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The News for January 19th, 2018

Greg Kachadurian January 19, 2018 The News! 53 Comments

Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Ford honors 50 years of “Bullitt” with special 2019 Mustang Bullitt

  • Ford finally debuts new Ranger, will hit production late this year

  • Chevrolet rolls out all-new Silverado with more aluminum

  • Ram mic drops with their most advanced truck ever

  • Hyundai gives Veloster an impressive makeover with an N performance model

  • Kia Forte adopts Stinger styling, more premium features

  • Volkswagen has a new Jetta headed our way

  • Jeep makes the Cherokee less ugly

  • Toyota makes the Avalon more ugly

  • Ford confirms the Shelby GT500 for 2019

  • What’s your automotive news?

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

The movie Bullitt and its chase scene that everyone knows about was released 50 years ago this October, but Ford is already kicking off the celebration with the revival of a legend. The Bullitt Mustang is back for the 2019 model year to pay tribute to McQueen’s iconic hero car.

It’s the third Mustang Bullit Ford has done and it’s also – no surprise here – the fastest yet. Based on a Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 and a six-speed manual transmission as the only option, the Bullitt benefits from performance exhaust, an Open Air Induction System, Shelby GT350 intake manifold with 87mm throttle bodies, and a new powertrain control module calibration to coax a little more power out of the Coyote. Ford claims “at least” 475 horsepower (15 more than the standard GT) and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. They also claim a new top speed of 163 mph, 8 more than the Mustang GT.

The main thing you’re buying with the Bullitt though is the gorgeous Highland Green paint which the movie car made famous, but you can also opt for Shadow Black if you want to defeat the purpose of having a Bullitt Mustang. Other features that pay tribute to the car McQueen drove are subtle chrome accents around the grille and front windows, classic torque thrust 19-inch aluminum wheels, red painted Brembo brakes (just like in the movie!), and a unique black front grille. Inside and out, the vehicle uses minimal badging; only the circular faux gas cap Bullitt logo on the rear center is visible on the exterior.

Inside, the standard leather interior features green stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console, and seats. The 2018 Mustang’s 12-inch LCD instrument cluster is standard and features a unique welcome screen when the car fires up. The only other packages that come with the car are an electronics package with various driver assistance systems, MagneRide adaptive suspension (which probably can’t handle jumping San Francisco hills very well), and leather-trimmed Recaro seats.

There’s no word on pricing for the Mustang Bullitt yet, but a similarly-equipped 2018 Mustang GT runs in the high 40s to low 50s… not that I’ve been looking or anything…

[Source: Ford]

2019 Ford Ranger

Finally, Ford brings the Ranger one step closer to its triumphant return to the US. The 2019 Ranger that we’ll be able to buy here in the truck buying capital of the world will be quite a bit different than what we were left with in 2011. They say it’s more rugged, more efficient, smarter, and more affordable (though we don’t yet know exactly what it costs).

For the American market, almost everything on this Ranger is new and designed just for us. Because Built Ford Tough™, the Ranger is built on a high-strength steel frame backbone with frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers. Ford also says they put the Ranger through the same torture testing as its big brother, the F-150, goes through.

The only powertrain they’re talking about at the moment is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine mated to a segment-first ten-speed automatic. This particular EcoBoost engine gets added durability through a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods and chain-driven dual overhead cams.

Engineers planned ahead for the off-road enthusiast market by giving it short overhangs, extra ground clearance, and an available FX4 Off-Road Package with beefier shocks, all-terrain tires, frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates, all-new Trail Control (like cruise control but for off-road), and a Terrain Management System similar to what you get in the F-150 Raptor. Both 2WD and 4WD models benefit from Dana AdvanTEK independent front and solid rear axles with an available electronic-locking rear axle (standard on FX2 and FX4).

Inside, there’s seating for up to five people, a center stack with an 8-inch touch screen for the available SYNC® 3 system, and dual LCD productivity screens for real-time vehicle, navigation, and audio information right in the gauge cluster. There’s also tons of driver assistance and connected tech available. But let’s be real, the real reason we wanted the Ranger was to buy a cheap base model to beat on.

The 2019 Ranger will enter production late this year. And in case you were wondering, yes, this is what the new Bronco will be based off of in 2020.

