The News for April 19th, 2019

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week, it’s a bunch of stuff from the New York International Auto Show, including the Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package, Kia Stinger GTS, Lincoln Corsair, and more!

Ford Mustang 2.3L High Performance Package

2020 Mustang High Performance Package

There’s no shortage of high(er)-performance variants of the Mustang GT available today which are all fantastic. I would know. But there’s been a noticeable lack of such performance variants for the EcoBoost-powered Mustangs. There’s an EcoBoost Performance Package available but it’s not nearly as extensive as any of the two Performance Packages on the GT. Ford stated a while ago that they wanted you to tune their shiny new turbocharged four-banger, but they themselves haven’t shown it a lot of love. That changed this week.

Unfortunately, their inability to find cool names for Mustang packages hasn’t changed. It’s called the 2.3L High Performance Package. Sure it gets to the point, but it may as well be called the Mustang RS. That’s because this isn’t like the regular EcoBoost available in any other Mustang – this is the much more potent EcoBoost turbo four derived from the Focus RS. With plenty of handling upgrades to match the power, this is the EcoBoost Mustang we deserve.

2020 Mustang High Performance Package

With 330 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s not the exact same specs you get out of a Focus RS but it’s close. Ford engineers gave it a slightly larger 63-millimeter twin-scroll turbo compressor and a better radiator. It’s also been calibrated to work with the six-speed manual and ten-speed automatic. Besides the increase in power, buyers will notice a more broad torque curve and less of a drop in power at redline.

As far as handling goes, it benefits from an aluminum strut tower brace, brakes from the non-performance pack Mustang GT, and larger sway bars front and rear. It includes a 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle, extra cooling from the Mustang GT Performance Packages, and 19×9-inch machined-face aluminum wheels (which look awfully similar to the PP2 wheels) with 255/40R summer tires.

For those who want an extra edge on their track day, an additional EcoBoost Handling Package is available on this car. That adds semi-metallic brakes, specially calibrated MagneRide dampers, larger anti-roll bars at the back, and a TORSEN 3.55:1 limited-slip rear axle. It rides on wider 19×9.5-inch premium painted aluminum wheels with 265/40R Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 summer tires.

2020 Mustang High Performance Package

It’s often been said that the EcoBoost Mustangs are secretly the best-handling (outside of the Shelbys). Now that there’s a solid performance offering like this finally coming, I’d imagine more enthusiasts will be willing to give it a try. It arrives in dealerships this fall.

In other Mustang news, last year it was the hottest-selling sports coupe in the world for a fourth straight year. I helped!

[Source: Ford]

Kia Stinger GTS

2020 Stinger GTS

Kia proved they could do sports sedans right with the Stinger two years ago and now they’re stepping things up a little. 800 examples of the Kia Stinger GTS are being produced with an attention-grabbing color, some extra carbon fiber, and a new AWD system.

The biggest new feature the Stinger GTS can boast is a “dynamic all-wheel drive system (D-AWD)” intended for more spirited driving. It’s been tweaked to close the gap in behavior between the AWD-equipped and RWD-equipped Stinger GT. Closing that gap is a new mechanical limited-slip diff, a drift mode, and new logic for the automatic transmission and stability control.

2020 Stinger GTS

D-AWD is very biased towards the rear in all driving modes. Said drift mode can send 100% of the car’s power to the rear wheels for when people want to pretend they’re Ken Block. But if you don’t need a drift mode to lay slick drifts bro, you can still order the GTS in RWD.

What you’re left with in that case is an appearance package. That includes unique “Federation” premium orange paint, genuine carbon fiber exterior trim, some Alcantara inside, and a premium Chamude headliner. The GTS also includes premium tech features but it’s nothing you can’t get in a normal Stinger.

Pricing is expected to start at $44,000 for RWD and around $46,500 for D-AWD. It arrives in dealers this spring.

[Source: Kia]

Lincoln Corsair

All-New-2020-Lincoln-Corsair-Reserve-Appearance-Pkg_Exterior-01

Lincoln’s much anticipated replacement for the MKC has been revealed this week. Say hello to the Lincoln Corsair, their newest two-row SUV/crossover that you’re going to see everywhere. It follows the winning Lincoln formula they’ve had since the Continental which means it’s attractive, comfortable, and loaded with tech.

And it’s at this point where I’m being greeted by some strong thunderstorms. I’m gonna start flying through these last stories in case it knocks out power in my apartment like it usually does. Panic!

