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This Or That: Fiat 500 Abarth vs. Ford Fiesta ST

  • This Or That: Fiat 500 Abarth vs. Ford Fiesta ST
  • Answering that age-old question, can you drift while being tazed?
  • 2015 Subaru WRX CVT Review
  • We obsessively covered the 2014 Monterey Car Week

Next-gen Toyota Tacoma mule caught towing in the desert

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 9:00AM

Toyota Tacoma mule

With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon set to arrive in dealers in the near future, it's high time Toyota got to work on a replacement for the Tacoma, a vehicle whose present generation debuted in the middle of the Bush Administration. Now, we have images of that new pickup undergoing testing.

Our spy photographers picked up this heavily modified mule undergoing tow tests in the desert. It rides on a modified version of the current Taco's frame, as evidenced by shots of its undercarriage, although our spies cite the lack of riveted sections as indications that the current truck's footprint should remain unchanged.

Aside from underbody changes, this particular Tacoma featured a six-speed manual transmission, which we're expecting to be joined by a six-speed automatic. The current four- and five-speed autos found on the current truck will almost certainly be killed off. Marching to the grave with those slushboxes will be the two-door Regular Cab body style. Our spies are expecting Toyota to focus its efforts on the larger, more accessible Double Cab.

Take a look up top for the heavily detailed gallery of images of the new Tacoma in action. Expect the next-gen Tacoma to arrive later in 2015, likely as a 2016 model.

Image Credit: KGP Photography

2015 BMW M4 gets initiated into the club

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 8:00PM

BMW M4 initiation

It's easy to give BMW a hard time these days with its move into practically every automotive segment that exists and plans to add more front-wheel drive models to the brand in the future. However, the pursuit towards perfection that underscored its old Ultimate Driving Machine motto is still in there, especially in its M models. In fact, the first M4 recently made it to North American shores, and the company thought the only appropriate way to celebrate was to introduce the new coupe to some of its high performance forefathers.

The M4's initiation into the M car brotherhood involved bringing together 52 classic and newer models, including 4 racecars, to an empty parking lot and letting the coupe drift and slalom around them to say hello. According to BMW, there was a combined 11,566 horsepower on tap among all of them. It takes a pretty trusting owner to stand back and watch as a brand new vehicle slides its tail out with the rear wheels smoking within feet of their pride and joy. Stay tuned until the end where the owners and their cars get a shout out in the credits. Scroll down to read BMW's press release about it.

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News Source: BMW USA via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Here's the Youabian Puma in motion

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 6:57PM

Youabian Puma

Want to know the low point of my trip to Monterey for last week's Car Week festivities? It wasn't the four-hour layover in Phoenix or getting stuck in the horrible traffic surrounding the event. No, it happened at the Concorso Italiano, when after strolling through the fields of gorgeous Alfa Romeo Montreals, Maserati Meraks, shockingly rust-free Lancia classics and the largest and most varied collection of Ferrari and Lamborghini gorgeousness that I've ever laid eyes on, I stumbled across this – the Youabian Puma.

Why it was at the Concorso, I've no idea. But there it was, in all its big – and I mean big – blue fury, standing in stark contrast to the beautiful sheetmetal that populated the lawn at Monterey's Black Horse Golf Course.

This is, so far as we recall, the first time we've seen the Puma in motion and playing in traffic. In case you somehow missed its memorable debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, we're now offering you the chance to see this curvy, US$1.1M leviathan for yourselves. It's worth watching, if only to better appreciate the scale of the Puma out on public roads. It's quite... something.

News Source: Youabian Puma via YouTube

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Vancouver airport hilariously parodies sports car ad... for new luggage cart?

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 6:30PM

Vancouver Airport's Luggage Cart Promo Hilariously Parodies Sports Car Ads

Vancouver International Airport is promoting its new free luggage carts with the hilarious ad shown above that parodies sports car commercials we're used to seeing.

Much like the latest performance car commercial, this ad claims they're lighter, stronger and faster than the old model. A new handbrake makes them safer... And the wheels are made of "dual composite rubber for better grip and durability," according to the airport's video.

Watch the clip above as the fleet of "new and improved" baggage carts rolls out in the slick video produced to promote them. Sporting a "sleek, upright, ergonomic design," the 3,000 carts feature major upgrades, the airport says.

Best of all, these high-performance carts are free to use terminal-wide. Click here to watch the video for yourself.


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Camaro Z/28 and Mitsubishi Starion meet in this nostalgic vision of '87 Japan

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 5:57PM

Orange Orchid music video

The '80s is just far enough away now that it no longer seems like an era defined by Reagonomics and neon clothing. Filmmaker Matt Clark has embraced the look of the music videos of the decade in his new short film titled Orange Orchid, set in 1987 in Chiba and Yokohama, Japan. The video features some great sports coupes of the time and is set to the song I Know There's Something Going On from Abba-alum Frida (along with drumming and backup vocals from Phil Collins).

Clark really embraces the pop-culture look of the era's videos with big hair, a healthy dash of neon, inexplicable smoky rooms and big, over-wrought movements. However, the real stars for us are the pair of '80s sports coupes that also kind of personify the main characters. Nijo in her denim jacket has a modded Camaro Z/28 with huge, dished wheels rockin' that Hellaflush style. Naturally, the Chevy also features some great butterscotch paint and a car phone inside. Alex, the guy pursuing her, forgoes any obvious upgrades in favor a clean, all-white Mitsubishi Starion to go along with his tailored suit and giant cell phone.

