New Car Reviews

New Car Reviews (5)

When the idea of the all-new Renegade began floating around Auburn Hills, Jeep executives asked the development and design teams in charge of the program a single question: "Can we really do a B-segment crossover?" Following the lukewarm—at best—reception of the brand's Patriot and Compass compact crossovers, the question was legitimate. But the Renegade's debut at the Geneva auto show this week—at least right now—seems to indicate that the missteps of a decade ago may remain in the past. To get all the deets on the new global B-segment crossover, we spent some time with the men in charge of the Renegade's engineering and interior and exterior design. Below are the 10 nuggets of truth you need to know about what the team now affectionately calls the "cute brute."

1. The Design Team Had One Inspiration: Wrangler

Take one look at the Renegade and its mimicry of the Wrangler is obvious. The grille, headlights, and upright stance all play as caricatures of the off-road legend the team used as inspiration. Subtler nods, however, include widened fenders to recall the flat fenders of old Willys models and taillampsthat are tacked on and interrupt the rear end's shape, much like the Wrangler's.

2. The Xs All Over It Are Derived From Army Jerry Cans

It wasn't enough to model the Renegade after the Wrangler, it also took inspiration from the jerry cans often carried by old Willys while on patrol. The Xs that were stamped into those jerry cans are seen in the taillights, but they're also hiding in the headlights, on the roof, and in a number of other places that Jeep won't reveal. 

3. There Are a Lot of Easter Eggs

Which brings us to our third point: Jeep's design team hid Easter eggs all over the Renegade. If you read our debut story, you'll know about the topographic map of Moab hiding in the stowage bin beneath the center stack, but the exterior design team tells us there are a number of other hidden gems throughout the vehicle. We were able to spot silhouettes of Willys Jeeps printed on the wheels and the grille-and-headlights emblem stamped on the inside of the tailgate and in the taillights, but Jeep won't reveal the rest. "Part of the fun of owning the vehicle is discovering them," we're told. This is becoming a trend in new Fiat Chrysler vehicles—the new 200 has the skyline of Detroit hidden in its interior, and the Viper's cabin features circuit maps of Laguna Seca and other historic tracks—and we're told it will continue.

4. It Was Penned by Fiat Chrysler Rookie Designers

The entirety of the design took place in Auburn Hills, where senior FCA designers turned over the styling process to its youngest members with the instructions: "Design a car for yourself." Jeremy Glover and Ian Hedge, 2010 and 2011 graduates of Detroit's College for Creative Studies, penned the crossover's exterior and interior. They wanted to give the Renegade a feeling of urbanity, yet to feel simultaneously active. So they used themes from activities like base jumping, parkour, and paintball—the latter is quite evident in the tach, where orange splatter serves as the car's redline.


5. The WALL-E Vents Were Necessary but Weren't Unanimously Liked

First, Jeep insists that we call the vents that sit atop the Renegade's dash above the center stack "ski goggles." This is for two reasons: One, it further plays up the extreme-sports inspiration; and two, it would avoid any kerfuffles with Disney. The reason the vents exist at all is because the dashboard simply wasn't wide enough to accompany Fiat-Chrysler's usual HVAC layout of vertically oriented vents mounted on either side of the infotainment screen. So the design team moved them to the top of the dash. Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles had to be convinced to go along with WALL-E.

6. The Removable Roof Panels Need a Key and Two Hands

Engineers were concerned that owners with manually operated removable roof panels wouldattempt to transition from closed roof to open air while in operation, so they made the process a two- handed operation. The panels open in such a way that if they were to be removed while driving, they'd lift up and fly off. So removing them requires the turning of a key—made to look like one that might start a 1941 Willys—and the pulling of a lever, essentially making it impossible for a driver to complete the process while in motion.

