2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium by Ben Lewis

We recently tested the 2020 Kia Sportage, and noted that Kia in a very Porsche-like manner, continuously tweaks and updates as it goes along, and like the Sportage, we find the same is true for Niro hybrid model. Since the Niro is one our favorite Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and EV models, that’s all good news for us. Let’s take a look at the changes. Updated Looks On the outside, the Niro has received some updates to keep it looking fresh. Up front, there are new projector-type headlights and fogs, dual chevron-style LED daytime running lights, and a new diamond-pattern grille. …

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2020 Hyundai Ioniq HEV Limited by Ben Lewis

It’s interesting how popular hybrids are these days. Historically, gas is relatively cheap, and with the pandemic, lots of people are driving less. Seems like a good excuse to get something crazy like the 485-horsepower Dodge Charger Scat Pack we recently tested. But no, being frugal, and eco-friendly seem to be trends that are not going away. So, we decided to test one of our favorite hybrid vehicles, the Hyundai Ioniq. And although the Korean carmaker was later to the market with this kind of vehicle, it has quickly become a major challenge to the Toyota Prius. Let’s see why. …

Read more 2020 Hyundai Ioniq HEV Limited by Ben Lewis

Kia Sorento: Plug-In Hybrid unveiled, but will the U.S. get a piece of the action?

Kia first teased the idea of a PHEV variant of the Sorento when it revealed the lineup of engines that would underpin the new model back in February, with the model making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Alot has changed since then, but Kia’s plans appear to be soldiering on with its long term plans for the Sorento, with the Korean car brand unveiling the production Sorento Plug-In Hybrid. A key catch is that for the moment, we have no U.S. related information on the model, with all of what we know coming from what will be available …

Read more Kia Sorento: Plug-In Hybrid unveiled, but will the U.S. get a piece of the action?

Hyundai Ioniq to become sub-brand, expand to three models in first three years

Following on the heels of the recently launched Genesis luxury brand, Hyundai is expanding once again, and has formally announced plans to launch a second sub-brand called Ioniq that aims to push Hyundai into the greener side of the market. if that particular moniker sounds familiar, it’s because it’s based on an existing Hyundai model. Unlike Genesis which had it’s origins in the Hyundai Genesis sedan, Ioniq gets its roots from the Ioniq green car of the same name. Currently, the Ioniq as we currently know it is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and a full EV. However, that …

Read more Hyundai Ioniq to become sub-brand, expand to three models in first three years

Road Test Followup – 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Limited – By Carl Malek

When the Toyota Prius Prime first appeared on the scene, it was supposed to be a viable range topper for the Prius model family thanks to the addition of more equipment, as well as its ability to be a plug-in hybrid vehicle. But while this allowed it to swing punches with rivals such as the Honda Clarity, and the Hyundai Ioniq plug-in, the Prime also suffered from several notable shortcomings that helped keep it from reaching its full potential. Toyota is out to remedy this for 2020, and has unleashed a significant update that aims to refine its character while …

Read more Road Test Followup – 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Limited – By Carl Malek

2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Touring by Ben Lewis

If you love Honda, and want a full-on EV, there’s some bad news. You can’t get one. Honda has decided to discontinue the 100% Honda Clarity Electric. If you really want to be on the edge, there’s still the Hydrogen-powered model Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, but it’s a California-only model, and you’re really limited for fueling stations. But there’s good news, too. The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid continues, and it’s one of our favorite PHEV’s as they’re known. In fact, you might love it, even if you have no interest in hybrids or EV’s at all! Honda Clarity Design – …

Read more 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In Touring by Ben Lewis

Chrysler Brings All-Wheel Drive To Pacifica, Releases Opulent Pinnacle Model

With the rumors that Chrysler was adrift in the marketplace due to its slumping sales, as well as its currently moribund two model lineup, FCA wanted to show the world that rumors about the impending death of Chrysler were greatly exaggerated, and that there is still some life left in the iconic American brand. The firm chose to do this by unveiling the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica which brings a whole suite of updates, and a whole arsenal of new tricks to help show the world that the Pacifica is still a brawny heavyweight in the world of minivans. The exterior benefits …

Read more Chrysler Brings All-Wheel Drive To Pacifica, Releases Opulent Pinnacle Model

Hyundai Showcases Refreshed Ioniq With 170 Miles Of Driving Range, Updated Exterior Styling

