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2020 Hyundai Palisade First Drive: Farewell Santa Fe XL

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 12/26/2018 - 4:00am

Hyundai offered a long-wheelbase Santa Fe for years, but as we found in our 2017 First Test, the three-row model was more of a two-row crossover with a pair of rear jump seats, not a minivan substitute. To comfortably fit six adult-sized passengers, it didn’t simply need to be longer. It needed to be wider, as well. To fix that problem, Hyundai developed an entirely new model: the 2020 Palisade.

Thanks to its larger size, the Hyundai Palisade serves as a more direct competitor for other three-row crossovers such as the Honda Pilot, Subaru Accent, and Volkswagen Atlas. Of those three, only the Atlas has a longer wheelbase. And although the Palisade is only wider than the Subaru, it’s not much narrower than the other two. It’s also 3 inches longer overall than the Santa Fe XL it replaces.

Most important, whether you opt for the seven- or eight-passenger Palisade, the third row now has enough room to comfortably fit an average-sized adult. Even two of them. The Palisade’s second-row seats can also slide forward, adding even more flexibility.

But even though Hyundai hopes families will appreciate the Palisade’s size and practicality, it also took a big risk with the styling. We’re still not quite sure how we feel about the look, but with a huge chrome grille, stacked headlights, vertical daytime running lights, the Palisade certainly stands out. Around back, the shape of the taillights complements what you see up front. In profile, however, the shape is much more conventional.

Inside, the designers took fewer risks, instead focusing on giving the cabin a spacious, premium feel. We like the clean design, even if the number of buttons in the center console can be confusing at first glance. Plus, by switching to a push-button transmission, they were able to add a truly impressive amount of storage up front. Material choices won’t put Range Rover on notice, but for a mainstream crossover, the loaded version we drove felt pretty nice.

Even if you don’t spring for all the options such as premium leather, head-up display, surround-view camera system, and Mercedes-esque 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, the Palisade will still come well equipped. An 8.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support comes standard, as does remote keyless entry, adaptive cruise control with steering assist, and automatic emergency braking.

Unfortunately, because we drove Korean-spec Palisades, we can’t say much about the powertrain. Instead of the torquey 2.2-liter turbodiesel that the cars we drove had, U.S. models will get Hyundai’s 3.8-liter V-6 making an estimated 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive will come standard, with all-wheel drive offered as an option.

Although we can’t comment on acceleration or fuel economy, Hyundai promised everything else would be exactly the same when the Palisade goes on sale in the U.S. Assuming that’s true, the suspension will be a bit on the firm side but well damped. Add an impressively insulated cabin and comfortable seats, and you get a quiet, refined ride that encourages long road trips.

In an attempt to further encourage family adventures, the Hyundai has six drive modes. Most people will probably stick to Comfort or Sport, but there’s also an Eco setting to maximize fuel economy. The Sand, Mud, and Snow modes, on the other hand, offer a little extra help on less-than-ideal surfaces.

Even though it snowed heavily the first day of our drive, we never felt like traction was limited enough to require switching out of Comfort or Sport. In theory, we would have had a chance to test out Sand mode, but the organizers seriously underestimated how soft the beach would be when we showed up.

After only a few minutes of low-traction shenanigans, our drive partner got the Palisade stuck. Then the driver following behind us got stuck. Then another one. Hopping out to assess exactly how bad the situation was, our feet immediately sank several inches into the sand. No wonder the Palisade had gotten stuck. More speed and lower tire pressure would have probably helped, but even that might not have been enough. Thankfully, one of the few drivers who didn’t get stuck gave us a ride, saving us from a cold, damp, sandy hike back.

Considering how soft the beach was, we can’t really fault the Palisade. It’s a solid crossover that just got in a little over its head (or, rather, up to its axles). But the situation did serve as a good reminder that even soft-roading can quickly get out of hand if you aren’t careful. Also, it never hurts to carry a set of Maxtrax and a tow strap.

Somehow, though, we think mainstream buyers will forgive the Hyundai Palisade for not being immune to the laws of physics. Consumers are probably more concerned with how spacious and practical it is, as well as what kind of features they get for their money. We’ll need to find out about pricing and actually drive the U.S. version before we can say for sure, but based on our initial impressions, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade delivers a well-rounded package that families will love.

The post 2020 Hyundai Palisade First Drive: Farewell Santa Fe XL appeared first on Motortrend.

16 Vehicles We Lost in 2018

Motortrend Magazine News - Wed, 12/26/2018 - 4:00am

This year was a tough one for cars. In response to the U.S. market’s growing appetite for crossovers and SUVs, many automakers have chosen to pivot away from sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks. Ford announced earlier this year that it would cut all cars from its lineup except the Mustang, and GM recently made the call to discontinue six car models from its lineup. But not all the cuts come from that mass car exodus. Here’s a look at the models we lost in 2018.

Ford Fiesta

The subcompact segment continues to shrink, and with the loss of the Ford Fiesta, there are fewer affordable cars on the market. This also means we say goodbye to the fun little Fiesta ST, reducing the number of choices consumers have for an affordable sporty car.

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt proved you can have a futuristic car with minimal sacrifices and conventional looks, and we liked the first-generation plug-in hybrid enough to name it our 2011 MotorTrend Car of the Year. Alas, the second-generation Volt is one of the victims of General Motors’ shift toward crossovers and EVs. The all-electric Bolt hatchback will live on, but the range-extended Volt’s time has been cut short.

Ford Focus

Ford was originally planning to bring the next-generation Focus to North America in Focus Active guise, which is essentially a lifted hatchback. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case thanks to looming tariffs and low sales projections. We also won’t be getting the new Focus ST or RS that the rest of the world will enjoy.

BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon

We recently drove the 2019 BMW 3 Series and came back impressed by its improved driving dynamics and revised interior. Unfortunately for American consumers averse to the idea of owning a crossover, BMW won’t have any 3 Series alternatives for you because it’s not planning to bring back the wagon in the U.S. There’s also no word on whether the 3 Series Gran Turismo hatchback will return.

Ford Fusion

When the current-generation Ford Fusion first debuted, it wowed the world with its Aston Martin–esque front end and overall swoopy exterior design. Fast-forward to 2018, and the Fusion is now on borrowed time with production slated to end soon. In addition to gas-only powertrains, the Ford Fusion was also offered as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Ford C-Max

Ford’s C-Max came in standard hybrid or plug-in hybrid guise and offered respectable fuel efficiency without the soul-sucking driving experience many associated with hybrids at the time of its release. Unfortunately, sales of the C-Max failed to reach the levels of key competitors like the Toyota Prius, which led to its eventual demise.

Chevrolet Impala

The Chevrolet Impala will go to car heaven after March due to General Motors choosing to pull funding from the plant that produces it. This storied nameplate received a major overhaul back in the 2014 model year and quickly became one of the better vehicles in its segment. Unfortunately, the decline in sedan sales, lack of meaningful updates, and rapid growth of the crossover segment have all contributed to the model’s discontinuation.

Buick LaCrosse

Another full-size sedan headed to the automotive afterlife is the Buick LaCrosse. Straddling the lines between mainstream and luxury, the LaCrosse was a tweener that had a muddled identity. It was too expensive to be a mass-market model, yet its build quality, as we noted in a recent First Test, lags behind premium models.

Cadillac XTS

If you wanted a full-size luxury sedan priced under $50,000, the Cadillac XTS was one of the few that fit the bill. Unfortunately, only a small number of them found homes even after Cadillac added a 410-hp V-Sport model. Like its cousins, the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse, the Cadillac XTS will be discontinued in General Motors’ quest to trim costs.

Subaru Forester XT

The previous-generation Subaru Forester was the last to see a turbocharged model because the redesigned 2019 Forester ditched the XT variant. With XT models making up less than 10 percent of the mix, Subaru didn’t see the point of offering a more powerful turbocharged version of its popular crossover.

Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus belongs to a segment that’s essentially on its death bed. With full-size sedans selling in such small numbers, the discontinuation of the Taurus has been a long time coming, especially considering it hasn’t received many updates since its 2013 refresh.

Cadillac ATS Sedan

At one point the Cadillac ATS was the standard-bearer among compact luxury sport sedans, offering sublime performance and handling and a sharp exterior design. Sales, however, failed to come close to those of its key rivals from Europe. Cadillac confirmed earlier this year that the ATS sedan will end production to make way for the next generation of Caddy sedans. Both the ATS and CTS are expected to eventually be replaced by a new CT5 sedan.

Volkswagen Beetle

Model-year 2019 will mark the end of an era as Volkswagen will officially end production of the iconic Beetle. In celebration of the Beetle’s last year in production, the German automaker released the Final Edition for those looking to get a piece of automotive nostalgia. The current Beetle will be no more after 2019, but VW hasn’t ruled out a successor—possibly an all-electric model based on its MEB platform.

Cadillac CT6

The Cadillac CT6 was the brand’s first rear-drive full-size luxury sedan since the Fleetwood was discontinued in 1996. Like the ATS, the CT6 was supposed to challenge European rivals, and although the big sedan did prove successful to some degree, its sales never really took off. Despite the introduction of a 550-hp CT6-V (originally a V-Sport model) for 2019, production will end in June of next year.

