January 2011 Archives

Jaguar is Considering a 3 Series Fighter

At the beginning of the last decade Jaguar released a small sedan that was dubbed the X-Type and was based off the same platform as the European Ford Mondeo. It was hardly a BMW 3 Series fighter, but Jaguar is starting to look at the segment again.

Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's new global brand director recently stated that Jaguar is mulling the idea of a small sports car that would also spawn a small sports sedan. "We need different models. We need lower priced models." Hallmark stated.

Hallmark went on to emphasize that Jaguar needs a small sports car for its image and a sedan for volume. He also acknowledged the mistakes that Jaguar made with the X-Type and vowed not to make the same mistakes again. Since Jaguar is just now starting to think about a new small sedan, it could be quite some time before anything shows up in showrooms...

VIDEO: VW Teases New Beetle Super Bowl Commercial

VW has a new Beetle coming for the 2012 model year, VW hasn't officially unveiled the next-gen New Beetle, although we've seen lots of spy photos. On Sunday VW is going to air two commercials during the Super Bowl. One will be for the all-new 2012 Passat and the second will be a teaser for the New Beetle.

The next-generation of VW's Beetle will ditch its rounded roof for a more aggressive (flatter) roofline.

Strategic Vision has released the results of its Total Value Index for 2010, which places VW as the leader, while Ford managed to rank higher than Honda for the first time. The other big news is that the Hyundai Sonata managed to get the highest Total Value Index score (860 points) of any other vehicle ever tested by Strategic Vision.

"Typically we do not include 'early-next-calendar-year' launch models in our current calendar year studies, but in the case of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, its performance was so outstanding we created a new "Special Total Value Award" just to recognize a truly superior Value accomplishment," says Strategic Vision Founder and Chairman Darrel Edwards, Ph.D.

Strategic Vision's Total Value combine a collection of over 442 data points to rank the vehicles.

2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible Starts at $26,445

Chrysler has announced the pricing for the new 2011 200 Convertible. Like its sedan brother, the convertible gets a new exterior/interior, the Pentastar 3.6L V6 and a revised suspension.

"The sky is the limit with the new Chrysler 200 Convertible, delivering customers stylish design with purpose and the most interior space in the segment, comfortably seating four adults and providing ample cargo space in the trunk, even when the top is down," said Olivier Francois, CEO -- Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "The new 200 Convertible offers superb driving dynamics, a new exterior design, an all-new, beautifully-crafted interior and an abundance of standard features."

The 2011 Chrysler 200 Touring Convertible starts at $26,445 and the Convertible Limited starts at $31,240 excluding $750 destination. The 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible will arrive in spring 2011.

BMW Officially Announces the Return of Four-Cyl Engines in the U.S.

BMW has been talking about the return of four-cylinder powered models in the U.S. for a while and earlier this month, BMW unveiled the new turbocharged 2.0L in the X1. BMW is now releasing more details about the 2.0L four-cylinder that will be the first time BMW has sold a four-cylinder powered model in the US since 1999.

The 2.0L engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger and puts out 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. BMW also pointed out that the 2.0L puts out more horsepower and torque than its normally-aspirated 3.0L inline-six cylinder.

BMW has yet to officially announce which models will be powered by the new four-cylinder, other than the X1. It's been reported that the Z4 will get the new engine and its also expected that it will be offered in the 1 and 3 Series.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 Official Photos

Here are the first official photos of the revised 2012 Mercedes-benz C63. The 2012 C63 will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The revised C63 gets new headlights and taillights with embedded LEDs. The front end gets a reworked grille and a new bumper and there are new alloy wheels. Under the hood Mercedes has decided to stick with the naturally aspirated 451-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine instead of the new 5.5-liter biturbo engine. The Development Package raises the engine's output to 481 horsepower and allows the C63 to reach a top speed of 174 mph. The big change under the hood is that the seven-speed Speedshift MCT automatic transmission, ditches a conventional torque converter for a clutch pack. The transmission allows the driver to choose between four driving modes.

Volvo to Cut Lineup Starting with the V50

In an effort to stop declining sales, Volvo is planning on cutting its current lineup to focus its energy on its best selling models. Volvo currently offers nine models, but Doug Speck, head of Volvo's operations in the U.S.recently stated, "Five or six is probably a good number. We have to focus on the key segments with significant volume potential."

The first model to get the axe will be the V50 wagon, since U.S. buyers are more inclined to crossovers than wagons. Speck did not state when that will happen. Volvo is still trying to decide what other models to cut, but for now will mainly focus on the new S60 sedan and the XC60 and XC90 crossovers.

Geneva 11' Preview: Volvo Announces V60 Plug-In Hybrid

Volvo has announced that it will be unveiling the V60 Plug-in Hybrid "a virtually production-ready car" at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid is the result of is the result of theclose cooperation with the Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall. The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4L D5 turbodiesel, that puts out 215 horsepower. The rear wheels are powered by an electric motor producing 70 horsepower, that gets its juice from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery.

"In order to get true car enthusiasts to think green, you have to offer them the opportunity to drive with low carbon dioxide emissions without taking away the adrenaline rush that promotes genuine driving pleasure. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid has all the traditional properties of a genuine sports wagon. What we've done is to spice it up with spearhead technology," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid will go on sale in 2012.

Kia's all-new Optima is a giant leap forward from the previous generation and Kia wants the world to know it. There's no better opportunity than the Super Bowl to grab the world's attention. Kia is going to be featuring the new Optima in a 60-second spot during the first quarter of the game.

The spot is titled "One Epic Ride" and it shows how people such as a police officer and an international villain, aliens and an ancient chief desire the new Optima. The commercial is also part of a contest in which five 2011 Optimas will be given away. Kia is also going to be teaming up with SocialVibe to create a Kia-branded social media game.

VW Super Bowl Ads to Show off New Passat and Tease the Next Beetle

The Super Bowl is almost here. Of course the Super Bowl is technically a football game, but almost half of the viewers tune in just to see the over the top commercials. Advertisers spend big on these commercials, which often includes the automakers. This year VW is going to air two different 30 second commercials during the game.

The two commercials will feature the recently unveiled all-new 2012 Passat and the second will provide a tease of the upcoming next-gen Beetle.


"Both spots show the creativity and innovation that people expect from an iconic brand like Volkswagen," added Mike Sheldon, CEO, Deutsch LA, Volkswagen's Agency of Record. "The Super Bowl is unlike any other media platform in the world in terms of its reach and cultural influence. It is tailor-made for big announcements and is the perfect way for VW to engage the American public."

VW has unveiled two special Touaregs in Qatar, the Race Touareg 3 Qatar and the Touareg Gold Edition.

The Race Touareg 3 Qatar is a street legal version of the rally motorsport vehicle that was still touring South America in the Dakar Rally two weeks ago. It can reach 0-62 mph in less than six seconds. The body was slightly modified for street use and uses 18-inch wheels instead of the 16-inch wheels the rally version uses. Inside the interior was completely redesigned with the only thing that wasn't modified was the safety cage. Designers created an interior in so-called "Stealth look" that is reminiscent of the aircraft of the same name.


The Touareg Gold Edition is quite the opposite of the Race Touareg with its 24-karat gold trim on the outside and inside. On the outside the custom designed 22-inch wheels, roof rails, protective guard strips and window frames, mirror caps and parts of the air intake frame are all gold. Gold is also everywhere in the interior as it adorns many of the car's accents and switches.

How much would either of these cost? Who knows...

Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4 Bicolore Unveiled

Lamborghini has unveiled a new Bicolore edition Gallardo at the Qatar Motor Show.

