Most OEMs provided at least one significant product worth far more than the release it was introduced with. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – December 31, 2019 Despite an industry whose sales continue to soften, a rash of new more efficient products have reached or will soon be reaching dealership showrooms offering efficiency that could only be dreamed of just a decade ago. Today, that dream is a reality along with vastly improved safety, interiors that make you feel like a King or Queen, and infotainment choices with an almost infinite number of audio selections controlled by your own voice while keeping your eyes on the road. 2020 Chevrolet Silverado A breakthrough Duramax I6 Turbo Diesel resides under the hood. GM -- The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the all-new 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque 3.0L I6 Duramax turbo-diesel mated to an all-new 10-speed AT is EPA rated at 23/33 mpg city/highway in RWD configuration. Within the all-aluminum block are iron cylinder liners, a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods and blended silicon/aluminum pistons for greater heat resistance and reduced expansion. A large light duty pickup that offers a city/highway result that some performance compacts cannot even match is truly a welcome addition to the automotive landscape. 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax Turbo Diesel – A Record Setting 33 mpg Highway Rating! -- "Another hyper efficient pickup truck turbo diesel enters the fray!" Ford -- As the #2 seller of cars and trucks in the U.S., Ford has made some great moves in 2019 but it could be a while before they payoff. To begin, the 27/29 mpg city/highway rated RWD 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid with a 318 system hp and 322 lb-ft of torque 3.3L V6 mated to a 10-speed AT but with a 44 HP motor mated to via clutch between the engine and the transmission. Driving the 23/26 mpg city/highway rated 4WD variant across the country provided an excellent measured 33.9 mpg. 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid Drivetrain The 2020 Ford Motor Company Explorer reveal... -- "The hybrid is coming!" Another all-new arrival that is even more efficient comes in the form of the all-new 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid. 2020 Ford Escape PHEV The all-new compact SUV with a 198 combined HP from its 2.5L I4 mated to an electronic CVT provides an amazing 44/37 mpg city/highway rating in FWD configuration. Yes, that is truly a noteworthy compact SUV! But that is not all, there is a PHEV variant with at least 30-miles of all-electric range due to reach dealership showrooms sometime this spring. Ford’s All-new 2020 Escape Hybrid – Welcome Back! -- "The most anticipated Ford launch in a good long time!" And while not offered in 2019, Ford’s biggest splash of the year occurred at the 2019 LA Auto Show where the ground shaking Mustang Mach-E BEV was revealed. The long range RWD variant is said to offer owners an EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles and charge on a 150 kW SAE CCS DC Charger for short stops on long distance drives. Finally, someone says they will compete and they are doing it with an iconic nameplate with historical significance. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E A Tesla Killer Enters the Fray – It is Called Mustang Mach-E --"A 98.8 kWh traction battery provides 300+ miles of all-electric goodness." Toyota -- What was Toyota’s contribution to the automobile universe in 2019? Two things really. Toyota has finally and I should say begrudgingly come around to including Android Auto in many of its high-volume sellers. For the 2020 MY, the Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid were the first to be equipped with std. Android Auto and it is about time! Following on the heels of the RAV4, the Camry, Avalon, and ES are also now equipped with the same as it the upcoming 2020 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid and RX/RXh Hybrid. The 2020 Toyota Prius lineup and Corolla were unfortunately left in the rear view when it comes to this almost necessary feature. 2020 Toyota Hybrid Lineup While at a Toyota event in Greensboro, NC, Toyota introduced its new for all 2020 MY Hybrids, 8-year/100k mile warranty covering the following: Hybrid Battery Control Module (battery voltage sensor) Hybrid Control Module (power management control module) Inverter with Converter New Hybrid Battery Warranty is 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first Toyota’s Electrified Past, Present and Future --"In the auto business, patience is more than just a virtue." 2020 Toyota RAV4 Receives Android Auto! --"Toyota's first is the current 2020 RAV4 Hybrid. Upcoming 2020 Highlander Hybrid and 2020 Lexus RXh are not far behind. " FCA, I mean RAM/Jeep -- For the 2020 MY, RAM and Jeep both introduced their latest gen EcoDiesel into their RAM 1500 light duty pickup and Jeep’s Wrangler <-- a true surprise. 2020 RAM 1500 An honest to goodness 3.0L EcoDiesel under the hood! Following on the superlative experiences with the first gen 3.0L EcoDiesel over the previous 5 years, RAM announced that its more powerful and vastly reengineered 260 hp and 480 lb.