Hyundai i30 comes to America as the 2018 Elantra GT

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At last year’s Paris Auto Show, Hyundai revealed its clean and classy i30 hatchback, with the promise that it would arrive in the US as the Elantra GT. The company has fulfilled that promise and then some, bringing us the same attractive hatch, but with even more power.

Visually and structurally, the car is pretty much identical. The lines aren’t fussy, and the look is more upright than its predecessor. The interior is reasonably attractive, but we wish the infotainment display was better integrated with the dash like the Elantra sedan’s dash.

The big differences are under the hood. The European i30 features an array of gas and diesel engines, and the most potent of which produced only about 140 horsepower. In the United States, the least powerful Elantra GT is the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 162 horsepower. And if that’s not enough, a Sport version will be offered with Hyundai’s 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter.

The Elantra GT Sport, like its sedan counterpart, also picks up a few other improvements. It trades in the standard hatch’s torsion bar rear suspension for a multi-link set-up. It also moves up to 18-inch alloy wheels, instead of the standard 17-inch alloys, and larger front and rear disc brakes. The interior gets some sportier accoutrements, too.

All Elantra GTs will be available with a number of premium options, including leather, dual-zone climate control, cruise control with start and stop functionality, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist. You’ll also be able to use Hyundai’s Blue Link Alexa feature. Interested buyers will be able to check out an Elantra GT at dealer lots this summer, but Hyundai has not yet released pricing.

Special Dodge Challengers get Hellcat bits to celebrate Mopar’s 80th birthday

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This year, Mopar is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and it’s doing so in two-tone style with this very limited edition Dodge Challenger. Only 160 of these Challengers will be built, with 80 in each paint scheme. Buyers can choose between either Billet Silver or the slightly painful sounding Contusion Blue, each of which gets a hand-painted Pitch Black top half.

These Challengers are based on the existing 392 Shaker package, but come with an array of upgrades and tweaks. In addition to the custom two-tone paint, the shaker scoop and rear spoiler are painted in the same color, rather than the usual matte black. The cars come with 20-inch wheels and hand-painted 392 logos on the fenders. The 392 cu. in., or 6.4-liter if you prefer, engine produces the same 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque as its normal counterpart. This Mopar Challenger will have more access to cold air, though, since it has both the shaker scoop and the headlamp intake from the Challenger Hellcat. At the back, there’s also exhaust tips borrowed from the most hellish of Challengers. Or at least the most hellish, so far.

Ford patent could mean you never miss a meeting because you’re driving

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Take a moment to imagine the following situation. You’ve got a big meeting at work, first thing in the morning, but you overslept. You’ll never make it to the office in time to dial in. What do you do? Well, it seems Ford has a solution: turn your car into a mobile meeting room.

According to this patent filed by the automaker, it could be possible for your car’s infotainment system to automatically connect you to your meeting’s conference call. It simply takes a look at the calendar on the phone or mobile device you’ve connected to the car, and calls in for you. This could certainly be a boon for work late-comers, or just people that are on the road and don’t have time to stop for a conference call. The automatic operation would also help prevent having to fumble with the phone while on the road. Also, we imagine calendar access could allow for other features such as additional reminders for other tasks.

However, this is one more bit of technology that offers additional distraction to driving that we probably don’t need. Although being automatic and hands-free is a plus, we’re not sure we want a bunch of suits driving around, trying to remember last month’s sales figures for a high-pressure meeting when they should be paying attention to the gaggle of nuns trying to cross the street. Besides that, do we really have to be accessible for work at every single moment of our lives? Maybe just take your drive as a mandatory break and relax to your favorite tunes.

[Source: autoblog]

2019 Ford Ranger spied testing right here in America

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The latest rumors about the upcoming Ford Bronco, particularly about a possible solid front axle made by Dana, has gotten us pretty excited about the Jeep Wrangler competitor. But let’s not forget about the Ford Ranger, due to be unveiled sometime next year as a 2019 model. Our spy photographer spotted this one in Dearborn, Michigan, driving around with a camouflaged wrapping but lacking the heavy curtain-style coverings you see on vehicles where the manufacturer wants to keep the major styling elements hidden.

That means one of two things. Either this is representative of what our American Ranger will look like – largely similar to the pickup sold in other parts of the world – or that sheetmetal is just being used temporarily to hide the American-market components being tested underneath, and our Ranger will get unique styling. Either is a plausible explanation, but the rest-of-world bodywork might be too understated for American consumers. Maybe Ford will split the difference, and give the Ranger a scaled-down version of the F-150’s front and rear ends, while keeping the side stampings largely the same. It’s definitely too early to tell, but don’t be surprised if our 2019 Ranger at a minimum adopts C-shaped headlights and a three-bar grille.

