It’s always a good day when you can get behind the wheel of a little convertible on a warm sunny day. it’s even better if that car is performance oriented, with good handling accompanying good power and great looks.
The FIAT 124 Spider Abarth is a fine automobile with a long history, but most here in the United States have no clue about it. FIAT pulled out of this market way back in the early 1980s so those born around that time and after have not heard of the brand or the poor quality and low sales that were the demise of FIAT in the US.
Thankfully, the brand is making a resurgence in the US in the early 21st century times we are in. The breakthrough model was the 500 and it now has three different variants; 500, 500L, and 500X. All three share components and a common look, with the 500 being the little car that could and the L and X models wearing larger clothes as they are small SUVs.
The odd duckling is the 124 Spider. It is a collaborative effort between FIAT and Mazda, which is a wonderful thing for you and me. With handling and all-around goodness of the MX-5 Miata and Italian styling based on the original 124, this new car has got a lot going for it.
Powering the 124 is a turbo-charged inline 4-cylinder making 160 horsepower and torque of 184 pound-feet. The Abarth gets a five horsepower boost and the same torque. Both versions get a choice between two 6-speed transmissions, one manual and one automatic.
Yes, it resembles the Miata, mostly in the side profile, but there’s only so much you can do to change the look. I think Fiat did a great job of differentiating the 124 from the Miata on the outside. Inside, you get Mazda, which is not a bad thing. Comfy seats and a tight cockpit make for an exhilarating ride!
As the decline of the sedan in the American market continues, automakers are scrambling to meet the demand for the fastest growing segment, the small SUV (AKA, CUV). Honda has the HR-V, Toyota has the CH-R, Chevy has the Traxx, and even Buick has the Encore, to name a few. One of the last car makers to offer a smaller SUV is Ford. They plan to fix that for 2018 with the EcoSport.
The first thing you notice about the EcoSport is its Ford-ness. The front is unmistakably Ford, with a version of the grill that’s found on most of Ford’s product line these days. That rear, however, is unlike almost everything currently for sale…it’s not the looks, it’s the rear hatch that is actually a side-hinged door. That door is hinged on the Driver’s side (in the US) and is quite large, the better for garages that have height issues according to Ford. Other than that big door, EcoSport keeps the family resemblance to the Escape, just a bit smaller.
As with any new launch, EcoSport comes with a bevy of tech features that should keep all those millennials out there satiated for at least a four-hour road trip. One of the more interesting upgrades is an available B&O Play (by HARMAN) premium audio system. If you’ve ever heard their speakers then you know that this is a very good thing. There’s also Ford’s ubiquitous SYNC, currently in version 3, SiriusXM, and also Apple Car Play and Android Auto viewable on the standard 4.2-inch touch screen or the available 8-inch touchscreen!
Powering EcoSport is a couple of smallish inline engines; a 1.0-liter EcoBoost® (123 horsepower/125 lb.-ft. of Torque) three-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is standard with six-speed automatic transmission. Then there’s the available 2.0-liter Ti-VCT (166 horsepower/149 lb.-ft. of torque) four-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop which comes standard with all-wheel drive. The EPA expects EcoSport to get 27 city and 29 highway on the 1.0-liter. As of this writing, mileage figures for the 2.0-liter are not available but shouldn’t be too far off the 1.0-liter.
There are four EcoSport models to choose from in 2018. Here are the starting prices for each trim level: S ($19,995), SE ($22,905), Titanium ($25,740), and SES ($26,740)
It was only a matter of time. When Ford left the mid-size pickup segment a few years ago, they were retiring an old platform in the Ranger and it was time for something different. Only Ford’s crystal ball did not reveal the newfound popularity of the “small” truck segment, led by the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, along with the Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma.
So let’s ring in the New Year with some new sheet metal! The newly announced 2019 Ford Ranger follows current Ford styling DNA with Fusion-like headlights and large blue oval embedded in the grill. (It’s almost Edge-like, so you know it’s a Ford) Add to that a handsome character line and high wheel arches in profile and you have an attractively styled pickup to compete with the rest of the pack and complement the current F-150.
I for one am excited about the return of Ranger since I owned one for about 12 years and put almost 200k miles on it. The new Ranger is quite a bit larger than my 1997 single cab with the same size engine? Yes, you read that right, my 1997 had a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, just like the 2019 Ranger! The major difference is the intercooled turbocharged EcoBoost engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. I had to live with just five forward gears that I had to shift myself! Can you imagine??
Expect three trim levels at launch (XL, XLT, and Lariat) with different appearance packages on SuperCab and SuperCrew models (Chrome, Sport, and FX Off-Road).
The interior is another place where Ford has excelled. From the pics, it sure looks like it belongs in today’s world of mid-size pickups, including navigation and available Bang & Olufsen sound!
On the safety front, the most impressive new feature has got to be automatic emergency braking. Think about this…AEB was not even a thought back in 1997!
Pricing was not announced as we’ve got almost a whole year to wait on the production model.
‘Tis the season, as they say. No, not for gift giving or getting, for a slew of new vehicle introductions from all over the world. It’s also the season for the auto show, which is where most manufacturers announce said new vehicles. But, contrary to this assumption, we received an email today announcing the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, which will be completely introduced at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)!
It’s kind of fun to teased like this. Maybe the auto makers are learning from the tech industry that any hype is good hype.
According to Jeep, the new Cherokee (it’s a mid-size SUV) “boasts a new, authentic design, along with even more fuel-efficient powertrain options.”
