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If The US-Spec Fiat 500 Received an Updated Styling, Why Does it Still Look the Same?

If The US-Spec Fiat 500 Received an Updated Styling, Why Does it Still Look the Same?

I guess new fog lamps count as "upgrades" now?

The updated Fiat 500 has been revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, and as far as revelations go, it didn’t really reveal anything of importance other than the hatch getting a standard 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. The new 500 also received what Fiat described as a “sportier appearance.” That would’ve been great, except that, by and large, the 500 still looks the same.

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The Chicago-Bound Fiat 500 Is Really Old, Including the "New" Turbo Engine

The Chicago-Bound Fiat 500 Is Really Old, Including the "New" Turbo Engine

Get a Mini Cooper instead!

The Fiat 500 may have received a turbocharged engine at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, but it’s not something you should get excited about. The force-fed 1.4-liter four-cylinder is actually at least five years old and its introduction is more of a return to the market. The engine was first offered in the 500 Turbo model in North America in 2013 and remained into production until 2016. It was rated at 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, only two pound-feet short of the "new" engine. A similar unit, but with the full 152 pound-feet, was previously offered on Euro-spec Abarth models.

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Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show

Fiat Adds Turbo Fun Across The 500 Lineup At Chicago Auto Show

Forced induction adds a youthful vigor to the base model and mid-grade

When the Fiat 500 was first introduced way back in 1957, it was offered as a zippy little runabout that could tackle the pressures of city driving in style. While not necessarily fast, the 500 was considered quick enough, and it offered the diminutive exterior dimensions desired for urban living. Since then, the 500 has changed. It’s bigger now, and the name has been applied to other segments as well, with both a tall-riding crossover and all-electric iterations making their debut over the years. Unfortunately, as we all know, these segments aren’t necessarily bywords for fun, and the world’s standard for “quick enough” has moved on. Now, though, it looks like the Italian icon is getting a little closer to its fun-to-dirve roots thanks to a solid dose of turbocharging under the hood.

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Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine

Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine

Mid-cycle facelift enhances fuel economy, adds practicality

Launched back in 1996 as the company’s smallest vehicle, slotted under the popular Fiesta, the Ford Ka+ was redesigned in 2014. Four years later and the tiny hatchback is getting its mid-cycle refresh with new styling cues and updated technology. But unlike most facelifts, the Ka also gained a much-needed diesel engine and a crossover-inspired model. Design changes are pretty much what you’d expect from a mild facelift. The headlamps are slightly larger; the grille was revised and gained a new chrome frame, while the rear features chrome taillight detailing and C-shaped moldings at each corner of the bumper.

Inside, there’s a revised dashboard that looks clean and crisp, plus some new tech. Highlights include a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Sync3 infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated windscreen. Automatic climate control and parking sensors are available as options. Under the hood, the Ka+ continues with the familiar 1.2-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine. The unit is rated at either 70 or 85 PS (69 or 84 horsepower), depending on trim. The big news is the addition of a diesel engine for the European market. But more about that and the new Active version below.

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Epic Life Hack - German Man Uses Smartcars to Stop People From Parking Near His Driveway

Epic Life Hack - German Man Uses Smartcars to Stop People From Parking Near His Driveway

This is a clinical description of First World problems

If you’ve ever heard of the expression “First World problems,” you’ll be thinking a lot about it once you’re done with this doozy of a story. A German man who lives in the affluent neighborhood of Oberkassel in Germany had a problem with people parking too close to his driveway. To address that problem, he decided to buy a pair of smart ForTwos and parked them on either side of the driveway. It’s probably one of the most expensive ways to mark your territory, but the man did it anyway because he could.

According to German news site RP Online the ForTwos have been on guard duty for three years now. The man’s neighbors even say that two city cars have left their spots only once since they set up shop there back in 2015, presumably to renew their registration or get serviced for being idle too long.

As for the man’s reasons? Apparently, his problem wasn’t about having his driveway blocked by cars or having cars parked (legally) on either side of his driveway. He just wants the entire space for himself because he wanted as much room to comfortably enter and leave his driveway with what neighbors say is an SUV. That’s it. That’s his reason.

To make this story more interesting, his ForTwo bookend strategy is reportedly legal under Dusseldorf’s traffic laws. According to the city’s Traffic Management Office, the ForTwos can stay parked where they are as long as they can be driven away if needed.

It’s hard to say if the man is crazy or a genius for marking his own territory this way. Perhaps it’s even a combination of both. Either way, this is one instance where the expression “First World problems” definitely applies.

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2018 Kia Rio - Driven

2018 Kia Rio - Driven

The humble hatchback goes highbrow for 2018

Ask anyone to think of the Kia Rio, and first recollections generally include its overall cheapness and lack of desirability. Well, Kia has worked hard to changes that for 2018, moving the humble hatchback up-market while actually dropping its base price. Is it too good to be true? To find out, I spent a week with the new 2018 Kia Rio 5-Door equipped in its range-topping EX trim.

