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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.
 |  Oct 01 2009, 8:58 AM

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When concept cars look this road-ready, you can be sure an automaker isn’t just interested in design for design’s sake. Called the Concept PX-MiEV, Mitsubishi will unveil this hybrid crossover concept at the Tokyo Auto Show next month.

The vehicle’s name combines the automakers “MiEV” nomenclature, which stands for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, with a new “PX” designation, which stands for Plug-in Hybrid Crossover.

As a full plug-in hybrid, the Concept PX-MiEV can operate using either the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, the electric motor, or both. On pure electric power it can travel up to 30 miles. Mitsubishi rates that crossover at an impressive 117.6 mpg!

In EV mode the vehicle uses just electric power for the short 30 mile distance. When the batteries are depleted, the gasoline engine then kicks in to recharge the batteries and power the electric motor (much like on the Chevy Volt). At higher speeds, the gasoline engine takes over completely. In addition, the PX-MiEV features the company’s S-AWC and E-AYC all-wheel drive systems, along with a new center differential electric motor that works to send power to the rear wheels. All these technologies are part of what Mitsubishi calls E-4WD, which uses electric rather than mechanical systems to optimize grip.

Other highlights include an air-ride suspension with three height settings and an innovative driver alert system that uses a camera to monitor the driver’s eyes to see if he or she isn’t paying attention to the road.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Concept PH-MiEV

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 30 2009, 4:57 PM

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Honda’s latest concept car (van) that is scheduled to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show, looks like something you might see done to an Odyssey minivan at Hot Import Nights. The reason? It has both the typical minivan sliding rear doors, as well as front “Lambo-style” doors.

Honda hasn’t released much info about the van, other than the fact that it is a hybrid. We suspect it uses Honda’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system as found in the Insight. Outside, the front fascia is most certainly inspired from the CR-Z hybrid concept, which Honda also debuted in near-production form today.

We’ll have to wait until the van’s official debut at the Tokyo Auto Show on October 21st for more details.

GALLERY: Honda Skydeck Van Concept

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[Source: Honda]

 |  Sep 30 2009, 4:35 PM

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Honda intends to put the focus on its environmentally friendly alternative energy vehicles at the Tokyo Auto Show next month, showcasing several products, including the undeniably cute EV-N electric car concept.

The car will be in display in the HELLO! Zone (which apparently stands for Honda Electric mobility Loop) next to the hydrogen fuel-cell FXC Clarity, the EV-Cub electric motorcycle, the EV-MONPAL electric personal mobility device, the unicycle-like U3-X personal mobility device and LOOP, a cell phone that lets both people and mobility devices talk to each other (Skynet anyone?).

Along with things like swappable seats and a roof with solar panels on it, the EV-N also comes with a U3-X that fits inside the driver’s door!

We have to think this concept (as cute as it is) is eventually destined for production to take on vehicles like the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept, which just debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

GALLERY: Honda EV-N Concept

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[Source: Honda]

 |  Sep 30 2009, 2:05 PM

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Along with the Hybrid Tourer Concept, Subaru will have on display a hot-looking Carbon edition of its high-performance WRX STI model at the Tokyo Auto Show next month.

The model gets its name from a new carbon fiber roof that has been fitted to the car. Using the light weight and incredibly strong material so high up on the car not only reduces the car’s overall weight, but does so in a critical place, lowering the center of gravity considerably.

Inside, the cabin also gets a stunning suede interior (including on the dash) to give the car a seriously premium look and feel.

The bad news, however, is that Subaru has outfitted the car with an automatic transmission (and a five-speed one at that). The company says the use of a slushbox allows the high performance car to be enjoyed by a wider range of customers (read: they can sell a lot more of them).

We have to think the STI is best left for the hard-core enthusiasts.

GALLERY: Subaru WRX STI Carbon

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 |  Sep 30 2009, 1:17 PM

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Honda has just announced that a revised version of its CR-Z hybrid hatchback will debut at the Tokyo Auto Show next month. Honda has already produced a concept version of this car, but the new one (shown above) is as close to production as concepts get. The design has been toned down just ever so slightly, while the interior is as road-ready as a Honda Fit’s. In fact, the car looks deliciously CRX-like.

A production version of the car is expected in Japan next year with sales in North America the year after.

