• 08 Feb 2018 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 8, 2018) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) announced today at the Chicago Auto Show that the 2018 Honda Odyssey has been named the winner of its eighth annual Family Vehicle of the Year award.

    MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, and it developed the award to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle.

    “Choosing a family vehicle is an important decision. It should be versatile, reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. MAMA members pooled their expertise and experience to select the best family vehicle from an outstanding group of new and significantly refreshed models, and the Honda Odyssey came out on top,” said award coordinator Tim Healey.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, start at less than $50,000, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2017 Spring Rally, which took place last May. The MAMA Spring and Fall Rallies feature roughly 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate.

    Voting took place at both rallies, and out of more than three dozen competitors, MAMA ended up with 12 finalists: Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Volvo XC60.

    In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each.

    MAMA members then voted in one final round, and 94 automotive journalists selected the 2018 Honda Odyssey as the winner with 85 points, narrowly edging out the 2018 Volvo XC60, which garnered 84 points. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas placed third with 72 points.

    Voting for the 2019 Family Vehicle of the Year award will begin at the 2018 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 23-24 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The MAMA Fall Rally is tentatively scheduled for October 3 at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois.

    New for 2019, MAMA President Jill Ciminillo announced that the association will be adding a Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award.

    “We are excited to expand the Family Vehicle awards for 2019,” Ciminillo said. “Adding a luxury category allows us to help a broader range of families select the best vehicles that will meet their needs.”

    For more information about the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 27th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 269 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 25 states, D.C. and Canada. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues, and new products in the auto industry.

  • 06 Feb 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago (Feb. 1, 2018) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) elected its 2018 board of directors during its annual business meeting.

    Continuing in the second year of their term, Jill Ciminillo remains president, Damon Bell is senior vice president and Matt Avery is vice president of membership.

    Re-elected for new two-year terms, Larry Nutson is the association’s treasurer, Kelley Enright serves as secretary and Jennifer Morand serves as MAMA’s website and social media director.

    During the annual MAMA business meeting, it was reported that the association now has 269 members, is financially sound and continues to hold successful events that benefit both its membership as well as auto makers.

    President Jill Ciminillo announced that MAMA is on target to reach the minimum funding of $100,000 for the Jim Mateja Memorial Scholarship that the association established at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. A scholarship will be award to an undergraduate student each year commencing in the fall of 2018.

    Upcoming 2018 MAMA events include:

    MAMA Opening Breakfast during the 2018 Chicago Auto Show (Thursday, Feb. 8) 

    - Thomas Doll, President and COO of Subaru of America, Inc to deliver the keynote

    - MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year will be announced

    MAMA Spring Rally at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (Wednesday, May 23 – Thursday, May 24) 

    MAMA Fall Rally at the Autobahn Country Club, Joliet, Illinois (Wednesday, Oct. 3)

  • 25 Nov 2017 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month’s MAMA meeting highlighted Hyundai’s Accent, the brand’s least-expensive sedan that recently underwent notable updates for the 2018 model year. Michael Evanoff, Hyundai’s manager of product planning, delivered a brief presentation on the refreshed sedan before sending MAMA members out on test drives. New updates include:  

    • Improved driving dynamics and an efficient powertrain
    • Upscale exterior design, sophisticated interior and signature Hyundai design
    • Advanced connectivity with available Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Hyundai Blue Link and SiriusXM satellite radio
    • Safety from the available Forward Collision-avoidance Assist

    The new generation Accent is slightly longer and wider than the model it replaces, but the EPA still classifies it as a compact sedan. Also on the exterior, the Accent shows off a new cascading grille design inspired by the cascading effect of molten steel.

    The vehicle has available projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, available fog lights and standard functional air curtains, which help eliminate the turbulence in the wheelhouse area. Available LED taillights give the vehicle a more noticeable presence on the road.

    Moving to the interior, Evanoff describes the new look as a contemporary intuitive design: easy to reach, easy to see, easy to understand.

    Standard features include:

    • Audio 5-inch color touchscreen, which works in conjunction with the rearview camera
    • Standard rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines
    • Hands-free Bluetooth, steering wheel and audio cruise control
    • Folding rear seats

    Also available are push button start and hands-free Smart trunk (the vehicle can sense the driver is near from at least three feet away and the trunk automatically opens). Automatic temperature control is available as well in three stages – low, medium and high.  

    New available infotainment and safety features include dual-charging/USB as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s also integration through Amazon Alexa and Google Home so that owners can make requests to those devices via their car. Hyundai Blue Link connected car system with safety advance alerts the driver of a potential collision; if there is no response, it will apply automatic break to avoid collision.

