The Friday Five:The Factory-Built Bronco Desert Racer, Tesla Begins Sharing Charging Network with Others, and NY Doesn’t Like Loud Cars Edition

Beverly Braga | Nov 05, 2021

This week, our Car Shopping Guides section was loaded with new-for-2022 updates on Alfa RomeoBuickChrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Lucid, and Rivian. Expect to see more from other automakers in the coming weeks. We also recently previewed the all-new 2022 Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-AMG SL while also looking ahead to 2023 with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Toyota bZ4X.

New car reviews for 2022 models include the GMC Hummer EV PickupKia Stinger GT-Line, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Our latest minivan comparison features the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey.

Other headlines include showings of the Mopar-edition Dodge Durango and VW ID.Buzz electric van as well as pricing for the new Honda Civic Sisafety ratings for the Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickup, and an explainer on Care by Volvo.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Ford Unveils Factory-Built, Baja-Ready Bronco

2023 Ford Bronco Desert Racer Prototype Front Quarter View

At this week’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, an annual event that focuses on aftermarket products, Ford debuted the 2023 Bronco DR. Short for “desert racer,” the Bronco DR is a purpose-built, from-the-factory off-road-racing SUV. Ford plans to enter the vehicle into the 2022 SCORE Baja 1000.

Based on a Bronco 4-door with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the prototype features Ford Performance livery colors. It is outfitted with a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine that Ford expects to produce more than 400 horsepower. The initial run of 50 units of the Bronco DR will be available at the end of the year and have a starting price in the mid-$200,000 range.

Tesla Opens Charging Network to Other Brands

In a rare show of timeliness, Tesla has indeed opened up its Supercharger network to non-Teslas—something CEO Elon Musk proclaimed would happen by year’s end. But there’s a catch, of course.

The pilot program currently involves only 10 locations and is exclusive to the Netherlands. To access the Supercharger station, non-Tesla owners must have vehicles that accept the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) and use the Tesla app. Although 10 is far from worldwide access, the program is a move in the right direction regarding EV charging accessibility.

Audi A8 Refreshed for 2022 - Find the best Audi deals!

Audi has released updates for the refreshed 2022 A8, including its performance-variant, the S8. Although Audi did not share full specs, the automaker’s flagship big sedan will feature a wider grille, reshaped headlights and taillights, a new paint palette, redesigned wheels, updated interior trims, and different infotainment screen options. The V6 and V8 powertrain options, however, are likely to be a carryover. The 2022 Audi A8 and S8 will be available in the United States early next year and only in long-wheelbase form.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Pricing Announced - Find the best Jeep deals!

When the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee goes on sale later this year, the redesigned SUV will start at $39,815 (including a $1,795 destination fee). That’s a $3,705 increase over the outgoing model.

The lineup starts with the rear-wheel-drive Laredo trim, equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, 17-inch wheels, and cloth seats. Four-wheel drive will cost an additional $2,000. If opting for the stouter 5.7-liter V8, which is available starting with the Trailhawk version, pricing jumps to $56,365. The upper echelon, 4x4-only Summit Reserve starts at $68,455 when equipped with the V8.

Pricing for the new Grand Cherokee 4xe was not released. The plug-in hybrid will arrive in dealerships early next year.

New York State to Fine Drivers $1,000 for Loud Exhaust

New Yorkers might soon be able to sleep a little easier—and it has nothing to do with this weekend’s daylight-savings time change. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has approved a new bill called “Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution,” or SLEEP, that will increase the fine for loud aftermarket exhausts from $150 to $1,000.

According to SEMA, this is the harshest such fine in the country. Coming in second is Colorado’s $500 violation fee. Interestingly, California, a state known for fighting pollution of any kind, is less restrictive regarding exhaust noise, with fines costing less than $200. Reports from the New York Times and Gothamist list illegal drag racing as one of the reasons for the increased penalty.

The automakers are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on November 5, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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