The Truth About Cars » Future Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/future-vehicles/ 2017 Ford Raptor Makes 450 Horsepower http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2017-ford-raptor-makes-450-horsepower/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2017-ford-raptor-makes-450-horsepower/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:56:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988834 From our friends at Jalopnik comes news that the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the all-new Ford Raptor will make 450 horsepower (and weigh 500 lbs less). How about dropping it in the Mustang while we’re at it?

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From our friends at Jalopnik comes news that the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the all-new Ford Raptor will make 450 horsepower (and weigh 500 lbs less). How about dropping it in the Mustang while we’re at it?

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Mitsubishi Won’t Be Getting Renault-Samsung Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-wont-getting-renault-samsung-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:33:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988818 Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle. The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According […]

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Mitsubishi dealers are in for a rush of new product, including a new Outlander PHEV and a Mirage sedan. But one vehicle that won’t be arriving is an all-new sedan based on a Renault-Samsung vehicle.

The plan, which called for Renault-Samsung sedans to be sold as Mitsubishi vehicles in North America, has apparently stalled. According to Automotive News, Mitsubishi’s Don Swearingen told dealers at the NADA conference that the plan had hit an unspecified roadblock.

Mitsubishi has no D-segment sedan and an aging Lancer that competes in the C-segment. The deal with Renault-Samsung was said to provide vehicles for both segments.

Earlier this month, Renault-Samsung released the SM5 Nova, an all-new sedan that was likely to become a Mitsubishi branded sedan.

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De Nysschen: Small Cadillac CUV Due In Four Years’ Time http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-small-cadillac-cuv-due-four-years-time/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988490 Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen. Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see […]

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Ballers looking for a much smaller Cadillac Escalade may need to wait four years before such a beast arrives, per president Johan de Nysschen.

Reuters reports the small crossover will be priced under the Escalade’s current $72,970 base price, and will be part of the brand’s overall $12 billion lineup expansion plan that will see eight vehicles introduced between now and the end of the decade.

Also coming in 2019: diesel-power for both cars and crossovers/SUVs. De Nysschen said he wants to start pushing for market share in Europe during the 2020s, explaining that “if you want to play in Europe, you better have some diesels.” Said diesels would also be sold in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, he expects sales to remain flat for 2015, linked to the lack of new product beyond the upcoming CT6 flagship until late into 2017. De Nysschen adds that the strengthening U.S. dollar would leave a dent in his brand and those of his U.S.-based competitors, while Asian and European automakers use the currency challenge to cut prices on their respective offerings.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Jeep Renegade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-jeep-renegade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-jeep-renegade/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987530 When the Jeep Renegade made its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, I initially described it as “… a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.” With a Fiat platform, powertrain and assembly plant, the Renegade isn’t the first CUV to come from the Fiat Chrysler braintrust – but […]

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When the Jeep Renegade made its official debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, I initially described it as “… a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.”

With a Fiat platform, powertrain and assembly plant, the Renegade isn’t the first CUV to come from the Fiat Chrysler braintrust – but represents the most ambitious attempt to create a global crossover suitable for all markets. And it’s also FCA’s best effort yet.

The Alfa Romeo – excuse, Compact U.S. Wide – platform underpinning the Jeep Cherokee ended up providing the mid-size Jeep with some sub-optimal packaging characteristics, namely inadequate rear seat space and a dearth of cargo room. While I happened to like the controversial styling, the Cherokee’s look polarized many observers. For the Renegade, Jeep has played it safe, with a slab-sided exterior that looks like a “super-deformed” version of a Wrangler Unlimited.

Although the Renegade’s footprint is about the same size as a Nissan Juke or Kia Soul (which FCA had on hand as competitive vehicles), the Renegade is far heavier. While the Juke weighs in on either side of 3,000 lbs depending on spec, the Renegade starts at 3,300 lbs, and can approach 3,500 lbs at its heftiest. And you feel every additional pound behind the wheel.

In a vacuum, it’s not such a bad thing. The extra el-bees lend a substantial feel to the car, which makes it feel like a more solid vehicle than a B-segment crossover that shares a common ancestor with the less-than-stellar Fiat 500L. Half of the drive route consisted of winding, Northern California backroads, which we tackled in a fairly simple 1.4T equipped Latitude FWD model. While the 6-speed Renegade is no speed demon, it felt as lively and responsive as a Nissan Juke – which is a pretty fun vehicle in its own right. The long, EPA-optimized gearing of the 6-speed box means constant shifting between second and third to keep the buzzy little 1.4 motor on the boil, but it only adds to the fun of whipping the boxy little Jeep through switchbacks. The clutch is easy enough to modulate and the shifter is decidedly mid-pack in the “transverse shift quality” sweepstakes.

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Driving the Renegade was such a hoot that I completely forgot to take pictures of the interior. The photo above, borrowed from Auto Express, shows what a well-equipped Renegade looks like on the inside. You will get a smaller version of UConnect, and Cherokee-like HVAC knobs and an electronic parking brake. Lower trim models get a more stripped down version of UConnect, with a less intricate display unit. Both of our demos had light fabric interiors which were quite handsome, especially when paired with the earth tone exterior colors. Avoid the black and heavier hues, lest you be mistaken for a Patriot owner.

The other half of the drive route was set up on an off-road course at California’s Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area. In addition to the 2.4L/9-speed Renegade, we also took out a Soul, a Juke, (both of which had been tested not long ago) and a Buick Encore. And holy hell does the Jeep feel like a porker. Despite handling the twisty roads with aplomb, the weight penalty over the competition (including the 3200 lb Encore) was immediately noticeable when getting out of the AWD 2.4L Renegade. Between the need for a diesel engine, a stout, Trail Rated 4×4 system, five-star crash test ratings on multiple continents and the appropriate “macho” looks, FCA engineers had to juggle numerous competing requirements that conceivably led to the Renegade weighing as much as 200 lbs more than a brand new Honda CR-V. Still it’s hard to wrap your head around such a porky figure for a B-segment CUV.

