All posts by Auto

First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S & Subaru BRZ

Years of collaboration between Subaru and Toyota have resulted in the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, a standout for both manufacturers.  The mechanical twins feature a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter flat-4 engine that sends 200 horsepower to the rear wheels only.  The engine is mounted extremely low, giving the car a dynamically low center of gravity comparable to some exotic supercars.  They are rear-wheel drive and feature a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic with steering wheel shift paddles and rev-matched downshifts is optional.  These twins are fraternal, however, as each manufacturer offers slightly different features and small styling cues.  For Subaru, the lightweight sports coupe is the only front-wheel-drive vehicle offered in the United States, bringing a sporty flair to its lineup.  For Scion, the FR-S, which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport, is an excellent addition to its youth-targeted audience.  The FR-S starts at $25,255, while the BRZ is $25,495.  Both achieve a combined MPG rating of about 25/30.  Compare and contrast this exciting joint development at the Show, and get behind the wheel of the FR-S at our Scion Live Drive event!

2013 Subaru BRZ 2013 Scion FR-S

First Drive: 2013 Cadillac ATS

Cadillac’s new compact sedan is the first vehicle to be built on GM’s new Alpha RWD platform.  The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a five-passenger, luxury-oriented sport sedan that is offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium. Inside its cabin, the 2013 Cadillac ATS boasts a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents. The available CUE infotainment interface features large icons and operates like an iPhone or iPad, which is to say it operates by tapping, flicking, swiping or spreading your fingers — making it familiar for many users.  Don’t miss it at the show this year!

First Drive: 2013 SRT Viper

The most famous vehicular serpent returns to the road in 2013!  The Viper will once again grace highways and racetracks across the country, thanks to its reintroduction under the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand from the Chrysler Group, which focuses on delivering flagship performance.  The mid-engine Viper debuts an all-new aluminum 8.4 liter V-10 engine, delivering about 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, which is the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world.  On the outside, the exterior has been modeled to evoke classic Viper styling with modern interpretation, while inside, the interior is designed to provide and comfort and an enhanced driver experience.  The SRT Viper will hit dealerships in 2013, with pre-orders beginning this November.

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Impala

The 10th generation of one of America’s most iconic sedans will be available in early 2013.  The redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala features a new, sculpted body and flowing interior, as well as three engine choices, including eAssist.  The 2014 Impala’s redesigned center console also features an eight-inch touch screen with the Chevrolet MyLink system.  Other available features including full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera and rear-park assist.  The 2014 Impala is a modern interpretation of classic American style and luxury.

First Drive: 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi

Hybrids are old hat by now, and range anxiety proves that consumers aren’t quite ready to switch to pure electrics just yet.  That leaves a new middle ground for hybrid plug-ins, like the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi.  A marriage between the best of both technologies, these vehicles plug in to charge, but when the electricity runs out, fall back on hybrid engines to keep the car running.  The C-MAX Energi has three driving modes: EV Now (electric only), EV Auto (electric/gasoline blend), or EV Later (gasoline only).  It achieves a combined fuel rating of 95 MPG-e (its sister, the C-MAX Hybrid, achieves 47 MPG).  Check out the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi at the Show this year, and see how it stacks up against its strong plug-in hybrid competition, like the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In.

First Drive: 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish

Mr. Bond’s other Aston.

The DB5 may be the most iconic vehicle in its history, but in a year  that brings the debut of the latest 007 adventure, Aston Martin also  ushers in a revival of the Vanquish.  The sleek head-turner made it’s  first splash (literally) in 2002’s Die Another Day (no, seriously —  remember the melting ice palace?), buoying it to the upper ranks of  movie cars.  The new Vanquish evolves from the DBS, with luxurious  inspiration from the the exclusive One-77. The lavish attention to  detail on the interior (such as hand-stitched leather) is carried over to the mechanics under the hood (or “bonnet”, as Bond would say).  Aston Martin’s flagship V12 engine has been tweaked to deliver 565 bhp and 460 lb-ft of torque, resulting in 0-62 mph in 4.1  seconds and topping out at 183 mph.  Utilizing an updated Touchtronic 2 transmission that’s shaken, not stirred, the Vanquish is only available as an automatic.  The Vanquish is set to conquer these shores next year, estimated at around $300,000.  In the meantime, pay homage to 007 in November’s Skyfall, and check out the current Aston Martin lineup at the 2013 New England International Auto Show!

