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  1. A new automaker will be making its global debut next month at the Paris Motor Show. VinFast, Vietnam's first automaker will be showing off a new sedan and SUV. For being their first models, the designs don't look half-baked. This comes down to VinFast reaching out to four major Italian car design houses to give design proposals and then allowing the people of Vietnam to vote for the winner. ItalDesign won the vote, but VinFast selected Pininfarina to do the finishing work. Both the sedan and SUV share a number of design traits such as the chrome V emblem with a set of chrome bars sitting on either side; LED daytime running lights, and faux mesh inserts for the bumper. If you're wondering why the sedan looks like a BMW 5-Series and the SUV like a BMW X5, that's due to VinFast using the last-generation platforms of those respective models. According to Autocar, VinFast has "future-proofed" the platforms to meet all global regulations, including side-impact and pedestrian. Power will come from BMW's 2.0L N20 turbo engines producing either 175 or 220 horsepower. The engines will not have BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing system. This will be paired with an eight-speed ZF transmission. VinFast will begin a pilot production program at a plant near Hanoi in March, with full-scale production to take place in September. Alongside these two models, VinFast will also produce an electric scooter, a version of the Vauxhall Viva city car, and an electric bus. The company is hoping to export models sometime in the near future, though it is not said which markets the company is considering. Source: VinFast VinFast Honours Vietnam's Proud and Dynamic Beauty Through Creativity and World-Class Design Debut models feature perfectly balanced proportions with a contemporary, timeless design reflecting the Vietnam’s proud and dynamic beauty Distinctive front grille incorporates asymmetric VF motif Sedan and SUV represent the powerful, progressive spirit of a new, energetic and developing Vietnam VinFast makes its global debut with the presentation of two world premiere models at the Paris Motor Show on 2 October 2018 Hanoi, 10 September 2018 – The first two cars from new Vietnamese car company, VinFast, display its philosophy of ‘Vietnamese – Style – Safety – Creativity – Pioneering’ through a world-class design language developed with the world-renowned Pininfarina design team in Italy. The two premium models – a sedan and a SUV – will be given their world premieres at the Paris Motor Show on 2 October 2018. From a starting point of exceptional proportions, designers from VinFast and Pininfarina created timeless cars that each feature a long wheelbase and elegant, truly inspiring styling. A long bonnet, classic trunk and horizontal body lines create a symmetrical, sophisticated and elegant beauty for the premium sedan. The SUV’s more muscular bonnet and bold, purposeful character lines endows it with a more sporty identity, as if it is poised to break free. One specific highlight of the debutant’s design language is prominent at the front of both its new cars. The chrome V emblem at the centre of the grille is confidently and distinctively symmetric. To the right is a horizontal chrome splint that combines with the LED daytime running lights to create an italicised F-motif, representing the second syllable of VinFast, and a unique asymmetric flourish. From the central V emblem radiates the bold and lean crease lines that run over the bonnet, creating a fresh and modern look, reflecting the pride of Vietnam’s first car manufacturer to reach for the world. “The strong, distinguishable design, enhanced by elegant lines and refined details, gives our cars several distinctive highlights,” explains David Lyon, Director of Design at VinFast. “First and foremost, these emanate around the V logo in the grille which references the country of Vietnam, as well as the Vingroup and VinFast brands. In conjunction with Pininfarina, we have carefully sculptured each body line to express the natural beauty of Vietnam and the warm-hearted and dynamic characteristics of its people through a modern and world-class design language.” The proud and energetic styling of the VinFast sedan and SUV are also heavily influenced by the new company’s progressive approach to design. Breaking all traditional car development rules, VinFast gave the people of Vietnam the opportunity to determine the styling direction at the very start of the design process. More than 62,000 people voted when presented with 20 design sketches from four world-renowned Italian car design houses. Starting with ItalDesign’s winning concepts, the cars’ designs have since been developed and completed by Pininfarina. Designed for the Vietnamese people based on a selection made by the Vietnamese people, these debut VinFast models can truly be regarded as national products of Vietnam, embracing the pride and ambition of its citizens. As planned, just a year since the public design vote, VinFast will present the sedan and SUV on the international stage at the Paris Motor Show (press conference: 10.45am* CET on 2 October 2018), before introducing them to the Vietnamese public at the end of the year. With its debut in Paris, VinFast will become Vietnam’s first automotive manufacturer to participate in a major international motor show, signalling the confidence, pioneering approach and global outlook of a new and energetic brand.
  2. I found myself in a bit of quandary when it came to writing the review for the 2018 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. Both of these models have been redesigned recently and despite the different exteriors, under the skin they share a number of key parts such as the engine and suspension. As I was going through my notes, I realized the answer was right in front of me; talk about the differences between the two and see which one does it better. Exterior Between the two vehicles, the Rio stands out considerably. Like the previous model, the new Rio has a fair amount of European influence with neatly proportioned body and clean lines. The front end is quite low and features a narrow top grille and deep slits in the bumper for a set of fog lights. 15-inch alloy wheels come standard on EX. Unlike the Accent, the Rio is still available in as a hatchback. The Accent goes for the safe approach with a simple three-box sedan design. This isn’t helped by the silver color on my test vehicle which makes it become somewhat anonymous. The only real design traits are in the front with a new grille shape that is appearing on new Hyundai models and cutouts in the bumper for accent trim on our base SE tester or foglights on higher trims. One way the Accent SE stands out from the Rio LX is painted door handles and mirror caps. Interior There are no frills to be found in the Accent’s interior. Like the outside, Hyundai went for a simple and honest design. Material quality is what you expect in the class - hard plastics on most surfaces. But the plastics have a solid feel. All Accents feature basic front seat adjustments - fore/aft, height (driver only), and recline. I was able to find a position that worked for me quite quickly. One item to be aware of is the SE doesn’t come with a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel; SEL models and above get that feature. Space in the back is average for the class with a decent amount of headroom, but a limited amount of legroom. Kia added some style to the Rio’s interior with a sculpted dash featuring two-tone plastics. Hard plastics make up the majority of interior surfaces with a grain texture pattern. Like the Accent, the plastics have a very solid feel. The layout is simple with most controls in easy reach. Finding a comfortable position took no time with a basic set of seat adjustments and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. However, I found the seats in the Rio to not be as supportive on long trips. The back seat mirrors the Accent; ok headroom and a small amount of legroom. Infotainment The Rio EX comes with a 7-inch infotainment system with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. No navigation system is offered, but you won’t need it as support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. It will not take long to familiarize yourself with UVO thanks to a well-thought out interface and dedicated buttons for various features. Performance is impressive with the system responding very quickly to inputs. Over at the Accent SE, it comes with a 5-inch touchscreen radio. For the most part, the system was simple to use with redundant buttons for various functions, simple interface, and large touchscreen buttons. I only wished that the screen was slightly larger when I was scrolling through my iPod. One surprise was the SE getting Bluetooth as standard. Kia doesn’t offer Bluetooth on the base Rio LX. Powertrain Both the Accent and Rio use the same 1.6L inline-four engine producing 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. What differs between the two is the transmission; the Accent SE comes with