The Friday Five:The Sonata N Line Uncovered, Ram TRX Eats Ford Raptor, Model S Plaid is Beyond Ludicrous Edition

Beverly Braga | Sep 25, 2020

This week, we saw introductions of the 2021 Kia Sorento, 2021 BMW M3 and M4, and 2021 VW ID.4. There were also special edition announcements from Acura and Ford and news of California rekindling its anti-gasoline stance.

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

Hyundai Takes Covers Off 2021 Sonata N Line - Find the best Hyundai deals!

To the benefit of Hyundai fans and automotive enthusiasts alike, 2020 has been the year of N. Following earlier announcements of the updated 2021 Hyundai Veloster N and new N Line variants of the 2021 Elantra, 2022 Tucson, and upcoming 2022 Kona, Hyundai adds the 2021 Sonata N Line to the list.

2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line White Front View on Track

We previously noted that the 2021 Hyundai Sonata is a carryover model for the year with its most significant update the addition of Safe Exit Warning as standard equipment. The new Sonata N Line model is another story entirely. Although Hyundai isn’t sharing any engine and tech specs, the Sonata N Line’s design details hint at its potential performance prowess. 

The exterior differences between the non-N and N Line models are subtle but maintain the midsize sedan’s professionally sleek profile. The Sonata N Line has a bolder front fascia with a model-specific grille, three air intakes, and N Line badges while the rear showcases a black lower bumper, dual twin exhausts, and an N Line rear diffuser panel. Additionally, N Line side skirts sit between the standard 19-inch alloy wheels. The interior features dark chrome accents, additional N Line badging, and signature red stitching in the sport seats and steering wheel.

Ram 1500 TRX Easter Egg Depicts T. Rex Eating a Raptor - Find the best Ram deals!

Rivalries have existed since Cain and Abel, which is to say a really long time. But not all rivalries need to be as dramatic. Case in point, the boastful prodding between Ram and Ford

More specifically, the new Ram 1500 TRX is strutting its big-engine feathers against the Ford F-150 Raptor. Ram’s outfits its performance truck with a Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 with 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Ford’s Raptor, on the other hand, features a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 that pumps out 450 hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. The Ford’s figures are impressive on their own but relatively diminutive sounding compared to the 1500 TRX. 

And as if facing a new sand dune-jumping competitor wasn’t enough, it seems Ram went the extra mile to literally stamp its claim as the most bonkers truck out there. Per a viral Instagram video, open the hood, lift the airbox cover, and there it is: A Tyrannosaurus rex devouring a raptor. Lolz. The Ram 1500 TRX famously gets its name from the T. rex, of course. Welp, your move, Ford.

Rivian Truck Passes Extreme Towing Test

Electric vehicles are great for city commutes in temperate climates but suffer swift range depletion in anything but easygoing conditions, like weather and hills. Batteries simply do not like exposure to extreme heat or cold and work harder on ascents. But EV automaker Rivian set out to prove its purpose-built R1T truck is just as capable for #TruckLife as its petrol-powered counterparts.

In a recent video, the Rivian R1T tows a 30-foot trailer with an 11,000-pound load over the Davis Dam Grade in Arizona, a stretch of road used by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to establish tow ratings. The route along State Route 68 ascends 3,000 feet over the course of 11.4 miles. Oh, and the ambient temperature was upwards of 118 Fahrenheit. Another test involved Death Valley’s Towne Pass, where 16.8 miles traveled saw gains of 5,000 feet and a grade as high as 9.6%.

Engineers did not divulge the exact range drop figures but seemed plenty excited with test results on overall performance, adding that customers would be pleased. Rivian expects the R1T to offer a range of 400 miles, so even if this dips by half when the pickup is at full towing capacity, there remains plenty of wiggle room for a charging station stop. Pre-order deliveries start next summer.

Volvo Offers All Owners Free Access to AAA Online Driver’s Education

Starting this week, all Volvo owners gain free access to AAA’s “How to Drive” online driver education course. With in-person classes canceled or limited due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, new drivers have turned to online classes for prep ahead of in-car lessons. Only ten states currently offer public driver’s education and training. 

Not a one-size-fits-all program, the AAA course is the most comprehensive online driver’s education available. The 30-hour, self-paced course features a research-based curriculum, interactive lessons, real-world situations, and sessions varying in length, topics, and price by state. AAA also offers other training programs, some specifically geared for teen drivers. Volvo owners can visit the Volvo USA customer support page to request complimentary access.

The Tesla Model S Plaid Makes Ludicrous Sound Sane - Find the best Tesla deals!

Tesla Battery Day came and went, and apart from the usual promises of future tech and new models, CEO Elon Musk did provide one concrete nugget in announcing the Tesla Model S Plaid. Specifications for the most powerful Model S yet include three electric motors that will dole out more than 1,100 horsepower, 520 miles of range, a top speed of 200 mph, and a zero-to-60 mph time of fewer than two seconds. Ludicrous mode doesn’t seem so nutty after all.

Tesla outfits the Model S Plaid with 19-inch wheels with the option for a 21-inch set. The standard interior is black with a carbon fiber-like trim, while a white interior with wood trim is optional. AutoPilot also is standard with future full self-driving capability access for another $8,000.

This all-wheel-drive rocket starts at $139,990 (before destination fee), and you can pre-order now with a $1,000 deposit. Deliveries are slated to begin at the end of 2021.

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