AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
10. Acura NSX Concept
As has become the tradition, there was no shortage of big debuts at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Ranging from concepts so bold they border on absurdity to production cars that kept enthusiasts clicking, this is AutoGuide.com’s list of the top 10 cars unveiled during the North American International Auto Show.
The Acura NSX concept car kicks things off, but remember before you blow your stack that Honda’s luxury brand did actually show something new about the car.
While the shell stayed mostly same, there’s actually an interior to look at inside the Japanese supercar that the brand says will focus on simplicity, good outward visibility and style to enhance the driving experience. And it’s based on that interior alone (see it here) that the NSX makes out list.
Buy or sell the PR jargon as you like, but there’s no getting around the fact that Acura is at least one step closer to building the NSX.
Heart-pounding it may not be, but the curiously-named Toyota Furia Concept just debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show to preview elements of the next-generation Corolla.
10. Ford Escape - 261,008 Units Sold
2012 was the best-selling year for automakers since 2007, marking the third year in a row that sales have increased. So now is a great time to look back at the best-selling vehicles from last year.
Coming in 10th place with 261,008 units sold is the Ford Escape which was updated for the 2013 model year. Earlier last year, AutoGuide.com had the opportunity to review the 2013 Ford Escape and we came away surprised by its sleek new look, engine selection, and its great handling. It wasn’t without its cons, but overall the crossover delivered a vastly improved driving experience.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford Escape Review – Video
Frequently thought of as a boring alternative to an automatic transmission, usage of the the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) is expected to more than double by 2016.
Samuel Arnett’s YouTube video promoting Toyota’s College Graduate Rebate won him a new Toyota Corolla S. Continue Reading…
For the ninth month in a row, the top-selling car in Japan is the Toyota Prius, helping hybrids make up more than 20-percent of all auto sales in Japan.
In February, Toyota sold 35,875 Prius hybrids, while the Honda Fit came in second place with 24,973 units sold. That’s quite the gap, especially considering third place was the new Toyota Aqua (Prius c in America – read our review here) that sold 21,951.
Hybrid models are now making up nearly half of Toyota total sales in Japan while Honda announced that 60-percent of their Fit sales are hybrid variants. Rounding off the top five was the Honda Freed in fourth place (13,293 sold) and the Toyota Vitz in fifth (11,288 sold). Over 40-percent of the Honda Freed sales are also hybrids.
The more interesting news is the fact that the Aqua hybrid production isn’t even keeping up with demand. The Japanese automaker originally planned to build 12,000 Aquas per month but now overwhelming demand has customers waiting almost six months for their vehicle if they placed their orders today.
Toyota is giving college students a sweet graduation present – a $1,000 rebate off a new car.
This rebate will come in handy, especially now that you have all those student loans to pay off. Running through Jan. 2, 2013, the rebate program will be available to students that meet certain education requirements. Open to recent college graduates and students who have graduated in the past two years, you’ll need proof of your college status to get that grand back.
As well as a diploma or degree, you’ll also need proof of employment. It does make sense… you do need to pay for that new ride. We’re not sure if your head fryer position at McDonald’s counts as steady full-time employment.
If you’ve got all that going for you, it’s time to pick your car. Grads will have their choice of the Toyota Camry (gas only), Corolla, Matrix, RAV4, Tacoma, Yaris, and all of the Scion models.
There’s one more thing – even if you qualify for the rebate, you’ll have to buy your new Toyota from one the 175 Toyota dealers serviced by Southeast Toyota Finance in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
You can check out all of the requirements in full detail at the Southeast Toyota Finance website.
[Source: The Car Connection]
At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota motorsports partner GRMN worked with the Japanese auto giant to introduce a turbocharged version of the popular Vitz (Yaris) compact. While the car on exhibit may be a one-off, Toyota is reportedly planning to shift its focus to downsized, turbocharged, direct-injection engines rather than focusing only on gas-electric hybrid technology.
While hybrids are capable of achieving greater urban fuel economy, small displacement turbocharged direct-injection engines deliver better day-to-day performance and are also a lot less expensive to develop than hybrid systems. Furthermore, Toyota’s dominance in the hybrid market merely makes it a big fish in a small pond as the collective hybrid market in the United States only accounted for 274,927 sales while Ford’s Ecoboost range attained that figure alone.
Although Toyota has used direct-injection and turbocharging in select models, other automakers have implemented these technologies across the line-up. Other drivetrain developments such as transmissions have been inconsistent as well. While the flagship Lexus LS luxury sedan offers an advanced 8-speed automatic, the RAV-4 makes do with an outdated 4-speed.
