Episode 875 – Lambo Crossover in the Metal, Honda’s Concept Combo, Powertrain Independence for Jag

April 24th, 2012 at 11:30am

Runtime: 8:00

The Lamborghini crossover goes from sketch to reality in Beijing. Honda reveals a duo of concepts that it thinks are “cool” and “smart.” Jaguar and Land Rover move toward powertrain independence with a new 3.0-liter V-6. All that and more, plus a walk around the newly refreshed Ford Flex.

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Hello again, and welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily! It’s Tuesday the 24th of April, 2012. And we’re glad you could join us today. I’m Craig Cole and there’s a lot of news to get through, so we’d better get rollin’.

Last week we showed you an artist’s rendition of the Lamborghini Urus crossover. I’m sure pronouncing it wrong but it’s apparently named after a breed of Spanish bull. Anyway, the company just made everything official at the Beijing Auto Show. According to Autoblog this 4×4 beast should hit the road sometime in or around 2015. Whenever it does make it to market the company expects to sell around 3,000 per year – half of those in the United States. The price tag should exceed 200-grand. A magnum-caliber V-10 or V-12 under the hood seems logical. As you’d expect, large parts of the Urus will be constructed out of weight-saving carbon fiber. All I can say is I am super excited about this reveal. It’s just what the market needs . . . ANOTHER CROSSOVER! And one practically nobody can afford. But it gets better. Word on the web is that this baby is part of a premium SUV offensive from the Volkswagen Group, so stay tuned for more.

Not to be outdone, Honda revealed a couple concepts in China as well – two small cars that feature pretty wild designs. First up, the Concept C, which is arguably the crazier looking of the two. Here “C” stands for “Cool,” “Challenge” and “China,” if you were curious. It’s a design study for a middle-class sedan specifically targeting the People’s Republic. Hopefully they tone it down a little bit because this thing is just a little too much. Next up, the Concept S is a “new-value” passenger vehicle featuring a hybrid drivetrain. The “S” supposedly represents “Stylish,” “Smart” and “Surprise.” Anyway, what do you think about these two Honda concepts? Let us know in the comments right below.

Nissan also had some goods to show off in Beijing. The Sylphy is a small car that will launch in China, though it is basically the next-generation Sentra. It’s powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that’s matched to Nissan’s latest Xtronic CVT – a continuously vexing transmission. On the bright side though, it will wring the most out of every drop of fuel. Overall the cleanly styled Sylphy looks like a smaller version of the Altima that was just revealed at the New York Auto Show, and that is not a bad thing.


First came the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, then Chrysler used that platform for the Dodge Dart, and as fate would have it, Fiat is reclaiming the architecture to come out with the Viaggio, which just debuted in Beijing. This will be the first sedan Fiat builds in China. It will be offered with just one engine – a 1.4-liter turbo – BUT it will come in two different horsepower ratings – 120 or 150. The Viaggio goes on sale later this year.

POWERTRAIN INDEPENDENCE (subscription required)
When Ford sold off Jaguar and Land Rover it promised to keep selling them engines through 2018. But clearly the British brands would like to have that area covered on their own. Taking a step toward powertrain independence they just announced a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine. It’s supercharged, boasts all-aluminum construction and is derived from the company’s 5.0-liter V-8. It also benefits from direct fuel injection, variable cam timing and stop-start technology. Two versions are planned, one belting out 340 horsepower and another with 380. Look for this bent-six to debut on the F-Type two-seat roadster next year.

After the break we’ll take a peek at the updated version of one of the most distinctive vehicles in Ford’s lineup

(Our walkaround of the 2013 Ford Flex is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

The Flex has always been a terrific crossover, if a slow seller. Part of the reason it hasn’t been a sales hit is that it’s so expensive. The base price is about $32,000! Still, the changes Ford has made for 2013 only make it more appealing. If you’re in the market and don’t mind the design give the Flex a look-see, you won’t be disappointed.

