Welcome to Motoring Monday for April 20th, 2015. Today we’ve got the jump on the new 2016 Ford Taurus which makes its debut in China of all places. The Cadillac ELR gets more affordable and Volvo unveils a more expensive XC90 SUV. And in our reality check, will Dodge really build you a pink Viper GTC?
2016 Ford Taurus in China
If you’ve been wondering what the next-generation Ford Taurus will look like, you might have a look at the one Ford is unveiling at Auto Shanghai this week.
Ford is launching their all-new Taurus in China with an emphasis on rear seat passenger luxury, room, and creature comforts. In China after all, being driven is a status symbol.
The style and underlying architecture comes from a familiar family gene set in the Ford Fusion, stretched and enlarged. Facial features are very close to the Fusion but more upright and mature in their nature.
Down the sides, the design picks up a new C-Pillar window which brings in some Taurus heritage from the first generation. It looks longer and sleeker, afforded by a four-inch longer wheelbase than the current Taurus.
Length of the Chinese Taurus shown here is actually about five-inches shorter overall than our current model. How this will translate with the North American Taurus remains to be seen, but overhangs on this one are clearly shorter.
Under the hood will be an available twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 which in the states offers 300 horsepower. Other engines expected in the U.S. Spec Taurus are a 2.3 EcoBoost four-cylinder, a 3.5 liter naturally aspirated V6 and maybe even a hybrid.
While Ford made no mention of the North American 2016 Ford Taurus which goes on sale late this year, we can expect it should be very close if not identical to the Chinese version given their One Ford plan for global products.
The Chinese Ford Taurus will be built there in the all-new Changan Ford Hangzhou Plant which represents a $760 million dollar investment by Ford in China.
But don’t worry, our Ford Taurus will likely continue to be built right here in the good old USA.
2016 Volvo XC90 Excellence
This week at Auto Shanghai Volvo will unveil an ultra high-lux version of their all-new XC90 luxury SUV, the Excellence.
It clearly plays to the elite in China who are chauffeur driven and who’s expectation of luxury includes catering to the driven passengers more than the driver. Thus, the seven-seat configuration is traded for a repeat of the front seats in the second row, and a center console filled with servitude.
Genuine woods and leathers wrap all the touch points, LED lighting provides an ambient glow, and vast controls allow for infinite adjustments of comfort from the seating to heating and air, and of course to the entertainment.
Folding tables and a retractable touchscreen allow for connected work ethics to continue unabated while being driven from here to there. A refrigerator and crystal glass service is there too for that open container experience that must be legal somewhere.
Other creature comforts include a Bowers & Wilkins audio system designed to create the auditory experience especially for rear seat passengers. And if those 20 speakers and champagne don’t completely numb the spirits, noise canceling tires from Pirelli will.
The new Volvo XC90 Excellence will be available globally later this year but its availability for North America is not yet cemented. That will depend on whether you demand it.
2016 Cadillac ELR
For 2016 the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid coupe receives a number of comprehensive updates to increase appeal and performance. Best of all it becomes more affordable than before.
Having skipped the 2015 model year the 2016 Cadillac ELR which shares its technology and powertrain with the first-generation Chevrolet Volt gets a price cut of over $9,000 from $75,000 to $65,995.
There are various design updates inside and out as well as improvements in performance of acceleration and power of up to 25 percent, enhanced handling, and a longer EV range for base models.
While the 2016 Cadillac ELR didn’t inherit the all-new drive system of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, powertrain management software tweaks bring about a 0-60 mph acceleration time 1.5 seconds quicker now down to 6.4 seconds.
Suspension gets a new calibration too with firmer spring and damping rates, as well as stiffer bushings all of which offer up better response without less ride quality Cadillac says.
Those looking for a more sporting drive experience will appreciate the new Performance Package for 2016 which includes larger 20-inch alloy wheels with performance summer tires.
There’s larger brakes too, 13.6-inch Brembo front and 12.4-inch rear discs which Cadillac says decreases stopping distance by 12 percent. The Continuous Damping Control suspension and electric power steering also get a unique sport tune with the package.
The 2016 Cadillac ELR will be available later this year with its new lower pricing, likely after the 2014 models are gone.
In our test drives this week we tested the 2015 Lincoln Navigator full-sized luxury SUV which got a face lift this year in addition to new EcoBoost power.
With a new dual wing grille which I think is one of the most handsome from Lincoln yet, a new tail light panel and some new wheels the Lincoln Navigator looks as new as it can since its last major redesign in 2008.
Inside it gets a few updates too with revised trims, a new instrument cluster, and center-stack controls. Unfortunately it lacks many features its competitors offer and still feels rather dated no matter how you stack it.
What’s really new is its 380 horsepower 3.5 liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 which gives it a healthy boost. It was much more spirited to drive but I miss the indulgent purr of a V8 in a luxury vehicle like this.
In the end, fuel economy wasn’t that much more impressive than a V8 and with the many parts-bin updates the Navigator doesn’t really pull off the level of luxury and aesthetics its $73,000 price tag suggests.
For our full review on the Lincoln Navigator as well as many others click on the link below in the information section or log onto our website at TestDriven.TV.
Reality Check: Dodge Viper 1 of 1 Program
This week Dodge launched a new online program where you can not only design your custom 1 of 1 Dodge Viper GTC, but you can print it in 3D.
Well the 3D printing part, what I mean is you can actually have them build you your one-of-a-kind creation. The new Viper GTC customizer allows you to create infinite variations of the sports car in any color you can think of.
From the some 25 million combinations, add your options, your packages, design your interior and make it one-of-a-kind. That’s the deal.
Now, you can stop and just save your photos, share them online and be a star. But you can go one step further, and have them build you the car. That’s right, they’ll build it for ya.
Granted, there are a few strings, and it costs a hell of a lot of money. But if you go all in, you get yours with a personalized numbered badge on the dash. And they’ll even mail you a custom 1:18 scale replica for your troubles.
So if you have ever wanted a bright metallic pink Dodge Viper with black stripes and carbon fiber trim, this is your chance to do it with factory paint.
You can start building yours at DriveSRT.com/Viper. Production for the one-of-one Vipers starts this month at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit. Swank.
Now it’s time for Money Shot where we take the hottest photo from this week’s auto news and show it to ya!
The Audi Prologue Allroad concept is making its debut this week at Auto Shanghai. The sexy five-door variation of the Prologue family gives us a window into the next generation of designs from Audi. With its 734 horsepower plug-in hybrid drivetrain, it kinda tells us what drives them too.