Posts Tagged ‘new cars’

The New 2016 Lexus GS F – Makes You Go Grrrr…. With Delight

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 16th, 2015

What makes a great car? It has to be fast, reliable and fantastic looking. It should be air dynamic and offer comfort to the driver. It should also submit to road safety standards.

The first thing that strikes you when you come across one of these beasts is the design. And strike is an understatement when you see the 2016 Lexus GS F.

The Lexus GS F is gloriously sleek in design and comes in a variety of eye catching colors. Designers went above and beyond when they drew up this dreamily gorgeous vehicle. The smooth aerodynamic vehicle is sure to turn heads and remain the main topic for gossip for quite some time.

Let’s Talk Features

The GS F boasts of a 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine where its German competitors had something slightly bigger up their sleeve with the M5’30 Jahre’ s 592bhp, the E63 AMG S producing 577bhp and RS6 delivers 552bhp.

The GS F produces its peak torque of 391lb ft between 4,800rpm and 5,600rpm, and a maximum power at a lofty 7,100rpm. Even though the GS F has quite a bit of catching up to do when it comes to its competitors, the car is definitely not to underestimate.

Inner Beauty

When it comes to cabin and seat style, the GS F definitely outshines all its competitors. The Lexus GS F has two toned cream-and-black seats that will make anyone go “whoa… that’s gorgeous”.

The cabin sets a benchmark in the luxury performance sedan category. The dash has a mixture of analog and digital gauges that are very easy to read and take in at a single glance, a very good feature for those who like to venture on unknown roads speedily and elegantly.

Lexus had functionality in mind when they installed the navigation screen; the electronic gadgetry is easy to understand.

The cabin is a pleasing mix of Alcantara and Carbon trim with the pedals, switches and knobs placed strategically. Everything is trimmed down smoothly for optimized elegance and grace.

A Mark Levinson audio system is built into the car. The Mark Levinson uses Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology that professionally analyzes audio files while on playback, and restoring the digital files lost in compression. When fired up, the audio system provides clear sound levels and is said to be one of the best sounding car audio systems.

Hitting the Road

The sound of the well-tuned NA motor at wide open throttle when it hits the road will give you goose bumps all over. The 5.0-liter engine can run all the ways to its indicated 7,100 RPM redline, effortlessly.

The V8 performance engine has a fiery roar to it that is sure to send high amounts of adrenaline pumping through your veins as you accelerate down long roads, but the active sound control of this Lexus beauty augments the engine sounds through the front and rear speakers as well. The same augments are done by several manufacturers, all with varying degrees of authenticity and success. The jury is out as to whether this is really the way forward for performance cars like this that already have a tuneful block.

Those who were skeptical about the Lexus GS F’s active sound control abilities quickly changed their minds after their first drives in a car with such a system. The augment does a great job at letting through a good engine note while cancelling out bad ones. The sound from outside the car is also good so you will not be going around thinking you sound like a badass when in fact you sound like you’re driving a diesel.

The GS F does not come with an active suspension but Lexus fans need not worry when venturing onto roads that are rippled. Engineers tuned the suspension with the right blend of compliance and stiffness that made the 4,000+ lbs car easy to drive with speed but doesn’t punish you on roads with lots of twists and turns. It offers great steadiness and control.

Main Features

The GS F has a new Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD). TVD basically opens drift with an electronically operated clutch pack on every output shaft, with an overdrive gear allowing each wheel to turn faster than its counterpart.

Many cars on the market comes with their own version of TVD that use brakes to slow one wheel while allowing the other to spin faster and increase or decrease steering response. Most TVD systems fall short when you start driving them hard, the Lexus system, however, is self-defeating. Instead it increases the speed of the wheel to aid in turning.

The Lexus TVD features 3 operation modes:

Default operating mode—provides a fine-tuned balance of firmness and agility.
Slalom showcases agility and nimble steering response
Track emphasizes total control even during high-speed circuit driving.

Lexus’ TVD works great with the GS F’s beefed-up suspension for optimized handling around swift turns.

The GS F also boasts of an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission.
The gearbox comes with a torque converter lockout clutch that directly connects the engine to the transmission aiding performance.

Our Final Opinion

Lexus fans demanded they deliver a vehicle that caters for their sport senses and Lexus responded with its GS F. It is luxurious, fast, safe and definitely challenges cars on a higher level than it is. The GS F isn’t a groundbreaker, but sure narrows the gap between it and its German competitors.