And that’s a wrap for today’s show. Thank you so much for watching, we hope you enjoyed it. Before I sign off, check out the latest episode of RoundAbout. It just went live on our website, Autoline.tv, and of course you can also access it via iTunes, Stitcher or wherever else other fine podcasts are found. Do check it out. Anyway, that’s it for now, John McElroy should be back in the driver’s seat tomorrow. We’ll see you then!

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46 Comments to “Episode 875 – Lambo Crossover in the Metal, Honda’s Concept Combo, Powertrain Independence for Jag”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    appears that Honda is looking at the Sonata for inspiration on that horrible looking first car, are they suggesting that Chinese buyers have poor taste in picking cars?

  2. Buzzerd Says:

    you know they’ve made some big changes when they start with how the name is now spelt on the front…….. wowwwwww some amazing changes there I tell ya.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    They should use D instead for Dufus, Dumb and Demented-looking

  4. Richard J. Leisner Says:

    Honda Concept C looks great to me.

  5. David Sprowl Says:

    OK so you don’t like the styling. But give some credit for effort that Honda is beginning to depart from same boxes that everyone else has been following. The “C” car’s nose is a bit to aggressive face compared to the body. As for the “S” looks like the Honda verson of the Explorer. And if your spending that kind of cash, put in the sliding doors for better access to those third row seats.

  6. dcars Says:

    To me both of the Honda’s look similar to the current Civic with the slanted front wind shield. That feature detracts from the over all shape of the car.
    In regards to the Ford Flex, is it really a crossover or a mini van? To me it’s a mini van, and it’s a nice looking one. If it’s a crossover then it’s ugly.

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’m going to go with a resemblance of the “C” to the new Lexus’ front ends and the M/B’s E-350 styling ‘mule’ (side view) we saw here last week. I know similar styling evolves between manufacturers but this seems more like copying in my opinion.

  8. HtG Says:

    If the Honda C and S are aimed at Chinese buyers I’d like to see how they light up at night. Night bedazzlement seems to impress the Middle Kingdomites. As for my eye, I’ll avert it from the C.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “In regards to the Ford Flex, is it really a crossover or a mini van?”

    It’s a station wagon, but they couldn’t figure how to make the seats fold flat like in the old ones.

  10. Jon M. Says:

    I would agree that the nose of the Honda C concept is a bit much, but only relation to the rest of the car. The S has a very European Civic inspired look to it, which if you ask me, isn’t a bad thing. Otherwise, I think they’re better and more aggressive looking designs than some of the more conservative styled U.S. Hondas.

  11. Ed Says:

    If they make the Viaggio in a hybrid, it could come with a door with two little blue pills, of course only used in case of a drive train failure , or ” limp” mode to get you ” home”. Great name!

  12. Phoenix Mark Says:

    In regards to the Ford Flex, to me it is a station wagon.

  13. MJB Says:

    That Fiat Viaggio kinda reminds me of the Ford Mondeo.

  14. HtG Says:

    I like the way you think, MJB.

  15. Brian McInnes Says:

    I like the two Honda Concepts. It’s always hard to get an accurate impression from photo’s but I would say Honda is using abit of imagination. Something thats been lacking in recent years.

  16. Fernando b menendez Says:

    well i am not impress with the new cars on today show except the flex. just like the car magazines expensive and unreachable cars that an average consumer can not afford. want to know why the slow sales of auto magazines? who cares about a Ferrari
    or super cars. also the comments about the midsize sedans.
    hey they are point to point transportation. engine a basic nice interior and good gas mileage. is like watching west side custom
    really ugly cars that overpaid players buy. oh well shows my age eh.

  17. Lex Says:

    Honda has lost it! The “S” looks to me like a over styled Camry. The “C” looks cheap and totally ugly. The Designers over at Honda need to be fired! The only good looking vehicle I have recently seen coming out of the House of Honda is the 2013 Acura RDX. The New CR-V is butt ugly all the way from the rear doors to the tailgate. I would have rather enjoyed seeing the CR-V be more of a clone of the new RDX. The House of Honda should bring back the Acura RSX and drop the ILX. In my opinion the Odyssey and the new RDX are the only two vehicles which I would consider purchasing in the near future from Honda /Acura. I really liked the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport at the NY Auto Show. I just need to test drive it with both the 2.4 and the 2.0 Turbo engines to see which I prefer. If Hyundai would drop their 3.3 litre 290HP Azera powerplant into the Santa Fe Sport it would be a runaway success!

