• 29 May 2019 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – May 29 – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) hosted its annual Spring Rally last week at Road America, one of the world’s premier road racing tracks. Over the course of two days, nearly 100 media members from across the country had the opportunity to put nearly 80 vehicles through their paces in a variety of driving opportunities, including on-track, street, off-road and autocross.

    Automakers from 25 different brands selected the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally to showcase their latest cars, trucks, SUVs and CUVs to top-tier automotive journalists. A handful of the attending manufacturers also provided detailed overviews of their latest products.

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    Lexus officially opened the MAMA Spring Rally with a breakfast presentation featuring the 2020 Lexus RC lineup—particularly the high-performance RC F model. Bob Gleich, senior product trainer for Lexus, said the 2020 RC F is lighter and more capable than before. He also reiterated that the F is highly capable on the track as the vehicle relies on a variety of technologies to help make its performance accessible to drivers of varying skill levels.

    Refreshed and redefined for 2020, the RC F receives enhanced performance (with weight reduction) and an updated, aggressive design. Taking advantage of the reduced weight, RC F engineers also retuned the chassis to give the car a more responsive feel. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that puts out 472 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque.

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    The RC F also comes in a Track Edition, a limited production model intended for hardcore enthusiasts. Both the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition are in production and will be available at dealerships shortly. Pricing for the 2020 RC F starts at $64,750, and the Track Edition starts at $96,650.  

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    Following a morning of track touring laps and street drive evaluations, Nissan’s Karen Long discussed the brand’s commitment to sedans, the overall state of the sedan market and the company’s latest reveal, the 2020 Nissan Versa.

    Despite the growing SUV and crossover market, a recent survey – conducted by third-party research firm Edelman Intelligence – found that 78 percent of respondents would consider purchasing a sedan. Moreover, U.S. sedan owners are just as satisfied with their cars as non-sedan owners.

    Long discussed the continued importance of the sedan market, highlighting the 2020 Nissan Versa, the brand’s smallest and most affordable sedan. The 2020 Versa embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility philosophy; it’s fully equipped with safety and connectivity features such as standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and available intelligent cruise control, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if needed.

    Inside, drivers can stay fully connected with seamless smartphone integration and a tablet-like 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Heated front seats and customizable gauges (such as music playlists to fuel economy history) are also a bonus.

    “The MAMA Spring Rally was a great event for Nissan to showcase the all-new 2020 Versa and speak about our commitment to the sedan market,” said Karen Long, senior manager sedans, CMM, Nissan North America. “We’re thankful to have had the opportunity to engage with such a great and influential crowd and to have them drive some of our latest vehicles.”

    The 2020 Versa will arrive at dealerships later this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced but Nissan said it will be priced competitive in the segment. 

    Quite literally shifting gears, Hyundai put its Veloster N in the spotlight by bringing five models for journalists to drive on track, on street and in the autocross. Mike O’Brien wrapped up the first full Rally day with a dinner presentation on the Veloster N, highlighting the three key pillars of the vehicle’s “fun-to-drive” theme: Corner Rascal (with precise control through corners); Race Track Capability; and Everyday Sports Car (easy to control from urban commutes to track driving).

    The “N” in its name both represents Namyang, Korea (where Hyundai’s engineering center is based and where the vehicle was born), as well as Germany’s Nürburgring, one of the longest, most tradition-steeped, challenging and busiest race tracks in the world (where the vehicle was honed). Also of note, the letter “N” represents a chicane. Built for the track, the Veloster N features a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, N corner-carving differential, electronically controlled suspension, N “grin control” drive modes for precision and control, and a variable exhaust system.

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    Racing attributes aside, the Veloster N offers the following as standard equipment: 8-inch audio display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, premium audio, LED headlights and taillights, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car Service, proximity key with push button start, and automatic temperature control.

    “The Veloster N is another example of Hyundai’s capabilities, offering a comprehensive degree of exterior and interior features and thrilling dynamics in an exciting sports car,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, Hyundai. “The Veloster N represents Hyundai’s highest performance vehicle ever for the U.S. market. We were thrilled to share our fun-to-drive Veloster N at the Midwest Automotive Media Association's Spring Rally.”

    The Veloster N begins at $26,900; the available Performance Package bumps the starting price to $29,000.

    Volkswagen kicked off the second day of the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally with a presentation and overview of the Jetta GLI, which was also available for evaluations on the street, the track, and the autocross.

