Category Archives: Off Road

Jeep Unveils Tech Loaded 2018 Wrangler In L.A. [HD Mega Gallery]

When it comes to being a symbol of American pride, engineering, and capability, the Jeep Wrangler stands out as a unique automobile that has always proven to be a sales success for FCA (in its various incarnations) over the past several decades. With the future steering towards murkier waters, FCA needed to make sure that the 2018 Jeep Wrangler could continue to appeal to its loyal fanbase, while also bringing much needed capital to FCA’s bottom line. On that front, it appears that Jeep has once again produced a solid winner.

The exterior styling of the 2018 Wrangler is a tasteful evolution of the basic formula that has made the Wrangler a success among younger buyers, though this evolution may not be very obvious at first glance. Indeed, it is still very reminiscent of the current generation “JK” platformed Wrangler which was first introduced in 2007. However, a closer look reveals several key changes that aim to bring more refinement and capability to the crown jewel of the Jeep brand.

The basic layout retains its rugged pedigree, but it also adapts to the modern world, thanks to features such as a spare tire mounted rear backup camera, as well as push button start, with the latter item making its appearance in the Wrangler for the first time ever. The quest for higher fuel economy has affected all vehicle segments, and even the Wrangler has had to make several changes to allow it to adapt to this ever stricter category. Unlike the old all steel  JK model, the “JL” Wrangler incorporates aluminium into its construction, with the lightweight material making its appearance in some of the body panels to help improve its rather subpar fuel economy to an extent. Even the fold down windshield gets in the act, and what once took 90 minutes and 28 bolts to achieve, transforms into a simpler job that involves four bolts, and reduced setup time.

Along with its more upright grille, bigger tail lights, and fender mounted turn signals, the 2018 Wrangler sends a strong message to fans that it has not gone soft, and that it is still capable of going where many vehicle offerings wouldn’t even dare, including fording up to 30-inches of water.

The interior continues the evolutionary theme that is seen in the exterior, with the 2018 Wrangler featuring FCA’s latest iteration of its popular Uconnect infotainment system, as well as a smaller screen that is melded to its still distinctively analog instrument cluster. The dashboard is still tall and shallow, but round air vents are a nice improvement, and an increase in USB ports aim to make the Wrangler more adept at accepting mobile technology than ever before.

Three top options are avalible, and in addition to the hardtop, an easier to install soft top is also available, as well as an all new power operated top that can be considered a bigger version of Jeep’s MySky roof system. The trail ready cabin also offers occupants more passenger room especially in the Unlimited model, which is slightly wider than before, but has a reduced turning radius thanks to an all new electro-hydraulic steering system.

Higher grade materials are also on deck, and while the Wrangler will still play second fiddle to the Grand Cherokee in terms of amenities and comfort, the materials that are present are noticable improvements over the aging JK variant, and should help it become a slightly more livable companion out on long treks.

Performance for the 2018 Wrangler will initially come from two engines, with a slightly updated iteration of the familiar 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 resuming its volume oriented role. Good for 285 horsepower and a solid 260 lb-ft of torque, this latest version benefits from several tweaks that were designed to help boost fuel economy. An optional four cylinder also makes its appearance in the Wrangler after a 10 year absence, and allows the Wrangler to go hybrid–sort of. The turbocharged four banger produces 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a belt driven belt/generator system that draws electricity from a 48- volt system. This mild hybrid setup was designed to improve fuel economy, as well as engine performance in low engine rev situations.

 

However the real news will be the addition of two new engines to the Wrangler. A 3.0 liter turbodiesel capable of producing 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque is in the cards for 2019, as well as an all new PHEV model though Jeep did not elaborate on that model’s performance credentials.

The V6 can be equipped with either a six speed manual or an optional eight speed automatic that quietly retires the old six speed unit. The four cylinder is automatic only, but both models get standard all-wheel drive to help them be trail ready right out of the box.

Jeep has already started production of the 2018 Wrangler, and the first examples will trickle into showrooms early next year. Initally it will be sold alongside its predecessor before the JK platforms official retirement in 2018.

Kia Teases 2019 Sorento Ahead Of L.A. Debut

The Kia Sorento has always been a favorite here at Autoinfoquest due to its blend of styling, capability, and affordability. With the 2017 L.A. Auto Show fast approaching, Kia has prepared a suite of updates to help keep the 2019 Sorento fresh in the minds of buyers.

