The Truth About Cars » New Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 » New Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/new-cars/ TTAC AMA: I Own An Alfa Romeo 4C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-ama-alfa-romeo-4c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-ama-alfa-romeo-4c/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951129 This week, TTAC reader vaujot from Frankfurt am Main chimes in. To start, you may wonder why I bought this car. Two reasons: Firstly, I am an Alfista. I have memories of sitting in my uncle’s Giulia sedan as a five-year old and the unusual smell of leather interior (he eventually gave up on Alfas, […]

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This week, TTAC reader vaujot from Frankfurt am Main chimes in.

To start, you may wonder why I bought this car.

Two reasons:
Firstly, I am an Alfista. I have memories of sitting in my uncle’s Giulia sedan as a five-year old and the unusual smell of leather interior (he eventually gave up on Alfas, they’re not well suited for Swiss winters). Since eight years, I own a 1962 Giulia Spider and through this have made the acquittance of nice and interesting fellow Alfa owners. I think it is great that they again make a car that you can drive to a meeting of Porsche owners and get compliments.

Secondly, the car is special. I see Porsches around where I live all the time. Some of my neighbors don’t even bother to keep them in a garage, parking on the street instead. In contrast, I have only once met another Alfa 4C owner and that happened after making an appointment via the 4C-forum. We met at the Nürburgring.

Alfa treats the car and its buyers as special, too. When you take delivery, you get a box containing an owners card, a key ring, a memory stick (the long users manual is stored, there) and a leather-bound folder including among other things a few photos that according to the salesman show the making of your very car.

In Europe, the 4C is sold as a low-volume model. They may only sell 1000 cars a year and it is exempted from certain regulations (I think pedestrian impact, side airbags and, of course, noise – the car is embarrassingly loud in town). Each car gets its own numbered certificate of conformity and mine is number 604 out of 1000 for this year.

Looking forward to your questions.

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Ford Sources Say Derek Is Wrong About New Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:25:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951097 Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. […]

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Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. And then I got a phone call from someone who is placed highly enough to know.

It turns out that our sources didn’t initially see any indication of a new GT program because it’s not being done through the usual channels. It will be a *very* limited product car, of around 300 units, and built by a third-party like Multimatic. Power will come from a 3.5L Ecoboost, to maintain a connection with Ford’s sports car racing program. The car will be priced as you’d expect a limited-production 300-unit halo car to be priced.

N.B. The identity of the source checks out, but there is still the chance that it could all be a bunch of BS misinformation. However, I felt it prudent to put this on the public record in case I am wrong. My obligation to you, the readers, comes before my own pride/ego.

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Mercedes-Benz Releases Automotive Rorschach Test http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-releases-automotive-rorschach-test/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:09:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950993   The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere. A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version […]

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The collective distaste for the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA is known among the B&B and the wider automotive world – but now, Mercedes has dropped a collective bomb on the psyche of enthusiasts everywhere.

A reflexive love of all things station wagon/shooting brake pervades the gearhead mentality. Will they accept a station wagon version of the Mercedes CLA? Mechanically, it’s identical to the standard car, and the sloping roofline might even make it less practical than the GLA in terms of cargo hauling ability. But it’s suitably obscure enough to send a tingle through the loins of the kind of enthusiast that professes their adoration for the wagon, but fails to buy them when they are released for sale on our shores.

 

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McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950897 The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year. AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop […]

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The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year.

AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop and convertible already in the portfolio, and differences in styling and price didn’t attract many customers.

In their place, McKenna says higher-volume models over niche product will be the order of the day going forward, beginning with the launch of a four-door MINI for those who feel claustrophobic inside the main two-door unit.

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Next-Gen Jeep Wrangler Confirmed For 8-Speed Automatic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-confirmed-8-speed-automatic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/next-gen-jeep-wrangler-confirmed-8-speed-automatic/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:48:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950225 A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some, but the next-generation off-roader will be packing an 8-speed automatic for those who don’t want to row their own. According to Automotive News, the next Wrangler is confirmed for the 8-speed auto, based on an SEC filing. The 8-speed will not only be used on the Wrangler, […]

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A two-pedal Jeep Wrangler might be sacrilege to some, but the next-generation off-roader will be packing an 8-speed automatic for those who don’t want to row their own.

According to Automotive News, the next Wrangler is confirmed for the 8-speed auto, based on an SEC filing. The 8-speed will not only be used on the Wrangler, but all rear-drive FCA products, save for heavy duty trucks and the Viper.

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Editorial: Look To The Future For Further Ford Fuel Savings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-look-future-ford-fuel-savings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-look-future-ford-fuel-savings/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950129 With its unprecedented shift to an aluminum body for the next Ford F-150, the Blue Oval appeared to be pivoting towards a serious improvement in fuel economy. But with the release of the official EPA figures, the newest truck appears to offer only modest improvements. Ford’s own release stresses a comparison between the new truck […]

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With its unprecedented shift to an aluminum body for the next Ford F-150, the Blue Oval appeared to be pivoting towards a serious improvement in fuel economy. But with the release of the official EPA figures, the newest truck appears to offer only modest improvements.

Ford’s own release stresses a comparison between the new truck and the 2008 model equipped with the now obsolete 4.6L V8 engine. One could make the argument that Ford is attempting to show how a returning customer might see significant gains from his old, V8 truck versus a brand new Ecoboost V6 rig. But Ford also didn’t compare the figures to the outgoing 2014 model, which is the typical convention.

That may be because the gains, on paper, are modest at best. Of the two carry-over engines, the 3.5L Ecoboost now returns 17/24/20 mpg (city/highway/combined), versus 16/22/18 mpg for the 2014 model. The 5.0L now gets 15/22/18 mpg versus 15/21/17 mpg. And the Ecoboost engines are notorious for doing well on standard EPA tests, while delivering lower results in real world driving.

If Ford’s past product rollouts are any indication, we will see incremental improvements over the next few years. A 10-speed automatic, due within the next 1-2 years, is sure to add further improvements in fuel economy. A new V6 diesel engine, set to compete with the Ram 1500 and its 28 mpg highway rating, is also said to be in the works.

 

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Rental Review: Doing Some Soul Searching http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/rental-review-soul-searching/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/rental-review-soul-searching/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945969 About five years ago, I made a career decision that I wish I had made much earlier: I decided to get into the Learning and Development field. Unfortunately for about twenty or so people, I had spent the previous fifteen years managing sales people, and I fired a lot of them. As a result, I […]

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About five years ago, I made a career decision that I wish I had made much earlier: I decided to get into the Learning and Development field. Unfortunately for about twenty or so people, I had spent the previous fifteen years managing sales people, and I fired a lot of them.

As a result, I also spent a great deal of time interviewing people. One of the things that every HR person will tell you about interviewing is that you’re supposed to look for what they call “contrary evidence.” As an interviewer, you’re going to form an opinion about a candidate pretty quickly—it’s human nature. So you’re supposed to ask questions that could lead to evidence that is contrary to your original impression. If you naturally like a candidate, you should ask questions that could reveal negative things about him, and vice versa.

Thus, when I selected a 2015 Solar Yellow Kia Soul Plus for my one-day trip to the ATL last week, I looked for things to dislike about it.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t find any.

I’ve always been a fan of the Soul. Why? Simple. It’s the closest thing to a compact wagon currently for sale in the United States. It’s a quirky-looking car, with love-it or leave-it looks. The hamster campaign from years ago was easily the best and most memorable ad run by an automaker in recent history. I’ve owned three Hyundais, and all were excellent cars, so I have no K-car bias. In fact, if I were in my mid-twenties, I’d be in the market to buy one.

Yet, as I bypassed some of my favorite rental selections to pick the Soul, including a V6 Impala, I realized that I had formed all of my opinions just like the best Facebook and YouTube commenters do—that is to say, I had never driven one. I figured it was time to fix that.

My first impression of the Soul? It’s much, much bigger inside than I expected. I hopped in the back seat just to verify, and my 5’9″, 165 lb frame would have been entirely comfortable on a journey of any length. But while the Soul excels at people carrying, the storage with the back seats up isn’t sufficient for a 27″ suitcase, or for carry-on luggage for more than two. Not a huge deal unless you’re planning to make it your primary vehicle for a family of four.

The interior is cleanly designed, with simple, intuitive controls. My rental only had about 2K miles on it, so I don’t know how it will hold up over time, but all the interior materials appeared to be of acceptable quality. Unlike my previous week’s rental, a 2015 Ford Escape SE, everything inside the Soul makes sense. My iPhone was easy to pair, and the stereo system lived up to its rapping rodent credentials. While the clarity wasn’t the best, it thumps out the bass with effortless joy. I didn’t get the upgraded UVO infotaintment in my rental, but I don’t know if I’d want it—this one seemed to work just fine.

