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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Auto Shows

Smart Takes Its "Worst" Tour Nationwide!

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 8:46AM | By: Andrew W Davis

RE-photo illustration by author test 2

That might not *actually* be what they’re calling it, but can you blame me?

OK, I’ll play this one straight from now on. Not because I'm afraid of the retribution—or lack thereof—that can come my way from needling the nerds that buy this ridiculous car as they’re an apparently ever-diminishing pool (sales down 66 percent since Aug. 2009!), but because my electronic breath is wasted as ForTwo buyers must be able to shrug off constant insults or they wouldn’t drive the kind of vehicle that even circus-clown-car-buyers avoid else someone might think their ride is ridiculous.

So, instead, I’ll forget what Forbes said about the Little Coupe that Can’t—see my other article!—and try to find something positive to say in recognition of the Magical Misery Tour smart (the company) is bringing to burgs like yours so that smart (again, not the term for intelligence) owners can all come out of the weirdwork together and collectively fine-tune their reasons for not being ashamed at driving something so clearly not meant for American roads in everyone’s way on American roads.

Oh. That didn’t end up being “positive,” did it? Let’s take another run at it…

Who'd Ferrari Pay Off? 458 Italia Wins 'Performance Car of the Year'

On: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Who'd Ferrari Pay Off? 458 Italia Wins 'Performance Car of the Year' test 1-1

You know when the Ferrari 458 was named Automobile's 'Performance Car of the Year' I thought: "The editor of Automobile must have a classic Ferrari sitting in a hidden garage somewhere." Paying off a single magazine, while unethical, really wouldn't be that hard. But paying off a panel of journalists from around the world? Now that seems a little more complicated. How'd Maranello get that done?

It's not that the Ferrari 458 Italia is a bad car—it's a beautiful, hard-charging car. It's just that with months' worth of headlines on the car's tendency to—you know, catch fire—you'd have thunk that the auto journalists that wrote those headlines might have chosen a worthy competitor that didn't have a history of bursting into a ball of fiery destruction.

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year

On: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 12:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Takes Home World Car of the Year  test 2

Electric vehicles and hybrids have really been one of the biggest stories in the automotive industry for the past year or two. And they've been dominating award shows to prove it.

While the Chevy Volt captured the "World Green Car of the Year," the Nissan Leaf one-upped it with the more general "2011 World Car of the Year" award. Of course, that victory wasn't quite as sweet as it could have been for Nissan because the Chevy Volt wasn't eligible (it will be in the running next year though, after launching overseas later this year).

World's Fastest Car Gets Darker

On: Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 9:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

World's Fastest Car Gets Darker test 1-1

We've been so caught up in the start of the New York Auto Show that we almost missed two special edition Veyrons that launched across the world at the Shanghai Auto Show, also going on this week. However, special edition, multimillion dollar hypercars have a way of making themselves seen and heard. Loud and clear. 

The models include a roadster version of the Veyron and a blacked-out version of the Veyron Super Sport, the world's fastest car.


Chevy Volt Is World Green Car of the Year

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 4:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Is World Green Car of the Year  test 2

Boy, I'm getting a little sick of the Chevy Volt. It reminds me of that annoying jock-geek in elementary school/junior high/high school/life—the one that captained the football and baseball teams, was in the top 5 in grade-average percentile, and was basically just a few steps away from being a multi-millionaire with a swimsuit model wife. Puke.

The Volt's already swept major awards like the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year and the 2011 North American Car of the Year, and now it's back in the spotlight as the World Green Car of the Year. The award was bestowed last week at the 2011 New York Auto Show.

2011 New York Auto Show Buzz

On: Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: Tim Healey

Scion FR-S Concept test 2

Your humble author spent most of the past week at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, and here's a look back at the proceedings.

