Jeep announces top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee Trackhawk prices - w/video

Jeep's Grand Cherokee is, to many folks, the ultimate SUV. While many competitors can challenge the Grand Cherokee in size and luxury, few can surpass the available performance and off-road capabilities of Jeep's popular 'Ute. That is one of the keys to the Grand Cherokee's (and Jeep's) have access to an amazing array of choices from the basic to the it'll-do-just-about-everything Trackhawk model shown here. The Trackhawk (not to be confused with the Jeep Trailhawk off-roaders) gets all the stuff that Jeep can cram inside the body like the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (707 hp, 645 lb.-ft. of torque, 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds), eight-speed automatic, Brembo brakes, 20-inch wheels, Jeep Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, Selec-Track system and Bilstein adaptive damping suspension to name a few of the performance goodies. And that's what the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is about...performance, Most of the luxury, safety and appearance goodies are on-hand as well either standard or optional (options include: Dual-pane sunroof, Low Gloss Black wheels, fully wrapped Signature Leather Interior Package in Black or Black/Dark Ruby Red, 19-speaker Harman Kardon high-performance audio system, dual-screen rear-seat entertainment center with Blu-ray, trailer tow package and more). Prices start at $85,900 (includes dest., plus taxes, license, fees, options) for the well-equipped Trackhawk. “The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk delivers astounding performance numbers, backed by renowned SRT engineering that combines world-class on-road driving dynamics with luxury, refinement and an array of innovative, advanced technology,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “As the most powerful and quickest SUV, there is nothing else like the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in the market." For more, check out the press release and video after the jump.

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

All-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator takes center stage in New York - w/videos

Lincoln's all-new Navigator sport-utility vehicle debuted in production form at the New York Auto Show. With its commanding presence and new aluminum body, the new Navigator is more prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. Navigator's twin-turbo V6 (450 hp projected), 10-speed automatic, and lighter weight should provide more than adequate power with much improved fuel efficiency. All of Lincoln's tech is on hand including Sync 3 with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, available wireless charging, Wi-Fi, six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets, a 110-volt plug, and much more. Navigator features a luxurious interior with 30-way adjustable seats and an available Revel premium audio system and really just about everything. The 2018 Navigator will be at your local dealer later this year. Bring your healthy wallet since prices will start in the mid-to-high 5 figures with Black Label models approaching 6 figures. You get one hell of a big ute though and if you really need it,.. Hate those blingtastic, 60s throwback wheels though. You?

Source: Lincoln - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump. Previous post.

Toyota unveils the FT-4X Concept in the Big Apple - w/video

This one is kinda cool. The pics make the FT-4X (Future Toyota - 4 wheel-drive) concept from the New York Auto Show look somewhat diminutive, but the rugged-looking off-roader is similar in size to the two-door Jeep Wrangler. Some might say that this is a replacement for Toyota's FJ-Cruiser, but the FT-4X is not as "hard-core" in its off-road equipment making it more an occasional "soft-roader" but stille very capable. The FT-4X is reportedly geared towards the needs and wants of Millennials, but lots of folks could appreciate a right-sized, off-road capable vehicle with rugged good-looks (especially if Ford makes the upcoming new Bronco too large). The FT-4X has some nice features like the Multi-Hatch that opens two ways depending on need and the three interior zones that can handle wet cargo. Add in the latest drivetrain in the Toyota grab bag, technology, and safety equipment to go with the "Multi-Tool Cabin" and Toyota might have another winner. Check out the informative press release and video after the jump.

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

All-new Volkswagen Atlas three-row crossover starts at $30k+ with six-year warranty - w/videos

