Brand-new classic Ford Broncos now on sale

In about a year you’ll be able to buy a new Ford Bronco that’s inspired by the original. But if you can’t wait that long, you can by an original Bronco that’s brand new right now. Gateway Bronco of Hamel, Ill., which started out as a restoration shop specializing in the classic SUVs just over … Continue reading “Brand-new classic Ford Broncos now on sale”

In about a year you’ll be able to buy a new Ford Bronco that’s inspired by the original. But if you can’t wait that long, you can by an original Bronco that’s brand new right now.

Gateway Bronco of Hamel, Ill., which started out as a restoration shop specializing in the classic SUVs just over two years ago, has been granted the first license from Ford to build ground-up recreations of the 1966 to 1977-era Bronco.

This allows it to manufacture vehicles with all-new frames and bodies and sell them with Ford Bronco branding, although you’ll find that they are a little different from the classics under the skin.

As it does with its resto-mods, which it will continue to sell, Gateway updates the suspensions, brakes and engines, using either a 347 cubic-inch “stroker” V8 or a 5.0-liter Coyote from the current F-150.

Several models are offered that run from the $95,000 Fuelie to the $180,000 Modern Day Warrior, which is equipped with the six-speed transmission and rear suspension from a Ford F-150 Raptor.

(Gateway Bronco)

They’re also equipped with a noise and vibration reduction system engineered by Gateway and can be trimmed in high-end woods, leathers or pretty much anything the customer requests.

Founder and CEO Seth Burgett told Fox News Autos that a $250,000 model is being added to the mix that comes with either a Shelby supercharger or a Gateway-designed twin-turbocharger, along with other performance upgrades that include a Borla exhaust and Brembo brakes.

SEE THE PHOTO: NEW FORD SUV LEAKED, BUT IS IT THE NEW BRONCO?

They won’t be the only old-school Broncos modified with Shelby parts. Back in 2016, Burgett bought the first Bronco that was ever made, which was originally owned by Carroll Shelby himself, who wasted no time swapping a Mustang Hi-Po 289 V8 into it.

Caroll Shelby modified the first Ford Bronco, just as many owners that followed did. (Gateway Bronco)

The agreement with Ford is aimed at taking advantage of a new law that allows for low volume vehicle manufacturers to build 325 cars annually that qualify for a federal vehicle identification number without having to meet current safety standards, as long as they are a licensed replica of a vehicle that is at least 25 years old.

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However, while the legislation was passed in 2015, the final regulations have yet to be written and put into effect. In the meantime, Broncos can be built to state-by-state regulations that cover custom car registration.

And Gateway is ready to build them. It already does its restorations using an assembly line process that has turned out over 40 trucks so far, and Burgett said it is being expanded to handle 50 annually as production of the all-new trucks ramps up.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Dubai’s wild new police truck can I.D. pedestrians with facial recognition tech

The Dubai Police Force is famous for the fleet of flashy high-performance supercars it uses for community outreach, but now it is adding trucks equipped with some serious crime-fighting technology.

(W Motors)

The Ghiath was created by homegrown hypercar maker W Motors, which redesigned a Chevy Tahoe with the brand’s signature, aggressive look.

(W Motors)

Along with a stylish bull bar and all of the emergency lighting you’d expect, the SUV features an array of automatic license plate readers and a facial recognition camera mounted on a mast that extends through the roof.

(W Motors)

The camera can track pedestrians around the vehicle and identify anyone who’s been tagged by connecting to a database at the central command center.

(W Motors)

W Motors has not revealed if the Tahoe’s powertrain has been updated, but considering some of the company’s cars have over 800 horsepower, it’s a safe bet the Ghiath has a little something extra under the hood.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

‘Jeep Death Wobble’ reported on new Wrangler

An old problem has surfaced on the all-new Jeep Wrangler.

A handful of owners have reported experiencing the dreaded “Jeep Death Wobble” to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), according to the Detroit Free Press.

