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The News for February 9th, 2018

Greg Kachadurian February 9, 2018 The News! 43 Comments

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull, which this week mostly comes from the Chicago Auto Show. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Jaguar Classic to build 25 more D-Type race cars

  • Volkswagen debuts new Arteon in American specification

  • Hyundai redesigns and refines the Sonata Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid

  • Ford updates Transit Connect Wagon with new engines and features

  • Other Chicago Auto Show coverage from the week (and puppies)

  • What’s your automotive news?

Jaguar Restarts Production of D-Type

Arguably the greatest bit of automotive news from this week wasn’t even at that big auto show going on right now. That’s because a big stage wasn’t needed to reveal the first “new” D-Type race car since 1956. That’s right, Jaguar is building that car again.

Jaguar had originally planned on building 100 D-Type race cars in 1955, but only 75 ever made it out the door. As with the six missing Lightweight E-Types and the nine XKSS’s that were lost to a fire, Jaguar is making up for that all these years later.

That means 25 “new” D-Types will be born into this world with each being hand-built to the exact specifications of the originals by Jaguar Classic, complete with old straight-six engine technology and quick-change brake calipers depending on the specification. What a time to be alive.

Everything from the ground up in the new D-Types has been designed and built based on the original Jaguar engineering drawings and records. It’ll be just as if competitions manager Lofty England and his engineers in the 1950s didn’t stop at car number 75. Because they’re able to recreate both the Shortnose (1955) and Longnose (1956) bodywork, clients can pick which of the two they want on theirs…. but let’s be real here, anyone making this decision will probably just get both.

There’s really not much else to say about this, so here are some pretty pictures.

[Source: Jaguar]

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Now for some actual Chicago Auto Show news.

Remember the Volkswagen Arteon that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show a year ago? It’s like that, but in America. Not even joking. The US-spec Arteon is pretty much unchanged from the European version we’ve already seen. It’s a premium mid-size sedan with a “coupe-like” roofline, more driver assistance features, and more in-car tech that will replace the Passat CC when it goes on sale Q3 this year.

The Arteon is built upon VW’s new modular architecture which allowed for the cab-backward orientation designers wanted. Compared to the Passat CC, it has a five-inch longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs which lends well to the premium “gran turismo” look they were going for. It’s a shame you can’t see how much my eyes just rolled after typing that.

America’s Arteons will feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission will send power to the front wheels as standard, but 4Motion AWD is an option on every trim level. New adaptive damping, which manages rebound and compression rates individually, is standard on every Arteon as well.

Inside the more upscale cabin is a load of new features like Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled massaging driver’s seat, heated rear seats, and Dynaudio premium sound. It also comes with some safety features that might prevent you from crashing into something.

We don’t yet have pricing info for the Arteon, but we do know it comes with a 6-year/72,000 mile warranty. That’s good, because the check engine light is already on in the press photo.

[Source: Volkswagen]

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids

Hyundai quietly drove into Chicago with their redesigned Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid for the 2018 model year. The exterior and interior have been comprehensively reworked, it launches with more safety and connectivity features, and the steering and suspension have been further refined. It’s about as new as it can get without building an all-new car.

The most noticeable exterior work was done within the front/rear fascia design, grille, hood, front fenders, rear deck lid, and headlights/taillights in accordance with the new family styling language. Other than looking prettier, the body is also more aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd. It also rides on 16 and 17-inch “eco-spoke” wheels and benefits from adaptive LED lighting (the kind that point the direction you’re turning). Its interior gets a new instrument panel center stack and a new steering wheel, which is also available heated.

Hyundai claims that steering wheel will now get more feedback through it as they’ve got a stiffer front anti-roll bar and recalibrated steering assistance feel, plus a more rigid rear-trailing-arm design with retuned bushings for better response.

Hyundai offers a few additional safety features as standard, including blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist. Automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are new options. Other updates made inside range from the new navigation system with real-time traffic (which isn’t a paid subscription) to wireless device charging. There’s also a powered USB port in the back seat so your kids can ignore you for longer periods of time.

Exact pricing isn’t available, but Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers are eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit. The Hybrid will be available nationwide as normal, but the Plug-in Hybrid will only be distributed in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. If you live anywhere else, you will have to custom order one from a dealer so you’ll need to wait a bit longer.

