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Posts Tagged ‘urban cars’

Kia Soul Tops List of Must-Have Cars in the City

Surprisingly, Smart ForTwo doesn’t make Top 10.

by on Aug.12, 2014

Kia's 2014 Soul was named the top choice for city dwellers due to its ride-and-handling as well as its convenience features.

Many folks imagine that once you move to a large urban center, like New York or Chicago, that the need for a car evaporates; however, the reality is that city denizens need to get around and that means hundreds of thousands of vehicles are clogging those streets.

If you’re going to have a car in the city, it needs to be small enough to squeeze into tight spots, turn around in small spaces, yet be able to carry lots of stuff. Fortunately, the folks at have compiled a list of what they believe to be the 10 best cars for city dwellers.

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The website’s top pick is the 2014 Kia Soul and not because it’s so easy to drive even a hamster can do it. According to the website, the Soul’s ride-and-handling, abundance of convenience features, such as heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel – features typically found on pricier rides – combined with Kia’s Android-based UVO multimedia system made it the best ride. (more…)

Get a new Aston Martin for under $50,000?

British maker sets price for new Cygnet.

by on Jan.21, 2011

Aston rolls out two launch models of the new Cygnet urban luxury minicar.

Is it the bargain of the decade – or a complete con?  Opinions have been running both ways about the new Aston Martin Cygnet, the maker’s first-ever mini car.

The minicar will carry a price tag of 30,995 British pounds, Aston has announced, or $49,368 at the current exchange rate.  That’s barely a fifth the starting price of the maker’s top-line DBS and only a bit more than a third as much as the “base” model in the supercar maker’s line-up, the Aston Martin Vantage.

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But will James Bond be caught driving one of the compact urban cruisers?  Maybe if he’s looking for a parking space on the crowded streets near MI6 headquarters, in London.  With its 99-horsepower, 1.3-liter engine this isn’t exactly the sort of product you expect to see 007 using to get away from the bad guys.


First Look: Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept

“The luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

by on Nov.17, 2010

How small is too small for luxury buyers?

Luxury buyers have traditionally measured a vehicle’s worth by the pound and inch.  But, in an increasingly urban global environment, size doesn’t always measure up.  The big cars of the past very well could be replaced by something more compact but equally luxurious.

Or so Cadillac seems to be suggesting with the Urban Luxury Concept it is introducing at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, a prototype that, the maker says, “offers the luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

Measuring just 151 inches, nose-to-tail, and with a 97.1-inch wheelbase, the ULC is comparable in size to the sort of city cars becoming increasingly popular in Europe and Japan, and which some industry planners will continue to gain momentum in emerging markets like China and India.

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Despite the relatively compact footprint, the ULC’s tall crossover-like stance – with a 56.9-inch height and a 68.1-inch width – provides far more interior space than might seem apparent, at first.  And to ease access, Cadillac designers have opted for a gullwing design – which is operated at the touch of a button.

“It may not look like Cadillacs on the road today, but it shares the comfortable and high-tech elements that owners have come to associate with larger, traditional luxury sedans,” said lead designer Frank Saucedo.


BMW Set To Build Megacity Battery Car

Announces $744 million investment in Leipzig factory; U.S. carbon fiber plant may follow.

by on Nov.08, 2010

BMW will produce the Megacity urban battery-electric vehicle at its plant in Leipzig, Germany.

BMW is making good on its commitment to building an electric car for the urban environment.

The German automaker has announced that it plans to invest $744 million to move ahead with production of the all-electric Megacity at its assembly plant in Leipzig in old East Germany.  As part of the project, BMW also planning to build a carbon fiber plant in the U.S. probably in the State of Washington.

The announcement coincides with word BMW will put its striking Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept vehicle into production.  The high-performance plug-in hybrid will be capable of launching from 0 to 60 in just 4.8 seconds while still getting about 31 miles on battery power before its diesel engine fires up.  Unlike the relatively mainstream Megacity, the Vision will be priced at somewhere around $200,000 (Click Here for more.)

