Four Wheeler, a 4x4 authority since 1962, has selected the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel as the winner of its 47th annual SUV of the Year award. 

 Four Wheeler’s SUV of the Year award event is an invitation-only competition that is only open to all-new or significantly revised SUVs for the upcoming model year. For 2020, the field of vehicles included three entries: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 3.6L eTorque, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport MHEV 3.0L. 

“The Wrangler is a truly exceptional machine both on- and off-road, and the new-for-2020 EcoDiesel engine option compliments the outstanding JL platform,” said Four Wheeler Editor Ken Brubaker. “The EcoDiesel’s power and efficiency raise the bar for the already incomparable 4x4 making it even more extraordinary.”  

Scoring for the award included five weighted categories with 30 percent Trail Performance, 20 percent Empirical (RTI, acceleration, braking, price), 20 percent On Pavement (handling, ride quality, steering feel), 15 percent Interior (instrumentation, ingress and egress, seat comfort, storage), and 10 percent Exterior (appearance, stance, body protection).  



Positive signs around consumer sentiment, wage growth, dealer sentiment and unemployment meant for a relatively upbeat presentation at the Cox Automotive Industry Insights Breakfast in Detroit on Jan. 13.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist, and Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, were just two of the speakers during the event which coincided with the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards.

In addition to positive dealer sentiment, especially among independents, the sentiment was strong about the used-car market, Smoke said.

Despite the good news, Smoke also pointed out a few challenges in the market.

“No. 1, we’re seeing automotive finance slow down,” Smoke said. With a record amount of loans outstanding, the question is how much growth is there still to come, he said.

Also, auto affordability was a prime concern among dealers and consumers and Smoke mentioned the cost of subprime loans and the cost of new cars as just two factors.

Chesbrough expects a slowdown in the new-car market in 2020 since he doesn’t expect to see the big fleet and rental volumes that were seen in 2019. He said growing fleet volume from the current numbers would be a challenge.


DETROIT – The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Jeep Gladiator and Kia Telluride won the 2020 North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards in Detroit on Jan. 13.

The awards, formerly given out during the press preview for the North American International Auto Show, were held this month despite the NAIAS moving to June.

The awards were revealed in front of industry leaders and members of the media at the TFC Center (formerly the Cobo Center) in downtown Detroit.

The Corvette bested fellow nominees the Toyota Supra and the Hyundai Sonata.

Jeep Wrangler beat out the new version of the Ford Ranger and the RAM Heavy Duty pickup.

Finally, the Kia Telluride topped the Hyundai Palisade and the Lincoln Aviator for Utility of the Year honors.

McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP (MWA) announced it is investigating the following Toyota Hybrid vehicles linked to possible braking issues and defects: 2010-15 Prius or Prius Plug-in Hybrid; 2012-14 Camry Hybrid; and the 2013-15 Avalon Hybrid.

A petition filed in September 2019 with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by Roger Hogan, the owner and president of Claremont Toyota and Capistrano Toyota dealerships, identified 117 complaints about the brake systems in Toyota Hybrid vehicles since 2010, including 60 that reported crashes.  In addition to the illumination of the vehicle’s warning lamps, the alleged brake defect may result in increasing stopping distance, the reduction of hydraulic pressure within the vehicle’s brake system, and the deactivation of brake assist and stability control.

Toyota has initiated a warranty extension program, agreed to provide repairs free of charge, and will reimburse owners for the cost of previous repairs to the brake booster assembly.

Carvana expanded  as-soon-as-next-day vehicle delivery in the Southwest to Santa Fe, N.M.- area and Sierra Vista, Ariz.-area  residents. Those customers can shop more than 15,000 vehicles on, finance, purchase, sell or trade their current vehicle to Carvana and schedule as-soon-as-next-day delivery.

“As we grow our presence in the southwest, Santa Fe is instrumental in bringing our transparent car buying solution to more and more customers,” said Ernie Garcia, founder and CEO of Carvana. “We look forward to now offering as-soon-as-next-day vehicle delivery to Santa Fe residents, and increasing our presence in a state that has welcomed us for nearly three years.”

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