Tag Archives: Buick Encore

Official: 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released

By Chris Paukert

North American Car of the Year crystal award

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Is it that time of the year again already? The 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award “long list” has just been revealed, with 29 nominees sliding into the car category and 19 up for consideration in the truck/utility space. As ever, both NACTOY lists serve to illustrate the ever-widening scope of product that our industry has to offer. Tiny electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark EV and luxury bruisers like the new Maserati Ghibli bookend the car list, and the truck/utility nominees continue to illustrate the growing popularity of crossovers.

Last year, the Cadillac ATS claimed the car award (the Ram 1500 took home the truck category), and this year, General Motors has a healthy crop of nominees, including two from Cadillac (CTS, ELR) and four from Chevrolet (Corvette, Impala, Spark EV, SS). On the other side of the fence, the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins are also vying for the coveted cut crystal. Kia and Mercedes-Benz also have a lot of vehicles up for consideration. The Korean brand is represented by the Cadenza, Forte, Soul, and Quoris on the car side, and the Sorento on the truck/utility front, while Daimler will see its B-Class, CLA-Class, E-Class and S-Class models in the mix.

As ever, the long list gets its name because it serves as broad brushstroke roundup of new or substantially updated vehicles released in time for consideration. Given the fluid nature of new vehicle releases, the long list shows which vehicles are eligible for consideration – some of them may not have been seen or driven by the NACTOY’s 50-strong juror pool yet. Select vehicles may thus fall off the list if they do not become available for judging in a timely fashion, while other vehicles not shown on the list may be still be added at this stage. Later this fall, after jurors have driven the vehicles, a first round of voting will be held, and the resulting “short list” of a dozen or so vehicles will trigger further assessment followed by another vote that will result in three finalists for each category. A final round of voting will commence, and the winners will be announced at January’s Detroit Auto Show.

Check out both lists of nominees by scrolling below, then have your say on who you think should win in Comments.

*Full Disclosure: Author is a NACTOY jury member.

Continue reading 2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released

2014 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year long list released originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Report: Hyundai mulling new small CUV under Tucson

By Chris Paukert

2013 Hyundai Tucson - front three-quarter view, silver

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Hyundai maintains it can barely build enough of its core models to satisfy North American consumers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t keen to expand its offerings to capture developing segments of the market. According to Edmunds, one of those expanding niches could be the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment. The website quotes Hyundai North America president and CEO John Krafcik as acknowledging his company is “very under-represented” in crossovers, the market’s hottest vehicle type.

With the discontinuation of the Veracruz, Hyundai is down to two CUV nameplates, Tucson (pictured) and Santa Fe, the latter of which covers two segments with a two-row Sport and long-wheelbase three-row model. And while Hyundai commands seven percent of the US sedan market, the company estimates it only has two percent of the truck segment.

And while Krafcik stops short of confirming a new model, he acknowledges “a new segment is emerging” underneath the Tucson and says, “I think it’s something to look at.” At the moment, the subcompact softroader segment remains small and somewhat amorphous, with tiny CUV offerings like the Buick Encore, Nissan Juke, and now-discontinued Suzuki SX4 illustrating that there are a lot of different ways to package and market such a vehicle.

Edmunds expects a new Tucson sometime around 2015, so with Krafcik admitting that the company has no firm plans but is starting to look into the matter, it’s likely that we won’t see a smaller CUV from Hyundai until sometime after that.

Hyundai mulling new small CUV under Tucson originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Braking News: 2014 Honda Fit to Offer Low-Speed Active Braking System

By Ron Sessions

The 2013 Honda Fit Sport can’t stop itself.

Honda will introduce an all-new Fit for 2014, and expectations are running high—over two generations, the small hatchback has appeared on our 10Best Cars list every year since 2007. Although the company has yet to release many details about the next-generation version, we do know that production will switch next year from high-cost Japan to low-cost Mexico. And now we also know that Honda will officially introduce its City Brake Active automatic braking system via the redesigned 2014 Fit, although it hasn’t yet confirmed the system for the U.S. market.

But one key to increasing acceptance of subcompacts in America will be the trickle-down of safety technology, so it might be smart to offer it here. Honda’s accident-avoidance system is geared to urban environments, and is active at speeds up to 18 mph. As with similar systems announced by Volvo and Mazda, Honda’s City Brake Active system tracks traffic ahead with a windshield-mounted laser. If the system determines that a collision is imminent, it will flash visual and audible alerts to the driver. If the driver fails to take action to avoid an accident, the system automatically applies the brakes. Honda’s active brake system will also intervene if the driver inadvertently floors the accelerator while stopped or traveling at less than 6 mph if another car ahead is closer than four meters (about 13 feet or slightly less than the length of one Honda Fit), effectively denying the request to accelerate.

