People Places & Racing News

Jeep Grand Cherokee Named Best SUV of 2023 by

Jeep Grand Cherokee
The ’23 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Named Best SUV of 2023 by

Jeep Grand Cherokee is the Best SUV of 2023, according to in its inaugural Best SUV of 2023 award. The editors of evaluated all SUVs available in the United States to determine which model demonstrates the best combination of capability, versatility and value, selecting the expanded Grand Cherokee family as the best of the best.

The award applies to the entire ’23 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup, including the two-row Grand Cherokee, three-row Grand Cherokee L and plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee 4xe, which delivers 56 MPGe, 25 miles all-electric range and 470-mile total range with no range anxiety.

The fifth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee is purpose-built and has an available plug-in hybrid powertrain. The ’23 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup has been designed for capability with class-leading space and versatility and advanced safety features.

“We’re proud that the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee, three-row Grand Cherokee L and electrified Grand Cherokee 4xe represent the best SUV lineup,” said Jim Morrison, senior vice president and head of Jeep brand North America. “In terms of 4x4 capability, two- and three-row versatility, a plug-in model that delivers 25 miles of all-electric range and 56 MPGe with no range anxiety and value that speaks to both new and return customers, the Grand Cherokee stands alone at the top of the mountain. It’s rewarding to know that feels the same.”

The new Grand Cherokee is the first to offer 4xe plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) and three-row variants. The Grand Cherokee 4xe signals the continued growth of the Jeep brand’s electrified mission of Zero Emissions Freedom. Designed to maximize overall passenger comfort, the Grand Cherokee L delivers third-row capacity, increased cargo volume, seating for up to seven passengers and more than 110 advanced safety and security features.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 models come standard with the Selec-Terrain traction management system, which offers five available terrain modes (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand) to provide optimized calibrations for any given driving scenario. The Grand Cherokee L, equipped with the available 5.7L V8, delivers best-in-class towing capability of 7,200 lbs.

With premium styling and craftsmanship inside and out, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has more than 110 advanced safety and security features, including an impressive amount of standard safety features, plus available driver-assist systems, 360-degree surround view, drowsy driver detection and night vision cameras. Segment-leading technologies include a 10.25-in. front passenger screen, rear-seat monitoring camera system, rear-seat entertainment displays with Amazon Fire TV Built-in and an available premium 19-speaker, 950-watt McIntosh audio system. The entire Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup also comes equipped with the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Toyota Grand Highlander Makes World Debut at Chicago Auto Show


Toyota unveiled the all-new, three-row Grand Highlander at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show.

Toyota unveiled the all-new, three-row Grand Highlander at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. In addition, Toyota featured 44 vehicles in its exhibit at McCormick Place. The show cars range from production vehicles to NASCAR properties to SEMA specialty products, such as the recently revealed Trailhunter Concept Vehicle. A trio of all-new, production vehicles—’23 Prius, ’23 GR Corolla and ’23 Crown—are also on display.

The ’23 Prius is the most fuel-efficient Prius ever, with a manufacturer-estimated 57 combined MPG, featuring a fresh new sporty exterior design and fifth-gen hybrid powertrain with up to 196 hp. The Prius has been updated with new tech offerings for enhanced connectivity and the latest Toyota Safety Sense system.

The first-ever ’23 GR Corolla is the newest member of Toyota’s GAZOO Racing sports-car family. Rooted in rally, the GR Corolla was developed under master driver Akio Toyoda and inspired by Toyota’s sports-car lineage. The GR Corolla is powered by the lightweight, compact-yet-powerful G16E-GTS turbocharged, three-cylinder engine that pumps out 300 hp, and comes in three grades: Core, Circuit Edition, and the limited, track-focused, MORIZO Edition.

The ’23 Toyota Crown is available in three grades: XLE, Limited and Platinum, and offers a choice of two different hybrid powertrains and standard all-wheel drive.

The HYBRID MAX powertrain, exclusive to the Platinum grade, is Toyota’s all-new performance hybrid that puts out 340 net hp and is paired with a 2.4L turbocharged engine and a direct-shift six-speed automatic transmission. The XLE and Limited grades come equipped with the THS IV hybrid system, which can achieve a manufacturer-estimated 38 MPG.

Also, adjacent to Toyota’s exhibit, the automaker has created “An Electrified Drive For All Seasons” ride and drive course. This four-seasons-themed demonstration area provides passenger-only access to Toyota’s hybridized vehicles, including Prius, RAV4, Sienna, Sequoia and Tundra.

