TTAC readers have suffered through my weird crush on Kia’s Picanto/Morning-based “Tam” for months now, patiently indulging my fascination with a car that’s so niche it won’t even be sold in Europe. But with Kia showing off these production images of what will be known as the Kia Ray, it seems that a lot of what I found so beguiling about this A-segment MPV will make it to production. What we’re looking at is a tiny A-segment micro-van, with the Picanto/Morning‘s 1.0 three-banger or 1.25 liter four. And, as we suspected based on early prototype shots, the car has three standard doors and one mini-slider on the passenger side, confirming that this funky little cube is half Kia Soul, half Hyundai Veloster. At a little over $11k, the Ray will also be a relatively cheap Kia, which is why it’s focused on Asian markets like Korea and China… but it’s probably too small to ever make it to the US or Europe. Scion is probably breathing a small sigh of relief…
This mule of Ford’s new global midsized car may be well-camouflaged, but it’s not hard to imagine something not unlike the new EVOS concept lurking underneath all that bulk. Think narrow, slit-like headights, a version of the Hyundai-esque hexagonal grille that we’ve seen on the updated Taurus SHO, a high beltline and a fastback-ish C-pillar, and you’re probably getting close. Which leaves the final mystery: what in the foxtrot will those alloys look like? Try not to lose too much sleep over that one…
Jalopnik says it managed to snag this image of the production Cadillac XTS from the Cadillac website earlier today before anyone at GM’s luxury brand realized it had been inadvertently posted. The funny thing is, this could just as easily be an image of the XTS Platinum Concept, which first introduced us to the idea of a Epsilon II-based DTS/STS replacement… this purported production model looks exactly like the concept. Then again, it also looks exactly like you’d imagine a rebodied-for-Cadillac Buick LaCrosse would look… which is basically what this is. And since we know what the XTS’s interior will look like, this ends a lot of the suspense about the first all-new Caddy since the SRX. Well, except for the “how it drives” and “how it sells” parts…
Between Suzuki’s decision to show off its latest Tokyo Auto Show concepts and Scion’s possible collaboration with Daihatsu, now seems like a good time to show you Toyota’s kei car partner’s latest trinkets. From the fuel cell-powered, Tokyo-apartment-on-wheels, the FC Sho-Case (above), to the sweet little turbo-two-pot roadster, the D-X, Daihatsu’s got every kind of future vehicle you might possibly want… as long as it’s small and strange. They’re even taking on BMW’s see-through “i” brand, with the Pico, a semi-transparent plug-in. Because your car could always be a little smaller, weirder and more Japanese…
The Tokyo Auto Show is coming, which means it’s time for Japan’s automakers to roll out their weirdest, quirkiest, most Japanese designs. An electric city car apparently inspired by a CD player? Check. A 1,600 lb, super-efficient compact? Actually, the Regina Concept (above) almost looks more French than Japanese to my eyes. Finally, the Swift EV Hybrid rounds out Suzuki’s Tokyo-bound lineup. What does it all say about Suzuki’s future? One theory is that here may be an electrified Swift on the market at some point. Another holds that in the future, humans will be replaced by compact discs.
To be perfectly honest, as with so many Japanese cultural artifacts and phenomena, I’m completely baffled. Luckily our East-West relations expert Bertel Schmitt will be on hand at the Tokyo Auto Show to help us figure it all out.
The last time we posted a photo of the forthcoming Genesis Coupe facelift, we soon found that Hyundai Motor America staff were quietly informing other blogs that it was a photoshopped fake. I inserted a warning into the post, cursed myself for having been had, and moved on. So, how do I know these pictures are real? Probably because they come from the URL blog.hyundai.com (the leaked (non-press) shots are from Gencoupe.com, and don’t look as though they could possibly be faked). It turns out that Hyundai is showing off the new coupe to either drift fans or ice skating aficionados (Google Translate is hilariously unhelpful with Korean) this Saturday at something called the Chonnam National Yeongam F1 Speed Festival. Hyundai will “officially” show the car to the American market a week later at the LA Auto Show… at the earliest. More likely, Hyundai will continue to pretend that this car doesn’t exist until January, at the Detroit show. And they’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling internets!
[H/T: Our man in Korea, Walter Foreman]
Thought the Flex’s 2013 update would be a subtle tweak? Thought Ford might even tone down its freakiest minivan alternative? Think again, fool. Beaten down by jive turkey crossovers with less personality than a dealer finance rep, the Ford Flex has been hitting the funkmaster hard in hopes of working up a little sales mojo. But will a new, more design-appropriate front-end do the trick? Will this update put the Flex back on shopping lists? Or is the big box CUV still just too freaked-out for the familial mainstream?
Subaru’s first preview of the next-generation Legacy, 2010’s Hybrid Tourer Concept, was an uncluttered vision of Subaru’s future as a junior-Audi, entry-premium Sedan. With this latest look, called the Advanced Tourer Concept, the new Legacy is starting to look a lot more like, well, a Subaru. Sure, the open-mouth, hexagonal grille is a new look for the brand that even the new Impreza doesn’t yet sport, but the strange, pontoon-like wheel arches bring just enough awkwardness to the party to let you know that this is a Subie. After all, if it’s slightly awkward, lacking a cohesive family design, different from anything on the road and yet somehow slightly derivative, chances are it’s a new Subaru.
