Skip to main content

We obsessively cover the auto industry

0 New Articles in this week Hide Featured

Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars

  • Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk [w/video]
  • 2017 Jaguar XE
  • Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline

Posted Feb 2nd 2015 11:57AM

Volkswagen calls its 2015 Jetta "refined, redesigned," and countless man-hours have gone into its re-engineering, but you'd need to crawl all over the car, unbolt most of the body, drive it or spend some time on VW's website to fathom the changes. That's why we wrote, "2015 Volkswagen Jetta is new, we promise," when we first saw the car in New York last April.

While we wait for a sweeping next-generation overhaul to come, the marquee elements for now are the new structure underneath designed to win an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, fuel economy improvements and a heavily reworked 2.0 TDI diesel engine. Plus, there's ornamental detailing around the body and updated interior, and the revamped trim package and accessories matrix promises to provide more value. That makes it a better buy than the 2014 model, assuming it can find buyers ready to appreciate the subtleties.

Jay Leno listens to the people, shows off still-stock 1972 Mercedes 300 SEL 6.3

Posted Feb 1st 2015 8:00PM

Let it be known, Jay Leno is a man of the people. Long-time viewers will recall the time he walked fans of his popular video series around the various projects going on in his eponymous garage. One such vehicle was his 1972 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, which he'd planned on fitting with the powertrain from the awesome SLS AMG.

But rather than just make the move and be done with it, Leno asked viewers whether he should restore the silver sedan or carry on with his plan to resto-mod. Well, the restoration team won, and the 6.3-liter sports sedan soldiers on unmolested. That is, of course, no bad thing, according to Leno.

In his latest video, he revisits the 1972 luxury sedan, and takes it for a spin around Los Angeles. Fans of Mercedes' big-grilled 1970s styling won't want to miss this video.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

Jaguar XE to be built in China

Posted Feb 1st 2015 6:00PM

After a six-year absence, the Jaguar XE will return that most English of automotive companies to the compact premium segment, the brand's first whole-hearted launch into that market. For certain Western markets it begins production at the Land Rover plant in Solihull early next year, but it will also continue the brand's venture in to China having been chosen as the first Jaguar to be built there, according to a report in Automotive News.

Jaguar-Land Rover owns a plant in Changshu, a joint venture with Chery Automobile, that started building the Range Rover Evoque this year and will add the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Previously, The Leaping Cat was selling cars built from kits at its factory in Pune, India. The brand figures to sell 20,000 cars in China next year, which would be less than a fifth of in-country sales for the JLR group, but the XE is the "spearhead vehicle" that "could make significant inroads" there, according to Jaguar. For comparison, Audi moved 120,450 A4s alone and BMW sold more than 100,000 3 Series models in China in 2013.

Globally, Jaguar is predicted to sell 80,000 units this year. By 2017, after the release of the XE, new XF and coming crossover, plus factory expansions in China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, it hopes to get that number up to 200,000 units; Forbes has a piece detailing why they think it's possible. The JLR group is shooting for a target of 850,000 units worldwide by 2020.

Related Gallery2016 Jaguar XE
2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE2016 Jaguar XE

News Source: Automotive News Europe - sub. req. via Paul Tan

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

2016 Honda Pilot, Acura RDX confirmed for Chicago Auto Show debut

Posted Feb 1st 2015 4:00PM

The Chicago Auto Show this year is going to be chock-full of Honda crossovers. Not only has Japanese automaker announced that it will be revealing the all-new Pilot at the Windy City expo, but that it will also preview the styling of the next Ridgeline pickup, while its luxury counterpart Acura takes the wraps off the new RDX.

Developed and built in America, the new Pilot will be entering its third generation, after the first arrived in 2002 and the second in 2008. The new model previewed in the teaser image above will include eight seats across three rows, "with new technology, advanced safety, class-leading fuel economy and enhanced family utility and versatility," all wrapped in what Honda promises will be a "dramatic shift in design." The arrival of the third-generation model follows the recent introductions of the new CR-V and HR-V that slot below the Pilot.

Honda's not saying much about the Ridgeline at this point, but given its close association with the Pilot, it's not surprising to see the automaker grouping the two together. The four-door, short-bed pickup was introduced in 2005 and was discontinued with the end of last year. The second-generation model is expected to reach production in 2016.

