Last autonews about economy and auto makers (Hyundai, GM, Dodge, Chevy, Mercedes-BenzB, Cadillac, BMW, Toyota), photos/videos of supercars and from auto shows
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Economy auto news

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R&T chases down a burglar in the million-mile Miata

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Economy, Sports/GTs, Mazda, Read This

Road and Track Million-Mile Miata

Is the answer always Mazda Miata? We discussed this in passing on the Autoblog Podcast earlier this week, and most assuredly the answer is "no." For example, the little MX-5 would be a terrible people carrier, and it'd be useless off road. You can't really tow anything of substance with it, either. Still, if push came to shove, it's satisfying to know that the diminutive roadster could eke out a career as a chase vehicle for the police.

That fact was proven when Road & Track editor Chris Cantle did something that he himself recognizes as "stupid." Upon returning home, Cantle discovered a "twenty-something" actively burgling his home. The resulting story is easily one of the more entertaining episodes to come out of the 1990 MX-5's service to the team at R&T and, we're guessing, will be one of the highlights of the Million-Mile Miata challenge.

Be sure to head over to Road & Track for a full retelling of the chase from Cantle, as well as a follow-up on the saga.

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GM gives China 7-seat minivan, still won't offer MPV in US

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Minivans/MPVs, China

Baojun 730

General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners, SAIC and Wuling, have announced a new seven-passenger minivan for the world's most populous country.

Called the Baojun 730, the budget-minded people mover will be available in four trims (Standard, Comfort, Luxury and 1.8 Comfort) and with two available engines. The base mill is a 1.5- liter four-cylinder, which GM says was developed specifically for "economy passenger vehicles." Although mum is the word on power, it can return impressive fuel economy, netting 7.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (33.1 miles per gallon). The other engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, although there's not a lick of info available on it. Regardless of engines, the sole transmission is of the five-speed manual variety.

Considering its primary purpose is to haul people and stuff, the 730's three rows of seats look reasonably spacious for a vehicle that rides on a mere 108-inch wheel base. There's no word on total passenger volume, although GM claims that even with seven passengers, there's nearly 12 cubic feet of cargo room.

Despite its status as an economy entry, there is a reasonable level of connectivity in the 730. An eight-inch touchscreen looks to be running some form of Chevrolet's MyLink system, while USB and Bluetooth connectivity will also be available. Cruise control, a backup camera and dual-zone climate control - relative rarities on a budget Chinese MPV - are also available.

Scroll down for the full press release from SAIC-GM-Wuling.

Continue reading GM gives China 7-seat minivan, still won't offer MPV in US

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Fiat recalls nearly 30,000 Fiat 500L models

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Hatchbacks, Chrysler, FIAT

2014 Fiat 500L

Fiat has announced a recall of 29,500 Fiat 500L hatchbacks in the US and Canadian markets due to concerns that the roomiest member of the Fiat range features knee airbags that won't deploy unless the occupant's seatbelt is fastened.

There have been no injuries reported due to this issue, which affects vehicles from model years 2014 and 2015. Of the nearly 30,000 vehicles covered in this recall, 25,500 come from the US market, while the remaining 4,000 are from Canada. It's not clear what the underlying cause of this issue is.

Fiat knows of no injuries relating to this problem. As per usual, owners will be notified and asked to report in for a free repair.

Scroll down for a brief statement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Continue reading Fiat recalls nearly 30,000 Fiat 500L models

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Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Safety, Videos, Hatchbacks, Mazda, MINI

Competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades.

Only one small car out of 12 tested earned a good grade in the latest round of crash-test results compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mini Cooper Countryman received a "good" ranking on the organization's small-front overlap test.

Its competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades, including the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Juke, the Mazda5 and the Fiat 500L, and two more earned marginal scores.

Introduced two years ago, the small front overlap test has been a difficult one for automakers to master, particularly so for small cars, which have less weight to absorb the forces of a car accident. So far, IIHS has tested 32 vehicles in the small-car segment and 13 have earned marginal or poor scores. On the flip side, 19 earned good or acceptable scores.

"Consumers trading the inherent safety of a larger vehicle for the convenience or fuel economy of a small car should focus their search on these vehicles with state-of-the-art safety designs," said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research at IIHS.

