The News for April 2nd, 2021

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Subaru increases the Outback’s capabilities with new Wilderness model, Hyundai teases new Santa Cruz pickup coming soon, Ford Maverick is spied and is significantly smaller than the Ranger, and Volkswagen of America did something really stupid this week.

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Subaru outback wilderness

Subaru has been known for their adventure-ready wagons and crossovers for decades, but this week they’ve taken it to a different level with the Outback Wilderness. Available as a new trim level later this year, it’s a more rugged and more capable Outback for drivers who use every bit of a car’s advertised off roading abilities. It’s more than just body cladding – it has some impressive specs backing it up.

It has the standard 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer four cylinder with 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque paired with a good ole CVT. Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD, a revised rear differential, dual-function X-MODE, and torque vectoring help put that power to any surface as effectively as possible. X-MODE in particular is like a terrain selector or drive mode controller in other cars. It has Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes and works more seamlessly in the Wilderness model. Mechanical grip is provided by lengthened shocks and springs at all four corners plus Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires on unique 17″ alloy wheels. The new suspension settings provide 9.5 inches of ground clearance, a 1 inch increase over stock, which allows for more stability over rough terrain and more suspension travel.

Subaru outback wilderness

The Wilderness package comes with a redesigned front and rear bumpers which not only look cool but also aid in its off roading abilities as well. Approach angles have been increased from 18.6 degrees to 20.0, ramp breakover angle shifts from 19.4 degrees to 21.2 degrees, and the departure angle soars from 21.7 degrees to 23.6 degrees. They say the improvements made to the differential and CVT allows it to climb grades up to 40 percent on a gravel surface. I’m no off roading expert but these are very impressive numbers out of something like this.

Subaru outback wilderness

In addition to the new bumpers, the Outback Wilderness also receives a new hexagonal front grille, larger wheel arch cladding, a front skid plate, a matte-black anti-glare hood decal, plus a new fixed ladder-type rook rack with a 700 pound load limit. The Subaru accessory catalog is also packaged with loads of new items for the Outback Wilderness, ranging from roof-racking stuff and various aluminum skid plates.

Pricing and an exact release window have not been revealed yet.

[Source: Subaru]

Hyundai teases Santa Cruz

hyundai santa cruz

A brand new class of vehicle was announced this week. Hyundai has coined the term “Sport Adventure Vehicle” to describe their upcoming pickup. It’s going to be called the Santa Cruz and will enter production this summer at their Alabama plant and they’ve given us a teaser this week.

It appears poised to compete with either the Honda Ridgeline, the upcoming Ford Maverick, or any other pickup that isn’t 50 feet long. While it remains to be seen how segment breaking it really will be, it’ll still be new territory for Hyundai who has never produced a pickup in the North American market… from what I can tell. They know anything with a pickup bed is selling faster than automakers can produce them but they also know the immense size and cost of a traditional pickup is turning off some buyers and Twitter users as well. By introducing a smaller yet functional pickup that can seamlessly transition from urban commuting, mild off roading, and hauling duties, they can make a good impression in the US market.

We’ll get a better idea of how they plan to do that when it debuts on April 15th.

[Source: Hyundai]

Ford Maverick spied

ford bronco sport

Speaking of small trucks, the upcoming Ford Maverick has been spied by Maverick Truck Club in open road testing alongside the Ford Ranger. It’s a significant spot because it not only shows us more of the promising new small truck from Ford, but it also shows us just how small it’ll be compared to the mid-size Ranger. I won’t publish the photos here because we’ve been yelled at for doing this sort of thing before, but lemme tell ya… it’s small. Head on over to Maverick Truck Club and see the side by side shots for yourself.

Not much is known for certain about the Maverick (we really aren’t even sure if that’s what the name will be) but the leading theory is that it will share engines and underpinnings with the Escape and Bronco Sport. After seeing it side by side with a Ranger, that seems to ring true.

[Source: Maverick Truck Club via Jalopnik]

Volkswagen of America lied. Again.

new vw logo

Oooooh where to even begin with this one.

If you’ve been on the internet this week, Volkswagen of America caused a bit of a stir when reports began to surface that they were considering changing their name to Voltswagen. This would have theoretically been to signal their commitment to producing underperforming battery electric vehicles to people who need cheesy marketing gimmicks to understand things and lend to the ultimate goal of hoping the whole world forgot about how they lied about diesel emissions for years. The idea sounded absurd and unlikely given that its not common for a decades old company to just change a name, but the report from USA Today cited a press release that was actually published (and then retracted) from the North American VW press site on Monday. That got the industry talking.

