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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

An electrified cruiser packing loads of value

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.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Gets More Power, Better Mileage in Chicago

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Gets More Power, Better Mileage in Chicago

On top of sporty updates from the regular model

Introduced in 2015, the current-generation Sonata replaced a model that was around for only five years. Unlike its predecessor, the current sedan is set to hang around a bit longer, having received a consistent facelift in 2017. With the almost redesigned Sonata in dealerships, Hyundai is rolling out similar updates for the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Both were unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

Not surprisingly, exterior updates are similar to the regular model. The front fascia now sports larger, more aggressive headlamps, a bigger grille with a new mesh, and a reshaped engine hood. The new headlamps features LED technology with dynamic cornering function. A new decklid and taillights round off the rear section, while the sides get new 16- and 17-inch "eco-spoke" wheel designs.

The cabin boasts a new center stack and steering wheel, the latter available with heating. The upgraded navigation system includes new Bird’s Eye View map perspective. Models equipped with navigation get wireless phone charging, while a rear USB charging port is available for all trims. Blind-spot detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist are standard, while Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist are available as options for the first time.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Will Semi-Autonomous Features And Hybrid Power Ruin The Pleasure Of Driving A McLaren?

Will Semi-Autonomous Features And Hybrid Power Ruin The Pleasure Of Driving A McLaren?

The Woking brand looks to the future, but what will consumers think?

The supercar segment is doing quite well these days, with expanded offerings across the board, from hardcore track killers, to everyday sports cruisers. McLaren is staying active, with plans to hybridize its lineup and add new autonomous driving features. But is it the right move for the supercar maker?

Continue reading for the full story.

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The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won't Return To Gas Only

The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won’t Return To Gas Only

The Bavarians look to get in on the EV revolution

As we all know, the EVs are coming, and they’re coming in a big way. BMW knows this, and is actively pushing a new string of hybrids and all-electrics in a variety of segments to fill demand. And, according to a recent Digital Trends interview with BMW’s chief of electric powertrains Stefan Juraschek, it’s looking like that’s never gonna change.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Will Mercedes Bring back the AMG SL73 Name with a Plug-in Hybrid?

Will Mercedes Bring back the AMG SL73 Name with a Plug-in Hybrid?

All signs point in that direction

In Mercedes-AMG’s quest to use every two-digit number in the Roman numeral system to name its models, there have been some numbers that have been used in the past that have also been left there. Three numbers come to mind, all of which were used by AMG on the Mercedes SL-Class. The number designations — SL 60 AMG, SL 70 AMG, and SL 73 AMG — referred to three of the rarest SL AMG versions built from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s. We haven’t seen any of them used since, but that could change because a report from Automobile hints at the return of the SL 73 AMG when the new Mercedes-AMG SL goes on sale in 2021.

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Report: Next-Gen Porsche 911 Will Get a Plug-In Hybrid Drivetrain!

Report: Next-Gen Porsche 911 Will Get a Plug-In Hybrid Drivetrain!

Don’t expect to see it until 2022 at the earliest

The next-generation Porsche 911 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking model in many ways. There are reports that it will be the last version of the 911 to sit on its own platform as succeeding generations will start using Volkswagen’s SAZ architecture which will be shared with other performance models, including the Cayman and Boxster 718 twins. Now, there’s a new report from Auto Express that says that the next-gen 911 will be the first 911 model to be offered as a plug-in hybrid model. Should that be the case, the next-gen sports car is going to have a lot of history on its side.

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Porsche Used to Transport $14 Million in Gold - Now That's Rich!

Porsche Used to Transport $14 Million in Gold - Now That’s Rich!

It’s a lot more difficult than you think

It’s not exactly the plot for Fast & Furious 9, but it might as well be. A convoy of three Porsche Panameras was given an unusual task by Baird & Co. that’s normally done by armored trucks. Britain’s leading bullion merchants and gold refiners needed to organize a massive shipment of 24 gold bars with a combined value of $13.8 million from its refinery to its new London showroom in Hatton Garden, a distance of 12 miles. Instead of hiring a security company as most companies do, Bard & Co. hired Porsche to get the job done.

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2019 BMW i8 Roadster

2019 BMW i8 Roadster

Bimmer’s electrified spaceship goes topless

The world got its first official look at the production-ready BMW i8 hybrid sports car back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Critics and enthusiasts alike went gaga over its sci-fi good looks while reveling in its promises of speed and efficiency, and consumers responded by buying over 10,000 examples of the i8 as of November of 2016, making it the best-selling plug-in hybrid sports car in the world. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but now there’s a new model out, and this time, it’s got a bit off the top. This roofless iteration of the Bavarian’s hybrid sports car made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and brings with it a few small tweaks to the exterior styling, updated tech in the cabin, and a little extra oomph in the electrified powertrain department as well.

