When standing next to the new 2011 MAZDA2, you’ll immediately notice that it looks nothing like the quirky subcompacts introduced over the past several years by other car brands. It isn’t boxy, and it doesn’t look like the designers scrunched up a larger model to fit this smaller class. Rather, you’ll see a sporty design that evokes the “Zoom, Zoom” feel that Mazda has worked so hard to establish in recent years. In a crowded but growing segment, design is critical to attract potential buyers, and Mazda appears to have succeeded in providing an option to consumers who prefer a sporty vehicle as opposed to a more radical, quirky design.
We were invited by Mazda to drive the new car in Montreal, so we were able to put it through the paces on city streets and country roads as well. The results were impressive. The automatic version sports a 4-speed transmission and only 100 horsepower, but the car zips around nicely and you rarely lament the expected lack of power, as Mazda surgically removed unnecessary weight in a meticulous engineering process. Sure, you won’t get impressive acceleration as you’re darting onto the freeway, but the car performs adequately on those roads, and in city driving the car has plenty of power as you zoom through city streets and turn through the tight corners. The car grips the road and is just fun to drive. With the manual 5-speed you get some better acceleration as you’re ramping up to top speed, but we expect you’ll be satisfied with either option.
The subcompact area is growing rapidly in North America, and we expect to see fierce competition in this space as more brands like Fiat enter the mix, but Mazda seems to have a winner with this sporty option.
It’s not like the new Sonata wasn’t already hot. Word is leaking out that the new Hyundai Sonata Turbo will start at just under $25,000. The 4 cylinder engine will produce a whopping 274-horsepower and manage 274-horsepower . Hyundai is keeping the pedal to the metal with the new Sonata and I guess you have to in this hyper competitive segment.
Speaking at a press event in Korea, Hyundai CEO John Krafcik let it slip that the Hyundai Sonata Turbo will start at just under $25,000, undercutting its V6 segment rivals by about $3,000.
The Sonata Turbo puts out 274-horsepower and a combined 32 mpg from its 2.0L four-cylinder engine. Hyundai intends for the vehicle to be a faster and more efficient alternative to V6 powered competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Every business person is familiar with the Lincoln Town Car, as practically every car service uses it as its base auto. The plush leather seats, roomy trunk and interior and super-smooth ride makes it a familiar oasis for trips through traffic.
This familiarity is about to be disrupted as Ford has decided to discontinue the Lincoln Town Car and the Ford Grand Marquis, another staple in fleet sales.
The Ford Crown Victoria served as the mainstay of taxi and police fleets. Its close cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, could reliably be found idling outside Lincoln Center or waiting to whisk a Wall Street type home for the evening.
But in a little more than a year, both models will go the way of the Checker cab. Ford Motor Company plans to shutter the Canadian plant that manufactures the cars and discontinue the recognizably bulky frame that gives them their shape.
That means the end for vehicles that have come to symbolize the full spectrum of New York life, from private black sedans purring on Park Avenue to the ubiquitous sight of the yellow cab, great equalizer of the varied urban tribe.
“These cars are a facet of people’s everyday experience,” said David Yassky, the city’s taxi commissioner. “Whatever takes their place will have a real and tangible influence on the city’s aesthetic.”
Passengers should prepare for a bumpier, more cramped ride. Forget roomy trunks that fit a French-door refrigerator; the older models are yielding to smaller gas-and-electric hybrid vehicles with knee-bumping back seats and flimsier frames.
The article might be overstating things a bit. Of course, the taxi business is changing rapidly in New York, and some of the new options are certainly more cramped. That said, the process of finding a new vehicle that’s roomy and offers better fuel efficiency should yield a solid replacement for the Crown Vic.
As for the luxury fleet car market, there should be plenty of options. The Lincoln Navigator has plenty of room as a large SUV, and there are plenty of larger luxury sedans that can be substituted for the Town Car. The new Lincoln MKS is a beast of an automobile, for example.
That said, we’re definitely seeing an end of an era. Ford wants to change the image of Lincoln, and they’ll never be able to do that by selling old Town Cars.
