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.
Acura’s been hard at work in the kitchen, cooking up a new flagship sedan in the form of the RLX, but the luxury brand’s ever-popular MDX crossover has been redone practically from scratch. The chefs in the company’s engineering department just took the freshly prepared 2014 model out of the oven in Manhattan.
It’s said March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It may be late in 2013’s third month but that hasn’t stopped the weather from being cool in New York City. Cranking up the thermostat in the NY Auto Show the folks at Mercedes-Benz just revealed a 355-horsepower compact, the CLA 45 AMG.
Hurricane Sandy gave the Eastern portion of the United States a what for last week, not to mention the Caribbean and points far beyond. Amid all the destruction and misery the automotive industry was impacted in a number of ways. In particular, the safety of electric cars has been brought up.
The Big Apple has gotten a little greener thanks to its new Boro Taxis that sport an Apple Green finish, helping to give all those that live in the boroughs outside of Manhattan and Northern Manhattan a ride.
This is the first time in New York’s storied history that taxi service outside of Manhattan has become law, giving New Yorkers in all five boroughs safe and legal street hail service. To set it apart from all the other yellow taxis that have become a staple in New York culture, Apple Green was chosen to make the Boro Taxis as distinct as possible.
“Apple Green is very fitting for the new Boro Taxis,” said Commissioner Yassky. “It’s pleasing to the eye, easy to see from a distance and blends well with the urban landscape. Just as the yellow taxi and the black car were once new services that became a trusted part of their users’ lives, the Boro Taxi, too, will take its long-awaited place as a part of the city’s comprehensive transportation network.”
A total of 18,000 Boro Taxi permits will be made available over three years with the first batch of 6,000 being issued starting this June. Each permit will cost $1,500 and will be valid for three years. Only already-licensed livery drivers and vehicle owners will be able to apply for the first batch.
All the Apple Green Boro Taxis will also be equipped with credit card machines, roof lights, and GPS vehicle location devices to help the return of lost property.
Updates to the compact crossover include a face lifted front and rear end and standard 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, offering a mild list of updates to its current best-seller.
Included in those updates, 18-inch alloy wheels are now standard — the front and rear fascias have a smoothed look too. The same headlights and recognizable Mitsubishi grille will, however, remain with new chrome trim surrounding them.
Production will also move from Japan, where the Outlander has traditionally been built, to the U.S. for its remaining life.
The company updated its CVT to offer smoother shifts and an improved driving feel while a new multi-link rear suspension will further contribute to the ride quality and handling.
A leather-wrapped shift knob, steering wheel and standard Bluetooth are now standard equipment. The top-end SE model also adds a six-speaker audio system, HID headlights, push button ignition and smart key passive entry.
GALLERY: 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Known for its rugged terrain-capable cars sporting efficient four-cylinder engines, Subaru built its reputation on offering all-wheel drive and crossover-like ground clearance in an efficient package.
Cars like the Forrester already offer that to U.S. customers, but the brand just unveiled another off-road clearance-oriented car at the New York Auto Show.
Based on the Impreza platform, which was traditionally used to build the recently-emancipated WRX and hotter WRX STi rally cars, the XV Crosstrek offers customers who want an Outback Sport.
With an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the XV Crosstrek actually rivals many larger crossovers in off-road capability. The same 2.0-liter Boxer engine that sites in the Impreza also powers the XV Crosstrek with 148 horsepower through the standard all-wheel drive system.
Again the same as its Impreza cousin, the newest Subie translates power between the engine and wheels with a CVT that won’t be thrilling any driving enthusiasts, but offers 33 mpg on the highway.
Official pricing isn’t announced yet, but the car goes on sale later this Fall, so the details can’t be too far off. If nothing else, we’re assuming the starting price won’t be too far from the Outback Sport, which sold for a base $20,720.
GALLERY: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Try to look past the fact that it’s a Dodge Challenger without a Hemi. Heck it still boasts 305 horsepower, which is about what a Mustang GT did in 2010.
If you can manage that, have a look at the 2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline edition: it’s a V6 version of the coke bottle muscle car with generous upgrades for a bargain price. We already reported the details, but the car made its debut yesterday at the New York Auto Show where we got to take a look.
Opting for the Rallye Redline package costs $28,745, which is only $3,750 more than the base Challenger’s MSRP. Looking over the options, it’s hard to think of the package as anything but a great value.