The issue, which hasn’t actually led to any known deaths or been officially deemed a safety hazard, is a violent vibration felt through the steering wheel, usually at high speeds.

Its cause is sometimes hard to pin down, but is typically blamed on loose or worn parts in the steering system for the Wrangler’s solid front axle. It’s also common in other vehicles that use a solid front axle, including heavy-duty pickup trucks and the Mercedes G-Class SUV.

Video

NHTSA told the Detroit Free Press that it is looking into the complaints. In the past, similar investigations resulted in the agency determining that the wobble did not pose a significant safety risk.

Jeep has nevertheless addressed Wrangler steering system problems through several Technical Service Bulletins over the years, which instruct mechanics how to deal with a known issue that doesn’t require a recall.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

2019 Acura RDX Test Drive: Back to the future

Second time looks to be the charm for Acura’s third-generation RDX. Allow me to explain that calculus.

When the compact SUV was first introduced in 2007, it was essentially a luxed-up version of the Honda CR-V that was powered by the first turbocharged four-cylinder engine the automaker ever offered in the United States.

But it wasn’t a great one. It was a little weak and rough around the edges, and the RDX didn’t find as many buyers as expected. So when it was redesigned for 2012, Acura swapped in one of its silky naturally-aspirated V6 engines to right the ship. It did, and it was smooth sailing from there.

It quickly moved into a strong second place on the sales charts behind the larger MDX. That looks set to change with the all-new 2019 RDX, which has been the brand’s most wanted since it arrived in showrooms, powered once again by a turbocharged four-cylinder.

ACURA MDX SPORT HYBRID TEST DRIVE:

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The engine is one of several turbos spread across the Honda/Acura lineup these days. The 272 hp 2.0-liter comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission and is proof that a decade of hard work can pay off. It’s very good. There’s lots of grunt, and Acura dialed in a deep, rich sound with a digital assist.

(Acura)

The RDX rides on its own platform this time around, one that features a sporty five-link rear suspension and a super stiff structure engineered to give it a premium feel and accommodate a big hole in the ceiling for a standard panoramic sunroof. The wheelbase is longer than a CR-V’s and the richly appointed passenger compartment is a little roomier, but the RDX’s chic roofline cuts into cargo space. The spare tire is mounted beneath the vehicle, however, which may prove to be inconvenient at the worst time possible, but leaves room for a couple of handy storage bins under the floor.

(Acura)

Prices start at $38,295 for a front-wheel-drive RDX, which beats most of its competitors by thousands, and a loaded all-wheel-drive model rings up at $48,395.

Four trim levels are available, with the top of the line Advanced getting a head-up display, computer-controlled suspension system and a pair of heated and ventilated front buckets with adjustable side bolsters and leg supports. They are remarkably comfortable and dressed in high-quality leather. So is the bridge-like center console, which feels so good you just want to wrap your arms around it.

It’s also home for one of the RDX’s signature features, the so-called True Touchpad Interface for the infotainment system. The pad is designed to mirror the screen mounted up on the dashboard so you don’t have to reach for it or draw your eyes too far away from the road. It works well when you’re trying to access icons located in the corners of the screen, but isn’t so accurate in the middle. Swiping through menus or browsing radio stations is a tedious process. Once you have all of your customizable desktops and favorites set up – not something you want to try while driving – it’s not bad, but I never got the sense it was any better than just having a closer, traditional touchscreen with auxiliary knobs like the Accord offers. That said, it’s much better than the similar setup found in some Lexus vehicles, or any dial-style controls.

(Acura)

The RDX does have one of the those, but it’s only for choosing from its selection of Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ drive modes, each modifying the drivetrain’s eagerness, steering feel and suspension stiffness as appropriate. There’s a noticeable difference between them, and I found myself switching to sport anytime the road started getting hilly and twisty. Acura’s been trying to get its groove back, and the RDX has it in this setting. Sport+ is a bit too much for a vehicle like this, as it lets engine rev way too high before it switches gears, (but you’ve got to kick that VTEC in sometimes, bro.)