7. The Interior Color Combinations Are Named After Extreme Sports

Yes, the X Games-esque themes continue. The interior design team was drawn to the suits that BASE jumpers wear and the environments in which sand surfing takes place. So, naturally, the bright and colorful, orange-trimmed interior is called Basejump and the earth-toned interior is called Sandsurf. When the Renegade goes on sale, the cabin treatments likely will have different names.

8. It Has the Most Intricate Selec-Terrain Parameters of Any Jeep Ever

The Selec-Terrain drive-mode system is no different than the new Cherokee's, but as the Renegade has 16 different powertrain combinations globally, the Selec-Terrain system needed more parameters than the Cherokee's to accommodate all those engine and transmission options. Jeep had to adjust more than 6000 parameters to set up Selec-Terrain for Renegades the world over, and consider that each cog in its nine-speed automatic has to have a calibration of its own, so that numbers is, in reality, more like 54,000.

9. It's a Truly Global Vehicle

The design process may have taken place in Auburn Hills, but there's quite a lot about the Renegade that's very international. It will be built in Italy, Jeep ultimately expects the Renegade's European sales to outpace those in the U.S., the core of the Michigan-based design team was shipped to Turin to oversee final alterations to the design as engineering changes were occurring, and it's the first Jeep to be introduced outside of America.

10. As of "Weeks" Before Its Debut, It Didn't Have a Name

Long before the Renegade bowed in Switzerland, Jeep had been testing its B-segment crossoverunder the cloak of a jacked-up Fiat 500L, and rumors circulated that it would be called Jeepster—the vehicle's internal nickname. We're told that a name still hadn't been determined mere weeks before the Geneva show. The badging on the Renegades that sit on the stand is cheap, plasticky, and flimsy, further underlining the last-minute decision on a name. We suspect that badging will be more robust—dare we say "Trail Rated"—when the Renegade goes on sale this December.


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Originally published at Car and Driver

Explore The 2014 Dodge Journey SE

Dodge's seven-passenger Journey comes with features like 17-inch wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, seven airbags, 4.3-inch touchscreen, Keyless push-button start and power-heated mirrors.Under the hood, the Journey SE sports Dodge's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, which delivers 283 hp with 260 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; helping deliver the respectable EPA estimated 24 mpg highway rating. The 2014 Journey SE's all-wheel-drive system performs primarily on the front wheels to conserve fuel, but it will engage the rear wheels when slip is detected. The all-wheel drive is also engaged on dry pavement at speeds between 25 and 65 mph, which Dodge says enhances the handling and performance of the vehicle.

When drivers hit speeds above 25 mph, the Journey's AWD system sends torque to the rear wheels, making tight turns feel less labored and making for more neutral handling, as Dodge describes it. When reaching highway speeds upward of 53 mph and above, Dodge says the control strategy provides minimal rear torque, again helping it achieve the best fuel economy possible. The Journey's AWD electronic control module works in unison with Dodge's electronic-stability control and traction-control systems.

Buyers can check out the 2014 Dodge Journey SE at a showroom near them as it is arriving in dealerships now.



(Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co plans to start selling its first battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) in 2016 as South Korea's champion of fuel-cell cars hedges its bets in next-generation green technology.Hyundai has leant toward engines which turn hydrogen into electricity in response to stricter emissions regulations in markets such as the United States. Research and development partner Kia Motors Corp has focused on rechargeable batteries.

But the division of labor is blurring at a time when the number of battery-powered EVs is on the rise. BMW's i3 and Nissan Motor Co Ltd's Leaf are widely expected to reach Korea this year - as will Kia's Soul EV.

"There is no clear direction about which eco-friendly cars will win. We are dividing roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars," Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang told reporters on Tuesday.

"But the time will come when Kia will introduce a fuel-cell car. Hyundai is also preparing to launch a (battery-powered) electric car in 2016," Lee said at the Korean launch of the Soul EV.

Kia, 34 percent owned by Hyundai, on Tuesday said it will start building the Soul EV compact in Korea next month. The car will be the pair's first battery-powered EV export, with destinations including the United States and Europe.

