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The News for April 11th, 2014

Greg Kachadurian April 11, 2014 The News! 48 Comments

2015_Lexus_NX_200t_F_SPORT_003

Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:  

  • Lexus makes first compact crossover official by giving it a huge grille

  • Ford shows us the refreshed 2015 Focus sedan, confirms new ST is on the way

  • Mercedes-Benz introduces updated SL with more power and some other things

  • Bentley to introduce plug-in hybrid concept in world’s most polluted city

  • Kia teases the Sedona and it looks kind of awesome

  • Dodge teases revamped Charger, Challenger, and something awesome

 

2015 Lexus NX

2015_Lexus_NX_200t_F_SPORT_005

You can call it a lot of things, but you can’t call it boring. After photos of the Lexus NX, their new luxury compact crossover, leaked online Lexus said “screw it” and released photos of their own along with enough information to hold us over till the actual world debut takes place at the Beijing auto show nine days from now and it’s first appearance in the western world at the New York auto show. The NX 200, NX 200t, and NX300h will start entering showrooms by December of this year and will take the fight directly to the likes of the BMW X1, Audi Q3, or anyone else who has already made one of these things.

There are a couple of firsts that the Lexus NX brings to the brand including the obvious first attempt at a luxury compact crossover, which comes at a time when most if not all of their direct competitors already have theirs on sale or preparing to be. To compete in this increasingly competitive segment, Lexus also introduced another first with the NX. When the Lexus NX releases it will be the first turbocharged production car in the company’s lineup as the NX 200t which comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline power plant. Natural aspiration isn’t dead yet though, as the entry-level NX 200 offers an engine without the snail on it. Also, because it’s Lexus, the NX will also launch with a hybrid version as the NX 300h. No word on power outputs or anything else like that yet.

2015_Lexus_NX_200t_F_SPORT_021

The exterior of the NX is as bold and striking as its siblings, characterized by the massive spindle grille, sporty low profile, muscular lines, and some “L’ shaped LED lights. Underneath the flared arches is room for either seventeen or eighteen inch wheels. The interior, which I guess they don’t want us interweb dwellers to see yet, is all Lexus even at the compact level. They say it’ll have hard metallic materials contrasted by premium soft materials (presumably where they should be) and will be loaded with whatever technology you’d need in a luxury compact crossover.

Since this all came out so early, Lexus has no word on pricing info yet. It slots in underneath the RX to be the new entry level crossover so at least we know it will start well under $40,000.

[Source: Lexus]

2015 Ford Focus Sedan

15FordFocus_04_HR

Ford is restyling the entire Focus lineup for the 2015 model year as evident by the updated Focus hatchback we saw revealed back in March. This time, it’s the 2015 Focus sedan and Focus Electric’s turn. These two new designs will be officially revealed at the New York Auto Show along with the hatchback variant. Ford says the revamped Focus ST will be revealed later this year.

The styling updates for the Focus four-door sedan are pretty similar to what we already saw on the five-door hatchback…. actually, they’re identical. Ford gave the Focus a nose inspired by its older brother, the Fusion, along with a restyled hood, new LED lighting elements, and a restyled trunk lid. The interior receives minor updates to make it more intuitive and upscale with things like new materials and colors, satin chrome trim, an available heated steering wheel, and adjustable cup holders(!!!).

15FordFocus_07_HR

For 2015, Ford is also adding the SE Sport Package which adds new body treatments, paddle shifters on the automatic, a revised touring suspension, and seventeen inch gloss black aluminum wheels. New standard technology includes a back-up camera (which will be standard on all cars by 2018 anyway) which appears on a 4.2-inch or eight-inch screen, depending on the package. Available tech includes Blind Spot Information System and lane-keep assist.

On a related note, the Ford Focus retained its title as the world’s best-selling car for 2013 with 1,097,618 cars sold, eight percent more than in 2012 when it first won the title.

