Audi allroad shooting brake concept hints at a possible hybrid TT sportster


Audi makes some of the nicest cars on the road today and its latest concept, the allroad shooting brake show car, is no exception. In fact, the show car is said to preview the upcoming next-gen TT sports car albeit with a coupe roofline. That is a shame since the shooting brake or "estate" roofline is quite nice and would make for a totally different TT (can we have both?). The allroad shooting brake (station wagon in Amurican) would make a lovely platform to showcase Audi's e-tron quattro hybrid drivetrain. The 2.0-liter turbo four makes 292 hp on its own and the total system output is in excess of 400 hp. An electric motor on the rear axle gives the car its all-wheel drive capabilities in conjunction with the hybrid drive that moves the front wheels. The lithiun-ion batteries allow for more than 30 miles of electron motoring and the plug-in hybrid delivers more than 120 mpg-e. Since the current TT is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth, it will be interesting to see where Audi takes the little sports car in the future. Let's hope some (or all) of the allroad shooting brake concept makes it to production.

Source: Audi - Press release and pics after the "read more" jump.


Popular Jeep Altitude special editions return to the expanded Jeep line-up for 2014


Jeep is bringing their popular Altitude special-edition packages to the 2014 line-up including the new Cherokee (shown above and below). The Altitude package adds black trim, wheels and interiors to Jeep models including the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler this Spring, and join 2014 Altitude Patriots and Compasses that are already in showrooms. “The unique ‘blacked-out’ theme of the Jeep Altitude models resonated so well with consumers two years ago that it makes perfect sense to bring them back now, particularly since we have new versions of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “What began as a production-intent concept ... evolved into a lineup of special-edition Jeep vehicles that appeal to many consumers – especially those wanting a very distinct, aggressive and edgy look.”

Based on the Latitude model, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Altitude is available in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations powered by either the 2.4-liter MultiAir®2 Tigershark I-4 engine (up to 31 mpg), or the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (271 horsepower). Both engines are mated to the mid-size SUV segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission. The 2014 Cherokee Altitude model is $24,995 for 4x2 models and $26,995 for 4x4 models (plus $995 destination).

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude is based on the Laredo model and is available as a 4x2 or 4x4. The standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque) and is mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The U.S. MSRP for the 2014 Grand Cherokee Altitude is $35,290 for 4x2 models and $37,290 for 4x4 (plus $995 destination).

Based on the Sahara model, and available in two-door and Unlimited four-door models, the Wrangler Altitude is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque) that is mated to a standard six-speed manual or available five-speed automatic transmission, Wrangler Altitude employs a Command Trac transfer case with 2.72:1 low range. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler Altitude is available in Amp’d, Black, Granite Crystal and Hydro Blue. U.S. MSRP is $31,595 for Wrangler two-door models and $35,395 for Wrangler Unlimited models (plus $995 destination).

Source: Jeep - Press release after the "read more" jump.


2015 Lincoln Navigator rounds the corner


There was a time not long ago, when prognosticators wondered if there would be a new Navigator after 2014. Well guess what future gazers, here is the 2015 Navigator in standard (207.4 inches) and extended-length (222.3 inches) versions. The new look is an update of the existing truck with large windows that should make for good sight lines and make maneuvering easier. The standard engine is Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 (370 hp, 430 lb.-ft. of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic that power either the rear wheels or all four with the optional all-wheel drive system. The standard Navigator is extremely well-equipped, but the Reserve Package takes the luxury experience to a new level with an updated cabin with ultra-luxurious leather, premium Ziricote wood trim, a leather instrument panel, 22-inch wheels, and much more. The available Lincoln Drive Control with Continuously Controlled Damping helps with the ride and handling duties. The new look brings the Navigator in line with the rest of the Lincoln line-up with the split-wing grille and adjustable HID headlamps with LED taillights and lighting accents. The Navigator can seat up to eight people and the rear seats fold flat into the floor. The tailgate is power actuated. Infotainment duties are handled by the latest SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ driver connectivity system which is standard and includes a 4.2-inch LCD display in the instrument cluster, an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack, and traditional knob controls for easy operation. The 2015 Lincoln Navigator goes into production late this summer. More information will be made available closer to the new truck's intro date. More to come...

Source: Lincoln - Press releases and pics after the "read more" jump.


