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The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is the latest edition of a true SUV pioneering name. In fact, it was the boxy 4-door 1984 XJ Cherokee that started the trend of SUVs becoming a family staple.
But when the current generation KL Cherokee arrived for 2014, there was an uproar among Jeep purists who saw their full-framed mountain goat SUV transformed into a car-based crossover utility, complete with softer lines and polarizing styling.
Jeep has already proven the latest Cherokee’s off-road chops, and the 2019 refresh attempts to rectify other issues. For one thing, the split, squinty front lights are gone. Now, the LED daytime running lights are blended into a single headlight unit. The 7-slot grille now also looks more upright and traditional. Around back, even more tweaks were done to the rear end, including repositioning the license plate from the bumper to the liftgate.
Under the new aluminum hood are 3 engine options: a 180-horsepower Tigershark 2.4-liter I-4, a 271-horse Pentastar 3.2-liter V-6, and the all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 270 horsepower. The new turbo led to refinements in the 9-speed automatic transmission. Shifts come more quickly and smoothly. The electronic power steering also stayed on point during our initial drive through the California countryside.
Inside, less has changed, but again for the better. New piano black and satin chrome accents add style, while the latest-generation UConnect touch screens are available in two sizes, with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto now standard. The cabin remains overall very comfortable and reasonably roomy.
For more first driving impressions of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3727 that begins airing March 16, 2018. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
So the 2019 Jeep Cherokee evolves even further. While it may no longer be a trendsetter, the 2019 rework easily keeps up with the escalating pace of consumer SUV wants and needs.
Engine: 4.0 liter
Torque: 339 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.4 seconds @124 mph
The Porsche 911 GT3. It’s the car that took us from point-a all the way to point-z, during a recent once in a lifetime track and street adventure in Spain. Could this car truly be that amazing, or was our judgement clouded by all of the Iberico ham and high octane coffee? Only one way to find out!
So, here’s our plan to find out if the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is truly that spectacular. Hammer it around Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Simple as that.
We’ve already given you the details in our earlier test, so just a quick recap here. The GT3 is what Porsche’s Cup racing car is based on, with a naturally-aspirated 4.0–liter flat-6, rear axle steering, recalibrated suspension, and strategic weight reduction. All to provide the ultimate track experience for Porsche fans.
Here at Roebling, it was so nailed down, so competent, and so confidence-inspiring. Yet none of that messed with the fun we had. Porsche Stability Management operates mainly in the background, and lets you experience plenty of track joy before intervening; and it can be totally switched off.
Everything about the GT3 is just right; from the way the steering wheel fits your hands, to the way the car responds almost telepathically to your every input. It’s so well-balanced, so well set up, even the tires showed virtually no signs of wear after three days of hot laps.
Stability is first rate, it’s only in times of very hard braking into corners, that you remember the engine is behind you; and unlike 911’s of old, it’s more than happy to stay back there.
A 7-speed PDK is standard, with a 6-speed manual a no cost option. We love the idea of a manual. But, this PDK simply cannot be beat when it comes to a road course workout.
The engine is the heart and soul of any car. Here, Porsche’s flat-6 beats at a max rate of 9,000 RPM, to the tune of 500-horsepower and 339 lb-ft. of torque.
Our PDK tester shot to 60 in 3.5-seconds. The factory says 3.2 under ideal conditions, which our Roebling weather was not. Both times still faster than with the manual option.
The ¼-mile happened in 11.4-seconds at 124 miles-per-hour; Porsche’s launch control worked flawlessly as always, provided tires are up to operating temperature.
While perfection is attainable, it’s not cheap. GT3 pricing starts at $144,650; and of course reading the list of options would take longer than it does to make a lap around this track.
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is another fantastic Porsche in a very long line of incredibly great Porsches. So, you could say it’s just more of the same. But, it’s a familiar refrain that never grows old!
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest car show in America. Not only in floor space, but also because the attendees actually buy cars. And for its 110th edition, there were plenty of them to choose from.
Toyota unveiled the next generation TRD Pro lineup. For 2019, the Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma all get the lifted off-road treatment, with Fox Internal Bypass Shocks, TRD Springs, and knobby tires.
Nissan showed up ready for Chicago’s winter with the one-off Armada Snow Patrol. It’s needed to street tow the 332-horsepower 370Zki snowmobiling roadster.
Ford hopes to entice baby-boomers with a refreshed 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon. A 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel is now an engine option.
