GM squeezes the throttle on Silverado and Sierra pricing, Kimi Räikkönen heads back to NASCAR, VW unleashes an even more potent Golf. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
GM Cranks Up Full-Size Truck Pricing
It used to be fairly normal for each new model year of a car to come with a price hike. A little on the top for inflation, bing bong, out the door. Now though, things are shifting so rapidly within the automotive industry that the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 have received their third price hike since they went on sale. Third. [Editor’s Note: I’m fairly sure the Jeep Wrangler JL has gotten a price hike every year. This isn’t unusual, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck for consumers. -DT].
GM Authority reports that this latest round of price hikes adds $800 to the base price and $100 to the freight charge. That’s $900 extra across the board, whether you order a base-as-hell work truck or a fully-jammed Silverado High Country. Ouch. Still, it could be worse. If you need a Silverado HD for hauling anvils, towing bulk osmium, or pulling another Silverado HD, prices are going up by $1,000 on the MSRP and $100 on the freight charge. But what if you need to tow a 747 on your daily commute and don’t want a hideous truck? Well, that’s where the GMC Sierra HD comes in and it’s really going to cost you. Expect to pay an extra $2,000 across the board on MSRPs, plus another $100 ‘fuck you’ for the freight charge. Seriously? Right in front of my bagel? Look, I get that parts and raw materials are expensive these days, but why pump up the price on a GMC $1,000 more than the price on a Chevrolet? Is there just an ugly discount going on for the Silverado or what?
The Iceman Goes Back To NASCAR
How’s this for a weird headline? Kimi Räikkönen to race one of Pitbull’s NASCAR cup cars at Watkins Glen. Yes, it seems like Trackhouse Racing, owned by Justin Marks and Mr. Worldwide, is truly going worldwide with its Project 91 initiative. But wait, how did we get here?
According to Trackhouse Racing, Project 91 is an initiative to bring some of the best international drivers from all disciplines into NASCAR. For Räikkönen, it was a fairly easy step to take. The Iceman’s run at Charlotte twice, once in a Nationwide-series Car of Tomorrow, and once in a truck, so there’s some NASCAR experience on the table. What could help Räikkönen is the nature of the Glen. Even though NASCAR doesn’t use the full course, there’s still plenty of elevation change and spots to attack, things that almost seem tailored to a driver coming from open-wheel cars. Set an alarm for August 21 at 3:00 p.m. if you want to see what Kimi can do on a road course in a Gen-7 cup car. I must admit, I’m pretty excited.
Volkswagen Launches A Special Fast Golf
It’s hard to believe that the Mark IV Golf R32 launched in Europe 20 years ago, but here we are. While it definitely wasn’t perfect – the Mark IV was a bit of a pudding – it really set a super-hatch blueprint. Transverse powertrain, all-wheel-drive, sport seats, plenty of power. While we definitely won’t see another small V6 in a hatchback any time soon, nearly every really fast hot hatch in the past ten years followed that template. Of course it also helps that the R32 looks wicked with bold blue paint as the signature color, a sweet set of 18-inch OZ Aristo wheels, and a front bumper as deep as Jay Leno’s chin.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic – Volkswagen is too. In celebration of 20 years of R, the former Beetle-peddlers have drummed up a special version of the latest Golf R. Dubbed the Golf R 20 Years, the name may be very “does what it says on the tin,” but the tweaks go beyond visual modifications. Sure, blue-faced wheels are shocking and various marks of “20” add a certain flair, but the real meat and potatoes is the revised powertrain calibration. Power is up to 328 from 315, there’s a new Terrify Your Neighbors Every Morning Before Work mode that revs the engine to 2,500 upon startup, and the ECU can now pre-load the turbocharger to reduce lag (possibly a spark-cut function). If you’re the sort of person who knows what part number 199 398 500 A is, you’d have likely realized that this is the most powerful production Golf of all time. Job done then. Oh, and before you think this is some sort of European-only deal, some version of the Golf R 20 Years is coming to North America. Here’s to hoping we get the full 328 horsepower.
Dodge Drops A Gaudy Durango
Is Halloween your favorite holiday? Did you own at least one article of clothing with Jack Skellington on it? Are you a Mopar fan with questionable taste? If you answered yes to any of these, Dodge might just have the vehicle for you. It’s called the Durango R/T Hemi Orange, and it’s a great concept with somewhat sub-par execution.
Look, V8s are good, yeah? So a throwback-inspired Hemi Durango sounds very good on paper. Unfortunately, not everything happens on paper. Instead of anything bold or stylish, the Durango R/T Hemi Orange gets a sad offset black-and-orange stripe, orange emblems, orange interior stitching like a Nissan Sentra SR, and a satin black tail light that Dodge currently isn’t showing. Opt for the confusingly-named Tow N Go package and you also get orange Brembo brake calipers. Look, I understand that orange is an important color in Mopar history, but why half-ass this? Paint the whole damn SUV orange, give it massive black strobe stripes, make the Tow N Go package with its Bilstein dampers and massive brakes mandatory. Ensure bystanders know that it’s a factory job rather than some kid who got hold of some Plasti-Dip. I understand that this special appearance pack is meant to mimic the Hemi Orange Challengers and Chargers, but it just doesn’t work on this scale. The stripe on the Durango doesn’t even go over the roof. Now, if you do happen to like poorly-executed stripes, you can tack the Hemi Orange pack onto any Durango R/T for $1,995. Honestly? I’d recommend putting that $1,995 toward the excellent Tow N Go package instead.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. With Kimi coming to NASCAR for another race, I figure it’s time to play a fantasy game. If you could get any driver to compete in any discipline of motorsport, what would be your first move? Personally, I’d really love to see Sebastien Loeb do some dirt oval racing in a sprint car. There have to be some transferable skills there, right?