    New for the 2019 model year, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a sedan with the heart and soul of the Golf GTI. Now featuring a 228-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a sophisticated limited-slip differential, and front brakes from the Golf R, the GLI is all new and presents a great value in the sport-sedan segment, according to VW.

    “I’m really pleased that we had the chance to present the all-new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI to our friends at MAMA,” said Mark Gillies, senior manager, product and technology communications, Volkswagen of America. “The Spring Rally is a highlight of the media association year and I’m delighted that MAMA members were able to experience the vehicle at Road America, one of my favorite tracks on the planet.”

    The 2019 Jetta GLI begins at $25,995 – $1,000 more for the 35th anniversary edition – and is currently on sale.

    Following an action-packed morning of off-road, autocross, and street driving, Mopar, the service, parts, and customer-care brand of FCA, hosted the final event and presentation of the MAMA Spring Rally. Kim Mathers, head of accessories and performance parts, Mopar, walked attendees through the brand’s evolution over 80-plus years in serving customers throughout the ownership experience.

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    Mathers highlighted the brand’s emphasis on offering a large menu of accessories right at launch for new vehicles, such as the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator and 2019 Ram 1500.

    “The MAMA event is a great opportunity to share the Mopar brand’s mission with a large group of key journalists and media outlets,” said Mathers. “We were able to put journalists behind the wheel and let them experience a Ram 1500 Big Horn loaded with Mopar accessories and also share with them a behind-the-scenes video of a Mopar Custom Shop to demonstrate how we can accessorize vehicles even before they reach the dealership. The event was a great opportunity to interact with media and build relationships.”

    Finalists for MAMA’s annual Family Vehicle of the Year (FVOTY) and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year (LFVOTY) Awards were also announced. During the event, journalists had the opportunity to evaluate 13 MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year contenders and six MAMA Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year contenders. Out of these vehicles, 70 MAMA journalists cast their votes and selected the following finalists.

    FVOTY Finalists:

    • 2020 Jeep Gladiator
    • 2020 Kia Telluride
    • 2019 Honda Passport
    • 2019 Mazda3

    LFVOTY Finalists:

    • 2019 BMW X7
    • 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
    • 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Coupe

    To qualify for the awards, the vehicle must have four doors and be new or significantly updated within a year of the Spring Rally. These vehicles will join another round of finalists that will be selected during the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally this October. A final round of online voting will then take place to determine the overall winner in each category, both of which will be announced during the MAMA breakfast that opens the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview in February. 

    “MAMA developed the Family Vehicle and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Awards to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle, and who better to evaluate these vehicles than the high-caliber group of automotive journalists who attend our rallies?” said Damon Bell, MAMA president. “We look forward to sharing the final results during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.”

    The MAMA Spring Rally also served as a venue for the presentation of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show’s Best of Show Awards. In voting conducted over the 10-day public run of the Chicago Auto Show, consumer voters selected their favorites in five categories. Mark Bilek, senior director of communications and technology for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces the Chicago Auto Show, was on hand to distribute the awards to attending automakers. Jordan Wasylyk of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accepted Jeep’s awards for Best Exhibit and for the 2020 Gladiator, which was voted Best All-New Production Vehicle. Bob Gleich of Lexus accepted the Best Concept Vehicle award for the Lexus LC Convertible. The 2019 Audi e-tron was also voted Best Green Vehicle and the 2019 Bugatti Chiron was selected the “Vehicle I’d mist like to have in my driveway.”

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


    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. 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, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 16 May 2019 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Honda’s objective was two-fold during the last MAMA monthly meeting: to present the all-new Passport to journalists and share an industry perspective on the future of sedans, with the help and research backed by industry analyst Michelle Krebs.

    Krebs predicts that sedans will see a 6 percent dip of market share in a few years (current sedan market share is 31 percent). That said, however, Krebs noted the importance of sedans because the majority of first-time new vehicle buyers purchase a car due to the affordability factor. In fact, sedan purchases jump to 70 percent with Gen Z buyers (compared to 55 percent of total buyers). Bottom line, according to Cox Automotive data, midsize and compact car segments remain in the top five spots for shopping and sales.

    While sedans aren’t going anywhere any time soon, SUVs and crossovers continue to gain traction. Honda brought in the Passport’s Chief Designer Lara Harrington to discuss the brand’s newest crossover. Honda saw the opportunity to add to its crossover portfolio, as the Passport was designed to close the gap between Honda’s larger, three-row Pilot and its compact-size CR-V.

