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14 Jun 2014

2015 Ford Mustang gets pricing, configurator and less weight than expected

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Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang ConfiguratorIt’s here; it’s finally here. No more speculating or looking at dealer order guides, the configurator for the 2015 Ford Mustang is finally online. That means you should put down whatever you’re doing and build your new ‘Stang. Weight data for the new model has also leaked out, and while there is an increase, it’s less than previously rumored.

The basic V6 coupe carries a base price of $23,600, plus an additional $825 destination charge for all models. Upgrading to the 2.3-liter Ecoboost costs $25,170, and the Ecoboost Premium is $29,170. If you need a V8 in your life, the Mustang GT is $32,100 or $36,100 with the Premium package. That puts the starting price up about $1,000 over the previous generation for the V6, but the turbocharged four-cylinder starts about $1,400 less than the V6 Premium, which is no longer available. Prices for both V8 models jumped about $1,000, as well.

If you need the convertible Mustang, the V6 starts at $29,100, excluding destination, $1,590 more than last year. The Ecoboost Premium ‘vert is $34,670, and the GT droptop is $41,600.

In other positive, Mustang-related news, a leaked dealer manual, according to Mustang 6G, is revealing the official weight for the new model. It shows manual vehicles weighing 3,526 pounds for the V6, 3,517 pounds for the Ecoboost, and 3,704 pounds for the GT. Also, automatic models weigh 3,529 pounds for the V6, 3,512 for the four-cylinder and 3,727 for the V8. If accurate, it means increases of less than 100 pounds across the board. That’s much better than the earlier 300-pound gain rumors. Now, get over to that configurator and start building. Have fun.

2015 Ford Mustang gets pricing, configurator and less weight than expected originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 Jun 2014

Has the auto industry hit peak hybrid?

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Toyota Prius V

Hybrids are known for their great fuel economy and low emissions, but it looks like given current market conditions, only about three percent of new car consumers are willing to pay the premium for them. A new study from IHS/Polk finds that the hybrid market share among overall US auto sales are falling, despite more models with the technology on sale than ever before.

The study examined new car registrations in March from 2009 through 2014. In that time, the auto industry grew from 24 to 47 hybrid models available to consumers, but market share for the powertrain remained almost stagnant in that time. As of 2009, hybrids held 2.4 percent of the market; it fell slightly to 2.3 percent in 2010 and grew to 3.3 percent in 2013. However, 2014 showed a drop back to 3 percent. Overall hybrid sales have been growing since 2010, but they just aren’t keeping up with the total auto market.

According to IHS/Polk, this isn’t what you would expect to see. Usually, each new model in the market brings along with it a boost in sales. The growth in hybrid models 2009 to 2014 should have shown a larger increase in share for the segment.

The study also looked at the top hybrid models for each March in terms of their market share in the segment. The Toyota Prius has been the leader every year with a high of 55.29 percent in 2011. It stands at 23.06 percent in 2014, but when the Prius C and Prius V are added it grows to about 37 percent. The Ford Fusion Hybrid had the second-highest share in 2014 at 10.95 percent.

According to Automotive News, the stagnation of hybrid growth comes predominantly from consumers being desensitized to current gas prices. For the most part, they have remained stable for many consumers making the added cost of the models harder to justify.

Has the auto industry hit peak hybrid? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 Jun 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13 Jun 2014

Lexus boots up early NX configurator

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Lexus is ramping up to launch its NX luxury compact crossover. Its international website just launched a teaser page for the CUV that shows off the available models and some nifty new photos of the upcoming vehicle on location. The site also includes an early configurator to allow potential customers to imagine their future NX.

Unfortunately, the configurator is quite bare bones at the moment. It only allows users to choose from 4 trims, 10 colors and 3 wheel designs. You can’t do anything to the interior, and there are no options. Pricing is still a mystery as well.

We do know that in the US the NX is offered with either the company’s new 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged engine with a six-speed automatic or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. The F Sport package is also available with either engine for a dash more sport in your crossover.

With Lexus already showing renewed competitiveness, adding a compact CUV to the range might be a very good move. It’s still going to be a few months wait, though. According to Lexus US spokesperson Allison Takahashi to Autoblog, the release for the NX is scheduled for the late fall. Pricing and a full configurator will be released around that time, as well.

Lexus boots up early NX configurator originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12 Jun 2014

2015 Honda Fit configurator will let you have it your way

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Honda Fit Configurator

Honda has released the online configurator for the all-new, 2015 Fit – a vehicle that was scheduled to launch earlier, but was delayed until this month. As is the case with the rest of the Japanese manufacturer’s builders, there’s not a lot to this one – pick a trim, transmission (where applicable) and a color, and you’re all set.

