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March 2012 Archives

March 1, 2012

VW Brings New up! Concepts to Geneva

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VW has announced that it will be bringing new concept versions of its up! city car to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show next week.

The swiss up! concept pays tribute to the hosts of the Geneva Motor Show. The swiss up! depicts the colors of the Swiss flag both inside and out. Red and white, clear and dominating: like the Swiss Alps. The interior gets leather and Alcantara covered seats and holders for a Victorinox pocket knife.

The winter up! concept is a five-door up! with snowboard roof rails and is painted in two colors: pure white and malibu blue. The large body surfaces are painted in cool 'pure white',while 'malibu blue' is used as a contrasting color for the impact surfaces of the bumpers, the door mirror housings and the seam that runs parallel to the side windows.

The new x up! is described as a globetrotter and is based on the five-door up! The x up! gets a roof box with integrated search lights. The x up! is painted in "burned orange metallic"; the accents, impact surfaces of the bumpers and the roof box are designed in "anthracite" with a silky sheen.

The new cargo up! is designed as a small city delivery van. The up! has been turned into a small city van with a seat for the driver and lots of space for cargo. All of the rear windows have a dark tint and painted in the body color.

Continue reading "VW Brings New up! Concepts to Geneva" »

VIDEO: 2013 Nissan Altima Officially Teased

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Following the leaked photo of the 2013 Nissan Altima, Nissan has released an official teaser for the all-new Altima. Of course this teaser photo reveals a lot less than the leaked photo.

The 2013 Altima will officially debut next month alongside the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

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March 2, 2012

2013 Lexus RX 450h to Officially Debut in Geneva

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Last month we got our first unofficial look at the refreshed 2013 Lexus RX crossover thanks to photos from a Japanese brochure. Next week Lexus has confirmed that the 2013 RX 450h hybrid will officially debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

The 2013 RX 450h will take the stage alongside the new RX 450h F-Sport. From the leaked images we can tell that the revised RX is getting the new Lexus spindle grille, updated headlights with LED daytime running lights and revised taillights.

Stay tuned.

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March 3, 2012

2013 Ford F-Series Super Duty Teaser Released

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Ford has released this teaser photo of the 2013 Ford F-Series Super Duty that will officially debut on March 9th.

Ford did not provide any other details about the revised truck.

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GM Stopping Chevy Volt Production for Five Weeks

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Rising inventories have prompted GM to halt production of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid for more than a month. According to the Automotive News, GM has informed its 1,300 workers at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan that it will shut down production for five weeks, starting on March 19th.

Spokesman Chris Lee stated, "We need to maintain the right inventory levels and continue to meet demand." GM plans on resuming production on April 23. At the end of February, GM had 6,300 Volts in its inventory, enough to last 154 days based on the current sales rates.

GM sold 1,023 Chevy Volts in January, which was up from just 603 in January.

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More Hyundai i-oniq Concept Photos Show up Before Geneva Debut

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More photos of the Hyundai i-oniq concept car have been leaked ahead of its official debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show next week.

The i-oniq concept is a four-seater coupe that is a preview of the evolution of Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design language. The coupe is powered by a small 1.0 three-cylinder engine that is linked through a generator to a lithium-ion electric motor that has an output around 107 horsepower.

"The i-oniq concept has been created to reflect the new thinking that runs through the Hyundai brand. It has a bold design, inside and out, that provokes contemplation on the future of automotive possibilities, and a powertrain that highlights one of the ways in which we could power future products," stated Allan Rushforth, the senior vice president of Hyundai's European operations.

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March 5, 2012

VW Unveils the 157 MPG Cross Coupé Concept

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Late last year VW unveiled the Cross Coupé concept at the Tokyo Motor Show that was powered by a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system. Now VW is bringing the same concept to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this week, but with an even more efficient plug-in hybrid system.

The Cross Coupé concept is now powered by a turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) and two electric motors. Its combined fuel consumption in the New European Driving Cycle is a low 1.8 litres per 100 km (around 157 mpg) with CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km. The concept also packs a total 302 horsepower and has a top speed of 137 mph.

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Bentley Unveils the EXP 9 F SUV Concept in Geneva

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Bentley has taken the wraps off the EXP 9 F luxury Sport Utility Vehicle concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. According to Bentley, the EXP 9 F is a glimpse of the future of Bentley. "The Company's designers and engineers have created a compelling new take on the Grand Touring Bentley - a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes and the overtaking lane of the autobahn."

The EXP 9 F could become a third Bentley model-line alongside the Mulsanne and Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur.

"We are very excited by the potential of a high performance, ultra-luxury Bentley SUV. We know that many Bentley customers already own SUVs, admiring their style, luxury, performance and versatility. With EXP 9 F, Bentley is making a clear statement of intent that we have both the expertise and desire to meet and exceed their expectations." Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors.

"EXP 9 F had to represent the absolute pinnacle of the sport utility sector, setting a new benchmark for this type of vehicle. The style had to reflect Bentley's sporting character despite its radically different package and purpose together with sculptured, flowing surfaces in keeping with the Bentley tradition."

The exterior of the EXP 9 F applies traditional Bentley styling cues like its matrix grille and round head lights to an SUV. The designers were inspired not only by the more functional nature of EXP 9 F but by the "visible engineering" of the famous Blower Bentleys. For example, the day-time running lamp apertures also act as the charge cooler air intakes for the twin-turbo W12 engine, each with a dramatic, mesh-covered turbine fan design and "rifled" inner surface finish.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Officially Unveiled

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The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been unveiled in Geneva.

"A is for Attack: the A-Class is a clear statement of the new dynamism of the Mercedes-Benz brand", explains Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers and designers have made the very most of that opportunity."

The all-new A-Class was originally previewed by the A-Class concept last year and is a dramatic departure from its predecessor. The new A-Class has a far sportier two-box design that now sits 18 centimeters closer to the ground.

"Applying the new dynamic style of Mercedes-Benz to the compact class was a challenge that we thoroughly enjoyed", explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz. "The almost sculptural lines of the A-Class are very typical for Mercedes. The feature lines, particularly along the sides of the car, then give the A-Class structure and tautness."

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March 6, 2012

All-New 2013 Audi A3 Arrives in Geneva

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The all-new 2013 Audi A3 is having its world debut this week at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. We've already seen leaked photos of the new A3, so what you see here isn't a big surprise.

The all-new A3 doesn't stray too far from the design of the current A3 and borrows many of Audi's current design cues, including the new more aggressive headlights. The 2013 A3 rides on VW's new modular MQB platform and is about the same size as the current A3, but is a bit wider with a slightly longer wheelbase.

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March 5, 2012

2013 Ford Fiesta ST Unveiled and it May Come to the U.S.

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Ford is unveiling the new production-ready 2013 Fiesta ST at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show ahead of its launch in Europe in 2013. The 2013 Fiesta ST is powered by a 177 horsepower 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 177 lb-ft. that propels the small hatchback from 0-62 mph in under seven seconds with a top speed over 136 mph.

In addition to the added power under the hood, the Fiesta ST sits 15mm lower than the standard Fiesta. The Fiesta ST also gets Ford's enhanced Torque Vectoring Control system and three Electronic Stability Control modes.

"We believe Ford customers will be blown away by the new Fiesta ST, and not only by the exhilarating performance but by the styling and specification, too. This dynamic new hot-hatch is undoubtedly our best Fiesta ST to date," said Jost Capito, Ford's director of Global Performance Vehicles.

The interior gets standard Recaro sports seats and a MyKey system that allows owners to limit performance and ensure activation of safety features for when less-experienced drivers use the vehicle.

