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2016 Dacia Duster Gets Updated with Automated Manual Tranny

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2016 Dacia Duster SUV

Romanian automaker Dacia used the 2016 Frankfurt Motor Show to introduce the updated, 2016 Dacia Duster crossover, one of their most successful models.

Visually, the 2016 Duster looks virtually identical to the previous model, with the most notable update being the new paint color and alloy wheel design pictured in our gallery. The interior benefits from Dacia’s latest generation touch screen-based infotainment system, a rear-view camera and several new trim options.

The most important addition is a five-speed automated manual transmission that Dacia calls ‘Easy-R’. The unit is capable of shifting gears by itself in regular driving conditions, but the driver can manually go through the gears if he so chooses.

Easy-R will initially be available only on Duster models equipped with the 90-horsepower, 1.2-liter TCe gasoline engine but will eventually make its way into other Dacia models, including the Logan and the Sandero.

The 2016 Dacia Duster goes on sale before the end of 2015 and will likely remain one of the most affordable off-roaders in Europe for the foreseeable future.

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You Can Now Subscribe To Volvo Cars For Flat Monthly Rate

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New Volvo XC40 SUV

The new Volvo XC40 inaugurates ‘Care by Volvo,’ a new subscription service that targets younger buyers, letting them subscribe for select Volvo model at a flat monthly rate.

Aimed at making car ownership “as easy as having a cell phone,” the all-inclusive program starts at $600 per month (excluding registration, local taxes) for the company’s XC40 compact crossover and covers the cost of the lease, maintenance, insurance, and wear and tear, with no down payment required.

Subscribers must agree to a 24-month contract term, with an option to sign up for a new two-year subscription as early as 12 months into the agreement. They are restricted to a 15,000-mile allowance and — like the latest cell phone monthly plans — can change cars when desired.

Two configurations of the XC40 will be available, starting with the XC40 T5 AWD Momentum with Premium Package, Vision Package, heated front seats and steering wheel, panoramic roof and 19-inch wheels.

For those that want a bit more substance, there is the XC40 R-Design with Harmon Kardon premium sound and 20-inch wheels, which if chosen, bumps the monthly fee up to $700 a month.

Other Volvo vehicles will be added to service in the future, each commanding a different monthly rate.

The price may see step, but Volvo says over 2,000 people have already signed up for the service, a figure that’s likely to grow. If you’d rather just buy the 2018 Volvo XC40, the price starts at $35,200 in the United States.

Is ‘Care by Volvo’ and other subscriptions-based services like it something that interests you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lexus RX L Brings Third-Row Seating To RX Lineup

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2019 Lexus RX L

Due to strong demand, Lexus has stretched its popular RX crossover to accommodate a third-row of seats, giving buyers a choice between six- or seven-passenger configurations.

The Lexus RX L is 4.3 inches, has a steeper tailgate window angle to improve headroom, and features a lever that folds the second seat forward to provide access to the third-row can be accessed.

The standard seven-seat configuration employs a 40/20/40-split bench for the second row, while an available six-seat edition features second-row captain’s chairs that allows third-row passengers to simply walk in.

To provide more foot room for third-row passengers, engineers positioned the second row slightly higher than the third. A rear tri-zone climate control system further contributes to the comfort.

The base RX 350L is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an upgrade.

If you want something more efficient, there is an RX 450hL hybrid powered by a 3.5L V6 paired with two electric motors for a combined output of 308 horsepower. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, with the real wheels being powered by the electric motors.

The 2018 Lexus RX 350L has a starting price of $48,665 in the United States, representing a premium of nearly $5,000 over the five-passenger RX350.

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The Nissan Kicks CUV Is The New Juke

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2018 Nissan Kicks, white SUV

The Nissan Juke arrived with a funky look and a funky name. The Nissan Kicks changes all of that.

Unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Brazilian-built Kicks replaces the Juke as Nissan’s entry-level crossover. It ditches the controversial design of its predecessor for a more retrained look that should appeal to a broader audience.

The Kicks is primarily geared at younger buyers, so technology is of utmost importance. It can be had with a seven-inch touch screen compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, an around-view monitor, and an upgraded sound system designed by Bose for small cars.

Breathing under the small hood is a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 125 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque — respectable numbers for the subcompact crossover segment — sent to the front wheels by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is not available, at least at launch.

Nissan expects a combined fuel economy rating of 33 mpg in the United Sates.

The Kicks comes standard with Automatic Emergency Braking, along with seven air bags and a RearView Monitor. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are optional.

Buyers can choose between three trim levels — Kicks S, Kicks SV and Kicks SR — when Nissan’s little crossover goes on sale in Spring 2018.

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