    Appropriately named, the Passport aims to attract the adventure-seeker who may be looking for both a family vehicle yet one that offers off-road driving performance and towing capability. Harrington described the Passport’s exterior as “rugged yet modern,” noting its standard 20-inch wheels, an “aggressive” black grille and a more athletic appearance compared to the Pilot.

    On the inside, the Passport continues to cater to its adventure-seeker audience by offering a large “basement” cargo area designed for storing dirty athletic gear or keeping purses and other valuables hidden. Its engine is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque.

    The Passport comes fully-equipped with Honda’s latest technology and safety features including its suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. All trim levels come with a multi-angle rearview camera system, while EX-L, Touring and Elite models come with Honda's blind spot information system. Also available, for an upgrade, is Apply CarPlay and Android Auto integration, an 8-inch infotainment display and wireless phone charging.

    Pricing begins at $31,900 for the Sport trim and rises to $43,600 for the Elite model.

    Honda plans to bring both the 2019 Passport and 2019 Civic to the MAMA Spring Rally at Road America next week for more than 100 journalists to test drive. 

  • 08 Mar 2019 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brandon Girmus, Jeep Gladiator brand manager, presented the all-new open-air Jeep Gladiator to MAMA members earlier this week. Building on the success of its iconic Wrangler, Jeep recently introduced the all-new 2020 Gladiator – what Jeep refers to as the “most capable midsize truck ever.”

    The Gladiator has been in the works for years and is a concept Jeep fans and enthusiasts have been persistently requesting over the past two decades. While the Gladiator certainly builds upon the Wrangler’s success, the Gladiator is “100 percent truck and 100 percent Jeep,” according Girmus. In other words, Jeep took the best attributes of the Jeep products – open-air freedom, off-road capability and iconic design – and added real truck capabilities including towing (up to 7,650 lbs.) and payload (up to 1,600 lbs.). 

    The exterior design is authentic to the Jeep brand, including the iconic seven-slot grille, round headlamps and square taillights. The design team widened the grille openings to provide additional air intake to help with the truck’s increased towing capacity. When it comes to the removable tops, like the Wrangler, there are two options: a removable soft top or a three-piece hardtop.

    The interior design combines authentic styling, versatility and comfort. Exclusive to Gladiator, the rear seats and can be locked in place to provide secure storage. Additionally, the rear seat cushions can fold into “stadium” position to expose an open storage bin – utilizing the space under the seat. For the adventure-seeking owner, an optional lockable bin offers convenient secure storage space when the top or doors are removed.

    Advanced technology and safety features are also packed into the Gladiator. A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways including media (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration), tire pressure gauge, tire-fill alert or digital speed readout. removable Bluetooth wireless speaker is available so drivers and their friends can listen to their favorite music even while outside of the vehicle. Also, exclusive to Rubicon models, is a forward-facing off-road camera that allows the driver to better see and navigate trail obstructions.

    Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera, adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control.

    Under the hood is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with engine stop-start. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 option will be available in 2020. Both engines will be available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic transmission. Jeep’s 2-speed 4WD transfer case is also standard. Front and rear axles are Dana 44s and the Rubicon model is available with the Wrangler’s trick electronic unlocking sway bar. 

    “Gladiator is the only open-air pickup on the market,” said Girmus. “There’s no other truck out there where you can take off the top and take off the doors.”

    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator comes in the following trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. The all-new pickup will arrive at dealerships this spring.

  • 07 Feb 2019 7:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 7, 2019) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) announced today at the Chicago Auto Show that the 2019 Subaru Ascent has been named the winner of its ninth annual Family Vehicle of the Year award, and the 2019 Volvo XC40 has been named the inaugural winner of the Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.

    MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, and it developed the awards 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. Whether it’s a premium-brand or mainstream model, it should be versatile, reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. MAMA members pooled their expertise and experience to select the best family vehicles from an outstanding group of new and significantly refreshed models, and the Subaru Ascent and Volvo XC40 came out on top,” said MAMA award coordinator Tim Healey.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2018 Spring Rally, which took place in May 2018. The MAMA Spring and Fall Rallies feature roughly 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate.

    Voting took place at both rallies, and the field of contenders was narrowed down to 11 finalists in the mainstream category: the Buick Regal TourX, Ford Expedition, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Ram 1500, Subaru Ascent, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Jetta. There were six finalists in the luxury category: the Acura RDX, Kia Stinger, Land Rover Range Rover Velar, Lexus ES, Maserati Levante, and Volvo XC40.

