All-New 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro $40,760

2017_toyota_tacoma_trd_pro_06_49799ff6166c5112f04325e9af2522dc1a8afe95TORRANCE, Calif.,  – – It’s dirtier than ever and it’s coming soon!  It’s the highly anticipated return of the all-new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro!  Whether tackling treacherous snow-covered terrain, driving off the beaten path, or surviving extreme conditions where roads fear to tread, the adrenaline-pumping Tacoma TRD Pro will be up for any challenge.

Based on the ninth-generation Toyota Tacoma pickup that launched last fall, the Tacoma TRD Pro will start getting down and dirty when it reaches dealerships later this month.

The Toyota Tacoma rejoins the 2017 model year TRD Pro family with all-new factory-installed off-road equipment designed by the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) to make it EVEN MORE off-road capable than before.

Aimed squarely at extreme off-roading enthusiasts who know the value of body-on-frame construction, and challenge themselves and their trucks and SUV’s in some of the harshest conditions, the new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro will raise the bar on TRD Pro performance.  Courtesy of TRD, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will add an array of new performance equipment and features, making this a truly next-generation TRD Pro product, and the new benchmark for challenging off-road terrain.

Extreme Exterior for Extreme Performance
The 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is designed to not only look tough, but to perform in the toughest off-road environment.  Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab Short Bed model in either 6-speed manual (with clutch start-cancel switch) or 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Tacoma TRD Pro will be available in three exterior colors: Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Super White.  The exterior of each Tacoma TRD Pro model will also include:

  • 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires
  • TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate
  • Rigid Industries® LED fog lights
  • New projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and auto on/off feature
  • New taillights with black bezels
  • TRD Pro badge on front door with diamond-pattern knurled finish
  • Black TRD Pro and 4×4 rear tailgate badging

Each Tacoma TRD Pro will also come equipped with a heritage-inspired TOYOTA front grille with color-keyed surround, blacked out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and a color-keyed rear bumper.

Interior Sportiness Combined with Convenience Technology
Driving a truck designed for harsh off-road conditions does not mean you also have to live without riding in comfort or the latest safety and convenience technologies.  The new Tacoma TRD Pro combines performance and convenience with standard features that include:

  • Black TRD Pro leather-trimmed heated front seats with TRD Pro logo located on the headrests
  • Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth®  hands-free phone controls
  • Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
  • New for 17MY power sliding rear window with privacy glass
  • TRD shift knob
  • TRD Pro floor mats
  • Rear parking assist sonar
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)

The new Tacoma TRD Pro also includes an analog instrumentation that features a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) with an integrated inclinometer and tilt gauge.  The MID also has outside temperature, odometer, tripmeters, and average fuel economy.

As in all Tacoma models, a GoPro® mount is located on the windshield for serious off-roaders who like to document their exploits with GoPro® HERO cameras.

Pro Performance
The new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro continues to be all about off-road performance.  The Tacoma TRD Pro will be powered by a 3.5-Liter V6 DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-I exhaust.
Tacoma TRD Pro really earns its off-road cred through suspension and exhaust enhancements that include:

  • FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks tuned by TRD
  • TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch lift
  • TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf spring
  • TRD cat-back stainless steel exhaust system

Every Tacoma TRD Pro will be equipped with 4WDemand part-time 4WD with a transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD) that are both electronically-controlled.  Also standard will be a V6 Tow Package that includes a Class-IV towing receiver hitch, ATF cooler (automatic only), engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector with convertor, and Trailer-Sway Control (TSC).

The added traction of 4WD is great, but with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), it’s even better!  Equipped only on the Tacoma TRD Pro manual, A-TRAC is a 4WD traction control system that uses the 4-channel ABS system to control power flow to the front and rear wheels, all without cutting throttle input, to help make traction no matter where you may be.

When the trail gets challenging, Tacoma TRD Pro’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) will help drivers conquer their off-road adventure.  Equipped on automatics only, this advanced system automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on five low-speed settings so you can keep your focus on navigating across difficult terrain.