First Drive: 2013 Dodge Dart

What’s the hottest segment in the auto industry right now?   Forget the SUVs and people carriers of old, because compact  cars are on fire.  With their small dimensions and light weights,  compacts have become the consumer’s weapon of choice to combat  rising gas prices.  With the stylish 2013 Dart, Dodge aims to make a  splash in the compact segment and appeal to younger, economical  buyers.  The brand’s first vehicle to be built on Fiat technology, the  Dart is highly customizable, with unbundled options.  Buyers can choose from 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color combinations, 4 grilles, 6 wheels, and 3 engines and transmissions.  It also offers affordable luxury, with standard features like a back up camera starting for under $20,000.  With an entry model that achieves 160hp and 36mpg (all without sacrificing safety features like 10 standard airbags), the 2013 Dart is an excellent red-hot addition to a segment that has traditionally been ruled by the most boring shades of beige.  Don’t miss it at the Show this year!

The New England Motor Press Association 2012 Awards

New England Motor Press AssociationThe New England Motor Press presented at its 25th anniversary awards dinner on May 11, 2012, at the MIT Faculty Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Congratulations to John Krafcik, John Lawlor, Pierre Kanter, and Marty Schorr, who were all recognized for their commitment to the automotive industry. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes were honored for their luxury performance and efficiency.

The 2013 Ford Fusion was awarded the Gene Ritvo Memorial Design & Elegance Award. The award was handpicked with curators from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

The Yankee Cup Technology Award was presented to Hyundai for its Gasoline Direct Injection technology. Selected in conjunction with faculty and staff at MIT, Hyundai was chosen for its creative approach to fuel economy. Rather than focusing on hybrid technology, GDI was applied to nearly the entire fleet to maximize fuel efficiency while maintaining cost efficiency for both the manufacturer and consumer.

The all new 2012 Subaru Impreza was presented with the Yankee Value Award, an honor that goes to a vehicle that highlights the New England experience. Completely restyled for 2012, the Impreza takes a value-focused approach to comfort and performance. This perpetual New England favorite now boasts a 30% fuel economy increase and a new 2.0 liter boxer engine.

The Winter Vehicle of New England Award was presented to the Jeep Grand Cherokee for the second year in a row. The luxurious and plush interior combined with its dynamic all-weather performance, makes this affordable SUV a perfect choice for New England’s robust winters. With its two class-leading engines and four 4WD systems, the Grand Cherokee provides a smooth ride in the toughest of conditions.

The following awards were also presented:

Favorite Fun Entry-Level Convertible: Mazda MX-5 Miata

Favorite Convertible $35,000-$50,000: Chevrolet Camaro SS

Favorite Luxury Convertible: BMW 650i

Luxury Winter Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4MATIC

Best in Class—Premium All-Weather Sedan/Wagon (tie): Lexus GS 350, Audi A6

Best in Class—All-Weather Sedan/Wagon $25,000-$35,000: Dodge Charger AWD

Best In Class—All-Weather Sedan/Wagon under $25,000: Subaru Legacy

Best in Class—All-Weather Pickup Truck: Ford F-150 EcoBoost

Best In Class—Compact Sport utility Vehicle/Crossover: Honda CR-V

Best in Class—Sport Utility Vehicle/Crossover over $25,000: Jeep Wrangler

Best In Class—Sport Utility Vehicle/Crossover over $35,000: Range Rover Evoque

Best In Class—Hybrid Sport Utility Vehicle: Porsche Cayenne

Best In Class—Premium Sport Utility Vehicle/Crossover (tie): Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56

The New England Motor Press Association coordinates professional coverage of the auto industry in the six Northeastern states. For more information visit nempa.org.