New Dodge Challenger receives numerous updates and more power for 2015 - w/videos

When Dodge re-introduced the Challenger for the 21st century, many complained about the vehicle's size. It shares a platform with the full-size Charger/300. While this makes the challenger the heaviest of the "pony cars" available today, Dodge has seen to it, that the Challenger goes with the best of them. If the size is not an issue for you, then the Challenger should be on your new-car list. For 2015, Dodge has tweaked the Challenger with more aggressive styling, additional features, and more power. The '15 Challenger can't be mistaken for any other vehicle as the styling updates are evolutionary, but again, the Challenger is a good-looking car. The big news is the new 707 hp Hellcat V8 that will challenge (sorry) the fastest performers from Chevy, Ford, and many others. The Challenger SRT Hellcat will be the fastest and most expensive Challenger ($59,995 +), but budget Challengers will set you back a minimalist $26,995 (+). I doubt that many Challengers will leave the factory at the $27k mark when you consider the extensive options list, including additional options from the Mopar catalog. For all of the information (and there is a lot), check out the extensive press releases and videos after the jump. There is even a release outlining the new Shaker Hood option. For 2015 Dodge has certainly gilded the lily that is the the  new Challenger. Great looks and now class-leading power to fit (almost) any budget. Enjoy!

Source: Dodge - Press releases (3), pics, and videos after the "read more" jump.

Just For Fun: The Fiat 500L - Vans Design Concept

Most of us have worn Vans "tennis" (athletic?) shoes at some point in our life and Vans have come to sort of represent SoCal surf culture. In honor of the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., Fiat has put together a 500L design study to try and create the "perfect" surf vehicle. The 500L Vans Design Concept takes a standard 500L and applies Vans stuff all over it from the vintage palm fabric on the seats to the Vans stickers adorning the dash. Other concept features include a two-tone body color paint scheme, 18-inch matte black wheels, and a roof rack with a basket and a double-decker surfboard carrier. On the outside, the roof displays the Vans Checkerboard pattern, while the step pad, cladding, and grille texture are accented with a Waffle Sole shoe design as are the pedals and storage bins on the inside. The grille features four rings with glow lighting. This is a nice piece that might find a few takers if produced...minus the glow-ring grille I'm sure. If you like it, let Fiat know. If enough folks show interest, you might catch a few of these at a beach or other spot near you. Good size, nice design and touches, what more could you ask for?

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

Toyota Yaris receives updates for 2015 -w/video

Okay. I'm stretching things a bit. While prepping for this post, I found that the new (to the US) Yaris has been available in Europe for a little while. So this post will have info from both the US and Euro releases and pics. Obviously, the Euro Yaris pics have European license plates and the info and pics regarding the Yaris hybrid might apply to the US Prius c. And that is just one of the interesting things you'll notice when you compare the US and Euro releases. The 2015 US Yaris is a low-price-point conveyance ($14,845 for a three-door "base" L model with five-speed manual) utilizing old tech to keep prices, well, low. Automatic transmissions are four-speeds and manual transmission have only five cogs. One engine is available here, the 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine (106 hp. 103 lb.-ft. of torque), while other markets get three-cylinder engines and the previously mentioned hybrid. Why you might ask? It is probably due to the popularity of the Prius in the US (not so much in Europe) that sort of carries the US economy torch for Toyota.  Needless to say, the upgraded front clip is nice and is styled similarly to the new Corolla (as opposed to some of Toyota's recent, over-styled cars). They should sell quite a few of them. If you need an inexpensive car with a bit of style, look no further. Toyota, how about a true Fit competitor next time around? For more info, check out the US and Euro press releases, pics, and Euro video after the jump.

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

All-new BMW X6 introduced - w/video

Lots of folks don't understand the X6. The X6 is really a styling statement that says, "I want an SUV/crossover/SAV but I would like a "coupe-like" roofline to go with it for some visual excitement and no, I don't mind losing some cargo room." Voila, the X6 in a nutshell. So kinda sorta technically the X6 is an X5 with (more) style. The X6 comes with all-wheel drive, your choice of turbo V6 or V8 power mated to an eight-speed automatic. All of the BMW features are here like iDrive and ConnectedDrive, etc., either standard or optional, meaning you can spend as much as you want and desire. The all-new styling of the X6 is more sculpted along with most new Bimmers, but recalls the popular last-generation model. And why wouldn't it. When the X6 was introduced many in the industry scoffed, but the public didn't and Mercedes will be joining the coupe/SUV fray very soon. You either like it or you don't, but I for one, love it. The updates seem like more goodness added in to an already pleasing pie. I could go on and on, but for all the info, check out the two press releases (the US release is extensive), pics, and video after the jump. Enjoy!

Source: BMW - Press releases after the "read more" jump.

BMW X6 gets a mid-sized sibling with the all-new 2015(?) X4 - w/videos

The all-new BMW X4 is the X6's littler brother. The X4 is to the X3 like the X6 is to the X5,,,a sportier, "coupe-like" version of the regular SAV. The X4 is an attractive piece and will be available in the US basically, now, with the expected engines, the 3.0-liter twin turbo six (300 hp, 300 lb.-ft. of torque) or the 2.0-liter turbo four (240 hp, 260 lb-ft. of torque) mated to BMW's eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. Too bad we won't get the 2.0-liter turbo diesel that will be available in other markets. BMW's full suite of safety equipment and features will be available along with numerous options like iDrive, ConnectDrive, leather, power everything, various wheels, premium sound, and lots more. You can load your X4 into X6 pricing territory. Prices start at $45,625 (including destination handling, plus options, license and fees) for the X4 xDrive28i, and jump to a starting price of $49,825 (including destination handling, plus options, license and fees) for the top-of-line X4 xDrive35i. Check with your local dealer for X4 availability in your area. For more info, check out the press releases, pics, and two videos after the jump. Coming soon: an all-new X6...

