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Road Tests: 2018 Kia Stinger

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.0 liter / 3.3 liter

Horsepower: 255 / 365

Torque: 260 lb-ft. / 376 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.1 seconds @ 108 mph

EPA: 19 mpg city / 25 mpg highway,

The Kia brand has come a long way in a short time, both in design and quality. But, as good as their vehicles are today, their long range goal seems directed at being a true Asian alternative to European luxury-sport brands. That’s a tall order, and for it, they have ordered up an all-new rear-wheel drive sedan, the Stinger. So, let’s see if rivals should be looking for bug spray.  

Kia has been working towards building more exciting and dynamic cars for a few years now, but this 2018 Kia Stinger is their biggest step yet. While called a sedan, it’s really a well-camouflaged 5-door hatchback.

But, under its fastback skin lies the more important story, a finely-balanced, rear-drive chassis shared with the forthcoming Genesis G70, supported by struts in the front, and 5-links in the rear.

Under the long hood is a longitudinal, class requisite, base turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 with 255-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. But, our test Stinger GT packs a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 good for 365-horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Both hook up to 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters; there’s no manual, but both can add all-wheel-drive. 

While the 2.0 is no slouch, the GT’s V6 powertrain really impressed us with its overall smoothness. Even the paddle shifters work with a quick precision we didn’t expect. 

Size wise, the Stinger is almost mid-size, being bigger than a 3-Series but smaller than a 5. Apart from its tiger nose, the Stinger doesn’t favor anything else in the Kia stable. It nails the luxuriously sporty look, attracting the kind of attention usually reserved for exotics.

We’ll admit there are some Audi cues; but hey, if you’re going to copy someone, you should make it one of the best. We also acknowledge the touch of cheapness with fender and non-functional hood trim, but they certainly didn’t go cheap down below, with Michelin Pilot Sports on 19–inch rims and Brembo brakes all around. 

Quad exhaust tips look great and sound even better. Especially when streaking down the track with the 3.3-liter at full boil. It doesn’t snarl and bark like a HEMI Charger sedan, as its smooth and quick acceleration feels purely European.

All-wheel-drive grip and well-designed launch control make for simple, drama-free launches. There’s hardly any sense of weight transfer either. It’s one second you’re sitting still, and the next you’re at full power. We hit 60 in just 4½ of those serene seconds.

If you’re looking for hard-firing, throw you back in your seat, torquey shifts; you won’t find them here either. The gears are indeed changing, but the only sensation you get is just calm unrelenting thrust. 

The car feels very stable at high speeds, as we reached 108 miles-per-hour in the ¼, completed in 13.1-seconds. 

While there’s nothing exotic in the basic suspension theory, it’s all in the tuning, which as you may have heard by now, was overseen by Albert Biermann formerly of BMW’s M Division. And the results feel totally in that realm.

There was massive grip through our cones, staying nice and stable with minimum flex. Steering is impressively quick with decent feel. Plus, five comprehensive drive modes, including a custom setting, come standard. We can’t wait to get this GT on a proper race course. 

Those Brembos brought this 4,000-lbs. hatchback to a halt in just 105-feet; minimal fade with an overall tight and sporty feel.

But of course we can’t all live our lives a quarter mile at a time, so it’s good to know the Stinger is just as pleasurable sitting in traffic. It never feels like a thoroughbred waiting to run free; rather more like a luxury car with tremendous performance potential. 

There’s plenty of room in the cabin, both front and rear. V6 GT trim comes with a nice flat-bottom steering wheel, rear view camera, and aluminum trim.

Stepping up to GT1 will get you navigation, a sunroof, and 720-watts of Harmon Kardon premium audio. 

Finally, GT2 adds Nappa leather trim, a head-up display, and a host of advanced safety features. 

And just for fun and quirkiness, the fact that Stinger’s key fob resembles some kind of detonator, just gives you a hint of what you’re about to set off when get behind the wheel. 

