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January 2012 Archives

January 2, 2012

2012 Dodge Charger Redline Debuts with 590-HP

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Chrysler's Mopar division has unveiled the 2012 Dodge Charger Redline ahead of its debut at the Detroit Auto Show, this month.

The 2012 Dodge Charger Redline features three available Mopar stage kits for factory-tuned performance. Stage One features aerodynamic exterior components and interior accents. Stage Two features bolt-on performance parts for improved power, handling and braking, while Stage Three features a more powerful version of the 426 Hemi V-8 engine that packs 590 horsepower.

"Since the 1960s, the Mopar Brand has built a long history of adding power and performance to the Dodge Charger - and with the Redline, we Moparized the new Charger with modern-day performance and style while giving a nod to our storied past," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "With three kits, Mopar offers a tailored choice for every customer."

Continue reading "2012 Dodge Charger Redline Debuts with 590-HP" »

Chrysler's Mopar Unveils the Chrysler 200 Super S

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In addition to the Dodge Charger Redline, Chrysler's Mopar division has unveiled the Chrysler 200 Super S, which is meant to showcase the latest Mopar exterior parts that will be available for the 200 sedan in 2012.

"The Super S is Mopar's interpretation of the Chrysler 200," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "The extensive list of high-quality Mopar parts enhances the performance and appearance of our Chrysler 200."

The Stage One kit starts with the front and includes a chin spoiler, satin chrome fog light trim, satin chrome grille surround and mesh in the upper and lower grilles. The upper grille is gloss black with a recessed Chrysler wing badge. The side of the 200 gets new side sills, satin chrome belt molding, black chrome "200" badges and gray or hyper black 18-inch "S" alloy wheels. The kit concludes with a new trunk lid spoiler, satin chrome light bar and a matte black lower diffuser with attached exhaust openings.

Stage Two adds performance with a coil-over suspension, which also lowers the center of gravity for the vehicle. In addition, Stage Two includes a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust.

Chrysler claims that the Super S packages will be available later this year.

Continue reading "Chrysler's Mopar Unveils the Chrysler 200 Super S" »

January 4, 2012

VIDEO: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Concept Teased

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Next week Nissan is going to take the wraps off the Nissan Pathfinder concept, which is a preview of the all-new 2013 Pathfinder.

Nissan has released a quick teaser video of the concept, which gives us a really quick look at the Pathfinder's new face. Other than that we do not have many other details about the new Pathfinder. But we do know that it will share its platform with the Infiniti JX crossover, which means the new Pathfinder will ditch its current body-on-frame construction. It will also have room for seven passengers and most likely be powered by a version of Nissan's 3.5L V6.

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More Lexus LF-LC Concept Photos Leaked

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Lexus is going to unveil its new LF-LC hybrid coupe concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, next week, but thanks to Road & Track and Autocar, we get to see it now.

The LF-LC concept previews Lexus' new design direction. According to Lexus, "The clean lines of the vehicle emphasize motion." Overall the design of the LF-LC borrows styling cues from the LFA supercar and the LF-Gh concept that was the preview of the 2013 GS.

It's rumored that Lexus could be considering a new 2+2 luxury coupe, which could go on sale by 2015.

Continue reading "More Lexus LF-LC Concept Photos Leaked" »

January 5, 2012

Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept Unveiled Ahead of Detroit Debut

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We're just a few days away from the start of the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. This year Volvo is bringing a new Plug-in Hybrid Concept version of its XC60 crossover to the show. According to Volvo, "The Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is an electric car, a highly economical hybrid and a powerful high-performance car all rolled into one."

The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid concept is powered by a 280 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sends its power to the front wheels via an eight-speed transmission, while the rear wheels are powered by a 70 horsepower electric motor.

The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept has three different driving modes that can be selected by the touch of a button (Pure, Hybrid or Power).

In Pure mode the car is powered solely by its electric motor as much as possible for up to 35 miles. Hybrid mode is the standard setting, which uses a combination of the electric and gasoline powered motors for a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg. In Power mode, the technology is optimized to create maximum possible power. The 280 horsepower gasoline motor and 70 horsepower electric motor accelerate the concept from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

The battery pack can be recharged in 3.5 hours if a 220V outlet is available. With a 110V outlet a full charge takes 7.5 hours.

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All-New Ford EcoSport Debuts in New Delhi

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Ford has previewed the next EcoSport crossover at this week's New Delhi Auto Expo.The compact crossover is based on Ford's new global B-segment platform.

"The all-new Ford EcoSport reflects our commitment to serve our customers with the cars and trucks they truly want and value," said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. "Our engineering team used their years of EcoSport experience to make every aspect of the next-generation EcoSport even stronger."

The EcoSport was developed in South America for emerging markets in South America and Asia, but it hasn't been confirmed if the Fiesta-based crossover will be sold in North America. Under the hood the EcoSport will be powered by Ford's new three-cylinder 1.0L EcoBoost engine.

"We've promised to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to Asia Pacific and Africa by mid-decade and the all-new EcoSport continues to deliver on that pledge," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. "Endowed with traits that customers in markets like India will want and value, this exciting compact SUV will define a new segment in the small car market."

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January 6, 2012

2013 Toyota Land Cruiser Gets a Refresh

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Toyota has unveiled the updates to its legendary Land Cruiser for the 2013 model year.

Toyota has released photos of the European spec model, but it's likely that the U.S.-spec model will look the same when it arrives here later this year. For 2013 the Land Cruiser gets an refreshed exterior with an updated front grille and headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, new chrome side molding, redesigned outer side mirrors and taillights. The front and rear fenders have also been enlarged to convey an "Advanced and Rugged" theme.

The interior of the 2013 Land Cruiser also gets some updates like: perforated leather trim with ventilated front seats, a higher gloss wood grain finish, brighter silver instrument panel ornamentation, chrome-plated air registers and updated meter-cluster lighting. The interior also gets some new features including a Multi-terrain Monitor, a new Multi-information Display, an Eco Driving Indicator light and zone display, a heated steering wheel and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

The 2013 Land Cruiser is powered by a 5.7L V8 with 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm that's mated to a six-speed transmission.

Continue reading "2013 Toyota Land Cruiser Gets a Refresh" »

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Officially Gets a Diesel in the U.S.

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Chrysler has confirmed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be offered with a diesel in the U.S. The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee will get a new diesel engine that will be produced in Detroit, but Chrysler hasn't confirmed the official specs. It's likely that the diesel will be the same diesel engine sold in Europe. In Europe the Grand Cherokee diesel is a 3.0L V6 that puts out 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque.

In addition to the announcement about the new diesel-powered Grand Cherokee, Chrysler also announced plans to add a third crew and 1,100 new jobs at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Chrysler is also adding 150 jobs by reopening its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant for production of the the SRT Viper.

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What Were the Top-10 Best Selling Cars and Trucks in 2011?

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2011 is officially over and for some of the automakers it was a difficult year with the earthquake in Japan and the flooding in Thailand that crippled production. Honda and Toyota were hit the hardest with sales falling off sharply for some of their popular models. Although Honda and Toyota had a difficult year, Ford and Chevy had a much better year.

The top two models continue to be the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado, with the Toyota Camry holding onto the top selling car title.

Check out the list after the jump.

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January 7, 2012

2012 Dodge Charger Gets the Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System

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Chrysler has announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that the 2012 Dodge Charger is now available with the Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ audio system. The system was introduced last year and is already available on the Chrysler 300.

The system features an 8.4-inch touchscreen display and a 12-channel amplifier in addition to:

-Three 3.5-inch speakers located in the instrument panel
-Two 3.5-inch speakers located in the rear doors
-Two 6 x 9-inch front-door woofers provide bass
-Two 6 x 9-inch speakers and a center-mounted 8-inch speaker located in the rear-shelf area provide full-range audio

The Beats Audio system will be standard equipment on the 2012 Dodge Charger R/T Max and included with the Blacktop Package or Rallye Appearance Group on Dodge Charger SXT models. The Beats Audio system is also included with the Sound Group and Wheels and Tunes Group on Dodge Charger R/T models.

The system will be available in the first quarter of this year, but Chrysler has not announced the pricing.

Continue reading "2012 Dodge Charger Gets the Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System" »

GM Adds New Safety Enhancements to the Chevy Volt

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GM has announced new safety enhancements to the 2012 Chevy Volt in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Preliminary Evaluation to examine post-severe crash battery performance. NHTSA opened its Preliminary Evaluation on Nov. 25 following a severe-impact lab test on a battery pack that resulted in an electrical fire six days later. The test was conducted to reproduce a coolant leak that occurred in a full-scale vehicle crash test last May that resulted in an electrical fire three weeks later.

The enhancements to the vehicle structure and battery coolant system in the Chevy Volt will further protect the battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring after a severe crash.

GM has announced these changes/ additions to the Volt:

-Strengthen an existing portion of the Volt's vehicle safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision.
-Add a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels.
-Add a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.

Continue reading "GM Adds New Safety Enhancements to the Chevy Volt" »

2013 Dodge Dart Photos and Video Leaked Ahead of Detroit Debut

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You can now forget all about the unloved Dodge Caliber because the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart sedan is here. It's set to debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, but the first official photos have leaked.

These photos give us our first official look at the 2013 Dart R/T and Limited trims. The Dart shares its platform with the Alfa Romeo Giuletta and will be offered with the choice of three four-cylinder engines. The 2.0L will pack 160 horsepower, while a 2.4L will be offered with 184 horsepower. A turbocharged 1.4L will put out 160 horsepower. Initially the Dart will be available with either a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual, but in 2013 a new 9-speed speed transmission will be available.

Come back for all the details from the show.

Continue reading "2013 Dodge Dart Photos and Video Leaked Ahead of Detroit Debut" »

January 8, 2012

GM Unveils the Sail Hatchback and MPV Concept at the New Delhi Auto Expo

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GM has unveiled the first two products from its joint venture with SAIC, the Chevy Sail hatchback and the Chevy MPV Concept, at the Auto Expo in New Delhi.

The Sail hatchback is slated to go on sale later this year in emerging markets, like India. The Sail's exterior get's Chevy's trademark dual-port grille adorned with a gold bowtie and the interior features the brand's dual-cockpit design. The Sail hatchback will be offered with both gasoline and diesel versions of GM India's latest Smartech engines.

"The Chevrolet Sail hatchback will be a strong addition to GM's mini-car portfolio in India," said GM India President and Managing Director Lowell Paddock. "It will bring a new sense of vitality to the biggest, fastest-growing and most competitive segment in the domestic passenger car market."

The MPV Concept is engineered for the MPV B segment in India and seats up to eight passengers. GM worked with Lotus to tune the chassis of the MPV concept that was also developed for the world's emerging markets.

