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Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter: Controversial, but Necessary

April 28th, 2016

ford-speed-limiter

Claiming ignorance will never get you out of a speeding ticket.

Speed limit signs are there for a reason, and not seeing one isn’t an excuse for flying through a 35-mph zone at 49. Sometimes, though, speeding is a genuine mistake rather than an intentional offense.

That was the case last time I got pulled over. The speed limit had dropped from 45 to 35 and I somehow missed the sign. Thankfully, the police officer let me off with a warning, along with the kind advice to not speed anymore.

Noted.

Had I been driving a Ford equipped with its new¬†Intelligent Speed Limiter feature, the car would have seen the speed limit sign for me and slowed down accordingly. It seems like a great feature, but there’s a lot of¬†fuss about it online. Why?

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Can Cars Drive Better Than People? Elon Musk Says Yes

April 27th, 2016

tesla-autopilot

This is a topic that’s come up before, but it’s becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. We’re talking about autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

First, let me recount a quick conversation with my wife yesterday morning as she drove to work:

Wife: “I may be becoming too comfortable in the abilities of my car.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Wife: “I don’t even have my feet on the pedals. I’m vaguely aware that the car in front of me is slowing down, but I don’t even move my feet. I assume the car will stop for me.”

Me: “You know, that’s meant to be a safety feature that stops for you if you aren’t able. You’re not supposed to rely on it like that. Please don’t do that.”

Wife: “But it always works, and I don’t have to think about it.”

Her car is equipped with adaptive cruise control which does indeed slow down and even stop to accomodate traffic ahead. However, my lovely wife uses it all the time, whether cruising at 70 down the Interstate or in stop-and-go traffic on city arterials. Is she right to rely on her car?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says yes.

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Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, Electric Vehicles, General Chat , , ,

GM Hires New Design Chief, but Don’t Expect Much Change

April 26th, 2016

2010_Chevy_Camaro

A change will happen at General Motors on May 1. It’s a change that could potentially send GM down an entirely new path while creating an all-new look for the company and its vehicles around the globe.

More than likely, though, the change will happen without anybody taking notice.

On May 1, Mike Simcoe, an Australian with decades of automotive experience, will replace current GM VP of Design, Ed Welburn.

Oftentimes when a new design chief comes on board at a car company, there’s a big hullabaloo because he or she left a post at another prestigious automaker to take the reigns at the new place. The new designer provides auto writers with plenty of speculation and excitement about how the designer’s past might meld with his or her future, while the automaker that scored the hire touts an upcoming revolution in design.

GM didn’t do that.

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Volkswagen Agrees to Settlement, New Lawsuit Targets Mercedes-Benz

April 25th, 2016

volkswagen-tdi-badge

A couple of Germany’s largest automakers have had what can only be described as a terrible week.

Volkswagen has agreed to a plan that would compensate owners of cars affected by its diesel emissions violations, in addition to either buying back the cars, cancelling leases, or repairing vehicles.

This should be welcome news for owners of Volkswagen vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter TDI engine who have seen their cars’ resale values plummet in the seven months since the scandal became public.

More details will become clear in the coming days but, in the meantime, another automaker may be exposed for also manipulating emissions data.

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Happy Earth Day: 6 Cars to Take You Around the World

April 22nd, 2016

1990 Suzuki Samurai

The automotive world is currently in a state of flux. The business giants of Europe, Asia, and (perhaps most of all) Detroit may have made their billions off the internal combustion engine, but now, in order to stay relevant in a changing social and geologic climate, they are tasked with finding clean alternatives to petrol-powered products. Henry Ford may have put the world on wheels, but now automotive magnates are becoming responsible for helping keep the world healthy.

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What’s the Strangest Car Problem You’ve Ever Had?

April 22nd, 2016

Check-Engine-Light

I’m no stranger to strange car problems.

If something weird is going to happen to a car, there’s a good chance it’s going to happen to a car owned by someone in my family.

I had a 2004 Jaguar X-Type that wouldn’t rev past 3,000 RPM without the engine losing all power. My Grandpa had a Dodge Neon that wouldn’t run in the rain. My wife’s Subaru Legacy developed a high-pitched whistle somewhere near the sunroof, and, most recently, my older Audi filled up with water and now the tail lights won’t turn off.

Keep reading for the details, and examples of other strange problems people experience with their cars. As always, feel free to tell us your experiences in the comments section below.

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Will Audi Build a Boxster-Based R6?

April 21st, 2016

2015_audi_r8-pic-8826728875904120766-640x480

Here’s another one to file in the “sports cars aren’t dying” folder.

Audi is one of the carmakers that have thrived in the sports car world. The R8 and TT sit at opposite ends of the sports-car scale, but both have found a niche and generate enough sales to justify their existence. And the automaker’s S line turns its sedans and coupes into formidable performance machines.

Now Audi may be working on a rear-engine sports car to slot under the R8. Presumably called the R6, the new Audi would be based on the Porsche Boxster/Cayman twins, but would involve a lot more than a simple badge job.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Vs. Ford Explorer

April 20th, 2016

discovery-sport-explorer1

A review of the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport isn’t complete without a reference to the Ford Explorer.

The two vehicles share an uncanny similarity in looks, right down to the thick C-pillar, rear spoiler, and headlight shape. Their silhouettes are nearly identical. Pricing on the two SUVs isn’t very far apart either: base prices for the Ford range between $31,000 for the base and nearly $53,000 for the Platinum trim, and the Range Rover runs from $34,400 for the base SE trim to just under $46,000 for the HSE LUX.

The Ford has a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that makes 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is available. The Land Rover has a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder along with a nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. And get this: it’s an engine built by Ford.

These two vehicles might seem like they’d compete fiercely for sales, but under the skin they are vastly different animals. One is the rig to use if the highway leads to your destination, while the other is the one to use if the highway is just a speed bump to cross on your way to grander adventures.

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FCA Wants to Merge With Ford, Toyota, or Volkswagen

April 19th, 2016

 

FCA plus VW 2

FCA could be in real trouble.

The company that used to be known as Chrysler, until acquired by Fiat after bankruptcy, finds itself with an unclear future.

Last year Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne desperately tried to force a merger with General Motors. GM, of course, wanted nothing to do it and the effort fizzled out. Now FCA seems to be on the lookout again, with a list of its top three prospects for a merger that, it hopes, can help it keep relevant into the 2020s and beyond.

One of those three, though, has already responded with a big fat “No.”

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Ford Mustang: The Most Popular Sports Car in Germany

April 18th, 2016

mustang_911_germany

The best way to validate the existence of the Ford Mustang is to offer it for sale in a land where it shouldn’t be popular.

The Mustang, of course, has been a hot seller for as long as it’s been on the market in the United States. In the past, however, foreign markets have seen it as an outdated and mechanically inferior excuse for a sports car. It’s a car that was built for straight-line acceleration and paled in comparison to true sports cars, most of which hailed from Germany.

Now, though, the car has a true independent rear suspension and can hold its own against any other sports car, no matter where it’s from.

Ford felt like it had something special with the latest Mustang and decided to roll it out in the country famous for producing Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. Surely, if it could sell there, it could sell anywhere in the world.

The Germans, though, would have a superiority complex and shun the Mustang, right?

Not so much.

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