$20K-$30K

$20K-$30K

Posted on by Simona  

After revealing the ILX Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January, Acura has quickly followed it up with the production version at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. Carrying the same ILX name, the new sedan will be offered with a choice of two different engines, as well as a Hybrid version for those with a particular love for the environment.

The Acura ILX addresses the young buyers that are looking for their first luxury vehicle. Acura has promised the ILX will be a cheaper alternative to models like the Buick Verano and the Audi A3 .

"First-time luxury buyers tend to place a high value on exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues, and that’s what we have created with the new Acura ILX Acura ILX ," said Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio. "The strategy behind this new model is to position ILX as the first opportunity for many young buyers to enter the luxury market."

Updated 06/17/2014: Acura announced prices for the 2015 ILX which continues to be offered with the same features as the 2014 model year. The only change includes a new Modern Steel Metallic exterior paint that replaces the Polished Metal Metallic.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013-2014 Acura ILX.

The Mini brand was resurrected for the 2001 model year, five years after the original Cooper ceased to exist. Initially available only as a three-door hatch and two-door convertible, the new Mini quickly grew into a lineup that included the Clubman , the Countryman , the Coupe and the Paceman . The first-gen model survived for only five years, being replaced by the second-gen in 2006. In 2013, the brand new, third-generation Mini was unveiled, this time riding atop BMW ’s UKL1 platform.

Mini already debuted a brand-new diesel engine for the Cooper 5-Door , and the Brits decided to give that same oil burner to the three-door version as well. We’re talking about the 2.0-liter four-banger that generates 170 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and enables the Cooper DS to become the most powerful diesel Cooper ever created.

Of course, it’s not overly fast from naught to 62 mph, but its 7.3-second second sprint is good enough considering the hatchback claims to return up to 58 mpg on the highway. The 0-to-62 mph figure drops to 7.2 seconds when the engine is paired to the six-speed Steptronic transmission. Sporty and efficient, a recipe that fits today’s demanding market like a glove.

Unfortunately, there’s no word as to whether this nippy fuel sipper will hit U.S. shores or not, but don’t expect to find it at a dealership near you this year. On the other hand, those of you who live in the United Kingdom can order one starting July 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mini Cooper SD.

Nissan has been building midsize trucks since 1985, with models stretching all across the globe. Here in U.S., the Hardbody and then Frontier have filled the slot, but overseas in nearly every other country, it’s been the Navara. Now for 2015, the Navara moves into its twelfth generation with the NP300 Navara.

While we were expecting Nissan to announce the U.S.-spec Frontier sometime soon, the automaker has been quiet on the details. We do suspect many if not most of the Navara’s details will transfer over to the Frontier, but we cannot be certain. That’s especially true when considering the powertrain options.

As for the new NP300, the updates are more evolutionary than revolutionary. A more ridged high-strength frame holds still the independent, coil-over suspension up front with a leaf spring suspension out back. Power comes from two — so far — improved engines: a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, gasoline mill and a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, turbo-diesel. Both engines are more efficient and powerful, helping the truck do more with less fuel. A seven-speed automatic and a six-speed manual transmission are offered with both engines.

An electric, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system is available and is assisted by Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamic Control system, Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, and Active Brake Limited Slip. That last feature uses the brakes to apply force to a spinning wheel in low-traction situations on both the front and rear axles. The mechanical differential then sends power to the opposite wheel.

These nitty-gritty features all work together to get make the Navara look like a solid contender for Nissan in the upcoming years. As far as the U.S. version, it appears we’ll have to wait a bit longer for any news. But when it comes, rest assured that TopSpeed will have it covered.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara.

The Ford Lightweight Concept is a unique prototype . It doesn’t have any fancy new headlights or levitating cabins, but it does have new technology that could end up becoming one of the more important advancements in the industry. The "Lightweight Concept" name pretty much says it all. This prototype is all about showcasing advanced lightweight materials that lets future Ford models improve their performance and fuel efficiency, while also dropping the carbon-dioxide emissions.

Weight reduction and improved efficiency are two of the industry’s most important goals, and the Lightweight Concept features Ford at its innovative best. The Lightweight Concept makes use of advanced material applications like aluminum, ultra-high-strength steels, magnesium, and carbon fiber. Each of these materials were incorporated into the design of the vehicle, creating a blueprint that could pave the way for integrating lightweight advancements in future models.

It’s not going to blow anybody away in the same way "normal" concepts would. But that’s not the point with the Lightweight Concept. Rather, this concept is here to show off just how small innovations can lead to huge benefits in the future.

Should Ford reach that point, the company can look back to the Lightweight Concept as the prototype that made it possible to achieve long-term potential lightening solutions.

So don’t sleep on the Lightweight Concept just because it’s essentially a Ford Fusion with fancy and colorful graphics all over the body. This prototype could end up becoming one of the most important Ford has developed in recent years.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Lightweight Concept.

The current Mini Cooper is no longer the small economy car that used to rule British streets beginning with the 1960s. Revamped under BMW ownership, the tiny vehicle that Mr. Bean used to haul armchairs and buckets of paint has grown into a fancy hatchback that’s not exactly affordable when packed with all sorts of amenities.

Nevertheless, the new Mini has become increasingly popular in the United States, where no less than ten iterations are available in showrooms. However, the German-owned company is expanding its lineup yet again by adding a five-door version of the familiar hatch , increasing the number of vehicle that have more than three doors to three. The other two are the Clubman and the Countryman .

The Mini Cooper 5-Door came a little later than expected, but it’s finally here to show off its longer body and additional rear doors. Longer and slightly taller than the regular three-door Cooper , the 5-Door’s main purpose is to satisfy customers that have been asking for a roomier Mini that provides easier access in the back and doesn’t feature bi-parting rear doors.

