Tag Archives: Announces

Crozz Fit: Volkswagen Announces Production EV Crossover for 2020

Volkswagen I.D. Crozz concept

Before Volkswagen offers North American consumers the all-electric Microbus redux we’ve been eagerly awaiting, the German giant will send us an EV crossover SUV. VW announced the plan at the Los Angeles auto show, saying the production model will follow the design philosophy of the I.D. Crozz concept. The forthcoming crossover will arrive in 2020 and be the first U.S.-bound Volkswagen to ride on the company’s MEB modular platform. Designed specifically for electric vehicles, the MEB platform also will form the basis of the reborn Bus, which will reach U.S. roads in 2022 and draw heavily from the I.D. Buzz concept.

Expect the production Volkswagen EV crossover SUV to share its fastback styling with the I.D. Crozz concept and cast a shadow similar in size to the Tiguan compact crossover SUV. The I.D. Crozz concept, originally revealed in Shanghai and shown for the first time in North America in L.A., features a pair of electric motors that produce a combined 302 horsepower. The concept primarily relies on its 201-hp rear-axle-mounted motor for forward momentum. If additional traction or power is needed, the 101-hp front-axle-mounted motor can step in and assist.

Volkswagen I.D. Crozz concept

Power to the two motors comes courtesy of an 83-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that lives in the floorboard. Volkswagen claims the battery pack is capable of pushing the concept approximately 300 miles on a single charge. Additionally, Volkswagen maintains that the battery pack can recuperate 80 percent of its charge in half an hour when plugged into a 150-kWh DC charger.

Unsurprisingly, the I.D. Crozz is rife with concept car kit. Although we suspect the production model will gain a B-pillar and lose the concept’s sliding rear doors, one feature that Volkswagen promises will see the light of day is I.D. Pilot. Expected to arrive in 2025, I.D. Pilot uses four retractable roof-mounted laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors, and side- and front-view cameras to autonomously pilot the vehicle through traffic.

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We still have some months until we know official information about Volkswagen’s production-bound electric crossover. However, if the mass manufactured product can offer the performance, driving range, and recharge time of the I.D. Crozz concept at a reasonable price point, then we suspect Volkswagen will have a hit on its hands come 2020.

Volkswagen I.D. Crozz concept

2017 L.A. Auto Show Full Coverage

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Anyone Up for a Six-Way . . . Lease? Ford Announces New Lease-Sharing Program

2015 Ford F-150 XLT 2.7L EcoBoost 4x4

Ford is getting into groups—group leases, that is. Anticipating “the potential for a shift from a single consumer paying for a single vehicle to several people sharing costs and benefits,” Ford announced a new pilot lease program “aimed at consumers who don’t need a vehicle full-time, but would like access to their own set of wheels.”

The 24-month Ford Credit lease program will be offered through three Ford dealerships in Austin, Texas, for groups of three to six individuals. Ford envisions such groups as including friends, coworkers, college students, or any “self-organized” group of buyers that may need a vehicle occasionally, if not every day. Ford also sees this program working in urban areas where residents walk or use public transportation most of the time, but occasionally need a car or truck for longer trips or various chores.

The way Ford has designed the program, lessees can reserve drive time, monitor the vehicle’s maintenance, make payments, and communicate with others on the account via a vehicle plug-in device and/or an app. Nothing was mentioned about negotiating who gets the vehicle when two group members need the car at the same time—say, when two roommates have dates on the same night, or when all six SigEp members who leased an F-150 need to move out of the frat house on graduation day.

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The way we see it, pickups and vans in particular could be ripe for this kind of lease program. Time will tell will see how this program works in practice, and which kinds of vehicles are most commonly leased this way. If it takes off, expect Ford (and other manufacturers) to roll out similar programs in other markets in short order.

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The Rime of the Gaydon Mariners: Aston Martin Announces 2016 DB9 GT, Updates to Vantage and Rapide S

2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT

There’s something about the older Aston Martins in the company’s lineup. The Vantage GT, while outclassed on paper by the Z06 and V8 F-Type, manages to retain an analog sports-car feel that’s wholly charming in its own right. And the DB9, despite 11 years in production, remains an involving, lovely thing to drive. It is, perhaps, the most idyllically Aston Martin of all the models the company sells. However, the last example we drove was still using Volvo’s typefaces from Aston’s days as part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. The new DB9 GT fixes that. More importantly, it offers more power.

2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT

The 5935-cc V-12 (which AM refers to as a 6.0-liter) gets a bump from 510 to 540 horsepower. It’s still a distant cry from the Ferrari FF’s 651-horse wind-‘em-up whopper or the S65 AMG Coupe’s 621-hp spine extractor, but AM V-12s have always been pleasant engines with a wonderful snarl. We will not shake a stick at these 30 new ponies. Aston claims 4.4 seconds to 60 and a 182-mph top speed. Unlike the Rapide and the Vanquish, which have moved to an eight-speed gearbox, the DB9 GT still makes do with six cogs.

Inside, the GT receives Aston’s AMi II touchscreen infotainment suit, an update to the AMi system that arrived in the Vanquish. The company claims its revised menu structure makes it more user-friendly.

Outside, the revised DB9 gets a black-painted splitter and rear diffuser, black-anodized calipers, and a GT-engraved fuel-filler cap. Revised headlights and taillights round out the package. If you’d like, the new rear lamps can be fitted with carbon-fiber inserts. If that’s not enough of the wonder plastic for you, the side strakes, splitter, and diffuser can also be crafted from the stuff. And if black calipers don’t cut the Grey Poupon, Gaydon is happy to offer you alternative colors.

Inside, the grand tourer now features “GT” badging embroidered on the seats. Coupe customers get a microsuede-wrapped steering wheel, while Volante buyers will be set up with a more traditional, leather-covered tiller. Speaking of the wheel, Aston notes that the unit is inspired by the helm of the ripping One-77. The price for all this new finery? It starts at $ 202,775.

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Elsewhere in Astonland, the Rapide S and Vantage receive upgrades. The AMi II system finds duty in both the two-seat zoot scooter and the swoopy four-door. The Vantage gets a couple of new exterior colors—Cinnabar Orange and Ultramarine Black—as well as new interior leather hues, including Vivid Red, Royal Mint, Black Damson, and Bronze Metallic. Mint and bronze two-tone? Can we get that? We want that. Royal Mint, Spicy Red, Copper, and Deep Purple stitching colors are now available to round out the zazz. There’s a “Highway Star” in-joke happening somewhere in there, we’re certain. Vantage GT buyers can choose Californian Poppy interior accents, which is certainly more sunny and definitely less seedy than an opium poppy package. Samuel Taylor Coleridge chic only goes so far, after all.


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