Jeep brings seven new concepts to the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab - w/videos

Concept is kind of a misnomer for some of these vehicles cause if you've got the cash and the drive, you can come reeaal close to putting one of these beasties in your garage. What's new this year are the concepts that have unique sheet metal to go with the go-everywhere oily bits from Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts. This year, the concepts include the Jeep Crew Chief 715, the Jeep Shortcut, the Jeep Renegade Commander, the Jeep Comanche, the Jeep Trailcat, the Jeep Trailstorm, and the Jeep FC 150 that uses a heritage body with modern mechanicals (Check out the individual posts for more on each concept). "Thousands of off-road enthusiasts will descend upon Moab this year to celebrate what will likely be the most popular Jeep Safari ever, as the 50th annual event (Moab) coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand." For more info, check out the individual posts (click on the name above or scroll on) and the press release and videos (2) after the jump. Enjoy! Hope you get some great ideas for your ideal Jeep.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: Jeep Crew Chief 715

The Wrangler-based Crew Chief 715 is meant to evoke Jeep's military service vehicles. The fact that this could be a first look at a possible new Jeep truck is just icing on the proverbial cake. I could do without the Wagoneer-like front end but the tail is nice and maintains Jeep's tough look. They could sell a bunch of these especially if they offer the EcoDiesel engine. Steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch beadlock wheels with 40-inch NDT military tires complete the original-Jeep-military-vehicle look. An air system is on board with a hard-mounted quick-disconnect fitting for airing up or lending assistance to other vehicles on the trail. Powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, the Crew Chief 715 uses upgrades like a master cylinder brake upgrade, cold air intake, a modified exhaust, off-road rock rails, a winch mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles, a 4-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox 2.0 Remote Reservoir shocks, and a military themed 5-foot cargo bed. Painted “Tactical Green,” the Crew Chief 715 has an interior fitted with leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches, Mopar all-weather mats, and the center-dash media center features a centrally located navigational compass. Keep your fingers crossed cuz something like this may be showing up in Jeep showrooms. If you like it, let Jeep know. For more info, check out the press release after the jump and the other posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: Jeep Shortcut

Built as an homage to the beloved Jeep CJ-5, the Shortcut concept starts as a current Wrangler that has been shortened (26 inches including bumpers and spare tire) for increased manuverability, simplicity, and lower weight. Shortcut is powered by the Wrangler 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with off-road improvements from Jeep Performance Parts including front and rear Dana 44 axles, special exhaust, 17-inch red steel wheels with 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires, and a 2-inch lift with Fox shocks. Also added are a unique grille, hood, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares, and custom chrome front and rear bumpers. The simple, functional interior features low-back leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, a red ball shifter handle, a four-point safety cage, and Mopar all-weather mats. Shortcut could be done, but should probably remain on the concept side of the ledger due to the intense bodywork needed. For more info, check out the press release after the jump and the other posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: Jeep Renegade Commander

Looking very much like a production Renegade, the Renegade Commander has improved off-road capability with an assortment of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts. Upgrades include a 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels with 29.5-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, Katzkin seat covers, body color bezel accents, a pedal kit, Mopar off-road kit, and Mopar all-weather floor mats. Other bits include Mopar off-road rock rails, skid plates, a modified exhaust, and a Mopar brand trailer hitch receiver and front and rear auxiliary lights. Power comes from the
2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Low. This is a good-looking crossover/utelet that could take you further off-road than you'll ever need. And the good news is that most of the parts can be sourced from your local Jeep/Mopar dealer. For more info check out the press release after the jump and the other posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: Jeep Comanche

Jeep is considering a new truck, but I'll betcha that this isn't it. The Jeep Renegade Comanche starts with a Renegade Trailhawk and removes the two rear doors and stretches the wheelbase by 6 inches to accommodate the five-foot bed. Off-road upgrades include off-road rock rails, a 2-inch lift kit, and a winch from Jeep Performance Parts. The “Beige Against the Machine” exterior paint is accented with a Satin Black hood, a special lower front fascia, a winch, steel rear bumper, soft top, and a spare tire in the bed. Power is provided by a 2.0-liter diesel I-4 engine (available in Europe) that is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Lock (includes low range and a locking rear differential). Sixteen-inch painted wheels with 32-inch BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A tires complete the Commanche look. Fun, right? If you'd like one, let Jeep know. For more info, check out the press release after the jump and the other posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: Jeep FC 150

This one is kinda unique. Jeep made the FC 150 truck from 1956 to 1965 and this one is a 1960 model that has been upgraded with the chassis from a Jeep CJ-5. The FC 150 has a forward cab mounted above the front axle to minimize the truck's footprint. Imagine, a work truck with a full six-foot bed in a vehicle the size of a compact. The FC 150’s off-road prowess has been enhanced courtesy of a 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis modified to accept a Dana 44 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle, 17-inch white steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires, that is powered by a 4.0-liter PowerTech I-6 mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. Jeep truck restomod anyone? Jeep purposely left the truck's body alone sort of in "rat-road" style, warts, bumps, and all. Inside the FC 150 features vinyl seat covers, a custom headliner wrapped in a vintage duck hunting pattern, a CB radio, an analog compass, and Mopar all-weather mats. If you just happen to have an old FC 150 sitting around, Jeep has provided you with a few good ideas. For more info, check out the press release after the jump and the other concept posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: The Jeep Trailcat

