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This Just In: Mullen Plans Electric Vehicle Plant in Spokane

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 8:52am

After debuting its Qiantu K50 electric sports car at the New York International Auto Show two weeks ago, Mullen Technologies has now announced plans to build an assemply plant for the vehicle near Spokane, WA.  Mullen reports it has signed a letter of intent with the West Plains Airport Area Public Development Authority for the construction of 1.3 million square feet of production and assembly facilities in the area.  The company also plans to further develop its lithium ion battery cell technology at the site, and is projected to employ up to 3000 people when the plan is fully realized. The Qiantu K50 claims a 250-mile pure elctric range, 0-60 performance of 4.2 seconds and an elctronically-limited top speed of 125 mph, ensuring plenty of foot traffic at its New York Auto Show display.

Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3834

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 11:20am

Debut 4.26.2019

Description

Track Test: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T

Auto World: EV Road Tripping

Goss' Garage: TPMS Tips

Quick Spin: 2020 Kia Soul

Long Term Update: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek | 2019 RAM 1500

Road Test: 2019 Nissan Murano

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 1,000 Horsepower Hemi

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 9:51am
Mopar has something new to give your older car a modern roar.  Pre-ordering is underway for the 1,000-horsepower "Hellephant" 426 Supercharged Crate HEMI Engine and Kit.  All that horsepower is matched with 950 lb.-ft. of torque.  They unveiled this beast of a powerplant at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last fall. This new engine draws on the heritage of the 426 HEMI engine that debuted more than 50 years ago.  A supercharger with a high-efficiency rotor set is mounted on the all-aluminum block.  The engine assembly and kit are designed for pre-1976 street and off-road vehicles.  The Mopar “Hellephant” 426 Supercharged Crate HEMI Engine costs $29,995. The engine kit designed for what they call “plug-and-play” installation is $2,265.
Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2019 New York Auto Show and the Kia Telluride

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:00am

Podcast #203

In Podcast 203, Brian Robinson leads the recap of the 2019 New York International Auto Show. Then, the group discusses their recent test of the 2019 Kia Telluride. Finally, they answer a viewer question about finding the least technology-filled car available.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Back Seat Safety

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 10:16am
While a lot of attention is paid to protecting the people in the front seats, there’s new concern about what happens in the back seat during a crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at 117 crashes in which rear-seat occupants were killed or seriously injured. The most common type of injury was to the chest.  Researchers found rear-seat chest injuries were mostly due to the force from the shoulder belt.  The second most common type of injury type in the study was to the head. While many of the head injuries were in crashes considered unsurvivable, when the rear seat passengers did survive, they hit their heads against the vehicle’s interior. IIHS researchers are using this information to develop a new front crash test, that will evaluate how well people are protected in the front and back seats.  While the IIHS isn't recommending a specific solution for the back seat, they point out rear seats with frontal airbags, seat belts with tensioners and force limiters, and inflatable seat belts could be included in the combination of technologies that better protect people enjoying the ride in the second row.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 2.0 liter / 3.3 liter

Horsepower: 255 / 365

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

0-60 mph: 6.9 seconds / 4.7 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.2 seconds @ 92 mph / 13.2 seconds @ 106 mph

EPA: 28 mpg Highway / 26 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 6.8 tons/yr

It’s no secret we’re big fans of the Genesis G70, having just named it our drivers’ choice for best luxury sedan. But, this particular luxury 4-door is also the first genesis with a true performance tilt, and is even available with a manual transmission. Well, working a clutch and shifter while sitting in traffic is not exactly our kind of fun, so it’s off to the track we go!

No doubt, Genesis came out swinging with the 2019 G70. And, while we’ve already gotten plenty of seat time in this Korean missile; being a sucker for European-style sport sedans, we couldn’t help angling for a little more.

Fortunately, there are enough versions of the G70 to make a good case for that, and fortunately-er Genesis was more than willing to oblige. 

