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Road Tests: 2018 Audi A5/S5

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 3:52pm

Vital Statistics

2018 Audi S5 Sportback:

Engine: 3.0 liter

Horspower: 354

Torque: 369 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.1 seconds @ 107 mph

EPA: 21 mpg city / 30 mpg highway

2018 Audi A5 Coupe:

Engine: 2.0 liter

Horsepower: 252

Torque: 273 lb-ft.

EPA: 24 mpg city / 34 mpg highway

With so many vehicles these days, choosing winners for our annual Drivers’ Choice Awards is usually pretty difficult. But one of the easiest we’ve made in recent years is our pick for 20-17’s best sport sedan, the Audi A4. It has the perfect play of luxury, technology, and of course performance. And, now, it’s time to see if Audi knows how to share the wealth.

The A4’s chassis is not only capable, it’s flexible, with more than enough beef to handle whatever Audi engineers feel like throwing into it. 

It was a given that Audi would follow up their latest A4 sedan with a coupe, and indeed they have, the 2018 Audi A5. 

But, what about an even more practical side of the car equation? Well, they’ve also added a fresh 5-door hatchback with more cargo flexibility. And, also offered it in a higher performance variety with true Grand Touring flair. That would be the 2018 Audi S5 Sportback. So, let’s start there.

We know that Audi’s S-line has always well-straddled that middle ground between the standard A cars and the ultra-high performance RS’. 

And, the S5quattro powertrain follows that creed to the letter. Its response is fantastic. Flog it, it goes; providing seamless power for seemingly days.     

The 3.0-liter turbo V6 that makes it happen is not new of course, but has been revised for ’18. Horsepower is up 21 to 354; torque climbs 44 lb-ft. to 369.

With the 5th door hatch, there’s wide open access to the Sportback’s 21.8 cu-ft. of luggage space. That’s 8.8 cu-ft. more than the sedan, and the space expands to 35.0 cu-ft. with the seatbacks folded. Coupe-like styling in hatchback form is nothing new to Audi, or any other European brand for that matter; as almost everything including SUVs, seems to boast a coupe-like profile these days.  

And, that slick shape also fit’s the S’ road handling profile. Under throttle, the S5 is very well balanced and yearning to go, almost like you’re holding it back when tooling around town. And, when we unleashed it at our test track; it reacted with such responsiveness through the turns, it seemed to be begging us for more. There’s still a mild understeer tendency, as we’ve found typical in quattros, standard on all Sportbacks, but very little body roll. The S’ new sport differential transfers power side to side quicker than before. It’s hard to say we could truly feel a difference, but nothing about this car is sluggish. 

And certainly that can be said of straight-line performance as well. The turbo V6 pays out a wealth of torque right from the get go; and quattro invests it wisely with a treasure trove of traction for getting off the line in a hurry. We hit 60 in 4.6-seconds. 

Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic automatic handles gearing. Audi claims there’s not enough demand for a manual, and it’s getting harder and harder to argue with that. This auto fires hard and fast, taking us to the end of the ¼ in 13.1-seconds at 107 miles-per-hour. Well done! 

But, what about that true A5 two-door Coupe we mentioned earlier? Now, it may not have the practicality of the Sportback, or our test car’s S performance treatment, but it still takes the A4 design theme in a traditionally sporty direction. 

The A5 Coupe’s long wheelbase, exaggerated wheel arches, and power dome hood set the tone; while the tall and wide Audi Singleframe grille, slender headlights, and LED tail lights keep the family resemblance strong. 

This A5 Coupe, like the base Sportback, has a familiar 2.0-liter I4 turbo as  standard. Along with 252-horsepower comes 273 lb-ft. of torque. Also as in all Sportbacks, quattro all-wheel-drive is standard; but here a 6-speed manual transmission is available, as is a 7-speed DCT; same price for either. The Coupe may be less practical inside, but certainly no less comfortable or luxurious. With all of the high performance Audi’s we’ve driven lately, it was refreshing to spend some time in a volume model; and find the same light but confident steering, and potent turbo linked to an equally impressive transmission. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the A5 Coupe automatic are 24-City, 34-Highway, and 27-Combined. Our average, a good 29.1 miles-per-gallon.

The S5 Sportback’s ratings are 21-City, 30-Highway, and 24-Combined; with our average an acceptable 22.3 miles-per-gallon. A5 Coupe Pricing starts at $43,775 for Premium trim, $6,800 over an A4 sedan. Sportback pricing starts at $43,575; $55,375 for an S5. 

Whether you’re looking for sporty luxury for two from the 2018 A5 Coupe, or more practicality and performance from the 2018 S5 Sportback, they make without a doubt, along with the A4, an unbeatable hand, and we’re all in.

