Chevy sweeps North American Car, Truck Awards

Chevrolet was the only brand to be recognized as this year's recipient of the prestigious North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2014 Corvette Stingray were crowned as victors by 48 automotive jurors from among dozens of competitive vehicles. The announcement was made during a press conference at the North American International Auto Show.

Chevrolet was the only brand to be recognized as this year’s recipient of the prestigious North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2014 Corvette Stingray were crowned as victors by 48 automotive jurors from among dozens of competitive vehicles. The announcement was made during a press conference at the North American International Auto Show.

BY GERRY MILES

It’s been more than 16 years since Chevy’s Corvette was coveted here and a lucky seven since its Silverado pickup drew separate honors. Today they both shared the winner’s platform as North American Car and Truck of the Year winners, respectively at the Detroit Auto Show.

“Chevrolet is in the midst of the most aggressive product transformation in the brand’s more than 100-year history,” said Alan Batey, General Motors senior vice president, Global Chevrolet. “The Corvette and Silverado truly embody the passion, commitment and focus that is driving us to deliver the most expressive designs, innovative technologies and engaging performance in every vehicle that wears the bowtie,”

The Corvette received 211 points topping the Mazda3 with 185 points and the Cadillac CTS with 94 points. The Silverado received 219 points to the Jeep Cherokee with 174 points and the Acura MDX with 97 points.

It’s hardly a shock that the Corvette, arguably one of the most recognizable cars in the world and an icon for sports cars compared to the Mazda3 and Caddy CTS. With rave reviews on its performance and handling, it was a foregone conclusion to this auto watcher and many more.

The new Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2L V-8 engine – and 460 horsepower /465 lb-ft with the available performance exhaust system – enabling models with the available Z51 Performance Package to sprint from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds.

The Mazda3 is a very nice new car that’s nothing like its past. That it received nearly twice as many points as the CTS shows how far it’s come and how plebian the Caddy name is.

Caddy, which makes nice, sportive sedans, has vehicles that sport homogenous shapes and styles that could bear the badge of any import maker. They no longer have a distinctive shape that proclaims it is a Cadillac: they instead rely on a wide-gnarly garish grille with the wreathed logo as its sole calling card.

Forty-nine automotive journalists from the United States and Canada vote to recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.

The Silverado has upped the truck’s image and its sibling GMC offering, with an optional 5.3-Liter, 355 hp, EcoTec3 V-8  for confident towing and hauling that switches to four cylinders to save fuel during light-load driving. With an EPA estimated highway fuel economy of up to 23 mpg, Silverado offers the best fuel economy of any V-8 pickup.

I’m not surprised the Acura dipped to third place because it looks like so many other hi-lux, comfy crossover models with leather interiors. Yawn.

I had high hopes and after having driven the Jeep Cherokee that it could win based upon its ability to change its styling and hold on to the basic motoring tenets off-road as found in the winning Grand Cherokee in its younger offering. It can do everything big brother does just as well without yielding any rock-crawling ability. The polarizing style is another issue … but you don’t see it from inside where you’re safe and warm.

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Hyundai Tucson adds value for 2014

Press Release

Standard Gasoline Direct Injection Technology and Standard SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping Improve Driving Performance for All

COSTA MESA, Calif., – The Hyundai Tucson, known for its combination of style and function, adds even more value in 2014 with advanced 2.0-liter Nu and 2.4-liter Theta II Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engines, enhancing torque and engine responsiveness. With GDI standard on Tucson, like its big-brother Santa Fe, every Hyundai CUV now features this performance-enhancing technology. Tucson is the first Hyundai to receive the 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine in the United States. It will be applied to other models later in the 2014 model year.

Tucson’s new GDI engines are complemented with all-new standard SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) for optimum ride, handling and driving comfort. 2014 Tucson also adds a host of available new refinements, including Hyundai’s Blue Link safety, service and infotainment telematics system, two-stage reclining rear seats and third-generation navigation with a larger seven-inch touchscreen display and HD Radio technology. The 2014 Tucson will be available at Hyundai dealerships in fall of 2013.

