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July 2012 Archives

July 2, 2012

2012 Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition Debuts as Tribute to U.S. Military Members

2012 Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition
Chrysler has unveiled the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler Freedom edition as a tribute to U.S. military members. Available in red, white or blue, the new Jeep Wrangler Freedom edition features a military-inspired star decal on the hood and rear quarter panels, along with an "Oscar Mike" (military jargon for "on the move") fender badge.

The new limited-edition 2012 Jeep Wrangler Freedom model is based on the Jeep Wrangler Sport model, and is available as a two-door Wrangler or four-door Wrangler Unlimited model. It features unique Mineral Gray-painted 17-inch alloy wheels, Mineral Gray-painted grille and front and rear bumper inserts, body-color wheel arches and side steps, prominent "Oscar Mike" star-in-circle fender badges and decals on the hood and rear quarter panels, black sidesteps with matching black tail lamp guards and a Mopar fuel fill door, and a Sunrider soft top with deep-tint rear windows.

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Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV to Arrive in the U.S. in 2014

2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class
A Mercedes-Benz source recently confirmed to the Automotive News that an electric version of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is going to be offered in the U.S. The EV version of the B-Class will get its electric motor and battery pack from Tesla Motors.

"We want to bring another battery-powered vehicle to the market," a source at Mercedes' parent company, Daimler AG, stated.

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Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster Photos Leaked

Aston Martin V12 Vantage
The first official photos of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster have leaked onto the internet, just days ahead of its official debut. The V12 Vantage Roadster is powered by a 5.9L V12 engine with 510 horsepower.

The roadster also gets slight styling tweaks, like a revised decklid and spoiler, carbon fiber trim pieces and new alloy wheels. The V12 Vantage Roadster also gets a revised suspension.

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July 3, 2012

2013 Honda Fit EV is an Electric Car with Little Compromises (Review)

2013 Honda Fit EV
Honda may have been the first automaker to bring a hybrid vehicle to the U.S. with the first generation Honda Insight, over a decade ago, but today Toyota's Prius and the rest of its hybrid models overshadow most of Honda's efforts. Many critics have commented that Honda has "lost its way," but could the new 2013 Fit EV that arrives next month convince the world that Honda is serious about "green vehicles?"

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July 6, 2012

2012 Honda CR-V is The Perfect Everyday SUV (Review)

2012 Honda CR-V
In the last few years SUV buyers have continued to ditch their large bulky SUVs for smaller, more fuel-efficient models like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. One quick glance at the top-ten sales charts is proof, as models like the once-popular Ford Explorer have been swapped out by the Escape and CR-V. As more buyers switch to the small SUV/ crossover segment, the competition has become even more heated than ever before. This year two of the most popular models the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are new. Honda released an all-new 2012 CR-V late last year and Ford's all-new 2013 Escape is just starting to arrive in dealers. We haven't had the chance to get behind the wheel of the all-new Escape yet, but Honda just gave us a chance to drive the new CR-V for a few days in Los Angeles.

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July 3, 2012

2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider Unveiled

2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider
McLaren has just unveiled its second model, the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider, which like the coupe version is powered by a turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 with 616 horsepower and 442 lb-ft. of torque. It also gets a unique a folding roof system that may be operated while on the move, and a carbon 'MonoCell' chassis identical to that of the 12C coupe.

"I am really excited to announce that the new 12C Spider is now available to order at new McLaren retailers worldwide. The launch of our second model is an exciting milestone in the growth of our company.

"While the 12C is the technological essence of a race car, the 12C Spider incorporates an additional dimension. 12C Spider owners will love the opportunity to lower the roof and hear the unhindered howl of a V8 twin turbo engine at full throttle. It undoubtedly enhances an already euphoric 12C driving experience," stated Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director.

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July 5, 2012

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid to Beat Toyota Prius v with 47 MPG

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
Ford has announced that it expects its new C-Max hybrid to get a higher fuel economy rating than the Toyota Prius v. Ford's 2013 C-Max hybrid will has a projected fuel economy rating of 47 mpg in the city, beating the Toyota Prius v by 3 mpg.

"The C-MAX Hybrid builds on Ford's 20 years of hybrid innovation and fuel-efficient offerings to take on Prius v with better city fuel economy at 47 mpg and at better value - a great chance for us to shake up the hybrid market," said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. "C-MAX Hybrid delivers 3 mpg more than Prius v with 50 more horsepower and exclusive technologies such as our hands-free liftgate - and the $1,300-lower base price means the payback period will be the smallest in the segment."

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Fiat Previews the 500X Crossover

2013 Fiat 500x Teaser
Fiat is set to increase the 500 lineup with new models like the 500L and the 500X crossover. Fiat gave us our first look at the 500L at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and now we have a preview of the 500X crossover, that arrives sometime in 2014.

At a recent launch event for the 500L, Fiat gave journalists a quick preview of the 500X. Fiat boss Olivier Francois showed a full-size styling model of the 500X during the media launch on the 500L in Turin on Wednesday. The 500X will be the fifth 500 model and will also be the longest. The 500X, like the 500L will ride on the Fiat Punto platform.

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2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unveiled

2013 Mazda MX-5
Mazda is giving the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata a refresh for the new year. The updates give the 2013 MX-5 Miata a more aggressive face and an upgraded interior. The 2013 MX-5 Miata is going on sale today in Japan, but should arrive in the U.S. by the end of the year.

Mazda says that the face of the 2013 MX-5 Miata now has a sense of depth with a larger front grille opening. The front fascia also gets a newly designed front fog lamp bezel and a new front chin spoiler. The interior gets a new tan leather option. There aren't any large changes under the hood, but Mazda did revise the characteristics of the throttle and brake booster for improved control of the accelerator in the manual transmission models and the brakes in all models.

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Honda Mugen CR-Z GT to Race in the Super GT Series

Honda Mugen CR-Z GT
Honda has announced that a special version of its CR-Z hybrid will race in the GT300 class of the upcoming Super GT Series. The Mugen CR-Z GT will be powered by a 2.8L V6 twin-turbo engine and a racing hybrid system that were developed exclusively for this Team Mugen racing machine.

Team Mugen's first race with the Mugen CR-Z GT featuring the Honda racing hybrid system will be the 2012 Super GT Series Round 4 SUGO GT 300km Race held on July 28-29, 2012.

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July 6, 2012

MINI Paceman aka Two-Door Countryman to Arrive Early Next Year

MINI Paceman Concept
Last year MINI previewed a two-door version of the Countryman with the Paceman concept. Now MINI's Kay Segler has confirmed that the two-door version of the Countryman will arrive early next year and will keep the Paceman name. Segler recently told a crowd of MINI fans "We will continue to expand the MINI family," he said. "The MINI Paceman is the world's first sports activity coupe in the premium compact segment."

Segler also stated that the production version of the Paceman will be unveiled sometime this year, which means that we will probably see it at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in September.