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: Death Wobble

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 2:03pm

This time I want to explain a common problem that we see on a lot of 4- wheel drive vehicles, and every once in a while on a passenger car; but especially on Jeeps, and the problem is what’s called a death wobble; and what this is you're going down the highway; you’re doing highway speed; you hit a bump; and all of a sudden the vehicle the steering wheel everything starts shaking violently to the point that it’s difficult to even control it.

The only way to get rid of it is usually to pull off the side of the road, stop and then re- accelerate, and it will be fine until you hit the next big bump at speed.

Alright now, what are some of the things that you should look for. Well you want to look at all of the different bushings, and everything underneath; like here, we have a worn out sway bar link bushing, we have a worn out sway bar frame bushing.

We want to look at the bushings in the trailing arms. If the car is equipped with that anyone of these rubber bushings any place in here can allow movement so that when you hit a bump and your wheels start wobbling back and forth and they can’t be controlled.

Now here we have a track bar that of course wants to be checked.

There is a rubber bushing over there on the other end, but the number one problem right here this is a steering damper. It’s like a shock absorber for the steering system and it dampens out the sideways movements of the steering linkage, these things go bad, and when they do it doesn’t make any difference on how good or bad the rest of the system is, you will wind up with a death wobble.

So you check that very carefully because that’s the number one culprit right there; or of course you could have bad shock absorbers as well, and you could have a situation where none of these bushings are really badly worn but they and they all have a little bit of wear, and the cumulative effect of that is that there is enough free play in the entire suspension to cause the death wobble.

Also, if you’re going to do it you may want to do something like this. This is a master kit, this kit is a couple hundred bucks a little over two hundred with new shocks, and everything. This is poly urethane and it tightens up the suspension and the steering and makes it feel a lot more modern so poly- urethane is a good way to go, keep in mind though that putting some of these in can be a lot of labor, so in some cases you may find that it’s cheaper to buy new replacement arms and things like that.

Any way the problem can be solved and in most cases it’s not a huge expense.

And if you have a question or a comment drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.


Categories: Syndicated

Green Motoring: West Virginia Electric Charging Stations

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 1:49pm

Our success story this week takes us to West Virginia, where you can find an e-v charging station at every state park lodge. 

All 10  lodges are equipped with 3 tesla chargers, as well as a level 2 universal charging station. Drivers are invited to pull in and plug in for free!

Paul Redford: “We’re getting a good bit of unsolicited traffic from those folks who own electric vehicles.  And they’re coming in and there hitting our level 2 destination chargers and while they’re charging they’re vehicles, they’re browsing our gift shops, they’re dining in our full service restaurant and we’re actually even getting some over night stays in our lodge rooms and cabins.”

John Davis: Funds generated by those plugging in and shopping is footing the bill for the electric current. Now, other state park systems are reaching out to learn more. With help from the West Virginia clean cities coalition, charging up and enjoying the natural wonders of the mountain state has never been easier.

For more information, please visit the Clean Cities website. You can also view recent segments by clicking here.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Lambo SUV, Lexus Limitless & California Emissions

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:43am
There’s a new contender in the stable of luxury SUVs.  The Lamborghini Urus made its world premiere in Italy.   This SUV is staying true to its super car DNA with a 650 hp 4.0 liter V8 twin-turbo engine, 0-62 time of 3.6 seconds, and up to six different driving modes.  Santa won’t be bringing one of these this year.  The new Lamborghini Urus arrives in the Spring of 2018 starting at $200,000. The Los Angeles Auto Show is underway, and Lexus is already thinking ahead to Detroit.  The luxury brand has released this teaser of a concept crossover.  They call it the Lexus LF-1 Limitless, and describe it as “a flagship crossover”.  It will be one of vehicles we’ll be watching for at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. California could join the effort to ban cars that run on fossil fuels.  Bloomberg is reporting California Assembly member Phil Ting plans to introduce a bill next month that would only allow vehicles that do not emit carbon dioxide to register with the state’s motor vehicles department.  His proposal would go into effect in 2040.  China, France and the U.K. already have similar plans in place.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 4:57pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.0-liter I4

Horsepower: 192

Torque: 271 lb-ft.

EPA: 39 mpg city / 46 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 7.8 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 3.5 tons/yr

The euro-styled kia optima mid-size sedan has been quite a hit for the brand, and a favorite of ours here at Motorweek as well. But what most people may not realize is that the optima lineup includes a gasoline-electric hybrid. And for 2017, it gets a full redesign, encompassing all of the benefits of the optima’s new 4th generation chassis.

Kia has actually had a high mileage hybrid in the Optima lineup since 2011. And with the 4th generation of Kia’s midsizer kicking off last year, 2017 sees an all-new powertrain for this gasoline-electric. The new hybrid system consists of 2.0-liter I4, downsized from the previous gen’s 2.4-liter. But, there’s a bigger electric motor in place to aid it, 38-kW compared to last year’s 30-kW motor. Combined, horsepower is actually down from 206 to 192; but torque is much torquier, climbing from 195 lb-ft. to 271.  

