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By on April 25, 2017

Repair Auto Mechanic Car Automobile Service

Nothing lasts forever, as Axl Rose once said. After flatlining for a couple of years, during which time car owners — on average — saw no increases in repair costs stemming from “check engine” lights, bills are headed back up.

A study looking at average repair costs in 2016 has found that the price of discovering the cause of that dreaded light rose 2.7 percent between last year and 2015. That brings the average repair bill for this type of garage visit to $398. However, not every region of America took a hit. Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, says a full merger between the two automakers is out of the question. Instead, he wants Mitsubishi to get its act together and strengthen the greater alliance, which also includes Renault. Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion in 2016 after the smaller automaker weathered years of profitability issues and admitted to posting misleading fuel economy estimates.

While Ghosn agrees that Mitsubishi and Nissan should co-develop a select number of vehicles, he wants to help the brand bring itself back from the brink by focusing on its strengths and fixing its weaknesses.

“A full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said said at the opening ceremony for a new Mitsubishi factory in Jakarta on Tuesday.  Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

Hyundai Blue Link Gen. 2 - Sonata

The cyber security firm Rapid7 recently recently informed the Hyundai Motor Company that its Blue Link smartphone application might be exposing its customers to an unsavory element — serving up another reminder that convenience frequently comes at a cost.

Software vulnerabilities in the app allowed Blue Link-equipped vehicles to be unlocked and even started remotely, making them susceptible to theft from high-tech criminals for a period of three months until the company finally fixed the bug in March. Hyundai says that is is unaware of any mishaps stemming from the issue. Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2017 Audi A4 Quattro rear

Audi’s increasingly mature A4 stands to see less front-wheel motivation in the coming model year.

As the compact sedan’s clout and content grows, Audi plans to take one drivetrain configuration off the table come 2018. The move will mean that Quattro all-wheel drive will soon cover a larger slice of the lineup, but it could also mean crossing the 200-horsepower threshold in an A4 is about to become more expensive. Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, Image: Nissan

Less cargo capacity, less horsepower, a lower entry price and … worse fuel economy? That’s the reality for buyers of the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, also known as the Nissan Qashqai in Canadian and overseas markets.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its thirstiness rating for the slightly smaller compact crossover, which was tossed into the Nissan’s North American lineup to fill a narrow gap in the brand’s utility offerings, and some might find the official numbers disappointing. Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2017_nissan_rogue_sport_11

Taking a cue from Mitsubishi, which offers the Outlander and the smaller Outlander Sport, Nissan has decided to introduce a Sport version of the strong-selling Rogue — though it is actually an entirely divergent model.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport fills a relatively tiny gap between the brand’s smaller CUVs. While the sizing difference is easier to appreciate against the Juke, the two Rogues are actually more dissimilar than a first glance would suggest. For starters, the standard Rogue is about a foot longer and can be outfitted with three rows while the Sport is limited to only two. The larger crossover also comes with a 2.5-liter inline-four that the Rogue Sport won’t have. Instead, buyers receive a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission.  Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

[Image: IMCDB]

Never mind muscle cars and sexy Italian exotics. Nothing sparks atrial fibrillation in the hearts of motorists like seeing a black-and-white Ford Interceptor, Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Tahoe parked by the roadside up ahead.

Your chest tightens. Your eyes dart to the speedometer in the hopes of finding a reading that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of “sedate.” More often than not, you suddenly find yourself as the commanding officer in charge of Operation Slow Down Without Brake Lights or Nosedive.

When outfitted with heavy duty components, hidden armament and a healthy does of The Law, a normal sedan you’d never look twice at in the Ponderosa parking lot transforms into the most menacing vehicle on the road. Some do it better than others. Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate – Image: Mercedes-Benz UK

News that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon would arrive in North America with a diesel powerplant and all-wheel drive caught many industry observers by pleasant surprise early last year.

But it’s been 15 months since Mercedes-Benz announced at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show that the C300d 4Matic would be sold in Canada, albeit not the United States.

Not a crossover, not tall, not be-cladded, not even remotely intended for mass consumption, the C-Class Wagon was destined to be a cult favourite — that’s right, favourite — in The Great White North. However, eight months after the announcement, there was still no C300d 4Matic wagon in Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian showrooms. Blame Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal for delaying the certification.

Yet TTAC was told just yesterday the C-Class Wagon will appear in Canadian showrooms later this summer with a, how do you say in the Canadianese… minor change, eh? Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Image: FCA

Jay-Z and Beyonce got nothing on the marketing people from Dodge. The last low-volume vehicle to get this kind of publicity and raise this kind of ruckus was probably the LaFerrari, which was definitely not based on a $29.99/day rental car. (Trust me, I’ve driven the LaFerrari.) It will also toss, by my back-of-envelope estimation, somewhere between $100m and $200m into the company coffers, even if you don’t take into account all the lower-spec Challengers — even Hellcats — the Demon will sell just by drawing traffic into dealers.