For this year, the global sales target is 5,000 Soul EVs, said Cho Yong-won, vice president of Kia's Domestic  Marketing  Group.

In Korea, the Soul EV will cost about half of its 42 million won ($39,400) price tag after government subsidies, similar to the higher-end model of the gasoline version.

The car can run up to 148 kilometers (92 miles) per 24 to 33 minute fast charge or four hours on slow charge.

Relatively short driving ranges and a lack of charging stations, as well as the high cost of batteries, has kept the battery-powered EV market niche.

Korean sales of Kia's Ray EV, Renault SA's SM3 EV and General Motors Co's Spark EV totaled just 713 vehicles last year, industry data showed. Hyundai's BlueOn is only used by government agencies.


Rumors Of Ford F-150 Diesel Not True

Ford’s revelation that the new F-150 will use aluminum, not steel, for its body panels was enough news to overshadow nearly everything else about America’s next favorite vehicle. But in the wake of its debut, we’re beginning to hear the more-standard questions—the ones that start with “Why” and end with “Get real.” You know the kind. Why is there no version with a stick? Why isn’t there a targa version? Why can’t I buy an F-150 with a 30-mm rotary cannon in the bed? But then you get to the “Why isn’t there a diesel version?” and the question can’t be dismissed with a reference to reality.

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Citing unnamed sources, The Truth About Cars claims that “Ford is apparently at work on a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel,” adding that it’s code-named “Lion” and would arrive in roughly 2018—about the time of the new F-150’s midlife overhaul.

We’ll parse this in just a moment, but first, here’s what Ford’s VP of global product development, Raj Nair, has said on the subject recently. It’s not promising:

  • “We obviously have diesels in the lineup, and diesels are great if you are going to be consistently towing heavy payloads. And we feel Super Duty trucks are a better solution for that customer,” he told Automotive News last month.

  • “We don’t see the dynamics for an F-150 diesel right now. If you go through the math, your payback is much longer and consumers are smart enough to know that,” Nair said to Edmunds in July.

Meanwhile, “Lion” is the internal nickname for the diesel V-6, developed a decade ago jointly by Ford and PSA Peugeot-Citroën. It’s all-but extinct. Jaguar and Land Rover still use a 3.0-liter version, as Europeans overwhelmingly buy their big European luxury carswith 3.0-liter six-cylinder engines. That and a 2.7-liter version were once used widely in Ford, Peugeot, and Citroën models, but have now been phased out in favor of diesel fours. (Ford does, by the way, still offer the 2.7 in the extraordinarily low-volume Australian-market Territory SUV). This is the engine that Ford will use as the basis for an F-150 diesel? Or even the internal code name?

The reason that Ford and Peugeot-Citroën dropped the “Lion” diesel V-6 is that mainstream customers in Europe, the world’s largest and only significant market for diesel cars and SUVs, have moved on to diesel fours. What this means is that if Ford wants to develop a new six-cylinder diesel engine, it can’t look to Europeans for any meaningful number of sales. And without enough volume, there’s no profit on a brand-new engine.

So, to return to our original question: Why isn’t there a diesel engine in the new F-150? And why are we skeptical that one is coming soon? We’ve got a disinterested-sounding head of product planning on the one hand, and an obsolete code name and shrunken global demand on the other. This evidence, like it or not, is pretty real.

Top Ten Best Cars For Female Drivers

Top Ten Best Cars For Female Drivers

Women tell us they prefer a car that's agile, has good visibility, and isn't a chore to drive. Many like to sit higher and most rightly insist on plenty of storage space, reasonable prices and low running costs. Space for growing families is essential in many cases and safety is a major factor. Furthermore, many women tell us that a high fun-to-drive factor is important.

The ten cars listed below meet these criteria while allowing for different tastes, lifestyles, and incomes.

