2014 Honda Civic: Up Close

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Honda took a lot of heat for its most recent redesign of the Civic compact and responded with a rushed redesign of the sedan for 2013. Now we have an earlier-than-expected refresh of the coupe for 2014 revealed at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The new coupe offers some mildly tweaked styling, some new features like push-button start, Honda's innovative LaneWatch technology and a new multimedia system on top trim levels that introduce capacitive touch technology to the Civic lineup.

By Aaron Bragman | November 21, 2013 | Comments (8)

2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell at the 2013 LA Auto Show

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Competes with: Toyota RAV4 EV
Looks like: Your average, ordinary, everyday Hyundai Tucson
Drivetrain: Electric motor making 221 pounds-feet of torque, powered by an onboard hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion battery
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014, Los Angeles and Orange, Calif., counties only

For years we have seen concept car after concept car powered by hydrogen fuel cells - electric cars that use onboard sources of electricity generated from hydrogen instead of from a land-based grid. But now Hyundai says it is ready to offer a production-ready fuel-cell electric vehicle to the public as early as next year.

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The company has built the powertrain into its Tucson compact SUV and has announced that the car will be available for lease by anyone who wants one starting in spring of 2014. The catch: It will only be available in Southern California to residents of Los Angeles and Orange counties. The move is meant to tie into a recent multimillion-dollar push by the state of California to proliferate hydrogen fueling stations throughout the region. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario - it's hard to introduce a production fuel-cell car without a hydrogen infrastructure to fuel it, but if there aren't any fuel-cell cars available for consumers to buy, there's little call to develop that infrastructure.

By Aaron Bragman | November 21, 2013 | Comments (2)

2015 Porsche Macan: Up Close

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In photos, the 2015 Porsche Macan could be mistaken for its larger Cayenne SUV counterpart at first glance. In person, there's no confusing the bite-sized Macan for anything but a compact SUV. Its small stature is fit and athletic in typical Porsche fashion, though a little too rounded toward the rear where it loses definition under the auto-show lights. Maybe out on the road some of its curves and definition will stand out. Or it really could just be somewhat of a jelly-bean shape.

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Specifications indicate the 184.3-inch Macan is a lengthy SUV among its ilk. The end-to-end dimensions don't show up on the inside where rear-seat room is in short supply. With the driver's seat positioned where I would drive, I have to slide my feet in diagonally to clear the rear seat's elevated floor. Good luck fitting three adults in the backseat.

By Joe Bruzek | November 21, 2013 | Comments (0)

Automakers Wrestle with Smartphone, Multimedia Integration

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The auto industry dreams big. Audi said Tuesday it will have 4G LTE connectivity in the 2015 A3 with shared smartphone/car data plans, and the automaker said earlier this year it sees the connected-car movement bringing driverless cars here by the decade's end. Nissan agrees. Cisco Systems and Continental AG debuted a connected-car concept in August that could seamlessly switch between 3G, 4G and WiFi networks to deliver cloud-based services and better network security. And industry researcher IHS said Tuesday it expects 152 million connected cars on the road worldwide by 2020.

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None of that helps with today's smartphones that lose in-car Bluetooth connectivity or voice-recognition systems that garble whatever is said, which are two recurrent complaints consumers voiced in J.D. Power and Associates' latest Initial Quality Survey. If the so-called "connected car" wants to reach the big leagues, it needs to stop taking strikes on the little stuff.

That's what experts wrestled with at a panel discussion during the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show's Connected Car Expo.

By Kelsey Mays | November 21, 2013 | Comments (0)

Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA45 AMG at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show

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Looks like: A rally-ready version of the just-introduced GLA250 crossover
Defining characteristics: AMG engine, wheels, decals and more
Ridiculous features: Nothing that can't be optioned out
Chance of being mass-produced: Likely

The Concept GLA45 AMG is a not-very-concepty concept, which is to say it looks ready to turn into a real product — minus the decals and more aggressive body treatments, perhaps.

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The GLA-Class is based on the CLA-Class car, and the Concept GLA45 AMG understandably uses the same staggering 355-horsepower engine as the CLA45 AMG coupe. It's staggering only because it's a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged to provide more output than any other production engine of its size.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | November 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

2015 Subaru WRX: Up Close

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The redesigned Subaru WRX sedan looks muscular, but not excessively so like some rally-inspired performance cars. The front end is a bit blocky with a face that's much flatter than that of the regular Impreza.

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Subaru says more than 80 percent of the body work is unique to the WRX, and this goes a long way toward establishing the car's aggressive vibe. Look for things to get considerably wilder if Subaru decides to build an STI version.

By Mike Hanley | November 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford Edge Concept: Up Close

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A couple miles east of the Los Angeles Convention Center, home to the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, I got a good look at the Ford Edge concept. Ford showed the concept, which should closely resemble the next-gen Edge, to journalists a day before Wednesday's press-conference bonanza.

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Like the current Edge, which design manager Kevin George called "very modern in its slab-sidedness," the Edge concept has a lot of sheet metal below the windows. George said Ford wanted to turn the "heavyweight boxer" image into a "sprinter" with the concept. It's sleek, but there's still a lot of perceived weight.

By Kelsey Mays | November 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show

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Competes with: Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Audi RS 5
Looks like: A proper Jaguar coupe with all the right curves
Drivetrain: 340- or 380-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; 550-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8; eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014

The F-Type convertible may have debuted first, but it was merely a tease for the gorgeous F-Type coupe Jaguar revealed this week at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. We couldn't help wonder, nor could our readers, how soon the coupe would debut after the convertible. From our first impressions, it seems like the wait was worth it, though we already had a hunch of what to expect based on Jaguar's C-X16 concept from a few years ago to which the production version stays faithful.

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The F-Type convertible already impressed us with its dedicated sports-car athleticism. The coupe takes the F-Type's sports-car commitment to the next level as the automaker says it's the most torsional rigid production Jaguar ever. With all that rigidity, Jaguar deemed it a perfect fit for the F-Type coupe's range-topping F-Type R with 550 horsepower. The R is now the most powerful F-Type, adding 55 horsepower over the convertible's most powerful F-Type V8 S. The F-Type R coupe is good for zero to 60 mph in an estimated 4.0 seconds.

By Joe Bruzek | November 20, 2013 | Comments (3)

Land Rover Shows Off New Range Rover Models at 2013 L.A. Auto Show

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Land Rover is offering a more versatile and even more luxurious version of its Range Rover SUV for 2014. The Range Rover Long-Wheelbase and Long-Wheelbase Autobiography Black editions were unveiled today at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The Range Rover Long-Wheelbase offers an additional 7.3 inches of rear legroom, and when equipped with the optional Executive Seating Package, it has an increased seatback recline of 17 degrees — 8 degrees more than the standard wheelbase model. Standard on all long-wheelbase models are power door blinds and a panoramic sunroof. Aside from the added length, an "L" badge on the door trims distinguishes the new model. 

By Jennifer Geiger | November 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

2015 Porsche Macan Photo Gallery (25 Photos)

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We'll have a full report on the all-new, somewhat small, SUV from Porsche later this morning. For now check out our gallery from its pre-Los Angeles Auto Show unveiling last night.

By David Thomas | November 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

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