Car Reviews

Mopar, AMG , SVT, and TRD – all names synonymous with factory performance with balanced characteristics and an intact vehicle warranty. Yet with these great names in manufacturer-approved performance parts, one automaker was suspiciously absent from the scene despite having a huge aftermarket following: Honda .

That’s about to change with Honda’s new Honda Performance Development, or HPD division. Roll out will be quite slow, however, as the division builds a name for itself within the Honda brand. HPD’s first project is the slow-selling Honda CR-Z hybrid .

Owners of manual-transmission CR-Zs can now have Honda install a 200,000 rpm Rotrex centrifugal traction-drive supercharger mated to a Griffiths air-to-air intercooler. A respectable 67-horsepower increase is expected, bringing total horsepower to 197 ponies and roughly 170 pound-feet of torque, while fuel consumption remains at 42 mpg. Other modifications to the CR-Z includes a performance exhaust, suspension upgrades, a wheel and tire package, and a big brake kit. Not bad for a hybrid. The supercharger kit runs $5,495 plus installation.

Philip LaPointe, manager of HPD Street Performance, told Automotive News in an interview that, “We’re sticking our first toe in the water. We didn’t want to start with too high volume. We need to know who’s going to build the parts and distribute them. We need to get our dealers and logistics up to speed."

LaPointe continued saying the performance parts for other Honda models would go on sale over the next few years. Buys will likely be waiting till the all-new 2016 Civic rolls out before a full-on HPD kit would be available from the dealer showroom, however. “The dream scenario is to have performance parts available at [new-product] launch,” he said.

Honda will allow buyers to retain the balance of their factory warranty even with the supercharger kit installed.

Updated 8/21/2014: Honda has finally unveiled the final specifications and cost for the supercharger kit from HPD. Not only is it more powerful that we expected, but it also is cheaper than expected and the full warranty remains intact.

Click past the jump for more on the Honda CR-Z by HPD

Discontinued in 2012 as Saab was filing for bankruptcy, the 9-3 sedan made a surprising return in 2013, when the brand was revived under National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) ownership. But instead of launching the third-generation model that was in the works before Saab went bankrupt, NEVS started building second-gen cars at the company’s Trollhattan production plant. Identical to the 2012 model, the "new" sedan arrived in dealerships without the trademark griffin logos and with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-banger under the hood.While NEVS is undoubtedly working on a modern replacement for the 9-3 , the next-generation vehicle won’t be launched for at least two more years. Instead, the Swedes are reportedly looking to reintroduce the 9-3 SportCombi and have already confirmed plans to offer an electric iteration of the current sedan.

The EV is still not ready to go into production, but NEVS has just unveiled the prototype that will become an actual Saab product in the near future.

Click past the jump to read more about the Saab 9-3 EV Prototype

In 1994, Toyota wowed the world with its new RAV4. Toyota had brought the world a machine that possessed the size and practicality of an SUV , but it promised the driving dynamics and comfort of a car. When it went on sale in 1995, it was an instant hit, and the crossover craze officially started. In 2014, 20 years later, the RAV4 has just moved into its fourth generation, and sales are still going strong. Over the last two decades, there have been dozens of competitors join the game, and Toyota is no longer the only kid on the block.

Is the RAV4 still the machine to buy, or has the king been dethroned by one of the many challengers. I had a 2014 RAV4 Limited with FWD for a week, and I decided I was going to do my best to figure out if this latest RAV4 is worth the badge on its bodywork, or the money in your wallet.

With a fresh exterior design, revised drivetrain options and a new interior, this is the most radical change the RAV4 has ever experienced. Read on to see if it is any good.

Continue reading to learn more about the new 2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited

Introduced in 2013 for the 2014 model year, the Infiniti Q50 replaced the G series as the company’s luxury compact sedan. Inspired by a series of concept cars launched over the last decade, the Q50 is mainly aimed at the BMW 3 Series , the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4 . In the United States, the sedan is offered with two different drivetrains, and in either rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive configurations. The base model is fitted with a potent, 3.7-liter, V-6 engine that delivers 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The range-topping sedan, on the other hand, is motivated by a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a 3.5-liter V-6 and an electric motor. Combined output sits at 369 ponies and a whopping 403 pound-feet of twist. As we’re moving closer to the 2015 model year, Infiniti is expanding the Q50 lineup by adding a long-wheelbase version.

Dubbed Q50L, the elongated sedan will be sold exclusively in China , a market very fond of longer-than-usual vehicles that offer extra legroom in the back. The Japanese luxury sedan will compete against a host of other long-wheelbase compacts that have yet to be launched in the United States, including products from Audi , Mercedes-Benz and even Cadillac .

Click past the jump to read more about the Infiniti Q50L

Source: Le Blog Auto

Launched in 2013, the Opel Cascada is a midsize convertible underpinned by GM’s Delta II platform. The European drop-top is available with a lineup of three turbocharged engines, including 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter gasoline unit, and a 2.0-liter diesel. Output ranges between 118 and 167 horsepower, while the diesel benefits from 280 pound-feet of torque. Also offered with Vauxhall and Holden badges in the United Kingdom and Australia, respectively, the Opel Cascada is getting ready to arrive Stateside under the Buick marque for the 2016 model year.

