By on May 22, 2017

2018 outback

With the exception of Mazda and — until its Outlander PHEV finally lands on U.S. shores — Mitsubishi, Subaru remains one of very few automakers to completely eschew electrified powertrains.

Despite lacking any fully electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid model (the unloved Crosstrek Hybrid met a quiet death last year), Subaru’s U.S. customer base continues to expand at a rapid clip, but a gas-only strategy can’t survive forever. Environmental regulations the world over insist Subaru should follow the lead of its rivals and build something without pistons.

Well, Subaru plans to. However, unlike many of its rivals, the automaker has indicated it might take a different path towards this goal. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai, which found itself lagging behind its rivals in the lucrative crossover and SUV market and figured it should do something about it, is having trouble getting its desperately needed subcompact crossover into production.

The 2018 Kona, which we’ve so far seen only a portion of, is part of a better-late-than-never product push by the Korean automaker. A new small crossover was needed to to mine a growing segment and boost Hyundai’s flagging U.S. sales, but the reality of building cars in Korea has thrown up a roadblock. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

[Image: Nissan]

It won’t come with a minimum of 808 horsepower, nor will there be a crate to turn it into a dragster. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles raised the bar on how to intrigue fans (and annoy journalists) with its weekly pre-reveal teasers for the Dodge Challenger Demon, and who is Nissan to ignore FCA’s success?

The Japanese automaker has embarked on a summertime teaser campaign leading up to the unveiling of the next-generation Leaf “later this year.” Back in March, Nissan tweeted that the new Leaf would appear at a global launch event in September before going on sale before the end of the year.

So, what lies in store for the long-in-the-tooth electric’s replacement? (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

Volvo D4

Volvo Cars is prepared to lower the curtain on diesel engines. Rising standards for nitrogen oxide emissions — and the cost associated with reducing them — has guided the automaker away from oil burners and into the loving arms of gasoline. “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines,” CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

That is not to suggest Volvo won’t get some serious mileage out of its last batch of diesels, though. The automaker has no plans to abandon the motors outright, suggesting it could march onward with its current lineup for at least a few more years. Diesels would also help Volvo meet corporate fuel economy targets while it gets new super-economical electric powerplants ready for market.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler Hurricane Turbo Spy Shot, Image: © 2016 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

Should you expect Ford Fusion levels of engine choice in the next-generation Jeep Wrangler? A new report claims yes, you should.

A source who claims connections at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant has told Jalopnik the upcoming 2018 model will host six engines, but a rational take on the matter would suggest readers not get their hopes up — at least, not in the U.S. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 front – Image: Mini USA

Forget all about a Mini sedan, roadster, or even an extra-small two-seat hatchback. The British automaker isn’t having any of it.

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Mini has no immediate plans to diversify its current lineup, preferring to wait until the next-generation Mini rolls along before going nuts (if indeed it ever does). In the meantime, are you interested in a crossover or near-crossover? (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

[Image: Autohome.com.cn]

The crossover is king and Cadillac doesn’t have nearly enough of them. As it works to correct that problem, the automaker hasn’t completely forgotten about the segment that once made it the first name in American automotive opulence.

As many of its models are now global, it’s not surprising our first view of the refreshed Cadillac XTS front-wheel-drive sedan hails from China — General Motors’ main growth engine. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

[Image: BMW AG]

It once sat at the pinnacle of BMW’s model podium, but cutting-edge technology, German opulence and a choice of eight or twelve cylinders couldn’t keep the 8 Series in production. It was only rival Mercedes-Benz’s decision to push the S-Class into the luxury stratosphere that compelled the Munich automaker to consider climbing the luxury ladder again.

Now, a year after the automaker trademarked a slew of 8 Series model names and insider sources assured us of its return, BMW has officially confirmed it. The 8 Series will reappear next year. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

mazda cx-5

Diesel power has traditionally proved a tough sell in the United States, at least among light-vehicle buyers. If it doesn’t belong on a worksite, chances are a vehicle’s engine choices have remained gasoline-only since the model’s debut.

