February 5th, 2019
2019 - Last North American International Auto Show - as we've known it.
Filled with sprawling displays of gleaming sheet metal and enough spotlights to illuminate the International Space Station, this was the final chilly, Detroit Auto Show in January. 2019 lacked the European media-hustle excitement, which left extra space for other exhibitors.
Next year the Grand Experiment begins, moving show dates to June and using the Cobo Center rooftop and multiple venues spread throughout downtown Detroit to showcase the best in cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, SAVs, mobility pods and platforms. 2020 will be interesting, to say the least.
We've done the General Motors story, this is the rest of the best.
Ford kicked off the show, bringing their all-new 2020 Explorer to an early debut at Ford Field. Hmm, plenty of space under the dome! At Cobo Center, there were the new Explorer, new Mustang GT500, infused with a supercharged V-8 making over 700 horsepower with a 0-60 time a tick over three seconds, and the latest Ford F-150 Raptor, all brightly colored for maximum exposure. Interestingly, even on limited-attendance media days the Ford layout felt cramped.
The 2020 Explorer will use EcoBoost turbo power, either a 2.3L base engine or more powerful 3.0L depending on your needs and your credit union's scorecard. It's a rear-wheel drive platform, with AWD available. To me there's not a substantial change anywhere except the front-end, which is more like Fusion or Focus, which is not a bad thing.
FCA's RAM division challenged its cross-town rivals with an all-new RAM Heavy Duty 2500 and RAM Heavy Duty 3500 which the brand says, "Out-powers, out-tows and out-hauls every other pickup available." Why? It's thanks to an update Cummins 6.7-liter high output turbo-diesel that breaks the 1,000 lb.-ft. torque barrier for standard pickups. If you want all of those torques, you'll have to order a two-wheel drive model equipped with proper equipment. Then your Ram will be rated to tow 35,100 pounds and deliver a 7,680-pound payload. Ram's media briefing was all about axles, transfer cases, suspension, brakes and transmissions, AKA gear-head heaven and real news.
GAC, will likely the first Chinese automaker to deliver cars to the USA, and have multiple dealerships (we discount supercars and tiny e-cars.) They brought a non-concept concept called ENTRANZE. It seats 3+2+2 in a pod-like configuration. Of course the vehicle is electric, and a version of this shape/size/configuration will be released by GAC later in 2019 for the Chinese market. GAC will soon open a North American headquarters in California. They also displayed a full lineup of sedans and small-and-larger crossovers; these guys are for real, even if we don’t find most of their current lineup visually appealing.
Ford and VW held a teleconference announcing a partnership to collaborate on a products and technologies. Likely, VW wants to take advantage of Ford's truck expertise while Ford could rapidly benefit from Volkswagen's advanced electric platforms and autonomous vehicle research. How this shakes out is yet unknown and details are conspicuously-but not unexpectedly-absent.
The handsome Lincoln Continental 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition, designed to remind us of Lincoln's heritage with center-opening doors and a luxury interior featuring Alcantara, was one of the best-looking vehicles on the floor. And the Continental delivers more than a sophisticated exterior, as under the hood you can option a hybrid version of the twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.0-liter V-6. By combining the EcoBoost with hybrid technology, it produces a respectable 450 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque. Get into line with a bank draft, only 80 will be produced.
Arguably the most-anticipated introduction was Toyota's new Supra. The 2020 GR Supra is the first global model developed by Toyota GAZOO Racing, the international umbrella for Toyota's global motorsport program. Built on a chassis shared with BMW's Z4, Supra comes in two models, Base and Premium, with a third Launch Edition based on the Premium limited to 1,500 cars. Those get signatures from Akio Toyoda on carbon fiber for display in your office. However, the base model looks like the better bet. It has the same 300-hp. engine, grippy Alcantara seats (versus leather) and a low-low entry price of $50,920. Car-loving journalists agreed, it has better looks and more impact than Margot Robbie or Gal Gadot.
Lexus brought it's RC F Track Edition, which has been upgraded and with a refreshed body. Meant for performance enthusiasts, add a set of tires and extra brake pads and you, too, Can't Drive 55, or have a good weekend of racing. Also, the company displayed a "concept" LC Convertible, a very sexy and meant-for-sunshine-weekend-weather touring. It awaits a decision on soft top or folding hardtop; well, that's what we think.
For family buyers, Volkswagen introduced a new Passat, which could look a bit more like the Arteon concept, in our opinion. However, Passats are meant for driving, not display, so look for aggressive pricing and "German Engineering" adverts to follow. Also look for significantly upgraded features added to the brands already-good ride and handling. As their Atlas CUV has great lane keeping and VW's excellent telematics system, we expect Passat to be well received by couples and families.
Nothing says Auto Show like CONCEPT CARS. Real concepts, even if they somewhat foreshadow the styling of future product. No production-intent cut lines, no perfect rubber gaskets with part numbers. Real. For several years Nissan and Infiniti have provided winners, 2019 was no exception.