Power AutomediaPower Automedia Announces Winner of 1,000-HP Engine Giveaway Presented by Summit Racing Equipment

Power Automedia’s EngineLabs magazine recently partnered with Summit Racing Equipment to host an engine giveaway at the industry’s SEMA and PRI Trade Shows. A 7.3L V8 “Godzilla” crate engine from Ford Performance was built into a 1,000-hp-capable twin-turbo engine by Late Model Engines (LME). Attendees of the 2022 PRI Trade Show had the opportunity to watch the engine build live and enter to win at various sponsors’ booths.

The giveaway officially ended December 31, 2022. The randomly chosen winner, John K. of Wimberly of Texas, was then notified on January 13, 2023.

“This was a complete surprise, and it was on my birthday so that made it double awesome,” explained Wimberly. “The vehicle I want to put this in is a ’51 F-1 Ford Pickup. I’ve had the truck since I was 19 and this is the second time I am going through it. This is going to make the truck’s story even better.”

Next up, the engine will be put to the test on the dyno at LME. The complete build series, including the upcoming dyno video, can be found on the Power + Performance YouTube channel. For additional build details and updates, follow

HennesseyHennessey Unveils Supercharged H700 Corvette C8 Stingray

The new Hennessey Supercharged H700 Corvette C8 Stingray, fitted with a muscular blower, vaults the standard mid-engined Stingray coupe to exotic car power and torque levels that surpass even the ’23 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, according to Hennessey.

The eighth-generation Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray coupe is shipped with a mid-mounted LT2 6.2L V8 engine. Naturally aspirated in stock form, it delivers 490 bhp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. However, to unleash the untapped potential of the American small-block V8, Hennessey’s Texas-based engineering team fits a high-flow centrifugal supercharger, an air-induction system with an air-to-water intercooler and an optional enhanced cat-back exhaust.

Completed with updated high-performance engine software, the H700 boasts 708 bhp and 638 lb.-ft.—a 44% increase in horsepower and a 37% increase in torque over the factory rating. In terms of power output, according to Hennessey, the supercharged H700 Corvette C8 Stingray tops Chevrolet’s flagship C8 Z06 whose naturally-aspirated 5.5L LT6 flat-plane crank V8 engine produces 670 bhp and 460 lb.-ft.

“The stock C8 Corvette Stingray is an extraordinary sports car, yet Chevrolet left some V8 performance on the table,” said John Hennessey, founder and CEO. “Our exciting H700 supercharger package integrates seamlessly with the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and our exhaust upgrade sounds much more aggressive than stock.”

The complete Hennessey Supercharged H700 Corvette C8 Stingray upgrade package includes the supercharger, intercooler, engine tune, lightweight wheels, cat-back exhaust and graphics priced at MSRP $49,950. The 19- and 20-in. alloy wheels are offered with a brushed aluminum, satin black or graphite finish, while the striking vinyl Hennessey Heritage Livery is offered in blue, white, black, silver or red. A power-only package, with just the supercharger upgrade and warranty, is offered for MSRP $34,950. All packages feature Hennessey and H700 badging and a serial numbered plaque.

For more information, visit

EGREGR Group Celebrates 50th Anniversary

EGR Group has announced the company’s 50th anniversary. Founded in 1973, the EGR Group was started in a garage by brothers, Greg and Rod Horwill, with the vision of creating stylish products utilizing advanced precision-engineered quality acrylic products and plastics. Today, EGR Group is named after the Horwills in recognition of the influence of their father Edward, who encouraged his sons’ entrepreneurship. The company employs more than 1,000 people, services 180 markets and has global offices in North America, Europe, China, South Africa, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Thailand and Brazil. The company has four major divisions: EGR Auto Accessories, EGR Display for the manufacture of custom-made permanent and semi-permanent point-of-sale displays, EGR Extrusion for the manufacture of specialized plastics and alloys and EGR building products for home and commercial architectural solutions under EGR Décor.

In celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary, EGR USA is rolling back prices on some of its top accessories, including fender flares, window visors, hood guards and sport bars for a limited time. The 50th-anniversary promotion may change throughout the year to focus on different products. For more information, visit EGR’s website.

Holley Announces CEO Transition

Holley Inc. has announced that Tom Tomlinson will retire as president and CEO and resign from the board of directors. The Board has appointed current director, Michelle Gloeckler, as interim president and CEO while it conducts a comprehensive search process to identify a permanent CEO. The search will be conducted with the assistance of Heidrick & Struggles, who was retained by the board in September 2022 for a comprehensive review of succession planning. Gloeckler has been a member of the board since July 2021 and has more than 30 years of experience in consumer-packaged goods, merchandising, sourcing, manufacturing and strategy.

In addition, Matthew Rubel, the company’s current chairman of the board, was designated and appointed executive chairman of the board, and expects to serve in such role until a permanent CEO has been selected. Further, Graham Clempson, an observer on the board since the company’s business combination with Empower Ltd. in July 2021, was appointed to serve as a member of the board, effective immediately. Clempson will serve as the chair and member of the Compensation and Talent Committee and as a member of the Audit Committee. Anita Sehgal, who joined the board in May of 2022, will become the chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee.