[Source: Ford]

Mercedes-Benz SL400

SL400tease

This generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL has been on sale for a few years now but it’s already due for a few minor enhancements and other updates, the biggest of which is this, the SL400.

Replacing the SL350, the SL400 utilizes a fairly new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 328 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. Compare that to the SL350’s 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque and it won’t be so hard to say goodbye to the old naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a familiar seven-speed automatic transmission which allows it to hit 60 mph in a much-improved 5.2 seconds. Like all good things from Germany, the top speed is limited to 155.

Other than that bit of information and this one photo, that’s all we’ve got on this. More will be revealed later, probably at some big auto show or something.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz via ]

Bentley Hybrid Concept

BentleyHybrid

Bentley, like so many other manufacturers, is suddenly interested in plug-in hybrids and hopes to “introduce it to the luxury market”. I guess a Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid isn’t luxurious enough. Bentley’s first demonstration of this revolutionary technology is on the Mulsanne as the Bentley Hybrid Concept but will reportedly make its first production debut on their upcoming SUV by 2017.

Early figures suggest that this plug-in hybrid system can increase power by 25% while still providing the 70% reduced CO2 emissions you’d expect. By the time this technology his Bentley’s production line, the batteries will be able to provide all-electric driving for up to 50 kilometers or about 31 miles according to the Googles. Or for more spirited driving, battery power and gasoline power can unite as one and give you that power boost they’re talking about. Assuming it’s popular enough, Bentley has plans to make 90% of their production available with this plug-in hybrid system by the end of the decade.

The Bentley Hybrid Concept, their first major step in bringing cleaner, more efficient, and more responsible luxury to the market, will make its first public debut in the one place on earth that will appreciate it the most – Beijing.

[Source: Bentley]

2015 Kia Sedona

Kia 2014 NYIAS 2

Remember the Sedona? If you don’t, or cared not to, you might want to start. Kia has sent out this teaser image of the all-new 2015 Sedona midsize Multi-Purpose Vehicle which will be revealed fully next week at the New York auto show.

They claim this to be a game changer, a more sophisticated and purposeful MPV with more tech and safety features. Going off of this rather attractive silhouette alone, I have no reason to doubt that. The only specific information we know about this so far is that it will use a 3.3-liter GDI V6 and will have Kia’s new UVO infotainment and Telamatics system which provides several new “eServices” to make it the most useful MPV soon to be on the market.

We’ll be keeping our eyes on this one considering Kia’s recent habit of making fairly nice cars.

[Source: Kia]

Revamped Charger and Challenger inbound

chargerNYCtease

Dodge will be at the New York auto show next week with refreshed versions for two of their heavy-hitters. Exactly what they mean by refreshed is still under wraps, but they released two teaser images to get the interwebs buzzing.

This first one shows the 2015 Charger which appears to get a substantial face lift and special treatment to every body panel. From this angle it looks incredible mean, perhaps even meaner than the current Charger which says a lot. Meanwhile on the Challenger, a face lift as major as the Charger’s is unlikely but what we may get instead could be all the updates we need.

superbee

In the second teaser image, we see the Challenger’s gauge cluster with the recognizable Super Bee graphic proudly displayed on screen. Whatever comes to fruition out of this could be something much more powerful than the SRT model. It might even be the long-rumored introduction of the Hellcat, a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 which could produce as much as 640 horsepower. Or it could be an appearance package for the V6 model. Either way, there will be a lot of eyes on Dodge’s portion of the New York auto show floor next week, which is exactly what they need right now.

[Source Dodge via ]

  

 

  • Scandinavian Flick ★

    The Lexus Whale Shark CUV…

    <img src=";

    • Sjalabais

      Oh, man, agreed! If someone had asked me up to now what my first feeling concerning Lexus was, I'd quickly and doubtless say: "Respect".

      Now I just can’t tie any of my stellar reputation to that 14-year-old-boy-wargame-design, so effective immediately I will not have any opinion to voice on Lexus.

