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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:
Kia steals the show with the Stinger
Ford adds diesel option and a new face to the F-150
Lexus LS is all new, more luxurious, and sportier
Toyota got bored of the Camry too and tried to make it exciting
Honda’s all-new Odyssey lets you spy on your kids and yell at them
Chevrolet and GMC reveal all-new family-hauling Traverse and Terrain
Volkswagen reveals I.D. BUZZ concept inspired by the Microbus
Rolls-Royce partners with Shell for new certified engine oil
Dodge will bring the Demon back as a new Hellcat-beating Challenger
What’s your automotive news?
2018 Kia Stinger
A powerful, sleek, and elegant gran turismo probably stole the show this year and it’s not from a brand that usually steals shows. Kia brought the Stinger to life as high performance four-door fastback after their first Stinger GT concept from a few years back “ignited embers of passion that sparked a fire within the organization”, which after years of caring about their product and even Nürburgring tests, led to what we see here. Somewhere along the way it also grew two extra doors.
Known simply as the Stinger now, this five-passenger fastback sports sedan has a design that remains fairly faithful to the concept. It’s a design that looks sporty, muscular, and elegant while still looking like a Kia – by that I mean it looks right at home in their current lineup, but at the same time it’s unlike anything else they’ve ever built. It’s also the first Kia I can think of that actually looks like a real sports car too with its long hood, short front overhang, long rear overhang, and powerful haunches.
The cabin is low and biased towards the rear of the long wheelbase which helps give it that attractive silhouette. The long wheelbase also means that there’s plenty of room inside for you and the four people lucky enough to hitch a ride. Kia says the interior is a “space dedicated to the thrill of driving while cossetting the occupants in luxury”. It’s nothing extravagantly nice compared to something like the Audi A7 or other luxury fastbacks, but it’s definitely nice enough. It’s available with ultra soft Nappa leather seats with deep contours and air-cell bladders in the driver’s side bolsters and seat back. Behind the leather-wrapped wheel is a mix of metal-ringed analog gauges and a color TFT screen that can provide real-time telemetry and loads of other bits of info to the driver.
Now here’s where it gets really good. A few years back, Hyundai poached BMW M’s VP of Engineering, Albert Biermann, and brought him on to oversee their performance models while also developing ride quality, overall performance, and other areas. It seems this was his first big project. The takeaway is that this will very likely be a car that actually drives as well as it looks. It rides on a chassis comprised of 55 percent advanced high-strength steel for a stiff and rigid foundation. The MacPherson front and multilink rear suspension is tuned to provide optimal feedback to the driver and there’s even adjustable dampers – a Kia first. Their new Dynamic Stability Damping Control system has five drive settings that alter ride damping and handling at the driver’s will.
One bad habit they must have picked up from BMW is the variable ratio steering that the Stinger comes standard with. It’s designed to provide sharp inputs and still offer good feedback through direct mounting of the electric motor on the steering rack, but variable steering can be… weird.
Both of the engines they’re launching in the Stinger are still under the final stages of development, but we’re looking at a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Theta II engine with an estimated 255 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque as the standard engine. The one I’d go for though is the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine with an anticipated 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. They’re targeting a 0-62 mph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph with the V6.
Power is sent to either the rear or all four wheels through an in-house eight-speed automatic with a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter to help reduce torsional vibrations through the drivetrain. RWD models get a mechanical limited slip differential and the rear-biased AWD models get torque vectoring. Stopping power on the V6 model comes from Vented Brembo disc brakes with four piston front and two piston rear calipers.
So there you have it. Kia’s first proper sports sedan is looking very promising. Biermann may have left BMW M during an awkward period of the company’s history, but he still took some great expertise with him. We’ll learn just how good the Stinger is closer to its late 2017 launch date. Pricing was not announced.
2018 Ford F-150
Ford’s juggernaut of a truck is getting a round of new updates for the 2018 model year that touches up on all the basics. There’s a face lift and some new equipment as with any usual mid-life cycle refresh, but the 2018 F-150 is making news for a few bigger reasons.
