Drive Wire: May 5, 2016

Takata continues recalls, spy shots of the Wrangler, Ford's new F-150, the Brunton Lightwave Lantern, and high voltage power lines.

Hey guys, it’s Marisa Hunter and this is Drive Wire for Thursday, May 5th.

The bad news never stops for airbag manufacturer Takata. Another 35 million airbags are about to be recalled for faulty inflators, according to federal regulators. The faulty inflators don’t deploy normally during an incident. Instead they explode, causing possible harm to vehicle occupants due to flying debris. The exact models, brands, and even number of affected vehicles has yet to be determined, as some of the recalls for driver and passenger airbags may overlap, but consumers are urged to keep checking the website safercar.gov for updates on what is already by far the largest product recall in u-s history.

In Jeep news, we finally have spy shots of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, and although it looks like it’s wearing a bulky winter coat, there’s some good news in here. We can tell the wrangler’s essential proportions and lines are unchanged, except for a steeper windshield angle, and that’s good – the wrangler is jeep’s heart and soul, and you want it to look like a Wrangler. We also expect the 2018 Wrangler to be a body-on-frame design powered by a Pentastar V-6 run through an eight-speed automatic which, like the windshield angle, is for greater fuel economy. At any rate, this, plus the new Wrangler pickup, is nothing but good stuff for Jeep fans. 

In fuel-efficient truck news, Ford has released more information about the three point five liter ecoboost turbo V-6 engine and ten-speed automatic transmission planned for the 2017 F-150 pickups. The all-new engine shares only a couple measurements with the old ecoboost. It employs everything from stop-start technology to hollow camshafts for increased efficiency. A boost pressure increase to 16 PSI brings the torque up another 30lb-ft, from 420 to 450. Ford says the hotter version of the eco-boost six will make more power than the 6.2L V-8 in the last raptor. Look for the base engine and its ten-speed automatic companion in trucks starting this fall.

Turning to gear, the Brunton Lightwave Lantern is a must for your campsite when you’re just plain camping. It’s a lantern with a 20,000 milliamp battery built in. When you’re “glamping,” there’s an app to change the lantern’s ilumination to whatever color light show you want while you play tunes over the built-in speaker. Just remember, there’s a time and place for both. Get the lightwave at Brunton.com.

For today’s ridiculous video, we have something a little quieter. Just a guy riding outside of a helicopter to go crawl on high-power lines while wearing a suit that protects him from high voltages. No big deal. For something so obviously dangerous, it’s oddly soothing.

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