Honda brass previously confirmed two future Fit spinoffs, a subcompact crossover to compete with the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore, and Kia Soul—this was previewed by the Honda Urban SUV concept shown at the 2013 Detroit auto show—and a subcompact four-door sedan similar to the current Honda City. The latter car will battle the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Accent, and will be aimed at Americans who hate hatchbacks and love the gawky styling typical of puny sedans. The new Fit hatchback will go on sale in Japan later this year, and we expect our model to arrive at approximately the same time.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Designing the New Cadillac CTS, Camaro Z/28 and Buick LaCrosse/Regal: Video

By Malcolm Hogan

Our good friends at Automotive Rhythms took some time out at the New York Auto Show last week to interview the man that helps make all new General Motors vehicle designs happen, VP of Global Design, Ed Welburn.

In the video below Ed Welburn shares many details on how the design and inspiration for new automotive design at General Motors led to the emergence of the all-new Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal, Buick Encore and even the new Corvette Stingray. Enjoy!

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

The Continental: Kicking Off the Year in Detroit and Product Tidbits from Europe and Asia

By Jens Meiners

The Continental

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport

I skipped the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and decided to kick off 2013 with a real auto show:  the unfortunately named North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Press events begin on Sunday, and the number of debuts confirms its role as the most important auto show on your turf. Among the many cars to be shown there, I am most curious about the 2014 Cadillac ELR. Not that I am a big fan of electrics—but I believe this Cadillac will be an extremely desirable vehicle, and not the least because of its styling.

Another interesting one is the 2014 Lexus IS sedan, which probably tries a bit too hard to be both sporty and original. The hourglass-shaped grille is has been dubbed the “Diablo grille” in Europe, but is referred to as a “spindle grille” in the US. Perhaps this is so god-fearing customers won’t be offended? We at Car and Driver, who started the Save the Manuals campaign, are offended by the fact that the manual transmission is history on the IS.

Lexus LF-CC concept

Hopefully Lexus will at least give us an adequate replacement for the awesome IS F, which—alongside the chubby and unimpressive IS convertible—carries on into 2014 on the outgoing IS platform. It’s possible that neither the IS F nor the convertible will get a direct replacement. Instead, Lexus is pondering a two-door coupe, similar to the LF-CC concept it showed off at last year’s Paris auto show. The coupe would be available with an ultra-powerful 5.0-liter V-8. Go for it, Lexus!

AMG is launching a number of fantastic cars this year. We know about the new compact A45 AMG hatchback and CLA45 AMG sedan, as well as the updated E63 AMG and the CLS63 AMG, which both will get a 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. It has been confirmed that all-wheel drive also will be standard on the AMG derivatives of the new S-class flagship.

Hyundai i30 coupe

Mass-Market News

Hyundai is launching its i30 coupe in Europe, the third i30 body variation after the five-door hatchback and station wagon. The i30 is a sister model of the Elantra GT you get in the U.S., but the three-door version isn’t headed for your shores. Hyundai’s got the i30 coupe’s lineup position covered by the larger Elantra coupe, which has a big trunk and classic two-door style. I like the compact i30 coupe better, but actually, it wouldn’t be so easy to adapt it to the U.S. market. Despite wearing nearly identical sheetmetal, underneath the European i30 is not as close to the five-door Elantra GT as one might think. It has a unique rear suspension and a very different engine portfolio, including several powerful diesels.

Mitsubishi Mirage five-door

The new, entry-level Mitsubishi Mirage is launching in Europe with the name “Space Star.” The moniker was pulled from the brand’s past, where it adorned a less-than-glorious high-roof compact sold between 1998 and 2005. It was available with an advanced gas-fed, direct-injection engine that just about financially crippled Mitsubishi in its time. Otherwise, the Space Star was forgettable—just like the new car. The Mirage’s conservative styling takes the safe route, and it seems to signify an unfortunate trend. Nissan is following exactly the same strategy with its current Micra/March. The predecessors of both the small Mitsubishi and Nissan both had daring and interesting, if a little polarizing, styling.

Nissan has kicked off production of its Leaf electric vehicle in Smyrna, Tennessee; shortly, it will be made in Europe as well. Production capacity in Smyrna is 150,000 units annually for the Leaf alone. Contrast that with the EV’s sales figures, which have kept a safe distance (on the low side)  from the 10,000-unit mark both in 2011 and 2012. Let’s hope Nissan doesn’t choke on all of that production capacity, which is bound to go mostly unused unless sales of the range-deprived Leaf take off like a rocket. Quite honestly, I couldn’t think of a reason why they would.

Renault Captur

Renault is launching a new, small crossover called Captur and based on the Renault/Nissan B-segment platform shared with the Nissan Cube and Juke. The Captur is even smaller, and arguably better-looking, than the tiny Buick Encore.

MAN / Volkswagen truck

Let’s Divorce

A long-standing cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen could come to an end. Since 1996, Volkswagen has been rebadging Daimler’s Sprinter commercial van as the LT and later as the Crafter. But word in Germany is that Daimler wants to rejuvenate an old connection with MAN, the Munich-based truck maker which now belongs to the Volkswagen empire. As early as 1979, MAN and VW cooperated on a small truck based on the old Volkswagen LT; in fact, derivatives are still sold in South America as the VW Delivery and VW Worker. It looks like the Crafter’s replacement will be co-developed with MAN.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver