27th August 2014

Buick Envision spied fully disrobed in China

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Buick Envision

The Buick Envision crossover is supposed to have its big reveal on August 28 and be on display at the Chengdu Motor Show, but apparently the new midsize crossover just can't wait to meet its public. Car News China caught a completely undisguised example parking outside of the convention center where the show is held.

The Buick designers are going right down the middle with the styling with nothing too flashy to turn off potential buyers. Still, it's a handsome CUV that kind of looks like a stretched Encore from some angles with vents along the hood, a large greenhouse and a prominent crease running down the side.

This new midsizer is hitting the Chinese market first and reportedly rides on GM's Delta platform that's also found underneath the Buick Verano. According to Car News China, prices there are between 160,000 yuan and 220,000 yuan ($26,000 - $35,800 at current rates). However, it's also rumored to eventually make its way across the Pacific to give Buick buyers in the US an option between the Encore compact crossover and larger Enclave.

Buick has already let a lot of the details slip about its newest Chinese model, including its interior with premium features like a heated, leather steering wheel and Bose noise cancelation. Power comes from two tunes of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with either 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet or 200 hp and 207 lb-ft. Both get a six-speed automatic. We should know more about the brand's latest crossover when it fully debuts in Chengdu.

Buick Envision spied fully disrobed in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27th August 2014

Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters

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Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters

Motor City Masters pulled off its concept of Project Runway for cars rather well. In the end, the TruTV reality series came down to former Ford designer Camilo Pardo and multi-disciplined designer Bryan Thompson, but Pardo was always kind of the show's ringer as the person instrumental in the gorgeous shape of the Ford GT. In addition to the title of Motor City Master, he won the grand prize of $100,000 and a 2014 Camaro Z/28.

If you missed it, Motor City Masters challenged 10 designers and fabricators to come up with a concept around a different theme each week. The contestants were judged by former Mercedes-Benz designer Harald Belker and Jean Jennings, recent editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine, plus a celebrity guest. Their final task spread over the last episodes was to first create a clay model of a next-generation Camaro SS, then mock up a full-size version of it.

You can still watch all of the episodes streaming on TruTV's website, and we suspect it'll be in rerun status on the cable network, too. Or if you just want a taste of what the show was like, check out our included show clip.

Continue reading Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters

Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo wins Motor City Masters originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27th August 2014

10 Green Cars that Don’t Suck: Eco-Excellence at All Price Points

10 Green Cars that Don't Suck Mix pious intentions with dreary mechanical bits and then stir in some driving misery, and the result is a “green car.” Green not in the color of its paint, but in the environmental virtue of its engineering and marketing. Green as in economical with fuel but stingy on fun, great with emissions but lousy to pilot. Green cars are hybrids, diesels, and electric cars stripped to the point of making a rotted ox cart seem luxurious. Except that was then—you know, like, three years ago—and this is the green car now.

The first- and second-generation greens sacrificed enjoyment on the altar of efficiency. But we’re into the third generation, and the technologies that have defined the greenies are being leveraged to produce better-driving cars—and even exciting ones. Some of the best cars in the world right now are bright green.

So with optimism beating in C/D‘s stainless-steel heart, here are 10 current production cars (arranged alphabetically) that mix all sorts of politically correct goodness with solid driving excitement. But wait, there’s more: We’ve also included two more cars from the 1980s that were ahead of their time. None of these green cars suck.

2015 Audi A3

Audi A3 TDI Diesel 
The sweet-driving A3—it beat both BMW and Benz in its first comparison test—begat the excellent S3 performance sedan. All A3s are based on the same MQB architecture as the equally good seventh-gen VW Golf. The TDI engine is the same 150-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel used in so many other VW Group products. Plus, the A3 sedan looks adorable. No, we haven’t driven it as of this posting, but there’s no way this car sucks. (It’ll be available here as a five-door hatch next year, too.) A3 TDI REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2014 BMW i3

BMW i3
Since BMW introduced its “Neue Klasse” back in 1962, the company has zealously tried to—and largely succeeded—sustain a consistent character across its lineup. A 3-series drove much like a 5er that was a lot like the stately 7. But the new i3 throws all that out and starts over without any assumptions about what a BMW is or should be. The i3 has skinny tires on large diameter wheels, uses a structure made up of carbon fiber and aluminum, and the interior looks as if it were ripped out of a glass house perched over the Pacific at Big Sur. No, it’s not M3 fast, and the twin kidneys slapped on the front are just ironic, but this car is innovative and interesting in the ways all cars should be. All that and it still feels like a BMW at its core. i3 REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2014 BMW i8