For now the Fiesta ST is confirmed for Europe, but Ford may offer it in other markets, including North America for the first time following a highly positive response to the five-door Fiesta ST concept that made its North American debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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March 6, 2012

Infiniti Emerg-E Concept Previews a New Infiniti Sports Car

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Following the several photo leaks, we now have our first official look at the Infiniti Emerg-E electric car concept that has been unveiled in Geneva. The Emerg-E provides a glimpse into Infiniti's future with a possible new halo model.

The Emerg-E concept is powered by two electric motors with a combined output of 402 horsepower that ride mid-ship. They are capable of accelerating the concept from 0-60 mph in four seconds and from from zero to 130mph in a single, seamless 30 second burst. In full electric mode the concept has a range of 30 miles, then a range-extender 1.2L three-cylinder engine kicks in to give the concept a combined range of 300 miles.

Continue reading "Infiniti Emerg-E Concept Previews a New Infiniti Sports Car" »

Restyled 2013 Lexus RX Debuts in Geneva

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The restyled 2013 Lexus RX crossover has been unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show with the new bolder, signature Lexus spindle grille and an upgraded interior.

The exterior of the 2013 RX is now sportier thanks to a new bumper, headlights with LED daytime running lights and new fog lights. The rear end has also been updated with restyled taillights. inside the 2013 RX gets a redesigned steering wheel, metallic accents and a redesigned center console.

The 2013 RX 350 is powered by a 270-hp 3.5L that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2013 RX 450h hybrid has a total 295 horsepower thanks to its 3.5L V6 and electric motors. For 2013 the RX 450h features a Sport mode with revised steering effort, throttle mapping and transmission-shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain. The RX 450h gets 32 mpg in the city and 28 mpg for the front-wheel-drive model and the all-wheel-drive version gets 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

A Sport Appearance Package is new for 2013 and offers an unique front bumper, halogen headlamps and 19-inch wheels with superchrome finish.

Continue reading "Restyled 2013 Lexus RX Debuts in Geneva" »

Nissan Hi-Cross Concept Previews Nissan's Next-Gen Crossovers

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Nissan is giving the world a preview of what its next-generation crossovers could look like and what may power them with the Hi-Cross concept.

The Hi-Cross concept was created in Japan and is a compact crossover that has space for three rows of seats for seven passengers. It's powered by a hybrid system that pairs a 2.0L direct-injection engine with an electric motor and compact lithium-ion battery.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., said: "Nissan created the crossover segment with Murano and has expanded the genre with top selling cars like Qashqai and Juke. Hi-Cross Concept shows we are not sitting still, resting on our laurels, but exploring ways of cementing our crossover leadership by exploring new ideas."

François Bancon, Deputy Division General Manager of Product Strategy and Product Planning Division , said: "Although this is purely a concept car, exploring potential ideas for the future, there is no ambiguity about its purpose. It is a high-riding crossover, hence its name: Hi-Cross Concept.

"But the name does more than refer to its shape. The 'Hi' refers equally to the idea of extended value, to the levels of innovation found in the drivetrain and, of course, to the excitement promised from the behind the wheel."

Continue reading "Nissan Hi-Cross Concept Previews Nissan's Next-Gen Crossovers" »

Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera Voted 2012 European Car of the Year

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The Chevy Volt and the Opel Ampera today won the European "Car of the Year 2012" award voted by a panel of 59 judges from 23 European nations. The Ampera/Volt received 330 points against the Volkswagen Up! with 281 and Ford Focus with 256.

The final selection was made in the context of the Geneva Motor Show. The Ampera and the Volt emerged as the joint overall winner in a field of seven finalists. Initially, 35 recently launched vehicles entered the contest.

"Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners' lifestyle," Chevrolet President and Managing Director for Europe Susan Docherty said. "It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe's leading jury of automotive journalists."

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Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept Hits the Stage in Geneva

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Land Rover has given the world a preview of what a convertible version of the new Range Rover Evoque would look like with the Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept.

Land Rover calls the concept a design study that builds on the Evoque's success and reflects the automaker's expertise at identifying and leading new market segments. The concept features a fully retractable soft-top, a drop down tailgate and room for four passengers.

Land Rover hasn't announced if the concept will be produced, but positive feedback could always help.

Land Rover Design Director, Gerry McGovern, said: "We believe that the Evoque lends itself beautifully to the idea of a convertible. From a pure design perspective, we have used Evoque's dramatic shape to create a distinctive and highly desirable proposition."

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Lamborghini Aventador J is a One-Off Roadster for 2.1 Million Euros

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Lamborghini has taken the Aventador supercar and created the roofless Aventador J that you see here. But before you label it as a radical concept car that will never be produced, think again. Lamborghini has created this one-off convertible Aventador that has already found an owner that paid a whopping 2.1 million euros for it.

"With the Lamborghini Aventador J, we have molded our brand DNA into its most definitive form to-date. This automobile is as extreme and as uncompromising as only a Lamborghini can be," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. "The new Lamborghini Aventador J is the most radical open supersports car of Lamborghini's history. Its name comes from our tradition and combines an unconventional design with technology innovation. Nowadays we are confronted with several regulations that we face in the spirit of challenge. The Aventador J is the proof that, despite the rules, Lamborghini will always make people dream, even in the future."

The Aventador J is based on the Aventador LP 700-4 and is powered by the same 6.5L V12 with 700 horsepower. You will notice that the Aventador J not only does away with a roof, but its windshield has been deleted. Even without a front windshield, Lamborghini claims that the Aventador J will reach speeds in excess of 186 mph. To save weight Lamborghini's engineers have created a new carbon fiber material that it's calling "carbonskin." It's made of woven carbon fibers soaked with a very special epoxy resin that stabilizes the fiber structure and keeps the material soft. The seats and complete cockpit are covered in carbonskin.

Unfortunately, Lamborghini has no plans to produce more than one Aventador J.

Continue reading "Lamborghini Aventador J is a One-Off Roadster for 2.1 Million Euros" »

Toyota FT-Bh Hybrid Concept is a Super-Efficient 135 MPG Hybrid

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After giving us a sneak preview of the FT-Bh hybrid last month, Toyota has unveiled the Toyota FT-Bh hybrid concept in Geneva.

Toyota's team was tasked with getting the best possible fuel economy and super low emissions with the FT-Bh concept. They focused on five areas: reduced weight, lower driving resistance (including aerodynamic and tire performance), improved powertrain efficiency, thermal energy management and electricity savings.

The super mini hybrid is longer than the Toyota Yaris, but thanks to the use of high-tensile steel, aluminium and magnesium it's 25 percent lighter. The FT-Bh is also very aerodynamic with a low 0.235 drag coefficient. Thanks to its hybrid system that uses a small two-cylinder 1.0L engine, the FT-Bh is rated at 134.5 mpg on the European driving cycle and has CO2 emissions of just 49g/km.

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Chevy Cruze Wagon Debuts at the Geneva Motor Show

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Later this month Chevy Cruze buyers in Europe will get to choose select a new body style of the Cruze, the Cruze wagon, which will be sold alongside the sedan and hatchback versions.

"The Cruze Station Wagon caters to an important market segment. It ticks all the boxes for European drivers in terms of distinctive design, dynamic driving, space and economy," said Chevrolet Europe President and Managing Director Susan Docherty.

The Cruze wagon is slightly longer than the hatchback and sedan versions. Load space ranges from 500 litres up to the window line in the rear to nearly 1,500 litres up to the roof top with the rear seats folded down. GM has also announced that a new 130-hp 1.7L diesel is being added to the Cruze lineup.

The wagon version of the Chevy Cruze also previews the new facelift that will be added to the rest of the Cruze lineup. The front fascia has been updated with a revised grille, headlights and fog lights.

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March 7, 2012

All-New 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Debuts in Geneva

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It's been eleven years since the original Mitsubishi Outlander was released and now Mitsubishi is ready to introduce the third generation 2013 Outlander, which is being shown for the first time in Geneva.