In a press release that describes the new truck as tough no less than seven times, Ford make a bit of history by announcing a new diesel option for the F-150 for the first time ever. It’s a 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6 that will be added to the options list by Summer 2018 and paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. We don’t yet know what the benefits will be in terms of torque, but those figures will all be finalized closer to the diesel’s launch.
That diesel isn’t the only new engine though as an all-new 3.3-liter V6 engine with direct injection serves as the new standard engine. It offers the same power and torque of the old 3.5-liter V6 but will have better efficiency. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is also reworked substantially to be more efficient while also being more powerful and more durable, but we don’t have exact figures yet. And they haven’t given up on the 5.0-liter V8 either and it too gets a power and torque boost of some sort. Both the EcoBoost and the V8 will also be offered with Ford’s exclusive ten-speed automatic.
The F-150’s aluminum body gets a few styling tweaks all around with the most noticeable update being right up front. It’s a new grille, headlight, and bumper design that’s available in the XL all the way on up to the Limited models. Additionally, the tailgate is more sculpted with deeper accents and is flanked by new taillights. Six new wheel designs ranging from seventeen to twenty-two inches in diameter will also be available.
Other big updates include new radar cruise control that can follow vehicles to a stop, Pre-Collision Assist and Pedestrian Detection, a new 4G LTE hotspot that can handle ten devices at once, and a B&O PLAY sound system. It also comes with new interior colors or something.
The 2018 Ford F-150 will be available this fall. Pricing info wasn’t announced, but I’m sure it’ll be more expensive than it needs to be.
Lexus locked the doors and rolled into Detroit with the all-new 2018 LS, their global flagship sedan for 90 countries. It’s built on the company’s new Global Architecture for Luxury Vehicles, the same one that debuted on the new LC coupe albeit with a longer wheelbase. It offers more refinement, better performance, and an evolution in design that can’t be mistaken with anything else.
Some of the benefits to the new platform meant engineers were able to create a longer and lower car while designers took full advantage of the new dimensions. A lot of styling ques were taken from the LC and its silhouette is much sportier than before. The whole car sits 0.6 inches lower, but the hood and trunk are 1.2 inches and 1.6 inches lower, respectively. They call it “coupe-like” proportions; I just call it a sleek-looking sedan. They updated the spindle grille too with a new texture that looks as if it changes in different light, courtesy of both “intense CAD development and hand-adjusting thousands of individual surfaces“.
Inside, totally new ergonomics that “treat the driver like a partner” and a more welcoming and enveloping sense of luxury for passengers. For the driver, they’ve placed all controls in such a way that doesn’t require changing posture to use any of them – basically everything is within easy reach. For passengers, optional heating, cooling, and massaging rear seats that are easier to get in and out of make the ride more pleasant. Additionally, new sound suppression methods make it quieter inside while an optional 3D surround Mark Levinson audio package with an in-ceiling array can make it a whole lot louder.
Much of the new car is created from ultra-high tensile strength steel sheet and aluminum for the purpose of shaving 200 pounds off the car. That also benefits driving dynamics as does the new Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, optional active stabilizer bars, and independent front and rear steering.
Power comes from an all-new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 designed specifically for the LS. It offers 415 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. A ten-speed automatic can send power to the rear or all four wheels. RWD models can hit 60 mph from a standstill in an impressive 4.5 seconds.
The 2018 Lexus LS goes on sale near the end of 2017. No prices yet.
It’s 3:00 AM here and I’m writing about a Toyota Camry. This is my life now.
The eight-generation Camry is actually maybe a sort of interesting car now. Like the Lexus above, it’s built on a new architecture that gives engineers a bit more freedom to make the car better and stuff. What that means for the new Camry, supposedly, is more emotion and more excitement. I think they’re serious this time, guys.
The Camry has been the safe bet for new car buyers for years due to their simplicity, dependability, and affordability. But it seems Toyota has gotten to a point where even they’re tired of the same old thing and are actually trying to make this less boring. Lots of Toyota engineers and executives are calling it a “true driver’s car” with “stirring performance”, both of which are things I’ve never heard anyone say about a Camry.
The emotion starts with the design, which they say achieves strong harmony between refinement and sensual athleticism with the Sport SE and XSE grades (red one) adhering more to the side of athleticism. Like the Lexus, it too has a lower hood and trunk to lower the center of gravity while also making look sportier.
