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Concept Flashback – 2007 Nissan Round Box Is Leaf/Cube/iQ Roadster Mashup

Here is a fun one! Back in 2007, this little city run-about might have earned a photo or two in a small concepts section of our car magazines. At least, this is what I tell myself to justify not remembering it at all! The design is actually pretty appealing in its interpretation of a Scion iQ or Smart Fortwo competitor. The best aspect of the squat aesthetic and wide proportions, which become much slimmer moving from the wheel areas and up into the glasshouse. One element slid through to production almost intact on the Nissan Leaf EV — the headlights! …

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2015 Lexus NX200t and NX300h Are Ultra-Modern Inside and Out

The 2015 Lexus NX200t and NX300h instantly make all other compact crossovers look 1000 years old. This is a seriously new and innovative take on the design of Lexus SUVs – and we love it. The surfacing is the most-notable point, with interesting creases throughout that make light bounce around inside the door panels and fender flares. It is totally fresh in a way that a mainstream, or even luxury model, has not been in at least a decade. Overstating things a bit? Perhaps – but the NX200t is extremely good-looking. This is one car where the F Sport trim …

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Happy B-Day to the Volkswagen Minibus and Transporter! Work Van Legend Turns 60 in UK This Year

 Happy B-Day to the Volkswagen Transporter We’ve been pretty down on VW USA this year. Can you blame some pushback from automotive media here in the US in the face of the two-year delay on the Golf 7 arriving on our shores? The first GTI’s are arriving in VW dealerships now, but these are from Germany. The bulk of the line is still months out, at the earliest. The Jetta makes me cringe when I see it on the road, and the new US-market Passat is looking less-good every single day. These old products are priced at the tippy-top of …

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OP_ED – 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Coupe Has Right Platform But Boring, Old-Man Style and No Visual Impact

Cadillac churns through chief executives and ad agencies like you would not believe. Everyone is tasked with increasing sales and lowering the demo. Everyone for the last ten years has failed to deliver on these goals for any meaningful amount of time. The 2015 ATS Coupe has all the right stuff to be popular, but it looks like the entire “Cool Coupe” mission is lost on Cadillac. This really is not an old-man brand anymore. But sadly, it is definitely run by losers. Not losers in life, mind you. They must be smart and successful – but they are definitely, …

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PART TWO: 2016 Audi S Q3 Rendering – Future 4.9-second Sport Compact Crossover

 2016 Audi S Q3 PART TWO… Mercedes-Benz seems relatively confident with the GLA45 AMG as the one engine upgrade to the GLA250 series, and the GLA45 AMG will make its way well past $55,000 with a few options packages. So what is the Audi of America counter-strategy? Not the full-blown RS Q3, but a car with nearly all the affordable performance and speed enhancements, but with the S Q3 label instead. This is a great alternative. Simply boosting the power levels of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine in the top Q3 and adding standard quattro AWD will work wonders for the …

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PART ONE: 4.5-second 2015 Audi RS Q3 Priced Out of Compact SUV Market in USA

2015 Audi RS Q3 The Audi RS Q3 is not coming abroad to the United States market – on what has been deemed cost grounds. This makes sense if you start adding up what the showroom sticker would be for Audi of America. With the new Q3 priced in the $35,000 to $45,000 range with options and the upgraded 2.0-liter turbo engine, there is little headroom for the price premium that Quattro GmbH models command. Based on the RS5 versus the S5, we are talking a full $10 to $15,000 price bump – which would lead the RS Q3 perilously …

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport – Buyers Guide to All Nine Colors + Animated 360-Degree Turntables

New Sonata fever is heating up today! Here is a very cool and exclusive color guide to the 2015 Sonata Sport trim level. Shown here is the 2.0T Sport – the upgraded turbo engine model – but the Sport trim is also offered on the base 2.4-liter GDI engine. We highly recommend the Sport trim for the style upgrades outside and in the cabin. Color wise, in person my favorite colors were Phantom Black, Quartz White and Venetian Red. While Urban Sunset orange is a Sport exclusive, it is not a real winner to these eyes… The 2015 Sonata is …

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Updated With 12 New Photos – 2015 Ford Focus ST to Make Dynamic Debut at Goodwood FoS

