Just Car Blog
|2012 New York Auto Show: 2013 Toyota Avalon Thwarts off Senior Citizen Connotation||
Just as much as sex sells to the internet public, a sporty image sells well among enthusiastic automotive consumers. Unfortunately, it has taken some time for Toyota to take advantage of enthusiasts seeking sporty automobiles. It seems with the introduction of the all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon at the 2012 New York Auto Show, Toyota is taking notice to such buyers by adding sports-appeal to their large flagship sedan.
The new 2013 Toyota Avalon looks to shake off that notion of only those who have retired from their second career job. The new design captivates sports appeal while at the same time offering a spacious, luxurious interior laced with the latest technology.
Toyota is being mull on the details that we like to spill such as what is under the hood. We expect it could be the same powerplant used in the new Lexus GS possessing 306 horsepower. From the looks of things, Toyota may be looking to reclaim their prestige and ability to create stunning designs and not demolish thoughts of frumpy designs. In other words, we can hear Hyundai giving Toyota a hat tip saying “we see what you did here”.
Hit up the full press release for additional information on the new 2013 Toyota Avalon
The Sensational New 2013 Toyota Avalon Makes World Debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show
• New model offers captivating styling, a spacious, luxurious interior experience, and premium technology
• Regionally-focused design, engineering, and manufacturing effort
NEW YORK, (April 5, 2012) – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. revealed the all-new 2013 Avalon premium mid-size sedan today at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The new Avalon is re-conceived for the premium mid-size sedan segment with a progressive and emotionally styled exterior design.
When it arrives to dealerships late this year, the new Avalon will offer improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies.
The new 2013 Avalon is the result of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s dramatic exterior and interior design was conceived by a youthful and talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc. facilities in Southern California and Michigan. The car’s engineering development was principally led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focused theme, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at Toyota’s facility in Georgetown, Ky. True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products.
Enhanced Avalon Dynamics
In addition to its stunning design, numerous structural and chassis improvements were made to the new Avalon to enhance the ride quality, straight-line stability and handling. The body structure gains improvements in torsional rigidity thanks to additional and strategically placed welds, improved body bracing, and high-strength steel in key areas in order to provide a stiffer chassis and optimize suspension performance. The new Avalon suspension relies on MacPherson struts with advanced valving and rebound springs to balance handling and agility with ride comfort. Coil spring rate and front and rear sway bar stiffness was increased from the current model to help improve body control and body roll. The Avalon’s electric power steering (EPS) system has been tuned to help deliver enhanced controllability and vehicle agility while also realizing superior linear stability.
The new Avalon offers three distinct drive modes that help tailor dynamic performance to the driver’s needs. The drive modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport -are made available through driver-selectable switches. In Sport mode, throttle response is enhanced and steering effort is weighted from center to offer a sportier character. Eco changes throttle response and A/C power usage to help improve fuel economy. Steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters help provide a sportier drive while in the D or S Mode, where the revised throttle helps improve shift response to help maximize engine power and vehicle performance.
Dynamic Exterior Styling
The new Avalon’s dynamic exterior styling defines a sleek and expressive profile that helps communicate a sense of motion for the vehicle even when it is at rest. The beltline has been lowered to accentuate a strong stance. Compared to its predecessor, the new Avalon is a bit more compact yet displays better proportions with a longer, sloping roofline, flared front fenders, and reduced front and rear overhangs, lower vehicle height, and reduced body-to-tire gap. New 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheel and tire combinations fill the wheel well to enhance the vehicle’s dynamic exterior expression.
Key exterior design elements include the square Double-eye PES (Projector Ellipsoid System) headlamps with HID (High-Intensity Discharge)and elegant DRL (Daytime Running Lights) feature available that provide excellent night time visibility while helping define a narrower, more taut and muscular exterior expression. A wider, more assertive grille design provides a bolder front perspective. At the rear, high-performance LED combination tail lamps are adopted which are more integrated with the revised rear-body styling. The dual rear tailpipe outlets further the more cohesive design theme.
Modern Interior Experience
Design elements enhancing comfort, convenience and technology help create the luxurious experience that will prove tempting to buyers of the next Avalon. The 2013 Avalon offers a modern, spacious, premium interior highlighted by abundant rear seat legroom, while featuring a myriad of available features. Beyond mere dimensions, the new Avalon’s interior design enhances the cabin’s sense of spaciousness and comfort. The front seat’s hip point has been lowered by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) to help create improved headroom. The new power front seat design with increased side bolstering is more supportive and offers an expanded range of downward adjustment. In addition, the structural components of the sunroof and the headliner design have been optimized to help increase the cabin’s roominess. A concave dash panel design, located in front of the passenger, helps create an expansive feeling. While the rear overhang has been reduced by 1.7 inches, the luggage compartment capacity is 16.0 cubic feet, an increase of 1.6 cubic feet as compared to the outgoing model.
The Avalon’s premium interior attains a high level of refinement by reducing wind, engine and road noise inside the cabin. The resultant interior is even significantly quieter and more comfortable than the current Avalon and it creates an ideal environment to enjoy conversation, music or Toyota’s available multimedia system, Entune™. Sound absorbing materials have been strategically placed around the cabin and body structure while not inhibiting a reduction in overall vehicle weight. The windshield and front side-glass panels utilize acoustic glass that helps control sound intrusion into the cabin. Reductions in wind noise have been realized by optimizing exterior shape, specifically cowl and louver sealing, outer mirror shape and position, and wiper-blade position, which have all been developed to dramatically reduce wind noise generation. Exterior gaps and steps have also been minimized to reduce wind noise around the door glass areas.
