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.
First came the Audi TT, followed by the TTS a few years later. Now Audi fans in North America will finally be able to park the TT RS in their garage, at least those who have $56,850 (not including destination charges and other fees and taxes) to spend on a new car.
This hottest version of the TT comes equipped with a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder motor that features TFSI direct injection technology and a turbocharger/intercooler setup. The result is a powerplant that produces 360-hp and 343 lb/ft of torque.
Power is fed to all wheels via the famous Quattro system, and the only gearbox being offered is the six-speed manual, so this will be a true drivers car.
The TT RS comes well equipped, wearing 19-inch alloy wheels and a big fixed rear spoiler. Inside you get 10-way power sport seats, BOSE sound system and an Audi navigation system that provides real-time traffic updates.
It has been a few years since Audi has offered an RS-model to the North American buyer, with the last one being the 2007 RS4. The TT-RS should be on sale sometime this summer.
Swedish car firm Saab has been in the news much more than even they would have liked to in recent months, mostly because the company seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy on a weekly basis.
But while its CEO Victor Muller is looking for the money train to keep the company on track, Saab itself is preparing to launch the 9-5 Sport Combi in the US-market.
According to a pre-launch brochure that has made its way onto the internet, the Sport Combi will come very well equipped. The standard list of equipment include panoramic sunroof, heated seats, keyless start and a cooled glove box. An eight-inch touch-screen navigation system is also included. All this standard equipment will mean the base price won’t be cheap, and no pricing has been announced yet.
The launch engine will be the 2.0-liter, turbo-charged, four-cylinder unit which produced 220-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That motor will be mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and Saab’s Cross-Wheel Drive (XWD) system.
So if you’ve been lamenting the passing of the Volvo wagon from our shores, Saab might be coming to the rescue, if only they can only stay afloat.
Check out the leaked brochure below.
GALLERY: Saab 9-5 Sport Combi Brochure
Those who have been waiting to park the stylish new Range Rover Evoque on their driveway would be pleased to know that they won’t have to wait too long now. The vehicle will go on sale in just a few months time, but Land Rover has just announced US-pricing for this model, which starts at $43,995 (not including destination charges). That’s for the four door model with the coupe priced from $44,995.
This is easily the cheapest Range Rover model offered by its maker, and thanks to its 2.0-liter, turbo-charged, four cylinder motor, it will be cheap to run also. EPA figures suggest it will do 19-mpg in the city, and 28-mpg on the highway, which are very impressive numbers. Part of the reason it is so efficient is because thanks to weight-saving materials used in its construction, it only weighs 3680-lbs.
Expect these to ornament posh neighborhoods driveway very soon, no wonder they hired ‘Posh Spice’ Victoria Beckham as one of their brand ambassadors.
GALLERY: Range Rover Evoque
South Korean car firm Kia has been enjoying a lot of praise given to the styling of their new cars, especially the Optima sedan. Now the Optima Hybrid version is about to hit the market and we have learned it’s prices will start at $26,500.
That’s not all, because that price-tag does not include the $750 extra you’ll have to pay for the destination and handling. That means, this fuel-sipping sedan is not cheap, and crucially, it is $705 dearer than the similar Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
Kia says the reason the Optima Hybrid is more expensive is because it comes with more standard equipment, like a reversing camera, a rear spoiler, auto-down front windows, a cooling box, a compass and “Uvo”, which is their latest infotainment system.
Expect this model to hit the showrooms very soon.
Honda’s recent airbag recall in North America is a growing problem for the auto maker. The recall, which affect 2001 to 2003 model Honda and Acura vehicles, is related to a faulty airbag module that might have been replaced by a defected service part, when the original driver’s airbag was changed.
This latest recall notice means Honda has to service an additional 833,000 vehicle. That is on top of the 437,763 units Honda had recalled last year for the same issue.
The faulty part is the airbag inflator, which could fail in the event of a crash, resulting in potential serious injury to the driver.
Vehicles affected include some 2001 to 2002 Honda Accord and Civic, 2002 Odyssey, 2002 to 2003 CR-V and Acura 3.2 TL, and 2003 3.2 CL coupes.
So if your vehicle is affected, Honda will send out recall letters by the end of May.
Last year, Maserati launched a sportier version of their GranTurismo coupe in Europe and called it the MC Stradale. However, for those of us in North America who can afford such play things, the sad news was that this model was not going to be available on our shores.
To keep its North American customer base happy, Maserati has now unveiled a version of their sleek coupe just for us and its called the GranTurismo MC.
So what’s the difference between an MC Stradale and this new MC? Well they look just about the same, but there are some notable changes under the skin and in the cabin. Whereas the MC Stradale used an F1 style sequential gearbox, the MC makes use of the ZF six-speed automatic found in other Maserati road cars.
