2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ: The Extreme is Coming

By Gino Dorazio on

The Lamborghini Aventador has had an interesting life.  It’s aging well, and with continued variations from Lamborghini, the car manages to stay fresh.

While the car gets more insane, it’s timeline is a bit confusing.  Usually in Lambo fashion, the SV has been the craziest iteration of their V12 cars.

That hasn’t been the case with the Aventador.  Luckily for us.

Lamborghini is coming out with the latest and apparently last Aventador in 2019.  This car will be called the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (J for Jota).

With that in mind, let’s look at this car and what to expect from the SVJ.

The Aventador’s:

The Lamborghini Aventador started life in 2012 as the LP-700 and it really shook the world.

I remember when the original Aventador was being produced, people were skeptical if Lamborghini would stick to the formula of big V12 super cars.

With all of the green-thumbs out there, it’s getting harder and harder for companies like Lamborghini to produce V12 engines as to keep up with emissions standards.

We see a lot of companies like AMG recently saying they won’t make anymore V12’s full stop.

It’s sad to see, but it makes sense.  In AMG‘s case their V8’s are in some cases more powerful than the V12’s they produce.

But the Lamborghini V12 is a very special thing.  It would be a mortal sin to change that formula in a lot of peoples eyes, including my own.

Anyway, the original Aventador was received pretty well.  And it is still a complete monster.  Producing 700 horsepower to all four wheels, the 6.5 L V12 has one of the most unmistakable sounds in the automotive industry.

After the original Aventador was released to the public, Lamborghini got to work on the roadster version of the car which was released in 2013.

In 2015, Lamborghini surprised us with the extreme SV.  This car packed 740 HP and lost 110 pounds off of the original Aventador.  Lighter and more power is the key.

The improved aerodynamics of the SV improved down force by an impressive 180% and handling was improved with new steering and magnetic ride control.

Shortly after the SV, Lamborghini released the SV Roadster for some open-top madness.

That’s usually where things would stop for Lamborghini, but not this time.

After the SV Roadster, Lamborghini released the Aventador S, which is a 740 HP and had some mechanical upgrades to the car to liven things up as the car heads out of production.

Sprinkled in between all of these cars are different special editions of the Aventador.  A common practice for car companies.

Some of those special editions included the Pirelli Edition, Miura Edition and Anniversario.

Beyond those editions, Lamborghini used the Aventador as the chassis work for their extreme cars like the Veneno, Centenario and their roadster variants.

That’s every Aventador pretty much.  There was a lot of them.  Now for the newest and most likely last and most likely most extreme Aventador, the SVJ.

Aventador SVJ:

I remember when the Aventador J concept was released, I was really excited to see if Lamborghini would release it.  It’s an insane version of the Aventador; A type of Barchetta.

But, they never did so I think this new SVJ will be as close as we get to it (or predictably the roadster version of it).

The “J” stands for “Jota” which is the low-volume performance upgrade given to the Miura SV and the Diablo.

We assume that the SVJ is made not only because the ever-thirst of their crazy supercar owners, but I we also think that because the Huracan Performante is definitely a better track machine than the Aventador S/SV and it’s not right to have the range-topping machine being beaten by the understudy.

Making the SVJ the most extreme car in Lambo’s lineup just makes sense.

Luckily, Lamborghini will most likely keep the V12 in all of its 6.5 L glory.  No turbo-chargers or smaller cylinder count to worry about from the big lambo.

We predict that the new Lamborghini Aventador SVJ will mostly likely get a small horsepower boost close to 800.

The styling of the car is largely unknown, but even the mule we’ve seen driving around is just insane.

We see added wings, Performante like exhaust outlets and a completely reworked front end as well as some potential center-lock wheels.   Aerodynamics will be much different than the standard Aventador by the looks of things as well.

 

Sum It Up:

Not much else is known about the new Aventador SVJ.  We do believe that the car will be for sale in 2019, but by the time we know it is, the car is likely to be sold out.  In typical new-supercar fashion.

I do suspect that this new car will feature Lamborghini’s ALA aerodynamic system that we see on the Performante as well.  Maybe in a heavily re-worked fashion, but an application of the clever system nonetheless.

I look forward to more info on the car as it comes out.  Expect a hefty price tag of around $700,000.

 

TVR Is Back And Means Business: Entering LMP1

By Gino Dorazio on

The big story that broke recently is that TVR, with partnership of Rebellion LMP1, is entering LMP1 racing.

This blew my mind because it seems like TVR just came back with the new Griffith.  And it seems recent that TVR brought out the Sagaris.

After this latest announcement, it looks like TVR really means business.  TVR LMP1 could be something very crazy.

A Brief History of TVR:

TVR has had a very interesting life time.  In short, it’s a proud British sports car maker.  A particularly desirable breed.

TVR began life in 1946 as Trevcar Motors in Blackpool, England as a car repair shop.  The next year it was named TVR Engineering.

Only a couple years later, TVR made their first original car called the TVR One.  This is a story I admire, because the original founders of TVR must have really loved cars and aspired for greatness.

To go from owning a shop to building an original car is just admirable.  Especially in a short few years.

In 1962 after expensive racing programs and low sales, TVR faced financial troubles but was saved by their associate Grantura Engineering.

The next year, the TVR made their first Griffith which was named after their U.S.A importer Jack Griffith.  The car was a hit, but importing to the US was a struggle and made sale here very difficult.

In the golden era of racing (’65-’68) TVR was controlled by Martin Lilley to stabilize the company and multiple race wins help TVR to launch the new Tuscan and Vixen.

The 1970’s gave way to TVR moving to a larger facility and rose up the M-Series.

Ownership of TVR changed hands a few more times before it was recently bought up by Consortium entrepreneur Les Edgar and the new Griffith was born with the help of Cosworth and designer Gordon Murray.

TVR has had a history of new ownership and sometimes dangerous cars.  But TVR wouldn’t be TVR without those…hiccups.

