New and Noteworthy
I just wanted to take a quick moment to discuss what Ford is doing right now, and how excited that should make all of us. We recently took a trip out to the city of Detroit (home of the blue oval) for the North American International Auto Show where, once again, I was blown away by what Ford was doing. I also learned that the auto show attracted some 815,000+ people this year which is a completely different point but nonetheless makes me happy for the auto industry in general. Ford had an amazing display with all the the latest and greatest including the new Ford Fusion, which will be a 325hp AWD sedan that should blow away the competition.
So back to my original point in that Ford is onto something special right now and I truly think this is a great enhancement for the auto industry in general. I mean look at the lineup that Ford is bringing to the table right now. Cars, trucks and SUVs that are everyday capable vehicles that are reliable and, in some regards, the best selling vehicle (cough, cough F-150) for almost the last 40 years. Then look at all this excitement they are building and that really is what this article is all about. Let me start at the so called, “bottom” and work my way up.
Now that we’ve had some time to decompress from the craziness that was North American International Auto Show Week, we figured we’d go back through some of our photos from the show to bring you a select few highlights and also some of the disappointments we saw in Detroit. With at least 20 new unveilings at NAIAS in addition to the hundreds of brand new cars decorating the manufacturers’ booth, it was hard to pick just one favorite. So here’s our list of the Hots and the Nots.
HOT: Mazda MX-5 Speedster Concept
We already love the new MX-5, but the skunkworks team at Mazda took an extreme lightweighting approach to this build for show car for SEMA and removed the windshield and convertible top, saving 250 lbs in the process. The wheels have been replaced by lightweight forged wheels and the interior has been suitably stripped out as well. Although it’s unlikely Mazda would ever put an honest sub-2,000 lb Miata into production, we’d still love to get behind the wheel of this thing!
NOT: Chevrolet Bolt
Switching gears a bit, the Chevy Bolt is the EV city-car hatchback take on Tesla’s upcoming Model 3. With a base price of around $30,000 after federal tax credits, it won’t exactly be cheap. Hopefully buyers can look past the price tag and understand that getting 200 miles of range and lightweight aluminum construction isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. It’s just not what we’d call… um… pretty.
HOT: Buick Avista Concept
“That’s a Buick?!” We heard this remark from a number of people on the show floor and must admit, it’s certainly a strikingly beautiful vehicle. This certainly isn’t your grandpa’s Buick. This sexy coupe could potentially be put into production on the same chassis as the Chevy Camaro and Cadillac ATS, and use a slightly detuned version of the CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbocharged V6 to put out around 400 horsepower. For now, it’s just a concept but we’re honestly excited for the day Buick builds this thing!
NOT: Mercedes-Benz E-Class and SLC-Class
While the new E-Class is the best midsize sedan the company has ever built, had we not looked at the badges, we never would’ve guessed that it wasn’t either the C-Class or the S-Class. Aside from changes in wheelbase and options, they all look nearly identical. It’s a problem that has plagued their competitor Audi for ages, and now Mercedes has fallen into the same trap, it would seem. To top it off, the new SLC replaces the SLK Convertible and while it’ll surely be the best small convertible they’ve ever built, we’re disappointed that they ditched the V8 in the top SLK 55 model and now uses a twin-turbo V6 that offers 54 less horsepower than the engine it replaces.
HOT: Lincoln Continental
We went nuts over the Continental Concept last year, and the refreshed MKZ in LA. Now, Lincoln has finally given us a production version of the Continental that we were all hoping for and it’s absolutely gorgeous. While it doesn’t come with the classy blue suede slippers of the concept car, it’s still about as suave as you can get. We especially love the jewel-like headlights, the touch-activated door handles, and yes, even the blue leather-lined interior.
HOT: 2017 Ford Fusion Sport
We already love the Fusion sedan so we certainly won’t complain about 325 hp and AWD to the mix! The styling is a pretty mild evolution of the current Fusion with a little Focus mixed in for good measure. Now we just need to get our hands on one to see if the “Sport” name fits the driving experience.
HOT: Ford GT pre-production model
This is it! The 99% production-ready Ford GT! In terms of exterior styling, what you’re looking at is the 2017 Ford GT. The interior has some trim bits that are still up in the air but this is more or less what you can expect to see later this year as the Ford GTs start hitting the streets. We also managed to get the first footage of the Ford GT going into Race Mode! Plus, this stormtrooper’ed out version looks stunningly good in person.