Two G70s that we haven’t spent enough time with to this point, are the rear-wheel-drive 3.3-liter V6 Dynamic Edition, and the 2.0-liter turbo-4 Sport with the manual transmission. Yes, that’s right, you can still get a luxury-minded compact sport sedan with a manual shifter and three pedals. 

The 2.0-liter puts out 255-horsepower, three more than standard, thanks to a performance exhaust system, along with 260 lb-ft. of torque; and that’s the only way you can get the 6-speed manual. You’ll have to stick with rear-wheel-drive as well. 

Here, on the front stretch of Roebling Road Raceway, we shifted our way to a 0-60 of 6.9–seconds, and a ¼-mile of 15.2–seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. Overall, that’s actually a little slower than we recorded last fall with the automatic transmission.

Now, the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 outputs 365-horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque, and leaves the line with much more urgency; hitting 60 in just 4.7–seconds. An 8-speed automatic takes care of gear selection here, rifling through about ½ of them for the 13.2–seconds that it took us to complete the ¼-mile at 106 miles-per-hour. 

Hitting the full track, the G70 feels big, despite being physically smaller than its chassis-mate Kia Stinger. Yet, it’s a very competent sport sedan, with quick response to inputs, and respectable amounts of feedback. 

The V6 Dynamic Edition means you get a more aggressive suspension setup and Michelin PS4 performance tires. Together, they provide more grip in corners; which in turn, makes for higher straightaway speeds. Also included, are performance brake pads for the Brembo calipers to slow you down, and upgraded cooling for the engine, to help keep it happy. 

There’s a little bit too much understeer to deal with, as well as aggressive traction control. So, it’s not designed to hang in there with the Ms and AMGs of the world; but it does compare quite favorably with any mid-level sport sedan from Germany or anywhere else, and pulls away from them all when it comes to smiles per dollar.     

Things over in the 2.0-liter Sport may not be quite as “dynamic”, and there are two fewer gears; but it is much more engaging, thanks to the ability to row through those gears yourself with the manual. 

Michelin PS4s and Brembo brakes here too, but Sport trim also adds a limited-slip rear differential. 

Naturally, it doesn’t have as much grip in the corners, or as much power for coming out of them; but it does feel noticeably lighter up front, and has a more tossable nature. 

The shifter itself, works well enough; no problems finding the right gears at speed; but it’s not the most solid-feeling we’ve held. Likewise, the clutch is on the vague side. But, all of that is consistent with the prime luxury first mission of the G70. 

Inside, the Sport comes with a few additional features like an upgraded stereo; and a manual emergency brake handle replacing the electronic parking brake switch of all other G70s. Nice.

Both cars share the same City Government Fuel Economy Rating of 18; from there the 3.3-liter rates 26-Highway and 21-Combined; while the 2.0-liter rates 28-Highway and 22-Combined. We averaged 26.4 miles-per-gallon in the turbo-4 on our trip down to Roebling Road. 

It’s Energy Impact Score is slightly worse than average, at 15.0-barrels of yearly oil consumption, with 6.8-tons of CO2 emissions. 

An entry-level G70 stickers for $35,895; it’s only an additional 3-grand for the manual-equipped Sport, at $38,895. More cylinders and a lot more capability for the 3.3T Dynamic, puts it at $51,245.   

So, whether it’s a shift from the traditional luxury sedan you’re looking for, or a “dynamically” different way to get to work every day; Genesis delivers both experiences. Proof that the 2019 G70 is more than just a me too pretender in the luxury sport sedan field.  

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2019 Nissan Murano

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.5 liter

Horsepower: 260

Torque: 240 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.7 seconds @ 90 mph

EPA: 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 6.4 tons/yr

It’s no secret that SUVs have been following an evolutionary path from rugged off roaders to all-weather family haulers. But that steady progression sped up a little when the unexpectedly refined and stylish Nissan Murano arrived for 2003. Now midway through its 3rd generation, does Murano still have the power to shake things up?  

The Nissan Murano was one of the first utilities to really embrace its crossover status.  Instead of loading it up with off-road hardware, or tacking on rugged-looking cladding; Nissan packed it full of comfort and luxury, and wrapped it in sleek, modern packaging. And that theme continues for 2019.