The New Griffith:

I’m happy that TVR made the Griffith as it is.  The car has a proper V8 and a proper manual transmission.  Exactly what you’d expect from a proper TVR.

It’s the first road car since the company was bought out by Les.

The new car has every bit of TVR DNA in it.  The long hood (or bonnet), side exit exhaust and sloped roof.  It’s a lovely thing.  The Griffith isn’t as visually loud as the recent Sagaris which looks and has a name like a Godzilla charactor, but it certainly looks like a TVR.

Power is provided by a Cosworth tuned 5.0 L V8 engine from the Ford Mustang to produce 500 horsepower in a car that only weights 2,755 pounds.

Zero to 100 miles per hour is done in six seconds.  Very impressive.  Even more so with a manual transmission.

I can’t stress enough how rare this sort of thing is in today’s world.  A GT car with a front engine, manual transmission, naturally aspirated V8 and the soul of a true sports car.

In a modern world where everyone goes nuts over the latest AA battery, this is refreshing and TVR is certainly the right place to egg this on.

The interior of the TVR Griffith is fantastic, too.  It’s a focused place that doesn’t look like many creature comforts were given up to achieve its performance figures.

I love it.

TVR LMP1:

The recent release of the Griffith gave way to a host of optimism at TVR.

I didn’t expect an LMP1 car, though.  But I’m happy it is happening.

It’s been 15 years since TVR was on the race track, and with the help of Rebellion TVR will make a proper come back.

TVR also makes note that working with Rebellion will help their technology in racing trickle down into their new road cars.  I hope this happens too.

There isn’t a whole lot of information on the new LMP car but the thought of it is just exciting.

The new prototype from Rebellion will also race at all WEC races during the season.  This will surely draw in a certain group of fans from England.

This will help with the fact that so many manufactures like Toyota and Porsche recently left the racing series.  LMP1 just got so expensive to be in.  Many who were in the LMP1 class opted for Formula E, as the cost of being in LMP1 got so close to the cost of running a full-scale F1 team.

This sort of thing seems to be pretty common in racing.  Incredible racing series with awesome competitors get suffocated by regulations and eventually become so expensive (because of said regulations) that other , cheaper forms of racing make more sense.

Which makes it even weirder that TVR and Rebellion chose the class to participate in.

 Sum It Up:

TVR is certainly on a mission.  They’re taking an interesting course in my opinion, but there’s no doubt that TVR will be making another footprint in car culture.

I do hope that the Griffith is the first of many future cars from TVR.  I do also hope that TVR and Rebellion have great success in their new racing adventure.

This coming racing season and the subsequent Le Mans will be a true spectacle, assuming all goes well.

The Porsche 917 – The Motorsport Takeover

By Gino Dorazio on

There’s always a place in the history books for cars that win Le Mans.  They’re written about for years and years, like the astonishing Porsche 917.

The car won Le Mans overall in 1970 and 1971, but that’s a fraction of the story.

History of The 917:

The original 917 was displayed properly at the Geneva Motor show on March 12th, 1969.

The car was built with a light weight spaceframe that was permanently pressurized with gas to detect cracks in the welding.  Clever stuff.

Power came form a 4.5 L flat 12 engine which was essentially two 2.25 L flat sixes combined.  It was also air-cooled in proper Porsche fashion.

The massive engine took up a load of space obviously, so the drivers position is fixed so far forward that the drivers feet are actually in front of the front axle.

Materials ranged from balsa wood to different weaves of titanium.  It was revolutionary in some places and not so much in others.

The original car was very unstable at high speeds and used most of the road available toward the top end.

In early years, many drivers preferred the 908 LH to the early 917.  Even in races the older 908 placed higher and got better times around circuits.

Things began to change after the Le Mans 1969, though.

Racing History of the Porsche 917:

At the 24 Hour of Le Mans in 1969, Porsche 917’s were the fastest cars in practice sessions.  But the poor handling of the car and inexperience of a gentleman-driver named John Woolfe resulted in a crash that ended up taking the life of the driver.

The race continued and a couple of 917’s became the victims of engineering faults like oil leaks and broken gear boxes.

By the end of the season, Porsche spent more time developing the 917 and left races to privateers.   Interestingly enough, the 917 owned by a private team won the 1000 KM Zeltweg race.

After the poor results in 1970, Porsche signed a deal with Gulf, which would help them with development and be Porsche’s official team.

After hours of development, the chief engineer John Horsman noticed how gnats were being smashed against the car.  It revealed a story about the airflow of the car.

The tail of the car was mostly clean.  Which meant that airflow wasn’t going over the tail of the car.

After seeing that no air was getting to the tail, Porsche’s race team made a make-shift shorter tail and fixed it to the car.  This change produced some much-needed down force on the car which helped plant it into the ground.

This new version of the 917 was called the 917 K.

In addition to the Gulf team, Porsche was also supporting the family-owned Salzburg team as well as the Martini Racing team to really increase their chances of winning.

At the same time, a 917 LH was developed with a longer tail for low drag specifically for the 24 Hour Le Mans.  It also featured more down force than the previous car before the short tail was developed.

The LH proved to be unreliable at long distance races but was fantastic in short races.

With that being the case, Porsche now had the short tail 917 for circuit racing and the 917 LH for long circuits like Le Mans.

Porsche went on to win the 1970 Le Mans overall in a rainy finish.

Toward the end of the 1970 racing season, Ferrari built the 512M to compete with the Porsche’s.  They were just as fast, but like the early 917’s, they suffered from reliability issues.

By the end of the 1970 racing season, the Porsche’s dominated the championships and most of the races.  The John Wyer and Porsche Salzburg racing teams have won every single race except Sebring, which was won by Ferrari.

Porsche’s racing teams used 917K’s and 908’s during the season, and the 917K’s won 7 of the 8 races it was entered in.  Quite the ratio.

1971:

The 1971 racing season was dominated by Gulf-Wyer and Martini Racing teams and their 917/908’s.  The only worthy opponent that season came from the likes of Roger Penske and his heavily modified 512S.