Yeah, VW is a bit late to market with its conservatively-styled, full-size, three-row crossover, the all-new Atlas, but it is here and it's. well. here. I know the large Toureg premium SUV has been around for a while, but it seats five and is more of a premium model (it shares its platform with the Porsche Cayenne while Atlas utilizes VW's new modular platform). The Atlas is shooting for the center of the three-row crossover market in size, features, and price. In the beginning, the Atlas will be available in five trim levels starting with the well-equipped S ($30,500 + taxes, license, fees, options, and $925 destination), SE ($33,590+), SE with Technology package ($35,690+), SEL ($39,160+), and SEL Premium ($48,490+). SEL Premium Atlases get all the good stuff including the 3.6-liter VR6 (276-hp and 266 lb-ft of torque), 4Motion all-wheel drive, leather, Fender premium audio, 20-inch wheels, 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display, and lots more. Standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four (235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque) in other Atlas models with the VR6 avaiable as an option. An eight-speed automatic is standard across the board. (For all the equipment info, check out the very detailed press release (#3).) All of VW's safety and technology equipment is standard or available as an extra-cost option making the Atlas a new choice for your crossover consideration list. Yeah, it's conservatively styled, but in this class, aren't they all? As an added enticement, VW will offer the new Atlas (and Tiguan) with a six-year/72,000-mile limited warranty. The new Atlas should be at your local Volkswagen dealer now. Check it out... For more info, check out the three press releases and videos after the jump.

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

Ford adds visual tweaks to 2018 Edge SEL with new Sport Appearance Package

Ford's Edge has developed into an attractive crossover-utility vehicle that is available with numerous engine choices and equipment to meet your needs and desires. For 2018, Ford is giving you another choice. For those of you that like the look of the top-of-the-line Edge Sport but don't want the turbo V6 and all that equipment, you can now get the "look" on the mid-range SEL model with the new SEL Sport Appearance Package ($1,295 option starting in the Fall of '17). The Edge SEL w/SAP also comes with premium cloth seats for those of you that live in sunnier climes. Engine choices include the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four or the 3.5 liter (non-turbo) V6 with automatics. Sport Appearance Package equipped Edge SELs get a dark-accented exterior with 10-spoke 19-inch Magnetic Metallic-painted wheels, grille, mirror caps, rear spoiler, and more. Inside, the Mayan Gray fabric seats come with Umber-colored Miko®sueded cloth perforated inserts and a Copper Sands textured appliqué (that carries the color theme to the dash) and custom embroidered Umber “Edge” floor mats that finish off the Sport Appearance Package look. The new Edge SEL Sport Appearance Package combines the premium interior materials with available SEL features including SYNC® 3 with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, premium audio, rear camera, and reverse sensing system. Additional available features include a panoramic vista roof, black roof rack side rails, navigation, blind spot monitoring system, and hands-free power liftgate. All in all, a nice addition to the Edge stable. For more info, check out the press release after the jump or speak to your dealer later this year.

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

Jeep showcases seven concepts for the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab

The Easter Jeep Safari has been gathering the Jeep faithful together for more than fifty years to the scenic southwest. Jeep uses the event to showcase Jeep vehicles and performance enhancements from Mopar and Jeep Performance. The concepts that Jeep brings each year highlight the latest goodies all combined into vehicles that are designed to give you ideas and show you what can be done. I like the roof and rack systems on the Safari and Switchback concepts and the Luminator (well duh) highlights LED lighting systems for just about every Jeep use. The hot rod-inspired Quicksand is very cool, chopped roof and all. For more info, check out the full press release after the jump. Click on the concept name in the release to be taken to the individual post for that concept. Every year, this makes me wish I was an off-roader...with unlimited funds. Check it out. Click on pics for a closer look. The 51st Easter Jeep Safari will be held from April 8-16 in Moab, Utah. Video will be added later, when available.

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

Jeep Grand One concept from the 2017 Moab Jeep Easter Safari

The Jeep Grand One celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee with a modernized spin on a classic 1993 ZJ. For concept duty, the '93 Grand Cherokee has its wheelbase extended and was updated with new and 90's-inspired equipment like the redone interior, a 5.2-liter V-8 engine that's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch lace-style wheels, high-clearance fender flares, front and rear axles equipped with selectable locking differentials, and a 2-inch suspension lift kit. I guess that old(er) Grand Cherokee parked in the garage isn't dead yet. Interesting concept idea. As they say, everything old is new again...but what do "they" know? For more info, check out the release.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep Safari concept breaks cover for the 2017 Jeep Easter Safari

