The News for January 9th, 2015

Volvo S60 Cross Country
Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Volvo puts a lift kit on the S60

  • Lexus shows off the GS F

  • Toyota shows us how the 2016 Tacoma will look

  • Aston Martin teases a high(er)-performance Vantage GT3

  • Dodge announces the ability to create a truly unique Viper GTC

  • What was your automotive news?

Volvo S60 Cross Country

Volvo S60 Cross Country
Apparently there’s a demand for something like this. That’s according to the opening of Volvo’s press release which states they are stepping up to fulfill a void their core customers wanted filled. That void was a lifted premium sedan, or “soft-roader”. So welcome to the 2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country.
Much of what you see here is borrowed from Volvo’s other recent expansion of the Cross Country brand, the five-door V60 CC which debuted just two months ago. That includes the new ride height which is raised 2.5 inches (65mm) compared to its regular counterpart, which not only adds ground clearance but surely makes it easier to get in and out of as well – and someone must appreciate that. That ride height is put to use by its adventure-minded all-wheel-drive system, fender flares, and its eighteen or nineteen inch wheels wrapped in high-profile tires which add both comfort and all-road aesthetics.
Volvo S60 Cross Country
Also familiar to Volvo enthusiasts is the powertrain chosen for the task: the T5 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine with up to 250 horsepower. That engine will be offered in Europe, America, Canada, and Russia with all-wheel-drive only. In some European markets, a four-cylinder diesel with 190 hp being sent to the front wheels and eventually a five-cylinder diesel with all-wheel drive will be offered as well.
The Volvo S60 Cross Country is expected to be available for order by this summer.
[Source: Volvo]

Lexus GS F

In news that surprises 0% of the people that read the News back in December, Lexus revealed their new GS F a week before its big debut in Detroit. As its name implies, what you’re looking at is what happens when Lexus cuts the leash off its completely normal GS luxury sedan and it sniffs the ass of  takes inspiration from the LFA. It’s a luxury sedan with a kick.
The GS F may not have the LFA’s magnificent V10 but it does have the same 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 they originally stuffed in the RC F. That’s enough to give this super sedan a respectable 467 horsepower @ 7,100 RPM and 389 lb.-ft. of torque between 4,800 and 5,600 RPM. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus has been touting the GS F as a track car or canyon carver from the day it was first teased, so they threw in a Torque Vectoring Differential (also from the RC F) and other numerous suspension enhancements to prove it. Whether or not it works remains to be seen, but they clearly seem focused on how well the car can negotiate challenging roads rather than how its power output stacks up against those other super luxury sedans – which isn’t all that well. The RC F is a fun car in its own smokey way as Jeff found out and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why the GS F can’t be the same.
[Source: Lexus]

2016 Toyota Tacoma

This is it.
(They’ll actually tell us something about it next week).
[Source: Toyota]

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 teased

The lads over at Gaydon must have looked at all the fun Porsche and Ferrari were having with the 911 GT3 and 458 Speciale when they thought about what direction they should take the well-matured Vantage line before it’s replaced. Both of those examples are top-of-the-line performance cars built from “standard” cars which are already very fast – surely that’s something Aston Martin could do, right? Right.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is coming and it will debut at the Geneva motor show in March (or a week before online). From what the teaser video shows, they’re drawing clear inspiration from the V12 Vantage GT3 race car which means we should have a barely road legal V12-powered monster coming our way. We’ll keep you posted.
[Source: Aston Martin, YouTube]

Viper exclusivity program

You can soon spend 6,000 hours customizing your perfect Dodge Viper GTC thanks to a cool new program about to be launched. Dodge calls it the “1 of 1” program or Viper Concierge and it comes included with any new Viper GTC purchase. When someone orders a Viper GTC (starts at $94,995) they get access to 8,000 exterior paint colors, 24,000 custom stripe colors, ten wheel options, sixteen interior trims, and six aero packages to select from. That means there are 25 million different ways for buyers to customize their Vipers. Dodge will also send out a 1:18 scale model of the exact build so the buyer can confirm it or go back to the drawing board.
Once a design is chosen, Viper owners will get their own point of contact throughout the car’s build process who will keep them updated from beginning to end. And just to reaffirm the Viper’s exclusivity, Dodge will lock in the exact configuration for a year so nobody else can build the same one until the next model year.
[Source: Dodge]

 What was your automotive news?

You know the drill. This is the part where you sound off if you saw, bought, sold, drove, fixed, or broke anything that you’d like to share with your fellow hoon. Images are encouraged as well so I can use it for next week without having to use a blurry phone pic of an oil leak on my car.
So yeah, my automotive news is that I have a valve cover gasket replacement in my near future. I’ve known about some small seepage for a while but it’s been very minor and hardly noticeable – until it starts to seep onto the exhaust manifold and it smokes out the engine bay on my way home. It seems that valve cover gaskets are an easy replacement on anything that isn’t my car, which is being described as a four-six hour job mostly because of all the crap that needs to be moved out of the way. Yay.

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  1. pj134 Avatar

    The Tacoma looks god awful. I'm guessing the proportions are meant to look cool when you go full expedition hilux on it but I feel like most of them are going to look like they did when they left the factory.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      It seems like Toyota knows people will buy their cars because they are decent, reliable transportation. In order not to burn their factories' capabilities, they have to scare some customers away with strange designs. Lexus has perfected that art.

