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Track Test: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Goss' Garage: Give Me A Brake
Over the Edge: Fiat Track Experience
Quick Spin: 2019 BMW X5
Quick Spin: 2019 Subaru Forester
Long Term Update: 2018 Mazda6 | 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Road Test: 2019 Volvo S60
Engine: 6.2 liter
Torque: 707 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.4 seconds @ 126 mph
Around here, the redeyes we’re used to, are those of our staffers after staying up too late the night before watching playoff baseball; or that flight back from a west coast press trip that arrives just in time to make it into work. None of those are any fun. Now, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, now that’s a whole different story!
Your first thought of this 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye might be, “how different can it really be from all of the other Hellcats you’ve seen on MotorWeek?” Well, quite a bit actually, but not the basics.
No gettin’ around it, the Challenger is still big, still obnoxious, and still riding on the same basic chassis since 2008.
To get a Redeye version of the Challenger Hellcat, you don’t have to go the widebody route, but we do recommend it; all the better to take up as much road as possible with.
The real story here, is that all of the Demons have been built by now; but apparently Dodge still had some engines left over, thus the Redeye. So, I guess you could say this Challenger has been demon-possessed, to the tune of 797-horsepower, plus 90 over the standard Hellcat, and 54 added lb-ft of torque at a high flying 7-0-7. Not the full 840-horsepower of the Demon, but you don’t have to burn high octane gas either. And most of the Demon’s internal and external upgrades remain in place.
So, as in the Demon, this requires the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission.
As you’d expect, traction is in short supply with street tires; smoky burnouts happen from basically just looking at the throttle.
After a few runs both with and without launch control, our best 0-60 time was 3.7-seconds, and that was with the standard 2.62 rear gears. A 3.09 rear is also available if you’re looking to shave another few tenths off, and are okay with a slightly higher cruising RPM.
Speed accumulates rapidly down the strip; and if this engine sound and supercharger whine were available as a Spotify playlist, it’d be on constant rotation in our office. Our best ¼-mile time was 11.4-seconds at 126 miles-per-hour.
And while the Hellcat was never designed to get around a race track fast, it didn’t stop us from going to Summit Point Motorsports Park for a track day. Well two actually, as our first attempt got rained out.
Now, you don’t need wet pavement to have some crazy sliding fun with any Hellcat, but since the opportunity presented itself…
Day two provided dry pavement, and with Track mode on, we were able to gather much more info about the Redeye’s real character.
The suspension is firm, steering is pretty responsive, and there was more grip in the corners than we were expecting. The 8-speed works very well, providing almost PDK-levels of telepathic intuitiveness.
Bottom line, the Redeye can be driven hard a fast through corners, with smooth throttle inputs needed to keep the rear in line. Or, you can mash the gas, counter steer the heck out of it, and have a blast shredding the rear tires.
As we’ve stated before, this chassis is very predictable, and fairly forgiving; so it’s not as if there’s a knife edge you have to try to balance on.
The only thing preventing this from being an awesome track machine, is the brakes; and oh, maybe a half ton of heft too. There’s close to 4,500-lbs. here, so the standard Brembos were truly working overtime to slow us down at the end of the straights.
Now, if you’re going to drop $72,745 on a muscle car, it may as well be this one. And technically, the Redeye is Customer Preferred Package 27Z, which adds $11,000 onto the standard Challenger Hellcat.
Just like having too many different flavors of chocolate, you’ll get no complaints of another Hellcat from us. We never get tired of driving this retro-flavored muscle car; but it can be tiring, trying to come up with new ways to describe its awesomeness. This 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is built with one thing in mind, dominating pavement and making sure everyone knows it’s doing it.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 295 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds for T5 & 4.4 seconds for T8
EPA: 21 mpg city / 32 mpg highway for T6
By now, you may have heard that the Volvo S60 is the first Volvo made here in the USA. But there is much more of significance to Volvo’s new midsize sedan than just where it’s built. According to Volvo, it’s one of the most exciting cars they’ve ever made. So, let’s see if the S60 gives us the thrills!
The 2019 Volvo S60 marks the 3rd total redesign of Volvo’s midsize sedan. Last gen made headlines, with a stretched version that was the first streetable car sold here that was “Made in China”. Fitting since Volvo is now owned by Chinese carmaker Geely.
But guess what, now the new S60 is being assembled here, in Ridgeville, South Carolina. Talk about a turn of fate! And since it’s now on the SPA platform that arrived with the XC90, we expect some other Volvo models to roll out of that plant as well.
Indeed, the S60’s powertrains are not unique from other vehicles on that platform. By now, we’re all familiar with the 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo I4 that comes in base front-wheel-drive T5 models.
T6 adds a supercharger into mix, boosting output to 316-horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, as well as all-wheel-drive. And finally, a twin-engine PHEV T8 will be available soon.
