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

2017 Kia Niro

Kia, 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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Coming Soon: A Lexus-Based Toyota Supra?

Lexus LC_500

Ask any car lover what vehicle from the past they’d want to bring back, and the vast majority of them will say the Toyota Supra.

The Supra was in production for an astounding 24 years. The U.S. version ended in 1998 due to slowing sales and restrictive emissions standard, but the car soldiered on in other markets until 2002. Its demise cemented the Supra as a legendary sports car.

The 1998 U.S. version had a 3.0-liter V6 and up to 320-hp with the twin-turbo setup.

Rumors of the car’s return have been floating around for a good decade, and, finally, it looks like the Supra is on its way back.

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Mercedes-Benz and Audi Just Outsold BMW

2015-mercedes-benz-cla-class

BMW has been the benchmark of luxury car sales in the United States for decades. The BMW 3 Series, 5 Series, X3, and X5 have provided the German automaker with ample opportunity to dominate sales charts here.

Worldwide, though, the other two German companies have been slowly inching closer to the sales king by offering what many consider to be better-designed cars that provide superior value. Mercedes-Benz and Audi are top-tier luxury players and last month both managed to outsell their cross-country rival.

Does this mean we have a new champ in the luxury and performance category? Not yet. But BMW ought to quickly come up with a plan to keep itself on top.

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DeLorean DMC-12 Will Go Back Into Production

1982_delorean_dmc-12

I wanted to see if I could get all the way through a blog about the DeLorean without any mention of Back to the Future or time machines.

It turns out the infamous stainless car and the timeless motion picture go together like shoes and self-tying laces, so the reference might as well be made right up front.

You might wonder why we are bringing up a mediocre car that’s only famous because of the movie and was only produced in the early 1980s, before the automaker closed down the assembly line for good.

Well, it’s because DeLorean is back, and that long-dead assembly line will roll once again.

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Cars of the Presidential Candidates

1997_lamborghini_diablo

Today is President’s Day. It’s a day for us to sit back, relax, and contemplate the cars of the presidents.

Well, I guess we are supposed to reflect on all the great things American presidents have accomplished over the last couple of centuries while looking forward to what the next four years could bring.

Presidents typically aren’t known for their cars, because they are chauffeured from early on in their political careers and in their presidential campaigns. They are more familiar with the back seats of luxury SUVs and limos than with the driver’s seat of the Chevrolets and Fords that their constituents drive.

On this President’s Day, let’s take a moment and look at the vehicles of some of the front-runners. Maybe doing so will point us in the direction of who might be best in touch with American drivers.

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Hey Millennials: 10 Great Cars for Your Weird New Dates

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Special Edition

Flappers. Beatniks. Hippies. Hipsters. The media never tires of creating new terms for members of the younger generation. In the old days, those terms often had a negative connotation, but now that the Internet gives the younger generation the power to participate in the media, those terms tend to be less openly hostile. The current younger generation generated quite a bit of hostility in the auto press a while back, with headlines declaring things like “Millennials don’t like ____ (cars, shopping for cars, taking care of cars, driving, etc.).” More recent headlines question those older ones, suggesting millennials do like cars and driving, but think cars and driving are different than they used to be. We prefer the sound of those recent headlines, and we agree that cars and driving are changing radically.

Dating for millennials is also changing, apparently, but one thing hasn’t: The vehicle you use to pick up a romantic partner and and take him or her out on a date will have a big impact on that date. So in the interest of finding news ways to satisfy old needs, here are 10 vehicles we think would be perfect for 10 new types of millennial dates. We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, millennial or not.

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Compact Trucks Available Now, Soon, and Eventually

2016_toyota_tacoma

Your world has gotten way more complicated in recent months if you’re in the market for a compact truck.

We are in the midst of a compact-truck renaissance, and keeping track of what trucks are here now, which are due for a major refresh, and which are coming soon can be a headache. How is a buyer to know whether he or she should pull the trigger on a truck that’s on the market now or stay patient for just a little while longer to get something that might be even better?

Keep reading for a quick rundown of what’s available now and what’s not far down the road.

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Things to Know Before Using a Tax Refund to Buy a Car

Used cars

It’s that time of year many people look forward to: tax refund season. It’s also the time of year used-car dealers look forward to, because people use those refunds to buy new-to-them cars.

Now, you might see articles claiming that tax refund car purchases peak around April 15. That’s not true. The only people filing tax returns then are those who owe taxes – not those expecting refunds.

What’s the first thing you want to know about buying a used car with your tax refund? Now is the worst time to buy a used car with a tax refund. How come? It’s simple. Between now and the end of March, it is a seller’s market when it comes to used cars.

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Chevy Malibu: The Best Non-BMW Available Today?

Without any logos, could you guess the car?

Without any logos, could you guess the car?

A new ad from Chevrolet suggests that putting the Chevy logo on a car reduces its value by about $40,000.

That’s not the intent, of course, but it’s one way of interpreting the ad for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.

Before we go any further, I need to say that I think the 2016 Malibu is the best sedan Chevy has built in decades. It’s worthy of instilling pride back into American cars and is a noble competitor to the Accords and Camrys of the world.

The new Malibu is sleek and well designed, has a high-quality luxurious interior, and offers plenty of technology to keep the driver and any passengers informed and entertained.

Its latest ad, though, is a head-scratcher.

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NHTSA Administrator Talks Autonomous Driving

MIT Transportation Event

Remember all the recall-related headlines of the past two years? Those manufacturer errors account for only about 2% of deaths on the road. Conversely, 94% of lives lost in motor-vehicle accidents are due to human error. These are startling numbers, which lead to sobering realizations. Back in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed to study our highways and roads in an effort to minimize the risks associated with driving. As technology has advanced, this administration’s scope and responsibilities have advanced as well. Dr. Mark Rosekind, the current NHTSA Administrator, spoke with Bryan Reimer, of the New England University Transportation Center and MIT’s AgeLab, regarding the NHTSA’s role in the current and future state of autonomous driving technology.

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