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Toyota tests technology to make hybrids even more efficient

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(January 31, 2015) Toyota is testing new technology that could make hybrids and other vehicles with electric powertrains even more efficient. The year-long trial in Japan will evaluate the performance of new power semi-conductors that use a silicon carbide (SiC) material, fitted to a Camry hybrid sedan prototype and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered bus.

2015 Kia Sedona



DANA POINT, Calif., — Many automakers have tried but not one has succeeded in changing the driving public’s perception of minivans. They are considered dowdy vehicles for people who are laden with kids and have no lives of their own. Minivans are thought to be the lone vehicle that people buy not because they want to but because they need to.

2015 Jeep Renegade



SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jeep's timing is impeccable, introducing its new Renegade just when the small SUV crossover segment is expected to grow by a whopping 80 percent over the next two years. To make matters even better for the Jeep brand, the Renegade hits the bullseye joining the subcompact SUV ranks with a capable and affordable vehicle for suburban living while giving hardcore Jeep enthusiasts on a budget a true off-road warrior.

2016 Kia Sorento



LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — We ran into real world winter weather conditions while here to test drive the new 2016 Kia Sorento. Wind gusts were up to 50 mph and sometimes more, precipitation varied between rain and sleet, and heavy snow was expected that night. We felt some relief when we were told that Kia had brought all-wheel-drive versions of the Sorento utility vehicle. Front-wheel-drive versions are available.

Vehicle of the Week

2015 Hyundai Sonata — Now with a more conservative stance



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

More than four years ago Hyundai answered the criticism that all mid-sized sedans look the same by stepping away from the stereotypical styling with the 2011 Sonata, a car so daringly different that it set a new tone for the design future of the popular segment. It was a smash hit not only for its good looks, but for its above-average performance, generous standard features, and improved build quality.

Here's the Thing

Tailgüten — Hauling a Super Bowl party in a VW Golf

(January 30, 2015) DENVER — Few things stir up the passions of VW fans more than a sporty station wagon and playoff football. To celebrate the Super Bowl and the debut of Volkswagen’s 2015 Golf Wagon, VWPartsVortex.com took some time to calculate how many chicken wings the new Golf Wagon can hold.

The answer? A lot — over 22,000 wings with the rear seats laid flat. They also calculated how many Oreos, regulation pro footballs, 12-packs of beer, and more the Golf Wagon can hold. You can see the results in this graphic.

Automakers find high-priced Super Bowl ads don't resonate with viewers

(January 30, 2015) IRVINE, Calif. — With the Super Bowl game just around the corner, carmakers are finding one thing tough to tackle: getting their high-priced marketing messages to resonate with viewers. According to a new survey by Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, competing for advertising attention during the game, as well as sustaining shopper attention, is an ongoing challenge for automakers, as evidenced by viewers' limited recollection of car commercials.

New vehicle purchasing power of Millennials to reach $135 billion

(January 28, 2015) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — TrueCar, Inc. projects Millennial-generation consumers will purchase 4.24 million cars and light trucks in 2015, producing $135 billion in total revenue as their impact on the market expands. Millennials, or people born from approximately 1980 through the late 1990s, are expected to reach around 25 percent of the new vehicle market in 2015, TrueCar projects.

Inside the Industry

Scion bringing Speedhunters Tuner Challenge-winning FR-S to Chicago

(January 31, 2015) CHICAGO — The winning vehicle of Scion’s 10th annual Tuner Challenge is coming to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Speedhunters-designed “Maximum Attack” Scion FR-S makes its first public appearance since November when it was crowned winner of the Scion Tuner Challenge at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
 

Toyota to recall 52,000 Avalon sedans for audio system wire problem

(January 30, 2015) Toyota said it plans to recall about 52,000 Avalon sedans from the 2011-12 model years for wiring that could cause a fire.

Cargo could contact a wire from the audio system’s subwoofer inside the trunk. The cargo could push a wire out of its normal position, and if the wire touches the subwoofer’s metal frame, a short circuit could occur, potentially overheating the subwoofer and increasing the risk of a fire.

Kia to reveal rugged electric all-wheel drive concept in Chicago

(January 30, 2015) Kia announced on Thursday that it will unveil a rugged concept car with electric all-wheel drive at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 12.

“Intended to enable a wide array of outdoor activities from skiing and snowboarding to camping, hiking and mountain biking, this rugged runabout captures the essence of adventuring at higher elevations with the promise of sure-footedness in the wild,” Kia said in a statement on the concept.