Auto Car News and Review

Report: Hyundai/Kia’s Prius rival to arrive by 2017

November 1st, 2014 0 Comments
Hyundai Prius-fighter spy shots



The Toyota Prius is the undisputed king of the hybrid market, but Hyundai and Kia are hoping to challenge its reign in the coming years with their own dedicated model. However, in all likelihood this is the same technology being shared between them. “We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars,” Hyundai Motor CEO Kim Choong-ho said to Reuters, during the launch of another vehicle in South Korea.



While Kim didn’t say when the model would be ready, Autocar in Europe spoke to people at Kia, who said that the company’s own hybrid was two years away and codenamed the DE. The initial vehicle is reportedly a five-door hatchback that’s about 169-inches long, with more conventional styling than the Prius. Its powertrain is reportedly based around a 1.6-liter engine with electric assist. A plug-in version might follow later, and other bodystyles on the platform are possible. A recently spotted test mule might show the current state of development on the project (pictured above).



According to Reuters, the decision for the new vehicle comes in order to meet tighter emissions in some markets. However, it seems like a challenging move for the US market. Hyundai already sells its Tucson fuel cell in limited quantities and the Sonata hybrid, and Kia has the Optima hybrid and Soul EV. Industry analysts are also predicting that hybrids might have a hard time versus internal combustion engines in the coming years. In addition, Toyota is rumored to get fuel economy close to 60 miles per gallon for some versions of the next Prius. All of these factors make selling the models here a potentially difficult undertaking.

Rumormill: Is Land Rover developing an all-electric Tesla Model X rival?

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
Land Rover Range Rover Hybrid



Tesla will soon put its all-electric Model X crossover on sale, and if it’s anywhere near as successful as the brand’s four-door sedan the Model S, then it’ll be a hell of an attention getter for mainstream automakers. Land Rover isn’t waiting for proof of the Model X’s success, though.



According to reports, Land Rover could be preparing an all-electric Range Rover. Likely more crossover than full-size SUV, the new vehicle would probably be far more aerodynamic than current models. But the new EV would still take advantage of LR’s high-tech aluminum structure, and could potentially be a close relative of the production Jaguar C-X17, according to Autocar.



It seems unlikely that this new Land Rover EV will have the off-road chops of the brand’s other models, but that doesn’t mean that will be useless on the rough stuff. AC, citing Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern, claims that a height-adjustable air suspension will allow a low, aerodynamic ride height for high-speed travel while it can easily be transitioned to a higher level for off-road duty.



As for range, AC believes (and we agree) that a successful effort would need to get as close as possible to the Model S’ 265-mile EV range.



Autocar is anticipating a price of around 90,000 pounds, equivalent to $ 144,000, which roughly matches the cost of a UK-market Model S. If the Range Rover EV comes stateside, we’d wager that prices will start under six figures, much like the US-market Tesla.

Official: Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series to debut in LA for $260k

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
2015 Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series



Driving a Porsche should feel like a privileged experience. But if you need one with extra space in the back, and have been turned off by the success of the Panamera that has made it ubiquitous, you may be intrigued by Porsche’s latest reveal.



Set to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new Panamera Exclusive Series stands out with some unique touches. It’s based on the top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo S Executive, which tells you it comes with the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 in top 570-horsepower spec, but also with the extended wheelbase that provides for extra space in the otherwise crowded rear seat. And that’s not all.



Porsche Exclusive has also given this special-edition Panamera a unique two-tone black and brown paintjob, a set of 20-inch Sport Classic wheels painted black, and an interior done up in Nappa leather – two-tone black and brown to compliment the exterior – with dark walnut and piano black trim and a pair of 10.1-inch rear-seat touchscreens.



Porsche will only offer 100 examples worldwide, each individually numbered and equipped with a set of fitted Poltrona Frau leather luggage – all yours for $ 263,900 (plus $ 995 destination). That makes it over $ 63k more than the base price on the Panamera Turbo S Executive that was already the most expensive model Porsche offers this side of the 918 Spyder (pipping even the 911 Turbo S Cabrio) and also one of the most expensive four-doors on the market.

Report: Obama administration eyeing new NHTSA boss after safety lapses

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
General Motors Recall Congress



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t had much to celebrate this year. The botched handling of major recall campaigns from General Motors and for faulty Takata airbag inflators haven’t put the agency in the best light. Also, its new VIN lookup for safety campaigns, which should have been a major step forward, crashed the first time it was really needed. Clearly, something must be done, and it appears that the government’s solution might be an overhaul of the bureau, starting at the top.



According to insiders speaking to Reuters, acting NHTSA boss David Friedman (pictured above) is unlikely to be nominated to take the job long term. Furthermore, the feds are already searching for his replacement, and the new director is expected to be announced soon. The changes might go even deeper, though. According to Reuters, both Congress and the Department of Transportation, which oversees NHTSA, are conducting their own inquiries into the agency.



It’s certainly not Friedman’s first visit to Capitol Hill this year. He already testified in front of the Senate, and a report from the House Energy and Commerce committee claimed that NHTSA’s incompetence allowed GM’s problem with ignition switches to be undetected for so long. It hasn’t been an easy tenure at the organization for Friedman. He only started working at the safety watchdog in May of 2013, and took over running things around the beginning of the year when David Strickland stepped down.



While it could be argued that NHTSA is doing an incompetent job this year, understaffing might also play a roll. The Office of Defects Investigation that actually researches and reports recalls has just 51 people who keep an eye on safety and only $ 10 million of NHTSA’s budget. With over 544 recalls so far this year, it may keep them spread a bit too thin.

Official: Jaguar opens new engine plant in the UK

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Center



The heads of Jaguar Land Rover are having a busy couple of weeks opening factories. Just days after inaugurating the company’s first overseas plant in China, the automaker’s new Engine Manufacturing Center in the UK is being inaugurated, as well. The plant near Wolverhampton, England, marks the first time in decades that JLR is building its own powerplants in-house. Further signaling the importance of this launch for the business, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were on hand and even tweeted about it.



The factory’s first major project is to build JLR’s latest Ingenium four-cylinders, starting with the 2.0-liter diesel version. “Our new Engine Manufacturing Centre is an important step in advancing the competitiveness and capability of the UK automotive sector. The production of in-house engines will support the expansion of the UK supply chain providing critical mass for inward investment,” said Trevor Leeks, plant operations director in the automaker’s announcement.



Opening the doors to the Engine Manufacturing Center has been years in the making for JLR. The plant was first announced in September 2011 and broke ground in June 2012. Building it cost the company 500 million pounds ($ 800 million) and created 1,400 new jobs. Of course, being a state-of-the-art factory, considerations were made to make the place as energy efficient as possible. That meant installing the UK’s largest solar array with 21,000 panels to produce about 30 percent of the site’s electricity needs.



This isn’t even the end of JLR’s continued construction. The company’s Special Vehicles Operations team is getting its own new facility in England. The automaker is even rumored to be considering one in the US. Scroll down to read the business’s full release about the engine plant’s opening.

Official: Hyundai sells its 10,000,000th Elantra

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
2014 Hyundai Elantra



There aren’t many nameplates that have sold over 10 million units in the history of the automotive industry. In fact there have only been ten, and now Hyundai has joined the list for the first time with the Elantra.



Launched 24 years ago, the Elantra has far and away been Hyundai’s top selling model. Now in its fifth generation, the Elantra is sold as a coupe, sedan and wagon, and under the Avante name in its home market. It’s one of the top selling cars in the world, and Hyundai has earned the right to crow that it has sold its 10,000,000 of them globally. That means that, on average, Hyundai has sold more than 45 new Elantras every hour of every day of every year since its introduction in 1990.



Other models in the 10 Million Club include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, VW Beetle and Golf, and the Ford Model T and F-Series. The latter might still be considered the most impressive, selling over 34 million units – the vast majority in the US – to be America’s top-selling vehicle for over 30 years running.

Report: Mazda6 Coupe coming along with more Mazdaspeed models?

October 31st, 2014 0 Comments
Mazda Shinari Concept



The predecessor to the Mazda6, the Mazda 626, was sold in a multitude of body styles across the globe. It could, of course, be had as a sedan, but a two-door coupe, known stateside as the MX-6, was also available on the same platform. Now, a new report from Motor Trend claims that a two-door version of the modern Mazda6 could be on the way.



This would be remarkable for a number of reasons, as automakers have been abandoning this type of non-luxury coupe for decades. A class that counted entries from Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Dodge and Chrysler is now occupied solely by Honda with its Accord Coupe.



Ignoring that, though, MT claims we’ll see a two-door Mazda6 in the second half of 2016. When that new variant arrives, it will be with an even more dramatic version of the sedan’s Kodo design language. Mazda could rely even more heavily on styling inspiration of the Shinari Concept, which already informs the design of the current 6 sedan, when the two-door model arrives.



As for the eagerly anticipated, third-generation Mazdaspeed3, we’ll also be waiting until 2016 for that one, according to MT. When it arrives, though, it should be appropriately wild, offering up 300 turbocharged horsepowers from a blown, 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine. Unlike the past two MS3s, the next-gen model will reportedly (finally) adopt all-wheel drive, likely in the form of some lightweight contraption. As if that’s not enough good news, Motor Trend also seems to think a Mazdaspeed2 and a reborn Mazdaspeed6 are on the way. It scarcely needs mentioning, but we’re doing our happy dance over this news.