Ali Tonn
Ali Tonn

Nissan Foundation Appoints New Executive Director

The Nissan Foundation has named Ali Tonn executive director. She will be responsible for leading the corporate giving and philanthropic strategy for Nissan in the Americas region, as well as overseeing the Foundation’s ongoing support of education programs that celebrate and foster diversity.

Tonn brings to the Nissan Foundation more than 20 years of experience in non-profit program leadership, driving initiatives in pursuit of service and social good, plus extensive work in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI+B). Her professional background includes community impact programming in Tennessee, Wisconsin, New York, California, Texas, Canada and numerous other communities. She most recently served in an executive role at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as senior director of education and community engagement.

Street Car Takeover Adds Chris Baker as Car Show Director

Street Car Takeover—the premier national street car drag racing event—has announced the addition of Chris Baker as its new director of the Show Car Takeover. Street Car Takeover features drag racing and roll racing with 15 events across the United States annually. With the announcement, Street Car Takeover has also unveiled a new car show that will take place at each event in 2023. Baker is a longtime industry professional, with more than 13 years as creative director at JEGS and as co-founder and founder of several well-known events, like the Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky; F-Body Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee; and the C10 Nationals in Ft. Worth, Texas, Nashville, Tennesse, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Baker also heads CK Truck Magazine, founded in 2020. The 10th anniversary Street Car Takeover season opens February 24–25 in Bradenton, Florida. For more information, visit

Kia Niro
’23 Kia Niro HEV

Kia Niro HEV Named Best Car of 2023 by

The ’23 Kia Niro HEV was named’s Best Car of 2023, beating four other vehicles for the top spot. The ’23 Kia Carnival was named Best Family Car of 2023. The ’23 Sorento was nominated for Best SUV of 2023, which is the outlet's newest award category.’s automotive experts chose the Best Car of 2023 winner based on three variables: quality, innovation and value. The awards program includes six different categories: Best Car, Best SUV, Best Pickup Truck, Best Family Car, Best Luxury Car and Best Electric Vehicle.

“The 2023 Niro HEV rises to the top of our rankings because of its affordability, fuel economy, functional Aero Blade, and stand-out styling inside and out,” said Editor-in-Chief Jenni Newman. “Available in three powertrains, the Niro is offered as an EV, plug-in hybrid or hybrid, which is our favorite. Its EPA-estimated 53 mpg combined left our editors impressed. The five-seat compact hatchback sports an SUV-like profile. The dynamic dashboard design, padded surfaces and satin-finish accents give the Niro a classy ambiance, and the interior features innovative materials. For shoppers that want a little customization without the cost, the ‘Aero Blade’ accent panels are available in different colors. The ’23 Niro's innovation proves affordable alternative-fuel vehicles can come with style.”

Vortech Superchargers and Paxton Automotive Join AFR, Scat, RaceTec and ProCar

Taglich Private Equity has acquired Oxnard, California-based Vortech Superchargers and Paxton Automotive. The companies join the Air Flow Research (AFR), Scat Crankshafts, RaceTec Pistons and Procar Custom Seating Systems family of companies.

“Vortech Superchargers is a perfect match with this organization; all brands complement one another. For the first time in the performance aftermarket, a customer can purchase a reliable, high horsepower, proven combination directly from the companies manufacturing the core components,” said Jim Middlebrook, the founder of Vortech Superchargers.

Hyundai IONIQ 5

Hyundai IONIQ 5 Named 2023 Best Electric Vehicle by

The Hyundai IONIQ 5 has been named the Best Electric Vehicle by in its Best of 2023 Awards surpassing all ’23 EVs in the market that were tested by the company's editorial team of expert car reviewers. The IONIQ 5 stands out for its Hyundai exclusive Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that allows for more interior space and optimized performance as well as having a host of advanced technology. Many vehicles were evaluated, and three finalists were selected for the 2023 Best Electric Vehicle Award with the IONIQ 5 coming out on top.

“Hyundai's IONIQ 5 stands out as a well-rounded all-electric SUV, which is why it’s’s Best Electric Vehicle of 2023,” says Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief. “The IONIQ 5 is an excellent choice for first-time EV shoppers interested in making the jump to EV ownership as well as seasoned EV owners. Here’s what makes the IONIQ 5 a winner: It’s easy to drive with many of the familiar controls of a traditional gas-powered vehicle; it has a spacious, airy interior that's large enough for families; and its taller profile offers good outward visibility. The 800-volt architecture allows drivers to add miles of range faster than most other mainstream EVs when using a 350-kilowatt DC fast charger, which will ease the minds of the range-anxious.”

