Monthly Archives: September 2016

Volkswagen Unveils I.D. EV Concept

With Volkswagen still navigating the stormy waters that it’s ongoing emissions scandal has unleashed on its long term future, the beleaguered German car company has unveiled a glimpse into what could be a new chapter in its history, with the I.D. concept car.

The exterior styling of the I.D. is largely a design study, but it is roughly the size of the current generation Golf hatchback and as a I.D. rear stylingresult shares that model’s basic profile and shape. However its aerodynamically sculpted styling helps enhance its aerodynamic profile, while small cameras replace the side mirrors presumably in an attempt to reduce drag.

Along with these green oriented touches, the I.D. also boasts plenty of showcar touches including enormous wheels, equally sizable windows, as well as narrow LED lighting elements.

Volkswagen has released little information about what’s lurking underneath the I.D.s hood but seperate reports suggest that the I.D. can I.D. side profileachieve up to 375 miles on a single charge. Look for more information to be revealed later this week when the I.D. makes its official debut in Paris.

While the I.D.’s chances at production in its current state are slim, technology from this concept could eventually trickled down to future Volkswagen models. In particular the lessons learned from the I.D. could be beneficial to Volkswagen’s goal of greatly expanding its EV and hybrid vehicle lineup.

Jeep Unveils 2018 Compass In Brazil

Following a steady stream of spy photos as well as an accidental unveiling of the 2018 Compass by snoops in Brazil, Jeep has formally unveiled the 2018 Jeep Compass at a private event in the South American country.

Designed to formally replace both the Jeep Patriot and the current Jeep Compass (the two oldest models in FCA’s model lineup), this all new model aims to erase all the baggage that Jeep® Compass Limitedboth models accumulated during their time in production. It all starts with the exterior styling that borrows plenty of cues from its big brother the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This includes a thinner grille that accents a taller front end as well as Grand Cherokee-esque tailights to truly drive home its family resemblance.

The trio of teaser images that Jeep released also confirmed that the 2018 Compass will be offered with a Trailhawk package. Like other versions of the Trailhawk, the Compass Trailhawk will feature reworked exterior styling elements as well as a beefed up off-road package that makes the Compass a highly capable trail buster.

The interior also benefits from its own share of updates, and transforms from being the laughing stock of the segment, into a clean and advanced looking place to spend time in. Jeep® Compass LimitedAgain, it’s influence to the Grand Cherokee and its accommodations is striking, and the cabin’s better plastics and ergonomically friendly control layout will try to lure young buyers back into the Jeep fold.

Performance hardware for the 2018 Compass is expected to differ heavily from the Brazilian spec model that was unveiled. While FCA chose to remain silent on this topic, a seperate report suggests that the Compass will arrive with the choice of either a 2.0 liter Tiger Shark four cylinder engine or an optional 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine. U.S. versions will most likely arrive without the oil burner, and only come equipped with the 2.0 liter Tiger Shark. Transmission choices on the other hand will carryover with all flavors of Compass featuring either a six speed manual transmission, or the optional nine speed automatic.

The 2018 Jeep Compass will make its debut at the Sao Paulo Auto Show in Brazil with the U.S. model arriving shorty after in Los Angeles. Sales will then kick off in the first quarter of 2017 though there will be a period where the new model will be sold alongside its predecessor before it fully takes over dealer lots.

Chevrolet Welcomes Fall With 2018 Equinox

With the first days of Fall now upon us, Chevrolet has chosen to celebrate the occasion by unveiling the 2018 Equinox.

Visually the Equinox benefits from a major redesign that adds newfound levels of freshness to the design. Wheras the current model featured a more restrained look that 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxwas starting to show its age, this new suit of clothes allows the Equinox to fall in line with its brand mates, and the new design language that Chevrolet is currently using.

The front fascia for example features a two piece radiator grille that is framed by bold chrome trim. Elongated headlights add more 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxboldness to the package, and its side profile benefits from new sculpting. Overall its a look that is much more upscale, and should stand out more versus its bland predecessor.

The interior of the 2018 Equinox has also seen a major overhaul and incorporates many technologies that have made their debut in  other Chevy products including the latest iteration of the MyLink infotainment system as well as better plastics.

It will be interesting to see if base models will ditch the mesh style coverings for the seats, and embrace a more traditional material. Having spent considerable time in the 2012 model that does hauling duty here at the office, it’s very annoying when rogue buttons and snaps snag on the holes.