a six-speed manual while the Rio EX makes do with a six-speed automatic. Between the two, the Accent is noticeably quicker. The manual transmission allows the engine to flex what little muscle it has to get the vehicle up to speed. In the Rio, the automatic’s programming smothers the small amount of power to improve fuel economy. There is a Sport mode that holds onto gears longer, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. Neither of the transmissions can help the 1.6L on the freeway as the engine struggles to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy EPA fuel economy figures are almost identical for the two models. Both return 28 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway. The difference is in the combined figure; the Rio returns 32, while the Accent returns 31. I got an average of 34 in the Rio and 33 in the Accent. Ride and Handling There are more similarities between the Rio and Accent when it comes to the driving experience. Both still employ struts in the front and a torsion-beam rear axle. But the body has been stiffened which helps with ride quality. Both models exhibited excellent isolation of most road imperfections. Handling is another place where the two surprised me. While not exhibiting the sporty characteristics of a Ford Fiesta, both the Accent and Rio show little body roll and feel quite nimble. The steering is light, but provides a decent amount of feedback when pushed. Pricing The 2018 Hyundai Accent begins at $14,995 for the base SE with manual transmission and climbs to $18,895 for the Limited. Our test SE with optional floor mats came to an as-tested price of $16,005. While it does cost $1,095 more than the base Rio LX, the Accent SE comes with more features such as Bluetooth, full power accessories, and a rear USB port. The 2018 Kia Rio kicks off at $13,900 for the LX sedan and climbs to $18,700 for the EX hatchback. The EX sedan tester came to an as-tested price of $19,425 with carpeted floor mats and destination. It is a bit hard to stomach the price tag when you can into some decently equipped compact sedans such as the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze for similar money. Even after you factor in the EX getting forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, it’s still a tough sell. Verdict Trying to decide which of the two subcompacts was the winner in this piece was very difficult as they share so much. Beginning with the Rio EX, it is a very sharp looking subcompact with a fair amount of European influence and it is available as a hatchback. But the automatic transmission suffocates what little performance is on offer from the 1.6L engine. Plus the price tag of the EX is very difficult to swallow when you can step up into a compact for similar money. If it was the midlevel S, this would have been a closer fight. This brings us to the Accent SE. It's styling inside and out is a bit plain when pitted against the Rio. The lack of hatchback also makes the Accent a bit of hard sell to some buyers. But the list of standard features on the base model is very surprising. Plus, the manual transmission allows the engine to have some flexibility in most driving situations. Both models are towards the top in the subcompact class. But in this comparison, the base Accent SE nips the top-line Rio EX by a hair. Disclaimer: Hyundai and Kia Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Hyundai Model: Accent Trim: SE Engine: 1.6L DOHC 16-valve GDI Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300 Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31 Curb Weight: 2,502 lbs Location of Manufacture: Nuevo Leon, Mexico Base Price: $14,995 As Tested Price: $16,005 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floor Mats: $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Kia Model: Rio Trim: EX Engine: 1.6L 16-valve GDI Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300 Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/32 Curb Weight: 2,714 lbs Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico Base Price: $18,400 As Tested Price: $19,425 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floor Mats - $130.00
  3. Ford's decision to drop most of their passenger car lineup last week is still sending shockwaves, and likely causing various automakers to have discussions about if they should follow in their footsteps. One automaker that will not be following Ford is Volkswagen. “We are intending to be a full line car manufacturer,” said Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken. The reason as to why? Electric Vehicles. “The question of whether electric mobility will favor sedans or SUVs hasn’t been answered yet. When you’re talking about electric cars, sedans have more advantages. The shape and the [drag coefficient] has a high effect on range. Therefore, we’ll maybe see a higher sedan share on full electric cars than with conventional cars,” said Woebcken. Aside from EVs, Volkswagen still sees sedans as an important key to their U.S. plans. The new Jetta and Arteon will be arriving in dealers very soon, and a new Passat is expected to debut next year. That said, Woebcken says crossovers will become a big part of Volkswagen's U.S. Current plans have the automaker launching at least two new crossovers over the next few years. “The shift from sedans to SUVs is a permanent one. In former times, when gas prices went up people moved back to sedans. We believe this will not happen anymore for two reasons. First, the difference in fuel economy between SUVs and sedans is not so big anymore. Second, customers do not want to give up the high seating position. I believe that trend will not reverse.” Source: Digital Trends
  4. Mercedes-Benz has never sold the A-Class in the U.S. as it wasn't sure consumers would buy a luxury hatchback. But Mercedes will be finally bringing over the next-generation A-Class, but as a sedan. "We truly believe that now with the body style we have the right answer for the market," said Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz's global sales chief to Automotive News. When the model launches next fall in U.S., the A-Class sedan will become the brand's entry-level model. Mercedes is aiming the model at younger buyers that are new to the brand. "It's a very attractive car for younger people. But not only for younger people — it can have a broad audience because it's a nice entrance into the Mercedes-Benz family," said Seeger. Currently, the cheapest way to get into a Mercedes-Benz is the CLA-Class with a pricetag of $32,700. It is expected that the A-Class sedan will start under $30,000. When asked about this, Seeger said, "We will see." Click here for more Mercedes-Benz News Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  5. Mitsubishi's lineup in the U.S. is very thin, but that will change soon as the Japanese automaker introduces the new Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEV crossovers. This is part of an effort to boost sales 30 percent for the U.S. by 2020. While the focus for the U.S. will be on crossovers, Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko hinted that other products could be in the pipeline if they leverage their alliance with Nissan-Renault. In an interview with Automotive News, Masuko said the opportunity to launch new products will come after 2020. This is when Mitsubishi is expected to share powertrains and platforms with Nissan-Renault. One of those new products could be a sedan. "But we don't have plans to develop a sedan on our own. It wouldn't be just a rebadge. The design will be completely different. We would like to clearly differentiate our models and show the special characteristics of each company," said Masuko. We're wondering if this sedan could be the replacement for the aging Lancer compact or discontinued Galant sedan. Masuko said there are no concrete plans at this time for the sedan. Automotive News followed this up by asking if there is the possibility of a pickup truck for the U.S. "The pickups we make are not so big. But the American market requires big-size pickup trucks," said Masuko. "We are focused on developing pickups for non-U.S. markets such as [Southeast Asia] and the Middle East. So for the U.S., if there is an opportunity, we might get it from Nissan. We would like to consider if there are opportunities from within the Alliance." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  6. Lamborghini has reportedly begun work on a fourth model that will debut in 2021. Autocar reports that the model in question is a four-door sedan that could bridge the gap between their supercars and the upcoming Urus SUV. The sedan is said to be similar to the Estoque concept from 2008 with an engine up front. The model would use the MSB platform that underpins the Porsche Panamera and upcoming Bentley Continental GT. When asked about adding a new model after the Urus, Lamborghini’s commercial director Federico Foschini said, “We must be humble. The Urus is only at the pre-production phase and, while the goal is to double sales volumes over a few years, we have yet to earn that accolade. But of course we should always be looking to grow. If we can take this first step with Urus – a huge step – then there are possibilities.” But the sedan has yet to be signed off. According to the report, a faction at Lamborghini is wanting to investigate the possibility of a bespoke, carbonfiber-intensive structure that could underpin a three supercar lineup. Whether this means a new model is created the Huracán and Aventador or something a bit extreme is unclear at this time. Either way, this project is being referred to as the new Miura. But this means Lamborghini would be spending a fair amount of cash on the development and could cause some problems for the next Audi R8. This is due to the model sharing the platform that underpins the Huracán. Source: Autocar
