Plus: Subaru adds small price increase to 2014 Legacy and Outback; Dodge adds special packages to 2013 Dart.
The new 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will be the lowest-priced 4-door all-electric car in the U.S. when it goes on sale this summer, although for now the vehicle will be available only in California and Oregon.
Manufacturer's suggested retail price starts at $27,495, including a destination charge of $810.
Chevrolet also noted that with a full federal tax credit of $7,500, the net cost to a Spark EV buyer could be as low as $19,995. California buyers could also qualify for state and local tax credits and incentives of up to $2,500 that could drop the price of a Spark EV to $17,495.
This makes the base model Spark EV $2,155 less than its closest competitor, the 2013 Nissan Leaf S, which starts at $29,650 – even with a recent $6,400 price reduction by Nissan over the base model 2012 Leaf. The Spark EV is also nearly $2,500 less than the $29,975 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and priced well below the Honda Fit EV ($37,415) and Ford Focus Electric ($39,995; however, cash incentives that expire July 8 drop that price to $28,245). The California-only Fiat 500e costs $32,500.
Van ownership has been lost on an entire generation of car owners. Here's why the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is the coolest thing on four wheels.
I knew I’d love the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van before I flew to Germany to test it. I’d driven the Dodge Sprinter (a rebadged Mercedes-Benz) and fallen in love with that, and this one has a smaller, more fuel-efficient diesel engine and a 7-speed transmission mated to the same ‘ol great chassis, so how could it be bad?
In case you’re raising an eyebrow and wondering if I’m heavily medicated, let me just say that I am not a van enthusiast, if there is such a thing. I like old Porsches and BMWs, I watch rally racing and I had the same Lamborghini Countach poster many of you did.
Over the years, I’ve driven just about every desirable car made, so please know that I don’t say this lightly: I’m obsessed with Sprinters. And I’m hardly the only one. Car geeks – real car geeks – seem to be universally behind me on this one, and I want to try and explain why that is.
Fisker's cars and batteries are now devalued to the point that a deal to keep the company alive might work.
Reuters reports that Lutz and Wanxiang Group have made an offer to buy the cash-strapped plug-in hybrid automaker for an undisclosed amount. Among his many ongoing consultancies, Lutz co-owns VL Automotive, a new automaker that combines the Fisker Karma's body with a Corvette powertrain.
Wanxiang is the group that purchased the remains of failed battery maker A123 Systems of Waltham, Mass., which had been Fisker's exclusive supplier until it went formally bankrupt (and changed its name to B456 Systems) in October. The company's U.S. arm, in addition to owning Walgreen stores in the Midwest, provides parts to one of every three new cars manufactured here. But while Wanxiang is private, the parts supplier's CEO is a member of the Chinese national legislature and has "close ties to prominent state-owned businesses," according to the Boston Globe. You don't get to be China's largest auto parts supplier without the state somewhere in your pocket.
As usual, no one will or has made any official statement on the offer.
Electrified Karmann Ghia runs on Twitter mentions, Facebook likes and Instagram shares.
Some feel that social media has no place in the car and is a dangerous distraction. But the Kansas City, Mo., high school students who signed up for an after-school program put together by the nonprofit group Minddrive may beg to differ.
The group of at-risk high schoolers and their mentors at Minddrive built an electrified 1967 Karmann Ghia and modified it so that runs on posts, mentions and likes on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Next week, the team will drive the Karmann Ghia from Kansas City to Washington, D.C., to meet with elected officials to promote education funding and projects like Minddrive.
To get from K.C. to D.C. -- and to raise awareness about their project as well as their cause -- the group has integrated an Arduino microprocessor into the Karmann Ghia’s electric drivetrain, and it’s programmed to allow the car to move only via social media mentions of the project.
Our semiregular roundup of the latest automotive news and musings from around the Web.
Unlike other posts on this blog, these are truly notes, but they're worth a few moments of your precious time.
Today and this week, Toyota shows us a taillight off the forthcoming 2014 Corolla, Honda's jet plane takes another step toward certification, and Audi tries paying for parking without stepping out of the car.
About 40 cars worth millions will re-enact a 100-year-old Austrian rally taken by one of Rolls' earliest and most adventurous owners.
Even in chic European cities like Vienna, it’s uncommon to see a 100-year-old Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, which has been called the most valuable car in the world. But imagine seeing more than 40 of these ultra-expensive vehicles rolling through the streets of Vienna.
Then imagine spotting more than 100 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts a week later in Italy, which will be the largest gathering of its kind in the world. Even more incredible is that dozens of these rare Rolls-Royce models are not pampered museum pieces and will take part in a 100-year-anniversary re-enactment of a historic Alpine rally.
After failing to finish the grueling Austrian Alpine Trial in 1912, British aviator and adventurer James Radley, pictured above with his Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, was determined to complete the course as well as win awards along the way. He did both, with a little help from champagne at the starting line.
Next-gen Dodge Challenger expected to see new 'Hellcat' engine.
The 6.2-liter engine, code-named Hellcat, is expected to debut on the next-generation Dodge Challenger and perhaps other vehicles, according to sources within Chrysler.
The engine's existence was revealed on the Internet site Allpar.com and confirmed by Chrysler insiders.
A spokesman for the automaker declined to comment, saying that the company doesn't discuss future products.
The original 'Gone in 60 Seconds' movie car has found a new home.
In the 2000 film, Cage steals 50 cars for another thief threatening to kill his brother, and just like the 1974 original, a Mustang nicknamed "Eleanor" proves to be his riskiest heist in the final scenes. It's not too difficult, as Eleanor is actually a brand-new car underneath its replica Shelby GT500 body, replete with a 400-horsepower V8 engine and modern tires, brakes and suspension.
While three Eleanor Mustangs were built, the one sold at Saturday's Mecum Original Spring Classic auction in Indianapolis was used in all the movie's close-ups and promotional materials; the other two were crashed during chase scenes. In 2008, the same car found no buyers after a failed bid on eBay. Other movie cars have done very well at auction, including the original 1966 Batmobile, which sold in January for $4.62 million.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5