Ford to Compete With Tesla, Chevy, for Long-Range EV Customers

May 2nd, 2016

ford_Focus_electric

Chevrolet will very likely be the first to get a 200-mile $30,000 electric car to market. The company’s Bolt will go into production this fall, followed a year (or so) later by the Tesla Model 3.

Ford has, thus far, shown no interest in a long-range EV, even saying earlier this month that a 100-mile range is plenty. Ford has increased the range of the 2017 Focus Electric from 76 miles to 100, and has said that’s as far as the company plans to go due to the increased costs of larger battery packs. Ford’s electrification guru, Kevin Layden, said,

I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.

Ford CEO Mark Fields seems to have other plans.

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10 NHTSA 5-Star Safety Picks for Any Lifestyle

April 29th, 2016

2016 Volvo XC90

Cars and safety have had a long and difficult relationship, but it became way more complex with the arrival of the smartphone. A Pew survey last year determined that 64% of American adults own a smartphone, and anyone who’s spent any time on American roads within the last couple of years knows many people use those phones while driving. In fact, we’re just concluding April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, during which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign.

We strongly urge everyone reading this post to take NHTSA’s recommended steps to minimize their distractions while behind the wheel and avoid getting pulled over–and not just in April, but year-round. Unfortunately, there’s very little any driver can do about to prevent other drivers from getting distracted. So here are ten 2016 cars that should meet the needs and budgets of a wide variety of drivers, all with 5-star overall safety ratings from NHTSA. We hope none of you will ever have to test your car’s safety features, but just in case….

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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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The Impact of the Japanese Earthquakes on Lexus, Toyota Models

April 28th, 2016

2015 Toyota Camry

The news of the recent earthquakes that struck Japan had a strong impact on the U.S. auto market when it comes to Toyota and Lexus. Several models have had to suspend production while the factories are inspected and repaired.

It’s even affected Toyota’s position as the number-one automaker. That spot was usurped by Volkswagen because of the shutdowns. Yes, in spite of the diesel emissions scandal, VW is on top because of the popularity of its Audi, Porsche, and Skoda brands.

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Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter: Controversial, but Necessary

April 28th, 2016

ford-speed-limiter

Claiming ignorance will never get you out of a speeding ticket.

Speed limit signs are there for a reason, and not seeing one isn’t an excuse for flying through a 35-mph zone at 49. Sometimes, though, speeding is a genuine mistake rather than an intentional offense.

That was the case last time I got pulled over. The speed limit had dropped from 45 to 35 and I somehow missed the sign. Thankfully, the police officer let me off with a warning, along with the kind advice to not speed anymore.

Noted.

Had I been driving a Ford equipped with its new Intelligent Speed Limiter feature, the car would have seen the speed limit sign for me and slowed down accordingly. It seems like a great feature, but there’s a lot of fuss about it online. Why?

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Can Cars Drive Better Than People? Elon Musk Says Yes

April 27th, 2016

tesla-autopilot

This is a topic that’s come up before, but it’s becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. We’re talking about autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

First, let me recount a quick conversation with my wife yesterday morning as she drove to work:

Wife: “I may be becoming too comfortable in the abilities of my car.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Wife: “I don’t even have my feet on the pedals. I’m vaguely aware that the car in front of me is slowing down, but I don’t even move my feet. I assume the car will stop for me.”

Me: “You know, that’s meant to be a safety feature that stops for you if you aren’t able. You’re not supposed to rely on it like that. Please don’t do that.”

Wife: “But it always works, and I don’t have to think about it.”

Her car is equipped with adaptive cruise control which does indeed slow down and even stop to accomodate traffic ahead. However, my lovely wife uses it all the time, whether cruising at 70 down the Interstate or in stop-and-go traffic on city arterials. Is she right to rely on her car?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says yes.

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GM Hires New Design Chief, but Don’t Expect Much Change

April 26th, 2016

2010_Chevy_Camaro

A change will happen at General Motors on May 1. It’s a change that could potentially send GM down an entirely new path while creating an all-new look for the company and its vehicles around the globe.

More than likely, though, the change will happen without anybody taking notice.

On May 1, Mike Simcoe, an Australian with decades of automotive experience, will replace current GM VP of Design, Ed Welburn.

Oftentimes when a new design chief comes on board at a car company, there’s a big hullabaloo because he or she left a post at another prestigious automaker to take the reigns at the new place. The new designer provides auto writers with plenty of speculation and excitement about how the designer’s past might meld with his or her future, while the automaker that scored the hire touts an upcoming revolution in design.

GM didn’t do that.

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Volkswagen Agrees to Settlement, New Lawsuit Targets Mercedes-Benz

April 25th, 2016

volkswagen-tdi-badge

A couple of Germany’s largest automakers have had what can only be described as a terrible week.

Volkswagen has agreed to a plan that would compensate owners of cars affected by its diesel emissions violations, in addition to either buying back the cars, cancelling leases, or repairing vehicles.

This should be welcome news for owners of Volkswagen vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter TDI engine who have seen their cars’ resale values plummet in the seven months since the scandal became public.

More details will become clear in the coming days but, in the meantime, another automaker may be exposed for also manipulating emissions data.

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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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What’s the Strangest Car Problem You’ve Ever Had?

April 22nd, 2016

Check-Engine-Light

I’m no stranger to strange car problems.

If something weird is going to happen to a car, there’s a good chance it’s going to happen to a car owned by someone in my family.

I had a 2004 Jaguar X-Type that wouldn’t rev past 3,000 RPM without the engine losing all power. My Grandpa had a Dodge Neon that wouldn’t run in the rain. My wife’s Subaru Legacy developed a high-pitched whistle somewhere near the sunroof, and, most recently, my older Audi filled up with water and now the tail lights won’t turn off.

Keep reading for the details, and examples of other strange problems people experience with their cars. As always, feel free to tell us your experiences in the comments section below.

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