A version of this one should go into production. The Jeep Safari concept is a Wrangler Unlimited to use, well, on safari. Everything is geared towards reaching special places and having you and the family be able to see them. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission putting the power to the ground through a front and rear Dana 44 axle equipped with selectable differential lockers, 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on custom 18-inch wheels, a 2-inch lift kit, custom full-length skid plates, steel front and rear bumpers, and more enhancing Safari's go-anywhere 4X4 capabilities. The interior is fitted with bucket seats for easy viewing with unique "windoors" made of aluminum and clear vinyl. An iPad is mounted on the top dash center (something for the new Wrangler?) for maps, etc. I like the translucent hard-top roof panel, two-level aluminum cargo rack (with incorporated drone), that goes with the raked windshield, boatsided rocker panels, special front and rear bumpers, LED headlamps, and custom LED tail lamps and parking/turn lamps. Put normal doors on this one and sell them to take the place of the various discontinued Land Rover models that had the safari "look." This design would make a nice alternative to typical Jeep roofs both cloth and steel. I like this one a lot...can you tell? For more info, check out the release or click on the pics for a closer look.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep Luminator concept enlightens the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari

The Jeep Luminator concept lights the way with the latest in off-road lighting. The Wrangler Unlimited-based concept features (mostly) LED lighting systems from Magneti Marelli including magnetic underbody rock lights, 7-inch LED projector bi-function headlamps, unique LED tail lamps, A-pillar-mounted high-powered LED spot lights, upper bumper LED auxiliary lighting with cornering fog lamps controlled by the steering angle, and low-profile integrated overhead LED auxiliary spot lights protected behind the windshield. Luminator also includes LED versions of the standard fog lamps and grille-mounted turn signals. On the hood is a scanning LED light bar module with active spot and dynamic following technology, which delivers spot lighting to avoid wildlife or hazards on the trail ahead. On the rear, the center high-mount stop light acts as a scouting/trail lamp with four-color LEDs for trail rides, indicating stop (red), 1-3 miles per hour (amber), 3-25 mph (green) or providing rear flood lighting (white). Also included are a roof-mounted solar panel, a drone landing pad with lighted drone and removable spare tire storage case, and a capacitive touch interactive display on the driver’s side rear window linked to GPS and internet services. Added to all this lighting, are Jeep's legendary off-road prowess all painted in a blue hue called "Electric Blue" in the olden days. Nice Jeep and they WILL see you coming...and going...and...

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep Trailpass Concept graces the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari

Jeep's all-new Compass is a greatly improved new vehicle that is completely class-competitive unlike the last-generation Compass. The new Compass adopts "I'm-a-little-Grand-Cherokee" styling cues and offers improved quality and materials to go with the new duds. This concept has been out before and I still like the orange accents on the wheels and tow bars. Start with a "trail-rated" Compass Trailhawk and add the 18-inch wheel and tire package, a 1.5-inch lift kit, gloss black accents, and more. Inside Katzkin leather covers the seats and armrests and Jeep Performance provides the all-weather mats. The 2.4-liter Tigershark engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic for Trailpass duty. This one should be easier to imitate if you are so inclined. Ask your dealer if interested.The roof basket and rails are from Jeep perofmrance, so dealer-installed option? For more, check out the release and master post after the jump.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep Quicksand Concept charges into the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari

If you've been looking for a hot-rod inspired Wrangler, then Jeep's Quicksand concept it for you. With its chopped roof, fenderless flanks, and peek-a-boo induction stacks, the Quicksand concept looks mean and it should whip around in the sand with the best of 'em. Quicksand has "fall-in" black paint with red interior accents. Power comes from a Mopar 392 Crate HEMI® engine with eight-stack injection and open headers that is mated to a six-speed Getrag manual transmission. The wheels are size staggered with larger tires mounted on the rear. The "Moon" tank on the front bumper hides a Warn winch. Cool look. Who would a thunk it? .A "hot-rod" Wrangler,,,more info after the jump.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari post.