Chevrolet City Express

In a bid to take a chunk of the compact commercial vehicle segment, Chevrolet rebadged and restyled the Nissan NV200 commercial van and called it the City Express. But since its introduction, sales have lagged behind the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City, and even its Nissan-badged twin. General Motors made the call to discontinue the City Express this past summer.

Mercedes-AMG GT S

Back when it first arrived, the Mercedes-AMG GT S won MotorTrend’s Best Driver’s Car title, beating out many formidable sports cars. With the refresh of the AMG GT lineup, however, the GT S will be discontinued. In its place, Mercedes will offer the AMG GT C in coupe and convertible body styles, shrinking the lineup down by one model.

The post 16 Vehicles We Lost in 2018 appeared first on Motortrend.

[GALLERY] Santa, Christmas and Corvettes! (49 Corvette Photos)

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 12/25/2018 - 4:33pm

Merry Christmas!

I hope all you good boys and girls enjoyed your Christmas day. We’re still feeling quite merry around here so why not offer up a special image gallery featuring Christmas, Santa and Corvettes!

Today’s special holiday gallery featuring 49 photos of the big man himself along with some other Corvette-related holiday pics.

Continue reading [GALLERY] Santa, Christmas and Corvettes! (49 Corvette Photos) at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Late Christmas Gifts: 5 Amazing GM Cars From Mecum Kissimmee

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/25/2018 - 2:54pm

We love to window shop these amazing beauties.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Trail Boss Not In The Plans

GM Authority News - Tue, 12/25/2018 - 11:13am

In all fairness, the new Silverado HD is probably big enough.

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo First Test

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 12/25/2018 - 4:00am

By its very definition, no one wins when you compromise. This is especially true if you’re a discerning car enthusiast looking for a one-size-fits-all approach to your family car. More often than not, the cars that are most practical aren’t particularly fun to drive, but sportier options are neither roomy nor efficient. That equation gets even more complicated once you bring efficiency, fuel costs, and climate change–causing emissions into the equation. Thankfully, it seems some problems are easily solved by throwing money at them—the 2018 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is the ultimate be-all, end-all family car for the evolved (and let’s get this out of the way early—wealthy) car enthusiast.

Practicality

You’re not going to be able to sell your significant other on a family car if it isn’t practical. Riding on the Volkswagen Group’s MSB platform, the Panamera Sport Turismo shares everything forward of (and beneath) the B-pillar with its non–Sport Turismo sibling. Behind that B-pillar is a revised roofline, ending in a tidy-looking tailgate. The already-roomy rear seat benefits from the extra airiness provided by a larger rear cargo area, and cargo volume in the trunk balloons from 14.3 to 18.3 cubic feet.

The fold-flat back seat is tilted back a bit to improve headroom for taller passengers without ruining the roofline (as was the case with the first-generation Panamera); legroom, although not limolike, is perfectly acceptable for most taller occupants.

Front occupants are well taken care of, too, with comfortable seats, near-SUV levels of visibility, and a large, easy-to-use Porsche Connect infotainment display. Its sole miss—not enough cupholders or storage cubbies for family considerations.

Sportiness

Just like a Jeep has got to live up to the badge on its hood, a Porsche does, too. This family-friendly hybrid station wagon delivers in spades there. Developed using technology and know-how from Porsche’s 918 Spyder hypercar and Le Mans–winning 919 Hybrid, the Panamera Sport Turismo pairs a 330-hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 with a 136-hp electric motor wedged between the six-cylinder and Porsche’s latest PDK eight-speed twin-clutch automatic. Its total system output is a not-insignificant 464 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s more power and more torque than the twin-turbo V-8-powered Panamera GTS.

Paired with Porsche’s standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, our electrified Panamera station wagon was shockingly (sorry) fast at the track. With its 14.1-kW-hr battery topped off and launch control enabled, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and on through the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds at 112.7 mph.

Our 60–0 brake tests revealed the brakes to be softer and more prone to fade than we’ve typically seen from Porsches. Its best stop of 109 feet was followed by increasingly longer stop distances. We suspect the Panamera E-Hybrid’s regenerative brakes trying to scavenge for electricity is the culprit. At any rate, Porsche offers carbon-ceramic brakes on the E-Hybrid, which ought to improve performance considerably.

Despite its 5,016-pound curb weight, this Panamera has no trouble dancing through a corner or two. Aided by the optional rear-axle steering system (at a fairly reasonable—for a Porsche—$1,620), this Sport Turismo lapped our figure-eight course in 24.4 seconds at 0.79 g, and it averaged 0.96 g on the skidpad.

On the road, the Panamera E-Hybrid is, in a word, fascinating. Given the complicated dance going on between the Porsche’s gas engine, electric motor, eight-speed transmission, regenerative brakes, and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, you’d think the car would be constantly fighting itself. Instead, the systems are all in sync.

The stark differences between each of the Panamera’s four drive modes were probably the most interesting to me. With its battery full, E-Power mode is the default setting. Despite its modest 16 miles of electric range in this mode, this plug-in hybrid does a remarkable job at mimicking the experience of a traditional full-size electric vehicle, like a Tesla Model S. Aided by the PDK, the Panamera’s electric motor makes the most of its 136 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. On electrons the Sport Turismo feels decently quick, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5-ish seconds. The gas engine only fires up in E-Power if you press the throttle past its kick-down point or once you deplete the battery, when the Panamera will change into Hybrid Auto mode.

Hybrid Auto seems to be the best of both worlds between full-electric E-Power and performance-optimized Sport and Sport Plus modes. In Hybrid Auto, the Panamera still prioritizes efficient electric driving, but it’ll quickly fire up its V-6 when power is needed or to charge the battery. You can also manually fire up the engine to either save the battery’s state of charge or to charge the battery using the gas engine. Again, the most remarkable thing here is how unremarkable it all is. Save for the tach swinging up and down as the gas engine unobtrusively turns on and off, the drive experience is pure Porsche.

That’s especially true in Sport and Sport Plus modes. The most amazing thing to me is how linear this car accelerates considering all the variables in the powertrain—you get a punch in the gut from the electric motor and all-wheel-drive system off the line, and then the Porsche’s V-6 picks up as the motor begins to lose steam. The result is a car that pulls strongly up near its 6,800-rpm redline before the transmission slingshots you into the next highest gear.

As we saw at the track, the long-roof Panamera hybrid is happy to dance, too. Like the last Panamera, the Sport Turismo drives far smaller than it is on twisty roads, thanks in part to its optional rear-wheel steering system. It’s easy to overdrive the car at first because of how quickly it turns in, but once you’re used to the car, it settles into a corner beautifully. If we’re nitpicking (and to be clear, I am), the Panamera’s sole weakness is that its steering feel borders on gummy in fast, back-to-back bends.

Efficiency

And now we come to the reason why the Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is the ultimate family car for the moneyed among us—simply put, no other vehicle (save for maybe a Tesla Model S P100D) is as fast, fun to drive, practical, and efficient as the electrified Panamera wagon.

The 16 miles of range the EPA rates the Panamera E-Hybrid’s battery at is accurate, and provided you have access to a Level 2 charger, it only takes about three hours for the Porsche’s battery to charge back up. Even with its small 14.1-kW-hr battery (and while only charging every other day), I managed to drive 122 miles on the battery pack and electric motor alone, according to the Panamera’s trip computer. Driven as a hybrid with the battery pack depleted, I averaged a hair over 23 mpg, 1 mpg better than the Sport Turismo’s 22-mpg EPA combined rating.

At 22 mpg, the Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo ain’t exactly a Prius—but that’s just the point. No vehicle in its peer class, including heavyweights like the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic or BMW 740e xDrive, so capably balances performance with efficiency. Yeah, at $118,150 it’s expensive, but considering it’s a capable sports car, family hauler, and relative efficiency, shouldn’t it be?

Ultimately the importance of cars like the Panamera E-Hybrid goes beyond how fast and efficient it is—performance hybrids like this Porsche help change the public perception of electrified vehicles. As the world slowly shifts to battery electric vehicles, cars like the Panamera Sport Turismo E-Hybrid will act as the stepping stone by showing the world that you really can have your cake—and eat it, too.

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo BASE PRICE $105,050 PRICE AS TESTED $118,150 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon ENGINE 2.9L/330-hp/331-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6 plus 136-hp/295-lb-ft electric motor; 464 hp/516 lb-ft combined TRANSMISSION 8-speed twin-clutch auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,016 lb (48/52%) WHEELBASE 116.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 198.8 x 76.3 x 56.0 in TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.2 sec 0-40 1.9 0-50 2.8 0-60 3.7 0-70 4.9 0-80 6.3 0-90 7.8 0-100 9.7 0-100-0 13.9 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.0 QUARTER MILE 12.3 sec @ 112.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 109 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.96 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.4 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,200 rpm EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 20/25/22 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 169/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.88 lb/mile

The post 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo First Test appeared first on Motortrend.

Katech Camaro ZL1 1LE Amplifies The Madness: Video

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 7:43pm

Over 700 horsepower from one of the best names in the business.

SEMA Cares 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Heading To Barrett-Jackson

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 7:28pm

Custom 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is heading to auction next month.

