Ltd-Ed Quick Look: Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition - w/videos

Nissan has joined with Lucasfilm LTD. to market products with in conjunction with the "Rogue One, a Star Wars Movie" by producing a limited edition (what else?) Rogue crossover. The limited-edition compact (almost mid-size) CUV will be limited to just 5,400 examples (5,000 for the US and 400 for Canada) in either Magnetic Black or Glacier White with gloss black accents and wheels. Nissan starts with an SV trim level Rogue with the Sun and Sound Touring Package (Panoramic Moonroof and Bose® audio) and adds D-pillar "Rebel Alliance" and "Galactic Empire" logo decals, "Star Wars" logo clear rear bumper protector, and Rogue One logo badging on the front doors (pic after the jump). In addition to the custom features and equipment, each vehicle also comes with an exclusive numbered, full-size replica collectible Death Trooper helmet. The Rogue One package will add $1,990 to the price of your 2017 Rogue. This is one of those special editions that will be sold on its looks since, even though the commercials show it, the Roque: Rogue One will probably not have a presence in the movie. (Remember how Bruce Wayne drove the Dawn of Justice Jeep Renegade in the beginning of the film?) Anywho, if you're looking at compact CUVs and the Rogue is on your list, the 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition could be your thing (say the name ten times fast). Check out the release and videos after the jump.

Source: Nissan - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

Jeep creates two new 2017 Renegade special-edition models - Deserthawk and Altitude

Looking all the world like last year's Justice league: Dawn of Justice special-edition, Jeep has shown two new special-edition models recently at the LA Auto Show, the Dawn-of-Justice-esque Altitude (above) and the Deserthawk (below) which was shown in concept form at the 2015 Moab off-road event

The Renegade Altitude (based on the Latitude trim level) joins other Jeep Altitude models with a unique, ‘blacked-out’ exterior with items like 18-inch Gloss Black wheels, and Gloss Black accents around the exterior (including the front and rear badges, grille rings and tail lamp rings). All Renegade exterior color choices are available, but the black... Inside, the Altitude features a black interior with black premium cloth seats and High Gloss Black finishes. The Jeep Renegade Altitude is available with either a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, or a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine with a six-speed manual transmission with prices starting at $22,390 U.S. MSRP (plus taxes, license, fees, options and destination).

The Renegade Deserthawk starts with the Trailhawk trim level and is available in Alpine White, Anvil, Black, or Deserthawk-exclusive Mojave Sand (below) paint finishes. With prices starting at $28,140 (+), the more upscale Deserthawk adds fully painted 17-inch black wheels, exclusive hood and rear body panel decals, rock rails and the Trailer Tow Group. Inside, the Renegade Deserthawk features an interior with black leather seats, Light Frost stitching, and accents, all-weather floor mats and cargo tray mat (interior pic above right is from the Trailhawk model). Deserthawk also includes the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, ParkView rear backup camera and 7-inch full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) cluster display. In other words lots of the good- stuff. Both the Renegade Altitude and Deserthawk special-edition models will be available at your local Jeep dealer in January. for more info, check out the press release after the jump.

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

Audi brings the 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback models to the US - w/video

Audi recently upgraded, updated, and spiffed-up the design of its A4/S4 and A5/S5 series of compact/mid-size sedans, coupes, and convertibles (cabriolets). Just like the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, the new 2018 A5/S5 Sportback is a sedan borrowing styling cues from the Coupe and Cabriolet models except the Sportback models are five-door vehicles with a rear hatch (see pic after the jump). Just like their big brother the A7, the A5/S5 is a thing of beauty. The A5 Sportback gets Audi/VW's 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and hits sixty in just 5.7 seconds. The A5 Sport back gets the seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic and quattro all-wheel drive is standard. The S5 Sportback gets the 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine that creates 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The S5 Sportback gets the eight-speed automatic used on larger Audis and quattro is standard here as well. These are not stripper/price leader vehicles so Audi has installed most of their newest safety, infotainment systems, and features like Audi Connect, MMI touch, Audi virtual cockpit, Audi pre sense® basic and city, Panoramic sunroof, and much more. Options include Bang and Olufsen premium audio with 3D sound, special leather trim, larger wheels, and more. Prices should start in the mid-five figure range and creep up on six-figures with heavy use of the available options list. Obviously, the S5 Sportback (blue car) is more expensive than the A5 Sportback. Power ain't cheap. The 2018 Audi A5/S5 Sportback models will be at your local dealer in the Spring of 2017. Check out the press release and running footage b-roll video after the jump.

