’22 Silverado ZR2 plunges into off-road fray, Tesla claims ’Ring record, Carolina Squat dealt another blow

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Chevy’s 2022 Silverado ZR2 plunges into the off-road truck wars

Intake: The Bowtie just marked its territory in the raucous arena of full-size, off-road performance pickups. Meet the 2022 Silverado ZR2, the gnarliest dirt-flinging Chevy to leave the factory line. This flagship truck features Chevy’s 420-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 and all the off-road goodies you’d need to lay waste to your local dune land or rock garden, including front and rear e-lockers, underbody skid plates, meaty 33-inch tires, a nip-tucked front bumper for a better approach angle, and, best of all, trick Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers similar to those found on its little brother, the Colorado ZR2. While the ZR2 model is the main act, 2022 will also feature a host of new updates for the rest of the Silverado line, including a reimagined interior for all trims LT and up, featuring a sweeping 13.4-inch infotainment screen with built-in Google Assistant and Google Maps.

Exhaust: About time, eh? Expect this ballsy Silverado to be fully competent where the blacktop ends, but don’t put it in the same realm as Mopar’s outlandish TRX: Like the ’21 Raptor, it doesn’t have the sheer firepower. The magic of Chevy’s contender, in our eyes, is the all-American simplicity of its free-breathing V-8 compared to Ford’s techy twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. What’s more, the interior changes for the 2022 Silverado look fantastic, finally bringing the interior into the same realm of ritziness as the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150. Whether or not this new ZR2 can dance like the Raptor remains to be seen.

GT 7 set for spring launch on PS5 and PS4

Intake: The long wait is almost over. Gran Turismo 7 is set to go on sale on March 4, 2022, and, along with the trailer above, a whole host of features and cars have been announced. There’s a return of past-favorites such as tracks like Trial Mountain and the High Speed Ring, a used-car dealership, and styling and performance parts upgrades. A full list of cars is yet to be published, but the trailer reveals some very special stuff including the Porsche 917 Concept, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, Ferrari FXX K, and Alfa Romeo 155 touring car. We also spied an eclectic bunch of classics—from a Willy’s Jeep and Aston Martin DB5 to what looks like an Alfa Romeo 6C. Every iteration of Skyline GT-R appears to be present, too. The graphics are another leap forward in realism, although the trailer is captured on a PS5; PS4 owners may not get quite such a depth of detail.

Exhaust: We. Can. Not. Wait. Kazunori Yamauchi—Mr. Gran Turismo—may always run late, but he always delivers. GT 7 looks set to become The Real Driving Simulator once again.

Tesla Model S runs rings round Porsche Taycan at the Nordschleife

Intake: Elon Musk claims that a Tesla Model S Plaid has just set an official world record for an EV lap of the Nürburgring with a time of 7:30.909. Musk adds that the car was completely unmodified and straight from the factory. The Model S time is over ten seconds swifter than the lap set by Porsche’s pre-production Taycan in August of 2019. Porsche’s benchmark was, however, achieved with its Turbo model and not with the Turbo S, so we can expect the Germans to be back soon to reclaim their honor.

Exhaust: Big-ups to Tesla for this achievement—that is indeed a rapid lap, and if it was accomplished with a standard car (with that crazy yoke, too), then the time is even more impressive. Seven-thirty is, however, still miles off the outright record set by VW’s ID.R at 6:05.336.

North Carolina will ban “Carolina Squat” truck mods beginning December 1

 

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Intake: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill last week that outlaws a popular pickup truck modification called the “Carolina Squat,” in which the front of a truck is raised and the rear lowered. Proponents of House Bill 692 , which was introduced several months ago, say the Carolina Squat—also known as the “California Lean” and “Tennessee Tilt”—is dangerous because the angle of the truck obstructs the driver’s view of the road and also compromises the truck’s brakes. According to the new law, which goes into effect on December 1, a vehicle is in violation if “the alteration of the suspension, frame, or chassis, the height of the front fender is 4 or more inches greater than the height of the rear fender.” Offenders will have their license revoked for one year.

Exhaust: Regardless of whether you think the Carolina Squat looks odd or even stupid, should people be punished for it? Before you answer that, let’s look at the data. Oh, wait, there isn’t any—at least none that has been shared. What is the justification for a limit of “4 or more inches”? How are the cops going to keep tabs on this? By adding a tape measure to their gun belts? While our ears are open to the safety argument, we’re wary of this regulation of automotive enthusiasm—however polarizing.

Ford’s closure of India plants dooms EcoSport

Ford

Intake: After suffering over $2B in operating losses over the past decade, Ford has decided to shut down its assembly lines in India. The decision goes into immediate effect for local-market vehicles, but manufacture of export models—such as the North American-spec EcoSport produced in Chennai—won’t go quiet until the second quarter of 2022. Ford still plans to export vehicles to India, however. Ford Business Solutions, which currently employs 11,000 people in the country in R&D, software development, and finance positions, will also continue. Except for about 600 employees, however, thousands of people who currently work at the Chennai and Sanand plants will soon be without jobs.

Exhaust: Ford has confirmed to us that North America can bid adieu to the cheapest Ford SUV after the second half of the 2022. The Blue Oval sold approximately 60,000 examples of the pocket-sized EcoSport in each of the last two full sales years (2019 and 2020). Not bad for what’s essentially a lifted Fiesta with a base price of $21,640. For $140 less, however, Ford now will sell you a compact pickup whose hybrid powertrain nets (a targeted) 37 combined mpg—8 better than the bed-less, top-heavy EcoSport. It’s called the Maverick.

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