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Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

Cadillac Reshapes Line-up with new XT6 Crossover

Utility vehicle will replace CT6 sedan as premium offering.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.13, 2019

Cadillac's new XT6 will go up against a tough set of competitors, including the Acura MDX, the three-row Lexus RX and the new Lincoln Aviator.

Cadillac has been in the midst of a “renaissance” for nearly two decades, but it’s a turnaround that has never quite taken hold, especially in the home U.S. market where sales took another 1.1% dip last year.

The big problem has been the lackluster success of the marque’s sedan models, something that is leading to a sharp cutback over the next couple years, with the CTS and ATS models effectively being consolidated and the flagship CT6 set to vanish by the end of 2019.

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The real test for Cadillac comes on the light truck side of the ledger where it has fared a bit better. The new XT4, its smallest SUV, has been a solid hit since its autumn launch. And now, Caddy is pushing upward, with the all-new XT6 that will essentially replace the CT6 sedan as its premium offering.

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Lexus to Debut LC Convertible Concept in Detroit

The coupe won rave reviews when shown a few years ago.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

The LC Convertible Concept is a smidge longer, but slightly lower than the LC coupe.

Toyota’s luxury brand won raves when it revealed the LC Coupe concept a few years back, and generated even more praise when it translated the show car into a production model. Now, it’s hinting it could do it again, with a convertible version of the sports coupe set to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

The show car manages to maintain the sleekly aggressive look of the LC coupe, with its long hood, steeply raked windshield, high deck lid – and the most aggressive version yet of the familiar Lexus “spindle grille.”

Auto Show News!

“This concept takes the unmistakable design of the LC coupe and reimagines it as a future convertible,” Tadao Mori, Chief Designer of the LC Convertible concept, said ahead of the NAIAS debut. “It blends all the best aspects of the original coupe with the dynamic design of an open-air convertible.”

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Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

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“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

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Infiniti Aims to Electrify With QX Inspiration Concept

Detroit show car hints at future plans for a plug-based future line-up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.04, 2019

Infiniti will reveal the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on January 14th.

It’s been a year since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, announced plans to shift to an “all electrified” powertrain strategy starting in 2021, but the automaker plans to give us a hint of what’s coming with the debut of the QX Inspiration concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

The show car picks up some of the design cues we first saw at the 2018 NAIAS in the form of the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration. But it picks up on the dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

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“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” explains design director Karim Habib. “New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and the new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core.”

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Polestar’s First All-Electric Model Breaks Cover

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.03, 2019

Polestar hints that its first all-electric model will adopt a "fastback" shape.

Volvo’s electric performance division is finally charging forward, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 getting ready for production, while the sub-brand’s first all-electric model is set to be “fully revealed in the coming weeks,” it confirmed today.

According to a statement, “The car will go into production shortly after the long-range hybrid Polestar 1, which will enter production later this year.” The automaker also emphasized that Polestar 2 will take direct aim at Tesla’s Model 3.

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The teaser shows an overhead view of the Polestar 2’s rounded back end, so not much to go on beyond the fact that it features very aggressively raked rear glass flowing into a rather short trunk lid. That would suggest either a hatchback or an edgy crossover design, Polestar calling it a “fastback.”

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“Coming Soon” – Mercedes Teases Next-Gen CLA

But market has changed radically since coupe-like model first appeared.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.17, 2018

Mercedes has offered a tease of the second-generation CLA ahead of its debut at CES.

The original Mercedes-Benz CLA, in baseball terms, knocked it out of the park, the compact, coupe-like sedan not only generating a massive sales surge but drawing in the sort of hip young buyers that the German brand long had trouble reaching.

Americans are expected to buy about 22,000 CLA sedans this year, a sharp decline from the model’s 2015 peak, when Mercedes delivered about 30,000 of them. That said, considering the rapid shift from passenger cars to light trucks – including the similarly sized Mercedes GLA crossover – the CLA remains an essential part of the brand’s line-up.

Auto Show News!

“We’re still bullish on sedans,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told TheDetroitBureau.com during a Los Angeles Auto Show interview, and the German brand aims to prove that with the upcoming launch of the second-generation CLA.

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Detroit Auto Show Not Ready to Wave Goodbye to Winter

Final January run to see over 30 new models debut.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.10, 2018

Toyota showed us a well-camouflaged Supra with chief engineer Tetsuya Tada at the Goodwood Festival.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association has inked a seven-year deal with the City of Detroit that will ensure that the North American International Auto Show keeps running through at least the latter part of the next decade.

The deal also locks down the move from January to June that DADA, the sponsor of the show, announced earlier this year. That is expected to prove critical if the Detroit Auto Show is to regain its former glory or, at the very least, keep from slipping into second-tier status, something that seemed all too likely in the wake of a painfully quiet 2018 event that saw a single official media day wrap up the new car debuts shortly after noon.

Auto Show News!

The 2019 North American International Auto Show will clearly not have the luster of years past. Virtually the entire European contingent – including brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Meredes-Benz – plan to sit it out. But there will still be enough on the calendar to keep the spotlight lit. Among the products set to make their official debut at the Cobo Hall convention center are the long-awaited Toyota Supra and the Lexus RC F which is being hailed as the brand’s fastest and most powerful model ever, save for its limited-edition LFA supercar.

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10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

Auto Show News!

Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

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Range Rover Redux – 2nd Gen Evoque Breaks Cover

New platform, more technology for smallest Range Rover.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.23, 2018

The 2019 Range Rover Evoque made a splashy debut in Britain on Thursday night.

At first glance, you might not recognize the compact ute has gotten a nearly complete makeover, but there have been plenty of significant changes made to the 2019 Range Rover Evoque, more than 90% of what you’d find under the skin of the compact SUV being all new.

First launched in 2010 as a 2011 model, the Evoque quickly became the most popular model in Land Rover history and, even as the first-generation ute approached the end of its run it has remained quite popular. But, in an increasingly crowded market, the British sibling of Jaguar is taking no chances.

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“When Range Rover Evoque made its debut back in 2010, it transformed the world of compact SUVs and the new model is set to continue that remarkable journey,” declared design director Gerry McGovern, at a splashy British unveiling on Thursday evening. “This characterful vehicle combines refinement and fun to create that all important emotional reaction that will turn heads and make people smile.”

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Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Brand’s First Plug-In, Debuting in LA

EV range of 17 miles per charge.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.21, 2018

Subaru's first plug-in hybrid, the Crosstrek PHEV, will make its debut next week.

Subaru is about to become the latest automaker to plug-in to battery power – quite literally, with its first-ever plug-in hybrid set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

The Japanese carmaker will underplay the plug-in side of the drivetrain by calling its new model the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid – apparently lifting a page from Fiat Chrysler’s playbook, the Detroit automaker calling its own plug-in the Pacifica Hybrid.

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That said, the new version of the Subaru SUV will have the ability to travel about 17 miles in pure battery mode. That’s relatively modest compared to some current plug-in offerings, such as the Chevrolet Volt which gets three times the range, but it’s about what Toyota manages with its latest PHEV, the Prius Prime.

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