2018 Subaru Impreza 50th Anniversary Edition
Unveiled for the 2017 model year, the current-generation Subaru Impreza received a significant makeover inside and out compared to the previous model, but old engine was carried over with mild revisions. Despite not being that much more powerful, the sedan gets a lot of praise for its comfortable and roomy cabin, the standard all-wheel-drive system, and the available safety features. For 2018, the Impreza continues without any changes — which isn’t surprising given that it’s still relatively new — but Subaru is offering a limited-edition, 50th Anniversary package.
The bundle is part of Subaru’s celebration of its 50th anniversary in the United States. Established in 1953, the Japanese firm crossed the pond to the U.S. in 1968, when Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm founded Subaru of America in Philadelphia and began selling the tiny 360 model. This limited-edition Impreza is part of a larger scale 50th Anniversary offensive that includes the entire U.S. lineup, minus the yet-to-be-available Ascent. Yes, you can have the package on the Legacy, Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, BRZ, and WRX too, but we’re going to focus on the Impreza in this article.
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2019 BMW X4
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – people love their SUVs. It seems like every year, the segment gets bigger and more diverse, with a seemingly never-ending parade of tall-riding, off-road-styled, utility-oriented models filling every niche possible. One of the fresher entries in this space is the BMW X4, which hit the scene as recently as 2014 as the Bavarian’s take on compact/mid-size crossover luxury in a sporty, coupe-like package. Making its initial debut at the New York International Auto Show, the first-gen X4 has performed quite well for the brand in terms of sales, moving some 200,000 units since its introduction, nearly 10 percent of which went to the U.S. market. Now, just four years after its release, the X4 is gaining a second generation. Framed as a sporty, yet practical, yet off-road capable evolution of the Bavarian’s upscale SAC (BMW doesn’t like to call it an SUV, instead preferring the “Sports Activity Coupe” nomenclature), the 2019 BMW X4 offers consumers a surprising number of “sporty” updates, including a wider track, new suspension settings, more aggressive proportions, a lower center of gravity, and a more aerodynamic exterior.
The model line once again includes two equipment levels, starting with the xDrive30i, which replaces the outgoing xDrive28i, and ending with the more aggressive M40i, a carryover from the previous model year. Overall, the updates seem to double down on what the X4 does best, and will surely tempt buyers looking for something that can “do it all.” Read on for the details.
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2019 Ram 1500 By Mopar
It’s been just a month since Ram debuted the brand-new 1500 pickup truck at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, and FCA is already offering a wide range of aftermarket parts and accessories. Showcased on a concept truck at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, these new accessories cover everything from the exterior and interior to the drivetrain and the chassis. Most of them will become available in a few months, so you can start planning a Moparized model if you’re not happy with the standard and optional Ram features.
Described as an "outdoor, sport-themed truck," this Mopar-specced vehicle sports a unique, slightly more aggressive exterior, a more upscale interior, and lift kit that turns it into a more capable off-road explorer. The parts and accessories are taken from a list of around 200 items that can be purchased from Mopar via FCA dealerships. That’s quite a big selection, unlike anything you get from the competition. Let’s have a closer look at some of these features in the review below.
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2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
If Mercedes-Benz ever decided to make a greatest hits album, the C-Class would undoubtedly be one of the top tracks. Originally offered in the early ’90s as a replacement for the Mercedes-Benz 190 series, the C-Class is framed as the German brand’s entry-level luxury four-door compact. A second generation arrived in 2000, followed by a third-gen in 2007 and a fourth-gen in 2014. Now, as the fourth-gen C-Class enters its fifth year of production, it takes a spot in Merc’s lineup as the brand’s best-selling model, moving a total of 415,000 units in markets worldwide last year. That’s a huge volume for a single model. As such, Mercedes is looking to keep it feeling as fresh as possible, and will give it a slew of new updates to keep buyers coming back for more. The latest includes tweaked exterior styling, an updated interior, new infotainment gear, new safety and assistance tech, and even an extra splash of power as well. All good stuff, if you ask us.
The latest 2019 model year for the C-Class will appear in the metal for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, where Merc will also pull the sheets on the new A-Class, the new G-Class, and the new AMG GT Coupe. While a full generational changeover is expected in a few years’ time, this new model definitely keeps that old C-Class magic we’ve come to expect, while also adding all the extra goodies needed to keep it in the running with the competition. Read on for the details, and make sure to check back here for the full rundown when the C-Class drops in Geneva.
