Chevrolet prices all-new 2018 Equinox under $25k - w/videos

Chevy's new Equinox and sister GMC's new Terrain have received much needed styling and engineering updates for the 2018 model year. And like most siblings, the Equinox and Terrain have similarities but are very different crossovers. The Equinox is the mathlete sibling, while the Terrain is the cheerleader...which is okay depending on what you're looking for. The 2018 Equinox wears its sensible shoes well with enough style to make things interesting. The interior is a huge upgrade. Like the Terrain, the Equinox features turbocharged four-cylinder engines only, the standard 1.5-liter, a 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel. The 2.0-liter engine comes mated to GM's new nine-speed automatic. Expect six-speed automatics for the other engine choices. The Equinox will come in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels with either front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The new Equibox can be equipped with most of GM's latest tech, safety equipment, and connectivity options. Like most of today's new vehicles, you can spend a bunch or a little (the Equinox starts at $24,475 which includes destination). Anyway you look at it, the 2018 Chevy Equinox should get noticed...noticed by more purchasers that is. For more info, check out the two press releases and videos after the jump.

Source: Chevrolet - Press releases and videos after the "read more" jump. GMC Terrain.

Lexus redesigns the LS 500 sedan for 2018 - w/video

Press releases often slay me and this one is no exception. I like how they completely overlook the Acura Legend that beat Lexus to market by at least two years. But some would argue that the Legend wasn't a luxury car even though it was more BMW luxury than the Lexus LS' Cadillac luxury. You say potato... Anywho, Lexus has redone their flagship sedan for 2018 with numerous updates/upgrades to better compete with the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 8-Series, Audi A8, Cadillac CT6, and Lincoln Continental. The new LS 500 is a more curvaceous beastie that has been lowered for a sleeker, more aerodynamic look. In fact the new LS is the lowest LS ever so the new car is equipped with an access feature where the car raises the air suspension and opens the seat bolsters for easier entry and exit. Neat. Unfortunately the cow-catcher grille is still on tap, (although more refined) and the lighting systems seem to have adopted Toyota's penchant for teardrops. A twin-turbo V6 (415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque) is mated to a 10-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive standard or an available all-wheel-drive system. Expect a hybrid or EV model in the future. The suspension has been tuned for more responsive handling and to handle the 19- or 20-inch wheels. Expect the LS 500 to feature Toyota's latest safety and technology suites. The Lexus faithful should be very happy, but it will be interesting to see if the 2018 LS 500 makes many conquest sales when it cruises into dealerships late this year. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump.

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

Mercedes Benz upgrades the GLA compact ute for 2018

In my opinion, the Mercedes GLA is one of the best-looking compact SUVs (CUVs?) out there and the upgrades for the 2018 model year do little to change that with bumper redesigns, new wheel designs, new trim packages, upgraded interior materials, and the new color "Canyon Beige" leading the changes. The new Night Package includes 19-inch AMG wheels and black window trim, exterior mirrors, roof rails, exhaust tips, and other exterior accents  The GLA 250 utilizes Mercedes' 2.0-liter turbo four that produces 208 hp and 258 ft. lbs. of torque. Power gets to the ground through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and 4matic all-wheel drive is available. The GLA AMG 45 (black car shown) uses a 2.0-liter, AMG tuned, turbo four that creates 375 hp and 350 ft, lbs. of torque using a Sportshift seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic and standard 4matic. The AMG 45 has a new AMG Performance Studio package (shown on black car after the jump) that is painted either Night Black or Cosmos Black and with Matte Graphite Grey and Yellow sections, light-alloy wheels in Matte Black with Yellow rim flanges and the black painted AMG twin louver in the radiator grille. Yellow highlights characterize the front bumper, exterior mirror housings, inserts in the side skirts, rear diffuser and rear wing on the GLA AMG 45 (the white car after the jump is a GLA AMG 45 without the Performance Studio Package). In other words, you can configure your GLA from the sublime to the outrageous. All of the 2018 updates and upgrades are making a squat, aggressively styled (for Mercedes) compact ute even better than before. More to come...

Source: Mercedes Benz - Press release and spec. chart after the "read more" jump.