There’s no solid information yet about powertrains, but the smart money is on nothing larger than a V6 finding a home under the hood. Abroad, the Ranger is available with a range of diesel engines, but there are only two probable candidates for our market. One is the 3.0-liter Lion unit that’s heading into the F-150 for 2018. It’s also available in US-market Land Rovers, where it makes around 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. That seems like a lot for a midsize pickup, but it could be detuned. The other is the 3.2-liter diesel inline-five that Ford sells here in the Transit van, which is available in the Ranger in some markets – it’s good for 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, definitely fits, and closely matches the Chevy Colorado’s 2.8-liter Duramax’s 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And an EcoBoost inline-four as a base engine is also likely.

Whatever engines find their way underhood, we’re expecting the new Ford-GM 10-speed automatic to show up. We’re keeping our ear to the pavement on the Ranger and Bronco, so if we can shake any more info loose we’ll pass it along.

Ford is investing $200 million into a new wind tunnel complex

Ford is going to spend quite a bit of money on a high-tech wind tunnel testing facility (more so than what’s shown above), and apparently it’s all in the pursuit of greater fuel economy and performance. To do this, the facility will feature tunnels that can handle an array of situations including high speeds, extreme temperatures, and large vehicles.

On the performance front, one of the tunnels will feature special fast-moving belts, also called rolling roads, that will direct air around the car at up to 200 mph depending on how the multi-belt system is configured. That faster belt system will be useful for Ford’s sports cars and race cars. Ford also says the five-belt system will be useful for improving aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.

Another portion of the facility will be able to simulate extreme temperatures. Ford says this particular test chamber will be able to cool things down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit and heat things up to 140 degrees. The company also says the facility will also have large tunnels for its large trucks.

Construction of the 13-acre, $200 million facility starts this year. It will be built in Allen Park, Michigan.

Find out which bridges near you are ‘structurally deficient’

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America’s road network isn’t in amazing shape. A new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) confirms a massive problem. The organization’s report takes a look at the condition of bridges in the US, and finds that nationwide, just over nine percent of the country’s bridges are “structurally deficient.”

ARTBA’s website also has a map that shows how many bridges in each state are in need of repair or replacement. It even provides locations of each bridge when you click on a state, in case you’re interested in seeing whether the bridge you cross on the way to work is sound or deficient. According to the map, there are 23 states where more than 9 percent of the bridges are structurally deficient. On the flip side, citizens of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Washington D.C. can take pride that less than 5 percent of each location’s bridges are in the deficient category.

Now before you start adjusting your commute to avoid a neglected bridge, we should mention that ARTBA’s chief economist told CNN that the structurally deficient classification only means a bridge needs repair, not necessarily that it’s dangerous. It’s something that may see some construction in the near future, but more than likely will not crumble under your tires. The main takeaway is that there is still a large portion of our country’s infrastructure that really needs some attention.

[Source: Autoblog]

Honda files a patent for a mid-engine sports car similar to the Project 2&4 concept

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A little over a year ago, Honda showed off its totally cool Project 2&4 concept. The super bare-bones two-seat sports car with a motorcycle engine is in many ways closer to a go-kart than a traditional car. That’s not a complaint either, since it sounds like a blast. At the time, we assumed that it was just an outlandish concept without any grounding in reality, but a new patent from Honda has us second-guessing the last part.

The company filed a patent for an automobile using a cast-aluminum backbone chassis. The first drawing (figure 1) in the patent shows just the chassis with a pair of seats, suspension, and four wheels. Although the patent says the frame could support just three wheels, or more than four. The layout shows an engine just behind the seats with power going to the rear. It’s a setup that sounds fun on its own, and sounds even more fun when seeing that figure 4 shows a minimal body shell like that of the Project 2&4.

There are more interesting tidbits here, too. The cast-aluminum chassis is described as very light, stiff, and quick to produce. Everything else on the car is connected to it as well. Additional members for the seats, steering wheel, pedals, and gauge cluster, among others, all attach to this center point. The patent lists several advantages to this arrangement, and it allows for different seating configurations for either left- or right-hand-drive markets, or for just a single occupant. The frame even features provisions for inflatable roll-over protection, shown by items 110a, 110b, and 110c in figure 2.