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Compact Cars

2012 Fiat 500 Gets Fuel Economy Rating of 38 MPG



white Fiat 500
The EPA has released the fuel economy ratings for the North American Fiat 500, and…well…they’re a bit of a disappointment for a car its size.

The five-speed manual model gets a rating of 30mpg city and 38mpg highway, combining for an average of 33mpg. That’s competitive against the Ford Fiesta and MINI Cooper, both of which get a combine for 32mpg with their manual transmissions. The six-speed automatic model does a lot worse and gets just 34mpg highway and 27mpg city, combining for just 30mpg, which trails the MINI Cooper’s 31mpg and the Ford Fiesta’s 33mpg. This is especially problematic because the automatic-equipped 500 is projected to be the volume seller in the lineup.

If based on the its fuel-economy alone, the 2012 Fiat 500 won’t sell well. Luckily, it will be selling on its style and character. But is that enough to sell 50,000 units a year? I give it a 50/50 chance.

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Compact Cars

Byton’s 300-Mile Electric SUV Concept Takes Aim At Tesla



Electric Byton SUV

If you have never heard of Byton, don’t worry — we write about cars everyday, and neither have we.

Making its North American debut at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Byton is a Chinese upstart that clearly wants to give Tesla Motors a run for its money. The company showed off its first concept at the show, an all-electric SUV that CEO Carsten Breitfeld claims “will deliver an entirely new connective experience for people on the move.”

The Byton SUV was designed in German and, as far as technology is concerned, probably has more in common with the latest smartphones than it does with the average car, boasting such gen-y features as facial-recognition-enabled locking and profiles for seat position memory, entertainment settings and more.

Its attractive and modern exterior is reminiscent of Faraday Future’s FF 91, while the interior seats seven and is highlighted by a massive 49-inch “shared experience display” screen that spans the entire dash complimented by a 8-inch touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel.

The seats can pivot, providing all passengers access to the display. Multiple, cloud-enabled productivity or entertainment features like Amazon Alexa are abound and are powered by a 5G connection.

When the SUV arrives, buyers will have the option of two versions. The base model will have a rear-wheel drive configuration and a 71 kWh battery pack that should give it a driving range around 250 miles, while the second version is all-wheel drive and packs a larger 95 kWh battery that lets it travel 325 miles.

Rear-drive models will have 400NM of torque (~300lb-ft) to work with, and the dual-motor all-wheel-drive variant will pump out 710NM (just under 525lb-ft). These are very ambitious performance figures for a Jeep Grand Cherokee-sized SUV poised for production.

As is customary of most premium electric car concepts these days, there is an autonomous driving system that, like Tesla’s, can be upgraded via software. Launch models features enhanced Level 3 components, while Level 4 will be offered sometime later as an over-the-air upgrade.

The production Byton electric SUV will be ambitious in its engineering, but perhaps not as ambitious as its claimed starting price of just $45,000 U.S., which greatly undercuts the Tesla Model X. It launches in China in 2019, with European and U.S. sales beginning later on.

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Compact Cars

Mazda Koeru Concept: A Sleek Crossover Previewing CX-7 SUV



Mazda KOERU concept SUV

Japanese automaker Mazda is cooking up a CX-7 crossover-SUV, and the Mazda Koeru Concept is a preview of what’s to come.

Koeru in Japanese means “exceed” or “go beyond” and was inspired by Mazda’s aspiration to deliver value that goes well beyond the existing category norms and standards.

Unveiled in Frankfurt, the concept measures 4,600 mm long, 1,900 mm wide and 1,500 mm tall, giving it a low sporty stance that betrays any off-roading pretentions it might have. In fact, its styling is said to exude “power, vitality and a new level of polished refinement.”

There is enough room inside for up to five passengers, all of who are protected by Mazda’s i-Activsense package of advanced safety technologies and treated to the MZD Connect new generation smartphone-based connectivity system.

Like all of Mazda’s recent models, the Koeru Concept is powered by a SKYACTIV engine that will likely be offered in patrol and diesel variations in the production a CX-7.

The shape of the exterior offers outstanding aerodynamics that optimize air flow over the car and stifle under floor turbulence, while special NVH-suppressing technology helps to deliver a smoother and quieter ride.

Not only does the Mazda Koeru Concept preview the CX-7 crossover, but some of its design elements will likely also show on in the next-generation CX-9. Stay tuned to FbaPPs for more.

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All-New Chevrolet Cruze Interior Revealed, Looks More Upscale



New Chevrolet Cruze interior design

The all-new, second-generation Chevrolet Cruze was unveiled in China at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. All we saw back then was its exterior; now we have official photos of its interior. The model pictured here is clearly a high-end variant, one featuring the best the small sedan will have to offer.

Reflecting the Cruze’s move upmarket, the interior is covered in higher quality materials than its predecessor. Its overall appearance isn’t bold or flashy, but it does look relatively more upscale, with better attention to detail.

Everything looks new, including the “butterfly-shaped center console”, which looks a lot like a shrunken version of the one found in the new Impala; the richly-detailed instrument cluster; and the new-look steering wheel. Housed inside the center console is an eight-inch touchscreen that provides access to MyLink II, Chevy’s infotainment system.

While the Chinese-spec Cruze won’t be identical to the North American version, the two will look very similar inside and out. They ride on a new global platform that will likely serve as the basis for numerous compact sedan and crossover models in the future, such as the next Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric vehicle and Equinox crossover. Power will be provided by a selection of General Motor’s newly-redesigned small Ecotec engines, including (in China) a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and a naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter unit.

Sales of the new Chevrolet Cruze have already begun in China; North American sales will likely follow in winter 2015.

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