midsize cars

midsize cars

  Midsize cars offer a compromise between expensive luxury and cheap cars. They are comfortable and nicely equiped but they often look a bit dull and not real fast. But they will often be the best deal for the money conscious consumers.

Whenever the end of the year is upon us, we all spend enough time to take a break from all the holiday shopping to reflect on the year that was.

The same holds true in the automotive industry, except that instead of merely reminiscing, there are those that are in positions to hand out what they deem are the best cars of the year. Last week, 48 journalists from North America voted on the North American Car and Truck of the Year, whittling down the list to three finalists in each category with the winners being announced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show this coming January.

Well, Europe has its equivalent in the aptly named "Car of the Year jury." It consists of 58 members from 22 countries in Europe with representation depending on a specific country’s market size and its "importance in car manufacturing."

A subjective criteria, but okay, we’ll roll with it.

What’s important is that the list of contenders for the prestigious award has been narrowed down to seven finalists, all of which have as much chance as the other to succeed the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf . The winner will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, giving the "Car of the Year" jury enough time to exhaust every analytical measure possible before making a decision on which car to vote for.

Good luck to all the finalists!

Click past the jump to read about the seven finalists for the Car of the Year award

Posted on by Simona  
Volkswagen Passat

Last time we caught the next-generation Volkswagen Passat out testing, all we saw was a mule. Today, however, it looks like Volkswagen took the real deal out for a testing session in Spain. As expected, the car wears tons of camouflage, but even it’s still easy to see that is will be completely revised.

The new Passat will be built on Volkswagen’s new MQB platform — also used for the new Golf — making it the biggest car on that platform. Despite being larger than the current generation, the next Passat will be about 140 to 220 pounds lighter and will get a family of four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel and gasoline engines to help increase fuel efficiency. Volkswagen also plans to work in a plug-in version of the next Passat.

The model will be offered either as sedan or wagon and with optional Haldex 4Motion all-wheel drive. It should arrive on the market sometime in late 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the new Volkswagen Passat.

Posted on by Simona  

After being officially unveiled in 2011, the fifth-generation Hyundai Elantra continues into 2014 with some improvements that include a series of new exterior and interior features and a more powerful engine. The old GLS version is now known as the SE trim and there is also a more powerful Sport trim, giving the sedan a little extra pop.

Next to being more powerful, the new Sport version will also add a sport-tuned steering and suspension calibrations, plus a series of exterior updates that will distinguish it from the rest of the lineup, like chrome insertions, a rear spoiler and an exposed single exhaust tip.

The new Sport version gets a new 2.0-liter engine, that delivers an extra 25 horsepower and 23 pound-feet of torque when compared to the 1.8-liter Nu engine used last year in the Elantra.

Updated 07/03/2014: Hyundai today announced details on the 2015 Elantra which brings a series of new features and packaging updates. Hyundai is now offering a set of new exterior colors and two new packages: Style Package and Tech Package.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Hyundai Elantra.

When Mazda replaced the 626 — some considered it a simple rename — with the Mazda6 in 2003, its lineup started to regain its long-forgotten sporty feel. As time went on, even after its 2009 redesign, the Mazda6 became a little stagnant and buyers started looking elsewhere for their sports sedans .

Well, Mazda is currently in full redesign mode with its all-new Kodo design language in an attempt to regain some buyer interest. The first of its sedans to get the Kodo treatment was the 2014 Mazda6 , and boy did it completely change the outlook for Mazda’s flagship sedan.

We all know that there is no better way to get to know a car better than by taking out for a spin yourself. And it’s even better if you get the car for an extended period of time. Well, that’s just what I did, as Mazda dropped off a shiny, new Mazda6 i Touring and gave me a week to get to know it a little better.

In all honesty, I was pretty skeptical at first, but I am now a believer that Mazda is back and better than ever. Not to say there were zero flaws, but I found many more pros than cons.

Click past the jump to read our full Driven review of the 2014 Mazda6 i Touring.

Posted on by Tushar  
Tesla Model S

Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla , has categorically denied any plans to recall the company’s flagship Model S electric sedan. This comes as numerous reports of the Model S’ fires came to light. News of multiple Tesla Model S fires have been reported to date, and an official investigation into the matter is yet to be undertaken.

That said, U.S. regulators are yet to confirm any form of investigation into the Model S fires. If the government regulator does find a fault, we could be looking at a potential recall of select models. However, Tesla boss does not think a formal investigation should be required and that Tesla cars are way safer than any other fossil fuel-powered automobile.

Musk was quick to attack those media channels that, according to Elon Musk, had blown the whole thing out of proportion. "Reaction to the fires reported by some media are extremely inaccurate and unreasonable," he added. Since, the first report of the fires, Tesla stocks have plummeted by 22 percent, sparking fears among investors.

The NHTSA is in constant contact with the authorities investigating the accidents. The agency had earlier chosen not to investigate into the fires when the first incident came to light.

More on the Tesla Model S after the jump

Source: Autonews
Chevrolet Jeff Gordon SS Performance Sedan Concept

With performance sedans, like the Ford Taurus SHO and the Dodge Charger R/T , having some success in the U.S., General Motors had little choice than to call upon its Australian division — Holden — for a car that could tap into this market and succeed. That’s exactly how the Chevrolet SS became a reality

Both the Taurus SHO and the Charger R/T have plenty of options, and the Charger even has a slew of new performance options, like the upcoming Scat Packages . All this while, GM has started shipping Chevrolet SS units into the U.S. from Down Under, resulting in only a few basic options and no real driveline options to speak of.