The Infiniti QX Inspiration is, of course an electrified vehicle that hints at Infiniti's upcoming EV architecture. There is, according to the company, intent to build, though likely with conventional doors to meet safety regulations. Like other EVs, there's a "skateboard" modular base with e-motors on each axle, which generates all-wheel drive. The QX Inspiration took three of EyesOn Design's awards— Best Concept Vehicle, Best Designed Interior and Best Use of Color, Graphics or Materials
Nissan brought the IM purely electric sedan with its odd 2+1+2 seating arrangement. Nissan says IM stands for "Intelligent Mobility". With power estimated at 483 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, the battery pack extends range to 380 miles, eliminating any range anxiety. It’s low, has a fantastic paint job, and a video-only instrument/infotainment panel sweeping across the dashboard.
Subaru, home of family cars and the wonderful Subaru WRX and WRX STI boy-racers, brought to the USA, for the first time, the STI S209, a full-on racecar wrapped into an STI body. Subaru Technica International is Subaru's race shop and skunk works. Everything is hand-built or hand-assembled, including the 200 S209's that will be sent to the USA. While 341 horsepower from the boxer engine might sound small, competitors around the world have been looking at the taillights in multiple racing venues.
Kia brought its new Telluride three-row crossover to Detroit, putting it on display and on an interior hill-climb track, the first at NAIAS. Appearance is sportier than the soon-to-come Hyundai Palisade, and Kia's theme echoed that with an active lifestyle display complete with ski racks and kayaks.
Hyundai showed an enhancement to their N Line of performance vehicles. Available to you and me Really Soon, the Elantra GT N Line combines sportier trim elements with refinements to the chassis and powertrain. Think "BMW M that I can afford." Their first N Line racecar, the Veloster N TCR, will compete in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, beginning with the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
Ford's media launch for the all-new 2019 Ranger is presently underway. One tidbit that Ford let out today is that the Ranger will have a 22 MPG Combined rating in 4X4 and 23 MPG combined in RWD versions. Those numbers are the same as the Colorado and Canyon Duramax diesels'.
Normally, comparing a gasoline-powered vehicle to a similar one with a diesel engine is meaningless. Diesels are really good at two things; creating torque at low RPMs and having a high miles per gallon rating (of diesel fuel). The Ranger is a bit different. Like the new Chevy 2.7-Liter turbo gas engine, the Ranger's 2.3-liter "EcoBoost" turbocharged gasoline engine also develops outstanding torque at low RPMs. The Ranger is rated at 310 lb-ft of torque. Ford has not yet provided a curve for it and we will update our readers when they do. Expect a low RPM peak and a flat plateau over the entire normal operating speed range of the engine.
Diesel is presently selling at 22% more per gallon than regular unleaded according to AAA's daily national average posting. It will be interesting to see how the Ranger pulls trailers. It may well have a similar pulling ability to the Duramax equipped midsize trucks from GM, but offer much quicker acceleration coupled with a lower cost for fuel.
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
Ford has announced that it will begin to phase out of the passenger car market. The most recent announcement caps a long list of hints by Ford that the company could not seem to build cars that are competitive or that were profitable to make domestically. Ford will be walking away from a volume of business larger than the total sales volume of Volkswagen in America. The Mustang will stay, but most of the Ford cars will not have a next generation.
FCA recently canceled two Dodge and Chrysler models, deciding to keep only the luxury and rear/AWD muscle cars that it can also sell to government agencies. The natural question to ask, given that both Ford and Chrysler are walking away from mainstream family cars, is will GM follow the examples?
Mary Barra, GM’s CEO says GM will not follow the example. At least in the near term. Here’s what Barra told investors in a recent conference call:
“We launched very efficient architectures in the midsize and compact (segments) proving to be good platforms going forward with fairly minor changes…And the segments are still significant. Because we’ve made the investments, we need to deploy little to no capital going forward, so we view (cars) as an opportunity. What you’ll see us do is play very efficiently in a segment that, although it is declining, there is still an opportunity.”
That does not mean that GM won’t retire individual car models across its brands. Barra has already said that the Volt will go away eventually as GM switches to battery-electric cars (fully electric like the Bolt). Cadillac, Buick and Chevy also have some cars that are moving so slowly the market is killing them off, regardless of what GM wants. All but one Cadillac car, ironically, the front wheel drive one, the Lacrosse, the Impala, and the Sonic all look like models that could eventually be replaced by crossover models.
well, it looks like Ford is putting all of its eggs into one basket; by dropping every passenger car currently in production and going all in on Trucks and SUVs. essentially, the ONLY car they will have left is the Mustang and even then by 2020, the Mustang will be paired with a word that makes the performance community projectile vomit when it is uttered: HYBRID. i for one, feel sorry that Ford is about to essentially ruin the last good nameplate it has.
Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com
Polaris is adding some umph to the Ranger Crew for 2019. The new Crew XP1000 features the same 82-horsepower 2-cylinder engine from the 2019 Ranger XP1000 but can haul around nearly twice as many people. With 6 person capacity, the Ranger Crew XP1000 can move people, equipment, or just about anything. We previously reviewed a long term Ranger XP900 and loved every minute. How can you go wrong with better styling, a new interior, and MORE power? You can't
Here's the press release from Polaris and a few videos showing off the main features of the 2019 Ranger XP1000 and Ranger Crew XP1000.