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

Subaru forecasts a possible SUV future with the Viziv-7 Concept

Very little info is coming out of Subaru HQ right now about this conceptualized seven-passenger crossover. Firstly, the Viziv-7 (say that 7 times fast) is a good-looking conveyance that makes VW's recently announced 2018 Atlas appear out of date. The blue accent lighting usually hints at a hybrid or an electric drivetrain, but alas, no info. No interior shots either. But this is a concept afterall which is a shame since this puppy would sell like hotcakes on its looks alone. The Viziv-7 would also be Subaru;s largest vehicle so maybe this is a borrowed platform from partner Toyota or a new Subie design. Either way this is new territory for Subaru which could determine the automaker's future. We shall see. Let's hope we see this one at Subie dealers soon. Really like those wheels. Now about that lip-vibrating name. Subaru says that Viziv is a name derived from Vision for Innovation. Shouldn't that be Visovation, but that is a mouthful. More to come...

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

Cadillac plugs-in with the new CT6 PZEV - w/video

GM has worked its electrical magic on Cadillac's CT6 flagship with a new Plug-in Hybrid model. Cadillac electrifies its lovely CT6 sedan (hate the white color on this car though) by combining an all-new rear wheel drive electric variable transmission with the two-motor EVT system combined with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine to produce an estimated total system power of 335 hp and 432 lb-ft of torque. The CT6 Plug-in will run from zero to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds and return an EPA-estimated 65 MPGe and a more than 400 mile driving range. Electric-only range is about 30 miles. Luxury and technology combined in one attractive Cadillac. The Cadillac CT6 Plug-in will be available in the Spring of 2017 with a starting price of $75,095 plus taxes, license, fees, options and a $995 destination freight charge before any applicable electric vehicle tax incentives. Okay. so the pricing is a little dear, but it is the top model and if you want your cake and eat it to... For more info, check out the press release and videos after the jump.

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

Alfa Romeo Stelvio crossover races onto the LA stage - w/video & Update

When I first heard the name of Alfa's new crossover ute, Stelvio, my first reaction was is this a tribute to that guy from "Jackass?" What did Steve-O do to deserve an important vehicle named for him? Then I read that it was named for Stelvio Pass and I went..."Okay fine." When will Donner Pass get its due, cannibalism aside? Anywho, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a sharp dressed ute with styling cues (and body?) cribbed from the new Giulia. The Stelvio will come in three trim levels Stelvio, Stelvio Ti, and the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Base and Ti trim get a standard 2.0-liter four that puts out 280 turbocharged horsepower and 306 Lb/Ft. of torque that is mated to an eight-speed automatic. Stelvio models get a carbon fiber driveshaft, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels (available 19- and 20-inch wheels), leather seating, backup camera with rear park sensors, power liftgate, Formula One-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with integrated push button start and much more. Step up to the Ti and you add standard 19-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents and an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display. Available Sport and Lusso packages provide drivers with two unique Stelvio Ti upgrades.The Quadrifoglio gets an all-aluminum, direct-injection 2.9-liter 24-valve bi-turbo intercooled V-6 engine (505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque), and a standard Q4 all-wheel-drive system. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio includes high-performance and functional exterior design elements; plus a unique performance suspension, brakes and wheels; high performance leather and Alcantara front seats with 12-way power and adjustable thigh support; a leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching and performance contours; leather-wrapped instrument panel with accent stitching; carbon fiber interior trim and much more. There are options and packages to take your Stelvio to the pinnacle of equipment and price. Pricing wasn't announced, but expect prices to mirror the competition. I think the wrong pricing strategy might be the only hindrance to Stelvio becoming Alfa's best seller (probably will anyway). For lots more info, check out the press release and reveal video after the jump.

