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2019 Ram 1500 revealed: Ram with a family plan for full-size pickup truck buyers

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 05:01
Full-size pickups have becoming living rooms and aircraft carriers, simultaneously hauling people and a flotilla of toys, campers, gear, and cargo. The 2019 Ram 1500, unveiled Monday at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, aims to do it all. The new Ram is lower, longer, wider, and more luxurious, equipped with an available...
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2019 Ram 1500 preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 05:01
The 2019 Ram 1500 isn't just a redesigned full-size pickup, it's also a rethink for the truckmaker. The new pickup truck from Ram represents a nearly complete overhaul from top to bottom, complete with more interior space, tech, and a mild-hybrid system that leads the charge for the Detroit Three. The 2019 Ram 1500 was unveiled at the 2018 North...
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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class First Look

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 02:00

Since it was first introduced in 1979, the Mercedes G-Wagen has received more than its fair share of updates. But despite being on the road for nearly 40 years, it’s never once received a complete redesign. Until now. Meet the brand new 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Granted, it doesn’t look all that different than the previous model, but that’s by design. Mercedes didn’t see any reason to mess with the G-Wagen’s iconic shape, so the designers mostly left the exterior alone. Instead, Mercedes had its team put most of its effort into completely re-engineering everything else. So although the new luxury off-roader is slightly longer and wider than before, the differences between the two aren’t immediately obvious.

Still, we like what Mercedes has done with the look. It’s been tastefully updated, but it’s still clearly a G-Wagen. Anyone who doesn’t like that can always buy a GLE or GLS.

The interior, on the other hand, has been completely redesigned. As we mentioned in our in-depth interior preview, the passenger grab handle is still there, as are the center-mounted switches that control the three locking differentials. The rest of the cabin, however, has been given the modern Mercedes treatment. If you like the current E-Class’ interior, you’ll like the one on the new G-Class. If not, well, you’re out of luck. The designers even got rid of the infamous basketball hoop cupholder.

In our First Ride review, we found the new G-Wagen much more comfortable than the outgoing version, and part of that has to do with the increased cabin space. Mercedes says legroom and shoulder room have both increased 1.5 inches up front, and front elbow room is up 2.7 inches. The biggest improvement, though, is in the back seat, where legroom is up an impressive 5.7 inches. Add an extra 1.1 inches of shoulder space and 2.2 more inches of elbow space, and riding in the back seat becomes a much more enjoyable experience.

And don’t worry, the doors still close with that signature G-Wagen thunk.

At launch, the G-Class will only offer one version: the G550. Using a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, the G550 makes 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the outgoing model, power and torque haven’t changed, but we expect the new G550 to feel quicker for two reasons. First, Mercedes swapped out the old seven-speed auto for its new nine-speed unit, and second, engineers were able to reduce overall weight by 375 pounds. As a result, don’t be surprised if the G550 hits 60 mph in the mid-five-second range. Of course, if that’s not quick enough for you, an AMG-tuned G63 will inevitably follow.

 

Thanks to the new independent front suspension and significantly wider front track, as well as its lighter weight, it’s a safe bet that the G-Wagen will be better behaved around town. Expect improved steering, too, thanks to the new rack-and-pinion steering. But just because Mercedes improved the G-Class’ on-road manners doesn’t mean it’s any less of a hardcore off-roader. In fact, as Mercedes showed us on its mountainous Austrian test trail, the new G-Wagen might even be more capable off-road than its predecessor, independent front suspension and all.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect that closer to the G550’s on-sale date toward the end of 2018.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

The post 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class First Look appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 02:00
A typical car is redesigned every few years. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550 is not a typical car. Not by a long shot. Four decades after the civilian version first went on sale with agricultural users in mind, the G-Class has finally been redesigned initially as the G550 and with more variants to follow. Today, its buyers are far more likely to brave...
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Racing Legend Dan Gurney Dies at 86

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:54

In the world of auto racing, the word “legendary” is thrown around more than it probably should be. But for American race car driver Dan Gurney, the term accurately describes the man, his achievements, and his contributions to the sport. It is with great sadness that we report that Daniel Sexton Gurney has died at the age of 86, reportedly due to complications from pneumonia.