Jeep Switchback concept peeks into the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari

Start with a four-door Wrangler Unlimited with a PentaStar V6 and a five-speed automatic and add numerous bits from Mopar and Jeep Performance and you get another take on the "ultimate" Jeep, in this case, the Switchback concept. Highlights include a special "Safari" hard top with an integrated roof rack, special wheels and tires, Dana axles, high-top fender flares, Fox shocks, and a four-inch lift kit. Other features are half doors with cutouts, advanced (mostly LED) lighting systems, Katzkin leather seats, and interior surfaces treated with spray-on bed-liner coatings. I think the Safari top and roof rack system is especially nice. The Switchback concept is a much-closer-to-production version of the "custom" Wrangler. Again, with the parts, time, and wallet, you could recreate much of what you see here. If you have your own fabricator/installer then you're set. Still need that big wallet though. For more info, check out the release after the jump and the main post.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep CJ66 concept comes together for the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari

The Jeep CJ66 concept, which debuted at this year's SEMA show, is a mix of old and new with a Wrangler TJ frame and a 1966 Jeep Wrangler CJ universal Tuxedo Park body, add in Wrangler JK elements, and then power it all with a Mopar 345 Crate HEMI Engine Kit-enabled 5.7-liter HEMI (383 hp) and you've just described the CJ66. Also on tap are Dana axles front and rear, a six-speed manual transmission, Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust, not to mention Jeep Performance Parts 17-inch beadlock wheels and a 2-inch lift kit. Outside the narrow (er) CJ body is covered in Copper Canyon paint with matte black accents. Behind the cropped windshield, the driver and passenger are perched in custom Dodge Viper seats, surrounded by a custom-built roll cage, and covered by bikini top netting that offers shade and cover from the elements. A Wrangler JK center console and shifter, Mopar instrument panel gauges, and Mopar all-weather mats complete the go-anywhere interior. Like it? Most parts are available from Jeep, Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar. All you'll need is some skills, time, and a healthy wallet.

Source: Jeep/Mopar - Press release after the "read more" jump. Master 2017 Easter Jeep Safari Moab post.

Jeep adds Wrangler Rubicon Recon special edition

Jeep's Wrangler is scheduled for a major redesign and some of the finer new features include a more aerodynamic design and the usage of lightweight materials (including the body) while maintaining the Wrangler's strong points and off-road prowess. A visit to the Wrangler's website shows you just how important special edition models have become. That's not a problem since special editions often combine desired equipment and features with value pricing (kinda sorta). The new Wrangler Rubicon Recon edition adds stronger off-road equipment (Dana axles, stronger rails, heavy-duty cast differential covers, etc.) to the well-equipped Rubicon model that has black-leather trimmed seats, six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic is optional), premium Alpine audio, a unique gauge cluster (with exclusive styling and a premium Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with added read-outs), special badging, 17-inch Low Gloss Granite Crystal-painted aluminum wheels (wrapped in 32-inch BF Goodrich KM off-road tires), and more. Color options include Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, Firecracker Red, Gobi, Rhino, and Granite Crystal. Prices start at $39,145 for the two-door model and $42,945 for the Wrangler Unlimited (four-door) model plus taxes, license, fees, and options. This should tide you over 'til the new Wrangler appears in the months ahead.

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

Chevrolet prices all-new 2018 Equinox under $25k - w/videos

Chevy's new Equinox and sister GMC's new Terrain have received much needed styling and engineering updates for the 2018 model year. And like most siblings, the Equinox and Terrain have similarities but are very different crossovers. The Equinox is the mathlete sibling, while the Terrain is the cheerleader...which is okay depending on what you're looking for. The 2018 Equinox wears its sensible shoes well with enough style to make things interesting. The interior is a huge upgrade. Like the Terrain, the Equinox features turbocharged four-cylinder engines only, the standard 1.5-liter, a 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel. The 2.0-liter engine comes mated to GM's new nine-speed automatic. Expect six-speed automatics for the other engine choices. The Equinox will come in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels with either front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The new Equibox can be equipped with most of GM's latest tech, safety equipment, and connectivity options. Like most of today's new vehicles, you can spend a bunch or a little (the Equinox starts at $24,475 which includes destination). Anyway you look at it, the 2018 Chevy Equinox should get noticed...noticed by more purchasers that is. For more info, check out the two press releases and videos after the jump.

Source: Chevrolet - Press releases and videos after the "read more" jump. GMC Terrain.