Update: Even better-looking in person...

Source: FCA/Alfa Romeo - Press release after the "read more" jump.

New smart electric drive makes city sense - w/video

City cars are a little understood phenomena here in the US. But for folks like me that live in an urban area, city cars can make lots of sense...especially if on-street parking is a problem. But an EV version of a city car takes the whole idea to the next level. I mean are you going to drive a city car cross country? Okay, you could, but would you want to? Most EVs today have enough range to handle just about any sensible daily commute so put these two things together and you get Daimler's smart forto electric drive (I hate the loser case thing they do btw). The newly updated smart forto electric drive (in coupe and cabrio forms) gets a more powerful motor (81 hp) and a larger battery pack that helps the little EV go almost 100 miles between charges. Daimler's battery pack has also been upgraded to allow faster charging (optional) to 80% in 45 minutes. The transmission duties are handled by a single gear drive and the engine spins in the opposite direction for reversing. The smart electric drive will not be the fastest car you'll ever drive but it does scoot around with the best of them. The smart forto electric drive would make a great second or third car, but could handle most of your first car duties (you can rent something larger when you need it btw). The smart forto electric drive is cute although I must say that the screaming lime green paint on the cars shown (yes we know you're a "green" alternative) doesn't do it for me but there are lots of other choices. For lots more info, check out the press releases and LA Auto Show reveal video after the jump. Did I mention that the smart forto electric drive is very affordable? Did I also mention that there are BRABUS performance appearance options?

Source: Smart - Press releases and video after the "read more" jump.


All-new 2017 Jeep Compass steps out in LA - w/video

Jeep's new 2017 Compass is a global product that is built in four countries, Brazil, China, Mexico and India, for consumers in more than 100 countries. The Compass rounds out the Jeep line-up with its compact dimensions and up-to-date styling. But with one glance, you know the new Compass is a Jeep. In the US, The new Compass will come in four trim levels, Sport, Latitude, Limited and the "trail-rated" Trailhawk. The only engine available at present is the 2.4-liter Tigershark four that produces 180 horsepower, 175 lb.-ft. of torque and will come mated to either a six-speed automatic (4X2 only), a six-speed manual (4X2, 4X4), or the efficient nine-speed automatic (4X4). Trailhawk models get the full off-road treatment with Jeep Active Drive, Selec-Terrain, Hill-Descent Control, increased ride height, and much more. Jeep's latest Uconnect infotainment system is on hand that includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto. As with most vehicles, the standard equipment list is determined by the trim level chosen, but some features are available in packages or as stand-alone options. The 2017 Jeep Compass should be at your local dealer very soon. Prices and EPA mpg numbers have not been released. For more info, contact your local dealer or check out the press release, specs, and reveal video after the jump. Good-looking ute. Should sell a bunch of them.

Source: Jeep - Press release, specs, and video after the "read more" jump.

