Two new engines, a new transmission, and a bigger infotainment screen on top models, highlight the changes coming in the 2017 VW Golf. A new 148 horsepower engine will be available that will shut down the second and third cylinders when not needed for greater fuel economy. Eventually, all will get a seven speed automatic tranny, replacing the current six speed. The GTI and it will be offered with either a 226 horsepower four, or 241 horsepower in the Performance Pack option. Upscale models get a 9.2 inch touchscreen infotainment system. And new safety features such as Pedestrian Monitoring with emergency braking and Traffic Jam Assist will debut. There will be some minor exterior changes such as new bumpers. No word from VW yet on prices.
Fiat Chrysler announced the rugged Ram Power Wagon will carrying a starting price of $51,695 plus $1,320 delivery for model year 2017. It is based on the Ram 2500. There is a new grille and tailgate design along with “tire-tread-embossed seats” with the Power Wagon logo embroidered on the upper bolsters. Under the hood is a 6.4 liter HEMI V8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. With 14.3 inches of ground clearance, it will go off road to say the least.
Porsche’s Panamera will come with software that will make it easier to find available off-street parking as well as nearby low gas prices.
The auto world’s attention next week will be on Los Angeles where more than 50 new vehicles will be unveiled at their annual show. Of more than passing interest will be a Sport Utility Vehicle from Alfa Romero, (assuming it ever gets into production and arrives here) along with the new Honda Civic Si, the 2018 Jeep Compass, and a concept compact from Subaru. Toyota is expected to show off its new subcompact crossover called the C-HR. That is not to be confused with the Honda HR-V or the Mazda CX-3. Not to be outdone, BMW will unveil the X5 xDrive 40e. Or there is the AMG GLE43 SUV from Mercedes.
Starting Monday there will be seminars and panel discussions on auto mobility, the connected car, autonomous driving, car sharing and a thousand reasons why the next car you drive will a thousand times more complicated than what’s on the market now.