The seating position is one of the best I’ve seen in any car—it’s upright but still very comfortable. The visibility is quite good through the windshield as well as through the mirrors.

However, the joy of driving the Soul was about to be severely tested by a commute from the airport to the Perimeter North part of town. In ideal traffic conditions, it should take about twenty-five minutes. In this particular morning’s rush hour, it took nearly ninety.

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No matter. The XM Radio gave me plenty of choices for music and/or talk radio, and the Soul handled the start-stop nature of the traffic without much consternation. The 2.0 liter, 164 HP, direct fuel injection motor is neatly paired with a six-speed automatic that never seems to search for the right gear. My rental didn’t have the Idle Stop and Go option, but still managed 24 MPG along the way, which is one of the best ATL traffic numbers I’ve seen.

Even so, the motor gives more than enough power when called upon, and definitely more than I expected from the little four-banger. Max torque can be found at around 4000 RPM, which helps in dealing with the seventh circle of traffic Hell known as “Atlanta.” I was able to dart and dodge through I-75 and I-85 traffic quite fluidly, as the size of the Soul made it easy to fit into the tightest of spots.

I swear I tried to find things not to like about this car. It just does everything well, and it does many things very well. The only thing I can really think of is the price. A Soul Plus optioned out exactly as my rental was stickers at $19,400, which just seems like a bit too much for this car. I’d probably look for a base Soul with the 1.6 liter four cylinder and manual transmission for my own car—but I would just be looking for an airport commuter and fuel saver. For those looking for a true daily driver, the Plus would be the way to go. Also, the Solar Yellow isn’t available on the base car…damn. Okay, I’d get the Plus, too.

Having previously driven the Cube and the xB, this car is, by far, the best choice in this category. The interior is light years ahead of the Toyota and Nissan offerings, and the motor is the equal of the ubiquitous Toyota 2.4 2AZ-FE in the xB (and so much better than the Cube that it’s not even funny). Although it’s purely subjective, I think you’d have a hard time finding anybody who didn’t think the Soul was the best looking of the trio, too.

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In fact, the highest compliment I can pay the Soul is that, for the only the second time ever after driving a rental car (which I do over 25 times per year), I went to the OEM site to configure and price one. The first time I did that, I ended up buying a Ford Flex. I’m not saying I’ll end up buying a Soul, but only because I don’t have a need for one right now.

So, yes, if I were interviewing the Soul, I’d hire it immediately. And if you’re currently interviewing compact cars, make sure that you bring the Soul in for a look. You’ll be glad you did.

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Tales Of Redesign Timing: Two Traditional Detroit Products Get Refreshed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:04:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948721 Ford’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre […]

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Explorer 300 sales chartFord’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre stage.

At the same auto show, the 2015 Chrysler 300 also appears quite similar to the outgoing model, although the changes underneath are perhaps more thorough. The exterior, while not wildly different, is certainly altered to the point that you’ll know the difference.

These two redesigns of two prototypical Detroit products with wildly different backgrounds occur at very different life stages for these product lines as the two vehicle lines head in opposite directions.

The Explorer, which has not been a true truck-based SUV for years, carries on with one of the most successful and iconic SUV nameplates in history. The 300 initially grew out of Mercedes-Benz “partnerships”, but as a vast, rear-wheel-drive car, it probably represents America’s big sedan history more accurately than any other vehicle currently on the market.

2016 Ford ExplorerBut while the Explorer is America’s fifth-best-selling SUV/crossover nameplate and sales have risen 9% this year, the fifth consecutive year of improved Explorer volume, 300 sales are tumbling. Sales of the big Chrysler fell 18% last year, a loss of 23,023 units. 300 volume is down 9% through the first ten months of 2014. It’s currently America’s 42nd-best-selling car. It ranked 14th in 2006.

Like the 300, the Explorer doesn’t sell like it once did. As recently as 2002, Ford reported more than 400,000 Explorer sales in America. The nameplate then decreased in volume in seven consecutive years.

