The Hyundai i10 has always been a very good city car ever since the first generation was introduced in 2007. It was then renewed in 2013 and once again last year, and the latest iteration does not disappoint.
It has a very youthful styling inside and out without going over the top, it can be ordered with different wheels, two-tone paintjobs and lots of optional extras that were once reserved for the luxury class, and its size and price range makes it easy on the wallet both in the short and the long run.
Priced at £12,820 ($16,107), it is £285 ($358) more affordable than the rivaling Volkswagen Up! 5-door in the United Kingdom and £380 ($477) pricier than the Toyota Aygo. It is offered in the SE, SE Connect, Premium and N Line trim levels, with either a 66 HP (67 PS / 49 kW) 1.0-liter or a 83 HP (84 PS / 62 kW) 1.2-liter engine, as well as a 99 HP (100 PS / 74 kW) 1.0-liter T-GDi that’s available only with the top spec.
CarGurus drove a Premium model equipped with the 1.2L MPi gasoline unit and found it not slow, but not fast either, and appreciated the grip, steering, brakes and suspension. Fill the decent-sized boot (for a city car) and add three more passengers and it will struggle to keep up with traffic, but for the daily commute, it is more than fine, if you can live with such a small model.
If you’re in the market for a small hatchback, then you cannot go wrong with the new i10 – if you live outside the U.S. that is, because the cheapest Hyundai on sale here is the subcompact Accent, which starts at $15,295.
The Rimac C_Two battery-electric hypercar will use autonomous-driving tech to coach drivers on track days. While Rimac previously mentioned the tech, this video provides more detail on just how it works.
Dubbed Rimac Driver Coach, the feature will help drivers who have the money to buy a supercar but lack the skills to get the most out of it on a track. The system acts as a “guardian angel,” allowing drivers to push the limits while still maintaining a safety net, CEO Mate Rimac said.
The company developed most of the hardware and software for the system in-house, but did use an Nvidia Pegasus computer similar to what other companies use in their prototype self-driving cars. For development work, the company equipped Kia Stingers (Rimac and Hyundai Kia have a tie-up) with the same sensor suite it plans to use in the C_Two. That includes nine cameras, six radar units, one single solid-state liar unit, and 12 ultrasonic sensors.
Cars have driven themselves around racetracks before, but while most relied solely on GPS maps for orientation, the C_Two will use its cameras to scan its surrounds in real time. That should allow a C_Two to drive autonomously with other vehicles on the track.
Rimac C_Two prototype
A driver-facing camera is used to monitor for distraction. It’s similar to what Cadillac uses for its Super Cruise system. As with Super Cruise, Rimac Driver Coach shifts some of the workload from human to machine, but still requires an attentive human behind the wheel.
Unveiled in concept form at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, the C_Two boasts 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque. Rimac previously said the supercar would do 0-62 mph in 1.9 seconds, with a top speed of 258 mph. In addition to Driver Coach, the C_Two sports torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and a drift mode.
Rimac has said the production C_Two will differ significantly from the concept version. The production model was scheduled to be unveiled at the 2020 Geneva show in March, but the show’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic forced Rimac to push back the unveiling to later this year. The start of production has also been delayed to 2021.
As luxury brands issue new SUVs with abandon, cars like the 2020 Lincoln MKZ get overlooked.
With the MKZ Lincoln still offers a solid value in premium sedans, one with potent powertrains. But the MKZ’s interior never has shone, and it never delivered on the promise so extravagantly on display in Lincolns from the Aviator to the Navigator.
For 2020 the MKZ gets some package shuffling and a few new options, including five packages on different trim levels from convenience features to monochromatic styling. There are also four new colors to replace four outgoing hues, as well as two new wheel designs.
The MKZ is a handsome sedan at any angle, and though the face is in line with the rest of the Lincoln stable, it’s hard not to separate this car from its roots as a Ford Fusion when viewed in profile. Still, details like chrome accents, LED headlights, and a sleek rear light bar are nice touches, if dated at this point. The interior hasn’t aged as well, with a center-stack-focused design that doesn’t wear the finery of even some non-luxury sedans.
