Category Archives: Car & Truck

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The 12 Must-See Highlights from the 2018 New York Auto Show

The 12 Must-See Highlights from the 2018 New York Auto Show2019 Acura RDX2019 Audi RS5 Sportback2019 Cadillac XT42019 Genesis G702019 Honda Insight2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVRLincoln Aviator Concept2019 Nissan Altima2019 Subaru Forester2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback2019 Toyota RAV4Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

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2019 Cadillac XT4: Finally, a Smaller Caddy Crossover – Official Photos and Info

2019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT42019 Cadillac XT4

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Down to Earth: 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 Arrives as a Mild Trail Upgrade

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Since the Ford Raptor began flying off dealer lots in 2010, Ram and General Motors have responded only halfheartedly, leaving the Blue Oval’s Baja racer in a class of its own. That will still be the norm for full-size pickups after the arrival of this 2019 GMC Sierra AT4, a far less intense off-roader than the latest Raptor or the Hellcat-powered Rebel anticipated later this year.The AT4—which, a GM spokesman said, does not stand for “all terrain”—is a burlier, trail-hardened trim that will spread across the GMC lineup. It’s a relatively mild tweak of the all-new Sierra 1500 for less extreme off-road duty. Visually, it’s an SLT with a two-inch lift kit, red tow hooks, and enough darkened chrome pieces to pass for yet another “midnight” edition. Available in crew-cab trucks with the short bed, the AT4 has standard four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case (of course) and sports standard 18-inch wheels wearing mud-rated Goodyear Wranglers and suspended by Rancho monotube dampers that come from a small Michigan supplier. Optional 20-inch rims may fill in the giant air gaps in the fender wells. Embroidered headrests, darkened aluminum trim, and all-weather floor mats decorate the interior, which also features hidden storage space within the rear seatbacks and a second tray beneath the seat rests.

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New to the AT4 is the Traction Select System, GMC’s take on terrain mapping, which alters throttle, transmission, and stability control settings to suit the environs. It pairs with the standard 5.3-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission but also is available with the 6.2-liter V-8 or the new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six. The latter pair come with the 10-speed automatic co-engineered with Ford. A locking rear differential, hill descent control, and four-wheel drive help claw the AT4 out of sticky situations. The bed comes standard with GMC’s multi-piece MultiPro tailgate, also on SLT and Denali trims, and optionally with carbon-fiber panels, also to be an option on Denali models. That aptly named CarbonPro bed has indents designed to snugly secure motorcycle and quad tires, plus it features extra tie-down hooks.

Otherwise, the AT4 is a pretty normal Sierra 4×4 that can be appointed with all kinds of extra safety aids and electronics like a digital rearview mirror and a multicolor head-up display including an inclinometer. We wish GMC would aim to fly higher, as Chevrolet has indicated it’s ready to do with the mid-size Colorado ZR2. In any case, look for the AT4 starting this fall.

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2018 New York Auto Show Full Coverage

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Dallara Stradale Driven! Racing Constructor Builds One for the Road

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While automakers love to fit aggressive-looking rear wings to their cars, and often claim that they help them stick to the pavement, the reality is that few street cars generate much downforce. The all-time champion was the Dodge Viper ACR, the sorta-streetable special that wowed us at Lightning Lap a couple of years ago, and which we’re told could generate up to 2000 pounds of downforce with its rear wing turned to its most aggressive angle. More recently, McLaren has said that the upcoming street version of its Senna hypercar will make up to 1764 pounds. But now there’s another member of this aero club in the considerably more svelte form of the Dallara Stradale. This wind-tunnel-tuned Italian lightweight can produce 881 pounds of downforce in its standard form, and a massive 1808 pounds when wearing its optional rear wing. All while still being street legal—in Europe, at least. READ MORE ››

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10 of the Greatest Obscure European Diesel Engines of All Time

10 of the Greatest Obscure European Diesel Engines of All TimeAudi 100 TDIAudi Q7 V12 TDIBMW 524tdBMW M550d xDriveMercedes-Benz 300SDMercedes-Benz C30 CDI AMGSubaru Forester 2.0DToyota Land Cruiser 70Volkswagen Phaeton V-10 TDIVolkswagen XL1

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2018 Audi A6 – In-Depth Review

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Ford Refreshes the Fusion Again and Debuts Co-Pilot360 Safety Package

2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

It might seem strange that Ford refreshed the Fusion for 2019, just two years after it facelifted the family sedan for 2017, but one look at the car’s competition is all the explanation needed. Toyota and Honda launched new generations of the Camry and Accord for 2018, both of which were significant steps forward, and this is Ford’s response. The 2019 Fusion debuts the new Co-Pilot360 safety suite and brings slightly tweaked front and rear fascias, an improved plug-in hybrid powertrain, and a few minor changes to the lineup.

