The Truth About Cars » Future Vehicles The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Future Vehicles Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Confirmed Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:16:41 +0000 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Road & Track has found evidence, courtesy of an SAE paper, that the 6.2L supercharged V8 from the Challenger SRT Hellcat, will make its way into the Charger.

The SAE has apparently certified the engine’s output for both the Challenger and Charger, but R&T is left wondering whether the 6-speed manual will be an option in the Charger, when it has traditionally been automatic only.

Even so, the new ZF 8-speed auto, with launch control and thoroughly modern guts, is nothing like the automatics of yesteryear. A stick shift would be nice to have, but the Hellcat seems to get its best drag strip performance when equipped with the automatic. After experiencing the 8-speed in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, my own desire for a manual Hellcat is actually somewhat diminished.

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Audi Leaves CVTs Behind For Dual-Clutch Automatics Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:11 +0000 34 - 2012 Audi A7 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

CVT haters, rejoice: Audi’s latest set of Multitronic CVTs will be the automaker’s last.

According to The Motor Report, the automaker believes it has done all it can with CVTs, and will instead focus on the S-tronic dual-clutch automatic family of transmissions. Both the S-tronic and traditional automatic offerings will fill the void left behind when the models so equipped with Multitronic are updated or replaced.

However, Audi may also do away with the traditional automatic, as well. Currently, the automaker is hard work on an S-tronic built to handle the torque loads and AWD that are being handled by eight-speed autos at present. No word on when the traditional auto’s day may come to pass.

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Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:37:15 +0000 550x366x2014-Dodge-Duranto_00141.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pOnDvu-PCw

What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time to clear that up.

Speaking to Motor Trend, Gardner all-but confirmed that the front-drive crossover will share the next-gen front-drive architecture that will be utilized by the next-generation vans. A close reading of FCA’s 5-year plan, as well as Chrysler’s overall product portfolio suggests that the three-row crossover is a great way to help lower their CAFE rating, especially with a plug-in hybrid variant – which the new minvan will have from the get-go. You can bet that the CUV will get this technology as well.

According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”. I can’t say I agree with the former, but even so, it’s a moot point. Leveraging the front-drive architecture, with its superior fuel economy, regulatory and packaging characteristics is a no-brainer for a company that badly needs to put a dent in its CAFE ratings.

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Exclusive: General Motors Working On Sonic EV With 200-Mile Range Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:26:12 +0000 450x337xSonic-LTZ-front-450x337.jpg.pagespeed.ic.JeJw11oIyx

The upcoming pure electric vehicle being discussed in the wake of the Opel Ampera’s demise will also be sold in the United States, in the form of a Chevrolet Sonic.

The Sonic-based EV will reportedly have a 200 mile range, which will presumably come from the new battery that LG Chem (battery supplier for the Volt) is working on right now. That will arrive in 2016, which suggests that the Sonic EV won’t be introduced until at least that date.

The Sonic EV will also be built in Michigan, which will allow GM to gain regulatory credits for selling a pure EV that is also made in America. The Chevrolet Spark EV, which is built in Korea, is not eligible, and has a range of just 82 miles.

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Buick Prepares For Rental Fleet Dominance Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:16:22 +0000 Opel_Cascada_Innovation_2.0_BiTurbo_CDTI-550x366

Automotive News is reporting that the Opel Cascada will make it Stateside in 2016. Aside from giving Buick a fresh new product that isn’t a crossover, the Cascada arrives at an opportune time to capitalize on a small but important niche: the rental market.

With the demise of the Chrysler 200 convertible and VW Eos, rental fleets now have an alternative to the pony car twins for their convertible car class. Believe it or not, not all rental car clients want a Mustang or a Camaro, and the front-drive packaging of the Cascada allows for some packaging efficiencies that aren’t there in a rear drive setup (luggage space, anyone?).

Normally, fleet sales, and daily rental specifically, is treated as a last resort for undesirable product. But in this case, The Cascada is in a position to corner a market that, while declining, is currently wide open – something that GM is familiar with.

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Ford Expects V6 Engines To Make Up Over 70 Percent Of F-150 Sales Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:30:40 +0000 550x399xford-f-150_r-550x399.jpg.pagespeed.ic.G6qdiAdN5g

Not that long ago, buying a half-ton pickup with anything other than a V8 engine was looked upon as a sign of mental illness or an inadequate reserve of masculinity. The introduction of the Ford Ecoboost V6, as well as Ram’s gasoline and diesel V6s has shifted the tide more towards smaller cylinder counts, but Ford is projecting a big shift in take rates for the next-generation F-150.