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While Jeep laid out two different off-road courses for us to test the Renegade Trailhawk on, it’s difficult to evaluate its prowess, namely because I’m a city kid who thinks that a gravel driveway calls for switching into 4WD. With a five-mode selector switch and a first-gear low range (ala the Cherokee Trailhawk), the automatic only Trailhawk version of the Renegade easily handled the rocks and whoops on the Jeep designed course. A more qualified off-road driver is a better source of impartial information. On road, the 9-speed seems to have become a smoother, more civilized gearbox than the frenetic iterations found in other FCA vehicles.

Starting at $17,995 for a bare bones Sport (and we’re talking A/C as an option), the Renegade slots in between the $16,995 Patriot and the $18,995 Compass, which are vastly outdated, less visually appealing both inside and out, and likely unable to match the Renegade’s off-road abilities. But they represent a greater hurdle for the Renegade, even more so than the Juke, the Soul or any of the upcoming compact CUVs from Honda, Mazda and Chevrolet. Just as the qualitatively inferior Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger torpedoed sales of the Dart, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where heavy incentives and a dealer body eager to move the older CUVs could push prospective buyers into a Patriot or Compass – especially if they want an automatic vehicle but don’t want to pony up for the 2.4/9-Speed versions. Assuming the two older vehicles are phased out (or replaced by a single model), volumes in the USA should rise from our initial estimates of between 60,000-70,000 units. FCA didn’t mention a number during their briefings, but that’s our best guess.

In any case, North America is hardly the most important market for the Renegade. China, India, Brazil, Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East…these are the locales where the Renegade must really make it happen for Jeep. The B-Segment CUV is the hottest segment in the world market, and the combination of Fiat diesel engines, Jeep styling and brand image and a global manufacturing base will help the Renegade achieve FCA’s long desired push to turn Jeep into a global SUV brand – and a premium one at that. Don’t bet against it.

 

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Jeep Renegade Pricing Leaked, AWD 6-Speed Manual Confirmed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-renegade-pricing-leaked-awd-6-speed-manual-confirmed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/jeep-renegade-pricing-leaked-awd-6-speed-manual-confirmed/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:01:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987314 Although driving impressions for the Jeep Renegade are still embargoed, pricing has leaked on a third party site, and we can confirm that a 4×4 model with a  6-speed manual will be available – but not on the top trim Trailhawk version. The 1.4T Multiair 4-cylinder turbo engine will be available with a 6-speed manual […]

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Although driving impressions for the Jeep Renegade are still embargoed, pricing has leaked on a third party site, and we can confirm that a 4×4 model with a  6-speed manual will be available – but not on the top trim Trailhawk version.

The 1.4T Multiair 4-cylinder turbo engine will be available with a 6-speed manual exclusively, while the 2.4L Tigershark I4 will come with 9-speed ZF automatic. Both configurations can be had in either FWD or AWD, while the TrailHawk gets an uprated AWD with 20:1 crawl ratio, five different modes and a low range mode in first gear, similar to the Cherokee Trailhawk.

Per the Jeep Renegade Forum:

Sport: $17,995
Latitude: $21,295
Limited: $24,795
Trailhawk: $25,995

4×4 adds $2,000

Our review will go live tomorrow.

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Mitsubishi To Revive Montero? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-revive-montero/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mitsubishi-revive-montero/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:49:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987290   The Outlander hasn’t proved terribly popular among TTAC reviewers, but this teaser from Mitsubishi promises something more rugged.   This teaser from Mitsubishi seems to allude to a revived Montero debuting at the Chicago Auto Show next month. The Montero is more than likely some kind of PHEV concept, as Mitsubishi seems to be going all-in […]

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The Outlander hasn’t proved terribly popular among TTAC reviewers, but this teaser from Mitsubishi promises something more rugged.

 

This teaser from Mitsubishi seems to allude to a revived Montero debuting at the Chicago Auto Show next month. The Montero is more than likely some kind of PHEV concept, as Mitsubishi seems to be going all-in on their plug-in strategy – with the plug-in Outlander selling very well in world markets.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Honda Pilot, Acura RDX Debuting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/chicago-2015-2016-honda-pilot-acura-rdx-debuting/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987034 Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics […]

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All-New 2016 Honda Pilot SUV to Make Global Debut at 2015 Chicago

Within an hour of each other on February 12, Honda and Acura will debut the 2016 Pilot and RDX at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Honda says the redesigned three-row, eight-passenger Pilot — which is teased above — is meant to represent “a dramatic shift in design while showcasing new standout technologies, versatility, and dynamics currently unavailable in the mainstream SUV segment.” Like the previous two generations, the upcoming Pilot was designed in Los Angeles and Ohio. The SUV will leave the Lincoln, Ala. facility for showrooms this summer.

Over at Acura, the RDX’s own redesign is expected to blend “numerous fresh exterior and interior design elements to further enrich its sport and luxury qualities, all with a cohesiveness that speaks to its new capabilities.” Said capabilities include new premium and safety features, as well as improvements to performance and comfort. No word on when the premium crossover will arrive in showrooms as of this writing.

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Redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot Arriving In US Showrooms After HR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986690 Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow. Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors […]

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Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow.

Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors include the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner.

Further down the road, Mendel says “a completely reengineered” Ridgeline will turn up, either as a 2016 or 2017 model. The Ridgeline will be doing battle against the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, as well as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Finally, Honda will have a turbocharged model by the end of 2015 that has one of the automaker’s forthcoming new VTEC turbo-four family of engines under the hood, while the FCV Concept’s production-ready version will hit U.S. showrooms next year, followed by a PHEV and EV by 2018.

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Volkswagen Eyeing Golf R400, Van For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-eyeing-golf-r400-van-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-eyeing-golf-r400-van-us-market/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986674 Aside from its crossover-SUV expansion, Volkswagen has some plans for its overall United States lineup, including the possibility of seeing the Golf R400 and a van in the showroom. Automotive News reports the automaker is close to making a decision on producing the 395-horsepower concept, which made its debut at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show […]

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Aside from its crossover-SUV expansion, Volkswagen has some plans for its overall United States lineup, including the possibility of seeing the Golf R400 and a van in the showroom.

Automotive News reports the automaker is close to making a decision on producing the 395-horsepower concept, which made its debut at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show last April. The move to press forward, however, depends on “good conditions,” per development boss Hans-Jakob Neusser.

As for the van, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn says either the Caddy or next-gen Crafter are likely candidates to take on the likes of the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster City.