    There are three 2018 Accent Trim levels: SE (core entry level), SEL (regular equipped) and Limited (highest equipped).


    • 5-inch color touchscreen with iPod/USB auxiliary input jacks
    • Rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines
    • Bluetooth hands-free phone system


    Includes SE A/T standard features plus:

    • Display audio with 7-inch touchscreen
    • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
    • Dual charging USB


    Includes SEL features plus:

    • Power sunroof
    • Automatic Emergency Braking
    • 17-inch alloy wheels

    The 2018 Accent is hitting dealerships now with a starting price of $15,880.

    Photo credit: Christian Lantry,

  • 09 Nov 2017 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jaguar Land Rover's General Manager of Product Management David Larsen recently addressed MAMA members to highlight the "new generation of Jaguar," specifically three all-new vehicles: Jaguar E-PACE, XF Sportbrake and the XJR575. He also previewed the freshened Land Rover lineup, spotlighting the all-new Land Rover Range Rover Velar.

    2018 Jaguar E-PACE
    The Jaguar E-PACE shares F-PACE's silhouette, and draws features from the F-Type. Compared to its competitors, this vehicle is as long and as high – but wider – which uniquely provides more comfort in the second row. The E-PACE is set to use Jaguar Land Rover’s 2-liter turbocharged Ingenium engine that puts out 246 horsepower. The SUV comes standard with all-wheel drive and is expected to go on sale early next year at a starting price of $38,600.

    2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
    The station wagon is making a comeback, and the XF Sportbrake is not your standard wagon. The new Jaguar features a supercharged V-6 engine with forced induction – in this case, a 380-horsepowered supercharged 3.0-liter – and nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo room. New technology includes gesture-controlled tailgate and sunblind. The XF Sportbrake is available this month at a starting price point of $70,450.

    2018 Jaguar XJR575
    The XJR575 long wheelbase sedan is called the "pinnacle of the Jaguar brand." According to Jaguar, this is the most powerful XJ ever with a 5-liter V8 engine that puts out 575 horsepower and 517 lb. ft. of torque. Additional 2018 features include:

    • Top speed of 186 mph
    • 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds
    • InControl Touch Pro with a 10” touchscreen
    • Driver assistance systems include blind spot assist, lane keep assist and the driver conditioning monitor

    The 2018 Jaguar XJR575 is on sale at a starting price of $122,400.

    Larsen also highlighted Land Rover’s product lineup including the 2018 Range Rover Velar, 2018 Range Rover, 2018 Range Rover Sport and the 2018 Range Rover Defender.

    With a special emphasis on the Velar, Larsen stated this vehicle defines the new style of Range Rover moving forward. He said the overall strategy in the Velar theme was modern reduction, which is represented in the flowing lines and clean exterior. One of the biggest changes on the vehicle is the revolutionary design of the interior, which is elegant, modern and simple.

    On the tech side, a new infotainment system debuts. Two 10-inch screens provide access to audio, navigation, entertainment and vehicle settings. There are three dial (no buttons) touch inputs on the steering wheel which only illuminate once you touch it. Quality materials, including aluminum and upgraded lighting, sets it apart from competitors. The Velar has a starting price range of $49,900.

    The expanded Jaguar lineup will offer seven models for the first time in brand history. This new generation of Jaguar will continue to enhance its all-around brand competitiveness including product portfolio enrichment, price positioning and further elevated after-sales service package.

    With this wider variety of product, the brand is continuing to reach a younger demographic and attract new audiences. In fact, its median buyer is just 54 years old, which is lower than Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Porsche. Larsen said the brand is in a position of strength with the products' great styling and incredible performance. 

  • 06 Oct 2017 11:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 5) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held its annual Fall Rally, presented by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), this week at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. 

    Automakers showcased their latest cars, trucks and SUVs where 75 media members from across the country gathered to put nearly 70 vehicles through their paces on track, street and off-road course.  

    Toyota opened the event with a breakfast presentation featuring its 2018 Camry, America’s best-selling car for 15 consecutive years and a candidate for North American Car of the Year. Chad Moore, product training expert at Toyota, led the presentation on the eighth-generation Camry. He explained that it has gone through a total evolution from a proven, dependable and safe car to one that also possesses a more exciting and emotional character, thanks to its newfound sporty performance and eye-catching style.

    Additionally, the new Camry utilizes Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) which represents new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers and packages its vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota’s traditional values of superlative build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses. The physical manifestation is the usage of a new engine, transmission and GA-K platform.