Lexus redesigns the LS 500 sedan for 2018 - w/video

Press releases often slay me and this one is no exception. I like how they completely overlook the Acura Legend that beat Lexus to market by at least two years. But some would argue that the Legend wasn't a luxury car even though it was more BMW luxury than the Lexus LS' Cadillac luxury. You say potato... Anywho, Lexus has redone their flagship sedan for 2018 with numerous updates/upgrades to better compete with the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 8-Series, Audi A8, Cadillac CT6, and Lincoln Continental. The new LS 500 is a more curvaceous beastie that has been lowered for a sleeker, more aerodynamic look. In fact the new LS is the lowest LS ever so the new car is equipped with an access feature where the car raises the air suspension and opens the seat bolsters for easier entry and exit. Neat. Unfortunately the cow-catcher grille is still on tap, (although more refined) and the lighting systems seem to have adopted Toyota's penchant for teardrops. A twin-turbo V6 (415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque) is mated to a 10-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive standard or an available all-wheel-drive system. Expect a hybrid or EV model in the future. The suspension has been tuned for more responsive handling and to handle the 19- or 20-inch wheels. Expect the LS 500 to feature Toyota's latest safety and technology suites. The Lexus faithful should be very happy, but it will be interesting to see if the 2018 LS 500 makes many conquest sales when it cruises into dealerships late this year. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump.

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

Mercedes Benz upgrades the GLA compact ute for 2018

In my opinion, the Mercedes GLA is one of the best-looking compact SUVs (CUVs?) out there and the upgrades for the 2018 model year do little to change that with bumper redesigns, new wheel designs, new trim packages, upgraded interior materials, and the new color "Canyon Beige" leading the changes. The new Night Package includes 19-inch AMG wheels and black window trim, exterior mirrors, roof rails, exhaust tips, and other exterior accents  The GLA 250 utilizes Mercedes' 2.0-liter turbo four that produces 208 hp and 258 ft. lbs. of torque. Power gets to the ground through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and 4matic all-wheel drive is available. The GLA AMG 45 (black car shown) uses a 2.0-liter, AMG tuned, turbo four that creates 375 hp and 350 ft, lbs. of torque using a Sportshift seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic and standard 4matic. The AMG 45 has a new AMG Performance Studio package (shown on black car after the jump) that is painted either Night Black or Cosmos Black and with Matte Graphite Grey and Yellow sections, light-alloy wheels in Matte Black with Yellow rim flanges and the black painted AMG twin louver in the radiator grille. Yellow highlights characterize the front bumper, exterior mirror housings, inserts in the side skirts, rear diffuser and rear wing on the GLA AMG 45 (the white car after the jump is a GLA AMG 45 without the Performance Studio Package). In other words, you can configure your GLA from the sublime to the outrageous. All of the 2018 updates and upgrades are making a squat, aggressively styled (for Mercedes) compact ute even better than before. More to come...

Source: Mercedes Benz - Press release and spec. chart after the "read more" jump.

Audi shows the Q8 e-tron Concept - w/video

All the luxury automakers in Europe (and elsewhere) have been talking about producing large, sporty SUVs and Audi just unveiled theirs in Detroit, the Q8 (e-tron) Concept. e-tron is Audi's way of letting consumers know which of their vehicles are electrified in some way and the Q8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid that can travel more than 30 miles on battery power alone. The 3.0 TFSI engine produces 333 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque with the electric motor generating 100 kW of power and 243 lb-ft of torque utilizing a decoupler that is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The complete system produces 516 lb-ft of torque getting you to 60 from a standstill in just over 5 seconds with mileage numbers approaching triple digits (No EPA estimates yet). The Q8 is a luxury sport conveyance that in the case of the concept seats four,..comfortably. While the Q8 Concept looks ready to go, carmakers often call pre-production vehicles concepts to allow for last-minute tweaks. Will we see the 23-inch wheels in production? Dunno, but the ute that will go into production in 2018 should have the same good looks, and a full range of powertrain choices including possibly fully electric. Of course quattro all-wheel drive will be on hand as will all of Audi's safety and technology equipment. Remember, the Q8 sits at or near the top of Audi's line-up. The grille that appears to have been lifted from a Maserati Levante (bars are inies on the Levante where the bars on the Q8 are outies) might be revised although the different colored grille surround is nice providing a sort of 3D effect (for all you graphics folks out there). For more info, check out the press releaes and b-roll video after the jump. More to come...

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