All posts in “Cars”

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review: The Supercar for Everyone

Brand: Chevrolet
Product: Corvette Stingray
Release Date: February 2020
Price: $58,900+
From: chevrolet

There’s never been a new Corvette like this one.

Actually, there’s never really been an automotive transition like this one. The Corvette is, undoubtably, among the most iconic brands in the car world, right up there with 911 and Jeep and Bronco and Mustang. Yet while all these icons have shifted and changed over time, none have every made a change so drastic as to move the engine from in front of the driver and passenger to behind them.

Yet it’s a change that’s been a long time coming for the ‘Vette. The car’s first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, dreamed of shoving the engine between seats and rear axle from the early days of the car 60 years ago; since then, it’s been somewhere between a pipe dream and just-around-the-corner goal, subject of endless Area 51-esque rumors and top-secret discussions. General Motors actually considered making the switch for the seventh-generation car, but the financial crisis of 2008 and GM’s subsequent bankruptcy and bailout torpedoed those pricey plans, forcing the company to stick with the front-engined, rear-drive layout that’d defined the Corvette since 1953.

Still, the dream never died. In fact, the C7 ‘Vette had only been on sale for a year when its maker commissioned the first mid-engined C8 test mule — an amalgam of parts (including a repurposed Porsche dual-clutch gearbox) wrapped up in crude bodywork with the front end of a Holden Commodore, in order to make it look a little like one of the Australian brand’s El Camino-like utes. It was so secret, only one — dubbed “Blackjack” — was ever made, and only a handful of people within GM knew what it was. The engineers whipped up a special cover for it that could be tossed on in seconds, should, say, a passing helicopter try and catch a glimpse of it. (Which, in fact, happened.)

Yet even in spite of more than half a century of precedent for the idea of a mid-engined Corvette, it still came as something of a shock when it became clear in 2018 that GM was pulling the trigger on the idea.  Some people assumed that it would be a Cadillac halo car, not a Chevy; some people assumed it would be a terrible idea, because it would certainly be priced to compete against similarly-powerful mid-engined sports cars like the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S; still others assumed the C7 would continue being sold as a base model alongside an exotic-baiting mid-engined range topper. (Admittedly, your humble author fell into that camp.)

But as it turned out, the all-new, eighth-generation Corvette…is an awful lot like the one that came before. The engine is still a 6.2-liter, naturally-aspirated smallblock; it still fits two people and a pair of golf bags; it’s still all sharp angles and wide flanks; and, most importantly, it still starts around $60,000. Even the name’s the same: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The engine just happens to be behind you.

What We Like

Well, obviously, that’s not the only change Chevy made. The rearranged architecture meant all sorts of other details had to change as a result, but perhaps none was quite as shocking as the decision to ditch the venerable manual gearbox (and, for that matter, the torque-converter automatic) for a dual-clutch transmission. (It wasn’t just packaging concerns that mandated the move; sadly, the low take rate for stick shift C7s made the decision an obvious one.) Like Porsche’s newest PDK, it offers eight forward speeds to choose from

A few minutes behind the wheel, though, is enough to leave any nostalgia for the stick shift fluttering in the ‘Vette slipstream. The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox was made for this car, and it’s the first thing you notice when setting off in it. The shifts click off seamlessly and practically instantaneously, whether left to its own clever programming or commanded through the metal paddles jutting from the squared-off steering wheel (which, for the record, isn’t weird at all once you’re driving).

It, not the engine’s change of address, is what defines the car’s straight-line acceleration; it’s a seamless, rising torrent of thrust, the gear changes notable more for the moves of the digital tachometer and the sound of the engine than any interruption in thrust. Like the new Shelby GT500 (whose seven-speed dual clutch is also made by Tremec), it’s every bit as good as the dual-clutches from Germany.

Sooner or later, though, you hit a turn — ideally while carrying some speed — and the new layout makes its changes instantly known. Like the best mid-engined cars, the 2020 Corvette feels like it’s pivoting around you — the front axle unencumbered by weight, the nose darty without so much mass to move. Partially as a result (and likely partially because Chevy dialed the suspension in that way), it’s far, far less prone to oversteer than its predecessor, which could drift with the best of them.

Instead, it handles neutrally — though with a dash of understeer that’s more noticeable on the track. It’s a move that makes the car reward skilled driving more in a different way than its predecessors; you steer it with the throttle a little less before, depend on the steering a little more, and have to find your line and commit to corners with more aggression than you might expect. It’s a big enough difference that those upgrading from past ‘Vettes might benefit from some expert guidance behind the wheel before taking their new C8s to the track.

Stil, once I started opening it up and pushing the car — both on the Spring Mountain Motorsports road course and, admittedly, on some of the deserted desert roads outside Las Vegas — the biggest issue I had with the car was that the engine didn’t feel powerful enough. The driving experience feels so much like a mid-engined supercar — a Ferrari 488, a McLaren 720S — that, having become acclimated to those, the comparatively-wimpy Corvette feels wimpy when you floor it from a roll. That 2.8-second 0-60 mph time Chevy brags so much about is more about launch control wizardry than brute force; in the real world, it feels much more like the 500-horsepower car it is.

Apart from whatever understeer-y adjustments made to make sure the Corvette’s many senescent drivers don’t wind up over their heads, the suspension, as in the past generation of Corvette, is a delightful balance of handling and impact absorption — far from flinty, but never loose or floppy. (Granted, the fresh, smooth pavement of our Nevada drive route didn’t offer much in the way of bumps.) Most of my time was spent in a Z51 performance pack-equipped car with the adaptive magnetorheological suspension, but a brief autocross dally in a Z51 with passive dampers revealed it to be ever-so-slightly less capable, though you’d be hard-pressed to notice without repeated back-to-back comparison.