Hyundai‘s Ioniq lineup has made quite a splash since it debuted a few years ago. Designed to be a potent Toyota Prius competitor, the Ioniq had plenty of potential, and even mirrored the Prius’s extensive green lineup with a Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and even a pure EV variant all ready to battle against their bitter Japanese rival. But with the battle still swinging in Toyota’s favor, Hyundai has instead chosen to use the opportunity to update the Ioniq for 2021 to help give it a new lease on life, as well as give it several new tricks to help it …

Read more Hyundai Showcases Refreshed Ioniq With 170 Miles Of Driving Range, Updated Exterior Styling

2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400 – First Drive Review – By Becky Antioco

The Jaguar I-Pace is everything you’d expect from a luxury car, and more than you would from an electric vehicle (EV). The case for EVs, in general, is complex, with considerations like environmental impact, practicality, range anxiety, and issues of substance and style coming into play. I’d argue that the I-Pace has the last two, in spades. I-Pace’s accolades are many: World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, and World Green Car for 2019, European Car of the Year, and one of AutoTrader’s Best New Cars for 2019, to name a few. Yet, judging by sales …

Read more 2019 Jaguar i-Pace EV400 – First Drive Review – By Becky Antioco

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SELS S-AWC – Review By Ben Lewis

Quick!  What’s the world’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid? If you’re like us, you probably said the Toyota Prius. I mean, they pretty much own all things hybrid, no? No. Surprise! It’s the Mitsubishi Outlander. Which was a surprise to us, too. Mitsubishi is one of the smaller players in the U.S. – until recently when Nissan bought a large share of it. (For those playing at home, Renault is a 43% owner of Nissan, while Nissan owns 34% of Mitsubishi). Those deeper pockets are sure to see investment in Mitsubishi, and a rosier future for the brand. We already felt the …

Read more 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SELS S-AWC – Review By Ben Lewis

Radical Overhaul, Technology Infusion Define 2020 Ford Escape

Ford’s Escape CUV has always been a reliable soldier for the Blue Oval since its debut in the early 2000s. While it might not have the icon status that its bigger stablemate the Explorer has, there’s no denying that the Escape is a powerful force when it comes to re-enforcing Ford bottom line sales. With the 2018-2019 Escape creating a very lofty set of shoes (and sales) to fill, Ford pulled out all the stops to make sure the 2020 version can maintain its winning ways. The exterior styling of the 2020 Escape will arguably be the first thing that …

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2019 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Volvo has had a renaissance for a few years now. From its hearty agrarian roots, to its German-baiting performance years, to now – a Premium Luxury division with impeccable style, the brand is extraordinarily capable of reinventing itself, while still keeping a Volvo a Volvo. And nowhere is that more notable than the Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD we recently tested. Meet Thor’s Hammer While its design is closely related to the Volvo XC60 we tested, the larger proportions of the XC90 really give visual heft, and conveys a premium quality. Our tester was all that, starting with a bold front end, …

Read more 2019 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2019 Nissan LEAF SL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Ok, let’s start with Good News, Bad News. The Good News – for 2019 there’s a new LEAF PLUS model with more power, enhanced tech and improved range. The Bad News – There wasn’t one in the fleet to test, so we go the current 40 KWH battery model. Actually, it’s not that bad, in fact after spending a week with our LEAF, we’re not sure most buyers will need that new PLUS model. A new LEAF Introduced as a 2018 model, the all-new builds on the goodness that made the previous – and continues to be – the world’s …

Read more 2019 Nissan LEAF SL – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Road Test Review – 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – By Carl Malek

When we last met the Mitsubishi Outlander, it was in its base 2.4 liter form and it proved to be a very reliable steed, with the one we had impressing us with its Prius like fuel economy on a summer road trip from our Metro Detroit office to Wisconsin for a press association event. But what if your an SUV buyer who thinks even this insane display of fuel economy isn’t enough for your needs? Mitsubishi has you covered with the all new Outlander PHEV. But does it retain some of the subtle charms that allowed its four cylinder counterpart …

Read more Road Test Review – 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – By Carl Malek

2018 Kia Soul EV+ Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

You may have heard the term “Range Anxiety” when it comes to Electric Vehicles. (EV to you and me). It describes the nervousness you have over not having enough range to get where you’re going. With a gas car, it’s a stop at the local sip ‘n go. But with an EV, if you can find a place to plug in, it’s still between 45 minutes to a couple hours to get a meaningful charge. But now we have a new term. EV Anxiety? This is different. For many of us enthusiasts, we look at the EV as the death …