Set to go on sale in the summer of 2014, the Mini Cooper 5-Door is also an alternative to the Fiat 500L , as well as a thorn in the Clubman’s side.

Click past the jump to find out more about the 2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

As the focal point of the Worthersee car show, Volkswagen has a huge presence at the show. But for all the years that it’s been attending the event, VW has never brought a Golf Variant to the show. That all changed in 2014, as the Volkswagen Golf Variant made an appearance with the "Youngster 5000."

VW developed this showpiece as part of its talent program and the wagon itself was built with the help of six young apprentices. That’s making a real statement that the design pool inside Volkswagen isn’t drying up.

The "Youngster 5000" features a unique Arancio Argos Pearl finish that is complemented by transplanted components from the VW’s R GmbH range. The front and rear bumpers, the door sill package, and the seat system were all added to the Golf Variant, creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance that fits in with all the other concepts and prototypes at Worthersee.

By the way, the "Youngster 5000" title of the Golf Variant takes its name from a unique addition to the cabin of the vehicle, a 5,000-watt sound system that Volkswagen mounted on skids in the rear that passengers can control using a customized iPad.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf Variant Youngster 5000.

The 33rd Worthersee meeting has come with its fair share of unique and attractive concepts. But the Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition stands on a level all its own. It’s special not because of its significance in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Golf , but because the people behind the development of the vehicle are 12 apprentice designers from Volkswagen and Sitech Sitztechnik, aged 18 to 23.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition is the brainchild of four women and eight men, each of whom, you can argue, has a bright future in the auto industry. Development of the car took nine months and it was far from easy too.

These budding designers spent all those hours planning, testing, and implementing all the ideas they learned while spending time with some of the finest designers in the industry, including project manager and instructor Holger Schülke. Under Schülke’s guidance, the designers created the Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition using a standard Golf GTI Performance.

From there, the designers went to work, putting all the knowledge they’ve learned into good use, thus creating a unique Golf GTI that not only looks as sexy as the past six apprentice GTI models to debut in Worthersee, but also showcases the immense design talent Volkswagen has developed on its own in recent years.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition.

The Subaru BRZ has been around since the 2013 model year and to this day, there’s still little evidence that Suby is prepared to make a more powerful version of the sports car . It’s latest special edition model, the BRZ Series.Blue, follows in what has become an increasingly frustrating trend for Subaru (Toyota and Scion , too, for that matter) enthusiasts. The aerodynamic upgrades are there, and the interior even looks real nice. But for all the upgrades the BRZ Series.Blue received, it still carries that same medicore 2.0-liter boxer that produces 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Care to bump that up a little, Subaru?

The likely answer we’ll get is "not as long as people keep buying it," but we’re still holding out hope that Subaru has some serious plans for the BRZ down the road. The rumored BRZ STi is one that we’re clearly holding on to, and we’re not letting that go until Subaru takes the idea to pasture, kills it and brings us its lifeless body.

The rumored output for the BRZ STi is 250 horsepower, which isn’t much, but still something to look forward to. The biggest thing is that we’d likely see that 151 pound-feet of torque climb to closer to the 250 pound-feet mark, giving the BRZ the ability to pull hard out of corners and from the line. But for now, we’re going to have to settle for the STi-badged BRZ Series.Blue. Only 1,000 models are being made so it does have "exclusivity" attached to it.

Take that for what it’s worth.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue.

Audi has rolled out a suit-and-tie-dressed A1 Sportback at Worthersee , highlighting the enormous customization potential the German automaker is putting on its Genuine Accessories lineup. This particular A1 with Audi Genuine Accessories successfully combines a nice shade of black with splashes of yellow trim, creating a distinct two-tone look we rarely see from the A1.

Audi traditionally rolls out these kinds of products at Worthersee and its nice to see that the German brand still understands the importance of being a major presence in the annual event. The customized hatchback also shines a nice light on what’s possible when customers use Audi Genuine Accessories on their vehicles.

That’s the real good thing about being able to have a say in what your car is going to look like. A1 owners get a number of colors to choose from and you can style and trim it any manner you see fit. There might be some misses along the way, but as Audi has shown with this A1 with Genuine Accessories, there’s a lot owners can work with by taking advantage of the company’s aesthetic personalization program.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A1 With Audi Genuine Accessories.

Left without a proper compact after discontinuing the Skylark in 1997, Buick made a comeback to the segment by launching the Verano sedan in 2011. The vehicle quickly joined the Encore and Enclave crossovers in helping Buick’s growth in both the United States and China. In 2013, the Verano accounted for 20 percent of Buick sales in the U.S.

Although the current Verano is only three years old, Buick is already working on a brand-new model. The redesigned vehicle sits atop the same Delta II platform underpinning the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze and the Euro-exclusive Opel Astra . Naturally, the new Verano shares many of its internals with the latter.

What the Verano doesn’t share with the Astra, however, is its styling. Slightly longer and wider than its Opel -badged brother, the Verano benefits from Buick’s trademark front grille — now wider for a more aggressive grin — and borrows a few cues from the larger LaCrosse model. The spy shots that arrived in our inbox straight from Germany suggest the sedan is keeping its sleek profile, while gaining a prettier rear end, with the taillights biting more into the fenders.

Things are changing under the hood as well, where an all-new, turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-pot replaces the old 2.4-liter Ecotec unit. Word has it General Motors is also looking to share the Chevrolet Cruze’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel mill with Buick. The latter delivers 151 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, while returning up to 46 mpg on the highway.

We expect the new Verano to break cover in late 2015 and go on sale for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Buick Verano.


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