The 2015 Fit will come in three grades, with the base LX offering up both manual and continuously variable transmission, air conditioning, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, a 60/40 split-rear seat and a four-speaker stereo, among lesser items. The LX starts at $15,525, not counting a $790 destination charge. Next up is the $17,435 EX, which adds 16-inch wheels, push-button start and a seven-inch display audio system complete with Pandora and text-message functionality. Like the LX, the EX can be had with either a manual or CVT, with the two-pedal setup commanding an $800 premium, regardless of trim.

The top-of-the-line EX-L, however, cannot be had with a manual. Getting the king of the Fit line will lock you into the CVT, although it adds an assortment of cow-based products, in the form of heated leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Heated wing mirrors are also included in the $19,800 starting price. Navigation is an optional goodie, which tacks $1,000 onto the price and is only available on the EX-L. HD Radio and satellite radio are also included on the EX-L.

Hop over to Honda’s consumer page and have a look.

2015 Honda Fit configurator will let you have it your way originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Jun 2014

Alfa Romeo franchises 86 dealers across North America

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Alfa Romeo’s return to North America has been a long time coming, which has given us plenty of time to wonder: Will the now-merged FiatChrysler let Fiat dealers sell Alfas, or will the shapely Italians be available in Maserati dealers? The answer we’ve been waiting for? Both.

Auburn Hills has just released the list of 86 initial dealers that will be authorized to sell the Alfa Romeo 4C (Autoblog senior editor Seyth Miersma is driving one today in San Francisco, incidentally), setting the groundwork for a larger Alfa Romeo lineup to follow. The list includes 82 dealers across 33 states and four more in Canada. Though the vast majority are expanding upmarket from Fiat studios, a few are branching downmarket from Maserati dealers – not a one of them, in case you were wondering, having expanded from a Ferrari showroom.

The highest concentration of dealers will be found in California, Texas and Florida, but while you might have thought Little Italy would be a prime location, there won’t be a single dealer in Manhattan. Not in any of the five boroughs, in fact, so if you live in New York, you’ll have to trek out to Larchmont in Westchester or Somerville, New Jersey, to place your order. Of course, that’s at least the case for now, as Alfa plans to eventually expand to over 300 dealers in North America. In the meantime, you can check out the full list in the press release below to see how close you are to a new Alfa dealer.

Continue reading Alfa Romeo franchises 86 dealers across North America

Alfa Romeo franchises 86 dealers across North America originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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10 Jun 2014

2015 Hyundai Sonata configurator powers up

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

Eager to get your hands on a new Hyundai Sonata? We could hardly blame you. With more mature styling and better equipment for less than the model that preceded it, the new Sonata makes a compelling case, even in a market segment this competitive that includes such rivals as the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Chrysler 200, Volkswagen Passat and Kia Optima.

The first units are just arriving at dealers now, but if your local showroom doesn’t have one for you to check out just yet, we’ve got good news for you as Hyundai has just launched the car’s online configurator. The system lets you choose from four trim levels, nine exterior colors, a couple of equipment packages and an assortment of accessories to make your Sonata yours.

Pictured here is the top-of-the-line Sonata Sport 2.0T that starts at $29,385 (inclusive of delivery), but the base Sonata starts under $22k. Spec yours (or any new Hyundai, for that matter) in the online configurator linked here.

2015 Hyundai Sonata configurator powers up originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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06 Jun 2014

BMW offers xDrive on 2015 2 Series

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BMW 228i Track Handling Package

BMW has released its mile-long list of model changes for 2015. It’s mostly comprised of tiny tweaks to options packages, pricing or trim colors, but there are a few interesting new features in there too. One thing all buyers will notice is that as of July 1, the company’s destination charge increases by $25, to $950 for all of its models.

The 2 Series gets two really useful upgrades for 2015. We already knew that BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system would be offered on the M235i this summer. However, it won’t be the only 2 capable of spinning all four wheels. The 228i model will also be available with the system for $34,850 (after destination), $1,800 more than the standard model.

The other big addition brings a sportier ride to the 228i (with or without xDrive) for those who don’t want to spring for the M235i. BMW is adding a Track Handling Package (pictured above) that lowers the suspension 10mm and includes the Adaptive M Suspension, Variable Sport Steering, M Sport Brakes and 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. It’s available on manual or automatic models at $1,600 for cars ordered with the M Sport or Sport Line trims or $2,200 without it.

The X5 also sees a performance improvement. In October, the displacement of the N55 engine in the sDrive35i and xDrive35i gets bumped from 2.979 liters to 3.001 liters, and the eight-speed automatic is also upgraded. The changes shed about a tenth of a second off of the SUV’s sprint to 60 miles per hour.

