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Daily Archives: April 29, 2019

Porsche Taycan Spy Photos Revealed More of The EV’s Front End Design

porsche taycan (1)

We have seen Porsche Taycan prototypes before but never the way these spy photos were taken. It feels like we have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Mind you, we only want to have a glimpse of how the Taycan will look like from the front end.

Luckily, one member of the taycanforum.com managed to come across the electric vehicle from Porsche in its full prototype glory, with only a bit of camouflage covering the car. It is only now that we can have a glimpse of the true shape of the Taycan’s headlights and if these spy shots are any indication, we say these headlight units are very aggressive and almost un-Porsche like in its dynamism.

While we expect the headlights to flow naturally with the rest of the bodywork, this is not going to happen with the Porsche Taycan. Porsche has gone the route of an edgier design. The lightning units have been tucked away in a little nook, effectively distorting that image we have of the Taycan as having a singular flowing design.

The sculpting from the headlight units angles downward to where the lower front fascia is located. This created an aggressive look that’s distinct only to the Taycan.

The lower bumper is devoid of camouflage also and the spy photos showed that there’ll be a huge opening there. While we expect the opening to be large because this is an electric car, maybe the one on this prototype is a little too large for our liking. Still, we expect this one’s done for aerodynamic purposes or to help cool down the electric powertrain. If it’s going to make the Taycan easier to handle then, we suppose that’s a good gamble.

The final design for the Taycan should be ready in time for the Frankfurt Motor Show this fall. Then, the all-electric Porsche will start production for the 2020 model year.

Peugeot Expert Van Gets Trim And Engine Updates

peugeot expert van

The mid-sized Peugeot Expert van is getting trim and engine updates to meet forthcoming van emissions legislation this 2019. The new trim levels added to the range are called the Grip and the Asphalt, both of which are designed for construction and long-distance travelers.

The Expert Grip boasts that its ride height has been raised by 20mm and there’s also a sump guard to protect the underside of the van. It also has a traction control system (similar to the one we see in Peugeot’s SUV range) for improved handling in slippery conditions. The trim level also comes with Mud & Snow tires.

Inside, the Moduwork bulkhead allows long objects to be loaded in the cabin. The middle seat can also be transformed into a table when the seat is folded back.

On the other hand, the Expert Asphalt is packed with more features and safety technologies. It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and body-colored plastic trim. In the cabin, you’ll find a heads-up display, sat-nav with voice control, and a rear camera.

Buyers can opt for the Safety Pack, which adds speed limit recognition and automatic adaptation, lane assist, and a tiredness monitor to the already impressive standard safety tech. The Driver Assist Pack can be added for autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning.

Under the hood, the Expert will have PSA’s 1.5 BlueHDi diesel to replace the previous 1.6 BlueHDi. The new engine is more powerful by a mere 5bhp but the emissions rating will meet Euro 6.2 emissions legislation that will be implemented starting September this year.

The other engine, a 2.0 BlueHDi was also upgraded while the BlueHDi 150 and 180 units are still available with the same configuration. The 180 version, in particular, has EAT8 eight-speed auto instead of the six-speed auto in the previous model.

Aside from the new Grip and Asphalt trim, the Expect van is available in Compact, Standard, Long, Crew Van, and Platform Cab variants.

Manual Transmission In The Works For Aston Martin Vantage AMR

aston martin vantage

Aston Martin is making good on its promise to develop a manual transmission to power its Vantage AMR. Since the new generation debuted in late 2017, we’ve been hearing rumors that Aston Martin is developing a manual transmission to fit into the Vantage. Two years later and we’re still waiting for the fulfillment of that promise.

aston martin

On Friday, shortly after midday, Aston Martin finally gave us a clue. A teaser photo was posted on the company’s official Twitter account. The photo shows three pedals with the clutch colored in lime green. The teaser photo also showed the AMR logo, Aston’s recently created performance division, hinting of a new Vantage AMR model.

If that’s not enough, it also used the hashtag #VantageAMR after the “Coming soon” teaser of a post. That more than confirms the speculations.

The Vantage is using a version of Mercedes-AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine that can only be paired with an automatic transmission under the AMG line. To be able to use a manual gearbox for this particular configuration, Aston Martin has to engineer it themselves.

So, that explains why it took the automaker so long to come up with a Vantage manual transmission. We bet that Aston will use the same seven-speed unit that was used in the previous V12 Vantage S.

Aside from the manual configuration, Aston’s going to tweak some design elements of the Vantage. To fit the AMR brand, there will be lime-green accents all throughout the car. The color is AMR’s signature. There should be some upgrades on the chassis and the power output, too.

There’s still no word if the Vantage AMR will be a limited edition like the Rapide AMR and the previous Vantage AMR. It could be a regular production like the DB11 AMR but until we hear from Aston Martin itself, we’ll reserve our judgment on that. Details will likely be available in the coming months since the new Vantage AMR is being primed for a reveal soon.

