Hyundai gives 3 millionth Elantra in America to hurricane hero near Houston

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Hyundai has just crossed a significant milestone in its history. Since the company’s Elantra compact sedan was introduced to the American market back in 1991, the company has now sold the 3 millionth example here. The 3 millionth car is a normal Elantra sedan, a handsome, competent car that we don’t find to be terribly exciting unless it’s the Sport model with the turbo engine.

But we’re certain the owners of this new Elantra are pretty excited regardless. See, Hyundai didn’t exactly sell the 3 millionth American Elantra. It donated it to Henry Rogers, a paramedic field supervisor in Baytown, Texas, near Houston. His town was pummeled by Hurricane Harvey, and he was out helping people for two days straight.

Unfortunately, while he was out helping the citizens of Baytown, his family’s home was being swallowed up by water. Neighbors came by to rescue his wife, three adopted kids, and three dogs. Everyone came out all right, but the house and its contents were lost. So for Rogers’ contribution to the town, and for everything his family lost, Hyundai saw fit to get them started on the right foot with a fresh car, and a fairly historic one no less.

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Honda Odyssey gets top safety ratings in insurance, government crash tests

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Honda’s redesigned 2018 Odyssey minivan picked up a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Odyssey joins the Chrysler Pacifica as the only minivans to receive the IIHS’s coveted award.

Honda won the Top Safety Pick+ designation via the addition of its Sensing braking system and improved LED headlights to the 2018 model, its fifth generation. The Odyssey won “good” ratings across the five crashworthiness tests, including small overlap front, moderate overlap front and side impact. It also won a superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable rating for the LED reflector headlights that feature on Elite and Touring trim lines, which automatically switch between high and low beams, depending on the presence of other vehicles.

Honda has been integrating its Sensing advanced safety and driver-assist technologies, part of its quest to develop highly autonomous vehicles, into many of its new models. In IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph, the system helped the vehicle avoid collisions. The 2017 Odyssey earned a basic rating for front crash prevention because it came only with an optional forward collision warning.

The Odyssey also notched a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program by getting 5 stars in the frontal crash test for driver and passenger, 5 stars for side crash tests for both front and rear seats and pole, and 4 stars in the rollover test.

The IIHS also awarded a Top Safety Pick to the 2017 Kia Sedona, which missed out on the top award because of its “poor” headlights rating. The Sedona got a 5-star crash rating from NHTSA.

Here are the latest renderings of the new JL Jeep Wrangler

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Our friends at JL Wrangler Forums have been very kind to us. While we’ve seen plenty of spy shots of the new Jeep Wrangler, until recently these renderings from JL Wrangler Forums provided our best look at the new model. Today, we have a new batch of the traditional short-wheelbase, two-door Wrangler. We just hope the full production model doesn’t stray too far from this.

The design, like every new Wrangler, is simply an adaptation of what came before it. These new renderings pull some new cues seen on the most recent set of Wrangler spy shots. The new model packs LED headlights, taillights and running lights. The Rubicon model looks to have fog lights embedded into the bumper. The vented Rubicon hood looks like it carries over. The Sport model is the entry level Wrangler. As such the renderings ditch some things like body-color fenders and roof and alloy wheels.

The JL Wrangler has been in development for years, so expect to see the full production model sometime in the next few months.

[Source: Autoblog]

The 2018 Hyundai Azera looks pretty classy

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With the reveal of the new Azera, Hyundai has made it clear that it has no plans to leave the large, upscale sedan market. This South Korean Avalon-fighter underwent a significant redesign inside and out and will first go on sale in Korea next month.

Outside, the Azera has a significantly different and more formal, profile. While the previous model was rakish and wedgy, the new model adopts an upright version of Hyundai’s new corporate grille, along with a long hood and more vertical windshield. The flanks also receive long, flowing character lines that give it a muscular appearance. At the back, the Azera gets a new version of the full width taillights that the model has had since the nameplate’s introduction two generations ago.

The Azera also changes radically inside. Instead of the downward flowing dash of the old model, the new interior features an instrument panel that emphasizes width, with a dark top portion and lighter lower section. Sandwiched between the two halves of the dash is a section that rises up at the center stack to house the large touch screen and an analog clock, which looks a bit out of place.

Hyundai has yet to reveal any stats, pricing or availability for the new Azera, except for its aforementioned launch date in South Korea, where it will carry the Grandeur name. However, we would imagine more details will be coming soon ahead of its US launch.