The all-new Outlander is the start of an all-new generation of global products for Mitsubishi, consistent with the ambitions set in MMC's "Jump 2013" smart business plan for a greener and more global Mitsubishi. The new family of Mitsubishi's will also get a new "re-focused" design language, which is being seen for the first time on the new Outlander. The 2013 Outlander gets what Mitsubishi calls a "Solid - Safe - Simple" shape, blending substantial look with clean surfaces, as previewed in the Concept PX-MiEV and Concept PX-MiEV II showcars.

The Outlander will have room for up to seven passengers and will be offered with a range of gasoline or diesel engines. In Europe buyers will be able to choose between a 2.0L gasoline engine or a 2.2L clean diesel, both of which have 148 horsepower. The engines also get an automatic stop & go system and the 2.2L diesel gets a 6-speed automatic transmission.

An plug-in hybrid Outlander will also eventually be added to the lineup. It will feature three driving modes and have a range similar to the Concept PX-MiEV II at over 500 miles.

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2013 Audi A6 Allroad Officially Unveiled

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Audi has taken the wraps off the third generation 2013 Audi A6 Allroad.

The A6 Allroad is based on the A6 Avant, the wagon version of the A6 that we don't get here in the U.S. To give it more capability when the asphalt ends, the A6 Allroad rides 2.36 inches higher than the A6 Avant. The trim strips on the side sills, the more widely flared fenders and the single-frame grille with vertical slats also set it apart from the A6 Avant. Stainless steel covers protect the underbody and the wheel well edges, the bumpers and the sills are painted in a contrasting color.

The A6 Allroad will be available with a choice of four V6 engines - one TFSI gasoline engine and three TDI units. All are 3.0L engines with turbocharging and direct injection. The 3.0L TFSI packs 310-hp and 325 lb-ft., which accelerates the A6 Allroad from 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds. The three 3.0 TDI engines pack 204-hp, 245-hp and 313-hp. The most powerful TDI engine gets an eight-speed transmission, while the other engines get a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The standard quattro permanent four-wheel drive system is paired with torque vectoring. During dynamic driving the torque vectoring system brakes the wheels on the inside of the curve, which are under a reduced load, before they can slip.

The A6 Allroad goes on sale this spring in Germany, but don't count on it coming here.

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Re-styled 2013 Toyota Venza to Debut in New York

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Toyota has announced that the new 2013 Toyota Venza will debut next month at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The 2013 Venza is going to get "enhanced" exterior styling, more standard features and updated option packages.

Toyota has given us this little preview of the the 2013 Venza, which has been updated with a new upper and lower grille, fog lamps, rear taillights and 19-inch wheels. There will also be three new exterior colors: Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl, and Cosmic Gray Mica.

The 2013 Venza will continue to be offered with four-cylinder and V6 engines with front or all-wheel-drive. The 2013 Venza will be available in LE, XLE and Limited grades: The value-driven LE grade adds new standard features such as Display Audio, Blind Spot Mirror, puddle lamps and outer mirror turn signals. The XLE grade adds standard Driver Memory Seat, Reverse Tilt Outer Mirrors and Display Audio with Navigation and Toyota Entune multi-media system. The premium Limited grade adds standard LED Daytime Running Lights and Premium HDD Navigation with Entune and JBL.

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March 8, 2012

VIDEO: 2013 Nissan Altima Shows Off its New Face

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Nissan has released a second video clip and a second photo that gives us a sneak peak of the 2013 Altima sedan in advance of its world premiere at the New York Auto Show next month.

According to Nissan, "The front view offers a hint of the all-new Altima's forward-thinking innovations, which will bring outstanding fuel economy, premium design inside and out, and driver-focused technologies to a midsize sedan.

Continue reading "VIDEO: 2013 Nissan Altima Shows Off its New Face" »

March 9, 2012

2013 Chevy Malibu Officially Gets 259-HP 2.0L Turbo, Hits 0-60 in 6.3 Seconds

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As expected GM has announced that the top engine in the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu will not be a V6 engine. Just like Hyundai and Ford's new midsize sedans, the Malibu will no longer offer a V6 option.

Instead, the Malibu's top engine will be a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 259 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. According to GM peak torque is sustained from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm and it will reach 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

GM has also announced that a new 2.5L four-cylinder will also be available this summer. It packs 197 horsepower and 191 lb-ft. of torque. This is in addition to the Chevy Malibu Eco that is powered by GM's eAssist hybrid system that uses a 2.4L four-cylinder engine that's mated to a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator. It gets an estimated 25 mpg in the city 37 mpg on the highway.

Continue reading "2013 Chevy Malibu Officially Gets 259-HP 2.0L Turbo, Hits 0-60 in 6.3 Seconds" »

2013 Ford F-Series Super Duty Gets More Luxurious

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Ford as announced the that the new 2013 Ford F-Series Super Duty will now be more luxurious than ever by being offered with a first-ever Platinum series model and the addition of the SYNC with MyFord Touch system.

"The F-Series Super Duty Platinum is the latest expression of Built Ford Tough truck luxury," said Brian Rathsburg, F-Series Super Duty Marketing manager. "It has a distinct appearance and a long list of features to deliver a superior experience. Along with that, it has all of the capability F-Series trucks are famous for."

Building on the success of the F-150 Platinum light-duty series that debuted in 2009, the F-Series Super Duty Platinum offers customers the ultimate in truck luxury. The Platinum series adds lots of chrome to the exterior of the F-Series Super Duty crew cab, including the door handles, mirror caps, running boards and exhaust tip. The boxside on both sides of the truck sports the "Platinum" name in chrome letters and the tailgate is trimmed with a satin chrome appliqué. The truck also rides on twenty-inch polished-aluminum wheels with painted black inserts.

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March 10, 2012

2013 Cadillac XTS Has Room for Your Friends and Golf Clubs

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You'll be happy to know that Cadillac's all-new 2013 XTS full size sedan is the perfect car to take you buddies to the golf course. Cadillac's customers apparently like golfing, so Cadillac's engineers set a a target to fit four adults and four golf bags without stretching the car's modest footprint.

"We used computer simulations to model golf bags, as well as other common types of goods our customers are likely to transport," said XTS chief engineer Sheri Hickok. "That also includes cases of bottled water, luggage, groceries and more. Just as we did with the rest of the XTS, we spent a lot of time maximizing every inch of storage space."

The 2013 XTS offers almost 40 inches of rear legroom and 18 cubic feet of trunk space, more than the Audi A8L, BMW 7-series, and Mercedes-Benz S-class.

"Our owners want to comfortably take four adults out for a round of golf and dinner afterwards," said Hickok. "The challenge was to give customers what they expect in terms of interior spaciousness, comfort and luxury, but to do so without compromising exterior looks and handling dynamics."

The 2013 XTS is set to arrive in Cadillac dealerships this spring powered by a 300-hp 3.6L direct injection engine mated a six-speed automatic.

Continue reading "2013 Cadillac XTS Has Room for Your Friends and Golf Clubs" »

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Previewed on Twitter

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Hyundai is planning on unveiling its all-new 2013 Santa Fe crossover at the 2012 New York Auto Show. To give us an idea of what we can expect at the show, Hyundai has released these two teaser photos on its Twitter page.

According to Hyundai, the 2013 Santa Fe will adopt a design concept called "Storm Edge", which is based on the automaker's Fluidic Sculpture design language. Hyundai also states that the new Santa Fe will have a futuristic and urban-style look thanks to its family hexagonal grille with wider bumpers.

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March 12, 2012

Ford Focus Electric Buyers in CA Get up to $10k in Tax Credits and HOV Lane Access

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Californians that may be interested in Ford's new electric Focus now have two more reasons to buy the 2012 Focus Electric.

