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Road Test: 2019 Jeep Cherokee
Goss' Garage: Headlamp Upgrades
Two Wheelin': BMW K1600 B
Long Term Update: 2018 Mazda 6 | 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
Quick Spin: 2018 Buick LaCrosse eAssist
Quick Spin: Mercedes-AMG Family Haulers
Road Test: 2018 Audi TT RS
In Podcast 187 the MotorWeek staff does something a little different. After discussing the awesome Dodge Durango SRT and the exotic McLaren 570 S Spider, Brian, Greg and Joe try their hand at answering some "grab-bag" viewer questions.
Luxury off-roader brand Land Rover has announced 2019 Model Year updates to its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models: The brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, to be badged P400e, has an estimated all-electric driving range of 31miles. It will slot into the middle of the lineup, priced around $78,000 for the Range Rover Sport P400e, and $95,000 for the Range Rover HSE P400e. All 2019 Range Rovers will offer a new Driver Assist Pack, which adds Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist to their already-comprehensive suite of electronic driving, crash avoidance and parking systems. And, enhancing the brand’s legendary off-road prowess, a new Wade Sensing system gives real-time water depth measurements when traversing deep water.
On Tuesday, billionaire visionary Elon Musk caused turmoil for the publically traded stock of his Tesla automotive company by tweeting his desire to take the company private. He tweeted that the buyout price could be $420 per share. The stock immediately shot up to almost $380 per share, or an 11 percent gain on the day, before trading was halted. Stock market watchers have been increasing critical of Tesla’s money loosing performance, and the public irritation it has caused Musk is obviously part of what is behind such a move. If the plan were to go through, it could require $72 billion in funds. Many skeptics wonder where that would come from given the company’s money loosing performance and the enormous debt load it already carries. However, current stockholders would be given the opportunity to either cash out or become private investors. If enough stockholders opt for the later course, it would substantially cut the cost of going private. Clearly if such a bold plan comes to pass, it will say as much about investor faith in the man as it does in the company.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 295 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.2 seconds @ 90 mph
EPA: 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr
To say that the styling of the reborn 2014 Jeep Cherokee was polarizing is an understatement. Well for 20-19 Jeep has tried to bring the “love it” and “hate it” folks a little closer together, although technically, the latest Cherokee is just a mid-cycle refresher. Still, there’s much more going on than just a styling mea culpa.
As is often the case, while many reviewers and bloggers gave the car-based squint-eyed Jeep Cherokee a hard time, it has actually done very well for the brand. Even outlasting the Dodge Dart that it was based on, and more importantly bringing many new people into the brand as first-time Jeep owners. The 2019 edition looks to broaden that appeal even more, while also attempting to more endear itself to the Jeep faithful.
While there already was a choice when it came to the engine, either a 2.4-liter I4 or a 3.2-liter V6; Jeep has added another option into the mix, a 2.0-liter turbo that outputs 270-horsepower, just one less than the V6, and 295 lb-ft. of torque, 56 more than the 6.
But even with that extra torque, it’s still the V6 that rates the highest towing capacity, at 4,500-lbs; very good for the segment. The 2.0-liter however, does feel incredibly powerful for a vehicle of this size, and indeed it has 80 more horsepower than you can get in a Honda CR-V.
Like the rest of the engines, it works with a 9-speed automatic. But, unlike in earlier versions of Cherokee, the 9- speed is much smoother and more determined in shift points. It makes this Cherokee drive almost like a totally different vehicle.
And no other cute ute in its price class can hang with Cherokee when the pavement ends. There are even 3-different Active Drive 4X4 systems to choose from. Now, some may question the need for all of that, since most Cherokees will never set rubber on anything but asphalt; but it’s a Jeep thing, and Jeep wants to make sure that is indeed still a thing. Opt for the Trailhawk, and its 1-inch of lift, if that is truly your thing as well.
Chief among the updated styling elements is a new front end that falls more in line with Jeep’s upright and conservative past. A new hood as well; and of course updated lighting. There are also some new wheel options, and even better, a lighter liftgate with hands free operation.
The cargo area has been reconfigured a bit. Space is up to 27.6 cubic-ft. from 24.6; max capacity with seatbacks folded stays about the same, at 54.7.
There’s some upgraded interior trim up front; as well as some new color choices, and the latest version of UConnect.