  7. It has been the ongoing story for a couple of years; buyers flocking to crossovers and sales of sedans falling down. While some automakers it seems are giving up on sedans, others are trying to figure out ways to make them more appealing. Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota Motor Corp.'s global branding chief tells Automotive News the brand will be employing two strategies to help keep their sedans relevant - improve the driving dynamics and be more daring in terms of design. "Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve," said Fukuichi. "At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away." The LC coupe is the first model that is taking these ideas and running with it. It features a low ride height, the highest torsional stiffness of any Lexus model in history (partly due to the new GA-L platform), and a design that stands out. The all-new LS is following its footsteps as it features more of a fastback look than the standard three-box silhouette. Intriguingly, Fukuichi dropped the idea of there being a station wagon in Lexus' lineup. It could take some ideas found on Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo in terms of design. Before you get your hopes, there are no plans for a wagon at this time. "Personally, I would like to have a Lexus wagon if we had enough resources. Maybe not as tall as an SUV but not as short as a wagon. There could be some optimized packaging," said Fukuichi. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  8. Volkswagen has tainted the reputation of diesel in the U.S. So it seems a bit odd that Chevrolet is not only going ahead with offering a diesel in the upcoming Equinox, but also adding a diesel option for the Cruze. Yesterday, Chevrolet officially announced that the 2018 Cruze sedan and hatchback would come with a 1.6L turbodiesel four-cylinder. It will come with the choice of either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic. Official power figures are not out and Chevrolet would not confirm if this is the same engine found in the Equinox. "People who drive diesels, love diesels. And so there is a customer base there that wants to drive this type of vehicle and have this type of performance. What we're doing is providing that option," said Alan Batey, president of GM in America. Chevrolet is hoping to draw away buyers who were planning to buy a Volkswagen diesel vehicle and owners displaced by the current diesel emission scandal. But the question we have is can Chevrolet make any inroads? Will we actually see any of these vehicles on the road or will they just be sitting on dealer lots because of the evilness that diesel currently has due to the Volkswagen mess? Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Car Connection
  9. A couple years back, I drove the recently-redesigned Mazda3 hatchback. I really liked all the improvements Mazda made to the 3, while retaining the fun to drive nature of the previous model. What I wasn’t too keen on was the price. For a vehicle that carried an as-tested price of just over $30,000, I couldn’t fully justify paying that much for a compact. Fast forward to this summer and another Mazda3 came in. This happened to be a sedan and one that was under $24,000. The best part? I felt that it was one of best bangs for your buck. The 3 in question is the 3i Grand Touring sedan. The i is the most important part as it means this 3 is fitted with the 2.0L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder producing 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. s models get the larger 2.5L four-cylinder. Our test sedan came with a six-speed manual. This engine is slightly slower and rougher than the 3s we drove a couple years back. But this engine is much better in terms of performance than some other compacts we have driven recently (Nissan Sentra and redesigned Hyundai Elantra). Mazda gets a lot of praise for their manual transmissions and we’re going to add some more. The gear lever moves with precision and smoothness. The clutch is easy to modulate to get a shudder free start. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA rates the Mazda3i at 29 City/41 Highway/33 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 35 mpg. I should note that the 3 went on a 388 mile round trip across the state for a track school (more on that in a future piece) that mostly involved highway driving. I was able to achieve 40.2 mpg during the trip. This trip also revealed two weaknesses of the 3. First is ride comfort. The 3 didn’t do a great job with isolating most bumps or potholes from entering the interior. This is due to the suspension setup which is tuned for delivering a sporty ride around corners. This would have been worse if our tester came with larger wheels. Second is a common fault with most Mazdas, noise isolation. During this trip, I was able to tell the condition of the road thanks to the abundance of road noise coming inside. There was also a fair amount of wind noise entering the cabin. Mazda says they have added more sound insulation to the 2017 model, we’ll be checking this out in the future. I would be remised if I didn’t talk about the 3’s handling. This is still one of the best driving compacts on sale today with little body roll, quick direction change, and steering that can rival some sports cars. At least sitting inside the 3 was a pleasant experience. The front seats provided excellent support for the long trip and controls were in easy reach. The infotainment system is still a mixed bag where it is easier to use the control knob than the touchscreen to move around the system. Also, the navigation system stumbled a few times where it showed I was traveling on another road than the one I was currently on. Let us step outside for a moment and gaze at the 3’s shape. I still think the Mazda3 is one of the best-looking compacts on sale. The front end has the large grille with chrome trim running along the outer edge and into the headlights. I also like the sculpting along the doors.The only disappointing thing is the back. In sedan form, the Mazda3 doesn’t look quite right. As I mentioned in the beginning, the Mazda3i Grand Touring sedan came with a price of under $24,000 ($23,435 to be exact). For the price, it was well equipped. There was leatherette seats, six-way power adjustments for the driver, navigation, Bose sound system, push-button start, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a backup camera, and a moonroof. The only option was a trunk mat for $70.00. The 2016 Mazda3 is a compelling choice in the compact class if you want something that is fun to drive. If you want something a bit more balanced or can handle a long drive, I’m not sure the 3 can cut it. There are compacts that are quieter and provide a smoother ride. It ultimately comes down to what you want in a compact. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3i, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Mazda Model: 3i Trim: Grand Touring Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 155 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 150 @ 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/41/33 Curb Weight: 2,869 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan Base Price: $22,545 As Tested Price: $23,435 (Includes $820 Destination Charge) Options: Cargo Mat - $70.00
  10. Audi unveiled a four-door TT concept called the Sportback at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Taking the overall sleek shape of the coupe, designers stretched the overall length and width to allow for two extra doors and a larger back seat. A new report from Auto Express says the four-door TT is coming and will take the place of the coupe and convertible within the next two years. The reason for the departure of the TT coupe and convertible is due to the diesel emission scandal. Due to the various penalties and fines, the Volkswagen group had to cancel a number of models and projects to save money. The next-generation TT coupe and convertible were likely on the chopping block due to low sales as buyers aren't interested in small sport cars. But Audi was somehow able to make a case to keep the TT as four-door 'coupe'. Auto Express says the design has been approved by management. The report doesn't say where the model will fit into Audi's lineup, but we suspect it will be priced slightly higher than the A3 sedan.
