Week in Review: Three Small Cars, a Big Truck, and America’s Sports Car
It’s been a busy week. Between heading out to New York City, Detroit, Detroit again, and a few other spots back around our Southern California home base, we’ve been driving all sorts of new vehicles the automakers have in store for the buying public. We’ll have our driving impressions on them early next month. Fortunately, that’s just a few days away.
In the meantime, we have plenty of news to catch up on in our Week in Review. So here we go.
Monday, June 24
We were pleasantly surprised by the 2013 Honda Civic after it had received an emergency refresh. The 2012 model, supposedly all-new, was panned from the beginning for taking a backstep in design and quality. But the emergency refresh was supposed to be a 2014 or 2015 car. Honda pushed it ahead, though. Surely, there were supposed to be some under-the-hood improvements for that car. Of course there were. Honda’s North American vice president confirmed that Honda is working on a more efficient Earth Dreams suite of engine and transmission technology for the Civic. When it gets those improvements, however, is yet unknown.
Tuesday, June 25
Fiat billed its 2014 Fiat 500e electric car as “Environmentally sexy.” Apparently, the public en masse agrees. Already with only being on sale for a few months, Fiat has sold out its entire supply of 2014 Fiat 500e hatchbacks for the year. Not like it was too difficult, Fiat only had a few thousand in the works for California. But the California Air Resources Board makes the Fiat 500e a must-have for the automaker as it’s Chrysler’s only all-electric car. CARB mandates that large automakers have a certain number of electric and clean-energy vehicles in their fleets. It’s just a good thing that automakers are starting to get adventurous with their designs, making them as appealing as they are clean like this little Fiat.
Wednesday, June 26
The third of Mazda’s reinvigorated lineup to emerge, the Japanese automaker introduced its 2014 Mazda3 hatchback this week in New York City. We had a chance to check it out in person, sitting in it and examining its every detail. Starting with a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter engine or an available 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the 2014 Mazda3 promises to pack a sporty prowess into its compact dimensions. In fact, Mazda says the 3 is around 200 pounds lighter than the car it replaces and a little shorter, too. Still, it will offer more interior room. How does that work? We don’t know. Mazda will be debuting the sedan version of the next Mazda3 in the next few weeks, and we’ll give you our driving impressions closer to its September on-sale date.
Thursday, June 27
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? In its last model year before getting fully redesigned, the Ford F-150 is receiving a new sport package. Called the 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor, the rig sees the first-ever pairing of the regular cab Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6. The rear-wheel-drive-only truck will have the same 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque as every other EcoBoost F-150, but the weight savings should make it quite a quick truck. Also, lest you forgot, the last Ford F-150 started its life with a 360-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8. Don’t bet against this swan song pickup just yet.
Friday, June 28
While it made our news for Friday, the Chevrolet Corvette is celebrating its birthday this tomorrow. The American icon turns 60 years old on June 30, bringing with it a trail of success and innovation. As the oldest car nameplate in the U.S. in continuous use, the Corvette has grown from a meager six-cylinder roadster for GIs to a full-blown world-beating supercar. And through all the years, it has remained remarkably true to its roots of providing a uniquely American experience for those who enjoy the thrill of driving. With the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on its way in just a few short months, it’s about to get even better.
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By Jacob Brown