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560-4 Bicolore is powered by a 560-hp V10 engine mated to an all-wheel-drive system and it reaches 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds. The Bicolore edition comes in an exclusive two-tone paint finish with matching interior. Buyers have a choice of five colors: Giallo Midas, Arancio Borealis, Grigio Telesto, Bianco Monocerus and Blu Caelum. From the window-line upwards (including pillars, roof, engine hood and rear spoiler), the vehicle is decorated in Noctis Black.

"With the Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore, Lamborghini demonstrates once again the extreme, uncompromising and unmistakably Italian nature of our brand. The super sports cars from Lamborghini combine volcanic energy with design that is as unique as it is stylish," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.

Unfortunately the Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore is only available in the European and Asia-Pacific markets. Lamborghini has applied the Bicolore treatment to the LP 550-2 for U.S. consumption.

Geneva 11' Preview: Revised Euro Honda Accord to Debut

Honda is going to unveil the revised European-spec Honda Accord at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Although they both share the same name, the US-spec Accord is clearly not the same model we get here. Instead the European Accord is essentially the Acura TSX that we get here sans the ugly grille.

The revised Accord gets a slightly revised exterior with new headlights and bumpers. The top version gets headlights that are now bi-xenon and feature Active Cornering Lights to improve night time visibility. The grille has also been slightly revised as well as the fog lights. The rear of the Accord gets revised taillights. There are three new colors: Alabaster Silver, Graphite Lustre and Celestial Blue Pearl.

Under the hood the 2.2L i-DTEC diesel engine has had internal frictional losses reduced plus a host of underbody aerodynamic aids improve fuel economy and emissions.

Toyota Recalls 245,000 Lexus GS and IS Sedans

Uh oh it's a new year and it looks like Toyota has more recalls to deal with. Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of 245,000 Lexus GA and IS sedans. The recall covers 2006 through 2007 Lexus GS300/350, 2006 through early 2009 Lexus IS250, and 2006 through early 2008 Lexus IS350 vehicles sold in the U.S.

The voluntary safety recall is due to insufficient tightening of the fuel pressure sensor connected to certain engine fuel delivery pipes. There is a possibility that the pressure sensor could leak over time and if that occurs fuel could leak past a gasket used in the connection between the sensor and the delivery pipe and through the threaded portion of the sensor. Lexus dealers will inspect the vehicle for leakage and if no leakage is found, it will tighten the fuel pressure sensor. If a fuel leak is confirmed, the gasket between the sensor and the delivery pipe will be replaced and the sensor will be tightened.

It looks like we're going to get to see concept versions of both Subaru and Toyota's version of the FT-86 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Subaru confirmed earlier this month that their version of the jointly developed coupe would be unveiled and now Toyota has made a similar announcement this morning.

Toyota originally unveiled the FT-86 concept at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and the FT-86 II concept is supposed to give us an even closer look at what the final design will look like. According to Toyota the FT-86 II concept "embodies the company's reborn passion for sports car driving."

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Packs 430-HP...Yes Please!!!

The Aston Martin Vantage is a beautiful car that many of us would love to have in our garage. Now Aston Martin has released an even more powerful version of the V8 Vantage that is even hotter.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is powered by the same 4.7L V8, but now puts out 430 horsepower and 361 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a newseven-speed Sportshift™ II transmission.

"The Vantage S epitomises every attribute of the V8 Vantage and pushes the driver experience beyond what we have offered before," says Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, "It combines dynamic exhilaration with all the charming finesse, beauty and practicality already associated with the Vantage range."

The Vantage S gets a quickened steering rack ratio, larger diameter front disc brakes with new six-piston front brake calipers, new springs and dampers, and wider rear wheels. On the outside the Vantage S gets a new lower front bumper with a larger air intake. The splitter combined with the extended deck lid 'flip' also work to increase down force at speed.

Next Mini Cooper Design to be a Big Leap Forward

The next-generation Mini Cooper is expected to get a big design change according to BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk who stated that the next Mini will be a ""bigger design leap than the last one."

Adrian van Hooydonk told Autocar that Andres Warming, Mini's new design boss, will start the design of the third-generation Mini from a clean sheet of paper. although "we have to balance that against the fact that it is the brand's core model, like the 3, 5 and 7-series rolled into one."

According to insiders, Mini is currently working on a new interior design theme that will get rid of the center mounted speedometer.

Porsche 911 Black Edition Unveiled and Starts at $81,300

Porsche has unveiled the 911 Black Edition Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet. The Black Edition is obviously only available in black and only 1,911 units will be available worldwide with a starting price of $81,300 for the coupe and $91,300 for the cabriolet.

The 911 Black Edition is available in two black colors: Solid Black or the optional Basalt Black Metallic. It also gets 19 inch 911 Turbo II two-color wheels, black lettering on the stainless steel door entry guards, a sport design steering wheel, BOSE® Surround Sound-System, the Porsche touch screen Communication Management (PCM) system, XM Radio, XM NavTraffic and a GPS based navigation.

Under the hood the 911 Black Edition is powered by a 345-hp 3.6L engine that is mated to a six-speed manual or the PDK seven-speed double clutch transmission. The coupe reaches 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds, while the cabriolet reaches it in 4.5 seconds.

"Newly Refined" 2012 Acura TL to Debut in Chicago

Acura has announced that a "newly refined" 2012 TL is going to debut at the Chicago Auto Show next month.

According to Acura the 2012 TL "further enhances its position in the segment with aggressive, yet refined styling and performance." Acura hasn't released any photos of the 2012 TL, but lets hope that they fixed that ugly beak (see above)...

Next-Gen VW Golf to Arrive at the End of 2012

VW is going to release the seventh generation of the VW Golf at the end of 2012 or early 2013 according to a VW spokesman.

The VW spokesman responded to a report that stated that the next Golf would arrive by November 2012. Although the report stated a November launch, the spokesman stated that a specific month has not been determined. Instead we can just expect it sometime around the end of 2012.

The next VW Golf will be the first VW model that will be based on the new more efficient modular transverse platform, known internally as the MQB. The new platform will eventually be used on several models within the VW family, the first of which will be the new Audi A3 that will debut in the summer of 2012. VW is expecting savings in the double-digit percentage in large part because of a new production process.

Geneva 11' Preview: Dodge Journey Based Fiat Freemont Unveiled

The first fruit of the Fiat/ Chrysler partnership is finally hitting the US in the form of the Fiat 500. Now it's time for some of Chrysler's models to head over to Europe under the Fiat name. The first model is the Dodge Journey, which is being dubbed the Fiat Freemont.

The 2012 Freemont will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It's basically identical to the Dodge Journey other than a revised front end. It will also be built alongside the Journey in Toluca Mexico. Initially the Freemont will launch with front wheel drive with turbo 2.0L diesel power units mated to a manual transmission. All-wheel-drive versions, Chrysler's Pentastar 276 HP 3.6 V6 engine, and an automatic transmission will eventually be offered.

Mitsubishi to Kill Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor

Mitsubishi is barely still around, but the automaker has big plans that will hopefully breath some life back into the brand.

Mitsubishi announced a new global plan last week that includes the introduction of six new plug-in hybrid and electric models by 2015. The bad news for Eclipse fans is that by 2013 Mitsubishi plans on discontinuing the slow selling Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor SUV. The move is part of Mitsubishi's plan to focus on smaller models.

The first Mitsubishi electric model, the i-MIEV will arrive this November with a starting price below $30k.

The 2011 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible is going to be the official pace car of the 2011 2011 Indianapolis 500. The announcement at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale classic auto auction, where a bidder will have the opportunity to purchase the first of 50 Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee cars. 2011 marks the 22nd time a Chevy has been chosen to pace the event.

Chevy will donate full proceeds from the auction to the David Foster Foundation, a charity devoted to supporting families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants.

