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Archive for the ‘los angeles auto show’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Infiniti Teases New Car For 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show

The 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner, and some automakers are already giving us hints of what to expect. Infiniti is among them, and it just launched a new teaser for what it calls its “most advanced car ever.” The brand doesn’t give out the vehicle’s name, but the teaser shows part of the front grille and a headlamp, and based on these details it appears to be a crossover. Most likely, it’s the next-generation QX50. Launched as the EX in 2007, the QX was last redesigned in 2013. Granted, it’s not very old, but it’s one of the last Infinitis to sport the company’s previous design language. It feels old compared to other models, so a redesign for 2018 makes a lot of sense.

It’s pretty obvious from the teaser that the new QX50 will find its place in the current lineup. It has the massive grille with a honeycomb mesh and much skinnier headlamps. The latter are unlike other headlamps seen so far on Infinitis, being made of four different square LED elements and J-shaped daytime LED strips. I can also spot vertical intakes at the corners, which should give the front fascia a menacing look. Specific information is not yet available, but the brand says it will boast “world-first technologies” and “class-leading interior space.” We should find out more at the end of the month so make sure you stick around for updates and a full review.

References

Infiniti QX50


2016 Infiniti QX50 - image 624953

Read our full review on the previous generation 2017 Infiniti QX50.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RXL

The mid-size Lexus RX premium crossover has been around for almost two straight decades now, first hitting U.S. shores in the late ‘90s. Since its debut, Lexus has ushered in four generations, with the latest dropping in 2015. Now, it’s time for a refresh, and Lexus is providing just that with the latest 2018 model year. We’re still waiting for all the details, but the big news so far is the addition of third-row seating, bringing total passenger capacity to seven, a much-needed update for the top-selling model. Indeed, the Lexus RX is one of the segment’s most popular entries, and a seven-seater option has been expected for quite some time now. In addition to the added practicality, the RX will continue to offer efficient hybrid power and AWD grip, both features that should find their way to the new three-row model as well. The uniquely sharp exterior styling is expected to continue on more or less unchanged, as will the high-end luxury and technology inside the cabin.

Updating the RX with new seven-seat practicality is a good move for Lexus, giving customers a shot at greater seating capacity without stepping up to the larger V-8-powered Lexus LX and Lexus GX. We should get the full rundown on the 2018 Lexus RXL next week at the Los Angeles Show, but for now, read on for our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 RX 350L.

Exterior

  • Same sharp exterior styling
  • Bright LED headlights
  • Added length behind C-pillars
  • Same wheelbase as before

2016 Lexus RX - image 711912

Note: 2017 model year Lexus RX pictured here.

“Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot”

When Lexus debuted the fourth-gen RX in 2015 at the New York International Auto Show, the updated exterior styling was immediately polarizing. While some praised the hyper-aggressive frontend and large Spindle Grille, others derided it as too busy and angular. However, customers ate it up, and sales increased overall.

Going into the 2018 model year, we don’t expect the Lexus to change a whole lot. The headlights should still be sharp and narrow, while the front intake will dominate the crossover’s nose. Lower creases will broaden the chin’s visual width, while in the flanks, lower character lines will combine with a “floating roof design” to give the RXL the appearance of a sporty, forward-leaning rake. LED headlights will light the way forward. Alloy wheels measured at 18 inches in diameter will take up residence under the fenders, most likely with a selection of new designs to boot. 20-inch rollers will be an available option. Changes will most likely be minimal – reshaped corner intakes, new rear bumper trim, new exterior color options, and similar enhancements.

“Rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots.”

However, rumor has it the new third-row model will be a bit a bit longer behind the C-pillars to accommodate the extra passenger spots. At the moment, the Lexus is sized at 4,890 mm (192.5 inches) in length, but reports indicate an increase to 5,050 mm (198.8 inches), which is an additional 160 mm (6.3 inches) total. If the RXL is a bit longer, that wouldn’t be a surprise at all – the rear end kinda needs extra metal to squeeze in those extra two seats, especially if the model hopes to offer any sort of rear cargo room as well.

The rest of the exterior dimensions should remain the same, including the wheelbase. To give you an idea what that means, we’ve included the current model’s exterior dimension below.

2017 Lexus RX Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 2,789 mm (109.8 inches)
Length 4,890 mm (192.5 inches)
Width 1,895 mm (74.6 inches)
Height 1,720 mm (67.7 inches)

Interior

  • High-end materials like leather, brushed metal, and wood
  • Should include latest suite of safety technology
  • Rearmost headroom might be a bit cramped

2016 Lexus RX - image 624743

Note: 2017 Lexus RX interior pictured here.

“Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features.”

Like the exterior, we think the 2018 RXL’s cabin will be mostly a carryover from the 2017 Lexus RX. That means a broad horizontal layout with a prominent 12.3-inch multimedia screen mounted tall on the dash. An analog clock can be found below the screen, flanked on either side by square air vents. Hard buttons make up the center console, while the central tunnel gets the shifter, a duo of cup holders, and further controls for the infotainment system. A digital readout is found in the gauge cluster, while options include a full-color heads-up display to give it that extra high-tech vibe. There’s also an available rear entertainment package with dual digital screens mounted to the backs of the front seats. The Lexus Enform system offers further connectivity features.

Going into 2018, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus tossed in new safety technology features. As is, the Lexus RX offers a panoramic view monitor, parking assist, and blind spot monitor.

Interior materials will include all the usual good stuff, like leather upholstery, brushed metal for the surrounds, and lots of wood trim as well.

“In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department.”

In terms of interior space, we’re willing to bet that passengers seated on the new third row will be a bit cramped in the headroom department. Even with its extended length, the RX’s sloping roofline in the rear will inevitably impact comfort back there. What’s more, legroom for the middle passengers might get a little more cramped as well after adding an entire third row behind.

Note that the seven-seater incorporates two passengers in front, three in the middle, and two in the rear. To give you a better idea how this upgrade might work in the previous five-seater, we’ve listed the current RX’s interior dimensions below.

2017 Lexus RX Interior Dimensions

Headroom (front / rear) (Inches) 39.4/39.1
Legroom (front / rear) (Inches) 44.1/38
Shoulder room (front / rear) (Inches) 57.8/57.6
Hip room (front / rear) (Inches) 56.6/56.1

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets 3.5-liter V-6
  • Hybrid adds an electric motor to the 3.5-liter V-6
  • Is a sport model in the cards?

2016 Lexus RX - image 746640

Note: 2017 Lexus RX engine pictured here.

“Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model”

Under the hood, not much should change with the RXL, with Lexus offering the same engines and specs as the standard five-seater RX model. Peak output is rated at 295 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque for the base model, with features like four camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and dual variable valve timing keeping it honest.

Routing the power to the front axle is an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling a run to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 124 mph. Mileage figures look like 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Extra outlay will get you AWD, which adds grip, but makes the crossover a bit slower to 60 mph (7.9 seconds) and a bit less efficient with the dino juice (19 mph city, 26 mpg highway, 22 mph combined).

“If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL.”

If you’re feeling saucy, Lexus also offers a “Sport” iteration that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, wheels, tires, and brakes, but it’s uncertain whether such an upgrade will be offered with the longer RXL. We think it’s unlikely, given the practicality focus of adding a third row, but you never know – folks love their sporty crossovers, these days.

“The hybrid model adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process.”

Next up, we have the hybrid model, which adds a single electric motor to the standard 3.5-liter V-6, padding output and efficiency in the process. Routing the muscle is an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). Output comes to 308 horses, while mileage looks like 31 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. AWD comes as standard with the hybrid, with the run to 60 mph taking 7.9 seconds and top speed rated at 112 mph.

Look for all these numbers to carryover with the RXL, possibly with a few minor updates where appropriate (a few extra horsepower here, a few extra mpg there).

2017 Lexus RX Engine And Performance Specs

Engine configuration Naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, hybrid 3.5-liter V-6
Drivetrain FWD, AWD
Transmission Eight-speed automatic, CVT
0-to-60 mph 7.7 seconds, 7.9 seconds
Top speed 124 mph, 112 mph
Mileage (mpg, city/highway/combined) 20/27/23, 31/28/30

Prices


2018 Lexus RXL - image 745296

While final pricing has yet to be announced, we aren’t expecting a huge jump for the extended third-row model – perhaps just a couple thousand more at most. As is, the Lexus RX starts at $43,220 for the FWD RX 350, while tossing in AWD bumps that up to $44,620. Go for the RX 350 Sport, and you’re looking at $49,120 for the FWD model and $50,520 for the AWD model. Finally, the hybrid will run ‘ya $53,035, while the hybrid sport is $56,495.

Competition


2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 585697

Audi Q7

Recently revised for the 2017 model year, the Q7 gets all the good stuff that Audi can stuff into its mid-size dimensions. Outside the styling is handsome, with simple design features that look on par with the Four Ring brand’s current crop of vehicles, including a large Singleframe grille in the nose and lots of squared shapes front to back. Inside, the cabin gets a fresh layout that looks equally appealing, arriving with lots of leather, aluminum, and wood. Several engine selections are on tap, including a 3.0-liter diesel, 3.0-liter gas, and 2.0-liter gas options. There’s also a hybrid option, if you’re so inclined.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q7.

Volvo XC90


2016 Volvo XC90 - image 565987

Long story short, the critics love the XC90. Not only does it look great outside, with its sleek front fascia, LED headlights, and powerful proportions, but it gets even better inside, where the Swedes bring the heat with elegance and refinement on par or exceeding that of its European rivals. The technology onboard is extensive and cutting-edge, with lots of features keeping it safe, while five individual powertrains are offered under the hood. Both diesels and gas options make the cut, but the most powerful of the bunch is the T8 hybrid, offering as much as 400 horsepower and 472-pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90

Conclusion


2016 Lexus RX - image 711913

Note: 2017 Lexus RX pictured here.

“This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL.”

Adding an extra row to the uber-popular Lexus RX is a natural evolution for the mid-size crossover. Not only will it expand the practicality and appeal of the model, but it will also do well to broaden the brand’s current crossover offerings overall. This segment is still brimming with opportunity for those automakers willing to explore new niches, and the RX looks to fill about every nook and cranny with the RXL. A hybrid option is definitely in the cards at this point, and who knows, maybe a sport version will drop as well.

The only potential drawback we could see is pricing, especially with so many competitors waiting in the wings to scoop up missed sales. That said, we don’t think Lexus will fumble on this one – it seems like a pretty straightforward upgrade to add that rear bench, so the price tag shouldn’t get too much of an increase. Stay tuned for an update after the LA Auto Show.

  • Leave it
    • Polarizing styling
    • Seemingly endless number of competitors
    • Might be a bit cramped on the rear bench

References

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 746641

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.



Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda6

The Mazda6 is the Japanese brand’s mid-size flagship sedan, offering customers premium appointment inside the cabin and a somewhat sporty driving experience behind the wheel. Originally offered in 2002 as a replacement for the 616 and 626, the Mazda6 is now well into its third generation, which dropped in August of 2012 at the Moscow International Motor Show. Now it’s time for a substantial mid-cycle refresh, and Mazda just provided a preview of things to come for the forthcoming 2018 model year. Working off the concept of “Mature Elegance,” the new Mazda6 adds premium interior and exterior features, plus new safety technology, all of which helps to elevate the four-door to a more upscale position. However, the biggest news here is the inclusion of a new-for-the-model turbocharged powerplant, which will definitely add a considerable amount of zoom-zoom to the package.

That’s great news for the Mazda faithful – this is, after all, the brand’s flagship sedan, and more power is a most welcome boost to the car’s fun factor. A full reveal is scheduled for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, but in the meantime, read on for what we know so far.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6.

Exterior

  • Reshaped front fascia
  • New 3D grille and insert
  • Extra chrome detailing
  • Looks similar to the new Mazda CX-5 crossover

2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design”

For the moment, all we’ve got is a single teaser image of the new Mazda6’s front end, but right away, there are a few minor styling changes we can pick out. For starters, the grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design. The headlights also look like they got a subtle reshape with slimmer housings, and now come underlined by chrome lines that start at the bottom lip of the grille.

The lower intake and fascia are also different, with a sharper shape for the former and fresh creases in the corner edges of the latter. The chrome detailing of the old model’s fog lights is now moved to the lower part of the bumper lip, which will most likely add some extra visual width to the vehicle.

Overall, the changes echo those seen in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, and we think they pretty good on the sedan as well:


2017 Mazda CX-5 - image 695608
“The new Mazda CX-5 gets similar styling updates as the Mazda6.”

Indeed, Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with concepts like the RX Vision, and more recently, the Kai.

And although we have yet to see the rear end, we’d expect the usual nip and tuck back there as well. Something like reshaped taillight housings and a shapely lower bumper should fit the bill nicely.

“Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with its concepts.”

