Ford unveils 2016 Taurus in Shanghai

Behold, the 2016 Ford least for China. Will the '16 Taurus for the US have a similar look? Probably, but there will be differences (although I wish that this was the car we would get). Firstly, the new full-size Taurus is being developed in China for the "executive business-class" car buyer, who often has a driver. As a result, the almost four-inch wheelbase stretch goes for rear-seat comfort. The optional rear-seats get special attention with power-reclining rear seats with optional adjustable lumbar support and a massage function, and a rear center fold down armrest that holds a rear-seat control panel for air conditioning, seat functions. and car media. While in the US most wouldn't need the special rear thrones, they would be good for livery service and Mothers-in-law. The wheelbase stretch should stay though since it gives the car a more flowing style that is a nice update on today's blocky there is all that extra room inside. While rear shots were not yet available, the look is updated to reflect Ford's current style ethos and it is attractive. The China Taurus also uses upgraded materials, Ford's 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, and 19-inch alloy wheels to name a just few of the changes. A large sunroof is also available. More specifics will be made available closer to the car's US debut, but until then, check out the Shanghai Motor Show press release after the jump. More to come...

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

2016 GMC Terrain receives updated look and new features - w/video

GMC's Terrain has always been a standout in a sea of look-a-like compact crossovers and GMC has attempted to "gild the lily" for 2016. Unfortunately to these eyes, some of the updates are less successful than others. Case in point, what's with the dimples in the grille surround? Doesn't the C-shaped lower fascia trim detract from the look (just to be different maybe)? The rest of the updates improve GMC's second-best-selling vehicle (behind the Sierra pickup). The Terrain Denali (dark truck in pics) continues to be a little blingtastic for my taste, but they have to justify the prices I guess. The '16 Terrain comes in SL, SLE (SLE-1 and SLE-2), SLT, and Denali flavors. Changes include: new front and rear fascias, new grille designs, a power dome hood, light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lamps, a new safety suite of equipment (with improved availability), revised interior with new colors, and more. Terrains can be equipped with either a 2.4-liter Ecotec I4 or a 3.6-liter V6 mated to an automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional. “The updates for the 2016 Terrain make one of the strongest designs in the compact SUV market even more compelling,” said Helen Emsley, executive director, Global GMC Design. “They create a more contemporized appearance rooted in GMC’s professional grade precision.” For more info, check out the press release and the New York Auto Show reveal after the jump. Prices will be announced closer to the 2016 Terrain's on-sale date this Fall.

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

Toyota RAV4 gets Hybrid option and updates for 2016 - w/videos

Toyota has upgraded the RAV4 cute ute for 2016 and added two new models, SE and Hybrid (blue car in pics). Customer "concerns" have been addressed with high(er)-quality materials specified for the interior, updated interior design features including an available 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display in a revised gauge cluster and an available 7-inch touch-sensitive display audio touch screen, new interior colors, and more. Exterior styling is revised with a new front fascia and new colors. The regular RAV4 will come in four trim levels: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE (the orange car in pics after the jump), while the new Hybrid will come in upscale XLE and Limited trim only. The sporty RAV4 SE gets a sports-tuned suspension; 18-inch alloy wheels; LED headlights and taillight;, SofTex Seats with power driver’s seat and contrast stitching (also on Limited); two interior colors (Black and Black/Tan); unique bumper and lower grille design; the 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display with a meter cluster, twin dials, red illumination and red pointer; distinctive interior finishes with black headliner and gunmetal finish, paddle shifters, and more. Interestingly, the Hybrid model will have more power than the standard RAV4 and come with Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD-i) as standard equipment along with improved fuel efficiency. But then the Hybrid model will be more expensive. For more information (including new info on safety features), check out the press release, pics (mostly high-res), and two b-roll videos after the jump. Enjoy.

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

Land Rover shows Range Rover Sport HST with more-powerful supercharged V6 - w/video

If you are looking for the ultimate SUV, you need look no further than Land Rover's Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. For 2016, Land Rover is adding a midrange Range Rover Sport (RRS) HST model that ekes out almost 40 more horsepower (approx 375 hp) from the 3.0-liter supercharged V6. The RRS HST comes in your choice of colors with gloss black trim and a Santorini Black contrast roof on the outside. A choice of four Ebony/color leather two-tone interiors (or all Ebony) are available with HST badging on the dashboard, carpet mats and the TFT instrument panel; Noble-plated paddle shift gear levers on the steering wheel; and distinctive bright 'Sports' pedals on the inside where the aluminium interior trim features a textured 'Sports' finish. The standard 21-inch alloy wheels are finshed in a dark satin grey with red brake calipers. 22-inch Stealth wheels are optional. The RRS HST will include all the good stuff in the J/LR grab bag as well as the new equipment coming to all '16 RRS models like the Gesture control tailgate, InControl Remote Premium, and more. You may order your '16 Range Rover Sport HST now for delivery later this year at your local Jaguar/Land Rover dealer. Pricing hasn't been announced, but if you have to ask... For more info, check out the press release and J/LR New York Auto Show press conference video after the jump.  I like the red. You?

