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December 2008 Archives

December 1, 2008

Times are Tough...Ford Reconsiders Selling Volvo

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Times are tough for the Big 3 and each automaker is trying to figure out ways to raise revenue. Ford announced today that the automaker is reevaluating its options for the Volvo brand.

Ford is being forced to reconsider selling Volvo dues to the significant economic decline in the last few months. Ford says it's going to be a few months before Ford makes a decision about Volvo. In the meantime Ford is going to work with Volvo to allow it to operate on a more stand-alone basis.

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December 2, 2008

2010 Audi A5/S5 Cabriolet Unveiled...Too Bad its Winter

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Just in time for winter, Audi has unveiled the Cabriolet versions of the A5 and S5.

For 2010 Audi is going to release drop top versions of its beautiful A5 and S5 coupes. But unlike BMW, Infiniti and Lexus, these drop tops will feature a fabric top. It's obvious that a soft top saves more weight over a metal folding top and also saves some cargo space, but its definitely not as nice to look at when the top is up.

The 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet will be powered by either the 2.0L TFSI four-cylinder or the 3.2 FSI V6 engine. The S5 coupe is currently powered by 4.2L V8 that it will keep until the end of the 2010 model year, but the S5 Cabriolet is already making the switch to the smaller engine with the 3.0L TFSI V6 that is also in the S4.

The 2010 Audi A5/S5 Cabriolet will be available in the fall of 2009.

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December 3, 2008

First Official 2009 Honda Insight Photo Released

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Honda is going to officially unveil the production version of its Honda Insight Hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, next month.

The production version of the Insight is pretty close to the concept version that has been touring the auto show circuit. The apparent differences on the outside are different wheels, larger mirrors, door handles and a slightly different front bumper and taillights.

The 2009 Honda Insight will be in showrooms in the spring of 2009. It's also expected to be cheaper than the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid.

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2010 BMW Z4 Exposed on a Movie Set

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Test mules of the 2010 BMW Z4 have been caught testing around the world many times, but now we have our first look at the new Z4.

The new Z4 borrows styling elements from the new 2009 3 Series and 7 Series. It's also expected that the Z4 will also feature a retractable hardtop. Too bad that guy is in the middle of the shot or we could have seen more. The Z4 shown here is apparently in a BMW dealership during the filming of a new Michael Douglas movie.

Stay tuned...

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December 8, 2008

2010 Audi R8 V10 Unveiled Before its Official Unveiling in Detroit

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If it wasn't already sad enough that most of us can't afford the current Audi R8, Audi has unveiled an even better version of the R8, the R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro.

The R8 V10 shares its engine with the Lamborghini Gallardo. The V10 puts out 525 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque, which is a little less than the numbers that the Gallardo puts out. The R8 V10 reaches 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds. The V10 engine is mated to either a six -speed manual or the sequential R tronic transmission.

The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro wil launch in Germany in the second quarter of 2009 at a basic price of EUR 142,400.

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Ward's Auto Announces the 2009 10 Best Engines

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Ward’s Automotive Group has announced its 2009 10 Best Engines list.

The list is compiled by Ward's editors and 2009 is officially the 15th year of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines program.

This year the list of winners is very broad with hybrid engines as well as high output turbocharged engines receiving the award.

“A decade ago, few consumers in the U.S. paid serious attention to hybrids or diesels. This year, they have to, if they don’t want to be pinched the next time fuel hits $4 a gallon,” says Tom Murphy, executive editor of Ward’s AutoWorld magazine.”The diesels from VW and BMW and the Ford Escape Hybrid all got better than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) during our testing, and often they topped 40 mpg (5.8 L/100 km),” he says. “And the diesels meet the strictest emissions regulations in the world. If Americans want to find a vehicle that consumes less fuel and is fun to drive, our list is a great place to start.”