According to GM Inside News, Buick has already showcased the Cascada as a future product to dealerships in August 2014, with an official launch set for 2015. Opel has already trademarked the Cascada name in the United States, meaning the convertible is only months away from receiving a Trishield badge.

Note: Photo is of the Opel Cascada

Click past the jump to read more about the Buick Cascada

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, McLaren unveiled the latest addition to its lineup: the new P1 supercar. Now, the company announced plans to unveil a new sports car each year. The first to arrive will be placed under the current MP4-12C . Codenamed "500S," this new sports car will be a little bit more practical than the 12C; "practical" meaning it will have a trunk, of course.

The new 500S will take aim at the Porsche 911 and models like it, and McLaren will price it a little under $200k. While no significant details have been revealed, it is rumored that the upcoming 500S will be powered by a de-tuned version of the twin-turbo V-8 engine used in the 12C. We expect an output somewhere in the 500-horsepower area. On the outside, the 500S will feature design elements seen on the recently unveiled P1.

The new 500S will arrive in 2014, and McLaren hopes to to sell around 2,000 to 2,500 units per year globally.

Updated 08/21/14: A report from Winding Road said that the McLaren P13 will actually be badged as the 500S and released in the summer of 2015. This is the first indication that the entry level McLaren won’t actually wear the ’P13’ like a lot of people thought. (Winding Road)

Source: MotorTrend

Known as the most successful manufacturer ever to race in Formula One , Ferrari is also famous for its glorious sports car racing years. The Italians gathered no less than nine outright Le Mans wins and 13 World Sportscar Championships between the late 1940 and the early 1970s, being surpassed by very few companies in that department. Ferrari’s golden age of endurance racing came to a halt in 1974, when Enzo stopped all development of sports cars prototypes in order to focus on Formula One. Maranello lied dormant for nearly two decades until 1994, when the 333 SP, built at the request of amateur racer Giampiero Moretti, hit the track marking the brand’s return to sports prototype racing.

Designed by famed Italian chassis manufacturer Dallara, the 333 SP was offered to privateers who raced it with great success until 2003. The open-top race car not only managed to give Ferrari a triumphant return to sports car racing, it also became the only Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari 333 SP

The Ram truck has been around since its nameplate was officially used on the 1981 Dodge pickup. Dodge trucks dating back to 1933 were known for their ram hood ornament, so the mascot went from decoration to the trucks’ name. Big news happened again in 2010 when the Fiat Chrysler Group moved the Ram lineup outside the Dodge umbrella, making the Ram its own brand. Now in its fourth generation, the Ram truck is breaking ground on uncharted territory. That uncharted ground includes innovations like dumping the traditional leaf-spring rear suspension design in favor of a smoother-riding, five-link with coil springs and introducing the industry’s first V-6 turbo-diesel in a half-ton package. The diesel aspect has garnered the Ram some notable attention from both the auto industry and the truck-buying public.

In fact, more than 8,000 EcoDiesel trucks were ordered by Ram dealers in the first weekend the books opened — a number than represents nearly half of the Ram 1500’s normal monthly production run. Since that February weekend in 2014, Ram EcoDiesel sales have exceeded the automaker’s expectations and have contributed to Ram’s overall sales increase over last year.

So what’s the big deal about a diesel, you ask? Well, I squeezed 33 miles per gallon out of my Ram 1500 EcoDiesel tester I recently had. Sure, that was with me babying the throttle down the highway, but by the week’s end, the dash still showed an average of over 24 mpg. That’s the big deal. Not to mention my tester was equipped to pull 9,200 pounds at the hitch and haul an impressive 1,620 pounds in the bed.

Skip on down fore the complete run-down of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Posted on by Austin Taylor  

The August 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has unveiled an exciting, all-new fully electric supercar. The Renovo Coupe concept began life discreetly in 2010, and has been kept under wraps until the engineering nicks and knacks were ironed out, and now the car has been green-lit for limited production. Renovo touts its new Coupe as "America’s First All-Electric Supercar," and it’s about as red, white, and blue as one could get.

EVs are all the hype these days, with Teslas as common here in Los Angeles as sunny, cloudless, 75 degree days. The fact that we now have a legitimate supercar , with blistering looks, performance — and a price — to match is very exciting news.

Details are still somewhat limited, but we have received basic information and are excited to report on this car’s capabilities based on what we know so far.

Click past the jump to read more about the Renovo Coupe

Posted on by Simona  

After months of speculation, spy shots and “leaked” 3-D images raising the anticipation level and the excitement of the fanboy in us, here it is folks, The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and yes, the iconic Stingray name is back since it was last seen in the ‘Vette C3.

As promised, Chevrolet has taken off the wraps of what’s arguably one of the most highly anticipated cars in 2013 at the Detroit Motor Show . This is the day we at TopSpeed have been waiting for since all of this C7 talk started about a year ago.

Rather than calling it the “Corvette,” Chevy boldly calls it the “New Corvette.”Calling it “New” is absolutely correct, as everything on the car is brand new. From a new design to a new powertrain to a brand new interior, Chevrolet has revolutionized every nook and cranny of the `Vette. But it still has that modern Corvette philosophy that has been retained for the past six generations, maybe even made it better.

Updated 08/20/14: The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is getting a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet has just announced this latest development makes the sports car faster and more fuel efficient than the six-speed automatic-equipped version.

Click past the jump to enjoy our full review and check out whether we were impressed by the all new ‘Vette or if Chevy could’ve done better.


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