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2018 Jeep Wrangler to Gain Eight-Speed Auto

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Jeep’s off-road enthusiast focused Wrangler SUV will be significantly more fuel efficient for the 2018 model year.

The iconic utility vehicle is slated to be fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission that will ease its fuel consumption. Chrysler currently uses the same transmission in the Ram 1500 pickup truck, the Dodge Durango SUV and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. Jeep hasn’t officially announced the change, but a filing with the SEC originally reported by Automotive News is tipping the brand’s plans.

According to the filing, Jeep expects the Wrangler to return nine percent better fuel economy when equipped with the eight-speed than it currently does with a five-speed automatic. Currently the five-speed automatic Wrangler is rated to return 17 MPG in city driving and 21 MPG on the highway.

The Wrangler is slated to be re-designed for 2018 with an aluminum body that will also enhance fuel economy. Chrysler needs to improve average fuel economy across the Jeep line and a smaller displacement engine than the current 3.6-liter V6 will be necessary to do so in the Wrangler, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said.

Other efficiency-minded changes are afoot at Chrysler. The company plans to produce its next-generation plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivan at its Windsor, Canada assembly plant.

GALLERY: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S

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Discuss this story at our Jeep Wrangler forum

[Source: Automotive News]

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Porsche Brings Back Sporty Cayenne GTS

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In the grand hierarchy of the Porsche naming structure, GTS signifies the sportiest models, even for SUVs.

Not always the fastest version, the name GTS adorns cars and SUVs that give the driver the rawest, most rewarding driving experience. Returning to the Cayenne model line-up this year is the Cayenne GTS. Unlike the previous generation’s model, power does not come from a V8 anymore. It’s replaced by a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 twin-turbo engine similar to the one found in the Cayenne S. But, power has been pumped up 20 hp to a total of 440 hp and torque rises by 62 ft.-lbs. to 445 ft.-lbs.

Complete 2014 LA Auto Show Coverage

This is good enough for the big Cayenne to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds, while a sport exhaust system ensures everyone around knows this is a seriously sporty SUV.

But a GTS model is about more than just engine power, it also needs to handle well. The Cayenne GTS sits 20 millimeters lower with revised suspension tuning and features the larger brakes found on the Cayenne Turbo.

The Cayenne GTS should be recognizable from the outside thanks to a front fascia borrowed from the turbo model combined with more contoured rocker panels and wheel arch extensions. To offset the looks of the GTS, all badging, the 20-inch wheels, the exhaust tailpipes, the headlights and the trim surrounding the rear taillights are all black. Inside are eight-way powered GTS sports seats along with various GTS badging.

Pricing for the Cayenne GTS will come in at $95,500 including destination charges.

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GALLERY: 2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS Live Photos

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GALLERY: 2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

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Discuss this story on our Porsche Cayenne forum

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Entry Level Porsche Cayenne Lives On

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Quietly tucked in the corner of the Porsche booth at the 2014 LA Auto Show is the Cayenne.

Not the Cayenne S, the Cayenne GTS, the Cayenne E-Hybrid or the Cayenne Turbo. No, this is just the regular, naturally aspirated V6 Cayenne the world assumed had been put out to pasture in North America. Well, not so fast. Porsche claims it was never discontinued; it just hadn’t yet been released yet with the new 2015 redesign.

Now on sale, the Cayenne comes standard with 18-inch wheels and a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine making 300 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. Available exclusively with all-wheel drive, the Cayenne is equipped with Porsche’s eight-speed tiptronic automatic that is good enough to propel the 4,488 lbs. SUV from 0 to 60 MPH in 7.7 seconds or 7.6 seconds with the sport chrono package. Sadly, it appears the six-speed manual transmission has not made a return for 2015.

Complete 2014 LA Auto Show Coverage

Pricing for the new entry-level 2015 Cayenne begins at $59,275 after destination charges that is almost $9,000 more than the 2014 Cayenne V6. But, the Cayenne does comes better equipped for 2015, a move surely made to better differentiate the base Cayenne from the smaller Macan crossover.

Although official fuel economy ratings have not been released, with the drivetrain and curb weights of the 2015 model being very similar to the 2014, we expect it should return roughly 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.

According to Porsche’s USA retail site, the Cayenne V6 is on sale as of now – or at least can be built virtually.

