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2015 Ford F-150 to get up to 26 miles per gallon

Posted Nov 21st 2014 2:17PM

Ford F-150

The 2015 Ford F-150 is one of the most important US vehicle debuts in years, be it in the pickup segment or the entire marketplace. While we've already known about the truck's engine lineup, its payload ratings and we've even learned a bit about how it drives, the truck's EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings have remained a mystery. The wait is finally over. Ford has announced numbers that put the latest F-150 as the mileage leader among gasoline-powered, full-size pickups in the US, with its new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 topping the charts.

Starting with the entry-level naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, the rear-wheel-drive F-150 is rated at 18-miles-per-gallon city, 25-mpg highway and 20-mpg combined. Opting for four-wheel drive drops those numbers slightly to 17/23/19.

If fuel economy is your absolute priority, then upgrading to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is the hot ticket. It improves things further to 19/26/22 in rear-wheel drive trim or 18/23/20 with four-wheel drive. The carryover naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 is rated at 15/22/18 as a 4X2 or 15/21/17 as a 4X4. Finally, the flagship 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 tops the range in available torque and offers buyers 17/24/20 ratings with rear-wheel drive or 17/23/19 with four-wheel drive.

"We are delivering with the toughest, smartest and most capable F-150 ever – and now the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of any full-size gas-powered pickup in America," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, in the company's announcement.

Depending on engine and drivetrain configuration, Ford contends that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost's top rating puts fuel economy up between 5 and 29 percent over the current generation, thanks in large part to the truck's lighter aluminum construction.

Obviously, these are EPA estimates, and your mileage may vary – ours has. Recently, Autoblog team members have had real difficulty even approximating government mpg estimates on many EcoBoost models, including the new F-150. Scroll down to read Ford's full announcement, including comparisons to rival models.

News Source: Ford

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Mazda2 sedan images released ahead of Thailand reveal

Posted Nov 21st 2014 1:30PM

Mazda2 Sedan

Mazda2 Sedan interiorMazda will let customers put some junk in the trunk of its Mazda2 with the introduction of a new four-door model at the upcoming Thailand International Motor Expo on November 28. While the show is still days away from beginning, the Japanese automaker is already spilling some of the details about the sedan variant of its fetching subcompact.

The four-door and traditional hatchback versions of the Mazda2 will both hit Thailand in early 2015. The two of them are essentially identical other than the added trunk and adjusted rear styling for the sedan. It basically makes the model look like a shrunken down version of the Mazda3 sedan, which isn't a bad thing at all. The company has big expectations for the little car because they're already Mazda's bestselling passenger models in Thailand.

Both models will be sold with the SkyActiv-D 1.5 diesel in Thailand, which gives them lower taxes under the government's low-emission, compact car incentive plan. According to a previous rumor, a gasoline-fueled mill could join the lineup eventually, too.

There's also gossip that the Mazda2 sedan could eventually be sold in Australia and Europe, but US sales are still a mystery. When asked about the four-door here, Mazda spokesperson Eric Booth told Autoblog, "We'll have more to say on Mazda2 at a later date. Right now, our focus is on the launches of the all-new CX-3 and MX-5 as well as the refreshed CX-5 and Mazda6." The company is showing all of those models at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show.
Related GalleryMazda2 Sedan
Mazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 SedanMazda2 Sedan

News Source: Mazda via Paultan

Jay Leno gifts army vet Challenger Hellcat on Today Show

Posted Nov 21st 2014 12:44PM

Jay Leno, The Today Show, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Jay Leno, besides being a grade-A car guy, is also a pretty standup American. The late-night host has been a fixture on USO tours, visiting troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan. His latest move, though, is a step beyond even a trip to a war zone.

After teaming with Al Roker's Shine A Light campaign, which raises money for the USO, Leno sought out a worthy serviceman or woman to receive a special gift. After choosing from a pool, Cpl. Ethan Laberge was selected, at random, to meet with Leno and go for a spin in the world's most powerful muscle car, the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Cpl. Laberge was seriously wounded after shrapnel from an Afghani suicide bomber sliced through his left leg and arm. On top of that, the blast left the US Army corporal with a traumatic brain injury, and he's since gone through more surgeries than anyone should be forced to endure. Yet, he still suffers from lingering pain.