According to Autoblog, Ford is projecting that roughly 28 percent of F-150s will be equipped with the 5.0 V8, while roughly 56 percent of buyers will opt for either the 2.7L or 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engines. The remainder, about 15 percent, will go to the base 3.5L V6. As to the other 1 percent? Perhaps there’s a CNG powertrain lurking somewhere in the shadows, Ford’s projections aren’t entirely rigorous, or the reporter in question is just bad at math, as reporters tend to be.

Right now, Ecoboost engines account for about 45 percent of F-150 sales, and even though everyone has an opinion on the efficacy of a turbocharged V6 engine in a full-sized pickup, nobody can deny their commercial success. Ford’s V6 push is also being aimed at potential buyers of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size trucks, with Ford’s own PR team already taking shots at the new GM trucks before full curb weights, mpg figures and other specs have been released for either truck.

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Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 Toyota_FCV_featured

With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

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2015 Toyota Yaris Has “European Flavor”, We’re Afraid To Ask… Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:01 +0000 2015_Toyota_Yaris_001


Toyota is touting a new “European flavor” for the 2015 Yaris. I’m not sure what that means, but it does evoke bad memories of the chevre I left in my suitcase after coming home from the Paris Auto Show. All jokes aside (and that was bahhhhh-d), our Yaris will likely be built in France, but Toyota is looking for a way to both incorporate that into their messaging, and avoid telling everyone that their new subcompact is built by a bunch of socialist surrender monkeys. It’s not easy to explain the poor economics of building a subcompact car in Japan, but telling American consumers that its made in France is likely even more difficult. Not much has changed mechanically, and the 4-speed automatic still remains. C’est la.

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2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:27:54 +0000 450x299x2012-Honda-CR-V_04-550x366-450x299.jpg.pagespeed.ic.maBjGB5e2J

The last word in functional, utilitarian crossovers will now move even further towards the middle of the road, as the Honda CR-V adopts a CVT for its mid-cycle refresh.

Replacing the outdated 5-speed automatic, the CVT gearbox is, by our own EIC’s admission, a fantastic transmission. Furthermore, nobody buying the CR-V will know the difference, or care enough about it. The bland, practical formula that Honda appears to have perfected has made the CR-V the top-selling crossover for years and years. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

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Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:00:54 +0000 hyundai-cargo-van-spy-photo-01

Is Hyundai making a play for the commercial van market in North America? Automotive News seems to think so.

These spyshots (from AutoGuide.comshow Hyundai testing a new large commercial van somewhere in Europe, whereas AN caught it testing in California. Either way, it’s clear that Hyundai wants in on the action that the Sprinter, Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit are eagerly targeting.


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Daimler To Enter FCV Market In 2017 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:48 +0000 Mercedes Blue Efficiency

While Japanese and Korean automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are jumping into the hydrogen game, Daimler plans to begin its own journey in 2017.

Automotive News interviewed Daimler head of corporate research Herbert Kohler about his employer’s hydrogen plans. Kohler briefly reflected on how Daimler were questioned on focusing upon fuel-cell technology before everyone else, stating that if an automaker wasn’t now at least considering the game, it would have to ask itself “some uncomfortable questions.”

As for the timetable of releasing an FCV by 2017, he states that while Daimler had planned to do so by 2015 at the latest, its joint partnership with Nissan and Ford to develop the technology will give all three time to bring the tech’s high costs down amid increasing volumes by the time 2017 rolls around.

Finally, when asked how much Daimler would charge for their FCV — in light of the $68,000 price tag for the 2015 Toyota FCV — Kohler says his employer’s goal is to price its FCV on par with “the hybrid version of a comparable model.”

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Tata To Enter Global Passenger Market With Help Of Jaguar Land Rover Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:44 +0000 Tata-Xenon-11

Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs. reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, managing director of importer Fusion Automotive, assures that no badge engineering would occur between the two brands.

What would be shared, according to Bowler, would be platforms and engines, such as the global platform underpinning the upcoming Nexon SUV that could “be used as an Evoque… a Tata, [or] a Jaguar,” as well as the Ingenium family of four-cylinder engines that will soon turn up under the bonnet of many a JLR product.