"The Chevrolet MPV Concept is designed for those who want a spacious, comfortable and well-styled vehicle to enjoy life with their loved ones," said Paddock.


Continue reading "GM Unveils the Sail Hatchback and MPV Concept at the New Delhi Auto Expo" »

2013 Cadillac ATS Gets an Early Unveiling

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Here are the first official photos of the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which is being unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, this week. The Cadillac ATS is Cadillac's direct rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class models.

The ATS features Cadillac's Art & Science design language that is similar to the new XTS and CTS models, but in a smaller package. GM has already confirmed that the 2013 ATS will be offered with three engine choices, a 2.5L four-cylinder, a 318-hp 3.6L V6 and a 270 horsepower turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. Buyers can also choose between a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive.

Inside the ATS will be get Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system. Stay tuned for all the info from the show.

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VW E-Bugster Concept is an All-Electric Beetle

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What we have here is an all-electric Beetle, dubbed the E-Bugster Concept that is debuting at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The VW E-Bugster Concept starts with the new "more masculine" Beetle but with three-inches chopped off the roof and slightly modified front and rear fascias. The concept also rides on large 20-inch wheels.

Under the hood the E-Bugster is powered by a 114 horsepower electric motor with 199 lb-ft. of torque that gets its power from a 695-pound lithium-ion battery. The concept has a range of 100 miles and can be quick charged up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

We can expect to see this electric powertrain in the upcoming Golf blue-e-motion.

Continue reading "VW E-Bugster Concept is an All-Electric Beetle" »

2013 Lincoln MKZ Teased on Facebook

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Ford is gearing up to unveil all-new versions of both the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans at the Detroit Auto Show this week. We're gonna get our first view of the 2013 Fusion at the show tomorrow, but we'll have to wait until Tuesday to see the all-new MKZ.

In the meantime Lincoln has teased the new MKZ with a photo of the rear deck lid on its Facebook page.

Stay tuned...

Continue reading "2013 Lincoln MKZ Teased on Facebook" »

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Photos Leaked

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We're just hours away from the official kick off the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, but there have already been several photo leaks. The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is the latest model to be "leaked."

Hyundai is going to officially unveil the 2013 Veloster Turbo tomorrow, but for now here's some of the basic info and a few photos to hold you over until the embargo is officially lifted. The standard Veloster is powered by a 138 horsepower 1.6L, but the Veloster Turbo adds an extra 63 horsepower for a total 201 horsepower and 196 lb-ft. of torque. Even with the extra power, the Veloster Turbo still gets 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged 1.6L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Veloster Turbo gives Hyundai a direct competitor to the VW GTI and Honda Civic Si. At 2,800 pounds the Veloster Turbo is 234 pounds lighter than the VW GTI, which gives it a better power-to-weight ratio.

To set it apart from the lesser power Veloster, the Veloster Turbo gets a more aggressive face, side skirts, wider fenders, a new rear bumper with oval tailpipes and V-rated 18-inch performance tires.

The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo will arrive this summer. Come back tomorrow for all the official info.

Continue reading "2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Photos Leaked" »

All-New 2013 Ford Fusion Officially Unveiled

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Ford has officially unveiled the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. According to Ford, "Fusion brings alive the next generation of more expressive vehicles from Ford." The all-new, more stylish Fusion is also the first sedan to gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

"Our vision for Fusion was clear - deliver the very best of what One Ford stands for," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development. "We brought our global teams together around a blank slate with the charge to develop a midsize car with groundbreaking design and jaw-dropping fuel economy - one that featured technologies to help make our customers safer and better drivers. This car is the result."

The 2013 Fusion is now more stylish than ever before and ditches the "three-box" designs that we're used to in this segment. The Fusion borrows many styling cues from the Ford Evos concept and builds upon the design set by the current European Ford Mondeo.

Continue reading "All-New 2013 Ford Fusion Officially Unveiled" »

2013 Dodge Dart Takes Off From Where the Neon Left Off

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The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is here and it's the first Chrysler model built on a Fiat platform, since it borrows its platform from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

The 2013 Dart features an all-new design that ditches the hatchback layout of the soon to be forgotten Dodge Caliber. "The Dodge Dart was a dream to design," said Joe Dehner, Head of Dodge Design - Chrysler Group LLC. "The Alfa Romeo-based architecture allowed us to design an exterior with great proportions that say 'fun-to-drive' when you look at it. The overall design is definitely more visually appealing than the Caliber and its Charger-inspired 'racetrack' taillights are a nice touch.

Continue reading "2013 Dodge Dart Takes Off From Where the Neon Left Off" »

January 9, 2012

Nissan Reinvents the 2013 Pathfinder

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27 years after the first Nissan Pathfinder SUV appeared, Nissan has unveiled a reinvented Pathfinder. Nissan has taken the wraps off the Pathfinder Concept in Detroit, which previews the all-new Pathfinder that will go on sale this fall.

The all-new Pathfinder will ditch its current body-on-frame construction for a unibody platform that it wil share with the Infiniti JX. The fourth-generation Pathfinder will have room for seven passengers and thanks to its "refined" V6 and next-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) the Pathfinder will be one of the most fuel-efficient 7-passenger vehicles on the market. Nissan expects the 2013 Pathfinder to be 25 percent more fuel efficient than the current Pathfinder.

"Nissan is in a great position today. Sales are up, market share is increasing and our dealers have a great selection of 2012 Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs in inventory," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "This new Pathfinder Concept is just the beginning of a far-reaching wave of new products on the horizon for Nissan. By the end of 2012, more than 70 percent of our sales volume will be all-new or redesigned."

Continue reading "Nissan Reinvents the 2013 Pathfinder" »

Chevy Code 130R and Tru 140S Concepts Are Aimed at the Next-Generation

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Chevy has introduced two new concepts today at the Detroit Auto Show, the Code 130R and Tru 140S concepts, which are aimed at inspiring next-generation buyers to take the wheel and suggest ideas for a car they can co-create.

"Chevy has always stood for making the aspirational attainable for all generations" said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. "These two concepts interpret that vision for a new generation. We're seeking out our newest customers' opinions, listening to their advice, and engaging them in new ways."

Over the past year, Chevy has conversed with young consumers across the United States and based on their feedback these two concepts explore the styling and functionality this group of new buyers says they are looking for in a car.

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The Code 130R concept is a four-seat coupe with an upright profile. It's painted in a red metallic paint with matte anodized gold wheels and is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged engine that sends its power to the rear wheels. The 1.4L turbocharged engine features GM's eAssist technology and puts out 150 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque.

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The Tru 140S concept is a front-wheel-drive "affordable exotic" four-seat coupe. The Tru 140S concept features a three-door hatchback design that is painted in matte white with chrome wheels. Chevy claims that the Tru 140 S "is designed to look confident, exotic, expensive and fast." The Tru 140S shares its platform with the Chevy Cruze and Volt. It's powered by a 150 horsepower 1.4L turbocharged Ecotec engine.

Continue reading "Chevy Code 130R and Tru 140S Concepts Are Aimed at the Next-Generation" »

2013 VW Jetta Hybrid to Get 45 MPG Combined Rating

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As expected, VW has unveiled the hybrid version of the Jetta sedan. The 2013 Jetta Hybrid is the second hybrid to carry a VW badge and will be the most fuel-efficient Jetta available.

The Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged gasoline engine that develops 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. The 1.4L engine is mated to a 27 horsepower electric motor that gets its energy from a 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery that sits behind the rear seat. The entire system sends its power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

According to VW the Jetta Hybrid can reach 0-60 mph in less than nine seconds and will deliver a combined fuel economy rating of 45 mpg. The Jetta Hybrid can also be driven in pure electric mode at speeds of up to 44 mph and for up to 1.2 miles.

The Jetta Hybrid will be offered in three trims, but Bluetooth, LED taillights and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are standard. Bi-xenon headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights, the RNS 315 navigation system, a rear-view camera and the Fender Premium Audio System are optional.

Continue reading "2013 VW Jetta Hybrid to Get 45 MPG Combined Rating" »

2013 Lexus LX 570 Shows up in Detroit with a Facelift

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Lexus has chosen to unveil the revised 2013 Lexus LX 570 SUV in Detroit. The 2013 LX 570 gets a new grille, 20-inch alloy wheels and an upgraded interior.

The face of the LX 570 also gets new LED daytime running lights that complement the new headlights. The taillights have also been updated and both the front and rear bumpers have been revised.

Inside the LX 570 gets a new Easy Access system for the driver's seat that makes entering and exiting the vehicle easier by automatically retracting the steering wheel and driver's seat when the ignition is turned off. The front seats also feature improved cooling, and a 120-volt power outlet has been added to the middle row. The instrument panel has been updated and a new color display is applied. The center instrument cluster front side air vents get a new dark chrome finish and a new chrome accent above the glove box completes the changes to the interior.

The LX 570 continues to be powered by a 383 horsepower 5.7L V8 with 403 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The LX 570 gets an updated Crawl Control feature provides optimum throttle and brake modulation when maneuvering over rough, uneven or difficult surfaces. A new Turn Assist feature also helps by tightening the turning circles by adding more brake force to the inside rear wheel and the new Multi-terrain Select also allows you to optimize performance by choosing from five types of terrain.

Just in case you're wondering, Toyota has also updated the Land Cruiser for the 2013 model year.

Continue reading "2013 Lexus LX 570 Shows up in Detroit with a Facelift" »

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Concept Officially Debuts in Detroit

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Lexus has taken the wraps off the LF-LC hybrid 2+2 sport coupe design concept, which showcases the future design direction for Lexus with an emphasis on a driver-focused vehicle.

"The concept we're showing here in Detroit continues the Lexus design revolution started with the CT and GS," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The concept hybrid 2+2 liberates the idea of a sport coupe and pushes the boundaries of performance, style and technology."

The LF-LC displays the new Lexus design language in its bold interpretation of the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture. Sumptuous curves blend smoothly into dynamic angles, creating an inviting display of lines, shadows and corners.

"Our entire studio worked to develop this beautiful interpretation of Lexus originality," said Kevin Hunter, president of the company's Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif. "The LF-LC concept embodies our vision of what a premium sport coupe could be."

Continue reading "Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Concept Officially Debuts in Detroit" »

Acura ILX Concept is Acura's New Compact Sedan

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Acura has just taken the wraps off three new models at the Detroit Auto Show. The first one is the Acura ILX concept, which is the precursor to the new Acura compact sedan coming this spring.

Acura describes the ILX as the gateway to the Acura brand and it will get three different powertrains, including Acura's first-ever gas-electric hybrid.

"First time luxury buyers place the highest value on exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues and that's a virtual definition of what we have created with the new Acura ILX," said Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio. "The strategy behind this new model is to position ILX as the first opportunity for many young buyers to enter the luxury market."

