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Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

Audi, Toyota Ready Subcompact SUVs

July 11th, 2016

Audi_Q2

The unofficial car of Seattle is the Audi Q5.

Driving through the Emerald City is like navigating an Audi showroom, as it seems every third car on Interstate 5 sports the 4-ringed logo up front.

It’s grown so common that my family now plays the “Q5 game,” where the first person to spot a Q5 gets to punch someone in the shoulder. It’s a lot like an updated version of the old “slug bug” game involving the Volkswagen Beetle.

This weekend my wife punched my arm, then quickly had to retract it when she noticed the passing car was a Q3, a smaller sibling to the Q5 that we had both forgotten existed.

The Q3 competes against the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, some of the smallest SUVs on the market, but Audi is now going even smaller with the upcoming Q2.

How small can SUVs get?

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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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Mercedes-Benz Addressing All Threats, Both Foreign and Electric

June 16th, 2016
The new look of electric Mercedes-Benz? This the Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept.

The new look of electric Mercedes-Benz?

By the end of 2015, Mercedes-Benz had fallen behind its competition in U.S. sales. While in catch-up mode, the company steered into the passing lane, floored the gas pedal, and is accelerating fast.

Sales of BMW and Lexus vehicles both surpassed Mercedes at the end of last year. To make matters worse, there are some who would say the company also lags behind Audi and Tesla when it comes to innovation and technology.

So far this year, though, Mercedes-Benz is on pace to outsell both BMW and Lexus. Through May, Mercedes holds a roughly 20,000-vehicle lead over each. Mercedes also has plans to further distance itself from Audi and Tesla by introducing new vehicles to snag some of their sales.

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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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Jeep: America’s New Favorite Brand?

June 3rd, 2016

2016-jeep-renegade

Sales of new vehicles, from nearly all brands, fell a combined 6 percent last month, but one brand defied the trend and set a new sales record.

Jeep managed to move more than 90,000 vehicles in May, a new record and an increase of nearly 14 percent over the same month last year. Even more remarkable is that May 2016 was two days shorter than May 2015.

Ford sales were down 6.6 percent, GMC went down 14.3 percent, and Chevrolet fell 18.6 percent. FCA’s other brands didn’t fare as well as Jeep, with Chrysler falling 18.5 percent and Fiat down 18.9 percent. Ram sales were flat.

All these percentages can be translated into one very interesting fact: Americans have fallen in love with Jeep.

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GM Overstates Fuel-Economy Numbers, Will Pay Out $100 Million

May 27th, 2016

2016 GMC Acadia SLT

Rarely do people buy SUVs for the stellar fuel economy they deliver.

When people do buy an SUV, though, they should be properly informed of how often they should expect to stop at a gas station. The numbers on the window sticker are supposed to do just that, but a few automakers have gotten into trouble recently for misrepresenting their fuel-economy estimates.

In 2014, Hyundai had to pay a fine of $100 million for inflated fuel-economy numbers, in addition to compensating owners.

Mitsubishi is in the midst of crisis in its home country for the same reason, and now General Motors has admitted to providing overly optimistic numbers in the U.S.

How do inflated MPG estimates happen? Doesn’t the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency control those numbers?

Not exactly.

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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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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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