As for what the new 2.0-liter adds to your get-up-and-go, well it gets to 60 in 6.7-seconds. Not screaming fast, but quick for a utility; and about ½ a second quicker than what you’d expect to get from the V6.
Good snap off the line, great traction, and spirited punch from the boosted 4-banger, which likes to rev up quickly. It sounds eager and sporty as well, while the 9-speed clicks through gears comfortably but directly. The ¼-mile ends in 15.2-seconds at 90 miles-per-hour.
No major changes to the suspension, but we had high hopes that a little less engine weight over the front wheels, would work some magic on the handling side.
Well, no magic; steering is still slow and understeer present. But, grip is very solid and body sway minimal for its class.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0-liter with four-wheel-drive are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined; though Premium is recommended. That makes for an average Energy Impact Score; using 13.7-barrels of oil yearly, with C02 emissions of 6.1-tons.
Pricing starts at $26,935 for front-wheel-drive, which is a considerable step up from our ‘14’s base price of around $24,000; though that entry level Sport model is no more; leaving the much better equipped Latitude as the new base model. All-wheel-drive adds another $1,500, and things top out with Overland trim at $37,470.
Old style, new style, doesn’t really matter; the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a wildly popular utility that seems to be attracting both compact as well as midsize buyers due to all of its capabilities. The skin may now be a bit less controversial, but the Cherokee is one adventure vehicle that harkens back to what SUVs were all about from the beginning; go anywhere vehicles that you can live with day in and day out.
Since the end of World War II, off road vehicles that resemble the original Willys Jeep have been made in India. While originally this was done under license, the vehicle has dramatically evolved since then, as has the Jeep brand’s ownership, although the Indian produced vehicle is still recognizable as a military-style Jeep. Now, Fiat Chrysler America is fighting to keep Indian automaker Mahindra from manufacturing it’s Jeep CJ clone in the U.S. Known as the Roxor, it would be a non-street-legal vehicle intended for farm or otherwise private property use. FCA argues that Mahindra has no rights to build a Jeep lookalike model for sale in the U.S. Mahindra has already announced that the U.S. made Roxor would have a starting prices of $15,499, and would lead to a street-legal future vehicle to be made at its new Ann Arbor, Michigan plant.
BMW is expected to pull the cover off a production version of the all-new Z4 roadster during the upcoming Monterey Car Week later this month. A Z4 concept (pictured here) debuted last year in Monterey. The new Z4 shares a platform with the upcoming Toyota Supra sports car, with turbo four and six-cylinder power options anticipated under the hood, though Toyota may opt for their own engines. The Z4 is expected to appear first at Weathertech Laguna Seca Raceway on August 23rd as part of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, followed by stops at the Quail Lodge in Carmel and the Pebble Beach Concours concept lawn on the following days.
Road Test: 2018 McLaren 570S Spider
Goss' Garage: Transmission Fluid Flush
FYI: Katzkin Leather Interiors
Long Term Update: 2018 Toyota Camry | 2018 Honda Odyssey
Road Test: 2019 RAM 1500
Well, it’s official, one of the kings of speed, Hennessey Performance, has built its 10,000th vehicle, a Heritage Edition Ford Mustang. Like virtually all Hennessey cars, the secret sauce is mostly under the hood. In this case, the Mustang’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 cranks out 808 horsepower, or 75% more than the standard Mustang GT on which it's based. Hennessey says 0-60 mph is 3.3 seconds with a top speed of over 200 mph, and given their blazing track record, we have no reason to doubt them!
The auto industry will be trading winter coats for sunscreen at future editions of the North American International Auto Show.
Beginning in 2020, the show will be held in June instead of January. Detroit’s Cobo Center will remain the hub, but a warmer month allows for events to also be held at outdoor locations throughout the city. That creates more options beyond the typical auto show reveals. There are several reasons behind the decision, including some automakers pulling out of the January show, and trends in the industry overall. The 2019 North American International Auto Show is still slated for January.
Porsche’s pursuit of improving performance… is making its way to their compact SUV…
The 2019 Porsche Macan was unveiled in Shanghai, but before that… MotorWeek got a close up look at the vehicle designed for the Chinese market. This mid-cycle refresh, features sportier front and rear fascias.
Changes to the V6 engine include more horsepower, moving the fuel injectors next to the spark plugs for a better fuel-air mixture… and placing the turbochargers inside the V to improve performance.
