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Monthly Archives: November 2018

5 Things We Learned From The 2020 Toyota Corolla Reveal

2020 toyota corolla (2)

Japanese automaker Toyota took off the cover from its redesigned Corolla sedan that’s slated to become a 2020 model. This followed the earlier reveal of a redesigned Corolla hatchback at the start of the year.

The revelation happened during a private event but the general public will see the sedan later this month at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. According to Toyota, the new compact sedan will be in showrooms next spring as a 2020 model.

It Uses Toyota’s TNGA Platform

The architecture behind the new Corolla is the TNGA modular design, which is already being used in the latest versions of the Prius, Camry, and the CH-R. As the 12th generation of the Corolla nameplate, there’s a lot riding on the 2020 model. What we can deem from the reveal is that the sedan and hatch versions will be closely related and the use of the platform will give the new Corolla better handling because of the low center of gravity and increased body rigidity.

It Has Better Handling And Rigidity

Thanks to the TNGA platform, the new Toyota Corolla has better handling than its predecessors. Specifically, the torsional rigidity is up by 60 percent, thanks largely to the multi-link rear suspension that’s a major advance over the torsion beams set up in the previous generations. The setup works together with the MacPherson strut suspension up front. Buyers can choose wheels measuring up to 18 inches in diameter.

It Will Have A Hybrid Powertrain

Toyota said that there will be a hybrid powertrain available for the 2020 Corolla model and that should be revealed soon. For now, there are two powertrains: a standard unit from the previous generation’s 1.8-liter inline-4 that makes 139 horsepower and a new 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 169 horses. The CVT is an automatic option though buyers can opt for a six-speed manual with rev-matching.

It Has A Tablet-Like Dashboard Design

The previous generation’s busy dashboard design has been discontinued in favor of a tablet-like touchscreen for the infotainment. It appears to float above the climate control vents. In the instrument cluster, the 4.2-inch screen is standard and a 7.0-inch screen is an alternative.

It Has A Host of Electronic Driver Aids

The new Corolla is packed with driver assistance features such as the automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Some other cool features are the wi-fi hotspot and its compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Docs Leaked Online

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Images and texts for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator were briefly posted on Fiat Chrysler’s website before they were taken down. Luckily, one individual was able to save the docs before they were removed from the media site. Everything we expect the Gladiator to be was confirmed. These are all extremely important information since many are waiting for the launch of the Gladiator.

According to the leaked document, the 2020 Gladiator will come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that can be paired to either an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. We expect for this pairing to offer the same 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque as in the other Wrangler vehicles. Jeep would be naught to leave Wrangler behind and create something more powerful than its most iconic vehicle.

But there’s also an option for those who want more power from the Gladiator. There will be an optional 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and if the current configuration for the Grand Cherokee will be the basis, then Gladiator’s diesel engine might be able to cough up 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.

The spec sheet, which was thankfully salvaged, lists the Gladiator’s maximum towing capacity at 7,600 pounds (probably using the diesel engine) and a payload of up to 1,600 pounds. There are two kinds of four-wheel-drive systems that will be available, as well as Dana 44 axles joined with electronic lockers front and rear. There’s also the expected electronic swaybar disconnect and 33-inch tires. All of these should transform the Gladiator into a functional and efficient off-roader.

Here’s another thing that separates the Gladiator: it has an open-air ride capability. That’s something no competitor of Gladiator can offer. We expect that the standard roof would be a soft top and that looks to be what Jeep is planning. The document, however, showed that two hard tops will also be part of the equation.

The new Gladiator will have a five-foot bed and a fold-down windshield which purists will absolutely love.

4 Things You Should Know About The New Ford Bronco

ford bronco

Everyone’s excited about the upcoming 2020 Ford Bronco. It took Ford nearly a quarter of a century to come up with a new-generation Bronco and we are eagerly awaiting what’s in store for us. So far, we’ve heard rumors and saw a teaser picture.

The Bronco has always been a cool vehicle though it took OJ Simpson to bring it to a whole new level of iconic. Now that the all-new Bronco is about to arrive, we are sure of two things only: this will be a staple of American off-roading culture and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited will finally have a competition.

