new cars

new cars

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Ford ’s all-new 2014 Transit Connect has broken cover ahead of its arrival in American showrooms during the first quarter of 2014. Big changes to the TC commercial van mean it now offers a long-wheelbase version and an EcoBoost power upgrade. The new model’s fuel economy is expected to easily top 30 mpg on the highway, with base pricing around just $23,000.

The Transit Connect now comes in commercial or passenger flavors, with the passenger model called the TC Wagon and the panel van called the Cargo. This new generation of Transit Connect brings a major overhaul in interior comfort and technology, while also bringing a slightly cool boy-racer image to the TC Cargo’s boxy styling.

The low ride height and sporty nose are the first items to make an impression, and both are a quantum leap ahead of the jutting nose of the current models. Still a front-drive configuration, the TC Cargo now has twin sliding doors and a choice of tailgate designs. Inside the customizable back cab, a large jump in practicality means both more cubic-feet of space and a much greater payload than ever offered before on the Transit Connect.

The Transit Connect will be followed to market by the company’s next-gen, full-size work van – the rear-drive Ford Transit – that is scheduled to arrive in dealers in spring 2014.

The Ford Transit Connect Cargo must duke it out with the Nissan NV200 , Chevrolet City Express and the Ram Cargo Van for small business sales.

Are the Ford ’s sporty new looks, extra space and a redesigned cockpit enough for the TC Cargo to sweep the fleet van championship?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Cargo, with all the latest information from Ford on the van’s specifications and new EcoBoost engine option.

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The BMW Concept M4’s official images were revealed today in Pebble Beach, where the Concept M4 will join the vintage 507 Cabriolet and a few other greatest hits on the BMW show grass this week. The Concept M4 previews one of the most exciting new cars of next year, and BMW ’s M car concept history tells us that the production car will pack all of the drama and technical beauty of this stunning concept.

No details yet on the powertrain or the performance, but considering that the 335i hits 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds - the extra performance of the M4 should bring the times into the high 3’s for the first time. Explosive turbocharged power is a sure thing - and goes very well with the stunning visual feast that is the Concept M4.

Away from the glamor and sun-drenched crowds at Pebble Beach, the 2015 BMW M4 production model is undergoing final testing and handling tweaks, with its arrival in U.S. dealers some time next summer to battle the Nissan GT-R , Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe and the Audi RS5 .

Please click past the jump for the official image gallery and a full styling analysis of BMW Concept M4.

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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.

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Mitsubishi ’s product offensive and commitment to the American market took a very public step recently with comments from top company executives quoted in the Detroit Free Press indicating the 2015 Galant and a possible Montero Sport replacement are in the cards after years of being missing in action.

The latest hints from the secretive company presage what many experts predict to be a surprise reveal of the production-ready Galant sedan concept at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show starting November 22nd of this year.

The new 2015 Galant is expected to soften some of the sharpest corners of the 2008 Mitsubishi Concept ZT pictured here, as well as insert the Outlander ’s sophisticated gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrain choices to ready the car for sale.

Replacing the once-stylish U.S.-market Galant as well as the unloved Diamante that stopped production after the 2012 model year, the new sports sedan is charged with filling the void above the company’s brand-new 2014 Mirage and Outlander Sport . Prices start at a projected $26,000 up to $35,000 for the plug-in hybrid model, with the car’s arrival in U.S. showrooms in summer 2014 expected.

The dimensions of the next Galant are expected to match the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry , as the car aims to be Mitsu’s key large sedan model across a variety of markets in Asia, Australia, EMEA and the Americas.

Click past the jump for the speculative preview of the 2015 Mitsubishi Galant, with high-res images of the Concept ZT whose styling forms the template for this hot upcoming model.

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The Volvo XC70 is almost completely fresh following a thorough interior revamp for 2013 and a subtle exterior nip/tuck for 2014. The latest luxury crossover wagon from the safety experts gets a macho new grill design with giant honeycomb pattern, LED fog lights, an LED running light blade in each headlight, a freshened LED taillight design and additional matte-finish silver trims all around.

The look is far more current and allows Volvo to keep up sales momentum even as the traditional wagon body style is in retreat from the best-selling XC60 SUV and upcoming XC90 replacement.

