The News for October 16th, 2020

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

VW 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.

vw taos

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.

[Source: VW]

Mustang Mach 1 priced

2021 Mustang Mach 1

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.

[Source: Ford]

It’s replacing more cars than we thought

2021 Mustang Mach 1

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.

[Source: Blue Oval Forums via Muscle Cars & Trucks]

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?

hooniverse

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.

41 Comments

  1. The nicest thing I can say about the Taos is that, unlike basically everything else in its class, I don’t get depressed the moment I look at it. No, it takes me until I think about how the Taos means we’re probably not getting the Golf anymore (really hope VW Canada can still make a case for it) to get depressed.

    The Mach 1 looks great (if out of my price range), but hopefully the limited allocation is a function of the S550 coming up due for replacement in a year or two (or, limited for ’21, full availability for ’22).

    Now, I’m strangely excited about the Amazon van. It looks cute, and useful, and hopefully Rivian takes what they learn from it and scale it down to something minivan sized.

    1. The Rivian looks likely to be popular with the hipsters #electricvanlife, if they ever hit the second hand market.

    2. If I cared I’d check out how the Taos compares to the 2 (?) other near-identical sub-Tiguan CUVs VW put out a little while back. I’ve seen at least one of those on the road, can’t remember if it was a T-Cross or the other one.

      Or should I say Cross T, as all names containing Cross deserve to be treated?

      Apparently the Mach 1 is confirmed for Australia which is good because we only got a few Bullitts and not the GT350 or PP2. Don’t think the price has been confirmed, but that is about $10k above a GT Premium isn’t it?

      Edit: was going to note I wonder if it will be watered down due to compliance rules here.

      If I remember correctly Amazon put at least a billion into Rivian, so I bet they get their vans before the SUV or pickup hit the market. A good idea for extra testing of componentry and getting used to manufacturing before selling to consumers.

    3. The Rivian looks likely to be popular with the hipsters #electricvanlife, if they ever hit the second hand market.

      1. I wonder what the expected service life would be? With good rust prevention, easily swappable chassis components and (partially?) replaceable batteries, there is no reason to not run them…forever, basically. People here are starting to swap their Leaf batteries. Some go from a 70-90 kms range, like us, to 300-400 kms. That’s basically a new car.

      2. I wonder what the expected service life would be? With good rust prevention, easily swappable chassis components and (partially?) replaceable batteries, there is no reason to not run them…forever, basically. People here are starting to swap their Leaf batteries. Some go from a 70-90 kms range, like us, to 300-400 kms. That’s basically a new car.

          1. Most of the built threads I have seen have been owners of old Leaf picking up batteries from wrecked newer ones at the scrapper, without VAT. The 62 kWh battery is 2.5 cm taller than the older 24 and 32 (30?) kWh batteries, but they fit in the same slot. You’ll need some adapter and new software, and the guess-o-meter as well as the predicted fast charging time will be confused and off. But it works.

            Not sure this is the build thread I was looking for, but here is a ton of info:

            https://elbilforum.no/index.php?topic=50291.0

            About 150k NOK will buy you a finished replacement in the Netherlands, but try getting a 70-90 km range Leaf down there…

          1. I’d imagine they would be popular there. I see a few around here in flatter-than-a-pancake Fargo, probably about the same proportion of the pickup population as Ridgelines at the other polar opposite of “I want a pickup but not one like an F-150.”

          2. Yeah, there’s a pretty strong off road culture out here- whether you ever actually drive on anything more than a dirt national forest road or not. A large percentage of cars are Wranglers and Tacomas, so the Gladiator fits in pretty naturally. You’d be amazed at how many are Rubicons. Seems to be the fast track for someone with a few bucks to earn off road cred, regardless of if they actually know how to get it anywhere.

          3. Yeah, there’s a pretty strong off road culture out here- whether you ever actually drive on anything more than a dirt national forest road or not. A large percentage of cars are Wranglers and Tacomas, so the Gladiator fits in pretty naturally. You’d be amazed at how many are Rubicons. Seems to be the fast track for someone with a few bucks to earn off road cred, regardless of if they actually know how to get it anywhere.