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The Megacity, which is designed strictly as an urban vehicle, is BMW’s first battery-powered auto, and it will be sold under a new sub-brand when it reaches showrooms in 2013. Passengers in the four-seat car will be protected by a carbon-fiber safety cell, similar to a Formula 1 race car.

BMW first announced Megacity last winter but is now taking preliminary steps to implement the project, which company officials say is a direct response to the steady growth in urban areas around the globe.


First Drive: 2011 Nissan Juke

Quirky, for sure, but plenty fun to drive.

by on Aug.26, 2010

The 2011 Nissan Juke isn't just another urban cruiser.

Pulling up to the ferry terminal at Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to form.  We’re just waiting for the boat to take us over to the Sunshine Coast, but seemingly everyone has to come and check out our new set of wheels, ask questions and offer their opinion

Nissan has a history of coming up with quirky, provocative crossover-utility vehicles – think Murano or Infiniti FX – and the Japanese maker’s latest offering certainly lives up to that reputation.  Based on the same B-car platform as the Versa minicar, the 2011 Nissan Juke is certainly not just another plebian SUV wannabe.

There are the muscular wheel arches and the sloping roof line that is vaguely reminiscent of the little Z-car, at least a Z on steroids.  The bubble back could be borrowed from Murano though the Nike swoop-like lights might easily be lifted from one of the Volvo XC models.  Then there’s that nose.  Everyone has a thought to offer.

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Juke’s headlamps aren’t where you’d expect them.  A pair of large, clear blisters erupt from the hood and would suggest that the car is using the latest in project lamp technology.  But they’re actually just turn signals.  The headlamps are mounted in the circles that rise from the bumper, where you might expect foglamps.  Those, if your car is so –equipped, are tucked almost out of sight in the lower fascia.


Scion Reveals Two New Models at New York Show

Targets “urban” market with iQ; “early successes” with second-generation tC.

by on Mar.31, 2010

At just 10 feet, nose-to-tail, the 2011 Scion iQ will be the smallest four seater on the market.

Hoping to reverse a sharp, if unexpected decline in sales, Toyota’s youthful Scion division rolled out a pair of new products at the New York International Auto Show, each targeting a distinct, if potentially promising, niche.

Even for a brand that has traditional pushed downsize products, the little Scion iQ is downright tiny, measuring just a fraction of an inch over 10 feet, bumper-to-bumper.  The unusual 3+1 design, according to Scion General Manager Jack Hollis, will be the smallest four-seater in the U.S. when it reaches showrooms during the first quarter of 2011.

Big Ideas - Concentrated!

The 2011 Scion iQ “is about big ideas – concentrated,” proclaimed Hollis, during an auto show preview.  The vehicle, he added, is designed to reflect what the executive called the “new urbanism,” young buyers who have decided to return to the nation’s big cities and want vehicles that minimize the hassles of struggling through urban traffic or finding parking.

“Yeah, size matters,” said Hollis, describing the Scion IQ as a “premium micro-compact.”


Sneak Peek: Scion IQ Microcar Concept

A Smart-(like) idea for America’s urban motorists?

by on Apr.08, 2009

Scion thinks it has a smart idea with its IQ concept, and could launch a U.S. version early in the coming decade.

Scion thinks it has a smart idea with its IQ urban transportation concept, and could launch a U.S. version early in the coming decade.

Bigger is better, or so goes the traditional automotive mantra.  But things are changing in a big way, as more and more of the global population moves back into the cities.  Despite the worldwide recession, Daimler’s Smart car factory can barely keep up with demand, and a growing number of makers are giving serious thought to enter the so-called “urban transportation market.”

Earlier this week, GM unveiled a prototype, dubbed PUMA, it’s developing as part of an unusual joint venture with Segway.  Now comes word that Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion division may make a move into the city car segment with a pint-sized offering dubbed IQ, a tricked-out version of which is making its debut at the New York International Auto Show.