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Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Because weather, CES, and automaker influence

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

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2019 Honda Insight

2019 Honda Insight

The Japanese hybrid returns after four years!

Introduced in late 1999, the Honda Insight was the first production car to feature the company’s then-new Integrated Motor Assist system. It was also the first hybrid launched in North America, arriving in showrooms seven months before the Toyota Prius. Production ended in 2006, after only 17,020 units built, with plans to roll out a replacement in 2009. The second-gen model arrived on time, but this time as a five-door hatchback. The Insight was discontinued for the second time in 2014, mostly due to slow sales. Come 2018, and Honda revived the nameplate with a modern design and a new drivetrain. A pre-production prototype was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, while the production model was launched at the New York Auto Show.

"The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume," said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice resident of American Honda. The redesigned Insight will join four other electrified Hondas, including the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, Electric, and Fuel Cell, and the Fit EV. Slotted between the Civic and the Accord, the new Insight is now described as a premium sedan, mostly because it has a more elegant exterior design and more modern appointments and convenience features inside the cabin. Let’s see what it has to offer and how it stands against the competition in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Insight.

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Mercedes May Withdraw from the 2019 Detroit Auto Show

Mercedes May Withdraw from the 2019 Detroit Auto Show

It’s not all that surprising if you think about it how many automakers have made similar moves

There once was a time when automakers tripped over themselves trying to secure price placement at an event as big as the Detroit Auto Show. But those days are gone. Companies like Porsche, Volvo, Mazda, and Jaguar have basically thrown the white flag on returning to the Motor City’s annual auto show. Now, it’s looking like you can add Mercedes-Benz to that list. According to reports, the German automaker is seriously considering pulling out of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show as it tries to seek new — and better — avenues to spend its marketing budget.

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Lexus LF-1 Concept Has A Unique Take On Side View Mirrors, And It Might Actually Work

Lexus LF-1 Concept Has A Unique Take On Side View Mirrors, And It Might Actually Work

Digital screens that really make sense as a replacement for traditional mirrors

In an effort to eke out every last little bit of fuel economy, lots of manufacturers are proposing replacing the traditional side-view mirrors with small cameras, feeding the view to digital screens inside the cabin. The smaller, blade-like cameras reduce aerodynamic drag, thus increasing efficiency in the process (not to mention adding an extra layer of cool digital bling). Unfortunately, the camera feed is usually relayed to some awkward spot inside the cabin, such as on the other side of the dash or even into the rear-view mirror. It’s understandable, considering the limited real estate offered in the modern car interior, but there has to be a more sensible approach. Luckily, it looks like the Lexus LF-1 Concept has the right idea.

Recently revealed with a debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LF-1 is the luxury Japanese brand’s latest forward-thinking look at the SUV segment. We think it looks great, with sharp lines, excellent proportions, and solid use of Lexus’ latest styling language. In fact, we liked it so much, we gave it a spot on our Best In Show list. However, the good stuff isn’t limited to what’s going on outside the vehicle, as the Lexus LF-1’s interior is equally attractive.

The multi-tier layout, the color scheme, the glittering panels – all well-executed features, if you ask us. Of particular note are the twin screens flanking the central display behind the steering wheel. These two screens provide a feed from the side-view cameras, which is perfect for the system in question here. Not only does it make it easy for the driver to watch the right and left sides of the vehicle (no need to turn around or take your eyes off the road!), but the ancillary screens still provide plenty of space for whatever infotainment features you might want to see on the dash.

Well done, Lexus. Now we’ll just wait here to see if it makes it into production.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic

A quick shot of electric power for the four-door ’Bahn burner

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.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

The E-Class drop-top gets the AMG treatment, but with a hybrid twist

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.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.