          4. In Australia they launched with Overland & Rubicon trim only. It seems they’ve sold 150 nationally in the last 3 months. The diesel isn’t coming here (Wrangler gets the 4-cyl diesel) but a Sport S trim is coming later in the year with a $10k cheaper price. Jeep is trying to revitalize the brand but they’ve got a way to go.

        1. I’ve seen a couple of the old ones, the last was what looked like a a painted rolling shell for sale on the side of the road about an hour inland from Cairns, far north Queensland.

          There is also a Jeep fan’s place I pass regularly who has a CJ10 pickup.

    1. I love the contrast to the two white supersized boxes of vanilla in the background. But, tell me, do you drive your Allegro without any kind of undercoating? That wheel well looks way to clean. If we did that here in Western Norway with something like an Allegro, I’d give it two winters, tops.

      1. Until quite recently Seattle didn’t use road salt. Even now its use is a rare event, so I just make a point of staying off the road when this happens, or driving the International if I must.

        Edit: The two supersized boxes in the background are a couple of our fleet vehicles. We use them mostly for field trips.

        1. Driving an International when you’re trying to avoid rust is fighting fire with fire.
          (Although… my 1961 Scout sat in a driveway within sight of the Atlantic Ocean for 5 years and didn’t rust appreciably. I think there are good years and bad years, unlike the Allegro. You have a 1210, right?)

          We had a staff member that drove a 2CV regularly until we moved into a building without a parking lot, she retired a while later and IDK what ever happened to the deux chevaux.

          1. Oh, I’m not trying to avoid rust; I’m just trying to avoid more rust on the Allegro. The International already has enough rust that I consider it to be somewhat sacrificial at this point, but even so my preferred solution is to stay at home on those fortunately infrequent days when salt is an issue. It’s a 1200D, which is the 1970 model year designation for a 3/4-ton. They changed it to 1210 for 1971.

            Apparently this 2CV is a 1990 German-market car made in Portugal, which puts it near the very end of the production run.

  2. Finally got out for the first/last track day of the year in my ‘one of these things is not like the other’ boxer track bike. Getting stronger and smoother despite a still wonky shoulder and arm. Both knees down this time and it’s becoming much more fun than scary. Not back to where I was a few years ago, but I can see good progress now which is very encouraging for things hopefully opening up more next year. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2dee35ce5e1347576f9dfe226045ab53419f368bae8a9339e68d182388cbf883.jpg

      1. It’s my neighbor’s. It had been sitting for years and he was hoping to get it going so he could sell it. While a great guy, very, very much NOT a mechanically inclined one. My involvement was volunteering to get it running, tuned up, safe to drive and it’s back in his garage awaiting whatever fate he has planned for it. I’m sure he’d tell me if he finds a buyer, so no news most likely meains it’s still in his garage.

  3. Made progress on the Spirit! But no pictures… I got the clutch master cylinder holes drilled and got it mounted (still need to finalize the pedal location, but that’s close, too). And I cut the trans tunnel for the manual shifter. A few small holes left to patch in the floor and I can start putting the interior back in. Also need to get the engine to a builder soon so they can work on that through the winter.

    No real progress on buying a Hilux. My guy in Washington (state) has a guy in Sydney who is going to go look at/inspect a couple prospects. But its a slow process.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a7a0d86dc7d61ff4e1f9221a3d12718fba276dac7c4e5a17a1d0b9159bdc361.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d543d43cc89a3da68bc52e2cf45785ca5dfb3942843febdec0509be9fc0270fa.jpg

    I’m pretty excited, really hoping this works out.

    1. I’m curious why it is worth getting a Hilux instead of a US market Pickup? Solid front axle? Diesel?

      1. Well, it probably isn’t “worth” it, this is more an emotional move and I have the ability to do it, so I am. But the main differences are the 4 door cab (not available here until much later on the Tacomas) and the diesel engine (never available here as far as I know). So those combine to make it a unique truck here, and one I think is cool, so I’m trying to buy one.

        The more logical thing would definitely be to find some other used local truck, but where’s the fun in that?

        1. I figured you would have reasons,just wasn’t fully up to speed on the differences between markets. Just be aware that non turbo diesels will be really slow, and the back seat will be really tight.

