The Audi TT-RS, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, a Jeep Wrangler pickup truck and the Hyundai Santa Cruz. What do these models all have in common? Up until recently, rumors. And maybe a few wishes upon a star. Now: production.
All four of these new and/or returning models have been given the thumbs up to hit the production line, some as early as this year. What a great time to be alive!
We are only two shows and two weeks into the new year and the manufacturers have been keeping us busy.
The best part was a raft of announcements and confirmations of new models that will actually be produced, some as soon as right now.
The Audi TT-RS is a returning champ. Produced from 2009 to 2013, the super-sport coupe was a minor celebrity south of the border and was sorely mourned once the production ended. With the introduction of the Mk3 TT in 2014, the trims have bloomed: Audi TT, TT Cabrio and TT-S. But what Audi car lineup is truly complete without an RS, a more brutal, visceral, animal version of itself? Audi agrees and 2016 will mark the return of the new Audi TT-RS. The weapon of choice for this trim of the sport coupe is a 2.5L TSFI turbo engine that will allow the car to do the 0-100 in about four seconds.
Everyone has heard of Jeep’s Trailhawk badge, the automaker’s top of the line trim level in terms of luxury and off road capability. What about Trackhawk? Wait, what? You want to put a Jeep truck on the track? That’s pretty much what that means. The rumour started after the FCA dealers were given the privileged information that a Hellcat-based Grand Cherokee would join the lineup during a dealers’ national meeting. The information finally got confirmed to the media in Detroit: we will see a 707 hp, 650 lb-ft of torque Jeep Grand Cherokee be born. The beast will do the 0-100 in under four seconds – which is a funny mental image considering the size of the vehicle. When SRT is not enough.
Still at Jeep, another oddity has been confirmed for production. Nowadays the brand is best known for their off-road capable SUVs and crossovers. But Jeep does have a bit of a pickup truck history, producing the Gladiator, starting in 1962, as well as the Comanche in the early 90s. Seems like the manufacturer has been missing their cargo box-equipped models with the introduction of a Jeep Gladiator concept based on the Wrangler at the 2005 Chicago auto show. Then in 2012, during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, we got a peek of the J-12 Concept, also Wrangler-based. The wait is finally over and FCA announced that by 2019, Jeep will get a pickup truck added to their lineup once more.
There’s another pickup truck in store for us, but this one will be coming from Korea. Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept? Yeah, that. Well, it seems like the manufacturer has given the go-ahead to send it to production. No “official statement” has been released yet, but Hyundai USA CEO Dave Zuchowski talked about a when rather than an if at the Detroit auto show. The Santa Cruz won’t take away or measure up to the American pickup truck Holy Trinity. It will instead hit the compact truck category – like the Honda Ridgeline – to try and appeal to the CUV and sedan customers looking for a better compromise in terms of loading capacity.
2016 has been the year of revivals so far and we’re excited to see what more they have in store. This will be a year of nostalgia and of cool, new and upcoming models.