Overall, the updates are pretty minor, refining what’s already there without changing much. And considering the widespread acclaim levied at the i8 in the few short years it’s been on the market, it makes sense to keep things more or less unchanged, right? That said, the hybrid and EV market have seen some mighty impressive advances over the course of that time period, which begs the question – can unlimited headroom keep the i8 feeling fresh for the 2019 model year?

Updated 01/24/2018: We’ve updated this review with all the latest official info straight from BMW!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.

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Lamborghini Aventador Could be Replaced by Hybrid Hypercar but the Brand Will Avoid Self-Driving and All-Electric Tech

Lamborghini Aventador Could be Replaced by Hybrid Hypercar but the Brand Will Avoid Self-Driving and All-Electric Tech

Italian automaker wants to balance new technologies with its core roots

In yet another sign that times are changing in Lamborghini, the Italian automaker is reportedly considering a hybrid supercar to serve as a replacement to the Lamborghini Aventador once the latter’s life cycle ends. It’s not a foregone conclusion, but Lamborghini’s head of research and development, Maurizio Reggiani, isn’t about to close the door on the possibility either. On the other hand, don’t expect the Italian automaker to start rolling out the red carpet for electric cars and autonomous vehicles. That’s not happening anytime soon because Lambo is still Lambo, and as such, it still has performance requirements to uphold.

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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 is set to revive the nameplate with a modern design and a new drivetrain. A pre-production prototype was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, with the production model likely to follow by the end of the year.

"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. Most specs are still being kept under wraps, but Honda did unveil a few details about the car’s design and technology. Let’s find out more about it in the review below and don’t forget to come back for updates, as Honda will probably release more data by the end of the year.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Insight.

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Is there a More Powerful version of the BMW i8 On the Horizon?

Is there a More Powerful version of the BMW i8 On the Horizon?

Don’t count those eggs yet because it’s probably not happening

The fate of the BMW i8 beyond its current run is still a big question mark. But that’s a problem for another time. Today, the i8 is still going strong, as exhibited by the facelifted model that made its debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Moving forward, there are rumblings that the German automaker could take the i8 to another performance level with the introduction of a more powerful “i8S” version.

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Oh Look, BMW Brought Its Pathetic i8 Facelift to Detroit

Oh Look, BMW Brought Its Pathetic i8 Facelift to Detroit

Not again...

Remember how BMW brought the i8 Roadster, a facelifted i8 with the roof chopped off, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and called it "new?" Well, it’s happening again. It’s been a little more than a month and BMW unveiled the "new" i8 Coupe at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The same car they first introduced in 2014, but with revised headlamps and taillights, a bit more horsepower, and a marginally improved range. BMW is either shameless and pathetic or is simply using the i8 to troll us at every auto show throughout the year (don’t forget about those "special-edition" models with "custom" paintjobs).

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Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid

Will digital goodies and extra mpg entice buyers to ditch their crossovers?

It’s no secret that the sedan body style is under fire these days, losing ground to the ever-popular SUV and crossover segment year after year. However, Toyota is confident it’ll still move units, ushering in a new fifth generation for its full-size Avalon four-door at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The big draw this time around is the technology stuffed into the cabin, as well as a new hybrid powertrain under the hood.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Honda Insight Returns to Take on the Toyota Prius with Sleek Design, High-Tech Interior

Honda Insight Returns to Take on the Toyota Prius with Sleek Design, High-Tech Interior

Promises more than 50 mpg combined

The Toyota Prius’ main competitor for many years, the Honda Insight took a break from the U.S. market between 2006 and 2009 and was again discontinued in 2014. The Japanese hybrid is set to return once again in 2018 with a brand-new design and Honda just previewed its upcoming production model with a prototype at the Detroit Auto Show. A production-ready vehicle at first glance, the new Insight is a significant departure from its predecessor, a scenario we’ve seen before. While the first-gen Insight was a rather weird-looking three-door hatchback with hidden rear wheels, the second-gen model had a more conventional design and five doors. For its latest iteration, Honda went with a four-door sedan configuration, probably hoping to appeal to a bigger crowd.