That 512S was built byond the spec of the 512M’s, and had an aviation-inspired refueling system among many other upgrades.

The car was very impressive.  It was tuned by a Can-Am specialist (Traco) and was able to deliver over 600 HP.

Unsurprisingly, this care wasn’t backed by Ferrari.  I can imagine it was because Ferrari didn’t see the car as a true Ferrari or something…They’re like that.

The car got on pole position for the 24 Hour of Daytona and finished third even with an almost hour-long pit stop after a crash.

Eventually in the season, the Targa Florio, 512M and Alfa Romeo T33/3 put the pressure on Porsche and more research and development was put into play.

The 917’s were modified with wings and other aerodynamic upgrades which gave birth to the famous 917/20 “Pink Pig”.  The car was very fast and set great lap times but however, the car was harder on the brakes and crashed during testing when they failed.

The 1971 Le Mans was won by an older 917K and currently has the lap record at Le Mans.  The track has been updated thoroughly since then, which explains why it still stands.

Sum It Up:

The Porsche 917 and its variants have really carved their name into racing history.  The cars have went through vigorous testing and development and their ups and downs.

These cars are gorgeous and a piece of automotive history.  I think that any proper gear head or petrol head (depending where you live) should be able to admire and appreciate.

A Case Study On The SUV Boom: Are Sedans Dying?

By Gino Dorazio on

I’ve talked a lot about the boom of the SUV market in a lot of articles recently.

Everyone from Ford to Rolls-Royce and (unfortunately) Lamborghini are jumping on the train to relatively fast money.

This massive boom of SUV sales has pushed companies to make vehicles that are our of their usual formula.

I’m personally not a fan of all of this, but I’ll go into that later.

But the question is: Is the sedan dying?  I don’t think so.

I remember back in 2008 and 2009, we kept hearing how the SUV and gas guzzlers were going the way of the Dodo bird.  They made no sense and no one needed the space.  I mean, gas was $5 per gallon at that point.

The thought was that the new way of the world was Smart cars and small sedans.

Well just like with most things, times completely changed 10 years later.  Now, people are talking about how the sedan is going away; slowly dying.

Sedans Aren’t Going Anywhere:

I really, really don’t think that sedans are going anywhere.  Perhaps SUV’s will certainly take over automakers lineups, but to get rid of sedans?  No.

There will always (at least for the foreseeable future) be people who want a sports sedan.  Or any sedan for that matter.  I can’t see it dying out any time soon.

The sedan market, even if it’s slowing down, just won’t go any where.

There are plenty of people who like sitting lower and some even enjoy the driving experience.

Now that’s a real rarity: enjoying the driving experience.  Simply having fun driving an entertaining car has become almost taboo.

Most people don’t care what a car drives like which leads them down the road of SUV’s in some cases (most of the time they like having the space of an SUV).

But the car made for the sake of fun driving, even as a daily driver, is getting rare.

The fact that most automotive companies are making more and more small luxury SUV’s like the new Lexus UX, Cadillac XT4 and BMW X2 (lots of X’s) and less sporty sedans.  They’re virtually disappearing.

But even if manufactures avoid really pouring money into sedans I don’t think they’ll axe them all together.  I think that’s just extreme.

The closest we’ll get to axing sedans is like what Mitsubishi has done with the new Eclipse Cross.  Be warned: it’s horrible.

If you remember the Mitsubishi Eclipse (a great sports coupe) you’ll know how wonderful it was that a brand offered a great sports car for relatively low amounts of money.

But Mitsubishi effectively killed off the Eclipse years ago.  Only to have it replaced recently with something that just boggles my mind.

Mitsubishi created something called the Eclipse Cross, which is an SUV of the same name of the previous sports car.

I see this happening to possibly other sedans out there.  It’s a painful death.  But not every brand is going to fall in line, here.

The Rise of the SUV:

In 2017, SUV’s across all nameplates held 42% of all vehicle sales.  Up from the 2016 number of 39.5%.

Why are SUV’s so popular?

I think that gas prices have a big to do with it.  Back in 2009 when the price of gas was astronomically high per gallon, SUV’s slumped off.

Now that the price of gas is much lower, SUV sales have massively increased.

On top of that, the efficiency of SUV’s in general has gotten very good.

This means that SUV’s (especially small ones) are less limited in the world.  More accessible.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that gas prices, even with massive improvements in tech, directly impact SUV sales.

People, especially in America, also like to sit high (generally) and have plenty of room to move about it (also generally).

All those reasons combined with the fact that less and less people care about what they drive all attribute to the rise of the SUV.

Life Is Short – Enjoy What You Drive:

I guess I’m in the small amount of people who say you should enjoy what you drive, and it should thoroughly entertain you.

There are even studies saying that driving exciting cars are good for your health if you don’t want to take my word for it.

I think that the automobile is a fantastic thing.  I think that no matter who you are, you should love what you drive.  You should absolutely pick a car or even an SUV that you love in some way before you pick something just to drive from A-B with.  Life is so much better than that.

While there are multiple reasons why people would get an SUV and it’s certainly a multi-varied equation, I don’t think it’d be wise to simply get an SUV because everyone else is.

Do yourself a favor and drive something awesome.  Awesome doesn’t mean expensive, either.

If your family requires an SUV, go ahead and save up for a Sunday car.  A fun car.

There is little else as fun as driving something that is entertaining to drive.  It doesn’t have to be fast, it doesn’t have to be flashy, but you should enjoy it.

Don’t be like everyone else in their Honda CR-V’s (though those are great SUV’s).  Get that 1999 Mazda Miata and enjoy the massive smile on your face.

The Legend of Group C Racing

By Gino Dorazio on

I’ve taken a recent liking to Group C racing of the past.  The Sauber – Mercedes C9, C9 LM and C11 really impressed me initially.

Then I found the Porsche 962, 917, Aston Martin AMR1, Jaguar XJR-9 and all the way to of course the Mazda MXR-01 (modified from Jaguar).

This classic racing intrigued me because of just how brutal the cars were…and still are.