[Source: Ford]

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Despite the commercials where they drop a tractor load of bricks, boulders, hand grenades, and weapons-grade uranium into the bed of an F-150 and poke fun at its aluminum body for getting damaged, Chevrolet has embraced the aluminum with the all-new Silverado. Mostly.

But irony aside, the Chevy Silverado gets totally redesigned, gains more tech and convenience features, and offers a new Duramax diesel in the long list of powertrain options. Through the use or more aluminum and more clever engineering, it also sheds 450 pounds compared to the outgoing model.

One of the more noticeable changes you’ll notice when buying is the way they’ve organized the eight trim packages into three categories: High Value, High Volume, and High Feature. High Value contains your work truck and entry level specs for people who just need a good truck without all the fancy stuff. High Volume is most of what you’ll likely end up seeing – high capability in a truck with enough features to be comfortable for most people. Then there’s the High Feature trucks which are for the people who don’t really use their trucks for dirty work. Long story short, the trim levels are more tailored for each specific type of buyer they’re expecting. It should be easier to get exactly what you want from now on.

Beneath its Optimus Prime-inspired styling is a mix of steel for fixed body panels and aluminum for swinging panels (hood, doors, tailgate). The bed is still all steel, so we’ll probably still see those ridiculously dumb “real people” commercials. In fact, those commercials infuriate me so much that I’m not writing about this truck anymore. Screw those ads.

[Source: Chevrolet]

2019 Ram 1500

Not to be left out of the pickup truck frenzy at Detroit this week, Dodge Ram introduced their all-new 1500 for America’s consideration. It’s been redesigned from the ground up with a stronger and lighter frame, the most aerodynamic truck body in its class, and even a mild hybrid system, the first ever on a truck like this. It’s a big step forward for one of America’s favorite trucks, so let’s see what it’s all about.

The new Ram is built on their strongest frame yet thanks to its 98% high strength steel composition. Crash safety was also considered and improved with exclusive front splayed frame rail technology, creating a highly efficient energy absorbing structure. It’s strong enough to handle a 2,300 payload and up to 12,750 pounds on the hitch, is lighter by about 120 pounds, and has greatly improved noise, vibration, and harshness to boot.

The 1500 rides on all new suspension front and rear, comprising of a standard coil-over setup up front and a five-link coil suspension in the rear, an optional air ride suspension and adaptive dampers. That’s right, a Ram 1500 has coil-overs. For your canyon-carving needs, it also has bigger brakes and a quicker electric power steering system.

I mentioned a mild hybrid system earlier, but don’t worry, the 395 horsepower/410 lb.-ft 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is still available. But if you opt for that or the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, you get what they call an eTorque mild hybrid system in place of an alternator. It’s a belt-driven motor generator unit backed by a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seemless start/stop function, briefly lending its electric torque to the ICE’s crankshaft, and brake regeneration.

From its enhanced aerodynamic efficiency to its mild hybrid setup, they’re taking efficiency seriously. This truck is the first to employ thermal management which taps into heated engine coolant to speed warmup of the automatic transmission fluid, engine oil, and rear axle lubricant to maximize the fuel saving benefits of those fluids. They even eliminated the traditional fan blade in the engine bay and replaced it with an electric cooling fan using Pulse Width Modulation because it was more efficient. That said, we don’t yet have EPA estimates to show how well it all works.

And of course you can load it up with a big center screen with Uconnect (still one of my favorite infotainment systems out there), a powerful sound system, and plenty of mobile device charging options.

Ram pulled out all the stops for the new 1500. There were a lot of details I had to leave out for the sake of time, but just know that they put a lot of thought into it. As a truck owner myself for, like, six months now, that makes me qualified to say this’ll be a good truck and you should totally take my word for it.

Please don’t

[Source: Ram]

Hyundai Veloster

The Hyundai Veloster is getting a new chance at life with the all-new 2019 Veloster, Veloster Turbo, and Veloster N, all of which are coming to America by the end of the year. The hatchback with the quirky two--one door asymmetrical body style configuration is back with a fresh design, powertrain enhancements, and plenty of new infotainment options to keep the youth occupied. The Veloster N will also be the first of Hyundai’s new N performance line to be available in America and that’s something to be excited about.

The Veloster is intended for young and young-at-heart enthusiasts who want a little more out of their two-and-a-half-door hatchback and its more expressive design is reflective of that. Prominent features up front include a bigger grille opening and functional air curtains. The roofline is lower, the cowl point and A-pillars are further rearward, and the fender line is more “coupe-like”. Basically, it looks a little less awkward than the last one.

