$20K-$30K

$20K-$30K

The Altima is a hot item for Nissan, giving it competition in the midsize rink with The Camry and Accord for best-selling bragging rights. The stakes are high in this sedan segment, with average sales figures topping 350,000 units a year. None of the three automakers can afford a mistake here.

Nissan upped the ante for 2013 with its fifth generation Altima, a sedan that took on a more sculpted look, a refined interior, and two engine options that cater to those wanting good fuel mileage or sportier performance.

I recently spent a week behind the wheel of the 2014 Altima. My tester came equipped with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and the top-line SL trim package. It was loaded with nearly every feature available, including Navigation, blind spot and lane-departure warnings, Moving Object Detection, a moonroof, power everything, and a nine-speaker Bose sound system, among other things.

The Altima proved to be a competent daily driver with enough pep to maneuver through traffic while providing a comfortable ride and a no-nonsense demeanor. Its updated looks earned a few fans from my family members while its less-than-stellar steering earns a few gripes from my inner enthusiast.

For the full review and conclusion, click past the jump

Honda gave us a taste of the Civic Type R Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Not content on dropping just one concept, the Japanese automaker is following that up with the unveiling of the Civic Type R Concept II at the 2014 Paris Motor Show on October 2.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of changes to the exterior of the second concept other than the colors changing and the addition of body graphics. Otherwise, the two concepts look relatively similar.

But there are plenty of changes to talk about. New technology in the Civic Type R Concept II is the real highlight of this new concept, none more than the newly developed "+R" system that instantaneously turns the Civic Type R Concept II into a veritable pocket rocket at the push of the "+R" button.

Honda is scheduled to unveil the Civic Type R Concept II on October 2, 2014 at the Paris Motor Show.

Click past the jump to read more about the Honda Civic Type R Concept II.

You have to give it to the Scion xB. I can’t think of another car deserving to be euthanized more than the xB. It’s lived past its life, so much so that its quirky competitors — the Nissan Cube and the Honda Element — have all gone the wayside. Yet the xB remains and somehow, it’s even making yearly pilgrimages to the SEMA Auto Show .

This year, the xB rides into the biggest aftermarket auto show in the world, heavily customized with the vibe of the 70s, mixed with splashes of rock ’n’ roll, and skateboarding. Those three things are passions of pro skateboarder Riley Hawk who lent his name in the creation of the Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB.

The build is still ongoing and is led by Scott Kanemura of KMA Productions. So far, these rough sketches are the only things we have to show you as far as visual evidence of the car’s existence is concerned. I’m personally interested to see how this build turns out, not because I’m a fan of the xB, but because I want to see how much customization goes into turning the xB into a respectable ride.”

The Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB is one of a handful of Scion models being prepared for SEMA together with the Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC,and three FR-S models designed by media partners as part of the 10th Scion Tuner Challenge.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB.

Chevrolet has released yet another concept truck, only this time most of it will be available for purchase at a Chevy dealership. This is the Colorado Sport Concept and it showcases all the factory-available options for those with active lifestyles.

Since the Colorado’s cargo bed is on the shorter side, GM engineers devised this cargo management rack called the GearOn Accessory System. It gives the ability to haul larger items like mountain bikes, kayaks, or skis above the bed. In turn, that allows for open storage under the GearOn rack.

Chevrolet also included other items, such as a cargo divider, cargo tie-downs, side assist steps, mud flaps, and fender flares. Helping make the concept truck stand out is a set of black wheels currently being tested and evaluated for future production. Matte-black stripes give extra character to the Colorado’s hood.

The otherwise stock truck is outfitted with nearly all the options Chevy will offer on the Colorado, including MyLink with 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, Lane Departure Warning, and Forward Collision Alert.

Best of all, since Chevy is offering these add-on options from the dealer, they are included in the truck’s final price and can be included in financing. The accessories are even included in the truck’s warranty.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Colorado Sport Concept.

The Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show holds a very special place in our hearts, largely because it’s a different take on what an auto show traditionally is. Instead of debuting production cars or unveiling concept cars, SEMA is the place where automakers show off customized versions of their respective production models. This year, Scion was one of the first to unveil its SEMA plans when it released the first details on its SEMA-bound models, including the Slayer-inspired "Mobile Amp" tC sports coupe .

The Slayer Mobile Amp tC is far from a sheep wearing wolf’s clothing. It’s an all-out assault to your senses, a living (albeit on four wheels) embodiment of Slayer’s aggressive and style of music. The exterior and interior of the tC sports coupe received equal amounts of details attributed to Slayer. The car is currently being built by Mike Vu of MV DESIGNZ.

No official pictures have also been released, but I can already tell you that this program isn’t for the weak of heart. If I know Scion like I think I do, the company’s not going to settle for anything less than to make Tom Araya and the rest of the band proud to have their names attached to it.

Click past the jump to read more about the Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC.

The Volkswagen Beetle holds a special place in the auto industry as one of the most recognizable cars in the world. The Beetle has evolved over the years and it’s even adopted a new design language that’s fit to the times. All of that is good but you’d be surprised that a lot of people still yearn for the Beetle of yesteryear. Well, Volkswagen heard your calls loud and clear because it’s unveiling a limited-edition Beetle Classic model that not only comes with plenty of retro touches, but also has a retro price tag! No, you can’t buy one for $500, which I assume the Beetle cost at one point in time, but you can get a Beetle Classic model for a price lower than the standard 1.8T automatic model.