The pace car is painted in a Summit White exterior accented with orange stripes and door graphics. The interior features orange leather and front seat headrests embossed with the Indy 500 logo, along with white door panels and instrument panel trim. The color combination is similar to the design used on the 1969 Camaro Indy pace car.

The auction will take place on Jan 22nd.

Ferrari Officially Unveils the Four-Wheel-Drive FF Four-Seater

Ferrari has released the first official photos of the new four-seater FF, which is Ferrari's first ever four-wheel-drive model.

The FF stands for Ferrari Four (four seats and four-wheel-drive). Ferrari's new flagship features a shooting brake design with its elongated roof and hatchback rear. Under the hood the FF is powered by a 6.3L V12 that puts out 651 horsepower and 504 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 208 mph. Ferrari is has dubbed the four-wheel-drive system, 4RM and it weighs 50 percent less than a conventional four-wheel-drive system and helps the FF maintain a weight distribution of 47:53.

The Ferrari FF will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

2012 McLaren MP4-12C Starts at $229,000

McLaren has released the pricing for the MP4-12C supercar, which starts at $229,000.

Although $230k may seem like a lot for most people, the pricing is right in line with the competition from Ferrari and Lamborghini. McLaren expects to build 1,000 units in its first year of production.

The 12C is powered by a 592-hp 3.8L V8 twin-turbo engine that is mated to a seven-speed transmission. Sales will begin in the summer of 2011.

Apparently there is already a waiting list...

Chevrolet Officially Replaces Daewoo Name in Korea

GM Daewoo has officially announced the death of the Daewoo name in Korea. In its place will be the Chevrolet nameplate. In addition GM Daewoo also announced that it will be changing its company name to GM Korea Co. by the end of Q1.

"This important new brand strategy is designed to strengthen our commitment to the Korean market, recognizing it as one of the strongest-performing countries within GM's global operations. We are well positioned to bring one of the world's iconic brands to Korea," said Mike Arcamone, President and CEO of GM Daewoo. "We cannot afford to sit still, and instead, choose to make a bold move with the launch of Chevrolet in Korea."

"Changing our corporate name will increase our standing within GM globally while demonstrating our commitment to growing locally," said Arcamone. "With the significant changes that we are announcing today, our goal is to increase our domestic sales and market share, generate additional revenue, strengthen our relationship with the customers, create new jobs and expand our presence in Korea. We regard these moves as a key to our long-term success and fundamentally believe they will also bring added benefits to our customers and the Korean economy."

Aston Martin Cygnet Starts at £30,995

Aston Martin has released the pricing details for its Cygnet city car, which is based on the Toyota iQ. Aston Martin has also announced that the Cygnet will be available in two special launch edition models.

The two Cygnet Launch Edition models; White and Black, are available with either standard manual or optional CVT automated transmission and each will be produced for a strictly limited time. Cygnet Launch Edition White is finished in Snow White paint with a mix of silver mesh, chrome brightwork and White Diamond turned alloy wheels. The interior of the White edition features seats hand trimmed in Pearl white leather with perforated Alcantara inserts. The Cygnet Launch Edition Black features Magic Black metallic paint with a specially developed deep sea green effect, offset by matt black louvers and chrome brightwork. Inside, the seats and dash are finished in pure black full grain leather, perforated in a specially-developed diamond pattern.

Both Cygnet Launch Editions also come with a bespoke Bill Amberg five-piece luggage set, especially designed for and tailored to Cygnet.

Production of the Cygnet will kick off in April with prices start from £30,995 in Europe.

Cadillac CTS-V Race Car Hits the Track for the First Time

Cadillac's newest race car, the CTS-V coupe has just hit the track for the first time at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida. For its first test the coupe was driven by Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim.

The CTS-V Coupe race car, which marks Cadillac's return to the SCCA World Challenge. The last time that Cadillac competed in the World Challenge series was in 2007.

Chrysler and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency have announced a new research project to include design and development of an experimental hydraulic hybrid powertrain.

The purpose of the partnership is to determine the possibility of adapting a hydraulic hybrid system for large passenger cars and light-duty vehicles.

"Hydraulic hybrid vehicles represent the cutting edge of fuel-efficiency technology and are one of many approaches we're taking to save money for drivers, clean up the air we breathe and cut the greenhouse gases that jeopardize our health and prosperity," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "The EPA and Chrysler are working together to explore the possibilities for making this technology affordable and accessible to drivers everywhere. This partnership is further proof that we can preserve our climate, protect our health and strengthen our economy all at the same time."

The hydraulic hybrid system, developed by the EPA's lab in Ann Arbor is currently being used by delivery trucks like FedEx. The research project will focus on adapting the hydraulic hybrid system to a Chrysler Town & Country minivan equipped with a 2.4L four-cylinder gasoline engine. Components of the hydraulic hybrid system include a 117 cc engine pump, a 45 cc drive electric motor and a two-speed automatic transmission. Fluid for the system will be stored in a 14.4-gallon high pressure accumulator.

Geneva 2011 Preview: 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi Teased

Saab is going to be unveiling the wagon version of the 9-5 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. In the meantime we have our first glimpse of the 9-5 SportWagon aka 9-5 SportCombi.

The 9-5 SportCombi will be powered by the same powertrains as the sedan.

"The launch of the 9-5 SportWagon is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive," says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. "It will take Saab back into the large estate segment where we have established a strong presence in many key markets with our previous offering."

The 9-5 SportCombi will be available this fall.

VW is Working on a New Large Seven-Seater SUV for the US

VW is aggressively trying to increase its sales in the US. Earlier this month VW unveiled a new Passat that will supposedly appeal more to the US buyer than the current generation. VW is also reportedly now working on a new seven-passenger SUV for the American market.

The new large SUV will be cheaper than the current Touareg and will be built at VW's new Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will also produce the US-spec Passat.

Honda to Launch 2012 Civics in Rapid Succession

Honda unveiled concept versions of the next-generation Civic at the Detroit Auto Show this month. The concept versions are expected to be very close to the production versions that will officially go on sale in April. In the past Honda has spread out the launch of the different Civic models, but this time every model will launch within weeks of each other.

The Civic family includes a sedan, coupe, lithium-ion powered hybrid, natural gas versions, the Civic Si.

The all-new Civic doesn't stray far from the current design, but now has more pronounced shoulders and a bigger interior.

First Fiat 500s to Arrive in the US Will Have Manual Transmissions

Excited for the Fiat 500 to finally be offered in the US? Well if you're planning on running down to your local dealership, you better be able to drive a manual. The first 2012 Fiat 500s that are headed to the US will have manual transmissions.

The first units which are due to hit dealerships by February will only have manual transmissions. If you want the automatic transmission you will have to wait until march or April to get the models equipped with the six-speed automatic transmissions. The automaker expects that most of the 500s sold in the US will have automatic transmissions.

2012 BMW X1 xDrive28i Features BMW's New TwinPower Turbo 4-Cyl

BMW's first twin-turbocharged four-cylinder is debuting in the BMW X1 xDrive28i. The X1 crossover is the first model to feature the new twin-turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that will eventually be offered in BMW's other models with the 28i label.

In the X1 the turbocharged 2.0L puts out 245-hp and 258 lb-ft. of torque thanks to a high-performance twin-scroll turbocharging system, High Precision Injection direct petrol injection with innovative solenoid injectors, and the latest further enhanced version of the BMW-patented VALVETRONIC variable valve control system. The engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

The BMW X1 xDrive28i reaches 0-62 mph in 6.1 seconds when its equipped with the manual transmission and 6.5 seconds with the 8-speed automatic.

VIDEO: Tesla Model S Hits the Road

tesla_model s_video.jpg
Tesla has released a video of the Model S during its first phase of road testing. The video shows the Alpha model driving through back country roads.