Lexus is looking to sell 2000 of its GS Fs in the United States yearly, which is a sensible goal considering that they sold more than 300,000 cars last year as they pursued their goal to be on the same level as their European luxury car counterparts, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

While the newest Lexus GS F can do better in terms of horsepower to be one of the world’s top performing cars, it more than makes up for this with its exceptional features, lighter curb weight and a shockingly lower price.

Want a second opinion? See what AutoGuide thought in this video:


The New 2016 Honda Civic—The First Honda With Turbocharged Engine In The US

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Entering its 10th generation, the 2016 Civic sets itself apart from the previous model with an all new look and distinctive features. The automaker Honda is gearing up for massive hype surrounding its upcoming iteration of their flagship vehicle, the 10th generation 2016 Civic.

When it comes to giving Civic a huge makeover, Honda has been restrained in the past, but things are going to alter with the appearance of the Honda Civic 2016. The upcoming vehicle is going to have a very special new look that will be more aggressive than ever thanks to the fresh styling that offers not only elegance but sportiness too.

2016 Honda Civic

A Blend Of The Acura ILX

The concept images of the 2016 Honda Civic feature a vehicle that has taken on the appearance of the Acura ILX. The fact that Acura vehicles are also getting made over allows Honda to use that particular styling.

It is important to reveal that Honda is not going to copy that vehicle completely; they merely create a nice blending of the previously designed ILX and the new 2016 Honda Civic profile. It gives the typical sedan an upgrade that is very appealing to consumers.

The Game Changer

Honda Civic should arrive with a 1.5 liter turbocharged engine when it makes its appearance. It should also have a 6 speed automatic transmission.

The new Honda Civic has received a very positive initial preview along with some industry followers, for instance, Customer Reports called the upcoming vehicle a cut above the previous iteration. Moreover, some Civic fans have also been upbeat about the upcoming iteration, showing their excitement with official fan forums like CivicX, which is full of fans calling 2016 Civic the “game changer”.

Honda Is Offering Turbocharged Engine

According to AutoNews, after the launch of the latest Honda Civic and its sale in November, it will become the very first U.S. market-focused Honda that offers a turbocharged engine.
The most noted option for the upcoming Civic 1.5 liter 4-cylinder turbo was going to be introduced either in the year 2017 or 2018. However, it has been deemed necessary by the engineers of Honda to include the turbocharged engine as one of the best features of the new sedan in order to make the 2016 Civic stand out.

The new chief engineer of Honda as well as North American development leader, Gary Evert, told AutoNews that the new Civic will of course be a strong statement. He was of the view that the new Civic needs that engine to go where they want it to go in order to make this key model really stand out and for the new Civic to be such a strong competitor, not only in North America but all around the world.

The latest engines are presented with redesigned transmissions that include a refinement-enhancing and fuel-saving continuously variable transmission in order to help push the fuel efficiency envelope even more than before. The vehicle has the four-cylinder, two-liter turbocharged engine with 295 ft-lb of torque.

New Safety System

The upcoming Honda Civic features a new safety system, including:

Collision avoidance braking
Lane departure alleviation
Adaptive speed control and many more features

The latest engine has also been developed based on feedback Honda received about the previous Civic iterations. According to the chief power train engineer for the 2016 Civic, Mr. Yuji Matsumochi, on the whole the impression of the latest sedan is that it has been created based on fan feedback on previous model.

The engineer reported that the engine was highly efficient but unfortunately people were not rating it much. People were commonly heard questioning where its Honda-like characteristics were or where the Honda DNA was. In a nutshell, it was too bland.

The upcoming turbocharged option will be announced on October 19 along with showrooms getting selections in the month of November.

The 10th generation Civic Si is a little ‘edgier’ than the 2017 Acura ILX and the 2016 Civic Si will most probably ‘out horsepower’ the current generation ILX; Acura possesses some tricks up its engineering sleeves.

When launched sometime in the winter of 2015, the all new turbocharged Civic Si will be a ball-buster but, honestly, the buyers looking for the Acura name rarely drop on over to the Honda lot in order to purchase a Honda truck or car.

The 2016 Civic Si does not have the Acura ILX in its crosshairs.

In a recent story appearing in Detroit News, it was revealed that the Honda might be stifling its luxury division sales through producing an all new Civic that encroaches on the Acura ILX refinement as well as performance, perhaps at a much lower price point.

