The News for December 13th, 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, Road & Track teased us with Performance Van of the Year, Chevrolet revealed 2021 Suburban and Tahoe,  Toyota revealed the Yaris GR-4 race car, and Cadillac is ending their alpha-numeric naming scheme.

Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Van of the Year

Road & Track Performance Van of the Year

While testing Performance Car of the Year, the Road & Track team utilized three different minivans to gather their results. A Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, and a rental Dodge Caravan were the subjects of this test.

The author of Speed Secrets, Ross Bentley, was the driver for this test. He had the distinct pleasure of bombing all three vans around Thunderhill West. Each van was allowed a single hot lap with Ross at the helm.

The Caravan secured the fastest time around the course, with the Sienna in second and the Pacifica Hybrid coming in 3rd. Ross stated the Sienna would have finished first, but after he turned off the stability/traction systems, both kept activating throughout the lap.

Read more about the “war pigs” on Road & Track.

Chevrolet reveals the 2021 Suburban & Tahoe


The 2021 Suburban and Tahoe were announced last Tuesday. The new models are taking styling cues from the current Silverado frontend. The side and three-quarter rear shots have some hints of Ford Expedition styling as well.

There will be three engines available: the 5.3L V8, an optional 6.0L V8, and a 3.0L inline six-cylinder diesel. All of the engines will be mater to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The new Z71 will come with Air Ride Adaptive Suspension allowing the truck to raise and lower itself. At highway speeds, the truck will lower to help the aerodynamic profile. In off-road situations, the truck can be raised to 2 inches for more ground clearance.

If you would like more information, Ross and I wrote up our thoughts about the Suburban and Tahoe earlier this week.

Toyota teases a Yaris homologation

Toyota Gazoo Racing teased its new Yaris prototype. The car is slated to debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon on January 10th, 2020. The sound is excellent, and it appears to be an all-wheel-drive car.

What we know is what we can glean from the video. It has three doors (rear hatch included) and wider fenders.

The US will not see this version of the Yaris based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. We will continue to get the Mazda2-based version here. That is sad since the car above looks brilliant and fun. I’d take it over a Civic Type-R.

Cadillac to ditch alpha-numeric names

Cadillac CT4

According to the Automotive News, Cadillac will stop using alpha-numeric names for their models as they proceed into the EV market. That means no more CT6, XT4, STS, CTS-V, or XTS7. Some of those are fake. Who would know?

Cadillac President Steve Carlisle informed media at an event in Detroit on Thursday, that the upcoming electric vehicles from their brand are the time to start moving back toward naming. I’m ready for a Brougham EV.

Carlisle also stated that the end of the upcoming decade (2020-29) would be the end of the internal combustion engine in a Cadillac. Times are a-changing.

Source: Automotive News

What’s your automotive news?

Land Yacht Corssing

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.

Sorry, I’m not Greg. Have a good weekend.

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20 responses to “The News for December 13th, 2019”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    I don’t watch TV that much, but it was on in a bar I was at and I was surprised to see an Aston Martin advertisement. That just seemed like the most un-Aston Martin thing ever. Also, it was on during a college football game, which doesn’t seem like the target market.

    Other random, I was riding in my friend’s 2013 Toyota Tacoma and he was complaining that it didn’t have variable speed windshield wipers, not even a mist-bump function. Seriously? In the 21st century? I told him the turn signal stalk from a 1983 Toyota Starlet would be a luxury item in his truck.

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    I don’t watch TV that much, but it was on in a bar I was at and I was surprised to see an Aston Martin advertisement. That just seemed like the most un-Aston Martin thing ever. Also, it was on during a college football game, which doesn’t seem like the target market.

    Other random, I was riding in my friend’s 2013 Toyota Tacoma and he was complaining that it didn’t have variable speed windshield wipers, not even a mist-bump function. Seriously? In the 21st century? I told him the turn signal stalk from a 1983 Toyota Starlet would be a luxury item in his truck.

  3. I_Borgward Avatar

    One of the best industrial films I’ve ever seen, from the redoubtable Jam Handy Organization. A real casting-forging-manufacturing-assembly-o-rama with great cinematography and an epic soundtrack. Something tells me these fellows didn’t get to take mental health days.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Hmm, “free art banana” or “art banana $125,000, free Econoline”?

      Years ago you couldn’t sell collectible registration plates unless they were actually registered on a car; I remember seeing a bog-ordinary 1977 Corolla sell for $90k because of the 2-digit plate attached to it.

  4. kogashiwa Avatar

    I actually did something this week for a change … went and test drove a 2016 Civic coupe EX-T. I’ve been thinking of/half-planning to lease a 2020 Civic coupe LX 6MT. Local dealer had this EX-T on hand and I started to do the math and wondered, … can I really live with a CVT, because buying this one would save me a lot. Answer: NO, never, get that awful thing away from me. Everything else about the car I really liked. CVT completely killed it. Back to Plan A I guess.