    Following the morning session featuring track touring laps, street driving and an off-road course sponsored by Jeep, the group gathered for lunch, where Honda led a presentation featuring the Civic Type R. Carl Pulley, assistant public relations manager at Honda, said this all-new Type R continues its legacy as an exciting, front-wheel-drive, high-performance hatchback and is the ultimate expression of the genre. Media members had the chance to test drive one of two Type R vehicles that Honda brought for media members to experience on the track at the Fall Rally.

    Pulley said everything about the Civic Type R was designed to create the optimum performance driving experience – from the performance-tuned 2.0L i-VTEC DOHC turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission to the Type R unique chassis components and three-mode dynamic driving control. This is the most extreme Type R ever built, with track-ready performance providing the most rewarding driving experience in its segment, according to Honda.

    The MAMA Fall Rally is one of two track events the organization hosts each year. MAMA also hosts monthly meetings for its members; the upcoming event list can be found at

    Photo Credit: Christian Lantry, 


    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) is a professional non-profit press association, with a 25-year history, that brings together automotive journalists and manufacturers to provide a platform for automakers to release news. MAMA's membership has grown to nearly 300 and includes journalists covering print, broadcast, online as well as media relations professionals within the automotive industry. For more information, visit

  • 14 Aug 2017 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois — Midwest Automotive Media Association members were among the first to get a glimpse of the all-new 2018 Honda Accord last week during MAMA’s August meeting and press preview, led by Steve Kinkade, head of national media relations for Honda and Acura brands.

    Kinkade stated that, despite the fact that SUVs continue to gain market share, the midsize segment is strong and the sedan isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Kinkade, the current Honda Accord is actually outselling all but two SUVs. In fact, it’s on pace to sell 300,000 units in 2017. In terms of in-segment competition, he believes the 2018 Accord will compete very well against the all-new Toyota Camry.

    There are several noteworthy features that make up the tenth-generation Accord:

    ·         Aggressive new styling is stately and conservative with a swept-back four-door design that hides a traditional trunk.

    ·         Longer wheelbase and a wider body.

    ·         Passenger volume increases by 2.5 cubic feet.

    ·         Cargo volume also increases to 16.7 cubic feet.

    ·         Honda Sensing will be standard on all trim levels, which includes high-tech safety features such as lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

    ·         V-6 engine will not return; instead, 2.0-liter turbo engine will deliver 252 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque.

    The trim strategy for Accord will remain the same with LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi and Touring levels. Plus, there will be two engine options: the aforementioned 2.0-liter turbo and a 1.5-liter turbo – both of which are four-cylinders. The 1.5-liter will deliver 192 hp and 192 lb.-ft. of torque. A hybrid will also be available and will be powered by Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid technology and a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine.

    Combined fuel economy for the current 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine ranges between 26 mpg for the manual and 30 mpg for the automatic.

    Neither pricing nor fuel economy details have been released. However, the current-generation Accord starts at $22,455, for reference.

    The all-new 2018 Accord is expected to hit dealerships this fall. 

  • 09 Aug 2017 12:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    South Haven, Michigan – Last week, MAMA teamed up with Dodge to host the third annual Performance Track School at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, where nearly 20 Midwest-based journalists learned the ins-and-outs of driving safely on a racetrack. Since MAMA hosts two annual track events, the Spring and the Fall Rally, the association deemed a track school essential so that members are educated and comfortable when driving at MAMA-sanctioned events.

    As far as manufacturer partners go, Dodge is the perfect fit. Not only is Dodge known for its legacy of muscle cars (we never said anything about the track school being boring!), the automaker also embodies safety. A strong message to MAMA Performance Track School attendees is that while these cars are fast and fun, there is a proper way to drive and handle them on a track.

    MAMA President Jill Ciminillo summed up the event’s mission: “Our goal is to make our members some of the best drivers in the business. An annual track school is a great opportunity for attendees keep their skills sharp and take what they learn back to everyday driving on the roads in their neighborhoods.”

    Led by racing experts at CGI Motorsports, the day opened up with breakfast and a “track safety talk” for the morning session. Dodge brought in 11 performance vehicles, including the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT and 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody. Track school attendees were among the first to drive these new vehicles—which boast 475 and 707 horsepower, respectively—before they hit dealer lots this fall. 

    Both novice and intermediate drivers were paired with driving instructors from CGI Motorsports to learn how to take these high-powered vehicles properly and safely around a racetrack. Following the morning session, the second wave of participants arrived for the afternoon lesson. Just prior to lunch, all participants heard Dodge Durango SRT Engineering Manager Pete Jacobsen explain some of the behind-the-scenes development challenges.