GALLERY: 2015 Porsche Cayenne V6

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The post Entry Level Porsche Cayenne Lives On appeared first on AutoGuide.com News.

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Entry Level Porsche Cayenne Lives On

porsche-cayenne-v6-2014-la-auto-show-01

Quietly tucked in the corner of the Porsche booth at the 2014 LA Auto Show is the Cayenne.

Not the Cayenne S, the Cayenne GTS, the Cayenne E-Hybrid or the Cayenne Turbo. No, this is just the regular, naturally aspirated V6 Cayenne the world assumed had been put out to pasture in North America. Well, not so fast. Porsche claims it was never discontinued; it just hadn’t yet been released yet with the new 2015 redesign.

Now on sale, the Cayenne comes standard with 18-inch wheels and a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine making 300 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. Available exclusively with all-wheel drive, the Cayenne is equipped with Porsche’s eight-speed tiptronic automatic that is good enough to propel the 4,488 lbs. SUV from 0 to 60 MPH in 7.7 seconds or 7.6 seconds with the sport chrono package. Sadly, it appears the six-speed manual transmission has not made a return for 2015.

Complete 2014 LA Auto Show Coverage

Pricing for the new entry-level 2015 Cayenne begins at $59,275 after destination charges that is almost $9,000 more than the 2014 Cayenne V6. But, the Cayenne does comes better equipped for 2015, a move surely made to better differentiate the base Cayenne from the smaller Macan crossover.

Although official fuel economy ratings have not been released, with the drivetrain and curb weights of the 2015 model being very similar to the 2014, we expect it should return roughly 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.

According to Porsche’s USA retail site, the Cayenne V6 is on sale as of now – or at least can be built virtually.

GALLERY: 2015 Porsche Cayenne V6

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Jaguar Land Rover Offers Improved Cell Phone Connectivity

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Jaguar Land Rover announced its latest move in the ongoing fight to curb distracted driving today at the L.A. Auto Show.

Jaguar Land Rover is expanding its in-car smartphone integration with the launch of justDrive. Designed for use with InControl, the new justDrive system integrates voice control for multiple smartphone apps like Spotify, Twitter and Yelp.

InControl already enables drivers to plug smartphones directly into their vehicles and control many apps through the vehicle’s touchscreen. In essence, it’s like turning the vehicle’s infotainment into into a giant smartphone. JustDrive takes things a step further.

Instead of just relying on touch controls, the new software allows plain natural speech to be used to control various InControl Apps. This means phrases like “find me a gas station” or “is this pizza place any good?” would be fed through the appropriate app, followed by a response from the system.

2014 LA Auto Show Coverage

You will also be able to ask for songs by name and dictate tweets or text messages through justDrive with simple voice commands like “This traffic is horrible.” The system can also read all messages back to the driver before they are sent as well as reading new incoming messages aloud.Jaguar-Land-Rover-justDrive-02.jpg

Based out of Silicon Valley, CloudCar is the company behind the development the new justDrive software. Using state of the art voice recognition software, CloudCar claims the new program is one of the most advanced systems when it comes to recognizing natural speech.

justDrive marks the 17th app now available for Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl infotainment system, continuing the trend of further smartphone-to-car integration. For 2015, justDrive will be available on the Jaguar F-Type and any of Land Rover’s 2015 vehicle line-up. The company expects full integration of justDrive for all its vehicles by the 2016 model year.

Initially, justDrive will be available for Apple iOS8 users while Android users will have to wait until early 2015 for justDrive to be available.

The post Jaguar Land Rover Offers Improved Cell Phone Connectivity appeared first on AutoGuide.com News.

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Ford Expedition Joins the SEMA Fleet

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Ford is preparing for one of its biggest showings at SEMA yet.

Along with a pair of custom F-150s and five personalized Transit vans, Ford has now announced that a trio of EcoBoost Expedition SUVs will also be heading to Las Vegas next week. The new 2015 Ford Expedition will be customized by DUB Magazine, Tjin Edition and Vaccar, taking this full-size utility vehicle to a whole new level.

