News For the Week (#46):
What’s worth sharing – 7 items:
Honda released pricing for the Accord 2.0-liter. Starting at $31,200, including destination, it officially goes on sale November 20th. The starting trim is the Sport trim although it shouldn’t be directly compared with the 1.5L Sport as the 2.0L trim has much more feature content (similar to the 1.5L EX trim) – there is no longer an excuse for enthusiasts to hold out on the six-speed manual transmission which is optional only on the Sport (The Civic Si is well equipped too). The 10-speed automatic is a no cost option and is the only option for the EX-L and Touring trims whose equipment features closely mirror those of their respective 1.5L trims. The EX-L starts at $32,860 including destination with a navigation system ($1,000) being the only factory option. The Touring trim is $36,690 and becomes the most luxurious and powerful Accord ever. First Look: 2018 Honda Accord
Going on sale December 1st, Honda says this car’s 47 mile all-electric EPA range is the highest of any plug-in hybrid sedan.
At the upcoming LA Auto Show on Nov. 29, Lexus will debut a three-row RX model finally presenting a true competitor to one of the segments best sellers, the Acura MDX. The hybrid version will then be announced meaning it will likely arrive some time after the gas-only model.
Tesla had a big week with two concept unveilings. The all-electric Tesla Semi is designed to haul 80,000 pounds – the maximum gross weight for an 18-wheeler. Despite Elon Musk’s reputation for being overly optimistic on many fronts, Tesla’s rationale for why their truck is better than a standard diesel truck has merit. With a much smaller and less dynamic set of competitors, the Semi has a real chance at commercial success if the production and engineering meet their goals. The all-electric powertrain destined for the Semi will have a strong performance advantage over a comparable diesel per Tesla’s estimates and with individual motors controlling torque application at each wheel it will be safer too. Tesla also claims that its electric system will require less maintenance. While this may be theoretically true, especially with its high energy recovery capability, Tesla does not have a reputation for reliability which may be equally as important to a fleet owner. Tesla has proven itself as an innovator, always taking a fresh look at why things are they way they are. It has forever changed the new-car industry and expect similar revolution for the trucking industry.
This Roadster concept is considered to be the second generation of the car that launched the brand. The clean and dynamic shape hides an all-wheel drive system that helps propel the car to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and the ¼ mile in 8.8 seconds. That’s significantly faster than the recently released, drag-strip focused Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – even when using high octane race gas. Tesla estimates that the base price will be $200,000. Estimates are that production to begin within the next 3 years.
Infiniti used the Dubai International Auto Show to debut their latest updates to the large QX80 SUV. Mostly consisting of styling changes and technological improvements, the existing generation has been on the market since 2011. The powertrain carries over as does the overall exterior size, which is equivalent to the 2018 Ford Expedition. The revised hood, front fascia and other panels give the SUV a more sculpted look, adding up to a cohesive powerful design and less of last year’s rolling blob of big soft shapes. Emphasizing the QX80’s mission of being a comfortable cruiser, the interior has been further quieted, the damper settings have been softened, and even the construction of the tire has been revised to minimize the transmission of small impacts. On the technology front, the rear entertainment screens grow in size and resolution. A digital rearview mirror is offered that utilizes the camera to display an unobstructed 48 degree view compared to the physical mirror’s 20 degree viewing angle. The base version with a 5.6-liter V8 and four wheel drive has an MSPR of $67,850, not including destination. Pricing for different option packages has not yet been released. Infiniti stated that the large luxury SUV market already accounts for 50% of the luxury vehicle sales and the growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Kia released the pricing on it’s fastback sports sedan. The base Stinger starts at $32,800 including destination fee while a fully loaded Stinger with a turbocharged V6, eight-speed transmission, and all wheel drive breaches the $50,000 mark. Kia expects this trim to reach 62 mph (100 kph) in 5.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 167 mph. This is new territory for Kia in terms of driving dynamics, design, and price – let’s hope the SUV boom doesn’t make this a one generation car.