minivans

minivans

  Minivans are affordable people carriers. They appeared in the late 70's with the Chrysler Voyager and the Renault Espace. Crossover slowly but surely taking over the minivan segment.

Ford F-Series Super Duty

Ford has finally settled a class-action lawsuit over claims it sold defective diesel Power Stroke engines in 2003-2007 Super Duty trucks and E-Series vans. The 6.0-liter, V-8 turbo-diesel in question was manufactured by Navistar International, Ford’s diesel supplier since 1994.

The lawsuit originates in customer complaints over the 6.0-liter having defective exhaust gas recirculation valves and coolers, oil coolers, fuel injectors and turbochargers. Some failures were so severe that Ford replaced entire engines and even bought back trucks that couldn’t be easily repaired.

For those vehicles that were repairable, Ford will have to reimburse owners a percentage of their costs for each component they replaced, along with half of the $100 deductible owners paid for having their vehicle serviced under Ford’s five-year/100,000-mile engine warranty. The lawsuit also reimburses owners anywhere from $50 to $825 for post-warranty repairs done on their trucks and vans with under 135,000 miles on the clock.

The troubled 6.0-liter Power Stroke was the nail in the coffin for Ford’s relationship with Navistar. In 2010, Ford dumped the company and moved it diesel development and production in house. The result is the current 6.7-liter Power Stroke that produces 400 horsepower and an astounding 800 pound-feet or stump-pulling torque for 2014.

Oddly enough, Navistar was released from the litigation proceedings, leaving owners and Ford to fight it out.

Click past the jump for more on the 2014 Ford Super Duty

Posted on by Simona  

Rumors have been circulating for quite some time now that Mercedes will bring a new model to its lineup. And now those rumors are coming true, as the new V-Class set to arrive on the market sometime next year. This is the second time Mercedes-Benz will make use of the V-Class name — Mercedes still calls the Viano the V-Class in select markets around the globe.

The new V-Class will replace both the Viano and the wildly unsuccessful R-Class , and will be unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show . Sales will begin shortly after that.

The new V-Class — codenamed W447 — will receive a more aggressive design language when compared to the current Viano and a more luxurious interior. The first images reveal an interior with a removable touch pad on the upper section of the center console, and a premium cabin with wood inserts, chocolate leather upholstery and several metallic accents.

Under the hood, we will likely see gasoline and diesel engines, with the most powerful version delivering up to 190 horsepower.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes V-Class.

Source: WCF

With so many automakers looking to break free from the dull and stale auto designs, a few brands have been left to collect everyone else’s dust.

Mitsubishi is one of those brands that appears to have been content with rolling out models with designs that left a lot to be desired. But the Japanese brand seems to be turning the corner — finally! — and for the first time in seemingly forever, it will roll out a trio of new concepts at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Not a lot of details have been divulged about these concepts, other than the fact that the company is preparing all three as the first batches of its new "@earth" philosophy.

One is an SUV that’s been dubbed as the Concept Grand Cruiser Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or Concept GC-PHEV if you find the other name too long. This concept appears to be a future version of the Montero SUV, highlighted by a new front profile with aggressive edges and a new headlight setup that’s eerily similar to the Range Rover Evoque .

The next concept is called the Concept Cross Runner Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or XR-PHEV. Mitsubishi says that this concept will be introduced as a compact crossover with coupe-like styling cues, possibly taking the place of the current Outlander Sport in the coming years.

Finally, there’s the Concept Active Runabout, or Concept AR. In addition to being the simplest-named of the three concepts, the Concept AR is being touted as a compact MPV that, unlike the two others, will come with a conventional gasoline engine with turbocharging and direct-injection technologies.

Based on the teaser photos of the concepts, all three appear to be a far departure from what we’re used to when it comes to Mitsubishi. That’s a great thing because, if for nothing else, the Japanese brand’s move to the present is long overdue.

Click past the jump to read about one current model that appears to have its next-generation successor in the pipeline, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

In addition to the outrageous concepts and world premieres that have debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show , a number of models who are generously described as concepts yet look more like production previews are also in attendance.

One of these models comes courtesy of French automaker Renault . Specifically, the model is called the Initiale Paris Concept and it’s being touted as a preview model for the automaker’s resident people-carrier, the Espace.

While we’re disappointed that it’s not a preview of its future sports car, the Alpine, the Initiale Paris Concept does look like a very worthy step forward for the normally mundane Espace. Renault’s current styling direction is pretty evident on the concept, specifically the headlight details, the low-slung plexiglass roof, the sleek side styling and of particular note to us, the honeycomb intakes just below the integrated bumper.

The design is also in line with Renault’s recent proclamation that the Espace will look less like a minivan and more like a crossover, something that should appeal to its overall makeup.

Click past the jump to read about the Renault Espace

Posted on by Simona  

Volkswagen is preparing to expand its Golf lineup with the addition of a new Sportsvan version. The new model was previewed at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and will be put into production as the Golf Plus in the middle of next year.

When compared to a base Golf VII , the new Sportsvan was built on a wheelbase increased by 48 mm (1.88 inches), plus it is also 126 mm (4.96 inches) taller and 8 mm (0.31 inches) wider. As a result, it features a more flexible and roomier interior. This larger interior gives the rear bench seat 180 mm (7.08 inches) of fore and aft adjustment, and over 1,500 liters (53 cubic feet) of cargo capacity.

Under the hood, the Sportvan is equipped with the same six engines offered by the standard Golf, with power ranging from 85 to 150 horsepower.

When the production version arrives on the market, it will come with XDS+, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, air conditioning, seven airbags, the new electronic parking brake, a 5-inch touchscreen, variable cargo floor and a cargo cover.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Volkswagen Golf.