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Detroit Automakers Ask the Canadian Government for $6.8 Billion

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A final decision from the U.S. government about the loans for the U.S. automakers is expected anytime now, but it's expected that the final amount will only be between $15-17 billion. Which is much less than the original $34 billion the automakers were asking for. To help raise more money, the automakers are now asking the Canadian government for $6.8 billion. The Big 3 employ about 100,000 workers in Canada.

“North American economic conditions now make it necessary for us to seek government assistance to sustain our business and supply chain,” said Arturo Elias, president of General Motors Canada.

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If GM Survives Should Saturn Simply Disappear?

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Everything is in a "state of flux" right now for the U.S. automakers. Even if they manage to secure loans from the U.S. government and possibly the Candian government, there will still be major changes.

There have been many reports and rumors that GM may end up dropping or scaling back the slow selling Saturn, Pontiac and GMC brands. In its plan that it submitted to the U.S. Congress last week, GM stated that it is "exploring alternatives" for the Saturn brand. Although Saturn currently has a strong product lineup, the brand has failed to meet sales expectations.

Many people would assume that GM should just cut its losses with the Saturn brand and move on, but doing so would cost GM at least $1 billion in all the dealer buyouts.

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December 9, 2008

2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Photos Leaked via the Web

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The first official images of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class have leaked onto the web today. We've seen lots of spy photos and renderings of the new sedan, so these photos aren't all that exciting.

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Mercedes previewed the new E-Class with the Mercedes-Benz ConceptFascination and its apparent that the sedan draws many cues from the concept. The front-end ditches the four round headlights for four more angular pieces. There are also new led light strips on the lower front bumper. Overall the styling of the new E-Class brings it more inline with the larger S-Class and smaller C-Class sedans.

Expect more details soon...

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525 Horsepower 2010 Audi R8 V10 Unveiled in Red

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Audi unveiled the Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro yesterday ahead of its official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Now the first photos of the R8 V10 in red have been released.

The Audi R8 V10 is powered by a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2L V10 engine that puts out 525 horsepower and propels the car from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 196 mph. The V10 engine is mated to either a a 6-speed manual or R-Tronic semi-automatic.

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December 15, 2008

All-New 2010 BMW Z4 Officially Unveiled Before Detroit

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Following several spy photos and photo leaks, BMW has officially unveiled the 2010 Z4 before its official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

The new Z4 gets all-new styling that is both more aggressive (front end) and cleaner (back end). A new first for the Z4 is a two-piece retractable hard-top that ditches the soft-top from the last generation.

The Z4 also employs BMW's new naming scheme (sDrive) with the sDrive30i and sDrive35i. The sDrive30i is powered by a 255 horsepower 3.0L 6-cylinder engine and the sDrive35i is powered by the 300 horsepower 3.0L twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine. Both engines can be mated to either a a 6-speed manual or a dual-clutch 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The sDrive30i is also available with a six-speed automatic.

The all-new Z4 will be officially unveiled next month with sales starting in the fall of 2009.

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Ford Fusion Will get 4-Cyl EcoBoost Engine in 2010

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Ford has yet to release its much talked about V6 EcoBoost engine, but sources say that Ford is already putting the finishing touches on a new 2.0L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It is expected that the Fusion will get the new engine in 2010.

Ford's new EcoBoost engines combine turbo-charging and direct injection technology to produce more horsepower from a smaller engine. The first EcoBoost engine is a 3.5L V6 that will be launched next summer in the 2010 Lincoln MKS.

Ford claims that it is too early to discuss the specifics of the new 4-cylinder engine, but that it will deliver the fuel economy that customers demand without sacrificing power. Which according to Product analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP in Birmingham, the four-cylinder engine should deliver power equal to a V6 engine, but with better fuel economy.

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Audi A7 Concept Headed to Detroit

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Next month Audi is going to unveil the A7 concept at the Detroit Auto Show in addition to the V10 version of the beautiful R8.