  18. john787 Says:

    The Ford Flex is ugly ugly.It may be a good vehicle, but I would not buy it. Too many other nice looking vehicles in it’s class.

  19. ckernzie Says:

    Is Honda’s Acura-esque styling that appears on these concepts working for them in Asia?? It certainly bombed in N.AM. but Honda still sees some life in the design language I guess. I applaud manufacturers trying to do the ‘design reach’ thing but the angry angular jack-o-lantern face mixed with the wheel swoops doesn’t really work for me. Mazda has their smiley faces which are bad enough but the roller coaster swoops on the side of the 5 just look ugly to me. It’s all a matter of taste but it seems that the once touted Japanese designs are falling short and being bested by N.AM. designed vehicles or offerings like some from Hyundai/Kia which have euro/N.AM designers behind them. I sure hope the Chinese develop better taste in design because more and more vehicles are being developed with that market in mind and we’ll all have to live with the consequences.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Flex is a bit like a really big first generation Scion xB. I kind of like the looks of both of them, but I understand why a lot of people don’t.

  21. 012345 Says:


    First, the C-concept: that’s just Butt-Ugly. — Here C stands for (words I can not use in Autoline since I don’t want to be kick out) design

    And the S-concept: now that’s a really nice concept.

  22. Jon M. Says:

    Look at the face of the Honda C concept long enough and you begin to notice a collage of different Honda/Acura design styles. The lower openings on the front end, for example, resemble that of the mildly refreshed version of the Accord Coupe/Crosstour, while the bar at the top of the grill resembles a mix of current Acuras and the Euro Civic. Clean it up a bit, though, and I think it would look pretty good.

  23. motorman Says:

    the “C” stands for “creases” as there are a lot of them in the sheet metal on those hondas

  24. cwolf Says:

    The Flex is more utilitarian than stylish. Campers,big families and older folk love this thing. And there are a sleu of them around marinas. What sells the thing,besides the massive cargo cubical,are low door sills and seats,thus making entry/exits easy for the aged and kids. Move up to one of the larger power offerings and one can load the whole crew,luggage and fish poles and still pull the boat or camper. The Flex serves the purpose well for those who can afford one. Not a very good job by that camera guy! Typical of late.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf: minivan does the same duty for a lot less money and it’s not polarizing like this xB on steroids

  26. cwolf Says:

    Rather hard to pull a boat with a minivan and with a lot less room for cargo.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Huh? Today’s “minivans” have as much room as big SUV’s, and will tow most boats. I’ll look it up, but they probably have about the same tow rating as a Flex. A Suburban would tow more than a minivan, but probably a Flex would not.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf are you having a couple of Coronas this evening?? BTW just read online that there are almost no Mexicans crossing the border north (legally) and why would they there’s a better chance of finding work over there than here.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    At least in the Auto industry.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    Well Lambo, good luck with that SUV. I look forward to that first fool who actually takes it off-road.
    Design wise, Honda is still missing the mark for me. Both of those designs still look like I’ve seen them before. At least they dropped the Acura “shield”.
    The Nissan looks solid. It will do well in sales if the transmission is ok.
    Wow another badge engineered Fiat!
    The Flex will probably be replaced by Ford, but at least it will go down swinging. It is a very nice alternative to a minivan or suv in my opinion, once you get inside it.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just saw a review online of the Verano and the GM rep insinuates that it’s a European car and then says that is “loosely” based on the Cruze which is a freaking Daewoo, lies, lies and more lies. BTW in UK the Sonic still goes by the Aveo name, I guess Brits are a lot more tolerant of crappy cars than we are.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was surprised that they continued the Aveo name in Europe. While the old one may have been mid-pack in reliability in Europe, it would have been worst-in-class in performance, as it was here, maybe more so.

