The News for September 27th, 2019

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, Nissan updates the Titan, Ford readies to print more money with the Expedition King Ranch, Mazda rotary news may be incoming, VW names a familiar face to COO of North America, and Ford’s new F Series Super Duty can tow… like, a lot. Plus your automotive news for the week.

2020 Nissan Titan

nissan titan

If you don’t debut your truck at the State Fair of Texas, is it even a truck? No. No it isn’t. That’s why every truck manufacturer has some kind of presence in Dallas this week. Nissan in particular used the truck-buying capital of the universe to take the covers off a refreshed 2020 Nissan Titan. Complete with a revised face, a new drivetrain, redesigned interior, and more tech features. Nissan hopes to win some more market share in an extremely competitive space when it goes on sale early next year.

nissan titan

The nip and tuck mostly focused on the front, but all areas have some kind of update. Three new grille designs help provide some differentiation between the five trim levels and they’re flanked by new LED headlights with “double boomerang” daytime running lights. The new lights also produce around 120% more light output in low beam than before, which is nice.  There are also new wheel designs, larger fog lights, new badging (amazing), and new LED full-surround lighting for the bed.

nissan titan

The 5.6-liter Endurance gas V8 remains the only option for the standard Titan but it does get a bit more power. It’s up 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque, 10 horsepower and 19 lb.-ft. more than before. It’s paired up with a new nine-speed automatic transmission featuring a larger final gear ratio of 3.692:1 to provide more torque to the wheels and smoother and faster acceleration. What that translates to is a second off its 50 mph to 70 mph acceleration time compared to the current Titan with a seven-speed automatic. 4×2 and 4×4 configurations are of course still offered.

nissan titan

Inside the Titan is a slew of new materials for each grade level. These range from durable work materials to the kind of stuff once limited to luxury cars. Every Titan features front and rear “Zero Gravity” seats that help maximize posture positioning for enhanced comfort. Additionally, there’s a new 7-inch driver information display, new 9-inch touch screen with WXGA resolution, standard Apple and Android integration, available Dual Panel Panoramic Moonroof (Crew Cab only), and an available 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio System with a 485-watt, 9-channel amplifier with Panasonic’s proprietary Acoustic Motion Control. Long story short, it can go from fleet truck to luxury spec really easily.

Prices haven’t been announced yet. And so far they’ve only confirmed King Cab and Crew Cab body configurations. The Single Cab wasn’t available at launch on the current Titan either, so hopefully it’s still on the way.

[Source: Nissan]

Ford Expedition King Ranch

expedition king ranch

Meanwhile at Ford, the King Ranch Expedition is making a comeback. The high-end western-inspired trim level has been a regular offering in the F-Series pickup line since 1999 and in the Expedition since 2005. The timing is appropriate because Ford can hardly keep Expeditions on the lots, and six in ten buyers either choose the top-end Platinum or Limited model because trucks and SUVs are America’s luxury car now.

King Ranch Expeditions can be picked apart by their Stone Gray paint on the grille mesh, power-deployable running boards, lower bumpers, and other trim pieces as well as body color-painted upper bumpers. Then there’s the wheels – bespoke 22″ six-spoke painted machine-finished aluminum wheels with dark tarnish-painted pockets (direct quote). Oh, and all the King Ranch badges would give it away too I guess.

expedition king ranch

The main draw of a King Ranch though is of course that interior. Ford used premium ebony Del Rio leather alllll over. All three rows of seating, door trim, and other key touch points are covered with it. Elsewhere there’s Ziricote wood veneer, Kingsville stitching, and of course the King Ranch “Running W” logo emblazoned into the seatbacks. I Googled it and can confirm that emblazoned is in fact a word.

expedition king ranch

According to Ford’s configurator, the King Ranch starts at $72,895, just $1,040 short of the range-topping Platinum and $9,550 more than the Limited. No exact word on when deliveries start but it’s probably as soon as humanly possible.