-ft. of torque super diesel will provide new owners with an eye opening towing cap of 12,560 pounds, a 22/32 mpg city/highway rating, and over 1,000-miles range as a 4X2! As a 4WD, owners will receive a 21/29 mpg city/highway rated full size pickup. We are talking about full size pickup truck here, not a midsize and compact CUV or compact pickup. The 3.0L EcoDiesel incorporates a standard dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) w/ 4 valves per cylinder and a 60-degree cylinder ban angle. The block is cast with compacted graphite iron (CGI), which provides strength to dampen vibrations, but weighs less than cast iron. A compacted graphite iron bedplate adds rigidity to the block. Inside, a standard forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods increase strength and durability. The aluminum alloy pistons are cooled on the underside via oil jets. Heat-treated aluminum cylinder heads use individual bearing caps to reduce friction and minimize NVH. The chain-driven overhead camshafts employ roller-finger followers. 2020 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel – 32 mpg Highway! -- "One of America’s favorite trucks receives a major drivetrain upgrade!" And on the Jeep side of the two-manufacturer powerhouse came an unexpected hyper efficient entry in the form of the Wrangler receiving the same 3.0L EcoDiesel. Combined with its iconic and well-deserved off-road heritage, this thing literally shakes the community to its core with off-the-lot stump pulling torque plus all the fittings that make the Wrangler the ultimate rock crawler including lockers and disconnecting stabilizer bars, plus an ultra low low that you can walk faster than it will idle down the road in. 2020 Jeep Wrangler It has always been a hell of an off-road ride. Now it is a hell of an efficient off-road ride. Holy $*%!, 45 MPG From The 2020 Jeep Wrangler? It’s Called “EcoDiesel” -- "The 442 lb-ft. of torque will make a rock crawling beginner into an intermediate right off the lot." Honda -- It was a slow year in terms of releases but there was one from the LA Auto Show that will prove to be a hit in the very near future. That being Honda has finally decided to place its award winning two-motor Accord Hybrid drivetrain into Honda’s best-selling and highly acclaimed CR-V. The 2020 CR-V Hybrid launches this coming spring and is anticipated to achieve a 42 mpgUS city rating, some 50 percent higher than the city rating of the non-hybrid CR-V with the award winning 1.5L turbo! It will also include an 8-year and possibly 100k mile traction battery warranty similar to that provided on the Accord and Insight HEV. Like the standard 2020 Honda CR-V, the CR-V Hybrid will arrive with the full line of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assist technology standard. Missing is Rear Cross Traffic Alert on the base trim of the non-hybrid and I expect the same for the Hybrid. There are no proximity sensors front or rear on any trim. The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid will be built in Honda's Greensburg, Indiana plant, and joins the Accord Hybrid and Insight as the third electrified Honda manufactured in America. 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid LA Auto Show Preview: All-New 2020 Honda CR-V AWD Hybrid - "Safety for Everyone" -- "The all-new 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid makes its public debut as the latest vehicle in Honda’s electrified initiative." Nissan -- If there was a tough luck story in the auto industry, Nissan would be it. Instead of reliving the negative details, let us consider its one shiny object on the hill. Namely what I consider to be the best Compact sedan soon to be available. It is called Sentra and in SV trim with the Premium pkg., is a vehicle to be admired. The 149 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque 2.0L I4 mated to a wide ratio CVT provides a very average 29/39 mpg city/highway rating. Where it excels is the interior appointments for a price the rest of the segment cannot come close to touching. Before sitting in the quilted leather seats, notice the perforated leather thigh bolsters and contrasting leather color edges with dual contrasting stitching. With the beige seats, the contrast plus quality look and feel simple are unmatched in this segment. Now that you are in those seats, they feel made for someone of my stature. Supportive without impinging into my lower or upper back, or along my thighs. Breaking the 106.3” wheelbase with an additional .5” over its rivals, the Sentra offers 1.5” more front seat legroom than its predecessor. In other words, if you are 6’3” tall, you can still find a comfortable seating position vs let us say the Toyota offering… The soft yet thick feel of the D-Shaped leather wrapped wheel is like a worn leather glove that just fits and the wheel control switches do not flop around in their housing and are tactile. 2020 Nissan Sentra SV with the Premium Pkg. New sound deadening treatments in the floor, windows and doors make it a more relaxing experience than its predecessor. Especially when the previous gen was wound up to get it to move. Moving your hands around the rest of the interior, you feel a lot of soft touch high quality material. From the inserts and double stitched armrests to the dash with the same including a faux carbon fiber like trim around the instrument hood edge is a step above what I am used to in this segment. More along the lines of an Infiniti or Lexus than any Nissan I have ever been in. The satin aluminum door handles, window lift control edges, and shift level surrounds is again something to behold and it simply looks and feels right. To your left and far right are angled standard vents while front and center, Mercedes-Benz or as Nissan would say, GT-R inspired round vents stand out. This all culminates with a floating 8” central display with Android Auto and Apple Car Play that integrates very well into the overall interior design. The only misstep I found is a foot operated parking brake placement which feels like a throwback to