Relaxed stretches of open road proved a prime time to check out the new car’s interior, which is driver-oriented in a way few cars can match at any price. If a Porsche 911 is a 2+2, this is practically a 1+1 — a car for the driver, with the passenger’s needs second. Every control lies within a matter of inches from the steering wheel, from the shift lever buttons and drive mode selector (which sits beneath a leather hand rest in a place most cars would put the infotainment controller) to the touchscreen display and volume knob. It’s very handy for everything the driver needs…once you lock the purpose and location of the dozen-and-a-half buttons on the ridge between the seats into your muscle memory.

The Corvette may have once suffered from a lack of good seats, but these days, there’s almost too many choices. Lying between the comfort-minded GT1 seat and the sportier the GT3 lies the GT2, the Goldilocks-approved middle ground that combines the racy look of the latter with the long-haul comfort of the former. It’s just one part of an interior that benefits from an extensive redesign, bringing better materials to bear across the board. Gone are the days when you’d spy a shared steering wheel with a Malibu or the same radio controls as a Park Avenue in your GM sports car; just about everything you see and touch is, if not bespoke to the ‘Vette, at least tweaked for duty here.

Likewise, the materials are far, far better than in the Plastic Fantastic Corvettes of Old GM — or even the far better That Bailout Was Money Well Spent New GM guts of the C7. Opting for the top-shelf 3LT trim Corvette used to seem like a waste of money; with the C8, though, the extra $4,650 over the 2LT for supple Napa leather everywhere, carbon fiber accents and standard GT2 seats seems like money well spent. Plus, as in days of yore, you can order the Corvette with a dizzying array of stand-alone options, in a crazy variety of colors and accents both inside and out.

And it’s not so much a C8-specific note, but the new generation of car hammered it home once again: people love Corvettes. They love them with a genuine enthusiasm that makes other cars’ fanbases seem phony by comparison. (Before there was The Jeep Wave, there was The Corvette Wave —  a two-fingered salute ‘Vette drivers give one another from behind the wheel.) Our sole stop while driving was at a remote rest stop on the far side of Valley of Fire State Park, yet even there, Corvette fans began finding their way to the car, curious to know all about it.

Watch Out For

In spite of GM’s best efforts, the C8 isn’t quite as usable as the C7. It’s an issue that pops up most noticeable in terms of the trunk space. The eighth-gen car has a total of 12.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, 2.4 cubes less than its predecessor — but unlike the C7’s broad cargo bay, which could easily take both its occupants’ checked and carry-on bags, the 2020 Corvette splits that space up between a front trunk the size of a Yeti cooler (“That’s where I’d put the ice and beer if I was your age,” an passing septuagenarian said half-jokingly as I poked around the frunk at a rest stop) and a short-but-wide-and-deep bay behind the engine.

Chevy went out of their way to show us that two golf bags will, indeed, fit into that trunk, but it requires surgical precision compared with the ease of tossing your clubs into most car. More unfortunately for those who might want to use the ‘Vettes as grocery getters, that stern cargo bay gets hot, thanks to the engine next to it. When I fished my backpack out of it after a couple hours of driving, I was briefly worried that my MacBook Pro had been fatally cooked.

The interior is roughly the same size as the previous car, but it feels subjectively smaller, thanks to the seating position. The car’s project manager swore to me that they added an inch of length to the cabin, but between the bulkhead behind you separating cabin from engine, the tall sills on the side and the high-rise center console, you feel ensconced in a way you don’t in most cars. I can’t remember the last time I drove a car that felt quite so driver-focused — which is great for when you’re hustling, but not as much for those times you wanna sit back and cruise.

In addition, while the angled starfighter cockpit is extremely useful for drivers — though figuring out what buttons do what in the long control strip takes a little more time than in the average car — the driver-focused orientation makes it awfully difficult for the passenger to change the radio or fiddle with their climate controls. The C7 was smart enough to give the passenger a redundant temperature and fan control; the C8 doesn’t even offer that, forcing shotgun riders to awkwardly contort their arms to adjust anything but seat position and the window.

Admittedly, this penultimate con is subjective: while it’s still a sexy car, the C8 doesn’t look quite as good as the seventh-gen ‘Vette. It’s undoubtably more exotic, especially in bright colors that make the lines and creases of its centered-mass shape pop, but the mid-engined shape is simply less classically attractive than a front-engined, cab-backwards sports car. (If you feel differently, feel free to shoot me an email at wcourtney@gearpatrol.com.)

And rather surprisingly for a sports car with 500 horsepower that accelerate and can rip around corners at 1 g …there’s no “oh, shit” handle for the passenger to grab.

Other Options

The Porsche 911 Carrera S ($113,300+) comes closest to matching the ‘Vette in both performance and timeless appeal — but at a significantly higher price. Porsche’s 718 Cayman ($57,500+) and 718 Boxster ($59,600+) start around the same price, and while they’re far less powerful, they’re still a blast to drive. And Ford’s Shelby GT500 ($72,900+) may still keep its engine in front, but its 760-hp V8 and track-tuned suspension mean it’s capable of sticking close to the ‘Vette in turns and catching up on the straights.