In the meantime, Tata Australia plans to tackle the medium- and heavy-duty markets with the Ultra and Prima, both joining the light-duty Xenon.

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2016 Buick Envision Revealed Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:31:27 +0000 envision1


Buick took the wraps of the front end of their new mid-sized crossover, dubbed the Envision – or Ang Ke Wei, in China.

Powered by the corporate 2.0L turbo-four making 256 horsepower and 260 lb-ft, the engine will feature a 6-speed automatic transmission, stop-start and all-wheel drive. The Envision is likely based on the Theta platform that underpins the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

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Ford Announces 2.7L Ecoboost Powertrain Details Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:24:22 +0000 15FordF150_04

Ford has announced power figures for the 2.7L Ecoboost engine powering the new F-150 – and later on, other Ford models – while also announcing a sub-5,000lb curb weight.

The new 2.7L engine makes 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, with a maximum tow rating of 8,500 lbs and a 2,250 lb payload capacity. The venerable 3.7L V6 will be dropped for a 3.5L version that makes 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity is up 900 lbs from the 3.7L to 7,600 lbs while payload capacity sits at 1,910 lbs.

Curb weight for the new trucks should sneak it at under 5,000 lbs, with the new Lariat trim shedding 732 lbs versus the 2014 truck. According to Ford, a 2015 Lariat will weight 4,942 lbs, though the actual fuel economy numbers weren’t announced alongside these figures, nor was any indication given regarding the power figures for the 3.5L Ecoboost or 5.0L V8.

All in all, we still don’t know a lot about specific weights, trim levels, engine options, axle ratios or fuel economy numbers. Without that data, it will be hard to make cross-comparisons between the new F-150 and competitor trucks. As it is, some GM trucks also weigh less than 5,000 lbs, so Ford’s PR boast is a bit meaningless without the proper context. But without more information, all we have to go on right now is Ford’s corporate messaging.

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Tesla Idles Plant For Two Weeks For Model X-Related Production Upgrades Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:00:38 +0000 tesla-model-x

Those who just ordered their Tesla Model S may need to wait a bit, as the premium EV automaker has idled its California factory in order to tool up for the upcoming Model X SUV.

Bloomberg reports the reconfiguration — including 25 new robots on the floor and other modifications — began June 20, and will conclude in two weeks to the tune of $100 million and a 25 percent increase in production.

Tesla has given its assembly workers the option of reporting for maintenance and training shifts during their time off, as well as using that time for vacation.

Once completed, the newly upgraded floor should pump out some 1,000 units of the Model S per week, as well as allow for both the S and the X to be screwed together next to each other. Pricing for the EV-SUV has yet to be announced.

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2016 Ford Mustang GT350 Will Get Even More Hardcore Track Model Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:30:06 +0000 450x298xMustang-SVT--450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.TcgSm69vlE

With recent spyshots of the Ford Mustang GT350 hitting the web, we contacted our Ford sources for more info, and got a few more tidbits about the car.

Our sources tell us that a magnetic shock absorber system is under development, along with an even more hardcore, track-focused model. Details on this were scant, but better brake cooling and “cooling pump ports” for the transmission. If so, this would echo the last-generation Boss 302 and the Laguna Seca model, which went even further in its performance-focused mission by doing away with the back seats and adding additional bracing.

One notable absence on the new GT350: an engine cover. Ford has apparently decided to show off the all-new 5.2L Ti-VCT naturally aspirated motor, without any plastic adorning the engine bay. What a relief.

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2016 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Spied Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:00:07 +0000 2016-2017-ford-raptor-spy-photos-04

We don’t even know power or fuel economy figures for the next-generation Ford F-150, but these spy shots of the next-generation Raptor have emerged.

All we know so far is that the Raptor will appear as a 2016 model year. No word on powertrains or technical details – maybe we’ll see an Ecoboost version this time around?

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High Praise Or Hyperbole? Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:00:13 +0000 450x300xNew-Mazda2-3-Demio-450x300.jpg.pagespeed.ic.PiR2MSvj14

Unlike the American motoring press, the Brits have never been as enthusiastic about Mazda. Even though countless journalists have extolled the virtues of the Mazda3, the Golf and Focus always seem to take the top spot in the C-segment evaluations. But the Mazda2 might be a…wait for it…game changer.