Meanwhile, a few models will be cast into the crusher of history to further VW’s crossover/SUV-heavy strategy, with the Eos — which made up 1 percent of the automaker’s 2014 U.S. sales with 3,411 sold — high on the list.

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Geneva 2015: Next-Gen Audi R8, R8 E-Tron Bowing In March http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/geneva-2015-next-gen-audi-r8-r8-e-tron-bowing-march/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/geneva-2015-next-gen-audi-r8-r8-e-tron-bowing-march/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985506 Audi announced Monday it would be bringing its next-gen R8 to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show in March, with two versions set for the ramp. CarAdvice.com.au reports one of the versions bowing in Geneva will be an all-electric model promising future owners a range of around 250-310 miles per charge. The range figure is the […]

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Audi announced Monday it would be bringing its next-gen R8 to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show in March, with two versions set for the ramp.

CarAdvice.com.au reports one of the versions bowing in Geneva will be an all-electric model promising future owners a range of around 250-310 miles per charge. The range figure is the result of Audi tech development board member Ulrich Hackenberg pulling the plug on the previous R8 e-tron project due to its low 136-mile range:

First I did agree to stop such a project. The project had to be re-engineered because the range was 220km – it was not enough. So what I made with the team was to continue to work on this, and we could realise between 400 and 500 [kilometres battery range]. Or something beyond 400km.

The revised R8 e-tron will be joined by a gasoline-powered version that will lose its manual transmissions entirely, going all in on dual-clutch automatics instead. Hackenberg says that such gearboxes are best “for the record of [one’s] personal lap time” over rowing one’s own.

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Manley: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Could Be A Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/manley-2017-jeep-wrangler-hybrid/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985490 Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards. According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks […]

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Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards.

According to Auto Express, brand boss Mike Manley says hybridization is a possibility for achieving fuel efficiency in the upcoming Wrangler, while also ensuring that it keeps its looks and improves its on-road prowess. Such a hybrid would be more focused on off-roading and the issues that could come up:

Where you have to be careful with the Wrangler is range. If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support. The way that combination is calibrated would be more unique for a Wrangler than it would, for example, a Grand Cherokee.

Other options for greater fuel economy include diesel power, as well as usage of aluminum and high-strength steel in the Wrangler’s construction.

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New York 2015: Lexus Debuting 2016 RX 350 In April http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-york-2015-lexus-debuting-2016-rx-350-april/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-york-2015-lexus-debuting-2016-rx-350-april/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985090 Skipping Chicago after Detroit as far as debuts are concerned, Lexus will unveil its 2016 RX 350 at the 2015 New York Auto Show in April. Edmunds reports the crossover will grow in size to distance itself from the Toyota RAV4-based NX 200t, while also losing weight through the use of lightweight materials for better […]

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Skipping Chicago after Detroit as far as debuts are concerned, Lexus will unveil its 2016 RX 350 at the 2015 New York Auto Show in April.

Edmunds reports the crossover will grow in size to distance itself from the Toyota RAV4-based NX 200t, while also losing weight through the use of lightweight materials for better fuel economy. The size increase may mean a third-row seat for two more passengers, as well; the RX 350 has always been a five-passenger crossover since its birth in 1998.

As far as styling goes, Lexus’ trademark Predator face may be jazzed-up with the rest of the exterior, but the premium brand isn’t likely to flip the script on its No. 1 best-seller entirely.

The 2016 RX 350 is set to arrive in showrooms later in 2015.

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2016 Mazda2 Makes North American Debut In Montreal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2016-mazda2-makes-north-american-debut-montreal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/2016-mazda2-makes-north-american-debut-montreal/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:16:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984489 Where else would Mazda choose to introduce their newest sub-compact but in Quebec? The newest member of the Mazda family sports a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 113 horsepower, up 13 from the current car. On the other hand, weight is up by 88 lbs, while the car gains nearly 6 inches in length, 1 inch in […]

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Where else would Mazda choose to introduce their newest sub-compact but in Quebec?

The newest member of the Mazda family sports a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 113 horsepower, up 13 from the current car. On the other hand, weight is up by 88 lbs, while the car gains nearly 6 inches in length, 1 inch in height and 3 inches in wheelbase. All told, the car should weigh about 2400 lbs and measure in at 160 inches long – specs that make it identical in power and footprint to a first-generation Miata.

While the leisurely acceleration of the old car should remain, the Skyactiv chassis, powertrain and all-new styling represent a clean break from the old, Fiesta-derived Mazda2. The interior appears to be a scaled down version of what’s offered in larger Mazdas, right down to the tablet-like LCD screen. As with other Mazda products, fuel economy should be at the top of the pack. Pricing and availability weren’t announced, but the new Mexican assembly of the Mazda2 might make for a less expensive sticker price.

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Volkswagen: Golf-Based CUV May Slot Under Next-Gen Tiguan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-golf-based-cuv-may-slot-next-gen-tiguan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volkswagen-golf-based-cuv-may-slot-next-gen-tiguan/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984321 With the Volkswagen Tiguan going bigger for the United States market in 2017, senior execs believe a smaller entry-level crossover could soon take its place. Ward’s Auto reports the new crossover would be Golf-based, and would become the fourth crossover in VW’s U.S. lineup alongside the aforementioned Tiguan, the upcoming midsize CrossBlue, and the larger […]

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With the Volkswagen Tiguan going bigger for the United States market in 2017, senior execs believe a smaller entry-level crossover could soon take its place.

Ward’s Auto reports the new crossover would be Golf-based, and would become the fourth crossover in VW’s U.S. lineup alongside the aforementioned Tiguan, the upcoming midsize CrossBlue, and the larger Touareg. The smaller crossover could take its cue from the T-ROC two-door crossover that bowed in Geneva last year, and may likely be built at the automaker’s facility in Puebla, Mexico, where the Golf, Jetta and Beetle are assembled.

Speaking of the CrossBlue, that seven-seater will likely add more models to the lineup, such as one similar to the Cross Coupe GTE PHEV from this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Both of those models would be produced in Chattanooga, Tenn.

