2015 Dodge Charger: Up Close

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Dodge is a little surprised by who's buying the current Charger: The brand says more than half of Charger buyers are the coveted millennial generation, and a third don't even cross-shop any competitors before they buy one. For Charger buyers, the car isn't a family sedan. It's a style statement, with its aggressive lines, big engines and in-your-face attitude.

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When it came time to update the Charger and Challenger, Dodge decided to take a new route with the Charger. The Challenger is retro, and the 2015 model plays up that aspect; the new 2015 Charger is now more modern than the outgoing one, giving Dodge buyers a choice in how they want their performance — old school or latest thing.

By Aaron Bragman | April 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Dodge Challenger: Up Close

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We've seen a new 2015 Ford Mustang unveiled and have enjoyed a slightly refreshed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, so now it's time for the third member of the American pony-car club to get its update. The 2014 New York International Auto Show is where Dodge decided to unveil its latest 2015 Challenger, which from the outside may not look all the different from the current one.

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Certainly the shape is the same, but the retro-mobile's flavor has been moved forward in time a bit. While the Challenger's latest iteration was based on the 1970 model for style and cues, this new 2015 model takes more ideas from the 1971 version. That means a new split-pane grille, a smiley lower bumper opening and split taillights, which are now LED, in keeping with the rest of the Dodge lineup.

By Aaron Bragman | April 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

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 Ford Focus: Up Close

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Ford would like you to know that the Focus is the best-selling compact car in the world, and it's not difficult to see why it's popular. The Focus always has been stylish, and adding in its European-style tight handling and excellent interior materials means that there's a definite appeal to the compact sedan and hatchback. Ford showed off the latest 2015 Focus at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show last month, but now it's time to see the sedan version, which is more popular in the U.S.

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The hatchback variant was on display in Geneva, but the 2015 Ford Focus sedan and Focus Electric hatchback are rolling out here at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. All are set to arrive in the U.S. late this year.

By Aaron Bragman | April 17, 2014 | Comments (0)

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 Jeep Renegade: Up Close

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Few topics get automotive enthusiasts riled up like a discussion of the future of the Jeep brand. Should they remain true to their boxy, off-road military origins with products like the Wrangler, or go more on-road friendly with swoopy, daring designs like the new Cherokee? Jeep itself seems conflicted, giving us a range of styles and capabilities to choose from, but the brand's global push in the next couple of years will be with this model, the 2015 Jeep Renegade. It debuted at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show and appears this week at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

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It's a mix of both worlds — built on a platform shared with a tiny Fiat crossover, the Renegade did not start life as an off-roader. But you wouldn't necessarily know that from looking at it — this is a traditional Jeep look, with boxy upright styling, round headlamps, the iconic seven-bar grille up front and square taillights out back.

By Aaron Bragman | April 16, 2014 | Comments (6)

2015 Toyota Camry: First Look (56 Photos)

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Competes with: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata

Looks like: The Toyota Highlander's grille found a new home

Drivetrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.5-liter V-6, six-speed automatic transmission; hybrid with 2.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT

Hits dealerships: Fall 2014

Toyota didn't wait long to redesign the Camry, the best-selling sedan for the last 12 years. The Camry was previously tweaked for the 2012 model year. This time, though, Toyota says it has rebuilt the Camry from the ground up with more than 2,000 new parts. The roof is the only unchanged part of its exterior, according to the automaker.

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Much of the 2015's focus is on a sportier experience in both the style and driving performance. The current Camry SE trim level is the sportiest variant, accounting for 45 percent of Camry sales, which Toyota took as a hint that its buyers want sportier models. A new XSE trim level tops the SE as the most sporting with unique hardware, while the Camry Hybrid now has its own SE version.

By Joe Bruzek | April 16, 2014 | Comments (39)

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