Friday, June 30, 2006

Euro Honda Civic 3-door

Civic Type-SHonda has unveiled the 3-door version of their Euro-only Honda Civic hatchback, the Civic Type-S.

To our eye, this appears to be a great replacement for the long departed Honda CRX that we haven't had in the US since the 90's.

While Honda has a fairly full line of Civics in the US already (from 4-door sedan, coupe, hybrid sedan, and the sporty Si), I can certainly see a sector of the auto buying public that would love a big brother to the Fit that this 3-door Civic hatchback (and its 5-door sibling) represents. They could even make an Si version similar to the Euro Type-R high performance hatch for those who want more power and room for all their stuff that won't fit in a Civic coupe.

Take a look at more pictures over at Eurocarblog:

Eurocarblog - Honda Civic Type-S

New Honda CRV

2007 Honda CRVThe Hollywood Insider has posted some really nice, undisguised pics of the next Honda CRV.

Is it just me, or has Honda finally re-discovered their styling sense? First we get the new Civic that wouldn't have had to do much to look better than its predecessor - but knocked it out of the park with its rakish profile. Now we have this new CRV that actually has a certain sporty flair.

Now if we could just see how nice the interior and powertrain turn out to be...

Hollywood Extra - 2007 Honda CRV

Dodge expected to announce Challenger has been approved

Dodge Challenger conceptThe Detroit News is reporting that DaimlerChrysler will officially announce that the Dodge Challenger is approved for production at this Saturday's Pepsi 400.

One expected surprise is that the Challenger might see showrooms in late 2007 or early 2008 - 2-3 years earlier than the most conservative estimates. Unknown is if the Challenger will be built on the current LX chassis that underpins the Dodge Magnum/Charger as well as the Chrysler 300 or if it will be the first product built on the upcoming LY replacement for these cars.

It is likely that the Challenger will be both more expensive than the Mustang, V-8 only, the only version of the LX/LY available with a true manual transmission, and significantly larger than the Mustang - due to the fact that the LX/LY were built to be a large-sedan chassis.

Read the Detroit News article here:

Detroit News - Muscle car is reborn

Transformers movie teaser trailer now available

Due to a leaked version of the trailer, the Transformers movie folks have released the teaser trailer a few days early (it was supposed to be available on July 4, 2006 - 1 year before the release of the movie).

Check it out over at http://transformersmovie.com

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Volvo C30 spied

Volvo C30 coupeIs anyone honestly surprised anymore when a car comes out looking just like its concept? With the current trend to 'debut' 'concepts' that are nothing more than dressed up prototypes, it certainly doesn't surprise me.

Now we have pics of the new Volvo C30 coupe undergoing cold weather testing.

It is obvious from these shots at Auto Express that the C30 we'll get early next year is the spitting image of the 'concept' Volvo recently showed us.

Put some serious turbo horsepower in this and it could make a nice counter-point to its Mazdaspeed3 platform-mate.

See more pics at:

AutoExpress - Volvo C30 Spy Shots

Ford dropping Freestar - to replace it with a crossover

Ford Fairlane ConceptFord, who has been playing in the minivan market with such compelling entries as the Aerostar, the Windstar (their first unibody mini), and the Freestar (the Windstar with a new name) has finally decided to take its toys and go home.

Oh, they'll play in the 7-seater game, just not with something they'll call a minivan.

Remember the Fairlane concept (pictured above)? Well, there's a good chance that we'll see this people mover take the Freestar's place in the Blue Oval's lineup. No word yet if this will spell the ultimate demise of the Freestyle crossover (since things could get mighty crowded for it with a Fairlane 7-seater and a Fusion crossover sharing showroom space).

It will be interesting to see if bold, non-minivan styling will help Ford succeed where 20 years of trying to improve on class leaders in the minivan segment (and failing miserably) did not.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Honda chooses Indiana site for new auto assembly plant

Honda announced today that they have chosen a site outside Greensburg, Indiana for a new $550 million auto assembly plant.

The plant, when it comes online in the fall of 2008, will add 200,000 units to Honda's capacity. The plant will be located 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis and a mere 100 miles from Honda's engine plant in Avon, Ohio.