It’s not all-new, but Nissan has spread a healthy dose of updates both inside and out to keep appeal high, and attract eyes away from attention grabbing entries in the segment like the Chevrolet Blazer, revised Ford Edge, and reborn Honda Passport. 

A new front fascia includes a more exaggerated version of Nissan’s V-motion grille. On either side, are redesigned LED headlights, as well as different LED fog lamps. Fresh lighting in back as well; while new wheel choices, and some additional paint colors, round out the updates. 

There are updated materials inside, but it’s here in top Platinum where you’ll see the biggest transformation, attempting to make it worthy of the name. That mostly means new Bentley-flavored quilted leather seats and door panels. 

So it’s up a notch from already being one of the most comfortable midsize crossovers you can buy; with front and rear seating that welcomes you better than the majority of luxury utilities. 

Though it’s not one of the most cargo capable. Behind the motion activated power lift gate, load space is decent. At 32.1 cubic-ft., expanding to 67.0 with the rear seat backs folded. But, Murano towing maxes out at only 1,500–lbs.

Nissan Connect infotainment, with multi-touch control, continues to get better and better. 

Finally, there are new standard 2nd row side airbags; and updates for safety systems include available Nissan Safety Shield 360, which features both front and rear automatic emergency braking.  

No hard choices to make when it comes to powertrains. All Muranos are fitted with a carryover 3.5-liter V6 with 260-horsepower and 240 lb-ft. of torque.  

Standard flow is to the front wheels through Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission; intelligent all-wheel-drive is available with all trims. 

Having traction at all four tires helped us get off the line cleanly, if a little slowly, hitting 60 in 7.4–seconds. The CVT keeps it from being the quietest ute around, but it does a good job of keeping the 3.5-liter in the heart of its power band.     

And it moves quite well through the ¼-mile; feeling solid, finishing the pass in 15.7–seconds at 90 miles-per-hour. 

The comfort-first priority of the suspension was readily apparent in our slalom. The Murano is soft and wallowy; and just when you think you really get a sense of what’s going on through the over-boosted steering, the overanxious traction nannies step in and take over.

None of these are complaints, really, and it does make the Murano genuinely family friendly and safe. There is still plenty of room in the SUV field for one with a plush and luxurious ride. It is a bit of a throwback to a time before every SUV felt a need to handle like a BMW; or at least deliver a stiff enough ride to fool you into thinking it does. 

Most impressive of all Murano performance was braking. Stops from 60 averaged just 101–feet; with excellent consistency and minimum fade.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for all models are 20-City, 28-Highway, and 23-Combined.  Our average; right on, at 23.7 miles-per-gallon of Regular. That’s an average Energy Impact Score, with consumption of 14.3-barrels of oil and C02 emissions of 6.4-tons annually.

Murano’s base S trim starts at $32,315, ranging through four trim levels to arrive at our Platinum tester, which starts at $44,575; all-wheel-drive adds $1,600 more.

After years of carmakers going all-in with SUVs that looked rugged, while they were actually bluffing; Nissan proved with the Murano, that such tactics weren’t really necessary. Most people are just looking for some all-weather capability, and a high seating position, with plenty of comfort and style. The 2019 Nissan Murano delivers that better than ever; and will continue to be a winning hand for Nissan, no matter what the competition lays on the table. 

Categories: Syndicated

Goss’ Garage: TPMS Tips

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 7:00am

TPMS or tire pressure monitoring systems have been around for a number of years now and a mandatory on all passenger cars and light trucks. So you would think a lot of people would understand them, but apparently a lot of people don’t. 

Number 1, is a lot of people think if the light is not on that means the tire pressure is perfect. That is not correct. All it means is the tire pressure is not dangerously low. You may have to add air periodically. You should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure you keep it at the proper setting for best tire wear and fuel economy.