The A7 is Audi's version of the Mercedes CLS, which basically means its a four-door sedan with coupe-like styling. According to sources the couple-like lines of the concept mirror those of the production version. In addition to the concept version of the A7 and the V10 R8, Audi is also going to unveil a new diesel-powered vehicle. Rumor has it that it could be a new diesel powered A4 or maybe even the Q5 SUV.

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December 16, 2008

Detroit 09' Preview: Volvo S60 Concept Unveiled

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Although there are rumors that Ford may soon sell Volvo, Volvo is continuing work on its current lineup. Volvo has unveiled the S60 Concept that will be officially unveiled next month at the Detroit Auto Show.

The S60 Concept shows that the next generation S60 will be more aggressive than the current generation with a coupe-like roof line. The concept also has no B pillar and features rear doors that open suicide style. Obviously the door setup will not make it onto the production model.

Inside the concept features many of the same design elements as the newer Volvos.

The concept is powered by a GTDi (gasoline turbocharged direct-injection) four-cylinder that puts out 179 horsepower and is mated to a Powershift dual-clutch transmission.

Stay tuned for more details next month from the show.

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Ford F150 Named Motor Trend's 2009 Truck of the Year

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Motor Trend has announced the recipient of its 2009 Truck of the Year award and this year the redesigned 2009 Ford F150 receives the award.

This year there were only 4 contenders for the award, the Ford F150, also redesigned Dodge Ram, Suzuki Equator and HUMMER H3T. Basically the choice for Motor Trend's editors was between the F150 and Ram since the Equator is basically a rebadged Nissan Frontier and well the H3T is....you fill in the blank.

Editors praised the new F150 for having low noise levels and high interior quality materials. Other standouts were the new features like the Tailgate Step, Box Side Step, and a stowable bed-extender helped the F150 receive the award.

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2009 Pontiac G8 GXP Starts at $39,995

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Pontiac has announced the pricing for the 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP. Pricing starts at $39,995.

The G8 GXP is powered by a 6.2L V8 that puts out 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds and comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is available.

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December 17, 2008

Acura Reportedly Kills the Next-Gen NSX...It's a Sad Day

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Thanks to the economic downturn many automakers are being forced to cut many of their programs, vehicle plans, etc. Most of the most dire news lately has come from the Big 3 U.S. automakers, but now Toyota and Honda are also being forced to make some cuts.

Honda recently announced plans to cancel its participation in Formula One and now its being reported that the automaker has canceled plans for the next-generation Acura NSX supercar. Prototypes for the NSX have been seen many times and it was reported that the NSX was going to be Acura's most powerful car ever with a V10 engine putting out way over 500 horsepower.

Honda's CEO, Takeo Fukui reportedly made the announcement about the fate of the NSX. It's also being reported that Honda has suspended plans to launch the Acura brand in Japan. Hopefully this news does not also mean that the much needed V8 engine is also in jeopardy. At this point the fate of the V10 engine is unknown.

Continue reading "Acura Reportedly Kills the Next-Gen NSX...It's a Sad Day" »

Detroit 09' Preview: Subaru Legacy Concept Teaser Released

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Although a few automakers have shelved plans to have any big releases at the Detroit Auto Show next month, a few such as Volvo, Subaru and Audi are still planning some big intros.

Subaru has released a single teaser photo of the Legacy Concept that the automaker will unveil next month. The concept is supposed to provide a glimpse of what the next generation Legacy will look like. The Legacy Concept also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Legacy.

Stay tuned...

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December 18, 2008

Honda to Release 67 MPG Fit Hybrid in 2010

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Honda is finally trying to catch up to Toyota in the hybrid game with three new hybrid vehicles joining Honda's lineup in the next few years. First we will get the Insight hybrid next year, followed in 2010 by a production version of the CR-Z hybrid concept and then eventually a Fit hybrid.