While it's at it, Honda's luxury division will reveal the new 2016 Acura RDX at the Chicago show. Not to be confused with the Pilot-based MDX, the RDX is the smaller model based on the CR-V and introduced in 2006. The second-gen RDX was just introduced in 2013, but an updated version is already being rolled out, promising to deliver "a long list of styling and performance improvements plus desirable new luxury and safety features" and encompassing "important improvements to performance, dynamics, comfort and NVH."

Related Gallery2016 Honda HR-V
2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V2016 Honda HR-V

News Source: Honda, Acura

Volvo planning more Cross Country models

Posted Feb 1st 2015 2:00PM

Back in August we had a chance to sit down with Volvo Senior VP Lex Kerssemakers at the unveiling of the new XC90, when he told us all about the company's plans to completely revitalize its lineup within the next four years. Cross Country models, he assured us when asked, would be a big part of that. Given how that sub-brand had played out until then, we assumed at the time that would mean more jacked-up soft-road wagons, but with the reveal of the S60 Cross Country, Gothenburg showed its preparedness to leave that assumption on the dusty road behind it. Now the latest reports confirm that there will be more to come.

Speaking with Autocar, Kerssemakers – who was just appointed to the additional role of overseeing the Americas – confirmed that more Cross Country models will follow. The thing is that there aren't that many models left in the company's lineup that have yet to receive the treatment. Just one, really.

The company currently produces the V40, S60, V60, S80, V70 (and XC70), XC60 and XC90. The XC crossovers are ready for rough roads (unless even more rugged versions are planned) and the V40, S60, V60 and V70 have already undergone the Cross Country conversion.

That leaves just the S80, a model which – in its current iteration – has been on the market for the better part of a decade. Given what it's done with the S60 and V60, Volvo could still conceivably give the S80 the same off-road treatment it did long ago with the V70/XC70. But the likelier situation would see it designing a Cross Country version into the new S90 that's set to replace it soon. And therein lies the open door to the additional Cross Country models Kerssemakers is hinting at.

With each one of its models set to be replaced over the course of the next four years, and additional models to join the family, there's nothing to stop Volvo from jacking up the suspensions and beefing up the lower bodywork on every model it makes, moving forward. That could include the next generation of V40, S60, V60, but also the new S40 and S90 sedans and the new V90 set to finally replace the V70 wagon.

Along with the XC60, new XC90 and upcoming XC40, those will form the backbone of Volvo's forthcoming lineup, and each one can be expected to get the Cross Country treatment. More intriguing, however, is the prospect of a Cross Country coupe or shooting brake – something Volvo hinted at with the XC Coupe concept last year. The Swedish automaker has said that two- and three-door models are not among its top priorities as it works to replace its core four- and five-door models over the coming years, but that's not to say it couldn't reconsider a few years down the line. And part of us hopes it does.

News Source: Volvo

Saints Row video sends up Top Gear with motorized, machine-gunned Barcalounger

Posted Feb 1st 2015 12:00PM

As the Grand Theft Auto series has created more lifelike video game worlds for players to experience, the Saints Row franchise has embraced fantasy by letting people pretty much just fly around and completely ignore reality. The latest standalone expansion, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell, further drops any pretense of realism by changing the game setting to the afterlife.

To convey just how weird things get, the developers are parodying Top Gear with a segment they call Gat Gear. Unfortunately, the impressionist mimicking Jeremy Clarkson does a pretty poor job at the host's voice, but the show features a real-life version of the Armchair-a-geddon that's also in the game. The vehicle is a giant, tartan recliner with a minigun sticking out from each arm, and The Stag gets to take it for spin around London. See for yourself.

News Source: Saints Row via YouTube

Toyota holds onto crown of World's Largest Automaker

Posted Feb 1st 2015 10:01AM

Although there were hints and allegations that the Volkswagen Group might have taken the global sales crown for 2014, the final tally puts Toyota at the top with 10.23 million sales in 2014. We should really say it keeps Toyota at the top, since that makes three years in a row the Japanese company has been No. 1. Volkswagen Group came in second with 10.14 million units sold, General Motors in third with 9.92 million units sold.

