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Archive for the ‘Domestic Cars’ Category

Hyundai Diving Into EVs with 26 New Models

May 26th, 2016
2017 Ioniq HEV

2017 Ioniq HEV

The year 2020 could become a major turning point for electric vehicles in this country.

Aston Martin, Audi, Ford, GM, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo are some of the major automakers with plans to introduce at least one all-electric vehicle by the end of the decade. Newcomers Faraday Future, Apple, and maybe even Dyson (yes, the vacuum company) are rumored to be working on electric vehicles as well.

We’re on the cusp of an electric revolution in the auto world, but the cars won’t replace gasoline-fueled cars until people stop caring about electric range. That’s getting easier to comprehend, as Tesla and GM will both produce affordable EVs with a 200-mile range.

Looks like we can include Hyundai on that list now, too.

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2017 Continental Paves Way for Lincoln Comeback

May 25th, 2016

2017_lincoln_continental

This could be the Lincoln that makes Lincoln cool again.

While it can’t be called a success until we can count actual sales numbers, we can still look at the signs that point to the new 2017 Continental as being the most sought-after and desired Lincoln in a generation.

How has Ford, Lincoln’s parent, managed to pull off what could be the start of a turn-around for a brand that was once on the brink of death?

It all starts with design and the upscale luxury that once embodied Lincoln’s cars.

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Cadillac ELR Gets the Ax, Chevy Bolt Prepares for Domination

May 24th, 2016

2014_Cadillac_ELR

Automakers, please note: The future of electric cars doesn’t include $76,000 luxury vehicles that look fast but go slow.

That seems like common sense, right?

A Cadillac that looks like the one pictured here should wrap its occupants in opulence while also delivering tooth-rattling performance.

This is the Cadillac ELR, though, a vehicle that brought everything to the table except performance. Like the 2005 Ford Thunderbird, this Caddy has failed to find a long-term home because it didn’t deliver on the promises made by its seductive design.

Production of the ELR has come to an abrupt end after just two years on the market.

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Is Anyone Aware That Tesla Will Revive the Roadster?

May 23rd, 2016

Tesla_Roadster

Perhaps people have forgotten that the Tesla Roadster is what started it all.

The innovative electric supercar stunned the auto world all the way back in 2008 and remained in production into 2012. The car, which used the body of a Lotus Elise and Tesla’s own electric drivetrain, carried a $109,000 base price and could accelerate from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. Tesla produced about 2,400 copies of the car before discontinuing it to focus efforts on the Model S sedan.

The Model S, of course, became wildly popular and quickly erased memories of the Roadster. Then the Model X hype was followed by a massive number of pre-orders for the Model 3, and the Roadster suddenly felt like ancient history.

Maybe that’s why no one has reacted to news that the Roadster is making a comeback.

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Fake Engine Noise Could Lead to Improved Fuel Economy

May 17th, 2016

2016_ford_focus

Shifting by ear is one of the great pleasures of driving.

For many drivers, accelerating out of a turn and shifting from second to third just as the engine reaches its peak is a feeling bested only by knowing it’ll happen again when it’s time to shift into fourth.

The only problem with shifting by ear is that it doesn’t correlate with what’s best for delivering optimal fuel economy.

That’s being addressed by Ford in new technology that includes fake engine sounds, which the automaker hopes to use to fool drivers into shifting earlier, thus providing better fuel efficiency.

Fake engine noises shouldn’t come as any surprise because many automakers, from Ford to Volkswagen, have been faking, or at least enhancing, engine noises for years.

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Buick Verano Discontinued in America, Buick Envision Coming From China

May 16th, 2016

buick-verano

It seemed for a while that Buick was on the cusp of something great. The company had successfully turned away from the stodgy brand image of decades past and started to produce cars that were sexy and desirable.

For the first time in recent memory, Buicks turned heads on the street and caused many folks to utter the words, “That’s a Buick?”

Unfortunately, good design isn’t the only factor in selling cars. In the near-luxury space, which is where Buick wants to find success, a car must be sexy, youthful, and affordable. Even more importantly, a car has to offer a value proposition that no other car can match.

That’s where Buick has struggled, and the effects are starting to show. The first casualty is the Verano.

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Coming Soon: The Fall of the Pickup?

May 12th, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4x4

Remember the build up to the housing market crash in 2007 and 2008? Only a few people saw it coming, while everyone else wrote off the impending doom as an impossible occurrence. Most analysts felt the housing market was simply too big and too strong to fail, but here we are a good eight years later still trying to pick up the pieces.

The next crash won’t be nearly as large in scale and certainly won’t impact the economy of the United States, but it could bring down at least one automaker, put the hurt on thousands of car dealers, and potentially change the landscape of vehicle production in this country.

I’m talking about the death of the pickup.

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Your Favorite Car: Modern or Vintage?

May 6th, 2016

Mercedes Benz 300 SLS and SLS AMG

Cars have gotten so good in recent years that a new base model can be better than an older top-of-the-line performance model. Engineers have managed to coax much more horsepower out of smaller, more efficient engines while also increasing vehicle size and improving ride and handling.

Comparing new cars to vintage cars isn’t really feasible for buyers looking for the latest in safety and technology features. For buyers who want fun performance without the frills, though, it might be worth going back a few years (or decades) to find a model that was once considered the best an automaker had to offer.

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Fiat 500: The Least Popular Car in America?

May 3rd, 2016

2016 Fiat 500

When the price of gas was getting close to $5 per gallon, Americans clamored for small, economical European cars such as the Fiat 500.

Fiat obliged after taking over Chrysler, and not only did it bring the 500 to U.S. shores, but it brought an entire family of 500-based cars including the 500L and 500X. Americans should have been thrilled. We should have flocked to our local Fiat dealerships and begged them to take our money.

That didn’t happen. Instead, dealers have struggled to even get the car in front of people, which has put the 500 among the slowest-selling vehicles in America. What happened? How did Fiat go from a desirable foreign brand to being shunned on dealer lots?

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Ford to Compete With Tesla, Chevy, for Long-Range EV Customers

May 2nd, 2016

ford_Focus_electric

Chevrolet will very likely be the first to get a 200-mile $30,000 electric car to market. The company’s Bolt will go into production this fall, followed a year (or so) later by the Tesla Model 3.

Ford has, thus far, shown no interest in a long-range EV, even saying earlier this month that a 100-mile range is plenty. Ford has increased the range of the 2017 Focus Electric from 76 miles to 100, and has said that’s as far as the company plans to go due to the increased costs of larger battery packs. Ford’s electrification guru, Kevin Layden, said,

I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.

Ford CEO Mark Fields seems to have other plans.

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