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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.
 |  Sep 17 2010, 2:15 PM

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Chrysler not only invented the concept of the garageable van with it’s original 1984 T-wagons – the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager - but it also invented the concept of the Premium soccer mom special with the Town & Country. Now 21 years after the T&C’s introduction it’s packed with an incredible array of standard features and for 2011 it gets even more. With safety being all the rage these days key elements on the new Town & Country include a Safety Tec umbrella, which brings together more than 40 separate standard features, including Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection.

Alongside safety; other improvements include a dual DVD system that can play two different media at the same time; Sirius Backseat TV and FLO TV (the latter which provides 20 channels of live programming); plus voice command functions for such things as iPod/MP3 players, radio control, phone communication and navigation.

Besides safety and gadgets, Chrysler has also made improvements to the interior – a new dash and instrument cluster; better quality upholstery for the seats; more ergonomically sound steering wheel with integrated vehicle functions and a revised HVAC system.

Under the hood the  2011 T&C also gets a version of Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6, rated at 283 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque. Combined with a six-speed automatic transmission EPA fuel economy estimates are 17 miles per gallon in town and 25 highway. Those fuel economy numbers are the same as last year, but the power output has jumped considerably. The 2011 T&C will be built exclusively at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario assembly plant, with the first examples set to arrive in dealerships, sometime in the final quarter of this year.

GALLERY: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country

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 |  Sep 09 2010, 10:20 AM

Honda has just announced pricing on the all-new 2011 Odyssey minivan, with roughly a $1,000 increase on all models.

Base LX models with features like keyless entry, cruise control, stability control an auxiliary jack, 8-way power driver’s seat and 4 LATCH positions start at $27,800. EX models add 17-inch wheels, five LATCH positions and power slide doors for $30,950 while the EX-L trim tosses in a power tailgate, heated leather seats, Bluetooth, XM Radio and a backup camera for $34,450. Both a navigation (with a lifetime subscription to Real Time FM Traffic and a 3-view backup camera) as well as a rear entertainment system (with 9-inch screen) can be included, although if you’re going to go all-out the $40,775 Touring model adds the 6-speed transmission (with improved fuel economy), 18-inch wheels, parking sensors and a memory seat. And for 2011 a new Touring Elite model tops out the range for $43,250 with that incredible home theater system.

Of note, most models come with a 5-speed automatic transmission with an EPA rated 18/27-mpg (city/highway), while top-trim Touring models get a 6-speed automatic with a 19/28-mpg rating.

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Honda Odyssey First Drive by Clicking Here

Full pricing details after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 30 2010, 7:43 AM

Ford has officially announced a recall for the Windstar minivan after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation confirmed the rear axles on the cars can snap. The recall affects 1998 to 2003 model year models (a total of 575,000) in 21 cold-weather U.S. states and all of Canada.

The issue is specific to cold weather vehicles as corrosion from salt and rust could lead to a fracture in the axle.

NHTSA began the investigation in May of this year after 234 reports of fractured or snapped axles had been reported. Since then the number of complaints has risen to 950.

Owners are asked to contact their local Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership to have their vehicle inspected. If a crack is detected the axle will be replaced. If no crack is detected, owners will be asked to drive the vehicle until a reinforcement bracket is available.

States where vehicles are affected include: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

[Source: Reuters]

UPDATE: The Ford Windstar is now under investigation by NHTSA for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.

 |  Jul 07 2010, 11:10 AM

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Nissan has just leaked photos of the new 2011 Quest minivan via Twitter, and its a radical departure from the previous generations derivative minivan styling.

Based on the Asian market Elgrand luxury minivan, the new Quest is expected to be powered by the VQ37VHR, and widened by 5 inches for better visual symmetry. The version sold in Japan and Hong Kong needs a narrower track to negotiate the ultra-tight streets and parking spots present in those small nations. Inside, the interior looks luxurious and almost Infiniti-like, hopefully a carryover from the premium-positioned Elgrands, which retail for over $60,000 in Hong Kong.

The quest is expected to be in dealerships in early 2011 after its debut at the LA Auto Show in November.

