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Monthly Archives: November 2018

What We Know So Far About The 2020 Kia Soul EV

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Kia wasted no time in revealing its 2020 Kia Soul EV as it was introduced at the same time that the new third-generation Soul crossover debuted. The Soul EV is, of course, based on the regular Soul.

The new Soul EV has the same distinctive look as the regular Soul but it now has a larger battery pack and a more powerful electric motor.

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The old Soul EV had a 30.0-kWh battery pack while the new one claims to make 64.0-kWh, more than double the capacity of the old model. In terms of horsepower and torque, the new Soul EV also has twice the power compared to the old Soul EV. Its front-mounted motor is rated at 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous generation’s 109 horses and 210 pound-feet of torque.

Kia has not released performance figures as of now but it claims that drivers of the new Soul EV “will feel like a virtual Aladdin” because of the new independent rear suspension that gives a “magic carpet ride” feel.

The new battery pack installed in the new Soul EV is still being tested by the EPA with the results expected to be available early 2019. But since the Soul shares its platform with the Hyundai Kona Electric, we can base some of our expectations from its EPA ratings—258 miles of range in total. The outgoing Soul EV is rated at 111 miles, so the expected increase is quite staggering.

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The Soul EV has four driving modes—Eco, Eco+, Comfort, and Sport. All these modes will adjust the car’s powertrain power and response, HVAC system, and many more to suit the driving conditions and maximize power efficiency.

Other things that make the EV model a standout from the regular Soul are the front and rear bumpers, a charging port, a more closed-off grille, LED lights in chrome front unibrow, and 17-inch wheels. Inside, it has a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with integrated features such as monitoring charging, scheduling charge times, and planning routes.

The Soul EV will go on sale next year though prices have not been announced. We’re also not sure yet if this will be available in all states. Remember that the outgoing Soul EV was also available in these states: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.

 

2020 Jeep Gladiator vs 2019 Ford Ranger

2020 jeep gladiator vs 2019 ford ranger

We’ve seen the US-spec version of the 2019 Ford Ranger at the Detroit Auto Show, marking the first sighting after seven years of absence from the US soil. The Ranger, however, is coming back with a lot of competitions to face, particularly the very able Wrangler-based pickup called the Jeep Gladiator.

Exterior

Ford didn’t change anything with the Ranger from the last time it was seen here seven years ago. It feels old and it didn’t add anything to the game. Jeep, on the other hand, also didn’t try anything radical with the Gladiator. There’s nothing in the design that will surprise or wow you but it’s exactly what a Wrangler-based pickup should look like.

Our bet? The Gladiator.

Interior

The pickup trucks’ interiors will appeal to different sectors. The Ranger’s interior offers comfort and refinement. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ford somehow uses the same layout in its crossover range. Then, we’ve got a Wrangler-inspired interior for the Gladiator. Forget about inspiration. The Gladiator’s interior looks like an exact copy of the Wrangler, which was a crowd favorite. It may not look as comfortable as the Ranger’s interior but we’re very much sure anyone riding the Gladiator will feel the luxury and pleasure of a well-appointed Jeep.

Our bet? The Gladiator again.

Powertrain

When it is launched, the Gladiator will come with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It plans to add a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that produces 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission will come standard while an eight-speed automatic is optional.

For its part, the Ranger comes with a single option: a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission this engine will be paired with is a 10-speed automatic.

Our bet? The Gladiator once more.

Honorable Mentions

Jeep added 31 inches to the Wrangler’s unlimited frame, giving the Gladiator a five-foot bed. With the tailgate down, that’s enough for some off-road activities with your dirt bikes. The Ranger’s bed, however, matches the Gladiator with five feet but Ford offers a six-foot option for buyers who need the additional space. In this regard, Ford wins, hands down.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Crossover Revealed At The LA Auto Show

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The 2020 Hyundai Palisade crossover made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s a big three-row crossover that’s perfect for family road trips and outings. Following closely the style and the size of the Santa Fe XL, the Palisade crossover will comfortably seat eight persons—with two cupholders per person.

The Palisade Has Options For All-Wheel Drive

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The Palisade uses a V-6 engine just like the XL though it’s going to be a 3.8-liter mill this time much like the Genesis. The engine pairs well with the Palisade’s option for front- or four-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t that much far from the Santa Fe’s 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 290 horsepower.

