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Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Auto Show

Ever since the Nisan Versa came to the U.S. back in 2007, the little car proved that cheap transportation didn’t have to be so dreary. While it’s no GT-R in terms of styling, the sedan and hatchback versions of the car sold well. In 2013, Nissan revamped the Versa for its second generation and added the Note name to designate the Hatchback version from the sedan .

Now for 2015, Nissan is adding a little more spice with the SR trim package on the Versa Note hatchback. While nothing changes mechanically, the SR trim does bring some sportiness to the car’s interior. Things like a new leather-wrapped steering wheel, suede look-alike material on the seats with orange accent double stitching. A refreshed center instrument panel is finished out in piano black plastic with silver accents and chrome knobs. It also gets a Fine Vision three-dial gauge cluster with a floating trip computer.

The SR sport trim package is also joined by the new top-of-the-line SL trim package for 2015, rounding out the S, S Plus, and SV trim lines.

The Versa Note SR represents Nissan’s up-marketing of the Versa in response to the stiffening competition. Cars like the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Spark, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris are all strong in the segment. The argument gets even easier to debate once IIHS ratings are taken into account, with the Spark earning the relatively best score of the bunch.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Chevy has graced visitors of the Chicago Auto Show with news about its new 2015 City Express van. While we traditionally have a good idea about what is going to be revealed a few days ahead of time, this came out of left field.

The Nissan NV200 -based van is little more than a Chevrolet rebadge, but it gives Chevrolet a tool to use against the Ford Transit at a minimal cost.

If you are looking for a smaller way to haul your kids, you are still going to need to look at the Mazda5, as City Express is purely a functional machine. It has two seats, and a load of cargo room; that is it.

Still, there is a lot to love about this little Chevy, so click on through to find out all the details from its drivetrain to its max cargo capacity.

As Ford preps for the all-new 2015 Mustang ’s appearance, it’s giving the 2014 model one last hurrah in the Japanese market with this 2014 ‘Stang GT "The Black.” This isn’t the first time Japan has gotten its own special edition Mustang in murdered-out form, but this will surely be the most special, as Ford is only producing 40 examples.

Making this pony car unique are bespoke 19-inch black wheels, a unique black interior package, the glass roof package, and of course, a black exterior paint scheme. Further details include brightly machined faces on the wheels with the glossy black finish giving contrast from the wheel pockets. White stitching on the black leather seats and atop the dashboard also gives a nice contrast.

Ford’s popular glass roof makes its appearance here too, while preventing 90 percent of infrared rays and 96 percent of ultraviolet rays from entering the cockpit. Such a feature might come in rather handy while thundering through the land of the rising sun.

Speaking of thunder, plenty of it will be had with the 5.0-liter singing into the dual exhaust pipes. A healthy 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque turn the rear wheels bolted to the Mustang’s soon-gone live rear axle. The Black holds an MSRP of 5.05 million Japanese Yen, which is $49,252 at the current conversion rates.

Click past the jump to read more about the Next-Gen Ford Mustang.

Source: Ford

We’ve already brought you all the details on Toyota ’s new TRD Pro edition for the 2015 Tacoma and 4Runner , but now it’s time to dive into the 2015 Tundra’s TRD Pro updates.

The first noticeable feature on the truck is its large, TOYOTA grille scripted in silver with a black background. The rear of the bed gets the same type treatment, only it displays TRD Pro and its literally stamped into the sheet metal, much like TUNDRA name on the tailgate. Those two features really set the truck apart from less capable Tundras.

Giving the Tundra its added capability are remote-reservoir Bilstein shocks at all four corners with an added two inches of suspension lift at the front wheels. The two work together to make the Tundra a formidable off-roader in most every situation, especially high-speed desert running. Thick aluminum skid plates protect the important oily bits under the truck and Michelin-spec all-terrain tires provide the grip. Those tires are wrapping unique black wheels with TRD logos embossed on the center cap.

Helping the stock 5.7-liter V-8 breathe is a TRD dual exhaust system. No real word on how much the exhausts system helps, but the 5.7-liter normally makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.

Inside the cabin, Toyota treats the Tundra to a few added cosmetic pieces. A unique red and black seat color is new along with red stitches holding the materials together. A special “instrument panel ornament insert” and TRD Pro floor mats finish off the look.