Wharton Automotive Group, McLeod Racing Announce New Appointments

Wharton Automotive Group—featuring brands McLeod Racing, FTI Performance and Silver Sport Transmissions—has appointed Will Baty to the position of product development manager. He was previously the off-road and research and development specialist for McLeod Racing in Anaheim, California. With more than 35 years in the drivetrain aftermarket, Baty will continue to add applications to the company’s product lines and work to develop new products and kits.

In addition, McLeod Racing has announced the addition of racer and engine builder Gary Kubo as its new racing department coordinator. He will help develop new drivetrain solutions, including overseeing the addition of small-diameter clutch kits to the McLeod product line. He will also serve as a liaison to race teams.

Nissan FuturesNissan Futures Showcases Innovations in Sustainable Mobility

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is holding Nissan Futures, an event showcasing how Nissan is shaping the future of sustainable mobility and innovative design, at its Global Headquarters Gallery from February 4–March 1. As part of the event launch, Nissan unveiled a physical concept model of its Max-Out EV convertible. The model was previously shown in virtual form as part of the Nissan Ambition 2030 vision announced in November 2021 under the Nissan Futures banner. The Max-Out—which will be on display for the duration of the event—embodies Nissan’s ambition to support greater access to both sustainable and innovative mobility.

Nissan Futures features interactive customer events, panel discussions with experts, and various displays, all aimed to exhibit its innovations in electrification, vehicle intelligence, power management, vehicle battery reuse and more. Entry to the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery and participation in the planned events (physically or virtually) is free of charge.

Gentex to Open Production Facility in Grand Rapids

Gentex Corp. has announced that it plans to open a satellite production facility that will bring 50 new jobs to the Madison Square neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. By expanding its manufacturing footprint, the company hopes to boost its employee base and provide greater access to well-paying jobs as it continues to implement meaningful solutions to address the ongoing labor shortage.

“Rising transportation costs make commuting increasingly difficult, so if Gentex wants to recruit employees from Grand Rapids, we need to be here,” said Gentex President and CEO Steve Downing. “And by locating a satellite plant and creating jobs in a neighborhood near city center, our goal is to strengthen not only Gentex, but also the surrounding community, and we look forward to future opportunities to do so.”

The decision to locate in the Madison Square neighborhood came after months of working alongside Amplify GR, a local non-profit that works in partnership to bring together neighbors, businesses, and local organizations to help strengthen neighborhoods.

Gentex’s Grand Rapids facility will be located at 355 Cottage Grove, SE. The building is currently undergoing renovations, with production slated to begin in late May. The facility will produce sub-assembly components for Gentex’s popular HomeLink product, which consists of vehicle-integrated buttons for operating garage doors and other home automation devices. When fully operational, the facility will operate two shifts and employ 50 team members engaged in light assembly, warehousing and logistics.

’23 Dodge Durango

Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Brand Vehicles Bring Home 19th Annual Vincentric Best Value in America Awards

Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brand vehicles earned multiple honors in the 19th annual Vincentric Best Value in America Awards, announced Tuesday, February 7. Dodge brand earned the Vincentric Best Value in America brand award in the SUV/Van category while the ’23 Chrysler 300, ’23 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid, ’23 Dodge Durango and ’23 Jeep Gladiator took home Best Value in America wins in their respective segments.

The Vincentric Best Value in America Awards are model-specific honors that determine the best value in each segment. Value is determined using a statistical analysis that incorporates the current market price and total cost of ownership of ’23 model-year vehicles.

In addition to the Dodge brand claiming Best Value in America in the SUV/Van Brand category, the ’23 Chrysler 300 and ’23 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in earned Best Value in America honors in the Large Sedan segment and Minivan segment, respectively. For the second time, Dodge Durango was recognized as the Best Value in America in the Large SUV segment, while the Jeep Gladiator picked up a second consecutive award in the Small/Mid-Size Pickup segment.

As part of the awards process, Vincentric also identified two Stellantis models as having the lowest total cost of ownership in its class: the ’23 Chrysler 300 (Lowest Cost to Own in America: Large Sedan) and the ’23 Dodge Durango (Lowest Cost to Own in America: Large SUV segment).

Cassie Schilling (center)

Meyer Distributing Presents 2023 Q4 Sales Performance Award

Meyer Distributing has announced that Cassie Schilling has been honored with the 2023 Fourth Quarter Outstanding Sales Performance Award. This award recognizes sales account managers who continuously surpass expectations at Meyer Distributing.

“Cassie is an original collision category account manager here at Meyer Distributing,” states Rick Stenftenagel, assistant collision sales manager for Meyer. “She sets the example for others to follow and routinely exceeds the high standards we hold ourselves to. We greatly appreciate her hard work and daily dedication to her team.” 

Have some company news you would like to share? Let us know and the news may appear in an upcoming issue of SEMA News. Send your items for consideration to