BMW i8
The i8 plays supercar brother to the car above, applying all the philosophical and engineering daring of the city car to the task of engineering a brilliant two-seater. (Yes, it has two additional seats; they are there only to mock the owner or host his small dog.) It’s a plug-in hybrid that looks like next year’s Frankfurt auto show concept car and feels unlike anything else on the road. And has there ever been another car carrying a three-cylinder engine—just like the Mitsubishi Mirage!—that runs from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 12.4 at 113 mph? i8 REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Keep this in mind: The C7 Corvette is a 460-hp beast powered by a 6.2-liter LT1 V-8. It’s capable of topping 180 mph. It carries EPA mileage ratings of 17 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway when equipped with the seven-speed manual transmission. But thanks to tricks such as cylinder deactivation, it’s capable of sipping fuel even more parsimoniously than that. Early this year, writing for our sister publication Popular Mechanics, this author took a Corvette on an economy run up California’s Central Coast and achieved an astonishing 37.3 mpg with the A/C off and holding a steady 55 mph with cruise control. For a car with this much performance, it’s unprecedented. On a graph of cars rating green ability on one axis and blood-red speed on the other, the Corvette is a solitary outlier. CORVETTE STINGRAY REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet Spark EV
For an all-electric conversion, the Spark EV is among the very best in its segment. (More accurate, it is the very best, having won a six-way EV comparison test.) It handles and rides better than some of its peers that were engineered solely as electric vehicles. But what doesn’t suck most about the Spark EV is this: If you live in Oregon or California (and have solid credit), you can lease one for only $199 a month with $949 down. The lease covers 36 months and 36,000 miles, and it’s one of the most mind-bogglingly solid deals ever offered by a car manufacturer. SPARK EV REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid
Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid

Chevrolet’s Volt is a fine plug-in hybrid, but it wears its green cred on its sleeve. It’s just too obviously trying to be virtuous. On the other hand is Ford’s Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which, for most commuters, can perform the same all-electric chores as the Volt most of the time but doesn’t shout about it. Plus, even though it deserves a larger trunk, the Ford is roomier inside than the Chevy. And that doesn’t suck. FUSION ENERGI REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2014 Honda Accord hybrid

Honda Accord Hybrid
The Accord rises to our 10Best Cars list every year with the regularity of the sunrise. Every Accord is built with the impregnable structure of a dimethylhexane molecule, rides more comfortably than an Eames lounge chair, and drives with the satisfying subtlety of an Eric Clapton chord change. And the hybrid is among the very best of the current breed. Built around a 141-hp 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with a 166-hp electric motor, the result is an easygoing 196 total system horsepower that is delivered through, well, what amounts to no transmission at all. It’s a clever and silken drivetrain that amplifies the Accord’s character and makes its efficiency exciting. This is a mid-size sedan that starts at about $30,000, runs from 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds and is EPA rated at 50 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway. It doesn’t draw attention to itself because it looks pretty much like any other Accord sedan, but it may well be the best gas-electric hybrid available anywhere. ACCORD HYBRID REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder
Running on electricity alone, the 918 Spyder is EPA-rated at the equivalent of 67 mpg. That means this is a car its owner could theoretically use to bop back and forth to work every day never using any gasoline at all—just like a Nissan Leaf. So spend your $847,975 with a clear conscience that you’re doing something good for the environment. Then go find a freeway on-ramp and let the 608-hp 4.6-liter V-8 party down with the two electric motors; you’ll watch the air around the car froth up as it uses all four wheels to claw from rest to 60 mph in a staggering 2.2 seconds. Simply put, this is the quickest production car we’ve ever tested. The Ferrari LaFerrari may yet match the feat—we have yet to test that one—but the McLaren P1 fell a half-second shy. Both of them are hybrids, too. 918 SPYDER REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S
The city of Santa Monica, California, isn’t where the all-electric Model S is assembled, but it is where the car is used. You see them all over, waiting outside Crossroads School for showbiz progeny, along the curb at Whole Foods, at every pilates studio. They’re always being driven by tiny little women in workout clothes and brand-new sneakers with purple laces. But does anyone in Santa Monica realize just how good a car the Tesla Model S really is? It’s fast, it offers usable range, it looks great, and it rides like its air springs were filled with breath exhaled by Jessica Alba. It’s almost too good for Santa Monica. MODEL S REVIEW | RESEARCH ››