Verdict

The eighth-generation Corvette isn’t better in every way than its predecessor. Those who use their Corvettes for long road trips more than back-road ripping will miss the last-gen’s cabin and cargo space, and drivers who’d rather glory in lurid drifts than slice and dice apexes will probably find the new car frustrating. Luckily, Chevy dealers can direct those buyers a few feet down the showroom to the Camaro, where they can grab all the V8 roar and easy-access power oversteer they want for as little as $34,995. (Or, alternately, to the used car section of the lot, where you can probably find a lightly-used C7 for similar money.)

For everyone else — the people who buy Corvettes for their incredible all-around performance, the folks who grab them just for stoplight drag races and high-speed highway tears, and the ones who get it just to show off — the eighth-generation Corvette is nothing short of revolutionary. Moving the motor hasn’t just improved the performance and made it look more exotic; it, along with the other changes Chevy made, have elevated the Corvette from sports car bargain to the world’s first affordable supercar.

We can’t wait to see what comes next for the Corvette: a high-revving flat-plane crank V8, a turbocharged engine, an all-wheel-drive hybrid making 1,000 horsepower? They’re all in the cards. But for now, we’re happy to just reflect on our first time with America’s best new sports car…and wait for the next chance to drive it.

Chevrolet hosted us and provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

Related Video:

Which of Our Favorite Cheap Sports Cars Would You Buy for $20,000: Fiat 124 Spider or Ford Fiesta ST?

It’s a chaotic time for carmakers — and not just because of 2020’s wild ride. With SUV and truck sales booming and conventional sedan, coupe and hatchback sales falling, Ford is phasing out all regular cars (except the  Mustang) from its U.S. lineup. Italian automaker Fiat, which returned to the States roughly a decade ago, has struggled to sell cars to Americans.

As a result, two super fun driver’s cars with manual transmissions — the Ford Fiesta ST hatchback and the Fiat 124 Spider convertible — are leaving America’s showrooms. But there’s an upshot to this: brand-new copies of both cars are available at dealers, right now, at incredible discounts. Fiesta STs are going for a couple grand off sticker; Fiat 124s are going for as much as $10,000 off. As a result, you can now buy either one brand-new for roughly $20,000.

The only question — beyond whether your lifestyle can accommodate a tiny sports car — is which one you should buy.

2019 Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat 124 Spider is a solid, affordable sports car. It’s effectively a Mazda MX-5 Miata that has been restyled by Italians and outfitted with a punchy turbocharged engine. But for whatever reason — possibly practicality-related — Americans haven’t been buying it, leading to a massive dealer backlog. As a result, Fiat dealers are offering absurd discounts to try to move them.

Here’s a 2019 124 Spider from a dealer in Spokane, Washington. It’s a black Lusso (Luxury) trim edition. It has a six-speed manual transmission. A $4,590 dealer discount and a $3,000 Fiat 124 Spider discount bring the price down from a $30,585 MSRP to $22,995 — and that’s before you start haggling.

Wanna see more? Check out other Fiat 124 Spiders listed across the land on Cars.com.

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

The Fiesta ST is a dated model; we reviewed it allllll the way back in 2013. But it packs a lot of punch for its size; it weighs well south of 3,000 pounds, packs nearly 200 horsepower and a six-speed manual, and is as agile as a go-kart. Bets of all, you can find new ones for well below MSRP.

This white 2019 Fiesta ST is for sale in Fargo, North Dakota. Options include a moonroof and red brake calipers that aren’t Brembos but sorta look like them. The dealer is selling it for $20,885, $3,295 below MSRP. (If you want to see more, check out other Fiesta STs on sale across America here.)

In addition, Ford, as part of its COVID-19 response, is also offering 0% APR financing on all 2019 models for up to 84 months, which means you should be able to buy this Fiesta for less than the cost of most cars’ lease payments.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

This Corvette-Powered Defender Is the Vintage Land Rover You Really Want

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beautiful, but not too fussy


We post a lot of exquisite Land Rover Defender restomods on this site. Some are hand-restored works of art; others are heavily-customized ultimate expressions of what a Defender can be. They’re fantastic…but maybe a bit too fancy to bring to the beach and cart your wet dogs around in. For that, this excellent Defender 90 that’s popped up on Bring a Trailer may be more your speed.

This fetching green Defender 90 is a left-hand drive 1991 model. It had a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine swap, which — combined with a Hooker exhaust system — puts out about 500 horsepower, according to the seller. That power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. It has Fox racing shocks and several other mechanical upgrades. The odometer shows about 4,000 miles since the powertrain was swapped.

Granted, it’s not entirely perfect. The current owner hasn’t installed air conditioning; the center console is loose; the fuel pump makes intermittent noises; and it only has one set of jump seats, crammed into a rear cargo area that looks as though it’s seen plenty of cargo. But the imperfections add to the charm of a nearly 30-year-old vehicle that was never meant to be a meticulous, show-quality specimen.

So, you have a Defender that looks great on the exterior, doesn’t make you deal with 30-year-old British mechanical components, and is nice-but-not-fussy inside. It sounds like exactly what most people would want…except for the lack of air conditioning.

Only Nostradamus knows where the bidding will head for this 1991 Defender 90, but it’s already above $20,000 just day into the week-long auction, so we doubt it’ll sell cheap.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Makes the Best Case Yet for Crossovers

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Mazda 3. Mazda’s compact car offers a delightful combination of style, versatility and fun for the money, making it a go-to suggestion when people are looking for a characterful, inexpensive ride. (Case in point: my mother drives a past-gen Mazda 3 hatch.) The latest version is the best-looking one yet, proudly showing off some of the best of the brand’s kodo design language, and can be paired with either all-wheel-drive or a six-speed manual transmission (though sadly, not both at the same time).