Kia GT4 Stinger Concept buzzes onto the Detroit stage - w/video


Kia used the Detroit Auto Show extravaganza to unveil its latest concept, the GT4 Stinger. The GT4 Stinger sportster uses the company's 2.0-liter turbo four (315 hp) and a six-speed manual transmission to get the power to the road through the rear wheels. The 2+2 coupe also features 20-inch alloy wheels, vertical LED headlights,carbon-fiber accents, 15-inch cross-drilled brakes, and more. The svelte body has a "shrink-wrapped" appearance that is both muscular and almost retro. Kind of like a Japanese or Korean Camaro. The good thing about Kia concepts is that they often see production, like the Soul for instance, which can give some hope for a future GT4 model. Little is pure concept with the possible exception of the "transparent" windshield pillars and off course the giant wheels (an option package maybe?). Even the interior looks ready to go. (Pics are clickable for a closer look.) If the good-looking Kia GT4 Stinger is your kind of sports car, let Kia know. Check out the video after the press release and listen to the sounds emanating from the turbo four.

Source: Kia - Press release, pics, and video after the "read more" jump.

Ford introduces the all-new 2015 F-150 at the Detroit Auto Show - w/videos


To say that an all-new F150 is an important vehicle is an understatement of possibly epic proportions. The F150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US for a long time, so any changes are potentially crucial to Ford and the 2015 F150 has changes. Like an aluminum-intensive body that saves more than 700 pounds along with the use of more high-strength steel in the truck's chassis. Some may question this move, but the aluminum alloy is similar to that used in military vehicles where it is utilized for it's light weight and toughness. And the F150 weight reduction will improve fuel efficiency. This all-new F150 will change the rules. Four engines will be available in the beginning, the standard 3.5-liter V6, the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, the 5.0-liter V8, and the popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Expect at least the six-speed automatic feeding power to either the rear wheels or all four through numerous all-wheel drive systems based on customer need. The new features (standard and optional) list is quite long with new items like the in-bed LED lighting and new tailgates. The '15 F150 will come in five flavors, XL. XLT. Lariat, Platinum, and King Ranch (with available chrome or monchrome appearance packages) but don't be surprised to see more choices in the future. As it is with the current F150, you can outfit your truck as you like it and as your wallet will allow and you can spend lots of bucks. The new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 looks interesting and the engine is expected to produce more power that the base engine, with better economy and power similar to many competitor's base V8s (see video). We've just broken the surface of Ford's new truck, but check out the press release and two videos after the jump. Lot's more info to come closer to the 2015 F150's on-sale date later this year. Click on pics for a closer look...

Source: Ford - Press release, pics, and two videos after the "read more" jump.

2015 GMC Canyon mid-size pickup revealed in Detroit - w/video


GM revealed the second all-new mid-size truck coming to its portfolio, the 2015 GMC Canyon. GMC's Canyon is a sibling to Chevrolet's new Colorado pickup and joins a marketplace that until these two intros, was populated only by Toyota's Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier (both aging designs btw). The Canyon carries over the design of GMC's Sierra series of trucks that were introduced last year with the decidedly more "macho" front clip. The '15 Canyon comes with the standard 2.5-liter inline-four that develops 193 hp or the available 3.6-liter V6 that can be mated to rear- or all-wheel drive with either a six-speed manual (I-4 only) or optional six-speed automatic. The standard features list is long and one can choose through the numerous available options and packages to equip their Canyon just like they want...and can afford. For more equipment info, check out the press release and video after the jump. The new 2015 Canyon is a good-looking truck, possibly better than the Colorado and should do well in the pick-up truck wars. Order yours today in either extended cab (two-door) or crew cab (four door) at your local GMC dealer.

Source: GMC - Press release, specs, and video after the "read more" jump.

Ford set to debut the solar-powered C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 CES - w/video


This is one for the "I wondered when this was going to happen" files, the Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept that puts solar cells on the roof of a plug-in hybrid to extend electric-only range and battery charge. Ford has partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology and SunPower to develop a roof-mounted solar cell system that uses Fresnel lenses to focus the sun's rays in the most efficient manner to quickly recharge the plug-in hybrid's batteries. While the look could use further work, the solar system on the C-Max Solar Energi sort of fits with the car's more utilitarian design. I could see these vehicles tooling around sunny streets soaking in the "free," clean energy. With further tech breakthroughs, the C-Max Solar Energi might be able to do away with the plug-in components for less cost and weight, but this is one giant step forward. I wonder what this will cost, cuz we will see it in one form or another sooner, rather than later I think as durability and production testing has begun. Would you spend, say, an extra $2,000 to be able to access almost free energy from the Sun to power your car on the go? The solar system does not change the C-Max Energi's EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway (combined 100 MPGe) since it only changes the source of the electrical energy and its cost. I wonder if the system could power devices in an emergency or power outage. That would be an additional positive use of the system. For more info, check out the video and press release after the jump. or visit the concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Next up, solar cell systems used to charge EVs and extend range...

Source: Ford - Press release, video, and pics after the "read more" jump.