Inside, the MC retains its rear seats, which were junked for the MC Stradale version. So it seems the North American version is a watered down version of what our European cousins get to play with, but not quite. Thankfully the MC Stradale’s tweaked 4.7-liter, V8 which produces 450-hp has found its way into the North American MC also. That engine can power this coupe all the way to 185 mph and sprint from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds. Also worth noting, this engine is available in the GranCabrio Sport.
For more details on this model, check out the press release below:
If you own a 2010 model Jaguar XF sedan or XK sports car, this would be of interest to you. Jaguar North America has just issued a recall which affects 6085 vehicles, over a potential corrosion problem with the power steering system.
In a statement filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Jaguar said that the zinc-nickel plating on the steering lines may not provide corrosion protection. As a result, power steering fluid could leak onto electrical connections or hot pipes, and this can cause the vehicle to catch fire.
The recall affects models built between June 27, 2009 to March 10, 2010. Jaguar will begin servicing this recall from April 11, 2011. Contact your local dealer for more information.
Mitsubishi has been in the news quite a bit lately, mostly to do with the rumors that the Lancer Evolution is to be killed off by 2013. Those rumors also suggested that Mitsubishi will now focus their energy on hybrids and full-electric vehicles.
Now comes the news that Mitsubishi North America has a new President and CEO, to perhaps get things back on the right track. Yoichi Yokozawa will take the helm from Shinichi Kurihara as of April 1, 2011. Kurihara will be returning to Japan to continue working for the company.
Yokozawa is not new to the company either, having already served 13-years with Mitsubishi, which included heading the brands European board.
Yokozawa has worn many hats within Mitsubishi and we wish him all the best for the future. And Mr. Yokozawa if you’re listening, don’t kill off the Evo.
Press release after the jump:
Back in 1965, the Beatles sang “Baby you can drive my car.” We bet if they were to write that song today, they would encourage their baby to not drive their car, because not only are gas prices becoming outrageous, but insurance premiums keep getting higher and higher.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), insurance rates in North America have climbed 4.5% in January, 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. In the last year, insurance rates have seen a climb by at least 0.2% every month, and some months the rates climbed much higher.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners in their most recent report mentioned that back in 2008, the National average was $902 a year. That figure is now closer to $1000 a year.
With the cost of driving constantly going up, the auto industry would have another hurdle to get over to bring people into showrooms.
[Source: PR Newspire]
Check out our Auto Insurance pages to get insurance quotes from insurance companies.
Typically, a product is reviewed and rated by a publication, whose staff, after testing and evaluating, will give their opinion on it. However, some might consider this opinion biased, either due to the writer’s personal taste or due to advertising dollars.
Nissan‘s luxury division Infiniti is now taking a different approach to the norm, becoming the first company to let consumers rate and review its products. Visitors to www.InfinitiUSA.com can currently read over 900 reviews posted by Infiniti customers on its seven different vehicles, and the number of reviews will only grow with time.
“The Infiniti ownership experience extends well beyond the driving experience of our owners and into their lifestyle, which includes peer-to-peer and social media channels,” said Ben Poore, vice president, Infiniti Business Unit. He adds that this “sharing of experience” will benefit those who are considering buying an Infiniti.
Bazaarvoice, a social commerce solutions service, will be working with Infiniti in developing content for their new site. So if you want to listen to what Infiniti customers actually have to say about their car, check out the new site.
It has been a hit in Asia and Europe, but North Americans will have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on the Scion iQ.
Originally the plan was to start selling the cutesy iQ minicar by March, but Scion’s parent company Toyota has now pushed this launch a few months back, so don’t expect to see any at your local dealer until the summer.
The reason for the delay is not a production overload or glitch. No, the delay has been placed because they want to sell more of their tC coupes (they claim), which is also new for 2011. Obviously Toyota/Scion top brass think the iQ will steal sales from its sportier sibling. So to give the tC a fighting chance, Scion is giving it a few months lead to win over more customers.
The iQ has been on sale in Asia and Europe since 2008 and has successfully taken many sales away from the smart fortwo, mainly due to having a much smoother gearbox (CVT automatic or 5-speed manual) and being more practical (it can carry three adults plus a child). It also features the industry-first, rear-glass airbag to protect the heads of back seat passengers.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
There was a time when Hyundai was a back-marker among car companies, and not very highly respected among buyers. Those days are well behind them now as they keep posting record sales year after year.
2010 will go down as an exceptional year for this South Korean manufacturer, as it sold over 200,000 units of its stylish new Sonata in North America alone, which is a record.
Even more importantly, Hyundai delivered over 530,000 vehicles in America with an additional 110,000 vehicles sold in Canada, where it broke all its previous sales records.
John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO said that the “Sonata is the Hyundai brand and it’s appropriate that it has led our best year ever. Sonata’s innovation has reset the most hotly contested, largest segment in the U.S. car market, with Sonata delivering more year-over-year retail sales growth – about 90,000 units – than any other car in the entire industry.”
With attractive styling, good features and prices that start at $18,440 it is not surprising the Sonata has done so well. We wish them an equally good year next year.