GALLERY: 2011 Nissan Quest

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 |  Jul 06 2010, 10:31 AM

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With the release of a new model, automakers generally see a big surge in sales. Mazda may be counting on that, or perhaps they’ve got a few tricks planned, because the company has announced it intends to sell as many as 30,000 Mazda5 models next year. Last year Mazda sold just 18,500 units of the MPV (commonly called a minivan), a 16 percent drop-off from 2008.

Mazda introduced the second-generation Mazda5 at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, and while Mazda exec Thomas Pixton has said that the car’s sporty driving dynamics and improved fuel economy will attract buyers, it’s not clear if the car will get the same 2.0-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder (with Mazda’s start-stop system) offered in Europe.

Mazda has been at the forefront of the MPV segment, competing only with the Kia Rondo. That, however, will soon change with Ford’s introduction of the Grand C-Max. Chevy also has it’s new Orlando MPV but has decided to not sell it in the U.S., while Hyundai is also rumored to be thinking about the MPV segment.

With increased competition, Mazda is also certain to put some added marketing budget behind the Mazda5, which should help it reach the 30,000 unit mark.

[Source: LeftLaneNews]

 |  Jun 30 2010, 8:24 AM

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The GMC Granite has been given the green light for production. No… wait… it hasn’t. According to a report by Motor Trend, a source at GM announced that the funky Scion xB-like urban MPV based on the Chevy Orlando will get the go ahead. After publishing the report, GM contacted MT to inform them that the production light is not green, but more yellow – if not downright red.

Did MT just jump the gun? Or perhaps someone at the General slipped up and prematurely announce this new model for production long before it is ready. After all, GM hasn’t even launched the Chevy Orlando yet and the Granite is sure to come after it’s Chevy brother.

Regardless, we have to think that after the overwhelmingly positive reaction the Granite received at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, well see it in dealerships before long and unlike the Orlando, the Granite will most certainly be sold in America.

GALLERY: GMC Granite

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[Source: Motor Trend]

 |  Jun 18 2010, 6:25 AM

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As the minivan segment continues to shrink, those left fighting it out don’t have to be quite as innovative. Evidence of that came with the new Toyota Sienna, and now with the reveal of Honda‘s new 2011 Odyssey we’re starting to see a pattern. Perhaps, however, the minivan has reached its pinnacle and the only things left to do are polish off the rough edges and add on new minor features here and there.

Along with a partially new look, that features the “lightning bolt” design first shown on the Odyssey concept at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year, the 2011 Odyssey is both lower and wider, delivering added driving dynamics and even more space inside. Also aiding in the overall driving experience are new 18-inch wheels and even larger front brakes.

While not necessarily a great engineering breakthrough, the 2011 Odyssey does include a new three-seat second row system that allows the bench to be pulled apart, making room for three baby seats. We also like the 16.2-inch widescreen entertainment system that can operate as a split screen with two videos as once.

Other features include optional HID headlights, a power tailgate and 15 cupholders.

No engine specs are yet available, but Honda has already said the van will feature a 3.5-lier i-VTEC V6 with segment leading 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.

GALLERY: 2011 Honda Odyssey

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Get more on the 2011 Honda Odyssey after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jun 15 2010, 7:20 AM

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Volkswagen is recalling its Routan minivan, but not to worry, they barely sold any of them in the first place. The recall affects 15,902 vans from 2008-09 and follows a recall by Chrysler of the mechanically similar Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

Like the Chrysler vans on which the Routan is based, the problem involves an improperly installed wiring harness which could become worn by the sliding rear doors and eventually cause a short circuit or fire.

Owners are asked to contact their dealer for a fix or call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987.

 |  Jun 10 2010, 8:18 AM

The MPV segment is growing quickly and it appears as though Dodge it getting set to join in. In Fiat’s larger plan for the Chrysler Group, company CEO Sergio Marchionne included a seven-seat multi-purpose-vehicle (MPV) destined for U.S. showrooms in 2012.

Based on the upcoming Fiat compact car platform this new model would compete against the Mazda5, Kia Rondo and the upcoming Ford Grand C-Max. (Oddly, GM has decided not to introduce its Orlando MPV into the U.S. market).

The team at Motor Trend makes the case that the new MPV would best be branded as a Dodge, targeting young families and more focused on the fun youth market. This makes sense as Mazda markets the 5 to exactly those same customers.

Power would likely come from the new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder World Engine, which gets Fiat’s variable valve Multiair technology to produce 190-hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque.