As for the next-gen Tiguan, production is expected to begin in North America in 2017, possibly joining the Golf-based crossover in Puebla, as well. The Tiguan will also grow to over 185 inches in overall length, gain a third-row seat, and be able to hold seven passengers, all to better market the crossover to consumers in the U.S.

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Ur-Turn: In Defense Of The Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ur-turn-defense-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ur-turn-defense-ford-gt/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984425 A Ford engineer responds to our last piece on the Ford GT. In “Ur-Turn: The Hater’s Guide to the Ford GT”, we get a glimpse into the Ford product development cycle for high-volume vehicles.  The authors, who humbly claim that it was a broad overview, give a rather complete account of the roles, responsibilities, and […]

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A Ford engineer responds to our last piece on the Ford GT.

In “Ur-Turn: The Hater’s Guide to the Ford GT”, we get a glimpse into the Ford product development cycle for high-volume vehicles.  The authors, who humbly claim that it was a broad overview, give a rather complete account of the roles, responsibilities, and procedures behind nearly every Ford product that comes to market.  It’s a fascinating process, and it occurs every day at virtually every OEM and supplier.  But what happens when a particular design or system defies convention?  How do you validate something that is unlike anything your company has ever produced?  What happens when you push the product development envelope so far, that you enter a completely new and unfamiliar design space?  This is where we’ll find the Ford GT.

The GPDS framework that the authors describe is a rigorous process, combining elements of classical engineering disciplines, statistical analysis, and historical lessons-learned.  Every high-volume OEM and supplier uses something like it.  The people behind GPDS and other, similar processes are the reason for today’s automotive landscape of massively complex cars that are safer, more efficient, and more advanced than ever.

As robust and comprehensive as GPDS is, it can be inflexible.  New technology and processes sometimes don’t fit into the framework.  If a body control D&R has never worked with active aerodynamic elements, how will he know what acceptable performance looks like on the GT, or how to test it?  If the STA has never dealt with a carbon fiber monocoque, how can he point out faults in the assembly process?  If the engine calibrator has never tried to achieve the cylinder pressure required to wring 600 horsepower out of 3.5L, how will he know how much fuel to dial in without blowing the head apart?  What about the APQP engineer who depends on Weibull analysis to predict full-life durability, but the sample size needed for a good analysis is about the same as the entire production run?

The Ford GT is unlike anything that Ford has ever built, so the paradigms that work for nearly every Ford product may not work here.  Technology must be developed outside the GPDS framework.  The Ford Research and Advanced Engineering group does just this, using GTDS (Global Technology Development System).  Unlike GPDS, which is focused on execution and quality, the GTDS process attempts to clearly define a problem and systematically identify and explore promising solutions.  The outcome of the GTDS process is a technology that is ready for use in a vehicle, and accompanied by a complete set of requirements and validation methods as well as a list of potential suppliers.  Often a GTDS technology is so complex that transferring knowledge to a production team would be prohibitively time-consuming, so an R&A engineer will accompany the technology through to production.

This is the true skunkworks.  It’s not in a secret basement, its right out in the open, just a short walk from the folks cranking through GPDS documentation.  As for the contention that non-GPDS projects will have a “questionable pedigree in production and quality operating systems”, the people at Ford R&A have a better understanding of the operating environment and system behavior than anybody else in the company and sometimes the entire industry, as well as the manufacturing methods and quality issues associated with them.  The evaluation of technology is obsessively comprehensive, even if it doesn’t follow the GPDS framework.  There is nothing “slap-dash” about it.

The authors accurately point out that the GT is essentially a marketing exercise, not a money maker.  Doing all the development work in-house would take precious resources away from profitable production programs. So the build will be contracted to an outside company like Multimatic.  Dyno testing and calibration will probably be done by a company like Roush.  Chassis development will likely be performed by Ford drivers and engineers, though with a much narrower scope of testing than high-volume vehicles get.  But Ford will own every part of the design and development process.  It just won’t be the same people who put F-150s on the showroom floor.  Instead it will fall to a group whose job it is to bring new technology to life and make it available to a discriminating customer.  There will be no clear path to follow.  And that’s just how they like it.

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In The End, There Can Be Only One http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/end-can-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/end-can-one/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 07:50:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983969 At the end of the General Motors press conference that opened the Detroit show this year, when the hilariously maladjusted and intermittently inoperational mega-watt sound system blurted its last distorted dubstep doooooooooosh, and the Bolt concept had conclusively proven its ability to drive a hundred feet on a smooth surface without requiring another bailout or […]

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At the end of the General Motors press conference that opened the Detroit show this year, when the hilariously maladjusted and intermittently inoperational mega-watt sound system blurted its last distorted dubstep doooooooooosh, and the Bolt concept had conclusively proven its ability to drive a hundred feet on a smooth surface without requiring another bailout or a money shot from a fire extinguisher, all eyes were on Mary Barra, and my main man Rodney was no exception to this rule. However, my friend, a Billy Dee Williams lookalike and a two-decade dealership industry veteran who was thoroughly enjoying his first NAIAS as a member of The Press As A Whole, wasn’t interested in what Ms. Barra had to say. Far from it.

“Brah, I hate to say it,” Rodney smirked in a manner intended to convey a true sentiment that was diametrically opposed to the stated one, “but I’m in a bit of a phase of my life right now where I’m all about that ass, son! And she’s got it all! You just know that I could rub that the right way. I want to wake up next to a woman with that much power!” Then, after a refractory period of reflection where he almost certainly did not consider the weapons-grade offensiveness of what he had just said, “But what was up with those two shitty cars? Can you imagine having to sell them for a living? Who are they trying to sell to?”

A few hours later, Rodney and I exited Joe Louis arena, still kind of vibrating from the thrill of seeing that Liquid Blue Ford GT rotating on the stand between a teen-dream Shelby GT350R and the twin-turbo, anti-lag-equipped second-generation Raptor. The enthusiasm in his voice took me right back to the first day we saw a ’96 Mystic Cobra on the transporter outside our three-car suburban showroom. “Quiet is kept, man, it’s the Raptor that really does it for me. But I know your dumb ass wants to drive that Shelby around Mid-Ohio a couple hundred times. You can do that, I’m going to roll that Raptor down High Street and wax some tail with it. But…” and here he paused to make sure he had my full attention, “THAT FORD GT!!!! YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING! OH MY GOD!”

