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Maserati plans to turn the Alfieri concept into a new high-performance plug-in electric hybrid sport coupe. There will also be a convertible version. Automotive News is reporting it will replace the Maserati GranTurismo.
It’s fair to say that most people would love to own a new car. And as it turns out, newer is also safer.
The national highway traffic safety administration has released data showing newer vehicles are the safest on U.S. roads. They looked at fatal crashes involving cars, SUVs and pickup trucks between 2012 and 2016.
It turns out that 55-percent of deaths occurred in vehicles 1984 and older, while 26-percent of fatalities involved model years 2013-2017.
NHTSA expects this trend to continue as safety technology improves and becomes common in more vehicles.
Subaru owners will soon be able to plug in their all-wheel driving demands. The company has announced that their first plug-in hybrid will be the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid.
It will combine a four-cylinder direct injection Subaru boxter engine with a Toyotas hybrid system.
The Crosstek is the brands third best-selling model in America.
The new Crosstrek uses Subaru’s global platform which is designed for a variety of powertrains including hybrid and electric. No word just yet on the electric only range.
And that wraps it up for this week’s MotorNews.
Engine: 1.5 liter
Torque: 184 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.7 seconds @79 mph
EPA: 25 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Best, when we heard the rumor that Mitsubishi was bringing back the eclipse; worst, when we found out that wasn’t quite the case, as they’d be using that sporty name on yet another compact crossover. Let’s see if driving the new eclipse cross will put an end to our Dickensian dilemma.
Just when we weren’t too sure about what exactly was going on at Mitsubishi, now that they have aligned themselves with Nissan and Renault, we get word of this new compact crossover, the 2018 Eclipse Cross. Size-wise, it slides in between the Outlander and Outlander Sport in their lineup.
Much like the Honda CRV it would love to steal some sales from, the Eclipse Cross is tiny-turbo-powered with a 1.5-liter I4 rated at 152-horsepower, well short of the CR-Vs 190. There’s more torque, however; 184 lb-ft., compared to Honda’s 179.
Like the CR-V, the Eclipse Cross is CVT tranny only, and base ES trim is the only one available with front-wheel-drive. All other trims come with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive.
Those kind of power numbers didn’t exactly peak our anticipation for test track results. Still, the Eclipse Cross doesn’t feel underpowered by any means. It’s a little lazy at launch, but then graceful amounts of power begin pouring on, ushering you to 60 in a respectable 8.6-seconds.
The CVT has simulated shifts that help things sound a little less frantic working your way down the track. That all comes to an end in 16.7-seconds at 79 miles-per-hour.
Mitsubishi had to expect some backlash, choosing to resurrect the Eclipse sport coupe’s name on a ute; so they made an earnest attempt to make corner handling worthy of the name.
But a lot of the agility comes from the all-wheel-drive system, which uses selective braking to minimize understeer. Otherwise, we’d call it firmly average; betrayed by safe and slow steering and a fair amount of body roll.
The Eclipse Cross does have all of the features you expect in the modern day compact crossover. Meaning a color multi-information display, steering wheel controls, naturally a backup camera, plus automatic climate; they’re all standard.
Our mid-level SE was outfitted quite nicely, similar to many brand’s top trim levels; and adds a host of comfort and convenience features like heated seats, push button start, and Mitsubishi Connect.
Unexpected features for this class like head-up display and multi-view camera are also available. Our SE also added advanced safety features like Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic alert.
The 7-inch infotainment screen shoots out of the dash, and is controlled by a square touchpad controller on the console. There’s a definite learning curve to figure it out, and even once you do, it can be frustrating.
The Eclipse Cross launches a new Mitsubishi Connect subscription service that, in addition to the usual safety notifications, gives you remote access to your car with a cell phone app; allowing you to unlock the doors, change vehicle settings, and even set parental controls.
Seats are sufficiently comfortable, and the general pleasantness of the interior has you wanting to spend plenty of time in the cabin.
The exterior is among its best features; being rather dramatic looking for this usually appliance-like segment.
The front bares a strong resemblance to the Outlander family, and in profile the appearance favors a wedge, but yet a bit more coupish and sporty than most compact crossover rivals.
The rear is tall, with a split-glass hatch that brings to mind the Pontiac Aztec and the original Honda Insight. While you do see more outside, the split is quite distracting through the rear view mirror.