      • Van_Sarockin

        Really? I'd say Fancy Toyota. People who have them love them, but they make me sad.

        • Sjalabais

          Well, I have respect for a fancy Toyota. Consider how hard it appears to make thousand of parts work over hundreds of thousands of kilometres and several decades without much mechanical troubles. They manage that and I respect it. We own a Camry and would the steering tell anything about the road, and the transmission be a manual, I might just be able to "love" the thing, too.

          For proper soul balance, some old and awesome classic should grace the driveway, too.

    • GTXcellent

      I promised myself that I wouldn't be so negative in my comments and really try to accent positives from now on. Well, this new Lexus is certainly unique isn't it?

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        I honestly wasn't going to say anything either, cuz the negative back on the Lexus corporate grille has run its course. But then I noticed the fleshy colored area around the grille, and the curved bulging thing making it look even more like a gaping maw… It's like they fully embraced the look, and just said, fuck it, we're building a hungry hungry hippo!

        • Number_Six

          "Sire, thine NX art ready and thy servant hast gird face in preparation for the journey to Costco."
          <img src="; width="500" />

          • Heino

            + Eleventeen Billion

    • Seconds Saturdays tomorrow at Hanzels. Pass it along.

      • jeepjeff

        Do you have intel from Chris & Henry, or are we all just going to show up and party in the parking lot Hanzels or no? Flick & I are planning on showing up.

        • It will begin at 9, per email from Chris a while back. Also, empanadas will be sold out of a Citroen H-van.

          • jeepjeff

            See you tomorrow morning then! Empanadas for Breakfast!

            • SecondsSaturdays

              Empanadas fell through, never received a reply from them 🙁

              Mom's scones will be returning though. 🙂

              • jeepjeff

                Scones are always good too! The empenadas were just a bonus. 🙂

          • Scandinavian Flick ★

            So much win… Looking forward to it!

    • tonyola

      I see this myself….
      <img src="; width="400">

      • tonyola

        OK, that was supposed to be the Predator in full grimace. Bzzzt. This Lexus is ugly, no matter what.

  • Hmmm… that Sedona might be (gulp) good looking.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★

      Looks like someone Honda-ed a Flex. So… maybe…

      Semi-related: When did car companies start teaser-ing every redesign or new vehicle? I first started to notice this trend when there was about a month of trickled out Corolla teasers a while back. Um… It's a COROLLA! It's a completely entry level economy car. Not a brand new Supra.

      Maybe I missed the irony in that case. But it was weird. Then again, apparently they got my attention…

      • pj134

        There's a new Corolla?

        • Scandinavian Flick ★

          A new what?

          • pj134

            A wha huh?

            • Scandinavian Flick ★

              A what what in the… what…?

        • Devin

          You should always know what a new Corolla looks like so you know what to give a wide berth. At least that's the case here, where they're commonly driven well under the posted limit and constantly braking for squirrels and the wind.

          • pj134

            Pilots have been the bane of my existence lately.

      • Sjalabais

        You get that tickly feeling of a preview you were not supposed to get. Journalists jump on it, because "first" might just mean "first". Things don't drown in the wave of news from any given car show.

        Makes a lot of sense…

        The Kia is also the most interesting of the cars above, oddly. Can't wait for Jeff or Kamil to do burnouts in it.

        • Scandinavian Flick ★

          That's a really good point. It fosters that intrigue that builds interest. The problem I see, especially with bland cars, is that it desensitizes us to them. When everything is a teaser, it gets annoying.

          • Sjalabais

            I discarded my radio and TV 10+ years ago because of the annoying nature of the media. The internet is better at selective information, with all the issues that follow with tribalization. I honestly believe that brown wagons wait at the top of Mt. Cool.

            • Scandinavian Flick ★

              I wish I could completely unplug… I've long abandoned broadcast radio, and most of my very limited TV watching is through online streaming and Netflix. But I still get marketed to through one venue or another.