The standard engine is a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. It exists for those who want superior efficiency and lower emissions to go with their two-and-a-half-door hatchback. It’s available with a six-speed manual or automatic. Things get real when you opt for the Veloster Turbo with its Gamma 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. That offers 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque (or 202 lb.-ft. with an overboost function). A six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT are available. Helping to put the power down is standard Torque Vectoring Control on all Velosters and a quicker steering rack.

Then there’s the Veloster N, the Veloster that prioritizes fun over everything else. It builds upon the sportier-looking Veloster with an N-specific front fascia, rear spoiler and diffuser, high-flow dual exhaust, and red exterior accents. It rides on your choice of 18″ wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires or 19″ alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, direct-injected turbocharged four-banger with 275 horsepower and up to 260 lb.-ft. of torque on tap. Higher than normal engine compression for a turbo engine (9.5:1), a two-stage induction system, and an intercooler that’s isolated from the condenser and radiator help out in the Veloster N’s quest for fun. It appears a six-speed manual is the only option and even that’s been beefed up for the extra load and abuse it’s sure to get.

The Veloster N gets a fully reworked suspension as well with added emphasis on stability and back. Too many details in this area to talk about, but trust me, it’s been thoroughly upgraded. Braking power is provided by 13.6-inch performance rotors on the front axle and 12.4-inch rotors on the rear. Could it be, we’re finally getting a good performance hatchback from Hyundai?

We’ll find out when it launches in North America late this year. The standard Veloster and Veloster Turbo go on sale Q2 this year.

[Source: Hyundai]

BLIPS

Kia is following industry trends and trying to make the all-new Forte a more premium compact sedan. That starts with a new design that’s inspired by the stunning Stinger and continues inside where a new eight-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now standard equipment in a cabin they’ve worked to make more comfortable. Efficiency has been improved by a new four-banger with Atkinson Cycle tech and a cooled EGR system, which they say is normally used on hybrids. It also has a new in-house Intelligent Variable Transmission, which is basically Kia’s own CVT that is supposed to not suck with things like a chain-type belt and quieter operation. As a result, Kia estimates a combined 35 mpg. The Kia Forte arrives later this year.

[Source: Kia]

Volkswagen is bringing an all-new Jetta to our shores in Q2 this year and it’s got everything you’d expect. A controversial new face, “coupe-like proportions, a 1.4-liter TSI four-banger with a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto attached to it, standard full LED lighting, loads of available safety and convenience features, and a starting price of just $18,545. Yep, it’s a Jetta. Add a few inches and you also got a new Passat.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Remember the Jeep Cherokee? It’s like that, but less ugly.

[Source: Jeep]

Remember the Toyota Avalon? It’s like that, but really ugly.

[Source: Toyota]

Remember the Shelby GT500? Ford just confirmed they’re bringing it back with 700+ horsepower in what appears to be a more track-focused package. The most extreme Mustang ever returns next year.

[Source: Ford]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2018 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]

  • GTXcellent

    That Avalon isn’t real is it? It’s got to be some Foose design or a SEMA nightmare creation right? Right?

    • Fuhrman16

      Agreed. There is absolutely nothing about that design that is cohesive. It’s just a mess of lines and angles that don’t work together. Are there really people who think this looks good?

    • neight428

      I tend to get used to designs like this after a while and they don’t seem so bad. Not sure if this one is a bridge too far in that regard. But it’s an Avalon, you’re not supposed to care about it at all as long as it remains the Big Toyota Sedan…you know, the one Maude from the bridge club had. Nice sized trunk, she got her grandson one of those big teddy bears from Costco and it fit in there. I’ll see Maude tomorrow and get the salesman’s name.

      • Sjalabais

        Brilliant description. Yet as I have understood, this design is intended to scare Maude away and rather attract Faith to buy one instead of an SUV?

    • Citric

      It looks like they forgot to finish the front end and are hoping nobody notices.

      • outback_ute

        Maybe they really don’t like stone chips?