Sources are now claiming that Honda is going to release a hybrid powered version of the Fit/ Jazz in 2010. The Fit hybrid will feature the same hybrid powertrain as the Insight, which is a 1.3L engine mated to an electric motor. According to sources the Fit hybrid will get approximately 67 mpg.

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December 19, 2008

Audi Expands the A4 Lineup with New FrontTrak and and Six-Speed Manual Models

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Audi has announced the expansion of the A4 lineup with a new front-wheel-drive (FrontTrak) model and the addition of a six-speed manual transmission on the A4 quattro sedan.

The A4 2.0T FrontTrak features Audi's 2.0 TFSI engine that is paired to a multitronic continuously variable transmission. The setup helps the A4 get 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The A4 2.0T quattro equipped with the six-speed manual transmission gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

The 2009 Audi A4 2.0T FrontTrak sedan with multitronic CVT transmission starts at $31,000. The MSRP on the 2009 Audi A4 2.0T quattro manual is $31,850.

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President Bush Approves $17.4 Billion in Loans to the U.S. Automakers!

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Since Congress was unable to come to an agreement about a bailout for the U.S. automakers, President George W. Bush has approved $17.4 billion in emergency loans to the U.S. automakers. The loans are needed to help save hundreds of thousands of jobs and prevent GM and Chrysler from going bankrupt.

GM and Chrysler are expected to dip into the money immediately, while Ford claims that its liquidity is adequate for now and does not need a bailout loan.

"If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers," Bush said.

President elect Barack Obama also supports the loans to the automakers.

Although the loans are going to help GM and Chrysler survive, the loans will only get them through until March of next year.

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December 22, 2008

Detroit 09' Preview: 2010 Chevy Equinox Unveiled

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GM has unveiled the all-new 2010 Chevy Equinox, which will have its official public debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

The all-new Equinox receives new styling inside and out in addition to new 2.4L and 3.0L direct injected engines. The 2.4L four-cylinder engine puts out 182 horsepower and gets 30 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in the city. The 3.0L V6 puts out 255 horsepower and gets 25 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in the city. GM expects the driving range to be more than 500 miles between fill ups with either engine.

In terms of styling the all-new Equinox gets Chevy's new face that is similar to that of the Malibu and larger Traverse crossover with its two-tier grille and prominent gold Bowtie insignia. The Equinox continues to share its Theta platform with the Saturn Vue.

Inside the new Equinox gets features such as Bluetooth, a USB port for your audio devices, DVD-based rear entertainment system and an available power liftgate.

GM hasn't announced if the Equinox will eventually get one the same two-mode hybrid system as the Saturn Vue.

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Toyota to Unveil EV Concept at Detroit Auto Show

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Toyota announced this morning that the automaker is going to unveil a new electric vehicle concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Other than the single image of the logo and a very short press release (two sentences), Toyota did not release any other details about the new concept. The EV Concept will share the stage with the all-new 2010 Prius.

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Detroit 09' Preview: Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S Unveiled

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Maserati is going to unveil the new Quattroporte Sport GT S at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show next month to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Maserati's first Indianapolis 500 win.

The changes to the GT S from the Quattroporte S include a recalibated 4.7L V8 engine that now puts out 433 horsepower and the transmission also gets revised shift points. The front and rear suspension have been revised with stiffer springs and a lower ride height. A new sports exhaust has also been added to give the car an even better sound than the S.

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December 23, 2008

Detroit 09' Preview: 2009 Saab 9-5 Griffin Edition

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Saab loves its special edition models and although the current 9-5 is close to the end of its life cycle, Saab is releasing a 9-5 Griffin Edition.

The 9-5 Griffin Edition is powered by a 2.3L 260 horsepower 4-cylinder engine that can be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission.

The exterior of the 9-5 Griffin features a matte chrome grill, Xenon headlights, rear spoiler, unique five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels and Griffin badges. Inside there is a high gloss interior trim and Aero-inspired leather seats.