Read more 2018 Kia Soul EV+ Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

A friend just asked about buying a Diesel-engine car. Diesel? Really? It seems like that boat has sailed a while ago, with VW’s diesel-gate putting the powertrain on the chopping block for most passenger cars. Hybrids and EV’s are where it’s going – for their combination of low or zero emissions, hefty government subsidies (ok, those may go away) and driving fun. Yes, driving fun. And one of the most interesting of these vehicles is the new Honda Clarity. A new way to roll Well, the Honda Clarity actually gives you three ways to roll – if you’re on the …

Read more 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

Last year we tested the Kia Niro hybrid, and it came away as one of our favorite vehicles of the year. Here was a hybrid with the practicality of a small crossover, excellent fuel economy, and best of all, it was truly fun to drive. We’d gladly have one in our driveway – and it would make a perfect day-to-day partner to some rip-snorting, fuel guzzling, socially questionable weekend toy. Plugging into the latest and greatest While hybrids have been around for quite a while now and become extremely successful, getting people into full EV electric vehicles has been a …

Read more 2018 Kia Niro PHEV LX – ~240MPG Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

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2018 INFINITI Q Inspiration Concept – Photo & Video Flyaround

The Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept is not an instant love-at-first-sight type of machine. Its Tesla overtones are quite obvious.  And not always for the best. The white front grille and the ultra rounded fenders do come to life in person.  The grille is not just a slat shield but a 4D bending thing of great beauty.  Check out the new depth on the Infiniti badge up front — directly off the Prototype 9 open-wheel EV racer in the background of tna few of these shots. And as smooth and dolphin-like as the tail is… keep an eye on the upper …

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2018 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE – Amelia Island Concours 2018 Photoset

The AMG Project ONE has an undeniable magic in the flesh that is absent in most photography. The slinky, almost formless nature of the bodywork is actually a pure, emotive skin wrapped tight around each wheelhouse like cheekbones.  A supermodel of a machine if there ever was one. The dimensions alone are damn near Chiron large, for one, but the cabin tucked inboard radically too.  A lower than low roof and snorkel intake up top are almost casual in their hardcore obviousness. Watching the car arrive silently was quite a spectacle indeed.  Project ONE is a star! Even with its …

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Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus – By Carl Malek

Ever wondered how you could make a Toyota Prius even more fuel efficient and environmentally conscious, while also cramming even more convenience features and technology into its distinctive wrapper at the same time? This conundrum reminds us of some of the great engineering challenges that America has faced over the years. While brilliant minds, technological advances, and the occasional rocket scientist or two played a hand in solving these fore-mentioned problems, Toyota had a delicate balancing act to achieve when it came time to build its latest Prii offering. The end result is the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, but does …

Read more Road Test Review – 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus – By Carl Malek

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4.6s 2018 BMW i8 Roadster Is No-Brainer Ragtop

The i8 is amazing to drive!  In Sport+ this machine opens up its full 374HP and rockets forward with glee.  Triple turbo thrumming behind you and popping out racy noises from the exhausts. But the i8 has a problem.  It is so light because of all that carbon fiber.  Which is expensive. And intrudes on the doorsill in a major way.  This makes i8’s beautiful swan wing doors make sense.  They are very-much needed to help get in and out.  With a low roof on the coupe, this has been a barrier to the car’s wider success. This Roadster hopes …

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Situation Analysis: Can 2017 i Vision Dynamics Concept Save BMW?

Sometimes I just want to shake BMW like a British nanny. What are you thinking, bad BMW baby!!!!? The X7 Concept, Z4 Concept and 8 Series concepts are all fairly new design ideas for the IAA BMW stand in Frankfurt this year.  A new M5 and X3 are the production cars with some fresh excitement around them.  A new BMW i3S looks slightly less hideous from the front and will be quicker than the base model.  None of these models is the silver bullet BMW needs to get back to brand health.  And sales growth. The X7’s design is shockingly …

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Best of Shanghai – 2017 Chevrolet FNR-X Concept [18 Photos]

Chevrolet’s new FNR-X concept for the Shanghai auto show is incredibly sexy.  In fact, it is one of the coolest SUVs in a show absolutely packed with one-off showpieces.  Most of these are a million miles from the production cars on that same brand.  Is the FNR-X? Perhaps only a half-million miles.  It actually seems feasible for these design themes to come to life, as well as the Volt-inspired PHEV drivetrain. The reasons we love the FNR-X design are its gorgeous proportions, low roof and sharply carved surfaces.  Check out the three-dimensionality of the tailgate!  Or the slimline LED lamps …