The new Avalon’s interior utilizes premium materials and a high degree of craftsmanship to offer an upscale experience. Rich, supple leather trims the steering wheel, shift knob, and seat upholstery helping add visual and tactile appeal. Hand-crafted, decorative stitching is adopted for the steering wheel, and soft-touch materials on the dash panel and door trim elevate the vehicle’s sense of tactile luxury. Smoked chrome-metallic accents are applied to the instrument panel, center console, door panel, and steering wheel surfaces to help add distinction and exceptional feel. Available push-button controlled soft white ambient lighting illuminates key regions of the interior to help convey the sense of luxury. The new Avalon’s center console includes a convenient console tray that is ideal for the storage of electronic hand held devices. The new Avalon’s console area is equipped with a USB port, AUX input terminal and three 12-volt power outlets to help facilitate device interface and charging.
The new Avalon will offer innovative technologies such as advanced capacitive touch switches with positioning and sensitivity that makes them ideal for vehicle system controls. Other premium in-car technologies include three color display screens that support the multi-information display, the audio/navigation interface, and the climate control panel. An easy to use Display Audio system with 6.1 inch touchscreen is standard on the new Avalon; while a JBL Synthesis Premium Audio system, HDD Premium Navigation with 7″ screen, dynamic radar cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a three-zone air conditioning system are also on the list of available features and equipment.
Like all Toyota models, the new Avalon will feature Toyota’s Star Safety System™ standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.
The new Avalon helps to prioritize occupant safety with a best-in-class10 airbags system. A Pre-collision system is also available that is designed to “sense” an impending frontal collision and can help mitigate damage. A variable ratio brake pedal is adopted that varies the initial and final pedal effort ratios to help realize excellent brake pedal feel.
In addition to a rearview monitor, Avalon offers an available Blind Spot Monitoring system which is designed to help detect vehicles behind the outer mirrors and to help alert drivers in addition to a new Rear Cross Traffic Alert system (RCTA) that can alert drivers of cross traffic when they are backing up.
Key Dimensional Comparison
2013 Avalon 2012 Avalon
Overall Length 195.3 in. (4960 mm) 197.6 in. (5020 mm)
Overall Width 72.2 in. (1835 mm) 72.8 in. (1850 mm)
Overall Height 57.5 in. (1460 mm) 58.5 in. (1485 mm)
Wheelbase 111 in. (2820 mm) 111 in. (2820 mm)
Front Tread 62.6 in. (1590 mm) 62.2 in. (1580 mm)
Rear Tread 62.2 in. (1580 mm) 61.6 in. (1565 mm)
Front Overhang 38.8 in. (985 mm) 39.4 in. (1000 mm)
Rear Overhang 45.5 in. (1155 mm) 47.2 in. (1200 mm)
Curb Weight 3,497 lbs. (estimated) 3,616 lbs. (Avalon model)
|2012 New York Auto Show: 2013 SRT Viper Officially Slithers On Stage||
The wait is over to get a glance at what the Chrysler Corporation’s SRT division has kept from us for a couple years now in the form of their highest performing production vehicle ever. The all-new 2013 SRT Viper has slithered onto the stage at the 2012 New York Auto Show revealing its authentic snakeskin and mean bite of a 640 horsepower V10 engine.
After all of the speculations, teaser photos, hot wheels cars and renderings, we can now witness to the latest injection of performance into an American car brand. The new 2013 SRT Viper pushes forward the aspirations for Chrysler’s SRT brand making quite a dignified statement.
A torque monster is what the Viper was and still is. A total of 600 lb-ft of torque is available at a relatively low 4950 rpm from the new 8.4-liter (640 horsepower) V10 engine. With all of this power on tap, the new Viper is able to reach a top speed of 206 mph. The body work is composed of carbon fiber bits and light-weight steel. Vehicle weight is kept down to around 3,300 pounds.
To keep things stable and all of that massive power under control, a new advanced traction control system is in place with full-on launch control. Stability control has a total of 4 stages including a full-off mode for those who want to truly unleash the Viper.
Attention to detail has been stepped up, not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to fit and finish. The seats even come from the same manufacturer that supplies Ferrari with their sporty buckets.
The Viper will be released in two flavors, the fully optioned-out more expensive GTS and the standard SRT10. A Viper ACR package is availble lowering the vehicle weight by 40 pound, adding two-piece Stop Tech brake rotors, monotube Bilstein dampers and stiffer spring rates.
The new Viper will wear Pirilli tires on the 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rear wheels. Widths are a staggering 295mm front and 355mm rear.
|SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 SRT Viper|
|Curb weight||est 3300 lb|
|Weight dist w/ driver||49/51|
|Track f/r||62.9 in./61.0 in.|
|Trunk space||14.7 cu. ft.|
|Suspension f/r||upper & lower A-arms, coil spring, (elec. adj. on GTS) tube shocks, anti-roll bar|
|Wheels||Forged aluminum; 18 x 10.5 f, 19 x 13 r|
|Tires||Pirelli P Zero; 295/30ZR-18 f, 355/30ZR-19 r|
|Brakes||14.0-in. vented rotors w/4-piston Brembo calipers|
|Engine||8.4-liter ohv V-10|
|Horsepower||640 bhp @ 6150 rpm|
|Torque||600 lb-ft @ 4950 rpm|
|Top speed||est 206 mph|
|2012 New York Auto Show: 2014 Chevrolet Impala Breaks Cover||
The Chevrolet Impala has stood its ground well not only for law enforcement agencies and rental car companies, but also for those seeking interest in an affordable all-American sedan with ample room. The Impala remained to be a popular vehicle choice for many and now the all-new redesigned 2014 Impala breaks cover with the new face of Chevrolet at the 2012 New York Auto Show.
The new 2014 Chevrolet Impala actually looks remarkable carrying what seems to be a new face of Chevrolet vehicles somewhat resembling the outline of the new Camaro. The new 2014 Impala is much bigger than before thanks to its underpinnings being shared with the upcoming Cadillac XTS sedan.
