Auto Notes - April 2018
Top dogs. Consumer Reports (CR) recently released its list of top performers and Toyota was an overwhelming winner with four vehicles on the list of top picks for 2018. Toyota won Compact Car (Corolla), Midsize Car (Camry), Minivan (Sienna), and Midsize SUV (Highlander).
Chevrolet did well with two top picks as the Bolt was named the Best Compact Green Car, and the Impala won the Large Car category.
Other winners include the Audi A4 (Luxury Compact Car), Subaru Forester (Compact SUV), BMW X3 (Luxury Compact SUV), and Ford F-150 (Best Full-Size Truck).
New beginning. The launch of Brabham Automotive was recently announced by multiple LeMans winner David Brabham. With a new website dedicated to celebrating 70 years of Brabham family racing, the new organization will make a major announcement, May 2, about its next venture in the world of road racing.
The May date coincides with the first race that Sir Jack Brabham, Brabham’s father, participated in on May 2, 1948, in Australia. The elder Brabham was a triple Formula 1 World Champion and the first and only driver to win a F1 World Championship in a car bearing his name. In addition to being a driver, Sir Jack Brabham was also an engineer and F1 team owner who is regarded as one of the most influential people in the success of international racing.
Hot truck. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado was recently introduced 100 years after it was first delivered to customers in 1918.
Highlights of the new full-size pickup include class-leading cargo volume, a new high-strength steel bed floor, power tailgate, a reduced weight of 450 pounds for improved performance, six engine choices that include an all-new Duramax 3.0-L, new available storage options, and a variety of other comfort and safety features.
Eight models of the new Silverado will be available with diesel and gas engine selections, all equipped with a Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission.
“With the all-new Silverado, we’ve taken the best truck on the road and made it even better,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president.
The Road Ahead. The 2018 World Car Awards, The Road Ahead, has narrowed the world’s most prestigious vehicle honors to three finalists in seven categories. Judging by 82 jurors from around the globe has occurred in the U.S. and Europe and 32 cars were original finalists in six categories, plus the overall World Car of the Year (WCOTY) award.
German automakers lead the pack with 11 nominations; followed by Japan with nine; the U.S. with three; Britain, Italy, Korea, and France with two each; and Sweden with one.
Now in its 14th year, the World Car Awards has been considered the top awards program in terms of media reach for the past five years. The awards will be presented at the New York Auto Show in April.
The three finalists for the WCOTY award, announced March 6, in Geneva, are the Mazda CX-5, Range Rover Velar, and Volvo XC60. Along with the Lexus LC 500, the Velar and XC60 are also finalists in the World Car Design of the Year award. The 2017 WCOTY winner was the Jaguar F-Pace.
Simply fast. The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 recently set a production car lap record at the 4.1 mile Virginia International Raceway (VIR) Grand Course West track. The time was 2:37.25 with Jim Mero, GM’s vehicle dynamics engineer, at the wheel.
Equipped with the available paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission and ZTK Performance Package, the stock ZR1 was completing 24 hours of lap testing at VIR when the record was set.
The ZR1’s exclusive LT5 6.2-L supercharged engine is rated at an SAE-certified 755 HP and 715 lb.-ft. of torque. The new engine is said to be a more efficient intercooled supercharger system and includes GM’s first dual fuel-injection system.
Now on sale in most states, the ZR1 retails for $119,995 (including destination charge), and the ZTK performance Package is an additional $2,995.
Award winner. The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica keeps winning awards, the latest being the Good Housekeeping 2018 Best New Car Award for the hybrid model.
The popular minivan has also been named the “Family Car of the Year” from Cars.com, “10 Best Trucks and SUVs” from Car and Driver for the second consecutive year, a repeat award for being a Top Pick from AutoTRADER Canada, and a “Best Buy” honor from Consumer Guide Automotive.
First electric. In early March, Jaguar debuted its first all-electric production vehicle for the brand, the I-PACE.
The sedan will be powered by a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery and will have an estimated all-electric range of 240 miles.
The I-PACE, which will be built at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Graz, Austria, features a unique aluminum-intensive architecture that delivers a rigid body structure and 50:50 weight distribution. It will be on sale in the U.S. in the fall.