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Kia Aims to Be Korea’s Performance Brand, With Hybrids

February 18th, 2016

2017 Kia NiroKia, as we know it, is distinguishing itself from its Hyundai parent by becoming Korea’s performance brand. Its introductions at the Chicago Auto Show further indicate where the brand is heading.

But wait, you might protest. Didn’t Kia introduce two hybrids at the Chicago Auto Show? Yes, but hybrid no longer means dowdy. Have you seen the Toyota Prius Super Bowl commercial? It’s not that far off the mark.

Developments for fuel efficiency can easily translate to performance enhancements. Kia’s two introductions demonstrate that.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Car Shows, Cars Coming Soon, Foreign Cars, Hybrid Cars, New Cars

LC 500 Ushers in Change for Lexus

January 18th, 2016

lexus-lc-500

“Lexus is like Neiman Marcus. The quality isn’t that much better than what you’d get at a discount store, yet it’s incredibly expensive.”

Those aren’t my words, mind you. I’ve owned a Lexus and found it exceptionally nice, though certainly not overly thrilling. Those are the words of my lovely wife, who has very engrained perceptions about certain car brands.

She associates Lexus with spiffed-up Toyotas and doesn’t see the added-value proposition of the L logo on the grille.

That’s a sentiment that obviously isn’t widely shared, because Lexus remains one of the best-selling luxury car brands in America. Lexus has, however, suffered from a lack of performance and design credibility, especially when compared with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

Lexus knows it has a problem in those areas and has determined to do something about it.

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How to Enjoy a New England Winter Weekend Without Snow

January 15th, 2016

2016 New England Int'l Auto Show Press Day

CarGurus was honored to attend yesterday’s press preview of the 2016 New England International Auto Show. With more than 600 cars from 37 manufacturers valued at over $22 million, we were able to see and get into a bunch of brand-new vehicles for the first time. The show offers any car fan with an interest in new vehicles an unbeatable opportunity to take a close look at and ask experts questions about the wide world of cars available to American buyers.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Car Shows, Cars Coming Soon, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Hybrid Cars, New Cars, Trucks & SUVs , , , , , , , , , ,

Five Biggest Impacts from the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

January 15th, 2016

Last week I wrote about seven Detroit Auto Show debuts to watch. The only one I got remotely wrong was the 2017 Chrysler Town & Country, but that was only because FCA pulled a fast one and changed that vehicle’s name to the Chrysler Pacifica.

Here are the five vehicles that made the biggest impact at the North American International Auto Show, which runs through Jan. 24 at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

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New Honda Ridgeline Could Redefine the Midsize Pickup

January 15th, 2016

2017-Honda-Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is all the truck you’ll ever need.

Not the truck that languished on dealer lots between 2003 and 2014. That Ridgeline lasted far longer than it should have and became something of a laughing stock in the truck world.

It’s unfortunate, really, because the past-generation Ridgeline was good enough at doing the things most truck owners do with their trucks. By which I mean get stuck in the same traffic jams as the rest of us, sometimes while hauling a couch.

The new Honda Ridgeline, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show, is similar, but could also revolutionize how we see midsize trucks.

If people buy it, that is.

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Buick’s Terrific Trifecta: Avista, Cascada, and Envision

January 13th, 2016

buick_avista_concept

In 2008 I thought Buick should be sent to the chopping block. Its vehicles were aged, staid, not exciting, and overly bland for the tastes of most young Americans.

Yet instead of discontinuing the Buick brand, GM thought it would be more beneficial to send Pontiac packing. Pontiac was just beginning to get its chops back thanks to the beautifully crafted G8 GXP, but it died at the hands of a bankrupt GM that desperately needed to reorganize.

And reorganize it did. Here we are in 2016 and Buick is not only still here, it’s becoming a real player in the affordable luxury market.

This year we have three Buicks in particular to thank for that, though only two will likely be available for purchase.

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Detroit Auto Show Debuts to Watch

January 7th, 2016

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel BlueWe’re in the midst of an intense one-week period in the automotive industry that’s unmatched the rest of the year: The Consumer Electronics Show is currently in Las Vegas, and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit kicks off Monday with press days.

It’s a period that sees more new vehicles and concepts introduced than at any other time of year. The news is already out about vehicles like the production-ready Chevrolet Bolt and the Farraday Future FFZERO1 concept.

Now it’s time to look ahead to Detroit and its reveals. Here are a few that will make a big impact.

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2017 Ford GT: Who’s Ready for a $400,000 Ford?

December 31st, 2015

2017_Ford_GT

In 2006 a friend’s dad bought a new $150,000 Ford GT. It was low to the ground and sleek. I stood next to the car and towered over the roof as I wondered how a guy could afford to buy such an exclusive supercar.

A week later he bought one for his wife.

I never got to drive either of the cars, but I did see them every day as my friend was picked up from work by one of her parents. That was when I fell in love with the GT.

The GT was only produced for the 2005 and 2006 model years, then silently slipped into the past. Today those cars are worth far more than they were a decade ago, with some selling for upwards of $300,000 each.

At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford surprised show-goers with a concept for an all-new GT. This year we could see the production-ready version, but this time prices might make used versions look downright affordable.

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What Automotive Trends Will Shoppers See in 2016 Cars?

December 17th, 2015
Ford got an autonomous vehicle driving permit to test the autonomous Fusion Hybrid on California public roads.

Ford has secured a permit to test the autonomous Fusion Hybrid on California public roads.

Auto-show season kicked off in earnest in November with the Los Angeles Auto Show. The show was an excellent harbinger of things to come as we look ahead to the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in just a few short weeks.

The L.A. show provoked me to pose a question to some expert analysts and automotive journalists as to what trends the car-buying public can expect to see in debuting new cars.

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Could the Toyota S-FR Compete Against the Subaru WRX?

December 11th, 2015

toyota-s-fr-racing-concept

I wonder why more car companies haven’t built competitors to the Subaru WRX.

There’s a great write-up of the entire history of the WRX over at Road & Track, which I encourage you to read if you’re new to the car’s culture. Established WRX fans are already well versed in the vehicle’s evolution and beyond stoked about the concept for a next version.

Speaking of evolution, the only real competitor to the high-performance Subie was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which has recently been discontinued.

While America was introduced to the WRX in 2002, other countries (including Japan, the U.K., and Australia) have known the rally racer since 1997. That’s plenty of time for competition to spring up, but it never really did, save for the Evo.

The WRX is so different because it came from rally racing roots, is all-wheel drive, and can be had in either sedan or wagon form. That makes the car perfect for families that need to haul serious… stuff. Other carmakers just don’t have the pedigree to build a car like the WRX.

Toyota, though, could offer something similar, but with its own twist.

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