Tesla Vehicle Dynamicist Graham Sutherland commented: "The first Alpha is amazingly agile for a car of its size. It has great handling balance and poised ride with communicative steering. Just goes to show what combining a low center of gravity with a very stiff body structure can achieve."

Porsche is Developing a New 4-Cyl Boxer Engine

Porsche is reportedly working on a new 4-cylinder boxer engine that will be used in the Boxster, Cayman, a new smaller roadster and maybe even the 911.

Outgoing head of R&D Wolfgang Durheimer recently confirmed at the Detroit Auto Show that Porsche is working on the new engine. Originally there were plans for Porsche to introduce a new four-cylinder in the upcoming small roadster, which shares parts with the VW Bluesport and a sister car from Audi. But now it looks like Porsche is going to be using its own engine in the baby roadster.

According to sources, the engine is a 2.5L and the turbocharged version puts out around 360-hp.

Geneva 2011 Preview: Mitsubishi Previews Concept Global Small

Mitsubishi has released a preview of its new Concept Global Small that is going to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Concept Global Small is the concept model of the compact passenger vehicle that is planned for production in March of 2012 at the MMC's new third factory in Thailand. According to Mitsubishi, the Concept Global Small is a concept car based on the features of "compact", "affordability", and "high fuel efficiency." The production model will be powered by a 1.0 or 1.2L gasoline engine with a regenerative braking system. The engine also has a start-stop system to save fuel and is mated to a new-generation CVT.

Mazda Minagi Concept Photos Leaked Ahead of Geneva Debut

Mazda is going to be debuting a new concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Minagi concept applies the styling of the Shinari concept to a crossover.

Although details are scarce, the Minagi concept previews a new crossover that will be smaller than the current CX-7 in Mazda's lineup. It's likely to be named the CX-5.

Stay tuned...

Nissan Pulls the Cube from Europe

If you live in Europe and you've been planning on buying a Nissan Cube, you better hurry up and get one now. Nissan has decided to no longer import the Cube to the European markets due to exchange rate problems with the Yen and Euro. The poor exchange rates mean that Nissan is not making any profit on the Cube in Europe.

Nissan says it could be possible that the Cube could return if the exchange rates improve, but it's unlikely.

Honda Puts the Turbocharged CR-Z on the Fast-Track

It's already been rumored that Honda is working on a turbocharged version of its CR-Z hybrid and now according to Autocar Honda is has put it on the fast-track for production.

Buyer feedback has been strong for a more powerful CR-Z and according to sources the turbocharged CR-Z will be available in two versions: 160-hp and 200-hp. The engine is likely to be a turbocharged 1.6L. Currently the only powertrain available in the CR-Z is a 1.5L that is mated to an electric motor that puts out a combined 122-hp.

The turbocharged CR-Z could debut as early as the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show.

Ford is Working on a New GT Supercar?

After a dinner at the Detroit Auto Show there is now speculation that Ford is working on a successor to the GT supercar that was built in 2005 and 2006. At a dinner with several journalists, Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development may have diverted a question about a successor the GT in such a way that may have hinted at the fact that it could be in the works.

According to Automobile, Kuzak's response to the question about a successor was that he was not comfortable discussing certain things in Ford's four-year product plan. Of course that isn't a confirmation that Ford is working on a new GT, but the awkward response does mean that there is a possibility that something could be in the works...

Subaru to Debut its Version of the FT-86 in Geneva

Subaru has announced plans to unveil a new rear-wheel-drive sports coupe at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

It's widely known that Subaru and Toyota have been working together on a new rear-wheel-drive coupe that is often referred to as the FT-86. Although we've heard a lot of news about Toyota's version, Subaru has remained pretty quiet about its version of the coupe. It's been a constant question if the Subaru version of the coupe would be all-wheel-drive, but the fact that the "Rear-Wheel Drive Sports Car Technology Concept" is RWD most likely means that Subaru's version of the coupe will also be RWD.

Camaro Z28 Reportedly to Enter Production on January 1, 2012

Camaro5 is reporting today that the Camaro Z28 is officially going to enter production on Jan 12, 2012.

Details about the 2012 Camaro Z28 were reportedly discussed during a recent national dealer meeting. During the meeting the Z28 was actually referred to as the "HP Edition." If the details are accurate the Z28 will be powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8. The hood is expected to have a louvre/slat design and a bulge to make room for the supercharger. The interior will be pretty much the same as the lesser powered Camaros.

It's not known when it will be officially unveiled, but there is the Chicago Auto Show next month and New York in March...

2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible Photos Leaked

We aren't supposed to officially see the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible until it is officially unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March, but here are the first set of leaked photos.

From these photos it looks like Chrysler attempted to make many of the same changes to the convertible that the sedan received. The styling changes improve the convertible from the ugly Sebring, but not as much as one might have hoped.

Stay tuned...

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Officially Unveiled

Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the third generation 2012 SLK.

"The new SLK embodies the role of the trend-setter like no other car", says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "I am convinced that with its passionate design, its high-quality interior and its modesty at the fuel station it will continue to provide an enormous amount of fun on the road in future, too, consolidating its status as a cult roadster."

The 2012 SLK borrows styling cues from the SLS AMG with its upright grille. The big news for the third generation is Magic Sky Control. With Magic Sky Control the glass roof can switch between light or dark with the push of a button. In light mode the glass roof is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up from the sun's rays.

Initially the SLK will launch in the US with the SLK350 model that will be powered by a 3.5L V6 that puts out 302-hp and reaches 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Later in the model year Mercedes will release the SLK250 that will be powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder that puts out 201 horsepower and reaches 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

The all-new 2012 SLK will arrive in showrooms this summer.

Next-Gen Kia Rio to Debut in Geneva...Teaser Photos Released

Kia has announced that the next-generation Kia Rio will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Kia has also released a few teaser photos of what we will see at the show.

Described by Kia's Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, as 'sporty and elegant, the next Rio will be longer, lower and wider than the current Rio.

"Downsizing is becoming more and more of a trend these days and a B-segment car as attractive as all-new Rio, with its driver-oriented cabin and interior trim options, will no doubt help consumers to be more comfortable making that switch. New Rio is the 'next big step' in Kia's design revolution and we anticipate this model becoming even more popular than the current vehicle," comments Soon-Nam Lee, Director of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corporation.

BMW X1 Launch Delayed Until Fall 2011

Are you still waiting patiently for BMW's newest crossover, the X1 to show up in BMW dealers? Well you are going to have to wait a little longer. BMW originally planned on introducing the compact crossover in early 2011, but now its been pushed back to the fall of 2011.

What is the cause of the delay? Well it looks like the Leipzig, Germany plant can't keep up with the European demand, so adding production for the U.S. is not an option right now.

BMW Z4 to Get 4-Cyl Turbo That Will Replace the Base Six-Cyl

Automobile Magazine just posted an interesting tweet this morning. The very short tweet basically confirmed that the BMW Z4 is going to be getting a new engine. The naturally-aspirated 3.0L inline-six that powers the Z4 sDrive30i is going to be replaced by a new turbocharged 4-cylinder.

Forum, ZPost is claiming that the base Z4 will soon be powered by two turbo 4-cylinder variants (sDrive20i and 28i). The 4-cylinder engine is reportedly a 2.0L unit that will put out 174-hp and 235-hp.

None of this should come as a huge surprise, since BMW has already confirmed that 4-cylinder engines are going to be added back to its US lineup.

Chrysler currently has two minivans in its lineup, the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan, but according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler is only going to have one in the future.

The current plan is to have all all Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep showrooms at a single dealership, which will make it confusing for buyers to try to choose a minivan if there are two that are almost identical sitting next to each other. So Chrysler is going to only offer one of the minivans by 2013, although it hasn't been decided which brand will keep the minivan. In the US the Town & Country outsells the Grand Caravan, but initially Marchionne preferred to keep the Dodge Grand Caravan.