Yet as good as it is…people aren’t really looking for sleek hatchbacks these days. No, the people have spoken, and they want trucks and SUVs. But that doesn’t mean they just want boxy body-on-frame brutes. A couple inches of added height and a little massaged body work are all that effectively distinguish many modern crossovers from sedans, station wagons and hatchbacks.

So when it came time to supplement its lineup, Mazda took the 3 hatchback and lifted it a little to create the CX-30.

You gain far more than you lose when you go CX-30 instead of Mazda 3

Traditionally, SUVs always gave away as many good traits as they added; for every bit of off-road capability or cargo space you picked up over a family sedan, you lost some straight-line performance or fuel efficiency. Over the years, though, carmakers have been shaving down those compromises — and the CX-30 is the closest thing yet to the perfect bridge between car and SUV.

Consider, for example, my CX-30 Premium Package test car versus the Mazda 3 hatchback with its Premium Package. The CX-30 costs $29,600 — only $700 more than the Mazda3. Its 3,408-pound curb weight is just 153 pounds more than the hatchback, and fuel economy is remarkably similar between the two; the EPA rates the AWD Mazda at 32 mpg on the highway, same as the CX-30.

But the crossover stands 1.4 inches taller, serving up more ground clearance for hopping over obstacles and making entry and exit easier. Plus, once you’re inside, there’s a dash more headroom and legroom in back, making it an ever-so-slightly roomier choice. Given that the $700 difference works out to an extra $15 a month over a 48-month loan, it’s hard not to consider the CX-30 the better buy, all things considered.

Zoom-zoom is still a Mazda trait, but it needs more oomph-oomph

The 2,5-liter inline-four beneath the CX-30’s hood is a tried-and-true engine that serves up decent power and fuel economy numbers. Still, in the real world, it feels less potent than the current spat of turbocharged motors commonly found in cars in this price range. It’ll get the Mazda moving, but it takes a heavy foot on the gas to do it; the engine needs to be wrung out more so than many turbo motors to make the most of its power and torque, and doing so results in a coarse, agricultural sound from under the hood.

The rest of the driving experience is quite pleasant, though. Mazda has intentionally chosen to stick with a six-speed automatic long after other carmakers have moved to ones with seven, eight, nine or 10 gears (or even no gears at all, in the case of CVTs), and it pays dividends in terms of greater involvement, whether it’s making its own well-informed shift choices or you’re taking control using the manual shift gate, which requires a yank backwards for upshifts and a nudge forward for downshifts, the way God intended.

The steering is as good as electrically-boosted racks come, let alone in terms of how involving an SUV’s helm can be; it’s practically Porsche Macan-like in its directness and feedback. The suspension can’t quite make such an impressive claim, but it still holds the CX-30 taut and controlled through turns to be actually fun, without excessive body roll. And while I blessedly didn’t have a chance to test the brakes at full lock, I can say the pedal was firm and reassuring in everyday driving.

Packs the same Mazda quality (and quirks) as the rest of the lineup

Some vehicles feel like outliers in their families. Not the CX-30. It looks and feels every bit the Mazda it is, from its sleek, flowing two-box shape to the clean lines of the interior. The craftsmanship inside feels a half-step above what you’d expect in a car of this class and price; everywhere your fingers land feels smooth and refined, every button, switch and other control operating with the well-oiled precision of a luxury car. (More Acura than Bentley, but still.)

And, like other Mazdas, the infotainment system is just shy of terrible. The Mazda Connect setup, as it’s called, is counterintuitive in many, many ways; changing the radio station, for example, take two more steps than it should, as does switching from the regular screen to Apple CarPlay. Granted, I’m sure it’s the sort of feature many people get used to in time — my mom certainly did — but when every other carmaker has found a way to make a less frustrating infotainment system with a shallower learning curve, maybe it’s time to rethink the layout.

Still, annoying as it may be, that’s not enough to knock the CX-30 off its high rung on the crossover ladder. Other cute ‘utes may be roomier, more off-road capable or more luxurious…but you won’t find one that leaves you happier that you left sedan life beyond.

Price as Tested: $29,600
Drivetrain: 2.5-liter inline-four, six-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 186 hp, 186 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Mazda provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

More Americans Really Want to Buy a Jeep Right Now, Study Finds

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go anywhere, do anything


Americans are uncertain about many, many things right now — but the appeal of a Jeep doesn’t appear to be one of them. Survey data gathered over the past 30 days by YouGov BrandIndex shows that a little more than 16 percent of American buyers are considering a Jeep right now — a 2.6 percent increase over the period. That, for the record, was the biggest jump of any automotive brand over that time.

While the current crisis certainly may have doomsday preppers increasingly interested in a capable, all-terrain vehicle, YouGov cites several other more likely factors that could be at play. SUVs have been continuously becoming more popular with buyers, and the perception that foreign cars are better made has been declining. (Ford, Ram and GM also showed increased interest in the data.) Gas prices are way down, which presumably should benefit Jeep — a brand not known for its fuel efficiency.

If Jeep does see an increase in buyers in the coming months, the company should have the inventory to accommodate them. There were concerns about the backlog of both Gladiators and Wranglers on dealer lots before the health crisis began affecting American life. That excess inventory one reason we’ve seen so many crazy deals on the Gladiator, despite it being perhaps the most game-changing new vehicle of 2019.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Special Edition: The SUV We Want the Land Cruiser to Be

The 4Runner is Toyota’s badass body-on-frame mid-size off-roader. While another vehicle may wear the Land Cruiser badge, this SUV is the closest spiritual successor to the iconic FJ40 Land Cruiser — and is, at least for now, the closest thing the Jeep Wrangler has to a direct competitor. The 4Runner is venerated for its impressive build quality and trail-bashing prowess.