Have you ever asked yourself, "how much is too much horsepower?" Jeep's Trailcat concept might get close. The Trailcat concept takes a Wrangler that has been stretched 12 inches so that a 707-hp Hellcat V8 can be shoehorned under the hood. Of course all of the other equipment had to be brought "up to snuff" like the 6-speed manual transmission, steel front and rear bumpers, 17-inch beadlock wheels with 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks, and sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper. Other enhancements include a new windshield with a two-inch chop and parts from Mopar like a power-dome vented hood, Satin Black grille, LED headlamps and fog lamps, and rock rails. Fast, off-road fast.? Jumping canyons in a single get the picture. This one is really, really a concept. If you really, really want one, let Jeep know. If made be prepared to part with about $70k (my guess since the Dodges with the Hellcat engine start above $65k) for your Jeep Trailcat. For more info, check out the press release after the jump and the other Jeep Easter Safari posts.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

2016 Easter Jeep Safari/Moab concept: The Jeep Trailstorm

Jeep's Trailstorm concept is one of the more capable concepts from this year's Jeep Easter Safari in Moab Utah. The Trailstorm starts with a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that is fitted with lots of off-road goodies like 17-inch off-road wheels wrapped in 37-inch tires, a 2-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. Half doors offer a clear view of obstacles ahead and a bedlined interior makes cleaning up easy. Other parts include camouflage paint, Katzkin seat covers, a winch guard, Satin Black grille, LED headlights and fog lights, high top fenders, a power-dome vented hood, Mopar off-road rock rails with step, Big Brake Kit, a concept fast-back soft top, tail light guards, a Mopar fuel filler door, and steel front and rear Rubicon bumpers with a Jeep Performance Parts tire carrier. Power comes from a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. See anything you like? Get to your local Jeep/Mopar dealer and find out how close you can get and what it will cost you. Or, if you're so inclined, you could do some of the work yourself. (Check to see if self-installed equipment will void your warranty.) Check the press release after the jump, the other concept posts, and the main post for more info.

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump. Main post.

Ford gets in on the special edition craze with the 2016 F-150 MVP edition - w/video

Special- and limited-edition versions of regular-production models are popular right now. I tend to cover them as these "specials" often offer increased value or unique combinations not generally available or dreamt of. Ford has gotten into the fray with the F-150 MVP edition of the best-selling truck. Suggested by a fan, the F-150 MVP celebrates the Kansas City Royals championship win. Start with a Blue Flame or Oxford White F-150 XLT model with the chrome package and add special MVP badges, a spray-in bedliner, and polished stainless rocker panels. Of course you can get what ever options your little heart desires as well if you order one, but only 300 of these F-150 MVP editions will be built and sold through Kansas City Ford dealers. I bet that if you really want one, Ford will ship one to just about any dealer. Check with your local dealer just in case. For more info, check out the brief press release and video below.

Source: Ford - Press release after the "read more" jump.

Buick updates the Encore for 2017 - w/videos

When Buick introduced the sub-compact Encore crossover for 2013, many pundits questioned the decision to bring the little 'ute (utelet?) to the US. Four short years later, a model freshening is in store for Buick's most popular vehicle. Yes, most popular. Now, sub-compact crossovers are everywhere and there are more coming. So, for 2017 the little Encore gets the new winged corporate grille (with the now-darkened buck teeth pushed to the back) and a little more body sculpting to keep the look fresh. It is a nice update. The interior seems more "premium," with a new 8-inch infotainment screen to go with the 4.2-inch driver screen along with a clean layout and improved materials. The 2017 Encore will go on sale this fall in five trim levels: Encore (1SB), Encore Sport Touring (1SH), Encore Convenience (1SD), Encore Leather (1SL) and Encore Premium (1SN) with Front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive available. Prices and EPA figures will be announced closer to the model's intro in the fall. All-in-all, this is a nice update that should keep Encore and sub-compact crossover customers flocking to Buick dealers. More to come...

