The News for March 5th, 2021

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: Porsche still believes in the long roof and debuts Taycan Cross Turismo, Volkswagen celebrates 45 years of the Golf GTI, Volkswagen teases an ID.3 Cabriolet on Twitter, and Stellantis is open to dropping the Cherokee name from its Jeep models.

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

taycan cross turismo

One of Stuttgart’s worst-kept secrets has been that some sort of wagon variant was coming to the Porsche Taycan. It had been seen in spy shots and even debuted as a soft-roader concept a few years ago. But given how poorly wagons or anything that isn’t a truck, an SUV, or a taller, fatter sedan masquerading as a crossover sells these days, it had an uncertain future. Well evidently the also long-roofed Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo sold well enough (read: more than one) to warrant something similar for the Taycan. This bit of fan service arrives this summer and can be configured for light off road adventures, as sensible family hauler, or as a blazingly-quick canyon carver.

The Cross Turismo specification is available on every existing all-wheel-drive Taycan model. That means the Taycan 4 all the way to the still-not-a-turbo Taycan Turbo S. With each of those comes dual-motor all-wheel drive, two-speed rear transmission, Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management with air suspension plus a 20 mm increase in ride height, Performance Battery Plus and its 800-volt architecture, adaptive aerodynamics, panoramic glass roof, and Porsche’s PCM infotainment system. Everything but the shape of the body is the same as what’s found in a comparable Taycan sedan, but there is a Cross Turismo-exclusive Off Road Design Package which took direct inspiration from the original concept.

taycan cross turismo

What that adds is body cladding to protect against rock chips and it raises the ride height by another 10mm. Porsche admits this won’t be a rock-crawling go absolutely anywhere kind of off-roader like a Jeep or a Raptor, but it is well suited for any reasonably beaten path. It has an additional drive mode designed for a variety of loose surfaces like gravel, mud, and sand. This mode raises the ride height an additional 10mm (on top of what is already added by the package) and optimizes the suspension firmness, traction and stability control, and the torque management system to provide as much grip and security as possible. From what I can tell this package does not change the tire selection so there’s potentially some additional capabilities you can achieve with a tire swap. But on the other hand, Taycan not-a-Turbo S Cross Turismo. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, just a tenth slower than its sedan counterpart. The slowest Taycan Cross Turismo to 60 is the Taycan 4 model, but that’s still a very respectable 4.8 seconds we’re talking about.

taycan cross turismo

What you gain by opting for the Cross Turismo spec increased headroom for passengers in both rows (the back row by 3.62 inches) and more cargo space. On the 4 and 4S models you get 15.7 cubic feet. Opt for the still not-a-Turbo models and that shrinks a bit to 14.3 cubic feet. Fold down the rear seats and that allows for up to 42.8 cubic feet of space.

The gorgeous Taycan Cross Turismo range starts at $92,250 (including destination) for the Taycan 4 model. In Porsche fashion, the prices skyrocket from there basically the instant you touch something in the configurator.

[Source: Porsche]

Volkswagen celebrates 45 years of GTI

VWGolfClubsport45

Imagine spending around $57,000 on a Golf GTI. Unless you live in Germany you won’t have to because Volkswagen is keeping this 45th birthday party restricted to their homeland. Yes, one of the world’s most beloved performance cars is turning 45 this year in case you wanted to feel old. Since the GTI has always been a modest car, this GTI Clubsport 45 is essentially some light performance enhancements, graphics, and two tone paint on top of what’s already the quickest GTI from the factory (which the US also doesn’t get) with 296 horsepower.

VWGolfClubsport45

Compared to the standard GTI Clubsport, this package is approximately $7,000 more expensive. That gets you larger air intakes, a unique roof spoiler, sport exhaust, new wheels, interior upholstery, and the graphics package. As brilliant as everyone knows the GTI is, this version gets precariously close to what a BMW M135i and a Ford Mustang GT goes for in Germany. But in fairness, it’s a limited edition model aimed at the diehard enthusiasts and lovers of the GTI brand. With how pricey cars are in Europe in general, I’m positive VW will sell every GTI 45 they can build.