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that that Mazda offers the 6 in a wagon bodystyle overseas. We don’t think we’re alone in saying we’d love it if Mazda decided to bring the wagon version stateside, but so far, the probability of that happening is pretty low.

Interior

  • More high-end materials than before
  • Small changes to overall layout
  • Premium Japanese Sen Wood as optional trim
  • Latest safety technology included
  • Adaptive cruise control and around-view monitor

2018 Mazda6 - image 745322
“The updates do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. One good example is the unique Japanese Sen Wood trim option.”

Like the exterior, the Mazda6’s interior gets a few tweaks here and there, but most of the layout is a carryover. Broad, horizontal surfaces dominate, with straight and smooth lines throughout.

Compared to the previous model, the new Mazda6 looks to get a new digital infotainment screen, which appears to stand taller and more upright than the previous screen. The midline and air vents were also changed, with a square shape for the vents and a solid unbroken form for the midline trimmed in shiny metal. Below the vents is another layer that looks to be covered in some kind of soft touch material, presumably Alcantara. The next level after that contains the HVAC controls, below which you’ll find the central tunnel, shifter, and a rotary knob.

We think it still looks good, and we’re glad Mazda didn’t change too much. However, the updates that are included do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. For example, there’s now unique Japanese Sen Wood as a trim option, which Mazda says is used in traditional Japanese instruments and furniture. Looking at the provided press shot, we think that midline on either side of the air vents looks like it gets the new wood treatment.

Further exclusive premium trim will likely include high-end leather, aluminum, and similar stuff.

However, these days, you can only go so far with just premium materials. To really get those luxury points, you’ll also need to toss in some of the latest technology to boot.


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684539

Note: 2017 Mazda6 pictured here.

“To really get those luxury points, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology.”

As such, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology. Chief among these is Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control, which tosses in stop-and-go traffic management that will bring the vehicle to halt if the car ahead is stopped, then set off again all on its own.

That’s a good start, but we’re hoping for a full range of features for the new Mazda6 – automatic high beams, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and all the other stuff that comes as standard on high-end sedans should be considered fair game.

Finally, Mazda says a 360-degree view monitor was added as well, which is especially helpful when maneuvering through tight spaces.

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Cylinder deactivation tech for the NA powerplant
  • 2.5-liter turbo now added to the lineup
  • Six-speed manual and automatic for gearbox options

2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684554

Note: 2017 Mazda6 engine pictured here.

Nestled into the nose of the 2018 Mazda6 is the same naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder as before. Peak output for the four is rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque in the previous model year, and the 2018 iteration is expected to match those figures going forward. The same goes for the gearbox lineup, which includes either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, both of which route output to the front axle exclusively. Put your foot down, and expect to see 60 mph in roughly 7.6 seconds with both transmission options.

Mileage figures for the previous model year’s NA four-cylinder is rated at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the manual, and 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for the automatic. However, Mazda says the 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad those figures substantially. We think more than 40 mpg on the highway for the auto gearbox is definitely within reach.

“The 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad mpg figures. However, if you prefer driving fun over efficiency, the new turbocharged four-cylinder should fit the bill.”

That’s great for the eco-conscious, but what if you’re looking for a little extra zoom-zoom instead of efficiency, then Mazda has you covered there as well. Joining the all-atmosphere four-cylinder is a Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine option, which means yes, the Mazda6 finally gets a turbocharger. Plucked out of the nose of the most recent Mazda CX-9 crossover, this boosted four-banger features direct injection, and according to the manufacturer, torque levels that are “on par” with a 4.0-liter V-8. While the brand declined to give us exact specs, we do know that the turbo four in the CX-9 makes a substantial 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, which is a huge improvement over the old NA four. If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.

“If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.”

The big question on the minds of enthusiasts is whether or not Mazda will offer a MazdaSpeed6 iteration, with a six-speed manual transmission, bigger brakes, more aggressive exterior styling, sharper suspension tuning, and possibly even AWD. We’d love something like that…

Prices


2018 Mazda6 - image 745754

As of this writing, Mazda has yet to reveal full pricing information for the 2018 Mazda6. However, we wouldn’t expect any big changes for the base model’s price tag, which currently starts at $21,945. Higher trim levels obviously throw in additional equipment and require extra outlay, with the current mid-grade Touring starting at $24,195 and the top-trim Grand Touring going for $30,695. We’re excited to see where the 2.5-liter turbo will slot into the mix.

Competition

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 700685

When it comes to Japanese commuter sedans, it doesn’t get much more ubiquitous than the Toyota Camry. Building on well-established reputation for offering great value and reliability, the Camry just saw a generational update for the 2018 model year, with big-time updates across the board. The exterior styling is far more interesting this time around, while the interior was equally redone with an attractive new design and tons of premium features. Engine options include a four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and even a hybrid.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Honda Accord


2018 Honda Accord - image 735545

The Honda Accord also just got a generational changeover, and now enters its tenth production cycle for the 2018 model year. To keep it fresh, the H Badge added new Jewel headlights and glossy black trim pieces to the front end, plus lots of heavy creases leading to the rear. The interior layout feels fresh too, and gets tons of technology to keep passengers entertained. Making the go is a selection of four-cylinder powerplants, as well as a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine.”

We’ll update this article when we get the full rundown of the 6’s specs, but so far, we like what we see. The exterior styling was already quite the head-turner, and this latest refresh looks to be the same. The interior also seems to be even more impressive, while the chassis and handling should remain surprisingly nimble for a mid-size four-door. But the real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine. We can’t wait to get our hands on the figures, and we’re expecting some impressive stuff from the front-wheel-driver. Nice work there, Mazda.

The only thing that has us worried is the car’s price. The top trim is already kinda pricey, and tossing in the 2.5T might bump the 6 a little too high in the food chain. Granted, the features and premium interior do well to justify the outlay, but can the Mazda badge back that asking price for consumers? We’ll have to wait and see. Look for full details later in the month.

  • Leave it
    • Some competitors offer more features
    • Will pricing be too high with the new turbo engine?

References

Mazda6


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 578922

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda6.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Ascent

Subaru is about to launch its all-new, three-row family crossover at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 28. Official specs have been kept quiet, but we know it will be larger than Subaru’s ill-fated Tribeca with more interior room. We also know its name: the Ascent. It’s clear Subaru wants a piece of the full-size crossover pie. The Forester is currently the automaker’s largest vehicle, but it only seats five and has a maximum cargo volume of 68.5 cubic feet – a far cry from what typical three-row crossovers offer.

