2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel unveiled

Jeep today finally pulled the cover on the highly anticipated 2014 Grand Cherokee diesel. The vehicle that has been rumored for two-years now will go on sale later this year. The new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine is expected to deliver some 30 mpg highway mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission in 2×4 models, and to up [...]

Diesel plug-in hybrid Volkswagen CrossBlue debuts at Detroit

At the Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen wowed journalists with the ground-breaking CrossBlue SUV Concept. The concept Volkswagen says represents a potential new product only for the US and Canadian market that would price somewhere between the base Tiguan and premium Touareg SUV’s. Potentially ground-breaking is the CrossBlue’s plug-in hybrid TDI Clean Diesel engine powertrain. The [...]

Chrysler Becomes First U.S. Automaker to Reenter Diesel Market


2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

DETROIT—At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler became the first U.S. automaker to reenter the growing diesel passenger car market, a field that has in recent years been dominated by German car companies.

The redesigned 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee was unveiled at the show with a new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine.  Chrysler says that the diesel-powered Jeep will deliver 30 mpg (7.8 l/100 km), giving the SUV a driving range of 730 miles (1,175 kilometers).  By comparison, the gasoline-powered V-6 variant has a highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km), giving the diesel a 17% edge.

The diesel V-6 is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission designed for greater fuel efficiency.  It also improves the Grand Cherokee’s 4×4 performance with a lower crawl ratio.

The 24-valve dual-overhead cam 3.0-liter diesel engine produces 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and promises low CO2 emissions.

The diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee can tow 7,400 pounds (3,356 kilograms) and the 4×2 model will achieve 21 mpg (11.2 l/100 km) in city driving and 30 mpg (7.8 l/100 km) on the highway.  The 4×4 model is expected to get 20 mpg (11.7 l/100 km) in the city and 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) on the highway.

In addition to the diesel engine, Chrysler is adding new safety and security features including Front Park Assist, Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Uconnect 8.4” touchscreen radio that supports climate and infotainment controls.

TUNED: Off-roading the SDHQ EcoBoost Raptor [video]


Matt loves his Raptor. It’s a literal go-anywhere vehicle that is also comfortable on long trips. It can hold all our gear, and the off-road suspension makes it a very smooth camera car. The SYNC system is responsive, it has loads of storage space, and you can jump it. What’s not to love?


Well, the MPG, to start. On road trips, we average 12MPG, at best.With gas prices fluctuating like Keith Richards’ sobriety, 12MPG is a pretty expensive thorn in our side. That’s exactly why Ford sold over 200,000 EcoBoost F-150s last year. 43% of F-150 buyers checked that option box. That’s a lot. The reasoning is obvious: it makes roughly the same power and torque as the 6.2L V8, but gets about 20MPG. Sounds good, can I get a Raptor with it?


No. Ford didn’t make it an option last year, nor this year. Perhaps they predicted the Raptor market would be too gung-ho for V8 displacement, or thought a rumbly 8-cylinder fit the brand better, we don’t know. But it’s too bad, because the only complaint we have about the Raptor is the fuel economy. Left with no EcoBoost option, we’d accepted our future of eating Ramen and camping out in front of SVT Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi, holding a candlelight vigil for an EcoBoost option. But our friends at SDHQ Off-road had a better idea: build one. That’s what they did, surrounding the twin-turbo V6 from an F-150 with all the best parts from an SVT Raptor, plus some more badass goodies. That’s what Matt drove on this week’s episode TUNED. He took the truck out to an OHV area in Arizona to see who got it right: Ford, or SDHQ. Will he have truck envy? Jump to find out.



Source: /DRIVE Network

Follow us on Twitter: @thesmokingtire @zackklapman

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Nissan LEAFs made Arizonians Angry. Arizonians throw cacti, and guns.


"Why couldn't I have ended up in Palo Alto? I didn't train for this."

“Why couldn’t I have ended up in Palo Alto? I didn’t train for this.”

By Zack Klapman


The Nissan LEAF is pissing off owners in AZ, and you don’t want to do that, because they have guns. Lots of them. In two days of filming there we were handed: an AR-15, a .45 caliber semi-auto UZI (yeah, an Uzi), an FA91 .308 assault rifle, and a mother fucking Barrett M82 .50 caliber sniper rifle. That last one isn’t even technically a sniper rifle (as it’s commonly called). It’s actually an anti-material rifle, because it was designed to destroy things; Engines, cars, houses, bunkers, planets, not people. Big, scary, guns.


