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Archive for the ‘compact cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee’s 4WD Systems

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee includes some admirable updates. The front has been redesigned to not be so ugly, new LED headlights should perform better, a new lightweight tailgate gets hands-free opening, five new wheel designs change up the appearance, a dual-pane sunroof is available, and the new 2.0-liter turbo-four borrowed from the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is under the reshaped aluminum hood. But Jeep didn’t stop its drivetrain updates with the new engine. The Cherokee’s base 4WD system has been updated with less internal friction and a reduction of 17 pounds.


A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee's 4WD Systems - image 759257
“Active Drive I is the basic 4WD system offered in the Cherokee’s Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland trims”

Active Drive I is the basic 4WD system offered in the Cherokee’s Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland trims. Jeep says the system has been completely redesigned for 2019 and includes a new, next-generation rear drive module. The RDM, or rear differential, works automatically to deliver power to the rear wheels when the front tires lose traction, regardless of speed and without any action needed from the driver. The RDM also provides yaw correction (torque vectoring) during turning, which helps prevent understeer and oversteer. The new rear differential weighs an impressive 17 pounds less, and even more impressive, has 50 percent less drag at low speeds.

Active Drive II is the more capable 4WD system and includes a two-speed transfer case with both high and low gear ranges. Available on the same trims as Active Drive I, AD II simply adds more off-road capability. The system, recalibrated for 2019, is still fully automatic in high-range mode, but the driver can select low-range for more treacherous terrain. This mode locks the transfer case into delivering equal torque to the front and rear wheels, regardless of wheel slip, with a gear reduction of 2.92:1. When paired with the 2.0-liter turbo-four, Active Drive II offers an impressive crawl ratio of 51.2:1. The 3.2-liter V-6 gets a crawl ratio of 48.3:1. Regardless of engine choice, Cherokees with Active Drive II get a one-inch suspension lift and have a neutral setting in the transfer case for flat towing.


A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee's 4WD Systems - image 759336
“Active Drive II is the more capable 4WD system and includes a two-speed transfer case with both high and low gear ranges”

Active Drive Lock is essentially Active Drive II but includes a locking rear differential and Rock Mode in Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system. Active Drive Lock is only found on the Cherokee Trailhawk. The locking rear differential can be engaged when in 4WD low range and locks together the rear axle shafts so they spin at the same speed, regardless of wheel slip. This gives the best traction in off-roading situations.

Regardless of the Active Drive 4WD system, all three are fully automatic in their high-range engagement. When traction isn’t an issue, the rear differential disengages for reduced drag on the driveline, leaving the front wheels to power the Jeep. All three systems also come with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, too. It includes drive modes that tailor the drivetrain for the best performance. The modes are Auto, Snow, Sport, and Sand/Mud. The Cherokee Trailhawk’s Active Drive Lock also gets a Rock Mode, along with hill ascent and hill descent settings.


2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - image 670607
“Naturally, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the right choice for serious off-roaders.”

Naturally, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the right choice for serious off-roaders. Matching its drivetrain, the Trailhawk has unique bodywork that affords it more clearance. It boasts an approach angle of 29.9 degrees, a breakover angle of 22.9 degrees, and a departure angle of 32.2 degrees. Ground clearance measures 8.7 inches. That’s only an inch less than the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL in Sport trim and only 2.1 inches shy of the Wrangler Rubicon’s 10.8 inches of ground clearance. The Cherokee Trailhawk does come standard with underbody skid plates and red-painted tow hooks should the trail prove extra challenging.


References

Jeep Cherokee


Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department - image 759134

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.


2015 Jeep Cherokee - Driven - image 628279

Read our full driven review on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2019 Ford Edge ST Is Fine, But The Base Model Is The Better Buy

The Blue Oval just dropped cover on the new Edge ST performance SUV at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, bolstering its lineup with a twin-turbo go-faster variant capable of sprinting to 60 mph in the low-5-second range and going around a corner with haste without falling over thanks to a sport-tuned suspension. That’s all well and good, but when you think about it, the base model is definitely a much better buy.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm - image 759624
“The 2019 Ford Edge ST looks good and goes quick, but is it really worth the money?”

Don’t get us wrong – we think the Ford Edge ST is an intriguing offer. It’s got tons of desirable stuff, and rightfully so considering it’s basically Ford’s first real performance-oriented SUV. Under the hood is a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, which, properly motivated, creates as much as 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. All of that go is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD system, eventually reaching the blacktop by way of 20-inch wheels. You can also get yours with the
optional 21-inch wheels wrapped in performance tires, if you want.

Complementing the sticky rubber and AWD grip is an ST-specific sport suspension, which helps manage the SUV’s considerable size and weight. There’s also an optional brake package that upgrades the components in the rear, which should help it stop a little shorter (although in all honesty, a rear brake upgrade is mostly done for aesthetics). Outside, you’ll find more aggressive styling, with the bumpers tweaked and black trim added to the grille. There’s even a pair of sport seats in the interior.

So really, the Ford Edge ST is for folks who need an SUV, but don’t want to regress into the boring world of uninspiring high-riding models. And we get that. Thing is, while the ST certainly has a good amount of kit to ratchet up the excitement levels, the base model is really the better buy.


The 2019 Ford Edge ST Is Fine, But The Base Model Is The Better Buy - image 759150
“The base model Ford Edge might be a far superior buy for your SUV dollar.”

The rest of the trim level lineup is composed of the the SE, SEL, and Titanium, each of which was revised in this latest round of refreshes. Each gets a new look front and back, including a new grille and hood, plus standard LED lighting. Inside, buyers get all the usual infotainment goodies, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa, plus a 4G WiFi connection with enough bandwidth to support up to 10 individual devices. There’s also a litany of safety systems, such as automatic braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, post-collision braking, and cross-traffic alert. Options include wireless device charging, adaptive cruise control, and more.

So then – you still get a good-looking exterior and a well-equipped interior with the lower trims. Of course, the powerplant sees a bit of a downgrade compared to the ST, with the twin-turbo V-6 replaced by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. So yeah, it’s pretty slow by comparison, but it gets the job done, especially with that eight-speed automatic transmission. And with FWD, it’ll save you a few bucks at the pump, too.

But here’s the real issue – the base model starts at just $30,215, and while we have yet to get an official pricing for the ST, it’ll most likely be close to $45,000.


Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm - image 759185
“The ST carries a huge jump in price, and while the extra ponies, bigger engine, sport suspension, and all the other stuff certainly justify the extra outlay, the Ford Edge ST is playing in a pretty heavy-hitting segment.”

That’s a huge jump, and while the extra ponies, bigger engine, sport suspension, and all the other stuff certainly justify it, the Ford Edge ST is playing in a pretty heavy-hitting segment. For roughly $45,000, you could get into something like a Porsche Macan ($47,800), which offers 252 horsepower, a 6.3-second 0-to-60 mph time, and AWD. And oh yeah, it’s also a Porsche. Or you could get into a Jaguar F-Pace ($42,065), which offers 247 horsepower and AWD, and oh yeah, it’s also a Jaaag.

But we get it. The base model Macan and F-Pace are both slower than the Edge ST and likely much more expensive to maintain. And some people just don’t care about badge prestige and luxury opulence.

Still, we can’t help but wonder – why not just get the best of both the SUV world and the performance world by getting a base model Edge and spending the remaining fifteen grand on something like an older Mustang? That way, you stay with the Blue Oval, you get a practical SUV (which won’t ride like crap because of the non-sport suspension, too), and you get a muscle car purpose-built for performance fun. Problem solved, right?

At the end of the day, the Edge ST definitely has a niche to fill. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily think it’s a great buy.

References

Ford Edge


Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm - image 759179

Ford Edge ST Takes Detroit by Storm


2019 Ford Edge ST - image 757605

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Edge ST.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Updated Jeep Cherokee Gets 2.0-liter Turbo from the Wrangler

The facelifted Jeep Chekoree made its public debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with a brand-new front fascia that no longer looks like it’s sucking lemons. The best Jeep-related news in a year, because let’s face it, the pre-facelift Cherooke’s design sucked really bad. The rear end was also heavily revised to the point where it no longer looks like a Fiat. Interior updates are small, but it does feature a new center console and new tech. But by far the biggest change lies under the hood, where the Tigershark and Pentastar engines were joined by a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.


2019 Jeep Cherokee - image 759331
“Borrowed from the latest Jeep Wrangler, the turbocharged mill cranks out the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque”

Borrowed from the latest Jeep Wrangler, the turbocharged mill cranks out the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. These figures place it just above the existing 3.2-liter V-6, which is rated at 271 horses and 239 pound-feet. The Pentastar unit carried over unchanged, while the 2.4-liter Tigershark gained minor changes that reduced output from 184 horsepower and 172 pound-feet to 180 horses and 170 pound-feet.

The new four-banger mates to the same nine-speed automatic transmission as other engines and it should deliver better fuel economy that the other two options. Actual figures aren’t yet available, but the V-6 returns 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, while the Tigershark gets up to 30 mpg highway. The fact that the revised Cherokee is 200 pounds lighter thanks to a new aluminum hood and composite tailgate should help the new turbo four-cylinder deliver the best ever fuel economy figures for the nameplate.


References

Jeep Cherokee


Updated Jeep Cherokee Gets 2.0-liter Turbo from the Wrangler - image 759134

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.


2015 Jeep Cherokee - Driven - image 628279

Read our full driven review on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon You Can Already Drive The Cool Hyundai Veloster N in Forza Motorsport 7

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster N is the first high-performance vehicle that the Korean brand will bring to the U.S. But it won’t become available in American showrooms until the fourth quarter of 2018. However, you can already drive the beefed-up hatchback, alongside the Veloster Turbo model, in Forza Motorsport 7 starting January 16.