The 10 Coolest GM Cars Right Now

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 6:57pm

Tell Santa you want a cool car.

Corvettes Doing What They Shouldn’t

Corvettes Online News Feed - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 2:57pm
There are a million ways to enjoy your Corvette and these folks have found some faux pas that most will find cringe-worthy.

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Corvette Style

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:54pm

Since the founding of CorvetteBlogger in 2005, it has been our tradition every Christmas Eve to share this special take on the classic Christmas poem “The Night Before Christmas” as re-imagined by a Corvette enthusiast.

Merry Christmas to all and special Christmas wishes to the men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces both at home and abroad.

Continue reading Twas the Night Before Christmas – Corvette Style at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

[VIDEO] Kentucky State Police To Raffle a New Corvette to Support Trooper Island

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 11:10am

We recently told you about the price increase that Chevy has announced for the 2019 Corvette.

But here’s one way to beat that hike.

For just $10, you could be the lucky winner of a new Corvette – Torch Red with Jet Black interior – that the Kentucky State Police are raffling off.

Continue reading [VIDEO] Kentucky State Police To Raffle a New Corvette to Support Trooper Island at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

[VIDEO] This 1955 Corvette Sees Daylight after Being Parked for 40 Years

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 10:32am

Check out this great video that offers some more background about the 1955 Corvette we told you about earlier this month that has finally come out of hiding after 20 years in a Texas garage.

Bob Doucette’s father bought him the car on April 2, 1968 as a high school graduation present for the princely sum of $600, though minus a hood and some of the trim work.

Continue reading [VIDEO] This 1955 Corvette Sees Daylight after Being Parked for 40 Years at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

2020 Silverado HD Introduces Innovative New BedStep

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 10:16am

A small step for the truck makes for a big convenience.

GM Restructuring Highlights A Changing Industry And Union’s Role

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 9:15am

After over a decade, GM is braking with the norms that have surrounded shared prosperity.

Ram 1500 is the 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 9:00am

Americans ask more of our trucks than we do of any other vehicle. In any given week, the average half-ton pickup might find itself commuting like a sedan, hauling a bed full of bricks and sand, towing some Jet Skis, navigating muddy ranchland, or exploring off-road trails. It’s no wonder that we bought 2.8 million of the things last year.

The best-selling pickup in the United States last year—and indeed in every year for the past four decades—has been the Ford F-Series. But our 2019 Truck of the Year should give pause to prospective Blue Oval loyalists (or buyers of any truck, for that matter) because there isn’t a truck out there that so precisely hits the diverse needs of the segment better than the 2019 Ram 1500.

The fifth-generation Ram 1500 is the latest in a long line of evolutionary leaps for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ bread-and-butter truck. The newest version, more than any other, seems poised to meet the needs of the 21st century truck buyer, with more variety, capability, comfort, convenience, and value than ever before.

Advancement in Design

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no arguing that Ram retains its reputation for stylish functionality. “Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said.

The 2019 Ram 1500’s clean-sheet redesign throws out many of the design cues we’ve come to expect from a Ram pickup—while still being unmistakably Ram. Gone are the crosshair grilles, mini-Mack fenders, and even the traditional Ram badge in most places. Instead, the 1500 provides buyers a choice of seven grilles and three head- and taillamp designs. Its 15 wheel designs feature stronger six-bolt hubs, ranging from an off-road-friendly 18 inches to an urban cowboy 22-inch style. And that’s on top of your typical pickup choices of extended or crew cab and bed sizes of either 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4. A regular cab and 8-foot bed are expected next year.

“I love the styling,” road test editor Chris Walton said, eyeing the Ram 1500 Rebel. “It’s like the Viper of Rams.”

The interior updates, from the volume-grade Big Horn all the way up to the luxurious Limited, are even more impressive. Every Ram cabin has the tools needed for both work and play. The Ram’s configurable center console turns the space into an office, with room inside to swallow a bag and laptop, space for your phone and drinks, and a center console lid that can function as a desk.

When it comes to technology, Ram provides three versions of its Uconnect infotainment system, including a choice of an 8.4-inch or Tesla-like 12.0-inch touchscreen. “The center stack layout is a combination of Volvo (screen), Audi (switches), and Jaguar (rotary shifter),” Walton said. “The clever center console (phone charger/pocket, sliding bins, and side pockets) is something Honda would do. Ram has done its homework on picking the benchmarks for both design and packaging.”

Although a Silicon Valley–aping infotainment suite will certainly draw eyeballs in showrooms, the cabin’s functionality and furnishings are even more impressive.

Crew cab versions feature a flat floor in back and seats that flip up, allowing you to store valuables in the safety of the cabin. RamBins, hidden underneath the rear floormats, have grown in size to better accommodate hitch receivers or ratchet straps. In a first for pickups, the new Ram 1500’s higher trim levels have a rear bench seat that reclines up to 8 degrees and is heated and cooled, as well. Ever been chauffeured in a truck before? Now you can be.

We were particularly impressed by the level of fit and finish. Every trim, from the base Tradesman up to the Limited, furnishes at least one two-tone cabin treatment, injecting a bit of personality and style into the cabin at any price point. Unlike some of its competitors, Ram took the profitable luxury market seriously by offering two flavors of luxury trucks—the saddlebag-equipped (seriously) Laramie Longhorn and the thoroughly modern Limited.

“GM has to be kidding, going up against this with the High Country and Denali,” features editor Scott Evans said. “This is a luxury interior. Look at this wood! This leather! The metal, stitching, design, attention to detail! The leather on the grab handles! Cadillac could learn a thing or two by spending an afternoon in this cabin.”

Hyperbole aside, he’s right. The Ram’s cabin ain’t just good for a truck. It’s good, period.

Engineering Excellence

Looks can be deceiving, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the 2019 Ram is a bit old school in its approach. Freed from the obligation (and expense) of chasing maximum payload and towing capacities with all-aluminum construction, the Ram team instead invested in a shotgun approach to improve capability, efficiency, and performance. Underpinning it all is a new high-strength steel platform, 4.0 inches longer and about 17 percent lighter than the old chassis. The aerodynamic sheetmetal is largely built from steel but with the strategic use of lighter metals for a total weight decrease of about 200 pounds.

Like the previous version of the Ram 1500, our 2019 Truck of the Year continues to come standard with a coil-spring rear suspension (now with frequency dampers), which slightly sacrifices towing and payload capacity in favor of a better ride when compared to leaf-sprung competitors. A four-corner air suspension with five ride heights and load leveling is available, giving the best of both worlds when it comes to ride and performance.

“It’s really a surprise on the road,” testing director Kim Reynolds said after a stint in an air suspension–equipped 1500. “It’s way more refined and sophisticated than the GMs. Steering is fluid and quality-feeling.” The standard suspension won praise at the expense of its competitive set, too. “The coil-spring suspension is better in the Ram than the ride in any of the GM trucks,” MotorTrend en Espanol managing editor Miguel Cortina said.

Despite the minor diet, maximum payload is up to 2,320 pounds, and max towing capacity rises to 12,750 pounds, besting Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota’s half-ton offerings (though shy of Big Daddy Ford’s max towing by 450 el-bees).

Things get even more impressive under the hood. Embracing global realities, two of the three available Ram 1500 engines come with supplemental electric motors to improve fuel economy and performance. These mild-hybrid powerplants, dubbed eTorque, use small starter-generators and a tiny 0.43-kW-hr battery stashed in the rear wall of the cab to aid the stop/start system and provide torque assist to allow the engines to lug around at cruising speed in four-cylinder mode longer and without having to downshift.

The eTorque system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V-6, which makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and is also available for a small premium on the top-level 5.7-liter V-8, which turns out 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. A non-eTorque 5.7-liter V-8 generating the same output as the eTorque version slots between the two electrified mills. (Because these motors aren’t assisting when the engines’ are generating peak power and torque, they don’t affect those figures.) An eight-speed automatic is standard across the line, as is rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive, limited-slip or locking rear axles, and three final drive ratios are also available.

The base eTorque V-6 is a lot of engine for the money. It makes its torque higher in its rev band, but it makes good use of the power it has. “It feels powerful even though it’s a V-6,” associate online editor Kelly Pleskot said. Evans agreed, adding that it “doesn’t have the torque of the V-8s, but it has plenty of power; the deficit only manifests itself when passing on Arizona’s 75-mph freeways.”

In back-to-back driving of our otherwise identically equipped V-8 Ram 1500 Longhorn and Limited models, Evans was one of the few judges who could feel the Limited’s eTorque assist at work. “I find the eTorque drivetrain a bit smoother through the revs and shifts and when accelerating up steep grades,” he said.

The fuel economy benefits of the eTorque V-8s show up in our data, but towing performance is a bit of a wash; all of the Ram V-8s, eTorque or not, performed nearly identically in both instrumented tow tests (where the Rams towed between 6,600 pounds and 11,400 pounds) and in our Davis Dam frustration test, which saw our V-6 Ram tester tow 4,020 pounds and the V-8s tow 7,780 pounds.

Performance of Intended Function

Despite the many hats we expect our trucks to wear, at their heart, they are beasts of burden. To that end, the 2019 Ram 1500 excels.

