2019 Jeep Cherokee finally reveals its all-new nose


We’ve known for a while that the refreshed Jeep Cherokee was going under the knife in order to ditch its controversial face. While the crossover’s looks have grown over time, it was still a little too weird and awkward for some buyers. Now, thanks to our trusty spy photographers, we have a really good look at the Cherokee’s new mug. Surprise! It looks like every other product in Jeep’s lineup.

The current model has a split lighting setup that places the main headlights down low, almost below the grille. The turn signals/parking lights are way up high, nearly on top of the fender. This new model has those two meet in the middle. The shape is generally what you would find on both the new Compass and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s handsome, even if it does lose a bit of character.

The rear, too, has been changed. The license plate moves up and into the tailgate, giving it a more muscular, less flabby look. The smaller rear reflectors have been moved upward. The taillights look different, but it’s hard to say if those are just temporary units. Either way, expect a new design that once again cribs from the 2017 Jeep Compass.

Since this is a refresh, don’t expect to wait too much longer until we see the new model’s debut. We could see it as soon as the Detroit motor show next month. Expect current powertrains to carry over with a slight boost in fuel economy.

[Source: Autoblog]


1942 Dodge Carryall from WWII featured on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’

On this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno takes a look at a unique Dodge Carryall, both in its past and present states. The Carryall is a 1942 model restored and modified by Winslow Bent at Legacy Classic Trucks in Wyoming. According to Bent, the truck spent time in Tunisia during World War II. Obviously it’s no longer a military vehicle, but Bent explains that he and his crew built the truck to still be extremely durable, since its new owner wanted a support vehicle for classic car rallies around the world and in remote locations.

To reach this end, the Carryall’s original inline-six has been replaced with an intercooled Cummins 4BT turbocharged dieselfour-cylinder. Bent modified the engine to make less power than it could in order to make the engine understressed and longer lasting. In total, it makes only 130 horsepower, but 380 pound-feet of torque. It also features a boxed frame and heavy duty axles. It’s plenty practical, too, with a large roof rack, winch, and even an on-board welding setup. But it’s not all hardcore upgrades, since it also has air conditioning. Check out all the other cool details and listen to Leno and Bent geek out over leaf springs and intakes in the video.

2018 Honda Pilot goes on sale starting just under $32K


The Pilot, Honda’s three-row family hauler, goes on sale today for the 2018 model year with more technology inside the cabin and optional Honda Sensing safety and driver-assist technologies, plus several front- and all-wheel-drive configurations and trim levels.

Configurations start at $31,875, which includes the $975 destination and handling fee, and rise to $48,445 for the top-of-the-line Elite trim in all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. That keeps it just below the likes of the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander, and right in line with the Nissan Pathfinder. The base-level LX comes as a front-wheel-drive with a six-speed automatic. All versions get the 3.5-liter V6 with Variable Cylinder Management producing 280 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, built at Honda’s plant in Lincoln, Ala. Fuel economy peaks at 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

Honda is opening up the Pilot to its Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist technologies, making the package of collision mitigation and breaking, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance and warning systems optional. All trim levels come equipped with a multi-angle rearview camera, while blind-spot sensing is another option.

Elsewhere, the Pilot gets front and rear LED lights, an 8-inch touchscreen standard on EX trim levels and above, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth integration, and an optional 9-inch rear entertainment system with DVD and Blu-ray capability. There’s 109 cubic feet of cargo space with the second- and third-row seats folded down, while the third row is made accessible via a one-touch slide-and-fold second seat.


Hyundai cleans up in IIHS 2018 safety ratings

Hyundai, its partner Kia and its Genesis division are the big winners in the latest vehicle safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accounting for six of the 15 models that earned the Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2018. Subaruwas right behind with four, Mercedes-Benz had two, and Toyota, BMW and Ford each had one.

Another 47 vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick designation, where Toyota had 10 vehicle models, with Hyundai recognized for nine models. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru’s lineup, the BRZ, qualified for one of the awards.

IIHS strengthened the criteria for the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2018 to require headlights to earn a “good” rating — an “acceptable” rating was previously enough to notch the “plus” award — and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in the small overlap front crash, which replicates a crash involving just the front corner of a vehicle. It also required vehicles to have acceptable or good headlights for the first time to earn a Top Safety Pick award. Most of winners for both awards qualified on the basis of optional upgrades.

IIHS in October began evaluating the passenger side of vehicles in its small overlap front crash test after it said it became clear that automakers were neglecting that side of the vehicle as they focused on improving driver-side protections. IIHS first began conducting driver-side small overlap crashes in 2012. It began measuring both how well low and high beams illuminated the road and the amount of glare they produce for oncoming vehicles as part of its ratings in 2016.