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2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS
Introduced for the 2018 model year, the second-generation Chevrolet Traverse is a significant departure from its predecessor, boasting a sportier look, state-of-the-art technology, and offering best-in-class maximum cargo room. The old 3.6-liter V-6 was also replaced with a brand-new unit, but Chevy also announced plans to fit a turbocharged four-cylinder in the SUV. The new engine was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Motor Show in the Traverse RS, the first-ever Traverse to sport a turbocharged powerplant.
Alongside forced induction, this model also gets a few visual upgrades inside and out. It’s pretty much the SUV version of the Sonic RS. It also gets quite a few extra standard features. It’s not the fanciest trim available, but it’s very similar to the Premier model in terms of equipment and price. You can always go with the High Country model if you’re into a more luxurious cabin, but if you’re looking for a sporty appearance, the new RS is the best choice you have. Let’s see what set it apart in the review below.
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2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Toyota’s 2019 updates to its trio of TRD Pro models brings some impressive upgrades to the Tacoma. Headlining the features is the new Desert Air Intake, a high-rise snorkel that not only looks awesome but sucks in cleaner air from higher above trail. The suspension is also updated Fox Racing Shocks and a handful of cosmetic changes keep the truck fresh.
The Tacoma TRD Pro has been around since 2015 and jumped to the third-generation Tacoma for 2017 after skipping the 2016 model year. Now for 2019, the truck’s updates work to better align the Tacoma TRD Pro with the new and highly impressive Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor. While the Tacoma enjoys a fat sales margin over the Colorado, its lead has been dwindling. Once Ford’s new Ranger his the streets for 2019, Toyota will have a real fight on its hands. Read on to see how the 2019 updates prepare the Tacoma for a tough battle.
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2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.
The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.
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2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.
It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.
Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.
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2018 Hyundai i30 N TCR
Launched for the 2018 model year, the i30 N is Hyundai first high-performance vehicle for the road. Although the N division is a few years old and responsible for the company’s solid rally campaign, road-going cars wearing this badge are still to come. While the i30 N already available in Europe, a similar version of the brand-new Veloster is coming to the U.S. in 2018. The i30 won’t make it on this side of the pond for road use, but Hyundai wants to use the beefed-up hatchback on the race track. Meet the i30 N TCR, Hyundai’s weapon of choice for the Pirelli World Challenge.
Showcased for the first time at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the i30 N TCR was launched alongside Hyundai’s new partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport. The result of this collaboration is a factory-sponsored race team that uses two versions of Hyundai’s i30 N TCR race cars currently available to customers in Europe. Bryan Herta will also develop all aspects of the team, including technicians, drivers, coaching, and management.
As the name suggests, the i30 N TCR will compete in the Touring Car Racing division of the Pirelli World Championship. The season kicks off in March and ends in September after six events across the U.S. You’ll be able to see the i30 N TCR on March 23-25 in Texas, April 27-29 in Virginia, May 25-28 in Connecticut, July 13-15 in Oregon, August 10-12 in Utah, and August 31 - September 2 in New York.
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2018 Subaru BRZ 50th Anniversary Edition
While not as old as other Japanese carmakers like Toyota and Nissan, Subaru was one of the first companies from the country to open shop in the United States. It happened in 1968 when Malcolm Bricklin established Subaru of America in Philadelphia. Exactly 50 years have passed since them as of 2018, and Subaru is celebrating the event with a range of 50th Anniversary Edition models. The package is available across the entire U.S. lineup, including the BRZ sports car.
Limited to only a couple of hundred units, the BRZ 50th Anniversary Edition shares most of its special features with other vehicles included in this run. So it’s not exactly as exclusive as Subaru wants us to think. However, it has a range of cool features, including a new exterior color and new interior appointments. It’s also based on a higher-trim model, so it gets an extended range of standard equipment. Find out what it’s all about and how much it costs in the review below.
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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The Sonata is one of those nameplates that just seems to stick around no matter what. First introduced in 1985 as a replacement for the Hyundai Stellar, the first generation only lasted two years before it got the axe. However, the second generation, which was introduced in 1988, fared far better, finding success in a variety of export markets, including North America and Australia. A third generation arrived in 1993, followed by the fourth in 1999, the fifth in 2004, and the sixth in 2010. The latest seventh generation arrived in New York just last year for the 2018 model year, but the hybridized variant was left conspicuously out of the lineup. Now, the new seventh-gen hybrid has arrived following a debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. While still framed as Hyundai’s near-premium mid-size four-door, this latest generational update brings improvements in the chassis and handling department, plus new exterior and interior bits, new safety features, and new features for connectivity and infotainment. All told, Hyundai is looking to take a more premium approach with the Sonata Hybrid, enhancing it with an upscale appearance, a nicer ride, and better equipment throughout.
