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Daily Archives: April 8, 2018

Next-Gen Subaru WRX Still Offering Manual Transmission

Subaru VIZIV concept (1)

Subaru hinted before that it may stop offering manual transmission altogether for safety measures. This caused annoyance among car enthusiasts who believe that manual transmission is still the way to go. Subaru North America CEO Tom Doll finally put to rest these fears, saying that the next-generation Subaru WRX will still offer a manual transmission.

He told Drive during an interview that the company would still be producing manual transmission for its performance line such as the WRX. The Forester, however, would not have the manual transmission.

The news that Subaru would kill off the manual gearbox spread at the Geneva Motor Show last month. Subaru UK Managing Director Chris Graham that the production of the automatic emergency braking would be the trigger to end the manual shift.

Subaru’s EyeSight system includes a suite of active safety features, including automatic emergency braking. The suite is fine, but it does not work with a manual transmission, leading the brand to ponder the possibility of altogether closing its manual gearbox offers. Remember that a manual transmission has a clutch pedal that has to be depressed to keep the car from stalling out when stopping.

Subaru VIZIV concept (2)

In terms of comparison, the automatic emergency braking systems from Honda and Mazda are compatible with manual transmissions. What the system does is to let the vehicle stall rather than get in an accident unless the driver presses the clutch on time.

Subaru is not saying anything if it would develop something similar to the systems produced by Honda and Mazda. The current option across all Subaru variants is the brand’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The BRZ remains to be the only model in the lineup with a traditional 6-speed automatic.

The next-generation WRX will most possibly be inspired by the Viziv Performance concept shown during the 2017 Tokyo auto show. The concept features a turbocharged flat-4 boxer engine.

 

Hyundai Kona Electric Showcases Powertrain Versatility

Hyundai Kona Electric (1)

The Hyundai Kona Electric was introduced last week at the New York Auto Show, marking another level of versatility that the brand is bringing to its US utility lineup.

The Kona Electric is a pure EV subcompact crossover that go an estimated 250 miles on a single charge. It’s part of the series of announcements that Hyundai made to introduce an all-new lineup. Last February, the South Korean automaker said that the redesigned Santa Fe will have a diesel option in 2019, which marks Hyundai’s first diesel in the US market. The fuel-powered Nexo will also continue to be around to build on the brand’s “hydrogen legacy.”

The Kona Electric will be rolled out to targeted markets only. Hyundai said that the EV subcompact crossover will be produced in Ulsan, Korea, and will be initially available in California. Later on, other states with California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations will follow the launch. The availability will start in the fourth quarter of 2018.

What the Kona EV brings to the table is “peace of mind” and “flexibility,” according to Hyundai Motor America COO Brian Smith. Why? The 250-mile range is father than the capability of EVs before the Kona EV. Previous EVs can only muster up around 100 or 150 miles.

The closest competitor of the Kona EV is the Chevy Bolt, a hatchback that has the capacity of 238 miles in a single charge. Though Tesla Model 3 has a 220-mile range, it is a sedan and does not fall under the same category as the Kona.

A lot of cross-shopping will happen, Smith claims, as customers who want EVs suddenly have the option of buying a CUV because it’s out in the market now. The 250-mile range will also allow many people to go two to three days without charging, and that’s a big factor to consider.

The Kona EV gets 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo space, which is the same as the gasoline version of the crossover. Pricing details have not been announced yet.

3 Things To Know About The Redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Spark

2019 chevrolet spark (1)

The tiny, sub-subcompact car known as the Chevrolet Spark is ready for a mild update for the 2019 model year. It’s due for one since the last time Chevrolet gave the Spark a refresh was in 2016. It’s time for a bit of tweaks and adjustments for this very able subcompact sedan.

But unlike last time, when Chevrolet bragged about the addition of power (17 percent) in the Spark’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, there’s not much upgrades in the mechanical department for the 2019 Spark. Instead, there’s a new front end and some tech upgrades.

1. Grille Shape Is Different

The latest Spark’s front grille is quite different, thanks to a new shape and the use of chrome on the grille. The shapes of the two outboard intakes in the bumper are also different from the current and previous generations. The utilization of chrome on the grille and the LED running lamps do not deviate from the fact that this is an affordable car, though.

The LED running lights should have given the Spark a “more powerful” presence but we know that Spark can only produce as much as 98 horsepower, tops.

2. Tech Features

Like before, the Spark comes with the standard 7.0-inch touchscreen that has the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration, built-in 4G LTE data connection powering a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, 10 airbags, and a backup camera.