  Newsbrief from Ford today announcing the 2015 Ford Focus ST! This hot hatch is highly anticipated and the first glimpse of the new model will be Friday June 27th at the Goodwood Festival of Speed — when the ST will head up the hill in a real-time race versus players driving the 2015 ST in Gran Turismo 6. Pretty cool! UPDATE- The latest Focus ST photos show an evolutionary design outside, with subtle tweaks like a thinner grille and even a thinner ST badge lettering putting the emphasis on refined and lightweight dynamics. Inside, the 2015 ST shows a …

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2015 Ford Focus ST to Debut at Goodwood This Friday! Exclusive LED DRL + Headlights Rendering

  Newsbrief from Ford today announcing the 2015 Ford Focus ST! This hot hatch is highly anticipated and the first glimpse of the new model will be Friday June 27th at the Goodwood Festival of Speed — when the ST will head up the hill in a real-time race versus players driving the 2015 ST in Gran Turismo 6. Pretty cool! The latest Focus ST has similar LED headlight accents as the regular Focus, and they are illuminated here in an exclusive rendering. 2015 Ford Focus ST LED Jun 23, 2014 | GOODWOOD, U.K. New Ford Focus ST Global Reveal …

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Update1 – 2015 Ford Focus Tech and Design Refresh Adds 8-Inch Nav, EcoBoost Triple + LED Accents

Hot off the presses!  Initial thoughts? Much improved! The dark trims really make the sedan’s nose much more appealing. This dark trim is available on the five-door as well – in either SE Appearance package or the SE Sport (or the SE EcoBoost!) pack, which goes even darker for the wheels to gloss black. The specs are below.   2015 Ford Focus – TIRES AND WHEELS S  15-in. steel wi th silver painted cover, 195/65R15 all-season BSW SE  16-in. painted al uminum, 215/55R16 all-season BSW SE SFE Package  16-in. painted al uminum, 215/55R16 LRR all-season BSW SE Sport Package SE …

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Hyundai Genesis, Elantra and Accent Score Segment-Best Initial Quality Awards from JD Power

Great news for Hyundai owners and those considering swapping to Hyundai from another nameplate: the JD Power Initial Quality Awards rankings show the Genesis, Elantra and Accent as the best in the classes. This is a great result for the Genesis as the second-best car in the entire JD Power study, but even more so for the smaller and much cheaper Accent and Elantra. (2015 Genesis shown below.)     2014 Hyundai Elantra GT shown below.   Hyundai Genesis, Elantra and Accent Score Segment-Best Initial Quality Awards from JD Power In the compact segment, the biggest sales gains lately have …

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2014 Ford Fiesta Red Edition and Fiesta Black Edition for UK – With Aston-Style Painted Lips!

INTRO: Ooooh, Aston Martin must be fuming today. The new Fiesta Red and Fiesta Black Editions don some accent-color around their grilles in a way that directly recalls Aston racecars, or the new N430 special Vantage below… What is the downside of being the UK’s best-selling car for more than a decade? It can be a bit hard to stand out in a crowd. Highways in London must feel like Fiesta bumper cars — with all the colors muted tans, silvers, greens and light greys, scratches and fender benders do not even transfer any new paint onto your Fiesta! That …

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Euro Supermini Cars – 2014 Toyota Aygo is Furious With You. Yes, You. Who Else?!

Alternative headlines? 2014 Toyota AYGO’s New Face Says… “AYGO-nna Kill Yo’ Ass!!” Or maybe the 2014 Toyota Aygo is saying…. “I Gonna Run You Over Now!” We are not sure, but the new Aygo seems very, very unhappy about something. Will the Aygo’s scowl inspire the Hyundai “Uhoh” ? As in,“Uhoh you guys. Here comes Aygo. And she looks pissed…” Maybe the Aygo is just frustrated after working so closely with Peugeot Citroen on this collaborative project? Whatever the reason, I’m sure Aygo will make pedestrians think twice about jaywalking. Euro Supermini Cars – 2014 Toyota Aygo

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2014 Jeep Wrangler Visual Buyers Guide to Trims, Tops, Colors and Options