Battery size increases from 1.4 to 1.6-kWh; and as before, it’s placed under the rear trunk floor, robbing a bit of storage space, though keeping the split/folding seatbacks in play. Capacity is 13.4 cubic-ft., compared to the base sedan’s 15.9. Thankfully, the transmission is still a 6-speed auto; and there’s been no change to a CVT. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 39-City, 46-Highway, and 42-Combined; so our average of 41.7 miles-per-gallon on Regular was just about spot on. That makes for a very good Energy Impact Score, with use of just 7.8-barrels of oil per year while emitting just 3.5-tons of CO2. 

That’s a significant improvement over last gen for sure, but still short of many other hybrids out there. For those looking for more, a plug-in version with a larger battery and up to 27 miles of EV-only driving is on the way. As for daily use, the Optima hybrid makes some noises you wouldn’t hear in a typical petrol Optima, but otherwise operates with the same smooth, Euro-like demeanor. After an hour or two behind the wheel, it’s easy to forget you’re even in a hybrid. If you wish to be reminded, a new Eco-Driver Assistance System will coach you on how to get the most efficiency as possible, with prompts in the IP, as well as with audible alerts. With very good steering feel, this gen’s stiffer chassis, and the aforementioned transmission; this is one hybrid we truly enjoyed driving.

There’s good comfort in all seating positions and plenty of nice soft touch materials. EX trim comes with heated leather seats, heated steering wheel, surround sound, and navigation. Adding the Technology package will get you a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a host of safety systems including Autonomous Emergency Braking. The exterior differs little from base Optima. That’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned, as we feel the Optima is one of the best looking rides in the family sedan segment.

But, nothing is for free, as there’s always a price to pay. Here, it starts at $26,890 in Premium trim, or about a grand less than the stingier Toyota Camry Hybrid. Optima Hybrid in EX trim, at $31,885, is about 5-grand over a standard non-hybrid Optima. 

The 2017 Kia Optima may come up short when it comes to absolute fuel economy. But, much like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, it offers handsome styling, and a traditional sedan feel, that many other modestly priced hybrids can’t match, plus, it adds a unique driving experience that’s clearly European in flavor. So, don’t look at the Optima Hybrid as the ultimate hyper-miler’s choice, but a more efficient option for those looking for a roomy, great looking, fine driving car.  

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3713

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 3:16pm

Debut 12.01.2017


Road Test: 2018 Honda Accord

Goss' Garage: TPMS

Auto World: Simeone Museum

Quick Spin: Porsche 911 GT2 RS | Lamborghini Huracan Performante | Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

Road Test: 2017 Land Rover Discovery

Categories: Syndicated

Car of the Month: 2017 Golf Alltrack

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 10:02am
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack follows a simple formula used by Subaru, Volvo, and even AMC’s Eagle if you want to go back that far. 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 include its super-solid feel, very little noise intrusion, and fun disposition, and all are still here. Add in that you now sense you really can go just about anywhere in this 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 quite SUV spacious in here, 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, but VW still leaves plenty of manual controls and they work very well. 2018 models gain an updated screen. More personality has been added outside. We’d stop short of calling Alltrack truly rugged, but we very much like the brighter cladding over the usual black, as it helps it to look more outgoing, perhaps even classy. Ground clearance is up 1.4-inches over the SportWagen to 6.9. As for when the weather gets rough, an off road setting has been added to the usual choices of drive modes. It modulates traction-control and hill decent control to match rougher terrain. Together with the capable 4Motion all-wheel drive system, you do feel kinda unstoppable. On that note, active safety features including automatic emergency braking are available. For our complete road test of the 2017 Volkswagen GolfAlltrack, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3717 that begins airing on December 29, 2017. 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. We’ve been waiting for quite a while for a true Subaru fighter to emerge, and the 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack certainly qualifies. In addition, no Subaru delivers driver satisfaction like a Volkswagen. So, to sum it all up, we think VW has settled on the right track for Alltrack.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Honda Clarity Wins 2017 Green Car of the Year Award

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:06pm
The Los Angeles Auto Show is Green Car Journal's platform to announce the Honda Clarity as the 2017 Green Car of the Year. Initially available as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity sedan will soon be available as a plug-in hybrid and a full EV with an EPA rated range of 89-miles. Check out our road test of the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel-Cell.

Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2018 Kia Stinger, 2018 Range Rover Velar, DIY Garage

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 9:39am

Podcast #170

In MotorWeek Podcast 170, we talk about the sporty new Kia Stinger. Then the crew also discusses the technologically advanced Range Rover Velar. Next, Lauren Morrison talks about a unique DIY car club. Then, the panel debates the usefulness of manual shift mode, and they help a viewer with questions about long-term storage of a hybrid vehicle.

