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The News for February 13th, 2015

Greg Kachadurian February 13, 2015 Chicago Auto Show, The News! 11 Comments

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Welcome to the Hooniverse News – Chicago Auto Show recap! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull – only this time, I’m covering it LIVE-ish! I’m here with Jeff and Eric to bring you the biggest news of the show as always, but now with my own photos and without having to borrow news sources from other people! This week:

  • Nissan drops the top on the 370Z Nismo

  • Acura freshens up the RDX

  • Honda reveals all-new Pilot

  • Ram debuts high-end Limited trim

  • Kia shows off Trail’ster Concept

  • What was your automotive news?

Nissan 370Z Nismo Roadster Concept

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Nissan rolled into the Chicago Auto Show with two new Nismo models: one of which is the GT-R LM Nismo and the other is this, the Nissan 370Z Nismo Roadster. It’s a one-off concept for now but it’s easily something Nissan could put into production next week. The purpose of this car being on the auto show circuit is to gauge market interest in an ultimate factory Z Roadster. I’d say if the GT-R LM wasn’t parked next to it, they’d have gotten all the attention they needed for the green light.

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Nissan’s vision for an ultimate factory Z Roadster starts with a standard 370Z Roadster and adds a couple of extra touches courtesy of Nismo, including a freshly-tuned 3.7-liter V6 with 350 horsepower and a Nismo-tuned suspension. The car can be visually identified with bespoke Nismo wheels, signature red-striped exterior accents, and extra carbon fiber on the rear diffuser.

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Should this make it to production, which is all but guaranteed, expect it to look nearly identical to what you see here. They can build it and I’m positive they will.

[News source: Nissan | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

2016 Acura RDX

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The Acura RDX in its current-ish form has been on sale for a few years now and it’s already become a hot seller. In an effort to keep that streak going in the highly competitive luxury crossover market, Acura has already ordered a thorough refresh for the RDX.

New for the 2016 model year, the RDX features improved performance, luxury, and styling. Starting with the performance, the existing 3.5-liter i-VTEC (yo!) V6 has been tweaked to provide a few extra horses for a total of 279 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque. Cylinder deactivation and a nine-speed transmission helps improve fuel economy as well (19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy AWD, 20/29 FWD). All-wheel-drive models have had more torque biased towards the rear.

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New luxury comes in the form of an Advanced Package which adds rain-sensing wipers, Bi-Directional Keyless remote engine start (whatever that means), front and rear parking sensors, other stuff, and AcuraWatch driver safety/assistance technology. Among many other things, the new RDX also gets the new family Jewel Eye headlamps so it can blind its enemies.

[News source: Acura | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

2016 Honda Pilot

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Meanwhile at Honda, the all-new 2016 Pilot was revealed in a colorful display. Honda’s midsize SUV has been reengineered and redesigned in America to provide more family-friendly utility, more tech, and more premium amenities than before.

The styling of the 2016 Honda Pilot is features a [automotive buzzwords] “modern, sleek, yet commanding and muscular form” [/automotive buzzwords]. Basically, it’s entirely new from the ground up and it’s a design that takes it confidently into its third generation. It also features available new LED headlights and taillights, twenty-inch wheels, and a panoramic roof option.

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As I saw it on the show floor, I’d say it looks quite alright. It’s also huge, or at least it looks huge. It’s definitely spacious inside with room for up to eight passengers and available captain’s chairs in the second row. The cabin features up to five USB ports, four of which are powered, an auxiliary jack, an HDMI port for a gaming console (bad idea, parents), two headphone jacks, and other power outlets. Up front there’s an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by Android and there’s an available rear-seat DVD player.

Power comes from the same VTEC (yo!) V6 as the Acura has, but this one is paired with a six-speed automatic (a first for the Pilot, if you can believe it). Despite the car’s more seemingly generous proportions, the 2016 Honda Pilot is 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.

The 2016 Honda Pilot will go on sale this summer.

[News source: Honda | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

Ram Laramie Limited

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For the people who thought their “normal” Ram trucks weren’t comfortable enough, Ram has a brand-new trim level that they’d like to sell you. The benchmark in something magical called “truck opulence”, the Laramie Limited adds all the right touches and features for the people who dig that kind of truck opulence.

That opulence comes with the new range of premium materials inside, including full leather seating, real wood interior components and unique badging that practically has “TRUCK OPULENCE” written them. All touch points inside are nice and soft (can confirm) and the overall ambiance inside is modern and… uh, opulent. The exterior’s opulence comes courtesy of the new billet port grille along with body color-matching front and rear bumpers as well as chrome trim running down the entire length of the truck. Twenty-inch wheels are standard and a boat load of LED running lights make it stand out even more.