The Palisade Has More Interior Space

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Replacing the XL is Palisade’s three-inch longer bumper-to-bumper and four inches additional space between the wheels, both of which adds more interior space that can seat eight people comfortably. Second-row passengers, in particular, will enjoy the cavernous space as the Palisade boasts of 40 inches of rear-seat legroom. This is more than what the Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, and Subaru Ascent are offering. The third-row passengers will get 31.4 inches of legroom, which is average for its class.

That interior space carries over to the cargo space as the Palisade effectively boasts of 18 cubic feet of cargo room, nearly 46 cubic feet when the third row is folded flat.

The Palisade Has More Options For Comfort

Families will love the option to get second-row captain’s chairs that can be optionally cooled. For the top trims, Hyundai will offer its 10.3-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. There will also be a powerful folding third-row on most models. Standard to all Palisades will be the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto.

Hyundai hasn’t revealed pricing details for the Palisades but we expect it to cost more than the Santa Fe XL, which has an entry price of $31,895.

2019 Nissan Maxima Updates Its Look But Not Its Performance

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The 2019 Nissan Maxima made its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The exterior looks infinitely better than the outgoing model and it also comes with additional safety features. However, Nissan missed out the opportunity to upgrade the car’s performance, too, as the Maxima will come with the same 300-horsepower V-6 engine.

Powertrain

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This is the main problem with the new Maxima—it arrived with the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes a respectable 300 horsepower. There’s no additional power; not even five or 10 horses just to show that there was a change in the performance. There was no talk about a hybrid powertrain option, too, so forget about that.

The Japanese automaker clearly missed out on the opportunity to sell more of its flagship car to an ever-changing market.

Exterior

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What it does boasts of is the change in the exterior, which includes redesigned front and rear fascias that look sharper than the ones in the previous generation. It also now has a larger V-motion grille, new intake grille in the fog lamp housing, boomerang LED headlights, and smart 19-inch “Hyper Silver” wheels that are exclusive to the Platinum Reserve package only.

Don’t worry since there are new wheel designs for the other five trims—S, SV, SL, SR, and Platinum—too. The Maxima is also being offered with a new “Sunset Drift” exterior shade while the rear now has integrated quad exhaust tip finishers and a new sport spoiler mounted on the trunk.

Interior

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The Maxima retained the “Gliding Wing” layout from the previous generation but it also added a lot of features inside the cabin. For example, the top two trims now come with new seat inserts and charcoal headliner to make it look like a cockpit.

The interior is finished off with Satin Bronze interior finishing treatments, heated rear seats, and a dual panoramic sunroof on the SR Premium Package. The Platinum Reserve trim level has Rakuda Tan leather, which is the same material used in the GT-R sports car.

Top 3 Reasons To Buy The All-New Honda Passport SUV

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Honda said that its all-new Passport, which is on the clock for an early 2020 release, is a do-it-all SUV. Sandwiched between the CR-V and the range-topping Pilot, the Honda Passport has enough space inside for the family but also has the power to be an off-roader.

Honda has yet to give specifics on the trim levels, though it said that the SUV will be available in four trim levels, including the range-topping Elite trim. Pricing will be announced once the launch date is near. It should be cheaper than the top-level Pilot, which starts at $31,450.

1. The Passport Produces 280 Horsepower

The only SUV in its segment more powerful than the upcoming Passport SUV is the 290-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Passport has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It is more powerful than the 240-horsepower Ford Edge, the 260-horsepower Nissan Murano, and the 270-horsepower Toyota 4Runner.

That V-6 engine is paired with Honda’s nine-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel-drive system with an optional all-wheel drive with i-VTM4 torque vectoring on all trims. With the torque vectoring, the Passport improves its off-road capabilities.

2. The Passport Can Tow 3,500 Pounds

Honda boasts that the Passport can tow an impressive 3,500 pounds. That’s double the capacity of the Ford Edge and the Nissan Murano. The Passport’s towing capacity is comparable only to the Grand Cherokee, which is being considered more of the higher-end Pilot’s competitor even in terms of power output.

The only SUV in its class with a higher towing capacity is the Toyota 4Runner, which can tow a whopping 5,000 pounds. But with the option of the four-wheel drive, the Passport can easily tow 5,000 pounds, too.