And right now, the people of Arizona are none too happy with Nissan.


According to Scottsdale CBS affiliate KPHO, LEAF owners in Arizona are reporting that cars are seriously under-performing during the summer months. This is because, during the summer, the landscape of Arizona is exactly the same as that on Mars, rising to hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit (The only things that can survive such temperatures are sand, turquoise jewelry, and golfers). Owners are reporting a loss of 25-40% of battery capacity, which is a huge loss for just pulling out of the garage when you consider a LEAF’s range is -at best- 73 miles. Enough owners complained that execs flew in from Japan (along with special parts for an orange Supra ; ] ) to hear the grievances in person. Make the jump for the video report.
We’re not surprised battery life is being hurt by the heat; Arizona is hot as hell in the summer. I’m surprised normal gas cars don’t just spontaneously explode. But I am a little surprised that Nissan didn’t find a way to prevent this situation. Look at the kind of hot weather testing Porsche does. Now imagine you’re bringing brand-new technology to the world: a plug-in 5 door. You’re trying to get in early on the EV game, telling people 73 miles per day is 4x what the average person drives. It’s a big gamble, a big sell, and a huge project. Wouldn’t they have thought of the people living on the sun (Florida, AZ, Nevada, parts of CA)? The big push-back against electric cars is range. With that concern comes the sub-points of how a car’s range is affected by: driving at night, using accessories (radio, NAV), and by the outside temperature.


If you live somewhere cold, on particularly frigid days you’ve probably watched your phone sluggishly change screens. Same thing when you leave your phone on the dash on a hot day. I’ve had my iPhone power itself down after sitting in a hot car, to prevent damage. It stands to reason an electric car could suffer from the same hurdles. Nissan says they’re under-writing the warranty, and they’ve bought back a few cars from particularly armed unhappy customers.


I know hindsight is 20/20, but it seems to me that more development is needed to prepare EVs for any and all situations. I don’t know what-if any- hot testing they did, but apparently it wasn’t hot enough. I hope they go back to the lab, and continue to perfect what I feel is absolutely necessary technology. Unfortunately many people are so anti-EV that they will magnify or focus on any stumbling block. Imagine how long it will take the friends of those now-former LEAF owners to convert to an electric vehicle? So, hopefully Nissan figures this out quickly. I applaud them for taking a step outside the I.C.E. box, but they’re up against a lot of resistance, and need their product to deliver in all climates.


Source: KPHO

Follow us on Twitter: @thesmokingtire @zackklapman

First Impressions: The New C7 Corvette (finally…) Revealed

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

By Zack Klapman


The new Corvette, the C7, is finally here. I don’t mean “finally” the same way a kid arriving at Disneyland after a 12 hour car ride does. I mean it the way you would if you were a bridesmaid at the end of a wedding. For two years you were forced to hear about, discuss, plan, and hypothesize over “the big day”, and now it’s finally over. No more renderings, theories, speculation, sensationalism or stupid forum arm wrestling. This is the car. It’s not mid-engined. It does have that one thing you wanted. It also might not have that other thing you wanted. Such is life.


People have asked us what we think about the new car, so I posted my thoughts below. I would like to preface what follows by saying that, to me, no highly-photo shopped photo, no Detroit Auto Show iPhone shot, no picture taken on a stage with 3,000 lights, can accurately portray what a car will look like in person. It won’t have the same impact to my gut, heart, soul as cars do in person. Some cars leap off the page and I love them instantly. Others, like the Venom GT, have to be seen in person to truly appreciate (it looks really god damn good in person). The pictures from GM look like they are from GT5, and the ones from the auto show are so brightly spotted it looks a water balloon filled with White Out burst on the stage.


So, I reserve my final judgement until I see it in person. I have no doubt it will be incredible to drive, uphold it’s name’s performance legacy, and kick fucking ass. Right now, I can merely (and barely) judge how it looks.  What follows below is a short comic-book-ish barrage of gut reactions to various angles or pieces of the car; Like flipping through Polaroids that I’ve written comments on.  These are simply the things that stood out in my mind today, looking over this new Corvette.

The Stingray name is back (as is the poetic “LT1″ engine code). I can see the influences in the design: the tapering rear and peaked fenders. But I feel the original Stingray had a simpler design. The new car looks very busy, with the vents here, creases there, more vents, slashes, etc. There’s a lot for the eye to take in. But, being a fan of older cars, and my top design favorites being smoothies like the 550 Maranello and 8C, it’s no surprise I’m not immediately in love.