Top speeds of 240+ MPH, 10,000+ pounds of downforce at 200 MPH (I’m not kidding) and some of the most gorgeous designs and sounds.  That’s how I’d sum up Group C cars.

It made me wonder why this insane series of racing died.  The Group C races had nearly the same following as Formula One at the time and It lasted through the 80’s and 90’s, so I had to find out.

Why They Were Insane:

Group C cars had some insane stats, like I said before.   The fasted recorded Group C (WM- Peugeot) car traveled at 252 MPH down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans during the qualifying laps in 1988.  Insane.

The general rule early on for Group C was one of fuel consumption.  Basically, the cars could have anything in terms of engine as long as it lasted through the specified distance within the number of fuel fill-ups.

That meant massive Mercedes V8’s, Jaguar V12’s and Mazda rotary engines.  It was nuts.

Power output ranged from 600 – 800 HP in most cases and that meant that with insanely low drag, 0-60 was done under 3 seconds.  Commonly around 2.5 seconds.  Which is just insane, even by today’s standards.  Imagine being catapulted that quickly and onto 240 MPH with 80’s standards of safety and 10,000 pounds of down force.

A Group C car actually holds the current, and unbeatable, Nurburgring track time of 6:11.  Six minutes and eleven seconds.

This was achieved by a Porsche 956 driven by Stefan Bellof in 1983.

The cars had low drag, low weight and massive power with little restriction.

That was a simple combination that made Group C some of the most insane racing ever.

One of the most insane cars was the Toyota TS010 which featured a 50-valve V10 engine that revved at 13,000 freakin’ RPM.  13,000.

The car cornered so hard with so much grip that one of the test drivers cracked two ribs.  That’s proper racing.

What Happened to Group C:

Group C racing began from when two separate groups came together to form it.  The series ran first on (fittingly) Le Mans and developed a lot of healthy competition and more importantly for the series, a lot of spectators.

After years of triumph and legendary cars, what happened?

Well in short, the FIA happened.  As it usually does.

A lot of Motorsport fans are upset with the FIA for many reasons as an organization, and killing off Group C is one of my personal grievances.

After many successful years of racing in Group C, FIA decided it needed some new regulations.

And everyone knows with more rules, comes less fun.

This isn’t just a tragedy of Group C, but when the group ended so did the entire World Sportscar Championship.

Even worse, is that the WSC has been running since 1953 before its unfortunate end in 1992.

The surface problem was that there just wasn’t enough cars running in the series to justify the next season.  A sad and cold kind of ending.

The regulation change made it so teams were forced to use Formula 1-spec engines (3.5 L) and use Formula 1 type bodies which made things insanely expensive to run.

That coupled with the fact that Formula obviously had more exposure, more money to be made and better viewership.  So the obvious choice was for teams to ditch series’ like Group C and the like for Formula One.

The aim to bring more manufactures to F1 which in the end totally worked.  Mercedes went in, Jaguar went in, Toyota went in but Mercedes was the only one to enjoy some true success.

The people who commissioned the change were the ones who benefited most, as they collected F1’s advertising and viewership cash.

There’s an argument that can be had that WSC needed some changes to keep it interesting for spectators.  There were a couple of manufactures that were leading races constantly and things got predictable which made for slightly more boring racing.

While changes were needed to some extent, I don’t think the whole thing was handled as smoothly as it could have been.  Clearly.  The whole thing died.

Sum It Up:

It’s just sad that the whole thing passed.  But it’s like they tell you at funerals: celebrate the life and be happy with the memories.

I still think it’s amazing that there was a time in the relatively distant past that we had race cars pushing 200 MPH in turns, top speeds of 250+ and 10,000 pounds of down force past 200 MPH.  Utterly insane.

I think that Group C and Can-Am hold special places in the Motorsport heart.  Both represented incredible competition and what can be done with low regulations and just the passion of racing.

With the way things are going with FIA, it’s hard to imagine anything like Group C being a thing again.  The current LMP1 cars are nuts in their own right, but not anywhere near as radical as Group C cars.

LMP cars, which effectively took the place of Group C and other classes of racing are really the last remnants of these past greats.

Great racing will always have various forms.  But they need to be properly taken care of before the FIA destroys them.   It’s a shame.

Luckily you can still watch classic racing from Group C unfold these days with the different car clubs and whatnot that head to circuits like SPA.  Enjoy the example below.

 

 

2018 Ford Expedition: Is The Navigator Worth It?

By Gino Dorazio on

The Ford Expedition has clung on for dear life for many years.  It’s been a massive SUV that rubs its side against the more premium Lincoln Navigator in terms of price.

Each time either vehicle is updated, its cousin gets updated.  They share chassis and many other features.

The Expedition isn’t really a volume-seller for Ford.  Just like the Navigator, the Expedition is for people who need tons of space and can handle that big of a vehicle.  Plus, they need to be able to handle a decently hefty price tag.

There’s a similar battle with Chevrolet and Cadillac…and Buick.

The underpinnings of the Cadillac Escalade come from the same chassis that is shared with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.  GM’s big, three-row SUV platform.

So with the Expedition starting at $52,000 or so and going up to the Limited trim with a starting price tag of around $62,000.  But that still undercuts the Navigator by $10,000.  A considerable margin without options.

So, should you save your money and just snap up an Expedition?

The Specs – 2018 Ford Expedition:

 

Vehicle Type: Luxury SUV
Powertrain: 3.5 L V6 TT
Gearbox: 10 – Speed Automatic
Power: 375 – 400 HP
MPG: 24 Highway / 17 City
Torque: 470 Lb-Ft.  – 480 Lb-Ft.
Length: 210 Inches
Width: 84 Inches
Height: 77 Inches
Top Speed: 120 MPH 
Seating: 4-7
Wheelbase: 122.5 Inches
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): Under 6.6 Sec. (I6)
Base Price: $52,000 EST.

Continued:

The new Ford Expedition is certainly massive.  The SUV has been in production for just over 20 years and has increasingly gotten bigger and more premium.  Like I said this isn’t a volume-seller for Ford like the Focus so it only makes sense to share its platform with another car in the lineage.