Now, there are different types of tire pressure monitoring systems, most of them use sensors that are in the wheel. The type with the valve stem are the most common, but there is also one that is down in the dropt center of the wheel that’s held in place by a big clamp that goes all the way around the wheel. But the thing here is all these, well they’re so common well you go to your local parts store and buy replacements and buy repair kits such as we have here we have all the different parts torepair the different types of sensors.

Now, that said, these all work with batteries, and batteries wear out. And when they do on comes the check engine light in many cases always on is the TPMS light… the low tire pressure light. 

Now, where you make a mistake… you buy one of these sensors you take the car in… you get the sensor installed… and a week or two later… another one… because all of the batteries all have the same amount of wear on them. So, what you do is if you have one of the sensors that has failed due to a bad battery, replace all 4 of them at once… you’ll probably get a better deal at the repair shop, and you’ll save a lot of back and forth. 

Big thing to remember… check tire pressure manually once a month… rely on the TPMS as an emergency back-up. And if you have a question or a comment drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Ford EV Future

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 9:51am
Ford is making a bigger commitment to electric vehicles.  The blue oval company is investing $500 million in Rivian.  They’ll develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford.  It will be based on Rivian’s skateboard platform. This partnership seems to fit in with Ford’s strategy of moving away from cars and toward more utilities.  Rivian plans to launch their own five-passenger pick-up called the R1T, and a seven-passenger SUV bearing the name R1S.  The company says these EVs will combine performance, off-road capability and utility with up to 400-plus miles of range.  They expect production versions to arrive in late 2020. The new Rivian based Ford EV is just part of Ford’s plans.  The company has already announced an $11 billion investment to develop a portfolio of battery electric vehicles.  We do know two of Ford’s fully electric vehicles will be a Mustang-inspired crossover due in 2020, and a zero-emissions version of the F-150.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Faster Lanes

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 9:38am
Remember the slogan “55 saves lives”? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does.  Their research is pointing out the deadly results of rising speed limits.  Their study found higher speed limits during the past 25 years have cost nearly 37,000 lives.  The states set their own speed limits, and 55 is no longer the rule everywhere.  The IIHS says 41 states have maximum speed limits of 70 mph or higher, while you can go 80 mph in 6 states, and if you drive in Texas you can legally drive 85 mph on some roads without seeing blue lights in your rear view mirror. The IIHS study found a 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit was associated with an 8-percent increase in the fatality rate on interstates and freeways, and a 3-percent increase on other roads.  That’s how they arrived at the conclusion that speeding contributed to nearly 37,000 deaths.  They also point out on a 100-mile trip driving 70 instead of 65 really only cuts the drive time by around 6½ minutes.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Victorious Green

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:06am
History and style are being crafted in a rare opportunity from Aston Martin.  They’re building the Aston Martin DBS 59.  This limited edition commemorates Aston Martin’s 1959 win at Le Mans.  It’s based on their fastest car… the DBS Superleggera which is powered by a 5.2-litre V12 engine and can reach a top-speed of 211mph.  From there, the brand’s personalization service ‘Q by Aston Martin’ added touches honoring its racing heritage.  Designers were inspired by the DBR1’s exterior paint, Aston Martin Racing Green, and chose it for the DBS 59.  The special treatment includes badging, unique front grille, and brake calipers.  They even studied the seats of the DBR1 and recreated the weave of the material for this modern version.  This is a limited edition, so only 24 will be made… one for each of the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Categories: Syndicated

Episodes: Episode 3833

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 1:11pm

Debut 4.19.2019

Description

Road Test: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

Clean Cities: Florida Maritime LNG

Goss' Garage: Batter Up Batteries

FYI: Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary

Quick Spin: 2019 Porsche 911 T

Quick Spin: 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Pickups

Road Test: 2019 Kia Forte

 

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: Driving on Sunshine

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:41am
The EV evolution is taking another leap forward.  A German company called Sono Motors plans to build a solar electric vehicle… an SEV. They’re calling it the Sion.  The company is teaming up with National Electric Vehicle Sweden to produce them at a plant that once made cars for SAAB. They say soaking up sun rays will allow the Sion to go more than 158-miles starting at less than $29,000.  Production begins in 2020.  They hope 260,000 vehicles will roll off the production line in Trollhättan during 8-years.
Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 2019 World Car of the Year