“Both cars have joined the official roster of drivable vehicles in the game for Xbox and Windows 10 as part of a free downloadable content pack”

Both cars have joined the official roster of drivable vehicles in the game for Xbox and Windows 10 as part of a free downloadable content pack. As with all cars in Forza Motorsport 7, once the Veloster N is in your garage, you can customize it with new wheels, powertrain and suspension upgrades, bespoke tunes, and unique paint schemes and racing liveries. Additional Veloster-related in-game features, including Rivals events, will be unveiled in the future.

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N follows in the footsteps of the i30 N with aerodynamic and design upgrades on the outside and a new engine under the hood. The Hatchback packs a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet and uses a six-speed manual transmission, a fully independent suspension, and a performance braking system. The non-N version gets a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle unit with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet in base guise and the previous 2.0-liter turbo with 201 horses and 195 pound-feet in its Turbo version.

References

Hyundai Veloster


Hyundai Veloster Brings N Performance to U.S. for 2019! - image 758651

Hyundai Veloster Brings N Performance to U.S. for 2019!


Hyundai Veloster Gets Much-Needed Redesign, but What's with the Lancer Evo Face? - image 758625

Hyundai Veloster Gets Much-Needed Redesign, but What’s with the Lancer Evo Face?


2016 Hyundai Veloster - image 755389

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Veloster.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department

The Jeep Cherokee is living proof that even the most iconic of SUVs aren’t immune to criticism when there’s reason to criticize. The current-generation Cherokee found that out first-hand when its debut in 2013 was greeted by an avalanche of criticism from an indignant public that couldn’t believe that Jeep became a little too playful with the model’s looks. That was five years ago. This year, Jeep is flipping the script on the facelifted 2019 Cherokee. Not only does it have three different engines to choose from, it also arrived at the Detroit Auto Show with a more refined look that, quite frankly, is much better than the model it’s replacing.


Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department - image 759133
“The pointy grille and stacked lighting fixture of the previous model did nothing to inspire the long legacy of the Cherokee name”

This is what the fifth-generation Jeep Cherokee should have looked like from the onset. The pointy grille and stacked lighting fixture of the previous model did nothing to inspire the long legacy of the Cherokee name. Sure, some people liked it, but a vast majority of Jeep fans were close to keeling over, repulsed by what they were seeing.

Mike Hanley, head of the Jeep brand, described it as a progressive look that the company did to spark conversation back to the Cherokee. “It did what it was supposed to do, it called attention to the vehicle,” Mark Allen, head of Jeep design, added.

Fortunately, the new Cherokee has moved on from that phase with a new look that’s far more refined than its predecessor. The headlights — LED lighting on all trim levels — are now more traditional in their shape, a huge correction from one of the old model’s biggest sources of controversy. The Cherokee’s beaky nose has also been re-sculpted to a more traditional shape, resulting in more focus being put on the SUV’s seven-stack grille.

“We took the geekiness out of it,” Allen said. “Now Cherokee is more closely aligned with the rest of the brand.”

Beyond its new looks, the facelifted Cherokee also gets a redesigned composite liftgate that weighs 18 pounds less than its predecessor. The lighter liftgate is part of a concerted effort by Jeep to shed 200 pounds off of the Cherokee’s weight. As it is, the new Cherokee now weighs roughly around 4,300 pounds or just under 2,000 kilos.


Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department - image 759127
“Beyond its new looks, the facelifted Cherokee also gets a redesigned composite liftgate that weighs 18 pounds less than its predecessor”

The 2019 Cherokee’s physical transformation is one of its most important features. Now, prospective customers can look at the Cherokee and see a proper Jeep, devoid of the gimmicks that played a huge part in its predecessor’s sub-standard appearance. I’d call that a win.


References

Jeep Cherokee


Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department - image 759134

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.


2015 Jeep Cherokee - Driven - image 628279

Read our full driven review on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee.


maker logos - image 742908

Read more Jeep news.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Veloster Gets Much-Needed Redesign, but What’s with the Lancer Evo Face?

Launched back in 2011, the Veloster quickly turned from a rather exotic-looking hatchback into the unfortunate, forgotten child of the Hyundai family. The coupe-style three-door gained very few updates during its first generation and there were plenty of rumors that Hyundai was thinking about giving it the axe. But the Koreans eventually decided to keep the nameplate alive brought the redesigned, second-generation model at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show.

Although far from revolutionary, the Veloster is a fresh take on the design, having borrowed the company’s recent styling language with sportier cues. The front fascia boasts the biggest changes, with more angular headlamps, a larger grille with honeycomb mesh, and an aggressive lower bumper. But while it’s definitely appealing to look at, it reminds me a bit too much of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. I know, they’re far from identical, but the narrow top grille, and angular headlamps that become slimmer toward the center and the way the hood meets with the nose makes me thing Mitsubishi when I look at it.

Continue reading for the full story.

New Tech, Same Turbo Engine


Hyundai Veloster Gets Much-Needed Redesign, but What's with the Lancer Evo Face? - image 758599
“The new infotainment system features standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay”

Fortunately, the rear still has that authentic Veloster vibe to it and the diffuser and center exhaust on the Turbo model gives it a menacing stance. The asymmetrical layout with two doors on the passenger side was carried over.

The interior is also brand-new and looks modern and fresh (although I must say I still like the first-gen V-shaped center stack and dashboard). The new infotainment system with the seven-inch display features standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the options list includes SiriusXM Radio and next-gen Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity. The optional eight-inch display includes all of the above plus HD radio, smartphone integration, and an Infinity premium audio system. A heads-up display system is also available.


Hyundai Veloster Gets Much-Needed Redesign, but What's with the Lancer Evo Face? - image 758622
“Two engines are offered, starting with a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-pot rated at 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque”

Two engines are offered, starting with a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-pot rated at 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It might not sound like much, but it’s a 15-horsepower and 12-pound-foot increase over the outgoing 1.6-liter mill. More powerful comes from the turbocharge, 1.6-liter GDI unit with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. If it’s sounds familiar, it’s because I’m talking about the same engine in the outgoing model. A bit disappointing, don’t you think? However, Hyndai says that the new Veloster will have better handling. And the bigger news is that we’re getting a higher performance N model in the U.S.

References

Hyundai Veloster


2016 Hyundai Veloster - image 755389

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Veloster.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs

The Mazda3 has been around since 2003, but the current version debuted for the 2014 model year. Thankfully, Mazda hasn’t let it trudge through the last four years unchanged. Small updates each year have kept it fresh. The same is true for the 2018 model year, which is exactly why I wanted to test the latest version. Parked in my driveway is a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring coated in Soul Red Metallic and equipped with the six-speed automatic and the well-equipped Premium Package.

Like before, the Grand Touring trim is the highest of the Mazda3 range, and when combined with the Premium Package, offers some pretty nice features, creature comforts, and a strikingly classy ambiance for well under $30,000. But before I dive into my subjective thoughts and impressions, I wanted to cover the objective stats and specs of this Japanese hatchback.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757897

The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door is a compact hatchback with a small footprint. With a total length of 180 inches, the 3 will fit just about anywhere. Yet, thanks to its wheelbase of 106.3 inches and track of 61 inches, it has a stable ride at highway speeds and around corners. Best of all, the car is pretty light at only 3,098 pounds. That means its 184-horsepower four-cylinder has less to move. It also helps with fuel economy, too.

Wheelbase (inches) 106.3
Length (inches)
w/License Plate Holder
180.3
Width (inches) w/o Body Side Protector 70.7
Height, unladen (inches) 57.3
Track front/rear (inches) 61.2/61.4
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,098

Interior Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757919

As compact as the Mazda3’s exterior is, its interior is impressively spacious. Front occupants have a good amount of room, with 42.2 inches of legroom and 38.6 inches of headroom. And despite the car’s track being only 61 inches wide, the front occupants enjoy 57.2 inches of shoulder room.

Rear passengers have a bit less room, though, measuring 35.8 inches in legroom, 37.6 inches of headroom, and 54.4 inches of shoulder room. Still, the back seat is just fine for kids and will easily accommodate two adults on anything shorter than a road trip.

The 5-Door’s advantage is cargo room. There are 20.2 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the second row and 47.1 cubic feet of room with the 60/40-split bench folded flat.

Headroom, front/rear without Moonroof (inches) 38.6/37.6
Headroom, front/rear with Moonroof (inches) 37.6/37.5
Leg Room, front/rear (inches) 42.2/35.8
Shoulder Room, front/rear (inches) 57.2/54.4
Hip Room, front/rear (inches) 55.5/53.5
EPA Passenger Volume (cubic feet) 96.4
EPA Cargo Volume (cubic feet) 20.2
EPA Cargo Volume with rear seats down, (cubic feet) 47.1
EPA Total Volume (cubic feet) 116.6

Drivetrain Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757901

While the Mazda3 comes standard with a 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder, the Touring and Grand Touring trims come with the more powerful 2.5-liter SkyActive four. The engine makes 184 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at only 3,250 rpm. A silky smooth six-speed manual comes standard, but the optional six-speed automatic transmission is available.

The sprint to 60 mph takes only 6.8 seconds, and its top speed is listed at 130 mph. Fuel economy is slightly more impressive, though not class-leading. The EPA estimates the Mazda3 5-Door with the automatic at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. Staying with the manual transmission reduces each figure my one mpg.

