LIVE: Watch Mazda's Pre-NYIAS Reveal Here at 7:25 PM ET

What’s Mazda going to show tonight in New York City? So far, the Japanese purveyor of droptop fun has been mum on details, but all hints point to a hardtop version of the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata.

Will it be a targa (a la Honda Civic del Sol) with a removable panel that can be stored in the trunk? Or will Mazda bring back a power retractable hardtop model — or PRHT for short — to make the roadster more accessible to skinny-armed boomers who don’t have the physical fortitude to manipulate polycarbonate roof panels? We don’t know right now — but we will know at 7:25 p.m. ET.

Hit the jump to watch the live stream!

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LIVE: Honda Civic Hatchback, Global Rally Cross Reveal Live From NYC, 2:20 PM ET

Today, Honda is expected to take the wraps off the new Honda Civic Hatchback via live stream on YouTube prior to showing the car at the New York International Auto Show later this week. The Japanese automaker also promises to show a surprise: a “race car” announcement rumored to be based on the NSX.

Hit the jump to follow the live stream with us!

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2016 Jaguar XF 35t R-Sport Review - The Tweener Kitty Goes Aluminum

Luxury car companies are practiced at the art of completely redesigning a car, yet styling those new models so much like their predecessors that you’d need an illustrated guide to tell them apart. Jaguar was the king of this design exercise in the ’90s and 2000s. My personal 2005 Jaguar Super V8 may look like Jags of yore inside and out, but under the wood and leather is a thoroughly modern aluminum luxury chassis that — with updates — underpins the modern XJ.

On the other side of the equation we have the XF. The 2008 model signaled a major shift for Jaguar’s styling, but under the sleek and modern exterior sat a reworked Jaguar S-Type chassis. The first generation XF won praise for the M5-chasing XFR and a design that came to define the modern Jaguar.

For the second generation of the XF, Jaguar played it safe with an image retaining the bulk of the styling from the previous generation. Under the familiar styling is Jaguar’s all new, aluminum-intensive iQ platform that’ll be the basis for the XF, XE, F-Pace and two other mysterious Jaguar Land Rover products in the next few years.

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2017 Kia Sportage First Drive - The RDX Alternative

In case you didn’t know it, Kia’s on a roll. Sales have more than doubled since 2009, propelling Kia from a Mazda-sized player in the American market to one that outsold established brands like Subaru, GMC, Chrysler and Volkswagen.

Kia’s transformation may seem like a night-and-day makeover, but closer inspection reveals that it’s really the result of consistent incremental improvements to its products, frequent designs and refreshes, and astute pricing.

You can think of the Sportage as the final piece of Kia’s evolving puzzle. Sales may be on a roll for the Korean automaker, but the Sportage has never sold in large numbers. It finished 14th in a segment of 17 models last year. (The Sportage beat the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Chevrolet Captiva Sport). It could be that the Kia Sorento did a better job of nipping at the heels of mid-trim Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V models. For 2017, Kia gives us a new Sportage targeted more at Mazda and Ford than Toyota.

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Guess Whose YouTube Channel Works Again?

YouTube has finally processed our counterclaim to Volkswagen’s claim of copyright infringement. And guess what? YouTube’s copyright bots decided in our favor! I’m right chuffed about it.

What does that mean? Well, not so much for you, but it means we can do our jobs a bit more effectively. Also, it means David can still take on Goliath — and win.

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2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400 First Drive - The 400 Club

The promise of improved performance and tree-hugging fuel economy has made turbocharged engines all the rage in luxury cars. Despite the often failure of those boosted motors to meet their lofty, published fuel economy ratings in the real world, forced induction has a significant — and positive — impact on performance.

It seems Infiniti had gotten the memo.

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2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review - The Crossover Unicorn

A few short weeks ago, I was inside a very purple 2016 RAV4 marveling that Toyota’s compact crossover nearly outsells the Mazda brand. My bottom line for that RAV4 read like this:

Why are the RAV4’s sales so high when there are more fun options out there? The reasons can be found in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists often complain, included scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to light many souls on fire, but it gives the average CUV shopper more of what they obviously want.

Except fuel economy or performance.

That’s where the first full-hybrid compact crossover since Ford abandoned the Escape Hybrid five years ago comes in.

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2017 Audi Q7 Review - The Three-Row Flagship

We recently reviewed the 2016 Volvo XC90, the long overdue redesign of Volvo’s family hauler. First introduced as a 2002 model, the XC90 was a teenager by the time it was finally replaced. Oddly enough, it’s a similar story with the Audi Q7.

In response to Volvo’s then-new XC90, Audi began development of the seven-seater Q7 in 2002, which later hit the market in 2005. It received a facelift in 2009, but the basics of the slab-sided Audi remained. Eleven years later, and at around the same time as the new XC90, Audi has finally reinvented the Q7 as a sort of soft-road A8 Avant.

Can it compete against the new XC90 for the hearts and minds of luxury-minded families?

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VIDEO: Dykes Reviews the New 2016 Chevrolet Volt, and You Should Watch It

This weekend, Alex dropped a bonus video review of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, he’s also been too busy building sheds to do a full review, so this is all we’ve got.

(It’s okay, though. The best work happens in a shed.)

Want to check it out? Hit up the video after jump.