Toyota is hoping that its partnership with GRMN will help the Japanese automaker carry out a rapid development program that can potentially make its way into multiple small and midsize products within the next couple of years. A small Japanese business daily paper has already reported that direct-injection turbo engines could appear in domestic Toyota products as soon as 2013. These new power trains will be found in models sold in China and Europe as well. Even though the market in the United States wasn’t formally addressed, automotive analyst of Deutsche Bank Kurt Sanger told The Detroit Bureau, “We expect it to be a potential market for such technology to further increase the competitiveness of (Toyota) products.” In other words, it’s a good idea.
Other sources along with Sanger believe that the next-generation Toyota Corolla is likely the first all-new North American model to receive a direct-injection turbocharged engine. However, Sanger also believes that the current Toyota Camry is ready for a direct-injection turbo engine now, without a need for a model change.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
What started out as a nice recreational drive “with no particular destination” turned into a fight for survival as Arizona State University Senior Lauren Elizabeth Weinberg was found stranded with her Toyota Corolla in a heavy snowstorm in northeastern Arizona for 10 days.
Weinberg told Arizona police that she left her mother’s home in Phoenix on December 11 for a drive when she drove through a paved road that turned to dirt 46 miles south from the town of Winslow. Navigating through unfamiliar roads, the situation quickly worsened when a horrible storm unleashed several feet of snow, entombing her Corolla.
Not leaving her vehicle, and not deviating from the main road, Lauren Weinberg survived off two candy bars and snow that she melted into water by using a water bottle and placing it in the sun.
Finally, U.S. Forest Service employees reached the road on snowmobiles and found a hungry, thirsty and cold Weinberg that was coherent and happy to be found.
In a statement from the Medical Center, Weinberg says, “I am so thankful to be alive and warm. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers– they worked. At times I was afraid, but mostly I had faith that I would be found.”
General Motors halted production of their popular Cruze sedan yesterday after a supplier issue hampered production.
Chevrolet says they plan to resume production as soon as possible, though they declined to disclose what the issue was. Production officially stopped around 1 p.m. EST according to a spokesperson for the Lordstown, Ohio, factory where the Cruze is produced.
Currently the Cruze is the second-best selling small car in the U.S. and the 10th-best overall. Chevrolet has been able to capitalize on consumer demand for more fuel efficient cars, given that the Cruze can achieve up to 42 mpg.
Expect whatever issue is postponing production to be addressed soon, after all the car is a hot seller and one that GM hopes to push beyond current sales to be a market leader. At the moment, it outsells the Honda Civic, though the Toyota Corolla still boasts better numbers.
Gallery: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
Toyota has issued a recall for 2010-2011 Corollas and 2011 Siennas sold through Southeast Toyota Distributors (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina) that were installed with non-Toyota aftermarket entertainment, navigation and Bluetooth systems on the A-pillar.
The dealer-installed aftermarket equipment may not have been installed properly with the retention clip for the A-pillar trim panel being damaged in the process. As a result, the A-pillar trim could potentially come loose during an accident and cause additional harm to passengers.
A total of 518 vehicles are affected by the recall, but Southeast Toyota estimates that only 25-percent of those vehicles have damaged A-pillars. Nonetheless Toyota would rather play it safe and will be notifying customers this month and the dealers will replace the defective clips free of charge.
For 2012, Toyota’s Corolla will be getting slight upgrades to the L, LE and S models. The L model now gets color-matched side mirrors, power windows with driver’s auto-down, power door locks and remote keyless entry. The LE model will now get 16-inch wheels as standard, and steering wheel audio controls. The S model will get a double-stitch accent to its seats.
In addition, the LE and S grade models will get a new standard audio system featuring a USB port for iPod connectivity and an auxiliary input for any other multimedia players. The system will also include Bluetooth hands-free phone capability and audio streaming.
Toyota did not announce whether or not the 2012 Corolla’s pricing will change from the 2011 models.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Corolla
Mazda announced today they have reached a production milestone of three million Mazda3 units as of April 26, 2011. The car is built in three factories (Japan, China, Thailand) and sold in roughly 90 countries and regions. In North America alone, over 1.1 million Mazda3s have been sold, becoming the fastest-selling model in Mazda’s current lineup of passenger vehicles.
Mazda has explained the success of this car through three factors: its distinctive design, its functionality, and its responsive handling. The wide range of models has also been a successful factor. Pricing has also been very competitive in the U.S starting at just over $16,000. The high performance Mazdaspeed3, has also been favorable to auto enthusiasts around the world.
It is quite an achievement for Mazda, considering it took nearly 22 years to hit 900,000 MX-5 Miatas. The Mazda3 three tripled that number in less than eight years.
Mazda’s senior managing executive officer, Hirotaka Kanazawa said, “Its sustained global success has seen it grow into Mazda’s mainstay model, and it now comprises a third of all Mazda vehicle sales.”
Hit the jump to see a list of the top 10 Best Selling Cars of All Time