Engine Type-SKYACTIV-G 2.5L DOHC
Horsepower 184 HP @ 5,700 RPM
Torque 185 @ 3,250 RPM
Transmission SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual
Optional Trans SKYACTIV-DRIVE 6-speed automatic
Fuel economy 25 / 34 / 29 (Manual trans)
Fuel economy 26 / 35 / 30 (Automatic trans)
Top Speed 130 mph

Pricing Specs


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757894

The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door starts at $19,345. Comparatively speaking, that’s a reasonable price. The Volkswagen Golf starts at $20,715, the Honda Civic Hatchback starts at $19,730, the Hyundai Elantra GT starts at $20,235, and the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback starts at $22,195.

My Grand Touring tester with the automatic transmission carries a base price of $24,945. Several á la carte options add cost, but also add convenience and style. These items include the $75 cargo mat, the $300 Soul Red Paint, the $100 rear bumper guard, the $125 scuff plates and door sill trim plates, and the big one – the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package.

The Premium Equipment Package adds navigation, paddle shifters, adaptive front lighting, smart brake support, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, auto-dim rearview mirror with HomeLink, a heated steering wheel, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. Needless to say, that $1,600 is well spent.

Sport MT SKYACTIV-G 2.0L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $19,345
Sport AT Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $20,395
Touring MT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $20,840
Touring AT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $21,890
Grand Touring MT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed manual transmission $23,895
Grand Touring AT SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Engine with SkyActiv-MT 6-Speed automatic transmission $24,945

References

Mazda3


2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs - image 757890

The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639252

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.


maker logos - image 741756

Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Keeps Teasing The New Veloster

First hitting North American shores back in 2011, the Veloster is Hyundai’s sporty little three-door hatchback, offering a nice combination of fun and practicality in a modestly affordable package. Now, there’s an updated model just over the horizon and Hyundai is teasing it big time, with the latest refresh shown in a brief 15-second clip composed of quick shots of the front and rear panned against a shadowy background.

Although brief, the video does seem to reveal that the 2019 model year won’t be a huge break from what we’ve seen before, with the updates mostly centered on bringing the Veloster’s aesthetics up to par with the rest of the automaker’s current lineup. There’s still a three-door body style, with one door for the driver and two for the passenger side, plus a low stance and bubbly profile. However, Hyundai does mention that the A-pillars were moved rearwards to give the car a longer look.

Draped over the body panels, we find a blazing orange paint job, although black was also added to the top portions of the car, suggesting a two-tone paint scheme above the window line. In front, the fascia gains a sharper headlight design, with lower daytime running light accents set in LEDs. The central intake uses a hexagonal shape, and there’s a lower splitter element acting as underspoiler for the chin. Smaller side intakes were added to the bumper corners, and while they don’t look functional, they still lend the thing a cool design element thanks to their upward-swinging wing pieces.

In the corners, the wheels use an aggressive turbine design, while higher up, there are decently flared fenders. There’s also a few character lines stretching up into the profile, while black offsets are used for the side skirts and side-view mirrors.

The rear end gets a chunky bumper design with a center-mounted dual-tip exhaust, while the hatch gets a roof spoiler. The rear bumper also comes with a diffuser element for added aero points. Finally, a new taillight design wraps up into the flanks.

In terms of the oily details, expect a front-mounted 1.6-liter engine, turbocharged to produce 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Once again, muscle is routed exclusively to the front axle.

Look for a full reveal of the 2019 model year Hyundai Veloster next week at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show.

References

Hyundai Veloster


2016 Hyundai Veloster - image 755389

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Veloster.


All-New 2019 Hyundai Veloster Spotted in the Wild - image 753506

2019 Hyundai Veloster caught testing


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Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


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Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury

Mazda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars and crossovers with high-class styling and impressively put-together interiors. I’m reminded of that thanks to the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring parked in my driveway this week. It’s fitted with just about every bell a whistle Mazda offers, which is just about everything you’d want in a sub-$30,000 hatchback.

As for the interior quality, the Grand Touring trim includes some rather soft leather seats with three-way heating and a heated steering wheel. The door panels and center console enjoy the same soft leather, making elbows happy. What isn’t leather is made from high-quality plastics. Piano black plastic surrounds the gearshift and door panel switches, while the dash, steering wheel, and infotainment controls are made from a low-sheen, soft touch material. A few metal accents are scattered through the cabin for a nice touch.

The Grand Touring trim, especially when combined with the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package, brings a ton if active and passive safety items, too. My tester has Adaptive Front lighting that follows the steering angle, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist. The Mazda3 will even stop itself in low-speed traffic situations thanks to the Smart Brake Support.

But the Mazda3 is more than just a nice interior, safety systems, and a sculpted body. The driving experience feels more high end than its price would suggest. The steering is nicely weighted and the 2.5-liter SkyActiv’s 184 horsepower feels more like 200, especially in sport mode. The six-speed automatic transmission is well sorted and makes the most of the engine’s 185 pound-feet of torque. Holistically, the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring offers tons of amenities with a price that’s well placed in its class.

As for cost, The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $24,945. My tester stickers at $28,020, which includes several options and the $875 destination fee.

We will be covering the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring this week, so post your questions and we’ll answer them.

References

Mazda3


2016 - 2018 Mazda3 - image 639252

Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda3.


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Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2018 Lotus Evora GT410

2018 Lotus Evora GT410


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Wallpaper Selections of the Day: 2018 Lotus Evora GT410 - image 757679

Read the Latest on the 2018 Lotus Evora GT410 or get up to speed on the 2017 Lotus Evoa Sport 410

Want to Know More?

Lotus Evora


2016 Lotus Evora 400 - image 617787

Read our full review on the 2016 Lotus Evora 400.


2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 667203

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Evora 410.


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Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Evora GT430.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Forte

Introduced in 2008 as a brand-new nameplate, the Forte has already made a name for itself in the affordable compact car market. And while it might not be as popular as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, the Forte was Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in recent years and of only 15 cars to earn the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018. Not bad for an automobile that had nothing to brag about a decade ago. Almost six years old as of early 2018, the second-generation Forte is living its final months on the market, with a redesigned model set to break cover at the Detroit Auto Show. Details are still under wraps, but Kia released a bunch of design sketches to keep us busy until the event kicks off next week.

Based on these renderings, the Kia Forte will gain a massive makeover. As is always the case with design sketches, the sedan might not be aggressive in real life, but even if we ignore the exaggerated styling cues, the third-gen Forte is one sexy compact. The interior looks promising too thanks to its clean design and near-premium class features. There’s still a lot left to discover about the car that’s trying to give the all-popular Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic a run for their money, but until we can find out more at the Detroit Auto Show, let’s have a closer look at Kia’s design sketches below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Forte Sedan.

Exterior

  • Sportier exterior design
  • Stinger-inspired cues
  • New “tigernose” grille
  • Clean side view
  • Diffuser-like element around back
  • LED lights

2019 Kia Forte - image 757883
“The renderings show a significantly sportier design up front”

The renderings show a significantly sportier design up front with every important design cue given a serious makeover. The new styling is clearly inspired by the hot Kia Stinger, but the Forte is by no means as aggressive as its bigger sibling. The “tigernose” grille is indeed based on the Stinger’s, having a narrower center section and more angular outer edges. The previous grille looks mild by comparison. The headlamps are also new. No longer connected to the grille, they also become slimmer toward the fenders, which gives the car a sportier look. The bumper boasts a larger center vent with integrated foglamps, while the side intakes bigger than the Stinger’s. Needless to say, the new Forte is gorgeous to look at based on these renderings.

The profile sports the same clean design as its predecessor, but there are quite a few changes to talk about. For starters, the beltline seems to be dead straight from front to rear, whereas on the outgoing model it ascends from the front fenders toward the trunk lid. The window trim is more symmetrical now and has a more pronounced Hofmeister Kink-like element on the quarter window. Like any rendering, there are a few features you should ignore for the production model, like the large wheels, the low-profile tires, and the missing door handles.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745718
“Unlike the front fascia, the rear bears no resemblance to the Stinger”

Unlike the front fascia, the rear bears no resemblance to the Stinger. However, it’s significantly different than the outgoing Forte. The taillights are sleeker and have a unique LED layout, while the bumper has fake triangular vents on the each. There’s also a diffuser like element underneath, but it remains to be seen if this feature will go into production. The trunk lid is rounded off by a small spoiler and a horizontal strip between the taillights, which appears to be borrowed from the Sportage SUV.

In all, the Forte Sedan looks quite appealing in these renderings, but not everything you see here will make it on the production. Maybe Kia will use some of the sporty features on the range-topping model, but expect the entry-level trim to have a milder design. Still, it a welcomed upgrade over the current model.

Interior

  • Clean dashboard design
  • Uncluttered center stack
  • Big infotainment screen
  • Premium-like features
  • Two-tone upholstery
  • Contrast stitching

2019 Kia Forte - image 757613
“The bulbous center stack and the cheap-looking dashboard of the current model were ditched in favor of a cleaner, more modern layout”

Kia published only one rendering of the interior, and its more of a sketch rather than a detailed image, but it’s enough to get a good glimpse of the new cabin. And it’s entirely different from the outgoing model. And unlike the exterior, it doesn’t borrow too many features from other models.

The awkward-looking, bulbous center stack and the rather cheap-looking dashboard of the current model were ditched in favor of a cleaner, more modern layout. There are round A/C vents at the corners, a thin stripe stretching across the center stack and the passenger side, and a large infotainment screen on top.

The control layout is limited to just a few knobs, a massive improvement over the outgoing model, which had an ugly clutter of buttons below the display. The steering wheel looks cleaner too, while the door panels have a two-tone design with contrast stitching. Yup, it seems that the new Forte Sedan is moving up the premium ladder.

