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Posts Tagged ‘compact cars’

Hyundai Offers Glimpse of New Elantra

“A move to modern styling” with the next-gen compact.

by on Aug.20, 2015

A first glimpse of the direction Hyundai will take with the next-generation Elantra.

The edgy styling of the outgoing model helped redefine the compact sedan segment, and now Hyundai is hoping to score again with the upcoming update of its compact Elantra.

A rendering of the new sedan, released by Hyundai corporate headquarters in Seoul, shows that the maker isn’t going for a complete makeover but, rather, a further refinement of the current Elantra’s coupe-like shape. That includes more distinctive “active character lines” and new wheel arches.

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“The All-new Elantra captures the car’s unique design characteristics that really place this model in a class of its own,” declared Peter Schreyer, Hyundai Motor Co.’s president and Chief Design Officer, in a statement. (more…)

Chevy Rolling Out Cruze Refresh at NY Auto Show

New WiFi hot spot for GM's hot-seller.

by on Apr.15, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze gets some modest exterior tweaks - and some major new tech.

There seem to be two General Motors these days.  One is scoring an assortment of solid hits with products ranging from the big Chevrolet Silverado pickup to the sporty new Chevy Corvette and lavish Cadillac CTS.  The other GM, well, it is struggling to keep its name from being dragged through the muddy waters surrounding its ongoing ignition switch recall scandal.

Good product is, without doubt, the best way to shore up one’s reputation, and the Detroit maker is hoping that’s what folks will be focusing on this week as the annual New York Auto Show gets underway. One of the most important GM product launches on tap will be the debut of a refreshed 2015 Chevrolet Cruze.

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Though it lags behind such compact powerhouses as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the Cruze has been doing well for GM as the Detroit maker’s top-seller in 2013.  So, no surprise the maker hopes to do even better with this update that puts an emphasis on new technology.


Hyundai Introduces Freshened Elantra for 2014

New model gets more powerful engine, improved handling.

by on Nov.21, 2013

Hyundai freshened the Elantra for 2014 giving it a sportier look and improving its performance.

Boasting multiple design changes and a more powerful engine, Hyundai unveiled the refreshed 2014 Elantra at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The updated Elantra features 75 additional or redesigned pieces, according to Mike O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America vice president of product development.

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“It’s more than just a facelift,” said O’Brien, who noted that while the Elantra has held its own in the compact segment, including cars such as the Mazda3, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai was committed to make significant improvements in the 2014 model. (more…)

Ford Reveals New Urban Car– er, Ka Concept

How small is too small? Ford tests the waters.

by on Nov.14, 2013

Ford brings back an old name in the form of the Brazilian-designed Ka Concept.

How small is too small? That’s something Ford is trying to find out with the unveiling of its Ka concept, a microcar design developed in Brazil that it hopes will gain some traction around the world in one of the auto industry’s fastest-growing market segments.

A good bit smaller than the current Fiesta model, the Ford concept revives a name first used on one of the maker’s more eccentric offerings in the late 1990s and targets a subcompact segment estimated to reach 6.2 million sales annually by 2017.

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The Ford Ka Concept is the second recent model developed by Ford’s Brazilian studio, following the new EcoSport that is rolling into showrooms from South American to Shanghai.

“Ford has a long history in Brazil, bringing development, jobs and growth to the region,” said the maker’s Chairman Bill Ford. “As an integral part of our global growth strategy, we are committed to bringing world-class products to Brazil and to helping the region create global vehicles for the rest of the world.”


Compact Luxury Cars Could be the Next Big Thing

Mercedes, BMW, Audi and other high-line brands move mainstream.

by on Oct.02, 2013

The new 2014 CLA 250 takes Mercedes-Benz into a segment where competitors include Ford's upscale Fusion Titanium editions.

While the all-new 2014 S-Class sedan might serve as the “flagship” of the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the German luxury maker’s big news this coming year is actually its smallest offering, the new CLA.

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse the coupe-like sedan with the older Mercedes CLS model, something that was far from coincidental, company officials concede.  But there’s no confusing the numbers on the Munroney window sticker, the compact CLA starting at just $29,990 – compared with the $73,025 base price of the bigger four-door.

