Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris

September 30th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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2015 Kia Rio

The Rio may not be the most popular Kia in the United States – not by a long shot – but it was the brand’s top seller globally last year. Little wonder, then, that although the current fourth-generation model was only introduced in 2011, the Korean automaker is already rolling out a facelifted version.

Set to be revealed later this week at the Paris Motor Show, the 2015 Kia Rio has been updated inside, out and under the hood. The front end gets a new grille, bumper and foglights, there’s a new bumper around back, and a fresh array of alloy wheels ranging in size from 15 inches to 17. There are also two new colors on offer, and the interior has been updated with a new center stack and chrome trim.

Powertrain options depend on local market demands but range from 74 horsepower to 107, driving the front wheels through a five- or six-speed manual or four-speed automatic and available with stop/start ignition. The updates were announced for the European-spec model; we’re waiting for confirmation on what, if any, of these revisions will reach US showrooms, so watch this space.

While it’s at it, Kia has also revealed an updated Venga, the mini-minivan based on the same platform as the Kia Soul and Hyundai i20, introduced in Europe five years ago. Scope out the full details of both models in the press releases below.

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Kia bringing updated Rio, Venga to Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Honda reveals more with Civic Type R concept bound for Paris

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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Honda Civic Type R Concept

The reveal of the next-generation Honda Civic Type R has been a gradual one. First Honda showed us a camouflaged prototype, then let us drive one at its Japanese proving ground and followed up with a concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Now with the Paris Motor Show looming on the horizon, it has revealed yet another concept to keep hot-hatch enthusiasts on their toes.

The second Civic Type R concept appears almost identical to the first one – right down to the aggressive aero kit, quad exhaust tips, oversized wheels and ultra-low-profile rubber – but wears a new coat of Superman blue with go-fast decals. With its release, however, Honda has confirmed some of the salient details set for the production version.

In the nose sits a 2.0-liter turbo four with 276 horsepower and a 7,000-rpm redline, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Adaptive dampers and a “steer axis” system promise to keep the power under control, while a push of the +R button tightens up the suspension, steering and torque mapping.

All of this adds up to a hot hatch which Honda promises will surpass every Type R before it – including the Integra, Accord, the previous Civic… and yes, even the NSX. Production is slated to take place at Honda’s plant in Swindon, UK, with delivery to European showrooms commencing sometime next year.

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Honda reveals more with Civic Type R concept bound for Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar details new Ingenium four-cylinder engines [w/video]

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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Jaguar XE

When Jaguar lifted the veil on its new XE sports sedan earlier this month, it only revealed details on one engine – that being the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in the flagship XE S. But we already knew that the British automaker’s new entry-level model will offer many other powertrain options, and now it has revealed a little more.

Jaguar has been developing a new family of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines it calls Ingenium, which will be offered in a wide array of configurations and specifications. In advance of its debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, the Leaping Cat marque has announced the specifications of the two diesel versions. The first will offer 161 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and some of the best environmental credentials on the market. There will also be a more potent version with 177 hp and 317 lb-ft, which Jaguar says is “one of the highest torque outputs in the class.” Either way, both versions feature variable exhaust valve timing, cooled low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation and selective catalytic reduction technologies to help meet the stringent Euro 6 standards.

That’s all well and fine, but considering that Jaguar doesn’t offer diesels in North America, the chances of these oil-burners making their way Stateside seem slim. But if you watch the video below, you’ll also find basic specs on their gasoline counterparts as well. Like the diesels, they’re turbocharged and displace 2.0 liters, but in petrol form, they offer 197 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque, or 236 hp and 250 lb-ft.

Though we’re only likely to get the automatic version in America, globally speaking Jaguar will offer both six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions. Whatever the specification, though, the new engines are set to roll off the line at the company’s new plant in the West Midlands at a rate as high as one every 36 seconds, should the demand exist.

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Jaguar details new Ingenium four-cylinder engines [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ellen DeGeneres sends up Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln ad

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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Ellen DeGeneres and Matthew McConaughey in the Lincoln MKC

Lincoln had to have known that when it released its new ad campaign for the new MKC with Matthew McConaughey, it would open itself up to a bit of good old fashioned ridicule. The television commercial was, after all, good for a laugh or two. And true to their mission, talk show hosts haven’t missed the opportunity to have a little fun at Lincoln’s and McConaughey’s expense.