With a career that spanned decades and crossed multiple racing disciplines, Gurney was a true renaissance man. Between 1957 and 1980, he competed in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, CanAm, and numerous other series. Along with Carroll Shelby, Gurney founded the All American Racers team in 1964, which raced through the late ‘90s in open-wheel and sports car series. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 with A.J. Foyt in 1967, when he famously started the tradition of spraying champagne after a race victory. In addition to being a successful driver, Gurney was also a team owner and sometimes inventor, credited with designing the Gurney flap and Alligator motorcycle. Just a few years ago, he patented a new type of internal combustion engine. Being as prolific as he was in the racing and automotive worlds, Gurney’s name appeared numerous times in the pages of Motor Trend over the years. He was even featured on the cover of our January 1970 issue.

“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, January 14, 2018,” Gurney’s family wrote in a statement. “In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say ‘Godspeed.’”

Our thoughts are with the Gurney family in this difficult time.

The post Racing Legend Dan Gurney Dies at 86 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Ford Mach 1 Will be an Electric Performance Crossover

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:43

Ford has revealed it will call its new all-electric performance crossover the Mach 1. The SUV will go into production in 2021, likely at the Flat Rock, Michigan plant.

That’s the latest detail from Ford, which has been promising a battery-electric SUV in three years with a range of at least 300 miles. Yes, Mach is a vintage Mustang name. The idea is that the performance electric SUV is being cultivated with some Mustang spirit and passion, we are told.

“We want to make a statement about the company that we’re electrifying our iconic vehicles,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets.

Ford did not show the Mach 1 but did announce more money is being set aside to electrify future vehicles.

The prior commitment was $4.5 billion to be spent on 13 vehicles with some form of electrification by 2020. The new promise is an investment of $11 billion by 2022. The expanded portfolio grows to 40 electrified vehicles by 2022 consisting of 16 pure EVs and the rest hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

Officials confirmed the previous promise of an F-150 hybrid pickup in 2020 which will be built at the Dearborn Truck Plant (the new F-150 diesel is shown above). Ford has also said it will have a Mustang hybrid in 2020. There are also plans for a Transit Connect commercial van plug-in hybrid for Europe in 2019; two Pursuit police vehicles; and an autonomous vehicle for ride sharing and commercial ride hailing to be built at Flat Rock and debut in 2021.

Farley said electrified Lincoln products are also in the works.

Currently the Ford Focus is the only pure EV in Ford’s stable but a newly created division called Team Edison is working to change that. Team Edison is relocating to an old building in downtown Detroit’s trendy Corktown.

China is the most electrified market and Ford recently formed a joint venture with China’s Anhui Zotye Automobile Company to build and sell a full line of electric vehicles sold under a new domestic brand. The plan is to launch 15 models by 2025.

The post Ford Mach 1 Will be an Electric Performance Crossover appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Look

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:00

Volkswagen gave us the opportunity to review a camouflaged 2019 Jetta prototype last month, and in the words of Jonny Lieberman, “It had no rough edges. It seemed like a well-thought-out commodity product, though one that doesn’t tug at my heartstrings.” At the time, Volkswagen kept most of the specs and details to itself, preferring not to release those until the redesigned Jetta’s official 2018 Detroit auto show debut. Now that it’s been revealed, VW has given us much more information.

As you can see, Volkswagen hasn’t tried anything particularly daring with the Jetta’s new look. The press release is quick to point out the coupelike roofline, but the overall styling isn’t nearly as sleek as the concept sketches we’ve already seen. Still, the 2019 Jetta is generally handsome even it’s not a total design knockout. More important than the design, however, is the architecture. The new Jetta is finally built on the MQB platform like the Golf, a car that impressed us so much that we named it our 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Volkswagen says the new Jetta is now longer, wider, and taller than the previous version, with a wheelbase that’s grown by 1.3 inches to 105.7. Thanks to its larger size, expect a more spacious cabin, as well. Plus, despite the sportier, sloping roofline, VW promises that rear headroom hasn’t been compromised.

The interior has been completely redesigned, and depending on the trim level, Volkswagen now offers its own version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. The infotainment system has also been moved further up to make it easier to read. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink are also available, as is a 400-watt BeatsAudio sound system.

As far as safety goes, a rearview camera is standard, while forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and automatic post-collision braking are available.

Under the hood sits a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 148 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. In the previous Jetta, that engine proved strong enough to hit 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. The new Jetta swaps out the old car’s six-speed automatic in favor of an eight-speed auto that will likely prove quicker. A six-speed manual is also available.

At launch, Volkswagen will break the Jetta out into S, SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and R-Line trims, with the base model starting at $18,545 before destination. If you’re looking for more power, expect a Jetta GLI to join the lineup after a year or two.

