The Corolla quietly makes its way into its 45th year of production as we enter the 2013 model year. Toyota, not one to mess with success, chose to let the Corolla’s 45th anniversary pass with no fanfare. In fact, the 2013 model year pretty much carries all of the same trimmings from the 2012 model year, save for a few minor changes.
The Corolla can carry on unchanged and not lose any steam because it is only two model years removed from a slight refresh and that it has a very specific role: draw in young buyers with a low price and high quality. It is not in Toyota’s lineup to dazzle anyone out of $30K. It is happy providing basic amenities at sub-$17K prices.
The goal in this is to get buyers impressed with the entry-level `Yota sedan and that should eventually lead to these buyers snagging up a top-line Avalon – so theory says.
The 2013 Toyota Corolla comes in three trim levels: L, LE and S. With each level comes a little more luxury and the S model actually makes the Corolla fairly bearable for even picky buyers.
Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Toyota Corolla
Okay, I have worked in many repair shops in my day. During my tour as a service manager, I came across a fair share of “Mountain Man Mechanics,” which is the politically correct thing to call them. These guys love taking the strangest vehicles and creating monsters out of them.
There was one mechanic that took a 1980s Honda Civic hatchback and dropped a 1300 cc Hayabusa engine in it, thinking it would increase the Civic’s performance. He didn’t quite grasp the logic of torque-to-weight ratio and ended up with only a really cool sounding Civic.
Another monster that sticks out in my mind is when a mechanic tore apart his unwilling wife’s mid-1990s Mitsubishi Mirage and dropped its body on a self-shortened S-10 frame. He then dropped a 307 cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine in it and connected the Olds engine to the transmission and transfer case on the S-10 frame. It actually looked and sounded mean when he was done, but instead of re-welding the frame together, he used several bolts to secure it. Guess what happened...
What’s my point here? Well, a new monster has recently come to our attention, which is for sale on Craigslist. The owner has dubbed this machine a 2007 Willys Trike. This trike has a stretched Jeep CJ-2 body with a motorcycle wheel on the front. The body sits on a custom frame – hopefully it’s welded – and has the rear independent suspension from a T-bird.
Instead of having the old Jeep CJ-2 engine, this beast has a Chevy 4.3-liter Vortec engine, which is good for around 190 horsepower, if it is stock. Plus it has a four-speed transmission connecting the engine to the rear wheels.
The handle bars for the motorcycle wheel span all the way from the front of the vehicle through two slots under the windshield. We bet this thing is a scary animal to maneuver at high speeds. But anyways, this “Mountain Man” monster can be yours for “just” $11,000. We bet this thing sits on the market for a while.
The three door version of the new Volkswagen Up! was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and now Volkswagen has released the first details on the five-door model. In Germany, the new version will go on sale March 6th with first deliveries arriving in May. Prices will start from 10,800 euro, or about $14,000 at the current exchange rates.
The five-door Volkswagen Up! features the same dimensions as the three-door version, but the difference is the rear doors which open wide and allow easy boarding. The interior also offers more space, with 94.7cm (37.2 inches) of headroom and 79cm (31.1 inches) of legroom. The rear passengers will be even more comfortable thanks to raised seating positions.
As for power, the new Up! will be offered with a 1.0-liter petrol engine with BlueMotion technology offered in either 60 or 75 HP versions. Both of these options are combined with start-stop function and an impressive fuel economy of 4.2 liters/100 km.
Just like with three-door Up!, the new five-door model will be offered with City Emergency Braking - a new safety technology system that automatically actives at speeds of under 18.6 mph and uses a laser sensor to detect the risk of any imminent collisions. Next to this feature, the new five-door Up! will also get touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, and other entertainment systems.
Scion has announced the new special edition 2012 xB Release Series 9.0 that will arrive in dealer showrooms in October 2011. The model will be offered exclusively in Hot Lava and will be priced from $18,110 when equipped with a manual gearbox and $19,060 when equipped with an automatic transmission. It will be limited to only 1,500 units.
The xB’s new Hot Lava exterior color will be combined with a unique honeycomb patterned lower grille that cleverly incorporates the brand name "Scion" into the mix. For the interior, the Release Series 9.0 will get exclusive perforated synthetic suede front and rear seat covers that feature an embossed Scion logo and Hot Lava color-tuned highlights. The xB wears an illuminated badge that is individually numbered.
The list of standard equipment include an all-new AM/FM/CD/HD/USB 160-watt maximum output Pioneer audio system, HD Radio technology, and Bluetooth connectivity that allows both hands-free phone connection as well as streaming audio capability.