Drivetrain

  • Four-cylinder engines likely
  • More powerful turbo 2.0
  • At least two drivetrain options

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“The new Forte should get updated versions of the current 2.0-liter powerplants”

Kia had nothing to say about the engine lineup, but it’s possible that the new Forte gets updated versions of the current 2.0-liter powerplants. While the base models use a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower, the more expensive trims come with a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 164 horses. The sedan also gets a turbocharged, 1.6-liter Gamma GDI mill that generates 201 horsepower, but only in hatchback configuration. It would be cool for Kia to offer the twin-turbo, 2.0-liter four-banger from the Stinger in the Forte, but that’s not very likely to happen. At least not with the Stinger’s 255 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

I will update this section with specs from the Detroit Auto Show so make sure you stick around for more info.

Prices


2019 Kia Forte - image 757884

The new Kia Forte should come with a mild price increase over the outgoing model, which retails from $16,800. The redesigned model will probably cost at least $17,500 in base LX trim, while the S will fetch a bit more than $20,000. The range-topping EX version should cost around $22,500 before options.

Competition

Toyota Corolla


2014 Toyota Corolla - image 509691

The new Forte Sedan will go against a few tough competitors, starting with the Toyota Corolla, the world’s best selling car since the 1990s. Redesigned most recently in 2013, the Corolla may be a little old compared to the upcoming Forte, but it remains a popular choice in the United States and Europe. But while it may be reliable and efficient, the Corolla feels a bit dated inside the cabin and the fact that it’s limited to just one engine in the U.S. makes things easier for Kia. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder is rated at either 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque or 140 horses and 126 pound-feet, so the Forte should win the horsepower battle with the range-topping model. Mileage varies between 27 to 28 mpg city and 35 to 36 mpg highway depending on drivetrain, but Kia should be able to top that given that the outgoing Forte is already good for up to 37 mpg on the highway. Pricing for the Corolla starts from $18,550 for the base model and goes up to $22,730 for the range-topping trim.

Read our full review of the 2017 Toyota Corolla.

Honda Civic


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The Honda Civic is the second-most popular car in this niche and, unlike the Corolla, it’s brand-new for 2018 and boasts a sportier, more modern appearance. It’s also slightly larger than the competition and comes with a solid convenience and tech package. Motivation comes from three different engines, starting with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. More oomph comes from the more expensive trims, which get juice from the turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-pot with 174 horses and 162 pound-feet. The tiny powerplant is found in the Si model too, rated at 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet. The Si also enables Honda to rise above the competition as neither Toyota, Kia, Hyundai or Chevrolet offer similar power ratings. Pricing starts at $18,840 for the base model, while the Touring trim retails from $26,700. The higher performance Si variant fetches $24,100 before options.

Read our full story on the 2017 Honda Civic.

Volkswagen Jetta


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A new-generation Jetta will be unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and based on Volkswagen’s renderings, it will be aimed at a more premium market and it will have a decidedly sporty design. Which makes it the perfect competitor for the new Forte. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information beyond the design sketches, but it appears it will have a fancy-looking interior and a couple of turbocharged engines, with the range-topping model likely to arrive with more than 200 horsepower. Pricing will start from close to $19,000, which will make it the most expensive of the bunch. The performance-oriented GLI model will probably fetch close to $30,000.

Read our speculative review of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.

Conclusion


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It’s too early to jump into conclusions with nothing more than a few design sketches to run by, but it’s pretty obvious that the new Forte is a significant departure from its predecessor inside and out. And judging by the Stinger-inspired exterior design and the fancier interior layout, Kia could also be looking to move the Forte higher in the market, probably next to the Volkswagen Jetta. We will find out more at the Detroit Auto Show.

  • Leave it
    • * Production model might not be this aggressive
    • * Tough competition

References

Kia Forte


2017 Kia Forte - image 661737

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Forte.


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Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


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Read more Kia news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Shows Off Its Updated 2 Series Tourer And Gran Tourer

BMW is giving its MPV duo, the 2 Series Tourer and Gran Tourer, the traditional mid-life refresh, adding in a few select tweaks to the exterior styling and features, as well as new tech in the cabin and small improvements to the powertrain. The people movers won’t see sales here in the U.S., but will continue in the U.K., Germany, and China as soon as March of this year.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


For those of you who may be unaware, the BMW 2 Series isn’t relegated to the coupe and convertible we get here in the states. Across the pond, Bimmer also sells the nameplate in Active Tourer guise with a five-seater MPV, or alternatively, as the longer-wheelbase 2 Series Gran Tourer packing a seven-seater interior. The duo are framed as a combination of expanded interior space and practicality, plus a good deal of comfort and engaging driving qualities to boot. BMW made the move to the MPV segment in 2014 as a means to combat the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, and so far, it’s been doing pretty well, selling some 380,000 units as of the end of 2017.

Now, the Bavarians are divulging details on refreshed models that offer updates on par with Bimmer’s traditional mid-cycle refresh.


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“Outside, we find headlight housings that are chunky and solid looking, and come equipped with optional adaptive LED lighting elements.”

Outside, we find headlight housings that are chunky and solid looking, and come equipped with optional adaptive LED lighting elements, plus an adaptive “dazzle free” feature. There’s also LED elements in the horizontal fog lights, as well. The nose of the two models uses a tweaked front air dam and rear apron, while the sporty M models are more aggressive thanks to pronounced creases that lend the whole thing a much meaner expression. Higher up, the usual kidney grille intakes are now larger, while in the rear, the twin tailpipes get a larger diameter, once again adding a little extra spice to the whole package (yes, we know these MPVs aren’t exactly tire-shredding track monsters, but they aren’t total snore-fests when it comes to the styling deparment, either).

The body panels are now offered in two new paint options, including Jucaro Beige and Sunset Orange. In the corners, buyers can choose between six new and different styles for the wheels, with sizing between 17 and 19 inches in diameter. These are mostly composed of complicated multi-spoke designs, with the simplest of the bunch being a split five-spoke look applied to the 766 M option.

Moving inside the cabin, there’s a new instrument display located behind the steering wheel, offering a simplified two-gauge layout that shows road speed on the left and engine rpm on the right. Complementing the gauges is a new shifter in the center console. The sitters get new covers focused on enhancing comfort, plus there’s Sensatec and cloth upholstery in two different color schemes. If you’re feeling saucy, you can also get yours in attractive mocha leather.

BMW ConnectedDrive is once again included, and arrives with updated features. Adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist lead the list of optional driver tech, while further options include a navigation system with a central screen measured between 6.5-inches and 8.8-inches. Voice control is tossed in as well.


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“Meanwhile, under the hood, the powerplant options get minor updates focused primarily on enhancing efficiency. However, in addition to a 5-percent fuel mileage increase, there's a few extra ponies and pound-feet for motivation as well.”

Meanwhile, under the hood, the powerplant options get minor updates focused primarily on enhancing efficiency. However, in addition to a 5-percent fuel mileage increase, there’s a few extra ponies and pound-feet for motivation as well. The drive type will once again continue to be FWD. Both diesel and gas options head the list, while updates include tweaks to the crankshaft, heat management systems, valve train, and turbocharger, all in the name of increasing efficiency. Power levels range between 109 horsepower and 231 horsepower for the Active Tourer, while the Gran Tourer ranges between 109 horsepower to 192 horsepower. There’s also a plug-in hybrid offering 28 miles of all-electric range and 224 horsepower.

Finally, there are two automatic transmission options, including either a seven-speed or an eight-speed. There’s also a six-speed manual on the table, depending on your trim of choice.


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All told, the MPVs sell quite well in Germany, the U.K., and China, but won’t see dealers in the U.S. However, interested buyers overseas will have a shot at one as soon as March of this year. Pricing is expected to slot in at around 26,000 pounds in the U.K., or $35,114 at current exchange rates (1/10/2018).

References

BMW 2 Series


BMW Shows Off Its Updated 2 Series Tourer And Gran Tourer - image 756837

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.


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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer.


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Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Teases 2019 Avalon Ahead Of Detroit Auto Show Debut

The 2018 Detroit Auto Show is nearly here, and with its approach comes a deluge of teasers from across the board. The latest arrives courtesy of Toyota, which is previewing the soon-to-be-revealed next-generation full-size Avalon sedan with a few shots of the redesigned headlights and taillights.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size four-door sedan, first seeing the light of day back in 1996. Since then, the nameplate has offered a combination of comfort, reliability, and a good amount of space as well. With a second generation appearing in 1999, a third generation in 2004, and the outgoing fourth generation in 2012, the last update we saw for the Avalon was for the 2016 model year, when Toyota gave it a face lift at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Now, Toyota is redesigning the Avalon for the 2018 model year, and it’s likely to be quite the update indeed.

Although the Avalon usually plays second fiddle to Toyota’s more popular compacts like the Camry and Corolla, we have high hopes for the fifth-gen Avalon. After all, we’re quite fond of the recently revealed new-gen Camry, which just got a much more exciting design, nice engine options, and a very solid interior, all for the 2018 model year.

“We have high hopes for the fifth-gen Avalon. After all, we're quite fond of the recently revealed new-gen Camry, which just got a much more exciting design, nice engine options, and a very solid interior, all for the 2018 model year.”

As of this writing, we don’t have many details on the 2019 Avalon, but Toyota is giving us a preview of things to come with close-cropped teaser images of the headlight and taillight housings.

The headlights appear to show a duo of Y-shaped LED daytime running light signatures, while the taillights show a wraparound design and dynamic turn signal feature. The front end also looks to incorporate a large black mesh section in the grille, while the rear image appears to suggest a wider stance and well-formed decklid spoiler. Exterior aesthetics should see a marked upgrade this time around.

In terms of motivation, the new Avalon will likely get a V-6 in the nose, while the option for hybrid power is another very good possibility. Inside, we expect to see new support for smartphones thanks to the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as nicer materials, and the possibly for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Look for the full details when the 2019 Toyota Avalon debuts at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for the latest.

