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 (4)

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.

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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 (7)

2015 Chevrolet Trax: First Look

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Competes with: Kia Soul, Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Looks like: A cartoonish miniature Chevrolet Equinox

Drivetrain: 138-hp, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder; six-speed automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early 2015

Chevrolet has a new small car in its stable for 2015 with the Trax SUV, revealed at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. The bite-sized five-passenger SUV goes on sale in the U.S. early next year; it's been on sale in Canada, Mexico and other global markets since 2012. The Trax slots below the considerably larger Equinox and is closer in size to the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze small cars.

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Small doesn't mean basic, though, as Chevrolet will pump the Trax full of available connectivity and convenience features such as its 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Siri Eyes Free system, BringGo navigation app as well as optional all-wheel drive, leather trim and more. The Trax will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, and we'll know pricing closer to its on-sale date next year.

By Joe Bruzek | April 15, 2014 | Comments (8)

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept: First Look and Gallery

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Looks like: George Jetson's Land Rover with plenty of wraparound glass, rear-hinged doors, a sleek profile and laser headlights

Defining characteristics: Ultra-configurable seating for four to seven passengers as well as a host of from-the-future gadgets

Ridiculous features: It's the ultimate luxury toy with a remote control system that allows you to control the SUV from your smartphone

Chance of being mass-produced: Land Rover confirmed that a new family of vehicles under the Defender umbrella will be produced — we're betting not one of them will be remote-controlled

One thing we've noticed ahead of the 2014 New York International Auto Show is that concept cars are few and far between. In fact, Land Rover may have one of the only concept reveals — but what a concept it is. The Discovery Vision Concept gives us a hint at the automaker's plans for a family of new SUVs along with a glimpse into some pretty out-there technology.

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Land Rover says the design embodies the "ultimate leisure SUV," and nowhere is that more apparent than inside. The cabin is finished in two types of washable and water- and oil-repellent leather along with wood veneer on the floors and instrument panel and Harris tweed accents — how very British.

The SUV concept's highly configurable cabin makes room for anywhere from four to seven passengers with seats that fold, slide and even convert into a tablelike surface. But don't start looking for the buttons and levers yet — all of this is done via a touch-screen menu.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 15, 2014 | Comments (3)

2015 Kia Sedona: First Look

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Competes with: Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna

Looks like: A minivan doing its hardest to look like a crossover

Drivetrain: 276-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Fall 2014

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Kia's redesigned Sedona minivan features bolder styling that takes after crossover SUVs, new seats that offer greater passenger- and cargo-hauling flexibility, a new V-6 engine and a new high-end SXL trim level with Nappa leather upholstery. Kia says pricing will be announced closer to the Sedona's on-sale date this fall.

By Mike Hanley | April 14, 2014 | Comments (21)

2015 Volkswagen Jetta: First Look

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Competes with: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla

Looks like: We'll need stronger glasses to notice the changes

Drivetrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder/electric hybrid, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel

Hits dealerships: Fall 2014

There may not be much new to see when evaluating the updated 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, but there has been a lot of work under the hood and on the option list. VW will showcase the upgraded sedan this week during the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

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The Jetta trim lineup also remains the same with the base car, a GLI high-performance model, hybrid and TDI diesel.

By David Thomas | April 14, 2014 | Comments (5)

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