Hit the link below to see Motor Trend’s full rendering of what the Dodge MPV could look like. Or, click here to see an earlier rendering of a Fiat Multipla, rendered by the same artist.

[Source: MotorTrend]

 |  Jun 07 2010, 7:31 AM

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Chrysler is recalling all Dodge Caravan and Town and Country minivans from 2008-09 due to a concern that an improperly installed wiring harness could cause a fire. According to a release issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the recall affects 284,831 vehicles in total. NHTSA says that the vehicles in question may use a “improperly routed” wiring harness that may become worn by the van’s sliding door. The wire insulation may then become worn which could lead to a short circuit, or possibly even a fire.

Owners of 2008 and 2009 model year vans (manufactured between February and September of 2007) are asked to contact their local Chrysler dealer for a fix.

This is the second recall for the Chrysler van duo in 2010. Both models were recently recalled for faulty airbags.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  May 18 2010, 8:38 AM

Ford Windstar LATCH

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now officially launched an investigation into snapping rear axles on Ford Windstar models dating from 1999-2003. In total NHTSA has 234 complaints about broken rear axles, with two noted accidents but no injuries. Of the complaints, 56 involve vehicles where one of the rear axles snapped at speeds in excess of 40 mph.

According to NHTSA, the problem seems worse in Northern states where salt is used on the roads in winder.

As the Windstar is a front-drive vehicle, snapping a rear axle isn’t critical as it could be – which is the position taken by Ford, with a spokesman telling the New York Times last week that the vehicle operator remains in control of the car at all times. This seems contrary to NHTSA’s safety comment that the, “fracture of a rear suspension axle could result in loss of vehicle control.”

Ford has said it will cooperate with NHTSA’s investigation.

If a recall is issued, it could affect up to 900,000 Windstar vehicles sold between 1999-2003.

[Source: NYT]

UPDATE: The Ford Windstar is now under investigation by NHTSA for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.

 |  May 04 2010, 10:05 AM

2011 Ford Transit Connect Taxi

It won the North American truck of the year award and in the commercial sector, the Transit Connect has been generating a lot of interest over the last year. The Turkish built, small delivery van has been on sale in Europe since 2002, but was only introduced to our market last year. As Ford is retiring its fleet mainstay, the Crown Victoria sedan in 2011, many government agencies and taxi fleet operators are looking at a suitable replacement. With its small size, tight turning radius, significant interior capacity and decent fuel economy, the Transit Connect is seen as a logical alternative to the Vic taxi by some. Recently, the city of Boston announced that it will be adding these vehicles to its taxi fleets in the fall of this year, making it the first  major American metropolis to do so.

According to Mark Cohen, Licensing Director for the Boston Police department that issues cab licenses, “we’ve been very impressed with the Transit Connect. The size, shape and configuration make it comfortable for the driver and passengers. It’s the closest thing to a purpose-built vehicle for taxi use that I’ve seen in 25 years.”

Besides space; durability, ease of maintenance and the ability to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) are all high priorities for taxi fleets. In addition to the Transit Connect’s 2.0-liter gas engine, the company will also be offering new pre prep conversions that allow the vehicle to run on CNG or LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas). Even without that, if the Transit Connect proves successful as a taxi, it is likely to boost the average fuel economy of taxi fleets by as much as 30 percent.

[Source: Ford Motor Company]

 |  Apr 19 2010, 2:04 PM

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It’s the fifth major recall for Toyota in the past few months and Toyota’s stellar reputation for quality is taking a beating. Toyota Motor Corp has just announced a recall of 600,000 Toyota Sienna minivans dating from 1998-2010. The issue with the vans is with the spare tire cable which may rust so severely that the spare tire, located at the rear of the van on the underside, could come loose. Toyota says this is a, “road hazard for following vehicles that increases the likelihood of a crash.”

The recall is for Sienna vans in Northern States or states which use salt on the roads in winter months – which causes increased corrosion. The states listed by Toyota include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Owners of Sienna minivans in other states are welcome to bring their vehicle in for an inspection of the spare tire cable, Toyota says.