First, Ford has announced that the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (CARB) has given approval for owners of the new 2012 Ford Focus Electric to drive in the state's high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Second, Focus Electric owners will be able to receive up to $10,000 in tax credits between the state's new $2,500 rebate and the eligible $7,500 federal tax incentive.

"Ford is providing customers the power of choice to save money at the pump - from our gas-free Focus Electric to our innovative EcoBoost® technology that delivers leading gas-engine fuel economy," said John Viera, global director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters. "Californians have a legacy of embracing electric vehicles, and programs like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program provide an excellent incentive for the continued wider adoption of electric vehicles."

Continue reading "Ford Focus Electric Buyers in CA Get up to $10k in Tax Credits and HOV Lane Access" »

March 13, 2012

Subaru to Only Bring 6,000 BRZ Coupes to the U.S. for 2013

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Subaru fans that are eager to get their hands on the Subaru's new 2013 BRZ rear-wheel-drive coupe better act fast. It's being reported that Subaru is only planning on bringing 6,000 of the coupes to the U.S. for the 2013 model year.

Car and Driver recently confirmed Subaru's plans for the coupe with a Subaru dealer, while Subaru's website only states that the BRZ will be built in "extremely limited quantities." These plans seem to coincide with previous statements from Subaru. Subaru's business case for the BRZ has stated that Subaru only required 5000 to 7000 units to be sold at around $25,000.

Pricing for the 2013 BRZ has not been released, but Subaru is currently taking pre-orders for the BRZ with fully refundable deposits, although the coupe isn't slated to arrive until sometime between May and November.

Continue reading "Subaru to Only Bring 6,000 BRZ Coupes to the U.S. for 2013" »

March 14, 2012

Dodge Introduces the 2012 Dodge Avenger SE V6

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Dodge has announced the new new 2012 Avenger SE V6, which according to was "developed to be America's most affordable and powerful mid-size car." The Avenger SE V6 is powered by a 3.6L V6 with 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, that is mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. It's rated at 29 mpg on the highway.

"The Dodge Avenger is one of the fastest growing mid-size cars in America, with sales up 112 percent this year," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO - Dodge Brand.

The Avenger SE V6 comes standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels, rear decklid spoiler, LED taillights and dual exhaust tips. It starts at $21,495.

Continue reading "Dodge Introduces the 2012 Dodge Avenger SE V6" »

Mini Paceman Concept to Enter Production as the Countryman Coupe

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Last year Mini took the wraps off the Mini Paceman Concept in Detroit and it was confirmed late last year that the concept would be put into production. According to a source that spoke with Car and Driver, the Paceman concept is slated to get a name change to Countryman Coupe when it enters production.

The Countryman Coupe name is a no brainer, since the Paceman concept is basically a two-door countryman with a unique rear fascia. The Mini Countryman Coupe will debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year and go on sale sometime next year.

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2013 Ford Escape Tops the Class with 3,500 Lbs Tow Rating

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The all-new 2013 Ford Escape is slated to arrive in dealerships later this spring. It will be available with a choice of three four-cylinder engines: a 171-hp 2.5L, 177-hp 1.6L EcoBoost and the top 237-hp 2.0L EcoBoost. Ford has also announced that when equipped with the turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost engine, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which puts it at the top of its class among small SUVs with turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

The next closest competitor, the Volkswagen Tiguan, has a tow rating of just 2,200 pounds, while the turbocharged Kia Sportage has a tow rating of 2,000 pounds.

The 2.0L four-cylinder EcoBoost engine replaces the 3.0L V6 in the current Escape.

"Smaller-displacement engines have a fundamental efficiency advantage," said Roger Maynard, Powertrain supervisor for the 2013 Ford Escape. "These inherent efficiencies are improved with the EcoBoost technology of direct fuel injection and turbocharging."

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Say Goodbye to the Mazda CX-7 and Hello to the CX-5

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Mazda's newest crossover, the 2013 CX-5 is set to arrive in U.S. showrooms , but fans of the CX-7 crossover will be disappointed that Mazda has decided to kill the CX-7 after the 2012 model year.

The CX-7 is be replaced by the CX-5, since the CX-5 is roomier and more fuel efficient. Mazda claims that the CX-5 will get up to 35 mpg on the highway, while the CX-7 only manages up to 26 mpg. Sales of the CX-7 are also another reason why Mazda has decided to say goodbye to the CX-7. Mazda only moved just over 5k CX-7s in the first two months of this year, while Honda sold almost 44k CR-Vs.

The 2013 CX-5 has a starting price at $20,695 and is powered by a a Skyactiv 2.0L engine with 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft.

Continue reading "Say Goodbye to the Mazda CX-7 and Hello to the CX-5" »

March 15, 2012

2013 GMC Terrain Denali Debuts with 301-HP 3.6L V6

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GMC is expanding the Denali sub-brand with the introduction of the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali. "Denali is growing fast," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of GMC Marketing. "With seven different models, sales for this brand within a brand increased 79 percent from 2010 to 2011. With this in mind, the decision to create a more-upscale Terrain was an easy one."

With the introduction of the Terrain Denali, GMC also announced a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine with direct injection that will replace the current 3.0-liter V-6 engine in Terrain lineup for the 2013 model year. The 3.6L V6 packs 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft. of torque. Although it has more power than the outgoing V6, it's expected to have fuel economy numbers that are equal to the outgoing engine. GMC also offers a 2.4L four-cylinder in the Terrain that gets 32 mpg on the highway.

Continue reading "2013 GMC Terrain Denali Debuts with 301-HP 3.6L V6" »

VIDEO: Nissan Shows off the 2013 Altima's Rear End

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Nissan continues to slowly unveil the all-new 2013 Altima, ahead of its official debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show, next month. Nissan has released a third video clip and photo that provides our first look at the rear of the new Altima.

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2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Starts at $54,200

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Ford's online configurator for the 2013 Shelby GT500 is now online and with it we can see the pricing, which starts at $54,200 for the coupe and $59,200 for the convertible.

For the 2013 model year, the Shelby GT500 is now powered by a 650-hp supercharged 5.8L V8 that is mated to an upgraded six-speed manual transmission. All that power gives the Shelby GT500 a top speed over 200 mph.

A optional Performance Package ($3,495) adds SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers that can be adjusted with the touch of a button on the dash. The optional Track Package adds an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability.

If you want to a navigation system and HD radio, the Electronics Package will set you back another $2,340. In the end you can expect to pay over $60k if you select most of the options, but at least you're getting a car that's powered by the "most powerful production V8 engine in the world!"

Continue reading "2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Starts at $54,200" »

March 16, 2012

Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S Production Kicks off in Japan

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Subaru and Toyota initially joined up in 2005 and in April 2008, the two automakers decided to work together on a new rear-wheel-drive coupe. Four years later, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (Toyota 86 in Japan) are now starting to roll off the line in Japan.

The two automakers recently celebrated the kick off in which Toyota President Akio Toyoda said, "I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the ceaseless efforts of all FHI people and staff who were involved in the development, production and preparations
for both models. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 not have been successfully developed without collaboration between FHI and TMC. We started the alliance for mutual growth in 2005. Now I'm delighted to see this moment that our alliance surely bore fruit."

Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga stated, "the car symbolizes our corporate strategy in two significant aspects: good progress of our alliances; and advancement of our "select and focus" approach. The start of production today made a huge step for us, but it is not our goal. By constantly refining both models, TMC and FHI hope to nourish each model to be loved by customers all over the world for a long time to come."

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March 19, 2012

2012 Toyota Prius c Sales Are Off to a Quick Start

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Toyota's newest and smallest Prius, the subcompact 2012 Prius c five-door hatchback has officially went on sale on March 12th. According to Toyota in the first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units of the Prius c, making it one of Toyota's fastest-selling models.