Initial employment at the plant is expected to be 2000.

This new plant helps offset the loss of many of the GM plants that previously operated in central Indiana and joins plants by Subaru and Toyota as foreign owned auto assembly plants in Indiana.

Smart coming to the US in 1Q08 - to be sold by Penske

In a move that really doesn't surprise anyone who has been following the rumors over the last few weeks - DaimlerChrysler announced today that they will be importing the Smart brand of city cars to the US starting in the first quarter of 2008.

In an interesting move that helps minimize their exposure if the cars refuse to sell, DCX isn't creating a brand new dealer network to sell the cars. Instead, they have decided to partner with Penske's UnitedAuto Group - though it is not immediately apparent what the exact nature of the partnership is other than that Penske's company will sell and service the vehicles. Our guess would be each UnitedAuto Group dealer in urban areas (specifically on the East and West coasts) will add special Smart showrooms within a showroom to minimize their costs rather than build dedicated facilities.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Transformers movie spy shot - Bumblebee robot

Transformers movie, Bumblebee in robot formIf you are, like me, in your early 30's - you probably spent way too much time on Transformers as a kid. You are also probably as excited as I am about the upcoming Transformers live-action movie that hits July 4, 2007.

Well, I have some bad news...Bumblebee, the little guy with the heart of gold (and classically an original VW Beetle) has had a makeover for the movie. Apparently since VW is not interested in the product placement of the current Beetle, the producers have restyled the little guy as a 2009 Chevy Camaro. Why they didn't go with Jazz or Hot Rod, or some other, sportier car is anyone's guess.

Well, anyway, now we have a spy shot of a full-sized robot for use in some of the shooting (most of the work will likely be done with CGI rather than physical props like this one).

Check out the movie web site here:

Transformers movie site

Friday, June 23, 2006

New Infiniti G35 sedan caught testing

2007 G35 SedanOver at The Car Lounge, you can find some nice photos taken of a G35 undergoing testing in Dubai at a fuel stop.

Notice the nicely upgraded interior, evolutionary styling changes (which we saw earlier this year when the car was previewed), as well as the odd-ness that is a hood cutline that just sort of got put wherever the engineers/designers needed for access to the dirty bits in the engine bay...whatever happened to making the hood cutline follow a body contour?

Anyway, take a look at the photos here:

The Car Lounge - 2007 G35 Sedan in Dubai

Saturn sets price of Sky Red Line at $27895

2007 Saturn Sky Red LineRecently, we reported on Pontiac's pricing for the Solstice GXP, now it's Saturn's turn.

Given all the info we had at the time, we projected Sky Red Line pricing to be right around $27k. Well, Saturn is a bit prouder of the car than that. Today's announcement is that the Sky RL will start at $27,895 including destination charges. This makes for almost $900 more of a mark-up, by our calculations, than Pontiac is charging on the GXP.

They'll still sell every single one they can make.

Expect them to show up at dealers near you sometime this fall.

More spy photos of next Chrysler minivan

2008 Chrysler Town and Country minivanWorld Car Fans has a series of photos of a disguised Chrysler minivan undergoing testing.

Ignoring the obvious photo-chop of a 300c Touring (Euro-only 300 wagon) that they pawn off as a peek at what the new mini will look like - this shows yet again a big, block-y version of the minivan theme.

Given hints given with recent show cars, expect a possible V-8 at the top engine as well as more innovations like those previewed on the Dodge Rampage concept truck (box the styling out of that concept and you could be seeing the next Caravan.

Expect an unveiling at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January.

Read more here:

WorldCarFans.com - More Chrysler Voyager Spy Photos

Land Rover unveils 2007 LR2

Say goodbye to the Land Rover Freelander and say hello to yet another brand moving further along the alpha-numeric highway.

Today, Land Rover announced their new Freelander replacement, the LR2. Based, at least loosely on the same small-car, unibody chassis that serves as the basis for the Volvo S40/V50/C70, Mazda3, and Euro Ford Focus, the Freelander is the first 'truck' based on this highly flexible architecture.