Rodney wasn’t alone in perceiving that the GM and Ford press conferences stood on the two sides of what has to be considered an ideological canyon of Clark Griswoldian proportions. You couldn’t ask for two more different NAIAS presentations. The surroundings: GM, on the show floor with periodic interruptions from the creaky old Detroit People Mover. Ford, in Joe Louis Arena with a double-depth 3-D effect widescreen opening presentation that, oddly enough, flashed up the words “Digital Olfaction” at one point. The tone of the presentations: Ms. Barra stumbling through a paean to battery power in almost apologetic fashion, a stark and depressing contrast to the self-assured, old-school Detroit-titan star appeal of William Clay Ford and the short-hair-don’t-care Mark Fields. Most importantly, the products on offer.

Even if you aren’t one of the self-appointed “industry analysts” without so much as a single new-car purchase experience or self-performed oil change to his credit, it’s easy to understand that only one of these two visions for future product in the North American automotive market can possibly be correct. For a moment, let’s set aside the Asperger’s objections of “BUT CHEVY JUST RELEASED THE Z06 AND FORD HAS A FOCUS EV!” in order to focus on what these two press conferences revealed about the priorities and beliefs of the corporations that held them.

As Derek noted, the Bolt has nothing to do with Tesla and everything to do with the Nissan Leaf, which has racked up an admirable performance-to-hype ratio during its few short years on the market. It’s a good idea, I suppose. Yet once again GM is pathetically late to the game. The Bolt is best understood as the HHR to the Leaf’s PT Cruiser, or perhaps the chunky current Camaro to Ford’s S197 Mustang. Why, exactly, is an automaker with resources up to and including the full faith and credit of the United States Government always so late to the party? If that new Hyundai El Camino proves to be the sales sensation of 2017, you can depend on the fact that GM won’t have its own El Camino ready until 2021, despite the fact that they made them for something like forty years and are still making them in Australia.

As for the second-generation Volt, the presentation for that one was astoundingly po’-mouthed. The passive-voiced assertion given by the suit du jour prior to the inevitable dubstep subwoofer reveal that “some of you (the assembled, wholly apathetic media) even called it (the ugly-assed first-gen Volt) a moonshot” made me physically cringe. Imagine if RUN-DMC had operated that way.

Some of you said I might even be the king of rock
It was suggested that there might not be anyone higher
Arguably, I mean potentially, to burn my kingdom
It’s possible that you might eventually have a need for some sort of fire
Um, #TechnologyAndStuff

When the most effective marketing you’ve had in years is a gaffe from a man suffering an obesity-induced myocardial event while awarding a $30,000 truck to a millionaire who doesn’t want it, you have problems. It hurts me to write that. I grew up seeing the Mark Of Excellence on my father’s Buick seatbelt latches and thinking that General Motors could probably do no wrong. When we went from a ’75 Granada to a ’77 LeSabre it was like moving out of a double-wide trailer into the Robie House. Please, GM, do something great that isn’t a Corvette or track-focused Cadillac. Please. For the nine-year-old in me who wants to buy a great Buick.

Ford, on the other hand… It was like watching a young Mike Tyson leave his feet to triple-drill some no-name mook into a second-round knockout. The product these people are showing, and the confidence with which it’s shown! I think they said the Raptor was five hundred pounds lighter. Admittedly, that’s like Carnie Wilson skipping dinner a couple of times, relatively speaking, but who else in this business would have done an aluminum truck? Who else would have risked everything like that? You want to see a “moonshot”? It’s not making a battery-powered CruzePrius with a Kardashiass, it’s putting your life savings on the space on the roulette table marked “THE FIRST EVER ALUMINUM FULL-SIZED TRUCK” then letting the wheel spin.

And watching it drop into your slot.

Then building a 600-horsepower Daytona Prototype for the street.

How can you score NAIAS as anything but Ford 1, GM 0? Well, there’s just one little catch, and GM knows all about it. Get in the Wayback Machine with me and let’s travel back to 1980 or so. The General was riding high on the success of the B-body and they had the world on a string. They saw fuel prices going through the roof again and they decided to attack the problem head-on. Meanwhile, Ford was too broke to do anything besides redraw Foxes to look vaguely like Panthers.

Had fuel prices soared the way we all thought they were going to, those 1985 front-drivers from GM would have conquered the world. They weren’t great cars, and only the Park Avenue variant was even a good car by anyone’s standards, but they were aimed unflinchingly at a future where fuel would be eye-wateringly pricey.

Except it didn’t turn out that way, did it? Reagan scared the OPEC nations and we filled up our Town Cars and Crown Vics at $1.25 a gallon and the 1985 Fleetwood rusted in place on dealer lots and that was the beginning of the end for the Sloan Plan.
What’s old is new again, my friends. If fuel soars, the Bolt won’t have to be brilliant to sell. It will merely need to be available. And the new-gen Voltec platform will find itself under a pantheon of body shapes, most of them CUV-esque, before you can say “Plymouth Horizon Miser”. The Shelby GT350R and Raptor will become hideously, offensively irrelevant and all the armchair quarterbacks will say they saw it coming. They’ll all talk about GM’s daring commitment to efficiency and blah blah blah the Chevy Sonic was awesome and mid-sized trucks are the only trucks that sell and so on.

The future’s uncertain and the end is always near. To Rodney, Ford’s product was magic and GM’s was junk. But it might not turn out that way. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t tell you what the man next to Rodney said in response to the question, “Who are they trying to sell?”

“Ford’s customers are out in the streets,” the man smiled. “The General has one customer, and he lives in a white mansion.”

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NAIAS 2015 Recap: TTAC Picks The Show’s Hits And Misses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-recap-ttac-picks-shows-hits-misses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-recap-ttac-picks-shows-hits-misses/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982513   With last year’s Hits and Misses column generating a lot of reader interest, I figure another edition is in store for the 2015 edition of the Detroit Auto Show. Much of the show floor chatter last year centered on the rather disappointing lack of big debuts, aside from the Ford F-150. The Blue Oval’s […]

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With last year’s Hits and Misses column generating a lot of reader interest, I figure another edition is in store for the 2015 edition of the Detroit Auto Show.