"We will have to look at the branding, but we are absolutely going to one minivan."

Which ever brand doesn't keep the minivan will get a new smaller "people mover" that will compete with the Mazda5 and Ford Grand C-Max. Since Marchionne indicated that he wanted to keep the Dodge Grand Caravan, the "people mover" would likely be a Chrysler.

Jeep is Getting a Pickup...Well Sort of

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne stated in a round table discussion this morning that Jeep will soon be getting a new "mulitpurpose" vehicle, which will have a pickup truck-like bed.

Marchionne recalled the 2005 Gladiator concept, "I like that vehicle. I liked it the first day I saw it. There's a better than 50 percent chance that you'll get one. Regardless of what Ram says. They're totally peeved off at the fact that we're going to have anything that looks like a pickup truck with a Jeep badge on it. I actually think that there's space for it."

According to Marchionne the only thing is that the Jeep "pickup" will not be referred to as a pickup. There's no word when we will actually see this new Jeep.

Audi Registers SQ5 and RSQ5 Names...Hotter Q5s on the Way

It looks like Audi is planning on releasing sportier versions of the Q5 crossover since Audi just registered the SQ5 and RSQ5 names.

It's been rumored for a while that Audi is planning on introducing S and RS versions of the Q5 crossover, so the fact that Audi recently registered both names confirms it. Of course it's not known when either model will be released and if we will even see them in the US...

Honda Fit Shuttle Brochure Leaked...A More Wagon-Like Fit

The Honda Fit is incredibly popular due to its efficient design and the fact that it's actually fun to drive. A slew of photos recently leaked onto the internet that reveal a new variant of the Fit, named the Fit Shuttle.

The Fit Shuttle is basically a wagon version of the Fit with its longer body and taller roofline. The most likely Japanese-only Fit Shuttle will be powered by either the standard 1.5L or a hybrid powertrain that uses the 1.3L i-VTEC engine mated to Honda's IMA system.

It looks like the Fit Shuttle is going to be introduced in a few weeks in Japan. Will it ever come to the US? Probably not...

Ford to Add 7,000 Workers to US Workforce in the Next Two Years

Ford has announced plans to add more than 7,000 hourly and salaried jobs in the next two years in the US. This year alone Ford plans on adding nearly 4,000 hourly jobs at several U.S. plants, which includes 1,800 at the Louisville Assembly Plant, which is going to produce the next-generation Ford Escape late in the year.

"Ford is committed to American manufacturing, and we are on a path to add more than 7,000 American workers over the next two years as we continue to grow our product lineup," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "Working with our partners, including the UAW, Ford is finding competitive ways to engineer and build even more high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles with technologies American consumers really want."

Ford also expects to add 750 salaried engineering jobs in product development and manufacturing. Next year, Ford expects to add at least 2,500 more new manufacturing positions.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer to Return in 2013

The Jeep Wagoneer essentially created the premium SUV segment and was produced way before the SUV became the trend in the 1990's, which was produced from the early 1960's until 1991.

Jeep is now planning on reviving the Grand Wagoneer nameplate for a new seven-seat SUV that will sit at the top of the Jeep lineup. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced at the Detroit Auto Show that a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer will arrive in January of 2013.

The Grand Wagoneer will share its platform with the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.

Is Toyota Developing a Prius Pickup?

Yesterday Toyota officially unveiled its new Prius family of vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show. In addition to the standard Prius that is already on sale and the plug-in hybrid version, Toyota unveiled the larger Prius V and the compact Prius C concept. But could there be something else in the works in the form of a pickup truck?

The Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck (A-BAT) debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show and featured a hybrid powertrain and a unibody platform. The concept was smaller than the Tacoma and featured cab forward styling to maximize the interior space and cargo capacity. It was originally given the green light, but then the economy in 2009 killed those plans. But according to Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division at Toyota Motor Sales USA, the A-BAT concept could eventually be produced under the Prius family.

According to Carter, If a Prius pickup were produced it would slot under the Tacoma.

Mini Paceman Confirmed for Production

No big surprise here, but it's official. Mini is going to produce the Paceman concept that is currently being shown off at the Detroit Auto Show. BMW board member Ian Robertson confirmed that the Paceman will be produced:

"I'm thrilled to tell you now, for the very first time, that there will be a seventh member of the MINI family - and we will base it on this concept!"

The Paceman is basically a two door version of the recently introduced Countryman. Although the Paceman has been approved for production it won't be identical to the concept. Since the Paceman is going to use an existing platform and engines the production version shouldn't be too far off.

Detroit 11': Kia KV7 Concept Tries to Transform the Minivan

Let's be honest. The Minivan has been around since the early 1980's and although some have tried, the minivan has pretty much been relegated to the "unsexy" category. Flash forward to 2012 and the next automaker to try to change that is Kia with its KV7 Concept.

The KV7 Concept is Kia's attempt at showing the future of the van segment. It "embraces the box" by steering away from the dramatically raked windshields and wedge-shaped noses found throughout the van segment, pretty much the same as the Ford Flex. The concept features a passenger side gullwing door that is a lot more fun that the traditional minivan's sliding door.

Inside the KV7 Concept tries to appeal more towards a social group of people that Kia refers to as "Ringleaders" rather than the traditional family. The interior featires four swiveling seats, including the driver's seat, and a rear-corner mini-lounge with seating for three and integrated storage compartments to promote interaction in an open social environment.

Tne KV7 Concept is powered by a new Theta II 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged engine that puts out up to 285-hp and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Detroit 11': Hyundai Curb Concept A Compact Crossover for the City

Do you like the idea of the Nissan Juke, but can't get over its ugly face? Well maybe this will do. Hyundai has unveiled the Curb Concept, which is Hyundai's take on a compact crossover. Hyundai refers to the Curb as a compact Urban Activity Vehicle (UAV) for the next generation of Hyundai buyers.

At just over 164 inches long, the Curb concept is made for city driving. The concept employs Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" design theme, but takes it in a new direction.

"We wanted the Curb to be urban tough without looking like a Brink's truck," said Jason Brown, Hyundai designer. "City driving was going to be its forte, not crossing the Rubicon trail, but we wanted it to have urban armor for daily driving on city streets. It needed to empower its passengers in this setting."

The concept is powered by a 175-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine with ISG mated to a dual-clutch transmission. It's estimated to get 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

It would be great to see something of this size being offered in Hyundai showrooms...so we'll see...

Detroit 11': 2012 Hyundai Veloster Officially Unveiled

After several teaser photos and videos we now have our first official look at the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. The 2012 Veloster represents a new compact three-door coupe from Hyundai. It features a unique third door that provides easier access to the rear for passengers and is powered by a new 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine mated to Hyundai's first dual-clutch transmission.

The overall design of the Veloster draws inspiration from the original concept combined with Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design theme. Its distinctive black A-pillars are designed to give the glass a motorcycle helmet visor appearance. The front end features Hyundai's signature hexagonal front grille and unique Hyundai-signature LED position lights. The use of a third passenger side door isn't something new, but Hyundai's setup with a forward hinged door is.

The Veloster is powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with direct injection that puts out 138-hp and 123 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual, though an all-new six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Fuel economy numbers haven't been released, but Hyundai claims that the Veloster will get around 40 mpg on the highway.

Honda is about to release an all-new Civic that will be hitting dealerships this spring. As typical for Honda, most of its new models are previewed by concepts that are very close to the production versions. Today at the Detroit Auto Show, Honda officially unveiled concept versions of the next Civic Si Coupe and Civic Sedan.

"The Civic is known for providing a balance of 'just-right' packaging, fun-to-drive character and outstanding fuel economy, at a price that even first-time buyers can afford," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda. "The redesigned Civic builds on this legacy and promises to be the best Civic yet."