    Throughout the past three years, MAMA has provided Performance Track School instruction to 63 students. This year marked the first time MAMA has offered more advanced instruction to intermediate track drivers and previous track school attendees.

    MAMA looks forward to seeing members who attended the Performance Track School put their skills to use at its 2017 Fall Rally, to be held on Wed., Oct. 4 at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. 

  • 20 Jul 2017 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    MAMA members gathered yesterday for the association’s monthly meeting and presentation from Nissan’s Director of Sales and Marketing, light commercial vehicles (LCV), Tiago Castro. He delved into the brand’s 2017 LCV lineup and offered attendees test-drives in the NV Cargo Van and three different Titan models – which have become strong players in the commercial market – including a Titan Single Cab, Titan XD Gas and Titan XD Cummins-powered Diesel.

    Castro touched on Nissan’s strategy in this segment, which is to focus more heavily on marketing commercial vehicles in hopes to increase the brand’s overall truck sales – both commercial and personal. For example, if a Titan or Titan XD is the pickup of choice for a small business owner or construction worker, that person may be more inclined to purchase a different version of the Titan for personal use.

    To lure new customers, Nissan is offering a five-year or 100,000-mile (whichever comes first) bumper-to-bumper warranty on all Titan and Titan XD commercial vehicles which, according to Nissan, is America’s best truck and commercial van warranty offer. How does this stack up to the industry standard? The average industry warranty hovers around 36,000 miles.

    An overview of Nissan’s light commercial vehicle lineup includes:

    Nissan Titan and Titan XD

    Nissan introduced the final piece of the Titan roll-out with the Titan and Titan XD King Cab during the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. The Titan and Titan XD, which have picked up numerous industry awards and accolades, have helped move the needle for Nissan’s overall truck sales.  

    Under the Titan umbrella, Nissan offers the following:

    • Titan XD Diesel
    • Titan XD Gas
    • Titan Half-ton
    • Titan and Titan XD Single Cab
    • Titan and Titan XD King Cab

    NV Cargo, Passenger and Compact Van

    NV Full-size Van (Cargo and Passenger)

    • New for 2017, the NV Cargo Van offers a brand-new powertrain, producing best-in-class horsepower and torque while also delivering an estimated eight percent increase in fuel economy versus the previous powertrain.
    • Offered for both personal and fleet use, the NV Passenger Van features eight standard air bags, standard head restraints and integrated seat belts for all rear seating positions. It also offers 324 different seating configurations and a total of six independent rear seats. 2017 MAMA Spring Rally attendees were able to experience the NV Passenger Van first-hand as they were shuttled around the Road America campus – from the track to autocross to the off-road course.    


    • The NV200 has a small exterior footprint, large cargo capacity, outstanding versatility and excellent fuel efficiency. It also offers America's best commercial van warranty, with a basic limited warranty coverage of five years/100,000 miles, whichever comes first. The powertrain limited warranty term is also five years/100,000 miles.

    NV Taxi

    • Great for city driving with its compact exterior, the Nissan NV Taxi is nimble enough to easily maneuver tight city streets. Features include built-in navigation, intercom and Bluetooth to better assist the driver.

    Castro is confident Nissan will continue to propel itself forward in the LCV segment due to four main differentiators: a dedicated team, quality product, best warranty and a robust dealer network.

    MAMA members should save the date for the next monthly meeting, with Honda, on Tues., Aug. 8 at the Chicago Automobile Trade Association headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. 

    Photo Credit: Larry Nutson, MAMA Treasurer and The Auto Channel 

  • 02 Jun 2017 5:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – May 25, 2017 – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held its annual Spring Rally last week at Road America – one of the world’s premier permanent road racing tracks. Over the course of two days, 95 media members from across the country were able to put 110 vehicles through their paces through a variety of driving including on-track, street, off-road and autocross.

    Automakers selected the MAMA Spring Rally to showcase their latest cars, trucks and SUVs, and a few even gave MAMA journalists a sneak peek at some of the hottest vehicles that have yet to be seen – or driven – outside of an auto show.

    2018 Lexus LC 500

    Lexus opened the MAMA Spring Rally with a breakfast presentation to spotlight the 2018 Lexus LC 500. One of the first times seen outside of an auto show, Lexus is giving MAMA journalists the chance to take it for test drives for performance and driving impressions.

    Powered by a normally aspirated 5.9-liter V8 and matched with the luxury class first direct shift 10-speed automatic transmission, the LC 500 delivers 471 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. The vehicle is expected to hit dealerships this May and will have a starting price of $92,000.