Of course, with demand shifted primarily towards the crossover and SUV segment, competition among the sedans is ruthless right now, especially in the near-premium slot. The question is – where will the Sonata excel? Well, the hybrid gear is certainly a tempting proposition, but how good is it really? Read on to find out.
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2018 Dodge Durango SRT By Mopar
SUV fans have been clamoring for a beefed-up version of the Durango SRT ever since Dodge launched the Challenger Hellcat. But it has yet to happen as of 2018. And I really don’t think that it will change anytime soon. Jeep is already offering the Cherokee Trackhawk above the SRT model, and I’m pretty sure FCA doesn’t want a re-bodied version of this model with a Dodge badge. But, if you’re not a Cherokee fan and you want a Durango SRT with a few special features, you’re going to have to settle for the Mopar upgrade that was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
Mopar-made bundles for the Dodge Durango is nothing new; we’ve seen them in the past. But these new packages are a bit more comprehensive and include updates for both the exterior and interior, as well as the drivetrain. There’s no extra power to talk about, and this might be disappointing for some, but the performance exhaust and suspension are just enough to set Durango SRT apart from its standard siblings. And the body stripes and carbon-fiber trim add a certain degree of sportiness you don’t get in many SUVs.
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2018 Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary Special Edition
The Lexus GS F has been around in one form or another since 1991, offered as a mid-size four-door with a solid dose of opulence in the cabin. The latest fourth-gen model dropped in 2011, giving the lineup a little extra sportiness when the mood is right. Now, Lexus is using the platform to pay homage to it’s F-branded trim levels. In case you weren’t aware, Lexus’ F models make up the quickest of the automaker’s stable, with the singular letter tacked to the trunk added as a nod to Japan’s world-famous Fuji Speedway. Lexus first started making F models back in 2008, and now, a full decade later, it’s offering up two special edition F’s to celebrate the anniversary.
The limited-run duo consists of the 2018 Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary edition and the 2018 Lexus RC F 10th Anniversary edition, both of which will make their first stateside appearance at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. Both also initially dropped at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, but now they head to Chi Town for their big U.S. debut. Both will also arrive in dealers this summer, and bring customers a slick blue and grey color scheme. Interested? Then read on for the low-down on this upgraded go-faster GS F.
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2018 Lexus RC F 10th Anniversary Special Edition
Launched in 1989 as a luxury division of Japanese carmaker Toyota, the Lexus brand is getting ready to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019. But until that happens, Lexus has another event to celebrate. In 2008, the Japanese firm introduced its first F model, thus entering the performance-rated luxury market. A decade later and Lexus is throwing a party for the sub-brand with two anniversary models. One of them is the RC F 10th Anniversary Special Edition and made its debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
Much like most special-edition Lexus models, the RC F 10th Anniversary coupe isn’t radically different compared to the standard model. Updates include special paint and wheels on the outside, a unique trim for the leather interior, and a few extra standard features. It also comes in limited numbers, so this coupe won’t be around for a very long time. Let’s find out more about it below.
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2018 Nissan Armada Snow Patrol
There must be something about the Chicago Auto Show that brings out Nissan’s creativity. Two years ago, the Japanese automaker unveiled the Winter Warrior Concepts, a collection of outrageously engineered Pathfinder, Murano, and Rogue SUVs that featured snow tracks instead of actual wheels. This year, Nissan is returning to the Windy City with a pair of concepts that might as well be spiritual successors of the Winter Warriors. One of these concepts is a fresh take on the Nissan Armada, called the Snow Patrol. It’s not as outlandish as the Winter Warriors or its present counterpart, the Nissan 370Zki, but the Armada Snow Patrol is unique in its own right for a variety of reasons.
There’s no going around Nissan’s objective with the Armada Snow Patrol. Billy Hayes, the vice president of Nissan North America’s Commercial Vehicles and Trucks, called it a “return to roots” concept for the Armada model. “(The Armada) has a long off-road heritage as the Nissan Patrol, a global expedition vehicle,” he said. "As part of our celebration of winter at the Chicago Auto Show, we wanted to remind our growing family of Armada owners and enthusiasts that this full-size SUV stands ready to take you to the mountains, or at least safely through Chicago streets covered in lake effect snow."
One look at the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol and you’ll see exactly what Hayes is talking about.
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The third-generation A-Class has been around for only six years as of 2018, and Mercedes-Benz has already launched a redesigned model. That’s not exactly surprising though, as the Germans are looking to replace each model after a six-year cycle in the future and the A-Class is one of the first to be part of this strategy. Spotted stretching its wheels in Europe since early 2017, the new-generation A-Class broke cover in February 2018, about one month before its public debut at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show. And by the looks of things, the competition doesn’t stand a chance against it.