Equipped on Tacoma TRD Pro automatic is the Toyota Multi-terrain Select system.  With five modes to choose from, the system helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and traction control.  When combined with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires with tough Kevlar construction, Multi-terrain Select helps enhance traction dramatically, meaning you can get back to the fun more quickly.

Tacoma TRD Pro’s Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), equipped on automatic transmission models only, helps you safely get up those hills.  This technology helps minimize Tacoma from rolling backward when you move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal, so you can move upward with confidence.
An electronically controlled locking rear differential is also standard to help distribute engine power evenly to both rear wheels so they move at the same speed, providing more grip in low-traction conditions.

Value Pricing
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the Tacoma TRD Pro will range from $40,760 for the Double Cab with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed manual transmission to $42,760 for the Double Cab V6 with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The MSRP for the Tacoma TRD Pro does not include the delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $940.  The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

7597 Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab V6 6MT $40,760
7598 Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab V6 6AT $42,760


Tacoma TRD Pro
Wheels -16” TRD black alloy
-Aggressive wheel offset widens the track +1.0-inch front and rear
Tires -Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires
Shocks FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks Tuned by TRD
– Front: TRD-tuned FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass Coil-overs with TRD coil springs
– Rear: TRD-tuned FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass Shocks with TRD Off-Road specification Leaf Springs
– 2.5-inch diameter aluminum bodies
– FOX patented Internal Bypass technology
– Position-sensitive damping
– Internal Floating Pistons (IFP)
– Hardened, oversized shock shafts are protected by redundant dust boots
– Improved suspension droop travel and bottom out resistance
Springs -Unique TRD-Tuned front springs provide a 1-inch lift
-TRD-tuned rear suspension includes progressive-rate leaf springs from TRD Off-Road models
Exhaust TRD cat-back exhaust system
– Made from 304 stainless steel; utilizes precise CNC mandrel bends
– Single right side exit with chrome-plated dual-walled tip embossed with TRD logo
– More aggressive and distinctive exhaust note
Fog Lights – Rigid Industries® LED fog lights
– Cool white (6500K) light color with high intensity, wide beam pattern
– Instant On/Off
– SAE J583 Compliant Fog Lamp (50 state compliant); RoHS Compliant
– Rigid Industries® is a registered trademark of JST Performance, LLC d/b/a Rigid Industries
Skid Plate  – TRD PRO front skid plate
– Constructed of ¼-inch aluminum
Exterior – Unique heritage-inspired “TOYOTA” front grille with color-keyed surround
– Blacked-out hood scoop and graphic
– Black bezel headlights, taillights, and overfenders
– Color-keyed mirrors, door handles, rear bumper
– Black “TRD PRO” badge on front door with diamond-pattern knurled finish
– Black TRD Pro and 4×4 rear tailgate badging
Exterior Colors -Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic, or Super White
Interior – Black TRD Pro Leather-trimmed heated front seats with TRD Pro logo (located in headrest)
– TRD Shift Knob
– TRD Floor Mats

Genesis G80 pricing starts at $41,400

  • 2017 Genesis G80

    2017 Genesis G80

    New luxury car brand Genesis announces starting price of $41,400 for its first model

  • Standardized advanced safety technology unsurpassed in the mid-luxury segment
  • Genesis G80 provides a stress-free ownership experience with exclusive service valet and maintenance programs

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., – Genesis announced pricing for the new 2017 Genesis G80 mid-luxury sedan, which offers the ultimate in refined performance, human-focused technology and first-class quality. Genesis represents a progressive step forward with a new approach to luxury, focused on providing world-class safety, unprecedented convenience and an exclusive customer experience.

Starting at $41,400, the G80 standardizes advanced safety technology with a suite of active safety features for superior passenger and vehicle protection. Even more, like all Genesis models, the G80 carries an unparalleled Genesis Experience and industry-leading warranty. The 2017 Genesis G80 is manufactured in Ulsan, Korea and will be available this month across the United States.

