Most Important Safety Feature for 2016? Automatic Emergency Braking

Prius with AEB

Looking for a car with the latest in safety features? Automatic emergency braking (AEB) will have to top your list, especially as far as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and top automobile manufacturers are concerned.

Ten companies — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo — will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details of implementing their historic commitment, including the timeline for making AEB a standard feature.

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2017 Ford GT: Who’s Ready for a $400,000 Ford?

2017_Ford_GT

In 2006 a friend’s dad bought a new $150,000 Ford GT. It was low to the ground and sleek. I stood next to the car and towered over the roof as I wondered how a guy could afford to buy such an exclusive supercar.

A week later he bought one for his wife.

I never got to drive either of the cars, but I did see them every day as my friend was picked up from work by one of her parents. That was when I fell in love with the GT.

The GT was only produced for the 2005 and 2006 model years, then silently slipped into the past. Today those cars are worth far more than they were a decade ago, with some selling for upwards of $300,000 each.

At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford surprised show-goers with a concept for an all-new GT. This year we could see the production-ready version, but this time prices might make used versions look downright affordable.

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Downgraded Tow Capacity Leads to Lawsuit for GM

2014 GMC Sierra 1500 denali-crewcab-front-view-towing

Think of all the numbers you have to compare when shopping for a truck. You’ve got engine displacement, horsepower, torque, transmission speeds, fuel economy, gear ratios, cargo capacity, and, of course, towing capacity.

Not all of those numbers are relevant to all truck shoppers. Some guys just need to handle an occasional Home Depot run, while others need to routinely max out their rig’s tow capacity.

The guys and gals who buy trucks based on how much they can tow put a lot of trust into the fact that the ratings are accurate. Tow ratings are based on the amount of torque it takes to launch from a stop, keep a trailer going at speed, and slow it to a stop within an acceptable distance.

Obviously some dangerous situations can arise if a truck tows more weight than intended. But what happens if an automaker advertises a high tow rating, sells trucks based on that rating, and then revises it downward later?

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The Corvette E-Ray: Coming Soon to a Charging Station Near You?

2016 Corvette Stingray

It would be considered sacrilege to change some things in the auto industry.

Specifically, I’m thinking of things like the shape of the Porsche 911, the rear-wheel-drive Mustang, and the V8 Corvette. A 911 with a boxier shape, a front-wheel-drive ‘Stang, or a 4-cylinder Corvette just might be enough to throw the earth off its orbit and disrupt the threads that hold our society together.

It’s pretty safe to say that none of those things will ever happen, but a new trademark filing by General Motors has some Corvette purists wondering if their beloved American supercar will trade its fossil fuel power for a set of recharging electrons.

If you’re one of the people who doesn’t believe Chevy would ever mess with the formula that made the Corvette an American legend, you might want to sit down for this one:

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Will Gas-Powered Cars Rule for Another 25 Years?

With electrics like this, how can they fail?

With electrics like this, how can they fail?

Electric cars are the transportation solution of the future, but that future might be farther away than we think.

There’s so much talk about automakers increasing the number of EVs in their fleets by 2020 that we might start believing an all-EV future is right around the corner. California has toyed with the idea of banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2030 and Norway has proposed eliminating new internal-combustion car sales by 2025.

Green Car Reports says,

If laws were passed tomorrow to limit the number of new internal-combustion cars, it would likely take almost two decades to bring half the overall fleet in that jurisdiction to electric propulsion.

No law outright banning operation of any vehicle with a tailpipe has been proposed anywhere, as far as we know, even in Norway.

Like it or not, we can be sure that gas-powered cars will account for our transportation needs for many decades to come.

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Cars You Want to Find in Your Driveway on Christmas Morning

Porsche911CarreraGTS4

I have a dream that one day I’ll wake up on Christmas morning and my wife will present me with a small wrapped box. I’ll hesitantly unwrap the box and find a new set of keys.

I’ll look at her with watery eyes that harbor a skeptical but hopeful anticipation. She’ll smile, give me a knowing nod, and then run to the front door, fling it open, look into the driveway, and see a silver Porsche 911 wrapped in a red bow as snow begins to gently fall.

These are the kinds of things I dream about, and I’m confident that someday it’ll happen. In the meantime, I’d like to celebrate this Christmas Day with a few pictures of cars that look great with a red bow on top, and hope that maybe next year my dreams will come true.

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End of 2015 a Great Time to Buy a Used Car

2013 Audi Q3 vail-28

If you have any money left over after buying all those holiday presents, now is a great time to consider buying a used car.

Prices Are Down As reported here at CarGurus, the average price of a used car is down approximately 3 percent from the annual peak in May 2015. Prices are projected to drop by another 1.5 percent through the end of January.

Don’t delay, though. As mentioned in more detail below, you might want to get that used car before Dec. 31, if possible, for tax reasons.

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Saab Back From the Dead… Again?

Saab_NEVS_9-3

Saab is the zombie of cars.

The company has a convoluted history that has put it among the walking dead since the turn of the century.

Saab was in its prime as an independent Swedish automaker from 1948 to 1989. That’s when it built some of the quirkiest (some might say coolest) automobiles the world has ever seen.

General Motors acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1989, and 100 percent in 2000. Some say that’s when the slow death of Saab began. By 2008 it was clear that the GM/Saab experiment was failing, mostly because the behemoth automaker stripped Saab of its personality and replaced it with rebadged Malibus and Trailblazers.

In 2009, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg announced plans to buy Saab, but that fell apart a few months later. In 2010, another supercar maker, Spyker, completed the purchase of Saab but then went bankrupt a year later.

In 2012, a Chinese consortium that went by the name of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) purchased what was left of Saab with the intent of transforming the brand into a line of electric cars. Now we’re on the cusp of 2016 and it appears the once-dead Saab brand is lumbering back to life.

Sort of.

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Who Should Fix Recalls on Used Cars?

used_cars

Automotive recalls have been a revolving theme in the auto industry for the last few years thanks to some epic fails by Toyota, General Motors, Takata, and many more. If you bought a new car recently, odds are good that you’ve received a recall notice.

Some recalls can happen for minor issues that amount to nothing more than a minor nuisance, while others can be for potentially life-threatening problems that need to be fixed immediately. Owners are usually notified about recalls through the mail or electronic communications from the automaker.

How would someone know, though, if a car he or she is considering has had a recall? People shopping for cars can check for recalls using the VIN lookup tool offered on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

When you buy a used car from a dealer, though, whose responsibility is it to disclose, and repair, unfixed recall items?

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Lexus Isn’t Boring Anymore. No, Seriously

2016 Lexus GS F on track

California State Highway 74 climbs out of Palm Springs, writhing into the mountains with immaculate blacktop, sweeping curves, and grand vistas. I’ve never driven this road before, yet I’m tackling every bend, curve, and kink in it like I’m a local. Capable cars have a way of instilling such confidence in their drivers.

From behind the wheel of the Lexus GS, a midsize luxury sedan that struggles to compete against the heavy hitters in this segment from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it’s clear that Lexus deserves more consideration than it gets. The automaker isn’t just about the cushy ES cruiser or the popular RX crossover SUV. Not anymore, anyway. And the funny thing is, it’s the gas-electric GS 450h that’s making me feel like a champion high above Palm Springs.

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