Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

GMC Unveils 2020 Acadia

Mid-cycle refresh sharpens styling, updates tech, adds new engine – and new AT4 model.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The new 2020 GMC Acadia AT4 edition puts the emphasis on off-roadability.

GMC has lifted the covers on an update of its popular Acadia SUV, and it offers more changes than you’d typically expect from a mid-cycle refresh.

The 2020 GMC Acadia opts for a more classic, ute-like face, with a more boxy, upright grille framed by now-standard LED headlamps and C-shaped LED running lights. The front and rear fascia also get new treatments.

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The 2020 refresh sees some all new features added to the midsize ute, including a new turbo engine. But one of the more significant moves comes with the addition of the new Acadia AT4. Something of a counterpoint to the upscale Acadia Denali, the AT4 model puts the emphasis on serious off-road capabilities.

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Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

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Volkswagen Ups the Ante with 2019 GLI Sedan

“The heart and soul of the GTI.”

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2019 VW GLI blends the sportiest features of the Jetta and GTI models.

There are some things that Europeans and Americans just never can agree on, starting with hatchbacks and sedans. True, utility vehicles have come to dominate the U.S. marketplace, but sedans still make up a strong share of sales. Hatchbacks just can’t seem to climb out of the niche category.

So, for those who’d like the power and road-holding dynamics of a Volkswagen GTI, the GLI offers a viable, four-door alternative. And the German maker “ups the performance ante,” it promises, with the launch of the sixth-generation sedan that made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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“Volkswagen has long been synonymous with small, sporty cars,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The redesigned 2019 Jetta proved once more that its combination of design, technology and value continues to resonate with buyers. The 2019 GLI takes the Jetta foundation and adds performance features from the Golf GTI to give buyers a true sport sedan.”

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Subaru Storms Chicago with All-New Legacy Line

Seventh-generation gets new platform, new performance model, more.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Subaru Legacy gets a bolder look with a more coupe-like roofline.

These days, SUVs and CUVs are all the rage, and Japanese automaker Subaru gets a large share of the credit for shifting public interest dating back to the introduction of its original Outback model.

But Subie isn’t through with passenger cars. Quite the contrary. We’ve seen updates to several models in recent times and now it’s giving a complete makeover to its flagship sedan.

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The 2020 Subaru Legacy starts off with an all-new platform that, the maker claims is far stiffer and boasts a lower center of gravity. There is a new foam-filled cross-member and the Subaru Global Platform adopts a new method for joining upper and lower bodies. Those technical details are intended to make the seventh-generation Legacy more agile, stable and quiet.

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New 2020 Kia Sportage Blows into the Windy City

Compact crossover gets modest mid-cycle updates.

by on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Kia Sportage gets its first update since being launched for the 2016 model-year.

Bigger seems to be better these days, especially when it comes to trucks and utility vehicles. We’ve seen all manner of new full-size and heavy-duty pickups debut in recent months, along with large-larger-largest SUVs and CUVs.

That includes the all-new Kia Telluride. But what if someone doesn’t need a honking big, three-row ute? Kia has rolled one possible answer into this year’s Chicago Auto Show in the form of its updated 2020 Sportage model.

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Originally introduced way back in 1994, when it was produced in classic, body-on-frame form, the Sportage has gone through a number of updates over the years. It has morphed into a modern-looking, car-based crossover, the fourth-generation model launched for 2016. That means what we’re seeing in the Windy City is a mid-cycle update.

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Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept Hints at Future

All-electric prototype hints of crossover set to mark the brand’s revival.

by on Feb.06, 2019

The Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept will strongly influence a coming production model.

Automakers have a habit of reaching into the history books. We’ve seen a number of once forgotten nameplates rise from the dead lately, including the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. And the upcoming Geneva Motor Show will mark the revival of two once-grand brands: Hispano-Suiza and Lagonda.

