2020 Corvette Stingray

Front Three-Quarter with gentleman trying to hug the car…

The rumors proved to be true. All the automotive world is abuzz about the new eighth-generation Corvette Stingray that was just announced. It is mid-engined with a look more like a super exclusive exotic than a mundane Chevrolet. And you will supposedly be able to get one for under $60k!

Rear Three-Quarter

Here’s what Chevy has to say about it: “The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is re-imagined to bring customers new levels of performance, technology, craftsmanship and luxury. It’s lean and muscular, with an athletic sculptural shape conveying a sense of motion and power from every angle. The Stingray’s heart is Chevy’s next-generation 6.2L Small Block V-8 LT2 engine, producing up to 495 horsepower (369 kW) and 470 lb-ft (637 Nm) of torque — the most horsepower and torque for any entry Corvette.”

Engine Bay

This complete redesign morphs the seventh-gen into a more race-car like stance with more obvious air ducting, especially for the engine. In my opinion, the front of the seventh-gen Corvette looked very Ferrari-like. Now, the rest of the car follows, looking more Italian than before.

Chevrolet is touting a new “3D” tool to help customers get their best car. It’s not unlike other manufacturers’ site and it is a bit slow but it works and I really like all the color options available!

Here’s my Ideal 2020 ‘Vette:

Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic…Too Cool!!!
Inside Ol’ Cool Blue

Or, maybe this:

Yowzaaaa!!!!

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

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2019 Ford Ranger Pricing

Announced back in January, the upcoming 2019 Ford Ranger is a stunner and the news keeps getting …better? Pricing was recently announced and it’s not great but could be a lot worse.

Base XL 4X2 models will start at $24,300, XLT at $27,940, and Lariat at $32,210. And, each comes with a $1,095 destination charge. Ouch.

These prices are a little more expensive than some of Ranger’s competitors, especially the lowest model. The Nissan Frontier, for example, starts at $18,990. The Chevy Colorado starts at $20,200. On the flip side, the Toyota Tacoma starts at $25,400 and the Honda Ridgeline, though not really a full-fledged pickup truck as we know it, starts at $29,990.

So, the new Ranger is not the least expensive option but is also not the most expensive, at least to start.

Top-end Lariat Rangers start at $32,210 and can top out above $45,000.

It’s a good-looking truck and anticipation is growing for its release.

For more information click here.

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

Tesla Model 3

model-3-tesla.jpg

Photo: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 is now for sale and on the road! (In California and a few other states as of this writing.)

The first iterations were “delivered” to a captive audience at the world headquarters in Mountain View, California, at the end of July 2017.

Not only is the car finally in production but we finally have finalized specs for the Baby T: Starting with size, the Model 3 is 184.8 inches in overall length compared with 196 inches for the Model S, and a 113.2-inch wheelbase compared with 116.5 inches for the Model S.

 

model-3-motortrend

Photo: Motor Trend

 

Power in the Baby T is down as well but definitely no slouch. Tesla says the Model 3 will get to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 or 5.6 seconds (depending on battery size). Speaking of which, battery size is now in range, rather than kilowatt hours, of either 220 or 320 miles (standard and long range, respectively).

Speaking of changes…totally free, unlimited Supercharging is out of the question for all Teslas that were purchased after January 1, 2017 (unless you purchased the vehicle using another owner’s referral, or paid a large, one-time fee). What those owners do get is annual “credits” that equate to around 1000 miles of free supercharging. For the new Model 3 owner, though, it seems as though those credits are not in play as, according to the Tesla website, Model 3 Supercharging is “pay per use”.

So the Model 3 definitely looks like a Tesla but it has a different look with almost a smile on its face but it’s definitely not a hatchback, which is a bummer since the trunk opening isn’t as big as the hatch on the Model S.

 

model-3-motortrend_2

Photo: Motor Trend

 

Another notable difference between the Model S and Model 3 is the center touchscreen in the Model 3. It’s the instrument panel/HVAC/radio/everything screen that will take some people a while to get used to.

 

model-3-cnet

Photo: CNET

 

model-3-theverge

Photo: The Verge

 

Here’s all the specs currently from the Tesla website:

 

Safety

  • Automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance
  • Eight airbags
  • Electronic stability and traction control

Convenience

  • 15″ touchscreen with onboard maps & navigation
  • Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity
  • Keyless entry and remote climate control with app
  • Voice activated controls
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats

Standard Interior

  • 15” touchscreen display
  • Dual zone climate control system
  • FM/Internet streaming radio
  • Textile seating
  • Center console with open storage and two USB ports

Premium Upgrades

  • Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
  • 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
  • Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
  • LED fog lamps
  • Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones

Warranty

  • 4 year, 50,000 mile limited vehicle warranty
  • 8 year, 100,000 mile battery warranty (Standard)
  • 8 year, 120,000 mile battery warranty (Long Range)

Here is one of the more comprehensive looks at the Model 3

Me? I’m still waiting for the Tesla Minibus!

tesla_minibus_render

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

2017 RAM Rebel

If you’ve been waiting for the day to get a new Ram 1500 Rebel in Delmonico Red then your wait is over. Unveiled at the Houston Auto Show, the Rebel in Delmonico Red is now a fashion leader with its fancy new paint job to go with all its other features at no extra cost.