the 80s. The Sentra offers a better than Infiniti/Acura/Lexus interior and appointments for half the price. AND while not quite available, the short lead was held earlier this month and by the end of next month, another true competitor will enter the hotly contested compact segment. The All-new 2020 Nissan Sentra Achieves Greatness with Style and Grace -- "On the strength of its beautiful and quiet interior, chiseled exterior, excellent value, and a 360 degree safety approach, Sentra has become the best main stream compact available today." Hyundai -- Although the hard charging “Flying H” brand was busy filling out its Crossover lineup from the smallest B-segment Venue onto the largest 7-passenger Palisade, there were some developments on the electrification front that proved to be worthy of our time and effort. Namely the Kona Electric. The Kona Electric was originally introduced in late 2018 as a 2019 MY offering but did not actually arrive until January of 2019 making it a great addition to the U.S. Hyundai lineup. Its real claim to fame however is not that it is an all-electric since the Ioniq has been available as an all-electric for years but that it carries a much larger 64 kWh Li-Ion traction battery providing an EPA rated 258 all-electric range miles. Not quite a Tesla competitor but a decent long-range drivetrain in an award-winning compact CUV platform shows where Hyundai is headed in the not too distant future. 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric If only they could have incorporated an 85 kWh pack, 300+ miles was all but guaranteed. The Kona Electric powertrain employs an efficient 150 kW (201 hp and 291 lb-ft. of torque from a standstill) permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a < 1,000 lb., liquid cooled, 356V, 64 kWh Li-Ion battery. Motor power powers the front wheel through a 7.981 reduction gear. The inverter has a power density of 25.4 kVA/L. The Kona Electric utilizes a 7.2 kW Level-II on-board charging system and a Level-III SAE CCS 100 kW quick charger port that can bring the Kona Electric to 80 percent charge from flat in just 54 minutes. The Level-II charger at the rated 7.2 kWs takes 9 hrs. and 35 min. to reach the same 80 percent SoC from flat. 2019 Hyundai Kona BEV Preview -- "Compact Electric CUV with 238 miles of all-electric range." I would be remiss if the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco, 20-month, 156,252-mile Total Cost of Ownership study results were not mentioned. Purchased new for $13,808 and sold for $3,500 -- Depreciation: $10,308 TTL and Reg for 2-years: $2,150 Financing: $0 Insurance: $1,451 Fuel cost: $10,235.45 OCs: $536 (2) sets of tires: $586 (1) set of front brakes: $282 Misc. bulbs, wipers, fluids: $182 $25,730/156,252 miles = $0.165/mile. 2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco Parked at the San Diego Harbor on a beautifully calm night, and well over 100k miles on the odometer. 2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco Rideshare TCO Study -- "Too many hours but the results proved the 6th gen Elantra’s worth." Tesla -- An always controversial discussion but one that has solidified itself into the future of the automobile and the lexicon that surrounds it. How many times have we heard Tesla is bleeding cash, they will not make it through the year, they are going to go bankrupt? Well, something happened earlier this year that changed the landscape to the detriment of its competitors worldwide. Namely, they turned the corner on profitability all the while continuing to build out their own high-speed DC Charging “Supercharger” network. In fact, at many locations, they have upped the power with version 3 chargers to 250 kW providing an even faster charge for those on the road in need of “energy” to continue on their way to Grandmothers house. The Cybertruck may have stolen everybody’s thunder and lightning, it was the profit turn and Model Y preview that will move the company and its products forward. In late October of this year, Tesla reported a surprising Q3 earnings per share profit of $1.86 vs the Streets consensus of a $0.42/share loss! Revenues of $6.3 billion were down slightly from the $6.33 billion expected. By all appearances, Tesla has finally turned the corner on sustained profitability with the Fremont Factory punching out Model 3s as fast as demand requires and they continue to make money while expanding vehicle services. The eye opener imho is Tesla’s automotive gross margins rose to 22.8% in the Q3, up from Q2s 18.9%. OEMs achieving even 8 percent is noteworthy so all of those expensive Model S’, X, and 3s are making the company $s. Where Tesla is spending those dollars is on the new China Factory where Li-Ion Cells and the vehicles themselves will be produced under the same roof, limited production of the Tesla Semi in 2020, a European factory scheduled for 2021 opening, and its continuous roll out of upgraded and more chargers within the brands Super Charging network. Super Charger V3 upgrade to 250 kW can charge a Model 3 Long Range at over 1,000 miles per hour between 10 and 60 percent SoC! 2021 Tesla Model Y A compact CUV built upon the Model3s underpinnings should provide big profits for the unstoppable force called Tesla. All the while Tesla continues to focus on sustainable transportation with sustainable home and business energy production, sustainable energy consumption, and Electric Cars meeting our transportation needs… Tesla Model Y Preview and (TSLA) Q3 2019 Earnings Up Significantly! -- "An unexpectedly profitable quarter boosts the stock. Going forward, the upcoming Model Y should sell more than the S, X, and Model 3 combined!"