[Source: Ford]

Report: Some kind of Mazda Rotary news incoming

mazda

Jalopnik did one of those things where they uncover something extremely interesting and then share it with the world. This week they got hold of a poster that appeared on social media feeds of Mazda’s Chinese partner, Changan Mazda, which shows some kind of weird and wonderful engine that’s gained a cult following along with a classic sports car that helped make it popular. There are some other words too which say something about seeing the next generation in six days (from earlier this week) and other things which jello picnin’s Kristen Lee translates in their report. It’s long been thought that the rotary engine would make a comeback as a range-extender for a new hybrid at Mazda, but of course we all really want something a little more… which probably won’t happen. Either way we’ll keep you posted.

[Source: Jalopnik]

Volkswagen names Johan De Nysschen as North American COO

new vw logo

Remember this dude? Johan De Nysschen, the dude who made Infiniti’s nomenclature dumb and confusing, then made Cadillac’s nomenclature dumb and confusing but also while moving their headquarters to Brooklyn for a still inexplicable reason (which is in the process of being reversed, mind you), is back. Volkswagen thought hiring him as their Chief Operating Officer of North America was a sound business decision. As COO, he’ll be expected to “streamline the executive reporting structure and let the brand better coordinate and align operations in the region”. Roughly translated from suit talk, Volkswagen’s HQ will soon relocate to the most hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn and their lineup will move to a numbered naming scheme. Maybe they’ll open a hipster design studio as well to offer a place for the community to come together and share kale chip recipes. Then he’ll be told to resign and Volkswagen will immediately start moving their shit back to where it was. The boring numbered nomenclature will remain.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Ford Super Duty can tow 37,000 pounds

SEERPEEERR DEERRRTEE

Back to Texas now. Ford wasn’t just in Dallas to show off a luxury SUV, they were also there to show who was still king in the heavy duty pickup space. The Ford F-Series Super Duty, when equipped with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8, offers gooseneck towing of up to 37,000 pounds, maximum fifth-wheel towing of 32,500 pounds, and conventional towing of 24,200 pounds. That’s made possible in part by the new diesel’s output of 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb.-ft. of torque. So yeah, Ford wins this round.

[Source: Ford]

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.

56 Comments

    1. So what happens if a small animal gets caught up in that mess underneath? I’ve never seen a drivetrain like that before.

      1. There’s supposed to be a cover. I’ve got a spare for my 66, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned already, it’s that there’s not nearly as much commonality of parts between the 55 and the 66 as we’d have liked.

        1. Ah, that makes sense. Kind of a cool setup, from an engineering perspective. Not sure I’d enjoy driving it, but it’s interesting. I’ve seen CVTs on much older motorcycles, but didn’t realize cars had them that early.

          1. Oh, have you seen these classics? The DAF, later Volvo, Variomatic has one forward and one reverse gear. Takes every gearhead 1.5 seconds to figure out what to do with that information:

          2. This is precisely why our team name is Non-Minimum Phase Behavior: It’s characteristic of a causal, stable system with an inverse that is causal but unstable.

        2. Ah, but the DAF nomenclature is so easy! 46 = 1/2*44 (because a DAF 46 has essentially half the Variomatic of the 44)!

          (It’s almost as easy to follow as DKW’s 3 = 6 )

    2. At one point, my mom had come across the factory literature from when my parents were considering purchasing a new Daffodil, but like so many of the cars themselves, I think it got tossed away. They had been shopping for something to replace the Dauphine they sold, but ended up with a Mustang, I think.

      1. Wow… those are some seriously disparate choices. Perhaps the only time a DAF and Mustang have ever been on the same shopping list?

        1. Around that timeframe, my dad had a rental car agency as a client, and started getting ex-rentals from them in trade. I’m pretty sure the Mustang was a fleet vehicle. It was probably a choice of a new DAF from the dealer, or an 8,000 mile Mustang for no out of pocket money. About twice a year, he would sell the ex-rental as a last-model-year used car, and use the proceeds to live on, then do another trade out with the rental company.

    3. You’re the experienced one with Variomatics because you know what a Variomatic is. You’re the expert when you can name more than 5 parts that are found in a Variomatic. (Without using the word ‘thingy’)

    4. So are you going to race in reverse on the second day to unwind the odometer and keep your low mileage?

      1. I think it’s a bit optimistic at this point to discuss the second day. Or indeed the very concept of “racing” it. Keeping the mileage low shouldn’t be a problem, though.