    • Rudy™

      Oh it’s real, alright. Has that same fugly styling trend other Toyotas have had in recent years. I don’t see what they find so attractive in a huge black gash for a front grille. If you cover up the bottom half of the front end, it really could be an attractive car! Given the type of consumer who buys these types of cars (they typically skew older), I don’t get where Toyota was going with this one…

  • Citric

    My automotive news is, given that my old Hyundai Elantra GT was officially killed by a misguided pizza boy, I went ahead and bought another, except this one is the new style. Perhaps it was the emotion of the event – I did deliberately pick the vehicle that drove most like the car that the idiot ruined – but it was the one I liked best, stereo design and all.

    I’m sure, given the internet, there will be plenty of people who think I should have bought something else but they’re all wrong.

    • Maymar

      Well, duh – you totally coulda bought this Hyundai Pony that’s been going around the internets! Why wouldn’t you?

  • Sjalabais

    My Honda Stream has a 70% chance of not passing tech inspection, at least in its first try. So I have slowly started the pleasurable process of scouring our local Craigslist equivalent. It’s not that easy though. I need minimum 6 seats, it should be a reliable, yet ridiculously cheap vehicle, and I’d rather not meet another one of the same flavour in traffic. Oddly, that puts Honda up top again:

    There’s only 2 Elements for sale in the country (never originally sold here), both have automatics and only four seats. If it weren’t for that, this would be perfect. The FR-V is pretty neat, two rows à three seats, always a boot, and favourable reviews and reliability. Same engine as the Stream – I’d like more horses though – and probably the same potential Honda issues with brakes. A Previa is at the top of the pile, but they are expensive. A Prius+ might work, but these have a reputation to drive like a dishwasher. Lots of taxi returns with very high mileages – anyone here having experiences with that?

    Completely unrelated; remember the Daewoo Nexia (Pontiac LeMans/Opel Kadett) still being made in Uzbekistan? They seem to have a fan club…ridiculous sticker store with the most ridiculous sticker:

    • Alff

      Sounds like you need an old Suburban.

      • Sjalabais

        I wouldn’t be entirely opposed if eco taxes wouldn’t affect prices so much…also, gas is about 7-8 $/gallon, too. Divide by 8 for US$:

        • Alff

          Yes, my suggestion was tongue in cheek given your location. Were you in the U.S. it might be a practical choice.

    • Maymar

      From what I know, a pretty decent number of the Prius V’s (I assume that’s the Prius+ for you – the big station wagony one?) in my company’s fleet get sold into taxi duty (as per our remarketing manager), so that checks out. Decent space, reliable, and low running costs make sense for that purpose.

    • You didn’t mention the Mazda5. That would be at the top of my list.

      • Sjalabais

        It’s a real contender, but around here, these have an awful reputation for rust. Some of them didn’t get the seal of approval in their very first tech inspection at three years old…which is reminiscient of the 70s. So I have to figure out what model years are workable – assuming they fixed preservation and paint issues – and what engines are to live with. Do you have one of these?

        • I do not, but I do have a 2005 Mazda3 5 door which is the platform that the Mazda5 is based on. I can, unfortunately, confirm that Mazdas of that vintage are prone to serious rust. Mazda replaced one of my doors under the 5 year rust through warranty and I think they should have done more. Now I have multiple large-ish rust holes in each rear quarter, both in front and behind the rear wheels. It reminds me of American cars of the 70s, it’s terrible. But, it’s been mechanically very reliable (it’s closing in on 200K miles) and remains very fun to drive, when I get to drive it (it’s been handed down to my daughter.) I certainly hope that Mazda has corrected their rust issues, but I have no personal experience with newer ones.

        • Also, I’m curious, if it fails tech inspection at 3 years old for rust, is Mazda on the hook for the repairs?

          • Sjalabais

            Definitely, the same 5 year warranty against rust applies, and I think they even extended it in an attempt to save their reputation. But now I see 2007 models with really rusty wheel arches, and in our climate, there’s nothing worse. An old Volvo’s 2mm sheet metal may take a while to rust through, but the soda can metal on Japanese cars tends to disappear within a season or two once attacked and untreated.

            What engine do you have in the 3? The 5’s around here often sport tiny diesel engines with ~110-120hp. I’d really like to go up in power, too.

            • In the US the 5 door was only available in S or SP23 trim (I’m not sure the difference) with the 160 HP 2.3 at the time. The sedans could be had in i trim with the 140 HP 2.0. Mine has the 5 speed stick, still running the factory clutch at 195K+ miles.