Volkswagen’s flagship Arteon made its North American debut. With a 268-horsepower turbo I-4, this mid-size 5-door sedan replaces the CC and slides into the line-up above the Passat.
Subaru is celebrating 5-decades in the U.S. Their 50th Anniversary Edition models will sport Heritage Blue exterior paint and anniversary badging.
Hyundai showed the revised Hybrid version of the 2018 Sonata sedan. The Plug-in Hybrid model can get up to 27 electric miles. The brand also announced they will compete in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge with two Hyundai i30 N TCR racecars.
And, all gas-fueled Fiat 500s are now turbocharged with a boosted 1.4-liter MultiAir I-4. Horsepower jumps from 101 to 135. Abarth models remain at 160.
And, that’s this week’s Windy City Motor News.
Engine: 6.2 liter
Torque: 650 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 10.9 seconds @ 127 mph
It’s hard to think of another car that had as big of an impact on the automotive world last year than the 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. But if you don’t already have one, you won’t get one. Not to worry, Dodge is spreading the Demon’s wealth onto it’s more attainable 707-horsepower Hellcat Widebody. But, this is about more than just looking fierce. So, time to let this cat out of the bag.
At the risk of turning away viewers, we’ll spill the beans right away, that the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody is essentially an SRT Demon without its 840-horsepower Hemi.
But like most things, the devil’s in the details; and diving into them, reveals that the Widebody is actually more than the sum of its parts. Those widened fenders from the Demon allow for stuffing in more road-gripping rubber, 305/35/20s in this case, which of course helps handling. Girth is good.
And, all of that rubber also allows you to launch a little better as well, dropping 0-60 by a tenth to 3.4-seconds and ¼-mile time to 10.9-seconds at 127.
Not that this Hellcat has magically become a kitty cat, there is still all of Satan’s fury you’re trying to transfer to the pavement. Thus, it’s still not for the faint of heart, or perfect for anything other than a fully prepped drag strip. Although, the long front stretch at Roebling Road Raceway certainly will do in a pinch.
You still have your choice of 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
We flogged both a Hellcat Challenger and Charger sedan around Roebling’s 9 turns in 2015, and found they were much more adept at destroying asphalt than clinging to it.
That has clearly changed for the better. Along with the wider tires, the Widebody gets new electric power steering; incorporated into the SRT performance pages so it can be adjusted independently, or as part of the preprogrammed drive modes.
But, even with handling improvements, some things have not changed. The Widebody still feels wide and heavy; perhaps taking out some weight and lowering it, would have been better than just adding wider tires.
But ohhhh that 707-horsepower engine! No surprise, power is more than plentiful, and it sneaks up on you quickly. There’s enough of it here to overpower any part of the track except the straight. You know it’s coming on in waves with the throttle down, so just plan accordingly. All told, it is a very controllable car… once you get a feel for it.
Of course it’s a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI that’s providing all of that thrust, accompanied by a healthy dose of supercharger whine; same output as the original Hellcat, 7-0-7 H-P, with a massive 650 lb-ft. of torque.
On track, the manual paddles shifters for the TorqueFlight transmission were a tad slow to respond; but left in drive it always seemed to make the proper decision on its own. It’s hard to tell what gear you’re in anyway, as the readout is very small; but there’s so much torque, you never seem to be in the wrong one.
As before, you’re taking all of this in from the widest, most comfortable muscle car seat out there. And away from the track, the Challenger still offers a wealth of comfort for a wide range of people, and even a great highway ride.
To get wide and wicked with a Hellcat Widebody will cost you $72,590, 6-grand over a base Hellcat; though I’m sure not many people are actually buying base Hellcats.
So, this 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody may not the perfect nail-downed trackalete, but it is still wildly entertaining. Also, Dodge understands their customers better than we do; and knows that any type of neutering of this beast would be unacceptable. It remains “the heavy-fisted muscle car brute with the soul of a Viper” that we’ve come to love, now just more track and street friendly. So, drivers, start your Hemi…and proceed with caution!
Road Test: 2018 Ford Mustang GT
Road Test: 2018 Audi SQ5
Goss' Garage: Patch it Up
Over the Edge: Porsche Winter Driving School
Quick Spin: 2018 Infiniti QX80
Quick Spin: 2018 Buick Regal Sportback
Quick Spin: 2018 smart fortwo electric cabriolet
Engine: 5.0 liter
Torque: 420 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.4 seconds @ 115 mph
EPA: 15 mpg city / 25 mpg Highway
When it comes to performance cars and muscle cars, as they say, if you’re not moving forward, you’re probably falling behind. Ford is definitely moving forward with their Mustang. It gets a host of updates for ’18, many of them our favorite kind, ones that make it gallop faster!