Source: Land Rover - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

Chevy Spark gets updates, upgrades for 2016 - w/videos

For the 2016 model year, Chevrolet has upgraded their littlest car, the Spark, The car is slightly longer, the roof is lower and the wheels were moved to the corners of the car for a more mature look and better aerodynamics. As a result, the Spark has also lost some of its funkiness, er spark, as well. Chevy's new 1.4-liter Ecotec engine (98 hp) is on hand mated to either a dual-range continuously-variable transmission or a five-speed manual. New safety equipment includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Side Blind Spot Alert. Chevy's next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen takes center stage on the new advanced dot-matrix LCD instrument cluster display (no pics were available but there are interior shots in the videos). The Korean-built, 2016 Chevrolet Spark will be at your local dealer by the end of the year. For more info, check out the press release and two videos (one of the car's reveal at the New York Auto Show) after the jump. “At its core, the new Spark is still the fun, agile urban car that made the first-generation model so popular, but it delivers that fun driving experience with greater sophistication,” said Sam Basile, executive chief engineer. “And while it’s a truly global car, it is targeted for more developed vehicle markets, allowing engineers to focus more precisely on the materials and technologies that resonate with customers...”

Source: Chevrolet - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

Hi-Per Ford Focus RS makes US debut - w/video

Ford's Focus RS hot hatch has been a hit in Europe, but US performance enthusiasts had to lust after the unobtainable RS...but no more. The latest generation of the Focus RS hot hatch will come to the US in 2016. Will it be worth the wait? You betcha. Underneath you will find Ford's 2.3-liter high-performance EcoBoost engine (315 hp est.) mated to a heavy-duty six-speed manual transmission (to handle the power) with power routed through Ford's Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. Front Brembo brake calipers bring things to a halt. Other RS features include Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system, advanced performance technologies, selectable drive modes (including drift mode), performance suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, Auto Start-Stop, body kit, unique front and rear fascia, rear roof spoiler, and more. The Focus RS is not a stripper econocar and expect prices to reflect the technology and performance on hand. More info will be available closer the the RS' on-sale date next year. Until, then, enjoy the fairly informative press release and video after the jump.

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

Nissan unleashes all-new 2016 Maxima - w/videos

They say "execution is everything." You know, how you carry out your mission. We'll come back to this one. Nissan's Maxima is heralded as the "Four-Door Sports Car" and that has been true. The Maxima was an aspirational vehicle at one point. With the new 2016 edition, Nissan is trying to re-light the Maxima fire. The styling of the new Maxima is controversial (whether in a good or bad way is up to you) and mirrors the design of the recent Sport Sedan Concept. It's a nice looking car that will look good in some colors better than others. The 2016 Maxima is nicely finished and will be available in five trim levels, S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum. The equipment available on the Maxima is trim level specific...there will be no options (except dealer installed items). If you want say leather seats, you have to go to at least the SV trim level for example. For equipment breakdown, check out the second release. Nissan has outfitted the Maxima with pretty much everything like the revised 3.5-liter V6 (300 hp) and all the safety equipment you could want or need. But here's where the execution is a bit short. A "driver's car" will not have a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). I doubt that few Maxima owner's would want a manual but a geared automatic or dual-clutch unit is called for. Nissan sells them at Infiniti. And for a car that starts at $32,410 (plus taxes, license, fees, $825 destination), you would expect more than an economy car transmission. Sigh. Soooo close. For more info, check out the two press releases, pics (with infographics,,,click for a closer look) and videos after the jump. Enjoy.

Source: Press release, infographics, and videos after the "read more" jump.

