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Chicago Auto Show

Ram Adds Heavy Duty 4×4 Off-Road Package to Truck Lineup

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2017 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with 4x4 Off-road package

Ram has grown its truck lineup with the addition of a new 4×4 Off-road package for its 2500 pickup truck, having debuted it at the 2016 Chicago auto show.

The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4 Off-road package gives the full-size pickup a more distinguished look that includes unique graphics and large fender flares. It also enhances its off-road capabilities with front tow hooks, Bilstein monotube shock absorbers on all four corners, an anti-spin rear differential, and a transfer case skid plate.

To help navigate difficult terrain, the 4×4 package comes with a Hill-decent control borrowed from the even more off-road-capable RAM Power Wagon. Ram Truck head Bob Hegbloom had the following to say:

“Truck customers require a wide range of off-road capability options and Ram trucks are designed and engineered for the full spectrum. Anyone who spends most days on the outskirts of a job site or the weekend on the shore of a favorite fishing hole will benefit from the standard features on our new Ram 2500 4×4 Off-road Package.”

In case you’re wondering, the 4×4 Off-road package is available on most Ram 2500 configurations, including Crew Cab and Mega Cab; short- and long-wheelbase; and with gas and diesel powertrains. Pricing information will be announced closer to its launch in the third quarter of 2016.

Chicago Auto Show

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid And Plug-in Hybrid Get Refresh For 2018 MY

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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai used the 2018 Chicago Auto Show to unveil the refreshed, 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid.

Both models benefit from an updated design that’s similar to the regular Sonata, featuring a bolder front fascia, a more modern rear end and new wheel designs.

Interior upgrades include a new instrument panel center stack, upgraded infotainment system with an available audio/video navigation system, wireless phone charging, and USB charging ports.

Safety has been beefed up with automatic emergency braking, lane change assist and standard blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.

The 2018 Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that works together with a 38 kW electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. The gas engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque, while the electric motor adds an additional 51 horsepower and 151 lb. ft. for a combined total of 193 horsepower.

In the United Sates, the Sonata Hybrid is rated at 39 mpg in city driving, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined.

The 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid utilizes much the same powertrain as the Sonata Hybrid but is equipped with a larger 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that’s more than five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, helping give it an all-electric range up to 27 miles.

Hyundai says the steering system, anti-roll bar and rear suspension on both models have been modified for more responsive handling without sacrificing ride comfort.

The updated, 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018, while the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid arrives in the second quarter .

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Chicago Auto Show

Fiat 500 Lineup Goes All Turbo For 2018

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2018 Fiat 500 hatchback, America

Fiat used the 2018 Chicago Auto Show to announce that every version of the North American-spec. Fiat 500 lineup will now be powered by a turbocharged engine.

The 2018 Fiat 500 Pop and Lounge models are now powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque — 34 more standard horsepower than the previous model year — while the performance-tuned 500 Abarth makes dues with a funner 1.4-liter turbocharged engine rated at 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Pop and Lounge models also get standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and a rear backup camera. Relatively unchanged, the Abarth adds 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels wraped in Pirelli tires, red brake calipers, and a “double-tip” dual-exhaust system.

Fiat’s designers revised the exterior of all three models, giving them updated front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a new spoiler, fog lamps, and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate. as well as three new colors (Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl).

These changes should help breathe a little life into the Fiat 500 lineup, which has been struggling to find buyers. However, considering the 500 is now over eight years old (13 years in some global markets), what Fiat really needs is an all-new model.

What do you think about the changes?

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Chevrolet

New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Gets RS Treatment, Turbo Engine

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New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS SUV

The Chevrolet Traverse lineup has received a sportier touch in the form of the new Traverse RS.

Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Traverse RS is the first Traverse to get a turbocharged engine, one that makes 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that helps the three-row, seven-passenger crossover deliver an expected EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.

The RS treatment appears to be more of an appearance and comfort package than it is a performance-focused one, adding blacked-out exterior trim and such standard equipment as HID headlamps, active shutters, an eight-inch infotainment system, heated seats, Bose audio, and unique 20-inch dark wheels. It doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, nor does it have it as an option.

The Chevrolet Traverse RS is currently available in the United States with a $43,095 MSRP (including freight).

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