Power comes via a new, compact, transversely mounted 3.2l I-6 putting out 230hp and routing to the ground through a new 6-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. The LR2 also has Land Rover's 'Terrain Response' system with electronic controls to make off-road adventures safer.

Other features and options include: keyless starter button, bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers and rear park distance control. Standard two-part panoramic sunroof and air-conditioning. A full-color touch-screen DVD satellite navigation system is optional. A choice of top-level audio systems includes 12-speaker Dolby Pro Logic II 7.1 Surround Sound with fiber-optic interconnects. An auxiliary audio connection (for MP3 players) is standard.

And now, the pics!

2007 Land Rover LR2

2007 Land Rover LR2

2007 Land Rover LR2

2007 Land Rover LR2

GM Expected to end Trailblazer production by 2010

Due to sliding sales at all automakers for conventional body-on-frame, 4x4 station wagons like the Chevy Trailblazer, Ford Explorer, et al., GM is rumored to have decided to let the current Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, and all the other Buick, Saab, and Isuzu derivatives sell in their current form until 2010 (or whenever it makes sense to stop selling them - like the Rainier which will leave Buick at the end of the 2007 model year) when a new cross-over would be introduced.

This, as yet unannounced crossover would be smaller than the recently announced Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave, and GMC Acadia which are all essentially full-sized crossovers with the same room as the body-on-frame Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade.

A new mid-sized crossover would need to slot between the Tahoe and the smaller Equinox. Though the current super-sized compact SUV niche occupied by the Equinox could make this difficult. Perhaps we'll see a version of the, smaller, Chevy Captiva from Europe as the next Equinox to make room in the line for a true mid-sized crossover.

See one of the many reports of the Trailblazer's demise over at the Detroit News:

Detroit News - Chevy may junk Trailblazer...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chrysler freshens and ups power on 2007 Pacifica

Chrysler unveiled today the freshened 2007 Pacifica crossover.

In addition to a freshened front-end, available 19" chrome wheels, and added safety equipment - the Pacifica now gets a larger 4.0l SOHC V-6 on all-wheel drive models along with a new 6-speed automatic.

And now, the pics:

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

2007 Chrysler Pacifica

Official pics of new 2007 Sebring

The new Chrysler Sebring has been officially announced today.

Production begins in August 2006 for sales beginning in the 4Q06. This is a brand new platform powered by the 170hp+ 2.4l world 4-cylinder, 190hp 2.7l V-6, as well as a version of the 3.5l V-6 mated to a 6-speed auto.

Without further delay - here's all the pictures Chrysler has made available:

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

2007 Chrysler Sebring

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Hummer H3 to get more power

GM has announced that the platform-mates that are the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Hummer H3 (and very likely the Isuzu pickup, though no mention has been made so far) will get larger versions of the I-4 and I-5 engines they currently use (only I-5 on the Hummer).

These engines promise better performance and improved emissions.

The 2.8l I-4 is being replaced with a 2.9l I-4 with 6% more power and 3% more torque.

The 3.5l I-5 is being replaced by a 3.7l I-5 with 22 more horsepower and 17 lb*ft more torque.

Both engines promise to also be quieter while the I-5 also promises better emissions performance.

Leaked - new Chrysler Sebring

2007 Sebring SedanLeftlane News has gotten their grubby little hands on early photos of the new Chrysler Sebring that Chrysler is expected to unveil tomorrow (what, you expected a long lead time?)

Chrysler Airflite ConceptThe resemblance to the Chrysler Airflite is quite striking, but minus the hatchback design and a bit of the visual punch that had me going ga-ga over it back when it was originally shown.

See the article at LLN here:

LLN - 2007 Chrysler Sebring Revealed

Pontiac sets Solstice GXP pricing at $25,995

2007 Pontiac Solstice GXPWe should have seen this coming...today is the Summer Solstice...what better time for Pontiac to make a Solstice related announcement?

Pricing for the 260hp turbocharged, direct-injected, uber-Solstice will be $25,995 including the $600 destination charge. This is $6000 more than the base Solstice, but only $1500-$2000 more than a regular Solstice with similar options.