The post 2019 Volkswagen Jetta First Look appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta revealed: VW's sedan hits the gym for bigger body, sharper looks

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:00
With the Dieselgate dust starting to settle, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta made its first appearance Sunday at the 2018 Detroit auto show. The latest iteration of Volkswagen's bestselling U.S. model features a design that’s only slightly more aggressive than that of its predecessor, with an angular front grille that supports Audi-esque...
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2019 Volkswagen Jetta preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 01:00
The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is everything we would expect from the German builder of people's cars. It's comfortable, roomy, and pleasant—but above all, this redesigned model is very conservative. For the 2019 Jetta, Volkswagen has switched its compact four-door over to the far more sophisticated architecture that underpins its Golf hatchback...
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GM Petition for Driverless Ride-Hailing Fleet Under Consideration

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 22:00

The petition by General Motors for permission to legally put driverless vehicles on the road with no steering wheels or pedals is very much on the radar of Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Addressing attendees of the North American International Auto Show, Chao said the Department “will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration.”

Last Thursday GM showed the Cruise AV, a sedan based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV with four passenger seats and no human driving controls because it relies on computers, radar, camera, and sensors to do the driving. It is fourth-generation software developed with Cruise Automation, the company GM bought in 2006. The plan is to have a ride-hailing autonomous fleet on the road in 2019.

But GM needs to meet state regulations as well as federal to put up to 2,500 robo-rides on public roads. The automaker on Thursday filed a petition for exemptions from 16 motor vehicle safety regulations where the language does not apply to driverless vehicles. For example, there are standards for airbag deployment in a steering wheel but these vehicles won’t have a steering wheel. GM is proposing solutions that apply to their cars and achieve the same safety goals.

The response should be favorable as Chao said autonomous vehicles have “tremendous potential to enhance safety” with faster reaction times, 360-degree vision and the ability to see at night while people are better at providing context to driving situations. The reality is 94 percent of traffic accidents involve human error and a disproportionate amount of highway fatalities are in rural areas so efforts must extend beyond smart cities.

Chao wants the public and private sectors to lead the development and testing of the new technology that is still being met with a healthy dose of public mistrust.

The Trump administration will release its updated guidance for self-driving cars this summer covering vehicles, transit, and infrastructure. Chao said the plan will be updated as often as necessary to keep up with the speed of innovation in this area.

The Department “will not be in the business of picking winners or losers,” she said, or favoring one form of technology over another.

The post GM Petition for Driverless Ride-Hailing Fleet Under Consideration appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Ford Mustang Bulllitt First Look: Famed Car Returns

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 16:45

It was supposed to be a surprise: a dollop of sports car news at an auto show dominated by pickup trucks.

But the cat is out of the bag with numerous confirmations that Ford will reveal the 2018 Bullitt Mustang GT later today at the North American International Auto Show. The famed Mustang will be part of a press event to show the 2019 Ford Ranger midsize pickup and the Ford Edge crossover that has added a performance ST variant.

The timing of the Bullitt kind of gave it away. The return of a special-edition, high-performance Mustang Bullitt comes on the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen movie that made the green machine so famous. The 1968 movie Bullitt features one of cinema’s best car chases starring McQueen’s Highland Green Mustang GT 390 fastback.

The reincarnation is expected to get similar dark green paint and five-spoke black wheels. We will bring you further details from the event later today. Mustang Bullitt spy shots courtesy Tony Zaleski Jr. via Facebook.

Ford updated the Mustang lineup for the 2018 model year and notched 81.866 sales last year. While that was down 22.7 percent from the prior year, it still topped Camaro sales of 67,940 which were down 6.6 percent

The first Bullitt off the line is expected to be auctioned off Jan. 19 with proceeds going to the Boy’s Republic boys school in California that Steve McQueen attended and continues to support.

The first Mustang Bullitt was in 2001 with better power and handing than the GT of the day. It returned in 2008 and again in 2009. The last batch was a limited run of 3,000 units powered by a 4.6-liter three-valve V-8.

In a 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt review, we took a Highland Green Mustang to the streets of San Francisco. Photo by Wesley Allison.

The 2018 Mustang lineup has a 2.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that generates 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane fuel. The Mustang will be built at Ford’s Flat Rock, Michigan, plant — the 2018 Mustang is pictured below.

