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125 New Articles in this week

2014 Fiat 500L

Posted Dec 4th 2013 12:01PM

2014 Fiat 500L

The saying goes that man cannot live by bread alone, and neither can automakers live by selling one car alone. This holds especially true for automakers with a budding dealer network to support, like the Fiat brand, which returned to North American shores in 2011 after a 28-year absence. The company's one car to sell at the time was the Fiat 500, a cute retro rebirth of the original, iconic 500, which your toddler now calls Luigi thanks to Pixar.

Since then, the new 500 has sold reasonably well here in Canada and the US, and the Fiat brand has been following the same playbook that another purveyor of pint-sized autos, Mini, has used: sell as many variants as you can of the one model you've got. So we have the 500, 500C drop top, high-performance 500 Abarth, all-electric 500e and a few trim levels and special editions to further fill dealer showrooms. But the axiom that automakers cannot live selling one car alone still stands, and so Fiat has finally introduced its second model, the larger 500L.

When we completed our First Drive of the 500L back in June, our team was left pleasantly surprised by its combination of utility, off-beat style, fun-to-drive demeanor and value. We've also, however, read some scathing reviews, like this one from The New York Times. I wasn't sure where the truth lay when the keys for this top-trim 2014 Fiat 500L Lounge were handed to me, but finding out would be but a short week of together time away.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 John Neff / AOL

eBay Find of the Day: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Acura MDX from The Avengers

Posted Nov 27th 2013 4:55PM

Acura MDX S.H.I.E.L.D.

Planning to dress up as Agent Coulson for Halloween next year? We've got the perfect accessory to complete your Level 7 costume. On eBay Motors at this very moment is an auction for an Acura MDX S.H.I.E.L.D vehicle, one of only 10 made that the seller claims was used in filming of The Avengers.

The crossover is being sold by Scottsdale Motor Company, and while the eBay auction is up to nearly $22,000 USD with less than four days remaining (at the time of this writing), the dealer's website is asking $42,900 USD for this piece of movie memorabilia.

What you see is no mere prop, though. This S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle is a proper 2011 MDX, equipped with the available Technology Package and leather from the factory. The flat black paint was even applied by Acura itself, and the graphics were added by the film studio's art department.

Actual modifications to the vehicle were done by Cinema Vehicle Services in California and include those fender flares (originally meant for a Ford truck), the front push bar, an LED light bar (not currently installed) and 18-inch wheels wearing beefy BFGoodrich All-Terrain radial tires. Those rollers required significant suspension mods to fit, so the body was raised, sway bars disconnected and air shocks installed. The buyer will also get the factory wheels and tires, but we hope they never use them.

While it's no Lola, this MDX is the closest you're ever going to get to owning one of Coulson's cars. Now, where did the NSX Roadster that Tony Stark drove off in at the end of The Avengers wind up?

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We take a closer look at the 2015 Chevy Colorado

Posted Nov 27th 2013 10:00AM

2015 Chevy Colorado

The 2015 Chevy Colorado was one of last week's big debuts at the LA Auto Show, so big that our editors ranked it second in our list of Top Five debuts from the show. We thought Chevy's reentry into the midsize pickup market deserved a closer look, so we sent West Coast Editor Mike Harley to talk to Jeff Luke, chief engineer of midsize and fullsize trucks for Chevrolet.

What he learned goes deeper than what our lenses could capture when the truck debuted on stage in LA. From segment-leading box sizes to fuel-saving aerodynamics to what this little Bowtie with a bed shares with its big brother, Luke gives us the low down on how Chevy hopes to compete in a segment of, let's face it, aged competitors. Scroll down and hit play to watch for yourself.

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Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL

We obsessively covered the 2013 LA Auto Show

Posted Nov 22nd 2013 4:00PM



Two major international auto shows occurring on the same two days? Phew, let's not do that again... ever. Still, we're pros at attending auto shows here at Autoblog Canada, so we obsessively covered both the LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show at the same time.

The last of our LA show coverage has pretty much gone live, which means it's time for a top-down look at all of the cars and concepts that debuted under a SoCal sun this week. With such major debuts as the 2015 Subaru WRX, 2015 Porsche Macan and 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe the caliber of cars unveiled in the City of Angels did not disappoint. Which were your favourites? We want to know your best and worst picks too, so sound off in Comments below.