Nevertheless, these two vehicles are on different tracks travelling to different destinations. America’s passenger car market is hardly growing despite steady increases in the size of the overall new vehicle industry, and the 300 is just one of many big cars with falling sales. Azera, Taurus, Impala, Avalon, LaCrosse, and the 300’s Charger twin are all down this year, as well.

2015 chrysler 300The Explorer, on the other hand, is part of a utility vehicle sector that’s rising 12% this year, earning more than 470,000 extra sales for the industry over the last ten months.

A new 300 isn’t going to return Chrysler to the days of 140K annual sales rates, nor will a facelifted Explorer cause Ford to sell more than 400,000 per year.

One redesign stands a chance at stemming the tide; the other should help maintain its heady position.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Mazda2 Sedan Gives Hints To Next Scion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda2-sedan-gives-hints-next-scion/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:40:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949377 The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2. With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the […]

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The long-rumored Mazda2-based Scion is a step closer to reality, with Mazda unveiling the sedan version of the Mazda2.

With the Scion iM serving as the hatchback in Scion’s new lineup, the next Scion will be a traditional sedan. The unnamed Scion will be built at Mazda’s Mexican factory, and is likely to retain the 1.5L Skyactiv engine for superior fuel economy.

 

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Dispatches do Brasil: How I Killed the Sports Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dispatches-brasil-killed-sports-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dispatches-brasil-killed-sports-car/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:13:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949249 Reading here on TTAC that a BMW executive declared the sports car dead was a sad day for me. Yes, I am one of those who bemoan the passing of beautiful, personal cars like those, whether or not sprinkled with the fairy dust of power. I’m not talking Ferrari here, I’m talking simpler things, like an Opel […]

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Reading here on TTAC that a BMW executive declared the sports car dead was a sad day for me. Yes, I am one of those who bemoan the passing of beautiful, personal cars like those, whether or not sprinkled with the fairy dust of power. I’m not talking Ferrari here, I’m talking simpler things, like an Opel Tigra, or a Ford Puma, maybe even an old VW Karmann Ghia or a fiberglass, old Beetle motivated, Brazilian Puma GT. Cars like those allowed their everyday owners, with common pocketbooks, to dream of performance and a more enchanted life, in spite of sometime ordinary engines, as their designs were always something else.

Reflecting on the implications of the assertion I remembered that day. That day I had my favorite mainstream-make, exotic–inspired, common-hardware-bundled-up-in-a-an-affordable-package car all to myself. And thinking on that drive made me realize I’m partially responsible for this CUV-dominated, ignonimous state of affairs. You see, instead of living out my playboy fantasies, I decided to live out a fantasy of another kind, more country if you will, and bought a Ford Ranger. My 2-year experience with that ill-handling brute can best be resumed thus: So happy the day I bought it, happier still the day it was gone.

The year 2000, recently divorced, I decided that my new marital status deserved something more fun than the competent, but staid, Fiat Siena. I was no longer a family man, I didn’t need 5 seats, and neither a trunk. So I started looking into other things. It was a good time to buy cars like these. Due to the sudden freeing of importations in the early 90s, there was an abundance of different used cars available, things that up until then were uncommon here. Basically I started looking into jeeps and sports cars. I test drove a Daihatsu Feroza, a Suzuki Sidekick, found them all lacking. That off-road type vehicle search led me to pickups and I thought the Dodge Dakota would look fine in my garage, though eventually I chose the Ranger for better ride and more commodious cabin.

At the same time, I looked into two-seater cars. I test drove an Opel Calibra, a beast of a car, but an interior so pedestrian as to be off putting. Drove quite of few of the Japanese, too, but really, none inspired me except the Mazda Miata and MX3. However, the fact that all the small Japanese makes were getting their butts kicked in the market and falling like flies made me wary. Also, I was looking for something fun, but not desperate and oh-my-big-winged like a Mitsubishi Eclipse or a Hyundai Tiburon.

Finally, one day, I saw it. A Fiat Coupé. I was aware of it, of course, keenly aware as it drew my eyes like no other. But the thing was so expensive when it was brand new, it had slipped my radar. Now a 1996 model was going for the same price of a 1998 Ranger. Buyable indeed. Serendipity struck and I got a call from a friend.

He had decided to sell his green Coupé. It had very low mileage as it was basically his weekend car. Better yet, he was going off to Rio to work for the day and he would let me keep his car all day provided I took him to the airport at the crack of dawn and picked him up on his return at night. Of course!

