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By on August 30, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (3 of 8)

Faced with the option of waiting to see if their cars can be fixed or accepting a hefty cash payout, diesel Volkswagen owners are opting to take the money and run.

Once-fierce loyalty to the dirty “clean diesels” seems to have evaporated, as most owners who’ve registered for the settlement want the automaker to buy back their car, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

traffic highway (Bryce Watanabe/Flickr)

Traffic deaths skyrocketed last year by the largest amount since 1966, erasing safety gains made in recent years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released raw 2015 data yesterday, revealing that 35,092 people died on U.S. roads — a 7.2 percent spike in fatalities compared to the previous year. The data shows the deaths weren’t confined to any particular demographic. Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

Spinning Miata, Image: © 2016 Jack Baruth/The Truth About Cars

I didn’t race this past weekend at Mid-Ohio, but it was still useful to me for a couple of reasons.

The first one was that I got to have an argument with the nice but very naive fellow who banned me from competing in the event. That was primarily amusing because his wife kept sticking her face in front of his and screaming at me. And this dude was totally cool with that. Preferred it, I think.

Intellectually, I realize that in $THE_CURRENT_YEAR there are a lot of full-grown “men,” probably raised in a fatherless environment, who need women to defend them from super-mean, scary old cripples like me. But it still makes me feel like Tommy Lee Jones in that movie where that one guy with the great hair kills people with a pneumatic cattle gun. I’m already irrelevant. Already a relic. The national conversation has moved on. It’s okay. I will adapt. In the future, if you have a problem with me, take it up with Danger Girl. She’s much younger and stronger than I am.

The other useful part of the NASA race was that I happened to be holding a camera when a young Miata driver looped his car. I caught the whole thing. Click the jump and I’ll show you how he spun — and how you can avoid a spin like this, both on the street and on the track.

Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS

Alex writes:

Hi Bark,

The lease on my BMW M235i runs out next summer and I’m looking at options for my next car. I’m mostly considering the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R, but also the Ford Fiesta ST (since you’ve praised your FiST so much) and Ford Mustang GT (because it’s a Mustang?).

I don’t really like the Golf R because it’s the only car on this list that doesn’t have Recaro seats and, well, it looks almost identical to the much cheaper, baseline Golf.

I contacted my local Ford dealer about the RS and they urged me to put down a $2,000 deposit since they don’t get many units and they’re selling fast.

My hesitation: I’ve never really driven a manual car outside of iRacing (online racing simulator) and an hour I had with a Corolla with 170,000 km on the clock, so I’m not sure that I’d like to drive a manual every day.

What do you think would be my best course of action?

Sincerely,
Alex

Alex, my friend, sit down. We need to talk.

Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

2015 Outlander Sport GT 2.4L

TOKYO – Mitsubishi Motors Corp said on Tuesday more of its vehicle models were involved in a mileage cheating scandal than initially stated, and that it would temporarily stop domestic sales of affected vehicles and compensate owners. Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

Winterkorn, Piech, Piech - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

Former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch resigned his position a month after questioning and failing to get answers from ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn about the company’s defeat devices, an internal probe revealed.

The finding from the investigation by U.S. law firm Jones Day was published in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bloomberg reports, shedding light on the power struggle that preceded the diesel emissions scandal. Read More >

By on August 30, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Spark LS

I could live with this car … under a couple of conditions.

Air conditioning is a must have, and I may have told you about the need for an aftermarket shifter solution.

But GM Canada’s $9,995 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS, which lacks A/C and a tolerable shifter, is nevertheless an acceptable place to spend time. Though it drives with far less verve than the not-sold-in-Freedomland $9,988 2016 Nissan Micra S, the Spark is the more comfortable and refined option.

Up the price with an array of options and the argument for North America’s second Chevrolet Spark falls apart. As a $10,000 car, however, there’s a case to be made. Read More >

By on August 29, 2016

GM Oshawa. Photo courtesy TTAC.

President for the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers north of the border says he has learned from past contract battles, and won’t make the same mistake this time.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, promises that no contract deal will be ratified without firm product commitments, including at General Motors’ endangered Oshawa assembly plant. If GM intends to shut that operation down, a Canada-wide strike is virtually guaranteed. Read More >

By on August 29, 2016

Instrument panel with Vojta "driving" the Tesla Model S 85D, Image: © 2016 David Marek/The Truth About Cars

Earlier this summer, headlines flew fast and furious around Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system, and the often hazy crashes associated with it.

Now, the electric automaker plans to tweak the system to cut down on driver misuse, according to a report in Elektrek. Read More >

By on August 29, 2016

2017 Ford F-450 Super Duty Platinum Crew Cab 4x4

Ford Motor Company clearly wasn’t secure in knowing that its new 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine will give the F-150 the most V6 power in its class, or that the 2017 Super Duty will have the most torque in its class. And never mind that a looming diesel variant of the F-150 will likely get the best fuel economy in its class.

Ford wanted the gold medal in the fuel tank capacity race, and it just won by a mile. Actually, many miles. Read More >

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