    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 91 automotive journalists participated. The 2019 Subaru Ascent was selected as Family Vehicle of the Year with 100 points, ahead of the 2018 Ford Expedition, which garnered 74 points. The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe placed third with 61 points.

    The 2019 Volvo XC40 was crowned Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year with 151 points, edging out the 2019 Acura RDX, which netted 133 points. The 2019 Kia Stinger rounded out the top three with 82 points.

    Voting for the 2020 Family Vehicle of the Year awards will begin at the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 22-23 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The 2019 MAMA Fall Rally is tentatively scheduled for October 2.

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

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 261 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 23 states and the District of Columbia. 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, current issues, and new products in the auto industry.

  • 04 Feb 2019 9:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 30, 2017, longtime Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) member Jim Mateja lost his battle with cancer. An industry heavyweight, Jim’s powerful media reach and accessible reviews made him one of the most influential auto writers of his era.

    Jim was also a dedicated MAMA member, playing an active role in the organization he helped create. As MAMA’s first president, Jim charted the course for a group that now boasts more than 260 members and hosts two of the finest annual automotive media events in the country.

    Jim’s dedication to journalistic integrity; his potent, plain-language reviews; and his friendly, unguarded nature contributed to his legend and made him a welcome and respected fixture at MAMA events. Likewise, his counsel and support were always sought after and appreciated by subsequent MAMA leaders.

    Honoring Jim

    To honor Jim’s legacy, and to fully acknowledge his contributions to our industry, MAMA is partnering with the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism to establish a scholarship in his name.

    The James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship

    Once fully funded, the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship will provide an annual sum of at least $4,000 to a promising journalism student as selected by Medill faculty. A new recipient will be selected every year.

    Funding the Legacy

    To fund the scholarship, MAMA must raise at least $100,000, contributed directly to Northwestern University’s 501 (c)(3) scholarship charity. This is the smallest amount of money the university will manage as part of a legacy program. While MAMA intends to make a significant contribution to the scholarship, we wanted to reach out to automotive manufacturers, as well as partner organizations and individual members, to be a part of this tribute to Jim.

    Our goal is to have the scholarship fully funded by June 30, 2018, so that we can award the first scholarship in September 2018.

    About the Scholarship

    Once funded, the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship will be managed by Northwestern University with no further input from MAMA—though additional contributions to the fund are always accepted. Most importantly, the name of the scholarship will never change.

    How to Contribute

    Whether you are representing an automaker, an organization or simply yourself, we welcome any contributions that will be made to honor our founding president. All contributions are tax-deductible and go directly to Northwestern University.

    1)  To donate via Northwestern's secure online portal, please click here

    2)  If you'd like to send a check, please make the check payable to Northwestern University and mail it to the following address (VERY IMPORTANT: indicate in the memo field or an enclosure that the gift is for the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship): 

    Julie Frahar

    Alumni Relations and Development

    Northwestern University 

    1201 Davis St. 

    Evanston, IL 60201 

    If you have additional questions, please contact the current MAMA President, Jill Ciminillo, at

  • 25 Jan 2019 8:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), an organization comprised of automotive journalists and related industry professionals, elected its 2019 board of directors during its annual business meeting.

    Damon Bell, formerly senior vice president, transitions to the role of MAMA president. Matt Avery, formerly vice president, membership, was elected to senior vice president and Jennifer Newman is newly elected to the MAMA board to carry out the role of vice president, membership, for a two-year term.

    Continuing to carry out second-year terms are Larry Nutson as the association’s treasurer and Kelley Enright as secretary. Jennifer Morand is also carrying out a second-year term under the title of communications director, formerly web director, to more accurately align with her association responsibilities. 

    Jill Ciminillo, who served a two-year term as MAMA president from 2017-2018, will transition into the role of president emeritus.

    During the annual business meeting it was reported that the association currently maintains a membership of 261 automotive journalists and industry professionals serving in the automotive industry or related fields.

    It was also announced that the very first recipient of the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship, Benjamin Winck, will be recognized during the MAMA opening breakfast to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday, Feb. 7. In 2017, longtime automotive journalist and MAMA founding president Jim Mateja lost his battle with cancer. To honor Mateja’s legacy, MAMA partnered with the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism to establish a scholarship in his name.