The media response to the Demon has been half predictable and half rather refreshing.

The predictable part is the Motor Trend-style cheerleading, which in this case has spread far beyond MT because — let’s face it — anybody can get excited over a nine-second street car. (By contrast, it takes a seasoned hack, erm, a real pro to get excited about the Bolt.) The refreshing half of the commentary has come from the half of the media that likes to style itself as an un-elected and un-appointed fiscal watchdog of the industry. These are the people who whine a certain car “won’t sell” or “doesn’t make money” as if they are major shareholders of GM instead of underwater-basketweaving-degree-holders sitting in rent-controlled apartments on a mountain of student debt.

Normally, these people would be up in arms that an automaker has taken time off from the critical business of building suppository-shaped RX300 clones to briefly indulge in a bout of misguided enthusiasm about automobiles. In this case, however, the Demon is so obviously going to be wildly profitable that they’ve been forced to shut up and/or join the chorus of approbation. Except, that is, for one crusty old relic of the legacy media who’s found a new tune to play.

Read More >

By on April 25, 2017

mazda cx-5

Mazda’s North American Operations has named Dino Bernacchi as its chief marketing officer, a position created specifically to aid the automaker in establishing itself as a premium brand.

The manufacturer has taken steps to ditch its economical heritage for nearly a year as it pushes upmarket. Model redesigns have followed a cohesive, sleek trend while the company zeroes in on a future “premium, pricey model” to secure its new identity.

Until then, image is everything for Mazda. The brand doesn’t seem interested in swapping over to a luxury-focused lineup or changing its production philosophy. While Mazda had what was arguably the most aesthetically appealing booth at the New York auto show (even if Porsche and Volvo had the better snacks), most of its vehicles still start below $25,000.  Read More >

By on April 24, 2017

panamara-sport-turismo

Refuting everything we assumed we knew about the North American car market, some Porsche dealers are claiming the Panamera Wagon is already getting a lot of positive attention. Could that could be down to Porsche offering a more practical seating configuration?

While the rear of the Sport Turismo does provide extra storage space and easier access, it’s not a game changer over the standard sedan. What it does offer is room for five, something the German carmaker couldn’t bring itself to implement on the standard Panamera. Of course, that was likely preordained. Porsche understands most people actually care about the ability to bring all and not just some of their children with them on a journey. By omitting a seat in the sedan, it gave consumers another reason to take a look at the wagon.

Read More >

By on April 24, 2017

General Motors Renaissance Center

Last week, General Motors’ long-idled Venezuela assembly plant fell into the hands of the country’s autocratic government, sparking the automaker’s exit from the strife-ridden nation.

With its material assets out of its hands, the automaker’s Venezuelan subsidiary jettisoned the plant’s entire 2,700-person workforce today, Reuters reports. It did so in as abrupt a manner as the takeover itself. Meanwhile, the government wants to chat. Read More >

By on April 24, 2017

[Image: Tesla Motors]

With the “affordable” Tesla Model 3 on its way to an anticipated July production date, the company has promised to double the number of fast-charge plug-in points to feed the company’s growing fleet.

The electric automaker has already installed over 5,400 Supercharger outlets and about 9,000 lower-voltage Destination Charging connectors at various locations around the globe. In North America, Tesla promises a 150-percent increase in the number of charging points. However, don’t expect many of those stations to look like the photo above. Read More >

By on April 24, 2017

Toyota Supra

In February, a Texas Toyota dealership and The Genesis Center of Kaufman County joined forces to raffle off a fully restored 1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo. Donated by a local resident battling cancer, the entirety of the proceeds from the draw were designated specifically to help fund the center. Genesis is a faith-based shelter which also provides job placement, parenting classes, financial management programs, spiritual counselling, material needs, and medical referrals to women and children in crisis. It is funded largely through the church or via direct donations.

All in all, the dealership managed to raise more than $50,000 for the center. However, when Rebecca Rawl was announced as the winner of the raffle in April, many stated that the name was suspiciously close to that of the wife of sales manager Danny Rawls. Toyota of Rockwall was quick to rectify its mistake, specifying that the name given had been a mistake and “Rebecca Rawls” had in fact been the lottery winner.

As you can imagine, this did not go over well.

Read More >

By on April 24, 2017

2002 Lincoln Blackwood, Image: via Mecum

The last Rare Rides we brought you was really quite fantastic; a Toyota Town Ace with all the brown, diesel, 4WD, and multi-window things you could ever desire. Go check it out if you haven’t yet, as it will elevate your mood before today’s Rare Ride drags it right back down into the dirt.

As we’ve seen in some past editions of Rare Rides, things which are rare and “special” are not always good. And frankly, this Lincoln Blackwood Neiman Marcus Edition sucks.

Read More >

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