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Automotive News - April 2015

2015 Toyota Yaris Hatchback SE

Toyota has given the Yaris Hatchback a mid-cycle makeover for the 2015 model year. Now filled with fresh details, this dependable subcompact shines. 2015 Toyota Yaris Hatchback SE is the top of the line trim level for the car, which is a Canadian favourite. For 2015, it's received improvements to it's suspension, steering and handling, as well as new standard features, and increased content. “No stripped-down subcompacts here” was how a press release from Toyota began. The Yaris Hatchback is looking to reclaim it's market share in Canada, which has recently been trod upon by the likes of the $9.98 Nissan Micra and super cheap Mitsubishi Mirage. Little cars are popular in Canada, especially in the province of Quebec where 65 percent of Canadian Yaris' are sold, and so the market is surprisingly competitive. Toyota, preferring to compete on quality rather than price, is hoping to bypass the price wars by offering significant levels of quality and content, for a higher, though reasonable, price. One interesting new feature on the Yaris is a unique, single-bladed wiper system. Also added for 2015 is a 6.1-inch Display Audio System.

Abandoned Luxury Cars Becoming A Problem

While other cities suffer from high crime rates, or a lack of affordable housing, Dubai, the capital of all that is golden, is suffering the ultimate first world problem. It's streets are becoming strewn with abandoned luxury cars. Yes, with more than 3000 of them discovered in 2011, abandoned luxury cars are becoming a problem in Dubai. Luxury cars are everywhere in Dubai, and throughout the United Arab Emirates. All that oil money must be spent, and often it is blown on the latest and greatest high-end super cars. However, even oil-rich Dubai is not immune from the markets, or the global economic crisis. Believe it or not, many in Dubai have fallen on hard times. In particular, newly wealthy ex-pats, often British have got caught up in the extravagant lifestyle of the rich Middle East states, and suffered when markets crashed. High end sports cars are found with increasing regularity, covered in thick layers of dust at airport parking lots, or even on city streets. Many of these are some of the finest automobiles ever made. When wiped out by Dubai's own financial crisis, both locals and expatriates fled Dubai in a hurry, to avoid crippling debts, often abandoning their luxury super cars at the airport, as they skipped town, never to return. In the Middle East, having unpaid debts or having a cheque returned as NSF is a criminal offence. There are no bankruptcy laws in the UAE, so there is no protection for those who fall into debt, even accidentally. There have even been instances of foreigners being forbidden to leave the country after bouncing a cheque or missing a credit card payment.

640 Horsepower 2016 Cadillac CTS-V

Is Cadillac serious about taking on the Germans? It is not out of the question, after witnessing the 640 horsepower 2016 Cadillac CTS-V. It was not so long ago that generous horsepower was a luxury found only in those cars at the top of the ladder. Exotic super cars and the like. Nowadays, thanks to a competitive automotive industry and significant R&D, nearly anyone can own a car with more than 200 horses, and 500 horsepower is becoming downright common. The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is benefiting from it's cousin, the Corvette Z06. The sporty beast of a Z06 is sharing it's LT4 V8 engine, though slightly tuned down. In the Z06, this engine delivers 650 hp, only 10 hp more than what the CTS-V will achieve. General Motors adds that it should take about 3.7 seconds for the car to go from 0 to 60 mph, reaching a top speed of 200 miles per hour. This makes the 640 horsepower Cadillac CTS-V one of the most powerful production sedans in the world. It beats the BMW M5 by 80 hp, the Mercedes E63 AMG by 63 and the previous model of the CTS-V by 84 horses. The only real rival left is the Dodge Charger Hellcat and it's eye watering 707 horsepower. Mind you, it's still a Dodge, and not a Cadillac. Prestige plus power will win every time.

Ford seeks trademark for Ecobeast

In a peek behind the curtain of what may be to come from Ford, we have learned that the Ford Motor Co. has filed to register the term "Ecobeast" as a trademark. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, the automaker filed the second of two applications on December 22, 2014. The most recent application specifies that the mark is to be used for auto engines and automobiles. An earlier application, filed on February 26, is so that the term can be used with automobile-related decals, graphics and bumper stickers. Ford, the second largest U.S. automaker has been repeatedly praised for it's successful series of Ecoboost gasoline engines. The 1-litre Ecoboost engine has won numerous awards throughout recent years, including Engine of the Year. While automakers file trademarks left and right, sometimes they are never used. Sometimes they are merely registered to keep others from getting their hands on them. It probably would not be good for Ford if, say, GM started using the Ecobeast name. In this case, the Ecobeast trademark will likely be put to good use.