The post 2018 Ford Mustang Bulllitt First Look: Famed Car Returns appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Ranger rides again: Ford introduces 2019 Ranger in Detroit

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 06:22
It went away in 2011 but now it's back. At the Detroit auto show, Ford revealed the 2019 Ranger pickup, following the industry back to the mid-size segment it seemingly abandoned almost a decade ago. The new Ranger is based on an international truck that has been available even before the old one went away, but it's been optimized for the North...
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2019 Ford Ranger First Look: Welcome Home

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 05:01

Finally. It has been seven years since the last Ford Ranger rolled off the line at the Twin Cities plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Seven years of Ford insisting there was no market for a compact pickup in the U.S. when there was an F-150 full-size truck for every need and pocketbook. Seven years of Ranger fans clamoring for its North American return while it continued to be a sales success in the rest of the world. Seven years of General Motors and Toyota increasing sales and share of the midsize pickup segment.

Enough. Today Ford uses the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to unveil the 2019 Ranger that will go into production later this year, for sale in early 2019.  It stems from the global Ranger sold and built elsewhere, but it is re-envisioned for this market with a more aggressive look and kinship to the F-150. Designed and engineered in Australia for the U.S., it relies on North American parts and will be built in the retooled Michigan Assembly Plant.

What has changed? The midsize pickup segment has seen sales increase 83 percent since 2014—when Ford decided to bring the truck back—with 452,000 sold in 2017. “We see an opportunity that didn’t exist five years ago,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager.

A decade ago, in the thick of the recession, the F-150 range continued to expand, and the price gap between it and the Ranger continued to shrink. The F-150 was the moneymaker and got the resources while the Ranger went largely unchanged. Sales continued to fall until the business decision was made to discontinue it after the 2011 model year and redirect customers to the base F-150 or an SUV.

Ford now sees the Ranger buyer as different from the F-150 buyer. The Ranger owner is an urban dweller who drives his truck to work—not for work—and uses it to play on the weekend with his toys in the bed in back. It is not about affordability but more about size, scale, and fuel efficiency, says Eckert. Nor is it about chasing the competition. Expect former Ranger owners, new customers, and even F-150 owners who want to downsize gravitate to a truck that is easier to drive, park, and fit in the garage.

It can be argued that the two nameplates have, since inception, been different enough to attract separate buyers with different needs. But what has indeed changed is that today’s consumers continue to favor trucks and SUVs over cars. More car buyers are likely to gravitate to a smaller urban pickup as an alternative to an SUV, and these same buyers might never consider an F-150. The Ranger might never become the staple it once was on American roads, but Ford sees it as viable again.

The 2019 Ranger will be offered with a single engine: the second-generation 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine with a forged steel crankshaft and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission—no manual. No specs are available yet, but the 2.3-liter gets 280 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque in the Ford Explorer.

There will not be a diesel available at launch, and officials won’t say if one will be added later. Diesel is available in other markets, and Ford is adding a diesel option on the 2019 F-15. But the timing is touchy—the automaker is being sued for misrepresenting emissions levels in its F-150 and F-350 Super Duty diesel pickups.

Ford also is not talking about a hybrid Ranger even though the company plans to electrify everything from the Mustang to the F-150 in the years ahead.

And although other parts of the world get a Ranger Raptor, the off-road version expected to be unveiled next month is not for North America. That said, we assume it is only a matter of time until one is sanctioned for North America to freshen the lineup.

The five-passenger, body-on-frame Ranger does not have an aluminum body. It is steel, like the global pickup it is based on. The North American version has a new fully boxed frame.

When putting pencil to paper, Ranger design chief Max Wolff started with the 2012 Ranger design. He was granted license to tweak every panel because he would be working with new suppliers—and the plant was being retooled—so there were no barriers to making changes.

Wolff gave the truck a solid steel front bumper with big frame-mounted hooks, a short overhang for off-road, a tougher-looking hood extending from the raked windshield, a high beltline, and fender overrides so the wheel arches appear to have more width. There is a steel bumper, but the tailgate is aluminum with a spoiler and Ranger stamped on it. The cargo box rails are designed with North American buyers in mind.

There are unique grilles for the XL, XLT, and Lariat trims and optional LED lamps. The 2019 model has eight new wheel choices, some of them aligned with the F-150 for a brotherly feel.  The truck comes in eight colors with optional chrome and sport appearance packages.