In the meantime, America will continue to enjoy its slower, outdated, but still sub-$30,000 GTI until VW decides it’s time to give us the new Golf already for the love of god. Seriously, the new Mk8 Golfs have been in Europe since the end of 2019. I know VW is still pissed at us about the whole dieselgate thing but there are still enthusiasts buying cheap performance hatchbacks and the Golf GTI is one of the only options we have left. We need this.

[Source: Volkswagen via Jalopnik]

Volkswagen ID.3 Cabriolet teased

ID3 Cabriolet

With Volkswagen going full speed ahead on electrification and their new ID brand, we’re starting to see signs of something called “fun”. VW Group chairman, Herbert Diess, announced on Twitter they were thinking about an “e-convertible, maybe a VW ID3 convertible”. It’s clearly something that they’re actively discussing because it wasn’t just words – it was a couple of renderings too. The images show a teal/turquoise compact convertible which gives off strong Golf Cabriolet vibes even without the signature roll bar at the b-pillar. These renderings don’t appear to be a quick photoshop job of an existing model which would tell me that some significant thought was being put into it. Jalopnik found further evidence from VW passenger car CEO Ralf Brandstätter who confirmed the company is “pondering how to turn this attractive concept into reality”. Then there’s the obvious question of which markets would receive it… if you guessed not America, you’re likely correct. But still, the world may soon get its first affordable convertible EV if VW wills it.

[Source: Twitter, Jalopnik]

Jeep considering changing Cherokee name

All-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

So here’s a topic I’ve been sort of attempting to avoid until more info came out. Jeep has been using the Cherokee name on various models for decades. Currently there are two with a third on the way: the mid-size Cherokee, one of their most popular models, the Grand Cherokee, and the bigger and more luxurious Grand Cherokee L. Numerous industries have been facing a reckoning in recent years regarding the origins of names and/or logos that we’ve been gleefully using. Within the last couple of weeks, that focus has turned to one of Jeep’s most recognizable nameplates – I’d say the second most popular name behind the Wrangler.

Talking to Car and Driver, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, expressed a desire for Jeep to stop using their name. “I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car,” he said, adding that “the best way to honor us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture, and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness.”

Jeep has been using the Cherokee name in one way or another for about 47 years while the Cherokee Nation (not including the countless indigenous people in the tribe before it) has been established for over 181 years. That’s just a little bit more, isn’t it.

All-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Initially Jeep was pushing back as one normally would when asked to stop using a name that’s been so closely associated with a brand for nearly half a century. But it appears that they’re starting to come around to the idea. “Our vehicle names have been carefully chosen and nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess, and pride. We are, more than ever, committed to a respectful and open dialogue with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr,.”, reads a statement from Stellantis. And now according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal (via Roadshow), Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares, said they are “ready to go at any point” and are already engaged in dialogue with the Cherokee Nation.

It’s too early to tell which way Stellantis is leaning. They’ve invested a lot in that name and could still be trying to save it with the Cherokee Nation’s blessing. Its impact on the brand would be similar to Ford being asked to stop using the Mustang name. The car is still there but all that brand recognition goes out the window. But times are changing and we’re all having to take a step back and reflect on whether we’ve been unknowingly hurting others with practices we once thought were harmless. It’s clear that it’s time for Jeep to retire the name. They aren’t going to win this battle and they know it.

But then again, Jeep’s new parent company is called Stellantis so can we really trust them to be the authority on good names?

[Sources: Roadshow, Car and Driver, Wall Street Journal]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

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.

11 Comments

  1. No huge update this week, but I did start getting dynamat down. I’ve learned the firewall is going to take forever, trimming around all of the holes. I think the floor will go quite a but quicker.

  2. I love the Porsche. It looks stupid, cute and futuristic at the same time, must be such a blast to drive, and should soon come in a lifted version.