The new Impala with start its lineup with an efficient 2.4-liter direct-injection engine and eAssist mild-hybrid setup touting 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A highway fuel economy figure for the 4-cylinder eAssist model is an efficient 35 mpg. A 2.5-liter naturally aspirated direct-injection 4-cylinder is also offered producing 195 horsepower. The 2014 Impala V6 trims get GM’s widely-used 3.6-liter V6 engine good for 303 horsepower and 234 lb-ft of torque.
Pricing for the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala will be announced later. Hit up the full press release below for additional information on Chevrolet’s newest flagship sedan.
All-New Impala – Chevrolet Reinvents an Iconic Sedan
Designed to deliver bold style, interior refinement and enhanced efficiency
NEW YORK – Chevrolet completes the transformation of its North American passenger car lineup with the introduction of the all-new 2014 Impala. The redesigned flagship sedan builds on the strong heritage of the Impala nameplate by offering expressive style, a more-refined interior, easy-to-use technology, and what is expected to be an exhilarating driving experience.
“The 2014 Impala re-establishes this iconic Chevrolet nameplate as a design leader, with bold styling that will turn heads for years to come,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. “The team has also delivered the comfort, safety, fuel efficiency and technology that will strengthen Impala’s leadership in the highly competitive full-size sedan market.”
The all-new Impala goes on sale in early 2013 as the 10th generation of one of the industry’s most enduring – and popular – nameplates. Impala was America’s best-selling full-size sedan in 2011, with sales of more than 171,000, which also made it one of the 10 best-selling cars overall in the United States, along with Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze.
“This all-new Impala delivers on our promise that every new car that wears the Chevrolet bowtie will embody the pioneering spirit that has defined the brand for more than a century.” said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing. “With the striking new design and the right mix of comfort, technology and efficiency, we have recaptured the magic that attracted millions of consumers to the Impala nameplate for decades.”
Designed on an award-winning global platform, the 2014 Impala introduces new levels of comfort, refinement and technology. Highlights include:
- All-new exterior design that represents the next evolution of Chevrolet’s design vocabulary. It features a sleek proportion, sculpted body sides, standard 18-inch wheels and projector-beam headlamps, with HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps standard on LTZ models
- A range of three direct-injected engines, including a 3.6L V-6, new 2.5L four-cylinder and a 2.4L four-cylinder with eAssist, that deliver enhanced performance and efficiency
- All-new interior with flowing design and integrated center stack that incorporates an available eight-inch touch screen display with available Chevrolet MyLink
- Chevrolet MyLink, which includes Bluetooth audio streaming and available navigation among many other features, is controlled via a touch screen on the eight-inch display
- Quieter environment with a greater emphasis on comfort – including active noise cancellation with four-cylinder powertrains
- 360 degrees of active safety features with 10 standard air bags and OnStar, along with available features including full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera and rear-park assist.
The 2014 Impala brings a new aesthetic to Impala that honors the cues that have helped distinguish the classic nameplate for decades.
“Our design team was challenged to create a new classic, but that didn’t mean relying on nostalgia,” said John Cafaro, director of North America passenger car exterior design. “This is very much a contemporary car, with design elements, craftsmanship and attention to detail that complement its advanced technology and performance.”
The Impala’s long, low proportion has a wind-swept profile that suggests motion, while the range of 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels is tailored to the body to provide that “just right” stance. At the front, low-profile projector-beam headlamps – or HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps on LTZ – sweep around the corners and frame a wide grille, while a power dome hood conveys performance. The LTZ’s LED daytime running lamps provide a contemporary visual statement, along with function.
Sculpted coves in the body sides add to the Impala’s design drama, with a signature cue in the rear fenders that acknowledges classic Impala designs. The long greenhouse area enhances the sleek look of the car while maintaining excellent visibility.
The 2014 Impala builds on Chevrolet’s signature dual-cockpit interior with greater attention to detail and upscale features – seen in everything from the wraparound flow of the instrument panel into the door panels and the available ambient lighting, to the soft feel of the materials and the premium appearance of the seats’ stitching.
The instrument panel integrates a new instrument cluster with a standard 4.2-inch color display with reconfigurable features for the driver information center. The eight-inch touch screen with concealed storage behind it is matched with the available Chevrolet MyLink system.
Comfort and refinement
The 2014 Impala’s comfort and refinement are rooted in a stronger body structure, designed to foster a quieter passenger environment and a greater overall feeling of quality. The stiffer architecture also enabled engineers to tune the ride and handling more precisely, for a greater feeling of control and comfort. A comprehensive package of sound-absorbing, sound-suppressing and even active noise cancellation (on four-cylinder models) contributes to the 2014 Impala being Chevrolet’s quietest full-size sedan ever.
Premium materials throughout the interior and details such as high-quality fabric, Ultrasuede and perforated leather appointments, complement the quiet environment and give the Impala a substantive look and feel. The seats are bolstered for greater support, and the seat cushions are designed to deliver a firm, premium feel that is just as comfortable on a 500-mile drive as on a five-minute excursion. The rear-seat head restraints fold to improve rear visibility when driving without rear passengers.
The 2014 Impala offers a comprehensive suite of standard and available safety features. It employs advanced technologies – including radar – to help avoid crashes. Visual and audible alerts help drivers identify potential crash situations and even intervene when a crash threat appears more imminent.
The available safety features and benefits include firsts for Chevrolet and Impala:
- Full-speed-range adaptive cruise control – Using radar technology, this feature senses traffic in front of the Impala to adjust the vehicle speed, including stopping the vehicle in heavy traffic and accelerating again. It is the first application in a Chevrolet.
- Collision mitigation braking – Another Chevy first: Radar technology detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver. If the driver does not appear to react quickly enough or doesn’t react at all, this feature intervenes and applies the brakes in an effort to avoid the crash.
- Forward collision alert – Camera technology detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver, giving him or her time to stop and/or change course.
- Lane departure warning – A camera-based lane detection system that warns the driver of impending lane changes. The camera, mounted near the inside rearview mirror, identifies traffic lane markings and provides audible alerts.
