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Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

In an SUV Market, Toyota Intent on Boosting Demand for All-New 2020 Corolla

Compact sedan gets new look, broad range of new, standard features.

by on Nov.16, 2018

Brand boss Jack Hollis introduced the 12th-generation, 2020 Toyota Corolla.

It may be an SUV-crazed market, but Toyota is not going to cede ground in the compact sedan market without a fight, or so brand boss Jack Hollis declared during the unveiling of the all-new, 2020 Corolla Thursday night.

It’s no surprise that Toyota is intent on proving its prowess with the new sedan. Over the past half century, Corolla has been one of the cars instrumental in building the Japanese automaker’s reputation for quality, reliability and durability. But with other manufacturers, like Korea’s Hyundai and Kia, breathing down its neck, Toyota will have to show it can deliver more than the classic, plain vanilla design, Corolla has also long been known for.

Product News!

It hinted at a more expressive direction earlier this year with the launch of a new, and decidedly more sporty , Corolla Hatchback. Now, the mainstay sedan gets a complete makeover. And it is not only more stylish, but boasts more power and lots more features, including the latest version of the Toyota Safety Sense package which now will be standard on all Corolla grades. Key competitors, such as Honda, have chosen not to package these advanced driver assistance systems on many of their base models.

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Range Rover Wires In Teaser ahead of New Evoque Debut

Fleshed-out SUV coming to Los Angeles – and could feature new Transparent Hood technology.

by on Nov.15, 2018

Land Rover created full-size, wireframe versions of the second-generation Range Rover Evoque.

Land Rover took a dramatic turn with the 2011 launch of the Range Rover Evoque, moving away from its traditionally boxy SUVs to deliver something far more sleek and sinuous. With its distinctive, sloping roofline, it quickly became the brand’s big seller, attracting a wide range of new buyers that might otherwise have ignored the British brand.

Eight years in, the automaker is getting ready to roll out a new version of the Evoque at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with a sneak peek coming a week earlier. To give us a hint of what’s coming, Land Rover has released a group of unusual teaser images.

Auto Show News!

Unlike the usual teasers that cross our desk, these aren’t carefully cropped or shadowed images but, rather, wireframe renderings that clearly lay out the exterior dimensions of the new 2019 Range Rover Evoque. And, we’re hearing, there very well could be a secondary meaning to this approach, hinting at a major new feature that could debut on the new SUV.

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First Look: BMW M340i and M340i xDrive

Official debut coming at LA Auto Show.

by on Nov.13, 2018

The new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive models will reach U.S. showrooms next spring.

The rush is on. With just weeks to go before this year’s U.S. auto show season kicks off in Los Angeles, automakers are rushing to give us a preview of what they’ll have on hand in the City of Angels.

For BMW, the big news will be the debut of the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive sedans, and the Bavarians have proffered up this first look at the range-topping model. While we’ll have to wait to get a look at the next-gen M3, these M Performance sedans are impressive in their own right, sharing an updated twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six making 382 horsepower and 369 pounded-feet of torque.

Auto Show News!

This marks the first time the 3-Series will be offered with an M Performance package, what some have dubbed M-Light. We’ll have to wait for the Los Angeles Auto Show to get all the specs on the 2020 BMW M340i models, but preliminary specs suggest 0 to 60 times of around 4.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited at 155 mph.

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Toyota Teases New 2020 Corolla

Critical debut comes as Japanese automaker considers paring back passenger car line-up.

by on Nov.12, 2018

Toyota will pull the wraps off the new Corolla during a webcast at 7 PM PST Thursday.

Earlier this month, Toyota’s top U.S. executive confirmed that the automaker is considering ways to pare back its passenger car line-up as the market continues shifting to SUVs – but you won’t see the long-popular Corolla going away any time soon, as this new teaser image suggests.

Toyota isn’t saying much beyond promising that, “The world’s most popular car is about to get greater than ever,” with the Japanese automaker set to reveal the 12th-generation sedan version of the Corolla during a livestream webcast on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

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Toyota clearly needs to rebuild the buzz for the compact Corolla which has been around in sedan form since 2014. Sales fell 11.6% during the calendar-year-to-date, and 14.2% in October alone – and that’s despite supplementing the familiar sedan version with a hatchback model this past year.

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Detroit Symphony Turns Lincoln Warning Buzzers into Sweet Music

Automaker wants to create a “symphonic landscape.”

by on Nov.05, 2018

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra made over 100 recordings before coming up with the right warning sounds for the new Lincoln Aviator.

Warning sounds are, by definition, designed to draw your attention, but sometimes they also can get on your nerves.

Ford has been trying to find the right balance with some recent products, looking for sounds that are distinctive yet easy on the ears. It’s going a step further with the new SUV its luxury brand will launch this coming year, turning to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to record 25 of the “non-critical, soft-warning chimes and hard-warning chimes that will be used in the new Lincoln Aviator.

We Sound the Right Note!

“Aviator represents the true vision of the Lincoln brand,” explains Lincoln design director David Woodhouse. “With a look this striking, we needed to have sounds that matched the beauty of this vehicle.”

