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Archive for the ‘Trucks & SUVs’ Category

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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4-Cylinder Jeep Wrangler Inches Closer to Reality

May 11th, 2016

jeep_Wrangler_off_Road

Automakers have found themselves stuck between trying to please the Environmental Protection Agency and trying to make their loyal fans happy.

Take Ford, for example. The automaker’s newest Mustang can be had with a 4-cylinder engine for the first time since the early 1990s, but Ford didn’t add the small motor because it wanted to please devout Mustang fans. The automaker had to find a way to make the EPA happy and boost its fuel-economy numbers.

It’s a trend happening across the entire automotive industry and the reason why we’re seeing all-turbo Porsches and hybrid supercars.

Next on the casualty list is a 4-cylinder sure to anger rock hoppers and stump grinders across the U.S.

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Dream Cars of the Not-So-Super Rich

April 29th, 2016
If the Ferrari 488 is too rich for your blood...

If the Ferrari 488 is too rich for your blood…

Most of us dream of one day hitting it big and being able to afford the car of our dreams.

Traditionally we’ve lusted after the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, and Aston Martin. Today’s dream cars still include those brands, but they also include newer models from Tesla, Ford, Lexus, and Nissan.

Most people won’t ever be able to afford a new Ford GT, Nissan GT-R, or Ferrari 488, but there are plenty of dream cars available to satisfy the need for speed at a much more reasonable cost.

A friend comes to mind who recently purchased a couple of cars he’d wanted for a long time. He didn’t sell his company to Google, didn’t inherit tens of millions of dollars, and hasn’t become rich off an IPO. He did, however, work hard for many years and is now enjoying a comfortable, if not extravagant, income.

Keep reading for the cars he purchased, along with a few other choices that prove you don’t have to be among the super-rich to own a car of your dreams.

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Happy Earth Day: 6 Cars to Take You Around the World

April 22nd, 2016

1990 Suzuki Samurai

The automotive world is currently in a state of flux. The business giants of Europe, Asia, and (perhaps most of all) Detroit may have made their billions off the internal combustion engine, but now, in order to stay relevant in a changing social and geologic climate, they are tasked with finding clean alternatives to petrol-powered products. Henry Ford may have put the world on wheels, but now automotive magnates are becoming responsible for helping keep the world healthy.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Vs. Ford Explorer

April 20th, 2016

discovery-sport-explorer1

A review of the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport isn’t complete without a reference to the Ford Explorer.

The two vehicles share an uncanny similarity in looks, right down to the thick C-pillar, rear spoiler, and headlight shape. Their silhouettes are nearly identical. Pricing on the two SUVs isn’t very far apart either: base prices for the Ford range between $31,000 for the base and nearly $53,000 for the Platinum trim, and the Range Rover runs from $34,400 for the base SE trim to just under $46,000 for the HSE LUX.

The Ford has a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that makes 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is available. The Land Rover has a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder along with a nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. And get this: it’s an engine built by Ford.

These two vehicles might seem like they’d compete fiercely for sales, but under the skin they are vastly different animals. One is the rig to use if the highway leads to your destination, while the other is the one to use if the highway is just a speed bump to cross on your way to grander adventures.

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