By on September 4, 2019

Honda’s upcoming electric city car, destined for consumers in tightly-packed cities in Europe and Japan, has a significant fan base among online North Americans. To this group of consumers, the Honda E is the antithesis of Tesla — minus the emissions-free driving.

While the Honda E also aims to get drivers out of internal combustion cars, it goes about it in a different way. For one thing, it’s an EV fielded by a robust and profitable automaker. Sales and service should not bring a Honda buyer any worry, nor should the automaker’s balance sheet. The wee Honda aims to attract Earth-savers with modest proportions, modest price (for an EV), and modest range, with attainability and retro looks being its biggest non-ideological selling points. For all of this, the little car has earned much love from car watchers living on the wrong side of the ocean.

Ahead of its Frankfurt debut, Honda has finally revealed the E’s specifications. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

fiat cabrio abarth 500

The model that helped relaunch a long-departed brand — a brand which subsequently failed to clear the tower — is effectively dead in North America. Fiat Chrysler has taken the retro-themed, pint-sized Fiat 500 off life support, removing it from the brand’s North American offerings for 2020.

The newly turbocharged 500, its beefier Abarth brother, and the eco-warrior 500e electric, were victims of America’s unrelenting desire for large, spacious automobiles. The illness took hold almost as soon as the 500 arrived. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Think of it as a swan song for gasoline propulsion, not the Macan itself. For the 2020 model year, the hottest version of Porsche’s entry-level ute returns with more power and less displacement on tap, but the Macan Turbo sings its siren song against a funeral dirge backdrop.

This vehicle is a get-one-while-you-still-can proposition. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2019

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter — we’re talking about touchscreens here. Big ones. Specifically, the monstrous, tombstone-sized slab of screen found in Ram’s new 1500 and Heavy Duty pickups.

Apparently, the boys and girls in Dearborn are envious of their rival’s vertically-oriented footlong and aim to get their hands on an even bigger one. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

Image: JLR

With less than two weeks to go before its Frankfurt Motor Show debut, Land Rover has sent its upcoming Defender SUV on a road trip to the Rhineland. Kicking off the continental slog in a remote and cinematic valley near the China-Kazakhstan border, the Defender will presumably score some rough-and-tumble bragging rights — as well as all-important photo ops — on the way to its German unveiling on September 10th.

Too bad we’ve already seen it. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

2019 Hyundai Tucson front

You’re probably thinking two things right now. First, what’s up with suggesting an upcoming compact crossover will be anything approaching wild and crazy and, secondly, why no spy shot of a camo-clad Tucson?

Easy answers! We’re promised something nutso from Hyundai. This won’t just be a visually updated compact CUV, Sangyup Lee, veep of design at Hyundai, told Motor Authority back in April. No, no. “The whole world will freak out over (next-generation Tucson),” he said following the release of the 2020 Sonata, suggesting that the controversially radical Sonata might be the tame, demure one in the family.

Freak out. Hyundai Tucson. That’s some promise.

The answer to the second question is that the corporate mothership ain’t likely to spend dough on pics of a vehicle that, while covered in camo, isn’t likely to cause anyone to freak out. Not around here, at least. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.

On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.  (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2019

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

Toyota’s FJ Cruiser was big and brash — a gas-sucking, body-on frame bruiser that combined rugged off-road capability and distinctive looks with a clamshell door configuration that gives this writer goosebumps. While owners continue to enjoy high resale values, the FJ Cruiser is long dead, and pedestrian offerings like the RAV4 Adventure are not a valid alternative for true off-road minded individualists.

On paper, neither is the TJ Cruiser, a versatile 2017 concept vehicle that blends a unibody CUV with minivan trappings. It is, however, very distinctive, and it could be headed for a production line. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

Image: Lexus

The Lexus GS, a midsize, rear-drive sports sedan that first rode into the North American market in 1993, is today a slow-selling model in danger of discontinuation.

For 2020, one member of the GS lineup will indeed bite the dust. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

Image: GM

Aside from Tesla fans and aficionados of various European exotics still stuck in development, the chief performance spec that concerns most electric vehicle buyers is not acceleration — it’s range. How many miles will this thing go before stranding me in the dark?

For most buyers on the lower end of things, getting maximum miles for your money is top of mind, and Chevrolet’s Bolt has offered an impressive EPA-rated range of 238 miles since it first rolled off lots in December 2016. Apparently, GM felt that wasn’t enough. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

We talked up the amazingly real Toyota Avalon TRD recently, making note of its lofty, second-from-the-top price point, but now the second TRD sedan shoe has dropped.

According to pricing guides seen by CarsDirect, those of you salivating at the thought of taking a Camry to the next level — and frankly, who isn’t — can expect to pay significantly less for the smaller of Toyota’s two testosterone-fueled sedans. Five figures less. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

Electric concept cars are often a snoozefest, nothing but vaporware bait aimed at the techie crowd, but a vehicle coming to Tokyo’s annual auto show in October will likely herald a production vehicle. Specifically, the Lexus brand’s first EV.

Both Toyota and its premium division plan to field a total of 10 electric models by the middle of next decade. If a report detailing the Lexus concept is anything to go on, the brand’s first electric offering might be boxy, modestly sized, and — if Lexus designers really do plan on emulating an older concept — possibly pretty ugly. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

The blue oval. The three-pointed star. The roundel. The four rings. When it comes to cars, some logos are more identifiable than others, but Volkswagen’s glistening chrome emblem ranks near the top of the easy recognition chart.

It’s classic, simple, and maybe a little dusty. Which is why VW plans to change it.

While reports arose last year of a looming, “colorful” change to the highly visible logo, we now have a better idea of what to expect when the automaker shows its new face in Frankfurt next month. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2019

honda

Not surprisingly, one change bound for the 2020 Honda Civic Si is its price, but fans of Honda’s sensible middle ground between Civic Sport and Civic Type R won’t be driving away empty handed.

For the coming model year, the bearer of Honda’s hotter 1.5-liter gains a mild change in appearance, additional content, and a nod towards improved performance. (Read More…)

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…)

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