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Bentley Releases More Photos of the Bentley EXP 9 F Concept

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept
Bentley has released more photos of the Bentley EXP 9 F Concept following its debut at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed. According to Bentley, the new photos "reaffirms the concept's innovative fusion of contemporary, crafted luxury, advanced technology, commanding driving position and all-terrain capability. EXP 9 F also highlights Bentley's intent to build the fastest and most luxurious SUV in the world."

The debut of the EXP 9 F Concept at Goodwood is part of Bentley's process of gauging customer and public reaction to the idea of a Bentley SUV. It's next appearance will be at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California in August.

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July 8, 2012

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Starts at $50,195

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid3
The all-new hybrid version of the popular BMW 3 Series, the 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 arrives in showrooms this fall. BMW has announced that it will have a starting price at $50,195. Unlike most hybrids, which are more fuel-efficient, but also less powerful than the standard combustion engine powered models, the ActiveHybrid 3 is actually at the top end of the 3 Series lineup. It packs 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque, which is an increase of 13 percent and 11 percent respectively over the less fuel efficient 335i model.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is powered by a TwinPower turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine that is coupled with an electric motor and eight-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that rides at the back of the car, below the trunk. The hybrid system puts out a total 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. According to BMW in full electric mode the ActiveHybrid 3 can reach up to 45 mph or travel up to 2.5 miles at an average speed of about 20 mph. BMW states that it consumes less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers (36.7 mpg) on the EU test cycle and it only takes 5.3 seconds to reach 0-62 mph.

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July 9, 2012

2013 BMW M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition Starts at $70,995

Auberlen_LRPEdition.jpg
BMW has announced the limited-edition 2013 BMW M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition that arrives in September. BMW is only going to produce 200 units of the limited-edition M3 that Skip Barber (owner of the historic Lime Rock Park racing circuit) describes as "...a classic car for a classic track." BMW and Lime Rock Park have collaborated on the M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition that is based on the fourth-generation M3 coupe.

The M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition is painted in rare Fire Orange and the seats are covered in Anthracite and Black cloth with Nappa leather trim. The Competition Package has also been added and the M3's signature carbon fiber composite roof panel will be retained on all copies produced. Other standard features include a lightweight inconel-titanium exhaust muffler, carbon fiber front and rear aerodynamic aids, and an Anthracite Alcantara-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel. Finally, each M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition will be quickly identified by a numbered plaque located on the center console, a unique decal on the left-rear quarter window, and a certificate of authenticity.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake Unveiled

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake
Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, which is powered by a 5.5L V8 with 525 horsepower, while the "Edition 1" generates 577 horsepower.

According to Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "After the successes of the CLS 55 AMG and CLS 63 AMG, with the new CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake we are consistently pursuing the philosophy of offering our customers unrivalled, exciting high-performance cars. The CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake is establishing a completely new, small and select niche sector, and is expected to delight new customers just as much as it will existing AMG enthusiasts. The combination of performance, style and usability is unique."

The CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake will reach 0-62 mph in as little as 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.

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All-New 2013 Lexus LS to Debut on July 30

2012 Lexus LS 460 L
Lexus has just announced that the all-new 2013 Lexus LS flagship sedan will debut this month on July 30th at a special event in San Francisco, CA. The 2013 LS will be available as the LS 460, LS 460 L long wheelbase, LS 600h L hybrid sedan and the LS 460 F SPORT (2012 LS 460 pictured here).

Lexus hasn't released any other details about the new sedan, but it's expected to adopt Lexus' new design language, including the signature "spindle" grille.

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DC and Ken Block Drift All Over San Francisco in Gymkhana Five (Video)

36_KB_Barge_1971.jpeg
DC Shoes and Ken Block have just released Gymkhana FIVE, which turns the crazy hills of San Francisco into the ultimate urban playground! Even better the car that Block pilots is a 2012 Ford Fiesta HFHV that packs 650 horsepower and reaches 0-60 mph in 1.8 seconds.

Gymkhana FIVE is the fifth video installment and was shot on the actual streets of San Francisco, California. It took the team four days to film all the action. DC athlete Travis Pastrana makes a cameo appearance on his dirtbike, and S.F. resident Jake Phelps of Thrasher Magazine fame also makes a cameo.

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July 10, 2012

2013 Scion tC Release Series 8.0 Starts at $21,815

2013 Scion tC Release Series 8.0
Scion has released the pricing for the 2013 Scion tC Release Series 8.0, which starts at $21,815 and $22,865 when equipped with a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission respectively.

The tC Release Series 8.0 comes exclusively in Absolutely Red exterior paint with contrasting gloss black side view mirrors and matching black 18-inch alloy wheels. It also gets a unique five-piece body kit that was inspired by Troy Sumitomo of Five Axis that includes front and rear lower valences, side skirts and a rear spoiler. The special tC also gets TRD lowering springs and an exhaust system that is integrated into the center of the rear lower valence.

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2014 Mazda6 Teased in a New Video

2014 Mazda6 Teaser
Mazda has released the first official teaser for the all-new 2014 Mazda6 midsize sedan. The next-generation Mazda6 was previewed with the Takeri concept car, but as Mazda points out in this video, "This is not the TAKERI concept car, it is the first glimpse of the all-new Mazda6 and the similarities are definitely intentional."

Akira Tamatani, Chief Designer of the new Mazda6 stated, "The deeply sculpted face with sharp eyes gazing forward, defined by the chrome 'signature wing', instantly conveys to onlookers that this must be Mazda's new flagship sedan."

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Chevy's New Confidence Program Lets You Give it Back if You Don't Love It

Chevy Love or Return Pricing
Starting today, Chevy has announced the new Chevy Confidence program that gives Chevy buyers the opportunity to return their new Chevy within 60 days after they buy it. The "Love it or Return it" program applies to every new 2012 or 2013 model year vehicle purchase. Customers can return vehicles bought during the program, with less than 4,000 miles driven and no damage, 30 to 60 days from the purchase date.

The program also includes "Total Confidence Pricing" on all 2012 model year Chevys, which offers them at special preferred prices in addition to all current vehicle-specific incentives.

"We have transformed the Chevrolet lineup, so there is no better time than now to reach out to new customers with the love it or return it guarantee and very attractive, bottom line pricing," said Chris Perry, Chevrolet global vice president of marketing. "We think customers who have been driving competitive makes or even older Chevrolets will be very pleased by today's Chevrolet designs, easy-to-use technologies, comprehensive safety and the quality built into all of our cars, trucks and crossovers."

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July 11, 2012

2013 Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster Officially Unveiled

2013 Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster
Aston Martin has just taken the wraps off the 2013 Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster, which is now the most powerful open-top Vantage available with its 6.0L V12 engine. The limited-edition V12 Vantage Roadster packs 509 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque, which is good enough to accelerate it from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 190 mph.