Continue reading Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

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Scion xB to be replaced by Auris hatchbach, iQ dead after 2014

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Hatchbacks, Scion, Toyota

Toyota Auris

Scion seemed like such a good idea when it was first launched. Toyota's aim was to provide young people with stylish, affordable cars that would serve as a gateway to the automaker's family of products. It was also supposed to be something of an incubator for new ideas that were too radical for its more conservative Toyota and Lexus brands. Over a decade since its launch, the brand has languished, and today's showroom is populated by slow-selling and aging vehicles that have often been slow to receive upgrades. However, there may be a bright spot on the imminent horizon, as there are reportedly a slate of new models on the way over the next three years.

According to a model timeline published by Automotive News, the Scion lineup is about to get a major overhaul. First, the boxy xB may finally be going to the big refrigerator box in the sky, to be replaced by a version of the more conventionally styled Auris hatchback (pictured above) from overseas markets in early 2015. Later next year, the xD will also allegedly bow out in favor of a new hatchback based on the Mazda2 (thanks to a recently signed platform-sharing deal). For 2016, the sporty tC hatchback is also said to get a redesign, and interestingly enough, a Corolla-based compact crossover could join the ranks, too.

While those changes should boost sales volume, there's also news that's sure to make enthusiasts happy. Automotive News cites company executives who confirm a second-generation FR-S is on the way in early 2017. A Subaru exec also recently gave a similar confirmation that it was working on another BRZ.

Finally, as first rumored last year, the little iQ will likely sing its swan song at the end of 2014. The news hardly comes as a surprise. Through June, Scion has sold just just 1,227 of its Smart-sized commuter nationwide, down 47 percent from last year.

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Ford Fiesta becomes UK all-time best seller

07/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Economy, Hatchbacks, Ford, UK

Ford Fiesta in London

We may regard Ford as an American automaker, but ask a Brit and they may tell you otherwise. The Blue Oval has, after all, been selling cars in the UK since 1903, and started manufacturing there as far back as 1911 when it began local production of the Model T in Manchester. Last year Ford ended 100 years of vehicle manufacturing in the UK when the last Transit van rolled off the assembly line in Southampton, but it's still the biggest-selling automotive marque in Britain.

Ford has led the British market for 34 out of the past 45 years, selling more Fiestas than any other company sells any other car in the UK since 2009... when it overtook the Focus. In fact the Fiesta has now become the best-selling car in British history, topping 4,115,000 units since its introduction in 1976. The previous record was held by - you guessed it - another Ford: the Escort sold 4,105,961 units over the course of its 32 years on the British market.

Although the Fiesta is no longer manufactured in the UK (previous versions having been built at Dagenham until 2002), engines are: the EcoBoost line was developed at the company's R&D center in Essex and are built at the factory in Dunton, while its diesel engines were developed at Dagenham in East London. Even the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta ST is built in South Wales.

Continue reading Ford Fiesta becomes UK all-time best seller

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2015 Toyota Yaris to start at $14,845* and look like this

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Hatchbacks, Toyota, Design/Style

2015 Toyota Yaris

Toyota released a new Yaris in Europe and its Vitz clone in Japan a few months ago, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would launch the new hatchback here in North America. And that time has come.

The new, more distinctive 2015 Yaris features far more aggressive exterior styling, a look set apart by that large lower air dam and X-motif front end. It rides on a retuned suspension hooked up to an altogether more rigid chassis, and Toyota promises it will ride more quietly and comfortably than the model it replaces. Inside the new model has additional soft-touch materials in a more comfortable cabin equipped with everything from a 6.1-inch touchscreen display to nine airbags.

The 2015 Yaris comes in both three- and five-door bodystyles, and three trim levels that seek to eliminate the need for options packages. In fact the only option to speak of is a dealer-installed nav system. Power comes from a modest 1.5-liter four with variable valve timing, dual overhead cams and sixteen valves, sending 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

For all the updates, Toyota has only increased pricing by two or three percent (amounting to a few hundred bucks), with the 2015's MSRP ranging from $14,825 for a three-door, manual-transmission Yaris L to $17,620 for five-door, automatic Yaris SE (*before $825 destination charge). Scope out all the details and pricing in the press release below.