Meanwhile Chevy engineers have removed 400 lbs of excess weight from the platform, while also shaving four inches of length, which allows the 2018 version to measure in at 183 inches long with width and height ringing in at 75 and 65 inches respectively. This downsizing effort also means that there will no longer be any naturally aspirated engines avalible. Instead, buyers will choose from three diffrent turbocharged four cylinder engines with the Malibu’s 170 horsepower 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder serving as the base engine. Most buyers however will gravitate towards the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder which is good for 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Lastly buyers can also choose to add a 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine to their Equinox purchase. Chevrolet has never offered a diesel engine before on the Equinox, and the brand freely admitted that the addition of this model was an effort to lure disgruntled TDI owners away from Volkswagen stores. Good for 136 horsepower, the new engine boasts an impressive 40 mpg on the freeway, and aims to be the green Equinox choice.

The diesel engine and the base 1.5 liter engine send their muscle through a six speed automatic transmission with the 2.0 liter featuring a nine speed automatic transmission. Like before front wheel drive is standard fare but can be swapped out for all wheel drive.

Safety was also at the forefront when engineers were developing this latest Equinox. This includes optional equipment such as a surround view camera, forward collision alert, lane keeping assist, and low speed automatic 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxbraking. In addition the 2018 Equinox also features GM’s rear seat reminder technology that sounds audible and visual warnings if a child is left in the back seat. First appearing in the GMC Acadia, the system is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce overheating deaths caused by children being left in hot cars.

Look for the 2018 Equinox to go on sale during the first part of next year with the model covering the auto show circuit prior to its launch. Pricing information will be released closer to its on sale date, but Chevrolet says that the new Equinox will reach 115 global markets by the end of 2017.

Mercedes Benz Unveils E-Class All Terrain

Following a prior confirmation, Mercedes Benz has lifted the veil off of its upcoming E-Class All Terrain wagon which is the German firm’s response to the Volvo V90, and the recent wave of rugged off road oriented wagon models.

As expected, the exterior styling of the All Terrain is largely based on the standard E-Class estate with copious amounts of exterior body E-Class All Terrain cladding added to help it cope with off road excursions. Overall its a handsome design, but it lacks the balanced flow seen in rivals such as the Volvo V90.

The All Terrain also comes with 4-MATIC all-wheel drive standard, but the model stands out thanks to two model exclusive all terrain modes as well as a slightly tweaked air E-Class All Terrain front fascia closeupsuspension that works in concert with the forementioned all-wheel drive system. However style and flair has not been completely chucked to the wayside, and it is most evident in the three new designs for the 19 and 20-inch wheels that supposedly cater to adventure seeking buyers.

The interior of the E-Class All Terrain is also mostly carried over from its on-road sibling, but the All Terrain boasts several minor differences which include stainless steel E-Class All Terrain interiorpedals, aluminum-carbon themed trim, and floor mats with prominent “all terrain” logos. The level of interior features is largely based on the Avantgard interior line, but buyers in the U.K. will be able to add elements from the Exclusive and Designo lines with other markets possibly being given the same privileges in the near future.

Performance for the E-Class All Terrain will still eventually be provided by a suite of diesel and gasoline engines, but the company threw a curveball, and revealed that the new model will initially launch only in E220d 4-MATIC trim with the engine producing 194 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This is enough punch to get  it to 60 mph in a commendable eight seconds flat with top speed maxing out at an equally respectable 144 mph.

Mercedes did not confirm whether the E-Class All Terrain will make the trip to U.S. shores or not, but look for the company to make a formal announcement on that prospect after the European version has time to settle into the marketplace.


V90 Cross Country

Volvo Tackles The Outdoors With V90 Cross Country

With Volvo in the midst of a product renaissance that was spearheaded by the current generation XC90 SUV, the Swedish firm has launched the latest piece in its renewed product blitz the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country.

The all new V90 is the latest chapter in Volvo’s long history of building rugged wagons that can tackle light trail busting duties while still providing occupants world class levels of V90 Cross Country rear viewluxury, comfort, and safety. In fact, the Cross Country can be considered a variant of a variant with the car sharing its underpinnings with the base V90 wagon which in turn is derived from the S90 flagship sedan.

“The V90 Cross Country takes the elegance of the V90 and transforms it into an all-road car that delivers safety, comfort, and performance in a capable and adventurous package” stated Hakan Samuelsson President and CEO of Volvo Car Group in an announcement that accompanied Volvo’s unveiling.

