Automotive News - May 2019

Volkswagen previews system using holographic audio controls

Volkswagen has unveiled a system that uses holograms to control a car’s audio system. The system was previewed at the annual Wörthersee event in Austria this week. For the moment this is strictly an early prototype, but it could revolutionize the way we control our in-vehicle sound systems.

Cadillac Unveils CT4-V and CT5-V Performance Sedans

GM’s luxury division Cadillac unveils the CT4-V and CT5-V performance sedans at a special event in Detroit. For the former it’s the first appearance of the model in any form; the presentation of the regular CT4 should happen next month.

2020 Lexus RX First Encounter: Tightening the Bolts

Lexus presented its updated 2020 Lexus RX SUV, including a hybrid version, and was at the launch for the reveal. The best-selling Lexus model gets some styling tweaks and tech updates, as well as two electric motors in the h version. But for when the push to true electrification?

2019 Jaguar I-PACE Review: The One They’re All Talking About

We test drive a Jag like no other, at least there hasn’t been one like this until now. The all-electric 2019 Jaguar I-PACE and its (official) 375-km range deliver an unquestioningly exhilarating drive and stunning good looks that make for a real head-turner of a car.

A Beauty Makeover for the 2020 BMW X1

Midway through its current generation, the BMW X1 SUV gets some esthetic updates for the 2020 model-year. Like other new products from the German automaker, the X1 notably gets a mote imposing front grille.

2019 Mini Countryman JCW Review: The Maxi MINI

This year MINI rolls out the 2019 Countryman as a more spacious and adventurous creature than before. We put to the test the 2019 MINI Countryman John Cooper Works edition, beautified with the optional Midnight Black package.

Nissan Not Opposed to an FCA-Renault Merger

Current Renault partner Nissan is, according to an internal source at the Japanese company, not opposed to an FCA-Renault merger. Automotive News is reporting that if the FCA offer to the French auto group is accepted, Nissan would be invited to participate.

Acura Said to Be Working on 650-hp NSX Type R Variant

Speculation is that Acura might be looking to boost the popularity of its NSX supercar with the addition of a Type R variant. For the moment the company is confirming nothing of this, but rumours point to an output of 650 hp – and a price tag of $200,000 USD.

2019 MINI Cooper 3-Door Review: Back to Basics

The 2019 MINI Cooper 3-door is a product to simple of conception and execution that we’re apt to forgive the car its faults and prefer it over many a more complex machine. The MINI is also highly personalizable, but is that really necessary to appreciate its qualities?

Another Name on the Way Back? Acura Registers the Legend Name

Acura has filed to trademark the Legend name with the European patent office. News of this has led to rumours flying in several different directions at once, including that the Precision concept that will debut at the next Concours d’élégance in Pebble Beach could eventually be marketed under the name.

FCA Offers Renault Alliance, Possible Merger

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) yesterday submitted an offer of alliance with the French Renault Group, on that could lead to a full merger. Renault has agreed to study the offer and make public its decision in short order.

Sustainable Automotive Design According to BMW: Respectful luxury

During the C2 Montreal conference this past week, Daniela Bohlinger, Director of Sustainable Design at BMW, spoke about the concept of sustainable design in the automotive sphere. In her view, BMW will – must - fully integrate the concept of respectful luxury in the coming years.

Towards a Renault–FCA alliance?

Renault and FCA are preparing to announce a major alliance as soon as today, in a move that could be setting the table for a full merger. A meeting of officials from both companies is set for Monday morning at Renault HQ in France. An announcement could come as soon as today.

Seven New SUV Variants From Audi by the End of 2019

Audi says it plans to introduce seven new variants of existing SUVs before the end of 2019. The news comes hard on the heels of the company’s announcement that it’s axing the TT roadster. The times, they are a changin’…

Mitsubishi to Grow its Outlander and Shrink its RVR

To better differentiate its SUV models, Mitsubishi plans to make its Outlander bigger and its RVR smaller. The automaker acknowledges that the similarity between the current utility models on its roster is too great, and will work to change that starting next year.