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2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept

2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept

Crossover concept wasn’t a slam dunk, but it did turn a lot of heads

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.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe

AMG goes hybrid with EQ Boost system

Introduced for the 2018 model year, the latest E-Class Coupe is currently the most advanced midsize two-door on the premium market. Its mission is significantly easier now that BMW is discontinuing the 6 Series, but Mercedes still deserves credit for the E-Class’ tremendous technology package, the luxurious interior, and the sporty looks. An AMG E63 variant is the only thing that the E-Class Coupe needed to be perfect, and it was expected to arrive sometime in 2018. But in a surprising turn of events, Mercedes-Benz launched a different AMG model. It’s called the E53 and uses a six-cylinder engine instead of the more traditional V-8.

Launched alongside similar versions of the E-Class Cabriolet and CLS, the AMG E53 Coupe bridges the gap between the range-topping non-AMG model and the AMG E63, the latter available in sedan form only as of January 2018. Specifically, it’s not as aggressive as the E63, but it comes with an array of extra standard features inside and out, as well as a slightly more aggressive exterior. The engine is also unique to this model and features a mild hybrid system, a first for an AMG. It’s not yet clear whether a full-blown AMG E63 version will follow, but until that happens, the E53 is the most powerful variant of the E-Class Coupe you can buy.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe.

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2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless

The world’s first flagship crossover?

Back in 2014, Toyota got us excited with the FT-1 concept, an aggressive-looking sports car that many believed it previewed the next-generation Supra. The spy shots suggest that the production model won’t get that many styling cues from the radical concept, but the FT-1 remains the company’s greatest flagship car to date. Four years have passed, and Lexus is using a similar nameplate, now revised to LF-1, to showcase its own future flagship vehicle. But unlike its parent company, Lexus wants its range-topping luxury model to be a crossover. Meet the LF-1 Limitless, Lexus’ idea for a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover.

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the LF-1 Limitless preview a brand-new niche in the premium market. Or at least that’s what Lexus claims. Just like it established the luxury crossover segment with the RX 300 some two decades ago, the Japanese firm thinks it could invent a new class with the LF-1, the flagship crossover. Yes, it sounds a bit confusing, mainly because "flagship" is usually associated with the largest vehicle in a lineup, so the LF-1 would make more sense as a model placed above the LX, but hey, it’s the 21st century and rules have changed. Actually, the current automotive market no longer works by the book, so it’s not as awkward as it seems at first glance.

But it’s all PR talk so far, as Lexus hasn’t confirmed actual production plans for the LF-1. But this crossover looks gorgeous, and it’s packed with the company’s latest technology. Let’s have a closer look below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus LF-1 Limitless.

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2019 Kia Forte

2019 Kia Forte

Third-gen compact sedan gets major makeover and Stinger-inspired styling

Introduced in 2008 as a brand-new nameplate, the Forte has already made a name for itself in the affordable compact car market. And while it might not be as popular as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, the Forte was Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in recent years and one of only 15 cars to earn the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2018. Not bad for an automobile that had nothing to brag about a decade ago. Almost six years old as of early 2018, the second-generation Forte is living its final months on the market, with a redesigned model introduced for the 2019 model year at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

Redesigned from the ground up, the third-generation Forte follows in the footsteps of larger Kia models. Not only sportier on the outside, the new Forte comes with an upscale interior that moves it closer to the premium market. In addition to that, it’s the first Kia to borrow styling cues from the hot Stinger sedan. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been expecting Kia to add some "Sting" to its lineup ever since the four-door debuted in 2017. The new Forte arrives just in time for the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta, yet another affordable compact that wants to play in the premium league. But the Forte has other things to worry about too, like the popular Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. How does it stack against them? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Forte Sedan.

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2019 Ford Edge

2019 Ford Edge

Ford’s mid-size crossover gets a mid-cycle refresh

The Ford Edge has been around since 2007 and its current generation debuted in 2015. But the second-generation Edge was getting a little, well, dull, so Ford has given the mid-size crossover a sharpening. This mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year brings revamped aesthetics, few minor changes to the interior, and a slew of active safety equipment. In fact, Ford is claiming the 2019 Edge comes with more standard driver assist features than any of its competition.

