New Model News

Honda gives 2020 Ridgeline a new transmission, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda is giving the Ridgeline a host of important updates for the 2020 model year including added safety technology, a new standard transmission, a narrowed trim lineup, fresh tailgate functionality, and standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

For 2020, Honda will offer the Ridgeline in four trim levels: Sport, RTL, RTL-E and Black Edition. It has a starting price of $33,9001 (excluding $1,095 destination and handling).

2020 Honda Ridgeline Honda has given the Ridgeline standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the 2020 model year.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The truck has gotten few exterior tweaks at the front aside from available LED headlights, but its tailgate now features remote locking. The truck's rear doors open wider to make ingress and egress easier.

The Ridgeline continues to be powered by Honda's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which will now be mated to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Two-wheel drive is standard on Sport and RTL trims, which have available all-wheel drive. Ridgeline RTL-E and Black Edition grades get standard all-wheel drive.

Honda's Display Audio system now comes standard and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in addition to an 8-inch touch screen. An eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support and ambient interior lighting are also available.

2020 Honda Ridgeline The Ridgeline's tailgate now has remote functionality.Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The automaker has added a standard suite of safety and driver assistance technologies to the Ridgeline for the new model year including a collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline goes on sale at dealerships in the U.S. on December 16.

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The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron mark the fourth and fifth EVs Audi is bringing to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi isn't just adding two new E-Tron models to its U.S. portfolio. It's expanding its SUV lineup. The 2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron at the latest electric vehicles from the automaker.

The two new Q4s have all the muscle proportions and signature styling that has been made a hallmark of the Audi SUV stable in the past few years. The Q4 Sportback features a coupe-like roof style, which traditionally allows for less second-row headroom and cargo space, but an increase in fuel economy. The Q4 e-tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28, and the Q4 Sportback e-tron gets to an even lower figure, with a drag coefficient of 0.26, which is good when considered against the competition.

There's matrix design headlights with customizable daytime running light signatures. The driver can switch between their choice of four lighting options to put their favorite face forward. At the rear, animated functionality illuminates the taillamp when a driver approaches or leaves the vehicle.

2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

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Audi is offering the Q4 models in four exterior color options with S line and black optic exterior elements as available add-ons.

The Q4 has similar dimensions to the Q5 inside and out, according to the automaker, but has the advantage of having a flatter floor due to the lack of transmission tunnel. Audi brags that this allows for generous legroom for rear-seat passengers.

The interior of the SUVs features recycled materials and a number of small item storage solutions including water bottle holders and a customizable cargo area load floor.

Audi has designed the new vehicles to have driver-oriented cockpits with the 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen facing the driver. There's a freshly designed flat-top and bottom steering wheel with capacitive hands-on detection. A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver.

Surround view cameras, a head up display that features augmented reality, and a Sonos premium sound system are available. Sonos is a new partnership for the automaker.

2022 Audi Q4 Sportback E-Tron

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

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Audi estimates that the car has an output of 201 horsepower in its base model. The line-topping Q5 50 E-Tron Quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 E-Tron Quattro will offer two electric motors and all-wheel drive, delivering a maximum 295 horsepower.

As with on-demand four- or all-wheel drive, the two-motor system only uses the front motor when high power or a strong grip is needed. The rear motor is permanently excited.

Three-stage braking regeneration is selectable via the car's steering wheel paddles. Separately, drivers can choose between four different drive modes: Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic, and Individual.

Each Q4 comes with a 77-kilowatt-hour battery (net; 82 kilowatt-hour gross). The battery can charge at up to 125 kilowatts on a fast-charger. Preliminary manufacturer's estimated range based on approximation of EPA test cycles for a full charge is approximately 250 miles on the Q4 40 E-Tron.

Adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, side and lane assist, automatic high beams, and traffic jam assist are offered on the vehicle.

Audi plans to have more fully electric models on sale in the U.S. than any other luxury brand by the end of 2021. The Q4 E-Tron is set to start at under $45,000. More pricing details are expected to be announced ahead of the car's on-sale date later this year.

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The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is one of the Hyundai Santa Cruz's biggest rivals..

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz faces stiff competition from many vehicles that are already on the market and a few that are coming down the road. Part of figuring out what its biggest competition is, is figuring out exactly what type of vehicle it is.

Once you've done that, the deciphering gets a bit easier, but it isn't apple to apples. There's really no truck quite like it on the market today.

Subaru Outback

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Exterior trail driving Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The utility of the rear space afforded by a wagon like the Subaru Outback isn't anything to sniff at. Make the cargo area a bed and you'll see why nostalgia plays long and hard for the Subaru Baja. The Outback and the Santa Cruz share many similar technologies, including all-wheel drive, but the Outback has something the Santa Cruz does not, a passionate built-in fan base.

Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport rooftop tent Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Getting to the trailhead, then taking your car with you is something that the Ford Bronco Sport excels at. The surprisingly capable compact SUV delivers the capability adventurers are looking for, innovations overlanders love, and smooth ride over rough pavement.

Nissan Pathfinder

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The freshly redesigned Nissan Pathfinder was meant to be more rugged. It also has three rows of seating (to the Santa Cruz's two) and seats eight, something you usually only find in full-size SUVs. Nissan has changed out the CVT for a nine-speed automatic transmission in this new generation, upping the appeal of the already-popular midsize family hauler.

Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Ridgeline shares most of its interior with the Pilot but has unique tech like an in-bed speaker system. It's trunk was no doubt an inspiration for Hyundai designers. What makes the Honda so sellable is its available all-wheel drive and overall comfort - two things that the Santa Cruz has as well.

Subaru Crosstrek

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

With its two engine options, standard all-wheel drive, and gobs of cargo space, the Subaru Crosstrek is primed for use in settings urban, suburban, and beyond. It's easily modified for more rugged endeavors with popular enhancements including a lift, knobby tires, a roof rack, and a brush guard. Subaru doesn't make a Wilderness version of the Crosstrek yet, but it's safe to assume that one is coming.

Ford Maverick

What is the Ford Maverick? Well, officially we're still in wait-and-see mode, but there's one thing for sure, Ford views the Santa Cruz as Maverick competition if for no other reason than it's a compact pickup truck.

While these five vehicles are some of the most obvious competitors, a solid list of aftermarket accessories could easily make the Santa Cruz even more competitive.

Hyundai has let it be known that they'd be into developing a more rugged version of the Santa Cruz if demand is there. What could that include? Take a look at what is on the Subaru Outback Wilderness for a good example of what upgraded off-road capability could look like. There's also some chatter about making an "N" version of the truck.

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