Honda previews 2016 production Civic with Civic Sport Concept - w/video

If you're looking for a mean, green, driving machine, Honda has the car for you, the 10th Generation Civic Concept. The Civic Concept bodes well for the next-gen 2016 Civic, but Honda has made some stunning concepts in the past that were so watered down by the time they saw production, they were hardly recognizable. Keep your fingers and toes crossed. The Civic is important to Honda, so this fast upgrade makes sense to keep customers coming through dealer doors. The concept is a nice looking car with flowing lines and nice detailing although production cars would probably lose the body kit and rear wing, and go for simpler front and rear fascia. But, the next Civic Type R is rumored to be headed for the US and the Civic Concept could be an early look. Let's hope, cuz Honda needs a style know kinda like this. Since this is a "concept," expect changes before the production model is released. Heck, I even like the chartreuse mica metallic paint. The 2015 Civic will feature the new VTEC® Turbo engines from the company's Earth Dreams Technology™ powertrain series. Manual- and continuously-variable (boo) transmissions will be on hand as well along with most of Honda's suite of safety equipment. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump.

Source: Honda - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

Porsche introduces new Boxster Spyder - w/videos

Porsche took the wraps off of its latest new edition, the Boxster Spyder, at the New York Auto Show. The new Spyder sits atop the Boxster line-up with prices starting at $82,100 (+ taxes, license, fees, options, and $995 destination). The Boxster Spyder is the lightest, most-powerful (375 hp) Boxster available today hitting 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. A manual transmission is the only gear changer available. Even the audio system and air conditioning have been deleted to save weight (although they are no-cost options). Since this is a Porsche, the Boxster Spyder can move and corner with the best of them and has an extra dose of style for good measure. If this is yo thang, get thee to your dealer ASAP and put in your order. For more info, check out the press release and two videos after the jump.

Source: Porsche - Press release and two videos after the "read more" jump.

Scion reveals new iA sedan - w/video

Toyota has sort of neglected their "youth-oriented" Scion brand for a while now with little new product other than the occassional limited edition. That is changing with the sub-compact you see here, the Scion iA, the brand's first sedan. Yup with a trunk. The iA is a cute scooter that seems to provide a lot of content for little know, "bang for your buck" which was once Scion's claim to fame. Of course, Scion has always been the car you can customize in the showroom and that will continue with its new entries. But the iA is a good, basic car with a 1.5-liter engine (106 hp) that is mated to a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic. Standard features include Keyless Entry with Push-Button Start;  Low-speed Pre-collision system; Bluetooth; rear view back-up camera; cruise control; power windows, locks and exterior mirrors; 7-in. Display Audio system )with touch screen, 6 speakers, remote interface, Pandora®, Aha™ and Stitcher™); USB ports; and more all for around $16k. A good deal, right? Published reports have stated that the new iA shares equipment with the new Mazda2 so it should be a handler as well. Expect to see a lot of these motoring around. It won't be the cheapest, but it should be one of the best values. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump. The Scion iA should be at your local dealer this Fall.

Source: Scion - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

All-new 2016 Malibu surfs into the spotlight - w/videos

Well, the dowdy duds are gone...long-live the 2016 Malibu (or something like that). There was a time when owning a Malibu was a big deal. Everybody (almost) wanted one and many "Bu"s are sought-after collector cars today. Then things went downhill. But they seem to be back with the all-new '16 Bu. The new Malibu is everything a new model should be...longer (wheelbase up almost 4 inches for more interior room), lighter (for improved handling and fuel efficiency), and more stylish. Let's just say that the new Malibu is a knock-out. This is the best iteration of the Chevrolet corporate grille I've seen. The body-side creases provide visual interest and give the illusion of flowing motion (while standing still). Even the roofline is more up-to-date than recent efforts. Unless GM blows it somewhere, they should sell bunches of these.

The new Bu comes in five flavors: L, LS, LT, Premier (new model designation), and Hybrid. The standard engine is GM's new 1.5-liter EcoTec (160 hp est.) mated to a six-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter Ecotec Turbo motor (250 hp est.) is optional and will come with GM's new eight-speed automatic. The Hybrid borrows tech and equipment from the Volt using the 1.8L four-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit (187 hp total system hp). All of the 2016 Malibus are expected to provide class-leading fuel efficiency. Inside, the interior is clean and looks more upscale than you would normally see in your average family sedan. (pics are clickable and fairly hi-res btw.) And the new Malibu gets all of GM's infotainment and safety equipment like MyLink (with available 7- or 8-inch touch screens), OnStar 4G LTE, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Automatic Parking Assist, and more which are either standard or optional based on model or trim level choosen. One interesting safety innovation is the Teen Driver system that allows parents to program car parameters to ensure safe driving (see video at the end of the press release). For more info, check out the press release and three videos after the jump. The all-new 2016 Malibu is expected at your local dealer in the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: Chevrolet - Press release, pics, and three videos after the "read more' jump.