Leno met with the young soldier, and the two had lunch and went for a spin. Not a bad deal, but it was only going to get better for Cpl. Laberge. Take a look at the video, straight from a segment on NBC's The Today Show.

News Source: The Today Show via Road and Track

2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Four Rings, Four Seats, For Fun

Posted Nov 21st 2014 11:57AM

Audi A3 Cabriolet

When my 758-mile journey on the A3 TDI Challenge came to an end in Boulevard, CA, Audi had a very nice consolation prize waiting for me: the 2015 A3 Cabriolet you see here. And with miles left to drive before reaching my hotel in Coronado (just outside of San Diego), what better way to celebrate my personal victory of achieving nearly 60 miles per gallon in the TDI than to run the rest of the route in couple of turbocharged A3 droptops? After all, the efficiency part of my drive was done, so it was time to have some fun.

The A3 Cabriolet comes to market just as the sun sets on another four-seat convertible from the Volkswagen Group stable: the Eos. That car, often criticized as being too expensive, is technically replaced by the Beetle Convertible as far as VW-badged products go. But for those who still prefer something a bit more upmarket, the A3 Cabriolet will fill the void nicely, and with more style and grace than the Eos ever had.

Driving Notes
  • The A3 Cabriolet arrives with a choice of engines. On the base end lives a 1.8-liter turbo-four with 170 horsepower, 200 pound-feet of torque and front-wheel drive, or you can pony up for the 2.0T with 220 hp, 258 lb-ft and standard Quattro all-wheel drive.
  • Regardless of engine, the only transmission available in the A3 Cab is Audi's six-speed S-tronic dual-clutch unit. This is a fine cog-swapper, with quick shifts regardless of chosen powertrain, and steering wheel-mounted paddles that offer plenty of fun from behind the wheel. That said, I found it best to just leave the transmission alone, no matter the engine. The paddles are entertaining, sure, but slick the gear selector into Sport and the A3 will instinctively hold gears through turns and always have you right in the heart of the powerband.
  • The 1.8T's 170 hp and 200 lb-ft are more than adequate for duty in the 3,373-pound A3 Cabriolet. I was never bothered by a lack of power, especially with the engine on boil with the transmission in its sport setting. Hitting 60 miles per hour takes 7.4 seconds, en route to an electronically limited top end of 130 miles per hour.
  • If speed is your thing, though, the 2.0T certainly delivers quite a punch. That same 0-60 sprint takes just 5.9 seconds with the more potent powerplant, and you can really feel the stronger rush of power right off the line, even with the quicker A3's 210-pound weight penalty.
  • With either engine, steering feel is roughly the same, with that A3-typical, dead on-center feeling that builds weight nicely as you turn. There's a bit more in the way of through-the-chassis feedback in the 2.0T, thanks largely to its different suspension geometry. But grip is vastly improved with the bigger engine because of Quattro and my tester's 19-inch wheel/tire package (compared to the 18s found on the 1.8T model pictured here).
  • Still, despite the 2.0T's tendency to feel a bit like a droptop GTI, both A3 Cabriolet models offer a more relaxed kind of fun. Understeer is widely present with the 1.8T, and body roll is really quite noticeable. Whereas the 2.0T/Quattro setup offers more confidence in terms of overall handling, the front-wheel-drive 1.8T will wash out earlier than you might expect. The 1.8 Cab is a willing and reasonably competent dance partner for canyon cruising, but it's certainly not an attack missile. That said, it's an enjoyable car to flick around, one whose limits are very easy to learn.
  • The Cabriolet's interior is largely carryover from the sedan, with that same clean (if stark) dashboard design incorporating a simply laid out center console, with just a thin row of heating and cooling controls. The logical MMI setup is still found aft of the shifter (though the dial's default left-for-down, right-for-up orientation still feels backwards), as are the power controls for the folding soft top. This is technically a four-seater, and while the rear chairs are indeed more spacious than many other convertibles, you'd still be hard pressed to fit someone over the age of 13 back there comfortably.
  • Anyone who balked at the Eos' price point will want to remember that Audi is the more premium brand here. The A3 Cabriolet starts at $35,600 for the 1.8T, or $38,600 for the 2.0T Quattro. If you go overboard with the options sheet, however, it's easy to build a pretty ridiculously priced example. The 1.8T I tested came in around $43,000 (not fully loaded), and if you check every option on a 2.0T, you'll crest $50,000. It's worth keeping in mind that the larger, sexier A5 2.0T Cabriolet starts at $47,600.
The A3 Cabriolet exists as a way to bridge the gap between the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet and that A5, and if you tick the option boxes correctly, you can have a really nicely optioned example for around $40-43k. That still seems like a lot, of course, but it's right in line with the rear-wheel-drive BMW 228i Convertible, which will start at $38,850. And remember, that dear old Eos carried a price tag ranging from $35-40k, as well. Considering how much more modern and better to drive the A3 Cabriolet is, I have no doubt that it'll find enough happy homes among folks desiring a more premium – but not too sporty ≠ wind-in-the-hair experience.

