Category: Future Vehicles

By on September 11, 2017

2018 Nissan LEAF, Image: Nissan

A week after the unveiling of the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf, we know for sure that value, value, value! is the upgraded model’s strongest selling point.

No longer offering a paltry 107 miles of range, the new Leaf sports a just-good-enough 150 miles of driving distance, or so Nissan believes. Of course, knowing that Chevrolet’s Bolt and Tesla’s Model 3 offer significantly better range, the Leaf’s priced to sell. For $29,990 plus delivery, and minus a $7,500 tax credit, Nissan figures the base S model is enough to tempt cost-conscious EV buyers who don’t want it all.

But there’s a longer-ranged Leaf in the works. For 2019, buyers can opt for a stepped-up 60 kWh battery, but just how far a so-equipped Leaf can drive on a single charge differs depending on the Nissan exec doing the talking. Read More >

By on September 8, 2017

Image: North America Map, Drive Electric Week Events

Since 2011, National Drive Electric Week has taken place in venues across the United States, some Canadian locations, and at select international venues. This year, it runs from Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.

There are 262 event locations for 2017, so there’s probably an event not far away, assuming you’re electrically inclined.

Read More >

By on September 8, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: ChevroletYou can forget the GM EV1 and the Toyota RAV4 EV. The car that truly attempted to bring electric cars into the mainstream was the 2011 Nissan Leaf.

It didn’t. U.S. Leaf sales, never reaching any great heights, plunged after its fourth full model year, falling by more than half between 2014 and 2016.

There’s a thoroughly updated second-gen Nissan Leaf on its way, destined to hit U.S. dealers early in 2018. But during the first-gen Leaf’s tenure, the Nissan was joined by a broad array of electric cars, from a handful of Teslas to the Chevrolet Bolt, Volkswagen e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, BMW i3, and Hyundai Ioniq, and all of these cars together have combined to quintuple U.S. electric vehicle market share over the last half-decade.

Only 0.1 percent of the new vehicles sold in America in 2012 were pure EVs. That figure has risen, very slowly, to 0.5 percent through the first eight months of 2017 while the number of available nameplates has more than doubled.

Perspective? Ford grew its F-Series’ share of the overall U.S. new vehicle market from 4.5 percent to 5.1 percent during the same period. Read More >

By on September 8, 2017

2017 Lincoln Continental

It’s getting to the point that if you’re not a premium automaker promising some sort of brand-wide electric propulsion revolution, you’re not a premium automaker. Volvo has announced it’s going all-electrified (not necessarily electric) in short order. Maserati and Aston Martin are headed in a similar direction.

Is Lincoln the next luxury brand to ditch gas-only powertrains?

Not quite, but Ford’s luxury arm is planning on endowing every model in its lineup with an available hybrid powertrain, according to three sources who spoke to Reuters. It’s a plan very similar to the one Jaguar Land Rover announced just yesterday. While the completion date for Lincoln’s lineup electrification is 2022, the brand might not stop at just hybrids and plug-ins. Read More >

By on September 7, 2017

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Ford Australia/YouTube

Not quite a month ago, we brought you spy photos of a heavily camouflaged, clearly brawnier variant of Ford’s overseas Ranger. So angry was an Australian engineer along for the ride that he challenged the photographer to a fight.

Now, thanks to Ford’s Australian and South African divisions, we can see what the engineer (and some suspect underbody netting) was attempting to hide: a Ford Ranger Raptor.

You’ll recall that Ford plans to bring the Ranger to American buyers — and production to Michigan — for the 2019 model year. It now looks like the off-road-ready Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro will soon have a Blue Oval rival, as overseas customers receive the Ranger Raptor for the 2018 model year. Read More >

By on September 7, 2017

2017 BMW 5 Series - Image: BMWBMW’s North American CEO, Bernhard Kuhnt, blames inventory issues for the brand’s sharp utility vehicle sales decline in August 2017.

BMW reported only 8,847 utility vehicle sales in August, a harsh 21-percent year-over-year drop for the five-model lineup. Sales of Spartanburg, South Carolina-built X3s, X4s, X5s, and X6s plunged 30 percent as BMW was fortunately boosted by — strange as it may sound — elevated passenger-car sales.

