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Subaru Teases Next-Gen Impreza with Tokyo Show Car

Viziv Concept offers some hints as to upcoming Tribeca replacement.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The Subaru Impreza Concept was shown in 5-door form, but a 4-door will soon follow.

These days, automakers frequently use “concept cars” to set the stage for a new model that may be coming in just a matter of months. Often times, they’ll give the show cars a catchy, if misleading name to keep media scribes and the public guessing. Subaru didn’t even bother to go that far as it rolled out what it insisted was just a “concept” version of the Impreza at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.

Sure, a few of the details will likely be changed, but not by much, Subaru acknowledging that the show car reveals “the design direction not only of the new Impreza but of Subaru’s future models as a whole.”

What a Concept!

And for good reason, it turns out. The Subaru Impreza set to reach showrooms next year as a 2017 model will introduce the Japanese maker’s new global architecture, a platform that will be shared by virtually all of its products going forward.

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SEMA Show Keeps America’s Love Affair with the Automobile Alive

Aftermarket business recovering after big recession hit.

by on Nov.10, 2014

Open wide: Toyota's "Sleeper Camry."

It looks like an ordinary, 2015 Toyota Camry, but lift the hood and you’re in for quite a surprise.

Actually, you have to raise the entire body of the “Sleeper Camry” sedan, which Toyota quietly transformed into an 850-horsepower drag racer. It’s just one of the wild, weird and wacky concept vehicles unveiled at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Marketers Association annual aftermarket convention, an event known to fans around the world as the SEMA Show.

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There’s been plenty written about the supposed death of the American love affair with the automobile. You’d have a hard time proving it at the Las Vegas convention center, which hosts what has become Sin City’s second-largest annual event, this year expected to draw as many as 140,000 attendees.

Chevrolet Previews its SEMA Cars

An emphasis on accessories.

by on Oct.16, 2014

The SS Sport concept gives the V-8-powered sports sedan a makeover that screams high performance.

With the ghosts and goblins and candy displays going up at Costco that obviously means one thing: the annual SEMA Show is just around the corner. And another clear indication is the flood of previews landing in our e-mailboxes in recent days.

One of the lengthiest missives comes from Chevrolet – along with a passel of pics revealing some of the performance-oriented concepts the bowtie brand will squeeze onto its stand at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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“These concepts suggest possibilities of how to amplify Chevrolet’s heritage of performance and fun-to-drive spirit to make them even more personal,” Paul Edwards, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. (more…)

Acura Fills a Big Gap with 2015 TLX

New model to launch first in race trim.

by on Jan.14, 2014

Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda Motor, Co., introduced Acura's TLX in Detroit.

Officially, Acura is calling it a “prototype,” but the reality is that the new TLX debuting at this year’s North American International Auto Show will be showing up in Acura showrooms by mid-year. In fact, a racing version of the 2015 Acura TLX will be ready to roll even sooner.

And Honda’s luxury division can’t wait. Though it was the original Japanese luxury carmaker, Acura has been struggling to break into the first tier of upscale brands in recent years.  It’s done a credible job with its crossover-utility vehicles, the strong-selling RDX and MDX models, but it can use a boost on the traditional passenger car side of the sales charts.

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That’s where the 2015 Acura TLX comes in.  Make that “fills in.” The new model replaces the largely forgotten TSX and more precisely delivers the sort of midrange size, performance and features needed to slot between the current entry-lux Acura ILX and flagship RLX sedans. (more…)

10 Debuts to Watch at the Detroit Auto Show

From subcompact sedans to aluminum pickup trucks.

by on Jan.10, 2014

The year gets its big kick-off with the upcoming Detroit Auto Show - where Ford is expected to reveal a new F-150, the production version of this Atlas "aluminum intensive" pickup.

We’ve already gotten some momentum for the New Year thanks to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with automakers rolling out an array of new high-tech features and even a few concept vehicles, such as the Toyota FCV hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle and the Ford Solar Energi, a version of the C-Max plug-in hybrid that can recharge using just the sun’s rays.

But the season’s – arguably the year’s – biggest automotive event is still days away, work crews putting the final touches on the displays down at Detroit’s Cobo Hall for the opening of the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

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Don’t be surprised to hear that more than 5,000 automotive journalists from around the world, along with more than 700,000 consumers, will stream through the turnstiles once the show begins.

But whether you get down to the Detroit riverfront or keep track of events from afar, you‘ll have lots to check out, at least 50 new cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts making their debuts. Here are 10 we will be particularly keen to check out: (more…)

First Look: 2014 Acura MDX Prototype

What you see is (mostly) what you'll get.

by on Jan.15, 2013

Acura is calling it a prototype but it's largely what you can expect from the 2014 MDX.

One of Acura’s most popular vehicles, the 2014 Acura MDX, made its world debut in prototype form today at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, showing off a new, stylish appearance and a large suite of advanced technology features.