3. The Passport Has An Elegant Interior

Don’t think of the Passport as purely utilitarian. It has the same fancy interior as other SUVs. The dashboard layout is pristine and Honda’s new digital infotainment system comes standard from the EXL trims and above. It has an eight-inch touchscreen that controls a number of tech features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Honda Announces Price, Specs For CR-V Hybrid Version

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The Honda CR-V hybrid model will have a starting price of £29,105 ($37,370) in the UK. Honda also announced the specs and features for the well-loved SUV’s hybrid version.

Under the hood, the CR-V hybrid version is powered by an all-new twin motor Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid powertrain. This combines an electric motor, a 2.0-liter petrol engine, and a separate electric motor-generator that will deliver a total output of 181 horses and 315Nm of torque.

To reduce size and mass, the new system employs a single-fixed gear ratio instead of the conventional gearbox. Buyers can choose if they want a front- or a four-wheel drive.

The four-wheel-drive models start at £32,065 ($41,171) and can be as expensive as £37,255 ($47,835). The trim has a lineup made up of four specifications: S, SE, SR, and EX. The top-of-the-range versions will arrive with a heated steering wheel, head-up display, panoramic glass roof, leather and cruise control as standard.

As the first car in Honda’s lineup to use the new hybrid system, CR-V is pressured to show the rest of the world that the Japanese automaker is ready to move progressively towards a more environment-friendly development phase. The powertrain used in the hybrid version will automatically shuffle between these three driving modes—EV Drive, Hybrid Drive, and Engine Drive—depending on the conditions and how the car is being driven.

The pure EB and hybrid driving modes are configured for low speed and urban driving, so don’t expect much. If you want more power, the petrol engine can kick in and put the wheels in motion. It is also used to deliver power to the electric motor and recharge the battery pack.

In official tests, the front-wheel drive achieves a 53.3 mpg rating while the four-wheel-drive model only has 51.4 mpg. Emission ratings are 120g/km for the front wheel drive model and 126g/km for the four-wheel drive.

BMW 330e Plug-In Hybrid Gets XtraBoost Performance Mode

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BMW’s all-new second-generation 330e, the plug-in hybrid version of its 3 Series sedan, has been updated with the XtraBoost performance mode. The German automaker is set to unveil the updated 330e next summer in Europe before it hits the US soil.

The XtraBoost performance mode is capable of temporarily boosting the car’s output to 293 horsepower. That’s an improvement of 41 horsepower. The car’s updated system also extended its electronic-only range and improved fuel efficiency.

Previously called the 330e iPerformance, the current 330e combines power from a 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 184 horsepower and an electric motor that can make 68 horses. Together, the combined system output is 252 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. That power is enough to launch the 330e to 62 mph from a complete standstill in just six seconds. It also has a top speed of 130 mph.

The engines are mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

The addition of the XtraBoost performance will enable the electric motor to access up to 41 horsepower from the 12 kWH lithium-ion battery. It is able to maximize the charge status of the battery down to the lowest level. The XtraBoost kicks in when the driver activates the Sport mode switch.

The electric motor, which derives its power from regenerative braking or the power grid, alone can supply the car’s electrical system. The need for a generator which is powered by a combustion engine is then negated, allowing the car to run on full electric power. The electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed transmission to save space while the fuel tank is mounted above the rear axle. This creates a roomier cargo space.

According to BMW, the electric-only capacity of the 330e has also been improved to just over 37 miles (60 km). It can run on electric-only speeds up to 68 mph.

Though BMW said that fuel economy is improved by 10 percent, we have to wait for official EPA fuel-economy ratings to be sure.

 

New Jaguar Land Rover Tech ‘Talks’ To Traffic Lights

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A new technology developed by Jaguar Land Rover allows cars to communicate with traffic lights. It tells drivers to either to speed it up (so they miss the red lights) or to slow down when approaching stop lights.

The vehicle-to-infrastructure or V2X system is called the Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory or the GLOSA. It is designed to prevent tailbacks at traffic lights and is aimed at reducing traffic in urban areas.

Jaguar Land Rover said that the widespread adoption of the GLOSA will prevent drivers from trying to beat the red light. It thus improves air quality because the system reduces harsh acceleration and braking.

JLR connected technology research engineer Oriol Quintana-Morales said GLOSA has “the potential to revolutionize driving by creating safe, free-flowing cities that take the stress out of commuting”.

The research for GLOSA continues as JLR aims to make the commute as comfortable as possible for their customers.

Right now, the GLOSA is being tried in the Jaguar F-Pace. It is part of the government’s £20 million project called UK Autodrive that aims to reduce the time commuters spend in traffic. JLR is also testing a number of other technologies with the same purpose.

One of these technologies is called the Intersection Collision Warning (ICW), which can alert drivers when it is unsafe to proceed at a junction. It also informs drivers if other cars are approaching from another road and suggests the order in which they should proceed when crossing the junction.

The company is also working with technologies that will give drivers real-time update about the availability of parking spaces in their destination. There’s also another technology called the Emergency Vehicle Warning, which will alert drivers when an ambulance, fire truck, or other emergency vehicle is approaching.

With connected technology, JLR plans to deliver “zero accidents, zero congestion, and zero emissions.”

Honda Revives Passport Name As Fourth SUV

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There will be a fourth SUV from Honda and through that, the Japanese automaker will revive the Passport name, which used to be appended to a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo. There were some teaser images of the new SUV from Honda but we can barely see anything since in the two photos, the SUV is either covered in dust or photographed from a bird’s eye point of view.

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While it’s hard to see anything with these teaser photos, the power of digital-altering software is again on our side. With the magic of zoom and enhance, we’re able to make out some details of the new Honda Passport’s exterior.

The Honda Passport will look like a shortened version of the Honda Pilot. That is evident on the window line of the dusty SUV we saw in the photos. There’s also a crease along the door handles that look the same as the bigger Pilot’s handles. The grille will have a general shape that is similar to the wide, chrome-laden fascia of both the Pilot and the Ridgeline.

This theory is supported by another fact: the Passport is going to be designed and developed in the United States, Honda proudly said. It will be built at Honda’s factory in Lincoln, Alabama, the home of the Honda Odyssey, Pilot, and the Ridgeline. So even if the Japanese carmaker decides to divert away from the design elements of the Pilot, the Passport will very likely be built on the same platform as the Pilot and the Ridgeline.

This brings us to another tidbit. It looks like the Passport is going to have the same naturally aspirated V6 with one or two of the transmissions.

We should know more details about the Passport when it is unveiled on November 27 before the start of the Los Angeles auto show.

3 Amazing Things To Expect From The New Mercedes-Maybach GLS


What else can we expect from a Mercedes-Maybach but pure unadulterated luxury? The new Mercedes-Maybach GLS was spotted testing weeks before its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Remember that this is the top-of-the-line Maybach and since Mercedes is planning to expand the lineup with luxurious models, what better way to do that than add the GLS into the mix.

1. Chrome Detailing For A Plush Appearance

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS, which could be called the GLS560, has been spotted wearing a full camouflage though we did see some details that suggest chrome detailing to make it look plush and luxurious. It may also feature unique vertical grille slats. And since this is a Maybach model, we also expect to see a distinct badge and unique wheels.

The interior will be the primary focus of the changes that Mercedes will make in the GLS. Instead of the seven-seat layout, the Maybach variant will have a four-seat layout with captain chairs in place. The cabin will also be roomier and more comfortable.

2. Architecture Similar To BMW X7

Similar to the regular GLS and the BMW X7, the Maybach GLS will have an aluminum-and-steel bodyshell and advanced four-wheel-drive. Its use of the Modular High Architecture platform, which is also being used in the smaller GLE, will reduce the curb weight compared to the older GLS. The platform can also support a 48-volt electrical architecture and the latest in radar, camera, and sensor-supported driving functions.

3. New Engine And Plug-In Hybrid Option

It looks like the Maybach GLS will offer the AMG-developed M177 engine that’s found in the S560 as well. In the sedan, it can produce 462 horsepower. We don’t have the data for the Maybach GLS. This new engine replaced the turbocharged 4.7-liter, twin-turbocharged, V8 unit that’s in the current Mercedes-Benz GLS 500.

There could also be a plug-in hybrid option for the Maybach GLS, similar to the one in the S560e. That’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder electric supercharger that makes 362 horses. It comes with a 121-horsepower electric motor that has an electric range of 31 miles.

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