Much of the show floor chatter last year centered on the rather disappointing lack of big debuts, aside from the Ford F-150. The Blue Oval’s full-size pickup was enormously significant from an industry point of view, but didn’t quicken the pulse of the enthusiast set, which largely (but not entirely) prioritizes sports cars and exotics over America’s signature vehicle.

Ford may have stolen the show again this year, with three major debuts, but the rest of the show was light on…well, debuts. Very little new product was shown at the show, and some of the more interesting stuff was already shown in Los Angeles. I wonder if L.A. will overtake Detroit as the marquee auto show in America within a decade.

If you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, here’s a rundown of the hits and misses, from your favorite combative know-it-all.

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Miss- Acura NSX: Oh Lord, just typing those words made me wince. I am an unabashed NSX fanboy. If you Google “Derek Kreindler” you’ll see a photo of me sitting in my father’s 1991 Berlina Black NSX.  I own every die-cast model, scale model kit, sales brochure, book, videotape and Acura accessory related to the NSX. Those metal paperweight models Acura gave to all of the journalists as part of the press kit? I have the original example from the 1991 launch, and an owner’s only hardbound book, still in original shrink wrap. Ok, I have three. All I am missing is the car itself. After endless iterations, a stillborn front-engine V10 concept and a frenzied build-up akin to a prom night after party, Acura’s supercar debuted to a packed COBO hall, with people staking out seats hours before the 11:20 A.M. press conference, then lined up 30 deep just to catch a glimpse of the LCD TVs broadcasting the proceedings.

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What about the car itself? The only nod to its predecessor is a black shaded area aft of the front window, where its door handle stood. In the same script as the original car, there is a small, NSX logo, a tiny nod to the faithful that waited a decade for another Honda super car. The announced specs are puzzling to say the least. Unlike the original, it uses “aluminum intensive” construction, but is not all-aluminum. The car’s styling, both inside and out, could best be described as “derivative”. Sure, the original design by Pininfarina was generic, but it was elegant, purposeful and with an incredible, jet-fighter inspired cockpit.

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The new car is clearly an exercise in tying together Acura’s poorly received design language into a cohesive brand statement – which is an obnoxious statement itself, but necessary for Acura to be anything more than just a line of fancy Hondas. The beak grille is there, and so is the IDS selective drive mode system that is offered on the TLX. In true Honda fashion, the car uses a V6 engine. The original NSX used a V6 because it was felt that a V8 or forced induction would compromise both the purity of the driving experience and was a form of “cheating” in the eyes of the engineers, who wanted to test the limits of what lightweight, efficient motors could do.

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The new NSX is turbocharged, because nobody is going to pay $150,000 for a hybrid, naturally aspirated V6 supercar making 400 horsepower and turbocharging is the only way to hit big numbers (a claimed 550 horsepower for the gas and electric powertrain combined) while meeting regulatory-driven  efficiency goals. The SH-AWD system uses a three-motor hybrid setup (a rear mounted motor and one motor in each front wheel) mated to a 9-speed dual clutch system. Acura made vague hints about instantaneous acceleration thanks to maximum torque at zero rpm, akin to a Tesla. But what happens after a few launches and the battery is almost certainly depleted. No AWD? No more seamless launches? No more 550 horsepower on tap? Jack thinks that this car’s biggest problem is that a Viper or Z06 will eat its lunch on track. I think it’s a different customer entirely – but its biggest problem is the one that plagued the original car. Nobody wants to buy a $150,000 technological tour de force from a second-tier luxury brand best known for its CUVs.

Writing all of that gave me absolutely no joy. The NSX’s unveiling was as much of a let down as the time I worked up the gumption to kiss my high school crush, only to find out that she needed to brush her teeth. But this wouldn’t be The Truth About Cars if we weren’t being brutally honest.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hit -Hyundai Santa Cruz: We take up a lot of time writing about small trucks and their bleak prospects for success. So, why is Hyundai’s own small truck so brilliant? Because it’s a small truck in the vein of those sold in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and other world markets. Rather than a body-on-frame mid-sizer like a Toyota Tacoma, this is a small, unibody car with a pickup bed, sort of like what they call a bakkie in South Africa.

Hyundai thinks that the demand is there for a vehicle like this. Pickup trucks transact at north of $40,000 on average, and are far too big for anyone living in an urban environment. Hyundai’s market research suggests that consumers would like a five-seat vehicle that is efficient and car-like, and has a separate compartment for gear, but these people typically don’t buy trucks. Instead, they make do with CUVs and other vehicles. While Hyundai bills the Santa Cruz as a concept, there are rumblings that Hyundai Motor America is pushing hard for it to be built – and the diesel engine shown in the concept would be part of the package. The most brilliant feature is the bed extender, which turns the pickup bed into something that can hold a motocross bike or small motorcycle, and then be pushed back in to make for easier parking. A different system will have to be engineered for it to be production feasible, but if a folding hardtop can be engineered, why not something similar?

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Home Run – Toyota Tacoma: I said it last year and I’ll say it again; a good number of Tacoma owners wouldn’t be caught dead in a domestic truck. That’s a big part of the Taco’s appeal. Its mere existence is a serious threat to the GM mid-size twins. I’d go as far as to say that this refresh has mortally wounded the two.

The new Tacoma offers a 2.7L 4-banger and a 3.5L direct-injection, Atkinson cycle V6, which should make significant leaps in fuel economy over the outgoing V6. In a reversal of the GM strategy, the manual is only available on the V6. Styling updates ape the Tundra, without looking grotesque. From a business standpoint, these are incremental updates, and that means Toyota will continue to watch the money pile up on every single one of these. Especially now that production is moving to Mexico. Well done.

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Foul Ball: Ford GT- Why is this gorgeous, 600+ horsepower limited production super car not the prom king? Because, as you’ll see tomorrow, some Ford insiders have serious issues with the clandestine nature of the car’s development – and the ersatz production facility that will be building them. Stay tuned for the inside scoop, from the people who brought you info on the next Mustang, F-150 and Raptor.

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Hit: Volvo XC90 - Outside, it looks like a GM full-size SUV penned by Volvo. Inside, it looks like a Danish furniture catalog. Volvo is sliding into irrelevance and this is their last hope. But it just might be good enough to pull it off.