[Source: Hyundai]

Subaru Celebrates 50 Years in America

Anniversaries are a big deal for automakers, especially when they’re big numbers like this one. Usually you’ll get a couple special edition cars with fancy paint, extra badges, and a higher price tag. But Subaru went bigger than that for their 50th year in America.

They went with eight special edition cars with fancy paint, extra badges, and higher price tags. Every model they currently make is getting its own 50th Anniversary Edition complete with exclusive Heritage Blue paint, satin chrome trim and badging, and other unique interior appointments. Each model, with the exception of the BRZ, also gets bespoke alloy wheels to differentiate them from the rest.

Each model will be built in limited quantities. Because it’s easier, here’s the copy pasta from the press release.

[Source: Subaru]

2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon

Over the last couple years, most automakers have been bending over backwards to cater to the needs of millennials by throwing a bunch of tech and trendy features into everything they build while rambling incoherently about “connected mobility” and “ride sharing”, hoping we understand. But Ford did the exact opposite for the new 2019 Transit Connect Wagon… they had Baby Boomers in mind for this one.

For a good reason though. The last Transit Connect Wagon was most popular among those born from 1946 to 1964 and that market is still the number one consumer demographic in America. Ford says they like it so much because it’s just a good, honest, and useful van, which many grew up with. It can move people, businesses, and hobbies like few others can, so Ford built upon those strengths and hopes people will continue to catch on.

It’s available in two different wheelbases to fit five or seven passengers and comes in three different trim levels so people can only get as much van as they need. Buyers have a choice between a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder gas engine or a 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine. Drivers can also enjoy the smooth gear changes of the eight-speed automatic almost as much as forwarding email chains to the whole family.

Despite its target audience, it does still offer a good amount of in-car tech like Sync3 with Ford+Alexa (that circle you can yell at to turn on the TV), a floating 6.5-inch touch screen, and wireless device charging. It also comes available with a full suite of driver assistance features that might prevent one of these from launching into a convenience store.

The cabin is, as usual for a Transit, massive and flexible. Tall sliding doors on both sides and flat-folding seats mean there’s ample room for work and play. You can also complain about how easy kids have it these days while taking advantage of the available full-length roof rails. If needed, it can also tow up to 2,000 pounds with the available towing package.

As with previous models, the 2019 Transit Connect Wagon is expected to be the most affordable vehicle of its type, certainly compared to modern day minivans. For a single van that can haul people and anything else you can fit in it as effortlessly as possible, it’s hard to beat this one.

[Source: Ford]

Other Coverage From the Week

Another big story broke this week but it was too awesome to wait. Ford teased the Ranger Raptor that’s headed to Australia first, but should come to America shortly after we get the Ranger back in 2019. I mean, they have to… right? It’s got a lot of off-road goodness from the F-150 Raptor crammed into a smaller package that won’t be as hard to park and a diesel engine as at least one potential option for us.

We’ve also got a couple good dudes who are LIVE-ish from the Chicago Auto Show floor this week with some coverage you should check outy. I’m jealous – not of the police car collection or the Hyundai Kona, but of the puppies that Volvo brought.

What’s Your Automotive News?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • Smaglik

    Thanks for the laughs…. 🙂

    Changed the oil in the X3 this morning. Uneventful. X3 is going into a BMW dealer tomorrow for the first time in 80k miles (since I bought it) to have the Takata Bomb diffused. This will be my third such diffusing.

    Took the M5 in for a complete detail, and correct a few minor issues in the paint (I like cleaning as much as the next enthusiast, but this was beyond me), in preparation for sale.

  • Professor Lavahot

    I’m pretty interested in these updates to the Transit Connect, one of my favorite under-reviewed, under-advertised weirdo-mobiles.

    I’m less interested in buying a Ford with a brand-new engine design…what is the crowd consensus on the success of the EcoBoost range so far?

    • GTXcellent

      My only gripe with 3.5 in my F150 is the oil change interval – 5000 mile max changes no matter what. Thankfully my timing issues were all under warranty. Otherwise, it’s been a great motor. Moar powah than my Hemi powered ram, best fuel economy of any pickup I’ve ever had.