"A number of factors drive the auto market, and fuel prices is one of them," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. "With 53 miles-per-gallon in the city and priced under $19,000, the timing for Prius c couldn't be better."

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March 18, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Says Goodbye to the R-Class the U.S.

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It's being reported that Mercedes-Benz will stop selling the R-Class wagon in the U.S. According to Motoramic who spoke with Mercedes spokesman Chrisitan Bokich, the 2013 R-Class will not be sold in the states, although it will continue to be produced at the automaker's Alabama plant for other markets like Canada and China.

Through March of this year, Mercedes-Benz has sold less than 300 units of the R-Class in the U.S. Bokich stated, "R-Class sales have shrunk to the extent that we can no longer make the business case for continuing to offer the R-Class."

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March 19, 2012

2012 Honda Fit Wins Cars.com's $16,000 Subcompact Shootout

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Honda and Cars.com have announced that the 2012 Fit took the top spot in the Cars.com $16,000 Subcompact Shootout. It was a competition among seven popular subcompact cars that seat at least four, have four doors, get at least 35 mpg on the highway, and can be purchased for less than $16,000. Experts from Cars.com, USA Today and "MotorWeek" tested the subcompacts to measure all of the needs of the average car-buyer including gas mileage, practicality, user features and comfort.

"We are thrilled to have the exceptional package that is the Honda Fit recognized by such a well-respected group of automotive media," said Michael Accavitti, vice president of marketing operations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "To have topped such a wide group of competition in such a thorough, real-world evaluation demonstrates that Honda versatility, value and fun are standard even in our most affordable model."

"As gas prices and used-car prices continue to rise, a shootout like this acts as a guide for consumers looking to purchase a new subcompact as an alternative to a used vehicle," said Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief of Cars.com. "In addition to confident handling, a solid transmission, great visibility and unmatched practicality, the Honda Fit is just fun to drive and emerged as our clear winner."

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March 20, 2012

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Officially Unveiled

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Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the 20123 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG ahead of its world debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show, next month. The SL65 AMG is powered by a AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine that generates 621 hp and a maximum torque of 738 lb-ft. The use of an all-aluminum body-in-white delivers a drastic weight reduction as the new SL65 AMG is 254 pounds lighter than before.

"The combination of exclusive V12 dynamics and cultivated roadster pleasure was already unique in the previous model. We are certain that, with the new SL65 AMG, we have developed a stunning high-performance automobile beyond compare for a small, but loyal fan base," says Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The SL65 AMG features a standard 7-speed transmission.The ECO stop/start function improvements to the internal efficiency of the engine and alternator management help improve the roadster's fuel economy. It reaches 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.

The SL65 AMG joins the SL550 roadster and the SL63 AMG roadster. The SL550 has a starting retail price of $106,375 and arrives in U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealerships in May. The SL63 AMG arrives in July.

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2013 Nissan Leaf to Get Leather Seats and A More Efficient Heating System

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Nissan is upgrading the Nissan Leaf EV for the 2013 model year with leather seats, a darker interior and a more efficient heating system.

Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan Americas stated that Nissan initially thought about offering leather seats as an option, but "we were like, 'Ah, let's do the clean, green recycled materials." Nissan's customers also reportedly want a dark interior than is currently offered on the Leaf, so that will show up as well.

It's been reported that the Leaf's driving range drops dramatically in cold weather when the heater is turned on. Nissan is fixing that with a more efficient heater that will extend the Leaf's driving range during the cold winter months.

The upgraded 2013 Nissan Leaf is set to be unveiled this December.

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March 21, 2012

Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz GL to Debut in New York

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The 2012 New York Auto Show kicks off at the beginning of next month and now according to Car and Driver, it's being reported that Mercedes-Benz is bringing a new GL to the show.

The second-generation GL-class is slated to debut at the show, which will share its platform with the new ML. The three-row SUV will be offered with a diesel engine and a twin-turbo 4.6-liter with 402 horsepower.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL will go on sale later this year. Stay tuned...

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Leaked Again Ahead of New York Debut

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Hyundai's all-new 2013 Santa Fe will officially debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show next month, but thanks to teaser photos released by Hyundai and these leaked photos, we have a pretty good idea of what we can expect to see.

The latest preview comes from a leaked Korean brochure. According to Hyundai, the 2013 Santa Fe will adopt a design concept called "Storm Edge", which is based on the automaker's Fluidic Sculpture design language.

The all-new Santa Fe will be powered by a range of four-cylinder and V6 engines. In Korea the Santa Fe will be offered with a 2.0L diesel, but don't expect that engine to come to the U.S.

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2013 Honda Crosstour Concept to Debut in New York

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Honda has announced plans to unveil the 2013 Honda Crosstour Concept at the upcoming 2012 New York Auto Show. The concept will preview the new styling direction for the next-generation Crosstour, which will likely be based on the all-new Accord.

Honda did not release any other details for the next Crosstour (2012 model shown here). It will likely share the same four-cylinder and V6 engines as the next Accord.

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GM Confirms Plans to Unveil 2014 Chevy Impala and 2013 Traverse in New York

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Next month, GM will unveil the all-new 2014 Chevy Impala and a revised 2013 Chevy Traverse crossover at the 2012 New York Auto Show. GM has released two teaser photos to hold us over until the new models are unveiled.

"The momentum at Chevrolet continues to build with the debut of the 10th generation of the Impala, one of the brand's most enduring and cherished nameplates," said Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing. "The new Impala further strengthens Chevrolet's passenger car lineup by giving consumers a full-size sedan that balances the desire for distinction with engaging driving dynamics."

"The new Traverse builds on the success of the current model offering a wide variety of improvements to ride and handling, interior materials and exterior styling without compromising the functionality and capability families need to support their busy lives," said Perry.

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2013 Chevy Trailblazer Debuts in Thailand, It's Not Coming to the U.S.

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The all-new 2013 Chevy Trailblazer officially debuted today at the 33rd Bangkok International Motor Show in Thailand. First previewed in concept form at last year's Dubai International Motor Show, the Trailblazer will go on sale around the world, beginning with Thailand in June.

The 2013 Trailblazer is based on GM's new global body-on-frame midsize truck architecture that is also the basis of the Chevy Colorado pickup. It's available in two- and four-wheel-drive configurations and power comes from GM's new four-cylinder 2.5L (150-hp) and 2.8L (180-hp) Duramax turbo-diesel engines. Buyers can choose between either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Inside the 2013 Trailblazer has three rows of seats that seats up to seven passengers.

Continue reading "2013 Chevy Trailblazer Debuts in Thailand, It's Not Coming to the U.S." »

VIDEO: Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn Discusses the Return of Datsun

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In recent years we've seen brands like Pontiac, Saturn and Saab die off for various reasons. But here's a bit of hope for those loyalists that dream of the day that a new Pontiac rolls off the line again. 31 years after Nissan killed off the Datsun brand, Nissan has announced the rebirth of Datsun, which will be positioned as a low-cost brand for emerging markets.

Ghosn stated, "A lot of people in emerging markets today are driving motorcycles, some of them are driving used cars, others can buy a new car but, in fact, it's antiquated with very old technology and a very old platform - cars which have been there for 20 years or more. What we want to offer is a modern, affordable car--something that people will be very happy to own, a product that is generous, giving them exactly what they want, and at an affordable price."

Nissan has very ambitious plans, which sees the Datsun brand relaunching by 2014 in markets like Indonesia, India and Russia. Even though it may seem like a really short timeline to launch Datsun, Ghosn stated that Nissan has already been working it.

"The cars are already in development. Fortunately, we can still surprise you with what we're doing. It's not like now we're going to start work--we have already sketches, models, we know exactly what we're doing. We're announcing today in the middle of a work-in-progress."