“The launch of the Genesis brand is an exciting time and opportunity to pioneer change and rethink luxury within the automotive space,” said Erwin Raphael, general manager of the Genesis brand in the U.S. market. “The ultimate luxury is time, and it is our goal to not only develop best-in-class products, but also create a stress-free ownership experience through thoughtful and personalized processes.”

The Genesis G80 is incredibly well-equipped in every configuration and is powered by either a 3.8-liter V6 or 5.0-liter V8 engine. To meet the needs of consumers, the V6 engine offers the option of a sophisticated AWD system, known as HTRAC®, which broadens the luxury sedan’s appeal in the snowbelt regions throughout the U.S.

2017 Genesis G80 Engine MSRP*
G80 3.8 RWD 3.8L V6 $41,400
G80 3.8 AWD 3.8L V6 $43,900
G80 5.0 RWD 5.0L V8 $54,550

*MSRP excludes $950 freight charge

Click here for more information on the 2017 Genesis G80’s Pricing & Packaging

The G80 provides an unrivaled standard suite of active driver safety technologies unsurpassed in the mid-luxury segment. These features cover the full spectrum of safety, from driver aids to prevent accidents to total occupant safety, and even the safety of other drivers on the road.

Standard Advanced Safety & Technology Highlights:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • High Beam Assist
  • Pre-safety seat belt and nine airbags
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start capability
  • Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold
  • 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with rearview camera

The G80 3.8L also offers Premium and Ultimate equipment packages to provide customers with additional luxury and convenience features such as a panoramic sunroof, full color heads-up display, and a 17-speaker Lexicon® premium audio system. The top of the line G80 5.0L comes fully equipped with larger 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips and illuminated door sill plates.

To further differentiate itself within the luxury space, the Genesis G80 will launch with exclusive customer programs to truly elevate the ownership experience. From valet service appointments scheduled using the Genesis mobile app, to complimentary maintenance and Genesis Connected Services, the Genesis Experience is designed to provide time-saving conveniences that in total no other luxury brand offers. These programs will be applied to all future Genesis models.

  • 3 years/36K miles Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance
  • 3 years/36K miles Complimentary Valet Services
  • 3 years Complimentary Genesis Connected Services including Connected Care, Remote, and Guidance
  • 3 years Complimentary SiriusXM Travel Link (Traffic & Data)
  • 3 years Complimentary Map Care – map updates
  • Best-in-Industry Warranty with Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Concierge Services

Honda Ridgeline pickup marketing set with new TV spot

Honda today is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

Honda is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

  • Multi-channel campaign debuts during the Summer Games in Rio
  • “The Power of Ridgeline” TV spot ( brings truck’s versatility to life
  • Creative execution developed by stop-motion artist PES, creator of Honda’s famed “Paper” spot  
  • Experiential and social activations position Ridgeline as “The Ultimate Tailgating Vehicle”

TORRANCE, Calif. – Honda is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features. Launching today online as a sneak peek ahead of its offical debut during the Summer Games in Rio, the multi-channel campaign is led by a new 60-second TV spot, “The Power of Ridgeline,” that showcases the versatility, utility and comfort of the all-new Honda pickup truck.

“A one-of-a-kind truck like the all-new Ridgeline deserves an innovative marketing campaign to communicate how this truck stands out among its competition,” said Susie Rossick, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Our new campaign celebrates how Ridgeline defies convention whether used for recreation or work, to show consumers what sets it apart from the rest.”

Ridgeline TV Spot
In the campaign’s hero spot “The Power of Ridgeline” (, Honda again partners with PES, with Ridgeline helping realize a full-scale construction project that ends in a surprising twist. The spot is a departure from typical truck category advertising and offers a visually spectacular demonstration of the Ridgeline’s innovative capabilities. “The Power of Ridgeline” showcases a unique combination of in-camera choreographed long-exposure, and stop-motion. PES and Honda previously worked together on the critically acclaimed and award-winning “Paper” ad in 2015.

