April 12, 2021
by Martin Bigg Video / 13 Comments
Vaughn Gittin Jr. makes it look easy.
Off-road enthusiasts eager to try the 2021 Ford Bronco are going to have to wait a little longer than expected as initial deliveries have been delayed until the summer due to supply issues caused by the pandemic. This video showcasing the SUV's off-roading prowess reminds us it will be worth the wait.
A group of Broncos recently took on the Hell's Revenge rock crawling trail in Moab, Utah. Three of them were extensively modified by Ford partners ARB, RTR, and 4 Wheel Parts. A Bronco Sport and a stock Bronco Badlands equipped with the Sasquatch package also join in the fun in footage shared by Justin B. McBride.
If the custom Broncos look familiar, that's because they were unveiled by Ford last month. The RTR Bronco is based on a four-door Badland model and is fitted with RTR Tech-6 wheels wrapped in 35-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires. Other modifications include rock sliders, a 3D printed grille, and a silver body with a striking black and yellow livery.
ARB's custom Bronco is fitted with unique bumpers, heavy-duty rock sliders, and a differential cover among other modifications. The Bronco built by 4 Wheel Parts stands out thanks to its massive 37-inch mud-terrain tires and heavy-duty suspension. But as the video proves, a stock Bronco is more than capable of tackling tough terrain.
When it's time to tackle the difficult Hell's Gate rock climb, McBride hitches a ride with none other than Vaughn Gittin Jr. in a stock Bronco Sasquatch. This was only the second time Vaughn Gittin Jr. has successfully completed the terrifying Hell's Gate climb. After selecting Bronco Mode, disconnecting the sway bar, and activating the one-pedal mode, Vaughn Gittin Jr. makes the steep climb look easy.
It's all great publicity for Ford as the Bronco successfully completed the challenging climb using stock suspension. A few seconds later, an off-road buggy struggles to climb up Hell's Gate and lands on its side, showing that it isn't as easy as Vaughn Gittin Jr. made it look. However, Ford probably wishes the video didn't end with a Jeep WranglerRubicon successfully completing the same challenge a few minutes later.
April 12, 2021
by Jay Traugott Off-Road / 22 Comments
Forget the traditional dealership.
Ford is going all-in with its new Bronco and Bronco Sport SUVs and it's encouraging dealerships to do the same. Demand is already high for the smaller Bronco Sport and Ford claims it has 200,000 reservations for the Bronco SUV, which has been delayed until this summer. If all of those reservations are converted to orders, then Ford has two years of production lined up. Not bad for a vehicle that has yet to hit the road.
But the automaker intends to expand the Bronco brand beyond both vehicles in the coming years with additional models and accessories. A number of dealers quickly recognized the opportunity.
Front Angle View Ford
According to Automotive News, several dealers reached out to Ford corporate in Dearborn, Michigan with the idea to build dedicated Bronco stores. Ford loved the idea so much it created a batch of renderings showing what these standalone dealers could look like to assist the dealers in their efforts and to recruit more showrooms. A visual presentation is always better than, say, a basic PowerPoint slide show.
As of now, Ford believes there are around 100 dealers planning to build separate Bronco showrooms that will either be connected to the main building or located nearby. Like the vehicles themselves, the Ford logo won't be bolted to the building but rather the Bronco's Bucking Horse.
The renderings show a very different style than that of the typical Ford showroom. The outdoor lifestyle influence is everywhere, from the big fireplace to accessories such as tents and kayaks displayed on the SUVs and surrounding walls. Customers would also have the opportunity to build their ideal Bronco on the spot with the assistance of a properly trained sales associate.
It's still too soon to know when these separate Bronco stores will begin showing up, but we doubt it'll take long. Also, Ford intends to reward dealers who open dedicated Bronco showrooms with increased allocation. It's really a win-win-win scenario for Ford, dealers, and buyers.
12 hours ago
by Jay Traugott Industry News / 6 Comments
But is there any truth to them?
General Motors had a very good week. It unveiled the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV, of which the $105,000 Edition 1 trims sold out in less than an hour. Days later it announced an all-electric Chevy Silverado is on the way.
Following that, GM's stock reached an all-time. America's biggest car company is now worth about $90 billion. There's genuinely a lot to be excited about, especially for an automaker that filed for bankruptcy in 2009. GM's commitment to an all-electric future means an entirely new lineup of EVs is coming, many of which will be built in the US.
