Category Archives: Car News

China’s GAC Debuts EV Concept; Announces U.S. Sales in 2019

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It’s Official: A Kia Sorento Diesel Is Happening in the U.S.

2019 Kia Sorento

The void in the U.S. diesel passenger-car market left by Volkswagen’s abrupt exit is becoming less and less of an empty space as Chevrolet, Jaguar, and others attempt to gain a foothold in this niche. Kia will be the next entrant with a diesel-powered version of the Sorento crossover, which is slated to go on sale in the United States by the beginning of 2019.

Orth Hedrick, Kia’s vice president of product planning, confirmed at the Detroit auto show that the company is working with the EPA to get the Sorento diesel certified and ready for sale. He noted that the government agency is stricter than ever about emissions certification, which slows down the overall process, but claimed that the Sorento diesel is getting closer to U.S. sales starting by the end of 2018 at the earliest.

Kia isn’t saying at this point which diesel engine will come to America, but the obvious candidate is the turbo-diesel 2.2-liter inline-four it offers in the Sorento in Europe. That engine makes 197 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, which would place it neatly in between the power outputs of the current Sorento’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.3-liter V-6 engine options. Hedrick mentioned impressive targets of around 30 mpg or higher for highway driving and noted that towing capacity will be an important factor for the diesel version (the current Sorento can tow up to 5000 pounds in V-6 form).

Stay tuned for more information from Kia about its first foray into diesels in the United States as we learn more about this compression-ignition Sorento.

2019-Kia-Sorento-REEL

2018 Detroit Auto Show Full Coverage

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It’s Official: A Kia Sorento Diesel Is Happening in the U.S.

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Toyota GR Super Sport Concept: First Look at a Toyota Supercar

Toyota-GR-Super-Sports-Concept-Placement

“Racing improves the breed” has long been a central tenet of the auto industry, but it hasn’t been one that has been highly visible at Toyota. That appears to be changing, however, and the most dramatic evidence yet is this Toyota GR Super Sport concept. READ MORE ››

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2019 Chevy, GMC Trucks Get Smarter Fuel-Saving Cylinder Deactivation

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Delphi’s Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) technology is making its production debut in some versions of the fully redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado with 5.3- and 6.2-liter V-8 engines, in which it will be called Dynamic Fuel Management.

For GM, it marks the most significant upgrade the technology has received since it was introduced in its current form in 2005. Chevrolet hasn’t talked Silverado-specific improvements, but Delphi said that, in general, the new technology could boost fuel economy by 5 percent compared with existing deactivation systems that shut off specific cylinders or entire cylinder banks during cruising or coasting.

Cylinder-deactivation systems have been under the hood of a wide range of U.S.-market vehicles for decades—even the V-12 Lamborghini Aventador and the new Mercedes-AMG S63—but the common criticism is that engines so equipped are less refined in their cylinder-cutoff modes and that their transitions on and off are quite noticeable. This new dynamic system could do away with the harsh transitions and vibrations that can accompany such systems.

Delphi - Tula demo car

DSF doesn’t prioritize specific cylinders. While the firing pattern it follows might appear totally random, it’s dictated by an algorithm created by Tula, a California company founded in 2008 by Adya Tripathi, with General Motors one of its original strategic investors. Still, although there’s an algorithm, there are no preordained templates or patterns. The decision on whether a cylinder fires or not is made on an event-by-event basis. And while the algorithm aims to smooth vibration and keep heat distributed well, the priority is cylinder loading. Based on a broader snapshot, at a certain sustained engine load, the system targets a specific firing density—how many cylinders fire over a specific time to achieve the right loading.

Running Wide Open

The technology makes a bigger difference on engines that are less loaded during steady-state cruising and light acceleration; it is claimed by Delphi to deliver a U.S. driving-cycle carbon-dioxide reduction (and mileage gain) of more than 15 percent on a V-8 or about 7 percent on a four-cylinder. One key to Dynamic Skip Fire’s efficiency gains is that it reduces pumping losses by putting far more load on the individual cylinders that are fired—so the efficiency of the entire engine increases.

That max-loading concept means that the system adjusts output with the firing frequency, not the throttle, and cylinders fire less often than with existing cylinder-deactivation systems. In light- or medium-load highway driving, DSF can fire a four-cylinder engine at the equivalent of a 1.5-cylinder engine; in very light-load conditions and under 31 mph, it can run the engine at what amounts to the level of a 0.8-cylinder engine. GM hasn’t yet revealed specifics of how the system works in the trucks, but the company said it is using its own calibration and noted that it can operate on as small a scale as one cylinder.

But with fewer individual pulses of combustion, those pulses are stronger. The algorithm aims to counter vibrations, but adding a belt-based mild-hybrid system and the flat torque output from the electric motor helps smooth out the engine, and it can widen the range—both in revs and engine load—at which cylinder deactivation can take place, including coasting with all the cylinders off. (GM’s version does not incorporate the electrified components.)