It’s also among the most venerable SUVs on the market. Toyota last overhauled the 4Runner for the 2010 model year, which means this off-roader’s bones date back more than a decade — making it ancient in car years.

Still, that doesn’t mean Toyota has given up on keeping this aging SUV fresh. Recently, I drove the new-for-2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Special Edition, a trim designed for venturing out into the world…and, yes, looking cool and trendy while doing so.

The 4Runner is well-built, capable, and exceptionally cool-looking. Like the Land Cruiser, it delivers the off-roader feels the way few modern crossovers do. It also is incredibly old, consumes fuel inefficiently, and doesn’t offer much car for an initial outlay of cash that’s close to $50,000 in this spec.

All that said, my wife and I still kind of wanted a 4Runner after living with it for a while.

The Venture Special Edition is on-trend.

The Venture Special Edition is an extension of the 4Runner’s TRD Premium Off-Road trim, which rests in the mid-range on the luxury between the standard TRD Off-Road and the top-level TRD Pro and packs the model’s most advanced off-road tech.  For a $1,815 price over the TRD Premium, the Venture hits two of the automotive industry’s biggest trends: blacked-out detailing and overlanding.

The Venture Special Edition blacks out the Toyota and 4Runner badging on the exterior, and deletes the TRD Off-Road badge from the C-pillar for a cleaner look. It gives the 4Runner black mirrors, black door handles and a black rear spoiler. It also includes some cargo accessories; there’s a Yakima MegaWarrior roof rack — pro tip: don’t forget that it’s on the roof before you enter a parking garage — and an available sliding cargo deck.

The 4Runner is what we want the Land Cruiser to be.

This generation of the iconic Land Cruiser has been around a while, and the flaws are apparent. It’s not hard to look at the portly, pricey Land Cruiser and think it should be about 1,000 pounds lighter, $40,000 less expensive and place more emphasis on off-road ability than luxury — ideally while retaining its cool appearance and the sense of security offered by its capability and reliability. That car exists; it’s the 4Runner.

Indeed, it’s easy to get sucked in by this Toyota’s off-road-ready charm. There’s a comfort in being prepared for anything (barring a gasoline shortage), and this rig leaves you feeling ready to take on whatever hell the world throws at you. In fact, my wife and I found the 4Runner endearing enough to half-heartedly run the numbers on a purchase…and to try to rationalize the fuel consumption.

But the 4Runner is still ancient.

2009 was a long time ago in car terms. Trucks and SUVs have evolved by great leaps since then…yet the 4Runner hasn’t. The SUV still uses a big 4.0-liter V6, connected to an automatic transmission with just five gears. It handles like a boat. It’s slow. It’s loud. It achieves an unpleasant 19 mpg on the highway, and suffers from other annoying, old-school SUV issues as well, like taking an inordinate amount of time to warm up.

Want more proof? I drove a Jeep Gladiator right after the 4Runner, and that Toyota glow melted away very quickly. The difference between the two cars felt like I entered a time machine (and, it should be noted, the Gladiator uses a similarly-aged V6 yet does much more with it).

Few cars can match the 4Runner’s emotive appeal. But it’s hard making a value case for it when competitors offer so much more at this price point.

Price as Tested: $48,877
Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V6, 5-speed automatic, 4-wheel-drive
Power: 270 hp, 278 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 16 city, 19 highway
Seats: 5

Toyota provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

McLaren F1 GTR Longtail No. 1 is road-ready and listed for sale

The chassis number on this 1996 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail is 19R, but in the order of production, this car is No. 1. It’s the first longtail version of the GTR version of what many consider the greatest car ever made. Despite its track-intended build, it’s road-legal, and it’s currently up for sale in the United Kingdom. 

The special nature of 19R goes beyond the fact of its birth order. This car was reportedly used as a development prototype for the entire run of GTR Longtails and participated in numerous Japanese races, including the Suzuka 1000km. According to the listing, it’s also only one of two GTR Longtails in private ownership (Nick Mason owns the other), so this is likely one of few occasions in a lifetime when one will be available for purchase.

19R has another first under its belt, too. It was the first GTR Longtail to be converted to a road-legal specification. Gordon Murray, the designer of the F1, worked with Lanzante to turn the racecar version of the road car back into a road car. The unique F1 comes with a Gordon Murray Design book that documents the conversion, as well as the history of the car. All of the parts that were changed were also kept and come as part of a large spare parts package.

Although some might not see the value of the color scheme, McLaren painted it this way to draw attention to the differences between the GTR and the GTR Longtail. The vibrant markings exaggerate the changes and earned this car the nickname “Squiggles,” according to Tom Hartley Jr. 

If the paint scheme looks familiar, it might be because this car has been seen flexing its BMW Motorsport-sourced V12 at the Goodwood hillclimb (seen below). Via Road & Track, the 19R is listed without a price by Tom Hartley Jr.

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Ford Is Using Parts from the F-150 to Build Respirators and Fight the Coronavirus

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help in a time of need


Ford engineers come up with a ton of ideas. Some are cool and potentially game-changing. Others are just downright weird. But this idea, using a component from America’s best-selling vehicle, could aid in fast-tracking the production of much-needed respirators to help with the covid-19 pandemic.

