Week In Review: Hyundai, Tesla, Nissan Reach New Heights

By | December 20, 2013
The holidays are here, and while you may have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, searching for those last minute gifts, we've been writing about this week's big news. Monday gave us spy shots of the 2015 Chrysler 200 without camouflage. On Tuesday, we heard about Tesla's plans to introduce new models to its lineup. Wednesday offered information about Mercedes-Benz looking to boost S-Class production. Thursday showed us the Honda Vezel crossover that will hit our shores in the new year. Lastly, Friday gave us news of someone driving their Nissan Leaf over the 100,000 mile mark. Not bad for a holiday week's worth of news. We've gathered all the stories in a quick hits format so you can catch up on everything you missed this week without having to cut out precious last minute shopping time.

Monday, December 16

In a lucky turn of events, we were able to catch a glimpse of the new 2015 Chrysler 200 without any camouflage. The new model is set to debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and already we can see some changes. The new Chrysler 200 is noticeably larger and sleeker, which will help it attract new customers as it tries to move upmarket. We expect it to be powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder "Tigershark" engine that is found in the Dodge Dart. A more powerful engine is bound to make the lineup, but whether that's the new 3.2-liter Pentastar or 3.6-liter V6, only time will tell. The new Chrysler 200 was built off the Chrysler-Fiat CUSW architecture, and we wouldn't be surprised if we ended up seeing this model sold as a Fiat or Lancia in the near future.

Tuesday, December 17

We've heard and seen images for the new Tesla Model X, but now the electric automaker has revealed plans to introduce new models . Now, the Model X, Tesla's first crossover, is ready for production. Tesla's chief designer Franz von Holhausen mentioned that the automaker is also working on what it calls the Model E, a third-generation mass-production model that will be desirable to the masses. He also suggested that it wouldn't be a smaller version of the popular Model S, but it would be its own model. If the success of the Model S is anything to go off of, we can only expect for the new products from Tesla to be a hit among car buyers looking for electric vehicles. We just hope they don't cost an arm and a leg to buy.

Wednesday, December 18

Thanks to increasingly strong sales of the S-Class sedan in Sindelfingen, Germany, Mercedes-Benz will increase production of its flagship sedan. Already, the automaker has increased shifts by 30 minutes each day, and will eventually increase shifts almost 75 minutes next year. Mercedes-Benz hopes to regain the top seat in global luxury auto sales. Currently the German automaker is in third place, but has been gaining momentum and has already surpassed Audi so far this year. The redesigned S-Class has helped to push Mercedes closer to its goal, where it's selling like hotcakes here in the U.S. Other models have been gaining traction among car buyers, including the GLK-Class and C-Class, and if Mercedes can continue its sales growth, it may very well come out on top.

Thursday, December 19

Honda has decided to bring the Vezel compact crossover to the U.S. in hopes of bridging the gap between the Fit and CR-V. We expect the new model to arrive in the latter half of 2014, along with a new name. The new model is only seven inches longer than the Fit, and nine inches shorter than the CR-V. Despite its small stature, the Vezel has been well-received by critics and consumers, and will likely be a big hit when it crosses American shores. The standard engine will be gas powered, but a turbocharged engine will arrive further down the road. While a hybrid version has been confirmed for Japan, there is no word whether we will see one anytime soon. The compact crossover segment is one of the hottest markets right now, with well-established models from almost every automaker. Has Honda decided to enter the market too late?

Friday, December 20

How would you like to drive around for 100,000 miles and never use a drop of gasoline? Just think of all the money you'd save at the pump. Well, Steve Marsh from Washington State had similar thoughts when he purchased his 2011 Nissan Leaf. In order to achieve the 100,000 mark in such a short amount of time, Marsh worked with his employers to install a charging station at his work. Driving just over 100 miles a day in a vehicle that averaged 73 miles per charge, he made it work. "It was simply to save money. I could see the operating costs were going to be less than a gasoline car," said Marsh. So far, he's estimated that he's saved over $9,000 and more than 3,000 gallons of gas since switching to the small electric car. Nissan has estimated that it has sold more than 40,000 Leaf models in the U.S. since 2011, making it the most popular all-electric car in America. Tesla is catching up, but it still has about 20,000 more cars to sell before it reaches Nissan's success.