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2016 Toyota RAV4 Review – The Soft Soft-roader

Compact crossovers are big business and the Toyota RAV4 is one of the segment’s corporate all-stars.

In 2015, the RAV4 almost outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by over 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its entirely. Everything Mazda sells. All model sales put together. The RAV4 almost outsold MAZDA.

Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to keep it fresh after just three model years on the market. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be getting our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second best-selling CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.

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Volkswagen AG Broke Our YouTube

The Verge has an article today about the arduous process of hoops YouTube makes publishers jump through if a copyright infringement claim is made against a video. It’s an interesting look behind the scenes of video publishing and the tools YouTube makes available to copyright holders wanting to protect intellectual property. It also highlights the lack of human-based recourse publishers have when it comes to hollow copyright claims.

“Fair use” allows limited use of copyrighted material. This is how parodies and satires get around certain legal restraints. Fair use is also why we can use snippets of articles from other outlets, so long as we don’t use those articles in their entirety.

Even further, automakers make materials available for editorial use on their own press portals. This material is offered free of charge by automakers so we can pimp their products. But sometimes they make a mistake and post the wrong thing.

Volkswagen posted the wrong thing. And now our YouTube channel is crippled.

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2016 Nissan Sentra Review - Nissan's Compact Goes Premium

Traditional car shoppers are moving away from small sedans and toward compact crossovers. That’s the conventional wisdom used to explain the slowing sales we see in some models. But could there be another reason? Could it simply be a lack of focus and attention to the compact segment?

There is one model that’s seen a meteoric rise in sales since 2013: the Sentra. Nissan’s complete overhaul three years ago and aggressive pricing doubled Sentra sales since then, moving it from a “top 15” player in sales to number five in 2015.

In an effort to maintain the trajectory, Nissan opted for a major refresh after just three years on sale. (Sounds like the Honda plan with the Civic, doesn’t it?) Perhaps the key to compact success is a combination of frequent updates and more gadgets for shoppers to choose from. That sums up the 2016 Sentra perfectly.

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Sunday Cinema: Snow Dancing in a Porsche 911 SC RS

The year was 1984. Rally was all the rage. Danger was mainstream. And carcinogens weren’t exclusively advertised by the rumble of tailpipes.

Also in 1984, Porsche was developing a legend, but it was behind schedule: The 959 wasn’t ready when David Richards, the orchestrator of the Porsche-Rothmans deal, wanted to go rallying. So, along with Weissach, 20 examples of the Porsche 911 SC RS were built to take the manufacturer Group B rallying. Those cars also became the foundation of Prodrive, one of rally’s most famous teams.

This is one of those cars. Drifting. In snow.

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2016 Honda Civic EX Review - All-in on Active Safety

Honda received much flogging from the press for the last-generation Civic. The 2012 model was the result of Honda improperly reading the Magic 8-Ball amid the global slowdown. Honda’s decision makers assumed shoppers would be looking for something more modest, perhaps even austere, and changed direction to suit. The competition, assuming shoppers would be looking for greater creature comforts in a smaller package, went the opposite direction and doubled down on luxury features.

The conventional wisdom has been that Honda “stepped in it” with the ninth-generation sedan. Journalists complained about the plastic quality, the styling and … customers paid little attention. The Civic’s sales dipped slightly in 2011 during the changeover, but rapidly rebounded to over 315,000 units a year since. Some would say that Honda’s “emergency refreshes” were the reason for the sales success, but I propose a different answer: the continued sales success of the lesser-than Civic and an increase in sales of “premium” compacts showed there was plenty of room in the segment for both.

Whatever the reality, one thing is for certain: When it came time to design the tenth-generation Civic, Honda had “austere” removed from the company dictionary.

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2016 Lexus IS 200t Review - Lexus Finally Goes Turbo

Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.

Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.

Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.

Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.

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  • Lou_BC This article is confusing and the link is to a Dutch language site. Is this legal issue because EU countries have displacement/power limits or taxes based upon displacement/power?
  • Lou_BC "GM should put their best engine in every vehicle it will fit in."The "HellCat" strategy. That would be the LT2?
  • El scotto I doubt it the only Batmobile built and used for the movie. There are usually duplicates of any car that is the attraction in the movie. How many Elanor's are there? Two? Three? Lots of those duplicates get wrecked, stunts can go wrong. Then again there may be some deviant telling himself: "I sell this Griswold family wagon at Barrett-Jackson and I'm living on the beach!" Except there were four more used in filming.
  • El scotto Lemme see, over at the MB dealership, doctors, lawyers, and your run-of-the-mill high-powered executives would kick each other in the shins; except they wouldn't want to scuff their Gucci loafers or mess up the crease of their $1200 slacks, to be allowed to get on the list to buy an AMG Benz. Now over at GM, the Corvette engine is the holy of the holiest. You might be able to buy a Camaro with a Corvette engine but you'll pay what a Corvette costs. Put a Corvette engine in a lowly Silverado? Might as well ask to have deviant sex with a GM VP's U of M attending daughter. And film it too. GM should put their best engine in every vehicle it will fit in. Then send dealers wheelbarrows to haul around the extra cash.
  • El scotto Hmmm, lemme think. So this is basically an EU lawyer-fight? Mercedes's bank would put Gringott's to shame? The average MB driver would like to sit around the lounge at the yacht and/or country club and brag how much more it cost them? Gents, it's just a matter of time.