Archive for February, 2014

Feb
06
Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar in Rebel Blue

CHICAGO — Hot on the heels of Volvo’s new V60 wagon and the company’s new Drive-E 4-cylinder powertrains come high-performance versions of the S60 sedan and V60 wagon.

Feb
06
City Express

Without a small panel van since the HHR was discontinued in 2011, Chevrolet has tapped Nissan for an urban-friendly delivery vehicle.

CHICAGO — At the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Chevrolet pulled the wraps off a new compact light-commercial van and announced that availability of GM’s compressed-natural-gas (CNG) capable 6.0-liter V8 engine expands to all 2015 Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD cab styles.

Feb
06
Frontier

A “project” at this point, there’s seemingly little reason why Nissan couldn’t add a diesel model to the Frontier lineup if demand warranted.

CHICAGO — Nissan rolled out two vehicles at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: one a new trim level of its new-for-2014 Versa Note hatchback and the other a diesel-powered concept version of its Frontier compact pickup truck.

Feb
06
Kia Niro Concept

Kia calls the Niro Concept an Urban Hybrid Vehicle, but the raised ride height and off-road tires suggest a readiness to hit the trail.

CHICAGO — In addition to the 2015 Soul EV and the 2014 Optima Hybrid, Kia displayed the Niro Concept–an “Urban Hybrid Vehicle” first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September– at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The Niro is a subcompact-sized hatchback with a muscled-up, SUV-flavored look courtesy of beefy 20-inch tires and a slightly elevated ride height. Kia says that the aggressive design is meant to invoke the look of a Paris-Dakar rally vehicle. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter, 160-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the front wheels. This powertrain is supplemented by an electric hybrid system that delivers up to 45 horsepower to the rear wheels, giving the Niro all-wheel-drive capabilities when the need arises.

Feb
06
2015 Subaru Legacy

New looks and much better fuel economy are the big news for Subaru’s midsize Legacy sedan.

CHICAGO — Subaru introduced a redesigned 2015 Legacy sedan featuring a coupe-like profile with steeper windshield rake and thinner roof pillars, while interiors feature more soft-touch surfaces. A restyled grille can be fitted with shutters to aid aerodynamics, and they’re flanked by new C-shaped LED running lights. Available engines include a 175-horsepower flat four and a 256-horsepower flat six, both connected to a CVT automatic transmission. New safety features in Subaru’s available Eye Sight system include blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and cross-path detection. Active headlights are also available.

Feb
06
2014_ChicagoAutoShow_Toyota_TRDPro_Family_001_featured

The beefy off-road ready TRD Pro Series package can be had on 2015 editions of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra.

CHICAGO — Toyota’s new TRD Pro Series  packages combine rugged looks with an impressive array of off-road equipment. The TRD Pro package arrives for 2015 and can be ordered on 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra models.

Feb
06
2015 Kia Soul EV

The 2015 Kia Soul EV promises up to 100 miles of driving range with most of the cargo space of the conventional Soul.

CHICAGO — Kia unveiled the Soul EV as its first all-electric car to be sold in the U.S. Based on its boxy gas-powered sibling, the Soul EV is promoted as having an 80-100-mile range, while the popular Nissan Leaf is EPA-rated at 84 miles.

Feb
05
2015 GMC Sierra HD

The GMC Sierra HD gets a new look for 2015, as well as a number of upgrades and refinements.

According to a domestic manufacturer of full-sized trucks, 1 in 4 pickups sold today are heavy-duty models. That ought to serve the producer in question—General Motors—quite well, considering that it makes 2 of the 4 brands on the market, and its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HDs have been redone, as 2015 models, with new exterior styling, interiors, and features.

Feb
04
Volvo Drive-E Engine, What is Volvo Drive-E?

Meet the engine part of Volvo’s new Drive-E powertrain. The 4-cylinder mills are either turbocharged, or turbocharged AND supercharged (shown).

Although Volvo’s vehicles had been known as rather conservative during their first couple of decades in the U.S. market, the company was a fairly early adopter of modern turbocharged engines during the smog-darkened days of the 1970s and ‘80s. These arrived for 1981 as “Q-Ship” versions of the company’s workaday 240 Series sedans, boxy cars better remembered for safety than for sport.

Feb
03
Autonomous Car Fear

Why drive when you can play Scrabble? Seems we’re closing in on building viable driverless vehicles, but is the buying public ready to let computers do the driving?

The auto industry has thrust a great deal on the buying public in the last decade or so. After about a century of fairly predictable motoring progress, car builders rather suddenly began throwing once-unheard-of options at consumers.