The Beetle Classic will come in both coupe and convertible models. The Beetle Coupe Classic will go on sale in September 2014 with a price of just $20,195. The Beetle Convertible Classic isn’t expected to go on sale until the early part of 2015, but VW did say that it’s going to start at a price of $25,995.

Both models will also carry a 1.8-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a speck under nine seconds to go with a top speed of about 115 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Beetle Classic.

Today’s automotive world is no stranger to limited-edition models. Several manufacturers are known to offer a wide range of low-volume vehicles, including cars that come with either enhanced performance, exclusive visual features, or both. Limited-edition cars generate a lot of buzz and usually command a hefty premium over the standard sticker. But how about limited-edition superchargers, have you ever heard of something like that? In case you didn’t, this is where Walkinshaw Racing and its Supercharger Package, limited to only 50 units, comes in.

For those of you not familiar with Walkinshaw Performance, it’s a company founded by former racing driver Tom Walkinshaw. The venture is known for its involvement with the Arrows Formula One team and other racing projects under the Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) name. Walkinshaw Performance is the successor organization of Tom’s previous company, and its Racing division races Holden Commodores in Australia’s V8 Supercar championship since 2009.

As you might have already guessed, Walkinshaw’s limited-edition Supercharger Pack is only available for Holden vehicles, which means it cannot be had anywhere else in the world. Not even in the U.S., where the current Holden VF Commodore is sold as the Chevrolet SS. That’s too bad, because Walkinshaw’s Supercharger Package will turn any V-8-powered Commodore built between 2006 and 2014 into a real monster. Check out the details below.

Click past the jump to read more about the Walkinshaw Racing Limited Edition Supercharger Package.

General Motors has been binging on special edition trucks recently, including both consumer-use trucks headed to dealerships and concepts that show off GM engineering and design teams. Chevrolet’s newest tricked-out truck is the Toughnology Concept. No, that’s not a typo, it’s a hip-n-cool word combo that helps define the purpose of the build.

There is no shortage of news surrounding the upcoming Ford F-150 and its extensive use of aluminum body panels. Well The General seems hungry for some of the action too, as the Toughnology Concept is designed to showcase the latest-generation Silverado’s use of swanky new metals. The concept truck comes coated in paint that mimics the color of raw, high-strength steel.

The Silverado boasts plenty of the high-strength steel in its construction — in everything from the A- and B-pillars, rocker panels, and roof rails to several sections of the interior structure. In total, roughly 67 percent of the Silverado’s cab in stamped from the stuff.

Chevy also prides itself on the Silverado’s bed being constructed from several kinds of purpose-placed steels. For example, the floor is make of roll-formed steel that Chevy says is much stronger than conventional stamped steel. While nearly every exterior panel is included in the high-strength steel count, the hood goes the aluminum route. The engineers say it shaves 17 pounds off its regular stamped-steel counterpart. Since it’s not the same material as the body, the designers painted it black to notate the difference.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Silverado Toughnology Concept.

If you’ve been following TopSpeed the past few months, then you already know the 2014 Paris Motor Show is mostly about concept cars and cool sports cars . The Toyota C-HR concept , the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration , the Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider , the Mercedes AMG GT and the new-generation Mazda Miata are all set to make their global debut on French soil. But Paris is also about regular cars, and, more importantly, about vehicles that we’re not likely to get here in North America. One of them is the updated version of the Euro-spec Honda Civic, which the old continent gets in both hatchback and wagon styles. What’s more, the folks across the pond are also receiving a brand-new trim with their Civic hatch, namely the Civic Sport.

Don’t worry though, Honda isn’t launching a souped-up version of the Civic just yet. That honor is still reserved for the Type R moniker. The Sport model is just the Japanese company’s way of saying "here, have sportier looking Civic until we come up with a brand-new Type R." Nevertheless, we’d still like for Honda to start selling the Civic hatch in the U.S. as well. But until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the newly introduced Sport version.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Honda Civic Sport.

The Volkswagen Polo is a “supermini” class car that has been in production since 1975 as a smaller and cheaper alternative to the Volkswagen Golf Volkswagen Golf . It wasn’t until 1994 that Volkswagen decided to move the GTI moniker to the smaller car to create a compact hot hatch. It offered a fun driving experience for fans of the brand who were unable to afford the larger and more expensive GTI. Since that first model debuted, there has been a Polo GTI in every generation of the car’s life. The Mk V model that is currently being phased out for the new Mk VI car is powered by a 1.4-liter TSI engine that uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger. The all-new 2015 Polo GTI will discard that engine for a more modern and more powerful unit.

Now we don’t have a lot of details aside from the fact that this machine will be revealed at the upcoming 2014 Paris Motor Show . Volkswagen was kind enough to bump us a big pile of photos to get prepared, and we can make some pretty good educated guesses about what you will find under the hood.

To get a good look at this pocket-sized performance machine, just hit that jump and check out all our photos. We also have a full rundown of what you should be looking for when it gets officially announced with all the specs in a few days.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI.


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