Granted, when we first experienced the 2016 Acura ILX –A- SPEC, we checked the Civic EX-L as well as the Civic Si sedan for a direct comparison, but there was none.

The 2015 Honda Civic has been proven to be a very capable and refined car that features a few of the standard featured active and passive safety features no usually present in the compact car segment.

The Outlook

It is predicted that the 10th generation Honda Civic, although highly refined as compared with the past generations, will not encroach on premium Acura ILX sales to any measurable level.

As the race derived, paddle shift, dual clutch, eight speed, automated manual transmission becomes the performance norm for the Acura as well as other makers, we anticipate the same for the next generation Acura ILX. Manual shifting would be left to the Honda Civic Si enthusiast, just as you would expect.


2016 Nissan LEAF To Get Triple-Digit EV Range

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, June 6th, 2015

2015 Nissan LEAF

Nissan has a problem. The next generation of their all-star EV, the Nissan leaf, isn’t due out until the middle of 2017 at the earliest. But, many of the car’s competitors are starting to rise in popularity, due in large part to their new model offerings.

For example, BMW’s new i3 (which can be had as a PHEV or EV) doubled its sales in May. The car’s biggest competitor, the Chevrolet Volt, just had its best month of sales ever in May with 1,618 deliveries, less than a thousand short of the Leaf’s May sales… And Chevy’s bringing their next-generation Volt out at the end of this year, not next.

If something doesn’t change soon, there’s a very good chance that the Volt will outsell the Leaf for the first time ever before the end of 2015. Unacceptable!

So, what’s Nissan going to do?

According to a recent report from InsideEVs, Nissan plans to offer an upgraded battery on the two higher trims of the Leaf for the 2016 model year. The SV and SL trims will both come with a 30 kWh battery, while the baseline S trim will retain the 24 kWh unit that’s used in all Nissan’s EVs now.

A 30 kWh battery would represent a 25% increase in the Leaf’s power storage capacity, which would allow the EV to finally hit triple-digit range numbers… According to the anonymous dealerships cited by InsideEVs, Nissan estimates the new Leaf will get a range between 105 and 110 miles per charge. Of course, Nissan’s official spokesman, Brian Brockman, is adamant that these are not to be taken as official specs. He told Autoblog, “We have made no public announcement about the 2016 Nissan LEAF. We do not comment on future product details.”

Also, keep in mind that this new expanded battery is still only a shadow of the potential that Nissan has hinted at for the next-gen model due out in mid-2017. Current rumors state that the next-gen Leaf will have a range beyond 200 miles, which would put it unquestionably ahead of even the Tesla Model 3, much less the 50-mile range of the next-gen Chevy Volt.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan LEAF

Since it’s going to still be at least a couple more years until the next-generation Nissan Leaf hits the market, now is the perfect time to pick up an affordable first-gen Leaf from the auctions in Japan.

2014 Nissan LEAF rear

What we have here is a 2014 model year in a Deep Blue Pearl, which we expect to be added to the lineup as a standard color option for the 2016 model year.

2014 Nissan LEAF interior

Other than that, you probably already know if this car is for you. It’s a standard 2014 Nissan Leaf in spectacular shape with less than 7,000 kilometers on the odometer. A 5 auction rating, A-grade interior and exterior, barely a scratch or blemish across the entire car. Learn more via the auction sheet translation below:

2014 Nissan LEAF auction sheet

Interior A, exterior A, first registered April 2014, X 80th Special Color Limited model, FAT, AAC, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, original navigation system and TV, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratches, front windscreen scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map


2016 Honda Civic Type-R Detailed, Hot Variant Possible

Posted by Stephen On Friday, June 5th, 2015

2016 Honda Civic Type R on the track

The “most extreme and high-performing Type R ever built” is finally here. Or rather, it’s getting extremely close. The 2016 Honda Civic type R is set to make its worldwide debut in July 2015, less than one month away. Now that we are officially into June, Honda is really starting to heat up the hype.

For example, this weekend we finally got an official, production-ready rundown of the new hot Hatch’s stats. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that can rev up to 7,000 rpm and outputs a hefty 306 hp at 6500 rpm.

2015 Honda Civic Type R

The car has excellent mid-range torque of 295 lb-ft from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, but the car was really made to excel at all ends of the rotational spectrum. The VTEC and VTC valve timing technologies work in tandem to optimize low-end torque response without taking away from up-to-the-redline acceleration, and the car is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

This mighty pound-for-pound powertrain was powerful enough to take a near-identical prototype of the civic type R around the Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 50.63 seconds – a new lap record for commercial cars in this class. For those of you interested, the 2016 Civic Type R can blast from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds and returns a surprisingly conservative 32.2 mpg.