There is a practical side as well; hatchback versatility means a wide opening with 23.3 cubic-ft. of cargo space, 40.9 with rear seat backs folded. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel-drive GT are 19-City, 25-Highway, and 21-Combined.

Pricing starts at $39,250 for the GT; but pro tip, base models look virtually identical outside, are almost as fast, and start a few grand less than a 3 Series at $32,800. 

While it was easy to be impressed with the first effort at building a true European-style sport sedan from Kia, we’d be just as impressed with the 2018 Stinger if had come from a more established marque; it’s that spectacular. But it’s what’s coming next that has us really excited, as a whole new adrenaline-packed era for Kia has begun.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Subaru Concept & Hyundai NEXO

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 11:42am
Subaru is pushing the performance envelope.  They’ve released this teaser photo of the Subaru VIZIV Performance STI Concept.  They plan to show it at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2018 this weekend. Hyundai says their technological flagship fuel cell vehicle will be called NEXO.  The company says the hydrogen powered vehicle has an estimated range of 370-miles.  Hyundai has stepped up the tech with a Blind-Spot View Monitor, Lane Following Assist, and the ability to park or retrieve itself from a parking space with or without a driver in the car.   Hyundai says NEXO will be available in select markets around the world early this year.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Future Mobility & Big Trucks

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:25am
Kia is sharing its vision for the future.  The company revealed the Niro EV Concept in Las Vegas. They say it could get 238 miles of driving range.  This is just part of their strategy.  They plan to launch an all-new Kia fuel-cell EV in 2020, and 16 electrified vehicles with hybrid, EV and FCEV power by 2025. Toyota is teaming up with several companies to tap into what mobility will be like down the road.  The company announced a new mobility service business alliance.  The idea is to create vehicles using Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform, while collaborating with companies.  Alliance partners include Amazon, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber.  The group is working on developing the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, which was unveiled at CES. While MotorWeek is gearing up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, we’re also looking ahead to the Work Truck Show.  That’s where Chevrolet plans to reveal the all-new 2019 Silverado 4500HD and 5500HD. The show runs March 6-9 in Indianapolis. Chevrolet expects the trucks will go into production in late 2018.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Toyota Tech & Chinese Concept

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 3:48pm
Toyota is moving forward with self-driving technology.  They’re introducing their Next-Generation Automated Driving Research Vehicle… a Lexus LS 600hL.  Toyota says the technology improves, with a LIDAR system with a 200-meter range that can see 360-degrees around the vehicle. They’ve also made the system more compact and have concealed it into the vehicle’s design.  Toyota will unveil the new system at CES in Las Vegas this week. Chinese automaker Byton has unveiled their electric crossover concept to the crowd at CES.  As we told you last week, the company says it will include a 49-inch by 10-inch screen and have a range of up to 310 miles.  They hope to begin production in 2019.  It could be in the U.S. the following year.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Nissan Brain Tech & G-Class Teaser

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:52pm
You know technology evolves quickly.  Nissan has a plan to make your car adapt to you… by tapping into your brain.  It’s called Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V.  Nissan says the technology can interpret signals from the driver’s brain to predict actions, like steering or braking, and then doing it.  Nissan will demonstrate some of the technology in a driving simulator at CES in Las Vegas next week. Mercedes-Benz has something new in store for their big G-Class.  The company says their primary goal was to make the new G-Class “even more effective off-road”.  That includes more ground clearance and water and mud capabilities.  MotorWeek will be in Detroit when the new G-Class is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show later this month.  In the meantime, check out this video of what we can expect.

