Category: New Cars

By on March 15, 2017

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Ahh, style. The word that means different things to different people. The khaki-clad middle manager and the 20-something hipster from Seattle both have a sense of it, even if wildly divergent. And this equally applies to cars.

For example, though many of the B&B complain about how all cars look the same now, I don’t think that’s true.

Your assignment today is to think about present-day exterior styling as applied to cars, and come up with a suggestion that’s suitably timeless.

Read More >

By on March 14, 2017

Opel Insignia

General Motors has plans to swap the American spec Buick Regal sedan with the brand’s first wagon in ages. The replacement Regals are anticipated to be rebadged Opel Insignia Grand Sport hatchbacks and Sports Tourer wagons, both of which were on display at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show this month.

Ditching the sedan is big deal since it’s been Buick’s preferred body style and the only way to get a Regal since 1996. Granted, the five-door should appear sedan-like until it’s time to put away the groceries and the glass raises to offer unprecedented access to that sweet rear end. Those with the most highly evolved automotive palates will — obviously — opt for the unadulterated perfection that is the station wagon.  Read More >

By on March 14, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack/SportWagen - Images: Volkswagen

It’s no Subaru Outback, soaring toward the top of sales charts with all the force of an automaker riding a decade-long wave of rapid U.S. growth. But the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, launched in the United States last autumn, is steadily earning a place as the most important Volkswagen wagon. By far.

In fact, the Golf Alltrack is quickly becoming the bright spot in Volkswagen of America’s Golf lineup and the Volkswagen brand’s overall hierarchy. Not surprisingly, the Alltrack is also dimming the spotlight previously shone upon the Golf SportWagen. Read More >

By on March 13, 2017

xc40 concept

Though its debut will lag that of Chevrolet’s Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, Volvo’s first entry into the world of all-electric vehicles looks to be right on par with the current generation’s maximum range and requisite financial investment. Starting between $35,000 and $40,000 when it debuts in 2019, the Swedish EV should be capable of at least 250 miles between charges.

Away from the main stage of the Geneva International Motor Show, CEO of Volvo America Lex Kerssemakers indicated to journalists that the standards set by the Bolt would be the benchmark. “That’s what I put in as the prerequisite for the United States,” Kerssemakers said. “If I want to make a point in the United States, if I want to make volumes, that’s what I believe I need.” Read More >

By on March 13, 2017

2018 Lexus LC500 front – Image: Lexus

Lexus has lofty goals for the new LC performance coupe, a two-car range encompassing V8 and V6 hybrid cars. The Lexus LC, Toyota’s premium division hopes, will attract 400 buyers in America per month.

That’s a big number.

Granted, Toyota sells more than 1,000 Camrys in the United States every day. In fact, Lexus sells 300 copies of the RX, America’s all-conquering premium utility vehicle, every day.

But the 2018 Lexus LC is not America’s best-selling midsize car 15 years running, nor is the LC the dominant luxury crossover in a market gone gaga for luxury crossovers. The Lexus LC, on the other hand, is a $92,995–106,295 Japanese coupe. 400 monthly sales for a two-door priced in that stratosphere is truly a big number.

And Lexus believes it will outsell the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz SLC, and Audi TT. Lexus believes the LC will sell roughly three times more often than the Nissan GT-R ever has. Lexus intends to attract more buyers with the LC than Mercedes-Benz can with The Establishment, the SL-Class; more buyers than BMW attracts with the vast BMW 6 Series range.

Why? Lexus certainly has its reasons. Read More >

By on March 11, 2017

2017-toyota-860-special-edition-101-876x535

With so much online page space taken up by the RAV4, Corolla, Camry, Tacoma and other practical, high-volume Toyota products, it’s often easy to forget that the staid and sensible automaker sells an entry-level, rear-drive sports car.

February marked a significant milestone for the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S), sibling to the Subaru BRZ, in that it was the first month since 2013 that didn’t see a year-over-year sales decline. That year was also the high water mark for sales.

No doubt aware of the rebranded coupe’s lagging fortunes, Toyota has adopted a time-honored method of drawing eyes back to its 86. Offer a slightly enhanced version, raise the price, and cap production numbers. Read More >

By on March 9, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge dropped another unsubtle hint at the drag-focused Challenger SRT Demon’s power output this week, inserting it in a teaser that showcased the car’s unique performance data recorder for its Uconnect infotainment system.

After saying “nothing is a coincidence and everything means something” in an earlier press release, Road and Track speculated that a stamped serial number, reading 0757, was likely the the number of horses hiding beneath the Demon’s hood. Today, FCA let loose another video that showed the “Performance Pages” application in action, with the clock set for 7:57.

FCA has issued loads of cryptic messages over the last couple of months, but with the biggest question seemingly answered, perhaps it will be a little more straightforward when it comes time for the next announcement. I wouldn’t bet on it. As for the performance app, Dodge says the Demon will have graphical interfaces for just about everything a spec-hungry amateur drag racer could want, along with some extra bells and whistles for the strip.  Read More >

By on March 8, 2017

mercedes-amg-gt-concept

Mercedes-AMG is, of course, calling its new GT Concept a “four-door coupe.” As perpetually annoying as that marketing trend has become, it’s refreshing to see a concept car that is somewhat representative of the future production model. However, GT Concept not just a glimpse into AMG’s future but also a celebration of 50 years worth of history at Mercedes’ AMG performance arm.