New for 2014:

Performance Enhancements

  • New 2.0-liter Nu and 2.4-liter Theta II GDI inline four-cylinder engines replace Multi Port Injection (MPI) engines
  • Standard SACHS amplitude selective dampers for better ride quality
  • Entry-level Tucson GLS with 2.0-liter Nu engine now available with AWD

Safety and Technology Enhancements

  • Standard Blue Link and Hyundai Assurance Connected Care on Tucson Limited
  • Third generation navigation with larger seven-inch touchscreen and HD Radio technology
  • Standard Bluetooth hands-free phone system
  • 4.3-inch color LCD touchscreen audio with rearview camera

Interior Enhancements

  • Two-stage reclining 60/40 split rear seats
  • Standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel
  • Floor console mounted rear vents
  • Standard-steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls
  • Cupholder illumination
  • New interior colors, beige and brown

Exterior Enhancements

  • New projector headlights with LED accents
  • LED taillights
  • Shark-fin antenna on Limited trim
  • Roof side rails with panoramic sunroof
  • New 17-inch (standard) and 18-inch (optional) alloy wheel designs

2.0-LITER NU GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION ENGINE

In a segment where GDI engines are not normally found, the addition of the 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine to the Tucson GLS will be popular with consumers. The new 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine produces an estimated 164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Performance gains were achieved by equipping the engine with an efficient, responsive GDI fuel delivery system. In the Tucson, the engine delivers higher peak torque at lower rpm for enhanced everyday driving dynamics when compared with a similar multi-port fuel injected engine. Equipping the Nu four-cylinder engine with GDI ensures a good balance between performance and fuel economy. The entry-level 2014 Tucson GLS with the 2.0-liter Nu engine will also offer AWD for the first time. AWD was not available on the entry-level 2013 Tucson GL. The Tucson with the 2.0-liter GDI engine achieves an EPA estimated 23 mpg city fuel economy figure with a ULEV emissions rating.

Engine Torque EPA Estimated Fuel Economy (mpg)
(lb-ft) City Highway Combined
2013MY Theta II 2.0-liter I4 MPI vs.2014MY Nu 2.0-liter I4 GDI 146 → 151 22 → 23 29 → 29 25 → 25

2.4-LITER THETA II GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION ENGINE

Tucson buyers looking for more horsepower and torque can choose the 2.4-liter Theta II GDI engine, which has been well tested in the Sonata and Santa Fe Sport. This engine has the ability to tow up to 2,000 pounds. With 182 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque, Tucson SE and Limited deliver strong EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 mpg combined, along with outstanding real-world performance feel.

Engine Horsepower Torque
(lb-ft)
2013MY Theta II 2.4-liter I4 MPI vs.2014MY Theta II 2.4-liter I4 Direct Injection 176 → 182 168 → 177

POWERTRAIN COMPARISON

Vehicle 2014
Tucson
2014
CR-V
2013 Rogue 2013
RAV4
2014 Escape 2014
CX-5
2014
Forester X
Displacement 2.4L 2.4L 2.5L 2.5L 2.5L 2.0L 2.5L
GDI Yes No No No No Yes No
Horsepower 182@6,000 185@7,000 170@6,000 176@6,000 168@6,000 155@6,000 170@5,800
Torque (lb.-ft.) 177@4,000 163@4,400 175@4,400 172@4,100 170@4,500 150@4,000 174@4,500
A/T 6-speed 5-speed CVT 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed CVT
EPA fuel economy FWD A/T 21/28/24 23/31/26 23/28/25 24/31/26 22/31/25 25/32/27 24/32/27(AWD)
Emissions PZEV/ULEV ULEV PZEV/LEV ULEV LEV ULEV PZEV/LEV

TRANSMISSION

All Tucson models utilize a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. For 2014, the gated gear shifter has been upgraded to a straight-type with boot for ease of use. Tucson models feature Hyundai’s Active ECO System. Active ECO modifies engine and transmission control to smooth out throttle response. By turning on Active ECO, drivers can realize up to a 5-7 percent increase in real-world fuel economy.

