Auto Notes - August 2018
Diesel buses. The Diesel Technology Forum announced that 95 percent of the nation’s school buses are now diesel powered with 40 percent of those operating with the newest generation near-zero emissions diesel technology. The latter figure is up from 31 percent in 2016.
According to IHS Markit data, just 2.5 percent of school bus registrations are gasoline powered, 1.9 percent are propane autogas, and less than 1 percent are powered by natural gas or other means.
Blazer returns. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Blazer name on a GM SUV, but a midsize crossover version returns early next year as the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer goes on sale. The all-new offering is placed between the Chevrolet Equinox and Traverse SUV models.
The new Blazer is what GM describes as being “rooted in attention-grabbing design with seamlessly integrated customer-focused technologies and superb functionality.”
Highlights on the 2019 Blazer include a driver-centric interior, sporty RS and up-level Premier models, available Chevy-first cargo management system, a multitude of available safety features, 2.5-L I-4 and 3.6-L V-6 engines, an advanced twin-clutch AWD system, 4,500-pound trailering capacity (3.6-L), panoramic dual-pane sunroof, and plenty more.
“The Blazer has attitude,” said John Carafo, executive director of Global Chevrolet Design. “It looks commanding on the road, while fulfilling the promise of versatility at the heart of every Chevy crossover and SUV.”
Fast sale. It only took 39 minutes to sell the special version Volvo S60 plug-in hybrid after it was available on the Care by Volvo app on June 28. Volvo customers claimed all 20 of the all-new S60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered luxury sedans slated for the U.S. market using a credit card deposit on the app.
The 2019 model S60 T8 offers 415 HP, Bremco brakes, an Ohlins advanced suspension system, plus an extensive list of other standard safety, comfort, and convenience items. It is built at Volvo’s new U.S. factory in Ridgeville, S.C., where other S60 models are produced.
Care by Volvo is a subscription program whereby customers can pay one monthly fee that includes a car payment, insurance, maintenance, and some wear/tear items. Care customers can upgrade to a new Volvo model after 12 months. The monthly cost for the 2019 S60 T8 Polestar Engineered model is $1,100 per month before taxes, registration, and title fees.
New Genesis. The 2019 Genesis G70, the third of six new Genesis models slated to debut by 2021, is a near-luxury compact sports sedan that will be available soon at U.S. dealerships.
“Athletic elegance is represented in the exterior styling,” according to a Genesis release. That equates to a long hood and short front overhang, a crest-type grille, a fashionable roofline, LED lighting, and multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, among other features.
The G70 is powered by a 2.0-L turbo-four engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission (an optional 3.3-L twin-turbo V-6 is also available).
The interior of the new G70 has Genesis trademarks with soft-touch, high-quality materials, such as the heated and ventilated seats covered in Nappa leather, as well leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel. There is an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an available 660-watt 15-speaker Lexicon audio system, dual climate control, and plentiful safety features from adaptive cruise-control to blind-spot monitoring, rearview camera to pedestrian detection.
The G70 will compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It’s estimated base price is $32,000.
Nissan awards. For the second year in a row, Nissan has scored more best-in-category wins than any other brand in the annual AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA), a nationwide survey of 58,000 owners of 2017 and 2018 light cars and trucks.
The Nissan Murano SUV again dominated its class and is the only vehicle in the 2018 VSA study with four consecutive category honors.
Maxima won the Luxury Midsize Car trophy for the third year, TITAN was at the top of the Light-Duty Pickup segment for the second time, and both the all-new Leaf (Mainstream EV Car) and 370Z (Sports Car) won their categories for the first time in the study.
AutoPacific is an automotive research and product-consulting company based in California with an affiliate office in Detroit. It publishes a variety of syndicated studies and conducts global research projects for all segments of the automotive industry and aftermarket.