The ILX gets Acura's controversial grille, but fortunately its been toned down. For the most part the ILX stays true to Acura's current design language, but it isn't as harsh as the TL.

Buyers can choose between three engines, a 2.0L four-cylinder, 2.4L four-cylinder and 1.5L gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.

Inside the ILX will get a smart entry keyless access system and pushbutton start, along with Pandora internet radio interface and SMS text message function for smart connectivity with the world.

The 2013 ILX will look pretty close to this concept when it goes on sale this spring.

Continue reading "Acura ILX Concept is Acura's New Compact Sedan" »

Acura NSX Concept Debuts as a Hybrid Supercar

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Here's one of the models that we've been eagerly awaiting, the Acura NSX Concept. Acura has unveiled its preview of the next NSX that will be released within the next three years. Unlike the previous NSX concept with its V10 engine, this one stays true to the original and is likely to make NSX fans much happier.

The newest NSX concept features a mid-mounted V6 engine and uses lightweight materials to keep the weight down. The NSX concept also gets a bunch of new technologies including Acura's Sport Hybrid SH-AWD hybrid system. The all-wheel-drive hybrid system features two electric motors at the front of the concept that can can instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering. A next-generation V6 engine with direct injection works in concert with a dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor to create supercar acceleration while offering outstanding efficiency.

Is the world ready for an eco-friendly supercar? Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. stated, "In this new era, even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities."

Continue reading "Acura NSX Concept Debuts as a Hybrid Supercar" »

2013 Acura RDX Ditches the Four-Cyl for a V6

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In addition to the Acura ILX and NSX concepts, Acura has also unveiled the 2013 Acura RDX as a prototype. What you see here is basically the 2013 RDX, which looks more like a baby MDX than before, which is not a bad thing.

The 2013 RDX will launch this spring with a standard 3.5L V6 that replaces the previous turbocharged four-cylinder. The 3.5L V6 packs 273 horsepower, 33 more than the last RDX. The V6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and a new, lighter all-wheel-drive system is optional. Front-wheel-drive models are expected to get 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which Acura claims will be "the best fuel economy of any gasoline-powered luxury SUV in its class."

The new RDX rides on a longer wheelbase and wider track that translates into more passenger and cargo room. The RDX also gets a host of new technologies including Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text message feature, a smart entry keyless access system, pushbutton start, and a three view rear camera.

Continue reading "2013 Acura RDX Ditches the Four-Cyl for a V6" »

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Goes Head to Head with the GTI and Civic Si

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The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is here and gives the small hatchback a much needed power boost! How much? Well how does 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque sound?

The Veloster Turbo is powered by a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with direct-injection. It's a nice jump up from the 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft. that the base Veloster has to make due with. It can be equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and when equipped with the manual the Veloster Turbo gets an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

The Veloster Turbo gives Hyundai a serious competitor to models like the VW GTI, Honda Civic Si and Mini Cooper S. Hyundai can also boast about the fact that the Veloster Turbo not only gets better gas mileage than those models, but also has a better power-to-weight ratio.

"The Turbo further broadens Veloster's hero role in the Hyundai line-up to attract our next generation of buyers," said Mike O'Brien, vice president, product and corporate planning, Hyundai Motor America. "It's powerful, high-tech and fuel-efficient, attributes which we think make Veloster Turbo the ultimate innovation in the sport coupe segment."

The more powerful turbocharged engine is not the only addition to the Veloster Turbo. It also gets a quicker ratio steering rack and a revised steering calibration and Solus KH25 215/40R18 85V tires. The Veloster Turbo gets a more aggressive front end with a bigger grille, side skirts and a new rear bumper with prominent diffuser vents in the lower fascia. The face also has LED accents and the Veloster Turbo vailable in a Hyundai first Matte Gray paint.

Hyundai has yet to announce the pricing, but the 2013 Veloster Turbo will arrive this summer.

Continue reading "2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Goes Head to Head with the GTI and Civic Si" »

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Officially Packs 274-HP and 348-HP

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Hyundai's Veloster is getting more power for the 2013 model year thanks to the introduction of the Veloster Turbo. Not to be ignored, Hyundai has also refreshed the 2013 Genesis Coupe with a facelift and more power under the hood.

The 2013 Genesis Coupe gets upgrades to both its four-cylinder and V6 engines. The 2.0L four-cylinder gets a twin-scroll turbocharger and larger intercooler. The result is 274 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque, which is up from 201 horsepower and 223 lb-ft. in the previous engine. The 3.8L V6 gets direct-injection and now packs 348 horsepower and 295 lb-ft., which is up from 306-hp and 266 lb-ft. Both engines are mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

The exterior of the 2013 Genesis Coupe is more aggressive thanks to a new front fascia and new 18 and 19-inch wheels. Inside the 2013 Genesis Coupe gets a redesigned center stack, a telescopic steering wheel and Hyundai's Blue Link is now available.

Continue reading "2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Officially Packs 274-HP and 348-HP" »

Audi Q3 Vail Concept Unveiled in Detroit, Audi Q3 Confirmed for North America

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Audi has chosen to unveil the Q3 Vail concept in Detroit, which is a concept version of Audi's smallest crossover, the Q3 that is currently not sold in North America. With the unveiling of the Q3 Sail, Audi announced that it is bringing the Q3 to North America next year.

The Q3 Vail gets its name from Colorado ski resort and is powered by a 314 horsepower 2.5L turbocharged five-cylinder engine. The 2.5L five-cylinder is mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system. According to Audi, the Q3 Vail reaches 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 163 mph.

The Q3 Vail doesn't look that different from the production version of the Q3, but it's painted in Energy Red and gets flared wheel arches and running boards that are matte grey. The concept rides on 20-inch wheels and the interior continues the black, gray and red them of the exterior.

Continue reading "Audi Q3 Vail Concept Unveiled in Detroit, Audi Q3 Confirmed for North America" »

Lincoln MKZ Concept Introduces the New Lincoln

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Lincoln has unveiled the new Lincoln MKZ Concept in Detroit, which according to the brand "signals a significant step in Lincoln's reinvention, providing a clear vision of its next-generation vehicles."

"With the Lincoln MKZ Concept, we are not introducing a new car. We are essentially introducing a new brand," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Company group vice president for Global Product Development. "The MKZ Concept is the next step in the reinvention of Lincoln, something we've been quietly but aggressively pursuing."

The MKZ Concept hints at the production version that will arrive in showrooms later this year. Max Wolff, Lincoln design director describes the MKZ Concept's shape as a "vision of simplicity completed with just a few strokes. Our movement as a brand is toward something we call elegant simplicity. It's something warmer and more restrained, which is moving away from complex designs and traditional luxury."

Although the design of the concept is all-new, it's easily recognizable as a Lincoln thanks to certain elements like the split-wing grille. Iinterior features include a push-button transmission gear selection, an open, tiered center console and liquid crystal instrumentation. The interior also gets a reconfigurable 10.1-inch Thin Film Transistor LCD positioned ahead of the driver that operates with the latest version of MyLincoln Touch in addition to the flush-mounted center 8-inch LCD touch screen.

Lincoln didn't give any details of what is under the hood other than stating that the concept is capable of using multiple powertrain options with front and all-wheel-drive configurations. The MKZ Concept also gets Lincoln Drive Control and the Continuously Controlled Damping adjustable suspension. Like the recently unveiled 2013 Ford Fusion, the MKZ Concept also gets Ford's new Lane Keeping System.

Continue reading "Lincoln MKZ Concept Introduces the New Lincoln" »

January 10, 2012

2013 Buick Encore Adds a Small Crossover to Buick's Lineup

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Buick has unveiled the newest addition to its lineup, the 2013 Encore small crossover.

"Buick Encore is a great-looking, smart choice for those who want luxury crossover amenities in a more maneuverable and agile vehicle," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing. "It represents a luxury alternative for a new audience of Buick customers, and delivers features and flexibility not typically found in vehicles of its size today."

The small Encore seats up to five and is powered by a turbocharged 1.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 1.4L puts out 140 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. Buyers will be able to choose between front or all-wheel-drive.

At just over 168 inches long, the Encore is a small crossover. GM compares it to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, two small luxury crossovers that aren't currently sold in the U.S. In terms of styling the Encore adopts many of the same design themes as the other Buick models, like its waterfall grille, chrome accents and surrounds and portholes on the hood.

"The Encore brings Buick's timeless, sculptural design to the crossover segment in a way that blends elegance, efficiency and utility," said David Lyon, executive director of design. "There's confidence in its athletic stance and elemental beauty in its rich details."

To keep the interior of the Encore quiet, Buick applied its "QuietTuning" process including Buick's first application of active noise cancellation.

The 2013 Buick Encore will arrive in the first quarter of 2013.

Continue reading "2013 Buick Encore Adds a Small Crossover to Buick's Lineup" »

2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept Previews the All-New Accord

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Honda has given us our first preview of the all-new 2013 Accord with the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept that was unveiled today in Detroit. In typical Honda fashion, the Accord Coupe Concept is a thinly disguised version of the production version that is arriving this fall.

The 2013 Accord will get three all-new powertrains, including a 181-hp 2.4L direct-injected engine and a two-motor plug-in hybrid system. The new Earth Dreams 2.4L engine will be mated to either a six-speed manual or a new CVT. Honda claims that the 2.4L equipped 2013 Accord models are targeted at delivering class-leading fuel economy.

Honda is not going to follow Hyundai and Ford's lead by no longer offering a V6 in their midsize sedans, since Honda has announced that the 2013 Accord will be offered with a 3.5L V6 mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The new V6 will generate more power fuel economy than in the current Accord.

The 2013 Accord will see the return of an Accord hybrid, which will be powered by a two-motor plug-in hybrid system that moves continuously through three modes - all-electric, gasoline-electric and direct-drive - to maximize driving efficiency and fuel economy. In all-electric mode the Accord Plug-In Hybrid will use a 6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a 120 kW electric motor to achieve an all-electric range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph. Fully recharging the battery will take less than four hours using a 120-volt, outlet and less than 1.5 hours using a 240-volt charger. In the gasoline-electric hybrid mode, the Accord is powered by its fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, i-VTEC inline four-cylinder, Atkinson cycle engine, paired with an electric Continuously Variable Transmission. The Accord Plug-In Hybrid launch next winter.

"Marking the 30th anniversary of U.S. production, this new ninth-generation Accord will raise the bar again through a tour de force of new Honda powertrain and safety technologies, geared to ensure that Honda and the Accord continue to lead in fuel economy, safety and fun-to-drive performance," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

Continue reading "2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept Previews the All-New Accord" »

Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept Could be the Next Prius

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Toyota has unveiled what could be the Prius of the future with the NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. According to Toyota, the "NS4 signifies Toyota's vision for future mobility with a focus on connectivity and the human interface."