Acura NSX Supercar

Acura is set to debut it's NSX supercar at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. This is no mere concept car, it's a production version. The original NSX, created in 1991 and discontinued in 2005 is the inspiration for the new model, set to become the brand's halo car. Acura has high hopes that the NSX will breathe some new life into the brand, and boost car sales as it takes on the Audi R8 and Porsche 911. Acura car sales are not currently keeping up with the market, which has grown 5.5 percent this year. The company is doing much better with their light trucks, up 13 percent this year. “The next-generation NSX will deliver a 'new sports experience' true to its heritage and to the supercar concept that originally gave rise to the name NSX,” said Mike Accavitti, Acura division senior vice president and general manager, in a statement. “The NSX will serve as the ultimate expression of Acura performance that is fuelling a re-energized brand.”

Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition

Over fifty years ago, Pirelli became the official tire supplier to Ferruccio Lamborghini's fledging auto making business. His new line of exotic sports cars made to rival Ferrari needed tires, and ever since then, in 1963, Lamborghini wheels have been wrapped in Pirelli rubber. Celebrating this half-century long collaboration between the two Italian brands, Lamborghini has produced the Aventador LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition. Arriving this summer, the limited edition Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition is now available for order, in a choice of coupe or roadster body format. It's underpinnings are derived from the standard all-wheel drive Aventador, complete with it's V12, 700 horsepower engine, carbon fibre monocoque chassis and single-clutch transmission. This supercar clears the 0-62 mph race in a neck snapping 2.9 seconds, reaching a top speed of over 217 mph or 349 kph. Complete with several unique design touches, the LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition comes in two custom colour schemes. One has glossy black upper parts and air intakes, contrasting with four matte paint finishes for the remainder of the exterior- Bianco Canopus, Grigio Adamas, Grigio Titans and Nero Nemesis. The other paints the roof, pillars, rear view mirrors, engine hood, and the front, side, rear and moving air intakes in matte black, while contrasting the rest of the body in a choice of six glossy finishes- Grigio Ater, Bianco Isis, Giallo Spica, Rosso Mars, Grigio Liqueo or Nero Aldebaran. In true Pirelli fashion, Pirelli detailing is evident throughout the car, as a thin red stripe runs along the engine hood and roof, the outer profiles of the air intakes and the rear view mirrors.

The Safest Small Cars Of 2015

Small cars are cheap, nimble and great on gas. They are not necessarily always the safest vehicles on the road, however, as mass tends to win in a collision. Manufacturers of small cars need to work extra hard to make their little vehicles safe, and to reduce the risk of harm to their occupants. Even the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recognizes the challenge. On their website, they say: “Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones.”... “Thus, a small car that’s a TOP SAFETY PICK+ or TOP SAFETY PICK doesn’t necessarily afford more protection than a bigger car that doesn’t earn the award.” If that doesn't make you think twice about a small car, nothing will. Still, some small cars are safer than others. Below are the only 2015 model small cars to win an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ designation. The 2015 Honda Fit is one of only two mini cars on the road to have earned a Top Safety Pick designation. While it struggled to earn an "Acceptable" rating in the difficult small overlap front test, the Fit earned the highest possible rating in head restraint and seats, side, roof strength, and moderate overlap front tests. Honda has demonstrated a commitment to improving things, after receiving only a "Poor" rating in 2013.

Jaguar C-X75 Finally Arrives

We have all heard about the newest set of wheels offered to James Bond, for the upcoming movie SPECTRE. Once again, it is an Aston Martin model, only this time it is one made specifically for the movie and will not be available for sale. Not to be outdone, the movie's villain in the next chapter of Ian Fleming's franchise will also drive a car that we can't get our hands on- the Jaguar C-X75. Jaguar has been teasing us with the C-X75 for years now. The concept was displayed in 2010 at the Paris Motor Show. It was a hybrid-electric, two-seater that produced an amazing 778 horsepower thanks to a collection of four electric motors, one driving each wheel. Powering these wheels were batteries that were recharged on the fly by two diesel micro gas turbines. These turbines could extend the car's range as far as 900 km. At the time it was considered game changing technology and well heeled Jag fans could not wait to get their hands on it. The following year, Jaguar announced plans to build 250 of the C-X75, priced at well over a million dollars in partnership with Formula One team Williams F1. Then Jaguar pulled the rug out from under the project, saying that due to the ongoing economic crisis, a million dollar plus car might not be such a good idea after all.

