Study: Six small cars earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards [w/video]

Filed under: Coupe, Budget, Sedan, Safety, Hatchback, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Scion, Volkswagen

2013 Honda Civic Sedan IIHS crash test
IIHS Top Safety Pick + Award
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has released the results of its latest small overlap front crash tests, and there’s a surprise among small cars. IIHS tested 12 cars, half of which managed “Good” or “Acceptable” ratings overall, qualifying them for the the coveted Top Safety Pick+.

Top Safety Pick+ is still a fairly rare achievement since the new small overlap crash tests were instituted, as it’s taken manufacturers time to design, engineer, build and bring to market cars that can score well on the new metric.

The overlap front crash test covers the car’s structure, restraint systems and kinematics, as well as measuring the “injuries” the crash test dummy’s heads, necks, chests, hips, thighs, legs and feet.

The highest scorers were the Honda Civic Sedan, followed closely by the Civic Coupe. These were also the only two to earn overall scores of “Good.” The Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Scion tC all earned acceptable scores overall, which was still enough to qualify them for the TSP+ rating. The bottom half of the test included the Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Beetle, Chevrolet Cruze, Nissan Sentra, Kia Soul and Kia Forte.

Only 25 models have earned the TSP+ rating so far, which requires cars to earn “Good” ratings for occupant protection in four out of five tests, while scoring at least an acceptable on the fifth test.
Click through for the full press release from IIHS, as well as a video

Continue reading Six small cars earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards [w/video]

Six small cars earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: BMW 1 Series getting a small nose job

Filed under: Spy Photos, Hatchback, BMW, Luxury

BMW 1 Series facelift spy shot - front three-quarter view

As BMW prepares to launch its new 2 Series lineup, it appears that the current 1 Series is going to get a little attention for itself. Based on these spy photos, the 1 Series hatchback (F20/F21), which is not offered in the US, will be getting a minor facelift in the near future.

From what we can see in these images, the updated 1 Series will definitely be getting a tweaked front end, with most of the attention focusing on the air intakes and grille. Our shooter tells us that it is possible that the headlights may yet be reworked in some way by the time we see this car in production form. It still isn’t clear if we’ll ever see this bodystyle or the next-gen 1 Series in the US, but our most recent report seems to indicate that the car’s fortunes will depend somewhat on how well the Mercedes CLA-Class and Audi A3 sell.

BMW 1 Series getting a small nose job originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota to drop regular-cab Tacoma as small pickups take another hit

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Toyota

2013 Toyota Tacoma regular cab - white - front three-quarter view

Even as General Motors prepares to redesign its midsize pickups, the market for sub-fullsize trucks continues to shrink. The remaining competitors in the segment are the well-aged Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma, and now Truck Trend is reporting that the latter will be dropping its regular cab model due to poor sales.

According to the article, the available configurations for the Tacoma lineup will be whittled down in 2015, which apparently spells the end for the two-door Taco. The Tacoma is currently the last truck in its class to be offered in a regular cab configuration, with the Frontier no longer offering a standard cab model and spy shots of the next-gen Chevrolet Colorado not revealing any glimpse of a short cab, either.

Toyota to drop regular-cab Tacoma as small pickups take another hit originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Aug 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: BMW M135i vs. Mercedes A45 AMG in Euro small-lux throwdown

Filed under: Performance, Videos, Hatchback, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, UK

BMW and Mercedes-Benz – please, please, please bring the M135i and A45 AMG hatchbacks to North America. For as long as we can remember, buyers in the New World have been forced to look longingly at Europe and Great Britain and the excellent super hatches that are so routinely offered there. And while we’re quite content with the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, having a 360-horse five-door with a premium, content-rich interior sounds quite nice.

Our envy for Europe has grown after watching the latest video from Drive, which stars Chris Harris, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and the BMW M135i. This latest battle between MB and BMW takes place on both road and track, with Harris providing a running commentary. If you’re interested in the upcoming Mercedes CLA45 AMG, you should pay special attention to the section on the A45, as the two are essentially fraternal twins. While the video is a bit on the long side, it provides a comprehensive rundown of both cars, giving those of us in North America just a small taste of what we’re missing. Check it out by scrolling below.

Continue reading BMW M135i vs. Mercedes A45 AMG in Euro small-lux throwdown

BMW M135i vs. Mercedes A45 AMG in Euro small-lux throwdown originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Hyundai mulling new small CUV under Tucson

Filed under: Budget, Crossover, Hyundai

2013 Hyundai Tucson - front three-quarter view, silver

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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Spy Shots: Lexus NX small CUV caught

Filed under: Spy Photos, Hybrid, Crossover, Lexus, Luxury

Lexus NX spy shots

To the untrained eye, these photos might not look like anything more than a Lexus CT 200h undergoing testing, but what we really have here is something pretty significant. According to our spies, this is actually a mule that gives us our first glimpse at the upcoming Lexus NX crossover, a smaller vehicle that will slot below the RX in the automaker’s CUV portfolio – presently only one vehicle.

Look closely, and you’ll note that this mule has a much higher ride height than the normal CT hybrid hatchback. The upgraded wheels with crossover-spec tires are another dead giveaway that something more robust is being tested in this CT’s shell.

