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Hot Wheels crowns "Nashhole" a winner in Las Vegas, new model coming in 2020

Hot Wheels held a worldwide competition to find its next model car.

Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels began their worldwide tour to find the next popular collectable toy car in March in Miami and wrapped it up last week at SEMA. Working, real-sized automobiles competed against each other for the chance to have their likeness be transformed in miniature into the newest contents of gleaming packages hanging in drug stores and toy shops.

"This tour is all about finding the custom car out there worthy of becoming a Hot Wheels," said Ted Wu, VP of Senior Design at Hot Wheels. "This year has been amazing, we have seen 90,000 people come out to our events, 5,000 cars entered the shows with 20 nationwide stops."

Legends Tour judges rated each contestant in regional contests using three attributes:

  • Authenticity- a car that embodies Hot Wheels with a radical look and amazing performance.
  • Creativity - a car that is unique with details and stands out from the rest.
  • Garage Spirit - built and not bought with a great story behind it.


2019 SEMA Nashhole winner Hot Wheels Legends The winner's car was chosen based on its authenticity, creativity, and the story behind its creation.Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

The Regional winners that were part of the SEMA final included:

  • Miami- 1947 Steampunk Willys rat rod with military accents, motorcycle wheels and tires, and a tractor seat
  • Houston -1972 Luv truck that was put back together 30 years later after the original owner passed away
  • Atlanta - 1975 Chevy Impala Low Rider nicknamed "GQ"
  • Los Angeles - 1957 Nash Metropolitan with exposed wheels and tires that's powered by a small block Chevy 305
  • Charlotte - 1936 Chevy Custom truck that started as sedan then transformed into a four-door dually with a 750-horsepower Cummins engine
  • Philadelphia – 1968 Toyota Land Cruiser that took 3 years to build and has 5 inches chopped off with a custom chassis and a 12-cylinder BMW engine
  • New York/New Jersey – A combination 1948 Chevy Pickup and 1960 Cadillac owned by Mike Calderone was built in 1989 using four different cars
  • Detroit – 1957 Custom Studebaker that is powered by a 4.6-liter B8 Lincoln modular engine
  • Chicago- 1965 Pontiac GTO was inspired by the owner's father's gasser stories
  • Bentonville – 1969 International Harvester Cabover 1600 that has a supercharged 350 Chevy engine and a spoiler to balance the truck
  • St. Louis – 1976 Chevy Vega nicknamed "RCR" with a LS3 engine
  • Dallas - 2002 Honda S2000 that was modified after its owner went to a technical school
  • Seattle – 1971 VW Bug with three inches chopped off and a removable hardtop added
  • Phoenix- 1971 VW Squareback that's a twin-engine gasser.
  • Denver- 1954 Chevy Bel Air that has 6.5 inches chopped off the top and 15 inches added on the back
  • San Jose – 1995 Honda Civic with a beefy 450-horsepower engine that runs on E85
  • San Diego – 1960 Renault Dauphine was originally found on Facebook Marketplace after being stored for 40 years
  • Los Angeles –This car is a combination of a 1974 Opel Manta/Nissan 240SX

2019 SEMA Hot Wheels Legends Nash winner car This replica Chevy 305 engine powers the Hot Wheels toy version of the Hot Wheels Legends contest winner. Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

All the regional cars competed in the final and were judged by a crew that included noted automotive enthusiasts Adam Corolla, Richard Rawlings, and Jay Leno.

The winner was the 1957 Nash Metropolitan, known as the "Nashhole" and owned by Greg Salzillo and Dave Ford. Hot Wheels enthusiasts can expect a miniature replica of the "Nashhole" in stores in 2020.

Mazda has introduced the CX-30 for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

Fresh off the launch of the redesigned Mazda3 last year as the first model in the Japanese automaker's seventh generation of design, Mazda has introduced the 2020 Mazda CX-30. The model is a crossover, or a high-riding hatchback (six of one, half a dozen of the other), that resides adjacent to the Mazda CX-3 in the stable.

On the outside, the Mazda CX-30 features similar design characteristics of the Mazda3 including rounded styling that grabs the light and moves it along its body without the aid of creases. Sharp angles reappear at the very front and back where the CX-30 sports very Mazda-like design including neat rounded taillight housings and metal accents at the front that jut out abruptly from the car.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The front of the CX-30 is more rounded than many other models in its class.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Every CX-30 is powered by Mazda's 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine that has class-leading 186-horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. Front wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are also standard. All-wheel drive is available.