The front fascia is lightly freshened with a new front bumper and tweaked headlights, but it still retains the basic styling formula that we have come to expect from Kia. The rear fascia is equally restrained, and comes equipped with lightly tweaked LED tail lights as well as new C-shaped pieces of chrome trim. While neither of these changes are evolutionary, they do help keep the Sorento fresh for a few more years, before it eventually migrates to the next model cycle.

The interior was not revealed with today’s image dump, but expect the usual suite of updates, including higher grade materials, updated infotainment offerings, and new optional extras. The model pictured here is the range topping SX Limited which currently starts at $44,600, but look for this magic to trickle down to the lower spec models as well. The engine lineup is not expected to change much, but the Sorento could finally gain an all new eight speed automatic  transmission that would help enhance fuel economy while also allowing it to catch up to some of its rivals.

The eight speed could also explain Kia’s decision to bring the Sorento to “Hell’s Revenge in the Moab desert, where the big Kia was said to have successfully completed the six and a half mile rock crawling course including the notoriously difficult Hell’s Gate obstacle. Kia admitted that the bulk of Sorento buyers will not push their vehicles this hard, but wanted to show that the 2019 Sorento can go beyond a typical grocery hauling vehicle if the need arises. We’re impressed, and we look forward to hearing more, especially when it makes its official debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

Jeep Unveils 2018 Wrangler, Will Make Official Debut In L.A

With the internet practically busting at the seams with 2018 Jeep Wrangler material (leaked or otherwise) Jeep has finally given in, and has unleashed several photos of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler ahead of its official debut at the 2018 L.A. Auto Show.

The exterior styling of the Wrangler largely retains the brash and beefy motif that has defined the Wrangler for decades. Even the basic profile retains alot of the 2017’s styling theme, and that’s actually a good thing, considering how wildly popular it is with buyers. However, there are some modern touches that help it transition to the new model year gracefully, while also upping its technology credentials at the same time. These include new headlights and tail lights, as well as a new power operating top (which was revealed during one of the many leaks that the internet generated.)

But Jeep fans worried about the open air vibe being taken away will be pleased to know that Jeep engineers have those needs covered too. Like before  owners can take off the roof panels, fold down the windshield, or if they must, take the doors off too. Other features include a new fuel door for the fuel cap, a tweaked roll bar, and revised door sills possibly to help make entry and exit a bit easier.

Unfortunately Jeep did not reveal formal engine, transmission, or other specifications as of yet. All that juicy info will be unveiled at the aforementioned reveal in Los Angeles, but look for the first production units to not venture too far out of the box when they eventually make their way to dealer showrooms. While a four cylinder (the first in several decades) has been long rumored, look for the first examples to be hooked up to the familiar and readily available Pentastar V6 with either an automatic or a manual transmission. Look for the rumored four cylinder to arrive later with only an automatic as well as a turbocharger to help bring some green to the Wrangler’s gas swilling ways.

In the meantime, Jeep used the ongoing SEMA show to showoff a wide array of 2018 Wrangler accessories that it will have available for its new truck with each one designed to help bring distinction (and in some cases enhanced capability) to its eager fan base. Also look for some preliminary information to emerge about the upcoming Wrangler based pickup in L.A. though a debut will probably not be for several more years.

Buick Unveils 2018 Regal Sportback and TourX Wagon Models

While the Opel brand may no longer be under the GM corporate umbrella, The last remnants of this bygone era are still making an impact in GM’s broader plans. Case in point, the 2018 Opel Insignia. Known as the Buick Regal here in the U.S., the newest iteration of the Regal aims to bring new-found refinement while still retaining the attributes that made the last generation model a hit with buyers.

 

The previous generation Buick Regal was only available here in the U.S. as a sedan. For 2018 the Regal ditches this approach – sort of. Instead, the 2018 version will arrive as a liftback (similar to the A7) and also as a wagon dubbed the TourX which would give Buick a competitor against the Audi Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country.

 

 

Like before, the 2018 Regal makes use of a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, but overall performance figures vary depending on the model chosen. In the front wheel drive Sportback its good for 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with all of this muscle being channeled to the front wheels through a nine speed automatic transmission. The Sportback is also available in all-wheel drive, and that helps boost torque to 295 lb-ft, though the nine speed gets swapped for an eight speed in this application.  Meanwhile the TourX only comes with all-wheel drive and an eight speed transmission which in turn preserves its existing 250/295 power ratings.

