Last Hellcat cometh, Ferrari’s new convertible, NH refuses 2035 engine ban

Stellantis | Dodge

Dodge’s last Hellcat Challenger is almost here

Intake: Ahead of the long-awaited reveal of its final 6.2-liter-V-8-powered Challenger, which will drop Monday, March 20, Dodge posted yet another teaser video (below). “HEMI Vice” shows the now-familiar cyborg leprechaun figure using a jackhammer on a bunch of glowing golden orbs. The eight-cylinder-powered jackhammer—because Dodge—shows a reading of 2538 psi. We’ll discover exactly that means when Dodge reveals the last Hellcat-powered Challenger at the Dodge Last Call Powered by Roadkill Nights Vegas event on Monday. (We’ll also finally find out the meaning of the “1FAST29” license plate on the disguised car. That one’s been eating us.) The reveal will take place at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tickets are available for purchase now, and the event will feature a host of celebrity appearances, including a special performance by Grammy-winning musician Diplo.

Exhaust: Speculation is running wild, both in the YouTube comment section and in Hagerty’s Slack channels. Boost pressure? Total cylinder pressure? Our money’s on fuel-injector pressure. Drop your guess in the comments at the end of this article … and we’ll compare notes on Monday. — Nathan Petroelje

Rear-seat safety in SUVs examined

2023 Hyundai Palisade interior second row
2023 Hyundai Palisade, second row Hyundai | Drew Phillips

Intake: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a report titled “Rear passenger protection falls short in most midsize SUVs,” said that, “Most midsize SUVs offer inadequate front crash protection for passengers seated in the rear, the latest crash test ratings from the IIHS show. ‘All these vehicles provide excellent protection for the driver,’ said IIHS president David Harkey, ‘but only a handful extend that level of safety to the back seat.”’ Of 13 midsize SUVs tested, only four—the Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Subaru Ascent, and Tesla Model Y—earn good ratings, which is the highest possible. Three others—the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas—earn marginal ratings. Six more—the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler four-door, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Murano—are rated poor.

Exhaust: The new test incorporates a Hybrid III dummy representing a small woman or 12-year-old child positioned in the second row behind the driver, “and uses specific metrics that focus on the injuries most frequently seen in rear-seat occupants,” said the IIHS. “Zeroing in on weaknesses in rear seat safety is an opportunity to make big gains in a short time, since solutions that are already proven to work in the front can successfully be adapted for the rear,” said IIHS senior research engineer Marcy Edwards. “The four good ratings in this round of testing show that some automakers are already doing it.” —SCS

Ferrari drops Roma’s top

Intake: The Ferrari Roma is now available as a stunning Spider. In a break from recent tradition, the car features a fabric roof instead of a retractable hard top, but Ferrari says the cloth top is every bit as quiet and quick to operate. Owners can go al fresco in just 13.5 seconds while driving at speeds of up to 37 mph, and the top stows away very neatly, leaving a sizeable trunk space which can also be accessed by a hatch in the rear seats. The roof, which is available in an haute couture–inspired two-tone weave or a technical fabric, obviously alters the coupe’s fastback lines, with the wraparound tail and more minimalist rear lighting being the most notable changes.

Aerodynamics were a focal point for Ferrari’s Centro Stile team and as a result the Spider offers comparable downforce to its coupe sibling. With the roof down a tiny adjustable “nolder” on the windscreen header rail is deployed, along with a wind deflector behind the rear seats and together they create a bubble effect in the cabin. Ferrari says that turbulence is reduced by around 30 percent compared to previous 2+2 spiders. The Roma Spider also weighs just 185 pounds more than the coupe, with the extra mass coming mostly from the roof mechanism and rear headrests that integrate into the tonneau. Ferrari says the car’s torsional rigidity and beam stiffness are “exceptional” and that dynamically the Spider matches the coupe. The twin-scroll turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8 engine still produces 620 hp at 7500 rpm, and drives through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which enables it to sprint to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and exceed 198 mph.

Exhaust: The Roma Spider is Ferrari’s first front-engined soft top since the 365GTS4 of 1969. Expect to pay a premium over the $220,000 charged for the coupe—around half of what you’d need to dish out for a classic Daytona. —Nik Berg

Ford recalls nearly 1.3 million Fusions and Lincoln MKZs, plus 220,000 F-150s

2018 Ford Fusion recall brake hose 2023
2018 Ford Fusion Ford

Intake: Ford is recalling 1,280,726 sedans that have front brake hoses that could “rupture prematurely,” according to the report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and cause a brake fluid loss. Should that happen, “the driver may notice a change to the brake pedal feel and travel,” and “the brake fluid warning indicator light will illuminate.” Cars affected are 2013–8 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs. Ford also is recalling about 220,000 F-150 pickups in the U.S. from 2021, according to a separate recall. The windshield wiper arms on those vehicles may break. Potential indicators of the issue include erratic or slow wiper speed.

