Acura has brought a facelift version of the TSX sedan to the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new model will be available in two versions that will be differentiated by their engines. The TSX with a 2.4L I-4 engine is priced at $29,610. Add the Technology package and you’re looking at $32,710. The TSX with the 3.5L V-6 engine is priced at $35,150, or at $38,250 when equipped with the Technology Package.
Compared to the 2010 model, the 2011 TSX gets a new front fascia, revised chin spoiler, new fog light garnish assembly, and an updated grill. At the rear, revised taillights and an updated rear license plate garnish add more visual appeal for the TSX. The interior gets revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, brightly finished door handles, an updated parking brake handle, and new garnishes for the steering wheel.
The engine line-up includes: a 2.4 liter inline-four engine and a 3.6 liter V6, with both of them receiving numerous improvements to reduce internal operating friction which help improve fuel economy, lower carbon dioxide (CO2) output and increase engine life.
Fiat is making a come-back to the US market with the smallest model in their line-up: the 500. Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 500 has been heavily adapted for the U.S. customer. It will be offered in three versions: Pop, Sport, and Lounge and prices start from $15,500, but a Fiat 500 with a few options added and a 6-speed automatic transmission will easily take you to $20K.
Compared to the European model, the 500 US version receives a redesigned body structure for increased strength, exclusively tailored suspension, new four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system (ABS) with redesigned front calipers for optimum brake performance, larger fuel tank, redesigned driver and front-passenger seats, new steering wheel controls and revised steering effort calibration and a new BOSE® Energy Efficient Series premium audio system. It also gets an all-new air bag system created to meet all U.S. regulatory requirements.
Under the hood there is an all-new 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir technology that delivers 101 HP at 6,500 rpm and 98 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Also, exclusive for the US market there is an all-new six-speed automatic transmission.
Updated 08/03/2010: Fiat USA has launched a new ad campaign in the United States to promote the tiny 500. There are two commercials promoting the model: "Simply More" and "Drive In." Enjoy!
After a series of teaser images unveiled this past summer, Nissan has finally brought out the new generation Quest at the Los Angels Auto Show. It will be offered in four well-equipped models: S, SV, SL and LE, with prices starting from $27,750.
The new generation Quest gets a new exterior design with a bold bumper, horizontal grille, and headlights. Take a look at the back of the vehicle and you’ll see rear “boomerang” taillights and tailgate finisher. Other features include full surround privacy glass, black sash molding, and chrome trim accents. The wheels spin round in a standard 16-inch or 18-inch size. The Quest exterior design is also one of the most wind-efficient, with a 0.32 Cd for the Quest S model.
The interior gets a theater-style interior layout with raised 2nd and 3rd rows. The front seating features a special “trilaminar” structure, which uses three types of cushions to distribute body pressure more evenly than traditional padding.
Under the hood there is a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with 253 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque. The engine incorporates a twin Nissan Variable Induction Control System (NICS), micro finished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated valve lifters, resin intake manifold, forged crankshaft, digital knock control system, high capacity muffler, and lightweight aluminum block and cylinder heads.
Looks like the LA Auto Show is becoming more than just an event where automakers are given the opportunity to show off their new rides to the public. For the second day in a row, the LA Auto Show has been the place where companies sign partnership agreements to work together on future projects.
Yesterday, we talked about Rolls Royce striking a deal with famed designer, Bijan, to design 30 special edition Rolls Royce models – valued at $1 million each – for a select group of VIPs.
Today, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG outfit signed their own agreement with motorcycle builder, Ducati, to work together on a number of projects in the future. From what we’ve heard, one of the first programs of this new partnership will be a joint marketing and sponsoring program where AMG will become a sponsor for the Ducati MotoGP on top of becoming the exclusive auto partner of the entire team. This means that the entire Ducati MotoGP team will only drive Mercedes AMG vehicles. That’s a pretty awesome deal, especially if you can get your hands on an SLS AMG.
