By on April 17, 2019

Genesis Motors revealed a small city car in The Big Apple this week. However, the model’s debut wasn’t part of the daily goings-on at the New York International Auto Show. Instead, the company decided to unveil the Mint Concept at Hudson Yards, ahead of the trade show’s official press days — utilizing terms like “urban icon” and “reductive versatility” while somehow expecting to be taken seriously.

“As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective,” Manfred Fitzgerald, Genesis’ executive vice president, said at the vehicle’s introduction. “Mint belongs in the city, and we are proud to introduce our evolution of the ideal city car in New York.”

This is the kind of industrial-grade nonsense your author absolutely despises. However, I am elated Genesis did this, as it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to be exceptionally critical of a Korean brand. Outside of Hyundai’s Nexo, the country’s been on a hot streak lately. It’s wonderful to be able to prove that I’m still an unpleasant crankshaft without bias.  (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Audi’s pitching more than just new models at Auto Shanghai this month; it’s promoting a new way to drive. The AI:ME Concept is a summonable, self-driving urban electric, aimed at reshaping the company’s business model — or at least examining that possibility. While Audi refers to the vehicle as a highly specialized premium automobile that can be ordered as needed and offers “extensive possibilities for individualization as part of an on-demand offer,” the company also noted the AI:ME “need not pass into permanent personal ownership.”

The automaker was careful not to use the phrase, but these vehicles would operate under a loosely defined subscription or rental model where customers book a car via their smartphone or computer, stipulating how they need it to be configured for their journey. From there, the vehicle makes its way to the designated pickup point and applies the final adjustments based on previously established seating, climate, lighting, entertainment, and control preferences. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2019

Right now, Volkswagen’s electric womb is holding onto a full litter. While we’ve long assumed that only a limited selection of its offspring will be birthed into the world to take their place within its I.D. sub-brand, it’s beginning to look as though most will make the cut. Its sixth prospective offspring, the I.D. Roomzz, was teased earlier this month — coming across as your standard concept EV. However, the vehicle that’s being shown off at Auto Shanghai is much closer to being production-ready than we had guessed.

The crossover (minivan?) the automaker is displaying in Asia has two rows of bucket seats, providing space for just four, but Volkswagen is saying the production version will have three rows and could furnish up to eight occupants if bench seats are optioned for the second and third rows. Access is granted through a full set of sliding doors, which we doubt will make it into production. But it’s okay to dream.  (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2019

Faraday Future is my favorite automaker and it’s not because they build the best cars. With the exception of a few prototypes of the FF91, Faraday hasn’t really built much of anything. But I’ve become enamored with the story of a mysterious automotive company, funded by a controversial Chinese backer, that continues to defy the odds by just surviving — despite a long history of ridiculous mistakes, financial shortfalls, and missed production targets. For me, its been a suitable substitute for soap operas.

The last time we checked in on Faraday, it had just broken ties with its savior-turned-destructor Evergrande.  The company announced in January that it had agreed to restructure its $2 billion investment in FF and that both parties had acquiesced to drop all litigation against each other. Now Faraday is back with a new joint partnership and a new model — a minivan straight out of a late 20th century sci-fi flick.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2019

Image: Kia Motors

When your author hears the word “Masterpiece,” his mind conjures up images of a coveted line of K-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, one of which still exists on the market. Kia’s not thinking about guns, though the themes of toughness, precision, and premium appeal carry over to the automotive world.

Masterpiece is the name applied to one of two Kia concept SUVs unveiled Thursday at the Seoul Motor Show, but it’s the second of the two vehicles that might be most relevant to North American buyers. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2019

Despite the growing importance of crossover vehicles, Acura is one of the few automakers that has not abandoned its commitment to sedans. It intends to prove that by bringing a production-ready vehicle, based heavily on the 2016 Precision Concept (seen above), to Pebble Beach this summer.

The car will also signal Acura’s entry into a new era of styling, underpinned by muscular shapes offset with inorganic angles — sort of like a sexy robot. If you want sense of what that looks like, and are made uncomfortable by the notion of having to Google the words “sexy robot,” contrast the 2018 RDX with the 2019 model to get a taste of Acura’s updated design language(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2019

Kia’s much-teased EV concept turned out to be less attractive and more serious than we initially assumed. Following an announcement suggesting the vehicle’s wild arrangement of 21 interior screens was a humorous jab at industry trends, the automaker officially debuted the car at the Geneva Motor Show. Styled at the company’s European design centre in Frankfurt, the “Imagine by Kia” concept manifested into a slightly puffy crossover serving as an exercise in design.