Regardless of power adders, all S60s feature an 8-speed automatic transmission. Expect 0-60 times to range from 6.2 seconds for the T5 to a pretty thrilling 4.4-seconds in the T8.
While Momentum and Inscription trims hold down the luxury side of things quite well; Volvo is looking to push things deeper into the sport sedan category with the R-Design; which we first sampled in Southern California.
Now R-Design in itself, is more of a sporty trim than a pure performance model. It can be added to either the T5 or T6 and includes unique 21-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and integrated dual exhaust tips.
Inside, there’s also a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, and upgraded leather and cloth upholstery.
It’s a fabulous looking car, and we enjoy Volvo’s modern take on their classic head and tail light shapes; not to mention Thor’s hammer is still the coolest signature lighting out there.
They’ll also get a car that’s smooth, quiet, and if you go for the turbo-supercharged T6, powerful as well. It’s actually thrilling just merging onto Interstates in the T6, and backroad curves flow together like championship-level ballroom dancers.
Plenty of grip through those corners, the transmission matches output quite well, so the S60 can be a load of fun.
Still, it doesn’t offer much in the hyper-responsive feedback department, though Volvo promises an upcoming limited edition Polestar Engineered version will indeed provide just that.
Those looking for even less engagement, will appreciate the second generation of Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system which works quite well if you get your thrills that way.
The BorgWarner all-wheel-drive system launches in full all-wheel-drive for ultimate traction, but quickly shifts to mostly front drive once moving.
This S60 is significantly longer than its predecessor, and most of that added length benefits rear seat passengers.
Not that front seat occupants don’t profit as well. You’ll find plenty of space here too, nestled in the extreme plushness of Volvo’s Comfort seats.
The 9-inch Sensus touchscreen mostly dominates the dash. An updated processor for all 2019 Volvo models, means faster start-up and speedier response. Still, it’s easy to get sidetracked with all of the scroll, scroll, hunt, hunting.
Trunk space is more than acceptable at 11.6 cubic-ft.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster comes stock with R-Design; with numerous modes, including bringing up the navigation map.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 21-City, 32-Highway, and 25-Combined for T6s; 24-City, 36-Highway, and 28-Combined for the T5s.
Following form, with very sensible pricing; T5 S60s start at just $36,795, T6s at $41,295, and T8s at $55,395. All prices thrillingly competitive for its class.
Seriously, we agree that the 2019 Volvo S60 is an exciting effort for Volvo; both in the performance of our test T6 R-Design, and the fact that they have made a serious American commitment in the new plant.
With the brand’s sales here up significantly over what even they projected, together they are bold moves for a brand that is clearly on the rise.
Brakes. Oh so important but they seem so simple. But there’s so much to know about them. Number one, they wear. And that means you need to check them periodically. And if there’s ever a change in the way the brakes feel, or that they make noise or anything like that you get them checked immediately.
Here’s and example of when you don’t do that. Everything is destroyed. Right down to the caliper and the pads the rotors, the whole thing. The driver of this van said he didn’t hear a thing. Maybe his radio was just too loud.
Additionally, brakes need service. Primarily they need to be bled periodically. That means we’re going to flush all the old fluid out of them. And that means we’re going to be dealing with bleeder valves.
Bleeder valves have a nasty habit of seizing into the caliper. So it’d be a good idea to spray them down with a rust penetrant or coat them literally with grease at least once a year. That will prevent them from seizing. When it comes time to loosen these valves, make sure that you use the right type of wrench.
Certainly you wouldn’t use anything this big, but the difference here – this is a 12 point, this is a 6 point. 12 points tend to round these things off. 6 points grab them firmly.
There is a problem thought. Bigger bleeder valves, they tend to round off. Smaller ones tend to break off. And if you manage to break one off there are some things you can do.
You see here we broke this one off. Here we have a set of tools that might work to get that out and save the caliper. These are left handed drill bits. They turn in the opposite direction. They turn down in there and as they’re drilling they are trying to turn it out.
Sometimes that works. If it doesn’t, you may be able to get it out with the extractor that fits the drill bit where you have drilled down in there. It also works in the reverse. And when it comes to bleeding, always make sure you use the proper type of fluid. Here we have a neat kit from Eastwood Tools. This is a set of wrenches. They have this socket, 6 point, to fit down over the bleeder valve.
You put this hose on it. This hose has a check valve so as you push the air out, it doesn’t suck air back in. Really clever idea. Also remember that pads and calipers, they move in there and they need to be lubricated. That’s usually about once a year. Make sure you use the proper brake lubricant. Not some general purpose lubricant. Because brakes get hot.
And brake lubricants withstand heat. That will make your brakes work better. And last longer.
If you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.