Read more Best of Shanghai – 2017 Chevrolet FNR-X Concept [18 Photos]

2017 Toyota Prius PRIME – HD Road Test Review

Our hopes about Prius Prime were through the roof.  Gorgeous new looks.  A battery pack 10X as large as the most thrifty standard Prius.  Luxed-up cabin and 20 miles of EV range? It seemed like a winning formula on paper, and it is a winner in the flesh on the road. We spent a happy week in the Prime to see how this Super Prius compares versus young gun Hyundai Ioniq as well as full EVs like the eGolf, Focus Electric or even a pre-owned Tesla.  ANd how about the upcoming Honda Clarity Plugin? There is great and less-great news to …

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Audi Q8 Confirmed for 2019 Modelyear [22 New Photos]

We love the designs of both Q8 concepts seen so far: the original in blue at Detroit and this new Q8 Sport Concept from Geneva and NY auto shows.  The bodycolor intake flares in front are gorgeous, the new nose and tail are shockingly cool and fender flares always win friends.  We only dislike its slightly nerdy roofline in profile. After the deeply dull A4/A5 and Q5/Q7 refreshes lately, Audi is showing some design elan with their new Q8 concepts.  This four-seat plugin hybrid (Q8) promises supreme comfort for four.  A platform share with the Q7 moves the back seat …

Read more Audi Q8 Confirmed for 2019 Modelyear [22 New Photos]

2017 BMW 740e xDrive – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

I have driven the car of the future, today. OK, we hear stories like this all the time. And usually, the “Car of the Future” is some cobbled-together prototype that has little likelihood of actually making it to market. Or worse, it points to the time when folks like you and I aren’t needed. Just robots, pal. And if you think an autonomous EV is the wave of the future, I’m going to disagree. While there are plenty of folks who would rather let the machine drive, there are also plenty who still enjoy time behind the wheel. And for …

Read more 2017 BMW 740e xDrive – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis

2017 Citroen DS7 Crossback – Yay or Nay?

And now… for something completely different! Citroen is a favorite around here thanks to its wild designs, brave vision and often-odd product lineups.  Long a hero of urban France, the brand actually has great reach into central/south America and much of Asia.  One place in Asia, in particular.  No prizes for knowing it! The CHinese market has embraced Citroen’s designer flair and euro drive manners.  Especially its upscale DS brand. This new DS7 Crossback is the closest thing to a globally-competitive flagship SUV from any of the French brands.  This five-seater is stunningly luxurious, high-tech and high-style. A 300HP plugin-hybrid …

Read more 2017 Citroen DS7 Crossback – Yay or Nay?

CES 2017 – Top 10 Big Reveals + Showfloor Gallery

Many semi-cool reveals at CES this year.  And thankfully, they are not all wearing the same shade of Apple-knockoff white plastic for bodywork! Oh wait, all the cars are the same silver this year?  Delightful. This biggest headlines were undoubtedly for the Faraday Future FF91, a Tesla Model X rival that actually seems super smart and innovative.  If not exactly sexy, the design is certainly unique and practical.  This FF91 flagship is production-bound with a direct-to-consumer sales model that also takes great inspiration from Tesla. The Toyota Concept I is silly fun, while the Chrysler Portal is slightly more serious.  The …

Read more CES 2017 – Top 10 Big Reveals + Showfloor Gallery

2017 BMW i Inside Future Sculpture Previews HoloActive Gesture Controls

Has BMW i just gone off the deep end entirely?  The iPerformance range in the 3 series (330e) and X5 40e is smooth and creamy — literally — on the road.  Yet the plugin hybrid electrics do drive like normal, high-speed BMWs. But my word.  Getting past the clutter of the “BMW i” language and descriptors, not to mention their designs and prices, mean these new innovations are definitely still in their infancy. Case in point? The below press release, which is virtually unintelligible.  It is so up its own a** that you have a hard time knowing the CARS …

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How Lehman, Obama and Tesla Changed the Car Business – By J.R. Anderson

    Early in the recession, after President Obama bailed out the auto industry, I noticed the largest shift we have ever seen in the auto industry. The majority of vehicles produced before 2010 featured cheap plastic interiors, faux wood grain, uninspired designs, and confusing electronic equipment systems. In those days, most vehicles had terrible handling and very little effort to better fuel economy. In fact, for a while I questioned whether manufacturers and dealers were in cahoots to make vehicles that would ensure customers return for repairs. Then, a few things happened simultaneously. 2008 we experienced the worst recession …