    Really wish I had more choice locally, if I’m buying new I want to have service near at hand (otherwise what’s the point, if it’s going to be a hassle I may as well buy used), and the only brands locally are the Americans (which, just no) and Honda. So I guess I buy a Honda. Nearest dealers for other brands I’d be interested in are all in Winnipeg which is an hour and a half drive.

    I really should just start my own Mazda dealership. Or Toyota, because the majority of sales would be Tundras.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Looking at Canadian sales stats, a combined Mazda/Toyota dealership should be a license to print money.

      I have the exact same experience with CVTs. You can custom order the car you want though, right?

      1. kogashiwa Avatar

        Seems like it’s not really a custom order per se but they will reserve a car with the options I want. 2020 coupes are not in sight yet, sedans are starting to trickle in but no coupes just yet. Should be fairly soon.

  5. salguod Avatar

    While between jobs, I’m doing some consulting design and engineering work for my old company, FormaCars. That immerses me back into the world of Factory Five and they’ve just revealed their up coming supercar:

    It looks simply fantastic. Their first mockup was simply cartoonish and unrefined. Dave Smith admits such in the announcement post ( and admits their choice of software (SolidWorks) simply wasn’t up to the task of sophisticated class A auto surfacing. My CAD software of choice is Creo Parametric which is far more capable but still just shy of true class A work. They went to an experienced designer who created this in Rhino.

    While the version above looks good, I prefer this one without the race wing. They supposedly have a a less aggressive street nose developed too. Another reason to love this – window louvers.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Looks like the bonus car in a circa 2005 arcade racer, but I still dig it.

      1. Tiller188 Avatar

        but therefore

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      Have you seen the Mustang-inspired MARC Cars MK2 race car?

  6. crank_case Avatar

    The GR4 Racing Yaris looks interesting if it’s to be a road car, but we already get a 2WD GR Yaris in parts of Europe and it’s so expensive for what it is as to be irrelevant (i.e. far more pricey than a Fiesta ST) so I’m not holding out much for this if it appears.

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    Not sure if I just improved the low-end torque of our Leaf or not:

    I also tried to do something more reasonable, add the heater-bypass-cables. Turns out, one of the cables was broken. That was after I had pulled apart a fair bit of the dashboard. Grmbl.

    1. Smaglik Avatar

      What do the better bypass cables do?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Nissan is incredibly bad at designing cars. In the earliest Leaf, you cannot turn off the heat without also turning off the entire HVAC system. This draws 2-6 kW for the first ten minutes or so of every ride, worse in colder weather. So for my wife, who only commutes 5 km to a train station, this is a range desaster. Here’s an explainer:

        1. Smaglik Avatar

          Wow. That’s abysmal.

          On that same note, I believe I have a bad interior air sensor on the touring that I need to run down…fan will occasionally oscillate when running auto, but not on manual control. There’s that, and a malfunctioning rear windshield washer pump, then that’s everything on the vehicle that was broke when I got it.

          Then on to things that will break as I own it…

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    CityBike Magazine is thoroughly kaput now. Pretty much because it got hit by a car.

    CityBike was a free monthly newsprint magazine all about the Northern California and general worldwide motorcycling scene. Before I moved to California in the 1990s, my friend would mail me copies of it back in New England. The idea that there could be a motorcycling scene so vital that it could support a monthly was baffling to me. Reading it really drew me to SF. The style was anti-corporate and iconoclastic, a low budget DIY stalwart of the counterculture and punk revolutions of the late 20th century. They never apologized for their contentious tagline, “Ride Fast, Take Chances”.

    The print edition was discontinued in late 2018. In part this was because its distribution network, local motorcycle shops, was disappearing. This meant someone finally developed their website, which had been hilariously Web 1.0 for decades, and only offered PDF versions of the magazine a couple months after publishing. They kept it around more out of spite towards the constant offers to buy their bitchin’ domain name.

    Unfortunately right after the rollout of the new website the Editor-in-Chief and guy whose friends all helped him publish (er, staff?) was hit really hard by a car while on his motorcycle. Content virtually disappeared for some time. The website already lacked the magazine’s regular columns from world famous motorcyclists like Ed Hertfelder, Maynard Hershon and Dr. Frazier; mending bones took precedence over wrangling content from his staff. Momentum came to a halt, abruptly.

    Now the coffin has been nailed completely shut, CityBike is no more. It was a major part of my motorcycling experience for the last 25 years. Making time to stop at one of their few street boxes to pick up the magazine (always taking care to get the other garbage out of the box) was a way to resist the overwhelming San Francisco on-line culture trend. They even published my letters once or twice. Now anybody with Disqus will let me ramble on, it’s just not as magical.

    Ride fast, Take chances

  9. Scoutdude Avatar

    So my son sent me a link to this. Have to wonder how many of those are running around Europe. I personally think it was installed when the car was new to allow more driving than the lease allowed. It appears to be fairly universal with bridge points marked for Audi, 2 different Mercedes chassis and BMW.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Reminds me of a few years back that HSV dealers could reset the odometer to zero after test drives, or something along those lines, using a function in the dealer ECU interface.

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