 

 

Buick claims that versatility will be at the forefront here with the Sportback having more overall cargo space than both the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The TourX on the other hand will offer more cargo space than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon, as well as the Subaru Outback.

The interior of both versions will come packed to the brim with the latest technology that GM has to offer. This includes a standard seven-inch infotainment system with Android and Apple CarPlay capability, but buyers can opt for a bigger eight-inch setup which can be enhanced further with optional navigation software. Look for the cabin to also gain upgrades in overall fit and finish including softer touch plastics as well as more supportive seats.

In addition, both the Sportback and the TourX will also make history for Buick, and be the first Buick models to offer an “active hood” A common feature on some of its European rivals, the “active hood can sense the imminent impact of a pedestrian between 16-30 miles per hour, and use a pyrotechnic operated actuator to raise the rear of the hood by four inches. This lessens the overall impact, and could also help reduce injuries to the pedestrian according to Buick’s official release.

Buick did not release formal fuel economy figures nor a final pricing ladder for the duo, but look for that information to emerge closer to the Regal’s launch to dealer lots in late 2017. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest on the 2018 Buick Regal, as well as our live coverage of the 2017 New York Auto Show.

Mitsubishi Unveils Eclipse Cross

When Mitsubishi recently revealed that the company was going to focus on a CUV focused lineup, we were curious to see where things would go moving forward. The Japanese auto firm has unveiled the first glimpse of this compelling future, the 2018 Eclipse Cross.

Eclipse Cross

 

While some enthusiasts may cry foul seeing the Eclipse nameplate on a CUV versus a sports coupe, the Eclipse Cross does have some neat styling elements that make it stand out when compared to segment rivals like the Nissan Rouge. The bulk of the styling language is carried over from XR-PHEV II concept that first appeared at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, and Mitsubishi designers did a good job in maintaining the bulk of the concept’s design language in the shift to formal production cues.

The front fascia features bright chrome accents that project an X-shaped look, while the rear fascia features a beefy roof mounted spoiler, as well as slick L-shaped taillights that are connected by an intergrated lightbar. The rakish C-pillar helps give the Eclipse Cross a coupe like profile, while also highlighting its form over function motif.

Eclipse Cross interior

With all things considered, the Eclipse Cross breathes much needed life into Mitsubishi’s exterior styling, and is a massive improvement over the bland canvas embraced by many of its current models. It also highlights how important design will be in the creation of Mitsubishi products moving forward.

“Land Rover has proved you can be both rugged and stylish, and we intend to follow that path” revealed a company insider during an interview with British magazine Autocar.

Performance hardware will vary depending on which market it is in. In the U.S. buyers will only have access to a 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, which is standard along with all-wheel drive and a CVT transmission. Meanwhile, other markets can also choose a 2.2 liter turbocharged four cylinder diesel engine that is mated to an eight speed automatic. Sadly, there is currently no plans to bring the eight speed to U.S. spec models.

Eclipse Cross HUD

European buyers will have first crack at the Eclipse Cross when it arrives in dealerships this fall. The Eclipse Cross will then trickle into other markets, with U.S. dealerships getting their first units either at the end of this year, or in early 2018.

 

Mercedes-Maybach Showcases G650 Landaulet

Ever wondered what would happen if you took the superbly capable G-Wagen SUV, and infused it with the opulent luxury that the Maybach brand can only provide? Mercedes-Maybach has provided the result of this mad scientist-esque cocktail, the limited production G650 Landaulet.

G650 Landaulet

The Landaulet is a stretched version of the iconic G-Class, but stands out thanks to its soft top, as well as its foot high ground clearance. The G Wagen is already a uniquely awesome beast to drive on and off the road, but the highlight feature lies above the rear axle.

650 Landaulet

Normally, the G-Wagen’s rear seat accomodations are on the tight side, but the stretched wheelbase on the Landaulet allowed Maybach designers to create a cocoon like rear space with indvidual leather seats borrowed from the Maybach badged S-Class.

650 Landaulet

The seats can coddle occupants with a hot massage, or fully recline for passengers that like to stretch out and relax on long journeys. The center console features switches that allow passengers to raise or lower the glass partition, as well as operate the power top.

Performance for the Landaulet comes from the familiar 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine that makes 630 horsepower and 730 lb-ft of torque. All of this muscle is sent to all four wheels through an automatic transmission which promises to make this limo-esque vehicle a rocket at any speed.