The Ascent will ride on an expanded version of Subaru’s Global Platform. The new Impreza and Crosstrek already ride on this platform, and the rest of Subaru’s lineup will eventually follow. It’s no wonder since Subaru spent a whopping $1 Billion to develop the modular architecture. The SGP is also designed to surpass all current crash test standards by enduring stuff like a 2.7-ton SUV ramming head-on into its hood at 55 mph. Yeah. Families like safe vehicles, so the added protection will be a great selling point for the Ascent. Obviously, Subaru will appreciate the sales, especially since the Tribeca only sold 80,000 examples over its entire, decade-long life. With failure an actual possibility, Subaru is determined to get the Ascent right. Let’s see what we can expect from this upcoming crossover.

Update 11/21/2017: Subaru has released a teaser of the Subaru Ascent just days before its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check out the teaser section below to see it and learn more about it.

Subaru Ascent Teaser


2019 Subaru Ascent - image 746685

To date, two teasers have been released. The first was a shot of the badge on the rear hatch and the second is a near-full side view of the upcoming SUV. Based on the Subaru Ascent Concept that was shown off at the New York Auto Show, the production version will look nearly identical. However, based on this teaser, it looks like some of the sharp body lines may be toned down a bit. Besides that, the teaser shows off the same silhouette as the concept including the rear stationary glass and third row of seating. Some wonder why Subaru would bring a model like this to production while others can accept the fact that Subaru needs to get its peace of the seven-seater market. What do you think? Will the new Ascent be a success or is it just another turd in a very large and overpopulated toilet bowl?

Exterior

  • Larger dimensions means more interior room
  • Tallish ground clearance
  • Sculpted bodylines

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713486

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“We’re hoping the Ascent Concept’s handsome lines actually translate to the production version.”

Subaru has yet to release an overview image of the production-spec 2019 Ascent. All we’ve got is a single shot of the Ascent badge affixed to the crossover tailgate. That means we’ll have to reference the Ascent’s concept version, which debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show back in April. Thankfully, Subaru will debut the real deal at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 28.

The Ascent concept is a devilishly handsome SUV with tons of style baked into its large body. Subaru designers aren’t afraid of doing big things with concept vehicles, and that shows here. Just look at that swooping beltline over those arched fenders! Typical Subaru cues are seen, too, like the C-shaped LED daytime running lights, the six-sided grille, the A-pillar window, and the black molding along the body’s lower edges.

Sadly, Subaru’s designers are also too timid to are blocked by dull bean-counters from putting such aesthetically pleasing concepts directly into production. We’ve seen it time and time again where a sexy concept is neutered into a comparatively dull shell of its former self before arriving in showrooms. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen here, though we’re not holding our breath.

Interior

  • Seven-passenger seating
  • Three rows
  • More interior volume than the old Tribeca
  • Respectable in-dash technology

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713487

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“Subaru will surely tone down the high-tech vibe seen on the Ascent Concept.”

While 90 percent of the Ascent concept’s exterior could easily make production, the interior is another story. Subaru will surely tone down the high-tech vibe seen here. Don’t misread us –we’d love to see the massive touchscreen with integrated knobs remain in the center stack. We’d hope Subaru will keep the fully digital gauge cluster, especially since that’s the popular thing these days. And we’d love to see the highly sculpted, multi-tiered dash and door panels in our driveway sometime soon.

So what’s definitely not making production? Well, don’t count on seeing the digital window and door lock controls. That swanky gearshift probably won’t make the cut, either. And sadly, the Range Rover Velar-like display seems a bit too cool for Subaru to actually produce. (Prove us wrong, Subi!)

What will remain in the showroom version of the 2019 Ascent is seating for seven people over three rows. That’s a given. Subaru needs a full-size family crossover. Right now, only five people can fit in Subi’s largest model, meaning growing families are forced out of the brand and onto the competition. That’s not good for Subaru’s bottom line and plans for world domination (what major automaker doesn’t have that plan?).

Drivetrain

  • Possible turbocharged 2.0- or 2.4-liter flat-four
  • CVT is very likely
  • AWD will be standard
  • Respectable fuel economy expected

Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 712990

Note: 2017 Subaru Ascent concept pictured here.

“Expect the Symmetrical AWD system to be included as standard equipment.”

Details of the Ascent’s greasy bits are still unknown at this point. Some reports suggest Subaru will use its 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four found in the Impreza, while others say an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four with upwards of 300 horsepower will be had. Either way, don’t count on a flat-six like the Tribeca had or anything in an inline or V configuration. This is Subaru, after all.

Regardless of engine, it’s a sure bet a CVT will be bolted to its backside. The continuously variable transmission has gotten better over the years. Our recent test of the 2018 Crosstrek proved the CVT is nearly free of rubberbanding and offers a smooth though somewhat uninspired driving experience. A full-size family crossover isn’t built for blasting down some dirt rally course, so the calm driving experience should be a welcomed trait.

Naturally being a Subaru, the automaker’s Symmetrical AWD system will be included as standard equipment. That means all four wheels receive power all the time, though at a 60/40 torque split front to rear under normal road conditions. Under low-traction situations or when the X-Mode button is pressed, the system will divide power evenly between the front and rear differentials.

Expect fuel economy to be pretty competitive in the mid- and full-size crossover segment. That means we can expect around 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Of course, these type of details should be announced at the Ascent’s debut later this month.

Pricing

Official pricing will come later, but we’d bet Subaru will start the Ascent’s MSRP around the $30,000 mark. That’s $5,000 more than the Outback and nearly $7,000 more than the Forester. Selecting premium features and options will inflate the price on higher-trimmed models, perhaps making the Ascent’s sticker price hit $45,000 when fully loaded. That would be pretty reasonable when compared to the segment.

Competition

Honda Pilot


2016 Honda Pilot - image 616641

The Pilot might be a few years old, but it’s one of the best-selling three-row crossovers in the business. It combines outright utility with comfort and style. Sprinkle on Honda’s brand image of reliability and available AWD and you’ve got family-hauling homerun.

The Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. As mentioned, FWD is standard and AWD is optional. With all four wheels turning, the Pilot can lug a 5,000-pound trailer and regardless of the drivetrain, it will carry up to eight people – seven with the optional second-row captain’s chairs. Lower trims come with a six-speed automatic and upper trims (Touring and Elite) come with a fuel-saving nine-speed automatic.

