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Audi A4 gets updated for the 2020 model year with fresh look, new tech

The Audi A4, S4, and A4 Allroad have all been updated for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has sold more A4s than any other sedan in their history. It's consistently one of the highest rated midsize cars sold in the U.S. For the 2020 model year, the German automaker has given the entire A4 lineup, including the A4 sedan, A4 Allroad, and S4, a serious mid-cycle refresh.

On the outside, the A4 has received styling updates that give it a new look that is more in line with the rest of the modern Audi lineup. Its Singleframe grille is broader and flatter while the air intakes below the headlamps have been made larger and angled inward.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4 has a refined exterior and a host of tech upgrades inside.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

It's easy to follow the car's shoulder line from the corner of the LED headlamps at the edge of the hood across the rear door handle and to the taillights. The car's wheel arches are more pronounced and helps give the car a more athletic appearance. The car now features a broader rear side window and narrower C-pillar, giving the illusion that the cabin is longer.

The 2020 Audi A4 with all-wheel drive, dubbed the "Quattro", gets a standard S line exterior including a titanium black honeycomb structure in its Singleframe grille, aluminum silver matte inserts in the large front air inlets and tailpipe trim, and 18-inch five-double-spoke design wheels with all-season tires.

The wagon version fo the A4, the A4 Allroad, gets matte gray body cladding and a unique Q-design Singleframe grille with vertical chrome slats.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4's shoulder line runs from the headlamps to the taillamps.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The S4 is the sportiest looking model. It has a double-slat alu-optic Singleframe grille, alu-optic exterior side mirror housings, body-color door handles, S model specific quad exhaust outlets in chrome and a trunk lid lip spoiler. Buyers can opt for the black optic package with black exterior mirror housings and 19-inch five-V-spoke-star design wheels in titanium finish with summer tires.

The cabin of the A4 has gotten a significant tech upgrade including Audi's new MMI 3 infotainment system. Combined with a 10.1-inch touch screen it offers users cleaner design and better usability. It's also 10 times faster than the MMI 2 system.

Audi Connect Services is available and for 2020, it will include access to Verizon's 4G LTE Wi-Fi network when the buyer opts in for a plan.

Additional interior features include:

  • Standard three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles.
  • Standard power sunroof (panoramic sunroof on A4 allroad) adds light to the cabin.
  • Standard power rear child locks
  • Standard heated eight-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar for driver on A4 FWD models, standard front sport seats with four-way lumbar on A4 quattro models, and standard front S sport seats with power lumbar, pneumatic side bolsters, and massage function on S4 models.
  • Standard three-zone automatic climate control with rear display.
  • Standard ambient LED interior lighting or available multicolor LED lighting plus package.
  • Available S line interior package (A4 quattro sedan) enhances the vehicle's already sporty interior with a flat-bottom steering wheel with S line badge, leather and Alcantara® seats, brushed aluminum inlays, and stainless steel pedal caps.

Additional technology features include:

  • Available second-generation Audi virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3-inch display that offers HD resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The driver can choose between three viewing modes – classic, sport and dynamic. On S4 models, sport mode replaces classic mode as the default view, and an S Performance mode replaces dynamic mode, which brings the tachometer and speedometer to the front and center of the display and adds a boost gauge and lap timer function. The virtual cockpit helps to enhance the infotainment and navigating experience through the large Google Earth™ imagery or 3D city maps (requires Audi connect PRIME subscription) supported with 4G LTE (where available).
  • Available full-color head-up display projects relevant driving information in the driver's field of vision.
  • Available Audi phone box connects compatible smartphones with an external antenna and can wirelessly charge the phone.
  • Standard Audi smartphone interface provides access to Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto for compatible devices.
  • Available Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, which delivers nearly true to-life surround sound through 19 speakers, including a subwoofer and center speaker, and a 16-channel amplifier producing an output of 705 watts.

The A4 models still have the same engine lineup as they did for the 2019 model year.

