2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100

628x410x2014 fiat 500l 1.jpg.pagespeed.ic .0RZJvL135Y 300x195  2014 Fiat 500L to start at $19,100We’ve already driven the decidedly weird-looking 500L in its European-spec form, and now the folks at Fiat have just released US-specific pricing, which means that our US media drive is coming up soon. If you want to get your hands on the biggest of the little Fiats, you’ll need at least $19,100 (*plus $800 for destination).

That base price gets you the 500L Pop spec, powered by a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (the only powerplant on offer), mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This base model comes equipped with 16-inch chrome-plated wheel covers (sexy!) and the usual list of standard features that pretty much every new car comes with. (You know, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, etc.)

Next up in the range is the 500L Easy, which adds aluminum wheels, tinted rear glass, body-colored mirror caps, uplevel seat fabric and a premium audio system. The price of entry for this better-equipped model is $20,195. read more »

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BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa d’Este

628x457xbmw pininfarina gran lusso coupe.jpg.pagespeed.ic .RWVFqkPNob 300x218  BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé bows at Villa dEste The first collaboration between BMW and Pininfarina is this blunt-force two-door called the BMW Pininfarini Gran Lusso Coupe revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Said to be the “interpretation of a luxurious BMW Coupé as seen through the eyes of Pininfarina,” once you get past all of the design-speak, you can focus on the full-bodied and keen-edged missile sitting on 21-inch wheels.

The long wheelbase makes for short overhangs. Up front, BMW’s design language gets scraped across a whetstone, everything getting sharper, including the usually round cat’s eye headlights that have gone dihedral. Under the hood is a V12, behind the twin-kidney grille in matte-sheen aluminium and high-gloss black. The same aluminum treatment also backs the taillights, the lenses designed to let air flow through them.

Inside is room for four, a cockpit canted toward the driver, Foglizzo leather in black and Tobacco Brown, 48,000-year-old kauri wood from New Zealand, deep pile carpet on the floors, a patterned virgin wool headliner and an “oblong aperture in the roof liner” set off by white LEDs. read more »

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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

628x418x000 2014 chevy cruze turbo diesel opt.png.pagespeed.ic .Ohplt esFT 300x199  2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Volkswagen has gotten pretty comfortable hogging the – admittedly small – non-premium diesel car market in the US. With Golf and Jetta, the German automaker has been the one and only choice for those interested in the torquey, high-mpg merits of turbocharged diesel power.

However, US customers seem to be growing more interested in the technology that has been the primary mode of propulsion in most of Europe for many years now. Mazda is quite close to bringing its Skyactiv-D diesel engines to our shores, and Chevrolet has finally maneuvered to repurpose its European 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine for US specification, which means it’s cleaner here than overseas.

The first application of this rather impressive diesel engine is in the compact Chevy Cruze, which I spent a recent morning testing out. General Motors as a whole has high expectations for its new TDI-buster. Here’s why: read more »

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Aston Martin teases something very fast

aston martin vantage tease 300x137  Aston Martin teases something very fast Aston Martin has released a short teaser video entitled Coming Soon that features the image above near its close.

Based on the profile and the hood intakes, the short money is on this being the V12 Vantage S, since the standard model has yet to earn the addition of the 19th letter of the alphabet.

It looks like there might also be a new roof treatment on the car in the video, but that could merely be a trick of the light.

It probably won’t be long before we get another teaser or the genuine article revealed. For now, there’s the video below provided for your sleuthing. read more »

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BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa d’Este

628x459xbmw concept 90.jpg.pagespeed.ic .3 UcACD1lE 300x219  BMW Concept 90 Motorcycle debuts at Villa dEste The Concept 90 is one of two new vehicles BMW is showing off at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the tony shores of Lake Como in Italy.

This year is the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad and the 40th anniversary of the R 90 S (inset) – the first production motorcycle to come with a front fairing – and BMW has worked with custom bike builder Roland Sands Design to craft a homage to the Daytona Orange boxer from the Seventies.

While following the line of its forbearer, obviously the Concept 90 has been sexed and sleeked up. The bodywork is of hand-worked aluminum, the giant halogen lamp of the 1975 model (which is when Daytona Orange was introduced) has gone LED, and the front engine cover, valve covers, exhaust and wheels have been made with a contrast-cut milling process. read more »

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Top ten cars bought by people who probably can’t afford a car

2013 dodge avenger 006 opt 300x199  Top ten cars bought by people who probably cant afford a car Sub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping “below-prime” borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows.