Source: BMW - Press releases, pics, and videos after the "read more" jump.

smart adds an all-new model, the forfour, to go along with the new fortwo - w/videos

smart is introducing two all-new city cars, the smart fortwo and the new four-door forfour. City cars are popular in, well, cities where space (and parking) is at a premium. While city cars are not necessarily the most fuel efficient, they are space efficient with two city cars fitting into one regular parking spot. The first gen smart liked to brag on the car's Trideon safety frame by showing crash test with much larger vehicles and showing full-sized SUVs stacked on top off the smart fortwo frame. The all-new smarts carry on that tradition with the exposed Trideon safety frame utilizing ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel that is again visible on the outside in contrasting and matching colors (see Java Orange and Black frames in pic below). A full range of safety equipment is available like the Crosswind Assist (standard), forward collision warning (optional) and the Lane Keeping Assist (optional). The new smarts are available with two new rear-mounted engines, a regular three-cylinder available in 60 hp and 71 hp variants and a new turbo three that comes with 90 hp. In Europe, the new smarts will be available with either a five-speed manual or a twinamic automatic dual clutch transmission (basically an automatic still gotta shift the gears). I'm surprised they haven't gone the "rubber-band" CVT route, but then again, smart is related to Mercedes, so... The new smarts will come in passion, prime and proxy flavors with varying degrees of trim and features. The new smarts will also have an extensive list of available options like, premium audio, infotainment systems, navigation, and much more. With any luck, smart will be able to expand past their existing happy customer base and snag more city-car consumers with the forfour for those who need, well, room for more that two. Check out the extensive press release, pics and three videos after the jump (including a video of the new smart vs. S-Class crash test).

Source: smart - Extensive press release, pics, and videos (3) after the "read more" jump.

Quick Note: 2016 Mazda2 - w/video

Mazda has released the first images and preliminary info on the sub-compact Mazda2. The look has been vastly improved with styling that mimics the 2's siblings. The look and features have been improved to allow the 2 to better compete in the sub-compact segment with more upscale features like Mazda's new SkyActiv engine tech (gas and diesel for Japan and Europe) and MazdaConnect and i-ActiveSense on the safety front. The new 2 is entering production now in Japan with the first vehicles arriving in Japanese showrooms this Fall. More information will be released closer to the new model's intro in other markets. Since they are calling the new Mazda2 a 2016 model, we can expect it here in the US after the first of the year. More to come...

Source: Mazda - Press releases (2) and video after the "read more" jump.

ACWWG: New Fiat Panda Cross compact SUV - w/videos

Here's another one from the Another Car We Won't Get files: the Fiat Panda Cross...sorta. There are rumors of a soft-roading, economy Jeep circulating that would share some components with this car, but we shall see. Why not update it to meet US regs, and sell it as a Fiat? It might get some more customers into Fiat Studios. Of course, the copper dash accents with the screaming yellow paint... Anyway, the Panda Cross is a soft-roading, all-wheel drive compact crossover that should return excellent economy numbers with its two Euro engine options, a two-cylinder gas or a MultiJet diesel. I'm sure Fiat's US engines could be used. The Panda Cross is well equipped with numerous features and options like City Brake Control safety systems, infotainment options, Electronic Locking Differential, and lots more. Did I mention that it is "cute as a button?" Cute it may be, but the Panda Cross has numerous off-road accents to toughen up the look. for lots more information, check out the extensive press release, specification charts, videos, and pics after the jump. Interesting. If you like the Panda Cross let Fiat know. Ya neva know...

Source: Fiat - Press release, spec charts, videos, and pics after the "read more" jump.

2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer people and stuff mover introduced - w/videos

BMW's new 2 Series Active Tourer (AC) is a bit of a departure for the German automaker. Firstly, the 2 AC is a front-wheel drive people and stuff mover that is a step up from a minivan and is at the same time not quite a crossover or SUV. The platform is shared with sibling Mini, so FWD handling shouldn't be a problem. In Europe, the 2 AC will be available with three- and four-cylinder engines in either gas or diesel variations. In the US, we will get the 225i AC that uses the largest (for a 2 AC) twin-turbo four (230+ hp) mated to an eight-speed  automatic. The interior mirrors current BMW design and is a definite step up for the class. Expect at least four 2 AC flavors... base, Sport Line, Luxury Line, and an M Sport specification. Expect all of the Bimmer options and infotainment like BMW ConnectedDrive and iDrive. Since this is the BMW of sorta minivans, it won't be inexpensive, but it won't be at the top of the BMW price list either. Fuel economy will be good and the 225i Active Tourer will give families and empty-nesters a more upscale option. And, it ain't bad looking either. BMW purists will be upset about this new FWD car, but BMW is a full-line automaker and the 2 Series Active Tourer is a nice addition to the BMW line-up. The 2 Series Active Tourer should be on the road in Europe soon, with US sales beginning shortly afterwards.

Source: BMW - Press release, pics (6), and videos after the "read more" jump.