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2013 Acura RDX – Familiar Territory

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The previous generation Acura RDX was a moderately successful contender in the small crossover SUV (XSUV) wars.  The RDX was a bit pricey – almost $33,000 – coming from a premium Japanese brand.  It was heavy.  It was powered by a very thirsty turbocharged 2.3L 4-cylinder engine.  Competition had left the RDX behind and with its source vehicle – the Honda CR-V – being updated for 2012, 2013 is the obvious time to re-do the RDX.

2013 Acura RDX

Honda is expecting sales on the order of 30,000 units per year for the new RDX.  This is not an unreasonable number for a product selling in one of the growth segments in the American car and light truck market.  In fact, this sales volume seems a bit timid for a brand forecasting a 45% increase in sales for the 2012 calendar year.


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Abarth – Fiat 500 for Guys

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After driving the Fiat 500 and 500c (cabriolet), I was ready to relegate it to the ranks of “chick car”.  Its high-style accents and accoutrements scream “feminine”.  But, now there is a Fiat a guy can be proud to drive – the Abarth model.  Abarth Fiats have been high performance versions of Fiat car lines for decades since Austrian Karl Abarth began modifying them in the late ’50s.  This is America’s chance to have the most up-to-date Abarth available.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

Scorpions Anyone? At a glance you can tell the Abarth is something special.   Starting with the Fiat 500 Sport, the Abarth adds a unique front fascia that is actually functional making room for the 160HP 1.4L MultiAir 4-cylinder turbocharged engine.  The Abarth is not shy about shouting what it is.  The Abarth scorpion logo is found on the quarter panels, on the decklid, on the grille and on centers of the wheels.  There is also a lower bodyside stripe shouting “ABARTH”.  The outside mirrors sport contrasting colors depending on the interior color selection and matching the Abarth bodyside stripe.  The mirror caps and Abarth stripe are a $350 option.

Fiat Abarth Scorpion Shield


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North American International Auto Show: Ford Fusion is Serious

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Last week George asked us to share our pre-NAIAS thoughts on what the show might hold for each the VehicleVoice staffers. One of my interests centered on the reveal of the 2013 Ford Fusion, as it represents one for Ford’s single most important vehicles in maintaining momentum with US consumers. Ford’s last mid-cycle refresh of the Fusion, brought considerable attention to the vehicle and increased sales significantly. At NAIAS this week, VehicleVoice got the chance to review a completely updated model, which takes the Fusion to a new level.


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Jealous George – No Detroit Auto Show This Year

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North American International Auto Show Logo

An annual pilgrimage for the auto industry is to attend the press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit each January.  Unfortunately, this year I cannot attend because my physicians caution that I should not be heaving carry-ons into and out of overhead bins and baggage carousels.

So, I’m jealous.

One of the primary businesses of AutoPacific is to keep on top of what is the latest in the auto industry worldwide, so AutoPacific will still be well represented at Detroit.

I asked each of our staff members to remind me why I should or should not be jealous of them attending instead of me.  Read below the break for their input.


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Audi e-tron Spyder

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Sometimes things start out great and end up only OK, or perhaps worse. The smell of coffee in the morning. Most Superbowls. A full bottle of Patron. We recently had the opportunity to experience the Audi e-tron and came away excited by the vehicle, but wondering why we got to see so much of it.


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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee: One More Gear Tames the HEMI

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It was about a year ago when I first got my hands on the new-for-2011 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Looking bigger, better and more refined than ever, the Grand Cherokee had a few nit picks that could have made it just the teensiest bit better.  For 2012, Jeep decided to make a few of these changes.  Let’s check ’em out.


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2013 Lexus GS … Less Kinder… Less Gentler

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For more than a few years Lexus has been working towards creating a more exciting driving experience. The LFA and IS F are certainly worthy vehicles for those inclined to a vehicle that generates passion. But those two vehicles are certainly the Lexus exceptions. While the LFA and IS prove that Lexus can make engaging vehicles, they don’t prove that Lexus is about engaging vehicles. The 2013 Lexus GS is designed to change that. With the age of a Lexus buyer knocking on sixty’s door, it makes sense that this move could help the brand in the long run. We had the opportunity to see first hand if Lexus’ mainstream GS could move the needle towards automotive passion.


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NHTSA Unfairly Burns the Volt’s Reputation

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If there is one thing that bothers me is the notion of guilty until proven innocent.  Go and visit other countries and this is the way of life there.  Not so in the U.S., unless you work for NHTSA.  Recent headlines have said that the Volt is basically a tinderbox on wheels…when you have a side impact with a light pole or tree.  Statistically unproven and contrary to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety findings that the Volt is a safe vehicle for the masses.


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2012 Audi TT RS: Money Can Indeed Buy Happiness

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There are two things that I have daydreamed about for years.  The first is an Audi RS 4 Cabriolet in my garage.  The second is to have a place to drive that RS 4, like, say, maybe, my own personal race track?  My dream got about as close to reality as it ever will a few weeks ago in a remote part of the Catskill Mountains.   


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2012 Kia Rio5: Another Great Small Car? Here We Go Again.

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This is almost becoming repetitive.  How many times have we reviewed a new small entry level car and declared it filled to the brim with style, features, performance, and personality?  It’s gotten to the point where I was searching hard for another angle with this all-new 2012 Kia Rio5 that I recently got to drive in Austin, Texas, but as it turns out, I’m going to have to essentially tell you the same story again.


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