The Ranger will be offered in supercab and supercrew cab with four fullsize doors. The global Ranger sold elsewhere has a standard cab option. Ford is not providing exact dimensions, but they should not vary much from the global Ranger—which would make it about 201 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 71 inches high with a 127-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance is about 9 inches, making steps unnecessary.  

It will feature the terrain management system in the Raptor with four drive modes for Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. Trail Control is a new feature to Ford, making its debut on the Ranger. It sets a low vehicle speed, replacing hill control and operating like an off-road cruise control that can be set to 1 mph for rock crawling. It can be used on any transfer setting and set with steering wheel controls or by braking to the desired speed, and it will set there. The system was developed by Ford. Others have similar systems, but not all work in all modes and both transfer settings.

The FX4 off-road package has upgraded tires, a steel front bash plate, off-road tuned shocks and suspension, reinforced skidplates mounted to the frame, and standard Trail Control and Hill Descent Control. There is a two-speed transfer case and electronic-locking rear differential that is an option without the FX4 package.

Safety features include blind-spot detection with trailer coverage, precollision assistance, lane keep warning and assist, available adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking.

Inside there are two color choices: ebony and medium ash. There’s also Sync 3 with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and waterproof storage under the rear seat.

“We made this a serious truck,” said Rick Bolt, a fitting name for the Ranger’s program engineer. “We expect best-in-class payload when we launch.”

There was speculation the North American-market Ranger would be different from the global truck—perhaps even ride on a unibody platform. But it is the same architecture, developed in Australia but with new parts, some shared with the F-150. And the Ranger underwent the same strenuous testing as the F-150, Bolt said.

Pricing has not been announced but should start below $25,000.

Ford Ranger: A Little History

A little history: When Ford introduced the original Ranger in 1982, replacing the Mazda-based Courier, the thinking was that the Ranger and F-150 would appeal to different buyers and together Ford would dominate the truck market.

It was a tough sell even back then. When the original pitch was made, the F-150 was coming off a record sales year in 1978, and the F-Series was the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. with 956,600 pickup sales. But two years later, auto sales were at a 19-year low and Ford was losing money on trucks. Resources were drying up, product development had to be prioritized, and creating a new small truck to battle Toyota and Datsun did not top the list.

But the Ranger, codenamed Yuma, had a champion in Ford President Donald Peterson who was convinced buyers would pay as much for a small truck as a large one. It would not be a less-profitable competitor to the F-150, and it would replace the base F-100. And it would be competition for General Motors, which was launching the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC S-15 in 1981.

Yuma was designed to take on the Japanese imports by adding a couple inches to the length for more room, better seats, a real ashtray, and some American payload and toughness. It was to look like a Ford but not an F-150 clone—it needed to look like a fuel-efficient import-fighter.

Read more about Motor Trend’s original thoughts on the 1983 Ford Ranger here.

Peterson persevered and a rear-drive compact pickup was introduced for the 1983 model year with a 72-hp 2.0-liter or optional 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine to bring horsepower to 80. A 4×4 was quickly added, and there were two wheelbases to provide the choice of a 6-or 7-foot bed.

By 1990 you could get a 160-hp V-6 and optional four-speed automatic transmission. The first big redesign came for the 1993 model year, and the platform gave birth to the Mazda B-Series for 1994. Another face-lift came for 1998 with a more usable standard cab. An extra 4 inches of wheelbase and new front suspension provided a more comfortable ride. Four doors became an option. There was even an electric Ranger for fleet customers, but range was less than 60 miles. There was another update was for the 2001 model year. A new FX4 came in 2002.

When Ford killed the Ranger for North America, it updated the global truck for the rest of the world. Ford currently builds it in Thailand, Argentina, South Africa, and a satellite kit plant in Nigeria.

This latest Ranger has been a long time coming. Back in November 2015, the United Auto Workers union signed a tentative agreement with Ford that included signing bonuses, a commitment to bring the Ranger back to North America, and a revival of the Bronco nameplate. Both the Ranger and Bronco would be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant, which would stop making the Ford Focus and C-Max in 2018 to retool for the two new body-on-frame trucks.