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: TPMS

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 7:00am

So you have a car that has a tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS as we refer to them. And you think you can take your trusty tire pressure gauge and toss it in the trash. Not so. 

See TPMS only warns you if a tire is dangerously low on pressure. It doesn’t tell you the ideal pressure in most cases. So the only way to make sure you get proper tire life and gas mileage and all the things that go along with tire pressure you need to check manually at least once a month.

Alright, a couple of things about tire pressure monitoring systems there a couple of types. One is indirect reading and it reads off of the wheel speed sensors for the ABS system. They’re o.k.

The others are direct reading systems and they have a sensor in each wheel that tells the car’s computer the pressure inside each one of those tires. And within those direct reading systems there are two types. One is right here this is held on by this giant clamp those goes all the way around the inside of the wheel. Not all that popular. The others replace the valve stem. The sensor’s inside the wheel, the valve stem is out so you can check tire pressure and add and delete as needed. 

Now some of the things we see with theses, well we see lots of weird things were people hit curbs and stuff like that or technicians who don’t realize they’re dealing with a TPMS sensor and yank it right out of the sensor and stuff like that, really weird stuff. Have to use a little common sense with these things. But one of the more frequent things that we see is people who want decorative valve stem caps, and they go out and buy this gorgeous set of metal caps, they put it on to the stem and a little while later they go to take it off and the whole end of this valve stem falls off, turns to dust, and that’s because of electrolysis.

So there’s two things. Number 1, don’t use metal caps on these aluminum valve stems, use plastic caps. Number 2, use dielectric grease to grease whatever cap you out on there to help prevent corrosion and make it so it’ll come off easily. So even though it’s a passive system, there’s still some things you need to do in order to keep yourself safe. And if you have a question, or a comment, drop me a line. Right here, at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2018 Honda Accord

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 1.5 liter / 2.0 liter

Horsepower: 192 / 252

Torque: 192 lb-ft. / 273 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds

1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 100 mph

EPA: Average 28.6 mpg

An accord by definition is an agreement. And I think we can all agree that the Honda Accord has been one of the most successful cars of all time, with over 13 million sold here in the U.S. alone. So while an all-new Accord may not spike the excitement meter around here, it certainly is an important vehicle for Honda, as well as for other car makers, as they see what they’ll be up against for years to come. 

Sedan sales being what they are these days, you might think Honda would just do a light makeover for the 2018 Honda Accord and call it a year. That’s not the case. 

This 10th generation Accord is all-new, riding on a lighter chassis that allows for a lower, wider stance. 

Wheelbase is up by over two inches, with virtually all of it upping rear leg roof. There’s genuine full-size sedan space back here, and while the sloping room means really bending over to get in, there’s 6-footer-plus headroom once you do.

Up front, Honda has blended a sportier theme into the familiar space; starting with a nicely thick steering wheel, and adding additional bolstering to the seats.

The gauge panel is virtual, but there are dials here, not just a digital readout for speed like some other Hondas. 

A full slate of tech. features naturally, including an 8-inch touchscreen with vastly improved interface; though that’s mostly due to adding some antiquated knobs and buttons back into the mix. 

On the practicality front, split folding seatbacks are standard, and trunk space increases by almost a full cubic-ft. to 16.7. 

There’s lots new in the powertrain department as well. Base, and destined to be the most popular, is a 1.5-liter turbo-4, which at 192-horsepower, is the most ever standard in an Accord; torque is 192 lb-ft. It comes mated to either a CVT or a 6-speed manual transmission. For a small turbo, it operates very smoothly, and feels totally adequate for daily use. 

The upgrade is no longer a V6, but another turbo-4, a 2.0-liter no less. But don’t fret, it’s actually a detuned version of the Civic Type R’s, cranking out 252-horsepower, with 273 lb-ft. of torque, more than the last V6. It connects to either a new 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. 

We really enjoyed the manual. It’s not Honda’s best shifter ever, but it just feels like you’re getting away with something, rowing through the gears in this family car.

Finally, the hybrid makes a return as well, combining a normally-aspirated 2.0-liter I4 with two electric motors for a combined output of 212-horsepower.

Regardless of powertrain, the Accord feels as quiet and functional as always, but bigger, and still with just a dash of fun in the mix. It’s not Lexus quiet, or Mazda capable, but it finds a really nice sweet spot in between. 

While visibility wasn’t an issue before, A-pillars have been slimmed to enhance the outward view further. 

Despite the wheelbase stretch, overall length is actually down, even as the front overhang is up slightly.

But, the altered proportions work wonderfully, yielding a sleeker, coupe-like, profile. Indeed, Honda clearly wanted to steer things in a sportier direction styling-wise; but thankfully without going overboard.

