2015 Honda Fit EX-L vs. 2014 Nissan Versa Note SL Comparison

For a long time, buying a small hatchback was like eating 39-cent ramen noodles: it’s all you can afford and it gets the job done, but you’d really rather have something else. That’s been changing over the last decade. Small is cool again, and today’s subcompacts don’t give up much compared with their compact big brothers. The original Honda Fit helped kick-start this transformation, and it remains one of the only subcompacts to ever win an Automobile Magazine All-Star award, in 2009. To show how far the subcompact class has come, we selected top-of-the-line versions of two of the major players in this surprisingly hot segment, the 2015 Honda Fit EX-L and the 2014 Nissan Versa Note SL. While the Versa is the class best-seller by a significant margin, the
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Tesla Retools Plant for Model X Production

It’s been a long build-up to the launch of the Tesla Model X, but it appears the all-electric SUV is almost here. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. assembly plant will shut down for the first time since opening to retool ahead of Model X production. As we previously reported, Model X production was delayed so Tesla could keep up with demand for the Model S in 2013. Work on the factory began Monday, with production set to resume in two weeks. The floor will be reconfigured toward the goal of boosting production by 25 percent, adding 25 new assembly robots as part of a $100 million upgrade. The robots will handle bodies and general assembly of both Tesla models. “This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we
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2015 Acura NSX Spied Testing On Nurburgring

To the great satisfaction of the masses, the production 2015 Acura NSX will hit the streets looking almost identical to the well-received concept version. Our spy photographers spotted a prototype of the upcoming 2015 Acura NSX hybrid supercar testing on the Nürburgring, and despite the car’s camouflage we can tell that the long-awaited NSX will not disappoint when it finally arrives in mid-2015. As we said in our recent sneak peak of the 2015 Acura NSX, the production model will be “tantalizingly close” to the latest concept seen at last year’s Tokyo show. Changes, if any, are refreshingly minor. Up front, the lower air intakes appear altered, but don’t expect any drastic departures from the show car. The hood in this test car also gets slightly more prominent air vents.
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Report: Chrysler 300 SRT Could Be Discontinued

The days of the 470-hp Chrysler 300 SRT sedan may soon be numbered. Chrysler brand president and CEO Al Gardner told our colleagues at Motor Trend that the high-performance car sells so slowly it might not make sense to continuing selling it when the refreshed Chrysler 300 debuts later this year. Although no firm decision has been made, Gardner told MT that the Chrysler 300 SRT only sells about 75 units per month. So far this year, all versions of the Chrysler 300 have sold 26,014 copies, or about 4300 units per month. With the SRT model accounting for less than two percent of sales, it’s no wonder Gardner is considering ditching the model. Even if the Chrysler 300 SRT is discontinued in the U.S., the model may still be
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Mopar Offers Shaker Hood Kit For Hemi-Powered Dodge Challenger

If there’s anything the Dodge Challenger has in spades, its’ attitude. The Challenger’s all-business front end makes an even bolder statement with the Mopar Shaker hood kit, which customers can now buy directly from Mopar’s website or at a local Chrysler dealership. Previously featured on the limited-run 2014 Mopar ’14 Challenger (pictured below in white), which sold out in a single day this past April, the Shaker hood kit can now be had as a stand-alone part. Within the kit are Mopar’s Shaker Induction and Shaker Hood components, which are fitted specifically for 2011-2014 Challengers powered by the hefty Hemi 5.7-liter V-8. It arrives ready for paint, and requires no drilling or special tools to install. Buyers simply replace the existing hood and bolt-on the parts. “[The Shaker hood kit]
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Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander Recalled For Ignition-Switch Problem

2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2005-2006 Jeep Commander The Problem: Engineering tests showed the “outside force,” such as a driver’s knee hitting the key. could push the ignition switch out of the “run” position in the 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2005-2006 Jeep Commander. That could stop the engine and disable the airbags. The automaker is aware of one accident due to this problem but says the issue affects less than one percent of all models sold. After an investigation, Chrysler also recalled several other models for ignition-switch problems earlier this month. The Fix: Chrysler doesn’t currently have a fix for this recall, but says engineers are working on a solution. In the meantime, the company advises owners remove any excess items from their car keys, and ensure their knees
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2015 Toyota Yaris Refreshed

Fans of the Toyota Yaris receive quite the treat for the 2015 model year, as the subcompact hatchback receives a thorough visual refresh and some minor mechanical changes. Changes to the outside of the 2015 Toyota Yaris start with a dramatic new front fascia, which has a prominent black mesh opening below a chrome trim piece that runs between the headlights. The car’s inside isn’t dramatically changed, but the dashboard and center stack have been slightly restyled and higher-quality, softer materials are used. Toyota says that there is now more sound insulation to keep the car quieter. Also new for the 2015 Toyota Yaris are suspension changes said to improve the ride and handling, updates to stiffen the body, and subtle aerodynamic tweaks. What’s not new is the powertrain. A
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Next Chevrolet Volt to Get 200-Mile Range in 2016?

Before his departure as top dog at General Motors, Dan Akerson laid out plans for his company to develop lighter electric vehicles with at least 200 miles of range per charge. According to Reuters, South Korea battery supplier LG Chem has now announced that in 2016 it will introduce batteries for electric vehicles with 200-mile ranges. Given that the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt is rumored for 2016, and Akerson made clear his plans to give it an improved range capacity, we think the batteries could very well be destined for the next Volt. LG already supplies batteries to General Motors for the Chevrolet Spark EV and current Chevrolet Volt. General Motors in the past expressed its desire to be a global leader in electric vehicle sales by 2018,
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Life-Size Darth Vader Car Coming to Comic Con With 526 HP

If Obi Wan never told you about this car, it’s because he was afraid of it. Hot Wheels allied with Star Wars to build a life-size Darth Vader car for this year’s Comic Con, and it’s far more badass than the Sith Lord’s TIE fighter. While you’re wasting time with your friends at Tosche Station with some power converters, Vader breathes heavily over his life-size Hot Wheels car. The long-wheelbase monstrosity is complete with Vader-helmet looks, including a gloss black finish, vertically-slatted front fascia, cockpit hatch, and sloping rear end. Red-lined tires add to the black-and-red Sith theme. And of course, there are lightsaber-shaped running boards. Devoted to the ancient religion known as horsepower, Vader and his potent 526-hp LS3 Corvette V-8 engine will keep the sniveling Rebel Alliance on
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Storied WWI 1918 Cadillac Type 57 Joins Historic Vehicle Register

STERLING HEIGHTS, Michigan – A 1918 Cadillac Type 57 that the Reverend Dr. John Hopkins Denison purchased as a support vehicle for the American Expeditionary Forces and the Young Men’s Christian Association, and which provided rides to “The Other Eleanor” Roosevelt, wife of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. during World War II in France, is the fourth car to join the National Historic Vehicle Register. That’s a lot of history packed into one V-8 powered touring car. The Cadillac Type 57 joins 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe chassis number CSX2287, an original 1964 Meyers Manx dune buggy, and the 1938 Maserati 8TCF “Boyle Special” serial number 3032 with which Wilbur Shaw won the 1939 and ’40 Indianapolis 500s on the Register. The five-year-old Historic Vehicle Association (HVA, www.historicvehicle.org) is an organization developed
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