Has the tide turned? Is America’s BMW buyer forsaking his X3 for a 330i; her X5 for an M550i?

Don’t believe it for a second. Read More >

By on September 6, 2017

2018 Genesis G70 - Image: Michael Giele/TwitterYou must wait a little while longer, but we’ll soon have a much better idea of what the Genesis G70 will look like. The entry-level sports sedan from Hyundai’s upmarket Genesis division debuts in its South Korea home market next Friday, September 15, 2017, at an event at Seoul’s Olympic Park.

In fact, in advance of the unveiling in Korea, we already have a clearer view of the Genesis G70, thanks to the timely response of one Michael Giele, who spotted the new Genesis sedan and posted images to Twitter.

Destined to provide the next major shakeup in the small luxury sports sedan sector after the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE, and Cadillac ATS arrived with great expectations, the Genesis G70 will be tasked with challenging the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS, more likely than not with more equipment and lower MSRPs. It won’t be easy for Hyundai’s Genesis brand, so the car had better look good. Read More >

By on September 5, 2017

2010 Toyota RAV4 EV Demo - Image: ToyotaMazda is planning for the internal combustion engine of 2050. Toyota is applying the Dynamic Force improvements that worked wonders on the 2018 Camry’s fuel economy ratings to V6 and V8 engines.

And electric cars?

“We’re skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience,” Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada tells CNBC.

There is a Toyota electric car in your future, Uchiyamada believes. But more likely than not, it’s not in your near future. Read More >

By on September 1, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas - Image: VolkswagenIn 2009, during the depths of a global financial crisis the likes of which generations had never seen, Volkswagen of America set forth on a nine-year plan that would more than triple sales to 800,000 units in 2018.

Stuff happened. A crisis (or two) got in the way. An overly Americanized product lineup lacking in utility vehicles underachieved. Volkswagen lost its right to sell diesel models in America. Volkswagen will struggle to sell 400,000 new vehicles in the United States in 2018.

Although at first it seemed possible — Volkswagen sales grew far faster than the market as a whole exiting the recession — the 800,000-unit sales goal has long since been abandoned. By 2014, before the diesel emissions scandal even broke, now-departed Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn was questioning the timing of the 800,000-sales goal.

As the summer of 2017 approaches a close, however, Volkswagen’s global boss Herbert Diess has a new, seemingly unrealistic goal for the brand’s U.S. operations, Bloomberg reports. With a stronger SUV lineup, Volkswagen wants to grow its U.S. market share to 5 percent in 2020.

Volkswagen’s market share in 2017? Less than 2 percent. Read More >

By on August 31, 2017

2016 Volkswagen Golf R - Image: VW

Unlike Mercedes-AMG, Volkswagen’s R performance division isn’t much of a sub-brand. While the VW Golf R remains the industry’s quintessential hot hatch, there’s no shortage of rivals ready and willing to usurp its position as a segment leader. Also, one model does not a sub-brand make.

Down the road from VW’s Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters, the executives in Stuttgart can’t AMG-ify Mercedes-Benz products fast enough. SUVs, “coupe” variants of SUVs, sedans, and legit coupes are all going under the knife, emerging with taut suspension, improved driving dynamics, and an all-important shot of horsepower — traditionally in “strong” and “extra strong” doses. Not only does it improve an automaker’s image, it also helps sell high-profit utility vehicles.

Volkswagen requires some of Mercedes-AMG’s medicine. Now, according to a recent report, it may have the cure it’s looking for. Read More >

By on August 31, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler pickup, Image: Off-Road.com

As part of a larger group of automotive publications, TTAC has access to a variety of content from a handful of other sites, and we wanted to bring you some of the unique content that we think lives up to TTAC’s standards and offers legitimate insight or a properly critical viewpoint to car evaluation. This story, by Off-Road.com’s managing editor, Stephen Elmer, showcases the upcoming 2018 Jeep Wrangler and its pickup sibling.

A new set of spy photos, exclusive to Off-Road.com, shows us that Jeep is getting the Wrangler JL’s towing dialed in.