Late last year, we learned that Lexus had reportedly trademarked the names “NX 200t” and “NX 300h,” which provided a glimpse into the powertrain offerings for the new CUV. Lexus will finally make use of turbocharged power with this new NX – a 2.0-liter turbo-four fitting of the 200t nomenclature. A hybrid variant will almost certainly be available – the 300h – probably using the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor combination found in the ES 300h. Our spies report that a naturally aspirated, four-cylider version should also be available.

Our earlier reports have suggested that we could see the production NX as early as the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. A concept previewing this CUV may appear at the Tokyo Motor Show, as well.

Lexus NX small CUV caught originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: IIHS tests brace of new small cars, many earn Top Safety Pick status [w/video]

Filed under: Etc., Safety, Videos

2011 nissan juke crash test

Small cars score big in latest IIHS crash tests – Click above to watch video after the jump

Thirteen enter, six leave … with Top Safety Pick awards. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety spent some time driving (and smashing) a big group of small cars. Six of those cars received top honors from the IIHS by scoring a rating of “Good” across the board. The 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic sedan, 2011 Hyunda Elantra, 2011 Lexus CT200h, 2011 Nissan Juke and 2011 Toyota Prius are all the small-car place to be in the event of an accident.

This crop of small cars are also quite fuel efficient. All vehicles in the top six offer a version that gets at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

The rest of the vehicles tested faired well. Only the older Suzuki SX4 and Dodge Caliber received “Mediocre” ratings in some categories. Every car tested, however, received multiple “Good” ratings. Click past the jump to watch the IIHS talk about about the small car crash tests. Also, be sure to check out the breakdown of the ratings by vehicle (pdf file).

Continue reading IIHS tests brace of new small cars, many earn Top Safety Pick status [w/video]

IIHS tests brace of new small cars, many earn Top Safety Pick status [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Next Chevy Corvette to offer small-displacement turbo V8

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Technology, Chevrolet, GM

2012 Chevrolet Corvette

2012 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to TheDetroitBureau.com, General Motors is planning to alter its strategy with the next-generation Corvette to appeal to a wider range of customers. Traditionally, the Corvette has always been offered with high-displacement eight-cylinder powertrains, but according to sources within GM, the C7 Corvette may also offer a small, turbocharged V8.

Just how small, exactly? TDB reports that the next Corvette’s European-style V8 could measure in at just over 3.0 liters, using an overhead-cam setup and dry sump oil system. With the aid of turbocharging, unnamed GM sources expect that this engine will deliver “in excess of 400 horsepower,” or about 125 hp per liter. What’s more, the smaller V8 could be of the extremely high-revving nature, with TDB citing that engine revs could handle up to 10,000 RPM.

GM’s North American president, Mark Reuss, previously told The Bureau that the C7 Corvette will “target a very different sort of buyer.”

However, traditional V8 enthusiasts need not worry, as the story states that a full range of engines will be available, including the classic larger displacement units that have traditionally found a home in the Corvette.

Of course, the rumormill about exactly what’s in store for the C7 Corvette continues to swirl. We’ve heard everything from a mid-engine layout to a split rear window design that pays tribute to the 1963 ‘Vette. Whatever the case, GM just invested $131 million in the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant that builds the Corvette and the all-new model is expected to arrive within the next two to three years.

Next Chevy Corvette to offer small-displacement turbo V8 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 May 2011 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car

Filed under: Europe, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Audi

Audi A1 commercial

Audi A1 commercial is big, yet small – Click above to watch the video after the break

The Audi A1 may be small, but the latest home-market spot for the supermini highlights the car’s features in a big way. How big? How about a towering wall of guitar amplifiers that’s really an enormous Bose speaker like those you’ll find inside the A1? Or a movie screen that’s actually the Navigation System display.

We have no explanation why you’d want to jacklight rabbits, as depicted in the commercial, but the A1’s HID headlamp clusters carry out the task. Like those rabbits, Audi’s going to need to proliferate its vehicles worldwide if it wants to meet its goal of becoming the largest luxury automaker in the world, and the A1 is one of those bunnies.

Whatever the case, you’ll definitely want to see it for yourself in the video pasted after the break.

Continue reading Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car

Audi A1 commercial highlights big pieces of a small car originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 May 2011 20:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How to fit a large Lamborghini into a small room

Filed under: Coupe, Videos, Lamborghini

Lamborghini Aventador assembled in a room

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 assembled in a small room – Click above to watch the video after the jump

There is a lot going on with the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4. The Raging Bull’s new range topper features a 691-horsepower V12 that can propel the world’s fanciest door stop to 60 miles per hour in a scant 2.9 seconds. The Aventador looks good enough to cause whiplash injuries from rubbernecking onlookers. We could gush endlessly about Italy’s newest exotic, and at the end of the day there will always be room in our driveway for such a supercar.

But what about our living room?

The folks at Lamborghini needed to deliver an Aventador to a Lamborghini Museum exhibition called “La Forza del Toro” at Chiostro del. Unfortunately, the Great Room-sized space reserved for the exotic contained no entryway large enough to drive the Aventador through, but that’s when Italian ingenuity comes into play. Instead of knocking down a wall or lifting a ceiling, Team Lambo simply delivered an Aventador in pieces, then put them together on the spot. The end result is a fully functional Aventador for the “La Forza del Toro” exhibit.

Hit the jump to see the hot new Lambo get pieced together from scratch.

Continue reading How to fit a large Lamborghini into a small room

How to fit a large Lamborghini into a small room originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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