Toyota says it is working on a “fix” for the problem and will notify customers as soon as a remedy is available. Toyota will also send out notices to all Sienna owners to in the mean time to book an appointment to have the spare tire cable inspected.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 31 2010, 11:06 AM

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Considering the abysmal sales of the R-Class, the Mercedes might have preferred to just let the model slowly slip-off into obscurity, but instead the designers and engineers did their best to try and revive the luxury minivan. Debuting at the New York Auto Show today, the new 2011 R-Class gets a front-end makeover with a more flat-front nose and added angles – much like the rest of the modern Mercedes lineup.

Inside there are some updates but overall the car is still very much the same, as are the engines. Returning for 2011 is the R350 4MATIC model with its lacklustre 268-hp V6 and an unimpressive 14/19 mpg (city/highway) rating. The better option for those looking to save on fuel is the R350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with 210 hp,  400 ft-lbs fo torque and an 18/24 mpg (city/hwy) rating.

Highlights include Distronic adaptive cruise control, airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping, and a Blid Spot Assist system (all optional). Options even include wheel sizes ranging all the way up to 21-inches.

Mercedes introduced the 2011 R-Class in New York, driven on stage by the Gold Medal-winning U.S. Olympic 4-men bobsled team, hoping to draw a comparison. And while we’ll admit that the new R-Class is a more attractive vehicle and that it does fit the four big guys with ease, Mercedes won’t be winning any golds, or putting any gold in the bank thanks to the R-Class.

For more on the 2011 R-Class, get all the details in the official release after the jump.

GALLERY: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 29 2010, 6:39 AM

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It’s been a terrible sales flop and even senior staff will tell you what a failure its been, but that isn’t going to stop Mercedes from rolling out a face-lifted version of the R-Class at the New York Auto Show later this week. Debuting as a 2011 model, the overall shape is still very much the same, but the front end gets quite a makeover in keeping with the newer and more angular Mercedes designs of late. Included in the update are more angular headlights and a more upright grille with quad-foglights, while out back the taillights and rear bumper get a tweak.

Inside there don’t appear to be many changes, but we expect Mercedes to announce a long list of safety improvements, like are currently offered on the new E-Class. As for engines, no real changes are set for the 2011 model with Merc offering both the R350 4MATIC model with its lacklustre 268-hp V6 and the R350 BlueTEC with 210-hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque.

With the debut of the 2011 R-Class’s officially scheduled for the New York Auto Show later this week, be sure to check back then when AutoGuide brings you live coverage starting March 31st.

Click the link below on or after the 31st for live NY Auto Show updates.

2010 New York Auto Show Coverage

GALLERY: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Leaked Images

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GALLERY: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Official Images

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[Source: eMercedesBenz]

 |  Mar 25 2010, 8:30 PM

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Unveiled in concept form at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year, a forum member at Temple of Vtec became an amateur spy photographer when he snapped several photos of what appears to be the production version of the 2011 (or possibly 2012) Honda Odyssey. The pictures were taken on the 1010 Freeway in Woodland Hills, CA.

Like the concept, this model has the same general style as the previous generation (current generation) Odyssey. Honda has used plenty of subtle camo, but the larger front grille is obvious and the black paneling on the side is being used to cover the new rear window design as shown on the concept (below). The production model also promises to be lower and wider than the current model, giving increased room and improving handling.

During Honda’s press conference at the Chicago Auto Show, a company representative confirmed that the 2011 model will get improved fuel economy of 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway, which should help the Odyssey maintain retain its segment-best fuel economy rating.

See the link below for more spy photos at Temple of Vtec.

GALLERY: Honda Odyssey Concept

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[Source: TOV]

 |  Mar 02 2010, 1:51 PM

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Mazda unveiled the second generation Mazda5 at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show.

The Mazda5 gets a slight facelift with elements Mazda’s “Nagare Flow” design. The new Mazda5 might even look especially happier and smilier than usual.

Under the hood is a 2.0L direct injection gasoline engine with Mazda’s i-Stop system. According to Mazda, the new engine has 15% lower CO2 emissions than the previous 2.0L powerplant. The Mazda5 will also be available with a 1.8L gasoline engine with six speed manual transmission.

Gallery: Mazda5

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 |  Feb 10 2010, 12:32 PM

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When Honda announced it would show a next-generation Odyssey minivan concept at the Chicago Auto Show, we assumed it would be one of the wild and wacky concepts that automaker debuted at the Tokyo Auto show last year. We were wrong.