Pricing varies wildly depending on trim and options. The base LX starts at $30,745 while the range-topping Elite starts at $47,220. Getting the Elite means everything that is normally optional is now standard. That means $47,220 is about the highest price you can pay, barring you go crazy with dealership add-ons.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Pilot.

Volkswagen Atlas


2018 Volkswagen Atlas - image 693391

The Atlas should be pronounced “At last” since it’s taken Volkswagen so long to enter the three-row SUV game. Thankfully, the Atlas is well-baked with tons of well-conceived features, a roomy interior, seating for seven people, and a couple drivetrain options. The Atlas also rides on familiar bones; it’s the MQB platform that also underpins seemingly every modern VW and Audi product. Interior niceties include an available digital dash, VW’s latest infotainment system, and 97cubic-feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded.

Standard power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it’s relegated to lower trims with FWD. Most Atlas models come with a 3.6-liter V-6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels. VW’s 4Motion AWD system is optional.

Pricing starts at $30,500, but most will skip the 2.0-liter base S model. Other trims include the SE, SE with Technology, and SEL. Opting for the V-6 pushes the base price to $31,900. For 2018, VW is offering a V-6 Launch Edition. The S, SE, SE with 4Motion, SE with Technology, SE with Technology and 4Motion, SEL, SEL with 4Motion and SEL Premium with 4Motion are available. While a bit confusing at first, the trims do make sense. Expect to by $48,490 for the V-6 SEL Platinum with 4Motion before options.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Conclusion


2019 Subaru Ascent - image 745297

It’s been a long time coming for Subaru’s new three-row crossover. The absolute disaster that was the Tribeca understandably left Subaru weary of the large crossover market, though the updates accompanying the Ascent should make folks pay attention this time around. More people room, improved looks, modern in-dash technology, and class-leading safety features should have the Ascent climbing towards the peak of full-size family crossovers. Only time will tell, however, and there are still plenty of unanswered questions. The wait won’t be long, thankfully, since November 28 should bring all the juicy details. Check back to TopSpeed for that.

  • Leave it
    • Might be underpowered compared to the competition
    • CVT will limit towing
    • Will it overcome the Tribeca’s failure?

References


Subaru Ascent SUV Concept Begs One Question: WHY? - image 713494

Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Ascent Concept.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Saleen to Bring New S1 Sports Car to L.A Auto Show

Founded in 1983, Saleen is mostly known for creating various tuning packages for the Ford Mustang. More recently though, Steve Saleen began modifying Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet Camaros too, and even launched an upgrade for the Tesla Model S electric sedan. But Saleen also built a supercar. Launched in 2000 as the S7 it became one of America’s iconic supercars and received a lot of praise for its impressive performance and that it went on to win a few important racing championships. But despite having a few successful decades, Saleen had to cope with severe financial issues in the 2010s. A merger with Chinese firm Jiangsu followed, which expanded Saleen’s presence in markets outside the U.S. Now, the California-based brand announced its first original design since the S7. It’s called the S1 and will make its U.S. debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Unveiled in China earlier this month, the S1 is significantly smaller than the S7 and gains Saleen access to the small sports car market. But despite being an original design on the outside, the S1 is actually based on the Artega GT, which was produced between 2009 and 2012. The German automaker went bankrupt in 2012 and Saleen bought the rights to the GT’s platform. Interestingly enough, the underpinnings are actually based on the ones that Lotus developed for the Evora in the late 2000s. Just like the S7, the S1 uses a Ford engine, this time around a 2.3-liter EcoBoost unit similar to that found in the Mustang EcoBoost and Focus RS. The engine was tuned to generate 450 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque.

There’s no word on U.S. availability, but Jiangsu Saleen plans to build some 150,000 units per year starting mid-2018, when its factory in Rugao, China will be completed. An electric version of the S1 is also in the books, but no information has been released as of this writing. We should find out more at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show later this year, so make sure you stick around for an update.

References

Saleen S7


2001 Saleen S7 - image 13872

Read our full review on the 2001 Saleen S7.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend

Word around the ‘Net is that Chevy will reveal its highly anticipated, track-focused iteration of the C7 Corvette, the ZR1, at an upcoming private event in Dubai on Sunday, November 12th. The rumor comes courtesy of the Bow Ties devotees over at CorvetteBlogger, who posted what appears to be a leaked image of the December issue of Car & Driver portraying one very orange and aggressive-looking ‘Vette parked under the ZR1 banner. The image is supported by further detail images taken from the magazine article itself, which appear to show the ZR1’s shifter, engine, and steering wheel, while a post made a day prior shows an invite to a special event in Dubai this weekend, apparently provided by a Middle East-based Corvette owner.

It’s assumed that the ZR1 will land stateside later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show to wow domestic journalists, with a predicted production launch for spring of 2018. And yeah, Dubai does seem like a somewhat unusual place to reveal the red, white, and blue sports car, but as CorvetteBlogger points out, Chevy still managed to garner plenty of attention when it dropped the Corvette Grand Sport at the Geneva Motor Show, and with the L.A. show scheduled to kick off in a few weeks from now, the ZR1 should still get plenty of attention. Either way, stay tuned as we look for further developments.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend - image 743595

While a few U.S. enthusiasts out there might be miffed about a Dubai reveal for the ZR1, it makes a lot of sense for Chevy. After all, it’s no secret that the U.A.E. metropolis is a hot spot for high horsepower and superlative performance – just check out their police forcefor evidence of that.


The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend - image 743596

With that in mind, the ZR1 should fit right in. Details are obviously still forthcoming, but word has it the apex-hunter will get new exterior styling and bigger aero, plus as much as 750 horsepower under the hood. It was originally believed that Chevy’s tried-and-true supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 would be making the go, but with this latest batch of rumors, it’s now believed the ZR1 will be rocking a new DOHC LT5 instead.

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 698482

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.



Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior

Jeep is slowly debuting the all-new 2018 Wrangler bit by bit before its official debut at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show on November 29. The latest piece is a pair of photos showing the Wrangler’s brand new interior – and boy; the improvements are awesome. Not one screw or plastic bit carries over from the outgoing Wrangler JK. That’s definitely a good thing. The new Wrangler JL is vastly more technologically advanced and fitted with way more creature comforts.

Though we’ve seen teases of the new interior before, this is the first time Jeep has shown the full monty. Both shots are of the same loaded-out Rubicon model, which gives us the complete scope of what’s available. The model features the latest Uconnect system, a large driver information screen with digital auxiliary gauges, dual-zone climate control, the standard assortment of steering wheel controls, dash-mounted window switches, a bank of four auxiliary switches for aftermarket components, and a toggle switch to control the Rubicon’s front and rear locking differentials. A separate button controls the disconnecting from sway bar.