Ford Focus 2006 Ford Focus ZX4 front view

The Ford Focus has a markedly different character than most Ford products sold in the US and Canada. That's because it was developed by Ford of Europe -- that's right, this is an honest-to-goodness European car. The tall cabin, upright driving position, roomy interior and trunk and smile-generating driving experience all come courtesy of the Focus' old-world roots, but with the humble Ford badge on the boot -- er, trunk -- you aren't paying for a fancy European name.

Honda Civic 2007 Honda Civic rear view

Civics are everywhere, and with good reason: They're economical, easy to drive, and they run like a Swiss watch. With their blue-chip resale values and impeccable build quality, Civics are good investments both short- and long-term. Innovations like a totally flat passenger floor (no center "tunnel") make the Civic comfortable and practical. Hybrid and natural-gas powered versions are perfect for the cost- and environment-conscious. Without question, this is the compact-class leader.

Honda Fit 2007 Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is just one of a handful of subcompacts now on the US and Canadian markets, but few others can match the Fit's balance of front seat, back seat and trunk room. The Fit is especially handy in urban areas, where its small size allows it to nip through traffic and squeeze into tiny parking spots. Its fuel-efficient 1.5 liter engine has plenty of get-up-and-go, even with an automatic transmission, and Honda quality means it'll last an eon.


Mazda 32007 Mazda 3 driving

Mazda's new compact brings with it a combination of style, space, and driving pleasure not often found in this class. The 4-door costs less initially but we recommend the 5-door for all-round practicality, not to mention a little elbow room for a growing family.

Mazda MX-5 Miata2007 Mazda MX-5 Miata front-left view top down

The Miata is a great set of wheels for a woman who doesn't have a family, and an excellent second car for one who does. Few cars deliver the Miata's combination of fun in the sun and raw driving thrills, and even fewer deliver such great fuel economy while doing it. Though trunk room is tight, the Miata offers just enough room for a romantic weekend getaway for two. And on a day-to-day basis, it's a great way to put a little sparkle into your commute.

Mercedes-Benz E-class2007 Mercedes-Benz E-Class front view

You've worked hard. Now enjoy it! The Mercedes E-class offers more prestige of the three-pointed star. The E is ideally sized, big enough for the family to ride comfortably (without a chorus of "Mom, he hit me!" "She hit me first!" from the back seat), but small enough for easy parking and urban handling. The E is the practical way to treat yourself right.

Nissan Sentra2007 Nissan Sentra front view 2

I firmly believe that women are more practical than men -- and the Sentra is one of the most practical compact sedans on the market, blending a generous back seat with a continuously-variable transmission, a type of automatic that delivers better acceleration and fuel economy than a stick-shift.

Subaru Forester2006 Subaru Forester XT front view

The Forester toes the line between car and SUV, but unlike most crossovers, the Forester does everything well. On the road it offers invigorating handling and performance; off road it'll keep up with many bigger, brawnier SUVs. And when the weather turns foul, the Forester is one of the best vehicles of any size for safely negotiating slick roads. All this plus lots of cargo space and good fuel economy. The downside? Awkward looks and a tight back seat. Overall its an outstanding package.

Toyota Camry2007 Toyota Camry XLE V6 front 3-4

There's a reason the Camry is the best selling car in the US, and has been for years: It does just about everything well. It's roomy, quiet, comfortable, and built like the proverbial brick outhouse. With the new-for-2007 redesign, the Camry offers more choice than ever. Most buyers will opt for the well-priced and well-equipped Camry LE but don't overlook the fuel-efficient Camry Hybrid, luxury-oriented Camry XLE and sporty Camry SE.


Volkswagen Jetta2007 VW Jetta 2.0T front view

Volkswagen's compact sedan offers up enough individuality for an independant woman, enough cachet for the up-and-coming executive, and enough room for a growing family. We're especially enamoured of the hot-rod turbo version, which has the same engine as VW's boy-racer GTI. (We like the other versions too, especially the super-frugal diesel-powered Jetta.