On Motoring Monday we have a preview of some hot concept vehicles coming next week at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, from Ford, Chevrolet, and Hyundai.
And, in our reality check, we’re gonna catch you up on what’s been happening with the Volkswagen TDI scandal now known as dieselgate.
2016 Ford F-150 Concepts
Seven custom 2016 Ford F-150 concept trucks are headed to the SEMA show this year. The F-150 is always hot at the trade show, having won SEMA’s “Hottest Truck” Award more than any other.
This year MRT, known most for their Mustang work, built a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost pickup with a Tremec Magnum 6-Speed manual. Power is up with a larger intercooler and it gets full rage cage and seats inside.
The Leer Edition F-150 gets various power enhancers and off-road cred underneath. But its more about show with a bright paint job, an interior with premium custom leathers, and of course it gets a Leer bed topper.
Roush takes the term “performance truck” to a whole new level, supercharging a 5.0-liter V8 instead of pimping out an EcoBoost V6. Handling is improved with a full suspension and brake package. The question becomes will Roush sell a version of it without all the graffiti.
The CGS Performance Products F-150 gets huge 24-inch wheels and air suspension system giving lots of curb appeal. It’s tastefully done, letting those wheels do the talking. But you will hear it with a throaty exhaust and cold air intake on its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
A lot of these trucks are built to showcase a company’s catalog. To wit, AIRDESIGN USA shows us their latest aftermarket items on their F-150. The bolt-on appearance pieces give a bolder look the company says can be installed in your own driveway.
Forgiato has become known not only for their wheels, but stunning builds. Their supercharged V8 F-150 has 24-inch wheels with off-road tires. Isn’t that nuts? The visual of the custom paint on the outside and six inch lift kit could make this one of the best of show.
Galpin Auto Sports always comes with something memorable, and their F-150 has wider fenders to go with its 20-inch wheels which are held down with a coil-over suspension. Lots of other stuff is here too, but most notable is its Gulf Livery paint job.
There will be more Ford F-150’s at the SEMA Show this year, but this is just a sneak peek at the ones Ford has had significant hand in.
2016 Chevrolet Concepts
Chevrolet has been busy creating their own group of themed Red Line concept vehicles for this year’s SEMA Show which use genuine parts and accessories to be available through your local dealerships.
Starting with the Trax Red Line, they dressed up their new compact utility with a lowered suspension and 18-inch wheels with red accents. A black bowtie kit and full roof rack treatment from Thule really amp up its look.
Even the 2016 Malibu got a Red Line treatment starting with a concept black bowtie kit, rear spoiler, hash mark graphics, grille surround and inserts. A few custom touches enhance what you can get like its 19-inch wheels and black mirror caps.
The 2016 Camaro Red Line will surely be a crowd magnet this year. It has custom satin graphite mirror caps and window moldings, special 20-inch wheels with red accents and a lowered suspension.
It’s look is further tied down with red trim accents for the upper and lower grilles, a black bowtie kit and fender badge kit, and smoked taillamps. Performance mods include a cold-air intake and a performance brake kit.
Colorado shows up popular from a year of red-hot sales, with its own Red Line concept. It showcases dealer installed air intake and exhaust kits, 18-inch wheels and a fender flare kit. It also gets a full array of GearOn cargo accessories.
Last but not least in their Red Line theme is a decked out Silverado. Sporting red tow hooks and 22-inch wheels with red accents, it presents well. It will likely sound good too with a cold-air intake and exhaust kit, and stop the show with its huge Brembo brakes.
And I want to personally thank Chevrolet for giving us some real pictures and video of their concept vehicles. So many manufacturers only send out renderings and it’s always nice to see the real thing.
2016 Hyundai Concepts
Hyundai believe it or not has become a powerhouse at SEMA for their well produced concept vehicles, enlisting the help of well known tuners who go all out.
Renowned tuner John Pangilinan, takes the 2016 Tucson and creates the “Adventuremobile.” It blends Westfalia outdoors love with the power and modifications you expect from the performance import crowd. In army green with tent, it should get plenty of explorers.
Rockstar Performance Garage also brings their take on the 2016 Tucson, creating the ultimate off-road build for the new crossover. It gets a bumper-to-bumper overhaul with a 6-inch lift, 32-inch Mickey Thompsons, and a fully-custom off-road suspension.
Bismoto’s 2016 Tucson is said to be the most powerful one ever created. A built 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission put down more than 700 horsepower to the wheels. Lowered with too many race mods to list, it’s safe to say this won’t be coming to a showroom.
Blood Type Racing brings their handcrafted Veloster Turbo R-Spec which has a pretty well done visual makeover to go along with its list of performance mods. These all support a custom built version of its 1.6 liter turbocharged engine cranking out some 500 horsepower.
The now venerable Genesis Coupe gets a healthy massage by ARK Performance in a concept they call Solus. It has a wider look with the company’s wide body kit. The interior also has been given a complete makeover with a redesigned dashboard, race-bred steering wheel and gauges.
While most of these Hyundai concepts are over the top, past precedent has been that SEMA show vehicles inspire some of what arrives in the showroom. We’ll see if anything from this year’s collection gets the nod.
2016 Ford Mustang Concepts
At the SEMA Show, no other vehicle gets more attention and fawning than the Ford Mustang. It’s just how it is, just how its always been. And this year, it’s likely how it will be again.
We’ll start with Bismoto’s 900 Horsepower 2.3 liter EcoBoost Mustang. Concept or reality? Well Ford tells us Bisimoto designed 14 new parts for this car’s engine and chassis this year. You don’t go to that kind of brain damage if you don’t plan to sell them.