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 9:53am
The New York International Auto Show was quite a success for Jaguar.  The Jaguar I-PACE came away with the prestigious 2019 World Car of the Year award, along with the 2019 World Green Car and the 2019 World Car Design of the Year awards.  In the 15 years of the awards, this is only the second time one company has achieved a triple-win. Mercedes-Benz achieved that honor in 2015. The Jaguar I-PACE has won dozens of awards since its debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show.  The electric SUV’s all-wheel-drive, comes from two motors, one in the front and one in the rear powered by the 90-kwH battery pack mounted low in the I-PACE’s all-new chassis.  The two motors produce a total output of 394-horsepower and 512 lb-ft. of torque with an EPA estimated range of up to 234 miles. Jaguar stands alone as achieving the most design wins for this competition. 2019 marks the third consecutive design win for the British brand and the fifth overall… all in the past decade. Forty vehicles were initially in the running for the 2019 World Car of the Year award until the Jaguar I-PACE was finally selected.
Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 7:00am

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.0 liter

Horsepower: 362

Torque: 369 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 9 mph

EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 7.0 tons/yr

It’s hard to believe it was just over 20 years ago, when people were shocked that Mercedes-Benz would release a luxury minded consumer oriented SUV. Well, believe it or not, now there are seven SUVs to choose from in their line-up. But it was the ML that started it all, and the latest version of it, is now known as the GLE.

My how things have changed. Luxury SUVs like this 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 are now the norm at the country club, not the exception. And as with most in the segment, there’s plenty of exciting technology. This GLE has MB’s new User Experience.  

“The MBUX personal assistant is claimed to be the most advanced voice recognition system out there able to understand most natural speaking so let’s give it a try."

"Hey Mercedes. Tune to Real Jazz radio. Please repeat. Tune to Real Jazz radio." It’s thinking about it and there it is.

"Hey Mercedes, find me the nearest gas station. Please select an entry.  Number 1. What would you like to do now? Take me there. The route is being calculated. " And off we go. And it’s giving me the route.

One more thing. "Hey Mercedes. How can I help you? What is MotorWeek? MotorWeek is a half hour American television series."

So you can see it’s not perfect, but the personal assistant got it right two out of three times and that’s a real step forward”

As to the more routine details, base power for the rear-drive GLE 350 is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 255-horsepower and optional all-wheel-drive. 

This GLE 450, has 4MATIC standard, as well as a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6; with 362-horsepower, 369 lb-ft. of torque, and Mercedes’ EQ Boost 48-volt starter/generator. 

The 450 feels very powerful; and at our test track, a strong hole shot from lots of low-end grunt, had us doing the 0-60 hustle in a quick 5.3-seconds. 

A mean-sounding crack of the exhaust happens every time the 9-speed automatic transmission triggers a snappy shift. Plenty of traction, and a super solid presence, had us feeling large and in charge throughout the 13.9-second ¼-mile, which ended with us travelling 99 miles-per-hour. 

It also handles quite well for a biggish midsize ute, feeling more compact than it is, weaving through the cones with concrete-like composure. Lots of grip, and very little body roll to speak of; it’s a very well-balanced chassis.

You can feel that Mercedes didn’t cheap out on suspension design and just rely on electronics to do the hard work. 

The sheet metal looks more like the original ML than last gen GLE; boxy is in, bulbous is out. We wouldn’t call it rugged, but it does have that gentlemanly cragginess to it, like a tweedy sportsman ready to take to the highlands for game.

The numbers say it’s not much bigger inside than before, but it sure feels like it when you settle into either the plush front seats, or spacious back ones. Everything from switchgear to materials, exudes upscale luxury.  

We love the wide, twin-screen instrument panel; beautifully integrated, full of information, and easy to use. What more do you want? 

Add the latest generation of Benz’s Advanced Driver’s Assistance System with Active Emergency Stop Assist to the list as well. In our crash barrier test, every run seemed to be a little different as far as when and how much it would brake, but it was 100% effective at bringing us to a stop.

