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Ford Investigating Possible Issue With Fuel Economy Testing

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 5:30pm

Ford is investigating the process it uses to certify emissions and fuel economy in the U.S., the automaker announced this week. The investigation comes after a handful of employees expressed concerns through Ford’s internal reporting channel back in September.

The automaker says it has identified possible concerns with how it calculates road load. The 2019 Ranger is the first vehicle Ford is evaluating, and it will be followed by other vehicles.

Ford has also hired an outside firm to look into the specifications used in its testing. According to the EPA, road load is “the force imparted on a vehicle while driving at a constant speed over a smooth level surface from sources such as tire rolling resistance, driveline losses, and aerodynamic drag.” Road load is determined by engineering models and validated through methods such as physical track tests, or “coastdown” testing.

Ford has asked the help of industry technical experts, and it has hired an independent lab to conduct more coastdown testing. It says it is considering changes to its road-load modeling process.

To be clear, Ford has not yet determined whether or not fuel economy labels or emissions certifications have been affected. And the potential issue does not involve the use of defeat devices, Ford says. In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using these devices as a way to skirt emissions controls during emissions testing. Since then, automaker testing procedures have come under increased scrutiny.

This isn’t the first time Ford has had to look into its own reported mpg numbers, however. Back in 2013, customer complaints about the Ford C-Max’s fuel economy not living up to estimates prompted Ford to retest the car and revise the numbers from 47/47/47 mpg city/highway/combined to 45/40/43 mpg. At the time, the automaker issued checks for $550 to compensate owners.

Ford has informed the EPA and California Air Resources Board of the possible problem.

“As always, we strive to be transparent with our customers, employees, dealers, shareholders and other stakeholders,” Kim Pittel, Ford Motor Company group vice president of Sustainability, Environment, and Safety Engineering, said in a statement. “We understand how important it is to all audiences that we thoroughly yet swiftly complete this investigation.”

Source: Ford

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Now You Can Build Your Own 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Out of Legos

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 4:31pm

Want a vintage Ford Mustang in the garage, but can’t actually afford one? We’re in the same boat. But Lego has a solution of sorts for folks like us in the form of a new $150 Creator Ford Mustang, and it’s pretty great.

The new Mustang joins a lineup of Creator cars that includes a VW Microbus, Ferrari F40, Mini Cooper, and more. The dark blue 1967 fastback has tons of amazing details, including the white racing stripes, hood scoop, GT badges, and chunky rubber tires wrapped around Torq-thrust-style five-spoke wheels.

The expert kit is designed for kids 16 years old and up, so you may be fighting your teens over who gets to build it—or, more likely, they’ll all be bought by folks two or three times that age. The mean little Mustang measures more than 13 inches long, and comes with an instruction booklet that includes several pages about both the original car and this kit’s design process.

Behind the galloping Mustang badge up front sits a detailed V-8 engine complete with battery, hoses, and air filter. The side doors open to reveal a functional steering wheel, as well as two-tone bucket seats, a T-handle shifter, a rearview mirror, and a radio (that’s probably AM-only). Plus, the roof panel can be removed to access the inside, or to create a pseudo-targa fastback we suppose.

If you prefer a more customized pony car, there are lots of additional bits including a supercharger, a nitrous-oxide tank for the trunk, a ducktail spoiler, side exhaust pipes, and a selection of U.S. and international license plate decals. You can even raise the rear suspension to give it a true hot-rod look.

There’s no doubt it will look great on your desk or shelf, situated between the Lego Aston Martin DB5 and 911 GT3 RS already in your collection. The Creator Mustang is available online or at Lego retailers starting March 1, but if you want a preview of the build, head over to Lego fan site Brothers Brick.

Source: Lego

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Spied! Huge Mid-Engine Corvette Gallery Gives us Our Best Look Yet

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 3:44pm

Yesterday, our friends over at Hot Rod caught a small fleet of mid-engine Corvette prototypes out on public roads. Because we’ve never seen more than one testing at the same time, we thought it was a pretty cool catch. Since they were all so heavily camouflaged, though, there wasn’t much we could say other than, “Here they are.” But today, another one of our spy photographers sent us a huge gallery of one of the least-camouflaged C8 prototypes we’ve seen to date.