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3718

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:46am

Debut 1.05.2018

Description

Road Test: 2018 Ford Expedition

Goss' Garage: Cutting Tools

Over the Edge: Corvettes in Carlisle

Motor News: IIHS Safety Picks | Polestar | Volvo and Uber

Long Term Update: 2017 Subaru Crosstrek | 2018 VW Passat R-Line

Track Test: 2018 Porsche 911 GTS

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Self-Driving Partnerships & INFINITI Concept

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:37am
Tech company Aurora Innovation is teaming up with two car companies to speed up the process of bringing self-driving cars to the road.  The company is collaborating with Volkswagen.  They’re working on integrating Aurora’s self-driving system, which includes Machine Learning and AI technology, into Volkswagen vehicle platforms.  Aurora is also partnering with Hyundai.  They hope to develop Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles by 2021.  Hyundai’s newest fuel-cell vehicle will be the first model in the testing process later this year.  It will make its official global debut at CES 2018 next week.

INFINITI is giving us a look at what the future could look like.  This is their first image of the new Q Inspiration Concept.  They say it combines “classical sedan forms” with an “elongated silhouette”.  INFINITI says as powertrains become more compact, there will be more room in the cabin.  We’ll see the concept in person when it debuts at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit later this month.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Ford Expedition

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.5 liter

Horsepower: 400

Torque: 480 lb-ft.

EPA: 17 mpg city / 22 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 7.7 tons/yr

With the reborn Explorer and a host of other uni-body crossovers in their lineup, it’s easy to forget that Ford still make a big body-on-frame SUV…the Expedition. It’s been around for three generations now, and an all-new fourth gen Expedition delivers the biggest change yet, joining the F150 with an all-aluminum body. So, let’s see if lighter is righter. 

Even in a utility world gone crossover, there are still plenty of people that need a big, truck-based SUV like this 2018 Ford Expedition. But, we’ve covered all of that before. So, what improvements does this all-new Expedition offer the power-hungry, trailer-towing, family-hauling utility buyer?

Well for starters, not only is styling more modern; but like the F150 it shares its basic full frame design with, body panels are now made of aluminum. That helps to shave off about 300-lbs. of weight.  

But rather than with the F-150, the face of the full-size Expedition is more akin to the mid-size Explorer; while body sides are not quite as rounded as before, with a less obvious greenhouse. Indeed, from a distance, it appears very similar to its biggest competitor, the segment dominating Chevrolet Tahoe.

Expedition wheelbase is 122.5-inches, about 3½ more than before. And yes, a longer wheelbase Suburban fighter is available as well, at 131.6-inches, now known as the Expedition MAX.  

Cargo capacity is up; now 20.9 cubic-ft. behind the standard 3rd row, 63.6 behind the 2nd, and 104.6 with all seats folded. Perfect for late night Walmart runs. 7 or 8 passenger seating is available, with 2nd row getting a new tip-and-slide function.

Thanks to the longer wheelbase, space is more plentiful all around, beating Tahoe in second row legroom by over 2 1/2 inches. There are ample options for plugging in, and you can even live stream satellite or cable TV to the entertainment system.  

Platinum trim is tops for now, with materials fitting the name. But the bulk of volume will be made up by mid-level Limited; which includes a power folding 3rd row, heated seats for 1st and 2nd rows, as well as a heated steering wheel.

Gauges are very similar to the F150’s with a mix of analog with virtual gauges, along with a wide, configurable TFT display. 

Expedition power still comes from a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost twin-turbo. But, it’s the F150’s latest variants. Standard output is 375 horsepower, a gain of 10, with 470 lb-ft of torque. Our Platinum trimmed beast however gains 35 horses to 400 even, with torque at 480.

Attached, is Ford and GM’s joint venture 10-speed automatic transmission; which allows for better power at launch, as well as lower cruising RPM on the high end, for improved efficiency. It’s one of the best modern automatics we’ve sampled; finding the right gear quickly without searching around like most rival’s 9-speeds we’ve driven. 

Maximum towing capacity is 9,300-lbs., significantly more than the Tahoe’s 8,600; and by far best-in-class. The F150’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist is available as well. 

The optional 4-wheel drive system comes with an updated version of Ford’s Terrain management system with up to 7-different drive modes, for helping you through just about any situation you may find yourself in. 