Now the seventh color option for the Off Road capable Rebel, Delmonico Red joins other colors such as Bright White, Granite Crystal Metallic, and Mojave Sand.

For those who do not know, the Rebel is a Ram model that shares off road aspirations of other factory models like the Ford F-150 Raptor. It comes only in the short wheelbase crew cab configuration. What makes a Rebel is a factory lift with Bilstein shocks, skid plates, tow hooks, and 33-inch all-terrain tires.

Power for the Rebel comes in three forms: a 4×4 with the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 along with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque; a 4×2 with the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 that features variable valve timing, fuel-saver technology that makes 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to the TorqueFlite; or a 4×4 with the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that features cylinder shut-off and VVT and produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Ram Rebel starts at a reasonable $45,095, with a destination charge of $1,395. Expect to see these bad boys at a dealer near you in May 2017.

Another announcement at the Houston Auto Show was the availability of a slick tailgate option on Limited trim package equipped Ram Truck models; monochromatic lettering for an alternative appearance. Coupled with the also announced cab-length body-colored running boards and you’ve got one sharp truck.

There’s definitely a lot going on at Ram these days!

Thanks for reading!

 

…See You Down The Road!

Pearl RearVision

Sometimes you see a commercial and you don’t even need to hear the full pitch. You see the product and get the gist of what it does and you want it because you know it fills a niche in your life. And then, you see the price and you know you will not have one…at least not THAT one.

That happened to me recently when I saw an ad on YouTube that really caught my attention. (As much as I despise those ads, every once in a while they work.) It was for a license plate surround with dual integrated backup cameras. The cool thing about the product was its solar charging built into the surround and lack of wires…along with a plug that goes into your car’s OBD socket and the requisite app to help get the most out of the product.

The company was founded by three former Apple employees who worked on the iPod and iPhone and are, as their web site explains, dedicated to making the same transformative change in the auto industry by delivering advanced, adaptive and continually improving driver assistance features to all 1.2 billion cars on the road.

 It’s a great concept for those of us who have an older vehicle that doesn’t have the backup camera or backup sensors. The app on your smartphone is what provides the view, a regular view and fishbowl view to better see around corners, and the OBD plug that links the cameras to your phone wirelessly.

 It all sounds so nice and simple. And you know what that means, it’s gonna cost you. Call it the Apple Tax but when you get something so complicated yet is supposed to work so simply, you know you’re going to have to pay extra for that.

Pearl RearVision, as it’s called, will set you back $500, which includes the camera frame, car adapter and a phone mount. The first catch is that your car has to be from 1996 or newer, since that is the year OBD II was mandated. The second catch is that you need either an iPhone 5 or newer along with iOS 9 or newer…or an Android phone that has Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer.

Granted, most who would want this tech on their car either have all of the above already or will be buying a new car with backup camera already installed. It seems that the market for this is quite small at the price they are seeking…but if they sell 10,000 units at $500 that’s $5 million. Not a bad payday as long as they didn’t have that much in research and development costs.

My opinion is that they will sell quite a few to tuners and people who think this will help make their cars safer for them to drive. But I think that the market will dry up fast if they don’t either drop the price or come out with a less expensive model.

I think it’s a great product. It seems very well designed and meets a need, at least for the next couple of years as the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has mandated backup cameras on all vehicles that weigh less than 5 tons beginning in May of 2018.

We’ll keep an eye on Pearl’s RearVision to see just how well it does.

… See You Down The Road!

Must…Have…Now

So Tesla will be producing much more than just a couple of awesome cars in the future, as laid out in a few tweets and blog post from Elon Musk, the president, founder, and all around billionaire guy who runs the company.

That blog post, entitled “Master Plan, Part Deux“, basically publicly outed how Tesla plans to move forward in its world domination of all things electric vehicle and technological awesomeness. And of course the Internets are all a flutter of what it all means.

To get you up to speed, the first part of Tesla’s electric world domination looked like this:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive: Tesla Roadster
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price: Tesla Model S and X
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car: Tesla Model 3 (or III?)
    And…
  4. Provide solar power.

