Posts By: Mark Stevenson

By on July 22, 2016

Isuzu D-Max

Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.

After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.

(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)

Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.

(Read More…)

By on July 21, 2016

2016 Veloster Turbo, Image: Hyundai

Would you be furious if you invested millions to open a dealership, only for the manufacturer to supply just one vehicle with any sort of consistency? Of course you’d be.

That’s the problem some Hyundai dealers in China are facing now, who are in the unique situation of competing with another set of Hyundai dealers in the country. That’s a tall order: the only vehicle Hyundai supplies to those dealers on a regular basis is the Veloster hatchback. Now Hyundai has a Little Problem in Big China in the form of a $135 million lawsuit.

(Read More…)

By on July 20, 2016

2013 Ford Fiesta SYNC basic, Image: Ford

“I hate this thing,” my significant other exclaimed as she tried for the upteenth time to switch from line to USB input in our 2015 Ford Fiesta.

I was in the driver’s seat and she in the front passenger seat as she extended her hand across the cabin to depress the voice recognition button on the steering wheel. This, in her mind, is the easiest way to change the audio input source on the basic version of Ford SYNC, the much-derided infotainment system from the Blue Oval.

And she’s absolutely right. It is the easiest way to do what should be a simple function in the Fiesta. Hit the VR button, say “USB Input,” and SYNC switches from the default line input to USB. (For whatever reason, the system doesn’t remembers that we use USB input every single time.)

This method of switching audio input is also the most dangerous way to perform this function as a passenger, and I’m about to tell you why.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2016

Social_occasion_featuring_a_wedding_dinner_party,_Dawson,_Yukon_Territory,_ca_1899_(HEGG_98).jpeg

Colin Chapman is given credit to an infamous line overused by today’s automotive cognoscenti: Simplify, then add lightness.

We’ve applied Mr. Chapman’s philosophy to our commenting policy, which will now be rigorously enforced.

These are TTAC’s Six Rules of Civility.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2016

Bridge Collapse

The United States is in a pretty bad spot. Even as the economy recovers from the depressing lows of 2008 and 2009, road, trail, and air travel infrastructure in the United States is failing at an alarming rate. Many underfunded municipalities are even ripping up paved roads and replacing them with gravel as a way to ease budgetary shortfalls.

But is there anything the United States can do to catch up with degrading roads, failing levies, and overflowing airports? Before you pump that cheap dino juice into your Maibatsu Monstrosity today, give this report from Business Insider a watch.

(Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

Cadillac Lemon

An owner of a 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon that won a lemon law case against General Motors is now on the receiving end of GM’s legal department.

According to WSB-TV in Georgia, the vehicle’s owner, Patrick Morse, won his lemon-law case in 2014. General Motors, instead of abiding by the arbiter’s ruling, is leveraging a little-known law to appeal the ruling in the courts. The appeal process has left Morse with a troublesome car for the last two years — and there’s a possibility it could continue for years to come.

(Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

hipster lyft millennials

Automakers are turning up the wick on drive-sharing investments and slowly transitioning from car manufacturing to providing mobility. That’s likely a good bet, too, considering a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute.

The report, titled “Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality,” is a stark reminder that the economic situation isn’t as good as it was 10 years ago, let alone compared to the highs of the postwar West.

For starters, 65 or 70 percent of households in the advanced nations studied were “in income segments whose incomes in 2014 were flat or down compared with 2005,” states the report. The United States is one of the countries pulling up that average with 80-percent of households in income segments either flat or falling.

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By on July 14, 2016

Traffic Jam, Image: Life Of Pix

B. Breckenfeld writes:

My cars from the early 2000s had automatic transmissions that seemed to allow freewheeling when you lifted off the pedal. I used this for better gas mileage by letting the car coast when I could see red lights far ahead.

Starting about 2010, my cars produced by GM began acting more like their standard transmission counterparts by employing engine braking and downshifting as they came to a stop. This works great in mountain driving where engine braking is needed, but wouldn’t freewheeling on flatter ground allow better gas mileage?

(Read More…)

By on July 13, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Cart, Image: Daimler

Some eight years after the now-defunct Motive Magazine put a Smart ForTwo to work on an urban golf course, Mercedes is finally catching up to support its customers’ favorite pastime.

Revealed yesterday, the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car isn’t just a glitzed up golf cart made to look like a miniature GLE Coupe. Instead, it’s the product of a competition started in 2013 to build the best golf cart or nothing.

(Read More…)

By on July 9, 2016

Driving Matters Mazda6 Times Square Mesh Board South, Image: Mazda USA

Our own Timothy Cain was smitten after spending a week with the midsize Mazda6. It’s a hard vehicle to hate. With its sexy, sculpted sheetmetal, it’s one of those cars you turn back to look at after you park it.

But the Mazda6, even with its willing chassis and sporting demeanor, is still missing many ingredients, one of them power. Call it the Miata Effect, or simply realize that Mazda doesn’t have its own V6 to stuff under the Mazda6’s long hood. Mazda’s midsize sedan isn’t nearly close to the most powerful option in the segment.

That may change though thanks to the Mazda CX-9 and its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

(Read More…)

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