Polaris® Introduces Completely Reinvented 2019 RANGER CREW® XP 1000
Fueled by More than 100 Owner-Inspired Improvements, the All-New RANGER CREW XP 1000 Sets the New Standard for Six-Passenger Utility Side-by-Sides
More Rugged. More Refined. More RANGER.™
More Rugged: 82 Horsepower, Industry-Leading 13 Inches of Ground Clearance and 1,750 Pounds of Payload Capacity
More Refined: All-New Interior with Unmatched In-Cab Hauling and Comfort for Six
More RANGER: More than 100 Owner-Inspired Improvements, Standard One-Year Warranty and 200-Plus Accessory Options
Minneapolis (April 10, 2018) – Polaris RANGER®, the industry’s No.1-selling utility side-by-side vehicle, today introduced the completely reinvented 2019 RANGER CREW® XP 1000, setting the new standard for six-passenger utility. It brings added passenger and payload capacity to the world’s HARDEST WORKING. SMOOTHEST RIDING.® side-by-side. Fueled by more than 100 owner-inspired improvements, including best-in-class power, towing, ground clearance and payload capacity, the all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 redefines what a six-person utility machine can do.
“After 20 years of building more than one-million RANGER vehicles, we know what it takes to deliver industry-leading innovation. The all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 embodies our ongoing commitment to improving the owner experience and surpassing their lifestyle needs,” said Chris Musso, president of Off-Road Vehicles, Polaris. “This machine delivers an unparalleled balance of capability and comfort, offering the ultimate solution for any job that requires more people and more gear.”
Best-in-Class by Any Measure
The 2019 RANGER CREW XP 1000 is the undisputed king of six-seat utility side-by-sides. It has been engineered to outwork the competition, starting with the ProStar® 1000 power plant, which generates a class-best 82 horsepower. All that power is turned into productivity with a massive 2,500 pounds of towing capacity – 500 pounds more than the closest competitor. When the job calls for a full crew, the machine effortlessly hauls up to six people and their gear with an industry-leading payload capacity of 1,750-pounds.
Much more than just a workhorse, the all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 builds on the legendary ride and handling RANGER is known for. It boasts up-to 13 inches of class-leading ground clearance and more durable, 27-inch, 6-ply tires to conquer the toughest terrain. With an unrivaled 11 inches of suspension travel courtesy of RANGER CREW-specific shocks, the ride stays ultra-smooth even when the land is not. Thanks to a 10-percent tighter turning radius and standard EPS, drivers can navigate tight confines with precise control.
Unmatched In-Cab Refinement
Drivers and passengers alike will appreciate the entirely reimagined in-cab experience of the RANGER CREW XP 1000. The cut-and-sew seats are thicker and more durable to provide all-day comfort, while entering and exiting the vehicle is made easier with an additional five inches of clearance for both front and rear passengers. A new digital/analogue gauge delivers information to the driver at a glance.
The vehicle’s innovative interior design allows riders to haul more gear with new flip-up front and rear passenger seats, plus a new under-seat pass-through for hauling items that require more space. It boasts an expansive 19 gallons of in-cab storage, including 8 cup holders and a huge double glove box.
Built for the Long-Haul
The all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 is also proven to be tougher, stronger, and more durable. It features dozens of durability improvements, including a more rigid, one-piece chassis, a completely redesigned heavy-duty PVT clutch system, a full-body skid plate, and sealed suspension bushings – all backed by a standard one-year factory warranty.
Off-Road Climate Control
When the weather turns harsh, ride in comfort in the RANGER CREW® XP 1000 NORTHSTAR HVAC Edition. This special edition features a factory-installed heating and air conditioning system and the new, premium RANGER Pro Shield™ cab system –proven to have three-times better dust protection than competitive OEM offerings. Larger sealing surfaces and new gaskets help keep the controlled temperature in and dust out, while both front and rear ventilation provides better airflow and comfort for all passengers.
Next-Level Accessory Integration
The RANGER CREW XP 1000 takes accessory integration to new heights. The industry’s largest stock front bumper includes an integrated Polaris Glacier® plow mount as well as mounting points for lighting accessories and a Polaris winch – now featuring industry-first Rapid Rope Recovery technology. Additionally, the Polaris Pulse™ electrical system allows for plug-and-play installation of Polaris Engineered™ powered accessories.
With more than 200 options available, Polaris Engineered™ accessories – which have been designed, tested and validated with the machine – make it easier than ever to customize the RANGER CREW XP 1000 for any work or recreation application. For example, the RANGER Pro Shield™ cab system offers more than 1,800 customizable configurations; and Pro Armor Harvester® tires, developed in partnership with Pro Armor® specifically for RANGER, feature triple-belted sidewalls, a 10-ply rating and a 5,000-mile tread life.
Offered in Sage Green, Sunset Red Metallic and Polaris Pursuit® Camo, the all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 will be available in dealerships starting in late April. Even with the 100-plus owner-inspired improvements, the machine starts at $16,299 US and $19,999 CAN.
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