Will Audi Build a Boxster-Based R6?

April 21st, 2016

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Here’s another one to file in the “sports cars aren’t dying” folder.

Audi is one of the carmakers that have thrived in the sports car world. The R8 and TT sit at opposite ends of the sports-car scale, but both have found a niche and generate enough sales to justify their existence. And the automaker’s S line turns its sedans and coupes into formidable performance machines.

Now Audi may be working on a rear-engine sports car to slot under the R8. Presumably called the R6, the new Audi would be based on the Porsche Boxster/Cayman twins, but would involve a lot more than a simple badge job.

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Vs. Ford Explorer

April 20th, 2016

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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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FCA Wants to Merge With Ford, Toyota, or Volkswagen

April 19th, 2016

 

FCA plus VW 2

FCA could be in real trouble.

The company that used to be known as Chrysler, until acquired by Fiat after bankruptcy, finds itself with an unclear future.

Last year Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne desperately tried to force a merger with General Motors. GM, of course, wanted nothing to do it and the effort fizzled out. Now FCA seems to be on the lookout again, with a list of its top three prospects for a merger that, it hopes, can help it keep relevant into the 2020s and beyond.

One of those three, though, has already responded with a big fat “No.”

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Ford Mustang: The Most Popular Sports Car in Germany

April 18th, 2016

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The best way to validate the existence of the Ford Mustang is to offer it for sale in a land where it shouldn’t be popular.

The Mustang, of course, has been a hot seller for as long as it’s been on the market in the United States. In the past, however, foreign markets have seen it as an outdated and mechanically inferior excuse for a sports car. It’s a car that was built for straight-line acceleration and paled in comparison to true sports cars, most of which hailed from Germany.

Now, though, the car has a true independent rear suspension and can hold its own against any other sports car, no matter where it’s from.

Ford felt like it had something special with the latest Mustang and decided to roll it out in the country famous for producing Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. Surely, if it could sell there, it could sell anywhere in the world.

The Germans, though, would have a superiority complex and shun the Mustang, right?

Not so much.

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10 Best SUVs for Less Than $15,000

April 15th, 2016

2009 Subaru Forester

CarGurus spent two days previewing the 2016 New York International Auto Show, and if one trend stood out more than others, it was America’s apparent obsession with crossovers and SUVs. This could be due to low fuel prices, or perhaps it’s more a consequence of our country’s longstanding enthusiasm for adventure and frontiers. Whatever the reason, from the introduction of the Maserati Levante and the over-the-top Lincoln Navigator concept to Mitsubishi’s last-ditch effort with the Outlander PHEV, this message was clear: automakers are hitching their wagons to crossovers and SUVs.

Since the public apparently has a hankering for high-riding, do-anything transportation, we decided to find the best used crossover vehicles using CarGurus’ user-submitted reviews. To keep things interesting, we set a price limit of $15,000, but eliminated any cars more than 15 years old or with an average of more than 100,000 miles. If you want to submit your own ranking reviews on CarGurus, we’d love to hear what you have to say!

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Some Say the Sports Car Is Dying, But We Beg to Differ

April 15th, 2016

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Some say sports cars are in serious trouble.

Generally speaking, yes, it could be argued that sports cars have lost popularity in recent years, and some reports say that sales are down.

Sports cars, it is argued, are losing ground because they can’t take the family to Costco, are surrounded by massive SUVs, and have no use in an Uber-dominated world.

But hold on a minute. Before we go writing the obituary for the high-performance sports car, let’s remember a few things.

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Best Car Tech Features for Geeks

April 14th, 2016

A new Geek Squad Prius c

Geek Squad has bought 1,100 new Toyota Prius c models. Best Buy’s Geek Squad made the switch because it wants to improve its carbon footprint. It also wants to disassociate itself from Volkswagen, according to Automotive News, in part because of the ongoing emissions scandal.

That got us to wondering what’s the best geeky technology available in modern cars. Well, the answer depends on your definition of geekiness, but here are my four top choices.

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Personal Car Rental: A Good Way to Make Money?

April 14th, 2016

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Earlier this week we saw how owning a new car can cost close to $1,000 per month. That cost is part of the reasoning behind car sharing services such as ZipCar and ReachNow, which offer inexpensive and convenient short-term car rentals.

Car sharing can be a perfect money-saving solution for people in urban areas who don’t need a car every day, but do require occasional personal transportation.

What about the other end of things, though? What about the guy or gal who did purchase that new car and is watching the costs pile up while the bank account slims down?

There’s a new solution for those people, too, but it might be a good idea to resist temptation and avoid it, at least for now.

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Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 on Opposite Ends of Crash Test Ratings

April 13th, 2016
Ram 1500 (left) and Ford F-150 after IIHS small overlap front crash test (Photo courtesy IIHS)

Ram 1500 (left) and Ford F-150 after IIHS small overlap front crash test (Photo courtesy IIHS)

The bigger the truck, the safer the truck. Right?

We assume the big pickups on the road are some of the safest automobiles available, and that a collision between one and a midsize sedan would end quite poorly for the sedan.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted tests of some of the big rigs, and the results are surprising. It turns out we’re right to assume that the big pickups are safe, as long as we’re referring to Ford trucks.

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BMW Will Launch Car Sharing Program… Again

April 12th, 2016

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Why own when you can borrow?

The average payment for a new car in the United States is $479 per month. Insurance can cost an additional hundred bucks or more, so let’s figure it costs somewhere around $600 per month to own a new car. Factor in monthly fuel costs, parking fees, and general maintenance, and costs can get close to $1,000.

It’s no wonder some people choose to forgo car ownership in favor of public transportation or car sharing.

Car sharing has found pockets of success in the U.S., but BMW hopes that the new service it’s starting in Seattle will eventually benefit car sharers nationwide.

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