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Archive for the ‘Foreign Cars’ Category

2007 Toyota Tundra Reaches 1 Million Miles

May 20th, 2016

1_million_mile_tundra

I have a 14-year-old car that’s less than 200 miles away from turning to 100,000 miles.

Victor Sheppard passed 100,000 in his first year of car ownership.

I’ve been a little nervous about the change to six digits on the odometer, but after hearing Victor’s story I’m starting to hope that this first hundred thousand is just the start of many more to come.

Victor has done something that very few people on Earth will ever accomplish. He reached a milestone with his vehicle that has only been reached a handful of times, and he did faster than anyone would have believed possible.

Victor has driven a 2007 Toyota Tundra over 1 million miles.

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Hyundai Hires Bentley Designers, Gets Serious About New Genesis Brand

May 19th, 2016

Genesis-New-York-concept

Hyundai could have a major impact on the luxury car market.

That statement may result in eye rolls and thoughts of the Hyundai Azera and Kia Cadenza, which are both are great premium cars, but haven’t succeeded at making a dent in the sales of the top luxury players.

Things are changing, though. Luxury car sales are down so far this year, which may help Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand put up a fight against BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

Sound impossible?

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BMW Introduces Quad-Turbo Engine

May 18th, 2016

2016_bmw_7_series

A turbocharger can significantly increase an engine’s horsepower without adding a lot of weight, which is partly why so many automakers today are adding turbos to their lineups. Turbocharging allows vehicles to use smaller engines and achieve greater fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

A turbocharger works by using exhaust gas to spin a turbine which in turn powers a pump that sucks in additional air that is directed back into the engine for an added boost. One of the biggest downsides of a turbocharger is that it can take time to wind up and apply the boost, a problem called turbo lag.

Lag problems are sometimes addressed through a twin sequential turbocharger system, in which one turbo handles low-RPM conditions and another kicks in for high-RPM conditions. In 2012, BMW introduced a tri-turbo system for the European market.

The third turbocharger awakens in the upper rev limits to achieve peak performance, but apparently three were still not enough.

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Nissan Takes Control of Mitsubishi

May 13th, 2016

nissan-mitsubishi

Nissan will take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi after the latter’s fuel-economy scandal in Japan.

The scandal arose when Mitsubishi admitted it had falsified fuel-efficiency tests on at least 13 models over the last 25 years, resulting in a firestorm of negative publicity in its home market.

Mitsubishi said its investigation showed that company managers, under pressure to keep pace with fuel-economy rates reported by competitors, fabricated numbers while using procedures to calculate efficiency that did not comply with Japanese law.

The scandal has not had an impact in the United States and no cars here are affected. In fact, U.S. Mitsubishi sales have increased over the past year.

In Japan, though, the company is reeling, which has prompted Nissan to swoop in with a lifeline.

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Get Ready for Good Deals at Your BMW Dealership

May 10th, 2016

 

2016_bmw_3_series

There was a time when owning a new BMW meant you had achieved ultimate success. The brand was the pinnacle of luxury and, in order to buy one, you had to be able to pay the asking price. Dealers didn’t need to negotiate too much because they knew a willing buyer was always around the corner.

That was the nature of BMW. It took cash, and a lot of it, to have the pleasure and the privilege of owning the exclusive ultimate driving machine.

Times are changing, though.

Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and even Lexus sell cars that can outshine a Bimmer. That’s a truth being felt at dealerships across the country, and BMW devised a plan to do something about it. It loaded up dealers with vehicles in an attempt to increase volume and become the number-one luxury nameplate in America.

That plan has backfired.

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Mitsubishi’s Fuel-Economy Issues Haven’t Hurt U.S. Sales

May 9th, 2016

2016_mitsubishi_Lancer_GT

Mitsubishi doesn’t sell a lot of cars in the United States.

The Japanese automaker has teetered for years on the brink of pulling out of the market, but has managed to sustain itself within a tiny niche of affordable entry-level vehicles. There was a time when the company offered a full stable of vehicles, including the Endeavor SUV, Eclipse coupe, Galant sedan, and, of course, the cult-favorite Evolution.

Today’s lineup includes variations of the Outlander small SUV and a couple of miniature cars, the Lancer and Mirage.

Mitsubishi has certainly flown under the radar in recent years, which could be why a new scandal involving deceptive fuel-economy claims has gone largely unnoticed in the U.S.

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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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Ready or Not, Here Comes the Porsche Wagon

May 5th, 2016

Porsche Panamera Wagon

News coming out of Stuttgart, Germany this week is being met with emotions ranging from pure exhilaration to downright depression.

My first reaction ranged from sadness to disappointment, but has now eased into acceptance of the new world in which we live.

The auto industry is in a constant state of evolution and this latest development is merely a reflection of the sacrifices that must be made in order to carry on certain traditions. One of those traditions is the purest form of automotive enjoyment: the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car.

I think we have to admit that some sports cars are still in existence because other, less awesome, vehicles foot the bill for their survival. Such is the case with the Porsche 911 and the new *gulp* Porsche Panamera wagon.

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Honda to Offer Electric, Hybrid, and Hydrogen Versions of Clarity

May 4th, 2016

Honda_Clarity

With its hydrogen-powered Clarity, Honda promises to deliver an alternative fuel source that it hopes will prove as viable as electricity.

Honda figured out how to package the vehicle as a standard five-seat midsize sedan with all the room and versatility buyers in the segment expect. Plus, it can carry enough hydrogen to propel it for over 430 miles and needs only three minutes to fill at a refueling station.

Previous efforts at creating hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles were limited by large tanks that infringed on passenger space, took too long to refuel, and didn’t provide nearly as much range. The Clarity, despite its odd proportions in the rear, is a design marvel that could bring hydrogen power into the mainstream.

Except that Honda will also create electric and plug-in versions of the Clarity. Why?

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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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