Good Oil: The double-down SUV
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Not even five years ago, XL-sized SUVs were utterly frowned upon. If you simply had to have a high-riding vehicle, it had to be as hatchback-y as possible. Crossovers became the acceptable face of the SUV.
Lately however, things seem to have subtly shifted. Arguably Mazda’s best SUV is its biggest — the CX-9. Holden is gleefully looking forward to the arrival of the Acadia this year; an SUV that sits above the Captiva and Trailblazer in terms of size and style.
Meanwhile, Range Rover seems to want only to extend the wheelbase of the Range Rover. And then extend it some more.
And in the US (where crossovers remain something that happens to other markets), perhaps the biggest and boldest SUV of all has just been unveiled at the New York auto show.
If you’re going to double-down on your SUV, you could do a lot worse (and a lot less) than the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.
It may not have the massive gull-wing doors of the concept version shown off at last year’s Los Angeles auto show, nor the extending sidesteps that made climbing aboard akin to entering an old-timey southern mansion, but the production-ready Navigator remains impressive.
Under the bonnet (or hood, if you insist), is the same 335kW twin-turbo V6 as found in the Ford F-150 Raptor. Here it’s paired with a 10-speed auto transmission.
The fourth-generation Navigator also features what Lincoln refers to as Perfect Position Seats, that can automatically adjust in 30-different ways and offer heating, cooling and massaging.
There are six USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a house-style plug outlet on board, along with a 20-speaker sound system.
Weirdly however, for a vehicle of this size, 360-degree parking cameras are available only as an option, as is Adaptive Cruise Control.
Still, it’s the street presence that counts here. Adaptive cruise control is when people see this thing approaching in their rear-vision mirror and get out of the way, sharpish.
And if you’re finding it hard to gauge the Navigator’s size on paper, all you need to know is this: even American motoring writers refer to it as enormous.
Coming from the land of the Ford F-650, that says a lot.
Detroit learner drivers get Mopar hardware
Mopar-fettled Chrysler sedan. Photo / Supplied
It’s oh-so-very-Detroit to be rollin’ in a suitably gargantuan Mopar-fettled Chrysler sedan. But doing so as a learner driver?
Next month, that’s what lucky teens in the metropolitan Detroit area will get to do, as Mopar sponsors a series of experiences for learner drivers, with certified instructors and (we presume) the ability for mum and dad to casually sign up for the latest attack mode-tuned Chrysler or Jeep while they watch junior kill some road cones.
It’s a cool idea however; while burn-outs and correct deployment of launch control functionality are hardly likely to appear as tutorials within the day of instruction, it makes sense that a car company — even the tuning arm of a car company — does this.
Imagine what sort of turn-out Mercedes-Benz would have if it pointed a bunch of 17-year olds on L-plates at a skid pan or a slalom course (all in the name of safety) and handed them the keys to an AMG C 63? Instant brand acolytes right there.
Out of interest, some of the topics covered in the Mopar event include off-road recovery, distraction exercises, panic stops and proper seating positions. So yes, probably no point bringing those racing shoes along.
Audi wants to shave your face
Audi shaver. Photo / Supplied
We’ve seen plenty of tenuous carmaker tie-ins over the years. There are the Diesel jeans Fiat 500 and the Ministry Of Sound-themed Nissan Juke, for example (both of which, in the main, failed to fly in New Zealand, thank goodness).
And, Mini on its own could be accused of several strange instances of corporate canoodling.
But if there’s one constant when it comes to the collective motor industry, it has to be its penchant for jumping on the fashion bandwagon with the absolute least amount of provocation. Fashion, yes.
But male grooming? This odd link hasn’t stopped Audi lending its name to a new type of electric razor, manufactured by Philips.
Audi has done more than allow the electronics giant to stick its branding on the box; the razor looks to have been fashioned after a miscellaneous car part removed from an Audi.
With its big, bright panel — which mimics the look of Audi’s in-car entertainment system touchscreens — and three pivoting heads, it looks too nice to use to shave your chin fuzz.
There’s also an app that allows shavers to pair their mobile phone with the razor.
According to the press bumpf, this allows razor wielders to “track settings, make adjustments [to what specifically, we’re unsure] and get grooming tips”.
Here’s a tip: if you own an Audi and this razor, please don’t bore people with the details. They’d genuinely rather not know.