1. It will use the same architecture of the Ranger.

Ford will use a short wheelbase version of the T6 platform. This will allow them to create and develop a vehicle that will be perfect in any market. The T6 architecture can be found in the Ranger, the Everest, and the Troller. It is a body-on-frame type of architecture that can support a number of different body styles with the same wheelbase underneath. The chassis of the T6 is also the perfect size for the new Bronco, which in size, will fall somewhere between the Explorer and the Expedition.

2. It might have a three-door off-roader version.

There were many rumors in the past that the new Bronco is going to be like other conventional SUVs—a five-door vehicle with a spare tire that clings on the back door. But one of the recently released teaser photos hinted that it will be a three-door off-roader. The nod to the classic is not lost on us and we’re a sucker for the traditional.

3. It will be available in 2020.

That’s two more years of waiting before we can get our hands on the new Bronco. The 2019 Detroit Auto Show should be where the Bronco will be unveiled so watch out for that next year. The 2020 Bronco will have an estimated starting price of $35,000 while the top-of-the-line variants will be in the near $50,000.

4. It will be made in the USA.

Ford is very proud of the fact that the Bronco will be 100-percent USA. It will be assembled at the Michigan Assembly Plant next to the new Ford Ranger. Ford has already readied the facility, pouring in a staggering $850 million to retool the plant for the production of the new vehicle.

Aston Martin Reveals DBX As SUV Name

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The Aston Martin DBX SUV is on its way and the company wants everyone to know that it can drive on dirt. It’s official and we’re bound to see the new SUV in the last quarter of 2019.

Aston Martin revealed photos of the prototype and they all featured the one thing we think the automaker wants us to know—that it’s going to be good off-road and off the pavement. It’s good to see that Aston Martin eventually decided to put rear doors on the SUV, something different from what we saw on the concept revealed in 2015. The rear doors made the DBX look like a conventional SUV but the front end will take care of making the DBX look as unique and interesting as it could.

The most obvious feature of the DBX is the V8 Vantage-style grille, which is considered to be the most outlandish feature of the Vantage. It certainly is memorable on the Vantage, though we’re not sure yet how it will look on the DBX. The grille has a gaping feature that’s lined with red paint, making the DBX look like a catfish. Fortunately, this isn’t the production version yet so we’re bound to see more changes in the future.

On the sides, it looks like a conventional SUV, too, though it gets funky on the rear thanks to two spoilers out there—one extending from the roof and another ducktail-looking thing coming out of the hatch.

For testing purposes, the prototype is being put through a Welsh rally stage, one of the many environments on which Aston said it wants the DBX to excel. Of course, this is going to be tested on the Nurburgring, too, but the DBX should encounter no problem with that.

The DBX will be built at Aston’s new St. Athan facility in the UK. Although dubbed as the Home of Electrification, we doubt that there’ll be an electrified version of the DBX. We can expect a hybrid but that’s about it.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N Gets $27,785 Starting Price

hyundai veloster

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster N is ready to take on the best hatches in its segment. Though it only has three doors, it looks to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and the Subaru WRX. With just a starting price of $27,785 for the base model, Hyundai has absolutely won the pricing segment.

The base version gets a 250-horsepower output compared to the VW GTI’s 220 horses produced from under the hood. That power for the Veloster is credited to a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and a suspension developed by the former head of BMW’s M division. For a base price of $27,785, including destination fee, that’s a pretty good deal. That’s only a few hundred dollars higher than the VW GTI but the Veloster wins when it comes to the power output.

You have the option to add the Performance Package and you’ll have a better performance output. With just an additional $2,100, you’ll get 275 horsepower, a limited-slip differential, modular exhaust system, bigger brakes, 19-inch wheels, and sticky Pirelli P Zero tires. The Performance Package brings the total price of the Veloster N to $29,885.

With Ford’s decision to cancel its Focus ST, the Veloster N remains to be the only car in the market that can compete with the Subaru WRX. Of course, Hyundai’s offering does not come with an all-wheel-drive option, so that will make buyers think of the Veloster N as a budget-priced Honda Civic Type R instead.