Toyota's engineers were tasked with designing a new mid-sized concept that could potentially be introduced by 2015. The NS4's powertrain targets a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system featuring reductions in component size and weight with improved overall fuel economy, better acceleration and longer all-electric range, while maintaining a short charge time.

In addition to its next-generation hybrid system, the NS4 introduces a next generation Pre-Collision System (PCS) with lane departure, rear-end and pedestrian collision avoidance technologies. The PCS uses millimeter-wave radar and stereo cameras mounted on the front of the vehicle to detect and react to lane departure, pedestrians and other vehicles. Adaptive headlights and new glass technologies integrated into the windows also help improve driver visibility and gas mileage.

The NS4 concept also gets a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) that provides a user interface built around a multi-touch screen with the look and feel of a smartphone. It provides quick information to the driver and controls the climate control, audio system and navigation functions to minimize distractions.

Continue reading "Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept Could be the Next Prius" »

2012 Toyota Prius c to Start Below $19,000

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Toyota has unveiled the fourth Prius model, the 2012 Prius c, today in Detroit. The Prius c is now the smallest Prius available and will start under $19,000 when it hits dealers this March. How small is it? It's about the same size as the Toyota Yaris and is 19-inches shorter than the Prius Liftback. The Prius c also weighs 542 lbs. less weight than the Prius Liftback (2,500 vs. 3,042 lbs.).

Since it's the smallest Prius, the thing most of us are most eager to hear about is its fuel economy ratings. Toyota has announced that the Prius c will have a rating of 53 mpg in the city, 46 mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 50 mpg. The Prius c is powered by a 1.5L four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor within a CVT. The system has a total output of 99 horsepower and the nickel-metal hydride battery rides below rear bench.

Continue reading "2012 Toyota Prius c to Start Below $19,000" »

January 11, 2012

2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Starts at $61,845

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BMW has announced the pricing for the 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5, which starts at $61,845.

The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is powered by BMW's 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder engine, an electric drive system and an 8-speed automatic transmission for with a combined output of 335hp. It reaches 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds.

The ActiveHybrid 5 can operate in full-electric mode up to 37 mph and the lithium-ion battery has enough power to allow the hybrid to drive up to 2.5 miles on electricity alone. BMW has yet to release the official fuel economy stats.

The ActiveHybrid 5 will reach showrooms in late spring.

Continue reading "2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Starts at $61,845" »

2013 Mazda CX-5 Tops the Class with 35 MPG Rating

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Mazda has announced the fuel economy figures for the 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, which is headed to dealerships this spring.

The front-wheel-drive, six-speed manual equipped CX-5 models are rated at 26 city/35 highway/29 combined mpg. When its equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission those numbers drop slightly to 26 city/32 highway/29 combined. The all-wheel-drive CX-5 gets 25 city/31 highway/28 combined mpg.

All CX-5 models are powered by a Skyactiv 2.0L engine with 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft. of torque.

Mazda says that pricing for the 2013 CX-5 will be announced closer to its launch date.

Continue reading "2013 Mazda CX-5 Tops the Class with 35 MPG Rating" »

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Packs 160-HP and Starts at $22,000

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The model that Fiat 500 fans have been waiting for is finally here, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth. Fiat has announced that the high-performance version of the 500 will start at $22,000 when it arrives in showrooms this spring.

The 500 Abarth is powered by an all-new 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged engine that pumps out 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque that is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It also gets an Abarth designed body kit, suspension and braking system and rides on 16-inch aluminum wheels. Inside the 500 Abarth gets Abarth performance seats and a turbo-boost gauge with an integrated LED shift light and a Bose premium audio system.

"The Fiat 500 Abarth feels like a double shot of espresso straight to your veins," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC.

500 Abarth owners also get to attend a driving experience at no additional charge at the Abarth Driving Experience lead byinstructors from the Richard Petty Driving Experience

Continue reading "2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Packs 160-HP and Starts at $22,000" »

January 12, 2012

2013 Porsche Boxster Unveiled With More Power and Efficiency

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Porsche has officially taken the wraps off the all-new 2013 Porsche Boxster that will go on sale this summer.

The 2013 Boxster gets an all-new body that doesn't steer too far from the current Boxster, which is not a bad thing. The new Boxster weighs less than the previous generation and rides on a longer wheelbase and a wider track.

The Boxster can be powered by the two flat-six engines with direct-injection, thermal management and start/stop function. The base Boxster is powered by a 2.7L flat-six that puts out 265 horsepower (10 more than the current model), while the Boxster S gets its motivation from a 3.4L flat-six that packs 315 horsepower (5 more than before). Both engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). The Boxster reaches 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds, while the Boxster S only takes 4.7 seconds.

Porsche has announced that the base 2013 Boxster will start at $49,500 and the Boxster S will start at $60,900 (not including a $950 destination charge).

Continue reading "2013 Porsche Boxster Unveiled With More Power and Efficiency" »

2013 Chevy Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition Unveiled

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The current Chevy Corvette is entering its final year, which also happens to be the 60th anniversary of the Corvette. To celebrate the current-generation's (C6) last model year, Chevy is releasing the 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition.

The Corvette 427 Convertible blends elements of the Z06 and ZR1 models to create the fastest and most-capable convertible in Corvette's history. It's powered by a 7.0L LS7 engine from the Corvette Z06 that delivers 505 horsepower and 407 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission and is the most powerful engine ever put in a production Corvette convertible.

The collector edition Corvette 427 also gets the driveline and rear axle system from the Corvette Z06, a rear-mounted battery and standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control. The standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels are wrapped in ZR1-style Michelin PS2 tires. To keep the weight down the Corvette 427 gets a carbon fiber raised hood, and carbon fiber fenders and floor panels. The weight reduction brings the 427 Convertible's curb weight to 3,355 pounds. It's lightweight helps the Corvette 427 reach 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the in 11.8 seconds and a top speed of more than 190 mph.

A new 60th Anniversay package is also available on all 2013 Corvette models. It features an Arctic White exterior with a Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents. A ZR1-style rear spoiler, special badging, gray-painted brake calipers and the "60th" logo on the wheel center caps, steering wheel and seat headrests are also part of the package.

Continue reading "2013 Chevy Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition Unveiled" »

Chrysler May Kill the Avenger to Focus on the 200

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According to Automotive News, Chrysler may kill the Dodge Avenger to focus on the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan.

Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand, recently told Reuters, "Chrysler Group will likely consolidate around one midsize car in the future." By focusing on a single model, Chrysler can save development and marketing costs. The move would also prevent the models from cannibalizing sales from each other.

Last year Chrysler moved 87,000 200 sedans, while only 64,000 Avengers moved out of Dodge showrooms. Both models' sales are no where near Toyota's top-selling Camry that sold over 308,000 units last year.

Continue reading "Chrysler May Kill the Avenger to Focus on the 200" »

BMW Confirms X4 Production at Spartanburg Plant

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We've been discussing the possible BMW X4 crossover for a while now, but BMW has officially confirmed the new mini-X6 crossover that will fit in between the X3 and X5 in the lineup.

The new X4 will use the same engines as the X3 and will have get the same coupe-like styling as the X6. BMW is going to invest $900 million in the Spartanburg facility over the next three years and 300 new jobs will be added in 2012. The investment will also allow the plant to produce up to 350,000 units annually.

Continue reading "BMW Confirms X4 Production at Spartanburg Plant" »

Chrysler Confirms Dakota Will Return, but Could Switch to a Unibody Platform

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Dakota fans that were sad that the current Dakota pickup was killed a few months ago can celebrate this little bit of news. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed plans for a new Dakota. That may make some of you happy, but wait... There's a 50% chance that the Dakota could switch to a unibody platform, according to Marchionne. If that happens the Dakota would basically be something more along the lines of the Honda Ridgeline than the past Dakota.

Chrysler recently announced plans to introduce a diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee in the U.S. and now there's a good chance that the next Dakota could also be offered with a diesel.

In Europe the Grand Cherokee is offered with a 3.0L diesel V6 that puts out 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque. Chrysler hasn't confirmed the stats of the diesel we will get in the U.S.

Continue reading "Chrysler Confirms Dakota Will Return, but Could Switch to a Unibody Platform" »

January 13, 2012

Nissan Xterra to Continue with its Truck Roots

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Some Nissan Pathfinder fans may be disappointed with the new car-based 2013 Pathfinder that is going to arrive later this year, but fans of the smaller Xterra do not have to worry about it too becoming a crossover. Nissan's engineers have confirmed that the Xterra will continue with its body-on-frame chassis.

That means the Xterra will continue to share its platform with the Nissan Frontier, which is a good thing for hardcore SUV fans...

Continue reading "Nissan Xterra to Continue with its Truck Roots" »

BMW Announces Exclusive and Sport Editions to the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible

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BMW has announced the release of new Exclusive and Sport editions for the BMW 1 Series Coupe and Convertible.

The Edition Exclusive adds chrome trim on the window frames, exhaust and grille and new light alloy wheels available in 16, 17 or 18-inches. Buyers can opt for the exclusive body finish in Mineral Grey metallic or else one of five finishes drawn from the standard portfolio and the exterior mirrors are colored in an Oxide Silver matt finish. Inside the seats are wrapped in boston leather either in Pearl Grey with grey contrast stitching or in black with white contrast stitching. The interior also gets a new sports steering wheel trimmed in chrome and the 1 Series coupe gets an anthracite-colored BMW Individual roof liner.

The Edition Sport adds the M Sports chassis and the M aerodynamic package with the exclusive paint finish Carbon Black metallic. It rides on 17 or 18-inch M light alloy wheels. The interior gets sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, gearshift and handbrake.

Both editions will arrive in March.


Continue reading "BMW Announces Exclusive and Sport Editions to the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible" »

BMW Gathers Six Generations of the 3 Series in One Photo

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The all-new 2012 BMW 3 Series is going to start arriving in showrooms next month. The all-new 3 Series marks the introduction of the sixth generation model, with the first 3 Series being released in July 1975.

To celebrate the release of the new 3 Series, BMW has gathered all six generations for a family photo.

Continue reading "BMW Gathers Six Generations of the 3 Series in One Photo" »

January 17, 2012

2013 Nissan Pathfinder to Get 3.5L V6, All-New Nissan Coming to NYC

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Nissan gave us a preview of the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder this month with the Pathfinder Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The concept is basically the same thing that will show up in showrooms this fall with its new unibody platform that makes the new Pathfinder 500 pounds lighter and 25 percent more fuel efficient.

At the show Nissan didn't provide any details about what would power the new Pathfinder, but since it shares its platform with the Infiniti JX35, its pretty much been assumed that it would be powered by Nissan's 3.5L V6. Well according to Motor Trend the 2013 Pathfinder will in fact be powered by the 3.5L V6 thanks to an anonymous tip they received.

