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By on November 20, 2019

When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.

It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.

For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush.  Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

2018 Kia Stinger - Image: Kia

Kia earned applause for being ballsy enough to launch a rear-drive sports sedan at a time when buyers were heading in the other direction. Don’t go, Kia said, we’ve got a more affordable option for traditional driving!

Rear- or all-wheel drive greeted buyers looking for something fresh, with four- or six-cylinder power doing the motivating. Since its late-2017 arrival, the Stinger’s sales have fallen off a bit from last year’s tally, when it sold in low but consistent numbers. For 2020, the brand may be looking to reduce build configurations.

That means less four-cylinder choice and the removal of the model’s entry-level model. Apparently, this won’t cause much pain to your wallet. Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

After years of rumors and real-world development, Aston Martin has finally joined the SUV crew. Among its members these days? Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, and Jaguar, with the likes of Lotus and Ferrari eager to join this high-riding posse of automotive misfits.

The DBX is a two-row utility vehicle boasting a profile you can find elsewhere in the industry and an engine sourced from the Germans. It’s a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 borrowed from AMG, and it motivates this largest-ever Aston with 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Price? If you need to ask, you cannot afford. Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

pt cruiserIn our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.

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By on November 20, 2019

toyota

It seems the automotive industry has learned that the instant torque and potency potential afforded by electric motors can be a selling feature all its own, relegating the usual save-the-planet messaging to the back burner. Even the traditionally staid and sensible Toyota is getting in on the game.

Not just Toyota, but even the RAV4 — a compact and newly revamped crossover most often associated with placid nuclear families boasting at least one parent who works for the public sector. Toyota is eager to tell you that an upcoming variant, revealed this week at the L.A. Auto Show, will get you to 60 mph quicker than any RAV4 that came before.

And it’ll do so without using gas. Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

How much content can we milk out of the new Mustang Mach-E? Plenty, as it turns out.

When this EV hits the streets next year, it’ll be offered in several different trims. By definition, there must be a base model, right? Absolutely. And, in this case, it is called the Select (cue raging Lincoln loyalists). This post isn’t to acquit the Mach-E or Ford’s decision to call the thing a Mustang. Rather, it’s to see if the cheapest version has enough equipment to warrant a look when it shows up in a few months.

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By on November 20, 2019

Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring

Lincoln’s been a bit of a resurgent brand of late, and the newest crossover for future Matthew McConaughey commercials is the Corsair Grand Touring.

This plug-in hybrid crossover has electric all-wheel drive (read: electric drive motors provide most of the power to the wheels) and will give Lincoln a second PHEV offering, following the introduction of the Aviator Grand Touring.

A 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder mates with an electric motor to provide what Lincoln is targeting as 266 system horsepower. The brand’s aim? “More than” 25 miles of all-electric range.

Read More >

By on November 20, 2019

Silly naming convention aside – what’s with the misplace period and the dual z’s/zeds, Volkswagen? – the Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept is meant to preview something sleek.

A drag coefficient of 0.24 is nothing to sneeze at, indeed. Had my crappy CAD designs gotten that sort of number in eighth grade, perhaps I’ve have earned an A and would be designing cars instead of writing about them.

Ahem.

Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

nissan

With America now fully retreated from the compact car space, Japan is left holding the bag in a dwindling market. For two automakers — Honda and Toyota — the abandonment of the compact car market has added wind to slackening sails, but their gain comes at the expense of other players. Nissan is one of those players.

With its next-generation Sentra, Nissan hopes to steal from its rivals’ plates and amass a bigger slice of the pie. Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

audi

And then there were two. Volkswagen Group, which is leading the (mainstream) charge on vehicle electrification, has a second high-end electric vehicle to tempt cozy greenies, and like its sibling, its styling aims to comfort, not repel.

The Audi E-Tron Sportback (“e-tron” Sportback in Audi parlance) is a slightly more curvaceous, sportier version of the E-Tron two-row crossover that began appearing earlier this year. Like that model, the Sportback doesn’t turn away traditional premium buyers with Jetsons-like styling and overbearing nods to the technology that lurks beneath its surface. It’s all-electric, yes, but you’d hardly know it from standing next to one. Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

Back before we had standards and practices barring tainted food from store shelves, there was a colossal stretch of history when you could buy discounted meat that was well past its best-buy date. The older the cheaper.

These days, those kinds of discounts really only apply to inedible items — like cars. But you don’t have to suffer any of the ramifications of eating thrice-cooked, spoiled meats when you get a car that the manufacturer decides is no longer fit for human consumption. Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

Alfa Romeo’s Giulia and Stelvio will receive a mid-cycle refresh for the 2020 model year. As is the norm with Italian models, the changes are being referenced by Western media as a sexification providing erotic pleasure to the eyes. In truth, Fiat Chrysler is simply offering both models with optional appearance kits and freshened interiors.

Then again, perhaps the true measure of automotive sexiness is finding a model you want to spend all of your spare time inside — as that’s often the benchmark with human beings.

Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

gm

Yes, that’s the name of an old Ford engine with double the cylinder count as the subject of this piece, but it’s still a great name. As for the star of this show, Buick’s upcoming Encore GX is a tweener vehicle imported from the other side of the Pacific to fill a gap between the existing Encore and the larger Envision. It’s a gap not many people took notice of, but it’s one GM is nonetheless choosing to fill in its Buick and Chevrolet lineups.

As splashier products land at the L.A. Auto Show, the automaker has filled in a few information gaps on its first-ever three-pot Buick. Read More >

By on November 19, 2019

Rare Rides broached the subject of Merkur in the past with a very clean XR4Ti. Today we have a look at Merkur’s only other offering — the luxurious liftback called Scorpio.

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By on November 19, 2019

Just when you thought the gas war couldn’t get any wilder, California has announced it will ban the purchase of any vehicle manufactured by a company that doesn’t explicitly recognize the state’s ability to set its own emission regulations.

Starting in January, California plans to purchase any-and-all government fleet vehicles from only Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen Group — companies that backed a voluntary agreement to adhere to the state’s emission rules over the summer. The pact is now the subject of a federal antitrust probe.

Any automaker publicly supporting a single national standard (or having recently expressed support for the Trump administration’s fuel rollback proposal) will be deemed ineligible for fleet consideration. “Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. Read More >

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