The V12 Vantage Roadster shares most of its specs with the V12 Vantage coupe, but there are a few changes. The V12 Vantage Roadster features a redesigned trunk lid and lower front air intake to maintain a level of dynamic performance that's fully in keeping with the V12 Coupe, while there are also a number of unique chassis revisions. These include a modified rear damper set-up, front and rear damper valve tuning and a new rear spring design.

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2013 Opel Adam is "Opel's First Fashionable Urban Car"

2013 Opel Adam
Opel has just unveiled the 2013 Opel Adam, which is Opel's new A-segment model that will compete against other small models like the Fiat 500. Opel claims that the Adam's small size makes it perfect for an urban environment.

The Opel Adam has room for up to four passengers. According to Opel, the Adam "targets especially trendy urban customers who are looking for a car that expresses their personal style."

"The new Opel ADAM offers lots of growth potential for our brand. We are very proud that our fashionable small car brings German engineering excellence to its segment," says Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke. "In fact, the ADAM is the only A-segment car that will be exclusively built in Germany. We are sure that it will get a fantastic reception in Paris at its world premiere in September:"

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July 12, 2012

2012 Kia Soul Goes on a Summer Road Trip! (Review)

2012 Kia Soul Review
Who doesn't love a fun summer road trip? Kia graced us with a 2012 Kia Soul for a week over the July 4th holiday, so we decided it would be the perfect car to take to the beach. Check out our week long review of the Soul, which took us from New York City down to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where we were able to load it up with all the essential beach gear, kill lots of bugs on the New Jersey Turnpike and then clean it up before giving it back.

The Kia Soul was our third Kia this summer that we were given the chance to review. Following our fun time in the Rio in The Hamptons and another road trip down to Washington D.C. in the new Optima, we were excited to see what Kia's little "box," the Soul could do.

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Toyota is Reportedly Working on a New Electric Sports Car

Toyota 2000GT EV
It looks like Toyota is finally getting back into the sports car segment with new models like the GT86/ Scion FR-S. Toyota also recently signed a new deal with BMW that will see the creation of another new sports car that the two automakers will develop together. Now it's being reported that Toyota is also working on a new electric sports car.

Naohiko Saito, Toyota's handling guy recently told Autocar that the electric powertrain previewed in the Toyota 2000GT EV at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is "an early part of the development process involved in refining the technology." The electric powertrain will first debut in a new city car before it shows up in the new sports car.

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GM Previews the Next-Generation Chevy Silverado (Video)

Next-Generation Chevy Silverado
GM has released this video that is a preview of the next-generation Chevy Silverado pickup. GM engineers are putting the next-generation Silverado through the final paces at the company's proving grounds in Yuma, Ariz.

The new Silverado will start production in 2013.

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2013 Ford Focus ST Packs 252-HP and Gets 32 MPG on the Highway

2013 Ford Focus ST
The much anticipated 2013 Ford Focus ST is finally here. Focus ST fans already probably know that it's powered by a turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost engine with 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft., but Ford has just announced that it has been rated at 32 mpg highway, 23 mpg city and 26 mpg combined.

The 32 MPG highway rating is better than manual transmission equipped VW GTI and MazdaSpeed3."We're putting the 'power' in the power of choice, again," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "This is just one more example of the 'win-win' in the Focus ST narrative. This kind of performance combined with these high levels of efficiency sets a new benchmark with this car."

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July 13, 2012

Ford Partners with Feeding America to Promote the 2013 Escape

2013 Ford Escape and Feeding America
Ford and Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization have announced the new 2013 Ford Escape Hunger Drive that is kicking off in various cities around the United States. The hunger drive will give guests the chance to check out the all-new Escape, while at the same time provide meals to Feeding America.

For every guest that attends the event, Ford will provide 40 meals to Feeding America. Ford expects to provide more than 1.2 million meals through the drive. "Ford has always embraced helping people in need, and this is a good way to give back to the community, while simultaneously showcasing the all-new Escape," said Crystal Worthem, Ford Brand Content and Alliances Marketing manager. "For the first time, Ford is linking its charity support with bringing a new vehicle to market."

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Tesla to Release a BMW 3 Series Rival in 2015

Tesla_Model_S_0008.jpg
The first deliveries of Tesla's Model S electric sedan kicked off last month, but we've now learned that Tesla isn't stopping there. The next model will be the Model X crossover that is based on the Model S and then a new range of smaller models. Tesla's chief designer recently confirmed with Autocar that the automaker is currently working on a new range of cars that will compete with the BMW 3 Series.

"The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible," von Holzhausen told Autocar. The target price for the new entry-level car will be around $30,000. The new 3 Series fighter will also have more distinctive styling than the conventional looking Model S. "We will become more experimental as we develop as a brand," he said. "Our cars need to have some personality." The new models could launch as early as 2015.

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2014 Mazda6 Teased Again, This Time We See the Front Fender

2014 Mazda6 Teaser_2
Following the first teaser video of the 2014 Mazda6 that was released earlier this week, Mazda has a second teaser video of the all-new midsize sedan. This time we get to see part of the front fender.

According to Mazda, "The prominent front fender and sculpted hood creases of the new Mazda6 look like they came right from the Takeri concept car and create a strong visual impression of the car's athletic prowess."

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July 14, 2012

Nissan Visits the U.S. Navy Blue Angels for Sports Car Inspiration

Nissan GT-R
A team of Nissan's designers and product planners recently visited the United States Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron training facility in Pensacola, Florida to find inspiration. The Nissan team observed the Blue Angels in action and also met with the crew to see how the Blue Angels pilots interact with their gauges and instruments in different situations to gather insight for the development of future vehicles.

The Blue Angels team members were also given the chance to drive some of Nissan's models and also gave feedback on the exteriors, interiors and ride and handling of the Nissan vehicles on hand.

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Nissan Leaf Joins Portugal's Police Force

Nissan Leaf-Portugal
If you live in Portugal you will soon start seeing the Nissan Leaf with "Policia" badges on it, since Portugal's police force has taken delivery of a fleet of the Leaf electric vehicles. The eight Nissan Leaf police cars will be operated by Portugal's PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública) the security force responsible for policing the large urban areas of the country.

The Nissan Leaf will primarily be used as part of PSP's Safe School Program, but with flashing blue lights, sirens and clear 'Polícia' markings, they can be called upon to perform other police duties at any time.

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July 15, 2012

2013 SRT Viper GTS-R to Make Track Debut in August

2013 SRT Viper GTS-R
Chrysler has announced that the 2013 SRT Viper GTS-R will make its first on-track race appearance on August 4th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "We're thrilled to return to the world-class competition in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with our flagship American supercar," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO - SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "The new SRT Viper GTS-R represents a rebirth for us on the race track. Now the time has finally come to go head-to-head with the best sports car teams from around the world."

