Happy Hellcat Halloween

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Happy Halloween, everybody. There’s no real Hellcat news in this post. No growl of the second-scariest Dodge Challenger SRT’s 707-horsepower engine, no shriek of its supercharger. Just a Hellcat on a photo shoot. A little eye candy on Halloween. In a graveyard. With a black cat. (No cats were doomed to hell in the making of this feature.)

But a Hellcat is a good kind of scary, so here are some of our previous galleries. And may a Hellcat cross your path soon.

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[Source: Autoblog]

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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Drivers’ Notes | Haulin’ the groceries

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Powered by the same supercharged Hemi at the heart of Dodge’s Hellcat cars, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the sort of vehicle that comes from a “Why not?” attitude from the maniacs at SRT. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor for the cash-strapped. With 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque, it’s capable of a 0-60 sprint of just 3.5 seconds. Its base price, however, is $86,995, though our tester’s sticker totaled just a few bucks shy of $100,000.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: “What business does a Jeep have going 0-60 in 3.5 seconds?” This was my thought as I merged into rainy rush-hour traffic on Woodward Avenue in the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. “Why does an SUV need to have ‘Track’ in the name?” I thought as I unintentionally broke the tires loose pulling away from a stoplight. I hit the “Eco” button, but the Jeep still roared with every toe-tap, and still managed to gulp down nearly a quarter of a tank of gas on my ride home.

That sound, though, is amazing, and surely more unsettling to other drivers coming from such a big beast of a ute.

Anyway, this Jeep feels more grown-up than other Hemi-powered vehicles I’ve driven. The fit and finish in this $99,000 Jeep is far nicer than, say, the Dodge Durango SRT (though at a much higher cost). If another driver didn’t pay close attention to the badging, they might see this and think it just another Jeep. The sound, though, will give it away every time.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: If Fiat-Chrysler knows how to do anything, it’s making fast SUVs, and the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is further proof of that. And by that I mean, they know how to make them fast, and they know how to make them pleasant to drive.

The Trackhawk definitely handles the fast part better than its SRT Durango and SRT Grand Cherokee cousins, what with its extra 230-odd horsepower. This big beast seriously rockets when you punch the throttle. The nose rises up, the supercharger screams, the exhaust rumbles and the speedometer ticks up much faster than you’d ever think. And it feels strong at all revs. Also impressive is that you don’t have to really think when flooring it. The all-wheel-drive and fat tires offer so much grip the Jeep simply goes.

The pleasant to drive part comes in the fact that the Trackhawk is very comfortable. The suspension has plenty of give, providing a good ride over pockmarked Motown roads. But it still handles well, if perhaps not quite up to the standards of European super SUVs. But the thing is, no SUV is going to have sports car handling, so the tradeoff toward a bit more comfort is welcomed. Adding to the good suspension are wide, bolstered, well-padded seats that should be excellent for long-trips. The UConnect is easy to use, and there’s plenty of space inside. It’s a great all-around SUV, and it just happens to go extremely fast.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I was psyched to drive the Trackhawk. It’s one of the most anticipated Jeeps ever — and it totally lived up to the hype. Obviously, the Hellcat engine is the spotlight feature, and it’s well-suited to the Grand Cherokee. That was the part I was curious about. It didn’t seem like a logical fit, but everything is well-tuned and sorted. It sounds good, yet not overdone. It’s also a sleeper vehicle. Yes, something is up with this Jeep. You can tell that at first glance. But Hellcat power isn’t immediately obvious. I like that. It’s also pretty chill when you’re cruising at steady speeds.

Inside, I wasn’t a fan of this maroon leather. Otherwise, the FCA U.S. controls and infotainment remain among the best in the industry. The touchscreens work, and the knobs and buttons are intuitive. Can’t ask for more. Also, many years into its lifecycle, the Grand Cherokee remains a strong, attractive player in its segment. Giving it the Trackhawk treatment wasn’t necessary, but I’m sure glad FCA did.

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.

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]