REFRESCHED EXTERIOR DESIGN

New projector headlights with LED accents and available wraparound LED taillights stand out from Tucson’s flowing lines, full surfaces and muscular presence. This athletic design language is highlighted by bold, dynamic, graphic elements such as the Hyundai family hexagonal front grille, aggressive lower air intake, sculptured hood creases and sleek greenhouse. Chrome grille accents and door handles lend sophistication to the top-of-the-line Tucson Limited. The profile of Tucson features a sports car-like theme with a double-zigzag treatment for the wheel arches that wrap around the standard 17-inch alloy wheels or the new 18-inch alloy wheel design. Roof rack rails are now available with optional panoramic sunroof and standard shark-fin antenna on Tucson Limited.

THOUGHTFUL INTERIOR DESIGN NOW WITH TWO STAGE RECLINING REAR SEAT

The Tucson has always had outstanding rear legroom and now second row passengers can recline their seats for even more comfort. The 2014 Tucson continues to have more passenger volume than Rogue and Escape at 101.9 cubic feet. The spacious cabin on Tucson Limited is further enhanced for all passengers by the available panoramic sunroof. New beige and brown interior colors add a more premium look and an upgraded instrument panel and upper door trim materials add a more premium feel on SE and Limited models.

The high-tech cockpit comes standard with Hyundai’s signature blue lighting, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, power windows, power door locks, fold-away mirrors and remote keyless entry with alarm and panic button. Now even the front cupholders are illuminated with blue light for nighttime drives. Another premium feature in the Tucson Limited is dual front automatic temperature control with CleanAir Ionizer that helps to kills germs within the system when the heater or air conditioner is running. Other available features include leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, power driver seat with lumbar support, automatic headlights, front wiper de-icer and new floor console-mounted rear vents.

FUN-TO-DRIVE

The 2014 Tucson’s athletic shape is complemented with agile handling. Tucson uses MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems for more precise wheel control and a smoother ride. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs and Sachs Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD), allowing tuning flexibility at smaller damper displacements. The ASD suspension provides:

  • Improved ride comfort with more body/wheel control
  • Increased driving comfort without compromised handling
  • Optimized road surface contact

The front suspension has a 24.5 mm hollow stabilizer bar to save weight, while the rear suspension has a 15 mm (AWD) & 17 mm (FWD) solid stabilizer bar. Larger stabilizer bars help to keep the vehicle flat during cornering and help provide quick turn-in response.

Due to the suspension geometry and wider track width that enables greater turn angles, Tucson’s turning circle is 34.7 feet – an advantage Tucson drivers will appreciate in their daily driving and parking. In fact, Tucson’s turning diameter bests Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

Vehicle Turning diameter
2014 Hyundai Tucson 34.7
2013 Honda CR-V 37.0
2013 Nissan Rogue 37.4
2013Toyota RAV4 34.7
2014 Ford Escape 38.8
2014 Subaru Forester 34.8
2014 Mazda CX-5 36.7

Source: AutoPlanner

THIRD-GENERATION NAVIGATION AND AUDIO TECHNOLOGY

The Tucson Limited offers an optional multifunction seven-inch touch-screen display with navigation. This third-generation display features a simpler user interface, enhanced voice recognition commands and improved navigation screens. The system is more intuitive for commonly used tasks. Simple pop-up messages now appear to help pair a cell phone and the voice recognition software understands street addresses and cities all in one sentence. The route screens display speed limits and details the next three maneuvers. One or two button pushes now complete most functions.

Tucson GLS and SE trims have a 160-watt AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers. This system includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio® and iPod®/USB auxiliary inputs. The SE and Limited trims come equipped with a 4.3-inch color touchscreen audio with standard rearview camera. An available premium audio system with navigation pumps out 360-watts of sound and includes an external amplifier and subwoofer. It also plays compact discs, accesses digital music files employing Bluetooth streaming audio and allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. Bluetooth audio wirelessly streams music from a phone to the audio system.