The interesting thing about the upcoming A-Class, aside from the usual upgrades involving sportier looks, a refined, roomier interior, and more powerful and efficient engines, is that it will get a sedan version. The three-box model was previewed by the A-Class Sedan Concept in 2017 and as it turns out, it shares quite a lot of design features with the new hatchback. Inspired by the new CLS, the A-Class Sedan wasn’t just a fancied up concept, with most of its features transferred on the production five-door model. But until the four-door arrives to take on the Audi A3 Sedan and the China-only BMW 1 Series Sedan, let’s have a closer look at the most technologically advanced premium hatchback on the market.
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2018 Nissan 370Zki
There’s a prevalent belief within automotive circles that the Nissan 370Z is in dire need of an update. The current version of the sports coupe has been on the market since 2009. That’s a long time for any car, let alone one that belongs in a niche segment. As the clamoring for a next-gen 370Z grows louder, Nissan has apparently been listening all along. All this time, the Japanese automaker was actually developing a new 370Z. The only problem is it’s not the 370Z replacement we’re expecting.
Feast your eyes on this creation. It’s a Nissan 370Z…on skis. Nissan calls it the 370Zki, and it’s actually something the automaker is bringing to the 2018 Chicago Auto Show later this month. I don’t suppose it’s the version of the 370Z that we’ve all been waiting for. On the bright side, it is a positively cool creation, at least once you get past the awkwardness of seeing the compact sports car sitting on snowmobile equipment.
2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic
Merc has been making the CLS-Class since the early 2000’s, dropping the first-gen with a debut at the 2004 New York International Auto Show. Framed as a sleek sedan packing top-shelf luxury, a sporty exterior, and no shortage of power under the hood, Merc quickly ushered in the go-faster AMG iteration at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. The second-generation CLS arrived in 2011, with a hot-to-trot AMG 63 hot on its heels. Now, there’s a third-gen model on the table, with the latest CLS dropping at the 2017 Los Angeles Show. As is tradition, Mercedes brought along a new AMG iteration as well, introducing the new 53-Series model alongside two other high-powered luxury rides from the boffins at AMG, including the 53-Series AMG E-Class Coupe and the E-Class Cabriolet, all of which arrived in style at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. All told, the latest AMG CLS 53 4Matic comes packing with superlative Mercedes-Benz styling, the latest technology in the cabin, a high-performance attitude, and all the requisite power to back it.
The new four-door coupe also comes a supplementary electric system that adds a good deal of low-end torque on demand, a feature that makes the heavy-hitting luxury cruiser even more frisky when you dig into the skinny pedal. “With the new 53-series models we are extending our portfolio in a first step towards a hybridised future with a leading-edge combination of sporty design, performance and efficiency,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management at Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Sounds good. But how good is it, really? Read on for all the details.
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2018 Kia Rio GT-Line
They say great things come in small packages. In Kia’s case, that may well be true in the form of the Rio GT-Line, a "punchier" version of the company’s best-selling B-segment compact hatchback. According to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, the new Rio GT-Line offers a “range of comfort and safety features, superb versatility, and confident, sporty styling.” We normally take comments like this with a grain of salt due to their self-serving nature, but we’re making an exception this time because the Rio GT-Line does have all those qualities, and then some.
2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet
Introduced in 2016, the latest-generation E-Class gained coupe and convertible versions in 2017. The latter arrived in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, but just one trim is offered over here, the range-topping E400. Unlike its sedan sibling, the Cabriolet model has yet to receive the AMG E63 treatment, but Mercedes used the model to launch a new vehicle lineup under the "AMG" badge. It’s called the E53 Cabriolet and was introduced at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show alongside the E53 Coupe and the CLS53.
Slotted under the bonkers AMG E63, the E53 is essentially a milder version of the brand’s hardcore model. It has a rather subdued exterior appearance that’s not as aggressive, but the interior gets plenty of exclusive details and extra features. The drivetrain is different too, as the 4.0-liter V-8 was replaced by a 3.0-liter inline-six unit. But the big news is that the E53 is the first hybrid AMG nameplate, sporting the company’s new EQ Boost system. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.
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2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept
Nissan didn’t have as big of a presence as other automakers at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. But that doesn’t matter. What it lacked in volume, Nissan made up for with the debut of the Xmotion, a concept SUV that’s meant to showcase what a future Nissan SUV could look like. The Xmotion generated a lot of reaction, though not all of them were of the positive nature.