With one of the first road tests of the upcoming Mazda2, AutoExpress has declared

“Mazda has put a lot of effort into lifting the 2’s dynamics, design and quality levels to bring it in line with Europe’s class-leaders. With a totally new stylish look, new engines, sporty handling and improved trim levels, Mazda has placed it in the same playing field as the VW Polo and even the Audi A1.

Even as an unabashed Mazda fanboy, I have to say that comparisons to an Audi are a bit lofty. I may love their products, but I’m not under any illusions regarding their shortcomings. Even so, I haven’t been looking forward to driving a subcompact in a long time. Well, unless you count the Fiesta ST.

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GM Plans Ford Raptor-Fighter With Upcoming Colorado Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:30:48 +0000 2011-chevrolet-colorado-rally-concept-7
When the next generation Chevrolet Colorado was announced last fall, it was heralded as the start of a new era in mid-size trucks in the US. Aside from the diesel engine and manual gearbox we were promised, the Colorado might also get a Ford SVT Raptor-rivaling off-road variant.

SVT thoroughly redesigned the F150′s suspension to make a capable “pre-runner” style truck. Up front, new control arms and revised geometry gave an impressive 11.2″ of travel, controlled by a triple-bypass FOX Racing shock. In rear, revised leaf springs, a reinforced rear axle housing, and more FOX Racing shocks allowed for just over 12″ of travel. The entire suspension package also widened the track width by seven inches, for increased roll stability, and raised the suspension about two inches over a standard 4×4 F150. Composite bodywork wrapped the widened suspension up nicely, and changes were made to the F150′s stability control to allow for more curious use of the new capabilities, though when toying with one at a friendly local rallycross track down here in San Marcos, Texas, we found that the stability systems would still nag during modest maneuvers. But the package was downright impressive, where SVT made the package work was in the suspension tuning, especially with the triple-bypass FOX Racing shocks, something typically reserved for desert prerunner and race trucks.

A bypass shock has a series of “bypass valves” along the shock piston’s travel, which bypass shock oil around the piston and through a valve that controls the rate of flow, with each bypass allowing for a different rate of flow. This allows different amounts of damping at different points of a shock’s travel, where as a standard shock has the same damping over its entire length of travel, by allowing fluid to bypass the shock piston and flow through the different bypass valves at set locations along the piston’s travel. More information and detailed photos of an external bypass shock can be seen here.

This gives the Raptor its secret sauce: soft dampening at lesser lengths of travel allow for the suspension to quickly absorb small bumps at speed — gravel, ruts and other minor deformations — while still being able to slow the compression travel of the shock as the truck lands larger hits and jumps, preventing the suspension from bottoming out. Perhaps the only weakness of the SVT Raptor was its size, and more noticeably, its weight.
This is where the upcoming Colorado can make a difference. While offroad packages are no stranger to compact trucks, with Toyota’s TRD package standing out in the Tacoma, most really only equip you for mild jeep-trails. The emphasis on travel and suspension dampening are unique to the Raptor. But where the F150′s size and weight are ultimately weaknesses, the Colorado’s compact size and relatively low weight would make the platform a great choice for the Prerunner suspension design used in the Raptor. Less weight translates into better handling, better braking, lower center of gravity, and less of the suspension travel being used to absorb the energy of the vehicles body weight as it inevitably attempts to land a 75 mile per hour jump at a motocross track.

GM also refreshed the trademarks on the ZR2 moniker, not long ago. S10 fanatics will remember the ZR2 as a healthy offroad package for the second generation S10, including 1″ wider track, 3″ taller ride height, upgraded front differential and rear axle, and a few other additions. It would make sense that the ZR2 moniker could return with the Colorado and Canyon should this Raptor-fighter appear.

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Low-Cost Tesla EV To Be Dubbed Model 3 Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:00:21 +0000 10352722_h15508358

Tesla announced the name of its low-cost EV due to arrive around 2017: Model 3.

Autoblog reports the name was announced on its Facebook page Tuesday, after Ford rebuffed CEO Elon Musk’s desire to call the $35,000 EV the Model E earlier this year. Musk adds the name will be written as a Roman numeral, and would occupy the space between the S and the X as far as now-vague sexual references go.