Under the hatch, is a good 22.6 cubic-ft. of cargo space; expanding to 48.9 cubic-ft. with rear seats folded.
All-wheel-drive Eclipse Cross’ have Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 25-City, 26-Highway, and 25-Combined, which we matched almost perfectly with an average of 24.9 miles-per-gallon. Earning an average Energy Impact Score, with the use of 13.2-barrels of oil yearly while emitting 5.7-tons of CO2.
The front-drive Eclipse Cross starts at $24,290, all other trims come with all-wheel-drive and top out with the SEL Touring for $31,390.
While the brand has been on a roller coaster ride here in the U.S., becoming the junior member of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has added tremendous stability. And, given that Mitsubishi has a global history of building rugged, dependable, SUVs, we think 2018 Eclipse Cross has a real chance to succeed.
True, by bringing back the Eclipse name, Mitsubishi is clearly aiming to cash in on the Eclipse Coupe’s reputation as a stylish, compact performer that delivers a lot of bang for the buck. We can see many of those same words applying to the Eclipse Cross. So, it might just be exactly what Mitsubishi needs to stay relevant, as they continue to rebuild the brand here and around the world.
Road Test: 2019 Toyota Avalon
Goss' Garage: Paint it Yellow
FYI: Stepped Up Safety
Quick Spin: 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Long Term Update: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek | 2018 Honda Odyssey
Road Test: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
In Podcast 182, Brian Robinson talks about a recent comparison test of full-size SUVs. Then everyone discusses the amazing Audi TT RS. Zach Maskell talks about his drive of the new diesel-powered Ford F-150, and he shares about his latest Over the Edge feature. Lastly, the crew helps a viewer pick out a sporty car with good gas mileage.
The Ford Raptor goes from ultra-capable to extra-ultra-capable with some new additions for 2019. Starting with the suspension, Ford worked with FOX on new, electronically controlled Live Valve shocks that adjust damping on the fly. The system uses various sensors to determine the appropriate damping setting, whether it be for comfort, handling or off-road purposes. “By automatically varying compression rates, Raptor can now make the most of its suspension travel of 13 inches at the front and 13.9 inches at the rear,” says Hermann Salenbauch, global director for Ford Performance. To complement the new suspension pieces, a new Trail Control system has been added, which acts as low-speed cruise control for off-roading purposes. The system, which operates between 1 and 20 MPH, automatically adjusts power and braking for each wheel, leaving the driver to solely focus on steering Finally, the driver is further aided by new Recaro sport seats with increased bolstering in the seat back and cushion as well as blue Alcantara inserts and accent stitching. The new 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor will go on sale late this year and be available in three new colors: Ford Performance Blue, Velocity Blue and Agate Black.
Engine: 3.5 liter
Torque: 267 lb-ft.
EPA: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
It wasn’t that long ago when big sedans were the pinnacle of an automaker’s line up. But times change… and as we all know… SUV’s and crossovers now rule the road. But Toyota for one hasn’t given up on their flagship four-door Avalon… And with an all new design they’re also aiming to attract new buyers that haven’t got silver in their hair.
Now in its 5th generation, the 2019 Toyota Avalon is indeed facing head winds, and an uncertain future for the largest four doors. If you go by the numbers, it’s still officially midsize… but will compete against full-size and large car contenders.
Toyota is hardly the first carmaker to go after youthful buyers, but the new Avalon does seem to be a concerted effort. Towards that goal, Toyota’s flagship loses most of its soft lines in favor of a sharper technical look. The huge, ground hugging grille, sets their mid-premium sedan apart from chassis mates Camry and upscale cousin Lexus ES. The high-tech look continues with the slim LED’s.
Compared to last year, Avalon is a bit longer, with shorter overhangs. The wheelbase grows 2 inches. It’s also lower and wider, with an expanded track. The rear cabin extends another 7-inches… enhancing the already low, arching roofline. Even the back end gets a technical look with connected three-dimensional, “aero fin” style LED tail lights.
This comfortable interior is, on the other hand, full of soft touches. There’s Yamaha wood and aluminum trim depending on model. The theme is authentic materials, quality craftsmanship and high tech. It’s a nice step up from the previous gen car.
Seats remain comfortable even after a long day of driving. The thin floating 9-inch infotainment display now includes Apple CarPlay, and Toyota Remote Connect with Smartwatch and Amazon Alexa Connectivity.