In the photos, we can see the two-door JL along with the new Wrangler-based pickup truck, reportedly called the Scrambler, hooked up to different sized enclosed trailers.

Some rear-end squat is visible from the two-door Wrangler, a typical trait of a vehicle with a soft, off-road-ready suspension, much like today’s Wrangler. The Scrambler appears to be sitting flat with the larger twin-axle trailer, though it is using a weight distributing hitch to help it out. Read More >

By on August 30, 2017

mini electric concept

In 2009, BMW avoided jumping the gun when it introduced an electric conversion of its Mini Cooper as a test platform instead of a production vehicle. Dubbed the “Mini E,” and limited to two seats due to its massive battery pack, the prototype served as a short-term consumer testbed for field trials and was deployed in several countries, including the United States.

However, as other automakers brought production EVs into the world, Mini held off — perhaps waiting for an more advantageous moment to enter the segment.

That moment appears to have arrived. The brand decided Wednesday to tease us with photos of its new “Mini Electric Concept,” which it says will enter into production in 2019. Its shares its powertrain with the BMW i3, so expect a driving range of at least 110 e-miles (or 180 with an optional gasoline range extender) and an electric motor producing a minimum of 160 horsepower. Read More >

By on August 30, 2017

2015 Aston Martin DBX Concept - Image: Aston MartinYour dreams of an upmarket, V12-powered, British version of the 1996 GMC Yukon GT can be put to bed. The production version of 2015’s Aston Martin DBX Concept will not maintain the concept’s bodystyle.

Production vehicles periodically trace very little back to the concept vehicles that were originally intended to act as previews. Indeed, the defining element of the DBX shown in Geneva in March 2015 is gone. “There are aspects of the car that have changed dramatically,” Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says, “perhaps none more so than the fact that it is now a four-door.”

Although the coupe format has been cast aside, Aston Martin’s boss believes the company will not have to trade beauty in exchange for true 4×4-ness. “If Aston Martin wants to survive, it must do a SUV,” Palmer says. And in this era, there are aspects of perceived SUV-ness that simply aren’t compatible with a two-door format. Read More >

By on August 30, 2017

2017 Ford Fiesta Vignale - Image: FordRemember Antonella?

Antonella was a 28-year-old Italian, living in the heart of Rome in the latter part of the last decade, who needed a nimble and stylish Ford.

Antonella has changed. Antonella has more money. She no longer lives with her parents. She has, say it politely, aged, though she’s “still very expressive,” Ford of Europe’s design boss George Saridakis tells Automotive News Europe. Since Antonella changed, the Ford Fiesta for which she was created (or vice versa) has also changed. Ford of Europe now hopes 10 percent of Europe’s Antonellas will choose the upmarket Fiesta Vignale.

What about Antonella’s cousin, Amy in Cleveland? Ford probably hopes she’ll buy a 2018 EcoSport. But if we’re going to be honest about Amy (a TTAC creation), we all know Ford’s inadvertently pulling her into the leftover 2017 Escape she’s been eyeing, the one with a $2,500 discount and interest-free financing over 84 months. Read More >

By on August 29, 2017

Der neue Volkswagen T-Roc - Image: VolkswagenNot only is Volkswagen’s recently unveiled T-Roc subcompact crossover destined to avoid U.S. shores, Volkswagen’s Canadian dealers won’t be offering the T-Roc, either.

Revealed last week, we had always assumed the T-Roc was the logical next step for a Volkswagen brand that had suffered long and hard from a limited, delayed, premium SUV strategy in North America.

But it turns out Volkswagen of America will skip the T-Roc, likely in favor of a different small utility vehicle. So we asked Volkswagen Canada whether the T-Roc would arrive for the 2018 model year, the 2019 model year, or never at all.

Volkswagen’s response is the third option. “At least for now,” company spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff tells TTAC.

Surely small-car-loving Canada — where the Honda Civic has been Canada’s top-selling car for 19 consecutive years and subcompact cars hold 19 percent more market share than they do in the U.S. — wants another subcompact crossover? Nah, not so much. Like Americans, Canadians haven’t fully latched onto the subcompact crossover, either. Not yet. Read More >

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