Drive Wire: January 27, 2016

A Hendrick Wrangler, a Maserati SUV, VW Golf upgrades, a new LED lantern, and acrobatic stunts.

Hey guys, it’s Christina Thompson and this is Drive Wire for Wednesday, January 27th.

NASCAR powerhouse Hendrick has developed a prototype Jeep Wrangler that’s fit for military use. They’re calling it the Hendrick Commando. The most significant modification is a 2.8 liter diesel 4-cylinder engine that meets military fuel standards, meaning it can run on JP8 jet fuel if necessary. Of course the design can also accommodate everything else necessary from radio equipment to gun mounts. If Hendrick gets the contract, the commando would enjoy the benefits of manufacturer platform support. We’d just enjoy seeing Jeep come full-circle and back in military service again.

As the automotive industry becomes flooded with luxury SUVs, Maserati is deciding to join the crowd. Photos of what we believe to be the 2017 Levante show it suffering through cold-weather testing in the arctic circle. Despite the rugged surroundings, reports indicate the Levante is being built on the same platform as the Quattroporte sedan, with a similar interior, and most likely available with 3-liter V-6, 3-point-8 liter V-8, and possible diesel engine options. Keep an eye out for this one at the Geneva show.

There are rumors that the beloved Volkswagen Golf will be undergoing a facelift for the Geneva Auto Show. Seems like just last year the Mark 7 debuted. Look for visual tweaks, LED headlights across the range. And best of all, a 420-horsepower high performance version knowns as the Golf R 420 might be sold in the US in the coming years. It’s too early to tell if this will become a competitor to the Ford Focus ST, but we look forward to the return of a high powered hatchback.

Today’s gear features the Lumir-C, an LED lantern powered by a tea candle. Yes, that’s correct – the Lumir-C uses one of those little votives you buy in bags at Ikea, takes the heat, and turns it into sixty lumen’s worth of electrical energy. The gadgetyness of it alone is pretty cool, and you can go from romantic to effective and back in just a couple seconds, so it’s great for today’s mixed-use lifestyles. Get it on Kickstarter.

In today’s ridiculous video, we head back to Russia for another series of death-defying stunts. Seemingly lacking the capacity for fear, these high-flying acrobats swing off a pair of 18-story buildings on ropes, but you and I are merely humans and should just enjoy watching this over and over.

That’s it for today’s edition of Drive Wire. For more, be sure to come back to thedrive.com, and follow us @thedrive on all your favorite social media platforms.