Source: Buick - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

Lincoln hints at the next Navigator with the Navigator Concept

Big luxury SUVs are popular vehicles to get you, and several of your friends and/or family, just about anywhere. Most luxury SUVs never leave the blacktop, but some, like the various Range Rovers, can go into the muck and mire with the best of them. Lincoln is showing the Navigator Concept that is said to be a good look at the next Navigator, To start with, those clean flanks are going to get regular doors. The Concept's wing doors are there to showcase the enormous interior. The steps up to the car are a nice touch as well. The design is very clean and elegant and reminds one of the previously mentioned Range Rover more than the in-your-face Escalade. Expect the new Nav to be based on the new F 150 platform so the new Nav will have aluminum panels for lighter weight to improve performance, handling, and fuel economy. The standard engine will be one of the Ecoboost V6s with more than 400 horsepower mated to Lincoln's new eight- or nine-speed automatics. The new V6 diesel that Ford is working on could also show up under the hood for even better efficiency (the competition offers diesels in the US...especially in the larger vehicles). Expect the finest leathers, captain's chairs all around, wood, and equipment including the latest safety, infotainment, and entertainment equipment. The sky and your budget are the limit when it comes time to create your Navigator. Pricing hasn't been announced, but remember that the current car starts around $70k. This elegantly styled, luxury SUV is expected to go into production late next year as a 2018 model. Lincoln wants your business and the new Navigator could just be "the one." More to come...

Source: Lincoln - Press release and three pics after the "read more" jump.

Mazda unveils 2017 MX-5 RF (retractable fastback) ahead of the New York Auto Show - w/video

When the new MX-5 (nee Miata) was introduced last year, the folding hardtop edition of the former generation was noticeably absent. Now we know why. Mazda has introduced the new MX-5 RF which is a retractable fastback model. Think Porsche 911 Targa or Honda Del Sol. So start with a new MX-5 sports car, add in an attractive fastback roofline, and put in a removable roof panel and you've got it...the new MX-5 RF. The RF model will use the same engine and transmission options (2.0-liter SkyActiv four - 155 hp and 148 lb.ft. of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission in the US) with a slight increase in weight that should minimally affect performance. The RF was a surprise and could make the MX-5 more attractive to those that would like a traditional sports car but don't necessarily want a full convertible. The trunk is also minimally affected by the folding roof mechanism. A new Machine Gray premium color has been developed to best show off the model's curves and surfaces. This is a very good-looking conveyance that features the best of many worlds. The new MX-5 RF should be available later this year as a 2017 model (check with your dealer). For lots of information, check out the three press releases and a roof activation video after the jump. Enjoy! How about a MazdaSpeed MX-5 RF with a larger or turbocharged engine as a club racer Mazda?

Source: Mazda - Press releases (3) and video after the "read more" jump.

2017 Volkswagen Golf AllTrack debuts ahead of New York show

Looking to seduce Subaru Outback customers, Volkswagen is bringing the all-wheel drive Golf AllTrack to US showrooms for the 2017 model year. The new AllTrack is based on the all-new Golf Sportwagen (formerly Jetta) adding VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive, increased ground clearance, and body cladding in an attempt to "butch up" the utilitarian Sportwagen. And it works...the AllTrack is an attractive alternative to the Outback. The Sportwagen is very popular in many regions of the US and the AllTrack model should put more drivers into AllTrack front seats. The Golf AllTrack uses VW's 1.8-liter, four-cylinder TSI® gasoline engine that puts out 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. In the beginning, AllTrack will be mated to a six-speed dual-clutch DSG® automatic transmission, while a six-speed manual transmission will be made available later. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system uses the latest Haldex parts and technology and can put as much as 50% of the power to the rear axle if rear-wheel slip is detected. A Drive Mode selector includes “Off-Road Mode,” which adds hill descent control and optimizes traction control for off-road terrain. The Off-Road HMI displays compass, steering angle, and altitude when driving off-road. Expect slightly reduced fuel economy due to the increased weight of the 4Motion system and its required structural reinforcements. The Alltrack model is available in S, SE, and SEL trim levels just like the GTI and other special Golf models. The S and SE trim lines have 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while the top-of-the-line SEL trim has 18-inch wheels. Premium touches include silver detailing (roof rails, matte mirror caps, and diffusor), leatherette interior, a 6.5-inch capacitive color touchscreen with proximity sensor, rearview camera, VW Car-Net® App-Connect connectivity, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, an Intelligent Crash Response System, and more. Available driver assistance systems include: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), Lane Assist, and front and rear Park Distance Control with Park Assist. In other words, the new Golf AllTrack is well-equipped and you can option the AllTrack with everything (just about) in the VW playbook. The good-looking Volkswagen Golf AllTrack will be at US dealers later this year as a 2017 model. Check out the press release and a couple of pics after the jump.

Source: Volkswagen - Press release after the "read more" jump.

ACWWG: Volkswagen Phideon

From the "Another Car We Won't Get" files... Volkswagen used the Geneva Motor Show to hold a reception for one of VW's latest sedans, the Phideon. The executive saloon will be built exclusively for the Chinese market where "executive" sedans are quite popular. The full-size Phideon is a good-looking cruiser, but I wouldn't expect the sedan to make it to non-Chinese dealers. Remember the Phaeton? Volkswagen hasn't had much luck with large luxury sedans under the VW banner outside of China. Is the Phideon's styling specific to the Chinese market? We shall see. More to come.

Source: Volkswagen - Brief press release after the "read more" jump.