Cross Country models stand out thanks to their raised suspensions, rugged exterior styling, as well as other innovations and features that helps improve their off road V90 Cross Country interiorcapabilities when compared to the more pavement based sedans and wagons that it is based off of. However this does not mean that they will make the full leap into the CUV segment, with this next step being reserved for Volvo’s “XC” lineup. Performance for the V90 Cross Country will be shared with the S90 and the base V90, which will allow Volvo to take full advantage of economies of scale.

Look for full details to be unveiled closer to the V90 Cross Country’s official start of production, which is slated to take place in the fall. The V90 Cross Country represents a renewed interest in reviving the wagon segment with off-road capable wagon entries. When it eventually lands in showrooms, the V90 Cross Country will have to fend off formidable rivals such as the Volkswagen All Track, Audi allroad, as well as the soon to be revealed Mercedes Benz E-Class All Terrain. In the meantime, Volvo has released a brief video of the V90 Cross Country in action which can be seen below.



Mercedes To Bring E-Class All Terrain To Paris

Following the recent wave of soft road capable wagon entries revealed by Audi Volkswagen, Volvo, and Subaru. Mercedes Benz has revealed that it too intends to get in on the act, and will bring the E-Class All Terrain wagon to wow onlookers at the Paris Motor Show.

While the company did not reveal any further details about the E-Class All Terrain, look for it to follow the design path blazed by entries such as the Audi allroad and the Subaru Outback, and come equipped with a raised suspension as well as toughened body panels to help it endure off terrain adventures. Expect Mercedes’s dependable 4Matic  all-wheel drive system to be standard issue in the E-Class All Terrain, and perhaps be paired with a suite of off-road spec goodies including hill descent control, as well as tweaked stability and traction control systems to help the car stay surefooted on challenging obstacles.

Performance for the E-Class All Terrain will come from the same suite of gasoline and diesel four and six cylinder engines that power all other variants of E-Class with each engine being mated to an automatic transmission. This is also on par with its competition and their shared power plants and transmissions.

Look for the 2017 Mercedes E-Class All Terrain to begin either later this year or sometime in 2017 following its public debut in Paris where it will share the spotlight with the recently unveiled GT and GT C roadsters as well as the standard E-Class wagon (pictured.) It is currently unknown if Mercedes Benz will sell the E-Class All Terrain in the U.S. market due to our country’s low interest in station wagon offerings. Despite this, it has been proven that there is possibly some room for growth in this country which has been spearheaded by both Volvo and Volkswagen’s commitment to offer the V90 Cross Country and the Golf-based Alltrack wagon on our shores.

Mercedes Unveils GT Roadster, Offers Two Flavors Of Fun [Video]

Seeking to finally put a stake through the heart of rampant rumors and speculation about a topless GT, Mercedes-AMG has formally unveiled the GT Roadster which aims to steal sales from the Porsche 911 droptop while reasserting the company’s plans to expand its performance footprint.

As reported in our last GT related report, the car will be offered in two distinct flavors that seek to please a wide range of buyer tastes. The base model simply called the GT Roadster GT C rear shotuses the coupe’s 4.0 Liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes a healthy 469 horsepower, and allows the car to hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 188 mph.

The up-level GT C wields a highly modified version of the base 4.0 liter that’s good for 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. This newfound power allows the GT C to make the sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and hit a higher top speed of 196 mph. This is on par with the benchmark 911 turbo, but is a few digits shy of the F-Type SVR and its 198 mph top speed.

Both models channel their muscle to the rear wheels through a seven speed dual clutch automatic transmission that is controlled by GT C front shotshift paddles and incorporates a limited slip differential. The GT C stands out however thanks to the addition of an electronically operated differential as well as a model exclusive Race mode for its drive mode selector. The GT C also embodies its bolder attitude with visually distinctive exterior styling wider wheel arches and a novel electronic four wheel steering system borrowed from the GT R.

The interior of both models doesn’t stray too far from the base GT design theme, but the GT C brings sportier instruments and performanceGT Roadster interior oriented sport seats to the festivities wheras the base GT Roadster focuses more on comfort and luxury versus outright track readiness. A key aspect for both models is their retractable three layer cloth top. This was chosen over a bulkier hardtop due to the weight savings it provides, and it can be open or closed in 11 seconds speeds up to 31 mph. The top is also avalible in three hues black, red, or beige.

The Mercedes-AMG GT and GT C roadsters are slated to make their public debut in a couple weeks at the Paris Motor Show before arriving in showrooms next year. Pricing information has not been released as of yet, but look for both models to command a premium price versus their coupe counterparts. In the meantime Mercedes-AMG has released a brief video of the duo in action which can be seen below.