The biggest buzz surrounded the Scion FR-S Concept. This front-engine, rear-drive sports coupe will likely reach production, although specs are sparse. Toyota did reveal that there will be a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed "boxer" engine and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The FR-S drew raves both for its looks and for the fact that Toyota is taking a chance on a sporty car (even if it might be branded a Scion).

Scion Debuts Its FT-86: The FR-S Sports Coupe

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 3:54PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Scion FR-S Sports Coupe  test 2

The New York Auto Show is officially underway and Scion has made one of the more interesting debuts of the week. It's called the FR-S and it's basically a Toyota FT-86 sports coupe with a few Scion badges on it. But it's also a little more than that, with its own unique styling elements.

The first thing I noticed when looking at the FR-S is that the front-end has straight lines along the sides rather than the curved ones that were on the Toyota FT-86 II that debuted last month. The LEDs that adorned the FT-86 have also been eliminated in Scion's version of the coupe to make room for air inlets. The car also has some pretty defined fenders, side skirts, and streamlined side mirrors.

Two Suzuki Kizashi Concepts In New York

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 11:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Suzuki Kizashi Concepts In New York test 2

Suzuki has launched two new concepts based on its Kizashi sedan at the 2011 New York Auto Show. As was rumored, the first concept is a gas-electric hybrid version of the Kizashi. The second is a suped-up, motorcycle-inspired Kizashi fittingly named "Apex."

The EcoCharge Concept is powered by a combination of 2.0-liter I-4 engine and small, 20-hp electric motor. The motor derives its power from a lithium-ion pack. The car puts out 144-hp and 127 lb-ft while delivering a 25 percent boost in highway fuel economy. Other technologies like start-stop and regenerative braking maximize the EcoCharge's efficiency.

Nissan To Ramp Up Leaf Distribution

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 9:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan To Ramp Up Leaf Distribution test 1-1

The Nissan Leaf has gotten off to quite a sluggish start since hitting the market late last year. Nissan has sold only about 500 Leafs through March in the United States, and despite easily meeting its goal of 20,000 reservations last year, Nissan has found actual sales more difficult to fulfill, with roughly 40 percent of reservees moving forward with purchase.

Nissan indicated this week that it doesn't plan to sit idly by and let the story change from "world's first mass-produced electric vehicle" to "limited-range electric that no one wants to buy." The company plans to ramp up distribution and sales throughout the rest of 2011.

Jeep Wrangler Mojave Debuts In New York

On: Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 9:23AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Jeep Wrangler Mojave test 2

It's somewhat surprising that Jeep debuted the special edition Wrangler Mojave in New York this week. After all, a special-edition Wrangler named and inspired by the desert is probably more of a vehicle for the dirt, rock, and sand of the desert—say in Moab, where the Easter Jeep Safari is going on now. It certainly isn't the ideal vehicle for operating the traffic-clogged arteries of Manhattan. But, Jeep still chose to debut it there rather than in Utah. The special edition Wrangler gets both styling and hardware updates.

Maserati's On Fire With Its Two New Drool Inducers

On: Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 3:04PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Maserati grille detail test 2

Fortunately for everyone involved, these Maseratis aren't actually on fire. But there was a time, not all that long ago, that Maser's products were akin to leaky propane stoves near a live fallen power line, just waiting for the fickle hand of fate to light 'em up like flash paper (Biturbos, I'm talking about you).

These days it seems—Ferrari’s self-immolating 456 Italia not withstanding—that quality is on the upswing across (most of) Fiat’s brands, including Maserati, Ferrari, and the soon-to-reach-our-shores-for-better-or-worse Alfa Romeo, and Fiat itself (though I never thought I’d use “Fiat” and “quality” in the same sentence without it being weighed down by loads of typewritten snickering).

Anyhoo, for those of you who hadn’t noticed, Maserati has built itself quite a range of models here in the U.S. of A, most of which start with “Gran,” just like you do when tactfully explaining to your mom’s mom why you won’t wear the Christmas-themed cable-knit pullover she made for you that’s three sizes too large and has sleeves of differing lengths.