As is typical of Acura and its parent Honda, the thinly disguised show car will be back in production trim – soon enough to be rolling into showrooms for the 2014 model-year.  The basic layout of the third-generation crossover will carry over, the MDX offering room for seven and both all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive layouts.

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“Our goal is to advance on MDX’s already great dynamic performance while improving fuel economy and luxury comfort,” said Mike Accavitti, vice president of national marketing operations. “Building on the great momentum we established in 2012 with the launch this year of our flagship RLX, followed later this year by a terrific new luxury SUV in MDX we are very excited about the direction of the Acura brand. And we are truly looking forward to a great 2013,” he said.

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Fiat Pulls Cover off Stretched 500L

Is longer really better?

by on Mar.06, 2012

The new 500L is about 2 feet -- and 2 doors -- longer than the original Fiat 500.

“Bigger is better,” or so goes the classic American mantra, something that led to the gigantosauruses that once ruled U.S. highways.  Fiat, on the other hand, was one of a growing number of makers that opted for the idea that small is beautiful.

Or so it seemed with last year’s launch of the pint-sized Fiat 500.  The little Cinquecento has been going momentum in recent months, after a dreadful launch, but it’s probably no surprised that as they rewrite the brand strategy Fiat officials are also wondering whether bigger – at least a little bit bigger, anyway – might indeed be better.

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They’ll soon find out, thanks to the Fiat 500L, the stretched version of the minicar that’s now on display at the Geneva Motor Show.  The stretch model adds “practicality and substance,” declared the Italian maker’s global brand chief Olivier Francois – which translates into two more doors and an extra two feet, nose-to-tail.

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First Look: Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Is this wooly Bulli the reborn VW Microbus?

by on Mar.01, 2011

Return of the Microbus? VW brings the Bulli Concept to the Geneva Motor Show.

If you remember the ‘60s, goes the old joke, you probably weren’t there during the height of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll years.  And if you fondly remember the old Volkswagen Microbus, chances are you didn’t actually own one.

But there are plenty of folks who have been desperately hoping that the German maker will finally bring back the original minivan.  They got some false hope going, back in 2001, when VW rolled out the Microbus Concept, all but promising to put it into production until someone in Wolfsburg  glumly realized it couldn’t come close to meeting today’s much tougher crash standards.

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So, enter the 2011 Volkswagen Bulli Concept.  Call it retro-futuristic, if you wish, but though the look is decidedly more modern – and, we’re betting, more than up to the latest federal requirements – there’s no mistaking its DNA.

The prototype made a semi-official sneak preview Monday night, and will take its formal bow on the Volkswagen stand during the Geneva Motor Show.

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First Look: Aston Martin Virage

2 doors, 12 cylinders, 490 horsepower. You do the math.

by on Feb.24, 2011

Aston revives the old Virage name in a new model slotteds between the DB9 and DBS.

Aston Martin is bringing back an old name, but the 12-cylinder Virage, making its debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, is anything but retro.

With striking xenon headlamps tapering into the low-slung head and framing a new 5-bar grille, the 490-horsepower Aston Virage is the latest entry designed to pull the classic British brand forward.

The coupe occupies a sort of middle ground between the Aston DB9 and DBS models, 20 more horsepower than the former, 20 less than the latter coming from its 6.0-liter powerplant.  The Aston Virage also makes 420 lb-ft of torque.

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On the mechanical side, the new coupe gets new adaptive dampers that can switch between five degrees of firmness with the touch of a button.  A modified exhaust manifold enhances the resonant roar of the big V-12.

As with the other DB models, the Aston Martin Virage is aluminum intensive, reflecting the British maker’s focus on stiff, lightweight vehicles that deliver even better performance than the raw horsepower numbers might otherwise suggest.

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First Look: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Heating up the pony car wars with the fastest Camaro ever.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Chevrolet rolls out the fastest, most powerful Camaro ever , the 2012 ZL1, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Chevy is adding a little more muscle to the pony car wars by bringing back the once-formidable Camaro ZL1.

The General Motors division rocked the market when its reborn Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang, last year, for the first time in a quarter century.  But GM officials admit it won’t be easy to keep that momentum going – not without broadening the Camaro line-up.

The long-delayed Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is about to go on sale.  (For a review, Click Here.) Now comes the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1, which is making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of design, recalled how the original Camaro ZL1 became an instant classic when it first appeared in the late 1960s.  The hope is to repeat that success with the new car.

“The 2012 ZL1 will be the most technically advanced Camaro every built by GM,” Welburn said, during the GM press conference.  “The new ZL1 continues the momentum of Camaro, propelling it into an entirely new realm of leading-edge performance technology,” added Welburn, who said the car will be rolling into Chevy showrooms next January.

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