    • These cars are the european equivalent to trucks in the US, I guess – not weird at all: ordered without side windows nor rear bench, add some drawer system and a roof rack, and put your name, craft, and phone number on the sides.
      https://www.flotte.de/files/UserFiles/aluca-forf.jpg

      I don’t really know, I think the “Transit Connect Wagon” is called “Tourneo Connect” in Europe?
      Alternatives (no particular order):
      * Opel Combo (Today’s PSA then GM licensed a Fiat Doblo)
      * Fiat Doblo
      * Renault Kangoo
      * Citroen Berlingo
      * Mercedes Citan (a Kangoo re-badge, probably to offer a smaller commercial vehicle for MB fleets)
      * VW Caddy

      Next step up would be proper transporters, such as VW T6, Opel Vivaro/Renault Trafic, Ford Transit (<-European name?), or Mercedes V-something.

      • Zentropy

        The OP probably didn’t mean “weirdo” so much as that the TC is fairly uncommon and unpopular in the States despite being a logical and practical vehicle. Americans would rather drive around in vehicles way too big for most of their needs, because we have the roadspace to do so.

        • crank_case

          In fairness, if European streets weren’t small, and we weren’t taxed to death on more “exuberant” vehicle choices, I reckon a lot of people here would make the same choice. After all, rednecks = Irish/Scottish people + Appalachian isolation + moonshine + time.

          (I’m Irish living in Ireland)

          • Zentropy

            Haha, love this. Ironically, you nailed it. I’m of Scot/Irish descent, from Appalachia, and my paternal great-grandfather was a moonshiner. I’ve personally never been considered a redneck, but I’m certainly related to many.

      • crank_case

        Yep, every trades person uses something like this, the LWB version is specifically designed to accomodate two Euro Pallets, and realistically, it’s actually a lot more useful than a pickup in many cases. The transit connect is an incredibly nice vehicle to drive through traffic. You sit higher than many compact SUVs, it’s comfortable, visibility is excellent. It’s just a great no-nonsense vehicle.

    • ptschett

      I keep forgetting that Ford actually does still make a small passenger van. I know the Transit Connect Wagon exists, I know they’re even actually imported as the wagon version with passenger seats installed to get around the chicken tax, but the Transit Connects I see so often are the work van configuration with panel sides and commercial labelling that I forget the window van still exists.

      Then I have a scenario like ~7 miles before I got to my exit from the interstate this past Friday afternoon where I’m coming up behind a small van, trying to figure out what it is, regretting that of the big 3 only Chrysler still makes a passenger minivan in NAFTA, then as I pull out to pass, finding out it is indeed a Transit Connect Wagon…

  • “Anniversaries are a big deal for automakers, especially when they’re big numbers like this one. Usually you’ll get a couple special edition cars with fancy paint, extra badges, and a higher price tag. But Subaru went bigger than that for their 50th year in America.

    They went with eight special edition cars with fancy paint, extra badges, and higher price tags.”

    I literally laughed out loud at this. Good job, Greg!

    • Zentropy

      I could care less about badges and paint schemes. “Special Edition” in my opinion should include 20% more horsepower and substantial suspension upgrades, and I wouldn’t want a single thing on the exterior to advertise the fact. I’m not paying more for automotive lipstick.

      • Making changes, even minor, to engines is costly. To do this, automakers need to make sure they get their money back on that investment.

        • Zentropy

          I completely agree, and they should price it accordingly. But at least then, you’re paying for changes that actually make the car special.

      • crank_case

        Depends, some special editions are good value vs. getting the options separately.

