Chicago Auto Show 2020

Jeep chases the high-performance off-road pickup truck market with 2020 Gladiator Mojave

The Gladiator Mojave was developed specifically for tackling tough desert terrain.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Against a backdrop of wind and cold in Chicago, Jeep revealed the desert-ready 2020 Gladiator Mohave at the Chicago Auto Show. The special edition Mohave allows drivers to crank up the rpms by adding the bones to travel with alacrity across demanding desert landscapes. It carries forward Jeep's 4x4 Trail Rated capability blended with a new Desert Rated badge; it's the first Jeep to be tapped for this rating.

This midsized Jeep pickup came to market last year and has since won a trophy case filled with awards for its unique styling, functionality, tech-filled interior, and slow-speed competence; it now adds high-speed off-road expertise to its persona.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave Jeep has given the Gladiator Mojave an added layer of off-road prowess.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Gladiator Mohave recipe starts with a robust platform and proven four-wheel drive stock. Added are new, specially tuned FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, industry-exclusive FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a reinforced frame, a 1-inch front suspension lift, a ½-inch increase in the track, and stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles. The Jeep rides on standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-Terrain tires.

Gladiator Mohave's Command-Trac 4x4 system is set up with a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10:1 axle ratio, and standard electronic-locking rear differential. Command-Trac has been re-engineered to allow higher 4LO (low range) operating speeds for ascending sand dunes and traveling over other rugged desert terrain.

Jeep says the new model has a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees, breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, departure angle of 25.5 degrees and a best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches, along with best-in-class articulation.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave The model has received a Jeep-first Desert Rated badge.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

An Off-Road Plus button allows drivers to take the Mojave to the next level of traction and performance. Adjustments change the throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control for top performance on higher speed passes on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed rock crawling. The Off-Road Plus drive mode also lets drivers lock their rear axle at high speeds while in "4H." This feature is a Jeep-first.

Mojave is adorned with a unique hood decal on its heavy-duty performance hood with center scoop, unique exterior badges, orange tow hooks, unique 17 x 7.5-inch wheels, plus Jeep Performance Parts step sand slider side rails, and a silver front skid plate.

Black and Steel Gray are interior color options; a competition-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching and an aggressive rim section provides extra grip and better ergonomics. More aggressive seats with integrated upper bolsters bring comfort and safety. The seats are available in leather or cloth with orange accent stitching and embroidered Mojave logos. A forward-facing off-road camera can be added.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave Jeep has equipped this new model with the right equipment to get the job done.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2020 Gladiator Mojave is powered by Jeep's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine backed by a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission. With the manual, Gladiator Mojave boasts an impressive crawl ratio of 57.3:1, and 52.6:1 on models equipped with the eight-speed auto.

It has up to 1,200 pounds of payload and up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity.

Why fast desert-running trucks? A decade ago, Ford brought a new play-book to the stock truck market with its 2010 F-150 Raptor; this full-sized desert runner can be driven to the office or the club, yet marries extreme slow-speed 4WD tech and proficiency to its fast-paced sand playfulness and racing aptitude.

Ram's 1500 Rebel-trimmed full-sizer and Ram's 2500 Power Wagon have garnered favor with their dual-personalities and authentic capability, while the midsized Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison moves the needle in a similar fashion. Other truck makers and builder/enthusiasts have followed suit since, although many new models are one-off upfits, rather than stock from the automaker.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave This edition was specially created for desert driving enthusiasts.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Desert racing has picked up a quickly-growing fan base and has lured more buyers to participate in the thrill of technical off-roading, playing in backcountry sandboxes across the country, and trying out their rigs at desert races, such as the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 or the famed King of the Hammers.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mohave will be in showrooms the second quarter of the year.

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The Google logo appears for the first time on a car thanks to the partnership.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

"Hey Google, where is my Fiat 500X Hey Google parked?" A new lineup of car models from Fiat celebrates the technology of Hey Google. The special editions are mainly just a publicity stunt (for both companies), but buyers will be able to place an order for the fresh 500 family models this month.

Each car in the special series is equipped with the Hey Google voice assistant. Owners can connect their car to the their Google Nest Hub (included in a welcome kit with purchase) and smartphone, should they so choose.

Owners will use the phrase "Hey Google, ask my Fiat…" to get answers regarding questions about where the car is parked, how much fuel is left, the location of the nearest workshop, and much more.

Fiat 500 Family Hey Google: Fiat 500

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

In addition to the tech, each Hey Google cars are equipped with unique exteriors and interiors. They have white paint jobs on their bodies and gloss black roofs and mirror caps. For the first time in automotive history, the Google logo is displayed on an automobile. The Hey Google badge is placed on the wheel arches of every model. Both B-pillars are also embellished with the multicoloured 'molecules' of the Hey Google logo.

The molecules are also displayed on the inside where they feature on the seats, which also have a label embroidered with "Hey Google". The dashboard fascia is matte silver with a white 500 logo.

At the center of the dashboard is a 7.0-inch touch screen display that features an animation where "Hey Google" appears then moves to the Google "G" then transforms to the Fiat logo.

Fiat will offer Hey Google editions of their 500, 500X, and 500L. The Fiat 500 hybrid Hey Google are priced from £16,005 OTR, 500X Hey Google priced from £21,765 OTR, and 500L Hey Google priced from £20,345 OTR

Deliveries are limited to the U.K. Ordering for the special series opens mid-April.

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Balmain's Creative Director Olivier Rousteing is a Porsche fan.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

What does it mean to "drive defined"? A new series of videos from Porsche and the Creative Director of the Paris fashion label Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, explorers the meaning of the phrase. Rousteing says that he's been "fascinated" by Porsche since childhood.

The designer, who grew up in France, worked at Roberto Cavalli before becoming the Creative Director at Balmain in 2011. The powerhouse fashion brand was founded in 1945 and was previously lead by Oscar de la Renta. Modern Balmain designs feature elements of French couture mixed with Asian influence. In 2019, the brand launched the KYLIE X BALMAIN, a makeup collaboration with social media influencer Kylie Jenner.

Olivier Rousteing sits in a Porsche Panamera during the filming of the short.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The short videos, published on Porsche's social media channels and on Rousteing's Instagram feed, focus on Rousteing's powerful inner driving force. In a release, the luxury car manufacturer says that there are "many similarities between the fashion designer and the sports car brand" including boundary pushing and an eye toward the tradition-rich history of the company Rousteing leads into the modern age.

"Olivier Rousteing is not just an authentic Porsche enthusiast, he is also a perfect fit for us with his desire to make Balmain a modern brand with the highest standards of quality and luxury," says Jelena Batic who is responsible for the cooperation at Porsche. "Together, we explore his exceptional driving force in the films by examining the connection between the worlds of sports cars and fashion, which creates relevance for our existing customers, as well as for younger and female target groups."

The series kicked off with a video featuring the Porsche Panamera. It was just the first step in a planned, longer collaboration between Rousteing and Porsche. Further aspects of the partnership are expected to be made public in due course.

Watch the first video below.

Drive Defined with Olivier Rousteing www.youtube.com

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