Beyond the new name, not much has been revealed aside from a 20-percent size reduction over the Model S, the increased use of steel in its construction, and that the 3 would go up against the BMW 3 Series.

Roadster owners, meanwhile, will receive an update that would swap the current battery pack for an improved model delivering 400 miles per charge over the former’s 245 miles.

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2015 Mazda2 Revealed Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:22:12 +0000 New-Mazda2-3-Demio

Carscoops got their hands on the first photos of the all-new 2015 Mazda2, which is expected to get its official debut at September’s Paris Auto Show.

For North America, expect to see a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine making 100 horsepower. World markets will likely get a 1.5L diesel making 104 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. No word on what this one weighs, but the last Mazda2 weighs just 2,300 lbs. This on should be a lightweight as well.

Mazd2 New-Mazda2-1-Demio[1] New-Mazda2-2-Demio New-Mazda2-3-Demio New-Mazda2-4-Demio New-Mazda2-5-Demio New-Mazda2-6-Demio ]]> 66
Confession Time: I Want A Smart Forfour Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:01:48 +0000 smart_forfour_stereo_0

As an occasional user of Car2Go, I’ve come to believe that the Smart ForTwo is one of the least pleasant vehicles to drive. The car’s lone saving grace is its tiny footprint, which makes it ideal for maneuvering and parking in dense urban areas (the air-cooled 911-style pedals, hinged at the floor, would make the cut, were they not utterly joyless to manipulate). The newest Fortwo, visible below the jump, retains the same profile, but that’s not what I’m interested in.

The all-new Forfour, above, is what does it for me. Yes, it’s a bit bigger than the Fortwo, but that means that you have a bit more room for people and cargo, and don’t look like you’re driving a four-wheeled Kinder Egg. It’s also nearly identical to the Renault Twingo. In an era of increasing homogenity, the idea of a rear-engined economy car is pretty damn cool. Please, Mercedes, bring it to North America.

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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Pricing Leaked – $60k For 707 Horsepower Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:25:48 +0000 KAwyFVdl

If you squint really hard, you can almost make out the $59,900 figure next to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 707 horsepower figure.

Reddit users managed to save this image, which was apparently removed from Our man Jack Baruth is en route to Portland to test drive the Hellcat, along with the rest of the 2015 Challenger lineup.

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A Pair Of Loud Americans Invade The Burgerkingring Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:22:05 +0000 Mustang-SVT-

Germany must be a popular holiday destination for residents of the Motor City if today’s activity at the Nurburgring is any indication. Both Ford and General Motors were out in full force with their latest high-performance wares.

Both the upcoming 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 and the Cadillac ATS-V sedan were spied lapping the famous racetrack. The ‘Stang and the Caddy are entirely different performance propositions, with the ATS-V rumored to be adopting a twin turbo V6 engine to leave room for the CTS-V, which has traditionally had 8 cylinders.

The GT350 appears to be bucking the trend of forced induction, opting for a higher-reving naturally aspirated V8 – our sources say that a supercharger won’t fit under the new, pedestran-safety-oriented front end.

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Toyota May Kill V6 Camry Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:19:48 +0000 450x271xToyota_Camry_-_Cockspur_Island_GA_July_2012-450x271.jpg.pagespeed.ic.sKa9fpP0wD

Fans of the Toyota Camry have insisted that unlike lesser American and Korean rivals, their beloved mid-size sedan would never forsake the legendary V6 engine for a puny, profligate two-point-oh-tee. They may need to be ready for a plate full of crow.

Automotive News is reporting that the next generation Camry, which will be built off of Toyota’s all-new flexible architecture, may get a downsized engine as part of the massive overhaul. Quoting Toyota powertrain boss Koei Saga, AN writes

“It might be able to replace a six-cylinder with a four-cylinder plus turbo plus direct injection,” he said. “Compared to a V-6, we think this solution will be less costly.”

But marketers are evaluating whether Americans will accept the idea.

“Eventually we think this is where the technology is going, but right now we don’t know what the reaction of U.S. customers will be,” he said. “So probably right up until the last moment, we will have to be ready with both and watch customer feedback.”

Toyota has a perfectly good 2.0L turbo four-cylinder in the form of their new powertrain in the Lexus NX. But at 237 horsepower, it has a long way to go before it can put down the same kind of power as the 3.5L V6 currently powering the Camry, to say nothing of potential fuel economy losses that some of these engines are known for.

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