The post 2019 Ford Ranger First Look: Welcome Home appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Ford Ranger preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 05:01
The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's return to the mid-size pickup segment for the first time since 2011. While the Ranger hasn't been available on these shores for the better part of a decade, the truck it is based on has been around internationally for quite some time, but this version is optimized for the North American market. Styling and...
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2019 Chevrolet Silverado revealed: full-size Chevy gets leaner, meaner

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 00:55
The first new Chevrolet Silverado in more than five years arrived Saturday evening in Detroit, a new face for the fast-growing family of pickup trucks. The 2019 Silverado touched down in the Motor City after its initial reveal a month earlier in the Lone Star State. The new Chevrolet Silverado reflects years of engineering to make the full-size...
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2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Look: More Models, Powertrain Choices

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 21:13

We are hours from getting more details of the fourth-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado that will come in eight models with more powertrain combinations, technology and features than the outgoing model.

New from the ground up and riding on a new platform, it also gets a redesign after criticism the current generation did not make enough of a splash.

And it still uses a lot of steel.

Ford reinvented the F-150 in 2015 with an aluminum body replacing steel for a weight loss of as much as 700 pounds, enabling smaller and lighter engines as part of an overall package that is more fuel-efficient. But GM prefers what it calls a mixed-materials strategy. The truck keeps its high-strength body and frame but uses aluminum, magnesium and other metals and composites liberally to drop weight and improve efficiency. Keeping a steel body avoids having to redo the body shop and buy all-new equipment to work with aluminum, which Ford had to do at great cost and time, resulting in a temporary loss of production and profits.

Full details will be revealed ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A full range of engines could include a 3.6-liter V-6 as the base engine. The trucks are expected to have the new 10-speed automatic transmission developed in partnership with Ford and is also in the F-150. GM already has the 10-speed in a number of its large SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe RST, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali as well as the Camaro ZL1.

Last month, GM teased us with a look at the 2019 Silverado LT Trailboss, an off-road variant with equipment from the Z71 package and a suspension raised an additional two inches. The dramatic preview—the truck arrived dangling from a helicopter—was part of an event in Texas for pickup owners to celebrate the Chevy truck centennial. The Trailboss is one of the eight models.

GM has high expectations for the new truck and is boosting capacity to make more of the popular crew cab versions that account for the majority of sales and where supply has been constrained, Mark Reuss, head of global product development, said last week at CES. Crew cabs for both Silverado and GMC Sierra, with four large doors, are built in Silao, Mexico while regular and double cab pickups are made in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heavy-duty pickups are made in Flint, Michigan. GM reportedly spent $3 billion to retool its plants for the 2019 pickups.

GM sold 585,864 Silverados in 2017 (including heavy duty trucks), up 1.9 percent from the previous year, and 217,943 GMC Sierras, down 1.7 percent. But the segment as a whole increased almost 6 percent with F-150 as the dominant player (F-Series, including heavy-duty trucks, sales ended the year at 896,764, up 9.3 percent) and Ram 1500-3500 sold 500,723, up 2 percent and gaining share.

FCA is showing a redesigned Ram 1500 at the Detroit auto show on Monday and Ford is adding a diesel option to the F-150 lineup. The auto show has a heavy emphasis on trucks with Ford also planning to unveil its new 2019 Ranger.

Silverado 2500HD and Silverado 3500HD heavy-duty models carry over from the 2018 model year with a few small changes and updates.

In March, Chevy will show the new 2019 Silverado 4500HD and 5500 medium-duty trucks at the Work Truck Show. GM got out of the medium-duty segment as part of its downsizing during the 2009 bankruptcy but is getting back into the segment with trucks coming later this year that were developed in partnership with Navistar and will be built in Springfield, Ohio.

The post 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Look: More Models, Powertrain Choices appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Final Countdown for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Reveal

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 18:00

It’s the final countdown. The official reveal of the all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class will finally go down at this year’s Detroit auto show on January 15.

Last week we caught the G-Class playing in the snow and this time around it’s splashing through a rocky, riverbed in a red rock gorge.

Today, we get a clear look at the boxy beast’s new chrome and black rectangular grille with its pointed star badge prominently centered and flanked by two round headlights.

We still don’t know what powertrain options may be lurking beneath its short hood, but we do know it will likely be mated to a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.

Inside, we do know that the cabin’s interior is roomier and has received a major upgrade, along with state-of-the-art driver assist safety technology. The rear cargo area is about the same as the previous model and the rear seats can fold 60/40/100.

Over 300,000 Geländewagens have been sold since its original 1979 debut in the U.S. The boxy SUV has remained roughly the same with subtle and minor upgrades over the years.

Check back soon for the complete reveal from our coverage that is currently unfolding at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

 

The post Final Countdown for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Reveal appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2017 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD Long-Term Update 2: Get the Signature?