  11. Blake Noble Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com May 4th, 2012 GM hasn’t exactly been bashful about the fact it plans to build a new rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet next year, and race it on your local NASCAR track. Announced in March of this year, the upcoming Chevy — which will wear the SS moniker in either short or long-hand form — should likely boast the same 6.2 liter V8 heart which furiously beats beneath the hood of the Camaro SS. The 6.2 should produce upwards of 415 horsepower for use in the SS sedan. When news broke about the Chevrolet SS, it was widely believed that the car would be only be available with a V8 and four doors. However, that may not turn out to be the case as it seems GM may be planning to further expand the Bowtie brand’s portfolio of rear-drive cars. Car and Driver is reporting that after the SS is introduced with the hairy-chested 6.2 V8, Chevrolet will offer a version of the car for more squeamish buyers using a 3.6 liter V6 good for churning out 300-plus horsepower. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that most automakers must remain conscious of ever increasing CAFE regulations with every new model and a V6-powered Chevy SS would likely achieve highway mpg figures somewhere in the upper 20s. What may be seen as surprising is that the Chevy SS family may not be comprised of just a V6 or V8-powered sedan. When the SS moves to an updated, lighter version of the Zeta platform on which it is based, GM could very well introduce additional ute (read: ElCamino) and wagon bodystyles. This should take place around 2015, and production of the SS will also shift to North America — likely GM’s plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada — from Australia where it will first be built alongside the related Holden Commodore. It’s worth mentioning that while production of the Chevy SS will probably move out of Australia, it’s unclear if the Holden Commodore will follow suit. Australian website Drive is skeptical and thinks if the Commodore leaves its native home it likely wouldn’t happen until a totally new model is introduced for 2018, pending future currency exchange rates and sales. Whatever the case, enthusiasts will undoubtedly be excited at the prospect of not only the upcoming Chevy SS, but a new wagon and especially a successor to the beloved ElCamino. Let’s just hope that GM doesn’t revoke anyone’s green card this time around. Sources: Car and Driver, Drive
  12. Lamborghini has reportedly begun work on a fourth model that will debut in 2021. Autocar reports that the model in question is a four-door sedan that could bridge the gap between their supercars and the upcoming Urus SUV. The sedan is said to be similar to the Estoque concept from 2008 with an engine up front. The model would use the MSB platform that underpins the Porsche Panamera and upcoming Bentley Continental GT. When asked about adding a new model after the Urus, Lamborghini’s commercial director Federico Foschini said, “We must be humble. The Urus is only at the pre-production phase and, while the goal is to double sales volumes over a few years, we have yet to earn that accolade. But of course we should always be looking to grow. If we can take this first step with Urus – a huge step – then there are possibilities.” But the sedan has yet to be signed off. According to the report, a faction at Lamborghini is wanting to investigate the possibility of a bespoke, carbonfiber-intensive structure that could underpin a three supercar lineup. Whether this means a new model is created the Huracán and Aventador or something a bit extreme is unclear at this time. Either way, this project is being referred to as the new Miura. But this means Lamborghini would be spending a fair amount of cash on the development and could cause some problems for the next Audi R8. This is due to the model sharing the platform that underpins the Huracán. Source: Autocar View full article
  13. Mitsubishi's lineup in the U.S. is very thin, but that will change soon as the Japanese automaker introduces the new Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEV crossovers. This is part of an effort to boost sales 30 percent for the U.S. by 2020. While the focus for the U.S. will be on crossovers, Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko hinted that other products could be in the pipeline if they leverage their alliance with Nissan-Renault. In an interview with Automotive News, Masuko said the opportunity to launch new products will come after 2020. This is when Mitsubishi is expected to share powertrains and platforms with Nissan-Renault. One of those new products could be a sedan. "But we don't have plans to develop a sedan on our own. It wouldn't be just a rebadge. The design will be completely different. We would like to clearly differentiate our models and show the special characteristics of each company," said Masuko. We're wondering if this sedan could be the replacement for the aging Lancer compact or discontinued Galant sedan. Masuko said there are no concrete plans at this time for the sedan. Automotive News followed this up by asking if there is the possibility of a pickup truck for the U.S. "The pickups we make are not so big. But the American market requires big-size pickup trucks," said Masuko. "We are focused on developing pickups for non-U.S. markets such as [Southeast Asia] and the Middle East. So for the U.S., if there is an opportunity, we might get it from Nissan. We would like to consider if there are opportunities from within the Alliance." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  14. Ford's decision to drop most of their passenger car lineup last week is still sending shockwaves, and likely causing various automakers to have discussions about if they should follow in their footsteps. One automaker that will not be following Ford is Volkswagen. “We are intending to be a full line car manufacturer,” said Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken. The reason as to why? Electric Vehicles. “The question of whether electric mobility will favor sedans or SUVs hasn’t been answered yet. When you’re talking about electric cars, sedans have more advantages. The shape and the [drag coefficient] has a high effect on range. Therefore, we’ll maybe see a higher sedan share on full electric cars than with conventional cars,” said Woebcken. Aside from EVs, Volkswagen still sees sedans as an important key to their U.S. plans. The new Jetta and Arteon will be arriving in dealers very soon, and a new Passat is expected to debut next year. That said, Woebcken says crossovers will become a big part of Volkswagen's U.S. Current plans have the automaker launching at least two new crossovers over the next few years. “The shift from sedans to SUVs is a permanent one. In former times, when gas prices went up people moved back to sedans. We believe this will not happen anymore for two reasons. First, the difference in fuel economy between SUVs and sedans is not so big anymore. Second, customers do not want to give up the high seating position. I believe that trend will not reverse.” Source: Digital Trends View full article