One of the first things that stands out to us is the batwing-like rear spoiler, which represents a huge departure from past prototypes we’ve seen. That could mean this version is some sort of high-performance model, but you never know. There’s also something new mounted on the driver’s side of the hood, which could be a testing device, but there’s no way to tell just yet. Maybe it’s an external tachometer? This mule appears to wear the same five-spoke wheels we saw on a car testing on the Nurburgring last year.

Even though most of the car is disguised with little more than a wrap, Chevrolet made sure to keep the front and rear ends under much heavier camouflage. Looking more closely, it’s still a little hard to make out the shape of the headlights, but they do appear to be LED clusters with a turn signal closer to the wheels. Around back, you can also get a good idea of what the taillights will look like even though Chevy tried hard to cover them up. Interestingly, despite the Corvette going mid-engine, it looks like the taillights are very similar to the ones on the current C7. And even though it’s now required by law, we have to wonder if the rearview camera will be so prominent on the production version.

If you haven’t been following the mid-engine Corvette saga, here’s what we know so far. The C8 will likely be more premium than the C7, judging by some interior spy shots captured in January. Those shots revealed a unique center console with buttons arranged in single-file. We’ve also seen what is likely to be the mid-engine Corvette’s key fob, which hints at a power retractable roof option. Engine choices are still unknown, but rumors have swirled of a new dual-overhead-cam V-8 design, possibly involving forced induction.

With so many photos, it’s also possible we’ve missed a few details. If you spot anything else, be sure to point it out to us on Facebook.

Photo source: SpiedBilde

 

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GM Extends Production of Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 in Detroit

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 3:00pm

General Motors will extend production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility through January 2020. The models were originally scheduled to end their run at the plant this June.

“We are balancing production timing while continuing the availability of Cadillac advanced technology features currently included in the CT6-V, the Blackwing Twin-Turbo V-8 and Super Cruise,” GM said in a statement today.

Cadillac sold out of the limited edition Blackwing CT6-V within hours of opening the order books earlier this year. It is equipped with a new V-8 good for 550 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Reports say Cadillac is gearing up to offer a detuned version of this engine in the CT6 with a still-healthy 500 hp and 553 lb-ft.

General Motors announced last November that it would cease production at five plants in 2019, including Detroit-Hamtramck. In total, the plans included three U.S. assembly plants and two outside the U.S.

In addition to the Impala and CT6, the Detroit-Hamtramck facility makes the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Volt. Or at least it did until a few days ago. Production on these two models ended on February 15, a GM spokesman told The Detroit News.

Cadillac told us in January that it’s working to keep the CT6 on the market despite the plant restructuring plan. If the automaker can’t keep Hamtramck open, assembly could shift to another plant such as the facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee, which makes the XT5 and XT6 crossovers.

Source: GM, Reuters, The Detroit News

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2020 Volvo XC90 Gets a Refresh

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:33pm

The current generation XC90 ushered in a new era for Volvo. Prior to this vehicle, it had been several years since Volvo launched a brand new product, and it was the first vehicle to sit on the Scalable Product Architecture. Plus, it offered up a new design. These changes were enough to make it our 2016 SUV of the Year. Now, Volvo is refreshing the large crossover with a few styling updates and an improved battery for the optional plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The 2020 Volvo XC90 receives subtle updates to the exterior. Volvo revised the grille, changing the design of the vertical bars on the standard version. The model also gets new wheels and exterior colors. The interior design remains largely the same, although buyers can now opt for a version with six seats instead of the standard seven. A wool blend is a new material option.

Globally, Volvo is introducing a new mild hybrid powertrain on the XC90. Volvo’s gas engines pair with an advanced kinetic energy recovery braking system to save up to 15 percent in fuel and emissions, the automaker says. This powertrain is not available in the U.S. at this time.

On our shores, Volvo will continue to offer the current T5 and T6 powertrains. These include 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines that are currently tuned to make 250 hp and 316 hp respectfully. The plug-in hybrid model receives a larger capacity battery. More details will be divulged at a later date, Volvo told us.

The 2020 model doesn’t enter production until this May at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. But it’s already available to order in all Volvo markets across the globe.

Source: Volvo

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