Audi has increased the number of standard and available safety and driver assistance features in the A4 for the 2020 model year. They include:

  • In the case of emergency braking or maneuvers, standard Audi pre sense® basic can intervene to help prepare the vehicle for impact. This process includes beginning to close the side windows and panoramic sunroof, pre-tensioning the front safety belts.
  • Standard Audi pre sense® city uses a camera to monitor the area in front of the vehicle and provides visual and acoustic warnings to help alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations.
  • Available Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph.
  • Available Audi active lane assist helps to keep the driver within the driving lane through corrective steering intervention and adjustable wheel vibration, at speeds above 40 mph.
  • Available Rear cross traffic assist (as part of Audi side assist and parking system plus) supports the driver when reversing out of a perpendicular parking space. Indicator arrows in the MMI® display can help inform the driver of approaching vehicles, and in critical situations, a warning tone and brake jolt can be applied, prompting the driver to fully stop the vehicle.
  • Available Audi pre sense rear (as a part of Audi side assist) uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to help detect an impending rear-end collision, and can initiate preventative measures.
  • Available Adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist helps maintain set distance from the vehicle in front, including braking and accelerating as needed, between speeds of 0 to 40 mph.
  • Available top view camera system uses four wide-angle 360-degree cameras to record the entire area surrounding, projected on the MMI screen, allowing the driver to see "around" the vehicle to help with maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Available for the first time on A4 models, Park assist can assist the driver with parallel and perpendicular parking by taking control of the steering while the driver accelerates, shifts gears and brakes.

The 2020 Audi A4 starts at $37,400 and tops out around $47,000. The A4 Allroad starts at $44,600 and can be upgraded to the Prestige trim which runs $53, 650. The 2020 Audi S4 starts at $49,900 and reaches nearly $59,000 in its top trim level. Each new Audi has an additional $995 destination change.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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2022 Hyundai Kona N revealed, but the automaker isn't telling all just yet.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai is giving its highest performance Kona the same transmission that you'll find in the Veloster N. For enthusiasts, that's a very good thing.

The compact crossover is more and more being seen as the American successor to the hot hatch. The Mazda CX-30 Turbo recently piqued enthusiasm among true drivers who can't afford supercars and need something more practical to hoon around in.

Now, the Kona N is poised to deliver similar driving dynamics and performance. Hyundai has slowly been leaking out details about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N over the last year and the revelation that it will have an eight-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission, known as N DCT, is just the latest tidbit to come to light.

2022 Hyundai Kona Hyundai has upgraded its wet DCT mechanics in recent years making it hard-wearing.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

2022 Hyundai Kona

The Kona N DCT is based on a modified version of its in-house-developed 8DCT. It's had enhancements in recent years that have made it more durable and ready to handle the demands of high-performance vehicles. The N DCT will be standard on the Kona.

Hyundai will pair the N DCT with a 276-horsepower, 2.0-liter direct-injected engine that has been tuned especially for the model. The transmission control unit is calibrated for N enthusiasts.

The wet-type DCT is structurally similar to a manual transmission but, instead of the typical dry-type gearbox, it uses two electric oil pumps that are designed to reduce friction between the moving parts, cooling the clutch, and allowing greater torque.

Other features of the N DCT include N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift functionality. These settings have dedicated shift-logic management. N Power Shift engages when the car accelerates with more than 90-percent throttle. N Grin Shift maximizes engine and DCT performance for 20 seconds, providing a boost. N Track Sense optimized adaptive shift for the race track.

The N Grin Control System has five different drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, N and Custom. Unlike with a traditional automatic transmission vehicle, in Hyundai vehicles with N DCT, the driver can choose to turn off the creep function. When the creep function is turned "off" and the car is in gear D, the car does not automatically roll forward when the brake pedal is released.

Drivers can switch to manual mode for more control over shift points, utilizing the paddle shifters or gear knob. In manual mode, the downshift memory logic will avoid downshifting during high RPM operation. Memory functionality remembers the command and executes only when the acceptable RPM is reached.

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