References

Toyota Corolla


2014 Toyota Corolla - image 509691

Read our full review on the current 2017 Toyota Corolla.


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Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


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Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Shocker: Tesla Misses Model 3 Goals; Delays Production Again

Tesla is no stranger to production woes as both the original Model S and the trendy Model X experienced major delays early on, so it comes as no surprise the automaker announced the budget-friendly Model 3’s production volume won’t be ramping up to the 5,000-unit-per-week goal until the second quarter of 2018. That goal was originally set for December of 2017, but production delays sacked those plans. Despite the delays, Tesla still delivered 1,550 Model 3s in Q4 of 2017.

Continue reading for more on Tesla’s production woes.

What This Means For Model 3 Customers


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“Tesla reportedly had nearly 500,000 preorders for the Model 3, which starts at $35,000 before options”

First and foremost, many customers who have placed reservations and paid down payments will wait longer before receiving their car. Tesla reportedly had nearly 500,000 preorders for the Model 3, which starts at $35,000 before options. While deliveries are being made, the rate pales in comparison to the 5,000-unit-per-week flow Tesla originally planned.

Secondly, the delays don’t do Tesla any favors on the stock market. Its share price fell from $324.81 on Wednesday, January 3 at 10 a. m. to $308.59 by 10:30 a.m. the next day. Investors are happy to see stock prices resurge to $315.41 at the time of this writing, just the way Tesla’s stock always rebounds after production delays are announced.


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“Despite the delays, Tesla still delivered 1,550 Model 3s in Q4 of 2017.”

That’s the interesting thing about Tesla. It seems that, no matter what happens or how severe situations get, investors remain positive and stock prices retain their general upward trend. In fact, at this time last year, Tesla’s stock prices were only $226.99 per share.

The stock prices are not the only indicator of Tesla’s overall growth. The Automaker officially surpassed delivering over 100,000 vehicles globally in 2017, an increase of 33 percent over 2016, according to The Verge.

References

Tesla Model 3


Shocker: Tesla Misses Model 3 Goals; Delays Production Again - image 727971

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.


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Read more Tesla news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan IMx

Having launched the Leaf back in 2010, Nissan is one of the pioneers of the all-electric industry. While not as efficient as the recently launched
Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the Leaf remains the best-selling EV ever build as of early 2018. However, Nissan has yet to expand its all-electric lineup beyond this hatchback, and it is now falling behind the competition. This could change by the end of 2018, with Nissan likely to debut a battery-powered crossover based on the IMx concept.

Introduced at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the IMx is described as “an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 km.” Nissan also says that the vehicle provides “a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society.” The IMx also previews the company’s new design language, so it could change quite a few things for the Japanese automaker. If put into production, it could go against the Tesla Model X, currently the quickest, most efficient, and most popular electric crossover out there.

While Nissan didn’t officially confirm a production version of the IMx, an all-electric crossover is the next logical step now that the second-generation Leaf is on its way to dealerships. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan IMx.

Exterior

  • IMx concept-inspired design
  • V-shaped grille
  • Modern features
  • “Floating” roof
  • Familiar Leaf styling cues

2017 Nissan IMx - image 740404

Note: Nissan IMx concept pictured here.

“We rendered a production version of the concept using the IMx's new design language”

While the Leaf Nismo concept presented in 2017 looked ready to go into production, the IMx is a bit too outlandish for dealerships. Sure, Nissan could build it as is, but it would no longer be an affordable vehicle. As a result, we rendered a production version of the concept using the IMx’s new design language and some of the familiar styling cues seen on the company’s recent products.

Up front, we kept the V-shaped grille and the vertical vents at the corners but both we trimmed down to a more production-friendly form. For the grille, we used the new Leaf as inspiration, so don’t be surprised that the element has no mesh and sports the same blue background. The black trim surrounding the grille is also taken from the Leaf, while the headlamps, albeit slimmer, features the same hockey stick-shaped LED layout. Down below, we removed the concept car’s organic vents and went with a more traditional look with a wide intake in the middle and daytime running lights at the corners. The V-shaped hood and the tall fender extensions remained in place as this features are likely to be part of Nissan’s design language for future cars.


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Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“Nissan likely wants the electric crossover to have a familiar look”

The fact that most of the front fascia is similar to the Leaf’s is no coincidence. Nissan likely wants the electric crossover to have a familiar look and placing it in the same design territory as the Leaf is the best thing to do.

We altered the car’s profile too, starting with the side skirts, which now have a more traditional form. It’s not as sporty obviously, but it’s more practical for an affordable crossover. The production model also gained conventional doors, door handles, side mirrors, and less expensive wheels. It also has production-friendly pillars for the roof. Toward the back, we can see the same black C-pillar and raised rear fenders, but this feature is far from new, having already seen it on the latest Leaf.


2017 Nissan IMx - image 740399

Note: Nissan IMx concept pictured here.

“Around back, I expect some of the concept's extreme features to be deleted before production”

Around back, I expect some of the concept’s extreme features to be deleted before production. The aggressively raked rear window will be replaced by a more conventional unit and the same will happen with the spoiler on the roof. I wouldn’t be surprised for those taillights to go into production, but the rest of the fascia and the lower bumper will be redesigned into a more familiar shape. Don’t get your hopes up for that flashy “Nissan” badge with LED lights.

All told, the IMx will be a Leaf on stilts, but Nissan will make things a bit more exciting with a few exclusive design features. It won’t be as fancy as the Tesla Model X, but it will stand out among other Nissans.

Interior

  • Leaf-inspired cabin
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • New infotainment system
  • Navigation with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Premium features
  • ProPilot Assist
  • e-Pedal system

2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729735

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“My best guess is that the IMx will be in line with the latest Nissan models, maybe even similar to the Leaf”

The interior of the IMx concept is a work of art. I love its simplicity and ergonomic design and it’s exactly what I want to find in a modern vehicle. Unfortunately, it’s way too futuristic for a Nissan and a tad too outlandish even when compared to the best luxury brands out there.

Not only it doesn’t have a center stack and center tunnel — left out to increase space — but the concept also comes with only four individual seats. This layout doesn’t make much sense in a production Nissan so things will change radically for production. The fancy seats will be dropped in favor of more conventional units and the big wood grain pattern on the dashboard will be replaced by soft-touch plastic.

“The IMx could also get ProPilot Assist, a single-lane driving assistance technology”

You can also forget about the panoramic OLED screen that spreads on the entire length of the dash and display a view of the outer environment in the background. The same goes for the artificial intelligence technology that enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. It sounds really cool, but it’s not something that Nissan will put into production anytime soon. The autonomous mode is a bit more likely to find its way into production, but we won’t get it in the IMx if this vehicle is launched in 2018. Autonomous drive isn’t yet regulated around the world and we won’t see a production model on public roads for a few more years.

So now we know that at least 95 percent of the concept’s interior won’t make it into production, but what will we get in this crossover? My best guess is that the IMx will be in line with the latest Nissan models, maybe even similar to the Leaf. Nothing too fancy but a bit on the premium side. Nissan has upped the ante in that direction in its most recent vehicles, including the Leaf, and the IMx should follow the same path. Actually, I’m expecting the crossover to take things up a notch.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729745

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“Another feature introduced with the Leaf and likely to make it into the IMx is e-Pedal”

While the general layout is still a mystery, the technology package should be similar to the leaf. It should have a big digital screen in the instrument cluster area and a big display for the infotainment system in the center stack. The leather steering wheel and the contrast stitching should come standard, along with chrome and piano black inserts. It should also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system (probably not standard in lower trims), and the company’s new Intelligent Integration platform, which includes NissanConnect, through which the driver can search for continuously updated information such as the location and operating hours of free charging stations and charging station availability.

The IMx could also get ProPilot Assist, a single-lane driving assistance technology that automatically controls the distance to the vehicle in front between speeds of 18 mph to 62 mph. In the Leaf, it can also help the driver steer and keep the car centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, the system automatically applies the brakes. After coming to a full stop, it keeps the car stationary even if the driver’s foot is off the brake. When traffic restarts, the car resumes driving when the driver touches the switch again or lightly presses the accelerator.

Another feature introduced with the Leaf and likely to make it into the IMx is e-Pedal, a system that enables the driver to control the car with one pedal only. You still have two pedals, but when this function is activated, the car able to determine what to do based on your input of the accelerator pedal, and will be able to stop, stay in position, and resume driving without moving your foot from one pedal to the next.

Drivetrain

  • New drivetrain with 429 horsepower
  • 372 miles of range
  • New, larger battery
  • Solid performance
“A Nissan with more than 350 miles of range would be tremendous for the current SUV market and a big blow for Tesla”

As with most concepts, the IMx previews a new electric drivetrain that sounds very promising. The crossover is reportedly powered by two “high-output” motors, one for each axle, that produce a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque combined. The concept also boasts a high-capacity battery that’s supposed to return a driving range of more than 372 miles per charge. That’s at least 77 miles more than the most efficient Tesla Model X available right now and mighty impressive when compared to the Nissan Leaf. While the autonomous drive system might not be ready for production just yet, this electric drivetrain could become a thing by the end of the year. Assuming that development is already close to its final stages.