The XC70’s boxy profile is part of the lasting charm that gives Volvo wagons such huge cabin space and cargo area capacity. This latest model finally addresses the main critiques of post-Ford Volvo : few meaningful updates to keep the line fresh and competitive.

The latest XC70 fights perception that it might be slow and pack dated cabin infotainment solutions. For 2014, this five-passenger crossover gets ultramodern TFT instruments, a new touchscreen HDD nav solution called Sensus Connected Touch, quicker automatic transmissions and a Polestar engine upgrade on the official options list.

With the last two enhancements, this stops being just an ultra-plush and luxurious family car and starts fighting back with real performance credibility – acceleration to 60 mph for the top engine falls from about 6.9 seconds down to just 6 seconds flat.
The XC70 is a niche choice but an exceptional vehicle in a segment flooded with floppy crossovers. How does it compare with the Subaru Outback and the new A4-based Audi allroad ?

Updated 8/5/2013: Volvo has just unveiled all of the pricing details for the 2014 XC70. The crossover starts at a base price of $34,500 and peaks out at just over $46k. See all of the details after the jump.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Volvo XC70 with exclusive images of the new LED fog and running light designs.

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Next summer’s new small commercial van from Chevy leverages the Nissan NV200 ’s tough-but-cheap new platform with hopes that the powerhouse Chevrolet fleet network can work its magic in delivering significant commercial sales volume.

Called the Chevy City Express, the new small van has twin sliding doors and a massive load bay – all while driving the front wheels and offering an overall 24 mpg.

The small commercial van segment is heating up since the arrival of the Ford Transit Connect . Despite the Transit Connect ’s popularity and niche-filling role in the Ford empire, bringing it to America from Europe has been a labor-intensive process that also means the vehicle offers much slimmer profit margins than the old-school Econolines that were previously Ford’s only answer for van shoppers.

The Chevy City Express path is a shortcut to gain access to this growing market segment without a huge investment in a new platform or assembly line. Nissan’s NV200 is the ideal candidate for a shared model because it offers federalized engines and crash structures, yet can also be sold globally with a variety of tiny gasoline and diesel engines.

As catchy as the old ‘badge engineering’ description is, it does not really apply in this case across the two unrelated companies. This is more like R&D engineering, or supply chain engineering – a rapid way to get this car into dealers with a Chevy badge without any of the risks associated with a years-long, multi-billion-dollar engineering program to build one from scratch.

Will adding some bow-tie grilles and Chevy’s huge network of existing fleet customers to the Nissan package be enough to deliver results for American businesses? Does the new City Express’s efficiency and maneuverability outweigh its lack of towing, off-road or heavy hauling stats?

Update 8/15/2014: Chevy has announced official EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2015 City Express. It gets 24 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 Chevrolet City Express, including full specs on the shared platform dimensions, features and mechanicals.

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Mission control: The Datsun launch is a GO. I repeat - Datsun is GO for launch. Ignition sequence…

The re-launch of the Datsun brand took a big step forward with the reveal of its new budget car, the GO. This compact, five-door hatchback will spearhead Nissan ’s ambitions across some of the largest developing markets in the world, starting with India and Russia in early 2014.

The Datsun brand will form the low-cost and extra-reliable rung of the Nissan family that also includes the Infiniti luxury division. Datsun wants a piece of the huge sales numbers achieved by Maruti-Suzuki and Dacia with an eye on future expansion across Asia, Africa and South America.

The new Datsun ethos is fun, youthful cars that are extremely practical. The marketing is lifestyle focused with strong appeals to youth culture and breaking away from the norm. New brands and segments are easier to establish among young shoppers with fewer brand loyalties.

The Datsun GO must carve a careful niche to maximize its success in the Indian home market, where the car was also developed and will be assembled. A low selling price is king but customers will spend more to get the features they need, like a tailgate that opens for luggage access and of course, air conditioning. The slow-motion failure of the unpopular Tata Nano is a cautionary tale for the new Datsun brand.

How will Datsun’s launch model perform in challenging market conditions?

Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2014 Datsun GO, a new generation of compact cars from the legendary Datsun brand.