The Tundra, along with its TRD Pro cousins, the Tacoma and 4Runner , will go on sale this fall. Toyota has yet to release any word on pricing, so we’ll have to wait closer to production time for that information.

Click past the jump for more on the Toyota Tundra

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

We told you that Honda and Forza Motorsports had teamed up to create a unique car based on a design that was submitted in the game, and now we have seen the fruits of their labor. The winning entry for the Forza Motorsport Civic Si Design Contest has been built and was displayed at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show last week. This represents one of the first times that Forza has ever created a real car based on an in-game design.

The winning design was created by Tiffany Labedez from Phoenix, Arizona and features a fairly striking black on red color scheme. Both the hood and the trunk lid are painted black, and the underside of the spoiler is also black, but the outside is red. It’s a cool effect.

There is a trio i-VTEC logos down each side as well as a collection of graphics that include flames, mud splatters and tire tread. It sounds busy, but somehow it works.

If you are the proud owner of an Xbox One and Forza Motorsports 5 , you can grab the free Honda Legends Car Pack today. The pack features the new 2014 Civic Si Coupe as well as the Mugen-tuned 1984 Honda CRX and the 1994 Prelude.

Another edition to Toyota ’s trio of off-road trucks is the 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro. It’s based off the same concept as the 4Runner TRD Pro and features much of the same equipment. However, the Tacoma TRD Pro package isn’t completely new for the Tacoma. Astute Toyota fans will remember the TX Baja package Toyota offered on the Tacoma starting in 2012. The TRD Pro’s remote reservoir Bilstein shocks, blacked-out beadlock-style wheels, and off-road tires were all seen on the Baja package. But that doesn’t make it any less cool.

Starting up front, the Tacoma receives a two-inch suspension lift up front to help level out the truck. Those Bilstein shocks are specially tuned with a decreased spring rate to help tackle the rough stuff off the beaten path. Like the Baja package, the TRD Pro truck gets 16-inch beadlock-style wheels finished in black, all wrapped in BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires sized in LT265/75R16.

Helping the Tacoma’s 4.0-liter V-6 breath is a TRD exhaust package while a nicely polished exhaust tip helps add some flair to the truck’s rear fender. TRD pro badges help accent the exterior of the truck along with a unique front grille that spells out TOYOTA much like that of the classic FJ40 and more recent FJ Cruiser.

Interior additions include TRD Pro floor mats and shift knob, along with red stitching on the front and rear seats, and the center console. Not much else changes for the truck’s interior.

The 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro package, along with the Tundra and 4Runner TRD Pro editions, will become available this fall, though Toyota has yet to announce pricing for any of the three trucks.

Click past the jump for more info on the Toyota Tacoma

Toyota ’s Racing Development team recently pulled the covers off this hardened version of the popular 4Runner SUV with a new off-road packaged called TRD Pro. It puts together some stout suspension equipment for handling some of the toughest terrain around and a few cosmetic upgrades to make the looks match its capabilities.

Starting with a 1.5-inch suspension lift in the front, the TRD Pro 4Runner gets an extra inch of wheel travel thanks to remote-reservoir Bilstein shocks that help the 4Runner with added ground clearance and help smooth out rough terrain. Remote-reservoir Bilsteins also find a home in the 4Runner’s rear suspension.

All-new, 17-inch TRD alloy wheels are murdered out in all black and wrapped with more aggressive off-road tires. Although Toyota doesn’t specify, the 4Runner in many of the pictures appear to be wearing modified Falcon tires.

Appearance wise, the 4Runner TRD Pro only comes in three colors: Black, white, and an all-new Inferno Red. The unique grille prominently displays "TOYOTA," a throwback to the old FJ40 and more recent FJ Cruiser. Strong aluminum skid plating with a stamped "TRD" logo visible under the front bumper provide the necessary protection needed off road, while TRD Pro-specific bumpers give the 4Runner a menacing look.

Toyota left the interior almost untouched except for a TRD shift handle, TRD Pro-stitched floor mats, and red-stitched seats throughout the cabin along with red stitching on the center console.