A bit of weight was lost along the way as well, around 150-lbs for most trim levels. Wheels are 17 or 19-inch alloys.

Most of our time, both at the national press launch in New Hampshire and around our headquarters, was spent in a Touring trim Accord with the optional 2.0-liter and 10-speed automatic. New is an Adaptive Damper system with real-time damping control with Normal and Sport modes. 

Despite all of the gears, the transmission displayed only the occasional clunkiness.

And at our unfortunately frigid test track, the 2.0T-10 speed combo still delivered; with a 0-60 of 6.5-seconds. There’s plenty of low-end rumble, enough to battle quite a bit of wheel spin. With warmer temps, we feel sub-6 seconds would be more the order of the day.

Things are smooth and steady from there, eventually tripping the lights in 14.8-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. Easily comparable to last year’s V6. 

It doesn’t feel vastly lighter than before, but nimbler for sure with noticeably less body roll. Turn-ins are quicker and overall the car simply feels more responsive, and yes sportier!  

Honda Sensing safety systems, including Collision Mitigation Braking are standard on all Accords. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings aren’t finalized for the 2.0-liter, but in mixed driving we averaged a good 28.6 miles-per-gallon on Regular.  

Pricing starts with LX trim at $24,445; top level Touring trim begins at $34,675.  

Yes, it’s not a great time to be in the 4-door car business these days; but if there’s one sedan that should have no problem staying relevant in this SUV obsessed world, it’s the 2018 Honda Accord. It’s because it still delivers what it always has; reliable, highly efficient, practical, trouble-free transportation in an increasingly refined and sophisticated package. Honda fans are sure to follow… Accordingly.  

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2017 Land Rover Discovery

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.0 liter

Horsepower: 340

Torque: 332 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds (Diesel)

1/4 mile: 16.1 seconds @ 86 mph (Diesel)

EPA: 16 mpg city / 21 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 16.6 barrels of oil/yr (Diesel)

CO2 Emissions: 7.4 tons/yr (Diesel)

There are likely a few Land Rover LR4 fans out there that will be sad that the naming series has been retired. So, there will be no LR5. But, take heart, as the moniker LR4, and for that matter the LR3 before it, were used here on what most of the rest of the planet knew as the discovery. Well, times change, and an all-new, redefined Discovery has just arrived, ready to rediscover America!

From 1994 to 2004 the first two gens of the boxy, mostly no-nonsense Land Rover Discovery made a lot of impressions state side. But, due to quality issues, many of them were bad ones. Hence the name change to LR3 and LR4.

But, with those black marks ancient history, and SUVs increasingly taking the place of comfy family cars, it seemed a good time to introduce the 5th generation Discovery to Americans by its proper name.

And, what we Yanks will discover is one very attractive and friendly SUV. There are of course still some traditional elements, such as the clamshell hood, and a hint of past Discovery’s stepped roofline. But overall the look is clearly softer, more modern, appearing not too dissimilar from the big buck Range Rover.  

And just to muddy the waters further, the middle-weight Discovery shares virtually nothing with the smaller Discovery Sport; rather, it’s built around the same aluminum structure of the aforementioned Range Rover. 

So it also shares its base engine, the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 340-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. No V8 upgrade, but there is a 6-cylinder turbo-diesel option. It outputs 254-horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque. 

The familiar ZF 8-speeed automatic comes with either engine. We spent plenty of time with both gas and diesel Discovery’s, and there’s no real wrong choice here; it just comes down to whether you prefer diesel torque and range, or supercharged smoothness and simplicity. 

Sharing that Range Rover’s mostly aluminum uni-body design, means a drop in weight of almost a thousand pounds from the full-framed LR4. 

But don’t worry, according to Land Rover, that enabled them to actually improve its off road ability; even claiming it’s the most capable Land Rover yet built. 

Land Rover also says Discovery was designed for the modern family from the inside out, with loads of extra storage space, up to 9 USB ports, and InControl WiFi. 

2nd row seating is still a little more cramped than some rival crossovers, but our tester had optional headrest monitors in place to distract from the awkward seating position. 

7-passenger seating is optional, and the 3rd row is actually usable. Seats are power folding, and you can even do it from your smart phone.

At first glance, it looks like the traditional split tailgate has been replaced by a huge hatch. But, Land Rover understands. So an inner tailgate automatically deploys when the lift gate opens. 

It was the diesel-powered Disco that we took to our test track. There was good power off the line; maybe not the whoosh of brute force we were expecting, but perhaps that’s to keep the well-healed Rover customer from spilling their $9 brew every time the light turns green. 

It was enough to get us to 60 in 8.1-seconds and through the ¼-mile in 16.1 at 86 miles-per-hour. 

