By on August 21, 2019

Image: Audi

Months of teasing gave way to an admission of intent late Tuesday. After dangling Avants wagons of yesteryear in front of social media watchers since the spring, Audi finally came out and admitted the beastly RS6 Avant wagon will make its way stateside.

Sporting all-wheel drive, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, and endlessly customizable drive settings, the next-generation RS 6 Avant lands in America in 2020, but don’t expect to see many polluting showroom floors. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2019

If everything goes as planned, electric utility vehicle startup Rivian will start production on its RT1 pickup and RS1 SUV next year, utilizing plenty of Michigan and SoCal brainpower and a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

Of all EV startups, Rivian is widely believed to have the best chance for success — and big-bucks investments from Amazon and Ford back up that assertion. While it’s well known that the automaker plans to offer its vehicles in three battery flavors, little in the way of new details have emerged this year. So here’s a tidbit: as far as the SUV is concerned, owners will be be able to choose just how much wind they want in their hair. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2019

Regular readers of these digital pages are well aware of the pressures facing Nissan’s Infiniti brand. While the premium marque’s status is better than in years past, it is not where the brand would like it to be. U.S. volume has declined since 2017, and the marque recently gave up on Europe.

Perhaps a slinky new crossover will draw eyes — and buyers — in an overly crowded segment? (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2019

Image: Acura

Acura pulled the digital wraps off its Type S Concept two days ahead of its public debut at Monterey Car Week, heralding the Type S designation’s return to the brand’s model line. The car seen here hints at what to expect of the looming next-generation TLX and its confirmed Type S performance variant.

“Performance.” That implies something more than just a racy appearance package and maybe an upgraded brake and suspension setup, right? Ideally, yes, but in this case Acura does promise more “go” to back up the show.
(Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Can you kill a ghost? While Hollywood and some Catholic priests say yes, in the automotive realm the process of ridding oneself of a spectre usually involves a new sheet on the drawing board, not a ceremonial ritual.

As you may have already heard, a ghost long rumored to haunt Detroit’s future product stable has reportedly disappeared into the ether from which it came. It never had much of a form, its name carried a question mark, and no one officially admitted to its existence. It only had a clear rival: the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and upcoming Ford Bronco. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Eager to reduce R&D costs, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW forged a cross-channel bond earlier this summer, but the increasingly cozy relationship between the Anglo-German rivals likely won’t end with the mere sharing of electric drive units and internal combustion engines.

A number of JLR vehicles poised to drop from the product pipeline could come to fruition thanks to a piece of Bimmer architecture. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2019

Bugatti Chiron

Bentley has one. Rolls-Royce has one, too. Lamborghini has one, and so does Maserati. The idea that a utility vehicle should be off-limits to builders of traditional passenger cars went out the window around the time Jaguar unveiled its second crossover.

Automakers everywhere are future-proofing themselves with the added cushion of a popular, high-margin CUV. It’s the equivalent of moving money out of stocks and into gold in the face of a looming economic downturn. So why not Bugatti, maker of the biggest-bucks, biggest-horsepower vehicles on earth? (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

gm

Like its Chevrolet division mate, Buick plans to spend the 2020 model year filling white space in its lineup, hauling the tweener Encore GX from overseas to plug the gap between the existing subcompact Encore and the larger Envision. Beneath its hood, however, the Encore GX is anything but larger — at least when displacement is concerned.

Once the Encore GX arrives, the Ford EcoSport won’t be the only domestic crossover available with a three-cylinder engine. In fact, the Encore GX will be the only crossover offered in America with a choice of triples. No four-bangers invited to this party at all. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

A mainstream brand in 2019 without a crossover? It’s almost unthinkable, though not in the context of a fledgling marque and a rapidly changing automotive landscape.

Genesis Motors, the luxury ying to Hyundai’s everyman yang, is still recovering from a tumultuous 2018 in which its confused dealer strategy gradually became clearer. And it’s still taking shape, with some 318 U.S. dealers at last count amid rising, albeit modest, sales volumes. With more standalone stores on the way and a trio of models now in the stable, Genesis’ work has only just begun. It next needs to break into the all-too-important crossover market.

It looks like the first CUV salvo is almost ready to fire. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

Far from being the first choice among full-size truck buyers, the Nissan Titan and Titan XD are at least earning attention from their builders — and the latest alteration will earn a chorus of boos from those who worship at the altar of all things Cummins.

With a refreshed lineup on the way, Nissan has confirmed that the 5.0-liter diesel V8 available in the nearly-three-quarter-ton Titan XD will disappear by the end of the year. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2019

Image: Ford

Do you find yourself wishing Ford turned up the heat on the Ranger pickup, perhaps offering customers a choice of powerplants and greater diversity in appearances? You’re likely in luck.

According to U.S. trademark applications filed late this month, the Blue Oval has just gotten started with its new midsizer, though anyone waiting patiently for the Raptor variant already offered overseas will have to remain on ice. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2019

With Jaguar’s XJ sedan on its way out, the company is actively working on a replacement using its new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). Like many modern platforms, MLA can be be adapted for use in electric, plug-in hybrid, and mild-hybrid applications… and the automotive firm no doubt plans to squeeze every dime it can out of that built-in versatility.

Following the debut of a large premium sedan that’s supposed to replace the XJ sometime next year, MLA will see action at Land Rover — underpinning the new Ranger Rover in 2021. Eventually the automaker intends to use MLA as the basis for most future models, hopefully reducing development and manufacturing costs after posting a $4.6 billion loss earlier this year.  (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2019

Ford’s F-150 Raptor represents the pinnacle of off-road performance for adventurous full-size truck buyers — it’s a vehicle capable of blasting through brush (not that you would) with its extra-wide stance and enlarged fenders, running full-bore across the backcountry with the 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque on tap from its high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and sticking bone-crushing landings with the help of its long-legged suspension.

And still buyers wish for more. According to one report, the Raptor could be due for an engine upgrade that puts the correct number of cylinders beneath the hood. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2019

kia

Often referred to as a “Korean Buick” (sometimes, a “better Buick“), the Kia Cadenza sits in a corner of the vehicle theater where audience attendance is way down. The brand’s largeish midsize sedan gained a new generation for 2017, upping the model’s style and content, and it looks like Kia’s not ready to let a member of its unusually diverse passenger car lineup go ignored for too much longer.

For 2020, the sedan’s just-revealed K7 Korean twin undergoes a significant refresh, adding a touch of menace to the car’s exterior. We should see these same changes on the North American-market Cadenza in short order. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

Despite the recent development of a high-MPG, low-emission gasoline four-cylinder, Mazda’s future depends on lowering its emissions footprint even further. With regulators — especially those in Europe — backing ever more stringent environmental standards, Mazda hopes to avoid Fiat Chrysler-like penalties by adding a product at odds with the brand’s heritage. An electric vehicle.

With the help of its partners, Mazda’s new EV will make an appearance next year, followed up with a crop of plug-in hybrids buyers are more likely to take home. (Read More…)

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