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2015 Subaru WRX CVT Review

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Cadillac developing stretched ATS-L just for China

Posted Feb 16th 2014 6:00PM

2013 Cadillac ATS

To luxury automakers, long-wheelbase sedans are to China that crossovers and SUVs are to North America, so it isn't all that surprising any more when the latest sedan gets an extra couple of inches between the wheels to improve rear-seat comfort. According to Car News China, the next sedan to get the stretch will be the Cadillac ATS, which will increase the wheelbase by 10 centimetres (about four inches) to become the ATS-L.

Designed to go up against rivals like the BMW 335Li and the added-length Mercedes C-Class, the ATS-L will reportedly be built locally in China with an engine list that will grow as well. Currently, only the 2.0-litre turbo engine is offered in the ATS in China, but the ATS-L will get the full spectrum of ATS engines including the base 2.5-litre and the peppier 3.6-litre V6. This isn't the first time Cadillac has offered a China-specific stretched sedan either as the SLS dates back to 2006.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL, News Source: Car News China

VW is world's second-best-selling automaker, GM falls to third

Posted Feb 16th 2014 10:00AM



Every year when we start talking about which automaker is the biggest in the world, there always seems to be at least a little bit of controversy. For 2013, Toyota handily took the top spot with 9.98 million sales, but it's the runner up spot between General Motors and Volkswagen that is starting to create a stir.

Based on our earlier report, GM's 9.71 million vehicles put it in second place ahead of VW's 9.5-million-vehicle effort. Now, The Detroit News is reporting that VW is claiming a tally of 9.73 million sales, including figures from MAN and Scania – heavy-duty truck divisions under the VW AG family. The article points out that Toyota's sales figure includes its Hino line of trucks, but these might still be considered light-duty vehicles while MAN and Scania build tractor trailers.

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Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Matt Davis / AOL, News Source: The Detroit News

2014 Kia Sorento

Posted Feb 12th 2014 11:57AM

More Than Meets The Eye

2014 Kia Sorento

For most new car shoppers, three-row crossovers are little more than a way for the family-minded to avoid succumbing to the minivan stigma. Admit it – the only things that differentiate most larger CUVs from minivans are their lack of sliding side doors and – on most of them – the option of all-wheel drive. Having blossomed into a popular segment with thicker profit margins, though, automakers have plenty of incentive to keep their offerings fresh, and that's exactly why Kia is presenting its 2014 Sorento so soon.

At first glance, the crisply styled utility vehicle seen here appears to be nothing more than a mid-cycle refresh – and not a particularly extensive one, at that. But that's not the case at all. Despite looking very similar to the second-generation vehicle that came on the scene for the 2010 model year, this is an all-new Sorento. Or, more precisely, it's about 80-per cent new. Kia says less than 20 per cent of the parts have been carried over from the 2013 Sorento, and that's a pretty typical amount for an 'all-new' vehicle generation.

Since we've yet to spend quality time with the "Made in the USA" Sorento for more than a short First Drive in Arizona last February, we snagged the keys to a 2014 model in the all-new SX Limited trim level for a lengthy backroad sojourn from Florida to South Carolina.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jeffrey N. Ross / AOL

Dodge Journey gets more SUV-like look with new Crossroad model

Posted Feb 6th 2014 11:00AM

2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad

Looking to play up its aging three-row crossover, Dodge will introduce a new model for its Journey franchise at this week's Chicago Auto Show. The 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad will be a new trim level positioned between the SXT and Limited, and it will be distinguished from other Journey models thanks to a handful of styling add-ons.

Plucking a page right out of the appearance playbook of the Ford Explorer Sport, the Journey Crossroad gets a meaner, more SUV-like demeanour. The Journey has often straddled the line between tall wagon and crossover, but this new trim goes a long way toward skewing its visuals toward the utility vehicle end of the spectrum. That's thanks largely to the Platinum chrome exterior trim on its roof rails and side sills, unique fascias, smoked headlights and taillights and, of course, those black 19-inch wheels. Inside, the Journey Crossroad will get a similar treatment, with darker, Liquid Graphite accents throughout the cabin, and the model will also come standard with leather seats (which Dodge says are a new design), and Chrysler's giant 8.4-inch Uconnect screen.

The 2014 Journey Crossroad goes on sale this spring with a starting price of USD$24,995 (no word yet on Canadian pricing or availability) for the four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive model, but Dodge says that the model will also be offered with more power and capability from the optional 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 and all-wheel-drive. Click here for the full press release, and check back later today / tomorrow for our live coverage from Chicago.

Image Credit: News Source: Dodge

2014 Lexus IS 350

Posted Feb 4th 2014 11:57AM

Almost-Realized Aspirations Of A King Slayer

2014 Lexus IS 350

Long regarded as one of the best driver's cars of all time, the BMW 3 Series has always been targeted by luxury automakers trying to create their own exciting, bang-for-the-buck sport sedan. For years, BMW has managed to ward off would-be rivals to its iconic 3 Series, but the combination of a softened F30 and solid, hard-hitting competitors could soon relieve the car of its crown. While the all-new Cadillac ATS has received the most publicity in this segment since its introduction, the 2014 Lexus IS has come on strong in its third generation to put plenty of heat on the 3 Series as the current-best luxury sport sedan.