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

Volkswagen Golf TDI Diesel
Here’s a simple formula: combine the all-new 2015 Golf’s sweet chassis and impeccably finished cockpit with the proven torque production of VW’s 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four, and the result is a sweet and creamy frappé of automotive virtue. Choose the six-speed manual transmission and the EPA rates it at 30 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway. Go for the six-speed dual-clutch automatic and those numbers sit at 31 mpg city and 43 mpg highway. Diesels might not inflame the soul like a high-revving gas-burner, but they’re now so civilized and efficient that it’s hard to care. GOLF TDI REVIEW | RESEARCH ››


1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Wagon
1979–1985 Mercedes-Benz 300TD  By twenty-first-century standards, the old W123-series Mercedes wagon feels as if it were engineered on an anvil. It’s a steel box on 14-inch wheels powered by a 120-hp (or less) 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-five. It’s not just slow, it’s agonizingly slow. But it’s bulletproof, efficient, and now supported by a vast community of biodiesel enthusiasts who have their W123s running on everything from KFC chicken fat to lawn clippings. And the wagon still turns heads.

1988 Honda CRX HF

1988–1991 Honda CRX HF  As you read this, Honda dealers are pushing the last of the ill-fated Insight four-door hybrids off their lots. But a quarter-century ago, Honda did green right with the ultra-efficient, mechanically supersimple, and fun-to-drive two-seat CRX HF. It’s a miracle of lightweight thinking combined with a straightforward 1.5-liter, eight-valve, 62-hp four-cylinder engine and tall gearing in its five-speed manual gearbox. Using current 2014 EPA methods, the 1991 CRX HF is rated at 40 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Those are numbers of which Honda ought to be proud. And it’s a car Honda should never have stopped building.

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27th August 2014

Hold the Line: 2015 Dodge Dart Pricing Dug Up, Dissected

2014 Dodge Dart Limited

After Dodge shuffled the Dart lineup and adjusted pricing for the 2014 model year, publicly available pricing data shows that the brand is staying the course for 2015. With a Dart refresh scheduled in 2016 and an SRT variant on the table in the same time frame, big changes are on the way. For now, check out the latest MSRP and trim specifics below.

Dart SE: $17,490
The 2015 lineup begins with the $17,490 Dart SE powered by the 160-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Although the manual is our transmission of choice, those who refuse to—or possibly can’t—shift for themselves will need to scrounge up an additional $1250 for a six-speed automatic, bringing the price of entry to $18,740. Chrysler’s basic Uconnect system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 capability is standard, but the $775 Convenience Group is a one-stop shop to add voice commands with Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls, a USB port, air conditioning, underbody aerodynamic bits, active grille shutters, cruise control, keyless entry, and body-color door handles and power mirrors. Did you see how they snuck A/C into that long list? We don’t imagine that many Dart SEs will be sold without the Convenience Group. Wi-Fi and wireless phone charging are among the Mopar accessories and cost $609 and $385, respectively.

Dart SXT: $19,590
Moving up to the $19,590 SXT trim brings the 184-hp 2.4-liter “Tigershark” four-cylinder paired with a six-speed manual; opting for the six-speed automatic will again add $1250, for a total of $20,840. For 2015 there are two available packages for the SXT: the $595 Uconnect with an 8.4-inch touch screen, a backup camera, iPod control, a USB port, glove-box lamp (!), and illuminated instrument-panel surround. Big spenders will want to go with the $1295 Sun/Sound group, which brings all the aforementioned stuff and adds to the list a power sunroof and a 506-watt Alpine audio system with nine speakers and a subwoofer.

The Blacktop package is again available on the SXT for $295 if you want your Dart to look pissed and, uh, more black (but not on top). Heated seats and remote start are bundled into a $395 package, nav is available for $495, the Rallye appearance group (tweaked suspension, rear anti-roll bar, and some appearance bits) costs a tidy $395, and a whole heap of Mopar accessories can be piled on. A/C is standard—whew.

2014 Dodge Dart Blacktop

This is a Dodge Dart with the Blacktop package. As you can see, it is not black on top.

