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The Tiny, Subcompact Yaris Not As Tiny in 2012

On: Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 9:45AM | By: Chris Weiss


The Tiny, Subcompact Yaris Not As Tiny in 2012 test 1-1

Though the auto media has seemed to exaggerate the growth of small cars in light of this year's record-tickling gas prices—small car sales actually dropped last month—there are undoubtedly many consumers looking closer at subcompacts, possibly for the first time. Well, for those looking at the Toyota Yaris, the transition to tiny subcompact could be slightly easier. Toyota has increased the size of the Yaris for the 2012 model year, adding passenger and cargo space, along with making a few other notable revisions.

The Yaris gets stretched by three inches. In a world where we tend to deal in miles and feet, three inches doesn't sound like much, but according to Automotive News it's enough to seat a six-foot driver-side rear passenger comfortably behind a six-foot driver. If you fold the rear seats, storage increases up to 68 percent over the outgoing Yaris.


The Manlier Mini!

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 6:29PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Manlier Mini!  test 2

It seems that Mini has noticed that their premiere happy-go-lucky hatchback has attracted a rather... one-sided... customer base. Although the Mini Cooper has been extremely popular, it seems that mostly women, not men, tend to go for the go-kart. So in an attempt to take back some of the masculine market share, Mini has chopped the top (and the name) on the Cooper, and is bringing the manliest Mini to the states for 2012 in the form of the Mini Cooper Coupe.


Chrysler To Drop Prices On Select 2012 Sedans And Crossovers

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 1:30PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chrysler To Drop Prices on Select 2012 Sedans and Crossovers  test 2

The price boost often experienced from one model year to the next is nothing new in the automotive industry. In fact, many consumer goods increase by a small percentage each year due to factors like inflation and rising costs. What is a little more rare is year-to-year price cuts. But Chrysler will be doing just that as it moves from the 2011 to 2012 model year. It will offer base-trim price cuts on three different Chrysler and Dodge models, including the well-advertised Chrysler 200.


The Most Underrated Car Of 2011!

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:34PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


The Most Underrated Car Of 2011! test 2

Driving along the mean streets of New Jersey a few days ago, I caught myself doing a double-take on the highway. Now, usually this type of behavior is perfectly acceptable for most cars that make more than 450 horsepower, or the occasional automotive rarity such as a Delorean or mint-condition late-80s Toyota MR2 solely due to their extreme uniqueness. But this particular neck turn wasn’t devoted to anything of the sort; in fact, I found myself very surprised at my own immediate visceral response. The car, believe it or not, was a brand new... wait for it... Indigo Blue Pearl Hyundai Elantra. Suffice to say, this was the biggest automotive surprise for this writer in all of 2011.

Yes, a Hyundai. No, not the sporty coupe. No, not even the high-end $65,000 Equus. No, what caught my eye was the $16,000 four-door Hyundai sedan. Seriously. And the sad part is that even as a writer, I am struggling to explain why it impressed me so, but that won't stop me from trying.


 

VW Execs Want Production Bulli

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Chris Weiss


VW Execs Want Production Bulli  test 2

There are vehicles that automakers make because they're highly profitable bread-and-butter (think Hyundai Accords and Toyota Corollas). There are vehicles that automakers make to develop a little buzz around their brand and draw people into showrooms, even if the car in question isn't a big seller (think flashy, low-volume halo cars). And there are cars that companies make because they're so ingrained in the company's history and heritage that it would be a shame not to.

The Volkswagen Type 2, aka Minibus or Microbus, is a little bit of all three. Even those completely unfamiliar with Volkswagen's history and models could probably recall the Microbus. It's the type of distinctive vehicle that makes you stop and think "Nice. I want it." And if you happen to be stopped in front of a VW dealer, you might just be inclined to stroll in for more information. The Type 2's history at VW gives it a story rivaled only by that of VW's other icon: the Beetle (aka Type 1). In its heyday back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Type 2 was definitely more than just a funky, unique show piece; it was a popular market success.

So, it should be no surprise that in the wake of the 2011 Bulli concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen executives are excited about the potential return of the Bus.


