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Archive for the ‘Domestic Cars’ Category

New Ford F-150 Turbo Diesel Could Take Mileage Crown

July 1st, 2016

2017-ford-f-150-ecoboost

Oil-burning engines have been dominating the auto headlines in recent weeks.

From the newly announced Volkswagen TDI settlement to diesel’s apparent fall from grace, the fuel has been cast in a mostly negative light since the Dieselgate story broke in September 2015.

Americans have lost a lot of faith in diesel-powered vehicles, but one truck could have the potential to turn around diesel’s fate in America.

Diesel’s savior in America just might be an all-new Ford F-150.

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Don’t Give Up On Diesels Yet

June 29th, 2016

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Diesel

The last few months have given us plenty of reasons to not buy a diesel vehicle.

Aside from the massive Volkswagen emissions scandal that basically exposed the oil-based fuel as a dirty alternative to gasoline, there are new allegations that Chevrolet did the same with its Cruze diesel.

Those problems began just as American car buyers were getting used to the idea of so-called “clean diesel.”

There aren’t many new diesel options are on the market today and Americans may have lost their taste for the once-promising propulsion method.

There are a few scenarios, though, where buying a diesel still makes sense.

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Are There Any Bad Cars Left? Kia tops J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

June 28th, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage EX EX

If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.

Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.

But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.

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GM Gears Up for Plant Upgrade to Build New C8 Corvette

June 27th, 2016

c8 vette

The hype leading up to the new C7 Corvette was unlike anything in the history of Corvette. Early rumors swirled of a possible rear mid-engine setup, followed by “news” that the C7 would have the same split rear window as the famous 1963 Sting Ray.

Obviously neither of those came to fruition. The Corvette has always been a front mid-engined car, with the motor pushed back to be centered over the front axle. Even without a rear mid-engine (RMR) layout, the C7 has become one of the most lauded ‘Vettes ever produced and is turning heads on the streets and drawing comparisons to Ferrari for its design.

Yes, the C7 Corvette is one hot car.

Could the C8, due for the 2019 model year, be even hotter?

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Here Are 2016’s “Most American” Vehicles

June 23rd, 2016

2016-Honda-Accord

The new Buick Envision is made in China and some Hondas are made in America.

The landscape of today’s automotive manufacturing world is far different than it was two decades ago. In fact, there’s not a single mass-produced vehicle that was designed and built in America with all American-made parts.

Automakers based in the U.S. routinely build vehicles in Mexico and acquire parts from Latin America and China. The global sourcing of parts and assembly helps cut costs and keeps prices of new cars affordable.

Consumers who want to know just how “American” a car is can check out the fourth annual Kogod Made in America Auto Index, which was released earlier this week. In this new global automotive economy, though, does it really matter?

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Tragedy’s Reminder: Check for Recalls Often

June 22nd, 2016

2015_jeep_grand_cherokee-pic-1229195411287290381-640x480

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that rolled down a driveway and killed actor Anton Yelchin this weekend had been recalled earlier this spring after federal regulators found that its gear shifting could confuse drivers and possibly cause vehicles to roll away.

It’s a horrific accident that illustrates the danger of automobiles and the importance of quickly addressing recall notices.

We don’t know the specifics of Yelchin’s case. Maybe he never received the notice or maybe he recently purchased the car and didn’t know about the recall. It’s also possible that the notice got thrown out with the junk mail.

The consequences were undeniably tragic and sad.

Automotive recalls are issued regularly and have become an expected part of car ownership, but vehicle owners need to remain as vigilant in checking for them as automakers are in issuing them.

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A New Pacifica and the Future of Chrysler

June 21st, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Once a mainstay on American highways, Chrysler is now driving toward an uncertain future. Its partnership with Daimler-Benz has been replaced by one with Fiat, and while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has kept its head above water (thanks to America’s obsession with pickup trucks and the unyielding power of Jeep brand loyalty), the rest of the business raises more than a few questions. What is Fiat’s true future in the U.S. market? Will Alfa Romeo and its Giulia succeed today after a reputation for unreliability sunk them in 1995? And with only a midsize sedan with a questionable future, a full-size stalwart in a shrinking segment, and the 2017 Pacifica in a crossover-crazy era, can Chrysler stay afloat?

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Forget Kit Cars, Here Come the Repli-Mods

June 17th, 2016

limited-edition-50th-anniversary-shelby-427-cobra-14

If you could flip through the annals of automotive history and bring back a modern version of any car within their pages, which car would you choose?

That’s a question that may receive an answer in the coming years as a new kit-car law could spawn an entire automotive sub-industry.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 allows manufacturers to apply for an exemption from NHTSA safety and crash-test standards for up to 325 “replica motor vehicles” each year. These modified replicas, or repli-mods, would still have to meet current-year emissions standards, which will require modern EPA-certified production engines and emissions controls.

The reality of buying a modernized classic could be just around the corner. Here are some we’d love to see.

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Looking for Deals on Used Cars Coming Off Lease

June 15th, 2016

2013 Honda Pilot off lease

A burgeoning number of leasers will return their cars over the next six months, and their number is bound to grow even further as leasing continues to be a popular alternative to buying a new car.

Experian Automotive, citing AutoRemarketing.com, says 1.8 million cars will be coming off lease between the end of April and December.

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Everyone’s Dropping Stones: Who Makes the Toughest Truck Bed?

June 15th, 2016

chevy_ford_truck_bed

Some are calling it a cheap shot, while others are surely convinced that aluminum is best for soda cans and not trucks.

A new ad for Chevrolet, which has probably been seen by every truck enthusiast in the United States by now, compares the steel bed of a new Silverado against the aluminum bed of a new Ford F-150.

After a front-loader full of landscaping stones dropped its load into the bed of each truck, the Chevy held up noticeably better than the Ford. Even a simple drop of a toolbox punctured the Ford’s bed.

On the surface it seems like a fair test, if not representative of the type of real-world abuse a truck might receive. We do wonder why Chevy would go to the trouble, though, when it plans on using lightweight aluminum in its next generation of trucks.

An even newer video from Honda, which shows a similar test on a 2017 Ridgeline, should make us wonder if Ford and Chevy both have it all wrong.

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