Continue reading "VIDEO: Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn Discusses the Return of Datsun" »

March 22, 2012

2013 Scion FR-S Officially Starts at $24,200

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Scion has officially announced the pricing for the much anticipated 2013 Scion FR-S, which is Scion's version of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ coupes.

For just under $25k you get the FR-S equipped with a manual transmission. It's powered by a 2.0L boxer engine with 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque that sends its power to the rear wheels. Buyers can choose from a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The Scion FR-S with the six-speed automatic starts at $25,300. The FR-S takes premium fuel and gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, while the automatic equipped model gets 25/34 mpg.

"Scion's goal was to create an affordable sports car that true driving enthusiasts could enjoy," said Jack Hollis, Scion vice president. "We accomplished that goal with the FR-S starting under $25,000...a total home run! Add in Scion's complimentary Scion Service Boost, our no-haggle no-hassle Pure Price, and Scion's network of about 1,000 dealers, and the FR-S is a grand slam."

The FR-S will comes standar with an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB 300-watt Pioneer audio system, HD Radio and Bluetooth. It arrives this spring.

Subaru hasn't officially announced the pricing of the 2013 BRZ.

Continue reading "2013 Scion FR-S Officially Starts at $24,200" »

2013 Mazda CX-5 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick

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Mazda's new 2013 CX-5 compact crossover has been recognized as a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is the organization's highest possible crash safety rating of "Good" in all four tests conducted.

"The 2013 CX-5 is Mazda's first production vehicle to receive the full suite of SKYACTIV®[1] technologies, which focuses not only on fuel efficiency but also on safety and stability," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "Earning a 'Top Safety Pick' distinction from the IIHS further exemplifies Mazda's dedication for creating products that offer the best of everything that consumers want: fuel economy, performance, handling and, most importantly, safety."

The 2013 CX-5 is powered by a Skyactiv 2.0L engine with 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft. The CX-5 Sport also has best-in-class fuel economy with an EPA rating of 26 city and 35 highway.

The entry level CX-5 Sport with a manual transmission starts at $20,695.

Continue reading "2013 Mazda CX-5 Named IIHS Top Safety Pick" »

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK Gets a Facelift for New York

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Mercedes-Benz has given its smallest SUV, the GLK a facelift for the 2013 model year. The 2013 GLK gets a refreshed exterior, more standard equipment and a new diesel engine.

On the outside the 2013 GLK now has a more athletic look with styling cues borrowed from the current Mercedes-Benz sedans. It gets new headlights with LED daytime running lights, a revised grille, new taillights, a new rear bumper and redesigned roof rails. The 2013 GLK also rides on new 19-inch alloy wheels and the available Appearance Package adds 20-inch wheels. A new AMG Styling Package gives the GLK an even sportier appearance with 20-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke alloys, AMG front and rear skirts, AMG grille with two chrome louvers, AMG LED daytime running lights and aluminum roof rails.

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Fisker Teases the Nina Plug-In Hybrid Sedan Ahead of its Unveiling in New York

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Fisker has released a teaser image of its next model, dubbed the Nina, which will be unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show, next month. Fisker did not release any other details about the new mid-size sedan, that will go head to head with the Tesla Model S.

The extended range sedan will be powered by a BMW four-cylinder engine and the Nina will be offered various body styles. Production is slated to start by the middle of 2013.

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Nissan Releases Another 2013 Altima Teaser Photo

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Nissan has released the fourth teaser photo of the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima that is going to be unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show at the beginning of April. The latest photo shows off the profile of the new Altima.

According to Nissan, "the sculpted bodyside surface communicates forward motion and aerodynamics even when standing still."

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2012 Chevy Sonic Turbo Gets a Six-Speed Automatic

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GM has announced that the Chevy Sonic Turbo is now available with either a manual or automatic transmission, for those customers that were turned off by the standard manual. "Providing the option of a turbocharged engine to our non-stick driving Chevy customers allows us to offer everyone the thrill and power of a fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.4L powerplant," said Jim Danahy, vehicle line director and vehicle chief engineer for North American small cars. "Both in the Sonic and Cruze, the engine enables better fuel economy without sacrificing power or performance. It's really a winning combination."

The Chevy Sonic Turbo is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged engine with 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque, which reaches 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds with the manual transmission. The Sonic with the turbo-automatic combination reaches 0-60 mph in about eight seconds.

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2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek to Debut in New York

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Subaru has announced plans to expand its lineup with the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek that will officially debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The XV Crosstrek shares its platform with the Impreza.

The 2013 XV Crosstrek is powered by a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter BOXER engine, teamed to Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive via a five-speed manual transmission or available second-generation Lineartronic CVT. Although the official specs have not been released, Subaru projects the 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek to be the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive crossover on the market with a 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined rating.
Although the XV Crosstrek is based on the Impreza five-door, Subaru gave it a higher ride height, Black side- and wheel-arch cladding, a rocker spoiler and roof rails that provide expand its capability. It also gets unique 17-inch wheels and the front and rear bumpers and the front grille are unique.

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March 23, 2012

Kia Rio Beats the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic in Consumer Reports Subcompact Test

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Consumer Reports has announced the latest results of its subcompact sedan test, in which the Kia Rio outpointed the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic as the top rated sub-compact sedan in CR's tests.

"Subcompact cars were once collectively known as "penalty boxes" for their noisiness, rudimentary interiors, uncomfortable rides, and weak performance. But now improved redesigns, combined with an affordable prices and impressive fuel economy, make a number of subcompact models good all-around choices for people looking to stretch their budget," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut.

Consumer Reports found the new Chevrolet Sonic to be a relatively refined model that offers a quiet cabin for the class, agile handling, and excellent braking. But testers found the Sonic's fuel economy is mediocre in this segment. The Hyundai Accent GLS sedan and Accent SE hatchback were not overly fancy, but they hit the mark for basic, sensible transportation and are good values.

The lowest scoring vehicles in the test were the Nissan Versa sedan and the Toyota Yaris hatchback.

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March 24, 2012

Revised 2013 BMW X1 Will be Unveiled in New York and On Sale in the U.S. this Summer

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BMW has confirmed that the X1 crossover will finally be offered in the U.S. this summer. After many delays due to overwhelming demand in Europe, BMW's smallest crossover is headed to the States.

BMW will show off a revised 2013 X1 at the upcoming 2012 New York Auto Show on April 4th. It will be offered in the U.S. with BMW's new 2.0L TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine. BMW did not release any photos of the revised X1, but it will also be bringing the all-new M6 Convertible and Coupe to the show.

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March 26, 2012

Dodge Enters Global RallyCross with the 2013 Dodge Dart

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Dodge and SRT Motorsports have announced that a 2013 Dodge Dart rally car piloted by four-time Rally America Champion and 17-time X Games Gold Medalist Travis Pastrana will compete in the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) Series.

"At Dodge, racing is an integral part of our heritage and embodies our competitive spirit, so we're very excited to announce the next chapter in racing for Dodge with our all-new Dodge Dart," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO - Dodge Brand. "The new Dart Global RallyCross Championship car with 600 horsepower and driver Travis Pastrana takes our passion for performance to all new heights."

The Dodge Dart rally car has been custom built specifically for Global RallyCross racing and is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 600 horsepower and 550 lb-ft. that powers all four wheels.

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Jeep Unveils Limited-Edition 'Altitude' Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Models

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Thanks to the positive response that Jeep received for the "blacked-out" production-intent Grand Cherokee concept and the related "Name My Ride" contest, Jeep has announced it will produce three new limited-edition Jeep vehicles: the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude models.

In January, Jeep introduced unveiled the "blacked-out" production-intent concept Grand Cherokee at the Houston Auto Show, and connected with consumers to name the model. With more than 100,000 entries from Jeep fans, "Altitude" emerged as the winning vehicle name.