Beyond the leather trimmed steering wheel, the 7-inch TFT has vital stats. Sitting in the driver’s seat of Limited and Touring trims adds a color 10-inch Head-Up Display. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are available, another nod to younger buyers.
It’s very quiet in here too… with extra sound deadening material in the engine bay and noise-reducing glass. Audiophiles can disrupt the serene setting with Entune 3.0 Audio Plus and the standard 8-speakers or the 1200-watt JBL tailored Entune 3.0 Premium Audio with 14-speakers.
There are plenty of other premium features like dual zone climate control and heated and cooled front seats. The roomy rear seat can also keep passengers warm in the winter.
Trunk space is a reasonable 16.1-cubic feet… even in the hybrid… now that the battery pack moves under the rear seat.
Toyota Safety Sense P is standard, bringing high-end safety like Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.
Riding on a new TNGA K Sedan Platform, the Avalon is more responsive, with an exceptionally smooth street ride. The multi-link rear suspension allows for surprisingly good grip in corners.
All Avalons have a choice of drive modes… Eco, Normal, and Sport… even on the hybrid. For the first time, Touring trim gets Adaptive Variable Suspension. That also adds Sport+ and Custom to the mix. Going from normal to sport… and sport plus…there is a noticeable difference in the throttle response and shifts. The Adaptive Variable Suspension becomes more dynamic while the ride remains supple.
Under the hood there are two options. The new 3.5-liter V6 it shares with the Camry increases horsepower by 33… to 301. Torque also rises 19 to 267 lb-ft. Our drive time also included the Avalon Hybrid which combines an also familiar 2.5-liter I-4 engine with 2 electric motors…one for charging and one for driving…for a total system output of 215 horsepower. The electric to gas transition is apparent, but not abrupt… and it does a fine job. The V6 does deliver smoother acceleration. The hybrid works with a CVT… a new 8-speed automatic swiftly sends the power from the V6 to the front wheels only.
EPA Fuel Economy Ratings are not final, but Toyota expects the V6 to get 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined on regular gas. Toyota’s estimates for the hybrid are 43-City, 44-Highway, and 44-Combined.
The 2019 Toyota Avalon starts at $35,500 for an XLE, ranging to $42,200 for a Touring V6. Add $1-thousand dollars for the hybrids.
So despite a tough sell for sedans, Toyota continues to step up its game… trying to attract accomplished, younger buyers who want more from a larger vehicle without luxury car, or even comparably sized SUV, prices. With other brands curtailing sedan production, this new Avalon just might hit a sweet spot.
Engine: 1.4 liter
Torque: 184 lb-ft.
EPA: 30 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
Volkswagen needs you…and a lot of other Americans…to reach their goal of 5% U.S. market share. It’s about 2% today. Their new atlas and Tiguan SUVs will certainly help, but they need more. So, enter an all-new Jetta compact sedan. Now, VW says that more than ever, it was designed with Amercian buyers in mind. But in doing so, VW risks ruining what made Jetta popular in the first place. So let’s see how well VW walks that tight rope.
With over 17½ million sold since 1979, the Volkswagen Jetta is a well-recognized, global nameplate. When the last Jetta sedan debuted right around the beginning of this decade, it was part of Volkswagen’s new strategy to not only build cars in North America, but to tailor them specifically for American drivers.
What that meant was less emphasis on ride-and-handling, making space and price the priorities. That “bigger and cheaper is better” approach yielded exactly the desired results, record sales.
For 2019, the 7th gen. Volkswagen Jetta not only doubles down on that strategy, but attempts to bring more driving excitement back into the mix.
While it still bears a resemblance to the conservative Passat, it’s certainly the most dynamic Jetta we’ve ever seen, and if you were expecting to hear the words “coupe-like profile”; well, they’re here.
The other usual descriptors apply as well, longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs, wider track; and cliché as it all may be, it’s hard to argue with the very handsome results.
A slicker shape is only part of what VW has done to get back some of the fuel economy lost without diesel or hybrid models. Active grille shutters up front, and while technically the same engine, the 1.4-liter turbo behind that grille is now tuned for more efficiency.
3-horsepower was lost in that transformation, now at 147; but torque remains the same at 184 lb-ft.