  15. Mercedes-Benz has never sold the A-Class in the U.S. as it wasn't sure consumers would buy a luxury hatchback. But Mercedes will be finally bringing over the next-generation A-Class, but as a sedan. "We truly believe that now with the body style we have the right answer for the market," said Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz's global sales chief to Automotive News. When the model launches next fall in U.S., the A-Class sedan will become the brand's entry-level model. Mercedes is aiming the model at younger buyers that are new to the brand. "It's a very attractive car for younger people. But not only for younger people — it can have a broad audience because it's a nice entrance into the Mercedes-Benz family," said Seeger. Currently, the cheapest way to get into a Mercedes-Benz is the CLA-Class with a pricetag of $32,700. It is expected that the A-Class sedan will start under $30,000. When asked about this, Seeger said, "We will see." Click here for more Mercedes-Benz News Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  16. It has been the ongoing story for a couple of years; buyers flocking to crossovers and sales of sedans falling down. While some automakers it seems are giving up on sedans, others are trying to figure out ways to make them more appealing. Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota Motor Corp.'s global branding chief tells Automotive News the brand will be employing two strategies to help keep their sedans relevant - improve the driving dynamics and be more daring in terms of design. "Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve," said Fukuichi. "At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away." The LC coupe is the first model that is taking these ideas and running with it. It features a low ride height, the highest torsional stiffness of any Lexus model in history (partly due to the new GA-L platform), and a design that stands out. The all-new LS is following its footsteps as it features more of a fastback look than the standard three-box silhouette. Intriguingly, Fukuichi dropped the idea of there being a station wagon in Lexus' lineup. It could take some ideas found on Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo in terms of design. Before you get your hopes, there are no plans for a wagon at this time. "Personally, I would like to have a Lexus wagon if we had enough resources. Maybe not as tall as an SUV but not as short as a wagon. There could be some optimized packaging," said Fukuichi. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  17. Volkswagen has tainted the reputation of diesel in the U.S. So it seems a bit odd that Chevrolet is not only going ahead with offering a diesel in the upcoming Equinox, but also adding a diesel option for the Cruze. Yesterday, Chevrolet officially announced that the 2018 Cruze sedan and hatchback would come with a 1.6L turbodiesel four-cylinder. It will come with the choice of either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic. Official power figures are not out and Chevrolet would not confirm if this is the same engine found in the Equinox. "People who drive diesels, love diesels. And so there is a customer base there that wants to drive this type of vehicle and have this type of performance. What we're doing is providing that option," said Alan Batey, president of GM in America. Chevrolet is hoping to draw away buyers who were planning to buy a Volkswagen diesel vehicle and owners displaced by the current diesel emission scandal. But the question we have is can Chevrolet make any inroads? Will we actually see any of these vehicles on the road or will they just be sitting on dealer lots because of the evilness that diesel currently has due to the Volkswagen mess? Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Car Connection View full article
  18. A couple years back, I drove the recently-redesigned Mazda3 hatchback. I really liked all the improvements Mazda made to the 3, while retaining the fun to drive nature of the previous model. What I wasn’t too keen on was the price. For a vehicle that carried an as-tested price of just over $30,000, I couldn’t fully justify paying that much for a compact. Fast forward to this summer and another Mazda3 came in. This happened to be a sedan and one that was under $24,000. The best part? I felt that it was one of best bangs for your buck. The 3 in question is the 3i Grand Touring sedan. The i is the most important part as it means this 3 is fitted with the 2.0L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder producing 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. s models get the larger 2.5L four-cylinder. Our test sedan came with a six-speed manual. This engine is slightly slower and rougher than the 3s we drove a couple years back. But this engine is much better in terms of performance than some other compacts we have driven recently (Nissan Sentra and redesigned Hyundai Elantra). Mazda gets a lot of praise for their manual transmissions and we’re going to add some more. The gear lever moves with precision and smoothness. The clutch is easy to modulate to get a shudder free start. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA rates the Mazda3i at 29 City/41 Highway/33 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 35 mpg. I should note that the 3 went on a 388 mile round trip across the state for a track school (more on that in a future piece) that mostly involved highway driving. I was able to achieve 40.2 mpg during the trip. This trip also revealed two weaknesses of the 3. First is ride comfort. The 3 didn’t do a great job with isolating most bumps or potholes from entering the interior. This is due to the suspension setup which is tuned for delivering a sporty ride around corners. This would have been worse if our tester came with larger wheels. Second is a common fault with most Mazdas, noise isolation. During this trip, I was able to tell the condition of the road thanks to the abundance of road noise coming inside. There was also a fair amount of wind noise entering the cabin. Mazda says they have added more sound insulation to the 2017 model, we’ll be checking this out in the future. I would be remised if I didn’t talk about the 3’s handling. This is still one of the best driving compacts on sale today with little body roll, quick direction change, and steering that can rival some sports cars. At least sitting inside the 3 was a pleasant experience. The front seats provided excellent support for the long trip and controls were in easy reach. The infotainment system is still a mixed bag where it is easier to use the control knob than the touchscreen to move around the system. Also, the navigation system stumbled a few times where it showed I was traveling on another road than the one I was currently on. Let us step outside for a moment and gaze at the 3’s shape. I still think the Mazda3 is one of the best-looking compacts on sale. The front end has the large grille with chrome trim running along the outer edge and into the headlights. I also like the sculpting along the doors.The only disappointing thing is the back. In sedan form, the Mazda3 doesn’t look quite right. As I mentioned in the beginning, the Mazda3i Grand Touring sedan came with a price of under $24,000 ($23,435 to be exact). For the price, it was well equipped. There was leatherette seats, six-way power adjustments for the driver, navigation, Bose sound system, push-button start, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a backup camera, and a moonroof. The only option was a trunk mat for $70.00. The 2016 Mazda3 is a compelling choice in the compact class if you want something that is fun to drive. If you want something a bit more balanced or can handle a long drive, I’m not sure the 3 can cut it. There are compacts that are quieter and provide a smoother ride. It ultimately comes down to what you want in a compact. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3i, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Mazda Model: 3i Trim: Grand Touring Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 155 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 150 @ 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 29/41/33 Curb Weight: 2,869 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan Base Price: $22,545 As Tested Price: $23,435 (Includes $820 Destination Charge) Options: Cargo Mat - $70.00 View full article