Available HD Radio technology is also equipped with the Navigation system. An HD Radio icon on the display appears next to the channel frequency to notify the user when a station is broadcasting in HD. Customers can also access additional programming content provided by HD Radio Technology.

HYUNDAI ASSURANCE CONNECTED CARE POWERED BY BLUE LINK®

Hyundai’s industry-leading telematics services program, Assurance Connected Care, is standard on all 2014 Tucsons equipped with Blue Link, for three years. This innovative ownership program provides Hyundai owners with proactive safety and Car Care services via the Hyundai Blue Link telematics system. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Diagnostic Trouble Code Notification, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and in-vehicle Car Care maintenance scheduling.

Hyundai also recently introduced an all-new mobile app for the Blue Link telematics platform. The mobile app allows subscribers to remotely access various optional Blue Link features and services through compatible mobile devices. Completely redesigned from the ground up, the app has been significantly enhanced from the previous version and boasts a new user experience, faster navigation and innovative new features. Google Android and Apple iOS users can download the app today from Google Play or Apple iTunes, respectively.

Blue Link is an innovative telematics solution that brings seamless connectivity for safety, service and infotainment capabilities and is offered in three packages: Assurance, Essentials and Guidance.

BLUE LINK® PACKAGES

Blue Link Assurance package:

Safety:

  • Automatic Collision Notification (ACN) and Assistance
  • SOS Emergency Assistance
  • Enhanced Roadside Assistance

Car Care:

  • Maintenance Alert
  • Automated Diagnostic Trouble Code Notification
  • Recall Advisor
  • Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Web Vehicle Diagnostics
  • Service Link

Blue Link Essentials package:

Remote Access:

  • Remote Door Lock/Unlock
  • Remote Horn and Lights
  • Remote Vehicle Start
  • Car Finder

Vehicle Safeguard:

  • Stolen Vehicle Recovery
  • Stolen Vehicle Slowdown
  • Vehicle Immobilization
  • Alarm Notification
  • Panic Notification
  • Valet Alert
  • Geo-Fence
  • Speed Alert
  • Curfew Alert

Blue Link Guidance package:

  • TBT (Turn-by-turn) Navigation Service
  • POI Search by advanced voice recognition system and by Web and download
  • Daily Route Guidance with Traffic Condition
  • Traffic
  • Gas Station Locations and Gas Prices
  • Eco-Coach
  • Restaurant Ratings
  • Weather

More details on Hyundai Blue Link are available at www.HyundaiBlueLink.com.

ARCHITECTURE

World-class weight efficiency was one of the program targets for the 2014 Tucson engineering team. Hyundai engineers also targeted an outstanding weight-to-power ratio. Having these targets paid dividends in both performance and fuel economy.

FWD Auto Trans model Curb Weight (lbs.) Horsepower Weight-to-Power Ratio
Hyundai Tucson SE 3,294 182 18.1
Honda CR-V LX 3,305 185 17.9
Nissan Rogue 3,276 170 19.3
ToyotaRAV4 3,435 176 19.5
Ford Escape S 3,515 168 20.9
Subaru Forester 2.5X (AWD) 3,346 170 19.7
Mazda CX-5 Sport 3,263 155 21.1

Source: AutoPlanner

Tucson’s widespread use of high-strength steel provides increased strength at a lower body weight. High-strength steel allows the four-wheel independent suspension to work optimally. At 3,232 pounds, the automatic transmission equipped Tucson GLS is lighter than its competitors while offering more interior room than Escape. This weight efficient unibody architecture allows for Tucson to achieve an EPA estimated 29 mpg estimated EPA highway rating.