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Details about this fall’s new Accord Hybrid are starting to trickle from Honda in the form of official images and a boast about the new midsize sedan’s 47 mpg combined rating. The Hybrid model leverages the advanced Sport Hybrid battery systems, new engine and aerodynamic tweaks from its pricier Plug-in Hybrid Accord sibling.

Luckily, the Accord Hybrid benefits from the latest LED styling outside and new high-tech eco displays inside – without the questionable new nose Honda grafts onto the PHEV (as well as this regular Accord Hybrid outside the U.S.)

There is still blue-tinted lighting and badges galore, but this time it is not trying to disguise old halogen bulbs like on the CR-Z .

Pricing and final stats for the Hybrid’s smaller lithium-ion battery pack are not yet available and will directly influence the showroom costs. The Accord PHEV’s $40,000-plus pricing has raised some eyebrows, but the new Hybrid will be built on the regular Ohio assembly line for the first time – hopefully bringing savings versus the Japanese-built Accord PHEV .

Pricing in the low $30,000 range will put the new Honda about $2,000 above similarly equipped Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans. Buyers are still lapping up the base $23,000 Prius hatchback’s mileage and ease of use. Even so, the the real sales prize will be winning over not just early adopters but mainstream sedan shoppers with an eye on fuel economy and cruising refinement.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid with details on the all-new 2.0-liter engine and twin-motor Sport Hybrid system ahead of the Accord Hybrid’s arrival at Honda dealers this October.

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Fiat has unveiled the seven-seat MPV version of its mini car with the official 500L Living name badge for the European market. This model is not yet on U.S. Fiat price lists, but it is expected in spring 2014 under the 500XL badge with a larger engine and optional automatic gearbox.

Much about the new 500L Living is directly derived from the successful 500L series, but a few key additions join the length stretch that puts two mini seats in the third row for the first time. The most notable are the multiple two-tone pastel plus white or black paint schemes and an in-dash espresso machine for fresh coffee.

The Lavazza coffee-maker promises individualized lattes, using a similar one-cup system best known from the Keurig K-cup series. The Fiat’s coffee maker reclaims some of Italy’s pride for inventing modern coffee practices… but then largely missing the boom in café culture epitomized by Starbuck’s global rise.

The expanding Fiat 500 line wants to avoid the same mistake of letting the premium city car segment — a long-time Fiat specialty — fall into the hands of BMW’s MINI brand.

The 500L Living beats the expected MINI Countryman Traveler "Spacebox" to market by more than year but will also face competition in American dealers from the upcoming passenger version of Ford Transit Connect as well as the existing Mazda5 . Secondary competition comes from base-model Dodge Grand Caravans from just $20,000 and some base seven-seat crossovers from $25,000.

Fiat is betting these competitors cannot match its quirky flair, brand image and unique European styling.

Click past the jump for the full preview of the Fiat 500L Living ahead of its anticipated U.S. arrival next year as the 500XL.

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Buick ’s 162-mph performance flagship is back for 2014 with a new AWD option and a revised engine design for quicker turbo boost. The 2014 Regal GS keeps all the styling elements that make it such a showstopper: the polished 20-inch alloy wheels and satin metallic intake/exhaust breathers.

There are new headlights and taillights to mark out the latest model but it will take a real spotter to differentiate the two from most angles. Up front, the projector ball is now toward the outside edge of the headlight assembly and a new LED design brings a much brighter corner graphic. Out back, the chrome trunk bar now runs the full width of the car and a wrap-around LED design brings wider tail lamps.

The GS now shares its engine with the 2014 Regal Turbo but stands alone when it comes to exterior presence, dynamic performance and interior materials. The AWD option is a welcome addition to the GS package but is only offered with the automatic transmission. Relax, the 2014 Regal GS is still available with a manual on the front-drive cars.

This hot midsize sport sedan is clearly a huge visual upgrade over the base Regal but is actually priced with a minimal $2000 jump above the loaded Regal Turbo .

Do the enhanced performance, sophisticated drivetrain and massively upgraded interior make it worthwhile? And how does it stack up versus the Audi A4 and the Cadillac ATS ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Buick Regal GS with extra information on the extensive engine update and AWD option.


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