While the high-mileage technology suffered a black, sooty eye from the Volkswagen affair, several automakers are gambling on Americans want of higher torque figures and improved fuel economy — the rosy promises of diesel motivation. Mazda, the only automaker without a hybrid or electric vehicle in its stable, plans to add a diesel CX-5 to its gas-only U.S. fleet later this year.

The automaker knows exactly how many it wants Americans to buy. If this litmus test on wheels reaches the pre-determined mark, expect to see more zoom-zoom diesels appearing in local showrooms. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

toyota camry

Even as it develops efficient new platforms and streamlines its operation where it can, Toyota finds itself against the ropes as a falling yen and rising costs sends profits tumbling. Its end-of-fiscal-year financial statements, released today, are enough to send bean counters to the medicine cabinet in search of antacid, while the company’s president warns of more trouble ahead.

To Akio Toyoda, the increasingly gloomy picture has all the hallmarks of a failing sports team. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

2017 Nissan Qashqai - Image: Nissan Canada

#SaveTheManuals?

Nissan USA will not. In changing the name of the pre-facelift Qashqai upon its import from Kyushu, Japan, Nissan has determined a manual transmission does not meet the requirements of the U.S. market. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission, the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport has a starting price of $22,360.

Yet north of the border, Nissan Canada has determined that the Rogue Sport — which keeps the Qashqai name in Canada — ought to be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Not only a boon for small crossover buyers keen on maintaining a level of interactivity during the morning commute, the manual transmission drops the CAD base price by $2,000.

The result is a Nissan Rogue Sport, or rather a Nissan Qashqai, at a USD-equivalent MSRP of just $15,850. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2017

[Image: Volkswagen/YouTube]

Lost amid the automaker’s newfound focus on bringing as many utility vehicles to global customers as possible, Volkswagen’s stalwart Jetta soldiers on without a diesel option, wearing more or less the same duds it donned for 2011. A mild — some would say unnoticeable — refresh came in 2016, but the Jetta’s U.S. sales have continued to slide at a remarkably steady rate ever since the current generation’s debut.

Naturally, Volkswagen wants to arrest the plunge. As part of its newly crafted product strategy, the automaker plans to find time for a new Jetta among all the crossovers. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace - Image: Jaguar

Ralf Speth isn’t having it. Across Europe governments are cracking down on the use of diesel vehicles in a bid to lower air pollution, especially in the Jaguar Land Rover CEO’s own country. London has announced plans to levy stiff charges on anyone driving a diesel-powered vehicle through central areas of the capital starting in early 2019, adding fuel to the anti-diesel fire. Paris, Berlin and Athens also plan to ban the technology.

With compression ignition still a significant part of the automaker’s engine lineup — both in Europe and North America — Speth recently defended the technology’s importance in a finger-pointing spiel. The world needs diesel, he claimed, and the media (and Volkswagen) haven’t done anything to help the situation. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas yellow front quarter on road

Volkswagen Group’s core brand has targeted an end to profit losses in the North America by the end of the decade, setting its break-even point for 2020. Central themes of the plan are dependent on cost cutting measures and higher-margin SUV models it believes will bring it back from emissions scandal purgatory. In its most recent announcement, VW continued to tout electric vehicles as an inevitable key focus by 2025, but hasn’t lifted the veil on all that entails.

In the short term, however, Volkswagen is promising the “biggest product offensive in its history,” with ten new models coming this year alone. In actuality the number is half that, as five of those vehicles are updated versions of existing models. The real number could be even smaller if VW is counting the Atlas/Teramont as separate vehicles; the same goes for the two wheelbases of the Tiguan. And, based on the information it provided us, that does appear to be the case.  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

tvr griffith

It’s exciting times for the independent British automaker. TVR, which reappeared on the automotive scene in 2013 after an absence of seven years, plans to unveil a production sports car in September.

Apparently, many TVR aficionados were itching for an opportunity to get their hands on a boutique vehicle from the low-volume automaker, money in hand. When the company showcased a prototype at a private event, hundreds ponied up deposits for a vehicle that might appear bearing a familiar name. (Read More…)

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