Audi shows the Q8 e-tron Concept - w/video

All the luxury automakers in Europe (and elsewhere) have been talking about producing large, sporty SUVs and Audi just unveiled theirs in Detroit, the Q8 (e-tron) Concept. e-tron is Audi's way of letting consumers know which of their vehicles are electrified in some way and the Q8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid that can travel more than 30 miles on battery power alone. The 3.0 TFSI engine produces 333 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque with the electric motor generating 100 kW of power and 243 lb-ft of torque utilizing a decoupler that is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The complete system produces 516 lb-ft of torque getting you to 60 from a standstill in just over 5 seconds with mileage numbers approaching triple digits (No EPA estimates yet). The Q8 is a luxury sport conveyance that in the case of the concept seats four,..comfortably. While the Q8 Concept looks ready to go, carmakers often call pre-production vehicles concepts to allow for last-minute tweaks. Will we see the 23-inch wheels in production? Dunno, but the ute that will go into production in 2018 should have the same good looks, and a full range of powertrain choices including possibly fully electric. Of course quattro all-wheel drive will be on hand as will all of Audi's safety and technology equipment. Remember, the Q8 sits at or near the top of Audi's line-up. The grille that appears to have been lifted from a Maserati Levante (bars are inies on the Levante where the bars on the Q8 are outies) might be revised although the different colored grille surround is nice providing a sort of 3D effect (for all you graphics folks out there). For more info, check out the press releaes and b-roll video after the jump. More to come...

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

New US Nissan Rogue Sport is a Qashqai by any other name - w/video

Nissan's Qashqai ute is extremely popular in Europe, so it was a natural thang for Nissan to bring the cute ute to the US and here it is, renamed Rogue Sport. The Rogue crossover is Nissan's best seller in the US and adding the Rogue Sport numbers to that total will only make the Rogue more sales competitive with other compact CUVs. Of course, the Rogue isn't so compact since the last update, so the new Rogue Sport is "right sized" according to Nissan. I think it's a good-looking edition to the compact crossover segment and Nissan should sell a bunch of them. The Rogue Sport comes with a 2.0-liter four (141 hp) mated to an Xtronic CVT (aka rubber-band transmission...yes editorializing). Trim levels mirror the rest of the Nissan line-up with S, SV, and SL grades. Expect most of Nissan's tech and safety equipment. No mention of an all-wheel-drive option, but that is expected in this segment. Who knows, if the Rogue Sport is a hit, we might see more engine choices and trim levels, but first, y'all gotta buy 'em. You could do a whole lot worse, and the almost sub-compact Rogue Sport will be at your dealer in the Spring of 2017. Yes in a few weeks... For more info, check out the press release. Rogue vs. Rogue Sport comparison pics, and video after the jump. 

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

Production 2018 Kia Stinger performance sedan surprises in Detroit - w/video

Kia surprised many a folk when they introduced the production version of their GT concept, the 2018 Stinger. The Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan (all-wheel drive is an available option) that Kia has targeted against the likes of the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS. The Stinger, with its larger size and five-door fastback body, is actually more closely benchmarked to the Audi A7. Regardless, the Stinger's pricing will determine the car's success. Can't charge BMW and Audi money for a Kia...yet. Two turbocharged engines will be available: a 2.0-liter turbo four (266 hp. 260 lb./ft, of torque) or the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 (365 hp, 376 lb./ft. of torque) mated to an eight-speed automatic. Could it be that the new Stinger shares its platform with the Genesis Coupe? Kia's full suite of technology and safety equipment will be available including Harman/Kardon premium audio. The Stinger is a looker inside and out even with the bags under the "eyes" on the front fascia. The new Kia Stinger sports sedan will be at Kia dealers by the end of this year. Again Kia remember that pricing will be very important to the overall success of this car. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump. More to come...

Source: Kia - Press release and video after the "read more" jump. GT Concept post.

VW expands the I.D. family with the I.D. Buzz - Update

Volkswagen is bound and determined to to remake the Microbus/van or Bulli (in Europe). There have been several concepts (1, 2) that recall the much loved Microbus and the I.D. Buzz EV concept is the latest and possibly the most likely to see production. The I.D. Buzz has two motors (one per axle) for all-wheel drive and the interior can be re-configured to suit your needs, even when the autonomous driving mode is used. Interesting note: You hit the VW logo on the steering wheel to have the wheel fold into the dash. The I.D. Buzz is the latest concept to use Volkswagen's Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform that was developed with electric vehicles in mind. Fingers crossed that we'll be seeing the I.D. Buzz on the highways and byways near you (and everyone else for that matter). More info to come...