NOT: GMC Acadia
The new GMC Acadia is surely a practical day-to-day car that provides comfort and security on the road for you and your passengers but look at it. It’s not exactly awe-inspiring. Vehicles like this are the definition of automotive purgatory. We’ll pass.
HOT: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
If you’re looking for a more inspiring people mover, we recommend checking out the new Chrysler Pacifica. It’s a bold, new look for what had been the Town & Country, and given all the new tech under the skin, it deserved a new name. How many minivans do you know of that can get 80 MPG and 530 mile range?!
HOT: 2017 Lexus LC500
Our first thought when we saw this was that Lexus had just rolled out another recycled concept car from the a couple years ago. They promptly corrected us though that this stunning, 467-hp, V8-powered sports car is not just a pipe dream. This is an actual production LC500 as it will appear in dealership showrooms later this year.
HOT: Beefy Off-Road Trucks (Nissan Titan Warrior Concept, Ford Raptor SuperCrew, Ram Rebel)
We’re suckers for a good, solid truck. And it doesn’t get any more solid than the Ford Raptor, right? Well, it seems at least a few manufacturers, including Ford themselves, are trying to improve upon the hot new off-road adventure truck segment. What surprised us the most was Nissan’s attempt with the new Titan Warrior concept. It was big and meaty looking, like a 20oz Porterhouse on wheels.
NOT: Infiniti Q60
We’re not sure what it is about the Q60 that is so uninspiring but despite it bring a 400-hp 2-door coupe, we just can’t get excited about it. Maybe it’s just because Infiniti has never had much of a reputation of making cars that are as dynamically pleasing to drive as they are to look at, or because there are just so many competent cars competing for the crown in this segment.
HOT: Genesis G90
Hyundai’s brand-new luxury spin-off brand is betting on the new Genesis G90 going head to head with the current king of luxury sedans: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While we’ve been skeptical of the Korean giant really backing up its claims of world-class luxury, the G90 might just be the car to prove us wrong. If only the name weren’t so generic…
Well that went fast! Here we are at the end of a very long second day at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. While most of the big reveals happened yesterday, today was a great opportunity to check out a few new things like the all-new, production-ready Lincoln Continental and the Acura Precision concept, as well as doubling back on anything we might’ve missed in yesterday’s madness. We also saw the new Honda Ridgeline pickup, GMC Acadia, Infiniti Q60 Coupe, Audi’s H-Tron Concept as well as the new Allroad, and the big, boxy, and beautiful Kia Telluride SUV concept. The most interesting car of Day 2 was the dorky little Toyota Kikai concept. It’s a compact 3-seater with exposed engine and suspension that looks more off-road buggy than compact city car but we applaud Toyota for trying something weird and different. We were also blown away by Ford’s demonstration of the new GT’s Race Mode which drops the car on its wheels and raises up a gloriously aerodynamic wing that doubles as an air brake. Mind = blown!
We’re out here at the 2016 North American International Auto Show here in Detroit, MI this week and it surely didn’t disappoint. Day 1 is usually chock full of big reveals and included the updated Ford Fusion, including a 325 HP, AWD Sport model we’re excited about, as well as Raptor-fighting Nissan Titan “Warrior” Concept truck which looked awesome. We also Hyundai spin off it’s luxury brand Genesis with the new Genesis G90 to replace the Equus, while the G80 takes over the original Genesis sedan in the new lineup. Other notable debuts from Monday included the new BMW M2, a 365 hp small sedan, Volkswagen’s Tiguan GTE Concept that looked just as ready to tackle the Dakar Rally as it did the shopping mall, Porsche unveiled the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S, Buick debuted a surprisingly gorgeous 400 hp coupe based on the Camaro, and Lexus rolled out the LC500 and LC-FC, the former is a shockingly beautiful production-ready sports coupe with a 467 hp V8 while the latter is an elegant hybrid sedan. For us, the highlights of the show was actually the production-ready version of the incredible Ford GT that we saw debut here in concept form last year, and the new MX-5 Speedster concept that Mazda rolled out at SEMA this past November. But enough from us, take a look at the photos below and tell us which cars you like! We’ll be back tomorrow to recap Day 2 of the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
January 11th marks the start of the 2016 North American International Auto Show (or NAIAS for short) in Detroit, Michigan. As always, we’ll be there, live on the show floor for the press days to bring you all of the latest and greatest live from the show floor. While details have been pretty sparse this year as to what exactly is going to be revealed, most manufacturers like to keep tight-lipped and surprise us. For instance, Ford absolutely shocked everyone with a huge reveal of not only the new Shelby GT350R and Raptor but also the new Ford GT supercar, without leaking anything ahead of time. From what we have heard, there’s a good chance we’ll see an updated Ford Fusion, a production-ready Lincoln Continental, an all-new Hyundai Genesis G90 sedan, a spin-off model of the new Nissan Titan, and some new concepts from Volkswagen.