          1. The car turned a few laps but I failed to make it to the race, thanks to a delayed flight and subsequent car troubles of my own. I’ll describe the details of my idiocy later, most likely as a comment on Friday’s news post.

  1. I ordered the Carly adapter, in advance of likely taking care of an e61, figuring I need more capability than my creator code reader can provide. In celebration of that, the x3 popped an SES, couple of random codes I’ve seen over the years and ignored, and a couple new ones regarding the fuel level sensor.

    Cleared them away, and we’ll see if they reappear. Taking the X3 to the forest this weekend in search of oak…

    1. Oh yeah, you were planning to buy a 530 wagon, right? Never heard an E60 Touring referred to as an “E61”– that threw me for a sec.

      Searching for oak?

        1. Ah… yeah, white pine sucks for heat. We surprisingly got good burning life out of the wood from an apple tree we had to cut (though it didn’t yield much wood).

          1. Yeah. Never burned an apple tree, but I’m open to try!

            I’ve probably got about 2.5-3 cords now, half of that ponderosa, third of it aspen, rest of it oak / juniper…hard to keep it going overnight without the hard stuff…

      1. You know, when I bought my M3 two years back, I returned with the vehicle to find that the right front strut of the x3 had pissed oil all over the garage floor. So, yeah, I believe you’re correct.

  2. This may be a silly question, but why would there be such a difference between the Super Duty tow ratings for fifth wheel versus gooseneck?

    1. All I can think of is that the gooseneck could be stronger than the 5th wheel, or maybe the combined vehicle is more stable with the gooseneck than the 5th wheel. (Here I’m assuming the small travel-trailer style 5th wheel and not a full-size semi-trailer 5th wheel.) The gooseneck hitch ball is positioned just above the floor of the pickup box, but the travel-trailer 5th wheel is usually designed to be about the same height as the top of the sidewalls of the pickup box (whereas a semi-truck 5th wheel sits right on top of the frame rails.)

      (Or maybe the 5th wheel needs more tongue weight as a percentage of the trailer weight, so to keep the loading on the tow vehicle within its limits the 5th wheel rating needs to be lower? Not sure.)

    2. All I can think of is that the gooseneck could be stronger than the 5th wheel, or maybe the combined vehicle is more stable with the gooseneck than the 5th wheel. (Here I’m assuming the small travel-trailer style 5th wheel and not a full-size semi-trailer 5th wheel.) The gooseneck hitch ball is positioned just above the floor of the pickup box, but the travel-trailer 5th wheel is usually designed to be about the same height as the top of the sidewalls of the pickup box (whereas a semi-truck 5th wheel sits right on top of the frame rails.)

      (Or maybe the 5th wheel needs more tongue weight as a percentage of the trailer weight, so to keep the loading on the tow vehicle within its limits the 5th wheel rating needs to be lower? Not sure.)

    3. I looked at several websites of sellers of towing equipment. I didn’t see ANY hitches for sale with rated capacity high enough to handle the loads Ford claims. Goosenecks topped out around 30K lbs (I saw one @ 32K) and 5th wheel mostly around 25K. So I suspect the limitation is the physical connection, not the springs or brakes.

      Another site covered Ford’s announcements, and a footnote said the 37 kilopound rating was with Ford’s integrated gooseneck hitch. So maybe there is a factory option that is built directly into the frame a little more solidly than bolted-on third party hardware.

      1. I suppose the aftermarket hasn’t caught up with the latest round of HD tow rating increases, even though it seems like they went past 32k a while ago. Then again it may just be a better reflection of reality?

  3. My automotive news for the week is that a lady let her shopping cart get away from her and it rolled on a downward slope for some 25 feet or so into my passenger side door on my 2019 530i… some 1300 miles on it. No big deal except that it made two small dents in the door panel, and cut through the paint down to the metal. So… no paintless dent removal and a buff-out. Here’s where it get interesting. The lady kindly left a note with her phone number and is okay with paying for the repair (not a big dent but my car is a lease, and I would get bitten for the ding on turn in…and besides, I just want it fixed anyhow so Thank You good lady, I accept). She asked me to see what a repair estimate would be with the view of not turning it in to her insurance company. Sure. It’s only a small dent right? Can’t be much right?

