By on April 5, 2019

Image: Karma Automotive

With the recent loss of the Chevrolet Volt, the term “range-extended electric vehicle” risks going the way of the passenger pigeon, closing the door on the era in which automakers tried to lure nervous buyers into an *almost* electric car that contained a gasoline engine only for sporadic electricity generation. The Volt had this system, the BMW i3 REx still does (but not in Europe), and the glitzy Fisker Karma popularized the term among the Hollywood elite.

The Karma met a swift end, yet lives on under a slightly altered name, all thanks to Chinese dollars. A new version of the exact same car — the Revero, sold by Karma Automotive — appeared in 2016. The California-based, Wanxiang Group-owned Karma is a low-production automaker, flinging out a few hundred examples of the Revero each year for the tidy sum of $130,000. The current car kept its GM-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder generator, which feeds two powerful rear-mounted electric motors. Combined power is 403 horsepower and a stump-pulling 981 lb-ft of torque.

As it prepares to debut a revamped Revero at Auto Shanghai 2019, Karma has detailed some changes to its ultra-lux green car. For starters, GM got the boot in favor of BMW. (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 December 10, 2018

Has the crossover craze taken another victim? Or is it just simply a case of a rare body style not drawing sales?

It’s not like wagons (with some exceptions — ahem, Subaru) were selling like gangbusters before the current crossover trend took off.

Still, the BMW 3 Series wagon has garnered attention from enthusiasts in search of utility. But, alas, it appears that the next-generation 3 Series won’t be sold with a wagon variant, at least not in these United States.

(Read More…)

By on March 29, 2018

2018 Acura RLXOur last few entries in the Buy/Drive/Burn series have been stuck in the 1990s, and we’ve had a request recently to talk about something a bit newer, perhaps even… current. While you recover from your immediate shock, I can assure you we aren’t going completely mainstream. No talking about boring everyday things. No, these three will likely all qualify as Rare Rides subjects in the future, assuming I’m 70 years old and there’s still an Internet media (hopefully there isn’t).

Three untouchable large sedans, all of them trading on their luxury intentions. Remember, you only get to burn one, and one has to go home to your garage.

(Read More…)

By on January 10, 2018

Have you driven a Ford, lately? I haven’t — but Ford has nonetheless been on my mind. Last week, my QOTD inquired about the upcoming Bronco, and whether Ford would mess up the established Bronco formula. The majority of you seem to think they will. That same day, we ran a post about the cancellation of a Fusion redesign.

And that’s left me with even more Ford questions, and fears about future Fusion fates. Let’s discuss.

(Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

subaru-viziv-1

Hoping to make a big splash at next month’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru will showcase two limited editions of its most-sporting models and one that will probably end up being the next-generation WRX or Legacy. Called the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, the vehicle appears to be an abstract vision of what is arguably the company’s most famous automobile — or its more-dignified brother.

As a modern day concept car, Subaru has dubbed the machine a “semiautonomous performance concept sedan” — which could indicate a bevy of new driving aids. But, since the automaker isn’t too specific as to what those might be, we’re focusing on its shape for now.

First impressions? It’s incredibly wide-looking. So wide that you can actually see the outline of the tires, which appear to have some pretty aggressive negative camber. However, this could be an optical illusion, as a secondary photo highlights some extremely unique wheel arches. Rearward slats seem to be an aesthetic choice while little fins on the top could be indicative of something more functional. Perhaps a sensor to monitor blind spots or something in aid of aerodynamics? Your guess is as good as ours. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT V8 - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company, in a tremendously public product planning moment, revealed at the beginning of 2017 that the automaker would produce an F-150 Hybrid, Transit plug-in hybrid, and a Mustang Hybrid by 2020.

Then-CEO Mark Fields said at the time, “Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles.” But now that Ford revealed plans for the 2020 Mustang Hybrid, the Blue Oval has a three-year gap in which to talk about a car that doesn’t yet exist.

How to talk about it now, three years prior to launch? Ford Canada is placing promoted ads on Twitter that are endlessly popping up in my feed.

The Mustang Hybrid is not shown. But the future earns a prominent mention. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2017

2018 Subaru WRX STI and WRX - Image: Subaru

Even thought Subaru’s new Impreza is already here and riding on the company’s new global platform, an updated WRX appears to be a long way off. In fact, it might be another three years until we see an updated performance sedan from the (mostly) all-wheel-drive automaker.

