Slideshow: 2020 Ram Heavy Duty

Big and beefy 2020 Ram HD wins with tech and torque, but not towing

Ram has revitalized its trucks lineup and the heavy-duty models are benefitting from innovations that started with the redesign of the Ram 1500.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler N.V.

They're strong and sturdy, but don't count out their creature comforts. Heavy-duty trucks have come a long way in the last decade and the latest offering from Ram, Ford, and GM prove that buyers no longer have to sacrifice modern technology when they shop for capability. While Ford's Super Duty has the towing capacity title, Ram's HDs follow closely behind and sports more high-tech features.

This slideshow features the 2020 Ram HD trucks in various trim levels, pointing out their features and equipment.

2020 Ram Power Wagon

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Power Wagon is a mid grade 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 trim level designed specifically for off-roading and job-conquering capability.

Ram Heavy Duty Interior: Limited

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Each truck trim level has a different design theme, not just different seat cover materials.

2020 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Big Horn Mega Cab

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

This model is powered by a standard 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Two different 6.7-liter inline six-cylinder diesel powertrain options are available.

2020 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Limited is Ram's top-tier trim level.

2020 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Longhorn Mega Cab Dually

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Laramie Longhorn trim is Ram's mid-grade model.

2020 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Big Horn Sport Regular Cab

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Buyers can get the Ram 3500 in a very basic setup allowing for impressive capability which minding tight budgets.

The 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 are expected to go on sale at dealerships near the beginning of the year.

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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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