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Consumer Reports says these are the worst new cars of 2014 —

Filed under: Car Buying, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Scion, Smart

Consumer Reports has announced its annual list of worst vehicles, a cringe-inducing contrast to its list of top vehicles. Ignominiously leading the way in 2014 is Chrysler, which has a staggering seven models listed.

Jeep nearly sweeps the small SUV segment by itself, with its Compass, Patriot and 2.4-liter version of the new Cherokee, while the only midsize sedans listed by CR were the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The new Dodge Dart and the Dodge Journey round out CR’s condemnation of Chrysler.

Ford is taking heat as well, with the Taurus, Edge and their counterparts from Lincoln all listed as the worst vehicles in their respective segments. Toyota doesn’t fare much better, with its Lexus IS, Scion iQ and tC also making the list.

We do agree with CR on some of its listings, like the Smart ForTwo, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Crosstour. Some, though, are just baffling. In what way is a BMW 7 Series one of the worst luxury sedans on the market?

We have the same question regarding the Lexus IS and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. CR also saved some guff at the ancient Volvo XC90, a vehicle that despite its age, remains a competent and very safe luxury crossover.

We’ve got the full list of losers courtesy of TheDetroitBureau.com classified by segment below. Have a look at our gallery of besmirched autos above, and then head into Comments and let us know which picks you agree with, disagree with and which models you think should be added to the list.

UPDATE: A Chrysler spokesperson told Autoblog that Consumer Reports’ Dodge Dart findings were based on time spent with a 2013 model year vehicle. Chrysler is currently working with CR to have them re-test a 2014 model year Dart.

Continue reading Consumer Reports says these are the worst new cars of 2014

Consumer Reports says these are the worst new cars of 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Perennially troubled Smart USA probably won’t get new 4-seat model —

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Smart

Smart, the Daimler-owned brand that has done nothing but struggle in the US market, probably won’t be getting a larger model. A new four-seater called the ForFour is slated to go on sale in Europe later this year.

A final decision hasn’t been made on US sales of the ForFour, but according to the head of Smart, Annette Winkler, there are concerns that the cost of homologating the car for the North America wouldn’t be made back quickly. There are other regulations to comply with, and to achieve what is needed here costs extra money, Winkler told Automotive News Europe .

Smart’s sales were down seven percent, to below 10,000 units, last year. That doesn’t mean the brand isn’t important, though. According to Mercedes-Benz USA’s CEO, Steve Cannon, the brand is a solid niche unit, and should prove effective at padding MB’s average fuel economy in the coming years as more stringent CAFE standards come into effect, according to ANE.

There’s also the fact that killing Smart would mean paying off nearly 100 Mercedes dealers that sell the microcar.

Perennially troubled Smart USA probably won’t get new 4-seat model originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 Jan 2014 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Auto Ad of the Year Award finalists announced [w/video] —

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Audi, BMW, Dodge, Honda, Hyundai, Land Rover, Smart, Toyota, Volkswagen, Celebrities, Humor, Fiat

Finalists for the 2013 Automobile Advertising of the Year awards have been picked, and Ron Burgundy from Anchorman 2 with the 2014 Dodge Durango is one of them. So is the underside of a cat (it’s more interesting than it sounds), which is seen through a Kia Optima panoramic sunroof. There are 15 other entertaining advertisements to be watched and looked at, ranging from the Hands and Illusions spots from Honda to a Land Rover commercial that doesn’t feature a single one of its vehicles.

And motorsports geeks are sure to love Honda’s auditory and visual recreation of Ayrton Senna’s Formula One lap record at Suzuka during qualifying in 1989.

We’ve included the press release and all of the videos for the ad campaigns below for your enjoyment, which are divided into four categories: Broadcast TV, Online Videos, Interactive, and Experiential Advertising. To see the three Print/Outdoor category finalists, head over to the gallery. The winners will be presented at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Continue reading Auto Ad of the Year Award finalists announced [w/video]

Auto Ad of the Year Award finalists announced [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Dec 2013 12:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart Fortwo spied with production-ready body —

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Budget, Smart

Fans of super-minis, take note — here’s your first look at the all-new Smart Fortwo. The teensy, tiny city car skipped out in full camouflage, but lacking any shape-hiding body cladding. Immediately noticeable is just how tiny it is.

It looks even smaller than the Smart Fortwo that’s on the road now, but that’s merely an optical illusion — it’s not as long, but has a larger footprint overall.