A 400+ horsepower Nissan with more than 350 miles of range would be tremendous for the current SUV market and a big blow for Tesla, the current segment leader with the awesome Model X.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729720

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“If Nissan doesn't develop this drivetrain in time for the IMx, it may be stuck with the one in the Leaf”

On the flipside, if Nissan doesn’t develop this drivetrain in time for the IMx, it may be stuck with the one in the Leaf. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the Leaf isn’t as powerful and doesn’t return as much mileage as the competition. Specifically, the new Leaf comes with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on tap, 40 horses and 49 pound-feet more than the outgoing model. The battery is also new, now having a 40-kWh capacity. That’s 10 kWh more than the previous model, but below the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s 60 kWh and the Tesla Model 3’s 50 or optional 75 kWh capacity. The range was increased from 107 to 150 miles. While it’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s significantly inferior to the Bolt’s 238 miles and the Model 3’s 220 miles.

Of course, the crossover doesn’t have to get the exact same drivetrain. Nissan did say that a more powerful version is under development, so I guess an IMx with at least 200 miles is doable. But again, if Nissan moves that 429-horsepower and 372-mile drivetrain into production, the IMx could become the hottest electric crossover on the market. Sure, it won’t be as quick as the Tesla Model X, but I’d sacrifice supercar-like performance for almost 400 miles of range per charge.

Prices

It’s difficult to predict how much will Nissan ask for the production version of the IMx, mainly because the Japanese firm hasn’t offered an all-electric crossover up until now. But based on the Leaf’s place on the market, it’s safe to assume that the IMx will be a bit more affordable than the competition. I’d venture to say that pricing will start from around $40,000 before incentives. That’s around $32,500 if you’re eligible for government rebates.

Competition

Tesla Model X


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Introduced in 2015, the Tesla Model X is basically the only mass-produced, all-electric SUV on the market. Developed on the same platform as the popular Model S, the Model X shares many styling cues with the sedan and stands out thanks to its butterfly-style, “falcon” rear doors. Available with seating for up to seven adults, the Model X offers a somewhat premium environment with the best technology Tesla can offer. The SUV is packed with sensors and cameras and even uses a semi-autonomous driving system called Autopilot. Three drivetrain options are available, starting with the 75D model. Powered by a 75 kWh battery, it returns 237 miles per charge, hits 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and tops out at 130 mph. Next up is 100D, powered by a 100 kWh battery with all-wheel-drive. Range increases to 295 miles, while the 0-to-60 mph sprint drops to 4.7 clicks. Top speed is estimated at 155 mph. The range-topping P100D model also uses a 100 kWh battery but comes with an upgraded all-wheel-drive system. While mileage drops to 289 miles compared to the 100D, sprinting to 60 mph takes an amazing 2.9 seconds. Pricing for the base model is set at $85,500 before incentives, making it significantly more expensive than what the IMx is expected to cost. The 100D trim retails from $102,000, while the P100D model comes in at a whopping $140,000.

Read our full story on the 2016 Tesla Model X.

Conclusion


2020 Nissan IMx - image 747362

I’ve been a fan of Nissan vehicles and the company’s marketing strategy for quite a few years now. The Japanese firm is well covered in most segments, but it does have a couple of issues in the performance and EV departments. Both the GT-R and 370Z are a bit too long in the tooth, while the new Leaf still doesn’t offer as much range as the competition. But the biggest issue, in my opinion, is that Nissan has yet to expand its EV lineup. Not only the Leaf needs a higher performance version, but Nissan also needs an all-electric crossover in dealerships. The IMx seems to be answer to this problem, especially if it comes with the drivetrain showcased in the concept car. If this happens, it will also be a big blow for Tesla, which is currently struggling roll out new products while the Model X is way too expensive for the average Joe. With a sub-$40,000 sticker and a 300-mile range, the IMx could become the leader of the electric crossover market and could spawn a revolution in this very small segment. Fingers crossed that this concept is more than just a fancy show car.

  • Leave it
    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Leaf drivetrain wouldn’t be enough

References


2017 Nissan IMx - image 740398

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan IMx Concept.


2013 Nissan IDx Nismo - image 532944

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Nismo.


2014 Nissan IDx Freeflow - image 532996

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Freeflow.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729755

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Previews New A-Class With Winter Testing: Video

As those of us in the Mid West and on the East Coast gear up for yet another major winter storm, it’s important to know that your ride can take the freezing temperatures and won’t leave you out in the cold. As such, all of the major automakers out there undergo extensive testing when it comes to cold weather proofing their models, and Mercedes-Benz is no different, bringing their products to Sweden before they hit the dealership floor. The above-featured 35-second clip is a quick glimpse at what goes into prep for oodles of the white stuff, including a little sideways drift action on a giant snowy skid pad, grip on an iced-over road, and extreme temperature tests that pelt the car with winds as frigid as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s a quick little video, but in addition to the winter testing stuff, it also affords us an opportunity to check out the new A-Class. The car in question is decked out in swirly camo, which means it’s a little tricky to pick out all the details, but more eagle-eyed readers can use it as an opportunity to preview the latest model year. It’s also worth noting that the car in the vid is the five-door hatchback body style, which won’t arrive on these shores (we’ll get the four-door sedan instead).

Are you excited for the new A-Class? Are you prepared for the impending storms? Let us know in the comments, and check out our recent “Getting Ready For Winter With FWD” article.


References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 719286

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Volvo to Join the EV Hatchback Community with an Electric Volvo V40

Volvo introduced its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform with the new XC40, and it’s already taking steps to expand, with an all-new, next-gen V40 hatchback being the next model to make use of this adjustable, electrification-ready platform. And, that is the keyword: Electrification – and that’s exactly what you can expect from the next-gen V40. And, it will be offered with at least two battery sizes too, making it more affordable in base form and more able to compete with its German rivals in higher trim levels.
Want to know more? Keep reading to find out all about it.

The V40 Will Borrow DNA from the Volvo XC40 and the 40.2 Concept


2016 Volvo Concept 40 - image 676338
“The CMA platform was designed from the very start to be plug-in capable”

So, as I mentioned before, the V40 will use the CMA architecture, but it will also adopt the XC40’s wheelbase as well as several engine options, including the D3, D4, T3, T4, and T5. More importantly, however, is the plug-in hybrid and all-electric drivetrains that will also be available, both of which (the EV at some point) will also come directly from the XC40.
So what will make the V40 unique? Well, it will have that lower and more dominating roofline. And, even though the XC40 was the first model to be produced on the CMA platform, it is also set up nicely for low, dynamic vehicles, and that’s exactly what the V40 will be – a low and dynamic hatchback.

And, the CMA platform was designed from the very start to be plug-in capable:

“In purely physical terms, we have to fit the battery in the floor,” Green said, “but CMA gives us pretty good bandwidth. Everything from the full SUV height down to fairly low cars is possible. We’ve designed CMA from the beginning to have plug-in capability.”

With that in mind, the V40 will also be its own vehicle too. Well, in a way, that is. See, the overall design, as shown by the exclusive images published by AutoExpress, will be borrowed directly from the Volvo 40.2 Concept – all of the way down to that funky front end, unique taillights, and sporty stance. This shouldn’t be a surprise, though, considering the 40.1 concept became the XC40… You did know that, right?

Looking into the Future of Volvo and the V40


2016 Volvo Concept 40 - image 676361
“The V40 will be the first all-electric vehicle to make use of the new CMA architecture.”

Under Geely ownership, Volvo has taken a turn for the better, and it’s quite amazing to see. We’re finally seeing some nice products come out of Volvo. When you take into consideration the fact that the V40 taking its DNA from it and the 40.2 concept, will have a wide range of engines, and all of that electrification goodness, the V40 is an undeniable winner. And, with it being available as a pure-electric model too, it will be able to take on models like the Volkswagen eGolf, as well as the A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Don’t get it twisted though. The V40 (nor the XC40, for that matter) will be the first all-electric vehicle to make use of the new CMA architecture. Nope – that will be the Polestar 2, a high-performance saloon that will be offered by the now stand-alone high-performance arm of Volvo and likely nothing more than a Volvo with some extras and a different badge. As for the V40, however, you’ll see a full list of options carry over from other Volvo models, including a foldable rear floor, seat drawers, Sensus nin-inch infotainment system, and a fully digital instrument cluster. And, there may be smaller vehicles in the works someday:

“You can probably do a smaller car with the CMA platform,” Green said, “but we’re not actively looking at that right now. So, one day we may have an SUV that’s even smaller than XC40, but at the moment this is the exciting size for us.”

References

Volvo V40


2017 Volvo V40 - image 667177

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo V40.


maker logos - image 745634

Read more Volvo news.

PostHeaderIcon Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R’s Suspension

The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is the newest hot hatch in the American market, but it’s not the most beastly contender. In fact, that title easily goes to the Ford Focus RS – the 350-horsepower AWD monster with drift mode. Rather than one-upping the Focus RS, the Honda development team aimed for lightweight precision and focused on drivability. The goal was creating a fully track-capable hatchback that was completely livable on public roads during daily driving. A substantial amount of math an engineering later, the Type R debuted with a unique suspension system that handles both.

Despite the Type R’s newness to the scene, we’ve had plenty of time behind the wheel. Honda had us at the launch event in August and we have one in the driveway as this is being written. (Believe us, it’s hard to remain behind the computer when seeing a red Type R through the window.) At the launch event in Washington State, Honda provided each journalist with their own Type R, allowing for uninterrupted driving and relief from awkward conversations with an unknown co-driver about their bad speeding habits. Track time at The Ridge Motorsports Park showed exactly how well the Type R could dance and provided a more intimate feeling of the car’s handling. Now we’re evaluating the Type R on familiar pavement. The consensus is that Honda did its homework. The Type R truly does offer a world-class driving experience with few trade-offs. We still think road noise is a bit too loud, but the low curb weight of only 3,117 pounds makes us understand the missing sound deadening material.

Continue reading for a full run-down of the Type R’s suspension.


Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R's Suspension - image 729286
“The Type R gets 42.7 feet of structural adhesive in high-stress areas that are simply not present in the standard Civic Hatchback”

Honda engineers started with the Civic’s body. First, the new 10th-generation Civic is stronger and lighter than the previous car, but second, the Type R gets 42.7 feet of structural adhesive in high-stress areas that are simply not present in the standard Civic Hatchback. This leads to a 12 percent increase in lateral rigidity.

Mounted to the unibody is the Type R’s four-wheel independent suspension. Out back, the suspension remains very similar to the standard Civic’s, though it has unique active dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, and is 1.2 inches wider. Up front is where the magic really happens.

Behind a front-wheel-drive car, Honda had to overcome the Type R’s prodigious 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from inducing unwanted torque steer – the effect of the engine’s power turning the steering wheel via drive force applied to the front tires. Honda uses what’s called a dual-axis front strut in order to counter this. Basically, the mountings for the front hubs are much closer to the hub and further away from the MacPherson strut tower. Aluminum knuckles help reduce unsprung weight while a thicker, 29mm anti-roll bar adds more control in hard cornering.


Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R's Suspension - image 729272
“The front track is also 2.0 inches wider and the 245/30ZR20 summer-performance tires are an inch wider than the standard Civic’s equipment”

The front track is also 2.0 inches wider and the 245/30ZR20 summer-performance tires are an inch wider than the standard Civic’s equipment. That’s what necessitates the Type R’s widened bodywork.

As for the springs, the Type R uses coil springs with a spring rate 1.6 times greater than the stock car, while the anti-roll bar is 2.4 times more rigid. Even the bushings that hold everything together are nearly two times as firm. The Type R’s silver bullet is its Adaptive Damper System. The ADS has three firmness settings that correspond to the Type R’s three drive modes. The modes are Comfort, Sport, and +R. Each has their place and is dramatically different than the other.

Comfort mode is best suited for the street. It softens the dampers making imperfections in the road more bearable. The throttle is less twitchy and slightly more pedal travel is needed to spur the engine on. Sport mode is the driver’s choice for twisty roads. The throttle instantly becomes more responsive, the suspension is more ridges for better body control, and the entire car just feels more aggressive. When in +R mode, those Sport-mode attributes are multiplied 10 fold. It’s the mode best reserved for the track, especially since the adaptive dampers feel like they’ve been replaced with unbendable steel beams. The Type R in +R mode feels ridiculously nimble. Much of that can be attributed to the car’s 3,110-pound curb weight and super sticky tires.


Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R's Suspension - image 729293
“The Type R in +R mode feels ridiculously nimble.”

On the track, we found the Type R to only exhibit very mild and predictable understeer only at the limit. Otherwise, the car tracks straight and true, offering a fun-filled and safe driving experience. Adding to that is the lightweight clutch and silky smooth six-speed shifter.

Hitting the Brakes


Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R's Suspension - image 729278
“Big Brembo calipers with four pistons grab 13.8-inch drilled rotors”

The Type R is impressively good at stopping, too. The front brakes are vastly upgraded over the standard Civic’s binders. Big Brembo calipers with four pistons grab 13.8-inch drilled rotors. (The stock rotors only measure 11.1 inches in diameter.) Under-body cooling vents direct air to the front brakes for long-lasting performance. Out back, the Civic’s 10.2-inch solid rotors are upgraded to 12.0-inch discs, though a single-piston caliper is still used. Combined, the brakes haul the Civic Type R from 60 mph to a full stop in an utterly short 99 feet.
And for those wondering, the sprint back to 60 mph only takes 5.4 seconds thanks to the Type R’s wonderful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

References

Honda Civic


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719399

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.


Managing The Bump: A Look at the Civic Type R's Suspension - image 729293

Read our full driven review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R


maker logos - image 742500

Read more Honda news.

PostHeaderIcon Project Redspace

The Earth is teeming with humanity. In 2011, the world population hit a head-spinning 7 billion people, and it’s only getting more crowded – at an accelerating rate, too. Most folks live in and around staggeringly dense urban centers called “megacities,” called as such thanks to population figures that eclipse the 10-million mark. With such incredible numbers of people to serve, transportation systems are at their limit. So what’s the solution? Something like Project Redspace might very well be it. Produced by a Chinese firm and aimed primarily at the Chinese market, the Project Redspace (Redspace as in “Revolutionary Electric Dream Space”) is an all-electric commuter with a unique twist. The driving philosophy behind its creation was to leverage space wherever possible, finding an ideal amalgamation between form and function through inherent adaptability and customization, all while leaving the door open for the integration of forthcoming autonomous systems. Introduced in concept form at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, this very well could be the transportation solution for future U.S. city dwellers.

While the Project Redspace certainly doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen before, that’s kind of the point, or at least half of it. Spearheading the project is Chris Bangle, a noted American car designer with a resume that includes a stint at BMW and Fiat. Backed by Chinese partners from CHTC Motors (China Hi-Tech New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd), Bangle says that he managed to design “a space that decided to become a car,” and he’s deadest on meeting the needs of the traveling public of the future. While this might be a prototype model, a production iteration is reportedly just years away. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Project Redspace.

Exterior

– * Unique exterior features

– * Boxy, yet angular, yet organic

– * Forward-leaning windshield helps keep interior cool

– * Offers a roof around the perimeter

– * Sliding door design

– * Very small exterior dimensions

– * Flower pedal wheel cover design


2020 Project Redspace - image 750728
“The Project Redspace is utterly unique, blending a variety of elements to create something unlike anything we’ve seen before”

The Project Redspace is utterly unique, blending a variety of elements to create something unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s boxy, no doubt about it, but at the same time its got tons of curves and angles, marked by pointed elements added just about everywhere, thus breaking up the lunchbox-style form underneath with additional organic bits. The details on this thing are plentiful, to say the least. Bangle says part of the design takes inspiration from what a little kid would trace when asked to draw car – a bold move, to say the least.

Taking responsibility for the form is a multinational design team that includes folks from Germany, Japan, America, France, and Italy, which might help to explain the Project Redspace’s rather hodge-podge look. Bangle calls it an “interactive” design language.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750736
“Taking responsibility for the form is a multinational design team, which might help to explain the Project Redspace’s rather hodge-podge look.”

In front, we find a short, blocky nose, with rounded curves and angular headlights drawn into the corners. An organic-looking front bumper block breaks up the form, while the windshield rises up and outwards into a perfectly flat roof, curving around like half of a martini glass. The headlights appear to offer LED lighting elements, with signature surrounds. The overhangs are very short, both front and back. A small geometric Redspace badge resides in the left-hand portion of the fascia.

Moving to the sides, the Redspace’s unique front-leaning wraparound windshield becomes more obvious, offset by a rear-leaning pillar structure to give a sort of vee-shape. While unique in terms of styling, the automaker says the design is also quite functional, as it opens up the interior space while simultaneously allowing for more efficient airflow outside. The top overhang also helps create a shadow, thus keeping temperatures inside down.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750730
“In the corners, we see an adequately funky wheel design, like the pedals of a some kind of mechanical flower. Aiding ingress and egress is a pair of sliding doors, similar to a van, and particular useful when squeezing through tight spots.”

In the corners, we see an adequately funky wheel design, like the pedals of some kind of mechanical flower. Aiding ingress and egress is a pair of horizontally sliding doors, with a function similar to what you might find on a van, which is particularly useful when squeezing through tight spots. The sliding design also means the car offers a bit of a roof as you climb into the vehicle, which, as the automaker points out, should keep you dry when entering or exiting the car in inclement weather.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750735
“As you might expect, all those crazy exterior details opens up a plethora of opportunities when it comes to customization.”

As you might expect, all those crazy exterior details open up a plethora of opportunities when it comes to customization, and the automaker is quick to boast about the huge range of styling options customers will have in making it their own.

Finally, the Project Redspace comes with very small exterior dimensions, a vital characteristic for city driving. We’ll let you know the final measurements when the production version arrives, but for now, we hear it’s roughly 20 inches shorter than a Fiat 500 and just a tad bigger than a Smart Fortwo.

Interior

– * Designed from the inside out

– * Seats four passengers

– * Offers enough space to “live” in

– * Large infotainment screen on the dash

– * Adaptable and modular seating arrangement

– * Wi-Fi should be standard

– * Seats rotate for socialization

– * Opens up opportunities for autonomous technology


2020 Project Redspace - image 750748
“Project Redspace actually began its life as an interior”

Interestingly, Project Redspace actually began its life as an interior. The designers started by modeling the cabin space, so as you can imagine, a lot of time and effort went into making it as effective as possible. The overarching goal was to comfortably seat four adult passengers, while also offering a huge amount of customizability to fulfill a broad range of needs, whether its playing video games, changing a diaper, or finishing a business report. Bangle says it’s supposed to be an area large enough to “live my life in,” like a mobile apartment.

To kick it off, the individual seats can swivel 180 degrees, facing forward while driving, or facing one another when the car isn’t in motion. Alternatively, the seats can be rearranged into a totally new configuration, placed in offset to make more room for arms and legs. The armrests slope upwards for easier driving.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750739
“The seats can be rearranged into a totally new configuration, placed in offset to make more room for arms and legs.”

On the dash, the most obvious feature is the enormous 17-inch infotainment screen on top of the dash. There’s also a lower touchscreen located near the driver to provide a means for user inputs. This lower screen gets a plastic cover with a tactile feel to it, which is intended to offer easier the driver operation without requiring them to take their eyes off the road. There’s also a fold-down desk, in case you need a spot to sign papers or rest your mobile device. Onboard Wi-Fi should be standard.


2020 Project Redspace - image 750750
“The car is obviously perfectly suited for high levels of autonomy.”

Further tech features include automatic braking and parking assistance. And considering the amount of time that went into making the Redspace interior a great spot to relax, the car is obviously perfectly suited for high levels of autonomy, a facet the company is sure to jump on as soon as the technology hits the right inflection point in terms of cost and efficacy.

