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What Drives You: 2018 Automotive Trends

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By James Hurst

The automobile industry is continuing its march toward highly sophisticated technology in modern-day cars and trucks. And that new technology is developing at lightning speed, making possible (or at least promising) everything you didn’t know you wanted to do while driving. Driverless cars and trucks are on the horizon, along with automation that will allow vehicles to communicate with one another. True automation will improve public safety, both in and out of these vehicles. Below are a few new models that OutSmart felt driven to share with our readers.

Lincoln Navigator

The completely redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator was named 2018’s North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show. The SUV is now aligned with the new Lincoln Continental, creating an impressive image shift. Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln and chief marketing officer for Ford, said that winning the award fuels pride in the brand, which is working to revitalize its image among consumers. The comfortable and luxurious Navigator, with a base price of $72,055 (excluding destination), features 30-way adjustable seats and laser-etched leather trim. The Lincoln badge even lights up with a soft-blue glow when the vehicle is running.

Lincoln’s flagship SUV, now in its third generation, replaces the ten-year-old  predecessor. The Navigator is powered by a 3.5-liter, 450-horsepower twin-turbo V6 packing 510 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed transmission, offering an estimated 16 miles per gallon city and 23 miles per gallon highway.

Audi  RS5

The high-performance RS5 boasts an all-new look, both inside and out, in 2018. The new exterior is more aggressive, with more defined lines and a wider flaring of the fenders and rear quarters. Inside the RS5, technology has been updated, with new materials introduced and a serious increase in torque. Powering the 2018 RS5 is a new 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V6 with 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It is paired to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The RS5 is offered with RS-specific steering calibration, sport rear differential, carbon-ceramic brakes, and the Audi Drive Select System that allows the driver to select between a number of driving modes. The luxurious cabin offers RS-specific sport seats, Nappa leather upholstery, a heads-up display, and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Lexus  LC500

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is one of the most interesting luxury coupes in the automobile world. The full-size, two-plus-two, full-luxury coupe comes in two models known as the LC500 and LC500h. The only distinguishable difference is the hybrid badge behind the rear fender scoops. Lexus and Marvel Studios have collaborated to pair the first-ever 2018 Lexus LC with Marvel’s dynamic Black Panther character in the highly acclaimed Black Panther film. As your eye begins to move over the giant wire-mesh grille flowing back to the low hoodline and muscular stance, you begin to see your favorite superhero emerging from this supercar. Power is generated by the 5.0-liter V8 engine producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque in the gasoline model.  The hybrid version is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 295 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. This is in conjunction with two synchronous motors in the transmission case, which bump the total system output to 354 horsepower.

Subaru Outback

Subaru’s most popular vehicle has been refreshed for 2018 with a revised exterior design, updated multimedia system, retuned suspension for improved ride, and a more upscale interior, especially on the premium models. This midsize crossover-like wagon now has available adaptive full-LED headlights, an improved safety kit, and all-wheel drive on all trim levels. The standard engine offered is the 2.5-liter boxer-four engine producing 175 horsepower. Available in the higher trim levels is the 3.6-liter, six-cylinder boxer engine producing 256 horsepower. The NHTSA gave the 2018 Subaru Outback a five-star rating and a four-star rollover score. As a result of crashworthiness and crash-prevention tests, the Outback also received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2017 Top Safety Pick Award. Prices for 2018 start at $26,810 for the base model, and $28,910 for the premium level. Limited models begin at $33,610 for the top upscale edition.

Cadillac CT6

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is designed to compete with the likes of the Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 sedans. It represents the best of what Cadillac has to offer in a luxury sedan. This premium sedan combines full-size dimensions with a midsize feel, incorporating a host of technological features built on General Motors’ lightweight aluminum-and-steel Omega unibody platform. The base CT6 is powered by a 265-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. In addition, there is an available 335-horsepower 3.6-liter and a 404-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. All engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel drive. Cadillac offers a wide array of premium options on the CT6, including an available 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system, night vision with a rear camera mirror, and a heads-up display. Prices for the Cadillac CT6 start at $55,090, depending on the model and trim you select.

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

The 2018 Clarity is a combination zero-emission battery-electric vehicle with a range-anxiety-reducing gasoline hybrid engine. The primary power source is the 181-horsepower electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. Charging ranges from 2.5 hours with a 240-volt plug to 12 hours on a standard 120-volt plug. The Honda Clarity can travel an EPA-estimated 48 miles on battery power, and a 103-horsepower, 1.5-liter inline four extends the total range to 340 miles. The gasoline engine provides additional current to the motor while recharging the batteries. It can also assist in driving the wheels, bringing the Clarity’s total horsepower to 212. Base price for the Honda Clarity is $34,290 with a lengthy list of standard features. Upscale trims are available.

This article appears in the March 2018 edition of OutSmart Magazine. 

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James T. Hurst

James Hurst is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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