The renamed Factory Zero plant, formerly the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, will build both Hummer EV truck and SUV as well as the Silverado EV. GM hasn't stated how many units of each vehicle will be built annually, but Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan came up with his own number.
The Detroit Free Press reports Duggan stated 250,000 vehicles a year will be built at the plant. Needless to say, GM is confused and has no idea where that figure comes from. "Not sure where that number came from," said a spokesman "We've never confirmed an annual number. Production will ultimately be determined by customer demand."
Duggan's people quickly switched into damage control mode. The mayor's spokesman said 250,000 is "a long-term aspirational goal the mayor came up with. It did not come from anyone at GM, but it is the mayor's hope for the long term." Truth be told, 250,000 electric trucks annually could actually happen.
GM wants to sell at least 1 million EVs in the US and China by 2025 and what better way to help make that happen than to sell Americans torque-packed pickups. GM has committed to invest $2.2 billion at Factory Zero and, in addition to the trucks, it's also been assigned to build the Cruise Origin EV beginning sometime in 2022. Production of the Hummer EV truck will begin later this year.
Before its conversion to EV production, when it was still known as D-Ham, the facility had a 230,000 annual capacity. Once the upgrades are in place, increasing that figure slightly shouldn't be difficult.
April 9, 2021
by Jared Rosenholtz Reveal / 12 Comments
But there is a catch. Quite a big one.
Based on recent spy shots, we've known for a while now that Jeep is working on a facelift for the Compass. The 2022 Jeep Compass faces new competition from the Ford Bronco Sport, so it desperately needs updates to remain competitive. After several teasers, Jeep finally revealed the 2022 Compass, but there's a catch. These changes only apply to the European market model, at least for now. We expect these updates to eventually arrive on the US-market cars.
The Compass has been around since 2017, and this new 2022 model massages the familiar styling ever so slightly. It includes a larger grille and redesigned lights, giving it a slightly more modern aesthetic. Keep in mind, these are the European models, which might explain why the red Trailhawk doesn't have tow hooks in the front.
The changes outside pale in comparison to the updates in the cabin. An 8.4-inch touchscreen still comes standard, but pictured below is Jeep's latest 10.1-inch screen with the newer Uconnect5 infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Another available feature is the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, which will adorn the higher trim Compass models.
This interior looks far more premium than the existing Compass, and it looks more luxurious than the Bronco Sport. It almost reminds us of larger Jeep models like the Grand Cherokee inside. This new Compass includes a Highway Assist feature, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane centering to make highway driving less stressful.
What's under the hood still remains the biggest mystery, at least for the US market. Europeans can choose between a range of gas and diesel engines mated to either a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, or dual-clutch transmission. Like the Wrangler in the US, the Compass offers a 4xe plug-in hybrid drivetrain producing either 190 horsepower or 240 horsepower. Jeep reportedly hasn't decided if it will bring the Compass 4xe stateside, so we assume the 2.4-liter four-cylinder Tigershark engine with 180 hp will carry over.
More information on the US-spec 2022 Compass should arrive later this year. Jeep is also expect to reveal a new seven-seater variant, bringing back the Commander name.
April 9, 2021
by Ian Wright Car Culture / 89 Comments
We think it's time more people took it seriously.
In our recent review, we pointed out that the Honda Ridgeline is the mid-size truck America still hasn't figured out it wants. There are enough people that have seen the light for sales to be reasonable (around 30K examples a year); however, they could be better. Honda has acknowledged that America needs its trucks to look rugged by giving the Ridgeline a butch facelift for 2021. But, there's still going to be a mindless chorus of "it's not a real truck because it doesn't have a body-on-frame design or solid rear axles."
It's an outdated idea, that also assumes that everyone who buys a truck uses it as a workhorse and regularly tows 7,000 lbs. That idea is patently absurd. We do accept that if you need to tow heavy loads regularly, then the Ridgeline's maximum of 5,000 lbs and the lack of truck bed size options might not suit you. However, if what you need is a lifestyle truck, then the Ridgeline is something you should be taking seriously.
Outstanding Ride Quality
The Honda Ridgeline rides on a strengthened unibody frame and has independent rear suspension. As a result, it has the ride quality of an SUV, which is desirable if your truck is an everyday driver. Its road manners are pleasant around town, and on back roads its steering is precise and direct. The chassis keeps body roll in check remarkably well.