We wish this video featured the cars a bit more prominently, but that drumbeat from Collins on this forgotten 80s gem is pretty fantastic, too. Give it a listen in the video.

News Source: Matt Clark via Vimeo

GM admits Cadillac ELR no real competition for Tesla Model S

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 5:00PM

Cadillac ELR

Last year, then-CEO of General Motors, Dan Akerson, made it clear that the company lookouts at the Ren Cen had California automaker Tesla in their sights. "If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac," he said.

So, given the fact that the Cadillac ELR has a plug and sells for roughly the same price at the Tesla Model S ($77,800 vs $78,250, before incentives) and that Cadillac doesn't have any other electric vehicle on the horizon, you'd be forgiven if you thought that the way that Akerson wanted to challenge Tesla's EV success was with the ELR. Well, you'd apparently be wrong.

"The ELR is a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." - GM's Mark Reuss

Speaking yesterday in Detroit, GM's head of global product development, Mark Reuss, admitted that the ELR is not the Tesla competitor that Akerson promised. "People like to say the ELR is [competition for the Model S], but it's really not. It's a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." So, if we follow that logic to conclusion with Akerson's quote from last year, then the only way that Cadillac can eventually compete with Tesla is with a pure electric car, and that seems an outside chance, at best, for the foreseeable future.

Through the end of July, Cadillac has sold 578 ELRs since it went on sale earlier this year. Tesla has sold 15,114 Model S EVs around the world in the first six months of 2014.

For his part, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already said that GM is headed down the wrong path with plug-in hybrids like the ELR or the Chevy Volt. Speaking about the Volt last year, Musk said, Chevy "sort of created something that's a bit of amphibian," which resulted in a car that's, "Okay but not great."

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News Source: The Detroit News

Meteor sighting over DVP in Toronto caught on dashcam

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 3:59PM

Last night, select Torontonians were lucky enough to spot moving balls of fire across the sky. One driver that goes by the YouTube name of russ0035 was fortunate enough to capture it on his dashcam as he was travelling up the Don Valley Parkway.

While not as dramatic as the meteor showers caught on camera in Russia last year, it's still pretty neat. Meteor showers are common this time of year and there have been a slew of sightings around Toronto in the past month.

The guys here in the Autoblog Canada office aren't convinced it was only a meteor shower... instead, we know the truth is out there. We want to believe.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think.

News Source: russ0035 via YouTube

Feel Good Friday: Pharell Williams' Happy gets a JDM twist

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 3:00PM

We have to come clean. We're kind of getting tired of Pharells "Happy" song. As great as it is, you can't help but hear it at least once per day, be it on the radio, on TV, online, or on your Gameboy Colour. It just gets old ya know?

All that noise aside though, this video is awesome. What better way to end the week than to watch as some of Japans most influential tuners, drivers, and personalities in the automotive industry go into an all out dance frenzy. Fredric Aasbo, Daigo Saito, and Manabu "Max" Orido just to name a few, all make cameos in the video. (WE <3 JAPAN.)

Just do yourself a favour. Scroll down, watch the video, enjoy, and when it's all said and done you have permission from all of us here at Autoblog Canada to take the rest of the day off, and start your weekend. Woop! *** we are not responsible for you getting fired. be happy at your own risk ***

News Source: Maiham Media via YouTube

Honda CR-Z gets much-needed supercharger

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 2:00PM

Honda CR-Z supercharger kit from HPD

Honda has really taken its time in getting an aftermarket supercharger kit for the CR-Z to enthusiasts in North America. It's finally on sale, though, and it makes you wonder if the hybrid hatchback shouldn't have had it from the day it went on sale.

The supercharger kit developed by Honda Performance Development boosts output from the CR-Z's 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine to 197 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, according to Honda spokesperson Jessica Howell, an improvement of 67 hp and 36 lb-ft. It also adds an air-to-air intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a recalibrated ECU and new air filter for US$5,495, before installation. However, the setup only works for six-speed manual transmission models from the 2013 and 2014 model years. If you want to take things even further, HPD is also offering an optional limited slip differential for US$1,375 and sport clutch for US$640, according to Howell.

Development of the supercharger kit has been ongoing for years. We first saw it on the CR-Z Mugen RZ in 2012 in Japan, in which it barely bumped power to 153 hp. Later at SEMA, Honda improved things to a more respectable 185 hp. Then in 2013, we actually got to drive an early version boasting 190 hp and found it a solid improvement over the stock powertrain. It appears Honda had some further tweaks to get things to the current 197 ponies. More good news: assuming you get the package installed at a dealer, the car maintains the balance of its 5 year/ 60,000 mile (96,500 kilometre) Honda US limited powertrain warranty.

Is this too little too late, though? The CR-Z is already dead in Europe, and it makes you wonder how much longer it can stick around here. In the meantime, the supercharger kit does give the hybrid hatch something that it really needs – power to back up its sporty looks, though no mention is made of how the modification impacts fuel mileage. Scroll down to read HPD's full announcement about the supercharger.

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News Source: Honda

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL