By on June 14, 2019

Real-estate conglomerate Vingroup JSC’s auto unit, VinFast, rolled out its first model today, which also means Vietnam officially has a automaker. Starting with the Fadil hatchback, VinFast eventually plans to produce a sedan, sport utility vehicle, and some electric motorbikes.

VinFast’s primary goals include flexing Vietnam’s burgeoning industrial abilities while supporting the country with affordable vehicles citizens might be interested in. Easier said than done when the nation’s average annual income is around $2,600. Yet Vietnam is growing by leaps and bounds, supplying more individuals with the means to purchase their own car.  (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

Image: Hyundai

Hyundai blanketed the rollout of its new three-row Palisade with descriptive terms that positively oozed luxury and refinement. Hell, just the name of the thing should conjure up a swanky seaside image or two.

It’s clear the Korean automaker feels its eight-passenger crossover (successor to the Santa Fe XL, formerly just “Santa Fe”) stands on par with its foreign competitors, as its price reflects this newfound feeling of confidence. (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 11, 2019

Daimler AG

There’s a new occupant in Mercedes-Benz’s cavernous utility vehicle stable, and, like so many vehicles debuting in 2019, it’s a tweener. As the name implies, the 2020 GLB fits between the subcompact GLA and compact GLC, offering tidy proportions and the versatility that comes with optional third-row seats.

Three-row seating is not something you’re likely to find in this small class of vehicle, and it’s a feature Mercedes-Benz is counting on to drive interest and sales. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

fca

The domestic pickup torque wars have flared up again. Following a brief period of dormancy that came after General Motors’ 3.0-liter Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six topped Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 by 20 foot-pounds (460 vs. 440), Fiat Chrysler has arrived on the scene to declare itself king of the hill.

For the 2020 model year, FCA’s EcoDiesel 3.0-liter diesel V6 returns, this time without the baggage and after-the-fact modifications ordered by the federal government. It also pulls harder than its competition. (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…)

By on June 9, 2019

Following announcements that Toyota would be working on a shared electric vehicle platform with Subaru, as well as a jointly developed crossover, the brand conducted a press conference on Friday regarding its decision to “popularize BEVs.” While the announcement didn’t deal with the specifics of cutting-edge tech, auxiliary business opportunities, or even a total shift toward battery electric vehicles, it did represent a major commitment from a manufacturer that’s notoriously cautious in its decision making.

Opening the conference, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi focused largely on the challenges of electrification. Terashi said Toyota’s intent has always been to support “social progress” and curb CO2 emissions while acknowledging that it had only made formal commitments to electrification within the last couple of years. However, he showed that the automaker has been busy within that time, and had several initiatives in the works aimed at repositioning Toyota as a mobility brand, by outlining the company’s extremely complex EV strategy.

Buckle up, because there is a lot to this — including some new cars.  (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

This is what handing 16.8 percent of your company’s ownership to another automaker gets you. Just days after BMW and Jaguar Land Rover announced an electric powertrain agreement, Subaru and Toyota claim a new, shared electric vehicle platform is on the way, as well as a jointly developed crossover.

The effort will mean Subaru — a brand with only a single (Toyota-assisted) plug-in hybrid on the market — will finally have the means to enter the growing EV field. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2019

Volkswagen has been flagrantly displaying new pickups at trade shows for a couple of years now, and with good reason. Domestic trucks have grown very large. In 1993, you could still purchase the Ford F-Series in a format where its maximum length did not exceed 197 inches. Today, the F-150 gets no smaller than 209 inches with a standard cab. Meanwhile, the now mid-sized Ranger, sold only in SuperCab and SuperCrew guise, grew from to 181 inches in overall length to a whopping 211 inches within the same timeframe.

The supersizing of the North American pickup created an interesting opportunity for manufacturers, and Volkswagen took notice(Read More…)

By on June 3, 2019

We, like everyone else, bemoaned Cadillac’s new V-Series models for seeming underpowered. And yet the company now suggests that putting a lid on power was part of the plan all along. Apparently, GM claims, shoppers were being scared off by the CTS-V’s big numbers.

“There was, frankly, some people who were intimidated by the cars,” GM President Mark Reuss elaborated last week, according to Automotive News. “When we did a [V-Series], they were hammers … There’s some intimidation there.”

While undoubtedly true of some customers, is Cadillac certain that’s the message they want to impart? No matter how you slice this cadaver, the fact remains that the brand is still delivering two V-Series entrants that fail to impress on paper the way their predecessors did. We’ll happily admit that horsepower isn’t everything, but you cannot lead with how the CT4-V’s improved efficiency and lighter curb weight will make it a better car than the ATS-V its replaces when all anyone can notice is a glaring horsepower disparity.  (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2019

Cadillac seems to have realized that it screwed up with the new V-Series models it debuted late last week. When the CT4-V and CT5-V were revealed on Thursday, both came with specs that made us wonder why General Motors thought these should be the cars replacing the V-Series variants of the CTS and ATS sedan. Fans of the brand noticed and most automotive outlets were forced to write head-scratching articles about why the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 will be a suitable replacement for the CTS-V’s big, Corvette-sourced 6.2-liter motor — which makes oodles more power and torque.

Part of this cannot be helped. Environmentalism and an increasingly global marketplace are encouraging automakers to scale down displacement sizes and pair internal-combustion engines with more hybrid tech and forced induction. But it hasn’t changed Cadillac’s problem of delivering a pair of vehicles that appear much weaker on paper than the automobiles they’re essentially replacing. As a result, the company is attempting to reassure customers that these won’t be the only V-Series models on offer.  (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2019

As rival General Motors prepares to tempt a broad swath of pickup buyers with its late-arriving 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six diesel, Ford Motor Company is changing its tactics. When the company’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V6 launched for the 2018 model year, Ford saw fit to relegate its new engine to truck buyers with deeper pockets.

This has now changed. Starting right away, the company plans to offer diesel propulsion to the mainstream (read: volume) truck buyer. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2019

gm

“2.7L Turbo” — that’s General Motors’ preferred description of the large-displacement four-cylinder found in Chevrolet’s 2019 Silverado 1500. When wearing a Cadillac crest, however,  the motor generates additional grunt and serves as the main motivator for the new CT4-V, a sportier version of Caddy’s new compact.

The CT4-V (seen above) debuted alongside the hotter version of its midsize sibling, the CT5-V, in an event held in Detroit Thursday night. No, the regular CT4 was not there. After getting over the shock of a V-badged Cadillac with a four-banger mill, guests were confused to learn that there may be additional V-badged versions of these two sedans. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2019

Once the sedan of choice for discerning Anglophiles and 1980s crime-fighting New Yorkers played by Edward Woodward, Jaguar’s XJ has seen a long fall from grace. This summer, the stately model officially hits the ground.

Amid tanking sales for both it and its sedan stablemates, the Jaguar XJ will cease production in a matter of months, with the automaker claiming its death is merely a passing phase. (Read More…)

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