Dart Aero: $20,990
Thrifty misers, take heed of the $20,990 Dart Aero and its economy-focused, 160-hp 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder turbo. (It has more torque than the 160-hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter.) Just as with the SE and SXT trims, swapping the six-speed manual for an equally gear-endowed automatic requires a $1250 premium for a total price of $22,240. EPA-rated at 28 mpg city and 41 mpg highway, the Aero packs manual A/C, keyless entry, cruise control, power locks, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard, adding a little luxury to its economy mission. Options here are essentially limited to Mopar accessories and navigation.

Dart GT: $21,990
The $21,990 Dart GT uses the 2.4-liter Tigershark four mated to a six-speed manual, with the six-speed auto again adding $1250 to the bottom line; if nothing else, Dodge is consistent. Regardless of transmission choice, the GT brings standard 18-inch wheels (a Hyper Black finish will add $395), leather front seats with power adjustments for the driver, and a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, as well as Uconnect with an 8.4-inch screen, steering-wheel controls, and voice activation. The $995 Technology Group brings auto high-beam control, rain-sensitive wipers, blind-spot and cross-path detection, HID headlights, an intrusion alarm, and parking sensors.

Dart Limited: $23,990
Sitting tallest in Dodge’s compact-car quiver is the $23,990 Dart Limited, which, although equipped with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, breaks from tradition and comes standard with a six-speed automatic. (Yay! Or, well, boo. But we at least got to write something different.) In addition to most of the features included in the GT, the Limited gets navigation, fog lamps, auto headlights, remote start, a sunroof, and proximity entry and ignition as standard, as well as remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and its own suspension tuning.

Look for the 2015 Dart, in all of its many guises, to begin arriving in dealerships this fall.

2014 Dodge Dart Limited

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27th August 2014

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90
Volvo touts its all-new 2016 XC90 SUV as the first product of the “new Volvo” and the launch of a company-wide rebirth. While Volvo isn’t completely flipping the script—and, say, making six-wheeled military motorcycles—the XC90 does represent its first independently developed car since being financially sugar-daddied by Chinese automaker Geely.

The 2016 XC90, which we recently also in, is also the model’s first clean-sheet redesign in more than a decade. Furthermore, the XC90 debuts on the brand’s Scalable Product Architecture, a modular platform that will underpin a variety of vehicles. Underscoring the crossover’s importance was the flotilla of engineers, designers, and executives that Volvo had on hand at the reveal event we recently attended in Stockholm, Sweden. We poked and prodded for the most interesting details on the new SUV, and these 10 items are the result. Enjoy, and then go forth and drop Swedish knowledge on some fools.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

1. It Flies the Swedish Flag

Volvo stuck a tiny, fingernail-sized Swedish-flag label on the edge of the XC90′s front passenger seat. Shutthefrontdoor, right? Modesty is a quintessentially Swedish trait, so don’t be fooled by the flag’s smallness: Volvo is exceedingly, overwhelmingly proud of its Swedishness, and that the flag is there at all is the closest you’ll come to a Scandinavian boast.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

2. Volvo Didn’t Banish Boxy Entirely

Volvo uses the term “Thor’s Hammer” to describe the XC90′s unusual T-shaped LED running lights, which is an awesome but perhaps too heavy-handed descriptor for the subtle aesthetic intention of the units. According to Volvo’s vice president of design, there is still a prevalent perception among consumers that the brand builds only boxy cars, so the stylists put a hard, 90-degree styling cue right on the car’s face to visually connect the XC90 to the firm’s stylistic past while still advancing design.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

3. There’s a Teeny, Weeny Bit of Corvette in There

In its quest to carve out as much interior space as possible, Volvo fitted an ultracompact multilink rear suspension with . . . a transverse composite leaf spring! Yep, just like the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. If you opt for the XC90′s available air suspension, however, you lose the rear leaf. Fun fact: Volvo used this design before on the 960 wagon.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

4. The Interior Possibly Is More Useful than the Honda Fit’s

Thanks to the compact rear suspension afforded by that transverse leaf spring—and the tidy implementation of the optional air springs—the XC90′s aft accommodations are airy and roomy for both people and cargo. Volvo further capitalizes on the space by giving the second- and third-row seats the ability to fold completely flat. When we say “flat,” we mean it: Dropped down, the seats form a smooth, uninterrupted load floor from the hatch sill to just behind the front seats. As a bonus, each of the five rear seats can be individually flattened.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