All things considered, the Ohio-built RDX is an excellent value and a far more engaging car to drive than its archrivals, the Lexus NX and RX, which bookend it in size. Acuras have always been a sensible choice in the luxury SUV segment, and this one ignites more senses than any Acura SUV before it.

———-

2019 Acura RDX

Base price: $38,295

As tested: $48,395

Type: 5-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive SUV

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder

Power: 272 hp, 280 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

MPG: 21 city/27 hwy

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace Test Drive: Welcome to the family

The Jaguar E-Pace has an Easter egg painted onto the bottom left corner of its windshield. It depicts a Jaguar with a cub. Cute.

(Fox News Autos)

It’s supposed to symbolize the model’s role as Jaguar’s baby SUV to the larger F-Pace. The only problem is, they’re different species.

Although the two look a lot alike — and are gorgeous for SUVs as far as I and all of the heads they turn are concerned — an X-ray examination reveals it’s all a façade.

The F-Pace was Jaguar’s first SUV (Jaguar)

The F-Pace is built on a chassis that’s also used by Jaguar’s sedans and the Range Rover Velar, but the E-Pace is related to the Range Rover Evoque. The F-Pace platform is primarily rear-wheel-drive, the E-Pace front-wheel-drive. There’s no missing link between them, the vehicles are fundamentally unalike.

But they do share a beating heart. Two of them, actually. They’re 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, rated at 247 hp and 296 hp, and are the only ones offered in the E-Pace, while the F-Pace can also be had with a selection of supercharged V6 and V8 engines, not to mention a diesel.

But the more-powerful version does the trick in both of these urban jungle cats. It’s more than adequate and a good value proposition in the F-Pace, and turns the little E-Pace into something of a muscle machine. You’ll find it bundled in the R-Dynamic trim level, which starts at $47,395, a big jump up from the E-Pace’s starting price of $39,595.

But you get more than power. All USA-bound E-Paces have standard all-wheel-drive, and the R-Dynamic adds leather upholstery, automatic emergency brakes and built-in WiFi. Available options run the gamut from a 360-degree camera to adaptive cruise control and a full panoramic sunroof. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration costs $300 for the pair, because they are necessities given Jaguar’s so-so native infotainment system. All-in, it’s not hard to tally up more than $60,000, which is a lot for a small SUV, but in line with Jaguar’s luxury competitors.

In keeping with its mixed lineage, the E-Pace features interior styling that borrows a fair amount of DNA from Jaguar’s F-Type sports car. Notably its pistol grip gear shifter and the grab handle on the center console for the front passenger, but also the overall vibe of the design and materials. It's not glitzy and glamorous, and there’s a bit too much bare plastic, but the look is sporty and unique.

On the functionality front, rear legroom is snug and the seatbacks don’t fold perfectly flat, which makes it hard to get the most out of the cargo space. But there’s plenty of it, despite the sloping hatchback.

As far as the ride is concerned, I have to tell you that my first few miles behind the wheel were a little disappointing, but only because I’d literally just stepped out of Jaguar’s new battery-powered I-Pace SUV. It’s about the same size as the E-Pace, but its seamless electric drive and supple air suspension system make its conventional cousin feel like it’s from the Stone Age.

Video

Once I reacclimated, however, the E-Pace revealed a solid blend of comfort, handling and response. It’s not the pure magic you get in pricier Jaguars, but even with the 20-inch wheels and thin tires that the top of the line R-Dynamic HSE rides on it’s never too rough, the steering is lively and the engine makes highway merges a breeze. And while you likely won’t see too many E-Paces intentionally going off the beaten path, those Range Rover bones give it some light off-road chops and the ability to wade through 20-inch-deep water. This is one kitten that’s not afraid to get wet.

(Jaguar)

All things considered, that Easter Egg is just as much about E-Pace customers as it is about the car, depicting Jaguar’s hope that newcomers who buy this entry-level model will grow with the brand. But that only works if their first experience is a good one.

It was for me.