Read more How Lehman, Obama and Tesla Changed the Car Business – By J.R. Anderson

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Paris Debut – 2018 Porsche PANAMERA 4 E-Hybrid

Official details today on the all-new Porsche plugin: the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.  Quite striking how much the style of this new Panamera reflects the long-term vision shown in the firm’s latest concept Mission E. Still firmly room for a gasoline motor in this production iteration, but the cab-backward — yet forward-looking — style of all Porsches since day one appears more than intact for 2018. NEW HYBRID PANAMERA MODEL UNVEILED 08/09/16   Sustainability and performance – no contradiction for Porsche ATLANTA, Sept. 8, 2016 — The Paris Motor Show will see Porsche unveil the next model in the all-new Panamera line: the …

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EQ Concept Mercedes-Benz – Paris Launch Party

Zaps? Zips? Forgive the silly electric-themed headline!  This EV concept is no laughing matter.  A serious, Mercedes-Benz style take on a full EV performance SUV. With sizing around the new GLC, the GLE, if a bit wider, the EQ concept promises big power and big range.  Will big speed be in the mix?  We hope so! The looks are fairly chic and intriguing from all but the nose angle.  A bit hard to look dead in the eyes, this EQ. But the inductive charging capability and its broad, sexy shoulder chisels?  Bring it on!   2016 Mercedes-Benz EQ Concept Paris/Stuttgart. With “Generation …

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2017 LaFerrari APERTA Goes Topless in Paris

First live look at the hottest topless Ferrari in decades! A softtop and carbon hardtop panel are both provided to the very select owners of this new LaFerrari Aperta.  Chassis stiffness and aero upgrades ensure the same performance as the hardtop variant… but now with added aural pleasure included — gratis. The exclusivity of the model will also provide some added value to its buyers.  No production cap is cited yet by Ferrari, but is likely to be less than a tenth of the 500-plus production run of the LaFerrari so far.  A one-model-year offering is a sure thing, just …

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Paris Preview – 2018 Porsche PANAMERA 4 E-Hybrid

Official details today on the all-new Porsche plugin: the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.  Quite striking how much the style of this new Panamera reflects the long-term vision shown in the firm’s latest concept Mission E. Still firmly room for a gasoline motor in this production iteration, but the cab-backward — yet forward-looking — style of all Porsches since day one appears more than intact for 2018. NEW HYBRID PANAMERA MODEL UNVEILED 08/09/16 Sustainability and performance – no contradiction for Porsche ATLANTA, Sept. 8, 2016 — The Paris Motor Show will see Porsche unveil the next model in the all-new Panamera line: the Panamera …

Read more Paris Preview – 2018 Porsche PANAMERA 4 E-Hybrid

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2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – HD Drive Video + 64 Lakeside Photos

A really fun steer — and one whose urge and handling delighted the sports-car fan in all of us!  We do even make a “Corvette hybrid” reference-slash-joke while flying around the corners of Lake Lanier Island, Georgia.     2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Exterior Gallery 2017 Chevrolet VOLT Premier – Interior Gallery    

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BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

  When BMW first unveiled the i3, it brought several innovations to the electric vehicle segment, while also allowing the company to launch its green minded i brand. However, with the current trend towards bigger batteries, the tiny i3 found itself slowly falling behind rivals when it came to driving range. BMW has rectified this flaw with the unveiling of the updated 2017 i3. Known formally as the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) the second chapter of the i3 doesn’t focus so much on its long moniker, but rather on giving buyers more driving range than before. This is made …

Read more BMW Unveils Updated 2017 i3 with Giant New 33kWh Battery – By Carl Malek

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BMW i8 – Widescreen Photo Flyaround – Inside and Out at Kiawah Concours

THe i8 never fails to impress in the flesh! This car is so low, so otherworldly and so exotic up close. Even in 2014 spec and this fairly familiar silver, the vehicle is a stunning piece of design and engineering. BMW i8 Photo Flyaround – Inside and Out at Kiawah Concours

2017 PRIUS PRIME – Live Photos and Tech Preview – CF Tail, 84mph eVmax

Some really cool new tech and solutions all around the upcoming 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Quick points on this advanced PHEV flagship: First dual motor/generator unit for the EV system promises much quicker acceleration.  The Prius PHEV was the quickest in the group before, so this is great news! Redesigned nose and tail, with NSX-style new face up front, and carbon-fiber/LED tail that is all-new versus the new 2017 Prius and the 2017 Mirai FCEV. New cabin with giant central touchscreen, a la Tesla, and a full-length central battery placement. Four seats and almost 50/50 weight distribution with low center …