There are a few other more minor adjustments sprinkled among the rest of the lineup. For instance, all 5 Series models now get standard LED foglights. One change that might not make enthusiasts happy is that the Z4 sDrive35i is no longer available with a manual transmission; the seven-speed dual clutch is the only gearbox available for the model. Scroll down to read the official release below and check out the myriad changes.

Continue reading BMW offers xDrive on 2015 2 Series

BMW offers xDrive on 2015 2 Series originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 Jun 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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05 Jun 2014

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

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Kia Sedona

Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000.

Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove.

So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups.

The simple answer? It’s all about the money.

“They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News. “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock. They come in and they’re gone.”

That sentiment was echoed on the domestic side of the dwindling minivan market. “It’s a good transaction and a loyal customer,” said Brian Heney, the operations director of a nine-dealership group in Colorado. “You start loading up a Town & Country and they sell for $45,000. We like selling them.”

Weirdly, though, the moneymaking minivan only came about because of slow sales. “When there are eight or nine entries in the minivan segment, nobody makes any money,” Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski said at an industry conference in April, according to AN. “When four people drop out because they can’t afford to stay in and there are just four or five remaining players, they all make money.”

It was the failure of the minivans of General Motors, Ford and Hyundai that’s allowed the offerings from Chrysler, Honda and Toyota to become real moneymakers. According to ALG, residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than in 2000, with 36-month values up to 48.9 percent from 47.2 percent, AN said.

While the minivan market continues to make money, the real question now is whether these strong residual values and high transaction prices will force automakers that previously abandoned the market, like Ford or GM, to give it another look. While that doesn’t seem likely, considering the success of crossovers from General Motors and Ford, along with the new Transit Connect, the appeal of money has a way of doing strange things to automakers.

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Jun 2014

Hyundai Veloster Re:Flex edition hits showrooms with $21,650* MSRP

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2014 Hyundai Veloster Re:Flex

It’s been several months since Hyundai first revealed the Veloster Re:Flex at the Chicago Auto Show. The special-edition of the quirky Korean hatchback features an array of chrome accents and exclusive available Ice Pearl paint along with LED lighting, red or black leather interior, and of course special badging all around, available exclusively with the 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Limited to just 3,000 units, Hyundai has now released pricing for the Veloster Re:Flex edition at $21,650, plus the standard $810 destination charge, for a delivered total of $22,460. That makes it $3,850 more expensive than the base Veloster (at $17,800 list or $18,610 delivered), but add to that the $1,250 for the DCT and you’re already looking at $19,860 delivered. Add on the $1,800 Style Package (all of whose equipment is included in the Re:Flex save the panoramic roof) and you’re looking at a delivered price of $21,660, so in the end the actual premium Hyundai’s getting for the Re:Flex edition is $800 (plus whatever the missing sunroof is worth to you, because you can’t option that separate of the aforementioned Style Package anyway). Details in the press release below.

Continue reading Hyundai Veloster Re:Flex edition hits showrooms with $21,650* MSRP

Hyundai Veloster Re:Flex edition hits showrooms with $21,650* MSRP originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jun 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Jun 2014

Refreshed 2015 Audi A8 starts at $77,400*

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2015 Audi A8

Audi definitely made the US wait for the refreshed 2015 A8 and S8. The updated models were first unveiled last summer, but it has taken until June for the revised flagship sedan to reach dealers here.

The refreshed A8 line doesn’t come cheap, though. Prices are up $2,000 or more over the 2014 model year. The basic 3.0T model goes for $77,400 or $81,400 for the long wheelbase version. The long wheelbase TDI is $85,100. The standard 4.0T model asks $86,400 or $90,400 for the longer one. An S8 sets back buyers $114,900, and the full bore A8L W12 is $137,900. All of these prices exclude destination (which was $895 last year and now stands at $925, according to Audi representative Mark Dahncke).

To make the wait worth it, Audi is packing the sedan with new technology and given it the slightest restyle. All models of the luxurious vehicle now come standard with full LED headlights. The 2015 model also benefits from electromechanical steering, available variable ratio steering and active lane assist. The night vision system is also updated to detect animals and alert the driver. Mechanically, there are some tiny tweaks as well. The 4.0T V8 is boosted to 435 horsepower, compared to 420 hp previously, and the 6.3-liter W12 now has cylinder deactivation.

Audi says that the interior acoustics are modified for a quieter ride, and the trunk is reworked to offer more room. Buyers can also spec front seats with a massive 22-way adjust and five different massage functions.

On the outside of both models get a nip and tuck. The A8 has some different creases in the hood, and the grille, front bumper and splitter are retouched to fit together a little better. The S8 gets larger air intakes in the lower bumper and an optional sport exhaust with four oval pipes at the back. Scroll down to read the full details about the revised Audi flagships.

Continue reading Refreshed 2015 Audi A8 starts at $77,400*

Refreshed 2015 Audi A8 starts at $77,400* originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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