2019 Honda Insight Review: Knowing How to Please

Honda understood that it couldn’t simply count on great fuel-consumption numbers and the eco-consciousness of buyers to ensure the success of the Insight’s third generation. The 2019 edition is thus an elegant, well-equipped and practical sedan.

Honda Recalls 137,000 2019 CR-V Models Over Airbag Issue

Honda has announced a recall of 137,000 2019 CR-V SUVs in the U.S., Canada and South Korea due to a defective component in the driver’s side airbag. Metal burrs inside the steering wheel mechanism can cause the wiring harness of the airbag to degrade, which could potentially cause the airbag to deploy on its own.

Comparison: 2019 Ford F-150 vs 2019 RAM 1500

How to choose between the 2019 Ford F-150 and the 2019 RAM 1500? stacks up the king of the pickups against a serious pretender to the throne. A war to end all wars, that has no end in sight…

Silverado, Sierra Turbodiesel Models Delayed Until 2020

A delay in getting certification from the EPA means that GM has to delay launch of the turbodiesel-engine versions of its Silverado and Sierra trucks. Approval should come soon, but the delay is enough that the newly developed engine won’t debut until the 2020 model-year.

Land Rover Unveils the 2020 Discovery Sport

Land Rover has unveiled the revised new 2020 Discovery Sport SUV. The British automaker’s compact SUV gets an evolutive rather than a radical makeover, but it will be offered in a hybrid-powered version.

Coming to Dealerships Near You: Ever More Expensive Pickups

Prices of full-size pickup trucks –and automakers’ profit margins on them - continue to climb in North America. Is there an end in sight? Some analysts think there is still some room for them to rise further before consumers decide they won’t go any further and start to look elsewhere.

Ford Cutting 7,000 Jobs Worldwide

Ford has announced the elimination of 7,000 jobs around the world. The move is part of the company’s restructuring plan designed to cut costs and save the company around $25 billion. The job eliminations will result in annual savings of $600 million USD.

$343,000 for a Book Celebrating 100 Years of Bentley

Bentley has announced pricing for the three versions of a limited edition book to help celebrate its 100 years of existence. The cheapest version of the book will set buyers back the equivalent of $5,000 CAD, while the exclusive top-end book will go for almost $350,000 CAD.

Honda Presents Passport Fitted for Overland Adventures

Honda used the occasion of the 2019 Overland Expo West event to unveil a version of its Passport SUV fitted for backcountry camping. The Japanese automaker teamed with the Jsport company to roll out specially modified editions of the Passport and Ridgeline models.

California Raises Possibility of Banning Combustion-Engine Cars

As the impasse in negotiations between Washington and California regarding fuel emissions standard continues, the state says it might look at eventually banning internal-combustion engines. This is according to Mary Nichols, president of the California Air Resources Board.

Top 10 Used Green Cars Available at Under $15,000

Here’s a practical and enticing list of 10 used green car models that can be had for under $15,000 on the Canadian pre-owned vehicle market. Hesitant to fork over the big bucks for a new green car like a hybrid or all-electric vehicle? Here are some great alternatives!

Comparison: 2019 Acura RDX vs 2019 Cadillac XT4

How to choose between the 2019 Acura RDX and the 2019 Cadillac XT4? compares a veteran and a rookie, the first well-implanted in the luxury compact SUV segment, the other just trying to carve out a space of itself.

Cadillac Set to Present its New CT4-V and CT5-V

GM’s luxury division is set to unveil two new performance cars, the Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V, at the end of this month. In the case of the CT4, it means the V performance version launches prior to the regular edition.

Kia Teases Two Images of its Upcoming Global Small SUV

Kia will be introducing later this year a new small SUV destined for all global markets, and to help stir up interest in the model, the Korean automaker has released two teaser images. Meet the front and back ends of the first all-markets small SUV from Kia.