650 Landaulet

Meanwhile, Unimog inspired portal axles help give 17-inches of ground clearance, and also amp up the G-Wagen’s already impressive off-road capabilities. Look for this to be a highlight with well heeled guests when trekking off the beaten path.

Mercedes-Maybach plans to only build 99 examples of the G650 Landaulet, and will ship the first units to dealerships this fall. Pricing as well as avalibility were not released, but look for a small batch of examples to already be spoken for ahead of its official debut.

Rebel Black 4

Ram Goes To The Darkside With 1500 Rebel Black [Video]

With the Ram Rebel scorching its way through backwood trails and snowy roads, Ram has revealed a special edition model dubbed the Rebel Black.

As its moniker implies, the Rebel Black embraces black accents and includes black rims, brush guard, and an all black interior. This special edition truck is thankfully avalible rm017_070fn8l8bi9hs9g3fng8v9pjf254v67__midin the full color pallate which should please folks that love the standard model’s trademark red hue.

The all black interior features heated seats with “Rebel” embroidery andonized accents on the doors, center console and instrument cluster as well as Light Slate grey accent seat stitching in lieu of the standard Rebel’s red hued stitching. Black Katzkin leather thrones are avalible as a luxurious upgrade.

“Adding the Rebel Black package to an already aggressive off-road package will continue feeding the momentum Rebel is creating for the Ram Truck brand” revealed Mike Manley Head of Jeep Brand and Ram Brand, FCA – Global. “The Ram Rebel is unique in the full-size truck segment with 33-inch off-road tires, air suspension, and custom interior details.”

Like the rest of the Rebel lineup, performance for the Rebel Black comes from either the base rm017_069fnumb206akgk1ftp5rkn6bk6rk8__mid3.6 liter Pentastar V6 or the optional 5.7 liter Hemi V8. The V6 model comes in 4×4 guise only, but V8 rigs can be had either as a 4×4 or a 4×2.

The Ram 1500 Rebel Black is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this March, with a base price of $45,590. This is before the $1,320 dedtination fee, but its still a reasonable price, especially for a truck that embraces the dark side. In the mean time, you can see it shred some powder in the video below.

 

Rolls Royce Announces Key Step For Upcoming SUV

With all the buzz surrounding the Bentley Bentayga SUV, it is easy to forget that Rolls Royce also has an SUV entry in the works. Information has been pretty tight lipped, but the British luxury brand has revealed new details about the upcoming model as well as a pair of teaser images.

These images are the first time that its Project Cullinan SUV has been seen in its final p90244158_lowres_project-cullinan-takproduction body. While Rolls Royce engineers did their best to hide things with loads of swirly camoflauge, key details still make themselves apparent. The front fascia falls in line with typical Rolls Royce cues, and is centered around the bold slatted grille as well as its elegantly styled hood.

Meanwhile the rear fascia adopts a formal wagon profile, but the camoflauge hides key styling elements, so we’ll have to wait until its formal unveiling to issue our verdict. The mirrors are also textbook Rolls, and borrow their basic inspiration from the Phantom and Ghost sedans.

Performance hardware is still a mystery, but Rolls Royce did reveal that Project Cullinan will begin cold weather testing in the Arctic Circle sometime after Christmas before flying to the Middle East (its key market) for hot weather testing late next year. We suspect that it will initially debut with a twelve cylinder engine before adding a V8 later in its production run. Like the Bentayga, an automatic will be the sole transmission choice avalible.

With this current testing schedule, Project Cullinan could make its formal debut either at the end of next year, or the beginning of the following year. When it does, it will compete with not only the forementioned Bentayga, but also the upcoming Lamborghini Uruus and the Aston Martin DBX.

Mercedes Benz Previews X-Class Pickup

Following years of rampant speculation and rumors regarding the notion of a three pointed star pickup truck. Mercedes Benz has lifted the veil off of the Concept X-Class which is allegedly a ‘concrete outlook’ on a production version of the firm’s first ever pickup truck.

 

 

The two trucks on hand at the unveiling show off the two distinct styling motifs that will define the new model. The off road oriented “adventurer” X-Class features a sporty yellow-green paint job and features a lifted suspension, knobby off road tires, and protective cladding on key points of the truck. The adventurer even comes equipped with a winch, though we will wait until it can be used in the real world before issuing a final verdict on its full capabilities.