2016 Honda Civic Type R interior

We’d already seen inside the cabin, but these pictures confirm that Honda has done a superb job with the hatchback’s interior. The cabin is exactly what we’d want from a track-ready hot hatch like the Type R. The red-and-black bucket seats and the sleek dashboard are our favorite parts.

Perhaps most exciting of all, though… There is now a fairly credible rumor going around that Honda is planning to launch an extra-hot version of the Civic Type R sometime in the next couple years. According to an interview between Motor Trend and the Type R’s project leader, Hisayuki Yagi, “At the start of development we set the target to be the fastest front-drive hatchback around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. And we are. If someone takes our record, we will take it back.”

In other words, there’s room to grow, and they are willing to modify the car to do it (provided there’s a record-related or marketing-related need for it, of course).

What would a hot Civic Type R look like?

2015 Honda Civic Type R

Turns out, it’s not so much what it would look like, but what it would feel like. According to MT’s interview, the engine could be tuned up by about 20 horsepower and the car could shed something in the realm of 120 lbs.

We’re happy to hear that Honda is throwing down the gauntlet with their new Civic Type R, and we hope someone takes them up on it. That way we can see the Honda Civic Type R’s true power! Bwahahaha!


The 2016 Mazda Miata is Finally Here

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

driving matters

Today’s the day. The fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is finally here. Across the web, a flood of “first drive reviews” have been published within the last 24 hours. And, Mazda’s given us an intriguing promotional video to kick off the roadster’s career…

Lots of automakers claim that their sports car offers drivers a 50/50 weight distribution between the front and back, but few of them actually go to the trouble to prove it. How do you prove a 50/50 weight distribution, you ask? Easy – you put it on a perfectly balanced fulcrum scale to see if it stays level. And that’s exactly what Mazda did:

Wow – not only is the new Miata perfectly balanced, it’s also the lightest-weight version of the car we’ve had since the original 1990 version with a curb weight of just 2,332 lbs.

Okay, so the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a piece of sheer engineering genius. Got that. The question is, does that mechanical prowess translate into on-road performance? Does the new generation of the most iconic sports car of the past quarter-century live up to the hype?

Short answer, yes.

Here are a few of the “first drive” reviews across the web:

Jalopnik says that “even though it has 12 fewer horsepower than the last [Miata], it’s faster. And more nimble. And more comfortable. And better. Better in every conceivable way. This is easily the best performance car you can buy for less than $30,000.”

High praises, but that’s just the beginning.

2016 Mazda MX-5 manufactured

For their part, Car and Driver were most impressed with the car’s similarity to the 1990 version of the Miata… Not just in size and weight, but in the euphoric driving experience the car offers. Throughout their review, they echo the sentiment of Jalopnik… Everything is better, from the cockpit to the engine to the design to the drive.

Yahoo Autos was the first to identify a ‘con’ in the 2016 Miata. Yep, they rightly pointed out that the car makes “all the sacrifices necessary to make it a pure driver’s machine.” But then again, Yahoo’s biggest pro for the car is that it’s “a pure driver’s machine, at a blue-collar price,” so this ‘con’ is tongue-in-cheek at best. Our favorite part of Yahoo’s review is where they list the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and “the death of fun” as the car’s biggest competitors.

Are you starting to get the picture? According to all major sources, the 2016 Mazda Miata absolutely lives up to the hype… And then some.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2010 Fiat 500

2010 Fiat 500

Although the Fiat 500 isn’t technically a roadster in the same way that the Miata is, it’s still one of the sports car’s biggest competitors currently on the road.

2010 Fiat 500 rear

It isn’t so much that the cars are in the same segment, but that they attract the same niche of drivers… Drivers who want something fun and emotional to drive, unique to look at, and budget-friendly.