The 3.5L V6 will be the same V6 that powers the Infiniti JX35 and will be the only engine available in the Pathfinder. Nissan may retune the engine giving it a slightly different output from the 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft. that it puts out in the JX35. The V6 will be mated to a CVT.

Nissan also confirmed plans to unveil an all-new vehicle at the upcoming New York Auto Show, but it hasn't been confirmed what it will be. Maybe the all-new 2013 Altima?

Continue reading "2013 Nissan Pathfinder to Get 3.5L V6, All-New Nissan Coming to NYC" »

Fiat 500 Wagon to be Unveiled in Geneva, Headed to the U.S. in 2013

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Fiat's return to the U.S. with the small Fiat 500 failed to meet the automaker's sales expectations, but a new 500 variant may help. Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand recently confirmed plans to unveil a new five-door wagon version of the 500 at the Geneva Motor Show in March, which will be sold in the U.S. starting next year.

A larger version of the 500 may be more appealing to buyers that like the styling of the 500, but need more space and utility. Fiat had hoped to sell 50,000 500 models in 2011, but only managed to move 26,000 units. The wagon version of the 500 has been developed specifically for the U.S. market, but no other details have been released.

Continue reading "Fiat 500 Wagon to be Unveiled in Geneva, Headed to the U.S. in 2013" »

Entry-level Porsche Roadster Delayed

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Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller recently revealed that the automaker has put the plans for a new entry-level roadster on hold. Mueller told German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, "Possibly we need to wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche."

Last February Mueller told told Automotive News Europe that the automaker was mulling the idea of a small mid-engine sports car that would be a successor to the Porsche 550 from the 1950s. The model was expected to be released by 2014.

It's been reported that Porsche was working on a new roadster that would share its platform with the production version of the VW Bluesport concept, but VW may also be killing plans for the Bluesport.

At least there's an all-new 2013 Boxster coming this summer.

Continue reading "Entry-level Porsche Roadster Delayed" »

Audi's Super Bowl Spot Highlights the 2013 Audi S7 and LED Tech

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Audi has released some of the details about its new 60 second spot that will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. The upcoming 60 second spot will focus on Audi's LED headlights and the 2013 Audi S7.

"With LED, there's no mistaking an Audi. Since pioneering the technology nearly ten years ago, LED lights have established the Audi persona have become one of the most recognizable features on the road," said Scott Keogh, Chief Marketing Officer, Audi of America. "Like our LEDs, this year's Super Bowl spot will be unmistakably Audi."

The high-performance version of the A7 five-door coupe, the S7 is powered by a new 4.0L TFSI V8 that generates 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The S7 will reach 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

This is the fifth consecutive time that Audi has created a spot for the Super Bowl.

Continue reading "Audi's Super Bowl Spot Highlights the 2013 Audi S7 and LED Tech" »

VIDEO: Lexus to Air its First Super Bowl Commercial

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Lexus is planning on releasing a host of new models this year and to kick off the product onslaught, Lexus is going to debut its first-ever Super Bowl commercial for Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 5.

"This is a big year for Lexus as we introduce nine new or updated models, and the Super Bowl provides us with an equally big opportunity to reach a highly engaged audience of 50 million people," said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. "The star of our commercial is the all-new 2013 GS which launches in February and kicks off a pivotal era for the Lexus brand. The spot also will convey that even more products are waiting in the wings and are anxious to hit the road."

The 30 second commercial will air in the first half of the Super Bowl. Check out the 15 second sneak-peek of the commercial after the jump.

Continue reading "VIDEO: Lexus to Air its First Super Bowl Commercial" »

January 18, 2012

VIDEO: 2013 Porsche Boxster Hits the Road

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Here are two new videos that are our first look at the all-new 2013 Porsche Boxster in motion.

Last week Porsche officially unveiled the new 2013 Boxster that is now lighter and more powerful than the current generation. The Boxster is powered by a 265 horsepower 2.7L flat-six, while the Boxster S is powered by a 3.4L flat-six cylinder with 315 horsepower. The Boxster will reach 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and the Boxster S will do it faster in only 4.7 seconds.

The 2013 Boxster arrives this summer starting at $49,500 for the Boxster and $60,900 for the Boxster S, plus the $950 destination fee.

Continue reading "VIDEO: 2013 Porsche Boxster Hits the Road" »

VW Launches "Golf R Drivers Forever" iPad App

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To celebrate the arrival of the 2012 VW Golf R at U.S. dealerships VW has released the "Golf R Drivers Forever" iPad app. The app provides access to everything you would need to know about the Golf R.

Told through the perspective of VW enthusiasts and drivers who helped bring this car to the United States, the app provides an interactive narrative on the evolution of the Golf from its days as the Rabbit in the 1970's all the way to the present 2012 Golf R model.

"The Golf R app was created to celebrate and thank the Volkswagen brand's community of enthusiasts because they represent what makes the Golf R special," said Jon Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "The app will help build awareness around the Volkswagen brand heritage and we are excited to offer this innovative approach that illustrates the performance of the Golf R."

The 2012 Golf R is powered by a 2.0L TSI engine with 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft. of torque. The 2.0L is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission and VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. For the first time, the Golf R will be available in two-and four-door models starting at $33,990.

Continue reading "VW Launches "Golf R Drivers Forever" iPad App" »

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK to Get Diesel Option in the U.S.

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This fall Mercedes-Benz is going to release a refreshed 2013 GLK that will be offered with a diesel engine in the U.S. The addition of the diesel-powered will mark the sixth diesel-powered model in the automaker's U.S. lineup.

The official specs of the diesel-powered GLK have not been released, but it's been reported that it will be a four-cylinder. Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA stated that the addition of the diesel will likely push GLK sales into the "high 30's," up from the 24,310 units Mercedes-Benz sold last year.

Continue reading "2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK to Get Diesel Option in the U.S." »

VW E-Bugster Concept Could be Built, if You Want It

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VW had two big debuts at the this month's 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the 2013 Jetta Hybrid and the E-Bugster concept. While the Jetta Hybrid is already slated to be introduced this fall, there is a chance that the E-Bugster concept could also be produced as the third variant of the Beetle, after the upcoming Beetle convertible.

Autocar recently spoke to the E-Bugster's designer, Mark Lichter who stated "This is a serious proposal for a speedster Beetle and I am sure it will come for production. We just need to find the business case."

Lichter found inspiration for the concept from his own 964 Porsche 911 Speedster. He also stated, "A Beetle Speedster is the perfect car for the US."

The E-Bugster concept looks almost identical to the production Beetle, but with three inches chopped off the roof and slightly tweaked front and rear fascias. The concept was powered by a 114 horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Continue reading "VW E-Bugster Concept Could be Built, if You Want It" »

2013 VW Beetle TDI will Debut Next Month in Chicago

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According to the guys over at Autoblog, VW is going to unveil the diesel-powered 2013 Beetle TDI at the Chicago Auto Show next month. VW hasn't released any official details about the diesel Beetle, but it's expected that it will be powered by the same 2.0L turbo-diesel that powers the diesel Golf, Jetta and Passat models.

In the Golf, the 2.0L diesel generates 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque and gets up to 42 mpg. The diesel will be also reportedly be offered in the upcoming Beetle convertible, which is going to arrive later this year.

Continue reading "2013 VW Beetle TDI will Debut Next Month in Chicago" »

Audi Releases Special Edition S5, Only 125 Will be Made

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Audi has released a special-edition of the 2012 Audi S5, which was unveiled on Facebook.

The special edition U.S. model doesn't look that much different than a regular S5, other than its unique Daytona Grey paint, 19-inch alloy wheels or two-tone interior. Oh and just in case you're wondering, this is S5 is still powered by the original 4.2L V8. The new S5 has ditched the V8 for a supercharged 3.0L V6.

Only 125 units of the special edition S5 are going to be produced and it's reportedly going to start at $68,700.

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Tesla Model X Crossover to be Unveiled on February 9th

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed on his Twitter account that the Tesla Model X crossover will be unveiled on February 9th at Tesla's design studio in California.

The Tesla Model X will share its platform with the upcoming Model S sedan, but its not known if the version we will see next month will be the production version or a concept. The Model X crossover was rumored to be unveiled by the end of December, but isn't slated to go on sale until late 2013.

According to Tesla, the Model X will "incorporate the functionality of a minivan with the consumer appeal of a sports-utility vehicle."

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January 19, 2012

Mitsubishi Teases New Model Ahead of Geneva Debut

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Mitsubishi has released a teaser of a new model that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. According to Mitsubishi, the new model will be the start of an all-new generation of global products with a "re-focused design language" from the automaker.

The model teased here is described as a "strategic and innovative premium vehicle" that will be released sometime this year. The new vehicle is part of Mitsubishi's "Jump 2013" business plan for a greener and more global Mitsubishi.

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Chevy Sets New Global Sales Record in 2011

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Last year Chevy sold 4.76 million vehicles worldwide, which set a new sales record and pushed GM's global sales to more than 9 million vehicles, a 7.6 percent gain compared with 2010.

The U.S. had the highest sales with with total vehicle sales of 1,775,812, up more than 13 percent from 2010. China posted record sales of 595,068, up 9.5 percent from the previous year.

"Chevrolet's impressive growth in both established and developing markets is the result of a strong new product lineup that meets the diverse needs of consumers around the world," said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. "In addition to Chevrolet's record-setting sales, the entire lineup of GM vehicles is meeting customer needs for fuel-efficient cars and work vehicles as well as unmatched luxury."

The Chevy Cruze led Chevy's global sales with more than 670,000 sold in 2011, with more than 1.13 million sold since its launch in 2009. GM also stated that it will continue to make Chevy a more global brand, with more than 60 percent of its sales outside the U.S. market.

"Without doubt the new Chevrolet portfolio has been a catalyst for our success around the world," said Tim Lee, president of GM International Operations.

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Refreshed 2013 Lexus LX 570 Starts at $80,930

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Lexus has announced the pricing for the refreshed 2013 Lexus LX 570, which starts at $80,930 an increase of 1.9 percent or $1,475.

"With all of the enhanced features, the LX 570 offers perhaps the most exciting combination of luxury, on-road smoothness and off-road performance of any vehicle in its segment," said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division.

The 2013 LX 570 gets an updated face with the Lexus spindle grille, new LED daytime running lights with updated headlights and a revised front bumper. The rear also gets updated with new taillights and a revised bumper.

The interior gets a new a new multimedia system, a color TFT multi-information display, improved front seat cooling, easy access for the driver's seat, a power outlet for the middle row and unique trims and accents.

Under the hood the LX 570 is powered by a 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft. of torque. For 2013 the LX 570 gets an updated Crawl Control feature which provides optimum throttle and brake modulation when maneuvering over rough, uneven or difficult surfaces. The new Turn Assist feature tightens turning circles by adding more brake force to the inside rear wheel and the new Multi-terrain Select also allows the driver to optimize performance by choosing from five types of terrain settings.