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Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe Hits Detroit as the Most Powerful Two-Door E-Class Yet

Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe Hits Detroit as the Most Powerful Two-Door E-Class Yet

It has electric power too!

Mercedes-Benz used the 2018 Detroit Auto Show to introduce a new line of AMG-badges cars. The new series is dubbed E53 and its main feat is that it has a hybrid engine, which makes it the first electrified production model line from Affalterbach. The new E53 lineup includes three model for now, one of which is the E-Class Coupe. It’s called the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and in the absence of a full-blown E63 version, it’s the most potent E-Class Coupe to date!

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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - Driven

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - Driven

Though the badge says “Hybrid,” the important thing to know about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid right off the bat is this: It’s actually a PHEV. You plug it in, and it runs on electricity for the first several miles of your day.

As I found during a week at the wheel of the electrified minivan, if you have the right commuting or parking situation, you might find yourself using little or no gasoline.

It’s noteworthy Chrysler is the first automaker to put a PHEV minivan on sale in America. For a brand with only three models in its showroom nowadays, this was an even bigger home run than the non-hybrid Pacifica that birthed it. The hybrid takes a great, competitive minivan and makes it truly special — even buzzworthy.

Best of all, it’s the kind of plug-in vehicle that just makes sense for a huge number of families. It’s not much more expensive than any comparably equipped competitive minivan, yet it gets an EPA-estimated 84 MPGe. It’s remarkable because the Pacifica Hybrid squeezes that kind of efficiency out of a big, practically sized, attractive family hauler instead of a small, weirdly styled car wrought with compromises.

After spending a week with the Pacifica Hybrid, I find myself hoping I see a lot more of them on the roads — and hoping FCA has the good sense to adapt this powertrain to other vehicles we might not normally associate with hybrid efficiency. Chrysler 300? Ram 1500? Jeep Grand Cherokee? All have the potential to be transformed into segment-changing vehicles if they can incorporate the Pacifica’s hybrid system.

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2018 Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 Autonomous Car

2018 Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 Autonomous Car

The company’s autonomous Lexus LS gains new LIDAR sensors

A few years ago, concept cars were mostly about futuristic design features and new technology. This is still available today, but most automakers are including semi or fully autonomous driving systems in their show cars. This technology is supposed to become a production feature in 2021, and everyone is racing to get there first. Toyota is among those companies, and it just introduced an update to the LIDAR-equipped Lexus that it showed off twice in 2017. It’s still built around the old LS600hL — the Japanese firm launched a new LS last year — but it’s now called Platform 3.0 and comes with numerous upgrades.

The company’s Research Institute teamed up with more firms and departments than ever to create the third prototype, including CALTY Design Research in Michigan, Toyota Motor North America Research and Development, and Luminar. The latter has recently developed the most powerful LIDAR system on the market, which made its debut on this autonomous Lexus. Production of the CES-bound concept car is scheduled to commence this spring, but volume will be kept low, and all vehicles will be built for testing purposes only. Let’s find out more about Toyota’s most performant autonomous car yet in the review below.

Continue reading to find out more about the Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 autonomous car.

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Bentley to Bring a Plug-In Bentayga to the Geneva Auto Show

Bentley to Bring a Plug-In Bentayga to the Geneva Auto Show

British automaker officially makes leap into the world of hybrid SUVs

Bentley is all set to debut the plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga SUV at the Geneva Motor Show, making good on its goal of introducing electrified vehicles into its lineup. The plug-in hybrid Bentayga is the first model of its kind for Bentley, which has come a long way from its core identity as a purveyor of luxury automobiles. This specific version of the SUV adds to a growing number of variants attached to the Bentayga name. Since making its debut in 2015, Bentley’s SUV has increased its number of available models to include a range-topping W12, a 4.0-liter diesel V-8, and now, a plug-in hybrid.

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Toyota to Show Up At CES 2018 with a Next-Gen Lexus-Based Autonomous Concept

Toyota to Show Up At CES 2018 with a Next-Gen Lexus-Based Autonomous Concept

Say goodbye to sensor and camera appendages!

The Toyota Research Institute has announced plans to bring its next-generation Platform 3.0 automated driving vehicle to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. Platform 3.0 is an autonomous test car that’s built on a real-life Lexus LS600hL. According to TRI, the test car incorporates sensors and cameras into its body, a development that does away with today’s setup of installing these elements as attachments on the body of the car. In addition, Platform 3.0 also has a panel of sensors on the roof that helps it become one of the most perceptive autonomous test vehicles on the road today.

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