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July 16, 2012

Volvo is Seriously Considering the 508-HP S60 Polestar

Polestar Volvo S60 Performance Concept
Last month Volvo unveiled the most potent S60 yet, the Polestar S60 Concept that is powered by a Volvo T6 engine with a Garret turbocharger that gives it a total 508 horsepower and a 0-62 mph time of only 3.9 seconds. While it's been reported that one lucky guy managed to get his hands on one for an insane $300k, it's now being reported that Volvo may put the Polestar S60 Concept into very limited production.

Nick Connor, managing director of Volvo UK, told Autocar that Volvo is "in serious discussion with Polestar to try and make the S60 a reality." If it does in fact go into production, the production numbers would be very low and it would carry a price tag more than £100k.

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Lexus LF-LC Concept Will Likely Enter Production

Lexus_lf-lc_concept_leaked_8.jpg
Lexus wowed the crowds with the unveiling of the LF-LC hybrid sports coupe concept at this year's Detroit Auto Show. Although it was originally reported that Lexus had no plans to actually produce it, strong positive feedback has reportedly changed the automaker's mind. The Lexus LF-LC signaled a new more exciting design direction from Lexus, which has seen its share of the luxury market fall within the last few years.

Several Lexus insiders have reportedly confirmed with Automotive News that the coupe will "almost certainly come to market." "There has been a lot of interest from dealers and distributors," a Lexus official said.

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Jaguar Confirms 4 and 6-Cylinder Engines for the U.S. this Fall

2013 Jaguar XF
It's been a very long time since Jaguar has offered a model for sale in the U.S. with a four-cylinder engine, but that is about to change this fall. With other luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz starting to offer four-cylinder engines in its U.S. lineup, Jaguar has confirmed that it too will bring smaller engines here.

Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America told Automotive News, "We have only V-8s in a market that has moved to six-cylinder... With the V-8, we are fishing in a small pond."

This fall the 2.0L four-cylinder from the Range Rover Evoque will be offered in the Jaguar XF and a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in two versions (340 hp and 380 hp) will be offered in the XF and the XJ sedan.

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Mercedes-Benz Kicks Off A-Class Production and Announces New Compact SUV

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Production
The first all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has rolled off the line at the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant, which is the automaker's second new compact model following the new B-Class. Mercedes-Benz has also just announced that its next compact model will be a new compact SUV.

"This start of production marks a further milestone in our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy. The A-Class represents our offensive in the compact segment", said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "And there is more to come: The compact SUV will be the third model we will build here in Rastatt."

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2013 Nissan Note Debuts in Japan

2013 Nissan Note
Nissan has taken the wraps off its new global compact car, the 2013 Nissan Note. According to Nissan, "With a goal of becoming the most user-friendly car in its segment, the new Note will explore the full potential of compact cars when it goes on sale in Japan this fall."

Official specs have not been released, but Nissan claims that the Note achieves class-leading fuel efficiency and emission levels, combining advanced engine technology, a lightweight platform and improved aerodynamics.

The Note also gets Nissan's advanced Around View Monitor (AVM) which is included for the first time in a compact car, and will be available with two different engines in Japan. One of the engines is the newly-developed three-cylinder supercharged, direct injection DIG-S engine

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2013 Lexus ES 350 Starts at $36,100, ES 300h Hybrid Starts at $38,850

2013 Lexus ES 350
Lexus has announced the pricing for the all-new 2013 ES 350 and ES 300h hybrid that arrive at dealerships next month. The 2013 ES 350 luxury sedan starts at $36,100, reflecting a decrease of 1.7 percent versus the previous generation's MSRP. The ES 300h luxury hybrid sedan will have a MSRP of $38,850.

The all-new ES adopts Lexus' latest design language and is now offered in two versions, including the ES 300h hybrid. The 2013 ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 268 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of peak torque that's mated to a six-speed automatic. the 2013 ES 350 gets 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.

Continue reading "2013 Lexus ES 350 Starts at $36,100, ES 300h Hybrid Starts at $38,850" »

July 17, 2012

2014 Mazda6 Third Teaser Released (Video)

2014 Mazda6
Mazda has released the third teaser video of the all-new 2014 Mazda6.

This time Mazda had this to say about the new Mazda6: "The car's form manages to convey both a dignified tension and suppleness at the same time, and Soul Red is brilliantly vivid with a deep luster. It's the way these two elements complement each other which produces the charm of the new Mazda6," says chief designer Akira Tamatani.

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Is Honda Working on a Fit-Based Crossover?

2013 Honda Fit Sport
It's being reported that Honda may be working on a new small crossover that will based on the next-generation Honda Fit. According to Japan's Nikkei business daily Honda is planning a new crossover that will share an all-new platform with the new Fit. Honda hopes to sell 1 million vehicles that will use the new platform, with 400,000 units coming from a new crossover that will be sold in the U.S. and Europe.

If the reports are true, expect the new crossover to be built at Honda's new plant in Mexico in 2014. The new crossover will compete against other new small crossovers, like the Buick Encore and Fiat 500X.

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RelayRides and GM's OnStar Team Up to Make it Easier for Owners to Rent Their Cars

GM Onstar RelayRides
GM has announced that its OnStar subscribers can now rent out their vehicles through the RelayRides marketplace. RelayRides' renters can unlock reserved OnStar-enabled cars simply by using their smart phones. RelayRides is the first third-party developer to integrate with GM OnStar's proprietary application program interface that will be available to other developers later this summer.

"General Motors, through OnStar, and RelayRides have joined forces to create an entirely new mobility solution for U.S. drivers interested in more affordable, sustainable and collaborative automobile options," said Nick Pudar vice president OnStar Strategy and New Business Development. "Our exclusive relationship with RelayRides provides an exciting new choice: the first automobiles to run on collaborative consumption."

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Audi Launches Audi City: The Metropolis Cyberstore

Audi City
Audi has opened its first digital showroom, Audi City in London close to Piccadilly Circus. In its new digital showroom, Audi's entire model line-up is presented fully digitally in a compact space, which allows Audi to be present in the heart of major international cities.

"Audi City combines the best of two worlds - digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer," says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG. "This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers - geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer."

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2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE Photos Released

2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE
GM has released the official photos of the 2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE performance package that is available on the Camaro SS coupes. The 1LE performance package upgrades the SS manual Camaro with an exclusive Tremec TR6060-MM6 transmission with a higher 3.91 final-drive ratio and a standard air-to-liquid cooling system for track use. The package also adds monotube rear dampers, 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.

On the outside the 1LE performance package adds a matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler, while the interior gets a flat-bottom steering wheel and short-throw shifter from the ZL1 that are covered in sueded microfiber.

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July 18, 2012

2013 Cadillac ATS Takes on the World (Video)

2013 Cadillac ATS
Cadillac has put together a new series of 60- and 30-second television spots for the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS in which the new Cadillac confronts some of the world's extreme roads and treacherous driving conditions.

Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing said, "ATS was developed to take on the world's best sport sedans. So we designed a world challenge for ATS to dramatically demonstrate its all-new purpose-built chassis and advanced technology in a global, cinematic adventure."

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Lexus Teases the All-New 2013 Lexus LS on Facebook

2013 Lexus LS Preview
Lexus has released this teaser photo of the all-new Lexus LS flagship sedan that is going to debut at the end of the month on July 30th.

The 2013 LS will be available as the LS 460, LS 460 L long wheelbase, LS 600h L hybrid sedan and the LS 460 F SPORT

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2013 Honda Accord Gets a New Cloud-Based HondaLink Connected Car System

HondaLink logo
Honda has just announced some of the new technology that we can expect in the all-new 2013 Honda Accord that arrives this fall. The new Accord will be available with Honda's new connectivity system, HondaLink that will feature the first automotive application of Aha by Harman. HondaLink will provide a personalized experience connecting drivers to thousands of cloud-based news, information and entertainment feeds from around the world, using an intuitive, audio-system based interface.

"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."

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July 19, 2012

Honda to Boost Production at its Indiana Plant and Add Civic Hybrid Production

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid
Honda has announced that it is investing $40 million to increase the annual production capacity by 50,000 units at its Indiana plant, which brings the annual total to 250,000 vehicles. The increased production will start early next year and Honda expects to hire 300 new production associates at the plant.

Early next year Honda's Indiana plant will add production of the Civic Hybrid, which currently also produces the Acura ILX hybrid. "Our team in Indiana has successfully managed many challenges in its first four years, including the launch of three all-new models and the expansion of our production capacity is a result of their efforts," said Senior Vice President Bob Nelson. "We are excited about these new opportunities for our plant, because it shows that the customer is embracing the products we make here in Indiana."

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2013 Ford Mustang Heads to the Philippines

2013 Ford Mustang
The 2013 Ford Mustang is now available in the Philippines, which Ford just celebrated at a launch event in Manila. The Mustang will be available in the Philippines in two variants: the 3.7-liter Mustang V6 Premium and the 5.0-liter Mustang V8 GT Premium.

The Mustang is the fourth vehicle Ford has launched in the Philippines this year, following the all-new Ford Ranger, all-new Ford Explorer 2.0-liter with EcoBoost and all-new Ford Focus.

"The introduction of the iconic Ford Mustang follows our ongoing commitment to continue bringing world-class vehicles to the Philippines," said Randy Krieger, president, Ford Group Philippines. "We're confident the Mustang will be an immediate and long-lasting success in the Philippines, attracting many new loyal customers who will be absolutely thrilled to own this fantastic car."

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Porsche is Reportedly Mulling a Mid-Engine Ferrari Fighter

Porsche 918 Spyder_prototype.jpg
Porsche is reportedly trying to decide what models it will introduce after the upcoming Macan SUV. A Porsche source told Automobilwoche that the automaker is considering a Ferrari-fighting two seater mid-engine coupe that would pack more than 600 horsepower. Porsche is still also considering a smaller version of the Panamera, dubbed internally as the Pajun.

Before the Macan SUV is released in 2014, Porsche is going to release the 918 Spyder in September 2013. The 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar packs a 4.6L V8 with two electric motors for a total output of more than 770 horsepower. Porsche estimates that the 918 Spyder's fuel consumption in the region of three litres per 100 kilometers (78 MPG U.S.).

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2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Production Kicks Off in Normal, Illinois

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Mitsubishi has officially started production of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport at its plant in Normal, Illinois. Mitsubishi expects to kick off production with 50,000 Outlander Sport units annually with a target of eventually producing as many as 70,000 units of its best-selling model in the U.S.

For the 2013 model year, the Outlander Sport gets redesigned front fascia, grille and bumper and a two-tone rear bumper design; black-colored side sills; 18-inch alloy wheels now standard on all trim levels; new interior accents and fabric; a revised rear suspension; and a recalibrated continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

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Audi Announces the Pricing for its 2013 Lineup, Including the RS5 That Starts at $68,900

2013 Audi RS5
Audi has announced the pricing for its 2013 U.S. lineup, which now includes the high-performance RS5 coupe. Just in case need a refresher, the RS5 coupe is powered by a 450 horsepower 4.2L FSI V8 that's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. According to Audi the RS5 reaches 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.The RS5 coupe carries a starting price tag of $68,900.

Audi has also announced that the A4 Allroad starts at $39,600 and the S8 4.0T starts at $110,000.

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July 20, 2012

VW Confirms the U.S. Will Get the Next-Generation Golf and GTI Next Fall

2012 VW GTI
VW has confirmed when the next-generation Golf and GTI will arrive in Europe and the U.S. Although VW is going to unveil the all-new Golf and GTI at the Paris Motor Show this fall, it won't go on sale until next year. (2012 pictured here)

If you're in Europe you are lucky because you will get it first in the spring of 2013, unfortunately those of us in the U.S. have to wait until the fall of 2013 for both the Golf and GTI.

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2014 Mazda6 Fourth Teaser Released (Video)

2014 Mazda6 Teaser
Mazda continues to tease the all-new 2014 Mazda6. Mazda has released the fourth teaser video that now shows off the Mazda6's profile.

Akira Tamatani describes the all-new Mazda6 as "Drawing on the untamed vitality of nature, we refined a design that is sensual and artistic. The KODO design expresses the powerful beauty of a living organism. With its low center of gravity the car seems to hug the ground as it sprints along. Just wait until you see it in the flesh!"

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2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid Can Travel More than 20 Miles in Electric-Only Mode

2013 Ford C-MAX Plug-In Hybrid
The 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is expected to be able to drive over 20 miles in its electric-only range and a achieve a 550-mile overall range, according to Ford. The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is also rated at 95 MPGe.

"We are proud C-MAX Energi is the first plug-in hybrid that can deliver a 550-mile overall range and more than 20 miles of electric range as it gives customers great flexibility to commute to work, then take off for a road trip while passing many gas stations along the way," says Davis. "C-MAX Energi is a great symbol for the leading fuel economy we're delivering across our lineup to give customers the power of choice to save money at the pump," stated John Davis, chief nameplate engineer for Ford's compact cars and utility vehicles.

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July 21, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Unveils the Beltbag Airbag That Will Debut in the Next S-Class

Mercedes-Benz Beltbag
An inflatable seatbelt isn't necessarily a new thing, since other automakers like Ford are already using them, but Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has developed a new inflatable seatbelt, dubbed the Beltbag.

The Beltbag is going to be used for extra protection for rear passengers. The Beltbag reduces the risk of injury to passengers in the rear in a head-on collision by lessening the strain placed on the ribcage. Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit will trigger deployment and inflation of the Beltbag. A gas generator then inflates the multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams to nearly three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area is able to better distribute the force acting on the seat occupant, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

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The Refreshed 2013 Nissan 370Z Starts at $33,120

2013 Nissan 370z
The pricing for the revised 2013 Nissan 370Z Coupe, 370Z Roadster and NISMO 370Z has been announced and all three versions are now on sale. The 2013 Nissan 370Z starts $33,120, while the roadster starts at $41,470 and the NISMO 370Z starts at $43,020.