The next steps are:

  1. Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage: think on buses and other large vehicles
  2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments (emphasis mine)
  3. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it

Number 4 is quite intriguing….make money by letting other people drive your car when you’re not. hmmm.

But what I want is the Tesla Minibus!!!!! Especially if it’s going to look anything like the render posted by Jalopnik:

tesla_minibus_render

Click the pic to head over to their site to see their write up.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Front Falcon Doors

Tesla has done the unthinkable. They have taken their fast, very fast, Model S sedan and grafted an egg-shaped SUV body onto it and are calling it the Model X. Yes, they’ve been hyping the Model X for a few years now and had some production issues (most notable due to the design of the rear passenger doors) but the official unveiling and first delivery just happened.

Now that we have official specs let the nitpicking begin.

Tesla Model X Rear Wing

There are two models of the Model X slated so far; the 90D and P90D. With the 90D you get all wheel drive, and EPA estimated range of 257 miles, 4.8 seconds to 60 miles per hour and two 259 horsepower electric motors, one for each axle. The P90D (P for performance) gives you a 250 miles estimated range, 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds and one electric motor powering the front wheel with 259 horsepower and one electric motor powering the rear wheels rated at 503 horsepower! Your range may vary.

Tesla Model X Side

Now, about those rear passenger doors. Tesla is calling them Falcon Wing doors. In concept they are like gull wing doors in that they open upwards but that is where the conceptual likeness ends. Falcon Wing doors are hinged near the top of the window glass so that the doors open almost straight up and then out rather than simply opening out. this design facilitates quite a few interesting and awesome ideals; you can stand in the rear seat, it’s easier to get child seats into and out of the vehicle and the children along with them and you can open the doors with about a foot of room between the Model X and the nearest obstacle. And for you ninnies who will complain about low overhangs, there are sensors built in that will detect a low garage ceiling or other obstruction.

Tesla Model X Side 2

One thing that might be a deal-breaker for some people is the lack of folding rear seats. That second row, with either two or three seats, is rigid and not much has been shown yet as to how it works to get people into the far back seats. We do know that they do not fold for cargo purposes like the far back seats do. It will be interesting to see how this pans out once more people get their hands on these machines.

Tesla Model X Rear Tow Rack

Pricey? Yes. But these are not for the mainstream as we know it. No, these are for those on the bleeding edge, those who need to have the latest and greatest technology no matter the cost…and also for those looking for bragging rights. “I’ve got the new Tesla. What do you have?”

Here are some manufacturer’s specs for your reading pleasure:

-Falcon Wing rear doors with built in sensors, which automatically adjust to the optimal opening arc in confined spaces or small garages.
-Automatically deploying rear spoiler
-Maps and navigation with real time traffic updates
-Daytime running lights
-Power-folding and heated side mirrors
-Front trunk with room for luggage, strollers or two golf bags
-Full size rear cargo area for your gear
-Free long distance travel on Tesla’s expanding Supercharger network
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty
-Automatic keyless entry, with automatically opening front doors
-GPS enabled Homelink
-Parking sensors, blind spot warning and side collision avoidance
-Automatic emergency braking to assist in avoiding collisions, even at highway speeds
-Seating for up to seven adults
-Four LATCH child seat attachments, two in each passenger row

P90D Performance All-Wheel Drive:
250 miles range (EPA est.)
3.8 seconds 0-60 mph
3.2 seconds with Ludicrous Speed Upgrade
259 hp front, 503 hp rear motor power
155 mph top speed

90D All-Wheel Drive:
257 miles range (EPA est.)
4.8 seconds 0-60 mph
259 hp front, 259 hp rear motor power
155 mph top speed

Stow everyone’s gear in Model X’s large front trunk, rear cargo area and under passenger seats. The front trunk is large enough to hold two golf bags and the rear cargo area can easily hold large items like bicycles, skis and snowboards. Hitch mounted accessory carriers hold additional gear. Model X is the first electric vehicle with a 5,000 pound towing capacity.

Model X has the largest all glass panoramic windshield in production, providing an unparalleled view of the stars and sky above. Optimized solar tinting and obstruction-free view creates unlimited visibility for the driver and all passengers.

Model X is able to achieve 250 miles of range in part because it is the most aerodynamic SUV in production. At 0.24, Model X’s drag coefficient is 20% lower than the next best SUV. In addition, an active spoiler deploys from the rear liftgate to optimize highway efficiency and stability.

Falcon Wing doors allow easy access to second and third row seats from even a tight parking space, while traditional SUV doors or Minivan sliding doors would not grant any access.
With only a foot of clearance on either side, Falcon Wing doors articulate smoothly up and out of the way, allowing passengers to enter from both front and rear directions. The side and overhead opening is so large that parents can buckle children in without ducking or straining and without bumping their child’s head on the roof.