There it was. Looking for all the world like a small Ferrari, the quality of the design oozed from every angle. The front was aggressive, but not overly so, and the head lights, encased in that plastic shroud, called all eyes. The high intensity projectors were something new here and at night you knew it was a Coupé coming just from the beam of light it projected. The hood was long as befits a sports car, the roof low, but no way claustrophobic, in fact sight lines were quite good for that kind of car, especially to the front and side. Backing up did require care and a prayer to be sure.

The wheel wells are the coolest I have ever seen. Cut like a knife, it as chiseled and suggested power. The wheels themselves made a nice composition with those lines. The back, of course, wow, those round lights! That and their positioning, immediately put me in mind of a Ferrari. Not only me of course, the car was known worldwide as Fiat’s mini-Ferrari. All the way, it was quite grownup, no hint of a wing or an extraneous line anywhere.

Inside, oh my gosh! Difficult to describe the beauty. The external color-coded-metallic-finished stripe on the dash immediately drew the eyes. Quite unusual and striking. The gauges lit up in a deep red, suggesting performance, and the idiot lights were aligned in a tastefully set up strip below the gauges. The steering wheel was the only deception inside. Common to other cars in the Fiat line, it only distinguished itself by being bound in leather. The seats were big and a perfect balance between comfort and support. As the name Coupé suggested, the car was a 2+2, and in the back, a couple of bags could be fit or two children. Not that I cared much, but the trunk held 310 liters, about the same as a Ford Focus hatch of today.

Of course, the famous Pininfarina logo emblazoned that dash. At the time I believed the car was his work, though later research showed that the famous Italian design house “only” did the interior. The exterior had been penned by Fiat’s in-house Centro de Stilo, that was at the time commanded by a talented American, none other than the famous Chris Bangle of BMW fame.

So, I dropped my friend off at the airport and hit the road. I decided to take the famously curvy BR-262 highway. Known as the road of death, there is a stretch further out into the country that has literally hundreds of curves in the less than 50 kilometers of road. I wouldn’t have time to venture out that far. Starting from Belo Horizonte, I decided to go to Itabira. In that stretch of road there is the famous Curva do Sabão (soap curve), near Caeté, a curve that was designed wrong and due to the inclination, tends to throw you car off into the wrong direction.

Getting there I explored the breadth of the engine. Though later Euro versions used more powerful and turbo equipped engines, the Brazilian version used the same 137 hp, 2.0, 16v of Fiat’s own Tipo Sedicivalvole. Putting out the same horsepower as in the Tipo, in the Coupé the engine was reworked as to noise. It was amazing, and no 4 cylinder engine has the right to sound so good. The noises made will be forever in my head. I remembered reading in Brazilian magazine at the time that the Coupé made the 0-62 mph dash in a hair over 10 seconds and got close to 205 km/h at top speed. Due to the heavy traffic and limits of the road, I couldn’t get near those limits.

However, I didn’t really care. I was enjoying too much the curves and trucks along the way. Powerful enough to provide strong bursts of speeds, getting around the trucks, buses and other slow moving cars was a simple as dropping a gear and stepping on it. The precise steering and handling guaranteed that it was a point it and it’ll get there affair. The suspension was a work of art. It soaked up the imperfections nicely and never got unsettled. Disc brakes all around guaranteed the necessary stepping power.

The car’s behavior was provided by an all independent suspension. McPherson struts were used up front and in the back there were longitudinally-mounted oscillating arms. The back never threatened to break out no matter how fast, at least on this road and in the hands of this driver. The Coupé made short work of the infamous curve mentioned previously and I went back on forth on this stretch of road maybe 20 times. It was clearly overkill the setup Fiat used. I can only imagine how the most powerful Coupé must have been. The figures were breathtaking and the top Euro turbo Coupé used a 2.0, 20v, 5 cylinder engine, good for 223 horses. Imagine greater indeed.

As I headed back into the city, crossing it, finding the car pliable enough for city driving as well, I pondered on what to do. The car tugged on me like no other. Beautifully designed, comfortable, it had an unmatchable and undeniable presence, especially in this country. However, only about 1,300 had been imported into Brazil, possibly making maintenance a problem (though that proved untrue as mechanically it was similar to the much more successful Tipo). Also, I had just asked to be transferred back from Brasília to Belo Horizonte and moving could be a problem in that car. If I bought a Ranger, I could do it myself as I would only be taking clothes, books and such…

Besides, this one was green. Had it been blue or red, or better yet, yellow (the most striking color for it in my evaluation) I would not have resisted, I think.