  • Fred

    I really like the new Bullitt Mustang. The only thing I’d change is the blue (assumed) led interior lighting to another color, like green, or my preferred red. I probably won’t like the price either.

    • Citric

      I think the Mustang has led lighting that you can change to any color you feel like. I know it used to, i remember changing it to pink in the last one i was in because it was entertaining.

      • Fred

        Last night I went to Ford’s configurator and optioned up a Mustang GT with what I thought the Bullitt would use. Added $5000 and came up with $50,000. On Barrett-Jackson they auctioned the #1 Bullitt with a starting price of $50,000. So I’m thinking the msrp is going to be around there, which means regardless of the color of those leds, I’ll be driving my Acura wagon around for a few more years.

  • Alff

    Am I the only one who lacks passion for almost any new vehicle? I feel like my inner “car guy”, once a large chunk of my personality, is dying away.

    • Fuhrman16

      No, you’re not the only one. It seems to be the “better” new cars become, the more they seem to lose that undefinable characteristic that caused me to fall in love with cars in the first place. Coupled with the ever increasingly messy direction that automotive design is going, I look forward to less and less vehicles that are being debut.

    • I can’t join you on this one. I don’t lack passion for almost any new vehicle; I instead lack passion for absolutely any new vehicle.

    • kogashiwa

      In my case it’s because I have fully despaired of ever owning anything new that’s any more exciting than a Mazda 3, given the heart attack prices on even the most “entry level” performance cars.

      (Okay, I still kid myself that I might get a Mustang…)

    • kogashiwa

      Pardon the second reply but … it has to do with why I want to start shooting film again. When I started photography, my camera had controls for aperture and shutter speed and focus, all manual (except my X-370 was fancy enough to have aperture priority auto) and that was all, and that’s all you need to make good art with a camera. And if you did, you could take full credit. Now my fairly modest Fuji mirrorless has so many modes and menu options I don’t even know what it all does and I’m always worried I should be using some feature that I’m not familiar with. And if I get a good picture, apart from the composition it’s more of an accident than the old film camera ever was, or at least it feels that way.

      I want my camera and my car to be fully under my control, with no distractions.

      Apart from maybe Morgan who even does that anymore?

      • dean bigglesworth

        Dacia, i suppose.. Only the obligatory ESP etc but I think you can still get a Sandero with all crank windows, unpainted bumpers, no AC or radio.

        As for film, go for it. I haven’t shot anything but b&w film for a a while, and developed myself. Mostly 1:100 Rodinal stand develoment. Fun and cheap with nice results. Only digital camera I have left is the Ricoh GXR with the “50mm” and m-mount modules, use that for “scanning” the negatives. Well, some of them.

        I look at screens all day.. It’s relaxing using something with no screen, or even no electronics or batteries whatsoever in the rangefinders. So there’s no LEDs or beeps or boops or wWWwwWzzZZT. The SLR has a moving needle exposure meter but that’s it. Well the CL has too, but the meter is broken so I haven’t even bothered putting batteries in it.

        My only camera as a kid was a Minolta Memory Maker, it was basically one step up from a disposable camera. Only thing you could control was composition and focus(either 1.5m or infinity).

    • Rudy™

      For me, part of it is the cost. The problem is, the longevity and reliability of used cars has increased to the point where I get a lot more for my money if I stick to buying something that is a few years old. My dad went through untold GMs over the years that would be junk yard ready by 80,000 miles/8 years old. Nowadays, cars are just broken in by that point.

      And I also can’t help but think new cars are just way too loaded up with tech. I drove a 2017 Civic EX-T in Salt Lake City last year for a day–had a blast, it was a great car! But it took me some time to figure out where everything was–climate, radio (how to turn it off), even changing the dashboard display. Go back 10 years or more, and you could sit in just about any car out there, turn the key and drive off without having to figure all of this out. I hate to think what my next CR-V or RDX is going to be like in several years when I’m ready to upgrade (by then, I will be able to afford a 2018 model). Why can’t cars just be simple again? All that tech seems like it’s draining away my desire to own a newer guy (and I’m as “techie/nerdy” as a person can get!).

    • Harry Callahan

      Good News! The Dacia Sandero might be the perfect car for you!

    • Harry Callahan

      Seems everywhere I look, new cars have more power, more features, better economy, better quality….than ever before. Are you unmoved by the styling….or?

