not cheap.

The biggest benefit, however, is in fuel economy. We just ran our Real MPG tests, and our XL 4×2 SuperCab tester got 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg city/highway/combined. Those are terrific figures when compared to the 3.5-liter gasoline work truck, which delivers 18/25/21 mpg, according to the EPA. But is the benefit worth the extra money?

That’s a question that might require a bit of math. With national average fuel prices at $2.96/gallon for regular fuel and $3.17/gallon for diesel, it will take 188,000 highway miles (at 30 mpg) to pay back the $2,400 premium an XL fleet buyer will pay for a Power Stroke engine over the cost of a base 2WD 3.5L EcoBoost (at 25 mpg on the highway) with the equivalent towing capacity. However, Ford claims that if you tow a 10,000-pound trailer, that mileage is reduced to 37,600.

If you want a diesel XL or XLT but you don’t have a FIN, you should wait until one of these fleet trucks heads to the used market.

On the highway, the XL feels smooth with decent power coming out of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. The 10-speed transmission, however, doesn’t feel as gentle as it does when paired to the gas engines, especially at low speeds. What impressed me is how quiet the diesel engine is—even in the work truck, where the amount of sound-deadening materials is far less than with higher-end trims.

Depending on your needs and mileage traveled, a diesel truck might be better in the long run. However, if you turn over your fleet every three years or so, you might not be able to amortize that premium price. Keep track of fuel-price trends and your timeline before you buy.

Learn more about the 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel right here2018 Ford F-150 XL 4×2 Power Stroke (SuperCab) 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 Power Stroke (SuperCrew) BASE PRICE $38,180 $62,305 PRICE AS TESTED $41,730 $66,985 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 6-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,982 lb (58/42%) 5,647 lb (58/42%) WHEELBASE 145.0 in 145.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 79.9 x 75.5 in 231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in 0-60 MPH 7.1 sec 7.8 sec QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 88.9 mph 16.1 sec @ 84.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft 118 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.77 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/30/24 mpg (MT est) 20/29/23 mpg (MT est) ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 180/126 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) 189/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile (MT est) 0.95 lb/mile (MT est)

The post 2018 Ford F-150 XL Diesel Commercial Truck First Test appeared first on Motor Trend.

2018 Ford F-150 Diesel First Test: Knowing Your Audience

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 05/22/2018 - 4:00am

I know better. Driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a Sunday afternoon is a circle of hell unto itself. After three days of touring wide-open interstates and empty state highways in Colorado and Utah, the soul-crushing, back-to-reality traffic leaving Las Vegas was an unwelcome end to a wonderful road trip. Thing is, I wasn’t nearly as frustrated or exasperated with it as I normally would be. The easy-riding F-150 Power Stroke diesel gets a lot of credit for that.

Normally, a pickup wouldn’t be my first choice for a 1,300-mile, five-state road trip. But it makes perfect sense.

Read about the 2018 Ford F-150 XL Power Stroke diesel commercial truck right here

Back in 2014, we set about updating our Truck of the Year competition to better represent what you, the truck buyer, want and expect from your rig. One part of that was collecting market research from multiple sources on buyer priorities and how people actually use their trucks. One of the biggest takeaways: Light-duty truck owners tend to think of their trucks more like big cars than traditional trucks—but they buy more capability than they need, just in case.

You could see it right across the data. Although heavy-duty buyers list towing and payload as top priorities, light-duty buyers tend to look for comfort, quietness, technology, maneuverability, fuel economy, power, and sportiness more than outright capability. It’s reflected in how they use their trucks: A solid majority of light-duty buyers never take their truck off-road, and only a small majority tow. Of those who tow, less than half tow once or more a month, and virtually all of them tow less than 8,000 pounds. (People who tow more than 8,000 pounds regularly buy heavy-duties.)

Despite this, towing and hauling regularly figure into the light-duty truck-buying mindset. Trucks are the ultimate “just in case” vehicles, and nothing puts the mind at ease like knowing your truck can safely tow and haul way more than you intend and go farther off-road than you will. On top of that, light-duty truck buyers want to know that when they do load it down, the truck won’t feel overburdened.

This research, which all truck manufacturers routinely conduct, is at the heart of the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel’s performance. After carefully watching the trend-setting Ram EcoDiesel’s performance in the market the past few years, Ford knew which metrics mattered most in the bid to claim class leadership. More horsepower and torque was a given (it’s 10 hp and 20 lb-ft ahead of the last-gen Ram), but so, too, was fuel economy. Ram set a new benchmark for all pickups with an EPA-rated 27 mpg highway across the board, and Ford wasn’t going to let that mark stand. The F-150 diesel gets an EPA-rated 30 mpg highway on a 4×2 truck and 25 mpg highway on a 4×4, an incredible achievement for a class of vehicle whose fuel economy numbers were stuck in the mid-teens less than a decade ago.