Vital Stats

Turbo 1.8L I4
170 HP / 200 LB-FT
6-Speed DCT
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:
$43,000 (est.)

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL


Car and Driver 10Best list cracked by Tesla Model S, BMW 3 Series left off

Posted Nov 21st 2014 11:30AM

Tesla Model S

Car and Driver 10Best LogoCar and Driver is keeping new blood pumping into its annual 10Best cars list with three new entries making it on for 2015 and a perennial favorite falling off. Among the biggest shocks this year is that the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series are no longer named, despite years of some portion of that lineup earning a mention. In another surprise, the Tesla Model S (specifically in S 60 trim to fit under the $80,000 cost cap) makes it to the 2015 roster and is the only electrically motivated member of the group.

Despite the loss of the 3 Series, BMW isn't entirely shut out this year, because the M235i gets its name on the list. Car and Driver argues that the little coupe feels like a welcome throwback to the E46 chassis M3 of the early 2000s. In addition to the Model S, the final newbie to the annual group is the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. The inclusion of these new members knocks the Audi A6/A7 family and Ford Fiesta ST out from the 2014 rundown.

The other seven models carry over from last year, including the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Honda Accord, Mazda3, Mazda6, Porsche Boxster/Cayman and Volkswagen Golf/GTI.

The 2015 10Best cars list certainly seems to have something for everyone from the hot hatch fan to the family man and even the green car driver, thanks to the addition of the Tesla. Head over to Car and Driver to read its detailed explanations for each vehicle's inclusion, but if you've got a difference of opinion or just really like the list, let us know in Comments.

News Source: Car and Driver

Image Credit: Car and Driver, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Tesla, Volkswagen

Ford readying three-row Edge for China

Posted Nov 21st 2014 10:44AM

Ford Edge

The next-generation Ford Edge will be available with quite a growth spurt for its debut in China next year, with newly announced plans also to build and sell a three-row version exclusively in the People's Republic. However, markets outside of there likely won't see the larger model.

Ford marketing boss (and future head of Ford of Europe) Jim Farley announced the three-row version of the crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show, according to Automotive News. To create the extra room, Ford made the Chinese-built variant about 16 inches longer than its two-row counterpart. Farley didn't specify at which of the Blue Oval's plants in the country this model would be assembled.

The Explorer and forthcoming Everest already offer three rows from the Ford lineup in China, but the company thinks the market can easily support all of them. According to Farley to Automotive News, the utility segment is up 485 percent in the country since 2008.

Customers in the US can still look forward to the two-row Edge hitting dealers early next year. It'll be the first model in the Blue Oval's lineup here to come standard with EcoBoost power.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

De Nysschen says Cadillac will be ready for a $250,000 model in 15 years

Posted Nov 21st 2014 9:59AM

LA Auto Show Cadillac

Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen has some very, very lofty goals for the American luxury car manufacturer. That's according to a new report from Reuters, where the former Audi and Infiniti exec says that Cadillac is only 15 years away from selling a $250,000 car.