    2018 Subaru Crosstrek

    Subaru’s Car Line Planning Manager Todd Hill was on hand to give MAMA members an insider perspective on the 2018 Crosstrek, which is all-new from the ground up with revised styling, new engine and improved features.

    Safety is a huge priority for Subaru. The automaker equipped the new Crosstrek with improved visibility, seven airbags, enhanced seatbelts and is targeting best-in-class for hazard avoidance performance. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite consists of forward-collision warning and prevention, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Base, premium and limited trim levels will be available.

    In terms of connectivity, Crosstrek has a brand-new infotainment system and comes standard with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

    Under the hood, the Crosstrek has the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Impreza, which produces 152 hp.

    2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

    Dodge charged up rally-goers with the surprise appearance of the 840-horsepower 2018 Challenger SRT, first time the fastest muscle car ever has appeared outside of an auto show. Dodge also just announced its pricing, starting at $84,995, and said deliveries are expected to begin this fall. 

    Tim Kuniskis, head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA North America, said in an earlier statement, “We worked very hard to build as much value into the Challenger SRT Demon as possible – features, performance and exclusivity that simply can’t be duplicated with a goal of maintaining, and possibly even growing, as much future value as possible.”

    Dodge also brought the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT to the rally, following up on its reveal at this year's Chicago Auto Show. With 475 hp, the Durango SRT is America's fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV.  It can out-haul every three-row SUV on the road with best-in-class towing capacity of 8,600 pounds. 

    2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

    Right as the Rogue Sport rolled into dealerships, MAMA members were among the first to get a glimpse.  

    Nissan opened the second day of the MAMA Spring Rally with a breakfast to tout its all-new Rogue Sport, which is set to go on sale this spring. While the Rogue Sport shares the Rogue name, platform and numerous advanced safety and security features, Nissan says the Rogue Sport stands on its own as a stylish, nimble, fun-to-drive and affordable compact SUV that’s intended for an urban market. Right-sized for the city, the Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than the Rogue.

    On the safety front, the Rogue Sport offers forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure prevention and rear cross traffic alert.

    The Rogue Sport comes in three models – S, SV and SL, each in a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive – with a starting price point of $21,420.

    Kia Stinger

    Just as MAMA members thought the two-day event was concluding, Kia had another surprise in store. The Stinger, Kia’s first high-performance sports car, made its first-ever regional press association appearance. While indeed powerful, with 370 hp, Kia says the Stinger is more synonymous with luxury, comfort and grace. 

    “Kia is proud to be associated with MAMA and looks forward to many years of success in the future, and the future of Kia is easily seen in the all-new Stinger,” said Kia Director of Communications James Bell. “We were pleased to present this amazing five-door sports sedan to the passionate journalists here at Road America; MAMA is the first regional press association to see this car outside of a traditional auto show.”

    The Stinger is expected to go on sale this summer, with a price range of $35,000-$45,000.  

    Here's a sampling of some featured stories from the Spring Rally:

    Chicago Tribune

    Northwest Indiana Times 

    NewCarNews.TV Instagram Video 

  • 01 May 2017 5:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wheaton, Illinois (April 27, 2017) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hosted MAMA members at the historic Danada House in Wheaton on Thursday, April 27, for lunch and to show off the new 2017 Jeep Compass and the upcoming 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Jeep Compass Brand Manager Kim Japinga also talked about the brand’s recent market performance.

    Before discussing the capabilities of both the Trackhawk and Compass, Japinga went over the brand’s recent history. Last year, 2016, marked the seventh year of sales growth for Jeep both in the U.S. and internationally. It’s the fifth straight global sales record for Jeep, and the third straight year of global sales that exceeded one million.

    Global sales increased 13 percent to 1.4 million and U.S. sales were a hair under a million at 926,376, which is an increase of six percent.

    The Compass will be offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower and three transmissions – a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic and a nine-speed automatic. It will be available with two-wheel and four-wheel drive and offered in four trims – Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk.

    Available features include a dual sunroof, power liftgate, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, UConnect infotainment system, navigation system and satellite radio.

    The Trackhawk is a high-powered version of the Grand Cherokee that features a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that makes 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission and upgraded Brembo brakes, and Jeep projects a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph.

    Other available features include 20-inch wheels, UConnect infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    None of the vehicles were available for driving, but Jeep representatives did fire up the Trackhawk to allow assembled media to hear it run.

    Don’t forget that the 2017 MAMA Spring Rally is coming up, with our track day at Road America taking place on May 24 and off-road, autocross and Family Vehicle of the Year evaluations taking place on May 25.

    [Photo credit: Larry Nutson, Chicago Car Guy and The Auto Channel]

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