The new Honda Ridgeline made its official television debut during Super Bowl 50.  The “A New Truck to Love” spot featuring Queen’s iconic hit, “Somebody to Love,” introduced America to the new Ridgeline and the industry’s very first factory Truck-bed Audio System. Expanding on that creative, the robust new Ridgeline multi-channel marketing campaign exposes consumers to the wide range of innovative features and technology that make the all-new Ridgeline the best in the midsize truck segment. The new campaign also features a strong experiential presence, as well as print and out of home media activations, social media programming, digital media and original content that showcases some of the pickup’s most unique features.

Ridgeline Gets Social

To extend the reach of the Honda Ridgeline marketing campaign, the automaker will be sharing multiple social programs to support the launch new of the new pickup. A set of four stop-motion videos will go live mid-August, with each video created to show off the Ridgeline’s various features including impressive cargo and cabin space, robust payload capacity along with the Honda-exclusive In-Bed Trunk® and Dual Action Tailgate.

Honda has also teamed up with the “Wood Whisperer” (, known for constructing education and entertainment for the modern woodworker, to create “Saturday Projects” in the back of the Honda Ridgeline, which will launch in August. In a series of four videos, the Wood Whisperer will use the features of the Ridgeline including the in-bed trunk and AC outlet, to build a BBQ cart, a giant connect-four game, dog steps, and bench.  He will also demonstrate that all of these projects can be built with sheets of plywood that fit flat in the back of the Ridgeline.

Honda today is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

Honda is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

The Honda Ridgeline also will be featured on created by Mythbusters star Adam Savage, this fall, with six custom builds highlighting the truck’s unique features. The Ridgeline “Features Not Standard” episodes will rollout on Facebook, YouTube and on

The Ridgeline Experience Continues

For consumers to experience the all-new Ridgeline as “The Ultimate Tailgate Vehicle,” Honda plans to take college football by storm this fall in a new series of “Hometown Tailgates” to be announced later this summer. As part of the program, Honda Ridgeline will present the “Battle at Bristol’s Tailgate Party” staring Kenny Chesney and The Band Perry and will be a part of the largest college football game in history the following day.

Honda also has launched a new Hispanic marketing campaign that debuted with the Ridgeline’s official sponsorship of the Univision Deportes’ broadcast of “Campeón de Campeones,” the emblematic Mexican soccer championship match between the winners of the two most recent Liga MX seasons that took place in Los Angeles and aired on Univision. A new Ridgeline Hispanic TV spot, “NO ES NADA” debuted during “Campeón de Campeones,” featuring the all-new Ridgeline as a ‘mid-size truck with a big-sized heart’

Additional Campaign Elements and Media Placements

National media will run on network cable, broadcast, and online video within top-rated programming and fall premieres. To create greater impact at launch, the Ridgeline campaign will include portal homepage takeovers, such as on Yahoo! and MSN. Large-scale outdoor units will boost visibility on the local level within select major urban markets. To extend the campaign’s presence, it will be featured in men’s lifestyle titles, surrounding sports / fitness, technology, and auto enthusiast magazines.

About the Redesigned and Re-engineered 2017 Honda Ridgeline

The all-new Ridgeline, now available in Honda dealerships, builds on the unique and still industry-exclusive features that debuted in the award-winning first-generation Ridgeline in 2005. With superior on-road manners and a spacious, flexible interior — the 2017 Ridgeline adds the truck bed audio system to the already industry-first In-Bed Trunk® and Dual-Action Tailgate. Ridgeline joins Honda’s expanded lineup of innovative light-truck models, including the HR-V crossover, the CR-V and Pilot SUVs and the Odyssey minivan.

The Ridgeline was developed by Honda R&D Americas in Ohio and California, and is produced exclusively at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama, auto and engine plant, alongside the Pilot and Odyssey.

Honda today is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

Honda  is introducing a new integrated marketing campaign to promote the completely redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, now available in dealerships nationwide, featuring creative from the Academy-award nominated stop-motion artist PES, to bring to life the new Ridgeline and its many innovative features.