This bodes well for a Sky Red Line price around $27k.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Corvette Blue Devil gets a name

*Sorry this story is so far behind...it has been sitting in 'draft' for over two weeks - I just noticed it had never officially published it to the site - Scott K*

Rumors abound about a mythical 'project Blue Devil' within GM. Rumor has this as a ultra-Corvette that would humble even the renowned 505hp Z06 that has been called everything from the best supercar ever (505hp, under $80k does that to some people) to the best performance bargain of all time.

'Blue Devil' would pack a supercharged version of the 7.0l LS7 V-8 and good for at least 600hp. I'd guess recent reports of a 600+hp Viper will cause the Corvette team to try to eek out a few more ponies, if only for bragging rights.

Now there's a new piece to the mystery that should have all the Corvette fans salivating...the proposed real name for the ├╝ber-Vette...

Sting Ray

This is a storied name for a Corvette, but it certainly sounds like this variant of the C6 will certainly do it justice.

Expect an official announcement within a year (possibly at the NAIAS in Detroit in January) with a sticker price in the low 6-figures.

Read about it over at Autoweek.com:

Autoweek.com - Corvette Blue Devil project reportedly now called Sting Ray

Autoshow Season - MX-5 (Miata) to get available, retractable hard top

MX-5 Miata power retractable hard topMazda has officially announced that their new MX-5 (Miata to most of us in the US) will be shown with a new, power retractable hard top at the upcoming British International Motor Show.

This confirms rumors that have been circulating lately that Mazda was working on such a device.

It is likely that this will be an upgrade option and the manual cloth top will remain on lower priced models.

The media day for the BIMS will be Tuesday, July 18, 2006. Expect photos of the hard top around that time.

*UPDATE: Expected cost for the hard top option is around $2000, with about a 75lb weight increase*

MX-5 Miata Power Retractable Hard Top

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

GM to limit Solstice production

2007 Solstice GXPLeftlane news has the following info about Solstice production from John Larson, General Manager of Buick, Pontiac and GMC...

Even though demand is expected, at least in the near term, to be for over 35k Solstices per year, GM will hold production to 17k 2006 Solstices and 20k 2007 Solstices (this includes the new 2007 Solstice GXP).

The goal, other than to preserve enough production capacity to build a sufficient number of Saturn Sky roadsters, Opel GT's, and Daewoo G2X's is to make sure that resale values stay high and no incentives are needed to move surplus Solstices from dealer lots.

Now, if they'd just build enough so that dealers don't feel justified to charge 'market adjustments' we'd all be happy.

Read the LLN article at:

Leftlane News - Confirmed: GM to limit Solstice, G6 convertible production

Monday, June 12, 2006

Undisguised 2008 Silverado spotted

2008 Chevy Silverado Z71Dubspeed Driven has some great, undisguised photos of the upcoming Silverado.

Surprises include more differentiation from the Tahoe than expected and, at least in this Z71, somewhat ungainly styling. I, for one, will wait to see it in person to judge for sure.

Take a look at larger shots, etc at:

Dubspeed Driven - 2008 Chevy Silverado Uncovered

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lotus announces cheaper Elise

Lotus Elise SIn news that was both exciting and ultimately frustrating for my sports car loving self...Lotus today announced a new model of the Elise, the Elise S.

In place of the previous Elise's 190hp Toyota 1.8l 4-cylinder, the S gets a 134hp version. Before you muscle car fans scoff and lose interest...realize that the Elise weighs less than 2000lbs and this 134hp can push this mid-engine speed machine to 60mph in under 6 seconds.

On top of this, the S comes in about 15% cheaper than the standard Elise.

Okay, now the bad news...currently there is no plan to bring the S to the USA.

Take a trip over to Leftlane News to see a gallery of pics of this new addition:

Leftlane News - 2007 Lotus Elise S

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

2008 Dodge Caravan spy photos

2008 Dodge Caravan spy photo from How Bourgeois blogThe folks over at How Bourgeois have done it again. This time, we get a peak at the next Dodge Caravan.

These pictures seem to hold true to previous reports that the new Chrysler vans will be a bit more square in their styling (much like the rest of the lineup).

