BMW, Toyota Join Forces to Take on Audi

September 24th, 2015

Lexus LFA

Now might be a good time to go after Audi.

With the appalling news coming from the VW/Audi camp over the last week, competitors will probably line up to take shots at the automaker while it’s down. Assuming, of course, those competing automakers didn’t also create a way to fool the EPA and pawn dirty diesels off as clean.

To get our attention off the great diesel scandal, let’s turn for a moment to a story about good old-fashioned hybrid technology and a couple of Audi competitors.

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This Automaker Does Fuel Efficiency Right

September 23rd, 2015


According to the United States government, the average fuel economy for new cars and trucks needs to be at least 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year. That’s more than double the current average of 25.4 mpg.

That deadline is still 10 years away, but in vehicle-development terms it might as well be tomorrow. That’s why we’re seeing the explosion of hybrids, electric vehicles, turbochargers, and *ahem* diesels in this country.

One company has taken a more subtle approach and devoted itself to getting impressive efficiency from the humble 4-cylinder combustion engine.

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Could an Apple Car Change Everything?

September 22nd, 2015

Apple CarPlay Mercedes

If you have a spare few minutes, watch Steve Jobs introduce the original iPhone to the world. In that speech, Jobs said, “Every once in a while, a new product comes along that changes everything.”

There was a moment of clarity during that speech when, for the first time, it registered that one device could take the role of music player, phone, and Internet-capable search device. The iPhone truly did change everything.

That’s what Apple does, though. Or at least, that’s what Apple used to do. Since the death of Jobs, some have wondered if the company is still capable of innovation and can rock the world with technology that simplifies our lives.

Apple doesn’t invent new technology so much as it refines existing technology. That’s what the Macintosh did, that’s what the iPod did, and that’s what the iPhone did.

In just a few years, we’ll know if Apple can do for cars what it did for computers and phones.

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Volkswagen: TDI or TD Lie?

September 21st, 2015


What if it was revealed that your gas/electric hybrid wasn’t really a hybrid? Or what if Ford fans discovered their prized 5.0 V8 was actually only 4.3 liters? What if a Chevrolet claimed a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds but was only capable of 5.2?

Automakers sell their cars with the promise that they will achieve a certain performance benchmark. Sometimes that benchmark is speed, sometimes it’s fuel economy, and sometimes it’s something a little less noticeable: emissions numbers.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Volkswagen is being accused of deliberately deceiving its customers, and the U.S. government, with cars that emit much more pollution than claimed. This is bad for a number of reasons, but the worst might be the loss of trust in its vaunted TDI brand.

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Car Faces: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

September 18th, 2015

Road & Track columnist Peter Egan once wrote, “Cars are considered to be an art form, yet the Mona Lisa, I’ve noticed, never needs a cooling system flush or new brake pads.” Automotive design has been an integral part of the car industry since the 1920s, when GM began to develop the first year-over-year changes to their cars’ visual appearance. As makes and models have evolved, so have the varying design languages associated with them—with varying degrees of success.

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The Jeep-Fighting Ford Everest

September 18th, 2015
Is this the new Ford Everest or Bronco?

Is this the new Ford Everest or Bronco?

I remember when I realized that Ford SUVs in this country have names that start with the letter E.

It happened when Ford discontinued the Excursion in 2007. I realized that the remaining Fords were the Escape, Explorer, Edge, and Expedition. Those SUVs made up Ford’s alliteration-happy little world and I wondered what the company would choose next. My thought was something along the lines of Everest.

It’s a name that conveys strength and capability, it’s foreboding and nearly impossible to conquer. It’s the perfect name for a SUV, but it never came to fruition in the United States.

The Ford Everest has, however, existed in Asia, South Africa, and Australia since 2003. Could it finally come here?

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From Germany mit Love – 5 Frankfurt Show Models Worth Watching

September 17th, 2015

Kia Sportage, front dynamicSure, there are some exotic vehicles on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, including the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder. However, there are plenty of models coming to the U.S. that made their debut overseas and could impact your buying choices in the near future.

Kia Sportage
It seems hard to believe, but the 2017 version will be the fourth generation of the Kia Sportage. The European version was introduced in Frankfurt, but there’s little reason to believe the U.S. version will look substantially different on the exterior.

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Hyundai N: The New Standard of Performance?

September 17th, 2015

Hyundai N 2025 Vision GT

Hyundai: maker of cheap, utilitarian cars or competitor to established high-performance brands?

Most of us would agree that Hyundai, the South Korean automaker that introduced the 100,000-mile warranty, falls into the cheap, utilitarian category.

The carmaker gained its fame for building inexpensive alternatives to the mainstream brands, but in the process became a mainstream brand. The next challenge is to build cheaper alternatives to high-performance brands and try to change the landscape of the high-powered car business.

The best way to do that is to hire one of the industry’s most successful engineers and let him loose on a new performance sub-brand.

Ready be driven wild by Hyundai?

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Blitzkrieg? German Automakers Prepare to Test Tesla’s Might

September 16th, 2015


During World War II a blitzkrieg was a German military tactic designed to create disorganization in enemies through short, fierce military campaigns. It’s also been referred to as a “lightning war.”

We’re all friends now, of course, but can the term be applied to what the German automakers want to do to Tesla, the scrappy American automaker?

Tesla, as everyone knows, continues to do the impossible by shattering expectations of what a car company should be. Unlike established automakers, it doesn’t have a dealer network, it sells only electric cars, and its best-selling car is only 3 years old.

Yet the Model S is hands-down the most popular electric car in the world.

Can the German juggernauts stop it?

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Older Cars Gaining Traction With Young People

September 15th, 2015

Breaking Bad Aztek

These are the zombie cars.

These are the cars that died ages ago, forgotten and unwanted by the American masses. They are the Chrysler Pacifica, the Dodge Magnum, the Pontiac Aztek, and the Chevy TrailBlazer. There are many more, but today it’s these cars that have caught our attention.


Because they are back from the dead and living among us once more.

The source of their surprise resurrection might be a little shocking. It’s not the original owners looking to experience the vehicles they let get away. No, this time it’s their kids.

It’s the new generation, the group known as the millennials, who are snatching up these old dead cars and bringing them back to life.

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