The Jeep Wrangler lineup is larger and more inviting than ever for 2014. 2014 Jeep Wrangler Standard V6 power and a new six-speed manual start things off in the two-door trucks from about $23,000 — which is an excellent driver’s package versus previous entry-level Wranglers. The Wrangler with the four-cylinder and automatic in the 1990s (of my high school days) was a very fun truck to ride around town in. Truly one for those who want to see and be seen doing the coolest things with the coolest people.   But at anything over 50mph, the soft-top Wranglers of the …

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Track Test Review Video – 2013 BMW X1 sDrive28i M Sport + 77 Action Photos

While I am on the naughty list in general – I cannot help but share this amazing video. Previously unpublished due to stern language – read too late – on the press car loan. As many readers will know, the videos of me so far are only “okay.”  They desperately need editing and better production values — but I am only one man. My best video so far was from the 2013 BMW X1 sDrive28i M Sport loaner from July 2013. I was in such a panic after spending perhaps 100 hours editing this video. Videos are hard to shoot, …

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Concept Flashback – 2013 Audi Fleet Shuttle Quattro

How did this one slide past me? Not only do I not really recall seeing this October 2013 concept, but I have not even heard of the movie in which it was featured! Ender’s Game is the title – came out on November 1, 2013?? It may be a German-language film, which would make sense as to why Americans might not have been the target market for the film, or the concept car. So what is this thing? It is a low and long sedan, much in the same style as the A7 Sportback. Does it matter? Yes. Maybe. Yes, …

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Road Test Review – 2014 KIA Soul Exclaim is Funky/Practical – With A Dash Of Cool and Calm

Written by Special Contributor Ken Glassman   When the Kia Soul first came out in 2010, I was fairly ambivalent about their boxy little Tonka Toy. It was an efficient use of interior space and a ho-hum performing little econobox. But for 2014 the Soul has been re-done and greatly improved. And model I tested was the Soul !. (the exclamation point after Soul is designated as the “Exclaim” trim level – the most upscale model they offer.) The Soul + (called the “Plus” trim level sits in the middle above the Base model) And this 2014 Exclaim model has …

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2015 BMW i3 Is Ugliest Car Since The Isetta – Makes Prius V Look Sexy and Pontiac Aztek Look Fun

I want to like the BMW i3. I really do. But this little pumpkin just doesn’t light my jack-0-lantern. It is so unbelievably fugly that it makes the Prius look sexy. Hell, the i3 makes the Prius V look sexy. Here are all the stats and 199 photos of the violently repugnant 2015 BMW i3. If this car is anywhere near as successful as BMW hopes it will be, I will eat a rotten pumpkin whole. There is just no way people will pay $50,000 to drive this hideous turd. Yes, the dashboard is nice. But that is the only …

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2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Revamped with Cool LED Running Lights, Extra MPGs and Quieter Cabin

 Quick! Name a mini crossover that is fun, cheap, sporty and reliable!? Did you get any? My immediate answer to those criteria would be the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. This chuck-able little crossover is just about the coolest way to enter the stylish AWD SUV segment on a compact-car budget. The tradeoffs are less than ever this year for the 2015 model, which adds miles-per-gallon stats to its roster via a new automatic transmission. The exterior is now offered in this shiny metallic blue paint, which goes well with the SE model’s new LED daytime running lights in the lower corners. …

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Track Drive Review – 2014 BMW M235i Is Best Junior Supercar… EVER!

INTRO Favorite car? Best sports-car? I am running out of superlative awards here – but the points made in the above video are all certainly still felt by me today. The above film is actually pretty watch-able, with some great insights after hopping right in the M235i and doing a lap of Road America right after doing the same in the 2014 M5. Truth be told, for a relative new-comer to the huge-power BMW and sportscar arena, the M235i felt a little more my speed. It was more forgiving on the track, and at the same time friskier and more …

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192HP, 6.8-Second 2015 MINI 5-Door Answers the Call of Back-Seaters Everywhere