That’s no test lab trickery. Over the course of our road trip, an XL-trim 4×2 self-reported 27.7 mpg, and a nearly 700-pound-heavier Platinum 4×4 self-reported 23.7 mpg. To be sure, we hooked both trucks up to our EQUA Real MPG equipment. The XL returned 22.9/34.3/27.0 city/highway/combined mpg and the Platinum 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg city/highway/combined, all handily beating Ford’s estimates.

On top of that, the F-150 Power Stroke wallops the last-gen Ram EcoDiesel in a straight line. EcoDiesels we tested needed between 8.6 and 8.9 seconds to hit 60 mph with their eight-speed autos, but the Power Strokes and their new 10-speed autos took only 7.1 to 7.8 seconds. A big factor in this is the aluminum F-150’s 450- to 1,000-pound weight advantage. Heck, the F-150 Power Stroke is quicker than the base model F-150’s 3.3-liter V-6 (7.6 seconds) and nearly as quick as the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost (7.0 seconds). Our only performance testing quibble was a Platinum brake pedal that felt long and squishy; the XL’s was nice and firm.

New engine aside, the F-150 is the same great truck we unanimously voted our 2018 Truck of the Year. It won that accolade by correcting all the little deficiencies that had kept the previous iteration out of the winner’s circle. A better transmission, improved steering feel, stronger crash-test scores, a more intuitive information/entertainment system, and an interior worthy of the price tag (especially if you throw in heated and cooled massage seats on the Platinum) add up to a fantastic long-distance cruiser and delightful daily driver.

Unfortunately, in fitting the diesel, Ford also introduced a pair of new deficiencies. I suspect it all comes back to the unintended consequences of market research. The first issue involves a clunkiness in the transmission that’s unique to the diesel models. It’s most noticeable at low speeds and when towing. For example, sitting in traffic in fourth gear turning roughly 1,000 rpm at 20 mph, every time I touched the throttle or took my foot off of it, there was a shunt in the driveline. Gear changes at low speed also tended to be a bit rough for an otherwise smooth transmission.

What’s the cause of all this? Ford has the torque converter locking up at a very low engine speed to help reach that best-in-class fuel economy. Unlocked torque converters are a drag on the engine but also do a better job of absorbing drivetrain lash.

The second issue involves towing at freeway speeds. Around town and getting up to 50 mph, the torquey diesel feels stout with 6,500 pounds on the hitch (less than 60 percent of its 11,400-pound max tow rating). Out on the highway, however, it runs out of breath. Passing with a trailer requires a good, long runup, and going uphill means putting your foot on the floor just to maintain speed. The truck downshifts until the revs come up to 3,000—and that’s where it sits until the road levels out again.

Towing isn’t about speed, of course, but as noted, light-duty truck buyers don’t want their trucks to feel stressed when towing and like to have more capability than they need. If you opt for one of the EcoBoost engines or the V-8 instead, you’ll have top-end power even when towing. Even the slower Ram EcoDiesel pulls harder while towing at freeway speeds.

Could Ford have tuned the F-150 Power Stroke for more power while towing? Sure, but it would hurt its crucial fuel economy score. For what it’s worth, Ford claims the F-150 Power Stroke will get much better fuel economy while towing than a gas-powered truck pulling the same trailer. Thankfully, it’s all weight-dependent anyway and isn’t a problem when you’re hauling rather than towing, as the payload rating is just 2,020 pounds, not enough to stress the engine.

Other top priorities of light-duty truck buyers are price and value for the money. You can only get the Power Stroke on the Lariat trim level or higher—putting its base price at $46,410. (Commercial fleet buyers can get the diesel on any trim level as a $5,000 option.) By contrast, a 2.7-liter EcoBoost is a $995 option on any trim level, and it gets up to 26 mpg highway per the EPA. You’ll need to rack up the miles or frequently use the diesel’s added towing capacity to make up the $3,000 difference. And if you’re going to do that much towing, a base-model F-250 can be had with its massive turbodiesel V-8 for just less than $44,000.

Ford knows its customers. For most F-150 drivers, the new Power Stroke is a torquey, comfortable cruiser that’ll go 700 miles between fuel stops with the smallest tank option. It’s a great truck, as long as you don’t come expecting an F-250 diesel in an F-150 package.

2018 Ford F-150 XL 4×2 Power Stroke (SuperCab) 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 Power Stroke (SuperCrew) BASE PRICE $38,180 $62,305 PRICE AS TESTED $41,730 $66,985 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 6-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,982 lb (58/42%) 5,647 lb (58/42%) WHEELBASE 145.0 in 145.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 79.9 x 75.5 in 231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in 0-60 MPH 7.1 sec 7.8 sec QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 88.9 mph 16.1 sec @ 84.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft 118 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.77 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/30/24 mpg (MT est) 20/29/23 mpg (MT est) ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 180/126 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) 189/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile (MT est) 0.95 lb/mile (MT est)

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