The most important part of any pickup is its bed, and Ram continues to deliver. The bed rails have been raised 1.5 inches to increase cargo volume, and the optional RamBoxes grow in size with minimal impact on bed space.

Some previous Ram innovations carry over, including the segment’s best combo bed extender and cargo divider, which stashes against the cab when not in use, and a CHMSL-mounted camera that looks down into the bed so you can triple-check your tie-down work while on the move.

The one area where the Ram’s bed could be better is its use of tie-downs, or lack thereof. GM changed the game this year—providing 12 standard tie-downs in the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra (three in each corner) and the ability to expand with movable optional tie-downs. Ram offers the standard four (one in each corner), plus another four optional moveable rail-mounted tie-downs. Ram would do well to follow GM’s lead here.

The ability to access the bed is arguably as important as its construction. Missing GM’s standard bumper steps, Ram makes up for it with its option sheet. One of the air suspension’s many benefits is its access height mode, which lowers the bed’s step-up height to match that of the bumper step. For those who skip the air suspension, Ram also offers a kick-down rear step that stashes up and away behind the rear bumper.

Ram made towing improvements, too. For those who simply want to hitch up and go, Ram makes life easy. The rearview cameras have high resolution, making it easy to hitch up without a spotter. Trucks equipped with blind-spot sensors have an extra party piece, too; after you hitch up and make a couple of turns, the blind-spot sensors will determine the length of your trailer and increase the size of the alert zone to include the trailer length.

As for straight-up towing, the Ram 1500 is rock-solid, especially when equipped with the air suspension. Towing the exact same 8,300-pound trailer as the GMC Sierras and Chevrolet Silverados, the Rams feel so much more confident and just plain happy while at work.

Efficiency

Pickups aren’t traditionally known for fuel efficiency, but that didn’t stop Ram from easing the pain at the pump. Lots of credit goes to the lineup of eTorque engines, but Ram also worked hard at ensuring the new 1500 is as aerodynamic as possible without sacrificing the utility of its pickup body. Its segment-best 0.357 Cd is achieved using grille shutters and spoilers integrated into the trailing edges of the roof and tailgate. On trucks without air suspension, an air dam deploys automatically at 35 mph; those with air suspension get an aero-mode ride height.

The result is that Ram has the most efficient V-8 in its class; the V-8 eTorque is EPA-rated at 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined with rear drive or 17/22/19 with four-wheel drive. Non-eTorque Ram V-8s net 15/22/17 (rear drive) or 15/21/17 (four-wheel drive) mpg. Our Real MPG testing of the V-8 models generally falls in line with the EPA’s results, but our eTorque V-8-powered 1500 Limited 4×4 beat the feds’ numbers with an 18.7/22.6/20.3 score.

The one weak point would be the hard-working V-6 eTorque powerplant. EPA-rated at 20/25/22 mpg with rear drive and 19/24/21 mpg with four-wheel drive, our Big Horn 4×4 model achieved an unimpressive 15.4/19.7/17.1 Real MPG score.

Safety

The NHTSA has not crash-tested the 2019 Ram 1500 yet, but the IIHS has. The new Ram  achieves top scores with a Good rating (the highest possible) in all six crash tests, with its only demerit a Marginal headlight illumination score. The 1500’s new chassis is built of high-strength steel and includes octagonal front-frame rail extensions designed to protect occupants in often-deadly small-overlap front crashes.

The Ram 1500 is also available with forward and reverse collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitors, and 360-degree camera systems, with the ultimate aim of helping the driver avoid accidents in the first place. That’s the true measure of safety.

Value

With pickup trucks, value is ultimately relative over a life of hard knocks and long miles. But we were impressed by the breadth of the Ram lineup. The base Tradesman model starts at $33,390 and should need little more than a spray-in bedliner and tow hitch to be ready for work. The volume Big Horn model is even more impressive. One step up from the Tradesman and starting at $40,090, the Big Horn models offer two-tone interiors, a smartphone-friendly 8.0-inch touchscreen, and more. Editors lauded our two Big Horn testers for their premium-feeling materials and high amount of content for the dollar.

Where Ram makes the biggest value argument is surprisingly in its two most expensive trims: the $52,685 1500 Laramie Longhorn and $55,285 Limited. These two luxe trucks simply blow the competition out of the water. They offer the tech that contractors and civilians alike require and expect, and quite a few luxury automakers could learn a thing from the way Ram matches colors, textures, and materials in these cabins. And it’s a bargain, considering our loaded Ram Limited tester stickered for $68,340, about the price of a comparable GMC Sierra Denali and less than an equivalent F-150 Limited.

Bringing Home the Gold

No segment is more competitive or more important to Detroit’s automakers and blue-collar American workers than half-ton pickups. These trucks are the face of their brands—purchased, driven, and loved by millions. They’re dependable commuters, tools, and toys that form the backbones of our families. With such a diverse skill set needed, it’s easy to just miss the target. But the Ram 1500 hits the bull’s-eye. No pickup in the segment better balances capability, efficiency, value, and quality. The Ram 1500 retains its old-school appeal while being refreshingly modern in style and substance. It’s refined and sophisticated without surrendering its dirty-fingernails roots. For that, the Ram is our 2019 Truck of the Year.

READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 TRUCK OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: 2019 RAM 1500 Big Horn 4×2 (Quad) Rebel 4×4 (Crew Cab) Big Horn 4×4 Long Horn 4X4 Limited 4×4 DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads VALVETRAIN OHV, 2 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 345.0 cu in/5,654 cc 345.0 cu in/5,654 cc 219.9 cu in/3,604 cc 345.0 cu in/5,654 cc 345.0 cu in/5,654 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1 10.5:1 11.3:1 10.5:1 10.5:1 POWER (SAE NET) 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm 305 hp @ 6,400 rpm 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm 395 hp @ 5,600 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm 269 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm 410 lb-ft @ 3,950 rpm REDLINE Not indicated (5,800-rpm limiter) Not indicated (5,800-rpm limiter) Not indicated (6,400-rpm limiter) Not indicated (5,800-rpm limiter) Not indicated (5,800-rpm limiter) WEIGHT TO POWER 12.9 lb/hp 14.1 lb/hp 17.9 lb/hp 14.7 lb/hp 14.9 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.92:1/2.63:1 3.92:1/2.64:1 3.55:1/2.38:1/2.64:1 3.92:1/2.63:1/2.64:1 3.92:1/2.63:1/2.64:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, adj air springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, adj air springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, adj air springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, adj air springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, adj air springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, adj air springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 16.3:1 17.8:1 16.3:1 16.3:1 16.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.1 3.4 3.1 3.1 3.1 BRAKES, F; R 14.9-in vented disc; 14.8-in vented disc, ABS 14.9-in vented disc; 14.8-in vented disc, ABS 14.9-in vented disc; 14.8-in vented disc, ABS 14.9-in vented disc; 14.8-in vented disc, ABS 14.9-in vented disc; 14.8-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 9.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 9.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 18-in cast aluminum 9.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 9.0 x 20-in cast aluminum TIRES 275/55R20 113T (M+S) Nexen Roadian HTX RH5 275/70R18 125/122R Goodyear Wrangler Duratec 275/65R18 113/110S Falken Wildpeak A/T AT3WA 275/55R20 113T (M+S) Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 275/55R20 113T (M+S) Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 140.5 in 140.5 in 144.6 in 144.6 in 144.6 in TRACK, F/R 68.5/68.1 in 68.5/68.1 in 68.5/68.1 in 68.5/68.1 in 68.5/68.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 228.9 x 82.1 x 77.6 228.9 x 82.1 x 77.7 in 232.9 x 82.1 x 75.8-79.6 in 232.9 x 82.1 x 75.8-79.6 in 232.9 x 82.1 x 75.8-79.6 in TURNING CIRCLE 45.1 46.2 ft 46.2 ft 46.2 ft 46.2 ft CURB WEIGHT 5,111 lb 5,575 lb 5,456 lb 5,820 lb 5,876 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 58/42% 58/42% 55/45% 56/44% 57/43% SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 5 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 40.9/39.2 in 40.9/39.2 in 40.9/39.8 in 40.9/39.8 in 40.9/39.8 in LEGROOM, F/R 40.9/35.6 in 40.9/35.6 in 40.9/45.2 in 40.9/45.2 in 40.9/45.2 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 66.0/65.7 in 66.0/65.7 in 66.0/65.7 in 66.0/65.7 in 66.0/65.7 in CARGO VOLUME, INTERIOR † 42.2 cu ft 42.2 cu ft 64.5 cu ft 64.5 cu ft 64.5 cu ft PICKUP BOX L x W x H 76.3 x 66.4 x 21.5 in 76.3 x 66.4 x 21.5 in 67.4 x 66.4 x 21.4 in 67.4 x 66.4 x 21.4 in 67.4 x 66.4 x 21.4 in PICKUP BOX VOLUME 61.5 cu ft 61.5 cu ft 53.9 cu ft 53.9 cu ft 53.9 cu ft WIDTH BET WHEELHOUSES 51.0 in 51.0 in 51.0 in 51.0 in 51.0 in PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,789 lb 1,525 lb 1,444 lb 1,280 lb 1,224 lb TOWING CAPACITY SAE: 11,640; VIN: 11,443 lb SAE: 11,370 lb; VIN: 11,176 lb SAE: 7,460 lb; VIN: 7,323 lb SAE: 11,190 lb; VIN: 11,058 lb SAE: 11,190 lb; VIN: 10,860 lb TEST DATA * ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.1 sec 2.3 sec 2.9 sec 2.1 sec 2.2 sec 0-40 3.1 3.4 4.4 3.3 3.3 0-50 4.5 4.9 6.1 4.7 4.9 0-60 5.9 6.4 8.5 6.3 6.5 0-70 7.7 8.5 11.2 8.3 8.5 0-80 9.7 10.7 14.6 10.5 10.7 0-90 12.3 13.8 — 13.4 13.8 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.9 3.3 4.6 3.3 3.3 QUARTER MILE 14.4 sec @ 97.6 mph 14.9 sec @ 93.1 mph 16.5 sec @ 84.5 mph 14.8 sec @ 94.4 mph 14.8 sec @ 94.4 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 122 ft 135 ft 130 ft 126 ft 132 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.76 g (avg) 0.76 g (avg) 0.71 g (avg) 0.74 g (avg) 0.74 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.1 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) 27.7 sec @ 0.73 g (avg) 29.7 sec @ 0.54 g (avg) 29.0 sec @ 0.57 g (avg) 28.3 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,700 rpm 1,600 rpm 1,600 rpm 1,700 rpm 1,700 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $37,390 $46,390 $43,590 $55,390 $57,890 PRICE AS TESTED $46,240 $55,400 $55,485 $68,385 $68,340 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 26.0 gal 33.0 gal 23.0 gal 26.0 gal 26.0 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 19.2/23.1/20.8; 14.0/19.4/16.0 mpg 19.2/23.1/20.8; 14.0/19.4/16.0 mpg 15.4/19.7/17.1 mpg 14.7/21.6/17.2 mpg 18.7/22.6/20.3 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/23/19 mpg 15/21/17 mpg 20/25/22 mpg 15/21/17 mpg 17/22/19 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles 169/135 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles 198/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.01 lb/mile 1.13 lb/mile 0.88 lb/mile 1.13 lb/mile 1.02 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded mid-grade Unleaded mid-grade Unleaded regular mid-grade mid-grade * All trucks were tested in extreme-heat conditions and performance was adversely affected. We will attempt to retest and update these results at a later date. † Floor-to-ceiling volume with rear seat cushions folded.