The rear overhang is virtually non-existent, while the new Smart looks to be sporting a snub-nose look, with both designs going a long way towards highlighting the reduction in length. Riding on a miniaturized version of the architecture that will underpin the Smart Forfour and Renault Twingo, our spies are reporting that this car will have its engine mounted in the back and that it will drive the rear wheels.

Gas, diesel and a next-generation of the Fortwo ElectricDrive should all be expected when the third-gen Smart hits the Geneva Motor Show stage in March.

Smart Fortwo spied with production-ready body originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 03 Nov 2013 17:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart Fortwo successor spotted wearing new nose —

Filed under: Spy Photos, Hatchback, Smart, Design/Style

Judging by the numerous concept vehicles from Smart lately, we can pretty much already tell what the future has in store for the brand’s growing lineup. Still, these new spy shots give us our first look at the next Fortwo being tested with what looks to be a production-ready nose.

Although this mule still uses cobbled together pieces from a Renault Twingo that we’ve seen in previous spy shots, the camouflaged front end shows a likeness to recent concepts like the Fourjoy and Forstars. This includes the short, flat nose, an enlarged grille and the headlight shape, but one noticeable difference is the addition of marker lights positioned just below the main beams. From what we hear, the next-gen Fortwo will be unveiled early next year at the Geneva Motor Show, and it will be slightly bigger than the current model.

Smart Fortwo successor spotted wearing new nose originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 19 Sep 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart jumps Fourjoy in Germany [w/video] —

Filed under: Concept Cars, Convertible, Smart, Design/Style

We’ve been waiting. and waiting. and waiting . for something new from Smart. Not another special edition of the Fortwo — even one with wings — can slake the brand’s need for some fresh iron. Spy shots tell us that a couple of new models are on the way, but for now, we have this Smart Fourjoy concept, a buggy-like showcar that’s said to preview the next-generation Forfour.

Of course, unlike this concept, the production four-seater will come with full bodywork, but you’re probably looking at a thinly veiled take on the the 2015 model’s face and general proportions.

And while the production Forfour figures to come to market with gas and perhaps diesel offerings overseas, the Fourjoy borrows its motivation from the Fortwo Electric Drive — meaning a 55-kW electric motor backed by a 17.6-kWh lithium ion battery pack. We wouldn’t be surprised if the next Forfour eventually gets a production EV model, but we wouldn’t look for that at launch.

We’re fine with all of this production-minded stuff, of course, but there’s still something intriguing about the concept seen here. The Fourjoy sparks a latent curiosity within us that longs to see a fun-minded open-air beachmobile offered by a major automaker — something like a Fiat 500 Jolly or a Volkswagen Thing. Indeed, VW has been making noise about producing its Up!

Buggy, but even if it doesn’t, perhaps the company bold enough to produce the Smart ForJeremy will take a chance on getting some sand between its toes — provided it can negotiate crash testing.

If you’re looking for more information on the concept, scroll down to check out a video and see the official press release.

Continue reading Smart jumps Fourjoy in Germany [w/video]

Smart jumps Fourjoy in Germany [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Sep 2013 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart Forjoy bounds in ahead of Frankfurt —

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Auto Show, Convertible, Smart, Electric

Smart has revealed its newest concept car, the jovial four-seater Forjoy. The joy part of that sobriquet is rather obvious ­- with the doorless, roofless, rear-glass-free concept looking like a beach-wagon full of fun ­- but it’s the four seats that might prove most prescient as far as Smart’s future plans are concerned.

The German small-car maker goes as far as to call the Forjoy the forerunner of a new smart generation in its press release, saying that the concept car’s proportions portend a lot about the appearance of a four-seat production car. That upcoming Forfour (most likely) should get an official launch at the end of 2014.

Of course, while there might be some production-car cues hiding in this wispy, white and pearlescent concept buggy, the detailing of it can be safely categorized as concept car only. Polished bits of milled aluminum brightwork are shiny flights of fancy, as is the modern minimalist furniture that ornaments the airy cabin.

On the other hand, the powertrain inside of the Forjoy, a 55-kilowatt electric motor drawing from a lithium-ion battery pack, has been scooped directly out of the production Fortwo Electric Drive. Other than its existence in the concept car, Smart hasn’t dropped any hints in the press release as to the ED unit making into a production Forfour. We certainly wouldn’t rule it out as a variant.

Look for live images and more info about Smart’s hint-heavy Forjoy when we see it on the Frankfurt show floor next week.