Continue reading 2015 Toyota Yaris to start at $14,845* and look like this

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Kia recalls over 50k new Soul compacts over steering issue

07/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Wagons/Estates, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Hatchbacks, Kia

2014 Kia Soul

Kia is recalling certain 2014 models of its adorable Soul due to a bad adhesive used in the steering system. According to the bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the "thread-locking adhesive" that attaches the plug between the pinion gear and steering gear assembly could come loose.

Should that happen, the condition could lead to a "loss of steering," which, of course increases the likelihood of a crash. The 51,641 affected cars were built between July 21, 2013 and January 17, 2014. There have been no reported accidents, let alone injuries or deaths due to this issue.

Kia is in the process of notifying owners of the affected vehicles as well as dealers in possession of the faulty Souls.

Scroll down for the official bulletin from NHTSA.

Continue reading Kia recalls over 50k new Soul compacts over steering issue

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2016 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos] [UPDATE]

07/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Paris Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Mazda

2015 Mazda2

Small cars may be big business, but the world's automakers don't seem to be in any particular rush to keep them fresh. The new Smart Fortwo unveiled yesterday replaces a model that's already been around for seven years, one based on a structure dating back to the late '90s. The new Opel Corsa revealed just last week replaces a model that had been around for eight years. And the Mazda2 has been on the market in its current form for seven years now, but not for much longer, because Mazda has finally revealed its successor.

Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this October, the new Mazda2 follows the stylistic lead of this year's Hazumi concept remarkably close, from the sharply creased front end right down to the wheel design - bringing the supermini hatchback in line with the KODO design language that characterizes its bigger siblings: the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

Although details released thus far are rather limited, and power will vary from one market to another, engine options center around a 1.5-liter four in both gasoline and diesel versions, joining the manual and automatic transmissions and the chassis itself under Mazda's Skyactiv technology umbrella. We wouldn't expect the diesel version to make it across the Pacific (or across the border from the plant that will build it alongside a new Toyota hatch in Mexico), but rumors have surfaced of a potential rotary hybrid. The new 2 will also include the company's MZD connectivity suite and i-Activsense safety technology.

Also sold as the Demio in certain regions (like the Japanese Domestic Market), the new Mazda2 represents a vital product for Mazda, which has sold over 2.4 million of them since the model line's introduction 1996. Production has already begun at Mazda's plant in Hofu near Hiroshima, Japan. Scope out the videos and press release below for a closer look.

UPDATE: We've updated this story with the US market press release, below, which confirms that the Mazda2 will be a 2016 model when it goes on sale here. A handful of new images have been added to the gallery above, as well.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos] [UPDATE]

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2015 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos]

07/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Paris Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Mazda

2015 Mazda2

Small cars may be big business, but the world's automakers don't seem to be in any particular rush to keep them fresh. The new Smart Fortwo unveiled yesterday replaces a model that's already been around for seven years, and based on a structure dating back to the late '90s. The new Opel Corsa revealed just last week replaces a model that had been around for eight years. And the Mazda2 has been on the market in its current form for seven years now, but not for much longer because Mazda has finally revealed its successor.

Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this October, the new Mazda2 follows the stylistic lead of the Hazumi concept remarkably close, from the sharply creased front end right down to the wheel design - bringing the supermini hatchback in line with the KODO design language that characterizes its bigger siblings: the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

Although details released thus far are rather limited, and power will vary from one market to another, engine options center around a 1.5-liter four in both gasoline and diesel versions, joining the manual and automatic transmissions and the chassis itself under Mazda's Skyactiv technology umbrella. We wouldn't expect the diesel version to make it across the Pacific (or across the border from the plant that will build it alongside a new Toyota hatch in Mexico), but rumors have surfaced of a potential rotary hybrid. The new 2 will also include the company's MZD connectivity suite and i-Activsense safety technology.

Also sold as the Demio in certain regions (like the Japanese Domestic Market), the new Mazda2 represents a vital product for Mazda, which has sold over 2.4 million of them since the model line's introduction 1996. Production has already begun at Mazda's plant in Hofu near Hiroshima, Japan. Scope out the videos and press release below for a closer look.

Continue reading 2015 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos]

Read more..

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