The post Ram 1500 is the 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year appeared first on Motortrend.

Jeep Wrangler is the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 9:00am

Look past the iconic grille, and you’ll see it. Behold the latest evolution of a seven-decades-old design, a soul-stirring affirmation of freedom, a surprisingly groundbreaking vehicle that shouldn’t work in the 21st century as well as it does. The new Jeep Wrangler is what crossovers want to be when they grow up, and it’s the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year.

Rarely do past and future coexist so beautifully. The thoroughly redesigned and re-engineered Wrangler finds its own path to modernization, resisting the temptation to dilute its climb-that-mountain capabilities for crossover softness. Even so, beach-bound cruisers and daily commuters will appreciate the upgraded pavement game, and off-roaders will admire how much more confidently they can traverse their favorite trails. This Jeep delivers, no matter what.

The Wrangler’s diverse range furnishes a model for every need. For the Jeep lover reminiscing about the Wrangler’s past, the capable two-door model with a V-6 and manual transmission costs about $30,000—before hitting the aftermarket for customization. The four-door Unlimited model makes it easier to bring friends along for the journey. Perhaps the best part is the available mild-hybrid turbo-four, which improves EPA-rated city fuel economy by an astounding 38 percent compared to the outgoing model.

“The Wrangler is a thoughtful, thorough rework of an American original,” international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie said. “It’s laser-focused on improving the performance of its intended function, right down to the last nut and bolt.”

Advancement in Design

It’s no easy task to update the look of an icon. It’s a no-win proposition. Do too much (or too little), and the critics will howl. But Jeep nailed it.

Jeep approached the Wrangler’s styling with a light but deliberate touch. Relocating the Jeep badge from the Wrangler’s face to the front fenders facilitates a less cluttered look, with round headlights touching the edge of the seven-bar grille. Other than LED turn signals mounted on the ends of the wheel flares and updated square taillights, not much else gives away the Wrangler as the new JL model. And that’s exactly how it should be. The Wrangler isn’t a crossover requiring twice-a-decade face-lifts to retain buyers’ interest. It embraces a classic style that continues to attract dreamers who want to remember what SUVs used to be.

The standard canvas top and plastic side windows remain available, and like the fold-down front windshield, they’re easier and quicker to disassemble and reinstall than before, using simple tools. For further customization, black or body-colored hard tops are available, and the soft top comes in black or tan. A vibrant color palette, seven wheel styles, and a regular series of special editions present every opportunity to make a Wrangler reflect your tastes—and that’s before you venture to Mopar for accessories and upgrades.

In so many ways, the Wrangler advances design to make Jeeping more rewarding—whatever that means to you. Open the power-retractable Sky One-Touch soft top, and a starry night will provide all the mood lighting front and rear passengers desire. The new option isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the money. Features editor Christian Seabaugh noted it “combines the safety of the hard top with the ease and open-air experience of the soft top” and called it a revolution for the brand.

Despite its unapologetically industrial interior, the Wrangler masters some details better than many sensible crossovers. Soft-touch and high-quality materials equal those of luxury competitors. As with many Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products, audio volume and channel-change controls are located conveniently on the back side of the steering wheel. Once you drive a car with this intuitive setup, you’ll wonder why more automakers don’t adopt it. The same is true of the rear-seat headrests, which conveniently fold down when not in use for better rearward visibility.

The Uconnect infotainment system, which can be optioned with a 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, is intuitive to use. “Its controls can be learned in seconds, and it responds quickly to your inputs,” associate online editor and resident tech nerd Stefan Ogbac said.

Delightful design Easter eggs, such as the on-screen air recirculation control that looks like a Jeep in silhouette, add character. Remove the doors, and the exposed hinges will remind you how much more special your Jeep is than your neighbor’s anonymous lozenge every time you climb inside. And once you’re there, the high seating position offers great visibility that’s perfect for seeing obstacles ahead on a trail or peering over the roofs of idling cars on a traffic-choked freeway.

Another win for Wrangler fans and first-timers alike: how well the interior is screwed together. “Build quality seems so much better than before,” executive editor Mark Rechtin said.

Engineering Excellence

The Jeep grille is iconic, but like the New York Yankees and their pinstripes, it can also be a distraction from the substance underneath. The Bronx Bombers also had Mickey Mantle, and likewise, this Wrangler is so much more than those seven vertical air intakes. The “sport” in “sport utility vehicle” doesn’t mean tearing up a racetrack or winding road. In the body-on-frame Wrangler’s case, “sport” means heading beyond the paved road’s end. Off-roading capability is its core DNA, bred for military use from the Ardennes to An Loc. And the 2019 edition got all the good genes.

Jeep added to the Wrangler’s already impressive go-anywhere abilities, improving articulation and total suspension travel on the Rubicon trim. The boulevard-ready Sahara trim nonetheless offers full-time four-wheel drive that’s sufficient for most trails, especially when it would be overkill to enlist the Rubicon’s Dana 44 front and rear axles with electronically locking differentials and disconnecting anti-roll bars.

As for the impressive Rubicon, technical director Frank Markus aptly described the off-road-focused trim as “designed and engineered to retain the faithful.”

“The Unlimited Rubicon naturally behaved like the mother of all Jeeps,” Markus said after taking the SUV off-road. “In four-low with front and rear differentials locked, there’s no stopping it in the sand.”

That confidence-instilling performance is standard on every Wrangler. Only one oddity: Hill-descent control can only be activated in four-low.

“The genius of this Jeep is that it can be configured to suit the ambitions of the off-roading neophyte and expert alike and deliver an experience that will reward them both,” MacKenzie said.

That’s also true with the new 2.0-liter eTorque turbo-four mild-hybrid powertrain, which is worth consideration regardless of how you enjoy your Jeep. The 2.0-liter powerplant provides 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, making it an intriguing option. More responsive than you’d expect, the engine is mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic and employs a system that facilitates engine stop/start and regenerative braking. The new engine isn’t impressive for a Wrangler—it’s just plain impressive. Markus called the Wrangler 2.0’s engine stop/start system “amazingly quick” to restart, lauding it as “one of the best.”

Those who are nonetheless wary of a four-cylinder Wrangler can stick with the 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 (which develops 35 lb-ft of torque less than the turbo-four). However, we’d recommend upgrading the V-6 to the eight-speed automatic. The standard six-speed manual may be new, but multiple judges found the engine’s torque delivery poorly matched with this transmission.

Performance of Intended Function

Just as no one expects last year’s SUVOTY, the Honda CR-V, to traverse Hell’s Revenge, the Jeep Wrangler doesn’t ride as smoothly, handle as crisply, or travel in such isolated splendor as a car-based crossover. (Such is the philosophical predicament in defining this category in today’s market.) Yet for a vehicle more capable off-road than any other new SUV offered today, the Wrangler’s everyday trade-offs aren’t as severe as you’d think.

