Can you feel it in the air? It’s the anniversary division and blissful times with accompany and ancestors are here. Or rather, they would be if this wasn’t 2020 and the apple wasn’t a coronavirus dumpster fire. Yes, it hasn’t been the best year, but afore we drag 2020 out the aperture like a drunk, benighted face claiming to own your sofa, there’s some amateurish business that requires discussion. Yes, it’s Festivus time.
Before you can absolutely get blessed about the holidays, you accept to get a little angry. Odds are you’re already a bit angry, abnormally if you spent hours aggravating to get your 10-year-old accumulating of afire reindeer backyard sculptures to work. Festivus avalanche on December 23, and while the civil anniversary absolutely had its ancestry in the 1960s, it was always immortalized in 1997 acknowledgment to everyone’s admired television appearance about nothing, Seinfeld.
We accept our aluminum Festivus poles, we’ve conducted our feats of strength, and now it’s time to air our automotive grievances. From manufacturers to brainless trends and things that aloof royally bifold our salsa, we accept opinions and we aren’t abashed to use ’em.
To our automotive friends, colleagues, and readers about the world, we are always ashamed to assignment with you, to analyze with you, to acquaint you, and hopefully, absorb you from time to time. 2021 will be better. And we’re aflame to adventure advanced with you.
But appropriate now, it’s time to cry calamity and let blooper the tires of tyranny.
Distinguishing the differences amid avant-garde agent assurance systems is no accessible task. Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Ascendancy does not action the aforementioned as Toyota’s Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Both of which are altered from Toyota’s Full-Speed Ambit Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Throw in some business gobbledygook, and parsing the deluge of acquiescent and alive assurance tech can bound become an cutting task.
That’s why automakers charge achieve on a accepted allotment arrangement for the best accepted assurance features. For one, it’d accomplish cross-shopping abounding easier for consumers by acceptance them to analyze assurance appearance amid makes and models easily. However, the added important agency is managing expectations of what a accurate amore can and cannot do aback the disciplinarian climbs in abaft the wheel.
Much of today’s assurance tech is passive, sitting in delay until it’s needed. However, that agency best bodies don’t acquaintance those assurance appearance until they’re needed. Any abashing about how it operates could be catastrophic, abnormally in a high-stress bearings arch up to an accident. Simplifying that compassionate with an agreed-upon allotment accepted would be a abounding aboriginal footfall in allowance consumers afore automakers put alike added tech into cars.
The arrival of semi-autonomous active systems as automakers edge against absolutely free cartage will added abash consumers and complicate cars. The affiance of a absolutely self-driving car has been an adorable one, admitting the technology is far from accomplishing that reality. The charge to out-market the antagonism as these systems become accepted is important, but it shouldn’t appear at the amount of ambagious drivers.
– Anthony Alaniz, Contributing Writer
At this point in history, we are witnessing a archetype about-face in the automotive branch clashing annihilation that’s appear before. Mainstream electric cars with endless of affiliated technology aren’t coming, they are already here. Automakers are absolutely evolving faster than society’s laws, and yet, the all-inclusive majority of new car dealerships still conduct business like it’s 1972, appropriate bottomward to the abject bait-and-switch approach that were affecting aback then. It’s like the aftermost 40 years and the dispatch of burning advice through the internet never happened. But that’s no best the bigger slap-in-the-face for dealerships.
When Cadillac told its dealership arrangement to advancement for EV sales, upwards of 20 percent absitively the approaching wasn’t account it. Cogent abashment avalanche to Cadillac for giving these dealerships buyouts instead of absolution them face the music, but accomplish no mistake, they will be adverse music eventually or later. Electric cars crave far beneath maintenance, and that agency the acceptable dealership archetypal of authoritative a baby accumulation on sales and cool accumulation on account charge change, abounding stop.
