The full-sized car just isn’t what it used to be.

Toyota Avalon

The full-sized car just isn’t what it used to be. About two decades ago, the traditional full-sized car was a rear-wheel drive, V8-powered, body-on-frame holdover that went through various design changes towards being modern. Nowadays, they are mostly front-wheel-drive with equally powerful V6 engines and plenty of luxury goodies once found on more expensive models. In the midst of this change is the latest Toyota Avalon. It too just went …

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Lexus RX

Lexus RX

No one likes to be the target of the competition. Say that you created a product that launched an entire market segment. The product was innovative enough to break several rules and spawn all comers to create their interpretation of the original. Then, you revised it and reinvented it a few times to ensure its freshness with consumers. Though consumers still loved the original – even a few generations away …

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Dodge Dart adds a GT model, with MultiAir version of 2.4 engine.

Chrysler updates Dodge, Jeep, Ram trucks for 2014

DETROIT, MI. You don’t have to be a resident to sympathize with Detroit’s well-publicized bankruptcy struggles, much in the way you didn’t have to own a Chrysler vehicle to sympathize when that proud Detroit company went into bankruptcy four years ago. We can only hope the city recovers as impressively as Chrysler has. A brief glimpse at Chrysler Group LLC’s array of 2014 products at the company’s Chelsea proving grounds …

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Plug-in receptacle on side denotes Ford Fusion Energi, aiming at over 100 mpg.

Ford aims at refining high-tech features for 2014

DETROIT, MI. — After redesigning virtually its entire model line in the last two years, Ford Motor Company’s attention is on refining its fuel-efficiency and technology leadership for the 2014 model year — after a year that includes the contradiction of customer survey complaints for balky complexity of certain technology features, coupled with unprecedented customer satisfaction numbers and high “take rates” on those same technology items. Ford officials discussed those …

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Nissan Versa Note has the agility and pep to handle city driving.

New Nissan subcompact reaches the highest Note

The Nissan Versa is a lot like a singer in a successful choir, who can carry a tune but would rather blend into the harmony than hit the high notes. It’s a formula that helps the Versa lead the subcompact segment in sales, but it is about to take on a new member, one that is ready to grab the spotlight and hit the high notes. It is, appropriately enough, …

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GMC Terrain Denali: Still truck-shaped, but shorter.

Crossing over to Crossovers

  Can a big, spacious Tahoe of Suburban be effectively replaced by a Terrain, or an Encore? Can an Expedition or Explorer be effectively reduced in size to an Edge, or maybe an Escape? And how about Mazda, which celebrated when the full-sized CX-9 won North American Truck of the Year honors three years ago — can its tasks now be entrusted to the CX-5? If you haven’t noticed, the …

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Familiar Kia grille shape is housed in a softened shape in the 2014 Cadenza.

Cadenza Lifts Kia into the Mid-Luxury Bracket

Auto manufacturers have an insatiable appetite to build cars for specific niches, but the insatiable part means all of them seem to want a vehicle for every niche. Kia is no different, and it has spent the last few years creating successful entries in the most popular and inexpensive segments, from the subcompact Rio, compact Forte, quirky Soul, and classy midsize Optima, as well as the compact Sportage and midsize …

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Lexus gives 2014 IS 350 sportier appearance and BMW-like performance.

Lexus IS 250 and 350 Truly Challenge 3-Series

BROOKLYN, MICH. — Every builder of a sports sedan hopes it might be comparable to the legendary BMW 3-Series. Some have come close, most haven’t. Some have missed by a mile. It may well be, however, that Lexus has just found the Holy Grail of sports sedans for 2014, with the IS 250 and IS 350. Lexus assembled some of the nation’s auto media types to sample both models of …

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