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Archive for the ‘Foreign Cars’ Category

Audi Creates Synthetic Fuel Using Air and Water

April 27th, 2015

audi_e-diesel

Synthetic oil has been around for as long as I’ve been doing oil changes. In all that time it never occurred to me that maybe someone could invent synthetic fuel, too.

Fuel made from renewable resources rather than harvested from oil buried deep in the earth can provide clean power to our cars without damaging the atmosphere. That’s a dream scenario, but plenty of technological and logistical problems exist with the concept.

Audi, though, has succeeded in creating a process that results in clean e-diesel, a fully synthetic fuel capable of powering modern diesel engines.

It turns out synthetic fuel has been around since the early 1900s, when it was discovered in Germany. Many processes to make it have been created in the years since, but all of them require some kind of earth-based raw material, such as coal. Audi’s is a little different.

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Time to Trade the Hybrid for an SUV?

April 23rd, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!

If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.

Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.

According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.

The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?

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2016 Volvo XC90 Twin Engine: Double the Induction

April 21st, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 twin engine

So the term “twin engine” has officially become a thing, and now the world is just a little more bonkers.

Cars have been using two engines, or perhaps motors would be a better word, since the advent of the hybrid vehicle. One motor runs on gas, and the other runs on electricity, both working together to provide fuel efficiency and power.

Volvo will sell its new XC90 with a similar setup, except it’ll market its flagship SUV as the XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

It sounds impressive, and it is. The two engines, though, are just the beginning.

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Honda Heats Up the Civic

April 17th, 2015

Civic Coupe concept, shot 1

Honda has sold more than 18 million Civics since the car’s 1973 debut, making it the sixth best selling car of all time, according to the Cheat Sheet. One of the many reasons for the car’s popularity is its versatility—over the years, the Civic has been available as a sedan, coupe, hatchback, and wagon with power output ranging from a measly 50 hp in its first generation to 276 hp in the most recent version of the Type R (which hasn’t been available in the U.S., but stay tuned!), and won over passionate fans ranging from mileage-focused greenies to tire-shredding tuners. So perhaps it’s fitting that one of the most watched debuts at this year’s New York International Auto Show was of Honda’s new Civic Coupe concept.

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The New Optima and the Future of Kia

April 17th, 2015

2016 Kia Optima

Kia Motors introduced the 2016 Kia Optima at the New York International Auto show a couple of weeks ago as part of an effort to revitalize the brand. As the lesser arm of the mighty Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors has struggled to distinguish itself from the South Korean automotive giant’s larger arm (by which we mean Hyundai itself, of course). Kia owes a lot to Hyundai, having been rescued from bankruptcy and absorbed into the conglomerate back in 1998. Kia first introduced its rebranded Hyundai Sonata in 2000 as the Kia Optima in North America, and Kia has since been doing what it can to set the Optima apart from the Sonata and other midsize sedans, in much the same way it’s trying to distinguish itself from Hyundai.

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The 200,000-Mile Club: Tell Us Your Story!

April 17th, 2015

odometer_260,000

We now have proof that almost any car can pass the 200,000-mile mark.

Earlier this week we were a little put off by a list of cars likely to last 200,000 miles that included only Toyota and Honda vehicles. We posted a response on our blog asking for help in proving that claim wrong. We know we have a dedicated group of proud drivers as readers, because we heard from dozens of folks who have proudly taken their vehicles most of the way to the quarter-million-mile mark and beyond.

Keep reading for some examples of cars that have effortlessly travelled hundreds of thousands of miles. Can you guess how many wear a Toyota badge?

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Want a Performance Car? Don’t Buy a Forester

April 15th, 2015

2015 Subaru Forester

Certain machines come to mind when we stop to think about cars that are built for driving. The usual suspects are BMW, Porsche, and anything else that can be brought out to the track and tear things up straight from the factory floor.

The Subaru Forester isn’t one of those cars. It doesn’t see much track time, nor do people customize it to make it as fast possible. That’s because a Forester, no matter what is done to it, is still a Forester. It’s the hiking boot of the auto world—not luxurious or fast, but it’ll get you to some fun places in relative comfort.

The Forester plays in a niche segment that also includes the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue. These are not fun cars to drive. They are nice to drive, don’t get me wrong, but no enthusiast alive would call them particularly entertaining when behind the wheel.

A Japanese tuning company thinks it can change that.

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Will Your Car Last 200,000 Miles?

April 14th, 2015

2015 Honda Accord

This used to be a fairly common rule regarding car ownership:

Get rid of it before it hits 100,000 miles.

In fact, I once knew people who firmly believed in trading in their cars before the 60,000-mile mark. They were a strict Chevy family, and experience told them that anything over 60K meant trouble.

Of course, that’s just silly today. Cars at 60,000 miles, regardless of the make, are barely broken in and can easily pass 100,000 miles and even hit 200,000 or more.

A recent list from Consumer Reports rubbed me wrong, because it announced the 10 cars most likely to make it to 200,000 miles. They all had one disturbing thing in common:

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What’s More Manly: Aston Martin or Mitsubishi?

April 6th, 2015

Aston-Martin-V8-Vantage

Catching a glimpse of a supercar in my town is a rare event, so when I pulled up to my neighborhood grocery store yesterday and saw an Aston Martin Vantage in the parking lot, I lost my marbles.

The Vantage isn’t the most exotic or rare car in the world, but it’s one of my favorites. My wife is a car girl and appreciates fine automobiles but isn’t as easily impressed by anything that isn’t a Porsche. As I touted the Aston’s low-slung profile and sleek shape, she said something that took me off guard.

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How Well Do You Know Your Cars?

April 3rd, 2015
Hyundai_Mercedes_Badge

What model Mercedes is this?

We shall call them the Badge Swappers.

We’ve all seen these guys and gals on the road, hidden behind the steel-and-glass veil of their cars. Unlike the rest of us, who are proud of the cars we drive, the Badge Swappers try to convince the rest of us that they are driving something much more special.

Some people try to be blatant and pass their car off as a different brand entirely. Others are more subtle and adhere a performance badge to a base-level car.

Here’s the thing that the Badge Swappers must not know, though: The only people who would care about the badge are the people who notice the fraud. Keep reading and see if you can identify the car behind the badge.

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