Despite big jumps in suspension technologies, the handling course is still not a place that any Land Rover feels the most comfortable. Even with the optional air suspension, there is plenty of soft, slow roll; accompanied by very quick steering that keeps you on your toes. Still its miles better than its predecessor.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the petrol-powered Discovery are 16-City, 21-Highway, and 18-Combined. The Diesel rates 21-City, 26-Highway, and 23-Combined; we averaged 25.8 miles-per-gallon. 

The Diesel also has the better Energy Impact Score, at 16.6-barrels of annual oil consumptions with CO2 emissions of 7.4-tons. 

Base pricing of $50,985 is very competitive with other European offerings, especially since here four-wheel drive is standard. The diesel engine tacks on $2,000 more. 

The 2017 Land Rover Discovery is a highly capable SUV, perfect for tackling town and country with equal finesse. It may be built in the U.K., but it certainly seems like it was made just for us here in the colonies; sort of embodying what the Jeep Grand Cherokee tries to be, a proficiently rugged, yet luxurious all-road driving experience.  

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 2017 L.A. Auto Show

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:15pm
We're on the floor of the 2017 L.A. Auto Show as the major players in the North American automotive landscape look to turn heads with their new car reveals. Here's what we've seen...


BMW BMW charged up the crowd with the reveal of their i8 Roadster. The plug-in hybrid two-seater sports a power soft top that BMW claims will open in 16-seconds. 

The Roadster is available for the first time alongside the updated i8 coupe, which sees the same 12-HP boost in power (369 total HP) and increased electric range of 18-miles. The Bavarian brand also showed off the special-edition M3 CS. Still using the 3.0L twin-turbo I6, horsepower jumps to 453 while extensive use of carbon fiber make the CS lighter and faster than a standard M3. Expected to go on sale in May of 2018, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission option. Mercedes-Benz Responsible for creating the luxury 4-door coupe segment, the Mercedes-Benz CLS rolls onto the auto show stage all-new for the 2019 model year. Updated exterior and interior styling firmly places it in modern times with the rest of the MB lineup. The new in-line 6-cylinder engine produces 362-HP and recieves an additional 21-HP boost from a starter-generator. 


Lexus The Lexus RX finally gets a 3rd row in the form of the 2018 RX 350L and RX 450hL hybrid. In order to fit the extra row, Lexus had to add 4-inches in overall length to the popular crossover. After adding a row to its RX, Lexus deletes a row from its larger LX model. For the first time, the LX 570 will be available in two-row form in addition to the traditional three-row. A move that Lexus claims was prompted by listening to customers with a need for more storage versatility. Mazda One of our favorite midsize sedans to drive, the Mazda6 shed its cover to reveal a significant exterior facelift and a revised suspension aimed at improving ride and agility as well as NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness). The interior goes upscale, taking cues from decidedly premium-feeling CX-9 Signature. Additionally, the Mazda6 will now be equipped with the 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder also from the CX-9. 
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Polestar Plant, GM Vision, & LA Teaser

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 10:23am
Polestar is one step closer to building electric high-performance cars.  The company has started building a plant in Chengdu, China.  That’s where they’ll produce their first model, the Polestar 1.  They say it will be a Grand Touring Coupé with a 600-hp Electric Performance Hybrid powertrain.  In October, Volvo announced forming Polestar as their performance road car brand.  It’s a separate brand, but will share technology and engineering with Volvo.  Polestar says the plant should be complete by mid-2018. We’ll soon learn more about GM’s plans for hands-free driving.  The company has scheduled what they call an “investor event” for Thursday, November 30, 2017.  GM says they will share their “vision for an autonomous future”.  We’ll keep you posted. MotorWeek is heading off to the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week.  One of the vehicles we’ll be watching for is the Aria FXE Reveal.  The company tweeted this teaser photo.  We’ll let you know more about this, and the rest of the debuts from L.A.

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3712

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 12:12pm

Debut 11.24.2017


Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

Goss' Garage: Water Pumps

Over the Edge: Drivers Club

Quick Spin: 2018 Kia Stinger | 2018 Volvo XC60 | 2018 Range Rover Velar

Road Test: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Best Boosters & Subaru SUV

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 8:59am
If you’re packing up to drive to your Thanksgiving feast, think about some of your smaller passengers.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released results of their latest study on booster seats. 13 out of 16 new boosters earn their top rating of BEST BET.  There are now 118 booster seats on the market that have achieved that designation.  To see the latest additions to the list click here. By now you know we’re gearing up for the Los Angeles Auto Show.  Here’s another reason.  Subaru is giving us a sneak peak at the all-new 2019 Ascent.  It’s Subaru’s largest three-row SUV yet.  They’ll reveal it on November 28, 2017.  We’ll be there to see it and the rest of the debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: New Audi & Volvo-Uber Deal

