- Neal Pollack at Motoramic7 hrs ago
Nissan says its 2015 Muranocrossover, only the second major revamp of the car since it debuted in 2003, draws its design cues from the “age of future space flight.” That’s probably taking it a little far, but the new Murano, based off the 2013 Resonance concept vehicle, is an exceptionally lovely machine, all fluid, curved metal on the outside, and flowing, soft-touch materials on the inside. Certain kinds of comfort and charms that were unheard-of outside of premium vehicles five years ago have definitely trickled down, and reached a kind of design apotheosis with this car.
That said, it’s still a big crossover that is going to get SUV-levels of fuel economy. At best, its V-6 engine will generate 240 horsepower, and will probably generate higher fuel costs than Nissan would like. Nissan put a lot of effort into this Murano, and it shows, but the manufacturer’s heart is elsewhere.
- Alex Lloyd at Motoramic10 hrs ago
With its new President and CEO of America, Michael Horn, on stage in New York after just 100 days on the job, Volkswagen debuted its 2015 Jetta. You'd be forgiven for noticing little differences compared to the outgoing model, and in the words of Horn himself, the changes are indeed subtle. The most notable of those subtleties is the all-new 2.0 liter turbo diesel motor, offering 45 mpg highway and a modest increase of 10 hp.
For VW, diesel is where it's at.
During a roundtable meeting preceding the reveal, Horn told Yahoo Autos that diesel motors represent 25-percent of their sales, and that VW controls over 70-percent of the U.S. diesel market. Beyond the range benefits and punchy torque, the buyers of diesels are more affluent and upscale -- the type of customers all manufacturers are keen to attract. Despite increasing its hybrid models, diesel motors are where the company sees the most room for growth, along with a re-haul of its SUV lineup starting in 2016.
- Neal Pollack at Motoramic11 hrs ago
Aston Martin is going downmarket, sort of. The 2015 Vantage GT, a sport-styled variant of Aston’s legendary flagship car, draws style and performance tips from their GT4 race cars, which will be running in North America this year. It’s also priced at $99,900, which shows that the market for these kinds of consumer sports cars has boomed in recent years.
“The sub-$100,000 price point has become very busy,” said Julian Jenkins, president of Aston Martin, at a quiet corner of the New York Auto Show. “We’d like a opportunity to reclaim it, and appeal to a slightly broader audience.”
Jenkins said that the usual Aston Martin owner displays the car as a portfolio of seven or eight vehicles. This one, he says, can be a single car for an individual, albeit a rich individual who likes a Roadster that generates 430 hp, a top speed of 190 mph, and a 0 to 60 time of 4.6 seconds. It is, Jenkins says, in his best marketing speak, “a car for the week and a track car for the weekend.”
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic13 hrs ago
Fifty years ago this week, Ford made history by staging the greatest car launch in history — building up the drama around its new Mustang with stunts like papering over dealership windows and landing on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazine. To celebrate its anniversary, Ford re-created a stunt it last pulled off in 1965 — landing a new Mustang on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
Since there's no cranes that can reach those heights, and delivery by helicopter would pose too many safety risks, the only way to get a Mustang up the Empire State is to cut it in pieces, then reassemble it up top.In 1965, that involved cutting the Mustang into three pieces and taking a few trips in the freight elevator. The 2015 Mustang convertible weighs at least 500 pounds more than the '65 edition, and is far longer, wider and taller, requiring a more complex effort to get it topside.
- Alex Lloyd at Motoramic14 hrs ago
Toyota finds itself in a precarious position. Those that enjoy cars as more than a simple means of transportation think of the Camry as a bland spongecake gone stale. And yet it's been the best-selling vehicle in the entire industry for the past 12 years, with a car rolling off the production line every 65 seconds. So how do you add flavor to your insipid dish without alienating your loyal -- and vast -- customer base?
Enter the 2015 Camry: Toyota's attempt to engage enthusiasts while appeasing to those that think a turbo is nothing but a cartoon snail.