ALL-WEATHER PERFORMANCE

To make Tucson even more versatile, Hyundai engineers added an advanced electronic AWD system. The AWD system will automatically activate under any driving condition when needed, distributing the power equally and optimizing driving performance. Under normal driving, the system only distributes power to the front wheels, thereby reducing fuel consumption. The system includes a driver-selectable AWD lock allowing for a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels for off-road and very slippery conditions. The entry-level 2014 Tucson GLS with the 2.0-liter Nu engine will also offer AWD for the first time. AWD was not available on the entry-level 2013 Tucson GL.

For even more driver control, the 2014 Tucson features Hyundai’s Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC). HAC is designed to minimize rolling backwards on steep ascents. By selecting the DBC switch, the Hydro-Electronic Control unit manages the wheel speed sensors, steering angle sensor and acceleration sensor to maintain control and speed on steep declines without having to use the brake. DBC is not available on any other vehicles in the segment and is typically found on luxury SUVs with much higher price tags.

STORAGE GALORE

The 2014 Tucson features a total of 19 different storage places and drink holders:

  • Console storage tray
  • Glove box
  • Overhead sunglass storage
  • Armrest storage compartment with tray
  • Two front seat drink holders
  • Two rear center armrest drink holders
  • Four bottle holders – one in each door
  • Four map pockets – one in each door
  • Two seatback pockets
  • Cargo area storage compartment

Advanced Standard Safety Technologies: PART OF HYUNDAI’S ASSURANCE COMMITMENT

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control
  • Active front head restraints
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Steel unibody with integrated crumple zones
  • High-tensile front sub-frame
  • Internal guard beams on all four doors
  • Center pillars serve as the anchors of a ring structure
  • Body shell made stiffer and lighter due to extensive use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, which comprises 68.9 percent of the shell
  • Tailor Welded Blanks (TWB) on key structural members
  • Three-point belts are provided at all five seating positions
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child-seat anchors
  • Dual advanced frontal airbags
  • Front seat-mounted side-impact airbags
  • Roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors that cover both the front and rear seat rows
  • Standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Corolla rolls off assembly in Tupelo, Mississippi

The old and the new Corolla meet once again. From the first to the eleventh-generation Corolla, Toyota has been producing more than just cars. It has also produced happy customers, more than 40 million worldwide. (Toyota photo)

The old and the new Corolla meet once again. From the first to the eleventh-generation Corolla, Toyota has been producing more than just cars. It has also produced happy customers, more than 40 million worldwide.
(Toyota photo)

What’s 47 years old, stunning, and turning heads in Tupelo today?

In front of an estimated crowd of nearly 9,000 people at the BancorpSouth Arena this afternoon the all-new, next generation 2014 Corolla officially made its Mississippi debut at its line off ceremony, featuring an illusionist, aerialists, fire artists and other performers.  Attendees included Toyota Mississippi team members and their families, suppliers and invited guests including Miss. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

The line off celebration was combined with the plant’s Team Mississippi Appreciation Day.

In 1996, San Francisco Region General Manager Jim Lentz (left) shakes hands with NUMMI President and CEO Iwao Itoh over the 1 millionth Corolla to come off production lines at the plant. Lentz is now Toyota’s chief executive officer of North America Region.

In 1996, San Francisco Region General Manager Jim Lentz (left) shakes hands with NUMMI President and CEO Iwao Itoh over the 1 millionth Corolla to come off production lines at the plant. Lentz is now Toyota’s chief executive officer of North America Region.

The all-new 2014 Corolla is assembled by 2,000 team members at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc., located near Tupelo.  Five “near-site” suppliers employ an additional 1,300  people.

The Corolla, now in its 11th generation, is the world’s most popular compact sedan and last month sold its 40 millionth unit worldwide.

Immediately following the all-new Corolla’s debut, guests were treated to Team Mississippi Appreciation Day outside of the arena.  Rides, games, food, live music, karaoke, a magic show and other fun-filled activities took place.

The all-new 2014 Corolla arrived in dealer showrooms last week.

QX70 ($44,950) and QX60 ($41,550) 2014 prices set

2014 Infiniti QX60

2014 Infiniti QX60

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Infiniti announced U.S. pricing on the 2014 Infiniti QX70, formerly the Infiniti FX. will remain unchanged while the QX60, formerly known as the Infiniti JX, will rise just $300.