- Side blind zone alert – Using radar sensors on both sides of the vehicle, the system “looks” for other vehicles in the blind zone areas of the Impala and indicates their presence with LED-lit symbols in the outside mirrors.
- Rear cross traffic alert – Based on the radar sensors of side blind zone alert, it warns the driver of vehicles in traffic when backing out of a parking spot – including angled parking. Visual and audible alerts are triggered if moving vehicles are detected.
These advanced crash-avoidance technologies complement the Impala’s other safety features – including 10 standard air bags and OnStar.
Performance and driving experience
Impala’s three powertrains all feature fuel-saving direct injection and lightweight components.
Impala’s Ecotec 2.4L engine works with the eAssist system to provide electrical assist in certain conditions to help save fuel. It is estimated at 182 horsepower (134 kW) and is expected to achieve 35 mpg on the highway.
The Ecotec 2.5L is part of a new family of four-cylinder engines developed with increased efficiency and greater refinement. It is estimated at195 horsepower (145 kW).
Output for the 3.6L V-6 is estimated at 303 horsepower (226 kW).
All of Impala’s engines are matched with six-speed automatic transmissions.
The powertrains are the force behind Impala’s responsive driving experience, which is tuned for a spirited, yet comfortable performance. A MacPherson-strut front suspension and four-link rear suspension underpin the Impala, with an isolated front cradle and hydraulic ride bushing that help deliver a smoother, quieter ride. All models feature an electric variable-assist steering system that helps save fuel by drawing energy only when the steering wheel is turned.
The 2014 Impala will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ models, with assembly at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich., and Oshawa, Ontario facilities. Pricing will be announced later.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
|2013 Nissan Altima Leaked Touting Best-in-Class 27/38 MPG & $21,500 Price||
Tomorrow will be a big day for the New York auto show as journalists get to spread the word and exclusive images on some of the latest and greatest automobiles for the 2013 model year and beyond. One vehicle that has leaked onto the internet before its official debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show is the highly anticipated 2013 Nissan Altima.
The new 2013 Nissan Altima touts astonishing fuel economy figures of 27 mpg city and 38 mpg highway making it the best in its class. Part of this major accomplishment is due to the re-tuned 182-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. Other contributing factors for the best fuel economy for a non-hybrid midsized sedan are the new generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and lightweight construction.
The new 2013 Altima sits on virtually the same wheelbase as the outgoing model but gets slightly larger body dimensions. The new 2013 Altima also managed to shed about 79 pounds over the 2012 model. The same 3.5-liter VQ series V6 engine is a carryover from previous V6-model’s boasting 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Having the new CVT unit, with reduced friction and extended gear ratio ranges, allows Altima V6 models to muster out 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
Pricing for the new 2013 Nissan Altima will start at $21,500* when it arrives at dealerships in July.
There is no doubt that the midsized sedan segment is quickly evolving and remaining quite competitive. Nissan plans to stay ahead of the game with the introduction of their new 2013 Altima in terms of efficiency, simplistic interior design, value and performance. I am sure with recent sales records set by Nissan that they will continue to be a major player up against others such as Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and even Hyundai in the midsized sedan segment.
Hit up the full press release below for additional information on the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima.
All-New 2013 Nissan Altima Tops Mid-Size Sedan Class in Style, Fuel Economy, Performance and Innovation
Segment Defining Innovations, Wrapped in “Class Above” Exterior and Interior Design, Create a Customer Experience That’s Unmatched in Segment
Two decades after the original Nissan Altima revolutionized the traditional mid-size sedan segment in North America, Nissan’s best-selling vehicle is about to shake up the category all over again. Making its world debut at the New York International Auto Show, the 2013 Nissan Altima is once again poised to become the new benchmark in the hotly contested segment when it goes on sale at Nissan retailers nationwide this summer.
The new Altima offers numerous segment defining attributes that enhance the ownership experience and provide real customer value, including:
• Targeted best-in-segment 38 mpg highway fuel economy* (2.5-liter engine)
• Premium exterior styling with a powerful presence and improved aerodynamics
• Upscale interior rivaling premium luxury sedans, including NASA-inspired “zero-gravity” seats, an Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display and BOSE® Premium Audio System
• An outstanding balance of ride comfort, stability and fun-to-drive demeanor, including projected best-level acceleration
• Standard Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®
• NissanConnectSM and NissanConnectSM Navigation integrated smartphone connectivity suite with hands-free text message integration, Pandora® playback, real-time Google® POI search and more
• Next-generation Safety Shield Technologies, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) systems
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with Easy Fill Tire Alert
“In a segment as critical as this, with longtime nameplates and new challengers fighting for every sale, it’s not enough to just target the competition. You have to think outside – and far above – the segment,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “We created the new Altima to set a clearly recognized benchmark for many years to come.”
Most Innovative Altima Ever
The 2013 Altima is one of five all-new Nissan models set for introduction in the next 15 months and, as the second best-selling car in the United States in 2011, much is riding on the new fifth generation Altima.
“The safe thing to do would be to follow other automakers’ paths, conservatively evolving the Altima so as not to upset the existing owner base. But that would not be in keeping with Nissan’s ‘Innovation for All’ philosophy,” explained Carolin. “We took our most successful model and changed nearly everything – the look, the feel, the driving experience and, of course, the technology down to even the headlights and windshield wipers.”
The result is a vehicle that builds on the strong fundamental reputation, earned over four generations and two decades, for quality and reliability and adds new levels of innovation, fuel-efficiency, dynamic performance and premium style.
“Against a fragmented competitive set, the new Altima is hands-down the most engaging, purposeful and energetic vehicle in class,” said Carolin. “If you’ve liked the previous Altima, you’ll love this one even more. And if you’ve never driven an Altima before, get ready to have your notion of a mid-size sedan redefined.”