Instead, Honda has unveiled a concept that it says very closely resembles the 2011 production model. At first glimpse we thought the new design smacks of the misguided ideas coming out of Honda these days, but just a few moments later and looking through our photos and we’re already changing our minds. Honda hopes this concept and the production model to follow will also change a few minds.

In fact, Honda designers set out to target the new Odyssey at the minivan “fence-sitters.” Through market research, Honda determined that there are those who love the minivan, those who hate it and those who like the functionality but who don’t like the minivan image. So to appeal to these potential customers Honda move the windshield forward, added a unique lighting-bolt style element to the side of the car, all while making it wider and sit lower to the ground.

As a result of these changes the concept van gets even more cargo and passenger room including more third-row leg room and (surprisingly) more third-row head room. We say surprisingly because the roof seems to slope and yet head room has been increased.

During Honda’s press conference at the Chicago Auto Show, a company representative confirmed that this concept is very close in shape and style to the upcoming production model, which is expected to debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show. A cylinder-deactivation V6 engine will return and Honda claims improved fuel economy of 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway, which should help the Odyssey maintain its segment-best fuel economy rating.

GALLERY: Honda Odyssey Concept

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 |  Jan 26 2010, 12:43 PM

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With Toyota having just released its new Sienna minivan, Honda is following close behind with a concept version of the next Odyssey minivan set to debut at the Chicago Auto Show next month. While Honda is keeping tight-lipped about the new model, it has said that the fourth-generation Odyssey, “will further enhance its hallmark qualities of innovation, quality, safety and fun-to-drive character, while increasing its overall efficiency.”

AutoGuide will be sure to bring you all the new details on the Odyssey Concept with live coverage of the Chicago Auto Show starting February 10th. We expect that the final production model won’t change much from the concept.

For complete 2010 Chicago Auto Show coverage click here

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 21 2010, 2:08 PM

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Mazda pretty much owns the MPV market on this side of the Atlantic, but it faces stiffer competition in Europe and is about to get more rivals in North America from models like the Ford C-Max and Chevy Orlando. So to stay ahead of the competition, the Japanese automaker will debut an all-new second generation Mazda5 model (called the Premacy in some markets) at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

Mazda gave the 5 a facelift in 2008 and while this model looks only like a cosmetic tweak (like the new Mazda3) there’s more to it than that. In Europe the new 5 will be offered with either a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder or a 2.o-liter 4-cylinder with direct-injection and Mazda’s i-stop start-stop technology, which will reduce emissions by 15 percent. Both engines will come with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard.

As for the aesthetic changes, they include some swoopy lines on the side of the car, inspired by Mazda’s recent concepts like the Nagare and Furai. In addition, it’s hard to miss the aggressive (or, as some might, say, excessively happy) front end.

Once it arrives in North America, we expect to find the company’s 167-hp 2.5-liter engine under the hood, most likely mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

Click here for AutoGuide’s live 2010 Geneva Auto Show coverage starting Monday, March 1st.

GALLERY: 2011 Mazda5

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 05 2010, 10:19 AM

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The minivan segment continues to shrink with Nissan announcing that it won’t offer its unattractive Quest model in 2010. A replacement is planned, but not for at least a year or two.

Nissan attributes the production gap to a change in its production facilities, with the Quest being built at the company’s Canton, Mississippi plant, where it also assembles the Nissan Titan pickup truck, Armada SUV and Infiniti QX56. Nissan’s plan is to move Quest and QX production to Japan in order to make room for a new vehicle line at the Canton plant.

Nissan’s willingness to miss a whole year or more in the van’s production schedule certainly speaks to the minor roll the model plays in Nissan’s product lineup. In fact, the Quest already had one hiccup in its lifetime, with a production stoppage in 2003.

Nissan says it isn’t planning on leaving the minivan segment, which has recently seen automakers like GM and Ford pull out. What remains to be seen is if a new van from Nissan will be a full-sized model akin to traditional vans like the Dodge Caravan, or if the next Quest (or Quest replacement) will follow after more modern, compact vans like the Mazda5 and upcoming Ford C-Max.