The 2012 Civic range includes a sedan and a coupe with conventional gasoline models, two sporty "Si" performance versions, along with one hybrid and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant. Honda hasn't announced official specs for the 2012 Civic, but the Civic hybrid will feature the first application of a lithium-ion battery in a Honda hybrid. most Civic models will also come with Honda Eco Assist technology, which has previously only been used on Honda's hybrid models.

The 2012 Civic should arrive in dealerships by April.

Detroit 11': Toyota Prius C Concept Creates a New Compact Hybrid

Today Toyota has unveiled two new hybrids under the Prius name. The first was the Prius V, which is essentially a larger MPV version of the current Prius, which will go on sale this summer.

The second model is the Prius C concept, which is the inspiration for the third smaller Prius model that will go on sale in the first half of 2012. The Prius C Concept, with c representing a "city"-centric vehicle is supposed to appeal to a younger audience.

Detroit 11': 2012 Toyota Prius V Expands the Prius Lineup

It's been widely known that Toyota has been planning on added more Prius models to its lineup. Today Toyota has taken the wraps off the Prius V, with "V" standing for versatility or volume.

The Prius V is now the second Prius model and doesn't actually look that different from the standard Prius hatchback. Thanks to a taller rear roof line the cargo capacity has been increased by 50 percent. It's powered by the same hybrid powertrain as the standard Prius, but it's fuel economy numbers are slightly lower than the standard Prius at 42 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

The Prius V will be available this summer. The next Prius model will be a smaller compact hybrid.

Amongst all the news that is taking place in Detroit this morning, BMW has released the pricing for the 1 Series M Coupe and the all-new 2012 650i Convertible.

We've already seen several photos of both models so here's the pricing. The 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe can be had for a starting price of $47,010. Just in case you forgot, the 1 Series M Coupe puts out 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. The 3.0L engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission and reaches 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

The 2012 650i Convertible officially starts at $91,375. The 650i Convertible is powered by a 4.4L V8 that 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or an optional 8-speed automatic.

As promised Ford is going to unveil the Vertrek Concept at the Detroit Auto Show. The Vertrek Concept is a preview of Ford's next-gen global compact SUV.

The Vertrek Concept builds on the styling of the European Kuga as Ford calls the design an evolution of the "kinetic design" theme. The design of the concept is much more modern than the current Escape. The Vertrek concept is powered by Ford's 1.6L EcoBoost engine that also features Ford's Auto Start-Stop technology.

The production version of the Vertrek will be built on Ford's global C-segment platform, which also is the basis for the Grand C-Max and C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid models that are also being unveiled at the show.

Detroit 11': Porsche 918 RSR Marks Porsche's Return to Detroit

Porsche has kicked off the 2011 Detroit Auto Show with the 918 RSR, which is a race track version of the 918 Spyder Concept. Porsche has combined the technology fitted in the 911 GT3 R hybrid and the design of the 918 Spyder to create the 918 RSR.

The 918 RSR puts out a combined total of 767 horsepower. The V8 engine alone puts out 563 horsepower and two electric motors on the front wheels contribute a total 150 kW of power. The flywheel accumulator, which sits where the passenger seat would be, stores the additional power that is generated during braking.

Today is the official start of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and to kick off the show the awards for North American Car and Truck of the Year were announced. 49 jurors voted and this year's awards go to the 2011 Chevy Volt and Ford Explorer.

It's not that big of a surprise that the Chevy Volt took home the award considering the fact that it was also named Motor Trend's Car of the Year and Automobile magazine also gave the Volt its own automobile of the year award. The Volt was competing against other new models like the Nissan Leaf, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Sonata.
Ford's Explorer has received a total overhaul with a switch from the traditional body-on-frame design to a crossover platform that it shares with the Taurus. This is the third year in a row that Ford has taken home the Truck of the Year award.

Detroit 11': 2012 Chevy Sonic Sedan and Hatchback are Here

The Aveo is dead! GM has officially unveiled its replacement, the 2012 Chevy Sonic, which is designed to go head to head with the Ford Fiesta.

The 2012 Chevy Sonic will be available either as a sedan or five-door hatchback. Buyers can also choose from a standard 1.8L four-cylinder or turbocharged 138-hp 1.4L engine. The engines can be mated to either five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions.

"The all-new Chevrolet Sonic blends the practicality of a small car with the passion for driving that Chevrolet vehicles like the Corvette are known for," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "Its combination of great design, fun driving experience and the latest connectivity features create a serious competitor with a fun spirit."

Production of the 2012 Sonic will kick off later this year at GM's Orion Assembly Center in Michigan.

First Ford officially unveiled the 2012 Focus Electric last week at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the first of five electric vehicles from Ford. Now Ford is getting even "greener" with the introduction of the 2013 C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid.

Ford has already unveiled the C-Max mini-minivan that is slated to be on sale in the US later this year. The C-Max is essentially the same thing as the Grand C-Max that other markets get with its three-rows of seats and sliding rear doors. The C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi are actually based on the shorter-wheelbase five-passenger C-Max that is sold in Europe.

The C-Max hybrid uses a full hybrid system that is capable of traveling up to 47 mph in electricity alone. Ford is hoping that the C-Max hybrid will get better miles per gallon than the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid which is an extended range hybrid like the Chevy Volt. The C-Max Energi C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. It is capable of traveling more than 500 miles.

Both models will be built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant starting in 2012.

2012 VW Passat Officially Unveiled with American Tastes in Mind

VW wants to increase its market share in the US and you can bet the new 2012 Passat is part of that plan.

The all-new Passat has been designed with American tastes in mind as it now offers best-in-class rear legroom. The 2012 Passat adopts the same design language as the new Jetta. VW likes to think that the new Passat "looks much more expensive than it actually is."

Under the hood the new Passat has the choice of three engines: the 2.5L five-cylinder with 170-hp, the 140-hp 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel, and the 280-hp 3.6L VR6. VW is touting the fact that the 2.0L diesel gets up to 43 mpg on the highway, which means approximately 800 miles of driving between fill ups.

The big news is that the 2012 Passat is going to be much cheaper than the outgoing model with prices starting less than $20,000. VW is going to produce the all-new Passat at its new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant later this year.

No Chrysler 300 STR8 or Dodge Charger STR8 for 2011

Chrysler has released all-new versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger for 2011, but we will have to wait a bit until Chrysler releases SRT8 versions of the new sedans.

Chrysler confirmed last week with Inside Line that there will only be one SRT8 model in 2011, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392.

"Based on our launch cadence, we wanted to attack the meat of the market," said Jiyan Cadiz, Chrysler spokesman.

Chrysler recently announced the pricing for the 2011 300, which will only be offered in four models: Chrysler 300, 300 Limited, 300C and 300C AWD.

Prototypes of the Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 were spotted last year, so it shouldn't be that long before the SRT8 models are back in Chrysler and Dodge dealers.

Honda Civic Concept_sketch_fr.jpg
A recent email sent out to dealers revealed some of Honda's plans for the 2012 model year. First Honda plans on offering a 4-cylinder in the Accord Crosstour. The four-cylinder will likely only be offered in the lower models and with front-wheel-drive. It's expected to be released sometime in the summer.

We already know that Honda is releasing an all-new Civic for the 2012 model year. We're going to get a preview of the new Civic at the Detroit Auto Show next week. The email states that the 2012 Civic will hit dealers by late April.

The CR-V is also going to be all-new for 2012 and it's getting an all-new 4-cylinder engine that is expected to be larger than the current 2.4L.