It’s about time! Finally, Convertible Chevy Camaro’s have been spotted near Toronto but no extra fun on the day this photo was taken due to rain. Looks like these bad boys will hopefully hit the market next year in the 1st quarter as they will surely drive sales even higher for the comeback Camaro! When the weather breaks next year coupled with the 426-horspeower 6.2-liter V8 under the hood the good times are ahead for Camaro fans!
Two 2011 Chevy Camaro convertibles were spotted doing some testing north of Toronto recently. Unfortunately for the testers, the weather was anything but ideal and the new cloth tops were providing needed protection from the wet, drab skies.
The Camaro convertible will get the same engine options as its coupe sibling–312-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and 426-horspeower 6.2-liter V8–just with a little extra blue sky. Expect to see these hit the market in the first quarter of next year.
We’re looking to get our hands on one of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s but in the meantime we are relegated to reading other reviews. The WSJ appears to be very impressed with the new Grand Cherokee notably for it’s mature and rich execution of the interior and the price point of a loaded version comes in at $42,995. That is extremely competitive and almost dares other brands to offer what the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers for the price.
I daresay the following is the first time Cleanth Brooks and John Crowe Ransom have ever been name-checked in an auto review. These men were founding fathers of the New Criticism of literary study, which emphasized a close reading of the text, which is to say the literature itself. New Criticism excluded factors such as an author’s biographical details, historical circumstances and other so-called extratextual materials to arrive at an interpretation. At the time—say, the 1930s—this was a terribly good idea since criticism had reached a point where scholars were earnestly speculating about how Shakespeare’s bad breath might have influenced “Hamlet.” To New Critics, all that mattered was the text.
Okay, we’ve all heard the minivan called a “people mover” and something that caters to “soccer moms” but now get ready for the Chrysler ‘Man Van”. That’s right, over the next few months we are going to start seeing Dodge Grand Caravans decked out with a a slightly sportier look on the outside, possibly finished off with a black-and-gray interior trimmed with hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel according to reports. Should they throw in a humidor and Man Van customized leather jackets with the ride?
Chrysler Group is working on a plan to make the soccer-mom minivan more macho, turning it into something even dad wouldn’t mind driving.
Chrysler is calling it the “man van”—a special version of its Dodge Grand Caravan—and it is expected to appear at dealerships and be available for orders within the next few months, according to several auto dealers briefed on the matter.
Chrysler declined to comment. Company officials, including Dodge brand Chief Executive Officer Ralph Gilles and Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, discussed with dealers what they called the “man van” in Detroit late last month.
Take a look at these 12 rides that the stars like to roll around town in. Some are cool and some are just plain over the top. I have to say the 1968 Ford Mustang Cobra and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe are totally cool!
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
Noted black-on-black (aka “murdered out”) luxury vehicle enthusiast and sometime-international soccer star David Beckham has been spotted driving around Los Angeles in a sleek, blacked-out Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. The ride’s color scheme matches his $400,000 customized Porsche 911 Cabriolet Turbo and jacked-up Jeep Wrangler, and rounds out the luxury lineup in his garage, which also includes a Ferrari F430 and a V10 Lamborghini Gallardo. His wife, Victoria — aka Posh, former Spice Girl turned Marc Jacobs muse and international fashion plate — plays the ivory to Becks’ ebony in a white Porsche 911 Cabriolet.
Cadillac joins the free scheduled maintenance wars by offering a 4-year/50,000-mile program called Cadillac Premium Care Maintenance. The one up on recently announced Lincoln’s program includes scheduled oil changes, tire rotation, engine and cabin air filters and a vehicle inspection. Cadillac stayed away from wear and tear coverage but the 4-year/50,000-mile deal will catch on with customers.
Cadillac said today it would offer free scheduled maintenance on its 2011 model year vehicles as part of its effort to improve customer service — and to match similar offers being made by other luxury brands.
The 4-year/50,000-mile program is called Cadillac Premium Care Maintenance and includes scheduled oil changes, tire rotation, engine and cabin air filters and a vehicle inspection.
Last week, Lincoln announced a similar free maintenance program for 2010 and 2011 models but only for vehicles purchased and leased through Sept. 7. Lincoln’s program is for 3 years/45,000 miles.