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small family cars

small family cars

Posted on by TB +  

Mitsubishi ’s biggest seller brings a number of new updates for 2014 to increase refinement, style and interior technology. Both models move up a notch in driving ability, helping maintain the 2014 Outlander Sport’s class-leading status among the compact crossover market segment.

A new LED running light design is available up front, along with some snazzy blue LED brake lights out back for 2014. A black leading edge of the roof is also quite stylish, and marks out the Outlander Sport SE at the top of the range. In the top trim level, the 2014 model year also brings better leather and a a standard display audio screen.

All Outlander Sports now pack a new balancer shaft for the engine, extra insulation and redesigned steering wheel controls. Overall, the Outlander Sport is still one of the sportiest and best-handling compact crossovers out there.

Is the Mitsu ’s tight handling and build quality enough of an incentive over the Jeep Patriot ? How about the turbocharged Nissan Juke ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, with all the updates for this model year, options info, and pricing data on the optional huge glass roof

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Detail changes refine the best-selling Ford Escape for 2014, including a new backup camera and better towing compatibility when equipped with the clever foot-activated power tailgate. The biggest other change to celebrate? A price cut of over $1,000 on the sporty Titanium EcoBoost trim versus 2013.

Full (versus partial on 2013 and before) leather trim inside the Titanium specification is joined by a gigantic available moonroof and a new style of wheels, in what Ford calls 18-inch sparkle nickel painted aluminum.

The Escape still carries much of its concept-car style onto the roads even without the upgraded Titanium’s xenon and LED lights. The proportions are firmly modern but maintain a sense of adventure with tough plastic for the fenders as sills. Overall, this redesign of the previous boxy Escape is a large leap, perhaps two or three normal generations in a single bound.

As such, the tech underneath also matches the future-tech mission of the exterior styling. Three available engines and a twin-clutch automatic are at the very forefront of tech in the crossover space, where the RAV4 and CR-V still bumble along with dated four-bangers and thirsty transmission setups. Is there anything slower than a Honda driver on the phone?

The Escape’s appeal is very solid in the crossover market, even with a price range that can grow far larger than its budget rivals. In top specification, this is truly the thinking man’s Evoque : a mechanically identical sibling of the mini Range Rover , but for almost exactly half the price at all trim levels.

In the real world, is the Escape as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, or as big as the brand-new, 2014 Nissan Rogue that arrives at dealers in November?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Escape, including all the new colors and trim options to go along with the latest backup camera and SYNC technology.

Posted on by Simona  

Audi unveiled the new-generation A3 hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show , and shortly after, it started to test the other models in the A3 lineup, including the convertible version.

After being caught testing in many times, the new A3 Cabriolet will make its official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show . To no one’s surprise, the model will carry over many of the components from the hatchback version, with the only exception being, of course, that new cloth top.

The new model grew significantly, as its total length goes from 166.8 inches to 174 inches. Despite this growth, the A3 actually drops 110 pounds over the previous model, thanks to Audi switching over to lightweight materials and the new building technologies.

Updated 09/09/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images, specs and video.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

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This fall’s second Mitsubishi lifestyle concept car looks good enough to cause a double take. The 2014 Outlander H360 Winter Edition adds rich white paint and 20-inch wheels outside, plus a gorgeous quilted leather and suede cabin, to create a very cozy and fashionable way to hit the slopes.

In partnership with lifestyle brand H360 and professional snowboarder Bryan "Guch" Iguchi, Mitsubishi has transformed their popular seven-seat crossover into the ultimate winter shuttle. The styling outside is refined and classy, with those giant wheels really transforming the regular Outlander’s lines into something much sleeker and sportier than the standard model.

The beauty of these H360 makeovers is that they can inspire other Mitsubishi owners to personalize their own cars, and draw people into the brands by reinforcing their outdoor credentials.

Looking like a mix between a Range Rover Evoque and an Audi RS4 Avant , the Outlander H360 Winter Edition is powered by a smooth V-6 engine with S-AWC traction and a very quick sprint pace versus some four-cylinder crossover competitors.

More importantly, the H360 Winter Edition will look at home in Beaver Creek Ski Resort’s valet parking line. A host of interior and exterior additions make up this concept car, which will do the rounds at major auto shows this year.

These H360 concepts are just design exercises, and are not for sale themselves. Even so, they show the scope of accessories and versatility of one of the only value-priced crossovers to offer a third row of seats.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander H360 Winter Edition, with high-res images of this beauty’s quilted leather interior and trunk-mounted coffee maker.

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Mitsubishi just revealed a pair of fitness and adventure-themed concepts, based on the best-selling Outlander and Outlander Sport . The Summer Edition is a thorough personalization effort, on par with the high-dollar luxury car makeovers from Kahn Design .