A Premium Presence
Among the new Altima’s many new features, perhaps the one that stands out most is its “class above” appeal, which is apparent at first look and first touch of both the exterior and interior executions.
“Mid-size sedan buyers are traditionally motivated first and foremost by the rational aspects of the purchase decision – excellent value, reliability and comfort, which Altima shares with a number of other nameplates. But Altima buyers have never been satisfied with owning just another boring mid-size sedan,” said Carolin. “The new Altima meets all of the rational purchase reasons, but delivers them in a way that is also emotionally rewarding. And it does so through both its dynamic appearance and dynamic driving performance.”
The 2013 Altima’s all-new exterior design starts with its wide, aggressive stance and dramatic front end styling. Though retaining the same wheelbase as the previous generation Altima, it has a wider front and rear track (+1.4 inches) and deeper fenders (+0.8 inches each side) – which combine with a crisp new grille design, seamless bumper and projector-type headlights to create a bold, sophisticated appearance.
Altima’s new “premium proportions” continue with the longer sloping rear roofline and raised trunk that combine to create a more fluid silhouette. The A-pillar angle is now slightly more sloped, and the drip rail has been lowered and the waistline raised. In addition, the deep-stamped trunk has been raised and expanded. The new body design is capped by large taillights (with LED taillights standard on SL models) that flow from the rear into the bodysides. Chrome trim and door handles accent the available palette of eight rich exterior colors. Attention to aerodynamic fine-tuning gives the new Altima a lower coefficient of drag.
“The new Altima represents an astonishing transformation – fresh but still pure Altima, aggressive and premium at the same time. The new look is fit and athletic, just the way Altima drives,” added Carolin. “And inside, the interior is nothing short of a revolution – with one of the most dynamic, involving and complete makeover Nissan interior designs ever.”
The new Altima’s interior defies mid-size sedan convention, rivaling upscale luxury sedans in ambience and sophistication. Like the exterior, there is a premium look and feel – from the driver’s side cockpit to the front passenger and rear seating areas – with extensive use of upscale, soft-touch materials and craftsman-like attention to detail.
“The new Altima’s interior offers just the right balance of mature sophistication with a highly dynamic and emotional edge. It’s refined, not gimmicky, with features that you’d expect to find on a much more expensive vehicle,” said Carolin.
NASA-Inspired “Zero-Gravity” Seats, Quiet Cabin
In the desire to help reduce the fatigue experienced during long commutes or extended road trips, Nissan turned to seating and posture research from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). According to NASA, the least fatiguing seats are those that come closest to a “neutral posture” – a relaxed position that the human body takes in a weightless environment.
Utilizing a new articulated seat shape with continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and distribution of localized deformation characteristics, the “zero-gravity” Altima seats help reduce muscular and spinal loads, and improve blood flow – thereby helping reduce fatigue over long periods behind the wheel. Seat surface perforations provide increased ventilation, breathability and comfort. Heated front seats are also available.
“Reducing driver fatigue is something that shouldn’t be limited to luxury vehicles, especially as Americans are making longer commutes and looking for alternatives to flying for business trips or family vacations,” said Carolin.
Along with premium seat comfort, the new Altima offers premium quietness through efforts to reduce cabin noise coming from the powertrain (new engine and exhaust mount designs), climate system (increased HVAC mounting rigidity) and the body (increased body rigidity) versus the previous Altima design. New noise absorption materials with a 30 percent increase in absorption capability (versus previous Altima) are also used throughout the cabin, including areas such as the roof trim, instrument panel and floor mats.
The 2013 Altima offers standard cloth seating with a 6-way driver’s seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest, and Piano Black interior trim with chrome finish accents.
Also available, depending on model, are leather-appointed seats and trim, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and metallic texture (Charcoal interior) or wood tone (Blond interior) trim finishers.
Available audio systems include an AM/FM/CD design with RDS, MP3, aux-in and six speakers, along with a BOSE® Premium Audio System with nine speakers (including woofers), designed in conjunction with BOSE® engineers during vehicle development to deliver rich sound and acoustics. The new Altima is available with SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (SiriusXM™ subscription required, sold separately), and Pandora® radio capability (requires capable smartphone).
“With its range of available audio features, the quiet Altima cabin is an ideal place to enjoy various music collections – whether you plug in your iPod®, sync with Pandora® to explore new tunes, or let someone DJ from the back seat with Bluetooth® Streaming Audio,” said Carolin.
New NissanConnectSM and NissanConnectSM with Navigation
Along with the new seat design, two other items that set the 2013 Altima apart are its new NissanConnectSM and Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display (ADAD).
The 2013 Altima is the first Nissan vehicle to offer NissanConnectSM, which offers Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, along with available integrated Hands-Free Messaging Assistant, Pandora® integration, USB connection for iPod® interface and other compatible devices and SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (SiriusXM™ subscription required, sold separately). It includes a 5.0-inch color audio display with SV and SL models.
With the available Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant (part of NissanConnectSM), drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond via voice recognition, or via the steering wheel switches using pre-set answers such as “driving, can’t text,” “on my way,” “running late,” “okay” or a custom message.
The NissanConnectSM with Navigation system is similarly packed with a rich range of features and is incredibly easy to use with its 7.0-inch touch-screen, 3D-effect map views, Voice Recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display. With the ability to search destinations via Google®, POI data will never be out of date. Other new next-generation navigation features include speed limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning, and split-screen display.
Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display
The new Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display comes standard on every model and is customizable, easy-to-use and integrates key information right in front of the driver.
Located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, it features a 4.0-inch color display, more than 400 percent larger than the previous generation Altima’s vehicle information display. Utilizing more natural 3D-effect graphics, it helps the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road longer than a traditional center-stack information monitor.
“Drivers today are inundated with a flood of information from external devices, which can distract their attention from the road at any given moment,” said Carolin. “The Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display is an intuitive and thoughtful feature that helps make life in an Altima a little easier.”