Ford Adds 270,000 Vehicles to Existing Recall

Ford has announced it is adding 270,000 Fusion vehicles to an existing recall affecting 2013-2016 Fusion and 2013-2014 Escape models. A problem with a bushing can lead to the gear shifter cable detaching from the transmission and the vehicle rolling away even shifted into park.

Modifying Your Car: Do You Have to Inform Your Insurance Company?

There are a number of very common modifications made by vehicle owners who want to give their ride a personal touch. If you’re looking to get new wheels, add a spoiler or get tinted windows, it’s worth checking to see how it might affect your insurance contract and premiums.

Gas Prices: 47% of Canadians Rethinking Summer Vacation Plans

An Ipsos survey carried out for Toyota reveals that higher gas prices are making close to half of Canadians consider cancelling their plans for a summer road trip. Nearly 40% also say they are mulling buying an electrified vehicle as a result of the increased pain at the pump.

Illinois Considering $1,000 Annual Fee for EV Owners

The state of Illinois is considering implementing a $1,000 annual registration fee charged to owners of electric vehicles. The goal of the fee would be to compensate for the anticipated loss of revenue from the sale of gasoline (which goes for road infrastructure, among other things).

First Details Emerge Regarding the 2021 Range Rover

The first details regarding the next-gen 2021 Range Rover are out. As expected, electrification is front and centre in Land Rover’s plans for the model, which will come in plug-in hybrid and all-electric configurations. All of it more upscale than ever…

A BMW Pickup? The Idea Is Dead and Buried

BMW has confirmed that it has absolutely no intention of following the lead of German rival Mercedes-Benz in producing a pickup model. The Munich-based automaker says it doesn’t have the expertise to venture into that territory and doesn’t want to borrow another company’s product to do so.

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 First Drive

An exceptional car with high-level performance capabilities, the 2019 GT350 further stretches the limits of a road-capable car and allows owners to practice the driving arts on the track. Looking for a strictly on-road ride? This will leave you frustrated…

Volkswagen Unveils Strategy For Recycling EV batteries

The Volkswagen Group has laid out its strategy for recycling EV batteries in the coming years. The company has set a goal of producing one million electric vehicles annually by 2025, and it hopes to eventually recycle up to 97% of EV batteries’ components.

Mazda Developing Two New Inline-Six Engines

Mazda is in the process of developing two new straight-six engines, one of them diesel-powered. Details are scarce for the moment, but it’s clear that the automaker is pushing to develop more upscale products to boost its portfolio.

Kia Soul EV launch delayed until 2020 in the U.S.

Kia has confirmed it is pushing back the commercial launch of its new Kia Soul EV until 2020 in the U.S. The company says strong demand in Europe has meant the company needs to focus first on filling orders there if it wants to meet stricter environmental norms in place on that continent.

Comparison: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer vs 2019 Honda Passport

How to choose between the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer and the 2019 Honda Passport? compares two flaming-new SUVs on the hunt for converts ready to switch from their car or their competing brand in a newish sub-segment. flambants neufs qui sont à la chasse de convertis prêts à délaisser leur marque ou leur berline actuelle.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Review: Efficient People Mover

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas, an efficient, elegant people-mover able to take in 6 or 7 passengers in comfort. Just pay no mind to the plastic around you. If you want AWD, you’ll have to go for the bigger engine, and that will cost you at the pump.

One Out of 6 American Consumers Ready to Consider an EV

A new AAA study reveals that one out of six American consumers is ready to consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase. It’s a low ratio that’s juxtaposes oddly with the influx of EVs about to enter the market in the next year or two.

Honda Will Offer Fewer Variants to Save on Costs, Pay for EV Development

Consumers will get access to fewer trims of Honda models in the coming years. Honda laid out details of its cost-efficiency plan and electrification strategy, and confirmed that one way it will reduce expenses – and pay for its electrification plan - is to reduce the number of variants it offers around the world.

It’s a Wrap for BMW’s 3 Series Gran Turismo

BMW has confirmed that it won’t renew the 3 Series Gran Turismo, a model that doesn’t sell and is no longer a logical fit in the company’s lineup. After a period of expansion, the house-cleaning of the automaker’s product range continues.