All-New-2020-Lincoln-Corsair-Reserve-Appearance-Pkg_Exterior-01

Everything about the Corsair is built around some “Quiet Flight DNA” which means it’s really quiet and smooth and stuff. A cool new feature which lends to that is a Lincoln-first rear integral bush suspension.

Two EcoBoost four-cylinder engines are available at launch ranging from 250 to 280 horsepower and there’s a new eight-speed automatic as well.

All-New-2020-Lincoln-Corsair-Reserve-Appearance-Pkg_Exterior-01

There’s also a bunch of technology including Phone As A Key where a phone app can unlock your car. Now when you lose your phone which was in a case that also doubles as a wallet, you can lose the car too.

It arrives in dealerships this fall. Pricing was not confirmed.

[Source: Lincoln]

Nissan GT-R NISMO

2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO

The Nissan GT-R continues its evolution with a range of upgrades to the NISMO version. It features more carbon fiber, is at least 65 pounds lighter, has more raw grip from new Dunlop tires, and offers sharper powertrain response. The easiest way to tell if it’s a new Nismo is to look at the front fenders. They’re inspired by the GT3 version and have functional scalloped vents. It also runs on new Rays forged aluminum wheels that are unique to the GT-R NISMO.

All you need to know about the new GT-R NISMO is that somehow it’s even faster now.

[Source: Nissan]

Nissan’s GT-R and 370Z 50th Anniversary Editions

Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition estreia no Salão de Nova Iorque

When I received a press release a few months ago indicating Nissan’s plans to celebrate 50 years of the GT-R and Z this year, I was certain it was going to be lame. I was right.

To celebrate this huge occasion, Nissan has repainted two cars which are so old that they were also around for the 40th anniversary.

El 370Z es un verdadero ícono para Nissan, ha definido a su segmento durante el último medio siglo.

To be fair to the GT-R, it’s changed considerably since it entered production in 2007 and it still kicks ass today. But for its 50th anniversary all it receives is special paint and other little touches that I’m too bored to talk about. The 370Z, which has hardly changed at all since 2009, gets cooler special paint. It’s a BRE throwback that can be ordered in white/red or silver/black.

And that’s all I really have to say about either of these cars.

[Source: Nissan]

Subaru Outback

2020_Outback

Good news! There’s a new Subaru Outback!

Bad news! The lightning is getting closer so I have to skim over it!

The Subaru Outback is entering its sixth generation with a slightly sharper redesign, a tad more power, and a lot more tech. But all of the soft-roading charm remains.

It’s available with two updated engines – both boxer four cylinders, one turbo. The standard 2.5-liter boxer-four delivers 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque. Step up to the 2.4-liter turbo model and that’s raised to 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. All models are paired with a Lineartronic CVT featuring an 8-speed “manual mode” function with paddle shifters.

2020_Outback

The 2.4L can tow up to 3,500 pounds, the 2.5L can go over 600 miles on a tank of gas, and all come standard with AWD and torque vectoring. With 8.7″ of ground clearance, it can go anywhere most SUVs can. Probably more, actually.

As for the tech, you can get the central infotainment screen in sizes up to 11.6″ and some fancy new premium audio system. And of course it comes with an integrated app called Chimani which is a guide to more than 400 national parks in the U.S. The only way it could get more Subaru than that is if it included a matching vape set.

[Source: Subaru]

Toyota Highlander

2020_Highlander_01_2FADC9D6C28B50D22F2FFF4339FCB81C59DC1810

There’s a new Toyota Highlander. The hybrid version is anticipating 34 MPG combined. It’s available with torque-vectoring AWD. It also kinda looks like it was just told to stop playing Fortnite and go to bed.

[Source: Toyota]

Full Coverage From Autoweek

high_911_speedster_concept_2018_porsche_ag

As always, our friends at Autoweek have the whole show covered. Check out their recap here to see what I couldn’t cover or read more into things I glanced over. There’s some good stuff but also some dumb stuff, as always.

What’s Your Automotive News?

mustang gt pp2

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 © 2019 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

26 Comments

  1. I had seen a picture of the new Subaru Outback, but had assumed it was just a facelift. They certainly haven’t strayed too far from home base.

    Also it is interesting that Toyota launched the new Yaris hatch which is also a rebadged Mazda 2. I could sort of understand the sedan when there wasn’t a native Yaris sedan (here in Australia Holden is selling the Opel Astra hatch and wagon, and the Chevy Cruze sedan as the Astra sedan), but this is a curious move from the largest Japanese manufacturer.