  19. G. David Felt Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com My CT6 & XT5 Personal Experience So this is my experience after spending 1hr, 30 min with both a brand new XT5 and CT6 from Doug's Cadillac in North Seattle. This is my home dealership and they have always taken care of me. We finally have gotten the new CT6 and XT5 into the Greater Seattle area. Brad my sales rep called me up thursday afternoon to inform me they had 3 of the CT6 and 3 of the XT5 that got delivered that day and would be ready for driving friday. I called my parents and wife to see if they wanted to go check them out and of course they did. So at 2pm friday afternoon, my work day done, I headed out to be picked up by the wife and my parents and drive to the dealership. I can honestly say we were all excited to see these auto's in person. The CT6 was available in the following colors, black, white and granite. The XT5 was in black, white and red. While my parents and wife went over to compare and check out the XT5 which was backed up against an identical SRX. I started with the CT6. First off and this is directed at SMK and others that have questioned Cadillac and the CT6, before you go and continue to make comments and embarass yourself, you need to go to cadillac and check this auto out for yourself. I can honestly say that Cadillac beat MB E-Class on the interior quality. The over all design both inside and outside is personal and you have the right to like the design language of MB over cadillac. Yet before you say the car cannot compete or is poor quality, moving the goal post or anything else, check the auto out as I now wish I had taken photo's of the 1 year old MB E-Class they had in the used section as it paled in comparison to this car. The CT6 was super quiet on the road, and in fact I was looking at the gauges to see what the response was of the auto due to how quiet it was. The one thing that popped into my mind was my grandfather and his love of Cadillac and how he always owned a Brougham till his death. I loved the extensive back seat room in his cars and the CT6 did not let me down. With the front seat set for me, I could get in the back and still had about 12 inches of room from my knees to the back of the seat. For a 6'6" tall guy, this was impressive to me and my family as everyone was really surprised with the interior room. Handling was tight, solid and the auto never gave any sign that it was under load and could go with a more powerful engine. Yes this had the V6, but still it moved. I loved the soft squishy leather dash with the real wood and carbon fiber accents. It was classy and yet still said modern. Tactile feel of the buttons what few there was, was very impressive and solid to the feel. I fell in love with the touch pad in controlling the interface. This needs to be standard on all auto's, it was very intuitive and I had very positive feedback of getting right into the various options. Having been in the BMW and MB auto's, I felt it was a tie between them for what I could naturally figure out on my own and the frustration with the buried levels of interfaces to find stuff. Cadillac was very intuitive from the start and I was able to find everything fast and easy. With that said and comparing it to the used MB and BMW on the lot, going from one to another you will still need some help from the sales person on either MB and BMW and yet I think while the customer service is nice to have a quick training on the new CUE system, my gut tells me that most people can figure it out without ever having their hand held. My Mom and Dad are perfect example of baby boomers who tech scares them and yet both found this easy to use. I really loved the customizable interface of the dash. With my quick spin around the block done and due to others showing up to test drive the CT6, I moved onto the XT5. As you can see from the pictures, my dad was outside and my mom was inside with Brad going over the interface and the auto. I chose to do a comparison of the outsides and realized that the 2nd gen SRX was very much geared more for the ladies. Even my wife said it was a more feminine looking auto compared to the more masculine XT5. While I was comparing the outsides, the regional Cadillac district manager stopped and asked me how I liked the new XT5. I told him I loved it and was excited for it, but had a question for him. Why not change the SRX to XT3 and continue to sell it for now. He said many dealers had asked that but what they saw at the dealer meeting blew them away and he said a clean cut with a short period of time before the new XT3 is shown and goes into production is the right move as customers like us will be very happy with what they are working on. This left me very excited for the near future of where Cadillac is going. I really hope that Cadillac does deliver on 110% on the new XT3 that is coming. Back to the XT5, Many of us have already seen under the hood of the SRX and know that Cadillac like everyone else has always had the V6 engine and even the 4 bangers in the ATS and CTS well covers and clean looking. I have to say I was a bit surprised and disappointed in the engine bay of the XT5. I actually feel that some type of cover is missing from this engine bay and that I should not be seeing this mess. This was my first and last disappointment with the XT5. In the lower left hand corner is the Horn next to the oil fill tube for the DEXOS 5W-30 oil. The rest I think is pretty clear for everyone to figure out what is what. The horn was surprising as it is small but is still very loud and bassy, not a high pitch tin can beep. I will say that Cadillac has fixed their injector noise issue as even with the hood up, I could not hear them. The engine was super quiet and on the road showed just how silky soft yet powerful it was. Very impressed with this V6 over the existing V6 in my 2008 SRX. Since as you all can see it is longitudinal, it does confirm that this is FWD based and yet with that came the other surprise a button on the center console that allowed you to turn off the AWD system so you can run it in FWD only and get much better MPG. This is a change from the 2016 SRX4 that is full time AWD. This option is a nice to have as many can buy and still get better MPG driving in FWD most of the time and then use the AWD when winter comes or if you do a road trip to colder climates and need better traction. Moving onto the inside as my parents took the black XT5 out for a spin, I was pleasantly pleased with the dash. Over all it is customizable just like the CT6 but had a clear different layout. I actually liked the speedo in the center compared to the right side in the CT6. Also being much bigger and taller I liked having the air vents on top rather than on the bottom. The CUE system and dash controls were the same and worked just fine for me. What was interesting was the different shifters. You had a much more tradition one in the CT6 with just forward or back on the auto shifter to go into gear for drive, reverse and yet on the XT5 you had more of a joystick style of shifter. Once Brad pointed out I had to not only step on the brake but also press the button on the left side of the shifter you just moved the shifter back into D for drive, a second time goes into manual mode. For reverse while pressing the brake pedal down and pressing the button on the left side of the shifter you move it forward and to the left. Be in reverse or drive, one thing I loved was the top button on the shifter or joystick that you pushed that had a P on it and it auto puts into park the transmission. I can honestly say I really liked the new shifter in the XT5. Comfort of the seats, WOW, my wife, parents and I have always enjoyed taking my 2006 ESV Platinum Escalade on road trips and the comfort of the seats for long drives. The XT5 just showed me why I need to wait for the update to the escalade, these newer much slimmer seats are really comfortable. No one would have a problem going on a long road trip in this CUV. Interior noise on the road, this again was a pleasant surprise as I expected the CT6 to be dead quiet, I was not expecting the XT5 to also be dead quiet. Not sure if Cadillac is using the Buick quiet steel technology or not, but they nailed it for a very quiet lovely ride with no wind noise, road noise or other auto noise intruding into the inside. Fit and Finish is first rate on both auto's, the interior room is just splendid. Room in the back as well as the front is so much more than in the SRX. SRX drivers side even with the seat all the way back, my long legged mom could still reach the pedals. In the XT5 and CT6, with the seats all the way back, she could not reach the pedals. This just continued to confirm that big people in the back seats of either auto will have plenty of room. Not sure what kind of fans Cadillac is using now in their auto's but the one thing that surprised me was how quiet they were even on high with AC. You had a pleasant stream of cool air with no fan noise. Radio once turned on showed the quality BOSE stereo system that both auto's have and how great they are. Over all I have to say that Cadillac hit the ball out of the ball park on both the CT6 and XT5 and BMW and MB needs to pay attention as these two auto's clearly are a big big step up from their equal in both product lines. Got question, just ask.
