The World Wants Cars to Talk, But Can’t Agree on a Language

Image courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Image courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The U.S. Department of Transportation thinks cars should learn to talk to each other before they can drive themselves. Earlier this month it issued a proposed rule announcement requiring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology in all light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. to allow the development of collision-avoidance applications that could prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents every year.

Continue reading >>>

Can Sinking Hyundai Right the Ship?

2017 Santa Fe

2017 Santa Fe

An automaker can’t survive without crossovers.

All the major car companies that operate in the United States have a wide assortment of crossovers and SUVs available to consumers. Some, like FCA, are even dropping slow-selling sedans in favor of increased SUV, truck, and crossover production. Others, such as General Motors, offer heavy incentives on sedans but make up for the discounts with profitable SUVs.

Of the 44 automakers doing business in the U.S., only eight don’t offer a crossover, and most of those are supercar makers. (Thanks Autoblog, for doing that research.)

Hyundai has an assortment of crossover SUVs available, but wasn’t prepared for the SUV boom that is currently engulfing the world’s automotive markets.

Continue reading >>>

Newsflash: Electric Cars Are Here!

2016_nissan_leaf

A lot of people don’t realize this, but it’s possible, right now, to head to a local dealer and drive home in an electric car. You, being an informed and educated car guru, are likely well aware of this. Up to 60 percent of the American public, however, don’t realize that plug-in electric cars are a thing.

Last summer I drove a brand new Nissan Leaf onto a local community college campus to help set up an event. The response from people that day was complete disbelief that a car could run so silently.

“It’s electric,” I said.

“Electric? Like you plug it in?”

“Yup.”

“So it doesn’t need gas?”

“Nope.”

Most of the folks I spoke with that day didn’t know about electric cars. As it turns out, most people in America don’t either.

Continue reading >>>

Toyota Corolla Could Gain a BMW Heart

2017-toyota-corolla

Let’s think of ways the Toyota Corolla could be made more exciting. The compact sedan is one of the most reliable and practical little cars money can buy, but it’s also one of the least exciting. The Corolla lacks performance and handles about as well as a dishwasher around corners, but people buy it because they appreciate its value and long-term reliability.

To make it more exciting, maybe Toyota could throw in a turbocharger or upgrade the exhaust system. Or maybe the company could drop in a new engine. Maybe even a BMW motor. But that would never happen, right?

Continue reading >>>

Don’t Be One of the Million Motorists Stranded this Holiday Season!

winter car won't start

Years ago, my good friend, Tim, mistakenly locked the keys to his 1991 Audi 200 in the trunk while we were on our way back to Connecticut after a weekend of skiing. During the dead of night, with snow on the ground and our only sustenance coming from the assorted snacks picked up at a country store a few miles back, we waited in a parking lot for a AAA problem-solver to arrive. A flood light projected its beam upon a nearby furniture store’s sign, and at one point we found ourselves huddled around it, trying to take in any of the heat emitting from its bulb (there wasn’t much). Eventually AAA rescued us and while Tim and I are friends to this day, it’s a wonder he wasn’t left on the side of the road for this mistake. Continue reading >>>

And the Least Satisfying Car in America Is…

2016-acura-ilx-first-drive-review-car-and-driver-photo-655675-s-original

One of the strongest pieces of advice my dad ever gave me is to never, ever, buy a Chrysler. I was just a child when he told me, but the advice has stuck. His dissatisfaction with Chrysler began with the new Le Baron he bought in the 1980s, which was bad enough to skew his opinion of the automaker to this day. That’s roughly 30 years of disdain from a bad experience with one car.

I say this to illustrate the importance of vehicle satisfaction to automakers. A happy customer can mean a lifetime of car purchases while an unhappy one can negatively impact generations of car buyers.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some results from Consumer Reports‘ annual vehicle satisfaction survey.

Continue reading >>>

The 5 (or 6) Engines We’d Put on Wards 10 Best List

2016 Dodge Challenger 6.4 Scat Pack

Anyone who’s seen Chevy’s “Most Awarded” commercial will realize that the world of automotive accolades is a crowded place. From Top Safety Picks to lists of the most popular sedans, best family cars, or lowest cost-of-ownership vehicles, we appreciate awards that are tailored for the consumer. One of the appeals of WardsAuto’s list of 10 best engines is how the judges administer their tests. Rather than taking dozens of cars out on a track or running countless 0-60-mph runs, the judges drive nominees in everyday situations. As a result, we’re greeted with a list of the 10 best engines for real life, rather than the 10 best engines for the next episode of “The Grand Tour.”

Continue reading >>>

Buy a Bolt and Fund a Tahoe?

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

What if the fledgling electric car industry was just a ruse to sell more earth-polluting fossil fuel-powered trucks and SUVs? The federal government’s fleet fuel-economy requirements and the California Air Resources Board’s ZEV credits aren’t just creating a small market for EVs, they’re fueling the fire for gas-powered vehicles that defeat the purpose of EVs.

Case in point is the new Chevy Bolt, a masterpiece EV that finally makes a practical vehicle with a 200-mile range accessible to the majority of the car-buying population.

Those who buy one, though, may not be saving the planet, but subsidizing the sale of gas-guzzlers.

Continue reading >>>

GM to Halt Car Production, Including Camaro and Corvette

Camaro going out of production... temporarily.

Camaro going out of production… temporarily.

General Motors has a problem with crossovers. The high-riding family-friendly vehicles have effectively kicked their sedan brethren out of production. Quite literally, in fact, as GM plans to shutter five U.S. assembly plants next month to help ease a supply problem at dealers. With crossovers high on the wish list of U.S. consumers, sedans, and the people who make them, are starting to suffer.

Just last month GM laid off 2,000 of its factory workers due to the elimination of a third shift at two plants.

The entire closure of five plants, for up to three weeks each, is another sure sign that the crossover is the vehicle of choice for American drivers.

Continue reading >>>

2018 Honda Odyssey Teased… and It’s Remarkable

honda_odyssey_teaser_sketch-610x394

Honda just gave us one of the coolest automotive teasers we’ve ever seen for the upcoming 2018 Odyssey. The Odyssey, of course, is one of the most popular minivans in the world and is much loved by the under-35 crowd, making it about as cool as minivans can get. Since the essential purpose of a minivan is the transport of kids and kid-related gear, Honda felt it appropriate to delineate teaser duties to children.

And the results are remarkable.

Continue reading >>>