Buick brings the 2017 Envision compact CUV to the US

Buick is jumping into the premium compact crossover market with its Envision that has been so popular in China (Yes, China...Buick's largest market). The new CUV will slot above the sub-compact Encore and below the Enclave. Designed in Michigan, the Envision is an attractive entry that should do well against others like the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, and Lincoln MKC. The interior appears nicely finished with leather everywhere and with equipment that's expected in this class. The exterior carries Buick themes like the Regal sculpting on the flanks and the previous Buick grille (The new LaCrosse debuts the "new" grille look). Standard equipment includes the 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo four (252 hp, 260 lb./ft. of torque), six-speed automatic, Active Twin Clutch all-wheel-drive system, IntelliLink with 8-inch color touch screen, Safety Alert Seat, Lane Keep Assist, tri-zone climate control with rear-seat controls, 19-inch aluminum wheels, Bose premium sound system, and much more. Options include OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, panoramic moonroof, and more available in groups or individually. Prices have not been announced but the Envision should be competitive not to mention a big seller for Buick. All Envision CUVs will be imported from China until the sales numbers warrant a local build. The Buick Envision will arrive at your local Buick dealer in 2016. More to come...

Source: Buick - Press release and spec charts after the "read more" jump.

Quick Look: 2017 Audi Q7

Audi's 2017 Q7 is all-new. While the design is less svelte than the previous Q7, the new SUV has a similar look with improved interior room especially in the second and third rows. Yep, third row, cuz the Q7 is a full-size luxury ute of the highest order. Somehow it seems even bigger than before. Since everything is new, lets hit the highlights. The Q7 is powered by Audi's 3.0-liter V6 (333 hp, 325 lb./ft. of torque) that is mated to an eight-speed automatic pushing the power to all four wheels using Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Standard features include a power tailgate, Audi Drive Select (includes Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Offroad and Individual settings), two-panel panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, xenon plus headlights and LED taillights (include arrow-look LED running light elements), MMI infotainment, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and lots more for your Premium model's base price of $54,800. Step up to the Premium Plus model for $58,800 while the Prestige model starts at $64,300. Available options include an air suspension, Bose premium audio, Audi Virtual Cockpit, full-color head-up display, Luxury package, four-zone climate control, Connect Care and Connect Prime infotainment, 4G LTE connectivity, a Bang & Olufsen® 3D Advanced Sound System (23 speakers including two retractable acoustic lenses all powered by a 23-channel amplifier with an output of 1,920 watts), and well, as much more as your wallet and budget can take. Since the government hasn't accepted Audi's diesel engine fix, the V6 diesel isn't available which is a shame since diesel engines are a good match to large sport utes. Maybe later. For more info, check out the press releases, spec charts, and video after the jump.

Source: Audi - Press releases and video after the "read more" jump.

Mercedes Benz SL Grand Tourer gets updates and a nose job for 2017 - w/videos

If you do it right the first time, constant updates aren't required and Mercedes' SL roadsters were definitely done right. The SL series has had few sweeping redesigns in its more than five-decade-long run. When you see an SL. you know what it is top up or down (down is best, right?). For 2016/17 (the press release doesn't denote the model year), the SL gets a few updates and carries over the good stuff like the Vario-roof hardtop that is available with the unique Magic Sky Control which when closed, the panoramic vario-roof automatically changes from dark to transparent or vice-versa within just a few seconds as needed. Mercedes' infotainment and safety suites are also on hand that includes features like Distance Pilot Distronic, Active Brake Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Active Blind Spot and Lane-Keeping Assist, Online Assist, Apple Car-Play, Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system (10-channel DSP amplifier with a total output of 600 watts and 11 high-performance speakers including Frontbass), a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG system, and much, much more as standard or optional equipment.  One of my favorites is the Airscarf system that blows warm air on your neck when the top's down and it's chilly out. See the detailed press release after the jump for more info and videos. Available in SL400 (supercharged V6, 367 hp, 500 Nm of torque), SL500 (V8, 455 hp, 700 Nm of torque), SL63 AMG (Hi-performance V8, 585 hp, 900 Nm of torque) and the SL65 AMG (V12, 630 hp, 1000 NM of torque) that are mated to either a nine-speed or seven-speed AMG automatic transmission. In other words, you can get the performance you can afford with top SLs breaking the six-figure price point. Also on tap for the new model year are a restyled front clip, a lighter bodyshell, and Intelligent LED lighting at the rear. If I had the bucks, a black SL400 with a saddle brown Nappa leather interior and all the goodies, would be my choice. You?

Source: Mercedes Benz - Extensive press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

Chevy debuts new 2016 Trax Midnight Edition

Compact and sub-compact crossovers are all the rage right now and Chevy's Trax sub-compact just got more interesting. The itty-bitty, mini SUV (sorta) gets Chevy's Midnight Edition treatment for 2016. In other words, picture almost everything black like the paint, wheels, interior, trim and moldings. Okay, only the top pic is of the "Midnight Edition", but I provided the others for context and imagining. On the inside picture black everywhere with gray piping on the seats and mats. Outside only the badges and scuff plates lack the requisite black coloring. The Trax Midnight Edition is based on the top-end LTZ model so you'll get a lot of stuff for your bucks when the Trax ME goes on sale in February (2016). Prices start at $26,125 (includes destination) for the Trax LTZ and the Midnight Edition package will add another $500 buckaroos. And don't forget to add taxes, license, fees, and additional options to your total. With average new car prices rising above $30k, the Trax Midnight Edition could get you a fairly well-equipped vehicle for little money. Check out the press release after the jump or click on the previous post link (below) for general Trax info and specs.

Source: Chevrolet - Press release after the "read more" jump. Previous post.

Quick Look: 2016 VW Beetle Denim Convertible

Yeah, I've always liked Volkswagen's Beetle and the new ones are pretty cool in a retro sort of way. They won't come close to the simplicity of the original (I worked on my own VW Van for goodness sake, and that's saying something), but they become interesting looking cars with modern mechanicals. Kinda like a brand new Bug restomod. Volkswagen has paid homage to the Jeans/Levis lifestyle of the 60s and 70s with special edition models in the past (Beetle Jeans) and are once again giving you a unique throwback car with the 2016 Beetle Denim. The new Beetles Denim is a "value" convertible that will come fairly well equipped with special paint (Pure White or Stonewashed Blue), a denim-look convertible top, 17-inch Heritage wheels, 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine (170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft of torque) with a six-speed automatic transmission, and Volkswagen’s new MIB II Composition Color infotainment system which includes a 5.0-inch resistive touchscreen display, AUX-in and SD card slots, a USB multimedia interface with iPhone® and iPod® device connectivity, reverse camera display, and Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices. The interior gets a special light-blue-and-silver dashpad and jeans-inspired seat pockets with small Beetle tabs in red, and light blue denim-color cloth seating surfaces with white piping and dark blue leatherette accents. Easier to sit on in the hot months don'tcha know. I'm sure you will be able to add some options to the list, but the Beetle Denim is fairly complete and pricing should be very competitive (ie: affordable). Only 2,000 Beetle Denim Convertibles will be made evenly split between the two colors. The Beetle Denim Convertible will be available in early 2016. If this looks like your next car, contact your local dealer. Check out the brief press release after the jump.

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