  33. cwolf Says:

    Kit,I believe the average minivan’s tow rating is about 3500 lb and the flex can tow 4500 lb and an extra 100 hp can be had with the ecoboost. The boat you haul with your minivan must be a aluminum pond boat!

    pedro,I’ll have one just to celibrate them staying in their own neighborhood. If more of them get a job at home,maybe they will be sending money to family in the US. And when they do cross the boarder,with those hard earned pesos in their pocket,maybe they will be the ones to get mugged!

  34. cwolf Says:

    @ #30
    You just can’t get over this Daewoo thing,can you? The Sonic(not Aveo) isn’t and NEVER was! And the Verono is NOT a European car;…it has European influences. Repeat this over and over…until the truth sinks in, my friend.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You are right on the tow ratings. The Flex is 4500, and Odyssey and Sienna are 3500. That’s official tow ratings. What they will actually handle is probably about comparable. My ’89 turbo Caravan has a tow rating of zero, but it has worked quite well to tow a 1300 pound popup to Florida a couple times.

    As far as space, a Flex isn’t even close to an Odyssey or Sienna. Even a Tahoe has significantly less space than the vans. The Tahoe has a much higher tow rating, though.

  36. XA351GT Says:

    The Flex reminds me of a shipping crate with wheels. A very expensive shipping crate at that.

  37. cwolf Says:

    I don’t doubt the space of a van. What I wanted to convey was the Flex’s box shape and squarish tail hatch is an advantage,at least to the boaters and campers I spoke with. Surprisingly the cost of the Flex is close to the Odessey in price. Vans are not cheap!

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the vans can get expensive, if you load them up. The bargains of the bunch are Chrysler’s, if you want to chance the reliability.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf why is GM downplaying the fact that the Sonic and the Cruze are both Daewoo-engineered products, when GM bought Daewoo years ago, it was so that they would design and engineer their small cars. That has not changed.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think we all know why GM is not advertising the Daewoo connection of the current products. Daewoo doesn’t have a very good reputation, at least in the U.S. That doesn’t keep the Cruze and Sonic from being decent cars. Durability remains to be seen, though. CR has found the Cruze to have worse than average short-term reliability, while truedelta shows it to be ok. It’s too early to know much at all about reliability of Sonic.

  41. T. Bejma Says:


    Because Daewoo is no more… You said it yourself: “GM bought Daewoo years ago”. They staffed Korea with personnel from North America, raised their abilities and changed the name to GMDAT. By last year they were so ingrained into GM that the GMDAT (meaning General Motors Daewoo Automotive) name was replaced by GMK (General Motors Korea). Cruze and Sonic are fine examples of taking the (recent) Korean nack for designing nice looking small cars with the backing of GM Engineering.

    Sure Daewoo made some crap 5-10 years ago, but then so did Hyundai and Kia back then, and now look. Let it rest Pedro. All of your comments on here won’t make the Sonic, Cruze or the upcoming Spark any less than the fantastic vehicles they are.

  42. T. Bejma Says:

    More bailout facts (in case tj is lurking) ;-)


  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Only time will tell!

  44. frank Says:

    as a current honda owner i did notice something about honda that changed over the years. they once had a ad jingle: “honda, we make it simple”
    then my valve stem cracked on one wheel and the honda process of replacing this $10 tire pressure monitor required dealer computers at a cost exceeding $200!! what happened to the simple??

  45. Eric Says:

    I like Honda’s “S” concept better. Smaller yet sporty and stylish. The upper front is a bit plain though, and I personally wouldn’t want to pay the extra cost to have a hybrid- a more efficient gasoline model would be my pick.

    Fiat’s Viaggio looks like a Ford Focus to me.

  46. Dave Says:

    Jaguar may well be moving towards new V6s to replace the old Duratec-based AJV6 units they’ve used since the late 90s, but at the same time the comany is introducing north-south rear-drive Ford-sourced EcoBoost 2.0-litre fours to its entry-point XF and XJ ranges on some markets for 2013, so dependence on Ford will last a few years more at least. It’s the same RWD engine introduced on the Australian Ford Falcon last week in a bid to green-up the range.