The 6th gen Mustang has only been on the street for 3-years, but Ford felt it was already in need of tweaking. So, how do you make a great pony car greater? Well we’ve come to Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, Georgia in this 2018 Ford Mustang GT to find out.
Mechanical changes start with more beef from the 5.0-liter. Now pushing 460-ponies out of its slightly enlarged 8-cylinders, and revving higher than ever, to whip up 420 lb-ft. of torque. And there’s a new 6-speed manual transmission to handle the extra force, aided by a new twin disc clutch.
For those that are not into selecting their own gears, a 10-speed automatic transmission is now available as well.
But, no thanks, it’s the manual for us. Working it and the pedals, will get you a 0-60 run of 4.5–seconds. A new Drag Mode helps you get the most out of it, especially if you do opt for the 10-speed automatic, which Ford claims is even quicker. Oh well, line-lock is now standard on all ‘stangs not just the GT, if you’re more into making smoke than haste.
Ripping through the gears is a pure delight. The new trans combined with great pedal placement, makes for quick work of it. And once a ¼-mile’s worth of Georgia asphalt had passed, we were at 115 miles-per-hour; after 12.4-seconds.
The exhaust note pouring out is better than ever, thanks to an optional Active Valve Performance Exhaust system. That’s good news to our ears, but if you think your neighbors might complain, you can engage a new quiet start mode.
GT Performance Packs are back. Our car had Level One. But, also added the new Level’s Two’s game-changing MagnaRide shocks. Similar to what’s fitted on the Chevy Camaro SS 1LE, this active system takes a multitude of things into consideration, including even ambient temperature, and adjusts accordingly. There’s also a new cross-axis joint rear suspension; and just for good measure, four Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S’s on 19-inch wheels.
Whether it’s those tires, the shocks, or the suspension setup, this 5.0 truly does feel nimbler around a road course; and without a doubt, there is more grip to exploit.
Transmission gearing has been changed and seems perfect for this track; while the Performance Pack’s Brembo brakes were phenomenal, far above what we’ve experienced in a basic GT Mustang.
This car feels great, fitting right in with just about any track worthy car you can think of. And it could even raise a few rival fans opinions on the Mustang.
This GT is precision balanced; much like the 2008 Mustang Bullitt we loved; though here there is enough power to induce some oversteer if you want, and those Michelin’s did take a bit of time to get heated up.
But for all of its on-track prowess, this GT Level 1 remains a very approachable, easy to live with car, that’s a breeze to operate whether cruising around town or on the open highway.
Other newness comes in the way of a 12-inch digital LCD customizable digital dash display.
Elsewhere inside, there’s more stitching throughout, a new pulsing start button ready to set everything off, and even a first time heated steering wheel. Finally, there’s updated SYNC Connect for the height of connectivity.
Safety systems are updated as well, with Mustang now getting Automatic Emergency Braking.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for a GT manual are 15-City, 25-Highway, and 18-Combined.
Base GT pricing does sneak up a bit, to $35,995; tack on another 4-grand for the Level 1 Performance package, and $1600 more for the Magnaride Shocks. Or, go full bore with Level 2 for $6500.
But just a reminder, base ‘stang’, using a base EcoBoost I4; the V6 is history; gets a lot of the same improvements and is actually cheaper than last year at $26,485.
As pony cars continue to battle it out, streaking down the front stretch towards a finish line that may never be reached, more technology and more performance are being added continuously.
Regardless, the 2018 Ford Mustang will succeed by doing what’s important to the Mustang faithful first. Being, unmistakably, a Mustang. It may not be the fastest muscle car out there; but it has no glaring flaws, and is without a doubt the best total package.
Engine: 3.0 liter
Torque: 369 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.8 seconds @ 102 mph
EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.2 tons/ye
Much like basic sedans have spawned ever sportier 4-doors over the years, the world of SUVs that we now live in, continues to expand with variations on the theme. Like the Audi SQ5. One ute where performance is as important as practicality.
Regular viewers of MotorWeek know that we’re big fans of what Audi has been doing lately, even claiming the most recent Q7 as a new benchmark for the luxury 3-row crossover segment. Well, 2018 sees the launch of a 2nd generation of the middle-weight Q5, and it’s the high-performance SQ5 variant that we have here.
