By on January 24, 2017

all-new-mitsubishi-suv-to-debut-at-the-2017-geneva-motor-show

A few tech-conscious Americans are still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the capable and big-in-Europe Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — a plug-in crossover introduced in 2014 — to arrive on these fair shores.

Everyone else, however, has had ample time to scratch that compact crossover itch with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Dodge Journey (the midsize priced like a compact), and a host of others. A lesser proportion of buyers opted for the smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (aka RVR in Canada).

Crossovers and SUVs aren’t just big — they’re essential. Without them, automakers are left shaking the money tap to loosen a few extra drops of cash. Well, Mitsubishi doesn’t want to shake the tap anymore. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2017

Just as geese fly south in the winter, metal conducts electricity, and tides rise and fall at the will of the moon, a luxury-laden SUV that rivals yachts for sticker price is guaranteed by all of science to become a premium brand’s best-seller.

After seeing the stunning success of the once-unthinkable Bentley Bentayga, what other conclusion could the folks at Mercedes-Benz draw? Carving out a stratospheric utility vehicle niche well above a brand’s high water mark means money falling from the sky. Period.

Naturally, Stuttgart wants in on the action. Like any rational competitor, the company now plans to tart up an existing SUV, slap on a Mercedes-Maybach badge, and sit back to await the arrival of the money train. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Beetle

Rumors of the Volkswagen Beetle’s demise are either greatly exaggerated, or right on point. The Model languishes on the low end of the sales scale, hamstrung by a retro design that shuns updates and the public’s dwindling enthusiasm for compact cars.

Still, there exists fans of the model, even inside the scandal-shaken and SUV-fixated company. No one loves the Beetle more than VW design head Klaus Bischoff, who claims the model is his favorite in all Volkswagendom (um, have you seen the Atlas, Klaus?). So great is his love for the Beetle that Bischoff is urging VW to spare the model the axe and stimulate interest through a new method of propulsion.

A report suggests that top brass might be listening. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

ford-mustang-gt-convertible-ingot-silver

Okay, it certainly wasn’t hard to imagine the upcoming 2018 Mustang sans roof, but here it is.

No, there’s no retractable hardtop or innovative Mazda MX-3-esque retractable fastback to be found on the upcoming convertible, as that might be a little too high-minded for the Blue Oval. As well, lower price points are a pony car tradition. (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2017

volkswagen i.d. buzz concept

If we’re to believe a source inside Volkswagen, 2022 could bring a latter-day Summer of Love.

The company’s latest Microbus concept — the eye-rollingly named I.D. Buzz — might not stay a concept for long, an insider claims, stirring hope in eco-conscious Germanophiles and fans of the original hippie wagon. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang

After luring journalists away from last week’s Detroit auto show for a sneak peak, Ford is ready to show the world its new 2018 Mustang.

That face. Online backlash was moderate to severe when leaked b-roll footage of the new ‘Stang appeared online last night, with some wags claiming the updated model must be unhappy. Beneath the downturned face, however, there’s a host of upgrades designed to satisfy performance-minded enthusiasts.

On that front, ‘Stang purists can breathe a sigh of relief. The 5.0-liter Coyote V8, rumored to be replaced by a 4.8-liter unit, won’t disappear after all. But one long-running engine choice had to skip this party to attend its own funeral. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept - Image: Hyundai

Two years have passed since Hyundai dropped the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept at 2015’s North American International Auto Show.

A small, stylish, affordable, diesel-powered trucklet? Give’er the green light, the internet says.

Hyundai has consistently supplied plenty of information in the 24 months since the truck’s debut to stoke Santa Cruz-oriented hype. “There is a very high probability we get the approval of the truck soon,” now-departed Hyundai USA boss Dave Zuchowski said 20 months ago.

Soon? Clearly not.

Acknowledging Hyundai is “working as hard as we can to make it happen,” Hyundai’s vice president of corporate and product planning, Mike O’Brien, told Car And Driver that Hyundai is still not entirely certain the Santa Cruz is bound for production. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Company and its Kia affiliate are starting off the New Year with a promise to float barges full of cash to U.S. shores.

The automaker has announced a plan to funnel $3.1 billion into its American operations over the next five years, handily killing two birds with one stone. Not only would it (potentially) placate President-elect Donald Trump’s thirst for non-Mexican automotive investment, it would also fix a thorny problem facing Hyundai’s vehicle lineup. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

2018 Lexus LS

The next-generation Lexus LS flagship’s top-to-bottom revamp took some fans by surprise when it was revealed ahead of the Detroit auto show. Not only did it do away with a formal roofline, a V8 engine — which has powered the model since its inception — was no where to be found, replaced by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6.

It appeared as if convention wasn’t the only thing Lexus planned to ditch, as a hybrid model was neither announced, nor teased. As it turns out, Lexus did tease an upcoming hybrid variant — we just needed to look closer. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

2016 Honda Civic Sedan - Image: Honda

The first Honda Civic made its way to the United States during the Nixon administration. Honda began building Civics in the United States in 1986. Two years later, Honda of Canada Manufacturing began Civic production, as well.

In 2016, with an assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana, and Alliston, Ontario, Honda is building more than 38,000 Civics per month in North America.

Yet seven years after Honda discontinued the Civic in its Japanese home market, Civic production is returning to Japan.

Civic sales resume in Japan this summer, and some of those Japanese-built Civics, Automotive News reports, might make their way to America. (Read More…)

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…)

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