A 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 245 horsepower is standard on the 2020 MKZ, while a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 bumps that figure up to 400 hp, more than enough for a car of this size. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available (and comes standard with the more powerful engine). The MKZ is automatic-only, and comes in hybrid form too, managing 40 mpg combined from just 188 horsepower. At around $36,000, it’s a compelling option if efficiency is priority No. 1. The MKZ rides with a firmness that’s moderated by adjustable dampers in some versions. While not particularly sporty, V-6 MKZ models can hustle with reasonably nimble attitude.
Standard features abound, and with active safety technology, power features, a touchscreen infotainment system and more, the MKZ is best looked at like a nicer mid-size sedan than a budget entry-luxury car. Top trim models include real leather and wood, as well as premium audio and all sorts of convenience goodies, but at over $10,000 more than base, it’s short on value.
The MKZ performs well in crash tests and comes with active safety features such as automatic emergency braking as standard, and manages between 20 and 24 mpg on average, while the hybrid model pushes that to 41 combined mpg.
Mitsubishi is giving U.S. dealers positive signals with the promise of updated products to revive its aging lineup.
The company said last week that it will deliver a new-generation Outlander midsize crossover in early 2021, built on the architecture of alliance partner Nissan’s bestselling Rogue.
The announcement was welcome news to Mitsubishi’s long-suffering retailers — particularly since it followed a June shareholders meeting in Japan at which Mitsubishi Motors Corp. CEO Takao Kato said the automaker would scale back growth efforts in global “megamarkets,” a term the company later said could include North America.
In addition to the redesigned and reengineered Outlander, Mitsubishi will update three other models.
“Between now and the end of the second quarter of 2021, Mitsubishi Motors North America will launch three considerably revised vehicles and one all-new, ground-up redesign, proof of the company’s commitment to deliver high-quality, top-value, leading-edge technology vehicles in the U.S.,” the company said.
The vehicles to be freshened are the Mirage subcompact car, the Eclipse Cross compact crossover and the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander, which is considered a separate model. The one other model in Mitsubishi’s lineup, the Outlander Sport subcompact crossover, was refreshed for the current model year.
The product initiative could ease concerns about a retreat from the U.S., where Mitsubishi last year posted its best sales performance since 2007 but reached just 121,049 vehicles across 350 dealerships.
The announcement suggests Mitsubishi intends to keep fighting in North America for now.
The fourth-generation Outlander is eagerly sought by Mitsubishi dealers to inject some fresh blood into the brand.
Mitsubishi intends to leverage its alliance with Nissan, which has deeper pockets for vehicle development despite its own sales challenges in the U.S.
The current Outlander debuted for the 2014 model year and is typically Mitsubishi’s bestselling model. Dealers originally expected an update in the fourth quarter of this year. They have expressed confidence that the redesigned crossover will help redefine the brand in the U.S. as fresh and modern.
Although it will ride on architecture shared with the Rogue, the Outlander will use Mitsubishi’s design language, “with a bold, aggressive and distinctive appearance,” Mitsubishi said.
The company also said the Outlander will be “loaded with technology and significant interior refinements” in addition to an exterior redesign. “This game-changing vehicle will surprise many,” the automaker said.
In part because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales fell 58 percent to 12,197 vehicles in the second quarter, the automaker reported, and deliveries declined 33 percent to 47,760 in the first half.
Last month’s shareholders meeting left some dealers feeling uncertain about the brand’s future.
Kato told shareholders that Mitsubishi was struggling to compete in the world’s largest markets.
“We aim to increase sales in the regions where we can offer our core products,” Kato said. “We will gradually reduce our commitment to megamarkets.”
With car sales in freefall in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz is moving to reduce its exposure in the vehicle segment.
The luxury automaker plans to jettison seven car models from the U.S. market, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Nicholas Speeks told dealers during a webinar in late June. Speeks did not identify the models or offer a timeline, according to retailers who heard the presentation.
But according to a source familiar with the plans, there could be more than seven models. Those under consideration are the coupe and convertible versions of the S-, C- and E-Class nameplates, as well as the CLS coupe and one of the brand’s GT models, according to the source.