Project managers told MotorWeek about their goals…
Antoon Janssen: “So yes, we increased the power output of the engine, but I have to mention that one of the main items is also the efficiency and the reduction of emissions.”
Sebastian Staiger: “We developed a new chassis especially the air suspension. The air suspension comes with more dynamics and more comfort.”
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: A Panamera influence is clear in the new touch screen technology. An optional sport steering wheel is from the 911.
We haven’t heard official specifications on a U.S. model of the new Macan, but we expect the Chinese model to be a good indication of what Americans might see.
And that does it for this week’s Motor News.
Engine: 3.8 liter
Torque: 443 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds
EPA: 16 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
McLaren has been growing their portfolio for a few years now; and apparently you can’t be a full-line dealer in exotics, if you don’t offer a convertible, or spider in supercar parlance. So, now they’ve added the open air experience to their sports series with the 570S Spider.
Don’t for a minute think that the 2018 McLaren 570S Spider is just a spur-of-the moment chopped roof version of what was already available. Rather, it is a carefully calculated, integral part of the plan that’s been in place since development for the 570 began. Following the original Sports Series Coupe and GT.
And, this Spider’s open-air experience is truly fantastic; as we all know, wind in your hair heightens the sense of speed, and gets more of your senses involved in the supercar experience.
Things about the minimalist cabin are very familiar, including the central touchscreen that’s full of info. Granted it’s rather small by latest standards, but works quite well.
Mirroring the GT more than the Coupe, means there’s additional storage space, including where the roof panel stores. Now, if you’re familiar with the 650S or 675LT Spiders, the top’s operation is quite similar. Just hit the button, and watch the tonneau raise as the top neatly folds underneath of it. No flimsy cloth setup with this Spider; there’s a real-deal folding hard top. In addition, there’s a power rear glass panel that can be left up to combat wind buffeting.
Hardware is mostly all the same as well, with everything being built around McLaren’s carbon-fiber MonoCell II chassis, but the folding top and accompanying mechanisms do add about 100-lbs. However, no additional structural reinforcements were needed.
The 562-horsepwer and 443 lb-ft. of torque available in the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, is more than capable of compensating for that; aided by a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. 0-60 is the same as the Coupe at 3.1-seconds.
The suspension keeps ride quality borderline plush, and speed sneaks up on you in a real hurry. Only slight adjustments have been made to the adaptive dampers; not necessarily because it was needed, but because they could.
Like the rest of the McLaren breed, it’s certainly not a car for blending in. It has the presence only true exotics can pull off; from all of the air intakes and vents, to all of the swoops and sways of the sleek body panels. Not to mention when you flip up one of the dihedral doors.
Apart from the folding roof, the overall look is not so different from the Coupe; and only true aficionados will notice that the rear spoiler has been extended by ½ an inch to compensate for the new roof shape.
Much like the GT, the Spider is a McLaren that you don’t need a racetrack to appreciate; it feels much smaller than it is, with a direct steering feel that only a fully hydraulic system can provide.
But more like the Coupe, the standard carbon ceramic brakes feel more track-worthy than street subtle. You really have to put your foot into them, and there’s not much gray area; they’re either full on or full off. And there are various amounts of turbo lag, depending on which drive mode you’re in and how aggressively your throttle inputs are. All of these elements, you might call character rather than flaws.
We don’t often say options are must-haves, but the available sport exhaust system clearly fits that category. It not only opens things up out the back, but pipes additional noise forward into the cabin.
The shifter paddles are plasticy in feel; but they work well, and give you full manual control no matter how poor your decision making is. Government Fuel Economy Ratings aren’t final, but we don’t expect them to differ from the Coupe’s 16-City, 23-Highway, and 19-Combined.
Now, hopefully you haven’t made too many poor decisions when it comes to your finances, as you’ll need $211,300 in reserve to purchase this Spider. That’s about a 20-grand premium, or just a 10% mark-up for 50% more coolness.
Be it a spider or a convertible, they aren’t for everyone, and of course neither are McLarens. But the appeal of this 2018 McLaren 570S Spider is out of this world. The only way you’ll be out-cooled at your next trip to cars and coffee, is if a P1 rolls up next to you. This Spider is McLaren’s best offering yet, and we bet that it’ll quickly become their best-selling model too.