Honda is Not Going to Kill the Ridgeline...Anytime Soon

Last month Honda announced the death of the funky Element, which lead some to speculate that the slow selling Ridgeline would be next... Last year Honda only sold 16,142 Ridgelines, which is roughly the same as 2009. Compare that total to the Toyota Tacoma with 106,198 units and the Chevrolet Colorado, which sold 24,642 units and it looks pretty bad for the Ridgeline. But according to Executive Vice President John Mendel of Honda's U.S. unit, the Ridgeline is here to stay.

According to Mendel the Ridgeline has developed a strong following and that "We think we have a ways to go on the Ridgeline." Mendel didn't mention when we can expect a new Ridgeline...

2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Officially Rated at 16/22 MPG

The much anticipated Ford F-150 equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine has been rated at 16 city and 22 highway by the EPA.

The turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost engine puts out 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, which enables the F-150 to have best-in-class conventional towing of 11,300 pounds and best-in-class payload of 3,060 pounds. Even better yet the EcoBoost engine only costs $750 more than the F-150 equipped with the 5.0L V8.

"The 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine is a shining example of the uncompromising nature of Ford's EcoBoost technology: more power and better fuel economy," said Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group Marketing Manager. "What's important for truck customers is that this all-new engine delivers best-in-class capability where it matters most: towing and hauling. Now they're getting great fuel economy, too."

As promised Ford has officially unveiled the Focus Electric, its first passenger EV at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. The Focus Electric is one of five new electric vehicles that Ford will deliver by 2013 in North America and Europe.

The Focus Electric looks pretty much the same as the gas powered 2012 Focus with a few changes to make it more aerodynamic (note the new fascia). The front driver's side fender also houses the charging port, which is surrounded by an LED ring. The Focus Electric is powered by a 100-kilowatt electric motor with a 23-kWh battery, that puts outa max 123 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. It has a top speed of 84 miles per hour and is expected to have a range of 100 miles. Owners can recharge their Focus Electric in as little as 3 hours with the 240-volt home-installed charging station that can be bought at Best Buy. It will take up to 20 hours to recharge using a standard 120-volt outlet.

"Focus Electric is the flagship of our new family of electrified vehicles, showcasing our commitment to offer consumers choice when it comes to fuel-efficient or fuel-free vehicles," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. "Its advanced powertrain will deliver significant energy efficiency advantages and zero CO2 emissions without compromising driving enjoyment. And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs."

The Focus Electric will launch in late 2011.

VW Wants to Expand its SUV Lineup to Compete with Toyota and GM

In an effort to better compete with GM and Toyota VW is planning on expanding its current SUV lineup.

VW's U.S. chief Jonathan Browning recently stated in a phone interview, "We will be looking to really grow, particularly in the compact SUV segment. Over time, I think there's also scope for growth in terms of a larger SUV within the portfolio."

VW current SUV lineup consists only of the compact Tiguan and the full size Touareg. In 2010 VW sold 20,946 Tiguans and 4,713 Touaregs. Of all vehicles sold in the US, 29 percent are SUVs and crossovers. Adding more SUVs to its lineup is part of VW's plan to sell one million vehicles in the US by 2018.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe Photos Leaked

Here are some leaked photos of the upcoming 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe. The 2012 C-Class coupe is expected to be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Stay tuned for more details...

Detroit 11' Preview: Cadillac CTS-V Race Car Unveiled

Cadillac has taken the wraps off the CTS-V Coupe race car, which marks Cadillac's return to the SCCA World Challenge. The race car is going to be officially unveiled next week at the Detroit Auto Show, but Cadillac has been nice enough to release a few photos early.

The race begins March 25th in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Detroit 11' Preview: Chrysler 200 and Fiat 500 Get Moparized

At next week's Detroit Auto Show Chrysler is going to show off some of its latest "moparized" vehicles.

Two of the newest "moparized" vehicles are the new Chrysler 200 and Fiat 500.

The Chrysler 200 Super S has been lowered by three inches and features a Black and Tungsten paint scheme, 19-inch wheels, a black mesh grille, etc.

The 2012 Fiat 500 can be outfitted with roof and hood decals, carbon fiber-style hand brake, Katzkin leather interior, chrome exterior detailing and a strut tower brace.

"More than 30 percent of the people who are in the market for a new vehicle are influenced by the breadth and availability of aftermarket accessories," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "With our company's launch of 16 new vehicles, Mopar is coming to the party with a truck-load of accessories that will fit a variety of lifestyles."

Mini Beachcomber Concept Deemed too Dangerous to Build

Any plans that Mini had to put the Beachcomber concept into production have died due to stringent crash legislation. The Beachcomber concept was originally unveiled at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. Mini reportedly wanted to put it into production, but it would have needed extra side brace bars to pass safety tests, which would have ruined its styling.

The Beachcomber concept was a preview of the recently released Countryman crossover. It was inspired by the 1964 Mini Moke.

Detroit 11' Preview: Hyundai Curb Concept Teased

Hyundai has announced that its bring a new crossover concept to the Detroit Auto Show next week. For now we have two teasers of the Curb Concept that could represent a future crossover that would be smaller than the current Tucson.

Expect more details next week...

2011 Chrysler 300 Starts at $27,995

Chrysler has announced the pricing for the 2011 Chrysler 300, which starts at $27,995.

The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 will be offered in four trim levels: Chrysler 300, 300 Limited, 300C and 300C AWD. The Chrysler 300 and 300 Limited models are powered by Chrysler's new 3.6L Pentastar V6 that puts out 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. The engine has E-85 flex-fuel capability and is mated to a five-speed automatic. The base 300 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, cloth seats and satellite radio. The 300 Limited adds such things as leather seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth, rear backup camera and 18-inch wheels.

Stepping up to the 300C and 300C AWD gets you the HEMI V8 with 363-hp. The 300C starts at $38,995.

Buick has officially unveiled its new compact sedan, the 2012 Verano, which is based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze. Although the Verano is based on the same platform as the Cruze, hopefully for GM's sake it's much more than a simple rebadge...

The 2012 Verano shares styling cues from the recently introduced Regal. As well as other typical Buick traits such as the chrome waterfall grille, portholes and chrome accents. Under the hood the Verano is powered by a 177-hp 2.4L Ecotec engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Cruze uses smaller 1.4L and 1.8L engines. The Verano gets up to 31 mpg on the highway. Buick is eventually going to also offer a 2.0L turbo engine in the Verano.

"Verano expands our lineup, continues Buick's momentum and gives us a great opportunity to attract a new generation of customers with a product that delivers on their expectations for design, performance and technology," said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing. "It is a smart choice that delivers unexpected luxury in a compact sedan - and it will compete head-to-head with competitors from Audi and Lexus."

Pricing has yet to be announced, but early reports suggest that the 2012 Verano will start around $21,000.

VIDEO: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe Spied

The upcoming 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was recently spied at the Long Beach Vehicle Processing Center in California!

It's not known if the coupe will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week or if Mercedes will wait until the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Stay tuned...

The Subaru Impreza Design concept was unveiled at the LA Auto Show last November and at the time Subaru said it provided a clue to what would could expect from future Subarus. Autocar is reporting that Subaru is planning on revamping its entire lineup over the next few years with styling cues from the Impreza concept.

The concept's prominent shoulder line, wheel arches and large front air intakes are likely to appear on may of the next-generation Subarus, which also includes Subaru's version of the Toyota FT-86. In addition to a new design theme, Subaru is also working on a new boxer engine that will first appear in the FT-86. The new engine, dubbed FB-type, is a 2.0L with a longer stroke than the old EJ-type engine. In the FT-86 the engine is expected to put out around 200-hp when the FT-86 is released in 2012.

In 2013 Subaru is also going to a hybrid version of the Legacy that will use Toyota's hybrid technology. Toyota's hybrid system will likely be applied to a 2.5L version of the new boxer engine.