There is plenty more to look at, so keep reading for more information.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL’s interior.

Looking Deeper


Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior - image 743496
“The driver information screen offers a configurable display”

This Rubicon model is fitted with the six-speed manual transmission and the two-speed transfer case. Jeep will offer a 4WD system with an auto mode in addition to the standard 2WD, 4WD high, neutral, and 4WD low positions. Jeep hasn’t said if this 4WD Auto system is available on the Rubicon, but it’s clear it does not come standard.

Looking at the gauge cluster, we see the driver information screen offers a configurable display which includes roll and pitch diagrams, digital gauges for the fuel level and coolant temperature, a digital speedometer, a comprehensive trip computer, and a digital readout for the transfer case gear position. That last item gets its own display nestled within the tachometer. Other handy features include a 12-volt power plug and several USB ports and an AUX input jack under the “media” cover.

The photo also shows the Rubicon model will come with Automatic Start/Stop on its engine. Again, Jeep hasn’t specified what engine(s) will be offered in this hard-core, off-road trim level, or whether the Star/Stop system will be standard across the engine lineup. As a refresher, the Wrangler will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. Transmission choices include the six-speed manual and the ZF eight-speed automatic.


Jeep Drops Official Images of 2018 Wrangler Interior - image 743497
“Fit and finish are vastly improved, not that it was hard to improve over the outgoing Wrangler JK”

On the cosmetic front, it appears the colored dash accent will match the body color, however, we’ve seen photos surfacing showing that’s not always the case. It seems Jeep will let you customize the color scheme nearly any way you’d want. Fit and finish are vastly improved, not that it was hard to improve over the outgoing Wrangler JK. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and accented with contrast stitching and satin chrome. The contrast stitching continues onto the dash, center console, shifter boots, and seats. And those shift knobs look milled from a solid piece of billet aluminum and capped with leather. That’s probably not the case, but the look sure is impressive.

The front passenger gets a grab handle with WRANGLER spelled out. There is a small storage shelf on the top-center section of the dash. Other leaked images we’ve seen around the web show the Wrangler unlimited will have HVAC vents for its rear passengers.

“And like on later models of the Wrangler JK, Jeep should include all the necessary tools needed to remove the doors, windshield, and tops.”

Other notable “Jeep” features include that easy-fold windshield and stationary A-pillars with grab handles. The doors are also easily removable, just as before. An interesting Easter egg can be seen on the door hinge. It says “T-50” with an arrow pointing at the Torx-head bolt that secures the door pin to the body-mounted hinges. And like on later models of the Wrangler JK, Jeep should include all the necessary tools needed to remove the doors, windshield, and tops.

Needless to say, we’re excited to finally see the 2018 Wrangler’s dash. It’s been a long time coming and yet there’s still information we’re waiting on. Thankfully, Jeep should release all the nitty-gritty details on November 29 at the L.A. Auto Show, so stick around for that.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2018 Jeep Wrangler - image 741967

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.


2017 Jeep Wrangler - image 687100

Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK.



Read more Jeep news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Jeep Wrangler To Debut At LA Auto Show

The upcoming and highly anticipated 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in late November. That’s the official word from Jeep CEO Mike Manley, originating from an interview with Auto Express. What’s more, Manley confirmed the Wrangler will have a hybrid powertrain option, the details of which will be announced before the end of 2017. Thankfully, the Wrangler will still have the rugged looks and off-road capability of the current Wrangler JK we’ve come to love, but with healthy updates to both styling details and interior NVH.

“It’s definitely going to move the game along but you will absolutely know it’s a Wrangler – for sure! If we did anything that departed from the Wrangler formula I don’t think I’d be able to get out of the States,” said Manley, a native of Great Britain. It’s clear the next-generation Wrangler will have a familiar shape thanks to numerous spy shots of prototype vehicles seen scurrying around Detroit.
However, improvements to the Wrangler’s everyday livability will be a welcomed addition. “You’ll be really surprised how far we’ve been able to move things in terms of capability, fuel economy, ride comfort, noise and all of those things, said Mike Manley. “I’m very pleased with where it is.”

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

Revived by Mercedes-Benz in 1997 after more than five decades since it stopped building automobiles, the Maybach brand and its modern limousines, the 57 and 62, were received with great enthusiasm. However, both cars were seen as slightly fancied-up versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class as soon as they hit the market and the company’s sales expectations were never met. When it was shut down in 2012, Maybach has only sold around 3,000 units. By comparison, Rolls-Royce sold more than 2,700 vehicles in 2010. The luxury brand was once again revived in 2015, but this time around as Mercedes-Maybach and as a sub-brand of the S-Class model. Two four-door models were launched immediately, following by sleek looking concept coupe. Although the latter has yet to be confirmed for production as of December 2016, Mercedes did launch a convertible version based on the S-Class. It’s called the Mercedes-Maybach S650 and its the first Maybach drop-top since the 1930s.

Although based on the standard S-Class inside and out, the Maybach S650 is actually pretty unique in the lineup. Its body features are heavily based on the AMG S65 model, thus having a sportier appearance, while the interior comes with bespoke leather upholstery and numerous accessories. Under the hood, the convertible is more than just a standard S-Class, using the most powerful engine available for the nameplate at this point. This makes the S650 the quickest and most powerful Maybach ever built.

The luxury convertible is also available in very limited numbers, with just 300 units to be built and sold globally. Naturally, these specs also make it highly expensive, to the point where a Maybach could cost more than its Rolls-Royce competitor. Find out more about it in my comprehensive review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet.


PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Rumors about Alfa Romeo’s plans to revive the Giulia nameplate have been floating around since 2012, but it took the Italians until 2015 to actually reveal a modern incarnation of its iconic compact sedan. Developed as a rear-wheel-drive competitor for the 2016 BMW 3 Series and the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the new Giulia also marks the brand’s return to its RWD roots. Making the news that much better is that Alfa Romeo kicked this revival off with a high-performance model aimed at the 2016 BMW M3 and 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63.

Meet the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the beefed-up sedan that’s been forged with just one purpose: to obliterate its German rivals.

This is indeed a great moment for Alfa Romeo, which has just launched its first RWD sedan since 1992, when the 75/Milano model was discontinued. From then on, Fiat took over and replaced it with the 155, 156, and the 159. The 159 was retired in 2011, putting an end to Alfa Romeo as a compact executive-car manufacturer. Come 2015 and the Italian brand finally has something to brag about.

