2015 Subaru Outback: Up Close

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Subaru has found its styling stride with the new Outback. It's an attractive wagon with smoother lines and a more conventional front-end look. Even though it has crossover-like ground clearance, the 2015 Outback doesn't look like a high-riding SUV and it's easy to step in and out of it.

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New cabin styling has a richer appearance, and the 3.6R Limited on the auto-show floor had matte-style woodgrain trim and soft-touch surfaces.

By Mike Hanley | April 17, 2014 | Comments (10)

2015 Acura TLX: Up Close

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No surprises here: The 2015 TLX is nearly identical to the prototype Acura showed earlier this year. That's a good thing, though, as this is Acura's most cohesive car design in years.

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The chrome bar in the shield grille still doesn't look quite right to my eye, but I like how Acura has evolved its multi-element LED headlights; they're thinner and sleeker than the ones on the Acura RLX flagship sedan.

By Mike Hanley | April 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

2015 Dodge Challenger: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Looks like: The current Challenger, now with more LEDs

Powertrains: Standard 305-hp, 3.6-liter V-6, optional 375-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 or 485-hp, 6.4-liter Hemi V-8; eight-speed automatic (standard on V-6, optional on V-8s) or six-speed manual (standard on V-8 only) transmissions; rear-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2014

With the update to the 2015 Dodge Charger, Chrysler now offers two distinct flavors of big, performance-oriented rear-drive cars for enthusiasts. The Charger's gone modern, with swoopy new styling that apes the Dart and Durango in the brand's lineup, but the new 2015 Challenger sticks to its retro theme that has been relatively successful for the big sports coupe.

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But even retro has to show progress, and Dodge has decided to base the new 2015 model on the 1971 Challenger for inspiration instead of the 1970 model that the current Challenger uses as a model. The updated interior, however, is taken right from other modern Dodge models.

By Aaron Bragman | April 16, 2014 | Comments (5)

2015 Dodge Charger: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis, Chevrolet SS, Chevrolet Impala

Looks like: Dodge Dart styling replaced retro-chic

Powertrains: Standard 292 hp, 3.6-liter V-6, optional 370-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8; eight-speed automatic; optional all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2014

It used to be that nearly every American brand had a big rear-wheel-drive V-8-powered sedan as its mainstream family car. Those days are gone, and of the dozens of choices only two remain and one of those is the Dodge Charger.

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It's the least-expensive full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan you can buy, but according to Dodge, that's not why the majority of its owners buy it - more than half of its buyers are young people, Millennials and Generation X-ers who cite the primary reason for buying a Charger as its style and powertrains. So for them, it's a sports car - cross-shopped most often with Dodge's own Challenger, believe it or not.

By Aaron Bragman | April 16, 2014 | Comments (16)

2015 Nissan Murano: Up Close

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Nissan's Murano has always been a bit weird. While most SUVs have morphed into a common look across manufacturers, the Murano always did its own thing. Now Nissan has updated the Murano, giving it its first true complete redesign, and the look is just as wild as ever.

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At first glance, one might think that the 2015 Murano is almost overstyled, with lines, creases, folds, streaks, fins and slats from bumper to rump. The resemblance to Nissan's Resonance concept car is strong, but it works.

By Aaron Bragman | April 16, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Toyota Camry: Up Close

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Just three years after Toyota redesigned the Camry, the family sedan has gone under the knife again for 2015. The result is a car with all-new styling that actually looks all new, and it seems to be in direct response to the increasing prevalence of bold-looking competitors like the Ford Fusion and Mazda6.

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The new front end is the most daring element of the 2015 Camry, which debuted at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

By Mike Hanley | April 16, 2014 | Comments (19)

Limited Edition Scion FR-S Debuts in Yuzu Yellow

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At this week's 2014 New York International Auto Show, Scion unveiled the latest special edition of the rear-drive FR-S coupe. Dubbed the now-familiar Release Series, in this case the inaugural Release Series 1.0, the special edition will have a production run of just 1,500 cars when it hits Scion showrooms in August.

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All of them will have Yuzu paint — to wit, bright yellow. (Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit; it's also the name for an untold number of Japanese restaurants.) Changes to the FR-S' taut lines include a custom rear spoiler, front and rear ground effects, and side fender garish — er, garnish.

By Kelsey Mays | April 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Sonata: Up Close

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When the prior-generation Sonata debuted as a 2011 model it made waves with a daring design that challenged conservatively styled competitors. Fast-forward a few years and Hyundai has a new Sonata and the 2015 Sonata is unlikely to create the kind of stir its predecessor did. The new sedan is handsome, but there's enough of the old version that casual observers could easily confuse them.

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The 2015 Sonata retains its distinctive coupe-like profile, and it seems even more pronounced now as the rear roof pillars extend nearly to the tail. This makes for a very short trunklid, and also makes the rear-quarter angle one of the car's best.

By Mike Hanley | April 16, 2014 | Comments (4)

2015 Chevrolet Trax: Up Close and Driven

2015 Chevy Trax

Chevrolet expects the small SUV segment to blossom in the next few years, with a growth of 80 percent by 2016. Chevrolet's new entry for the U.S. in this segment is the Trax, a five-passenger compact SUV that slots below Chevrolet's popular Equinox; the Trax is already on sale in Canada and other global markets. I briefly drove a Canadian-spec Trax at a Chevrolet preview drive at Monticello Motor Club in New York.

New York Auto Show News

The Trax shares many of its driving qualities with the Chevrolet Sonic on which the SUV's platform is derived from. The sole turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is potent enough to make the small SUV feel spritely and pairs with a well-sorted chassis to live up to its sporty claim.

By Joe Bruzek | April 16, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Hyundai Sonata: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry

Looks like: Hyundai is taking an evolutionary styling approach with the updated Sonata

Drivetrain: 185-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 245-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with six-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Summer 2014

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Family sedan shoppers already have a number of relatively new cars to consider like the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord, and later this year there'll be a new version of Hyundai's Sonata. It's offered with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, including a performance-oriented turbocharged unit, and is available with a host of convenience features from an automatically opening trunk lid to Apple's CarPlay entertainment interface. It's available in SE, Limited, Sport and Sport 2.0T trim levels and will be built in Alabama.

By Mike Hanley | April 16, 2014 | Comments (9)

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