With the 2015 LA Auto Show behind us, we figured it was time for a quick recap to talk about some hits and misses from the show. There were roughly 20-25 new vehicles revealed at the show and while we won’t cover everything, there was a lot to see. It’s easy to show up at these big auto shows and get sucked up into all of the hype and excitement but we’re here to cut through the bullcrap and break down what was really cool and what was just show floor fodder.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: HIT
With 505 hp and the fastest production sedan lap record at the Nurburgring, this BMW M3-fighter has us rummaging through our couch cushions and smashing every piggy bank in sight to scrape together the estimated $70,000 to buy one. Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this thing!?! It looks fantastic inside and out, is available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and offers rear or all-wheel drive. And this shade of blue looks particularly dashing as well.
Cadillac XT5: HIT
The Cadillac XT5 is the highly anticipated replacement for the SRX, which is currently the oldest model in their lineup. With a fresh new look and updated materials, the XT5 is a very important launch for Cadillac since the SRX it replaces was the company’s most popular model. With a nearly 300 lb diet, and an updated CUE infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay, the XT5 is bound to be a strong seller for the brand yet again.
Fiat 124 Spider: MISS
We want to like it, we really do, but the new Fiat 124 Spider takes the already gorgeous new Miata and somehow manages to make it look just a bit frumpy. While we can appreciate some of the styling cues of the original 124 Spider of the 1970′s in this car, it doesn’t really work when it’s scaled up on a modern car. Kudos to Fiat for using the 500 Abarth engine in this car though! It should sound pretty wicked and with turbos make everything better, even if the 124 Spider only comes with 160 hp.
Fiat 500e Stormtrooper Edition: HIT
We’re a sucker for Star Wars so while this fun little collaboration panders to our fellow nerds just a bit too much, we can’t help but love it all the same.
Hyundai Elantra: HIT
While we heard some rumblings from fellow show-goers that the new Elantra just ripped off styling cues from a bunch of other cars, we feel they borrowed some inspiration from some of the best designs out there. The headlights remind us slightly of the Jaguar XF while the grille looks like a mix of Ford Fusion and Audi TT, but these shapes have all been tweaked to fit the new Elantra in a cohesive way that works better than you might at first think. The rear reminds us of Hyundai’s own Genesis which certainly isn’t a bad thing either. Who said a cheap car has to look cheap?
Ford Escape: HIT
Given how good the current Ford Escape already is, the 2017 update is sure to be even better. The new look, with styling cues taken from the Edge, really works on the scaled down Escape too. Black accents and a sportier looking front grille don’t look bad, but we wish they would’ve taken more of a chance with the styling like they did in 2012. No doubt it’ll still be one of the top compact crossovers on the market when it becomes available later next year.
Lincoln MKZ: HIT
Lincoln has had a tough go of things over the last few years. The current lineup’s styling is a bit hit or miss, but we got excited when we saw the stunning Continental concept in New York earlier this year. Now we appreciate Lincoln taking that breathtaking look and applying it to the MKZ. Not only does the new front end look fresh and luxurious, but the MKZ also offers a new Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp mated to all-wheel drive. Inside, the MKZ is finally on track for offering a level of luxury that at least matches that of its direct competition. If Lincoln can keep rolling out cars like this, their future is beginning to look brighter.
Mazda CX-9: HIT
Mazda has been on a hot-streak lately with their whole lineup, but the CX-9 had been starting to show its age. Thankfully, Mazda adapted their Kodo styling language to the new 7-seat crossover and heavily upgraded the interior and driveline. The new interior is now much more luxurious than it’s ever been in the past with rich and vibrant leather seats and plenty of safety and infotainment tech. The new 2.5-liter turbocharged SkyActiv 4-cylinder offers 250 hp and plenty of torque.