Volkswagen unveils 2017 E-Golf at Automobility LA

The refreshed 2017 Volkswagen Golf was unveiled in Germany recently, but VW saved the intro of the new E-Golf for Automobility LA (LA Auto Show). The new Golf has received updated styling and new tech and the E-Golf gets those updates as well along with a new battery and electrics. The new battery pack is rated at 35.8 kWh (kilo Watt hours) which provides approximately 50% more range which is now rated at 124 miles per charge. The new batteries, when fitted with DC Fast Charging (optional on SE, standard on SEL Premium) allows for an 80% charge at a fast charging station in around an hour. The updated electric motor now develops 134 horsepower (19 hp more than the first version of the e-Golf) while maximum torque has been boosted from 199 lb-ft to 214 lb-ft. The 2017 E-Golf hits 60 mph in just 9.6 seconds, not a "barn burner" but more than sufficient for the needs of most folks. Top speed is now 93 mph. The infotainment system has been upgraded with a 9.2-inch, in-dash monitor to include Discover Pro infotainment as well as the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (12.3-inch color screen) with interactive instruments (optional on some trim levels). New safety tech (optional on certain trim levels) includes a Pedestrian Monitoring driver assistance system; an upgraded Driver Assistance Package which includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot Monitor Plus with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist) and High Beam Control (Light Assist); Autonomous Emergency Braking; and much more. Remote access is offered on the new E-Golf through Volkswagen's Car-Net app (including battery charging and auxiliary air conditioning), as well as Car-Net App-Connect for compatible smartphones that offers Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, and MirrorLink® integration and Guide & Inform services. The revised front and rear fascia of the E-Golf include full-LED headlights and taillights. All in all, a much improved EV. Now about those wheels... More info in the press release after the jump.

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

Your 2018 Toyota (nee Scion) C-HR is here - w/video

Scion's C-HR (Coupe High Rider) concept was a looker and you just couldn't help but wonder how the concept would translate to a production vehicle. Well here it is and it looks really good. Maybe even better. Of course Scion is gone so the "luttle looker who could" has become a Toyota. The C-HR will come in two flavors at launch, XLE and XLE Premium, which includes things like 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, supportive bucket seating, 7-inch audio display, and Toyota Safety Sense P™ (TSS-P) to name a few. XLE Premium models add Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; heated front seats; power lumbar driver’s seat; auto fold, heated side mirrors with puddle lamps that project “Toyota C-HR”; fog lamps; and Smart Key with Push Button Start. Both grades are equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen display having AM/FM/HD Radio™, Aha™app, USB port and AUX jack, Bluetooth®, and Voice Recognition. Other options will be available so that you can build (and spend) what you know...get it juuuust right. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 144 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, sends all power to the front wheels via a continuously variable (read rubber band) transmission (CVT). No. I don;t like CVTs. Many folks don't care. A special suspension was developed for the C-HR and you know that all-sheel drive and more power will have to be added at some point, but this is Toyota so maybe... Any way this is a great looking little runabout and they should sell a bunch of these if they don't overprice them. The 2018 Toyota C-HR will be available next year (hopefully fairly early in 2017). For more info, check out the press release, video, and specs after the jump.

Source: Toyota - Press releases and video after the "read more" jump. Previous post.

Chrysler adds no-brainer Hybrid option to the 2017 Pacifica model range - w/video

If there was ever a vehicle that cried out to be hybridized it is the often maligned minivan, and Chrysler's new Pacifica is one of the best minivans for sale in the US (if not the best). All-new for 2016, Pacifica adds a (plug-in) Hybrid model for 2017 that gets an estimated 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving with an electric-only range of about 30 miles. The Hybrid will come in two trim levels Premium ($41,995 plus taxes, license, fees, destination, and options minus any government rebates) and Platinum ($44,995 +/-). Both models are extremely well equipped with all of Chrysler's suite of safety, convenience, and infotainment features on hand by trim level, package, or as a stand alone option (check the press release for feature specifics).

“The all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid offers an estimated 80 MPGe in the city, 30 miles of all-electric range, 530 miles of total range, plus many of the well-loved features that make the gasoline-powered Pacifica the most awarded minivan of the year,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA - North America. “With a starting price under $35,000 after the available $7,500 federal tax credit (editor's note: which might be gone soon), the Pacifica Hybrid provides efficiency, versatility, technology, an advanced hybrid powertrain and is priced in the heart of the segment – a combination that no other seven-passenger vehicle delivers.”  

If the space/size equation requires you to consider a large SUV or crossover, you might also consider the new Pacifica Hybrid with class-leading fuel efficiency, space utilization, and it ain't bad looking either. And you can get an on-board vacuum for clean-up duty.