Dodge Avenger
Kia Forte
Kia Optima
Chrysler 200
Dodge Journey
Ford Focus
Ram 1500
Nissan Sentra
Nissan Versa
Kia Sorento read more »

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Toyota recalling FJ Cruiser due to excessively bright headlights

004 toyota fj cruiser 300x195  Toyota recalling FJ Cruiser due to excessively bright headlights Now, hold on. This recall isn’t quite as serious as it sounds. Yes, Toyota is recalling 11,489 FJ Cruiser models from the 2007 to 2013 model years, and yes, it’s because the vehicles, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states, “fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, ‘Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment.'” But read the fine print and you’ll see the catch: This recall is only for vehicles fitted with the automaker’s auxiliary lighting kit that can be mounted to the front bumper.

Basically, the auxiliary lamp assemblies use 55-watt bulbs, and when these are turned on in conjunction with the upper beam headlamps, it’s a pretty blinding sight. NHTSA states that excessively bright lights can blind other drivers, increasing the risk for a crash.

To remedy the situation, Toyota will replace the 55-watt bulbs with cooler 35-watt units. The recall is expected to begin later this month. Scroll down for the full details in the NHTSA report. read more »

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Daimler, Renault talking about large van joint venture

mercedes sprinter 2014 300x195  Daimler, Renault talking about large van joint venture Daimler and Renault officially joined hands in April 2010. Since then, Nissan has agreed to build engines for the Germans, Daimler is expected to construct a plant near the Nissan plant in Mexico, the Smart ForFour and Renault Twingo will share platforms and electric siblings and the same Renault manufacturing facility, and Mercedes is supposedly considering a Renault-based X-Class vehicle to slot between Smart and the A-Class. Not bad for less than three years’ work.

But wait, there’s more. According to a report in Automotive News, the two firms are talking about developing a large van. When it comes to big cargo haulers, Mercedes is in bed with Volkswagen at the moment, but the contract has just three more years to run and VW has announced its intention to go solo on the next-generation van.

This wouldn’t be the first commercial vehicle tie-up for the brands: Mercedes already uses the Renault Kangoo as the base for its Citan. Both Daimler and Renault have confirmed the talks, but have not confirmed a French newspaper report that the manufacturing site has already been chosen in France.

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Nissan lowers price of seven models for better search results

628x417xnissan price cuts.jpg.pagespeed.ic .0dSoMvmkAu 300x199  Nissan lowers price of seven models for better search results Intent on not eliminating itself from consideration, and adapting to the way consumers research new car purchases, Nissan has announced price discounts now in effect, indefinitely, on seven models: the Altima, Armada, Juke, Maxima, Murano, Rogue and Sentra.

It was found that Nissan’s price points fell outside the competitive pool when prospective buyers searched for cars based on maximum price.

The price cuts vary and depend on the equipment spec, but they range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars; the MSRP of the Altima drops by $580, the Sentra by $730, the Armada by $4,400. Discounts on the Murano alone range from $1,460 to $2,410.

Under orders from CEO Carlos Ghosn the brand is working to raise its US market share to ten percent by 2016, from 7.9 percent currently – which includes Infiniti – and appears to be optimizing its placement every step of the way to do so.

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Chevy sees greener pastures with 2014 Silverado High Country

628x398x2014 chevrolet silveradohighctry 628.jpg.pagespeed.ic .VgtKjE9qiK 300x190 Chevy sees greener pastures with 2014 Silverado High CountryIt’s no secret that fullsize pickups are the financial engines that power Detroit automakers – it’s been that way for decades. In recent years, though, growing consumer appetites for dolled-up trucks has meant even more opportunities for manufacturers to line their coffers while pleasing increasingly discerning customers. Trims like King Ranch on the Ford F-Series and Laramie Longhorn on Ram trucks now include high-end amenities that were the exclusive preserve of luxury cars just a few years ago.

General Motors has been content to let its GMC brand harvest top-shelf pickup buyers for some time now – particularly with its high-line Denali models – but it’s hard to turn away easy profits. GM says over 30 percent of new pickup sales now transact above $40,000, and that figure is growing by the year. Thus, it’s no surprise that execs are finally letting Chevrolet get in on the action with this new range-topping High Country trim for the 2014 Silverado. Officials tell Autoblog that it’s the first premium-branded Chevy pickup since the Cameo Carrier of the 1950s. read more »

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