Nissan Juke a Hit in New York

Nissan Juke

While most people can’t quite get their heads around the styling concept, they get the idea of the car very well. The Juke is no joke, and there is no denying that Nissan picked a good name (juke = to dodge, duck, or mislead). It will come to the U.S. in fall 2010, starting at under $20,000.

If you read the press release, it’s clear that the company is aiming for a new kind of crossover-hatchback that’s both a bit smaller and likely more powerful (and surely more youth-oriented) than its competition. The mechanics: The Juke will have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo DOHC engine that produces “180+ horsepower and 170+ lb-ft of torque.” All-wheel-drive versions will get a continuously variable transmission; front-wheel-drive versions will get a six-speed manual.

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New BMW M6 Could Rival Audi R8

BMW Efficient Dynamics concept

BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept

Do we really need another mid-engine V8 hyper car to join the fight against the mighty Audi R8?

Yes. Yes, we do.

According to Autocar, BMW just might take the M6 and turn it into a proper six-figure sports car, one that can run with the R8 and has the looks to push it into the near-exotic realm.

The current M6 is a fine car… I’d never say anything otherwise about a V10-powered, rear-wheel-drive, 500-horsepower coupe that costs over a hundred grand. But seriously, the 6 Series in general seems to play in the same field as the new 5 Series GT, which isn’t exactly serious sports-car territory. That leaves the current M6 out of place with few compelling reasons to pony up that kind of dough. But oh boy, could that change. Just look at what BMW has in mind for the new M6:

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Green Update–>Hybrids Dominate in NY, the Leaf Emerges, Eco-Marathon Winner Gets 2,487.5 mpg

2010 Lincoln MKZ

The inexorable Green Force seems to be dominant once again in New York. The city’s Auto Show, opening Friday, will have an abundance of hybrids, electrics, and various “sardine cans,” as one of our readers refers to them. BNET says it’s “another smorgasbord of small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, representing a bet that one of these days, Americans will get on board the global small-car bandwagon.”

It’s more than that. Hybrid power is quickly moving upmarket, and you have the spectacle of Ford bringing its hybrid Lincoln MKZ (above) to New York (a rebadged Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan with shark-bite grille), a lame attempt to revive a failing brand. Hard to say when this sort of behavior will end.

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Can You Talk on the Phone While Driving Safely? A New Study Says Probably Not

I once counted six cars in a row with drivers talking on cell phones, all within two miles of leaving home. One after another they passed me in the opposite direction, and each driver had a phone plastered to his or her ear.

It’s certainly a common sight on American roads, and I think it’s safe to assume a very large percentage of people chat while driving, but according to a new study, only 2.5 percent of us can do it safely.

In the study, psychologists have identified a group of people who can successfully do two things at once, in this case talking on a cell phone while operating a driving simulator without noticeable impairment.

The study refers to these people as “supertaskers,” and study member James Watson of the University of Utah said of them,

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Geely Picks Up a Bargain in Volvo

Geely Volvo S60

The Chinese conglomerate Geely is paying Ford $1.8 billion for Volvo and promises to preserve its identity, though it may build another factory to produce the cars in China. Not bad for a company that started in the ‘80s making refrigerators and motorcycle parts. Not so good for Ford, which paid $6.45 billion for Volvo in 1999.

In the last five years, Geely has moved to become China’s second largest (after BYD) auto company without a state-owned interest. Its pursuit of Volvo for two years finally bore fruit in a deal that will give it not only a premium brand, but also access to significant intellectual property as well as engineering and production resources.

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Is This the Best or Worst Used Car Ad Ever?

Used BMW ad

If the 1994 BMW 530i Touring in the video below was being advertised in an ad placed on Craigslist or CarGurus, the ad would probably look something like this:

1994 BMW 530i Touring. Very high mileage, mis-matched tires, leaky sunroof, useless spare tire, ripped leather upholstery, and a broken cigarette lighter. But it has Ultimate Power, Extreme Sound (except for a broken rear speaker) and a “secondary response system.” All for only $2,800!

I’m guessing that ad wouldn’t generate much response.

But turn the ad into a video starring a geeky teen who has the Michael Cera thing going on, and suddenly you’ve got over 30,000 views on YouTube and a virtually guaranteed sale.

Is the video below pure genius or a waste of 4 minutes?

Keep reading to see the video and let us know what you think….

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AAA Announces Best Cars for the Commute

The average driver spends about 41 minutes a day travelling 22.5 miles round trip between home and work.

Make the trip in the right car, and it can be a refreshing and fun 22 minutes of solitude. Commute in the wrong car, and you can get stuck in an expensive and uncomfortable trap every day of the week.

The American Automobile Association has evaluated hundreds of cars and compiled a list of the best for the daily commute. It evaluated the vehicles based on safety, practicality, fuel efficiency, affordability, and comfort.

There are some obvious choices on the list, along with a few curious ones that have me wondering what AAA is thinking.

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Mercedes-Benz Comes to Oaxaca to Show the SLS AMG GT3 and More

The GT3 is not pretty; it’s all function. Mercedes and AMG have built a state-of-the-art machine that was unveiled in Mexico this week to a select crowd of journalists and, presumably, potential buyers. It was intended to be a shot heard round the sports-car world.

M-B also brought other interesting cars to show—an actual 300SL Gullwing racer from the 1950s (to commemorate the marque’s great victories in the Carrera Panamericana road race of yore) and some examples of its production road car, the SLS AMG, on which the GT3 is based. We’ll discuss these in a bit and show you pix on the continuation page. But first, the main message.

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Cars Coming Soon->Coupes for All!

2011 Bentley Continental GT

2011 Bentley Continental GT Coupe

I’ve been lambasted on this blog for calling out Bentley vehicles as ugly luxo-barges that look too much like Chryslers.

Granted, the Chrysler 300 came out long after Bentley ruled the streets of Beverley Hills, but the resemblance still drives me bonkers. I don’t have anything in particular against the cars themselves, but I’m sick of seeing them in every rich ZIP code in the country. I don’t think I’d even take one if it was given to me… I’d happily trade it in on a new Aston Martin Rapide.

Even with such a bias against the looks of Bentleys, I’m excited to report that an all-new 2011 Continental GT coupe is on the way. And it looks, dare I say, pretty darn good!

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A Honda Element for Dogs; CR-Z Beats Sales Targets

Dog Friendly Honda Element

Pet lovers around the globe will be cheering the arrival of Honda’s new “Dog Friendly” (so called) Element. The car was always pet-friendly, and you have seen pictures, I’m sure, of the slab-sided transporter carrying cats, monkeys, and alligators. Now dogs get their turn, and Honda is making a sort of big deal out of it.

For about $1,000, you and your baby will get: a stowable ramp, pet bed and kennel, a spill-resistant water bowl, and an electric fan. Honda also throws in dog-pattern seat covers, pee-proof “dog-bone” embossed floor mats, a leash, collar, and three Dog Friendly emblems. Yes, there’s also a bag dispenser. Click here for the Fact Sheet.

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