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New Nissan Maxima Debuting at LA Auto Show

Subtle visual updates but lots more safety tech.

by on Oct.23, 2018

the 2019 Maxima, Nissan's flagship sedan, gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2019.

While some automakers are leaning out their sedan lines – even abandoning them entirely, in the case of Ford – Nissan continues to bet big on four-door models, with two critical updates for the 2019 model-year.

While we’ve already seen and driven the Altima makeover, we’ll have to wait until next month and the Los Angeles Motor Show to get a first good look at the 2019 Nissan Maxima, the Japanese maker’s most sporty sedan offering.

Product News!

Actually, Nissan has given us a first peak at the new Maxima, and not in the usual form of a carefully lit and cropped teaser. The accompanying picture pretty much reveals all we’d need to know about the 2019 refresh short of any taillight and rear bumper revisions.

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Euro Football Legend David Beckham Lends a Hand To Vietnam’s New VinFast Brand

Asian automaker set to launch production by mid-2019.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The VinFast Lux A 2.0 is based on the prior-generation BMW 5-Series platform.

There have been a few surprising moments at an otherwise lackluster 2018 Paris Motor Show, and several of them came from sources you wouldn’t expect, notably the debut of the first two new models from Vietnam’s first real carmaker, VinFast.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have European football star David Beckham on the stand when the Lux A sedan and Lux SA sport-utility vehicle rolled out on Tuesday morning. The two will go into production by the third quarter of 2019 at an all-new factory build largely upon land reclaimed from Haiphong Harbor. Giving real meaning to the second part of its name, VinFast plans to add two more models, one all-electric, to its line-up by the end of next year.

Beyond the Headlines!

“Our ultimate goal is to become a world-class automobile manufacturer with a footprint in markets around the world,” said the start-up’s CEO Jim DeLuca, a former General Motors Asia hand who came out of retirement to help launch the company in 2017. (more…)

Ferrari’s New Monza Models Put a Modern Spin on Classic Designs

Two supercars will mark a limited run – and you’ll have to be invited to buy one.

by on Oct.02, 2018

Ferrari plans to sell just 499 of its first two "Icona Ferrari" models like the SP1. No prices were announced, but assume well into seven figures.

Ferrari has a long and glorious history, its many fans are quick to point out, and the carmaker now plans to mine that heritage for a new line of retro-futuristic models that will be sold through a new collection dubbed “Icona Ferrari.”

That will start off with the Monza SP1 and SP2 supercars making their formal debut at the Paris Motor Show today. Ferrari said at its news conference that it plans to build just 499 of them. It will offer them, it suggested, “to our best customers.” In fact, potential buyers will have to be invited just to stand in line.

Retro cars!

The forward-into-the-past design of the two Monza models is meant to harken back to one of the most glorious eras of racing, back in the 1950s and 1960s, when Ferrari dominated the European motor sports circuit. (more…)

First Look: BMW Rolls Out 7th-Generation 3-Series in Paris

This time they mean it when they it’s all-new from the ground up.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The 2019 BMW 3-Series sticks with a relatively familiar exterior design.

It may not be the most expensive model in the BMW line-up, and considering where the global luxury car market is going, SUVs and CUVs are coming to dominate the sales charts. But perhaps no model line better defines the DNA of the Bavarian automaker like the long-lived 3-Series.

So, expect to see and hear a lot about the all-new, seventh-generation compact, the 2019 BMW 3-Series to launch next spring in the U.S. market with the arrival of the 330i and 330i xDrive, as well as the M340i andM340i xDrive. And you also can expect to see a slew of additional versions, all the way up to the de rigueur M3, to follow in relatively short order.

Product News!

Automakers often overuse phrases like, “all-new,” or “ground-up redesign,” but they appear to fully apply here, the gen-7 3-Series pretty much revisiting everything, including its basic platform, suspension and powertrain line-up. It also introduces or updates a wide range of technologies. That includes the 330e plug-in hybrid coming in 2020, as well as the debut of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant that uses plain-English commands to operate everything from navigation to audio and even lets you ask it what a warning light might be trying to tell you.

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First Drive: 2019 Nissan Altima

One very good reason why the sedan isn’t ready to die.

by on Sep.28, 2018

For 2019, the new Nissan Altima will be offered in a heavily equipped First Edition trim.

The sedan is dead. Long live the sedan. Or so goes what currently passes for conventional wisdom, backed by the decision to slash the number of four-door models, indeed, eliminate them entirely at Ford Motor Co.

Review to Trust!

But I have seen the future and it is not an entirely SUV and CUV-driven world. If the complete makeover that is the 2019 Nissan Altima is any indication, there’s a clear place for sedans for the foreseeable future. And among the many new features that would seem to make the Altima a natural alternative for Snowbelt buyers who might really want a more conventional set of wheels: Altima marks the first time Nissan is offering all-wheel-drive in one of its sedans. That is, in fact, a relatively rare feature among mainstream four-doors, and not available on segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

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