Auto News for May 22 – Tesla 3 – No Recommendation From CR. Super Snake Coming!!!

The headline said, “Tesla Model 3 Falls Short of a CR Recommendation.” Consumer Reports said it fell short on braking, controls, and ride quality during its tests, despite record range and agile handling.

A stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was “far worse” than any contemporary car the magazine has tested and 19 feet longer than cited by the maker.

CEO Elon Musk said the braking issue could be fixed via a firmware update that will be rolled out in a few days.

Car and Driver recently cited inconsistent stopping distances in its tests of the Model 3.
CR said Tesla’s center dash mounted screen where virtually all controls are located required multiple steps to accomplish simple tasks thereby leading to driver distraction.

And it also cited a stiff ride.


Shelby American will produce 10 GT500 Super Snakes built from original 1967 donor Mustangs, with factory VIN’s and original titles. Each receives a Shelby serial number for the official registry.

Each of the ten will come with original signatures by Carroll Shelby and Don McCain who spearheaded the program back in ’67.

Shelby built an engineering study dubbed the “Super Snake” for high-speed tire testing by Goodyear in 1967.

The Super Snake was an expensive vehicle, which discouraged McCain and Shelby from continuing the program. Back then the asking price was $8K!

Fifty years later, the company will complete Carroll Shelby’s “unfinished business.”

Another 10 of the muscle cars will be offered to enthusiasts worldwide with a starting price of $250,000. Yet, an original prototype recent sold at auction for a cool $1.2 million!

A race-inspired 427 V8 powers the cars producing an impressive 550 plus horsepower with a four speed stick. The donors will be stripped to the frame and rebuilt with new sheet metal to be adorned with those legendary stripes!

Jeep is recalling 51,000 Cherokees from model year 2018 because of fuel supply tubes that could leak and cause a fire hazard. The recall does not pertain to the 2019 model tested last weekend on these pages.

Jeep said it was not aware of any accident or injuries related to the defect.

Following high-profile incidents involving autonomous vehicle technologies, a new report from AAA shows that consumer trust in these vehicles has quickly eroded.
Today, 73 percent of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. And 63 percent said they would feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle.

Surprisingly, AAA’s latest survey found that Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies — were the most impacted by these incidents.

The percentage of Millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent since late 2017, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed.

The auto club said with autonomous vehicles being tested, there’s always a chance that they will encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced system.

“To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road,” said Megan Foster, director of Federal Affairs for AAA.



Auto News for May 21 – A Silverado 4?

2.7L Turbo with Active Fuel Management and stop/start technology
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will offer six engine and transmission combinations including a 2.7-liter turbo four that the maker said will replaced the 4.3-liter V6.
The four is expected to offer 22 percent more torque and increased fuel economy, Chevy said.

Look for the four to be standard equipment on the LT and RST models with an SAE certified 310 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. It will be married to an eight speed automatic.

Other available engines will be a 5.3-liter, 365 horsepower V8, a 6.2-liter 420 horsepower V8, and a 3.0-liter turbo diesel, the latter two will be matched to a 10 speed automatic.

If there is a major off-road event near you this summer, you might check out the Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol, a one off with features suggested by followers of Nissan Trucks on social media. Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol

That weird looking thing on the roof is a four person tent “that keeps occupants safety above the ground and a little close to the stars,” Nissan said.

The project includes a Lowrance navigation system, an
off-road radio system, pull-out drawer system, Pelican gear cases, Dometic refrigerator/freezer and Otterbox Venture coolers.

And as you can see in the picture it is designed to do some rugged off-roading. If one does get stuck there is a 12,000 pound winch, recovery board, hi-lift jack, and if all else fails, shovels.

It retains the Armada’s 390 horsepower 5.6-liter V8 with 8,500 pound towing capacity and rides on 17-inch Icon Rebound wheels and Nitto Ridge Grapplers 35/12.25/17 tires.

Did you know that Hot Wheels is celebrating its 50th anniversary? The company claims it is the number one selling toy on the market.

Weekend Road Test – What A Jeep!


2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite

Let’s Go Get Dirty

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – There have been no reports of anyone building an ark yet, but days and days of heavy rain showers resulted in mud slides, some flooding, and dramatically longer commutes for our area.

And millions yelling, “Enough!!!!”

Yet while no one was gathering animals two by two, I was reveling in weather made for a 4×4. After all, mud attracts Jeeps like catnip to a kitten.

There is something magical about taking on a muddy (once dirt) road with Willie singing “On the Road Again.” And Jeep is right in line with the wishes of the current consumer who wants to get where they are going regardless, all the while being pampered.


Such was the case with the Granite Crystal Metallic Trailhawk Elite 4×4 model exhibiting its legendary off-road capabilities over the side of Sugar Loaf Mountain. There were no “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

When you have equipment like this one never worries about making it to the end of the road:

Active Drive II with two-speed Power Transfer Unit and low-range gear reduction.

Active Drive Lock with two-speed PTU, low-range and mechanically locking rear differential.

Selec-Terrain traction control system with up to five customized modes – Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock.

Up to a 51.2:1 crawl ratio (where was this during military basic training?)


But you might as well crawl in comfort. Here the operator enjoys premium leather trimmed eight-way adjustable seats with four way adjustments for the front passenger, chairs that are heated and ventilated with lumbar adjustments. Also one of the easiest to use infotainment systems I have ever seen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Automatic temperature control kept the interior just toasty right, and in all this comfort I am thinking perhaps babies should grow up to be cowboys.

Under the hood was a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. It was matched to a 9-speed automatic. The combo was right at home off road and cruising interstates.