The spirit of Mazda DNA lives in this crossover. While its competitors are often knocked for delivering numb steering and a disconnected drive experience, the CX-30 has none of that. Especially when equipped with all-wheel drive, the model takes to winding roads with ease allowing for a drive experience that doesn't feel like a compromise.

The car's interior is plush for its segment and right in line with recent offerings from Hyundai, Nissan, and Kia. Still, there are some questionable materials choices like the sticky faux leather dashboard covering and flimsy speaker housings on the doors. The overall aesthetic is simple and straightforward allowing for the driver to focus on the purity of a driving experience. How very on-brand.

Mazda's proud of the new seat engineering in the Mazda3 and CX-30, and they should be. The front seats are comfortable, even for long spells, and easy to get into position. Rear seat passengers have a very limited amount of legroom to work with making this crossover best for empty nesters or young professionals.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The back side of the Mazda CX-30 is more interesting than the front.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Despite lacking active noise control technology, the CX-30 delivers a fantastically quiet ride. When you want to turn up the volume on the available 12-speaker Bose audio system, you'll be thoroughly impressed. The engineers have a true winner with this system, which excelled in enveloping the passengers with pure sound.

As tested, the car came with heated front seats, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch digital gauge display, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, and head-up display. The screen is nestled in the same style dashboard cubby that it is in the Mazda3, which meant that the bottom of the screen may be unviewable depending on your height and seating position.

The current version of the car's infotainment system is easier to use than the last and the resolution of the screen is greatly improved over the last-gen.

It has a reasonable amount of cargo capacity for its class, with a number of suitcases easily able to fit in the back.

The car's safety technology is unobtrusive and its adaptative cruise control was quick to respond to changing conditions.

2020 Mazda CX-30 The interior of the CX-30 features premium materials that would be at home in much more expensive models.Photo courtesy of Mazda

Mazda is billing this crossover as being for activity-focused individuals. That includes an Off-Road Traction Assist button that performs many of the typical light off-roading duties crossovers need assistance with, including traction control and hill descent control. Its functionality is not unlike similar system that are found in the Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback.

The 2020 Mazda CX-30 has a value-focused starting point of $21,900. Its most premium model, which fits in with the Acuras and Infinitis of the world, comes in around $28,000. That's right in line with many of the less well-appointed and less engaging crossovers and SUVs currently on the market.

Buyers looking at the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Buick Encore, among others, owe it to themselves to cross-shop the CX-30. It's really a job well done.

In November, Tesla introduced the Cybertruck.

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla showed off its new Cybertruck ahead of the L.A. Auto Show in November and reaction was mixed (to put it lightly). Consumer sentiment regarding the promise of all-electric trucks from Ford and General Motors has been better received, at least if you use social media as a gauge.

Today, no EVs for sale in the U.S. are trucks, though buyers can put a deposit down on a Cybertruck and a Rivian R1T. An exact timeline for an electric F-150 has yet to be publicly announced. Earlier this year, General Motors announced its electric pickup will go on sale in 2021.

2019 Ford Electric F-150 pickup Ford showed off the capability of an electric truck this year, but it's not the Ford electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Which company would customers rather buy their electric truck from? Autolist surveyed roughly 1,100 current car shoppers in late November and early December and asked them for their thoughts on the upcoming trucks from Ford, GM, Tesla, and Rivian.

Assuming they all had similar specs and features, GM was the top choice, garnering 29 percent of the vote. Ford got 27 percent while Rivian had 24 percent and Tesla nabbed 20 percent.

"Frankly, these results are good for all four brands," said Chase Disher, analyst at Autolist.com. "It shows that Ford and GM can leverage their considerable -- and existing -- truck followings to boost interest in their EV models. Meanwhile, it shows that Tesla and Rivian could be poised to grab a meaningful share of a crucial new growth segment."

While pickups remain the top-selling vehicle segment in the U.S., there is some indication that an electric pickup would bring new buyers into the segment. Of those surveyed, 50 percent said that they had never owned a truck while 49 percent had. Of those that had never owned a truck before, many considered the Tesla Cybertruck as their top choice with 25.8 percent of the vote. The Rivian R1T (24.8 percent), Ford F-150 Electric (24.7 percent), and GM Electric truck (24.7) followed.

Among those that had owned a truck before, GM was the most popular option with 35 percent of the tally while Ford earned 28 percent, Rivian had 23 percent, and Tesla got 14 percent.