    Well, the body shop I have used on my BMW’s in the past give me an estimate today. Can’t do paintless dent removal even where the paint isn’t broken he says…. aluminum door panel and the paint will crack when you try, and blah, blah, blah. Anyhow…
    His written estimate for cash repair, no insurance involvement, is $1295.

    I am ashamed to even call this lady with that number. That figure is INSANE for these tiny dents and scratches. So, Monday I will be getting a couple more estimates but even after that, I think it’s gonna be a shock to her what this costs.

  4. So my mom’s 2010 Cadillac CTS is on the brink of totaled after some sort of a crash. She’s fine; it just doesn’t take that much damage to get there on a 10-year-old modern-era car once you get airbags, crumple zones, etc. involved.
    My dad asked me to look for potential replacements in my area (southern Red River Valley, ND/MN). Cadillac, AWD sedan like this CTS is/was, not the ATS (too small.) Doesn’t have to be brand-new (that garage bay held previously: ’83 Buick Century bought new, ’92 Cadillac Seville-’93 STS-’98 STS each bought 2-3 years old, this CTS bought new around New Year’s 2011), but don’t want more than about 60,000 miles on the clock. Good deals (closeout ’18’s and ’19’s, low-mile cars well along the depreciation curve, etc.) of interest.
    Super easy, barely an inconvenience, right?

    I sent him a list of 8 cars total, spanning reaches of the 605, 507, 218, 701, and 612 area codes. Took me about 2 hours to come up with that list. Between the SUVification of the auto world, Cadillac’s wanting to cull the dealers that don’t move many cars a month, etc… whew.

      1. He probably knows it’d be wasted breath– it’d be like to me trying to talk my parents into something other than a Ford (their current stable includes a Ford Flex, Ford F150, Ford E350, Ford Taurus, Mercury Mountaineer, and a Mercury Mariner).

      2. He probably knows it’d be wasted breath– it’d be like to me trying to talk my parents into something other than a Ford (their current stable includes a Ford Flex, Ford F150, Ford E350, Ford Taurus, Mercury Mountaineer, and a Mercury Mariner).

        1. Being a GM guy is a thing that goes back at least 3 generations of my family, at least for cars. New pickups on the farm were generally IH Light Line, then Ford from the late ’70’s thru about ’00, then my dad went to Dodge/Ram pickups and my grandpa decided he liked Chevy’s slightly-lower ride height better. I’m the weird one that learned to drive in the only Ford car that was around (the ’73 Cougar that’d been my grandma’s car when I was little), stayed with Ford (’96 Thunderbird) at a time that the pickups were Fords, and when I decided my dad had made the right call going to Dodge pickups I went further and started buying Mopar cars too.

          1. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. They also have a restored ’50 Chevy coupe that just sits under a cover in the garage, and a ’48 Ford and ’47 Mercury awaiting restoration (though that will probably fall to me, as dad’s health isn’t the greatest these days). Car addiction is apparently a genetic trait, because back when I was young and single, I had 5 licensed/insured cars just for me, and 7 others in storage. Marriage and kids culled the herd quite a bit. I’m down to 2 and 3 now, respectively.

        2. Being a GM guy is a thing that goes back at least 3 generations of my family, at least for cars. New pickups on the farm were generally IH Light Line, then Ford from the late ’70’s thru about ’00, then my dad went to Dodge/Ram pickups and my grandpa bought a Chevy Silverado SS (for the lower ride height) and stuck with Chevy pickups since. I’m the weird one that learned to drive in the only Ford car that was around (the ’73 Cougar that’d been my grandma’s car when I was little), stayed with Ford (’96 Thunderbird) at a time that the pickups were Fords, and when I decided my dad had made the right call going to Dodge pickups I went further and started buying Mopar cars too.