Furthering the theme, base cars get an extra gear for a 6-speed manual, and the optional automatic is now an 8-speed.
The results are improved Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 30-City, 40-Highway, and 34-Combined; the same regardless of transmission.
While far from flashy inside, the exaggerated tilt of the center stack, sets a more driver-oriented tone to the space; and there’s much less hard plastic to be found, leaving nothing much to complain about.
And impressive features like the digital dash won’t be found anywhere else in this segment.
Top SEL Premium trim will also get you leather seats, both heated and ventilated; a new 8-inch Discover Media infotainment with navigation; selectable drive modes, and a 10-color LED ambient lighting system.
There is indeed plenty of space inside to get comfortable, no matter whether you’re the driver or just along for the ride. And cargo space is plentiful as well, at 14.1 cubic-ft.; 60/40 split-folding seatbacks are standard.
Our early drive time came around Raleigh, North Carolina; and we’ll jump right in with talk of the suspension. Yes, a torsion beam is back at the rear on all trims. And while it’s easy to complain; for American Jetta buyers, it’s likely the ideal blend of capability with great everyday comfort.
And, it keeps costs down. Helping offset that is the fact that that torsion beam is now bolted to VW’s MQB architecture. Does it provide A4-like sport sedan agility? Not quite. Is it a sensibly entertaining everyday compact sedan? We’d say yes and then some. Certainly more lively than segment leaders Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
The new 8-speed automatic stays very busy managing power delivery from the little 1.4-liter; but it does so without undo effort. Sporty R-Line trim has no any added power, but it does get an XDS electronic differential, unique wheels, black trim, and dual exhaust tips.
VW is certainly attempting to attract your bucks by delivering as much bang as possible; very well equipped base S trim starts at $19,395, down 100 bucks from last year; top trim SEL Premium goes for $27,795. Plus, VW’s new People First warranty includes bumper-to-bumper protection for 6 years or 72,000 miles.
It would be foolish to expect the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta alone to put the brand’s sale’s goal within reach. But, it is another correct step in that direction. VW has walked the tight rope well. So, if you’re thinking about a compact sedan, with Corolla and Civic on your list, we think you should add the very entertaining VW Jetta at the top.
We’ve been working on this project 1977 Jeep Wagoneer, and now that the metalwork is done, we’re back at Treasured Motorcar Customs to watch the refinishing of the vehicle, the owner has chosen the shade of yellow from Sherwin Willams that’s paler than the original color. Of course there will be a noticeable color change as we see here, but the owner is willing to live with that.
We’re refurbishing this jeep not giving it a concours restoration. So, we’ve cut a few corners for the sake of budget. For one, we’re only spraying the outside of the vehicle and the door jambs. Under the hood, and the small body-colored areas inside the Jeep will be projects for another day. With the rusty areas repaired, we now have a solid base to apply paint to, but it still needs to be cleaned, smoothed, and free of dents.
So, the new paint will adhere properly and the paint and finish will look smooth and glossy. First, all of the faded original paint is scuffed, not removed, there is no need to take it down to the bare metal except where the original wood grain vinyl decals are located. Now the entire surface of the car is sanded smooth, larger dents the doors are pulled, body filler is used only to level the surface, not to fill dents.
The primer coat creates a paintable surface and makes imperfections more readily visible to the eye and easier to address. After more sanding and a thorough wipe down, it’s time for the paint. Finally, it gets a wet sanding to polish away any remaining flaws and a final coat of clear. And our Jeep is looking great.
Now one thing that we’ve done here is we’ve decided to use a modern wrap material from 3M, this is a satin white, in place of the original wood grain that it came from the factory with. Now, that gives us a couple of advantages.
Number one, we can remove this material if we ever have a change of mind and we want to change the look of the vehicle or anything, we can take it off, we have good paint underneath, and we can change the color or do whatever want with it. If you have a question or a comment, drop us a line. Right here at MotorWeek.
The next time you go shopping for a new car, don’t be surprised if it has a standard rear backup camera. Automakers were given two years to add cameras, and that phase in period is over. Indeed, research by the insurance institute for highway safety shows that backup cameras are very effective. And, when paired with other active safety features, back up crashes can be reduced by an impressive 75% - saving lives and reducing insurance claims. Our FYI reporter Stephanie Hart has the details.