It’s worth knowing the 2018 Rio isn’t technically new. In fact, it rides on the same platform as before and uses the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder. However, that’s where the similarities stop. The car has been slightly lengthened and widened, and the naturally aspirated engine gets improvements in efficiency and drivability. Of course, the 2018 Rio’s appearance is different, too. The new car looks more upscale than before, both outside and inside.

Let’s have a look at Kia’s most affordable model.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Kia Rio 5-Door.

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Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet

Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet

2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet
Read our full review of the 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet and check out the gallery below for even more wallpapers of this updated beauty!

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2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

Adding extra fun to the formula

Mini just revealed its refreshed Cooper lineup, giving us an early look at what’s in store before the pint-sized auto hits the show floor in Detroit later this month. The update encompasses no less than three body styles, including the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, the Mini Hardtop 4 Door, and the Mini Convertible, and adds tweaked exterior styling, more tech in the cabin, more standard features, and more customization options as well.

At either end, you may notice the Mini gets small updates to the headlight and taillight designs. This is especially noticeable in the rear, where the brake lights gain a Union Jack design for extra U.K. points. There are LEDs for illumination purposes, while the headlights get LEDs as an available option. You’ll also find LEDs for the daytime running lights and turn signals. Piano Black exterior trim can be had as an option for the headlight surrounds, taillight surrounds, and grille surround, while the body panels gain new paint options like Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic. New alloy wheel designs can be found in the corners, with sizing up to 17 inches offered across the range of body styles. Mini also updated its logo throughout.

Open the door, and you’ll be greeted with a Mini logo splash projection from the underside of the side-view mirrors. The funky dash incorporates a 6.5-inch screen, with the possibility to throw in a 8.8-inch screen if desired. On the tech front, USB and Bluetooth are both standard appointment, while options include a touchscreen and navigation. There’s also wireless charging for your smartphone via the center armrest, and more services offered through Mini Connect as well.

Look for our full updated reviews after the 2019 Mini Cooper lineup struts its stuff at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show later this month.

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Toyota Breeding All-New Subcompact Crossover

Toyota Breeding All-New Subcompact Crossover

It’ll be based on the FT-AC and sit below the C-HR in price

Just days after showing off the FT-AC Concept, Toyota has confirmed that it will soon release another small SUV that will slot below the RAV4. This is where the C-HR is positioned now, but the new SUV, which is unnamed at the moment, will actually come a bit cheaper in price. And, like the FT-AC, FT-4X and TJ Cruiser concepts, it will be near-endlessly customizable and urbanely styled with a focus on “lifestyle.” It will also serve as a basis for the next-gen Toyota RAV4 and Toyota 4Runner as well. Want to know more? Keep reading to learn about possible production schedules and a few more specifics…

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2017 Fiat 500C - Driven

2017 Fiat 500C - Driven

Tiny, topless Italian

Dated and diminutive it may be, but the Fiat 500 remains a frugal and fun — and tiny — car. Adding a canvas top to the pint-size Cinquecento just increases the smiles-per-gallon it generates.

As a cheap-and-cheerful commuter, the Fiat 500 has long been a favorite of mine for its European style and driving characteristics. Among cars in its price range, the little Italian remains near the top of my fun-to-drive list. The Fiat 500C has even more charm thanks to its fully retractable roof.

For 2017, Fiat simplified the 500 lineup to just three trims: base-level Pop, leather-trimmed Lounge, and sporty Abarth. All are available with the “C” designation, which stands for “Cabrio.” In prior years, there were twice as many trims available. Most of the equipment from those additional trims is still available in the options list.

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2017 Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

2017 Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

One-off creation fetches huge bid in auction to benefit AIDS research

The fashion and automotive worlds have crossed paths many times in the past, often in the form of special edition creations such as this Fiat 500C. The ventures have not always yielded good results, but all of them are magnets for attention, for better or worse. The latest in a long line of these special editions come by way of Garage Italia Customs, which created this bedazzling 500C in the name of fashion designer Angela Missoni, the creative director of the Italian brand that wears the same name.

Those who are familiar with the Missoni fashion brand will know that it prides itself on colorful design palettes, something that we see in all its glory on the 500C. Garage Italia Customs’ treatment is also what you’d expect from an automotive custom shop whose past design works include the Fiat 500 Paco Rabanne Edition, another glistening collaboration with the fashion and automotive industries. The Missoni-inspired 500C is colorful to a hilt, and whether you like it or not, it received enough attention to gather what Garage Italia Customs called a “generous” bid when it was auctioned off at the ninth annual charity event organized by amfAR in Milan, Italy last September 21. The proceeds of the car’s auction are earmarked for AIDS research, so whoever ended up paying the “generous” amount to take home this one-off 500C should be happy that his money is going to the right place. Even better, he gets to take home arguably one of the most colorful Fiat 500Cs to come out in recent memory.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Fiat 500C Missoni by Garage Italia Customs

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2017 Honda Urban EV Concept

2017 Honda Urban EV Concept

A modern, first-gen Civic. Who would have thought we’d ever see this?