Jaguar F-Pace: HIT
The all-new Jaguar F-Pace made its US debut at the 2015 LA Auto Show and we fell in love with the styling immediately. This is going to be volume seller for the Jaguar we see it being pretty successful for the British manufacturer. But really, who cares how many they sell. It looks beautiful and that’s pretty much all that matters to us. That, and we’re holding out hope that they offer the super aggressive 5.0-liter V8 from the F-Type R at some point down the road. Yes, please!
Range Rover Evoque Convertible: WTF?!?
We don’t even really know to categorize this. It’s ridiculous and useless and stupid and yet, we applaud Land Rover for having the stones to build it. This one can definitely be filed away in the same dark corner as the Nissan Murano Crosscabrio in a folder named “Weird Vehicles You Never Actually Thought Existed”.
Audi’s Booth: HIT
We couldn’t pick just one favorite from Audi’s booth so we picked them all. They all have over 600 hp, they all go like stink, and they all look amazing. You just can’t go wrong.
Porsche 911 C4S Targa: MISS
Welcome to the 328th obscure version of the Porsche’s 911 lineup. This one is the latest 911 with the new twin-turbo engine that isn’t technically a Turbo. It has all-wheel drive, wider rear fenders, and a roof panel that folds down compared to the regular, plain-Jane 911. For those who don’t like this *exact* iteration, it can also be had with a fixed roof, or a full convertible top. Or with less power, or less driven wheels, or with more power, or pretty much any way you could possible want it. Yes, it’s still a 911 so it’ll be amazing to drive but the 911 lineup has become so bloated now that it’s hard to get excited about any new iteration at this point.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport: HIT
Although the Boxster/Cayman lineup has plenty of different versions, all with minor tweaks, we love Porsche’s approach to the GT4, and they went somewhere really exciting with this, the GT4 Clubsport. This track-only model takes a largely stock Cayman GT4 and adds a roll-cage, beefed up suspension, and a unique 6-speed version of their PDK gearbox. While it’s largely targeted at a one-make racing series, we’d love to get our hands on one for some track days!
Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept: HIT
We love the design of the Impreza Sedan Concept and really hope the production version will look this good. While most other manufacturers have given up on building concept cars these days, it’s nice to see that Subaru still likes to wow us. Keep your fingers crossed!
Nissan Sentra: HIT
The Nissan Sentra has been a staple of the Japanese automaker’s lineup for decades and this new model, although largely a refresh, is a handsome car. Beyond the fresh new look, Nissan has added some real substance through technology like intelligent cruise control, blind spot detection, forward emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert. NissanConnect is also available now with navigation, Siri Eyes Free integration, and plenty of apps and services above and beyond what you might expect in this segment.
Although most of the big reveals were yesterday at the 2015 LA Auto Show, the low-pressure schedule today gave us time to make the rounds and get up close and personal with all the things we missed or wanted a second look at. We made sure to circle back and check out the Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept that we didn’t get the chance to see yesterday, as well as some of the new stuff Volkswagen, more crazy concepts from Kia, and some other odds and ends. And that’s a wrap! Goodbye, LA. We’ll miss your glorious weather.
And again, make sure to follow @MorriesAuto on Instagram or on Youtube (youtube.com/morriesauto) for more photos and video from the 2015 LA Auto Show.
Not that any of us needed an excuse to get out of Minnesota just as it starts getting cold, but the Los Angeles International Auto Show will be a welcome change of scenery next week. It’s not just the warm weather we’re looking forward to, but the cars too. While we don’t know everything that will be debuting at the auto show this year, it’s sure to be a star-studded show with big debuts from Cadillac, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and many more.
Cadillac is going to be debuting their SRX replacement – the XT5 – in LA this year. We’ve already seen a handful of photos that have leaked and the midsize crossover is quite beautiful. Being Cadillac’s highest selling vehicle in their lineup, this is a very important vehicle for the automaker and we have high hopes.
Hyundai is going to show off the new 2017 Elantra at the show, as well as possibly debut the Equus-replacing Genesis G90 in concept form. Hyundai is also aiming to split the Genesis name off into its own separate luxury brand, something the automaker has been planning with various degrees of success for a number of years now.