Continue reading Smart Forjoy bounds in ahead of Frankfurt

Smart Forjoy bounds in ahead of Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #345 —

Filed under: Podcasts, Hybrid, Technology, BMW, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Tesla, Electric, Diesel

Sebastian Blanco from AutoblogGreen, BMW i8 and i3, Tesla earnings, cheap EV leases

Episode #345 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Jeff Ross are joined by Sebastian Blanco, editor-in-chief of AutoblogGreen . Topics include the BMW i8 and i3, Tesla earnings, and cheap EV leases. (Please note, our sound quality for this episode is slightly poorer than usual because we had to drop down to our land-line backup.) As always, we start with what’s in the garage and finish up with some of your questions. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our QA.

Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #345:

Topics: BMW i8 and i3 Tesla earnings Cheap EV leases In the Autoblog Garage: 2013 Hyundai Azera 2013 Chevrolet Volt 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec Hosts: Dan Roth, Jeff Ross

Guests: Sebastian Blanco

Runtime: 01:11:09 Get the podcast:

[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10PM Eastern at UStream

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes

[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator

[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #345

Autoblog Podcast #345 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart Fortwo Electric Drive lease now $139/mo —

Filed under: Car Buying, Convertible, Coupe, Budget, Smart, Electric

Electric cars seem to be getting more affordable by the day, and the latest to get a price drop is the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. With sales currently limited to only a handful of states, the Smart Fortwo ED is preparing for its nationwide rollout by offering a 36-month lease of the Fortwo ED Coupe for as low as $139 per month — or the same price as the non-electric Fortwo. The previous Fortwo ED leases started at $199 a month.

Available until September 3, conditions of this lease include a down payment of $1,999 and signing up for the Battery Assurance Plus battery-lease program, which is a separate lease for the battery at $80 per month. This means that lessees are actually driving the Fortwo ED for just $59 each month, although a mileage cap is set at 30,000 miles. There has been no price drop for those interested in purchasing a 2013 Fortwo ED, however, as has been the case with rival EVs like the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf and, most recently, the Chevy Volt.

As an added bonus, Smart is also giving its dealers a $2,000 incentive on the Fortwo, which can be used in any way the dealer wishes — local advertising, lowering the asking price for consumers, etc. AutoblogGreen ‘s Sebastian Blanco has put together quite a bit more info on the Smart Fortwo ED lease, click thru to read more.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive lease now $139/mo originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt —

Filed under: Frankfurt Auto Show, Budget, Crossover, Hatchback, Smart

If you’re a fan of Daimler’s Smart brand, here is some potentially good news for you today. First, a pair of concept vehicles will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month previewing the next-gen Fortwo and Forfour models, and more interestingly, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has stated that are no plans to offer a front-engine, front-drive vehicle for the Smart brand, both reports according to Autocar .

There has been no shortage of concept vehicles from Smart in recent years, but with the Fortwo and Forfour due out in the next year or two, these concepts could be pretty close to the production designs. As for future products beyond these two models, Zetsche told Autocar the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is a defining feature for Smart, and a future crossover model will be based on the new Forfour platform rather than sharing its platform with a more conventional product in the Daimler portfolio.

No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart celebrates 1.5 million Fortwo models built, prepares to upgrade factory —

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Plants/Manufacturing, Smart, Specialty

Smart is celebrating 1.5 million Fortwos built since 1998 at its plant in Hambach, France, before it goes offline for an extended summer break. The 1.5 millionth Fortwo is a white Electric Drive Cabriolet, but it isn’t known which market it will be sold in.

The milestone is highlighted by the reason for the extended break, which starts in July and continues through August: The plant will be receiving a 200 million euro upgrade to prepare it for a next-generation Smart vehicle, a newly designed four-seated urban mobility car (aka, the 2015 Smart Forfour) that will be available in 2014. In addition, a new, environmentally friendly liquid-paint shop will be built at the plant, replacing the old powder-paint shop and representing the largest individual project in the upgrade, requiring a cool 50 million euro.

For more details on Smart’s immediate future, check out the press release below.

Continue reading Smart celebrates 1.5 million Fortwo models built, prepares to upgrade factory

Smart celebrates 1.5 million Fortwo models built, prepares to upgrade factory originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart Fortwo’s off-road chops on display in amusing ad from Cannes —

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Smart, Humor, Off-Road

After spending a few days with the recalcitrant mechanism that masquerades as a transmission in the Smart Fortwo, we can admit we’ve pondered all sorts of ways to prematurely end the car’s life. An impromptu … off-road excursion has figured prominently in at least one such scenario. Evidently the marketers behind Smart have entertained similar thoughts, or at least spent some time contemplating the old chestnut that goes something like, Who makes the best off-roader?

