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Monthly Archives: March 2019

2019 Ford Kuga SUV Sets Reveal Date Next Week

ford escape (1)

Ford has set the date for the newest addition to their crossover lineup, the third-generation 2019 Ford Kuga SUV. Officially, the crossover will be revealed with much fanfare imaginable on April 2, Tuesday. The crossover is based on the same platform used in the Ford Focus.

Dealers and even potential buyers shouldn’t be on their feet right now, though, as the Mk3 Kuga will only arrive in dealerships towards the end of 2019. The Kuga is set to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Renault Kadjar. It also aims to boost the brand’s reputation and image in Europe.

In a short teaser clip released by Ford, the Kuga was seen with a strong resemblance and connection to the Focus. There’s the sporty ST-Line-like touches, Focus-like headlights, and Focus-like new tailgate that has a flat edge, too. You can make out the Kuga badge across the middle of that tailgate.

So far, the Kuga is Ford’s strongest-selling crossover SUV in Europe. Ford sold 153,800 units in Europe last year despite the car falling behind its rivals in the same segment because of comfortability, refinement, and availability of plug-in hybrid powertrains. These issues have been addressed with the arrival of the Mk3 model as it now uses a platform that has electrification at its heart.

Ford’s new C1 architecture first appeared on the latest Focus hatchback. One of C1’s most endearing qualities is that engineers can stretch its wheelbase to create a more spacious cabin than the current model.

Known as the Escape in the US, spy shots of the newest Kuga showed just how closely it resembles the latest Focus. Under the hood, there are a lot of changes, too. The newest Kuga will come with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost motor with either 148 horsepower or 180 horsepower. To further reduce CO2 emissions, both engines could have mild-hybrid technology.

Hyundai Readies EV Concept For New York Auto Show


Hyundai is gearing up to introduce some new electric vehicle (EV) concepts at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show. During the Hyundai Sonata press launch in South Korea, design head Luc Donckerwolke told Roadshow that there will be an “electric show car for [the] Genesis.”

For the entire Hyundai-Kia brand, this year’s auto show in New York will be all about the Genesis and EV concepts according to Autoblog. If you can remember, we’ve already seen the GV80 SUV concept and its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in 2017, as well as the electric Essentia coupe concept last year. What’s left is the production version of the US-market-bound Genesis G90 and its mongo grille.

Also to make its debuts are the new Sonata and Venue crossover. A still unnamed Kia show car is expected to make its entrance, too. The show car will be the version of the SP Signature concept and can potentially be called the Tusker in the US market.

The Hyundai-Kia Group isn’t making EV concepts for car shows alone. According to Auto Express, the group is working on a new electric car platform that will serve their lineup of cars. This was inspired by Volkswagen’s role in the MEB architecture primarily being used today by the German group’s brands. Right now, the only EVs available from the South Korean brand are the Hyundai Kona and Ioniq and the Kia e-Niro and Soul.

Though they still use the ICE platforms, both the Kona and e-Niro have become so popular in the European market that the company already projected these to sell out once they are released there.

Sources said that the new EV platform is currently in the development stage and will primarily focus on the B- and C-segment cars. That expected launch is two years from now, the same year we expect the EV version of the Genesis to be ready.

This move is part of the Hyundai-Kia plan to have 38 electrified options by 2025.



Renault to Merge with Nissan and Acquire Fiat Chrysler


New reports claim that Renault is still looking to merge with Nissan. In addition to the merger, the company is also looking to acquire Fiat Chrysler.

According to CNBC, Renault is planning to restart the negotiations with Nissan about a potential merger. The company is targeting to accomplish that in the next 12 months. They are looking to buy Fiat Chrysler too after that.

The source said talks with Fiat Chrysler have already began years ago. It happened during the tenure of Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn. However, his arrest in Japan last year due to misconduct charges has put the negotiations on hold.

With the revival of the talks, Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann is expecting the merger to boost his company. The combined forces of Renault, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler is projected to put them strategically on the map as viable challengers to the dominance of Volkswagen and Toyota in the global automotive scene.

The news outlet tried confirming the matter with both Renault and Fiat Chrysler. They are yet to give their official statements on the subject.

At the moment, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi enjoy a complex arrangement under an alliance via a cross-party share ownership. The group’s relationship was rocked momentarily by Ghosn’s scandal though. However, in a related story, the ties of the three are presently going strong. In fact, the new truck platform being developed by Mitsubishi for the Triton will be used by both Nissan and Renault in their Navara and Alaskan pickup trucks, respectively.

Mitsubishi to Work on the next Nissan Navara Platform

nissan navara

The next architecture of the Nissan Navara and the Renault Alaskan might come from Mitsubishi in the future. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. COO Trevor Mann revealed this in an interview last week.

According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi engineers are now developing a “commonized body-on-frame” truck platform. This will underpin the midsize pickups and sport utility vehicles of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi.