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Ram will start offering the Laramie Limited trim on the 1500 this summer and on the 2500 and 3500 Q3 of 2016.

[News source: Ram | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

Kia Trail’ster Concept

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Kia had an interesting debut in Chicago in the form of the Trail’ster Concept, an electric-ish all-wheel-drive compact CUV based on the Soul.

Kia’s process of turning a city-dwelling compact into a “go-anywhere” compact intended for urban escape and mountain adventures starts with adding an electric all-wheel-drive system to help balance the 185 horsepower from the turbo-four to all four wheels. Although gas is the primary propellant on this car, the electric AWD system can aid it in low-speed maneuvers, launches, and whenever the going gets rough. Total output from both the 1.6-liter gas I-4 and the 1.2 kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery is about 220 horsepower and 285 lb.-ft. of torque, which is damn good for a car as small as the Soul.

The rest of the car’s adventurous attitude becomes evident with the styling, which incorporates fog-light-like LED lamps, a paint color inspired by an earthly combination of springtime snow and mud, skid plates, and an integrated roof rack.

Although there is no official word from Kia about a production model, be on the lookout for an announcement which just might come fairly soon.

[News source: Kia | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

Mazda MX-5 accessories announced

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The ND MX-5 was on display here in Chicago along with some brand new accessories that were just shown for the first time. Although they’re just a design concept for now, you can expect to see accessories similar to these at your local Mazda dealership around the time of the MX-5’s launch.DSCN7992

The accessories on display include a new gloss black aero kit (front air dam, side sill extensions, rear bumper skirt, and rear lip spoiler), Brembo brakes, seventeen-inch BBS wheels, and a carbon fiber luggage rack which, in the spirit of the MX-5, weighs less than two pounds.

[News source: Mazda | Image source: © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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That’s all I’ve got this week. Now I want to hear from you. If you saw, drove, bought, sold, fixed, or broke anything newsworthy that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments!

[Image source: me]

  • My news! The Integra! It's all done mechanically – JDM header, new piping, OEM ITR muffler (small & quiet), Tein suspension with all new hardware, sway bars, and all poly bushings. Engine mounts, fuel tank, cooling system, all brake and fuel lines, and a million things I'm forgetting. Now it's off to the body shop for a wild body kit and a huge wing. y0!

    • GregKachadurian

      Next up:

      <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTkzWDU3NQ==/z/skwAAOxyNepRmacS/$T2eC16N,!yEE9s5jE,q4BRm,cRYwp!~~60_35.JPG"/>

      • wunno sev

        i feel like those stickers are the mark of a newer breed of ricer, one that matured past the neon lights and jc whitney wings of the fast-and-furious era and, stylistically and in ethos, fell more in line with modern-day stancebois and dubbers. still controversial to some, but it's a big improvement.

        but i got hella appreciation for kamil keeping it ka-real with the toned-down but purposefully upgraded character of his 'teg. keep fighting the good fight. i look forward to pics and deets.

        • Preludacris

          Nah, they are just the mark of a new breed of ricer in that said ricer was probably born after 1995.
          Wouldn't be so bad by itself but is usually accompanied by a "shocker" decal and cut springs.

          • wunno sev

            the first generation of people born after the first "fast and furious" movie will be getting their permits, licenses, and hand-me-down hondas within the next two or three years

  • eggsalad

    Sad automotive news of the week: The new Kia Rio hatch was introduced at the Chicago show this week. No longer can it be had with a manual transmission.

    If you can't get a stick in a bottom-of-the-barrel econo-hatch, the end is closer than we think.

  • racer139

    That's funny about the RAM. My brother has a 14 3500 dually diesel Laramie limited up here in eastcanukistan. Next time I'm down there I'll snap a shot of the tag.

  • That Pilot looked pretty good in person actually… I was surprised.

    Also, great photo at the bottom!

    In my news: Swapped in a new (correct-facing) fan for the truck and it's amazing what a difference that makes with cooling.

  • Love the Miata carbon luggage rack! My automotive news is pulling the trigger on coilovers, bushings, swaybars for my tired Miata. It will no longer be floppy and rattly when I drive flat out.

  • El_Martillo

    Too bad someone forgot to put a turbo in the MX-5 catalog.

  • craigsu

    The KIA Trail'ster needs a Storm Trooper standing next to it. Better yet, one of the KIA hamsters dressed like a Storm Trooper.