A Mercedes spokesman declined to comment on the brand’s U.S. product plans.
The portfolio paring is a significant sign of change for a global marque that built its identity on luxury sedans, coupes and convertibles. But U.S. demand for cars has slumped, as Americans flock to roomier and more practical crossovers. Luxury car sales in the U.S. declined 37 percent in the past five years, compared with a 73 percent increase in luxury crossovers in that period, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Mercedes’ product pruning is geared toward reducing complexity and cost — for the company and retailers. The brand’s bloated U.S. portfolio — which one dealer compared to the menu at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant — has nearly doubled to 15 nameplates since 2000. Including engine variants and body styles, the lineup in the U.S. has ballooned to more than 100 versions.
Product expansion has made it harder for consumers to differentiate between models, and added complexity and cost for dealers, said Jeff Aiosa, owner of Mercedes-Benz of New London in Connecticut. “Reducing model proliferation is good. We’ve been asking for that,” Aiosa said. “Whether or not seven models is enough, time will tell.”
Mercedes acknowledges the multiple body styles and engine variants have added cost and complexity in inventory management for its retailers. “Do we need all the products that we currently have?” Speeks told Automotive News in May. “We also have to play our part in cutting our costs to meet our means.”
The U.S. product consolidation comes as Daimler launches a global cost-cutting plan to prepare for pricey investment in electrification and self-driving technologies. That broader plan could also involve culling entire engine families and platforms.
Mercedes isn’t just pulling car models from its U.S. stores; it also is yanking their production out of its North American factories to make room for more desirable — and more profitable — crossovers and SUVs.
Daimler confirmed this month that it will relocate production of the C-Class sedan from its plant in Vance, Ala., to factories in Germany, South Africa and China. Automotive News reported those plans more than a year ago.
And the company will end production of the A-Class compact sedan at its Daimler-Nissan joint-venture factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico, after just two years.
Luxury automakers, especially the Germans, have historically chased market niches — offering a vehicle for every imaginable taste. That unbridled expansion is now catching up with the brands.
While most automakers limit their lineups to one or two coupes or convertibles, Mercedes-Benz has attempted to claim every price range with two-door models, despite evaporating demand for the body style.
Modern-day, four-door sedans have adapted the sportier styling that once was the trademark of coupes, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions.
“With the added utility of rear doors and a fully usable back seat, sedans have made two-door models redundant,” Fiorani said. “Two-door coupes and convertibles now only appeal to a handful of buyers who find the extra openings offensive. These buyers are slowly moving to sedans or utilities, or aging out of personal vehicles altogether.”
Coupes and convertibles are a shrinking part of a shrinking segment, in a shrinking overall market, noted Greg Gates, vice president at Swickard Auto Group, which operates three Mercedes-Benz stores.
“There’s just not that many customers who are looking for a $150,000 convertible,” said Gates, referring to the S-Class convertible. “Are there customers for coupe and cabs from time to time? Sure. But we still have plenty of great products to sell to them and we can find something that’s going to fit their needs.”
Mercedes is looking to dump other low-volume sporty sedan models, too. The automaker discontinued production of the low-volume SLC roadster in April. U.S. sales of the SLC dropped to 1,840 last year and have fallen steadily since topping 10,000 a year in the early 2000s.
It’s unclear which AMG GT model Mercedes plans to cut from its U.S. lineup. Fiorani forecasts that the four-door coupe will be discontinued globally once the product life cycle ends in 2023. The four-door GT and CLS compete for the same buyers in the price range with the S-Class sedan, reducing the profit on all three models.
Adjusting the product lineup is the “right first step” in addressing the demand cannibalization among models, Gates said. But Mercedes must be careful to not overdo it and risk alienating customers.
“It’s good that MBUSA is taking measured steps,” Gates said. “You don’t want to lose 10,000 customers from a brand perspective.”
Even as Mercedes backs away from some combustion engine-powered models in the U.S., the automaker is gearing up to bring a fleet of battery-powered vehicles. Next year should see the introduction of three electric models.