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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]