Source: FCA/Chrysler - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

All-new 2017 Mazda CX-5 crossover - Update

Mazda's CX-5 CUV has been a big seller for the automaker and is considered to be one of the best handling vehicles in the compact crossover segment. For 2017, Mazda has taken what's good from the outgoing model and added a bit more style to the equation. The new CX-5 will be instantly recognized as a CX-5 but with subtle differences. Like the chrome accent on the side windows and the revised Mazda front fascia to name two. Everything else appears tweaked (in a good way) and even Mazda's Soul Red paint (one of the best candy-apple reds out called Soul Red Crystal) has been revised to reflect light more effectively. In the US, the 2.6-liter four will be the standard engine, but the SkyActiv Diesel may be available next year. Six-speed automatics new on hand and Mazda's i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system is available. Mazda has added pretty much all of their the safety equipment to the CX-5 either as standard or available in packages by trim level. Mazda Connect infotainment is on hand as is an available Bose premium audio system. The list goes on and on making the CX-5 a stand out in the compact crossover srowd. The interior seems to be fitted with higher-quality materials as well. The all-new 2017 Mazda CX-5 goes on sale in Japan in February with a global roll out after that. Looks like a winner. For more info, check out the extensive press releases after the jump.

Update: Mazda has made it official. The SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine will be added to the CX-5 model range in the second half of 2017 for the US market. No power figures were quoted, but it should provide the CX-5 with segment-leading fuel efficiency. See third press release.

Source: Mazda - Press releases after the "read more" jump.

Chevrolet introduces 2017 Colorado ZR2 extreme off-road mid-size truck

Almost two years ago, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept was thrust upon an enthusiastic public. When I saw the concept at an auto show, I remembered commenting to a friend that I thought the abbreviated front bumper might be hard to prepare for production. Well Chevy figured it out cuz here it is, the 2017 Colorado ZR2 off-road production pick-em-up. I like the look, you? Adept at rock crawling and high-speed desert running, the ZR2 is outfitted with all the latest off-road goodies like Multimatic Inc.'s high-performance Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers, 17-inch wheels with off-road rubber, bed-mounted spae tire, electronic-locking differentials front and rear, Chevrolet’s AutoTrac transfer case (with nine drive configurations), and more. The standard engine is Chevy's 3.6-liter V6 (308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque) mated two GM's Hydra-Matic eight-speed automatic. Optional is the new Duramax diesel engine that produces 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet even developed new off-road test areas at General Motors’ Yuma, Arizona Proving Ground to verify the new truck's performance. So Toyota's Tacoma TRD Pro has some competition. If you're lookins for (and need) a more extreme off-road, mid-size truck, the Colorado ZR2 deserves a look. For more info, check out the press release after the jump.

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

Jaguar gets electric with the all-new I-Pace EV CUV concept headed for 2018 production - w/videos & update

This was kind of a surprise, Not that Jaguar is developing an electric-vehicle, all (most all) carmakers have EVs in various stages of development or in production. What was a surprise is how stunning this vehicle is and how close to production it really is. The Jaguar I-Pace is scheduled to be in production and on sale in 2018. And it looks ready to go too. Designer Ian Callum says that the eventual production car is very close to the concept. We shall see. But the concept has a range of over 200 miles, hits 60 mph in about four seconds, and did I mention that it looks really good? Let's hope that battery tech and prices are such that the I-Pace will be "relatively" affordable. Sadly, breath I will not hold. After the jump, I have included two informative press releases, two videos, a few more pics, and infographics. You should find enough info here to hold you over 'til the regular production model is revealed. Can't wait. If it's not too expensive, this could be a big seller for Jaguar/Land Rover.

Update: Finally saw this one in person and found the I-Pace to be too large. The pics depict a smaller vehicle and this puppy is as large (or larger) than an F-Pace. Unfortch, that makes the styling less sleek. Still liked it, just not as much...

Source: Jaguar - Press releases, videos and infographics after the "read more" jump.