Mazda is taking big steps to replace their aging CX-9 crossover SUV that has remained largely the same for the last 9 years. We expect the new CX-9 to keep the 7-seat layout and offer fresh styling and more of the safety and infotainment technology, such as Mazda Connect, as we see on the rest of Mazda’s lineup.
Nissan will be debuting the updated 2016 Sentra in LA and although details have been scarce, we’re excited to see for ourselves just how Nissan has revised and refined the compact sedan for next year.
Subaru is also going to be rolling out their new Impreza Sedan concept after debuting the 5-door hatch version at the Tokyo Auto Show last month. This will show the design direction of the next generation Impreza that we’ll likely see sometime around 2017 or 2018.
Other notable vehicles that we’re looking forward to seeing include the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport, a new Mercedes-Benz SL convertible, a lightweight, rear-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracan, the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, an all-new Honda Civic Coupe, the Infiniti QX30 in production form, the new Buick LaCrosse sedan, and lastly, the new Fiat 124 Spider that is based on the new Mazda MX-5 platform. Surely there will be plenty of other interesting debuts at the show and we look forward to capturing them and sharing them with you later next week.
If you are ready for the leaves to change and would like to get out and about and see these changes then we have the perfect article and map for you.
The article to use is from the DNR which provides a “Fall Color Finder“ which can be found at this link.
The #1 best spot voted for this weekend is here: Moose Lake State Park which is the city of Moose Lake, located between Minneapolis and Duluth. There is about a 25-50% change in color thus far. Also you can sign up here for weekly email alerts and updates of where to go.
Make sure to keep this link in your favorite bar to find out where to go for the rest of the fall season. So grab your Pumpkin Spice Lattes and make your way up to the north shore this weekend!
This is how we ended up ranking some of the baddest and best vehicles used by superheros. Let us know what you see missing off of our list!
10. SR-71 Blackbird
When the X-Men (who can transport or fly) need to get somewhere in a hurry they have to go to the fastest military plane in the world, the SR-71 Blackbird. With all the right looks for a mutant world saving mission or maybe cruising the open skies to find evildoers the SR-71 rounds out the Top 10 list.
9. SHIELD Helicarrier
Taking the 9 spot, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier is a “floating fortress” which is the size of most cities found in Iowa. With the capacity to carry most of an army or contain Hulk without him taking the ship down, the Helicarrier is a solid go-to in the Superhero world.
8. The Punisher’s GTO
Classic American Muscle with a killer paint job and a doomsday feel make this GTO crack into the top 8 without a problem. In case the Punisher’s comes looking for you tell him you voted it to #1…
7. Ghostbuster Mobile – ECTO -1
Who you gonna call? They might not be superheroes, per-say, but the GhostBuster’s iconic 1959 Cadillac ECTO-1 is a sweet ride with tons of space for all the gear to capture ghosts.
6. Speed Racer Mach 5
The name says it all at our #6 pick, Speed Racer is all about that sweet, sweet speed that makes this car so special. Incredible handling, raw breakneck speed and a driver that can handle it all…Mach 5.
5. The Green Machine
TURTLE POWER!! Who didn’t want to go for a ride with the TMNT back in the day? Eating pizzas and doing karate was basically how we did/do live out lives.
4. Bond’s DB5
The #4 spot is for Bond, James Bond. With timeless looks, awesome modifications from Q, and a beautiful women in the passenger seat, the Aston Martin DB-5 is a surefire winner in our books.
3. Millenium Falcon
With the return of Star Wars in the next couple months how could we possibly leave this vehicle, which, according to Han, ”made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs” off the list? We can’t wait to see this Falcon return to the big screen in December.
2. Optimus Prime
He’s not only a sweet 18-wheeler but also a sentient life form from another world. Optimus Prime and the Autobots are a group of Earth-saving robots that can kick some butt and cruise off with a sweet burnout.
1. The Tumbler / The Batpod
How could we not put the most epic/iconic superhero transport vehicle at number 1? From the original Batmobile all the way up to the Tumbler/Batpod, this thing can do it all. When all else fails and Batman is cornered with nowhere to go in the Tumbler, pull the eject cord and take off in the Batpod.