This the first time for both Toyota and Volkswagen to pass 10 million sales in a single year. Toyota, including its Hino and Daihatsu divisions, did it with a three-percent increase in company-wide sales on the back of strong demand in Japan and North America. Its strength in developed markets might be the reason it loses the title this year, though; Toyota forecasts a two-per cent gain in sales outside of Japan, but a nine-per cent drop in its home market because of a new consumption tax that encouraged buyers to purchase before the end of last year. On top of that, turmoil in Southeast Asian economies like Thailand and Indonesia were down in 2014 and facing more headwinds. The company envisions 10.15 million sales in 2015.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, "has a jet engine strapped to its back called 'China,'" where Toyota is out-of-sorts. Volkswagen Group sales fell 2.9 per cent in the US last year, while Toyota gained 6.2 per cent here in North America. But Volkswagen roped in 3.7 million sales in China, a 12-per cent increase. Toyota enjoyed a huge bump of 12.5 per cent in China, but that only got it to 1.03 million units, missing its yearly target and leading to trouble with its Chinese dealers over unsold inventory.

With Toyota on the Chinese sidelines while Volkswagen guns for No. 1 status and pledges more production capacity in China – sales there are expected to top 25 million units this year – it looks like this could be the year the VW Group takes over the lead. That would be three years ahead of its original target of 2018. An analyst in Japan said Toyota is more focused on "keeping profitability than chasing numbers" – profitability is an issue for VW right now – so Toyota might not be back at the top "for [the] coming years."

Industrial designer seeking classic car, sketches his finds as he shops

Posted Jan 31st 2015 8:01PM

Bruce Thomson Car SketchesThe process of shopping for a vintage car can be both a joy and a nightmare. Wrapped up with the exciting opportunity of owning a classic is the anxiety of picking just the right one. Canadian industrial design professor Bruce Thomson and his wife are chronicling all of those ups and downs in a fascinating way. On their blog Kicking Vintage Tyres, Bruce exploits his talent as an expert draftsman to create detailed sketches of the vehicles they are considering, along with driving impressions of each one.

The idea for the site started on a whim. After selling his 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220 a while back, it was time to own another classic. Bruce was looking at a Triumph TR6, and a friend asked for a description of the car. Bruce responded with a massive email detailing everything he saw, and the concept for the blog was born. "It dawned on me early that my search was not going to be as easy or as quick as I had expected," he said to Autoblog in an email. "I decided that the best thing I could do would be to make a sort of 'game' out of the search by sharing it with others."

Thomson's sketches truly set the blog apart. He clearly has an exceptional eye for a car's lines and often mixes his drawings with inset depictions of key portions of the vehicle. Beyond just the fabulous diagrams, the site is a great read too.

While the TR6 initially topped the list, Thomson's search has broadened over time, and a Series 2 Alfa Romeo Spider and BMW 3.0CS also received consideration. "I'd not commit myself to any preferences though, as my head is easily turned," he said. The criteria are that the car must have a manual gearbox, be made between 1959 and 1976, preferably European, hopefully a convertible and cost 15,000-25,000 Canadian dollars. No matter how long it takes, this is a wonderful hunt to follow along with.

Related GalleryBruce Thomson Car Sketches
Bruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car SketchesBruce Thomson Car Sketches

News Source: Kicking Vintage Tyres via Core77

Mitsubishi bringing SUV 'Legend' to the Chicago Auto Show

Posted Jan 31st 2015 6:01PM

Mitsubishi claims that "a legend" is returning to its ranks at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show in February. Its save-the-date to the Windy City event just depicts an indistinguishable crossover sitting on top of a sand dune as the only hint of what the Japanese brand has in store.

However, according to company spokesperson Alex Fedorak this isn't an entirely new vehicle. Mitsubishi is giving the GC-PHEV concept (pictured below) its North American debut, after originally unveiling it at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. While it's purely a concept, the vehicle is "a designer's rendering of what a new Montero could look like," said Fedorak to Autoblog. While Mitsu is not committing to putting the chunky CUV into production yet, the press conference is going to "talk about what role if any it plays in our future," he said.

Related GalleryMitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013
Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept: Tokyo 2013

News Source: Mitsubishi

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2015 Noah Joseph / AOL