Another item getting attention in the rework in interior space, mostly for rear seat passengers, who gain more leg and shoulder room.
Sometimes, more room for people means less room for cargo, and that is the case here; at least behind the rear seats where cubic-footage is reduced from 29.1 to 26.8. Still, with that additional space of the 2nd row, max cargo climbs from 57.3 to 60.4.
This crossover’s design is appreciably more attractive, with added coupe-like language and prominent wheel arches. SQ5s mount aluminum trim and of course a rear spoiler. Don’t worry about burning your legs on these twin double-barrel exhaust tips, because they’re not real, simply styling elements.
Standard Q5s rely on 2.0-liter I4 turbo power; but turbo-boosted performance here in the SQ5, comes from a 3.0-liter V6 with 354-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque.
But while that 2.0-liter comes with a 7-speed DCT, here you’ll get a traditional automatic with 8-gears.
The suspension grabs the usual stiffening and straightening; but more importantly, an adaptive air suspension can be added for first time, as part of the S Sport Package.
Spend any time at all behind the wheel of the SQ5, and you quickly get why luxury crossovers are taking over the world. It truly does feel like you’re driving an A4 sedan, yet you have all of that additional room for people and their stuff. Along for the ride are coddling seats, a quiet cabin, and of course, a ton of street potential; as well as a great exhaust note that’s never too loud.
Push a little harder on the track though, and it’s indeed A4 you’re reminded of, not S4, unfortunately. It’s certainly not the most “connected” feeling we’ve ever had with a sporty SUV either, but utterly proficient, with only mild understeer. Firm, stable, and comfortable regardless of speed.
The SQ5 bolts off the line like a sprinter out of the blocks, standard quattro all-wheel-drive delivering plenty of grip. We hit 60 in just 5.3-seconds.
No turbo-lag or noticeable hits of power, though the trans will give you quite a jolt at full throttle shifts; at least in Sport mode, left in Normal mode, it wants to find high gear and stay there for fuel economy’s sake. Full throttle for the full ¼ resulted in a time of 13.8-seconds at 102 miles-per-hour.
Now it certainly doesn’t feel that fast, perhaps because you’re wrapped in luxury bank vault solitude the whole way.
You’d think that air suspension might give it a floatier ride on the street, but the opposite is true. It feels nailed down and flat in corners, actually a bit harsher than some; but with a solid nature that never gives you the impression you have to tiptoe at all, no matter the road conditions.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. So our 22.4 miles-per-gallon average on Premium was not bad at all. The Energy Impact Score is about average at 15.7-barrels of annual oil consumption with C02 emissions of 7.2-tons.
A base Q5 will set you back just $42,475. But stepping up to this SQ5, will require 55,275 of your hard earned dollars.
The 2018 Audi SQ5 arrived just after a refreshed Mercedes-Benz GLC and just before the all-new BMW X3. It’s more luxurious than the former; and more athletic than the latter. It seems to be the sum of all that has been great about recent Audi’s, engineered into one impressive SUV. No wonder Audi is quickly becoming our go-to German brand, and this SQ5 is certainly worth your consideration too.
Since the very inception of steel bodies on automobiles, there has been one mortal enemy. And that is rust, especially rust through, structural rust and so on. Like on this classic Jeep we can see that the rocker panel is rusted, the dog leg is rusted. We need to replace these parts and of course for classics and collectibles, these parts are available, like this dogleg which would go in here. Now we wanted to do this car upright. We took it to Treasured Motorcars here in Maryland. And let’s see what was involved with that.
When Treasured Motorcars got a hold of this, what they did was they gained access to the parts that needed to be replaced. Now to get to the rocker panel the front fender had to come off of it, the doors had to come off because there are seams and everything inside that need to be cut away and re-welded. So that was the first step of this operation.
The next thing was that they had to cut the old panels off in such a manner that it didn’t damage any of the good metal. Patch or repair panels as we see here are available for most collectable cars. Chances are if it was popular back in the day you could get repair panels for it. Now the thing is you might, and I say might be able to do this yourself if you have the talent and if you have the tools, but it’s not always as easy as it looks. And we found that out here because we had a lot of rust that was hidden underneath the vehicle and that’s when a good body shop comes into play.
