And the Least Satisfying Car in America Is…

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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2018 Honda Odyssey Teased… and It’s Remarkable

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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.

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They Forgot the V8s: Wards Announces 10 Best Engines for 2017

Volvo V60 Polestar engine

For the past 23 years, WardsAuto has published a list of the 10 best engines available for the upcoming model year. In an industry where reviews are more and more dominated by instrument tests, where cars are differentiated by tenths (if not hundredths) of a second on a drag strip and by tenths (if not hundredths) of a g-force on a skid pad, Ward’s list is based on objective, but also delightfully subjective, data.

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When Used Cars Come With Extra Surprises

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This is a true story: A friend had purchased a new-to-her Honda CR-V. She was instantly in love with the car, a spotless low-mileage white 2006 model. After a few days of driving, however, she started to notice a peculiar smell. The odor worsened over the coming days until it became so offensive in the summer heat that she had to drive with the windows down.

She scoured the car for the source of the smell with no luck until, one day, she discovered a rotting tuna sandwich under the driver’s seat.

It’s not uncommon to find forgotten possessions in used cars, but they normally amount to some loose change or stray crayons.

A man in Kentucky, though, may have won the award for the most interesting find yet. Continue reading >>>

Gifts for Gearheads

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Car commercials have a very specific flavor during the holiday season. They range from humorous to overly sentimental, but they often involve the advertised car sitting in someone’s driveway with a comically large, red, tightly wrapped bow on the hood or roof. It’s the universal symbol for “This car will be on sale this holiday season, so why not surprise a loved one with a brand new car?” Well for most of us, this is a very unrealistic scenario.

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Will Car Brands Survive the Age of Autonomy?

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When flying on an airplane, travelers generally don’t care if the maker of the plane is Boeing or Airbus, but they do care if the carrier is United or Southwest. Apply that thinking to the world of cars as autonomy sets in over the next decade or so, and perhaps it won’t matter if the maker of the car is Ford or Chevrolet, but if the operator of the car is Uber, Lyft, or even IBM.

Automotive News published an in-depth article about the future of car brands, and it doesn’t look good for automakers as we know them today.

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Mazda: The Car to Drive or the Car to Own?

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Think back to 2002, when the all-new 2003 Mazda6 came onto the market and redefined what a sport sedan could be for families. I still remember the first one in my neighborhood. It was bright red, sleek, and looked nothing like the Accord sedans and Dodge minivans that littered the suburban area. The driver would come in to the neighborhood way too fast while us young parents vocally chastised his reckless driving but secretly wanted to be just like him.

The Mazda6 brought some zoom-zoom to the previously bland sedan segment and changed things forever. Now we’re coming up fast on 2017 and the Mazda6 still has that sporty spirit and has spawned a smaller, equally-as-fun Mazda3.

But there’s a problem in zoom-zoom land.

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