Thankfully such cars as the Mini Cooper, Fiat Cincuecento Abarth, Volkswagen Beetle R, BMW M3 still exist and serve and enthusiast well. However, they are the opposite of what a Coupé was. The modern cars take an extraordinary engine and drop it into a common car. The Coupé and others like it did the opposite, they took an ordinary engine and installed it into an unusual car. Works much better for me.

Alas, the world moves on and there seems to be no place for cars like that (being PSA with the Peugeot RCZ and Citroën DS3 and Mazda with the Miata, exceptions) anymore. They live on in the memories of guys like me who saw them there, in the flesh, and lusted for them. We can only hope they make a comeback.

Excuse me now as I have to go. Let me hop into my Renault Duster and go pick up my kid.

 

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Acura ILX Fully Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948753 To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE - 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available - CA]. The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch […]

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2016 Acura ILX

To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE - 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available - CA].

The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission — with torque converter for smooth launches to the office park — to the front. A retuned suspension and added sound-deadening help keep things quiet and stable.

Trim levels are also doubled for the 2016 model, with six to select from the catalog. Additionally, one can select the A-SPEC package — which can be combined with the Premium and Technology packages for maximum luxury — to bestow upon the ILX a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, 18-inch alloys, red instrument illumination et al.

Technology-wise, ILX shoppers can use the sedan’s AcuraLink nav system to connect their smartphone to the car for mapping out the best routes to Applebee’s, while AcuraWatch keeps all safe with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, lane departure and collision mitigation.

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Los Angeles 2014: Next Chevrolet Volt Partially Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-next-chevrolet-volt-partially-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-next-chevrolet-volt-partially-revealed/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:13:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948697 You’ll have to wait until Detroit to see the Full Monty. So far, we know that the Volt will have a larger 1.5L engine and an electric drive unit weighing 100 lbs less than the current one. No word on range figures or whether the price will come down.

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You’ll have to wait until Detroit to see the Full Monty.

So far, we know that the Volt will have a larger 1.5L engine and an electric drive unit weighing 100 lbs less than the current one. No word on range figures or whether the price will come down.

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Los Angeles 2014: Scion iMatrix http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-scion-imatrix/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-scion-imatrix/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:58:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948617 If you needed another reason why Toyota decided to kill off the Matrix, here it is. The Scion iM, based on the European Toyota Auris, is basically the same thing as the Matrix, but developed by Toyota’s European arm. Hatchback buyers now have yet another choice in the segment, and according to Ronnie Schreiber, we […]

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If you needed another reason why Toyota decided to kill off the Matrix, here it is.

The Scion iM, based on the European Toyota Auris, is basically the same thing as the Matrix, but developed by Toyota’s European arm. Hatchback buyers now have yet another choice in the segment, and according to Ronnie Schreiber, we all stand to benefit.

 

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Los Angeles 2014: A Modest Proposal For Volkswagen Of America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-modest-proposal-volkswagen-america/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:37:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948545 Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet […]

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Despite teasing us with the Volkswagen Golf R station wagon, it’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get it in North America. A standard Golf R costs a hair under $37,000, and nobody is going to pay that much for the wagon version (and before you protest, remember that 3 people on the internet does not make a business case for a new vehicle line). But maybe VW of America can meet us half way.

Back in 2006, Volkswagen offered a Jetta 2.0T, with the engine and suspension from the GLI, but without the body kit, big wheels, red brake calipers and tartan seats. I was fortunate enough to drive one during my college years, and found it a nice compromise between the boy racer GLI and the bog standard 2.5L Jetta.

Maybe we can get a Golf wagon 2.0T? Take the GTI’s engine and chassis tuning, but leave out the AWD, the big wheels and all the other expensive stuff that will lead to a bloated price tag and excess inventory (ahem, Golf R32).

 

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Los Angeles 2014: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Packs Diesel Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chevrolet-colorado-zr2-packs-diesel-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chevrolet-colorado-zr2-packs-diesel-power/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:20:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948489 The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is officially a concept car, but the 2.8L Duramax diesel I4 is coming to showrooms within a year. Putting out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the diesel will be a first for the mid-size pickup segment. The ZR2 is four inches wider, and features front and rear skid plates, […]

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The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is officially a concept car, but the 2.8L Duramax diesel I4 is coming to showrooms within a year.