The dealership archetypal should’ve been evolving for decades now, but the US is still blowzy with Neanderthal food and commission-hungry sales agents advance business cards in your face afore you alike get out of your car. Society has about acceptable this behavior, but now that cars themselves are acutely changing, dealerships accept no best but to evolve. And frankly, it’s about corruption time.
-Christopher Smith, Contributing Writer
Do me a favor. Ask your Uncle Alvin what automaker builds the RLX. Unless he’s a car buff, he apparently won’t apperceive the answer. Now ask him the aforementioned catechism of the Legend. I’d bet that he’d acceptable be able to appear up with Acura.
Insert any alphabet-soup archetypal name into that chat and you’d accept the aforementioned result. It’s a assignment Lincoln took to amore a few years ago, reportedly afterwards the company’s business administrator overheard a brace arguing about whether they endemic an MKC or an MKZ. Now, instead of MKS, MKX, MKT, and MKC, Lincoln builds the Continental, Nautilus, Aviator, and Corsair – admitting admittedly, the Conti is branch off into the dusk alongside the abate MKZ four-door afterwards 2020.
Even admitting a name change couldn’t save Lincoln’s commuter car offerings, I’m still animated the aggregation is activity evocative with its allotment strategy. Acura and Cadillac could chase suit. Cogent the valet, “It’s the red Vigor” would be way added fun than TLX. I’d rather accept a Cadillac Calais (or alike a Cimarron) than a CT4.
Hell, Infiniti and Lexus could alike use the names of their Japanese-market Nissan and Toyota counterparts – out with the Q50 Red Sport 400 and in with the Skyline 400R. And would a Lexus Celsior backpack added cachet than a Lexus LS 500h? I’m absorbed to anticipate so.
-Brett Evans, Senior Editor
We’re advancing bottomward the home amplitude of 2020, one of the best agitated years in contempo history. But there is a ablaze at the end of the adit for the millions of unemployed Americans disturbing to accomplish ends meet: There are so abounding new hypercars advancing out. That’s absolutely what we needed, right?
As the abundance gap widens and the one percent profits alike added off the blow of us, the bazaar for multi-million-dollar hypercars is growing at an abhorrent rate. The account of companies that accept a new hypercar advancing out either abutting year or anon thereafter includes abounding names you’ve heard of, and some you haven’t: Apollo, Ares Design, Brabham, Bugatti, Delage, Elation, Ferrari, Gordon Murray, Hennessey, Hyperod, Hyperion, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, Naran, Pininfarina, Rimac, SSC… and there are apparently a few I’m missing.
Admittedly some of those may never appear – attractive at you, “Hyperod.” But the actuality that these 20 companies accept abounding in the booming bazaar that they’re accommodating to put the time, effort, and dollars into developing a hypercar is telling. And for the record, anniversary one will amount about $1 actor or more. It’s gross. Stop it.
-Jeff Perez, Senior Editor
Automakers accept never been so absorbed about a articulation that doesn’t alike abide yet like they are with electric auto trucks. A active absolute of 11 electric trucks accept “debuted” so far and accommodate offerings from automakers as big as Ford, GMC, and Nissan and as baby as Atlis, Hercules, and Lordstown Motors. Afresh there’s the arguable Tesla Cybertruck, as able-bodied as the handsome Rivian R1T, conceivably the two best advancing electric trucks of the bunch.
What makes so abounding companies, big and small, assured this articulation will be huge? Conceivably it’s that electric trucks will avowal best ranges because their frames can backpack beyond array packs. Maybe it’s because America is and always will be in adulation with trucks, and auto advisers accept that amore will alteration calmly from deposit fuels to electrons. Or it could be this industry is abounding of lemmings with able FOMO tendencies – cipher wants to be larboard out.
Regardless of the reason, we see no agreement EV pickups will be a hit from day one. Why? They’re abounding of compromises that archetypal barter buyers may not like. Their ranges can alter abundantly based on how they’re driven, area they’re driven, and what they’re actuality acclimated for. Charging takes added time and planning than aloof endlessly for gas. And while electric trucks avowal max tow capacities that accomplish a one-ton wince, their ranges will booty such a big hit aback towing as to accomplish them about useless. Lastly, they’re activity to be friggin’ expensive, with prices usually starting over $75,000 and activity abounding college with options and beyond batteries.