Power for the CR-Z comes from a 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. This 200cc of added displacement over the 1.3-liter engine found in both the Civic Hybrid and Insight should help put more of a focus on performance. Apparently, the car will also be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, as opposed to a CVT transmission – a first for a hybrid.

Let’s just hope the CR-Z is more Fit-like than Insight-like and that the Japanese automaker known for its engine building prowess can make the company’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system a bit more competitive with Toyota’s setup.

GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Concept

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 |  Sep 29 2009, 11:14 AM

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Just after publishing an article on Mazda’s new SKY engines, which are set to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show in October, Mazda sent us a press release on the Kiyora Concept car.

This new vehicle, which is set to debut at the Tokyo Auto Show, is powered by a 1.3-liter version of Mazda’s new SKY-G engine combined with a six-speed Sky-Drive automatic transmission. With a light-weight body as well as Mazda’s i-stop start/stop system, regenerative braking and an aerodynamic body that is 220 lbs lighter than any body in the compact car segment, the Kiyora Concept gets an incredible 75 mpg.

The Kiyora Concept and the SKY engines and transmissions embody Mazda’s environmentally responsible commitment to ensure an “everlasting blue sky,” while keeping with the company’s focus on driving enjoyment and the “sky’s the limit” philosophy of the company’s engineering department.

For more on Mazda’s new, fuel-efficient and more powerful engines and transmissions, which will debut at the Tokyo Auto Show, see our article here:

Report: Mazda Previews New, More Powerful and Fuel Efficient Sky Engines

GALLERY: Mazda Kiyora Concept

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Sep 29 2009, 10:01 AM

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Ahead of their official debut at the Tokyo Auto Show, Mazda has decided to give us just a small preview of what the company’s vehicles could be powered by in the near future. Both a new gasoline and diesel engine have been announced, as well as a new transmission, all under the catchy SKY brand.

First up is a new SKY-G 2.0-liter motor, that uses direct injection to improve both torque and fuel-economy by roughly 15 percent. Mazda hasn’t officially said anything about producing the motor or what car it will find its way in to, but we’d expect to find it in the Mazda3, replacing the top-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder, making roughly the same horsepower (around 170), while getting fuel-economy closer to the base 2.0-liter’s 24/33 mpg rating.

A new SKY-DRIVE transmission will also be available, which Mazda says will help improve fuel-economy by five percent. Unfortunately, this is not a fancy dual-clutch tranny, but Mazda does say it will be faster with more engaging shifts. Still being rather secretive, Mazda has not said how many gears there will be, but we suspect the improvement in fuel economy is due to the addition of a sixth gear.

Finally, Mazda unveiled a new SKY-D diesel motor, which we can be quite certain won’t make its way to North America. It uses a two-stage turbocharger with piezo injectors and some modifications of the engine structure to deliver a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy over the current 2.2-liter diesel.

We’ll be sure to bring you updates on all of these new drivetrain options when Mazda officially unveils them at the Tokyo Auto Show on October 21st.

[Source: LeftLaneNews]

 |  Sep 22 2009, 1:18 PM

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With the expected launch of the LF-A grand touring supercar at the Tokyo Auto Show in two months time, Lexus was out recently doing some last minute tweaks at the Nürburgring. The folks over at AutoCar snapped these photos of what appears to be an undisguised production ready version of the LF-A.

Lexus recently revised its expectations for the LF-A, saying that it wouldn’t make 500, but 550hp from a 5.0-liter V10 engine that will rev all the way to 9000 rpm. According to AutoCar the LF-A will have a carbon-composite structure, and will also use carbon-composite brakes with big 20-inch wheels.

Just 500 LF-As are scheduled to be built with a price of almost $500,000. Owners will reportedly be flown to a private track in Spain to be acquainted with their cars, with driving instruction being given by famous Toyota racing drivers.

GALLERY: Lexus LF-A Spy Photos

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[Source: AutoCar]

Toyota Prepping Supra-Successor

New model to be offered with either gasoline or hybrid powertrain

 |  Jun 26 2009, 10:49 AM

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According to its sources, 7Tune is reporting that Toyota is in fact preparing a successor to the Supra. This top-level sports car has taken a back seat to the economy-minded 086A – the code name for the yet unnamed joint Toyota/Subaru project. It’s also likely that development of a Supra-successor has been slowed due to the current economic conditions.