Honda has finally found its way again – the new Civic and new Accord look amazing and serve their purpose well, and the new Civic Type R is even coming to the U.S. for the first time. Needless to say, Honda is on a roll. Now, with auto show season kicking off, Honda decided to show up to the first big auto show with the Honda Urban EV Concept, a car that showcases Honda’s pride in its history and provides a glimpse at what we can expect from Honda in the future as it begins to transition deeper into the EV market. Basically a modern interpretation of the first-gen Civic (1972 – 1979), it features circular, LED headlights, an illuminated “H” up front, all the looks of the first-gen Civic, and an electric drivetrain that includes a high-density lightweight battery pack. It’s also nearly four inches shorter than the Honda Jazz, so there’s that.

With that in mind, it should be noted that Honda hasn’t released too much information on the concept or the production model that should see the light of day in Europe of 2019. But, if you look at the exterior look, we can say with near certainty that the production model will sport a similar look. The interior will likely find itself toned down a bit, but hey, we’re talking about an affordable vehicle here, so you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Be that as it may, let’s take a good look at Honda’s newest concept and talk more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Urban EV Concept.

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2017 Brabus Ultimate E Concept

2017 Brabus Ultimate E Concept

Could this concept be the future that we’ve always wanted from Smart?

In the 23 years that it’s been around, Smart has become a staple in urban cities, fulfilling its mission of being a purveyor of affordable compact cars. But like most car brands, Smart has a sporty and aggressive alter ego, though one that we rarely get to see. It just so happened that one such example was presented at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show by noted tuner Brabus. It’s called the Brabus Ultimate E Concept, and it’s an absolute humdinger.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. “It’s a Smart ForTwo. ‘Humdinger’ isn’t exactly the kind of word I’d use to describe it.” You’d be right about that, but you’d also be wrong in assuming that the Ultimate E Concept is nothing more than a dressed up ForTwo wearing a Brabus kit. It’s way more than what it appears to be, and we have Brabus and its partner-in-crime in this project, Kreisel Electric, to thank for that. This concept – it really shouldn’t be a concept – represents the pinnacle of what the Smart ForTwo can become if it adopts new technologies and embraces its inner id in the process. Think a 200-horsepower Smart ForTwo is still the stuff of dreams and fantasies? Think again. Smart has come a long way since it started in 1994. I can’t tell for certain if the Brabus Ultimate E Concept is the future, but if it is, then that future just became mighty exciting.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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New Suzuki Swift Puts On Aggressive Suit In Frankfurt

New Suzuki Swift Puts On Aggressive Suit In Frankfurt

Will make you forget about the Polo GTi and Fiesta ST

While most Japanese automakers are enjoying success in both the United States and Europe, Suzuki hasn’t been doing particularly well in recent years. But that’s not to say that it hasn’t been trying. The last couple of years brought three brand-new Suzuki vehicles into dealerships — the Ignis, Baleno, and Swift — and the Japanese firm may be on its way to a better future, at least in some markets. Come 2017 and Suzuki is pushing things a bit further with a redesigned version of the Swift Sport.

The higher performance version of the small hatchback broke cover at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it’s more appealing than ever. The new Swift design is perfect for the hot hatch treatment, and even though the performance might not be on par with the likes of the Polo GTi, the Swift Sport sure looks like it could outgun the competition. Of course, looks won’t it help it go faster, but it’s a significant progression compared to previous iterations of the Swift Sport. And, it’s worth looking into.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Does Honda's Urban EV Concept Prove that Honda has no Idea what it is Doing?

Does Honda’s Urban EV Concept Prove that Honda has no Idea what it is Doing?

This is pretty much the ugliest thing to ever grace Frankfurt

Honda is one of the last companies to truly jump on the “look at us as we promise a future of EVs” bandwagon, not even touching base on its future strategy until early 2017. When it did finally break silence on the topic, it promised that Europe would be its focal point for electrified vehicles and that hybrid, plug-in, electric, and fuel cell vehicles would make up two-thirds of its Euro sales by 2025. Fast forward six months to the Frankfurt Auto Show and Honda has attempted to impress with an all-electric concept that Takahiro Hachigo – President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. – said will be in production and on the Euro market by 2019. There’s a problem, though – the concept just isn’t that attractive. Perhaps it’s the American in me, but I think it’s straight-up ugly on the outside. It makes me feel like someone crossed a Mini Cooper and a 1990 Volkswagen Golf and gave it some modern gene sequencing to add in some futuristic features.

At this point, Honda hasn’t said a whole lot about this concept of the vehicle of the future that it represents. It has said that the car has compact proportions and is, in fact, 100 mm or 3.93-inches shorter than the Honda Jazz. That puts its overall length in the area of just over 156 inches from tip to tip. To go along with this, it also mentions that the Concept showcases its new Automated Network Assistant, a virtual concierge of sorts that learns from your emotions and actions as you drive to suggest new choices in the future – kind creepy, but interesting. With that said, there’s a little more we can talk about, so join me further down the page, and we’ll get into the nitty gritty.

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