    Also, during the Chicago Auto Show breakfast, MAMA will announce its 2019 Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients. The Ford Expedition, Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru Ascent are the finalists for the Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and the Acura RDX, Kia Stinger and Volvo XC40 are the finalists for the luxury category. Following the award presentations, Kia Motors America will present a program.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association and upcoming events, visit

  • 26 Oct 2018 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, Ford introduced the Edge ST – the first performance SUV from the Ford Performance team – to MAMA members. Craig Patterson, Ford Motor Company’s SUV marketing manager, highlighted the Edge ST’s special features, such as superior handling and braking, ST-tuned sport suspension, a driver-selectable Sport Mode, quick-shifting 8-speed transmission, standard all-wheel-drive, and the most powerful V6 engine in its class. Speaking of power, the Edge ST can reach 0-60 in under six seconds and hit a top speed of just over 130 mph.

    Not only is the Edge ST the most powerful in the Ede lineup, it's also the most expensive. The 335-hp Edge ST begins at a starting price of $43,350 but tops out around $50,000 with available upgrades. Ford improved the Edge’s suspension and braking to handle the increased power from the 2.7-liter V6 turbocharged EcoBoost engine that’s under the hood. The outcome is better body control and improved, tighter steering.

    Also available is wireless charging and an array of driver-assist features including pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam handlamps, and a rearview camera with a lens washer.

    Additional features that come standard on the Edge ST include post-impact braking, rain-sensing wipers, intelligent access with push-button start, SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch color LCD screen, smart-charging USB port, Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration.

    Additional Edge trim levels include the SE, SEL and Titanium.

    Going forward, every Ford SUV will offer a HEV, PHEV or BEV; in 2021 Ford plans to be the number one seller of hybrids in the US. Ford is taking hybrids mainstream, according to Patterson. 

    Save the date for the next MAMA monthly meeting with Ram: Tuesday, Nov. 13.

  • 23 Oct 2018 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last month, Hyundai’s Manager of Product Planning Trevor Lai introduced the all-new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe to MAMA members in the form of a casual, tailgate-style event featuring lunch from local food trucks.

    The five-passenger 2019 Santa Fe was designed to look like an SUV, and “most definitely not a minivan” compared to Hyundai’s competitors in the segment, according to Lai. The latest model features more tech and is stronger, safer and more efficient than ever before.

    Beyond the Santa Fe’s refreshed design, Hyundai also aimed to increase visibility and utility in the vehicle. The beltline was lowered, the outside mirrors were repositioned lower and further rearward, and side windows are larger. To increase utility, Hyundai improved cargo space by adding a second-row, one-touch folding technology; cargo-area seat release; cargo underfloor storage; and selectable liftgate speed.

    In an effort to ensure accessible safety features for both drivers and passengers, Hyundai made the following SmartSense technology features standard on the Santa Fe: head-up display; forward collision-avoidance assist; blind-spot collision avoidance assist; safe exit assist; lane keeping assist; high beam assist; driver attention warning; smart cruise control with stop-and-go tech; and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.

    Available safety features include rear occupant alert, a system that detects and alerts the driver if there is something left in the backseat. Additionally, new to the Santa Fe, is the safe exit assist feature which keeps the rear doors locked if outside movement (i.e. an approaching vehicle) is detected.  

    Under the hood, the 2019 Santa Fe features improved engine options including a 2.4-liter CDI 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed A/T and a 2.0-liter Turbo GDI 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed A/T. Both engine options apply new electrically-actuated variable valve timing tech, which improves overall fuel economy and performance.

    The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is priced around $25,000 and ranges to $35,450.

    The current long-wheelbase, three-row, seven-passenger model has been renamed to the Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. An all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development and will carry an all-new name, according to Hyundai.

  • 09 Oct 2018 4:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 8) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held its annual Fall Rally last week, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive 70 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally offered journalists plentiful opportunities to put brand-new vehicles through their paces on track, on street and off road. The vehicle lineup was robust, ranging from a 2019 BMW i8, a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, a 2019 GMC Sierra Denali to a 2019 Subaru Forester, to name just a few.

    Lexus kicked off the morning with a breakfast presentation to highlight the all-new 2019 ES – short for “elegant sedan” – including the ES 300h and first-ever ES 350 F Sport. Bob Gleich, education administrator at Lexus College, delivered the presentation.

    “The seventh-generation luxury sedan offers a more daring design, sharpened performance, advanced active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment,” said Gleich. “We were thrilled to be able to show off the vehicle’s dynamic capabilities at the MAMA Fall Rally, a key area for the Lexus brand.”