You can get this new Expedition in nearly any spec you could want.  So is the Navigator worth the money?

The Exterior – 2018 Ford Expedition:

The new Lincoln Navigator is definitely in a different world compared to the new Expedition.  The Navigator is a lot more sleek, curvy and creative looking than the more structured look of the Expedition.

I wouldn’t describe the new Expedition as a “pretty” car, but it sure is imposing.

Up front, the new Expedition is perfectly symmetrical and connected.

Ford styled the new Expedition to be serious looking, but not aggressive in any way.

The grille is close to a perfect rectangle and stretches itself into the head light assembly which is just as symmetrical looking.

The rest of the front end is equally normalized.  It’s a straight forward design that’s made to look big, but not to evoke any kind of feeling.

From the side of the new 2018 Ford Expedition, the SUV just looks massive.  Which it is.

There’s hardly anything going on here, but that’s fine.  It’s just a massive SUV.

The back is the same story as the rest of it.  It’s just massive.

I do think the rear end is sharp and uncluttered, which is good.  Sometimes with complex designs the practicality of the SUV can be compromised.  So since the new Expedition is pretty straightforward, that means it’s as practical as it should be.

Overall the styling of the new 2018 Ford Expedition is modern and predictable.  Which is not a bad thing at all.

The Interior – 2018 Ford Expedition:

This is where the 2018 Ford Expedition is very different from the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

The inside of the new 2018 Ford Expedition has a much more brutish style to it, with big proportions and like the exterior, a very symmetrical design.

The infotainment is noticeably smaller looking that other systems in other cars and SUV’s, but I imagine the design has something to do with that.

There’s, of course, a nice amount of space for wood and other nice little touches away from the usual leather and plastic.

The whole thing looks very similar to the inside of the F-150, which makes sense since this is more of a industrial vehicle than even the Explorer.

Ford also offers this very cool stitched leather that can be added to the door panels.  It’s a very cool pattern if you’re into being unique.

Seating can accommodate seven to eight adults comfortably and you can get rear seat entertainment for yuor backseat drivers.

Overall the interior of the Navigator is much more premium than the Expedition, but I still maintain that the Expedition can do the same job the Navigator can; And you can save your $10,000+.

The Performance – 2018 Ford Expedition:

Ford absolutely loves their EcoBoost technology.  So much so that they packed it into their new Ford GT super car that TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE HAD A V8.

It’s the same story under the hood here in the 2018 Expedition.  I don’t think it needed to be a V8 at all, but you already know Ford threw the Ecoboost in.

Power comes from a potent 3.5 L twin-turbo V6 that pushes out nearly 400 horse power and also most 500 pound feet of torque.

The thing needs that kind of power considering it weights near 5,500 pounds.  That’s like driving a full grown hippo.

Plus, this hippo can tow a hippo (or just around 6,000 pounds.  Honestly I don’t know how much hippos weigh, but I can’t be far off…)

It certainly has enough power to pull itself along.  And if you don’t think so, call Hennessey up and they’ll help you out.

Sum It Up:

I understand that people have their reasons and all that good stuff for getting the Navigator (which is a fantastic machine) but I’d say keep your ten grand and pick up an even fully-loaded expedition.  They’re equally as imposing especially in black.

It’s a sharp looking SUV with plenty of amenities for everyone.

The 2018 Ford Expedition has base price of $52,000 and is currently available in Ford dealerships nationwide.

The 2019 Acura RDX: A Strong Entry To The Market Or A Dud?

By Gino Dorazio on

At the 2018 North American International Auto Show, Acura definitely made its presence known with the 2019 Acura RDX.

Everyone can’t get enough of luxury SUV’s, so it made perfect sense for Acura to re-do the RDX to suck out as much as possible out of the market.  Good for them.

Acura’s also been redesigning and updating their cars accordingly.  The company is moving away from being so tightly associated with Honda, their parent brand.

Acura holds the title as the worlds first Japanese luxury brand, but they don’t even sell in Japan technically.  As of right now, they sell the Honda Legend which is essentially a re-badged Honda Legend which is essentially an Acura RLX.

Which is also the only car Acura makes that’s actually built in Japan.  Confusing to say the least.

I do hope that Acura has a plan to get things sorted with where and what they sell.  Because rebranding a Civic as the ILX and trying to suck out nearly $40,000 for it seems a bit extreme to me.

Anyway, the new RDX is shaping to be a fantastic offering from a company that really only was exciting with the NSX.

The Specs – 2019 Acura RDX:

Vehicle Type: Luxury SUV
Powertrain: Not Yet Available
Gearbox: Not Yet Available
Power: Not Yet Available
MPG: Not Yet Available
Torque: Not Yet Available
Length: Not Yet Available
Width: Not Yet Available
Height: Not Yet Available
Top Speed: Not Yet Available
Seating: Not Yet Available
Wheelbase: Not Yet Available
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): Not Yet Available
Base Price: Not Yet Available

 

Continued:

The new RDX is a serious SUV.  It comes at a decent time in history as I said, but it completely does way with a lot of styling issues that Acura had before it.

The styling on Acuras (obviously omitting the NSX) has been pretty out-dated from the get-go recently.

But I’m happy to say that the new RDX really helps clean things up and I’m a fan of what they’ve done here.

The Exterior – 2019 Acura RDX:

Acura has had some issues with design in the past.  They haven’t really been very concise with how their cars look.

That doesn’t mean the cars are bad at all, though.  But at the price Acura demands, there are some incredibly stylish options other than Acura.

That isn’t at all the case here thankfully.  The new RDX is a sharp and convincing SUV in a world of bland indifference.

The front end of the new RDX features Acura’s new star grille that is just very cool.

Acura redesigned the headlights on most of their cars including the TLX and that carries over to the RDX here.  I’m glad they kept the whole jewel-eye design in this car too.  It’s a look that is pretty distinctive to Acura.