In addition to its AMG badge, the concept has also been adorned with a subtle EQ Power logo that denotes Benz’s fledgling electrified sub-brand and a hybridized powertrain. Mercedes describes the red devil as the evolution of the AMG-specific lineup and says the four-door GT will eventually exist as a genuine roadgoing vehicle — looking familiar, but not quite identical to the current concept. Read More >

By on March 8, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, Image: Hyundai

If public backlash against the sixth-generation Sonata, mainly in its home country, caused Hyundai to pour cold water all over the midsize sedan’s edgy design, consider the 2018 Sonata a reaction to its toned-down predecessor.

The refreshed 2018 Sonata unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, today aims to shelter the popular midsize from accusations of “safe” or “boring” styling. While the sedan’s flanks are easily recognized, the previous model’s this-won’t-offend-anyone front fascia has given way to a wholly new design. Read More >

By on March 7, 2017

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

The mounting pressure of tightening fuel economy and emissions standards is causing even the most extravagant luxury brands to re-evaluate their bias toward hulking internal combustion engines. No less subject to the laws of the land than any other automaker, Bentley returned to the Geneva International Motor Show with an electric convertible version of its 2015 Speed 6 concept, dubbed — and this is a mouthful — the EXP 12 Speed 6e.

While there is no accounting for taste, the flipped and wandering 1994 Toyota Celica headlamps aren’t my cup of tea. To be frank, it’s a gaping fish-eyed mess from the front. It’s as if the car saw its own lavish interior and couldn’t believe something so glorious could be associated with its own ghastly visage. While I understand that the headlights are signature Bentley and the EXP 10 Speed 6 possesses a nearly identical face, it just isn’t working for me in this instance. The rest of the car, however, is irrefutably gorgeous — especially that aforementioned interior.

Not that you shouldn’t take a moment to bask, but the EXP 12 concept wasn’t designed to show off its interior. It was built to gauge the public interest in an all-electric luxury tourer and potentially shape Bentley’s future luxury strategy. Read More >

By on March 7, 2017

2018 Lexus LS 500h

Continuing on its relentless path of pitching boring design out the window, Lexus is storming ahead with its styling choices, applying them to its entire model range.

Today in Geneva, Lexus unveiled a hybrid version of its flagship sedan, the LS. The model follows the world premiere of the twin-turbocharged V6-powered LS 500 at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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By on March 7, 2017

rrvelar18my367glhdprlocationdynamic010317

Eager to fill a price gap in its Range Rover lineup, Land Rover has come out with a new midsize offering — the Velar. Positioned between the smaller Evoque and larger Range Rover Sport, the Velar is a tasteful and subdued example of automotive opulence. While it’s best to reserve final judgement until after fully experiencing a model, the design both inside and out represents something fresh, possibly signalling a new direction for Land Rover styling.

I speculated last month that the Velar’s teaser images might not be representative of the actual car, due in part to its ultra-modern-looking center console. However, that concept car interior stuck around, resulting in an incredibly spartan and contemporary cabin. It’s almost entirely devoid of buttons, replaced by minimalist design more elegant and clean than even what Tesla has on offer. Land Rover refers to the interior as a “calm sanctuary” for the Velar’s occupants. The majority of the contact points for non-essential functions occupy hidden-until-lit touch areas that, according to JLR, can be endlessly customized. Read More >

By on March 7, 2017

2018 subaru crosstrek

Unveiled in Geneva today, Subaru’s Crosstrek undergoes a top-down revamp for 2018, bringing the compact, lifted five-door in line with its Impreza stablemate.

Called the XV overseas, the Crosstrek soldiered on with its old bodystyle and platform in 2017, even after the model it shares its body and mechanics with went in for a makeover. With new skin, bones, and a thoroughly reworked powerplant, the model no longer has to live in the new Impreza’s shadow. Read More >

By on March 7, 2017

Kia Niro PHEV - Kia Motors America

Kia’s new Niro lineup will get another teammate this summer — a plug-in hybrid, which the Korean automaker revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show.

The PHEV, offered first in Europe, utilizes a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder, electric motor and 8.9 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack to attain its green credentials. Kia claims the new hardware will deliver more than 35 miles of all-electric range. Read More >

By on March 7, 2017

2017 Civic Type R (European Version)

If you’re an enthusiast in your thirties, there’s a good chance you’ve coveted Honda’s Civic Type R from a distance for the majority of your adult life. While the Civic Si made it to North American shores, it seemed like the whole rest of the world was enjoying its racier sibling without us. I personally knew at least two people in high school who stuck false Type R badges onto unsporting Civics, rounding out the lie with cheap aftermarket rims and a noisy exhaust.

The opportunity for those dishonest people to redeem themselves is now closer than ever. Honda has finally dished on the Civic, reassuring westerners that this Type R will be true to form while reminding us that the wait is nearly over. Just make sure you’ve budgeted some extra dough for new front tires and are practicing your lift-off oversteer technique. Read More >

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