AAH #263 – Pony Up: Mr. Mustang Pays a Visit

October 24th, 2014 at 7:44pm

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Takata air bag recalls out of control.
- Are plastic windows the next big lightweighting revolution?

SPECIAL GUEST: Dave Pericak, Mustang Chief Engineer
- Will this finally be the ‘Stang that outsells Camaro?

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Henry Payne, The Detroit News; Chris Paukert, Autoblog.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Hyundai

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Seat Time: 2014 Infiniti Q50S Hybrid

October 22nd, 2014 at 3:00pm

2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: Nissan-Renault
Make: Infiniti
Model: Q50S Hybrid
Type: 4-door sedan
Competitors: BMW 3-Series; Mercedes-Benz C-Class; Lexus IS; Audi A4
Price: MSRP-$46,350; As Tested-$53,655 ($905 Destination Charges)
Made in: Tochigi, Japan
Drivetrain: 3.5-liter HEV engine with 360 Horsepower
EPA Ratings: 28city; 34highway; 30combined

Final Impression:

2014 Infiniti Q50When Tom Wolfe first brought the story to life followed by Phillip Kaufman’s movie masterpiece, I’d always wondered what it would’ve been like to be one of those early astronauts in “The Right Stuff.” Being that I lacked a certain scientific background, among other things, I knew those dreams would never come to fruition. That is until I got behind the wheel of Infiniti’s Q50S Hybrid.

Now please don’t get me wrong; I’m not equating this Infiniti with riding the classic Saturn V or even the newer Enterprise Shuttle, but this car does have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that gives you a rocket ship experience, and it really starts with those beautiful 8-way power sport seats. The leather and lumbar wrap around you giving you a comfort quotient that prepares you for take off. And that’s just what you’re thinking when you look at the tastefully-appointed IP and information screens above the center stack. Colorful yet refined, that’s where you’re going to find all the technology and safety features this car comes equipped with. From the Infiniti entitled “In Touch Apps” to “In Tuition” which stores your preferences when you use the Intelligent Key and voice recognition to name a few, the screens are pleasing to look at and easier to use than most.

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Seat Time: 2015 KIA Sedona

October 21st, 2014 at 2:26pm

2015 Kia Sedona

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: KIA
Make: KIA
Model: Sedona
Type: Multi-Purpose Vehicle (see: Minivan)
Competitors: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna; Nissan Quest
Price: L-$25,900; LX-$32,100; EX-$36,100; SX-$39,700 ($895-destination charge)
Made in: Sohari Plant; Soha-dong,Gwangmyeong, South Korea
Drivetrain: 3.3-liter V6 Lambda GDI with 276-horsepower
EPA Ratings: 18city, 24highway, 20combined

Final Impression:

2015 Kia Sedona interior“Please don’t call this a minivan!”

If we heard this once we heard it countless times during the KIA Sedona media drive launching its all-new Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Of course the KIA team wasn’t so much excoriating the media as it was making a point: that even though it looks like a minivan — with a touch more styling — and acts like a minivan with the kind of room you’re used to — this vehicle is so much more than the aforementioned family hauler. And I do have to say that after spending an afternoon driving the MPV every which way you could — freeways, neighborhoods, hilly terrain and more — this “UN-minivan” was actually fun to drive. Its new 3.3-liter V6 had more than enough power to get me anywhere I needed to and fast, with a ride that was as smooth as the SoCal surf that we passed by.

Now moving from the outside in, there’s an overabundance of soft materials surrounding the cabin — and I do mean soft. Plus, KIA has added a nicely designed and roomy center stack as well as the perfectly layed out Multi Media Interface. All this makes the front cabin more than comfortable.

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AAH #262 – Acura’s Game-Changing TLX

October 17th, 2014 at 3:00pm

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Will cheap gas wreck CAFE?
- Suddenly Tesla’s Elon Musk likes dealers.
- Test drives… FROM HELL!

SPECIAL GUEST: Mat Hargett, Vice President of Acura Development & Chief Engineer, Acura TLX
- Inside the engineering of Acura’s game-changing TLX

All that and much more with John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Michelle Krebs, AutoTrader Group.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Hyundai

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Seat Time: 2015 Ford F-150

October 16th, 2014 at 12:11pm

2015 Ford F-150

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Manufacturer: Ford
Make: Ford
Model: F-150
Type: Full-Size Pickup
Competitors: Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra
Price: $42,380 (XLT 4X2 SuperCrew), $51,630 (Lariat 4X4 SuperCrew)
Made in: Dearborn, Michigan; Cocomo, Missouri
Drivetrain: 2.7L V6 EcoBoost; 6-Speed automatic transmission
EPA Ratings: N/A

Final Impression:

2015 Ford F-150 InteriorThe 2015 Ford F-150 is a full size pickup that competes against other trucks like the Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra. The first example I drove was a XLT 4X2 SuperCrew that was priced a little over $42,000, including destination charges. My second ride was in a Lariat 4X4 SuperCrew with a price tag of over $51,500. Both trucks were powered by the all-new 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. No EPA ratings have been released for the new F-150 yet, but I’ll share my observed fuel economy in just a moment.