2017 Kia Soul Exclaim Turbo charges into view

Kia's Soul is popular due to its blend of "funky" styling, utility, fuel efficiency, and value. For 2017, Kia added mo' fun with the addution of the new Exclaim Turbo model. You got it. Kia has fitted their 1.6-liter turbocharged four under the Soul's hood (that adds 40 hp and 45 more lb./ft. of torque - 201 hp total) for more go and more fun. Interestingly, the new turbocharged Exclaim model gets the best EPA fuel-economy numbers of the Soul range, so you get the proverbial cake and you get to eat it. How do they do it you ask? Part of the answer is Kia's addition of their seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. As you may recall, dual-clutch transmissions have taken a hit since they're not as smooth (although newer ones are improving every day) as regular automatics, but they are the efficient choice since dual-clutch transmissions can best even manual transmissions for fuel economy. Prices have not been announced, but the various Soul models have been very price competitive in the past. The 2017 Soul will come in Base (1.3-liter engine, 130 hp, manual or optional automatic), Plus (2.0-liter engine, six-speed automatic), and the new Exclaim. Options include a 315-watt Harman Kardon® premium audio system with eight speakers (including a center channel and subwoofer), 8-inch dash infotainment display with UVO e-Services and integrated Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay ™. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, and more available in packages or as stand-alone options...mostly. Anyway, The new Soul Exclaim model should add quite a few new Soul buyers to the fold. I do wish that Kia would get rid of the stupid bow-tie grille though. How about no grille, a flat body-colored panel, and a Kia logo instead? I'm sure the engine gets its air from the lower fascia openings anyway. Press release after the jump.

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

All-new Ford EcoSport (sub?) compact CUV arrives in North America - w/video

Ford has revealed the 2018-19(?) model year EcoSport sub-compact crossover that has been heavily updated for the North American market. The mini-ute is currently on sale and built around the globe. The EcoSport is being developed with personaliuzation in mind with 20 available colors, 4 trim levels (S, SE, SEL-int. shown, and Titanium), SYNC® 3 infotainment, 2 engine options, and a premium B&O (Bang & Olufsen) PLAY audio system to name a few possible choices. The 1.3-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine is standard with a 2.0-liter four available as an upgrade (all-wheel drive is standard with the larger engine). A six-speed automatic is also standard. An 8-inch screen gives front-row occupants easy access to operate available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ commands, and B&O PLAY audio settings. Ford hasn't determined where the EcoSport will be built for the US market, so the first deliveries are expected no sooner than early 2018. More information will be made available closer to the new CUV's on sale date. For more info, check out the press release and promo video after the jump. Sales of sub-compact crossovers have doubled, so Ford had better hurry...

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

Ford returns to Baja with the all-new F-150 Raptor - w/video

I guess you could call it a "proof of concept." Ford is returning to the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race to prove that the all-new 2017 F-150 Raptor has all the "right stuff." As if did with the first Raptor, Ford is entering a mostly production-spec Raptor in this year's Baja race. “The stock engine, transmission and powertrain calibrations are phenomenal,” said Greg foutz of Foutz Motorsports. “Suspension-wise, everything else – including its wheels and BFGoodrich K02 tires – is carried over from the 2017 production model.” Foutz has run the new Raptor in several Best in the Desert events in 2016, including the most recent 645-mile General Tire Vegas to Reno race in August, which he completed in 15 hours. Also getting the rough treatment is Ford's 450 hp EcoBoost engine. Ford Performance engineers use the race truck program as a platform to...prove out their trucks in the real world. Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance chief engineer, says the testing helps to create exciting products that not only perform, but deliver Built Ford Tough capability and durability. “We take what we learn in off-road competition with a factory stock truck to further refine our design and engineering attributes,” he says. The race is running in a few days. We will see if the new Raptor is "up to snuff." Of the production high-performace off-road trucks, Ford is the only manufacturer proving and fine tuning its product in this way. More to come...release and video after the jump...

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