The Audi A4 Turns 25: Silver is Golden

Audi’s A4 sedan is celebrating its 25th birthday this week. Over its lifespan, the popular model has sold more than 7.5 million units, including nearly 350,000 last year. Given we live in an age of SUVs and trucks, that last figure is almost more impressive than the first.

GM Canada, Unifor Announce Deal, Oshawa Plant Will Survive

GM’s Oshawa plant will continue to operate beyond December 2019. General Motors Canada and the Unifor trade union representing automotive workers announced an agreement that will see GM’s Oshawa assembly plant adapted to handle parts manufacturing and vehicle testing.

Volkswagen ID.3 Previewed Ahead Of Full Launch

As it gets ready to unveil its first all-electric model under the ID banner, Volkswagen confirms the Golf-sized car will carry the name of ID.3. The official premiere will take place at the IAA International motor show in Germany later this year.

Android Auto Getting Simplified New Interface

Google previews the simplified new interface and improvements it’s giving its Android Auto interface. Set to debut this summer, the new version will be more convivial for users, its creator promises.

Volkswagen Killing the Golf Base Version in U.S.

Volkswagen appear set to kill off the regular Golf and the Sportwagen version in the U.S. when it renews the model next year. The company is responding to weak sales in that market compared to the GTI and R variants, which will become the only variants offered. However, the base-model Golf might live on in Canada.

2019 Fiat Abarth 124 and Abarth 500 On-Track Review

Fiat launched the 2019 versions of its Abarth 124 roadster and Abarth 500 city car at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Washington, and we were there to put them through their paces in a unique environment. For the pleasure of driving that’s not assisted or “autonomous”…

BMW Teases its Upcoming 8 Series Gran Coupe ahead of June Reveal

BMW has teased its new 8 Series Gran Coupe and confirmed that it will unveil it officially in Munich this coming June. From what we can see the model is better-proportioned than the 8 Series coupe, and the automaker is promising both a plug-in hybrid variant and an M performance version at some point.

RAM Midsize Pickup: FCA Still Facing Big Hurdles

FCA’s truck division is intent on producing a RAM midsize pickup. But the company acknowledges it continues to face hurdles in the development process. The main issue it faces has to do with production costs; a straight-ahead clone of the Jeep Gladiator would simply not be able to compete price-wise.

2019 Buick Envision Review: Hiding in the Grass

The middle child of Buick’s SUV lineup doesn’t have an easy time of it, struggling to draw attention in the popular compact SUV segment, and even with the Buick lineup itself versus the Small Encore and bigger Enclave. It deserves a closer look, however.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Improvements Include Fifth Seat

Toyota, all too aware its Prius Prime has underperformed compared to expectations, is bringing in some major changes for the 2020 edition. Chief among them is the configuration of the second row which brings the number of seats up from four to five.

More Changes for the Chevy Camaro in 2020

Lack of sales success brings changes: after getting some substantial revisions last year, the Chevrolet Camaro will get more tweaks for 2020. The company is hoping to kick-start things for a model that’s struggling against the likes of the Dodge Challenger, aging as that model is.

Nissan 370Z: Convertible Version Gone for 2020

Nissan has confirmed it will drop the convertible version of the Nissan Z for the 2020 model year. That leaves on the automaker’s roster an aging coupe version the future of which is more uncertain than ever.

2019 Dodge Durango Road Test: Just Enough to Hold On

It’s aging well, but it’s aging nonetheless. The Dodge Durango first appeared in 2011, and it’s expected the next generation is coming soon. In the meantime, the 2019 Durango SUV is back with five versions to choose from, and the option of getting a big fat V8 under the hood.

GM Confirms It Will Build an Electric Pickup

This week General Motors confirmed in a conference call with investors that it will build an electric pickup. The new was delivered by GM CEO Mary Barra, who declined to provide a timeline however. A rumour thus becomes fact…

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