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Archive for the ‘Hybrid Cars’ Category

What the New CAFE Standards Mean for Auto Buyers

July 20th, 2016

White House Infographic, fuel economy standards

There has been a lot of news this week regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issuing new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The reports seem to suggest the government has gone lax on the issue of fuel economy because most Americans don’t seem to care about it.

One analyst, however, suggests the opposite may be true. Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, read the entire 1217-page midterm report that discussed the standards (something probably 99 percent of journalists didn’t do, including me).

She wrote in Forbes, “The (CAFE) standard and NHTSA projected figures for the 2025 model year targets, however, have now been revealed as a projection rather than a legal requirement. The report is supportive of the progress and direction of the existing standards. The agencies believe automakers can meet the challenge, and that consumers want it.”

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Acura NSX to Add Electric, Gas, and Convertible Versions

July 15th, 2016

acura-nsx

The Honda NSX, known in America as an Acura, began life over 25 years ago as a lower-priced and mechanically reliable alternative to the V8-powered Ferrari supercars.

Introduced in 1990, the NSX became the world’s first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminum body and was powered by an aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, which featured Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system, along with a choice between a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission.

The NSX became a spectacular success and remained in production until 2005. Fans mourned the loss of their Japanese supercar and eagerly watched the headlines in anticipation of its return.

As of this year, the NSX is not only back with a vengeance, but it will likely launch an entire platform of supercar goodness.

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Has the Toyota Prius Fallen from Grace?

July 7th, 2016

2017-toyota-prius-prime

The Toyota Prius first came off the production line in 1997 and immediately sparked an automotive revolution. Since the day it was introduced, Toyota has sold 3.7 million versions of the Prius worldwide.

Part of that success came from the fact that the Prius was the only hybrid in production when it hit the market. Today virtually every large auto manufacturer offers at least one hybrid model. Even Toyota has expanded its hybrid offerings to include models that compete with the Prius.

Not only is there a glut of hybrids on the market, but automakers are evolving toward fully electric cars, which may eventually push the Prius and its fellow hybrids into obsolescence.

Toyota’s June sales numbers seem to confirm the fall of the Prius. Is there hope for a resurgence?

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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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Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

June 2nd, 2016

1970_ford_bronco-pic-52750-640x480There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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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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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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Feeling Green? Our Top 10 Environmentally Friendly Used Vehicles

April 8th, 2016

2013 Tesla Model S

Tesla made some serious waves last week when it debuted its Model 3 electric car. These weren’t your “gently lapping the shoreline” waves, either. Think “Laird Hamilton monstrous big-time waves.” We’re a data-driven, internet-focused company, so to demonstrate this point, we ran some basic Google searches. “Chevrolet Bolt” (the Model 3’s most direct competitor, and a car set to beat it to market by almost 2 years) returned 2.3 million results. “Nissan Leaf” (by and large the most popular electric car currently on sale) yields 4.9 million results. “Tesla Model 3?” 90.4 million results. So yeah… tidal waves.

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IIHS Study Shows Your Headlights May Be Doing a Poor Job

March 31st, 2016

IIHS headlight study

Headlights are not something most people think about when buying a new car. But considering half of all accidents take place at night, you might want to pay attention to what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has to say in its ranking of headlights.

The bad news, according to the IIHS, is that the Toyota Prius v is the only midsize car out of 31 tested that receives a good rating. Throw in the various trim levels among those 31 cars, and the Prius v is the only midsize car of 82 variants to get the rating.

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Supercars at the 2016 New York International Auto Show

March 29th, 2016

Koenigsegg Regera

The funny thing about being at a major auto show is that you tend to get tunnel vision. You can be running around the show floor taking notes on crossovers and minivans and not acknowledge that you’re standing amidst some of the most impressive supercars on the planet. Thankfully, that was not a problem for us at the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

Fresh from appearances at the Geneva Motor Show, the New York show is the first time some of these supercars have been seen on North American shores, and they represent various corners of the high-end ultra-performance marketplace.

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