Motor Trend crowns new compact sedan king in eight-way comparo [w/poll]

Filed under: Car Buying, Budget, Sedan, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Reviews

2012 Hyundai Elantra

2012 Hyundai Elantra – Click above for high-res image gallery

With a raft of newly redesigned compact sedans hitting the streets this year, Motor Trend decided it was high time to crown a new king among the diminutive four-door masses. The editors gathered eight of the most popular models in the segment and pitted them against each other, battle royale style.

The magazine started by selecting the three best-selling Japanese compact sedans, the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda3, which, combined, accounted for 700,000 sales last year amid fears fostered by a weakened economy. Those were joined by America’s two best sellers, the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze. Korea added the Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra, and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI from Germany rounded out the list.

MT tried to get the cars as closely matched as possible; all the cars were front-drive, four-cylinder automatics with alloy wheels and stability control, all stickering somewhere in the low-$20,000 range. Still, despite its efforts, there wound up being a fair amount of variance among each of the cars, which helped shape the results of the test.

In the end, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra came out on top, thanks to radical new styling, a raft of standard features and a new found sense of sophistication. The 2012 Honda Civic EX brought up the next spot in the line, followed by the 2011 Mazda3 Touring. The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI snagged fourth, followed by the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ RS. The 2011 Kia Forte EX edged out the 2011 Toyota Corolla to take seventh place.

Which one would take your top honors? Let us know in the poll, and head over to Motor Trend to read the full results.

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Motor Trend crowns new compact sedan king in eight-way comparo [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 May 2011 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition takes its place as king of the hill

Filed under: SUV, Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover, Luxury, Off-Road

Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition

Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in the days before every luxury automaker and its sister (company) got into SUVs, there was one name in the premium off-roading game: Range Rover. And keen to prove it’s still at the top, Land Rover unveiled the Ultimate incarnation of its premier line at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Called, appropriately enough, the Ultimate Edition, this top-of-the-line Range Rover is based on the already luxed-up Autobiography trim. Sure to be the new must-have item among oligarchs and oil barons, the Ultimate Edition is kitted out like a Rolls-Royce Phantom but with the added distinction of being able to take its pampered occupants anywhere a mountain goat can go.

There are individual rear bucket seats and tray tables like the first-class cabin on an airliner, a drink cooler, a teak-deck cargo area and – in what’s billed as an industry first – a pair of Apple iPad tablets mounted to the front seat-backs (for the use by rear passengers). Journalists and VIPs alike were clamoring for a chance to sit in the ultra-luxurious sport-ute, but we managed to capture the salient points for your viewing enjoyment with the gallery of high-resolution images below, and can tell you first-hand that it’s every bit as posh as Land Rover says it is. High-res galleries of all the sybaritic luxury below, official press release after the jump.

Gallery: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition: Geneva 2011

Gallery: Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Noah Joseph / AOL

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Geneva 2011: Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition takes its place as king of the hill originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Mar 2011 14:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah knows how to make an entrance

Filed under: Etc., Videos, Celebrities

King Abudallah returns home

King Abudallah returns home – Click above to watch video after the jump

It’s kind of a big deal when Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz returns home from overseas. Following a massive welcome ceremony at the airport that includes hundreds of men performing a traditional sword dance, the monarch is treated to a vehicle procession that makes the American president’s motorcade look like a couple of VW Buses caravanning to Bonnaroo. In addition to a fleet of armored German hardware, King Abdullah is accompanied by a number of assault SUVs just in case anything should go awry.

In the video after the jump, you’ll see that the Saudi ruler’s route is lined with both flag-waving supporters and members of the country’s armed forces. AThe king returned to Saudi Arabia amidst growing unrest in Africa and the Middle East that has seen more than one ruling party ousted amidst calls for democracy. Hit the jump to see the video for yourself.

[Source: Gadling]

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Video: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah knows how to make an entrance originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Feb 2011 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago 2011: Suzuki is sofa king awesome

Filed under: Chicago Auto Show, Etc., Suzuki, Humor, Design/Style

Suzuki Motorized Sofa – Click above for high-res image gallery

Suzuki is proudly displaying its “motorized sofa” at the Chicago Auto Show. The chugging chaise appears in its new “Kizashi Kicks” advertising campaign, a television spot comparing the Kizashi sedan to an Audi A4 2.0T and the well-worn sofa. We’ll let Suzuki tell you about it, before we deliver the technical insight:

This 1970s-era sofa commissioned by American Suzuki retains its original synthetic trim finished in a fashionable tan and brown plaid motif. The sofa is complete with small tears and frayed stitching to meet Suzuki’s overall design intent. The sofa also features a variety of loose coins, cookie crumbs and pocket lint resting just beneath the seat cushions. The steering wheel is comfortably positioned at the center of the sofa, making ingress and egress easy for passengers looking to accompany the driver on casual journeys. The throttle pedal is unmistakable in that it features a custom bare foot shape finished in chrome-plated metal with black accents.