The ‘explorer’ model on the other hand arrives as the decidedly more on road oriented variant and shares much of its cues with existing Mercedes Benz offerings. Benz designers went for more posh with this truck and equipped it with 22-inch chrome wheels as well as a snazzy white metallic paint job. The end result is an X-Class that is decidedly more upscale, and should please buyers looking for utility that can still have a styling statement.

 

 

The interior of both trucks also showcase the flexibility that exists in the X-Class. The ‘explorer’s’ interior focuses on luxury and features warm colors as well as healthy amounts of wood trim that helps add new dashes of elegance to the functional cabin. Annoyingly the screen for the infotainment system is still not formally integrated into the dashboard like other luxury offerings, but look for it to still deliver sharp clarity and quick inputs regardless.

Meanwhile the ‘adventurer’ goes for all out brawn, and carries over the exterior’s green hue and incorporates more supportive seating. The center stack shares much of the ‘explorer’s’ layout but Mercedes designers gave it more aluminium accents and even equipped it with a portable fire extinguisher or extra safety.

The platform for the X-Class is borrowed from the Nissan NP300 Navara pickup truck, and makes it a traditional body on frame rig. The Navara also is shared with Renault where it is known as the Renault Alaskan. Look for the production version of the X-Class to tone down the wild styling elements somewhat especially the radical tail light design on the tailgate. As expected from a Mercedes Benz offering, look for some unique elements to remain intact though the bespoke truck will unlikely stray too far from its Navara roots.

 

 

Mercedes stopped short of revealing a full suite of engines for the pickup but did confirm that the range topping variant will be powered by a V6 diesel engine. The model will also feature the company’s familiar 4-MATIC all-wheel drive system which should prove to be a valuable asset on the off-road minded ‘adventurer’ while giving the ‘explorer’ the confidence it needs to tackle snowy weather conditions. It is unknown what other engines will see duty in the X-Class but with the Navara offering a four cylinder exclusive lineup, look for Benz to use its own engines including a petrol burning V6 as well as its own four cylinders.

“Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise,” promised Mercedes-Benz Vans CEO Volker Morhinweg. “Ladder type frame, high torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us.”

The X-Class is expected to launch later next year and will focus on buyers in Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Europe. However the company neither confirmed or denied the prospect of bringing the truck to the U.S. market, and personally we think that it should not make the trip across the pond. This is mainly due to the near absolute domination of the segment that is enjoyed by the domestic Big Three as well as the costs of importing and marketing the truck to U.S. buyers which would most likely outweigh any form of profit made from the relatively niche level of sales that the X-Class would experience in this country.

GMC Unveils 2500 HD All Terrain X

The off-road pickup truck segment has seen a spike in growth recently with Ram unveiling the 2500 Power Wagon, the recently launched V6 powered Ford F-150 Raptor, and the iconic Jeep Wrangler. General Motors looks to take a slice of this potent sales pie for itself, and has unveiled the 2017 GMC Sierra 2500 HD All Terrain X.

Following on the heels of the recently launched Canyon and Sierra 1500 All Terrain X, the beefy 2500 variant aims to go toe to toe with the Ram Power Wagon, and on paper it appears to have the goods to do just that. The exterior styling continues the all black motif 2500 HD All Terrain Xthat has defined GMC’s off-road models and includes the blacked out front grille surround, 18-inch aluminium wheels, as well as its black hued four-inch side steps. The truck also features a black sports bar that further emphasizes its rugged intentions.

The interior of this bruiser is also a clever mix of elegance and functionality and comes equipped with a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals, rear view camera, and blacked out leather seats with front seat heat. Speaking of the seats, we are happy that GMC chose a more tasteful design for the thrones versus the decidedly more garish looking tire tread style cues that defines the Power Wagon’s seats. Rounding out this is GM’s eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that features the latest iteration of IntelliLink.

Performance for the 2500 HD All Terrain X is shared with the standard 2500 4×4 model, and comes equipped with two different engine choices. The base engine is a 6.0 liter V8, but look for the majority of buyers to go with the 6.6 liter Duramax turbodiesel engine which 2500 HD All Terrain X fender shotbrings 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque to the festivities. The All Terrain package also includes meaty Goodyear Duratec off road tires, GM’s off road focused Z71 suspension, an Eaton locking differential, and package exclusive underbody shielding. This should allow the X to keep up with the Power Wagon on rugged backwoods trails, and please buyers looking for an alternative to the Ram.

GMC has not released formal pricing or launch details for the 2500 HD All Terrain X, but look for the truck to possibly make its debut either at the LA Auto Show or the North American International Auto Show in January.