The DUB Magazine Ford Expedition (seen above) aims to add a new level of style and sophistication with custom mesh accents as well as a unique front grille and lights. Additionally it’ll roll on massive 26-inch rims from Dropstars Wheels. To lower the vehicle, DUB turned to a suspension kit from McGaughy’s Suspension Lift Kits while a Borla exhaust helps the EcoBoost engine breathe. Naturally the interior will feature a plethora of upgrades including a multimedia and sound system as well as multiple monitors in the rear-seating area.

SEE ALSO: 2014 SEMA Show Preview

Along with the custom widebody Honda Fit that we previewed before, Tjin Edition has also given the 2015 Expedition the widebody treatment with custom metal fender flares, dark gray paint job and new liftgate. Vortech Engineering helps boost the performance of the EcoBoost engine with a charge cooler kit while a Magnaflow exhaust helps bump performance to 405 hp. Supporting this Expedition on the show floor is an Accuair air management system with Air Lift struts while 24-inch Rotiform wheels wrapped with Falken tires adorn each corner.

Lastly there’s the 2015 Ford Expedition XLT by Vaccar that was built for driving through winter in style. Featured on the outside is a custom two-tone matte mountain gray paint scheme along with a Vaccar Grill Guardian brush guard, swivel hooks by Monster Hooks, spring steps and a hitch stop from Go Rhino!. The Vaccar Expedition will travel on 20-inch M15 wheels from Mamba Off-Road Wheels; they’re wrapped with Grabber AT2 tires from General Tire.

“The builders really outdid themselves with these one-of-a-kind versions of Ford’s full-size utility,” said Mike Nicopolis, of Ford’s SEMA aftermarket support group. “The 2015 Ford Expedition offers great space, performance and capability in an impressive package that is the perfect platform for creativity and customization.”

GALLERY: 2014 SEMA Show Ford Expeditions Preview

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Discuss this story at our Ford forum

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10 Reasons to Buy a Crossover Instead of a Sedan

Reasons to Buy a Crosover

Crossovers have come to dominate the market. In a lot of ways they’re like an invasive, non-native species. Over the years they’ve silently displaced traditional cars, becoming the go-to vehicle for many families. But are they really tantamount to Asian carp, zebra mussels or nutria?

Some die-hard automotive enthusiasts may despise these elevated vehicles, but they’re actually not without their benefits. There are quite a few good reasons why you should consider a crossover instead of a sedan, at least 10 in fact. So limber up your clicking digits because we’re exploring this topic in the following pages.

The post 10 Reasons to Buy a Crossover Instead of a Sedan appeared first on AutoGuide.com News.

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What Does a VIN Do?

Decoding VINs

Cars and trucks manufactured today receive a vehicle identification number (VIN). These complex alpha-numeric identifiers may seem completely random but in fact they contain a treasure trove of information.

These 17-character chains describe in surprising detail the vehicle they’re attached to, highlighting things like the manufacturer that built it, the engine that’s under the hood and even which plant it was assembled in. But things weren’t always this structured and orderly.

History Lesson

According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 115 Part 565, since 1954 American manufacturers were required to use a VIN to identify each vehicle they built. But beyond this obligation there was no standardization and as a result the numbering schemes used by different automakers varied.

To alleviate this potentially confusing issue it was required beginning in 1969 that each passenger car have a VIN permanently “sunk or embossed” on a part of the vehicle that was clearly visible while standing at the driver’s side windshield pillar. The number used was not allowed to be repeated for 10 years.

Assembly Line

Of course this arrangement still left a lot to be desired so the rule-makers went at it again. Eventually they came up with the system we have today.

VINs were finally standardized across the industry starting in the 1981 model year, blossoming into the 17-character jumble many drivers are familiar with. Every passenger car, multi-purpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus, trailer, incomplete vehicle and motorcycle must contain a VIN. Under this system a manufacturer is forbidden to repeat a number for 30 years.

System VINdication

2015 Ford Expedition VIN Tag

With all of that background information out of the way let’s walk through what each number and letter represents. As an example let’s looks at a press vehicle I recently evaluated. Its VIN is pretty typical and at first glance confusing: 1FMJU2AT3FEF00187.

World Make Identifier

Breaking it down, the initial three characters form what’s called the World Manufacturer Identifier. The first digit shows where this car or truck was built. In this case a “1” indicates it was made in the good ol’ US of A. The letter “F” reveals it’s a Ford and the third character, an “M,” points out that it’s a sport utility vehicle.