The current generation Toyota Tacoma has been in production since 2005 and it’s about time the truck got some changes. For the 2012 model year, the Tacoma has been updated with a restyled exterior look and a redesigned and modernized interior, with some technological goodies to boot. What hasn’t changed is the power source: the Toyota Tacoma will still be running on either a 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine producing 159 HP and 180 lb-ft of torque or the 4.0 liter V6 delivering 236 hp and 266 lb-ft.
Some of the highlights for the 2012 Tacoma include a redesigned hood, new grille, new headlamps, and a new front bumper. The inside is where Toyota got real schnazzy, sprucing up the truck with a new six-speaker system with an AM/FM/ Satellite Radio-capable head unit and a single-disc CD player for the Access Cabin model and the new Entune infotainment system with seven speakers for the Double Cab model.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Toyota Tacoma.
Not too many things remain static throughout our lives. Yet throughout mine one thing has remained a part of the landscape of my life: my dad’s 1968 BMW 2002. He has had this car since it rolled out of Munich in 1968. I have many childhood memories sitting in those Recaro bucket seats. The learning did not cease; if anything it picked up because as I became more interested in cars, this car become the embodiment of everything I look for in a great car: style, performance, fuel economy. Then my dad and I upgraded virtually every component of it and made it better.
This was my study hall where some of my fondest memories were with my dad installing the engine and soaking up the knowledge like a new sponge. Now as I sit in its seats, the recollections flood back. Yet when I turn the key, the engine rumble prompts me to go out into the world and make new memories.
It didn’t take long for Kia to release a facelift version of the Soul, did it?
After only three model years, the Korean automaker has decided that their K-pop crossover needed a facelift, and so they gave it one, providing the 2012 Soul with all the styling, power, and fuel economy improvements needed to satisfy the vehicle’s growing number of fans.
While the car already looked the part of something eclectic, Kia went the subtle route with their changes, opting to give it improvements that are less about style than they were about substance. This substance is provided with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 143 lb/ft of torque with an improved fuel economy rating of 27 mpg on the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
"The Soul crossover vehicle has always stood out from the crowd and was responsible for bringing new customers to the Kia brand and positioning the company for a series of record-breaking successes," said Michael Sprague, vice president of Marketing & Communications at Kia Motors America.
"With gas prices on the rise, this refresh adds even more style and fun-to-drive performance, while also improving fuel economy by 10 percent."
The small car market in the United States has been growing by leaps and bounds in the recent years and new offerings have made existing vehicles seem outdated. These machines, such as the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze, make the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla seem more at home with a horse attached to the front.
Yet, what happens when one gets a vehicle that seemed outdated before the launch of those new models? The Nissan Sentra is just one of those models, as its styling inside and out could easily be from 1999, but does that really matter? Styling is, after all, something that each person sees differently and the interior of a vehicle, as important as it is to the media, doesn’t seem to matter much to Americans. Just look at how many Impalas sold last year and this point will hit home.
So, with that being said, is the Nissan Sentra a work of art hidden under a bland exterior, or is its 20th century appearance a sign of what’s to come once on the road? In order to find out, Nissan gave us a 2011 Sentra 2.0 SL to drive around for seven days.
Skoda is celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Monte Carlo Rally and the 110th year anniversary of the brand’s motorsport efforts with the launch of the special edition Fabia Monte Carlo Edition. This new version made its first public appearance at Rallye Monte Carlo back in January and has now been introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
While we’re not completely enamored with these type of cars, we do have to give the boys over at Skoda some serious love for the way they designed this special edition Fabia.The powertrain may not be on the powerful side, but Skoda certainly makes up for it by designing the special edition Fabia with a very nice red and black two-tone finish, highlighting an aggressive rally-inspired exterior that completely masks the subdued engine under its bonnet.
It may not be the fastest car out of the block, but for a car that you can take to the city for some nice, little joy-riding, the Skoba Fabia Monte Carlo is about as good an option as any B-car segment vehicle.
Details on the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo after the jump.
Honda may have unveiled the Fit EV Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but that doesn’t mean they have forgotten about their petrol version of the Fit. For 2011, the Honda Fit gets more comfort, more convenience features, and VSA as standard. The car is already on sale with prices starting at $15,100 for the standard version and $16,860 for the Sport version.
The 2011 Fit is offered with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 117 HP at 6,600 rpm and 106 lb-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine can be mated to either a 5-Speed Manual or a 5-Speed Automatic transmission.
The Fit comes with standard amenities such as air conditioning, cruise control, remote entry, an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, USB audio interface2, auxiliary audio input jack, MP3/WMA playback capability, Radio Data System (RDS), power windows, power mirrors and power door locks. The Fit Sport adds or replaces: carpeted floor mats, alloy wheels, an underbody aero kit, rear roofline spoiler, fog lights and a security system.
Hit the jump to read full details on the 2011 Honda Fit Sport.