The Top Safety Pick+ winners are listed below. The list doesn’t include any minivans, pickups or minicars, which don’t appear on either list of awardees.


2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid costs $26,000, goes 29 miles on electricity


The Hyundai Ioniq hybrid and Ioniq Electric were two of the more pleasant surprises of 2017. Besides their lofty fuel economy and useful electric range, respectively, they boasted reasonable pricing, a useful interior and shockingly buttoned down handling. They could almost be deemed fun to drive.

Yet, there was a missing member of the family for 2017. While we always knew a plug-in hybrid would be added — it was with its siblings when the Ioniq was introduced at the 2016 New York Auto Show, and we drove a prototype earlier this year — it wouldn’t be until year 2 when the production car would show its face. And although that face is shared with the Ioniq Hybrid rather than the Electric, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid obviously has its own set of facts and figures that have now been revealed.

Chief among them is a 29-mile all-electric driving range, which, when depleted, effectively turns the Ioniq Plug-in into a regular hybrid capable of 52 mpg combined. It has a 119 MPGe estimate, for whatever that’s worth. To put all those numbers into perspective, there’s the Toyota Prius Prime (25 miles, 54 mpg combined, 133 MPGe), the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (48 miles, 42 mpg combined, 110 MPGe), Chevrolet Volt (53 miles, 42 mpg combined, 106 MPGe), and the Ioniq’s mechanical sibling, the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid (26 miles, 46 mpg combined, 105 MPGe).

Pricing for the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid starts at $25,835, including destination. The Limited trim level starts at $29,185. By comparison, the regular Ioniq Hybrid starts at $22,200 for its Blue trim and goes up to $27,550 for the Limited trim. However, keep in mind that the Plug-in Hybrid is subject to a $4,500 federal tax rebate plus whatever your particular state doles out. As such, the Plug-in Hybrid is effectively cheaper.

That’s also the case with the Toyota Prius Prime relative to the regular Prius. However, the Prime starts at just north of $27,995 (including destination). A regular Prius’ base price is also only about $1,500 lower than the Ioniq Hybrid. In other words, the Plug-in Hybrid seems like a screaming bargain … and if its siblings are any indication, it’ll be a pretty appealing car, too.

Other updates for the 2018 Ioniq lineup include paddle shifters added to the Hybrid (yay?), lane keeping assist added when lane departure warning is specified, and the availability of red paint for the Hybrid. The Ioniq Electric’s trim structure has also been simplified to base and Limited, matching the Plug-in.

[Source: Autoblog]


Hyundai and Kia will offer AI assistants in 2019 cars


Hyundai and Kia both have reputations as early adopters of in-car tech, and that’s truer than ever now that voice assistants are becoming a practical reality on the road. The Korean automakers have revealed that they plan to include AI assistants in their new cars starting from 2019, with every vehicle being “connected” by 2025. As Hyundai explained, they’ve been working with SoundHound to create an Intelligent Personal Agent (based on Houndify) that both makes proactive suggestions (such as reminding you of a meeting) and offers remote control of both your car and your home.

This sounds a whole lot like what other voice assistants do, but the car brands are counting on support for “multiple-command recognition” as the ace up their sleeve. If you tell your car to check the weather and turn on the lights at the same time, it’ll do both instead of scratching its head like so many other AI helpers.

You won’t have to wait until 2019 to see the technology in action. Hyundai will unveil Intelligent Personal Agent at CES 2018, and it’ll test a “simplified” take on the Agent in hydrogen fuel cell cars slated to drive on South Korean roads throughout the year. It’s hard to say if IPA will have an advantage over companies borrowing “off-the-shelf” AI like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s more the ubiquity that will be important — you won’t have to buy a premium-priced model to treat your car like a smart home hub.

[Source: Autoblog]


Watch an airbag inflator (without the bag) go off in slow motion

Airbags are among a variety of devices that you hope never to experience firsthand, but also still want to see go off. And there are many videos on YouTube that show this happening. There aren’t as many that show what happens behind the bag, and the video rectifies that.

It starts off with your typical slow-motion video of just a normal airbag inflating and busting through the steering-wheel plastic. But after that, the videographer disassembles an airbag down to the explosive core to show how that works. The result is just a split-second burst of sound and gas, but in slow motion, you get a pretty spectacular show of ultra-hot gas and even some sparks radiating from all the little holes around the cartridge.

The video wraps up with a makeshift cannon with the cartridge at the bottom and a cylindrical wooden projectile to get an idea of the force generated by the airbag. The results are remarkable, with the projectile ripping a clean hole in the cover facing the cannon and smashing into a heavy tool case. And that’s as good a time as any to remind readers to not try this at home, just enjoy the video.

[Source: Autoblog]