2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Spied in Northern Michigan

Ford Ranger Wildtrak (spy photos)
What It Is: A new Ford Ranger on U.S. soil that appears to be dressed in the same duds that make up the Ranger Wildtrak model sold in other markets. In spite of its wild name, the Wildtrak isn’t quite as untamed as the upcoming Ranger Raptor, Ford’s off-road-ready Ranger equivalent to the larger F-150 Raptor. But, hey, it looks cool. READ MORE ››

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2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Spied in Northern Michigan – Future Cars

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Shake ’n’ Bake: NASCAR’s New Camaro ZL1 Racer Actually Looks Like the Production Version

Shake ’n’ Bake: NASCAR’s New Camaro ZL1 Racer Actually Looks Like the Production VersionWhy Now?Back in the DayBut Not Just Any CamaroChanging the RulesGo HawkeyesBy DesignFrontin’ScoopedSidetrackedBack It UpBadge of HonorSize MattersA Group EffortThat’s ServiceTriumphant Debut

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My, How the Audi TT Has Evolved

My, How the Audi TT Has Evolved

I first encountered the Audi TT in 1999 on a long drive from New York to Florida, and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was midway through a Walter Gropius phase, affecting bow ties, black suit coats, and an air of somber idiocy, so the Bauhaus coupe was well suited to my pretentiousness. READ MORE ››

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Hurricane Harvey Destroyed More Vehicles Than Any Single Event in America. This Is the Aftermath

Hurricane Harvey Destroyed More Vehicles Than Any Single Event in America. This Is the Aftermath

Disasters are always fascinating. From fender benders to war, humans will stop and stare at the tragic, the grotesque, the hideous. In early December, I watched a massive plume of malevolent brown smoke moving over Ventura, California, threatening my hometown of Santa Barbara. I was mesmerized by the Thomas Fire, like everyone else. But it wasn’t just the physical proximity of the flames that captivated me. I had just returned from Houston, which was still picking up after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Last year, as August came to a close, Houston was hit with nearly 52 inches of rain. At least 88 people were killed, and thousands lost their homes. Reports also estimate that up to a million cars were destroyed in the widespread flooding, as many as half of which were in Houston, America’s fourth-most-populous city. READ MORE ››

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Sun-Day Driver: We Test The University of Michigan’s Solar Car!

Sun-Day Driver: We Test The University of Michigan's Solar Car!

As a metaphor for life, solar-car racing is not without merit. “The goal is to hit the finish line with zero power remaining,” says Clayton Dailey, engineering director for the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team, which finished second in the Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge last October—the best finish ever for an American student team. The route is a brutal 1877-mile haul across the Australian outback between Darwin and Adelaide, during which the teams race for nine-hour days on public roads using only the power of the sun. The 70-student-strong organization’s locus is its 420-pound carbon-fiber car called Novum, which is Latin for “new thing.” It’s the smallest, slipperiest solar car in the program’s 29-year history. READ MORE ››

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Sun-Day Driver: We Test The University of Michigan’s Solar Car! – Instrumented Test

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Catch Some Zs: Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept Is a Flagship for the Geriatric Set

Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion concept

Volkswagen, in the words of the great Sesame Street, seems to be brought to you by the letter Z nowadays. It’s in the names of the brand’s upcoming all-electric I.D. models, the Buzz and the Crozz. And now with the Vizzion, if it’s ever built, you might be able to catch some Zs on the road. Volkswagen is showing this potential fourth member of the I.D. family, in concept form, for the Geneva auto show.

It doesn’t have a steering wheel. If you don’t count VW’s shipping-container-like Sedric, the I.D. Vizzion is the automaker’s first dedicated autonomous passenger-vehicle concept. And it specifically points to the geriatric set: VW says that “use of this car will be made possible for customer groups who cannot drive today, e.g. because of their age.”

The concept would also be “enabling passengers to freely structure their time during the drive,” according to the automaker.

Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion concept

Beyond that, Volkswagen terms it a “premium-class MPV” showing the technology and design direction for future EVs. At 201.2 inches long, it’s more than a foot and a half longer than the I.D. Crozz concept, which is expected to reach the United States in boxier production form sometime in 2020. And although the profile looks closer to that of a sedan than of an SUV, it’s different enough to escape being seen as a new incarnation of the (on-again, off-again) Phaeton. It shares some common design traits with Audi’s Aicon concept from the 2017 Frankfurt auto show. The rear doors are rear hinged, and all the doors open wide, making the full length of the cabin easy to access and get into or out of.

Digital Chauffeur, Digital Ecosystem

The I.D. Vizzion follows a “digital chauffeur” theme inside. There are four individual seats, with the rear ones potentially looking more spacious than those in front, and a long center console runs along the middle of the cabin. There’s no steering wheel—no visible controls at all, for that matter—but a virtual host is cued in to voice and gesture controls and adapts to each individual occupant. VW calls it “complete embedding into the digital ecosystem.”

Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion concept

In keeping with the autonomous theme, VW is laying out potential performance that’s all-weather capable but not in the performance-car realm. Two electric motors provide all-wheel drive, and the system output is 302 horsepower, with a top speed of 112 mph. VW claims a driving range of 413 miles—although it doesn’t specify on which driving cycle. And we would assume that this long concept exists partly to show the flexibility afforded by Volkswagen’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) architecture, with which the other, smaller I.D. models will be built.

While we’d expect some of its design attributes to show up in future large VWs, the timeline for full autonomy depends greatly on how rapidly the automaker’s partnership with Aurora Innovation progresses. Autonomous or not, Volkswagen hasn’t said anything about bringing the Vizzion to production; expect more about that and the whole I.D. family at the Geneva show.

2018 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage

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2018 Dodge Charger In-Depth Review: Ready for Family Road Trips and Drag Strips

2018-Dodge-Charger-01-placement

The Charger can compete with pony cars at the drag strip and with full-size sedans on family road trips, offering a combination of machismo and functionality at an affordable price that is uncommon for its class. The Dodge is also the only option in this segment with rear-wheel drive and a raucous set of V-8 engines. The standard V-6 shares a superb eight-speed automatic transmission with its V-8 brethren, but only it has all-wheel drive available as an option. Compared with near-luxury rivals, the Charger is rough around the edges; its fantastic infotainment system is surrounded by an interior clad in plastic. Its eye-popping colors and decals recall former icons but bring the Charger up short in contrast with its more refined competitors. Nevertheless, the result is an affordable muscle machine for the whole family. READ MORE ››

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2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Revealed: It Looks Bad-Ass Because It Is

2019-Porsche-911-GT3-RS-PLACEMENT

The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is Stuttgart’s answer to those who find that the $300,000-ish GT2 RS is out of reach. To the eye, the track-ready GT3 RS looks much like that one-digit-smaller, megapower Nürburgring blitzer, as the two cars’ wide-bodied exteriors share quite a lot, including louvered carbon-fiber front fenders and a carbon-fiber hood punched through with NACA ducts to cool the standard iron brake rotors or optional carbon-ceramic units. The front fascia carries over from the standard GT3, although a more aggressive splitter is fitted to its lower edge for increased downforce. Intakes are sculpted into the fenders to draw air into the engine coolers, and there is an RS-specific rear bumper with larger side intakes. The manually adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing and rear underbody diffuser create additional downforce to keep the standard Michelin Sport Cup 2 rubber pushed securely into the tarmac at the GT3 RS’s claimed top speed of 193 mph. READ MORE ››

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