In the end, Imagine is guilty of some of the show car sins Kia seemed to be railing against. For starters, it uses a single sheet of glass for the windscreen and roof, features rear-hinged doors at the back, rides on bespoke Goodyear tires, and hosts the ever-popular menagerie of interior displays.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Subaru has unveiled yet another concept wearing the Viziv name. This time it’s called the “Adrenaline” and appears to foreshadow the next Crosstrek. Styling is suitably wild for a show vehicle, but enough of Subaru’s current design language remains to make us believe the model isn’t terribly far away from a production model.

However, no one can say anything definitive. Subaru provided no indication that the vehicle is anything other than an opportunity to test its new design concept — a spin-off of its earlier “Dynamic x Solid” styling theory, which the manufacturer calls the “BOLDER” design philosophy. Bolder is the word for it, too, because the vehicle features a pretty wild roof design and some of the most aggressive panel protection we’ve ever seen on a vehicle not entering a combat zone.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Image: Mitsubishi Motors

It might not be your author’s cup of tea, but Mitsubishi’s Engelberg Tourer — a crossover show vehicle whose name sounds like that of a nagged German child — is the face the resurgent brand wants to put forward.

It’s also a good hint at what we can expect from the next-generation Outlander, once Mitsu gets around to revamping its largest model. (Read More…)

By on February 19, 2019

Automakers across the globe are readying teaser images for models they intend to debut at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show next month. For Subaru, that means the latest addition to its Viziv line of concept vehicles.

While initial Viziv concepts were highly conceptual designs, the line has gradually evolved to deliver models more in line with Subaru’s production vehicles. The 2016 Viziv-7 ultimately led to the creation of the Ascent and both the 2017 Viziv Performance Concept and 2018 Tourer Concept appear to directly foreshadow future incarnations of the WRX. But the new concept is an unknown quantity.  (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2019

Mitsubishi is too busy turning the brand around to bother trickling out newsworthy content to the media. Much of what you read in the press relates to how the brand is doing as the newest addition to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, hot takes regarding its marketing decisions, and the occasional update from auto executives on future products. For the most part, the latter issue can be paraphrased into “more utility models as soon as we can get them to you,” though the company does have limited aspirations for a new sedan and pickup.

However, crossovers come first at Mitsubishi. On Tuesday, the brand put out the initial teaser for its Engelberg Tourer Concept — an ultra-modern CUV with off-road ambitions headed for a debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2019

Image: Toyota

Late last year, Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz suggested the automaker, after taking stock of its inventory, might cut some struggling product from its store shelves. It now seems on the verge of adding a new one.

Bound for a Detroit debut, the company’s Lexus LC Convertible Concept is not a way-out pipe dream unveiled by an automaker hoping to generate buzz with an inch-deep piece of vaporware. Instead, it is simply the division’s high-zoot LC coupe, sans roof. And all of the wording surrounding the car screams that production is nearly inevitable — so long as the public responds favorably. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2019

Hyundai kicked off the New Year by teasing a concept vehicle it claims can tackle just about any terrain in a manner befitting Inspector Gadget. That’s because it’s time for the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is the premiere event for showcasing half-baked and incomplete technological marvels in a desperate effort to titillate investors and tech fetishists.

For Hyundai, that meant rolling out computer-generated images of Project Elevate and its Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) after a few days of gentle teasing. Normally, I wouldn’t touch a topic like this if I wasn’t planning on making fun of it — which is what I intend to do here. But before getting too deep into the ridicule, there’s an important takeaway to be made: This lack of vision might herald the final days of mobility-based marketing.  (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2019


If you’re of a certain age, you’ll probably recall the Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept revealed at the 2005 North American International Auto Show after a brief stint as a clay model. Having already introduced the Shelby Cobra Concept as the hypothetical successor to the American roadster inspired by the original AC Cobra in 2004, Ford wanted a follow-up. The end result was the GR-1, which bore a striking resemblance to one of the best-looking cars ever assembled — at least from this author’s perspective: the Shelby Daytona.

Unfortunately, Ford never built the GR-1, as it was tied up finalizing the first-generation GT. We thought we’d never see one on the streets but, as it turns out, we were wrong. Superformance, an aftermarket company based in Irvine, California that specializes in vintage Ford race replicas or continuation cars, has picked up the torch. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2019

“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.

The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face. (Read More…)

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