              • Sjalabais

                That might just be unavoidable. I am wholly dependent on unplugging regularly just for a couple of days. Two weeks ago I did so within cell phone coverage area and that alone was enough not to be able to fully recalibrate myself. I can't resist the screen and the options that come with it, so I get sucked out of the here and now into the digital realm, adding to a colossal amount of data that just gives me the chills.

                • Scandinavian Flick ★

                  Nice! That definitely sounds like a good idea… I could really use a break from the daily grind. It's amazing how dependent I have become on technology. It actually kinda gives me a sense of anxiety even thinking about being disconnected for any length of time… Which is sad, really… I need to give that a go.

                  • Sjalabais

                    Well, you've come far recognizing that anxiety, actually. A sleeping bag and a bag full of beer and steak is really all one needs to go up a mountain, at least in the summer. Map and compass are mandatory, too. I think I'll dig out a feature phone for my next trip, since my will is just not strong enough to resist the temptation that comes with full internet coverage.

      • when social media happened

        • Scandinavian Flick ★

          Ah yes, of course. That actually sums it all up perfectly.

    • pj134

      I need to start a minivan gang. I think I can get at least one other person in it but I might be setting my sights too high.

      • Sjalabais

        You might get up to six people in it without having to add another vehicle to the gang.

        /dust dry wit says good bye

  • skitter

    This has been the sort of week that makes the hybrid Bentley seem really profound. Bear with me. The Rolls-Royce 100EX, its silence, its grace, its pace, its majesty, was limited. And perhaps all the more alluring for it. Now, Bentley is taking a page from their book and will aim for half the range under the majesty of electric power, with the venerable V8 to ease range anxiety and charge times. Profound, and forehead-smackingly obvious. Yeah, it's been a long week. But that's still cool.

  • Devin

    When I see NX, I associate it more with this:

    <img src="; width="500">

    • Dave

      You are correct.

    • Van_Sarockin

      We should be so lucky.

  • faberferrum

    That Mercedes is the first good looking car I've seen from them in a long, long time.

  • Dave

    "You can call it a lot of things, but you can’t call it boring."
    You have underestimated my ability to be bored.

  • ..and, this just in: cars keep getting uglier…"

    • jeepjeff

      They'll get pretty again. Just wait for a little patina to show up.

  • Rod

    I know that a lot of people like the Lexus grille, but it reminds me of the high school friends who passed out at the party with their mouth hanging open. And I think the Lexus is about as attractive.
    As far as the new Dodge, I didn't see anything wrong with the current front clip, especially the Challenger. Time will tell, but, so far, this does not look like an improvement, to me. I wish the designers would have concentrated on building a two door Charger. It can't be that hard/expensive to do, can it?

  • Van_Sarockin

    Lexus – After years of unrelenting effort, they've discovered entire new Universes of ugly.

    Focus – Looks good, stylish update, dash doesn't look like a video game too much. Is it me, or has it grown?

    M-B SL – Let's just forget about the whole thing, OK?

    Hybrid Bentley – Cool. The rich should be footing the bill for new tech development. And it's not like anyone who drives these is all that focused on performance. Guess what everyone in Hollywood is going to be driving?

    Kia Sedona – I's almost forgotten about those. From the look of the Photo, Kia wants to keep it that way.

    Dodge – Sounds good. Just a little less cartoon retroness, please.

    Bonus: How 'bout those GM and Toyota recalls?

    • Rover1

      The best summation as usual!
      Thank you.

  • Rod

    If I may: As a guy who was a teen in the '60's, as well as a MOPAR fan, I love the return of the Scat Pack. A few of my friends who also prefer the brand agree with me that the cartoon tie in was, and is cool. What said "attitude" better that pulling up beside another car in your Road Runner, giving him a couple of "Meep, Meeps" with the horn, and triggering the Air Grabber scoop to open, displaying the shark's teeth decal? Playing on that nostalgia may just help them move a few new cars.
    Also, could you elaborate on what you don't care for about the SL? Just curious. I kinda like it.

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