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 9:24am
MotorWeek is revving up for the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.  Audi promises to bring the all-new A8.  The design dates back to the Prologue concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.  The 4-th generation luxury sedan will also feature a new touchscreen system.  This will be one of the cars we’ll be looking for when we’re on the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning next Wednesday November 29, 2017. Volvo is taking another step toward hands free driving.  The Swedish car maker plans to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible vehicles to ride sharing company Uber.  The deal involves Volvo’s XC90 SUV’s.  Uber will add its own self-driving technology.  At the same time. Volvo will continue to develop their autonomous car strategy.  They hope to release their first fully autonomous car in 2021.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 4:14pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 1.6 liter

Horsepower: 201

Torque: 195 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 92 mph

EPA: 22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 5.9 tons/yr

Call us skeptics all you want, but whenever a carmaker tacks the word “sport” onto an existing model, we instantly look for reasons to cry foul. And when it comes to Hyundai, well they haven’t really delivered too much in the way of “sporty” goods lately. Well, let’s see if that changes with a new Elantra sport.

When we last left the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, we predicted its increased refinement and competency would do wonders to help it become increasingly competitive against more established rivals from Honda and Toyota. 

Well that has indeed been the case, so adding a Sport version into the mix, should only help the cause even more. Right?

And, hiring a BMW M engineering veteran to help put an all new multi-link suspension under the rear of this sedan is certainly a good way to start. The Elantra Sport’s new setup really makes it feel well-balanced and nimble; yet there’s no harshness to it, as overall ride quality remains quite good. 

Front and rear spring rates are increased, thicker stabilizer bars are in place, and standard wheels are 18s. The total result is nicely solid grip through the cones. It stayed surprisingly flat as well, with enough steering feel to bring a smile or two to our faces. So, yea!

Hyundai’s 1.6-liter I4 turbo deals out the power; with horsepower at 201; torque, at 195 lb-ft. And there’s even a 6-speed manual transmission standard. A 7-speed DCT is available.

With the manual, we launched the Sport to 60 in 7.0-seconds flat; two seconds quicker than our last Elantra sedan test. Engine noise is, however, fairly pronounced; making us wish the more pleasing notes coming from the exhaust were louder. 

We love the manual tranny. Shifter throws might be a little long for some, but come on, this is not a high-dollar performance car; just enjoy the fact that you get to have some interaction with a car for a change. 

The ¼-mile was almost two seconds quicker too, at 15.6-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. Quite a difference; and combined with the handling attributes, we think Hyundai has done more than enough to earn the Sport moniker. 

The exterior gets an upgrade as well, with a more aggressive body kit; featuring a new front fascia with a black grille and unique lighting, sill extensions down the sides, and dual chrome exhaust tips for the diffuser-style rear fascia. 

Inside, there are sport seats with more bolstering and red stitching, as well as a new flat-bottom steering wheel. The logical layout is familiar Hyundai, and there even seems to be some shared switchgear with Kia. 

But that’s not all that’s new on the Elantra home front however, as 2018 brings a new Elantra GT hatchback.

As before, this Elantra is based on the European Hyundai i30. So it’s actually quite different than the sedan; especially inside where you’ll find a whole new dash and control layout, one that we’re quite fond of.

"This Hyundai Elantra GT represents the brand’s latest thinking about small cars, and is clearly aimed at those that might want a small utility vehicle instead. You sit rather high and the boxy hatchback rear end means plenty of cargo versatility. I like the fact the tablet-style media interface uses not only a touchscreen but there’s plenty of knobs and switches to control it. So, it’s not only modern it’s smart."

That SUV-style cargo volume measures 24.9 cubic-ft. seats up, 55.1 with rear seat backs folded. The downside, rear seat leg room that isn’t as generous as the sedan. 

Power for the Elantra GT comes from a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter I4 with 161-horsepwer and 150 lb-ft. of torque, though a GT Sport model, with the 1.6-turbo is available as well.  

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0-liter Elantra GT automatic are 24-City, 32-Highway, and 27-Combined. For the Elantra Sport manual, they’re 22-City, 30-Highway, and 25-Combined. 

Still, that’s only an average Energy Impact Score with use of 13.2-barrels of oil annually with CO2 emissions of 5.9-tons. 

Elantra Sport pricing starts very sensibly, at $22,485; $4,500 over the much less entertaining base SE model.  Elantra GTs begin at $20,235. 

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport may fall short of performance-only machines like the Focus ST or Impreza WRX, but it’s certainly a bigger step in that direction than they’ve previously made. So, it offers a quite rewarding driving experience without compromising daily family car livability. As for the 2018 Elantra GT; it offers a sporty alternative to small front-drive crossovers; making a great case for the compact hatchback. 

So, as we see it, the latest Elantra, in all its forms, is indeed more competitive, and now more entertaining, than it’s ever been. 

