Posts By: stephwillems

By on September 4, 2020

I hesitated writing anything to mark this occasion, as the risk of verbal diarrhea — some of it potentially maudlin — is ever-present. Yet here I am, typing a farewell missive to you, dear reader.

The time has come to try something else, something new, so this will be my last post at a publication that’s been my home for the past four years or so.  (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

fca

If Fiat Chrysler handed a dime to auto scribes every time it introduced a new trim or special edition Ram, there’d be quite a few additional millionaires roaming the streets.

Today they’d be 10 cents richer.

Yes, there’s more choice to be had in the Ram lineup for 2021, both in the light- and heavy-duty camps. Because Night editions already exist in the Ram lineup, the truck maker was forced to think long and hard for this one.

Introducing the Limited Night: (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

FCA

With its members having recently voted to strike if bargaining teams don’t make headway, Canadian autoworkers union Unifor plans to reveal its first target next Tuesday. Contract talks kicked off last month, with Unifor aiming to maintain, at the very least, the current complement of Detroit Three workers north of the border.

With the auto industry in continued retreat in Canada, Unifor knows that the next four years could be the term in which one of the Detroit Three ceases to manufacture vehicles on Canuck soil. What’s left in the country is starting to look threadbare and futureless. Maybe some public cash will sweeten the landscape? (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

vw

It’s not so much a program as it is a trend. In Spain, which is currently enduring a second blow from a very resilient coronavirus, people are shunning public transit like their life depends on it. It very well could.

What to do? Simple — search classifieds and backyard sheds for any old heap that’s still roadworthy and drive the hell out of it. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

fca

Big Jeep day yesterday, wasn’t it? Hoo boy. The off-road brand tempted buyers not just with a plug-in hybrid Wrangler, but also a taste of what’s to come in the full-size segment.

The Grand Wagoneer Concept, which closely mirrors a production vehicle we can expect next summer, generated an instant reaction from TTAC chatroom denizens — not all of it favorable. Far from it, in fact. Looking at this hulking, three-row SUV with ultra-premium aspirations, what would you do to turn a B into an A+? (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

fca

It should come as no shock that the loftiest Jeep Grand Wagoneer will crest the six-figure mark; the automaker said as much when it announced its intention to resurrect the bygone range-topper. It’s not like Cadillac and Lincoln aren’t nudging that barrier (or breaking through it) already.

But getting into a full-size Jeep next year doesn’t have to carry such a high cost. On the same day it revealed its damn-near-production-ready Grand Wagoneer Concept, the automaker talked price. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

vw

Seen in spy photos, in conceptual drawings, and as a prototype, the upcoming Volkswagen ID.4 crossover launches on September 23rd, with the potential to arrive in the greenest U.S. states by year’s end. The vehicle marks the end of a half-decade journey for the automaker that began with a very expensive scandal and ended with a new direction and philosophy.

Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, knows that green doesn’t sell on virtue alone. His aim is to position the ID.4 as a competitor to popular compact crossovers that just happens to be electric. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

fca

Eager to steal some thunder from Ford’s returning Bronco, Jeep pulled the wraps off its upcoming Wrangler 4xe Thursday, revealing an off-roader that might be able to handle your commute without consuming a drop of gas. Oh, and you could probably cruise quietly through some sort of wilderness terrain, too.

Mating a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with two electric motors, the Wrangler 4xe is said to be able to deliver up to 25 miles of all-electric driving. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

FCA

It’s not the production model, but it’s the closest we’ve gotten so far to Jeep’s returning full-size SUV. Sport-utility family, to be clear, as Jeep plans to offer its body-on-frame rig in a variety of flavors.

Entry-level Wagoneer will give way to the high-zoot Grand Wagoneer — a vehicle Fiat Chrysler claims will redefine “American premium” by offering a plug-in hybrid variant and a host of “ultra-premium leading-edge features and technology.”

Alas, the real thing remains distant. Scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of 2021 at Warren Truck Assembly, the actual Grand Wagoneer is heralded by a “vision of what [the] production vehicle could be.”

Feast your eyes. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

Maybe a Civic-based Chevrolet Cruze revival isn’t an insane idea after all. On Thursday morning, General Motors and Honda announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding to pave the way for a North American alliance.

Platform and powertrain sharing in several segments would be part of this strategic tie-up, the automakers claim, leading one to wonder what the future holds for the increasingly cosy longtime rivals.  (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

Hyundai

Hyundai’s promised something radical in the C-segment crossover space, and the next-generation Tucson is it. A strong-selling bread-and butter model, Tucson will split into two come the 2022 model year, Hyundai claims, broadening the crossover’s market appeal.

The new generation will also bring unmistakable lighting to the table. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

If the current vehicle landscape tells us anything, it’s that Americans have never gone so far afield, well beyond the reach of pavement, in as many numbers as they do today. How else to explain the emergence of so many off-road focused pickups and SUVs? Road infrastructure maintenance costs should decline in the coming years as new vehicle buyers blaze their own trail to the office and supermarket.

Watch out, nature.

Or maybe people just like the ability to do such things. Whatever the reason, the list of brush busters grows by the year, and might soon include a new entry from Chevrolet. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

The General Motors name might be synonymous with SUVs and pickups in North America, especially after the automaker’s recent passenger car cull, but the Chinese market mostly associates it with SUVs and a bevy of cars. GM apparently wants that to change.

Government documents reveal The General is interested in getting the go-ahead for a Chinese-market pickup. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

2017 Jaguar lineup

Amid ongoing trade show cancellations that now stretch into the next calendar year, the L.A. Auto Show remains stubbornly fixed, apparently still a go for this November.

No one believes this will come to pass. Not with the current coronavirus situation, not with winter (and a feared second wave) approaching, and not without the appearance of a vaccine or some sort of breakthrough therapeutic drug. So it’s not surprising to hear that organizers might punt the event to late spring. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2020

There’s no shortage of fledgling electric automakers peddling their future wares, so how does an embryonic car company avoid becoming just a face in the crowd? If you’re Lucid Motors, you aim for big numbers. The kind that matter to motoring enthusiasts, not environmentalists.

With its first model, the Air, Lucid plans to wow would-be buyers not just with an impressive driving range, but also power and acceleration specs. Those early numbers arrived today, one week ahead of the production model’s public debut. (Read More…)

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