The rest of the front bumper is fantastic as well.  The air intakes and ducts are worked very well into the design.  They’re slashy and sharp and it helps the whole front end look more assertive and bony.

Over all the front is a great design and will certainly strike a cord with younger buyers, as I’m sure that’s what the plans was.

The side of the car is as busy as it needs to be.  I don’t think that the lines and creases make much sense as a package, but individually they look great.

It’s a lovely shape overall, but perhaps it’s over-sharp.

The back of the SUV is very nice.   I think the best part is how big the dual exhaust tips are.  They add a more serious look to the back which would otherwise look rather dulled and forgettable.

Overall the 2019 Acura RDX is a great looking SUV that happily looks more striking than most SUV’s on the market.  It’s the premium look that Acura needs.

The Interior – 2019 Acura RDX:

Possibly more important on a premium vehicle than its exterior is its interior.

The insides of a premium car or in this case an SUV, needs to be the best or people will buy the alternative.  This is a price point where people are not getting the car because they need it, it’s because they want it.

In a broad sense, the interior is a massive upgrade to the typical Acura interior.

Everything is fresh and updated.  The overall shape is actually similar to the shaping of previous Acrua’s but its closer to the NSX interpretation than anything else.

The center dash features different humps with different buttons and knobs.  It does look kind of clustered, but I’m sure there’s a reason for each button or knob placement.

I’m just happy they got rid of the dual-screen set up.

The interior is much more on the sporty/techy side of things versus the strict luxury side of things like Mercedes.  The wood accents aren’t very prominent on the dash board, but they work.

The redesigned wheel looks great.  It’s fit and perfectly accommodates the steering wheel controls.

You can fit 5 people in this nice interior.  It’s a great looking place to sit.

The Performance – 2019 Acura RDX:

We don’t know much about how the 2019 Acura RDX will perform of what will power it, but Acura has said that there will be a 2.0 L turbo four-cylinder engine.

Acura also says the new RDX incorporates an integrated Dynamics System from the NSX.

Shifting comes from a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Acura also includes the typical driving modes like Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Snow that adapt the car to different situations.

we’ll get more info on the car and its power train as it comes available.

Sum It Up:

Overall the 2019 Acura RDX is a great looking SUV with great technology.  I think style wise, it will help things look more exciting on the road since SUV’s are pretty bland these days.

I do hope the RDX will hold water in the market.  I’m sure it will sell because everyone loves SUV’s right now, but it will take more than a cool design to really move the world forward.

 

2019 Toyota Rav 4: Redesigning A Best-Seller

By Gino Dorazio on

Toyota is an automotive power-house.  We’re talking about a company that sells nearly 190,000 vehicles a month.  That’s some serious cash.

And as of right now, the Toyota Rav 4 is the highest selling vehicle in Toyota’s lineup.

That means that its next rendition has a lot to live up to.

Just ahead of the NY Auto Show, Toyota teased some silhouette shots of the new Rav 4 and as usual with these sort of teasers we can’t tell anything from them.

But, the new profile of the Rav 4 does look pretty great admittedly.

The rav 4 was able to snap up 400,000+ new homes in 2017 as the number four best selling vehicle in the United States last year.  Impressive numbers even with the recent increase in SUV’s on the road.

The Rav 4 has been redesigned so we can expect some sort of technological upgrade as well as some new styling upgrades.

The Specs – 2019 Toyota Rav 4:

Vehicle Type: Compact SUV
Powertrain: Not Yet Available
Gearbox: Not Yet Available
Power: Not Yet Available
MPG: Not Yet Available
Torque: Not Yet Available
Length: Not Yet Available
Width: Not Yet Available
Height: Not Yet Available
Top Speed: Not Yet Available
Seating: 4-5
Wheelbase: Not Yet Available
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): Not Yet Available
Base Price: Not Yet Available

Continued:

The new 2019 Toyota Rav 4 will most likely be based on the new Toyota Corolla that’s coming out soon as well.

Toyota released a re-named Corolla hatchback at Geneva so we should be getting more info on that whole thing soon.

The chassis does look promising and even though we don’t have a lot of information on it.

The Exterior – 2019 Toyota Rav 4:

This and some spy shots are really all we have to go by.  So let’s examine this pretty sunset silhouette shot.

The front end of the car looks longer than the previous Rav 4.  It’s an attractive look and the roof line compliments the long hood.

The roof extends past the rear window to form a small wing that looks nice.

Beyond that, there’s little we can tell from this shot.

We expect the car to have a more prominent nose like the lot of Toyota SUV’s and trucks they offer.

The reason I say that is because the new Rav 4 will most likely be based on the concept car Toyota released recently called the FT-AC.

The FT-AC features some clearly concept-car attributes like super overly-knobby tires and crazy add on’s connected to the fenders.

The front of the FT-AC is completely focused on off-roading featuring tow hitches and massive bumper guards.

The FT-AC also features a very interesting fog light display and head light layout.  I really don’t think either one of those will make it to the 2019 Toyota Rav 4 but it’s nice to dream a little.

From the side the Rav 4 redesign is very sharp.  It’s youthful and has plenty of character so that means it won’t be like that on the production version.

I think on the real car that gets released to the public will be much more toned down than this concept car.  That’s been a trait though for as long as concept cars have been made.  That’s why they’re called concepts.

It’s tough to see the rear end of the concept car in any picture because they all have some sort of bike or bike rack on the back.  This is to illustrate how capable it is out there on the trails and how much it likes being off-road.

I can’t see the new Rav 4 having this kind of capability but that’s made it hard to see that back.  So this is the best I got for you:

I like how the shape is planted and as athletic as it should be on the concept car but again, it probably won’t be retained in the real car.

Overall the car will look pretty good as it should.  I can”t imagine it’ll look too much like the FT-AC but we shouldn’t feel insulted if it doesn’t.  I do look forward to it being a youthful looking SUV but still being affordable.  Pretty good stuff I look forward to on March 28th.

The Interior – 2019 Toyota Rav 4:

This is where we really don’t know anything.