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 4:02pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 5.5 liter twin-turbo V8

Horsepower: 577

Torque: 561 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds

1/4 mile: 12.5 seconds @ 112mph

EPA: 14 mpg city / 18 mpg highway

If you’re not sure what a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S coupe is, let us help. Start with a GLE 5-door SUV, which is actually the newest name of what was Mercedes-Benz’s original luxury crossover utility, the M-class. Then replace its boxy body with a much sleeker looking coupe-like profile. And finally, add a whole heap of AMG performance. Got it?  Then we’re good to go…fast!

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a recent entry into a curious subset of SUVs, 5-door coupes. And while some have come and gone already, it’s the German brands that seem most intent on keeping the segment going. 

As with most things in our world these days, our office was very divided on the GLE Coupe. Comments ranged from simply “beautiful” to “not pretty, not practical, and what’s the point?”. 

Well, if their point was to make a statement, it’s clearly been made; and no doubt the aggressive nature of the AMG elements, like these 22-inch cross-spoke alloys, make the most it. 

And if their point was to make a near perfect clone of the BMW X6, well mission accomplished there too; it even basically drives like one. 

Mercedes claims it’s the perfect embodiment of all of their design principles; from rugged fender flares and high ground clearance of an SUV, to the minimal greenhouse and sweeping roof of their sportiest coupes, and finally the smooth and elegant front end design showcased in their most luxurious sedans. 

Looks aside, you really have to hate practicality to prefer it over the basic GLE SUV, but we clearly understand in this “looks are everything” world, there is certainly a market for it; it’s just not the kind of crossover we prefer.

But it’s also one clearly designed more for on road performance, as suspension is unique; and the standard 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system doesn’t come with off road settings. 

Further indication is the powertrain situation, as all GLE Coupes are of the AMG variety. This 63 S boasts 577-horsepower and 561 lb-ft. of torque from a hand-assembled 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. Transmission is AMG’s SPEEDSHIFT 7-speed automatic. 

Its lesser sibling 43, gets a twin-turbo 6 with 362-horsepower and a 9-speed automatic. 

At the track, it became clear from the first flooring of the throttle, that the launch of this GLE 63 S is worth the price of admission alone. The engine dumps a huge load of torque onto the wheels, and the AMG-tuned 4MATIC system quickly resolves where to put it to best use.

You hop off the line with urgency, hitting 60 in 4.1-seconds. From there, it’s a piece of cake; just hold on tight, as the transmission fires off shifts with a loud crack from the exhaust. Before you know it, 12.5-seconds have passed and you’re at the end of the ¼ going 112 miles-per-hour. 

The fact that there was virtually no body roll through the cones in this 5,225-lb. monster is quite impressive; but overall, it still felt rather bulky. Everything is super rigid and overly sensitive in Sport+ mode; it was hard to find a real rhythm through here. 

Dialing it back to simply Sport mode, seemed to be the sweet spot, providing a little more forgiveness. 

With stops of just 115-feet from 60, brakes are the real deal, with a nicely firm short-travel pedal. The only downside here being the 285-series tires finding every groove of our rough track and sending a report about them straight to the steering wheel. 

No matter if you’re on a full-throttle getaway, or just the daily commute; there’s plenty of comfort and luxury inside the cabin to keep you satisfied.

Though AMG sport seats and steering wheel, as well as the carbon-fiber trim, definitely present a sporty aura. Opt for the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound system, and you’ll be awash in 900-watts of audio power as well. 

The only thing you’ll really sacrifice here is cargo capacity, 23.0 cubic-ft. in back compared to the base GLE’s 38.2. 60.7 is the max with rear seats folded, down from 80.3.  

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 18-Highway, and 15-Combined.  We behaved ourselves for the most part, and averaged 17.2 miles-per-gallon on Premium.  

If style over substance is your thing, you’ll have no problem dropping at least $70,575 for a GLE Coupe. The big dog GLE63 is a heftier $111,575. 

Truly not for the faint of heart or light of discretionary funds, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a mega-powerful piece of rolling excess, that is not only a showcase for the Mercedes brand, but is more than capable of blasting you away from whatever it is you need to get away from. It isn’t cheap, it sure isn’t very practical, but it certainly is our kind of fun. 

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Mercedes-Benz Teaser & VW EVs

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 9:58am
Mercedes-Benz is adding to our list of reasons to look forward to the Los Angeles Auto Show.  They’ve released these teaser shots of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS.  Right now we can just see the LED headlights and the interior of the 4 door coupe.  MotorWeek will be in L.A. next week for all the auto debuts.

Volkswagen is making a big bet on electric cars.  The company has announced it will spend more than $26 billion on its plants worldwide.  More than $16 billion of that will be invested in Volkswagen plants in Germany.  The first vehicle in their new generation of electric automobiles will be the Volkswagen I.D.  The company plans to put it on the road in 2020.

Categories: Syndicated