Exhaust: Dealers will replace the left and right front brakes hoses on the Fusions and MKZs, and will inspect and replace the wiper arms of the F-150s. To see if your vehicle is affected, log onto, and have your vehicle identification number (VIN) handy. —SCS

Lego takes on Land Rover

lego land rover defender vintage kit
Lego | Jaguar Land Rover

Intake: Seventy-five years of Land Rover is being recognized by Lego, with a Lego Icons Classic Land Rover Defender 90. The 2336-piece set is complete with “all the accessories for an off-road expedition. The set has a two-in-one format, allowing builders to create an everyday road-ready model or customize it for adventures,” Lego said. The cost is $239.99. “Defender is synonymous with adventure and this new Lego set is a perfect way to capture the spirit of an incomparable, unstoppable automotive icon, whilst also sharing the playful side of the vehicle,” effused Paul Barritt, director of Land Rover Classic.

Exhaust: The 12.6-inch completed Defender comes with a roof rack, raised air intake, front bumper with working winch, side rails and toolbox, plus traction plates for crossing mud and sand. It also has working steering and suspension, opening doors and hood, and an interior with details based on the full-size Classic Defender. It’s pretty cute. It’ll be available July 1. –SCS

New Hampshire shoots down 2035 engine ban

Car Exhaust Pipe emissions
Getty Images | EyeEm

Intake: The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a bill which would have required the state to adopt California’s low- and zero- emissions motor-vehicle standards and, like the Golden State, ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered motor vehicles starting in 2035. According to the language in House Bill 92: “Currently the states of Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Colorado have adopted the LEV/ZEV standards, while the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington have adopted only the LEV requirements. New Hampshire is the only state north of New Jersey that has not yet adopted this program.” The bill was strongly opposed by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which said in a statement, “SEMA believes that New Hampshire’s residents, not the government, should decide what vehicles are best for them and their families.”

Exhaust: It was apparently a partisan issue, according to the New Hampshire Bulletin. “In a series of statements released after the votes, Republicans said they want the free market to decide which cars consumers buy, and to protect ratepayers’ wallets from additional taxes. Democrats termed the day as a major blow to the push for more serious climate action at the government level and utility accountability amid a state energy crisis.” —SCS


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    Well Live Free or Die is New Hampshire’s motto. It would be nice if the live free part is actually honored.

    The Roma looks good as a convertible.

    The Roma looks like a BMW Z8 to me. ICE bans? Why don’t we/ they do a deep dive into exactly what it takes to make an EV from start to finish including sourcing the battery materials. How long the batteries last, replacement costs of batteries, disposal issues the EV battery materials…. but no, doesn’t fit into their agenda to look in the mirror.

    Multiple studies like that have been done. EVs are cleaner, cradle-to-grave, than their ICE counterparts. And the progression of battery tech is only making the “time to parity” (where an EV’s total emissions fall below that of an ICE’s total emissions) shorter.

    If no one is making new ICE vehicles in 2035, it doesn’t matter if NH still says it’s OK to buy one. The real question is whether the rest of the US will tolerate being forced to buy EVs.

    Dodge might have picked a better “celebrity” than Diplo.
    (little light in the loafers)
    Probably not a good choice with most gearheads.

    Cheers to my home state of New Hampshire. ICE forevermore but again if the manufacturers stop making ICE cars then where can you get one? The Mustang Mach-E is a joke. An electric Hellcat? Please!

    I agree with John. Still to this day no one has answered those questions. How long do the batteries last? What is the replacement cost? How much and where do u dispose of them? The batteries will not hold a charge in cold weather also. Then what?

    The info is out there. GM has a Ten year battery Warranty so at least that long.

    Automaker and private companies are setting up recycle sites for shops to send the batteries too.

    Batteries hold charges in the cold your car starts and runs does it not?

    Some batteries will see shorter runs but sone for sone reason see less issues on range loss. Tech is still working and they are not done.

    I am not pro electric but things are not as bad as some want to make it on them. Are they perfect no but they are far from the disaster some like to claim.

    The problem is so many states are now committed to 2035 it will make ice limited.

    I expect automakers like GM to sell both as long as they can. I expect 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks to remain ICE.

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