The insides of the 2019 Rav 4 is going to use the latest in Toyota’s interior design which borrows a lot from Lexus.  Which is a good thing.

There will be fancy infotainment and technology for the Rav 4 at a great price.  Standard Toyota stuff.

While the interior will definitely be fresh and cool, the lot of what we know comes from the potential chassis work and engineering.

The Performance – 2019 Toyota Rav 4:

The chassis that will provide the underpinnings of the Rav 4 will be from the recently redesigned Corolla that was kind of half-released in Geneva last week.

My guess is the biggest engine to be provided will be a four cylinder of some sort.  I know that Toyota isn’t the biggest user of turbos or anything but that could change.

I’ll put my money in a 2.4 or 2.5 L four cylinder.

You’ll most likely get the Rav 4 in 2019 as a FWD car as base and AWD as an option.

Shifting I can bet will come from a 7 or 8 speed automatic or so.  Standard issue stuff for the most part.

Toyota knows what works here as again the Rav 4 is one of the best selling vehicles full stop in the U.S.A.

Overall we should see a fuel-efficient and good handling compact SUV. We’ll know more in a couple weeks.

Sum It Up:

The 2019 Toyota Rav 4 has some big-selling shoes to fill.

We should see the 2019 Toyota Rav 4 in summer or fall this year in dealerships.

We’ll know more about this interesting little SUV shortly, as the New York Auto Show in only a couple weeks (March 28th I believe).

2017 Kia Cadenza: Insanely Affordable Luxury

By Gino Dorazio on

Kia is developing into a very interesting creature in the automotive world.

The Korean car company is going from the brand that brought you the tiny Rio (they still make it; It’s just better now) to making the new Stinger GT.

Kia used to be for the non-enthusiast among us.  Kia’s were just A-To-B transport and affordable.  That’s all.

But Kia started making premium sedans recently, with the first of the bunch in the current lineup being the Cadenza back in 2009.

I think that Kia is turning themselves into a brand that offers the usual suspects with the Rio, but also focuses on their premium offerings.  As of right now it’s working very well with the likes of the Stinger GT.

Kia is doing great things and the Cadenza is offered at a price point not usually associated with this kind of premium sedan.  The same situation with the Stinger GT.

The Stats – 2017 Kia Cadenza:

Vehicle Type: Luxury Full-size Sedan
Powertrain: 3.3 L V6 
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic (est.)
Power: 290 HP
MPG: 20 MPG City / 28 MPG Highway
Torque: 243 Lb-Ft.
Length: 196 Inches
Width: 74 Inches
Height: 58 Inches
Top Speed: 150 MPH (241.4 KPH) EST.
Seating: 4-5
Wheelbase: 112.4 Inches
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): 6.2 – 6.3 Seconds
Base Price: $32,000

Continued:

The car offers great luxury at a great price.  You can spec the car up to about $45,000 to include all the nice stuff if need be, but this is overall a strong car for the money.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is designed like a Kia but it features different elements that aren’t associated with Kia very much.  the designers love that ‘Z’ shape on the headlights and tail lights.

It’s a particular kind of person who puts their money into a 2017 Kia Cadenza over an offering from the Germans or the Japanese.

But a great car is a great car.  I think Kia did a great job here.

The Exterior – 2017 Kia Cadenza:

The front of the car features an interesting iteration of the usual Kia grille with a vertical waterfall style and can be specced with the front end sensors that kind of add this awkward panel on the front.  I see it on other cars these days and can’t help but think there must be a better way.

Beyond the grille, the headlight design features that new kind of ‘Z’ shape in the lamp and quad foglights on each side of the front bumper.

It’s a good and sharp design to the front of the car that isn’t overly complicated but is more youthful and fit looking than the bigger K900 that Kia offers.

The side of the car is long as smooth as it should be.  There isn’t a whole lot going on here and that’s perfectly fine.

Depending how you spec it, there are nice little chrome bits here and there for some extra eye candy.  But mostly it’s kept civil.

The rear end of the car is probably a bit more chubby than it needs to be.

I do like the tail light design with that signature ‘Z’ lighting on it, but the rear bumper adds this slightly droopy look to the back, contrast to the rather sharp front end of the car.

Just like the bigger and more expensive K900, the Cadenza is a great looking (for the most part) executive sedan.

The Interior – 2017 Kia Cadenza:

Things go very quickly out of style these days in terms of interior designs.  But, Kia did a very nice job on the inside of the new Cadenza.  It’s easy to make things cheap and for a brand like Kia you tend to comb it more with a keen eye, but everything checks out here.

The inside of the 2017 Kia Cadenza is as upscale as it needs to be.

Kia implemented the classic look of a nice wood panel across the dashboard and put a decently sized navigation into the center.

There’s plenty of storage space in the cabin as well.

Leather and wood is laid across the interior tastefully and accomplishes  exactly what it’s supposed to.  Accenting the interior with nice little eye-candy touches.

On the technology side, Kia stays competitive with other cars in the market with intelligent parking sensors, adaptive technologies and safety tech.  Very nice stuff.

Overall, Kia did a great job designing and executing the inside of the 2017 Kia Cadenza.  They knew it would take a lot be taken seriously in this segment but they definitely delivered.  Well done.

The Performance – 2017 Kia Cadenza:

Power is provided by a 3.3 L V6 engine that is pretty popular over at Kia.

Engines for the Kia Cadenza are the same through out the trim levels.  It’s only the 3.3L V6.

This engine produces 290 HP and a similar number in torque connected to a 8-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic and Smart Shift & Drive.  Whatever those are.

0-60 is done in 6.1 seconds which isn’t immensely fast but it isn’t too slow.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza wasn’t made to win races (that’s the Stinger GT‘s job) but it can comfortably get you to highway speeds without much hesitation or really stretching itself out.

Kia doesn’t advertise the car as a sports sedan even though it features shift paddles (dumb) but it isn’t slouchy.

The Kia Cadenza is reasonably fuel efficient too.  20 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.  Not bad for a decently sized V6.