2010 Fiat 500 interior

This is a 2010 model year, which would make it the third model year after the car’s 2007 revival. It’s actually in superb condition for being five years-old with an auction rating of 4.5, a total of four minor blemishes on the exterior, and an A-grade interior to boot. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below:

2010 Fiat 500 auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered February 2010, 1.4 16V Lounge model, AT, AAC, original AWs, power steering, power windows, leather, airbag, one owner, service book, HDD navigation system with digital TV and DVD playback, reversing camera, AM 16 inch AWs, half-leather seats, electrical opening, chrome mirror covers, 2 x keyless keys, spare key, first time in auction, some service history (5 pages), official dealer RHD import, interior trim has minor scratches, wheels scratched, marks as per map”


2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Facelift Leaked

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 29th, 2015

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

This just in: Toyota’s flagship SUV, the 200 Series Land Cruiser, looks like it’s getting a major overhaul next year. The news comes from a set of the leaked images that originated from a Japanese automotive magazine. Along with the images came the photo you see at the top of this post, which depicts the allegedly next-generation Land Cruiser.

That being said, this main image appears to be a semi-digitized rendering. Those with a keen eye for Photoshop will notice that the depth of field right on the corner where the right-side headlamp wraps above the wheel is a little too two-dimensional. In fact, most of the grille and bumper looks tampered with, and those alloys definitely look copy+pasted into place. So we’re skeptical that this is an actual product photo leak for the next-gen Land Cruiser.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 3

But, even if the image at the top of this post is more rendering than spy shot, the other photos seen here, which were posted by a Twitter user with handle @Hamad1two, appear to be real. In the other photos, we see what looks like a dealership training manual highlighting the differences between the current Land Cruiser and the upcoming model.

Thus, from these images, we can see that even if the primary photo shown at the top of this post is a rendering, it at least portrays the gist of the upgrade.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 4

The biggest update to the Land Cruiser’s design seems to be the front-end, which appears to get a completely overhauled design. It looks like the SUV will get a set of new dual-projector lights and restyled LED DRL’s, plus a new grille design and similarly restyled taillights and bumper in the back. It also looks like the crossover will be getting some new treads too, although they may not be quite like what we see in the image above.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 2

Inside, these spy shots depict a revised interior trim, with new chrome accents and an updated instrument cluster. It also looks like they’ve added in some new entertainment options via rear-seat TV screens.

Finally, if you could read Japanese, you’d see that these leaks claim that the new Land Cruiser will run on a 2.7 L turbo diesel with 174 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That would mean that SUV would probably get the same engine recently revealed for the new Toyota HiLux.

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Spy Shot 1

Either way, we will likely see the facelifted Land Cruiser before the end of 2015, so stay tuned for the next round of auto shows this fall for more details.


The Nissan Maxima is No More… Almost

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima

If you walked up to the average US resident and asked them which name sounded more familiar, “Nissan” or “Maxima”, most of them would pick the latter. That’s according to Pierre Loing, vice president of Nissan NA product planning, from an interview between him and Automotive News.

And yet, even though the Maxima is a Nissans all the longest-selling nameplate in the US and more recognized than the brand name itself, just four years ago, Nissan almost axed the car from their lineup completely.

2016 Nissan Maxima rear

With the next-generation Nissan Maxima set to go on sale in the US in barely a week’s time on June 2, we’re certainly glad that Nissan decided to keep the family size sedan in their lineup. You’ve probably already seen the Maxima several times this year… It first debuted in a Super Bowl ad, then made its in-the-metal premiere at the 2015 New York Motor Show back in April.

What will be the eighth-generation of Nissan’s “4 Door Sports Car” is substantially sportier than the car you’ll find it Nissan dealerships today. It’s got Nissan’s new V-motion front-end design, complete with a lower, more aggressive roofline, a curvier body and an all-around better powertrain. The next-gen Maxima runs on a new 3.5L V6 that outputs 300 horsepower, which is a noticeable boost in performance over the current model year. In a classic “have your cake and eat it too,” Nissan has somehow managed to eke 15% more fuel-efficiency out of the upgraded engine, made possible by stripping and replacing a full 60% of the old engine’s parts.

2016 Nissan Maxima side

Inside, the new Maxima is even better. It boasts a truly plush interior with quilted leather, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a modern, premium-feeling design. Takeshi Yamaguchi, the VP for vehicle engineering and program management for the Maxima project, says, “When I look at this car, I’m proudest of the fact that it’s here at all.” Yeah, us too Yamaguchi. “And on top of that, I’m proud of the fact that we took the Maxima beyond where it was, instead of taking it backward.”

… Apparently that was the other option on the table. Nissan was thinking about gutting the sedan to make it cheaper to both manufacture and sell. Instead they went the opposite direction, and what they came up with is perhaps the best, most refined execution of a non-premium sedan we’ve seen in the past 10 years.