For that money, you get new front and rear sway bars to stiffen the chassis and make the car more corner-capable but that’s only the beginning. It also gets 42 percent firmer monotube shocks in the front and 22 percent in the rear a cold air intake, a more aggressively-geared rear axle and upgraded brakes on all four wheels.
Cosmetic upgrades also add to the car’s style with a thick red racing stripe and two matching pinstripes running the car’s length through the center. Black 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a matching red stripe further compliment the car’s special look.
Best of all, Dodge isn’t skimping on the other features you might want in a new car. This package is based off the SXT trim level, which is the high-end V6. That means it also comes with standard equipment like leather seating (heated in the front), bluetooth connectivity, electronic stability control and more.
At $28,745 (plus a $925 destination fee) you’re looking at a handsomely upgraded car that would probably cost more if you took care of the upgrades yourself.
It’s true that the entry-level Hemi-having R/T is about the same price, albeit before the destination fee. The Redline Rallye is much better equipped than its similarly-priced V8 counterpart. Ultimately the decision boils down to a trade-off between horsepower and driving comfort.
GALLERY: 2012 Dodge Challenger Rallye Redline
Successful sales and popularity characterize the Lexus RX line of crossovers, but one area they have never excelled is, well, acceleration — or any aspect of performance driving.
Lexus hopes to change all that by offering its RX 350 F Sport, which just debuted at the New York Auto Show where Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager had this to say: “The RX 350 F Sport challenges pre-conceived notions about luxury crossover utility vehicles. [It's] not just an appearance package, but a full-fledged performance package.”
Under the hood, the automaker implements the same 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 as other models mated to a six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The Automaker’s active torque control system governs and distributes torque to optimize grip by shifting from 100:0 all the way to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels.
Despite making it clear that this is not just a cosmetic upgrade, the F Sport has some styling changed to differentiate between the lesser model. A more aggressive-looking grille, a new front bumper and fog lamps — and of course F Sport badges.
Black leather seats with white stitching and matching perforation holes further set the car apart while another F Sport badge on the steering wheel tells of the sportier upgrades.
The same engine and horsepower as this (and last) year’s model might be a letdown, but stiffer suspension that also sits the car a little closer to the ground lend a splash of sport to justify the “not just an appearance package” assertion. This is true, the changes are more than paint-deep, but barely.
It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed in Lexus for putting the “F” designation on this car when the IS F is such a hot-rod, especially after Ford revealed a legitimately upgraded crossover at the same show.
GALLERY: 2013 Lexus RX 350
While the same host of luxury appointments you might expect from the brand like leather and wood trim are present, the upcoming model’s most interesting feature is its new infotainment system, called “CUE.”
Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing explained the system during a press conference today. Butler referred to the system as “intuitive technology” which might be hard to take at face value, but the brand is doing everything in its power to make that true.
Since it’s 2011 refresh, the Ford Explorer has’t really set the world alight, at least among those that remember the old 5.0-liter and 4.6 V8 models that offered both gusto and family practicality.
Having introduced a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder in the 2012 model, Ford decided to kick things up a notch with the 2013 Explorer Sport, launching a 3.5-liter EcoBoost powered flagship Sport model.
Rated at the same 350 horsepower as the Taurus SHO and delivering 350 lb-ft of torque, the Sport is designed to deliver that extra dose of pizzazz without sacrificing fuel economy (Ford says it will deliver a projected 22 miles per gallon on the highway).
At least that’s the case in the U.S. In Europe a production version of this wagon has been on sale for several months, but despite being on display at this year’s New York Auto Show, the official line from Volkswagen was just a study designed to gauge public reaction.
However, given the success of vehicles like Subaru’s Legacy Outback here and even Audi’s AllRoad, it seems like a no-brainer to us for a North American version to be made available to dealers.
However, the powertrain may be of some concern in the American market. The European car is offered with a choice of 2.0-liter diesels (the concept in NY sports the 140 hp version) though making that marketable here would probably require a gas option.
That said, a combination of 4Motion all-wheel drive, raised ride height, electronic locking differentials and decent cargo capacity are bound to strike a chord with a healthy portion of North American vehicle shoppers. We’ll see if VW has anything else to say about it once New York show wraps up.