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With the launch of the CLA, Mercedes is going after a new generation of luxury buyers that it hopes will become long-term brand loyalists. But the German maker isn’t alone.  Virtually every manufacturer in the luxury car segment, from BMW to Volvo, is rushing to market downsized and lower-priced luxury models, whether sedan, coupe or crossover.  And that could be particularly bad news for mainstream manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. who have themselves been pushing upwards into the luxury segment.


Toyota Weighs Option for Corolla Hatchback

Sees 5-door as appealing to Millennial males.

by on Aug.27, 2013

The 2014 Toyota Corolla makes its official debut. A hatchback version could be in the offing.

Toyota is contemplating the option of adding a five-door hatchback version of the all-new 2014 Toyota Corolla in an effort to attract more of the younger buyers the Japanese giant has been struggling to win over.

While the ideas has been discussed inside the company in some detail, senior Toyota executives in the United States and Japan have not yet signed off on the project, officials cautioned

“Nothing is envisioned,” at this point, said Shinici Yasui, the chief engineer responsible for the Corolla, the sedan version of which has gone through a complete redesign for the 2014 model-year.

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Nonetheless, Yasui indicated that Toyota was concerned about the opinions of younger buyers who have been showing a renewed interest in hatchbacks – a body style particularly popular in both Europe and Japan. And a few key models, such as the hot-selling Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, as well as the Ford Fiesta, have shown the potential for bringing three- and five-door body styles to the U.S.


New Mitsubishi’s Mileage No Mirage

With new 3-cylinder engine, maker targeting 44 mpg.

by on Mar.29, 2013

Mitsubishi looks to make inroads into the U.S. market with the 2014 Mirage.

Struggling Mitsubishi has had a hard time getting onto consumer radar screens in recent years, but it’s betting that potential buyers will pay attention to the news that its new small car is rated at 44 miles per gallon.

And that’s no mirage. Or, wait a second, yes it is, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage. Targeting subcompact competitors like the Ford Fiesta, the new Japanese offering is making its debut at the New York International Auto Show this week.

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The Mitsubishi Mirage will offer a new 74-horsepower 1.2-liter inline-three engine paired with a five-speed manual engine. There’s also an optional CVT. And, yes, that’s three cylinders – a layout we haven’t seen much of in the U.S. market in recent years.


Dodge Dart GT Coming to NAIAS

Still higher performance model may follow.

by on Jan.09, 2013

Dodge expands the Dart line-up with the new GT.

The Dodge Dart was introduced less than a year ago but Chrysler Group is already looking at ways to extend the brand by offering clever variations of the car, which the company says is finding a market despite a seemingly slow start.

Dodge plans to bring back a sporty version of the compact line originally introduced a half century ago, launching the 2013 Dart GT model during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

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The decision to preview the Dart GT ahead of the NAIAS also indicates Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne’s determination to make a success of the Dart program, which is the first Chrysler product to be based on a platform jointly developed with Italian ally Fiat SpA.


Dodge Dart Sales Gaining Momentum

“Right on schedule,” says brand chief.

by on Sep.20, 2012

The new 2013 Dodge Dart is gaining ground fast, officials insist.

Chrysler Group’s Dodge Dart appears to be scoring some big points in one of the market’s most crowded segments.

The maker’s new sedan has been growing at a rate of nearly 300% a month, according to company data and while that pace would be impossible to sustain long-term, Dodge Brand Director Richard Cox said the launch of the new Dart is right on schedule.

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“We sold 3,000 in August and we are doing well in September,” he said. “In addition, we’re getting great feedback on the car from dealers and from the media,” Cox said, dismissing reports the Dart has gotten off to a slow start.


GM Reveals Plans for Next-Gen Chevy Cruze

Diesel expected to be added with next-gen sedan.

by on Aug.23, 2012

GM's Lordstown plant will build the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze.

It’s been one of the world’s best-selling nameplates and a massive factor in Chevrolet’s recent performance.  So there’s little surprise that General Motors plans to amp up the next-generation Chevy Cruze model.

The maker today confirmed plans to produce the next version of the compact line at its sprawling Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, a move that will see GM invest $220 million into both that factory and another stamping facility in nearby Parma.

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The announce is expected to save as many as 5,000 U.S. jobs had GM decided to shift Cruze production abroad.  The decision appears to reflect a cooperative effort between the maker and the United Auto Workers Union that will bring down manufacturing costs for the next-gen Chevy Cruze.