The 9-5 Griffin starts at $42,775 for the Sedan and $ 44,045 for the SportCombi model.

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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Officially Gets 41 MPG

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Ford officially unveiled the 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid at the LA Auto Show last month. At the time it was estimated that the Fusion Hybrid would get better gas mileage than its closest competitor, the Camry Hybrid. Well the EPA has officially rated the Fusion Hybrid at 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Those numbers beat the Camry Hybrid by 8 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway.

Those numbers mean that the Fusion Hybrid is now the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan.

The Fusion Hybrid is powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that is mated to an electric motor. The electric motor is powerful enough to propel the car to speeds up to 47 mpg without the assistance of the gas engine.

The 2010 Fusion Hybrid will be available this coming spring.

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All-New 2009 BMW 750i and 750Li Pricing Announced

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BMW has officially announced the pricing for the all-new 750i and 750Li models.

BMW's largest sedan starts at $81,125 for the 750i and $85,025 the 750Li. Both models are powered by a 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8 that puts out 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque.

The all-new 7 Series will be in showrooms this coming spring with a 7 Series hybrid following sometime later.

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VIDEO: Sneak Peak of the 2010 Cadillac SRX Hitting the Snow

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Here's a new video of the 2010 Cadillac SRX that is going to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Cadillac hasn't released any of the official details of the second-gen SRX. So stay tuned until next month.

Continue reading "VIDEO: Sneak Peak of the 2010 Cadillac SRX Hitting the Snow" »

Lexus Confirms HS 250h to be Unveiled in Detroit

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Last year Toyota confirmed that a Lexus branded dedicated hybrid model would make its debut at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Lexus has now confirmed that the new dedicated hybrid will be dubbed the HS250h.

The details are scarce about the new model although it is expected that the new Lexus hybrid will share some of, if not all of its mechanicals with the also new 2010 Toyota Prius. If the HS 250h in fact does use the same hybrid powertrain as the new Prius it will be the next-generation Hybrid Synergy with nickel-metal hydride battery packs. Unfortunately lithium-ion packs are still in development and will be added at a later date.

Stay tuned for all the details from the show next month.

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December 29, 2008

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe to Debut in Super Bowl XLIII Ads

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Hyundai has announced that it is going to debut its the 2010 Genesis Coupe in two Super Bowl ads during the Super Bowl on February 1, 2009.

Both commercials share a common theme, "The Epic Lap." The first commercial will feature the Genesis Coupe being driven by Rhys Millen with background music provided by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The second commercial will feature different driving footage and music.

The 2010 Genesis Coupe is powered by either a 210 horsepower turbocharged 2.0L engine or a 306 horsepower 3.8L V6. Both engines put the power to the ground via the rear wheels.

Continue reading "2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe to Debut in Super Bowl XLIII Ads" »

VIDEO: Blue Man Group and the 2010 Toyota Prius

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Toyota is going to officially unveil the 2010 Prius at the Detroit Auto Show next month. This little teaser video shows some more shots of the new hybrid being checked out by the Blue Man Group

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December 30, 2008

Ford Makes Parallel Parking Easier for 2010 Lincoln MKT and MKS Owners

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Ford has announced its new "active park assist" system that is optional on the 2010 Lincoln MKS sedan and the new Lincoln MKT crossover.

With the touch of a button the Active Park Assist system uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to parallel park the vehicle without any assistance from the driver. There are sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle to help the system guide the vehicle into the driver's desired parking spot. Ford claims that its system is better than what is offered by Lexus since it requires less driver interface.

The Active Park Assist system will be available in mid-2009 on the Lincoln MKT and MKS. Ford hasn't stated what vehicles are next in line for the technology. Instead only mentioning that the system will be on 90 percent of Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles by 2012.

Continue reading "Ford Makes Parallel Parking Easier for 2010 Lincoln MKT and MKS Owners" »

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