Drivetrain

– * Rear-mounted electric motor

– * Aluminum construction

– * Solar panels on the roof

– * Inductive charging capabilities

– * Offers the same range as a “large four-seater car”


2020 Project Redspace - image 750734
“The Project Redspace gets all-electric motivation”

Per tradition for a forward-thinking city machine, the Project Redspace gets all-electric motivation. Details on the car’s powertrain are understandably still under wraps, but we do know the electric motor is mounted in the rear, which means its RWD. The batteries are also mounted underneath the floor, while aluminum was used for the construction to keep it as lightweight as possible. The automaker also says it’ll offer the range of a “large four-seater car,” so we’re hoping for at least 150 miles. 200 miles would be ideal.

Once again though, the details are what make Project Redspace interesting. For example, the roof is a solar panel, which is wired to the peripherals (HVAC, stereo, infotainment, etc.) to keep the battery pack topped off on sunny days. And it’s got a big roof too, which means a big solar panel. Apparently, it’ll have the option for inductive charging as well, a feature that will be offered at launch.

Prices


2020 Project Redspace - image 750740

While the Project Redspace is designed specifically for the Chinese market, there’s a possibility it could see an introduction in other markets as well, including in the U.S.

Impressively, Redspace says it could have this thing on the road in the next two years, which seems rather ambitious, if you ask us.

No pricing has been announced, but if we were to guess, all those premium features and customizability and advanced technologies won’t come cheap. As such, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it tagged at $45,000, similar to the BMW i3. And speaking of which…

Competition

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728706

Interestingly, our first competitor comes from Bangle’s former employer, BMW. Like the Project Redspace, the BMW i3 is a high-end all-electric box, made from aluminum and carbon fiber to keep weight as low as possible. Inside, the materials are quite nice, while seating for four provides a decent amount of space. In the tail, you’ll find an electric motor in place to drive the rear wheels. Range per charge is around 100 miles, but if you need more, there’s the option for a gasoline “range extender” internal combustion engine for a little more outlay.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive


2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
- image 689210

The Smart Fortwo focuses much more on catering to urban environments than the BMW i3, with tiny exterior dimensions and a tiny turning circle as well. This thing was made for squeezing through cramped spaces, which is great, but the interior space suffers as a result, only offering seating for two passengers max. Range is also a bit on the low side, with just 75 miles offered between plug-ins. The price, however, is far below that of the Bimmer and what we’re speculating for the Project Redspace, slotting in under the $25,000 mark.

Read our full review on the 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Conclusion


2020 Project Redspace - image 750735

Redspace says cars spend the vast majority of the time (up to 90 percent in fact) just being idle. And therein lies the designer’s idea of what could be done to increase efficiency on a variety of levels. In terms of time, the car was designed to be a mobile workspace and lounge thanks to its modular interior layout. Thanks to the electric motivation and potential autonomous technology, the car should be efficient with the energy reserves as well.

It makes sense this thing was designed by a Chinese firm. After all, few countries have as many megacities as China, and demand for personal transportation solutions will only increase. The automaker says the target demographic includes “young people who just want a place to be with their friends on their own in a car that they have fun with, and at the same time, the mom, the woman who needs a second car in the family.” Then there are the folks who will use it as a “business tool.” All told, the Project Redspace is meant to appeal to a wide variety of folks in the newly emerging, hyper-crowded megacity landscape.

“That’s a rather tall order, hence the good deal of experimentation that went into the vehicle’s creation. However, if autonomous tech really takes off in the next few years, it could be quite successful.”

And that’s a rather tall order, hence the good deal of experimentation that went into the vehicle’s creation. The novel design approach is also pretty interesting, with an inside-out look at making the car work.

If the Project Redspace really does become a reality, the biggest hurdle we see to its success is price. There’s a lot going on here, and making it function properly in the real world will be complicated, which means by the time it reaches consumers, it could be quite out of reach for the target buyers.

However, if autonomous tech really takes off in the next few years, and Project Redspace adopts a “sharing” business model to help bring down the price, it could be quite successful as well.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  • Leave it
    • * Not all folks will like the way it looks
    • * Likely very expensive
    • * Best served with autonomous tech, but where’s the tech?

References


maker logos - image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon ‘Tis The Season For Symmetrical AWD: Video

We just got a good amount of the white stuff up here in Northern California, which is well timed with the impending holiday season. But, as we all know, with the extra fluffy frozen water comes grip issues on the road, and that can be a problem if you’re on a deadline to deliver tons of toys to good little girls and boys all around the world. Luckily, it looks like Santa has the right stuff to make it there on time, as evidenced in the above commercial.

Rather than floating through the sky pulled by a herd of reindeer, we see Santa is actually powered by a Subaru Crosstrek, dashing through the snow thanks to high ground clearance and 152 horsepower laid down by a 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder engine. And just in case that magical sack Santa uses to haul around all the goodies gets a little too full, the Crosstrek’s sizable rear cargo room should have the right stuff to bring the rest of it. All it needs now is a bright and shiny red grille on the nose…

References

Subaru Crosstrek


2018 Subaru XV Crosstrek - image 711838

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek.

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2015 BMW i8 Base Coupe 2-Door 2015 BMW I8 HYBRID GIGA WORLD AWD NAV HUD 20'S ONLY 15K #392350 Texas Direct
$65,600.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jan-18-2018 19:59:45 PST
Buy It Now for only: $88,480.00
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2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2012 CHEVY CORVETTE Z16 GRAND SPORT 3LT Z51 NAV HUD 28K #108598 Texas Direct
$37,230.00
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 7:23:07 PST
Buy It Now for only: $37,230.00
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CLIMATE SEATS SUNROOF NAV HUD 8K! #197736 Texas Direct
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $38,230.00
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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CAMARO SS2 COMMEMORATIVE SUNROOF NAV HUD 3K #211182 Texas Direct Auto
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $31,730.00
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS SPRING EDITION AUTO HUD 21'S 3K #316337 Texas Direct Auto
$30,230.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 16:08:57 PST
Buy It Now for only: $30,230.00
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE Z16 GRAND SPORT LT COUPE AUTO 3K MI #115791 Texas Direct
$53,202.00 (14 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 17:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $57,980.00
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE GRAND SPORT COLLECTOR 888 NAV 9K MI #300888 Texas Direct
$69,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $69,730.00
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1957 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup
$9,500.00 (22 Bids)
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 21:28:16 PST
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1965 Ford Mustang 4 SPEED 1965 Mustang Fastback A-CODE 4 SPEED Factory Air conditioning
$11,900.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 12:26:14 PST
Buy It Now for only: $11,900.00
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONV CLIMATE SEATS NAV HUD 6K MI! #107077 Texas Direct
$40,480.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 7:53:58 PST
Buy It Now for only: $40,480.00
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1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 1965 Corvette Coupe original red car, numbers matching
$26,750.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 8:57:17 PST
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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2016 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONVERTIBLE LEATHER NAV HUD 22k #166875 Texas Direct Auto
$34,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $34,730.00
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2014 Ford Mustang Base Convertible 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG V6 PREM CONVERTIBLE AUTO LEATHER 58K #240287 Texas Direct Auto
$15,230.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-23-2018 14:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $15,230.00
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2016 Ford F-150 2016 FORD F-150 CREW 4X4 LIFTED LEATHER REAR CAM 9K MI #D74031 Texas Direct Auto
$38,980.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 14:15:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $38,980.00
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1967 Ford Mustang Coupe 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe
$3,000.00
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 17:31:10 PST
Buy It Now for only: $3,000.00
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS RS CONVERTIBLE LEATHER NAV 33K MI #281386 Texas Direct
$25,480.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:11:50 PST
Buy It Now for only: $25,480.00
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2014 BMW i8 Base Coupe 2-Door 2014 BMW I8 AWD HYBRID PURE IMPULSE NAV HUD 20'S 2K MI! #X64774 Texas Direct
$2,025.00 (17 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:00:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $89,980.00
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2017 Ford F-150 FX4 Crew Cab Lariat Sport FX4 4X4 Ecoboost Custom Lifted Truck New Wheels Tires Nav
$42,600.00 (29 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:31:03 PST
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro LT Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO LT RS AUTO SPOILER 20" WHEELS 36K MI #273768 Texas Direct Auto
$17,980.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 7:46:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $17,980.00
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro LS Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO LS 6-SPEED CD AUDIO ALLOY WHEELS 33K #157886 Texas Direct Auto
$16,288.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $16,288.00
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2016 Ford Mustang GT350 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
$45,100.00 (30 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 16:35:38 PST
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2015 Ford Mustang GT 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
$20,101.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 16:42:59 PST
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY Z51 2LT AUTO NAV HUD 4K MI #112474 Texas Direct
$32,600.00 (43 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 10:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $49,230.00
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1967 Ford Mustang fastback GT 1967 Mustang Fastback GT S Code
$51,000.00 (37 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 18:10:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $72,995.00
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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe 2-Door 2016 CHEVY CORVETTE Z06 1LZ S/C HUD REAR CAM 4K MILES #613401 Texas Direct Auto
$68,480.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 9:20:31 PST
Buy It Now for only: $68,480.00
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2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2016 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 5.2L 6-SPEED TECH NAV 5K #521566 Texas Direct
$53,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $53,730.00
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2016 BMW M4 Base Coupe 2-Door 2016 BMW M4 EXECUTIVE 6-SPEED CARBON ROOF NAV HUD 22K #338388 Texas Direct Auto
$3,050.00 (20 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:00:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $56,230.00
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