  • GTXcellent

    This might make some fellow Hoons jealous (that or question why a grown man is excited about some old toys)
    I was digging in my folks’ storeroom last weekend and came across a couple of toys from my youth.
    This is a Matchbox SuperKings K7 Transporter and matching Hi-Tailer from 1972.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/991107dc7809526e892891cf42bd9f5600b63df5c590aeed3812e7a22dd4447b.jpg
    The other is also a SuperKings – a Brabham BT44B from 1976
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/add4c8541c8670e812cc460b3e0a68c15ca594c2aebb03726879175498013cf4.jpg
    They didn’t get much playing time because I was a snobby kid who only liked drag racing, stock cars and dirt tracks. I’m going to have to spend some more time looking now, because I know somewhere is a Rover rallye car, and a Ferrari Daytona and a Lotus Elite and probably some more I can’t recall

    • crank_case

      That’s awesome. Bit of a diecast nerd myself, have an Instagram dedicated only to 1/64 scale and similarly sized (e.g. Hot Wheels/Matchbox) if people don’t mind me plugging it here: https://www.instagram.com/diecast_1_64/

      • Monkey10is

        Lot’s of great JDM & Kei car specials in there; but it was perhaps the original Fiat Panda that i felt most nostalgic for.

  • P161911

    I’m PLANNING on delving into something that I haven’t done in over 20 years this weekend. Upgrading a car stereo. The factory stereo in the Silverado started going bad, specifically the 3.5mm input jack. 50% plus of what I listen to on my 2-3 hour commute is Audible on my phone. I wanted a new unit with Bluetooth. Tried the FM adapters, usually with so-so results at best. I got a low end Pioneer model as a Christmas present. I THINK I have all the needed parts now. While I have the dash apart, I’ll also install a hard wire connection for the dash cam that I got for Christmas too. If all goes well, I might attempt to finally install the back up camera I got one or two Christmases ago too.

  • Sjalabais

    So after last weekend’s trip to the deep freezer I’ve had some trouble with the heater in my car. It takes 3-4 times the usual driving distance to blow toasty warm air. Yet, engine temp gets up real quick, like before (so not an open thermostat), and, in fact, might get too hot when I park the car for 10 minutes with the engine running. What am I looking at?

    • Is there a second thermostat for the people heater that’s stuck? Is the “large” thermostat stuck closed or at 20%? Fans working when getting warm? Questions, only questions, no answers.

      • Sjalabais

        Fans working, the rest is a mystery. In april I can get the car to tech inspection. Maybe I can live with all the small issues until then.

    • Victor

      Some cars have a cabin air filter , have seen them plugged.

      • Sjalabais

        Thanks! I change mine twice a year, but will have a look…sort of a bottleneck for heat, then? The vents blow air though, and it gets real hot…just not at a normal rate.

    • Fuhrman16

      Wait, so the car gets too hot when sitting? As in it’s over heating?

      • Sjalabais

        Yes, I experienced that once. Usually, I don’t let it run while parked, but I think this was at least 10 minutes.

        • Fuhrman16

          Hmm, have you checked the coolant levels, to make sure they aren’t low? Also check out to make sure the water pump is circulating as well.

          • Sjalabais

            Might be the water pump, true that. Coolant looked fine when I checked last Wednesday, but I’ll have another look after work to be sure. All belts etc for the water pump and fan are tight and running without noises though.

    • Alff

      I’d start by topping off/bleeding any air out of cooling system and heater core. It doesn’t sound like your pump is shelled.

      • Sjalabais

        I was just outside and tried to do that. There didn’t seem to be any air in the system, and I was a bit optimistic and have a bit too much coolant in the expansion tank now. Maybe it’s a halfway stuck thermostat anyway…and maybe it’s time I try to find my unused, 4-5 years old OBD2 reader.

  • Harry Callahan

    Arteon: An Audi…for a few pennies less.

  • “copy pasta”

    I’m not sure if I want that to be intentional or an auto correct accident.

    • Greg Kachadurian

      Intentional 🙂

  • wunno sev

    as always, marketing engineers miss the target completely: they targeted The Kids™ with the Scion xB and Honda Element, but got boomers who like a high seating position; now they’re targeting old people who want lots of windows and space, but they’re gonna get the #vanlife generation.

  • kogashiwa

    “Arteon” is the single dumbest and most pretentious car name I have ever heard.

    • Zentropy

      It isn’t the worst, but it’s definitely dumb and pretentious. The car itself is about as dull as it gets.

    • ptschett
      • Sjalabais

        That is one hell of a list. “Thunderblender”? Wow.

        • outback_ute

          I bet they didn’t repeat the exercise…

        • Vairship

          It’s what happens when a Thunderbird flies into a jet engine…

      • Alff

        What salesperson wouldn’t take pride in delivering a varsity stroke?