[Source: Automobile]

 |  Dec 21 2009, 9:48 AM

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***See AutoGuide’s LIVE 2010 Detroit Auto Show Coverage Here***

Along with a long list of Chevy products set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show, GM will deliver unconventional new vehicles for both Buick and GMC. First up is a high-performance Buick Regal, thought to be called the GS. Based on the European Opel Insignia OPC, the Regal GS will use a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 to make 325-hp and put that power to the ground using an all-wheel drive setup.

In addition to this gotta-gave Buick, GM’s GMC brand will debut its smallest model ever, based on the upcoming Chevy Orlando MPV. This smaller-than-a-mini-van vehicle will be a sister car to the Orlando but is aimed at a different segment of the market. While the Orlando is intended to compete with vehicles like the Mazda5, Kia Rondo and Dodge Journey (not to mention the upcoming Ford C-Max), the GMC version, dubbed the GMC Granite, is aimed at the youth market. The Granite would then target cars like the Nissan Cube, Scion xB and Kia Soul with styling and youth-oriented features.

We have to think that it would probably be best if GMC stayed true to its truck roots, but with GMC’s masculine traits laid over a boxy body shell, this might be the right model to make the GMC brand popular in urban markets.

[Source: CanadianDriver]

 |  Dec 02 2009, 3:56 PM

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With the minivan segment continuing to diminish in the marketplace, Toyota has unveiled its all-new 2011 Sienna as more of a significantly refreshed version. It’s not a huge departure from the previous generation model, but it does get a long list of upgrades including a new interior and exterior as well as a new standard 4-cylinder engine.

Past Siennas were only available with the company’s powerful V6 engine, which can still be had with 266 horsepower and a fuel-economy rating of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway (16 mpg city/22 mpg highway on AWD models). The big news, however, is the addition of an entry-level 4-cylinder model. It uses a 2.7-liter motor with 187-hp, delivering more power than some competitors have in their V6 options. Fuel economy for the 2.7 is rated at 19/26 mpg (city/highway). Both engines get a six-speed automatic transmission.

The new Sienna certainly has a more dramatic appearance than the previous gen minivan, taking design cues from the Venza. A Sporty SE model will accentuate the new style further with an even more aggressive front end design, as well as side skirts and 19-inch wheels. The car even gets special instruments, interior colors and what Toyota calls a “sport-tuned suspension.” But coming from Toyota that’s probably not all that sporty.

Inside the car is more than 2-inches longer and in 7-seater trim the second row can move forward and backward by up to 23-inches to give maximum leg room for passengers. Those second row folks will be able to relax and enjoy the new Dual View Entertainment Center, that uses two side-by-side screens to create a 16.4-inch monitor that can show movies either individually or in unison for a more enjoyable “big-screen” experience.

In the all-important safety area the 2011 Sienna features Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and 7 airbags. A Pre-Collision System (PCS) is optional on Limited trims, as is Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), which coordinates the brakes, steering and engine output proactively rather than reactively to help keep the car under control before it reaches its limit.

XLE and Limited models will get an optional Safety Connect system which includes Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. Like GM’s OnStar, Automatic Collision Notification will automatically call a response center if it detects the airbags deploy or a sever rear-end collision and even even contact a nearby emergency service if the occupants are unresponsive. An SOS button will let the driver contact the Toyota response center in case of an emergency or for road side assistance.

The 2011 Sienna is set to arrive in dealerships in February of 2010.

GALLERY: 2011 Toyota Sienna

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More on the new 2011 Toyota Sienna after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 10 2009, 10:00 AM

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***UPDATE*** 2011 Toyota Sienna Info and Pictures Available Here ***UPDATE***

Has the crossover killed the minivan? Toyota doesn’t think so.. not yet, at least. Japan’s largest automaker has announced that it will debut the all-new 2011 Sienna minivan at the Los Angeles Auto Show in early December.

There are no details about the future of the Sienna but we expect Toyota to take an “evolutionary” approach. The minivan segment continues to shrink and so its unlikely huge resources were devoted to creating the new Sienna, but there will no doubt be plenty of innovative new features. Toyota is one of a shrinking number of manufacturers still making minivans, with all of the domestics (save Chrysler) dropping their family haulers in favor of crossovers.

We’ll be sure to bring you full info and pictures of the new van with live coverage or the LA Auto Show starting December 2nd.

See here for a full review of the 2010 Sienna

See AutoGuide’s Live 2009 LA Auto Show Coverage Here Starting December 2nd

Official release after the jump:

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