2014 Infiniti QX70

The 2014 model year with a range of three well-equipped QX70 models:

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)* for the 2014 Infiniti QX70 are:

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
QX70 3.7 3.7-liter V6 / RWD $44,950 USD
QX70 3.7 AWD 3.7-liter V6 / AWD $46,400 USD
QX70 5.0 AWD 5.0-liter V8 / AWD $61,500 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD

2014 Infiniti QX60
The popular Infiniti QX60 luxury crossover receives a new Hybrid powertrain later in the 2014 model year. It will be available in two models:

  • QX60 Hybrid
  • QX60 Hybrid Premium in FWD and AWD configurations.

Pricing for QX60 Hybrid models will be announced at a later date.

A number of other enhancements are offered for 2014 QX60 3.5-liter models, including splitting the previous Premium Package into Premium and Premium Plus Packages and the addition of power up-folding 3rd row seats to the Deluxe Touring Package. An auto-dimming inside mirror with HomeLink® Universal Transceiver is now standard on all models. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)* for the 2014 Infiniti QX60 are:

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
QX60 3.5-liter V6 / FWD $41,550 USD
QX60 AWD 3.5-liter V6 / AWD $42,950 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD

2014 Ford F-150 can be ordered to run CNG in half-ton pickup

CNG Ford F-150

The 2014 CNG Ford F-150

  • CNG averages $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and $1 in some of USA

BY GERRY MILES

The news may seem new, at least for the F-150, but it’s not to me.

Years ago, Ford brought around modified Crown Victorias – OK, it was a long time ago – with CNG tanks tucked neatly in the trunk behind the rear seat backs if memory serves and offered the same fuel-efficient options now being proffered.

Also, years ago, Volvo – then not under the Ford umbrella – and in conjunction with the Biosphere 2 Project out in Arizona where folks lived under a huge dome and grew what they ate and sustained them within their own contained system (think TV’s Big Brother but in a more socially friendly place-setting and an eco-friendly challenge to sustain them all).

In both cases above, the cars could switch or be switched seamlessly between CNG and conventional gas from the fuel pump without any discernible sacrifice in power. The chief problem, with rules that prohibited CNG travel under bridges, tunnels and the like in Boston from the fire department at the time (I’ve no idea what it’s like now with the Big Dig structures in place) were chiefly a lack of infrastructure to support a move to CNG or LPG.

And this was way, way before GM had its famed/failed EV1 and TV stars like Ed Begley and Alexandra Paul to want the mothballed electric cars before they were crushed. And that’s long before Al Gore invented the internet, wrote Love Story or tried to blamed young boys who liked climbing tree and perhaps building a tree fort were blamed for the alleged demise of tree owls in the Northwest. But I digress…

The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V-6 engine will be available this fall with a factory-installed, fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

Ford notes that an F-150 with the CNG engine package has an estimated driving range over 750 miles, depending upon the tank size, averaging 23 highway mpgs.

CNG fuel tank

CNG fuel tank in pickup truck bed.                                                                                      (Ford Photo)

The F-150 can be up-fit with 3 CNG capacities:

  • 8.9 GGE
  • 15.7 GGE
  • 21.2 GGE

A Ford rep said the 750-mile range was a middle line estimation, referring to a 26-gallon unleaded gas fuel tank on the F-150, plus a 15.7 GGE tank.

A larger, 36-gallon unleaded fuel gas tank is also available instead of the standard 26-gallon gas tank, thereby extending cruising range by quite a bit.

“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. “With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months.”

CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Up-fits run $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.

CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, compared to the national average of $3.66 for unleaded regular.

In the next year, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option, a number no other full-line manufacturer can match:

  • Transit Connect van and wagon
  • Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
  • E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
  • F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
  • F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
  • F-650 medium-duty truck
  • F53 and F59 stripped chassis
  • 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup
CNG F-150

CNG F-150

Since the reintroduction of this  option in 2009, Ford says it’s on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.