"It is too early today for a $250,000 Cadillac," de Nysschen told Reuters at the LA Auto Show. "Fifteen years from now, it won't be."

Now, provided de Nysschen doesn't envision a future of hyper-inflation, where an ATS rings up at $200K and a CTS at $225,000, the idea that Cadillac could sell a car worth a quarter-of-a-million dollars in just 15 short years is the very definition of ambitious. That's doubly true when you realize that, at present, Cadillac's most expensive vehicle is the Escalade ESV Platinum, which costs no more than $97,940, while de Nysschen said the upcoming CT6 sedan will be priced "in the 70s."

What do you think? Could a Cadillac that costs well over twice as much as the brand's most expensive current vehicle be a reality in the distant future? Or is de Nysschen aiming too high too soon? Let us know what you think in Comments.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Jae C. Hong / AP

Caterham gives rookie Will Stevens the race seat for Abu Dhabi

Posted Nov 21st 2014 9:15AM

F1 Testing At Silverstone - Day One

Ever since the bankrupt Caterham F1 Team launched its crowd-funding campaign to get back on the grid, everyone's been wondering which drivers it would be bringing to Abu Dhabi – especially since one of its usual drivers jumped the sinking ship for Sauber. But now they need wonder no more as the team has announced it's giving Marcus Ericsson's seat to newcomer Will Stevens.

Never heard of Stevens? There's a good reason for that, because he's never competed in Formula One before. Nor has the 23-year-old Brit driven in GP2, GP3 or Formula 3. For the past three seasons he's been racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, winning two races this season. He's tested with the Caterham team before, but in stepping up to the big leagues, he's skipping a few rungs on the ladder – if only for the one race.

At the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, he'll be driving alongside Kamui Kobayashi, and upsetting a lot of drivers who'd hoped to snag the second seat – including the team's official test driver Roberto Merhi, laid-off Marussia driver Max Chilton and three-time Le Mans winner André Lotterer, among others. Rumors even had 42-year-old Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello making a return appearance, but it looks like Stevens' backing won the day.

News Source: Caterham F1 Team

Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty

GM names Carlisle head of Canadian operations

Posted Nov 21st 2014 8:28AM

Stephen K. CarlisleGeneral Motors may be an American automaker first and foremost, but it can see straight into Windsor, Canada from its Renaissance Center headquarters on the Detroit River, and has considerable operations in the True North. And now, GM's Canadian division (headquartered in Oshawa just outside of Toronto) has a new director to run its operations.

That executive is Stephen K. Carlisle, whose long career at GM started when he was still a student in 1982. He's since risen up through the ranks to serve from 2010 until now as Vice President of Global Product Planning and Program Management, previously overseeing regional operations in Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia and for the US market.

In his new capacity as president and managing director of GM Canada, Carlisle succeeds Kevin W. Williams, who will retire at the end of the year after a career with The General that's almost as long as as his successor.

Carlisle will report directly to Alan Batey, president of GM North America.

News Source: General Motors

We obsessively covered the 2014 LA Auto Show

Posted Nov 20th 2014 8:05PM

2014 LA Auto Show

If you believe the Missing Persons song, "nobody walks in LA." And considering how important the cars of the LA Auto Show are (not to mention how many times we've almost been run down while crossing the street), that's a song lyric we can certainly get behind. SoCal loves cars, you guys.

Rather than recap everything in text, simply have a look at our handy-dandy roundup to see the good, the bad, and the ugly from this year's LA Auto Show.

Toyota Mirai offers promising tech, unfortunate looks

Posted Nov 20th 2014 7:42PM

2016 Toyota Mirai

Is there some rule that all cutting-edge, ultra-efficient or emissions-free vehicles need to look, uh, weird? No? Then would anyone care to explain the Toyota Mirai, a vehicle that for all it's hugely, wildly promising technology, will forever be pigeonholed based on its odd styling?