Read more 2017 PRIUS PRIME – Live Photos and Tech Preview – CF Tail, 84mph eVmax

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NY Debuts – 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid – Li-ion eAWD 7-Seater

The brand-new Outlander PHEV from Mitsubishi just brought state-of-the-art to the masses.  And their kids! Lithium-ion batteries in potent 12-kWh form let the car drive as an EV for real distances, seat seven people and even have AWD via twin rear-axle motors. Seriously impressive — and the same template as the Cayenne S E-Hybrid costing nearly $200k. The new Outlander PHEV will have a premium over the $22k base of the gasoline trucks, but should still come in at an estimated $35k base when it arrives in USA showrooms in September 2016 as a 2017 model-year.  Full release below for …

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Speed Fleet! 2016 Ford Mustang GT Cali Special + LaFERRARI 5

Speed Fleet! 2016 Ford Mustang GT Cali Special + LaFERRARI!

I have met the bright red devil today! And he is quite friendly. =] But private, as you might imagine. He is mobbed wherever he goes in this 900HP masterpiece. The Mustang GT Convertible California Special is a lovely chase car… even with just half the horsepower.     Speed Fleet! 2016 Ford Mustang GT Cali Special + LaFERRARI!

5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

A survey came out this morning letting Americans know that Germany prefers PHEVs to hybrids or full electric cars. GKN certainly found the insight! Everyone would prefer PHEVs if given the choice! In that vane, the new 330e from BMW is the most evolved form of super-efficient, fast cruising with plug-in battery tech.  Married to a twin-power turbo four, the car produces extremely respectable pace: 5.9-seconds to 60-mph from its combined 248HP and 310 pound-feet of torque.   Effective, everyday MPG will be at least the 50s in normal use. A slightly smaller gas tank (and trunk) is the main compromise. …

Read more 5.9s 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance – PHEV with 74-mph MAX eDrive

2016 BMW Vision Next 100 – Nightmare Blob Shows Why BMW Sales Are Tanking

Ready for 5000 German words you cannot possibly care about!? Let’s dive in to the BMW Next 100 Years press conference and new-concept debut, while stripping out 95-percent of the unintelligible corporate babble below. First things first: BMW Group and BMW pressclub have new websites.  Yay! But they do not work as easily as the previous ones. Boo.  At least the zip files do not create unmoveable, undeletable 3GB desktop bombs like BMW USA PressClub’s.   The renderings do turn from brown to pink when saved on a PC tho.  Bonus — some fails live on!   Dear BMW.  Flatten …

Read more 2016 BMW Vision Next 100 – Nightmare Blob Shows Why BMW Sales Are Tanking

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2016 ItalDesign Giugiaro GTZero

  Official debut details below on a very intriguing prototype from ItalDesign. Now that Giugiaro’s design boutique is integrated in the VW Group, and Audi in particular, their projects have taken on extra relevance.  Perhaps predicting the future of some kind of Audi or Lambo?  Or perhaps just reflecting the new mood toward shooting brake supercars…? Our theory is that the GTZero may have been a Lambo proposal that didn’t get the green light for production.  But got the go-ahead for a redesign to showcase ItalDesign’s skills. Either way, the three-door model is a 2+2 with a finished cabin and …

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2016 TechRules AT96 TREV Supercar Concept

Very promising debut from TechRules today!  The AT96 is the supercar startup’s launch prototype, making its big-league entrance in Geneva after a round of testing at Silverstone and years of development in China. The core premise is to introduce a revolutionary new turbine-recharged EV powertrain — and make it viable as a hypercar! Of course, keen readers will recall the many turbine misadventures in automobiledom, from the Chrysler Turbine cars to the original powertrain of the canceled Jaguar C-X17 prototype. The idea of turbines to deliver an EV charge makes perfect sense.  Military vehicles have employed this tech for decades. Functionally, the …

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Geneva Debuts – 2016 Volvo XC90 EXCELLENCE – Quad-Throne PHEV Limo for Davos Crowd

