The News for April 11th, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

  • Kia teases the Sedona and it looks kind of awesome

  • Dodge teases revamped Charger, Challenger, and something awesome


2015 Lexus NX


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

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


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

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

[Source: Lexus]

2015 Ford Focus Sedan


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

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


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

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

[Source: Ford]

Mercedes-Benz SL400


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

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

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

[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]

Bentley Hybrid Concept


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

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

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

[Source: Bentley]

2015 Kia Sedona

Kia 2014 NYIAS 2

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

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

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

[Source: Kia]

Revamped Charger and Challenger inbound


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

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


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

[Source Dodge via Autoweek]



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