Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your convenience.
Ford this week was forced to recall 11,500 Escapes — and issue a stop-sale notice — over concerns their engines could catch fire. In models with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, damaged fuel lines could leak gasoline and start a fire. Ford is warning customers to avoid driving the crossovers until a repair can be effected at a dealership. Separately, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle was recalled over incorrect tires, and the 2012 Honda CR-V and 2013 Acura ILX were recalled because their front doors could unexpectedly open.
Kia has revealed the name of its new luxury sedan: Quoris. Although the car will be known as the Kia K9 within South Korea, in all export markets the new model will be badged Quoris. The rear-wheel-drive sedan is heavily based on the Hyundai Genesis, and went on sale in Korea in May. Tech features include Kia’s first application of adaptive cruise control, as well as an automatic braking system, plus blind-spot and lane-departure warnings. Kia has not yet confirmed that the Quoris will come to America, but a hint that it will be sold globally in places other than Europe all but acknowledges the Quoris is destined for the U.S.
We spotted this next-generation Ford people mover testing in America, but its design raises many questions. The model bears no similarities either to existing Ford MPVs or to the next-gen Galaxy. Instead, this is probably the next Ford S-Max — a people-mover that slots in between the C-Max and larger Galaxy. Reports suggest this seven-seater S-Max will be based on the same global platform as the 2013 Fusion/Mondeo. For now, the S-Max will probably remain a Europe-only model. Ford already sells two seven-passenger vehicles (the Explorer and Flex) in America, so it seems unlikely the carmaker would add another.
Mercedes quietly announced this week that it will build a new small crossover in the same factory — and on the same platform — as the new A- and B-Class compacts. The new model will probably be called the Mercedes GLA and should go on sale for the 2015 model year. Though it will be primarily front-wheel drive, the GLA also will offer a four-wheel-drive option. It will be based on the Mercedes Front Architecture (MFA) platform also used for the A- and B-Class.
We once again spotted a prototype of the 2014 Cadillac CTS testing in Germany, only this time the car wasn’t on the Nürburgring. Instead the CTS was adjacent to the Nürburgring — on the grass. This wasn’t a case of an overzealous test driver losing control of the car, though, as our sources report that the Cadillac prototype encountered mechanical troubles and only pulled off the road temporarily. As we’ve noted before, the new CTS will be based on the same “Alpha” chassis that will be used for the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro.
Mercedes touted its new airbag-equipped seatbelts, which bear the inventive name BeltBag, and promised the system will debut on a future luxury model. We understand that means the next-generation S-Class, likely to make a public appearance early next year. Like the similar system used by Ford, the Mercedes BeltBag can inflate the rear seatbelts in the event of a collision to better spread forces over an occupant’s body. Mercedes figures front-seat passengers don’t need the system as they already have the dashboard-mounted airbags to help cushion impacts.
Ford proudly announced that its upcoming C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid can travel 20 miles on battery power alone and a total of 550 miles on electricity and gasoline, all while scoring a fuel economy equivalence rating of 95 MPGe. The first two numbers beat out the figures from the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, which the EPA says can go 11 miles on electricity and 540 miles overall. The C-Max Energi is almost identical to the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, albeit with a larger battery pack and a charging port. The Hybrid can be ordered now and starts at $25,995; the C-Max Energi won’t go on sale until later.
After just 15 months of production, Lamborghini has built its 1000th Aventador supercar. That sounds like a small milestone, but it represents the shortest period that it has taken Lamborghini to build 1000 copies of one of its V-12 supercars. The Murciélago, for instance, took two and a half years to reach the same production level. And the V-12-powered Lamborghini Miura only sold 763 copies during seven years of production.
Driven: 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek, 2012 Nissan Murano, 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3, 2013 BMW X1
This week we drove three crossovers, and one hybrid sedan. The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek is practical, pleasant to drive, and reasonably able to go off-roading. The 2012 Nissan Murano still looks fresh thanks to a mild refresh for the 2009 model year, but by now its fuel-economy numbers are uncompetitive with the latest batch of crossovers. The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is for the most part a solid hybrid luxury sedan, and is even slightly quicker to 60 mph than the equivalent non-hybrid 335i, but its fuel-economy improvements are negligible overall. The 2013 BMW X1 isn’t a hot hatch so much as a luxurious and relatively sporty crossover, but it’s still a satisfying vehicle for anyone whose paycheck has outgrown the payments of their Honda CR-V.