Inside, all gauges and displays are angled more towards the driver because sporty. There’s even a ten-inch color HUD available now. The rest of the cabin gets new soft touch materials and improved ergonomics to try and make it a better place to be.
The Camry will launch with three new powertrains as well, all of which have been optimized for better power and efficiency. They aren’t saying exactly how powerful or efficient yet, so the two of you that care will have to wait a while. Those new engines include a new 3.5-liter V6 with D-4S Fuel Injection, an all-new 2.5-liter inline-four (both of which are paired to a new eight-speed automatic), and a new Toyota Hybrid System (THS II) with a CVT. The new platform means its more rigid and other new bits of hardware like the double wishbone suspension and new a new four-point engine mounting system helps with road manners. They say it’ll be fun to drive as a result of all this and more, but we’ll have to see about that.
So there you have it. The latest generation of the car that everyone has seems to maybe fix the dullness that’s become so stereotypical of the nameplate. It certainly doesn’t look boring anymore. The new Camry will roll into dealers late this summer.
Rather than reinvent the minivan, Honda has refined a successful formula with the new Odyssey. It doesn’t look very new, but it’s packed with quality of life improvements and new features designed to make it even more family friendly. One major selling point for them is the Odyssey’s new “Magic Slide” second-row seats that are easily reconfigurable to allow easy access to the third row, provide more space in the second row, or for hauling cargo.
Occupants can also benefit from Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compability, upgraded interior materials, and a mobile app that can control rear seat entertainment, HVAC, and can even send a route to the in-car navigation system. Parents can also spy on their kids in the back with CabinWatch with a live feed that goes into the 8″ central display, day and night. There’s also a system that lets the driver talk to the back rows through the in-car speakers and headphones. And finally, in the rear seat entertainment system is a “How Much Farther?” app that tracks your trip’s progress so your kids have one less thing to bother you about. It’s a thoughtful, comfortable, and advanced new Odyssey.
Both Chevrolet and GMC revealed new crossovers this week, the Traverse and Terrain, respectively. They debut with all new looks, updated engines, new tech, and a mindset that’s all about hauling the family around safely and comfortably. Also they’re apparently about the same size as the Tahoe/Yukon now. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger with 255 horsepower or a 3.5-liter V6 with 305 horsepower. They’re available as FWD or AWD and a new nine-speed automatic is the only option. There’s even a 1.6-liter diesel option now. Inside, things like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, onboard 4G LTE, and lots of USB charging ports aim to make this the ultimate road trip companion. We’ll start seeing them this summer. No pricing info yet.
[Source: Chevrolet, GMC]
The Volkswagen Microbus revival was teased once more with the unveiling of the I.D. BUZZ concept, an electric MPV styled after one of VW’s most iconic designs. It has all the same airiness as the original with its multi-window greenhouse and taller proportions, but it’s been thoroughly modernized. But unlike the old Microbus, the I.D. BUZZ can get moving pretty quickly. A 268-horsepower electric motor on the rear axle propels this thing to 60 mph in a theoretical five seconds and on to a top speed of 99 mph. The 111kWh battery pack lasts for about 372 miles on the European test cycle or an expected 270 miles by the EPA’s numbers. They didn’t really comment on whether it’ll be green lit for production or not, but they’re fully invested in its platform already and have plans to crank out a lot of new models off it, so I think chances are really good.
In not Detroit news, Rolls-Royce has partnered with Shell to produce their “Genuine Engine Oil”. If you’re keeping an old Rolls running or still have one under warranty, you’ll notice the new oil at your dealership the next time you come in. It’s been designed to work best with those smooth Rolls V12s while reducing deposits and sludge and isn’t just some lazy PR stunt. It won’t magically stop all those leaks, but it should allow you to reach peak efficiency sooner in challenging conditions, reduce oil consumption, and prolong engine service life. I’m sure it looks great on the garage floor too though.
Dodge is bringing back the Demon. Sometime in the next few years, a new Challenger SRT will arrive and sit above the Hellcat on the food chain while bearing the new Demon logo seen here. We don’t know anything about it, but they did release this video…. I don’t wish to know anything more about it for a while now.
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 © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]