Restraints and Braking Systems

In this case the fourth character is the letter “J,” which depending on the vehicle type deals with restraint systems and braking technology. Our SUV has standard binders with a whole bunch of airbags and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVRW) between 6,001 and 10,000 pounds. Simple enough.

Expedition Limited Truck

And now with the fifth character, the letter “U,” we learn what kind of SUV this actually is. If you haven’t guessed it’s an Expedition. A number “2” in the sixth spot shows that this rig is a high-falutin’ limited model. The letter “A” in this VIN’s seventh slot indicates it’s a truck (like we didn’t know that already).

EcoBoost Engine

The eighth character deals with a vehicle’s powertrain. Our Expedition has a “T” in this position, which in Ford parlance corresponds to a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.

Check Digit

Next up in the ninth spot is something known as the check digit. Curiously this figure has nothing to do with the vehicle, it’s simply there to mathematically verify on the accuracy of the VIN. Moving on …

Model Year

The 10th spot reveals the model year a vehicle is. Here an “F” shows that the Expedition in question is a 2015, meaning it’s shiny and brand new.

Plant Code

The 11th character is the plant location code. A letter “E” in this slot corresponds to Ford’s Kentucky Truck facility, which is also home to their Super Duty lineup as well as the Lincoln Navigator.

Serial Number2

Wrapping things up the final six characters serve as a production-sequence figure, essentially representing the build number of the vehicle. With F00187 as its digits this seems to be one of the first 2015 Expeditions that came off the line.

Interestingly there are three things VIN numbers DO NOT contain. The letters “I,” “O” and “Q” are forbidden because they can easily be confused with the digits “0” and “1.”

Keep in mind things vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A Buick VIN for instance may not line up exactly with our Expedition’s, likewise this one probably varies slightly from Honda and BMW vehicle identification numbers. If you’re curious to find out precisely what your car or truck’s VIN means there are a variety of decoders on the internet.

GALLERY: 2015 Ford Expedition

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Discuss this story on our Ford Forum

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Tesla Mulling SUV, Wagon Versions of Model III

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Tesla is considering derivative models based on its upcoming compact sedan in a strategy that could help it entice more customers.

Currently the Model III is expected to arrive sometime in 2017 following the next year’s arrival of the Model X crossover based on the Model S sedan. Tesla engineering boss Chris Porritt told Auto Express that the company wants the Model III to appeal to a wide range of customers and that it is entertaining the idea of an SUV or wagon.

Tesla is currently building its $5 billion “Gigafactory” battery facility that will produce batteries for its vehicles. The facility is meant to help the company reduce its battery costs and enable it to offer a higher volume of vehicles than it currently does. CEO Elon Musk said the company is aiming to product roughly 35,000 vehicles this year although deliveries of the Model S through the second quarter were only 14,036 according to the company’s quarterly report. The next major indicator for how the company is tracking toward its goal will arrive next week on Wednesday, November 5 when it announces third quarter results.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 

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Mercedes GLC AMG Caught Wearing Odd Socks

Mercedes GLC AMG

The upcoming Mercedes GLC AMG compact crossover was spotted frolicking in a black-and-white suit, but don’t think it’s doing a stint in prison.

This high-performance vehicle is running free out on the road, ostensibly to get some real-world miles, or kilometers as it were. This is the company’s replacement for the GLK utility vehicle. Mercedes is basically renaming this crossover to better fit in its lineup. The “C” at the end of its name connotes that it shares a basic architecture with the new C-Class sedan.

This vehicle will be offered as an AMG model, which we can see in the included spy shots. Motivation is expected to be provided by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, the latest powerplant in the AMG family. In the new C63 AMG it’s rated at 469 hp, or 503 in the up-level S variant. It’s unknown what the GLC’s engine will be rated at but we hope it’s even more!

SEE ALSO: Mercedes to Debut New Nomenclature at L.A. Auto Show

This sport-tuned crossover appears to have a nice, low stance, especially compared to the non-AMG version. It also rides on massive if mismatched wheels. Was somebody in a rush to get ready this morning? It’s safe to assume the brakes have been up-sized as well.

And that’s about all we know for now, but we’ll keep you abreast of any other Mercedes GLC AMG news we come across.

GALLERY: Mercedes GLC AMG Spy Photos

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Discuss this story on our Mercedes-Benz Forum.

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