The Altitude editions combine a variety of exterior design changes to create a unique model with an aggressive chrome and "blacked-out" look.

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2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline Debuts at the Spring Festival of LXs

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Dodge has taken the wraps off the 2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline at the seventh annual Spring Festival of LXs. With more than 1,000 registered vehicles, the seventh annual Spring Festival of LXs is the largest owner gathering of Dodge Chargers, Dodge Challengers, Dodge Magnums and Chrysler 300s in North America.

Based on the 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT Plus, the new Challenger Rallye Redline the Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline's performance hood scoops, roof and deck lid get a signature Redline Red stripe with two thin side stripes. A body-color painted deck-lid spoiler continues the Redline Red triple stripe pattern at the center. The Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline rides on new 20-inch Pitch Black wheels with a Redline Red lip and inner drum. Buyers can also choose red leather seats.

The 2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline is powered by a 305-hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 and to deliver improved all around acceleration, the Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline replaces its 2.65:1 rear-axle ratio for a more responsive 3.06:1 unit.

The 2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline arrives in April with a starting price at $28,745.

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March 27, 2012

VIDEO: Ford Teases a High-Performance Explorer

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Ford has announced plans to unveil a new "performance oriented" Explorer, which will debut on Wednesday, March 28th. To give us a little taste of what we can expect, Ford has released this little teaser video of the newest edition to the Explorer family.

Check it out after the jump.

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Lexus May Build the LF-LC Concept

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Thanks to strong positive feedback about the Lexus LF-LC concept that was unveiled earlier this year in Detroit, there's a chance that Lexus may put the coupe into production. Autocar recently spoke to Lexus product planning chief Karl Schlicht who stated that the the LF-LC's chances of making production as 50/50.

"A decision has not been taken," he said. "But we're now up to a 50 per cent chance from a zero per cent one. Every top Toyota Motor Company manager is aware of the great reception it has received and now we're talking about how we can do it and fit it into the product plan."

The LF-LC's chances of ever being produced would have been a lot less if the proposal had been presented to Toyota's management without the concept. "We'd never get it built from a product planning point of view on paper, but people have seen the concept and fallen in love with it. Dealers have gone crazy for it as well."

Continue reading "Lexus May Build the LF-LC Concept" »

Next-Gen 2013 Acura RL to Get the NSX's Hybrid System

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At the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, this past January, Acura took the wraps off the NSX concept, which is a preview of the all-new NSX supercar. The concept was powered by an all-wheel-drive hybrid system with two electric motors at the front and a V6 engine with direct-injection technology. Sadly we have to wait a few more years for the official arrival of the next NSX, but its luckily its hybrid drivetrain will arrive a bit earlier.

Honda President Takanobu Ito recently told Automotive News that Acura's flagship RL sedan will also get the hybrid system, which could arrive as early as this fall. "The technology has outstanding handling," Ito said. "The thinking behind the RL and NSX systems is the same, but the NSX's will be more sports-car focused."

It's already been reported that the next RL will debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show, which will most likely show up in concept form.

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2013 Chevy Camaro Gets 1LE Performance Package and MyLink System

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For the 2013 model year, the Camaro 1LE performance package returns for Camaro SS coupes. The package upgrades the Camaro's gearing, suspension tuning, and tires that makes the model capable of more than 1 g of lateral acceleration and a sub-three minute lap time at Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course.

The 1LE performance package is only available on Camaro SS models with a manual transmission. The upgrades include an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6 gearbox with a higher 3.91 final-drive ratio and a standard air-to-liquid cooling system for track use. The 1LE package also includes exclusive, monotube rear dampers instead of the twin-tube dampers on SS models. The new hardware allowed engineers to tune the 1LE suspension to focus on optimal body-motion control while preserving much of the ride quality and wheel-motion control of the Camaro SS.

Other changes to optimize the 1LE for track-day use include larger front and rear stabilizer bars, ZL1-based 20 x 10-inch front and 20 x 11-inch aluminum wheels, 285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires, a strut tower brace and the ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump.

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Toyota Teases the All-New 2013 Avalon Ahead of New York Debut

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Toyota has released a teaser photo of what it simply describes as a "stunning U.S.-designed sedan, which will debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show on April 5th.

Toyota hasn't released any other details about the sedan other than stating that "the sedan's exciting new design features an elegant yet athletic look."

Well what we are probably going to see is the next-generation Avalon. Last year it was reported that the next Avalon would draw cues from the Audi A7 and Jaguar XJ. Take one look at the rear roofline in the teaser photo...

Continue reading "Toyota Teases the All-New 2013 Avalon Ahead of New York Debut" »

March 28, 2012

2013 Cadillac XTS Driver's Seat Alerts Drivers to Dangers

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GM has announced that the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS is getting an industry first driver's seat that vibrates to warn drivers of crash threats while driving and parking. The patented Cadillac Safety Alert Seat generates vibrating pulse patterns on the left and/or right side of the lower bolster to alert the driver of potential dangers, such as drifting from a traffic lane or toward nearby objects while parking. Threats from the front and rear trigger pulses on both sides of the seat.

"It's akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention," said,
Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer. "Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction provides an effective and intuitive way to cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience."


The seats are part of the Cadillac Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages. The Driver Awareness Package, available for the launch of the Cadillac XTS this spring, includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Driver Assist Package, available this fall, also uses the Safety Alert Seat and features Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Collision Preparation, and Front and Rear Automatic Braking Systems.

The same safety packages will be available on the ATS sedan and SRX crossover later this year.

Continue reading "2013 Cadillac XTS Driver's Seat Alerts Drivers to Dangers" »

Jeep Unveils Six New Concepts for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari

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Jeep has unveiled six new concept vehicles that it's bringing to the 46th annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari in Utah.

"We're delighted to showcase six new vehicles to our loyal Jeep fans at this year's Moab Easter Jeep Safari," said Mike Manley, President and CEO - Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "The Jeep Safari has long been a great way for Jeep to connect with its core audience. We look forward to spending the week demonstrating our latest potential production and customization ideas and gathering instant feedback from the most knowledgeable 4x4 enthusiasts in the world."

The concepts are versions of today's Grand Cherokee and Wrangler models to retro Jeeps like the Jeep Forward Control that was built from 1956 to 1965.

Continue reading "Jeep Unveils Six New Concepts for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari" »

Acura Confirms New Flagship Sedan Concept for New York, Likely Dubbed the RLX

Acura_Advance_Logo.jpg Acura has confirmed that Acura's new flagship sedan will debut next week at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Acura hasn't released a lot of details about the replacement for the current RL, other than saying that it will employ "an array of new Acura technologies, including the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® system, the concept vehicle will deliver an entirely new level of performance, sophistication and comfort."

Car and Driver is reporting that the replacement for the RL will likely be called the RLX, since Acura recently trademarked the "RLX" name. The RLX will still be powered by a V6 engine and Acura's all-wheel-drive system, but its already been confirmed by Honda's President Tananobu Ito that the top RLX model will be powered by a hybrid system with two electric motors.

Continue reading "Acura Confirms New Flagship Sedan Concept for New York, Likely Dubbed the RLX" »

All-New 2013 Lexus ES Sedan to Debut in New York

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Lexus will take the wraps off the all-new 2013 ES sedan next week in New York. Lexus has released this teaser photo of the new ES, which is the sixth-generation of the ES. It will feature Lexus' new spindle grille.

Photos of the new ES already leaked in China, but come back for the official debut next week.

Continue reading "All-New 2013 Lexus ES Sedan to Debut in New York" »

2013 Ford Explorer Sport Packs 350 Horsepower

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Ford has unveiled the first-ever high performance version of the Ford Explorer, the 2013 Explorer Sport, which is powered by Ford's twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5L V6 with at least 350 horsepower.