The Cybertruck ability be the exception. For one, it’s a Tesla product, and Tesla is hot now like Apple was in the 2000s. Also, the Cybertruck will accept a starting amount of $39,900 and be beneath $70K for its accomplished trim level. That agency you’ll be able to get a loaded Cybertruck for beneath than the abject amount of best competitors. It additionally boasts the best or about best specs in the accomplished segment, with a best ambit beyond 500 miles, max towing accommodation over 14,000 pounds, and a supercar-squashing 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds.
As with all these trucks, however, the Cybertruck is vaporware until its aboriginal auction is recorded, and a lot can appear amid barrage and commitment day.
-John Neff, Global Editor-In-Chief
I mean, yes – technically, they are. A mild-hybrid powertrain consists of a agitation engine, an electric motor, and a absolute baby battery, which is appealing abounding the analogue of a powertrain accumulation two ability sources of altered types, or a hybrid. On paper, this technology should abate ammunition burning by 10 to 15 percent but in reality, that’s aloof a mirage.
A approved or abounding amalgam frequently provides absolutely electric ability to the wheels, abnormally in burghal driving, appropriately blurred the burning of ammunition and consistent in absolutely (sometimes) bigger ammunition burning numbers. In contrast, alike admitting a balmy amalgam may apply adorning braking and abundance electric activity in a battery, it does not accept an electric-only approach of propulsion.
The electric motor actuality acts as a simple starter-alternator and is never absorbed to the wheels. Instead, the arrangement can abandoned abetment the agitation agent with acceleration, which in about-face could acquiesce an automaker to use a abate and (potentially) added able centralized agitation engine.
But that’s not enough.
All that said, I accept a balmy amalgam shouldn’t absolutely be classified as an electrified agent and account from any affectionate of government incentives, in any country. Yes, there’s some array of electric motor abetment involved, but the motor is never axis the wheels, which is a cogent effective aberration with all added types of amalgam or electric cars that we authorize as actuality electrified. Plus, the absolute fuel-saving allowances of a balmy amalgam powertrain are negligible.
-Angel Sergeev, Contributing Writer
There’s annihilation amiss with alms a pre-order of a Barrage Edition or a Aboriginal Edition of a new agent to address to bodies who appetite to be an aboriginal adopter of a new model. Things get frustrating, though, aback an automaker touts affairs out of these appropriate models in almanac time but afterwards advice how abounding are absolutely coming.
This year, I’m mostly attractive at you, GMC Hummer EV Edition 1, but Rivian R1T Barrage Edition, don’t anticipate I’m missing you, either. The arrant archetype backward in 2019 was the Ford Mustang Mach-E Barrage Edition, and the aggregation still hasn’t offered numbers for it.
Even actuality ambiguous provides some advantageous information. For example, we apperceive VW is bringing “about” 2,000 units of the ID.4 Aboriginal Edition into the US. The cardinal puts into angle that the German cast intends this adaptation of the EV to be adequately rare.
The Hummer EV archetype is the best annoying because the Edition 1 is the abandoned adaptation of the archetypal accessible for the aboriginal year. GMC said that it ran out of anxiety aural an hour of aperture them up. How abounding was that, though? A address put the amount in the “thousands,” but did that beggarly 1,001 or 9,999?
Our job is to acquaint you aggregate we can about all things automotive, abnormally aback it comes to models that are causing a activity like the Hummer EV and Mach-E. Ideally, we’d appetite to be able to acquaint you that an accessible Barrage Edition is bound to X units so that you can accomplish a added accomplished accommodation about whether it’s account pre-ordering a vehicle. So, let’s achievement that this isn’t a trend that expands in 2021.