  5. My automotive news for the week is that a lady let her shopping cart get away from her and it rolled on a downward slope for some 25 feet or so into my passenger side door on my 2019 530i… some 1300 miles on it. No big deal except that it made two small dents in the door panel, and cut through the paint down to the metal. So… no paintless dent removal and a buff-out. Here’s where it get interesting. The lady kindly left a note with her phone number and is okay with paying for the repair (not a big dent but my car is a lease, and I would get bitten for the ding on turn in…and besides, I just want it fixed anyhow so Thank You good lady, I accept). She asked me to see what a repair estimate would be with the view of not turning it in to her insurance company. Sure. It’s only a small dent right? Can’t be much right?

    Well, the body shop I have used on my BMW’s in the past give me an estimate today. Can’t do paintless dent removal even where the paint isn’t broken he says…. aluminum door panel and the paint will crack when you try, and blah, blah, blah. Anyhow…
    His written estimate for cash repair, no insurance involvement, is $1295.

    I am ashamed to even call this lady with that number. That figure is INSANE for these tiny dents and scratches. So, Monday I will be getting a couple more estimates but even after that, I think it’s gonna be a shock to her what this costs.

    1. I believe it.

      Two years ago my neighbor’s son left his Razor scooter just behind our parked minivan. Next morning, I get in (approaching from the front) and start backing out of the driveway. The scooter was centered enough that the rear wheels straddled it, but when I turned to cut into the street, my front tire caught it just enough to flip it up into the wheel well, where the scooter’s base ripped the plastic inner fender free of the outer metal one, and the handle swung out and somehow bent the fender from the outside. By the time I realized what had happened and stopped (I was admittedly in a hurry and going too fast), the scooter was wedged above the tire. I had to go forward a bit to pull it out.

      All said, the repair estimate was nearly $2000. For a friggin Kia Sedona. I declined. The dent remains, and I drilled holes and reconnected the inner fender with zip-ties. I could probably get the dent out without involving paint, but I left it as a reminder to survey the car’s perimeter before leaving.

      Oh, and the scooter was unscathed. The kid still rides it. If Razor ever decides to make automobiles, I may buy one.

    2. I believe it.

      Two years ago my neighbor’s son left his Razor scooter just behind our parked minivan. Next morning, I get in (approaching from the front) and start backing out of the driveway. The scooter was centered enough that the rear wheels straddled it, but when I turned to cut into the street, my front tire caught it just enough to flip it up into the wheel well, where the scooter’s base ripped the plastic inner fender free of the outer metal one, and the handle swung out and somehow bent the fender from the outside. By the time I realized what had happened and stopped (I was admittedly in a hurry and going too fast), the scooter was wedged above the tire. I had to go forward a bit to pull it out.

      All said, the repair estimate was nearly $2000. For a friggin Kia Sedona. I declined. The dent remains, and I drilled holes and reconnected the inner fender with zip-ties. I could probably get the dent out without involving paint, but I left it as a reminder to survey the car’s perimeter before leaving.

      Oh, and the scooter was unscathed. The kid still rides it. If Razor ever decides to make automobiles, I may buy one.

    3. I believe it.

      Two years ago my neighbor’s son left his Razor scooter just behind our parked minivan. Next morning, I get in (approaching from the front) and start backing out of the driveway. The scooter was centered enough that the rear wheels straddled it, but when I turned to cut into the street, my front tire caught it just enough to flip it up into the wheel well, where the scooter’s base ripped the plastic inner fender free of the outer metal one, and the handle swung out and somehow bent the fender from the outside. By the time I realized what had happened and stopped (I was admittedly in a hurry and going too fast), the scooter was wedged above the tire. I had to go forward a bit to pull it out.

      All said, the repair estimate was nearly $2000. For a friggin Kia Sedona. I declined. The dent remains, and I drilled holes and reconnected the inner fender with zip-ties. I could probably get the dent out without involving paint, but I left it as a reminder to survey the car’s perimeter before leaving.

      Oh, and the scooter was unscathed. The kid still rides it. If Razor ever decides to make automobiles, I may buy one.

    4. $1300 seems to be the going rate for painting any panel that has metallic paint (i.e. almost every car these days). Metallic looks great but is hard to match so you can’t just paint a small area, you have to paint the entire panel to not have the repair stand out.

    1. Interesting, I have a 1984 Seat Fura brochure somewhere but I only remember the Fura Crono hot hatch and completely overlooked the 5 door.

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