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Home Run: Honda HR-V – Another triumph of packaging. Plenty of rear seat and cargo room. Tiny on the outside. You can get it with a stick. They will sell every single unit.

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Miss: Mini 4 door – Is this a MINI Golf? I don’t get it. I think that people who complain about the three-door MINI growing larger are being curmudgeonly. But this thing is bloody huge.

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Hit: Mazda CX-3: Take the HR-V, add some attractive styling, an interior that looks better than some German luxury brands and subtract the stick. Now add the incredible 6-speed Skyactiv automatic, instead of a CVT. I’d say you’re coming out ahead. But of course, it won’t match the HR-V’s volume.

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Ejected by the umpire – Volvo S60 Cross Country: You’re a struggling luxury brand on the verge of re-inventing yourself with an ambitious premium SUV. And so you devote precious resources to this? 

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Foul Ball – Cadillac CTS-V: My biggest issue with the car is that the ATS-V exists, with a stick shift and a twin-turbo V6 that can be reflashed to make obscene power.

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Miss – Lexus GS F: Who cares?

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Wild Pitch – Lincoln MKX: Nobody really expected this, but it’s a promising sign of where Lincoln is going. Finally, there is a clear value proposition above and beyond the Edge. Cadillac better update the SRX ASAP.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Foul Ball: Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder – In the words of Road and Track’s  Alex Kierstein: “They should not have put it next to a Tipo 33“.

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Hit: Ford Shelby GT350 REvo magazine once described the 996 Porsche GT2 as a “hairy-arsed brute”. I think it’s an applicable description for a track-focused pony car with no rear seats, A/C or other equipment. I fear that, like the GT2, it will end up as a street-driven status symbol, with owners never mentioning how miserable it is to drive on the road.

2017-Ford-Raptor-10

Hit: Ford SVT Raptor – The Raptor’s old 6.2L V8 was a boat anchor of an engine. The new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost solves that, and it now looks even more cartoonish. Brilliant.

Chevrolet-Bolt-Concept-10

Car of the Show: Chevrolet Bolt – TTAC praises GM EV. Hell freezes over. Ok, in all seriousness, I’d never be caught dead in one of these, but I don’t think that the collective media world was right to mock this thing as a Tesla fighter. It’s not. It’s a shot across the bow for the next-gen Nissan Leaf, which is also promising a 200-mile range. But if the Bolt really does come out as a crossover type vehicle with a 200 mile range and a price tag between $30-$35k, I think it has serious potential. John Krafcik, President of TrueCar and former CEO of Hyundai, thinks that it could be the first mass market EV to take off, telling the Los Angeles Times that “You are looking at annual sales of 100,000 vehicles.” Just please, change the name.

2016-Nissan-Titan-13

Foul Ball: Nissan Titan – The idea of a diesel-only “Class 2.5″ truck is interesting. The pastiche styling, which looks like a Rord F1-Ram, is less than inspired.

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Hit: Buick Avenir - We missed out on the last Zeta-based Park Avenue because dealers didn’t want it (and that may have been a good choice). But this would make a fine flagship, and a way for GM to get more mileage out of their Omega large premium RWD platform.

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Ground Rule Double: Chevrolet Volt – It will all come down to how it performs in the real world, but the new Volt now seats 5 and genuinely looks good.

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Ground Rule Double: Mercedes Benz GLE - I know it will sell, but f**k this vessel of effluent.

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Miss: Volkswagen GTE – VW has presented more mid-size crossover concepts than Acura has NSX concepts. They are all forgettable and generic. For all its success as a global auto maker, VW cannot seem to figure out the magic formula that will make the VW brand a success in America.

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Hit: Buick Cascada - On the one hand, convertible sales are shrinking faster than when I dive into a cold pool. On the other hand, the program will be paid for on rental fleet alone. If you’re going to enter a niche, you better own it, as Toyota has proven.

Hit: Return of the Jack – Last year, as I was opening the envelope with our NAIAS credentials, Bark M called with news of Jack’s accident. This year, Jack was with Ronnie and myself on the show floor. A special thanks to him, Ronnie and Cameron for the amazing coverage.

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Bold Prediction: Within 12 months of its commercial launch, there will be a special website devoted to the Honda Uni-Cub. It will be behind a paywall, and will be accessible by VPN only in Islamic countries. Some of you will get a membership, and you won’t want your wife to know about it. Take that to the bank.

 

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NAIAS 2015: Volvo S60 Inscription, XC90 R-Design Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-inscription-xc90-r-design-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-inscription-xc90-r-design-revealed/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:25:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982417 Aside from the S60 Cross Country, Volvo also introduced the S60 Inscription to the world during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, while the XC90 R-Design made its North American debut. The S60 Inscription’s selling point is rear legroom, which Volvo hopes will be class-leading with the sedan. The S60 will be assembled at its facility […]

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Volvo S60 Inscription

Aside from the S60 Cross Country, Volvo also introduced the S60 Inscription to the world during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, while the XC90 R-Design made its North American debut.

The S60 Inscription’s selling point is rear legroom, which Volvo hopes will be class-leading with the sedan. The S60 will be assembled at its facility in Chengdu, China, with exports to the United States set for this summer.

The XC90 R-Design ups the ante on the new XC90, with a range of Drive-E engines delivering up to 400 horsepower to the road through either 20-inch or optional 22-inch R-Design alloys. The XC90 will also arrive in U.S. showrooms alongside the S60 Inspiration and and Cross Country this summer.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:05:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982401 Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line. According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s […]

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Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line.

According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s annual production. No word thus far on how many will leave Marysville per year.

Right now, the NSX is undergoing final validation prior to production, but Acura announced that the exotic’s twin-turbo hybrid V6 system is expected to deliver at least 550 horsepower. As far as price of admission goes, nothing firm has been confirmed, though one insider says the brand is shooting for a target of $150,000.

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NAIAS 2015: Volvo S60 Cross Country Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-cross-country-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-volvo-s60-cross-country-bows/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 21:14:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982137 Coming to a Volvo showroom this summer is the high-riding crossover-sedan hybrid (as in plants, not Prii) S60 Cross Country. The S60 Cross Country receives a 2.5-inch lift above the standard S60, with the 250-horsepower T5 turbo-five powering all four corners. 18-inch wheels deliver the power to the road, with 19-inch wheels optional. The S60 […]

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Coming to a Volvo showroom this summer is the high-riding crossover-sedan hybrid (as in plants, not Prii) S60 Cross Country.