With 5 passengers, cargo capacity is a fine 38.2 cubic feet. Drop the split rear seats and it’s a generous 80.3.   

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. We overachieved with a 26.9 miles-per-gallon average on Premium. Still, it rates a worse than average Energy Impact Score, with 15.7-barrels of petroleum consumed and 7.0 tons of CO2 emitted annually. 

Base pricing is actually down over last year, with the 2-wheel-drive 350 starting at $54,695; the 450 4MATIC at $62,145.

Even with all of the high-dollar SUVs we drive these days, it’s hard not to be impressed with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE. It may not offer the off-road prowess of a Range Rover, or the sheer performance of a Porsche Cayenne. But when it comes to comfort, technology, and luxury in the midsize SUV field, the GLE now sets the standard. 

Categories: Syndicated

Green Motoring: Clean Cities: Florida Maritime LNG

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 7:00am

Our success story this week takes us to Jacksonville, Florida where an alternative fuel is helping the maritime industry become eco-friendly. Clean burning liquefied natural gas…LNG…is now making enroads in this “super-sized”  fuel hungry transportation sector. At the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Crowley Maritime LNG facility can fuel giant container ships like the Tiano with LNG at the rate of 2700 gallons per minute.

CHRIS DESCHENEN: “Ships have burned very dirty fuel. Over time, those fuels have become cleaner and cleaner. In the evolution of marine fuel, using LNG is kind of the next progression in marine fuels when it comes to burning a cleaner fuel.”

The North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition aided partner Pivotal LNG in opening the processing plant only 15 miles from the port. It’s the first small scale maritime plant in the United States. All to help make the sunshine state’s coastal waters crystal clear.

Categories: Syndicated

Road Tests: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 3:36pm

Vital Statistics

Engine: 3.0 liter

Horsepower: 362

Torque: 369 lb-ft.

0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds

1/4 mile: 13.9 seconds @ 9 mph

EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway

Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr

CO2 Emissions: 7.0 tons/yr

It’s hard to believe it was just over 20 years ago, when people were shocked that Mercedes-Benz would release a luxury minded consumer oriented SUV. Well, believe it or not, now there are seven SUVs to choose from in their line-up. But it was the ML that started it all, and the latest version of it, is now known as the GLE.

My how things have changed. Luxury SUVs like this 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 are now the norm at the country club, not the exception. And as with most in the segment, there’s plenty of exciting technology. This GLE has MB’s new User Experience.  

“The MBUX personal assistant is claimed to be the most advanced voice recognition system out there able to understand most natural speaking so let’s give it a try."

"Hey Mercedes. Tune to Real Jazz radio. Please repeat. Tune to Real Jazz radio." It’s thinking about it and there it is.

"Hey Mercedes, find me the nearest gas station. Please select an entry.  Number 1. What would you like to do now? Take me there. The route is being calculated. " And off we go. And it’s giving me the route.

One more thing. "Hey Mercedes. How can I help you? What is MotorWeek? MotorWeek is a half hour American television series."

So you can see it’s not perfect, but the personal assistant got it right two out of three times and that’s a real step forward”

As to the more routine details, base power for the rear-drive GLE 350 is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 255-horsepower and optional all-wheel-drive. 

This GLE 450, has 4MATIC standard, as well as a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6; with 362-horsepower, 369 lb-ft. of torque, and Mercedes’ EQ Boost 48-volt starter/generator. 

The 450 feels very powerful; and at our test track, a strong hole shot from lots of low-end grunt, had us doing the 0-60 hustle in a quick 5.3-seconds. 

A mean-sounding crack of the exhaust happens every time the 9-speed automatic transmission triggers a snappy shift. Plenty of traction, and a super solid presence, had us feeling large and in charge throughout the 13.9-second ¼-mile, which ended with us travelling 99 miles-per-hour. 

It also handles quite well for a biggish midsize ute, feeling more compact than it is, weaving through the cones with concrete-like composure. Lots of grip, and very little body roll to speak of; it’s a very well-balanced chassis.