  2. On paper, the Mustang 2.3 sounds great. Unfortunately, I’ve heard them in person, and as shallow and irrelevant as this may seem, my only complaint (and this one would likely prevent me from buying one) is the exhaust sound. I’m not a “huge horsepower” kind of guy– 330 is more than enough. But I would pay up to get the 5.0 simply for the sound of the V8. For me, it’s not about the performance, but the experience, and I can’t ignore the aural part of it. (And no, I don’t think aftermarket exhausts make the Ecoboost sound any better.)

    1. Right there with you — that 2.3 Performance Pack Mustang looks like a fantastic spec, and depending on the pricing it seems poised to be quite the affordable trackday darling. …and yet, my inner engine-sound-audiophile (or inner dudebro lunk, or possibly both) can’t shake the feeling that if I were to buy a Mustang, it should really be the V-8, even if I know the 2.3 Performance Pack is better suited to my actual use cases. I still smile a little every time I start up my WRX (which is no V-8, for sure, but it makes me happy), and I’m afraid that with one of these that smile would instead become a wistful “this car is awesome, but if only it sounded like the V-8” sigh.

      Having said that, it makes me happy to see Ford doing this, and I hope that concern doesn’t stop enough people from buying one that they have to kill it.

      1. It’s certainly the path forward (the small-displacement turbocharged engine), and it makes complete sense. Maybe at some point in the future if the V8 option isn’t there, and it’s just a choice between a high-strung four and an EV, I’ll be relishing the sound of only four cylinders farting out of the pipes. But for now, I’ll take the low burbly growl over the angry beehive every time.

    2. The 2.3 does what it does. Its a fun scooter of a car but it’s not a 5.0. It really is like a different car.
      Now the HighPerf pack… My pals and I have been wondering what the MSRP will be. With the suspension package it’ll probably get close to $50k.

      1. It is definitely a different car altogether, I agree. In fact, I think it would probably be more involving (read: fun) to drive than the 5.0. I see the 5.0 as more of a grand tourer (effortless torque, high-speed cruising) and the 2.3 as a sports car (wringing out the gears, tossing it into corners). Both appear well-executed for their intended function. Had I not been raised on 60s muscle cars, I think I would likely favor the Ecoboost package.

        1. I bought a base 2.3 last year and DO NOT REGRET.
          It’s a blast to drive on the street, getting the tires to spin under boost. Great fuel mileage if I stay off it.
          A very well equipped car for under $20k.

          I won’t modify the car, engine or suspension. I have a warranty and a spine. No track duty either. That’s for the loud GT.

    3. It’s a tough spot for a good vehicle. I wonder what the difference is in insurance between a base GT and this car. Every goober like me would get upsold the GT unless you could beat us over the head with the economics. Given the rarity, you probably will have to go out of your way to find one of these whilst tripping over the GT’s spilling out of the lots with steep discounts.

  3. Moreso than a matching vape kit for the Outback, I’m surprised they haven’t offered one with performance fleece seats yet (although I guess they need to be prepared for the flatbill ‘n stickers crowd slamming the XT and cranking up the boost in 5 years once used).

    1. If it’s a trend, then I’m happy– I like orange as a base color, especially some of the fiery micas and darker bittersweet hues, and as a trim color against greys and silvers.
      That’s a much more scenic location for an oil change than I’ve ever chosen. And looking at the Volvo’s trunk, I’m reminded how I like the idea of same-color, matte-finish stripes on cars. I did it intentionally with rally stripes on black car once, and it turned out subtle but interesting.

      1. I had just moved to Norway, a year or so before the photo was taken. This country has so much “scenery” that people took it for granted. Back then, an oil change was discarded off under the nearest rock. A massive shock for someone coming from recycling-obsessed Germany, growing up with disposing a used tea bag into compost, paper, rope/fabric, and a metal pin. 🤪

      2. I had just moved to Norway, a year or so before the photo was taken. This country has so much “scenery” that people took it for granted. Back then, an oil change was discarded off under the nearest rock. A massive shock for someone coming from recycling-obsessed Germany, growing up with disposing a used tea bag into compost, paper, rope/fabric, and a metal pin. 🤪

  4. feels like we’ve had the 370Z alone for 50 years. just kill it, Nissan.

    yesterday I rear ended a Liberty in my Miata, to no detriment to either car, or so I thought until I tried putting my headlights down. fortunately I drive an old piece of shit and it doesn’t feel too bad to just hammer on things until they look right again. a few quality blows with a 4 lb sledge and a wooden dowel and it’s as good as new.

    this is the first car-to-car accident in my driving history besides an on-track incident in this same car. I got away relatively easy in both cases, but it makes me nervous to give a shit about any car.