          1. Good to know! I figured the non turbo would be slow, I’m at least holding out for the 2.8 and not the 2.4. And my kids are still really young, so the back seat should be plenty big for a while.

  4. Bathurst 1000 is on this weekend, they have reversed last year’s putting the start back half an hour because there is a lot of rain forecast for Sunday.

    Already there have been a few cars decorating the walls including new series champion Scott McLaughlin. Impossible to predict the winner as always.

  5. A couple of weeks ago I shared my story of pulling out fence post remains. Well I finished that, the South fence section and move on to the East side which went w/o any dramatics and I pronounced the fence project done and moved on to other projects on that house. Today I was getting ready to head home and was looking out the back window to see the North side fence swaying in the wind. To prevent it from going over and damaging the neighbors trailer I made another vehicle earn its keep. This time is was my Crown Vic Police Interceptor. I attached a 2×4 as a support and weighed it down with my fulcrum tire and wheel. That didn’t cut it so I pulled the CVPI around back, pulled it up to the tire and parked it. I then ran a ratchet strap around the top of the post and down to the push bar and pulled it tight. Guess what I get to do tomorrow.

  6. In completely unrelated news, a tiny island in front of our house, which was a prison until last year and then sold for approx. 1m$, is now again for sale for triple that price. Our house is in most of the pictures, without being too specific about where exactly. If you guys are looking for another Hooniverse outpost, in addition to the lavish mansions in California, Boston and Moistly, this is it:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/stunning-islet-in-the-middle-of-a-norwegian-fjord-hits-market/ss-BB1a4nGo

    Also, a very rare 1982 Talbot Solara SX in ship shape, for a little more than 4000$. Looking really good, tbh:
    https://www.finn.no/car/used/ad.html?finnkode=192071829

    https://images.finncdn.no/dynamic/1280w/2020/9/vertical-0/19/9/192/071/829_1756384974.jpg
    https://images.finncdn.no/dynamic/1280w/2020/9/vertical-0/19/9/192/071/829_1522576879.jpg
    https://images.finncdn.no/dynamic/1280w/2020/9/vertical-0/19/9/192/071/829_807268034.jpg
    https://images.finncdn.no/dynamic/1280w/2020/9/vertical-0/19/9/192/071/829_463894665.jpg

  7. Nothing new for my vehicles. The BMW threw a “service engine soon” light, so I need to look into that. Hopefully nothing major. It runs and drives fine.

    Need to get under the Tundra to figure out which of the 4WD actuators isn’t working. Might do that this weekend.

    I started the process of refinancing the house to fund my pole barn, hopefully that will go up in the spring. Have some trees to take down and a gate to put in the fence before construction can begin. I’m already realizing how much easier it will be to justify project cars with a barn to put them in. I considered a parts Tundra this week to replace worn parts on mine. One of the hesitations was not having a good place to store it.

  8. I started to consider lifting the 944 by 1.5″ or so. The rear axle would be: re-indexing the torsion bars and moving the lower shock mount.
    Front axle would use a spacer between body and unaltered McPherson struts.
    That, plus bigger tires (more off-roady in style), would raise the ground clearance to a whopping 7-7.5″.
    But: this needs tech approval, which is potentially not possible. I have sent an informal inquiry what (not) to do.

  9. The kid turned 19 and went out and bought himself a 2000 Mustang GT droptop.
    He sent pics when he was considering the purchase, I wasn’t in love with it. 150k miles, every panel has a dent. He doesn’t care. It’s his.
    Last weekend was oil and filter change. Today we replaced the plugs and coil packs. Its running better… sounds good. Seems like a solid car underneath those dents and scratches.

  10. Actually did some work on a vehicle today. The ABS light came on on the F-150 a while back the code said RF and testing showed it to be open. I ordered that up and before I had time to install it the scraper started making noise on the LF. So I ordered up the rotors and pads and have been sitting on them for about a week. I did find a rusty guide on the LF and the friction material was down to just about paper thin on that side. I am a little worried about one of the pistons in the caliper on that side so I’m going to have to check on it in a bit just to be safe. I’d rather not invest in calipers too.

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