Price-wise, the Veloster N would be a good choice compared to the Civic Type R’s base price of $36,595 after an increase of $1,000 on the base price recently.

The Veloster and the Veloster Turbo are currently available. As for the Veloster N, you’ll have to wait until December for it to arrive in dealerships nationwide.

 

Feds Subpoenaed Tesla Records About Model 3 Production

A parking lot of predominantly new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles is seen in Richmond, California, U.S. June 22, 2018. Picture taken June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Investigators from the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed information about the earlier production forecasts for the Tesla Model 3 electric car that were made last year before its distribution. Tesla admitted this in a regulatory filing last Friday.

Based on the disclosure in Tesla’s quarterly financial report, the company said that the SEC asked to see records and public statements made about the predictions for the Model 3 production. The report said that Tesla is cooperating with the Justice Department in its investigation.

There have been widespread news reports that the SEC has asked to look into the records of the company regarding its Model 3 predictions. This is the first time that Tesla acknowledges the SEC subpoena though it said that it is cooperating with the Justice Department.

The Model 3 is an integral part of Tesla’s plan to become a household name, to move away from the luxury-vehicle-maker tag and appeal to a broader audience. And as the company pledges to meet quarterly net profits into the future, Tesla has to find a stable cash flow, which the Model 3 signifies.

In 2017 though, the company had trouble meeting the production requirements. It draws a lawsuit from investors who believed they were misled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the company’s production targets.

Early last year, Tesla announced that it plans to produce up to 5,000 units of Model 3 a week by the end of 2017. But because of automation problems at its Fremont, California factory, the company fell short of its target and made only 793 in the last week of 2017 and 2,700 for the entire year. It hit the 5,000-a-week target only starting June this year.

Tesla said in the filing that as far as the company knows, no government agency in an ongoing investigation has found out the Palo Alto company did anything wrong. There were no further comments from Tesla, the SEC, or the Justice Department.

 

3 Things To Know About The Upcoming 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS

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There have been talks of a Maybach GLS as far back as 2014 and now, thankfully, after nearly five years, the first prototypes have been spotted recently exiting Mercedes’ main test center in Germany. This comes after Mercedes announced that it is working on a redesign for its GLS (formerly GL-Class) but this time, the ultra-luxurious Mercedes-Maybach model will be part of the lineup.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will challenge the Bentley Bentayga, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and potentially something else from Aston Martin’s revived Lagonda brand.

1. Exterior

The Maybach GLS will have the same body and lights like that of the regular GLS. The grille, however, will be unique with its vertical slats. We can see some of the planned exterior styling based on the Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept unveiled during the 2018 Beijing Auto Show.

The Maybach badges should be placed on the side pillars at the rear. Buyers might also get a chance to choose a two-tone paint scheme, an option that’s already being offered for Maybach S-Class buyers.

2. Interior

The Maybach GLS will have an extra spacious four-seater layout. A stretched version of Mercedes’ MHA platform should underpin the redesigned Mercedes GLS and this Maybach variant. The MHA platform has been extended for SUVs sized from the GLC up (but excluding the G-Class). It is closely related to the MRA platform found in most of the German carmaker’s sedans and coupes. That architecture is being used in the GLC. 

3. Powertrains

Expect the Maybach GLS to come with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. That should be its core unit. A plug-in hybrid version should also be an option. It’s still too early to talk about drivetrains, though, so there’ll be lots of updates to come in the next months.

The redesigned GLS is expected to debut this month at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show as a 2020 model while the Maybach variant will follow next year as a 2021 model.

Range-Topping Tesla Model 3 Is Now Standard With Performance Package

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For Tesla, if you want the Performance Package, you would have to pay about $5,000 more. The fee will get you some really cool features such as a carbon-fiber spoiler, a 310-mile estimated range, and 20-inch alloys on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. But the electric-vehicle producer is now offering the $5,000 Performance Package as standard to the range-topping Tesla Model 3 without any increase in the base price.

Tesla has been known to change, mostly increase, its prices from time to time. This time though, the change is good because the Performance Upgrade option will now be added to the most expensive trim in the Model 3 lineup—the Dual Motor Performance. The package comes with an all-wheel-drive system and has a 310-mile estimated range. The starting price for the top-range trim is $65,200 even after the $5,000 upgrade.