You can feel that Mercedes didn’t cheap out on suspension design and just rely on electronics to do the hard work. 

The sheet metal looks more like the original ML than last gen GLE; boxy is in, bulbous is out. We wouldn’t call it rugged, but it does have that gentlemanly cragginess to it, like a tweedy sportsman ready to take to the highlands for game.

The numbers say it’s not much bigger inside than before, but it sure feels like it when you settle into either the plush front seats, or spacious back ones. Everything from switchgear to materials, exudes upscale luxury.  

We love the wide, twin-screen instrument panel; beautifully integrated, full of information, and easy to use. What more do you want? 

Add the latest generation of Benz’s Advanced Driver’s Assistance System with Active Emergency Stop Assist to the list as well. In our crash barrier test, every run seemed to be a little different as far as when and how much it would brake, but it was 100% effective at bringing us to a stop.

With 5 passengers, cargo capacity is a fine 38.2 cubic feet. Drop the split rear seats and it’s a generous 80.3.   

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. We overachieved with a 26.9 miles-per-gallon average on Premium. Still, it rates a worse than average Energy Impact Score, with 15.7-barrels of petroleum consumed and 7.0 tons of CO2 emitted annually. 

Base pricing is actually down over last year, with the 2-wheel-drive 350 starting at $54,695; the 450 4MATIC at $62,145.

Even with all of the high-dollar SUVs we drive these days, it’s hard not to be impressed with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE. It may not offer the off-road prowess of a Range Rover, or the sheer performance of a Porsche Cayenne. But when it comes to comfort, technology, and luxury in the midsize SUV field, the GLE now sets the standard. 

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 2019 New York Auto Show—Toyota Unveils New Generation Highlander

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 12:01am

 

Toyota continues its product offensive with an all-new, 4th generation Highlander three-row midsize crossover utility vehicle. Unveiled today at the 2020 New York International Auto Show, the new Highlander will once again be available in both gasoline and hybrid gasoline-hybrid models. The new Highlander is built on a new platform with strikingly modern styling. Details of the new look include standard low profile LED headlights and an accentuated profile character line that runs up to expanded rear fenders. Motivating this generation Highlander is either a V6 or redesigned hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Advanced safety technology includes standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane tracking assist, and road sign assist. The visual highlight of the Highlander’s interior is a new 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen included with Premium trim. It is the largest touchscreen in the Highlander’s price segment. The new Highlander is about 2.4 inches longer overall than before with all of the length going to expand passenger and cargo volume. The new Highlander goes on sale late this year with the hybrid model arriving in the first quarter of 2020.

 

Categories: Syndicated

Podcasts: 2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2019 Kia Niro EV and 2019 Mazda3

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 3:00pm

Podcast #202

In Podcast 202, John Davis and the crew discuss the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Then Kyle talks about his drive of the new Mazda3. Then the whole group reviews the Kia Niro EV, followed by a lightning round about trucks and viewer question about dealership service.

Categories: Syndicated

This Just In: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 “Angry Bee” Approved for NHRA

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 12:01pm

The drag-oriented, street-legal 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is now National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) approved. The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 was recently given the green light to be modified for competition in NHRA Stock and Super Stock Sportsman class competition for the 2019 season. Named for the quarter-mile distance (1,320 feet), the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is powered by the 392 HEMI® V-8 engine that delivers 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque. With a quarter-mile elapsed time (E.T.) of 11.70 seconds at 115 miles per hour (mph), the showroom-stock Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is the fastest naturally aspirated, street-legal muscle car available.The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 can be modified for competition in NHRA according to Stock and Super Stock class rules. The vehicle will feature a class weight break of 8.72 and carry a minimum weight of 3,400 lbs. A new “Angry Bee” interpretation of the legendary Dodge Super Bee logo marks the vehicle’s front fenders, instrument panel, headlamps, instrument gauge cluster startup splash screen and key fob. The street-to-strip muscle car is beginning to arrive in FCA US dealerships.

Categories: Syndicated