For the 2013 model year the Nissan 370Z gets a refreshed front fascia with vertical LED daytime running lights (except NISMO 370Z), a new 18-inch wheel design for 370Z Coupe and two new colors - Magma Red and Midnight Blue. Sport Package-equipped models get a new 19-inch wheel design, red-color brake calipers and Euro-tuned shock absorbers. The NISMO 370Z receives dark-finish 19-inch wheels, revised brake system components and an available Bose Premium Audio Package.

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July 22, 2012

The Newly Updated 2013 BMW 7 Series Starts at $74,195

2013 BMW 7Series
The 2013 BMW 7 Series has been updated with a refreshed exterior, interior tweaks and powertrain upgrades like a new 8-speed transmission. BMW has just announced that the 2013 740i starts at $74,195, the ActiveHybrid7 starts at $84,895, the 750i starts at $87,195 and the 760Li starts at $140,200.

Under the hood the 2013 740i and 750i models get updates that provide more power and fuel efficiency. The 740i is now powered by a 3.0L TwinPower Turbo with 315 horsepower, while the 750i is powered by a 4.4L V8 with 445 horsepower. The 760Li continues with the same V12 engine. The ActiveHybrid 7 swaps out the previously used V8 for the same 3.0L six-cylinder in the 740i. The ActiveHybrid 7 packs a total 349 horsepower and on the European cycle it's 14 percent more fuel efficient than the 740i. For 2013 all BMW 7 Series models get an 8-speed automatic transmission.

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Honda Delivers the First 2013 Fit EV in California

2013 Honda Fit EV
The first 2013 Honda Fit EV has been delivered to a couple in Southern California. The 2013 Honda Fit EV is now available for lease in California and Oregon for $389 a month for three years. Honda plans on expanding the electric Fit's availability to the East Coast in 2013.

Ventura County, Calif., residents, Matt and Becky Walton, took delivery of their Honda Fit EV at the Woodland Hills Honda dealership located north of Los Angeles. The couple was the very first registrant to sign up to lease the Fit EV and plan to use their vehicle as a daily commuter car. Matt and Becky Walton have a long history of owning Honda vehicles, beginning with a Honda N600 sedan and a Honda Z600 coupe in the 1970s and now a Honda Odyssey which will be used as a secondary car.

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Volvo C30 Electric Named "Green Car of the Year" in China

Volvo C30 Electric Green Car of the Year
The Volvo C30 Electric was just awarded "Green Car of the Year" in China at the 4th China New Energy Mobility Summit on the same day that Volvo delivered 15 Volvo C30 Electric cars to Shanghai for the pioneering open road test-drive project - EV100 Days.

According to Freeman Shen, Senior Vice President of Volvo Car Corporation and Chairman of China Operations, delivering Volvo C30 Electric to SIAC and launching of public road test drives represents a solid step of Volvo in the process of promoting new energy vehicles in China, and as a result of Volvo's Drive-E corporate strategy which covers optimization of traditional combustion engines, and development of plug-in hybrids and electric ones.

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July 23, 2012

Next Nissan Z Will be Lighter with a Smaller Engine

2013 Nissan 370Z
Nissan has already reportedly begun work on the next-generation Z according to Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura, who recently spoke with Autocar. Nakamura stated that the replacement for the 370Z will be lighter and leaner in order to appeal to a larger range of buyers.

Sales of the 370Z are down and according to Nakamura, the 370Z has not been as successful as the 350Z, so "The next one has to have a stronger impact."

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Smart and BRABUS Celebrate 10 Years With a Special Edition Smart Fortwo

Smart BRABUS fortwo 10th anniversary
Smart and BRABUS are celebrating ten years of working together with a special anniversary edition of the Smart fortwo. The first smart BRABUS model debuted in June of 2002 and now ten years later there is a new special edition model that will be extremely limited, since only 100 units are being produced.

The special edition model Smart fortwo is powered by a 102 horsepower turbocharged engine and gets a body that is painted in liquid silver with titanium-colored headlights and red BRABUS logos on the front and rear. The interior of the "10th anniversary" edition is characterized by a black leather interior with high-quality hand stitching. The trim parts are painted in an exclusive red and the contrast components and seat console come in black. A badge with the serial number (xx/100) draws attention to the fact that this is a limited edition.

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Next-Generation Nissan Rogue to Arrive in 2013 with Production Expanding to Korea

2012 Nissan Rogue
The next-generation Nissan Rogue is slated to arrive sometime next year and Nissan is already getting ready for an increase in demand for its small crossover. Nissan has reportedly invested $160 million to produce the next Rogue at Renault Samsung Motors factory in Busan, South Korea.

Sales of the Rogue have been increasing and two years ago Nissan decided to move production of the Rogue from Japan to one of its U.S. plants since the high yen was hurting Nissan's profits. Two years ago sales in the U.S. totaled just under 100,000 units, but last year Rogue sales reached almost 125,000 units and Nissan expects that total to increase to at least 150,000 this year. To be able to keep up with the demand for the Rogue, Nissan will build the Rogue at its Tennessee factory in addition to plant in Korea.

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All-New 2014 Kia Forte Teased it Will be Released Early Next Year

2014 Kia Forte Sketch
Kia has announced plans to unveil the next-generation 2014 Kia Forte aka Kia Cerato later this year. The current Kia Forte remains one of the few models left in Kia's lineup that hasn't received its newest design language. That will change early next year when the all-new Forte gets more "dynamic" styling that brings it in line with Kia's Optima and Rio.

The 2014 Kia Forte will debut in the first quarter of 2013, followed by the five-door hatchback and two-door coupe models. Kia has also announced that the Cerato name will be replaced with "K3" in Korea.

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Cadillac Green Lights a Rear-Wheel-Drive Flagship Sedan

11_concept_Ciel_026.jpg
GM is eager to regain market share in the luxury segment and take on Cadillac's German competitors. According to Automotive News, GM has given a new Cadillac rear-wheel-drive large sedan the green light.

The new large Cadillac sedan would be built on a new a new rear-wheel-drive platform and would go head to head with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S Class when it arrives by 2015. Automotive News expects the large sedan to take styling cues from the Ciel concept that was unveiled last year. It may also be powered by Cadillac's 3.6L V6 in addition to a V8.

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2013 Lincoln MKZ Starts at $36,800

2013 Lincoln MKZ
The online configurator for the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ is now live and with it we now know that the new MKZ will start at $36,800. Although Lincoln does have the small caveat on the site that says "prices are for survey purposes only."

If the final pricing remains true to what is one Lincoln's website, the all-new 2013 MKZ will have a price ranging from about $37k for the base MKZ all the way up to $57k for the top MKZ with the 3.7L V6 and AWD.

