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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.

Posted on by Simona  

Ford unveiled the Taurus nomenclature for the first time in 1985 and kept the model into production for almost two decades, making the sedan the second oldest nameplate it offered on the North American market. Because of dwindling sales, Ford pulled the Taurus from its retail showrooms in the 2007 model year, leaving it just as a fleet vehicle. In the 2008 model year, the Taurus returned as the re-badged and restyled Ford Five Hundred.

However, Ford understood that bringing back the name won’t help much if its neglected the model as much as it did just before its initial demise. Having learned from its mistakes, Ford unveiled the sixth-generation Taurus with an all-new look that was revolutionary for the era.

This new generation brought a completely new look, completely transforming the face of the Taurus and, of course, customers’ opinions about it. In 2013 Taurus received a facelift that made it even more attractive and kept it looking relatively fresh.

For the 2014 model year, Taurus is offered in three trim levels — SE, SEL and Limited — with prices starting from $27,495.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford Taurus.

The Mercedes CLA-Class has only been on the market less than a year, and it’s already gathering steam as one of the German brand’s most popular models.

That’s what happens when you have an affordable model that takes advantage of the esteemed history that Mercedes-Benz has in the industry. So with the CLA-Class gaining in popularity, the natural approach from aftermarket companies is to present programs that will only make the model more popular.

At the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Mercedes tuner extraordinaire Carlsson presented its first program for the CLA-Class. The usual tuning digs that Carlsson has been known to do are all present in Mercedes’ new four-door compact coupé at the IAA.

Exterior upgrades from Carlsson included a front spoiler that can be fitted with CLA models sporting the AMG sport package, an electro-polished stainless-steel grille insert can also be added as an option, contoured side sills and a new rear apron. The latter, in particular, has cutouts that were put there for the four polished tips of the tuner’s sports exhaust silencer, which functions in reducing backpressure, thus providing more horsepower for the four-door compact coupe.

A set of wheels are also offered in various sizes — 18-, 19- and 20-inch — and two wheel designs — the 1/10 and the 1/16 RS — both of which also come with special edition versions. Rounding out the mods to keep the CLA on the road are sport springs that lower the four-door coupe’s ride hight by 35 mm (1.38 inches).

Interior upgrades are left to the customer’s tastes, and include a choice of high-quality leather and Alcantara from in different colors, courtesy of Carlsson’s in-house "saddler." Other key interior options include new floor mats, alloy door-lock pins, illuminated sill plates and an alloy foot-pedal and footrest set.

For the performance program, Carlsson installed its new C-Tronic CB Plug & Drive module, connecting to the ECU through an adapter plug included in the kit. When installed, the kit drives up the output of the CLA200 to 187 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The CLA250 also saw its output now hit 253 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, while the top level CLA45 AMG nets a new output of 450 horsepower, up from its standard 360-horsepower output.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Mercedes CLA-Class

The growing market for up-scale sedans has prompted a lot of automakers to step up their game in order to keep up with the times. European car brands have no need to worry because these models are already part of their vehicular lineups.

But for an American brand, like Ford , looking to gain some traction in a market ripe with premium competitors, it needed to step up.

And step up it did.

At the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Ford will introduce the Mondeo Vignale Concept, a premium and luxurious take of its European midsize sedan . The concept is Ford’s answer to calls from customers asking to see if the Blue Oval can offer them a vehicle that answers their checklist of styling and quality, advanced technology, and exclusivity.

For the most part, Ford has answered that call with the intention of bringing the Vignale Concept to production in the near future, making it only a matter of time before it enters a market ripe with competition and stakes a name for itself.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept

Posted on by TB +  

The Nissan Maxima is back for 2014 with only a handful of updates late in this model’s life cycle. A new Limited trim on the base model offers all the coolest elements from the $36,000 SV Sport package for only $31,750. Upgrades include a new dark-grey wheel design, dark grille and light surrounds and xenon low beams.