Ford announced that it is partnering with 3M to ramp up production of powered air-purifying respirators (also known as PAPRs) used by healthcare workers and first responders. Ford plans to help ramp up production of 3M’s current design — and produce a version using the fan from the F-150’s seat cooling system to blow air through 3M filters.

As Road and Track noted in their analysis, the seat blower motors are a good fit for a PAPR device. They can blow more than enough air for the task, they’re relatively compact, and energy-efficient enough that a portable power tool battery could power them for the eight hours required. Plus, Ford sold nearly 75,000 F-150 pickups per month in 2019, so they presumably could source a large number of those fans.

Ford believes it can help produce the new PAPR units at one of its Michigan facilities and increase 3M’s production tenfold. The company also plans to help GE Healthcare increase the production of its ventilators and to design a new, transparent face shield design to pair with N95 respirators.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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McLaren Elva gets another retro paint scheme from McLaren Special Operations

You may have noticed that McLaren’s official brand color is a bright shade of orange. That dates back to Bruce McLaren’s M6A Can-Am race car of 1967, the first to feature the all-orange paint scheme and the car that helped him win his first Can-Am championship that year. So what better way to honor a wild open-top race car than by painting the wild open-top McLaren Elva supercar in the same color?

The McLaren Elva M6A Theme is the second race car-themed Elva to come from McLaren Special Operations (MSO). The group offers customization services to McLaren customers, particularly unique paint and carbon fiber finishes. The special was revealed on Twitter, and it is quite faithful to the 1967 car. It’s finished in a unique orange that looks a little less bold with more of a pearl finish than the glowing solid orange of the race car. It’s paired with big simple number circles featuring the number “4” like one of the race cars. On the sides, a metallic stripe is added to mimic the chrome divider between the top and bottom sections of the Can-Am car. It also gets the same “McLaren Cars” logo and Bruce McLaren’s signature down the side. As cool as this is from a historical standpoint, the orange really shows off how the body blends right into the interior, something McLaren did to evoke the feeling of being outside and exposed to the world, rather than hidden inside the car’s cabin. The dark launch color was far less effective at conveying that feeling.

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As previously mentioned, MSO did another race car-themed Elva, a black and white car inspired by an older 1964 McLaren M1A race car. Clearly there will be one of each, but McLaren hasn’t put any limits on the designs, so it’s possible there may be multiple examples in the car’s 399-unit run. We also wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren rolls out some other motorsports-inspired liveries in the future, as it has many famous racecars to pull from. The reddish-orange and white Honda-powered Marlboro F1 cars of the late 1980s and the black and silver Mercedes-powered F1 cars of the early 2000s both seem like strong choices. Or if McLaren doesn’t do it themselves, maybe a rich reader could commission one painted as such. Though we wouldn’t want to tell that person how to spend their $1.69 million (or more) on their car.

Related Video:

The Cheapest Off-Road-Ready SUV to Own Is Also One of Our Favorites

<!–The Purist’s Jeep Wrangler Is the Most Affordable to Own • Gear Patrol<!– –>

practicality be damned


The traditional two-door Jeep Wrangler is an automotive icon, but the more family-friendly four-door version — originally known as the Wrangler Unlimited — has made it a threatened species. The take rate for the two-door Wrangler is only around 10 percent — about the same as the manual transmission. It’s fallen so far from grace, Jeep didn’t even think there was a business case for pairing its best off-roading engine with anything but a four-door body style.

There may be a compelling argument for sticking with tradition, however. Kelley Blue Book recently ran the five-year cost-to-own figures for America’s off-road SUVs, and the two-door Wrangler came out as the most affordable, with a predicted five-year ownership cost of $39,045. The cheapest Wrangler option is the V6 with a manual transmission — which is to say, the most economical Wrangler to own is also the purest example of the breed.

That said, the four-door version was estimated to cost $40,020 over five years. In real life, saving $975 in predicted ownership costs over half a decade is unlikely to preclude anyone from getting the more practical four-door version of the Wrangler.

Both Wrangler versions are more affordable than the third-place Toyota 4Runner, which is estimated to cost $46,254 over five years. Though, if you’re buying the legendarily durable Toyota SUV, you may be thinking about ownership on a 10-15-year timescale.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Enter to Win This Sexy BMW M8 and Help a Hospital in Its Time of Need

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The BMW M8 Competition may not sit at the top of the average gearhead’s dream car list, but there’s no denying that it’d be one of the best cars to live with. This two-door sibling of the M5 Competition combines the performance of a supercar with the comfort and luxury of a grand tourer — all wrapped up in an eye-catching body. Of course, a well-rounded car like that doesn’t come cheap — especially if it’s from Germany. If you’re looking to buy one, you’ll need to fork over at least $146,000 before you even take a look at the options list.

Alternately, you could just spend a few bucks and enter to win an M8 Competition — and help out a good cause in the process.

Now, normally, we wouldn’t look twice at a car raffle, but this one is a little different. It’s run by Omaze, which serves as a broker to help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds by auctioning off cool cars and interesting experiences. In this case, the money is going to the UCLA Medical Center. As you might expect, this Los Angeles-area hospital is currently bracing for an onslaught of patients due to the covid-19 pandemic; the funds raised in this raffle will be used to support the medical center’s lifesaving initiatives, such as a new ambulance, which are sure to be needed during this time of need.

