The Grand Cherokee L seemed to arrive out of the blue with little or no fanfare. It’s built on a separate platform from the regular-length model, foreshadowing the new look for all GC models. PHOTO: FCA

The Grand Cherokee L seemed to arrive out of the blue with little or no fanfare. It’s built on a separate platform from the regular-length model, foreshadowing the new look for all GC models. PHOTO: FCA

The Auto Sleuth: Hot-off-the-press news from the auto world

2021 Grand Cherokee L, GM’s BrightDrop, the next Ford F-150 Raptor and more

The seven-passenger Grand Cherokee arrives this summer

OK, where did this come from? In case you missed the news, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L will join the current five-passenger model a few months from now. And no, it isn’t a stretched version of the existing model; it’s built on a separate unitized (frameless) platform and has its own unique grille and other body panels. Second-row captain’s chairs are standard, however they can be swapped for a bench seat for more passenger space. Look for similar trim designations to the five-passenger model. Engines choices include a 290-horsepower 3.6-litre V-6 and a 357-horsepower 5.7-litre V-8. Word has it that Jeep will add a hybrid powertrain option for 2022.

FedEx is BrightDrop’s first customer with 500 EV600 vans ordered. Fleet-management company Merchants Fleet is the second customer, with an order for 12,600. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

FedEx is BrightDrop’s first customer with 500 EV600 vans ordered. Fleet-management company Merchants Fleet is the second customer, with an order for 12,600. PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS

General Motors launches its commercial electric-van division

BrightDrop is the name applied to GM’s new battery-electric-vehicle operation that will market to fleet operators such as delivery businesses. The first to arrive in late 2021 is the BrightDrop EV600, which will be built at the company’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., 150 kilometres west of Toronto, near London. GM announced the $1-billion plant investment in January. According to the automaker, the van’s Ultium-brand batteries (another General Motors offshoot) will give the E600 a range of 250 miles (400 kilometres). Included in the EV600 is a host of active-safety technologies, including forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and pedestrian alert. Also available will be an electric-powered pallet with a 200-pound (90-kilogram) payload capacity that’s designed to assist loading/unloading.

The Outback heads into the wilderness

Subaru’s all-wheel-drive wagon has a reputation for ruggedness on and off the pavement. Apparently the automaker believes it should project a tougher image and will introduce a special Wilderness package as an option for the Outback. Included is a raised ride height, blacked-out trim and wheels and off-road-capable tires. Only wagons fitted with the optional 260-horsepower turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine will be eligible for the Wilderness treatment, which will also be offered with the Forester and Crosstrek.

The next Ford F-150 Raptor is close at hand

The automaker isn’t wasting time introducing a new version of its groundbreaking (and ground-pounding) off-road pickup. The base model has a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6, with a 48-volt electric assist, pumping out 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque. That compares with the current model’s 450 horses and 510 pound-feet. Select the Raptor R and Ford drops in the 760-horsepower supercharged 5.2-litre V-8 originally developed for the Mustang Shelby GT500. That gives it a leg up on the recently announced 702-horsepower Ram 1500 TRX. A 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive come with both versions.

With GM committing to stop selling internal-combustion-powered vehicles by 2025, it seems that, yes, the Corvette will go electric at some point. PHOTO: CHEVROLET

With GM committing to stop selling internal-combustion-powered vehicles by 2025, it seems that, yes, the Corvette will go electric at some point. PHOTO: CHEVROLET

Is an electric Corvette on Chevrolet’s radar?

The Sleuth hears it’s under serious consideration for the near term, and given that parent GM plans to stop selling gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, it’s an eventual certainty. As well, the Corvette name could be applied to a utility vehicle, thus expanding the brand to include more than just one two-seat sports car. It’s likely that the unrelenting buzz created by the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E has convinced General Motors’ execs that a Corvette-branded crossover producing 1,000 horsepower (similar to the 2022 GMC Hummer electric pickup) would certainly create the necessary performance image. There are also rumours that a low-cost front-engine ’Vette is being considered, adding further credence to the automaker’s long-term plan to turn Corvette into a multi-vehicle brand.

UPS AND DOWNS

PHOTO: Motor Bella

UP: The Detroit Auto Show gets a new name and location

The North American International Auto Show remains the event’s formal name, but it will henceforth also be called Motor Bella. The partial outdoor car show is scheduled for September at an 87-acre (35-hectare) venue in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac. The Motor Bella site includes a racetrack, vehicle-testing skid pad plus space for indoor displays.

UP: Volkswagen’s EV sales

Global sales of VW Group electric vehicles in 2020 totaled 231,600 (up from 73,600 for 2019), which ranks it second behind Tesla, which recorded 499,550 total sales. Volkswagen’s top-selling nameplates include the ID.3, e-Golf and Audi E-Tron. For Tesla, the Model 3 sedan and Model Y utility vehicle are the most popular offerings.

– written by Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutoscarsSUVsTrucks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read