Social media concern Motoroso built a custom Mustang to promote their site. Under hood is a Roush supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with 727 horsepower. The red 21-inch wheels are cool, but it’s the multiple iPads in the trunk that let people interact with the Motoroso app that are important.
Sporting a drop top, the TS Designs Mustang gets wide body love for its 13-inch wide rear wheels. Those are supported by a Steeda Autosports Stage 3 Handling Package and lowering springs in addition to a full custom interior treatment you can lean in to look at.
This black and blue Mustang convertible by MAD Industries with its brilliant blue wheels will catch your eye, but also a Trevino leather and Miko Suede interior in the same bright shade. It’s also got the obligatory 700 plus horsepower supercharged V8 which seems to be the baseline this year.
The Ice Nine Group took their EcoBoost Mustang in the styling direction of the GT-350, with an import tuner vibe. It’s heavily-tuned powertrain has 475 wheel-horsepower by way of a bigger Garrett turbo, Corsa prototype exhaust system, and custom tuning by Dead Hook Motorsports.
The DRAGG Mustang police car might just be the ticket. With custom police lighting and a ton of performance mods to go with its stunning visuals it just makes you ask why doesn’t Ford offer the Mustang in a pursuit vehicle again.
Like their F-150 concept, CGS took a more sane approach to their Mustang concept. Set off with custom 21-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels, this show car makes its mark in subtle and high quality details inside and out.
Perhaps the most striking Mustang to look at this year might be the one by Bojix Design. And forgive me it I butchered their name. The EcoBoost Mustang gets a high contrast paint job that really pops along with its laundry list of performance mods.
This is just a taste folks. Next week, we will have a full run down of all these cars and more Ford Mustang news as it unfolds from the SEMA Show, so be sure to come back and see us for that.
Test Drive: 2016 Scioni iA
In our test drives this week, we got our first stint behind the wheel of the all-new 2016 Scion iA sedan. It’s a car that represents a number of firsts for the brand and offers more than than meets the eye.
First of all, lets deal with the elephant in the room. Not only is this the first four-door sedan Toyota’s youth brand has offered, but it’s not a Toyota at all. It’s actually a Mazda2 re-badged as a Scion, with only a unique fascia up front to really make it different.
But this is not a bad thing. After all, the previous generation Mazda2 was widely acclaimed for its driving character, its quality and its value. It just for some reason didn’t sell well enough here for Mazda to continue offering it.
Enter Scion who needed a new model, and we have the iA. It comes in the brand’s mono-spec trim which means one way, mildly equipped for a reasonable price. Here that means a sedan which stickered at $16,495.
And at that price it was far more than a stripped down tin can. It had a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with all the connectivity options available today, push button start, and nicely trimmed seats.
The interior is clearly Mazda, but again that’s not a bad thing at all. It was comfortable and of a reasonable quality in build. It feels compact because it is, but not cramped. And rear trunk space is commendable for its size.
Driving the Scion iA showed it has adequate power from its 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine. Our six-speed manual transmission had excellent shifter behavior and clutch take up. It was in fact one of the best we’ve tested this year from any brand.
Fuel economy was good too. It’s rated at 31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined. But in my week with it, I easily achieved 38 mpg combined when following its dash board up-shift indicator mostly to the letter.
Handling? Not bad either for this class. It’s got Zoom Zoom after all courtesy of Mazda. It’s no sports car but does offer a level of feel and precision that it wouldn’t have if Scion would have re-badged a Toyota Yaris.
Which brings us to my takeaway here. We don’t see re-badged cars from one brand to the other much these days. But the Scion iA a.k.a. Mazda2, is actually a decent daily drive once you get past that little detail.
Reality Check: Volkswagen TDI Scandal Month One Update
It’s been a little over a month since the story broke about Volkswagen cheating emission laws with their TDI engine software around the world. And here’s where it’s at as of today.
Since our previous report, Volkswagen AG has spent the last month bunkered down in Germany as the bombs have been dropping in from several governments around the globe. After all, the United States EPA as it turns out one only one of the many markets where they employed defeat devices in their ECU software.
While little information has come out as to what the fix is going to be for the three-generations of the 2.0 liter TDI engines in the US, Volkswagen has put up a website for consumers to keep up on the latest news, www.vwdieselinfo.com.
On the site, owners can get the latest information, apologies, and statements from the company. There’s a FAQ’s section with answers most of the common questions about the matter but it still leaves a lot unanswered, for now at least.
Volkswagen has been pretty quiet about how they will address the cars which are out there now to correct the matter, but they did issue a sweeping statement about future product plans and strategy that I think is somewhat telling.
First, for existing TDI models and production Volkswagen will begin offering all with their top-drawer SCR and AdBlue emissions hardware as soon as possible. Not all models around the world have offered this, but will very soon.
Second, an emphasis on all future product plans include electrification. Volkswagen says there will be a “major development thrust” here with a focus on plug-in hybrids, greater ranges, an high-volume electric vehicles.
One example of this is the new Phaeton sedan which Volkswagen says will now only be available in a 100% electric version, something that will likely become a Tesla Model S competitor. This goes along with Audi and Porsche development on electric powered top-end models.
So does this mean Volkswagen is shying away from diesels? Well I doubt they’ll exit that market, but its clear that dieselgate has given them new eyes for other ways to move forward to remain competitive, but also believable.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the best photo from this week’s automotive news and we show it to ya!
In our SEMA previews, there was a missing element. Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat vehicles. If you felt left out, check this small glimpse of the Mopar Challenger Concept which makes its debut next week. Now this, is just sexy.
Well that’s it for Motoring Monday. In the coming week we’ll have news not only on the SEMA Show but also some new cars at this week’s Tokyo Motor Show. So click the link right here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we’ll keep you updated on all we do.