Looks aside, the Mirai represents a big gamble for Toyota, which isn't only selling a hydrogen-powered car – a risky venture in itself – but teaming up with Air Liquide to build 12 hydrogen filling stations across the northeast. And once that's done, it plans on leasing the $57,000 sedans for just $499 month, a figure that includes free hydrogen (there is a reason for that, though). Like we said, this is a big gamble.

Of course, we still can't get over its looks, which you can more closely analyze in our live gallery, available above. Have a glance.

Senator says Takata airbags are 'ticking time bomb'

Congress Begins Inquiry Into Years-Long Delays Addressing Fatal Problem

Posted Nov 20th 2014 7:21PM

Air Bag Recall

"This is a problem that shows deep and wide issues in their quality-control process." – Sean Kane

Exploding airbags that spray lethal amounts of shrapnel at unsuspecting drivers are "ticking time bombs" that potentially threaten millions of American motorists, a leading US Senator said Thursday.

Although automakers have issued at least two dozen recalls to address problems with the defective airbags made by global automotive supplier Takata, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the company and a federal regulatory agency haven't moved fast enough to address the problem.

"Every single one of these Takata airbags could be a ticking time bomb," he said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.

In a hearing that bore much resemblance to ones earlier this year that probed a General Motors ignition-switch defect, lawmakers Thursday pressed a top Takata executive, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others for answers on why it took so long for them to respond to a fatal problem.

At least four people have been killed by the exploding airbags, and several others have been injured. NHTSA closed a probe into the problem in 2009 without taking action.

Image Credit: Associated Press

2015 Porsche 911 GTS widens your rear-engined choices

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:59PM

2015 Porsche 911 GTS

"Porsche needs to offer more versions of the 911" is not a phrase you'll hear uttered often. Not with 15 versions already in the catalog. But with the opening of this year's LA Auto Show, Porsche has introduced four more to bring the total up to nineteen variants. And more are no doubt on the way.

What you're looking at is the new Porsche 911 GTS, which has grown from one model in the previous generation to four. Buyers will be able to choose between rear- or all-wheel drive and between coupe and cabriolet body-styles, but either way they'll be looking at a 3.8-liter flat six with 430 horsepower. That slots it in between the base Carrera and the GT3, but unlike the hardcore latter, it can be had with choice of manual or dual-clutch transmission – bringing the available configurations of 911 GTS up to eight.

Spec the DCT and you'll be reaching 60 in as little as 3.8 seconds, but the pleasure won't come cheap: prices range from $114,200 for the rear-drive coupe to $132,800 for the all-wheel-drive cabrio, plus another $995 for delivery. But for that much scratch you also get the Powerkit, Sport Chrono package, wider track, lower suspension, Xenon headlamps, Alcantara trim, 20-inch alloys and more all thrown in as standard.

Infiniti's Detroit concept to be 'very, very, very, very close' to new Q60

Posted Nov 20th 2014 6:41PM

2014 Infiniti Q60

Add one more vehicle to the tally of reveals slated for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Alfonso Albaisa, executive design director at Infiniti, has confirmed that the marque will be showing a new concept on January 13, the second media day.

More importantly, though, this concept won't be another flight of fancy like many of Infiniti's past show cars. Instead, it will foreshadow the arrival of a replacement for one of its oldest vehicles, the Q60, a model better known as the G37 Coupe.

"On January 13, you're going to see a concept car that's very, very, very, very close to the next Q60," Albaisa told Motor Trend. There isn't much to go on beyond that, sadly, although we are free to speculate.

Infiniti's past would indicate that the Q60 would carry on its role as a two-door version of the Q50 sedan, with styling influenced by its four-door sibling. While that makes sense, there's also an argument to be made for departing from the Q50's styling in favor of a more expressive look that could allow the two-door model to stand out.

Whichever avenue Infiniti chooses, we'll have an even better idea in just a few short months.
Related Gallery2014 Infiniti Q60
2014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q602014 Infiniti Q60

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Infiniti


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