Conan O’Brien was first to send up the television spot, but now Ellen DeGeneres has taken a stab at it too, superimposing herself in the back seat of the compact luxury crossover, downing some pot brownies and generally playing Costello to McConaughey’s Abbott. It’s worth a watch, if only to see Ellen getting down in her usual, offbeat style.

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Ellen DeGeneres sends up Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln ad originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Cadillac ELR

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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2014 Cadillac ELR

Well, this is awkward.

A few years ago, Audi Of America’s boss Johan de Nysschen went on record describing the Chevrolet Volt as “a car for idiots.” Fast-forward to earlier this summer, and the well-regarded executive suddenly found himself in a new office with new business cards bearing the title: President, Cadillac. That means that among other challenges, de Nysschen is now tasked with selling the ELR, a car that is, at its core, a Volt in a sportier, less utile frock wearing a price tag that’s twice as expensive.

Frankly, it’s not a prospect we imagine the South African executive and recent Infiniti boss relishes. Just about nobody is buying the ELR – Cadillac has sold but 774 examples of its plug-in hybrid coupe this year and it presently has an almost a 200-day supply according to Automotive News. What’s more, those numbers actually represent big improvements over just a few months ago, before GM started heaping on the incentives. The cynic in us says that the bad news for De Nysschen is that he’s got a borderline sales-proof car in his new corporate garage. The good news? Cadillac customers apparently aren’t idiots.

Before we go any further, let’s get back to that elephant in the room: price. There’s no way to be kind here – General Motors has saddled its 2014 Cadillac ELR with a scarcely believable bottom line: $75,000. Even arithmophobes like us can work out that that means it costs as much as a base ATS Coupe and a Chevrolet Volt combined. That, in our book, is unforgivably bad math – the sort of computation logic understood only by buyers of the Aston Martin Cygnet, or perhaps those who signed off on the Allante’s assembly process back in the ’80s, an arrangement that involved flying uncompleted cars over the Atlantic in custom-outfitted Boeing 747s. Twice.

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2014 Cadillac ELR originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volkswagen charges up new Passat GTE for the trip to Paris

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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2015 Volkswagen Passat GTE

We all know that the letters GT stand for Gran Turismo, but tacking on another letter can evoke a different meaning altogether. GTO for Ferraris (or Pontiacs), GT-R for Nissan supercars, GTA for high-performance Alfa Romeos (or car-theft video games, or metropolitan Toronto)… The list goes on and on, but few are as familiar with the idea as Volkswagen, which uses the letters GTI for hot hatches, GTD for their diesel counterparts, and most recently, GTE for plug-in hybrids.

VW introduced the nomenclature with the Golf GTE earlier this year, and is now following up with the Passat GTE you see here. It packs a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.4-liter turbo four producing 154 horsepower and an electric motor good for another 114 hp, channeled to the front wheels through a six-speed DSG for a combined output of 215 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque.

In electric-only mode, it’ll reach 80 mph and take you as far as 31 miles.

That’s more juice than the Golf GTE, but in the larger Passat delivers similar performance: 0-62 in under eight seconds and a top speed in excess of 136 miles per hour. In electric-only mode, it’ll reach 80 mph and take you as far as 31 miles. But with both motors running, and both the 13-gallon fuel tank and the lithium-ion battery topped off, it’ll travel up to 1,000 kilometers. That’s the equivalent of 622 miles – more than the Golf GTE and more than enough to send the plug-in Passat from London to its debut in Paris and back again (or all the way from Detroit to New York) all without stopping at a single charging or gas station along the way.

Set to launch in the second half of next year, the Passat GTE will be available in both sedan and wagon forms. But since this is based on the European model, we’re not holding our breath for its transatlantic voyage to North American showrooms. Hypermilers will just have to hope that VW will offer a model with a similar system Stateside in the near future.