The Navara and Alaskan will be sharing the same platform used by the Mitsubishi Triton. Mitsubishi was chosen by Nissan and Renault to make the platform because they see the company as having “the best pickup competence” as displayed in the Triton, which is currently enjoying strong sales in Southeast Asia.

It should be recalled that Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan alliance in 2016. “Shortly after the alliance, we did a detailed technical study between the two, and we found that Mitsubishi had many advantages over the Nissan platform,” Mann stated.

Among the things Mann wanted to take advantage of during the team-up with Mitsubishi are the frame design, sourcing footprint and logistic costs. The area that he wants the company to focus on is in Southeat Asia where Mitsubishi and Nissan have a big demand for their pickups from their large customer bases.

Despite the announcement, Mann said that the platform is still years away in the US market. They are considering of putting the update on the Nissan Frontier (known as Navara in other areas) though since it has been so long since the vehicle received an overhaul in the American soil.

Toyota Cars Will Be Equipped With Tear Gas To Deter Thieves

toyota tear gas system

A new patent filed by Toyota reveals that they will equip their cars with a new anti-theft device. This comes in the form of a tear gas integrated within the fragrance dispenser of the auto.

According to Autoblog, the system activates when there is an illegitimate engine start in the car. It releases a noxious gas in the cabin to drive off thieves.

The system is a bit similar to the patented fragrance system of Mercedes-Benz. With it, the driver can choose the scent that will be pumped out of the car’s air vents.

Taking into consideration the different persons who will be using the car and their individual preferences when it comes to their sense of smell, Toyota introduces a more seamless way to customize its car’s fragrance.

The system automatically detects who is going inside the car through their mobile devices, and then it dispenses the person’s preferred fragrance. A deodorizer is also integrated within the system to ensure that the scent of the cabin will remain neutral before someone else uses it.

We just hope that the deodorizer is capable of washing off any traces left by the tear gas after an attempted theft though.

According to a study, the Nissan Altima was accounted as the most stolen new car model in 2017. It was followed by the Toyota Camry. The same research showed that theft cases of Camry rose by 3.3% from 2016 to 2017. On the other hand, the theft of Corollas in the same period increased by 2.9%. Now, with the new technology of Toyota in its fragrance system, thieves might start to think twice about robbing its cars.


BMW iNext and i4 Boast a 373-Mile Electric Range

bmw inext and i4 prototypes

The BMW iNext and i4 are due to arrive in 2021. However, based on spy shots and updates of BMW, the electric vehicles are nearly ready and are already undergoing winter testing. It was revealed that each car will get at least 600 km or 373 miles driving range on full charge.

The figures of BMW came from the Europeran WLTP test cycle. We are yet to get the official EPA ratings of the iNext and i4 which are bound for the US market though.

According to reports, the EVs were recently spotted while being tested near the Arctic Circle. The tests aim to evaluate how the batteries, motors and other components will react to extreme cold weather conditions.

The iNext is a crossover that will have a Level 3 autonomous driving capability. It is poised to become the German luxury car maker’s “technology flagship.” The unit is based on the Vision iNext concept vehicle introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2018. The plant tasked with the assembly of the product is located in Dingolfing, Germany. The production is slated to begin in 2021.

Meanwhile, the i4 is a four-door car that will be positioned in the “premium midrange segment” of the company. The highlights of the auto include a 0-62 mph sprint in under 4 seconds while offering a luxurious ride. The vehicle will be produced in Munich in 2021.

The iNext and i4 were seen together with the iX3. The iX3 EV will be assembled in China and is expected to be launched in 2020.

The new models are parts of BMW’s electrification efforts going to 2025. The company aims to offer at least 12 electric models in its dealerships by that period.

Top 4 Features 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

chevrolet silverado

The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 features a lot of new upgrades compared to the 2018 model. Among the updates include a new engine, larger space on the rear bed, changes on the dimensions and new trims.


There’s no noticeable change in the design of the pickup truck. However, it gains a few chunks of metal that increases its length by 1.6 inches and wheelbase by 3.9 inches. The extra size translates to a roomier interior and a total bed space of 63 cu ft.

Despite its added measurements, the vehicle is 450 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Meanwhile, the V8 version of the auto can now tow as much as 13,200 pounds and haul up to 3,270 pounds.


At present, the Silverado has two new engines to choose from. The additional engines are the new 5.3-liter V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and 2.7-liter inline-four units. The 2.7-liter engine replaces Chevy’s old 4.3-liter V6. A 3.0-liter “Duramax” inline-six version will arrive soon. Six-speed and eight-speed automatic transmission systems are available for the pickup truck.

The most fuel-efficient variant is the 2.7-liter-equipped Silverado 1500. The EPA figures of the vehicle are 20 mpg in city and 23 mpg in highway.


The base trim of the 2019 Silverado pickup costs $31,290. The most expensive variant is the High Country trim with a starting price of $55,990. The amount can go up depending on the extra-packages and customization options installed by the owner though.