AT&T recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option.

“We’re almost halfway to our company-wide goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of year 2018,” said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president, global fleet operations. “Vehicles such as CNG F-350s from Ford have helped us avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years while reducing our fleet’s emissions.”

CNG

Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at approximately 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically. According to the EPA, CNG usage can reduce greenhouse emissions up to 30 percent.

National rollout

The program is offered nationally through Ford.

All-new 2014 Mazda3 debuts globally

All-New 2014 Mazda3 Makes Global Debut.   (Mazda North American Operations)

All-New 2014 Mazda3 Makes Global Debut.                              (Mazda North American Operations)

MAZDA3 takes now as compact car celebrating 10th year in production

BY GERRY MILES

Mazda took the wraps off its all-new, third generation, Mazda3 for 2014 with a global reveal, 10 years after the first iteration was produced, with same-day events in New York, London, Istanbul, Melbourne and St. Petersburg.

Slated to arrive this fall, the new 3 will offer two engine choices:  a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter,  or the SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter. If the motors have the same output as previous iterations, the 2-liter would made 155 hp and the 2.5-liter, similar to that in the 6, would produce 184 hp. However in a statement a spokesman said pricing, official engine outputs, transmission choices, fuel economy and options would be made available and confirmed at a later date.

The car’s “infotainment system” is what Mazda calls an HMI or human-machine interface (HMI) will debut.  This HMI is meant to broaden the scope of the driving experience, and was designed with ease of use and safety as top priorities, as well as ensuring the driver’s focus remains on the job at hand: driving.

Mazda will also introduce new safety systems to be called i-ACTIVSENSE.  These technologies use milliwave radars and cameras to recognize hazards, reducing the possibility of collisions and minimizing damage if accidents occur.

New safety technologies for the Mazda3 include a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) and Smart City Brake Support (SCBS).

“We are proud to mark 10 years of the Mazda3’s success with the global debut of the next-generation vehicle,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO).  “There is no doubt that the all-new Mazda3 arrives with all-new expectations.  Yet as its track record has shown, we look forward to not only meeting those expectations, but exceeding them in the way only Mazda can.”

In production since June 25, 2003, more than 3.5 million Mazda3s have been sold in more than 120 countries around the world, and 136 global awards have been received.  The best-selling model in the brand’s lineup, Mazda3 accounts for nearly a third of the company’s annual global sales.

2006 Mazda3

2006 Mazda3

The first generation (2003-09) – with its unexpected design, performance and quality – changed assumptions about the compact car segment consisting of low-cost, throw-away vehicles.  By being the dynamic sports compact leader, more than two million units were sold.

2010 Mazda3

2010 Mazda3

The second generation (2010-13) further enhanced the Mazda3’s sporty driving essence, as well as improved its fuel economy consumption with the introduction of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.  Also not taking a backseat was safety, in which the second-generation Mazda3 received the highest five-star rating from Euro NCAP and was named a Top Safety Pick by the U.S.’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

All-New 2014 3d Gen BMW X5 SAV starts at $53,725

2014 BMW X5 xDrive30d

2014 BMW X5 xDrive30d

BY GERRY MILES

The race for luxury buyers in the SUV segment continues to heat up with the sweltering temperatures this summer as BMW just released pricing for its all-new 3d Gen SAV – yes, SAV not SUV – the X5 at $53,725.

  • A rear-wheel drive 2014 X5 sDrive35i starts at $53,725
  • the X5 xDrive35i   starts at $56,025
  • the X5 xDrive35d starts at $57,525
  • the X5 xDrive50i  starts at $69,125.
  • All prices include $925 destination and handling
  • All X5s will be built in Spartanburg, SC
  • All X5s feature an 8-speed automatic transmission
  • An Advanced Diesel model will join the lineup later on.
  • The optional 8-speed sport automatic transmission, offers new “launch control”

New standard equipment includes: BMW’s Auto Start-Stop system, BMW’s iDrive4.2 Navigation System with Touchpad, 10 years of BMW Assist eCall service, 10 years of BMW TeleService, BMW Apps, 40-20-40 split-folding rear seat, and now standard Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering.