The Japanese automaker, Infiniti, has confirmed that the finer line of Nissan automobiles will indeed produce the M35 hybrid luxury sedan. The hybrid will join the rest of the conventional internal combustion only vehicles when the 2012 M arrives in showrooms. The revised fuel efficient lineup will also be available with a new high performance diesel V6 model for the Western European market where the less refined fueled automobiles are preferred due to their incredible range and the high price of petrol. The next generation hybrid powered Infiniti M will become the most fuel efficient model in the entire automakers history.
The M35 Hybrid is powered by a gas/electric power train system that combines a naturally aspirated 3.5 Liter V6 and an efficient electric motor. The electric motor acts as both a propulsion unit, boosting the V6 with a “power assist” mode when the pedal is pushed to the metal and also as a generator to power the vehicle’s accessories and improve the engine’s efficiency. However, the combination of electrically charged wound wires and powerful magnets is not the only item that charges the hybrid’s next generation Lithium ion battery pack, but it is also recharged by the luxury sedans deceleration and braking.
The M Hybrid also features an electric vehicle mode that runs solely on the motors, drastically improving fuel efficiency and allowing it to operate as a zero emissions vehicle as well. This optimizes the Inifiniti’s energy consumption across the widest array of driving conditions. The luxury automaker Inifiniti has promised to release further details about the hybrid’s range, performance, and transmission soon. No mater what they have to say about the new green Japanese sedan it will definitely be a hot item.
Updated 11/18/2010: Infiniti’s first production hybrid performance luxury sedan made its debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A unique feature for the new model is a standard audible pedestrian warning system, called Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP). This system uses a range of distinctive sounds to help ensure the safety of other road users. VSP automatically works from start-up to approximately 20 miles per hour, cutting back in at approximately 15 miles per hour as the vehicle slows. Sales will begin in early 2011.
Updated 02/23/2011: Infiniti has announced that the new M Hybrid will go on sale starting March 16th, 2011 at a starting price of $53,700. The list of standard equipment includes: leather-appointed seats, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, Active Noise Control, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System and power sliding glass tinted moonroof.
Kia has unveiled the company’s first ever hybrid model at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Optima Hybrid will go on sale early next year and targets models like the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The 2011 Optima Hybrid features a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set. The new model will also be among the first full hybrid systems on the market to use a typical step-ratio automatic transmission.
The Optima can be driven in zero emission, full-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 mph or in blended gas-electric mode at any speed. As for the look of the vehicle, the hybrid model will have many features that the standard Optima lacks. For starters, the front of the car will get a new front grille with a completely new design, as well as a new front lower bumper and new headlamps. There will also be new fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, chrome accents on the exterior door handles, and side sills. The back of the car will see a new rear lower bumper, LED tail lamp design, and a rear lip spoiler. The wheels will be a 16-inch alloy wheel design. Customers will also have the option for a Premium Technology Package that will add extra features to their model.
If anybody knows anything about lightweight sports cars, Mazda does. As the creator of one of history’s most popular lightweight sports car – the MX-5 Miata – Mazda understands the objective of building a car that takes into account weight and efficiency better than anybody else. After all, for a speedster like the MX-5, it only weighed 2,300 pounds in its first generation.
It is through their understanding of this principle that Mazda was able to transfer their understanding about the intricacies of the MX-5 to build the vehicle that they’re entering into the 2010 LA Design Challenge – the MX-0.
Taking into account the theme of this year’s LA Design Challenge of emphasizing the need for minimizing the use of the planet’s resources while building a car that’s efficient, lightweight – no more than 1,000 lbs – comfortable, and safe without sacrificing the design elements that would make it attractive to consumers, Mazda is basing the MX-0 on the ideology of the MX-5, albeit using parts that are lighter and simpler than the ones found in the Miata, all while not compromising the car’s overall performance.
