Driving around the streets of London and Geneva over the last couple of days, I have noticed a conspicuous absence of Infiniti and Acura models. The premium brands of (respectively) Nissan and Honda are virtually unknown in Western European countries, where they are currently unavailable. This is about to change, however, as Nissan prepares to use this week's Geneva auto show to launch the first Infiniti models for the European market. According to the Financial Times, Infiniti has "Europeanised" its lineup (smaller engines, diesel options), and will launch with four models, including a brand-new FX crossover SUV, … Read more
Honda announced it will unveil a new global hybrid car at the 2008 Paris Auto Show, which will launch in 2009 along with another hybrid based on the CR-Z concept. Both cars will be produced as hybrid models without a gas-only counterpart, similar to Toyota's Prius. These hybrids are part of Honda's strategy to sell 400,000 hybrids per year by 2011. The new global hybrid will launch in Europe first, then come to North America. Both hybrids will use updated versions of Honda's integrated motor assist (IMA) mild hybrid system, currently used in the Honda Civic … Read more
We're packing our bags for the Geneva auto show with high expectations. Europe's annual automotive jamboree is usually chock full with inventive concepts and new model debuts, but this year's show promises to be bigger than ever. We've already got word on more than 30 new car unveils and at least a dozen design concepts--and they're just the ones we know about in advance. From Maserati's Gran Turismo S to soft-top versions of the Fiat 500 and BMW M3 to the subaquatic Rinspeed sQuba, our preview slide show provides just a taste of what'… Read more
The Honda Fit hasn't been around for more than a couple of years, but Honda is already announcing an update. The 2009 model, showing some distinct styling changes, will be unveiled at the New York auto show. We got to see this new Honda Fit at the Tokyo auto show last year, and didn't find the changes very groundbreaking. We recently published a review of the 2008 Honda Fit, giving us some recent experience to draw from when looking at the new design. The rear appears slightly curvier, and the whole car seems a bit longer. At the … Read more
Mercedes-Benz is apparently planning to use next week's Geneva auto show to unveil two new fuel-efficient versions of the C-Class sedan in the first example of a new line of "eco variants" of its main model lineup. According to Just Auto, Mercedes is planning to roll the strategy out to 20 other models over the course of the next year. BMW is also expected to launch a green concept car at the Geneva show. Both luxury German automakers are likely to be among the hardest hit by new European Commission legislation for stricter emissions and fuel efficiency … Read more
Acura has lifted the veil a bit higher on its forthcoming redesigned TSX sedan, which is set to debut at next month's New York auto show. The updated model will get a host of Acura's most advanced technology features, including the availability of a navigation system with real-time traffic, and the AcuraLink weather system, both of which will also come to the 2009 RL. Also migrating down the Acura model lineup is the ELS/Panasonic surround sound audio system, which we saw in the Acura RDX and MDX SUVs. In the TSX, the ELS system will be available … Read more
The culmination of Ford's Verve line of concepts, shown at recent auto shows, debuts in production form as the Ford Fiesta at the 2008 Geneva auto show. The Fiesta is a new small car, and Ford says it will be made available during fall of 2008 in Europe. Ford says it will follow up with launches around the world, keeping the Fiesta name, with production occurring in the United States during 2010. The new Fiesta's exterior styling keeps the Kinetic design theme used in the Verve concepts, with a high rear-end sweeping down toward a low front.
The … Read more
Rinspeed, a boutique automotive design company, plans on blowing away the upcoming Geneva auto show with its sQuba concept, a car that swims underwater, drives autonomously on land, and is emission-free. The car, based on a Lotus Elise, uses an electric motor to drive the wheels on land, plus two other motors to drive propellers underwater. According to Rinspeed, it uses a laser system to detect obstacles ahead so that it can drive itself. Rinspeed released video of the sQuba, showing that it really can swim underwater.
Sound familiar? James Bond's Lotus swam underwater in the 1977 movie, The … Read more
GMC takes a major step in reimagining the SUV with the Denali XT concept unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Although this concept uses a pickup truck style body, all of its tech innovation can be applied to an SUV, a class of vehicle that includes the current production GMC Yukon Denali. Unlike traditional SUVs, which consist of a body bolted onto a frame, the Denali XT is built on a unibody architecture, similar to how today's cars are built. Unibody vehicles are considered to have better handling, and a more comfortable ride. However, they are not considered … Read more
At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai showed off a purpose-built fuel cell vehicle called the i-Blue. Hyundai has been developing a fuel cell powertrain for several years using its Tucson SUV as a test vehicle. As a purpose-built vehicle, Hyundai was able to place the fuel stack under the floor, making for better weight distribution. Hyundai classifies the i-Blue as a crossover utility vehicle, although it uses a 2+2 seating arrangement, which would put it on the small side for a crossover. As a concept, it employs futuristic-looking driver controls and instrumentation, complete with a 3D heads-up display … Read more