Updated 12/12/2016: Alfa Romeo revealed prices for the most powerful version of its latest Giulia sedan.

Continue reading to learn more about the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.


PostHeaderIcon Genesis G80 Sport

Considering the Genesis brand is a new entity, the Genesis G80 is technically a brand new car in the market. First on sale for the 2017 model year, the car has come off as a big hit, effectively fusing together power, luxury, and safety into one very sexy package. But, there were two problems with the G80. The first problem is that it was nowhere near as stylish or aggressive as the Genesis New York Concept, and the second problem is that there was no middle model – leaving consumers to choose between the 311-horsepower V-6 and the 420-horsepower V-8 models. For the 2018 model year, both of those problems have been addressed as Genesis has decided to refresh the G80 and introduce a new trim level called known as the 3.3T Sport. This refreshing has brought new, better-looking fascias to the front and rear, the availability of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive across the entire range, new safety features, and a new standard 18-inch wheel design. On top of that, the new 3.3t Sport offers up a cool 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque – just the right amount to position it between the G80 3.8 and the G80 5.0.

It seems pretty fast for such a new brand to offer up a model refresh after just a year on the market, but that just goes to show how serious the Genesis brand is about winning over consumers and keeping competing models like the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6 at bay. The new Sport trim should prove to be a breath of fresh air for anyone who wants more than 300 ponies on tap without having to step up to the range-topping 5.0 model. So, will Genesis garner new customers with the introduction of this new trim level and the refresh of the entire range? Only time will tell, but let’s take a look at the new 3.3t Sport and see what it’s all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis G80 Sport.


PostHeaderIcon Rezvani Beast Alpha

The Rezvani Beast came to be in 2014, less than a year after Rezvani Motors was established in 2014. Developed as a street-legal race car, the Beast is based on the British-made Ariel Atom, using not only its lightweight chassis, but Honda Racing engine too. Much like any carmaker focused on track-ready, limited-production cars, Rezvani focuses on creating various versions of its original sports car rather than developing new products. The initial Beast was followed by a Speedster version in 2016, while the 2017 model year brought the Beast X, Rezvani’s quickest and most powerful vehicle to date. At the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Rezvani unveiled yet another variant of the Beast, called the Alpha.

Although much of the styling is identical to any other Beast we’ve seen so far, there are two very important features that set the Alpha apart. First, it has a targa-style roof. Granted, it’s removable and turns the car into a proper roadster, but when in place, it provides the comfort of a regular coupe, as well as better aerodynamics. Second, the Alpha uses a Lotus-derived chassis instead of the Ariel Atom underpinnings found in other Beast models. Third, the engine is turbocharged rather than supercharged. Finally, it comes with a rather unconventional door system, which Rezvani dubbed “SideWinder.”

Despite the updates, it’s not significantly more expensive than the standard Beast ,which is a real treat given that the limited-edition Beast X had a nearly 60-percent premium. But let’s find out more about that as well as what makes the Alpha special in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Rezvani Beast Alpha.


PostHeaderIcon Mazda RT24-P

After a few seasons of racing gasoline-powered prototypes in North America, Mazda switched to a diesel engine based on the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D unit found in its production cars. That didn’t go very well, so the automaker returned to the 2.0-liter gasoline four-pot in 2016, when it continued with the same Lola chassis. With IMSA Prototype class rules revised for 2017, Mazda ditched the old Lola underpinnings in favor of a Riley chassis and redesigned the bodywork of its race car. With rules now more permissive as far as designs go, Mazda came up with a race car that uses many of the Kodo styling cues seen on the company’s production cars.

The new race car will compete in the new DPi class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The category replaces last year’s Prototype class and introduces revised regulations to the series. The new Riley chassis was designed and built by Multimatic, while the engine was carried over from last year’s race car.

“This is a huge moment for Mazda Motorsports and the entire Mazda family,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. “To have a car which features Mazda design language at the top level of our motorsports program is meaningful for us as a brand. We believe we have the right team, the right drivers and the right chassis to win races and championships.”

Mazda Motorsports will tackle the 2017 season with two vehicles. Car No. 55 will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, while car No. 77 will be piloted by Joel Miller and Tom Long. The season will commence in Daytona on January 28, while the final race will take place in Georgia on October 7.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda RT24-P.


PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Autonomous Ioniq Concept

The Hyundai Ioniq was unveiled to the public in early 2016, after a couple of years of speculation and spy shots of camouflaged test cars. Developed to compete against the popular Toyota Prius, the Ioniq sports a modern design that combines the company’s latest styling language with a few unique design features of its own. Available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions at launch, the Ioniq is also set to get an all-electric variant in 2017. At the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai confirmed that the EV will also get an autonomous system and showcased a concept car featuring the new technology.

Essentially identical to the hybrid inside and out, the Autonomous Ioniq is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a hidden LiDAR system in its front bumper instead of on the roof and Hyundai says that its goal is to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This will be accomplished by using the Ioniq’s Smart Cruise Control radar, along with its Lane Keep Assist cameras and integrating them with LiDAR technology.

Hyundai also announced that it’s developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system, which will result in a low-cost platform that can be installed in future Hyundai models that should be more affordable. A display-only model in L.A., the Autonomous Ioniq will be further showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2017, where two cars will be found driving on the streets of Las Vegas.

There’s no specific timetable as to when the production car will arrive, but Hyundai is already testing three autonomous Ioniqs and two autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell SUVs at its research and development center in Namyang, South Korea. The second half of 2017 sounds like a reasonable launch date.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Autonomous IONIQ concept.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen e-Golf

Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the e-Golf went on sale globally in the summer of 2014, about two years after the Golf Mk7 it is based on made its public debut. In the U.S., the e-Golf arrived in late 2014 as a 2015-model-year vehicle. Essentially a standard Golf with the gasoline engine swapped for an electric motor and a battery pack, the e-Golf crossed the pond to North America with 115 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rated the hatchback at 83 miles on a single charge, which put it on par with EVs like the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. For 2017, the e-Golf received a comprehensive update that added new technology, a new battery, more power, and an extended range.

Unveiled only a few weeks after Volkswagen debuted the regular Golf range, including the performance GTi model and the GTE hybrid, the facelifted e-Golf benefits from the same upgrades as the standard hatchback. While exterior changes are minor, customers now have access to new technology and features, including the optional gesture control function that Volkswagen unveiled in 2015. The revised e-Golf offers better performance, with the tweaked motor and larger battery delivering more horsepower and torque. Also quicker and able to reach a higher top speed, the e-Golf comes with 50-percent more range than the outgoing model.

