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: Volkswagen reveals a groundbreakingly uninteresting compact crossover because that’s all we deserve anymore, Ford confirms pricing for the Mach 1, more Mustangs are getting replaced by the Mach 1 than we thought, Amazon shows off its first working Rivian delivery van prototype, and your automotive news for the week.
2021 Volkswagen Taos
Hey guys look another one of those compact crossovers that Americans can’t buy enough of. Sitting in “the middle of the entry compact SUV space” (whatever that means) and just below the Tiguan, it’s the Volkswagen Taos. It’s a perfectly average crossover that takes some average hardware from the VW parts bin for the average consumer. It’s the fifth new addition to the VW SUV family in four years and it distinguishes itself from the rest by being the way it is. The Taos has words like style, bold, modern, and smart in its press release. That means it is all of those things and has more of those things than other compact crossovers that also have those words in their press release.
You can tell it’s bold and modern because of the way it is. The coveted Volkswagen SUV design DNA is made clear in the exterior. That results in its sculpted face, LED lighting system, its “distinctive” side profile, a strong character line, and squared-off wheel arches. No other compact crossover/SUV has anything like that. The exclusivity continues in its cabin with a modern design and premium fit and finish. It has more clean lines and some dash décor and touch screen controls. Groundbreaking stuff. Though I will say the interior actually looks nice.
For power, the Taos is taking a stand and doing something that no other compact crossover does. It uses a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine but it’s turbocharged. It makes 158 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. That can send power to the front wheels or to all four wheels as an option. In FWD spec it’s paired with a revolutionary eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed DSG dual clutch in the AWD model.
This completely uninteresting crossover goes on sale next summer.
Mustang Mach 1 priced
Good news: Ford has confirmed pricing for the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 and it’s not unreasonable.
Bad news: it’s replacing more cars in the Mustang family than we thought.
Starting with the good. If you can find a dealership willing to not be an asshole and let you buy this limited edition car at MSRP, you can walk out the door with one for $51,720 plus tax, destination, and delivery charges. The Mach 1 will be the new sweet spot in the Mustang family. 480 horsepower from a 5.0-liter Coyote V8, six-speed Tremec manual as standard, and all the handling enhancements that Ford has spent years perfecting in other Mustangs. Considering the equipment it comes with, around $52K for one seems reasonable. There is however an extra handling package that you still have to buy for an undisclosed amount. The GT350 had a starting price of about $60K and a premium package-equipped Mustang GT PP2 could easily cost $52K with options. The downside though is that we don’t yet know how many Ford will produce. Any value the Mach 1 provides could be ruined by greedy dealerships and the Hawaiian-shirt-wearing car collectors who happily reward shitty business practices.
It’s replacing more cars than we thought
Now with the not so good. We knew that the Mach 1 would replace the Shelby GT350 in the lineup. As sad as that is, it makes since given the two cars are basically catering to the same crowd. But what wasn’t known until now is what else is being dropped in favor of the Mach 1. The Bullitt (which isn’t much of a surprise actually) and my beloved Performance Package Level 2 are also being replaced. This was confirmed by Blue Oval Forums and picked up by Muscle Cars & Trucks.
The mission of the PP2 is being taken over by the better-equipped Mach 1, so that being replaced isn’t so bad on its own. But going back to the Mach 1’s downside, it’s a limited edition car. Track rats, casual HPDE enthusiasts, and owners who want a Mustang that handles properly are going from having three widely available options to just two. One of which starts at $73K and is plagued by dealer markups and the other of which is limited and will also be spoiled by dealer markups. There were enough GT350s around that you could find one close to MSRP and the PP2 flew under the radar and could easily be had at MSRP. If the Mach 1 weren’t a limited run, this would be as fair of a 3 for 1 trade as you could get. But that’s not the case, and I’m worried. I’ll be holding onto my PP2 for as long as I can.
Amazon shows off first Rivian delivery van prototype
A while back, Rivian scored a massive order for electric delivery vans from Amazon. A van was designed from the ground up to serve Amazon’s delivery fleet with zero emissions and 100,000 are to be produced. This week, Amazon showed off their first working prototype of the van and announced that the first 10,000 should be on the road within the next year or so.
“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritized safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian CEO. “We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the work flow is for delivering packages.”
This resulted in a van with three levels of shelfing, lots of floor space, Alexa integration for hands-free navigation, and various safety features. It has brighter tail lights, a large windshield for enhanced visibility, exterior cameras for monitoring, and some sort of sensor suite which is probably for driver assistance. Some technical details like the battery pack and its driving range aren’t available yet. But it’s nevertheless proof that Rivian is ready to deliver when presented with an order that could make or break the company. To date, this promising startup has not brought a single product to market but has still secured huge investments and partnerships. The fact that we’re already at a working prototype and it looks far more realistic than anything Tesla has in the pipeline means our faith is probably well placed.
Check the video if you want to see what it’s all about.
[Source: YouTube via Autoweek]
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.