So what makes the Edge so technologically adept? Well, the standard safety features list is long. It includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist. Basically, the 2019 Edge comes with all the latest (almost autonomous) driver aids without having to order an expensive option package. Here’s how the 2019 Ford Edge shapes up.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge.

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2019 Hyundai Veloster

2019 Hyundai Veloster

The second-gen three-door offers style and fun without breaking the bank

First introduced in 2011 at the Detroit Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster initially hit the scene as a replacement for the Hyundai Tiburon, the FWD 2+2 coupe built between 1996 and 2008. By contrast, the Veloster changed it up with a funky hatchback profile and 2+1 door layout (one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s side). In a segment filled to the brim with hard-hitting, well-established competition, the Veloster is a bit of an upstart, shaking things up with a unique attitude that still manages to make fun-behind-the-wheel a top priority. Throughout its life cycle, we’ve seen a wide variety of custom takes on the Veloster, but now, Hyundai is offering up a whole new second generation. Once again making its debuts at the Detroit Auto Show, the latest 2019 model year brings with it a variety of models and trim levels, including the base model, and the mid-grade Turbo and R-Spec models. There’s even a go-faster N version if that happens to be more your speed (check out our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N). Just as it was before, the new Veloster once again aims at catching the eye of enthusiasts, with a focus on making the whole package more engaging, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of the driving experience. The latest model year also comes with a good bit upgraded infotainment stuff as well.

But will the Veloster’s sophomore effort be enough to topple equally enticing offerings from the likes of Mazda, Honda, or Ford? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Hyundai Veloster.

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2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

Is this the upcoming Q90 flagship sedan?

Infiniti has made tremendous progress in recent years, evolving from a brand that used to sell slightly more upscale Nissan models into a full-fledged luxury company that competes against the likes of Lexus and Lincoln. Come 2018, and the Japanese brand is looking to expand into new niches, including the electric car market. The Japanese firm is also readying a new design language, which was previewed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show by the Q Inspiration concept.

A slightly futuristic midsize sedan, the Q Inspiration is giving us a glance into Infiniti’s future car design. It also signals a next-generation Q70 that’s sportier and uses a new-generation engine with variable compression ratio. "The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them," explained Christian Meunier, the company’s Global Division Vice President.

Infiniti didn’t say whether the Q Inspiration also previews an upcoming flagship sedan, but the concept car should serve as inspiration for all future products. Let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept.

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There's Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup

There’s Space For The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in the Lexus Lineup

The only question is whether Lexus execs sign off on it

The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept took the stage at the Detroit Auto Show, and it didn’t take long for the crossover concept to receive a groundswell of support from people who want to see it evolve into a full-fledged production model. Leading the charge was no less than Lexus’s general manager in the U.S., Jeff Bracken, who wasted little time championing for a production version of the LF-1 Concept minutes after taking the stage to unveil it.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

“Sensual Purity” Redesign Means The G’s Spirit Is Still Baked In

For the first time since its introduction 40 years ago, Mercedes has given the G-Class a complete makeover. But unlike other “makeovers” that plaster a new body onto an existing chassis, Mercedes went in the opposite direction.

The all-new 2019 G-Class retains its iconic looks while receiving a new, longer frame; independent front suspension; and an interior befitting the Mercedes S-Class sedan. And yet despite its modernization, the G stays true to its off-road roots. It comes with a full-time 4WD system, three locking differentials, skid plates, and proper ground clearance. Among the updates is a new G-Mode that further improves the SUV’s go-anywhere capability with electronic aids.

But let’s be honest – 99 percent of G-Class owners will never trek over anything more challenging than wet grass or a snowy road. That’s why Mercedes injected high levels of luxury into the new model. The wheelbase is two inches longer and 4.7 inches wider for a more planted on-road feel and more interior room. The G will undoubtedly be a smash hit around the world, even with its starting price of €107,040 in Germany – roughly $130,900 U.S. dollars.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

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