Of course, the final product could well look quite a bit different than this… remember the last Impreza Concept? But here’s what may make it to production: a turbocharged 1.6 liter boxer engine mated to an electric motor and CVT, which Subaru says can replace the performance of its long-running, 2.5 liter, naturally-aspirated engine.
With Hyundai’s Genesis being handily outsold by the updated Mustang and Camaro, we’ve been expecting Hyundai to update its rear-drive sports coupe… and here is the first
official fake image of the new look to fool us into thinking it was official. As expected, the new GenCoupe sports the new family front end, and a more sculpted hood. With more power from its updated V6 engine, expect the new-look Genesis to take the fight back to the Detroit muscle cars… especially when it’s joined in the Hyundai stable by a more performance-oriented Turbocharged version of the Hyundai Veloster.
With the Passat moving from a poor-selling but Euro-premium sedan to a cheaper, more mass-market design, it was inevitable that the Passat CC “four door coupe” version would change as well. Unfortunately, in order to make it more similar to the new “Das Impala”-style Passat, VW had to really tone down the design. So much so, that you almost have to wonder who is going to buy this car on style alone… which is the whole point of having a “four door coupe” version of a sedan. But hey, at least it won’t be outselling the Passat anymore, as it has for much of the last several years. Mission accomplished?
Having royally pissed off all of cyclist-dom with a tone-deaf, multi-brand ad in college newspapers, GM just so happens to have a concept car for the SEMA tuner show featuring a mountain bike. Not that the two are in any way related though, as NASCAR racer Ricky Carmichael is the creative force behind the concept. The 15-time American Motorcycle Association champion explains in a Chevy press release
The car looks so cool, colorful and fun to drive. I live my life on the go and this Sonic really represents that active lifestyle and my desire to have fun when I’m off the race track.
See? Cycling is cool… as a hobby. On the other hand, maybe the bike just a way to escape the photoshopped beach when this slammed Sonic inevitably gets stuck in the sand. Or perhaps it’s there as a reminder that even if you want to drive a Sonic you may be stuck on a bike, as Automotive News [sub] reports that GM has to idle production of the subcompact for two weeks over a parts shortage. Either way, it’s an improvement on shaming cyclists into buying cars.
Honda has shown off its CR-V in “concept” form already, so today’s leak of the first production-spec images from Japan ahead of the reveal in Los Angeles isn’t a huge revelation. On the other hand, it does come at a bad time, as the leak comes just as Automotive News [sub] reports that flooding in Thailand means
Honda will cut its North American output by 50 percent, starting Wednesday. All six North American plants will be affected through Nov. 10… Production likely will be affected for at least “the next several weeks,” Honda said. More cuts could be announced later. In addition, the December on-sale date of the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V may be delayed by several weeks. (emphasis added)
So, if you’re jonesing for your fix of frumpy new CUV hotness, you’re just going to have to be patient. Speaking of which, while we patiently wait for October sales, Honda is telling Bloomberg that its sales went up in the last month, its first such gain since April. But between the ongoing problems in Thailand, a 50% production cut in North America, and the awkward looks of this CR-V, it looks like Honda had better enjoy this moment of good news while it can.
According to svd.se, this is an image of the next-generation Saab 9-3, as revealed in a presentation to Sweden’s National Debt Office. Based on a new Phoenix platform that is supposedly under development (although with what money is unclear… new platforms typically cost around a billion dollars to develop), the new 9-3 will be the first Saab developed by the brand since gaining independence from GM. If, in fact, the company survives long enough to bring it to market in the 2013-2014 projected timeframe. And, based on all the news we’ve seen, the chances of Saab surviving, let alone developing a new car on a new platform, are extremely slim. But if you’re still holding out hope for The Industry’s Most Troubled Brand ®, this might inspire some more wholly unjustified optimism… as might the leaked image of Saab’s future product “plans.” Just don’t come crying to us when this all falls apart again in mid-November…
Mazda’s new Takeri concept, set to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show, likely signals the future look of the struggling Mazda6 sedan, as the brand reinvents itself as the “Japanese Afla-Romeo.” And a good look it is too, managing the all-important tension between expressiveness and subtlety that Mazda has often missed in its designs. But more than an Alfa, this concept reminds me of another brand’s most prominent design, namely Tesla’s Model S. And though that comparison purely stylistic (and possibly a bit of a stretch), Takeri does represent Mazda’s latest step towards an increasing emphasis on green technology. The company’s press release notes that the Takeri Concept
features the i-stop idling stop system and Mazda’s first regenerative braking system. The regenerative braking system efficiently converts kinetic energy to electricity during deceleration, stores it in capacitors and then uses it to power the vehicle’s electric equipment, thereby reducing load on the engine and saving fuel. Thanks to these electric devices, the Mazda TAKERI achieves excellent fuel economy.
The regenerative braking system represents Step Two of Mazda’s Building Block Strategy. After renewing existing technologies, such as engines and bodies, Step One of the Building Block Strategy is idling stop technology (i-stop), Step Two is regenerative braking technology, and Step Three is electric drive technology (hybrid, etc.).