Revised suspension tuning makes both the Sahara and Rubicon trim levels more comfortable than their predecessors. New electrohydraulic steering brings more precision, but the Wrangler never pretends to be a sports car. Instead, the Jeep provides a deliberate pace, encouraging you to appreciate your surroundings.

“The Wrangler doesn’t wallow or flop around,” features editor Scott Evans said. “It moves with a purpose. The ride quality is so, so much better than it was before.”

Stronger performance off-road is part of the package, and a stretched wheelbase provides more room in the rear seats. For those more interested in image-building than trail-running, Jeep offers nearly endless customization possibilities and ways to enjoy the sunshine.

Efficiency

The 2.0-liter eTorque engine is a huge upgrade, but even the 3.6-liter V-6 sees fuel economy improvements, and both engines feature stop/start tech. No matter the powertrain, Wranglers benefit from lighter aluminum used for the doors, hood, and windshield frame. With the V-6, fuel economy improves by 1–2 mpg in the city and 2–3 mpg on the highway.

Go for the eTorque engine, and mileage jumps to 22–23/24–25 mpg. Put another way, the Wrangler’s 2.0-liter engine’s efficiency means more miles of Jeeping before you have to stop to refuel. Jeep is also planning a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, and about the time a Wrangler-based pickup truck arrives, a plug-in hybrid should, too.

Safety

The best way to stay safe is to avoid accidents altogether, and the Wrangler’s superior maneuverability compared to its predecessors provides a good foundation. The Jeep’s frame is strengthened with high-strength steel, and every new Wrangler comes with seat-mounted front side airbags. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and LED headlights are available, and the Wrangler can apply maximum braking force in a panic-braking situation even if the driver hasn’t pushed the pedal all the way down.

For optimal on-road safety, the 2019 model offers forward collision warning—it’s a feature you’ll value once it saves you from damaging the Jeep’s iconic face. The Jeep’s active safety also impresses off-road; its ABS system has a rough-road detection feature, which adapts its settings to improve performance over off-pavement surfaces.

The body-on-frame Wrangler, which hasn’t yet been crash-tested, won’t handle a panic maneuver as well as a unibody crossover, obviously. Even so, the Jeep’s all-around visibility rises above that of most new CUVs, and the Wrangler is a sure bet if you’re seeking a vehicle that will feel secure off-road.

Value

Not everyone will fully appreciate the Jeep’s appeal. But what price do you place on the smile a car puts on your face? The Wrangler is as far from a four-wheeled appliance as you can get. And when the going gets rocky, sandy, or snowy, the Wrangler outperforms vehicles costing more than twice as much.

A two-door canvas-soft-topped Wrangler with 285 hp and four-wheel drive starts around $30,000, though a well-equipped four-door Unlimited with the excellent 2.0-liter engine and an automatic transmission can clear $50,000. That’s a ton of cash, but some buyers feel Jeep’s seven-bar grille carries just as much cachet as certain luxury automaker logos. Compared to the Wrangler, no Fordyce Creek forder combines such capability, efficiency, infotainment tech, and overall appeal in quite the same way.

For the Gold

The Wrangler isn’t for everyone. Guest judge, veteran automotive R&D executive, and 2013 Wrangler owner Gordon Dickie noted that second-row ingress and egress remains cramped, tire and wind noise is quieter but still intrusive, the manual transmission’s clutch will ruin your Achilles tendon in rush-hour traffic, and the Rubicon’s around-town ride—though improved—is still flinty compared to car-based crossovers. Such are the trade-offs Jeep lovers willingly endure.

But when you’ve gotta have an off-roader—or want to look like you spend weekends stomping terra firma—the Jeep is impossible to beat. Tracing its lineage to the original Willys MB, the Wrangler navigates nostalgia without getting stuck in it. The Jeep Wrangler is remarkably well-rounded for its core purpose, and it’s a most deserving SUV of the Year.

READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 TRUCK OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:

2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4 Unlimited Rubicon 4×4 Sahara 4×4 DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD ENGINE TYPE 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 219.9 cu in/3,604 cc 121.7 cu in/1,995 cc 121.7 cu in/1,995 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 11.3:1 10.0:1 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 285 hp @ 6,400 rpm 270 hp @ 5,250 rpm 270 hp @ 5,250 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm REDLINE 6,600 rpm 5,800 rpm 5,800 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 15.3 lb/hp 17.6 lb/hp 16.8 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIOS 4.10:1/2.95:1/4.00:1 4.10:1/2.75:1/4.00:1 3.45:1/2.31:1/4.00:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar Live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar Live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, adj anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 17.4:1 15.6:1 15.6:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.6 3.2 3.2 BRAKES, F; R 12.9-in vented disc; 13.4-in disc, ABS 12.9-in vented disc; 13.4-in disc, ABS 12.9-in vented disc; 13.4-in disc, ABS WHEELS 7.5 x 17-in cast aluminum 7.5 x 17-in cast aluminum 7.5 x 18-in cast aluminum TIRES LT285/70R17 (M+S) BFGoodrich Bojo Champion All-Terrain T/A K02 LT285/70R17 (M+S) BF Goodrich Bojo Champion All-Terrain T/A K02 255/70R18 113T (M+S) Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 96.8 in 118.4 in 118.4 in TRACK, F/R 62.9/62.9 in 62.9/62.9 in 62.9/62.9 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 166.8 x 73.8 x 73.6 in 188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 in 188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 in GROUND CLEARANCE 10.8 in 10.8 in 10.0 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 44.0/37.0 deg 43.9/37.0 deg 41.8/21.0 deg TURNING CIRCLE 34.5 ft 39.4 ft 39.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 4,355 lb 4,755 lb 4,541 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 51/49% 52/48% 51/49% TOWING CAPACITY 2,000 lb 3,500 lb 3,500 lb SEATING CAPACITY 4 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 42.6/41.7 in 40.7/40.2 in 40.7/40.2 in LEGROOM, F/R 41.2/35.7 in 41.2/38.3 in 41.2/38.3 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.7/57.7 in 55.7/55.7 in 55.7/55.7 in CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R 46.9/12.9 cu ft 72.4/31.7 cu ft 72.4/31.7 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.3 sec 2.6 sec 2.5 sec 0-40 3.6 4.1 3.9 0-50 5.2 5.8 5.8 0-60 7.4 8.0 8.1 0-70 10.6 10.7 11.1 0-80 13.8 14.7 15.1 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 4.6 4.4 4.6 QUARTER MILE 15.8 sec @ 83.6 mph 16.2 sec @ 83.2 mph 16.3 sec @ 82.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 150 ft 145 ft 140 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.63 g (avg) 0.68 g (avg) 0.68 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 31.3 sec @ 0.48 g (avg) 29.9 sec @ 0.56 g (avg) 29.5 sec @ 0.56 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,900 rpm 1,750 rpm 1,400 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $39,540 $43,040 $39,890 PRICE AS TESTED $47,355 $56,100 $54,045 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 4: Dual front, front side 4: Dual front, front side 4: Dual front, front side BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/100,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 18.5 gal 21.5 gal 21.5 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 18.4/20.8/19.4 mpg not tested 22.7/28.7/25.0 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/25/20 mpg 22/24/22 mpg 22/24/22 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/135 kW-hrs/100 miles 153/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 153/140 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.98 lb/mile 0.85 lb/mile 0.85 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded premium Unleaded premium

The post Jeep Wrangler is the 2019 MotorTrend SUV of the Year appeared first on Motortrend.

Genesis G70 is the 2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 9:00am

Wind your mental clocks back just over three decades. The year is 1985, Ronald Reagan just began his second term in the White House, and a new Korean car company was selling a Giugiaro-designed hatchback for the low, low price of $4,995.

Americans couldn’t pronounce the name of the brand (Hun-dee? Hi-yun-day? Hoon-dye?). And its little Excel did anything but. The wheezy econobox’s most notable performance credential was the LAPD’s dubious—later retracted—claim that Rodney King was driving one at speeds of 110 to 115 mph.

Fast-forward to the present. How beyond belief is it that that same cheap and cheerful automaker—Hyundai—not only has launched a luxury brand but has also built a better BMW 3 Series fighter right out the gate than the Japanese luxury brands have in numerous attempts?

That car is the Genesis G70, and we have voted it the 2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year. That’s all pretty unthinkable, right? Unthinkable, that is, unless you’ve been paying attention.

Hyundai launched Genesis Motors two years ago with the impressive G90, a full-size luxury machine that humbles cars such as the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. However, the G90 doesn’t really do much against the 4,700-pound German silverback in the room—the mighty Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And although the quite-fine Genesis G80 is a capable midsizer, it doesn’t exactly send shivers down the backs of engineers in Stuttgart or Nagoya. It isn’t, as we like to say, a needle mover.