There’s also an available FX4 Off-Road Package. And while it isn’t quite Raptor-spec, you do get an automatic limited-slip rear, off road shocks, 7-skid plates, and 18-inch wheels with A/Ts, for when you leave the trailer behind and venture further off the beaten path.

The independent front suspension is virtually identical to the F150’s, while in back there’s an updated version of the outgoing Expedition’s multi-link setup rather than a solid axle. 

Ford has gone to great lengths to quiet the interior down, and it is indeed very calm inside; and without a doubt, road manners have improved greatly thanks to continuously controlled damping. But despite the weight loss and myriad of updates, it’s still hard to disguise the fact that this is a very big truck-like vehicle, and continues to ride and drive like a one.

And while there are certainly a few people out there that prefer that in their utility; the fact that very few body-on-frame SUVs remain, while crossovers have taken over the segment, would suggest that the majority of people don’t. 

Thanks to that 10-speed automatic, Government Fuel Economy Ratings for a 4X4 Expedition are 17-City, 22-Highway, and 19-Combined; that’s up from 17-Combined last year. It still has a poor Energy Impact Score though, at 17.3-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 7.7-tons. 

There’s no way around it, you’ve got to pay to play in this segment. Pricing starts at $52,890. Adding 4-wheel-drive varies with trim level, but adds about $3,000 more. So, you’re looking at around $75,000 for top Platinum trim, even more if you opt for the Lincoln Navigator variants. 

So for 2018, the highly-evolved Ford Expedition improves in every possible way; whether you’re talking capability, interior space, fuel economy, and certainly style. Ford fans will love what they see, and no doubt this Expedition will create a few more fanatics for the brand as well.

Categories: Syndicated

Motor News: 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:00am

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a long track record of selecting the safest cars on the road. And, for 2018, only 15 vehicles earned their TOP SAFETY PICK PLUS award.

That status is now tougher than ever to achieve. For the first time, the IIHS has added front passenger-side crash ratings to the criteria. Top rating also requires a “good” headlight rating to make the prestigious list. Hyundai and Subaru had the most vehicles recognized across the categories. However, researchers point out among all the brands, in most cases it was “optional” equipment that gave winners the edge. 47 other vehicles qualified for Top Safety Pick status.

Meanwhile, a Swedish manufacturer, is fueling the pursuit of electric powered performance through its new Polestar brand.  

For two decades Volvo’s in-house tuner partner, Polestar, will now focus solely on high performance electrified models. A new Polestar plant is being built in China that will include a customer test track. Their first model, the Polestar 1 is a four-seat Grand Touring Coupé with a combined 600-hp Electric Performance Hybrid powertrain. A Volvo Drive-E 2-litre 4-cylinder gas engine will power the front wheels, while two electric motors propel the rear wheels. The electric only range is expected to exceed 90 miles, more than any other plug-in hybrid to date. Polestar says all their future cars, among them a mid-size sedan and SUV, will be fully electric powered, going head to head with Tesla. Production of the Polestar 1 will start in 2019.

Meanwhile closer to home, Volvo expects to sell thousands of SUVs to ride sharing company Uber. The deal involves Volvo’s soon-to-be American made XC90 crossover. Uber will add its own self-driving technology. At the same time, Volvo will continue to develop their own autonomous car system, with a production model on the road in 2021. That’s the latest for this week’s Motor News.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Self-Driving Demo & CES Debut

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 10:42am
We hear a lot about plans for self-driving ride-hailing.  Those plans are coming closer to reality.  The Consumer Electronics Show will give people the chance to experience automated point-to-point ride-hailing.  Technology company Aptiv is teaming up with Lyft for the demonstration.  Their partnership will allow those attending CES to take automated rides to more than 20 destinations in what Aptiv says will be “complex driving environments”.  Last year, Aptiv conducted a similar exercise on a drive loop that included city streets and highways.  CES 2018 takes place next week in Las Vegas. CES will also be the stage for the debut of a “drivable concept” from new Chinese automaker Byton.  We’re seeing teaser pictures of their first concept electric utility.  The company says it will include a 49-inch by 10-inch screen and have a range of up to 310 miles.  They hope to begin production in 2019.