For nearly a year now we have been reporting on the aluminum-intensive 2015 F-150 and during that time I’ve wondered, as I’m sure many of you have, what it’s like driving the new and lighter truck. We’ve heard from Ford executives and engineers how much of a difference the aluminum body makes and I finally got my chance to put those claims to the test. While I thought the most noticeable change would be felt during acceleration, it was actually in handling and braking. In fact, it was difficult to discern any difference during acceleration. But driving through a makeshift slalom course and making everyday maneuvers out on the road, really highlighted its handling and braking. The truck felt planted in turns thanks in part to the reduced weight but also to some new suspension tricks, like moving the rear shocks outside of the frame rails and mounting them in opposite directions. The brake response was impressive, slowing or coming to a stop quicker than I would have expected. It often made me feel like I was in a smaller truck.

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AAH #261 – Under the Hood of the 2015 Ford F-150

October 10th, 2014 at 5:53pm

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UP FOR DISCUSSION:
- Marchionne Retires in 2018. Will FCA merge with another company before then?
- Paris: Was there anything beyond a focus on fuel efficiency on display?
- September trucks sold almost as though gas was averaging $3.30 in the U.S. (it was).

SPECIAL GUEST: Steve Gill, Chief Engineer, Ford Powertrain
- A look at the new aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 and its real highlight, the all-new 2.7L EcoBoost engine.

All that and much more with Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production; Frank Markus, Motor Trend; Keith Naughton, Bloomberg.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Hyundai

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Full 2014 Paris Motor Show Coverage

October 9th, 2014 at 11:36am

Catch up with our full roster of Paris Motor Show coverage! With interviews ranging from Peugeot‘s battery-less hybrid car to Lamborghini‘s stunning Asterion concept to Audi‘s decluttered approach to the TT interior, there’s something for everyone.

Click the Play button above to watch all of Autoline’s coverage in one convenient spot. Or, jump to your favorite individual interview below.

Lamborghini President & CEO Stephan Winkelmann
Mercedes-Benz AMG R&D Jochen Hermann
Peugeot Head of Project V2L Ladimir Prince
Hyundai Motor Europe Head of Product Mgmt. Christian Loeer
Fiat Brand Designer Roberto Giolito on the 500X
Renault Head of Eolab Laurent Taupin
Audi of America President Scott Keogh
Toyota Europe Design and Development General Manager Lance Scott
Infiniti Executive Design Director Alfonso Albasia
Fiat Brand Designer Roberto Giolito on the 1956 Fiat 500 Buck

Seat Time: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA

October 6th, 2014 at 4:19pm

Mercedes-Benz GLA250

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

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Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Manufacturer: Daimler
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: GLA
Type: Compact crossover
Competitors: BMW X1, Audi Q3
Price: GLA250 = $32,225/ GLA45 AMG = $49,225
Made in: Germany
Drivetrain: 2.0L Four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine w/ seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission
EPA Ratings: GLA250 FWD – Not available/ GLA 250 4MATIC – 24MPG city/32 MPG hwy./ GLA45 AMG – 23MPG city/29 MPG hwy.

Final Impression:

Mercedes-Benz GLA250 InteriorIn an effort to boost sales, Mercedes introduced the CLA, a small sedan with a starting price right around $30,000. While many questioned whether it’s a good idea for a luxury brand to move down market because over time it could dilute the brand, the move has paid off for Mercedes. The CLA is bringing in new and younger buyers. The average age of a CLA owner is 10 years younger than the rest of its line-up and three out of four CLA buyers are new to Mercedes. The company has sold more than 30,000 CLA’s in the U.S., a pretty impressive number but now the company is targeting the red hot crossover segment with the GLA.

The new compact CUV is based on the CLA architecture and also features the same powertrain setup. A 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder gasoline engine that’s matched to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. There’s also an AMG version of the GLA that’s powered by a modified setup of the base car. The entry level GLA250 has plenty of power when you need it and feels well planted on the road. There’s several driving modes to select from that changes the dynamics to perform more economically or sporty depending on your mood.

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Fiat’s Wooden Buck, Practical Tool, Work of Art – Paris Motor Show 2014

October 2nd, 2014 at 8:39pm

There are a lot of pie-in-the-sky, 5-MPH concepts on the floor of an auto show, but one of Fiat’s eye-catching displays has to be the winner for “least drivable” car in Paris. This original wooden buck dates back to 1956 and today is symbolic of the quality and attention to detail the brand aspires to. Roberto Giolito explains how it was used.

Infiniti Q80 Concept Biggest They’ve Ever Built – Paris Motor Show 2014

October 2nd, 2014 at 8:25pm

It’s what Autoline deems, hands down, the most dramatic concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show: the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration. And, Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa tells John McElroy it is without a doubt the biggest it’s ever built. So what impact will this larger-than-life concept have on the real products on dealer lots?