Putting out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the diesel will be a first for the mid-size pickup segment. The ZR2 is four inches wider, and features front and rear skid plates, King coil-over shocks and locking rear differentials. For now, customers will have to make do with a less extreme Z71 package.

 

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Los Angeles 2014: Toyota Prius C, V Revised http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-toyota-prius-c-v-revised/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-toyota-prius-c-v-revised/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:30:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948233 For 2015, the Toyota Prius c and V models both receive slight revisements to their respective styles and beyond. The larger V has three new color options available for the curious: Attitude Black Metallic (not related to Catherine Wheel’s reggae smash hit with a similar name), Absolutely Red and Toasted Walnut Pearl. New LED and […]

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For 2015, the Toyota Prius c and V models both receive slight revisements to their respective styles and beyond.

The larger V has three new color options available for the curious: Attitude Black Metallic (not related to Catherine Wheel’s reggae smash hit with a similar name), Absolutely Red and Toasted Walnut Pearl. New LED and fog lighting illuminate the road ahead, while the eight-way adjustable power seating keeps the driver comfortable, and the V’s advanced tech system — including adaptive cruise control and pre-collision — keep all safe.

The c, meanwhile, receives its own trio of shades — Electric Lime Metallic, Tangerine Splash Pearl and Sparkling Sea Metallic — piano black and chrome accents inside and out, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and 60/40 fold-down rear seating.

Price of admission for the V falls $75 to $27,500 on the ground floor, while the upper end climbs $540 to $31,760. No price was available for the c as of this writing.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:05:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948169 Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5. The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store […]

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Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5.

The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store all the things are now available, as well as an electronic parking brake to keep things in place.

Under the hood, two engines deliver the power to the front or all four wheels: a 2-liter four-pot, and a 2.5-liter variant that is expected to save the driver from spending more at the pump than necessary.

Finally, the cyborgs in your life can enjoy the automaker’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the i-Activsense safety suite, which makes driving a little easier with features like radar-based cruise control and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948121 Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss. Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in […]

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Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss.

Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in NVH levels on rougher roads, 25 percent on properly paved highways.

Motivation is reduced to one engine: the 2.5-liter four-pot capable of moving 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque to the front. Six-speed auto and manual transmissions make the connection possible.

Tech goodies include the Mazda Connect infotainment system and the automaker’s i-Activsense safety suite, which has features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-porsche-panamera-exclusive-series-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-porsche-panamera-exclusive-series-debuts/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:10:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948041 In the market for a new Panamera, yet fear it may be a tad pedestrian? Porsche’s got you covered. For just $264,895 to start — approximately the same base price for the Rolls-Royce Ghost — one can purchase the Panamera Exclusive Series, based upon the Turbo S Executive. Each of the 100 limited-edition models possess […]

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In the market for a new Panamera, yet fear it may be a tad pedestrian? Porsche’s got you covered.

For just $264,895 to start — approximately the same base price for the Rolls-Royce Ghost — one can purchase the Panamera Exclusive Series, based upon the Turbo S Executive.

Each of the 100 limited-edition models possess a 4.8-liter turbocharged V8 upfront that will send 570 horses with 590 lb-ft of overboosted torque to all four corners. The sedans also receive a hand-painted two-tone suit, 20-inch wheels, multi-toned Italian leather, and a newly developed entertainment system — dubbed plus — to keep your friends entertained. The more jet-set crew can enjoy made-to-measure luggage, as well.

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Los Angeles 2014: BMW X5 M, X6 M Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-bmw-x5-m-x6-m-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-bmw-x5-m-x6-m-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:50:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947953 Forget DMX: BMW is giving it to you times two, with the unveiling of its M-enhanced X5 and X6 crossovers. Both Xs boast a 4.4-liter V8 with twin-scroll turbocharging, direct fuel injection, and BMW’s Valvetronic airflow-regulation system. The end result: 567 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque pushed through all four corners via an M-tuned […]

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Forget DMX: BMW is giving it to you times two, with the unveiling of its M-enhanced X5 and X6 crossovers.