All of these will come at a price of only $13,925. The overall price of the car has yet to be announced, but we’re expecting that anytime soon.

3. Drive Confidence Package

Last year, Chevrolet introduced the forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning as part of its driver assistance package. For the 2019 Spark, we’ll see automated emergency braking feature. In the event of an accident, Spark will apply the brakes for you or augment the driver’s braking inputs to avoid or minimize a collision.

6 Important Things To Know About The 2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Jaguar’s first SUV is getting a special treatment from JLR’s performance and customization division, the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). The Jaguar F-Pace SVR debuted at the New York International Auto Show last week and showed tremendous potential as a sports car performance in a practical SUV design.

1. Exterior

The F-Pace grabbed both the World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year awards in 2017, which proved that Ian Callum is the “king” in SUV design. Callum is the same person behind the designs of the Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar C-X75, and the Jaguar F-Type.

The SVR model adds aggression and power to its looks, thanks to an aero package, a unique bumper, a new hood, larger fender vents, and a unique set of lightweight forged alloy wheels measuring 21 inches.

2. Interior

The F-Pace SVR has a sleek but simple interior. It starts with a quilted upholstery with the embossed SVR logo on the heavily bolstered sport seats. Top-shelf materials are used in every inch of the cabin, including the new pistol-style shifter knob, an SVR-specific steering wheel with soft-touch upholstery wrappings and aluminum paddle shifters.

3. Drivetrain

The F-Pace SVR received a huge power boost because of its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 that can now produce 550 ponies and 502 pound-feet of torque. It has an active and lightweight exhaust system that helps power the car to 176 mph top speed. It can go 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. The F-Pace SVR is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

4. Chassis And Handling

The F-Pace SVR used the same iQ-Al modular platform as the regular F-Pace. This is the same one used on the Jaguar XE, the second-generation Jaguar XF, and the next-generation Jaguar XJ, not to mention the Range Robert Velar SUV. Thanks to this platform, the F-Pace SVR has a lightweight aluminum body that makes it easier for driver to handle it.

5. Prices

The SVR variant will start at $79,990 and orders will start this summer.

6. Competition

The main competitor of the F-Pace SVR is the Porsche Macan Turbo, which is rocking a twin-turbo V-6 that produces a whopping 400 horsepower after it has been paired with a 7-speed transmission and high-performance AWD system. The price for the Porsche starts at $77,200.

Checking Out The New 2019 Cadillac XT4

cadillac xt4 (8)

The decision of Cadillac to hire Johan de Nysschen has finally come to fruition in terms of the crossover market. This 2018, we’ll finally get to see the launch of the 2019 Cadillac XT4, which will give the BMW X3, the Audi Q5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC a run for their money.

Making its public debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show, the XT4 is Cadillac’s smallest crossover to date. It rides on a new platform and uses a small displacement engine. Is it surprising that Cadillac wants a chunk off the crossover market? It’s a huge market, and one being slowly monopolized by luxury brand such as BMW.

Exterior

The overall styling cues of the XT4 comes from the larger XT5. Although it has a more subdued appearance, it is still elegant and sophisticated. Plus, it has a nice sporty look that would go well with the millennial market. Similar to the XT5, the XT4 has a swept-back headlamps with vertical daytime running lights, a big trapezoidal grille, and a sturdy bumper. From the CT6 sedan, it got the side intakes that are placed higher than the fascia and the LED strips that are shorter than the XT5.

Overall, the XT4 feels sportier and more aggressive, which is much needed if it’s to compete with the BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. There are eight colors that you can choose from— Atlantic Metallic, Autumn Metallic, Crystal White Tricoat, Twilight Blue Metallic, Shadow Metallic, Red Horizon Tintcoat, Stellar Black Metallic, and Radiant Silver Metallic.

Interior

Inside, the cabin has some familiar features, but there’s enough styling elements also to make it stand out. First, it has a unique dashboard design. The center piece holds the new eight-inch infotainment display with several controls underneath. There’s a three-spoke steering wheel design wrapped in leather and has big grip handles for a sportier feel.

Other notable features include the sporty seats with a massage option and ambient lighting. On the tech side, you can enjoy the infotainment system with a smartphone-like operation and intuitive interface.

Drivetrain

Here’s the 411 on the new Cadillac XT4. It will run on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with Active Fuel Management or cylinder deactivation for the best fuel economy. It can produce 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The XT4 will have a starting price of $35,790, including the destination charge, but excluding tax, title, license, dealer fee, and optional equipment.

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