Mercedes-Benz May Bring Compact Truck to America

Powerful Adventurer concept

Powerful Adventurer concept

The long-rumored Mercedes-Benz pickup is one step away from reality, but its fate in the United States remains undecided.

As the midsize truck market explodes around the world, luxury carmakers are wanting a piece of the ever-expanding pie. It’s a logical transition as traditional midsize trucks such as the GMC Canyon and full-size trucks like the F-150 Lariat have become essentially luxury trucks in workhorse clothing.

A luxury-branded truck makes sense, and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be the next to hit showrooms around the world. The question is will, and should, Mercedes bring it to the States?

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IMPA Test Days: We’ll Be Back

#IMPATestDays2016

The spectacular trees of New York State’s Catskill Mountains had to settle for backdrop status early last week. The New York City-based International Motor Press Association assembled a magnificent collection of cars, trucks, and motorcycles as well as a bunch of car and motorcycle writers at the Monticello Motor Club‘s (MMC) racetrack and extensive off-road course for IMPA Test Days 2016, 48 hours of intense on- and off-road testing.

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It’s Here: The Nieman Marcus Christmas Car. Buy One!

neiman-marcus-limited-edition-infiniti-q60-large

Every year at about this time we get to announce, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book car.

For the uninitiated, the Neiman Marcus car is an extravagant version of a vehicle typically priced much higher than comparable models at local dealerships. It’s always a limited edition and always sells out within hours, sometimes minutes, of going on sale.

Recent years have included worthy cars such as Aston Martin and Ferrari, as well as questionable choices such as a $95,000 Mustang and a limited edition Camaro.

How does this year’s choice stack up? Well, at $63,000, it’s definitely one of the least expensive Neiman Marcus cars to hit the catalog in a very long time. It’s also one of the best values.

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Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer?

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Safety is the number one reason advocates for self-driving cars give for promoting the technology as the wave of the future.

It’s difficult to argue with that point because human drivers account for an accident every minute of every day in the U.S. alone. Over 37,000 Americans died last year as a result of car crashes, so we have to admit that human drivers make a lot of mistakes.

When computers do the work and make the driving decisions, human error is eliminated and driving will become a nearly accident-free endeavor.

That’s the thought, anyway, but is a future without car accidents realistic?

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The Changing Purpose SUVs

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Sport utility vehicles entered the automotive scene as 4×4 alternatives to station wagons, sedans, and minivans. They quickly became the go-anywhere, haul-anything preference for families across the United States. These were the vehicles that allowed drivers to skip the Holiday Inn and venture deep into the woods if they so desired.

They were large, heavy, and capable rigs that rode high and gave drivers a commanding view and comforting presence in the midst of the surrounding Civics and Corollas. The fact that early V8-powered SUVs sucked gas fast enough to watch the fuel gauge drop didn’t matter, because gasoline was cheap and the economy was strong.

Then the bottom fell out in 2007 and the game completely changed. Large SUVs became symbols of excess and waste. Filling their gas tanks required a second mortgage. Falling sales inspired a new breed of SUVs, one that could still haul up to 8 people, but compromised some off-road ability for more civilized fuel economy numbers.

It’s an evolution that continues into this day and is embodied by the new Audi Q7.

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Innovate Everything: Lynk & Co. Wants to Shake Up the Car Business

Lynk & Co. 01

Typically, when researching a new car-focused story, the go-to sources are The Detroit News, Automotive News, a few car-focused blogs and websites, and maybe a more business-oriented publication, like Forbes. With Geely’s new Lynk & Co. car brand, however, news updates are just as likely to be found on sites like Mashable, The Verge, and Engadget as they are on the typical automotive outlets. That’s because, like Tesla’s direct sales or even Saturn’s no-haggle pricing, Lynk & Co. is entering the market with the mindset of a startup, intent on disrupting and revolutionizing the auto industry.

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Midlife Crisis: Corvette or Cayenne?

2016-cayenne

The midlife crisis car may have switched from the Corvette to the Cayenne.

The Baby Boomer generation is arguably responsible for more Corvette sales than any other generation of Americans, but the aging demographic now appears to prefer more comfortable and practical luxury SUVs to low-slung sports cars.

Will the changing desires of Boomers impact the production of the world’s greatest sports cars?

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The Most Heart-Pounding Cars at IMPA Test Days

Acura NSX - IMPA Test Days 2016 - J. Hughes

Testing a car on a race track is a patently different experience than testing on back roads. It’s true—there are some details you simply can’t derive from a track test. It’s difficult to gauge how the car’s suspension will handle rough pavement (poorly paved race tracks are, thankfully, few and far between) or how the car’s mirrors will mitigate blind spots (if you’re checking your mirrors on a track, you’re doing something wrong). But for each closed circuit’s shortcomings, it offers one major benefit: With today’s powertrains, the only place you can legally find the limit of a car’s power, its grip, or its brakes is on a track.

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Tesla Goes Full “Level 5,” But What Exactly Does That Mean?

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Tesla is becoming the Apple of the car industry.

Well, the Apple of five years ago, at least. We have to go back to when the tech giant routinely innovated with new hardware and then challenged the rest of the industry to catch up. (Apple’s recent diss of the audio jack doesn’t count.)

Tesla has almost singlehandedly made electric cars cool and has forced other automakers to invest in building luxurious and sleek electron-powered vehicles.

Wednesday night, Tesla made another bold move and announced that all of its cars, including its least expensive Model 3, will come capable of full, Level 5, self-driving autonomy.

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How Long Should Cars Last?

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Automakers love the media attention they receive when one of their vehicles passes the million-mile mark.

It has happened a handful of times to the likes of Volvo, Toyota, Saab, and Chevrolet. Sometimes the owner of a million-mile car gets special treatment by the automaker and occasionally even drives away with a brand new car.

Of course, most cars self-destruct long before reaching the million-mile mark. Many don’t even crest 200,000 miles, and most owners start thinking that it’s time for a new car sometime after 100,000 miles.

Automakers face a conundrum of sorts because they want their cars to be long-lasting, but also want to make money by keeping people coming back for new cars. So how long should a car last?

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