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2013 Ford Escape is Quieter Thanks to a Mirror that Sees Sound

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Ford's all-new 2013 Ford Escape will have reduced wind noise leading to a quieter interior thanks to the use of an elliptical acoustic mirror.

An elliptical acoustic mirror was used for the first time on Escape to reduce wind noise and deliver a quieter interior. The mirror resembles a satellite dish with a microphone. The mirror identifies "hot spots" where noise penetrates the interior of the vehicle, allowing drivers to listen to music or conversation inside the car instead of external noises. Thanks to the mirror, Ford's engineers were able to make changes to the Escape's shape, specifically the mirrors and A-pillar, while in the early clay model phase.

"We previously didn't have this tool available," said Peter Kleesattel, interior quietness development engineer. "Essentially we were able to optimize the shape earlier. In noise and vibration, the basic idea is you have noise sources outside the vehicle and you have the path.

"The path could be through the glass, door or insulation. Now we're able to optimize the shape early on, reduce the exterior source and create a quieter interior."

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2013 Ford Escape Pricing to Start Just Over $22k and Top Out at $37k

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Ford's all-new 2013 Escape is slated to arrive this spring. If you head over to Ford's microsite for the 2013 Escape, you will see that Ford has listed the tentative pricing.

Although Ford claims that the prices listed are "for survey purposes only and are subject to change," they will most likely not change much, if at all.

The base Escape S is listed at $22,720. It comes with a 168-hp 2.5L four-cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic that sends its power to the front wheels.

Stepping up to the Escape SE starts at $25,320. The SE is available with either the 173-hp 1.6L or 237-hp 2.0L EcoBoost engines with either front or all-wheel-drive. The SE trim also adds Ford's SYNC system, keyless entry dual chrome exhaust and body-colored trim exterior pieces.

The Escape SEL starts at $28,120 and adds leather seats and the MyFord Touch system.

The top of the line Escape Titanium starts at $30,620 and adds a 10-speaker HD radio audio system, 19-inch wheels and remote start. Adding all the options like the panorama roof, parking technology package and navigation system on the all-wheel-drive Titanium model pushes the final price around $37,000.

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Hyundai Confirms New 10-Speed Transmission in the Works

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Hyundai is now starting to add new eight-speed automatic transmissions to models like the Equus and 2013 Genesis Coupe, but it looks like Hyundai is hoping to add even more speeds with an upcoming 10-speed automatic.

Hyundai has confirmed to Car and Driver that it is developing a new 10-speed automatic in-house. It's not known when the new transmission will be released and which models will get it.

With this announcement and Chrysler working on a new nine-speed for the 2013 Dodge Dart, when will the number of gears become redundant?

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Mini Releases Mini Cooper Special Editions to Celebrate the London Olympics

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The London Olympics don't officially kick off until this summer, but Mini is celebrating the Olympics coming to the capital city of the brand's home county with two special-edition models to spread contemporary London style around the world. The Mini Baker Street and Mini Bayswater will be released in the spring. The Mini Baker Street embodies the youthful, fresh and innovative trend-setting style of the brand, while the Mini Bayswater focuses primarily on the sporting verve and agile handling for which Mini is renowned.

The Mini Baker Street edition features a Rooftop Grey metallic exterior paint with black bonnet stripes, 16-inch black alloy wheels with matching black exterior mirrors. The Mini Baker Street can also be ordered in Pepper White or Midnight Black. Inside it gets cloth and leather seats in Cross Check Rooftop Grey light with a diamond pattern. The Rooftop Grey light color is also applied to other interior surfaces and it the door sills get "Baker Street" lettering. The Mini Baker Street can be ordered in Mini One, Mini Cooper, Mini One D and Mini Cooper D.

The Mini Bayswater gets is painted in Kite Blue metallic with a black roof and rides on 17-inch Sandblast black wheels. Midnight Black metallic and Eclipse Grey metallic paint shades can be ordered. The interior gets "Bayswater" lettering on the door sills and seat tags in addition to the Rocklite Anthracite leather seats with blue and grey contrast stitching. The Mini Bayswater is available as a Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Mini Cooper D and Mini Cooper SD.

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January 23, 2012

VW Unveils the Five-Door VW Up!

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VW has unveiled the five-door version of its new Up! city car, which will go on sale in Europe this summer.

The five-door Up! has the same dimensions as the three-door and is powered by the same 1.0L 59 horsepower or 74 horsepower three-cylinder engines as well. VW expects that over half Up! buyers will choose the five-door version will cost around £400 more than three-door.

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2013 Nissan GT-R Starts at $96,820, Almost $7k More than the 2012 Model

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Nissan has announced the pricing for the 2013 GT-R, which now starts at $96,820, almost $7,000 more than the 2012 model.

The 2013 Nissan GT-R is powered by the same 3.8L twin-turbo V6 mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that now puts out 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft. compared to 530 horsepower and 448 lb-ft. in the 2012 model. According to Nissan the 2013 GT-R will reach 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds. Nissan also retuned the suspension and added a standard RearView monitor and the Black Edition gets a new dry carbon fiber rear spoiler.

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Honda Delivers the First 2013 Fit EV

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Honda has begun deliveries of the 2013 Fit EV, with the first one going to the city of Torrance, California. The delivery was marked by a ceremony at the Torrance City Hall, at which a key to the Fit EV was presented to Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto by Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.

"This is an exciting day as we take another important step toward Honda's comprehensive vision for reducing CO2 emissions while at the same time advancing our relationship with the city of Torrance," said Steve Center. "Honda has a long history with electric vehicles starting with the introduction of our first battery-electric car, the EV Plus, nearly 15 years ago. With Honda's extensive experience and the real-world feedback from the city of Torrance, we will be even more prepared for the further customer adoption of electric vehicles."

The 2013 Fit EV was unveiled last November at the 2011 LA Auto Show and will go on sale to customers in California and Oregon this summer. It has a range of 76 miles and is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and 92 kW coaxial electric motor. According to Honda, the Fit EV can be fully recharged in as little as 3 hours when connected to a 240-volt outlet. The 2013 Fit EV will start at $36,625 before any government incentives, with an estimated lease priced at $399 a month.

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FIA-Compliant Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 Unveiled

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Nissan (NISMO) has announced the official release of a Nissan GT-R that conforms to FIA GT3 regulations: the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO) and JR Motorsports (JRM) teamed up to jointly develop the car. It's powered by a 3.8 V6 twin-turbo engine that is based on the standard GT-R's engine and puts out 530ps (523-hp) at 6400 rpm. The V6 is mated to a six-speed semi-automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

According to Nissan, the GT-R NISMO GT3 was features a chassis that inspires confidence and the suspension set-up and driver controls can easily be adjusted to suit a range of preferences.

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2013 Chevy Malibu Heads to U.S. Showrooms and 2.0L Turbo Confirmed

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GM has announced that the first shipment of the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu is on its way to showrooms across the United States.

The first version of the all-new Malibu offered in the U.S. is the 2013 Malibu Eco. As its name suggest, the Malibu Eco is focused on fuel economy. It's powered by GM's eAssist technology mated to a 2.4L four-cylinder engine, which according to GM yields 25 mpg in the city and 37 mph on the highway. The mild hybrid system combines start-stop technology with regenerative braking and a lightweight lithium-ion battery to provide an electric boost in certain conditions.

Later this summer all-new 190-hp Ecotec 2.5L engine debuts in the Malibu. GM has also confirmed that the Malibu will also eventually be offered with an Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged engine.

The 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco starts at $25,995.

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Mini Rocketman is Reportedly Off the Table

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Last year Mini unveiled the Rocketman Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Since then there have been lots of rumors that BMW was planning on adding the small concept to Mini's lineup, but now Car is reporting that BMW has changed its mind.

According to Car, BMW has canned the Mini Rocketman due to the added cost of producing the tiny Mini. BMW would have to invest a considerable amount in order to make the Rocketman meet current regulations, like crash standards. The extra costs to needed produce the Rocketman, would not make it very profitable.

It was rumored that the Rocketman was going to enter production around 2016.

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Mazda Gets a Diesel-Powered Model in the U.S. in Early 2013

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Car and Driver recently spoke to Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes, who confirmed that a diesel-powered Mazda will be offered in the U.S. in early 2013. "It'll be here between 15 and 18 months behind the launch of the Skyactiv-G gasoline engine in the Mazda 3." The Mazda 3 with the Skyactive-G gasoline engine arrived in October, so you can expect to see a diesel in Mazda's U.S. lineup between January and April of 2013.

Which model will get the diesel engine? Barnes did not confirm which Mazda would get the diesel, but according to sources it will be the new CX-5. In Europe and Japan the CX-5 is already offered with a Skyactiv 2.2L diesel. In Europe the diesel is offered with either 148-hp and 280 lb-ft. or 173-hp and 310 lb-ft. of torque.

Until then, Mazda recently announced that the 2013 CX-5 in the U.S. will be powered by a 155-hp 2.0L Skyactiv engine that gets up to 35 mpg on the highway.

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January 24, 2012

VW Up! GT Reportedly Gets the Green Light

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Late last year VW unveiled a hotter version of its new Up! city car, the Up GT concept, which is basically like a GTI version. Following yesterday's unveiling of the five-door Up!, it's now being reported that the Up! GT will be produced as well.

The guys over at PistonHeads are reporting that VW has confirmed a production version of the Up! GT concept. The Up! GT is expected to be powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine with around 110 horsepower. The small engine will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The concept also featured a more aggressive front fascia with larger ducts with LED daytime running lights and the rear employed a roof spoiler and black diffuser with dual tailpipes. The concept also rode on 17-inch alloy wheels and the interior had anthracite-colored seats offset by central panels with a blue checkered pattern.

Unfortunately just like the other Up! models, the U.S. will probably not be getting the Up! GT.

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VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz Teases the 2013 A-Class

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Mercedes-Benz is going to unveil the all-new 2013 A-Class at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. To give us a preview of next A-Class Mercedes-Benz has released this quick teaser video.

The new A-Class was originally previewed in concept form at last year's New York and Shanghai auto shows. The 2013 A-Class will go on sale in Europe later this year. For the first time ever, the A-Class is expected to be sold in the U.S. as well.

The A-Class prototype in this video is covered in QR codes that allows fans the ability to learn more about Mercedes' new A-Class.

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VIDEO: The New 911 - Porsche's Identity

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Porsche has released a new video that explains how "Our identity is the 911."

Over the years the 911 has changed, but it has maintained its distinct shape. "Instantly recognizable and originally engineered for the racetrack, it continues to stir the emotions today, just as it did in 1963."

The 911 has been completely redone for 2012, but its changes continue to be more evolutionary, which is not a bad thing.