Passing slow moving trucks was a snap on rural roads, as was merging onto our favorite, I-70. It was surprisingly quiet inside, well when the audio was not blasting, and the ride was not stiff at all, a rather amazing feat given this rig’s love of roads more attractive to goats than gas powered vehicles. It was tempting to stick with 70 all the way to Denver.

Twenty-two miles per gallon was the overall economy figure for the week, in line with the EPA’s 20 city, 26 highway, for a combined 22 mpg.

Two regrets. I was never able to open the sunroof due to the weather, and head room was a bit limited for tall folks in the second row that otherwise was more than adequate for grown-ups.

Okay, three regrets. They took it away when the week’s trial run was over.


In short, there are few vehicles over the past 15 years, aside from some sports cars, that I have so thoroughly enjoyed driving as this Trailhawk Elite.

From a base price of $33,320 to an as delivered $41,245 with delivery it really comes down to, “If You Got the Money Honey, I’ve Got the Time.”

I want one!


What’s new for 2019?

All-new front fascia, hood, LED headlamps, daylight running lamps and fog lamps

New lightweight, hands free power liftgate

Five new wheel designs, including premium 19-inch wheel on Overland models

The available dual-pane sunroof.

Improved rear cargo volume and more convenient storage space.

UConnect system offers a choice of 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability.

Cherokee also had virtually all the safety equipment one could want.

Trailhawk has an approach angle of 29.9 degrees, a departure angle of 32.2 degrees and breakover angle of 22.9 degrees. Running ground clearance is 8.7 inches.


Auto News for May 18 – New Car Friday!

Aston Martain production
Aston Martin says it is the single most successful model in its history. So it’s a big deal when production starts on a new Vantage model.

Hand-built at the company’s sports car production plant and headquarters, in Gaydon, Warwickshire, the new Vantage joins the Rapide S, the DB11 family, and the soon to be launched DBS Superleggera.

Vantage will come to market with a 4.0-liter V8 with 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque with a 3.5 second 0-60 run. Not to forget a substantially upgraded interior.


BMW has released a sketch of the iNEXT, the company’s “pure-electric” that will be built from the year 2021.

“The iNEXT is fully electric, fully connected and also offers highly automated driving,” said Chairman of the Board Harald Kruger.

And that’s all we know until BMW releases more info later this year.


More revealing was a drawing Audi released of the upcoming 2019 Q8 coupe. Various reports say the new model, teased as an “SUV with coupe design” will be unveiled June. Audi is likely to begin production sometime next year.

A snappy name for a new ad campaign from Volkswagen – “Betta Getta Jetta.”

The new Volvo S60 sedan – to be launched later this spring – will be the first Volvo to be produced without a diesel engine.

All new Volvo models launched from 2019 will be available as either a mild petrol hybrid, plug-in petrol hybrid or battery electric vehicle.
Production of the new S60 will begin this fall in South Carolina.


Auto News for May 17 – F-150 production to resume

  Ford is resuming production of its best seller, the F-150, after a fire at a key parts plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan halted assembly lines.

 Production will start up again at the Dearborn Truck Plant tomorrow and on Monday for the Super Duty truck at the Kentucky Track plant and another facility in Kansas City.

 Ford teams, together with suppliers and contractors, worked nearly around the clock to get the truck back on line as quickly as possible, the company said.

 Okay, I admit that I had to do a double take on this headline: “Citroen to be first-time feature at 2018 Pebble Beach concord d’Elegance.” A poster will commemorate the moment with event officials saying that “interest in Citroen among collectors has seen exponential growth in recent years.”

 Americans remember the brand best for the DS with its then revolutionary styling, hydro-pneumatic suspension as well as hydraulic systems for the brakes, steering and transmission. Also that bulb like creation that was the accelerator.

 Officials say that the Tesla that rear ended a fire truck near Salt Lake City earlier this month was in Autopilot mode at the time. The driver admitted her hands were off the steering wheel and she was looking at a cell phone when the crash occurred. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is sending a team to look into the accident.

 Hyundai engineers are working on a higher performance model of the Kona with a 2.0-liter 247 horsepower engine, according to Auto Express. Don’t rush to your dealer looking for one. Company officials would have to sign off on the new model that would then enter production at the end of the decade.





Auto News for May 16 – New RDX in Production ’57 Cadillac Ready For Display

2019 acura RDX

 Acura has started production of the 2019 RDX at its plant in East Liberty, Ohio. The new model will comes with a 2.0-liter turbo engine and 10 speed automatic transmission.

 This is said to be a clean-sheet, top-to-bottom redesign of the five passenger SUV. The turbo is rated at 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, all of which will arrive in showrooms next month.

 Genesis said its G80 Sport Sedan has earned five stars overall, the highest possible safety rating, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The G80 Sport received top marks in a battery of tests in frontal crash, side crash, and rollover scenarios.

 The Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance has accepted the first round of applicants for its 25th annual Father’s Day show. Among them is a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible of which just 1,800 Series 62 Eldorados were produced with the Biarritz trim.

57 eldorado

 Also, one of my favs, a 1963 Corvette split window that was finished on the second day of production will appear at the Beverly Hills event.

  A trio of Brazilian journalists have completed a cross-continental drive from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island in just 20 days. Cacá Clauset and his team braved border agents, ferries, and over 10,000 miles in a new Volvo XC40.

 The team traveled through 14 countries and handled the challenging highways of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and others with heights ranging from sea level to 18,000 feet. The vehicle experience only one small tire puncture during the entire trip.

 The biggest challenge for the drive was bureaucracy, passport detainments and even police surveillance.  Yet when it was over, one of the drivers said he would like to do another 11,000 miles!

 Tesla will shut down production of its Model 3 for six days at the end of the month to make some changes along the assembly line. Elon Musk said this will give the automaker a chance to meet the goal of producing 6,000 vehicles a week by the end of June. Reuters cited inside sources for its report.