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.

Kia has teamed up with DC Entertainment and Rides magazine to create a one-off version of the 2013 Optima that is inspired by the DC Comic “Batman.” This creation is slated to be part of a benefit dubbed the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, which helps fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. The benefit itself is a great cause, but the car is simply awesome.

Kia started off with the range-topping Optima SX, which boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pops out 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an impressive 269 pound-feet at torque at an ultra-low 1,750 rpm. This is enough to get this sedan to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, but still turn in a 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway EPA fuel economy rating.

Though there are no engine modifications, sans the performance exhaust system, to this Kia turned Batmobile, it does boast a lowered coil-over suspension to help it in the twist and Ksport performance brakes to grind it to a halt a little quicker. On the exterior, Kia draped the Optima in a matte- and piano-black color combination and tossed in a set of 20-inch black wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber. Kia also modified its trademark grille to look like the batman logo and even placed the batman logo in place of the “Kia” logo in the center of the grille. Wrapping up the exterior are yellow LED lights underneath the vehicle and the bat signal etched into the HID headlights.

Inside the Optima, Kia wrapped the interior in custom black leather and suede with yellow accent stitching to maintain the Batman theme. You even get a “Bat suit” in the trunk and a set of throwing stars in the center console. Two video screens on the front headrests cap of the interior and will be playing a video during the campaign that will showcase how people can get involved with the “We Can Be Heroes” project.

Our hats go off to Kia for building such an awesome car for just an awesome cause.

Click past the jump to read Kia’s press release.

The 2013 Ford Fusion will be well represented at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show . That much appears to be evident with the release of a number of previews for the hybrid sedan, all of which come with their own unique modifications from a variety of aftermarket companies.

One of the SEMA-bound Fusion models comes from a team that’s no stranger to the SEMA floor: Tjin Edition .

Last year, Tjin Edition brought four models to SEMA. This year, we still don’t know how many they have under the sheets. What we do know is one of them is the Ford Fusion. For their take on the hybrid sedan, Tjin Edition started off by dressing up the Fusion in a DuPoint Beige paint finish to go with a 3D Carbon lip kit. There’s also a fancy set of 21" copper iForged Concave wheels wrapped in Falken tires, copper mirror caps, a Baer big brake upgrade with lime green brake calipers, and modified suspension from Pedders.

Inside, the modifications are also extensive, although full details are still being withheld. Tjin Edition does look like its bringing some more of that lime color as shown by the dress-up done on the steering wheel. The aftermarket company also installed a new Scosche Audio audio system to give the car some serious audio power. Par for the course on a car headed to SEMA, right?

Rounding out the modifications for the Fusion Tjin Edition is the addition of a custom turbo kit from Unique Fabrication and a side-exit exhaust system from Magnaflow. No word yet on how much of a performance boost this will generate, but we expect it to be on the up-and-up side.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Back in August 2012, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid established an impressive speed record of 185.394 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just a couple of short months later, the vehicle returned to the scene of the victory to break its own record, and succeeded in doing so! The car averaged 186.313 mph over two runs during the SCTA’s World Finals event, eclipsing the previous record by 18.8 mph. Even more impressive is that, during the first round, it hit a top speed of 187.147 mph.

For those who do not remember, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid combines a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline generating 150 HP and 184 lb/ft of torque with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery that produces an additional 27 HP. The battery consists of 60 individual cells with a combined energy capacity of 5 Ah.

"We’re very proud that the Jetta Hybrid has not only posted the fastest speed for a hybrid at Bonneville, but that it has gone out and broken an SCTA land speed record as well," said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, Volkswagen Group of America. "Achieving this record at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class, offering excellent fuel economy while retaining the fun-to-drive nature expected from a Volkswagen."

The cool thing about a show like SEMA is you see customized vehicles that you normally wouldn’t see in other auto shows. In addition to that, you see companies put their auto tuning skills to good use, which isn’t a widely expected scenario in other auto shows.

This year, Hyundai and Re:Mix Lab are going the extra mile again to present three customized Hyundais that each have their own unique flavor. One of these models is the Elantra GT , a normally subtle mid-sized hatchback that was turned into a bonafide stud on wheels - with plenty of accessories inside.

For starters, the Elantra GT has been finished in matte military green, already giving a much needed attitude adjustment to the car. From there, the two companies also used recycled tweet fabric while setting up the ride with a new set of 24-carat gold colored wheels. Likewise, there’s also a roof rack, a ski compartment, and a Nintendo Wii.

Yep, a Nintendo Wii.

There was no mention on whether the interior also has a TV set-up but the image of the rear of the vehicle clearly shows a television screen nesting comfortably in the back hatch. That should make massive traffic jams go by much faster.