Hertz. After all, how else can we explain this 49-second spot?

We kid Daimler’s pint-sized microcar brand, but the truth is, this is a pretty brilliant little advertisement. It’s honest and plays to the Fortwo’s major trump card — its tidy dimensions — while having a good sense of humor. According to Ad Week, this commercial comes from BBDO Germany, and was just shown at Cannes, where it won a couple of Gold Lion awards and had the audience cheering.

Check it out by scrolling below.

Continue reading Smart Fortwo’s off-road chops on display in amusing ad from Cannes

Smart Fortwo’s off-road chops on display in amusing ad from Cannes originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Daimler consulting with Ford about 3-cylinder engines —

Filed under: Europe, Ford, Smart, Renault

Soon enough, Ford will offer its 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine under the hood of the Fiesta here in the United States, building on the success of the small powerplant overseas. In fact, this success has caused other automakers to take notice, and according to Automotive News Europe . Daimler is now talking to Ford about this engine for use in its own products.

In other markets, Ford offers the 1.0-liter mill under the hood of the Focus (we had the chance to sample this package on our home turf), as well as the B-Max MPV. For this new collaboration, Daimler would use the turbo-three in the next-generation Smart ForTwo, as well as the Renault Twingo, which the German automaker will be collaborating on as part of its alliance with Renault-Nissan. Speaking to AN, a Mercedes-Benz engineer called the 1.0-liter mill an interesting and impressive engine.

In exchange for details about the EcoBoost inline-three, Daimler will supply Ford with information regarding its Euro6 stratified lean-burn gasoline engine, which is found in the new E-Class sedan.

This isn’t the first time Ford has collaborated with Daimler and Renault-Nissan about powertrain development. Earlier this year, the companies said they would all work together on hydrogen fuel cell development, with a plan to introduce a hydrogen powertrain by 2017.

Daimler consulting with Ford about 3-cylinder engines originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 May 2013 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart shows production version of winged ForJeremy [w/video] —

Filed under: Hatchback, Smart, Specialty, Shanghai Motor Show, Design/Style, Electric

The SmartForJeremy is a reality, a limited run of the haute couture Smart Fortwo being announced at the Shanghai Motor Show. It has been toned down for production since we first saw it at last year’s LA Auto Show but its signature flourish, the wings, remain. Instead of replacing the brake lights, though, a smaller set of red-accented wings sit above them.

The white interior remains, though the KITT-style wheel has been swapped for a traditional unit.

A collaboration between Mercedes-Benz Cars Advanced Design Studios and Jeremy Scott, it will come in white with white wheels and alubeam accents outside and in. Production starts this month and there will be three powertrain options all in the coupe bodystyle: a standard 55kW Smart ForTwo Electric Drive for 34,800 euro ($45,416 US), a more powerful 60kW Brabus Electric Drive for 40,600 euro ($52,985 US) or a 102-horsepower gasoline-engined Brabus for 33,333 euro ($43,501 US).

It’s not for everyone, but if you want to live like it’s Fashion Week every week look no further. The press release and video below can tell you more about it.

Continue reading Smart shows production version of winged ForJeremy [w/video]

Smart shows production version of winged ForJeremy [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 21 Apr 2013 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart ForFour prototype spotted alongside next-gen ForTwo —

Filed under: Spy Photos, Budget, Hatchback, Smart

Smart is continuing to test its upcoming ForFour (seen above) model and the replacement for the ForTwo (pictured at the right), this time doing some cold-weather work in Sweden.

As we’ve reported previously, the ForFour is an all-new vehicle, and it will have more in common with the smaller ForTwo than the short-lived last model that was co-developed with Mitsubishi. This ForFour is instead a collaborative project with Renault, and could spawn what will ultimately become the new Renault Twingo. Some reports have it that Renault is no longer interested in the Smart partnership, but the fact that these testers were wearing French plates and were spotted caravanning with a French-registered Dacia Duster adds a bit of circumstantial evidence that the match is intact.

The new ForTwo was also spied in these snowy environs. The two-seater is expected to be ready to roll before the ForFour — likely coming to market in 2014. The ForFour, meanwhile, might not show up until 2015.

Take a closer look at the ForFour and the ForTwo, in our galleries of spied photos.

Smart ForFour prototype spotted alongside next-gen ForTwo originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Feb 2013 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto

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