My first thought was like that of many others – with April 1st being around the corner, this seemed like it was just some dumb joke. But as anyone with a basic understanding of a calendar would know, this past Monday was not April 1st. It was March 29th. It remained sort of a rumor and was brushed off as a load of crap by most, but journalists at various outlets did their jobs and reached out to Volkswagen for comment. What happened next is where this story goes from silly to shitty

When pressed by outlets like CNBCCNET, Road&Track, Automotive News, and countless others, Volkswagen did what they do best and just lied about it some more. So on Monday the story went from rumors to multiple exclusive reports from legitimate news outlets. Then on Tuesday morning, Volkswagen of America published another press release which again confirmed to the whole world that it was legitimate and that they were in fact changing their name to a shitty EV pun. This time it was coming straight from the horse’s ass.

Surprising no one, that only made things worse. Outlets were scrambling to make sense of it, some reaching out to their own press contacts and others questioning whether VW would be doing the same in Europe. At some point during all this, the higher ups at Volkswagen were going “was zur Hölle” and their new version of “the truth” began to slip out. It took prodding from the WSJ and Reuters for them to finally admit that it was all just a shitty April Fools joke. It’s important to just mention again that this all occurred on March 29th and 30th, which is most definitely not April 1st.

We still don’t know the truth


Even now that they’ve come clean, we still don’t truly know if this was actually a joke. Road & Track has a source claiming that it was a genuine announcement which was just accidently published early. The “it’s just a prank bro” bit may have been fabricated just to save face, but instead it only made things worse. One way or another, Volkswagen of America lied to reporters who were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. When the company in question doesn’t even know what their own truth is, it just makes everyone – but especially Volkswagen of America – look like idiots.

After this revelation, every report on this charade was updated by reporters who had to admit they lied to their readers, when in reality it was Volkswagen of America who did the lying. What else could those reporters do when they reach out to a company for comment and that company just fuckin lies to them? At a time when the integrity of the media is constantly called into question, this kind of crap is just completely unnecessary and is even harmful. Every reporter who was tricked into covering this story in real time was unknowingly tricked into lying to their readers by a company who arguably does that whole lying thing better than anyone.

So while we still don’t truly know if this was a joke or not, one thing’s for certain: Volkswagen of America is the joke.

[Sources: R&T, Roadshow, EVPulse]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

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19 responses to “The News for April 2nd, 2021”

  1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    Regarding the Subaru: Pontiac called and they want their plastic cladding back.

    As far as the Ford, that is not a Maverick, this is.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      This was the Maverick in Australia in the late 80s-early 90s

      The ironic thing about the “different” tag line is that it was just a rebadged Nissan Patrol.

      Also, Subaru have just announced a recall of the Outback 6th gen which only launched here in the last month or so (and from Japan so there’s no turbo version), the issue is with too many false positives from the Eyesight emergency braking/collision prevention system.

      Heard about the Voltswagon thing, and that the SEC is looking into it – unless that is their April Fools joke? Not sure they have much of a sense of humour…

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        They really liked re-using the Maverick name on re-badged Nissans. The Spanish made Nissan Terrano II, (also sold as the Nissan Mistral in Japan), was sold as the Ford Maverick as well in Europe.

    2. danleym Avatar

      Saw an Izuzu Vehicross in traffic today. Hadn’t seen one of those for a while. It would also like the black plastic cladding back.

  2. OA5599 Avatar

    If Hitler’s legacy car company wanted to further sully their reputation over a stupid April Fool’s joke, instead of something dumb they should have announced a name change from VAG to BALLS (Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini, Lister*, Skoda).

    *Yes, I know this company is still independently owned, but it would be worth acquiring in order to complete the joke.

  3. caltemus Avatar

    The height of the bedside on the maverick is still too damn high. Who wants a pickup with bed sides up at your armpits. All vehicle beltlines are too high in 2021. Plus you still can’t buy a 2 door small pickup from ANYONE new.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      How about old but nearly new?