Plus, if you win, you won’t just get the M8 Competition; you’ll be getting all the taxes and shipping costs taken care of, too, plus $20,000 in cash to spend as you like. (Pro tip: use a little of it to buy a good radar detector.) If you’re feeling lucky and generous, it’s worth dropping a couple dollars. Even if you don’t win the car, you’ll still be coming out better for it.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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VW Says It’ll Keep Building Cars With Stick Shifts As Long as We Keep Buying Them

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keep on rowing


Here in the year 2020, the manual transmission is an endangered species. There are still some great cars out there that offer stick shifts, but once-stalwart brands like Audi, BMW, and Subaru have all but abandoned them. Jeep didn’t bother pairing one with its best Wrangler; even the new Corvette has taken the dual-clutch automatic route. Many of those decisions, ominously, were dictated not by technological requirements, but by demand; buyers simply haven’t been choosing to row-their-own in the numbers they once did.

Volkswagen, however, has been a notable exception to this abandon-stick trend. You won’t find a six-speed manual on an Atlas, but budget cars like the Golf and Jetta and performance cars like the new GTI and Golf R still have them.

And it seems we can expect that situation to continue for some time to come. In a recent interview, Volkswagen technical chief Matthias Rabe told Autocar that “as long as there is a demand, we will continue to offer [manual gearboxes].”

How that sentiment meshes with Volkswagen’s commitment to an electric future…well, that’s a little unclear. (Electric cars rarely use transmissions; the sole new passenger EV to do so today is the Porsche Taycan, and it uses a simple two-speed automatic for improved acceleration.) But VW is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers; the company has the bandwidth to be an SUV manufacturer in America, a small car manufacturer in Europe, a truck manufacturer on other continents and a major EV player in all locales. Keeping around stick shifts should be pretty easy.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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The Best Used Porsches You Can Buy for Less Than $10,000

A Note on Pricing: The going prices for these cars are accurate at the time of publishing but may change the longer the classified ads are live.

Almost all cars diminish in value over time — with almost being the key word. Certain Porsches, for example, defy those market forces. Most 911s, for example, lose far less value than your average cars, and that causes ripple effects across the lineup; buyers priced out of 911s are driving up values for other well-regarded Porsches, like the 944 Turbo. Even the VW-powered Porsche 914 is becoming a collector’s item.

It’s hard to find a truly cheap Porsche that’s still running and not embarrassing to drive up to your in-laws’ house…but it’s not impossible. Here are four that we found for less than $10,000.

2003 Porsche Boxster – $9,900

The thoroughly-underrated 986-generation Boxster is the car that saved Porsche financially in the 1990s. This 2003 model is a fun-to-drive, mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible. It has a naturally-aspirated flat-six with a five speed-speed manual transmission. And this one has only 57,000 miles on the clock.

2005 Porsche Boxster – $8,500

Boxsters are so great that we’ll include a second one. This Boxster is a 987-generation model from 2005 — essentially a first-gen Cayman without a roof. It has a five-speed manual and naturally aspirated flat-six. The one issue here is mileage: this Boxster has 138,000 miles…but the price reflects that.

2009 Porsche Cayenne – $9,995

The Cayenne midsize SUV is another Porsche that does, in fact, drop quite a bit in value. This Cayenne is a first-gen base model from 2009. The modern Cayenne is a Porsche that happens to be an SUV; this car was more of a luxury SUV that happened to have a Porsche badge. That badge is important, however…and this SUV only has 80,000 miles.

1987 Porsche 944 – $9,995

The 944 was the Cayman of its day. Its front-engine setup was an affront Porsche purists, but it may have actually handled better than the 911 of that era. This 944 isn’t the Turbo version — which is why it costs less than $10,000. Still, it’s hard to beat a Guards Red exterior, a blacked-out interior and a five-speed manual transmission.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

6 Incredible Classic Formula 1 Races You Can Stream Right Now

Thanks to the threat of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, live sports have been shut down across the planet for an indefinite period of time. The 2020 Formula 1 season is among the casualties; as of now, it’s tentatively set to begin in June.

But F1 fans can still get their racing fix by subscribing to F1TV.

An F1TV Pro membership (which runs you $80 for an entire year) offers many compelling features, including live onboard camera streams and team radio during races.

Right now, though, there’s an even better deal for these times. For as low as $3 per month, you can get an F1TV Access membership, which allows you to stream full races from F1’s extensive historic race archive.

Here are six of our favorite F1 races included in that archive. Keep in mind, though, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

2019 German Grand Prix

Mercedes looked set to exert their dominance in their home race — and they wore some goofy 1950s-themed outfits to celebrate. Things did not quite work out that way, in what turned out to be a wet and wild affair. Seven of the 20 drivers failed to finish the race, and three of the top four finishers came from below 14th place on the grid.

2019 Brazilian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes already had the driver’s and constructor’s championships clinched, but this was still a fun race: a series of duels between the two best current F1 drivers; two collisions among the leaders over the final three laps eliminated three cars; and two drivers scored their first podium finishes.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“Baku” is an F1 synonym for “batshit.” This second Baku street race cemented that reputation. The race had a red flag and seven retirements; a multiple-time world champion had a monumental meltdown under a safety car; the eventual winner fought back after crashing in qualifying; and one of the grid’s most maligned drivers somehow ended up on the podium.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel dueled for the title in the epic 2012 season’s final race. This was an instant classic, with wet and dry conditions, a dramatic first-lap plot twist, and 147 successful overtakes across the field — a record.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix ended up being the longest race in F1 history, thanks in part because of a stoppage due to a torrential downpour. The winner of this grueling race pitted six times, collided twice, served a drive-through penalty and overtook the leader on the final lap.