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July 24, 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid Starts at $29,995

2013 Ford C-MAX Energi
Ford has announced that the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid starts at $29,995 after the available $3,750 federal tax credit. This now makes the C-MAX Energi the most affordable plug-in hybrid currently available in America.

"The Ford C-MAX Energi is within financial reach for those who want a hybrid, but is also something customers will want to reach for because of its unique look and amazing value," said Michael O'Brien, Ford electrified vehicle marketing manager. "It offers exceptional fuel economy, better features and a better price tag than a Prius plug-in hybrid, which we think will help make C-MAX Energi one of our most attractive vehicles for import customers."

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Audi Releases "Electric Life" Video Series to Show How Life Changes with an A3 Electric Car (Video)

Audi A3 e-tron: Audi Electric Drive
Audi has just released the first video from the "Electric Life" series that takes a look at Audi's new e-tron electric vehicle technology now hitting American roads with Audi's "e-Pilots." Audi wants to gather real world experience with its A3 e-tron prototypes and has given the "e-Pilots" an Audi A3 e-tron to live with for several months.

"In our first film we visit e-Pilot Ti Chan as she waves goodbye to the gas station when electricians install a home charger in her garage. Then she shows off her "new ride" to her mom."

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All-New 2014 Mazda6 Shows its Face

2014 Mazda6
Mazda has been teasing us the past few weeks with little glimpses of the all-new 2014 Mazda6, but thanks to Mazda's Russian division, we now have our first look at its face. From this photo we can clearly see how close the 2014 Mazda6 is to the Takeri concept.

Expect to see the 2014 Mazda6 debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.

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Audi Releases the First Photo of the Refreshed 2013 R8 on Twitter

2013 Audi R8
Audi has released the first official photo of the refreshed 2013 Audi R8 supercar on its Twitter page. The changes are very minimal, but from this shot you can see that the R8's face now gets new LED daytime running lights.

Expect more details soon.

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July 25, 2012

All-New 2014 Mazda6 Debuts at the Moscow Auto Show

2014_Mazda_6_Russian_Spec
Mazda has officially unveiled the all-new 2014 Mazda6, which is going to debut at next month's Moscow International Automobile Salon. The next-generation Mazda6 is heavily influenced by the Mazda Takeri concept and wil be the second Mazda to incorporate Mazda's Skyactiv technology.

The Russian-spec 2014 Mazda6 that we will see next month, will be powered by a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine mated to a SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. The Mazda6 also will feature "i-ELOOP," the world's first capacitor-based regenerative braking system. In real-world driving conditions, which involve frequent acceleration and braking, i-ELOOP, a name derived from "Intelligent Energy Loop," will improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent.

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Lexus to Expand RX Production in Canada

2013_Lexus_RX_450h
Toyota has announced plans to invest more than $100 million and hire 400 team members to increase production at its Cambridge, Ontario plant. The increased production in Canada will increase Lexus capacity by 30,000 units to 104,000 units, which includes 15,000 RX450h vehicles.

"This is a big and ambitious project with new technology, exacting standards and tight timelines," said TMMC President, Brian Krinock. "Our team members have demonstrated time and time again that they thrive on these kinds of challenges."

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Audi Officially Unveils the Refreshed 2013 Audi R8

2013_Audi_R8
It looks like it's finally time for Audi to refresh its R8 supercar. Audi has just unveiled the refreshed 2013 R8 family, which now includes a new V10 Plus flagship model.

On the outside the 2013 R8 gets small changes like the addition of LED headlights, restyled taillights and a new front bumper. The biggest change is the addition of the new seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission. The new seven-speed features a three-shaft layout with two multi-plate clutches lying behind one another. According to Audi, the gearshifting occurs practically without interruption of tractive power within hundredths of a second, and so dynamically, smoothly and comfortably as to be hardly noticeable.

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2014 Kia Carens/ Rondo Teased Ahead of Paris Debut

Kia_Carens rendering_front quarter
Kia has released two teaser photos of the all-new Carens/ Rondo compact MPB that is going to have its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in September.

The new Carens adopts Kia's latest design language and according to Kia, features a "completely fresh, sleek, cab-forward design, lower roofline, longer wheelbase, larger wheels (up to 18-inch) and chrome beltline accent." Kia also says that the new Carens was conceived around the theme dynamic space.

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July 26, 2012

10 New Cars Perfect for the Summer

Summer of Cars So far this summer we've gone on several fun roadtips that took us to The Hamptons, Washington D.C., Rehoboth Beach in Delaware and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Although almost any car can be taken on a fun summer roadtrip or down a back-country road, some cars are better than others. Here's our list of the top new cars for 2013 that are perfect for the beach, camping, cruising down Pacific Coast highway, a family roadtrip or any other exciting summer adventure that you can come up with.

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GM Developing Wireless Pedestrian Detection Technology

GM_Wireless_Pedestrian_Detection
GM has just announced that its researchers are working on a new driver assistance feature that would detect pedestrians and bicyclists on congested streets or in poor visibility conditions before the driver notices them.

The feature relies on Wi-Fi Direct, the peer-to-peer wireless standard that allows devices like some smartphones to communicate directly with each other rather than through a shared access point like a cell phone tower. GM researchers have determined Wi-Fi Direct can be integrated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles to help detect pedestrians and bicyclists carrying smartphones equipped with Wi-Fi Direct.

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2013 Cadillac ATS Production Begins, It Arrives Next Month

2013_Cadillac_ATS_Production
GM has officially kicked off production of the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS compact sedan at the Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan. The ATS will arrive in showrooms next month with a starting price at $33,990.

"The new Cadillac ATS represents an investment in Lansing and our workforce," said Tony Francavilla, Lansing regional plant manager. "A successful launch needs a great process and a great product, but at the heart of it all are the people, and the care they put into each and every vehicle."

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2013 Lexus LS Leaked Ahead of its July 30th Debut?

2013_Lexus_LS_Leak
Is this our first look at the new 2013 Lexus LS? Lexus is set to unveil the new Lexus LS flagship sedan on July 30th in San Francisco, but thanks to a Chinese website, we may be looking at it now.

Lexus hasn't confirmed if these photos are accurate, but if they are the biggest change to the new LS is the addition of the new Lexus spindle grille with new headlights. The rear end changes do not look as significant. The new 2013 LS will be available as the LS 460, LS 460 L long wheelbase, LS 600h L hybrid sedan and the LS 460 F SPORT.

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July 27, 2012

Here's the First Official Pic of the 2013 Lexus LS

2013_Lexus_LS_Preview
Following yesterday's photo leak of the upcoming 2013 Lexus LS, Lexus has released the first official photo of the all-new LS on its Facebook page. We have to wait until Monday for the official debut.

What do you think so far?

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2013 Cadillac XTS Features Highlighted in a Bunch of Videos

2013-Cadillac-XTS
Cadillac has released a series of videos that highlight many of the features on the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS.