If you have to commute on a dirt road regularly, that independent rear suspension smooths out the lumps and bumps in a way a solid rear axle setup can't. If that dirt road gets wet, or you live somewhere where snow and ice are a regular occurrence, the Ridgeline comes standard with all-wheel-drive and Honda's trick iVTM-4
AWD system featuring different modes for different surfaces.
What the Ridgeline doesn't have, at least until Honda creates an off-road package, is the kind of ground clearance trail enthusiasts will want. Still, there's more than enough for the typical lifestyle, and even enough to get more adventurous owners up to those camping and hiking spots.
We spent ten days with the 2021 Ridgeline and explored local trails with ease and headed up to the top of a mountain at over 5,000 feet. We didn't move as fast as some of the dedicated or modified off-roaders, but that wasn't the point. We were a lot more comfortable. We also got to take the Ridgeline into Honda's proving grounds in the Mojave desert, where we tested it at higher speeds on dirt and sand, and learned just how sure-footed it really is.
That doesn't mean we don't have a proper Honda Performance Department (HPD) off-road package on our wishlist for 2021. Some extra ground clearance and trick shock absorbers would be a smart move.
Interior And Cargo Capacity
Honda's cabin for the mid-size Ridgeline is our pick for best in class right now. It's comfortable but rugged, and for those with a family or who regularly transport friends around, it also seats up to three people in the back. There's no trunk for the weekly grocery run, but the pickup features a lockable "In-Bed Trunk" that will keep items out of the elements. The rear seat bottoms also fold up to make that space useable for cargo when needed.
Our only complaint inside the Ridgeline is Honda's infotainment system. It's perfectly serviceable but not very intuitive. Thankfully Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, making things a lot easier.
For Adventure And Home Projects
The Ridgeline has a wide stance, and as a result, a wide standard bed. It's capable of flat-carrying 4-foot wide items like drywall and plywood between the wheel wells, making it perfect for runs to the hardware store, though the sheets will hang out of the back.
The truck has a dual-action tailgate, meaning you can open it downwards like a traditional tailgate or to the side like a barn door. The bed has a payload capacity of 1,583 lbs, which is plenty for most use cases, including carrying motorcycles or ATVs. It also has eight standard tie-down cleats--rated at 350 pounds each for securing loads--and is made from a dent and scratch-resistant glass-fiber-reinforced SMC composite.
For tailgaters and standard on upper trims is an in-bed sound system that uses four "exciters" to turn Ridgeline's bed into an outdoor speaker. The in-bed trunk can double as an ice bucket, and a 115V 150W/400W bed-mounted AC power outlet is available.
An All-Round Drivetrain
Honda has skipped having a four-cylinder base engine, so the Ridgeline comes with Honda's excellent and well-proven 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine. It's a smooth unit with 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and returns an EPA estimated 18/24/21 mpg city/highway/combined. Just as smooth is Honda's nine-speed automatic transmission, which becomes invisible around town and on the freeway, and is more than happy to keep things moderated at lower speeds on rough or slippery ground.
uine Lifestyle Truck
Competitors like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado are designed as mid-size work trucks first and foremost. And, they are all excellent work trucks with capability beyond their actual size. Like the full-sizers, they've been adopted as lifestyle trucks by owners willing to compromise the ride quality and comfort they would get in a car or crossover. However, for those that don't need the full capability of a pickup truck all the time , having a truck with a unibody chassis and independent rear suspension will cover all their needs and make life more comfortable.
What we would like to see from Honda is a genuine HPD off-road package, rather than just the current aesthetic option. With the ride height the Ridgeline currently has, it limits the truck to easy-medium trails. We also know from the success of dedicated off-road truck packages the those negotiating the roads less traveled more often are happy to compromise road manners for more ground clearance and softer damping. With the current chassis and suspension setup on the Ridgeline, we're not sure that would be a huge compromise.
April 8, 2021
by Jay Traugott Electric Vehicles / 26 Comments
Buyers didn't hesitate.
It should as no surprise the just-revealed 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV Edition 1 would be an instant hit. GMC requesting at least $105,595 (or $110,595 with the Extreme Off-Road Package) did nothing to stop buyers from opening their wallets. Like the Hummer EV Edition 1 truck last October, not only has the SUV variant sold out, but it did so in less than an hour. GMC spokesperson Mikhael Farah has confirmed to CarBuzz "that all Hummer EV SUV Edition 1 reservations were filled."
But there's still one key thing no one knows: how many examples were up for grabs? Was it 500? Perhaps 5,000? GMC declined to provide us with an exact figure.