And there’s one really neat other thing that the system does in conjunction with the motor system: Tula’s software controls help further smooth the system by pulsing the hybrid motor in sync with Skip Fire’s engine-torque pulses.

DSF smoother torque

To prove this concept, last year Delphi installed the technology—called eDSF when it’s joined with a 48-volt mild hybrid system—in a current-generation Volkswagen Passat with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. At this year’s CES, Delphi took the car a step further by adding an electric turbocharger, which it calls an e-charger. The e-charger doesn’t replace the existing turbocharger but instead supplements it—enabling a supercharger-like kick of torque off the line, as well as quickened throttle response to help when the engine is restarted and to make up for the slight lag that it and the other components can introduce.

how DSF works

DSF requires a Tula co-processor that operates with the powertrain controller; it also adds a few more sensors, plus output drivers and deactivation components for the valvetrain. A cylinder is deactivated via a simple mechanism that places a pin at one end of a roller finger follower; engine oil pressure moves an anchor pin out of the way, allowing the follower to move while keeping the valve closed.

Heard, Not Felt

A few weeks ago, we previewed the updated system on public roads, and it works exactly as described. Keeping light on the accelerator enabled DSF, but pressing past maybe a quarter of the accelerator’s travel bypassed it. And because of the e-charger in the prototype Passat we rode in, off-the-line acceleration felt especially perky. Delphi’s display in the car showed us which cylinders were firing and when, but we couldn’t perceive the transitions as it went from firing all four cylinders as in a non-DSF-equipped car to its various partial-firing modes and back. The only sensory indication when the system was operating was auditory, not physical, sounding as if the engine were being lugged at much lower rpm than it was actually spinning.

Delphi - Tula demo car

In this four-cylinder demonstration, the company only enabled DSF from about 1500 rpm but said it could lower that threshold if combined with the full suite of technologies, adding that it would be quite a bit lower for a torque-rich V-8. The test VW, according to Delphi, achieves more than a 15 percent boost in fuel economy, increased low-end torque, and a zero-to-19-mph time that is improved by 20 percent.

On its own, Dynamic Skip Fire produces mileage gains in the range of 5 to 10 percent on a V-8 engine. And while it’s actually bringing up the NOx emissions level a little bit from each individual cylinder fire, those cylinders aren’t firing nearly as often, so overall NOx levels are down, too.

The reality is that over the next decade, the vast majority—about 95 percent of the vehicles sold in 2025—will still have an internal-combustion engine under the hood. Delphi said it sees hybrids growing to 31 million vehicles annually by then, or which it believes 65 percent will be 48-volt mild hybrids. The market for nonhybrid gasoline-powered vehicles is expected to fall by 20 percent during that time, but with tech like smarter cylinder deactivation—in these upcoming GM V-8 trucks, for instance—the workhorses aren’t going to get left behind.

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Toyota GR Super Sport Concept Previews a Future Supercar – Official Photos and Info

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Hellcat Who? Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coming in 2019 with 700-Plus HP

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Hellcat Who? Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coming in 2019 with 700-Plus HP

2018 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (artist's rendering)

Ford has fired new warning shots in the ever escalating muscle-car power wars by confirming that the Mustang’s upcoming Shelby GT500 variant will be the most powerful Ford production car ever, boasting upward of 700 horsepower. We won’t see this hi-po Stang until 2019, but this confirmation is accompanied by a brief teaser video that shows some glimpses of the supercharged GT500 that certainly whet our appetite for what’s to come. (The image above is an illustrator’s guess at what it’ll look like.)

Rumors about the latest GT500 have swirled ever since the S550 sixth-generation Mustang’s debut way back in 2013, and most of them have started to converge on speculation that a 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 will be under the hood. This potent powerplant may be code-named Predator and seems to share its block with the 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 installed in the current Shelby GT350. It isn’t likely to be the same rev-happy monster we love in that car because of its more conventional crankshaft design, but a Roots-type supercharger should make up for that deficiency.

As a foil to the track-ready GT350, expect the GT500 to focus more on straight-ahead drag-strip performance, bonkers acceleration, and an impressive top speed. It’ll certainly have its work cut out for it competing against the 650-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Dodge’s hottest Challenger variants, including the 707-hp SRT Hellcat and the totally insane 840-hp Demon. We can’t wait for these battles to fully heat up once the GT500 is finally let loose, probably a year from now at the 2019 Detroit auto show next January.

GT500REEl

2018 Detroit Auto Show Full Coverage

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Premieres, Is Even More of a Baby Grand

The Jeep Cherokee sits in an extremely important segment from a brand and sales standpoint. Compact crossovers are the top-selling utility-vehicle class, with entries such as the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V among the best-selling vehicles in the United States. The Cherokee has been a solid performer for Jeep since it relaunched the nameplate for 2014, but there is room for growth. For 2018, Jeep has refreshed the Cherokee with a less polarizing look, an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four under the hood, and improved interior packaging. READ MORE ››

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2019 Jeep Cherokee: The Baby Grand – Official Photos and Info

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