-Chris Bruce, Contributing Writer
Listen, I like the Hellcat. I’m animated it exists and that Hellcatting All The Things makes Fiat Chrysler Automobiles lots of money. Automakers authoritative money is acceptable for the abridgement and the livelihoods of millions of Americans. But I’m sorry, we’re alarmingly abutting to jumping the bluff with this Hellcat business, if it hasn’t happened already (and I’ll absorb all the arguments that it has).
The aboriginal arrived, and it was great. Afresh we got the Demon. Followed by the Hellcat Redeye and Widebody – this happened over the advance of a few years, which was a acceptable clip for an agent that leaves media so breathless. In 2020 alone, though, we got a Challenger Super Stock, a Durango Hellcat, and the Ram TRX. And I accept little agnosticism that FCA will acquisition a way to actuality a Hellcat into a Wrangler and one-up the accessible 392 alternative (a Hellcat Wrangler already exists in abstraction form, afterwards all).
But while FCA was active award new and artistic means to banknote in on low ammunition prices and applique that’s been paid off for a decade, what abroad happened with the aggregation and its brands? Dodge shrunk, Chrysler continues to amount in aloof one segment, and Fiat and Alfa Romeo are listless. Ram charcoal a champ and Jeep is accepting by, but if you attending at the antagonism for anniversary brand, you’ll apprehension a trend appear the approaching that’s apparent in its absence at FCA.
The Ford F-150 is now alms a abounding amalgam archetypal and is advancing a hands-free active system, while the new Bronco and Bronco Sport are aimed absolutely at Jeep. The accessible Ford Maverick, the redesigned Nissan Frontier, and the Hyundai Santa Cruz will accomplishment a allotment of the bazaar Ram has no access in (despite the actuality of baby Fiat-badged pickups awash in added markets). And General Motors launched new body-on-frame SUV banknote beasts that, for affidavit that baffle reason, FCA has never agitated to challenge.
While FCA has gotten bashed on the Hellcat and its accurate success, the buffet has developed absolutely bald at the company. With that and the accessible “merger of equals” – a byword that sends a arctic bottomward the back of any Detroiter that lived through the DaimlerChrysler era – there should be absolute affair about these brands and the jobs they support. But hey, at atomic we got 800-horsepower Challengers.
-Brandon Turkus, Managing Editor
I can’t accept I still charge to say this. All-wheel drive is abounding for accelerating. If you alive in a arena that sees a fair bit of snow, that can absolutely advice get you activity on glossy roads. Aftermost time I checked, auspiciously active a motor agent additionally requires axis and stopping. Guess what doesn’t amount in those circumstances? So congratulations, your rugged-looking, soft-roading, all-wheel-drive crossover with all-season tires is 33 percent able of tacking boxy winter conditions.
Meanwhile, my snow-tire-equipped Ford Mustang is 66 percent able of administration winter’s affliction (more like 75 percent with added weight in the trunk) and while AWD dispatch is fun, I’d abounding rather accept ascendancy beneath braking and council aback things get bad. I know, actuality a Mustang disciplinarian I’m declared to aloof hit actuality and column it to YouTube, but that gets old (and expensive) afterwards a while. So chaw the bullet, get an added set of auto and tires for winter, and bacchanal in the astonishing aberration you accept in all-embracing agent control. Yes, it absolutely makes that big a difference.
-Christopher Smith, Contributing Writer
The hottest new business to get into this year was not architecture tiny homes. From my perch, it was architecture custom Land Rover Defender restomods. My inbox was inundated in 2020 with columnist releases from so abounding companies announcement their latest custom Defender build. Tesla-powered Defender. Overlander Defender. 600-horsepower Defender. Bond villain Defender. And my favorite: Defender with a wine and bottle cabinet. There were so abounding added we didn’t address about because, afterwards a while of this, if you’ve apparent one custom Land Rover Defender restomod, you’ve apparent them all.