As with the truck, a $100 refundable deposit was required and we highly doubt anyone will have second thoughts.
Those who attempted to purchase but were turned down because they weren't fast enough will see their reservation transferred to another (less expensive trim). It's still possible Edition 1 allocation will be increased, just as Ford did with the First Edition Broncos, but who knows. The decision rests entirely with GMC. Regardless, those who missed out shouldn't be too distressed.
The EV3X trim, due a few months after the Edition 1 reaches customers in early 2023, will have the same overall power and battery setup, sans the special badging. That means a tri-motor configuration totaling 830 horsepower and 11,500 lb-ft of torque.
Thanks to the launch control system, which GMC has dubbed "Watts to Freedom," going from 0 to 60 mph will take less than 3.5 seconds. Battery range is equally impressive with over 300 miles on a single charge. Innovative features like Extract Mode and CrabWalk will also come in handy. The EV3X won't come cheap either at $99,995. The least expensive Hummer SUV is the $79,995 EV2, but it's not due until Spring 2024.
General Motors is surely pleased to see Hummer EV truck and SUV demand, at least initially, to be incredibly high. It's also a good sign for the upcoming all-electric Silverado, due in 2022 or 2023, which will share the Hummer's Ultium platform.
April 8, 2021
by Jay Traugott Government / 113 Comments
The new EPA chief has big plans.
The newly minted EPA Administrator isn't wasting any time getting acclimated to his new job. Michael Regan is currently deep in the planning phase of what will be the agency's biggest announcement in years regarding emissions laws. Speaking to Bloomberg, Regan intends to unveil by late July new limits on greenhouse gas emissions that will force automakers doing business in America to comply. General Motors, for example, likely won't take any issue with the EPA's plans because it's already committed itself to battery electrics only by 2035.
Other automakers, especially smaller ones such as Mazda and Subaru, could face problems because Regan intends to go all-out.
"We need to go as far as we can to meet the demands of the day," he said. "The science indicates we have a short window in time to reverse the path that we're on and mitigate against certain climate impacts."
2017-2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe Front Angle View Chevrolet
It's time to forget the Trump era that toned down regulations set by Obama. Trucks and SUVs like the popular Ford F-150 will have to adapt. Very conveniently, a pure battery-electric F-150 will arrive next year. Regan made clear the EPA has no intention to tone down tailpipe emissions requirements, something automakers and Big Oil had been lobbying for. However, he still firmly believes a more environmentally sound policy is still good for business.
"It's a false option to choose between economic development and prosperity and environmental protection," he added. A few weeks from now, the EPA will also formally reverse another Trump-era policy: the right for California to set its own vehicle emissions standards.
For years, the Golden State has issued C02 laws stricter than the federal mandate, such as last year's announcement banning sales of new ICE passenger vehicles beginning in 2035. It's no coincidence GM set the same goal. Could California set a new national precedent?
Regan isn't ruling that out. "We're taking a strong look at what the science is urging us to do. We're looking at where technologies are," he said. "We're marrying our regulatory policy and what we have the statutory authority to do with where the science directs us and where the markets and technology are."
Also still up for consideration is a possible tax on C02 emissions, an issue Big Oil and many politicians will fight tooth and nail.
April 8, 2021
by Jared Rosenholtz Off-Road / 7 Comments
Which Honda models will get the off-road treatment?
Around one year ago, Honda submitted a trademark filing with the USPTO for the name "Trailsport." The name clearly hinted at an upcoming off-road-themed model or perhaps a slew of Trailsport-badged variants. No additional details about the name have emerged, but we recently spotted Honda submitting a new trademark, this time for the Trailsport logo.
The application reads as follows: "The mark consists of a miscellaneous design set above the term TRAILSPORT with the letters 'R' and 'S' connected together all in a stylized font. This trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of land vehicles, namely, sport utility vehicles, automobiles, trucks, and structural parts for the foregoing."
For those who are more visual learners, we've attached a copy of the new Trailsport logo below. As the application suggests, the 'R' and 'S' are connected via a lower bar. The logo contains other cool details too, like a mountain range on the top and a slash through the letter 'O.' We expect this new emblem to feature prominently as a badge on the back of a future Honda product, or possibly along the side as a decal.
It's still unclear which Honda model (or models) will receive the Trailsport treatment. The rugged 2021 Honda Passport seems like the most ideal candidate, but we can't rule out the Pilot or Ridgeline either. There's even a small chance that the Trailsport will be a standalone model to compete with the upcoming Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota 4Runner.