What is the back-seaters’ call? “Let us out!” ? That is not exactly the MINI Cooper’s fun-loving style! Back-seat whiners have typically just wanted to stretch their legs a little bit, but been stuck until one of the fancy front-seaters will move their tush and let the seat slide up to an open slice of door. The 2015 MINI five-door hatch promises modest solutions to both problems via an extra set of rear doors on the silly-fun urban classic. The latest MINI model is far more approachable in every way, with its turbocharged standard triple delivering more MPG and also …

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2014 Nissan Juke NISMO in 60 High-Res Photos + Video Walk-Around

The 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO is incredible value at just above $25,000 all in, with a choice between a manual transmission and front-drive or a NISMO-tuned CVT auto and AWD with a “V” mode for extra shenanigans. Sunny Day Gallery     Rainy Day Gallery      

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2014 Hyundai Veloster REFLEX Brings Exclusive White Finish, Turbo LEDs and DCT Auto for $22k

  The special Veloster Hyundai debuted in Chicago has now arrived in dealers nationwide! The Veloster RE:FLEX is a shortcut way to get the hottest-spec and best-equipped Veloster model available — with standard automatic transmission and all the Turbo’s LED style for only $21,650 before delivery charges of about $800. The interior is offered in red or black leather, along with the latest mobile device connectivity and even the giant glass moonroof as standard. The white and chrome finishes are a nice touch to the Veloster RE:FLEX — and are a sure way to have an exclusive and premium-feeling sports …

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2014 Fiat Abarth 500C Wins Hottest Exhaust Note on Autocross Track

 Listen to this gurgling little slugger! The 500C Abarth was perhaps the closest kindred spirit to the Fiesta ST we crowned as Most Fun around the Road America Go-Kart Autocross track. And while the Fiesta ST’s induction path in the front of the car definitely sounds good, it really cannot compete with the amazing aurals out back from the Fiat. The Abarth 500C’s drop-top is a welcome piece of kit for the fun little machine – operating smoothly and in a power-operated fashion that makes losing the whole roof panel as easy as opening a normal car’s moonroof. Where the …

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VIDEO: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is Most Fun at Road America Autocross Track

Do you ever want to reach into TopGear magazine sometimes and shake them by the collar, yelling: “YES, We know the Fiesta ST is fun. Next topic!” Oh, that is just me? Whatever then! I have gotten really fatigued with Fiesta ST rave reviews. It just didn’t seem relevant. Until the first peel-out. On the go-kart-track turned Autocross of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – the Fiesta ST comes alive. I finally get it. Finally. Finally! The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST really is a hoot. It is How Stella Got Her Groove Back. It is the g-spot in Octopussy. …

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Scoots Around Go-Kart Autocross at Road America

Alternative headlines? “GSR Aims at Autocross Target, Misses.” “Beetle GSR Drives Like It Has Gorilla On Roof.” The Beetle GSR is supposedly tailor-made for racing and timed laps – it even includes a chronometer stopwatch right in the central dashboard and racing stripes outside. Unfortunately, all who drove it at Road America last week came away with various harsh critiques. Brakes were spongy and non-existent, the tires washed out all sense of grip, it felt pokey, and most damning of all: it handled extremely poorly. My critique that it felt like a gorilla was on the roof was echoed by …

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Hottest LA Debuts: 2015 Audi A3 and S3 Spell Trouble For Subaru, Lexus, Ford, Acura…

The $29,000-plus luxury compact market just got very hot under the collar. Audi revealed the 2015 A3 line-up in LA this week, and it is a direct hit for stylish urban executives. Coming in two sedans (the A3 and S3), a PHEV Sportback, and also a cute A3 cabrio —- the A3 is poised to take sales off the books of the WRX, Lexus IS250, Ford Focus ST, and many others. Pricing an arrival time estimates vary, but by summer 2014 seems like a safe bet. 2015 Audi S3 Sedan – Exterior Gallery 2015 Audi S3 Sedan – Interior Gallery …

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2014 Nissan Juke NISMO in 57 High-Res Photos

2014 Nissan Juke NISMO in 57 High-Res Photos The Juke Nismo is incredible value at just below $25,000 all in, with a choice between a manual transmission and front-drive or a NISMO-tuned CVT auto and AWD with a “V” mode for extra shenanigans.   Sunny Day Gallery     Rainy Day Gallery