      1. Lokki Avatar

        I am a Boomer so my opinions aren’t worth a hill of beans in this crazy world, but when I look at that Dakota all I see is a nice but pretty ordinary truck with a V-8 engine and not much else to recommend it as collectible. Yeah, it has low miles but that’s a trap, and especially so with this truck. If you drive it, the low miles lure for buyers goes away. If you don’t drive it, to command collectibility it must have some specific draw: this is not a special beauty, it’s not the only or peak year of production, and it is not particularly powerful, even by the standards of its day. So, uh, yawn?

        I do realize that pickups are immensely popular nowadays but I have yet to see them make much of an impact on the car-show scene. I went to a Cars & Coffee event last weekend and out of hundreds of cars including my first ever sighting of a Hyundai at one, there were only two pickups.

        So, please educate an old guy: will the seller get his $28K? Are there thousands of dudes jonesing to own this new/old Dodge pickup?

        1. OA5599 Avatar

          Do note that it’s a first-year Dakota R/T, not a run-of-the-mill 5.2L V8 Dakota. The R/T-exclusive 5.9 made more horsepower than a contemporary Mustang GT, and more torque than a Z-28 or Cobrastang. Standard equipment included a 3.92 limited slip diff to help with the burnouts. Handling was surprisingly good on the R/T package, and production numbers were fairly low: the advertised truck is one of 251 regular cab 1998 R/Ts, and one of about 4400 regular cabs throughout the entire production run (which ended in the 2003 model year).

          It isn’t a Syclone, but it’s still fun to drive.

          A lot of people consider that generation Dakota to be the best-looking trucks of the past quarter century (or longer), and the R/T had 17″ rims and a lower stance to really accentuate the looks.

          That being said, I think $28K is a bit optimistic.

          It might interest you to know that Hoovie just bought one. His is also in mint condition and largely unmodified, and he also is struggling with use-it-or-preserve-it issues.

          1. Maymar Avatar

            I think Hoovie said he spent in the low teens on his (with about 8k on it), so that other one is probably about twice as expensive as it should be, and at $30k, I’m looking for a contemporary F150 Lightning.

            That said, I will back up, the 5.9R/T is a neat truck, and deserves collector status. I want one despite it being the ride of choice of one of the bigger dickheads at my high school (the son of the local marina owners).

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Agreed, I kept scrolling past the photo looking for a nimble pickup. At this point, home-made pickups might be the most sensible choice for decent loading height:

  4. Manic_King Avatar

    I didn’t know this thing exists: “Hummer HX microcar with electric drive. This vehicle was created on behalf of General Motors.” One is at auction:

    Other random crap I’ve seen recently, those coupe Ladas seem nicely done, though.

    1. Manic_King Avatar

      Apparently I don’t know how to add photos to my comment. Random crap photo:

    2. Manic_King Avatar

      Arrrghhhh, not thumbnail, bigger, photo please:

    3. Sjalabais Avatar

      Wow, the Hummer is auctioned by a company called “toys for boys”, in capital letters, actually, and there could be nothing more fitting. Looks like a Fisher Price toy dipped in testosterone. And that trailer hitch looks ridiculous.

      (Btw, photo integration is gone for the moment, the commentariat has been asking for a redo for months now)

      1. Manic_King Avatar

        Thanks for update. I’ve been somewhat poor consumer of car-web recently and this change in forum, while it looks simple enough, takes time to get used to. Edit function would be great too.

  5. danleym Avatar

    No updates to the Spirit this week. But, today I heard my 5 year old boy explaining to my 2 year old boy how an internal combustion engine works, with surprising accuracy considering we hadn’t talked about it in a long time. Proud dad moment.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      That’s awesome. My teenage boys still just have a rudimentary understanding, and that’s only because they find enough suggestive humor in “suck, squeeze, bang, blow” to remember the phrase.

  6. salguod Avatar

    The Tundra has a brake fluid leak. I think it’s probably the master cylinder leaking into the booster. Haven’t pulled it apart yet to check.

    Also, I got into it the other day and the battery was dead. Turns out the door hinge bushings are worn (290K will do that) making it hard to close the door completely and leaving the inside lights on.

    I think I found the vacuum leak in the BMW. Cracked intake hose. Parts are here, just need to install them.

    Builder came this week to mark where the barn is going for the permits. I hired a company to put in a 12 foot gate in my vinyl fence which is more expensive than I expected. I also started clearing the trees for the barn driveway last week. One down, two to go.