    The Lexus ES features an all-new Global Architecture-K platform – enabling a new, more daring design, a new level of dynamic performance and a new sense of confidence for the driver. All versions of the ES feature the new Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. Already one of the most sophisticated systems of its kind, LSS+ 2.0 adds new features that further expand its capabilities such as daytime bicyclist detection and low light pedestrian detection. The ES is also Amazon Alexa-enabled, so drivers can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions, including car-to-home and home-to-car commands.

    Lexus had both the ES 300h and ES 350 F Sport on hand for media to test-drive.

    Following the morning session of driving on track, on street and off road, Maserati refueled Fall Rally attendees with lunch and a presentation on the 2019 Maserati Levante.

    Matt McAlear, head of product marketing for Maserati North America, led the presentation on the Levante, which is positioned as a good value compared to its competitors in the luxury SUV segment. While the base “S” model starts at $75,980, McAlear focused on the GTS trim level, which hovers around $119,000.

    “Our all-new 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo and GTS SUVs represent the pinnacle of modern-day Maserati engineering. Their Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged V8 engines and standard all-wheel-drive systems are perfect for conquering any Midwest road, no matter the conditions,” said McAlear.

    “Presenting the 550-horsepower Levante GTS to the Midwest Automotive Media Association marks another important step as Maserati continues to grow in the Midwest and across North America.”

    Maserati didn’t miss the opportunity to have a Levante GTS on hand for media members to take for test drives.

    Throughout the day, journalists had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included a 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel, 2019 GMC Sierra AT4, 2019 Subaru Forester, 2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 4MOTION.

    MAMA also encouraged members to test-drive contenders for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and the new-for-2019 Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award. To qualify, candidates for each category must be four-door, family-capable vehicles and be present at our spring or fall rallies. Voting MAMA members chose the following FVOTY finalists at the 2018 Fall Rally: the 2019 Honda Pilot, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2019 Nissan Altima, 2019 Subaru Ascent and 2019 Subaru Forester. The LFVOTY finalists are the 2019 Lexus ES and the 2019 Maserati Levante. These finalists will join our 2019 Spring Rally finalists for a final round of online voting to decide the overall winner in each category.

    Both the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award winners will be announced at the MAMA opening breakfast during the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 7.

    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 schedule 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 27-year history, that brings together automotive journalists and manufacturers to provide a platform for automakers to release news. MAMA's membership has grown to more than 260 members and includes journalists covering print, broadcast, and online, as well as media-relations professionals within the automotive industry. For more information, visit

  • 30 Aug 2018 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Midwest Automotive Media Association Hosts Fourth Annual Track Driving School

    Dodge and Jeep Sponsor Performance School Held at GingerMan Raceway

    South Haven, Michigan (Aug. 30, 2018) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), along with Dodge and Jeep, hosted the fourth annual MAMA Track Driving School this week at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. CGI Motorsports led nearly 20 automotive journalists in a track training session covering everything from braking techniques, vehicle weight management, vision instructions and appropriate driving position. The real schooling took place outside of the classroom and on the actual track, where MAMA media members were able to put a variety of Dodge and Jeep vehicles through their paces. Since the program’s inception, MAMA has provided professional instruction to a total of 75 students.

    “The MAMA Track School was started as an effort to ensure MAMA members are properly skilled and comfortable when driving on a racetrack, especially since we host two popular track events each year,” said MAMA President Jill Ciminillo.

    A total of ten performance vehicles were driven included the new 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

    Throughout the day, both novice and intermediate drivers were paired with driving instructors from CGI Motorsports to learn how to properly and safely drive these high-powered vehicles on a racetrack. In between the morning and afternoon sessions, Dodge Challenger brand manager, Kevin Hellman, discussed the 2019 Dodge Challenger lineup, which includes the most powerful SRT Hellcat ever with 797 horsepower, the SRT Hellcat Redeye, which was on display.

    “The Challenger continues to deliver on what our customers crave, which includes more muscle, customization, performance and in the case of the new Hellcat Redeye, more power,” said Hellman. “Teaming up with MAMA to educate their members on the joys and benefits of track driving helps to promote the Dodge message of enjoying our high horsepower vehicles in a more controlled environment.”

    MAMA members will be able to put their new skills to use at MAMA’s annual Fall Rally on Oct. 3. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the Fall Rally will offer track time, street drives and an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep.

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

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