The new Silverado does not offer the same level of fancy equipment offered by its competitors but going for the LT will at least get you an eight-inch touchscreen that comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity plus a 4G LTE wireless integration for up to seven smart devices.


Mercedes-Maybach GLS SUV to be Exclusively Built in Alabama

It won’t be long until we see the Mercedes-Maybach GLS ultra-luxury sport utility vehicle on our roads. Mercedes-Benz revealed that they will be producing it in their Vance, Alabama, plant.

The Alabama factory of Mercedes is already home to the Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV as well as the GLE and GLE Coupe. Therefore, it just makes sense that the Maybach version of the GLS will be made there for efficiency’s sake.

The Maybach GLS is projected to fetch a price tag of around $200,000, making it the most expensive vehicle assembled in the US. The model is rumored to make its debut in China this year, and its sale will commence in the early part of 2020.

The Maybach GLS is expected to adopt the styling cues of the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept vehicle. Mercedes describes it as a “halo car”, which will help further propel the three-pointed star brand in the luxury vehicle segment of the market. With that, the product will be competing against the likes of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

Compared to the standard Mercedes version, the Maybach GLS is more like a clash between an SUV and a saloon. Then the auto features smoother surfaces based on the “Sensual Purity” design language of its maker. Other highlights in the vehicle’s exterior include slimmer headlamps, turbine-styled wheels and closely-knit vertical front grille.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018  Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018

Meanwhile, the interior of the Maybach GLS might get the same high-profile amenities of the Ultimate Luxury concept showcasing high-grade leather and wood in crystal white, rose gold and pearl grey colors.

The cabin of the Maybach GLS is spacious but it only has a four-seating arrangement, which is meant to attract chauffeur-driven individuals. Free-standing 12.3-inch displays are located at its front while the air vents follow the design of the front grille. The rest of its features come from the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Beneath the hood of the Maybach GLS is a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 with 577 hp. There’s a possibility that Mercedes will fit it with a hybrid setup too in order to attract the Chinese market and other key locations that have implemented stricter rules when it comes to emission and fuel-efficiency.

Pininfarina Battista Hypercar Catches Everyone’s Attention in Geneva

The new Pininfarina Battista is now the world’s most powerful road-legal hypercar. The new vehicle overtakes the likes of Koenigsegg and Hennessey Performance in terms of speed. The unit is also highlighted by its all-electric powertrain.

The Pininfarina Battista was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The new hypercar produces 1,900 hp from its four electric motors made by Rimac Automobili. Each electric motor is assigned to each wheel of the auto. Its whooping performance is complemented by the carbon fiber materials used in its body as well as an active rear wing.

The enormous output and lightweight construction of the Pininfarina Battista launch it from 0-60 mph in only 1.9 seconds. Automobili Pininfarina, the maker of the Battista, claimed that the vehicle is even faster than the acceleration of an F-16 jet. On the other hand, the car’s max speed is capped at 217 mph.

It should be noted that the battery of the auto also comes from Rimac. In full charge, the electric range of the vehicle can go as far as 280 miles.

The other key technical details about the Pininfarina Battista are still under wraps. However, its maker informed us that its production will start in 2020. Only 150 samples of the hypercar will be made, and each unit will carry a price of $2.2 million.

Automobili Pininfarina is based in Germany. The company is owned by Mahindra Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate. Pininfarina CEO Michael Perschke confirmed that 40 percent of the car’s global construction is already reserved. In the US, it is already close to 70 percent. They expect to sell all Pininfarina Battistas after the 2019 Pebble Beach car show in August.

Volkswagen Turns Jetta Into a Separate Brand in China

volkswagen jetta

Capitalizing on the success of the Jetta range in China, Volkswagen has decided to transform it into a separate company within the giant Asian country. The plans for the spin-off Jetta brand was announced by the German automaker last week.

According to Volkswagen, the Jetta brand will focus on making cars for China. It will be launched as a joint venture with First Auto Works, which happens to be a state-owned Chinese car company.

Upon launch, Jetta will be offering in its dealerships its existing sedan and two SUV models. There are speculations that the models might come as electric vehicles, and the predictions are not far-fetched considering the strong push of the Chinese government for car companies to gradually shift to “zero emission” or “new energy” products.

Analysts laud the bold decision of Volkswagen calling it a “very smart strategic move”. Alysha Webb, an LA-based journalist told The Verge that the Jetta has a long standing history in China as a dependable car. Therefore, taking VW’s best-selling model and making it adapt into the Chinese market under a separate nameplate will significantly help expand the company’s reach. Meanwhile, Jurgen Stackmann, VW’s board member and in charge of sales, likened the Jetta to the Beetle in the way that it brought mobility to the masses.

So far, details about the arrival of the new models for the new Jetta brand are scarce. All we know is that the new joint venture aims to reach out to more customers through “innovative sales formats” like digital showrooms and mobile sales trucks. Jetta will also have its own network of dealerships in China.

We don’t know yet whether the vehicles that will be produced under the Jetta brand will be sold outside China or not.

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