The new tech and powertrain puts the e-Golf above its traditional rivals, but it’s not yet ready to go against the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt. Find out how it compares with its most important competitors in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen e-Golf


PostHeaderIcon Lexus Sriracha IS

Special edition cars can go in a variety of different ways depending on the person who’s looking at them. There are some models like the 2013 BMW 760Li Sterling Robbe & Berking Edition that inspired universal acclaim. On the flip side, some special edition versions like the DS3 Givenchy Le MakeUp were panned for one reason or another. Somewhere in the middle of this vast expanse of special edition models sits the Lexus Sriracha IS, a unique iteration of the Japanese automaker’s luxury sedan that’s inspired by the Sriracha sauce made famous by the California-based hot sauce company Huy Fong Foods.

Yep, hell has frozen over now that cars are being inspired by food condiments.

To be fair, the Sriracha IS doesn’t look too bad. It actually has some appeal to it if you’re the type who appreciates a red car with green accents on it. At the very least, it is eye-catching, which I suppose is the reaction West Coast Customs was looking for when it was enlisted by Lexus to work on the IS and give it the Sriracha treatment in time for its debut, which occurred at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Give West Coast Customs this much; the custom features on the IS are really something else. The paint job itself took some time to plan and execute and the accompanying green accents are both bold and consistent with the color scheme of the hot sauce company. Even the interior is dressed up to be completely in tune with the hot sauce company’s identity, something I never thought I’d get to write, let alone see in my lifetime.

About the only thing disappointing about the Lexus Sriracha IS is that West Coast Customs didn’t do something to spice up the sedan’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine. It still packs 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on account of the IS 300 AWD badge on the sedan. I just would’ve preferred it if Lexus instead based the Sriracha IS on the range-topping IS 350. At least that has 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque on tap. Or, you know, Lexus could just bring back the IS F. Speaking of which, what’s the word on that, Lexus?

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lexus Sriracha IS.


PostHeaderIcon 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show – Worst In Show

Let me be frank – the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show wasn’t exactly the most amazing auto show of all time. And if I’m completely honest, I’d probably say it was, for the most part, a bit of a dud. But don’t get me wrong – there were still several standouts worthy of their floor space. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Honda Civic Si Prototype are both good examples of that (check out our complete list of Best In Show here). But, as is tradition, there was still plenty of bad to accompany the good, and as such, we’ve rounded up the top five worst debuts from this year’s La La Land circus right here.

Included is a sport compact disappointment, a high-riding turd on wheels, a couple weak-sauce concepts, and an are-you-even-trying “special” edition convertible.

But before you hit that jump, a warning – we brought out the TopSpeed troll to help us write this one, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Subaru VIZIV-7 SUV Concept

Does the Viziv name sound familiar to you? Well, it should because that’s the name Subaru has used for a large SUV concept not once, not twice, but now three times. It started back in 2013 with the Subaru Viziv Concept that debuted with a funky set of side doors at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. A couple of years later, Subaru showed up at the Tokyo Motor Show with the 2015 Subaru Viziv Future Concept. That second iteration was more toned down that then first – the funky doors were gone – but the interior was still heavily futuristic. Fast forward to the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show and Subaru was back at it again with the Viziv-7 Concept, a model that showcases what a large, three-row SUV from Subaru will look like when it makes its debut in 2018. To date, we have yet to see the inside of the concept – the doors were even locked at the show, with the interior hidden away by tinted windows – but as far as the exterior goes, this baby is ready to go into production.

As far as SUV’s and crossovers go, Subaru doesn’t have much. There’s the Compact Subaru Outback, which isn’t really as much a crossover or SUV as it is a wagon with jacked up suspension. Then there’s the Crosstrek, which is an Impreza with a raised roof and suspension, and then there’s the Forester, which in every sense of the word is an SUV, but it’s still in the compact segment. That means that Subaru has some room to grow if it really wants to compete in the world of gas guzzlers that is the American SUV Market. The production model derived from the Viziv-7 will fit more in the large-SUV category and will compete against the likes of models like the GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, Chevy Tahoe, and Ford Expedition, to name a small handful.

Needless to say,Subaru has its work cut out for it if it expects its newest SUV to gain any traction at all in the market. The competition is stiff, and for folks buying in this segment, fuel economy isn’t as important as the number of passengers something can haul or the cargo space available. With that said, let’s take a better look at the Viziv-7 concept and talk about what we can expect from the future model it represents.

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru VIZIV-7 SUV Concept.


PostHeaderIcon Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that the Star Wars franchise is experiencing a renaissance. As with most valued franchises, companies have had no problem jumping in on the bandwagon. Count Nissan among these companies and the Japanese automaker hasn’t been bashful about its partnership with Star Wars franchise. You only need to take a look at the Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition that was unveiled at the Los Angeles Motor Show to see the lengths by which this partnership has grown in the past few years.

Based on the 2017 Nissan Rogue, the SUV gets an overdose in Star Wars-related cosmetic digs, right down to the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire logos on the cupholders and the Rogue One logo badging on the front doors. Remember in 2013 when Nissan and Star Wars also collaborated on another model, the Juke Star Wars Edition? That version had more buzz surrounding it, but you can make a case that the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition SUV received more of the stylized Star Wars treatment than the Juke ever had.

Here’s the best part about the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition: only 5,400 units are going to be made available and of that 5,400 units, 5,000 has been earmarked for the U.S. market with the remaining 400 going to Canada. It’s a far cry from the Juke Star Wars Edition, which was only made available in Japan. Remember though, the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition only comes in package form and is only available for Rogue models equipped with the Sun and Sound Touring Package. The package costs $1,990.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Nissan Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition.


PostHeaderIcon 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show – Best In Show

The journalists have all left the Los Angeles Convention Center, leaving it to the motor-minded public to take up the slack and fill the halls at this year’s LA Auto Show. Behind the gates, attendees will find several high-profile makes missing in action, with names like Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce all absent for 2016. Nevertheless, La La Land still managed to muster up some very impressive debuts, and we’ve collected our top five right here for your perusal and enjoyment.

While crossovers were undoubtedly the dominant body style at this year’s show, there were also several exceptions that brought fun, sportiness, and luxury to the table as well. Long story short, the crème de la crème from the 2016 LA Auto Show offers a little something for everyone, so read on for the lowdown.

Continue reading for the full story.


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