STEPHANIE HART: Back up accidents are responsible for 267 deaths and 15-hundred injuries a year according to the national highway traffic safety administration. Children and the elderly most often the victims.
The insurance institute for highway safety says the law, requiring back up cameras, is a move in the right direction. But more still needs to be done.
DAVID AYLOR: And those systems are effective but we’ve learned that when you add in an active safety feature like automatic braking it’s more effective than just a warning. The driver may not understand what the warning is trying to tell them so adding active braking on top of that adds more benefits… and so I think as manufacturers are learning more they’re adding that technology.
STEPHANIE HART: So here’s how rear auto brake works: there are sensors on the car that detect things behind you, so I’m going to back up without really paying attention…
The sensors will detect the car behind me and automatically apply the brakes. We’re waiting for a beep to alert us a car is behind us… there you have it… and we brake… and I didn’t touch the brake pedal at all. The car did everything itself.
To be honest it was not second nature giving up control to a car like I did… and my adrenaline actually did start going right before I heard that beep assuring me the car was going to stop. Now, as I’m sure you noticed, it was sort of a rough stop, but all in all a pretty cool concept and incredible technology.
It’s surprising only 5% of vehicles manufactured in 2018 offer rear braking. Especially since the combination of rear auto braking, rear cameras, and rear sensors reduce back up crashes by more than 75%.
Rear autobrake works hand in hand with the self park system… phenomenal new technology. Riding shotgun with me today is Philip and we’re going to show you guys how this system works. Let’s go.
PHILIP: We’re going to set ourselves up and find a parking spot.
STEPHANIE HART: The car is now searching for a spot we can fit into.
Ok, I see one and does the car see it?
In order for the car to catch on, we have to drive past the spot. So I have to do virtually very little. What do I have to do?
PHILIP: You still have to stay in control of the speed of the vehicle so let your hands go off the steering wheel.
STEPHANIE HART: Oh wow!
And you still have to check your mirrors and rear view camera. It’s like a ride or something.
PHILIP: It is, a little bit of a rollercoaster. It didn’t take long…
PHILIP: And as it backs up, it will give you a notification of when to stop.
STEPHANIE: I’m doing nothing with my hands.
PHILIP: And now you can stop.
Recently IIHS put six cars to a new backup crash prevention test - rating a combination of safety features - rear autobrake, parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert
The Cadillac xt5 and Subaru outback were given superior ratings. The BMW 5 series sedan, infinity qx60, jeep Cherokee and Toyota Prius scored advanced ratings.
DAVID: And right now the systems are set up for, what we call, damageability… reducing the damage from parking lot crashes at the grocery store. But manufacturers are working on more advanced systems that could detect and potentially brake for a pedestrian.
Stephanie Hart: While adding such a combination of high-tech safety features to a new car can cost a buyer hundreds of extra dollars, rear backup crash prevention pays off by preventing thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary damage. That means more…all around…peace of mind.
Mercedes-AMG is adding another open-air model to its sports car portfolio with the new AMG GT S Roadster. The GT S slots in between the GT Roadster and the more powerful GT C Roadster, with a handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo delivering 515 hp and 494 lb-ft. of torque, capable of delivering its occupants from a standstill to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and ultimately to a top speed of 192. The GT S Roadster brings the Mercedes-AMG product portfolio to an even dozen 12 high-performance models for street and track use.
As reported by The Independent, The Daily Mail newspaper, and numerous other sources, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drove a one of a kind all-electric Jaguar XKE to the reception following their Royal Wedding. The restored Jaguar E-Type Zero was originally built in 1968, but has had its inline-6 engine replaced by an electric motor and battery pack. Reportedly it is now faster than the original car with a range of some 170 miles.
Mass production of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight hybrid begins this week in Greensburg, Indiana with three plants in Ohio providing the powertrain components. Honda invested $61.5 million in upgrades to the four plants, including a new 19,200 sf building expansion at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) for assembly of the vehicle’s front-end module. HMIN will build all Insight models for the North American market, alongside Civic and CR-V models on the same line.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is returning to Subaru showrooms after a 2-year absence, and will become the company’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid uniquely integrates the Toyota Hybrid System (THS), one of most proven alternative drivetrains in modern automotive history (Subaru + Prius = Surius?), with Subaru’s four-cylinder direct-injection BOXER engine, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and an all-new transmission. Look for the new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid at Subaru retailers near the end of this year.