"Adding an EcoBoost drivetrain to Explorer Sport delivers even more fuel efficiency and performance to the lineup," said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. "This is our highest- performance, most capable Ford Explorer ever."

The 2013 Explorer Sport is powered by the EcoBoost 3.5L V6 mated to a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic and a four-wheel-drive Terrain Management system. According to Ford it will get 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, which is better than the V8 powered versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.

"Explorer Sport makes no compromises," said Carl Widmann, vehicle engineering manager. "By carefully beefing the chassis and suspension, precisely calibrating the Terrain Management System and adding comfort and convenience features, we've delivered an SUV that delivers great dynamics and performance - while towing up to 5,000 pounds."

The Explorer Sport also gets 20-inch wheels, blacked out headlights and taillights and black roof rails. The Explorer Sport's special grille is a low-gloss Sterling Gray mesh, with contrasting ebony high-gloss bars. The black front lower fascia features a functional opening for additional cooling. Explorer logotype in billet-like black adds a bold identity statement. Subtle Sport and EcoBoost badges at the rear finish the liftgate.

Continue reading "2013 Ford Explorer Sport Packs 350 Horsepower" »

2013 Chevy Traverse Unveiled Ahead of New York Debut

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GM is giving the Chevy Traverse crossover a facelift for the 2013 model year. According to GM, the 2013 Traverse has a new, athletic exterior design, complemented by a more expressive front end that introduces a new face for Chevy crossover utilities.

The front of the 2013 Traverse features a new shape supported by a powerdome hood, a three-bar upper and two-bar lower grille design, new lamps, chrome accents around the grille and fog lamps, and sculpted front corners similar to the Malibu sedan. Out back the Traverse gets a restyled liftgate with redesigned lamps.

Inside the 2013 Traverse still has room for up to eight passengers, but now the interior has new features and upgraded materials, such as soft-touch surfaces on the instrument panel and front doors uppers,chrome and silver accents, and available blue ambient lighting that flows through the cabin. A new center stack features a 6.5-inch color touch radio with the available MyLink infotainment system.

The 2013 Traverse is powered by a 3.6L V6 with up to 288 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque when it's equipped with dual exhausts. It can also tow up to 5,200 pounds.

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March 29, 2012

Subaru BRZ Sales in Japan Are Already Four Times Initial Forecasts

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The 2013 Subaru BRZ sports coupe isn't on sale in the U.S. yet, but sales of the new coupe are already off to a good start in Japan. The BRZ debuted in Japan on February 3 and Subaru has already sold 3,551 units, which is four times the initial sales forecasts.

Subaru had only planned on selling 450 units in Japan per month. The BRZ will officially go on sale in the Unites States on April 20, but Subaru only plans on selling 500 units here a month.

In Japan almost 60 percent of BRZ buyers are under 40 and the top selling color is the blue mica.

Continue reading "Subaru BRZ Sales in Japan Are Already Four Times Initial Forecasts" »

2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback Get a Facelift

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Subaru has unveiled the changes to the 2013 Legacy and Outback models that will debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show next week. Both models get styling updates and a new 2.5L boxer engine.

Subaru has introduced a new 2.5L DOHC four-cylinder boxer engine that has increased performance and fuel efficiency than the old engine. It produces 173 horsepower and 174 lb-ft. of torque compared to 170 hp and 170 lb.-ft. from the previous 2.5-liter SOHC engine. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or a new CVT that is more responsive and quieter than the old one. Subaru expects the 2013 Legacy 2.5i with the CVT will achieve 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, 27 mpg combined, compared to 23/31/26 for the 2012 model. The 2013 Outback 2.5i with the Lineartronic CVT will achieve 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 26 mpg combined, up compared with the 22/29/24 for the 2012 model. If you want more power both the Legacy and Outback can be equipped with a 256 horsepower 3.6L six-cylinder boxer engine.

Continue reading "2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback Get a Facelift" »

2013 Nissan Altima: Nissan Releases the Fifth and Final Teaser

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Nissan has released the fifth and final teaser of the all-new 2013 Altima ahead of its official debut in New York next week. This final teaser video gives a quick all around view of the new Altima before it ends with the Altima's instrument panel.

Continue reading "2013 Nissan Altima: Nissan Releases the Fifth and Final Teaser" »

Ram Teases a "Giant" Ahead of the New York Auto Show

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Ram is bring a new truck to the New York Auto Show next week, but starting March 31, Ram will utilize Facebook and Twitter to create interest for the new truck.

Titled "A Giant Awaits," each day through April 4th, new, not easily identifiable images will be placed on the Ram Truck Facebook page, allowing viewers to comment and guess what it is. The truck will be unveiled on April 5.

Ram did not provide any other details about the new truck, but it's being reported that the automaker is going to show the new 1500 at the show.

Continue reading "Ram Teases a "Giant" Ahead of the New York Auto Show" »

Hyundai Expects to Beat its All-Time Sales Record in March

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March is coming to a close and Hyundai has announced that it has had a great month thanks to its 40-mpg highway models like the Accent, Veloster and Elantra. Hyundai, which is the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S. according to the EPA, is expecting to sell more than 65,000 vehicles this month.

"March is shaping up to be our best sales month ever," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America's executive vice president of national sales. "We expect to sell 50 percent more of our 40-mpg highway vehicles than we sold in March 2011 as customers recognized that Hyundai is the place to shop for the best selection of high mileage cars."

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March 30, 2012

2013 SRT Viper Interior Teased Ahead of New York Debut

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The 2013 SRT Viper will be officially unveiled next week on April 4, but SRT is giving us our first look at the Viper's new interior via its Facebook page.

This is the third official teaser photo of the new Viper. Come back next week to see the real thing.

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Fiat to Launch 500X Crossover Next Year

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Fiat is going to release a crossover version of the 500 minicar next year, according to sources that spoke with Automotive News Europe. The new 500 crossover will be dubbed the 500X, with the letter X standing for cross.

The 500X will be sold alongside the 500 hatchback, 500 Abarth, 500C convertible and 500L four-door models when it enters production in December 2013. The 500X will be the longest version in the 500 family, which will use a widened version of Fiat's small vehicle architecture that is also the basis for the 500L and Punto subcompact.

The 500X will be offered with front and all-wheel-drive and will also be built alongside a new Jeep small SUV, codenamed B-SUV. The new Jeep SUV will be smaller than the Jeep Compass and Patriot models and will be sold both in the U.S. and Europe.

In Europe the 500X will replace the Sedici in Fiat's lineup.

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March 31, 2012

BMW i8 Spyder Concept Takes the Top Off BMW's Hybrid Supercar

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BMW has unveiled its third concept for its new BMW i sub-brand, the i8 Spyder Concept, which follows the BMW i3 and BMW i8 Concepts. The i8 Spyder Concept is a open top version of the i8 Concept.

The i8 Spyder Concept builds on the 2+2 i8 Concept that was unveiled a year ago. Compared with the coupe, the two-seater i8 Spyder Concept has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length. It's open-top design is combined with upward-swivelling, windowless doors and a transparent glass panel at the rear that covers two electric kickboards.

Like the i8 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder with eDrive is a plug-in hybrid combining two different power sources. The 131-hp electric motor on the front axle works in tandem with a turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine sending 223-hp through the rear wheels. In total the electric and gas motor generated 354 horsepower, which is enough to accelerate the BMW i8 Concept Spyder from 0 to 62 mph in five seconds and an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph. The best part is that the i8 Spyder Concept gets 94 mpg on the European cycle. With its battery fully charged it can travel up to 19 miles on electric power alone. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder also has the ability to send power through the front, rear or all four wheels at the same time.

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