The TRD Pro package will also available on the 2015 Tundra and Tacoma . There’s no word yet on pricing, but the trio of trucks go on sale this fall.

Click past the jump to read more on the Toyota 4Runner

We’ve already shown you the 2014 Dodge Charger SRT and Chrysler 300 SRT Satin Vapor Editions, and now we present the last of the special edition trio, the 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT Satin Vapor Edition.

Just like the other two Mopars, the Challenger is left mechanically stock with this appearance package, but that’s not a bad thing. Its classic 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 (That’s a 392 for you cubic-inch guys) sends a raucous 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 and quarter mile times remain the same at 4.4 seconds and 12.8 Seconds at 115 mph, respectively.

The differences here are only skin deep. Unique 20-by-9-inch forged aluminum split five-spoke wheels get a black satin chrome finish with massive red Brembo calipers hugging the huge vented rotors just behind. Satin-black mirrors and a satin-black fuel door stand out, while grey "392 HEMI" badges remind on-lookers of what evil lurks under the long, double-scooped hood. And just like the other two, the Challenger comes with its own set of unique exterior colors: Bright White, TorRed, Header Orange, and Graphite.

Charcoal-colored Nappa leather seats with ultra-suede inserts, along with the instrument cluster treated with a mini-carbon bezel help set the interior apart from lesser Challenger SRTs.

Adding the Satin Vapor Edition package to a new Challenger will cost and extra $1,700 beyond the SRT’s $40,485 MSRP and it will be in showrooms the second quarter of this year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Dodge Challenger.

The Hyundai Veloster continues to grow up right before our eyes. First was the Turbo model, then came the R-Spec , and now Hyundai has introduced the RE:FLEX Edition, which it is limiting to only 3,000 units. Sure, it does not have the performance credentials of the other two variants, but it does add all sorts of goodies to the up-and-coming hatchback .

The RE:FLEX Edition starts off by adding in projector headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, a set of 18-inch alloys with a PVD chrome finish, chrome hood accents and door handles, some red and black "RE:FLEX Edition" badges, and a set of fog lights. The mods are not overwhelming by any means on this new special edition, but they are just enough to really make it pop, particularly the rims and door handles.

Buyers can choose from five colors, one of which is exclusive to the RE:FLEX model. These colors include Ice Pearl (exclusive to the RE:MIX), Century White, Vitamin C, Ultra Black and Boston Red. I am not a huge fan of white cars, but that Ice Pearl is pretty sharp.

Don’t go thinking the mods stop there. Nope, Hyundai then moved its focus to the cabin where it added in the Style Package, which includes piano-black accents, thumping 450-watt audio system with eight speakers, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, alloy pedals and auto-up driver-side window. Also included are RE:FLEX Edition floor mats. Yeah, there’s nothing exclusive inside the cabin, but these extra goodies help make buying the whole package an easier pill to swallow.

Under its hood, the Veloster RE:FLEX gets the typical 1.6-liter, four-cylinder that produces just 138 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Fortunately, Hyundai did add one cool feature to the drivetrain, and that’s the six-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission. Despite the addition of the EcoShift DCT, the Veloster RE:MIX is still god-awful slow with an estimated 0-to-60 time in excess of 10 seconds. I think it’s about time to scrap the 1.6-liter engine in favor of the 2.0-liter from the 2014 Elantra Sport.

Hyundai did not release a price on this model yet, but expect about a $4,000 premium on top of the base Veloster price.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Hyundai Veloster RE:FLEX Edition.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Kia continued its eco-onslaught today at the Chicago Auto Show when it introduced the 2014 Optima Hybrid. It features a revised exterior design similar to the refresh the base gasoline sedan just received heightens the visuals, while some specific hybrid additions increase aerodynamic efficiency. Tons of high-tech equipment and increased levels of safety make this Optima Hybrid sedan ready to storm the market.

The new Optima Hybrid’s gas-electric combination powertrain is good for 199 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to this hybrid setup, Kia is promising an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and a combined overall fuel economy of 38 mpg.

The latest Kia Optima sedan has been garnering lots of praise since its refresh this year, and it is nice to see this same level of refinement being applied to the Hybrid . The new design is both and refreshing in a world of “me-too” sedan styling.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid.


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