These inner pieces weren’t available for this Jeep, so Treasured Motorcars had to fabricate them from scratch. Now this involves cutting, bending, and shaping new metal to match the contours of the original body work. And this takes the proper tools, a large degree of skill, and lots of patience. And that’s the one area most do-it-yourselfers fall short. This particular job involved 50 hours of labor just in fabrication. Making these new pieces and making them fit properly is critical. Rusty parts will continue to rust so they must be replaced. And if you allow water, debris and salt to get into newly repaired areas, well the repair isn’t going to last and you’re wasted your time and money. Do the job right or have it done right and you’ll have a quality repair that extends the life of the vehicle and looks great in the process. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.
Our "Over the Edge" guy Zach Maskell is usually happy as a clam, be it behind the wheel of just about anything, or would you believe, when he’s skating on ice, thick or thin. Well, it just so happens he recently got a chance to combine his two passions; trading in his hockey stick and skates for a steering wheel and studded tires; and go sliding around in some of Germany’s finest as close to a snow bank as he could get.
ZACH MASKELL: These schools are becoming a sport for manufacturers. One I can… get behind.
LORNE BANKS: “Accelerate. Off gas. Add some steering. Brake. Look there. Straighten the wheel. Go to power. Well done.”
ZACH MASKELL: I’ve spent a lot of time this winter indoors most likely because it’s been abnormally cold, in fact I just found out I have a vitamin D deficiency, so we instinctively flocked to northern Quebec at Porsche’s Camp 4. While we will be outside trying to get some sunlight, we’ll also be spending the day inside some Porsches.
JONATHAN URLIN: Back about 15 years ago there was a media event to launch the all-wheel- drive system, the C4S, which became a media event called Camp 4 S over in Finland, it was such a great time everyone had such a wonderful experience that they decided to bring it back as a retail program, 15 years later here we are in our fifth venue across the world and in Canada the second largest internationally.
ZACH MASKELL: We’re armed with rear and all-wheel drive 420 horsepower 911’s, and some 718 Caymans… with 1.5 millimeter studded tires with the heated seats on max.
LORNE BANKS: “The first thing that we check when we get in a car is our distance from our bottom to the pedals.”
ZACH MASKELL: When the brake pedal is floored, you want a slight bend in the knee. Then you put your shoulders back against the seat… and make it so your wrists touch the wheel. This allows hand speed… once the you’re really pushing the car.
“Porsches traction management works closest with Porsche stability control aka PSM… I like to call it please save me. Because I can tell you numerous times on a racetrack.. it has done just that. Out here, we are turning that off, that way we get us some oversteer.”
LORNE BANKS: “So the beauty about an all-wheel drive, as we’re seeing, is as soon as we straighten the wheel, we can add power to straighten the car back out. Rear wheel drive we have to basically sit there with a lot of counter steer and wait.”
ZACH MASKELL: Like any school we start simple. So first we practice donuts on the skidpad, and figure out how to stay out of this situation. The dreaded understeer… when the car plows forward – and you don’t want it to. Then we move on to the slalom. We’re instructed to tap the brakes to get traction to the front wheels, then steer the car where we want to go.
ZACH MASKELL: “Perhaps the most important thing we learn today. Left foot braking. Even with all wheel drive we come into the turn. Flick. Add some brake that way we get more traction up front. Straighten out. And then we power out.”
We’re waiting for the car to rotate. While it may look hectic outside… everything inside is timing… and patience.
JONATHAN URLIN: 3 different levels here at the ice experience, you have camp 4, camp 4 S, and our advanced level program Ice Force.
ZACH MASKELL: Work your way to Ice force and experience Turbo S’s and GT3’s on the ice. But first start at Camp 4… for a little over $4,000 - which gives you the basic two-day course… delicious meals and a room with a much needed fireplace.
One thing that sets this school apart from others – was seat time. I was exhausted at the end of the day. While this is an amusement park for the sport car fiend… coming from someone who’s always felt the need to become a better winter driver… I promise you’d leave feeling the same way as well.
LORNE BANKS: That’s the whole idea behind the school right. Is to be comfortable driving a car sideways in slippery conditions.
VOICE ON RADIO: Good Job guys. Excellent today.
Track Test: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupe
Goss' Garage: Modern Stereos
Two Wheelin': Indian Scout Bobber
Motor News: Nissan and VW AI | Alexa Integration | Fisker
Long Term Update: Chrysler Pacifica | Mazda CX-9
Road Test: 2018 Range Rover Velar
In MotorWeek Podcast 175, John Davis and the gang go over the winners of MotorWeek's 2018 Drivers' Choice Awards. Plus, the group answers a viewer question about lug nuts.