After providing an extensive tuning package for the 3-Series sedan , AC Schnitzer has moved on to its station wagon sibling to provide similar upgrades. Their new package for the BMW 3-Series Touring improves upon the exterior and interior look of the vehicle, as well as its power output.

The exterior upgrades include a new front spoiler, a chrome front grille, a rear roof spoiler, and a rear skirt. There is also a wide variety of wheels to choose from, ranging from 18" to 20" and different designs and colors. The interior combines aluminum elements with a very cool Black Line package.

The full line of engines for the 3-Series Touring was updated, providing an increase minimum of 28 HP. The 318d now delivers 171 HP, up from 143 HP; the 320d produces 218 HP, up from 184 HP; the 328i delivers 294 HP, up from 245; and the 335i pushes 360 HP, up from 306 HP. These updates were achieved with the addition of a sports rear silencer and a new exhaust system. There is also a new suspension spring kit combined with a lower suspension to bring the car closer to the ground by 25 mm.

The Nürburgring, we’re sure, has seen plenty of animal casualties throughout its life span. Many of deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other fauna have likely tried their luck crossing it, only to be met by the front splitter of many supercars.

This time around we get to see a little bit different of an animal meet a high-speed vehicle, as an eagle of some sort – hopefully not bald – decided to soar into the flight pattern of a Nissan GT-R as it circled the `Ring. The predatory bird smacked the top passenger side of the windshield while the GT-R was going roughly 140 mph and flew right over the top of the car.

The thud alone is telling of exactly how hard the bird hit and the damage to the glass in the pictures shows you that the bird was likely not in great shape after this battle with Godzilla. “Ouch” is an understatement for this one.

Chevrolet is expanding their Malibu line-up with the addition of a new Turbo version for the LT and LTZ models. The new Turbos will go on sale in Fall 2012 at a starting price of $27,710 for the LT version and $30,925 for the LTZ.

The new Malibu Turbo is powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 259 HP and a peak torque of 260 lb-ft. This power is enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph. The engine is combined with a Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic, a four-wheel-independent suspension system, hydraulic ride bushings, and premium electric steering gear.

"The all-new turbocharged engine showcases just how capable the new Malibu is, and the turbocharged Malibu is perfect for customers who want a midsize sedan that is fun to drive under a wide range of real-world conditions," said Mark Meyers, GM global vehicle performance manager.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo.

Driving up alongside the 2013 Accord in Honda ’s line-up is the new 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid Sedan, a model which, according to Honda, will serve as the basis for a conventional hybrid version of the Accord Sedan . The new Accord PHEV will go on sale in early 2013 and will be produced in Sayama, Japan.

The Accord PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 137 HP combined with a powerful 124-kilowatt (kW) electric motor for a total output of 196 HP. The model can drive in pure electric mode for 10 to 15 miles and delivers a total driving range of over 500 miles.

The new hybrid version is based on the Touring trim level of standard Accord Sedan and will be distinguished by a weight-saving aluminum hood, 17-inch forged alloy wheels, and a unique front bumper.

Hit the jump to read more about the new 2014 Honda Accord PHEV.

There are two staples in Honda’s lineup that have seemingly been a part its production line forever. Those cars are the Honda Civic and Accord . The Accord has seen many changes over its lifespan, some simple and others very extreme. As we approach the 2013 model year, we know the the Accord is being redesigned, but so far we only know the specifics of the Accord Coupe.

As of now, we officially know the specifics behind the Accord sedan, thus completing the 2013 Accord lineup. Honda’s goal with the new Accord sedan was to make it better, but not bigger. One area that Honda needed to improve upon, in order to keep pace with the CAFE regulations, was fuel economy. It’s not that the 2012 Accord got poor fuel economy – 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with a 4-cylinder – it just needs to constantly improve to hit the corporate lineup average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

What exactly could Honda have done to make the 2013 Accord any better than the 2012 Accord, which is pretty nice itself?

To find out what Honda did and if it met its goal of making the Accord better, click past the jump.

Next to the sedan model, Mazda will also be unveiling the station wagon version of the 2013 Mazda 6 at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. Both models displayed at the French show will be powered by Mazda ’s new SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel engine and are scheduled to go on sale later this year.

The future station wagon Mazda 6 will feature the same design language as the sedan, except of course for the specific estate rear that will add more cargo space. just like the sedan, the station wagon will incorporate both the full range of SKYACTIV technology and the new KODO Soul of Motion design theme.

At its official market launch, the new Mazda6 Wagon will be offered with a choice of two engines: a Skyactiv-G 2.0 delivering 148 HP and a Skyactiv-D 2.2 diesel. The new diesel engine will be offered in either Standard Power or High Power versions and will be combined with Mazda’s unique brake energy regeneration system, i-ELOOP.

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