In 2011, when Toyota launched its sportier Camry SE grade, the average buyer of said model dropped 12 years to 45 years old. It also equated for 45-percent of all Camry sales, proving that buyers were eager for an increase in sportiness. For 2015, Toyota has added an XSE model, making driving dynamics and edgy looks more of an importance. The SE model also moves over to the hybrid Camry, hoping to prove that sportiness and the environment can go hand in hand.
- Steve Siler at Motoramic14 hrs ago
So it’s taken a while, but Hyundai is in the big leagues now. There is rife evidence of this in its sales numbers, reliability ratings and general awareness, but the most telling indicator to us, perhaps, is that Hyundai no longer feels the need to overdesign or mimic other automobile designs as if to say, “Look, we can build good cars, too!”
Hyundai can do its own thing now — and the new 2015 Sonata, making its U.S. debut at the New York auto show, is all the proof we need.
The 2015 Sonata is the second production Hyundai, following the slick new 2015 Genesis luxury sedan, to don the company’s “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” design look. The follow-up act seems to contain a lot less fluid, and a lot more angles from nose to tail. It’s a handsomer car now, if a bit more mundane, with its hexagonal grille, front fascia garnishes, and predatory headlamps the LED DRLs lining the inner and upper edges. A panorama roof remains optional, while the new back end is taller, if rather featureless, save for its high-set LED taillamps, and on some models, sassy quad tailpipes. However less head-turning it may be, the Sonata looks more comfortable in its own skin.
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic1 day ago
For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.
The Trax that goes on sale later this year will put Chevy into a hip corner of the market; at the moment, the Nissan Juke is the only head-to-head competitor with an all-wheel-drive option, while the more popular Kia Soul offers a similar, if more funky, package with front-wheel-drive only. Chevy marketers expect this particular niche to grow 80 percent over the next three years, and given the financial challenges and driving demands of younger couples, this sounds like a wise move.
- Steve Siler at Motoramic1 day ago
“Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.”
No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.
Unlike the glitzy behemoths seen pulling drunk coeds from bar to bar on Hollywood Boulevard on any given Saturday night, there’s not much special happening on the outside of the Skyliner Concept—no windshield header, side airbrushed romance novel graphics, no billet grille insert, no LED-lit ground effects—more or less, it’s just a Transit with a few gloss black accessories, two-tone silver paint, and some sweet, custom-designed 20-inch wheels.
- Matt Davis at Motoramic1 day ago
Automakers worldwide have gradually (some would say grudgingly) attempted to make their high-profit and highly popular SUVs as efficient and clean-running as their lower weight passenger cars — namely through the grafting of a plug-in hybrid system.
For the past few years, BMW has been offering a mildly ambitious system called ActiveHybrid on several models in its car and truck range. Frankly, none of these heavy ActiveHybrid models have convinced a lot of people to plunk down the premium price tag because all felt precisely like placeholder models. And with BMW launching the electric-driven “I” range, the ActiveHybrid setup was never meant to be the basket holding all the green eggs in Munich.
And on paper, the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid takes a much bigger step. To help contain the weight, the gas-powered engine is the tried and true turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder, tuned to 241 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The electric motor mounted between that engine and the transmission provides 94 more horses and 184 lb-ft of rotational force.
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic1 day ago
By the mid-1950s, as the largest automaker in the world, General Motors had the resources to explore outlandish ideas about the future of transportation. One of its more interesting efforts produced this, the XP 500 concept, a two-seat car powered by a free-piston engine, the first time such a motor had been mated to a car. The free-piston engine uses cylinders moving in opposite directions to compress air, eliminating crankshafts and many other parts. The Hyprex 4-cylinder unit developed by GM seems like something of a marvel even today; capable of making 250 hp, it could run on almost any fuel, and powered the XP 500 by spinning a turbine at the rear of the car. But the noise, controls and inflexibility of the free-piston design made it unusable in cars — although GM built a massive, 6,000-hp version for use on a Liberty ship.