Both Xs boast a 4.4-liter V8 with twin-scroll turbocharging, direct fuel injection, and BMW’s Valvetronic airflow-regulation system. The end result: 567 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque pushed through all four corners via an M-tuned eight-speed auto, moving the crossovers from naught to 60 in 4 seconds.

The X5 M and X6 M receive the usual M-specific treatments throughout, while also saving the driver’s wallet at the pump, delivering a 20 percent boost in fuel efficiency per the European cycle; EPA cycle figures will come soon enough.

That said, the wallet will feel pain: $100,000 base for the X5 M, $103,000 for the base X6 M. Both crossovers will arrive in U.S. showrooms next spring.

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Los Angeles 2014: Mercedes-Maybach S600 Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-s600-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-s600-bows/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:30:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947873 Jay Z, Kanye, meet your new Otis. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first vehicle from the Mercedes-Maybach lineup, dubbed the S600. The ultra-exclusive, ultra-premium sedan receives power from a twin-turbo 6-liter V12, punching 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque to the back as it speeds the S600 from nil to 62 mph in five seconds, topping […]

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Jay Z, Kanye, meet your new Otis.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first vehicle from the Mercedes-Maybach lineup, dubbed the S600. The ultra-exclusive, ultra-premium sedan receives power from a twin-turbo 6-liter V12, punching 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque to the back as it speeds the S600 from nil to 62 mph in five seconds, topping out at 155 mph.

Performance aside, the sedan offers CEOs and dictators alike more rear headroom and 6.3 inches of legroom due to its lengthened wheelbase. The power barons of the world can also enjoy an onboard bar with a pair of silver champagne flutes, reclining seats with calf supports, fold-out tables with leather inserts et al.

The first U.S.-bound Mercedes-Maybachs are expected in showrooms by April 2015 at the earliest.

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Los Angeles 2014: Honda HR-V Gets A Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-gets-manual/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947665 While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE - 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available - CA]. Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those […]

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While Mazda isn’t offering a manual gearbox on their CX-3 mini-CUV, Honda will be offering one on 2WD versions of the HR-V [UPDATE - 7:50 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos from the LA Auto Show now available - CA].

Powered by the Civic’s 1.8L 4-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. For those that don’t want to row their own (or want Honda’s Real-Time 4WD system), a CVT is the only other option.

The big draw for the HR-V is the Fit’s “Magic Seat” second row, which can fold in all number of ways to accommodate people and objects. Honda is touting up to 100 cubic feet of passenger volume and 58.8 cubic feet with the seats down (24.3 with the seats up)

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Los Angeles 2014: Chrysler 300 No Longer Has An SRT Version http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chrysler-300-longer-srt-version/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-chrysler-300-longer-srt-version/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:45:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947505 But the Bentley grille is standard [UPDATE - 2 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos, new info now available - CA]. Electric power steering and an 8-speed automatic are the big changes for 2015. We’ll be driving the new 300 next month. Though the SRT is dead, there are four trims from which to choose: Limited, […]

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But the Bentley grille is standard [UPDATE - 2 p.m. Pacific, 11/19/2014: Live photos, new info now available - CA].

Electric power steering and an 8-speed automatic are the big changes for 2015. We’ll be driving the new 300 next month.

Though the SRT is dead, there are four trims from which to choose: Limited, S, C and C Platinum. The Limited and S models (starting at $32,390 and $35,890 respectively) receive power from the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, while those who opt for the 300C and 300C Platinum can tell those Dodge boys that their ride has a 5.7-liter HEMI.

Whatever power lies under the hood, the aforementioned 8-speed delivers the results to the back or, with optional AWD, all four corners.

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Los Angeles 2014: Ford Freestyle Ecoboost Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-ford-freestyle-ecoboost-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-ford-freestyle-ecoboost-debuts/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:38:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947473 Oh wait, we mean Taurus X. Oh wait…nevermind. The big news for 2016 is the addition of an Explorer Platinum trim, which gets the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 as standard. Think of it as an Explorer Sport for those who don’t want an Explorer Sport. There’s also a 2.3L Ecoboost replacing the old 2.0L unit.

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Oh wait, we mean Taurus X. Oh wait…nevermind.

The big news for 2016 is the addition of an Explorer Platinum trim, which gets the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 as standard. Think of it as an Explorer Sport for those who don’t want an Explorer Sport. There’s also a 2.3L Ecoboost replacing the old 2.0L unit.

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