The custom Outlander Sport shows off: unique burnt orange metallic paintwork and 20-inch Vossen wheels, with matching satin graphite accents all around and sticky track tires. The wheel size jumps a full 2 inches over the 18-inch rims that are otherwise standard on all the Outlander Sport trims, which start from just $19,170 in manual front-drive configuration.

This H360 Summer Edition is based on the higher-range model, with a SportTronic paddle shift automatic and Mitsubishi ’s AWC four-wheel-drive system. Thule roof bars and matching Trek bikes are only a preview of the inside of this fitness machine.

Created with the help of celebrity fitness coach Jay Cardiello, the Outlander Sport Summer Edition is packing some bold color accents and numerous fitness and outdoor adventure gear. Hard-wired chargers are awesome details for the built-in GoPro and iPad mini in the grey suede headlining.

Click past the jump to get a closer look at those semi-slick Nitto 420S tires of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport H360 Summer Edition.

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A dyno, a laptop and a dream: the BBM Motorsport upgrade for the E91 generation of BMW 3 Series brings an extra 251 pound-feet of torque with a simple induction, exhaust and ECU re-flash. Yep, this 330d has 635 pound-feet of torque to go with its appealing red foil wrap and 19-inch BBS alloys.

BBM Motorsport’s impressive project really shows the scope of tasteful performance modifications to this generation of BMW 3 Series wagons. From looking like it probably has melted candy in the leather seats, to now looking at home making sparks on the Nordschleife and racing RS6 Avants on the autobahn until the tires or nerves call it quits.

This revamp is pretty cost effective as well, with BBM offering component sales for guys who might only be able to afford one upgrade at a time. The LED lights and matte wrap might be eye-catching, but the real gold comes from 30 minutes of ‘hotsynching’ to the BMW ’s OBDII port.

A more effective ECU re-flash is hard to recall, but as we all know, tuners are not quite OEM in their durability and long-term reliability testing. Does the BBM kit push the limits of this excellent BMW turbo-diesel engine too high?

Despite sounding like a tractor or school bus to American ears, there is actually much more soulful inline-six bellow from the BBM upgrades. Bellows are the last thing you hear before your head meets the seat when the torque comes in a knockout punch.

Click past the jump for the full image gallery and details on the BMW E91 330d Touring by BBM Motorsport’s performance and style upgrades.

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Details about the new Jaguar XQ-type midsize crossover are emerging from Coventry ahead of the $45,000 model’s expected debut next month in Frankfurt . Exclusive TopSpeed renderings offer a speculative glimpse at the styling of this make-or-break next generation of aluminum models.

Twinned with the XQ-type is the Q-type sedan, which will be the smallest models in Jaguar ’s range outside of the F-type sports cars. The XQ-type aims for the sweet spot of the premium crossover market occupied by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, each of which are formidable competition for Jaguar’s first American family SUV.

Fast-tracking the XQ-type’s ‘PLA’ code name aluminum chassis and body panels means this new compact benefits from both a nimble chassis and the best current and future components in the Jaguar Land Rover parts bin. Both the XF ’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the supercharged V-6 are expected, with the latter to offer Jag’s new Instinctive AWD as seen on both the U.S.-market XF and XJ.

A sporty bias for The XQ-type offers enough space between this model and the Land Rover SUVs, and the XQ is even likely to run as a rear-drive model in base configurations.

The XQ’s performance will be closely benchmarked against its German rivals, with further R and R-S options on the table. The beauty of this chopped-length PLA architechture, which will also underpin the new XF and XK, is that even the compact models will be quite wide and should be able to fit the firm’s rorty supercharged V-8 under that shapely ’bonnet.’

Is this the dream Jag for sporty crossover shoppers? Click past the jump to stare into the future of the Jaguar XQ-type, which is a sure thing to be officially imported into the U.S. as a late 2015 or early 2016 model.

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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.

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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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The revised CX-9 follows on company’s hot streak of stylish new models like the Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedan. New LED lights and a slinky Kodo grille revamp the face of Mazda ’s largest and most expensive model.

The seven-seater CX-9 carries over its previous 3.7-liter V-6 in front or AWD configurations. Paired to the crossover’s singing engine is a premium Aisin six-speed automatic with sport and manual modes. A 60 mph sprint time in the mid 7 second range shows off the CX-9’s impressive chassis design – even without the SkyActiv banner that helps build buzz around the smaller CX-5 .

Refined but sporty damping helps this full-size Mazda crossover to be quite competitive in the $35,000 large crossover segment, and the new gearstick design is a classy touch.

Mazda is firmly in touch with premium buyer needs by the looks of the interior, and the CX-9’s revised cabin maintains the stylish vertical accent bars up the sides of the center stack. Touchscreen technology and rear-seat movies are offered in the plush Mazda CX-9, but what are its key advantages over the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Mazda CX-9, including the features and pricing by trim level and a large photo gallery of the new styling.


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