Toyota Announces 2017 Mirai Pricing: $57,500

2016_toyota_fuel_cell_vehicle_022TORRANCE, Calif.  – Toyota Mirai drivers – COME ON DOWN!! While drivers may not see the trailblazing Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle in a game show showcase anytime soon, they can see every day value in new model year pricing. Toyota Mirai 2017 model year offers competitive, flexible pricing options and the opportunity to be a part of automotive history.

The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity onboard, while emitting nothing but water vapor. It is a zero emission vehicle with an EPA estimated driving range of 312 miles, and refuels in around five minutes.

MY17 MSRP remains $57,500 plus an $865 destination fee. Mirai customers also may qualify for an $8,000 federal tax credit and $5,000 potential California rebate along with access to the coveted California HOV carpool lane.

To recognize our Mirai drivers leading the way, qualified customers will be eligible for the Mirai trailblazer support program. The trailblazer program enhances the purchase and ownership experience with the following choices:

  • Trailblazer Lease: $349 per month for 36 months, $2,499 due at signing* with 12,000/year  mileage allowance
  • Trailblazer APR Support: 0% for 60 months or 1.9% for 72 months and
  • Trailblazer Purchase Support of $7,500

*Excludes official fees, taxes and dealer charges. See participating Authorized Mirai Toyota Dealer for details.

The new model year brings with it a new color option – Atmospheric Blue – to complement the existing Celestial Black, Elemental Silver and Nautical Blue Mirai color choices.

The Mirai comprehensive, ownership experience remains unchanged for MY17, boasting a range of world class services, including:

  • Three years’ worth of complimentary fuel [1]
  • Three years complimentary Safety Connect and Entune, including hydrogen station finder app.
  • Three years of 24/7 customer call support.
  • Mirai Complimentary Rental Experience for seven days per year for three years.[2]
  • ToyotaCare[3], our standard no cost service plan and roadside assistance, is enhanced for Mirai and includes:
    • No cost scheduled maintenance for three years, or 35,000 miles, whichever comes first[4]
    • No cost enhanced roadside assistance[5] for three years, regardless of mileage, including expedited towing service and trip interruption reimbursement at a maximum of $500 per day for up to 5 days per incident.[6]
  • 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on key fuel cell vehicle components including the FC stack and power control unit; FC hydrogen tanks; hybrid battery pack and ECU; FC air compressor, boost converter and ECU; hybrid control module (power management control module); and hydrogen fueling ECU.[4]

California customers can request a Mirai by visiting Production of the Mirai is limited and vehicles will be placed with select, eligible customers. After placing a request, potential Mirai drivers are contacted directly by a Toyota representative to discuss ownership and next steps.

Mirai customers take delivery from one of the eight authorized California dealers of their choosing. In Southern California, Longo Toyota, Toyota of Orange, Toyota of Santa Monica or Tustin Toyota will take care of Mirai trailblazers. Customers in Northern California will visit Roseville Toyota, San Francisco Toyota, Stevens Creek Toyota or Toyota Sunnyvale.

[1] Complimentary fuel for 3 years or $15,000 maximum, whichever comes first. Fuel program starts after receipt and activation of fuel card; fuel card is nontransferable. Fueling must be done at approved stations that meet SAE fueling interface protocols.
[2] The seven complimentary days per year will expire after each year and any unused days will not carry over.
[3] ToyotaCare covers normal factory scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. 24-hour roadside assistance is also included for two years, regardless of mileage. Valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.

[4] Covers normal factory scheduled maintenance and is valid only at authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealers in the continental United States. See dealer for details and exclusions.
[5] Does not include parts and fluids.
[6] Trip reimbursement covers interruptions that require the Toyota dealership to keep such vehicle overnight and such Covered Vehicle is at the time of such disablement more than fifty (50) miles from the residence of the owner of the Covered Vehicle. See an Authorized Mirai Fuel Cell dealer for details and exclusions.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek impresses

2016_ctk_photos_ext_13By Gerry Miles

In the mix of utilitarian, quasi-cute and versatile, Subaru created one of its most popular model in recent history in the Crosstrek.