 

Justice Department Starts Criminal Investigation Into Ford’s Fuel Efficiency Testing

ford explorer st

The US Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into Ford Motor Company’s emissions-certification processes. The investigation focuses on Ford’s road-load estimations and it does not involve the use of defeat devices, similar to what Volkswagen admitted to using to fool government emissions testing.

The road-load estimations are used to determine the fuel efficiency figures as published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Consumer Reports, it is up to the automakers to set the parameters of the road load, which simulates aerodynamic drag, friction, and tire-related losses on a dynamometer—a device that allows a car to stimulate driving by placing its wheels on rollers.

EPA said that the car manufacturer must set the standards of the road load and they are not necessarily monitored for the correctness of their parameters. However, it is the responsibility of every automaker to ensure that the methods used for measurement conform to EPA standards.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumer Reports explained that emissions testing is often a “self-certification process” and a lot of small factors, including software settings and modeling assumptions, can make a huge difference in the actual EPA rating of the car.

She explained that automakers sometimes build parameters that are set too close to the tests that during the self-certification process, they make the most favorable and positive assumptions about the results.

The Justice department’s investigation is looking into Ford’s overstatement of fuel mileage on a “large number” of models. Ford said it willingly opened an internal investigation back in February into its emissions testing procedure after employees called the management’s attention on the anomalies in the processes. The company, who voluntarily informed the Justice Department and state and federal agencies about the investigation, said it is cooperating and working closely with government agencies.

“Because this matter is still in the preliminary stages, we cannot predict the outcome, and we cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us,” a Ford statement said.

The investigation into the emissions testing anomalies is centered on the 2019 Ford Ranger, which went on sale at the beginning of this year.

 

 

Which Looks Better: 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA vs 2019 Jaguar XE

mercedes-benz cla vs jaguar xe

Jaguar is aiming to reintroduce the XE with a facelifted version but until that has arrived, we’ll compare the current XE we have in the market; one that has been around since 2014 (though it only went on sale in 2016). The XE, however, wants a cut of the market of both the C-Class and the 3 Series, both of which are also targets of the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

jaguar xe

Design-wise, the Jaguar looks far more impressive than the Mercedes, even if the design was engineered four years back. It looks better up front, thanks to Ian Callum, who followed the direction of the contemporary Jaguars as seen on the original XF and refined throughout the years. The elongated narrow headlights have twin headlamps above the L-shaped running light. It also has Jaguar’s large-size grille with curved corners and the logo in the middle.

The pop-up hood houses the four creases that highlight the frown-angled headlights, making the fascia look even more aggressive than it already is. The CLA, on the other hand, borrows from the design elements of the third-generation CLS, the first one to use an aggressive razor-shard design with triangular headlights that frame the standard grille. The CLA is unique in a sense that it comes with light units that are less pointy compared to the CLS and the A-Class.

mercedes-benz cla

When you move inside the CLA, you’ll feel like you’re in the cabin of an A-Class, which is good since it boasts of the retro-inspired A/C vents, the 10.25-inch infotainment screen, the gauge cluster with the 10.25-inch screen (on the more expensive trim levels), the MBUX, and many safety technologies that come as options.

On the other hand, the Jaguar’s interior is almost outdated with an infotainment screen on the center console and a small digital screen between the odometer and the tachometer. And while the steering wheel is still rock solid, there are dials and needles that make the cabin look antiquated.

3 Things That Separate The New 2020 Hyundai Sonata From Its Competitors

hyundai sonata (1)

Even though we were all a bit disappointed with the New York Auto Show (because it had to share the limelight with the Shanghai Auto Show), something good came out of it—the all-new 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

The Sonata is big both in design language and in technology. We can’t think of anything that’s wrong with this car so if you’re looking for a luxury sedan, this one’s for you.

1. Exterior

hyundai sonata (29)

The Sonata is the most aggressive model we have seen that the South Korean automaker engineered. It looks bolder and more beautiful than all its previous generations, and that’s largely because it was inspired by the Le Fil Rouge four-door concept shown at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

The most impressive of the new design is the lighting architecture. The headlamps have chrome strips wrapped around them. At least, that’s how the strips look like when the engine is turned off. Once the car is fired, the chrome strips will turn into Daytime Running Lights. Yes, there are hidden bulbs under those strips.

2. Interior

hyundai sonata (36)

When you go inside the Sonata, you know you’re paying for the ultimate luxury and comfort. The ambient mood lighting on the dashboard and the doors give a warm glow to the cabin and the “Beautiful Smart” theme feels perfect all of a sudden. Other eye-catching features are the slim HVAC vents, the 10.25-inch touchscreen display, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and the 12-speaker Bose sound system.

The front seats are comfortable but when you move to the rear seats, because of the coupe-like roofline that slants sharply in the back, the rear headroom is cut a bit short. This might make it uncomfortable for taller passengers.

3. Drivetrain

hyundai sonata (44)

If there’s one concern we have about the Sonata, it’s the engine under the hood. The Sonata’s exterior and interior have been embraced and welcomed but the engine is quite underwhelming with its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 191 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 181 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

There’s another engine and it’s equally bland: a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline machine that generates 180 horses at 5,500 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm.

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