CES 2020

FCA's Airflow Vision shows off the future of UX (and maybe a new Chrysler SUV)

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

One of FCA's brands is known for having an exquisite interior - Ram. However, the company's UConnect infotainment system is generally regarded as one of the best in the business. FCA's new Airflow Vision concept car takes the story of in-cabin technology further giving a peek into the next-gen look and capability that may come the the automaker's stable.

Airflow Vision isn't just unique in its technology. The entire interior of vehicle has been designed around the user experience. It considers not just the tech itself, but how occupants interact with that technology. FCA says that the concept has been, "created for customers with an on-the-go lifestyle and a desire for a first-class travel experience while balancing their technology needs within a serene environment."

Airflow Vision

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The UX employs a screen that features multi-layered, high-contrast graphics. It has been designed on, "the principles of depth, hierarchy, consistency and legibility," according to a release. That explains the clean design, which FCA says makes the UX easy for the average user to interact with.

FCA says that by navigating the menu-based format, users can personalize, simplify, and group together elements on multiple screens. That information can be shared amongst the cabin's occupants.

The concept car features a light and spacious interior that is the dimensions of the flat load floor of the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. Suede and leather is abundant throughout the cabin and seats feature a slim profile with a pedestal base.

FCA says that the exterior of the Airflow Vision has an "elegant and clean design statement" with an "athletic profile, long wheelbase, sleek lines and wide stance." The company also teases that the design, " hints at the future of premium design."

While a forthcoming vehicle based on this design may be years away, and dependent on the production implications of the FCA-PSA Group merger, it is likely that various elements of the technology shown in the model will begin to make their way into FCA's vehicles in the future. What is certain is that FCA needs to evolve their SUV lineup and a new SUV under the Chrysler umbrella is an advisable way to go.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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New SUV

New Jeep Compass Coming Soon

The Compass gets a major update for 2022.

Stellantis/Jeep

The Chicago Auto Show is happening now, which means we've already seen a few new models and concepts. Just yesterday, Jeep introduced the new 2022 Compass compact SUV. It gets a new design inside and out, updated tech, and a load of new available driver aids. The Compass' refresh comes as new models from Ford, Subaru and others could cut into Jeep's off-road dominance.

As it was in previous model years, the new Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter "Tigershark" four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's good for up to 31 mpg on the highway in 2WD models and can deliver a max towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds in 4WD models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for Compass Sport and Latitude 4X2 models, while all others get a nine-speed automatic transmission that can handle the 20:1 crawl ratio setting in the Trailhawk model.

An all-new Latitude LUX trim joins the Compass lineup for 2022 as well. It features leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat, a seven-inch full-color gauge cluster, and the larger 10.1-inch screen.


2022 Jeep Compass The new Compass is more upscale than its predecessor.Stellantis/Jeep


The Compass comes with a class-leading 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, but higher trims get an even larger 10.1-inch unit. It offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and runs Uconnect 5, a colorful, responsive infotainment system with advanced features and tech.

Several new safety features make an appearance, but most are added-cost options. The highway assist system offers a semi-autonomous driving feature, which Jeep says will become available later. Other tech includes traffic sign recognition, standard pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, and a long list of more traditional advanced driver aids like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

The Compass lineup for 2022 includes five trims: Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Pricing for the new Compass starts at $26,490, including a $1,495 destination charge. At the top of the lineup, the Trailhawk and Limited models both start at $32,890. It's expected to start arriving on dealers' lots in fall 2021.


2022 Jeep Compass New color schemes highlight the Compass' interior.Stellantis/Jeep

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