A small package with an equally small starting price, the Crosstrek builds upon Subaru’s go anywhere at anytime versatility with its all-wheel-drive that supports a small yet rugged appearing package that provides the economy, surprisingly roomy interior and versatility the import firm is known for.

Given a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium to test, I found exactly why people like the heck out of this vehice. It’s size belies interior room, it didn’t squander safety features and it just looks different enough from its stablemates to make ponder what car they’re actually looking at. One look inside requires the doors to open to see if the interior is fit for clowns or accommodates humans.

Like most trendy automakers, Crosstrek is also offered with a Hybrid setup, but given its efficient 4-cylinder Boxer engine, small packaging and relative light weight, there’s really no need to empty you greenbacks on that model. With EPA estimates of 26 in the city and 34 on the highway (29 combined) you’d be hard pressed to complain when you pull up to the pump.

Back to the economy or the sticker: Priced with a base of $22,395 for a vehicle with the model name Premium is a refreshing double-take no doubt. There’s a ton of standard features that includes a rear backup camera, HD radio, Bluetooth, and the required large touch screen in the dash and leather wrapped on the steering wheel and shifter.

Adding to the sticker was a CVT transmission for another grand to handle the power sent from the 2.0-liter, Boxer engine. A five-speed manual mixer is standard. The CVT made me harken back to the days of the Subaru Justy and then-unknown star Kirstie Alley plugging it in TV commercials. The Justy was hard to justify and moreso with the underpowered motor and CVT package.

Unlike the Justy, the 2-liter powers the Crosstrek just fine in normal daily driver use. Equipped with 148 horsepower and 145 lb.-ft. of torque, it provides potent power for the masses that may not notice the sometimes hesitant nature of the CVT (critics look for such things) or the accompanying sounds of it summoning strength to surge on. It’s not overly obtrusive, yet somewhat noticeable.

16_ctk_photos_int_02Creature comforts includes the $1,995 option package that included the Subaru Starlink multimedia system, featuring an upgraded infotainment system, pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision throttle management, and eyesight driver assist. It’s a hefty upgrade but it’s a bunch of safety stuff you’d want in a pinch and to help you out. For that complete package and comparable offerings it’s a good deal.

While I was constantly amazed at the interior room and functionality in the front and back seats I also discovered a compliant ride that sometimes felt too firm. The suspension handles the bumps and road rash keeping it from the cabin. Handling was solid, steering input was direct and road feedback was solid.

Subarus are known for laughing at winter conditions in New England and when they first appeared I asked the owners how they liked their new cars and they all responded with a single phrase: love it. With its AWD Subarus are known to saunter through snowdrifts with the footing of a mountain goat with hiking boots.

While somewhat utilitarian in its features and appearance, the ride, versatility and capabilities have clearly matriculated down the model line….as they should.

ctk_lifestyle_01Crosstrek is a very capable crossover that packs a lot into a small package with big league versatility, features and functions.

Buyers seeking more room, a taller greenhouse and creature comforts should move across the showroom to the vaunted Forester or additional upscale offerings in the showroom. With its year-round capabilities, Subaru has something for everyone.

But for those on a budget, a small garage and a car to haul a canoe, biccyles, or stow the snowshoes, the Crosstrek is a great selection.

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Premium

Base price: $22,395

Options: $2,995

As tested: $25,390

June new car sales expected to dip: JD Power and LMC Automotive

DETROIT: June 2016 — New-vehicle retail sales in June are expected to reach 1,206,700 units, a 0.5% decline from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Retail sales through the first half of 2016 are projected to reach 6.8 million units, down 0.2% from the same period in 2015. With the sales slowdown expected to continue in the second half of the year, LMC Automotive is reducing its retail light-vehicle sales forecast for the year to 14.2 million units from 14.3 million units.