Categories: Syndicated

Car of the Month: 2018 Kia Stinger

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:33pm

The Kia brand has come a long way in a short time, both in design and quality. But, as good as their vehicles are today, their long range goal seems directed at being a true Asian alternative to European luxury-sport brands. That’s a tall order, and for it, they have ordered up an all-new rear-wheel drive sedan, the Stinger.

Now, Kia has been working towards building more exciting and dynamic cars for quite a while. But, the 2018 Kia Stinger is their biggest step yet. While called a sedan, it’s really a well-camouflaged 5-door hatchback. Sizewise, the Stinger is almost mid-size, being bigger than a BMW 3-Series but smaller than a 5-Series.

Under that fastback skin lies the more important story, a finely-balanced, rear-drive chassis shared with the forthcoming Genesis G70. Raise the long hood and one finds a longitudinal, class requisite, base turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 with 255-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Optionally, the Stinger GT packs a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 good for 365-horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Both hook up to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and both can add all-wheel drive.

While the 2.0 is no slouch, the GT’s V6 powertrain really impressed us with its overall smoothness. Even the paddle shifters work with a quick precision we didn’t expect.

Apart from its tiger nose, the Stinger’s styling doesn’t favor anything else in the Kia stable. It nails the luxuriously sporty look, attracting the kind of attention usually reserved for exotics. We will admit there are some Audi cues here, but hey, if you’re going to copy someone, you should make it one of the best.

Optional all-wheel drive grip and well-designed launch control make for simple, drama-free launches. There’s hardly any sense of weight transfer either. One second you’re sitting still, and the next you’re at full power, and the car feels very stable at high speeds.

While there is nothing exotic in the basic suspension theory, it’s all in the tuning, and the results feel totally in that realm. There is massive grip through corners, staying nice and stable with minimal flex. Braking, thanks to standard Brembos, is equally impressive.

There’s plenty of room in the cabin, both front and rear. Standard V6 GT trim comes with a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, rear view camera, and aluminum trim. There’s a practical side as well as hatchback versatility means a wide opening with more-than-ample cargo space with seats up or down.

For our complete road test of the 2018 Kia Stinger, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3719 that begins airing January 12, 2018. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.

While it was easy to be impressed with the first effort at building a European-style sport sedan from a Korean brand, we’d be just as impressed with the 2018 Kia Stinger if had come from a well-established marque. It is that spectacular.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: VW Record & MINI Customized

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:05pm
2017 was a busy year for workers at Volkswagen.  The company set a new record producing more than six million vehicles.  Some of the cars that helped achieve that record include the Jetta, Golf, and Passat. Volkswagen produces cars at more than 50 plants in 14 countries. As if MINIs weren’t unique enough, owners will be able to make it an even more personal experience.  The company has announced MINI Yours Customized.  Some of the options include side scuttles, LED door sills, and LED door projectors.  MINI says this customization will be available this year.

Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2018 Audi A5, 2018 Volvo XC60, Muscle Car Memories

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:00am

Podcast #172

In MotorWeek Podcast 172, John Davis and the gang talk about a pair of Audi 5s. The crew also discusses Volvo’s XC60 T8 PHEV, as well as a new show segment called “Muscle Car Memories. Plus, the panel talks about Ford’s rules for buying a GT supercar, and they answer a viewer about what practical new car to buy

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3717

Fri, 12/29/2017 - 10:41am

Debut 12.29.2017

Description

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Goss' Garage: Protect your Paint

Tire Tracks: '69 Camaro Z/28

Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X3

Quick Spin: 2017 Jeep Renegade

Quick Spin: 2017 Callaway SC757 Corvette Z06 Aerowagen

Road Test: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 4:20pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 1.8 liter

Horsepower: 170

Torque: 199 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.8 seconds @ 88 mph

EPA: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr

Volkswagen has a host of big and even bigger crossovers hitting the market. But if you really don’t want to go “big”, and think that a compact all-wheel-driver would fill your needs; than may we suggest setting your sights on the Golf Alltrack. A 5-door wagon that is a true all-weather, all-road runabout. 