So, in a month as you start seeing those sleek new 2016 Nissan Maximas on the road, be thankful for the sight… It almost didn’t happen!


What?! Here’s Why the 2016 Mazda2 Won’t Be Sold in the US

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

2016 Mazda2

Get this – the new Mazda2 subcompact that’s gotten so much attention this past year will NOT be sold in the US in 2016. Even though Mazda is manufacturing the new Mazda2 just south of the border in their brand-new factory in Salamanca, Mexico, top US executives apparently “decided it wasn’t a priority,” at least according to an interview between Robert Davis, Senior VP of US Operations, and Automotive News.

Here’s why: it turns out that a Mazda doesn’t have the production capacity in their new plant to make enough Mazda2 hatchbacks for every single market. So, last year when the global office was allocating units of their new subcompact, executives from the US politely bowed out of the conversation. Davis says, “We could have had it, but we would have had a number that didn’t make much sense with 600 dealers and with the marketing it takes to launch a new car.”

In other words, Mazda US would’ve had to either A) only send Mazda2s to a select few of their dealerships, which doesn’t make sense, or B) go through the trouble of marketing a new car on a national level only to have a small number of models available per dealership, which also doesn’t make sense. Plus, Mazda only sold 13.5k units of the 2014 Mazda2 last year, which may be a 14% increase year-over-year, but not enough to make it worth the trouble, especially when Americans are trending towards crossovers.

“I wanted to allocate resources to those products that make us and our dealers considerably more profit than a Mazda2 does,” Davis said. “It’ll always be there if we need it.” Apparently, Davis doesn’t see the US branch of the brand needing a fuel-sipping subcompact anytime soon when the crossover segment is exploding and gas prices remain low.

2016 Scion iA sedan

Fortunately, the awesome new Mazda2 will still make it into the US, but not under the Mazda name. Remember the partnership between Mazda and Toyota? Well, Toyota will adopt the subcompact into their lineup as the new Scion iA sedan for the 2016 model year, which is built on the same platform and manufactured at the same Salamanca plant as the Mazda2.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Mazda Demio (aka. Mazda2)

2014 Mazda Demio

Although you won’t be able to buy the 2016 Mazda2 through any US dealerships, if past trends are any indication, the new car will do just fine in Japan. Anytime you have an extremely popular car, it always finds its way into auction houses, so come back this time next year and you’ll probably be able to get a near-new Mazda2 of your very own.

2014 Mazda Demio rear

In the meantime, this 2014MY is in excellent shape with an overall auction rating of 5, and a near immaculate exterior. This would’ve been the last year that the old pre-SkyActiv Mazda2 was available, but it was still a perfectly good car. Edmunds said the 2014MY was a good buy for its surprisingly sporty handling and simple-to-operate controls, plus an affordable price-tag (made even more so by being up for auction).

Want more details? Get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2014 Mazda Demio auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition A, first registered October 2014, 13S model, FAT, AAC, first time in auction, MazdaSpeed front under skirt and rear roof spoiler and side skirts, rear view reversing camera, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, minor interior grime, scratches under bumpers, marks as per map”


Nissan Officially Kills Our IDx Dream

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Nissan IDx Concepts

It’s a sad day.

Remember the Nissan IDx concepts we originally saw a couple years ago at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show?

At the time, Nissan told us that they were definitely going to make the cars as long as enough fans got behind the design. They didn’t specify a production date or anything like that, but they did make two different iterations of the concept – the Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept and the IDx NISMO Concept.

Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

After the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the automotive blogosphere went wild. Everyone loved these two retro sports car concepts. Just as Nissan intended, they “exemplified Nissan’s fresh approach to contemplating car design and kindled a fire in the hearts of people fond of the good old days of high-performance cars.” Nissan didn’t even try to build hype for the cars; there was no pre-show teasers or press campaigns or anything like that. The two concepts literally showed up in Tokyo out of nowhere and charmed the world.

Then, two months after the cars were shown in Tokyo, Nissan officials came out saying that they’d heard the loud praises of their fan base… They virtually promised that there would be a production model coming from the two concept cars. In our coverage, we optimistically hoped to see some sort of prototype in the first half of 2014.

And yet, here we are.

Nissan IDx NISMO Concept

At the beginning of this year, Nissan told us they still had the IDx cars on the table, but that they were “shifting priorities” to volume cars. Now, we’re almost halfway through 2015, and Nissan has finally come out and admitted that they will NOT be developing production models from the IDx Concepts.