The system is customizable and adjustable using the steering wheel controls, so drivers can view the information that is most important to them, including:
• Audio system display
• Instant MPG
• Trip computer
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire pressure readouts
• Navigation system (if equipped), with destination turn-by-turn information and compass, and the ability to match the on-screen vehicle image with the actual car color
The ADAD’s color LCD screen displays are similar to those used in portable consumer electronic devices, with cognition enhanced by the depth and tilt of the display.
Three screens are always available (CarView, Vehicle Settings and Active Vehicle Warnings) and the driver can also select four other active screens among seven other available screens.
On vehicles equipped with NissanConnectSM or NissanConnectSM with Navigation, the Advanced Drive-Assist™ display shows navigation destination turn-by-turn information, Pandora® song information and more.
Safety Shield Technologies
In addition to its many other functions, the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display can be linked to three new available safety features – Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) – typically offered only on more upscale vehicles. It is the first time that LDW and MOD will be offered in the segment. The three systems are part of the optional Technology Package, which also includes the NissanConnectSM with Navigation with 7.0-inch color touch-screen and steering wheel navigation system controls. Thanks to the use of the systems’ advanced, next-generation rearview camera, the BSW, LDW and MOD are integrated, intuitive and affordable.
The Blind Spot Warning System uses the rearview camera to scan the Altima’s blind spots and alerts the driver if there is a vehicle in the zone. The driver is then alerted with audible and visual indicators. In the same way, the Lane Departure Warning system uses the rearview camera to monitor lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle unintentionally crosses these markers. Moving Object Detection detects moving objects, such as other vehicles, when the rearview camera is engaged when backing up and warns the driver with visual cues.
“Like so many other features on the new Altima, these Safety Shield Technologies are designed to help ease the anxieties of daily life. For example, parallel parking outside of school, the camera not only helps you see backwards, but also has moving guides that help you into tight spaces. At a busy shopping center, the camera can give you a 180-degree view side-to-side and the MOD system can help alert you to movement when backing out,” said Carolin.
“And getting on a freeway, A-pillar mounted light indicators, along with audible beeps, let you know if there’s another vehicle in your blind spot. We’re proud to offer these segment-first technologies to Altima owners in keeping with the true spirit of ‘Innovation for All.’ At Nissan, we believe these features should not be restricted to just premium vehicle buyers,” he continued.
Smart, Dynamic Performance
“Dynamic Performance, defined as excellent handling, driving confidence and driver excitement, has always been a part of Nissan’s core values – from the early Datsun 510 sedan and 240Z sports car to today’s 545-horsepower Nissan GT-R. Where the innovation comes in is in being able to offer fuel economy and responsive acceleration without compromising either,” said Carolin.
One key to achieving this modern one-two punch is found not in the drivetrain, but surrounding it – the new body design is about 80 pounds lighter than the previous body, which was already one of the lightest in the class. The new lighter and tighter body is achieved through increased use of high strength and ultra high strength steel, the addition of a larger front tower strut brace (as used in sports cars like the Nissan 370Z), and a new rear structural support built into the rear pass-through/parcel shelf.
As for the engines, a choice of two proven Altima powerplants – the 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter DOHC V6 – are again offered for the new model year.
The 2.5-liter QR25 engine has been redesigned to be lighter and more efficient. It now includes variable valve timing on both exhaust and intake camshafts, and the new intake system opens the valves at a higher rpm to help keep the torque curve flat. Featuring cutting-edge technology such as a new thermoplastic resin intake manifold, this engine simultaneously produced more power despite being lighter. Horsepower has increased by seven to an estimated 182 hp (from 175 hp), while torque remains the same at 180 lb-ft (est.). The advanced, award-winning VQ35DE 3.5-liter V6 remains rated at 270 horsepower (est.) and 258 lb-ft of torque (est.).
Targeted Class-Leading Highway Fuel Economy
Helping increase fuel economy with both engines is the next-generation Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission). Nissan is an industry leader in CVT transmissions, with more than 20 years of experience in CVT design and engineering. For this next-generation design, a full 70 percent of the parts have been redesigned and internal friction reduced by up to 40 percent (versus the previous design). It also features new control logic and expanded gear ratio coverage, which helps reduce noise and fuel consumption while improving drivability and responsiveness.
“With fewer moving parts, less friction and less drivetrain shock to other parts, Altima’s Xtronic CVT® offers better fuel economy, better acceleration and better durability versus a conventional automatic transmission,” said Carolin. “It translates the driver’s intentions in the most efficient way possible, maintaining the ‘right gear’ for every situation – creating a highly rewarding driving experience.”
Targeted fuel economy for the Altima 2.5-liter 4-cylinder/CVT combination is 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. Fuel economy for the 3.5-liter V6/CVT Altima is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. Also contributing to the improved fuel efficiency are tires with reduced rolling resistance and a new regenerative alternator that only operates when the vehicle is coasting.
Dynamic Driving Performance
Building on Altima’s reputation for superior dynamic performance, the 2013 Altima offers a redefined multi-link rear suspension benchmarked to leading European sports sedans.
The design features high lateral suspension stiffness, improved toe angle control (with the addition of new connect bushings) and improved camber angle control under load (for increased tire contact with the road when cornering) versus the previous generation Altima. The suspension also utilizes a new shock absorber design by ZF SACHS, similar to that used on high-end luxury sedans, to deliver stellar body control and response, while simultaneously delivering a plush, comfortable ride. The 2013 Altima’s front suspension uses an independent front strut design. Stabilizer bars are utilized front and rear.
Also used for the first time on a Nissan vehicle and in the segment is a new Active Understeer Control system, which utilizes intelligent control logic and high-response brake actuators to brake the inside front wheels during cornering (as required) to increase yaw-moment. Using the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)/Traction Control System (TCS) as its base, Active Understeer Control is almost undetectable when it operates. It is designed primarily for everyday operation rather than emergency evasive maneuvers.