Update: According to published reports, the concept's two motors combine for a total power equivalent of 369 hp with a driving range of 270 miles. An 80% recharge is possible in 30 minutes. Sounds like a winner to me. Now if VW would just get the I.D. Buzz into production...and the name...

Source: Volkswagen - Brief press release and pics after the "read more" jump.

New 2018 GMC Terrain receives bold design and new engines - w/video

GMC's Terrain has always been a stand out (in a good way) in the compact crossover segment with its tough, blocky styling. Now comes the all-new 2018 Terrain with its grown-up good looks. The competition in this segment is fierce, but the new Terrain has the goods to succeed. It has three new turbocharged engines (including a diesel) and GM's new nine-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is an available option. The new Terrain will come in four flavors, SL, SLE, SLT, and Denali (the red one). New safety features include Surround Vision, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Safety Alert Seat. The new Terrain is a highly configurable compact crossover that will fit most budgets and desires. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump. The all-new 2018 GMC Terrain will roll into dealers this Summer.
Source: GMC - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

2018 Ford F150 debuts with new looks, engines, and 10-speed automatic - w/videos

Ford's F150 is the best-selling vehicle in the US and has been for years (even decades). Any changes made to the popular truck are critical to Ford, just like when Ford switched the big truck to military-grade aluminum a couple of years back, Chevy has tried to capitalize on the aluminum bed of the F150 saying the lighter aluminum is somehow less robust (if you drop concrete blocks from 4 feet up you deserve to have a messed up truck bed), but they don't mention that the steel bed of the Silverado rusts, while the F150's aluminum bed won't. Changes include revised front and rear fascia with a two-bar grille in the front and a stamped and sculpted tailgate in the rear. From the pictures, these changes give the F150 a more upscale and unified look (even the no-bar Sport grille is nice). The interior was already a pretty special place to be so changes are limited to new and upgraded tech. The biggest addition to Ford's pick-em-up is the newly available 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel that should improve fuel economy and towing capability. Even the base V6, V8, and the two EcoBoost engines are revised and Ford's new 10-speed automatic is available across the board. Looks like Ford's F150 will keep up its winning streak. For more info, check out the press release and 2 videos after the jump.

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

All-new 2017 Mini Clubman includes new John Cooper Works model - w/video

Mini's new Clubman is the marque's largest vehicle to date and Mini upped the fun factor with the recent release of the John Cooper Works (JCW) performance model. What sets the JCW Clubman apart from other Clubmans (Clubmen?) is the turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine (231 hp) engine that comes mated to either a six-speed manual or an available eight-speed Steptronic automatic that puts the power to the road utilizing Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The JCW Clubman gets all of the Mini good stuff like Brembo sport brakes, JCW 18-inch black alloys, sport suspension, high-end display instrument panel, park distance control, LED lighting, sport seats, optional head-up display, and much more. While the JCW Clubman is pretty complete out the door, there are options for additional personalization. The new Mini John Cooper Works Clubman gives you a right-sized, premium compact with all of the fun dialed in. For more info, check out the press release and b-roll video after the jump.

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

Chrysler debuts its Portal to the future - w/videos

Chrysler recently took the wraps off of its Portal EV concept at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 in Las Vegas. The Portal is an all electric vehicle that showcases FCA's latest tech and foretells the upcoming Pacifica EV. While the Portal design is somewhat derivative, it is a nice-looking vehicle that would need work before entering into production. (The glass in the lower doors probably wouldn't make it even though the side "bumpers" match those attached to the front and rear fascia.) The glass roof makes the Portal appear airier. As it stands, the Portal is expected to have 250 miles of range with fast charging getting you 150 additional miles in just 20 minutes. The Portal's suite of sensing technologies enables an SAE Level Three semi-autonomous driving mode. The interior features the latest tech with 8 docking stations, full infotainment availability, and an in-vehicle wireless network. The seats slide on tracks that run the length of the vehicle and allow for maximum utility including seat removal. Said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America, “FCA is a leader in family transportation and it was essential that we fully explored the idea of what a vehicle could look like for this emerging generation (Millenials).” More to come... Enjoy the press release and 3 videos after the jump.

Source: FCA/Chrysler - Press release after the "read more" jump.