It's been an exciting week here at the Gear Patrol Motoring Desk. We reviewed Acura's awesome new three-row MDX, covered the launch of the new Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and the first (very conditionally) self-driving vehicle, and gave you the low down on why Ferrari's new SUV will be great and how to figure out which side of the car your gas cap is on.
But, as per usual, there wasn't time enough to get around to everything we wanted to tell you about. Here are some of the noteworthy news items we missed.
Ford's new compact unibody pickup truck — which, like a certain aviator with the need for speed, is expected to go by "Maverick" — has finally entered production. Well, sort of. According to CNBC, Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico truck plant begun quietly cranking out a handful of early production trucks last month — making just 21 of them, in fact. We expect to see it hit the streets by this summer.
Volkswagen's general plans for an all-electric future are well-known, but many of the details remain murky. One of the most exciting new vehicles in development is one called "Project Trinity," which will reportedly be the brand's new flagship. A new report from Autocar makes it sound revolutionary indeed, but maybe not for the reasons you think: VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter told the magazine Trinity would be “our software dream car,” with few physical options but the ability to add features via download: "you select battery capacity, colour and wheels and then order it on smartphone. The functions can be set as you go along: you can add features through your digital system.”
A report from a couple of weeks week suggested Stellantis had killed Ram's Dakota small pickup plans. But Automotive News says Stellantis still intends to revive the nameplate. What we don't know is whether Ram is planning a stripped-down Gladiator, a compact Ford Maverick rival or something else entirely.
A new analysis of the U.S. electric vehicle market by Morgan Stanley found that Tesla — which, for obvious reasons, has dominated the segment — saw its market share dip from 81 percent last February to 69 percent last month. (Granted, sales were still up year over year — but the EV market is expanding fast enough that Tesla managed to lose market share regardless.) The reason, according to Morgan Stanley? The Mach-E, which reportedly "accounted for nearly 100 percent" of Tesla's lost market share.
The Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Indians are both changing their names under pressure to stop appropriating American Indian heritage for their own profit. Now, Jeep is facing some pressure to stop using the name Cherokee. Problem is, the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are two of Stellantis' four best-selling vehicles in America.
This week, however, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares did not rule out a name change, saying the company will "go to any point" to resolve the matter. (We humbly suggest "Canyonero" as a replacement.)
A new RS 6 Avant will run you at least $110,045. If that's a little steep for you, and you're willing to take a chance, you can take a stab at winning one for far less money — and even if you don't win, you'll be helping out the Petersen Automotive Museum in the process.
Have an Amazon Fire TV stick? Jeep just announced the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will have an integrated Fire TV system that will sync with your other Fire TV devices. That means Passengers will be able to pick up where that episode of Octonauts left off while the vehicle is in motion. The driver will be able to access it on the main infotainment screen, but only while the vehicle is in park.
The Gordon Murray-designed McLaren F1 is widely regarded as perhaps the best driver's car ever made, thanks in no small part to its 6.1-liter V12 and a six-speed manual. It's exceedingly rare — only 64 were ever built — and right now, there's a U.S. registered 1995 one for sale on Issimi's website.
Every new car sticker has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). That figure does not include a destination and delivery charges, even if it should, since there's no way to avoid paying it. Consumer Reports said this week that it found that those destination and delivery fees have been increasing at 2.5 times the rate of inflation in recent years.
This week, the Michigan State Police arrested a Dodge Charger (who'd have guessed) driver, who was clocked at 155 mph on the Lodge Freeway in the Detroit area. That's 100 mph over the posted 55 mph speed limit. No word yet on Sammy Hagar's whereabouts at the time of the incident.
Kelley Blue Book has released their best cars to buy awards for 2021. The results may surprise you.