April 2018

Lexus takes the road to Avalon

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(May 1, 2018) For most of its six generations, the ES was the Wally Cox of the Lexus lineup; a milquetoast Camry-based sedan filled with leather and luxury appointments, and about as exciting as a competitive quilting bee. The real question isn’t whether adding an F Sport model to the line is a cynical attempt to add sportiness to a car not known to possess it, but whether it has what it takes to rise above the Camry underneath.

Fiat announces Blue Sky Edition for 2018 Fiat 500X

(April 30, 2018) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Fiat brand announced today the new 2018 Fiat 500X Blue Sky Edition, further expanding customization options for the Italian-designed, fun-to-drive crossover.

Available on Fiat 500X Pop models with the nine-speed automatic transmission, the Blue Sky Edition further accentuates the ability for Fiat customers to show off their style and personality, while tackling all weather conditions and terrain.

Subaru celebrates new headquarters in Camden, N.J.

(April 30, 2018) Subaru of America has conducted a grand opening of its new home in Camden, N.J. Following several years of sustained business growth, Subaru announced plans in 2014 for a new headquarters campus to be located in Camden. Next month, more than 550 employees will begin to occupy the new building at a time when the company is celebrating nine consecutive years of record sales and 10 years of consecutive growth.

Land Rover celebrates 70 years of production with global broadcast

(April 30, 2018) WHITLEY, UK — Land Rover will mark its 70th anniversary with a global broadcast celebrating the world's favorite 4x4s and the people who love them.

Starring the cars and the people who make and drive them, the online program will pay tribute to seven decades of adventure, humanitarian aid and hard work across classes and cultures around the world.

Toyota’s all-new Corolla hatchback: More haute than hot

By Jim Prueter

(April 30, 2018) Just over two years ago, Toyota announced it was killing off the Scion brand, which launched in 2003 hoping to attract trendy youthful buyers to the Toyota family.  By the end of 2016, Scion was toast and Toyota saw fit to rebadge the small, sporty FR-S as the Toyota 86. The diminutive iA became a Yaris subcompact sedan and the Scion iM hatchback became the Corolla iM hatchback.

Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel boasts best-in-class 30 MPG highway

(April 29, 2018) DEARBORN, Mich. — The 2018 Ford F-150’s first 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine officially boasts EPA-estimated ratings of 30 mpg highway, 22 mpg city and 25 mpg combined. These are the highest EPA-estimated ratings available in a full-size pickup truck.

These benchmark figures are the result of more than a decade of work developing a lightweight high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body, a 10-speed SelectShift transmission, and robust engine construction of aluminum and compacted graphite iron to deliver durability, reduced weight and stump-pulling torque.

Killing off the sedans — Has Ford made a fatal mistake?

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(April 28, 2018) Ford has announced it will stop developing sedans for the U.S. market, focusing instead on more profitable trucks, SUVs and crossovers. Though only just updated, the Fusion sedan will not be replaced, nor will current Focus, Taurus or Fiesta. Only the Mustang will survive on the Ford side of the ledger.

Hyundai Accent no longer available as hatchback, but new sedan is a gem

By Paul Borden

(April 27, 2018) The Hyundai Accent moves into its fifth generation with the introduction of the 2018 model with the big change being the elimination of the hatchback version of this well-equipped and under-appreciated economy car. The Accent is now available only in sedan form, but that should serve the market well.

Volkswagen reveals new drive systems at event in Vienna

(April 27, 2018) Volkswagen will be enhancing its model range by an innovative spectrum of completely new drive systems. These include affordable mild hybrid drives with 48V technology, new high-tech diesel engines that will also be available as hybrid variants and what is currently the world's most cutting-edge natural gas drive.

Volkswagen has now announced initial facts as part of the Vienna Motor Symposium now underway. The technologies showcased in Vienna as world premieres form a vital part of the progressively aligned Volkswagen drive strategy.