2005 Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka is one of F1’s iconic tracks. A wet qualifying round saw the usual contenders begin at the back of the field. A Schumacher started on pole — but it was Ralf, not Michael. The race features one of F1’s legendary overtakes around the outside at the 130R corner, and one of the F1 fans’ favorite drivers overtook the leader on the final lap for the win.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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Aston Martin confirms 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 for Valhalla

When the Aston Martin Valhalla hits the scene in 2022 (hopefully), it will be powered by an all-new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that will be fortified and electrified in a hybrid configuration that we don’t yet know much about. Interestingly, Aston Martin says the V6’s hybrid element will be tuned and sized for each specific vehicle in which it’s installed. In the Valhalla, the dry-sump engine will be mounted directly behind the passenger compartment, and its so-called ‘hot V’ design will allow for relatively compact dimensions. And compact also means lightweight — the automaker says the complete engine weighs less than 440 pounds.

Just the fact that the British automaker is investing the engineering effort to produce a new engine is significant. The company hasn’t engineered its own in-house powertrain since 1969, when Tadek Marek’s 5.3-liter V8 engine found its way under the hood of Aston Martin’s aptly named DBS V8. The new 3.0-liter V6 is codenamed TM01 in Marek’s honor. With that in mind, we expect this powerplant to serve in various Aston Martin models for a number of years.

We look forward to further details in the future, especially the all-important horsepower and torque figures. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the high-resolution image gallery above, where you’ll see intricately milled castings along with the engine undergoing dyno testing and running red hot with the lights down low.

Related Video:

Listen to a twin-turbo 2020 Corvette built by Hennessey

Hennessey has built the first twin-turbo 2020 Chevy Corvette that we know of, and it’s released a short video to let us listen to the fruits of its labor. To nobody’s surprise, the turbocharged C8 sounds spectacular. In addition to the traditional meaty rumble from Chevy’s small-block V8, we’re treated to a cacophony of turbo whooshes and whistles.

Back in December, Hennessey revealed its plans to sell a 1,200-horsepower version of the standard Corvette. It’s called the HPE1200, and it’s going to be ludicrously quick. Hennessey says the twin-turbo C8s will have upgraded internals, an upgraded dual-clutch transmission and a Brembo brake system installed. All we know about this particular car in the video is that it has two massive snails attached, and it does in fact run. For how long, that’s anybody’s guess.

The sound it’s making may not be entirely accurate, too. There doesn’t appear to be much of an exhaust system fitted. Instead, we can see a short pipe post-turbo pointing toward the left rear wheel that’s acting as a makeshift exhaust for the time being. Hennessey previously said it would offer a stainless steel exhaust with the new twin-turbo system, so expect something similar to this noise for a finished car. As long as we get to keep most of this turbo Vette’s extremely loud noises, we’ll be happy. 

Hennessey still hasn’t indicated any performance numbers or detailed specs on the HPE1200. A stock 2020 Chevy Corvette with the Z51 package will hit 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and do the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds. Assuming Hennessey is able to translate some of this power into actual forward momentum, we can expect some quicker times.

Related video:

This Custom Land Rover Defender Pickup Is Vintage Truck Perfection

Virginia-based Commonwealth Classics produces some of the most exquisite resto-modded Land Rover Defenders we’ve seen. Their latest build, the Georgetown, is a drool-worthy Defender 110 single cab pickup, and it’s currently available on their website.

The Georgetown is a 1990 single-cab Defender 110 that was initially a farm truck in Spain. Each Commonwealth Classics Defender undergoes a complete frame-off four-to-six month restoration by Portuguese restorers Unique Masterpiece, with every part of the process done in-house, except for leather wrapping and canvas dying. Unique Masterpieces repainted this beauty charcoal gray, and outfitted it with a black leather interior.

This Defender truck uses a 200Tdi turbodiesel engine, connected to a five-speed manual transmission. Modifications from the original truck include air conditioning, added sound deadening throughout the cab, a quieter AlliSport variable geometry turbo, a short-shifter, a bespoke Marshall inset Bluetooth speaker, a rear tonneau cover and Bilstein shocks and springs.

As one would expect, such fine craftsmanship comes at a premium. The Georgetown is on sale for $155,000. If that’s a touch steep for your blood, or you’d like something a little different, the starting price for a custom Commonwealth Classics Defender 90 is $125,000 and $135,000 for a Defender 110.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

No Regular Camper Van Can Compare to This Insane Custom Chevy Camper 

<!–This Chevy Camper Van Is a Luxury, Low-Riding Party Cabin • Gear Patrol<!– –>

stranger things era style


If this insane camper looks like something you’d see at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturing Association show in Las Vegas, well, there’s a good reason for that. Iowa-based River City Rods built Brown Sugar, a luxed-0ut and heavily modified 1983 Chevrolet C30 Camper that’s slammed down to the pavement, for the 2019 SEMA Show.

And if you find yourself lusting over it, well, good news: this camper can now be yours. It’s currently up for auction on eBay.

The camper itself uses a 5.3-liter V8 with a four-speed automatic transmission. It can be raised and lowered using its air suspension. Admittedly, it’s more of an ultimate tailgate rig than a vehicle one would use for actual camping; the seller describes it as a “party cabin on wheels.” (Check out some of our favorite camper vans if you’re looking for the latter.)

Brown Sugar won’t go cheap. The bidding is already north of $100,000, with three days remaining on the auction — and the price has not met the reserve. That said, you may be able to make a good chunk of the price back renting it out for bachelor parties and college football games in the future.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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