Lotus Prepares New Elise for U.S. Market

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For about eight glorious years, U.S. buyers had the privilege of being able to purchase the lightweight Lotus Elise sports car. The car, fully assembled and ready to take on America’s highways and race tracks, was a hit with buyers thirsty for true driving thrills.

The car first became available in the United States in 2004 and offered a unique combination of speed, efficiency, and striking looks at a reasonable price. The Lotus dream in America lasted until 2011, when the British company had to pull the Elise out of the market due to non-compliant airbags.

Today Lotus is preparing for re-entry into the market with a new Elise and, potentially, an SUV.

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What Was That? Some New Model Names for 2017

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster

In 2015 Americans bought more new cars than in any previous year, but those numbers can’t hide one of the auto business’s dirty little secrets: even when shoppers buy lots of cars, not every model sells well. We’re now winding down the 2016 model year, so we know which models won’t return for 2017. There are a few we won’t miss too much (take care, CR-Z!), but happily, a number of good models that won’t come back for 2017 have already been replaced or will move on under new names. Here are some vehicles we’re glad will return, even if they’ve had to adopt an alias to do so.

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Does the U.S. Have the World’s Best Car Selection?

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There was a time when Europe got all the cool cars.

A decade ago, Europe had the small, fast, and efficient cars that folks in the U.S. could only envy from across the Atlantic. Even the domestic Big 3 automakers seemed to send their best metal to Europe while leaving the clunky, fuel-thirsty cars stateside.

Americans became especially jealous in 2008, because the price of gas climbed well above $4 per gallon and Europe’s fuel-sipping diesels and small-displacement motors seemed to taunt our oversized V8 SUVs.

Today it’s a different story. Some of the best cars in the world are available for sale here, including some that people in Europe can only dream of someday owning.

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Can Mazda Become the Next Volkswagen?

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Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.

The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.

Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.

That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.

Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.

Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.

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Look Toward Genesis for Your V8 RWD Driving Pleasure

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Once upon a time, America was chock full of rear-wheel-drive (RWD) cars with beefy engines. They comfortably cruised Interstate highways and transported an entire generation of families. Most of those cars today have been replaced by front-wheel-drive sedans with turbocharged engines or all-wheel-drive car-based crossovers.

The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are perhaps the only remaining RWD American sedans that can be had with a V8 engine. Even the all-new Lincoln Continental, once the epitome of rear-drive land yachts, will return with V6 power and either front- or all-wheel drive.

Buyers who long for a V8 RWD luxury sedan will have another option, though. They’ll just have to look toward the newest South Korean brand to get it.

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Would You Buy the Most Ticketed Car in America?

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The most ticketed car in America is… the Lexus ES 300. A midsize luxury sedan remembered for a smooth, quiet ride, an 8-ish-second 0-60 mph time, and looks dull enough to put Ben Stein to sleep? Aaron Cole tried his hardest to find drama and excitement behind the wheel of a 2016 Lexus ES 350 last year. Fast forward, and now we’re hearing that the snoozy barge’s predecessor receives more tickets than any other car on American roads. How did this happen?

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Changes Coming for Popular Nissan Juke, Leaf

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Electric cars shouldn’t look like electric cars if they are to go mainstream.

Tesla figured that out early, while other automakers, especially BMW and Nissan, made their electric cars look more and more… electric.

The BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf are perhaps the “most electric” looking of today’s electric cars.m BMW shows no signs of easing up on its polarizing styling, while Nissan, known for pushing the limits of good design taste, will soon unveil all-new looks for the Leaf and a slightly tamed-down design for the soon-to-be-hybrid Juke.

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