Hyundai Expects Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Available by First Quarter's End


Hyundai plans to roll out Apple CarPlay by the end of the first quarter, said Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor. The technology was originally slated to debut in 2014. The Sonata midsize sedan will be the first model in the automaker's lineup to support CarPlay.

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In addition to CarPlay, Hyundai has designed its smartphone interface to support Android Auto, said Michael Evanoff, the automaker’s manager of product planning. Both systems mirror the look and feel of a driver's smartphone on the car's dashboard screen.

By Mike Hanley | February 17, 2015 | Comments (0)

The 2016 Honda Pilot Could Be the Ultimate Family Car


We like to think we know the family-car shopper. Besides our diligence in checking just how well child-safety seats fit in new vehicles, we also happen to be a staff with a lot of kids of various ages at home. That's one of the reasons the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, unveiled at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, is so interesting to us.

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To be a great family car — like the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe, winner of's Family Car of the Year — it needs to not only handle all the kids' wants and needs, but also take care of the adults. After all, it's important that Mom or Dad remain sane on even the shortest drives.

By David Thomas | February 16, 2015 | Comments (16)

2015 Chicago Auto Show Winners and Losers


This year's Chicago Auto Show delivered some significant introductions for car shoppers as well as a few wild concepts for those who just like to ooh and ahh at sheet metal and glass.

More 2015 Chicago Auto Show Coverage editors Aaron Bragman, Joe Bruzek, Mike Hanley and David Thomas rank each of the debuts on its own merits, whether it's meant to wow shoppers or simply look good underneath the bright lights.

By David Thomas | February 13, 2015 | Comments (3)

Small Changes Add Up With the 2016 Kia Rio (31 Photos)


The redesigned 2016 Kia Rio quietly debuted at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show with a few interior and exterior changes and just a passing mention in Kia's press conference. While subtle, new front and rear styling provide the subcompact Rio with a more dominant presence that's especially so in the Rio 5-Door hatchback, though the Rio sedan also receives a similar new look.

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Kia played with the design of the front and rear bodywork to give the Rio visual width through the use of a more horizontally styled front lower bumper and a new grille more in line with the rest of the Kia lineup. Sure, it sounds like a stretch that those minor changes could make any kind of an improvement, but looking at all the changes on the auto show floor the results are indeed apparent and substantial.

By Joe Bruzek | February 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

How New Is the New 2016 Toyota Avalon?


Toyota shoppers looking for something a bit bigger and more upscale than the Camry have the Avalon sedan as their premium midsize sedan option, and for 2016 the brand has updated its flagship with some mild changes to keep buyers happy ... very mild changes you can read about here.

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Hopefully those buyers were already happy with the look of the Avalon, as the changes basically amount to flipping the front grille upside-down and adding some new headlights — and that's it. You'll be hard-pressed to visually identify anything else that's changed about the new Avalon, as most of the rest of the changes are limited to trim package combinations and a new base model interior color.

By Aaron Bragman | February 13, 2015 | Comments (4)

More Details and Photos of the New 2016 Acura RDX (32 photos)


Acura's updates to the 2016 RDX import a healthy dose of styling from the brand's other recently updated models. Five years ago I'd be groaning after reading that, but Acura's latest design direction is on the up and up as the luxury brand distances itself from the exaggerated shield/beaked designs of the past.

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The 2016 RDX adds a more dimensional, attractive shape to the compact SUV with new front and rear styling for a more contemporary look. One of the stand-out features of the 2016 are the new jewel-eye LED headlights, which are becoming a staple of the brand and feature LED low and high beams and LED "light pipe" accents. Acura's wild LED projector headlights sparkle even when they're off and are standard equipment on the RDX.

By Joe Bruzek | February 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

How Much Has the 2016 Chevy Equinox Really Changed? (28 Photos)


The Equinox has set sales records each of the past five years, according to Chevrolet, which perhaps explains why the brand didn't feel compelled to fully redesign it for 2016; the Equinox is now in its seventh model year, but it receives just a mild styling update for 2016.

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And those changes are mild, even by refresh standards. They're concentrated in the new front-end design that Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet, says shows where the brand's look is heading. The new face gives the Equinox a greater Chevy family resemblance, and the new taillights are nice, but otherwise this small SUV looks exactly like the current one, which has had handsome proportions since its 2010 redesign.

By Mike Hanley | February 12, 2015 | Comments (2)

2015 Chicago Blackhawks Camaro Photo Gallery (35 Photos)


The past few years we've been impressed by just how over the top a Blackhawks-themed Chevrolet Camaro has gotten. Customized by local aftermarket supplier Real Wheels, this year's edition is actually a study in restraint versus previous takes.

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There is still a wild overhaul of the front end and grill adorned with tiny versions of the NHL team's logo along with a black version of the Chevy logo. However, inside things are almost subtle. Sure the seats are wrapped in black and red leather that is almost reminiscent in its pattern of sporting equipment, but elements like the shifter are actually standard from the factory.

By David Thomas | February 12, 2015 | Comments (3)

Inside the New 2016 Honda Pilot


There was a moment at the unveiling of the last-generation Honda Pilot during the 2008 North American International Auto Show that stuck with me all these years: The cover came off the truck, and the crowd was silent. Honda executive John Mendel then asked the assembled journalists, "Well, what do you think?" expecting applause - but getting only continued silence. Honda had turned the Pilot from an attractive, wedgelike machine into a big-eyed, upright box. It didn't hurt sales much, with Pilot still selling well, but a recent roundup of three-row crossovers has shown that the Pilot has been soundly passed by the competition in many areas.

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Honda is looking to remedy that with this, the new and thoroughly redone 2016 Pilot, and at first glance it looks like Honda has crafted a winner. Styling is even more appealing than the first-generation Pilot, with a sleekness that wears the smaller CR-V's overall look but with better proportions and heft.

By Aaron Bragman | February 12, 2015 | Comments (5)

Kia Trail'ster Concept: First Look


Looks like: A Kia Soul ready for off-road trails

Defining characteristics: Lifted ride height, meaty winter tires

Ridiculous features: Blinding array of front LED illumination

Chance of being mass-produced: You never know

An off-road Kia Soul seems like a stretch of the imagination, but the automaker put together a fun, if not convincing, concept at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show called the Kia Trail'ster. Featuring a turbocharged engine, electric all-wheel drive, lifted ride height and various trail-focused features, Kia says the Trail'ster is intended for those looking to escape the urban environment in favor of snow, mud, streams and trails.

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"The Trail'ster concept is a near-future look at how the production Kia Soul would logically evolve into an AWD-capable version that's built to escape the city streets and roam into the mountain wilderness," said Tom Kearns, Kia Design Center of America's chief designer, in a statement.

Though the concept shows off numerous trail-focused bits and pieces, Kia also teases that the Trail'ster's electric all-wheel-drive system could be a fuel-economy booster if used in a production application. We're listening, Kia.

By Joe Bruzek | February 12, 2015 | Comments (0)

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