  • The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for retail sales in June 2016 is projected to reach 13.3 million units, down from 13.5 million units in June 2015.
  • New-vehicle retail transaction prices thus far in June are at an all-time high for the month at $31,089. The previous record was $30,202, set in June 2015. Incentives are also at a record high for the month of June at $3,278 per vehicle, $119 per vehicle more than the previous high in June 2015.
  • With record transaction prices, consumers are on pace to spend $37.5 billion on new vehicles in June, surpassing the record high of $35.2 billion for the month of June, set in 2015.
  • Increased fleet sales are expected to off-set slower retail sales, increasing total light-vehicle sales in June to 1,546,800, a 0.8% increase on a selling-day adjusted basis from 1,475,062 a year ago. Fleet sales are expected to hit 340,000, a 5.9% increase from 308,640 in June 2015 on a selling-day adjusted basis.
  • The SAAR for total sales is projected at 17.0 million units in June 2016, the same level as a year ago.
  • The lower level of retail sales has had an impact on the total light-vehicle market. LMC Automotive is maintaining its full-year forecast at 17.7 million, but cautions that volume may be at risk, as rising fleet sales may not be enough to maintain total volume.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons

  June 20161 May 2016 June 2015
New-Vehicle Retail Sales 1,206,700 units

(0.5% lower than June 2015)2

1,207,853 units 1,166,422 units
Total Vehicle Sales 1,546,800 units

(0.8% higher than June 2015)2

1,535,331 units 1,475,062 units
Retail SAAR 13.3 million units 13.7 million units 13.5 million units
Total SAAR 17.0 million units 17.4 million units 17.0 million units

1Figures cited for June 2016 are forecasted based on the first 16 selling days of the month.

2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the month (26 days in June 2016 vs. 25 days in June 2015).

John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power, said: “We have seen a slowdown in retail demand since April, posing a significant challenge to manufacturers on a volume basis. Despite sales slowing down, consumer spending remains at record levels due in large part to a continued shift from cars to trucks. The key going forward will be to what degree automakers are able to adjust production levels to slowing demand rather than relying on profit-damaging incentives to move inventory. This will be something to watch as the industry is nearing what is close to being the peak of an average cycle.”

Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said: “Year-over-year growth is evaporating, and while we are now expecting a slight contraction in retail sales, the total light-vehicle market should remain 1% higher than 2015. However, risks continue to mount for the second half of 2016, with 200,000-300,000 units of volume risk. If the selling rate averages 17.5 million units, which is higher than the projected 17.1 million-unit pace in the first half of the year, total sales for the year will end at 17.4 million units, or a decline of 0.3% from 2015.”

Ram Rebel 4×4 special edition revealed

PH-615009998-4BY GERRY MILES

Special, limited editions are nothing new in most parts of retail. Especially the automotive segment. Smaller numbers produced some exclusivity for buyers – or some the OEMs hope they can sell on that point – and special doodads, add-ons and badges no one will see on any other similar but not quite the same offering with a slightly special price, too.

To usher in summer, Ram has produced 500 limited editions of its Rebel for 2016 for $53,665, which includes the delivery fee. Now that’s special.

The Rebel comes in but two colors: Brilliant Black or a two-tone Flame Red with Brilliant Black along the bottom and two stripes down its nose.

Mopar produced at least one limited-edition version of an FCA vehicle each year since 2010 that of course … wait for it …. sold out. In 2010, the Dodge Challenger appeared in special livery and again in 2014; two Dodge Chargers were offered in 2011 and 2015; a Dodge Dart in 2013 and a Chrysler 300 in 2012.

Whattaya get?

PH-615009998-2Your Rebel gets off-road wheel flares, a special blue/black stripe down both sides and across the tailgate, an aluminum dual bezel hood with graphics.

Under the hood the already produced rough and ready Ram is powered by a standard 5.7-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission.

PH-615009998-3The accessory package boasts a skid plate in case you misjudge the road and the log during a crossing, 17-inch satin black wheels, stainless steel door sill guards and, wait for it, special interior badges. Useful addons includes black tubular steel side-steps, a spray-on bedliner and tri-fold tonneau cover for the bed featuring the Ram logo.

At delivery, the Rebel will arrived with a “metal birth certificate” listing the truck’s specifications and date of manufacture. Honest you can’t make some stuff up.