Top Story

All-New Kia Seltos shows off personality in Texas Hill Country


(February 18, 2020) SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Rugged, refined and right-sized, the all-new Kia Seltos arrived in Texas Hill Country this week to show off a personality all its own. As a utility vehicle with an abundance of attitude, the 2021 Kia Seltos enters the entry SUV segment with modern styling and a penchant for adventure, whether that means everyday driving around town or in the wilderness on weekends.

2020 Jeep Compass

PHOENIX — All new for the 2017 model year, the second-generation Jeep Compass is decidedly more upmarket than the vehicle it replaces. Slotted between the subcompact Jeep Renegade and compact Jeep Cherokee, the Compass – with looks that mimic the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee – is, in our opinion, the better looker.

2020 BMW X6

INDIANAPOLIS — It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of a “crossover coupe.”  I mean, what’s the point?  It’s big and heavy, but can’t haul as much as a proper crossover.  It’s sporty like a fastback sedan, but doesn’t handle as well as a car.  Other than looking good, the breed didn’t seem to do anything particularly well.  Some of that may still be true, but after many miles, I’ve warmed up to the BMW X6 4.0 xDrive.

2020 Hyundai Venue

MIAMI — The auto industry is always riding the wave of change especially when it comes to the car buying public and their insatiable appetite for crossover utility vehicles. And, here’s a brand new one, the entry-level Hyundai Venue. With it, the South Korean brand is chasing after younger buyers, enticing them to buy a new car with a roomy interior, advanced safety features and a great warranty all for about what you’d spend for a three- or four-year-old Toyota or Honda.

Vehicle of the Week

2020 Ford Explorer ST — A hot-rod SUV

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

During the last half of the 20th Century a famous Ford slogan was "Ford has a better idea," which included a lightbulb as a visual image. It lived up to that mantra several times with the upscale two-seat Thunderbird in the mid-50s, the Ranchero car-based pickup in 1957, and the iconic Mustang in the mid-60s. Another "lightbulb moment" was the Explorer, a four-door compact family SUV introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model.

Here's the Thing

2020 Mazda3 — One of the best compacts moves the brand upscale

By Jim Prueter

(February 17, 2020) Mazda is intent to move the brand upmarket — not unlike Acura and Infiniti. With the Mazda3, redesigned last year, it certainly does that. It has engaging driving performance, upscale interior, sharp exterior styling features, and new innovative technology. Mazda3 is noticeably more upscale than competitive rivals like Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Volkswagen GTI and Nissan Sentra, and aligns closer to a European sports sedan than a Japanese econo box.

Year-over-year national gas price gap is shrinking

(February 14, 2020) Gas prices may be 16 cents more expensive than last year, but that price gap has been shrinking steadily. It’s the smallest year-over-year difference seen in two months.

“At $50 a barrel (West Texas Intermediate), crude oil prices are at their cheapest point in a year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “That, plus steady gasoline stock levels and low demand have helped to push the national average lower – a dime cheaper than three weeks ago.”

Auto loan interest rates see slight lift in January, according to Edmunds

(February 13, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The average interest rate for a new vehicle loan saw a slight lift in January, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 5.7% in January, compared to 5.4% in December and 5.5% in November. Edmunds data reveals that the share of sales with 0% finance deals dropped to 3.6% in January, hitting their lowest level since April of 2019.

Inside the Industry

Land Rover Defender does it own stunts in latest James Bond film

(February 18, 2020), WHITLEY, UK — Land Rover’s television commercial for the new Defender demonstrates its capability on tough terrain. The commercial features an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at what to expect from the new Defender in No Time To Die.

The rehearsal footage included in the advertising shows the new Defender launching into the air. The Defenders are put to further extreme tests as the vehicle is driven at top speeds through swamps and rivers.

Polestar showcases the future of human-machine interface

(February 18, 2020) Polestar will continue to evolve the user experience in its future vehicles through further collaboration with Google. Polestar 2 is the first vehicle on the market powered by Android with the Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store built-in. Today, the Swedish electric performance car brand looks even further into the future.

Hyundai to unveil new concept EV 'Prophecy' at Geneva Motor Show

(February 17, 2020) SEOUL, S. Korea — Hyundai Motor Company will unveil its new concept EV, “Prophecy,” expressing the company’s latest design language, at the upcoming Geneva International Motor Show, on March 3. The concept will remain on display until March 15.

In line with Hyundai’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy, the new concept embodies a beautiful silhouette accentuated by graceful curves flowing over broad rear flanks that provide excellent aerodynamics.

Abandoned Car of the Week

An Isuzu in the wild

In 1981 the Isuzu P'Up was the first Japanese Isuzu sold in the U.S. under its own name. Isuzu sold small pickups in the U.S. starting in 1972, but through General Motors. The Chevrolet LUV was the first. The small P'Up was built through 1988. This example was spotted in North Carolina.
(Photo by Ralph Gable)