      1. pj134 Avatar

        I feel like they could put out the 97 Tacoma until the end of time and people would keep buying it. It looked good, it took a beating and it probably cost half as much to tool the factory for. They haven't really looked good since 2000.

  2. Krush454 Avatar

    I agree the Tacoma looks terrible

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    "24,000 custom stripe colors"
    Just colors or also patterns?
    [youtube fO7ZqnRwqnQ youtube]

    1. GregKachadurian Avatar

      They only mention the colors and nothing about the patterns.

    2. craigsu Avatar

      I actually like the "quasi-Greek Key" style pattern beginning at 2:05. I could see that on my car if I were an architect.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        On the other hand, it wouldn't look good on a locksmith's car 😉

  4. ramLlama Avatar

    I always thought the XC70 filled in Volvo's claimed "niche" and did it looking a lot better.
    The S60 CC looks like a Honda Accord Crosstour, especially from the front. This is not a good thing. Also, I can't stop thinking of it as the "Volvo S60 Country Club". Yeah, I do not like it…

    1. pj134 Avatar

      I just took it as a different version of the battlewagon. I think it looks kind of decent personally, but I also really like legacy outback sedans so I'm kind of weird I guess.
      <img src='; width=500">

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        In European press releases, Volvo claims that the S60 CC is the first tarted up sedan of its kind, completely forgetting about the existence of Subaru or the AMC Eagle.
        I think it is really rather weird looking, especialles with the aerodynamic hatchback-esque rear and the donkish wheels.
        My weighty support would have been gained if Volvo had managed to play a bit with the press photos, like showing off a rally-version with proper lights, some ads etc. Nobody is going to rallye these, but, still, it would have shown some humour and they would have had an opportunity to invoke history.
        It is also a bit odd that markets like Germany are getting two diesels, but no petrol engine.

        1. pj134 Avatar

          Maybe cragar d windows and some BFG KM2s would have caught people's eyes.

      2. danleym Avatar

        I, for reasons I can't explain, like lifted sedans. Not put on a bronco frame with 40" mudders lifted sedans, but stuff like this. I like the S60 Cross Country. I also really like Eagles, especially SX4s.
        I enjoyed following this build, until he got bored and moved on.
        So I'm a little weird, too, I guess.

        1. pj134 Avatar

          Not sedans, but this is a great place to spend some time.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Now that is spot on! I took my 240's on forest roads that these extra 650mm of clearance might not be enough to manage. A guy I know, a hunter, too, upgraded from a 940 to a V50. He's happy, but dented the oil pan in his first autumn season. His next car will be something lifted, but he says the plastic cladding makes him giggle. He doesn't want that. The market seems to let him down except for some SUVs.

        2. IronBallsMcG Avatar

          I agree. I found myself looking at X6s on last night after watching the No Reservations Southwest road trip episode last night. None available in M trim though. Boo.

      3. ramLlama Avatar

        So, I like the Legacy Outbacks sedans too! But the Volvo…Like Sjalabais said, it looks "donkish". Maybe the combination of giant 20 inch wheels with multiple inches of lift gives off the look? But, more than anything, it probably is the press photos. They are just not very flattering and almost give the impression of a S60 shell on top of a lifted chassis, rather than a cohesive whole.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      thats perfect, haha

  5. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    The hunt for an old truck continues…
    Found a nice F100 that we were going to look at, but the seller sold it before we went out.

  6. wisc47 Avatar

    Red Bull's Frozen Rush has just ended and I have to say it's certainly worth a trip to Maine next year if you're in the Northeast. I got to spend some quality time interviewing Ricky Johnson and I even rode shotgun in a Pro 2 truck driven by his son Luke. The talent is strong in that family.

  7. ptschett Avatar

    My kneejerk reaction to the lead Volvo photo was, "what misbegotten variation of the Honda Civic sedan is this?!?"
    <img src="; width="500">
    Lexus and Tacoma: the only thing I can compliment about the photo vehicles' styling and appearance is that they're the right color. For the next several years the Tacoma will be my response whenever I see the '05-'07 Dakota's styling get bashed, particularly if the Tacoma maintains its sales.
    <img src="; width="500">
    In my personal automotive news that crosses over with the Viper item (and as mentioned in Last Call a few days ago), I created an apparently-unique combination of options for a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T; I went to the dealer to order one, the closest they could find elsewhere was a car that had a sunroof (and I hate sunroofs), so I had them order precisely what I wanted and put down a deposit. It'll look quite a bit like this except for wheels, front splitter and engine callout badges (plain old R/T 5.7 Hemi instead of an SRT 6.4L.)
    <img src="; width="500">

  8. Sjalabais Avatar
    Sjalabais celebrates 50 years of the hatchback in Europe with great vintage images.
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="×304.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Vairship Avatar

      My parents owned two of the cars in those pics! (R16 & R20).

  9. craigsu Avatar

    I'd be interested in the new Nissan Frontier if it could actually be had in a base configuration. It comes in $2000-3000 cheaper than its 2015 Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado competition. From what I can see in the following comparison chart it's probably the most basic truck you can currently get in the USA.

  10. Roger Henry Avatar
    Roger Henry

    Tacoma: Brought to you by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.