The return of the latter, a subsidiary of Aston Martin, has been in the works for several years, a show car called the Lagonda Vision making its debut in Switzerland a year ago. Next month, we’ll see the debut of a second prototype, the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, and it seems a lot closer to the production model set to reach showrooms a couple years from now.

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“The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept offers explicit clues regarding what will be the first Lagonda model to enter production, and further demonstrates how Lagonda’s zero emission powertrain enables us to create spectacular cars that will radically redefine their sectors of the market,” says Aston CEO Andy Palmer.

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FCA Debuting Special Anniversary Minivans in Chicago

35th anniversary editions commemorate a major industry shift.

by on Feb.04, 2019

The 35th anniversary edition Chrysler Pacifica.

Fiat Chrysler will roll out a pair of special edition minivans at the Chicago Auto Show later this week to mark the 35th anniversary of the automaker’s original “people-movers.”

Few individual vehicles have had a more dramatic impact on the U.S. automotive market as did the original Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager when they came to market in 1984, instantly clicking with buyers and rapidly spawning an array of competitors.

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While minivan sales today are running little more than a third of their one-time peak, they still remain a go-to product for millions of American families and, FCA hopes to take advantage of that with the 35th Anniversary Models it will roll out on Thursday at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

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BMW Reveals New 7-Series Plug-In Hybrid

Three versions worldwide, including U.S.-bound 745e xDrive.

by on Feb.01, 2019

The second-generation BMW 7-Series plug-in opts for a bigger engine and bigger battery.

BMW continues its push to electrify its line-up with the official launch of the new 745e model. Three different versions of the plug-in hybrid will be offered worldwide, including the 745e, the 745Le and the 745e xDrive, the latter being the only variant planned for the U.S. market.

The new model marks the second-generation 7-Series plug-in but gets a complete makeover under the hood, abandoning the previous model’s 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine in favor of a 3.0-liter inline-six. Paired with a single electric motor, the package is claimed to delivered both improved performance and longer range when operating in EV mode.

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Part of the credit for those improvements comes from the increase in the size of the 745e sedan’s lithium-ion battery pack from 9.2 to 12.0 kilowatt-hours.

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Honda Confirms Plans to Debut Urban EV Concept in Geneva

“Electric Vision” model to usher in massive shift to battery power.

by on Jan.23, 2019

Honda will bring a production version of the Urban EV Concept to Europe in the coming year.

Honda plans to use battery power of one form or another in two-thirds of the vehicles it sells by the end of the next decade, and the Japanese automaker plans to give a sense of where its “Electric Vision” is going at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Honda Urban EV Concept builds on an early prototype shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and is little more than a thinly disguised version of the battery runabout it soon will be launching in Europe.

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“Honda’s new electric vehicle is developed with a focus on functionality and purpose and the prototype sketch demonstrates this through its clean, simple and unique design,” the automaker explained in a statement accompanying this teaser shot. “A mass production version of the car will be on sale later in the year.”

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First Look: 2020 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty

Maybe it could pull the Queen Mary.

by on Jan.23, 2019

The Sierra HD 3500 makes an audacious debut pulling 225,000 pounds of yacht and trailer.

It wasn’t quite the Queen Mary, but watching a pickup pull 225,000 pounds worth of yacht and boat lift will clearly get your attention – as it did Tuesday evening when GMC unveiled several versions of its 2020 Sierra Heavy Duty models at a San Diego news event.

“For customers who demand a premium, innovative heavy-duty truck that supports their passions, the next-generation Sierra HD can pull like a pro,” proclaimed GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred following a demonstration that made his words sound a little less like hyperbole.

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The HD builds on the “base” Sierra pickup launched by the GMC brand for 2019, the light-duty 1500 version one of the finalists for North American truck of the year. In heavy-duty trim, buyers will have a variety of options, including the off-road-oriented AT4, the h Denali and the stump-pulling HD 3500 that managed to pull yacht and lift with only a minor modification to its optional fifth-wheel hitch.

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