By on January 14, 2017

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, Image: Volkswagen

It seems that even Volkswagen executives realize you can’t keep showing off different variants of the same concept before the public grows weary of the tease.

At the North American International Auto Show this week, visitors to Detroit feasted their eyes on the eleventy billionth latter-day VW Microbus concept, this time called the I.D. Buzz. Okay, maybe that number is a bit high, but the folks from Wolfsburg have kept up a steady trickle of retro Microbus concepts for 16 years. This time, it’s fully electric. No wheezy four-cylinder (or raucous five) in sight.

Naturally, the automaker hopes this latest concept’s name doesn’t prove a lie, but this latest offering — and the atmosphere around it — feels different. The mood implies it’s now or never for the concept — not just this one-off vehicle, but the concept of a reborn Microbus altogether. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2017

Toyota Yaris hot hatch

Toyota promised the world a Yaris hatchback that would valiantly rise above the role of a plain-Jane commuter car, and here it is.

Expected to premiere at the Geneva Motor Show this March, the high performance three-door subcompact borrows inspiration, parts, and probably a name from Toyota’s Gazoo racing division.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t long ago that Lexus could reliably sell 20,000-plus LS sedans in the U.S. each year. Certainly, the model’s pre-recession sales performance fell under the heading of “reliable,” with over 35,000 sold in 2007.

Ever since great economic upheaval sent American buyers fleeing in increasing numbers into the arms of crossovers and SUV, the Lexus sedan that created tsunami-like ripples through the luxury car field in 1990 has seen its customer base erode. Just 5,514 U.S. buyers saw fit to take an LS home in 2016.

Could a redesign bordering on the radical be the medicine the LS so desperately needs? (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2017

2018 ford f-150

Being on top doesn’t mean a company can take its customer base for granted. Not satisfied with basking in the goodwill generated by the F-150’s best-selling status, Ford Motor Company has unveiled a refreshed 2018 model and a host of new hardware upgrades.

While the upcoming F-150 sports an evolutionary facelift, it’s what’s under the hood that stands to tempt a new range of buyers. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

ff_91_exterior_8

One year after Faraday Future (FF) revealed its futuristic and racy FFZERO1 concept, the company has pulled back the curtain on its first production car.

The FF 91 is cut from cloth similar to the recently revealed Lucid Air. Both cars are being built by California-based, Chinese-backed companies. And both are scheduled to follow Tesla into the EV Super Sedan market as Trump’s first term hits its midpoint. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

New Civic Type R Prototype breaks cover in Paris

An optional CVT, to be clear.

We all know true motoring — as Mother Nature intended — should involve the manual changing of one’s own gears, but even scrappy, youth-infected Honda knows that stick shifts are not the way to have customers beat down your doors.

Hence the availability of a traditionally tepid transmission in its upcoming Civic Type R. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2016

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Once a juggernaut, Hyundai’s recent sales and financial performance hasn’t kept pace with its lofty post-recession boom. The automaker now finds itself in one of the weakest positions in the industry for growth, all thanks to rising costs and a product lineup that doesn’t meet consumer demand.

To patch the holes and regain momentum, Hyundai has taken on some seemingly desperate cost-cutting measures. In this all-out scramble for profits, last week’s firing of its American CEO is just the tip of the iceberg. (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2016

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

How many small sedans from one manufacturer can the market handle?

That’s the question being asked in the wake of a report that claims Mercedes-Benz has a new small sedan planned for both overseas and North American markets. According to Autocar, the German automaker will soon debut an A-Class sedan to fill the narrow gap between the CLA and C-Class.

Low-end Mercedes buyers are about to be spoiled for choice. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2016

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Image: Mitsubishi

After inking the deal that brought Mitsubishi Motors under his corporate umbrella, Nissan-Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition would have a “massive” impact on the struggling automaker.

By sharing the alliance’s technology, platforms and engines, Mitsubishi can look forward to a brighter, product-filled future, he claimed. Full integration is still years away, but a new report sheds some light on the first all-new product born of the $2.29 billion deal. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2016

Lucid Reveal

Wednesday night, in a nondescript warehouse southeast of San Francisco, Lucid Motors revealed its first car, and the almost-production ready Air has far more to offer than its name implies. This low slung sedan is a head turning, headline-grabbing car offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range.

(Read More…)

By on December 9, 2016

Normal, Illinois (Ross Griff/Flickr)

An abandoned assembly plant in Normal, Illinois, could once again become a beehive of car-building activity.

Opened in 1988 as a collaborative effort between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, the plant served as headquarters for a great 1980s corporate relic — Diamond-Star Motors. In its heyday, the facility dutifully cranked out Plymouth Lasers, Mitsubishi Eclipses, and Eagle Talons, before Chrysler lost interest in the 50-50 deal.

Turned over to Mitsubishi in 1995, the plant soldiered on after Diamond-Star Motors bit the dust. What followed was a parade of forgettable nameplates — Mitsubishi Mirage, Eagle Summit, even the Dodge Stratus Coupe — before a final shutdown earlier this year eliminated the last of 1,250 jobs and production of the Outlander Sport.

Now, the 2.4 million square foot plant could soon be home to a shadowy new tenant. (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

opel-insignia-grand-sport-304401

General Motors’ European subsidiary Opel has pulled the wraps off its next-generation Insignia flagship, giving us a damn good preview of the next Buick Regal.

Lower, longer and wider in the grand American tradition, the 2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport should premier at the Geneva Motor Show in March, shortly before GM reveals its stateside twin — the 2018 Regal — in New York. That model, we’re told, should arrive with greater powertrain and body style choice than before.

Will the redesign breathe new life into Buick’s overlooked midsizer? (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

2018 Toyota Camry (Image: Toyota)

Midsize cars just don’t excite like they used to. North American buyers have happily made the switch to voluminous crossovers and SUVs, turning the once top-ranked segment into a raisin on the vine.

Toyota hopes to change that, announcing that next month’s North American International Auto Show will reveal the next generation of the first midsizer off anyone’s lips — Camry. Perhaps realizing that name recognition and safe styling is no longer a surefire plan for sales dominance, the automaker has scheduled its uber-sensible sedan for an image makeover. (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2016

Untitled

We’ve got a pretty clear picture of what the upcoming Kia GT sports sedan will look like (thanks to this pretty clear picture of a pre-production model), but Kia wants us to look inside.

In advance of the model’s unveiling, the Korean automaker hopes to boost cardiac BPMs by releasing a high-RPM video of the model on Germany’s famed Nürburgring. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2016

Fo

The next-generation Ford Fiesta had its coming out party at a corporate event in Cologne, Germany today, and there’s no mistaking the updated B-segment runabout.

Ford clearly wasn’t willing to mess with the exterior too much, but changes abound on the 2018 model year Fiesta. That includes an industry-first advancement made to its available three-cylinder motor. (Read More…)

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