• Nissan Altima gets more content, better mileage for 2015

    June 2, 2014

    The 2015 model year will bring a handful of minor changes to Nissan’s popular Altima midsize sedan, including increased standard content for certain trim levels and improved efficiency for V6 models.

    All Altima SV trims benefit from newly standard fog lights and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, while Altimas equipped with remote start receive an intelligent climate control system that automatically adjusts the heating or cooling based on ambient temperatures when the remote start is activated.

    Six-cylinder-equipped models get a mileage bump of 1 mpg city and 1 mpg combined, bringing official ratings up to 22/32/26 city/highway/combined mpg. At the time of writing, Nissan has not detailed how it achieved the efficiency gains. Other V6 upgrades include the addition of standard navigation, blind-spot warning, moving object detection, and lane-departure warning for 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL trims.

    As one would expect given the added content, MSRPs have crept upwards for 2015. The entry-level Altima 2.5 now starts at $23,110 (+130), with high-end models like the $30,640 3.5 SV (+$1,330) and $32,760 3.5 SL (+1,330) seeing the biggest increases (all prices include destination).

  • Hyundai Veloster Re:Flex arrives in US showrooms

    June 2, 2014
    Hyundai has announced that its 2014 Veloster Re:Flex Edition has arrived in US showrooms.

    Introduced earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show, the Re:Flex features black or red leather seating, projecter headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, LED illuminated door sills, 18-inch alloy wheels with a PCD chrome finish, chrome hood accents and Re:Flex badging on the exterior and floor mats.

    The special-edition model brings aesthetic tweaks to the base model, which is powered by a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the wheels via an six-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission.

    Compact sporty customers are often looking for limited-edition models with even sportier styling,” said Hyundai Motor America director Scott Margason.

    Buyers looking for extra oomph may opt for the standard-edition Veloster Turbo or Turbo R-Spec, both of which promise 201 ponies and 195 lb-ft of twist thanks to 18 psi of boost.

    The limited run of 3,000 units sells for $22,460 (including freight), fetching a slight premium over the Turbo R-Spec.

  • Report: Porsche’s four-cylinder to come in three flavors

    June 2, 2014

    Porsche has confirmed that it is developing a boxer four-cylinder, but details on the downsized engine have so far been scarce – enter a new rumor from across the pond.

    Britain’s Car claims to have gotten a peek at a Porsche spec sheet that revealed no fewer than three variations of the flat-four are in the works.

    The Boxster and Cayman, which Porsche CEO Matthias Müller has already stated will be offered with four cylinders in their next model generation, will reportedly get a choice of a 2.0-liter with 286 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.5-liter that cranks out 360 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque.

    A 210-horsepower 1.6-liter is also being created, though as the model it’s intended for – Porsche’s long-rumored entry-level sports car – hasn’t yet been approved for production, the mill’s fate is currently up in the air.

    All three four-cylinders make their power with the help of direct-injection and a turbocharger. In the Boxster and Cayman, they will pair with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

    Interestingly, the Car report claims that the Cayenne crossover could also get an optional four-banger.

    Comments from company insiders have suggested that the engine family will arrive in showrooms in 2016 at the earliest.

  • Kia planning first Mexico factory?

    June 2, 2014

    A new report finds that Kia will soon begin work on its first plant in Mexico as the South Korean company and its affiliate, Hyundai, look to resolve capacity constraints and keep pace with U.S. market growth.

    Citing anonymous sources close to the situation, Reuters reports that Kia’s new facility will be located in Monterrey. It will produce two small models and possess an annual production capability of 300,000 units.

    Should the report prove accurate, it could provide another signal that Hyundai and Kia are ready to abandon their unofficial moratorium on production capacity expansion.

    In 2012, Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo implemented an output freeze amid concerns that the companies’ rapid growth could adversely affect quality. But now, with many of Hyundai and Kia’s factories running at – or above – capacity, it appears that a new phase of building might be underway.

    Hyundai officially announced in March that it will create a new factory in Chongqing, China, to keep up with ever-increasing demand in the country. The Mexico plant could be the next step in the growth plan.

    “Hyundai and Kia are now more flexible with building new plants as their global manufacturing capacity has reached limits,” Suh Sung-moon, an auto analyst at Korea Investment & Securities, told Reuters. “Without new factories, the duo is expected to lose market share in 2016 for the first time in over a decade.”

  • Nissan teases new pickup for June 11 debut

    June 2, 2014
    Nissan has released a teaser image of a new pickup model that is scheduled to be unveiled next week.

    The rendering, posted on Instagram, shows the truck’s general outline and a few details of the front end. The headlights appear to be surrounded by LED daytime-running lights, hinting at a modernized appearance. Other features include air intakes below the headlights and a roof rack atop the cab.

    The headlights feature a swept design that is closer to the Pathfinder, while the hood crease resembles the 2015 Murano.

    There’s a special member of the #Nissan family on the way,” Nissan notes in a caption for the image, without any additional details.

    The company is expected to introduce updates to its Frontier and Titan pickups this year or early in 2015. Rumors suggest diesel and hybrid powertrains may be coming to the midsize Frontier, while a Cummins-sourced 5.0-liter V8 turbo diesel mill is expected to be added as an option for the full-size Titan.

    The next-generation Titan has been promised to be unveiled at the Detroit auto show. If the company is still sticking to the same debut plans, the Frontier may be the more likely identity of the teaser photo.

    Nissan will pull the veil from the mystery pickup on June 11.