Cadillac Bringing Converj Hybrid To Market As ELR

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 10:12AM | By: Chris Weiss


Cadillac Bringing Converj Hybrid To Market As ELR test 2

Well, that didn't take long. After news that Cadillac has made the decision to make a Volt-based hybrid production Converj broke last week, Cadillac officially confirmed with a press release. Though there are few details at the moment, as production has just gotten started, Cadillac confirmed that the car will take on the 3-letter structure of its other vehicles, being called the 'ELR' in production.

The name 'ELR' is inspired by the electric propulsion system of the car. The ELR will use an electric motor for primary motivation and a four-cylinder engine as a generator to greatly extend range. The car will store electricity in a T-shaped lithium-ion battery. Though Cadillac doesn't say it outright, the powertrain will likely be an updated version of the Chevy Volt's powertrain.


smart fortwo Electric Drive Gets Revamped For Frankfurt

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss


Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Gets Revamped For Frankfurt test 2

Other cars, like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric, may get all the ink, but they're not the only fully electric options on the market. Sure, the Mercedes-backed smart fortwo Electric Drive is a little goofy, and God forbid you ever get into a crash in the tiny two-seater, but it's an ultra-compact, fully electric ride that's hard to beat for city driving. Just think about how nice it must be to park that car on crowded city streets and at events.

An updated version of the smart fortwo Electric Drive will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Mercedes has addressed some complaints in redesigning the EV.


BMW Vision ConnectedDrive: Great For Stealing Jewelry

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 3:39PM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Vision ConnectedDrive test 2

BMW has a new video featuring its futuristic Vision ConnectedDrive concept hitting the roads. The video centers around a rather smug Romeo that uses his ConnectedDrive to help him steal a little something for his lass in the waiting. Frankly, it's a stupid video. But it's an awesome car, so, therefore, worth a watch.

BMW launched its Vision ConnectedDrive concept back at the Geneva Motor Show. Unlike most concept cars that are pretty hardware-focused, BMW was focused more on the road and environment surrounding the car. The ConnectedDrive system features all types of technologies designed to make driving easier, safer, smarter and more enjoyable.


What A Concept! RM To Offer Five American Prototypes In Monterey

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 3:22PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Shelby GR-1  test 2

Lots of show cars have been built between 1932 and 2005, but only a fraction of them were constructed by American car companies themselves as showcases of their design and engineering prowess.

It’s no wonder that they are highly sought-after today—especially considering the fact that most were destroyed once they outlived their “usefulness”—and have price tags that reflect their rarity.

Speaking of rarity, to have five of them come up for sale at once—especially in one place—is nearly unheard of, but that’s what RM Auctions is offering August 19th and 20th at its Monterey sale, held at the Portolo Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center.

Now let us go back... to the future!


Russo & Steele Bringing Mint-Condition Mega-Muscle To Monterey

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 2:29PM | By: Andrew W Davis


1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda test 2

For those of you raised on televised vs. in-person auctions, it might surprise you to discover that restomods, clones, phantoms and the rest of the not-actually-what-God-intended cars that fill-out an auction’s roster are just that: filler.

Sure, there’s a market for them, but there’s also a market for crystal meth and serial-number-free firearms. What do they all have in common? When it comes time to explain why you have any of them in your garage, the stress caused by all the necessary story-telling you’ll have to do will make you wish you’d never gotten involved with them, period.

That’s the difference between a Hemi ‘Cuda and a Barracuda with a Hemi; the latter requires equivocation while the former requires no explanation. Which one do YOU want?


Virtual Tour Of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi (Video)

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:33AM | By: Chris Weiss


Virtual Tour Of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi test 2

If you're a huge sports car nut, chances are you love (or at least like a teensie bit) Ferraris. Who doesn't love those shiny, red, powerful stallions? Unfortunately, chances also point to the fact that you probably won't be visiting the ultimate Ferrari theme park—Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World—anytime soon. Now that's not true of everyone, but it can be a little difficult to plan a trip halfway around the world just to get your kicks at an adult theme park—what with so many places to see, and so little time and/or money to visit.

Luckily for you, we live in the age where we can travel around the world from the comfort of a desk chair. If you plan a trip to Abu Dhabi, you may want to skip this post and wait for the real thing. If, like me, you don't, read on and enjoy a virtual tour of the park.