We've still got a few more posts from Japan to share, so stayed tuned for Tokyo's post-show wrap up still to come, and next week we'll publish our Editors' Choices of the best cars from each show.

Click here to take a look at our Autoblog Canada highlights fresh from this week in LA.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 AOL / Manufacturers

The List #0393: Break a Land Speed Record

Posted Nov 22nd 2013 11:57AM

Jess Combs Womens Land Speed Record

Jess Combs Womens Land Speed RecordThe point of The List is to complete a bucket list that would make any auto enthusiast proud, but there are some experiences we always assumed might be out of reach for even us. Breaking a land speed record was one of them. The time, resources and skills required to properly set a new benchmark in speed are for the seriously committed only. Fortunately for us (and you), host Jessi Combs is one of those people.

As we reported, Combs became the Fastest Woman on Four Wheels last month when she broke the FIA Women's Land Speed Record on a dry lake bed in Oregon. Behind the stick of a retired, wingless ex-military jet, she recorded a two-way average speed of nearly 393 miles per hour and maxed out at over 708 km/h (440 mph).

Her feat was monumental and the experience once in a lifetime, making it perhaps the most worthy item we've ever recorded for The List. We're ready to share her experience with you, so scroll down to watch history being made.

2015 Kia K900 proves Korea's other brand has arrived

Posted Nov 21st 2013 11:00AM

2015 Kia K900

Kia entered the North America market in 1993 with the Sephia, a compact economy car you probably don't (want to) remember, and two decades later it has stepped on stage at the LA Auto Show to unveil a rear-wheel-drive, fullsize luxury sedan called the K900. The achievement here isn't the car itself, its handsome styling or the incredible value it might be (pricing has yet to be announced), but rather that no one thinks it's strange for this company that once sold us the Sephia to compete head-to-head with the best luxury brands in the world. It's a testament to what 20 years of hard work can do.

No one thinks it's strange for this company that once sold us the Sephia to compete head-to-head with the best luxury brands in the world.

As for the car itself, it does indeed have handsome styling. Kia's design language wears nicely on the K900's larger frame. The large, 19-inch, multi-spoke wheels keep that big body from looking disproportionate, and the all-LED headlights give the front end a suitably high-tech appearance that's required in this class of overachievers.

As we've mentioned about the K900, it's built on the same platform as the Hyundai Genesis and Equus and borrows a little bit from both. It shares some exterior dimensions with the Equus, including wheelbase and the width of its front and rear tracks, while offering your choice of a V6 or V8 engine like the Genesis. Aside from that, you can't touch or see anything that would suggest the K900 is kin to a Hyundai.

The engines available, however, are familiar and include the Tau 5.0-litre V8 and 3.8-litre V6 that both Korean automakers share. This is the first time anything wearing a Kia badge has offered eight cylinders, and it makes quite an entrance producing 420 horsepower. The 3.8-litre V6, meanwhile, produces 311 hp, and both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

With an opulent interior and all of the infotainment, connectivity and safety technology this class of fullsize luxury sedans requires, the K900 looks like a natural next step for Kia. We'll be getting behind the wheel of one soon to judge how it all comes together, and pricing information should arrive closer to the time it goes on sale in the first quarter of next year.

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2013 Drew Phillips / AOL

Dodge celebrates big B-day with 100th Anniversary Editions muscle cars

Posted Nov 20th 2013 8:59PM

2014 Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition

Being in business for 100 years is a HUGE milestone, so we hope Dodge has more in mind to celebrate its centennial than just a special edition package for the 2014 Charger and Challenger. Called the 100th Anniversary Edition package, this collection of cosmetic enhancements will be available in limited quantities for both cars at a cost of US$2,500.

Ordering a Charger or Challenger with the 100th Anniversary Edition package means starting with either a V6-powered SXT Plus or V8-powered R/T Plus model. They can each be ordered in many colours, but only the High-Octane Red Pearl Coat above is an anniversary exclusive. Each car also comes with an anniversary-exclusive set of 20-inch, five-spoke wheels with what Dodge calls "Granite Crystal pockets," a texture that's also mirrored on each car's grille.