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack follows a simple formula used by Subaru, Volvo, and even AMC’s Eagle if you want to go way back. Take a station wagon, jack up the suspension, make some form of 4x4 system standard, add a touch of exterior ruggedness, and voila; a fun little all-wheel-drive 5 -door that’s as easy to drive as it is capable. That’s the VW Golf Alltrack.

Like the Golf SportWagen that it’s based on, output from its 1.8-liter turbo I4 engine is modest, at 170-horsepower. But its 199 lb-ft. of torque helps it feel much peppier.

In the spirit of VW, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard; the option being a DSG automatic, also with 6-gears.

Things we’ve always praised about the Golf, including its super-solid feel, very little noise intrusion, and fun disposition, are all still here. Add in that you now sense you really can go just about anywhere in the Alltrack, and you’ve got a real winner. 

We still think VW’s pop-out badge hatch release is brilliant, and were further impressed once we opened it up to find a very deep, unobstructed cargo space. There’s 30.4 cubic-ft. for filling up with stuff; 66.5 if you fold the seatbacks down. That’s just short of most compact crossovers; and much more than the typical subcompact utility. 

As for the driver’s space, there are some special touches to help it feel a step above the SportWagen; including nicer materials and updated trim. It’s not SUV roomy, but there is adequate space to get comfortable up front, as well as more than expected room in back.   

The touch screen interface doesn’t cut the edge as much as it once did, and the whole dash theme looks a bit outdated. For 2018, Alltracks gain an upgraded screen with more features.

VW still leaves plenty of manual controls however, and they all work very well.

More personality has been added outside. Now, we’d stop short of calling Alltrack truly rugged looking, but we very much like the brighter cladding over the usual black, as it helps it to look more outgoing, perhaps even classy; think remote country club, more so than back country. Ground clearance is up only 1.4-inches over the SportWagen, at 6.9. 

And that does take away from the typical Golf handling experience somewhat. Body roll is not that much more pronounced, but we did experience a lightness to the rear that gave us pause at first.  Until we realized that we were really flying through here. 

So there’s no arguing, it remains highly capable; it just doesn’t have that nailed down feel we’re used to; perhaps we still had thoughts of GTI in our heads when we took to the slalom course.

While the engine is willing, there’s some hesitation at launch; as the car seems to be questioning your motives when you go full throttle. Once we got it rolling, we managed to hit 60 in a fine 7.4-seconds. 

That same tardy feel exists in the transmission as well, really stretching out shifts. 15.8 was our best ¼-mile time, at 88 miles-per-hour. 

We’d consider a 122-foot average stopping distance from 60 a touch long these days, but we did find the Alltrack to be very stable, and the brake pedal had a nice firm feel. 

As for when the going gets rough, an off road setting has been added to the drive modes. It modulates traction-control and hill decent control to match rougher terrain. Together with the already capable 4Motion all-wheel drive system, you do feel kinda unstoppable.

On that note, active safety including automatic emergency braking is available.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an automatic Alltrack are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. For a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of annual oil consumption, and 5.7-tons of CO2 emitted. 

With base pricing of $26,670, Alltrack is not overpriced by any means; but it is about $4,000 over a base Subaru Crosstrek, and about $2,000 over a 4Motion SportWagon.

We’ve been waiting for quite a while now, for a true Subaru-fighter to emerge; and while this 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack certainly qualifies, and there’s a lot to like about it; many will find it hard to justify the step-up in price. Still, no Subaru delivers driver satisfaction like a Volkswagen. So, just like the rest of the compact Golf lineup, VW has done almost everything just right, setting on the right track for Alltrack. 