The three-passenger davenport is powered by a single-cylinder Subaru (doh!) “Robin” SP170 engine. With a displacement of only 169 cc, the air-cooled, four-stroke overhead cam gas engine is rated at a whopping 5.7 horsepower at 4,000 rpm. No word on top speed, but the self-propelled furniture reportedly gets about 40 mpg. Braking is accomplished through a hydraulically-operated single-disc on the rear axle, and steering is rack-and-pinion. The tires are appropriately knobby, sized 14.5×7 up front, and 16×8 in the rear, hidden beneath tattered fabric skirting. We’ve asked for a test drive, of course.

Gallery: Suzuki Motorized Sofa: Chicago 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Michael Harley / AOL

Chicago 2011: Suzuki is sofa king awesome originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: UAW’s King threatens to expose carmakers who avoid unions as “human rights violators”

Bob King

United Auto Workers president Bob King wants to reverse the UAW’s eroding course, and one of the best ways to strengthen its position is through increased membership. The Detroit News reports that King and company are looking to bring the power of one to the nearest transplant automaker producing vehicles in the U.S. King says that he wants foreign automakers to know that the UAW has learned from past mistakes and that the rank and file is not “the evil empire.” Good to know, right? Well…

After King informed the transplants that the dark side has no power over the UAW, he then went on to tell automaker management at Toyota and Honda that efforts to block the right to fair bargaining will be branded “human rights violators.” King reportedly went on to accuse some transplants of spending millions to keep unions out of plants, adding “I would not want to be a company that was branded as a human rights violator.” And what happens if the UAW feels the automakers are continuing to block workers’ rights to vote for or against the right to organize? King says the next step is to stage global protests that could cost automakers “hundreds of millions of dollars” to combat.

[Source: Detroit News | Image: Paul Sancya/AP]

Report: UAW’s King threatens to expose carmakers who avoid unions as “human rights violators” originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 13 Jan 2011 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: King pledges UAW to begin organizing transplants in January

Filed under: UAW/Unions

Bob King

According to Automotive News, UAW President Bob King has his eye on organizing labor forces at the manufacturing facilities of German and Asian automakers here in the States. At this point, it’s unclear which automaker or which plant the UAW will attempt to organize first, though King has said that he has sent letters to the CEOs of the transplant automakers informing them of the union’s intentions. King says that the UAW is only interested in cooperating to improve operations, and that it will kick off the campaign towards organization in January.

In the meantime, the UAW has called off protests at Toyota dealerships around the country as a gesture of goodwill. The union began picketing the dealerships when the Japanese automaker decided to close its NUMMI assembly plant in Freemont, California after its partner, General Motors, pulled out of the endeavor. (the facility is now in use by Toyota partner Tesla Motors).

Automotive News reports that Toyota says that it will leave it up its workers to decide whether or not organization under the UAW is in their best interest. The company has been building vehicles in the U.S. for about 25 years, and in that time, workers have never sought organization – despite repeated drives by the UAW.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images]

Report: King pledges UAW to begin organizing transplants in January originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Update: King reportedly pulls famed UAW Black Lake resort off the auction block

Filed under: Etc., Earnings/Financials, UAW/Unions

UAW black lake resort banner image

Are you looking for 1,000 heavily forested acres in the heart of Northern Michigan? Something in the $33 million range with a world class golf course and sleeping quarters for a couple thousand? If you are, it appears that the United Auto Workers’ Black Lake resort is going to have to come off that (very) short list, because the Rank and File isn’t selling. The Detroit News reports that UAW chief Bob King and the new union board has taken the resort off the market. CB Richard Ellis Senior Real Estate VP John Carver called the decision “a matter of the new board reviewing previous policy decisions.”

That previous board said in January that the recession was a big reason that the facility needed to close. The fact that the resort has lost a reported $23 million since 2005 didn’t help much either, and declining union membership appeared to be the nail in the coffin. Guess not. UAW leadership apparently isn’t talking about Black Lake and why they took it off the market, but DetNews quotes UAW local leaders who say that events are still being scheduled there.

We’re sure there will be plenty of people out there who won’t like the decision to retain such an extravagant resort considering the fact that thousands of UAW members have lost their jobs in the past couple of years. But then again, with Bob King and his blue-collared brothers and sisters looking to make a comeback, selling off the UAW’s crown jewels probably wouldn’t serve to bring up morale.

[Source: Detroit News]

Update: King reportedly pulls famed UAW Black Lake resort off the auction block originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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