It also includes a carbon-fiber spoiler, aluminum pedals, lowered suspension, new 20-inch alloys on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, upgraded brakes, and a 10-mph increase in its top speed. This boost will allow the range-topping Tesla Model 3 to hit 155 mph.

However, many Tesla Model 3 owners have already paid the $5,000 fee so this news doesn’t really sit well with them. After they complained to Elon Musk on Twitter, the controversial Tesla CEO agreed to refund the $5,000 fee or the disgruntled customers can choose for free Supercharging for the entirety of the ownership. It’s a pretty sweet deal so all you Tesla Model 3 owners who shelled out $5,000 for the package can now proceed to dealerships and get more value for your money.

A couple of months ago, Tesla offered free “unlimited” Supercharging to current Model 3 Performance owners. They can also gift new buyers the same benefit under the company’s referral scheme. The program ended in September so the Model 3 is no longer being offered with the free Supercharging.

Prices Go Up For The 2019 Honda Accord

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The Honda Accord, one of the most important vehicles in the Japanese automaker’s lineup, isn’t getting fixed for the 2019 model year but it is going to have a slight price hike. The company also decided to shake the trim levels a bit, eliminating the 1.5-liter Touring model from last year.

The 2019 Accord lineup still has the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim with the LX acting as the base model and with a standard output of 192 horsepower from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The Sport, EX, EX-L models can be bought with either a 1.5-liter engine or the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 252 horsepower.

The Sport 1.5T and 2.0T models are still available with the six-speed manual transmission while the CVT remains to be standard across the range. Since last year’s 1.5-liter Touring trim has been discontinued, it means the top tier would be the 2.0T. The Accord hybrid, on the other hand, will offer base, EX, and Touring trims.

The Sport model will now start at $27,075, up by $400 from a model-year ago while the other trim levels each get a $150 bump to $24,615 for the LX, $28,515 for the EX, $31,015 for the EX-L, and $36,845 for the Touring. The upcoming Accord hybrid is a bit more expensive than the current model. It now has a starting price of $26,215, up by $220. The EX and Touring trims of the hybrid increased by $330 and $280, respectively.

Everybody’s a big fan of the Accord. The midsize sedan is the brand’s biggest and arguably most important vehicle. The 10th generation model, which debuted for the 2019 model-year, is said to be the best Accord yet so there’s really no need to tinker with it or change any of its features and layout.

The 2019 Accord already arrived at dealerships on November 1.

Toyota Avalon And Camry To Have TRD Versions

toyota camry trd

The Toyota Camry and Avalon currently have XSE versions, which Toyota apparently doesn’t think is sporty enough. The Japanese automaker is now sending these two models to its performance-oriented TRD division.

The TRD versions of the Camry and Avalon will make an appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month, Toyota confirmed on Twitter.

The TRD division doesn’t have much experience tinkering with a Toyota sedan as it is mostly focused on the off-road-oriented TRD Pro trucks and SUVs, as well as the newly updated 86 TRD Special Edition sports car. Based on the teaser photos, the TRD versions will have more aggressive wheels and tires and a body kit with a red stripe.

Since this is a TRD version, the Avalon and Camry are expected to have a stiffer suspension tune, a sportier interior trim, and plenty of TRD badging.

Although both the Avalon and Camry are not lacking in power, we hope that there will be an update of engines. Currently, both offer a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 301 horsepower, which is quite a significant amount for any front-wheel-drive sedan. To improve the output, the TRD configuration will need to add a sport exhaust. The power boost would be minimal, though, since too much power would not fit the front-wheel-drive configuration of the Camry and Avalon TRD.

There’s no competition in this segment except perhaps for the Ford Fusion Sport that makes 325 horsepower, the Buick Regal GS that produces 310 horses, and the Dodge Charger with its various V-8-powered variants. These three are the only larger mainstream four-door sedans with performance variants.

The Camry and Avalon TRD models will make their debut later this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which starts on November 28. We expect it to have a starting price of $24,565.

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