Lotus to Revamp Exige and Evora Before New Models Debut

Lotus has big plans with hopes to launch four new models within next several years, but according to Autocar, Lotus is planning on updating its current lineup first. Before the Esprit joins the lineup in late 2012 there will be a new Exige that could debut as early as the Geneva Motor Show this March. The Evora is also slated to get a refresh in 2012 with a new interior.

No specific updates have been released, but Lotus is going to start sourcing the engineering of its interiors to German automotive parts supplier CSI who has also worked on the Audi R8 and Porsche Panamera.

Next-Gen Audi RS4 is Reportedly Still in the Works

It was reported last month that Audi had no plans to replace the RS4 and that the upcoming RS5 would fill the empty spot in Audi's lineup. Dutch car magazine Autovisie is reporting that those rumors are not true. According to a top Audi official the next RS4 is already being developed and will be released within the next two years.

Toyota Claims Prius Emits Less Harmful Emissions than a Sheep

Toyota's Israeli marketing firm has created an interesting ad in which Toyota claims that the Prius emits less emissions than a sheep.

What do you think?

Goodbye Mercury. Ford officially killed Mercury back in June of 2010, but now the last Mercury has rolled off the line. The last Mercury produced was the Grand Marquis at Ford's St. Thomas plant in Ontario, Canada. The Grand Marquis had been produced at the Ontario plant for the past 25 years. The last one went to a fleet customer. The plant continues to produce the Ford Crown Victoria.

GM's OnStar Hits Best Buy Stores for $299

Ever since its inception, GM's OnStar has only been available on GM vehicles, but starting this spring GM is going to offer the system for $299 at Best Buy stores.

"For years, thousands of drivers have asked us to get OnStar in vehicles that didn't feature it as standard," said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. "With the retail product that we've introduced today they certainly can. This move in to the consumer electronics space represents the biggest development in our business model since introducing OnStar as standard across all GM products several years ago. It represents a quantum leap forward in our plans to grow our business and provide a strong new revenue base for GM and OnStar from which we can further develop our core offerings in the factory-equipped market."

The system is being offered in a rearview mirror, which features all of OnStar's core technology. The system starts at $299, plus installation (expected to cost between $75 and $100). A range of service plans will be available, starting at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

VW Teases New Mid-Size Sedan Before Detroit Debut

VW is going to finally unveil its newest mid-size sedan for the US at the Detroit Auto Show next week. To get ready for the unveiling, VW has released a teaser photo on its website.

The yet to be named VW mid-size sedan will replace the current Passat in the VW lineup, in the US. The new sedan is positioned as more of a competitor to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Pricing will also start lower than the current Passat.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2011 Kia Picanto Officially Unveiled

Kia has officially unveiled the 2011 Kia Picanto, which is going to be officially unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March.

The all-new Picanto is now longer and has a longer wheelbase. The Picanto will feature four all-new powertrains in 1.0- and 1.2-litre displacements. In addition to the standard gas engines, LPG, bi-fuel and flex-fuel variations will be available depending on each market.

Camaro Officially Beats the Mustang in 2010

1985 was a long time ago! Don Henley's The Boys of Summer was MTV's video of the year, Back to the Future was released and the Chevy Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang. Well 25 years later, the Camaro has finally taken back the crown...

In 2010 Chevy moved 81,371 Camaros compared to Ford with 73,716 Mustangs. Although the Camaro has officially taken the title, both Ford and Chevy can celebrate since Mustang sales were up 10.6 percent and the Camaros sales increase by 31.9 percent.

The Camaro Convertible is finally going to be released this February, so it could be even harder for the Mustang to regain its title...

What Were the Top-10 Best Selling Cars in 2010?

2010 is officially over and it looks like the auto industry is starting to recover from the turmoil of 2008 and 2009.

The official sales numbers are in and here is the list of top-10 best selling cars, last year. Overall the list does not contain any surprises, but at least eight out of the ten models sales increased.

Check out the list after the jump...

Hyundai has released another teaser photo of the 2012 Veloster, which will be officially unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show this month. This latest teaser photo shows off a passenger side rear door and a hatch that features split rear glass.

The 2012 Veloster is expected to be powered by a 1.6L engine that will be mated to a dual-clutch transmission. It's also expected to get 40 mpg.

Come back next Monday for all the details from the show...

Volvo XC30 Reportedly in the Works and Due in 2013

In an effort to increase its sales in Europe, Volvo is fast at work on a new smaller crossover dubbed the XC30.

The XC30 will be smaller than the XC60 and will compete primarily with the BMW X1, upcoming Audi Q3 and a new small crossover from Mercedes that is being referred to as the GLC. The XC30 will share many of the same design cues as the larger XC60 and will be used to attract younger buyers to the brand. The XC30 will use a four-wheel-drive version of the C30's platform.

The XC30 is due by the end of 2013.

2011 Sonata Hybrid Gets 60 MPG and Travels 2300 Miles on Two Tanks

Wayne Gerdes, the professional driver who invented the term hypermiling, recently got behind the wheel of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and drove it across the country on two tanks of gas.

To complete the hypermilling challenge, Gerdes drove the Sonata Hybrid from San Diego, CA all the way to the other side of the country to Jekyll Island, Georgia a trip that was almost 2,300 miles. Gerdes managed to only stop for gas once, 1,200 miles into the trip. After fueling up he managed to complete the trip to Georgia with 2.5 gallons of gas still in the tank. In total he used a total of 38 gallons of gas and averaged 60 mpg. Hyundai claims that the Sonata is capable of traveling up to 700 miles on a single tank.

"As a fan of fuel-efficient vehicles, I enjoy the challenge of putting new technology to the test," said Gerdes after finishing the 2,300 mile trip. "This demonstration shows how the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can deliver extremely impressive fuel economy and range for drivers who value fuel savings. This is the first time I've driven a car that 'does it right!'"

2012 Chevy Camaro to Get New LFX V6 With Around 330-HP

GM has some changes in store for the 2012 Camaro. Camaro5 is reporting that the 2012 Camaro is going to get a new 3.6L V6 that is being labeled as the "LFX."

The 3.6L LFX engine is the same size as the current 3.6L V6, but in order to put out as much power as it can, it features Spark-Ignition Direct-Injection, Dual Overhead Cams, and Variable Valve Timing. The new engine, but it's expected to put out around 325-330 horsepower.

Ford Teases Focus EV Before CES Unveiling

It's been a year since Ford announced that the Focus would be getting an all-electric version and now Ford has released a teaser photo of the Focus EV. The Focus EV will be officially unveiled at the 2011 International CES in Las Vegas this Friday.

Ford hasn't released the official specs, but it's expected to be able to travel up to 100 miles on electricity alone thanks to lithium-polymer batteries.

GM Discontinues the Cadillac SRX Turbo

It had been rumored that GM was going to kill off the turbo version of the Cadillac SRX crossover and today it was officially confirmed.

According to Cadillac spokesperson Robyn Henderson, the SRX turbo has been discontinued due to slow sales since over 90 percent of SRX sales have been the 3.0L model. The press also criticized the 300-hp 2.8L turbo SRX for its poor fuel economy (15/22). The 3.0L SRX puts out 265-hp and 223 lb-ft. of torque and gets 18/25 mpg. Henderson also stated that the SRX has a larger share of the market than BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

VIDEO: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Caught in Abu Dhabi

BMW has confirmed that the Vision EfficientDynamics will go into production in 2013, but it looks like a recent photo shoot in Abu Dhabi is giving us our first glimpse at the production version... or at least a prototype that is closer to the production version.

The prototype seen here is slightly different than the camouflaged prototype that BMW showed off, so it's been suggested that this is the production model. It's also being rumored that the production version will be dubbed the i8 and that it will be powered by a 328-hp three-cylinder hybrid powertrain.

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