Check out the video after the jump.

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2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Car Unveiled

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Ford has taken the wraps off the 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Car, which mirrors the new styling of the all-new 2013 Fusion. According to Ford, the 2013 Fusion Sprint Cup car was designed to be the face of a new era of stock car racing.

"We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return 'stock car' to NASCAR." stated Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "I think fans, when they see the car, are just going to smile and cheer. It is going to reengage them with the sport and make the sport better because there is just something natural about seeing race cars that look like cars in their driveways."

This is the third time that Ford has simultaneously launched production and NASCAR versions of a new model. The first was in 1968 with the Ford Torino and the second time was in 2006 with the Fusion.

"It looks fun to drive and very much eager to go and tear up the track. It has a very aggressive stance from the outside and the inside. From all angles the vehicle exudes performance and I think it reflects our general attitude of how we go about setting up our cars very, very nicely," said Garen Nicoghosian, who led the Ford Design Center staff. "It brings a certain level of nimbleness and lightness and agility to the NASCAR platform, much like we do in our production cars, because all of our production cars have that nimbleness and agility and eagerness about them."

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Chrysler to Keep the Avenger? Next Liberty Shares its Roots with the Dart

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The first model from the Chrysler/ Fiat marriage, the 2013 Dodge Dart will be hitting showrooms soon, but that model is only the first of many. It's been previously reported that Chrysler is going to kill off the Dodge Avenger after its current run, so that the automaker can focus its efforts on the better selling Chrysler 200 sedan, but that may not be the case.

USA Today is reporting that Chrysler is working on all-new versions of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger, which will be based on the same Alfa Romeo platform that is the basis for the Dart. They are also reporting that the next Jeep Liberty and Compass models will also be built off the same platform in 2013.

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne recently stated about the new Jeeps, "It's gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car."

Marchionne also stated that Chrysler is thinking about a new small hatchback dubbed the "Chrysler 100." If it gets the green light, it will be sold in Europe under as a Lancia.

Lastly Marchionne claims that plans to bring Alfa Romeo back to the U.S. are still in the works. The models slated to come here will be lightweight and powered by a 1.8L engine with 300 horsepower.

Continue reading "Chrysler to Keep the Avenger? Next Liberty Shares its Roots with the Dart" »

January 25, 2012

Jeep Grand Cherokee Production-intent Concept Debuts

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Jeep has unveiled a new production-intent concept version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee at the Houston Auto Show.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Production-intent Concept is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo X package. The concept's face is more aggressive with a chrome and "blacked-out" look. The front fascia gets a unique platinum-chrome and "blacked-out" appearance with a chrome mesh grille and black headlamp bezels. The "blacked-out" theme continues out back with a black liftgate light-bar. The concept also rides on black-gloss aluminum 20-inch wheels.

Inside the concept gets standard leather seats, heated front seats and a 9-speaker 506 watt audio system.

Jeep also announced that it has created an online contest for consumers to name the new production-intent Grand Cherokee concept. The person who chooses the winning name will have an opportunity to win a new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

If the concept attracts enough interest, it will be in showrooms this spring.

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Honda's Cumulative Worldwide Hybrid Sales Reaches 800,000 Units

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It took 12 years, but Honda has announced that its cumulative worldwide hybrid vehicle sales surpassed 800,000 units as of the end of December 2011.

Honda introduced its first hybrid model, the Insight in Japan in November 1999. Since then Honda has produced two versions of the Insight , hybrid versions of the Civic and Accord and the CR-Z sports hybrid. Today Honda sells seven hybrid models in approximately 50 countries around the world.

Next year Honda plans to reintroduce an Accord hybrid with a plug-in hybrid system. The 2013 Accord Plug-in Hybrid will use a 6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a 120 kW electric motor to achieve an all-electric range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph. Honda has also announced that the upcoming 2013 Acura ILX compact sedan will be offered with a hybrid system, marking the introduction of the first Acura hybrid.

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VIDEO: Kia's Super Bowl Spot Stars Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima

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This year's Super Bowl is just around the corner on Sunday February 5th. Advertising during the game is always a big deal and we're already starting to get previews of what we can expect to see. Kia has released the details and a preview of its 60-second spot that will air during the fourth quarter of the game, called "Drive the Dream."

The commercial is for the new 2012 Optima Limited and stars Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima, Motley Crue and MMA fighter Chuck Liddell.

According to Kia: The new 2012 Optima Limited races through a Gen X couple's wildest thoughts as they sleep, including: Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima waving the checkered flag at a speedway; an in-your-face Mötley Crüe concert; mixed martial arts legend Chuck Liddell battling in the ring; a heroine and hunk on horseback in a romance novel setting; champion bull rider Judd Leffew taming a bucking rhinoceros; and a fairy tale ending.

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Nissan Announces Plans to Open New Plant in Mexico

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Nissan has announced plans to invest $2 billion for an all-new manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes, Mexico, to support the company's Americas growth strategy. The new plant will complement Nissan's two existing Mexican factories and will open in late 2013.

Initially the new facility will be able to produce up to 175,000 units annually of Nissan's "B" platform models, but further expansion of the site is possible. Up to 3,000 direct jobs will be created initially at the new facility, with approximately 9,000 positions to be generated within the supply chain and wider community.

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Revised 2013 BMW X6 Officially Unveiled

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Since the BMW X6 first debuted in 2008, BMW has sold more than 150,000 units worldwide and now its time to give the "Sports Activity Coupe" a refresh. Here's your first look at the revised 2013 BMW X6.

On the outside the X6 gets new fog lights, which are now set in matte finish surrounds. The grille on the X6 has also been tweaked. Buyers can now choose adaptive LED headlights as an alternative to the standard bi-xenon lights. The rear also gets revised LED taillights.

Under the hood X6 buyers can choose between the V8-powered 400-hp BMW X6 xDrive50i or the BMW X6 xDrive35 with its 300-hp inline-six cylinder. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

BMW has also announced the introduction of the M Performance Package, which includes an engine upgrade of 15-hp and 30 lb-ft. on the X6 xDrive35i, giving it a total output of 315-hp and 330 lb-ft. The X6 xDrive50i with the M Perfomance Package has a total output of 440-hp and 480 lb-ft., an improvement of 40-hp and 30 lb-ft. n addition, the M Performance Package includes 20-inch light alloy wheels, black chrome exhaust tips, stainless steel pedals, M foot rest and door sills, shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headliner, and optional Carbon Black metallic paint.

For buyers that want even more power, BMW will continue to offer the BMW X6M with its 555-hp V8 that is mated to a 6-speed M Sport automatic gearbox.

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BMW M Performance Diesel Lineup Unveiled with a Tri-Turbocharged Diesel

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BMW has announced the introduction of four new M Performance models, which are all powered by a diesel engine, the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d.

The new M Performance diesel models are powered by a new 3.0L six-cylinder in-line diesel engine. It feature three turbochargers and direct-injection for a total 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft. The six-cylinder diesel is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The six-cylinder diesel also gets BMW's EfficientDynamics technology, including Auto Start-Stop function and ECO PRO mode.

The fastest of the M Performance diesel models, the M550d xDrive sedan reaches 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. According to BMW, the M550d XDrive will also only consume 6.3 litres/100 km (44.8 mpg) on the European cycle. The M550d xDrive Touring will reach 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds and consumes 6.4 litres/100 km (44.1 mpg); the X5 M50d reaches 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds and consumes 7.5 litres/100 km (37.7 mpg); the X6 M50d will reach 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds and consume 7.7 liters/100 km (36.7 mpg).

All four models get M-specific tuning of suspension, bodyshell mounting, engine and transmission mounting, springs and dampers, all standard and optional chassis control systems, and the Servotronic mapping for the hydraulic steering. The M550d XDrive and M550d xDrive Touring ride on 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, while the X5 M50d and X6 M0d models ride on 20-inch M light-alloy wheels.

As exciting as these new models may seem, BMW unfortunately has no plans to offer them to buyers in the U.S.

Continue reading "BMW M Performance Diesel Lineup Unveiled with a Tri-Turbocharged Diesel" »

January 26, 2012

Ram Launches the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

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Ram has announced the addition of the top-of-the-line 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited model.

The Ram Laramie gets a body-color front fascia with fog lamps and a matching, painted rear bumper. It also gets a chrome grille and rides on standard 20-inch aluminum wheels that it borrows from the Ram Laramie Longhorn.

Inside the Ram Laramie gets Natura Plus leather seats and the center console is topped with a soft, double French-stitched full-leather lid. Leather has also been applied to the door trim, steering wheel and shifter. Ram Laramie Limited also is equipped with a navigational radio, remote start, back-up camera, power adjustable pedals with memory, heated steering wheel, front ventilated and heated seats and rear heated seats.

The Laramie Limited will be available Q2 2012.

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Spy Shots: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Photos Leak Out

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Hyundai is going to unveil the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe at the 2012 New York Auto Show in April, but the first photos of the new Santa Fe have now leaked onto the web.

Only one of Hyundai's crossovers, the Tucson, has received Hyundai's latest design language. These two photos clearly show that the next Santa Fe is going to adopt the newest design theme with its hexagonal grille and it even gets a rear that looks similar to the Audi Q7.

It has not been confirmed what will power the new Santa Fe, but four-cylinder and V6 engines are expected to be offered. Hyundai's 274-hp turbocharged 2.0L is expected to be part of the engine options.

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BMW X3 Trumps the Range Rover Evoque in Consumer Reports Match Up

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Contrary to the recent accolades that the all-new Range Rover Evoque has received, Consumer Reports recently placed the compact SUV near the bottom of its class.

Consumer Reports recently brought the BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque together for a head-to-head matchup. The BMW X3 came out on top with a score of 80, while the Evoque only received a score of 60. CR applauded the X3 for being sportier on the road than most SUVs and its 22 mpg overall rating that was made possible by its new eight-speed automatic. CR gave the Evoque negative marks for its cramped cabin, stiff ride and artificial-feeling steering.

CR tested the BMW X3 xDrive28i with its 240-hp 3.0L six-cylinder engine. CR stated that the X3 rides firmly and provides decent isolation from bumps and road imperfections. Noise levels in the cabin are hushed overall. With limited body lean and quick, responsive steering, the X3 is aggressive in the corners. The X3 beat out eight previously tested compact luxury SUVs with only the Audi Q5 3.2 beating it.

CR tested the Range Rover Evoque Pure with its 240-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and liked the styling, acceleration and braking of the Evoque. Unfortunately its ride was choppy and the cabin was too noisy and cramped. The Evoque tackles corners well but its steering feels artificially weighted, impairing feedback. When pushed to its handling limits on CR's track, the tail slid out and the vehicle repeatedly lifted a wheel during an avoidance maneuver.

