Jeep’s Tonka-tired 20th birthday present, Braptors go to school, Lexus tops dependability study
Bronco Raptor owners will have their own Off-Roadeo
Intake: Building on the Bronco Off-Roadeo experience, which gives Bronco owners a chance to let the vehicle stretch its legs in a safe off-road environment, Bronco Raptor owners will be able to participate in “an authentic and immersive high-performance experience,” Ford says. Beginning this summer, new Bronco Raptor SUV owners will be able to put the Bronco Raptor through an “Ultra4 Racing-inspired, desert-dune conquering and Baja rock-crawling adventure outside of Las Vegas,” says Ford. “Bronco Raptor customers want to experience their SUVs in the Ultra4-inspired habitat it was developed for,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Just like the King of the Hammers race, our Bronco Off-Roadeo Raptor Experience combines all of the thrilling and unforgiving terrain and conditions of the Mojave Desert with professional off-road instructors and school-provided Bronco Raptors.” Included with the purchase of a 2022 or 2023 Bronco Raptor, customers receive a full day of professionally-instructed driving experience at a basecamp facility at Mt. Potosi, home of Bronco Off-Roadeo Nevada.
Exhaust: Taking a page from Jeep’s playbook, Ford has developed a dedicated owner base by showing Bronco owners how good the vehicle is off-road. More than 31,000 Bronco owners and guests have attended or registered to attend Bronco Off-Roadeo at its four locations in Texas, Nevada, Utah, and New Hampshire. — Steven Cole Smith
The old Crosstrek can’t come to the phone right now
Intake: Why? Because its manual transmission is dead. You’re looking at the newly refreshed, 2024 model year Crosstrek, now with new sheetmetal, that (just garishly) huge 11.6-inch touchscreen, and, for the first time, wireless Apple CarPlay. Subaru’s loud and proud that, despite all these improvements, the 2024 Crosstrek has the same MSRP as the 2023 model … but it’s being a little sneaky. The clue is in the transmission: The cheapest 2023 Crosstrek you can buy stickers at $23,645 and comes with a six-speed manual. The number Subaru’s shouting from the rooftop of the animal shelter: is $24,995, the cost of a 2023 model equipped with the CVT automatic transmission—a $1350 upcharge. Fun fact: 2024 marks the first year that any Crosstrek is made in the U.S. and not in Japan. Pick a Sport or a Limited if you want to support domestic production.
Exhaust: It’s fun for us “save the manual” enthusiasts to snark, but Subaru’s playing to its customer base, which just wants a rugged-looking, nicely sized, all-wheel-drive crossover that shifts for itself and is not heinously expensive. And let’s face it: The manual Crosstrek didn’t exactly tingle the spine. — Grace Houghton
Lexus back on top of J.D. Power dependability study
Intake: Lexus has returned to the top of the annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, outranking all brands, including Kia, which had the top spot on last year’s list. Kia fell to third, but it remains the highest-performing of the mass-market brands, Automotive News says. The top 10 brands: Lexus, Genesis, Kia, Buick, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Hyundai, Mini, and in tenth, Nissan. The bottom five: Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Audi, Lincoln, and Land Rover. Tesla would rank in the bottom five, the study says, given its score, but the “Brand is not rank eligible because it does not meet study award criteria.” The study tracks problems per 100 vehicles over a 12-month period by owners of three-year-old vehicles, in this case the 2020 model year.
Exhaust: No huge surprises this year—Kia continues to outperform all the mainstream brands, and that’s commendable. One small surprise: Mitsubishi beat out Toyota and Hyundai. — SCS
Ram electric truck gets a name
Intake: Ram confirmed Thursday that its first battery-electric pickup truck will be known as the Ram 1500 REV. The announcement “is the latest step in Ram’s electrification journey” to bring the industry’s finest electrified options to market. “At Ram, we started a revolution last year as we invited consumers along on the beginning of our electrification journey, gathering their feedback on exactly what they are looking for in an electric pickup truck,” said Mike Koval Jr., Ram brand CEO. “We look forward to delivering our first EV pickup–the all-new Ram 1500 REV–to those consumers next year. We are confident the Ram 1500 REV will push past the competition, offering what will be the leading combination of attributes customers care about the most: range, payload, towing and charge time.”
Exhaust: Koval Jr. said the REV is a “direct descendant’ of the Revolution concept they showed at the CES expo in Las Vegas last month. A little late to the electrification party, it will be interesting to see what sort of innovations the brand brings as it attempts to outclass the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Chevy Silverado EV. — SCS