While the current incarnations of the WRX and its hotter STI variant still provide balanced dynamics and remain well liked by driving enthusiasts, seven years without a significant upgrade is a long time to wait. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2017

hyundai-kona-teaser

Hyundai has teased its entry into the subcompact crossover segment in the past but only acknowledged that it would have at least one thin LED headlamp, be called the Kona, and finally serve round out the company’s SUV lineup. On Friday, the company released another teaser to give us a better sense of what the little crossover will actually look like.

For starters, the thin LED strips are now running lamps positioned above the vehicle’s actual headlights, à la Nissan Juke. However, Hyundai appears to have accomplished it in a much more understated manner than Nissan. Unlike the Juke, the Kona has its light strips running just below the hood opening and very near the actual illumination sources. It’s a lot less funky, but should be interesting enough to set it apart from the rest of the segment — an important consideration, as there’s much more stylistic variation between subcompact crossovers than between their compact equivalents.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2017

All Porsche 911 Turbos - Image: Porsche

Meet the new Porsche 911, Porsche will say in two years, same as the old Porsche 911. Same as the 911 before that, which was same as the old 911 before that and, well, you get the picture.

If you’re looking for the kind of revolutionary design changeover seen when Ford introduced a new Mustang in 2005 or Dodge unveiled a new Ram for 1994 or Hyundai debuted the 2011 Sonata, you’re looking at the wrong automaker.

This is the Porsche 911 we’re talking about, the car that causes other automakers to believe they, too, can merely tinker with existing models to please loyalists and protect their resale values. (We’re looking at you, Chevrolet Camaro.) This is the Porsche 911, a car that still carries its engine where Camrys carry groceries. This is the Porsche 911, a vibrant $90,450–201,450 ode to success that sells more often than budget-minded Toyota sports cars and Buick convertibles.

There’s absolutely no reason to change it. As a result, the Porsche 911 that will drop in 2019, CAR Magazine has revealed, will scarcely be distinguishable from the outgoing 911. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

Hyundai-IDEO Health Cockpit Project - Mental State 3

The stresses of everyday commuting and travel can really get to you. All that time wasted while idling in traffic. Stomping your brakes as another driver makes a left on a red light directly in front of you. Or perhaps sitting behind someone in the left lane of the freeway, puttering along at 57 miles per hour. You can finish your journey much more triggered than when you set off.

Hyundai understands the frustration you experience with other drivers, and they’re preparing to offer their own brand of sedative if necessary.

(Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Jaguar logo

Jaguar is giving the F-Pace a baby brother and, unfortunately, it is going to continue the company’s terrible SUV-naming trend and dub it the E-Pace — a moniker it probably should have reserved for the all-electric I-Pace concept. Sized as a compact crossover, its existence meshes with Jaguar’s current modus operandi and brand manager Steven de Ploey’s promise to expect “a family of SUVs.”

Destined to be a direct competitor for the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, the E-Pace is Britain’s attempt to get a piece of the freshly-baked pie that is the compact crossover segment.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2017

Porsche Panamera Gran Turismo Concept

Porsche’s Panamera became significantly more attractive with its 2017 update; now Germany is supplementing it with practicality. The company confirmed that a “shooting brake” Panamera wagon will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, with sales commencing globally later this year.

The new Porsche should take a form similar to 2012’s Panamera Sport Turismo concept and give the finger to Ferrari’s GTC4 Lusso with a significantly reduced price and an extra pair of doors.  (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2016

Vision Future Luxury BMW 2014

BMW is resurrecting a lengthy and luxurious V12-powered monster to take revenge on Mercedes-Benz for having the audacity to make an opulent flagship like the S-Class Coupe.

Germany’s Automobilwoche — Automobile Week if you don’t speak Deutsche — is verifying rumors that BMW will be returning with a new 8 Series. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2016

2014 Ford Mustang GT500

Ford Mustangs are hot. They’re hot in America, and they’re unusually hot in Europe, too. People like driving them, and they sure as hell like talking about them. But it’s no secret that Ford thinks the Mustang isn’t hot enough, given its third-place standing in the pony car horsepower wars.

We’ve heard that Ford wants a Mustang to challenge the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but a new report claims that the next Shelby GT500 will beat them both. (Read More…)

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