———-

2018 Jaguar E-Pace

Base price: $39,595

As tested: $62,090

Type: 5-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive SUV

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Power: 296 hp, 295 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

MPG: 21 city/27 hwy

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Feds investigating 2.7 million GM pickups and SUVs for faulty brake issue

The U.S. government is investigating more than 100 complaints of poor brake performance on 2.7 million General Motors big pickups and SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a brake vacuum pump can deteriorate, causing increased braking effort and longer stopping distances.

The agency has 111 consumer complaints including nine crashes and two injuries.

The investigation covers 2014 through 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. Also involved are Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs.

The agency will determine how often the problem happens and whether a recall is necessary.

GM is monitoring complaints and warranty claims about the brakes and is working with NHTSA to evaluate them, spokesman Tom Wilkinson said Friday.

Any owner who has a problem with brake performance should have them examined by a GM dealer or independent repair shop, Wilkinson said.

They should keep receipts because they could be reimbursed for repairs if there is a recall, he added.

LA Auto Show: Honda Passport returns for 2019

LOS ANGELES – The Honda Passport has been renewed.

The dormant model name is making a comeback after 15 years on an all-new SUV that Honda says is its most adventurous one yet.

The 2019 Passport is essentially a two-row version of the latest 8-passenger Honda Pilot and features the same 280 hp V6 engine, 9-speed transmission and optional torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system as its big sister.

2019 Honda Passport with Accessory Roof Rack

But with 8.4 inches of ground clearance, the AWD Passport rides higher than the Pilot and has shorter overhangs at each end that improve its off-road capability some without ruining its manners on the street. It’s still not a rock crawler like a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it should take you further down a rocky road than any Honda SUV before it.

2019 Honda Passport with Accessory Roof Rack, Running Boards, Fender Flares and Towing Hitch

The Passport comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety systems that includes automatic emergency brakes, self-steering lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Front-wheel-drive Passports can tow 3,500 pounds while AWD models can be equipped with a towing package that increases the limit to 5,000 pounds.

2019 Honda Passport

The front cabin is nearly identical to the Pilot’s, but the Passport has an underfloor storage bin in the cargo area and its spare tire is mounted inside, instead of underneath the vehicle. A selection of accessories will be offered to further enhance its utility, like washable bins and a roof-mounted basket carrier.

2019 Honda Passport

The Passport is scheduled to arrive in showrooms early next year at a yet to be announced price, but expect it to land somewhere between the $25,000 CR-V and $32,000 Pilot. And while it could be seen as a replacement for the Accord, as more and more car buyers opt for SUVs, Honda Assistant Vice President of Product Planning Jay Joseph says the company expects it to add overall sales rather than cannibalize them from other models.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

L.A. Auto Show: The 2020 Lincoln Aviator can fly…down the road

The all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator may have a name from the history books, but it’s the most powerful and technologically-advanced vehicle the brand has ever made.

The three-row SUV is being offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain comprised of a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6, a 10-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor between them that’s aimed more at performance than efficiency, but delivers a bit of both.

Aviator chief engineer John Davis said that the combined output will be at least 450 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, which would make it more potent than Lincoln’s top of the line Navigator SUV.

(Lincoln)

The Aviator can travel some distance in all-electric mode, but Lincoln isn’t bragging about the range yet, so I don’t expect it to be very far. Figure between 20 and 30 miles. Davis said that even if you don’t plug it in to recharge it, it should always have enough electricity in reserve to deliver full power in short bursts.

Standard Aviator models come without the hybrid bits, but still have 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, which sounds more than adequate. Unlike Lincoln’s other front or all-wheel drive crossover SUVs — the Nautilus and MKC — the larger Aviator is built on a rear or all-wheel-drive platform, in the vein of its luxury competitors. This improves both handling and towing capability, according to Davis, and let the designers give it a long, stylish hood.

(Lincoln)

The Aviator will be offered with an air suspension system that can adjust its ride height, and active dampers tied to a camera that monitors the road in front of the vehicle and prepares the stiffness of the shocks to match what’s coming up ahead.