    Little progress on cars here, as usual, but I will drive the Centennial to my mechanic soon as he asked for 2-4 weeks trying to fix “the list”. Figured I am like a grandma buying the most beautiful piece of furniture she can imagine, then hides it under a cloth to “protect it”. This is how I look at this technically quite worthless piece of cubist Korean art, and I need to work on my attitude.

    In other not-news, we went to see my MIL this week (winter vacation in school), which was only the 2nd time my kids go to see their grandmother since the pandemic broke out. Very worthwhile. We took the little Hyundai and with its weak engine, it was pretty much flat out most of the mountain stretches. Getting quite the video game vibe driving like that, and I loved it. Good contrast to the Centennial, too. On the trip over, we chose Hardangervidda, which is these guys’ turf on National Geographic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWUov3JhaoQ
    Not sure how interesting this is for anyone, but I never tire of cars conquering mountains and share some photos here: https://ibb.co/album/6XtJQL

    1. it’s funny how economy car power has really plateaued. used to be that a middle-aged luxury car would be outpaced by a new cheap car, but over the last 20-30 years we’ve really found the “enough” mark – probably like 100-150 hp – and would rather focus on economy.

      1. …all the while the powerful cars have become infinitely more powerful, yeah. It is true though, even with an “enough” car there is absolutely no issue to keep up with traffic. The manual gearbox is crisp and precise, so it is engaging to just shift down a gear or two and we’ll easily keep up with traffic. In the mountains, we also meet a lot of people not used to icy roads, and our fully loaded, low economy car has no issue overtaking their carefully maneuvered high rising 4WDs.

        1. I’d rather have a “just enough” engine paired with a manual transmission than “way more than I need” with an automatic. I enjoy working the machine to get the most out of it– far more than I enjoy speed.
          At one point a friend of mine had a Honda Fit (manual) for commuting and a convertible Roush Mustang (automatic) for his weekend/play car, and honestly I think the Honda was more fun.

          1. If I was alone in deciding what car to own, we would have bought a Fit, too, sold under the “Jazz”-moniker here. But they’re about twice expensive as the Hyundai here, so that didn’t pass. On normal roads, nominal speed really isn’t something that can be enjoyed that much. But did you ever tell your friend that you preferred the Fit over the Mustang?

    2. I’m living in a place where 3 ft of snow on the ground is a lot, i can’t imagine what you show there happening every year. Those poles to measure depth of what 10-20 ft??? insane.

      1. That’s not representative for lower lying areas, but mountain passes can see almost endless amounts of snow. The one above is supposed to be open all winter (but closes every time the wind blows too hard). This one is closed during the winter, and has to get dug up come “spring”:

        This is a record amount of snow over just a 10 day period on a pass nearby, in 2015, that is supposed to be open all winter. I go cross country skiing here a lot:

        https://www.nrk.no/video/enorme-snomengder-paa-vikafjellet_192433

  3. I spotted a coolant leak today. Somewhere at the top of, or just above the lower part of the intake manifold. There’s a cluster of heater and radiator hoses clustered there, along with aging heater pipes, a thermostat housing, and sensors. Lots of non-plumbing bits conceal things and get in the way of feeling for the highest thing that’s wet.

    I’m sure the actual leaking part will be just a few bucks to replace–if I can keep from destroying everything else trying to get to it.

  4. Well I thought I had my truck’s battery drain figured out but today I went to use it after sitting for ~2 weeks and it was dead. I’m thinking there might be a problem with the battery. It is from Costco so hopefully I can get an exchange w/o too much hassle. I guess it is possible that there is a random module that just occasionally fails to go to sleep, but in the past it could sit for more than a month and still start just fine.

  5. That rear 3/4 view of the Panamera made me think that it was a hatch for a moment. And now I think that Porsche could (and probably should) do a hot hatch, perhaps even a shooting brake concept, similar to the Ferrari FF. Sort of a hyper-hatch.

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