    1. People who have never regularly driven a beater don’t know how liberating they can be. Having a shiny, new flawless vehicle feels great at first, but then it’s almost like caring for a baby– you love it, but you’re constantly cleaning it, you worry about it constantly, and you only park it in places where it can’t get hurt. Drive a beater and you don’t even need to lock it, and you can park wherever you want and as close to anything as you choose. If it’s a stick, you can leave the keys in the switch these days, because as good as the millennials are at flicking between their iPhone apps, they’re helpless without a PRND21 label.
      I recall approaching a interstate construction zone once when driving my ’72 AMC Ambassador. I’m one of those people who compliantly gets out of the closed lane the moment I see the sign indicating which way to merge. I road-rage when drivers arrogantly speed past everyone and slide in at the last minute. So, I see a driver in the mirror doing just that, and I have clear lane in front of me, so I mash the accelerator and request all the ancient 360 can give me. We rapidly approach the upcoming construction side-by-side, like some pathetic homage to a scene from Bullitt. He can’t get the edge on me, but neither of us back off, and he starts nudging his way over. Dude, look at what I’m driving. I am not yielding. The last I saw of him (in my rear-view), he was launching orange barrels from the front of his new Honda at 90 mph. I regret that my 23-year-old self was that stupid (thankfully no workers were on-site to be endangered), but it is a testament to the freedom of driving a beater. You have so many more options.

    2. People who have never regularly driven a beater don’t know how liberating they can be. Having a shiny, new flawless vehicle feels great at first, but then it’s almost like caring for a baby– you love it, but you’re constantly cleaning it, you worry about it constantly, and you only park it in places where it can’t get hurt. Drive a beater and you don’t even need to lock it, and you can park wherever you want and as close to anything as you choose. If it’s a stick, you can leave the keys in the switch these days, because as good as the millennials are at flicking between their iPhone apps, they’re helpless without a PRND21 label.
      I recall approaching a interstate construction zone once when driving my ’72 AMC Ambassador. I’m one of those people who compliantly gets out of the closed lane the moment I see the sign indicating which way to merge. I road-rage when drivers arrogantly speed past everyone and slide in at the last minute. So, I see a driver in the mirror doing just that, and I have clear lane in front of me, so I mash the accelerator and request all the ancient 360 can give me. We rapidly approach the upcoming construction side-by-side, like some pathetic homage to a scene from Bullitt. He can’t get the edge on me, but neither of us back off, and he starts nudging his way over. Dude, look at what I’m driving. I am not yielding. The last I saw of him (in my rear-view), he was launching orange barrels from the front of his new Honda at 90 mph. I regret that my 23-year-old self was that stupid (thankfully no workers were on-site to be endangered), but it is a testament to the freedom of driving a beater. You have so many more options.

  5. My neighbor just bought a red Stinger GT as a replacement for his aging Taurus SHO. I genuinely like it, inside and out, and the engine is strong. In fact, I wouldn’t mind transplanting one into our family Kia minivan. However, this car just begs for a manual transmission. The Genesis G70, which I really like, is available in manual 4-cylinder spec. I think it would be more than adequate, but I prefer the less-derivative Kia styling and the potential to save a few thousand dollars.

    1. Not just the hours needed, but the space! Looks like a steal, though, for anyone able and interested.

      1. Just parts at this level , not worth the effort. They took the doors off for a paint job ? What a mess.

        1. True, but it’s all of the parts, and the disassembly appears to be well-documented. Neutralize the floorboard rust and reassemble, and it’d be good even without a repaint. It’s not my kind of car, really, but if it were, say, a ’68-’70 Javelin, ’60s FoMoCo wagon, or a Volvo Amazon in a similar state, I’d jump on it.

  6. Fixed a bad ground on the Trans Am’s aftermarket radiator fan. It was an interesting experiment to test what made for a good grounding spot and what didn’t. The front subframe was only intermittently helpful (and was my previous choice, hence the need to change), the engine block was, but ultimately, I ran it all the way back to the (-) terminal on the battery. Now the big ol’ poncho can get airflow across its radiator again, I hear they like that.

  7. So is the 2.3 Mustang actually the S16 Silvia that Nissan are too stubborn and/or too lazy (see: 370Z) to make?

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