The 2018 auto show circuit kicked off with the North American International Auto Show. From January 13th through to the 28th, the world’s top auto manufacturers gathered at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI to showcase the new model year cars and trucks, upcoming future production models, and bespoke one-off concept designs that vary from extravagant to just plain weird. It was a venerable ‘Who’s Who’ of journalists, press and media, industry insiders, product reps, brand ambassadors, company spokespeople, and corporate executives before doors were opened to the public on Saturday the 20th. And of course, let’s not forget the all-star cast of the event: the vehicles, themselves.
On November 12th, General Motors broke the Internet with the official world premiere of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 at the Dubai Auto Show. This fourth iteration of the iconic ZR1 nameplate (since 1970 with the C3 3rd generation Corvette) builds upon the monstrous Z06 supercharged C7 Corvette; a track-focused driver’s car that features the latest and greatest sport performance technology General Motors has to offer. In their relentless efforts to compete against—and overtake—the world’s top elite high-performance Sports Cars, General Motors’ Corvette Racing Team has engineered this new ZR1 to not only unseat the previous ZR1 (last seen in 2013) as the fastest production Corvette in history, but to also become the world’s greatest Sports Car ever made. At the time of this writing, not much is known about the exact solid number performance specs of the 2019 ZR1, but it brandishes an all-new supercharged 6.2L Generation 5 small block V8 capable of churning out a hellacious 745 horsepower and 715 lb. ft. of torque VIA a new Eaton supercharger that is 52% larger than the one currently utilized by the Corvette Z06, Cadillac CTS-V, and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 2019 Corvette ZR1 will also employ enhanced aero, cooling, handling and suspension modifications based on the Camaro ZL1 as well as a revised Z07 track option and a brand new ZTK performance pack that adds even greater handling capabilities on top of the already-impressive base setup.
Pricing for the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is expected to start at $120,000. That’s quite a bit of coin, especially when the base Corvette Stingray—a powerful and capable performance car in its own right—begins at $55,000. That’s far less than what people spend for the typical full-size SUV. Of course, not everybody has an extra $120,000 in their back pockets or stuck underneath the couch cushions among the lost pens and long-forgotten, now-petrified Cheetos. However, when you consider the next comparable selections with this amount of power and these levels of performance capabilities, you’ve got to move all the way up to the Pagani Huayra, the Lamborghini Aventador SV, or the Ferrari F12berlinetta. If you have to ask how much these things cost, you definitely can’t afford them. That $120,000 price tag doesn’t sound so steep anymore, now does it?
Well, boys and girls, it’s finally here. The new Honda Civic Type R, which was first revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, has finally hit dealer showrooms and is on sale now in the U.S. of A. 2017 marks the 5th generation of the Type R variant of the Honda Civic and the 10th generation overall for the Civic, which has been in continuous production since 1972.
A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON…
The original Honda Civic made its debut on July 11th, 1972 (as a 1973 model), replacing the N600 as the subcompact economy entry in Honda’s vehicle lineup. It was an immediate hit right out of the box in its native Japan, overtaking its domestic rivals from Nissan and Toyota. The Civic also achieved international success in both England and the United States as it specifically catered to motorists who were affected by the 1973 Oil Crisis and had grown jaded of the increasing banality of traditional, full-sized land barges. The Civic’s mass appeal as an inexpensive, fuel-friendly, and reliable (albeit, boring and uninspired) commuter car, combined with Honda’s growing reputation for hardiness, legions of Civic aficionados and Honda brand loyalists were formed as a result. In 1997, Honda’s famed Type R performance treatment was finally applied to the Civic, granting the little economy car to oin the legendary NSX supercar, DC2 and DC5 Integra, and CH/CL Accord in the Honda Type R stable of high-performance vehicles. The Honda Civic Type R remained unavailable in the North American market since its initial release but now, just in time for the first Civic Type R’s 20th anniversary, the newest iteration of the Civic Type R has finally made its way to American shores to do battle against other performance-oriented “hot hatches” such as the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS.
The internet is buzzing today with the news of a new Kia Soul model. Ok maybe not buzzing. You might be saying “It’s just a Kia Soul” which is completely reasonable however anytime you add a turbo to something people start to pay attention. The 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim is boasting 201 horsepower from a 1.6L 4 cylinder engine. What’s more is that Kia is claiming slightly better fuel efficiency than its base model engines. Mated to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission the Soul is shaping up to be a very fun and nimble little daily driver.
It will be interesting to see if Kia has made improvements to their 7 speed dual clutch after owner complaints about the similar unit in the Hyundai Tucson. Tucson owners have complained about dead spots in the cars acceleration that have come close to being dangerous. Many state that poor drivability ruins and otherwise excellent vehicle. Hopefully Hyundai and Kia can get that worked out before the new Soul Exclaim gets released.
Aside from performance updates the Exclaim model comes decked out with 18 inch wheels, unique badges, dual chrome exhaust tips, body trim enhancements and some mild interior tweaks. No specific release dates have been announced, but expect it to hit dealers soon as a 2017 model.
We all know prices of new cars are not going down so obviously loan amounts are going up, but the thing that hurts is how much. Most of us need a car to get back and forth to work. I’m not saying that we need a new car but sometimes there is no other option and some deals are to hard to pass up.
The average amount financed for a new vehicle is $28,381 and that was a record setter for the fourth quarter of 2014. This was an increase of $950 from the year earlier quarter and a rise of $582. The rise in transaction prices parallels that in amount financed. In December light vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367, making December the highest month on record for average transaction prices.
Experian’s data showed that the average new vehicle payment also hit a record in the fourth quarter, reaching $482, up from $471 in the year-earlier period. The average used-vehicle loan rose to $18,411 in the fourth quarter but this was not a record setter.
With these loans and payments hitting all time highs I have to wonder how most average people can afford a new car. Most baseline smaller cars are in the $20,000 range but once you start getting to your four wheel drive crossover/SUV territory prices start to sky rocket. Up here in New England it is almost needed to have an all wheel or 4 wheel drive car, especially this winter.
I’m personally undecided about how well Fiat may or may not do coming back to the US. I look at the Fiat 500 and think for me at 6’2, it would appear a little small. On the other hand I’m really interested in the performance of the car. The car only packs 100hp but the car itself weighs half the of a mid 90’s honda civic which had only a few pony’s more.
Lets face it, the US needs efficient small cars. It needs to be OK for people to drive them instead of massive SUV’s. The status level of these compacts needs to get away from embarrassing and get more towards acceptable. I think so far Fiat is on the right track in changing the compact car image. They’ve launched a really well done music video called “Get Ready” to promote the car. Check it out below!