The IS might be Lexus' most important launch in some time, as a new, strong attempt to draw younger buyers into showrooms. Rather than taking the same conservative path as the preceding IS, Lexus attacked the new car's design with enthusiasm. Exaggerated exterior styling, while certainly polarizing, definitely gets this car noticed.

We've certainly noticed the 2014 IS, with a couple of first drives (for the IS 250 prototype and the IS 350 F Sport) and a Quick Spin so far. This time around we had a chance to get a little more intimate with a staple of the new IS lineup: the non-F Sport, rear-wheel-drive IS 350.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jeffrey N. Ross / AOL

Grown-up Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is your inner five-year-old's street-legal dream

Posted Feb 3rd 2014 2:58PM



For many, the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe provided our first taste of the open road at a young age. It's been around for 30 years, with the Hudson, Ohio manufacturer even going so far as to declare it America's best-selling car. John Bitmead of Oxfordshire, England evidently wanted to relive his childhood a bit, so he created this excellent life-size, street-legal interpretation of the Cozy Coupe.

Starting with what appears to be an early Daewoo Matiz minicar, this adult-friendly Cozy Coupe took 1,000 hours to build, but it's ready for the road with lights, airbags and a top speed of 113 km/h (70 miles per hour). The design stays as true to the Cozy Coupe as possible, including visual links like the red bodywork, yellow roof, lack of windows and even the basic wheel and hub cap design.

Bitmead hopes he can raise money for children's charities by driving it from city to city in England, and if nothing else, he's sure to generate a lot of smiles. Scroll down to watch the BBC video report.

Watch this lucky tow truck driver escape a sliding car

Posted Feb 3rd 2014 2:00PM



Last week's ice storms in the Southeastern United States had claimed 13 lives, but this scary traffic camera video from Mobile, AL proves just how easily it could have reached 14. A tow truck driver cleaning up the ice-related crash of a Toyota Tacoma on I-10 found himself just inches away from an out-of-control Nissan Xterra.

Despite the presence of a Department of Transportation truck and a police car, the Xterra still appeared to be driving too fast for conditions. Mobile's Local 15 caught up with the driver who talked about the scary encounter, and it sounds like the only thing that saved him from sure death was the driver in the DOT truck yelling at him to watch out. In the video, which is posted below, the driver appears to be shaken but okay, although he doesn't remember stiff-arming the Nissan as it struck his flat-bed truck.

The report does not say if anyone inside the Xterra was injured, but we hope they were all just as lucky as this worker.

NASCAR changes up qualifying to F1-style [w/video]

Posted Feb 2nd 2014 2:00PM

Ford EcoBoost 400

In an effort to make racing more entertaining for fans (both live and on television), NASCAR has overhauled the way cars will qualify for races in 2014. With the exception of the Daytona 500, NASCAR races have previously used single-car qualifying to set the race-day field, but starting this year, drivers in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will qualify in large groups in knockout rounds similar to how Formula One, United SportsCar and non-oval IndyCar races operate.

Rather than cars going out one at a time, there will be two new systems – one for tracks longer than 1.25 miles (2.01 km) and another for tracks shorter than that distance – that has cars qualifying in packs. For longer tracks, qualifying will be split up into three sessions: the first will be 25 minutes with all vehicles on the track, the fastest from the first round will move on to the 10-minute second round and then the fastest 12 cars from this session will move on to the final round. On shorter tracks, there will be just two qualifying rounds: a 30-minute session with all vehicles and a second 10-minute round for the fastest 12 cars.

If weather prevents all the rounds from taking place, then the field will be set using times of the last completed session, but if no qualifying rounds occur for that race, then the starting positions "will be determined per the NASCAR rule book" using the current points standing. In between each round will be a break (five minutes for longer tracks and 10 minutes for short tracks) where teams will be allowed to perform minor adjustments and aren't permitted to make any changes under the hood.

The Daytona 500 will continue to use its twin 200-mile races as the qualifying sessions, so the first time we'll see this new system is on March 2 at Phoenix International Raceway. Let us know in the Comments section below or on our Autoblog Canada Facebook if you think this will help make NASCAR more fun to watch, and scroll down for a video explaining the new qualifying sessions.

Image Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images, News Source: NASCAR

Ford F-150 RaptorTrax is Ken Block's ultimate snowmobile [w/video]

Posted Feb 1st 2014 12:00PM



Even when Ken Block isn't starring in the latest Gymkhana video or tearing up Global RallyCross courses, he's finding new ways to redefine "awesome" as it applies to motorsports. For evidence of this, look no further than Block's latest Monster-badged creation, the Ford F-150 RaptorTrax.

Billed as the "world's fastest snowcat," the RaptorTrax started life as a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, and then a set of Mattracks were put in place where the truck's bead-locked wheels and meaty rubber once resided. The goal was to create a truck that made it easier – and presumably more fun – for Block and his buddies to hit the slopes on their snowboards. Aside from the obvious track upgrades, this truck also received a Whipple supercharger, full roll cage, Recaro seats, an in-bed snowboard rack, a roof basket and a rear-mounted winch – you know, just in case something or someone actually manages to get this truck stuck.

The RaptorTrax was displayed and spotted at the Winter X Games in Apsen, CO, but rumour has it we'll have to wait until next winter for a full Block-worthy stunt video of the truck in action. A full press release from Hoonigan Racing Division is posted below along with a few video clips.

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Image Credit: News Source: Hoonigan Racing

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