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Volkswagen charges up new Passat GTE for the trip to Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Horses, beer and Mercedes-Benz take credit for the van

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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Mercedes pioneers the van

There may not be as many minivans on the road as there used to be, but make no mistake about it: the van is still an indispensable mode of transportation. Especially for things like beer, ice cream, flowers, teams of television adventurers, and… more beer. There have been many automakers that have made vans over the years, and many that still do. But Mercedes-Benz is keen to point out that it pioneered the van.

In this light-hearted, minute-and-a-half-long video clip, Mercedes takes us from the advent of the van before the turn of the century (the previous century, that is) through its gestation and evolution into the vital vehicle that it is today. But it never would have happened if not for some tired horses and many beer-swilling Germans, the former owing their thanks to the latter… and, if the narrative is to be believed, all of us owing that pioneering spirit to Mercedes.

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Horses, beer and Mercedes-Benz take credit for the van originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:12:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volvo V40 Cross Country gets the all-wheel drive it deserves

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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2015 Volvo V40 Cross Country

Want a rugged Volvo wagon? Gothenburg has two kinds to offer: there’s the XC crossovers on the one hand and ruggedized wagons on the other. As we reported last month from the unveiling of the new XC90 in Sweden, Volvo plans on offering more Cross Country wagons in the future. But in the meantime, it has upgraded the existing V40 Cross Country with some key enhancements – not the least of which is the long-awaited addition of all-wheel drive.

Powertrain upgrades for Volvo’s smallest soft-roader include the new T5 engine (a 1.7-liter turbo four producing 245 horsepower), an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The new powertrain is not only more capable, but also more environmentally friendly than the old T5 it replaces.

The enhanced V40 Cross Country launches in Europe mid-fall before being rolled out in other markets in the following months, but unfortunately the United States is not among them as the V40 is not offered Stateside in any configuration, which is a shame.

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Volvo V40 Cross Country gets the all-wheel drive it deserves originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW introduces updated Vento sedan in India

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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Volkswagen Vento

Go just about anywhere in the world and you can pick up a new Golf, but beyond that, Volkswagen offers individual models catered to local markets. European buyers can drive off in the Up!, South Americans can get their hands on the Saveiro, Chinese customers have the new Lamando at their disposal, and in India, VW offers the Vento.

Essentially a Polo with a longer wheelbase and a trunk, the Vento is a bare-bones economy sedan, and it’s just undergone a facelift. The updates are mostly familiar from the latest Polo, with sharper lines, new headlamps and a revised interior with three-spoke steering wheel.

Powertrain options include a 1.2- and 1.6-liter gasoline engines and a 1.5-liter TDI, mated to either a five-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission, with trim levels including Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. Either way, you’re looking at a fairly basic form of transportation, with only the top trim coming with features like stability management and dual front airbags.

VW introduces updated Vento sedan in India originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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McLaren rolls out more accessible 625C in Asia

September 29th, 2014 by admin No comments »

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McLaren 625C

When McLaren first introduced the 650S, the initial idea was to keep the 12C it effectively replaced around as a more accessible option – particularly in certain Asian markets where buying a new car, much less an exotic supercar, is an even costlier endeavor than it is in other markets. Woking soon changed track and discontinued the 12C, but has now addressed that “entry-level” demand with the introduction of the new 625C.

Based closely on the 650S, the 625C is being launched in Hong Kong and will be available exclusively in the Asia Pacific region, making this McLaren’s first “regionally tailored” model. It’s powered by McLaren’s signature 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, but carries the same 616-horsepower output as the 12C touted before it’s demise. It also gets a softer rear suspension to make the Club model both “more refined and more accessible” than the 650S.

As a result of the decrease in power, 0-62 is quoted at one tenth slower than the 650S at 3.1 seconds, while top speed and emissions figures remain the same. Asian buyers will be able to opt for coupe and convertible body-styles, but what’s particularly interesting for those in other regions is that the 625C paves the way for other variants tailored to specific markets (say, like the North American one, for example) and that the nameplate ostensibly sets the precedent for a new naming scheme to usher McLaren away from its previous disparate nomenclature (12C, 650S, P1) and into a more clearly defined hierarchy.

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McLaren rolls out more accessible 625C in Asia originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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