  20. I found myself in a bit of quandary when it came to writing the review for the 2018 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. Both of these models have been redesigned recently and despite the different exteriors, under the skin they share a number of key parts such as the engine and suspension. As I was going through my notes, I realized the answer was right in front of me; talk about the differences between the two and see which one does it better. Exterior Between the two vehicles, the Rio stands out considerably. Like the previous model, the new Rio has a fair amount of European influence with neatly proportioned body and clean lines. The front end is quite low and features a narrow top grille and deep slits in the bumper for a set of fog lights. 15-inch alloy wheels come standard on EX. Unlike the Accent, the Rio is still available in as a hatchback. The Accent goes for the safe approach with a simple three-box sedan design. This isn’t helped by the silver color on my test vehicle which makes it become somewhat anonymous. The only real design traits are in the front with a new grille shape that is appearing on new Hyundai models and cutouts in the bumper for accent trim on our base SE tester or foglights on higher trims. One way the Accent SE stands out from the Rio LX is painted door handles and mirror caps. Interior There are no frills to be found in the Accent’s interior. Like the outside, Hyundai went for a simple and honest design. Material quality is what you expect in the class - hard plastics on most surfaces. But the plastics have a solid feel. All Accents feature basic front seat adjustments - fore/aft, height (driver only), and recline. I was able to find a position that worked for me quite quickly. One item to be aware of is the SE doesn’t come with a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel; SEL models and above get that feature. Space in the back is average for the class with a decent amount of headroom, but a limited amount of legroom. Kia added some style to the Rio’s interior with a sculpted dash featuring two-tone plastics. Hard plastics make up the majority of interior surfaces with a grain texture pattern. Like the Accent, the plastics have a very solid feel. The layout is simple with most controls in easy reach. Finding a comfortable position took no time with a basic set of seat adjustments and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. However, I found the seats in the Rio to not be as supportive on long trips. The back seat mirrors the Accent; ok headroom and a small amount of legroom. Infotainment The Rio EX comes with a 7-inch infotainment system with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. No navigation system is offered, but you won’t need it as support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. It will not take long to familiarize yourself with UVO thanks to a well-thought out interface and dedicated buttons for various features. Performance is impressive with the system responding very quickly to inputs. Over at the Accent SE, it comes with a 5-inch touchscreen radio. For the most part, the system was simple to use with redundant buttons for various functions, simple interface, and large touchscreen buttons. I only wished that the screen was slightly larger when I was scrolling through my iPod. One surprise was the SE getting Bluetooth as standard. Kia doesn’t offer Bluetooth on the base Rio LX. Powertrain Both the Accent and Rio use the same 1.6L inline-four engine producing 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. What differs between the two is the transmission; the Accent SE comes with a six-speed manual while the Rio EX makes do with a six-speed automatic. Between the two, the Accent is noticeably quicker. The manual transmission allows the engine to flex what little muscle it has to get the vehicle up to speed. In the Rio, the automatic’s programming smothers the small amount of power to improve fuel economy. There is a Sport mode that holds onto gears longer, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. Neither of the transmissions can help the 1.6L on the freeway as the engine struggles to get up to speed at a decent rate. Fuel Economy EPA fuel economy figures are almost identical for the two models. Both return 28 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway. The difference is in the combined figure; the Rio returns 32, while the Accent returns 31. I got an average of 34 in the Rio and 33 in the Accent. Ride and Handling There are more similarities between the Rio and Accent when it comes to the driving experience. Both still employ struts in the front and a torsion-beam rear axle. But the body has been stiffened which helps with ride quality. Both models exhibited excellent isolation of most road imperfections. Handling is another place where the two surprised me. While not exhibiting the sporty characteristics of a Ford Fiesta, both the Accent and Rio show little body roll and feel quite nimble. The steering is light, but provides a decent amount of feedback when pushed. Pricing The 2018 Hyundai Accent begins at $14,995 for the base SE with manual transmission and climbs to $18,895 for the Limited. Our test SE with optional floor mats came to an as-tested price of $16,005. While it does cost $1,095 more than the base Rio LX, the Accent SE comes with more features such as Bluetooth, full power accessories, and a rear USB port. The 2018 Kia Rio kicks off at $13,900 for the LX sedan and climbs to $18,700 for the EX hatchback. The EX sedan tester came to an as-tested price of $19,425 with carpeted floor mats and destination. It is a bit hard to stomach the price tag when you can into some decently equipped compact sedans such as the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze for similar money. Even after you factor in the EX getting forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, it’s still a tough sell. Verdict Trying to decide which of the two subcompacts was the winner in this piece was very difficult as they share so much. Beginning with the Rio EX, it is a very sharp looking subcompact with a fair amount of European influence and it is available as a hatchback. But the automatic transmission suffocates what little performance is on offer from the 1.6L engine. Plus the price tag of the EX is very difficult to swallow when you can step up into a compact for similar money. If it was the midlevel S, this would have been a closer fight. This brings us to the Accent SE. It's styling inside and out is a bit plain when pitted against the Rio. The lack of hatchback also makes the Accent a bit of hard sell to some buyers. But the list of standard features on the base model is very surprising. Plus, the manual transmission allows the engine to have some flexibility in most driving situations. Both models are towards the top in the subcompact class. But in this comparison, the base Accent SE nips the top-line Rio EX by a hair. Disclaimer: Hyundai and Kia Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Hyundai Model: Accent Trim: SE Engine: 1.6L DOHC 16-valve GDI Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300 Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31 Curb Weight: 2,502 lbs Location of Manufacture: Nuevo Leon, Mexico Base Price: $14,995 As Tested Price: $16,005 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floor Mats: $125.00 Year: 2018 Make: Kia Model: Rio Trim: EX Engine: 1.6L 16-valve GDI Inline-Four Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300 Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/32 Curb Weight: 2,714 lbs Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico Base Price: $18,400 As Tested Price: $19,425 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpeted Floor Mats - $130.00 View full article
  21. Audi unveiled a four-door TT concept called the Sportback at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Taking the overall sleek shape of the coupe, designers stretched the overall length and width to allow for two extra doors and a larger back seat. A new report from Auto Express says the four-door TT is coming and will take the place of the coupe and convertible within the next two years. The reason for the departure of the TT coupe and convertible is due to the diesel emission scandal. Due to the various penalties and fines, the Volkswagen group had to cancel a number of models and projects to save money. The next-generation TT coupe and convertible were likely on the chopping block due to low sales as buyers aren't interested in small sport cars. But Audi was somehow able to make a case to keep the TT as four-door 'coupe'. Auto Express says the design has been approved by management. The report doesn't say where the model will fit into Audi's lineup, but we suspect it will be priced slightly higher than the A3 sedan. View full article
