Auto Notes - April 2016
New Armada. The all-new 2017 Nissan Armada will be available at dealer showrooms this summer. With the introduction of this second-generation full-size SUV, Nissan rounds out its lineup of new SUV and crossover models as Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue have all been transformed in the past three years.
While the flagship Armada first-generation model was based on the Nissan Titan fill-size pickup, this new version’s body on frame platform goes back in history to the Nissan Patrol introduced in 1951. The rugged Patrol was used as support vehicles for United Nations peace-keeping efforts and was a top performer in the popular Paris-Dakar Rally.
All models of the 2017 Armada will be equipped with 390-HP 5.6-L Endurance V-8 and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Safety elements include Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Backup Collision Intervention, and Around View Monitor with moving object detection. A Bose 13-speaker audio system will also be included on the totally re-designed Armada.
Design award. The Volvo S90 premium sedan was recently awarded the Production Car Design Award of the Year 2015 by Car Design News. The selection was made by a panel of 18 judges representing top global vehicle designers from such automakers as Bentley, Daimler, McLaren, Ferrari, and others.
Judges hailed the S90 for its “exceptional proportions, elegant air blades, authentic use of materials, and timeless design,” among other attributes. “The S90 was recognized for its priority of clear, calm design over the ‘styling entertainment’ that has plagued the industry for too long,” said Owen Ready, editor of Car Design News.
“We don’t want to fit in. We want to stand out,” said Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president of design for Volvo Car Group when describing the S90 design features.
Top picks. Consumer Reports has released its 2016 Top Picks as a result of 260 vehicles being tested in 10 categories. The ratings are based on factors relating to driveability, reliability, safety, and making their owners pleased to have purchased the vehicle.
Most notably, the 2016 Kia Sorento was named the top midsize SUV, overtaking Toyota that has held the top spot for several years. Toyota did earn two hits on the list with Camry in the midsize car category and Sienna among minivans.
Subaru also garnered two top spots with the Impreza for small cars and Forester in the small SUV category. The only two domestic winners were the Chevrolet Impala for large cars, and the Ford F-150 among pickup trucks, the latter getting high ratings for the switch to aluminum body construction.
Rounding out the other winners in the 10 categories were the Mazda MX-5 Miata for sports cars under $40,000, the Honda Fit for best subcompact car, and the Lexus RX in the Luxury SUV class.
Hot Camaro. On Feb. 18, Callaway Cars executives released the 2016 Callaway Camaro SC610 to the automotive media. Powered by a 610-HP engine with the GenThree Supercharger that Callaway originally developed for the Callaway Corvette SC757, the Camaro has improved air flow and reduced heat issues using a 2300cc Eaton TVS rotor pack. The SC610, which produces 610-HP and 610 lb.-ft. of torque, has an MSRP of $54,290 and is available through licenses Chevrolet dealers.
Callaway, based in Old Lyme Conn., is a global leader in the manufacturing of specialty vehicles and performance products. Founded in 1976, various Callaway companies provide technology services to the automotive and aerospace industries, including Callaway Competition which campaigns one of the most successful GT3 race teams in FIA history.
Sierra e-Assist. A limited number of 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab 2WD models with the SLT Premium Plus package will be equipped with the new eAssist technology that enhances fuel economy up to 13 percent. For 2016, GMC will produce 200 models with eAssist for the California market and add units to additional markets moving forward.
GMC said the new technology, a light electrification system, will place the Sierra as the best ranked V-8 in its class for fuel efficiency. Segments of eAssist include stop/start capability, an on-board electric motor for boosting power, regenerative braking, and a six percent improvement in aerodynamics. Fuel ratings for pickups equipped with a direct-injection 5.3-L engine and eAssist will be 20 MPG overall (18/city; 24/highway).