Auto Notes - December 2018
Audi electrifies. The all-new 2019 Audi e-tron, the automaker’s first all-electric SUV, is now in production with expected U.S. availability in early 2019. The company has been taking reservations for the quattro AWD unit since mid-September.
With a sleek design and advanced aerodynamics, the luxury battery electric has a spacious interior and 57 cubic feet of cargo space with the 40/20/40 rear seated folded down.
Technology abounds on the e-tron, although a few features found on European models, including side-view cameras, may come later to the U.S. after approval by federal agencies.
Featuring high-performance horsepower, the e-tron SUV reaches 0-60 MPH in 5.5 seconds. It has a five-mode air suspension system, including an off-road setting, and can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Mileage will be in the range of 248 miles for the SUV that has a starting price of $74,800.
Back in USA. The Ford Ranger returns to the U.S. after a hiatus of seven years. The all-new 2019 model will feature a 2.3-L twin-scroll EcoBoost turbo engine paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
While the full-size pickup market has been dominated by Ford’s F-Series, the midsize truck market has grown dramatically since the Ranger went away. Ford hopes to make inroads with GM and Toyota competitors.
The North American version, now being built in Australia and for sale early next year, has a fully boxed frame and a steel body.
The Ranger will be offered in supercab and supercrew cab models, all with four full-size doors. Pricing will start in the $25,000 range.
Automated traffic control. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced in late October that it is updating its “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways” (MUTCD) in preparation for the use of automated vehicles. FHWA said the update will allow states and local communities with more opportunities to use innovation.
“The new manual will be forward-thinking in accommodating technologies necessary to support highway connectivity, as well as automation and innovations that improve safety and efficiency,” said Brandye L. Hendrickson, FHWA deputy administrator. “The revised edition will lay the groundwork for supporting the infrastructure of the future.”
The MUTCD is the national standard for traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings. It was first published in 1935 with the latest edition out in 2009 (revised in 2012).
New Caddy. The first-ever Cadillac XT4 crossover features an all-new 2.0-L turbocharged engine. Using a DOHC tri-power valvetrain with high lift for maximum power, the engine has an SAE-certified 237 HP. With an Active Fuel Management System that disables two cylinders in light load conditions, the EPA fuel ratings are 24 MPG/city and 30/highway for FWD version of the XT4 (there is an available twin-clutch AWD system).
The compact SUV has an all-new architecture with press-hardened, high-strength steel that allows for chassis strength to provide a high degree of suspension tuning. The XT4 Sport model offers a sophisticated Active Sport Suspension with Continuous Damping Control.
Numerous other firsts can be found on the 2019 XT4, including Cadillac’s first model to incorporate a state-of-the-art electro-hydraulically controlled braking system. It has a compact electric motor that offers on-demand braking power and contributes to the overall fuel efficiency.
The new XT4 is available in three trim levels with a base price of $34,795.
50th anniversary. The Lamborghini Espada model has turned 50, and in celebration of the birthday a 1976 Espada owned by the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese near London was recently toured around the British capitol.
It stopped at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall (founded in 1897) for a 50th anniversary dinner, then headed to the legendary Abbey Road where the Beatles recorded the popular song “Hey Jude” 50 years ago at Abbey Road Studios. Espadas were manufactured from 1968 to 1978.
FCA awards. The 2019 RAM 1500 won several honors, including the top award as Truck of Texas, at the recent Texas Truck Rodeo. Hosted by the Texas Automotive Writers Association, the journalists also awarded FCA’s 2019 Maserati Lavente GTS with the SUV of Texas and Full-Size Luxury SUV honors.
Continuing with wins, all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler won the Off-Road SUV of Texas as well as the Mid-Size SUV of Texas awards. The Jeep Grand Cherokee won the Mid-Size Luxury SUV category for the seventh consecutive year, and the Dodge Durango won the Full-Size SUV award for the second year in a row. And the RAM Power Wagon won the Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck of Texas honors.
In total, FCA vehicles captured 15 of 24 awards at the Rodeo.