The news comes from an interview between The Truth About Cars and Nissan NA’s VP of Product Planning, Pierre Loing. In the interview, he lamented, “The IDx is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in.”

Indeed it does, Nissan. Indeed it does.

Apparently, the problem is that both IDx Concepts were designed and developed for a compact rear-wheel drive platform… Something that neither Nissan nor their sister company, Renault, currently have available in any of their production models. Or at least, not in a size small enough for a low-displacement coupe. They have several front-wheel drive platforms available, and the much larger platform they use for the 370Z, but that would require a total redevelopment of the IDx models.

That means that the only way the IDx can happen is if Nissan devotes substantial resources to developing and manufacturing an all-new platform for a car that, sure, the public loves, but ultimately wouldn’t sell in any real volume. Just look at the likes of the Scion FR-S… It’s a great little sports car that had great reception, but three years after its launch, sales are already starting to wane.

Be sure to pour one out for the officially axed IDx sports car this weekend.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2009 Nissan Fairlady Z NISMO

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z

If we can’t have a new IDx retro car, we can at the very least celebrate the sports cars that Nissan does have available. Although the GT-R is probably the first Nissan sports car that pops into most folks’ minds, the Fairlady Z has been a long-time favorite as well.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z rear

As you can see, the Fairlady Z (aka. the 370Z) certainly isn’t a retro-styled car, but it still looks great and drives great too.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z interior

This particular find is for a 2009 MY and has been tuned up by NISMO. It’s also in pretty good shape with an overall rating of 4. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z auction sheet

Interior B, exterior B, Nismo Version, first registered October 2009, six-speed manual gearbox, AAC, one owner, Carwings compatible navigation system and digital TV, half-leather seats, original 19 inch alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, intelligent key, pushbutton starter, original CD, reversing rearview camera, seats scratched, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratched, front windshield scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map


2016 Toyota HiLux is Better in Every Way

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 22nd, 2015

2016 Toyota Hilux blue

After a whole bunch of spyshots and some very revealing unofficial spoilers (plus an accident involving a trailer carrying two brand-new 2016 models for debut), Toyota has finally unveiled the official all-new 2016 Toyota HiLux – the eight-generation model for the 47 year-old pickup.

2016 Toyota Hilux

If you’re reading this in the US, chances are that you’ve never heard of the Toyota HiLux pickup truck… That’s because it’s not sold in the States. But, it’s one of Toyota’s most well-known and beloved models in other markets, like Australia and Thailand.

The old Toyota HiLux has been on the market in its current form for at least a decade. The new model is better in literally every way. It’s bigger, it looks better, it’s more fun to drive, it can hold and tow a lot more weight, it’s more efficient, it’s got a larger cabin and it even holds more gas with a massive 80L fuel tank.

2016 Toyota Hilux rear

Under the hood, Toyota says that they’ve expanded the model’s “legendary prowess” with a substantially stronger frame, two new high-torque turbocharged diesel engines (expanding the powertrain options to four) and improved body rigidity for better on-Road toughness and improved steering response. Toyota has used high-tensile steel to keep the truck agile without sacrificing strength and toughness.

2016 Toyota Hilux interior

As for those two new engines, Toyota says that the turbo-diesels are “notable for their low-end punch and develop substantially more torque than the current model’s 3.0L unit”. This is especially impressive since both new engines are of a smaller displacement than the outgoing model. One is a 2.4L outputting 400 Nm, the other is a 2.8L outputting 450 Nm of torque, while both plants have about 10% improved fuel economy. Depending on which engine and trim you go with, Toyota says the new HiLux’s towing capacity has increased up to 3.5 tonnes (~7,700 lbs) and 1,240 kg (~2,700 lbs).

2016 Toyota Hilux interior dash

Inside the cabin, Toyota’s goal was to make the new HiLux feel more like an SUV than a pickup without sacrificing the model’s rugged, simple cabin appeal. You’ll find that the larger eighth-gen model has allowed Toyota to create a much more spacious and comfortable cab, with more room for all occupants, luxury seating, and better quality materials used throughout. They’ve also updated the interior to match the conventional tech. amenities found in today’s most popular SUVs, including a crisp audio system and a massive, vibrant multi-touch control screen.

Toyota says that we can expect the 2016 HiLux model in showrooms in early October. You can read the full press release here for more information.