2016 Audi Q7

Audi and parent company Volkswagen have been burning up auto shows lately on their quest to become the number one automaker in the world. At each show, the company raises the bar slightly higher, and the upcoming North American auto shows are no exception. The new Audi Q7 is about to be unveiled at the Detroit auto show, and it is going to have a lot of surprises. The 2016 is definitely an improvement on the 2015. It is lighter, more powerful, and definitely more efficient thanks to a plug-in diesel hybrid variant. It weighs 717 pounds less than the 2015 thanks to the use of some carbon fibre, aluminum and high-strength steel; and remains the roomiest in it's class. Depending on the engine, it will be either 28 percent more efficient, as in the TFSI, or 23 percent more efficient, as in the TDI model. The 2016 Audi Q7 is also going to be the most powerful four-wheel drive SUV available. The 3.0-litre TFSI delivers a healthy 328 horsepower, and the 3.0-litre TDI brings 268 hp to the table. Not impressed? Try the 500 lb-ft of torque produced by the plug-in diesel hybrid version. Yes, we used 500 pounds of torque in the same sentence as the words plug-in hybrid. The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro will follow soon after, bringing with it 369 horses and 516 lb-ft of torque from the two motors. It will be four-wheel drive, and achieve an astounding 138 miles per gallon with a 35 mile range.

2015 North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists Named

It's that time of year again, the one when the best vehicles of the year are announced. There are several awards granted each year, but the North American Car and Truck of the Year is one of the most important and prestigious awards given. The makers of the winning vehicle can go on to enjoy astronomical sales thanks to a boost in consumer confidence, and owners can take a little more pride in their vehicle. The winners of the 2015 North American Car and Truck of the Year award will be announced at a press conference on January 12, at the Detroit auto show. In the auto category, the Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis and the Volkswagen Golf are all vying to top spot. The Golf entry includes three models: the TSI, TDI and GTI. In the truck/utility category, the three finalists are the Chevy Colorado, Ford F-150 and the Lincoln MKC.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Motor Trend's Car of the Year

You are going to be hearing a lot about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf during the next few months. This is the time of year when iconic automotive organizations, magazines and experts bestow their awards on the best cars of the year. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is one of three finalists for the 2015 North American Car of the Year award, up against the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford Mustang. While at first glance, it might seem that winning is a long shot, consider that the Golf GTI has already been declared Motor Trend Magazine's Car of the Year, and even Yahoo's Car of the Year. Perhaps it is time for a closer look. It has been 30 years since the Golf won Motor Trend's top nod. At that time, it fell into the domestic category, since it was manufactured in Pennsylvania. This year, it was nearly unanimously chosen by judges after displaying a strong performance in each of their six categories: advancement in design, efficiency, engineering excellence, performance of intended function, safety, and value. Motor Trend calls the 2015 Volkswagen Golf a "jackrabbit of all trades."On the design front, the 2015 Golf is not fancy, but it has definitely grown sleeker and sportier than it's predecessor. Visually, it appeals to both the young and old, a rare accomplishment in automotive. Inside, attention to detail and refinement are immediately evident.

Great Apps For Drivers And Passengers

Your app store isn't just about games and gizmos. There are some seriously good apps for drivers and passengers, apps that can definitely make your life easier. From mapping to taxi services, they span far and wide. Here are a few handy apps that you might consider trying. The Openbay app allows users to type in their automotive problem, and receive quotes from nearby garages bidding on the job. It's perfect for price shopping while you sit in the garage's waiting room. It even lets you pay through the app, with the ability to cap the amount charged to your card; preventing those unexpected surcharges some mechanics are famous for. Not actually a car owner? Or need a different one for the weekend? Check out Zipcar and rent vehicles by the day or even by the hour. The app will direct you to your rental, which is usually conveniently parked right in your neighbourhood. Other companies are jumping into the market, but Zipcar is said to be the easiest to use. For those who obsess over numbers, check out Fuelly. It will calculate your fuel economy, and how much money you've stuffed into your tank.

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