It's tough to make educated guesses based only on a name, but we lean more towards the more capable Passport and Pilot camp versus a dedicated Jeep rival. Following the positive reception of the refreshed Ridgeline, Honda promised that the new aggressive styling could migrate to its SUVs. The Passport and Pilot Trailsport will likely gain more rugged styling and some different tires, but we doubt either will challenge more capable vehicles from Ford, Jeep, and Toyota.
March 8, 2021
by Sebastian Cenizo Tuning / 5 Comments
This is something special.
The Land Rover Defender has evolved from an all-conquering off-roader into a more sophisticated luxury product, and it's new price matches its spiff. However, that unattractive sticker price has helped Land Rover turn its fortunes around.
As the traditionally utilitarian vehicle has morphed into a designer accessory, it has now grabbed the attention of the well-heeled. Sure, there are some who will turn the Defender into a more capable vehicle that can do what it was originally intended for, but the real money lies in bespoke customization. That's something that Heritage Customs, co-founded by Niels van Roij, is particularly adept at. And the options are endless.
Designer Niels van Roij says that nothing is off-limits, and that any theme can be applied to the vehicle, even if it means a vehicle "symbolizing a Caribbean island." As the above video explains quite well, the Heritage Customs process sets up clients with a custom build that suits their exact tastes. Heritage can also source an older Defender if you don't already own the vehicle you want to enhance.
Once the vehicle is obtained, you can choose from numerous custom touches. As these photos show, Heritage is fantastic at fitting aftermarket body parts that look as good as the originals. And with multiple wheel and fascia upgrades available for various Defender models, making the exterior stand out from the crowd can be easily achieved.
Even the paint can be of a totally unique shade that you can help co-develop with Heritage, while the cabin opens up a vast range of possibilities when it comes to materials. Different types of leather, denim, wool, or tweed can be used to trim your interior, and the cargo area can be finished in teak wood. Little details can be customized too, from fender vents and treadplates to copper accents. Once the Defender is complete,
Heritage Customs tests it on a variety of surfaces to ensure quality. There's no word on what the average build costs, but with so many options, it shouldn't be difficult to imagine someone spending six figures designing their dream Defender.
By Nathan Adlen -April 8, 2021
2021 ram power wagon vs trx
Would you buy the Ram Power Wagon vs. TRX; if they were about the same price?
Before you freak out about the Ram Power Wagon vs. TRX $71,000 price tag; keep in mind, the Power Wagon is special – hence the price. Yep, you’re looking at the 2021 Ram Power Wagon 2500 75th Anniversary edition, and it’s loaded with lots of “special stuff.”
Power Wagon vs. TRX?
The 2021 Ram TRX is the same machine you’ve seen in countless TFLtruck and TFLOff-Road videos. It’s still a beast, and it’s still unbeatable – in certain ways. The thing about the TRX is that it’s more of a plaything than a work tool. That may be the biggest item that has to be considered with the Ram Power Wagon vs. TRX – they have different mission statements.
Equipped with a 410 horsepower 6.4 Hemi, the big V8 makes 429 lbs-feet of torque. It’s hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it features one of the most robust 4×4 setups available. Solid axles (4.10) front and rear, with a disconnecting sway-bar, are standard. It has front and rear lockers too. Add to that a ton of underside armor and a beefed suspension system – and only a few trucks can compete.
Oh, and it has a standard winch as well. The Power Wagon can tow up to 10,520 lbs, and haul up to 1,564 lbs. While those numbers are low for a heavy-duty truck, considering its off-road-bias suspension setup, it makes sense.
This 75th Anniversary Power Wagon has lots of cool upgrades. Molten Orange is a special color, and it makes this Power Wagon look even cooler. It has lots of Mopar components that Andre was referring to, along with a higher-end interior.
We bought this 2021 Ram TRX for about $77,000. While it’s not quite a base model, it’s far from the $90,000+ versions we’ve recently seen. Still, it has all the things we feel are important. That all begins with the 702 hp Hell Cat-derived, supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi. It makes 650 lb-ft of torque and it also has an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The TRX was specifically built to tackle off-road challenges – as quickly as possible. At the same time, it doesn’t embarrass itself acting like a proper pickup truck. It’s rated to tow 8,100 lbs and it can haul up to 1,404 lbs. We have towed and hauled with our TRX quite a bit, and (although limited) it has no problem doing its part.