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January 27, 2012

2012 Honda Crosstour Four-Cyl Starts at $27,655

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Honda has announced the pricing for the new four-cylinder version of the 2012 Honda Crosstour, which starts at $27,655.

The four-cylinder Crosstour is powered by a 192-hp 2.4L four-cylinder that is mated to a five-speed automatic. The four-cylinder is only available with front-wheel-drive. Compared to the front-wheel-drive 3.5L V6 equipped Crosstour, the four-cylinder model is obviously more fuel efficient with an improvement of 3 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway. The four-cylinder Crosstour is rated at 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.

All 2012 Crosstour models now come standard with an automatic dimming rearview mirror, a rearview mirror back-up camera display on non-Navigation models, auto-on/off headlights, Bluetooth and a USB audio interface.

"The new four-cylinder Crosstour offers sleek design, unmatched passenger comfort and ingenious functionality now with four-cylinder pricing and fuel economy," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "With four-cylinder and V6 options and a long list of standard features, Crosstour should be on every CUV buyer's shopping list."

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January 28, 2012

2012 Mini Roadster Officially Starts at $24,350

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Mini has announced the U.S. pricing for the 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster. The Cooper Roadster is available in three versions and starts at $24,350, $600 less than the four-seat Mini Convertible.

$24,350 gets you the base Cooper Roadster, which is powered by a 121-hp 1.6L. It will reach 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds and has a top speed of 124 mph. It also gets 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

The Cooper S Roadster starts at $27,350 and is powered by a 184-hp turbocharged 1.6L. It only takes 6.7 seconds to reach 0-60 mph and has a top speed of 141 mph. Even with the extra power, the Cooper S Roadster has the same exact fuel economy ratings as the base Roadster at 27/35 mpg.

The most powerful version of the Roadster is the John Cooper Works Roadster that starts at $34,500. It's powered by a 208-hp turbocharged 1.6L and reaches 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and has a top speed of 147 mph. It's rated at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway.

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January 30, 2012

Five-Door Fiat 500 to be Dubbed the 500L

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Fiat is going to release its fourth variant of the 500, the five-door 500L at the Geneva Motor Show in March. We're still about a month away until it's officially unveiled, but some of the early details have surfaced.

The 500L will be a larger version of the small 500 that will get a similar front end, but will be built on a widened version of Fiat's small vehicle architecture that is also the basis for the Fiat Punto. The 500L will be about 2 inches longer than the 500. Fiat is going to release two versions of the 500L, a five-seat version that will debut first, then a longer seven-seat version. The U.S. will only receive the five-seat version, which will arrive early next year.

Fiat hasn't announced the official specs for the 500L, but it wil likely be powered by Fiat's 85-hp turbocharged two-cylinder, a 1.4L with either 77-hp or 105-hp and a 1.3L diesel with either 75-hp or 95-hp. The US-spec 500L will likely only be powered by the 1.4L.

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Tesla Teases the Tesla Model X Crossover

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Tesla will unveil its third model, the Model X crossover on February 9th, but here's the first teaser photo of it. The teaser photo shows off the electric crossover's roofline and part of its grille.

The teaser photo was part of Tesla's invitation to the official unveiling of the Model X that is going to take place at Tesla's Design Studio in LA. The Model X is expected to arrive less than two years after the Model S sedan, with pricing that will probably be higher than the Model S that starts at $57,400.

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VIDEO: Ferris Bueller Gets Behind the Wheel of the 2012 Honda CR-V

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Matthew Broderick plays a grown-up version of Ferris Bueller in Honda's Super Bowl commercial for the 2012 Honda CR-V. The 60-second spot reinterprets a handful of landmark scenes from Paramount's 1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off, including the museum visit, rogue valet and infamous parade float lip sync.

"Matthew's Day Off" is part of an integrated, multiplatform advertising campaign that began earlier this month to support the launch of the all-new Honda CR-V. The campaign encourages the active, hip Gen-Y audience transitioning between their carefree twenties and their more focused thirties to conquer their aspirations by completing their own "Leap List."

"Our primary goal is to support the launch of the all-new CR-V, a pillar vehicle in the Honda lineup, while representing the inherent fun and youthfulness of the Honda brand," said Tom Peyton, Honda brand manager, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Check out the extended version of the commercial after the jump.

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VIDEO: Toyota's Super Bowl Spot Reinvents More Than the 2012 Camry

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Toyota has released the extended version of its Super Bowl XLVI commercial that is going to air on February 5th, during the game. After not advertising during the game in three years, Toyota is returning with a spot that promotes the all-new 2012 Camry.

The 60-second "Reinvented" spot takes a cue from the marketing campaign promoting the reinvention of the 2012 Camry. The premise of the spot is that good things are always better when reinvented. The ad provides a humorous take on potential day-to-day experiences and items that could have been reinvented, such as a baby that never requires a diaper change or the Department of Motor Vehicles as an enjoyable place of fun and smiles.

"Reinvention is a powerful idea and one we took to heart when we redesigned America's most popular car with the launch of the 2012 Camry and elevated it above the competition," said Bill Fay, group vice president of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "The Super Bowl provides a forum to really drive home the reinvention message of the seventh-generation Camry, using humor to resonate with the American public.

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VIDEO: Acura's Super Bowl Spot Stars Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and the NSX

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The Super Bowl is only a few days away, but automakers have started giving us previews of its commercials that will air during the show. Today we've seen previews of Honda's spot with Ferris Bueller and Toyota's commercial for the 2012 Camry. For the first time ever Acura is going to air a commercial during the big game.

During the third quarter of the game, Acura's commercial is going to air that features Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno coupled with the NSX concept that was unveiled in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show earlier this month.

"Acura has a specific plan in place across all communication channels to build off of the first round of product news announced at the North American International Auto Show. The response to the ILX, RDX and NSX supercar concept has been extremely positive," said Susie Rossick, Acura Brand Manager. "Our Super Bowl strategies are simple--build upon the buzz created in Detroit and leverage the excitement for the future return of the legendary NSX to the Acura lineup."

This commercial, "Transactions," depicts two actual top car collectors, Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, in an unrelenting bid to be the first in line to take delivery on the first Acura NSX.

"The goal is to present a commercial that not only clearly positions the NSX as the ultimate 'must have' sports car, but does it in a way that is memorable, entertaining and aligned with Acura's brand position," said John Hage, EVP/executive creative director at RPA, Acura's advertising agency of record.

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2013 SRT Viper Teased Ahead of New York Debut

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This April, Chrysler is going to take the wraps off the 2013 SRT Viper (note that the Dodge name will no longer be applied to the Viper). Although April is still 2 months away, SRT has released the first teaser photo of the Viper on its Facebook page.

The next-generation Viper will be powered by a new V10 and will be released by the end of the year as a 2013 model.

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January 31, 2012

VIDEO: 2013 Cadillac ATS Hits the Track for the Super Bowl

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Cadillac's all-new 2013 ATS is the subject of its Super Bowl commercial that is going to air during the game this Sunday. The on-road performance of the ATS is the subject of the 30-second spot.

"The ad showcases what will make ATS a serious new challenger against the world's best compact luxury cars," said General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick. "It's an opportunity to reach a big audience with the message that Cadillac is expanding into new territory."

The 2013 ATS is set to go head to head with models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class when it is released this summer.

"The car is the total focus of the ad, with actual testing footage of the ATS," Ewanick said. "Competing head-to-head in an elite class requires authentic performance."

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Chrysler Celebrates Mopar's 75th Anniversary with Four Custom Models

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Chrysler is celebrating Mopar's 75th anniversary with four custom vehicles, the Mopar '12 300, 2013 Dodge Dart "GTS 210 Tribute", 2012 Fiat 500 "Stinger" and the 2012 Mopar Jeep Compass "True North."

"Customization is king," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "These head-turning 'Moparized' vehicles show how we can go to the next level of personalization. With our best-in-class offerings of parts and accessories, we give our customers every opportunity to further enhance the appearance and performance of their vehicles."

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2014 Dodge Dart SRT4 to Pack Close to 300-HP

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The 2013 Dodge Dart is way better than that old Dodge Caliber that it replaced. Even though the 2013 Dart will be available with three different engines, the most powerful engine only packs 184 horsepower. Want even more power from the Dart, well Chrysler's SRT team that is unveiling a new Viper in April, is also reportedly working on a SRT4 performance variant of the Dart.

Details have not been released for the 2014 Dart SRT4, but the guys over at Motor Trend seem to have an idea of what we can expect. The 2013 Dart borrows its platform from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, so you can expect the Dart SRT4 to get a version of the Giulietta's dual-clutch, six-speed transmission. There are two possible options for the engine, a turbocharged version of the Dart's Tigershark 2.0L four-cylinder or Alfa Romeo's new 1.8L four-cylinder turbo. The Dart SRT4 is likely to get the turbocharged version of the Tigershark instead of the Alfa Romeo's engine, due to the added cost of Alfa Romeo's engine. Either way expect the Dart SRT4 to pack more power than the 285-hp Caliber SRT4.

The Dart SRT4 will also get a more aggressive body kit, an upgraded suspension and larger wheels with stickier tires.

Continue reading "2014 Dodge Dart SRT4 to Pack Close to 300-HP" »

VIDEO: Lexus Unveils its First Ever Super Bowl Commercial "The Beast"

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Lexus has released its commercial, "The Beast" for Super Bowl XLVI. This marks the first time ever that Lexus will air a spot during the big game.

The :30 second commercial features the all-new 2013 GS as it breaks free from containment, illustrating the company's move in a new design direction for the brand. The spot also hints at the new vehicles Lexus will unveil later this year, which are waiting in the wings for their turn to burst onto the scene.

"The all-new Lexus GS is showcased in this ad because it's the first model to feature the new look of Lexus and it's also the first of nine new or updated models we'll launch this year," said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. "This spot looks very different than anything Lexus has done before and demonstrates to the 50-million-strong Super Bowl audience that 2012 will be a breakthrough year for Lexus."

The :30 second commercial is scheduled to air at the end of the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI.

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2013 Acura ILX and RDX Models to Debut in Chicago

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Acura has announced that the production versions of the 2013 ILX compact sedan and RDX crossover will debut next week at the Chicago Auto Show.

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The ILX concept and RDX prototype debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in January and both models that we saw are pretty close to what we expect to see unveiled in Chicago. According to Acura, the 2013 ILX sedan, which shares its platform with the Honda Civic, will be positioned as the gateway model to the Acura brand. It will be offered with three different powertrain options, including a hybrid.

The 2013 RDX has more passenger room and cargo volume than the outgoing model. The 2013 RDX also ditches the existing turbocharged four-cylinder for a 273-hp 3.5L V6. Although the new RDX will now be powered by a V6, Acura claims that it will offer the best fuel economy of any gasoline-powered luxury SUV in its class. Acura expects front-wheel-drive models to get 20/28 mpg.

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