5. The Rear Seats Are Real—and for Real People

Even more amazing than how they fold is how the seats actually hold people. The third row is tolerable for adults, and each of the three second-row butt garages can slide fore and aft independent of one another and offer individually adjustable backrests. The third-row chairs offer no adjustment when raised, but they’re fully realized seats instead of the usual pop-up jump seats seen most everywhere else.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

6. Swedish Glass No Longer Just Refers to Scandinavian Narcotics

When extolling the XC90′s Swedishness, one must point to the rig’s dazzling crystal shift knob, which is handmade by Scandinavian glassmaker Orrefors. We found out from one of the SUV’s interior designers that each unit is individually crafted and roughly 15 glassmakers handle all of the production.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

7. The XC90 Always Watches Its Rear

Using its rear-facing radar, the XC90 can anticipate an impending—or what it determines to be impending—rear-end collision. Sensing an immediate impact, the XC90 cinches down the front seatbelts and locks the brakes to minimize occupant acceleration. Outside of the U.S., the car also will flash its blinkers to try to capture the inbound inattentive driver’s attention.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

8. The Badge Is Down with the Diagonal

Closely examine the XC90′s grille, and you’ll see that the familiar Volvo iron mark—the round badge with the arrow protruding from the two o’clock position—lines up with the brand’s signature diagonal grille slat. This is a first, and now you’ll notice it on every new XC90 you see.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

9. Volvo Is So Good at Safety, It Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rear Side Airbags

For a brand that lives and breathes safety, Volvo had us scratching our heads with its decision not to include rear side airbags—as distinct from drop-down side-curtain airbags—on the XC90. When asked why rear side airbags, which have spread across the industry in the past few years, weren’t part of the XC90′s package, Volvo’s head of active safety cleared things up: The engineers were able to match the side-impact performance of the front-seat area in the rear using strictly passive measures like thicker doors and a strong C-pillar.

10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Volvo XC90

10. Hitting Pedestrians Will Be an Explosion-Free Experience

Just as Volvo was able to do more with less when it came to rear-seat side-impact performance, so, too, was it able to streamline the XC90′s pedestrian-safety roster. Although Volvo pioneered technology such as hoods that lift up in tandem with ped-protecting airbags to soften a person’s landing, the company ditched both here. That’s largely thanks to the XC90′s four-cylinder-only engine lineup. The fours are mounted low, leaving plenty of air space under the hood to ensure that, in the event of a pedestrian impact, the unfortunate soul is kept away from harmful hard points like the engine and the strut towers.

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27th August 2014

Connected Utility Vehicles: Chevy Adds Wireless Charging, 4G LTE to Suburban and Tahoe

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The 2015 Tahoe gets some techy new options this fall.

A burbdozer with a V-8 may not be the predominant family vehicle of choice anymore, but Chevrolet still makes a heavy margin on its Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. As such, it behooves General Motors to keep refining the tech plowed into what’s fundamentally a mid-twentieth-century design. The latest additions to the stalwart duo? OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, plus wireless mobile-phone charging.

GM had already smartly equipped the new-for-2015 models with six USB ports, while the Vorsprung-durch-Technik heads over at Audi staunchly refuse to offer even one measly example of the supremely useful jack. Now GM is taking it a step further, offering an inductive charging pad, allowing you to charge your phone wirelessly while you use the other ports to charge six other devices. The OnStar with 4G LTE setup turns the car into a mobile hot spot, enabling connectivity for a carload of iPad-tapping kids. It comes with a three-month-or-3-gigabyte (whichever comes first) data plan.

Chevrolet has also announced a hands-free liftgate for the big trucksters. It, along with the wireless-charging setup, is available with the Luxury package on LT models, and both come standard on LTZ-trimmed trucks. OnStar with 4G LTE is standard on both LT and LTZ models.

The options hit showrooms in October, just in time to keep the kids busy during the grueling holiday travel season. If only Chevy saw fit to offer a Destroilet option, those trips to Grandma’s house in Earlimart could breeze by with nary a whimper from the whelps.

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27th August 2014

Embrace the Singularity: Subaru to Move to a Shared Architecture

Subaru WRX STI

Future models of Subaru’s WRX STI will share a platform with a 7-passenger crossover.

It now looks as if Volkswagen’s MQB strategy was just the beginning of a trend. Hot on the heels of Volvo’s SPA announcement, Subaru has confirmed that the Fuji Heavy Industries brand will move its mainline vehicles to a single architecture.