The G70, however, is. The segment the G70 competes in—entry-level compact luxury sport sedans—has long been defined by the BMW 3 Series. However, for the past decade or so, the Bavarian’s claim of supremacy has been in doubt. That has opened the door for a plethora of stellar sedans from half a dozen countries, ranging from Audi to Cadillac to Jaguar to last year’s COTY, the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Despite comparison tests showing BMW is no longer in ascendency, when creating segment benchmarks, automaker product planners still circle back to, “We want to create a 3 Series fighter.”

Of course, it helps to have a bunch of ringers on your development team to help bring those Eurocentric touches to your first effort—folks like BMW dynamics veterans Albert Biermann and Fayez Rahman, Bentley design talents Luc Donckerwolke and SangYup Lee, Mercedes color/trim specialist Bozhena Lalova, and Bugatti Chiron designer Sasha Selipanov. Coordinating this dream team is former Lamborghini brand czar Manfred Fitzgerald, who has created a Genesis “brand book” to keep his troops focused.

The result of all this hard work is a stunning, value-packed sport sedan that should shake up any shopper’s consideration list.

“What’s remarkable about the Genesis is the Koreans have done what Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and GM have all failed to do: build a legitimate BMW 3 Series competitor,” international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie said.

Over many beers, you and I could sit and pick apart that statement. Yes, the original Infiniti G35 caught BMW flat-footed. Agreed, dynamically speaking, the Cadillac ATS and aforementioned Giulia are superior to the F30 3 Series. However, Angus’ point is that there is no asterisk required for the G70. We don’t have to say the car is better in this way but not that. No excuses are necessary. Am I saying the G70 is perfect? Of course not. No car is. But I am saying that the G70 is exceptional, and when stacked up against our six key criteria, it clearly emerges as our 2019 Car of the Year.

Before delving into said criteria (and in particular Engineering Excellence), I’d be remiss to go one step further without mentioning the G70’s platform cousin, the Kia Stinger. A finalist at last year’s Car of the Year competition, two negatives held the Stinger back from top honors: Its interior design is too blandly similar to every other Kia extant, and its suspension does not befit its sporty-car pretentions. More impressively, we brought a 3.3-liter RWD Stinger GT with us to our 2018 Best Driver’s Car party. There the Kia finished an honorable ninth place out of twelve. That may not sound like much—until you take into account that several bona fide six-figure supercars were ahead of it, and one (Corvette ZR1) finished behind it. Still, the Stinger has felt a bit … unfinished.

Given one additional year of development time, what we assume is a different sort of customer to chase, and perhaps even a different mandate, the G70 does not suffer from the same shortcomings. “The G70 is smooth, quiet, fast, upscale, nimble, good-looking, and a great value,” guest judge (and AMC, Chrysler, and Ford engineering guru) Chris Theodore said. “It’s very good at almost everything.”

The G70 makes a terrific all-arounder, but certain triumphal notes do stand out. If you want a seat at the 3 Series table, true sporting ability trumps a perfectly damped ride and NVH-free cabin. Some version of the word “balance” appears seven times in the notes from seven judges; any suspension complaints had to do with ride quality, not with handling.

“Holy moly, such ferocity and control,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “My attention was rapt. My heart raced. Held to the standard-bearer, a BMW 3 Series, this car out of the gate is better. It’s more evolved and more luxurious than the original Infiniti G35 was, has an edge to it that a Mercedes-Benz C-Class lacks, and feels more alert than an Audi A4.”

We should mention performance under the hood. The optional 3.3-liter twin-turbo G70 is a ferocious animal. The RWD car hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, whereas the heavier AWD car did so in 4.8. The rear-driver did the quarter-mile run in 13.2 seconds, whereas the all-wheeler was just a tenth behind. That’s quicker than the BMW 340i, a touch slower than the Mercedes-AMG C 43, and right on the nose of the 340-hp version of the Jaguar XE. “Your basic rocket ship,” Theodore said. “The engine pulls to infinity and beyond.”

Curiously, few of the 5,595 words we collectively wrote as notes about the G70 mention anything about the base 2.0-liter version feeling slow or underpowered. Yet the numbers tell a different story. The manual 2.0-liter takes 7.2 seconds to hit 60 mph, and the automatic requires 7.4 seconds. By contrast, the BMW 330i needs just 5.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, the Mercedes C 300 sedan takes 6.0 seconds, and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 requires 5.2 seconds. The G70 similarly trails in the quarter—more than a second off its nearest rivals. “The 2.0-liter makes most of its power above 3,000 rpm, and the transmission is geared a bit too long to let the G70 make the most of that meat,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said.

Our fully loaded 2.0-liter Dynamic and the decently contented, power-packed 3.3T Advanced both came in under 45 grand. That’s thousands of dollars if not tens of thousands less than Genesis’ competitors. “I’m blinking hard, looking at the Monroney,” executive editor Mark Rechtin said. “I’m trying to figure out how this is possible. I’m not sure if there’s another vehicle in the segment that drives this way at this price point.”

Like all Car of the Year winners, there’s an X-factor at work, some secret spicy sauce that makes the eventual victor jump up off the page, out of the various spreadsheets, and down from the minds into the hearts of the judges. Last year’s champ, the Alfa Romeo Giulia, had it in spades. So does this year’s Genesis. “Somehow,” technical editor Frank Markus said, “this one, with rear-wheel drive, put it all together for me.”

For others, too. Check out this praise from senior production editor Zach Gale: “What an incredible first effort from a new brand.” Seabaugh professed love for the upgraded engine: “What a great way to wake up. This 3.3-liter TT V-6 is just a monster. I absolutely adore this engine. This was my favorite G70 on the proving ground, and it continues to be in the real world.” Then there’s editor-in-chief Ed Loh: “The pull of the 3.3T makes this one easy to love. BMW, Audi, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti have a real problem on their hands.”

Advancement in design is what you would expect from a car company that has poached talent from Europe’s finest. The G70 is not derivative, but anyone who’s hung around premium German cars will notice a certain resemblance. Genesis didn’t crib its classmates’ homework, but it is working from similar notes. Said guest judge (and former Chrysler design boss) Tom Gale: “A lot of credit is due regarding package execution and combination of design elements for this segment.”

Once inside, the interior fitments are clearly worthy of the compact luxury segment. Genesis had four models on hand for us to sample. “Very upscale interior—almost Mercedes-like,” Theodore said. Detroit editor Alisa Priddle followed with more detailed notes: “Gorgeous quilted black-and-white seats with the diamond pattern in the white stitching.” Associate online editor Michael Cantu said the G70 “has the fit and finish some automakers would dream of.”

As is the case with many compact luxury sedans equipped with leather-clad power front seats, the G70 has a rather tight back-seat area. I’m 5-foot-10, and I fit fine behind a like-sized driver. But 6-footers felt pinched. It’s not big back there. Your friends will fit, just not comfortably for lengthy road trips unless front-seat occupants slide forward a bit.

So yes, there are shortcomings. The 2.0-liter version needs to undergo a kale cleanse, as it’s among the heavier sedans of its class. Rechtin called out its lane keep assist function as wandering. Loh and Markus noticed detectable amounts of road NVH creeping into the cabin on rough aggregate paving. MacKenzie felt the engine note needs refining. And Seabaugh was dismayed that the infotainment interface makes no bones that it’s shared with down-market Hyundai and Kia models.

Genesis shows how a new model from a new brand must enter a crowded segment, one where both heritage and perception count. Not in the middle, not as merely a value proposition or even as a funky alternative, but at or so very close to the top that everybody is forced to take notice. If there are sins, they’re easily forgiven. Alfa Romeo did it last year with the Giulia. Genesis does so this year with the G70. If we can once again journey back to the 1980s, Lexus did exactly this (and then some) with the release of the initial LS 400. The entire industry was put on notice. Some brands (hello, Lincoln) have yet to fully recover because the parent companies refused to recognize the threat and invest the funds necessary to fight back against the hard-hitting, hungry, hustling newcomer. The other brands, chiefly the Germans, evolved. Sure beats extinction.

If Genesis can extend its product line with SUVs similar to the excellent new G70, it stands poised to take over the world of mainstream luxury. Some will focus on the flaws of this first serious effort. But those folks are the ones with their noses up against a tree, missing the whole dang forest.

For now, however, let Genesis Motors bask in the glory of accomplishing the near impossible: It built a better 3 Series. I’ll let Angus summarize: “It hits all the right notes: Punchy powertrains and an agile chassis that’s a ton of fun, sporty exterior styling with strong graphics, and a well-appointed interior. Look out, BMW. It’s the real deal.”

It’s Car of the Year, too.

READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: READ ABOUT 2019 TRUCK OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:

2019 Genesis G70 2.0T 2.0T (manual) 3.3T 3.3T HTRAC DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 121.9 cu in/1,998 cc 121.9 cu in/1,998 cc 203.9 cu in/3,342 cc 203.9 cu in/3,342 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 10.0:1 10.0:1 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 252 hp @ 6,200 rpm 252 hp @ 6,200 rpm 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 260 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm 260 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm 6,500 rpm 6,500 rpm 6,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 14.5 lb/hp 14.2 lb/hp 10.4 lb/hp 11.0 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 6-speed manual 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.73:1/2.11:1 3.54:1/2.81:1 3.54:1/1.97:1 3.54:1/1.97:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.5:1 12.5:1 11.3-13.3:1 11.3-13.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.5 2.5 2.2 2.2 BRAKES, F; R 12.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS 13.8-in vented disc; 13.4-in vented disc, ABS 13.8-in vented disc; 13.4-in vented disc, ABS 13.8-in vented disc; 13.4-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in cast aluminum TIRES, F;R 225/40ZR19 93Y; 255/35ZR19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 225/40ZR19 93Y; 255/35ZR19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 225/40ZR19 93Y; 255/35ZR19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 225/40ZR19 93Y; 255/35ZR19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 111.6 in 111.6 in 111.6 in 111.6 in TRACK, F/R 62.8/63.1 in 62.8/63.1 in 62.8/63.1 in 62.8/63.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in 184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in 184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in 184.5 x 72.8 x 55.1 in TURNING CIRCLE 36.1 ft 36.1 ft 36.1 ft 37.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,659 lb 3,581 lb 3,778 lb 3,998 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 51/49% 52/48% 53/47% 54/46% SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 39.7/36.9 in 39.7/36.9 in 39.7/36.9 in 39.7/36.9 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.6/34.8 in 42.6/34.8 in 42.6/34.8 in 42.6/34.8 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.3/54.6 in 56.3/54.6 in 56.3/54.6 in 56.3/54.6 in CARGO VOLUME 10.5 cu ft 10.5 cu ft 10.5 cu ft 10.5 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.9 sec 2.7 sec 1.8 sec 1.8 sec 0-40 4.1 4.0 2.6 2.7 0-50 5.5 5.6 3.5 3.6 0-60 7.4 7.2 4.7 4.8 0-70 9.5 9.7 6.0 6.2 0-80 11.9 12.0 7.5 7.7 0-90 15.1 15.3 9.4 9.7 0-100 18.6 18.7 11.5 11.9 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.6 3.7 2.3 2.3 QUARTER MILE 15.7 sec @ 91.7 mph 15.7 sec @ 91.0 mph 13.2 sec @ 107.3 mph 13.3 sec @ 105.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft 112 ft 114 ft 113 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.90 g (avg) 0.89 g (avg) 0.89 g (avg) 0.89 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.6 sec @ 0.69 g (avg) 26.0 sec @ 0.68 g (avg) 25.2 sec @ 0.75 g (avg) 25.2 sec @ 0.76 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm 2,200 rpm 1,560 rpm 1,560 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $35,895 $38,895 $44,745 $46,745 PRICE AS TESTED $44,895 $38,995 $44,745 $52,495 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 9: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, driver knee 9: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, driver knee 9: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, driver knee 9: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, driver knee BASIC WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 10 yrs/100,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 15.8 gal 15.8 gal 15.8 gal 15.8 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 25.1/34.5/28.6 mpg 00.0/00.0/00.0 mpg 23.7/33.6/27.4 mpg 00.0/00.0/00.0 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 22/30/25 mpg 18/28/22 mpg 18/26/21 mpg 18/25/20 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/120 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/130 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.78 lb/mile 0.90 lb/mile 0.93 lb/mile 0.94 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium *SAE Certified

The post Genesis G70 is the 2019 MotorTrend Car of the Year appeared first on Motortrend.

GM Lordstown Plant Supplier Announces Closure

GM Authority News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 8:53am

The supplier's closure will erase 600 jobs from the area.

2019 Honda Pilot Elite First Test: Still in the Game

Motortrend Magazine News - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 4:00am

With nearly 144,000 units sold through November, the Pilot is Honda’s second best-selling crossover behind the CR-V and even tops the Odyssey minivan by roughly 48,000 units. The multi-passenger sport ute continues to be popular three years after this generation was introduced, but with three-row competitors like the Volkswagen Atlas, Subaru Ascent, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, and soon a new Toyota Highlander arriving to challenge the Pilot for those sales, Honda gave the refreshed 2019 Pilot a number of meaningful updates to keep it competitive.

I had the opportunity to drive the updated Pilot in two distinctly different areas: in my hometown of Los Angeles and on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. You see, back in October I flew with my family to Atlanta for my sister-in-law’s wedding. Like us, many of the guests were from out of town and needed rides to and from the venue. Honda was nice enough to loan me a refreshed 2019 Pilot for exactly that purpose, and later sent one to our office so we could test it.

Both testers were identically equipped 2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD models, loaded with such standard features as a leather interior, heated front and second-row seats, premium 10-speaker audio system, updated touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system, wireless phone charger, and more. For 2019, the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, has been made standard on all Pilots. The Elite trim additionally comes standard with a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beams.

The Pilot’s 3.5-liter V-6 continues to make 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, but the big news is that the nine-speed automatic that comes on Touring and Elite models has been reprogrammed and upgraded in response to customer complaints—not to mention our own well-documented troubles with our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot. We’ll come back to how the revised transmission performs in a bit, but first let’s travel back in time to the warm and muggy days of early October in Atlanta.

When I first picked up the car, I honestly wasn’t sure that four adults, my then-four-month-old son, his car seat, a stroller, and all of our luggage would fit. The valet proved me wrong, however. We had to drop one of the 60/40 split-folding third-row seats, but once we did we had enough room to stack the bags and still clear the liftgate. Granted, my mother-in-law had to keep our carry-ons from toppling over the entire drive into the city, and I couldn’t see anything out the back window, but in a pinch the Pilot can fit a family of overpackers and their stuff.

The Pilot also worked well as a wedding shuttle. The second-row captain’s chairs slide forward with a single pull of the lever on the back, providing a reasonably wide path to the third row. Children and average-height adults (including a few senior citizens) were able to squeeze back there without complaint, though taller adults had a harder time entering and exiting the rearmost portion of the cabin. The captain’s chairs themselves were plenty comfortable for adults and roomy enough for a baby seat, though those sitting in front and behind sometimes had to sacrifice a bit of legroom for it to fit.

Since this was only my second time visiting Atlanta, I relied heavily on the infotainment system to tell me where to go. Google Maps had just become available for Apple CarPlay, so I mostly used that to get around. As long as I had a cell signal, the app worked like a charm. The integration wasn’t perfect, however. At one point, I was unable to exit the app to get to the main infotainment menu, even after repeatedly pressing the Home and Back buttons. Also, I found the turn-by-turn voice levels to be inconsistent: The directions would be normal volume for one turn, then inexplicably loud the next. In those moments, I was happy the system had a physical volume knob. It’s possible those issues were bugs in the app itself and may be fixed by the developers at some point.

If you prefer not to deal with third-party software, the onboard navigation is a reliable, if less slick-looking, alternative. The system never steered me wrong on Atlanta’s unfamiliar streets, though the voice recognition is hit or miss as I tried to speak my destination. It usually took more than two clearly enunciated tries before it finally got the address right.

The white 2019 Pilot shown here (and above) has a red graphics package and black grille trim.

Back in L.A., we put the refreshed crossover through our usual battery of tests. In every one of them, the 2019 Honda Pilot posted numbers nearly identical to our 2016 long-termer. Acceleration, handling, and braking performance is virtually unchanged, at least on paper. Road test editor Chris Walton had this to say in his acceleration testing notes:

“There’s an ‘almost-launch mode’ in a Pilot?! After generous pedal overlap, revs settle at 2,000 rpm. Lifting off the brake, they shoot up to 3,000, and it really goes! The otherwise smooth, normal shifts become much quicker and sharper. Then at about 5,400 rpm, there’s the ‘VTEC, yo!’ You can really hear the changeover. This whole experience was unexpected. Hat tip to the powertrain folks at Honda.”

Driving the Pilot on the street wasn’t quite that exciting but still enjoyable. For being such a large crossover, the Pilot is easy to maneuver and park. Visibility is mostly good save for thick B-pillars that create a blind spot over the left shoulder. And just as before, the Pilot remains a comfortable highway cruiser thanks to a smooth-riding suspension and buttery V-6. Honda also improved its stop/start system for 2019, and the restarts are quicker and less jarring than before.

Getting back to the nine-speed automatic, I thought the updated transmission performed well for the most part. Occasionally I would get a harsh shift when slowing to a stop, but beyond that driving in traffic and at slow speeds around town felt pretty normal. One staffer who spent more time in our old long-termer than me said the transmission felt about the same as before, however, and that it could still use some refinement.

The improvements may not please all, but I could probably live with the Pilot’s transmission. It’s far smoother than the nine-speed I’m used to in my long-term Chrysler Pacifica, though I think I’d still choose a minivan for its more usable third row and cargo area. I realize I’m in the minority, however, and that three-row crossovers still reign supreme in this market—one reason why automakers keep churning out new ones. Even amongst this latest batch of three-rows, the Honda Pilot should continue to be a solid choice.

2019 Honda Pilot Elite AWD BASE PRICE $49,015 PRICE AS TESTED $49,015 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 3.5L/280-hp/262-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,337 lb (57/43%) WHEELBASE 111.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.5 x 78.6 x 70.6 in 0-60 MPH 6.3 sec QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 93.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.80 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.6 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 19.1/28.2/22.3 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/26/22 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/130 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.90 lb/mile

The post 2019 Honda Pilot Elite First Test: Still in the Game appeared first on Motortrend.

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