  Not just Rangies… but S-Classes and Audi A8’s too! The superlux livery market just found a new favorite: the XC90 T8 Excellence. Plugin-hybrid to ease your (guilty) conscience?  Check. SUV-easy entry and exit, plus jumbo cargo bay?  Check. Individual, 787-first-class seats in back with a full-length console and nap-ready headrests? Check. 4×4 grip for ski holidays or slushy commutes home?  Check. Subtle to the point of almost disappearing behind the bright window-edges and deep-tinted glass all around?  Check. The new XC90 Excellence certainly looks great on paper as the next favorite limousine for the Davos crowd. The Excellence order …

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@Acura: $200k NSX Is WTF, Dickslap Sticker Shock

Are you f***ing shi****** me? Talk about bait and switch. This new NSX just doubled in price somehow, overnight. What was widely thought to be an $80k PHEV supercar is suddenly carrying a $168k base price. And that is slightly stripped out. Painted wheels?  $1500.  SiriusXM carbon roof?  $6k.  CCM brakes?  $11k.  CF exterior?  $10k. It goes on and on, until the bombshell $200k total gives you a dickslap at the Summary screen. These options read like someone literally did a “times 2” excel function for the original prices.  Then pasted it down the entire column. Shocked. The colors, by …

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2017 Volvo V90 Debuts – 400HP T8 Engine, Low-Roof Look Marks Return to Form

Huge, lux and low are the name of the game for the new 2017 Volvo V90 wagon! Sharing its new platform and powertrains with the wildly-successfully 2016 XC90 SUV and upcoming S90 limo, the new V90 is a major step back into Volvo’s core groove. The looks of the machine are actually far more successful than the S90 sedan, which has some seriously curious tail styling marring excitement about its arrival later this year to US showrooms. 2017 Volvo S90 Where the S90 looks a bit funky, however, the V90 relishes its long-hood, low-roof ethos.  Even the back glass is …

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325HP, V6TT 2017 Ford FUSION SPORT Leads Refreshed Midsize Sedan Lineup

A fresh look and new tech throughout the Fusion for 2017! Three EcoBoost engines, a new V6 Sport powertrain is the most powerful midsize Ford sedan in ages — delivering its 325-horsepower and 350-pound-feet of torque through an AWD chassis. All in search of a ~5.5-second sprint to 60-mph — a class-quickest sprint speed! This is huge news versus the previous 240-horsepower EcoBoost that tops out the current Fusion lineup. New nose and tail designs integrate the latest LEDs for a fairly chic look on all sides — if a bit too Focus-like up front in these initial teasers. Very cool …

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2017 Chrysler PACIFICA Is All-New Minivan – PHEV Hybrid, Luxury and Tech to Leapfrog Sienna/Odyssey

Welcome to the next Town & Country: the all-new Pacifica! This name-swap is quite justified when you take a peek at the seriously all-new platform, drivetrain, interior and exterior of the next-gen Chrysler minivan. The impressive details abound from every seat: the seven-seater has a stunningly advanced offering for families from July of this year when the new vans hit showrooms. What is the big deal, beyond a very swish new exterior design? Where to begin!  The biggest news is the first-ever plug-in hybrid offering in the van segment. Dubbed simply the Pacifica Hybrid, the EV tech is quite sophisticated. Not …

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2016 Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept – 7-Seat Option + 20 EV Miles for 2017 USA Arrival

We’ve been exceptionally hard on VW USA over the years, even before the ongoing trainwreck that is their emissions scandal. If there is one glaring hole in the lineup, it is the SUV range. Tiguan and Touareg have been eagerly anticipating a CrossBlue SUV to slide between them. With a Passat basis and seven seats, the CrossBlue (name TBD) is actually firmly on the way. Hiring and Chatanooga production-floor mods are readied for this summer, with production penciled in to start September 2016.  The showroom arrival, as we all know, cannot come soon enough. December of 2016 as a 2017 …

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2017 BMW i8 Spyder Teased Via BMW i Vision Future Interaction + ConnectedRide HUD Cycle Helmets

  BMW debuted a half-dozen new tech innovations at CES this year, including gesture control and mirror-less exteriors. But the real eye-catcher?  The BMW i Vision Future Interaction — a near-production 2017 BMW i8 Spyder. Sans two critical pieces, of course. Yes, the production car will have doors.  At first we thought the BMW i VFI Concept hid its doors in the side sills, a la the BMW Technik Z1 model sold in Europe briefly in the early 1990s. Alas, the lack of doors is just to give full view of the new cockpit controls and layouts.  This new user …

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2017 BMW i6 Is Hiding in Plain Sight: 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Teased LWB i8