[Source: Autoblog]

2017 Ford Fiesta ST: Discounts boost fun-for-the-money factor

17FiestaST_19_HR.JPGIf, in your summer break, you’ve been disconnected from Ford news, know that deliveries of the Ford GT have been delayed, the 2018 Mustang will have more horsepower, and there is some doubt about whether Ford will offer the 2018 Fiesta – and its lively ST version – in the United States. We sure hope the Fiesta ST sticks around (offering more smiles per dollar than just about anything on a Ford showroom), but it’s here for the moment, and as a model-year closeout right now it’s deeply discounted.

Naturally, deals can be had when an older generation of a model is being replaced with a new one. But added to that, with gas prices low and Americans clamoring for crossovers and pickups, not subcompacts, the Fiesta’s future here is uncertain. The doubt was sown by a quote from the Fiesta program manager, and a conversation with a Ford spokesman offered no clarity. So for all those reasons, perhaps, the closeout mentality is fully underway.

A new Fiesta ST in Maryland was available with a $4,500 discount, providing a selling price of $18,664 plus necessary taxes, title and license fees. Ford’s $750 customer cash is a part of that, as is $500 in ‘Bonus Cash’. But we also assume you can dicker your way to further discounts, down into the $17s, and, well, who knows. The sales manager we spoke with assured us we could assume whatever we wanted.

You shouldn’t assume, however, that deals on performance hatches will be around forever – in the case of this car, whether the model will be around forever, at least for Americans – and a new Fiesta ST with a drive-out of under $20,000 is tempting.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Jeep Wrangler will keep classic hood style

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One of our spy photographers caught some FCA employees poking around under the hood of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler prototype. They had the hood open wide, and because of that, we can catch a couple little details that tell us a bit more about the exterior styling of the Wrangler. Mainly that some of the Wrangler’s signature hood details will remain for the new generation.

The first details we caught were the bolt holes in the hood at the base near the hinges. These show that, as with the previous model of Wrangler, the 2018 model will feature chunky, rugged-looking external hood hinges. We can also infer that if these hinges remain, the doors will likely have matching ones, and those will hopefully still be removable.

The second details we spotted were a bit more subtle. On the sides of the hood towards the leading edge, there are some indentations. Based on the positioning, and their small size, we believe these are the indentations for external tie-down latches for the hood, just like the old model. Actually, just like pretty much every Wrangler-style Jeep back to the military models used in World War II.

Based on a report last week from JL Wrangler Forums, we are expecting to see the fully revealed 2018 Jeep Wrangler and its classic hood details at this year’s LA auto show. It is then expected to arrive at Portland Jeep Wrangler dealer, Dick’s Country Dodge, in December with both V6 and four-cylinder engine offerings.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Ford Mustang GT has more horsepower than Chevy Camaro SS

Ford has finally announced the power and torque figures for the 2018 Mustang lineup, and both the V8-powered GT and four-cylinder-powered EcoBoost models benefit from some big increases. Most impressive is the GT, which now produces an extra 25 horsepower and 20 pound-feet of torque to bring it to 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet total. That puts the GT ahead of the Camaro SS by 5 horsepower, though it still trails the bow-tie-branded pony car by 35 pound-feet of torque.

Still, the Mustang GT isn’t slow. In fact, Ford claims that it will do a 0-60 mph sprint in under 4 seconds, which just beats the Camaro SS, for which Chevy claims a 4-second flat time to 60. There are a couple of prerequisites for the Mustang GT to hit that time, though. It has to be equipped with both the 10-speed automatic and the performance package. The automatic allows the Mustang to use the special “Drag Mode” driving mode for the fastest shifting and maximum torque delivery. The performance package provides the car with the stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires.

The Mustang EcoBoost also sees increased performance for 2018. Torque increases from 320 to 350 pound-feet, though horsepower remains the same at 310. That means the Mustang EcoBoost is down 25 horsepower to the V6 Camaro, but has a whopping 66 more pound-feet of torque. Just like with the GT, the Mustang EcoBoost manages its best 0-60 time with the 10-speed auto and the performance package. Equipped as such, it will get to 60 in less than 5 seconds, also just beating the Camaro V6’s best claimed time of 5.1 seconds.

Ford says the 2018 Mustang will be arriving at Portland Ford dealer, Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro, this fall. The online configuration tool will also go live tomorrow, and will allow people to spec their perfect Mustang. It will also show pricing for the new pony car.