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 09:00

After years of dreaming about it, my wife and I finally bought airfare to New Zealand. Our flight will take us from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, and then onto our final destination of Auckland, New Zealand for a total flight time of just over 24 hours! Wait what? 24 hours in coach sounds like a miserable way for an XL-sized individual such as myself to start a vacation. So, as my headline alludes, a little bit more gets you a little bit more. We decided the added cost of upgrading to Premium Economy was well worth the money to help make our journey a little bit more enjoyable.

I recently had the opportunity to spend almost a week behind the wheel of a 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature edition, and I can tell you that the 10 percent premium in price that the Signature edition demands is well worth it. We are faced with this life decision constantly, to upgrade or not, and in the case of our long-term Mazda CX-9, we should have upgraded!

The two side vents both have a dial to control the airflow, yet the middle does not. Why?

One of my favorite aspects of the CX-9 is its stylish and comfortable interior. Our Touring-spec long-termer’s interior already looks and feels more luxurious than its $41,105 price tag suggests, but when you move past Touring and Grand Touring trims, the Signature version goes two or three steps further (see the CX-9 Signature’s interior here). The addition of a satin finish rosewood center console and two-tone Nappa leather on the seats, steering wheel, and shifter goes a long way in giving the CX-9 a near luxury interior that matches its premium design language.

The Signature trim level also gets you 20-inch wheels, a head up display, and radar cruise control as well as everything else that our long-term CX-9 received with its $1,745 Touring Premium package and $450 roof rack side rails.

Is it more expensive? Yes, more than $4,000 more if you wanted to stay with the optional $200 Snowflake White Pearl Mica exterior color. Is it worth it? Yes. In the same way that I felt the upgrade to Premium Economy was worth it for our upcoming journey. We spend a lot of time in our cars, and within reason and financial ability, I believe you should always try to get the best version of whatever car you choose to buy to make it a little more enjoyable. The most luxurious and fully loaded version of a vehicle is not always the best, but in the case of the CX-9, it is. It’s a little bit more, but the more is worth it.

Read more about our 2017 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD: The Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint really holds the light well as I scout for some new night photo locations.

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Categories: Property

NJ town wants to wipe itself off the map, literally

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 05:01
Leonia, New Jersey, is a small borough of with less than 10,000 residents. It’s located just on the east side of the Hudson river from New York, and it wants to wipe itself of the map. Literally. This isn’t some ill-conceived joke about New Jerseyan self-immolation (they can’t even pump their own gasoline), but rather one...
Categories: Property

Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Ford Edge

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 01:30

After four model years, the Ford Edge is receiving its mid-cycle refresh for 2019. The crossover has been revamped to fit in with the rest of Ford’s modern lineup, and a new ST model has been introduced to inject some sportiness into the midsizer. But how does the new look compare to the pre-refresh car? Compare for yourself below.

The 2019 Ford Edge maintains the hexagonal grille introduced in 2015, but it’s now smaller with more rounded corners. The headlights have also been redesigned and no longer touch the edges of the grille. Meanwhile, the front bumper has been completely restyled with new foglight surrounds and a different intake opening in the lower front valance. The ST model gets a larger grille with mesh insert and red ST badging and a unique front valance with black accents.

Predictably, the 2019 model’s profile doesn’t change much from the outgoing Edge. Titanium models still offer chrome window trim, and there’s still a roof-mounted rear spoiler that visually extends the roofline. The standard 2019 Edge does receive four new wheel designs, however, and the ST gets special 20-inch wheels or optional 21-inch five-spoke alloys finished in gloss black. The taillights have been completely redesigned, and are no longer connected in the middle of the liftgate. Though there’s no longer a continuous lens across the back, the taillights are still joined by a black trim piece. The ST has molded tailpipes and a unique rear bumper flanked by vents.

Inside, the biggest change is the replacement of the shifter with a rotary dial controlling a new eight-speed automatic transmission. This frees up space in the center console and generally makes the cabin look more modern, even though not much else has changed besides the shifter. An available wireless charging pad is also new, located in the cubby in front of the transmission dial. An available 8.0-inch touchscreen still offers Sync 3, and the speedometer in the center of the gauge cluster is still flanked by dual TFT screens. The ST trim receives special seats with extra bolstering and embossed ST logos, ST badging on the steering wheel, and Ford Performance door sill guards.

What do you think of the refreshed 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST? Do they move the crossover’s design forward? Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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