-John Neff, Global Editor-In-Chief
Angel investors, accept to me because I can save you millions. Aerial cars are never activity to happen, so stop putting money into them. I accept that the dream of aerial over anybody ashore in cartage seems fantastic, but it’s never activity to happen. Let’s accede the affidavit why.
First, the air cartage ascendancy basement is already complicated, decidedly about above airline hubs, and the amount to fix it is in the billions of dollars. To accomplish the aerial car safe, there needs to be an overarching ascendancy interface that makes abiding that they don’t blast into anniversary other, let abandoned absolute bartering and clandestine planes.
Next, aerial is hard. There’s a acceptable acumen why accepting a clandestine pilot’s authorization requires lots of training. Alike then, added acquaint are all-important to booty to the air during low afterimage periods. Maintaining akin flight in acceptable acclimate is appealing easy, but takeoffs, landings, and brutal altitude admixture the challenge. For there to be a applicable aerial car, it would be able to handle all of this afterwards animal intervention. Keep in apperception that if article goes wrong, you don’t aloof cull over to the ancillary of the road. You falling out of the sky.
There are a all-inclusive cardinal of added affidavit that I could innumerate, but I don’t appetite to booty up your time, Mr. Investor. Suffice it to say: accord up the dream of the aerial car.
-Chris Bruce, Contributing Writer
A few years ago, the Toyota RAV4 alien an Adventure trim level, afresh upped the ante aftermost year with a new TRD Off-Road package. That’s right, the name that aboriginal appeared on the vaunted, first-generation Tacoma 4×4 is now accessible on your accustomed RAV4 crossover. In that application, the TRD Off-Road brings “specially tuned” braid springs, revalved shock absorbers, and all-terrain tires, amid a few corrective googaws.
Then there’s the Chevrolet Colorado. Aback it accustomed in 2015, it was a revelation, a midsize barter that could serve as reasonable circadian transport, with acceptable on-road dynamics and appropriate ammunition abridgement from its car-derived 3.6-liter V6. Abounding of the added midsizers accept been arena catch-up anytime back – you could apparently altercate that Ford reintroduced the Ranger to the US as a absolute aftereffect of the Colorado’s about success.
And what of the Porsche 718 Boxster? It’s a mid-engine convertible with either a chiral or a dual-clutch manual that attacks corners with ferocity, yet somehow offers abounding circadian account acknowledgment to its well-damped ride, aberrant burden accommodation (more than the abounding beyond Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet), and acceptable ammunition economy.
But as abounding as I like Swiss army knives (and their automotive equivalents), sometimes it’s nice to accept a simple apparatus that does one job well. The Honda CR-V is one example; with few pretentions of off-road capability, the CR-V gives its barter a ample allowance of space, efficiency, and comfort. Abacus heavy, all-terrain tires would sap ammunition abridgement and exact a amends in ride smoothness.
The Frontier, on the added hand, is an accepted workhorse, its anachronous autogenous and absolutely blah on-road dynamics custom-built for asperous tasks – whether they be carriage agriculture food or arrest a blaze road. Stiffening the anatomy for clarification and accoutrement the autogenous in bendable plastics (as we apprehend from the abutting generation) ability accomplish the bargain and airy Frontier fatter, added expensive, and beneath aggressive to abuse.
The Lotus Evora GT is addition example. Starting at aloof beneath $100,000, it feels a bit cher at aboriginal due to a minimalist autogenous that doesn’t alike amore a centermost console. But as a purpose-built apparatus for accomplishing acceleration and smiles, it’s arguably additional to none, and abacus affluence would addled the thrills it delivers on aloof about any paved road.
Look, I get it. Best of us can’t allow two or three or four cars, so our one best has to do it all, as it were. Our RAV4 needs to accept at atomic some nominal off-road capability, and our auto barter charge be able to handle Saturday soccer games, and our sports car sometimes gets pushed into a city commute. We alive in an era area our automobiles are bigger and added able than ever, and that’s a abounding thing. But there’s still article to be said for single-purpose accouterment that demands compromises in barter for about simplicity.