“Our target, which we think we’ve achieved, is to provide outstanding levels of handling and comfort. The more secure and responsive the suspension, the less stress the driver should feel in nearly every driving situation,” added Carolin.
Responsive steering is provided by a new Electronic Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering (EHPS) system that preserves the feel of hydraulic steering rack while offering the efficiencies of an electric power steering set-up.
Altima’s 4-wheel power-assisted disc brake system was also re-engineered utilizing human ergonomic studies to optimize pedal travel and force, providing a premium blend of immediate response, confident braking and reduced fatigue. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) are standard.
A selection of wheels and tires are offered on the 2013 Altima, including 16-inch steel wheels with full covers and 215/60R16 all-season tires, or 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/55R17 V-rated all-season tires, on 2.5-liter models. New 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/45R18 V-rated all-season tires are standard on 3.5-liter V6-equipped models.
Details That Make a Difference
The team behind the development of the new fifth generation Altima didn’t stop with the major components and systems – they also made numerous, almost imperceptible enhancements to nearly every aspect of the driving experience.
The headlights’ automatic-on function, for example, offers an improved two-stage function. In lower light situations during the day, the headlights illuminate automatically – but the gauges remain in daylight mode. In late evening/night conditions, the headlights remain illuminated and the gauges revert to nighttime lighting.
In addition, many states now require the headlights to be illuminated in rainy conditions. In the all-new Altima, after four passes of the windshield wipers, the headlights turn on automatically. If the vehicle is turned off with the wipers in motion, instead of stopping mid-motion, they automatically complete a full cycle – so they don’t get frozen to the windshield in icy or snowy conditions.
The team even paid extra attention to the armrests, equipping them with deep, plush padding in order to enhance comfort mile after mile.
The new Altima features the Easy Fill Tire Alert function, first introduced on the Nissan Quest, for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). When filling the tires with air, the hazard lamps flash to let the operator know the system is working. When the correct pressure is reached, a beep of the horn provides notification. Unlike many competitive vehicles, Altima’s individual tire pressure monitoring and readout system provides the tire pressure at each individual location and automatically adjusts positions when the tires are rotated during service. The information is integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display,
Available from the SV grade is a factory-installed Remote Engine Start System, which allows the owner to heat or cool the vehicle from the comfort of the home. The Altima must be locked for the remote start to operate (up to 10 minutes). The Altima’s remote start is the first offered with a Nissan vehicle.
The 2013 Altima offers a long list of standard safety features, including Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat occupant head protection.
Seven Well-Equipped Models
The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima is offered in four 2.5-liter engine equipped models, 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL, along with three 3.5-liter V6 equipped models, 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL.
The Altima 2.5 S model includes 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key®, six speakers, auto on/off headlights, in-cabin microfilter, Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure readouts, and much more. Altima 3.5 S adds 18-inch wheels and tires, plus paddle shifters with manual mode.
Altima SV models include Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, Remote Engine Start System, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-alloy wheels (17-inch on 2.5 SV, 18-inch on 3.5 SV), RearView Monitor, NissanConnectSM with Pandora® radio capability, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (SiriusXM™ subscription required, sold separately), 5.0-inch color audio display, USB port with iPod® connectivity, Hands-Free Messaging Assistant and more. The 3.5 SV also adds a moonroof, fog lights and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver.
Altima SL models include leather-appointed seating, BOSE® Premium Audio System with nine speakers (including woofers), 8-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, LED taillights, LED outside mirror turn signals, premium interior trim, power sliding moonroof, auto dimming rearview mirror, and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and more.
Just three options packages are available: a Convenience Package (2.5 SV), Navigation Package (SV) and Technology Package (SL) – along with the optional Remote Start and Rear Spoiler.
The new Altima, like previous generations, will be assembled in Smyrna, Tenn. And Canton, Miss., with engines produced in Decherd, Tenn.
“The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima offers the whole package – stylish design inside and out, outstanding ride, handling, acceleration and fuel economy, new NissanConnectSM and thoughtful technology solutions not currently found in the segment,” concluded Carolin. “For people who enjoy experiencing life to the fullest, we have the new premium mid-size sedan just for them.”Nissan Announces $21,500 U.S. Starting Price for All-New 2013 Altima SedanFRANKLIN, Tenn. (April 4, 2012) – Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) has announced U.S. pricing for the all-new 2013 Nissan Altima Sedan, which made its world debut at a press conference today at the New York International Auto Show. The totally redesigned fifth generation Altima, the most innovative Altima ever with premium “class above” exterior and interior styling and targeted segment-leading estimated fuel economy of 38 mpg*, will be available at Nissan dealers nationwide beginning in July 2012.“With a starting price of $21,500 USD, this new-generation design continues the exceptional combination of value and innovation that made Altima the second best-selling car in the U.S. in 2011,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “With its evocative styling, sophisticated interior, rewarding driving experience, smartphone connectivity and available class-exclusive technologies, we expect an even stronger consumer response to the new Altima when it goes on sale this summer.”The all-new Altima Sedan is available in seven well-equipped models designed to appeal to a broad range of buyer needs and budgets – the 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV and 2.5 SL featuring a 182-horsepower (est.) 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder and the 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL with a standard 270-horsepower (est.) 3.5-liter V6 engine. Every 2013 Altima is equipped with a standard next-gen Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission). Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices** (MSRP) for the 2013 Nissan Altima Sedan include:Altima Sedan 2.5 CVT $21,500 USDAltima Sedan 2.5 S CVT $22,500 USDAltima Sedan 2.5 SV CVT $24,100 USDAltima Sedan 2.5 SL CVT $28,050 USDAltima Sedan 3.5 S CVT $25,360 USDAltima Sedan 3.5 SV CVT $27,780 USDAltima Sedan 3.5 SL CVT $30,080 USDIn addition to the new Altima’s extensive list of standard equipment, three special equipment packages are offered, including the Nissan Navigation Package (SV models) – featuring a 7.0-inch color display, steering wheel navigation controls, and turn-by-turn navigation integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display – priced at just $590 USD. The Technology Package (SL models) includes the Nissan Navigation System, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Moving Obstacle Detection (MOD) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), features usually available only on more expensive vehicles. Also offered is a 2.5 SV Convenience Package.About the 2013 Altima SedanThe Nissan Altima has come a long way in the 20 years since it was first introduced. Now, with the arrival in summer 2012 of the all-new fifth generation design, Nissan promises to shake up the mid-size sedan segment again with the most engaging, purposeful and energetic vehicle in its class.Among the 2013 Altima’s many attributes are a targeted best-in-segment* fuel economy of 38 mpg highway (2.5-liter engine), new premium exterior styling with a strong presence and excellent aerodynamics, an upscale interior with premium materials, and an outstanding balance of ride comfort, stability and a fun-to-drive demeanor with projected best-level acceleration.Building on Nissan’s “Innovation for All” philosophy, the new Altima also offers standard NissanConnectSM integrated smartphone connectivity with standard Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, and available Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, Pandora®, real-time POIs Powered by Google®, Google® Send-to-car, Easy Fill Tire Alert, and next-generation Safety Shield Technologies, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) systems.Dynamic performance is provided by a choice of a redesigned 182-horsepower (est.) 2.5-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine or a proven 270-horsepower (est.) 3.5-liter V6, with both engines matched with standard Xtronic CVT®. Altima’s next-generation CVT reflects Nissan’s more than 20 years of engineering and development leadership with its smooth, fuel-efficient design. Altima’s redesigned 4-wheel independent suspension features segment-first Active Understeer Control for refined feel and responsive handling.The premium interior design looks and feels a class above, with new NASA-inspired “zero-gravity” front seats, available leather appointments, and a new standard Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display in the center of the instrument cluster that integrates key information – including available navigation, text messaging notification and audio data – right in front of the driver.The 2013 Nissan Altima is offered in seven well-equipped models: Altima 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, 3.5 S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL. The new Altima is assembled in the United States.About Nissan North AmericaIn North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 and 2011 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information about Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.Infiniti.com.About NissanNissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award. For more information on our products, services and commitment to Sustainable Mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
|Can Kia Save Its Soul?||
Kia’s funky urban utility vehicle, the Soul, was introduced to the market in 2009, late to the party started by the Scion xB and the Nissan cube. To make up lost ground, Kia launched an ingenious marketing campaign featuring hip-hop hamsters, and suddenly Kia’s box-on-wheels was everywhere. To keep it fresh, Kia released a series of limited production “special editions”, like the Soul Denim and the Ghost Soul, but these were largely paint and trim packages. As cool as the Soul was, it lacked power and suffered from less-than-optimal fuel economy, so the company routinely lost buyers to Nissan and Scion.
That’s about to change, since Kia is launching a substantial mid-cycle refresh for the 2012 Kia Soul. First up is more power from the base engine, courtesy of a new 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine. Horsepower jumps from 122 in the 2011 Soul to 135 in the 2012 model, but fuel economy also increases. The current Soul gets 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while the new version is rated at 28 city and 34 highway. If the Soul Sport, with it’s larger 2.0-liter engine is more to your liking, there’s good news here as well. For 2012, Soul+, Soul! and Soul Sport models get bumped to 160 horsepower (from 142), but are now rated at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway instead of last year’s 24 city, 30 highway.
Outside, Kia knew not to mess with a good thing. Revisions to exterior styling are subtle, but include LED daylight running lamps and LED tail lamps. The hood is new, as are the front and rear bumpers, and two new colors (Canyon and Moss) are added to the option list. Inside buyers can opt for an Infinity premium audio system and a UVO infotainment system designed in conjunction with Microsoft. If you want heated leather seats and automatic climate control, you can option out a Soul to include these touches as well; in fact, Kia has Soul trim level for nearly any budget or taste. Look for the 2012 Kia Soul to start hitting dealer lots sometime this summer, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.
|Ford Reveals New Taurus SHO For 2013||
The Ford Taurus SHO has always had understated looks. Part of the sporty sedan’s appeal was that it didn’t look as fast as it really was, going all the way back to the car’s initial launch in 1989. When Ford launched the latest version of the Taurus SHO in 2010, some critics called it’s appearance bland, or too much like the other models in the Taurus lineup. Understated is one thing, but boring is something else entirely, so Ford has made some revisions to the Taurus SHO for the 2013 model year. Gone is the current car’s chrome grill, replaced by an aggressive looking black grille trimmed in chrome. The previously rounded front fascia gets an edgier look, complete with a black lower grille and black plastic fog lamp surrounds. The blacked out treatment extends to the rocker panels and side view mirrors, and even wraps around the lower rear fascia. The look is distinctive without being flashy, and I give Ford two thumbs up on the new SHO’s styling.
The current AWD drivetrain and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 remain, but that’s not a bad thing. The EcoBoost V-6 produces 365 horsepower and really does pull like a V-8, even from down low. Instead of tweaking the engine or drivetrain, Ford chose to focus their efforts on improving the SHO’s handling, so the car gets bigger brakes, torque vectoring control to mimic the effect of a limited slip differential, improved paddle shifters and new electric power steering. Just in case you want a more hard-core SHO, Ford has you covered with a newly announced SHO Performance Package, designed with track days in mind. Buyer who opt for the Performance Package get a sport-tuned suspension with unique shocks and springs, track-tuned calipers with high performance brake pads, recalibrated electric steering, Electronic Stability Control with “Track” and “Full Off” modes, 3.16:1 final drive for quick acceleration, extreme-duty cooling and 20” wheels with high performance, summer-only tires. Pricing for the new Taurus SHO hasn’t been set, but you can expect to see it in dealer showrooms by mid 2012.