Reports say that when you need to put your foot down, the transmission shifts down predictably.  This is a very important attribute in cars in my opinion.  The car has be able to be read by the driver.

Sum It Up:

The 2017 Kia Cadenza is a great executive sedan without paying nearly $90,000 for an S-Class.  Obviously the S-Class is much more car for the price, but for just over $32,000 the Cadenza is sharp and loaded in tech.

The car is available on dealer lots so go ahead and get one!  They’re a great value for what you get and if you’re not possessed by having name-brand everything, the Cadenza is an excellent fit.

The Best Cars For Snow: Combat The Worst Weather

By Gino Dorazio on

If you’re looking for cars that might be formidable in the snow,  you might live in a climate similar to mine.

It’s been brutal out there this year.  Snow storm after snow storm has slammed the area and if you don’t have a set of wheels (or a whole car) made for this garbage, you might be in deep trouble (or snow).

Right now it’s March so it might be too late to save you this winter.  But winter will come again and you’ll be better prepared.

After driving past a ton of spun out cars and trucks alike, you realize that it’s not only the vehicle that can save you from spinning and potentially hurting yourself and others.

A lot of it is the driver.  So before I go into cars that’ll make you safer as well, make sure you focus on being a safer driver.  I know that seems obvious, but driving on some of these roads it really seems like a lot of people lack common sense.

Also, trucks have limits in the snow.  They’re not as amazing as you think.

Modern Technology:

The advancement of driving technology has helped drivers be safer on roads and catch them when they might not be able to.

Advancements from stability control and even ABS can aid in keeping safe in the snow.

More recently, manufactures have developed systems like four wheel steering and intelligent all wheel drive.

Intelligent all-wheel-drive systems really stepped up the game.  These systems allow cars to select which wheel to send power to, when other are slipping for maximum traction.

This set up is ideal.  It’s all-wheel-drive, but better.  A nice touch.

GET SNOW TIRES

The best practice for any car or truck is to get snow tires.  Swapping out your summer tires for winter tires every year is a great way to ensure your safety.  There are plenty of tests online of how each tire tread acts on snow and ice, and how snow/ice tires are just pinnacle.

Any of the below best cars for the snow will just be better with snow/ice tires.  Just do it.

Front-Wheel Drive Cars:

This is the basic of the basic.  Front wheel drive cars aren’t the best cars for the snow, but they’re better than RWD.

Front wheel drive equipped cars have advantages over RWD cars because all thew weight of the engine, trans-axle and the car itself are on top of the drive wheels.  The weight is really the advantage there.

Packing a ton of weight into the trunk of a RWD car can help as well if you’re stuck with one.

But without any weight in the back, front wheel drive cars are much better in general.

All-Wheel-Drive/4WD:

Beyond front-wheel-drive, there’s all-wheel-drive.  The name is exactly what it is: all four wheels are powered by the engine individually through multiple differentials.

All-wheel-drive is able to be shut off or turned on in low traction situations.  The system in modern applications can chose individual wheels to drive in low traction situations.  It’s pretty optimal.

4WD or 4×4 is similar.  The system drives all four wheels, but delivers equal torque to the two axles.

Both systems are effective to help your car in snow.  But modern systems of both AWD and 4WD have the best advantage.

In most cases these days, you can get AWD/4WD cars equipped with some sort of bad weather driving mode.

For example on Jeeps and some GM cars, you can get “Snow/ice” driving modes.  These modes claim to optimize driving behavior in the car for improved traction in low traction situations.

Now that we got the broad examples out of the way, we can focus on less-broad examples.

X-Drive, Quattro And 4MATIC:

Originally, I wanted to break these three up into their own sections but they’re all in the same family so to speak.

All three systems are intelligent all wheel drive systems.  There are debates open about which one is best, but I can tell you they all do an extraordinary job at keeping all four wheels planted.

These systems transfer the power of the engine to all of the wheels.  They are able to detect which wheel is slipping, and direct power to the wheels that have traction for the safest possible result.

Any car you get with any one of these systems will definitely help.   I drove a 3 Series with xDrive in heavy snow (with normal all season tires…for fun) and the system worked absolutely fantastically.

I’ve heard fantastic things about the Quattro system as well, but I haven’t has a chance to really test it in snow.

Same goes with Mercedes-Benz’ 4MATIC system.  All of these cars have gotten even more smart in recent years.  They’ve developed the cars to be smart enough to even change their suspension angles to better cope with corners and low traction situations.

Again, any car equipped with any of these systems and even similar systems from other manufactures out there will surely do the job very well for you.

Pretty Much Any Jeep:

Jeeps are pretty much the best cars for snow.  It’s more common knowledge than say a 2-Series with xDrive, but that reputation was well built.

The 4WD system in Jeeps is just fantastic.  It’s been tuned and refined over years and years and with some good winter tires, you’re in great shape.  The low end torque is great and their abilities can even more be enhanced with modifications.

And again, just like with trucks the fact you have a Jeep doesn’t mean you have super powers on the road.  Don’t drive like a dumby.

Rally-Inspired Cars:

Cars developed in rally racing always seem to get very good marks for driving in rough weather.

Cars like the Lancer Evo (previous generations as the current one is just bad) and the WRX STi with snow tires make great cars in the snow from their great drive systems.

Subaru’s in general are fantastic snow machines.  I was recently looking into buying an Impreza and was blown away at how it handled the snow.  The traction system allows you to play a little but keeps you from killing yourself.

Sum It Up:

Cars that are effective in the snow generally have a few key characteristics.  They have all wheel or 4 wheel drive, they’re generally heavy and can feature a long wheelbase.

There are many examples of cars and trucks that fit these criteria and to outline all of them would take a very long time; and I know you don’t have that sort of time or attention span!

If you’re car shopping for something formidable in the snow, you should look directly to something a four wheel or all wheel drive system.  Whether you need a truck, SUV or sedan, an all wheel or four wheel drive system will pretty much solve your problems in the snow.

And again, get winter tires.  They make a world of a difference.