Again, it may be that these pictures highlight too much at once; more than in real life. I love the edges of the CTS-V, so perhaps in real life, I’ll get it. I do like that tapered rear… and the fenders….

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray


But gills and vents? I’ll probably stand in strong opposition. I don’t care for these on the GTR, or here. I think it’s that they’re so thick, making them more noticeable, and breaking that painted flank. I know I’m not a design student, and these things are done for a reason. This is also probably (hopefully) functional, reducing drag, brake heat, etc. But I would have like to see one without them, just to see what it would have been like. “Slippery” comes to mind.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Same with these, which I dislike even more. Cooling the brakes or diff? Sure, but there didn’t seem to be a problem with either before. I like pronounced hips on a car, or on anything, really. One of my favorite things about the ZL1 was looking in the side mirror and seeing that big, peaked metal sitting over the tire. Wide, bold, tough. And it was unbroken metal. To me this is like making a bronze sculpture of a seal, smooth, soft, and beautiful. And then bolting a TV to its side and calling it “modern art commentary”.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The word that comes to mind from the back is “tough.”

Well, I want it to be, except I read a comment online that said it looked like a robot with a uni-brow, smoking 4 cigarettes. Clever. Valid. Burned in my memory forever.

I actually see a little bit of 3rd gen Trans Am, like a Trans Am sent back from the future. Only problem is the front looks like it’s from the present.

But the profile is good. The F/R fenders have great shape,. They remind me of a 599, kind of a surgical athleticism. Sexy but lethal, like James Bond.

Perhaps it’s the color that’s thrown me. Color can change everything…

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

…red is good.2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Let’s move on to the interior before I’m completely crucified:

“Wow, Ralph Gilles and the rest of the Viper guys must be pissed someone traced their- oh shit, is this thing on?”

Jokes aside, it’s a marked improvement from that last two generations, which-in my opinion-saw negligible changes between C5 and C6, especially when compared to the evolution of the performance.


Updated? Yes. Better looking? Absolutely. Less black plastic is a great thing, as are buttons from this decade. I like the contrasting colors, and the placement of them. In the past, Corvette interiors looked like endless mesas of black and grey plastic. This has some style, some flavor, some character going on. There’s more shapes and panels, and that is a good thing.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray




2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

If they feel as good as they look, we should be very, very happy.

The front: I’ve seen some jokes made about it being a wee bit too close to the Viper. Well, I understand: the headlights sweep up along the fender, like the Viper, rather than spreading across the nose like the C6. The mouth is also much taller than the past Vettes, a trait the Viper also possesses. I do see what they’re talking about. But Ferrari also did that a while ago with the 430 (the headlights taken-in my opinion- to the extreme with the 458), the 599, and the 612. In fact, the Corvette is more similar to the new Ferrari F70 than the Viper. Swept-back lights are the just current trend.

Looking at the two of them head-on, there’s a lot of similarities. But step one foot in either direction, and you’ll see the Corvette’s lights sweep farther back. Side by side, the two don’t look as related. Less Alec/Steven Baldwin, more Jake/Maggie Gyllenhaal. The Corvette and Viper look just as similar now as they did in 2008.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Dunno whose idea it was to render it with blue fire and eating blue ghosts, but I like it.

That’s it. My reaction to the new C7 Corvette. Matt’s opinion will likely differ, and I know we’ll all discuss it on the podcast later this week. For now, flame me here, or take it to the forum.



Source: General Motors


Follow us on Twitter: @thesmokingtire @zackklapman

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Live Photos From Detroit

Direct from its debut just moments ago at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, we have the first live photos of the stunning new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Yes, we say Stringray as Chevy has decided to commemorate one of its most legendary models--the ’63 Sting Ray--with its latest ‘Vette, while also delivering the cutting-edge style the...

Volkswagen CrossBlue Crossover to Offer Gas, Diesel and Plug-in Hybrid Engines

Volkswagen CrossBlue Crossover to Offer Gas, Diesel and Plug-in Hybrid Engines Volkswagen CrossBlue Crossover to Offer Gas, Diesel and Plug-in Hybrid Engines
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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Bring The 30 MPG Diesel

There was once a time when there was scarcely a Chrysler product that wasn't a Jeep Wrangler or a Ram worth recommending to a normal person. And then the new Grand Cherokee debuted. An immediate hit with an exterior that was Jeep-tough yet refined with performance to match. For 2014 there's no dramatic redesign, just a slight improvement to keep it fresh. More »