Ford recently announced its intentions for the new Co-Pilot360 package at an event called Ford Uncovered and now the technology is debuting in a real-world product. The 2019 Fusion is the first Ford vehicle to come with Co-Pilot360 as standard. The safety suite includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, lane-keeping assist, a backup camera, and automatic high-beam headlamps. A secondary tier, called Co-Pilot360 Assist, is standard on Titanium, Sport, and hybrid models. It brings adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, navigation, and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. S and SE buyers will have the option to add 360 Assist for an as yet unnamed price.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

SE trims and above now come standard with the turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine rather than the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder (which still powers the S model). The Titanium continues with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost (with optional all-wheel drive), while the Sport carries on with the 325-hp V-6 and all-wheel drive as standard.

Regarding alternative powertrains, the Fusion hybrid still comes with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid and a continuously variable automatic transmission, but Ford updated the 9.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack on the plug-in Fusion Energi. The shape, size, and 84-cell configuration remain the same, but because of changes in the battery chemistry, it is now capable of 25 miles of electric range, up from 21.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

The 2019 Fusion also features more luxurious technology and packaging. Starting with the SE trim, all models are equipped with a Sync 3 8.0-inch touchscreen and an embedded 4G LTE modem. Replacing the SE Luxury package, Ford has brought back the SEL trim, which includes a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and LED headlights. The Titanium trim comes standard with a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, and 19-inch wheels. In all, Ford claims to have paired the available configurations from more than 2000 to only 36.

Although it might not be immediately obvious, Ford also gave the Fusion a couple of figurative shots of Botox. It has a slightly leaner front fascia, a revised grille, a new trunklid panel, and new LED taillights. The rear fascia has been nipped and tucked, and Ford has replaced the wide chrome bar with chrome trim accenting the lamps.

The 2019 Fusion will make its public debut at the upcoming New York auto show and will hit dealerships near the end of summer 2018. Look for more information on pricing and EPA numbers in the weeks to come.

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2018 New York Auto Show Full Coverage

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Mini Mean: Ford Ranger Raptor Dissected!

Mini Mean: Ford Ranger Raptor Dissected!

The Ford F-150 Raptor is one of the most entertaining vehicles on the market today, as much giddy fun in its element as a sports car is on a track. But it’s also surprisingly well rounded. It is simultaneously a toy, an effective tool for hauling as much as 1200 pounds or towing up to 8000, and, with its spacious cabin and cushy ride, a perfectly comfortable—albeit enormous—vehicle for daily use. Given the breadth of its skill set, the Raptor is also something of a bargain, starting at just $51,415. READ MORE ››

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Sliding with the Bulls: We Survive Lamborghini’s Winter Accademia

Generally speaking, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slowly. But after spending a whole day driving Lamborghinis on a frozen lake about two hours northeast of Montreal, Quebec, we’ve had to rethink that. Indeed, driving a Lamborghini Huracán or an Aventador on a frozen lake in Canada or anywhere, honestly, will have you rethinking a lot of things—your financial goals, your aversion to cold, your life choices, the basic tenets of physics—but one thing seems truer than ever as you watch $4.5 million worth of angry-looking carbon-fiber and aluminum beasts charging around a curvy path carved into the snow, their bright Skittles-color paints contrasting strikingly against the snowy white backdrop: Rich folks really do have more fun.

We were there to participate in Lamborghini’s Winter Accademia, a two-day ice driving program which the company has hosted in certain global markets annually since 2012 that highlights the winter-friendliness of Lamborghini’s all-wheel-drive supercars—an understandably incredulous notion to the uninitiated. And here you thought the upcoming Urus was going to be the “winter Lamborghini.”

2018 Lamborghini Huracan

Heretofore held in Aspen, Colorado, the North American Winter Accademia was moved this year to this remote, privately owned Canadian property located about 75 miles from Porsche’s Camp4 Canada winter driving school on which we reported last year. Conveniently, the property features a luxurious timber-construction boutique hotel and a large lake called Lake Sacacomie that we were told while driving out on it (in an Audi Q7 with four cornfed men aboard) was covered by a three-foot-thick layer of solid ice—sufficient to hold us and the Lamborghinis and, apparently, the Q7.

The Winter Accademia complements the Track Accademia weekend programs that Lamborghini holds at actual racetracks during summer months, when a fishing boat might be bobbing in the waves in the exact place where I enjoyed a cup or two of hot cocoa on a cushy leather couch inside a tent as large as two Winnebagos. This year, Lamborghini brought its 572-hp Huracán coupe, the 730-hp Aventador S coupe, and the new 639-hp Huracán Performante that recently rocketed us from zero to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and cornered at 1.11 g’s during its first C/D road test. But that was on dry pavement.