Ford’s S-Max MPV is widely regarded as one of the Blue Oval’s most popular and successful models. Back in 2007, it even won the prestigious Car of the Year award in Europe, which goes to show that the reach of the S-Max knows no geography.

Now that the current model is long in the tooth, Ford is ready to unveil a successor at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show .

Called the S MAX Concept , the vehicle is less of an actual concept than it is a preview of the future production S-Max model. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because one look at the concept and you’re immediately pining for the production version to come out sooner than later.

In addition to adopting the modern global design language of Ford, the S Max Concept also makes use of new some nifty new features from Ford’s SYNC system while also boasting of an interior that should make its customers happy.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford S MAX Concept

Posted on by TB +  

The sporty Mazda5 van brings its unique blend of hauling space, double sliding doors and low-dollar fuel bills into this year intact. The Mazda5 does without the latest touchscreen technology in its versatile cabin, but has a stellar driving position and balanced handling to make up for any missing trendy items.

There are real tradeoffs for the Mazda ’s eager handling and great mileage ratings. A slippery drag coefficient isn’t enough to silence the roars inside this boomy machine at 80 mph, but for some the car’s $20,000 entry price will mean accepting these shortcomings.

Where the Mazda is happiest is in the smart and practical small family car market, where not even larger crossovers can touch its skillful blend of attributes like easy city driving, amble rear-seat access for loading and unloading, and the hauling flexibility of the compact van’s capacious rear cabin (especially with the second row of seats removed).

The unique small minivan market position occupied by the Mazda5 is more crowded than before, with competition from seven-passenger haulers like the Mitsubishi Outlander and Dodge Journey a real threat despite the crossover models’ less-practical, SUV-style rear doors.

The crossover squad is also nowhere near as fuel efficient in daily driving as the Mazda5. While lacking the newest direct injection from the SkyActiv engines, the Mazda5’s 2.5-liter engine is rarely underpowered in the car’s family mission.

Click past the jump for the full review of the Mazda5, with highlights on all the latest updates and changes.

Posted on by TB +  

Ford ’s little commercial vehicle that could, the Transit Connect, is completely fresh for 2014 with new styling, multiple length and roof sizes, and a new EcoBoost option. Another first is a seven-passenger MPV variant called the Transit Connect Wagon. The passenger model will be offered in short or long wheelbase configuration, arriving in U.S. dealers in October with prices expected to start in the $24,000 ballpark.

As useful as full-size vans are, even Ford ’s brand-new, enormous 2014 Transit cargo van is not ideal for light commercial duties like doggie daycare pickup or flower delivery. Ford ’s elderly E-series vans are equally unsuitable for dropping kids off at school - so the latest Transit Connect Wagon has a willing market among van-deprived Ford loyalists.

The Transit Connect Wagon is a five-seater in the short-wheelbase configuration, and up to a seven-seater on the longer length option. This is no compact car - the larger TC Wagon has a 121-inch wheelbase.

Both vans come with dual sliding doors and an available one-piece power tailgate preferred by moms. How does this hot new Ford stack up versus the Mazda5 or Nissan Quest ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon, with a full image gallery of the exterior design and interior layouts.

Posted on by TB +  

The Chrysler Town & Country is just about the finest minivan it has ever been, with class-leading performance and economy stats from its 3.6-liter V-6 paired to a six-speed automatic.

The exterior style of the new-for-2013 Town & Country S looks mean and lean wearing a black chrome grille and dark alloy wheels. Inside, the T&C is also better than ever, with standard leather seats and dual 9-inch overhead screens for the back seat’s built-in Blu-ray DVD player.

Rumors and speculation about the Town & Country’s future have been rampant in the Chrysler -Fiat era, with most bets on a big refresh for 2015 or 2016 that will bring crossover styling and perhaps a new name to the much-loved minivan king’s loyal buyers.

The core attributes of this year’s T&C are therefore extra special: flexible hauling space that can go from packing seven people, to 140-plus cubic-feet of stuff - and back - without unbolting or removing any seats.

Stow ‘n’ Go is still a masterful party trick for the Chrysler van twins, but the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are firmly established as winning the back-seat comfort contest. Thicker padding is available on fixed second-row buckets as an option to replace the tumbling chairs, but other comfort and drive quality issues remain for minivan shoppers.

The T&C finally has enough power to move confidently while carrying a full load, but still suffers from some old-fashioned harshness in the suspension, and little handling confidence on twisty highways.
Of course, families are the prime market for minivans, meaning prioritizing comfort, safety and technology first.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country, with special details on the cool new S model that is priced at just $32,000.

Posted on by TB +  

The Sedona minivan sat out the 2013 model year without joining the official Kia lineup. Even so, the practical seven-seater notched up nearly 15,000 sales of old stock to families seeking the upmarket style of the Honda Odyssey but the value pricing of the Dodge Grand Caravan .

Value is the Sedona’s key niche as it languishes without the chassis and tech overhauls that have done wonders for the Optima and Sportage. There are many benefits to the Sedona offering and the core model is refreshed in reintroduced for 2014 with a new grille design, new LED running lights in front and a new taillight design out back.

The space and features in this V-6 Kia minivan are beyond criticism – this wide and airy cabin makes full-size SUVs like the Chevy Suburban seem like a foolish extravagance that puts image ahead of actual vehicle priorities of kid and family transport. The Sedona’s 24 mpg on the highway will also shame any SUV and most large crossovers.

With all these benefits and a $32,000 loaded price, the Sedona is more than $12,000 cheaper than the fanciest Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Town & Country models.

Inevitably, there are big compromises to be made. The Kia ’s sloppy driving experience and interior design are a relic of the bad old Kia days. Do the new grille and LED accent lights turn the also-ran 2014 Kia Sedona into a real player in the minivan segment?

Click past the jump for the full review with highlights on the new features and desirable options.


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