      • Alff

        I’m sure styling has a lot to do with it. Everyone’s sedan looks like a flame-surfaced suppository. Perhaps hegemony is one reason that sedan sales are slumping … except everyone’s trucklet looks largely the same too.

  • ptschett

    Where have I seen the Avalon’s face before? …aha!

    • Rudy™

      This, like the Avalon’s front end, cannot be unseen…

  • neight428

    I’ve enjoyed by big ol’ F150, but downsizing makes sense to me from time to time. It’s size is alternately it’s biggest and most glaring minus, kind of depends on what you’re doing that day. I think I’ll wait until late 2019 (wishing hopefully) when a new Bronco is on Ford lots and drive a nice-ish trim version of both it and the Ranger. Supposing I make it that long before talking myself into something else.

  • I_Borgward

    As of this week, my Volvo 240 Turbo wagon project is on the road! I’ve been slaving away over the last year and half making it into a nice street car, with all-new brakes, suspension and tires and lots of attention to the drivetrain and fussing over electrical systems. I lucked out, the motor and turbo both seem to be in great shape. Now I’m going through the shakedown period. So far, so good, only a few minor bugs thus far.

    This is my first car with forced induction, so I indulged in a tank of good premium and have been dipping in to the boost. It’s as addictive as I suspected it would be. While no dragster off the line, it definitely moves out when you stretch its legs and is surprisingly well behaved.

    I’d have to say this beast is quite happy to be alive again!
    .

    • Sjalabais

      Congrats! Does the license plate refer to something?

      • I_Borgward

        Thanks! No, the plate was subjected to a just a bit of photo editing to obscure the numbers. I was part way through and decided it was kind of a silly exercise, so I left the two center characters.

        Also, I live in a state where originally-issued plates stay with the car permanently (or until the owner decides to change them). Mine are both quite worn and faded, which, of course, adds a certain provenance and coolness factor.

    • Vairship

      Congratulations!

  • JayP

    New tires for the Vic.
    Said goodbye to the old Indy 500’s in cloud of smoke.

  • Jofes2

    This picture appeared in my news regarding some story in Zimbabwe, but I couldn’t for my life figure out what that boxy white car in the background is. Anyone here got a clue?

    • Rover 1

      Some variant of the U11 Nissan Sentra.

    • Rover 1

      Some variant of the U11 Nissan Sentra

  • Smaglik

    Somewhat eventful week on my end of things. I fixed a coolant leak in the m3. It was relatively minor, just a seal in a very accessible hose from the top of the radiator to the head. My x3 needs a new driveshaft, as the rear u joint is shot. For those of you that are following, we’re pretty sure this was causing the magic fingers sensation at highway speed, and not the tires, but I’ll know for certain next weekend after the swap happens.

    On another note, I’ve started thinking about the end game for the X3. My 5 year ownership represents the longest car relationship I’ve had since my 94 accord, when finances dictated an LTR. I had a low level vibration from the rear end at low speeds for longer than I can remember, but I’m pretty sure that towing trailers full of green wood hastened the u joint’s exit. It’s also getting to that point where it seems to need something expensive fairly often. So, I’m seriously considering stepping into a truck, or truck-based SUV that will have the towing capacity I want. The j200 land cruisers really have my eye, but I’d need to sell another vehicle along with the x3 to be able to step into one of those (08, 09, 10 range). I’m not set on this, so, I too have started that pleasurable process of trolling ads for ideas…

  • Victor

    Thought this was kind of neat !

    • Rudy™

      Old school trick. Disassemble the Beetle, then reassemble it inside of a classroom. Or on the roof of the gymnasium. ;o)

  • JayP

    The Forte looks like what the Jetta should have been.
    The Jetta looks what the Corolla should be.
    What a world.

    • outback_ute

      Recent VW front ends really miss the mark for me, incredibly bland.

      • you could always opt for the Toyota….Speaking of Toyota et al, when did we get to the place where mixing ugly without utility was deemed ok. They built a car with a scary face that mostly isn’t even a real opening.

        • outback_ute

          If you painted the black parts orange, the Avalon would look like it was sucking on an orange slice

      • Sjalabais

        I have found myself finding this blandness very attractive. Refreshing and confident regarding the competition’s extravagance. Also, I am a big fan of East Asian baroque design, and today nobody does that better than VW. Still not buying one.

  • Harry Callahan

    I see crystal meth is being distributed at the Toyota City design center.

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