This upcoming sports car will be based on the FT-HS concept, which debuted back in 2007. Like the FT-HS is will be a hybrid, but a non-hybrid version will also be offered.

In hybrid trim the production FT-HS is likely to get the a similar powerplant to the one found in cars like the Lexus GS450h. Using the same 3.5-liter V6 and a more powerful electric motor, the new Supra should make closer to 400hp, rather than the 339 in the GS. Details of a non-hybrid powertrain are non-existent.

7Tune is reporting a concept car should debut at this year’s Tokyo Auto Show with a production version not expected until 2011.

[Source: 7Tune]

Lexus LF-A Gets More Power, Higher Top Speed

New output slated to be 550hp with a 218mph top speed

 |  May 27 2009, 9:07 PM

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When Lexus initially brought out the LF-A concept it boasted about the car’s engine power and top speed. With a 500hp V10 capable of 199mph the genuine exotic sounded unreal back then.

Since the concept car was displayed at the North American International Auto Show back in 2007, it has had an uncertain future. But now the car is scheduled to meet the streets and will debut at the Tokyo Auto Show this Fall.

Performance expectations have also changed since ’07 and so Lexus has done some tweaking to not only the engine but also the aerodynamics to add a little extra.

When the car is officially revealed it is expected to make 550hp and hit a top speed of 218mph!

According to a report in AutoExpress the LF-A will also look considerably different from either the concept car or the Nürburgring racers, with new headlights and a new grille. The U.K. auto pub is also reporting that only 500 units will be made, including an even higher performance version with a wider aero kit which will give the car a look more like the Nürburgring racer.

As for how the car will perform on the track, the 7:13 second lap time during the Nürburgring 24 Hour race should give an indication of what this car is capable of.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 |  Apr 21 2009, 10:52 AM

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After an embarrassingly dismal experience at last year’s Nürburgring 24 Hour race, Lexus is once again set to take on one of the world’s most challenging endurance races with it’s LF-A sports car.

The car will run in the Division 2 SP8 class, meaning that the race car will be close to the production car – which is expected to be officially introduced at the Tokyo Auto Show in the fall..

What we know about the car is that it is powered by a 500hp 4.8-liter V10 engine, with a rear-mounted transaxle that is actuated by a paddle-shift sequential manual gearbox.

For the race the LF-A race car will be equipped with a roll cage, fuel-cell, rear spoiler and additional aerodynamics. Otherwise the “engine, powertrain and frame specifications differ little from those of the base vehicle.”

Lexus intends to use the race to further develop and test the vehicle before it sees production and has hired on the experts at Gazoo Racing (which run Lexus teams in Japan’s Super GT series) to assist in the Nürburgring 24 Hour effort.

The Nürburgring 24 Hour race runs from May 23 to 24th.

Will Lexus have better luck this year?

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 25 2009, 11:47 AM

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With everyone pulling out of the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show, Toyota has chosen wisely to ensure all eyes are on its Lexus luxury brand when it drops the curtain on a production model of the breathtakingly beautiful LA-F supercar… finally!

First teased at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit alongside the IS-F concept, which saw production shortly thereafter, the LF-A has had an uncertain future for almost as long as it has had a future. Rumors that the project was being canceled increased significantly after the vehicles poor performance (due to a crash) at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race last year.

We can vividly recall Bob Carter, Lexus Group VP and GM saying that , “I’m sure you are wondering what the next “F” marque car will be. Hopefully you won’t have to wait too long, or look too far (pointing at the LF-A concept), for that announcement.

The production model is expected to keep the concept car’s 600hp V10 engine and promises to be more than just a straight-line luxury performer with past rumors of a 7:24 Nürburgring lap time still fresh in the minds of, well, everyone.

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TOYOTA/SUBARU CELICA

Toyota will also use the Tokyo Auto Show to reveal its rumored joint project with Subaru, which (also rumored) would see the return of the Celica name. The new vehicle would be a rear-wheel drive coupe and be based on the Imprezza platform with a Toyota-design head for the Suby’s boxer engine.

We’ll be sure to bring all the updates from the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show in October.

GALLERY: Lexus LF-A Concept

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[Source: Edmunds InsideLine]