THIS WEEK IN CARS: A Volkswagen Scout? And Finally the 2023 Nissan Z is Reviewed…

As is the usual for Q2—a.k.a. “auto show season”—all of the major car manufacturers have frenzied the headlines with new models, revised models, concepts, and even updates on the various shortages at hand.

THE BRASS TACKS: Amid this week’s news, Volkswagen Group announced their plans to revitalize the Scout nameplate. Beyond that, Nissan’s media embargo on the all-new Z finally expired on May 16th, yielding a wave of reviews and videos to satisfy out information obsession.

Let’s dive a bit deeper…

Image © Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen’s New Off-Road EV Vehicles Will Be Called “Scout”

Volkswagen announced this week that they will be resurrecting the oft-forgotten International Harvester Scout of the 1960s-80s in the form of an EV.  However, their announcement is not all exactly that it seems.

Instead of releasing something more along the lines of the current Ford Bronco, VW’s Scout will not be just one car, but two: an SUV and and a pickup. Both based on the same platform, they echo familiarity from the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.

The move comes not too long after VW’s heavy truck division (Traton SE) acquired Navistar International last year. Navistar is a holding company and the successor to the International Harvester Company. IHC, as it is often abbreviated, was once one of the foremost tractor and truck companies in the United States, formerly based in Illinois and originally created from a merger of several tractor companies directed in part by J.P. Morgan back in 1902.

A “restomod” 1964 Scout 80 built by Velocity Restorations in Pensacola, FL

The original International Scout was, in many ways, an SUV before the SUV existed.  Originally designed as a competitor to the Jeep CJ 4×4, it later competed with the Toyota Land Cruiser in the US domestic market and is part of what inspired Ford to make their own off-road vehicle, later known as the Bronco.  

Given the revival and subsequent rise in popularity of off-road inspired SUVs over the last few years, the move is smart on Volkswagen’s part from a financial perspective.  After all, VW claims they want to sell 250,000 of these things a year in the US.

Further details, such as power figures, pricing, etc. are limited and in my eyes, it seems VW has only acknowledged the project to quell the pressure from leakers. We shouldn’t expect to see a Scout until 2026—but the mere thought of a revitalized Scout is exciting enough.  My only hope is that the Scout actually turns out to be as off-road focused as VW says it will, and that they are not just using a historical nameplate like Chevrolet did with the Blazer a few years ago…. If it turns out to be anything like Land Rover’s revival of the Defender, I think that will satisfy the masses but Scout enthusiasts will be left out to dry. So is the story of being an enthusiast of a niche sub-brand that major marques like to ignore (Here’s lookin’ at you, Lancia Delta lovers…).

Image © Drive 615

Reviews on the 2023 Nissan Z Start Pouring In

Nissan’s media embargo expired this week after MONTHS of anticipation and we got our first unbiased opinions from all the journalists on the new Z!  

So far the car looks incredible, and having had the opportunity to take a seat in and look around the show car at the NY International Auto Show a few weeks ago, it’s no question that the car is going to be a hit for Nissan.  Although it is based on the same aging platform of the 370Z, the new Z is a complete 180° from the previous car in almost every other aspect. 

The car just looks a lot more like what I would imagine a modern 240Z to look like… Long nose, sloped hatch, strong arches. Plus, there’s no more blob-like rear end with the new Z instead looking more like a 90s 300ZX from behind. It’s nice touch in my opinion and a faithful way to pay tribute to the Z’s lineage.  The powertrain is also a major upgrade: the Z has the same VR30DDTT twin-turbo V-6 out of the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport and it yields 400 horsepower, nearly 70 more than the 370.  

Image © Supercar TV

The critics are already acclaiming the fresh-feeling of sportiness and great handling on both the track and the street.  In most of the articles I’ve read so far on the new Z, most of the authors seemed to have a hard time containing their excitement (something I can recall with the C8 Corvette from two years ago, and that car ended up being many publications’ sports car of the year).  

Pricing is not terrible either, with a base model starting at $41k and the Performance model going for $51k.  There’s also a launch edition “Proto” limited to 240 units (nice) and that will go for $54k MSRP. Since it’s a mid-grade sports car, those sorts of prices are basically exactly what we expected.  Considering ADMs right now though, I doubt you’ll see Performance models sell for under $60k from new for a while… All of that aside, I hope to get my hands on one soon for a review!

See you next week!

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