And that’s all folks…save for the below pics.
As you can see in the first one, the front fascia is all new and Jeep has forgone the strange eyelid lights in favor of a more traditional design. It’s a giant leap forward if you are not a fan of the old design!
The rear, as seen in the second pic, has not changed much. The license plate is in a new spot and the rear valence is more tidy.
The profile has not changed much at all, though.
Alas, the interior is not much different either…but why mess with a good thing?We can’t wait to see what all the new goodies are for this new Jeep!
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.
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.
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.
Here’s all the specs currently from the Tesla website:
Automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance
Electronic stability and traction control
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
15” touchscreen display
Dual zone climate control system
FM/Internet streaming radio
Center console with open storage and two USB ports
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
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!
Perusing through the news after a long weekend, trying to find the gumption to dive into beast-mode at work, I came across a story about a new concept from Cadillac that was shown out west for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s a sharp looking car with less of the sharp lines of previous Caddys and is definitely more streamlined.
What really caught my attention was the first thought that came to me as I was ogling…I mean viewing…the wonderful pics from the press launch.
…This thing screams Lincoln to me.
There’s something about how the roofline meets the rear in the side view…or how the tail lights come together. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there.
I first saw the Escala on TheVerge.com and the headline read “Cadillac’s fantastic Escala concept is more New York than Detroit”. I think the author maybe meant to say “more Lincoln than Cadillac” but you be the judge.
Watch the unveiling here:
Here’s the official press release in all it’s glory:
Concept showcases future design and technical systems in development
Flagship Sedan is a concept for a more expressive, expansive companion to the recently launched CT6
The Escala Concept debuts in California tonight, introducing the next evolution of Cadillac design and previewing the craftsmanship and technology being developed for many future models. Following a series of private previews, Escala will be displayed this weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Escala Concept previews the design and technical ideas driving the next phase of Cadillac’s ongoing expansion.
“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”
Cadillac has released a new slate of models bristling with expressive design and exhilarating performance, driver’s cars taking Cadillac into a new chapter of its storied 114-year history.
“Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance,” de Nysschen said. “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
Escala — Spanish for “scale”— is a concept for a larger, more elite and expressive companion to the recently launched 2016 Cadillac CT6, the brand’s remarkable new range-topping prestige sedan. Escala is also the third in a series of concepts Cadillac has debuted at Pebble Beach in recent years, following the Ciel convertible (2011) and Elmiraj coupe (2013).
Escala is designed to be both a driver’s car and an indulgent flagship sedan. The large 4-door sedan features an expansive liftback design emphasizing the car’s considerable scale and versatility. At 210.5 inches in overall length, Escala is roughly 6 inches longer than today’s CT6.
Escala features a new and evolved face of Cadillac design that will begin appearing on production models soon. This includes a new expression of Cadillac’s vertical lighting, a brand signature since 1948. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting elements are thinner and set deep within the fascia, creating a sinister look, day and night.
The concept’s details invite closer inspection, including a three-dimensional precision pattern in the grille design and 22-inch wheels with two layers of spokes.
“This concept shares how Cadillac will bring forward a new experience that is uniquely American, and unmistakably Cadillac,” says Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design. “Escala is an expressive symbol of reward and an exhilarating driving experience. On the interior, we pushed further. It’s about precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship, and the artistic integration of technology.”
Escala features a “dual personality” interior crafted with distinctly different zones: The front is about intensely focused modern technology, while the rear delivers relaxation.
“My brief to the designers was to create a car you desperately want to drive, and also one in which you want to be driven,” Smith said. “So rather than a single design, this interior consists of two themes. It was an opportunity for our designers to break the rules a little bit, exactly what Cadillac should do from time to time.”
An array of three curved OLED screens is a prominent feature in the front of the cabin. The very thin, curved displays are layered in front of the driver, with the back sides wrapped in hand-stitched leather embossed with the Cadillac script. The array of screens consolidate the traditional “cluster” of driving gauges with the “center stack” into one integrated unit.
Escala includes new designs for connectivity and control, providing a prototype for the user experience in development for future production models. The system features a central control module that enables the driver to execute tactile commands across the spectrum of connectivity functions, in addition to voice and gesture control technology. Inside the controller sits a new edition of Cadillac’s “flying Goddess” icon, a nod to the brand’s illustrious heritage.
Like all Cadillac models today, the interior is assembled using hand cut-and-sewn techniques. However, Escala presents several new and unique touches, blending overt luxury with covert technology. Escala makes broad use of hand-tailored fabric on the door trim and seating areas. Inspired by suiting material used by Cadillac’s partners in the fashion industry, the fabric provides a new level of hand-applied craftsmanship and color, unique in today’s auto interior landscape.
The Escala Concept utilizes Cadillac’s new RWD-centric large luxury car architecture, featuring one of the world’s most advanced body structures, which debuted on the new CT6. The mixed-material construction enables unprecedented agility and efficiency.
Escala uses a new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, a prototype of a new system in development for future Cadillac models. The advanced engine utilizes Active Fuel Management technology, enabling fuel-saving 4-cylinder operation.
Cadillac Escala Concept Basic Specifications
Model Escala Concept
Body Style 4-door expressive flagship sedan, with lift-back rear opening
Height 57.3 in / 1455 mm
Width 76.7 in / 1948 mm
Length 210.5 in / 5347 mm
Wheelbase 127.1 in / 3228
Engine 4.2-liter Twin Turbo V8