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Cheers and Gears
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We ♥ Cars
We ♥ Cars

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2017 Los Angeles Auto Show Wrap Up - Luxury Crossovers and SUVs - Luxury crossovers and SUVs were a dominant feature at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Here is a recap of the releases from the show. 2018 Lexus RX-L The Details: Lexus has been the leader in the mid-size luxury crossover segment since it was birthed. Where Lexus missed was in offering a 3-row version of their hot seller. Surprisingly belatedly, Lexus finally came through by extending the RX 4.3 inches and updating the roofline to stuff a 3rd row in the back. Powertrain carries over from the standard RX with a 290 hp V6 standard for the RX 350L and the 308 hp Hybrid available only on the RX 450hL. Why it Matters: It is surprising that Lexus took this long to add a commonly sought after option in this segment. Ten years ago, this would have been bigger news, but with the industry pivoting towards smaller crossovers, I expect response to be mutted. The RX does two things, it gives Lexus an entry into the 3-row segment at minimal development and marketing costs, and it puts Lexus in the s

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Detroit Preview: Lexus LF-1 Limitless - Lexus released teaser images of a concept crossover that will be shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The crossover was created by the Toyota's CALTY design studio in Newport Beach, California. The concept, called the Lexus LF-1 Limitless will preview Lexus' interpretation of a flagship luxury crossover, one they claim will redefine the boundaries of luxury. We will have more in the Lexus LF-1 Limitless from the show in January. Click here follow all Detroit North American International Auto Show News

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Detroit Preview: Volkswagen Continues to Tease the 2019 Jetta - Volkswagen has dropped some new sketches of the upcoming 2019 Jetta that will debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Compared to the current model, the redesigned Jetta looks to be more upscale. The front end comes with a hexagonal grille shape, sculpted hood, and angled headlights. Along the side is a pronounced character line and lowered roofline. The back comes with an integrated spoiler for the trunk and a dual exhaust system with chrome accents - likely on higher trims. Inside, the Jetta looks to be somewhat luxurious with an improved design for the dash, optional digital instrument cluster, and a large infotainment screen that is angled to the driver. Power will come from a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder producing 150 horsepower - the same engine found in the current Jetta. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Source: Volkswagen

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Detroit Preview: 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - Mercedes-Benz released a preview of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class due to be released at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The images, all of the interior, show a significantly updated G-Class with an interior now at the level customers expect from Mercedes-Benz. Critics of the current G-Class point out the severely outdated build quality of the current model that does not fit its high price tag. The new G-Class gets the double-wide 12.3 inch displays found on other Mercedes-Benz models like the S-Class and E-Class. New steering wheel controls respond to finger gestures similar in operation to the screen of a smartphone. Much of the rest of the interior switchgear is lifted straight out of Mercedes-Benz's other models, while the seats and trim finally get the plushness expected at a $123,000 price level. If you're expecting the G-Class to look different from the current model, don't. The exterior will largely look the same as the current model. The new G-Clas

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Porsche CEO Says A 911 Plug-In is on the Way - Porsche seems to be going ahead on electrifying their iconic 911 sports car. Speaking with Automotive News, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume revealed that the company is working on a plug-in hybrid variant of the next-generation 911. "It will be very important for the 911 to have a plug-in hybrid," said Blume. The decision on whether to move forward with the project hasn't received final approval, but Blume said it's "my opinion that we will go for it." Blume's comments help clear the confusing mess of rumors from the past few years which said one minute that they were considering it and the next minute being taken off the table. Earlier this year, plans were dropped due to weight concerns of the batteries. The next-generation 911's platform has been designed to accommodate the batteries needed for the plug-in hybrid system. Currently, Porsche is planning to launch the plug-in hybrid 911 during midcycle refresh of the next-generation 911. With the launch of the next-generation 911 expected to

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GM Still Sees Drivers A Key Part of Their Business Model - General Motors has announced plans of moving towards an electrified and self-driving future. But in the foreseeable future, the company's core business model of selling vehicles to drivers will not be going away. “The owner-driver model will be there for a very long time. So far we see (mobility) as additive, but we see it as having potential to grow and be quite substantial,” said GM CEO Mary Barra during a meeting of the Automotive Press Association. Most of GM's and other automaker's profits come from crossovers, pickup trucks, and SUVs. But GM is planning for a possible future where the automotive landscape is very different. Back in October, the automaker announced an ambitious plan of launching 20 electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2023 - two of those will launch within the next 18 months. The company is also planning to launch a driverless ride-sharing service in 2019. Source: The Detroit News

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Ford Admits the Focus RS Has Some Engine Trouble - The Ford Focus RS is a serious hot hatch with a high-output version of the 2.3L EcoBoost and an all-wheel drive system featuring a 'drift mode'. But there is a serious issue that could make the RS not so hot. During the past year, numerous RS owners have been reporting of a plume of white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, a tell-tale sign of burning coolant and possibly a head-gasket failure. A Ford spokesman confirmed to Autocar this issue and said that it is affecting models from 2016 to 2017, and with mileage as low as 6,000 miles. The Ford spokesman said the company is “working on a repair for all customers,” hinting that a fix could be rolled out to models that are not currently affected. “In the meantime, if vehicles show these symptoms, customers should visit their dealer for an inspection and repair under warranty,” the spokesman said. No reason was given by Ford as to what the problem is, but the company has replaced several engines under warranty that are "built to t

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Volkswagen CEO Says Maybe It Is Time To Cut Diesel Subsidies - Diesel is quite popular in Europe partly due to subsidies provided by governments - in this case, a lower tax rate on diesel fuel than gasoline. The thinking at the time was diesel engines burn their fuel more efficiently than gas engines, thus they contribute less to global warming. But as the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal would reveal, diesel vehicles aren't that much cleaner, producing more nitrogen oxide emissions than their gas counterparts. Now, one CEO from a German automaker is saying that maybe it is time to end the subsidies. “We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies. The money can be invested more sensibly to promote more environmentally friendly technologies,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller to German paper Handelsblatt. This is quite the surprise as Volkswagen along with other German automakers said diesel still had a future due to new pollution reduction technologies. Also, Volkswagen did very well with the sales of diesel models. But wi

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Subaru's First EV To Arrive In 2020 - When Subaru launched their new modular global platform in the Impreza, they said the platform was designed to accept different powertrains such as hybrid and electric. According to a report from Autocar, Subaru's first electric model is just around the corner. Subaru's chief designer, Mamoru Ishii told the outlet that the electric vehicle would be a variant of one of their current models and will launch in 2020. “Subaru cars are designed to support people’s lifestyles, so it should not be a case of designing the car for the powertrain. If customers want change we’ll respond - our cars are about customers loving using them how they are designed - but we are not going to change our design focus just to highlight a new way of powering the car,” said Ishii. Ishii declined to say how far Subaru is in development of the EV, but sources tell Autocar that crash tests have started to determine if the battery location is safe. If we were to guess what model Subaru is using for their ele

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Ford Sees Hybrid Powertrains Being Better For Commercial Autonomous Vehicles - Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use. Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly. "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
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