Of course, there are commemorative badges galore affixed to the exterior of each car, including "Dodge Est. 1914" fender badges and "100" logos on the centre caps of each wheel. The styling theme of each car's interior is a bit more interesting, with Dodge designers trying to evoke "the patina and machinist legacy of John and Horace Dodge," the company's founders. To that end, the leather interior can be had in Molten Red or Foundry Black Nappa, and each features a custom cloud overprint that makes the hide look like a working man's dirty dungarees. Designers also used brass-coloured accent stitching on the interior's leather trim pieces, and affixed more "Dodge Est. 1914" badges to the front seat backs and floor mats. We do like the flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition gets exclusive white gauges faces and the Charger black. The "100" on each car's speedometer is also highlighted in red.

Customers hoping to celebrate Dodge's big B-day this way will also get special 100th Anniversary Edition key fobs with jeweled logos on their backsides, as well as a customized owner kit and commemorative book celebrating the brand's past 100 years. A nice package indeed, but let's hope there's a bigger present planned for the Detroit Auto Show in January.

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Image Credit: ive photos copyright 2013 Drew Phillips / AOL

VW Twin Up! puts hyper efficient XL1 powertrain in a four-seater

Posted Nov 20th 2013 11:30AM



As expected, Volkswagen has taken the hyper efficient diesel-hybrid powertrain from its XL1 tandem two-seater and installed it in the Up! city car. The new Franken-hybrid is called the Twin Up! concept, and has debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show today. With the XL1's two-cylinder, 800cc diesel engine and 35kW electric motor, the tiny four-seat hatchback can achieve a remarkable 1L/100km (214 mpg) on the European cycle – not too far off the purpose-built XL1's mark of 0.9L/100km (261 mpg).

VW says swapping in the XL1's powertrain was easy, with only a 30mm (1.2-inch) extension of the front overhang required to fit the diesel engine, electric motor, seven-speed DSG transmission and all of the electronics to make them work together. There's also room in the Twin Up! to carry more fuel and a larger battery cell; whereas the XL1 gets by with a tiny 10L (2.6-gallon) fuel tank and 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Twin Up! can carry 33L (8.7 gallons) of fuel and has an 8.6 kWh battery. The hybrid powertrain as a whole produces only 74 horsepower, but has a maximum torque rating of 159 pound-feet. With those specs, the Twin Up! can travel 50 kilometres (31 miles) on battery power alone (nearly the same as the XL1) and reach a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). A trip to 100km/h takes 15.7 seconds, so future drivers will have to plan their passes accordingly.

For now just a concept, the Twin Up! is being shown in Tokyo wearing an exclusive Sparkling White paint colour with blue glass flakes. The interior colour is called Ceramic, and both inside and out feature accents in the company's signature blue that signals a high efficiency model. The Twin Up! also ditches the buttons and switches of its production dashboard in favor of all-digital instrumentation and controls.

You can read more about the Twin Up! in the press release and video below, or check out our gallery of images above.

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Image Credit: Volkswagen

2015 Nissan GT-R updated with new lights, more refined ride

Posted Nov 19th 2013 12:00PM

2015 Nissan GT-R

2015 Nissan GT-R interiorThe Nismo version of Nissan's high-tech supercar may be getting most of the headlines today, but we shouldn't forget that the car on which it's based, the garden-variety GT-R, has been significantly updated for 2015, as well.

What Nissan engineers focused on for the new model year was making the GT-R a more well-rounded GT car. That means dialing some more compliance into the car's very firm suspension for a more comfortable ride, as well as lightening up the steering at low speeds to make urban maneuvering easier. The braking calibration has also been changed to be more linear and smooth when slowing from normal, everyday speeds. Does this mean the GT-R has gone soft? We'll reserve judgment until we drive it, but Nissan claims the new refinements giving the car "multi-dimensional performance."

The GT-R also gets new lighting technology for 2015, including multi-LED headlights that lend the car a new light signature at night, and the LED taillight rings are now complete circles instead of rings of dots. The headlights are also now controlled by an Adaptive Front Lighting System, which sounds similar to other systems that aim light where the car is being turned, but Nissan's system adjusts the angle of the lights depending on vehicle speed – at higher speeds the lights are angled to project their illumination further.

Lastly, the 2015 GT-R gets a new colour called Gold Flake Red Pearl, which you can see being worn on the car above and in our gallery, and a new Pale Ivory interior colour scheme has been added to the options list. A carbon fiber rear wing is also now available on the standard GT-R, which comes attached to its own carbon fibre trunk lid that weighs half as much as the standard lid.

Keep scrolling for Nissan's official word on the updated 2015 and peruse the updates in our high-res image gallery above.

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Image Credit: News Source: Nissan

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