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3716

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 10:11am

Debut 12.22.2017

Description

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Goss' Garage: Tire Killers

Two Wheelin': Honda CB1100 EX

Motor News: 2017 L.A. Auto Show

Long Term Update: Kia Niro | BMW X1

Road Test: 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Acura Debut, Tesla Big Rig, and Energy Savings

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 10:42am
Here’s another reason we can’t wait for the North American International Auto Show next month.  We’re getting an early look at the all-new Acura RDX Prototype before it makes its world debut in Detroit.  This is the most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade.  It clearly shows signs of their "Precision Crafted Performance" philosophy.

Another company is signing up for Tesla’s new electric big rig.  UPS has announced reserving 125 of Tesla’s trucks.  UPS has a history of using trucks powered by a variety of alternative fuels including hybrids, compressed natural gas, and propane.  PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch have also announced reserving Tesla trucks.  Tesla says production of the electric semis will begin in 2019. Even though gas prices are lower than they’ve been in recent years, conservation is still important. The 36th edition of the Transportation Energy Conservation Data Book has been released.  Since 1976, it has evaluated current and proposed conservation strategies.  Check out the latest edition here.

Categories: Syndicated

Motor News: 2017 LA Auto Show

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 7:00am

In a city full of stars… our attention was drawn to the cars at the 2017 Automobility L.A. Or, once you get past all the hoopla of press days, the 2017 LA Auto Show!

More Porsches are sold in California than any other state, so, fittingly, at the LA convention center they introduced a new 718 Boxster GTS, and the 718 Cayman GTS. Among the highlights, horsepower rises to 365.

LA was also the first auto show for the 370-hp Porsche 911 Carrera T. The 'T' is for "Touring", the lightest car in the 911 Carrera lineup.

Porsche also showed the wagonish 680-hp Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. 

And, the 3rd generation Porsche Cayenne SUV.   

Chevrolet wowed the top-down performance crowd with the 755 horsepower Corvette ZR1 Convertible.

BMW’s electric performance took center stage with the world premiere of the 369-hp i8 Roadster.

Mercedes-Benz showed up with an all-new CLS four-door coupe posing for its world debut. 

And the wraps came off a sleeker 2018 Mazda 6. 

Land Rover took luxury even further revealing the Range Rover SVAutobiography. 

INFINITI arrived with the 2019 QX50, the first production variable compression ratio engine.

And the new Lexus RX350L adds a most sought after third row. 

At Lincoln, the MKX gets a makeover including a new name: Nautilus.

Volvo arrived with the downsized but very upscale XC40 utility. 

The biggest SUV making its debut was the 8-passenger Subaru Ascent.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler adds even more off-road capabilities.

Toyota is also thinking about outdoor fun in a small ute with the Future Toyota Adventure Concept. 

A sporty name, but this time as a compact crossover, introducing the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. 

The subcompact-ute segment will also grow with the Nissan Kicks…and Hyundai KONA coming to the U.S.

While one of our favorites, the Kia Sorento gets fresh styling and features.

And that’s the latest from the City of Angels for this week’s Motor News.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Thu, 12/21/2017 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.0 liter

Horsepower: 141

Torque: 147 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 10.0 seconds

1/4 mile: 17.6 seconds @ 79 mph

EPA: 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr

You could argue that Nissan played a big part in jumpstarting the whole subcompact crossover mania with their funky 2011 Juke.  Well, I guess one entry isn’t enough, as they’re doubling down on that crowded segment with the Rogue Sport. Let’s see if this one jives just as well. 

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport may be small in size, but Nissan knows there are big sales to be had in the wildly popular subcompact crossover segment. 

But, first things first. The Rogue Sport is not a smaller version of the compact Nissan Rogue crossover. It is actually a completely different vehicle. It’s our version of the Nissan Qashqai which is quite popular elsewhere, especially in Asia.

The imported Rouge Sport is 2.3 inches shorter in wheelbase compared to the Rouge, but a full foot shorter overall.

Its shorter stature, combined with the unimproved roads in many of its markets, translates into a rougher ride than the U.S. made Rogue. On the other hand, it’s size is perfect for scooting around crowded cities and fitting tight parking spots.   

That’s where it shines most since in automotive lexicon, “sport” in the name mostly means a smaller version of something; as there’s not a strong amount of performance to be had in the Rogue Sport. Still, it feels solid and capable for a ute of this stature.

While different in design, the Sport still has a strong resemblance to big brother Rogue, from the aggressive V-Motion grille, to the swoopy hatchback-like rear with wrap around lighting. The body sides are more dynamic, as is the black cladding below.

Standard wheels are 16s, with 17s and 19s in upper trims. 

Surprisingly, build quality inside is not quite as good as the Juke, and the materials make even the base Rogue look borderline luxury. But having said that, the Rogue Sport is far more practical than the Juke, with much roomier seating, as well additional space for cargo; 19.9 cubic-ft. behind the folding seatbacks, and 53.3 with them folded. 

Gauges are simple and clear, just as we prefer them to be, and all but base trim gets push button starting.

Infotainment works quite well with a nice, compact, easy-to-master control layout and very responsive touchscreen, which can include Navigation. A basic backup camera is standard, with Nissan’s Around View Monitor available. 

In addition to being fairly spacious for such a small package, we found seating both in front and rear impressively comfortable. 

Unlike many in the segment, including their own turbo-powered Juke, Nissan sticks with tried-and-true naturally aspirated power here. 

A familiar 2.0-liter I4 outputs just 141-horsepower and 147 lb-ft. of torque; and being saddled with a CVT, only adds to its sluggish feel. Front-wheel-drive is standard, with all-wheel-drive available on all trim levels.

Indeed, anemic output and CVT trans are not on any car guy’s wish list. Our full throttle 0-60 run took a full 10.0-seconds. The ¼-mile, 17.6 at just 79 miles-per-hour. Engine noise was pronounced, sounding like a 2-stroke running on Red Bull. 

The CVT does go through simulated shifts, which in daily driving keeps engine noise tolerable.

Our track impressions changed for the better on the handling course. Through the tight gates, there was decent grip and a very confident feel. Steering was a touch slow and on the disconnected side; but the Rogue Sport does what its told without much fuss. 

That’s all thanks to a 4-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars and twin-tube shock absorbers; as well as Nissan’s Active Trace Control which uses selective braking to help pivot you around corners.   

We had no issues with braking performance either. Stops from 60 averaged just 114-feet; with short, firm pedal travel, and on overall quality feel.

Basic safety systems are standard, but you’ll have to step up to mid-level SV trim to add Forward Emergency Braking, and top SL if you want Lane Departure Warning. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings with all-wheel-drive are 24-City, 30-Highway, and 27-Combined. For a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.2-barrels of yearly oil consumption with 5.4 tons of CO2 emissions. 

Pricing starts at $22,380; about $1,000 over the Juke, but around 3-grand less than a Rogue. All-wheel-drive adds $1,350 more. 

As hot as the Rogue has gotten of late, outselling even the Altima to become Nissan’s number one selling vehicle; a scaled down look-alike is a no brainer, even with the funkier Juke still in the lineup. The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is more of an economy-minded effort, but one that’s big on entry-level practicality. We think it’s right sized at the right time.  

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Detroit Debuts

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 10:13am
MotorWeek is gearing up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.  These are some of the vehicles we’ll be watching for. 2019 Jeep Cherokee:  Jeep just introduced the redesigned mid-size SUV.  They also say the powertrain choices will be more fuel-efficient. 2019 Honda Insight: The Insight name returns as part of the Honda Electrification Initiative.  The five-passenger sedan will be equipped with a two-motor full hybrid powertrain.  Honda says it will fit in their line-up above the popular Civic. Lexus LF-1 Limitless:  Lexus is giving us a second glimpse at this concept.  They call it a “flagship crossover”.  Earlier this month we got an idea of the rear design.

Categories: Syndicated