Everything from the Impreza to a seven-seat Tribeca successor will ride on the new set of bones, in a bid to cut costs and shave development time. That said, we imagine that the rear-wheel-drive BRZ—scheduled to enter its second generation in 2018—won’t sit on the new platform.

Automotive News reports that, along with the fresh underpinnings, a new generation of direct-injected lean-burn engines with cylinder deactivation will hit the market in 2016, paired with the first vehicles built on the shared architecture. California and the 12 states that share its zest for environmental regulation will see the arrival of a plug-in hybrid in 2017.

Pressed for a guess, we’d wager that the plug-in will be something from Subaru’s smaller line, given today’s Impreza-based XV Crosstrek Hybrid and the fact that a new Impreza is due to bow right around the same time. A BRAT PHEV? Don’t mind if we do.

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27th August 2014

From the C/D Archives: 1997 Acura Integra Type R Tested

Acura Integra Type R: A Legend Among Front-Drive Cars [C/D Archives]

At a blaring 8400 rpm, the Acura Integra Type R’s pistons are pedaling at about 80 feet per second—much higher than the commonly accepted threshold of 67 feet per second. That’s close to the piston speeds in Formula 1 and Indy-car engines, which have much shorter strokes than the under-square Integra powerplant. Still, you don’t think much about piston speeds at full throttle. It’s the sound you think about. That intense, fervent bellow radiating from the engine absorbs every bit of your attention. READ MORE ››

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27th August 2014

30 Years New: Toyota Japan to Sell Brand-New Land Cruiser Series 70—for One Year

Toyota Land Cruiser 70
Here’s the tragedy of the Land Cruiser Series 70: It was never sold in the United States. The toughest and most rugged of the entire Land Cruiser lineup is an icon in Australia and South Africa, where they’ve been on sale continuously for 30 years. And for 20 of those years, you could walk into a Japanese Toyota dealer and plunk down a pile of yen for a Series 70 pickup or SUV.

Toyota Land Cruiser 70

RELATED: The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X is freakishly capable

While the Series 70 soldiered on in other markets, for 10 years, Japanese enthusiasts begged the company to bring back the stalwart truck. For the Land Cruiser’s 30th anniversary, Toyota is going to. There’s one catch and one silver lining. The catch is that they’ll only be sold for a year in Japan, and then it’s off into the sunset, again, for the 70. The silver lining is that, at current exchange rates and excluding taxes, they’ll be the equivalent of $34,650 U.S. dollars, which seems like a steal. I can’t imagine an SUV this big selling for less than $50K in the U.S., ancient and bare-bones or not.

Toyota Land Cruiser 70

RELATED: A history of the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser

Good news for Japan, and the same bad news as the past 30 years for Americans. Meanwhile, in Australia, they don’t know what all the fuss is about, because the variants of the Series 70 they get make the boring quad-cab pickup and regular SUV versions in Japan look like 4WD Camrys. In Australia, they offer snorkel-equipped 70s in a single cab pickup and a troop-carrying version that seats up to 11 people. And while the Japanese 30th Anniversary Edition makes do with the standard corporate 4-liter 1GR-FE V-6 found in most of the company’s trucks, the Australian models get the stump-pulling 1VD-FTV turbo-diesel V-8 with 583 lb-ft of torque.

With a structure dating back to 1984, we’ll never see a brand new LHD Series 70 sold here. But remember, the 25-year rule means importing RHD versions from abroad is a real possibility.

RELATED: Papercraft Land Cruisers put Dakar on your desk

This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com

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27th August 2014

Name That Shifter, No. 193: 1963 Porsche 356B 1600 Super

Name That Shifter


1963 Porsche 356B 1600S

Shifter-No-193On Monday, we presented this week’s shifter and asked you to identify the make and model of the vehicle whence it came. The first commenter to correctly identify it as a Porsche 356B was repeat winner King of Eldorado. Specifically, this week’s shifter belongs to a 1963 Porsche 356B 1600 Super coupe.

We tested the 356B pictured here in our October 1963 issue. This particular Super coupe was generously loaned to us by Porsche’s American operations president at the time, O. Erich Filius. We were allowed only the briefest of interludes with it, but we kept it in continuous use. With a top speed of 100 mph and a near-constant idle at 750 rpm, you couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable ride; it was the simplest definition of the term Gran Turismo—a machine that is “grand” for “touring.”

1963 Porsche 356B 1600 Super Interior

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