The rear-drive X5  and the X5 Drive35i, is powered by BMW’s 3.0-liter, 300 hp, TwinPower Turbo inline-six. The V8-powered X5 xDrive50i uses BMW’s latest 4.4-liter, 445 hp, TwinPower Turbo V-8.

For the US market, the standard BMW Navigation system, with touchpad, includes a 10.2-inch Control Display Monitor.

Dakota leather seat surfaces are standard on the X5 xDrive50i and optional on six-cylinder models. Nappa leather can be specified as part of the Interior Design Packages.

3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six powers X5 sDrive35i and X5 xDrive35i

The new X5 sDrive35i and X5 xDrive35i will be powered by BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engine (known as N55). It develops maximum output of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm, with peak torque of 300 lb-ft from 1,200–5,000 rpm. The N55 engine was the first BMW inline-6 to combine turbocharging, High Precision direct fuel injection, and Valvetronic variable intake technology. It features a single, mid-sized turbocharger with a “twin-scroll” housing to boost performance and minimize response lag.  The new X5 xDrive35i will accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than its predecessor.

xDrive 50i features the latest TwinPower Turbo V8
The 4.4-liter V-8 engine (N63) that powers the current X5 xDrive50i receives an upgrade for its successor. The unique “reverse-flow” engine, whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks is well known for producing an instantaneous and sustained wave of power, making it a delight for the enthusiast driver. This new version of the engine adds BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing to the list of specifications. As a result, the new version of the engine (N63TÜ) develops a maximum 445 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm (a 45 hp increase), and makes peak torque of 480 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm (a 30 lb-ft increase). This newest TwinPower Turbo V8 powers the new X5 xDrive50i from 0-60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than its predecessor.

New X5 xDrive35d benefits from the latest BMW Advanced Diesel technology

The new BMW X5 xDrive35d features an all new inline,255 hp, six-cylinder diesel engine offering an even better balance between performance and fuel consumption than the outgoing diesel. The 3.0-liter engine, whose BMW TwinPower Turbo technology comprises VNT turbocharging and common direct injection, now develops maximum power of 255 hp and maximum torque of 413 lb-ft which is delivered between 1,500 and 3,000 rpm. In spite of the slight reduction in output from its predecessor, the new BMW X5 xDrive35d has a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 6.9 seconds (preliminary), making it just as quick or quicker.

A Dynamic Handling Package combines the components of Dynamic Damper Control, automatic rear self-leveling suspension, Dynamic Performance Control, and Active Roll Stabilization.

BMW xDrive in the new BMW X5: intelligent all-wheel drive, with optional Dynamic Performance Control.

All models of the new BMW X5, except the X5 sDrive35i, are equipped with xDrive full-time intelligent all-wheel drive, which actively manages the drive power split between the front and rear wheels at all times.

If xDrive is combined with Dynamic Performance Control, the drive power can be split between the rear wheels. DPC remains engaged if if the driver lifts off the gas while cornering.

All-wheel-drive models come with a new xDrive status display in the control display boasting 3D graphics. This feature shows real-time information about body roll and pitch, providing a real-time physics lesson about how close you just came to losing the vehicle to a likely rollover.

A new function, Traffic Jam Assistant, is due to be incorporated with production in December 2013 onward. At speeds up to 25 mph Traffic Jam Assistant keeps the vehicle in the center of its lane providing active steering input.

New is the latest gen of BMW Parking Assistant helping the driver look for suitable parallel parking spaces and maneuver it into the space, not only by steering but also by operating the accelerator and brake pedal and selecting the appropriate gear. When the system has been activated at the press of a button, the new BMW X5 can park itself automatically in a selected parking space.

That should be great at the mall during the holiday shopping spree.

2014 BMW X5 xDrive30d

2014 BMW X5 xDrive30d