Did 2018 last even longer than a blink? Seems yesterday when we were speculating spy-shots over the Jeep’s Wrangler-based pick-up truck and hoping that the adoption of twin-turbos has not ruined the sound of the new Aston Martin Vantage.
In conclusion, 2018 was a great year with plenty of exciting stuff consistently keeping our plates full. However, as the year is ending it would be apt to move on and migrate our attention into the slew of shiny and desirable new models that are waiting to hit the showrooms and possibly your garages in 2019.
Hence, here is a list of the vehicles that you can look for in the coming year.
We spent most of our 2018 in squinting at grainy camouflaged spy-shots of the Gladiator. Jeep’s latest iteration which is primarily based on the crowned Wrangler was widely accepted by 4×4 purists not long after it was unveiled. Amid spy-shots and leaks, word around the street hinted at Jeep’s intentions of naming the pick-up as ‘Scrambler’. However, we are thankful they didn’t.
Resurrecting the 1960s moniker, the Gladiator is built on a unique Toledo complex as the Wrangler with a frame that is 31-inches longer along with a 19.4-inches longer wheelbase than the latter.
The petrol variant of the Gladiator includes the 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 352Nm of torque, featuring ESS as standard. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission along with a six-speed manual as an option.
The beast muscles its way with a maximum towing capacity of almost 3500kg with a payload of 725kg. It will also be provided with a class 4 hitch, 2-inch receiver and 4- and 7-pin connectors.
Jeep has blessed the Gladiator with two 4×4 systems including the Command-Trac, which is standard on Sport and Overland with a two-speed transfer case. Meanwhile, the Rubicon models come with the Rock-Trac 4×4 system with heavy-duty axles and locking differentials.
Toyota ripped the ‘boring’ tag off the Camry and Avalon this year by pushing the duo for a mean TRD treatment.
Toyota utilised the most engaging of the current Camrys, the XSE to undergo the scalpel of its performance division. The underbody is now thicker calling for increased torsional rigidity. The TRD suspension is set for a stiffer feedback with unique coil springs lowering both the cars by 0.6inch. This has, in turn, contributed to an increase in the roll stiffness of 44 per cent in the front and 66 per cent at the rear.
The duo now comes with TRD Catback exhaust systems so that you can hear the 3.5-litre V6 growl from inside the cabin. Among the things that have been retained from the XSE, is the powertrain which means the new 301bhp yielding car that is mated to the eight-speed auto will be supplying the juice to the front wheels.
The new 3 made a subtle appearance at the LA Auto Show this year posing as a neat redesigned model from Mazda. Unlike the previous iteration of the 3 which had a rather long front overhang that evidently disturbed the car’s geometry is fixed in the upcoming model.
The upcoming Mazda will be globally sold with five engine options that would include the same 155-hp yielding 2.0-litre inline four engine as well as a 2.5-litre inline four engine, clocking maximum output at 184bhp. Both 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual is set to be available in 2019.
One among the five options also includes Mazda’s new SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engines with 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5-litre displacements. An interesting addition to safety assists in the new Mazda 3 includes a driver-attention monitoring system that uses infrared to watch the driver and to sound an alert in case of wandering eyes.
BMW managed to grab attention with the recently launched 3 series this year. The new performance variant of the car, christened as the M340i gets a developed version of BMW’s 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine. We have learnt that the power of the vehicle has been pumped by 47bhp compared to the previous generation 340i at 369bhp, while torque is up by 50Nm to 500Nm.
The rise in power comes after plenty of tweaks by BMW including redeveloped turbochargers and higher pressure fuel injectors than before. This calls for an early triple-digit speed which can now be attained in about 4.4 seconds.
Apart from that, the juice is now sent to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed gearbox unlike the rear-wheel drivetrain in the previous iteration. However, BMW claims that the system still biases the rear-wheels exclusively, particularly in the Sport and Sport+ drive modes that the car supports. The new M340i xDrive also comes with an M Sports rear locking differential, a launch control function and a valve-controlled sports exhaust system.
Hyundai stood tall (pun intended) with its top-heavy offering in the crossover space in the form of the Palisade. The Korean company has given the Palisade a V6 motor for propulsion, lifting the 3.8-litre motor from Genesis’s portfolio and mounting it transversely in its crossover.
The eight-seater crossover can be specced in front-wheel or all-wheel-drive with both options carrying an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 is good for 291hp and 355Nm, which is a modest bump over the Santa Fe XL’s 290-hp 3.3-litre V6.
When it comes to interior space, The 2020 Hyundai Palisade sweeps the floor with its rivals. It offers more than 1,000mm of legroom at the rear which is more than the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, and Subaru Ascent. Third-row passengers are not left out with almost 800mm of legroom. A lengthened wheelbase is also great for the Palisade’s cargo capacity, rated at 510 litres, expanding to 1,300 litres with the third row folded down