Can Mazda Become the Next Volkswagen?

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Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.

The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.

Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.

That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.

Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.

Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.

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Look Toward Genesis for Your V8 RWD Driving Pleasure

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Once upon a time, America was chock full of rear-wheel-drive (RWD) cars with beefy engines. They comfortably cruised Interstate highways and transported an entire generation of families. Most of those cars today have been replaced by front-wheel-drive sedans with turbocharged engines or all-wheel-drive car-based crossovers.

The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are perhaps the only remaining RWD American sedans that can be had with a V8 engine. Even the all-new Lincoln Continental, once the epitome of rear-drive land yachts, will return with V6 power and either front- or all-wheel drive.

Buyers who long for a V8 RWD luxury sedan will have another option, though. They’ll just have to look toward the newest South Korean brand to get it.

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Would You Buy the Most Ticketed Car in America?

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The most ticketed car in America is… the Lexus ES 300. A midsize luxury sedan remembered for a smooth, quiet ride, an 8-ish-second 0-60 mph time, and looks dull enough to put Ben Stein to sleep? Aaron Cole tried his hardest to find drama and excitement behind the wheel of a 2016 Lexus ES 350 last year. Fast forward, and now we’re hearing that the snoozy barge’s predecessor receives more tickets than any other car on American roads. How did this happen?

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Changes Coming for Popular Nissan Juke, Leaf

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Electric cars shouldn’t look like electric cars if they are to go mainstream.

Tesla figured that out early, while other automakers, especially BMW and Nissan, made their electric cars look more and more… electric.

The BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf are perhaps the “most electric” looking of today’s electric cars.m BMW shows no signs of easing up on its polarizing styling, while Nissan, known for pushing the limits of good design taste, will soon unveil all-new looks for the Leaf and a slightly tamed-down design for the soon-to-be-hybrid Juke.

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Some Work Days Are Better Than Others: Why We Ramble

2016 NEMPA Ragtop Ramble

Like employees of any outlet in the business of reviewing cars, one of the questions we hear often revolves around where we get the cars we review. Are they supplied by dealerships? Does CarGurus buy the cars? Or do manufacturers actually set aside brand new vehicles specifically to send them off to automotive journalists, knowing that doing so opens them up to potential criticism?

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How Many Cars Does the Average American Family Need?

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How many cars should a family own?

According to Experian, the average family owns two cars, while 35 percent of American households own three cars or more.

Ownership rates vary greatly across the country and are influenced more by location than income levels. In fact, households with incomes over $250,000 are just as likely to own a single vehicle as households with incomes of $25,000. No matter what your income, is it better to own one car that is an all-purpose, all-season vehicle, or two or more cars that each serve a specific purpose and are used only in certain conditions?

For many families, owning a single car can mean splurging on a luxury brand or buying brand new, while a 4-car family might prefer older used cars that can be purchased with cash.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios. Which one is closest to your family’s preference?

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More on Tesla: Why Part Deux Will Work

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Last week, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, unveiled his Master Plan, Part Deux, on his website. It lays out his plans for where his futuristic company will go in the next decade.

Now there are those of you out there who are wondering about his Master Plan, Part One, which included the following goals:

  • Create a low-volume car, which would necessarily be expensive;
  • Use that money to develop a medium-volume car at a lower price;
  • Use that money to create an affordable, high-volume car; and
  • Provide solar power.
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Apple Car Could Hit Roads in 2021

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It appears that, contrary to some rumors and speculation, Faraday Future is not Apple in disguise.

In recent weeks Faraday has hired a former Toyota executive to lead exterior design, while the Nevada treasurer began to question how the upstart electric carmaker will finance a $1 billion factory and deliver on its promise to help turn Nevada into an electric-vehicle production hub. (Tesla, of course, is building its Gigafactory there.)

Nevada has reason to be concerned, because the state has promised tax benefits and infrastructure improvements. Faraday’s failure would be a giant gambling loss for Nevada, a possibility that would seem less likely if Apple had control of the reins.

The Apple plan, meanwhile, seems to be delayed.

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How Fuel-Efficient Are Your Tires?

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I just got a screaming deal on a 1999 Land Cruiser. The only problem is that it could have illegal tires.

The truck isn’t a daily driver, but will handle all towing duties and be called upon for those rare instances when my family of six is all together and needs to go to the same location. It’s also in great shape, runs strong, has a comfortable interior, and came wearing mostly new Hankook DynaPro off-road tires. They are chunky, have a beefy tread, and can take the Land Cruiser anywhere I want to drive it.

Of course, that’ll mostly consist of highways and paved back roads, which might make the tires slight overkill for what I need.

Plus, they could become illegal.

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Tesla, Autopilot, and the Future of Self-Driving Cars

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From the first press release outlining Tesla’s Autopilot technology, potential customers have wondered how the system works, what its limitations are, and whether it will be welcomed or shunned. Since Joshua Brown’s fatal crash while using Autopilot in a Tesla Model S, these questions have grown larger and more pointed. Without a doubt, popular opinion has shifted toward negativity. But should it?

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