Mazda is envisioning the MX-0 as a vehicle that is powered by high-torque electric motors with an off-the-charts power-to-weight ration, resulting in a vehicle that comes with unrivaled power and balance, able to fly off the block and perform seamless cornering. A vehicle, suffice to say, that isn’t so much used for driving as it is for flying.
Through the low volume use of energy and minimal use of raw materials to power it, the MX-0 figures to be a car that’s made for the future, a future that puts great importance on sustainable, inexpensive composites with clean-running powertrains, resulting in a car that’s not only good for the masses, but even better for the environment.
The LA Design Challenge is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the LA Auto Show pitting different auto brands building their concept vehicles based on the set criteria for the event. This year’s theme focuses on society’s shift towards minimizing their dependence on natural resources by building a light-weight vehicle that focuses on efficiency without sacrificing the style of the vehicle.
Honda’s entry for the 2010 Design Challenge is the Air concept, a lightweight vehicle that uses alternative fuel, all while boasting an aggressive look inspired by, oddly enough, roller coasters and skydiving wing suits. So, we guess that’s why it’s called the Air concept.
In any case, the Air uses a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system that uses turbo vacuums and external air-flow to regenerate the tank’s pressure system, ensuring that the vehicle has extended range and increased boost to last an estimated 100 miles. Anytime you need to have your tanks and reserves refilled efficiently, a Honda generator and air compressor does the trick, either from the comforts of your own home or at a local station.
For safety, the Air concept uses vegetable-based polymer panels and fairings to ensure the safety and protection of its occupants.
The whole body of the Air concept resembles the look of a modern rollercoaster designed to optimize the open-air experience. Then there’s the chassis, which has a variety of purposes to eliminate the structure’s redundancy and reduce the vehicle’s overall weight, ensuring that it doesn’t exceed 1,000 lbs. Other weight-saving procedures done to the Air include the use of a hub-less wheel and drive system instead of the standard drive train system, glass reinforced seating panels, urethane tire composition, and skeletal sub-frame components, all of which contributed to the Air shedding off a significant amount of weight, rounding off to just about 800 lbs.
It took more than around 13 years, but Toyota seems to have finally decided on producing the second-generation of the Toyota Rav4 EV. Maybe all it took was a partnership with Tesla to get the proverbial EV ball rolling.
The partnership between Toyota and Tesla was born out of a mutual interest in developing a new model using Tesla technology on a Toyota vehicle, incorporating the strengths of both side to produce a vehicle that consumers would come to enjoy.
“When we decided to work together on the RAV4 EV, President Akio Toyoda wanted to adopt a new development model that incorporated Tesla’s streamlined, quick-action approach,” said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Tesla Motors. “From the beginning, the customer experience has been the focus.”
The ultimate question, at least according to Hentz, was how the two companies can "deliver an unconventional product to mainstream customers that is compelling and affordable and that offers an acceptable level of daily convenience.”
In the end, the answer turned out to be the Toyota Rav4 EV. For now, Toyota is building 35 models of the new Rav4 EV for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011, with the company looking into a production version sometime around 2012.
Nissan wanted to be unique; and they did it with the new Murano CrossCabriolet; the world’s only crossover convertible revealed today at Los Angeles Show. Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is only available in one version: 3,5 liter V6 AWD priced at $46,390. The only available options include: Carmel interior $500, Cashmere & brown top interior $500 and splash quads $125.
In order to transform a crossover into a convertible model Nissan added new front doors (7.9 inches longer than 4-door Murano front doors) and has eliminated the B-pillars. The cloth convertible top includes a rear glass skylight, helping create a wide-open interior environment even with the top in the closed position.
The difference between this and a standard Murano is also given by High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon projector headlights with auto on/off function, front fog lights and Nissan 370Z-inspired LED taillights, body-colored front and rear bumpers, chrome door handles, body-colored dual power/heated outside mirrors, and rear window defroster with timer.
The Murano CrossCabriolet is powered by a 3.5-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 producing 265 HP and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a standard second-generation Xtronic CVT™ with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). It comes equipped with 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and G-sensor.