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.
Before trucks and utility vehicles became all the rage, large sedans used to be the heart of the American car market. They dominated thoroughfares and back roads of this country for decades. Big Buicks, mighty Mopars and forceful Fords were a way of life for drivers just half a lifetime ago.
Which family sedan offers the most, for the least?
Curious what the 2013 Nissan Altima will look like? Here’s the best look yet.
While spy photos have shown a camo-clad mule, the Japanese automaker has accidentally revealed much more on its Japanese language YouTube channel.
In a video showcasing the automaker’s 30 years at the Nissan Technical Center there’s a quick pan of what is very likely the new mid-size sedan, sporting some swoopy styling, angular headlights and grille and a bit of camo.
The video has since been pulled from the automaker’s site, and in its place a new version has been uploaded showing the Infiniti JX instead. Still, a few screen captures remain.
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan Altima
Posting respectable 2011 sales numbers, the quietly successful Buick Regal outsold the Audi A4, Lexus IS250 and Acura TSX last year. For 2013, the Buick Regal has received some drivetrain upgrades. First, the performance trim Buick Regal GS will receive an automatic transmission. Second, the 2013 Regal will possess eAssist technology as standard.
Introducing the Buick GS with a manual transmission is an interesting move and, according to U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing Tony DiSalle, “With the Regal GS, we made a conscious decision to go against the current trend and give enthusiasts the manual transmission they desire as standard equipment. Adding an automatic simply makes the performance of the GS even more accessible.” The new Aisin AF40 automatic transmission will be a no-cost option from the manual. According to GM, the new automatic transmission will deliver firmer shifts, capable of matching the manual Regal GS to 0-60 at 6.7 seconds. EPA ratings for the GS is at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
For 2013, the Regal will come with eAssist hybrid technology as standard equipment. A system that provides a light, but effective, secondary electric motor that assists to either motivate the car during slow traffic or to provide an additional boost to the engine, eAssist was initially a $2,000 option for Regals equipped with the Ecotec 2.4 liter engine. According to EPA ratings, the eAssist Regal reaches 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
GALLERY: Buick Regal GS
Although electric vehicle technology has been touted as the way of the future, some believe that there is still untapped potential lying within the conventional internal combustion engine.
To encourage engineers to push the internal combustion technology forward, Republican Congressman Dan Lungren has introduced a bill that will reward a handsome $1 billion in Federal prize money to the first U.S. automaker that can successfully sell 60,000 mid-size sedans that are capable of achieving 100 mpg on gasoline.
In 2007, the X Prize Foundation held a contest with a similar format called the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. Participating teams were challenged to create a vehicle that was capable of reaching 100 mpg, travel safely in highway speeds, and emit less than 200 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The winner of the challenge would receive a $10 million reward that will be used to fund the project to become a mass-market vehicle. Unfortunately, none of the vehicles were deemed commercially viable for mass production.
But now that it has been 5 years since the Automotive X Prize, the technology may be closer to our reach if not already attained. However, unlike the Automotive X Prize, Congressman Lungren would only award the winner after 60,000 units of its landmark 100 mpg mid-size sedan have been successfully sold. Not only does the bill ban vehicles of radical shapes and sizes like the Aptera, but 60,000 units is a daunting number that’ll effectively discourage any startup automaker. Compounded with the restriction to U.S. automakers only, the bill suggests a three-way battle between GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
While the bill does not necessarily suggest that a hybrid system is off limits, the aim is to encourage technological advances in the internal combustion gasoline engine, which rules out diesel technology as well. Given the parameters, perhaps earning the prize is much more difficult than it seems.
In a press conference that clearly targeted the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, Ford said consumers “expect more” than what its Japanese rivals have been offering and have, in response, developed the all new 2013 Fusion sedan. The car was unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
With a fresh new design, an impressive interior and plenty of technology, the Fusions big boast is its fuel economy, which global product development boss Derrick Kuzak calls “game changing.” Hardly an empty remark, the Fusion will get 26 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with a new EcoBoost 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. (Both an entry level 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 237-hp EcoBoost 2.0-liter will be offered as well).
Taking a step up in fuel economy is the new hybrid model, which bests even the new Camry Hybrid by a significant margin with 44 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. Ford even showed off what it calls the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid, with an incredible 100 mpge rating – 8 more than even the Volt.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion Debut
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion
See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the Ford Fusion below:
Chevrolet has confirmed it will offer a third version of the 2013 Malibu, offering a turbocharged performance model that will join the new 4-cylinder and eAssist Eco hybrid model. The announcement was made today at the press launch of the new Malibu Eco model, in Austin, TX.
While not official, it’s believed the engine is a version of the new turbocharged 4-cylinder that will also find its way under the hood of the Cadillac ATS. That said, and considering segment rivals like the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, look for power around the 270-hp mark.
The Eco model with GM’s eAssist hybrid system will launch first, with 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque while achieving 25/37 mpg. Later in 2012 the Malibu will receive a base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with a solid 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque – fuel economy estimates for this model have not yet been given.
As Honda and Toyota soldier on with the same old designs, Mazda has taken heed of the attractively styled products coming out of Korea these days and decided to fire back. Using the brand’s new Kodo design language the Takeri Concept is a look at the next-generation Mazda6. Based on an all-new platform and powered by a diesel engine it’s also the first example of a Mazda vehicle using the brand’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology.
GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept
For more on the Takeri concept, watch the video below:
We’ve been hearing a lot about the 2013 Chevy Malibu of late, now GM has given us a further update. This time it concerns pricing on the Eco model, which will start at $25,995.
Said price does include a $760 destination charge but not taxes, dealer fees, licensing and others usually required to actually get a car on the road.
Chevrolet says the ’13 Malibu Eco (which will be available in dealerships during the first quarter of next year), will deliver a projected 26 mpg in city driving and 38 on the open road.
That puts it within range of other mid-size Hybrid and diesel sedans, notably the Ford Fusion (36 mpg highway), Hyundai Sonata (40 mpg) and Toyota Camry (39 mpg) Hybrids, plus the VW Passat TDI (40 mpg), while providing a lower entry price point.
Besides the EcoAssist driveline (which includes an electric motor and lithium ion battery pack in addition to a 2.4-liter Ecotec four, standard six-speed automatic transmission, stop/start technology and regenerative braking), the Malibu Eco also sports 17-inch wheels and low rolling resistance tires and a number of weight saving measures, such as an aluminum hood and rear bumper beam, lightweight carpet and dash materials, which shave approximately 130 lbs of mass.
The Eco is actually the first of the 2013 Malibus to launch in the U.S., other trim levels, the LS, LT and LTZ will follow in the summer of 2012. It’s perhaps a smart move, bringing the specialty offering to market first and then following it up with the bread and butter models. Given that approach, many are curious to see how the much touted new Malibu will fare in the market. If it follows a similar path to the Cruze, then it’s likely the recently revamped Toyota Camry will face some serious competition in the months ahead.
GALLERY: 2013 Chevrolet Eco
If you’re into plus-size models, then you’re sure to appreciate the the all-new Hyundai Azera. Looking like a curvy Sonata but with some more meat on its bones, the Azera is all-new for 2012 and sports a more powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine making 293-hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. Using a six-speed automatic transmission Hyundai boasts it can achieve 20-mpg in the city and 29-mpg highway for a combined 23-mpg rating, which matches the Acura TL and Toyota Avalon and tops all other rivals (if you don’t include the rear-drive Chrysler 300). Hyundai also touts the car’s power-to-weight ratio, at just 3,600 lbs it’s quite light for a full size car and weighs 200 lbs less than a Buick LaCross and 400 less than a Taurus.
Back to the car’s design, along with a large chrome grille it gets plenty of chrome detailing (perhaps too much), as well as LED taillights and accent lighting, integrated exhaust tips and 18-inch wheels standard (19s are optional).
Fitting between the Sonata and rear-drive Genesis Sedan in the Hyundai lineup, few might remember the old Azera but that’s likely to change now. It stretches 193.3-inches and is 73.2 inches wide. (For perspective, that’s 5-inches shorter and one inch less wide than a Chrysler 300). With all that size, the Azera boasts more front headroom and legroom than any of its front-drive rivals.
Perhaps the Azera’s best selling feature is its extensive list of standard equipment. Included on even base models is leather, dual automatic climate control, a 7-inch display screen with navigation and a back-up camera, a power driver’s seat, proximity key, nine airbags, second row air vents, a cooled glove box, plus heated front and rear seats. Those looking for all the goodies can upgrade to the Tech Package with 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, HID lights, a power rear sunshade and manual side rear shades, a 12-speaker 550-watt Infiniti audio system, a power tilt and telescopic steering column, an extendable driver’s seat cushion, vented front seats and rear parking sensors.
GALLERY: 2012 Hyundai Azera
See video of the new Azera below:
With several previous leaks and two teaser images, the 2012 Toyota Camry may not need an official introduction any more, after a copy of a French Canadian publication detailing the new sedan has hit the web.
The overall shape of the new Camry is very close to the outgoing model, but exchanges angles for some of the bulbous bits found on the 2011 version. As for what’s under the hood, the new Camry is offered with a standard 4-cylinder and a Hybrid model, plus it retains a V6 engine option – when most other automakers are moving away from V6s.
According to the published details, the 4-cylinder model makes 179-hp and 171 lb-ft of torque, while the V6 model makes 268-hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Listed fuel economy for the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is 7.5 L/100km, which equates to 31.4 mpg.
As for the Hybrid model, the figures listed include a total 187-hp with a 41.3 mpg (5.7 L/100km) rating. If these numbers prove accurate, this would make the Camry Hybrid the most fuel efficient mid-size sedan, besting even the new Sonata Hybrid.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Camry Leaked
Design based on Kizashi Concept
Suzuki is getting the word out that it plans to launch a mid-sized sedan by the end of this year. The new vehicle is aimed at the ultra-competitive family sedan segment, which includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu.
Suzuki recently released one teaser image of the car as it tacked the Nürburgring.
Even with the body camo on, the car bears a striking resemblance to the Kizashi concept car, which is expected to inspire the styling of this yet unnamed sedan.
Suzuki PR boss Jeff Holland says the new vehicle will go on sale in December but did not comment on if other body styles will be released. The Kizashi concept, after all, has been shown as a sedan, wagon and crossover.
The new vehicle is expected to come with a standard four-cylinder engine with an optional V6 and the potential for all-wheel drive.
GALLERY: Suzuki Kizashi Concept