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Kia Will Release a New Kia Soul Next Year

2012_Kia_Soul
Kia is reportedly going to release a new Kia Soul next year, according to a Kia executive who unveiled the plans during an earnings conference call. The Kia Soul is Kia's second best-selling model in the U.S. The exec did not release any other details about the next Soul.

Expect the next Soul to share its platform with the new Rio and to continue to offer a boxy exterior. The same 1.6L and 2.0L four-cylinder engines in the current Soul will also most likely carry over into the next 2014 Soul.

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VW Sponsors Discovery Channel's Shark Week with the VW Beetle

BeetleNosesteaser.jpg
This year VW is sponsoring Discovery Channel's 25th annual Shark Week and part of the sponsorship involves the creation of a special VW Beetle.

VW and Discovery Channel have worked closely together with marine biologist and shark expert, Luke Tipple, and his engineering team to create a one-of-a-kind "Volkswagen Beetle Shark Observation Cage" that will put viewers in the driver's seat as it cruises along the ocean floor. The design, construction and submersion of the Beetle shark cage will be unveiled for viewers in a series of three, one-minute segments during Shark Week programming.

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All-New 2013 Lexus LS 460 Officially Exposed

2013_Lexus_LS_460
Two days ago the first photos of the new 2013 Lexus LS 460 flagship sedan leaked and then today Lexus released the first official photo of the new sedan. Now a full set of photos have leaked online, just days before Lexus officially unveils the 2013 Lexus LS in San Francisco.

These photos show off the 2013 LS 460 and LS 460 F Sport. What do you think?

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July 28, 2012

Nissan Shows Off the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder on Facebook

2013_Nissan_Pathfinder
Nissan has released the first set of photos of the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder that is set to arrive this fall. Nissan originally gave us a preview of the new Pathfinder with the Pathfinder concept earlier this year. From these photos, it looks like nothing has really changed on the production version.

The 2013 Pathfinder has moved to a new unibody platform that it will share with the Infiniti JX crossover. It's expected to be powered by Nissan's 3.5L V6 and Nissan expects it to be 25 percent more fuel efficient than the current Pathfinder.

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July 29, 2012

All-New 2014 Kia Forte Officially Unveiled

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Here's your first look at the all-new 2014 Kia Forte that will arrive early next year. Kia says that the new Forte, which adopts Kia's latest design language, is longer, lower and wider than the current model.

The 2014 Kia Forte also gets LED front and rear lamps and a chrome finished beltline. Stay tuned for the official debut later this year.

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July 30, 2012

Ford's MyFord Mobile App Helps Ford Drivers Find Charging Stations

2013 Ford C-MAX Plug-In Hybrid
Ford is set to triple its electric vehicle lineup in 2013 and to make it easier for drivers to find charging stations, Ford is launching the MyFord Mobile app. Currently there are more than 9,400 public charging stations across the U.S. and Ford's new app will help drivers of the Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi locate the stations.

The MyFord mobile app has a charging station locator that is powered by MapQuest provides important details about charging stations in close proximity to the owner's vehicle, such as street address and hours of operation. The app will also stay up to date with the latest charging information, since new public stations are constantly popping up. Right now there are more than 9,400 stations, which is up from 2,500 at the end of 2009.

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2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE Starts at $37,035

2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE
For the 2013 model year the Chevy Camaro SS is available with a new 1LE package that bumps up the Camaro's performance. GM has just announced that the 1LE package adds an extra $3,500 to the price of Camaro 1SS and 2 SS coupes, with a manual transmission. A Camaro 1SS with the 1LE package starts at $37,035.

"The Camaro 1LE combines the best elements of the SS and the ZL1 with a focus on handling," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "We optimized every part of the SS for improved track driving, including gear ratios, suspension tuning, and chassis mounts. The result really brings the Camaro SS alive at every turn - whether you're carving through your favorite backroads or working on lap times on the track.

"Best of all, the Camaro 1LE is $10,000 less than its nearest competitor," Oppenheiser said. "For drivers looking for an affordable way to get on the track, what they save with the 1LE will the cover a lot of days at the track."

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IntelliLink In-Car Connectivity is Now Standard on All 2013 Buicks

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All 2013 Buick models will now come standard with IntelliLink in-car connectivity, which allows drivers to use voice commands to control smartphone apps like Pandora, MP3 players.

Using the Pandora Internet radio app interface when paired with a smartphone, owners of 2013 models can tune to a favorite station solely by voice command. Likewise, saying "More like this" while an iPod or other USB media device is playing generates a random music playlist based on the current song.

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2013 Chevy Malibu Turbo Hits the Track (Video)

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GM has just released a quick teaser video of the 2013 Chevy Malibu Turbo that will be available this fall. In this video a professional driver takes the Malibu Turbo for a ride around the track.

The 2013 Chevy Malibu Turbois powered by 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. The Chevy Malibu Turbo starts at $27,710.

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July 31, 2012

Quick Drive: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT (Review)

2013_Hyundai_Elantra_GT
The Hyundai Elantra lineup is getting bigger for the 2013 model year. Following last year's debut of the impressive Elantra sedan, Hyundai is following it up with the new 2013 Elantra coupe and five-door Elantra GT. The Elantra sedan quickly jumped to the top of its segment when it was released, but how well do the coupe and five-door models line up in their respective segments?

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Redesigned 2013 Lexus LS Debuts in San Francisco

2013_Lexus_LS 460
Lexus has officially taken the wraps off its flagship sedan, the 2013 Lexus LS. For the 2013 model year the new LS lineup includes the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL hybrid, and the LS 460 F Sport. While it's not an entirely new design, the new LS gets updates like the new Lexus spindle grille.

In San Francisco Lexus' new design philosophy was the inspiration for the "Lexus Laws of Attraction" exhibit, which included exclusive photographs by world-renowned fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth that feature prominent couples with the Lexus flagship vehicle.

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MINI Previews the MINI Paceman on Facebook

MINI_Paceman_Prototype
MINI has previewed the production version of the upcoming Paceman crossover on Facebook. The three-door Paceman in these photos is basically naked with the exception of some camouflage covering the rear end. The Paceman is a three-door version of the Countryman, so expect the same engine lineup when it's released.

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Porsche Covers the 918 Spyder Prototype in the Martini Racing Look

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Porsche is continuing testing of the upcoming 918 Spyder and has announced plans to achieve a lap time of less than seven minutes and 22 seconds on the infamous Nürburgring. Just in case you forgot, the 918 Spyder is a hybrid with a 4.6L V8 and two electric motors that put out a combined 770 horsepower. Porsche estimates that the 918 Spyder's fuel consumption is in the region of three litres per 100 kilometers (78 MPG U.S.)

The latest 918 Spyder test vehicle is now turning laps in the legendary Martini Racing look of many historic Porsche race cars, particularly from the 1970s.

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