In Australia, the Holden Commodore — the model that the SS is based on — has 455- and 580-horsepower variants available from Holden Special Vehicles (HSV). This raised some red flags with performance nuts.

Automotive Magazine brought this to the attention of Chevrolet Performance Cars Marketing Manager, John Fitzpatrick, and he provided some positive feedback. When asked about future plans for the Chevrolet Chevrolet SS, he revealed that a more powerful version of the Chevrolet SS could possibly makes its way to the U.S., including a manual transmission.

Fitzpatrick said that GM is planning on selling 2,000 to 3,000 SS models per year, and if these numbers are met, GM will start further exploring importing the aforementioned HSV variants. He made it clear that the limited options and lack of higher-performance models is purely to keep the model profitable, while GM gauges customer demand in the SS.

Needless to say, this is pretty promising to hear, and may relieve the concerns among Chevy fans.

Click past the jump for more on the Chevrolet SS

Source: Automotive
Posted on by Tushar  
Mercedes E-Class

In-line sixes have been a forte of BMW for some time now, but a look back in history reveals an unbroken relationship between Mercedes-Benz and straight-six engines. This engine configuration has its advantages over the rest and that’s why car makers prefer in-line sixes over others, even today. Mercedes-Benz dropped it from their lineup two decades ago but they’ll soon return.

We’ve learned through Autocar that the next-generation E-Class is destined to get an in-line six-cylinder engine under its hood. The 21st century automotive engineering is all about reducing costs without compromising performance, and that’s where modular architecture comes in to the picture.

The new generation of Mercedes engines will be a part of a modular design, allowing them to spawn three-, four- and six-cylinder engines. The new engines will debut on the 2016 W213 generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Plans are already on track for the mid-life update for the new C-Class that is yet to be revealed. The new C-Class should get the new family engines by 2017 — a three-cylinder engine is touted to be a part of the C Class line-up then.

On the technology front, Mercedes-Benz will also debut what’s called an "Autobahn Pilot" on the 2016 E-Class and 2017 C-Class; today we know this as the autonomous diving assistant, which still in testing phase at the moment.

Click past the jump to read more about the new C Class AMG

Source: Autocar

As the defending champions of the Toyota Dream Build Challenge, Kyle Busch Motorsports certainly has to live up to if it wants the title to stay in its garage. This year, Busch is taking a step down to let one of his NASCAR drivers pick up the mantle.

And so it is, Parker Kligerman takes the reigns from Busch and with the help of KBM, he worked on the 2013 Toyota Camry and plunged headfirst into giving it a rally look.

The car itself is billed as the CamRally, and true enough, Kligerman turned it into a true rally racer, complete with Toyota’s vintage red, orange and yellow racing color combination to go with a host of rally-oriented performance enhancements. HID driving lights from Lightforce were also installed on the sedan, while a unique window sheet material comes courtesy of 5-Star Racing Windows. And for that distinctive look, the CamRally sports a special logo designed exclusively for this model with Kligerman’s racing number 77 prominently featured on the logo.

Inside, the racing seats are rally-spec, as are closed racing windows, the standard roll cage, and heat protection, all of which adds functionality to the CamRally’s rally identity.

Performance upgrades were also part of the CamRally’s equation with Kligerman and KBM putting extra emphasis on giving the Camry a variety of engine modifications. Turbochargers have been added from Turbonetics with an intercooler system coming from Spearco. Intakes and an air filter are also new from Custom DSE and K&N, rounding out what’s looking like another winning program from Parker Kligerman and the folks from Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Click past the jump to read more about Parker Kligerman’s Toyota CamRally

Despite getting a lukewarm reception from buyers, the slow-selling Chevrolet Malibu is still putting on a brave face, an important attribute to have given that Chevrolet has resorted to commercials to tug at the heartstrings of prospective customers.

Be that as it may, the Malibu is still going to be an attendee at SEMA with Chevy deciding to gift wrap the midsize sedan into what its now calling the LTZ Concept.

A new front end design is the first thing you’ll notice about the Malibu LTZ Concept. It’s an eye-catching change that makes you wonder why Chevrolet didn’t do this sooner and potentially save itself from the humiliation of little interest from consumers.

In addition to the modified front, the Malibu LTZ also received a slew of modifications, highlighted by a performance upgrade that includes the addition of a concept Stage Kit, cold-air induction system and a Borla exhaust system. Taken together, the Malibu’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine receives a higher output. No word yet on how much of an increase it is, but considering the standard Malibu has 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque on tap, expect figures in excess of 300 across the board with these engine upgrades.

Oh, and there are some styling additions on the Malibu LTZ Concept, including a set of 19-inch wheels from Chevrolet Accessories that are coated in a Sterling Silver finish.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu

DSO Eyewear never misses a chance to make its presence known at SEMA , and this year, it played around with a Ford Fusion Titanium , giving it some pretty nice digs to go with an equally impressive performance upgrade.

The Tuxedo Black finish is the most distinguishable part of the aesthetic modification. But DSO Eyewear didn’t stop there; it also gave the Fusion Titanium some fancy gold trims courtesy of BASF, a new body kit from 3D Carbon, highlighted by those sexy performance grilles, and finally, a custom set of 21-inch Niche Road Wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires.

Inside the Fusion Titanium, the upgrades continue with more gold-painted accents from BASF, a new Rockford Fosgate audio system and suede custom inserts made from perforated materials.

And then there’s that thing called the "engine." DSO Eyewear may be known for its styling upgrades, but it can also give some impressive performance modifications. In this case, the company fitted the Fusion’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a Banks Power straight-shot water-methanol injection system, among other things. No word yet on how much power it adds, but you know those injection systems mean serious business.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Ford Fusion


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