Volkswagen Axes Two Door Golf, GTI For 2017

With sales of two door hatchbacks in a state of total collapse in both the U.S. and its home market in Europe. Volkswagen has admitted defeat, and revealed that it will be pulling the two door GTI and Golf hatchbacks from production for 2017.

The move was revealed in an interview Car & Driver magazine did with Volkswagen of America’s marketing chief Hendrick Muth. Muth went straight to the point with his remarks revealing ” The trend is clearly shifting towards four-door models.” Volkswagen’s decision follows on the heels of similar decisions in Europe by Ford, Renault, and Peugeot to axe their two door hatchback offerings.

While this decision will certainly ruffle the feathers of enthusiasts that lovingly embraced the model since it’s 1972 debut. The elimination of the slow selling two door can help Volkswagen save money on production costs, while also allowing the company to become more streamlined at the same time. Lastly the four door models would also help improve passenger access to the rear seats which can be a challenge in a two door layout.

This decision also comes on the heels of a prior report that suggested that the same fate is in store for the smaller two door Polo hatchback with Audi using slow sales as a reason to reevaluate the future of the two door A1 and A3 as well as the A3 convertible via alleged remarks made by Audi chief Rupert Stadler.

Mercedes-AMG Teases GT C Roadster [Video]

Mercedes-AMG has released a lone teaser video that previews the upcoming GT C Roadster ahead of its debut in Paris.

While the video does not provide a detailed look at the car, the footage does collaborate with an earlier report that suggested the German company was planning to introduce two diffrent convertible variants at the Paris Motor Show. The first model would essentially be a topless version of the current GT coupe. Like that model, the roadster is expected to arrive with a twin-turbocharged 4.0 Liter V8 that would make 456 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The convertible’s slightly higher curb weight will make the model slightly slower to 60 mph than the coupe, with the car projected to complete the deed in just under four seconds.

The second model would be dubbed the GT C and it would serve as a border between the GT S and the recently unveiled 577 horsepower GT R variant. Its official performance figures as well as broader technological information have not been released, but horsepower is expected to reflect its role as the middle child of the lineup  and ring in at 540 horsepower.

Both models will come equipped with a folding cloth top which was chosen over a more complex hardtop due to its simpler design, and the weight savings that it would provide. The base roadster’s styling will largely mirror its coupe sibling, while the GT C will most likely have its own unique identity front and rear.

Mercedes for its part has remained quiet on the subject so far (other than this teaser video) and it will be interesting to see if they donly Indeed bring two roadsters to the Paris Motor Show.



Sprint rear end

Caterham Unveils Seven Sprint

There’s nothing that oozes the spirit of British motoring better than the Caterham Seven. The retro styled roadster has always delivered on its promise to give drivers a unique driving experience whether fully assembled or built by hand via kit. With the car’s 60th birthday fast approaching, Caterham has unveiled yet another flavor of Seven for buyers to enjoy.

Dubbed the Seven Sprint, this blast from the past features a model exclusive front grille with chrome slats, cream colored wheels with polished hubcaps, individual taillights, and Seven Sprint rear endretro themed Caterham emblems front and rear. Buyers can also choose from five appropriately named colors – Cream, Mellow Yellow, Regency Red, Camberwick Green, British Racing Green, and Misty Blue. The interior of the Seven Sprint also embraces its roots and comes equipped with red upholstery, a wood rimmed steering wheel, and gauges that are similar to the ones equipped to 1960s era models. This is a neat touch, and does a good job highlighting the comfort side of the typically track oriented Seven.

Performance for the Sprint comes from a turbocharged 660cc engine that is sourced from Seven Sprint interiorSuzuki and their kei car lineup. While the  thought of having only 80 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque to play with may seem like a buzz kill at first, Caterham claims that because the Sprint is so light, it can make the dash to 60 mph in a brisk 6.9 seconds. A five speed manual transmission is the sole choice available and it helps send power to the rear wheels.

Buyers looking to buy a Seven Sprint of their own will be pleased to hear that it is currently on sale now with a base MSRP of £27,995 which is equivalent to $37,000. However don’t mistake this for a mass volume model since Caterham is only producing 60 examples a number chosen to reflect its upcoming birthday.

As for eager buyers in the U.S. we will most likely miss out on this one due to safety regulations as well as stricter emissions standards that effectively bar the engine from our shores.