As equipped, the Maxima looks far more youthful and sporty than its tenure on the market would suggest. In fact, there is even a little bit of modern-day Infiniti Q45 about the slinky lights, giant fender arches and boxed jaw. The Nissan Maxima’s best asset is still its $31,000 base price, which holds the line for 2014. The SV trim is now about $700 more expensive, but brings big upgrades in equipment and handling.

The classic 4DSC is no longer the golden performance car that it once was, when it was a standout with its standard V-6 engine and manual transmission. Those days are gone for the Maxima in this generation, as a CVT automatic saps some of this big sedan’s hot rod charisma.

The sports sedan idol at Nissan was clearly passed to Infiniti almost a decade ago, so where does that leave this flagship in buyers’ minds versus the Acura TL or the new Chevrolet Impala ?

lick past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Nissan Maxima, with info on the latest updates and specs on the latest Limited Edition styling updates.

Motor Authority was at the Nissan 360 event this past week and managed to snap a few teaser images of a wildly styled sedan . This four-port car features a profile that is eerily similar to the GT-R , and the timing f these images leads us to believe that this may be a new Maxima concept will possibly make its way to the Detroit Auto Show in 2014.

Nissan refers to its Maxima as a "four-door sports car" and at one point, that classification was true, as early Maxima models outperformed nearly every other midsize sedan on the market. In recent years, however, the Maxima’s styling has become flabby and the CVT that hooks up to its powerful V-6 is not best suited for anything with "sports car" in the title. Yes, its 6.2-second run to 60 mph is still one of the best in its class, but the flab-tastic styling and droning CVT gotta go!

If these teasers at Nissan 360 bear conceptual fruit sometime in 2014, it means that the Maxima may well regain the looks and drivetrain to match its classification as the "4DSC." With a new bedmate in the GT-R — at least in profile view — this leads to the possibility of the Maxima ditching front-wheel drive in favor of a sportier all-wheel drive system or even a — GASP — rear-wheel-drive setup. That would make this the first non-front-wheel-drive Maxima since it switched from the Datsun 810 platform in 1985.

If this is all not just hyperbole, then we expect to hear an announcement of a new Concept Maxima — or at least a "concept sedan" — coming very soon, so stay tuned.

Click past the jump to read more about the current Nissan Maxima and to see a Comparison image that shows the current Maxima, this teaser image and the GT-R.

Posted on by Simona  

The first details on the Opel Cascada were release late in 2012 and the world debut followed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show . The model was then launched with a choice of three engines, with the most powerful one delivering a total of 167 horsepower. Now Opel is preparing to expand the Cascada lineup with a new Turbo edition that will be released at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show .

The new Cascada Turbo will pull its power from an all-new Opel 1.6 SIDI turbocharged engine that makes its debut in this model. The new turbo engine delivers a total of 200 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. This output ensures a power output per liter of 125 horsepower — tops in its class.

With this amount of power, the Cascada can hit a top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph) while delivering a fuel economy of 6.7 liters fuel per 100 km (35 mpg) and 158 g/km CO2 (preliminary figures).

Next to the more powerful engine, the new Turbo version of the Cascada will also receive numerous optimizations to the induction and exhaust systems, plus an exclusive HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) front suspension.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Opel Cascada.

Posted on by Simona  

Dodge unveiled the Avenger to the North American market back in 1995 as a two-door coupe. The model was produced until 2000 when Dodge decided to replace it with the Stratus coupe. Dodge used the Avenger name once again in 2007, but this time it was a sedan. The model remained untouched until 2011 when Dodge offered a small revision.

The current Avenger won the IIHS "Top Safety Pick" from 2009 to 2012, thanks to a very long list of standard safety and high-tech features that offer the driver and passenger the safest ride in the segment. There is also the V-6 engine which transforms it into the most powerful V-6 midsize sedan.

For the 2013 model year, the Avenger continues to remain unchanged. There is a choice of three trims — SE, SXT and the R/T — and the latter adds a sporty exterior look and a highly equipped interior. There is also a special Avenger Blacktop Edition , which adds an enhanced exterior look.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 Dodge Avenger.