2018 Lamborghini Aventador

The lake might as well have been solid rock—very slippery but very solid rock—on which a well-groomed two-plus-mile pathway of varying width was plowed through the two-to-three-foot layer of snow that had accumulated on it since it froze over. The surface got slightly bumpy in places, but it was still ice—as hard, as slick, and as tricky to traverse as any patch of ice you’ve ever stumbled across before, only this patch was the size of a lake.

Climbing in and out of these frozen-lake-hugging supercars is tricky when there’s nothing but ice outside the car; we doubt Nancy Kerrigan herself could do so gracefully. How were we going to keep supercars with up to 730 horsepower going the right direction on a surface we could hardly walk across? Well, we couldn’t have if not for two things: special studded tires and expert guidance from Lamborghini’s professional Squadra Corse instructors, who rode shotgun at all times during our multiple 15-minute sessions.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan

Driving out to the first exercise, intended to teach participants to hold aggressive drift angles all the way around the aptly named Power Circle 360, we had no trouble driving the Huracán coupe normally. Once on the circle, we could initiate a drift by stabbing the brakes to transfer the weight forward while simultaneously dialing in opposite lock as the rear end quite quickly swung around. Within a second or two, we were back on the gas and straightening the wheel once again, maintaining the drift with all four wheels clawing in the same direction yet continuing to rotate around the circle. It took a few tries, but by the end even your Los Angeles-based author, who had never driven sideways in something so powerful and expensive before—at least not intentionally—felt he could have drifted around that circle all day long.

Then came a tail-wagging slalom course and sweeping pendulum-turn exercises in something even more powerful and expensive—and, as it turns out, even more fun while sideways—the $425K Aventador S. The slalom was relatively easy and got us acclimated to the Aventador’s larger-than-life character before we attempted to learn the pendulum turn, a.k.a. the Scandinavian Flick, in this much wider, much more powerful, much heavier car. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it took a bit longer to master, and fortunately, the course designers provided a much wider berth and more accommodating path for the flagship Lambo. But eventually we were flicking the big bull with relative ease, and it was time to move into the much lighter, quicker-reacting, track-focused $279K Huracán Performante for a few rather clumsy laps of the main track, which put to the test pretty much everything we’d done theretofore. We made it through a few laps without stuffing it into a snowbank, but there were a few close grazes. More practice required.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante

After gourmet vittles off the ice at a nearby clubhouse, we were back in the Huracán coupes, learning to swing the tail right, then left, then right again on an hourglass-shaped figure-eight course. Nailed it.

For anyone wondering what happens in the event that a driver loses control and plows into a snowbank, apparently Lamborghini has thought of this, too, so the answer is not much. As it turns out, snowbanks are softer than those made of dirt and rock. We witnessed a few vehicles stuff a couple of wheels or the entire nose into the snow, sometimes requiring a tow vehicle—a large Ram pickup—to chug out to the marooned car and give it a tug. But no cars seemed any the worse for it, and the only damage was to the drivers’ egos.

As we became more comfortable with the maneuvers, we were better able to discern how the icy surface amplifies certain innate handling attributes of the cars—particularly the quickness and the hypercommunicative nature of the steering, the effects of weight transfer from rear to front and side to side, and the rear-wheel bias of the all-wheel-drive systems available on all Lamborghinis. I imagine that exploring these limits would be possible in dry weather on asphalt, although the speeds—and the consequences for getting it wrong—would be much, much higher. This was a great place to hone one’s inner gyroscope, and these were great cars to do it in.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan

Our car-control skills had developed by the time we were back on the track in the Performantes again. We executed powerslides that would make Bo and Luke Duke proud and Scandinavian Flicks that set us charging out of corners like a hero. Our speed topped 70 mph on some of the straighter sections, and if 70 mph doesn’t sound fast to you, you haven’t driven a Lamborghini on ice.

For those who want to try it, Accademia courses are classifed as intermediate level within Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse driving and racing programs, above the beginner program, called Esperienza, that is open to prospective and first-time customers but below the Pilota program, which targets prospective racers. As such, both the Winter and Track Accademia programs are offered only to current Lamborghini owners who have already completed an Esperienza event and are willing to shell out $9500 for the two-day program. That sum doesn’t include airfare but, this year, included a morning of dog sledding on the departure day. Spouses were welcome but couldn’t drive unless they were also registered as participants. With only a couple dozen total attendees each year, the Winter Accademia is both exclusive and popular enough to have a waiting list. And after completing it ourselves, we can understand why.

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