Seat time. Nothing in this world will help you hone in your skills more than a day at the track. Sure, we drool at the opportunity to take a 600 horsepower assault car to its limits… but Zach Maskell is here to prove not even half of that will suffice nicely. Let’s go over the Edge and smile like the Grinch, as we learn from some of the best.
TERRY EARWOOD: What we’re going to do is literally, go play with some cars.
ZACH MASKELL: New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey is our gigantic cubicle for the day. Does Skip Barber Racing School ring a bell?
DAN DEMONTE: Skip Barber was started in 1975 by Skip Barber, who is still very much involved in the racing business. He’s 81 years old. They have created the preeminent, dominant iconic brand in drive and racing school in the U.S.
I think this year in the Indy 500, something above 45% of all participating driver have been instructed in the Skip Barber Racing School.
ZACH MASKELL: Jerry Seinfeld, Al Pacino and Danica Patrick as well. Either for kicks, or to earn your competition racing license… This is step one. On day one.
TERRY EARWOOD: Mark brought this equation to motorsports to tell us how hard we can run a car.
ZACH MASKELL: Mark Donohue. Not only did he race, but he set up his own cars as well. Mark’s Formula? 15 times grip times radius equals speed squared. For the math challenged. Come into a turn too hot and the car will force an even bigger turn.
TERRY EARWOOD: I used to be tall and handsome. Now I’m just handsome. But for years we got to ride with people and see what people do. What their natural reaction is. And we come off the brake and go to power and ask the car to go to power and why it pushes or understeers. And the answer is because the weights on the wrong end of the car. It should really be called under respond.
ZACH MASKELL: The first step in applying this to the real world. Feeling it on the skid pad. We’re equipped with Fiat 124’s.
ERICH HEUSCHELE: The 1.4 turbo is an Italian engine and it’s a small displacement engine that has a lot of boost and you’ve got to spool it up to have an active and involved driving experience.
ZACH MASKELL: Fiat’s Go-Fast nomenclature… Abarth. We take this rear drive car past its limit, and then try to reel in back in. Counter steer and feather off the gas… this skill is invaluable. The pro’s reminded us to keep our eyes up… and look ahead. A perfect warm up for the Auto Cross course… and you better be ready for surprises.
ZACH MASKELL: As he pulls the e-brake on me!
TERRY EARWOOD: You have video of that? Oh you probably do. No that’s fun. And as a teach I’m glad they still retain the hand brake, as so many cars don’t have that anymore.
ZACH MASKELL: Absolutely
TERRY EARWOOD: It helps you with a little rotation, that way it helps your car control, nice job. You have fast hands.
ZACH MASKELL: If you’re serious about learning, they’ll teach.
TERRY EARWOOD: Sweet, sweet.
ZACH MASKELL: Next up, a different animal. The front drive Fiat 500 Abarth. You definitely feel it’s 60% weight distribution up front.
MIKE STILLWAGON: Yes, there’s a lot more weight over the front of this car. Smaller tire too. Almost the same horsepower.
Zach Maskell: Varying instruction, on track explanations, and plenty of hype. We worked on fundamentals, and making each move smooth. I’m not sold on the horsepower wars manufacturers seem to be so keen on these days, because you don’t need to shell out all that cash to have an absolute blast. So what are you waiting for, sign up for a track day already!
Land Rover has started its countdown to the world premiere of the new Range Rover Evoque with a fleet of wire form sculptures inspired by the new model. The full-scale artworks stopped pedestrians in their tracks at locations across London.The brightly-colored installations were produced by the same Land Rover Design team responsible for shaping the new Evoque and embody the reductive design philosophy that has informed its elegant proportions. Blending simple lines with modernity, the full-size wire forms showcase the new Evoque’s coupe-like silhouette. Four of the eye-catching sculptures were parked at exclusive addresses around Kensington and Chelsea, finished in distinctive shades of copper, red and blue.
Ford Motor Company is teaming up with Walmart to explore how self-driving vehicles can deliver many everyday goods such as groceries, diapers, pet food and personal care items in Miami-Dade county Florida. For this pilot program, Ford is working with Walmart and its existing delivery partner in Miami, Postmates, to use research vehicles, designed to simulate self-driving vehicles for Walmart’s existing delivery offerings. Over the next couple of months, Ford will be working closely with Walmart to understand its operations, identify what goods can feasibly transported, and pinpoint any issues that may need to be addressed to successfully deliver orders via self-driving vehicles. Ford and Walmart have already completed more than 1,000 deliveries as part of the initial phases of building up the self-driving business. Ford says that they are confident that working with Walmart will strengthen their effort to successfully deploy self-driving vehicles in a way that people actually want to experience – whether they’re ordering takeout, groceries or anything else they might need.