Additional sensors will allow the Aviator to automatically brake for obstacles, or apply gentle pressure on the steering wheel to help guide the driver around them if evasive action is taken. It can also steer itself into a parking space, shifting from drive to reverse as needed while the driver simply holds down a button.

(Lincoln)

Inside, the Aviator has a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system display, a fully digital instrument cluster, real wood and metal trim, high-tier leather upholstery, available massaging 30-way adjustable front seats and an optional surround sound system with 28 speakers.

You can use a new technology Lincoln calls "phone as key" to use your smartphone to enter and start the vehicle without carrying a fob. Keys can be given to friends or family members, and there’s a number pad by the door instead that can be used with a code if a phone goes dead when you’re on the road. It uses a Bluetooth connection that only works in close proximity to the vehicle, which reduces the threat of the signal being intercepted by thieves.

Aviator pricing has not been announced, but will likely start above the aging $50,000 MKT when it pulls into showrooms in the middle of next year.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

The Rivian R1S electric SUV is a very green off-road machine

LOS ANGELES – Hot on the heels of the reveal of its electric R1T pickup in Los Angeles on Monday night, startup automaker Rivan kept the pedal down on Tuesday and took the wraps off of the SUV that will share its battery-powered underpinnings.

The R1S three-row utility vehicle features the same futuristic headlights and overall styling of the pickup, but replaces its bed with a covered cargo area and third row of seats. It’s about the same size as the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover that will likely be its primary, conventionally-powered competitors, and promises similar off-road capability, but with zero emissions.

The R1S will be offered with three battery sizes that Michigan-based Rivian claims will deliver from 250 miles to over 400 miles of range. Four individual electric motors, one for each wheel, provide all-wheel-drive and a precise power control on pavement, dirt and rocks, according to Rivian engineering director Mark Vinnels.

With a combined output of approximately 400 hp to 750 hp, depending on the model, the aluminum-bodied RS1 will be also able to tow 7700 pounds and accelerate to 100 mph in as little as 7 seconds. A standard air suspension can lift it high enough to provide 14 inches of ground clearance below its floor-mounted battery pack, which will be protected by composite and metal shielding.

(Rivian)

Despite the low placement of the battery pack and motors, Vinnels says the R1S can wade through over three feet of water and that its cabin is fully-sealed against leaks if you try. That’s also true for the 11 cubic-foot “frunk” storage compartment under the hood. Even if a couple of drips make it in to either, the R1S’s Chilewich carpets are washable.

And while the RS1 is aimed at adventurous types who like to drive themselves, Rivian says it will offer Level 3 autonomy, which is capable of self-driving in certain situations, like during highway cruising or while trudging along in stop-and-go traffic.

Rivan plans to start production of the R1S at its factory in Normal, Ill., in early 2021, a few months after the pickup goes on sale. Exact pricing hasn’t been announced, but the R1T is projected to start at $69,000.

MORE: THE R1T IS THE AMERICAN-MADE ELECTRIC PICKUP OF THE NEAR FUTURE

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

‘Jeep Death Wobble’ reported on new Wrangler

An old problem has surfaced on the all-new Jeep Wrangler.

A handful of owners have reported experiencing the dreaded “Jeep Death Wobble” to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), according to the Detroit Free Press.

The issue, which hasn’t actually led to any known deaths or been officially deemed a safety hazard, is a violent vibration felt through the steering wheel, usually at high speeds.

Its cause is sometimes hard to pin down, but is typically blamed on loose or worn parts in the steering system for the Wrangler’s solid front axle. It’s also common in other vehicles that use a solid front axle, including heavy-duty pickup trucks and the Mercedes G-Class SUV.

Video

NHTSA told the Detroit Free Press that it is looking into the complaints. In the past, similar investigations resulted in the agency determining that the wobble did not pose a significant safety risk.

Jeep has nevertheless addressed Wrangler steering system problems through several Technical Service Bulletins over the years, which instruct mechanics how to deal with a known issue that doesn’t require a recall.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.