The S60 Cross Country receives a 2.5-inch lift above the standard S60, with the 250-horsepower T5 turbo-five powering all four corners. 18-inch wheels deliver the power to the road, with 19-inch wheels optional.

The S60 Cross Country will arrive in the United States, Canada, Russia and Europe in limited numbers beginning this summer.

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NAIAS 2015: 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE Adds Aero For High Fuel Efficiency http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-ram-1500-ecodiesel-hfe-adds-aero-high-fuel-efficiency/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-ram-1500-ecodiesel-hfe-adds-aero-high-fuel-efficiency/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:45:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982081 Ram isn’t satisfied with wanting Baja Valley, as the brand sets its sights on Green Valley with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE leading the charge. Joining the original 1500 EcoDiesel in the lush foothills below Truck Mountain, the HFE improves the former with extensive use of aero throughout. The result is an EPA-certified 29 mpg […]

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2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

Ram isn’t satisfied with wanting Baja Valley, as the brand sets its sights on Green Valley with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE leading the charge.

Joining the original 1500 EcoDiesel in the lush foothills below Truck Mountain, the HFE improves the former with extensive use of aero throughout. The result is an EPA-certified 29 mpg on the highway, 21 mpg in the city, and a combined rating of 24 mpg, besting the nearest competitor by 12 percent in the fuel economy game.

The HFE is based on the 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab, boasts a 6-ft, 4-in bed, and rides upon 20-inch wheels. The truck can also be had with the Ram Express’ body-colored face for a more sporty appearance over the standard EcoDiesel. Other exclusives include wheel-to-wheel side steps, a tri-fold tonneau cover, and an HFE badge showing off how awesome it is at saving diesel fuel; considering the fuel’s current price per gallon, that might mean something.

The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE is expected to arrive in showrooms late in Q1 2015.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Toyota Tacoma Going Pro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-toyota-tacoma-going-pro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-toyota-tacoma-going-pro/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:15:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982025 Turns out Toyota had one more trick up its sleeve for the 2016 Tacoma, planning to add a TRD Pro model alongside the rest of the family. According to AutoGuide, Toyota Motor Sales VP of Marketing Jack Hollis confirmed the plans with our sister publication during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The current Tacoma TRD […]

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Turns out Toyota had one more trick up its sleeve for the 2016 Tacoma, planning to add a TRD Pro model alongside the rest of the family.

According to AutoGuide, Toyota Motor Sales VP of Marketing Jack Hollis confirmed the plans with our sister publication during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The current Tacoma TRD Pro uses Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, TRD exhaust, and an assortment of cosmetic upgrades to make its presence in Baja Valley felt by all. Whether the 2016 Tacoma TRD Pro will be more hardy remains a mystery for now.

That said, the new TRD Pro model won’t be available just yet. Hollis says to expect it in 2016 at the earliest.

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NAIAS 2015: BMW 6 Series Reveals New Face For 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-bmw-6-series-reveals-new-face-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-bmw-6-series-reveals-new-face-2016/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 19:20:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=981521 Behold the new face of luxury: the 2016 BMW 6 Series. Our brothers at AutoGuide report the facelift includes revised grill openings, a front apron with a single air intake opening, fog lamps whose decorative surround changes on the body style, and updated headlamps. Revised side view mirrors and a redesigned backside emphasizing the BMW’s […]

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Behold the new face of luxury: the 2016 BMW 6 Series.

Our brothers at AutoGuide report the facelift includes revised grill openings, a front apron with a single air intake opening, fog lamps whose decorative surround changes on the body style, and updated headlamps. Revised side view mirrors and a redesigned backside emphasizing the BMW’s wide track make up the rest of the exterior changes.

Under the bonnet is the same story from before: 315-horsepower six-cylinder or 445-horsepower V8, with RWD and AWD available for the 6 Series coupe, gran coupe and convertible. Those who opt for the 640i will have a standard sport exhaust system with switchable exhaust to enhance or reduce exhaust notes.

The revised 6 Series is set to arrive in showrooms Q2 2015.

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NAIAS 2015: Cadillac Unveils 2016 CTS-V, Plans For CLA-Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-cadillac-unveils-2016-cts-v-plans-cla-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-cadillac-unveils-2016-cts-v-plans-cla-fighter/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:50:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=981417 Cadillac finally revealed its 2016 CTS-V performance sedan at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but the brand also let it be known that it’s considering taking on the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the entry-level premium game, as well [Live photos now available – CA]. The CTS-V derives its power from a 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with […]

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Cadillac finally revealed its 2016 CTS-V performance sedan at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but the brand also let it be known that it’s considering taking on the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the entry-level premium game, as well [Live photos now available – CA].

The CTS-V derives its power from a 640-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with a 1.7-liter supercharger, direct injection, and GM’s Active Fuel Management system onboard. Torque is 630 lb-ft, top speed is 200 mph, and zero to 60 comes in 3.7 seconds. A paddle-shifted eight-speed automatic with launch control and Performance Algorithm Shifting directs the power to the back.

Suspension is comprised of a revised multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut up front, five-link rear out back. Stiffer front and rear stabilizers reduce body roll by 20 percent, electronic limited-slip differential and 19-inch forged aluminum wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires maintain grip on the road and track, and two-piece 15.3-inch front rotors with 6-piston calipers — 14.3-inch discs with 4-piston calipers in the back — help bring everything to a stop.

Other features include: Magnetic Ride Control with four selectable driving modes; enhanced aero; carbon fiber hood with air-extracting vent for reduced lift and heat; 20-way heated and vented front seats; OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi; 12.3-inch instrument cluster display; and wireless inductive phone charging.

As for the CLA fighter, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen admits entry-level premium offerings like the CLA and Audi A3 have put a dent in ATS sales. However, Cadillac’s entry-level model will be RWD, underpinned by the same platform that the ATS rides upon.

The CTS-V is expected to enter showrooms later this summer.

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