Oddly, in the profile pic, the interior does not seem to match the square roofline (I can see an interior trim panel through the rear quarter window that has a more curved contour than the square disguise suggests). Maybe a trick my eyes are playing on me - or maybe Dodge is the one playing tricks with their camo.

Expect the vans to officially debut in January at the Detroit autoshow.

See all the pics over at:

How Bourgeois: HB Ride Spotting: People Carriers Rejoice (2008 Dodge Caravan)

Spy shots - GMC Acadia crossover

2008 GMC AcadiaThe third of GM's 3 new lambda crossovers, the GMC Acadia, has made an appearance over at The Car Connection

Lambda, as you may recall, is the new large crossover platform that will underpin the Buick Enclave, the Saturn Outlook, and this GMC Acadia.

The lambdas are very close in size to the GMT900's (Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade) but are equipped, at least initially only with GM's 'high-feature' 3.6l VVT V-6. A small V-8 is expected later down the line in at least the GMC and Buick.

In the pictures at The Car Connection (see the link below) you can see that the GMC will carry some of the same clean, understated lines of the Saturn with significant differences to front styling (and, reports are, interior).

Read all about it at:

The Car Connection - Spy shots: 2008 GMC Acadia

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Chevy HHR SS on the way

Winding Road is running spy shots of an obviously turbocharged HHR undergoing testing.

Expect a version of the 260hp turbo, direct-injection Ecotec that will power the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line.

This may force Chrysler to put the 300hp turbo 2.4l from the upcoming Caliber SRT-4 into the next PT.

Retro wagon horsepower war? Yummy!

See the spy shots at:

Winding Road - HHR SS Spy Photos

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chrysler Sebring convertible to be available in soft and hard-tops

...and no, that doesn't mean that there is going to be a removable hardtop that you'll be able to put on your Sebring. Rumor is that the Sebring will be available in not only a traditional soft-top, but also with retractable hard-top.

Expect the soft-top to be the lower-priced entry (and likely to be the only one you'll see at your local rental company) and the power hard-top will be in higher end models (and compete directly with the new Pontiac G6 hard-top convertible).

Read all about it at Leftlane News:

LLN - Chrysler to offer cloth and hardtop Sebring convertibles

The Car Connection - 2008 Malibu

The Car Connection is running spy photos of what they initially called the next Impala.

Ever since, many sources are correcting their id and claiming that this car is really the next Malibu.

Oddly, this Malibu appears to have a very Saturn Outlook-esque grill design.

I suppose we'll see soon enough.

Check it out at:

The Car Connection - Spy Shots 2008 Chevrolet Impala

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pictures of the next BMW M3

New BMW M3 spy photos'brooksthepro' over at SB Euro Club forums has snapped some revealing pics of the new M3 (smacks a bit of planted 'spy photos' to me)...but regardless are the most revealing yet.

Light disguise covers the sills and front and rear fascias, but the rest, including the bulging hood and fenders is visible.

Take a look at the whole set over here:

SB Euro Club - New M3 Spy Photos!

2008 Viper to get 600+ hp

Winding Road has some spy photos of a powertrain test mule for the next Viper.

Expected to debut with new styling as a 2008 model, the new Viper is expected to aim for king-of-the-hill status with an expected 600-650hp from it's new V-10.

Read all about it here:

Winding Road Blog - Spy Shots: 2008 Dodge Viper

The Car Connection - Pontiac to go rear-wheel drive and cars-only soon!

The Car Connection is reporting a rumor that Pontiac has decided to tightly focus their 'performance' image in a wholly unexpected way.

Beginning with a concept car to be shown in Detroit in January that will preview both Pontiac styling as well as architecture - we will see that Pontiac is going to become an exclusively rear-wheel drive brand.

In addition, expect Pontiac to abandon all non-car vehicles (Montana, Torrent, Vibe should all go bye-bye).

The transition will replace practically all the current cars in Pontiac's stable over the course of 5 years.

So, to all of you who were wondering how exactly Pontiac and the new Saturn were going to be different...there you go.

Read TCC's blurb at:

TCC - Weekly Car Guide: June 2, 2006