Here is an interesting one, simply because it shows an upcoming machine hiding in plain sight. What car is that? The BMW i6, we predict. This exceptionally advanced concept seemed extremely unfeasible when it was revealed under the EfficientDynamics moniker in 2009. Look at those skinny tires! And Clear doors with a carbon-fiber chassis?  Silly! But they the BMW i8 concepts started appearing, with a 2+2 PHEV supercar BMW announced for production just a year after this first concept.  That car would materialize for 2014 as the i8 and i3 we know now as the real thing. Where the eventual …

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2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Pack 12

RM Arizona 2016 – 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Pack in P.Exclusive Frozen White

Uh oh. Pretty unusual to see such a new hypercar going across the auction block. Picking a more desirable spec would be hard, though. A painted-to-sample white metallic, the 2015 918 Spyder wears the hot and functional Weissach Pack over dark grey RS Spyder alloys. Will it top its price when new, 1500-miles ago?  We’ll see in Scottsdale at the end of January 2016!   2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Pack

2016 RINSPEED Etos Concept – Self-Driving, Drone-Launching Technical Tour de Force

The RINSPEED concept for 2016 is out, with highly advanced digital-car tech of the future taking a front seat for nearly every technical element of the machine. And if there were a back seat in the Etos, the two occupants could both chill back there while the self-driving tech takes over, sinks the steering wheel into the dashboard, and performs fully autonomous self-driving. A basis on the BMW i8 platform means that style, to some extent, has taken a back seat to tech this year.  This means the BMW kidney grilles are replaced up front by ultralight plastics and 3D-effect …

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Buy, Sell or Hold? Ford EV Push Promises Dozen New Hybrids in 5 Years

Ford is making a giant hoopla over a very unexciting announcement. One mostly sans cars, by the way, excluding the 2016 Focus Electric and teased ______ Energi PHEV. The plan lacks a catchy name for now, so let’s just call it e-Ford for short. Will e-Ford be able to make a big market impact from the 4.5-billion investment over the next half-decade?  And is Ford really the one to pursue this?  Their tech, as many know all too well, is woeful at times. They kept paying SONY and Microsoft ridiculous licensing and tech-services fees for MyFord Touch long after the …

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McLaren Wraps P1 Production with Painted Stunner, MSO Now Creating Full-Carbon Example

McLaren just announced the conclusion of P1 production. Just 375 units were promised in total, and those are now all built and on their way to eager owners! For the final P1, McLaren has flipped many of the bare-carbon surfaces to body color– in an interesting twist on the look of the hypercar hero.  The nose plate, side intakes and rear diffuser element are fully painted on this orange beauty, and we love the results.   You may or may not recall a set of renderings in an article titled “Unpainted CF Robbing Hypercars of their Beauty.” As a counterpoint, MSO …

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Spec Renderings – 500HP 2018 Volvo XC80 Polestar

It has been quite a while since a new Volvo stirred as much excitement as the 2016 XC90. The truck is absolutely miraculous, and an exciting new corporate re-alignment will see most of the XC90’s style and PHEV tech filter down throughout the range. The new S90 limo kicks things off, followed by (we predict) a lightly facelifted XC60 mid-size crossover. Beyond that, we have new S60/S70 models on the mid-term horizon — with the first Charleston, SC-built sedans set for a summer 2017 arrival as 2018 model-years. But if we were Volvo… what is the first possible thing to …

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The Evolution of BMW xDrive – 325iX to 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e – PHEV M Sport from $70k

THe BMW eDrive X5 is officially in the USA! This huge advance in AWD tech for BMW is being celebrating with a look back at the first 30 years of BMW four-paw models. We still remember the special body-color aero kit and special wheels from the US-market 325iX. Was just a tiny bit cooler than even the very-chic 325i sedan and coupe of the era. The honor that original look, we spec’ed out a 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e in M Sport guise.  The truck looks very, very nice on its available 20-inch alloys. Particularly so with the $1,100 adaptive LED …

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2017 Volvo S90 Reveals Slinky New Limo Shape, 400HP T8 PHEV Drivetrain

Volvo is on a huge roll!  The new XC90 led a 26-percent sales gain for the month of November 2015, and the momentum is just getting started. The next step is this all-new S90 luxury sedan.  All-new and competing with A6 and even A8, this new Volvo limo is an exceptionally promising replacement of the aged S80. The new S90 runs all-new chassis, exterior, interior and powertrain — making it a near clean-sheet approach to the next generation of large Volvos.  The powertrains and much else is shared with the exceptional new XC90: this includes the standard T6 turbo engine …

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