A number of websites including Off-Road.com and AutoGuide.com have uncovered photos of what is believed to be the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco. The images were revealed at a recent Ford dealer meeting in Las Vegas. The photos show a 4-door SUV that retains much of the original 1966 Ford Bronco’s right-angle, no-nonsense exterior. This direct rival for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is expected to be unveiled at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in January.
Road Test: 2019 Cadillac XT-4
Auto World: D.C. EV Busses
Goss' Garage: Winter Tires
Quick Spin: 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Quick Spin: 2019 Nissan Altima
Quick Spin: 2018 Toyota RAV4
Road Test: 2019 Jaguar I-PACE
In Podcast 192, John Davis and the gang are talking about the all new Genesis G70 and all electric Jaguar I-Pace. Greg Carloss shares on his recent trip to the Bahrain to drive the Porsche Panamera GTS, and Garick Zikan talks about a recent small SUV comparison test. Then, the crew answers a viewer question about hydrogen cars.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 258 lb-ft.
EPA: 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr
Well, if you thought there couldn’t possibly be room for yet another compact luxury crossover, you were wrong. You see, until now, Cadillac has been sitting this one out. That all changes with an all-new xt4. So, let’s find out if it’s a welcome addition to the club.
Cadillac formulated the 2019 XT4 for a new generation of luxury buyers. Ones looking for spacious comfort along with expressive design, inspired performance, and lots of new technologies. A tall order indeed, and one that is already being serviced by the likes the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Acura RDX among others.
But one thing the XT4 does out do them all is in expressive design. Here you get a slightly detuned version of Cadillac’s current very bold look. The front facia hits you with knife edged, inverted L-shaped LED headlights, separated from a large shield grille.
A pinched waist, and concave body panels underset a tall yet still coupish flavored roof that ends with minimal overhang. At the rear, taillights are a modern take on the familiar Cadillac theme, now reaching out and up alongside the hatch.
There are also unique elements for each trim level; which include Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport.
This Premium Luxury includes plenty of bright metal-work; while the Sport trim gets the blacked-out treatment, and all ride on standard 18s, with 20s optional.
Moving on to performance, all XT4s are powered by… surprise, a 2.0-liter I4 turbo. Output is a healthy 237-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Helping fuel economy, are Active Fuel Management and a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Government Ratings are 24-City, 30-Highway, and 26-Combined with front-wheel-drive; 22-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined for all-wheel-drive. Making the Energy Impact Score an average one, with 12.7-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 5.6-tons.
The available twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system can completely decouple from the rear axle, only engaging the aft tires when additional traction is called for. And it was the competent operation of this powertrain that was the true highlight of our initial driving sessions, which happened in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, Oregon.
Using some techno-trickery dubbed “tripower”, sliding camshaft lobes in the engine, allow for three distinct operating modes, as well as big delivery of torque when called upon.
An available Active Sport Suspension features continuous damping control, and gets the most out of the strut-type front suspension with 5-link independent rear.
Aiming for the younger sport-minded buyer means ride quality is not plush enough to bring back memories of riding shotgun in the bench seat of Grandpa’s Caddy, but this thing rips around corners better than Gramps could have ever have imagined.
And 5-place accommodations of the XT4, are every bit as nice as he would remember; spacious as well. Front seats are well-bolstered and comfy without being soft.
A thick 3-spoke steering wheel falls readily to hand, as do a welcome number of manual switches that poke out of the bottom of the wide, flat dash.
Rear seat passengers fare just as well, plenty of legroom; good comfort in the seats here too. You’ll find 22.5 cubic-ft. of space in the cargo bay; expanding to 48.9 cubic-ft. with the seatbacks folded.
As for XT4 technologies, the first thing you’ll notice is a new rotary controller added to the Cadillac User Experience or CUE system. Gauges are the now the expected mix of analog and the virtual; lots of information, presented in a clear fashion.
The 8-inch HD infotainment screen is recessed into the dash and is high enough for easy monitoring. Near-field communications makes for quicker and easier phone pairing; there’s faster next gen 15-watt wireless charging, and four standard USB ports.
Not to mention Cadillac’s improved rear camera mirror, surround vision cameras, and an available Driver Assist Package with Forward and Reverse Automatic Braking.
The base Luxury XT4 starts at $35,790. From there, you can choose the Premium Luxury or Sport route, both of which go for $40,290. For all-wheel-drive, add another $2,500.
The 2019 XT4 has what Cadillac needs to compete in the compact luxury crossover segment, and to stay relevant as a brand as well. So, while the XT4 faces a container load of rivals already charging after new age luxury buyers, it easily checks all of the boxes and then some. It is a fine addition to the storied brand, and who knows, it might even appeal to a few of their traditionalist too. Indeed, we think the XT4 is destined to become Cadillac’s best seller.