Welcome to Motoring Monday for April 13th, 2015. I’m Sam Haymart for TestDriven TV.
We’re still catching up with the New York Auto Show where a lot of awesome new cars were revealed. Today we’re featuring a few of them from Jaguar, Infiniti, Chevrolet and more.
2016 Jaguar XF
The cat is on the prowl as the second generation 2016 Jaguar XF made its debut with a sexier coupe-like roofline and less weight on its paws.
All-new from the ground up, the new 2016 Jaguar XF mid-size sedan comes with a longer wheelbase but keeps its trim size, losing 132 pounds with its new aluminum-intensive body structure.
Performance is too on the rise with North American XF sedans coming with two 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engines. One has 340 horsepower and the hotter version cranking out 380.
The latter will be found in the performance oriented XF S. With an eight-speed automatic Jaguar says it will spring from 0-60 mph in as little as 5.1 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
Available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, the new Jaguar XF will be available with an adaptive dynamics system, brake based torque vectoring, and even an adaptive surface control for all-wheel drive models.
Interiors will be the highlight for most drivers who will enjoy the smell of fine leathers, genuine aluminum as well as woods or carbon fibers. And you can expect all the latest infotainment and driver assistance goodies will be there too.
The 2016 Jaguar XF will go on sale late this year with pricing and final specs to come closer to that date.
2016 Infiniti QX50
Infiniti is well on its way to increased brand clarity with the 2016 QX50 luxury crossover, formerly known as the EX35
A new name, some fresh style and a generous stretch gives the rear-wheel drive based Infiniti QX50 more footprint in the showroom along side the QX60 and larger QX80.
The 2016 Infiniti QX50 luxury crossover provides a unique combination of a right-sized exterior with a luxurious interior environment and suite of advanced technology features.
A 3.2-inch longer wheelbase is big news as is the overall length which is up 4.5-inches to near 187 total. This extra space went straight to the interior where the second row passengers will really feel it.
Styling gets a fresh makeover too with a front fascia treatment featuring LED daytime running lights, a more nuanced grille design, and beefier trims along the side and to the rear.
Infiniti also set out to give the QX50 additional off-road cred with increased ground clearance to 6.9 inches on rear-wheel drive models and to 6.5 inches for all-wheel drive models which is nearly an extra inch.
Power come from the venerable 325 horsepower 3.7-liter VQ series V6 engine mated to a sport shifting 7-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and adaptive shift control.
Their newest crossover will be coming along soon in the compact QX30 too, that makes four. I’d say they’re on a mission.
2016 Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet is on a mission with their latest round of upgrades seen on the 2016 Chevrolet Spark, aiming for even younger buyers than before.
Any younger and they’d have to be twelve, as the Chevrolet Spark already had a youthful vibe. But now with fresh new styling inside and out, with increased customization possibilities, they might be on to something.
The global sub-compact grows slightly with an additional 1.6-inches and a lower profile to contribute to less aerodynamic drag. While it looks very similar to the outgoing model, it’s been fully redesigned.
It’s style carries on the look of the current Spark, but nuances it with softer edges and less severe angular details. The trims and fixtures seem more sophisticated in their look and finishes.
Inside you will find the latest touchscreen audio offerings with MyLink connectivity to go along with a wide array of hip happening colors and customization options.
In fact, Chevrolet boasts that this Spark will be more customizable than ever with a myriad of dealer-installed options available inside and out to make it precisely yours. I guess car-buying kids like bright colors.
Under the hood for North America is a new 98 horsepower 1.4 liter engine which will come with either a five-speed manual transmission or dual-range continuously variable transmission.
The 2016 Chevrolet Spark will continue to be built in South Korea and shows up in your local dealers late this year.
2016 Kia Optima
More grown up is the 2016 Kia Optima which made its grand debut on stage at the New York Auto Show.
After only five years since its last redesign, Kia gives their 2016 Optima mid-size sedan a full and complete transformation with new style inside and out, new powertrain options, and more stuff.
While it retains its familiar character, the style seems to have matured a bit with less outwardly brash details and a more laid back attitude, befitted with more chrome and upscale lines.
It grows a bit larger with a slightly longer wheelbase and a wider track. This brings more space inside that increases head room, shoulder room and rear seat leg room.
The cabin too is all new with a more upright and upstanding design theme, read….luxurious and businesslike. Five trim grades will range from the base LX with cloth to the full-deck SX-L with quilted leather.
Three engine choices are offered including the familiar 2.4-liter four-cylinder standard engine and the performance option of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four. The latter offers 247 horsepower and both come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
New for 2016 is a mid-range option that has both more power and more fuel efficiency, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four. It has a 178 horsepower and comes with a first for Kia seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
Fuel economy and pricing information is still to come, that will be announced closer to its on sale date later this year.
Test Drive: Infiniti QX80
This week we test drove Infiniti’s largest luxury sport-utility entry in the 2015 QX80, formerly known as the QX56.
No longer shared with the American built Nissan Armada, the 2015 Infiniti QX80 moved upscale now coming from Japan and shared with the also upscale Nissan Patrol SUV which doesn’t come to the States.
We found Infiniti’s trademark design forms of artwork to be unique and well, different from the norm whether we were looking at it from the curb or sitting behind the wheel. Love it or hate it, you can’t say its imitation.
Under the hood was a powerful and velvety smooth 400 horsepower version of the brand’s 5.6 liter V8 mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. It was thirsty and wants premium fuel but really had a great sound and gives a nice kick in the back.
For the full review of the QX80, click on the link below in the info section or log onto our website at www.TestDriven.TV.
Reality Check: Honda HRV Selfie
On Reality Check this week, the joke was on a number of journalists when Honda played one doozie of an April fool’s joke. And no, I didn’t fall for it.
The 2016 Honda HR-V Selfie Edition’s press release began saying, “With one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18–24 being selfies, and more than one million selfies being taken each day, Honda is introducing a unique trim model to appeal to this key, influential segment.”
It went on to say the Honda HR-V SLF, which was to go on sale this summer would be equipped with 10 selfie cameras inside and out, which when used in Park would allow the self sharing driver to post selfies direct to their social media through the HR-V’s infotainment and connectivity system.
The press release went on to rub in the genius of the idea by talking of their beta testing done by Ashley, a self-proclaimed selfie fanatic who boasts a 99 social media influencer rank score.
It was jaw dropping stuff. I mean, on one hand you think this is a joke or perhaps Honda really does know what kind of self-absorbed rubes they need to be marketing to.
A quick look to the date on the press release said March 31st, not April 1. But I wasn’t convinced so I let this one sit until further notice before ranting like an old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn.
I’m glad I did, because one look at the accompanying YouTube Video which is linked below in the info section said it all. This was a well orchestrated spoof, and some of my journalist friends fell for it hook line and sinker.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the hottest photo of the automotive news this week and we show it to ya!
Lexus teased us this week with this sexy photo of what is arguably their least sexy car, the ES. The redesigned 2016 Lexus ES will debut at the Shanghai Auto Show next week. And this might be the most exciting part. Time will tell.
Well that’s it for Motoring Monday. You can see all of our New York Auto Show coverage with over twenty videos of new cars, crossovers and SUV’s by clicking on the Playlist link in the info section below.
And please click on the link here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you enjoyed the show. There we will keep you updated on all our automotive news, test drives and Motoring Monday episodes.
You can also follow us on the Google, Twitter and that Facebook by clicking the links above. I’m Sam Haymart for TestDrivenTV, I hope you enjoyed the ride.