  22. A new automaker will be making its global debut next month at the Paris Motor Show. VinFast, Vietnam's first automaker will be showing off a new sedan and SUV. For being their first models, the designs don't look half-baked. This comes down to VinFast reaching out to four major Italian car design houses to give design proposals and then allowing the people of Vietnam to vote for the winner. ItalDesign won the vote, but VinFast selected Pininfarina to do the finishing work. Both the sedan and SUV share a number of design traits such as the chrome V emblem with a set of chrome bars sitting on either side; LED daytime running lights, and faux mesh inserts for the bumper. If you're wondering why the sedan looks like a BMW 5-Series and the SUV like a BMW X5, that's due to VinFast using the last-generation platforms of those respective models. According to Autocar, VinFast has "future-proofed" the platforms to meet all global regulations, including side-impact and pedestrian. Power will come from BMW's 2.0L N20 turbo engines producing either 175 or 220 horsepower. The engines will not have BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing system. This will be paired with an eight-speed ZF transmission. VinFast will begin a pilot production program at a plant near Hanoi in March, with full-scale production to take place in September. Alongside these two models, VinFast will also produce an electric scooter, a version of the Vauxhall Viva city car, and an electric bus. The company is hoping to export models sometime in the near future, though it is not said which markets the company is considering. Source: VinFast VinFast Honours Vietnam's Proud and Dynamic Beauty Through Creativity and World-Class Design Debut models feature perfectly balanced proportions with a contemporary, timeless design reflecting the Vietnam’s proud and dynamic beauty Distinctive front grille incorporates asymmetric VF motif Sedan and SUV represent the powerful, progressive spirit of a new, energetic and developing Vietnam VinFast makes its global debut with the presentation of two world premiere models at the Paris Motor Show on 2 October 2018 Hanoi, 10 September 2018 – The first two cars from new Vietnamese car company, VinFast, display its philosophy of ‘Vietnamese – Style – Safety – Creativity – Pioneering’ through a world-class design language developed with the world-renowned Pininfarina design team in Italy. The two premium models – a sedan and a SUV – will be given their world premieres at the Paris Motor Show on 2 October 2018. From a starting point of exceptional proportions, designers from VinFast and Pininfarina created timeless cars that each feature a long wheelbase and elegant, truly inspiring styling. A long bonnet, classic trunk and horizontal body lines create a symmetrical, sophisticated and elegant beauty for the premium sedan. The SUV’s more muscular bonnet and bold, purposeful character lines endows it with a more sporty identity, as if it is poised to break free. One specific highlight of the debutant’s design language is prominent at the front of both its new cars. The chrome V emblem at the centre of the grille is confidently and distinctively symmetric. To the right is a horizontal chrome splint that combines with the LED daytime running lights to create an italicised F-motif, representing the second syllable of VinFast, and a unique asymmetric flourish. From the central V emblem radiates the bold and lean crease lines that run over the bonnet, creating a fresh and modern look, reflecting the pride of Vietnam’s first car manufacturer to reach for the world. “The strong, distinguishable design, enhanced by elegant lines and refined details, gives our cars several distinctive highlights,” explains David Lyon, Director of Design at VinFast. “First and foremost, these emanate around the V logo in the grille which references the country of Vietnam, as well as the Vingroup and VinFast brands. In conjunction with Pininfarina, we have carefully sculptured each body line to express the natural beauty of Vietnam and the warm-hearted and dynamic characteristics of its people through a modern and world-class design language.” The proud and energetic styling of the VinFast sedan and SUV are also heavily influenced by the new company’s progressive approach to design. Breaking all traditional car development rules, VinFast gave the people of Vietnam the opportunity to determine the styling direction at the very start of the design process. More than 62,000 people voted when presented with 20 design sketches from four world-renowned Italian car design houses. Starting with ItalDesign’s winning concepts, the cars’ designs have since been developed and completed by Pininfarina. Designed for the Vietnamese people based on a selection made by the Vietnamese people, these debut VinFast models can truly be regarded as national products of Vietnam, embracing the pride and ambition of its citizens. As planned, just a year since the public design vote, VinFast will present the sedan and SUV on the international stage at the Paris Motor Show (press conference: 10.45am* CET on 2 October 2018), before introducing them to the Vietnamese public at the end of the year. With its debut in Paris, VinFast will become Vietnam’s first automotive manufacturer to participate in a major international motor show, signalling the confidence, pioneering approach and global outlook of a new and energetic brand. View full article
  23. Blake Noble Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com May 4th, 2012 GM hasn’t exactly been bashful about the fact it plans to build a new rear-drive performance sedan for Chevrolet next year, and race it on your local NASCAR track. Announced in March of this year, the upcoming Chevy — which will wear the SS moniker in either short or long-hand form — should likely boast the same 6.2 liter V8 heart which furiously beats beneath the hood of the Camaro SS. The 6.2 should produce upwards of 415 horsepower for use in the SS sedan. When news broke about the Chevrolet SS, it was widely believed that the car would be only be available with a V8 and four doors. However, that may not turn out to be the case as it seems GM may be planning to further expand the Bowtie brand’s portfolio of rear-drive cars. Car and Driver is reporting that after the SS is introduced with the hairy-chested 6.2 V8, Chevrolet will offer a version of the car for more squeamish buyers using a 3.6 liter V6 good for churning out 300-plus horsepower. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that most automakers must remain conscious of ever increasing CAFE regulations with every new model and a V6-powered Chevy SS would likely achieve highway mpg figures somewhere in the upper 20s. What may be seen as surprising is that the Chevy SS family may not be comprised of just a V6 or V8-powered sedan. When the SS moves to an updated, lighter version of the Zeta platform on which it is based, GM could very well introduce additional ute (read: ElCamino) and wagon bodystyles. This should take place around 2015, and production of the SS will also shift to North America — likely GM’s plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada — from Australia where it will first be built alongside the related Holden Commodore. It’s worth mentioning that while production of the Chevy SS will probably move out of Australia, it’s unclear if the Holden Commodore will follow suit. Australian website Drive is skeptical and thinks if the Commodore leaves its native home it likely wouldn’t happen until a totally new model is introduced for 2018, pending future currency exchange rates and sales. Whatever the case, enthusiasts will undoubtedly be excited at the prospect of not only the upcoming Chevy SS, but a new wagon and especially a successor to the beloved ElCamino. Let’s just hope that GM doesn’t revoke anyone’s green card this time around. Sources: Car and Driver, Drive View full article

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