Posted on by TB +  

The Chrysler 200’s parade of limited trims continues with a new Carhartt Special Edition packing triple-stitched leather seats and a cool body kit on top of the black-themed 200S trim level. The 2013.5 Chrysler 200 S Special Edition’s name is quite the mouthful – but is it enough to invigorate sales of this four-cylinder and V-6-powered midsize sedan?

While the Carhartt package certainly confirms that the 200S Special Edition is well-equipped, it brings prices above the $28,000 mark to nearly overlap with the far more interesting, larger and rear-drive Chrysler 300 ’s base pricing.

The Chrysler 200 sedan has been the main recipient of Chrysler’s marketing time and dollars spent since the breakout “Imported From Detroit” campaign that included a Super Bowl spot and pricey ads featuring Michigan’s hometown hero: rapper Eminem. Catchy rhythms and high-gloss professional photography of the 200 S contrast delightfully in the ads with backdrops that showcase gritty Detroit in all its glory.

The ads firmly locate the 200 sedan as the center of the company (and city’s) eventual revival. The commercials resonated with viewers, leading Chrysler to even co-develop an “Imported From Detroit” clothing label with the help of Carhartt, another Michigan-based firm that embraced the ad campaign’s message.

Continuous improvements to the Chrysler 200 mean the latest, black-themed "S" models are a world away from the original version of this car in terms of performance with a new, high-power V-6, as well as interior comfort and technology. A totally redesigned dashboard and numerous available Uconnect touchscreen stereos keep the 200 current with the best infotainment from the competition.

Is this reinvented 200 sedan truly a new beginning? Many are skeptical and the Chrysler is rarely cross-shopped against the larger Toyota Camry and its best-selling peers.

The 200’s dimensions and realistic prices mean it actually competes with the Chevrolet Malibu , Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla for retail buyers.

Click past the jump for the full review of the Chrysler 200 sedan, with details on the new 2013.5 Carhartt Special Edition of the 200S.

Times have changed in America, that much we can tell you.

Remember the day when mid-sized convertibles were as trendy as the mullet hairstyle? Those days are long gone, which is why it’s a little surprising that automakers are still producing these vehicles.

Consumers still love convertibles, but these days, it has to be of the sporty variety. The 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible is not a sports car, but it does come with the capability of being a convertible. So you can say that the vehicle offers the best of both worlds, right? The sporty performance of a coupe and the open-air freedom of a convertible all wrapped in a midsized vehicle’s body.

To be fair, there are a number of positive attributes with the 200 Convertible. It’s been completely refreshed to make Chrysler forget about the forsaken Sebring. It also has an impressive powertrain configuration that does justice to its looks.

So there’s still hope for the 200 Convertible. But hope is fleeting, especially in the auto industry and ultimately, the midsized convertible is a dying breed.

Chrysler may have something with the 200 Convertible but for the most part, it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get people interested in this kind of car these days.

Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible

Scion tC Sports Coupe

We have seen nearly every gimmick under the sun with various automakers, from Saturn and its "No Haggle" pricing — see where that got it — to Volkswagen with its "Sign Then Drive Event." One gimmick that we’ve been waiting for is for when dealerships start renting out their cars for extended test drives or just a weekend trip.

Well, the wait is now over, as Toyota has done just that. From the looks of things, about 85 percent of Toyota and Scion dealers across the U.S. participate in this program and Toyota claims that its rental rates are competitive with local car-rental companies. According to the Toyota Rent a Car website, you can rent cars, trucks, SUVs, Hybrids and even the 2013 RAV4 EV for a day, week or even months. Unfortunately, the 2013 Scion FR-S isn’t on the list of available models, but the almost-as-cool Scion tC is on the list.

So, we can now check brand-new rent-a-buckets off of our wish list, now we are just waiting for all of the dealers to morph into rental showrooms and Internet-based car buying — now that is "no haggle pricing!" Those two will likely never happen, but at the rate that Tesla is changing the car-buying experience, you just never know what will happen.

Your move, Elon Musk...

Click past the jump to read about some of the coolest models that Toyota is renting out under this program


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